Chuck Todd nailed why Trump’s SOTU just didn’t cut it for so many Americans.

NBC’s Chuck Todd has an issue with President Trump’s first State of the Union address.

It’s not that it was a bad speech, necessarily. It’s just that the Donald we all know didn’t give it.

Speaking on MSNBC after the State of the Union, Todd dove into why Trump’s inauthentic speech failed to deliver.

Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for SiriusXM.

“It is hard to judge these speeches because we know it’s not him,” Todd said. “It’s him reading off a teleprompter.”

“There are some things he says that sound like him totally, you know. He’ll throw in a ‘beautiful’ and an extra ‘totally.’ But you can tell he is reading it. He doesn’t own it. … I think [the Trump administration] would be better off letting him ad lib because it would be authentic. There is a missing authenticity here.”

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

After others on the panel began laughing at the thought of the president improvising the State of the Union, Todd clarified what he meant.

“You guys are laughing,” he said, grinning. “I’m being semi-serious here.”

Americans know the president as a man who jabs at political opponents using disparaging nicknames on Twitter — not a guy who genuinely wants to bring people together, Todd explained. “I’m just saying; the Donald Trump we know as a country, that we interact with every day, with his Twitter feed, with the asides and all of this — the guy that likes to give us all nicknames — that isn’t who you saw [at the State of the Union], right?”

Beyond tone, Trump’s attempts at bipartisanship also fell flat to many because he’s thrived on divisiveness throughout his first year in office.

Unifier-in-chief? Eh, not so fast.

Although the White House touted Trump’s first State of the Union as “bright and optimistic” — a means to bring parties together — the branding may not have stuck. Polling from last year found the overwhelming majority of Americans believe Trump does more to divide the country than unite it. One speech won’t flip that figure overnight.

Reaction shots of many Congresspeople in the audience showed that not everyone was impressed by Trump’s speech. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

And when it comes to the issues, Trump’s calls for unity just didn’t sync up with reality.

Trump took sole credit on job creation, shrinking the unemployment rate among black Americans, and boosting manufacturing — all signs of an improving economy that surfaced under President Obama. When it came to issues like immigration, health care, and national security, Trump played to his own base, blasting Obamacare, cheering the existence of Guantanamo Bay, and highlighting a necessity to stand for the national anthem.

“President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address was billed by the White House beforehand as a speech that would be ‘unifying’ and ‘bipartisan,'” Jonathan Allen wrote for NBC. “It was neither.”

But even if it were, would Americans buy it?

“You don’t see this Trump very often so I don’t know if it can sell anything,” Todd concluded on MSNBC. “That’s my point here. So I don’t know how much ability this version of President Trump does to persuade anybody because you don’t see it very often.”

You can watch Todd discussing his thoughts on the State of the Union at MSNBC.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/chuck-todd-nailed-why-trump-s-sotu-just-didn-t-cut-it-for-so-many-americans

Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye (Farewell My Love Goodbye)

He promised me he would only ride during the daytime, he would always wear his helmet and he would stay on the back country rural roads not far from our suburban home.

And he was a promise-keeper, a man of his word—which is why as daylight began to recede and night started to fall, a certainty that something wasn’t right began to permeate my consciousness.

There was nothing to do but wait-it-out. I wasn’t about to call or text him. He was on a motorcycle.

When it was officially dark outside, I turned another page of the book I was reading that leisurely Sunday afternoon and thought to myself, ‘we will have to have a serious talk about this motorcycle thing again.’ In spite of the fact that he told me how great he felt when he was out “taking a spin,” it was starting to feel like a really bad idea to me.

Maybe I could talk him into a boat or a jet ski, or perhaps he could take up golf.

I no sooner had this thought, when our 17-year-old son came to me and said, “Mom you have to come to the door. There’s a police officer who wants to speak with you.”

A few days later I was faced with the greatest challenge of my writing career—writing and delivering the eulogy of my best friend, the father of my five children and the truest man I’ve ever known…

…You know how sometimes you’ll meet a person and think to yourself or even tell everyone around you, “Oh my gosh, he was the nicest man you could ever want to meet!” Well, that wasn’t my husband.

I’m not saying he wasn’t nice, of course, he was; he was nice and got nicer with age, as men tend to do. I’m just saying that “niceness” wasn’t the most overriding quality he left you with when you met him for the first time. He wasn’t out there trying to bowl you over with his charm.

My husband was so much more than that.

He was good.

In fact, In all my life I never met a man who was, quite simply, more good.

Because he wasn’t licking you up one side and down the other, blinding you with his sparkle, it would be so easy for an obtuse or distracted person to overlook or even miss altogether the substantive qualities that made him one of the finest men many of us will ever know.

And I… I had the privilege to be his wife and the mother of his children, I worked for him (although I’m sure if he’s reading this right now, he’s saying my work claim “is debatable!”), I kept his home, I kept his kids, I kept his bank accounts and I kept his heart. What all of that provided me with was a close-up, behind-the-scenes hidden camera view. A front row seat like no other, into the way this man truly conducted himself in every facet of his life. I never once in all those years saw that man’s character, his integrity or his commitment waver.

And trust me I watched hard.

When I started dating him, (we were both 18) to use an antiquated phrase, I “set my cap for him” and I’ll just admit right here and now, he was entirely out of my league. He was extremely handsome, remarkably intelligent and possessed a confident James Dean swagger that was both indefinable and irresistible. We had a large group of friends who witnessed this romance unfolding and forecasted “Uh-oh this ends badly for the girl.” “She’s bound to get hurt.” “She’s way out of her depth.”

The piece they hadn’t reckoned on was that, oddly enough, this guy had a penchant for curly red-headed girls. On our first date, we parked out in front of the lakes on the campus of LSU and stared shoulder to shoulder straight ahead at the water talking about life. He had such a reputation as a renegade with a tough guy exterior that I decided to dig deep, “Do you love ANYBODY?” I asked.

