"Once these girls lost their braces…and they started becoming 16 years old or 17 years old, they became too old for him."Private investigator Michael Fisten shares disturbing details of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sexual crimes.CNN's Drew Griffin has more.https://cnn.it/2JSDk1B
the battle of blair mountain in west virginia was when a multi racial, multi gender coalition of miners and their families, unionized through UMW, took up arms against the US government, pinkertons and bosses in the biggest armed domestic conflict since the civil war. they wore red bandanas on their necks.
The term has its origins in the early 17th century and has oscillated in meaning from being a term to disparage working class and poor farmers to one of its earliest and most popular uses being its use by miners between 1912-1930’s. It was popularized largely after the events in Blair mountain which is the single largest labor insurrection in US history. Both uses are true. We should reclaim the term . There. Go bother someone else
Revisiting ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s under-appreciated ‘UHF’: Ellen DeGeneres & Ginger Baker’s lost auditions, the brilliance of ‘Spatula City,’ and why it was rated PG-13
By Lyndsey Parker,Yahoo Music July 19, 2019
Thirty years ago, “Weird Al” Yankovic was primed to be a matinee idol. The comedy-rock star’s first feature film, UHF — cowritten with and directed by his longtime manager Jay Levey, director of classic Al videos like “Fat,” “Like a Surgeon,” and “Eat It” — hit cinemas on July 21, 1989, boasting an impressive cast that included scene-stealing future Seinfeld star Michael Richards, SNL’s Victoria Jackson, Fran Drescher, Kevin McCarthy, Gedde Watanabe, Billy Barty, Anthony Geary, and Emo Philips. There was even a Mark Knopfler cameo on the soundtrack’s Dire Straits parody.The film, a classic Davey/Goliath tale about a Walter Mitty-like dreamer whose rinky-dink bottom-of-the-dial cable station takes on an evil media behemoth, seemingly had all the right ingredients for summer-blockbuster success. And yet, it tanked at box office.
Yankovic’s career has of course long since rebounded — in fact, it could be argued that he’s bigger than ever, with his most recent album, Mandatory Fun, becoming his first to go to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. This year, he won his fifth Grammy for his career-spanning Squeeze Box collection, and he’s even playing with a full orchestra this summer on his “Strings Attached” tour. But Yankovic admits to Yahoo Entertainment that he was disappointed at the time when UHF fizzled, “primarily because my expectations were so built up. Orion Pictures, God love ’em, were thinking I was ‘the next Woody Allen.’ They tested the movie, and it got the highest numbers since the original RoboCop, which they’d done. So they were all excited, like, ‘This is going to be our big summer movie!’”
But the timing was all wrong. “It was made for $5 million, real low-budget, but it tested so well that they really got the big promotional machine working for it, and they put it out in the middle of perhaps the biggest blockbuster summer in movie history. It was 1989, and it was up against Batman, Lethal Weapon 2, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Do the Right Thing, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, all these huge movies. And it just got swallowed up.”
Yankovic stars as George Newman, a shiftless dreamer who stumbles into managing a low-budget television station and, surprisingly, finds success with his eclectic programming choices, in part spearheaded by the antics of a janitor-turned-children's television host, Stanley Spadowski (Richards). He provokes the ire of a major network station that dislikes the competitive upstart. The title refers to the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) analog television broadcasting band on which such low-budget television stations often were placed in the United States.
Perhaps UHF was just ahead of its time — which explains why it has become a beloved bona fide cult classic in recent years. While the movie was a love letter to an already-outdated terrestrial TV format, Yankovic notes now that its many would’ve-been-viral vignettes — “Gandhi II,” “Conan the Librarian,” and of course the hilarious “Spatula City” — were “basically made for the YouTube generation.” Says Yankovic, “People thought it was prescient because they look at that now and they go, ‘That was sort of like predicting YouTube,’ that it was predicting all these niche markets for entertainment that are now part of our Zeitgeist. But back then it was like, ‘This is just some crazy UHF station.’”
