Mr. Michael Christopher West better known as “Mike- Mike”

Mr. Michael Christopher West better known as “Mike- Mike”

Mr. Michael Christopher West better known as “Mike-Mike” of 708 North Tenth Street, Cordele, Georgia died Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at the Medical Center Navicent Health in Macon, Georgia.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 11:00 a. m. in the sanctuary of the Greater Morris Tabernacle Baptist Church, 701 North Joe Wright Drive, Cordele, Georgia.  The burial will follow at the Bethel Cemetery in Cordele, Georgia.

On November 7, 1986 a bright light was born to Oscar D. West, Sr. and Teresa V. West Wright. Born in Cordele, Georgia, he was named Michael Christopher West. It was soon understood that there would never be a dull moment in his presence.

“Mike-Mike” as he was affectionately known, was a product of the Crisp County Public School System. He was a 2005 graduate of the Crisp County High School. Later he completed training and was licensed as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

As a child he united with the Greater Morris Tabernacle Baptist Church. He served in many capacities of the church. He served as an Usher, member of the Youth Choir and most recently The Voices of Tabernacle, Assistant Secretary of the Mission. He also assisted with the church’s Annual Black History Program.   Mike worked faithfully with the Gum Creek Missionary Baptist Association as well. He looked forward to attending the different events and meetings associated with the Gum Creek               Association.

Aside from serving as the family “event coordinator,” Mike was employed by J. W. Williams Funeral Home. He took great pride in his duties and responsibilities.

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, our son and our brother went to sleep. He is now free of pain and suffering, and while we will forever miss him, we are comforted by the fact that the radiance of his light will forever live in each of us.

Wonderful memories of his life will forever be in the hearts of his loving and devoted parents, Mrs. Teresa West (Keith) Wright of Desoto, Georgia and Mr. Oscar D. West, Sr. of Cordele, Georgia; his devoted sister, Ms. Tabitha West of Kuwait; his devoted brothers, Mr. Oscar West, Jr. of Grand Rapids, Iowa and Mr. Kevin B. West of Cordele, Georgia; his loving grandparents, Mrs. Mattie M. Johnson and Deacon James West, Sr. both of Cordele, Georgia; his beloved aunts and uncles, Ms. Vera Mathis, Mrs. Rosalind Porter, Ms. Sandre’ Johnson, Mrs. Shonda Harris-Jackson, Ms. Regina Harris, Ms. Wanda Johnson, Ms. Sandra Volley, Ms. Dorothy Goodman, Ms. Donna West, Mr. Fred Johnson, Mr. Jimmy Jackson, Deacon James West, Jr., and Deacon Johnny West all of Cordele, Georgia, Mrs. Marilyn Blackshear of Plains, Georgia, and Mr. Jesse West of Hinesville, Georgia; his great aunts and great uncles, Retired Chief Master Sergeant Norman F. (Maxine) Dexter of Vienna, Georgia, Mrs. Patsy (Jimmy) Jackson and Deacon Arthur L. (Calandra) Parker both of Cordele, Georgia; his nieces and nephews; a host of cousins, to include his very special cousins, April, Asia, Shecovia, Venia, KeKe, T-Byrd and Kat; a multitude of cousins residing in the Macon, Georgia area; and a host of friends, to include a very special neighbor, Mother Theron Jones and Children.

Johnny Lee Dice

Johnny Lee Dice, age 55, 217 Creekside Drive Apt-B, Americus, Georgia passed Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, Americus, Georgia.

The funeral service will be conducted at 1:00 P.M., Friday, December 30, 2016 at the Perry Grove Baptist Church, Georgia Highway 280, Leslie, Georgia. Reverend David Hamm, pastor, will officiate. Interment will follow in the Eastview Cemetery, Ashby Street, Americus, Georgia.

Johnny was born October 21, 1961 in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia to Bertha Mae Angry Dice and the late Henry Lee Dice Sr. He was educated in the public school system of Sumter County where he was a 1979 graduate of the Union High School of Leslie, Georgia.  He was employed at Georgia Cold Storage as a fork lift operator for over twenty years.

Survivors are his loving mother, Bertha Dice, Americus, Georgia; siblings, James Dice (Connie), Michael Dice (Eddie Jean), and Barbara Burts (Clarence), all of  Americus, Georgia, Teresa Johnson (Darion), Richland, Georgia, and Brenda Dice, Americus, Georgia;  aunts and uncles, Virgil Raines, St. Petersburg, Florida, John L. Dice, Miami, Florida, Clemmie Douglas, Americus, Georgia, Bobbie Player, Miami, Florida; step-aunts/step uncles, Hennie Coleman (Harry) and Alice Yearby (Nile), both of Albany, Georgia, Clifford Walton (Helen), Americus, Georgia, Otis Franklin, DeSoto, Georgia, Ben Walton, Columbus, Georgia and Arthur Raines, (Loretta), DeSoto, Georgia; twenty-one nieces and nephews, a host of great nieces and great nephews; other relatives and friends including one devoted friend, Stephfon Milledge, Americus, Georgia.


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Mrs. Mamie I. Christmas of Americus, Georgia died Monday, December 26, 2016 at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.

The funeral service will be held Monday, January 2, 2017 at 1:00 p. m. in the sanctuary of the St. John A. M. E. Church in Plains, Georgia.  The burial will follow at the Eastview Cemetery in Americus, Georgia.

Mrs. Mamie Inez Cooper Christmas was born January 23, 1955 in Sumter County, Georgia. She was born to the late Mrs. Laverne Palmer Rowell.

At an early age she accepted Christ as her personal Savior and united with the Campbell Chapel A. M. E. Church.

A product of the Sumter County Public School System, she was a 1973 graduate of Americus High School. She went on to attend South Georgia Tech where she studied Cosmetology.

A very open minded and non-judgmental person, she possessed a special love for all people and was very forgiving. Aside from the love she had for her children and grandchildren, she loved the outdoors. She enjoyed tending to her vegetable garden, fishing and caring for her chickens and her goats.

On Monday, December 26, 2016, she peacefully transitioned from this life to life eternal at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. Along with her mother, she is preceded in death by her sister, Mrs. Vanessa Syas and her brother, Mr. Carl Cooper.

She leaves many wonderful memories to her loving husband, Mr. Willie Jerome Collier; her loving children, Ms. Andrea Brown of Warner Robins, Georgia, Mr. Eugene C. (TeQuilla) Hollis of Atlanta, Georgia, and Mr. Jerome M. Glover, Jr. of Plains, Georgia; her beloved stepchildren, Ms. Tiffany Love and Mr. Antonio Collier both of Tennessee, and Mr. Tydrecious Collier of Atlanta, Georgia; nine loving grandchildren, Donovan Brown, Devin Brown, Kamorrah Rumph, Des’Tanyie Hollis, De’Lanyie Hollis, Dylan Hollis, Ja’Lisha Glover, Jerome Glover, III, and Azara Glover; her loving sisters, Ms.   Demetrice Omozusi of Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Janice   Rowell of Americus, Georgia, and Mrs. Gussie Diann (DeWayne) Snell; a beloved brother, Mr. Hosea (Lisa) Rowell of Washington; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters/brothers-in-law; other relatives and many sorrowing friends, to include a special friend, Mr. Warren Bice of Atlanta, Georgia.

Mrs. Rhunette Dowdell Barthell

Mrs. Rhunette Dowdell Barthell

Mrs. Rhunette Dowdell Barthell of 2747 Georgia Highway 280, East, Desoto, Georgia died Saturday, December 17, 2016 at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.

The funeral service will be held Friday, December 23, 2016 at 3:30 p. m. in the sanctuary of the Zion Hill Baptist Church, 260 West Allen Street, Leslie, Georgia.  The burial will follow in the churchyard cemetery.

Mrs. Rhunette Dowdell Barthell was born June 1, 1958 in Sumter County, Georgia. She was born to the late Mr. Tommie Dowdell and the late Ms. Susie Mae Gibson.

Educated in the Sumter County Public School System, she was a graduate of the Union High School. She continued her quest for education through her study of Business Management at Albany State University, Albany, Georgia, Midwest City College, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and South Georgia Technical College, Americus, Georgia.

She accepted Jesus Christ and united with the Zion Hill Baptist Church. She later united with the Jackson Grove Baptist Church, Desoto, Georgia. Over the years, she was always committed to the work of the church as an usher and a choir member. She also served as Jr. Choir Director and Youth Sunday School Teacher.

“If a Mother could be bought, she would be the one to buy.” These words say it all about our loving mother and grandmother. Aside for her love for cooking, she was an excellent motivator and speaker, Rhunette possessed a great passion for “retail therapy.” It was evidenced through her love of fashion. She loved basketball and was known as “Super Rhu” It was nothing strange to see her wearing her #30 jersey.

On Saturday, December 17, 2016, life’s journey came to an end. She is also now welcomed home by her son, Mr. Marco Waters; her sister, Mrs. Dorothy Baines and her brother, Mr. Tommy Dowdell.

Cherished memories are left to her beloved husband, Mr. Bobby Barthell of Desoto, Georgia, her loving children, Ms. Rashida (David Harvey) Dowdell, Ms. Latisha Robinson, Mrs. Erica (Tarrence) Johnson, and Ms. LaToya Robinson all of Americus, Georgia, Ms. Tiffany Robinson of Desota, Georgia, Mr. Eric Robinson of Columbus, Georgia, Mr. Bobby (LaDonna) Barthell, Jr. of Albany, Georgia, Ms. Takethia Barthell and Mr. Timothy Barthell both of Clearwater, Florida; 22 grandchildren; one great grandchild; her loving sisters, Mrs. Isabelle (Willie) Lucas of San Jose,  California and Mrs. Rosa S. (Willis) Porter of Oklahoma City,   Oklahoma; her beloved brothers, Mr. John (Reatha) Dowdell of Americus, Georgia, Mr. Lee (Carol) Dowdell and Mr. Cicero Dowdell both of Maryland, and Mr. Vann Dowdell of San Mateo, California; her brothers/sisters-in-law, Mrs. Earnestine Dowdell of California, Mr. Bobby Baines of New Jersey, Mr. Johnny (Beverly) Barthell and Mrs. Clara (Cortez) Robinson both of Atlanta, Georgia, Mrs. Frances (Walter) Manners of Athens, Georgia, Mrs. Deloris Terry, Mrs. Minnie (Benny) Clark, Mrs. Gloria (Willie) English, Mrs. Marsha (Robert) Angrish, and Ms. Trellis Barthell all of Americus, Georgia, and Mr. Greg Barthell of North Carolina; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and many sorrowing friends.

Mr. Dacy Demond Robinson

Mr. Dacy Demond Robinson

Funeral services for Mr. Dacy Robinson age 38 of Albany, Georgia will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 1:00 P.M. at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Smithville, Georgia with Bishop Henry Hosley officiating. Burial will follow at the Church Cemetery.

