Browsing articles from "December, 2018"

When She Fled Afghanistan, She Took Her Schoolbooks With Her

Dec 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on When She Fled Afghanistan, She Took Her Schoolbooks With Her



DON GONYEA, HOST:

If you had to leave your home at a moment’s notice, what would you take with you? NPR has been posing that question to listeners and gathering stories from those who have fled conflict. Today, we bring you one of those stories.

SADIQA SADIQI: My name is Sidiqa Sidiqi. I live in Hayward. That’s a city in the Bay Area. I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. I moved to the United States when I was in eighth grade. That was January of 2006. The Taliban were already gone, and the coalition force was there. The American army was still there. The security was stabilizing, but the future was still not hopeful. We decided to move for a better education for me as well as a better life.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSEE MECANIQUE SONG, “THE OPEN SEA”)

SADIQI: The one important thing that I took with me was my books, my first grade books and some notebooks with my teacher’s notes on it. It was important for me to take them with me because I wanted to have a reminder of the time that I was not able to go to school. The first grade, I was able to go to school. But then the Taliban came, and the schools were shut for girls for five years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSEE MECANIQUE SONG, “THE OPEN SEA”)

SADIQI: Everyone in my family had a really good education, and it was very important for them to educate me. But it was hard for them to teach me everything at home, so they found a teacher for me. She was a friend of my aunt, and that teacher was the only one who risked her life to teach me. I had to wrap my book in the cover of a Quran so it looked like I’m going somewhere to learn Islamic studies. Every single day, I had to drop my books in that cover and hide it under my scarf and walk three blocks to my teacher’s house (sobbing). I knew everyone was scared.

After Taliban, most people’s life went back to normal. But my family wanted me to have a better education, so that’s the reason we decided to move. When we moved here, I started eighth grade, and it was February 14. That was my first day of school – on Valentine’s Day. These books became more meaningful when I moved. I took it as a piece that will help me inspire me, but later, it became a item that would give me comfort, and I’m glad I had them to remind me when I was giving up. Some days, I didn’t want to go to school. Some days, I didn’t want to just try a little harder. Flipping the pages and seeing my teacher’s notes – that remind me that I was a good student, and I was trying very hard, and I should be doing the same here.

This book is now a symbol of resilience, I want to say. It get me through many difficult times. And, now that I look back, I’m glad I brought these books with me. I’ll continue to keep them. And maybe, when my baby’s older, I can teach her and read for her from those books.

GONYEA: Sidiqa Sidiqi continued her education in the U.S., graduating from college with a degree in health science and administration management. She has been back to visit her old school in Afghanistan, where she and her husband help fund education for underprivileged students.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSEE MECANIQUE SONG, “THE OPEN SEA”)

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Charley Crockett Tackles Blues Classics On New Album

Dec 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Charley Crockett Tackles Blues Classics On New Album



DON GONYEA, HOST:

Finally, today, we want to introduce you to Charley Crockett.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HERE AM I”)

CHARLEY CROCKETT: (Singing) Here am I, all alone again. Here am I, all alone again.

GONYEA: Now, you’ve probably heard of the last name. Charley Crockett traces his ancestry back to the one and only Davy Crockett. So we note that, but let’s put that aside for a moment because Charley Crockett is making a name for himself on his own right now by blurring the lines of traditional blues, jazz, country and gospel music. His latest album, “Lil GL’s Blue Bonanza,” pays tribute to some of the greats. And he joins us now from Oklahoma City, where he’s on tour. Charley, welcome.

CROCKETT: Hey, brother Don. Thank you kindly for having me.

GONYEA: Glad to have you here. So you’ve got this album out. It’s your second one this year. You’re on tour. There’s big stage, bright lights, all of that. But it wasn’t all that long ago that you were playing on the streets in New Orleans and in the subways in New York City. Take us back to those early days for you. Did you have a place to live? Were you going to maybe a boring part-time job during the day and playing music on the streets because that’s…

CROCKETT: Heck naw. Yeah, I didn’t have no place to live. That’s how – I was just playing on a street corner and squatting in warehouses and riding trains. And, you know, I did that for upwards of a decade.

GONYEA: So the cliche is that that’s the part of your career where you were paying your dues. But I’m wondering – what did you learn, musically?

CROCKETT: Oh, man. I mean, it’s everything I do, you know? I really ever – I really learned everything by playing for change out of a guitar case. And I really mean it, that the only thing that’s really changed is the politics, and I have more responsibility. But everything that I’m doing onstage is all street antics, you know?

I learned how to talk to people. I learned how to keep them there. I learned how to ask for money. I learned how to move spots if that spot wasn’t working. I learned to throw out the songs that wouldn’t get people’s attention. And one of the things that I really learned about myself is I found traditional music.

GONYEA: So this new album – it’s your take on some blues classics. Some of these songs that you’re talking about – what were you hoping to convey with these particular songs and your interpretations of them?

CROCKETT: You know, they’ve called me a stylistic chameleon. And, while I like the way that sounds, people find me hard to pin down. And that’s something that – I’ve had to move forward knowing that that was the case because I don’t want to – you know? I don’t want to put down the blues to play country. I don’t want to put down country music to play the blues. I want to do it together. And, as a street guy, I never saw that music divided up. But, you know, speaking of that music, why I’d do it, that first song of mine that you just played – that’s a – well, I learned that off of Ray Charles. And…

GONYEA: That’s “Here Am I.”

CROCKETT: “Here Am I,” yeah. That’s an obscure cut of his that wasn’t even a hit. But it’s one of the greatest songs I ever heard the man do. His whole life, he refused to be categorized. You cannot categorize the man. He is soul. He is jazz. He’s blues. He’s country. And that’s that thing to me. I don’t know how to separate that music.

GONYEA: I want to highlight a couple of songs on this CD, two very different songs from very different songwriters. Let’s take a listen, first, to your version of “How I Got To Memphis” (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THAT’S HOW I GOT TO MEMPHIS”)

CROCKETT: (Singing) If you love somebody enough, you’ll follow wherever they go. That’s how I got to Memphis. That’s how I got to Memphis.

