Chelsea Manning Files For Senate Run In Maryland

Chelsea Manning attends OUT Magazine #OUT100 at the the Altman Building on Nov. 9, 2017.

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Federal Election Commission documents dated Jan. 11 show that Chelsea Manning has filed paperwork to run as a Democrat for Maryland Senate this year.

The race would pit her against two-term Sen. Ben Cardin in the June Democratic primary. Cardin is Maryland’s senior U.S. senator, elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2012. He is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Manning, a former United States Army intelligence analyst, was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including information about the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, State Department cables, and information about prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, to WikiLeaks.

She was sentenced to 35 years in prison. While serving, she came out as transgender and ran a column at the Guardian. President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence last year, and she was released after serving 7 years. Her lawyers at the ACLU said that Manning served more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history, and under difficult conditions. House Speaker Paul Ryan called her release “outrageous.”

Harvard’s Kennedy School of public policy and administration granted a visiting fellowship to Chelsea Manning last year. After some high-profile government officials refused to teach or lecture at the school in protest โ€” including CIA Director Mike Pompeo โ€” her fellowship was rescinded.

honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow ๐Ÿ˜Œ they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’• #WeGotThishttps://t.co/7ViF3GaSec

โ€” Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) September 15, 2017

Manning moved to Maryland after raising over $175,000 in support through crowdfunding, and has been an active Twitter user and writer.

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'This Is Not A Drill': A False Ballistic Missile Alert Shakes Hawaii

Hawaiians and tourists alike were shaken shortly after 8:00 a.m. HST when a push notification alerted those in the state of islands to a false missile threat, causing an immediate panic.

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” read the message, which also blared across Hawaiian televisions stations.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, confirmed the false alarm on Twitter 12 minutes after the errant message was sent.

HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs

โ€” Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018

Rep. Gabbard told CNN that the alert was “inadvertent,” according to a tweet by Jake Tapper.

“We’re in a process of sending another message to cancel the initial message. It was part of a drill that was going on,” a spokesperson from Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency told BuzzFeed News.

Hawaiians heard a nuclear attack warning siren test last December for the first time since the Cold War, when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tested a statewide alert tone signaling nuclear threat.

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Illinois Judge Allows 11-Year-Old Girl To Use Medical Marijuana At School

A medical marijuana patch on a patient’s arm. Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois, but an 11-year-old girl who uses it to combat seizures had to get court approval to use it in school.

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In a decision that may have sweeping effects, a judge has allowed an 11-year-old Illinois girl to use medical marijuana at school.

Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois, and it is against current law for students to use it in school or have school nurses administer it. Now, Ashley Surin is the sole exemption. She overcame a leukemia diagnosis at 2 years old with extensive chemotherapy, but some of her treatments eventually led to having semi regular seizures. Her mother, Maureen Surin, told NPR that since starting medical marijuana treatment, her seizures have immensely declined in number. “We’re amazed with her progress,” Surin said.

Her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against Schaumburg School District 54 and the State of Illinois, claiming that the state’s ban on taking the drug at school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On Friday, a judge ruled in their favor after hearing from the school district, which reportedly had concerns that its employees may be subject to legal penalties for helping Ashley with her medications.

“What people seem to misunderstand here is that medical marijuana is a prescription like any other drug,” Glink said. “Prohibiting it in school would be the same as prohibiting other medications such as Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta.”

Lawyers for the school district and attorney general’s office will meet back in court next week to work on a long-term plan for Ashley and the school. Ashley uses a patch on her foot and an oil extract on her wrists. “No one’s saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class,” the judge said, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, but only three โ€” New Jersey, Maine, and Colorado โ€” say schools must allow students to use their legal prescriptions in school. In Washington State, schools are not legally required to permit on-site medical marijuana use; instead, schools can decide themselves.

“Ashley cannot wait to return to school,” Glink told NPR. “Now, that will happen on Tuesday.”

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President Trump's Idea Of Good And Bad Immigrant Countries Has A Historical Precedent

United States Circa 1900: Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, New York.

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In a White House meeting with members of Congress this week, President Trump is said to have suggested that the United States accepts too many immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa and too few from countries like Norway.

Those comments, relayed to NPR by people in attendance at the meeting, set off an immediate firestorm, in part because Trump appeared to be favoring the revival of a discriminatory immigration policy abolished by the U.S. Congress more than 50 years ago.

From 1924 to 1965, the United States allocated immigrant visas on the basis of a candidate’s national origin. People coming from northern and western European countries were heavily favored over those from the countries Trump now derides. More than 50,000 immigrant visas were reserved for Germany each year. The United Kingdom had the next biggest share, with about 34,000.

