Daily Archives: 04/29/2012

Worrisome news of the day: More and more babies are being born addicted to prescription drugs

Crack babies are on the wane, and in the 21st century, the new hotness is prescription drug abuse and having babies born already addicted to prescription drugs. At the newborn intensive care unit in East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville alone, almost half the babies are born exposed to some sort of prescription drug that babies shouldn’t be taking.

While prescription drug abuse is a problem in nearly every neighborhood in America, it is particularly epidemic in Tennessee, which ranks among the top states in the overuse of prescription pain medications.

A recent Tennessee health department survey found that about a third of pregnant women in state treatment programs are addicted to prescription pain meds. As a result, the number of babies born with NAS at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital doubled from 2010 to 2011.

This epidemic is tearing apart families in eastern Tennessee, according to Department of Children’s Services Attorney Susan Kovac.

“In Knox County, we’re drowning,” she said. “We’ve seen the number of children in foster care increase by almost 50% over the last few years, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg because we’re trying to keep the children out of foster care. We’ve got lots and lots of relatives who are raising drug-exposed infants.”

“We come and talk to the mom and try to find out, what’s the level of her abuse, what’s the level of her addiction, what can we do to get her clean so that she can be in a position to take care of her baby,” Kovac explained.

Since the epidemic is relatively new, there is no national protocol on how to treat NAS. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital focuses its treatment on two areas: environmental and medicinal. Last year, the hospital created a wing of private rooms that is quieter, darker and easier to control for the massive influx of babies suffering from drug withdrawal. The hospital also trains volunteers, called cuddlers, to hold and comfort the babies.

Bob Woodruff, a retired marketing professor and grandfather, spends six hours a week giving these babies a little extra love.

“It’s tremendously rewarding to take a stressed baby and work with that baby until that baby is feeling better or sleeping,” Woodruff said. “It also makes the job of the nurses a lot easier. It’s a lot easier for them to come into a room and deal with a calm baby, rather than a crying baby. So I feel like I’m really helping the nurses, as well as helping the babies.”


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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks Windows Phone is the best platform

Even though Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will always and forever have an iPhone as his primary phone, he’s never shy about expressing his opinion on other phone systems. Back in January, he visited Google and talked about how he wishes his iPhone was as cool as the latest Android phones. Now he’s got a Nokia Lumia 900 and thinks Windows Phone is the prettiest, most intuitive phone interface he’s ever seen, even better than Android 4.

“I’m kind of shocked. Every screen is much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone.”

He’s so impressed by it, in fact, that he defines the experience of using a Windows Phone as feeling like you’re “with a friend not a tool.” In his mind, navigating Android is a much more cumbersome experience, to the point where he sees “no contest” between that OS and Windows Phone — Microsoft’s software is much more to his liking. He even goes on to say that iOS is “more awkward” in its interactions than the Lumia phone he’s presently using, though his favorite smartphone still remains the iPhone. The deficit of third-party apps for WP is something he acknowledges as holding that platform back.


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Ukranian women turns herself into a real-life Barbie doll….

This is Valeria Lukyanova. Valeria is 21 and from the Ukraine. Valeria’s life goal is to make herself into a real living Barbie Doll… which she has appeared to have accomplished. I can see where there possibly was a whole lot of pretty there at some point, before she got all the surgeries and turned into an anorexic walking Real Doll.


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Bad ass 92 year old ships bootleg movies to the troops overseas and doesn’t give a fuck

While the MPAA goes after people for downloading ripped theater vids of Twilight, 92 year old Hyman Strachman has been churning out shitloads of DVDs of first run movies to send to American troops overseas. Because he’s old and he’s doing it for the troops, so the MPAA can suck it.

“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the United States military presence in those regions dwindling, Big Hy Strachman will live on in many soldiers’ hearts as one of the war’s more shadowy heroes.

“It’s not the right thing to do, but I did it,” Mr. Strachman said, acknowledging that his actions violated copyright law.

“If I were younger,” he added, “maybe I’d be spending time in the hoosegow.”

Capt. Bryan Curran, who recently returned from Afghanistan, estimated that from 2008 to 2010, Mr. Strachman sent more than 2,000 DVDs to his outfits there.

“You’re shocked because your initial image is of some back-alley Eastern European bootlegger — not an old Jewish guy on Long Island,” Captain Curran said. “He would time them with the movie’s release — whenever a new movie was just in theaters, we knew Big Hy would be sending us some. I saw ‘The Transformers’ before it hit the States.”

Jenna Gordon, a specialist in the Army Reserve, said she had handed out even more of Mr. Strachman’s DVDs last year as a medic with the 883rd Medical Company east of Kandahar City, where soldiers would gather for movie nights around personal computers, with mortar blasting in the background. Some knew only that the discs came from some dude named Big Hy; others knew not even that.

“It was pretty big stuff — it’s reconnecting you to everything you miss,” she said. “We’d tell people to take a bunch and pass them on.”

White-haired, slightly hunched and speaking in his Depression-era Brooklyn brogue (think Casey Stengel after six years of Hebrew school), Mr. Strachman explained in a recent interview that his 60-hour-a-week venture was winding down. “It’s all over anyways — they’re all coming home in the near future,” he said of the troops.

As he spoke, he was busy preparing some packages, filled with 84 discs of “The Artist,” “Moneyball” and other popular films, many of them barely out of theaters, to a platoon in Afghanistan.

As for his brazen violation of domestic copyright laws, Mr. Strachman nodded guiltily but pointed to his walls, which are strewed with seven huge American flags, dozens of appreciative letters, and snapshots of soldiers holding up their beloved DVDs.

“Every time I got back an emotional e-mail or letter, I sent them another box,” he said, adding that he had never accepted any money for the movies or been told by any authorities to stop.


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