Browsing articles from "January, 2018"

USA Gymnastics Says They Will No Longer Use The Karolyi Ranch Training Center

Jan 19, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on USA Gymnastics Says They Will No Longer Use The Karolyi Ranch Training Center

On Thursday, USA Gymnastics announced they will stop using the Karolyi Ranch — the site of many of the atrocities committed against Olympians by Larry Nassar, the team’s former doctor. NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks to New York Times reporter, Juliet Macur about what happens next as Nassar faces sentencing hearings this week.

Former Wisconsin Officer, Acquitted In Fatal Shooting, Takes Sexual Assault Plea Deal

Jan 19, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Former Wisconsin Officer, Acquitted In Fatal Shooting, Takes Sexual Assault Plea Deal

Former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown appears in court in Milwaukee in June 2017.

Michael Sears/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Michael Sears/AP

Former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown appears in court in Milwaukee in June 2017.

Michael Sears/AP

Last June, a jury found former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide. Now, Heaggan-Brown is taking a plea deal over separate sexual assault allegations that led the Milwaukee Police Department to fire him.

The shooting death of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old black man, ignited riots in the north side of Milwaukee in August 2016.

Former Milwaukee Officer Found Not Guilty In Shooting Death Of Black Man

Under today’s deal, according to The Associated Press, “Prosecutors dropped the most serious charges of second-degree sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and obtaining someone’s image without their consent, and he pleaded no contest to one count of false imprisonment.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that all the charges are felonies.

“All but the capturing image charges carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and three years of extended supervision. The image charge maximums are 18 months in prison and two years of extended supervision.

“Two of the original charges were second-degree sexual assault of an intoxicated or unconscious victim, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.”

Sentencing has been set for Feb. 20.

The AP has details about the charges:

“One of the sexual assault charges stemmed from a case that happened one day after Smith’s shooting. The victim in that case told police Heaggan-Brown, 26, assaulted him after a night of drinking at a bar where they watched coverage of the ongoing riots.

“Using photographs and other data from the officer’s cellphone, prosecutors determined Heaggan-Brown sexually assaulted another unconscious victim in July 2016. Prosecutors say Heaggan-Brown also photographed that victim naked without the person’s consent.”

As The Two-Way reported, Heaggan-Brown was on patrol with another officer when they stopped two men in August 2016. Here’s more from our previous coverage of the fatal shooting:

“The complaint states that the deadly encounter started when Heaggan-Brown and the other officer saw a man leaning in through the passenger window of a car with out-of-state license plates, talking to another man. It added that Heaggan-Brown had said in an interview that he thought it ‘could be consistent with drug activity.’

“Smith ran into a yard carrying a semi-automatic handgun, according to the complaint. It says police body camera video shows Smith slip to the ground near a chain link fence. He then gets to his feet and throws the gun over the fence.

“This is the moment Smith was shot twice — once before, and once after he threw the gun. The time between the two shots was 1.69 seconds.”

According to the complaint, body camera video from the two officers shows that “at the time of the second shot, Smith was unarmed and had his hands near his head.”

Heaggan-Brown’s lawyers argued that he was defending himself and did not know whether Smith had another weapon.

Walmart Offers Product To Destroy Leftover Opioids, But Critics Say It’s Unnecessary

Jan 18, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Walmart Offers Product To Destroy Leftover Opioids, But Critics Say It’s Unnecessary

On Wednesday Walmart began distributing a new solution to help customers dispose of leftover opioid prescriptions. But CDC says, just flush them down the toilet.

Scott Olson/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Wednesday Walmart began distributing a new solution to help customers dispose of leftover opioid prescriptions. But CDC says, just flush them down the toilet.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Walmart is the latest national company joining in the fight to try to help curb America’s harrowing opioid epidemic, which now kills more people than breast cancer.

On Wednesday the chain rolled out a pharmacy product it says provides a safe way to get rid of extra prescription opioid drugs. It’s called DisposeRx and when mixed with warm water it turns any form of opioid drug — including powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches — into a biodegradable gel that can’t be separated or converted back into a usable drug.

