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White man deems music too loud and kills Lucy McBath’s son. Eight years later, ‘tragic echo’ happens


Every year, I write a letter to my son. Read below – and remember there are still thousands of families in this country being torn apart every single day from gun violence,” McBath tweeted on Nov. 23.

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She continued:

”To Jordan: I miss you. It’s been eight years since I got to hug and kiss you. I had no way to know that the last time I hugged you would be the last time I embraced you in this life.

You didn’t deserve to die that way, but our laws failed you, failed us and countless families like ours. I know the man who killed you was not raised the way I raised you.But I decided not to be silent — to challenge the laws that failed us.

I know you’re looking down on me, & I pray I’m making you proud – taking on the work that I know you were meant to do, Jordan. Can you believe I’m about to start my second term in Congress? This wasn’t in the cards or on any life plan that we had.

I know that you were not taken from us in vain eight years ago today. It cannot be that way.Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, but I take comfort knowing that one day I’ll get to hug you again and hear your voice and your laugh when I join you.

But until God decides that day has come, my promise to you is that I will continue to fight for you and your legacy. To make this world a safer place for families like ours.Thank you for watching over me as my guardian, Jordan. I love you so much.

Forever, your mom, Lucy”

In Ellison’s death, Robert Keegan, 47, was detained on the scene and taken into custody, Ashland police said in a news release. He now faces charges of murder in the 2nd degree, manslaughter in the first degree, reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a weapon. “The investigation indicates that Keegan and the victim, who did not know each other, were engaged in an argument in the parking lot when Keegan pulled a gun from his coat and fired a single shot, striking the victim in the chest,” police said.

Police responded to the scene in the parking lot of the Stratford Inn on Siskiyou Boulevard, where Keegan was also a guest, at about 4:20 AM after a hotel clerk near the shooting called 911. “The suspect and the victim were both guests at the Stratford Inn,” police said in the news release.  

Although police said they found the victim with a gunshot wound to the chest on arrival, it was Ashland Fire and Rescue, not police officers, who attempted “to render aid” and learned the victim was “beyond help,” officials said in the news release. 

Keegan not only obviously murdered the victim, he also recklessly endangered the hotel clerk by discharging the gun near the hotel clerk,” Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara told NBC-affiliate KOBIO’Meara called the incident “utterly senseless” in the interview with KOBI but ultimately said, “unfortunately, there was nothing to be done.” O’Meara added that the shooting “didn’t need to happen, people getting violent with each other for such stupid reasons.”

“I would encourage people to let us handle disputes and not go out and get into arguments with people unnecessarily,” the police chief told KOBI.

O’Meara faced criticism for a since-deleted statement he made on Facebook and his initial characterization of the shooting as the result of the victim playing loud music. “I need to offer a clarification in reference to the horrendous murder that occurred on Monday morning,” O’Meara said in a new statement posted to the Ashland police Facebook page Thursday. “It has been reported in some local media sources that I said this murder was ‘because of’ something. The only thing that caused this murder was suspect’s actions, 100% . It is completely immaterial what led up to it. I cannot control how the local media sources represent the words I give them.

“Yes, there was an argument over music, no, this did not happen because of loud music, it happened because the suspect chose to bring a gun with him and chose to use it, 100% on him, not the poor young man that was murdered. I would like to thank the community members who reached out to me to express their concern over how the situation was reported. Tighe.”

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Precious Edmonds, a spokesperson for the Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists and Community Coalition told The Oregonian a culture of white supremacy persists in the area of southern Oregon Ellison was killed in. “The incident where Aidan was shot after an argument listening to his music was really about him not submitting to that man’s perceived authority,” Edmonds said.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump tweeted Sunday that his questions in the case extend to more than just the shooter, who Crump called a “white supremacist.” The attorney posed these questions: “1. Why why didn’t Ashland Police render aid on arrival? 2. Why did the Chief of police condemn both for ‘getting into arguments that unnecessarily resolve in violence.’ 3. Why hasn’t Keegan been charged with a hate crime?”  

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Crump also made an important legal distinction between Ellison’s death and that of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Black teen shot and killed Feb. 26, 2012 on a trip from a convenience store to get candy and tea in Sanford, Florida.

In the case, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was accused of racially profiling the teen, who wore a hooded sweatshirt when 29-year-old Zimmerman shot Martin. At one point, Zimmerman considered using the “stand your ground” law in his defense. The law gives homeowners in fear of their life or in protection of their property the right to use deadly force. Zimmerman ultimately was found not guilty of second-degree murder and acquitted of manslaughter, according to The New York Times.

Crump tweeted: “For those comparing Aidan Ellison’s murder to Trayvon Martin: Oregon isn’t a ‘Stand Your Ground’ state, but the combo of Oregon’s use of force laws and a 2007 Oregon Supreme Court ruling imply that state law doesn’t require a duty to retreat.”





