Sally Field praises African-American men making strides in Hollywood: ‘You go boys’

<> on March 14, 2016 in New York ,

Sally Field believes that women in Hollywood have African-American men to thank for broadening the discussion on diversity in Hollywood and for opening the doors for discussion about other issues such as the gender pay divide.

Halle Berry Finds Diversity In Hollywood ‘Heartbreaking’

“There’s a huge conversation about diversity happening across the boards – which is what it always should have been – that has to do with colour and race and gender preferences and men and women,” she said. “I think perhaps the fact it’s not just women now, that there’s others involved … I have to say, honestly, the fact men are involved. Thank God for African American men. You go, boys! We’re right behind you,” she said in a BuzzFeed interview.

Chris Rock Addresses #OscarsSoWhite During Monologue

“Because the women would still be shut out. It’s sad but true. If it were just Jen Lawrence and Amy Schumer – bless their beautiful, talented hearts – they would be shut out. I know it. It would be, ‘Oh, poor little rich girl.’ You know? So I’m standing right behind Beasts of No Nation. I’m with them. Maybe that’s because of my generation of women, who kind of went, ‘I already feel beat up, so I am accepting it.’ I [didn’t] head right towards them and say, ‘Ef you and the horse you rode in on.’ Which, you know, might not have been a bad idea.”

Mother Cora Lee Williams Cutts

Cora Lee Cutts

Cora Lee Cutts

Mother Cora Lee Williams Cutts of 3003 Harvest Lane, Albany, Georgia died Sunday, February 7, 2016 at her residence.

The funeral service will be held Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 3:30 p. m. in the sanctuary of New Dimension Olive South, 2505 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Albany, Georgia.
The burial will be Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 10:00 a. m. at the Saddler Cemetery in Desoto, Georgia.

On September 25, 1934, “Bit,” as we affectionately called her was born to the proud parents of Oscar and Rosie Williams. She was the twelfth of sixteen siblings.

She received her education in the public school district of Chokee. She accepted Christ at an early age at the Mount Able Missionary Baptist Church. In later years, she moved her membership to the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Reynolds. She served as the president of the Usher Board and secretary of the Sunday School. Cora was appointed Mother of the Church in honor of her faithfulness and commitment to God and her church. She also was the secretary of the Missionary Board for many years. She was a faithful and devoted disciple until her illness.

She married at a young age and was blessed with three sons, Otis, Willie, and Winfred. Otis and Willie along with her great grandchildren, London, Justin, Faith, and Hope, precede her in death.

She was employed by the Lee County Board of Education. She worked in the cafeteria and also drove the school bus. She loved sewing, gardening and most of all fishing.

Just the other day, Sunday, February 7, 2016, lying peacefully in her bed, the Lord saw that the road was getting rough, the hills a little steep to climb so he summoned her home. She heard the sweet voice of Jesus saying, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for your reward is in Heaven.”

Cora’s precious and loving life will always be with her son, Winfred (Glynis); her grandchildren, Yawnita (Alger), Denetria (Demario), Antonio, Shateria (Timothy), Winnetta, LaQuanda, Whitney, Willie, Wesley, and   Winfred; 21 great grandchildren; her brother, O. C. (Leona); her sisters, Katie (John), Annie, Caldonia, and Dot (Buford); a sister-in-law, Janie Lou; many, many nieces and nephews, and a host of cousins, other relatives and many sorrowing friends.

Sylvester Baisden, Sr.

Sylvester Baisden, Sr.

Sylvester Baisden, Sr.

Sylvester Baisden, Sr., age 43, passed on January 10, 2016 at Southern Regional Hospital, Riverdale, Georgia.

The funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 16, 2016 at Friendship Baptist Church,  407 Cotton Avenue, Americus, Georgia, where Bishop Melvin McCluster is pastor. Reverend Freddie Baisden, pastor of Living Waters Baptist Church, will officiate. Interment will follow at Staley Memorial Gardens, Corner of Mayo and Southerfield Roads, Americus, Georgia.

Sylvester Baisden, Sr. was born May 28, 1972 to the late Robert Lee and Ruby D. Baisden. Sylvester attended  the public school system of Americus, Georgia. In later years, he attended Jefferson High School online and received his GED.  He enjoyed working as a Truck Driver over the years.

Left to remember those precious moments are his beloved son, Sylvester Baisden, Jr.(Kristania Hayes); a beautiful granddaughter, Bella Sky Baisden; sister, Annette Baisden, Ellenwood, Georgia; two brothers, Robert Lee Baisden, Jr., McDonough, Georgia, Renzell Biasden, Ellenwood, Georgia; great grandmother, Alice Bay King of Columbus, Georgia; nieces and nephews, Tyrone Baisden and Brandon Tellis, both in Stockbridge, Georgia, Ashley Eorth, Americus, Georgia, Robins Baisden, McDonough, Georgia; aunts and uncles, Oral Dean Ingram, Riverdale, Georgia, Hannah Williams, Cheryl Holden, (Greg), both of Rex, Georgia, Ouide Wyatt, Forest Park, Georgia, Annie Cleveland, Americus, Annie Lyles, Riverdale, Georgia, Sara Thomas, Americus, Georgia, Maryann Hill, Riverdale, Georgia, Mamie Tarzo (Jeuse), Plainsfield, New Jersey, Linda Coldwell, Americus, Georgia, Barbra Ann Brantley, Brenda Joyce Glover, Columbus, Georgia, Willie Lee Lyles (Anita), Americus, Georgia, Johnny B. Lyles, Americus, Georgia, Charles Lyles (Barbara), Ideal, Georgia, Nathaniel Lyles, Americus, Georgia; great aunts and great uncles, Emma Minter, Carrie Baisden, both of Ellaville, Georgia, Clarence King, Hiram King, Columbus, Georgia; a host of other relatives and friends, including a devoted friend Douglas Bank, Americus, Georgia,  and two special friends, Johnny Wright and Westher Wright, both of Americus, Georgia.

Ernest Mercer, Sr.

Ernest Mercer, Sr.

Ernest Mercer, Sr.

Ernest Mercer, Sr., age 76, 302 Desoto Seed Farm Road, Desoto, Georgia passed Friday morning, January 29, 2016.

The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M., Saturday morning, February 6, 2016 at New Zion Baptist Church, Dixon Street, Cobb, Georgia. The Reverend Jesse Watts, pastor will officiate.  Interment will follow in the Church cemetery.

Mr. Mercer was born February 23, 1939 in Sumter County, Georgia to the late Lonnie Mercer, Sr. and Susie Mae Evans Mercer.  Four siblings preceded him in death, Oscar Lee Mercer, Winfred Mercer, Willie C. Mercer and Aggie Mae Holt.  He was educated in the historic Desoto Junior High Scholl of Desoto, Georgia.  He was a member of New Zion Baptist Church of Cobb, Georgia.

Mr. Mercer was a former member of the Free and Acceptant Mason Lodge of Americus, Georgia.  He was formerly employed with the following companies as a truck driver, South Georgia Technical College Sanitation Department, Reeves Construction Company and the City of Desoto Fire Department.  He was also employed with Leslie Peanut Gin and Nidrah Plantation.  After thirteen dedicated years of service, he retired from Cooper Lighting as a Line Technician.

He was united in Holy Matrimony to the former Annie Clara Walton.  To this union, six children were born. One son, Jeffery Lynn Wright preceded him in death.