He seemed taken aback—surprised and said, “I love my grandmother and my mom.”

Some little part of this 18-year-old girl was enchanted and enthralled by the raw glimpse of vulnerability and thought, “Ooooh… I think I can work with this!” There’s nothing that a teenage girl loves more than a tough outer shell with a soft, sweet center.

Ask any M&M you know!

A few years later, when we were married, there was a bit of a snafu on our wedding day and the cousin who was supposed to transport my Groom’s beloved aforementioned grandmother to our wedding dropped the ball somehow. After the event was over and we were driving away from the reception, he drove to the end of the pull-through, laid his head on the steering wheel and started to cry. I was, of course, alarmed as any new bride covered in hopes and rice and future dreams would be.

When I asked him what was wrong, he said, “I just never thought I wouldn’t be with my grandmother on my wedding day. Can we go to her?”

But of course, we could.

So, he in a white tux, me in a long dress and veil, looking like little bride and groom figurines snatched right off the top of a wedding cake, drove over 2 hours across a dark Louisiana swamp called The Atchafalaya Basin to a small Cajun nursing home where the residents lined the halls cackling and fussing in their native French language—so excited were they to see a bride and groom in full wedding regalia, certainly not your everyday sight in a nursing home.

We turned the corner into his grandmother’s room. She was sitting there in her wheelchair, clutching her rosary beads, head bent in prayer, when she looked up and burst into tears of shock and surprise at the site of her adored grandson as a groom. He knelt on the floor and laid his head in her lap while she made the sign of the cross over him and said again and again, “My Jimmy, my Jimmy, you make marry dat girl? You make marry dat girl?”

That scene is burned indelibly in both my heart and my mind. He knew that she sat in that wheelchair all day thinking that she had been forgotten.

And the “Peace that surpasses all understanding” enveloped me fully and I knew right then and there that I had chosen well.

So I stood there in that doorway and I thanked our God for the gift of this Great Man, who to the naked eye still looked so much like a boy. And I thanked Our Heavenly Father for whatever rare sliver of wisdom or insight on my part gave me such a bold confidence as to pursue him. After the blessing, we turned around and drove the 2 hours back to Baton Rouge, packed our car with our wedding gifts and left for Little Rock that night—because my husband was in the restaurant business and had to work the next day.

There are hundreds more stories like that. Anecdotes that exemplify the character of this man, his unique leadership style, hilarious stories about his unorthodox approach to developing people, both employees and his own offspring.

Early on in our marriage, I took a Bible study where I was introduced to the concept of tithing. Apparently, unbeknownst to us newlyweds, God had issued a mandate, expecting us to give away 10% of our income! All the young wives were encouraged to discuss this with their husbands that very evening. Well, I wasn’t worried one bit. I knew we were “off the hook,” as my husband was a very frugal man who would never agree to such an outlandish request, even if it did come straight from The Lord.

But I went ahead and told him about it that night and surprisingly and enthusiastically he said, “you know what—I’m in! Absolutely! Set up an entirely separate bank account and we’ll call it ‘The Tithe Account.’ Slice 10% off the top of everything I make from here on out and deposit it in there and we will give it all away!”

But it was the way he gave it away that was noteworthy. Of course, the Church received from us, but Jimmy very quietly behind the scenes paid his employee’s doctor bills, he paid his cooks’ children’s hospital bills, he paid their immigration fees to reunite them with their families. He gave people cars so they could get to work, made various orphans’ tuition payments and helped other people get back on their feet after a personal life disaster. But it was always very low-key. For him, Christian charity was quiet, low key and personal, which is why you never saw us at fancy charity galas. But I must allow for the fact that he also just didn’t like to wear a tux…

Recently, I caught wind of the fact that a few of our youngest son’s friends were teasing him about how many kids we had in our family—saying surely he, being number 5, must have been an “accident.” It was all in good fun. I think they just rationally found it hard to believe in this day and age people would purposely have 5 kids. I’m leading with this to try in some way, if at all possible, to illustrate this man as a father…

One day when we lived in Phoenix, he came to me and said, “I need TO TALK TO YOU. We are missing someone!”

I looked across the playroom at a sea of children’s heads. Our tweenage daughters 13 and 10 and our 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son and said, “1-2-3-4! No HONEY, everyone is present and accounted for!”

He said, “That’s not what I mean! I’m talking about when I look over my shoulder as I’m backing our van out of the driveway for mass and I see all those little faces looking back, a very strong feeling comes over me that there’s someone else who’s supposed to be back there, someone who isn’t here yet. I think God has a little soul he’s wanting to give us ….I’m trying to say our family is not yet complete.”

I don’t know how another woman walks away from a conversation like that, but suffice it to say, I was pregnant pretty soon after. I didn’t find it necessary to take a pregnancy test right away—I kept putting him off despite his badgering me. But on Thanksgiving Day I guess he couldn’t wait another minute. He busted into the bedroom that morning with a brown bag from Walgreens, handed me the stick—pointed to the bathroom and said, “Go!” I came back and handed him the positive result. He was beside himself with joy, because I guess he wanted to give Thanks on Thanksgiving day.

Some of you may see this as an example of how much we adore our youngest. And we do. He is undoubtedly cherished. But remember at this point we didn’t even know this kid. This story is really a testimony of the unfathomable joy the other 4 children brought their Dad every single minute of every single day. The man didn’t golf, play tennis, hunt, fish or go to Vegas. If he wasn’t working, he was daddying. The word Daddy was a verb in our house.

I think I would like to conclude all of this by describing to you the last few days of my husband’s life.

Three days before he was killed, last Thursday, I was at our daughter’s home babysitting our grandson when he swung by on his way to work. I let him in, he gingerly took the infant from my arms and sat down in their rocking chair cooing and stroking and loving on him. I sat on the couch beside them smiling and tearing up and thinking ironically that the greatest tragedy of my life was that my mother (who worshipped the very ground my husband trod upon) died the day after Our first grandchild was born and would never be privy to the beautiful scene I was witnessing. This great big man in a motorcycle jacket rocking the tiniest little replica of himself.

(And Yes, for those that appreciate irony, I was actually sitting there thinking one week ago that was the Greatest Tragedy Of My Life.)

At that moment he snuggled closer to the baby, deeply inhaled his scent, looked over at me, I’m not going to say he exactly cried, but his eyes glazed over a bit and he hoarsely whispered, “We got to do this 5 times! 5 times. Man—We were blessed!”

A lot of you know my precious mother died just a few months ago. I think Jimmy and I both thought I would be doing better by now and a little further along in the grief process, but the very day after that, last Friday, my grief was so palpable to him that it seemed to be affecting my health. He sat on the edge of our bed, wiping the tears off my cheeks from a sad dream and said,

“I’m going to take the day off and we are going to stay in our jammie-lammies all day long. I know we have the baby today, so I’ll cart his swing and a stack of bottles and diapers up to the media room and we can binge-watch our Netflix series until his little Mama picks him up!”

And that’s just what we did. When our daughter arrived to pick up her baby, he ran up to Panda Express and got us some dinner. We were standing in the kitchen making our plates and he asked me if I was feeling better. I answered honestly,

“A little bit. I just feel so lost, orphaned, abandoned without my mother here. She was my everything until the day I met you. In fact, I shudder to think how terrible life would be for me if I ever were to lose you…”

My guy paused dramatically to give it all some thought and these are the poignant words of wisdom and comfort that he laid upon my heart:

He said-

“Hey, I hear that! You know I was reading recently that in those Viking cultures, oftentimes when a Viking warrior died, they just buried his wife alive in the cave with him. I don’t know what those chics did in there all that time, but I would imagine they starved to death eventually!”

I was quiet and pensive for a moment. Sensing my hesitation he added,

“We would definitely get you some Swedish fish and Milk Duds and Coca-Cola in there to tie you over for awhile…”

He definitely had a quirky sense of humor, but honestly, I don’t think he ever wanted to face life OR death without me. We were one of those couples joined at the hip.

In the early days of our marriage when he worked 90 hours a week, I took care of every aspect of his life that didn’t involve the actual running of a restaurant. I selected his outfit for the day, coordinated his necktie, laid out his underwear, brought him his coffee and ran a bead of toothpaste in a straight line down the bristles of his toothbrush while he was in the shower.

But somewhere along the line, I don’t know, maybe after the 5 kids or after he mellowed a bit, all the tables turned.

Somewhere along the liner, his poor guy became solely responsible for:

-Turning on our tv …. I have no understanding how our remote control works.
-Keeping track of all of our prescriptions, what I’m allergic to, how many migraine pills I had taken and when I could take another.
-He kept gas in my car, air in my tires and something that has to do with oil.
-Almost every night he brought me home a key lime pie, or a slice of chocolate cake, unless I was on a strict diet in which case he only brought a container of sour balls.
-He drew my bath in the morning after he made my coffee, but before he woke me up.
-And kept me supplied in those cheater-reader glasses. He was so proud he never paid for them. He got them from the lost and found at the restaurants.

Saturday night, the night before he was killed I said, “I’m congested, I can’t breathe through my nose.” He said, “if I leave right now I can get to Walgreens before they close.”

When he got home he unpackaged the bottle of Afrin, but the main thing is that he stood there handing me the spray and worrying aloud that maybe he should throw out the ‘childproof cap’ because he didn’t think I’d ever be able to get it open the following week when he was away on business in Kansas City.

I assured him it was fine—don’t worry about it. As usual, He was right. The very next night after they told me what had happened to my Hero, I sobbed and cried until I couldn’t breathe. Of course, I immediately got congested. And when I reached for that bottle of Afrin from the night before, I couldn’t get the lid off.

I guess the good news is that so many have offered to help me, I may start a sign-up sheet for people who want to volunteer to do some of these things.

I recognize a lot of you younger people out there that I know looked up to my husband as a kind’ve [sic] pseudo-father figure. You may not think I know about each and every one of you because of his reserved public persona, but believe me, he would come home and tell me and tell me and tell me about you. I know he was your role model and your mentor. Believe me when I tell you how much joy it brought him as he witnessed you moving along your upward trajectories through our company or even on to other successes. So many of you were constantly checking back in with him later on your progress. Astoundingly, a few of you have written to tell me he actually turned your life around for the better when he fired you!

Each one of you mattered to him more than you’ll ever know. Being a part of your lives meant the world to him.

And to his mother, “Mimi,” I want you to know that sometimes he would look over at something I said or did or just the way that I handled a situation and say, “I married my mother!” But it was always and only when I had behaved in a way that he found particularly beautiful. He always told me you were a “Saint” and the sweetest woman on the face of the earth. I am so so sorry for your pain in losing him. I hope it gives you some measure of comfort to know he loved and cherished all you did for him his entire life.

To our own 5 children, I would say this: if Daddy had any faults it might have been that he took care of us too well… But what a legacy he left behind in y’all. Each of you is beautiful and smart and nice. But like your daddy, you’re so much more than nice. You are good. Partly because you inherited it and partly because you grew up basking in his shadow as he demonstrated everything he considered to be a teachable moment.

And didn’t he just consider everything to be a teachable moment?

So we will link arms and marshall this army forward without our General. But He left us with one heck of a blueprint. And, Who cares if we don’t know how to put air in the tires, you know what? If we can’t figure out how to get the air in, we can just buy new tires, I think they sell new ones that come with air. And if we don’t know how to replicate Dad’s extravagant Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, we can just order pizzas.