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Celebrating 100 years of Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker


For jazz aficionados and bebop fans, Bird needs no introduction. However, for those who aren’t familiar with either Bird or bebop—the jazz genre to which Parker contributed so much—PBS’ Sound Field, hosted by drummer L.A. Buckner, produced this amusing short introduction and review, noting that Bird didn’t care if people could dance to his music.

One of the Bird’s tunes discussed in the program was “Cherokee.” Listen to a young Parker—just 21 years old— playing the jazz standard in 1941 in his hometown of Kansas City.

If you want to steep yourself in all things Charlie Parker, the Bird Lives website in the U.K. has a wealth of information.

The environment (Parker) was born into and grew up in would have had a significant influence on his development. However, understanding the first ten years of his life has been difficult largely due to the few scraps of information his family and friends have recorded, some of which are incorrect or inaccurate. Because of this, most critics tend to skip over this period and in doing so, they reinforce the myth of the enigmatic musician who appeared, as if “out of nowhere,” in the late 30s early 40s.

Known as “Paris on the Plains,” Kansas City was the most vibrant city in America at the time. With the laissez-faire political attitude of Tom Pendergast, “Jazz Age” Kansas City was alive with music, dancing, drinking, and commerce. It was the beginning of Prohibition, and later in the Depression, Kansas was a place where unemployed musicians could ply their trade, where clubs stayed open all night and where extortion, gambling, prostitution were overlooked by the authorities. In the Roaring Twenties, the music in Kansas City amalgamated blues, big brass bands, and ragtime, crediting the city as the birthplace of Swing. This music would entertain America through to the end of Second World War, but would eventually be supplanted by the innovations of an exceptional hometown boy.

Charlie was born in the same year as Okeh Records brought out the historic record of Mamie Smith singing “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down” and “That Thing Called Love.” The success of these songs, and later “Crazy Blues,” (is) recognised as the moment the American phonograph industry realised there was money to be made from black American music, or “race” records. It was also the same month that Marcus Garvey presented his “Back to Africa” program in NYC.

The Charlie Parker website managed by his estate continues his story. This bio was written by Chuck Haddix, the author of Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker.

Parker cut his musical teeth hanging out in the alleyways behind the nightclubs lining 12th Street in Kansas City, Missouri where Count Basie, Lester Young, Mary Lou Williams and other jazz legends engaged in marathon jam sessions. In 1936, Parker sat in at jam session at the legendary Reno Club and musically faltered while soloing on “Honeysuckle Rose.” Drummer Jo Jones showed his displeasure by tossing his cymbal at Parker’s feet. After being laughed off the stage, Parker vowed to never be caught off guard at a jam session again. He spent the next summer playing at a resort in the Lake of the Ozarks, 150 miles southeast of Kansas City. Off-hours, he practiced diligently, learning all the chord changes and inversions. By all reports, he returned to Kansas City a musically changed man.

After passing through the ranks of the Buster Smith and Harlan Leonard bands, Parker joined a young, up-and-coming band led by pianist Jay McShann. The genial McShann gave the undisciplined Parker the freedom to blossom musically and personally. In April 1941, the band recorded for the Decca label in Dallas, Texas. Charlie’s 12-bar solo on “Hootie Blues” astounded musicians and fans alike.

In 1942, Parker moved to New York with the McShann band, where they opened at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. Parker became a star soloist at the Savoy. Nightly broadcasts from the Savoy attracted a throng of young musicians who crowded the stage to hear Parker in person. After-hours, Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and other modernists pioneered bebop–a revolution in jazz.

I don’t know how many of you have ever been to a jazz club, but until smoking was banned indoors, most of the jazz clubs in every town were small, dimly lit, and filled with smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and sometimes weed.

Bird’s wife, Chan Parker, recorded several sets in one such club, the Open Door, in New York City.

On July 26, 1953, Charlie Parker performed at the Open Door, a club near Washington Square in New York’s Greenwich Village, with trumpeter Benny Harris, pianists Bud Powell and Al Haig, bassist Charles Mingus, and drummer Art Taylor. This was exactly when Jack Kerouac was hanging out at the Open Door, absorbing the sights and sounds and taking notes that would soon form the basis for his novel The Subterraneans. It is possible and even likely that Kerouac was in the audience while these recordings were being made. The aural ambience is literally shaped by the room, the cigarette smoke, the crowd, the intoxicants, and the primitive tape-recording apparatus used to capture these precious moments near the end of Charlie Parker‘s brief life.

If you’re used to the crisp, clean recordings done in studios or in concert venues, you would be surprised to hear jazz the way it existed in the clubs.