GONYEA: So that’s an old Tom T. Hall song, “That’s How I Got To Memphis.” He’s one of those classic country songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s. Let’s just hear Tom T. Hall’s version really quickly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THAT’S HOW I GOT TO MEMPHIS”)

TOM T HALL: (Singing) If you love somebody enough, you’ll go where your heart wants to go. That’s how I got to Memphis. That’s how I got to Memphis.

GONYEA: What is it about that song and Tom T. Hall’s writing that draws you in?

CROCKETT: Well, just play them side-by-side, No. 1, it’s obvious the man got me beat…

CROCKETT: (Laughter).

CROCKETT: …Which is why I’m such a huge fan. So, last year, I was up for a Metropolitan Award, and they was doing a showcase the night before the ceremony at Blues City right there. And I went in there that night with my lady, watched a bunch of amazing artists get onstage that night.

And then, right near the end of the night, another Texan, who, to me, is probably the greatest unsung living honky-tonker in the world, is a man by the name of James Hand. And he got up onstage at the end of the night. And he called that song, and it just came in. And he started singing that song, and he had tears in his eyes.

And it – I was overcome by the power of the song, and I went back to Graceland that night. And you could ask my girl. I drove her crazy. I played that song 200 times in a row until I had it down. I didn’t go to sleep till I learned it. And I started performing it the next day. And that started me down the road of Tom T. Hall.

GONYEA: Let’s switch it up now and hear some Chicago blues and the great Jimmy Reed, born in 1925 on the Mississippi Delta.

(SOUNDBITE OF JIMMY REED SONG, “BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY”)

CROCKETT: Don’t even got to hear him sing. You know who that is.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY”)

JIMMY REED: (Singing) Bright light, big city gone to my baby’s head, whoa.

GONYEA: “Bright Lights, Big City,” 1961. We heard you react. But tell us about that song and what speaks to you.

CROCKETT: Oh, man. It’s the – maybe it’s – the oldest story ever told – you know? – in the time of man, you know, is that story he’s saying there. Bright lights, big city went to my baby’s head. Well, you know it went to his head, too (laughter).

GONYEA: And we’ll hear a little bit of you singing it here.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY”)

CROCKETT: (Singing) It’s all right, little darling. You’re going to need my help some day. You’re going to wish that you’d a listened to some of them things I said.

GONYEA: So, Charley Crockett, living side-by-side on your new record, we have these two very different writers. We have Tom T. Hall from Nashville. We have Jimmy Reed, the great bluesman. But they live really comfortably.

CROCKETT: I guess that’s my whole bag. What I’m trying to say is that – that’s why, sometimes, I’m always so surprised by, you know, maybe the divide that can be seen between what is considered blues, music or country because I just don’t hear much of a difference. With that Jimmy Reed song, there’s something that’s so happy about it in its sorrow, you know? There’s something about it that’s so warm.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY”)

CROCKETT: (Singing) Bright light, big city all up in my darling’s head. I hope that you remember some of them things I said.

GONYEA: I understand you’re talking to us just before you take a bit of a break to deal with some health issues. Doctors discovered a heart condition that’s going to keep you off the road for a bit?

CROCKETT: Yeah, man. So what happened with me is I was born with a congenital heart disease called Wolff-Parkinson-White that I was aware of from birth, you know? I died a couple times when I was born, and they brought me back. And it had to do with these electrical issues in my heart. But, then, I overcame that and have been, you know, strong throughout my life.

But when I was overseas, I had a hernia, and I was dealing with it for years, you know? I had never had health insurance as an adult. And, you know, you don’t need health insurance till you do. I got a little money, you know, these last couple years touring real hard. And I had this – my hernia was starting to bother me onstage. It had been seven years.

And so I went in to get the – see the doc about getting a surgery down there. And, often, they ask if you’ve got any condition. I went ahead and wrote down Wolff-Parkinson-White. The creator stepped in and saved me because when I wrote that down, the surgeon for the hernia sent me to a cardiologist to get cleared for surgery because it turns out people with Wolff-Parkinson-White need to get the clearance because the risk of the anesthetic. And they sent me over there, and I got pictures of my heart taken. And it turned out that I’ve been in my whole life missing one of my three valves. You got valves over the top of your heart that…

GONYEA: Yeah.

CROCKETT: …Go in and out of there. And that’s caused my heart to increase in size. And it’s a scary thing to be thinking about. I feel too young, you know, to be dealing with this. But, at the same time, had I not had that hernia – it’s the strangest thing, man. If I had not had that hernia, what most likely would’ve happen and what those doctors told me is that I would’ve been looking at heart failure that I wouldn’t have seen coming within the next 12 months.

GONYEA: Well, we thank you for sharing that. And we wish you well and rest and speedy recovery through all of that.

CROCKETT: Well, you know what, man? I’ve been able to take nothing and turn it into something. And that type of adversity just makes a person stronger. And I’m honestly – you know, I’m grateful, you know? I really am seeing it. I feel blessed that I even know about it.

GONYEA: Let’s end with your take on a big 1970s hit from Danny O’Keefe. It’s called “Good Time Charley’s Got The Blues.”

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GOOD TIME CHARLEY’S GOT THE BLUES”)

CROCKETT: (Singing) Everybody’s going away. See, they’re going this time to stay. There’s not a soul I’ve known around. Everybody’s leaving town.

I feel like, musically, I want to speak to people that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to draw-in close to me, you know? And I feel like that about life, you know, that if you’re only speaking to people that already agree with you, what are you really doing, you know? And I’m trying to do that with my music. And I guess “Good Time Charley’s” – it just – you know? It just – the clock struck, you know, midnight right on that song for me. And I fell in love with it, you know? Of course, I have my name in it. And by the time we cut the song and it came out and I was going through all this medical stuff, it just meant even more.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GOOD TIME CHARLEY’S GOT THE BLUES”)

CROCKETT: (Singing) Good-time Charley’s got the blues.

GONYEA: That’s Charley Crockett. His new album “Lil GL’s Blue Bonanza” is out now. He’s wrapping up his 2018 tour. Charley Crockett, thanks. And best of luck to you.

CROCKETT: I so appreciate you fellas for having me. And I hope you’ll come and see a show. I’ll be twice as good if you do.

GONYEA: I think we’ll do that (laughter).