Survivors are a beloved wife of 52 years, Mrs. Annie Clara Walton, Desoto, Georgia; five beloved children, Lorenzo Walton, Americus, Georgia, Deborah Walker, Desoto, Georgia, James Harper, Americus, Georgia, Marilyn Dowdell, Chicago, Illinois, and Ernest Mercer, Jr., Desoto, Georgia; 21 grandchildren; a host of great grandchildren; a host of great great grandchildren; six siblings, Jessie Mercer (Theatris), Desoto, Georgia, Nettie Ruth Dunning, Jonesboro, Georgia, Lonnie Mercer, Desoto, Georgia, Bobbie Jean Mercer, Hopkins, Minnesota, Richard Mercer, Plains, Georgia, and Pearlie Ruth Paul, Desoto, Georgia; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Geraldine Brown, Macon, Georgia, Robert Edwards, Jr. (Margie), Atlanta, Georgia, Mozelle Gore (William), Atlanta, Georgia, Nalene Edwards, Brooklyn, New York, Leila Bellmont, Chicago, Illinois, Clifford Walton (Helen), Americus, Georgia, David Walton, Chicago, Illinois, Barbara Walton, Chicago, Illinois, Benjamin Walton (Frenchie), Columbus, Georgia, Alice Marie Yearby (Nile), Albany, Georgia, Otis Franklyn (Gloria), Desoto, Georgia, Henrie Coleman (Harry), Albany, Georgia, Arthur Raines (Loretta), Desoto, Georgia, and Rena Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Easter Kate Brown

Easter Kate Brown

Easter Kate Brown

Mrs. Easter Kate Brown, age 66, passed on January 26, 2016 at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, Americus, Georgia.

The funeral service will be held at 3:00 P.M., Saturday, January 30, 2016 at Jackson Grove Baptist Church, Pryor Road, Desoto, Georgia. The Reverend Eugene Hall, pastor, will officiate. Burial will follow in Church cemetery.

Mrs. Easter Kate Laramore Brown was born in Leesburg, Lee County, Georgia to the late Bytha Laramore and the late W. C. Harvey.  She was educated in the public school system of Lee County, where she attended the historic Southeast Elementary School of Leslie, and she graduated in 1969 from Lee County High School of Leesburg, Georgia.

She accepted Jesus Christ at an early age and joined the Antioch Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Reynolds.

She was united in holy matrimony to her one and only love, Eddie G. Brown, and to this union, they were blessed with five children.  She was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend.  She loved all her family with unconditional love.  She was preceded in death by one son, Eddie Gaines Brown, Jr.

She departed her earthly life in the surrounding of her beloved family, which include the following: her husband, Eddie G. Brown, Sr., Americus, Georgia; three daughters, Anita Brown (her fiancé, Lorenzo Tullis), Plains, Georgia,  Tyran Brown, Memphis, Tennessee, and Antique McClendon, Memphis, Tennessee;  two sons, Patrick (Kim) Brown, Americus, Georgia, Gregory (Sylvia) Brown, Americus, Georgia; daughter-in-law, Felicia Brown, Leslie, Georgia; thirty-three grandchildren; fourteen great grandchildren; her siblings, Clara (Joseph) Walker, Albany, Georgia, Ethel Stinson, Atlanta, Georgia, Joann (Bobbie) George, DeSoto, Georgia, James Laramore, Chicago, Illinois, Freddie Laramore, Leslie, Georgia, Addie P. Prince, Sadie Harvey, Sherita Harvey, Mary Harvey, Eddie Harvey, Mose Harvey, Samuel Thomas, Johnny C. Thomas, Nathaniel Harvey, all of Albany, Georgia;  a host of beloved nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends, including Debbie Wilson and Dorothy Johnson.

Ms. Maude Eugenia Finch

Ms. Maude Eugenia Finch

Ms. Maude Eugenia Finch

Ms. Maude Eugenia Finch, age 55 of 77-A Barbara Battle Way Americus, Georgia, died on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at her residence. Funeral services will be Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at the Friendship Baptist Church with Rev. Clinton Aldridge officiating. Burial will follow at the Eastview Cemetery.

Ms. Maude Eugenia Finch was born in Americus, Sumter County, GA on February 27, 1960 to the parentage of Tommie Mae Foster and the late Jessie Foster, Jr.

She attended public school and graduated from Americus High School in 1979.  She later became a member of Love and Mercy Outreach Church under the leadership of the late Rosa K. Fowler. She is preceded in death by her grandparents; Charlie and Eva Finch, her stepfather, Jessie Foster, Jr. and an uncle, Alvin Finch.

She leaves to cherish her memory, one daughter, Yashica Finch, Atlanta, GA, her mother, Tommie Mae Foster, Americus, GA; one Grandson, Cameron Douglas, Atlanta, GA; one sister, Debra Wright, Stone Mountain, GA; two brothers: Michael Jerome (Cherie) Finch, East Point, GA and Corwyn Dale (Gaea Daniel) Foster, Ellenwood, GA; two step-brothers: Jessie Clayton and Lorenzo Clayton, Americus, GA; two uncles: Charles (Charlie Mae) Finch, Atlanta, GA and James (Ilene) Finch, Americus, GA; three aunts: Dorothy McKinnis, Hartford, CT, Thelma Hawkins, Bloomfield, CT and Inez Finch of Marietta, GA; A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends, including a devoted friend, Eula Butts also survive.

The family will be receiving friends at the home of her mother, Ms. Tommie Foster 228 West Lester Street.

Mr. Thomas Wayne Ross

Mr. Thomas Wayne Ross

Mr. Thomas Wayne Ross

Funeral services for Mr. Thomas Wayne Ross of 101-A Waitsman Dr. Americus, Georgia will be held on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at the Friendship Baptist Church with Bishop Melvin McCluster officiating. Burial will follow at the St. Luke Cemetery.

Mr. Thomas Wayne Ross was born on July 31, 1951 in Americus, Georgia to the late Mrs. Alice Green Johnson and the late Willie James Johnson. He was educated in the Sumter County School System. Thomas was employed for several years at Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and was a member of the Iron Horse Social Club. Mr. Ross died on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at the Phoebe-Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia.

Left to cherish his memory are six children: Avian Monqui Clemons of Americus, Georgia, Nina Barker of New York, New York, Schedata Sanford, Lanelle Barker, Ivona Barker and Miya Barker all of Americus, Georgia; three sisters: Rebecca Johnson of Dallas, Texas, Cynthia Babin of Columbus, Georgia and Anna Lumpkin of Americus, Georgia; one brother, Eddie James Johnson of Plains, Georgia; one uncle, James Hiawatha Ross of Americus, Georgia; eighteen  grandchildren; two devoted family friends: Eva Jackson of Americus, Georgia and Barbara Jackson of Columbus, Georgia; several other relatives and friends also survive.

Mr. Melvin Cottle

Mr. Melvin Cottle

Mr. Melvin Cottle

Funeral services for Mr. Melvin Cottle, of Jefferson Street Americus, Georgia will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 10:00 A.M. in the Chapel of West’s Mortuary in Americus, Georgia with Rev. William Laster officiating. Burial will follow at Staley Memorial Gardens.

Mr. Melvin Cottle was born on November 23, 1948 in Schley County, Georgia to the late Merol Merritt and the late John Myrick. Melvin was educated in the Sumter County public school system. He was employed by Paul Preskitt Contractors, Cash–n-Carry Wholesale Company, and later was self-employed as a painter. Melvin passed away at his home in Americus, GA on Tuesday, January 26, 2015. He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Doris C. King,

He leaves to cherish his memories one daughter: Merol Cottle, three brothers: Ollie Robert Cottle, Brooklyn, NY, Horace Cottle, Leslie, GA and Kenneth Myrick Atlanta, GA a devoted niece, Elmira King, Tucker, GA, a devoted nephew Cassius L. King, Americus, GA, a devoted friend: Mr. Paul Preskitt, and a host of other nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends also survive.

Mr. Lewis Hawkins

Mr. Lewis Hawkins

Mr. Lewis Hawkins

Funeral services for Mr. Lewis Hawkins age 66, of 1638 MLK Blvd Americus, Georgia will be held on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 1:00 P.M. at the Old Shady Grove Baptist Church in Americus, Georgia with Pastor Jesse Watts officiating. Burial will follow at Staley Memorial Gardens.

Mr. Lewis Hawkins was born on September 12, 1949 in Americus, Georgia to the late Rosa “Auntee” Patterson. He was educated in the Sumter County School System. At an early age he join the Old Shady Grove Baptist Church. Lewis was employed for over fifteen years at Fairfield Trucking Company in Hambury, Arkansas and the last two years at Middle Flint Council on Aging. On January 16, 1974 Lewis married the late Annie Ruth Hawkins.