As we draw towards the end of the year, another major Bird date to celebrate is his epic 1945 recording session.

Colin Fleming chronicled the details and the backstory of the amazing session for JazzTimes back in August.

It is November 26, 1945 in New York City, the Monday morning after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and producer Teddy Reig has arrived at the apartment of Charlie Parker to fetch the alto saxophonist—who required some looking after—and bring him to WOR Studios. The previous week, toasts had been drunk over the signing of a Union contract for a standard recording session, something that hadn’t been standard for quite some time; there had been a two-year ban on such sessions to save on shellac as part of the war rationing effort. The session is to last for three hours, with the aim of producing four sides.

The paperwork stipulates the presence of Parker, Miles Davis on trumpet, Bud Powell on piano, Curly Russell on bass, and Max Roach on drums. The compositions are slated as Charlie Parker originals, which, as we will see, means nothing so simple as “These are my tunes.” The altoist opens the door, greets Reig, then informs him that the brilliant Bud Powell will not be making the date after all. He’s gone to Philly with his mom so she can buy a house.

But someone had spent the night at Parker’s crib, and that person was Dizzy Gillespie. “Here’s your piano player,” Parker informs the confused Reig as the latter eyes the man soon to be known as America’s modern trumpet virtuoso. Never mind the switch on instruments, Parker says. Everything is going to work out just fine.

And so it did. Here’s one of the results.

As a jazz vocalese fan, I learned to appreciate many of Bird’s tunes by listening to interpretations of his performances by vocal artists like Eddie Jefferson, and King Pleasure.

And then there was the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, whose solo on the tune took scat to another level. I realize that in just about everything I write about jazz artists I somehow find my way back to Fitzgerald, who for me will always be “The First Lady of Song.”

Another example is “Parker’s Mood.” This version was recorded on Sept. 18, 1948 in New York City, and performed by “Charlie Parker’s All Stars,” with John Lewis on piano, Curly Russell on bass, and Max Roach on the drums.

King Pleasure’s version has received kudos from vocalese fans.

“Pleasure’s most profound—and eerie—lyric was for Charlie Parker’s song “Parker’s Mood.” Parker’s original recording was made in 1948, and the King Pleasure version was recorded in 1953. The song is a pensive, dirgelike blues, and Pleasure works with both the blues lexicon and the dirge quality of the original.”

Check it out.

I realize I haven’t talked about his nickname, “Yardbird,” which got shortened to “Bird.” Bandleader Jay McShann discussed the nickname in an interview for American Masters on PBS. 

Charlie Parker’s nickname “Yardbird” came to be while he was on the way to a gig with some fellow musicians and involved a bird in a yard that had an unfortunate fate.

Listen for yourself.

Parker clearly had no problem with the ribbing he got about the roadkill chicken. In 1946, he composed “Yardbird Suite.”

It wasn’t long before vocal versions emerged.

McRae performed “Yardbird Suite” often and originally recorded it on her 1955 album By Special Request. However, in the liner notes to a 1991 compilation (Here to Stay) of her early Decca recordings, Dick Katz recalls that on March 12, 1955, he was on stage with Carmen when she performed the song around midnight at Carnegie Hall. “Later we learned that Bird had died that night, perhaps while Carmen was singing Eddie Jefferson’s vocal setting of his tune.” But the lyric which she sang was Parker’s own.

McRae’s version is a song of heartbreak.

Lyrics:

It’s hard to learn
How tears can burn one’s heart
But that’s a thing that I found out
Too late I guess, cause I’m in a mess
My faith has gone
Why lead me on this way?
I thought there’d be no price on love
But I had to pay
If I could perform one miracle
I’d revive your thoughts of me
Yet I know that it’s hopeless
You could never really care
That’s why I despair!
I’ll go along hoping
Someday you’ll learn
The flame in my heart, dear
Forever will burn!

I have always loved Bob Dorough’s tribute to Bird in his “Yardbird Suite.” If fact, whenever anyone mentions Bird, I hear Dorough’s lyrics: “Charles ‘Yardbird’ Parker was his name. The facts: He carved his name in history. A sax for his axe,” in the back of my mind. 

Singer/songwriter/pianist Dorough recorded his lyric on his 1956 debut album Devil May Care. Vocalist Karrin Allyson sang his lyric on her 1995 album Azure Te. Neither album credits Dorough for the lyric which pays homage to the great talent and influence of the alto saxophonist:

His improvisation was miraculous,
Mastermind of rhythm was he,
He blew notes that nobody had ever blown before, till then
Blew ‘em as they’d never been.