Mr. Dacy Demond Robinson was born in Dawson, Georgia on September 8, 1977 to Mrs. Nancy Robinson and the late Kirk Robinson. He was educated in the Dougherty County School System. Dacy died on Sunday, December 25, 2016 in Albany, GA

He leaves to morn his passing his sons Dacy Robinson, Jr. and Dashun Robinson; one granddaughter, Nodah Ahmyrika Robinson; his mother, Nancy Robinson of Smithville, GA four brothers: Fred Robinson, Michael Robinson, Huron Robinson and Centari Robinson; grandparents: Mrs. Izola West and Luscious Orange; twelve aunts: Doris Harris, Tracy Green and Viola West all of Smithville, Georgia, Beverly Dingle, Plains, Georgia, Shelia Smith, Gretel Smith, both of Smithville, Georgia, Vaturnia Ingram, Americus, Georgia, Evette Johnson, Vanessa Chambers, Janice Bouyer, Nanette Orange and Patricia Hodges, all of Miami, Florida; five uncles:Curtis West, Hinesville, Georgia and Gregory West, Americus, GA, Terrance Green, William Bryant and Charles Bryant all of Smithville, Georgia; one great aunt, Virginia Carter. Several other relatives and friends also survive.

Mr. Jimmy Lee Little

Mr. Jimmy Lee Little

Funeral services for Mr. Jimmy Lee Little of Americus, Georgia will be held on Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 11:30 A.M. at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church with Bishop Melvin McCluster officiating. Burial will follow at Freeman Hill Cemetery in Andersonville, Georgia.

Mr. Jimmy Lee Little was born on September 26, 1946 in Sumter County, Georgia to the late Mrs. Eula Mae Small Sheffield and the late McArthur Little.  Mr. Little attended Westside Elementary School and A.S. Staley High School.  He joined the Household of Faith Ministry. He was employed by Hickory Spring as a truck driver for over 20 years. After he retired, he volunteered at Abby’s Learn-N-Play Child Development Center.  Mr. Little was loved by all the children in his care.  He was a well-known resident of Sumter County and will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Mr. Little was preceded in death by a loving wife, Mrs. Mattie Hill; his twin sister, Mrs. Ruby Lee Bivins; brother in law, Robert Lee Bivins; sisters, Ms. Anna Clyde Wright and Mary A Hughes; brother, McArthur  Little; He was called to rest on December 17, 2016.

He leaves to cherish his memories his son Lakendrick Davis (Friend-Leondrea Faison) of Americus, GA;  four grandchildren: Lakendrica and Leigha Davis, Jaylin Walton, Jayden Hill and Khalisa Walters; step-mother, Mrs. Lena Little of Americus, GA; step children: Laquanda and Travis Hill both of Americus, GA, Cynthia, Patricia, Lois, Van, Gregory, Willie Brown and Panky Robie-Hunt of Dublin, GA;  one adopted God child Gene Jackson of Dublin, GA; three sisters: Ms. Mamie Sampson, Ms. Carmen Mansfield and Mrs. Harriett L. (Dwayne) Holmes all of Americus, GA; two brothers: Joseph Small of Plains, GA and James S. Little of Americus, GA; four sisters-in-law: Edna Hayes (Jessie), Catherine Hill, both of Atlanta, GA, Ruby Thomas of Americus, GA and Irene Reddick (Willie) of Blakely, GA; three brothers-in-law:  Alphonso Hill, Bernard Hill and Charlie Hill all of Andersonville, GA;  ten loving step grandchildren, 13 great step grandchildren, and three great great step grandchildren. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends including devoted nieces Abbis and Patricia Bivins; a devoted friend Lois Little and the entire staff of Chevron #2 also survive.

Waldo Emmerson White

Waldo Emmerson White

Funeral services for Mr. Waldo Emmerson White of Americus, Georgia will be held on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Cotton Avenue in Americus, Georgia with Bishop Melvin McCluster officiating. Burial will follow at the Eastview Cemetery.

Like the rushing waters that calm the soul and the sound gives music to the ear, so was the life of Waldo Emmerson White. Waldo was born in Alabama to the late Alberta Johnson White on July 18, 1942. One brother, Johnny Lee White preceded him in death.  Waldo was a 1960 graduate of Sumter High School. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1960 and was honorably discharged in 1968.  During his tenure in the Air Force he received many award, ribbons, and medals, which included Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and National Defense Service Medal. Mr. White was employed with BF Goodrich for a number of years and he retired from IMC after 20 years of service.  He was a faithful member of The Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Americus, GA., and also the American Legion Post 558.

Fond memories will live on in the lives of his family, which include his devoted companion of 40 years, Mary Belle Lucas; one son, Mr. Robert Lucas Jr. (Darlene) of Los Angeles, CA; one daughter, Ms. Latoya Michelle Lucas (Earl) of Athens, GA; a grandson raised as his own, Mr. Dominique D’Anthony Muff, Americus, GA; a devoted grandson Mr. Divennci Deron Lucas, Stanford, CA., Mr. Julian Andre’ Willis and Mr. Lucasi Lucas of Los Angeles, five granddaughters: Ms. Porscha Tyson, Americus, GA, Ms Mone’ Patrice Ross, Atlanta, GA, Ms. Laquita Jackson, Americus, GA, and Destiny Lucas, Harmony Lucas of Maryland; thirteen great grandchildren, three devoted:  Niheuyen Champion, Ka’phario Champion and Dominique McKinley Muff all of Americus, GA; one sister-in-Law, Mrs. Elainae Goggins (Larry), Americus, GA; five brothers-in-law; Mr. Forrest Hill, Mr. Horace Hill, Mr. Bobby Hightower, Mr. Elbert Hightower and Mr. Kenneth Hightower all of Americus GA; devoted cousins: Dr. Waldo Johnson, Jr. Chicago, IL, Mr. James Westbrooks, Ft. Washington MD, Mrs. Linda Carson (Tony) Americus, GA, Ms. Lulu Griffin, Rochester NY, Ms, Jeraldine Turner, Ms. Earline Turner of Birmingham, AL, and Ms. Shirley Ellis of Birmingham, AL; devoted friends: Mr. Robert Coley (Gwen), Mr. John Roach, Mrs. Velma Coley, Mr. Henry Joe Lewis, Mr. Cecil Horne, Mr. Floyd Tullis, Mr. Bobby Fuse and Ms. Berda Hicks all of Americus, GA; other relatives and friends also survive.

Mr. David Rahman Grimes

Mr. David Rahman Grimes

Mr. David Rahman Grimes was born in Norfolk, Virginia on November 19, 1989 to the parents of Mr. Rahman Grimes and Mrs. Valarie Jenkins Grimes. He graduated from Americus Sumter County High School in 2007 and attended Mercer and Georgia Southwestern State University.  He was employed by Zaxby’s and was an independent contractor for Driveline Retail Merchandising, Inc. David had a true passion for music. Due to being deaf in his left ear, he was determined to master it. In the process, he not only became a great musician, but an excellent mentor to others that he detective that passion in as well. It has been said that he literally “felt” the music. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Mr. Kerry Grimes, Mrs. Ann Grimes, Rev. M. C. Jenkins, Mrs. Reatha Jenkins, an uncle, Mr. Mike Jenkins and an aunt, Ms. Ruby Smith.

In addition to his parents, he leaves to cherish his memories, his sister, Ms. Courtney Grimes; his cousins, Zephaniah  Grimes, Coniah Grimes, who were raised as brothers with him; his aunts, Ms. Mary Butts, Lithonia, GA, Mrs. Martha (Ray) Johnson, Americus, GA, Mrs. Jenifer (Reco) Dawson, Warner Robins, GA, Mrs. Bernice Gay, Atlanta, GA and Ms. Shariah Grimes, Atlanta, GA; his uncle, Mr. William Joseph Jenkins, Americus, GA; and a host of cousins other relatives and friends also survive.



Elder Osby Mosley, Sr. was born in Baker County, Georgia on May 1, 1935 to the parentage of the late Mr. Charlie Mosley and the late Mrs. Alma Wright Mosley.

He received his education in the public schools of Baker County. Elder Mosley began his ministry in 1957. On May 15, 1954, he married Mrs. Louise Smith Mosley. He is preceded in death by three children, Thyeus Mosley, Joe Nathan Mosley and G. L. Mosley, two sisters, Bertha and Ida Mae, brothers, James, Jay, Walter, Ze and a grandchild.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife of 62 years, Mrs. Louise Smith Mosley, Americus, GA; five sons, Mr. Phillip Mosley, Americus, GA, Ms. Osby (Melissa) Mosley Jr., Charleston, SC, Mr. Timothy (Mary) Mosley, Dothan, AL, Mr. Mark (Tracy) Mosley, Alpharetta, GA and Mr. Broderick Mosley, Albany, GA; five daughters, Ms. Audrey Louise Mosley, Americus, GA, Mrs. Sonia (Rev. Arthur) Raven, Taylor, SC, Ms. Selma Mosley-Crawford, Evang. Kecia Mosley and Ms. Zelda Mosley all of Albany, GA; one brother, Mr. Charlie Mosley, Atlanta, GA; a brother-in-law, Mr. Paul Smith, Atlanta, GA; ten grandchildren, three great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.



Ms. Bernice Cannon was born in Sumter County, Georgia on May 7, 1956 to the parentage of the late Mr. James Edward “Lump” Cannon and the late Mrs. Louise Thomas Cannon. She received her education in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, she joined the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. Bernice was a homemaker until her health failed. She enjoyed life and her family. She loved music and was a great dancer and she never meet a stranger.

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, Bernice transitioned from Earth to Glory at home surrounded by family and friends. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by one sibling, Charles Andrew Thomas and three grandchildren, Dalvin Floyd, Malayah Cannon and Quanshay Wilkerson.

Bernice love and precious memories will forever be cherished by her children, Mr. Christopher Wilkerson, Mrs. LaShonda (Ernest) Banks, Jr., Ms. TuWanda (Clyde) Floyd and Mr. Marco (Carneika) Cannon all of Americus, GA; one brother, Mr. Eddie Will Merritt, Americus, GA; a devoted companion, Mr. Johnny Lee Angry, Americus, GA; her aunts & uncles, Mr. Nathaniel (Marilyn) Jackson, Mr. Zebb (Annie) Jackson, Mr. Bobby Jackson, Mr. Jerome (Patricia) Jackson, Ms. Bessie Jackson, Mrs. Betty (Lynn) Jenkins, Ms. Bennie Jackson, Mrs. Patricia (Charlie) Walters and Ms. Pauline Austin; her great aunt, Ms. Daisy Westbrook; fourteen grandchildren, ten great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.