Lewis died on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at his home in Americus, Georgia. He was preceded in death by a brother Frank Patterson.

Left to cherish his memory are five children: Alisia (Vincent) Britt-Duck, Broderick Antwoine (Natavia) Hawkins, Lewis Jeffery (Lakeshia) Hawkins, Tawana Shai (Dedrick) Turnipseed and Jeremy Rashaan (Brittany) Hawkins; seven grandchildren: Ja’Quessia Lawson, Lewis Javon Hawkins, Anthony Hawkins, Traivian Reynolds, Trinity Hawkins, Madison Hawkins and Adelle Hawkins; six siblings: Gregory (Joyce) Patterson, James (Gracey) Patterson, Patricia Jackson, Barbara Terry (Late Walter), Debra (John) Hall and Reginald “Nitty” (Sandra) Patterson; several other relatives and friends including a devoted friend Ms. Rhonda Reddick, Pip, Johnny, Alvin, Joe, Calvin, Stick, Ulysses and Jethro also survive.

Richard Danlento Roberts Sr.

Richard Danlento Roberts Sr.

Richard Danlento Roberts Sr.

Funeral services for Mr. Richard Danlento Roberts of Americus, Georgia will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 1:00 P.M. at the Old Corinth Baptist Church with Pastor Dr. C.L. McKinstry officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

A Time to Be Born… Richard Danlento Roberts Sr. was born on July 14, 1939 in Sumter County GA. to the late Mr. John Roberts and Mrs. Inez Gaines Roberts.

A Time to Live… Richard was educated in the Public school of Sumter County.  At an early age he joined the Old Corinth Baptist Church.  He was married to the late Mrs. Elsie Mae Searcy Roberts and to this union 10 children was born.  During his life span he touched many lives, he loved to cook and enjoyed spending time with his family and his grandchildren which always made him smile.

A Time to Die… Richard departed this life and entered into his eternal home on January 23, 2016. In addition to his parents and wife he is preceded in death by a son, Richard Dalento Roberts Jr. and two sisters; Ozzie Mae Cooper and Emma Roberts and one granddaughter, Shawanda Monique Roberts.

His loving memories will be forever cherished by his children: seven daughters: Sheryl V. Roberts, Albany GA., Alice M. Swain, Barbara Roberts, Jacqueline Dice (Anthony), Elsie “Pat” Roberts, Belinda Roberts McDonald, Euphemia “Michelle” Roberts (Doug) all of Americus; two sons: Michael A. Roberts of Americus, John “Teddy” Roberts (Shala) McDonough GA; three sisters: Lula Mae Harris, Americus, GA, Betty Jean Singletary, Cocoa Florida and Eutha Dee Foster, New York City; brother-in-Law, Willie Cooper Sr., Leslie GA; a devoted niece Janie Roberts, a devoted nephew, Moses Roberts, a devoted cousin, Cooper Roberts (Carolyn); twenty-four grandchildren, fifty-two great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends including Ella Gloria Tyner and Joann Patillo also survive

Mr. Frank Reid



Mr. Frank Reid was born in Terrell County, Georgia on July 3, 1941 to the parentage of the late Mr. Carl Reid and the late Mrs. Arlene Richardson Reid. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, he joined the Big Bethel Baptist Church, where he served until he moved to Hartford, Connecticut. While there he became employed with Colts Manufacturing of West Hartford, CT, where he assembled the setup tables for the employees to assemble AR 15 Rifles for the military for 48 years. He was joined in Holy Matrimony to Mrs. Jessie Moran Reid and to their union three children were born. Upon his return to Americus, Georgia he attended the House of God with his wife. He is preceded in death by a son, Prince Dustan Moran Reid.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife of 54 years, Mrs. Jessie Moran Reid, Americus, GA; one son, Mr. Anthony Caron Reid, East Hartford, CT; one daughter, Mrs. Valerie (Hollis) Chanel Whitehead, Unionville, CT; one brother, Mr. General (Minnie) Reid, Americus, GA; two sisters, Ms. Judith Reid Gray (Lee) Harris, St. Marys, GA and Ms. Katherine Reid Nixon, Orlando, FL; six granddaughters, Ms. Krishma Robyn Whitehead, Ms. Moriah Salome Whitehead, Ms. Salome Whitehead, Ms. Mycah Chanel Whitehead, Ms. LeAndra Reid and Ms. Faith Mikayla Reid all of Connecticut and Ms. Charity Noelani Whitehead of South Africa, who is studying aboard; one great grandchild, Master Jaxon Cousett Whitehead of Connecticut; one aunt, Ms. Judy Richardson, Philadelphia, PA; his sisters-in-law, General Elder Carrie Moran Grimes, Atlanta, GA, Minister Susie Moran Mann, Ms. Tobitha Moran, New York City, NY, and Elder Mary Ann (Clifford) King, Americus, GA and Ms. Patricia Reid, Temple Hill, Maryland; one brother-in-law, Mr. Al (Kathy) Moran, Americus, GA; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends, including a devoted friend and the best man at our wedding, Mr. Leon Crapps also survive.

Mrs. Ida Bell Chambliss



Mrs. Ida Bell Chambliss Floyd was born in Sumter County, Georgia on August 11, 1925, to the parentage of the late Mr. Henry Smith and the late Mrs. Rosie Lee Teal Smith. She received her education in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, she joined the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, where she served faithfully and was a member of the Vineyard Worker Ministry and the Floral Club. She was a domestic worker and kept children in her home.

She was united in Holy Matrimony to Mr. William “Pony” Floyd for 48 years. She is preceded in death by a sister, Fannie M. Josey.

Her greatest accomplishment in life is that she will be remembered as a mother, aunt and friend to everyone who knew her. Although, we must go on without her, she will live on in our thoughts and hearts forever.

In addition to her husband, Mr. William Floyd, Americus, GA, she leaves to cherish her memories, her nieces: Ms. Lena Josey, Mrs. Mary Russell, Mrs. Carmen (William) Clark and Ms. Lorena Josey, all of Americus, GA; her nephews, Mr. Jimmy (Doris) Josey and Mr. James (Mary) Josey, Americus, GA; a devoted niece and friend, Ms. Jewel Josey, Americus, GA; several great nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends, including the Barnum Funeral Home Staff  also survive.

