Mr. Fred Albert Harris

Mr. Fred Albert Harris

Mr. Fred Albert Harris

Mr. Fred Albert Harris of 113 Ida Drive, Americus, Georgia died Monday, July 11, 2016 at the Phoebe-Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 11:00 a. m. in the sanctuary of the Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church, 132 Bumphead Road, Americus, Georgia.  The burial will follow at Staley Memorial Garden in Americus, Georgia.
Visitation will be held Friday from 10:00 a. m. until 2:00 p. m. at the funeral home and from 5:00 p. m. until 7:00 p. m. at the Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church, 132 Bumphead Road, Americus, Georgia.
The family may be contacted at The Harris Residence, 1105 Middle River Road, Americus, Georgia.

Mr. Fred Albert Harris was born in Sumter County, Georgia on August 15, 1945 to the parentage of the late Mr. Perry Alfred and Mrs. Ruby Lee Wooden Harris. He was the eighth child born to this union.

Fred is preceded in death by two brothers, Mr. Oliver Harris and Mr. McKinley Harris and a sister, Mrs. Nancy Harris Hall.

Being raised and nurtured in a Christian home, he attended Sunday School and church during his early childhood years. He accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and joined the Welcome Baptist Church.

Fred served faithfully as Vice President of the Annie Bell Foster Mission. He also attended other activities on a regular basis.

He was the co-owner and operator of Harris Sanitation Service; he worked many years at Davis Casket Company, Turner Enterprise, Shipp Farm, and as a Bus Driver for Sumter County Board of Education.

On Monday, July 11, 2016, Fred transitioned to his eternal home, free of all sufferings and pain.

His legacy of love and caring will forever be cherished by his children, Mr. Dwayne Lamar Harris of Loganville, Georgia, Ms. Linda Joyce Harris of Tallahassee, Florida, and Mr. Fredrick Bernard Harris of Rex, Georgia; a granddaughter, Miss Zoe Katlyn Harris of Atlanta, Georgia; his sisters, Mrs. Fannie   Harris Butler and Mrs. Kathleen Harris Monts both of Americus, Georgia, Mrs. Ruby Harris (Clyde) Maddox of Riverside, California, Ms. Janice Marie Harris and Reverend Sherryl Harris Snead both of Americus, Georgia; his brothers, Mr. Alfred (Elizabeth) Harris, Mr. William (Mattie) Harris, Mr. John (Annie) Harris, Reverend Norris Harris, and Reverend Gerald (Martha) Harris all of Americus, Georgia; a brother-in-law, Mr. John L. Hall of Americus, Georgia; a host of nieces and nephews, to include, Mr. Christopher Butler, Mr. Patrick Harris, Mr. Shelby Hall, Mr. Victor Hall, and Mr. Alfred “Rick” Harris all of Americus, Georgia, and Mr. Donavin Miles of Warner Robins, Georgia; a host of cousins, to include, Mr. Otis Harris of Americus, Georgia; a host of other relatives and many sorrowing friends.




Veteran Donald Pope was born March 8, 1950 to the parentage of the late Leonard Pope, Sr. and Doris Thomas Pope, who survives. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County. He was a 1968 graduate of Sumter High School. Donald also attended Georgia Southwestern State College. After graduating, he joined the United States Marine Corp. While serving his country, Donald served in the Vietnam War, where he received a Purple Heart.

At an early age,  Donald joined the Bethlehem Baptist Church. He later moved his membership to Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, where he served faithfully until his health failed.

Donald worked many years at Redman Mobile Home and Cooper Lighting.

In 1991, he was united in Holy Matrimony to Linda Dowdell. Before his departure to his Heavenly Home, Donald and Linda celebrated 25 years of marriage on June 25.

He is preceded in death by a sister, Margaret Pope Douglas.

He leaves to cherish his memories: his wife of 25 years, Mrs. Linda Dowdell-Pope, Americus, GA; his mother, Mrs. Doris Thomas Pope, Americus, GA; one son, Mr. Anthony (Angela) Wright, Cordele, GA; three brothers: Mr. Leonard (Emma) Pope, Mr. Calvin Pope and Mr. Harold Pope, all of Americus, GA; two sisters, Mrs. Linda (James) Larkins and Ms. Nadine Pope, both of Americus, GA; two aunts, Ms. Frances Baker, Jacksonville, FL and Mrs. Mary Humphries, Opelika, AL; his brothers & sisters-in-law: Mr. Victor (Bernetha) Burt, Ms. Barbara Patrick and Ms. Patricia Dowdell, all of Opelika, AL, Mr. Gerald Nathaniel (Antoinette) Dowdell, Alexandria, VA; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends also survive.




The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.     Psalm 27:1

Ms. Amy Lester was born on June 8, 1928 in Schley County, Georgia to the parentage of the late Mr. Lonnie King and the late Ms. Addie Thompson Lester. She was educated in the public school system of Schley County in the old John Lewis High School. At an early age, she received Christ and joined the Union Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church and remained a faithful member until her death.

All that knew her knew she was a hard working woman. She loved serving and keeping things clean. She wanted all, blacks and whites, to know that she proudly cleaned all over Ellaville. She also loved to cook and feed all who entered her doors.

She is preceded in death by her son, Lonnie “Buddy” Lester; her brothers, Wiley Lester and William Douglas “W.D.” Lester and her sisters, Bertha Mae Lester and Mildred “Cindy” Lester.

On Monday, July 4, 2016, Ms. Amy Lester departed this earthly life while resting at her home. She left one resting place and entered into eternal rest in a home not made with hands. Well done my good and faithful servant.

She leaves to cherish her memories; one son, Mr. Ronnie (Sylvia) Lester, Jonesboro, GA; three daughters, Mrs. Taffie (Billy) Maynard, Atlanta, GA, Ms. Brenda Lester, Ellaville, GA and Ms. Kay L. Lester, Fayetteville, GA; four grandchildren, Jerrold Carnell (Tammi) Lester, Carlos (Avril) Maynard, Cedric (Nidra) Maynard and Theo Grice; seven great grandchildren; two step great grandchildren; one sister-in-law, Ms. Queen Esther Lester, Chillicothe, OH; two nephews, including, Mr. Jerome (Charlene) Lester and Mr. Wiley (Ruby) Lester, Jr.; a great niece, Ms. Wanda (James) Anthony; a very faithful grand nephew, Rev. Jerome (Willa) Lester, Jr., a host of cousins other relatives and friends, including a dear friend, Ms. Emily Ruff, Ellaville, GA also survive.




Ms. Delois Williams Harvey, affectionately called “Sister, Frog Eye and Dee Dee to her co-workers was born in Sumter County, Georgia on March 29, 1946 to the parentage of the late Mr. Woodrow Williams and the late Mrs. Winnie Carter Williams. Delois was the oldest daughter of this union. Delois Williams Harvey followed her mother back to Big Bethel Baptist Church in 1968. she was a faithful member and dedicated Sunday School student until her health prevented continuous service. Delois Williams Harvey was a sponsor/seed sower for Tabernacle of Testimony Church, Inc., Cochran, Georgia. She donated Bibles to the church. She received her education in the public schools of Sumter County and was a graduate of the 1965 class of Sumter County High School. She furthered her education by attending Technical School in Albany for Cosmetology. She received additional training as a Daycare provider and Nursing Assistant. Delois worked nearly 20 years as a certified Nursing Assistant at Magnolia Manor Nursing Center until she had to retire due to illness. She is preceded in death by three brothers, Calvin Nathaniel, Thomas and Baby Boy Williams and two sisters, Mary Beatrice Ross and Carol Bell Jackson. Delois was married to Mr. Joseph Harvey and one male child was born from this union.

She leaves to cherish her memories, two sons, Mr. Lorenza Williams and Mr. Jermaine Harvey both of Americus, GA; one daughter, Ms. Twanda Williams, Americus, GA; two brothers, Mr. Jessie (Delois) Williams, Bowie, MD and Mr. Earl (Sallie) Williams, Hinesville, GA; two sisters, Mrs. Eula Mae (James) Rouland, Snellville, GA and Mrs. Kathy Lorene (Randy) Mays, Warner Robins, GA; one grandson, Jonathan J. Hurley; and a host of 17 nieces, and nephews, including a devoted nephew, Mr. Thomas Williams; a devoted grand niece, Kristan King, 19 great nieces & nephews, cousins, including a devoted cousin, Calvetta C. Perry other relatives and friends, including devoted friends, Mr. Eugene Smith, Ms. Georgia Solomon and Ms. Minnie Witherspoon also survive.





Ms. Josie Mae Simpson was born on September 24, 1933 to the late Mrs. Johnnie Mae Simpson Cooke and the late Mr. William Floyd, Sr.  She accepted the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at an early age.  In 1946, Josie joined the Greater Cedar Spring Baptist Church in Plains Georgia and continued being a faithful servant until her health failed.  She was also a faithful attendee of the Mount Salem Baptist Church.  She enjoyed serving the Lord.  Later in life, she met a charming young man named Robert King, who became her life partner until his untimely death, together they were blessed with two handsome sons, Derrick and Greg.

She was educated in the public schools of Sumter County where she graduated from A. S. Staley High School in 1953. She began her working career in the early 1950’s with the City Café on North Lee Street and later the café was relocated on Cotton Ave.  After many years of perfecting the industry, her desire to become an entrepreneur was long lived.  Josie became the owner of Simpson’s Café and remained in business for over 50 years.  The love she had for cooking and helping others allowed her to feed a multitude of people who crossed her path whether they paid or not.  During the early 1990s, Simpson’s Café closed and she continued to work as a cook with Kings Inn Restaurant on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Josie had an angelic spirit and a heart of gold.   She was a very giving person who was well known in the community and loved by many. She was always willing to help those in need by feeding, clothing, offering money, or sharing a kind word. She continuously gave over and beyond to help whenever or whomever she could. There are not enough words to express the love she had for others.

God patiently waited for his angel and summoned her home.  Josie transitioned peacefully from her earthly home on June 27, 2016.  In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by one sister, Annie Maude Cooke Schley and four brothers, Alonza Cooke, Eddie Lee Cooke, Sam Cooke and Charles Cooke.

She leaves to mourn her passing two loving and devoted sons, Derrick (Renee’) King of Los Angeles, CA; and Greg (Ruthie) King, of Leslie, GA; nieces and nephews raised as her children, her loving and devoted caregiver, Josephine Simpson, Americus, GA;  Annie “Sue” (Thomas) Douglas, McDonough, GA; Mary Frances Hudson, Los Angeles, CA; Freda (David) Turner, Windsor, CT; Curtis Simpson, Los Angeles, CA; Alex B. Gant, South Chesterfield, VA; James Simpson, Jr., Americus, GA; three grandchildren, Lauryn, Kaelyn, and Kennedy King. One brother, Oscar (Emma) Cooke, Sr., Americus, GA; four sisters,  Lula May, Norfolk, VA; Carrie (Charles) Randall, Los Angeles, CA; Shirlene (Franky) Lane, Virginia Beach, VA; Barbara (Glenn Sr.) Otis, Chicago, IL; Six half siblings, Juanita Sims, Detroit, MI; Alice (Gene) Lembrick, East Hartford, CT; William (Gloria) Floyd, Jr., Detroit, MI; Eddie (Shirley) West, Harford, CT; John Floyd, Albany, GA, and Verna (Bobby) Gibson, Bloomfield, CT. Three sisters-in-law, Ollie M. Simpson, Americus, GA; Wilma Cooke, Madison, AL; Jean Cooke, Chesapeake, VA.  A host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Mary Thomas Tookes Alma Jackson and Willie Mae Mitchim devoted and caring friends.  Thanks to Home Nurse Inc. and their staff.  Special thanks to Josie’s nurse aides, Kathy Jackson and Teresa Floyd, for their daily devoted care of Josie.




Mr. Dennis Merritt was born in Sumter County, Georgia on June 11, 1958 to the parentage of the late Mr. Nathaniel Merritt and the late Mrs. Minnie Johnson Merritt. At an early age, he joined the Antioch Baptist Church, where he served faithfully. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County.

Dennis was a lot of things, but first and foremost, he was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. Growing up with many siblings and loving parents, he was taught the value of family. He continued to apply that lesson everyday of his life. He became such the family man, that he was often called “Big Papa” by everyone. Along with family he loved to garden, farm, fish, fix things and last but not least having a good ole cookout. Anyone could ask Big Papa about those things and he would always give you an answer, whether you liked it or not. Yet, that is what defined him as a man, because he stuck by what he said and always followed through. He was a great man and the impact that he held in people’s lives will always be felt. So as the Lord takes him to his final resting place, we say farewell to a man of many talents, a man with great pretense and a man that will always be remembered in our hearts forever. We Love You.