Because I believe what Daddy did leave us is so much more important. Buried deep in your DNA and life experience is a mixture of strength, resiliency and a strong stubborn Cajun survival streak that can never be denied.

One last final thought—my honey and I loved to sing to one another. We loved Classic Rock and the Motown Sound. One of our favorite artists through the years was Gladys Knight. Besides the song that we played in the video last night, (My Life Story) she sings another song we both adored. The only problem is every time he would serenade me with this particular song, I would burst into tears. Cue the floodworks of sobs and tears. Every. single. time.

So much so that I had no choice but to issue a Song Ban forbidding him from singing it. Which honestly he thought was a little hilarious. He would get all high and mighty and say “Tiny Red—you can’t just Willy-Nilly BAN a song!”

But because it upset me so much he finally promised me he would never sing it again.

And I’ll never sing it either….”Because Neither One Of Us Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye”

Farewell, my love – good-bye…

Editor’s note: The crash is still under investigation but appears to be negligent homicide on the part of the elderly driver of the SUV. Please join us in praying for Leslie and the Blanchard family. 

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Read more: https://faithit.com/neither-one-first-say-goodbye-leslie-blanchard/

Inside Olympian Shaun Whites Disturbing Sexual-Harassment Case

Every two years, the Olympics manage to make our scary, disconnected world a little bit better, uniting audiences through awe and a shared desire to ogle IOC-approved hotties. Unlike most trending topics in 2018, the Olympics is feel-good through and through. Even the most jaded Americans will find themselves cheering on Chloe Kim, looking up clips of Mirai Nagasus historic triple axel, and developing an encyclopedic knowledge of the mens figure skating scoring system so as to best complain about the snubbing of Adam Rippon.

Amidst all of this patriotism and good cheer, its easy to elevate every Team USA member to god-like status. After all, these athletes can do things on ice, snow, and skates that the rest of us could only dream of doing on the ground. For a textbook example of an American Olympic athlete assuming mythic proportions, look no further than snowboarder Shaun White.

NBC promoted its Winter Olympics coverage with a Super Bowl ad devoted entirely to the two-time Olympic gold medalist. The ad highlights Whites single-minded purpose as he prepares for Pyeongchang. The Super Bowl spot concludes, Shaun White is the best of U.S. It makes sense that NBC would invest heavily in the Shaun White story; the only thing that makes a proven winner more compelling is a comeback, and White certainly has something to prove in the wake of scoring in fourth place at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. According to Slate, White is the star of NBCs Olympics show, and his victory, according to the network, would be one of the great triumphs of the Winter Games.

But just as a re-centering of womens voices and experiences has called various powerful men into question, an honest assessment of Team USA would tack an asterisk on to all of Shaun Whites promotional material. White, like many successful and celebrated men, has reached a settlement in a sexual harassment case. Disappointingly, NBC has entirely failed to mention these allegations in its Shaun White coverage. While it is clearly within NBCs interests to slalom around this potential scandal, its rather shocking that, according to Slate, No major news outlet mentioned the harassment suit between May 2017 and last week, when New York magazines the Cut released a video titled, Snowboarding Superstar Shaun White Was Accused of Sexual Harassment.

In 2016, Lena Zawaideh sued Shaun White, alleging sexual harassment, wrongful termination and nonpayment of wages, among other complaints. Zawaideh was the drummer and only female member of Shaun Whites rock band, Bad Things, for seven years. According to USA Today, Zawaideh initially sued for breach of contract in May, but by August her lawyers had filed an extensive new complaint seeking both punitive and compensatory damages. That complaint alleged that White repeatedly sexually harassed [Zawaideh] and forced his authoritarian management style on her for over seven years.

According to the suit, White sent sexually explicit and graphic images to Zawaideh of engorged and erect penises, forced her to watch sexually disturbing videos, including videos sexualizing human fecal matter, and made vulgar sexual remarks to her such as, Dont forget to suck his balls! when commenting on her boyfriend. At one point, White stuck his hands down his pants, approached Zawaideh, and stuck his hands in her face trying to make her smell them. The offending texts sent by White also included arguably racist, explicit images of black men. The complaint further alleged that an intoxicated White attempted to kiss Zawaideh at a Halloween party in October 2010; Another time, White put his buttocks directly in Zawaidehs face. Still another time, White grabbed Zawaidehs buttocks shortly after leaving practice for the day.

The filing additionally stated that, As the financier of Bad Things, White used his role to imposed a strict regime over Zawaideh, going so far as to demand that she cut her hair, wear sexually revealing clothes and underwear, and refrain from wearing red lipstickher own personal signature.

Images of the texts that White allegedly sent Zawaideh were included as exhibits in her new complaint. One of the explicit texts is a pornographic image paired with an exhortation to be a team player. Another text from Shaun reads, I need u to go out in the morning and have your hair cut in a new style at shoulder or above but keep your bangs. This is really important to me. When Zawaideh responds that shes confident and happy with her long hair and not willing to cut it, he replies, Thats disappointingare u sure this is the decision u want to make later clarifying, your decision to not do what Im asking.

According to the complaint, this exchange occurred the night before Bad Things last show of their 2014 tour. At the end of the tour, Zawaideh went home with the assumption that she was still a member of the band. After not hearing from White for some time, Zawaideh was informed by another Bad Things member that the band continued to rehearse and perform without her, according to the suit. Zawaideh was later informed by the bands new manager that White decided to part ways with her. In the complaint, she alleged that she never received any of her contractual payments for 2014.

Zawaideh also claimed that, during their regular band practices, White consistently acted inappropriately.