Mrs. Lillian Caroline Kane Porter

Lillian Caroline Kane Porter

Lillian Caroline Kane Porter

Mrs. Lillian Caroline Kane Porter age 90 years, 11 months, 25 days, passed away on January 25th, 2016 Monday morning at 12:50 a.m. to enter the Kingdom of God with the Lord Jesus Christ. She was born Lillian Caroline Kane on January 31st, 1925 at St. Raphael’s Hospital, Josephine Avenue, West Haven, Connecticut of her loving and devoted parents Mr. Michael Joseph Kane and Mrs. Bertha Reckert Kane whom proceeded her in life. She was also preceded in life by 9 Brothers and Sisters, leaving Mrs. Lillian Caroline Kane Porter the last of her immediate family. Mrs. Porter graduated from West Haven High School in West Haven, Connecticut. Mrs. Porter attended and graduated from what is now Quinnipiac College, Connecticut. Mrs. Porter served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a P.A. Physician’s Assistant in the Hospital Corp serving on many bases saving the lives of hundreds of fellow American Soldiers during the war. It was during this time she had the pleasure to meet and become friends with Helen Keller and they remained close friends the rest of Helen Keller’s life. She was Discharged with Honors presented by the Secretary of the United States Navy 1946. On February 14th, 1947 Valentine’s Day at the Wesley Foundation dance at Yale University New Haven, Connecticut, Lillian Caroline Kane met the love of her life and soul mate for eternity, Dr. Rev. Joseph A. Porter DD. It was love at first sight. On June 14th, 1947 at the Talladega Methodist Church, Dr. Rev. Joseph A. Porter D.D. and Ms. Lillian Caroline Kane were married in Talladega, Alabama. After a wonderful honeymoon in Florida they returned to Talladega to start their close to 68 years of Marital Bliss always joined at the hip in their personal relationship and ministry they shared 24/7 in 14 Parishes in America. Mrs. Porter was an unconditional loving and devoted, wife, mother, sister and aunt her whole life. Mrs. Porter is preceded in life by her husband Dr. Rev. Joseph A. Porter DD who passed ahead to Heaven on January 3rd, 2015. Mrs. Porter was cremated and a service of the Celebration of Her Life will be at a later time to be announced. Mrs. Porter is survived by Joseph David Porter, Agent/Officer Thomas Alexander Porter D.P.O., L. Keith Porter, Jacquelyn Ann Hennessey Donovan, Kevin McKeon, Wanda Kane Andrews, Joan Kane Kelly and many very distant kin folk by marriage. A Memorial/Scholarship Fund has been established in Lillian Caroline Kane Porter name at Talladega College to provide for the Talladega College Campus Police Department and Students majoring in Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Degrees. The family of Lillian Caroline Kane Porter has asked in lieu of floral arrangements to make Memorial/Scholarship donations In Memory of Lillian Caroline Kane Porter, mail checks to: TALLADEGA COLLEGE c/o Lillian Caroline Kane Porter Memorial/Scholarship Fund, Institutional Advancement, 627 West Battle Street, Talladega, Alabama 35160 – See more at:

Mrs. Earnestine Brown

Mrs. Earnestine Brown

Mrs. Earnestine Brown

Mrs. Earnestine Brown was born in Lee County, Georgia on October 15, 1937, to the parentage of the late Mr. Charlie James and Mrs. Willie Mae Pace James.  She received her education at the Nunns Church School. At an early age, she joined the County Line Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. Staley Styles.

A domestic engineer, she was married to the late Mr. James Brown and to their union 13 children were born. Two daughters precede her in death, Jane Lenora and Barbara Michelle. She is also preceded in death by her siblings, Willie James Green, Geraldine Pierce and Rosa Williams.

She leaves to cherish her memories, six sons, Dea James (Evon) Gordon, Mr. Kenneth Gordon, Leslie, GA, Mr. Calvin Brown, Fort Myers, FL, Mr. Elton (Diana) Brown, Jacksonville, Mr. Emory (Tracey) Brown, Americus, GA and Pastor Henton (Stacey) Brown, Jacksonville, FL: six daughters, Pastor Deborah (Rev. Joe) Law, Leslie, GA, Missionary Veronica (Dea. Sidney) Jones, Evangelist Yolanda (Relvert) Dobbins, Vienna, GA, Mrs. Samantha (Peter) Akinnubi, Albany, GA, Mrs. Teresa (Charlie) Clark and Mrs. Cornelia (Kelvin) Hall of Americus, GA; her sisters: Ms. Verdell Mickens, Ms. Shirley James and Ms. Denise Newsome all of Tampa, FL; one aunt,  Mrs. Maude Marshall, Tampa, FL; her sisters-in-law,  Ms. Essie Mitchell, Flint Michigan and Ms. Reatha  Kleckley, Fort Myers, FL; 65 grandchildren, 68 great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends, including a special friend, Mr. Earnest Nelson and devoted friends: Ms. Lucille Williams, Ms. Doretha Hamilton, Ms. Bonnie Ruth Denim, Ms. Ann Merritt and Ms. Mamie McKenzie also survive.

Strategies for discussing money with your partner

marriage-and-money-e1449863166144by Denise Campbell Laidler

Talking to your spouse about money may not be at the top of your to-do list, but considering that financial challenges are one of the major causes of break-ups, it’s important for your marriage.

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Giving financial talks the ‘cold shoulder’ does no one any favors and may lead to fights, secrets, busted budgets and ravaged savings accounts.

Here are five pointers to help couples avoid financial pitfalls while following their heart:

Make a Money Date. Talking about money is serious business for many couples, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Together you and your spouse can set  time for discussing financial issues, such as the budget, savings, and retirement. Give the discussion your full attention. If possible, do it outside the home, such as setting up a date at a local cafe with free WiFi. Bring your laptop, spreadsheet, expenses document and any other tools you’ll need to focus on your financial situation and future. Set aside time on an on-going basis to ensure that both of you are meeting and moving towards your goals. Discuss who should have control over the money, and if you want a joint or single bank account. Discuss how wealthy you hope to be and what you would sacrifice to get there. List your retirement dreams.

Write it down. For some individuals, it’s easier to write down their thoughts and figures rather than navigate what may be an emotionally fraught conversation. This gives insight into each person’s “money-mindset.” Use a spreadsheet or expense document with bullet-ed lists, or whatever makes you comfortable when taking stock of your financial landscape. This includes who pays which recurring and major bills, as well as long and short-term saving goals. Often, seeing items in black and white is potentially less emotionally fraught than a conversation in which someone feels attacked or blamed.

Ask Questions. During your next money date, be prepared to ask and answer pertinent questions about short and long-term goals? How can you stick closer to your joint budget? Do you need a credit card for emergencies or to establish credit? Are you happy renting, or does he or she want to purchase a house one day? What does your spouse want to do during retirement? Are you going to pay for your children’s college education? Remember, nobody is right or wrong here, but you both need to be honest.

Talk Through Mistakes. If your spouse blows their portion of the budget, try not to assign blame and hold a grudge. Instead, find solutions to prevent it from happening again. For example, did your spouse overspend because car repairs were costlier than expected? Add more money to the “repairs fund” to prevent future problems. Use a budgeting worksheet or a financial tool to help you stick to your budget. Arguing with your partner without understanding what went wrong can lead to disaster and won’t solve the problem in the future.

Consider Yourselves Equals. Who makes what, is irrelevant. Respect each other as equal partners with an equal say in money management and financial goals.

Federal Minimum Wage Slightly Rises In 14 U.S. States

min_wage_300x225_1BY PRESSTV.COM

Fourteen U.S. states and several cities have decided to marginally increase the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour after six years passed without any increase.

According to a report published by the National Conference of State Legislatures on earlier this month, California and Massachusetts saw the highest increase, with minimum wages rising from $9 to $10.

Meanwhile, South Dakota had the smallest increase, a nickel, with the minimum wages per hour standing now at $8.55. People in Arkansas experienced the second smallest increase with their wages going up from $7.50 to $8.

Other states affected by the move include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The increases come following a series of “living wage” protests across many U.S. cities over low hourly wages.

In November of last year, thousands of protesters held demonstrations in 270 cities, demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for fast food workers. Food service workers now constitute the largest group of minimum-wage earners in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the advocates of the decision argue a higher minimum wage would help poor people, the opponents assert that the move would have an impact on employment and company profits.

A federal minimum wage of up to $12 an hour, phased in over five years or so, “would not have a noticeable effect on employment,” said Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton University and former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Mr. Krueger said that employers may cut jobs in response to an increase in a minimum wage, however, others may be able to fill job vacancies and reduce turnover, which would increase employment, but reduce profits. Over the past recent years, a large number of states and municipalities have acted independently in regard to wage floor policies.

Presently, 29 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and about two dozen cities and counties have put their minimum wage at levels higher than the federal minimum. (PressTV)

Sanders’ ‘Medicare For All’: The Devil Is In The Details

by Cynthia Tucker

Bernie Sanders is a proud and self-described socialist, a veteran Vermont senator who wants to bring some European ideas to the United States. One of those ideas is a single-payer health care system: a government-funded program in which the patient bears little to no cost. Sanders describes it as “Medicare for all.”

It’s an excellent idea. The United States is the richest country in the world, and it ought to grant every citizen guaranteed access to doctors and hospitals. That’s what Canada, Japan and the countries of Western Europe have all done.