CROCKETT: Come on.

GONYEA: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLEY CROCKETT SONG, “GOOD TIME CHARLEY’S GOT THE BLUES”)

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Congolese Hold Their Breath, Wondering If This Presidential Election Will Be Credible

Dec 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Congolese Hold Their Breath, Wondering If This Presidential Election Will Be Credible

Voters wait to cast their ballot outside a polling station in Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.

FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP/Getty Images


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FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP/Getty Images

Heavy rain, long lines and broken voting machines in the capital plagued voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo who were casting their ballots in the long-awaited presidential election on Sunday.

The lead up to the election for a new president has been hit by a series of delays and controversies. The vote, which was supposed to take place in 2016, was postponed again from last Sunday in part due to a warehouse fire that destroyed the majority of voting machines for polling stations in the capital Kinshasa.

Election day was no exception, with delays that kept polling stations open for hours after they were supposed to close. NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported one of the biggest issues were the controversial new voting machines.

Derailed By Fire And Disarray, Congo Delays Presidential Election — Again

'Congo Does Not Take Any Orders From Anybody': Interview With President Joseph Kabila

“The machines, being used for the first time, have been criticized by opposition candidates who argue they’re vulnerable to vote fraud,” Quist-Arcton said.

Election monitors confirmed that voting machines in many places failed to work or jammed while being used. Congolese opposition candidates alleged widespread irregularities and questioned why voters’ registrations had not arrived at some polling stations in opposition strongholds in Kinshasa, Quist-Arcton reported.

While the day was mostly peaceful, violence broke out at a polling station in South Kivu province in eastern Congo. Reuters reported a police officer shot and killed a young man after a dispute over alleged voting fraud. The crowd then beat the officer to death, a witness and a local politician said.

President Joseph Kabila has long resisted giving up power, but Sunday’s election was meant to usher in the country’s first democratic transfer of power since they gained independence in 1960.

Kabila has ruled Congo for nearly 18 years, coming into power after the assassination of his father in 2001. Kabila’s two-term constitutional limit was up in 2016 but he’s spent the past two years delaying the election to decide his successor and violently cracking down on protesters who opposed the delays.

Residents line up in order to cast their ballot in an improvised polling station at Kalinda Stadium in Beni, where voting was postponed for Democratic Republic of Congo’s general elections. Electoral authorities have postponed the vote until March 2019 in three cities because of an Ebola outbreak.

ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images


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Residents line up in order to cast their ballot in an improvised polling station at Kalinda Stadium in Beni, where voting was postponed for Democratic Republic of Congo’s general elections. Electoral authorities have postponed the vote until March 2019 in three cities because of an Ebola outbreak.

ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images

Adding to the tension, last week the election commission made the decision to bar more than 1 million people from voting because of an Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the country, claiming it would be a disaster if one person infected hundreds of people. They also cited a threat of terrorism, according to CNN.

The commission said voting in three cities Beni, Butembo and Yumbi, known as opposition strongholds, will not happen until March 2019. A new president is expected to be announced in early January and then inaugurated later that month.

Critics say delaying the vote in the three cities until after the winner is announced undermines the credibility of the election.

Citizens in the city of Beni protested the decision and on Sunday held their own makeshift vote, CNN reported.

“Congolese are holding their breath,” Quist-Arcton told NPR’s Don Gonyea on Weekend All Things Considered. “Wondering if this will be a credible election.”

“Everybody is saying ‘we need a peaceful election, we need a peaceful post election period, and we need a peaceful transfer of power,’ ” Quist-Arcton said. “That has never happened in Congo before. They pray … that this will happen, we’ll have to see.”

Affordable Care Act Can Stay In Effect While Under Appeal, Judge Says

Dec 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Affordable Care Act Can Stay In Effect While Under Appeal, Judge Says

The federal website where consumers can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is shown on a computer screen in Washington, D.C., last month. The federal judge in Texas, who earlier this month ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

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The federal website where consumers can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is shown on a computer screen in Washington, D.C., last month. The federal judge in Texas, who earlier this month ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

AP

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that “many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal.”

What's At Stake In The Latest Affordable Care Act Court Battle

But O’Connor still stands by his initial decision, he wrote, that a recent change in federal tax law that eliminated the penalty on uninsured people, in turn, invalidates the entire health care law, which is also referred to as Obamacare.

Before issuing the stay, O’Connor struck down the ACA on Dec. 14, siding with a group of 19 Republican attorneys general and a governor, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

As Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News wrote for NPR following the district court judges decision, “The plaintiffs argued that because the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 as a constitutional use of its taxing power, the elimination of the tax makes the rest of the law unconstitutional.”

Judge O’Connor agreed with that reasoning.

“In some ways, the question before the Court involves the intent of both the 2010 and 2017 Congresses,” O’Connor wrote in his 55-page decision. “The former enacted the ACA. The latter sawed off the last leg it stood on.”

Democrats, meanwhile, say they plan to challenge O’Connor’s partial judgment. A spokesperson for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — who’s joined by 16 other states defending the ACA — said his state is “prepared to appeal the December 14 decision imminently.”

“We’ve always said we’re going to protect the healthcare of Americans and make clear that the ACA is the law of the land,” Becerra said in a statement emailed to NPR. “Today the judge granted what we asked for when we filed our expedited motion but at the end of the day, we’re working to keep healthcare affordable and accessible to millions of Americans, so we march forward.”

Barbershop: The Year In Sports

Dec 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Barbershop: The Year In Sports



DON GONYEA, HOST:

Now we head to the Barbershop. That’s where we invite interesting people to talk about what’s in the news. The news this year has been dominated by what’s going on politically in this country. We wanted to take a break from that and talk about some of the biggest sports stories of 2018 – except politics and more followed us over to the sports pages. So joining us in the studio here is Kevin Blackistone. He writes commentary for The Washington Post and is an ESPN analyst.

Hi, Kevin.

KEVIN BLACKISTONE: How’re you doing?

GONYEA: Joining from Dallas is Dave Zirin. He as a sports editor for The Nation. He is also an author, and he hosts The Nation’s “Edge Of Sports” Podcast.

Hi, Dave.

DAVE ZIRIN: Great to be in the Barbershop for a shape-up.