Veteran Charlie Lee Boone was born in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia on July 22, 1943 to the parentage of the late Mr. Arthur Boone and the late Mrs. Annie Mae Reynolds Boone. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, he joined the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was a member of Mohawk Lodge #307 I.B.P.O.E of W. Plainfield. He met and later married Ms. Angeline Andrews Boone. In 1967, he moved to Plainfield, New Jersey and worked with Union Carbide in Bound Brook, retiring after 30 years of  services.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife, Mrs. Angeline Andrews Boone, Plainfield, NJ; a daughter, Ms. Evette Boone, Americus, GA; a son, Mr. Reggie Andrews Boone; two sisters, Mrs. Mary (Charlie) Seay, Sr. and Ms. Gladys Boone Monts of Americus, GA; two brothers, Mr. Arthur Lee (Alice) Boone and Mr. Willie (Brenda) Boone of Americus, GA; four god-children, Dawn Routzahn, Tosha Newsome, Tanya Carter and Gary Edwards; a sister-in-law, Ms. Barbara Iverson Boone, Americus, GA; two uncles, Mr. Phillip (Mamie) Reynolds and Mr. Bennie (Mattie) Reynolds of Americus, GA; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Minnie Lee Everett

Minnie Lee Everett was born April 2, 1928 in Plains, Georgia.  Affectionately known as “Boosie”, she was born next to the youngest of 9 children, seven girls and two boys, to the late Addie (Winbush) Sims and Eli Sims. Minnie grew up and attended elementary school in Plains, Georgia.

Minnie met Lewis Naphier and they were married in 1945.  They had their first child in 1946, Juanita Naphier, then John Lewis Naphier followed by Bessie Naphier.  After a turn of events and a divorce Minnie then set her eyes on some of the qualities the northern city life offered.  She had a fascination for fine clothing, nice cars, highways and modern built homes. She decided to venture out of the south and joined her younger sister Cornelia Sims (Connie) in Mount Vernon, New York.

She didn’t have much work experience but took a lead from Connie and began with housekeeping jobs.  Later she landed a housekeeping position for the famed actor John Raitt. She helped raise his daughter Bonnie Raitt, the current acclaimed platinum pop recording artist. Years later Minnie met and married Grant Everett, a taxi driver from Americus, Georgia, May 7, 1956 and settled in Newark, New Jersey. With this union Grant Irvin Everett, and Robert Charles Everett were born. She and Grant parted ways in 1965.

Feeling challenged, Minnie pushed herself to do more and landed a job at the United Eye Ear Nose and Throat Hospital in Newark, NJ, where she practiced Nursing. While at the hospital, she met her lifelong friend and mentor, Dr. Ann Alomeia.  Dr. Alomeia encouraged her to purchase her first home. Still pushing with a zest for a better life she switched careers to move on to the General Motors Corporation, where she worked assembling motor bearings from 1968-1987.

After retiring from General Motors, Minnie decided to head south, Royal Palm Beach, Florida.  She frequently traveled between Florida and The Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania during the summer months.  She was labeled an avid Snow-Bird. After enjoying the leisure life and accomplishing some of her dreams of attaining some of the finer things in life (a summer home, numerous fancy cars, a large vegetable and flower garden) and “paying the cost to be the boss” Minnie grew restless and decided to go back to work. She landed a part time job as a Home Health Aide. Working for Michele Poole who she established a long lasting friendship.

She is preceded in death by her daughters, Juanita Naphier and Bessie Naphier, her grandchildren, Robert Bradford and David Jones and Roscoe her beloved pet poodle.

Later in life, Minnie decided to take up residence in Bushkill, Pennsylvania for a short period and then finally she had a strong urge to return home to Americus, Georgia where she rejoined Bethlehem Baptist Church. At this time, her health started failing and finally she took residence at Magnolia Manor Nursing Center where she then made her transition home to the Lord, December 11, 2016.

Minnie is survived by one sister, Hattie Mae Procter, of Albany Georgia. Her three sons, John Lewis Naphier of Miami,  Florida, Grant Irvin Everett, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and Robert Charles Everett of Brooklyn, New York;  Grandchildren: Armond Grant Everett, Lamarr K. Everett, Ayonnah T. Everett, John Lewis  Naphier, Sandra B. Naphier, Jimmy Lewis Moore, Judy Moore, Willie Moore, Sheila Jones, Rose Jones and Allen Jones and a host of great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins family and friends.

Historically Black Talladega College Band Marches Into Controversy Over Trump Inauguration Appearance

The marching band for America’s oldest private, historically black liberal arts college has apparently agreed to perform Donald Trump’s inauguration ― triggering a storm of controversy and two rival petitions this week.

The 200-member Talladega College Marching Tornadoes feature on a list the presidential inauguration team released of entertainers scheduled for Jan. 20, reports. Other historically black schools, such as Howard University, have turned down offers to perform at the event.

Talladega College officials had yet to comment on the controversy, but news of the band’s reported participation outraged many, including graduates of the school.

Shirley Ferrill, a 1974 alum, launched a petition Monday, urging the college to withdraw from the event. “In view of his behavior and comments I strongly do not want Talladega College to give the appearance of supporting him,” she says of Trump in her plea.

Seinya SamForay was among those commenting on the school’s social media sites, according to The Associated Press. “After how black people were treated at Trump’s rallies, you’re going to go and shuck and jive down Pennsylvania Avenue? For what?” said Seinya SamForay to the AP.  “What they did is a slap in the face to other black universities.”

Ron White of Atlanta, a 1997 graduate of Fort Valley State University in Georgia, questioned why Talladega musicians “should be playing all these patriotic tunes for someone who has degraded us.”

Some hit back at critics, saying the opportunity was too good for the band to turn down.

Talladega student Dollan Young has started his own petition in defense of the college band. “Its not to support of no political party its about the experience that the students will obtain,” he says in his appeal.

The college was founded in 1867 by the descendants of slaves who helped to construct its first building.

Trump’s inauguration team has struggled to attract big names to perform at the event and they’ve encountered problems with those they’ve asked to appear. The Rockettes are reportedly reluctant to perform, while Mormons are petitioning to keep the Tabernacle Choir away from the event. And singer Rebecca Ferguson has said she’ll only appear if she can sing what is perhaps the best-known song about racism in America, “Strange Fruit.”

Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, also ran into controversy when it was announced that its band would play in the parade.

A college spokesman told the AP up to eight of the band’s 100 members had chosen not participate.

“They don’t want to have anything to do with the inauguration or President Trump and we respect that, and that’s their right,” he said.

Jeanette J. Epps First Black Woman To Call NASA International Space Station Home

jeanette-eppsAstronaut Jeanette J. Epps is on a mission to space that will make her the first African American woman to work as a crew member on the International Space Station. She’s also the 13th woman to call ISS home since the space station was founded in 1998. NASA recently announced that Epps will serve as a flight engineer in May 2018 on Expedition 56 with veteran astronaut Andrew Feustel, and will stay on board for Expedition 57, spending six months there, according to a press release. NASA has sent 14 black astronauts, three of them women, traveling into space in its history. Although many of those astronauts flew missions to the International Space Station, none of them stayed aboard.

Mae Jemison is the first black female astronaut under the NASA space program and the first black woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. She was followed by astronaut Stephanie Wilson, while Joan Higginbotham was the third black woman to venture into space.

Feustel and Epps will join a long and distinguished line of astronauts who have crewed the International Space Station since November 2000. “Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a press statement. “The space station will benefit from having them on board.”


NASA’s Modern Figures


Epps has been working toward traveling to space since she became one of just nine people chosen for NASA’s 20th astronaut class from a pool of 3,500 applicants in 2009. The former NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow also holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. After completing graduate school, she went on to work in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before being recruited by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, according to her bio. She spent seven years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class. Epps served as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 18 undersea exploration mission. It began on July 21, 2014, and lasted nine days.

NASA’s announcement came just days before Friday’s widespread release of the movie Hidden Figures, which tells the story of three black women who played pivotal roles in NASA’s successful attempt to put astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962. NASA’s Modern Figures initiative, which features Epps in a video, serves to highlight the stories of Hidden Figures’ Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan and to encourage young girls and women to pursue STEM careers.

Hidden Figures captured the No. 2 spot during its opening weekend, taking in $24.7 million at the box office, reports Box Office Mojo.

This Major CEO Opens Up About His $10.5 Million Gift

John Rogers, founder, chairman, CEO,

Supports paid internships, scholarships for African American students

John Rogers, founder, chairman, CEO, and chief investment officer of Ariel Investments, an investment management firm in Chicago, recently gave $10.5 million in support of expanding opportunity to African American students in the Windy City.

Power and Wealth

The greater part of the gift establishes and endows the Ariel Investments Internship Program in Finance at the University of Chicago.

“The bulk of the gift is earmarked toward creating scholarships for African American students at the University of Chicago, that they have paid internships in endowment offices throughout the United States,” Rogers, a university trustee, told me last week.

Endowments aren’t just at universities. They’re also at the country’s largest foundations, like the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rogers said.

“So it’s paid internships to give these young people a chance to learn all about the financial services world and career opportunities in financial services. This is an area where our community has been locked out for so long.”

Rogers stressed the networking opportunity such internships could provide. Students would “get to meet and connect with all the money managers that manage those assets, the private equity people, the hedge fund people, the venture capital people. Our community typically doesn’t get exposed to those career paths. That was the primary idea behind the bulk of the gift. It was to create opportunity for our community to be exposed.”

The need is dire. Rogers told me that he and his team couldn’t find five African American chief investment officers of major endowments in the country. “Literally, we couldn’t find five.” Rogers’s gift aims at increasing that number.

The second part of the gift, Rogers explained, will support the extraordinary work Ariel has been doing for the past 20 years.

Ariel Community Academy, a K-8 public school—not a charter—on the South Side of Chicago, has taught 600 African American students the intricacies of finance. Of the gift, $4 million will provide scholarship support to selected students who graduate from Ariel Community Academy, allowing them to attend the University of Chicago’s esteemed Laboratory Schools for high school.

Rogers is an alumnus of the Lab Schools and chairs its board.

The gift includes a portion of unrestricted support.

For more about Ariel Investments, visit its website.

Chris Brown, Soulja Boy fight to take place in Dubai on Pay-Per-View

Chris Brown, Soulja Boy fight to take place in Dubai on Pay Per View entertainment 1x1.trans

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Chris Brown and Soulja Boy are ready to take their beef into the boxing ring, and they’re headed to Dubai to do it.

Originally, the plan was to hold the fight in Las Vegas, but they ran into a few snags because of rules and regulations that would have prevented the fight from happening, including a mandatory drug test for amateurs who want to fight.

So, the two of them are taking their show overseas. Their first choice of locations is Dubai, and they plan to put the whole thing on Pay-Per-View. After all, even though these two really do dislike each other and honestly want to knock each other senseless, they can both agree on one thing: they’d love to make plenty of money off of the whole thing.

Both of them have talked about making this a charity event, and it’s expected to rake in millions of dollars, but some of that, TMZ reports, will go to the participants.

Obama gave hip-hop a home at the White House

Obama Kendrick White House

President Obama and Kendrick Lamar (Video still via, Top Dawg Entertainment)

When Barack Obama was elected back in 2008, it finally felt like we as African-Americans had a seat at the table.

Personally, it was an indescribable feeling to see someone in such a position of power that looked like me, that understood things the same way I did. Here was a guy that could make an valid argument as to why Michael Jordan was the best to ever play basketball.

And he was the president.

It was the first time that I could say that maybe, just maybe, the President of the United States and I could swap iTunes libraries and not too much would be different. Among many things that we would soon see, hip-hop was a part of President Obama’s life just as it was a part of ours.

