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For the start of Women’s History Month: Focus on Virginia Apgar

Virginia Apgar – pioneer in surgery, anesthesiology, neonatology – cross posted from 51 Percent Print E-mail
“Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me!”
–Dr. Virginia Apgar, ca. 1950s, explaining why she kept basic resuscitation equipment with her at all times.Apgarat20

It has been said that every baby born in a modern hospital anywhere in the world is looked at first through the eyes of Dr. Virginia Apgar. Her simple, rapid method for assessing newborn viability, the “Apgar score,” has longbeen standard practice. Developed in the early 1950s and quickly adopted by obstetric teams, the method reduced infant mortality and laid the foundations of neonatology. While best known for this achievement, Apgar was also a leader in the emerging field of anesthesiology during the 1940s and in the new field of teratology (the study of birth defects) after 1960. [The Virginia Apgar Papers]

Virginia Apgar was brilliant surgeon, yet discouraged by her mentor from practicing in that field because of his belief that women did not fare well [source]; so, Dr. Apgar joined the first residency program in anesthesiology, and became an expert in that field; eventually combining her expertises in both surgery and residency to innovate radically and successfully in the field of neonatology. Dr. Apgar was the first woman at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to be named a full professor [source]. After ten years in that post, she completed a master’s degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University. Apgar was approached by the National Foundation-March of Dimes in the spring of 1959, and offered the position of chief of its new Division of Congenital Malformations. She accepted and eventually served also  Director of Basic Medical Research (1967-1968) and Vice-President for Medical Affairs (1971-1974) [source]

Below, Virginia Apgar teaching obstetric anesthesiology at Columbia.


One friend of 51 Percent sent a memory in response to this brief commemoration. It can be found here.

Stuck On Stupid


Q:  What do Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Jonathan Krohn, Rick Santelli, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (aka “Joe the Plumber”) and Michael Steele have in common?

A:  None of them currently hold elective office anywhere in the country.

The past couple of weeks the Kool-aid bloggers have been going apeshit over Republicans.  Two people gave speeches on national television last Tuesday night, but whose speech got talked about the most?  Bobby Jindal’s speech got more attention, mostly for its Ed Wood “so bad it’s worth watching” quality and for his outrageous lie about Katrina that really wasn’t a lie after all, or at least not much of one.

Sarah Palin got attention several times, mostly for staying home and doing her job (which, ironically, the sippy-kup kidz say they want her to do) and CNBC talking head Rick Santelli got terabytes of bandwidth attention for saying something on television which is what he gets paid to do.   Now the Obloggers are convinced that Santelli is part of a vast conspiracy to . . . uh . . . do something.

For several days all we’ve been hearing all about is the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which is the annual gathering where conservatives get together and say conservative stuff.  As usual, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh drew cheers from the audience and jeers from Left Blogistan, but this year the big story was some 14 year-old whiz kid who is either the hottest thing since sliced bread or a hoax.

Do the Obama Fan Boiz not realize that Barack Obama won the election and that he is now the President of the United States or are they just stuck in campaign mode?  Have they been hating the GOP for so long they don’t know how to do anything else?  I think hatred is a least part of the explanation – Obots thrive on hate.  What’s amusing is that just like the PUMA-obsessed blogstalkers they insist their opponents are weak, irrelevant and headed for oblivion but they still can’t stop talking about them.

This silliest fauxrage ever (for which there is lots of competition) has to be the “ZOMG! The Republicans want Obama to fail!” panty-twist.  Well no shit?  Of course they want Obama to “fall on his ass and fail spectacularly.”  What other choice do they have?  Here’s how it breaks down:

1.  The GOP supports Obama and he is successful.  If that happens then they are irrelevant and will probably lose seats in the next couple elections, not that it will make any difference.

2.  The GOP supports Obama and he is a failure.  If that happens they go down with him.  Congressional GOPers will lose to primary challengers who promise to oppose Obama.

3.  The GOP opposes Obama and he is successful.  If that happens then they are irrelevant and will definitely lose seats in the next couple elections.

4.  The GOP opposes Obama and he is a failure.  If that happens the GOP will gain seats in the 2010 mid-terms and will probably win the White House in 2012.

Scenario #1 is a loser for the GOP – ask Tom Daschle and Max Cleland how well “me tooism” by the opposition party works.  At best they can hope they won’t lose any more seats.  Scenario #2 might help the GOP as a whole but it won’t help the current incumbents who are the ones making the decisions.  With scenario #3 the only thing they can claim is that they acted as a check on “liberal excess” but they are pretty much screwed.  

Scenario #4 on the other hand would be a big winner for the Republican party.  So with basically nothing to gain by supporting Obama and everything to gain by opposing him, why would anyone expect them to clap and cheer?  That’s especially true if the Republicans are as evil and corrupt as the proggers claim they are.