UHF could also be connecting three decades later because of its timeless underdog message about following one’s dreams, although Yankovic modestly says it’s not all that deep: “The point [of the film] was just to cram as many stupid jokes into 95 minutes as we could.”
The following retrospective Q&A is culled from “Weird” Al interviews conducted on UHF’s 10th, 25th, and now 30th anniversaries. This movie truly never gets old!
Yahoo Entertainment: My favorite scene of UHF has to be “Spatula City.” It is possibly one of your all-time greatest onscreen moments. Did spatula sales spike afterwards?
“Weird” Al Yankovic: That’s a good question! You’d have to talk to the National Spatula League, or something; they could get the specs on that. I think I got the idea for “Spatula City” one time while we were driving through a section of New Jersey. Looking out the window, I was seeing Boot World and Linoleum City and all these bizarre specialty shops. I don’t think I ever saw an actual Spatula City, but it would not have felt out of place along this particular stretch of road in New Jersey. So I think that was probably the impetus for the idea. And then when I was writing the movie, I was also inspired by the Remington razor guy [Victor Kiam]: “I liked them so much, I bought the company.” It’s an amalgamation of a lot of cheesy commercials at the time.
The other thing that really sticks in my mind is the very first day of shooting, which is when we were starting to shoot “Spatula City,” and there were all these trucks and tractor trailers full of equipment lining this residential street. And I thought, “This is just some weird, stupid idea I came up with at 3 in the morning one night about spatulas — and now there’s, like, an army of people working on this.”
What other skits stand out to you?
Oh, there were so many. One is the “Wheel of Fish” day, because that was the worst-smelling set I’ve ever been on. Those were not fake fish — those were real fish that were purchased at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, fish market that morning and they were literally nailed to a wooden wheel in a hot studio for an entire day.
Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits actually played guitar on the UHF soundtrack’s “Money for Nothing”/“Beverly Hillbillies” mashup. How did that come about?
Well, I always get permission when we do the parodies. And when we went to clear “Money for Nothing” from Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, according to secondhand accounts, his response was, “Of course you can do it — but I have to play guitar on it.” Which was not a response I was expecting! But I said, “Well, sure!” He didn’t come into the studio. I think he was in London at the time, so we took the old two-inch 24-track analog master that we’d been working on, and we shipped it to London. And he put his part on it, and shipped it back, and there was Mark Knopfler on our song.
And a little bit of trivia: I approached Prince a number of times for a parody, and he always turned it down. In the original script for UHF, that was supposed to be “Let’s Go Crazy” mashed up with The Beverly Hillbillies, and Prince thought otherwise. But Dire Straits worked extremely well. That’s such an iconic video [“Money for Nothing”], and Mark Knopfler couldn’t have been a better sport about it.
Also on the subject of music, is it true that Cream drummer Ginger Baker actually tried out for the part of the homeless man who, in a last-minute plot twist [spoiler alert!], saves the station and saves the day?
Yes, that’s true. I don’t know how that happened. We didn’t ask for him [to audition]. All I know is we had a full day of people coming in to read, and next up, here’s Ginger Baker from Cream. And he came in, and he read the lines in his British accent. And he didn’t knock us out with his comedy timing, and we said, “Thank you very much, but … ” That’s something I’ll never forget as long as I live.
I’ve also heard that Ellen DeGeneres auditioned for the part of your girlfriend, Teri, which ultimately went to Victoria Jackson.
Yeah, Ellen came in and read once or twice, and she was really good. She was very funny, but obviously didn’t quite make the cut. I still have her audition on a VHS tape somewhere. In fact, Ellen DeGeneres, at one point, asked if she could see the audition, to see if she wanted to air it on her show. And I sent it to her, and she was like, “Yeah, no. Nobody should see this.” She didn’t think it was good.
Well, let’s talk about one of the surprise castings that did happen: Anthony Geary, who played the mad alien scientist, Philo. He got the part over Crispin Glover and Joel Hodgson! How on earth did a soap opera hunk land that role?