Dorough told jazzstandards.com, “When Bird died (March, 1955) I decided to try a ‘vocalese’ on one of his tunes, and I picked ‘Yardbird Suite’ as being songlike and a bit atypical of Parker. I was influenced by the work of Annie Ross and King Pleasure, and I set myself the goal of lyricizing the riff and Bird’s chorus. It was quite a struggle and took several months of living with that piece. Because of legal difficulties I put no claim on the lyric, and the LP said merely ‘Yardbird Suite’ (Charlie Parker). Years later I got some sort of approval from Atlantic Music and a copyright on ‘Yardbird Suite (Charles ‘Yardbird’ Parker Was His Name).’” This explains why Dorough is not credited for the lyric on vocal versions using the original Parker title, “Yardbird Suite.”

Enjoy the Yardbird story, set to the “Yardbird Suite.”

There are hundreds of essays, articles, and sections of books written about Bird and his music since he’s long achieved the status of an icon. One that I thoroughly enjoyed reading was “Bird: The brilliance of Charlie Parker” by Whitney Balliet for The New Yorker, which was written back in 1976.

Parker had a unique tone; no other saxophonist has achieved as human a sound. It could be edgy, and even sharp. (He used the hardest and most technically difficult of the reeds.) It could be smooth and big and sombre. It could be soft and husky. Unlike most saxophonists of his time, who took their cue from Coleman Hawkins, he used almost no vibrato; when he did, it was only a flutter, a murmur. The blues lived in every room of his style, and he was one of the most striking and affecting blues improvisers we have had. His slow blues had a preaching, admonitory quality (“Parker’s Mood,” “Barbados,” and “Blue Bird”). […] All of them contained an extraordinary variety of emotion. He cajoled, he attacked, he mourned, he sang, he laughed, he cursed. Perhaps his reliance on drugs and booze was an instinctive attempt to replenish his creative well, for every solo was a free and wondrously articulated giving of himself.

But there was another, quite different Parker—the Parker who played slow ballads, such as “Embraceable You” and “Don’t Blame Me” and “White Christmas.” Here he went several steps further than he did with the blues. He literally dismantled a composer’s song and put together a structure ten times as complex. New chords and harmonies appeared, along with new melodic lines that moved high above the unsounded original. (He would, though, always inject pieces of the melody as signposts for the listener.) He could do anything he liked with time, and in his ballads he lagged behind the beat, floated easily along on it, or leapt ahead of it; he did things with time that no one had yet thought of and that no one has yet surpassed. His ballads were dense visions, glimpses into an unknown musical dimension. Although they were perfectly structured, they seemed to have no beginnings and no endings; each was simply another of the visions that stirred and maddened his mind. Thus his 1947 version of “Embraceable You,” which, so brief, so intense, so beautiful, remains one of the monuments of music.

Here’s the aforementioned “Embraceable You.” 

Parker was also the subject of the Clint Eastwood biopic, Bird, for which Forest Whitaker received the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988. Eastwood is a jazz fan, so  it came as no surprise to those who know his musical tastes that he would attempt to capture Bird on screen.

As Roger Ebert wrote in 1988:

“Bird” wisely does not attempt to “explain” Parker’s music by connecting experiences with musical discoveries. This is a film of music, not about it, and one of the most extraordinary things about it is that we are really, literally, hearing Parker on the soundtrack.

Eastwood and Lennie Niehaus, his music coordinator, began with actual Parker recordings, some of them from Chan Parker’s private collection.

They isolated the Parker tracks, scrubbed them electronically, recombined them with contemporary sidemen, and created a pure, clean, new stereophonic soundtrack on which Parker’s saxophone is unmistakably present.

Documentary fans will want to settle in and take a look at The Bird: Charlie “Bird” Parker, 1920-1955, which tells his life in four distinct chapters.

I realize I’ve barely scratched the surface of all things Bird, and we have yet to talk about alto sax players like Don Redman, Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter, Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, Jackie McLean, Art Pepper, and Ornette Coleman. There are also up and coming young artists who are carrying the tradition forward, and among them are some young women who are establishing themselves. Stay tuned!

I’ll close for now with this tribute. Charlie Parker died at 35 in the hotel apartment of Baroness Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter in March 1955 of lobar pneumonia, and of the accumulated effects of long-term substance abuse. After Bird died, beat poet and novelist Jack Kerouac wrote an elegy for him.

I’ll quote part of it here.

Charlie Parker looked like Buddha
Charlie Parker who recently died laughing at a juggler on TV
After weeks of strain and sickness
Was called the perfect musician
And his expression on his face
Was as calm, beautiful and profound
As the image of the Buddha
Represented in the East — the lidded eyes
The expression that says: all is well

This was what Charlie Parker said when he played: all is well
You had the feeling of early-in-the-morning
Like a hermit’s joy
Or like the perfect cry of some wild gang at a jam session
Wail! Whap!
Charlie burst his lungs to reach
The speed of what the speedsters wanted
And what they wanted was his eternal slowdown
A great musician
And a great creator of forms
That ultimately find expression
In mores and what-have-you

Musically as important as Beethoven
Yet not regarded as such at all
A genteel conductor of string orchestras
In front of which he stood proud and calm
Like a leader of music in the great historic Worldnight
And wailed his little saxophone
The alto
With piercing, clear lament
In perfect tune and shining harmony
Toot!