Walmart touted it as the first of its kind in a statement, and said the ingredients are FDA approved.

“The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority; that’s why we’re taking an active role in fighting our nation’s opioid issue – an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America,” Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S., said in the statement.

In 2016 more than 42,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose — including prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl. That is more than any year on record and 40 percent of all overdose deaths involved a prescription.

Walmart explained patients filling new opioid prescriptions at any of its 4,700 pharmacies will receive a free DisposeRx packet starting immediately, while existing customers can ask for one at any time. Patients with chronic pain prescriptions will be offered packets every six months.

Republican Sen. John Boozman from Arkansas praised Walmart for helping “to keep unused prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.”

“About one-third of medications sold go unused. Too often, these dangerous narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access,” he said in the statement Walmart released.

A CDC study found Arkansas’ prescription drugs are so ubiquitous there are enough pills on the black market that every single citizen — nearly 3 million in the state — could have a full bottle, reported Talk Business Politics.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, agrees that leftover pills do contribute to the spread of addiction but he says products like DisposeRx are unnecessary because the CDC already encourages anyone who’s at the end of a prescription opioid treatment to “flush them down the toilet.” No special ingredients necessary.

“The problem is the general public just doesn’t know that,” he said.

“Think about it,” he continued, “every time someone taking an opioid medication urinates or defecates, it gets into the water supply. So that’s not the real problem.”

Kolodny is also conducting a long-term study on the impact of numerous legislative and private company-led efforts to stem the epidemic. His conclusion on Walmart’s DisposeRx? “It’s nice that they’re trying but it will have little impact.”

The root of the explosion in the addiction crisis, he says, is rampant over-prescribing by doctors and dentists. Through his research, which is ongoing, Kolodny has found that policies limiting prescriptions are most effective, like the one imposed by CVS. In September the drug-store chain began limiting opioid painkillers to seven-day supplies for new patients.

But even that falls short of what is required, Kolodny said.

A better strategy is the one undertaken by the Vermont Department of Health. New rules established in April limit the quantity of a “morphine milligram equivalent” in prescriptions. They lay out specific dosages of drugs containing oxycodone, hydrocodone and acetaminophen-oxycodone (found in Percocet) that doctors should prescribe.

Kaiser Health News reported 22 states either adopted or toughened their prescription size limits in 2016.

DACA Troubles Could Put Spending Bill In Peril

Jan 18, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on DACA Troubles Could Put Spending Bill In Peril

President Trump, with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn og Texas, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks to reporters after a recent retreat where GOP leaders made plans for 2018.

Andrew Harnik/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump, with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn og Texas, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks to reporters after a recent retreat where GOP leaders made plans for 2018.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Congressional leaders plan to vote later this week on a month-long spending bill but the ongoing fight over immigration threatens to derail the plan days before the Friday deadline to prevent a government shutdown.

Republican leaders say they are confident that Congress will vote this week to extend current spending levels until February 16 but Democrats and some far-right conservatives are threatening to block the legislation.

Democrats say they are unwilling to vote for a spending bill that does not provide a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally after being brought here as children. That group had been granted temporary status allowing them to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation, and to work or attend college or graduate school, under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program created by the Obama administration. In September of last year, the Trump administration announced those protections would end in March 2017.

Now with a Jan. 19 deadline looming for continuing to fund the government, conservatives say they can’t support any spending bill that paves the way for a future immigration deal that could favor Democrats.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Wednesday that a short-term spending measure will give negotiators more time to craft a bill that satisfies both sides and President Trump.

“I think the fact that we’re in earnest and negotiating in good faith with our four leaders on DACA speaks to the fact that we want to see a solution,” Ryan said. “We will not bring a DACA bill that the president doesn’t support. What point would it be to bring a bill through here that we won’t have signed into law by the president?”

The immigration talks ground nearly to a halt last week after Trump rejected a bipartisan solution proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., during a profanity-laden meeting at the White House. That meeting effectively ended those bipartisan talks and a second group of negotiators has stepped in to attempt to craft a new deal.

Those talks have been lead by the second-ranking Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate. The talks have not yet produced a solution and leaders hope the a stop-gap spending bill will give them more time to reach a deal.