Well, that was a very Ginger Baker-like situation. We read on our list of people coming in: “Anthony Geary, Luke from General Hospital.” We just thought, “Oh, brother, how did this happen? Well, why not? Let him come and read.” And he came in, and he knocked our socks off. He had us howling with laughter, he was so funny. So he completely subverted our expectations, and we cast him immediately.
At the time, he basically wanted to erase Luke from his résumé and not be typecast. In fact, I think he had invited me to a play he was doing in L.A., and in the program for the play, I think he didn’t even listed General Hospital among his credits.
Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer on #GH) in Weird Al Yankovic's cult comedy film "UHF" as Philo in 1989! Haha….. I had to post this! 👾🚀
Speaking of playing against type, you were sort of the straight guy in this film, the foil for all these other wacky characters. Your character, George Newman, was relatively serious. That’s a surprising casting decision.
It was playing against type, since I called myself “Weird” Al, to be the straight man in the movie; that’s going to raise some eyebrows. In fact, at one point, we had a script doctor look at our script, and she wanted to completely rewrite it so that I was the [janitor] Stanley Spadowski character, the goofy one. And I was like, “No, that just doesn’t feel right. I should just be the like the glue that holds everything together.” I mean, Michael Richards knocked that role out of the park. There’s no way I could have nailed that better than he did.
This was well before Michael became known as Kramer from Seinfeld.
I was a big fan of Michael Richards’s work on the late-night ABC show Fridays, and I’d seen him in the comedy clubs around L.A. His physical comedy was amazing. He’d only been in a small handful of movies in very small parts, but every time he appeared onscreen, he would knock it out of the park. He was just hilariously funny, and I thought, “This is the guy.” It was between him and Christopher Lloyd, because I wrote the character, Stanley Spadowski, sometimes with [Taxi’s] Jim Ignatowski’s voice in my head, just to get that kind of like idiot savant kind of patter down. I’m sure we couldn’t have afforded Christopher Lloyd at the time! But also, I don’t think that he could have pulled off the physical comedy that Michael Richards was able to do.
Did you ever have regrets about the film, since it wasn’t a big success at first?
After it came out and didn’t do spectacularly at the box office, every single night before I went to sleep I spent an hour and a half thinking, “What should I have done differently?” And that’s calmed down in the last 30 years. But yeah, there were a number of things… and I don’t want to start giving you a list of things I could have done differently, but there was a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking that went on, with me thinking, “What should I have done? What could I have done? How could I have made this more popular, or more funny, or more coherent?” … I wouldn’t say that it brought me to a spiraling depression, but it was definitely a bummer, and it took me a little bit of time to get out of my funk and to move on with my recording career.
Your comedy is pretty clean and your fanbase is pretty young, lots of kids — but this wasn’t a PG-rated movie. I was surprised that UHF got a PG-13 rating, and I wonder if that hurt ticket sales.
Well, that was for exactly two reasons, both of which I refused to cut out of the movie: One was Emo Philips cutting his thumb off on a table saw, and the other was Raoul Hernandez throwing poodles out the window. They said, “Hey, if you just take those two things out of the movie, we’ll make it PG, and a bunch of more people will see it.” And I said, “I’m not willing to do that.” So, it was PG-13. And I’m glad I stuck by my guns, because I would rather have it be the movie I wanted to make and be a flop, than be a compromised movie and be a flop. And by the way, no poodles were harmed in the making of UHF. The ASPCA was on set to make sure we weren’t really throwing poodles out the window.
Today we’re going to teach poodles how to fly. Probably one of my favorite scenes in the movie. #UHF #MOVIES #weirdalyankovic #poodle @alfredyankovic
Did Orion Pictures pretty much let you and Jay Levey do what you wanted to do?
They didn’t muzzle us very much. We essentially, for better or worse, made the movie we wanted to make. Jay and I were both extremely green, so maybe they should have muzzled us more! But we got to do creatively pretty much everything.
What were the reviews like for UHF?