Right now the Republicans don’t have much choice anyway, they can’t block anything in the House and don’t really want to filibuster everything in the Senate for the next 2-4 years.  I expect that they won’t obstruct but they won’t help out either.  But despite what the Obots keep claiming the Republicans aren’t dead, sooner or later they will be back. 

FDR was elected in 1932 and led us out of the Great Depression and most of the way through WWII before dying in office.  Despite all of his accomplishments the voters elected a Republican by a landslide in 1952, and gave the GOP control of the House of Representatives too.  Back in 2002 the Republicans were talking about a permanent GOP majority, but that only lasted 4 years.

I suspect that the OFB are afraid of a rapidly resurgent GOP, which is why they keep attacking Palin and Jindal, who together are only 1/25th of the nation’s governors.  They hope to preemptively destroy Obama’s strongest competition in 2012, forgetting that the biggest threat to Obama is Obama.  If he succeeds, it doesn’t matter what the Republicans do.

As for myself, I don’t want Obama to fail, I think he will fail, and he will set back liberalism and the Democratic party for at least a decade when he does.  Unlike a certain vaginaphobic former PUMA I can’t pretend to support and agree with someone just further my career – I have principles.  I would be happy as hell to be proven wrong about Obama, because if I’m wrong that will be a good thing.  If the Obamafluffers are wrong we’re all f**ked.

Join AngieNC and Madamab for NO WE WON’T



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Read it and weep: “the seemingly unbridgeable chasm” that is the gender wage gap

Crossposted from Heidi Li on Equality at 51 Percent.

All quotes from Why Is Her Paycheck Smaller? By HANNAH FAIRFIELD Published: February 28, 2009 – The New York Times (Click graphic to go to large interactive chart). Full story here.

Nearly every occupation has the gap — the seemingly unbridgeable chasm between the size of the paycheck brought home by a woman and the larger one earned by a man doing the same job.

link to chart in New York Times on wage gap

“There’s no measurable way to explain the gaps within occupations,” said Barry T. Hirsh, a labor economist at Georgia State University. “Other wage gaps, like racial gaps, can be almost fully explained by factoring in the differences in education, geography and age.” (emphases added)

This is economic misogyny plain and simple; embedded in our economic habits deeply and seemingly insurmountably – although with enough political and legal action not actually insurmountable is a belittling of women’s work compared to men’s. This sort of systemic, measurable inequity is, to borrow a phrase from Mario Cuomo, a “sin against equality.”

Sunday: Bad Bank

Take the red pill and go down the rabbit hole

Take the red pill and go down the rabbit hole

Knowledge is power, Conflucians.  When it comes to the economy, I feel like a novice.   Playing with money never interested me.  It was enough to diversify my options in my 401K and leave it at that, although, I had a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that I should learn what it was they were up to.  But I opted for a degree in chemistry, not finance.  The truth is, it isn’t possible to know everything about everything.  There are limits to how much time out of our very busy lives we can dedicate to learning someone else’s area of expertise.  That has always been the danger of the 401K, IRA and pie-in-the-sky Grover Norquistesque wetdream of private Social Security accounts:  We’re busy and we have to trust people to handle our money responbsibly.   Needless to say, they’ve really let us down and now we are faced with the sometimes overwhelming task of learning the rules of  this high-stakes financial risk game.

The past several months have left me feeling a bit like Neo in the Matrix after they pulled his headplug and the world is revealed as it truly is.  I should have taken the blue pill.  What I see is not pretty.  I see a lot of shallow CEOs, oblivious to the fates of the people whose money they are entrusted with, determined to protect their lifestyles at any cost.  I see traders, addicted to adrenaline, looking for fixes and laying our nest eggs on the line for the rush of a big payoff.  I see corporations walking away from their future obligations because the people who work for them put their faith in them and deferred their compensation for promises that were never meant to be kept.  I see a government that was bought and paid for by these people and who will sacrifice the working class to pay its debt to its backers.  I see a Whole Foods Nation that doesn’t realize that it entered the ranks of the working class a couple decades ago in the era of Reagan’s “voodoo economics”.

You can’t be too careful these days.  If you want to know how to protect yourself from the predators who, in the end, are really no better than the common thugs who rob you at gunpoint, you’ve got to learn how to avoid the financial dark alleys. I’m so glad that we have Dakinikat to help explain stuff like “moral hazard” and “collateralized debt obligations”.  We have Paul Krugman, NakedCapitalism and Baseline Scenario who are keeping their ears to the ground and interpreting the entrails for us.  And we also have Planet Money and This American Life who are teaming up to break down the complex so we all get it.  Tonight, their joint project called Bad Bank airs on NPR and PRI stations at the This American Life regular time slot.  You can catch the podcast here or check your local NPR station.  The feed from WNYC starts at 4:00PM EST.  I urge everyone who has a mental black hole where their finance center should be to tune in for Bad Bank.

It’s time they stopped playing us for suckers.