I mean, he’d drop his summer playlists the same way you would: Releasing a Spotify link on Twitter and telling all of us to check it out.

Among many moments, President Obama made it a point to connect with people of all races, colors and creeds by involving the modern day superstars of the rap game with his work, whether it was conducting a summit on criminal justice reform or simply hosting artists at one of his many events at the White House.

Let’s take a look back at the best hip-hop-related moments and relationships of Obama’s presidency:

5. “Obama and Hov” – When he was just a presidential hopeful from Chicago, the then-junior Senator from Illinois still made sure to have hip-hop by his side.

At a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, in April, 2008, Obama famously referenced Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” to let his opponents and detractors know he wasn’t phased by criticism.

During his time in the White House, Obama and Hov have forged a pretty powerful friendship and bond. Jay performed the night before the 2012 elections at a pro-Obama rally in Columbus, Ohio. He also hosted a $40,000 a plate fundraiser at his esteemed 40/40 Club alongside his wife, Beyonce Knowles.

Jay Z dropped these memorable bars on a remix of Young Jeezy’s “My President”:

Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so that Obama could run. Obama’s running so that we all can fly … I can’t wait until November 5 and I’m going to say: ‘Hello, Brother President.’
It was apparent that this presidential hopeful was something different, and our superstars recognized it.

4. “We Gon’ Be Alright” – Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp A Butterfly, was critically received both by pundits and music fans alike, winning both hearts and awards industry-wide.

And the album’s message clearly made it to the White House. When asked who’d win in a rap battle between rap superstars Drake and Lamar, President Obama sided with the Compton MC:

I think Drake is an outstanding entertainer, but Kendrick, his lyrics, his last album was outstanding.
Obama would go on to call Kendrick’s track, “How Much A Dollar Cost?” his favorite song of 2015. At the last Fourth of July celebration of his tenure, President Obama invited Lamar, alongside Janelle Monae, to perform at the White House. Kendrick has called his interaction with POTUS one of his career’s greatest moments.




3. “The Artistic Integrity” – Each year, the State of the Union Address represents an opportunity for sitting presidents to outline goals for the upcoming year and rally the country around themes such as positivity, security and prosperity.

President Obama made history by selecting rapper Wale to open for his final SOTU address as Commander-in-Chief. Wale’s tweet following his performance summed it up:

2. “It Takes A Nation…” – It’s been easy for some conservatives to name hip-hop as a “gangster” genre of music. Many pundits choose to ignore that the entire history of hip-hop has come from a state of self-expression and recalling stories and experiences that its creators have gone through. But the lame choice of labeling its narrators as “thugs,” “criminals,” and other racially-clouded terms continues.

President Obama didn’t subscribe to this. He ignored those detractors, and in fact, saw these artists for who they are: Beacons of inspiration for many people both in our country and around the world. This is why he invited a who’s who of hip-hop to the White House to discuss his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative as well as criminal justice reforms. Chance The Rapper, Pusha-T, Busta Rhymes, DJ Khaled, and J.Cole were among the invited guests. To know that the most powerful man is seeking the opinions of rappers on important issues speaks volumes.

1. “My President Is Black” – November 4th, 2008 ,was a monumental day in the lives of all of us.

For those who were studying on college campuses, it was a day that allowed students across the country to unite as one voice and to ‘bring change’ to our country for the first time. Amidst the celebration, one song seemed destined to rise above all others at the perfect soundtrack for such a historic moment.

“My President” was the fourth single from Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy’s third studio album, The Recession, and seemed to be something like a prophetic anthem of Obama’s eventual win. Featuring a guest verse from Nas, the two rappers recorded the song the day Obama won the Democratic nomination and went full steam ahead in using the record to further propel Obama’s campaign efforts, specifically to younger voters.

Many students of the Atlanta University Center, a conglomerate made up of Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University, fondly remember celebrating Obama’s win that night when they were joined by Young Jeezy, riding in his custom-painted Blue Lamborghini Murcielago with the doors up, blasting “My President” out of the luxury car to the delight of students campus-wide. It’s a moment that many college students of the time that will never forget, as in that moment, the voice of the youth was finally heard.

November 9th, 2016, was a very somber day for me. I found myself not only wondering about our country’s impending future but also reminiscing on the last eight years.

It’s safe to say that it will be a long time before we have a president so in tune with our culture, with our music.

It will be a long time before hip-hop will be given a home — a seat at the table to express, create and share its thoughts on the matters that impact us so heavily. And while the future may look bleak, if there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the last eight years, it’s one phrase: “Yes, we can.” Obama, out.

Cory Townes is a Digital Content Producer born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, and has had his work has been featured in The Grio,,,, and other media publications. For more of his work, visit and follow him on Twitter @CoryTownes.

Black Hollywood takes home major gold at 2017 Golden Globes

Black Hollywood takes home major gold at 2017 Golden Globes entertainment 1x1.trans

Photo from left to right: Tracee Ellis Ross, director; Barry Jenkins,; Viola Davis; and Donald Glover (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Back Hollywood won big at Monday night’s 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, including Tracee Ellis Ross’ historic win for Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical and Moonlight nabbing the coveted Best Motion Picture.

“This is for all the women of color and colorful people whose stories, ideas and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important,” Ross said during her acceptance speech. “But I want you to know that I see you. We see you.”

The 44-year-old actress became the first African-American woman to win the category in 35 years. The last black woman to take the title was Debbie Allen in 1982 for her role in Fame.

Ross shared her #BlackGirlMagic glory with Viola Davis, who raked up her golden statue for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her starring role in Fences, alongside Denzel Washington. The Emmy-winning actress commended Paramount and executives for taking a chance by turning a stage play into a film.

“Thank you for being an extraordinary leader. Great actor, great director,” Davis said to her co-star. “Thank you for saying trust me and remember the love. And my beautiful husband, my daughter Genesis, loves of my life.”

She also dedicated the award to her father, who she called the original Troy (the film’s protagonist): “And to the original Troy, my father, Dan Davis. Born in 1936, groomed horses, had a fifth grade education, didn’t know how to read until he was 15. But you know what? He had a story. And it deserved to be told. And August Wilson told it. Thank you very much.”

Donald Glover and his FX original series, Atlanta, also walked away with gold. Glover, 33, won for Best Actor in a TV Series, while the television series itself won Best Comedy TV Series.

Glover quickly became a trending topic after delivering his acceptance speeches, thanking the city of Atlanta and hip-hop group, Migos, for their song “Bad and Boujee,” which he called the “greatest song ever.”

“I really want to thank Atlanta, and black folks in Atlanta, for real — just for being alive and doing just amazing and being amazing people,” Glover said. “I couldn’t be here without Atlanta and I really want to thank The Migos, not for being in the show but for making ‘Bad and Boujee’ — that’s the best song ever, so yeah.”

Glover also beautifully thanked his newborn son and the mother of his child. “I really want to say thank you to my son and the mother of my son for making me believe in people again and things being possible,” he said.

The biggest win of the night, however, was the presumptive winner, Moonlight, for Best Motion Picture. The film’s director, Barry Jenkins, referenced fellow filmmaker Denzel Washington while thanking his mother, who was some of the inspiration for the project.

“Denzel [Washington] says this in Fences, ‘I gave you everything, I gave you your life.’ Mom, you gave me my life, and I hope me being on this stage right now is the fulfillment of the life that you gave me,” Jenkins said.

Weight loss surgery quality improvement project ‘DROPs’ readmissions

Bruce Jancin/Frontline Medical News

– A significant reduction in 30-day all-cause hospital readmissions after sleeve gastrectomy was accomplished through the first-ever joint national quality improvement collaboration between the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, John M. Morton, MD, reported at Obesity Week 2016.

The quality improvement program, known as DROP, for Decreasing Readmissions through Opportunities Provided, was developed by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). It was put to the test in a year-long study conducted in 128 nationally representative U.S. hospitals. The study involved a comparison of the participating hospitals’ 30-day all-cause readmission rates following bariatric surgery in the year prior to vs. the year after launch of the DROP project.

Overall, the 30-day all-cause readmission rate after primary laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, or laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass dropped only modestly, from 4.76% to 4.61%, a relative reduction of 3.2%. But that’s not the whole story. Hidden within that modest overall result were major improvements, Dr. Morton said at the meeting, presented by the Obesity Society of America and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Of particular interest was the finding that the readmission rate following laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy decreased from 4.02% to 3.54%, a 12% reduction. That’s an important finding, because sleeve gastrectomy is now by far the most frequently performed type of bariatric surgery in the United States. Indeed, it accounted for 54% of the estimated 196,000 bariatric surgery procedures performed in the country in 2015. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass was a distant second at 23%, followed by surgical revisions at 13.6%.

Moreover, the impact of the DROP initiative appeared to accelerate over time. The initiative as tested consisted of a comprehensive bundle of numerous components addressing preoperative, in-hospital, and postoperative care, and it took a while for hospitals to implement. The 30-day readmission rate following laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy actually increased by 9.2% in the first 3 months following launch of the DROP initiative. But the readmission rate then took a U-turn, declining by 13.2% in the second quarter compared to the year-before rate, by 16.9% in the third quarter, and falling by 27.1% in the final 3 months of the study.

Mean length of stay for patients undergoing laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy fell significantly, from 1.9 days pre-DROP to 1.79 days. The DROP intervention also achieved a significant decrease in length of stay for laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, from 0.5 to 0.42 days.

The rate of readmission within 24 hours post discharge in laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy patients decreased significantly by 19% after introduction of the DROP program. The trend was favorable, albeit not statistically significant, for the other two bariatric procedures studied.

Of note, hospitals in the two quartiles with the lowest preintervention 30-day all-cause readmission rates post bariatric surgery, with rates of 1.34% and 3.15%, respectively, didn’t derive any further reduction by participating in the DROP program. They already were performing many of the elements included in the intervention. But hospitals in the third quartile significantly improved their 30-day readmission rate from 4.84% to 4.13%, and those in the fourth quartile improved from 7.31% preintervention to 4.47% under the DROP program.

The program had no impact on postoperative leak rates or other surgical complications. However, patient satisfaction scores improved after introduction of the DROP intervention.

The preoperative components of the DROP readmission prevention bundle included a standardized 5-minute educational video featuring a surgeon, nutritionist, pharmacist, and psychologist or psychiatrist, with advice on key issues related to the upcoming operation. That’s also when the visits with the surgeon and a nutritionist were to be scheduled for within 30 days post surgery, and when the patient received phone numbers for the clinic and on-call surgeon in case questions arose later.

The in-hospital elements of the DROP intervention included provision of a clinical roadmap to guide patient expectations, as well as a nutritional consultation. The postoperative components included a day-after-discharge phone call from a nurse or physician assistant, a letter sent to the referring physician containing a discharge summary and recommendations, and a system to make sure that the scheduled follow-up appointments with the surgeon and nutritionist actually take place.

Since adherence to the various components of the DROP bundle varied from hospital to hospital, it was possible for Dr. Morton and his coinvestigators to determine which elements made the most difference in improving 30-day readmission rates. They found that the key difference makers were the nurse’s phone call on the day following discharge and the postoperative visits with the surgeon and nutritionist within the first several weeks.