He is preceded in death by four brothers, Lawrence Merritt, Will Merritt, Lee Merritt, Nathaniel Merritt, Jr.; three sisters, Mary Berry, Rosie Lee Jenkins and Sara Wade.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife of 34 years, Mrs. Shirley M. Merritt, Americus, GA; two sons, Mr. Stevie (Joy) Porter, Albany, GA and Mr. Eddie (Talaycia) Porter, Americus, GA; two daughters, Ms. Denise Merritt and friend, Daniel Harris, Americus, GA and Ms. Claretha Marshall, Americus, GA; two brothers, Mr. Clifford Merritt and Mr. Leroy Merritt both of Americus, GA; three sisters, Mrs. Julia Pearl (Edward) Hayes, Cobb, GA, Ms. Johnnie Mae Hayes, Americus, GA and Ms. Willie Mae Gamble, Atlanta, GA; seven grandchildren, Dwight, Jr., LaDarius, Nykeria, Cameron, Kylen, Ma’Kai and Stevie, Jr.; his mother-in-law, Mrs. Gussie (Willie James) Owens, Leesburg, GA; his father-in-law, Mr. Ernest Johnson, Daytona Beach, FL; his brothers & sisters-in-law, Mr. Willie James (Melody), Jr., Mrs. Evelyn (Raymond) Moses, Mrs. Mamie (Richard) Woods, Mrs. Dorothy (Kenneth) Hammond, Mr. Jerry (Janice) Owens all of Albany, GA, Mr. Willie F. (Gloria) Owens, Deridder, LA, Mrs. Brenda (David) English, McDonough, GA, Mr. John (Jackie) Owens, Fort Myers, FL and Mr. Clifford (Maggie) Morgan, Americus, GA; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.




Ms. Dorothy Lee Bradley was born in Ocala, Marion County, Florida on August 16, 1945. Dorothy lived in Blakely, Georgia for several years and attended the Early-Miller Training Center. She along with her foster family moved to Americus, Georgia in 2008. After Dorothy health began to declined, she moved to Macon, Georgia and lived in an assisted living home. She enjoyed listening to gospel music, traveling and the company of family and friends. She is preceded in death by her foster grandfather, Mr. Jacob Dowdell, Sr.

Dorothy leaves to cherish her memories: her foster family, a mother, Ms. Pertina Dowdell; brother, Mr. Danyel Dowdell; grandmother, Ms. Lavans Dowdell; great grandmother, Ms. Susie Monson; her uncles, Mr. Justice El-bay, Mr. Joseph (Diane) Monts, Mr. Jacob Dowdell, Jr.; her aunts, Ms. Alnita Dowdell and Ms. Kalisha Dowdell; her foster great nieces & nephews, Tory, Joshua, Breanca, Shaqunna, Diamond, Jeremi, Lakimberly, Jacob, III, Olivia, Kylee, Correll, Devon, Tyler and Chelsey; she also leaves a loving care team and individuals sharing in the assist living home, Ms. Anissa Colbert, Ms. Karen Moore, Ms. Tiffani Brown, Ms. Gwen Jones, Ms. Vivian Branch, Ms. Cherrell Johnson, Ms. Kim Hollis, Ms. Gloria Lowe, Ms. Tamesha Bryant, Ms. Amy Wilson, Ms. Asia Mitchell and Ms. Natalice Callaway also survive.

Nurturing an independent black economy and a strong institutional resource base for black survival in the 21st century

(Image: Facebook)

(Image: Facebook)

As we mourn the death of Alton Sterling, engage in an honest and robust conversation about the value of black lives in America, and demand accountability from the men and women who vow to serve and protect our communities, we must also address barriers to employment and business ownership that threaten black survival.

Alton Sterling and Eric Garner — black men, black fathers, black husbands, black sons — were both killed in cold blood by white police officers. They share a few additional commonalities: they were both ex-offenders who used informal entrepreneurial activities to support their families and overcome exclusionary hiring practices in the workforce.


Ex-Offenders and Entrepreneurship


 Many ex-offenders become entrepreneurs or become involved in informal work activities to avoid exclusionary hiring practices in the formal economy. “Ex-offenders re-entering communities face a host of problems, a major one being barriers to employment because of their criminal records,” according to Carmen Solomon-Fears, specialist in social policy at the Congressional Research Service.” Most employers now conduct background checks, with the result that people are often denied employment or even fired from jobs because of their criminal records,” she added.

With few mechanisms in place to support the inclusion of ex-offenders in the formal economy, many turn to informal participation and/or entrepreneurship. In this vein, Sterling sold CDs to support five children. Garner sold single cigarettes, oftentimes referred to as ‘loosies’ to support six.

These are examples of the types of informal entrepreneurial endeavors that unemployed ex-offenders rely on to make ends meet. “Many people who are officially jobless are nonetheless involved in informal kinds of work activity, ranging from unpaid housework to work in the informal or illegal economies that draw income,” according to William Julius Wilson, professor of social policy and director of the Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program at Harvard University.

These informal kinds of work carry added importance for black Americans, a demographic that is incarcerated at five times the rate of white Americans and earns on average 64-72 cent to every dollar earned by white men.

“It’s no wonder black people start businesses at five times the rate of any other race. We are fed up with paying a societal debt, when we know it was black hands that invested in the wealth building of this country absent financial return. Our labor should have yielded a black American surplus, not at a deficit we are paying to this day,” according to Kezia Williams, founding director of Black upStart.

“Folk tryna talk to me about Alton Sterling’s criminal record. Ok. But facts are, both Alton Sterling and Eric Garner were attempting an entrepreneurial endeavor to make ends meet after their sentences were served. Any black person with a degree, ambition and a wit of common sense knows landing a job at the corporate plantation is difficult unless you work two times as hard, are two times as smart, and willing to accept appetizer-like money knowing your credentials and work ethic are main course money worthy. Now imagine going through this same exercise with a criminal record,” she concluded.


Barriers to Entrepreneurial Success


These “informal activities,” such as selling loose cigarettes or CDs, are often criminalized by the state, perhaps because they are either partially or fully outside government regulation, taxation, and observation.

Therefore, many of the entrepreneurial endeavors of ex-offenders are illegal, unprofitable and/or unsuccessful because ex-offenders, specifically ex-offenders of color, continue to be  criminalized and severely under-capitalized with little to no formal structures to acquire the funding and social capital necessary to scale a successful startup, according to Digitalundivided, a California-based investment firm.


What’s The Solution?

Defy Ventures, an online entrepreneurship training platform for people with criminal histories,  is trying to change that. “Defy recognizes that many former drug dealers and gang leaders can become successful, legal entrepreneurs,” according to the website. We transform the hustle of our formerly incarcerated Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) by offering intensive leadership development, Shark Tank– style business plan competitions, executive mentoring, financial investment, and startup incubation.”

So far, the results from the online platform are strong: of the 800 prisoners who went through Defy’s first prisoner entrepreneurship program in Texas, recidivism is just 5% and about 80 businesses have launched.

Entrepreneurship, broadly, and Defy, specifically, is not a solution to all of the problems plaguing our community. It cannot prevent a callous white police officer from murdering an entrepreneurial father of six. It cannot prevent local or state legislatures from enacting policies that disenfranchise millions of black Americans. It cannot eradicate educational inequality. But it is a seed of hope.

If properly watered, the seed can become a tree of life that nurtures an independent black economy and a strong institutional resource base that is necessary for black survival in the 21st century.

Jared Brown currently coordinates a $25 million initiative at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) designed to cultivate the next generation of African American innovators and entrepreneurs. He also serves as operations director at Black upStart, an early stage social enterprise that supports entrepreneurs through the ideation and customer validation processes. His commentary on issues related to workforce development, broadly, and black entrepreneurship, specifically, has been published by Black Enterprise, the Center for American Progress, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Just What Were Donald Trump’s Ties to the Mob?

Donald Trump, Mayor Ed Koch, and Roy Cohn attend the Trump Tower opening in October 1983. | Getty

Donald Trump, Mayor Ed Koch, and Roy Cohn attend the Trump Tower opening in October 1983. | Getty

In his signature book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump boasted that when he wanted to build a casino in Atlantic City, he persuaded the state attorney general to limit the investigation of his background to six months. Most potential owners were scrutinized for more than a year. Trump argued that he was “clean as a whistle”—young enough that he hadn’t had time to get into any sort of trouble. He got the sped-up background check, and eventually got the casino license.

But Trump was not clean as a whistle. Beginning three years earlier, he’d hired mobbed-up firms to erect Trump Tower and his Trump Plaza apartment building in Manhattan, including buying ostensibly overpriced concrete from a company controlled by mafia chieftains Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. That story eventually came out in a federal investigation, which also concluded that in a construction industry saturated with mob influence, the Trump Plaza apartment building most likely benefited from connections to racketeering. Trump also failed to disclose that he was under investigation by a grand jury directed by the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who wanted to learn how Trump obtained an option to buy the Penn Central railroad yards on the West Side of Manhattan.

Why did Trump get his casino license anyway? Why didn’t investigators look any harder? And how deep did his connections to criminals really go?

These questions ate at me as I wrote about Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and then went more deeply into the issues in a book, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In all, I’ve covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years, and in that time I’ve encountered multiple threads linking Trump to organized crime. Some of Trump’s unsavory connections have been followed by investigators and substantiated in court; some haven’t. And some of those links have continued until recent years, though when confronted with evidence of such associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty memory. In an April 27 phone call to respond to my questions for this story, Trump told me he did not recall many of the events recounted in this article and they “were a long time ago.” He also said that I had “sometimes been fair, sometimes not” in writing about him, adding “if I don’t like what you write, I’ll sue you.”

I’m not the only one who has picked up signals over the years. Wayne Barrett, author of a 1992 investigative biography of Trump’s real-estate dealings, has tied Trump to mob and mob-connected men.

No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks. Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said the closest historical example would be President Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome, a bribery and bid-rigging scandal in which the interior secretary went to prison. But even that has a key difference: Harding’s associates were corrupt but otherwise legitimate businessmen, not mobsters and drug dealers.

This is part of the Donald Trump story that few know. As Barrett wrote in his book, Trump didn’t just do business with mobbed-up concrete companies: he also probably met personally with Salerno at the townhouse of notorious New York fixer Roy Cohn, in a meeting recounted by a Cohn staffer who told Barrett she was present. This came at a time when other developers in New York were pleading with the FBI to free them of mob control of the concrete business.

From the public record and published accounts like that one, it’s possible to assemble a clear picture of what we do know. The picture shows that Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.

Now that he’s running for president, I pulled together what’s known – piecing together the long history of federal filings, court records, biographical anecdotes, and research from my and Barrett’s files. What emerges is a pattern of business dealings with mob figuresnot only local figures, but even the son of a reputed Russian mob boss whom Trump had at his side at a gala Trump hotel opening, but has since claimed under oath he barely knows.

Neither Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Hope Hicks, nor Jason Greenblatt, the executive vice president and chief legal officer at the Trump Organization, responded to several emailed requests for comment on the issues raised in this article.

Here, as close as we can get to the truth, is what really happened.


After graduating in 1968 from the University of Pennsylvania, a rich young man from the outer boroughs of New York City sought his fortune on the island of Manhattan. Within a few years Donald J. Trump had made friends with the city’s most notorious fixer, lawyer Roy Cohn, who had become famous as lead counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy. Among other things Cohn was now a mob consigliere, with clients including “Fat Tony” Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, the most powerful Mafia group in New York, and Paul Castellano, head of what was said to be the second largest family, the Gambinos.

This business connection proved useful when Trump began work on what would become Trump Tower, the 58-story high-rise where he still lives when he’s not at his Florida estate.

There was something a little peculiar about the construction of Trump Tower, and subsequent Trump projects in New York. Most skyscrapers are steel girder construction, and that was especially true in the 1980s, says John Cross of the American Iron & Steel Institute. Some use pre-cast concrete. Trump chose a costlier and in many ways riskier method: ready-mix concrete. Ready-mix has some advantages: it can speed up construction, and doesn’t require costly fireproofing. But it must be poured quickly or it will harden in the delivery truck drums, ruining them as well as creating costly problems with the building itself. That leaves developers vulnerable to the unions: the worksite gate is union controlled, so even a brief labor slowdown can turn into an expensive disaster.

Salerno, Castellano and other organized crime figures controlled the ready-mix business in New York, and everyone in construction at the time knew it. So did government investigators trying to break up the mob, urged on by major developers such as the LeFrak and Resnick families. Trump ended up not only using ready-mix concrete, but also paying what a federal indictment of Salerno later concluded were inflated prices for it – repeatedly – to S & A Concrete, a firm Salerno and Castellano owned through fronts, and possibly to other mob-controlled firms. As Barrett noted, by choosing to build with ready-mix concrete rather than other materials, Trump put himself “at the mercy of a legion of concrete racketeers.”

Salerno and Castellano and other mob families controlled both the concrete business and the unions involved in delivering and pouring it. The risks this created became clear from testimony later by Irving Fischer, the general contractor who built Trump Tower. Fischer said concrete union “goons” once stormed his offices, holding a knife to throat of his switchboard operator to drive home the seriousness of their demands, which included no-show jobs during construction of Trump Tower.

But with Cohn as his lawyer, Trump apparently had no reason to personally fear Salerno or Castellanoat least, not once he agreed to pay inflated concrete prices. What Trump appeared to receive in return was union peace. That meant the project would never face costly construction or delivery delays.

