Saturday, December 28, 2013

Constitutional Violation: Elizabethtown nurse fired for refusing flu shot says she had to protect unborn child

December 28, 2013

Dreonna Breton was very concerned about her fourth pregnancy.

Now she and her husband, Jeremy, are worried about paying their bills after she was fired from her job as a registered nurse on Dec. 17.

"It's a scary place to be," she said. "We depend on my income heavily."

Breton, 29, lost her job for refusing to be immunized against the flu.

And the Bretons, who live in West Donegal Township with their 19-month-old son, Westen, do not regret her decision.

"We know we did the right thing," she said Thursday.

After going through two miscarriages, she didn't want to take any chances.

"It was very emotional," she said of her miscarriages in March and June. "It's not something I've gotten over. I mean, we put ornaments on our tree for the babies."

When she learned in October that she was pregnant, she got busy researching the safety of flu vaccines for pregnant women.

She knew her employer, Horizon Healthcare Services in Manheim Township, was requiring all personnel to get a flu shot.
Employer's stand, reasons
Asked about the flu shot requirement, part-owner Lancaster General Health sent a statement on behalf of Horizon's president, Carolyn Carlson, a registered nurse. 

"Like our requirements for TB skin testing and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination as a condition of employment, mandatory flu immunization protects our patients, employees, and community from getting this potentially serious infection," Carlson says in the statement, which cites Lancaster General Health's similar policy.

Horizon Healthcare Services is owned equally by four partners: Lancaster General Health, Reading Health System, PinnacleHealth System and Penn State Hershey. LGH handles payroll, human resources and employee health services for Horizon, according to LGH spokesman John Lines.

Lines said Horizon requires any employee exempt for medical or religious reason from the flu vaccination requirement to wear a mask the entire shift.
Why not a mask?
Breton disagrees.

She was willing to wear a mask throughout flu season.

And, if patient safety is the issue, that should be good enough, she said, given that employees can get exemptions for medical reasons such as allergies and if their religious convictions forbid immunizations.

Dr. Alan Peterson, director of community and environmental medicine at Lancaster General Health, said it is in the best interests of patients and employees for health-care workers to get vaccinated against the flu.

"It is both an ethical and a moral issue," he said. "The fact that a health care worker could potentially be spreading an organism, to healthy people or to unhealthy people is just not conscionable." 

And, he said, pregnant women are at greater risk of getting the flu, and anyone who gets the flu is at risk of illness or death.

On masks, he said, they are not 100 percent effective, with germs being able to escape from their tops, bottoms or sides. He acknowledged that masks do provide some protection and are permitted on a case-by-case basis for LGH employees exempted from the flu-shot requirement.

Dr. Kurt Barnhart, chairman of the Pennsylvania section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and an OB-GYN at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, said his organization recommends that pregnant women get a flu vaccine, as long as it does not contain a live virus. Vaccinations containing a live virus are rare these days, he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees with Barnhart and his organization.

"Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant," according to the CDC's website. 

"Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu, which can lead to hospitalization or even death.

"A pregnant woman with the flu also has a greater chance of serious problems for her unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery."

While certain that all women, including pregnant women, are better off with a flu vaccine, Barnhart was not as sure regarding the protection a mask might provide.

"I don't think we know," he said, "but I suspect a mask is not as good as a vaccine. That's why we recommend the vaccine."
A nurse's concerns
Breton, who lives about 3 miles west of Elizabethtown Public Library, said she has read the website.

"The CDC has looked at it," she said. "I understand that, but it's not 100 percent safe." 

She said she remembered a patient she was working with because of bedsores in 2008, her first year as a nurse. He had been paralyzed as a result of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or GBS, after getting a flu vaccine.

So, Breton, who worked for Horizon as an infusion nurse since February 2011, got busy.

She researched a key question: Is the flu vaccine safe for pregnant women and their babies?

Not safe enough, as far as Breton was concerned.

The packaging for flu vaccines for the 2013-14 season threw up red flags.