But Sanders is vague — and his supporters quite naive — about the prospects of bringing a single-payer system to the United States. He insists that he could accomplish that in a prospective first term “if many millions of people demand it.”

Here’s the rub: They won’t — at least not in the systematic and sustained manner that would be required to bring about that sort of, well, revolutionary change to the American medical-industrial complex.

There’s a reason that the U.S. doesn’t have “Medicare for all”: politics. Do Sanders and his supporters remember the epic battle to pass the Affordable Care Act?

Democrats have been trying to pass a version of universal health care since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But conservatives have fought every proposal that would increase access for ordinary Americans, including Medicare; Ronald Reagan, then a neophyte political activist, toured the country campaigning against it.

Bill Clinton made universal health care a cornerstone of his presidential campaign in 1992, and he appointed his wife, Hillary, to head a task force to propose legislation after he won. They tried mightily to pass it, but conservatives denounced it, and the insurance industry spent millions to defeat it.

That’s why President Barack Obama brought the insurance industry on board when he started toward the Affordable Care Act. He knew he needed their support to have a prayer of passage. So the ACA preserves the business of selling health insurance through private companies.

Still, it has helped millions of families; nearly 9 million more Americans had health insurance in 2014 than the year before, according to government data. Moreover, the ACA prevents insurance companies from banning patients because they are sick and prohibits insurers from placing “lifetime caps” on the amount of money any person can collect for health care.

Would a single-payer plan have been even better? You bet. But listen to Obama’s former aide, David Axelrod, describe the difficulties of trying to pass such a proposal.

“I support single-payer health care, but having gone through health reform, we couldn’t even get a national consensus around the public option! It was Democratic votes that were ultimately missing on that issue,” Axelrod remembered. (The public option was a proposal for a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private health insurers.)

History shows that Obama and his allies spent months trying to make the ACA more palatable to conservatives to entice a few GOP votes. Actually, the mandate requiring that all adults have health insurance was originally a conservative idea. While the federal government provides subsidies to help families with modest incomes buy insurance, it doesn’t pay the full cost. (Obamacare also sets aside billions for states to expand Medicaid, but the Supreme Court made that optional, and many states have refused to expand.)

Still, the ACA did not get a single Republican vote in the end — not one. Republicans are still trying to repeal the law, taking more than 60 votes in Congress and going to the Supreme Court with challenges. Most of those Republicans will be easily re-elected to Congress.

Given recent history, it’s clear that Sanders’ plan would face very long odds — and that’s before details become clear. The Vermont senator proposes an extraordinary range of patient care — dental and vision coverage, mental health care, long-term care — while, he says, saving trillions of dollars. Many health care experts say that can’t be done, so health care spending would likely increase. You don’t have to be a conservative voter to fear where that would lead us.

If Vermont’s audacious senator has a plan for overcoming an ultraconservative GOP caucus in Congress, a right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court, and millions of voters who still flinch from the word “socialist,” he ought to lay it out. It would be quite a revolutionary plan, indeed.

Omari Hardwick says Denzel Washington and family saved him from homelessness

Actors Omari Hardwick and Denzel Washington (Getty Images)

Actors Omari Hardwick and Denzel Washington (Getty Images)

by ,

When actor Omari Hardwick first got to Hollywood, he was a substitute teacher and high school football coach who moonlighted as a firefighter. He turned down the chance for a full-time firefighting job for what he thought was a big break in a Spike Lee project, but when the project didn’t get picked up, he was left homeless.

That’s when Denzel Washington and the two-time Oscar winner’s family jumped in to help.

In a recent interview with Loni Love, Hardwick explained that he met Washington’s son, John David, and became close to the family while he was coaching, so when he was jobless, they stepped in to help.

“They perfectly and appropriately didn’t help me out. They gave me shelter when I didn’t have a place to stay or whatever but they sort of allowed me to be close enough to the family so I sort of transitioned into getting an agent…the whole thing…doing all these odd jobs,” he recalled, adding that they even helped him to keep up payments for his car.

Hardwick was finally able to get back on his feet, and when he did, he paid back the Washingtons for their kind deeds. The family framed the check he sent them, because they were so proud of how far he had come.

Ciara breaks down what abstinence with Russell Wilson really means:

attends The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Russell Wilson with musician Ciara attends The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

by ,

It turns out abstinence is harder than it looks.

Ciara recently sat down with Cosmopolitan to talk about her vow of abstinence with Russell Wilson, and she admitted that it’s hard sometimes to keep that vow.

Ciara suing Future for $15 Million? 

“We’re hanging in there. I’m not gonna lie. I’m human, so it is not easy, especially when I look at him and I think he is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen — that I’ve ever laid my eyes on, to be honest. I’m like, Look the other way! Look the other way!” she said when asked how the abstinence vow was going. “But he’s such an awesome guy and the cool thing is that every day, we’re growing with each other. We get to have really healthy conversations and focus on each other as people. That is very important to me and him. It’s very valuable. We’re just enjoying ourselves and going one day at a time and praying and staying positive. Being strong here!”

Ciara Says Future Won’t Speak With Russell Wilson

She then went on to explain what abstinence means to her: “You get to hug and you get to have a nice good kiss, but you have to be careful not to go too far so you don’t end up in the place you’re trying to avoid being in. Strong, strong, strong, strong! Just the strongest resistance to temptation.”

Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance an ode to black power

kendrick-lamar-grammy-awards-2016-2by Lincoln A. Blades

Much like Beyoncé’s halftime performance at Super Bowl 50, there’s only two words that accurately frame Kendrick Lamar’s medley at last night’s Grammy’s: Unapologetically black.

And if we’ve learned anything from the backlash Beyoncé received, what Kendrick’s performance represents is downright scary to lots of folks — mostly white conservatives who don’t have the artists on their playlists.

But why? Beyoncé is far from being the first racially-aware R&B singer, and King Kendrick is far from the first pro-black rapper, so why were some folks in the crowd so damn uncomfortable?

ch like Beyoncé’s halftime performance at Super Bowl 50, there’s only two words that accurately frame Kendrick Lamar’s medley at last night’s Grammy’s: Unapologetically black.

And if we’ve learned anything from the backlash Beyoncé received, what Kendrick’s performance represents is downright scary to lots of folks — mostly white conservatives who don’t have the artists on their playlists.

But why? Beyoncé is far from being the first racially-aware R&B singer, and King Kendrick is far from the first pro-black rapper, so why were some folks in the crowd so damn uncomfortable?

Every few months, a tragedy occurs, and people of color are forced to engage white folks in a serious conversation about white supremacy, privilege and racism. These moments are typically clouded by people who point fingers at those leading the conversation by accusing them of “race-baiting” and creating a “racial divide.”

Yet the truth is that no one incident can create a divide, because the racial gap has never been bridged. We don’t know how to talk about race and racism in America, and that’s what makes Kendrick Lamar so scary.

While standing in the spotlight, in front of millions of fans of all races, creeds and backgrounds, he dares to confront racism head on — and his message cannot be ignored or marginalized like some emcees before him.

He has the world’s attention.

T.I. says Beyoncé ‘Formation’ backlash is ‘Un-American’

beyonce-and-t-iby theGrio,

T.I. is totally here for Beyoncé, and he’s also here to support the message that she brought to herSuper Bowl 50 halftime show performance.

“It’s an attack on cops that attack our people,” he told TMZ of the performance that has everyone talking, which some have claimed was too politically charged for the Super Bowl.

Black Panthers React to Beyoncé Halftime Performance

He then went on to question the backlash that has since followed the show. “How they gon’ protest against our protest? I don’t think that Beyoncé was being malicious in any way in her demonstration, and I feel that anything that is done to demonstrate against a pure demonstration is gon’ lose in the end.”

Conservative Tomi Lahren To Beyonce: Your Husband Was a Drug Dealer

He then called out an anti-Beyoncé rally that is supposed to take place later this month, on February 16, saying that people who were protesting the halftime show and its message were simply un-American.