Critics pretty much universally hated it. In retrospect, you see critics talking about it now with a fond memory, but at the time, Siskel and Ebert just thought I was Satan. There were personal attacks, not just on the movie, but even about the way I looked! Newsweek said something like my face looked like a “baby’s buttocks to which wire-rimmed glasses and a caterpillar had been attached.” [laughs] Really uncalled-for!
But now it has become a cult classic.
It was a very gradual thing. Fans discovered it eventually first on cable TV, I think, and then through VHS rentals. And I think everybody started realizing that this was a thing when the DVD was released 13 years after the theatrical release, and it was a top 10 bestselling DVD. Nobody expected that. That was very gratifying, and to this day I meet fans that have seen the movie almost as many times as I have. … It’s definitely got its hardcore fans.
So you’re getting the last laugh, so to speak.
It’s bittersweet. First of all, I’m extremely grateful that it’s become a cult favorite and that the fans are so fond of it. Some fans have seen it literally hundreds of times. I’ve met dozens of people that have various UHF-inspired tattoos permanently emblazoned on their bodies. I mean, the love for the movie has not been lost on me. I’m certainly thrilled that it’s inspired so much fan love. Of course, I wish it had done better at the box office when it first came out, and like I said, I spent many sleepless nights wondering what I could have done to have made it a box office hit. But I’m glad I had the experience. I’m glad that it’s part of my body of work, and I’m glad that people seem to like it so much to this day. … During our live shows, we show scenes from the movie in between songs, to facilitate the costume changes we have to make; we’ll play a clip from UHF on the screen, and it’s like Rocky Horror time. Everyone knows every single line of dialog from the movie and they chant along. It’s just amazing.
Do you think the movie holds up?
I think most of the physical humor and most of the gags still play. Some of the parodies are a little dated: I’m not sure how many people [30 years later] remember the whole Al Capone phase of Geraldo [Rivera’s] career. … I know there’s still a lot of young fans of UHF that maybe don’t get all the pop culture references in the movie, but still appreciate it on a certain level.
Hard to believe it’s been 30 years since we had our first Twinkie wiener sandwich. Join us in Ashburn as we celebrate "Weird Al" Yankovic's hilarious cult hit.Get tickets to our UHF Movie Party: http://bit.ly/32ePdqU
So, now that you’re bigger than ever, I think the timing is right for a UHF sequel. Whaddya say?
Well, certainly my comedy and my sensibility still lends itself to that type of humor, but I’m very careful not to brand anything as UHF, or “here’s the sequel” or “here’s the online version of UHF.” Because I don’t want to trade on people’s nostalgia. I’d rather let people have their fond memories of the movie and not try to do the new iteration of it.
I mean, I’d love to do another movie. In fact, I was pitching a movie right before I left on tour. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to talk about it [right now]. I’m very interested in doing more feature film projects and more TV projects and other things like that. And it’s still me, and it’s still my sense of humor, so it would still feel UHF-like, but it just would not be a “UHF sequel.”
So, the UHF experience didn’t entirely sour you on movie-making for good?
Well, it did for a short period of time. But it’s been, what, 30 years? So look, I’m over it.
Additional reporting by Kevin Polowy. A portion of this conversation is taken from the SiriusXM Volume show “Volume West.”
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe sounds more like a President than our “president” — yes… we can be better! http://bit.ly/2G6f3Ei
CNN posted an episode of CNN Replay.
After a ticker tape parade through New York City, USWNT star Megan Rapinoe gives stirring speech to fans with a challenge:
“We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We’ve got to listen more and talk less. We’ve got to know that this is everybody’s responsibility… it’s our responsibility to make the world a better place.”http://cnn.it/2LgnReM
After a ticker tape parade through New York City, USWNT star Megan Rapinoe gives stirring speech celebrating her teammates. “This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor, is just so badass… We’re chillin’. We’ve got tea sippin’. We’ve got celebrations. We have pink hair and purple hair. We have tattoos and dreadlocks. We’ve got white girls and black girls, and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls. Hey!” https://cnn.it/2XEYAl9
John Carlos Frey: investigative reporter and PBSNewsHour special correspondent, author of Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border.
