CHICAGO — Want to know your chances of dying in the next 10 years? Here are some bad signs: getting winded walking several blocks, smoking, and having trouble pushing a chair across the room.
That’s according to a “mortality index” developed by San Francisco researchers for people older than 50.
The test scores may satisfy people’s morbid curiosity, but the researchers say their 12-item index is mostly for use by doctors. It can help them decide whether costly health screenings or medical procedures are worth the risk for patients unlikely to live 10 more years.
It’s best to take the test with a doctor, who can discuss what the score means in the context of patients’ own medical history, the study authors say.
The index “wasn’t meant as guidance about how to alter your lifestyle,” said lead author Dr. Marisa Cruz of the University of California, San Francisco.
Instead, doctors can use the results to help patients understand the pros and cons of such things as rigorous diabetes treatment, colon cancer screening and tests for cervical cancer. Those may not be safe or appropriate for very sick, old people likely to die before cancer ever develops.
The 12 items on the index are assigned points; fewer total points means better odds.
- Men automatically get 2 points. In addition to that, men and women ages 60 to 64 get 1 point; ages 70 to 74 get 3 points; and 85 or over get 7 points.
- Two points each: a current or previous cancer diagnosis, excluding minor skin cancers; lung disease limiting activity or requiring oxygen; heart failure; smoking; difficulty bathing; difficulty managing money because of health or memory problem; difficulty walking several blocks.
- One point each: diabetes or high blood sugar; difficulty pushing large objects, such as a heavy chair; being thin or normal weight.
The highest, or worst, score is a 26, with a 95 percent chance of dying within 10 years. To get that, you’d have to be a man at least 85 years old with all the above conditions.
For a score of zero, which means a 3 percent chance of dying within 10 years, you’d have to be a woman younger than 60 without any of those infirmities – but at least slightly overweight.
It’s hardly surprising that a sick, older person would have a much higher chance of dying than someone younger and more vigorous, and it’s well known that women generally live longer than men. But why would being overweight be less risky than being of normal weight or slim?
One possible reason is that thinness in older age could be a sign of illness, Cruz said.
Other factors could also play a role, so the index should be seen as providing clues but not the gospel truth, the research suggests.
The findings were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Grants from the National Institute on Aging and the American Federation for Aging Research helped pay for the study.
The researchers created the index by analyzing data on almost 20,000 Americans over 50 who took part in a national health survey in 1998. They tracked the participants for 10 years. Nearly 6,000 participants died during that time.
They previously used the test to predict the risk of dying within four years. They said their new effort shows the same index can be used to predict 10-year mortality.
Dr. Stephan Fihn, a University of Washington professor of medicine and health quality measurement specialist with Veterans Affairs health services in Seattle, said the index seems valid and “methodologically sound.”
But he said it probably would be most accurate for the oldest patients, who don’t need a scientific crystal ball to figure out their days are numbered.
After being captured on audio last month making what many considered to be a rather lewd remark to a high schooler during a committee hearing, Connecticut State Representative Ernest Hewett (pictured) now says he has no use for female interns, reports the Huffington Post.
On Feb. 20 at an appropriations committee hearing at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, a 17-year-old female high school senior took the floor to reveal how the center had helped her overcome a snake phobia. After listening to the youth recount how she would also like to see other people overcome their fear of snakes, Hewett responded with, “If you’re bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here,” Hewett laughingly commented. Not only did the politico get a chuckle out of his comment but so did committee members.
Hewett, who emphatically apologized to the female high school student he made the remark to, was later crucified in the media for his comment which many considered to be suggestive. As a result of the firestorm that grew after he made the off-color comment, Hewett was stripped last Friday of his eight-year leadership position as deputy speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.
Hewett told the Hartford Courant not only did he not plan to step down from his House seat but he would not hire another female intern again, either.Hewett, who said he has nothing against women in general, told the Hartford newspaper, “I purposely will not have female interns. My intern now is a male. I want to keep it like that. I’ve had female interns in the past that sit in my office all day. I thought it was totally weird and I didn’t want another.”
The state representative, who is married with two daughters and a son, also told the paper that he went years sans an intern period because he could not control what gender would be assigned to him.
“They may give me a female, but I don’t want a female intern,” he told the Courant staff. “That may sound sexist, but I really don’t. That way, that keeps me good, and that keeps everybody else good.”
OBERLIN, Ohio — Scrawls of racially offensive graffiti and, more recently, a report of someone wearing what looked like a Ku Klux Klan-type hooded robe on campus have shaken students at historically liberal Oberlin College, one of the nation’s first universities to admit blacks.
A day after the school canceled classes and students marched on campus, many remained worried about their safety.
“I just really feel uncomfortable walking alone anywhere,” Modjeska Pleasant, 19, a first-year student from Savannah, Ga., said Tuesday.
She said she became upset after hearing a few white students suggest that the racist graffiti first found a month ago and anti-Semitic and racist messages on campus since then were just a prank to get out of classes.
The college canceled Monday’s classes after the early morning sighting of the hooded robe.
President Marvin Krislov and three college deans told the campus community in an open letter that they hope the ordeal will lead to a stronger Oberlin. Students and professors gathered Monday afternoon to talk about mutual respect.
Hate-filled graffiti and racially charged displays are hardly unusual on college campuses. But what makes this string of incidents so shocking is that it happened at a place tied so closely with educating and empowering blacks in America.
Oberlin began admitting blacks nearly 180 years ago. Among its graduates are one of the first blacks elected to public office and the first black lawyer allowed to practice in New York state.
The city itself was a stop on the Underground Railroad that aided escaped slaves.
The college, with nearly 3,000 students, remains a liberal oasis in the middle of northern Ohio, surrounded by conservative farming towns and rust belt cities. Cleveland is about 30 miles away.