House leaders hope to vote on a spending bill on Thursday but a growing number of members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus say they may vote against the bill. Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters Wednesday that conservatives aren’t sold on the direction of the immigration negotiations and would not say how many he expected would vote against the bill.

“My understand is leadership is going to put it on the floor regardless if they have votes or not,” Meadows said. “If that’s the case, I guess the day of reckoning will come tomorrow.”

Congressional leaders hope to avoid a serious confrontation over spending by pairing the stop-gap measure with a six-year extension of the popular State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. That program has broad bipartisan support and leaders hope lawmakers will vote for the measure to avoid voting against benefits for low-income children.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Wednesday that he hopes skeptical Democrats will support the spending bill to ensure that CHIP is extended.

“The Democrats in the Senate have been very consistent in clamoring for addressing the children’s health care program,” McConnell said. “They claim they don’t want to shut down the government, so it seems to me it would be a rather attractive package.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y, told reporters that he wants to avoid a shutdown but many Democrats oppose the short-term spending bill.

“The revulsion towards that bill was broad and strong,” Schumer said. “Who called for the shutdown? Not a Democrat, but Donald Trump has repeatedly said, on tape, over and over again, what the country needs is a good shutdown.”

Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. Skids and Rams Tree In Snow Storm

Jan 18, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. Skids and Rams Tree In Snow Storm

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed into a tree minutes after helping another driver out of a snow-filled ditch.

Ross D. Franklin/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed into a tree minutes after helping another driver out of a snow-filled ditch.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Former NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. found out even the best drivers may have to stay off the roads in a snow storm.

Wednesday morning after he helped pull another car out of ditch, his pickup skidded off the road and rammed into a tree.

On Twitter Earnhardt said he lost control of his car on a snow-covered road and warned other North Carolina drivers to avoid his fate.

“[North Carolina] stay off the roads today/tonight. 5 minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree,” he wrote.

But fans need not worry about the hall of famer. “All good,” he said. “Probably just needs new alignment.”

A storm left a blanket of snow over North and South Carolina and Georgia. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm. AccuWeather reported the snowstorm caused over 500 collisions in the state.

Earnhardt’s accident came a day after the former NASCAR star announced he’ll be covering the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on NBC.

Pioneering HIV Researcher Mathilde Krim Remembered For Her Activism

Jan 18, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Pioneering HIV Researcher Mathilde Krim Remembered For Her Activism

Dr. Mathilde Krim at the World AIDS Day Symposium presented by the Foundation For AIDS Research and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2002. Krim had a knack for helping people talk about HIV/AIDS rationally, colleagues say.

Theo Wargo/WireImage


hide caption

toggle caption

Theo Wargo/WireImage

Dr. Mathilde Krim at the World AIDS Day Symposium presented by the Foundation For AIDS Research and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2002. Krim had a knack for helping people talk about HIV/AIDS rationally, colleagues say.

Theo Wargo/WireImage

With the death of biologist Mathilde Krim on Monday, at the age of 91 at her home in New York, the world lost a pioneering scientist, activist and fundraiser in AIDS research. She is being widely praised this week for her clarity, compassion and leadership.

Amid the panic, confusion and discrimination of the HIV epidemic’s earliest days, Krim stood out — using science and straight talk, in the 1980s and beyond, to dispel fear, stigma, and misinformation among politicians and the public.

“She has likely literally saved hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives because of what she did during the initial days and years of the epidemic,” says Corey Johnson, speaker of the New York City Council. “Every single one of us living with HIV today who are on medicines, where now we can live and thrive — it’s because of people like Dr.Mathilde Krim.”

Born in Italy in 1926, Krim received her doctorate in biology from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She became a steadfast activist for human rights early on, lived in Israel for a time and moved to the United States in the late 50s.

She was studying viruses and cancer when the AIDS epidemic emerged in the early 1980s and was among the first scientists to raise funds for research to develop AIDS treatment, working with celebrities like actress Elizabeth Taylor and others. Krim was the founding chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (now called the Foundation for AIDS Research) and went on to raise millions of dollars to finance basic research, clinical trials of drugs and other treatments and AIDS awareness programs.