As the U.S. continues to crack down on migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, we look at one of the under-reported driving factors leading people to flee their home countries: the climate crisis. John Carlos Frey, author of “Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border,” spent time with Central American climate refugees traveling in a caravan toward the United States. He says, “If this drought continues, we’re looking at all-out famine from Central America. …That’s one of the major reasons why they’re coming. … The government doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that there is a climate crisis in Central America.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. John Carlos Frey is with us for the hour discussing his new book, Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border. We’re going to turn now to an underreported force driving people to the border: climate change. This is a clip from John Carlos Frey’s project that he did with the Weather Channel on the climate migration crisis, where he asks several Hondurans about what’s happening to them, why they joined a migrant caravan.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: I find a lot of people who worked on farms and say that they fled because of the drought.
PEDROCASTILLO: [translated] Listen, the drought was really bad. Really bad drought. The corn cobs were really small.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: Among the farmworkers who joined the caravan in Honduras was Pedro Castillo.
PEDROCASTILLO: [translated] We always plant so we can have food to eat—rice, beans and corn. Many people, that’s how we survive. A lot of us survive on less than $1 a day.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: [translated] With all due respect, I just want to say, that is a life of poverty. Am I right?
PEDROCASTILLO: [translated] That is the reality of the Honduran people. We have been absorbed by poverty. And not because—and not because we’re lazy. With Mother Nature, there’s nothing you can do. With the drought, there’s nothing you can do.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: Perhaps the one thing you can do is flee. That’s what Fabiola Diaz and Carlos Salinas are doing. They and their kids are traveling together, even though they didn’t know each other before. They’re not a couple, but they seem like a family. Fabiola and her 2-year-old son Yeltsin come from a Honduran town called Santa Bárbara.
[translated] What type of work do they do there?
FABIOLADIAZ: [translated] There, I do farm labor. Beans, corn—it’s what’s mostly grown there. Right now, in the year we’re in, the harvest didn’t work out for anyone.
AMYGOODMAN: That’s John Carlos Frey interviewing people, part of the migrant caravan, in Mexico City, headed to the United States. He did this project for the Weather Channel on the climate migration crisis. Would you call these refugees “climate refugees”?
JOHNCARLOSFREY: A hundred percent. There is no other way to refer to them. These are people who have farmed their land for millennia. We’re talking about the region where the Mayans are. So, corn and beans have been grown there for hundreds of years. All of a sudden, the rains come, the crops start to grow, and then they dry up. The rains don’t continue. This has been going on for five years. In some places that I visited in Guatemala, they have 100% crop failure. They’ve been able to harvest absolutely nothing. And most of these communities are based on the agricultural economy. If the crops don’t come in, there is no other job. Everything in the town relies on the harvest.
So, I’ve spoken to people who were living on one tortilla a day. They’ve tried everything. They’ve tried to sell their farm equipment, their farm animals, their land, to stay in country. They look for jobs in the major cities close by, and they still haven’t been able to find work.
The United Nations has placed 2.1 million people from the region—they’ve labeled them as food-insecure. That is the first step right before famine. We are looking at—if this drought continues, we are looking at all-out famine from Central America. And from what I’ve found when I was interviewing these people in the caravan, that’s one of the major reasons why they’re coming. And we’re not reporting on that at all. The government doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that there is a climate crisis in Central America.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Let’s go to another clip from the series that you produced with the Weather Channel on the climate migration crisis. This begins with an attorney who’s working with migrants in a caravan traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border.
ATENASBURROLA: This is not an invasion. This is a drop in the bucket of what comes to the border every month, every week.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: Atenas Burrola is an attorney from North Carolina who’s part of a group that’s come to Mexico to advise the migrants on U.S. asylum law.
I’m following the story of a young woman who is fleeing because of poverty and hunger. She’s living on a meal a day. Does she qualify for asylum, if that’s the only reason that she’s fleeing?
ATENASBURROLA: If that is the only reason that she’s fleeing, unfortunately, in the United States, she is not going to qualify for asylum.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: Is she not fleeing for her life? Is she not possibly in danger of her life if she doesn’t get food?