GONYEA: (Laughter) Lastly, joining us from Los Angeles is Christine Brennan. She is a columnist for USA Today.

Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Hi, Don. It’s great to be with you. Thanks.

GONYEA: So all of our panelists agreed that the Larry Nassar story was the biggest of the year. Just to review quickly, he was team doctor for USA Gymnastics and for Michigan State University. Just as an aside, I’ll throw out here that Michigan State is my alma mater. More than 150 women say he sexually assaulted them while they were in his care. He’s been convicted and sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. And there have been major shakeups at MSU and in the USA gymnastics program as a result.

So, Christine, we’ll start with you. What at year’s end here now is your biggest takeaway from this?

BRENNAN: Don, this is the worst scandal in U.S. Olympic history by far and the worst sports sex abuse scandal in the world ever. So it couldn’t be worse. It couldn’t be bigger. And I think the ramifications and the reverberations will continue all the way to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which now are just a year and a half away, and then even beyond in terms of the structure of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The fact that leaders of the USOC knew for over a year about the abuse of Larry Nassar and did nothing to protect the young athletes in their care – it was extraordinary. It has been eye-opening. I think it has certainly been a national conversation that, while it is abhorrent, we’re glad to be having it in the sense that hopefully, young people can come out and speak out. Which – speaking out, whether it be the gymnasts like Rachael Denhollander, who started the whole thing, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and so many others – their ability to speak out, I think, has been extraordinary.

And especially Simone Biles – I’ll just finish the thought with her. Here we have the Olympic gold medalist from 2016, just won her fourth world title, individual all-around world title. She also not only is the greatest athlete in the sport – she is also the conscience of this sport, tweeting about the mistakes of USA Gymnastics, calling her sports leaders on their ineptitude. I cannot think of a better all-around athlete of the year than Simone Biles for the things she was doing as a survivor of Larry Nassar’s abuse while also continuing to be the top gymnast in the world.

GONYEA: Just astounding to watch what she has accomplished this year in the midst of all of this.

BRENNAN: Oh, without a doubt. And the heroism – I mean, we throw the word – Kevin, Dave and I talk a lot about these things – we throw the word hero around and exemplary behavior, and it sometimes gets old. No, no, no. Simone Biles – heroic in every way.

GONYEA: Kevin, we learned through court documents and an IndyStar investigation that Nassar’s history of assault was in part enabled by authorities dismissing years of complaints. What does this tell us about the institutional procedures to protect amateur athletes?

BLACKISTONE: Just how systemic this abuse was and how insidious it was. In fact, we’ve just learned in the past week or so in the Indianapolis Star, which has been covering this story and unearthing the worst of it, that, in fact, the police department in the city of Indianapolis was involved in helping to cover this up for many years. So this was something that had tentacles that stretched far and deep for so long that it just makes you wonder about how we get sucked into sports, particularly when it comes to the Olympics. We can’t forget that gymnastics is one of the most watched sports if not the most watched sports in the summer games next to track and field and how we’ve championed these women who at the time were really girls.

GONYEA: Dave, as all this was unfolding this year, you demanded more action by way of congressional investigation. What could happen? What do you think needs to happen in that area to ensure that future athletes’ll be protected?

ZIRIN: Well, I think we need to have a lot more openness and transparency in what essentially are cartels. And that’s when – whether you’re talking about USA gymnastics, the USOC and, frankly, whether you’re talking about the NCAA or FIFA, these are, in a lot of ways, closed societies, and it’s very difficult to get at the truth and uncover the truth. And you see the effort of what it took in this particular case with Rachel Denhollander and the other brave gymnast that we’ve discussed just to break open the cartel and to let the truth out into the light.

So the idea when calling for congressional oversight, when calling for hearings – it’s all about transparency. It’s all about letting in the light. And it’s all about getting the truth out there so we can actually do what Simone Biles is really calling for, which is to tear this down so we can rebuild it so it’s something that actually nurtures and protects athletes as opposed to exploiting them.

GONYEA: OK, so there’s another big story in the sports world. It’s one that’s been around a while. It’s been more than two years since quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem at a San Francisco 49ers game. The impact of that’s still being felt. He made big waves this year by becoming the face of Nike’s latest just do it campaign. But, Kevin, you wrote that that Nike deal muddles Kaepernick’s message. Why’s that?

BLACKISTONE: Well, it really does because there was nothing in that advertisement that played on television that harkened back to the reason that Colin Kaepernick had been imprinted in our psyche. He was not on a knee. His fist was not in the air. He said nothing about police lethality against black men, unarmed black men, in this country, which is what he stood down for and what so many people began following him for.

And so I just think there’s a danger when you commercialize what has become your brand to the extent that Colin Kaepernick has. And I think, as a result of it, we got away from that conversation that he kind of – he didn’t start, but he certainly set ablaze back in 2016.

GONYEA: Christine, this is spilling over into the Super Bowl, which will be held early next year. There are lots of artists who are saying they won’t perform in the Super Bowl halftime show, which is in Atlanta. Atlanta is a hotbed of music, especially hip-hop. Do you see the public divide – and it’s a growing public divide, I think – over this issue going away anytime soon?

BRENNAN: No, I don’t. And I respect Kevin Blackistone more than anyone could know and – on the issue, so I understand exactly, Kevin, the concerns you have. But I also do think there’s another way to look at what’s happened over the last year, and that is, I think, if we look at corporate America giving its – the thumbs up, so to speak, to a cause – in this case, of course, deciding that they wanted to work with Colin Kaepernick in an emotional and powerful message that Kevin points out was not all it could have been.

Is it – is that not victory? It turned out to be a great business decision for Nike, which tells us all we need to know about the demographics for the next 50 years in terms of buying shoes, these young kids, and how they look at the question of political activism much differently maybe than their parents do and in a positive manner.

GONYEA: OK. Our game clock is ticking here. I’d like a one-line answer from each of you – the big stories to watch in 2019. Dave, you first.

ZIRIN: Watch for Colin Kaepernick to re-emerge as a public figure in a very significant way, not just as a symbol, but as an activist.

GONYEA: All right. Christine?

