Posts tagged with "CBS News"

A ‘Green Book’ for the digital age

July 17, 2019

If you saw the 2018 movie, Green Book, you know that lodging was hard to come by in the 1960s, if your skin was the “wrong” color.

While the story has been fictionalized, the situation was true: The film is about a black concert pianist who took a driving tour of America’s South—and was forced to rely on The Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual guide prepared by Victor H. Green that listed safe places to stay nationwide during a time of racial segregation.

Unfortunately, that unspoken taboo still exists in many places today.

But now, CBS News reports, Evita Turquoise Robinson has created a “Green Book” for the digital age called the Nomadness Travel Tribe.

Robinson produced the new “travel lifestyle brand and community” from the recommendations of a 22,000-strong fellowship of black travelers—who share resources and experiences from around the globe in order to increase diversity in the travel industry.

“My focus from the beginning to end is always community. It started with a need for people—a need to be accepted,” she told CBS News. ”

“Nomadness was started eight years ago. We were really at the forefront of this entire movement and we are making a real dent in the travel industry,” she said, noting that the African-American community spends about $60 billion annually on travel.

Indeed, she describes Nomadness as “the ultimate resource” for people of color who want to feel safe abroad. It can be used, she says, “if you are going to Tulum, Mexico, and you want to know where to eat, where to stay, where as a person and traveler of color are you most comfortable and accepted.”

Put more simply, “We are a travel family, we look out for one another in a myriad of ways,” Robinson said.

Research contact: @nomadnesstribe

Dad creates entertaining board game bed sheets for hospitalized children

May 7, 2019

After visiting a friend’s sick child in the hospital, Kevin Gatlin, a father himself, had an innovative idea—to create a way for hospitalized kids to learn and have fun while they are confined to bed all day. Now, his company, Playtime Edventures of Monroe, North Carolina, is entertaining kids nationwide, regardless of their circumstances, with interactive bedding and slumber bags.

The idea to make game-themed bed sheets came from a visit to the hospital, but was sparked by a family tradition. “Because of space, my wife would use our son’s bed as a desk,” Gatlin, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina, told CBS News. “They would do homework, play games or just watch movies. But, it wasn’t until I visited [a child] hospitalized for a long period of time did I realize that there was very little stimulation for kids confined to their hospital beds and rooms.”

Gatlin’s mother is a retired teacher, and she suggested making the games on the bed sheets educational. Gatlin enlisted the help of three teachers, a child physiologist and a family doctor to create Playtime Therapy Bed Sheets, which “provide kids a place where they could play, learn, sleep and heal.” According to Gatlin, it took more than two years to design the sheets, which have over 50 interactive games printed on them.

Each part of the bedding supports different types of learning. The pillows feature images and sentences that encourage kids to create stories. The flat sheet features giant board games, positive affirmations and colorful shapes. The fitted sheet is covered in mazes, word finding puzzles, games like checkers and tic-tac-toe, four different languages, math, grammar and geography.

“I wanted the sheets to have so many things for kids to do that they would never get bored playing with them,” Gatlin said. For game pieces, kids can use ordinary objects like coins or paper, or printable cut-outs from the Playtime Edventures website.

Donating has always been an important part of the company — Gatlin’s first order of bedding was donated to the Charlotte (North Carolina) Salvation Army for Women and Children.

Now, people all over the country buy the bedding to donate to children’s hospitals and hospices, shelters, juvenile centers, orphanages, group homes and summer camps. Bed sheets even can be purchased at a reduced cost ($24.99) and directly donated to hospitals and shelters.

Gatlin said the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from both parents and hospital staff. “I’m truly happy my rbed sheets have provided a valuable service to those who deserve it,” he said. “The blessings in life come from giving not receiving.”

Gatlin still has a few more ideas on how his bed sheets can reach even more people. “I would love the opportunity to speak with the Red Cross and FEMA about providing our bed sheets during natural disasters,” he said. “Seeing families confined to shelters with nothing to do — I believe our bed sheets could provide some distraction during those hard times.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

2020 Democratic candidates comment on redaction and release of Mueller report

April 22, 2019

“To impeach or not to impeach: that is the question,” to paraphrase William Shakespeare—and on April 19, CBS News asked the top presidential hopefuls about their thoughts, following the release of the redacted Mueller report.

The following are their statements, tweets, and comments—sent from the campaign trail.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont): In a statement directly to CBS News, Sanders said, “It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation. While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election. We must also work to do everything we can to protect our future elections from the significant threat of foreign interference, and I call on President Trump and Republican leadership to stop obstructing the necessary work to protect our democracy.”

Senator Kamala Harris (California): On Twitter, Harris wrote, “Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation’s Attorney General. His press conference was a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda. Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.”

Former Representative Beto O’Rourke (Texas): At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, O’Rourke told reporters, “I think the Attorney General, the Department of Justice, must maintain a significant level of independence; if they are going to be able to uphold the law in a country that defines itself as a nation of laws and says that no person, including those in the highest positions of power, [is] above the law.”