ATENASBURROLA: She probably is, but the way that the U.S. asylum law is written is that it is for people who are fleeing persecution, not economic insecurity.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was your interview with attorney Atenas Burrola. Talk about that.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: I was asking her—this woman can’t feed her child. She’s in fear for her life. She herself was emaciated. Her child was thin. She couldn’t put any food on the table. A woman, by herself, 25 years old, with a 2-year-old, is making this journey from Honduras to the United States. And I was asking the attorney, “What rights does she have when she gets to the U.S.-Mexico border?” She has none. She cannot claim asylum. Our asylum laws do not allow for someone who is a victim of poverty or hunger to come into the United States.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, what do you see as the way forward here? Because, clearly, there is still a significant portion of the American population that is rallying to President Trump’s continued insistence on closing the border, and yet more and more people are continuing to come. The president is talking now about mass raids again, threatening mass raids again. Where do you see the country moving?
JOHNCARLOSFREY: I don’t see it getting any better. I don’t want to be a pessimist, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve been reporting on these issues for a long time. You have a president of the United States who is vilifying these people to the point where it’s OK that they die, to the point where it’s OK that we incarcerate children and we treat them inhumanely. That is OK by our federal government. I don’t see anyone in his party speaking out against these actions or advocating on behalf of migrant children. Children, we’re not advocating for. So this is a serious problem. As long as we have the leader of our country advocating for more of the same, I think we’re going to see more of the same. And it’s very hard for Congress to break through.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Will it take possible unrest in the immigrant and Latino community, at levels we haven’t seen since the immigration protests of 2006, before something will change?
JOHNCARLOSFREY: We’re starting to see it, and we’re starting to see Democratic candidates start to advocate on behalf of these individuals. So, that has become part of the platform. I’ve never seen a presidential candidate say publicly that he would—that he would advocate on behalf of healthcare—
AMYGOODMAN: Or she.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: —for the undocumented. That was a shock to me, that if we get a new healthcare system in this country, that undocumented immigrants would qualify.
AMYGOODMAN: And every single candidate raised their hand, Democratic presidential primary.
JOHNCARLOSFREY: So, I think he’s pushing the candidates in that corner.
AMYGOODMAN: When we last talked to you, you talked about how hundreds of migrants were feared dead in mass graves at the Barry Goldwater bombing range in Arizona. Are there any updates on this?
JOHNCARLOSFREY: There are no updates. The federal government has closed off this region from humanitarian assistance. There is a stretch of land in Arizona that migrants cross through to get to a road. It’s about 30 miles of a bombing range, that Border Patrol agents don’t touch, that human rights people, advocates, humanitarians don’t touch. And we have had 911 calls from this region. We know that people have died there, and we know that people need water there. And the government has forbidden. Year after year, there are petitions to at least put out some form of humanitarian assistance, and we haven’t. I am convinced there are mass graves. There are hundreds of bodies that have been left unrecovered. We’ve been trying for a long time to get in to document that, but we’re not allowed.
AMYGOODMAN: Which brings us to the title of your book, Sand and Blood. Why?
JOHNCARLOSFREY: This is a region of the United States that I think that most people don’t know, a region of desert and mountain, the most inhospitable terrain in the United States. This is the path that we’ve allowed migrants to cross. We’ve seen these gruesome pictures of a father with his child drowned in the Rio Grande, stories of people dying in the deserts, the mass graves. We have a casualty list now. That is the result of a war. If we have thousands upon thousands of people who have died as a result of a policy that has not changed, that feels like war to me. I don’t think there’s a road in New York City, if there is a mass toll of death caused by the traffic light or the bad curve on the street, that it wouldn’t be repaired immediately for safety. We have not changed policy in almost 30 years. And we have a death toll that doesn’t seem to even permeate the members of Congress and the administration.
AMYGOODMAN: What should the presidential candidates be asked?
JOHNCARLOSFREY: They should be asked if they believe that a migrant life is equal to a U.S. citizen’s life. And if so, then you’re going to have to treat them as such.