Isaac Fuhrman, a psychology from Lexington, Mass., said the incidents were upsetting, especially for black students.
“I guess for them, Oberlin doesn’t seem like such a safe haven perhaps,” said Fuhrman, who is white.
There are no fraternity or sorority houses at Oberlin, and athletics isn’t a big part of campus life. Instead, students come to study music, art and creative writing.
Notable recent alumni include Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO series “Girls” – a show featuring several characters who met at Oberlin.
Dunham wrote on her Twitter account Monday that she was saddened by the hate-filled incidents.
“Hey Obies, remember the beautiful, inclusive and downright revolutionary history of the place you call home. Protect each other,” she wrote.
Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson (pictured in middle), once the pride of Canada, would suffer a blow to his career after getting banned for life from the sport of track and field on this day in 1993.
Johnson exploded on the international scene in the world of track and field athletics, proving to be a game rival to U.S. star Carl Lewis (pictured left). Johnson would go on to become Canada’s top sprinter, nabbing Olympic gold at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.
Watch Johnson beat Lewis at the Seoul Olympics here:
Days later, it was discovered Johnson used a banned substance and later admitted to doping in an earlier race where he set the world record.
Consequently, Johnson was suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF).
After returning to the sport in 1991, Johnson would eventually make the Canadian racing team in 1992 for that year’s Summer Games in Barcelona. For the second time, though, Johnson was caught using performance enhancers, with excess testosterone tipping testers off.
After a hearing, the IAFF would ban Johnson for life.
The scandal was especially explosive, and Johnson’s coach Charlie Francis asserted that Johnson was just one of dozens of track stars who doped before big races.
Unfortunately for Johnson, though, his repeat offenses singled him out overall.
Johnson never found his former fame again, engaging in charity events and coaching to make ends meet. One of Johnson’s coaching gigs was training now-deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son for his tryouts for an Italian soccer team. Ironically, Gaddafi’s son was cut from the team after testing positive for steroids.
Johnson has been critical of his rival Lewis in later interviews, adding to the claims that the American athlete used similar performance-enhancing drugs during his storied career.
Johnson currently resides in Canada and wrote a book in 2010 titled “Seoul to Soul,” which talked about his life in Jamaica and his time in the sport.
For a certain segment of Bill Cosby’s fan base, the legendary comedian is as pristine as it gets. That is, so long as he doesn’t step out of his place. The moment he does, all huckleberry hell breaks loose. Indeed, one quick scan of the virtual abyss — otherwise known as the comments section — and it’s clear who would rather see Cosby do a shimmy in a good suit with Phylicia Rashad in the opening credits of “The Cosby Show” than bear witness to the racism of Republicans.
During an appearance on Monday morning’s edition of CNN’s “Starting Point,” Cosby told Republican former Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL) that the racism that was once front and center in America decades ago isn’t that different today.
News blog Mediate recapped the exchange:
Host Soledad O’Brien was leading a panel discussion about the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, the anniversary of which was marked by about 10,000 marchers this weekend, and she remembered a symbolic example of the contrast between progress and repression.
‘I read about you, at the same time the fight for rights in the South was going on,’ she said, to Cosby, ‘you were on the verge of winning an Emmy award. First Black man – in 1966 you would win an Emmy award. And the show ‘I Spy’ was banned in the South.”
“Just a couple of stations,” Cosby replied, then turned to Congressman Connie Mack, who had said something inaudible. “What did you say?
“It’s just hard to believe,” Rep. Mack, joined by wife and fellow former Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), said. “It’s unbelievable.”
“I don’t think so,” Cosby shot back. “Not when you look at the President’s speech recently.”
Cosby was referring to President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address in which several of his political adversaries made it painfully aware that they would rather be filing their toenails down with a pointy rock than bear another moment of his speech.
“To see people sitting down when there are others standing and cheering. I think we have people sitting there who are as bad as the people who were against any kind of desegregation.
And then in place of a better America, they want their own sick feelings put across, and it’s — it isn’t — it isn’t a good time, but I think, also on our part as professors and presidents of colleges all over, and in public schools, we need to get the education of the correct history that happened so people can say, ‘Yes, this really did happen.’”
Watch Cosby’s comments here:document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-e8390d211a848431b2037c3f08caff1e').submit();
Not surprisingly, not a lot of people – particularly the conservative-leaning White ones – were thrilled with these comments.
On Cosby’s remarks, a few commenters on the Washington Times wrote:
“Bill Cosby, I have lost all respect for you. I’m not racist!!! Obama is just failure as leader his policies and agenda is/are doing America in and if this is raciats [sic] so be it. Obama is a loser, voted in by uninformd [sic] voters or just dmmies [sic] out here.”
The term ‘racist’ is used nowadays the way the word ‘communist’ was back in the 1950s. If you didn’t agree with the Establishment in the 1950s, you were a ‘communist.’ Today, if you don’t agree with the Establishment (even if the issue at hand has nothing to do with race) you are a ‘racist.’”
And on and on went the stupidity, false equivalencies, and overall flawed contrarian arguments.
To be fair, Cosby’s example was not the best. A rival political party opting to sit down as the commander-in-chief they didn’t vote for spews out a bunch of political rhetoric that goes against everything they believe in is common. It’s not as if you ever saw Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hitting her two-step as former President George W. Bush talked about planning to privatize social security.
Nevertheless, any yokel with half a clue could understand that Cosby’s core point is valid.
There have been numerous instances of Republicans exhibiting a disgusting level of disrespect toward Obama.
Yes, our political culture has become more adversarial, but shouts of “YOU LIE” and racially charged language — some covert, but other instances unabashedly bigoted — prove that part of the resentment many Republicans harbor toward our current President is fueled in racial bias.