The labels for flu vaccines available in Pennsylvania from GlaxoSmithKlineNovartis and Sanofi Pasteur

•Acknowledge not having been tested in pregnant women.

•Acknowledge that animal tests either have not been done or their results are not transferable to humans.

•Suggest administering them to women who are pregnant or nursing only if clearly needed or in consultation with a physician.
Trying to keep her job
With such concerns in mind, Breton went to human resources.

Not long after, she received an email telling her that if she did not get a flu shot, she would be considered to have resigned as of Nov. 15.

On Nov. 14, she got another email saying she needed a doctor's note indicating a medical reason for her not doing so.

First, she went to her midwife, a certified nurse, who wrote a letter citing the fact that Pennsylvania law does not require nurses to get them, the lack of tests on pregnant women regarding vaccines and a citation by the Food and Drug Administration that flu vaccines are not demonstrated safe for pregnant women.

That wasn't good enough, Breton said. The note had to be from a doctor. 

So, she went to her doctor, an LGH doctor, and he said he would give her a letter, but not a medical reason.

"In my view," the doctor wrote, "getting the flu shot would significantly and negatively impact her health because of the increased fear and anxiety it would create as well as the emotional impact it could cause if she does miscarry again."

The second letter didn't save her job either because it did not cite a medical reason, Breton said.

She then was told, in an email Dec. 5, that she would be suspended as of Dec. 10 and terminated on Dec. 17 if she did not get a flu vaccination.

When working with her employer didn't work, the couple began looking for another solution.

"We prayed about it," Jeremy Breton said.

Dreonna Breton said she was not interested in seeking news coverage, but at a certain point, it seemed like the only option.

"We felt like we were not being heard," she said. "It's just so frustrating.

"It's ironic. I have the right to terminate the pregnancy, but I don't have the right not to put a pharmaceutical in my body that has not been tested on a fetus or on a pregnant woman?"

Breton, who worked nights, said she was good at what she did, helping hook up adult patients of all ages to intravenous tubes for antibiotics, hydration and chemotherapy.

"I loved my job," she said. "I was hoping to keep it for quite a long time."

She is looking to get back to work but understands the difficulty of finding a job when she likely will be going out on maternity leave soon. She is due June 30.

Are they ready to sue?

She'd like to, and only to get the policy changed, Breton said, but the risk of losing the case and going into debt is too great.

They're struggling financially as it is.

Her husband is hopeful.

"Everything will work out," he said. "What's meant to be is meant to be. We're guided by God's lantern."


Worthless, lazyass OWLs douche bags may get their own hippy Utopia

December 28, 2013

Berkeley Police Department could be eliminated due to budget constraints

A north St. Louis County police department could dissolve soon due to a lack of money.
Nathan Mai-Lombardo, the Berkeley City Manager, said the city has been in talks with the St. Louis County Police Department to have them take over police services for the city.
Mai-Lombardo said the city of Berkeley is facing a $1.3 million budget deficit and that all options are on the table in order to balance the budget.
Berkeley officials told News 4 they were given an estimate from St. Louis County Police that it would cost between $2.2-2.8 million for the county to run police operations for the city.
The current budget for the Berkeley Police Department is $3.2 million dollars, but the city manager is working to get that number down to $2.8 million with no layoffs and the same level of service.
Mai-Lombardo says the goal is to keep the Berkeley Police Department intact.
“Nothing is done, or really desired to do. The question is how do you fill the deficit and still preserve jobs and still preserve services,” said Mai-Lombardo, “So this was an option that was discussed.”
Mai-Lombardo did not have a time line as to when a decision will be made on how they’ll move forward with the police department, but did indicate all departments in Berkeley will take a hit in order to balance the budget.


72 year old's personal death panel, aka Barack Obama, seems to have decided his fate

December 28, 2013

Al-Qaida’s American captive pleads with Obama

Warren Weinstein as he looked before he was kidnapped.
Warren Weinstein as he looked before he was kidnapped.