See you in the comments for more Bird, and more alto sax.





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‘The Crown’ Cast Through the Years: Photos




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What Will You Look Like in 10 Years? 20? A Top Dermatologist Talks Sun Damage and More


Looking at the state of your mother’s (or grandmother’s) skin can give you clues about how you might age, but it’s far from a snapshot of the future you, explains top New York dermatologist Amy Wechsler. (Wechsler herself, at fifty, looks remarkably similar in age to her twenty-two-year-old daughter, Zoe, with whom she hosts a hilarious and thought-provoking podcast called Am I Embarrassing You?) “How you take care of your skin—and especially what you expose it to—can leave the future you looking very different,” she says. “Lifestyle is incredibly important.”

While a healthy diet and great skin care make a huge difference, the biggest lifestyle factors, for Wechsler, are sun and smoking exposure. “They’re tied for first place,” she says. “If you want great-looking skin as you age, protect your skin from smoke and sun.” In second place? “Stress, without a doubt,” says Wechsler, who has the unique distinction of being both a dermatologist and psychiatrist.

Habits of People with Great Skin

SMOKING

Wechsler of course sees the effects of lifestyle factors on her patients’ skin every day; she also looks closely at twin studies. “We know smoking is horrendous for your skin, but looking at twin studies on it is still always shocking, even for me,” she says. “You see identical twins where one was a smoker and the other wasn’t, and the smoker looks twenty years older than their own identical twin.”

The toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke break down collagen and elastin quickly, Wechsler says: “The toxic ingredients in the smoke cause oxidative stress, and the action of sucking on cigarettes gives people lip lines on top of it all. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on earth. If you care about how you look, avoid it entirely.”

It’s unknown whether vaping is any less problematic for skin. “It hasn’t been studied enough,” she says. “While vaping involves less smoke, there are all the additives to think about.” There also haven’t been many studies involving marijuana smoking and skin, but Wechsler is less concerned about that particular lifestyle choice. “No one ever smokes as much pot as they do cigarettes,” she says. “And because there’s no nicotine, you’re not constricting blood vessels, so you’re not causing damage that way. “In general, you’re talking about one joint versus a pack of cigarettes. The cigarettes are much worse for your skin.”

SUN DAMAGE

The effect of sun exposure on skin can be as powerful as that of smoking, according to Wechsler. “People come back from summer in the Hamptons and want to reverse all their sun damage,” she says. “I can definitely make a difference in that damage, but I can’t erase it. Wearing mineral sunscreen with an SPF between 30 and 50 every day is the easiest way to keep your skin looking beautiful as you age. I prefer mineral sunscreens because they block almost the entire UV spectrum, and they work instantly [chemical sunscreens have to be absorbed into skin, so it’s recommended to put them on twenty minutes before sun exposure]. Minerals are inert, so people can’t be allergic to them. And mineral sunscreens don’t cause breakouts, aren’t degraded by the sun, and are often water-resistant.”

Wechsler also encourages supplementing with vitamin D. “We know the science,” she says. “You can easily ingest an appropriate amount of vitamin D—I’ve always taken it internally. It’s a well-documented, inexpensive molecule, and it works.”

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Wechsler advises checking the UV index for the day. “If it’s zero, a rainy December day in New York, you might be fine without sunscreen, but making it a routine is more the point,” she says. If, on the other hand, you’re spending the day at the beach, go all out, Wechsler says: “I layer two different sunscreens, reapply every two hours as I’m swimming or sweating, and bring on the umbrellas, sunglasses, hats, and sun-protective clothing.”

The ability to tan instead of burn isn’t a reason to skip sunscreen, she says: “A tan is your defense against the sun—it’s a sign that your skin’s overexposed. We damage and repair ourselves all day long, but if you have less new damage to repair, then you repair older, existing damage.”

Bolstering your body’s own repair mechanisms can be done at home or in the office, but no measure outperforms prevention, Wechsler says. “To address collagen loss, we have botulinum toxin and fillers, and to stimulate more collagen growth, we have lasers, prescription retinoids, and chemical peels,” she says.

At-home peels, moisturizers, and antioxidant treatments help, too, she says. “The only caveat is to go slowly with peels and exfoliants,” she says. “I see patients who overdo it and disrupt their skin’s protective barrier.”