The indictment on which Salerno was convicted in 1988 and sent to prison, where he died, listed the nearly $8 million contract for concrete at Trump Plaza, an East Side high-rise apartment building, as one of the acts establishing that S &A was part of a racketeering enterprise. (While the concrete business was central to the case, the trial also proved extortion, narcotics, rigged union elections and murders by the Genovese and Gambino crime families in what Michael Chertoff, the chief prosecutor, called “the largest and most vicious criminal business in the history of the United States.”)

FBI agents subpoenaed Trump in 1980 to ask about his dealing with John Cody, a Teamsters official described by law enforcement as a very close associate of the Gambino crime family. The FBI believed that Cody previously had obtained free apartments from other developers. FBI agents suspected that Cody, who controlled the flow of concrete trucks, might get a free Trump Tower apartment. Trump denied it. But a female friend of Cody’s, a woman with no job who attributed her lavish lifestyle to the kindness of friends, bought three Trump Tower apartments right beneath the triplex where Donald lived with his wife Ivana. Cody stayed there on occasion and invested $500,000 in the units. Trump, Barrett reported, helped the woman get a $3 million mortgage without filling out a loan application or showing financials.

In the summer of 1982 Cody, then under indictment, ordered a citywide strike—but the concrete work continued at Trump Tower. After Cody was convicted of racketeering, imprisoned and lost control of the union, Trump sued the woman for $250,000 for alteration work. She countersued for $20 million and in court papers accused Trump of taking kickbacks from contractors, asserting this could “be the basis of a criminal proceeding requiring an attorney general’s investigation” into Trump. Trump then quickly settled, paying the woman a half-million dollars. Trump said at the time and since then that he hardly knew those involved and there was nothing improper his dealings with Cody or the woman.


There were other irregularities in Trump’s first big construction project. In 1979, when Trump hired a demolition contractor to take down the Bonwit Teller department store to make way for Trump Tower, he hired as many as 200 non-union men to work alongside about 15 members of the House Wreckers Union Local 95. The non-union workers were mostly illegal Polish immigrants paid $4 to $6 per hour with no benefits, far below the union contract. At least some of them did not use power tools but sledgehammers, working 12 hours a day or more and often seven days a week. Known as the “Polish brigade,” many didn’t wear hard hats. Many slept on the construction site.

These Metro Atlanta Companies are Making Big Hires in July

Now_hiringIt’s becoming a common headline: signs of another recession seem imminent. And yet, the job market in metro Atlanta this month offers any number of career opportunities. Our Fortune 500 companies are hiring, there’s a large conference this month recruiting military talent and healthcare continues to post more and more positions. Here’s just a small sampling of what’s happening in July around the area:

General Electric

General Electric has 155 openings posted on its website for work primarily in metro Atlanta. Look for that to be a growing trend. The company is scouting for a site to put its new $3 million global digital operations center — a project that is expected to create 250 new jobs. GE decision makers are reported to be looking in the midtown area for office space.


UnitedHealthcare is currently looking to fill at least 78 jobs in metro Atlanta. Some opportunities offer telecommuting. The majority are for full-time positions. UnitedHealthcare is holding a nationwide Virtual Hiring Event July 25-29. To participate, just click this link and follow the directions laid out.

Orion International (military recruiting firm) | Southeast Regional Hiring Conference | July 25-26

Orion International is a recruiting services, which allows organizations to attract, hire, develop and retain veterans and military talent. Orion only holds around 75 hiring conferences a year, and each conference features positions throughout that region of the country. The metro Atlanta conference will transpire over the course of two days on July 25-26. While the event is free, it is by invitation only. If you would like the chance to interview with hiring managers for positions that are a match with your background, skills, and preferences, please contact Liz Dabrowski at or 800-872-5002 x. 117 for more information.


UPS currently has 41 job openings listed on its website for the metro Atlanta area.The opportunities posted run the gamut, going from senior applications developer to IFA accounting supervisor. To apply, create a profile on the company’s careers page.

UPS offers a solid benefits package, especially for part time employees including “exposure to an incredible range of opportunities and training programs and a practice of promoting from within.”

Deuces! An Atlanta Housewife Is Ditching the Show and Shacking Up With a New Man?

060216-celebs-kenya-moore-boyfriend-breakup-cast-1Are big changes coming to Real Housewives of Atlanta? It seems like one of the Georgia Peaches has gone sour on being a reality star, and is looking to leave the show for good. This same reality star is also rumored to be selling her house in Atlanta so she can shack up with her baby’s father — much to fury of her estranged husband.

Of course, we’re talking about Cynthia Bailey.

The former model’s marriage to Peter Thomas has been on the rocks for a while now, and it looks like along with ditching her ring, she’s also trying to move away from being a Real Housewife altogether.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bailey has put the home she once shared with Peter on the market for $699,000. Blogger Tamara Tattles claims to have sources saying Bailey is ready to walk away from the Real Housewives of Atlanta as well, and focus on her businesses and her daughter’s modeling career.

What’s more, she’s been spending more and more time in New York and Los Angeles, where her ex and daughter’s father Leon Robinson lives bicoastally. While Tattles suggests the former couple are trying to rekindle things for the sake of their child, that seems pretty unlikely considering the young lady is nearly 18 and is probably looking to move out of her parents’ house herself.

Either way, Cynthia’s soon-to-be ex-husband Peter Thomas seems to have had enough of seeing his wife’s name in his mentions. He went on a sharp rant on Instagram, clapping back at the show’s audience and even some of his followers:

Beyonce and Jay Z Step Out Smiling After Shopping Trip in Italy

spl1320734_018_bey_jay_425Beyonce and Jay Z have definitely put the Lemonade drama behind them.

The A-list power couple  was all smiles when they stepped out of the Just Cavalli store on Monday in Milan, Italy. Dressed in a casual, yet trendy, ensemble, Bey walked out first, while her husband was not far behind her, donning a shirt with the image of Jesus Christ on it. The two have appearedquite happy over the past few months following the release of Lemonade, in which Beyonce shares the deeply personal story of a lover who was cheated on, but ultimately finds a way to forgive her “beautiful man.”

Beyonce — whose virtual album is up for four Emmy Awards — is currently in Europe on herFormation tour, and will perform in Milan’s San Siro on Monday night. Chrissy Teigen also revealed that she’ll be in the audience for Bey’s show, Instagramming a photo of her cuddling up to her daughter, Luna. “Mommy getting ready for Beyoncé in Milan tonight!” she wrote.

ust a week prior to touching down in Italy, Jay Z and Queen Bey cheered on “Sorry” music video star, Serena Williams, at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships in London, England. Dressed in matching white outfits, Beyonce sported a braided ponytail, round-framed sunglasses and a lacy high-neck Self Portrait dress, while her husband donned a long-sleeved T-shirt and baseball cap.

EXCLUSIVE: T.I. Reveals Baby Heiress’ ‘Classic’ Music Tastes and Diana Ross Connection Ahead of ‘Family Hustle’ Premiere

The Harris family is back on their hustle!

T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle returns for its sixth season on Monday, July 18, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on VH1, and ET sat down with Tip to discuss one of the biggest plot developments this season: his new baby girl!

The couple welcomed daughter Heiress Diana Harris, the seventh child to join their family, on March 26, 2016, but cameras were already rolling when news of the surprise pregnancy broke.

WATCH: T.I. and Tiny Welcome Baby No. 7 

“I didn’t believe it,” T.I. admits with a laugh. “Everyone was extremely pleased. Major, when he found out it was gonna be a girl, I think he wanted a little brother. But he loves her. Now that she’s here, he definitely appreciates her.”

T.I. jokes that it’s “all hands on deck” with raising little Heiress, but he’s taken a special interest in helping to develop her musical tastes.

“She likes music a lot,” he says, revealing with a laugh that he doesn’t play his own music for her to hear.

“She likes Prince, I play some Aaliyah, the Isley Brothers, really the classics, things that I would consider classic,” he continues. “I wouldn’t want to put anything trendy in her ear because you never know if it’s actually gonna stick around long enough for her to actually gravitate towards it.”

Fittingly, Heiress already has an unbreakable tie to one musical icon — Diana Ross.

“Tameka’s mom is named Diana,” T.I. explained of Heiress’ middle name. “And also, she was born on Diana Ross’ birthday.”

But it’s not all baby talk when The Family Hustle returns to the small screen. The show will follow T.I. as he continues building his empire, including a brand new cooking show, while Tiny helps Shekinah launch her own hair product line. Meanwhile, Domani gives stand-up comedy a shot, Messiah heads to high school, King writes a children’s book, and Major faces his fear of water with swimming lessons. (Did we mention the Jello wrestling with T.I.’s crazy Uncle Crow? That definitely happens, too!)

Marc Lamont Hill gets live talk show on VH1

(Courtesy of

(Courtesy of

CNN commentator and Morehouse professor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill will anchor a new talk show on VH1 called ‘VH1 Live.’

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the late-night weekly talk series “will deliver pop culture spin on entertainment news and gossip” with Lamont Hill’s “raw street savvy” in the mix.

–Marc Lamont Hill blasts ex-detective on CNN over police killings

Lamont Hill, 37, has also served as a host for BET News and travels the country frequently on the lecture circuit. He is the author of the forthcoming book Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, which explores the intersections of race and class in America.

The television host has spoken candidly about his personal journey to finding his voice, initially dropping out of college his freshman year at Morehouse, then graduating from Temple University and later earning his PhD. By 33 years old, Lamont Hill was an associate professor at Columbia University.

–Commentator tries to school Marc Lamont Hill on race, fails

Lamont Hill’s appearances on CNN have made for some of the most heated and viral moments on the network.

‘VH1’ Live debuts Sunday, July 17 at 10 p.m.  Grio Fam, will you be tuning in to check it out? Hit us up in the comments with your thoughts!

5,300 U.S. Water Systems are in Violation of Lead Rules

(CNN)Eighteen million Americans live in communities where the water systems are in violation of the law. Moreover, the federal agency in charge of making sure those systems are safe not only knows the issues exist, but it’s done very little to stop them, according to a new report and information provided to CNN by multiple sources and water experts.

“Imagine a cop sitting, watching people run stop signs, and speed at 90 miles per hour in small communities and still doing absolutely nothing about it — knowing the people who are violating the law. And doing nothing. That’s unfortunately what we have now,” said Erik Olson, health program director at Natural Resources Defense Council, which analyzed the EPA’s data for its report.
In this case, the “cop” is a combination of the states and the EPA. States are the first line of enforcement, but when they fail — as they did recently in Flint, Michigan — the EPA is supposed to step in. But in many cases, the agency hasn’t.
More than 5,300 water systems in America are in violation of the EPA’s lead and copper rule, a federal regulation in place to safeguard America’s drinking water from its aging infrastructure.
Violations include failure to properly test water for lead, failure to report contamination to residents, and failure to treat water properly to avoid lead contamination. Yet, states took action in 817 cases; the EPA took action in just 88 cases, according to NRDC’s report.
What’s worse, the report reveals that the EPA is also aware that many utilities “game the system,” using flawed or questionable testing methods in order to avoid detecting high levels of lead.
That means there could be many more communities violating the laws, exposing residents to dangerous levels of lead. And the public has no idea.
Even Flint, a city with the most notorious case of lead in water discovered, is still not listed as having violated the EPA’s lead and copper rule.
In response to the report, the EPA said it works closely with states “who are responsible for and do take the majority of the drinking water enforcement actions and are the first line of oversight of drinking water systems.”
The agency added that, “it’s important to note that many of the drinking water systems that NRDC cites in its analysis are already working to resolve past violations and return to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act in consultation with state regulators or EPA.”

Gaming the system for years

A Virginia Tech researcher credited with exposing two of the nation’s largest lead-in-water crises — in Washington D.C. in the early 2000s, and in Flint last year — said he noticed several years ago that the EPA was turning a blind eye to the “cheating” by local water utilities.
“Cheating became something you didn’t even hide,” researcher Marc Edwards told CNN.
Among the bad practices adopted by water utilities: selectively testing homes that are unlikely to have high levels of lead, asking residents to “pre-flush” their taps, and taking water samples “slowly,” which reduces lead levels.
He wrote a paper on this in 2009. Then in 2011, Edwards said he overheard a local water official openly brag about cheating on the lead and copper rule.
“Right in front of EPA,” Edwards said. “And I went back after that conference and I wrote EPA and I said, “How can you allow this to occur? I mean, what are you going to do about this?” He later shared that letter in congressional testimony. It concludes with a line saying the EPA, “does not care whether children are lead poisoned from public drinking water.”
The EPA says it’s working on strengthening the lead and copper rule, and “focusing on enhanced oversight of the states, including implementation of the existing rule.”
But Alan Morrissey, former senior attorney in the EPA’s office of water enforcement, told CNN that addressing the problem could create even more violations for the already-strapped EPA water department. Morrissey left the EPA in 2015, frustrated by a lack of emphasis on water.
“If you fix the problem of the game in the system, you now have hundreds — and thousands perhaps — of municipalities that have direct violation,” he said.