Asked whether the study findings mean that hospitals that already have a 30-day all-cause readmission rate in the lower half of the national average don’t need to adopt the DROP program, Dr. Morton replied: “One size does not fit all. Maybe some centers don’t need to do all this.”

Thirty-day all-cause readmissions were selected for the first quality improvement project by the MBSAQIP in part because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has identified it as a priority area for surgery in general. Also, Dr. Morton was a coinvestigator in a study that found many readmissions after bariatric surgery are tied to preventable causes, including dietary indiscretions resulting in nausea and vomiting or dehydration, medication side effects, and inappropriate patient expectations (J Gastrointest Surg. 2016 Nov;20[11]:1797-1801).

“I think readmissions are a good outcome to study, because they incorporate many different elements of the patient experience, including patient safety and satisfaction. No surgeon wants to have a patient come back to the ER and be readmitted. And finally, there’s the cost,” Dr. Morton observed.

He noted that members of the MBSAQIP developed the DROP project in a highly efficient and cost-effective manner through a series of webinars and conference calls without the need for face-to-face meetings. The group plans to follow the same approach to its future quality improvement programs.

The DROP study was funded without industry support. Dr. Morton reported serving on advisory boards for Allurion and Novo Nordisk.

Is Long Sleep Associated With Increased Risk of Stroke?

Azizi Seixas, PhD

SEATTLE—Long sleep duration increases stroke risk, compared with average and short sleep durations, according to an investigation presented at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The conclusion results from a Bayesian belief network analysis, which is an uncommon method in neurologic research.

The literature on the association between sleep duration and stroke is equivocal, said Azizi Seixas, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow working with Drs. Girardin Jean-Louis and Gbenga Ogedgebe at the New York University School of Medicine and Dwayne Henclewood (biostatistical support). Dr. Seixas and his colleagues decided to investigate whether short sleep duration (defined as less than seven hours per 24 hours) or long sleep duration (defined as greater than nine hours per 24 hours) is more strongly associated with stroke by comparing logistic regression and Bayesian belief models. The latter method of data analysis allows researchers to interact with their data and update probabilities as new evidence emerges. It also permits researchers to examine bidirectional and omnidirectional relationships between variables.


Dr. Seixas and colleagues conducted a systematic review of behavioral, clinical, individual, familial, and community stroke risk factors using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Data for 288,888 people allowed the researchers to derive a list of 34 risk factors for stroke, including age, sex, hypertension, alcohol consumption, smoking, and kidney disease.

The investigators then analyzed the data using logistic regression and Bayesian belief networks. To conduct the latter analysis, the researchers had to discretize the data (ie, to create multinomial and dichotomous data). Dr. Seixas and colleagues next conducted supervised and unsupervised analyses. In unsupervised learning, a computer performed various evidence-based permutations to find the best-fit model. In supervised learning, the researchers identified stroke as the target variable, and the computer modeled all 34 factors to fit stroke. Finally, the group performed 
a contingent predictive evaluation and an observed adapted 
questionnaire analysis to identify the risk factors most correlated with stroke.

Bayesian Model Was a Better Fit

Approximately 3% of the population had stroke. Logistic regression analysis indicated that long sleep was 
associated with stroke, although the large number of variables decreased the finding’s statistical significance. In an examination of fixed probabilities, the probability of stroke 
was about 3.31% for people with short sleep duration, but long sleep duration increased stroke risk 
by 4.63%.

In contrast to the logistic regression analysis, the Bayesian belief network model did not keep the 34 risk factors constant. This method suggested a J-shaped relationship between long and short sleep durations and indicated that long sleep duration increased stroke risk by a factor of 2.5, while short sleep duration increased stroke risk by a factor of 1.24.

The r2 of the logistic regression model was 0.24, and the r2 of the Bayesian belief network model was 0.73. This difference “suggests that the Bayesian belief network method is a better model fit,” said Dr. Seixas. “It also has a higher level of accuracy due to this multiple iterative process. Sleep medicine has a significant opportunity to utilize this method as a way of advancing our field.” The logistic regression model could accommodate only 20 of the 34 variables, while the Bayesian belief network model could accommodate all of them.

Among the study’s limitations are that the cross-sectional design of the NHIS may make it difficult to support causal claims about the variables. In addition, the study variables were self-reported, and the data did not include objective biomarkers or objective measures of sleep duration.

The investigation nevertheless suggests that “we could use machine learning, particularly Bayesian statistics, as a way of providing opportunities to assess associations, predictions, and risk-stratification models,” said Dr. Seixas. In future experiments, he and his colleagues intend to identify the pathophysiologic mechanisms that increase long sleepers’ risk of stroke. They also plan to use larger data sets and prospective models in future studies.

In Cancer Trials, Minorities Face Extra Hurdles

Like a man on a flying trapeze, K.T. Jones has leapt from one medical study to another during his 15-year struggle with cancer, and he has no doubt that the experimental treatments he has received have saved his life.

Mr. Jones, 45, has an aggressive type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that resists the usual therapies. At the start of his most recent clinical trial, his life expectancy was measured in months. That was more than three years ago. He received a drug that helped his immune system fight cancer — a type of immunotherapy, the hottest area in cancer research and treatment.

“I’ve been over 12 months now with no treatment at all,” he said. “I walk half-marathons.”

Mr. Jones is one of many patients who have benefited from lifesaving advances in immunotherapy. But he’s an outlier: He is African-American. As money pours into immunotherapy research and promising results multiply, patients getting the new treatments in studies have been overwhelmingly white. Minority participation in most clinical trials is low, often out of proportion with the groups’ numbers in the general population and their cancer rates. Many researchers acknowledge the imbalance, and say they are trying to correct it.

Two major studies of immunotherapy last year starkly illustrate the problem. The drug being tested was nivolumab, a type of checkpoint inhibitor, one of the most promising drug classes for cancer. In both studies, patients taking it lived significantly longer than those given chemotherapy.

In the first study, of 582 patients with lung cancer, 92 percent were white. Three percent were black, 3 percent were Asian and 3 percent were listed as “other.” In the second study, of 821 people with kidney cancer, 88 percent were white, 9 percent Asian and just 1 percent black.

According to 2015 census figures, whites make up 77 percent of the United States population, blacks 13.3 percent and Asians 5.6 percent.

A 1993 law requires that all medical research conducted or paid for by the National Institutes of Health include enough minorities and women to determine whether they respond to treatment differently than other groups. Minority enrollment in its studies was about 28 percent in clinical research and 40 percent in Phase III clinical trials in 2015, the N.I.H. said.

But the N.I.H. paid for only about 6 percent of all clinical trials in the United States in 2014, and those it does not support do not have to adhere to its rules. The lung and kidney studies of nivolumab, for instance, were paid for by the drug’s maker, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Researchers say such studies, geared toward getting a drug approved for new uses, are often done quickly, and minority patients may be left out because it can take longer to find and enroll them.

One obstacle, researchers say, is that people in minority groups tend to have lower incomes and less education, and therefore less awareness of medical studies and how to find them. Many live in areas that do not have easy access to a major cancer center. Moreover, minority patients with cancer are more likely to have other, poorly controlled chronic diseases like diabetes that may make them ineligible for studies, according to Dr. Julie R. Brahmer, from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Even if they do qualify and want to enroll, financial hurdles can be daunting. Studies may involve frequent trips to the hospital, requiring time off work and expenses for travel, parking and child care. Some doctors simply assume that lower-income, minority patients could not manage it.

“One of the biggest barriers is doctors not asking patients to join clinical trials because they assume they would not be trial candidates,” said Dr. Elise D. Cook, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. But many, she said, “would participate if they were asked.”

Trials can offer huge advantages, like new treatments that may otherwise be unavailable. Expensive drugs and tests are usually free. The overall care is often better than routine treatment, because patients see doctors and nurses more frequently and have more tests. Though success is not guaranteed, a clinical trial can be a lifeline.

“Clinical trials are the most advanced treatment, the most cutting-edge therapies we have,” said Dina G. Lansey, the assistant director for diversity and inclusion in clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. “They should be available to everybody.”

A Cancer Center With a Food Pantry

At Queens Hospital’s Cancer Center in New York, researchers are trying to reach disadvantaged patients by bringing clinical trials to them.

For one black patient there this fall, chemotherapy had stopped working and his colon cancer was spreading.

“It’s something you don’t want to hear,” said the patient, a slight, sad-faced man of 61 with a soft voice and a strong Jamaican accent. He asked to be identified only as Mr. M., to protect his privacy.

“We all have to go,” he said.

Linda Bulone, a research nurse manager, was hoping to buy him some time with a study that would test for mutations that might make his cancer vulnerable to certain new drugs, which he could then receive.

Her effort was part of an unusual collaboration between the Queens center, where 92 percent of patients are from minority groups, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the nation’s most renowned cancer hospitals.

Opened in 2002 by Dr. M. Margaret Kemeny, a surgical oncologist and professor of surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Queens center is part of NYC Health & Hospitals/Queens, a public hospital that turns no one away. Many patients there are uninsured; 85 percent of those with cancer qualify for emergency Medicaid, Dr. Kemeny said. The cancer center operates a food pantry, and many patients need it.

Dr. Kemeny wanted cancer patients to have access to studies, and lured Ms. Bulone away from a tony suburban hospital to start a research center in 2004.

“You can’t do good medicine for cancer without a research program,” Dr. Kemeny said. Most of her patients in Queens have never heard of clinical trials.

Mr. M., for instance, knew nothing about genetics, mutations or Memorial Sloan Kettering. Sensing that he, like many of her patients, had trouble reading, Ms. Bulone took most of an hour to read the consent form for the study aloud and explain it. He signed.

“Once you’re in the study, you’re a patient of mine forever,” Ms. Bulone told him. As she does with every study patient, she gave him her cellphone number and said he could call her any time night or day. He hugged her on the way out.

“I don’t convince them of anything,” she said. “I educate them. We have to protect them, inform them, make sure they’re getting a true impression of the study. Not every clinical trial is for every person.”

The center has patients in about 35 trials, she said, adding that drug companies looking to enroll minorities sometimes seek out the Queens center because it’s such a melting pot. Though she is white, she has had no trouble signing up patients from other races, she said.

“You have to really care,” she said. “You have to put yourself into it.”

She said it was important to work with patients who are illiterate or have little education, factors that some may think would impede their ability to follow directions, and make them poor candidates for clinical trials. She considers that discriminatory.

“We want to give them the best treatment we can,” she said. “But there’s also the emotional part. That’s all you have left when the medicine runs out.”

Ms. Bulone uses a telephone translating service to explain studies to patients who do not speak English, and the hospital or drug companies pay $2,000 to $6,000 to have consent forms translated.

To find patients who might be helped but know nothing of trials, she recently began asking another city hospital for its list of patients to be discussed at its “tumor board” meetings, where doctors evaluate difficult cases.