The complaint continued, White would constantly refer to Zawaideh as bitch and show her sexually explicit images and videos. For example, at one point,WhiteyelledouttoZawaideh, Hey, have you seen this video?! White then proceeded toshow Zawaideh the Shake That Bear video on his computer. Shake That Bear is a disturbing video of a couple killing a bear and then having sex on top of it.Another time, White called Zawaideh over and forced her to watch Church of Fudge. Church of Fudge is a video where the viewer is subjected to hardcore porn involving a priest, anun and fecal matter. This behavior made Zawaideh feel extremely uncomfortable. However, Zawaideh would acquiesce because she did not want to cause problems in the band or be terminated. Zawaideh was only seventeen or eighteen years old at the time. White was twenty-two or twenty-three years old.

Other anecdotes from the complaint alleged threatening behavior. Around March 2014, after failing to win a medal at the Olympics, the suit claimed that White became increasingly hostile: For example, on a few occasions when the band was practicing, White gestured that he wasgoing to backhand Zawaideh. He yelled out uncalled for remarks such as, Ill fucking slap you.Zawaideh was fearful that White would hit her.

In response to Zawaidehs allegations, White confessed to sending the texts and issued the following statement through his attorney: Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit. There is absolutely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we will defend them vigorously in court."

Zawaideh issued her own statement, insisting, I am pursuing this case because women should not have to tolerate harassment at work. Shaun White should not be allowed to do whatever he wants just because he is famous. Although I am embarrassed to have been treated this way, I cannot sit by and watch him do this to other women.

According to USA Today, the snowboarder vigorously contested the suit and requested that Zawaideh undergo a mental health examination in response to her claims of emotional and mental distress. White later withdrew that request, and in May 2017 it was reported that White and Zawaideh had reached an undisclosed settlement.

Less than a year later, is Shaun White really the best of the U.S.?

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-olympian-shaun-whites-disturbing-sexual-harassment-case

Why No Gadget Can Prove How Stoned You Are

If you’ve spent time with marijuana—any time at all, really—you know that the high can be rather unpredictable. It depends on the strain, its level of THC and hundreds of other compounds, and the interaction between all these elements. Oh, and how much you ate that day. And how you took the cannabis. And the position of the North Star at the moment of ingestion.

OK, maybe not that last one. But as medical and recreational marijuana use spreads across the United States, how on Earth can law enforcement tell if someone they’ve pulled over is too high to be driving, given all these factors? Marijuana is such a confounding drug that scientists and law enforcement are struggling to create an objective standard for marijuana intoxication. (Also, I’ll say this early and only once: For the love of Pete, do not under any circumstances drive stoned.)

Sure, the cops can take you back to the station and draw a blood sample and determine exactly how much THC is in your system. “It's not a problem of accurately measuring it,” says Marilyn Huestis, coauthor of a new review paper in Trends in Molecular Medicine about cannabis intoxication. “We can accurately measure cannabinoids in blood and urine and sweat and oral fluid. It's interpretation that is the more difficult problem.”

You see, different people handle marijuana differently. It depends on your genetics, for one. And how often you consume cannabis, because if you take it enough, you can develop a tolerance to it. A dose of cannabis that may knock amateurs on their butts could have zero effect on seasoned users—patients who use marijuana consistently to treat pain, for instance.

The issue is that THC—what’s thought to be the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana—interacts with the human body in a fundamentally different way than alcohol. “Alcohol is a water-loving, hydrophilic compound,” says Huestis, who sits on the advisory board for Cannabix, a company developing a THC breathalyzer.1 “Whereas THC is a very fat-loving compound. It's a hydrophobic compound. It goes and stays in the tissues.” The molecule can linger for up to a month, while alcohol clears out right quick.

But while THC may hang around in tissues, it starts diminishing in the blood quickly—really quickly. “It's 74 percent in the first 30 minutes, and 90 percent by 1.4 hours,” says Huestis. “And the reason that's important is because in the US, the average time to get blood drawn [after arrest] is between 1.4 and 4 hours.” By the time you get to the station to get your blood taken, there may not be much THC left to find. (THC tends to linger longer in the brain because it’s fatty in there. That’s why the effects of marijuana can last longer than THC is detectable in breath or blood.)

So law enforcement can measure THC, sure enough, but not always immediately. And they’re fully aware that marijuana intoxication is an entirely different beast than drunk driving. “How a drug affects someone might depend on the person, how they used the drug, the type of drug (e.g., for cannabis, you can have varying levels of THC between different products), and how often they use the drug,” California Highway Patrol spokesperson Mike Martis writes in an email to WIRED.

Accordingly, in California, where recreational marijuana just became legal, the CHP relies on other observable measurements of intoxication. If an officer does field sobriety tests like the classic walk-and-turn maneuver, and suspects someone may be under the influence of drugs, they can request a specialist called a drug recognition evaluator. The DRE administers additional field sobriety tests—analyzing the suspect’s eyes and blood pressure to try to figure out what drug may be in play.

The CHP says it’s also evaluating the use of oral fluid screening gadgets to assist in these drug investigations. (Which devices exactly, the CHP declines to say.) “However, we want to ensure any technology we use is reliable and accurate before using it out in the field and as evidence in a criminal proceeding,” says Martis.

Another option would be to test a suspect’s breath with a breathalyzer for THC, which startups like Hound Labs are chasing. While THC sticks around in tissues, it’s no longer present in your breath after about two or three hours. So if a breathalyzer picks up THC, that would suggest the stuff isn’t lingering from a joint smoked last night, but one smoked before the driver got in a car.

This could be an objective measurement of the presence of THC, but not much more. “We are not measuring impairment, and I want to be really clear about that,” says Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs. “Our breathalyzer is going to provide objective data that potentially confirms what the officer already thinks.” That is, if the driver was doing 25 in a 40 zone and they blow positive for THC, evidence points to them being stoned.