Raven-Symoné calls ‘Formation’ Hilarious

“Everything that we’re doing as far as the Black Lives Matter movement, it is to speak out and fight against unnecessary, unlawful death of our people, by people who are supposed to be put in a position of authority to protect and serve our people. So if you are against that, then to me, that is un-American.”

Preaching Vaccinations: Save Your Breath

Dr. William G. Wilkoff

Dr. William G. Wilkoff

If you haven’t already stopped investing your limited supply of office time in fruitless attempts to convince vaccine-hesitant parents to immunize their children, a small study at the University of North Carolina Women’s Hospital in Chapel Hill might finally convince you it’s time to save your breath for other more achievable goals. In a survey of 171 parents, 72% reported that they already had settled on their vaccine preferences prior to pregnancy.

This was a limited survey and may not reflect the responses of a national sample of parents, but it is concerning in light of several other studies that paint a similar gloomy picture. One such study found that even when vaccine-denying parents were presented with educational materials that they acknowledged seemed valid, they continued to withhold vaccines by falling back on other arguments to support their views (“Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial” by Nyhan et al. [Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):e835-42]).

If a larger and more geographically diverse study continues to find that the die is cast well before pediatricians have gotten our chance to discuss vaccines with parents-to-be, we will need to rethink our strategies for dealing with vaccine refusers. For those pediatricians who already ask vaccine decliners to find another practice, this new study suggests that they could save themselves time and trouble by advertising their policy to the obstetricians in their communities. This proactive advertising would require some courage, but in the long run it probably makes economic sense.

However, for most pediatricians it may be better to wait in hopes that future research can determine exactly when and under what circumstances most vaccine decliners arrive at their unfortunate decisions. How often was it a philosophy that they inherited from their parents? How often did it reflect their religious views? How often did it evolve from something they heard in school? Junior high, high school, college? Was it a science class, or history, or philosophy?

Was it the result of some media story? TV? Print? Internet? If they can recall a particular show or website, what was it that made it sound so convincing? If it was an individual, was it a friend, celebrity, or a teacher?

A study this detailed would be time consuming and labor intensive, as it would be best done in face-to-face structured interviews by someone who could project a nonjudgmental aura. It would necessarily be retrospective. But it might yield some surprising and helpful information that could be used to target our attack on the epidemic of vaccine refusal.

We know that outbreaks of certain infectious diseases, smallpox being the prime example, do not respond to media blitzes and immunization campaigns. Epidemics will continue to roll along unchecked until a labor-intensive, boots-on-the-ground, door-to-door case-finding effort is undertaken. Vaccine refusal may be similar to smallpox. It appears to be unresponsive to mass media and educational initiatives. It may continue to plague us until we chase down its roots.

Whatever strategy we try next, it is clear that although most parents report that they consider pediatricians among their most trusted sources of health information for their children, we are failing to reach a segment of our target audience. We are too late, long after the die is cast.

Dr. Wilkoff practiced primary care pediatrics in Brunswick, Maine, for nearly 40 years. He has authored several books on behavioral pediatrics including “How to Say No to Your Toddler.”

Urine Odor May Lead To Early Alzheimer’s Identification

The findings suggest that it may be possible to develop a non-invasive tool for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

The findings suggest that it may be possible to develop a non-invasive tool for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

By Laura Stiles,

Research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, the US Department of Agriculture, and other collaborating institutions has found that urine samples from mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease show a uniquely identifiable odor signature before significant development of the disease’s brain pathology.

These findings, published in Scientific Reports, suggest that it may be possible to develop a non-invasive tool for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Previous research from the USDA and Monell has focused on body odor changes due to exogenous sources such as viruses or vaccines. Now we have evidence that urinary odor signatures can be altered by changes in the brain characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Bruce Kimball, PhD, a chemical ecologist with the USDA National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) who is stationed at the Monell Center, in a statement. “This finding may also have implications for other neurologic diseases.”

The researchers studied unique mouse lines that mimicked Alzheimer’s-related brain pathology. Because Alzheimer’s is only found in humans, the researchers created the Alzheimer’s mouse models, called APP mice, by introducing human genes associated with mutations of the amyloid-β precursor protein gene into the mouse genome. They then pharmacologically activated the genes to create excess amyloid-β protein, leading to plaque buildup in the brains of the mice.

Using both behavioral analyses and head-space gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), the researchers found that mice with the mutant APP gene expression had a uniquely identifiable odor in their urine that did not result from the appearance of new chemical compounds, but instead reflected a shift in concentrations of existing urinary compounds.

The odor differences were also mostly independent of age, and preceded detectible amounts of plaque build-up in the mice’s brains. This suggests that the odor is related to the presence of an underlying gene, rather than the development of pathological changes in the brain.

Using linear discrimination analysis, the researchers found that the GC/MS peak responses provided accurate (>84%) predictions of whether the urine came from APP mice or the control mice.

“While this research is at the proof-of-concept stage, the identification of distinctive odor signatures may someday point the way to human biomarkers to identify Alzheimer’s at early stages,” said Daniel Wesson, PhD, neuroscientist at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in a statement.

The researchers noted that extensive studies are needed to identify and characterize odor signatures predictive of Alzheimer’s disease in humans.


Kimball BA, Wilson DA, Wesson DW. Alterations of the volatile metabolome in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Sci Rep. 2016; doi:10.1038/srep19495.

Are We Eating “Real” Food?

Earlene Bacon – Wellness Advocate,

With the beginning of a new year, come many new commitments to better health. Most people are aware that detoxing is a must for weight management, but how many of us realize that the majority of the foods that we include in our diets are counterproductive to the results we would like to achieve.

Are we consuming real whole food or something that is genetically modified & engineered? The true question is, if you knew you weren’t buying “real food,” would you still buy it? Would it change your day to day consumption or habits?

Today’s markets and restaurants are filled with dozens of isles & menus that have food plagued with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), pesticides, artificial ingredients, artificial colors and chemicals that serve as preservatives and fillers. If we knew what it really was that we were buying and feeding to our children on a
daily basis, would it still be a mystery as to why so many people get sick?

Are we really to blame for this epidemic. If a company’s products are safe to consume, then why is labeling such a big issue? Would we do things differently with this knowledge or would things continue to be business as usual?

We have become a nation that is accustomed to quick and easy when it comes to our food. I guess not many of us have time to cook the old fashion way every day. What would we do without microwaves and instant food? Are the big companies taking advantage of what they see as an opportunity to supply what we are demanding at the expense of our health?

Do your research! Food that is cheap, fast and convenient to prepare may not cost much now, but there is an inconvenience and a high price to pay in the long run. The saying, “pay now or pay later,” can definitely apply to this issue at hand. The money that we think we are saving seems to end up being spent on the cost of treatments such as prescription drugs later.

So what do we do when we find out that we are not eating “real food?” Do we ignore the crisis and continue as if it doesn’t really matter? Or do we make a conscious decision to not support a franchise or business that offers food that has been compromised?

I think that we should have the right to know what is in our food. I support labeling laws & think that the decision to consume or purchase products that are not good for me should be left up to me.

I would like to leave you with some key things that you can do to make better food choices. Look for the labels that have the NON-GMO & organic symbols on them. If it’s organic, it should also be GMO free by default, even though it may have only the organic symbol on the label. Always read your labels and look up words that you don’t know the meaning of.

Nearly everyone has a Smartphone to look this information up while shopping and once you’ve done this for a particular product, you won’t have to repeat it.

When you start making these changes, it will take more time than usual to grocery shop because organic and NONGMO labels are scarce. But as time passes, and you figure out what products to buy, you’ll be in and out in no time. It should speak volumes that in select grocery stores there is an organic and natural section. If they are separating the “whole food” then what category does the rest of the store fall in?

For more helpful tips & healthy recipes, subscribe to my newsletter at or call 404-520-0926 to be added to the list. Good health to you & yours.

Experts Say Abandon Aspirin For Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fib

By: BRUCE JANCIN, Family Practice News Digital Network,

SNOWMASS, COLO. – It’s time to eliminate the practice of prescribing aspirin for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 1, two eminent cardiologists agreed at the Annual Cardiovascular Conference at Snowmass.