What’s happening in Philadelphia

Experts say Philadelphia is a perfect example of the EPA unwilling to act, and having too cozy a relationship with local regulators.
The city has come under scrutiny recently for only testing less than 40 of an estimated 50,000 homes with lead service lines. City officials say that’s all they could find after putting out 8,000 requests to residents. Seven homes had high lead levels.
After the Flint water crisis, the EPA in February issued new guidance instructing water authorities to stop pre-flushing taps and other practices that were considered “cheating.”
A class-action lawsuit alleged that Philadelphia “tests an inordinate amount of low risk homes, diluting its testing pool and skewing the results in such a way as to paint a woefully inaccurate picture of the City’s overall lead contamination.”
The director of Philadelphia’s water system, Gary Burlingame, said the EPA’s language is merely “guidance,” so it didn’t have to be followed. Burlingame has been required to work with consultants who the EPA has hired on four separate occasions since 2000.
The EPA should at least “issue immediate alert to the people in Philadelphia to let people know it is very possible that the results are not reliable and that people should protect themselves,” said Yanna Lambrinidou, a Virginia Tech researcher who has been advocating for a change in the city’s policy.
The EPA says enforcement of Philadelphia was left to the state of Pennsylvania. The federal guidelines are only guidelines and can’t be enforced. The Philadelphia Mayor’s office says it will follow the EPA’s new guidelines in the next round of testing — that’s in 2017.
“Meanwhile you have an entire city that hasn’t been protected,” Edwards said.
There are other cities like Philadelphia. Almost 97 percent of lead-related violations recorded by the EPA are for failing to properly monitor lead levels.
“I think that the basic problem is that the federal EPA and the water officials, and a lot of communities across the country are very tight. And the EPA has been very reluctant to take enforcement action against them in most cases. They’re friends, they hang out with each other, they ask for each other’s advice, and you get close after a while,” Olson said.

Insomnia in Young Men Boosts Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Risk

©KatarzynaBialasiewicz/ Thinkstock

©KatarzynaBialasiewicz/ Thinkstock

DENVER – Young to early middle-aged men with insomnia symptoms are at increased risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, according to an analysis from the landmark CARDIA study.

“We found that younger to mid-life men with difficulty initiating sleep or with more than one insomnia symptom were at greater risk for incident cardiovascular disease events. And despite the fact that women in general seemed to be more prone to report those sleep difficulties, those that did were not at increased risk,” Megan E. Petrov, PhD, reported at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

It is well established that insomnia in older adults is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. For example, a meta-analysis of 13 prospective studies with more than 123,000 subjects concluded that insomnia was associated with a 45% increased risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events (Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2014 Jan;21[1]:57-64). But those studies typically involved older individuals, which makes cause and effect more difficult to determine because so many chronic conditions become more prevalent with advancing age, noted Dr. Petrov of Arizona State University in Phoenix.

“We wanted to see if insomnia is truly an early risk factor in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” she said.

To do so, she and her coinvestigators turned to the CARDIA database. CARDIA (the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study), is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–sponsored prospective, epidemiologic study.

She reported on 2,950 non-Hispanic black or white participants aged 33-45 and free of any history of cardiovascular disease in 2000-2001, when they answered questions about insomnia symptoms. Difficulty in initiating sleep was reported by 16.3% of men and 20.7% of women. Difficulty maintaining sleep was a problem for 9.3% of men and 14.5% of women. And 20.6% of men and 20.1% of women reported frequent early morning awakening.

During a mean 11.5 years of prospective follow-up, 4.1% of men and 2.3% of women had a fatal or nonfatal MI, stroke, transient ischemic attack, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, or hospitalization for an acute coronary syndrome.

In a multivariate logistic regression analysis fully adjusted for demographics, socioeconomic status, body mass index, blood pressure, diabetes, depression, health behaviors, medications, thyroid disease, and kidney problems, men who reported difficulty in getting to sleep had a 2.64-fold increased risk of one of these adverse outcomes. That was the only insomnia symptom associated with significantly increased risk. However, men but not women who reported having more than one insomnia symptom had a 39% increased risk of a cardiovascular event for each additional symptom.

Prior studies have shown that insomnia is associated with cardiac sympathetic hyperactivation. That observation suggests a plausible mechanism for increased cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk, but it doesn’t explain why that risk was confined to young men in CARDIA. One possibility is that because of gender-related differences in perception, men tend to report having insomnia symptoms only when the insomnia is more severe, Dr. Petrov suggested.

The strengths of the CARDIA study are that all cardiovascular endpoints had to be physician certified, and the study includes a large black population. A study limitation is the relatively small number of cardiovascular events, as to be expected in a younger population. Thus, confirmation of the new findings in another large data set will be important, she noted.

As a next step in her research, Dr. Petrov said she plans to drill down in the CARDIA data to see if race modified the impact of insomnia symptoms on cardiovascular outcomes. Black participants reported all insomnia symptoms more frequently than did whites. For example, difficulty initiating sleep was reported by 25.7% of blacks, compared with just 13.5% of whites, and early morning awakening was twice as prevalent among the black participants.

Also, CARDIA participants provided self-reported sleep duration data. It will be illuminating to see if sleep duration had a modifying effect upon the insomnia/cardiovascular risk association observed in men, she said.

Dr. Petrov reported having no relevant financial conflicts.

Researchers find Alzheimer’s begins in the brain 30 years before any symptoms

depressed-man-150x150(NaturalHealth365) Science is beginning to unravel the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease and what they are discovering is alarming.  Researchers now believe that Alzheimer’s disease begins with changes in the brain as much as 30 years or more before symptoms begin.

This shocking revelation comes at a time when the aging of the Baby Boomer generation means Alzheimer’s is expected to triple in the coming decades. Long before someone is diagnosed in their 70s or 80s, their brain has begun to deteriorate. With conventional medicine unable to offer a cure, this realization makes it all the more critical to care for brain health throughout your lifetime, naturally reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Want to avoid memory loss?  Register today for the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Summit and gain INSTANT access to the best ways to avoid brain disorders naturally.

Subtle signs of trouble could mark the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease

Many people don’t realize that developing a poor memory over the years is not normal.  In fact, losing your memory or feeling as though you are developing brain fog is not normal in your 40s, 50s – even in your 80s.  The idea that a fading memory is just a natural part of the aging process is a misconception.

Instead, loss of memory is a sign of the brain beginning to break down.

Deterioration of memory can also come about due to head trauma, vascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, alcohol abuse and other issues impacting brain function. These disorders can rob you of your memory over time, eventually leaving you not knowing who you are or remembering your life story.

Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., Amen Clinics, believes scientific evidence shows patients suffering from such conditions as attention deficiency disorder (ADD) are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetimes. In addition to a diagnosis for ADD, other factors he believes can increase the risk of developing the disease include:

• Failure to engage the brain in regular learning activities
• Lack of exercise or exercising less than twice a week
• Personal medical history of cancer, diabetes or heart disease
• Suffering of a stroke
• Coping with a head injury
• Diagnosis of depression

Building a natural defense against the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia

There are 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, the only cause of death among the top 10 in the country for which there is no known cure or prevention. But Dr. Amen believes there are certain steps that can be taken, based on research, that can prevent over half of the causes of dementia.

Along with understanding your risk level, Dr. Amen advocates keeping both mind and body active. Dr. Amen also believes it is important to increase antioxidant levels in your diet. He also tells patients it is important to modify lifestyle habits that promote the growth of brain plaques.

Although not the only cause, these brain plaques are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a sticky, gum-like substance that causes electric nerve cells fields to short circuit. Once these short circuits begin to accumulate, you will begin to experience loss of memory and difficulty thinking clearly.

While there is some indication that small daily doses of ibuprofen may reduce the development of brain plaques – its toxic side effects make this a risky choice.  Safer options include magnesium supplementation as a good practice for brain health.  In addition, high intakes of vitamin E derived from diet has been associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s as well.

Recurrent Stroke and Dementia Risk Remains High Beyond 1 Year Poststroke

Hypertension, low HDL-C, diabetes, smoking, and TIA were among the main risk factors that contributed to a recurrent stroke.

Hypertension, low HDL-C, diabetes, smoking, and TIA were among the main risk factors that contributed to a recurrent stroke.

Patients maintained a 3-fold increased risk of recurrent stroke and a nearly 2-fold increased risk of dementia beyond 1 year poststroke compared to patients without stroke, according to data published in Stroke.

Marileen L.P. Portegies, MD, of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and colleagues sought to determine the long-term hazards after a first stroke survival. They chose 1237 patients with a first stroke and matched them to 4928 stroke-free patients based on selection date, age, sex, and visit to the same examination round.

The risk for recurrent stroke and dementia risk was highest in the short-term, but continued to increase beyond the first year (incidence rate ratio: 3.16; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.59-3.85 and 1.73; 95% CI: 1.38-2.17, respectively). Dr Portegies and colleagues noted that these differences were only statistically significant from years 1 to 5.

Importantly, patients who experienced stroke had worse cardiovascular profiles than those without stroke. Hypertension, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and transient ischemic attack were among the main factors that contributed to a recurrent stroke.

“The total population attributable risk for all risk factors combined was similar in people with stroke (0.39 [0.18-0.66]) compared with those without (0.39 [0.24-0.57]),” the authors wrote.

There were no significant associations of prestroke cardiovascular risk factors with dementia which resulted in a low population attributable risk of 0.10 (0.001-0.91) in patients with stroke vs 0.09 (0.02-0.37) in those without.

“Prestroke cardiovascular risk factors contribute to 39% of recurrent strokes and 10% of poststroke dementia cases. Taken together, this emphasizes the need of optimizing both primary and secondary preventions,” researchers concluded.

What is cancer?

Every day within our bodies, a massive process of destruction and repair occurs. The human body is comprised of about fifteen trillion cells, and every day billions of cells wear out or are destroyed. In most cases, each time a cell is destroyed the body makes a new cell to replace it, trying to make a cell that is a perfect copy of the cell that was destroyed because the replacement
cell must be capable of performing the same function as the destroyed cell. During the complex process of replacing cells, many errors occur. Despite remarkably elegant systems in place to prevent errors , the body still makes tens of thousands of mistakes daily while replacing cells either because of random errors or because there are outside pressures placed on the replacement process that promote errors. Most of these mistakes are corrected by additional elegant systems or the mistake leads to the death of the newly made cell, and another normal new cell is produced. Sometimes a mistake is made, however, and is not corrected. Many of the uncorrected mistakes have little effect on health, but if the mistake allows the newly made cell to divide independent of the checks and balances that control normal cell growth, that cell can begin to multiply in an uncontrolled manner. When this happens a tumor (essentially a mass of abnormal cells) can develop.

Tumors fall into two categories; there are benign tumors and malignant (cancerous) tumors. So what is the difference? The answer is that a benign tumor grows only in the tissue from which it arises. Benign tumors sometimes can grow quite large or rapidly and cause severe symptoms, even death, although most do not. For example, a fibroid tumor in a woman’s uterus is a type of benign tumore. It can cause bleeding or pain, but it will never travel outside the uterus and grow as a new tumor elsewhere. Fibroids, like all benign tumors, lack the capacity to shed cells into the blood and lymphatic system, so they are unable to travel to other places in the body and grow. A cancer, on the other hand, can shed cells that can float like dandelion seeds in the wind through the blood or lymphatic system, landing in tissues distant from the primary tumor and growing into new tumors in these distant tissues. This process of spreading to distant tissues, called metastasis, is the defining characteristic of a cancerous tumor.

Benign tumor cells often look relatively normal in appearance if studied under the microscope. Malignant or cancerous cells usually look more abnormal in appearance when similarly viewed under the microscope.

Cancer often is referred to as a single entity, but in fact, it is a group of more than 100 different diseases, much like infectious diseases. Cancers are named by the tissues from which the first tumor arises. Hence, a lung cancer that travels to the liver is not a liver cancer but is described as lung cancer metastatic to the liver, and a breast cancer that spreads to the brain is not described as a brain tumor but rather as breast cancer metastatic to the brain. Each cancer is a different disease with different treatment options and varying prognoses (likely outcomes). In fact, each individual with cancer has a unique disease, and the relative success or lack thereof of treatment among patients with the same diagnosis may be very different. As a result, it is important to treat each person with a diagnosis of cancer as an individual regardless of the type of cancer.

District attorney resigns from Baton Rouge shooting case, economic boycott keeps up pressure and the demand for justice

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man was shot to death as he lay on the ground with two police officers on top of him.

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man was shot to death as he lay on the ground with two police officers on top of him.

BATON ROUGE, La.—District Attorney Hillar Moore, III stepped down from the investigation in the death of Alton Sterling, the 37-year-old Black man shot six times in the chest by Baton Rouge police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, both 28-years-old.

The shooting took place July 5 in front of Triple S convenience store, where a kind of shrine has been erected to the man known for selling DVDs.

The district attorney’s decision to recuse himself July 11 was prompted because of a long time relationship he has with the parent of one of the officers, Mr. Salamoni, was involved in the Sterling shooting. The state Attorney General has to decide whether to assign a DA from another judicial district in the state or take over the case. No decision had been made at Final Call presstime.

The Justice Dept. opened a civil rights investigation July 6 into the police-involved shooting. Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said this is not the first time the Baton Rouge police department has been subjected to a federal probe related to excessive use of force allegations, indicating problems that exist within the department.