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STRESS

In terms of premature aging of the skin, Wechsler puts stress as the second most important factor on the list. “Overproduction of cortisol and sleep deprivation have both been shown to break down collagen,” she says. “And intuitively, we know people who are depressed or not sleeping tend to look older—it’s definitely worth addressing.”

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Most of all, don’t get discouraged, she says: “It’s never too late to give your skin a break—stop smoking, start wearing sunscreen, de-stress—so it can start repairing. Our bodies are designed to heal, and they will do it if we give them the chance.”

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.



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For Some, Postpartum Depression Lingers for Years


By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter


THURSDAY, Oct. 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Many women have depression symptoms after giving birth, but for some postpartum depression hangs on for years, a U.S. government study finds.


Of nearly 4,900 new mothers researchers followed, one-quarter had depression symptoms at some point in their child’s first three years. And for about half of them, the symptoms either started early on and never improved, or took time to emerge.


It all suggests women should be screened for postpartum depression over a longer period, said lead researcher Diane Putnick.


“Based on our data, I’d say screening could continue for two years,” said Putnick, a staff scientist at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in Bethesda, Md.


Right now, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pediatricians take on the task of postpartum depression screening. It says they should screen mothers for symptoms at their baby’s routine check-ups during the first six months of life.


That’s both because postpartum depression usually arises in that period, and because babies have frequent check-ups during those months, according to Putnick. So pediatricians are, in a sense, best positioned to catch moms’ depression symptoms, she said.


On the other hand, pediatricians are also limited in what they can do. Mothers are not their patients, so they do not have access to medical records to get the bigger picture — including whether a woman has a history of clinical depression. And they can only suggest that mothers follow-up with their own provider.


“What happens after women are screened?” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer for the nonprofit March of Dimes.


“The recommendation is excellent,” he said, referring to the AAP advice to pediatricians. “It’s a great starting point.”


But women’s primary care doctors need to be involved, Gupta said, particularly since postpartum depression can persist, or surface relatively later after childbirth.


For the new study, published online Oct. 27 in Pediatrics, Putnick’s team used data on 4,866 women in New York state. All took part in a research project on infertility treatment and its impact on child development.





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These ballot measures will shape voting rights—and whether elections are fair—for years to come


Gerrymandering and Redistricting Reform

Missouri, New Jersey, and Virginia are all voting on measures that affect redistricting. In Missouri, Republicans placed a misleading amendment on the ballot that would effectively gut a reform that voters overwhelmingly passed in 2018 to make legislative redistricting fairer, trying to trick voters into repealing the reform by attaching token ethics reforms.

In New Jersey, Democrats have put an amendment on the ballot to delay legislative redistricting until the 2023 elections if the release of census data is delayed. The move is intended to protect incumbents from having to run in new districts for an extra two years to the detriment of New Jersey’s growing Asian and Latino populations, whose rightful share of representation would be delayed if the amendment passes.

In an extremely unusual move in Virginia, the state’s Democratic legislature allowed an amendment to pass with GOP support that would see Democrats surrender their own power to gerrymander and instead create a bipartisan commission appointed half by legislators from both parties and the other half chosen by retired judges. This reform was a compromise with Republican legislators and includes some flaws, but on the whole it should lead to relatively nonpartisan districts for Congress and the state legislature after 2020 if it becomes law.

Electoral System Reform

Efforts to replace the existing electoral system with something that more faithfully implements voters’ preferences are on the ballot in several jurisdictions. These measures take aim at the existing system of plurality-winner elections that can see a third candidate play “spoiler” and cost the runner-up a victory. They all aim to ensure majority rule, but not all may end up having a positive effect.

In Alaska and Massachusetts, voters could adopt variants of instant-runoff voting (also known as ranked-choice voting) in congressional and state elections. This system, which Maine adopted in 2016 and expanded in 2019, lets voters rank their preferences and sequentially eliminates the last-place finisher by reassigning their votes to each voter’s subsequent preference until one candidate attains a majority. Such systems cut down on the spoiler problem and help to protect majority rule. Alaska’s measure would use a variant where the top four finishers in an all-party primary would advance to an instant-runoff general election. (It would use a regular instant-runoff for the presidency.)

A more novel reform to plurality-winner elections is going before voters in St. Louis, Missouri. This approach would adopt a variation of so-called “approval voting,” letting voters cast up to one vote for each candidate and having whichever two candidates receive the most votes in the first round advance to the general election. This system aims to avoid some of the complications of instant-runoff voting but is largely untested in real elections, unlike instant-runoff voting, which has a long history both domestically at the local level and abroad.