AMYGOODMAN: We want to thank you very much for joining us, John Carlos Frey, five-time Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter, PBS NewsHour special correspondent. His book is just out. It’s called Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border. To hear our discussion in Spanish, you can go also to our website at democracynow.org, to Democracy Now! en Español.
This is Democracy Now!Democracy Now! is currently accepting applications for year-long, paid video production fellowships here in our New York studio. Learn more at democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Thanks so much for joining us.
University of Alaska is the ‘worst-case scenario’ of higher education being destroyed by Republicans: reporter
By Matthew Chapman July 5, 2019
Alaska has been thrown into chaos as newly elected Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy used a line-item veto to slash funding for the public university system by 41 percent — a devastating blow that has the already cash-strapped University of Alaska scrambling to furlough professors and cancel classes.
It’s a nightmare situation for the state — and, wrote Adam Harris for The Atlantic, a “worst-case scenario” of what happens when higher education becomes a partisan issue.
“It has not been uncommon to see significant cuts by states to higher-education funding—particularly during economic slowdowns—but ‘it is uncommon to do it in one fell swoop,’ Nick Hillman, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told me,” wrote Harris. “Alaska had a deficit, and the governor had promised not to raise taxes to deal with it, so he chose a favored punching bag to take the hit instead: higher education.”
The problem, Harris said, is that over the past several years, public views of colleges and universities have become sharply split, with Republican confidence declining by double digits — a trend bolstered by right-wing media outrage about supposed liberal bias and censorship of conservatives on campuses. And that means that university budgets are increasingly at risk of being on the chopping block in some red states — especially states where, as in Alaska, a single politician has the power to axe $130 million with the stroke of a pen.
“In rural states, where many residents lack easy access to colleges and universities, those cuts can hit especially hard,” wrote Harris. “The elimination of state funding, the Alaska system’s president lamented, could result in the closure of one of its campuses. The students who rely on that university would be left in the lurch, needing to travel farther to get to one of the school’s remaining campuses. The task of getting an education, for those in rural communities where a college degree is already hard to come by, would become a little harder.”
“Alaska may be an extreme case, but it shows one possible fate for public colleges in an age of mistrust: wounded by a thousand small cuts, and then a machete,” Harris concluded.
The boy’s mother, Brittany Carey, described what happened to her son in a June 29 Facebook post. According to Carey, her son was swimming in the Sinepuxent Bay just north of the Harry Kelley Memorial Bridge between West Ocean City and downtown.
“He went swimming and was having a great time until about Monday evening when I started noticing little spots developing all over his body,” Carey wrote. “Tuesday morning there were open wounds developing but I had thought he was scratching them, making them worse.”
Carey said in the post Thursday that doctors at Peninsula Regional Medical Center diagnosed it as a Vibrio infection.
As of Tuesday, Carey’s post has been shared 17,000 times across Facebook.
Cases of vibriosis and other bacterial infections that infect people in bodies of water have been reported up and down the eastern seaboard. There was also a woman infected in Florida in June.
Lynn Fleming, 77, was walking on the beach at Anna Maria Island in Florida when she fell and cut herself. She told Fox 13 in Tampa she had a “Little three-quarters-inch cut” on her leg.
Fleming’s condition worsened in a couple of days leading to her incident where she fell unconscious at her home. She was rushed to the hospital where she was later diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis.
Vibrio bacteria is a naturally occurring organism that can be found in coastal waterways, according to the CDC.
Eighty percent of those cases come between May and October each year because of warm waters. Most people who are contract vibriosis recover in approximately three days. But those who get sick with Vibrio vulnificus, can become seriously ill.
In some cases, Vibrio Vulnificus can require intensive medical treatment and amputation, and for about one in five cases can be deadly.
The CDC recommends people don’t eat undercooked or raw shellfish, like oysters. Those with cuts or wounds should also stay away from salt or brackish water or cover their wounds with waterproof bandages before swimming.