Mathilde Krim (left), shown here in 1992 with fellow amfAR board members Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, campaigned for needle exchange programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among drug users, and promoted public campaigns that advocated safe sex practices, such as condom use.

Denis Doyle/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Denis Doyle/AP

Mathilde Krim (left), shown here in 1992 with fellow amfAR board members Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, campaigned for needle exchange programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among drug users, and promoted public campaigns that advocated safe sex practices, such as condom use.

Denis Doyle/AP

Colleagues say Krim had a knack for helping people talk about HIV/AIDS rationally.

“She did it in a very grandmotherly way but also in a very direct and honest way,” says Kevin Robert Frost, current CEO of the Foundation for AIDS Research. Krim facilitated much-needed public discussions of sex, drug use and homosexuality, Frost says.

“She was able to address all of those things and sweep aside the stigma and discrimination … in a way that I think very few people could have at the time,” he says.

While most lawmakers were silent, Frost says, discrimination against people with AIDS was rampant in housing, employment and even medical care. Krim fought for laws to ban such discrimination, campaigned for needle exchange programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among drug users, and promoted public campaigns that advocated safe sex practices, such as condom use.

Though Not A Death Sentence, HIV/AIDS Still Holds A Powerful Stigma

Long-time AIDS activist and author, Peter Staley, who was an early member of the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), an international direct action advocacy group, calls Krim’s approach to public health groundbreaking.

“She recognized human nature for what it was — with all its faults and beautiful diversity — and she realized that using science and the traditional public health approach was the way to save lives,” says Staley. “You throw out the moralizing — the finger wagging — and you save lives. And she did this again and again and again, fighting HIV stigma and homophobia.”

Krim received 16 honorary doctorates; in 2000 President Bill Clinton presented her with the nation’s highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Frost remembers Krim with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that “a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Frost says he greatly mourns Krim’s passing, but it’s also a joy to remember somebody “who could devote themselves so completely to the people around them.”

Turning Soybeans Into Diesel Fuel Is Costing Us Billions

Jan 17, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Turning Soybeans Into Diesel Fuel Is Costing Us Billions

An engineer shows a sample of biodiesel at an industrial complex in General Lagos, Santa Fe province, Argentina. The United States recently imposed duties on Argentine biodiesel, blocking it from the U.S. market.

Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

An engineer shows a sample of biodiesel at an industrial complex in General Lagos, Santa Fe province, Argentina. The United States recently imposed duties on Argentine biodiesel, blocking it from the U.S. market.

Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

This year, trucks and other heavy-duty motors in America will burn some 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel that was made from soybean oil. They’re doing it, though, not because it’s cheaper or better, but because they’re required to, by law.

The law is the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. For some, especially Midwestern farmers, it’s the key to creating clean energy from American soil and sun. For others — like many economists — it’s a wasteful misuse of resources.

And the most wasteful part of the RFS, according to some, is biodiesel. It’s different from ethanol, a fuel that’s made from corn and mixed into gasoline, also as required by the RFS. In fact, gasoline companies probably would use ethanol even if there were no law requiring it, because ethanol is a useful fuel additive. That’s not true of biodiesel.

“This is an easy one, economically. Biodiesel is very expensive, relative to petroleum diesel,” says Scott Irwin, an economist at the University of Illinois, who follows biofuel markets closely. He calculates that the extra cost for biodiesel comes to about $1.80 per gallon right now, meaning that the biofuel law is costing Americans about $5.4 billion a year.

Irwin explains that use of biodiesel is driven by three different parts of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The law includes a quota for biodiesel use, but in addition to that, biodiesel also is used in order to meet the law’s demand for “advanced biofuels.” Finally, there’s an overall quota for biofuels of all sorts, and companies are using biodiesel to meet that quota as well because they’ve run into limits on their ability to blend ethanol into gasoline.

Defenders of biodiesel insist that it’s a much cleaner fuel than regular diesel, because it doesn’t come from the ground, but from soybean plants that capture carbon dioxide from the air as they grow. In fact, by the EPA’s calculations, replacing petroleum-based fuel with biodiesel will cut greenhouse emissions at least in half.