The former Justice Dept. prosecutor believes that the department along with help from the FBI will ensure a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation.

However, Ms. Clarke added, after the criminal investigation a civil investigation of the department should be conducted to identify and eliminate systemic problems that may have contributed to Mr. Sterling’s death.

Other pressures are also being exerted, including protests and an economic boycott and demonstrations. Reginald L. Pitcher resigned as president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter to press for the selective buying campaign. “Basically, what we’re looking at here in Baton Rouge is what other people are looking at all over the nation. Just a situation exists where you have double standards where you have one Black community and you have one White community. Blacks are not treated fairly and don’t get justice and White folks get treated fairly and do get justice,” he said.

“We are tired and we’re standing up, we’re using the instruments, the weapons that we have, are made available to us which is the selective buying campaign. We’re going to use economics to put pressure on them to give us what we deserve, which is justice. This is not a new technique, it is an effective technique and we’re going to use it to the hilt,” vowed Rev. Pitcher. “We are going to boycott every level of their economics;  department stores, grocery stores, fast food stores and anything serviceable that we can put pressure on the Chamber of Commerce. They control the mayor’s office and they control the city council. So we’re going to put pressure on their pockets until they realize or recognize that we are standing together, that we want justice and we don’t want it tomorrow, we want it now,” he said.

According to Rev. Pitcher, the SCLC national president didn’t agree with a boycott and was concerned about losing financial support from sponsors like Wal-Mart.

“I have to stand with the people, we must show our power is in withholding the dollar,” he said.

Student Minister Abdul Rashid Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 65 in Baton Rouge, is a spokesman for the Alton family and a relative. “At this particular junction of the situation in this city is all in the regard to the murder of our brother, who is a cousin of mine, that has taken place. The city is galvanized now at this particular time for the economic boycott. This is where we have strength,” he said.

“His family’s hurt and pained and we feel the same pain as they do. We don’t accept business as usual where they go back and allow these police officers to get back on the street after they give them a paid vacation. The people have to keep the pressure on, and the intentions of the mosque here is to be the centerpiece; to be the galvanizing force behind the Justice or Else Coalition,” he added.

People honked their car horns as they passed the corners of Foster Dr., and Fairfields Ave., the site where Alton Sterling took his last breath. Officials said police were responding to a call about a Black man brandishing a gun. There have been conflicting reports of what actually led up to the fatal shooting in a city about 63 miles from New Orleans.

Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of Triple S and the person responsible for releasing the second video that shows a closer view of the gruesome attack that left blood soaking through Alton Sterling’s T-shirt, shared his account of what happened to the man he considered a friend.

“I saw blue lights from inside the store. I stepped outside to see what was going on,” he stated. “When I got outside, the cops were already grabbing Alton and tossing him on top of a car and then they tasered him. The other cop ran and tackled him onto an SUV and from there they slammed him onto the ground where both cops then got on top of him and one of the cops screamed ‘Gun!’ and that’s when they shot,” he recalled.

Mr. Muflahi described Mr. Sterling, the father of five as a good man with a huge heart. In the six years they were friends, Mr. Sterling was never a problem for anyone.

“We were talking five minutes before the shooting happened. I did not hear any sort of altercation at any time that night, ”  Mr. Muflahi said.

Seeing his friend, the person he laughed and joked with daily dying in front of him was terrifying and haunts the shop owner.  He admitted Mr. Sterling had a gun on him, but never once tried to grab it during the encounter with officers.

Mr. Muflahi believes that when the officer laid on top of Mr. Sterling he could feel the gun and that’s why he yelled “Gun!” But, he stressed, at no point did his friend try to reach for his weapon.

A makeshift memorial has been set up in front of the store where friends, family and supporters leave flowers, stuffed animals and other mementos. The store owner allowed graffiti artists to paint a mural of Mr. Sterling on the front of his building.

The streets of Baton Rouge have been filled with enraged protesters holding up signs that illustrate their frustration with the injustices that stretch beyond Baton Rouge with the cases of Black men and women killed at the hands of law enforcement.

A day after the shooting death of Mr. Sterling, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota on July 6 after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation. Diamond Reynolds, Mr. Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car, went live of Facebook as he boyfriend’s life and blood flowed out of his body.

Both shootings received national attention and triggered protests across the nation, including Dallas, Texas where a police say a sniper opened fire killing five White police officers and wounding 12 the night of July 7. Targeted shootings of officers were reported in Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri.

Since then, the word about the economic withdrawal has spread throughout the nation. A list of over 150 Black-owned businesses in Baton Rouge has been posted on social media.  Economic withdrawal is a call Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. issued as a way of “redistributing the pain.” Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan reiterated this call to action at the Justice Or Else! gathering in Washington D.C., October 10, 2015, as a way Black people can show their outrage at injustices in American society.

Jabril Muhammad, another spokesperson for the Sterling family, was one of the first to receive the first video of the shooting. “I spoke to a close friend of mine who was there the morning of the shooting and who had recorded it,” said Jabril Muhammad. “She didn’t want to release the video until the family viewed it, so we went to the site of the shooting where the family was and showed them the video along with others who was out there. At that time everyone helped put it out on social media.”

Speaking on behalf of the family, he added that Sandra Sterling, Alton Sterling’s aunt raised him after his mother died when he was a young boy. The family wants the justice system to work for all and not just for Whites and the wealthy, said Jabril Muhammad. But most of all, Ms. Sterling specifically wants a conviction from the two officers involved.

Some protesters wanted to know why the cops who killed Alton, who regularly sold DVDs in front of Triple S convenience store, didn’t know him like the rest of the community?

Veta Washington, another aunt of Mr. Sterling, said police who don’t belong in Black neighborhoods need to stay out Black neighborhoods.

Jabril Muhammad said Ms. Sterling had chosen not to address the media because she has been extremely overwhelmed with the death of her son. However, after traveling to Dallas to speak with Bishop T.D. Jakes, she said her faith has been restored. Ms. Sterling addressed a large audience Sunday, July 10 at Gloryland Baptist Church in Baton Rouge for the first time. “Now I’m better and ready to fight for justice,” she said standing before the packed room. “We will give Alton honor and the police who killed him will pay for it. I want to be peaceful, but I want justice.”

The crowd exploded with cheers.

Community activist Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed along with other protesters wants the resignation of East Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden. “We want Mayor Holden to resign,” Mr. Reed stated. “He has been absent during this entire ordeal. He hasn’t visited with the Sterling family nor has he offered any apology.”

Hundreds of people gathered in honor of Alton Sterling at a prayer vigil held at Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge.  Rev. Victor White is the father of Victor White III, the 22-year-old New Iberia, La., man said to have committed suicide while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. He knows how the Sterling family feels. He believes his son was executed by Louisiana police in a city about an hour and a half away from Baton Rouge. “It’s time for us to demand more,” said Rev. White after the prayer service. “Prayer is fine but that’s not all this takes. I’ve seen quite a few pastors in there, but when they leave here what are their actions? This is a song and dance,” he stated. “It’s time to get out into the streets. It’s time for the ‘Or Else!’ Justice Or Else!”

Questions Over Melania Trump’s Speech Set Off Finger-Pointing

CLEVELAND — The Republican Party woke up to a cascade of finger-pointing and confusion on Tuesday as the Trump campaign was rocked by accusations that parts of Melania Trump’s convention speech had been cribbed from the one that Michelle Obama delivered to Democrats in 2008.

 The possibility that Ms. Trump’s remarks had been plagiarized cast a cloud over the second day of the Republican National Convention and laid bare lingering tensions within the party surrounding the nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose campaign continues to be plagued by stumbles and infighting despite several reboots.

The disarray was evident as Mr. Trump’s campaign and senior Republicans offered conflicting explanations for the similarities in the speeches, with some officials conceding that the passages were lifted and demanding accountability, and others arguing that nothing untoward had occurred.

 Among Mr. Trump’s aides, there was a palpable sense of frustration that Ms. Trump’s speech, which they considered a highlight of the evening, had become a cause for embarrassment.

Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, pushed back aggressively against accusations of plagiarism and even tried to go on the offensive.

Describing it as “a great speech,” Mr. Manafort said at a morning convention briefing that “obviously Michelle Obama feels very similar sentiments toward her family.”

 Deflecting questions about the passages themselves, Mr. Manafort instead attacked Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, for what he said was an effort to draw attention to the matter.

“This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down,” Mr. Manafort said on CNN. “It’s not going to work against Melania Trump.”

 Surrogates for Mr. Trump mused aloud on Tuesday about what might have happened, raising questions about fissures within his team and allowing the controversy to drag on.

One adviser to Mr. Trump, who has assisted in the drafting of some of his speeches, acknowledged that Ms. Trump used words that were not her own. “I’m sure what happened is the person who was helping write this plucked something in there and probably an unfortunate oversight — and certainly Melania didn’t have anything to do with it,” the adviser, Sam Clovis, a Trump campaign co-chairman, said in an interview on MSNBC.

 Katrina Pierson, another spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, acknowledged that Ms. Trump used phrases similar to those used by Mrs. Obama but insisted that the language was not copied verbatim.
 She said in an interview with Sky News that Ms. Trump was trying to echo themes expressed publicly by prominent women including Laura Bush and Elizabeth Dole.
 “She really wanted to communicate to Americans in phrases they’ve heard before,” Ms. Pierson said.

Talk of who was to blame for the speech also buzzed among former advisers to Mr. Trump. Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager who was oustedin favor of Mr. Manafort, said that Mr. Manafort should take responsibility.

 “Whoever signed off, the final signoff that allowed this to go forward, should be held accountable,” Mr. Lewandowski said on CNN. “I think if it was Paul Manafort, he would do the right thing and resign.”

Two people briefed on the process, who insisted on anonymity to discuss such a sensitive issue, said that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, had commissioned a draft of Ms. Trump’s speech from two former speechwriters for George W. Bush.

 Matthew Scully and John McConnell, who had worked together as speechwriters during Mr. Bush’s first term, wrote a draft of Ms. Trump’s speech in June, sending it to the campaign for review about a month ago.
 The pair did not hear back from the campaign until about 10 days ago, according to one person familiar with the conversation, when they were told that the lineup of speeches and the timing of Ms. Trump’s speech had been changed, leading to the speech having to be shortened. Ms. Trump then worked with a person from within the Trump organization to make substantial revisions.

The speech-writing duo was not aware that the speech had been significantly changed until Ms. Trump delivered it on Monday night. According to one source, the only parts that remained from the original draft were the introduction and a passage that included the phrase “a national campaign like no other.”

 Mr. Scully is a veteran Republican speechwriter who wrote an early draft of a speech for Senator John McCain’s vice-presidential nominee in 2008. Mr. Scully had prepared a generic version of the speech and then rewrote it during an extended session with Sarah Palin, after he learned she was Mr. McCain’s choice.
 Mr. Scully also helped write the acceptance speech given by Paul Ryan when he was chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Ms. Trump initially earned praise for her speech on the opening night of the convention, but her remarks almost immediately came under scrutiny when striking similarities were discovered between her speech and one delivered by Mrs. Obama

 The phrases in question came when Ms. Trump — who told NBC News earlier on Monday that she had written her speech herself — was discussingher upbringing in Slovenia and her parents.

810 People Have Died in Jail Since Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland. (Facebook)

Sandra Bland. (Facebook)

Over the past year, there have been so many stories of violence and injustice in America, and even the most well-known deserve to be revisited. This is one: Last July, Sandra Bland was pulled over by a Texas state trooper for, he said, failing to signal when she changed lanes. After the 28-year-old questioned his instruction to put out her cigarette and refused to get out of the car, the trooper arrested her for assault of an officer. Bland didn’t have enough money for the $500 bail bondsman’s fee, and so she was held in jail. Within 65 hours of her arrest, she was dead. The coroner determined that she had hanged herself with a noose fashioned from a garbage bag.

What made Bland’s death so shocking—the reason that millions of people watched the dash-cam footage of her arrest or closely examined her mugshot—was the mystery at its heart. What had really happened inside the Waller County jail? If Bland had taken her own life, how could she have reached a state of irreversible despair so suddenly?

Deaths inside American jails frequently go unnoticed, sometimes even unrecorded. Unlike prisons, jails hold people for only short periods—about 21 days on average—and many of their inmates have not been convicted of a crime. Additionally, jails typically aren’t required to release public information about people who die within their walls. The federal government publishes only generalized data years after deaths occur, making it nearly impossible to identify the most dangerous facilities. So we attempted to fill the gap.

Huffington Post reporters collected the names of people who have died in jail since the day of Bland’s death: July 13, 2015. We scoured news reports and press releases, gathered official records, searched court dockets, filed public records requests, and contacted more than 100 agencies. When news stories omitted details such as the date of arrest or official cause of death, our reporters tried to obtain that information, either directly from the jail or from the office of the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy. Not every agency that we contacted responded, and our database remains incomplete. It will be updated as we receive outstanding record requests and information from the public.

We found evidence of 811 fatalities—an average of more than two per day. (By way of comparison, 178 unarmed people were killed by police during the same period, according to The Guardian.) And like so much else in this realm, the burden is not borne equally. Black people are more likely to die in jail because they are more likely to be arrested than any other racial group, for reasons that have as much to do with double standards in the justice system and historic oppression as they do with crime. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population and, on average, 32 percent of people who died in jail between 2000 and 2013, according to federal data.

Savannah, Georgia Man Mistaken for Suspect, Hit With Stun Gun and Arrested

Mumford told the officers his name is Patrick but they wound up hitting him with a stun gun twice and arresting him, according to the videos. (CLAIBORNE FIRM/YOUTUBE)

Mumford told the officers his name is Patrick but they wound up hitting him with a stun gun twice and arresting him, according to the videos. (CLAIBORNE FIRM/YOUTUBE)

A Georgia man mistaken by police officers for a robbery suspect could be seen getting hit twice with a stun gun and arrested in newly released videos.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Chief of Police Joseph Lumpkin called a five-minute video released Thursday by a lawyer for Patrick Mumford “misleading” and “highly-edited” and made public three 30-minute body camera videos of the Feb. 1 arrest.

Yet Mumford’s attorney, Will Claiborne, told the Daily News the footage showed the three officers “were escalating things” in a “very confusing situation” in which the officers didn’t ask for and check Mumford’s identification until after they used a Taser on him and handcuffed him.

“What we’re looking for at this point is accountability, transparency and an apology,” Claiborne said. “We would like for the police department to release the internal affairs records and human resource records on these officers. We would like the police department to acknowledge these officers made a mistake. And we would like an apology.”

The three officers showed up at the Savannah home with a warrant to arrest Michael Clay, who was wanted for simple assault in Cobb County and thought to have a cell phone involved in a robbery in California, police said. They arrived to Clay’s address on Martha St. to find Mumford, 24, sitting in a car in the driveway, according to Savannah-Chatham police.

The officers asked Mumford his name and it took a few requests until he said “Patrick,” according to the footage.

Chief Lumpkin said in a statement on Thursday that Mumford “was asked to get out of the car, he refused to exit the car, was uncooperative, and reached down toward the floorboard of the car in a manner which the officers perceived as a threat to their safety.”

“You have a warrant!” one of the officers said to Mumford. “Tase him!”

Another officer fired the Taser’s prongs into Mumford as part of two shots of 2,000 volts each, according to his attorney. He later had to be hospitalized to get the prongs removed from his back.

The officers handcuffed Mumford, who began shouting, “Give me my wallet, man!” They later placed him face down on the hood of a police car and checked his ID.

“I don’t know if you got a warrant because you’re not who I’m looking for,” one of the officers said. “But here’s the deal: when I asked you for ID, because you look a lot like the person we’re looking for, and living at this address, then you give ID.”

One of the officers later asked a neighbor, “Who does he look a lot like? He knows who it is.”

Chief Lumpkin said the attorney’s video left out “calm interactions the officers had with relatives and the arrestee,” a part where one of Mumford’s relatives said he looks like Clay and sections where the relative asked Mumford to cooperate.

“You need to calm yourself down and let them do what they need to do,” a woman could be heard saying in one of the videos released by Savannah-Chatham police.

“Police officers nation-wide face complex duties which require them to make decisions in an instant. They must simultaneously decide how to protect the public, the involved citizens, and protect their own safety,” Lumpkin said.

“We are reviewing the actions and decisions which our officers made in the current case. In doing so, we must consider all the facts and not rush to unfair judgements based on highly edited videos which are apparently intended to mislead and inflame the public against the officers involved.”

Police won’t comment further until the department’s investigation is complete, Lumpkin said.

The officers arrested Mumford on obstruction charges, but he was later charged with violating his probation for a first-time drug offense. Claiborne said he could face up to seven years behind bars if the charges are upheld and Mumford is convicted.

“The statement that they put out last night, obviously they attacked me some. But really it’s confusing and distracting,” Claiborne said. “I encourage everyone to watch every video on the internet. The video speaks for itself.”

Raw racial wounds exposed in Dallas shootings and videotaped killings

Fruit of Islam Jaami Muhammad with rapper The Game and his call for a unity rally in front of LAPD headquarters July 8. Photo: Charlene Muhammad

Fruit of Islam Jaami Muhammad with rapper The Game and his call for a unity rally in front of LAPD headquarters July 8. Photo: Charlene Muhammad

DALLAS—The raw racial wounds that go to America’s core were exposed with the back-to-back shootings of two Black men captured on video and the killings of five police officers in what authorities called a revenge attack for the failure to stop the killings of Black people.

While the family members of alleged cop killer Micah Xavier Johnson apologized for what police officials said he did, which was allegedly kill officers from a sniper position following a Black Lives Matter march, and expressed sorrow over his death, the nation’s racial divide was more than clear.

His mother said her son was a different person, “a hermit,” after serving in the U.S. military.

“Delphine Johnson, the gunman’s mother, said she watched her son transform from a fun-loving extrovert into a ‘hermit’ after his military service, which spanned roughly six years and included a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan. While the parents couldn’t recall their son mentioning any particular incident that may have been traumatic during his time as a U.S. Army reservist, they agreed something had changed,” reported The Blaze, an online publication associated with conservative Glenn Beck.

“He loved his country,” his mother said. “He wanted to protect his country.”

“The military was not what Micah thought it would be,” Ms. Johnson said during an excerpt of the interview that was available online. The full interview was scheduled to air at a later date. “He was very disappointed, very disappointed. But it may be that the ideal that he thought of our government, what he thought the military represented, it just didn’t live up to his expectations.”

According to the former soldier’s father, his son began to study Black history and learn more about his history. “The family members said Johnson never showed any outward signs of hatred for White people or any other racial groups. Johnson’s stepmother, Donna, is White. What he did hate was ‘injustice,’ Delphine Johnson said,” according to The Blaze.

Police said the former U.S. serviceman wanted to kill White people, especially White police officers, and did. The fatal shootings followed the videotaped deaths of Alton Sterling, shot to death by an officer in Baton Rouge, La., while selling CDs and Philando Castile, shot in the chest during a traffic stop with his girlfriend Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds telling the story of what happened outside Minneapolis, Minn., over Facebook Live. As blood seeped from her boyfriend’s chest, her little girl tried to comfort the distraught mother from the backseat of the car.

It appears that Micah Xavier Johnson’s mind could no longer process the thought of more of his people dying, adding to an already long list of those who have lost their lives at the hands of police officers.

With this in mind authorities believe Micah Johnson targeted White officers from a downtown Dallas parking garage, killing five officers and injuring seven people the evening of July 7. According to the Dallas Police Department, Mr. Johnson was killed by a robot bomb as negotiations with him became unproductive.

“The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter, he said he was upset about the recent police shootings, the suspect said he was upset at White people, the suspect said he wanted to kill White people, especially White officers,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said of Micah Johnson, as he read slowly and somberly from his prepared statement to the media assembled at Dallas City Hall on the morning of July 8. Chief Brown added that Mr. Johnson said he was not affiliated with any groups and that he acted alone.

One of the persons named early on as a suspect was Niecee Cornute. She was presumed to have been the female suspect that Mayor Mike Rawlings declined to describe to media outlets. She said she was detained and questioned for close to five hours without being allowed to have outside contact. She spoke exclusively to The Final Call.

“I and my comrades went to rally for the brothers who had been killed by the police on Thursday, July 7.  I heard the shooting start and began to take my phone out and record it. At that time police saw me and told me put my hands up and get on the ground, saying I fit a description of a suspect who was a light-skinned Black female with camouflage pants on, and they took me down to headquarters as what they called a witness, illegally detaining me there,” said Ms. Cornute.

As a community organizer and revolutionary Cornute said while the shootings had nothing to do with her, Black people have a right to exist. It is crazy to think people would not be angry with 260 killings of Black people by the police this year with little to no punishment or indictments, she said.

The supposed last words of Mr. Johnson caused others to try to look deeper into the mind of a man that America’s savage racism and murder of Black people seemingly affected and enraged.

The militarily-trained Johnson was a former U.S. Army reservist honorably discharged in 2015. High school classmates remembered him as a “fun-loving, goofy guy,” according to the Wall St. Journal.

A few people who knew Mr. Johnson and who shared similar views about the need for Black liberation told The Final Call, “he was a regular dude, a good dude, a real dude who would joke with you but was serious about the rise of his people.” They spoke with the newspaper on condition of anonymity. They gave interviews around the same time as public statements were made by the Johnson family.

They attended community events together, discussed the plight of Black people and were concerned about the deaths of Blacks at the hands of police officers—with virtually no one held accountable.

“I think that he believed that this was his Nat Turner moment and that he saw no other way,” concluded one of the men in the interview with The Final Call. Nat Turner was a slave who led a bloody revolt in Southampton, Va., in 1831. It struck terror in the hearts of Whites across the South and a brutal, bloody backlash against slaves.

The man said he never had any discussion with Mr. Johnson about armed struggle or racial retaliation. But the actions attributed to Mr. Johnson by the authorities led the man to believe that Mr. Johnson might have acted against police.

Though they knew nothing prior to the attacks, they were not surprised the Dallas shootings happened. With the number of Black people killed by White officers and the continued deaths of Blacks without any charges, convictions or punishment of officers, it should not be surprising that an armed response came from a Black man, they said.

While Chief Brown touted what he called policing reforms, others said Dallas still has its own problems with policing and racism. “The same city (Dallas) didn’t let Martin Luther King in in ’66; the same city that murdered Tobias Mackey and Xavier Collins in 2010 and had to pay $900,000, these are the conditions that created Micah, we cannot forget such conditions that created him,” said grassroots organizer Yafeuh Balogun of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club.

Dallas remained tense after the shootings, with a lockdown of police headquarters and President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush scheduled to speak in Texas as The Final Call went to press. The president roundly and loudly condemned the killings of the police officers. He also expressed concern about police shootings.

Across the country demonstrators took to streets after the Dallas shootings and just before it: In Minneapolis, St. Paul and Atlanta, hundreds of protesters shut down highways. In London, a large group of protesters brought the streets of the city to a standstill, forcing traffic to other routes for hours. Demonstrators gathered in Los Angeles some 2,000 strong and Chicago protestors July 11 took to downtown streets to disrupt traffic and trade. Days earlier they protested at the popular Taste of Chicago downtown tourist event.

In Los Angeles, rappers The Game and Snoop Dogg rallied July 8 with more than 100 men, primarily Black and Latino, including street organization members, outside LAPD headquarters, before meeting with Chief Charlie Beck. Hip hop guru Russell Simmons said in a Facebook video that he wanted to work with Snoop, The Game, Kam and the Nation of Islam to develop the 10,000 Fearless that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan called for to end violence and make Black communities decent places to live.

The Nation of Islam and Fruit of Islam Capt. Dennis Muhammad in Columbus, Ohio and founder of The Peacekeepers can help with this effort, he said. They can help protect the community from crime and from bad cops, Mr. Simmons added July 9. Mr. Simmons also plans to speak to Black law enforcement executives in working to get police sensitized and under control.

“I think we are going to get between the guns and the gangs, and the guns between the police and the people and we are going to need strong Black men to do that,” said Mr. Simmons.

“I want to thank Minister Louis Farrakhan, for putting the spirit in me to do what I am supposed to be doing,” added Snoop Dogg.

Meanwhile in Dallas, those once called suspects have been let go but found it hard to return to a normal life. Some early media coverage blasted their names and pictures to the general public—with little explanation and no exoneration.

Ms. Cornute said despite her and others being wrongly identified, her work must continue. “I heard one of the other so-called suspects was recently ambushed by a group of White supremacists because, like me, his face has been blasted all over the internet and the media,” she said.

“It has been very reckless the way White America has handled this news story this is why I am talking to The Final Call,” said Ms. Cornute. “I will defend myself as a member of the Black Women’s Defense League.”

It may be popular to distance between activists and “revolutionary violence,” she continued. Yet everything else has been tried and “they continue to perpetrate evil and murder on our community. We will stay on the path of African liberation working against White Supremacy economically, physically, mentally, politically, and spiritually, I believe they are all imperative to gain our liberation,” said Ms. Cornute.

“Are we processing that none of the people were really engaged in an activity that even justified having a police encounter of the type that would lead to your death?” asked Dr. Ava Muhammad, an attorney and student national spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Change will come when people follow the divine guidance and instructions of Minister Farrakhan.

“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan warned Black people during the Justice or Else! tour that we are under chastisement as a people … because as a people we have rejected God’s plan for our salvation,” she stated. That plan, according to the teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad is divinely-ordered separation, in fulfillment of biblical and Quranic scripture.

“That plan is a complete separation. That plan is for us to go for self, and he did not leave us without very precise, very specific, very clear guidance as to how to execute that plan,” said Atty. Muhammad.

She recalled Min. Farrakhan’s call for 10,000 fearless Black men and women to go to work to make their neighborhoods decent, safe places to live. “That is the beginning of the separation process, of going for self. It begins with coming together in small clusters and enclaves as every other group of people on earth does in what we call neighborhoods,” Dr. Muhammad told The Final Call. Those actions naturally produce stores, schools, places of worship, businesses, she said.

