automatic News for 06-30-2021

Sen. Hertzberg: School Lunch Shaming (SB250)

The Gentlemen Review: Guy Ritchie Crime Comedy Gets Lost in the Weed

Guy Ritchie returns to his freewheeling roots, for better and for worse. This, my review of the film The Gentlemen written and directed by Guy Ritchie, will be a bit different from your average Collider movie review. To clarify further and in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve seen The Gentlemen stone-cold sober and I’ve seen The Gentlemen higher than Brad Garrett’s balls. Unsuprisingly for a Ritchie joint, The Gentlemen is oozing surface-level cool; it’s exceedingly handsome, well-dressed dudes being dudes, committing crimes and quips while ordering pints and smoking stogies. One of the more overwhelming senses you get from The Gentlemen is a filmmaker happy-as-hell to be back in his roots, firmly planted in a “One for me” project after delivering Disney a billion-dollar earner in Aladdin. The Gentlemen is honestly more of an amusing social event than it is a movie. Part of the problem that comes with shooting for-and, mostly, hitting-the no-fucks-given free-wheeling fun of the early-2000s is that Ritchie also hasn’t evolved the formula at all for 2019. The movie has a great time zigging and zagging until it just runs headlong into its own casual racism, from the moment Golding’s character is introduced as “Like James Bond…ricense to kill” to the overall idea that white weed emperors are fine gentlemen while smack-dealing “Chinamen” are the scum of the Earth. What is, somehow, worse is that it doesn’t even feel like Ritchie is trying for anything dangerous or daring. Storytellers as razor-sharp as Ritchie can get away with a lot if they back it up with substance, but he relies too much on late-night pub standards here, stuff that’d feel dated and cheap in 2009. Which is why seeing The Gentlemen in two different, uh, states of mind was so illuminating. You gotta’ sober up some time and The Gentlemen never quite does.

Keywords: [“Ritchie”, “Gentlemen”, “movie”]

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease characterized neuropathologically by a loss of upper motor neurons in the motor cortex and lower motor neurons in the anterior horn of the spinal cord. Patients with a predominant involvement of the upper motor neuron present with spasticity that can cause pain, a symptom otherwise typically absent from the clinical picture of ALS. The clinical course is invariably progressive, and even in ambiguous cases, the diagnosis becomes clear over time. What Tests Should I Request to Confirm My Clinical Dx? In addition, what follow-up tests might be useful? Genetic testing is only advisable in the minority of patients who have a positive family history for motor neuron disease. The most important test for confirming the diagnosis of ALS is electromyography to show acute and chronic denervation as a sign of lower motor neuron involvement. Upper motor neuron involvement can be tested by transcranial stimulation of the motor cortex. Electroneurography is useful to diagnose nerve conduction blocks when only the lower motor neuron is affected. Magnetic resonance imaging can detect changes in the pyramidal tract and the motor cortex. A muscle biopsy can identify the rare cases of inclusion body myositis that can mimic ALS. GM-1 antibodies in the serum indicate multifocal motor neuronopathy. Male patients with only lower motor neuron involvement and androgen insensitivity signs with or without a family history need tested for CAG repeat expansion in their androgen receptor gene to rule out X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy. A special challenge is the diagnosis of paraneoplastic syndromes that presents as motor neuron disease. In women with predominant symptoms of the upper motor neuron, sometimes breast cancer can be detected.

Keywords: [“motor”, “neuron”, “test”]

PA Quietly Reverses ‘Lunch Shaming’ Ban As School District Debt Grows

Language within this year’s school code bill allows districts to withhold hot meals from students who accrue more than $50 in lunch debt. “Lunch shaming exists because you got the cheese sandwich. We all know what the cheese sandwich means,” said State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, who helped lead the 2017 effort to ban lunch shaming. The practice typically affects students who don’t qualify for free or reduced-price lunch programs but still struggle to pay for school meals. So why the law change? In part, because districts are on the hook for lunch debts that in some cases have doubled since shaming was banned. The Bethlehem Area School District says its debts in 2017-18 totaled $250,000 across its 22 schools – an increase of more than 50%. The district has kept its ban on lunch shaming, but leaders worry some families could be taking advantage of the policy. Quakertown School District wants to begin using a collection agency in November, pending school board approval. Superintendent William Harner says lunch debt in the district has doubled each year since 2016-17, reaching a peak of $27,000 last year. The Salisbury Township School District in Lehigh County ended the 2018 school year with $7,450 in lunch debt. Efforts to ban lunch shaming in Pennsylvania stemmed from the Canon-McMillan School District in Washington County. In June, officials in the Wyoming Valley West School District in Luzerne County warned parents that children could be placed in foster homes if lunch debts weren’t paid. In the Pennsbury School District in Bucks County, leaders have asked parents to use an app that monitors debt levels in real-time. According to national school nutrition studies, the number of students going into debt for school lunch has been steadily rising since 2014.

Keywords: [“Lunch”, “school”, “District”]
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