A growing number of environmentalists, however, say that this calculation is dead wrong. They say that if more soybeans are needed to make fuel in addition to food, it inevitably means that people somewhere on Earth will have to plow up grasslands or cut down forests in order to grow that additional supply — and clearing such land releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Two environmental groups — ActionAid USA and Mighty Earth — just released a report connecting America’s biodiesel demands directly to deforestation in Argentina.

Investigators from the two groups documented widespread clearing of Argentine forests in order to expand cultivation of soybeans. Simultaneously, Argentina expanded its exports of soybean-derived biodiesel to the United States. In 2016, in fact, Argentina shipped more than 400 million gallons of biodiesel to the U.S., equivalent to almost 15 percent of all the biodiesel that Americans consumed.

The story, however, is more complicated than it seems. For one thing, that boom in Argentine biodiesel exports is over, at least for now. Last summer, the the United States accused Argentina of subsidizing its biodiesel producers and “dumping” cheap biodiesel on the world market. In retaliation, the U.S. imposed hefty taxes on on all biodiesel from Argentina. Overnight, those imports ceased. Americans now will have to rely on biodiesel produced here in the U.S. — which also is more expensive. (In a way, Argentina was doing the U.S. a favor, helping it satisfy its biodiesel demands more cheaply.)

In addition, the most powerful factor driving demand for soybeans these days is China’s appetite for soy meal, to feed its pigs and chickens, rather than America’s need for soy oil to make fuel.

“The big story is China’s demand,” says Irwin of the University of Illinois. “If anything is related to tearing up pastures in Argentina to grow soybeans, it’s China and not biodiesel.”

In fact, China wants so much soy meal that it’s boosted global supplies of soy oil, because soybeans, when they’re crushed, yield both meal and oil. By satisfying China’s demand for meal, soy processors inevitably end up with plenty of oil to sell, too. (Interestingly, this is a reversal of the situation a century ago, when soybeans were mainly grown for their oil, and producers struggled to find uses for the meal.)

Man Ruptures His Throat By Stifling A Big Sneeze, Prompting Doctors’ Warning

Jan 17, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Man Ruptures His Throat By Stifling A Big Sneeze, Prompting Doctors’ Warning

A man gets ready to let one loose. Not pictured: all the folks around him diving for cover.

CSA-Printstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto


hide caption

toggle caption

CSA-Printstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A man gets ready to let one loose. Not pictured: all the folks around him diving for cover.

CSA-Printstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Now, there is ample reason for you to cover your nose when you sneeze. It’s flu season, after all, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made it quite clear they don’t want you spreading your germs with reckless abandon.

But let’s not go overboard here, people.

In a report Monday in the journal BMJ Case Reports, several ear, nose and throat specialists detail the woes of a man who tried to entirely stifle a strong sneeze. And those woes aren’t exactly pretty.

The unnamed patient in question — a 34-year-old described as “previously fit and well” — attempted to stop a particularly forceful sneeze by “pinching the nose and holding his mouth closed.”

Not long afterward, he noticed something was wrong.

It hurt when he swallowed and he observed a “change of voice.” What’s more, his neck had swollen and, when he tried to move it, produced an unsettling popping and crackling sensation.

As it turns out, his doctors noticed it too, once he had been admitted to the emergency department at Britain’s Leicester Royal Infirmary. X-rays revealed the cause: little “streaks of air” embedded in the soft tissue of his neck, conditions known as subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum.

A radiograph of the man’s throat shows streaks of air in the back of the throat (black arrow) and extensive surgical emphysema (white arrow).

Courtesy of BMJ Case Reports


hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of BMJ Case Reports

A radiograph of the man’s throat shows streaks of air in the back of the throat (black arrow) and extensive surgical emphysema (white arrow).

Courtesy of BMJ Case Reports

In other words, by trying to suppress the full force of his sneeze the man literally ruptured his throat. The air that sneeze would have blasted forth instead made its way into his soft tissue as tiny bubbles.