“The European guidelines have done away with aspirin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. It barely made it into our current U.S. guidelines. I don’t think aspirin should be in there and I don’t think it will be there in the next guidelines. The role of aspirin will fall away,” predicted Dr. Bernard J. Gersh, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Bernard J. Gersh
Dr. Bernard J. Gersh

“It’s not that aspirin is less effective than the oral anticoagulants, it’s that there’s no role for it. There are no good data to support aspirin in the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation,” he declared.

Dr. N.A. Mark Estes III agreed the aspirin evidence is seriously flawed.

“The use of aspirin has probably been misguided, based upon a single trial which showed a profound effect and was probably just an anomaly,” according to Dr. Estes, a past president of the Heart Rhythm Society who is professor of medicine and director of the New England Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at Tufts University, Boston.

Dr. N.A. Mark Estes III
Dr. N.A. Mark Estes III

The sole positive clinical trial of aspirin versus placebo, the 25-year-old Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation (SPAF) study (Circulation. 1991 Aug;84[2]:527-39), found an unrealistically high stroke protection benefit for aspirin, a result made implausible by multiple other randomized trials showing no benefit, the cardiologists agreed.

“In our current guidelines for atrial fibrillation (Circulation. 2014 Dec 2;130[23]:2071-104), aspirin can be considered as a Class IIb level of evidence C recommendation in patients with a CHA2DS2-VASc of 1. But I would just take it off of your clinical armamentarium because the best available data indicates that it doesn’t prevent strokes. I’m certainly not using it in my patients. Increasingly in my patients with a CHA2DS2-VASc of 1, I’m discussing the risks and benefits of a NOAC [novel oral anticoagulant],” Dr. Estes said.

Dr. Gersh was also critical of another common practice in stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: concomitant use of aspirin with an oral anticoagulant.

“We use too much aspirin in patients on oral anticoagulation. Aspirin is perhaps the major cause of bleeding in patients on an oral anticoagulant. Other than in people with a drug-eluting stent, there’s no role at all for aspirin in stroke prevention,” he asserted.

He was coauthor of an analysis of 7,347 participants in the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (ORBIT-AF) who were on an oral anticoagulant. Fully 35% of them were also on aspirin. In a multivariate analysis, concomitant aspirin and oral anticoagulation was independently associated with a 53% increased risk of major bleeding and a 52% increase in hospitalization for bleeding, compared with atrial fibrillation patients on an oral anticoagulant alone (Circulation. 2013 Aug 13;128[7]:721-8).

Moreover, the widespread use of dual therapy in this real-world registry didn’t appear to be rational. Thirty-nine percent of those on aspirin plus an oral anticoagulant had no history of atherosclerotic disease, the presence of which would be an indication for considering aspirin. And 17% of dual therapy patients had an elevated Anticoagulation and Risk Factors in Atrial Fibrillation (ATRIA) risk score of 5 or more, making dual therapy particularly risky.

This clinically important interaction between aspirin and oral anticoagulation was recently underscored in an analysis of rivaroxaban-treated patients in the ROCKET AF trial, Dr. Gersh observed. Long-term use of aspirin at entry into this pivotal randomized trial of rivaroxaban (Xarelto) versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation proved to be an independent predictor of a 47% increase in the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, compared with patients on rivaroxaban alone (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Dec 1;66[21]:2271-81).

He added that there is no evidence that combining aspirin and oral anticoagulation enhances stroke prevention beyond the marked benefit achieved with oral anticoagulation alone.

Dr. Gersh reported serving on the leadership of the ORBIT-AF Registry, which was sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Estes reported having no financial conflicts relevant to this discussion.

Study: Some Marketplace Customers Spend 25 Percent Of Income On Health Expenses

By Michelle Andrews,

Even with subsidies to make coverage more affordable, many people who buy health insurance on the marketplaces spend more than 10 percent of their income on premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket payments, a recent study found. Among those hit hardest, the researchers said, are people who spend nearly a quarter of their income on health care expenses.

“There’s been a lot of talk about how high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are in the Affordable Care Act, and a lot of anecdotes about that, and this [study] quantifies that in a more systematic way,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center who co-authored the study.

The study used a model to estimate expected household spending on health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses by individuals and families at different income levels using the marketplaces in 2016.

The analysis incorporated tax credits that are available on a sliding scale to people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($11,770 to $47,080 for an individual) to help subsidize the cost of premiums. It also included cost-sharing reductions that lower out-of-pocket spending for people with incomes up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($29,425 for one person) if they purchase silver plans on the online marketplaces.

Despite the financial assistance provided by the health law, people with modest incomes and average medical expenses have relatively heavy financial burdens for health care, the study found.

For example, among marketplace enrollees with incomes between 300 and 400 percent of poverty ($35,310 to $47,080), half face total spending that’s greater than 14.5 percent of their income, the study found.

For people with significant medical needs, the financial burden can be heavy. Ten percent of people with incomes between 200 and 500 percent of poverty ($23,540 to $58,850) will pay at least 21 percent of their income toward premiums and out-of-pocket costs, the study found.

Older people can get hit especially hard, as the combination of higher premiums based on age and higher out-of-pocket health care costs boosts the total financial burden to 24.5 percent of income for exchange customers age 55 to 64 in the top 10 percent based on spending.

Unless policymakers address the affordability issues, it could deter people from buying coverage, Holahan said. One solution might be to tie premium tax credits to gold rather than silver plans, the researchers suggest. Gold plans provide more generous coverage than silver plans, including lower deductibles, potentially leading to lower out-of-pocket costs. Another option would be to improve the cost-sharing reduction subsidies available to lower income enrollees.

Both options could increase government spending and would need congressional approval, an option that seems unlikely under Republican control.

“Assuming you want the law to work and be broadly acceptable to people, you’re going to have to do some of these things,” Holahan said.

Conservatives Quickly Refuse Any Obama Court Replacement After Antonin Scalia’s Death

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies

By Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post,

It took only a few minutes after news broke of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday for conservatives to demand that Senate Republicans block any replacement nominated by President Barack Obama.

It took just a little while more for Republican leadership to agree with them.

In a swift statement designed to warn Barack Obama against even nominating a replacement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged to sit on his hands for the remaining 11 months of the president’s term.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” the statement read. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

McConnell’s reaction makes it incredibly hard to envision Obama filling the Supreme Court vacancy created by Scalia’s death, although the president has said he inten nominate a successor “in due time.” The majority leader has large control of the floor of the Senate. And on this front, he is being cheered on by the conservative faction of his party.

Mere minutes after the Scalia news broke, Conn Carroll, a spokesman for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who sits on the Judiciary Committee — through which any Supreme Court nominee must go — placed the chances of a replacement at nil.

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) also chimed in and said he would like to see the next president pick Scalia’s replacement.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), who, like Cruz, is running for president, made clear that he too wanted the “next president” to nominate a Scalia replacement.

The sentiment was echoed elsewhere — rather soon after it was reported thatScalia had died of natural causes after quail hunting at a ranch in Texas.

The haste with which Scalia’s death was reduced to a political battle was a bit alarming. But the tweets also underscore a pretty obvious reality that existed even before the news broke: in the last year of the Obama administration, congressional Republicans are pretty invested in just running out the clock.

Not surprisingly, Democrats weren’t keen on going along with the de facto inaction. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a long-serving member of the judiciary committee, encouraged the president to move swiftly in naming a replacement for Scalia. “I hope that no one will use this sad news to suggest that the President or the Senate should not perform its constitutional duty,” he said in a statement. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) quickly encouraged the president to “send the Senate a nominee right away.”

“With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible,” Reid’s statement read. “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

What is perhaps more telling is the immense political importance that one man’s death could have on our system of governance. Beyond the president, the death of a sitting justice on the U.S. Supreme Court has possibly the greatest ripple effects.

Behavior problems in youth: Are things worse today than in the past?