BRENNAN: Athletes speaking out continues to be the big story. The WNBA is going – is in a – quite a labor dispute about equal pay or at least getting better pay for our top female basketball players in the world. And, again, the gymnastics story as we march to Tokyo. We will again continue to see this story play out, I’m sure, as the athletes once again find their voice and continue to speak out.

GONYEA: Kevin – final word?

BLACKISTONE: I think athletes exercising their collective might as labor. We just mentioned the WNBA. There’s also the big court case going on with college athletes.

GONYEA: That’s Kevin Blackistone, columnist for The Washington Post. We’ve also got Christine Brennan of USA Today and Dave Zirin of The Nation.

Thank you all.

BLACKISTONE: Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you very much.

ZIRIN: Thank you.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Nice Things In 2018 With NPR Politics Podcast Co-Host Asma Khalid

Dec 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Nice Things In 2018 With NPR Politics Podcast Co-Host Asma Khalid



DON GONYEA, HOST:

December is a time when many of us take a pause from the daily grind to feel gratitude and appreciation for things in our lives that bring us happiness. With that in mind, we’ve been asking NPR podcast hosts this simple question – what gave you joy this year, especially if it was unexpected? My colleague Michel Martin posed this question to NPR Politics Podcast host Asma Khalid.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: So you know this about me, but maybe listeners don’t, but I adore fashion, clothing of all sorts. And so I sort of stumbled upon this Instagram channel online retailer that I have been, I would say, rather obsessed with all year. It’s called The Modist, and its sort of brand image style is that it’s trying to present, quote-unquote, “modest clothing” to women. But it’s very aspirational kind of luxury fashion. So, in all candor, I can probably afford, like, 1 percent of the stuff on their website. But it’s very aspirational.

(LAUGHTER)

KHALID: And I look at it, and it’s so beautiful. And there’s a whole lot of reasons why I’ve sort of been just fascinated with this. I find myself, like, you know, late at night when I can’t sleep just scrolling through (laughter).

MICHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: I’m so excited that you admitted this because everyone knows we are very serious journalists, but we also like to look fabulous. And (laughter) I was wondering, you know, why you think it is that we still like to look at things that we perfectly well know we’re not going to buy, we can’t buy?

KHALID: Yeah.

MARTIN: We’re not going to look like those ladies.

KHALID: (Laughter).

MARTIN: But why do you think we like it so much? What do you think?

KHALID: For me, I feel like it’s an extension of our own personality and our own character and sort of how we see ourselves. It’s the same way that I think, like, people will ask, why do you go to art museums? I see clothing in kind of the same way. It’s beautiful, and it sort of sparks your own creativity of what you could do by mixing and matching things in your own closet.

MARTIN: And why is having this particular site so joyful for you – just it sparked such joy, this particular site highlighting modest clothing has been…

KHALID: Yeah, so…

MARTIN: Is there anything else like it that you’ve been able to find?

KHALID: Not really. And I should say this for listeners who might not know what I look like (laughter). So I am a Muslim, and I do wear a headscarf. But I should preface this by saying that the site itself I think is very clearly non-denominational. And so they will highlight sometimes Muslim women, but they’ll often highlight pictures of Kate Middleton.

And so their version of modesty is just this overall vision of clothing that is somewhat, like, loose-fitting. It’s basically not sheer, it’s not too tight and there’s no, like, extremely plunging necklines. That’s kind of the one consistent factor of that. And what I will say is that when you look at a lot of clothing in places, it’s not always that easy to find things that kind of meet those three characteristics. So I’ve just been amazed that there are so many dresses available that fit that niche, and, a lot of times, it doesn’t feel like that.

MARTIN: So, before we let you go, how would you encourage other people to find that joy if they don’t have a particular need or interest in modest fashion, per se? Do you – any tips kind of finding something that would spark that creativity or that sense of delight?

KHALID: Yeah. I mean, so for me, I was saying it’s fashion in part because I find that it’s – it makes me really value how I can look at the world creatively, right? So I would say (laughter) the things that bring you joy are the things where you find yourself when you are kind of bored at night, and you really can’t sleep, you find yourself going again and again to those websites. And I would say, hey, look – there’s no harm in it. Just don’t buy everything on there.

MARTIN: (Laughter) That’s Asma Khalid, one of the hosts of the NPR Politics Podcast.

Asma, thank you so much for talking with us.

KHALID: You’re welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “SUPERMODEL (YOU BETTER WORK)”)

RUPAUL: (Singing) You better work…

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

The Migrant Journey Inspired Alejandro Escovedo’s New Album

Dec 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on The Migrant Journey Inspired Alejandro Escovedo’s New Album



DON GONYEA, HOST:

Alejandro Escovedo has had a long career in the Texas music scene. His work traverses Americana, rock ‘n’ roll, Latino music and punk. The Mexican-American singer-songwriter is now 67 years old and has never shied away from making noise with his music and his message. But his latest album packs an even bigger punch in today’s divided political landscape. Sometimes blunt and other times thoughtfully reflective, the tracks in “The Crossing” come together to tell a cinematic road trip across the American Southwest. Two characters, Diego and Salvo, both recent immigrants, meet in Texas and decide to explore their new country in search of a mythic America that no longer really exists.

Alejandro Escovedo spoke with me from Dallas, Texas, about “The Crossing” and its central characters.

ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO: Well, Diego comes from a town called Saltillo in the state of Coahuila in northern Mexico. He’s a young man just entering into his 20s. He loves rock ‘n’ roll. He loves literature. He loves film. Salvo comes from southern Italy. He’s from Calabria. And he’s also a young man that sees America as a land of dreams and opportunities. And they decide that they’re going to go on a journey to find this America that they believe still exists.

GONYEA: The youth of the characters, Salvo and Diego, is also very central to the album. Let’s play a little bit of the track “Teenage Luggage.”

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TEENAGE LUGGAGE”)

ESCOVEDO: (Singing) You think you know me. You don’t know me. You think you know me. No. You think you know me. You’ll never know me. You’re a bigot with a bad guitar.

GONYEA: First off, it’s not an Alejandro Escovedo album if it doesn’t get noisy. So tell us about this particular song – its feel, but more importantly, what it’s saying.