Ireland, with 28,000 slots, and Norway, with 6,400, had the highest quotas as a share of their population. Each country in Asia, meanwhile, had a quota of just 100, while Africans wishing to move to America had to compete for one of just 1,200 visas set aside for the continent as a whole.

The blatantly discriminatory quota policy was enacted on the basis of recommendations from a congressional commission set up in 1907 to determine who precisely was coming to the United States, from which countries, and what capacities they were bringing with them. Under the leadership of Republican Sen. William Dillingham of Vermont, the commission prepared a 42-volume report distinguishing desirable ethnicities from those the commission considered less desirable.

“Dictionary of Races or Peoples”

In a “Dictionary of Races or Peoples,” the commission reported that Slavic people demonstrated “fanaticism in religion, carelessness as to the business virtues of punctuality and often honesty.” Southern Italians were found to be “excitable, impulsive, highly imaginative” but also “impracticable.” Foreshadowing President Trump’s own assessment, the commission concluded that Scandinavians represented “the purest type.”

The main sponsor of the 1924 law enacting the national origins quotas was Rep. Albert Johnson (R-Washington), chairman of the House Committee on Immigration. Among Johnson’s immigration advisers were John Trevor, the founder of the far-right American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, and Madison Grant, an amateur eugenicist whose writings gave racism a veneer of intellectual legitimacy. In his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race, Grant separated the human species into Caucasoids, Mongoloids, and Negroids, and argued that Caucasoids and Negroids needed to be separated.

Former U.S. President Harry Truman.

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The national origin quota system remained in effect for more than 40 years, despite increasing opposition from moderates and liberals. Minor adjustments were made under the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, passed over the vigorous objections of President Harry Truman.

In a fiery veto message, Truman argued that the national origin quota policy “discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many peoples of the world.” After Congress dismissed his criticism and overrode his veto, Truman ordered the establishment of a presidential Commission on Immigration and Naturalization.

In its report, the commission concluded that U.S. immigration policy marginalized “the non-white people of the world who constitute between two-thirds and three-fourths of the world’s population.” The report was titled Whom We Shall Welcome, referring to a speech President George Washington delivered to a group of Irish immigrants in 1783.

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger,” Washington famously said in that speech, “but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

That promise was broken by the enslavement of Africans brought to America in chains, but it set forth the ideal by which U.S. immigration policy was to be judged in the 1950s.

Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both challenged the visa quota system, but it was Lyndon B. Johnson who made its elimination a top priority.

We should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’

“A nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission, ‘What can you do for our country?’ ” Johnson said in his 1964 State of the Union speech. “But we should not be asking, ‘In what country were you born?’ ” His administration proposed a reform that would put all nationalities on a roughly equal basis, with immigrant visas awarded largely on the basis of whether the candidates had skills and education considered “especially advantageous” to U.S. interests.

The idea that some countries produced better immigrants than others had support, however, and Johnson’s immigration reform proposal ran into substantial opposition. The chairman of the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Michael Feighan (D-Ohio) refused even to hold hearings on the administration’s bill in 1964 and relented the following year only after coming under heavy pressure from Johnson himself. When he did hold hearings, he made sure supporters of the quota system were given ample opportunity to argue for its continuation.

Former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

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Among those testifying in its favor was John Trevor, Jr., whose father had played a key role in the enactment of the quota system. Trevor argued that the quota system ensured that newcomers would “mirror” the existing U.S. population, ensuring social stability.

Other arguments previewed the rhetoric of Trump campaign rallies more than 50 years later. The president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Adele Sullivan, claimed that choosing immigrants without regard to ethnicity “could result in further unemployment, overladen taxes, to say nothing of a collapse of moral and spiritual values, if nonassimilable aliens of dissimilar background and culture are permitted gradually to overwhelm our country.”

Similarly, Sen. John McClellan (D-Arkansas) asked whether opening the United States to immigrants from Africa would lead to “still more ghettos and thus more and more acts of violence and riots?”

Sen. John McClellan (D-Ark.), July 13, 1967.

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A fellow Democrat, Spessard Holland of Florida, in a speech on the Senate floor, asked, “Why, for the first time, are the emerging nations of Africa to be placed on the same basis as are our mother countriesโ€”Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian nations, France, and the other nations from which most Americans have come?” he asked.

In fact, the 1960 census showed that Americans of African slave descent outnumbered Scandinavian Americans by a margin of two-and-a-half to one. There were more African-Americans in the United States than there were Americans whose origins lay in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland combined.

Support for Johnson’s immigration reform, however, gained momentum after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had pushed for the abolition of national-origin quotas during the 1950s as a U.S. senator, tied the promotion of immigration reform to the civil-rights movement, then at its peak.

“We have removed all elements of second-class citizenship from our laws by the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “We must in 1965 remove all elements in our immigration law which suggest there are second-class people.”