Warren Weinstein, an international development expert who was abducted from his home in Pakistan in 2011, has resurfaced in a new al-Qaida video, the Washington Post reports.

His al-Qaida captors have been using him as a pawn to get “unspecified prisoners” released and stop U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.  It’s the second time Weinstein has spoken on video to plead for his life and tell the Obama administration to heed al-Qaida’s demands. It is not known whether the former USAID contractor has been coerced to make the videos.

He says he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten” and asks President Obama to negotiate with his kidnappers: “You are now in your second term as president of the United States and that means that you can take hard decisions without worrying about reelection.”

But there are moments when Weinstein appears to be speaking from the heart.

“The years have taken their toll,” Weinstein says in the latest video.

That they have. The 72-year-old, thin and drawn, is barely recognizable.

He tells his family, “I would like them to know I love them very much and I think about each and every one of them every moment of every day.”

The video was emailed to several members of the media. In a note to journalists that accompanied the video, he asks reporters not to forget him, saying he doesn’t want to “just become another statistic.”

Weinstein is barely recognizable in the latest video made by al-Qaida.
Weinstein is barely recognizable in the latest video made by al-Qaida.

Read more at the Post.


Teacher suspended for obvious out-of-context statement: 'we don't need another black president' (instead, we need the best person for the job, regardless of color)

December 28, 2013

..or maybe one that can at least use a calculator

A teacher in Ohio was suspended without pay for allegedly making racially insensitive remarks.
The Fairfield City Schools Board of Education suspended Gil Voigt, who has been a teacher at Fairfield Freshman School for 13 years, said Board President Dan Murray. It is the first step in the process of terminating the teacher, he said.
Superintendent Paul Otten said the incident took place earlier this month when an African-American student expressed an ambition to be president. Voigt allegedly replied, “We don’t need another black president.”
“He was talking to some students and said some things that were racially insensitive. We take diversity in our school district very seriously with tolerance of people who are different. We just felt this teacher had crossed the line,” Murray said.
Otten said Voigt had been reprimanded for racially insensitive remarks in the past. A report prepared by Assistant Superintendent Roger Martin lists four instances of discipline: A verbal warning in April 2008 for an “inappropriate racial comment,” another in November 2008 for “improper use of school technology” and a third in December 2013 for “inappropriate comments to students.” He also received a written warning last month for “failure to use adopted curriculum.”
The report also notes “All evaluations have been satisfactory.”
“Obviously we’re very disheartened to have this situation with any of our staff members,” Otten said. “It’s not something we’re proud of, and it’s something we must not tolerate.”
Voigt taught seven years in North Carolina, two years in Florida and six years at Cincinnati public before joining Fairfield. He received a continuing contract in 2002, and his 2013-2014 contract stipulated a $73,566 salary. He could not be reached for comment.
Voigt has the right to appeal the decision before the school board within 10 days of notification, Otten said. Treasurer Nancy Lane and the district’s Law Director John Clemmons are drafting an official notification to the teacher.

"The Chicago Way" Coerse's yet another Justice Roberts

December 28, 2013


NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge on Friday found that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation’s arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in a written opinion that the program “represents the government’s counter-punch” to eliminate al-Qaida’s terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.
N.Y. Judge Rules NSA Phone Surveillance Is Legal
This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. (AP/Patrick Semansky, File)
In ruling, the judge noted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect the dots before the attacks occurred.
“The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program – a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data,” he said.
Pauley’s decision contrasts with a ruling earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, who granted a preliminary injunction against the collecting of phone records of two men who had challenged the program. The Washington jurist said the program likely violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search.
Pauley dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
“We are pleased with the decision,” Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said.
In arguments before Pauley last month, an ACLU lawyer had argued that the government’s interpretation of its authority under the Patriot Act was so broad that it could justify the mass collection of financial, health and even library records of innocent Americans without their knowledge. A government lawyer had countered that counterterrorism investigators wouldn’t find most personal information useful.
The ACLU sued earlier this year after former NSA analyst Edward Snowden leaked details of the secret programs that critics say violate privacy rights. The NSA-run programs pick up millions of telephone and Internet records that are routed through American networks each day.
Associated Press writer Mark Sherman contributed to this report.
This post has been updated.
source: The Blaze

SURPRISE: All caring Obama Administration's IRS to eliminate key IRS service that helps working poor

December 28, 2013

( – The IRS will no longer be offering its free tax preparing service in 2014.