ESCOVEDO: Well, “Teenage Luggage” really was a song that, for me, really kind of was a on-the-road kind of song. You know, they’re traveling through Lubbock. They’re traveling through Yuma. And they’re headed towards Los Angeles. But it’s along the way here in Texas that they really start to get a sense that the America that they had dreamed of really doesn’t exist, and if it does, they’re going to have to dig real deep to find it.

GONYEA: Why did you decide to build an album around these two characters?

ESCOVEDO: Because I had done immigration stories before. I’ve done my father’s story. He came from Saltillo when he was a young boy. In 1919, he crossed the border as a 12-year-old boy. These young boys are really kind of going out and looking for – I think they’re more innocent in a way in that they want to look for more of an aesthetic America that they believe exists. And so I felt that these two young boys, which are really kind of based on myself and Antonio Gramantieri, who’s my co-writing partner on this project, that they were really kind of based on our lives and our interests and our aesthetics.

GONYEA: I understand you also met with DACA recipients, the DREAMers, as part of the research for this album and that Antonio went with you.

ESCOVEDO: Yes. Antonio came to Dallas and stayed with me here where I live. There’s a lot of kids around here who I’ve gotten to know who work in the shops and the record shops and coffee shops and restaurants. And so we spoke to a lot of them about their stories. And some of them turn up and some – you know, like on “Texas Is My Mother,” the chorus is really part of a story that one of the young boys told us about carrying his sister across the river and that his aunt did not make it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TEXAS IS MY MOTHER”)

ESCOVEDO: (Singing) I would carry you on my shoulders across the muddy river. Texas feels like Mexico. She reminds me of my mother.

We traveled the countryside. And we took the back roads in Texas and just kind of stopped, and we would kind of soak in the atmosphere in different parts of Texas. And that’s where you really kind of see Texas for what it is, you know. And through the DREAMers, we saw it through their eyes, what they went through.

GONYEA: You mentioned that you’ve written about immigration and the immigrant experience over the years in your previous work, but rarely has your approach to the issue been as blunt, as direct as it is in the song “Fury And Fire.”

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “FURY AND FIRE”)

ESCOVEDO: (Singing) A man came to gamble on a better life. The TV says that they’re going to run us out, call us rapists, go and build a bigger wall. We’re going to tear it down. We’re going to tear it down.

I think that one just kind of, you know, really addresses the state that our country’s in, the role that Mexican-Americans have taken now that someone has made us the enemy. It’s really disheartening. And so I wanted to say something about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “FIRE AND FURY”)

ESCOVEDO: (Singing) Bang, bang, trouble in America. They want to tear it down. They want to tear it down.

GONYEA: Did the process of writing just take you there or did you know that you were going to be confronting these political issues so directly?

ESCOVEDO: No, that wasn’t intentional. It was something that happens with making a record. You know, once you start making the record, it’s like a journey. You know, suddenly, another door opens, another – you meet another character who leads you to another place, tells you about a different destination to go to. Those kind of things are magical that you don’t – you can’t force that, you know.

GONYEA: You’ve said in interviews that this album is a series of letters in a lot of ways, letters to your children. What do you mean by that?

ESCOVEDO: Well, I think that because of the life I’ve led, which has been so nomadic, you know, I’ve been on the road all my life, the difficulties I’ve had in keeping relationships as a result of that kind of lifestyle, I’ve always felt that like, you know, my father’s stories were important to me when I was a child. And they really inspired a lot of what I wrote about as I was getting older. So I hope in the same way that these songs and these albums will be kind of like bread crumbs for them to follow and get a better idea of who I am.

GONYEA: Is there one song in particular on this record that you hope resonates with your kids?

ESCOVEDO: Well, I hope that “The Crossing” is the one that really kind of resonates because Diego, in the end, is alone. And, you know, you kind of just contemplates whether it was worth it at all, you know. I’d be lying to say that there aren’t times that I, you know, question whether this whole thing has been worth it or not, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THE CROSSING”)

ESCOVEDO: (Singing) If I could turn back the block, return all the dreams we lost in order to make the crossing…

You give up a lot, you know. There was a lot of times I was on the road, the booking agent would call and we’d talk. And he’d tell me how much fun he had at his kid’s ball game or whatever. And I was out on the road, you know, and I couldn’t – I missed a lot of that stuff, you know. And those are things that you can’t rewind and redo. But they were decisions that I made, you know, thinking that it would help all of us, really, in the end, you know. And I hope the kids see it that way, too.

So that’s what I mean when I say that I leave these letters, these songs behind because, you know, there’s 15 albums now. I’ve said a lot about my life in these records. So hopefully they’ll understand that it wasn’t all just fun and games. There was a lot of effort and sacrifice put into making these records and this career, you know.

GONYEA: Well, this one shows that you’re still searching for something, too.

ESCOVEDO: Absolutely. It’s not over yet, no.

GONYEA: Alejandro Escovedo. His latest album is “The Crossing.” Thank you so much for joining us, and Happy New Year.

ESCOVEDO: Same to you. Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THE CROSSING”)

ESCOVEDO: (Singing) We all make history when we make the crossing.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

You Can Eat Like Johnny Cash — Thanks To A Cookbook From Country Music’s First Family

Dec 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on You Can Eat Like Johnny Cash — Thanks To A Cookbook From Country Music’s First Family

Fried bologna and eggs is one of the dishes included in The Cash And Carter Family Cookbook.

Courtesy of Sara Broun


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Courtesy of Sara Broun

Fried bologna and eggs is one of the dishes included in The Cash And Carter Family Cookbook.

Courtesy of Sara Broun

Music was an integral part of life in the home of country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter — as was Southern cooking.


The Cash and Carter Family Cookbook

The Cash and Carter Family Cookbook

Recipes and Recollections from Johnny and June’s Table

by John Carter Cash

Hardcover, 249 pages |

purchase

Recipes and stories from The Cash and Carter Family Cookbook, compiled by their son, award-winning record producer John Carter Cash, now give readers a chance to experience what it was like to sit at the dinner table of two music legends.

Carter Cash’s cookbook includes everything from his mother June’s tomato, red onion and avocado salad to his father Johnny’s old iron-pot chili. It also includes recipes passed down by his grandmother, Maybelle Carter, otherwise known as the mother of modern country music.