Phenomenon of “chain migration”

With a huge Democratic majority elected the year before, the immigration reform finally passed both houses of Congress in September 1965. Conservatives, led by Ohio’s Michael Feighan, however, had insisted on a key change in the legislation, giving immigrant candidates with relatives already in the United States priority over those with “advantageous” skills and education, as the Johnson administration had originally proposed.

That change, which eventually led to the phenomenon of “chain migration” denounced by Trump, was seen as a way to preserve the existing ethnic profile of the U.S. population and discourage the immigration of Asians and Africans, who had fewer family ties in the country.

The key reform, however, was achieved. The new law did away entirely with immigration quotas based on national origin.

“This system violated the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man,” President Johnson declared as he signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. “It has been un-American in the highest sense. Today, with my signature, this system is abolished.”

For some, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 legislation, in October 2015, was an occasion for celebration. Muzaffar Chishti, an immigrant from India and a senior lawyer at the Migration Policy Institute, observed at the time that the law sent a message to the rest of the world that, “America is not just a place for certain privileged nationalities. We are truly the first universal nation,” he said. “That may have been the promise of the founding fathers, but it took a long time to realize it.”

In the years since 1965, America has become a truly multicultural nation. With a U.S. president once again saying that immigrants from some countries are superior to immigrants from other countries, the question is whether America will keep its founders’ promise in the years ahead.

Tom Gjelten’s book on how the 1965 Immigration Act changed the United States is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story.

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Helping Strangers May Help Teens' Self-Esteem

When teens step out of their comfort zone to help people they don’t know, they feel confident.

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At the start of the new year, parents may encourage their teens to detox from social media, increase exercise, or begin a volunteer project. While kids may bristle at the thought of posting fewer selfies, surveys indicate 55 percent of adolescents enjoy volunteering. And according to a recent study, when it comes to helping others, teens may benefit psychologically from spending time helping strangers.

The study, published in December in theJournal of Adolescence, suggests that altruistic behaviors, including large and small acts of kindness, may raise teens’ feelings of self-worth. However, not all helping behaviors are the same. The researchers found that adolescents who assisted strangers reported higher self-esteem one year later.

“Surprisingly, teens who helped friends and family members did not report the same emotional change,” says Dr. Laura Padilla-Walker, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University and one of the study’s researchers.

The study, which included 681 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 14, examined how helping, sharing, and comforting others affected teens’ self-confidence. Between 2008 and 2011, the researchers surveyed the study participants yearly. Questions like “I help people I don’t know, even if it’s not easy for me,” and “I voluntarily help my neighbors,” helped researchers assess the various ways teens support others, while statements like, “I am satisfied with myself,” and “I feel useless at times,” helped the researchers evaluate the teens’ self-esteem.

Padilla-Walker says the study findings suggest there’s something unique about leaving one’s comfort zone to support someone you do not know.

“Helping a stranger is more challenging than assisting a friend, and when teens take this risk, they feel more competent,” she says.

For many teens, the turbulent adolescent years bring social and emotional challenges like learning to resolve conflicts with friends, coping with peer pressure, and dealing with rejection. These newfound stressors can rattle their self-esteem. Witnessing their kids’ angst can be painful for parents who feel unsure how to help. However, Padilla-Walker says helping teens find ways to feel more self-assured can be immensely valuable.

In fact, volunteering may do more than boost personal morale; studies show altruism can help people connect socially, which may prevent loneliness, as well as alleviate mental health concerns, like depression.

These psychological benefits may be especially significant for teens, as studies show anxiety among adolescents has risen in the past five years. A recent mental health survey, conducted on college campuses around the nation, found that over 50 percent of students seeking psychotherapy suffered from anxiety. Research also shows that by the age of fourteen, 25 percent of teen girls and 10 percent of teen boys struggle with depression.

According to the American Psychological Association, young adults now face greater social and economic challenges than did previous generations. Between 1989 and 2016, over 40,000 college students completed a survey measuring their tendencies towards perfectionism.

Today’s young adults are more competitive and inclined to be perfectionists, expecting more of themselves and others. Perfectionism seems particularly harmful when one feels pressured to meet unrealistic expectations set by others. The researchers found that this “social” perfectionism makes students more susceptible to psychiatric concerns like eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.

“With the vast amount of information on the internet and social media, adolescents may feel like every choice they make โ€” big and small โ€”is an opportunity for failure. Even worse, they may fear that this failure is permanent,” says Dr. Abigail Marks, a clinical psychologist in San Francisco who works with parents and teens.

While altruistic acts may bolster teens’ wellbeing, many adolescents may reject the idea that they need a confidence boost.

“Recommending anything that may improvea teenager’s behavior always carries the risk of seeming condescending or critical,” says Marks. And when it comes to volunteering, suggestions made by parents about “who” and “how” to help can sound like a demand, not an opportunity.