A Florida initiative that would implement a top two “primary” for state-level elections could have disastrous effects for partisan fairness and Black and Latino representation. This system is in use in California and Washington and has seen major parties get shut out of winnable general elections solely because their vote was split between too many candidates in the primary. It could also make it much harder for Black voters especially to elect their chosen candidates and is facing a lawsuit that could invalidate it for that reason.

Finally, Mississippi’s GOP-led legislature, in the face of a lawsuit, has placed an amendment on the ballot to repeal part of its 1890 Jim Crow constitution that created an Electoral College-esque system for determining the winner in elections for governor and other statewide executive offices. This system has been further strained by GOP gerrymandering, such that it would be impossible for Democrats and the Black voters who support them to ever win statewide. This reform would require majority support to avoid a runoff, a method that is not ideal but is nevertheless fairer than the status quo.

Restrictions on the Ballot Initiative Process

Republicans across the country have gerrymandered their maps and passed widespread restrictions on voting, leaving direct democracy as a critical tool for fighting back against these efforts to entrench GOP minority rule. Republicans have responded by trying to restrict the initiative process to preserve their power and have advanced measures in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota that would make it harder for reformers to place new measures of their own on the ballot in the future.

Bans on Noncitizen Voting

Republicans in Alabama, Colorado, and Florida are supporting amendments that would rewrite their constitutions to emphasize that only citizens may vote. While these measures would have no effect on the status quo, they would prevent local governments from experimenting with letting legal permanent residents who lack citizenship still vote in local elections, something a handful of small localities in the U.S. and many European democracies already allow.

Efforts to Lower the Voting Age

Lowering the voting age to 16 is an idea that has quietly grown in popularity in recent years. A handful of small localities already allow the practice in local elections, and a majority of the House Democratic caucus voted in favor of doing so federally last year. A number of foreign democracies such as Austria and Brazil already allow 16-year-olds to vote, and San Francisco could become the first major city in America to lower the voting age to 16 in local elections. Just to the east, the city of Oakland could lower the voting age for school board elections, and all of California could join a growing number of states letting 17-year-olds vote in primaries if they’ll turn 18 by the general election.

Other Measures

Puerto Rico will once again vote on whether to become a state, and while the measure is not legally binding, it could spur Congress to act on passing an admission bill if Democrats retake the Senate and eliminate the filibuster. Statehood would mean that more than 3 million American citizens would gain representation in the House and Senate. It would also modestly mitigate the upper chamber’s bias against voters of color and potentially lessen its partisan bias toward the GOP, too.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would assign a state’s votes in the Electoral College to the national popular vote winner if states with a majority of electoral votes sign on, has gained steam since Trump’s election in 2016 and saw Colorado become the first swing state to join in 2019. However, Colorado Republicans have fought back by putting an initiative on the ballot to repeal the law joining the compact. The outcome of the vote could encourage Democrats in other swing states to follow Colorado’s lead, or deter them.

While nearly every state constitution protects the right to vote in some form, Nevada could go even further by enshrining the right to vote in its constitution using modernized language to protect certain methods of voting access. California, meanwhile, could expand voting rights to tens of thousands of citizens on parole for a felony conviction, joining 18 other states that don’t disenfranchise anyone not in prison.

Finally, Oregon is one of the last states that allows individuals to donate unlimited sums of money directly to candidates in state elections, but that may soon change. A state Supreme Court ruling earlier this year overturned a precedent that had barred limits on campaign contributions, and now Democrats have placed an amendment on the ballot to codify lawmakers’ ability to regulate campaign donations and ensure that the existence of such limits and disclosure requirements isn’t dependent upon the ever-changing composition of the courts.

Below you can find a table summarizing all 24 ballot measures we’re tracking, and you can find a spreadsheet version of it here.