If any patients meet the criteria for a study, she contacts them. Recently, she found Sung Yoo, a Korean man with gastric cancer who qualified for a promising study of a checkpoint inhibitor. It took 16 days to get the consent form translated, but he waited and eagerly signed up.

“People want to live,” Ms. Bulone said. “They just do.”

Trying for a Varied Mix

Clinical trials can reveal things useful to a whole ethnic or racial group. For instance, a drug for kidney cancer, sunitinib, has proved more likely to cause skin problems in Asians than in whites. But how blacks compare is not known, because not enough have been included in studies, said Dr. Robert J. Motzer, an oncologist at Sloan Kettering.

But Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said, “When we look at race, it matters sociopolitically far more than biologically.” He said lower enrollment of minorities in clinical trials was part of a larger problem of unequal care that contributes to higher death rates from treatable cancers in some groups.

“I sometimes cynically say, ‘The drug certainly does not work in blacks when blacks don’t get prescribed the drug,’” Dr. Brawley said.

He added: “When there’s a rumor that a new drug is hot, if it is being offered, upper-class Americans with good insurance will fly to the medical center, stay in a hotel, get on the trial.”

The notorious Tuskeegee study, in which black men with syphilis were deliberately left untreated during the mid-20th century, is frequently cited as a reason that blacks avoid studies. But once the safeguards to prevent abuse are explained, researchers said, minorities are just as willing as whites to participate. Most people are wary of studies with control groups given placebos, but cancer studies do not use placebos: The control group generally gets the best available standard care.

One way to increase minority enrollment that some researchers favor is conducting studies that focus on specific racial or ethnic groups. Few such studies are done, though Dr. Brawley warned that requiring certain enrollment levels for minorities could backfire, tempting research teams to pressure patients to sign up.

Another solution, some suggest, would be for medical journals to refuse to publish studies unless they include appropriate numbers of women and minorities.

Dr. Edward W. Campion, executive editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, wrote in an email that his publication expects reports of trials to show racial distributions,“but there are no set requirements.”

A complicating factor, he said, is that many major studies are international, including countries with different racial makeups.

He added: “We expect it to be made clear that one has to be careful about generalizing from a trial done mainly in one racial group.”

‘I’m Going to Find Something, Somewhere’

There were 23 people in the small study that probably saved Mr. Jones’s life. He was one of two blacks — a higher proportion than in most larger studies.

Mr. Jones said that he was unaware of any racial divide in research, and that his stubborn personality and determination to live drove him to find studies, entirely on his own.

“I made a commitment to a lifetime with my wife,” he said. “A lifetime wasn’t going to be a year or two.”

His quest began when his lymphoma returned after several rounds of treatment.

“My doctor sat me down and said, ‘The disease seems to have progressed past everything we have,’” Mr. Jones said. The doctor then promised he would make sure to keep Mr. Jones comfortable.

“You mean tie up loose ends?” Mr. Jones asked. When the doctor said yes, Mr. Jones said, “I gave him a hug, and said: ‘This means my journey with you is done. I’m going to find something, somewhere. I’ll keep you in the loop.’”

He scoured, which lists available studies for many diseases. A drug name he saw there led him to an online video describing a study at MD Anderson Cancer Center for patients like him. Mr. Jones lives in Delaware and thought MD stood for Maryland, a few hours’ drive away. He was stunned to find out the hospital was in Houston. He and his wife had to stop paying their mortgage to afford plane tickets. Eventually, they lost their house. But the treatment worked — for a while.

When he relapsed again, he could not afford to keep traveling to MD Anderson. His doctor there helped him transfer his care to Sloan Kettering in New York.

Again, experimental treatments helped, but temporarily. Then he hit the jackpot. In 2013, he entered a trial of the checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab. He was treated for two years. The study became a landmark, with an 87 percent response rate among patients like Mr. Jones, who had burned through every other option.

“This was just hitting it out of the park,” said Dr. Alexander M. Lesokhin, his oncologist at Sloan Kettering.

Mr. Jones was treated for two years. His tumors shrank, and he has been off treatment for a year. Doctors are not sure whether the cancer is gone or being kept at bay by his immune system. But he is feeling well and has embarked on a new career that he loves, photographing jazz musicians.

As for his illness, he said: “I didn’t have a specific person to guide me. Everything fell into place for me because I pushed for it. I’m telling everyone else: ‘Don’t give up. You have to self-advocate.’”

Vitamin D Deficiency May Up Risk of Chronic Headache

Vitamin D levels and incidence of headache was analyzed in about 2,600 middle-aged and older men

A study published in Scientific Reports found that vitamin D deficiency may raise the risk of chronic headache.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland conducted the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), which analyzed serum vitamin D levels and incidence of headache in about 2,600 middle-aged and older men in 1984–1989. Nearly 70% of these men had serum vitamin D levels <50nmol/L, which is typically the threshold for vitamin D deficiency. The occurrence of chronic headache happening at least weekly was reported by 250 men, and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others.

When participants were stratified by serum vitamin D levels, the group with the lowest levels had more than a 2-fold risk of chronic headache vs. the group with the highest levels. Also, chronic headache occurrence was more frequently reported by men who were evaluated outside the summer months of June through September; average serum vitamin D levels are higher during the summer months.

Findings from the study further support the evidence associating low vitamin D intake with increased risk of chronic diseases. The 5-year Finnish Vitamin D Trial (FIND) at the University of Eastern Finland is currently assessing the impact of high daily doses of vitamin D (40mcg or 80mcg) on the risk factors and development of diseases. The study is also investigating the effects of vitamin D supplementation on other pain conditions.

Study authors added that large randomized vitamin D supplementation trials are needed to “elucidate the role of vitamin D supplementation as a prophylaxis or treatment for headache.”

Study Links Saturated Fats to Coronary Heart Disease

New Harvard-led research is the latest to find a connection between saturated fats and increased coronary heart disease.

The team of researchers conducted 2 large cohort studies to investigate the association between long-term intake of individual saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and the risk of coronary heart disease. The authors evaluated 73,147 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2012) and 42,635 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2010), who were free of major chronic diseases at baseline. Incidence of coronary heart disease was self-reported, and related deaths were identified by searching the National Death Index or through reports of next of kin or postal authority, according to the investigators, who confirmed cases by medical records review.

The team found a strong correlation with all the main SFAs and coronary heart disease and calculated that replacing 1% daily energy intake of SFAs, including lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid, with an equivalent number of calories from polyunsaturated fats, whole-grain carbohydrates, or plant proteins would lead to a 6% to 8% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.

“The real benefits from reducing saturated fat come primarily when it is replaced by unsaturated fats,” said study coauthor Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPh, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“This means using plant oils such as soy, canola, corn, and olive oil instead of butter, lard, and hydrogenated oils whenever possible, in cooking and at the table,” said Dr Willett, adding that “almost all margarines are now trans-fat–free and are mostly unsaturated oils, so they are better than butter. But liquid oils are best.”

Dr Willett also noted that red meat is a major source of saturated fat, and he urges primary care practitioners to recommend that patients keep red meat intake low.

“Full-fat dairy foods are also major contributors to saturated fat, but low-fat versions will not be better if they are loaded with sugar,” he said. “It is best to keep dairy intake low to modest (0 to 2 servings a day) and consider plant sources of protein more often. Most simply, limiting red meat and using liquid plant oils whenever possible will gain most of the benefit.”

These findings support the current US Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines that recommend reducing saturated fat to less than 10% of total energy, added Qi Sun, MD, MMS, ScD, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, coauthor of the study.

“This goal could be achieved by eating a healthful diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy, fish, and vegetable cooking oils that are low in saturated fat contents,” Dr Sun said. “Primary care physicians should continue to encourage patients to eat a healthful diet. This is the best way to reduce the overall intake levels of saturated fat and increase diet quality at the same time.”

Dylann Roof sentenced to death for killing 9 church members

Dylann Roof appears via video link at a bond hearing in court in North Charleston, S.C., on June 19, 2015. (Grace Beahm / EPA)

An unrepentant Dylann Roof was sentenced to death Tuesday for fatally shooting nine black church members during a Bible study session, becoming the first person ordered executed for a federal hate crime.

A jury deliberated for about three hours before returning with the decision, capping a trial in which the 22-year-old avowed white supremacist did not fight for his life or show any remorse. He served as his own attorney during sentencing and never asked for forgiveness or mercy or explained the massacre.

Hours earlier, Roof threw away one last chance to plead for his life, telling jurors, “I still feel like I had to do it.”

The slain included the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church pastor and a state senator, as well as other pillars of the community: a high school track coach, the church sexton, a librarian and an aspiring poet. They all shared deep devotion to the church, known as Mother Emanuel, and passed that faith along to their families, many of whom offered Roof forgiveness when he appeared in court just days after the attack.

As Roof spoke Tuesday for about five minutes, every juror looked directly at him. A few nodded as he reminded them that they said during jury selection they could fairly weigh the factors of his case. Only one of them, he noted, had to disagree to spare him from a lethal injection.

“I have the right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I’m not sure what good it would do anyway,” he said.

When the verdict was read, he stood stoic. Several family members of victims wiped away quiet tears.

Roof told FBI agents when they arrested him after the June 17, 2015, slayings that he wanted the shootings to bring back segregation or perhaps start a race war. Instead, the slayings had a unifying effect, as South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its Statehouse for the first time in more than 50 years. Other states followed suit, taking down Confederate banners and monuments. Roof had posed with the flag in photos.

Malcolm Graham, whose sister Cynthia Hurd was slain, said the jury made the right decision.

“There is no room in America’s smallest jail cell for hatred, racism and discrimination,” he said from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The journey for me and my family today has come to an end.”

One of Hurd’s other brothers, Melvin Graham, said the jury’s decision “was a very hollow victory” because his sister is still gone.

“He decided the day, the hour and minute my sister was going to die. Now someone is going to do it for him,” he said.

Roof specifically selected Emanuel AME Church, the South’s oldest black church, to carry out the cold, calculated slaughter, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said.

The 12 people he targeted opened the door for a stranger with a smile, he said. Three people survived the attack.

“They welcomed a 13th person that night … with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”

The gunman sat with the Bible study group for about 45 minutes. During the final prayer — when everyone’s eyes were closed — he started firing. He stood over some of the fallen victims, shooting them again as they lay on the floor, Richardson said.

The prosecutor reminded jurors about each one of the victims and the bloody scene that Roof left in the church’s lower level.

Nearly two dozen friends and relatives of the victims testified during the sentencing phase of the trial. They shared cherished memories and talked about a future without a mother, father, sister or brother. They shed tears, and their voices shook, but none of them said whether Roof should face the death penalty.

The prosecutor reminded jurors that Clementa Pinckney would be remembered for singing goofy songs and watching cartoons with his young daughters. In a sign of perhaps how important that testimony was, jurors re-watched a speech by Pinckney in which he talked about the history of Emanuel and its mission.

The jury convicted Roof last month of all 33 federal charges he faced, including hate crimes. He never explained his actions to jurors, saying only that “anyone who hates anything in their mind has a good reason for it.”

Roof insisted that he was not mentally ill and did not call any witnesses or present any evidence.

In one of his journals, he wrote that he did not believe in psychology, calling it “a Jewish invention” that “does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they don’t.”

His attorneys said he did not want to present any evidence that might embarrass him or his family.

After he was sentenced, Roof asked a judge to appoint him new attorneys, but the judge said he was not inclined to do so because they had performed “admirably.”

“We are sorry that, despite our best efforts, the legal proceedings have shed so little light on the reasons for this tragedy,” the attorneys said in a veiled reference to the mental health issues they wanted to present.

A judge will formally sentence him during a hearing Wednesday. Roof also faces a death penalty trial in state court.

The last person sent to federal death row was Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in 2015.

Associated Press

Fox News Caught Using Out-And-Out Lie To Push For End To Food Stamps

With Trump’s election, the right sees a new chance to target the poor and vulnerable.

Pathologizing poverty has been a long-term, ongoing—and sadly, highly successful—project of the right in this country. From Scott Walker’s recent appeal to PEOTUS Donald Trump to allow the state of Wisconsin to drug-test food-stamp recipients, to House GOP plans to make it harder to qualify for aid, the goal is to punish and stigmatize the poor while eliminating programs that help lift them out of poverty.

Fox News essentially functions as the media arm of the Republican Party, and on Wednesday it did its part to undermine a program that helps 44 million poor Americans. To that transparent end, an episode of “Fox & Friends” featured a segment titled, “Food Stamp Fraud at All-Time High: Is It Time to End the Program?” The piece goes on to claim that USDA figures reveal “$70 million of taxpayer money was wasted in 2016 due to food stamp fraud.”

There are a number of problems with this episode, from the false fact buried in the query to the absurd answer it proposes. Obviously, no, we shouldn’t scrap a program that serves 44 million needy people, because that would be disastrous for families, children and communities around the country. Especially since it’s an argument based on lies and obfuscation, as Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum points out:

First, I have no idea where Fox’s $70 million figure comes from—and I looked pretty hard for it. The Fox graphic attributes it to “2016 USDA,” but as near as I can tell the USDA has no numbers for SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] fraud more recent than 2011.
Drum goes on to note that even if the imaginary figure were real, it would account for a tiny fraction of cases.

That’s not all: $70 million is a startlingly low figure. In the most recent fiscal year, SNAP cost $71 billion, which means that fraud accounted for a minuscule 0.098 percent of the program budget.
As Drum notes, that’s not to suggest that having $70 million go to people who weren’t eligible to receive the money isn’t problematic. But as the Washington Post points out, if we really wanted to make sure federal funds aren’t being wasted in unnecessary places, there are a few other sites we might want to look first.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post revealed that the Defense Department had deep-sixed recommendations that might save the agency up to $125 billion over the course of five years. “Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power,” our Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward wrote. “But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.” That’s a potential savings of $25 billion a year — 357 times the amount of waste in the SNAP program.

Another example. On Wednesday, we reported about a long-running scam operated by Leonard Francis, a Navy contractor who, over the course of several years, defrauded the government to the tune of $35 million.
“As of writing, Fox News has not questioned whether we should disband the Navy,” the Post wryly notes.

In fact, we can be 100 percent certain that the network would attack any messenger who suggests American military spending should be cut, though the U.S. spends more on its armed forces than the next eight nations combined. Yet Fox has no problem suggesting, based on flimsy evidence and illogical reasoning, that we should let millions of American adults and children go hungry. If the election of Trump wasn’t enough proof of the right’s complete and utter lack of morals, there’s new evidence emerging all the time.

Video appears to show Fort Worth, Texas police shooting man as he walks away

David Collie

FORT WORTH, Texas — A police dashcam video appears to show a Texas officer shoot a black man as he’s walking away from the officer and not posing any immediate threat.

A lawyer for David Collie released a copy of the video showing the July encounter with a Fort Worth officer and a Tarrant County sheriff’s deputy. The officer and deputy were off-duty at the time and working a security detail together at an apartment complex, attorney Nate Washington said Wednesday.

He said Collie was shot in the back, leaving him paralyzed.

Warning: The following video contains violent imagery.

Police at the time were searching for two shirtless black men who they believed had committed a robbery near a gas station, Washington said. Authorities said in a news release they issued at the time that Collie pulled a box cutter from his pocket and pointed it at the officers.

Collie was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant but a grand jury declined to indict him.

Fort Worth police did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment on the incident.

Collie, 33, was walking from work to a friend’s apartment when the officers approached him in the patrol vehicle, Washington said. It was the Fort Worth officer who shot Collie, Washington said, and the video appears to show the officer firing his weapon about 10 seconds after exiting the vehicle and as Collie walked away.

The video was obtained about three weeks ago from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office through an open-records request, Washington said. The attorney said he released the video Tuesday at a news conference at Collie’s insistence because Collie was tired of comments made to his mother by people assuming he must have done something wrong.

Washington said Collie wanted to make clear he “didn’t do anything to threaten an officer.”

Release of the shooting video came just days after the Fort Worth police were in the spotlight over another incident. A cellphone video captured a white Fort Worth officer last week wrestling a black woman to the ground and then arresting her and her two daughters. The officer appeared to be argumentative and escalate the encounter with the woman, who had called police following an encounter between her son and a neighbor. The video has been viewed millions of times.

3,000 US Cities Have Lead Poisoning Rates HigherThan Flint’s

Recently diagnosed with lead poisoning, Kadin Mignery, 2, plays on the front porch of his home in St. Joseph, Missouri, U.S. Nov. 15, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

A new report shows the toxic legacy of 40 years of neo-liberal neglect, the brunt of which is borne by the racialized poor.

As news of criminal charges against the architects of the poisoning of Flint’s water system broke on Tuesday, a new report shows that almost 3, 000 communities across the U.S. have lead poisoning rates higher than the beleaguered Michigan city, reflecting the devastating impacts of 40 years of neo-liberal neglect.

The Reuters report, called Off The Charts, found 3,000 areas “with recently recorded lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis,” with public health records in a third of those communities showing rates at least four times higher.

While the Flint crisis was created by the criminal decision of a Republican appointed city manager to switch that city’s water source to one known to pose a threat to public safety, the lead poisoning crisis in these other cities appears to be the result of a bipartisan toxic neoliberal mix of neglected public infrastructure, lack of enforcement of building regulations, and decreased funding for public health agencies.

The report shows that despite initially promising attempts in the late 1970’s to not only ban lead-based paints, but clean up housing, plumbing, and playgrounds that used them, funding for those infrastructure programs soon dried up, leaving thousands of children vulnerable to the highly toxic substance.

The report suggests the problem is particularly dire in the impoverished de-industrialized heartland of the midwest, where racialized poverty remains a key indicator of which communities are at higher risk.

For example, in one east Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood, where almost 50 percent of the residents live in poverty, “nearly half of kids tested in the last decade had elevated lead levels.” Similarly, in 49 different communities in Pennsylvania, the former steel capital of the U.S., “at least 40 percent of children tested had high lead levels.”

The effects of elevated lead levels are particularly devastating on young children, with the poison affecting brain development, something which the study says has been exacerbated by the underfunding of public health programs which could help diagnose and treat children in the early stages.

Indeed in Indiana, where Vice President-elect Mike Pence was governor, a successful testing program has all but ended because “the funding dried up,” according to former public health program director Sue Taylor.

The Reuters report highlighted the “vicious cycle” of lead poisoning, where “cognitive deficits breed poor school performance, high dropout rates, few job opportunities, and brushes with the law.”

Indeed the report revealed a direct connection between lead poisoning caused by lack of enforcement of building standards, and one of the most high-profile police murders in recent years.

Little known to many, before Freddie Gray was murdered by Baltimore police in 2015, he and his family won an out of court settlement against their landlord who had failed to clean up the lead contamination in their building. Court filings in that case revealed that Gray suffered from health problems directly related to lead exposure.

Trump’s Poor. And Putin knows it.

We tend to flag, or at least strongly resist speculation here, especially when one speculates as to facts that might support a theory. But, with respect to key aspects of Trump’s business status, and the potential conflicts with the Office of the President, we must speculate, because he simply won’t provide the facts to questions that must get asked.

So, I’m going to speculate, thus;

Trump is not only, “not a billionaire,” he carries so much debt that, relative to his hard assets, he’s poor, especially with respect to cash flow through cash intensive investments such as resorts, etc, where one has to pay large monthly bills to keep the lights on and the greens, well — green. In any given quarter, Trump faces situations where he doesn’t have the cash to keep up “appearances” and must borrow cash, at whatever rate, to maintain the cloak of worth, I mean wealth …I mean, the wealth that makes up his self-worth.

I’m not a CPA. I’m a lawyer, but not one with any business experience. This is truly a layman’s “speculation” and experts here can tell me that I’m wildly wrong – which would be good. I look forward to learning. But, let’s start putting some real easy facts all in one place, ones we all agree don’t even need citation at this point.

1. We know that he promised to “self-fund” his campaign, and yet not only did he not “self-fund” it, he charged HUGE fees to his campaign to use Trump property. We also know that he never had anywhere near enough campaign money. From the beginning, the “Billionaire” had the “poorest” campaign.

2. He promised to donate all that money made in one evening to veterans groups, and had not done so when checked-in on, months later. (This is part of the larger pattern, a “Foundation” that he never paid money into, and hadn’t paid a lot of real money out of, one under criminal investigation. Most true billionaires have real foundations with real people who really help various causes because it helps business. It’s more polite to be worth billions if one can point to the appearance of “doing good” and yet Trump can’t even do that).

3. Upon winning the presidency, one of the first things he did was set up cash cow, meet/greets with his sons and various other tawdry behavior.

4. Even as President-Fucking-Elect he sells tickets to his New Years Eve party. Yet another potential conflict boil-up.

4. We know he took risks that could get a guy thrown in jail — paying off the Florida Attorney General $20,000 to drop the investigation into his Trump U and when he did it, he did so in yet another way that could get a guy thrown in jail — having his “charity” pay for it.

5. By the way, just what the fuck is a “billionaire international real estate developer” doing even setting up something as stupid as a “U” to begin with? Never mind “Trump Steaks” – Unless one simply needs easy cash?

My point is, at every single point where he could have simply made his life easier by “not charging” or “avoiding a conflict” or “staying out of jail,” he’s gone with the move that carried the most risk but picked up five figures, over and over. No, I don’t think it all can be blamed on being short-fingered.

Which leads to two relevant questions. Speculation. What if, the real reason that Trump can’t “divest” himself of his business interests is because “divestment” would leave bare that he still owes more money than he has? He’s insolvent.  What if he’s willing to put up with dancing the “Presidents can’t have conflicts” line because the alternative is “My debts outweigh my assets. I’m not rich, once one has stripped away the 757 and gold toilet, and I’m not willing to do that.”

Of course, I’m speculating, and I’m not a CPA or CFP. And, of course, you can simply read what people who are, actually, CPAs and valuation experts, people at Bloomberg, and see what they think (they still think he’s rich, but note his debt doubled). But, Bloomberg basis its findings on something I’m not willing to trust — Trump’s reports, and specifically, they trust he’s accurately reported his debts. I find my lying eyes far more trustworthy. I scan the landscape and cannot escape one fact. Trump takes ruinous risks, monthly, to pick up $10K here or $20K there.