Dr. David C. Rettew

Dr. David C. Rettew

Every generation of adults seems to worry that the next generation of youth is in trouble. The perception of kids
today is no different, with theories abounding as to why the mental health of the newest generation is slipping, compared with previous standards. From mobile phones to helicopter parents, it might seem like a foregone conclusion that our current crop of young people is destined to be insecure, inattentive, and unable to cope with challenges and stress. Many news headlines on the latest mass shooting or standardized test results often seem to confirm these widespread concerns.

Pediatricians often hear parents lamenting the “good old days” when such things as corporal punishment were more easily accepted to help keep kids in line. But taking a step back, it may be worth a more objective look to examine the assumption that child behavioral problems are worse than ever. Measuring overall mental health is not an easy task, but looking at several important metrics indicate that things may not be nearly as bad as many people think.


TEEN PREGNANCY RATESFrom the latest data from the Monitoring the Future Study, one of the nation’s most reliable sources on teen substance use, the use of both alcohol and tobacco among youth is at the lowest level since the study began in 1975. Use of drugs like heroin and ecstasy also are declining. The only major exception to this trend seems to be cannabis use, which has generally shown stable rates during this climate of marijuana decriminalization and, for some states, legalization.

One area where there continues to be sustained progress is in teen pregnancy. According to the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall pregnancy rate among adolescent females has been cut in half from 1991 to 2011, across many different ethnic groups. The rate fell from 61.8/1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 years to 31.3/1,000 teenagers.


Far fewer adolescents are being held against their will in juvenile detention centers. The number of youth who are incarcerated have dropped from a high of 381/100,000 in 1995 to 225/100,000 in 2010, according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Bullying has been increasingly recognized as the public health problem that it is. The use of online technology also has created many new settings in which bullying can take place. Nevertheless, there is reason to be optimistic. From the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Crime Victimization Survey, the number of students who report being bullied at school has dropped from 32% in 2007 to an all-time low of 22% in 2013. Another recent study reached similar conclusions for bullying and many other forms of child victimization between 2003 and 2011 (JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Jun;168[6]:540-6).


According to the CDC, the rate of completed suicide in youth peaked in the early1990s and then dropped and stabilized before starting to creep up again over the past 5 or so years. The trends are somewhat different, based on gender and the specific age group that is examined. The majority of completed youth suicides occur in males, with current rates still well below those historical highs.


This one is particularly tricky. While the rates of many specific psychiatric disorders such as ADHD and bipolar disorder have been rising in youth, as well as the use of psychiatric medications, it is much less clear whether this represents a true rise in these disorders versus other factors such as improved detection and a lower diagnostic threshold. One study by Achenbach et al. that measured quantitative levels of child behavior problems from the same rating scale over a 23-year time span found some increases in overall levels from the 1970s to the early 1990s, but then levels began to fall by the end of the millennium (J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2003 Feb;31[1]:1-11).

Of course, these hopeful trends in many significant areas do not mean that these problems have been overcome. While much work remains to be done on many fronts, it is still worth keeping in mind that the overall condition of youth mental health may not be as dire as we might be led to believe and that there is evidence that our efforts, perhaps, are leading to some progress.

Understanding the Zika Virus and Outbreak

zikavirusmosquito_904054BY Stanford T. Shulman, MD,

The recent recognition of birth defects like microcephaly and intracranial calcifications in some offspring of women infected during pregnancy with the mosquito-borne flavivirus Zika virus has prompted recommendations and guidelines for managing pregnant women and their infants from the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.1-3 This relationship may yet prove circumstantial but should be taken seriously.

For me, one of the strongest attractions of infectious diseases as a specialty is the steady emergence or re-emergence of interesting and challenging infectious agents. Zika, the most recent in a very long list of such agents, was first discovered in 1947 (almost 70 years ago!) in the Zika Forest of Uganda near Lake Victoria, and it has only very recently been recognized as a potentially important human pathogen in the Western Hemisphere.4

Zika is another mosquito-borne single-stranded RNA flavivirus, like yellow fever, dengue, St. Louis encephalitis virus, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis virus.

The full extent of Zika infections in any country is incompletely known because of the limited availability of testing reagents in areas of apparent endemicity in Central and South America. However, dramatically increased numbers of infants with microcephaly and/or intracranial calcifications in Brazil, Ecuador, and elsewhere have coincided with sharp increases in Zika infections.

Apparently about 80% of human Zika virus infections are asymptomatic; symptomatic individuals have non-specific features like fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgias and non-purulent conjunctivitis lasting up to 7 days,1 making accurate clinical diagnoses very difficult. Preliminary Brazilian data suggest a possible causal relationship with Zika in one-third to one-quarter of affected infants .

Known vectors of Zika, Aedes aegypti and possibly Ae. albopictus, are found throughout much of the Western Hemisphere, and Zika transmission thus mirrors dengue and chikungunya.

Officials with the WHO have, as of Feb. 1, declared Zika a “global health emergency,” and have predicted a likely spread of Zika virus to all Western Hemisphere countries except Canada and Chile. They have recommended travel restrictions during pregnancy. For a completely updated list of affected countries/regions, clinicians can visit:

Although Zika cases have been identified in the United States, including in Florida and Illinois, to date it has only been noted in travelers from known endemic areas, especially Brazil.1 As with dengue and chikungunya, that Ae. aegypti  and Ae. albopictus are in the United States raises concern about autochthonous transmission here.

The CDC and some state health departments perform Zika testing (RT-PCR, IgM ELISA, and a highly specific plaque reduction test), but no commercial tests are available. The CDC Interim Guidelinesprovide very detailed guidance to practitioners regarding which infants should be tested: 1) those with microcephaly or intracranial calcifications whose mothers traveled to or lived in an area with Zika transmission during pregnancy, and 2) those with or without microcephaly or intracranial calcifications whose mothers have a travel history and positive or inconclusive Zika testing results.1

Prevention of Zika infection in pregnancy relies upon the usual mosquito control measures (wearing long sleeves and pants, using repellents, especially DEET, avoiding areas with known Zika transmission, using screened windows and doors, and air conditioning). Some high-risk countries have recently urged women to avoid pregnancy for the next 2 years (El Salvador)5 or delaying pregnancy for the next 2 years (Colombia and Ecuador).

Future control measures for Zika and other Ae. aegypti-transmitted infections may result from current innovative studies.6 The United Kingdom-based firm Oxitec has developed genetically-modified maleAe. aegypti that cannot produce viable offspring. Females mating with bioengineered males lay eggs that hatch, but the larvae cannot survive to maturity. In early studies in Brazil, an 82% to 90% reduction in wild Ae. aegypti populations was achieved in field trials. This technology could greatly reduce dengue and chikungunya as well as Zika infections if larger trials show similar efficacy.

Standford T. Shulman, MD, is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’

Lyndon_Johnson_and_Martin_Luther_King_Jr._-_Voting_Rights_Act-300x200BY IAN MILLHISER,

WASHINGTON, DC — There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

The comment came as part of a larger riff on a comment Scalia made the last time the landmark voting law was before the justices. Noting the fact that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization passed 98-0 when it was before the Senate in 2006, Scalia claimed four years ago that this unopposed vote actually undermines the law: “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”

That was an unusual comment when it was made, but Scalia’s expansion on it today raises concerns that his suspicion of the Act is rooted much more in racial resentment than in a general distrust of unanimous votes. Scalia noted when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965, itpassed over 19 dissenters. In subsequent reauthorizations, the number of dissenters diminished, until it passed the Senate without dissent seven years ago. Scalia’s comments suggested that this occurred, not because of a growing national consensus that racial disenfranchisement is unacceptable, but because lawmakers are too afraid to be tarred as racists. His inflammatory claim that the Voting Rights Act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” came close to the end of a long statement on why he found a landmark law preventing race discrimination in voting to be suspicious.

It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Right Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.

A transcript of the oral argument will be available soon, and we will post Scalia’s quote in its full context. We will also post audio of Scalia’s words when they become available.