The recipes, Carter Cash said, give a taste of both the diversity of cuisine the family ate when traveling on the road and the Southern comfort food that his father grew up eating. Much of the food — biscuits and gravy, baloney and eggs, and a dish called a “Cash Burger” — is hearty and homey.

Read an excerpt of The Cash and Carter Family Cookbook

In 2013, NPR’s Don Gonyea wrote about his interview with Carter Cash’s dad, Johnny Cash, in the early 1980s. Perhaps hinting at his Southern cuisine diet, Cash had joked then that he wore black because it was slimming.

Now, more than 30 years later, Gonyea interviewed his son, John Carter Cash, for Weekend All Things Considered, and asked him if his parents were as talented in the kitchen as they were on the stage.

Interview Highlights

On his grandmother’s quest for a sour pickle recipe

The first recipe from her in here is half-sour pickles, or sour pickles, depending on how long you ferment them. She traveled in the 1930s to New York City and I remember her telling me that she learned how to make pickles in New York, trying to copy how they were made in the delis. I remember eating different foods at her house that were varied from around the world, but there was always this tie-in with Southern flavor.

On what “Southern flavor” really means

People come to Nashville where I live and they say, “What’s a great Southern restaurant?” Well, you got to know the right grandmother, because there’s a lot of magic to good Southern cooking. So, my cookbook is laid out as a matter of cooking theory in some ways, because there is a recipe that you can use as a guideline, but I support and endorse the idea that the cook needs to develop their own flair and their own unique touch to make something beautiful of their own creation.

On his father’s cooking flair

He made his iron pot chili with cuts of sirloin or maybe cuts of venison if it was around, and slow-cooked it for hours upon hours. Then, he would go by the chili pot with a handful of cornmeal in his hand — I remember seeing this so many times when I was a boy — and he would throw the cornmeal at the pot. You didn’t know how much was going to get into one pot of chili to the next. However much it was — that was the specific texture and thickness of that chili. So, there was a whimsical nature to some of their creations.

In his new cookbook, John Carter Cash shares his mother June Carter’s recipe for “stuff,” which includes a medley of vegetables.

Courtesy of Sara Broun


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Courtesy of Sara Broun

In his new cookbook, John Carter Cash shares his mother June Carter’s recipe for “stuff,” which includes a medley of vegetables.

Courtesy of Sara Broun

On his mother’s “stuff” recipe

My mother did a fried vegetable dish called “stuff.” It’s fried potatoes and carrots. Then you add bell peppers, mushrooms and other softer vegetables. At the end you add onion. Then, you steam the dish with hot pepper cheese on the top and it melts down through the dish. It’s delicious. It’s wonderful. My goodness, I’m getting hungry.

NPR’s Natalie Winston and Elizabeth Baker edited and produced this story for broadcast. Amanda Morris produced it for Digital.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Granted Right Of Appeal After Decades In Prison

Dec 29, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Mumia Abu-Jamal Granted Right Of Appeal After Decades In Prison

Supporters of convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal rally outside the federal courthouse in 2010. A judge in Philadelphia has reinstated appeal rights to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal who has long maintained his innocence as his case gained international attention.

Matt Rourke/Associated Press


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Supporters of convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal rally outside the federal courthouse in 2010. A judge in Philadelphia has reinstated appeal rights to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal who has long maintained his innocence as his case gained international attention.

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

A judge in Philadelphia has reinstated appeal rights to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal — convicted of killing a city police officer more than 30 years ago — who has long maintained his innocence as his case gained international attention.

Advocates of Abu-Jamal praised the decision by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker as a significant development toward winning the freedom of a man whose case generated decades of protest and thousands of supporters in the “Free Mumia” movement.

“This is an unheard of legal victory,” said Rachel Wolkenstein, former lawyer and longtime activist for Abu-Jamal. “This is the best opportunity we have had for Mumia’s freedom in decades.”

Abu-Jamal has been incarcerated since his 1982 conviction for killing white Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in a racially charged case. The judge who issued the latest decision called the case one of the most polarizing shootings in the city’s history. In 2011, prosecutors dropped the execution case against Abu-Jamal because of flawed jury instructions and instead agreed to a sentence of life in prison.

Mumia Abu-Jamal leaves Philadelphia’s City Hall after a July 1995 hearing. His conviction of the murder of a police officer has gained national attention.

Chris Gardner/AP


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Mumia Abu-Jamal leaves Philadelphia’s City Hall after a July 1995 hearing. His conviction of the murder of a police officer has gained national attention.

Chris Gardner/AP

For years, Abu-Jamal’s attempts at securing a new trial were denied. In the latest legal argument, his lawyers argued that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille should not have presided over Abu-Jamal’s appeals battles. Castille was formerly Philadelphia’s district attorney whose office fought to keep the activist and prolific writer behind bars.

Castille refused calls from Abu-Jamal’s supporters to recuse himself from hearing the appeal, saying he never directly worked on the case. In 2012, Abu-Jamal’s advocates thought he lost his final appeal when the state Supreme Court rejected a claim challenging the validity of forensic evidence that was used to convict him.

In his legal opinion on Thursday, Tucker said Castille made the wrong choice, because even the appearance of being biased can be damaging to the judicial system.

“The claim of bias, prejudice and refusal of former Justice Castille to recuse himself is worthy of consideration as true justice must be completely just without even a hint of partiality, lack of integrity or impropriety,” Tucker wrote.

Tucker’s ruling has breathed new life into the hopes of Abu-Jamal’s supporters that he may one day be granted freedom.

‘An eye for an eye’

But the family of Faulkner, the slain officer, sees that outcome as a nightmare. They plan to plead with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to challenge the ruling in favor of Abu-Jamal. Krasner, through a spokesman, said he was reviewing the decision and had not yet decided whether to oppose it.

Maureen Faulkner, the widow of slain Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, attends a 2006 luncheon commemorating the 25th anniversary of his shooting.

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Maureen Faulkner, the widow of slain Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, attends a 2006 luncheon commemorating the 25th anniversary of his shooting.

Matt Rourke/AP

“Does it affect me physically? It does. Am I sick to my stomach? Absolutely. I feel like going and throwing up,” said Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the slain officer.