He has to. He’s poor.

And Putin knows it, and can prove it.

I’m speculating. Our President-Elect is free to “prove” me wrong.

Registered Voters Who Stayed Home Probably Cost Clinton The Election

Registered voters who didn’t vote on Election Day in November were more Democratic-leaning than the registered voters who turned out, according to a post-election poll from SurveyMonkey, shared with FiveThirtyEight. In fact, Donald Trump probably would have lost to Hillary Clinton had Republican- and Democratic-leaning registered voters cast ballots at equal rates.

Election-year polls understandably focus on likely voters. Then, after the election, the attention turns to actual voters, mainly using exit polls. But getting good data on Americans who didn’t vote is more difficult. That’s why the SurveyMonkey poll, which interviewed about 100,000 registered voters just after Election Day, including more than 3,600 registered voters who didn’t vote, is so useful.1 It’s still just one poll, and so its findings aren’t gospel, but with such a big sample we can drill down to subgroups and measure the demographic makeup of nonvoters to an extent we couldn’t with a smaller dataset.

Let’s look first at the most newsworthy finding: Registered voters who identified as Democrats and independents were more likely than Republicans to stay home.

Registered voters who didn’t vote were less Republican-leaning

Democratic 44% 44% 35% +9
Republican 43 46 32 +14
Neither 13 10 33 -23

Percentages are rounded. From a survey of 99,377 registered voters and 3,604 registered voters who didn’t vote, conducted from Nov. 9-10, 2016

Given how closely party identification tracks with vote choice, the disparity in turnout probably cost Clinton the election. SurveyMonkey did not ask non-voters whom they would have voted for, but we do know that more than 90 percent of self-identified Democrats who cast a ballot voted for Clinton and more than 90 percent of Republicans voted for Trump. Moreover, voters who didn’t identify with or lean towards either party were slightly more likely to prefer Clinton to Trump. That means that had the non-voters cast a ballot in accordance with their party identification, Clinton’s advantage over Trump nationally would have expanded by about 2 to 3 percentage points. That almost certainly would have been enough to flip enough states for her to win the Electoral College.

The large gap in party identification between registered voters who cast a ballot and those who didn’t also helps to explain why pre-election polling underestimated Trump. Pre-election polls suggested that the gap between these two groups would be smaller than in 2012; the SurveyMonkey data suggests it was larger.

The biggest reason given by non-voters for staying home was that they didn’t like the candidates.2 Clinton and Trump both had favorable ratings in the low 30s among registered voters who didn’t cast a ballot — both had ratings in the low 40s among those who did vote. That’s a pretty sizable difference. So why was Clinton hurt more by non-voters? Trump was able to win, in large part, because voters who disliked both candidates favored him in big numbers, according to the exit polls. Clinton, apparently, couldn’t get those who disliked both candidates — and who may have been more favorably disposed to her candidacy — to turn out and vote.

The second pattern that jumps out in the SurveyMonkey data: Non-white and Hispanic Americans were more likely to stay home than white voters.

Of all voters who cast a ballot in the general election, 25 percent were black, Hispanic, Asian, or a member of another minority group. But those voters were 42 percent of those who didn’t vote. Drilling down a little further, black voters made up 11 percent of voters who cast a ballot and 19 percent who didn’t. This disparity really hurt Clinton because black voters (by 82 percentage points) and Hispanic voters (by 40 percentage points) overwhelmingly favored her, while white voters went for Trump by a 16-point margin in the SurveyMonkey poll.

The turnout rate for black voters was substantially higher in 2012, the last time Barack Obama was on the ballot. According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey,3 black Americans made up 13 percent of voters and only 9 percent of registered non-voters in 2012. In other words, black voters actually made up a larger percentage of voters who cast a ballot than those who didn’t in 2012, which is the opposite of what occurred last year. Whites, on the other hand, made up about the same percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot (74 percent) and those who didn’t (73 percent). The higher number of black non-voters in 2016 probably had a big impact.

Next up: Younger voters were more likely to stay home than older voters.

That matches a similar pattern from 2012, according to the Current Population Survey. That probably didn’t help Clinton, but it’s not as harmful as you might think because the difference in voting patterns between the oldest age cohort (a group Trump won by 12 percentage points in the SurveyMonkey data) and youngest (a group Clinton won by 30 percentage points) voters isn’t as large as it is between racial groups. Overall, the age breakdown of 2016 voters looks about the same as four years ago.

More harmful for Clinton was which young voters stayed home: minorities. Among white voters, voters 18-29 years old made up 30 percent of voters who did not participate in the November election. Among young Hispanic voters, that climbs to 43 percent. Among young black voters, it was an even higher 46 percent. That generally matches the findings of the voter data released in some Southern states showing that young black voters were especially likely to stay home in this election. Younger black voters were far more likely to support Bernie Sanders in the primary, suggesting that there simply was not the enthusiasm for Clinton’s candidacy as there was for Obama’s in 2012. Clinton’s favorable rating, for instance, was about 10 percentage points lower among the youngest black voters compared to the oldest black voters in the SurveyMonkey poll.

Perhaps most important is the group that voted in much larger numbers than in 2012: white voters without a college degree. (Trump won this bloc 63 percent to 32 percent.) Generally speaking, college graduates are more likely to vote than non-college graduates, even when controlling for race. According to the Current Population Survey, whites without a college degree made up 44 percent of voters who cast a ballot in 2012, and 58 percent of registered voters who didn’t vote.

These may have been some of the “missing” white voters that RealClearPolitics Sean Trende has written about, but in 2016, they weren’t missing. In the SurveyMonkey data, white non-college graduates made up 48 percent of 2016 registered voters who didn’t vote, substantially lower than 2012. They made up 47 percent of voters. It’s pretty remarkable that a group of voters that is shrinking as a percentage of the population made up a larger share of the electorate in 2016 than in 2012. But Trump made a clear appeal to this group, and some voters who stayed at home in previous years may have felt they had a greater voice in 2016.

Simply put, Trump got more of his voters to turn out than Clinton did. That’s quite a turnaround from the pre-election conventional wisdom that the Clinton campaign had the better turnout machine. Of course, Clinton’s turnout operation may well have nudged many reluctant voters to the polls, but either way, it wasn’t enough. The polling numbers from SurveyMonkey indicate that Clinton was hurt dearly by the voters who decided not to vote.



“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9)

Part I of III: Transformation-Par for the Course

Change! Boy, there is no other word that can be both exhilarating and frightening. It elicits feelings of delight and anxiousness. Because even though change may be desired, it is unfamiliar territory.

How many would agree that Jesus is a very smart man? His wisdom is infinite and extends beyond earthly wisdom. His wisdom from God revealed that no man pours new wine into old vessels (Mark 2:22). In effect, before he invests His best into a vessel, that vessel has to undergo a transformation. It cannot stay the same. Why? Because a new spirit with an old mindset is a recipe for disaster.

The Word admonishes us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). As we do, we make ourselves candidates for a fresh anointing from God. And when a fresh, new anointing comes, He opens the door of opportunity for it to be expressed.

Here is an example. The disciples met Jesus. They spent time with Him. They watched Him. Then there was a transition. As their minds became renewed, He began to propel them to do the works that He did. He taught them. He sent them out two by two. And they came back reporting that demons were subject to THEM in His Name. Now they are ready for the next level-His departure. Therefore, He began to prepare them for the impartation of the Holy Spirit-another level. But in each state, the receiver had to first be prepared, or primed, for what God has in store. And it is the same for us.

Therefore, change in the Christian life is inescapable. The level you are on right now is not the level you began at. And there are greater heights, still, that God wants to take you to. But the question is-are you resisting?

Part II of III: Endure the Process

I have a revelation for you. If you have been faithful of a few things, you will be faithful of much. God is going to promote you (Matthew 25:21). But here is what we fail to realize. That promotion brings CHANGE. When you are promoted, you are not the same. You have transformed into a newer, more anointed you. You have become the steward of more. Your realm of influence is increased. You have gone to another level. And when you go to another level, you leave the one that you are on. That means you will experience some transitioning in the natural. Your territory has been enlarged. With newer boundary limits, it’s time to explore. You must get out of your comfort zone. Many times, we are hindered from going forward. So then God gets to pruning…

The Word says that if you are bearing good fruit, that He would prune you so that you bear more (See John 15:1-8). In layman’s terms, that means you have been productive. The dreams and visions He has given you, you have run with them, and you have seen the manifestation of them. And like God did when He evaluated His work, He said that it was “good, and very good.” So now He has called you on to bigger and better ventures. But you have gotten comfortable where you are. You have experienced success beyond your imagination to the glory of God. And you are not quite sure how any new venture will be just as successful. And you also don’t want to admit that you are scared!!!

So, God simply breaks those things off! Huh, you say? Yes. If you do not move forward, He will close those old doors to you until you venture into the new.

If we look at the life of Joseph, we must admit-with a protective father (he was with him instead of shepherding) and jealous brothers-there was only so much that he could accomplish. His realm of influence was bound. You see, both love and hate can keep you in situations that limit your effectiveness in your calling. So God had to get him out of there. He had two entire nations for Him to lead. He had been faithful over what God had called him to do in his family, so He was promoted. Not only was he sent to serve Potiphar and Pharaoh, but to serve the nation of Egypt and the children of the Most High God. As He was promoted, he changed, his territory was enlarged, and he HAD to go into new realms. His transitions were not easy ones. There was a lot of hurt and pain along the way. But God kept Him through it all. And Joseph’s latter end was greater than his former. All his father could give him was a coat of many colors. But his heavenly Father gave him a robe of prophesy and priesthood that no one could steal or deny. (Read Genesis 37-47).

Part III of III: Overcome Fear

Many times, the fear of the unknown paralyzes us into remaining the same for comfort’s sake. You don’t want any new battles. But that also means you have no new victories. In fact, the Word says that if you don’t change, you don’t fear God (Psalm 55:19). Why? Because God is a dynamic God. He is always moving and changing. He doesn’t change Who He is. But you can see from the Word that Jesus rarely accomplished the same goal the same way.

So what would Jesus do? Be led by the Spirit into unchartered territories KNOWING that if God is for Him, who or what could be against Him. The fear that you feel is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). It is a thorn in your flesh that satan has formed to keep you contained. But I declare what the Word declares:


A Brand New You

Right now, you may feel unworthy of the calling God has on your life. But God knew you before you were even formed in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). Solomon was wise enough to know that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Therefore, there is nothing about you that God is shocked or appalled by! If He has called you, He has called YOU into a new destiny in Him. And I believe that He knows who He is talking to.

Brother or Sister in Christ, be made whole. If you have been marred, God will give you a makeover (Jeremiah 18:1-4). He doesn’t give up on us. So let us believe that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine in us. Therefore, surrender to the transformation. Blossom. And allow yourself to be a brand new you.

Be encouraged and do the work that God has called you to do.

I plan to. Live the abundant life. Best Wishes…