And there are other realities: The prison industrial complex, Black and White wealth disparities reaching historic highs, and schools being segregated by race and class more so now in the modern era than at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.
Then there are the efforts to disenfranchise Black voters, which if you ask Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, just goes to show how “entitled” Blacks are — the nerve of us, demanding that we be allowed our legal right to vote without interruption.
Cosby’s critics are nitpicking one misplaced point to deflect for an undeniable truth. They know what it is, and if they don’t, they’re purposefully refusing to acknowledge it.
A Georgia man is alive today because of the quick thinking of his mother and the heroic actions of a local police officer, WXIA-TV reports.
On Tuesday night, 41-year-old Keith Haynes, of Forest Park, Ga., woke up complaining of breathing problems. Lynda Tyler said her son called her and she picked him up and immediately rushed him towards Southern Regional Medical Center. “He said mom, please drive fast,” she said. “He said mom, I can’t breathe.”
Her son collapsed against the dashboard before she could get to the hospital.
“While I was driving he got stiff, he seized and he just went limp,” she said. “He stopped breathing on me.” Tyler was still miles away from the hospital and was unsure of how to help her dying son. But she saw a parked police car at a BP gas station. She pulled into the BP station and ran inside where she found Forest Park officer Christopher Simmons who happened to be on his coffee break.
He followed Tyler and her brother, who also was in the vehicle, out to her pick up truck where Haynes was found passed out. It was raining heavily outside, so officer Simmons, Tyler and her brother brought Haynes inside of the station. At first, the officer tried to wake Haynes up because he thought he was asleep. After he got nothing, Simmons began CPR on the man. His mother is seen on surveillance video walking around hysterically, praying to God that her son would eventually wake up.
“You see on the file, I was just walking up and down saying, ‘Jesus! Jesus, help him,’” she said. “And I kept asking the officer, ‘is he breathing yet, is he breathing.’”
After several minutes, the officer was able to get a good pulse on Haynes. A police officer in the right place, at the right time, was able to son a dying man. “I think him so much from the bottom of my heart for helping him,” Tyler said. “I really do. I really do.”
Officer Simmons is equally touched by the experience.
“It’s an incredible feeling I can’t describe to be able to help someone, to save a human life. Absolutely humbling.
The always demure La Toya Jackson (pictured) is reportedly refuting the allegations that were made in a recent New York Post article, claiming that she is a “gold-digging diva” who is milking the talents of her late-brother’s, Michael, three children and getting a 15 percent commission on their deals, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The 56-year-old Auntie of Michael’s children, Prince Michael, 16, Paris, 15 and Blanket, 10, is being lambasted by the daily paper for allegedly snaking her way in to the children’s good graces while their relatives feuded with the estate’s executors over the King of Pop’s $2 billion fortune.
The New York Post alleges that La Toya wooed her niece and nephews with cookies, ice cream, and warm and fuzzy quality time spent watching TV or movies, just so that she could sign them to her Ja-Tail Enterprises Talent Agency and collect a 15 percent commission per gig.
Paris will be shooting a movie across the Pond in the U.K. later this year, while Prince Michael has a deal to appear as an occasional correspondent with the long-running celeb news show “Entertainment Tonight.” The eldest Jackson will also have an acting role on the CW’s “90210.”
The New York Post article also alleged that La Toya was shopping around a reality show, featuring her three pint-sized goldmines, with occasional appearances from family matriarch, Katherine, and La Toya, of course.
OWN, the Oprah network, is rumored to be the highest bidder for the alleged reality show at $10 million.
At one time, La Toya, claimed that Michael’s beloved pet chimp, Bubbles, actually spoke to her and ran a psychic line.
She also publicly accused Michael of being a pedophile.
Still, she is currently calling the recent blatant accusations against her lies. The entertainer-turned-business-woman had her publicist, Juliette Harris, crank out a the following letter to the Hollywood Reporter, regarding the allegations:
“The story in The NY Post is completely and unequivocally false. Neither La Toya nor her company represent any of MJ’s children in any legal capacity nor has she received any commissions or payment as a result of their individual ventures. As a loving Aunt, when the children ask for help or advice she supports them 100%, and will continue to do so.
Furthermore, there is no shopping of a reality show for the children. Paris did her movie deal over a year ago directly with the production company and La Toya had nothing to do with it. Over the past year, Prince has continuously asked his Aunt for her help in starting his career because of the infrastructure she has. When she asked her nephew what he wanted for his birthday he replied, “He just wanted to work,” It was at the time that she diligently started to assist him with his career and that’s when ‘Entertainment Tonight’ was booked and then ‘90210.’
La Toya is currently consulting with her attorneys on how to proceed against these false and derogatory statements made by The NY Post and other participating publications.”
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On Monday night, Jon Stewart did what he does best by underscoring the
political foolishness that seems to happen every.single.day. Claiming
that the sequestration made him “angry” last week, the politial satirist turned his attention to what he dubbed “Wacko and Cash” — that’s Dennis Rodman and Mitt Romney, respectively — which dramatically brightened his mood. In case you missed it, Romney is still publicly crying about his presidential loss and Rodman has been promoting North Korea leader Kim Jong-un as if he’s his publicist.
Starting with the peculiar Rodman, Stewart got right to the point on the absurdity of Rodman seemingly kicking back with the controversial Kim Jong-un just because he is reportedly a big 1980s Bulls fan.
“Still, though, being a fan of the Bulls, like a bottle of tequila, how far down the Bulls roster do you go to get down to the worm?
“You know M.J. [Michael Jordan] and [Scottie] Pippen aren’t gonna to go [to North Korea]….
“You’re telling me, though, Kim Jong couldn’t get Luc Longley or [Steve] Kerr?