The agency is urging those who need the service to use online computer programs or non-profit organizations. The IRS said the move is being made to save money.
You can find a list of other tax preparing services here.

Taxpayer money going towards tuition for shutdown daycare center

December 28, 2013

( - News 4 has learned the state of Missouri is investigating a Ferguson daycare center after one of its van drivers allegedly threw a bottle of rubbing alcohol at a child. 
"It’s very frustrating its very stressful just having to deal with it all over again," said parent Grace Earnheart.
Friday, Earnheart had to take off from work to care for her two young daughters after she found out the Future Geniuses Learning Center had closed and may never reopen. Since the state covers the cost of her child care services, those tax dollars are only being squandered.
"I showed up to drop the kids off on my way to work and that's when I found out they were closed," she said.
The state is now in the process of revoking the daycare’s operating license.
The investigation stems from an incident in which officials said daycare van driver Brian Starks threw a bottle of rubbing alcohol at 6-year-old Malachi Bender. The incident left Malachi with lip injuries, and the child claims Starks tried to bribe him to keep quiet.
In a report sent to News 4, the state alleges Starks also put the child in a seat without a working seat belt and that he violated numerous other regulations.
The daycare center’s attorney told News 4 the facility will have no comment until possibly next week, after an appeal hearing.

Obamanomics: 1.3 million to lose their government heroin Saturday

December 28, 2013

Approximately 1.3 million to lose unemployment benefits Saturday as tense political battle looms

The end of the government's 'emergency unemployment compensation' will mean some difficult belt-tightening as enrollees lose their average monthly stipend of $1,166. More than 127,000 New Yorkers also will be cut off this weekend.

 Hundreds stood in a line that stretched for blocks, during a combined Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Harlem Week job and career fair on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 at Columbia University in New York. The Labor Department says Americans who applied for unemployment benefits over the past month has fallen to its lowest level in almost six years, dropped 6,250 to 335,500. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)


Hundreds stand in a line that stretched blocks for a combined MTA and Harlem Week job fair in New York this past August. 

WASHINGTON - More than 1 million Americans are bracing for a harrowing, post-Christmas jolt as extended federal unemployment benefits come to a sudden halt this weekend, with potentially significant implications for the recovering U.S. economy. A tense political battle likely looms when Congress reconvenes in the new, midterm election year.

Nudging Congress along, a vacationing President Obama called two senators proposing an extension to offer his support. From Hawaii, Obama pledged Friday to push Congress to move quickly next year to address the "urgent economic priority," the White House said.

For families dependent on cash assistance, the end of the federal government's "emergency unemployment compensation" will mean some difficult belt-tightening as enrollees lose their average monthly stipend of $1,166.

Jobless rates could drop, but analysts say the economy may suffer with less money for consumers to spend on everything from clothes to cars. Having let the "emergency" program expire as part of a budget deal, it's unclear if Congress has the appetite to start it anew.

An estimated 1.3 million people will be cut off when the federally funded unemployment payments end Saturday.

Some 214,000 Californians will lose their payments, a figure expected to rise to more than a half-million by June, the Labor Department said. In the last 12 months, Californians received $4.5 billion in federal jobless benefits, much if plowed back into the local economy.

More than 127,000 New Yorkers also will be cut off this weekend. In New Jersey, 11th among states in population, 90,000 people will immediately lose out.