“Jamal may be confined to a prison, but we are in a prison in our own mind, because we never know when we’re going to get telephone calls saying something like we heard last night,” she told NPR on Friday.

Faulkner, who now lives in California, said she has always believed in the principle of “an eye for an eye,” saying she wishes the original sentence of capital punishment had been carried out.

“And that way, 37 years later, you do not have the family members grieving over the loss of a loved one because the case keeps coming up in court and reminding them,” she said.

The jury convicted Abu-Jamal on evidence including three eyewitnesses who did not know one another. Authorities also recovered five empty shell casings from the scene of the crime that prosecutors said were fired from a gun registered to Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal, though, said others fled the murder scene and were never located. Perhaps one of those people killed Faulkner, his supporters have maintained.

A Supreme Court reprieve

The possibility of a new hearing for Abu-Jamal arose after a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision. That ruling found that Castille improperly took part in an appeal from a different death row inmate whose prosecution he oversaw when he was the city’s top prosecutor. The defendant in that case was Terrance Williams. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Williams case applied to other cases Castille heard as a Pennsylvania justice, including Abu Jamal’s.

“If a judge served as prosecutor and then the judge,” wrote Tucker, summarizing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Williams case, “there is a finding of automatic bias and a due process violation.”

Judith Ritter, Abu-Jamal’s lead attorney, said the judge’s reinstatement of Mumia’s right to appeal shows that the state Supreme Court — in its 2012 decision — was biased with the presence of Castille.

“Judge Tucker recognized the unconstitutional bias involved with Justice Castille’s sitting on the prior post-conviction appeals, and the need for a new appeal untainted by such bias,” Ritter said in a statement.

The movement to “Free Mumia” reverberated around the world over the decades, with thousands donating to his legal defense fund. Buttons and posters bearing his face became the symbols of a criminal justice system that critics view as being rigged and treating African-American with indifference.

“Mumia has made the point clear from the very beginning that he is innocent,” Wolkenstein said. “This opens the door, legally, to him finally getting his freedom.”

Tucker, in his opinion, said Abu-Jamal should be given another chance to argue his innocence in front of the state’s high court, now that Castille is no longer a sitting judge.

“The court finds that recusal by Justice Castille would have been appropriate to ensure the neutrality of the judicial process in [Abu-Jamal’s appeals] before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” Tucker wrote.

Abu-Jamal’s lawyers have 30 days to inform Pennsylvania’s courts of their intent to pursue an appeal.

Pediatricians Voice Concerns About Care Following Two ‘Needless’ Migrant Deaths

Dec 29, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Pediatricians Voice Concerns About Care Following Two ‘Needless’ Migrant Deaths

Neighbors carry the coffin that contains the body of Jakelin Caal Maquin into her grandparents’ home in San Antonio Secortez, Guatemala. The 7-year-old girl died while in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.

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Neighbors carry the coffin that contains the body of Jakelin Caal Maquin into her grandparents’ home in San Antonio Secortez, Guatemala. The 7-year-old girl died while in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Oliver de Ros/AP

The secretary of homeland security is traveling to the Texas border town where an 8-year-old migrant from Guatemala was detained before dying in U.S. custody the day before Christmas.

Kirstjen Nielsen already vowed improvements in medical care after two migrant children died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection this month. Nielsen is visiting El Paso, Texas, and Yuma, Ariz., on Friday and Saturday, according to a DHS official, and meeting with Border Patrol agents and local health care providers.

Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez-Alonzo had the flu when he died on Monday, according to an autopsy by the New Mexico medical investigator. Officials say 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died three weeks ago, was dehydrated and had similar symptoms.

Department Of Homeland Security Promises Changes To Protect Migrant Children

Both children came from Guatemala with their fathers and crossed the border illegally. Their deaths have raised new questions about the quality of medical care at Border Patrol processing centers.

But pediatricians on the border say they have been raising similar concerns for years.

“It’s not a place for a well child, much less a sick child,” said Marsha Griffin, a pediatrician in Brownsville, Texas, and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Immigration authorities rarely allow visitors inside processing centers near the border. But Griffin did get access to some of them while conducting research for the AAP, and she recalls touring one facility in South Texas in 2016.

“We passed mounds of teddy bears and security blankets that were taken from the children because they might have scabies or lice,” Griffin said. “The lights are on 24 hours a day. The children sleep on thin mats on the floor with only a Mylar blanket.”

Record numbers of migrant families

Federal officials say they are scrambling to care for a record number of migrant children and families, many of them fleeing from Central America and seeking asylum in the U.S.

ICE Continues To Release Asylum-Seekers At Public Park In El Paso, Texas

“This is just devastating for us,” said Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in an interview earlier this week with CBS This Morning.

“We’ve got over 1,500 emergency medical technicians that have been co-trained as law enforcement officers. They work every day to protect the people that come into our custody,” McAleenan said. “We’re doing dozens of hospital trips every single day with children that have fevers or manifest other medical conditions.”

Up and down the border, volunteer doctors and nurses are also struggling to care for migrant parents and children after they’ve been released from federal custody.

“We feel overwhelmed,” said Marcela Wash, a nurse in San Diego who is coordinating medical screenings and care for migrants at local shelters. Wash told member station KPBS that some of these migrants are already sick when they’re released from CBP custody.

“They come over not having bathed for three or four days, however many days they have been in detention,” Wash said. “Some of them arrive with upper respiratory problems, nausea, vomiting.”

Pediatricians say migrant children would benefit from earlier medical screenings.

“In a child, an infection or a medical condition can get worse within hours,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a pediatrician in El Paso.

Gutierrez is one of about two dozen local doctors and nurses who are giving free medical exams at local shelters. But that is only after migrant children and parents have been released from Border Patrol custody, as many as five or six days after they’ve crossed the border.

When the number of migrant children spiked back in 2014, local doctors and nurses were allowed to give these screenings as soon as they arrived at Border Patrol facilities, Gutierrez said. He hopes to be able to do that again.

“It’s a better chance of us preventing the catastrophe if we see them earlier,” Gutierrez said. “If we’re allowed to get in there, things such as the death of the two children that we’ve heard about … they probably wouldn’t have happened. Those are needless.”

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