JurisdictionTitleSubjectImpact on Fair ElectionsDescription
AlabamaAmendment 1Noncitizen votingNegativeBans noncitizens from voting in local elections by requiring citizenship for voting
AlaskaMeasure 2Electoral system reformPositive or NeutralAdopts a top-four primary with instant-runoff general election; adds campaign finance disclosure requirements
ArkansasIssue 3Ballot initiative processNegativeTightens geographic distribution restrictions for ballot initiative signature requirements in order to make liberal-supported initiatives harder
ArkansasIssue 2Term limitsNeutralLoosens lifetime term limits for legislators
CaliforniaProposition 18Voting agePositiveLets 17-year-olds vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the general election
CaliforniaProposition 17Felony disenfranchisementPositiveEliminates disenfranchisement of voters on parole for a felony conviction
ColoradoAmendment 76Noncitizen votingNegativeBans noncitizens from voting in local elections by requiring citizenship for voting
ColoradoProposition 113Electoral CollegeNegativeReferendum to repeal law joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact for the Electoral College
FloridaAmendment 4Ballot initiative processNegativeRequires ballot initiatives to win (at least 60%) voter support in two consecutive general elections instead of one
FloridaAmendment 3Electoral system reformNegativeAdopts a top-two primary (aka two-round system) in state-level races
FloridaAmendment 1Noncitizen votingNegativeBans noncitizens from voting in local elections by requiring citizenship for voting
IowaConstitutional ConventionConstitutional conventionNeutralDecides whether to call a state constitutional convention
MassachusettsQuestion 2Electoral system reformPositiveAdopts instant-runoff voting (aka ranked-choice) in congressional, state, and countywide elections
MississippiMeasure 2Electoral system reformPositiveRepeals Jim Crow-era “electoral college” law in statewide elections and replaces it with provision for a separate runoff election if no candidate wins a majority
MissouriAmendment 3Legislative redistrictingNegativeEffectively repeals a voter-approved 2018 ballot measure that made legislative redistricting treat both parties more fairly
MissouriAmendment 1Term limitsNeutralSets a two-term limit for statewide executive offices below the governorship, which is already subject to that limit
NevadaQuestion 4Right to votePositiveGuarantees the right to vote via certain methods
New JerseyQuestion 3Legislative redistrictingNegativePostpones 2021 legislative redistricting until the 2023 election cycle if census data release is delayed to after Feb. 15, 2021
North DakotaMeasure 2Ballot initiative processNegativeRequires a ballot initiative to win voter support in two consecutive general elections instead of one if the legislature doesn’t approve it
OregonMeasure 107Campaign financePositiveAllows the legislature to set campaign donation limits and disclosure requirements in state and local elections
VirginiaRedistricting Commission AmendmentRedistricting reformPositiveCreates a bipartisan commission to draw congressional and legislative districts
Oakland, CAMeasure QQVoting agePositiveLowers the voting age to 16 in school board election
San Francisco, CAProposition GVoting agePositiveLowers the voting age to 16 in local elections
St. Louis, MOProposition DElectoral system reformPositiveAdopts approval voting primary where the top-two finishers advance to the general election for local elections





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Entertaiment

Kathie Lee Gifford on Why She Feels “30 Years Old”: Watch


Kathie Lee Gifford is busier than ever since departing TODAY.

While the famed TV personality quipped that she was “lost” without former TODAY co-host Hoda Kotb and late Live! co-host Regis Philbin, she’s enjoying the next chapter of her career. We’re, of course, talking about her new rom-com, Then Came You.

In fact, Kathie Lee said she’s been “so busy” since leaving TODAY a year-and-a-half ago that her departure “seems like yesterday.”

“I don’t even know what the day of the week is anymore since I left the TODAY show,” she quipped to Daily Pop‘s Justin Sylvester. “I don’t know what time it is, I don’t know anything. I don’t know my last name.”

However, as Kathie Lee noted, her busy schedule is a “good” thing. Namely, in her post-TODAY career, Kathie Lee has been able to bring Then Came You to life.

The film, which was also written by Kathie Lee, follows a lonely widow (Kathie Lee) who travels the world with her husband’s ashes. However, she finds a second chance at love when meeting innkeeper Howard (Craig Ferguson) in Scotland.



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Celebrity

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Most Obnoxious Quotes Over the Years




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Celebrity

Law & Order Premiered 30 Years Ago: These Are Its Secrets


Elisabeth Röhm, who played A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn for three and a half seasons, said she felt her altruistic, at times a little naïve (but still sharp) character reflected her own values. “In my heart there’s this belief that people are good, not that people who do bad things aren’t bad, but that the spirit of human beings in general—that there’s hope for us,” the actress told the Long Island Weekly in May. “I think that Serena had that idealism and I do too.”

The idealism, at least, may have been her undoing, Branch disagreeing with Southerlyn’s approach to a case and firing her. To which her memorable reply, out of nowhere, was “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” The answer was no, but it was a head-scratcher because Serena’s personal life had never come up. (It ranked 25th on TV Land’s Top 100 Most Unexpected Moments in TV History.)

Let’s just say, Röhm’s time on set (“my colleagues were Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston, I mean, those are real actors”) sounds more enjoyable than Southerlyn’s time in the DA’s Office.

“On my last day of work, Sam Waterston wrote a speech,” recalled Röhm, whose recent work includes Jane the Virgin and Bombshell. “He said, I came into Law & Order with a ‘blow torch of happiness,’ and I have a child-like enthusiasm for life. I like to have fun. I like to treat people kindly. I want to make an impact. I want to make a difference.”

She continued, “And I think that I do have that child-like enthusiasm and idealism, and belief in humanity. I’m never surprised when people are kind because I know inside of us is all this hope and desire to evolve and to be happy. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t criminal minds, degradation, despair, poverty and violence.”



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