But you might argue that even using THC to confirm inebriation goes too far. The root of the problem isn’t really about measuring THC, it’s about understanding the galaxy of active compounds in cannabis and their effects on the human body. “If you want to gauge intoxication, pull the driver out and have him drive a simulator on an iPad,” says Kevin McKernan, chief scientific officer at Medicinal Genomics, which does genetic testing of cannabis. “That'll tell ya. The chemistry is too fraught with problems in terms of people's individual genetics and their tolerance levels.”

Scientists are just beginning to understand the dozens of other compounds in cannabis. CBD, for instance, may dampen the psychoactive effects of THC. So what happens if you get dragged into court after testing positive for THC, but the marijuana you consumed was also a high-CBD strain?

“It significantly compounds your argument in court with that one,” says Jeff Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a cannabis lab. “I saw this much THC, you're intoxicated. Really, well I also had twice as much CBD, doesn't that cancel it out? I don't know, when did you take that CBD? Did you take it afterwards, did you take it before?

“If you go through all this effort and spend all the time and money and drag people through court and spend taxpayer dollars, we shouldn't be in there with tons of question marks,” Raber says.

But maybe one day marijuana roadside testing won’t really matter. “I really think we're probably going to see automated cars before we're going to see this problem solved in a scientific sense,” says Raber. Don’t hold your breath, then, for a magical device that tells you you’re stoned.

1 UPDATE: 1/29/18, 2:15 pm ET: This story has been updated to disclose Huestis' affiliation with Cannabix.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/why-no-gadget-can-prove-how-stoned-you-are/

It’s Time To Give Up On Humanity In Light Of The Tide Pods Challenge

Every generation has made their share of questionable decisions, but what teens and other young people are doing nowadays is seriously risky, not to mention incredibly stupid.

In recent months, videos circulating on social media have shown kids participating in a disturbing fad — biting down on laundry-detergent packets (namely Tide Pods) or letting them dissolve in their mouths. While the pods have for some time presented a hazard to disabled adults and small children who mistake their bright colors for candy, those who take on the “Tide Pods challenge” are purposefully putting themselves in danger for meaningless internet points.

In 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned parents about what could happen if their kids eat liquid laundry packets or capsules, stating, “children who have ingested detergent from the packets have required medical attention and hospitalization for loss of consciousness, excessive vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing.”

Along with other synthetic chemicals, the pods contain bleaching agents and surfactants, which remove dirt, waste, and stains from clothes. Bleach can burn your digestive tracks, leading to vomiting and even a hole developing in your esophagus. Surfactants cause irritation of the mucous membrane, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and foam in the mouth, which could lead to inhaling toxic materials into your lungs.

In some cases, ingestion can cause depression of the central nervous system, leading to drowsiness or coma. Even just breathing in the substances can cause respiratory distress and damage. Oh yeah, and it’s killed a number of children.

Let’s say it all together now just to drive the point home — do not eat or put Tide Pods in your mouth

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/tide-pods-challenge/

15 Beautiful Things That Happen When You Take Your Time With Love (Instead Of Rushing Into It)

Edward Cisneros / Unsplash

1.

You like the version of you that love brings out in you and it’s a better version of you that’s easy to maintain.

2.

Your body feels pleasure, your mind feels happiness and your heart feels joy.

3.

You don’t spend hours decoding or waiting for texts.

4.

You don’t talk to your family and friends about how you are confused and unsure about what your partner wants.

5.

The relationship becomes easy.

6.

You’ll be willing to compromise and respect that in some instances you two won’t agree—be it religion or politics or anything else—and you will not try to prove why you are right.

7.

You start taking better care of yourself because you want to be the best version of yourself possible because that’s what they make you want to become.

8.

You start making smarter choices in life that might affect you in the long run in terms of career, finances, and health.

9.

You start to realize all the stupid things you did in the past as a phase that you are ready to move on from because you are ready to grow up.

10.

You start to have a different level of respect for people who have been in long happy relationships like your grandparents, parents or friends because you can see why they made it work. Because it was worth it.

11.

When tempted to falter, you don’t risk losing what you have because you know how lucky you are to have found it.

12.

Your relationship will have enough humor to not weigh you down.

13.

You will have enough wisdom to know that not every day will be perfect.

14.

You will be able to balance your relationships with your family, friends and your significant other.

15.

To find love with someone means stretching yourself out between you and them- it will take work but it will be the best work you will ever find.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/anjana-rajbhandary/2018/01/15-beautiful-things-that-happen-when-you-take-your-time-with-love-instead-of-rushing-into-it/

Apple wants to gather all your medical records in the Health app

Apple announced a new health effort as part of iOS 11.3. The new Health Records section in the Health app lets you gather and view all your medical records. The company is partnering with hospitals and clinics.

Apple released the first beta version of iOS 11.3 today. While the new version of iOS is going to remain in beta testing for a couple of months, it should be available as a free download to all iPhone users pretty soon.

Health Records is going to be a new menu in the Health Data section of the Health app. You’ll be able to add any file to this menu as long as it’s a CDA file (Clinical Document Architecture). Some hospitals already email you those files or make them available on their website. But Apple wants to automate this process.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and others are already testing the feature with their patients. Health Records is based on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), a standard when it comes to data formats and APIs.

So it means that those hospitals and clinics will be able to push this data to your phone directly. You’ll receive a notification alerting you that you just received a new medical record. Data is encrypted on your phone and protected by your passcode.

And it looks very thorough based on the screenshot. You’ll be able to list your allergies, medications, immunizations and lab results in the Health app.

This could be particularly useful for patients who get a lot of lab results to track cholesterol or something else. Newest results appear at the top of the Healthcare Records timeline.

