Friday, January 15, 2021

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 7:05 AM

When Kim Dine took over as the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police in 2012, he knew he had a serious problem.

Since 2001, hundreds of Black officers had sued the department for racial discrimination. They alleged that white officers called Black colleagues slurs like the N-word and that one officer found a hangman’s noose on his locker. White officers were called “huk lovers” or “FOGs” — short for “friends of gangsters” — if they were friendly with their Black colleagues. Black officers faced “unprovoked traffic stops” from fellow Capitol Police officers. One Black officer claimed he heard a colleague say, “Obama monkey, go back to Africa.”

In case after case, agency lawyers denied wrongdoing. But in an interview, Dine said it was clear he had to address the department’s charged racial climate. He said he promoted a Black officer to assistant chief, a first for the agency, and tried to increase diversity by changing the force’s hiring practices. He also said he hired a Black woman to lead a diversity office and created a new disciplinary body within the department, promoting a Black woman to lead it.

“There is a problem with racism in this country, in pretty much every establishment that exists,” said Dine, who left the agency in 2016. “You can always do more in retrospect.”

Whether the Capitol Police managed to root out racist officers will be one of many issues raised as Congress investigates the agency’s failure to prevent a mob of Trump supporters from attacking the Capitol while lawmakers inside voted to formalize the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2021 at 9:48 AM

With more than 5,600 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 641,000 as of Wednesday, Jan 13, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 830 new cases today, has seen 85,256 of the state’s 641,729 confirmed cases.

A total of 10,673 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 1,335 deaths in Pima County, according to the Jan. 13 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide continues to soar as the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, putting stress on Arizona’s hospitals and surpassing July peaks. ADHS reported that as of Jan. 12, 5,055 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, a slight drop from yesterday’s 5,082. The summer peak of 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients was set on July 13; that number hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27, or less than a tenth of the current count.

A total of 2,082 people visited emergency rooms on Jan. 12 with COVID symptoms, down from the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29. That number had previously peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.

A total of 1,158 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Jan. 12. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2021 at 7:10 AM

Alex Martinez looked over his Air Force dress blues, the uniform he wore when he graduated from boot camp. He touched his insignia – a circle with a star in the center and a striped wing flaring from either side – that signified his rank of airman second class.

“I was in the military for three years, 11 months and 13 days,” said Martinez, 25, of Arizona. “From the day I got out of basic training, I was ready to get out” of the Air Force.

During his time in uniform, Martinez contemplated suicide, a phenomenon that increasingly affects younger veterans. In fact, veterans ages 18 to 34 experience a higher rate of suicide than all other age brackets. The suicide rate for young veterans swelled by 76% from 2005 to 2017, according to the Veterans Affairs’ 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Report, released in 2019.

Yet unlike soldiers who served in frontline deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Martinez had never experienced combat – a subtle side of military suicide that isn’t fully understood. In fact, a 2018 Pentagon study determined that 41.7% of active duty military members who died by suicide in the previous year had not been deployed.

Martinez suffered from suicidal thoughts, isolation, addiction and a culture that suppresses and neglects the mental health of its members.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 11:50 AM

The University of Arizona will return to classes on Wednesday in stage 1 of its reentry plan where students can attend in-person instruction for essential courses, UA President Dr. Robert Robbins shared in a news conference Monday.

The university implemented a COVID-19 “testing blitz” from Jan. 6-12 where all dorm residents, students attending in-person classes and those who plan to spend time on the main campus must receive a coronavirus test.

So far, 108 individuals have tested positive out of 6,184 tests during the blitz. From Jan. 4-10, UA found 179 positive coronavirus cases after administering 8,060 tests for a positivity rate of 2.2%.

Out of the 1,336 students who have moved into their campus residences, nine have moved into isolation dorms and seven are self-quarantining off-campus, Robbins said. Most dorm residents will move in within “the next several days,” he said.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Friday, January 8, 2021

Posted on Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 7:49 AM

Ten years since the shooting that nearly took her life, former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, newly elected senator Mark Kelly, sat down with Savannah Guthrie on The Today Show.

“I do think back to that day often,” Kelly says, recalling that at one point, his wife was reported dead.

“Move ahead,” Giffords says, and jokes that her speech rehabilitation “really sucks.” She sums up her message as “hope, hope, hope.”

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 7:07 AM

WASHINGTON – The Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma, was one of the most inhumane policies in American history – but it wasn’t an isolated incident.

In 1831, nearly 16,000 members of the Cherokee Nation were forced under armed guard to leave their native lands in the southeastern United States to trek more than 1,000 miles to what eventually would become the state of Oklahoma.

Almost 4,000 Cherokees died along the way, never making it to the land designated by the U.S. government as Indian Territory.

Removal of the Choctaw Nation began even earlier, in 1830. Like the Cherokees, they were forced to leave their homes in the South and a way of life developed over millennia to start over in an alien environment on the prairie.

But the Cherokee and Choctaw nations are only two of the tribes with a removal story. There are 39 tribes in Oklahoma, five native to the state, that have stories to be told – each with its own trail of tears.

Long before the 1830s, the federal government believed white people could use the Native lands better than the indigenous inhabitants. This “Indian problem” motivated settlers to strip Native people of their land and resources, relentlessly pushing tribal members farther west. That pressure often resulted in violent attacks on Native Americans by settlers. If the Indians fought back, whites considered it proof that they were savages.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 1:00 PM