But don’t panic: After at least a week or so of recovery the man was well enough to leave the hospital — with “advice to avoid obstructing both nostrils while sneezing,” Yang adds — and his follow-up two months later revealed a clean bill of health.

It should be noted that this is a unusual case. In fact, Dr. Zi Yang Jiang, a head and neck surgeon who was not involved in the report, tells The Associated Press that such an incident is “exceedingly rare,” and that he sees just one or two such cases a year.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy — or recommended — to stamp a sneeze out.

What 'Ah-Choo!' Can Do For You

“It’s powerful,” allergist Eli Meltzer told NPR’s Nancy Shute. “We actually blow out the sneeze at 40 mph. The discharge can go 20 feet. And it’s said that 40,000 droplets can come out when you spritz with the mouth and the nose when you sneeze.”

The moral? As the doctors put it in Monday’s report: “Halting sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided.”

So, next time you feel that familiar tingle behind the nostrils, just go ahead and let it rip. But for the sake of your coworkers, friends and everyone you hold dear, please: Break out a tissue, too.

How To Parent From Prison And Other Advice For Life Inside

Jan 17, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on How To Parent From Prison And Other Advice For Life Inside

(Left) Johnathon Shillings, 28, just completed a five-year sentence and was reunited with his 8-year-old daughter, Victoria. (Right) Macario Gonzales, 27, shown with his 2-year-old daughter, Mackelsey, has just started to serve a seven-year sentence in Texas state prison.

Courtesy of Johnathon Shillings and Macario Gonzales


hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Johnathon Shillings and Macario Gonzales

(Left) Johnathon Shillings, 28, just completed a five-year sentence and was reunited with his 8-year-old daughter, Victoria. (Right) Macario Gonzales, 27, shown with his 2-year-old daughter, Mackelsey, has just started to serve a seven-year sentence in Texas state prison.

Courtesy of Johnathon Shillings and Macario Gonzales

When you’re facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they’re letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

About six years ago, Johnathon Shillings was on trial for his involvement in the homicide of a man in Harris County, Texas. The now-28-year-old, who had already been to prison twice before, pled guilty to helping transport and dump the victim’s body. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

During those five years, Johnathon says something in him changed. This time, he had a little daughter — Victoria — to think about.

So in prison, he decided to change things: He worked on his anger issues, he enrolled in an entrepreneurship program. And he kept in touch with his daughter.

Share Your Experience

Are you about to undergo a major life change, like starting your own business or deploying overseas in the military? Or have you gone through one already? All Things Considered invites you to share your experience, either to ask questions or pass on your own lessons learned. Email us at nprcrowdsource@npr.org, with “Been There” in the subject line.

There are a lot of people who go to prison who want to do what Johnathon did: change their lives, leave prison and never go back.

Like Johnathon, Macario Gonzales Jr. is a father, to two young daughters. He’s also serving prison time — he just began a seven-year sentence for multiple drug charges and an assault on a police officer that occurred during an arrest.

And like Johnathon, Macario wants to turn his life around in prison.

“Gangster life, it’s not me,” Macario tells Johnathon.

One way to help himself get through it and stay focused, says Johnathon, is to “be confident that your mistake was just a mistake, and it’s not gonna define you. And that there’s life for you and your children past this point.”

Advice from Johnathon Shillings

On what the first day is like

Soon as you get there, they’re going to strip you down, butt naked. You’re going to be in a big, massive room, probably a warehouse-type gym, concrete, with a whole bunch of individual cages. Then, they’re going to start pushing you in there — 10 or 15 at a time. Slowly, they’re going to start calling your name, everybody go take a shower. And the first thing they’re gonna do is give you a razor … and they shave your whole head. … Probably about 85 percent of the time, they miss patches and spots.

Then after that, they push you down even further down the assembly line, and there’s gonna be a guard there, and he’s gonna go through all your property. And it’s crazy, these are your only belongings that you have: pictures, letters, your Bible. You’ll see how these officers just pick it up and toss it and say, “You have too many pictures, throw this over here into the trash.” And there is nothing you can do about it.