The Maryland Department of Health says Vibrio can be found in the Chesapeake Bay and waterways around it. People with weakened immune systems or who have liver disease are more at risk for contracting serious cases of Vibrio.
The state office recommends individuals carry hand sanitizer to clean wounds in case they happen while in the water. People are also recommended to shower after any contact with “natural waters.”
Vibrio can infect people in multiple ways, said Debra Stevens, director of community health and emergency preparedness for the Worcester County Health Department.
Humans can either ingest Vibrio-infected shellfish or become sick through breaks in their skin.
Stevens said if humans ingest Vibrio, it can take 12-72 hours for symptoms to present themselves. After that, people may feel nauseous, and experience diarrhea or vomiting.
“If you already have an open wound, if Vibrio gets into that wound then it can cause an additional infection,” Stevens said. “It can make that wound get larger, get red, you typically may have fever, stomach ache. It’s going to get red and infected-looking.”
Steven said Vibrio bacteria is a natural part of the ecosystem and, in the same way people protect themselves from ticks, the same is needed to be safe from Vibrio.
“The most recent data we have listed is from 2017, and in Worcester County, there was one case of Vibrio that was reported and about 66 across the entire state so it’s not very common,” Stevens said.
Vibrio doesn’t always cause infection
There is some research going on into Vibrio, according to Robert Mitchell, director of the environment programs department for Worcester County. He said studying the bacteria may help people understand what causes it to infect people, what increases people’s risks and how it moves throughout the environment.
He added, “I would caution that presence does not equate to infection,” Mitchell said.
Roman Jesien, science coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, says all of the different strains of Vibrio can be found in Maryland coastal waters.
“We do have Vibrio and we have a number of strains that are considered flesh-eating,” Jesien said. “We find them typically in low numbers, but they are present just like sharks are present in our coastal waters — so it’s just part of the system.”
Jesien said people should be cognizant of the bacteria in the water but it shouldn’t stop them. He said beachgoers should use common sense with bandaging up cuts or sores, but it’s something that shouldn’t stop people from going in the water.
Editor’s note: The next section of the article contains images that some readers may find graphic.
Brittany Carey, June 29, 2019: I thought long and hard about sharing this, but a friend of mine said it would be a great PSA for everyone to see. Last Sunday my parents took my son to the bay right by 50 bridge. He went swimming and was having a great time until about Monday evening when I started noticing little spots developing all over his body. Tuesday morning there were open wounds developing but I had thought he was scratching them, making them worse. Only to find when I picked him up Tuesday they were a lot bigger and a lot more. Off to the hospital we went to be told it was really nothing and an antibiotic that only made it worse. So doctors on Thursday and then PRMC to find out my little one now had VIBRIO a bacteria found in the bay and also in raw seafood. I know we’ve all seen these cases in the Delaware bay but now my little guy got this from being in the bay right by hoopers. Please be careful out there guys and if you start seeing wounds such as these please get somewhere fast!
UPDATE: Went to pediatrician this morning and she is really happy with the healing!
“It is unusual that we do have a real big issues with sores. We had a couple years ago a gentleman die up in Assawoman Bay, and just recently, we had a little boy that I understand had Vibrio,” Jesien said.
With-in 36 hours of his symptoms first appearing, Funk died. He had been treated at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Maryland, where doctors removed the flesh from his knee to his ankle. He was then flown to the University of Maryland’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where his leg amputated. But the infection had already reached his bloodstream and organs.
There have also been multiple cases of Vibrio further north in New Jersey in years past.In 2017 and 2018, there were five different cases in which individuals became seriously ill.
Of the five south Jersey cases, one person was killed by the bacteria. Four of the cases came from crab fishing in the Delaware Bay, but a fifth got sick because of contaminated seafood.
In the more recent case, Carey says in her post her son is doing better after getting treated for the infection.
“I know we’ve all seen these cases in the Delaware bay but now my little guy got this from being in the bay right by Hoopers,” Carey wrote. “Please be careful out there guys and if you start seeing wounds such as these, please get somewhere fast!”
This article originally appeared on Salisbury Daily Times: