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Honorary Alaska ‘mayor,’ Stubbs the cat, dies at 20

(CNN)In today’s political climate, catty politicians claw for every vote, but the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, was different. His ability to unite through cuddles and his fondness for naps made him remarkable, and this mayor — Stubbs the cat — also proved that opposable thumbs aren’t necessary for success in politics.

The honorary mayor of the small Alaska town, elected as a write-in in 1997 due to a paucity of viable human candidates, died at age 20, according to a Saturday news release from his owners.
“He was a trouper until the very last day of his life,” Stubbs’ owners said. “You are are a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you.”

    A life in the spotlight

    Stubbs served Talkeetna for 20 years. His office, at Nagley’s Store, became a destination for locals and tourists alike who sought sage council from the cat.
    And although Stubbs lacked the legislative and rhetorical prowess of a typical politician, he always did well in the polls.
    “Over 75% of visitors ask ‘Where’s the mayor?’ or come in with this statement ‘I have an appointment with the mayor,'” the news release said. “I think we heard those two statements over 100 times a day during our first year.”
    Stubbs’ career wasn’t completely free of controversy, though.
    In 2013, Stubbs suffered a vicious attack from a neighborhood dog that left him sidelined in a hospital.
    But even a punctured lung, fractured sternum and deep lacerations couldn’t keep him from his duties. Stubbs recovered and assumed all his previous mayoral responsibilities.

    A steady health decline

    Although he loved the attention as a kitten and younger cat, Stubbs’ life in the public eye eventually began to wear on him.
    He began a retreat from public life in 2015 due to old age, and he cut back on visits to the store, according to the news release.
    By 2017, Stubbs just wasn’t having it anymore.
    “Stubbs did a couple TV shows and more than a handful of interviews, but was not fond of the camera and all the people; it had gotten to be too much for him,” his owners said.
    In the wake of his death, his owners hinted another of their kittens, Denali, may assume his role.
    “We couldn’t have asked for a better understudy than Denali — he really has followed in Stubbs’ pawprints in just about everything.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/23/us/mayor-cat-stubbs-dies-at-20/index.html

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    Calls for UN meeting as clashes continue in Jerusalem and West Bank

    Jerusalem (CNN)Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces broke out again across Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, with the mood tremendously intense around Jerusalem’s Old City.

    A Palestinian man died at a hospital Saturday evening after he was injured in clashes with Israeli forces earlier, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
    The man was involved in a clash in the town of el-Eizariyah near Jerusalem, the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported.
      Meantime, a rocket fired from northern Gaza exploded midair Sunday morning local time, with no injuries reported, the Israeli Defense Forces tweeted.
      With tensions rapidly rising, Palestinians called for more protests Sunday and the Israeli government planned meetings.
      One security session was expected to discuss the recent implementation of metal detectors at entrances to a key holy site in the Old City.
      The restrictions were imposed after two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting last week just outside the Old City and Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary. The area is one of the world’s most important religious sites, revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims.
      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday suspended all contacts with Israel until the metal detectors are removed.
      “I announce the freezing of contacts with Israel on all levels and the suspension of coordination until all the measures taken at al-Aqsa mosque have stopped,” Abbas said in a message tweeted by his Fatah Movement.
      The Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary was closed after last Friday’s attack, and reopened Sunday for worshippers, visitors and tourists, with added security measures.

      It is home to the Western Wall — which was part of the walls around the Second Jewish Temple and is one of the holiest places for Jews to pray — and the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.
      Egypt, France and Sweden called Saturday for United Nations Security Council consultations Monday on ways to lower tensions in Jerusalem, Sweden’s chief political officer at the United Nations wrote on Twitter.
      The envoys of the Middle East Quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — said in a statement they are “deeply concerned by the escalating tensions and violent clashes taking place in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.”
      The statement went on to say, “They strongly condemn acts of terror, express their regret for all loss of innocent life caused by the violence and hope for a speedy recovery to the wounded.”
      Noting the particular sensitivities surrounding the holy sites of Jerusalem, and the need to ensure security, the Quartet envoys called on all sides to show restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work toward de-escalating the situation.
      They added: “Envoys welcome the assurances by the Prime Minister of Israel that the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem will be upheld and respected.”

      Victims identified

      Three people killed Friday in an attack in the Halamish settlement in the northern West Bank were identified by Israeli police on Saturday.
      Police Superintendent and spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter, “Names of three Israelis murdered in Friday night attack by Palestinian terrorist, Yosef Solomon age 70, Chaya Solomon age 46, Elad Solomon age 36.”
      The Israeli army said the three Israelis were killed when a young Palestinian man from a nearby village breached the security of the settlement and carried out a stabbing attack. The Palestinian, who was shot and wounded at the scene, is in custody.
      A fourth Israeli was wounded in the attack, Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance service, told CNN.
      Three Palestinians were killed and many people reportedly were hurt during clashes Friday.
      Mohammad Fityani, a spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jerusalem, told CNN its crews had dealt with 109 injured people by 3 p.m. local time, and that 72 of them were taken to the hospital.
      Tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City boiled over into skirmishes after the midday prayer.
      In one instance, a CNN team outside Herod’s Gate saw Israeli police start forcefully pushing worshipers back and pointing their weapons at them. The officers then fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the worshipers and move them back.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/22/middleeast/jerusalem-west-bank-clashes/index.html

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      Oxygen therapy brings ‘remarkable’ turnaround for toddler who fell in pool

      (CNN)Eden Carlson’s story might be one in a million.

      The toddler, who suffered brain damage after falling into a swimming pool at 23 months old, has begun to rebuild her brain function after treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, according to a case study published last month in the journal Medical Gas Research.
      “We’re stimulating growth of tissue and inhibiting inflammation and stopping cell death,” said Dr. Paul G. Harch, clinical professor and director of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
        Hyperbaric oxygen therapy introduces a greater-than-usual amount of oxygen to patients within a special chamber. The special chamber allows a doctor to control both the pressure and the level of vital gas, explained Harch, who treated the child and is lead author of the case study.
        After months of oxygen treatments, Eden is a “typical 3-year old,” said her mother, Kristal Carlson of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
        “Her cognitive abilities and speech are completely recovered. Most of her fine motor skills have returned,” Carlson wrote in an email. “Today she walks with assistance really well. She can walk independently, also, but not long distances.”

        A mother’s nightmare

        While Carlson was in the shower on February 29, 2016, Eden, who had just learned to walk, slipped through a baby gate and fell into the backyard swimming pool.
        “Her older siblings lost track of her and thought she was with me,” explained Carlson, who is still unsure how long Eden may have been in the water.
        It could have been “as long as 15 minutes,” she said, but was “at least five minutes.”
        Also unclear is how long her heart stopped beating, Harch said.
        “She stopped breathing, obviously, once she was face-down and probably inhaled some water, but we don’t know how long after that her heart stopped and her blood pressure went to zero,” Harch said. “We just know that when Mom got her out of the pool, there was nothing.”
        Carlson said her first instinct was to get her daughter to breathe.
        “So I gave her a couple of breaths and patted her, saying her name,” Eden’s mother said. “Then chest compressions.” Paramedics took over CPR, which was delivered for 100 minutes before Eden’s heart began beating on its own.
        Stabilized, the child was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where she spent five weeks, her mother recalled. “When we brought her home, she was a vegetable, unable to do anything,” she said. “She had a feeding tube, could not speak, could not sit up, etc.”
        “She was profoundly injured,” Harch said. The hospital sent the child home with a monitor because when she’d fall asleep, she’d stop breathing at times and needed her parents to resuscitate her. “The predictions given to the family by the doctors were a list of never-evers: She will never ever talk, walk or eat on her own.”
        It soon became clear that the doctors and neurologists at Arkansas Children’s Hospital could do nothing more for Eden, so her parents “started googling alternative ways to treat brain injuries,” Carson explained. They found Harch’s website about three weeks after returning home from the hospital and “went from there.”