For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance

A Donald J. Trump rally last week in Raleigh, N.C. Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

A Donald J. Trump rally last week in Raleigh, N.C. Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

The chant erupts in a college auditorium in Washington, as admirers of a conservative internet personality shout down a black protester. It echoes around the gym of a central Iowa high school, as white students taunt the Hispanic fans and players of a rival team. It is hollered by a lone motorcyclist, as he tears out of a Kansas gas station after an argument with a Hispanic man and his Muslim friend.

In countless collisions of color and creed, Donald J. Trump’s name evokes an easily understood message of racial hostility. Defying modern conventions of political civility and language, Mr. Trump has breached the boundaries that have long constrained Americans’ public discussion of race.

 Mr. Trump has attacked Mexicans as criminals. He has called for a ban on Muslim immigrants. He has wondered aloud why the United States is not “letting people in from Europe.”
 His rallies vibrate with grievances that might otherwise be expressed in private: about “political correctness,” about the ranch house down the street overcrowded with day laborers, and about who is really to blame for thedeath of a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. In a country where the wealthiest and most influential citizens are still mostly white, Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged.

But in doing so, Mr. Trump has also opened the door to assertions of white identity and resentment in a way not seen so broadly in American culture in over half a century, according to those who track patterns of racial tension and antagonism in American life.

Dozens of interviews — with ardent Trump supporters and curious students, avowed white nationalists, and scholars who study the interplay of race and rhetoric — suggest that the passions aroused and channeled by Mr. Trump take many forms, from earnest if muddled rebellion to deeper and more elaborate bigotry.

 On campuses clenched by unforgiving debates over language and inclusion, some students embrace Mr. Trump as a way of rebelling against the intricate rules surrounding privilege and microaggression, and provoking the keepers of those rules.
 Among older whites unsettled by new Spanish-speaking neighbors, or suspicious of the faith claimed by their country’s most bitter enemies, his name is a call to arms.
 On the internet, Mr. Trump is invoked by anonymous followers brandishing stark expressions of hate and anti-Semitism, surprisingly amplified this month when Mr. Trump tweeted a graphic depicting Hillary Clinton’s face with piles of cash and a six-pointed star that many viewed as a Star of David.

“I think what we really find troubling is the mainstreaming of these really offensive ideas,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks hate groups. “It’s allowed some of the worst ideas into the public conversation in ways we haven’t seen anything like in recent memory.”

 Mr. Trump declined to be interviewed for this article, and his spokesman declined to comment.

Outside a former aircraft factory in Bethpage, N.Y., not far from a strip of halal butchers and Indian restaurants now known as Little India, a Long Island housewife who gave her name as Kathy Reb finished a cigarette on a spring evening. Nervously, she explained how she had watched the complexion of her suburb outside New York City change. “Everyone’s sticking together in their groups,” she said, “so white people have to, too.”

 The resentment among whites feels both old and distinctly of this moment. It is shaped by the reality of demographic change, by a decade and a half of war in the Middle East, and by unease with the newly confident and confrontational activism of young blacks furious over police violence. It is mingled with patriotism, pride, fear and a sense that an America without them at its center is not really America anymore.

In the months since Mr. Trump began his campaign, the percentage of Americans who say race relations are worsening has increased, reaching nearly half in an April poll by CBS News. The sharpest rise was among Republicans: Sixty percent said race relations were getting worse.

And Mr. Trump’s rise is shifting the country’s racial discourse just as the millennial generation comes fully of age, more and more distant from the horrors of the Holocaust, or the government-sanctioned racism of Jim Crow.

 Some are elated by the turn. In making the explicit assertion of white identity and grievance more widespread, Mr. Trump has galvanized the otherwise marginal world of avowed white nationalists and self-described “race realists.” They hail him as a fellow traveler who has driven millions of white Americans toward an intuitive embrace of their ideals: that race should matter as much to white people as it does to everyone else. He has freed Americans, those activists say, to say what they really believe.

“The discussion that white Americans never want to have is this question of identity — who are we?” said Richard Spencer, 38, a writer and an activist whose Montana-based nonprofit is dedicated to “the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent” in the United States. “He is bringing identity politics for white people into the public sphere in a way no one has.”

Immigration Fears

Another Republican once sounded alarms about globalization, unchecked immigration and the looming obsolescence of European-American culture. But in two bids for the Republican nomination, that candidate, Patrick J. Buchanan, won a total of four states. Mr. Trump won 37.

 Mr. Buchanan’s 1992 and 1996 campaigns were dismissed as a political and intellectual dead end for Republicans.

“I said, ‘Look, we’re the white party,’” Mr. Buchanan said in an interview from his Virginia home, recalling his attacks on multiculturalism and non-European immigration. “‘If this continues, we’re going the way of the Whigs.’ Everyone said, ‘That’s a terrible thing to say.’”

 Mr. Buchanan was campaigning against a backdrop of overwhelming white political and cultural dominance in America. But in the years that followed, the number of immigrants living in the United States illegally would double and then triple, before leveling off under the Obama administration around 11 million. Deindustrialization, driven in part by global trade, would devastate the economic fortunes of white men accustomed to making a decent living without a college degree.

Demographers began to speak of a not-too-distant future when non-Hispanic whites would be a minority of the American population. In states like Texas and California, and in hundreds of cities and counties around the country, that future has arrived.

“It is the changes that are taking place that have created the national constituency for Donald Trump,” Mr. Buchanan said.

 For many Americans, President Obama’s election, made possible in part by the rising strength of nonwhite voters, signaled a transcendent moment in the country’s knotty racial history. But for some whites, the election of the country’s first black president was also a powerful symbol of their declining pre-eminence in American society.
 Work by Michael I. Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School,suggests that whites have come to see anti-white bias as more prevalent than anti-black bias, and that they think further black progress is coming at their expense. On talk radio and Fox News, complaints about bigotry are routinely dismissed as a mere hustle — blacks “playing the race card” or being racist themselves. And during Mr. Obama’s presidency, whites have increasingly seen his policies as freighted with preference toward blacks,according to data collected by Michael Tesler, a political scientist at the University of California, Irvine.

Mr. Tesler used polling questions about the causes and depth of racial inequality — such as whether blacks suffer greater poverty because of discrimination or lack of effort — to classify people as either “racial conservatives” or “racial liberals.” During Mr. Obama’s two terms, Mr. Tesler found, racial liberals accelerated their migration to the Democratic Party. As the 2016 campaign began, the Republican Party was not just the party of most white voters. It was also, to use Mr. Tesler’s phrase, the party of racial conservatism.

Few politicians were better prepared than Mr. Trump to harness these shifts. While open racism against blacks remains among the most powerful taboos in American politics, Americans feel more free expressing worries about illegal immigrants and dislike of Islam, survey research shows. In Mr. Trump’s hands, the two ideas merged: During Mr. Obama’s presidency, he has become America’s most prominent “birther,” loudly questioning Mr. Obama’s American citizenship and suggesting he could be Muslim.

LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY ® Keep Silent-God Has Already Spoken

“…a time to keep silence…” (Ecclesiastes 3:7b).

This month, the encouragement is concerning the value of silence. Silence is not just about being quiet. Silence also carries the Biblical meaning of keeping still, remaining at peace, and being at rest. Therefore, silence isn’t a place of weakness or timidity. It’s quite the contrary. Silence is a valuable commodity in the kingdom of God. In fact, it’s a warfare tactic that can be the key to your success.

One example of success in silence was when Jesus passed the test of temptation administered by the devil himself. In Matthew 4, Jesus was severely attacked by satan. He tried to get Him to use His power for personal gain: food, power, and tempting God. It is interesting to note that Jesus responded with the Word alone. Eventually, he so defeated satan that he immediately left Jesus alone. But what’s interesting is the prompt for the attack in the first place. It was something that God had said in Matthew 3. That was satan’s real issue with Him.

Before the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus had been baptized by John in obedience to God. Afterwards, God blessed Him by speaking over Him. He proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).” And the very first accusation raised by satan? In Matthew 4:3, satan challenges, “If thou be the Son of God…” So you see, the real issue was not about this or that. The real issue was about Jesus believing the Word of God that was spoken him. Notice, although Jesus responded to all of the other inquiries of satan, the one thing He didn’t waste time validating was His identity. He knew that He was the Son of God. And so did satan. That’s why satan attacked in the first place. Jesus was not one to waste time stating the obvious.

Another example is the trials of Job recorded in Job 1. I can’t think of many others in the Bible that encountered more of a concentrated demonic attack than him. In one day, he lost his children and all of his wealth. It was so devastating that Job regretted the day he had been born. But what Job didn’t know was that God had already limited satan’s ability to operate in his life. Before the first fateful event, God had restrained satan. He had already declared that He was pleased with Job. And although Job may have felt utterly cast down, God had already secured his victory even before the battle. What was the real issue? It was getting Job to curse God and die. Since God had bound satan from hurting Job, satan wanted him to speak his own defeat. The attacks on his children and his wealth was just the vehicle to accomplish his goal. But those words were never uttered out of Job’s mouth. Although he expressed his grief, one thing He “kept silence” about was when He refused to curse God.

The last example comes from the life of Jacob. At a point in his life, Jacob was abused as an employee of his father-in-law Laban. He constantly changed his wages and deceived him incessantly. Finally fed up, Jacob stole away without even telling Laban. In fact, he was escaping for his life. In response, Laban followed after him with a band of men. But before he caught up with him, God spoke to Laban in a dream. The message: “Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad (Genesis 31:24).” Now when Laban overtook Jacob, he claimed that he could have done him harm. But he had to admit in the same breath that God had already warned him to tread carefully. Although there was an exchange about other things, one thing that Jacob never has to address was the threat against his life. Why? Because God had already taken care of it.

Child of God, know that God will fight your battles. And whether you know it or not, the battle has already been won. Just as in the cases of Jesus, Job, and Laban, God has already spoken for you.
Nothing that the enemy does can undo what God has already said. Before Jesus endured temptation from the devil himself and was later crucified, God had already spoken His victory. He is at the right hand of God with a Name higher than any other Name. There is power in the Name of Jesus. Before Job had one life-altering occurrence, God had already bound satan’s ability. Job was restored double-fold for every loss. Before Laban could catch up with Jacob, God had warned Laban not to go too far. Jacob safely returned home. He was even delivered from potential
harm by his brother, Esau.

So go forward. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. I believe the Word which declares that God will never give us more than we can endure. If you feel as if you can’t take any more, just remember Who you have on your side. And if God is for you, who can be against you. Your victory is already won. Now walk it out.

Continue in blessings…Continue the work…Continue in faith…

MEDITATATION: Exodus 14: 13, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Isaiah 54:14-17, Romans 8:28-39, and Isaiah 30:15.

The Healing for a Sin Sick Nation: Atonement

The Holy Day of Atonement is not a twenty-four hour day, but, it ushers in a period of grace and mercy that allows those of us who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of Allah (God) to acknowledge our shortcomings, confess them, repent of them, atone for them, accept forgiveness and then, the process of reconciling ourselves to Allah (God) and to those whom we have offended allows us to become whole and wholesome and it gives us a chance to make a new start.

This period of time that Allah (God) has given for humanity to reconcile itself with Allah (God) and with self, that we may avert the consequences of our actions, is a great period, indeed. It is a period of time during which every human being should strive to take advantage of the Great Mercy of Allah (God).

We live in a world in which each year is filled more and more with violence. Violence once was orchestrated by elites or governments to take over nations and the raw materials of nations, to overthrow governments, kings and rulers who stood in the way of access to those minerals and precious stones that would lead a nation to great wealth.

This violence has gone all the way down in the society to children, especially in the United States of America, where murder, robbery, assault, and rape is committed every so many seconds, however, these crimes are now being committed by children.

Some of the penologists and those who are in charge of prisons are saying that the youth are committing crimes of violence more heinous, cold and callous than anything that they have ever seen. Violence now has permeated the entire society. America now is the most violent, crime-ridden society on the earth.

We see so many wars going on throughout the planet even as we speak. Civil wars, tribal wars, wars that are taking untold thousands and even millions of human lives are going on all over the earth. What is the root of this violence? Where did it start? How can it end?

We see in the first family that is recorded in the Bible and the Holy Qur’an, that when Allah created Adam He gave him very specific instructions. Although said differently than the Qur’an, but, very exquisitely, the Bible says that Allah (God) made man and woman in His own image and after His own likeness.

The Qur’an says that Allah created the man and called him Khalifa. That first man was Allah (God’s) own successor. That man was to be standing in the place of Allah (God) over the creation of Allah (God) and even over the angels of Allah (God).

This means that man and woman are the glory of Allah (God) above all of His creation—sun, moon, and, stars. Man and woman is the greatest of Allah (God’s) creation because we are created by Allah (God) to stand in Allah’s (God)’s place in rulership over what Allah (God) has created. We can only fulfill our role as ordered by God when we willingly bring ourselves into submission to the Will of Allah (God).

