Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (02/07/19)

Quick News, Concerning America, Current Events and Mental Health




“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” —Thurgood Marshall, first African American U.S. Supreme Court member





Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed



MENTAL HEALTH CHAT-(U.S. suicide rates surges to a 30-year high)

Image result for DeMar DeRozan

Big shout out to Michael Phelps, DeMar DeRozan,  Serena Williams, Kevin Love, Steve Smith Sr. and Brian Dawkins and Brandon Marshall who recently opened up about their battles with depression and mental health. Human brains are just like any other part of our body. Once injured, there are steps that you can take to bring you back to a healthy state of mind.

Many research shows that mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. It suggests multiple linking causes. Lifestyle, genetics and your environment can influence whether someone develops a mental condition. A stressful home life, stressful job or stressful school environment makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Basic brain structure, biochemical processes, and circuits may play a role too.

Remember that you are important and loved by many. Why? Because you are a living soul and you matter. So, if you are having suicidal thoughts, PLEASE CALL 800-273-8255.





Cartoon Politics








House panel to investigate whether Russia has leverage over Trump

The House Intelligence Committee’s new Democratic leadership on Wednesday said it was reviving an investigation, closed when Republicans controlled the House, into President Trump’s alleged Russia ties. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, said the panel would look into “credible reports of money laundering and financial compromise” involving Trump’s businesses and associates. Schiff said the committee would investigate “any credible allegation that financial interests or other interests are driving decision-making of the president or anyone in the administration.” Trump on Wednesday called Schiff’s plans “presidential harassment” that would “hurt our country,” saying, “He has no basis to do that.” (The Washington Post, CNN, The Week)




Virginia attorney general says he, too, dressed in blackface in college

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said Wednesday that he had dressed in blackface during college when he was 19, darkening his skin for a 1980s party where he dressed up as rapper Kurtis Blow. The news broadened a collection of scandals engulfing the state’s highest ranking officials. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has resisted calls to resign, one of the latest coming from The Washington Post‘s editorial board, following the emergence of a photo from his medical school yearbook page showing one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, also a Democrat, has been accused of sexual assault. He claims the 2004 encounter in question was consensual. (The Washington Post, The Week)





S. 311: A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.






Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s accuser describes alleged sexual assault

Vanessa Tyson, the woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault in 2004, issued a statement Wednesday describing the alleged incident to set “the record straight.” “Mr. Fairfax has tried to brand me as a liar to a national audience, in service to his political ambitions,” said Tyson, a Scripps College professor. “Given his false assertions, I’m compelled to make clear what happened.” Tyson said “what began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault” in a Boston hotel room. Fairfax, who is next in line for the governorship should embattled Gov. Ralph Northam (D) resign, initially called the allegation a “smear.” He said Wednesday he wished Tyson “no harm or humiliation” but that her description of their encounter was “not true.” (Politico, The Week)




Venezuelan military blocks humanitarian aid

Venezuela’s military on Wednesday barricaded a bridge at a key border crossing in a bid to block a U.S.-backed effort to deliver humanitarian aid to the troubled South American nation. The Venezuelan National Guard blocked the Tienditas International Bridge with an orange tanker, two large blue containers, and makeshift fencing near the border town of Cucuta, according to officials in neighboring Colombia. Officials had planned to store humanitarian aid that opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president with the backing of the U.S. and other nations, has promised to deliver. The Trump administration has pledged $20 million in aid; Canada has promised $53 million. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to prevent the delivery of the supplies. (The Associated Press, The Week)




NASA scientists confirm 2018 was fourth hottest year on record

NASA scientists announced Wednesday that 2018 was the fourth hottest year in the nearly 140 years the Earth’s average surface temperatures have been recorded. The news marked the latest in a series of indications of quickly rising temperatures across the world. The scientific consensus is that much of the trend is due to human activity. The last five years are now the five warmest years on record, and 18 of the 19 warmest years have occurred since 2001. “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which conducted the analysis. “It’s here. It’s now.” (The New York Times, The Week)





Dozens of Cities Are Secretly Testing Predictive Policing

An investigation by Vice using public record requests has revealed that dozens of American police departments have contracts with PredPol, a company that claims its algorithmic predictions are so precise they can target crime-riddled areas as small as 250,000 square feet.

Is that a bad thing? Critics say the algorithm’s focus on petty crime — or the “broken windows” approach — leads to over-policing in poor areas, and even a PredPol document acknowledges “privacy and constitutional concerns.” (Motherboard, OZY)








Some state, local officials condemn Trump’s use of troops at border

Some local and state officials have started pushing back against President Trump’s efforts to crack down at the border with the help of U.S. troops. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) withdrew most of her state’s National Guard troops from the border, saying New Mexico wouldn’t play along with “the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.” Officials in the small Arizona border city of Nogales on Wednesday unanimously approved a proclamation condemning the use of concertina wire placed by U.S. troops along the downtown border fence. Additional wire was placed last weekend. Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino last month asked Sen. Martha McSally (R) for help getting rid of the coiled razor wire. “That wire is lethal,” he said. (NBC News, The Associated Press, The Week)




Pelosi indicates she’d back a border security compromise

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she would back any compromise on border security that bipartisan negotiators reach. A deal must be approved before a Feb. 15 deadline to avert another partial federal government shutdown. Pelosi urged President Trump, who is demanding that any agreement include funding for his long-promised border wall, to take the same “hands-off” approach, saying the Republicans and Democrats on a special committee can reach a deal this week if “left to their own devices.” Trump has dismissed the negotiations as a “waste of time,” saying he is considering declaring a national emergency to get the wall built. (The Washington Post, The Week)





James Brown

The doctor who signed James Brown’s death certificate does not believe he died of natural causes. A friend says he has a vial of blood that could be evidence of murder. The location of Brown’s body remains mysterious. And a woman says a black duffel bag might contain evidence related to Brown’s death. The Godfather of Soul has been dead for 12 years, but the questions have not been put to rest. Read the stunning conclusion to Thomas Lake’s three-part investigative series, “Lost in the Woods with James Brown’s Ghost.” (CNN)





CFPB plans rollback of Obama-era restrictions on payday loans

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wednesday that it is proposing a rollback of Obama-era restrictions on payday and vehicle title loans. Many experts view these loans as predatory, and the Obama administration’s rule required lenders to make an effort to determine whether borrowers could afford to pay back payday, vehicle title, and other high-cost installment loans. The Trump administration’s CFPB argued that rescinding the rule would give consumers easier access to credit. “The Bureau is concerned that these provisions would reduce access to credit and competition in states that have determined that it is in their residents’ interests to be able to use such products, subject to state-law limitations,” the agency said. (NBC News, The Week)




Spotify to invest $500 million in podcast acquisitions

Spotify, the music streaming giant, will invest $500 million in podcast ventures, CEO Daniel Elk announced in a blog post on Wednesday. While the platform primarily streams music, the company acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor in recent weeks, and plans to prioritize non-music content in 2019. Elk also said that the company will work to include more exclusive podcasts eventually, but will first work on acquisitions of podcasting brands. Spotify previously attempted to move toward video streaming, but the effort was largely unsuccessful. Elk said he expects 20 percent of all Spotify listening to eventually come from non-music content. (Recode, The Week)






Suicides Are Increasing Globally

The total number of deaths by suicide hit 817,000 in 2016 — an increase of 6.7 percent since 1990 — according to research published today in The BMJ. While the mortality rate, or the number of years lost, actually decreased by a third during that time, suicides still accounted for 34.6 million years of life lost. The study revealed that men take their lives more often, while women attempt suicide more frequently.

Is there any positive news? The U.K. and Sri Lanka reduced suicides, but they remain high in Eastern Europe and the U.S., where firearms are more readily available. Researchers hope increasing awareness will lead to more targeted support. (Inverse, Daily Mail, OZY)









Trump nominates World Bank critic as its new leader

President Trump announced Wednesday that he was nominating David Malpass, currently Trump’s undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department, to lead the World Bank. Trump described Malpass as the “right person to take on this incredibly important job.” Malpass has been a critic of the 189-nation World Bank, a lending institution that focuses on fostering development in emerging countries. Malpass has accused it of focusing on its own expansion rather than fighting poverty and other core missions. Malpass, 62, said he would push changes favored by the Trump administration, including improving the status of women, a key goal of Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump. Malpass would succeed Jim Yong Kim, who left in January with three years left in his term. (The Associated Press, The Week)






Good News


Heartwarming Photo of Man Holding Stranger’s Baby While She Does Paperwork Blows Up Internet


Muslims Surround Toronto Synagogues With Protective ‘Rings Of Peace’


Good neighbors
Meet the neighbors who’ve helped a woman who uses a wheelchair get into bed every night — for 10 years.


Nice neighbors
A cotton farmer in Texas is battling cancer and couldn’t harvest his crop. So, his neighbors did the job for him.



Healthy You, Healthy Community

LOVE FOR SELF AND OTHERS,  Remember that you are a precious gift, respect it and be respected. Love yourself and be loved. Know your value and don’t accept being treated in a way less than you deserve.





Watercooler Chat


‘Let the little children come to me’
Security was tight. But that wasn’t going to stop a little girl from giving the Pope a letter before that historic Mass in the UAE.

Gone but not forgotten
Kristoff St. John’s final episode on “The Young and the Restless” aired yesterday. And the soap will honor the late actor with a tribute tomorrow.

‘Simpsons’ forever
Fox renewed “The Simpsons” for two more seasons, which means we now have to seriously consider the possibility that the show will outlive us all.

Sacred sign
The most blessed beach in Florida might be in Fort Lauderdale, where a giant cross washed up on shore.

The robots are coming
In Hangzhou, China, artificial intelligence controls traffic. That normally would alarm us, but if it helps clear the roads, we’re all for it.



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