“Horace Grant…Benny the Bull wouldn’t go?
Oh, but the sweet moment in Stewart’s delivery was Romney’s incessant tears over losing BACK IN NOVEMBER.
“Let’s go over to Romney!” Stewart yells.
After Stewart plays Romney’s infamous “47 percent” clip, he responds to Romney’s claim on Fox News Sunday that the real weakness of his campaign was not getting his message to minority voters, with Stewart saying:
“Oh, right, your message. I think the problem wasn’t getting your message out, the problem was — despite your best efforts — (whispering) it got out.”
Stewart then shows a clip of Ann Romney still choking on her sour grapes: “That crushing disappointment is not for us, our lives are going to be fine, it’s for the country,” Ann says.
To which Stewart blasts: “You had four months to come up with an answer and you go with what those women would say on “Maury Povich” after their fiance slept with their sister, ‘Fine go, I’m not sad for me, I’m sad for you! ‘Cause you could have had all this! B*tch!’”
Then there’s the clip of Rodman calling Kim Jong-un a “great guy,” even though the embattled leader reportedly put 200,000 people in prison camps. Still, Rodman responds that former President Bill Clinton getting blow jobs and maintaining his power is similar to what Kim Jong-un is dealing with in North Korea.
“Here’s my impression of two Korean prison inmates…in Dennis Rodman’s imagination:
“Hey did you hear about the U.S. president who got blown by his intern?”
“Wow, that place is no better than here.”
Watch Stewart’s “The Daily Show” segment here:
An NYPD cop allegedly punched his 3-year-old son in the face after “recklessly drinking,” The New York Daily News reports.
Jason Sharp, a 10-year veteran of the New York Police Department, has been suspended for 30 days and charged with third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The toddler was “hospitalized with swelling and bruising on his right eye, cheek and nose.”
The 37-year-old detective, who serves in Brooklyn’s gang unit, had been arguing with his wife early Saturday morning at their Long Island home in Nassau County when he allegedly turned his anger on their young son. During the fight, his wife went downstairs to call for help. But when she returned upstairs, she reportedly noticed that her child had been injured.
“After a few minutes I went back upstairs and found my son Connor crying with two swollen eyes which were impairing his vision and his nose and face were swollen,” she said.
The toddler reportedly told cops, “My daddy punched me in the face.” But Sharp said, “I had an argument with my wife and punched the wall, I had a few drinks today.”
Nassau County police arrested Sharp and he was arraigned over the weekend. He was later released on his own recognizance. The veteran cop has earned 14 awards during his 10 years with the NYPD. There is not history of domestic violence at his home, according to police.
First Lady Michelle Obama (pictured), who is in the third year of her Let’s Move! exercise initiative, revealed during her very first “Let’s Move!” Google Plus fireside hangout on Monday that she does not want her daughters to be “weight-obsessed.” The chat, which was attended by more than 3,500 viewers, was moderated by “Live with Kelly & Michael” talk show co-host Kelly Ripa. Mrs. Obama fielded questions from select participants, who submitted health and weight loss stories on Google Plus and YouTube and a third grade class from Brewer, Maine, reports iVillage.
Mrs. Obama joined Google Plus to discuss the importance of exercise particularly among young people, and as a bonus, attendees of the chat received a glimpse inside her household to see how she manages to implement healthful living for daughters Malia, 14 (pictured right) and Sasha, 11 (pictured left).
In the Obama household, the First Lady decided to make healthier choices, starting with adding more exercise to their daily regimen and making smart dietary changes like drinking less juice and adding more fruits and vegetables.
When the First Lady was asked what advice she would offer young people struggling with weight, she responded that the topic is one that has been discussed in her home.
“You know, when I talk to my kids…we were going through some of these similar challenges,” Mrs. Obama said, addressing a young man who said he had once weighed 400 pounds as a 19-year-old. “Obviously, when my kids were little, they weren’t faced with the huge challenges you were faced with. But I never talked about weight in the household. We just started making changes and we made changes in a way that didn’t…make them feel badly about themselves, said the First Lady.
Mrs. Obama contends that the oneness of weight and portion control should be placed on the adult in a young child’s life. ”Truly kids that age can’t control what they eat,” she said. “So as the Mom, I took it upon myself to make sure that we just surrounded them with foods that were healthy and that they could eat whenever they wanted to.”
What was stressed overall during the chat by Mrs. Obama was that someone’s overall wellness lifestyle dictates health in the long run and that obsessing on the numbers on a scale is not what’s important, rather being active and eating right are the crucial factors.
“I have two young daughters. We never talk about weight,” she said. “I make it a point… I don’t want our children to be weight-obsessed I want them to be focused on, ‘What do I have to do in this body?’ Because every body is different. Every person’s body is different.”
Watch Mrs. Obama’s Google Plus chat here:
She mentioned that her girls get plenty of exercise by doing such things as playing sports and walking their dog, Bo, every night after dinner. She also admitted to turning on the radio and busting a few moves with her girls for a good 30 to 40 minutes until they work up a good sweat, “They laugh at me; they have a good time, but at the same time they’re moving,” she said.
NAIROBI, Kenya — The Kenyan presidential candidate who faces charges at the International Criminal Court took an early lead Tuesday as votes were counted the day after the country’s presidential election.
SEE ALSO: Rodman To Obama: Call Kim Jong Un
With about a third of the ballots counted, early results showed Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured left) ahead with 54 percent of the vote to Prime Minister Raila Odinga (pictured) with 41 percent.
Isaak Hassan, the chairman of Kenya’s electoral commission, said Tuesday that results from 10,000 polling stations are in, but officials await results from 23,000 more stations.