Allah gave Adam specific instructions to keep and dress the garden and gave him his wife to help him to meet the obligation, the duty, and the service that Allah (God) demanded of Adam. So, when Adam disobeyed Allah (God) his eyes opened to a lower self that was hidden from him. Whenever we disobey the Divine, we open our eyes to the lower self and its call to us. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they became involved in a relationship that was not based on service to Allah (God) in keeping with His purpose for their creation. Therefore, their marriage was rooted in lust and not in love. As a result of that, they produced the first dysfunctional family. A family that was divided.

The nature of the human being is to submit to the Will of Allah (God). This is the best way, and really the only way to be made secure, and it is the best way to enter into true peace and contentment of mind. However, since the first family disobeyed God, they lost the way to peace and security from the Hand of Allah (God). They were put out of the garden, a place of security and they had to do their best to secure themselves by whatever means necessary.

From that day to this, man has been trying to secure himself, not by obedience to Allah (God), but, by use of his wits, skills, weapons, lies and deceit. Why do we lie to escape consequences? It is because our nature is to be made secure. So, lying is natural or instinctive when we are disobedient to Allah (God) and trying to cover wrong or default in our duty, and, the only way we do that is through the art of deception and lying.

Morality is based on observance of our Duty to Allah (God), to self, to family, to community, and to the nation. True morality is based upon obedience to the Will of Allah (God) and that which is good, right and proper. One of the worst forms of hypocrisy is the hypocrisy of self-righteousness. The self-righteous see themselves as better than someone that they feel ought to be condemned. This hypocrisy of self-righteousness makes the self-righteous person to want full punishment for any sinner except self, because they are blinded to their own unworthiness in the eyes of God. If I polled the members of Congress and asked them whether they have lied, they would say, “Yes, I have lied, but, I have never lied under oath”.

Is the consequence of a lie told outside of a courtroom or outside of a grand jury’s deposition less damaging or is the consequence of a lie told in court more damaging? Man has said if you lie under oath you committed perjury, and, this carries a consequence in law. What about lies that are told not under oath? Do you mean to say, you can dismiss a lie told outside of a courtroom that doesn’t appear to be unlawful, and, yet hold somebody’s foot to the fire because they lied in court, when the nature of the lie is the same—to protect an individual from consequences of their inappropriate and wrongful behavior or their failure or default in duty?

When a president or an elected official takes an oath of office, why do they raise their right hand and put their left hand on the Bible? Why is the Bible used at all? I believe it is because the Bible is represented as a book of truth and law. The hand on that Bible is verifying that the right hand of the individual will uphold not only the constitution of the state or the country’s laws, but, the connection of the right hand to the left and the left on top of the Bible should signify that the oath of office would also require that the person must uphold the truthful principles contained, in the scriptures and live up to the character and principles of righteousness that is found in both the Bible and Constitution.

Some politicians who take the oath of office are false to their oath. Some of them represent big business, and, moneyed interests, while they yet proclaim to uphold the constitution and represent their constituents. Have they lied to the American people? Whenever one accepts to abide by the Constitution, their hand is not on the Constitution, but, their hand is on the Bible. Then, should they not be held to the principles of the book, as well as the principles of that Constitution?

In closing, I give to you what Jesus gave to the people who said to Him, “Master, give us a sign of the end.” And Jesus said,”this wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, but there shall be no sign given to it except the sign of Jonah”. As Jonah was in the belly of the fish, three days and three nights, so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth. Jonah means “the dove.” That’s why I have a dove on a blue background. Blue is the color of deceit. The sky looks blue, but it isn’t. The water looks blue, but it isn’t. Blue is the color of deception. In the midst of a nation filled with lies and deception, Allah (God) yet offers His Mercy and His Forgiveness if the nation would repent.

The dove represents Christ. The dove represents the soul of God, the spirit of God, and Jonah was a sign. Jonah was the only prophet who went to a city that Allah (God) had determined to destroy and saved it. Jonah came out in sack cloth and ashes and then call on the people of Nineveh to repent and bow down. But the beauty of this story is that the king of Nineveh heard this, and the king came out in sack cloth and ashes and called on all the people to fast and pray, to atone and repent. When they did this, Allah (God) delayed His Judgment for hundreds of years.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”



There will be no changes to the Sumter County Schools Dress code for next year. The year before, students were required to wear uniforms to school, which was changed by the Sumter County School Board for 2015/2016. The dress code approved at that time, and that will be in effect next year, is as follows:

Good grooming and appropriate dress are expected of all students. There is a positive relationship between a neat, appropriate appearance and a good learning environment. Current safety issues are addressed by the student dress code. The dress code is intended to be fair and equal in promoting a safe and stable learning environment for all students.

1. Any type of clothing or dress that interferes with or distracts from a pleasant, proper learning environment is unacceptable.

2. Clothing must be worn as designed.

3. All short pants, skirts, skorts, split skirts, etc.; should be worn to the appropriate length. The length must be no higher than the top of the knee.

4. No hats or headgear of any type are to be worn inside school buildings. Unacceptable items include the following: head/sweatbands, toboggans, du-rags, bandannas, visors, scarves or hoods.

5. Sunglasses or gloves are not to be worn inside the buildings.

6. No trench coats are to be worn on school grounds.

7. Rollers, combs, picks, and brushes may not be worn in the hair.

8. Baggy or over-sized clothing is prohibited.

9. Clothing may not expose skin at the midriff/waistline. If the student cannot sit down without exposing skin at midriff/waistline, then the shirt or blouse is unacceptable to wear at school.

10. Jeans, pants, shorts, and slacks must be worn at the natural waistline. “Sagging” of pants is prohibited.

11. Belts are mandatory for students in grades 3rd through 12th , if pants have belt loops. Belts are optional for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd .

12. All buckles, belts, suspenders, and other clothes fasteners shall be fastened and buckled at all times. Buckles over two (2) inches in width are prohibited.

13. Pants, jeans, skirts, shorts, etc. with skin or undergarments exposed through noticeable splits, holes, frays, etc. are prohibited.

14. Pajamas (bottoms, pants, top, etc.), beachwear, sweats, wind suits and warm-ups are prohibited.

15. No revealing clothes of any type will be allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: see-through tops, tank tops, inappropriate sleeveless tops (such as spaghetti straps or low-cut armholes), sleeveless t-shirts, muscle shirts, fish-net jerseys, skirts or dresses with revealing splits or clothing that shows visible undergarments.

A Forgotten Garden Brings To Life The Memory of A Student

Johnny Mitchell, gardener; Sylvia Roland, Sumter County School Board; Ruby Wilson, Bookkeeper at Sumter Intermediate School and mother of Eric Wilson; and Sharon Marcus, Principal at Sumter Intermediate School.

Johnny Mitchell, gardener; Sylvia Roland, Sumter County School Board; Ruby Wilson, Bookkeeper at Sumter Intermediate School and mother of Eric Wilson; and Sharon Marcus, Principal at Sumter Intermediate School.

When Sumter Intermediate School Principal Sharon Marcus moved into her new building after the school realignment this year, she noticed a brick wall on the front lawn with the words “Eric Wilson Memorial Garden.”

“I looked at the sign, but I had no idea who Eric Wilson was,” she said.

In time, she learned that he was a former sixth-grade student in what was then Sumter County Middle School, who died in a car crash in 1994. Not only that, but he was the son of the Intermediate School’s Bookkeeper, Ruby Wilson.

Sumter County Board Member Sylvia Roland, also noticed that the “garden” had nothing but lawn in front of, and behind it.

It said ‘garden’ but there wasn’t one there,” Mrs. Roland said.

So the principal and the school board member set out to remedy the situation. Principal Marcus decided she wanted plants that would attract butterflies so the students could enjoy them. Mrs. Roland and her yardman, Johnny Mitchell, created a garden both in front of, and behind, the memorial plaque which features “Butterfly Plants,” designed to do exactly what Principal Marcus intended.

When it was created in 1994 under the leadership of then Principal Carolyn Hamilton and the PTO, the garden had been an active bed for flowers and plants of all sorts. In fact, Mrs. Wilson said that the garden became something more than a memorial to her son.

“Through the years, other parents who had lost a child in the Sumter County School system would plant a flower or bush there in memory of their loved one,” Mrs. Wilson said.

Eric Wilson died when a car driven by his cousin was on a road which was under construction and the driver attempted to turn back onto the higher part of the pavement. When the car hit the ridge, it flipped over. Eric was the only fatality. Mrs. Wilson remembers Eric as someone who loved sports and who was a fun person to be around.

“He loved his classmates and he got along with just about everyone,” she said.

When Mrs. Wilson came to work at the school in 2008 after having worked at the Elementary School, her parking place brought her face to face with her son’s name every morning, an occurrence that filled her with great joy:

“When I first came in each day it just lifted my spirts,” she said. “Just knowing that someone was thinking about him, the memorial will always be out there so people will always remember his name.”

Clarence Thomas Has His Own Constitution

His recent abortion dissent explains why Clarence Thomas is so cut off on the Supreme Court, even from his fellow-conservatives. PHOTOGRAPH BY DENNIS BRACK / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY

His recent abortion dissent explains why Clarence Thomas is so cut off on the Supreme Court, even from his fellow-conservatives.

This year’s Supreme Court term abounded in so much drama—the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the tie votes among the remaining Justices, theliberal victories in the final days—that it was possible to miss a curious subplot: the full flowering of Justice Clarence Thomas’s judicial eccentricity.

Since his stormy confirmation, in 1991, Thomas has been the target of much unfair criticism. Some have argued, for example, that his years of silence during oral arguments meant he was not doing much work at all. In fact, Thomas is the most prolific opinion writer on the Court—and that is especially true this year. According to statistics compiled by Professor Steve Vladeck, of the University of Texas Law School, Thomas wrote opinions in thirty-eight of the sixty-two cases the Justices decided in the 2015-16 term. That’s twice as many as Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, like Thomas, and the next-most active writer on the court. Likewise, Thomas’s critics have made the condescending charge that he was just a blind follower of Scalia, an idea that the results this year also rebut.

The truth is that Thomas’s view of the Constitution is highly idiosyncratic. Indeed, one reason he wrote so many opinions (often solo dissents and concurrences) was that no other Justice, including Scalia, shared his views. Thomas is a great deal more conservative than his colleagues, and arguably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Supreme Court since the nineteen-thirties.

While some Justices are famous for seeking consensus with their colleagues, Thomas seems to go out of his way to find reasons to disagree—often in the most provocative ways. Take, for example, his solo dissent this year in Foster v. Chatman, in which all the other Justices joined Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.,’s opinion setting aside a death-penalty verdict in Georgia. Roberts said that records preserved by the prosecutors in that case showed egregious racial discrimination in jury selection. Prosecutors said one juror “represents Black,” another note said “No Black church,” and other notes identified black jurors as “B#1,” “B#2,” and “B#3,” as well as notes with “N” (for “no”) appearing next to the names of all black prospective jurors. “The contents of the prosecution’s file plainly belie the State’s claim that it exercised its strikes in a ‘color-blind’ manner,” Roberts wrote for the Court, adding, “the focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury.” Thomas, alone, was unpersuaded. The prosecutors’ notes, he wrote, provided “no excuse for the Court’s reversal of the state court’s credibility determinations.” (The case reflects a long pattern at the court of Thomas, the only black justice, voting against programs designed to assist African-Americans, and rejecting findings of discrimination against African-Americans.)

The Foster case turned primarily on the facts, but it’s on constitutional law that Thomas is most isolated. Far more than even Scalia did, Thomas endorses originalism—the belief that the Constitution should be interpreted as its words were understood at the time it was written. By a vote of 5–3, the Court struck down Texas’s restrictions on abortion clinics in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, but neither of the other dissenters (Roberts and Samuel Alito) joined Thomas’s opinion. What’s most extraordinary about Thomas’s dissenting opinion in the abortion case is not that he objects to the ruling; as he noted, “I remain fundamentally opposed to the Court’s abortion jurisprudence.” But Thomas also took the opportunity to reject more than a century of the Court’s constitutional jurisprudence. He said that, since the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution has become an “unworkable morass of special exceptions and arbitrary applications.”

The abortion dissent explains why Thomas is so cut off on the Court, even from his fellow-conservatives. He doesn’t respect the Court’s precedents. He is so convinced of the wisdom of his approach to the law that he rejects practically the whole canon of constitutional law. It’s an act of startling self-confidence, but a deeply isolating one as well. Even his ideological allies, who mostly come out the same way on cases, recognize that they must dwell within the world that their colleagues and predecessors created. Thomas, in contrast, has his own constitutional law, which he alone honors and applies.

Thomas just turned sixty-eight years old, and reports of his impending retirement briefly surfaced before his wife shot them down as “bogus.” Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that Thomas would allow any Democrat to choose his successor. Shortly after Scalia died, Thomas asked his first question in oral argument in more than a decade, but it’s highly unlikely that he will take on Scalia’s role as the pugnacious conservative in the Court’s public sessions. Rather, Thomas will continue his own way, increasingly alone, as the Court, for the first time in two generations, moves to the left. As for Thomas’s place on the Court, it’s difficult to improve on Scalia’s analysis, which I heard him give at a synagogue a decade ago. Scalia was asked about how his judicial philosophy differed from Thomas’s. “I’m an originalist,” Scalia said, “but I’m not a nut.”