On how people are perceived in prison

If you go in there, you prove as an authentic person, like, “I’m just a man that made a mistake and I’m changing my life” — prison is so sensitive to feelings and auras, they can pick up on that, like, this is a really genuine person. And so we’re not going to push these prison ways on him.

On how to not be a target

There are predators in prison. … The ones they mostly prey on are ones who are really, really friendly. Sharing all your commissary. You met somebody at the domino table and you’re like, “Hey, you do want some coffee?” That’s a normal thing, you’re having a casual conversation, you want to offer somebody something. But certain people will [take that as weakness.]

On how to be a good father from prison

Just develop a very sacred and special place in your mind and your heart for your kids. My daughter was 3 or 4, and I would envision her going to college. And I would envision, what college is she going to? Basically I had this impression in my mind of my daughter as a young professional.

And then, I would work on me. One of my mentors told me, “Man, I used to walk everywhere as if my daughter is right next to me.” … So, I would start acting like my daughter was right next to me. So what that means is, I wouldn’t cuss anymore. I wouldn’t tell crude, perverted jokes or even watch crazy stuff on TV. Because I wanted to start representing myself as the father that my daughter deserves.

Dr. Ronny Jackson: The White House Doctor Who Gave Trump A Clean Bill Of Health

Jan 17, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Dr. Ronny Jackson: The White House Doctor Who Gave Trump A Clean Bill Of Health

White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson speaks at the press briefing at the White House on Tuesday.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson speaks at the press briefing at the White House on Tuesday.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson has served with Navy bomb disposal units and underwater salvage teams.

His latest assignment: defusing doubts about the health and mental fitness of the nation’s 71-year-old president.

For nearly an hour Tuesday, Jackson stood in the White House briefing room, answering questions from reporters about President Trump’s physical exam, conducted last Friday. His lectern-side manner was both professional and disarming — the polar opposite of Trump’s personal physician, who drew ridicule with his medical pronouncements on the candidate back in 2015.

White House Doctor Says Trump Is In 'Excellent' Physical, Cognitive Health

Where Dr. Harold Bornstein was shaggy and sensational, Jackson was all-business, reading off test results in his blue and gold dress uniform.

And the clean bill of health he delivered was just what the president ordered.

“He said, ‘I want you to get out there and I want you to talk to them and I want you to answer every single question they have,’ ” Jackson said.

The presentation was both folksy and matter-of-fact, as Jackson described the president eyesight, cognitive skills, and heart function as excellent, despite Trump’s lack of exercise and fondness for fast food.

“It’s called genetics,” Jackson said. “Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old.”

What about that time the president seemed to slur his words during a speech on Jerusalem? Jackson blamed a dry mouth, possibly caused by a decongestant. He joked that knew just how the president felt.

“Me being up here right now, I think I need a drink of water,” he said.

Just to be safe, Jackson and an ear-nose-and throat specialist ran some extra tests and found nothing amiss.

Jackson said the president could stand to lose 10 to 15 pounds. He’ll be working with White House cooks to cut calories, while encouraging Trump to get some low-impact exercise.

“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part but we’re going to do both,” Jackson said. “He’s just like every other president I’ve taken care of. On occasion, I have to get the first lady involved to make sure he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing.”

Trump Gets First Presidential Medical Checkup

Jackson has cared for three presidents since joining the White House medical unit in 2006. He was formally named Physician to the President in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama.

Jackson grew up in west Texas and attended Texas AM and the University of Texas Medical Branch. The Navy doctor, who specializes in emergency medicine, has served in Pearl Harbor, Panama City, Fla., and with a forward-deployed surgical platoon in Iraq.

The battle-test doctor wasn’t taking any chances as he stepped in front of the microphones on Tuesday. He reminded reporters that as chief White House physician, he sometimes provides medical care for reporters who get sick while covering the president.

“If something should happen to you over the next few months and you should fall ill at some point, most likely I will be the one called to come take care of you,” he said. “So when you ask your questions please keep that in mind.”

Categories

Current Times

  • NPT: 2019-05-24 11:45 AM
  • EDT: 2019-05-24 02:00 AM
  • PDT: 2019-05-23 11:00 PM