It’s going to be hard to convince every single hospital and clinic around the U.S. and around the world to adopt the new Health Records feature. But here’s a list of all the institutions participating in the beta test:

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine – Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cedars-Sinai – Los Angeles, California
  • Penn Medicine – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Geisinger Health System – Danville, Pennsylvania
  • UC San Diego Health – San Diego, California
  • UNC Health Care – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Rush University Medical Center – Chicago, Illinois
  • Dignity Health – Arizona, California and Nevada
  • Ochsner Health System – Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  • MedStar Health – Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
  • OhioHealth – Columbus, Ohio
  • Cerner Healthe Clinic – Kansas City, Missouri
  1. iPhone_X_Apple_All_Health_Records_Screen_01232018

  2. iPhone_X_Apple_Health_Records_screen_01232018

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/24/apple-wants-to-gather-all-your-medical-records-in-the-health-app/

CNN Exclusive: California launches investigation following stunning admission by Aetna medical director

(CNN)California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

“If the health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records, that’s of significant concern to me as insurance commissioner in California — and potentially a violation of law,” he said.
Aetna, the nation’s third-largest insurance provider with 23.1 million customers, told CNN it looked forward to “explaining our clinical review process” to the commissioner.
    The California probe centers on a deposition by Dr. Jay Ken Iinuma, who served as medical director for Aetna for Southern California from March 2012 to February 2015, according to the insurer.
    During the deposition, the doctor said he was following Aetna’s training, in which nurses reviewed records and made recommendations to him.
    Jones said his expectation would be “that physicians would be reviewing treatment authorization requests,” and that it’s troubling that “during the entire course of time he was employed at Aetna, he never once looked at patients’ medical records himself.”
    “It’s hard to imagine that in that entire course in time, there weren’t any cases in which a decision about the denial of coverage ought to have been made by someone trained as a physician, as opposed to some other licensed professional,” Jones told CNN.
    “That’s why we’ve contacted Aetna and asked that they provide us information about how they are making these claims decisions and why we’ve opened this investigation.”
    The insurance commissioner said Californians who believe they may have been adversely affected by Aetna’s decisions should contact his office.
    Members of the medical community expressed similar shock, saying Iinuma’s deposition leads to questions about Aetna’s practices across the country.
    “Oh my God. Are you serious? That is incredible,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Irani when told of the medical director’s testimony. Irani is a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and a former member of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology’s board of directors.
    “This is potentially a huge, huge story and quite frankly may reshape how insurance functions,” said Dr. Andrew Murphy, who, like Irani, is a renowned fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He recently served on the academy’s board of directors.

    The Gillen Washington case

    The deposition by Aetna’s former medical director came as part of a lawsuit filed against Aetna by a college student who suffers from a rare immune disorder. The case is expected to go to trial later this week in California Superior Court.
    Gillen Washington, 23, is suing Aetna for breach of contract and bad faith, saying he was denied coverage for an infusion of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) when he was 19. His suit alleges Aetna’s “reckless withholding of benefits almost killed him.”
    Aetna has rejected the allegations, saying Washington failed to comply with their requests for blood work. Washington, who was diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency, or CVID, in high school, became a new Aetna patient in January 2014 after being insured by Kaiser.
    Aetna initially paid for his treatments after each infusion, which can cost up to $20,000. But when Washington’s clinic asked Aetna to pre-authorize a November 2014 infusion, Aetna says it was obligated to review his medical record. That’s when it saw his last blood work had been done three years earlier for Kaiser.
    Despite being told by his own doctor’s office that he needed to come in for new blood work, Washington failed to do so for several months until he got so sick he ended up in the hospital with a collapsed lung.
    Once his blood was tested, Aetna resumed covering his infusions and pre-certified him for a year. Despite that, according to Aetna, Washington continued to miss infusions.
    Washington’s suit counters that Aetna ignored his treating physician, who appealed on his behalf months before his hospitalization that the treatment was medically necessary “to prevent acute and long-term problems.”
    “Aetna is blaming me for what happened,” Washington told CNN. “I’ll just be honest, it’s infuriating to me. I want Aetna to be made to change.”
    During his videotaped deposition in October 2016, Iinuma — who signed the pre-authorization denial — said he never read Washington’s medical records and knew next to nothing about his disorder.
    Questioned about Washington’s condition, Iinuma said he wasn’t sure what the drug of choice would be for people who suffer from his condition.
    Iinuma further says he’s not sure what the symptoms are for the disorder or what might happen if treatment is suddenly stopped for a patient.
    “Do I know what happens?” the doctor said. “Again, I’m not sure. … I don’t treat it.”
    Iinuma said he never looked at a patient’s medical records while at Aetna. He says that was Aetna protocol and that he based his decision off “pertinent information” provided to him by a nurse.
    “Did you ever look at medical records?” Scott Glovsky, Washington’s attorney, asked Iinuma in the deposition.
    “No, I did not,” the doctor says, shaking his head.
    “So as part of your custom and practice in making decisions, you would rely on what the nurse had prepared for you?” Glovsky asks.
    “Correct.”
    Iinuma said nearly all of his work was conducted online. Once in a while, he said, he might place a phone call to the nurse for more details.
    How many times might he call a nurse over the course of a month?
    “Zero to one,” he said.
    Glovsky told CNN he had “never heard such explosive testimony in two decades of deposing insurance company review doctors.”