        ‘Bridging treatment’

        Eden could not be moved, and no hyperbaric oxygen chambers could be found in the Fayetteville area, so Harch treated the girl remotely with a “bridging therapy.”
        Using a normal oxygen tank with tubes to the nose, Harch put the child on “just 2 liters per minute for 45 minutes a day,” with the first treatment exactly 55 days after Eden fell into the pool.
        “We noticed an immediate difference in her,” her mother said. She videotaped Eden’s response to send to Harch.
        He said he saw a positive change in the child’s affect and decided to continue the treatments for three weeks.
        “She was more relaxed, her neuro-storming stopped, she started smiling, laughing, swallowing, tracking with her eyes, and saying words,” Carlson said.
        When Eden’s condition stabilized, her parents took her to New Orleans for treatments in a hyperbaric chamber, using the same amount of oxygen but with added pressure.
        The treatments are spaced out over time in order to allow the brain to improve on its own, said Harch, who is also a co-owner of Harch Hyperbarics Inc., a consulting company.
        “She began saying more words and speaking in sentences,” her mother said. “She started sitting up, crawling, pulling to stand, and trying to walk!”
        The ultimate proof: An MRI scan taken 162 days post-drowning — 27 days after Eden’s 40th oxygen session — compared with one taken in the hospital shows only mild residual injury to the brain, plus a near-complete reversal of brain shrinkage that sometimes occurs in similar cases.

        How does hyperbaric medicine work?

        “It’s not completely understood,” Harch said, explaining that in the late 1950s, doctors in the Netherlands began experimenting with trying to give maximum amounts of oxygen to patients with conditions in which lack of oxygen was a problem, such as gangrene.
        The US Navy also uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat decompression sickness or diver’s disease.
        It wasn’t until 2008 that the medical profession really began to understand “what this therapy is about,” Harch said. “Some doctors took human cells, put them in a Petri dish and put them in a hyperbaric chamber and gave them a typical treatment.” They used mass gene array analysis to measure and analyze gene activity.
        “What they found at the end of 24 hours, 8,101 human genes had either been turned on or turned off, and the largest clusters were those that code for growth and repair hormones — in other words, stimulate tissue growth and heal wounds — and the anti-inflammatory genes,” Harch said. “And the largest clusters of the turned-off ones — and these are temporary, the turning on and turning off of genes — were the pro-inflammatory genes and the ones that code for cell death.”
        Dr. Justin Sempsrott, executive director of Lifeguards Without Borders and medical director of International Surf Lifesaving Association, said Eden’s case is “remarkable” and “shows future direction for rehabilitation after non-fatal drowning.”
        Sempsrott, who was not involved in Eden’s treatment or the case study, noted that it was “done in an academically rigorous way.”
        “The most important determining factor of whether or not a person — adults or children — is going to survive drowning is how long they were under water,” Sempsrott explained. For those known to be underwater for fewer than five minutes, 86% survive with good neurological outcome, and when it’s less than 10 minutes, 77% survive with good neurological outcome.
        People underwater for 15 to 25 minutes are “kind of all over the place,” Sempsrott said. “More than 25 minutes is universally bad outcomes; they are typically neurologically devastated.”
        This is one reason giving breath along with good-quality chest compression is recommended for drowning resuscitation, he said.

        Cold vs. warm water

        “It’s possible to maintain that oxygenation even for a long period of time when someone comes out of the water,” Sempsrott said. “The time she was given CPR and survived is really not unheard of.”
        Generally, though, CPR cannot distribute oxygen throughout the body as effectively as natural breathing.
        Though Harch believes that the cold water in the pool was protective, Sempsrott said that “overwhelmingly,” most people who fall into cold water are simultaneously dying of hypothermia and drowning. “Hibernation state” does not help preserve the organs from harm, he said, though this is a common misperception.
        “They actually have either worse or the same outcomes,” he said.
        In most cases, Semsprott said, “after the news story dies down,” the person with little to no brain function requires round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.
        “Non-fatal drowning is far more common than fatal drowning,” he said. A conservative estimate is that for every drowning, there are four non-fatal events, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallies seven non-fatal events for every drowning among children.
        Dr. Paul S. Auerbach, Redlich Family Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said “prevention is the name of the game.”
        “Parents need to understand all the best methods for trying to prevent drowning in children,” said Auerbach, whose complete list of tips in his classic book, “Wilderness Medicine,” begins with the single most important rule:
        Watch your children.
        “Toddlers are at greatest risk for drowning,” he said, though all children under 14 are at a high risk.
        “Teach children to swim, but be advised that such teaching does not absolutely ‘drownproof’ a child,” Auerbach said. “In other words, never let a small child out of your sight when he is near the water, even if he knows how to swim.”