Started under President George W. Bush, the benefits were designed as a cushion for the millions of U.S. citizens who lost their jobs in a recession and failed to find new ones while receiving state jobless benefits, which in most states expire after six months. Another 1.9 million people across the country are expected to exhaust their state benefits before the end of June.
President Obama speak at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day. He pledged Friday to push Congress to address the unemployment benefits issue quickly in 2014.


President Obama speak at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day. He pledged Friday to push Congress to address the unemployment benefits issue quickly in 2014.

But Obama has no quick fix. He hailed this month's two-year budget agreement as a breakthrough of bipartisan cooperation while his administration works with Democratic allies in the House and Senate to revive an extension of jobless benefits for those unemployed more than six months.

The Obama administration says those payments have kept 11.4 million people out of poverty and benefited almost 17 million children. The cost of them since 2008 has totaled $225 billion.

At the depth of the recession, laid off workers could qualify for up to 99 weeks of benefits, including the initial 26 weeks provided by states. The most recent extension allowed a total of up to 73 weeks, depending on the state.

Restoring up to 47 extra weeks of benefits through 2014 would cost $19 billion, according to the Congressional Budget office.
House Democrats led by Reps. Sander Levin of Michigan and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland sought to include an extension through March by offsetting the costs with potential farm bill savings. They were rebuffed.

Senate Democrats and some Republicans plan another push in 2014. Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., have introduced a bill offering a similar three-month extension, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised to bring it up. But as with much in Congress, an extension is no sure thing.

In phone calls on Friday, Obama told Reed and Heller he was glad they were working together to address the problem. "It defies economic sense, precedent and our values," Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement.

Jona Caldwell joins a long line of job seekers outside the Ferguson Community Center in Cordova, Tenn., in November. More than 1 million Americans receiving extended federal unemployment benefits will lose their stipends this weekend.


Jona Caldwell joins a long line of job seekers outside the Ferguson Community Center in Cordova, Tenn., in November. More than 1 million Americans receiving extended federal unemployment benefits will lose their stipends this weekend.

House Speaker John Boehner spoke with Obama about an extension earlier this month. Boehner and said his caucus would consider the possibility "as long as it's paid for and as long as there are other efforts that will help get our economy moving once again." He said White House has yet to introduce a plan that meets his standards.

For other Republicans, the bar is higher. Many of them look at signs of economic growth and an unemployment rate now down to 7 percent and expected to drop further as evidence the additional weeks of benefits are no longer necessary.

The effect of jobless benefits on the unemployment rates has been fiercely debated for decades. To qualify, people have to be seeking work. Tea partiers such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky argue that the payments aggravate rather than relieve unemployment.

The benefits allow some jobseekers to hold out for higher wages. Without the benefits, they might accept lower-paying jobs, reducing the unemployment rate. Others may be looking for work only to keep the benefits flowing and will drop out of the job market entirely once the checks stop. In theory, that also would push the unemployment rate lower.

The flip side is that the benefits — in addition to alleviating suffering — get spent on consumer goods, stimulating the economy and creating jobs.

Extended unemployment insurance "is really a lifeline to help pay the bills, put food on the table, and put gas in the tank so people can look for work," argued Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director at the left-leaning National Employment Law Project.

Michael Feroli, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase, said ending the extended benefits will lower the unemployment rate by half a percentage point as the long-term unemployed leave the labor force. While that statistical change may look good on the surface, Feroli cautioned the drop could be accompanied by a similar decrease in consumer spending. That would also hurt clothing retailers, car dealers and other Main Street businesses.

Extending the program, on the other hand, would boost GDP growth by some 0.2 percent and increase full-time employment by 200,000 next year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, but at the price of increasing the government's debt.

Advocates of extended benefits say communities hardest hit by the recession will feel the sudden loss of cash in circulation the most.

They cite a set of their own troublesome figures: three jobseekers still competing for each opening; some 4 million people in the ranks of long-term unemployed; unemployment lasting on average 37 weeks, two months longer than most states provide insurance.