“Nobody should celebrate, nobody should complain,” he said. “We therefore continue to appeal for patience from the public, the political parties as well as the candidates.”
Either Kenyatta or Odinga need more than 50 percent of the vote to win, otherwise the two will contend in an April run-off. The vote commission has seven days to release certified results.
Hassan said the number of so-called spoiled ballots – votes that won’t be counted for not complying with all the rules – was “quite worrying.” An American election observer working for the group Sisi ni Amani Kenya – We Are Peace Kenya – said the more than a quarter million ballots thrown out indicate voter education efforts weren’t as successful as they should have been.
Long lines formed around the country Monday. Election officials estimate that turnout was about 70 percent of 14 million registered voters. Attacks by separatists on the coast killed 19 people, and other attacks were seen near the border with Somalia, but the vast majority of the country voted in peace.
In the coastal city of Mombasa on Tuesday, three suspected members of the secessionist group Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) were charged in court for the murder of four police officers during elections.
On Monday, a group of 200 separatists set a trap for police in Mombasa in the pre-dawn hours, Inspector General David Kimaiyo said. Four police were hacked to death with machetes, coast police boss Aggrey Adoli said.
The separatist group – the Mombasa Republican Council – had threatened election day attacks, Kimaiyo said. The MRC believes Kenya’s coast should be an independent country. Their cause, which is not defined by religion, is fueled by the belief that political leaders in Nairobi have taken the coast’s land for themselves, impoverishing indigenous residents.
Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, was quiet Tuesday and no more violence had been reported in the country.
Kenyatta faces charges at the International Criminal Court on allegations he helped orchestrate postelection violence in 2007-08, when more than 1,000 people were killed.
The United States has warned of “consequences” if Kenyatta is to win, as have several European countries. Because Kenyatta is an ICC indictee, the United States and Europe have said they might have to limit contact with him, even if he is president.
After Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was hastily named the winner of Kenya’s 2007 vote, supporters of Odinga took to the streets in protest, a response that began two months of tribe-on-tribe attacks. In addition to the more than 1,000 deaths, more than 600,000 people were forced from their homes.
Officials have been working to ensure that level of violence does not return this election cycle. Both Kenyatta and Odinga have pledged to accept the results of a freely contested vote.
Kenyan residents appeared to approve of the electoral process so far. The election commission is giving televised press conferences and TV stations are showing the commission’s frequently updated vote tallies.
“The elections are going on well. It is better managed than the 2007 elections,” said Judith Egesa, 24, who works at a food shop in Mombasa. “We want to welcome a new era. Whoever wins the presidency, we will accept him as long he leads Kenya without tribalism and discrimination. I voted for Raila, but if Uhuru wins I have no problem provided he leads us in peace and fulfills his promises.”
Ten of the band members had been charged last May with third-degree felony hazing for the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion (pictured), but the state attorney’s office said they are adding the charge of manslaughter for each defendant. They also have charged two additional defendants with manslaughter, though they have yet to be arrested.
The second-degree manslaughter charge announced during an afternoon status hearing carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Champion died in Orlando in November 2011 after he collapsed following what prosecutors say was a savage beating during a hazing ritual. It happened on a bus parked in a hotel parking lot after Florida A&M played Bethune-Cookman in their annual rivalry football game.
Authorities said Champion had bruises on his chest, arms, shoulder and back and died of internal bleeding. Witnesses told emergency dispatchers that the drum major was vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard the bus.
Christopher Chestnut, an attorney for Champion’s parents, said Pam and Robert Champion, Sr. were pleased with Ashton’s decision to upgrade the charges.
“These charges are commensurate with the acts committed,” Chestnut said. “It sends the right message regarding zero-tolerance of hazing in the FAMU band.”
Prosecutors had originally filed felony hazing charges that only required that they prove the defendants took part in a hazing that resulted in death. It didn’t require them to prove who struck the fatal blows.
A spokesman for State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s office said the prosecutor would not comment. Ashton, a 30-year veteran who was on the team that failed to convict Casey Anthony of murder in 2011, was sworn in as the area’s top prosecutor in January after beating his former boss in a hotly contested election.
David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Miami, said it would be easier to prove felony hazing charges than it would be to prove manslaughter.
“The easy way out is you charge them with felony hazing. That’s what they decided to do initially. You’re still holding someone accountable,” Weinstein said. “Now you have somebody new who comes in, takes a look at the evidence, and for a combination of reasons decides the manslaughter charge is warranted.”
Weinstein also said it was not unusual for prosecutors to go ahead with the lesser charge while still gathering evidence and then later upgrade.
Two former band members whose cases were resolved last year weren’t among those charged Monday. Brian Jones and Ryan Dean have already been sentenced after pleading no-contest to third-degree felony hazing last year.
Jones was sentenced last October to six months of community control, which strictly limits his freedom with measures including frequent check-ins with probation officials. He also was given two years of probation and required to perform 200 hours of community service.
Dean was sentenced the following month and received four years of probation and 200 hours of community service.
Judge Marc Lubet conferenced with all the attorneys involved before Monday’s hearing and said they all agreed that because of a witness list that includes more than 100 people, a June trial date was unlikely.
He has set another status hearing in the case for August.
Since Champion’s death FAMU has made sweeping changes to fight hazing. The band remains suspended and there still has not been a time announced for its return. The university is still searching to find a new director for the band.
FAMU’s board held an emergency meeting last month to discuss the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Champion family, though there were no final decisions made. Interim FAMU President Larry Robinson said the board was authorized to continue trying for a resolution with the family.
The Champions, who live in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, Ga., claim university officials did not take enough action to stop hazing in the famed Marching 100 band before the death of their son. They rejected a previous offer to settle the case for $300,000.