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        Ultimately, Sempsrott said, Eden’s story is “remarkable” and one he hopes can be reproduced, “because this was an otherwise very common, hopeless, severe brain damage drowning story.” Still, he said, even if this is a one in a million story, for the Carlsons, hyperbaric oxygen treatments have “made all the difference in the world.”
        “We have no doubt that as she grows, the walking will become easier for her,” Carlson wrote of her daughter’s progress. “Eden is doing really well today.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/health/oxygen-therapy-drowning-brain-damage/index.html

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        What we need to learn from Linkin Park frontman’s death

        (CNN)It’s a tragic day for the music industry. The lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, was found dead in his Los Angeles home at 41. Sadly authorities were treating the case as a possible suicide. Eerily, Bennington died on what would’ve been his dear friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday — the Soundgarden frontman hung himself on May 18, 2017. Both men are now part of a long, disturbing history of rock and roll and untimely death.

        Linkin Park was a groundbreaking rock band that shattered the music industry with 2000’s “Hybrid Theory.” In an era of overly sweet pop music with boy bands and copycat starlets, the group was a refreshing mix of angst, grit and raw emotion.
        Chester Bennington’s melodic but rugged voice helped spawn rock classics like “In the End,” “Numb” and “What I’ve Done.” Arguably, one of Linkin Park’s most brilliant (and unexpected) moments was pairing with Jay-Z for 2004’s “Collision Course.” The album was a mashup of Jay and Linkin Park, and launched the single “Numb/Encore.” Not since Aerosmith and Run-DMC did “Walk this Way” had people heard this perfect fusion of rock and hip hop. The six-track album was critically acclaimed and a smash hit, going to number one on the Billboard album chart and selling over two million copies.
          One thing no one can deny is the significant pain in Bennington’s voice. He clearly purged his anguish through his music. Bennington was open with his history of abuse and struggles with drugs and alcohol, which he claimed helped him create some of the band’s biggest songs. When describing the song “My Suffering,” he told the music website Noisecreep.com in 2009 it’s “literally about (how) being an alcoholic and a drug addict has paid off for me in many ways. I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me throughout my life by numbing myself to the pain, so to speak, and kind of being able to vent it through my music.”
          He said that another song, “Crawling,” is “probably the most literal song lyrically I’d ever written for Linkin Park and that’s about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol. That feeling, being able to write about it, sing about it, that song, those words sold millions of records, I won a Grammy, I made a lot of money. I don’t think I could’ve been inspired to create something like that by watching someone else go through that. So in a lot of ways that’s been very constructive for me.” This sentiment is sadly familiar for many artists who are obviously struggling with pain or addiction and see the battle as a space of creativity.

            Linkin Park singer on his past, drug use (2009)

          Tragically, when I think about artists like Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell and so many more, I can’t help but wonder what is the price for singing the lifelong blues? Do you have to suffer for your art to create? Even back to the days of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, all of whom died too young, these artists were living every note, lyric and chord of their music.
          Sure, pain and angst create great music. But considering the phenomenal artists we have lost in the past few years to suicide and inner demons, it is long past time to prioritize real mental health over the sporadic catharsis of bars and chords. According to Health.com, musicians are fifth in the top ten professions with high rates of depressive illness.
          If you make a choice to not suffer for your art, can you still be a great artist? The answer is, yes. When Adele released her “25” album, she admitted she would no longer thrive off of depression to create. When Mary J. Blige was criticized for “getting happy,” she specifically told me in an interview for BET.com, “Some of them (fans) are mad at me for making the switch, but I would’ve died over there. Literally, I’d be six feet under.” Thankfully, Mary and Adele made the switch.