Instead, Marks suggests that families discuss potential volunteer projects together. Even though it may seem impossible to communicate with a teenager at times, when asked to share their opinions they often develop interest. And connecting with this curiosity can help them identify an activity they value.

Of course, like many of us, teens may feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to take on a new responsibility like a lofty volunteer project. However, virtual volunteering, such as donating to a “Go Fund Me” campaign or writing an advocacy letter can also be worthwhile. The non-profit organization, DoSomething, also lets youth help remotely. By signing up on the site, they can join other volunteers and create social justice hashtag campaigns, use Instagram to support refugees, and tweet to raise awareness about education policies.

“Helping strangers doesn’t need to be on a grand scale. When teens can see the benefit of their actions, they often realize how much power they have to support others,” says Padilla-Walker. And that can inspire more self-confidence.

Juli Fraga is a psychologist and writer in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter @dr_fraga.

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It May Look The Same, But Olympic Figure Skating Will Sound Different In 2018

Jason Brown competed in the men’s short program during the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., with a song from Hamilton, the musical.

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During the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, figure skaters will still dazzle audiences with triple axles and quadruple salchows and routines presented with elegance.

But this year the sport might sound different: Pyeongchang will be the first Olympics where skaters in the men’s, women’s and pairs categories can use vocal music in their routines.

The change isn’t new; the International Skating Union voted on the issue in 2012. But the vote included a provision that the change would take place in the 2014-15 season โ€” after the Sochi Olympics finished.

The decision came as the governing body hopes to reach a wider audience โ€” and after the U.S. Championships it seems like that may be working.

At the U.S. National Championships in San Jose, Calif., skater Jimmy Ma started his short program routine with music that left the commentators disagreeing about what genre it was. Then about halfway through, the bass dropped and Lil Jon’s voice belted out “turn down for what?” That’s when the crowd went crazy.

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Audiences should expect to see more routines set to music with lyrics, be it from a rapper like Lil Jon or one of the many hits from Hamilton, USA Today sportsreporter Maggie Hendricks told All Things Considered host Kelly McEvers, adding that it makes for fun, engaging moments on the ice.

“And why not? Figure skating should be fun,” she said.

By allowing music with vocals, Hendricks says the audience can get to know the skaters in more ways than before, pointing out that for Ma chose a piece a very different piece, a composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff, for his long program.

“So, you know, we have this balance of skater and learning about who they are in ways that we never could when you were having lyricless music or just classical pieces or opera pieces,” she says. “You’re just getting this whole new side of them.”

This is definitely the case with one of Hendricks’ favorite skating performances to vocal music: Last year Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning world champion and Olympic champion, chose to perform “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince at the International Skating Union’s Grand Prix in 2016.

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“He’s one of the best skaters to ever walk this earth,” she says. “He has very much a rock star swagger. In Japan, he is a rock star. The way he brings the spins, you start to see Prince’s music happening on the ice when you see Yuzuru Hanyu skate to it. … And even at one point, he sort of takes his leg behind his head and plays it like he’s playing a guitar.”

Though many performances involving vocal music were a hit, Hendricks says sometimes they don’t work out so well.

“Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are Canadian figure skaters … an amazing pair, but in their short program they have โ€” sandwiched between ‘Oye Como Va’ and ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ โ€” ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles,” Hendricks says. “It’s just so disappointing.”

However, Ma’s performance and others’, including Jason Brown’s and Bradie Tennell’s, did catch the attention of some who expressed their approval of the policy change on Twitter.

Watching US Figure Skating Championships – did @ma_jimmy just skate to โ€œTurn Down for Whatโ€? Yes! Dude, that’s what sport needs. Bravo!

โ€” Chris Ciborowski (@chrisciborowski) January 5, 2018

Thank you Jimmy Ma to choose a mashup of house music and Lil’ Jon’s Turn Down for What as your short program. Tired of all these classical music that everyone chooses. #USChamps2018@USFigureSkating

โ€” Jennifer Nolos (@jnolos0708) January 5, 2018

Jimmy Ma is having a blast skating to DJ Snake and so am I watching it. The bass drop and then going into Turn Down for What after unzipping his pleather jacket. I am dead.

โ€” Hannah Stuart (@HockeywthHannah) January 5, 2018

“When a figure skating program goes viral, there’s somebody watching that somewhere and saying, ‘hey, maybe I can try figure skating,’ And that is a huge part of the Olympics … every sport gets a little bump,” Hendricks says. “It gets some people interested in it and trying it, because they’ve saw it and they saw something in it.

“I don’t know if all of the young kids out there would have necessarily seen something of themselves in the Rachmaninoff, but they sure as heck would see it in the Lil Jon version.”

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