Though Michelle Williams took the high road when responding to Keyshia Cole‘s mean girl tweets following the “surprise” Destiny’s Child reunion during Beyonce’s electricity snatching Super Bowl performance, Kelly Rowland didn’t hold back her amusement that little Miss Keyshia tried to come at the throne.
In an interview with Rolling Stone to promote her 4th solo album, Talk a Good Game, Rowland’s statement can pretty much be summed up in two words:
You reunited with Destiny‘s Child at the Super Bowl. Keyshia Cole received some blowback for criticizing Michelle Williams‘ performance on Twitter. Do you have any thoughts on her comments?
It didn’t even make it on my radar until other people brought it up. It didn’t even matter. We had a wonderful performance, and that’s all I cared about. I was with my sisters and the three of us matter to each other, and that’s all that counts. We matter to a lot more people, with all due respect, than her. So, I really don’t care what she said.
You can keep the change, Keyshia.
During the Super Bowl half-time performance, Cole tweeted the following:
I think I was frightened to blink for a sec. Then Michell sung and woke my ass up from my daze! She always fuckN the groove up—
Keyshia Cole Gibson (@KeyshiaCole) February 04, 2013
Destiny’s Child fans came out in full force to defend Williams, making it clear that Cole didn’t have room to talk about anyone’s voice. Ever. Cole claimed that Williams “started it first,” but the Fela! actress responded with class:
In addition to the above interview, Williams made it clear that women shouldn’t attack each other:
“It was an honor to share the stage with my sisters Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé on Sunday night. To all my ladies, we must learn to stick together and support each other…”
One thing is for sure, Kelly certainly has her back.
Marco McMillian’s godfather, Carter Womack, said McMillian’s family received the information from the Coahoma County coroner. Coroner Scotty Meredith declined to comment Monday, and a spokesman for the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department had no immediate comment.
But a person with direct knowledge of the investigation confirmed to The Associated Press that McMillian had some bruises and there were burns on at least one area of his body. The person wasn’t authorized to publicly comment and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The cause of death has not been released. An autopsy was performed, but toxicology tests are pending, and authorities say it could take two weeks to get those results.
Womack said the coroner told family members that someone dragged McMillian’s body under a fence and left it near a Mississippi River levee last week.
McMillian, 34, was a candidate for mayor of Clarksdale in the Mississippi Delta.
“We feel that this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found,” said a statement released by his campaign.
The slaying received significant attention, in part, because McMillian’s campaign said he was the first openly gay, viable candidate for public office in Mississippi.
Sheriff’s deputies last week charged 22-year-old Lawrence Reed with murder in the case.
Louis Farrakhan, never one to shy away from making bold statements, kept it real with his mostly Black audience during his visit to a church in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday, Michigan Live reports.
The longtime leader of the Nation of Islam delivered a two-hour, wide ranging speech, which focused on self-worth, fatherhood, morality and the role of women in a marriage. According to MLive, Minister Farrakhan discussed how men are being distracted by women in society because of their attire. “Can you imagine a sister being around Jesus pulling on her mini-skirt?” Farrakhan said. “You know how to make a preacher put his Bible down.”
Farrakhan delivered his message at Fountain Street Church. According to most reports, his message was warmly received. He was invited by the Grand Rapids Community College Black Student Union.
“This is the greatest house of God,” he said, pointing at his body and making references to all in attendance. “You have to know how to maintain the gift God has given you.”
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He also cited a statistic which he says predicts that, by 2050, White people will be in the minority in the United States. “That’s why they’ve introduced birth control to black woman, because they don’t want no more black babies,” Farrakhan said.
Here is more of what Farrakhan said, according to MLive:
He criticized the national government, the sequester and President Barack Obama’s talk of sizeable spending cuts that will take away American jobs.
Through it all, Obama has said he doesn’t want the adverse effects of spending cuts but doesn’t see another option, the minister said.
“It’s ‘I, I, I’,” Farrakhan said, criticizing Obama for referencing himself amid the tough decisions. “It ain’t ‘we, we, we’”
He called for a government that would display decisions made by groups working together, men and women of all races. The thoughts were met by “amens” and nods of affirmation from around.
Farrakhan, 79, took aim at modern education, noting that children seem to learn more from computers and video games than from teachers and books. He said that didn’t make sense. Schools are failing and black students are dropping out, he said.
In many schools there is a “servant” culture, Farrakhan said, referencing his own feelings and struggles to get along with teachers as he transitioned into high school many years ago. Education now, he said, is like buying a used car.
“Put the key in the ignition and it’s all yours,” Farrakhan said, especially the unknown problems that can come.
Farrakhan denied accusations of having “homophobic” or anti-semitic” views, but sharply criticized a culture that favors same-sex relationships. He questioned the productivity of them, and a lost goal of reproduction through marriage.
“Don’t call me homophobic,” he said to his audience. “I’m not afraid of people who choose a lifestyle that’s different. I’m afraid for you.”
Attendees were asked to enter the church through different doors designated for men and women; all were searched for weapons. Farrakhan’s visit was his second to Fountain Street Church in a year. Farrakhan came for free this time “because of his belief in students and America’s young people, and the need for change,” MLive quoted him as saying.
Farrakhan asked attendees to leave with confidence, to depart with vision, realizing that self-esteem comes from self confidence, “knowing who you are.”
The civil rights era Freedom Riders, who risked their lives and limbs by riding various forms of public transportation in the South to challenge local laws that sanctioned segregation during the turbulent ’60s, have finally received an apology — albeit decades overdue — from the Montgomery, Ala., police chief, according to NBC News.
Police chief Kevin Murphy’s (pictured right) apology was made at the historic First Baptist Church on Saturday not only to the famed Freedom Riders but also, personally, to U.S. Representative of Georgia, John Lewis (pictured left), who was a member of the historical civil rights crusaders. Lewis was in town as part for the 13th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimmage to Alabama.
Lewis was a prominent leader in the Civil Right Movement and became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1963 during its most-productive years. In 1961, as one of the 13 original members of the Freedom Riders, the group was organized to test a Supreme Court decision that desegregated interstate travel.
Traveling south to Montgomery, Lewis was struck on the head with a wooden crate, which resulted in a skull fracture, and severely beaten along with the 12 other Riders by angry southern mobs. The Riders were then arrested and thrown in jail.
Being beaten and seeing the inside of jail cells became commonplace for Lewis and the 12 other Riders. At one point, in Anniston, Ala., Lewis’ bus was even fire bombed by the Ku Klux Klan after they had deflated the vehicle’s tires to get it to stop.
Southern police did nothing to protect the Riders and stood by idly as they were brutally attacked.
Now, some 50 years after the horrific events that the Riders had to endure in order to secure civil rights for Blacks, Murphy apologized to Lewis, offering his badge. The law enforcer admitted the police department in Montgomery at the time had cosigned on laws that were morally unjust while the Riders protested in Montgomery.
The police chief told NBC News that his decision to apologize for the unjustices that were done to the Riders was easy stating, ”For me, freedom and the right to live in peace is a cornerstone of our society and that was something that Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Congressman Lewis were trying to achieve.
“I think what I did today should have been done a long time ago. It needed to be done. It needed to be spoken because we have to live with the truth and it is the truth.”
Meanwhile, Lewis became emotional when he received Murphy’s apology, which was the first one he had ever gotten by someone who upheld the law in the South.
Watch news coverage of the apology here:
Yet both men agree that there is still plenty to do and Murphy admits that the Montgomery police department has to continue to grow and “move forward”:
“Those unjust laws were immoral and wrong, but you know what? It’s a new day. And there’s a new police department and a new Montgomery here and now and on the horizon.”
Inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan (pictured) was responsible for a host of inventions, but he was most-known for inventing the gas mask, laying the groundwork for automobile traffic signals, and even creating a hair-straightening technique. Along with inventions, Morgan was also a co-founder of a Cleveland newspaper and is credited for saving the lives of firemen with his gas mask invention as well. Morgan was born on this day in 1877, and his amazing story began in the rural South.
Born in the small town of Paris, Ky., Morgan was born to former slave parents. His father fought for the Confederates, achieving the rank of Colonel. At the age of 14, Morgan moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to find work and became an adept handyman in the town. Initially forgoing his education for employment, Morgan was able to earn enough money to hire a tutor and finish his school studies. After moving to Cleveland, Morgan worked for a clothing manufacturer as a sewing machine repairman. In 1907, Morgan opened a sewing machine and shoe repair shop, which was the first of several businesses he would go on to own.
In 1909, Morgan expanded his business by adding a tailor shop and came across a unique discovery: After experimenting with a liquid that gave sewing needles shine and prevented fabric from being burned, Morgan accidentally found it also straightened hair. Turning this liquid into a cream, he created the G. A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. Morgan also made a black hair oil dye and a curved-tooth iron comb to go along with the hair cream product.
Morgan’s observant nature led him to invent the “safety hood” or protective respiratory hood that firefighters use today to combat blazes.
Morgan was led to invent the gas mask equipment after hearing about fire in a factory. Using a wet sponge inside the mask to filter out smoke and cool the air, Morgan sold the device nationwide but sometimes had to resort to hiring a White man to play the salesman or Morgan, himself, would pretend to be an Indian chief because of the high-level of racism at the time.
A 1916 tunnel explosion under Lake Erie gave Morgan’s gas mask invention its nationwide fame after he and three other men rescued workers using the device. Amazingly, Cleveland news outlets and elected officials were reluctant to recognize the heroic acts of Morgan until years later. Morgan was later awarded for his bravery by both the city of Cleveland and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Noticing the upswing in pedestrian traffic and automobile use, Morgan would patent a manual use traffic signal and reportedly sold off the rights to the device to General Electrics for $40,000.
Records proving that the transaction took place have never been produced, however, but many historians note that Morgan may have inspired the new automated signals as a result of his invention.
Another little-discussed portion of Morgan’s historic achievements is his co-founding the Cleveland Call newspaper in 1916. In 1928, he participated in a merger that led to the start of the still-active African-American newspaper Call And Post, which is now owned by boxing promoter Don King.
Learn more about Morgan here:
Working up until his death in 1963, Morgan feverishly continued to find new inventions including a self-extinguishing cigarette. Morgan would pass way on July 27 at age 86. In the predominately Black county of Prince George’s County in Maryland, Morgan’s name was immortalized after an entire boulevard was named after him.
In his resting place of Cleveland, Morgan’s name is emblazoned on the Garrett A. Morgan Cleveland School of Science. Known as one of the greatest Black inventors of all time, Morgan’s work in the field of science, research, and business are a wonderful point of study for students young and old.
Happy Birthday and Rest in Powerful Peace to Garrett A. Morgan!
After several medical emergencies forced an Ohio woman to put her wedding plans on hold, she finally got her chance to walk down the isle towards holy matrimony.
Though, as the Akron Beacon Journal reports, the isle down which Jennifer Johnson walked was not in a church or some other traditional wedding location; it was at the hospital where she was being treated for second and third degree burns on her left hand. Not wanting to postpone her wedding for a third time, Johnson and her groom, Jimmie Smith, jumped the broom before 40 friends and family in the chapel of Akron Children’s Hospital at the end of February.
“Do you see how many obstacles keep getting thrown in the way?” Johnson said when asked why she didn’t want to wait for her discharge. “Besides, we’ve both recently been baptized and we live together. We don’t want to live in sin anymore.”