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          I hope there is a lesson that can be learned in the deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. We need to support our artists to be healthy and loved even when they evolve out of the sadness that inspired our favorite songs. Depending on pain to create is a dangerous road to travel. I can’t help but wonder about the sonic and vocal brilliance we will, now, never get from Chester Bennington.
          Long live a god of rock.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/opinions/lesson-in-chester-bennington-death-opinion-cane/index.html

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          John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, spokesman says

          Statement reveals brain tumor known as glioblastoma was removed along with blood clot above senators right eye during surgery last Friday

          John McCain, the Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate, has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

          A brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was removed from McCain along with a blood clot in a surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Friday, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

          McCains office had only previously announced that the blood clot had been removed from above the 80-year-olds left eye.

          The Mayo Clinic said in a statement released by McCains office: The senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. The senators doctors say he is recovering from his surgery amazingly well and his underlying health is excellent.

          The surgery had forced McCain to stay in Arizona this week and miss votes in the Senate. It had led to a delay in the vote on the Senate Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was originally scheduled for Monday. Since the delay was announced, a sufficient number of Republican senators came forward to express their opposition to the bill and forced the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to shelve it and instead try to push a vote on a clean repeal of the ACA.

          In a statement, the Arizona senators spokesperson said that in the aftermath of his diagnosis, further consultations with [the] Mayo Clinic care team will indicate when he will return to the United States Senate.

          An extended absence would likely make it even more difficult for Republicans to repeal or replace the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare. Senate Republicans have a narrow 52-48 majority and, with the tie-breaking vote of Mike Pence, can only afford to lose two votes if McCain is present. His absence means that two Republican no votes would now sink any legislation if all 48 Democrats are unified in opposition.

          McCain, who was re-elected to his sixth term in the Senate in 2016, was the Republican partys presidential nominee in 2008 and finished second to George W Bush in the 2000 GOP presidential primary. Prior to his career in politics, McCain served as an aviator in the US navy, and was held as prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam war. While being held captive by the north Vietnamese, McCain was repeatedly subjected to torture. He retired as a captain after earning a number of decorations including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

          The Arizona senators illness sparked an outpouring of support from both sides of the aisle.

          In a statement, Donald Trump said: Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon. Trump, who famously set off a political firestorm in 2015 by saying McCain was not a war hero, said earlier in the week of the Arizona senator: We hope John McCain gets better very soon because we miss him. Hes a crusty voice in Washington. Plus we need his vote. And hell be back.

          Barack Obama, against whom McCain ran in the 2008 presidential election, tweeted: John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters Ive ever known. Cancer doesnt know what its up against. Give it hell, John.

          Barack Obama (@BarackObama)

          John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.

          July 20, 2017

          A number of McCains colleagues in the Senate also expressed their well wishes. In a statement, Mitch McConnell said: John McCain is a hero to our Conference and a hero to our country. He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life. The entire Senate familys prayers are with John, Cindy and his family, his staff, and the people of Arizona he represents so well. We all look forward to seeing this American hero again soon.

          Outside a meeting of Senate Republicans to discuss healthcare reform on Wednesday night, senator John Hoeven of North Dakota said they had learned of the diagnosis during the meeting.

          It was very emotional almost kind of stunned disbelief, Hoeven told reporters. Senator James Lankford, of Oklahoma, then led them in prayer.

          Hoeven said the senators had received a message from McCain via South Carolina senator Lindsay Graham, a close friend. The senator told them he was eager to get back and get to work, Hoeven added.

          Graham was visibly emotional as he recalled his conversation with McCain when he learned of the diagnosis.

          He says, Ive been through worse, Graham told reporters. Five minutes into the call, however, McCain wanted to talk the legislative priories, Graham said.
          God knows how this ends, he said. But I do know this: This disease has never had a more worthy opponent.

          In a statement, McCains daughter Meghan said: He is a warrior at dusk, one of the greatest Americans of our age, and the worthy heir to his fathers and grandfathers name. But to me, he is something more. He is my strength, my example, my refuge, my confidante, my teacher, my rock, my hero my Dad.

          Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain)

          Statement regarding my father @SenJohnMcCain: pic.twitter.com/SMte9Hkwkq

          July 20, 2017

          Lauren Gambino contributed to this report.

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/19/john-mccain-brain-cancer

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          Al Gore Calls For Single-Payer Health Care

          NEW YORK Al Gore called for single-payer health care on Tuesday, one day after a revolt by GOP senators dashed Republican hopes of passing a bill to repeal Obamacare.

          Speaking at an event to promote his new climate change documentary, the former vice president said health insurance companies have failed to offer cost-effective coverage, even under the Affordable Care Act. A government-run, single-payer system would provide taxpayer-funded basic health care coverage for everyone.

          The private sector has not shown any ability to provide good, affordable health care for all, Gore told a packed auditorium at Borough of Manhattan Community College. I believe we ought to have single-payer health care.

          The statement makes the 2000 presidential nominee one of the first high-profile Democrats to advocate the so-called Medicare-for-all option since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) failed yet again this week to rally at least 50 of 52 Republican senators to pass a bill to repeal President Barack Obamas signature health care law. Lacking the votes to flat-out repeal the law without a replacement, President Donald Trump vowed to stand by and allow Obamacare to collapse without the support needed from his agencies.

          Gore blamed what he called the morass surrounding the passage of Obamacare in 2009 for tanking a cap-and-trade bill at the time in the Senate. The legislation would have established a limit on planet-warming carbon emissions and a system in which big companies could trade permits to pollute.

          In 2009, President Obama passed it in the House and he succeeded, but it was different when it came to the Senate, Gore said at the 90-minute talk hosted by The New York Times to publicize his new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. I think we could have passed it in the Senate in 2009, and we could have gone to the climate negotiation in Copenhagen with a stronger hand, but thats water under the dam.

          Daniel Zuchnik via Getty Images
          Former Vice President Al Gore speaks at a TimesTalks event in Tribeca in New York on Tuesday.

          Gore did not include a universal government health care option in his platform during his unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2000. But, in 2002, indicated he favored such a policy.

          I think weve reached a point where the entire health care system is in impending crisis, Gore said at an ABC News panel at the time. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we should begin drafting a single-payer national health insurance plan.

          Progressives, backed by strong grassroots support from the partys base, moved swiftly to embrace single-payer proposals as the long-anticipated Republican assault on Obamacare began this year. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) launched a Medicare for all push in March. In June, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called it the next step for Democrats. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) endorsed the policy last month, declaring, we should have Medicare for all.

          Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), widely considered a contender for the 2020 presidential race, said earlier this month that as a concept, Im completely in support of single pay, but insisted, weve got to work out the details, and the details matter on that.

          Others on the establishment wing of the party have been more reluctant. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ducked questions about universal government care, saying only that he was looking at Sanders bill, which hasnt yet been publicly released. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has refused to sign on to Ellisons bill, and flatly said no when asked in May if single-payer health care should be part of the partys 2018 platform.

          Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/al-gore-single-payer_us_596eb69ae4b00db3d0f3ec88

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          Senate will vote to repeal Obamacare without replacement, after new healthcare bill stumbles

          Republican Mitch McConnell calls for vote on clean repeal, after senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran come out against latest effort to replace Obamacare

          Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has announced that the Senate will vote on a clean repeal of Obamacare without any replacement, after two Republican senators broke ranks to torpedo the current Senate healthcare bill.

          Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas came out on Monday night in opposition to McConnells Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate version of the controversial healthcare reform bill that passed the House in May.

          Senate Republicans hold a bare 52-48 majority in the Senate and two members of the GOP caucus, the moderate Susan Collins of Maine and the libertarian Rand Paul of Kentucky, already opposed the bill, along with all 48 Democrats. The announcement from Moran and Lee made it impossible for Republicans to muster the 50 votes needed to bring the BCRA bill to the floor.

          Instead, McConnell announced late on Monday night that the Senate would vote on a bill to simply repeal Obamacare without any replacement in the coming days.

          The Kentucky Republican said in a statement: Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.

          He added that in the coming days the Senate would vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act with a two-year-delay. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2015, which was promptly vetoed by Barack Obama.

          McConnells plan echoes a statement made by Donald Trump in a tweet on Monday night, in which the president urged a repeal of Obamacare with any replacement to come in the future.

          Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in! Trump wrote.

          The announcement from Lee and Moran came as Trump was having dinner at the White House with a number of senators who support the bill. Trump talked to several conservatives on the phone over the weekend, including Lee, in an attempt to win their support.

          In a tweet, Lee noted that he could not support this version of the bill. Moran used the same language on Twitter. Both voted for a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act in 2015, albeit with the expectation that it would be vetoed by Obama and not become law.

          In an op-ed in The Resurgent, a conservative online publication, Lee cited the fact that the current bill did not incorporate an amendment that he introduced with Ted Cruz to allow insurance companies to offer bare-bones insurance plans. In Lees argument, the mandate that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions resulted in a hidden tax which meant that middle-class families are being forced to pay billions in higher health insurance premiums to help those with pre-existing conditions.

          In a statement, Moran took a slightly different tack. He said: There are serious problems with Obamacare, and my goal remains what it has been for a long time: to repeal and replace it. This closed-door process has yielded the BCRA, which fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcares rising costs. The Kansas Republican also warned that the current legislation leave[s] the federal government in control of everyday healthcare decisions which Moran said made it more likely that our healthcare system will devolve into a single-payer system, which would require a massive federal spending increase.

          The announcement came shortly after a Senate vote on the healthcare bill was delayed due to the hospitalization of John McCain. The Arizona senator had a blood clot removed from above his left eye on Friday night and was unable to fly to Washington as a result. On Saturday, McConnell said the Senate would defer consideration of the bill while McCain recovered. A number of other moderate Republican senators have yet to take positions on the bill, most notably Dean Heller of Nevada.

          Although a repeal of Obamacare without providing for a immediate replacement has long been popular with conservatives, many other Republicans have been skeptical of this approach because of the potential political cost.

          In contrast, McCain said in a statement that Republicans should start the process of passing a health care bill over. Congress must now return to regular order [and] hold hearings, said the Arizona Republican.

          In a statement, the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, said: This second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive that the core of this bill is unworkable.

          He added: Rather than repeating the same failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets and improves our healthcare system.

          Lauren Gambino contributed reporting

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/17/republican-health-bill-senators-oppose-vote

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          Children ‘exercise less as they get older’ – BBC News

          Image copyright Science Photo Library

          The number of children doing an hour of exercise a day falls by nearly 40% between the ages of five and 12.

          Figures suggest that by the final year of primary school, just 17% of pupils are doing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

          A spokesman for Public Health England described the drop in activity levels as “concerning”.

          More than a third of children in England are overweight by the time they leave primary school.

          A new survey from Public Health England and Disney looked at the effects of physical activity on children’s emotional wellbeing

          More than 1,000 children aged five to 11 were questioned, with their parents acknowledging that being active made their children feel happier (79%), more confident (72%), and more sociable (74%).

          But the survey also found that children’s overall happiness declined with age, with 64% of five-and six-year-olds saying they always felt happy, compared with just 48% of 11-year-olds.

          “Children’s physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of five to 12 is concerning,” said Public Health England’s Eustace de Sousa.

          “Children who get enough physical activity are mentally and physically healthier, and have all-round better development into adulthood – getting into the habit of doing short bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits.”

          Currently, just 23% of boys and 20% of girls, between the ages of five and 15, meet the national recommended level of activity, according to an NHS report published last December.

          “Not being very good” was cited by many children as the reason they did not take part in some physical activities, with older children more likely to be self-conscious than their younger counterparts: 29% of 11-year-olds compared with 17% of five-year-olds.

          As part of the Change4Life campaign, Sport England and Disney have joined forces to launch a 10 Minute Shake Ups programme, encouraging children to take part in accessible activities across the school holidays.

          “The 10 Minute Shake Ups provide a load of fun activities to get kids moving more,” said Olympic marathon swimmer Keri-anne Payne, who is backing the campaign.

          “Being active is not just for Olympians, it’s for everyone. “

          Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40609517

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          McConnell delays health care vote while McCain recovers from surgery

          (CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that the Senate will delay consideration of the Republican health care bill while Sen. John McCain recovers from surgery for a blood clot.

          McConnell tweeted that the Senate will work on other legislative issues and nominations next week and “will defer consideration of the Better Care Act” while McCain is recovering.
          McCain is in Arizona after having a blood clot removed from above his left eye. His office said the clot was discovered during an annual physical and removed Friday at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.
            “Thanks to @MayoClinic for its excellent care — I appreciate your support & look forward to getting back to work!” McCain’s verified account tweeted Saturday.
            Senate Republicans unveiled a revised version of their health care bill Thursday, and GOP leaders had planned a vote, or at least to take the procedural steps toward a vote, in the upcoming week.
            That procedural vote could have come as early as Tuesday.
            McConnell needs the support of 50 of 52 GOP senators to proceed to a floor debate on the bill, and two senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky — have already said they will not support that motion.
            McCain said in a statement Thursday: “The revised Senate health care bill released today does not include the measures I have been advocating for on behalf of the people of Arizona.” McCain said that he would file amendments that would address concerns of leaders from his state about how the bill would affect Medicaid.
            His office released a statement saying McCain, 80, is resting at his home.
            “His Mayo Clinic doctors report that the surgery went ‘very well’ and he is in good spirits,” his office said. “Once the pathology information is available, further care will be discussed between doctors and the family.”
            Doctors ordered a week of rest, the statement from McCain’s office said.
            The other Republican senator from Arizona praised McCain.
            “I have never known a man more tenacious and resilient than John McCain,” Jeff Flake said. “I look forward to seeing him back at work soon. In the meantime, Cheryl and I extend our best wishes to John, Cindy and the entire McCain family and pray for his speedy recovery.”
            Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, tweeted: “Praying for a speedy recovery for my friend @SenJohnMcCain.”

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/15/politics/john-mccain-blood-clot/index.html

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            Trump’s regulatory czar could have a major impact on how Americans work and live in the future

            The Trump administrations new regulatory czar has a distinctive past, but it is her future that could leave an indelible mark on the way you live and work for years to come.

            Neomi Rao, a law professor and a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to run the agency that oversees government regulations, the ombs Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).  

            The 54-41 vote enables her to lead the White House efforts to reject or slow-walk new federal rules, while rescinding other regulations altogether.

            White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway called Rao an excellent addition to a team that is already committed to the presidents agenda of deregulation.

            Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee said in a statement that he looked forward to working with Professor Rao to Reduce the burden of regulations – by our best estimates as high as $2 trillion dollars a year – that weigh on the American economy.

            ROLLING BACK ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS WILL SHORE UP ECONOMY, EXPERTS SAY

            Since his first day on the job, President Trump has signed a cannonade of executive orders and memoranda targeting policies impacting the environment, health care, infrastructure & more.

            An effort equally aimed at creating fewer rules and regulations in government that appears to be working as planned, with just 15 new regulations approved by OIRA between Inauguration Day and the end of May.  By comparison over the same period in 2008, 93 rules were greenlighted by President Obama.  Over that same span in 2001, 114 new regulations were okayed by the administration of President George W. Bush.

            Cutting regulation has been a major focus of the Trump administration including broad directives meant to speed up environmental reviews for high priority infrastructure projects and manufacturing.

            The President trumpeted his administrations regulatory efforts during a remarks this week in Paris, France drawing parallels between his fight for smaller government with those of French President Emmanuel Macron.

            We did not become great through regulation and in the United States, Mr. President, we also have cut regulations at a level we’ve never seen before, Mr. Trump told Mr. Macron.

            Critics worry that regulatory cuts will put the interests of big business ahead of the American people.

            We talk about  the cost of regulations as if there were not benefits, said University of Maryland researcher Rena Steinzor. Regulations save lives. they keep people from being sick, they allow people to work and go to school and we need to be very careful not to lose those benefits, she said.

            Despite early successes, the Trump administration’s deregulation agenda still faces numerous hurdles because undoing federal rules in many cases requires cost-benefit analyses, lengthy public-comment periods, regulation re-writes and in many- if not most cases – are subject to legal challenges from opponents.

            Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/14/trumps-regulatory-czar-could-have-major-impact-on-how-americans-work-and-live-in-future.html