    Aetna’s response

    Aetna defended Iinuma, who is no longer with the company, saying in its legal brief that he relied on his “years of experience” as a trained physician in making his decision about Washington’s treatment and that he was following Aetna’s Clinical Policy Bulletin appropriately.
    “Dr. Iinuma’s decision was correct,” Aetna said in court papers. “Plaintiff has asserted throughout this litigation that Dr. Iinuma had no medical basis for his decision that 2011 lab tests were outdated and that Dr. Iinuma’s decision was incorrect. Plaintiff is wrong on both counts.”
    In its trial brief, Aetna said: “Given that Aetna does not directly provide medical care to its members, Aetna needs to obtain medical records from members and their doctors to evaluate whether services are ‘medically necessary.’ Aetna employs nurses to gather the medical records and coordinate with the offices of treating physicians, and Aetna employs doctors to make the actual coverage-related determinations.
    “In addition to applying their clinical judgment, the Aetna doctors and nurses use Aetna’s Clinical Policy Bulletins (‘CPBs’) to determine what medical records to request, and whether those records satisfy medical necessity criteria to support coverage. These CPBs reflect the current standard of care in the medical community. They are frequently updated, and are publicly available for any treating physician to review.”
    Jones, the California insurance commissioner, said he couldn’t comment specifically on Washington’s case, but what drew his interest was the medical director’s admission of not looking at patients’ medical records.
    “What I’m responding to is the portion of his deposition transcript in which he said as the medical director, he wasn’t actually reviewing medical records,” Jones told CNN.
    He said his investigation will review every individual denial of coverage or pre-authorization during the medical director’s tenure to determine “whether it was appropriate or not for that decision to be made by someone other than a physician.”
    If the probe determines that violations occurred, he said, California insurance code sets monetary penalties for each individual violation.
    CNN has made numerous phone calls to Iinuma’s office for comment but has not heard back. Heather Richardson, an attorney representing Aetna, declined to answer any questions.
    Asked about the California investigation, Aetna gave this written statement to CNN:
    “We have yet to hear from Commissioner Jones but look forward to explaining our clinical review process.
    “Aetna medical directors are trained to review all available medical information — including medical records — to make an informed decision. As part of our review process, medical directors are provided all submitted medical records, and also receive a case synopsis and review performed by a nurse.
    “Medical directors — and all of our clinicians — take their duties and responsibilities as medical professionals incredibly seriously. Similar to most other clinical environments, our medical directors work collaboratively with our nurses who are involved in these cases and factor in their input as part of the decision-making process.”

    ‘A huge admission’

    Dr. Arthur Caplan, founding director of the division of medical ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, described Iinuma’s testimony as “a huge admission of fundamental immorality.”
    “People desperate for care expect at least a fair review by the payer. This reeks of indifference to patients,” Caplan said, adding the testimony shows there “needs to be more transparency and accountability” from private, for-profit insurers in making these decisions.
    Murphy, the former American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology board member, said he was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” by the medical director’s admission.
    “This is something that all of us have long suspected, but to actually have an Aetna medical director admit he hasn’t even looked at medical records, that’s not good,” said Murphy, who runs an allergy and immunology practice west of Philadelphia.
    “If he has not looked at medical records or engaged the prescribing physician in a conversation — and decisions were made without that input — then yeah, you’d have to question every single case he reviewed.”
    Murphy said when he and other doctors seek a much-needed treatment for a patient, they expect the medical director of an insurance company to have considered every possible factor when deciding on the best option for care.

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

    “We run into the prior authorization issues when we are renewing therapy, when the patient’s insurance changes or when an insurance company changes requirements,” he said.
    “Dealing with these denials is very time consuming. A great deal of nursing time is spent filling and refilling out paperwork trying to get the patient treatment.
    “If that does not work, then physicians need to get involved and demand medical director involvement, which may or may not occur in a timely fashion — or sometimes not at all,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/11/health/aetna-california-investigation/index.html

    Florida Democrat removed from office, faces corruption charges following FBI sting

    A Florida mayor was removed from office Friday after her arrest on three felony charges.

    Joy Cooper, 57, mayor of Hallandale Beach, allegedly solicited illegal campaign contributions for herself and two political allies, the Sun Sentinel reported, citing court documents. 

    Gov. Rick Scott issued the executive order suspending Cooper from office in the city just north of Miami. The mayor was accused of accepting campaign contributions through former attorney Alan Koslow.

    Following an undercover FBI investigation, Cooper, who surrendered Thursday, has been charged with money laundering, official misconduct and exceeding campaign contribution limits, the report said.

    FLORIDA LIQUOR STORE WORKER ACCUSED OF TRYING TO STEAL WINNING LOTTERY TICKETS IN UNDERCOVER STING

    Court documents stated undercover agents gave Koslow $8,000 in cash in Aug. 2012. Cooper was also accused of soliciting funds for Anthony Sanders, the former commissioner of Hallandale Beach. He resigned from his position in Aug. 2017 following allegations of misconduct, the Sun Sentinel reported.

    She also has been charged with soliciting contributions in a government building, a first-degree misdemeanor with a one-year maximum sentence.

    The felonies carry maximum prison sentences of five years.

    Larry Davis, her attorney, said she plans to plead not guilty.

    Cooper, a Democrat, has been the city’s mayor since 2005 and previously served on the city commission beginning in 1999.

    “I can assure you that I will vigorously fight these allegations in court,” Cooper said in a prepared statement obtained by the Sun Sentinel.

    The news outlet reported Cooper emptied her office before turning herself into Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale Thursday. She was later released from the jail Thursday night.

    FLU OUTBREAK PROMPTS FLORIDA DISTRICT TO CLOSE SCHOOLS FRIDAY

    Eric Fordin, a developer, told the Sun Sentinel he was “shocked” by the allegations against Cooper.

    “(She) has always been so aboveboard. I recall her writing a check for $2.45 for a soda at the grand opening of one of our hotels because she could not accept a drink,” Fordin said.

    Fordin said he was never asked or pressured by the mayor or other Hallandale Beach politicians for contributions.

    Vice Mayor Keith London will take over Cooper’s duties while she is suspended.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/27/florida-democrat-removed-from-office-faces-corruption-charges-following-fbi-sting.html