SEE ALSO: Miracles Singer Bobby Rogers Dead At 73
The couple originally planned to marry in November but ended up canceling because Johnson needed a hysterectomy. They rescheduled for Feb. 25. But days before they were to tie the knot, a grease fire landed Johnson in the hospital.
It is not uncommon for hospitals to host weddings at hospitals, but it is very rare for a children’s hospital to do so. The Akron center is only one of two hospitals in the U.S. that treats both children and adults.
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The Beacon-Journal has more:
Before the brief ceremony, the groom paced around the room waiting for his bride-to-be.
“I’m as nervous as I can get,” said Smith, 32. “I wonder if they’re on their way?”
A few minutes later, two hospital staffers wheeled Johnson, 33, to the door of the chapel. She walked down the imaginary aisle, a nurse in tow pushing the IV unit attached to Johnson’s leg.
Guests sang “do, do, da-do” to the melody of Here Comes the Bride. Afterward, they cheered and rang small finger-sized wedding bells and shouted, “Welcome to the family.”
Schueler said what happened to Johnson is one of the most common reasons people end up at the Children’s burn unit.
Johnson was frying cheese sticks in a shallow fry pan a week ago when the grease caught fire. Her first instinct was to carry the pan outside, but the draft from the door caused the fire to flare, burning her.
While Smith was visiting Johnson in her hospital room, the pair were lamenting their bad luck in trying to get to the altar when a nurse mentioned the hospital had a chapel.
“We looked at each other and smiled,” Johnson said.
Johnson did not attempt to put on her wedding gown because it would have been too time consuming and interfered with IV tubes and monitoring wires. Though neither impeded Johnson for sporting a sparkling diamond wedding ring on her uninjured right hand.
Let us hope that Smith and Johnson’s marriage perseveres as strongly as their resolve to finally marry on their third try.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A dispatcher followed general protocols when she pleaded with a nurse at an independent living facility to perform CPR on a woman who later died in California, a county official said Monday.
SEE ALSO: Miracles Singer Bobby Rogers Dead At 73
Earlier, Glenwood Gardens had defended its nurse, saying she also had followed policy in dealing with the 87-year-old patient.
At the beginning of the Feb. 26 call, the nurse asked for paramedics to come and help the woman who had collapsed and was barely breathing, according to a transcript of the call.
Dispatcher Tracey Halvorson urged the nurse to start CPR.
“I understand if your boss is telling you you can’t do it,” the dispatcher said. “But … as a human being … you know . is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
“Not at this time,” the nurse answered.
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During the 7-minute, 16-second call, Halvorson assured the nurse that Glenwood couldn’t be sued if anything went wrong with CPR, saying the local emergency medical system “takes the liability for this call,” the transcript states.
Later in the call, Halvorson asks, “Is there a gardener? Any staff . anyone who doesn’t work for you? Anywhere? Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady? Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger would help her.”
Kern County Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins said Halvorson had more passion in her voice than normal because she thought she was talking with a registered nurse who was refusing to save the woman’s life.
“In her mind she had an RN there who was refusing to assist this lady,” Collins said. “In this situation she felt the person needed to do something because she’s in the same business as us, which is saving lives.”
Halvorson is an experienced dispatcher and has worked for the county center for at least a decade. Collins said.
The woman was later declared dead at Mercy Southwest Hospital.
The executive director of Glenwood Gardens, Jeffrey Toomer, defended the nurse’s actions, saying she did indeed follow policy.
“In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives,” Toomer said in a written statement. “That is the protocol we followed.”
Toomer offered condolences to the woman’s family and said a thorough internal review of the incident would be conducted.
He told KGET-TV that residents of the facility are informed of the policy and agree to it when they move in. He said the policy does not apply at the adjacent assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.
A call to the facility by The Associated Press seeking more information was not immediately returned.
Cicero-North Syracuse High School of Cicero, N.Y., is receiving criticism for its all-White cast of “The Wiz” (pictured), according to Syracuse.com.
To some, the all-White cast misrepresents the available talent of African-American students.
“It sends the message that there are no talented African-American students and that message is a lie,” Letrice Titus, an African-American woman, told the Post-Standard.
“Was there any outreach to the African-American students in the school? Why didn’t the school just do ‘The Wizard of Oz’?”
Last month, Titus reportedly voiced her concerns to the school’s musical director, Caryn Patterson, after her daughter, Kierrah Titus, auditioned for a lead role in the play.
Titus dropped out of the cast, after officials offered her an ensemble role instead of the lead role she auditioned for.
“I’m not just a parent upset that my daughter didn’t get a role,” Letrice Titus said. “I think it’s wrong.”
While Patterson declined to speak with the Post Standard, the school is defending her casting choices. According to C-NS Executive Principal Melissa Julian, only seven African-American students auditioned for the musical and Kierrah was the only one to seek the lead role.
“She makes it a steady point to encourage diversity for her performances,” Dan Bowles, the district’s associate superintendent for teaching and learning, said in Patterson’s defense. “She wants as much diversity in all of her productions as possible.”
But that argument isn’t standing well with others who want to see more color in the production.
“To not let a Black student have an acting role in this play is appalling,” NACCP New York State Chapter President Preston Fagan said. “It’s almost an insult.”
This isn’t the first time a local school district has performed “The Wiz” with no Black students. Jordan-Elbridge High School also of New York did so last year.
“We approached the musical with a 1970s flavor,” noted Drew Deapo, the musical’s technical director.
Initially opening on Broadway in the mid-1970s, “The Wiz” became a film in 1978 and starred icons Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. “The Wiz” is an African-American adaption of ‘The Wizard of Oz.”
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