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Indiana): On Twitter on April 18, Buttigieg wrote, “The Mueller report is a disturbing, if not completely surprising, collection of evidence that shows a president putting his own interests ahead of the country’s. Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts):  On Twitter, Warren posted, “Congress needs to see the full, unredacted report. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and the American people as soon as possible. Add your name if you agree, and together, we’ll fight to get to the bottom of this. https://my.elizabethwarren.com/page/s/ew-release-the-report?source=20190418tw

Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota): On Twitter, Klobuchar wrote, “Attorney General Barr has made it clear he is not impartial when it comes to this investigation. Now that we have the report, we should hear from Robert Mueller himself in public hearings. Our democracy demands it.”

Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey): On Twitter, Booker posted, “The Trump administration posted an unsearchable pdf of the Mueller report so it would be harder for you to read.We made it easier. Here’s a searchable version: https://www.scribd.com/document/406729844/Mueller-Report …

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York):  On Twitter, Gillibrand wrote, “We can’t trust Trump’s handpicked AG to be transparent about the Mueller report. Congress needs to see it in full—and the public needs to know whether Trump obstructed justice.Sign our petition calling on Barr to release the full report: https://action.kirstengillibrand.com/kg2020-mueller-report?code=kg2020-mueller-report-social&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fsecure.actblue.com%2Fcontribute%2Fpage%2Fkg2020-mueller-report%3Frefcode%3Dkg2020-mueller-report-social …

Senator Jay Inslee (Washington): On Twitter, Inslee wrote, “Congress must get to the bottom of this and have Mr. Mueller testify to complete this investigation. There is no other option. America deserves this. Donald Trump can’t run from this anymore.”

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Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii): On Twitter, Gabbard wrote, “#BarrCoverUp. The most dangerous coverup is that US voting machines are vulnerable to hackers. If we lose faith in election results, democracy crumbles. The Justice Dept should be focused on instituting paper ballot backups, per my Securing America’s Elections Act. #MuellerReport

Former Governor John Hickenlooper (Colorado): On Twitter, Hickenlooper wrote, “AG Barr should work to protect the interests of the people, not the President. It’s clear from this morning’s press conference where his allegiances lie. The American people deserve answers.”

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (Texas): On Twitter, Castro wrote, “Far from exonerating anyone, the Special Counsel report exposes disgraceful behavior by Donald Trump and his inner circle—both in seeking assistance from Russia & attempting to cover it up. Mueller should testify and Congress should investigate charges of obstruction of justice.”

Andrew Yang (New York): On Twitter, Yang wrote, “I am glad that the Mueller Report has been made public. It’s important to the American people. My focus is on beating Donald Trump at the ballot box and solving the problems that got him elected in the first place.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

Chick-fil-A denies that its charitable donations support an anti-LGBTQ agenda

March 25, 2019

Seven years after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy first publicly voiced support for “the biblical definition of the family unit”—and national gay rights groups vowed to boycott the fast food chain—the Georgia-based private company is again on the defensive against claims that it has a discriminatory agenda.

This time, according to a March 20 report by CBS News, critics are saying that Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay-rights position is being reflected in its charitable donations.

The company’s conservative Christian leanings are back in glaring view—with newly released tax filings first publicized by ThinkProgress. The left-leaning news site found that, in 2017, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave $1.8 million to three tax-exempt groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

The donations include payments of $1.6 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a ministry that spreads an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes; $150,000 to the Salvation Army, which has opposed LGBTQ rights; and $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian residential facility for troubled youth that teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

Chick-fil-A also listed the donations on its website, which noted that the company’s foundation as of June 2017 “no longer supports” the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

Chick-fil-A, which has previously denied that it discriminates against any group, reiterated that stand. “To suggest our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading,” the company stated in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.  

The private company’s conservative Christian leanings also drew attention last year when then-EPA head Scott Pruitt explained why he had looked into having his wife own a Chick-fil-A franchise. “I love, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith,” Pruitt told a reporter.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Walmart caves to pressure on jobs for disabled ‘people greeters’

March 4, 2019

Following more than a week of backlash from consumers and disability rights advocates, Walmart has pledged to make “every effort” to find other roles for handicapped workers slated to lose their jobs when the retailer eliminates the “people greeter” position at 1,000 stores in April, CBS News reports.

In late February, the discount stores began replacing greeters at its locations nationwide with what the company calls “customer hosts,” a Walmart spokesperson told the network news outlet. The newly created position requires employees to check receipts, help with product returns, and generally help with upkeep at the front of stores.

The disabled and the elderly—who number among other current employees in greeter positions—would struggle with the physical demands of the such job requirements, critics say.

Indeed, outraged customers and others in Walmart communities started online petitions, formed Facebook support groups; and called and emailed Walmart corporate to register their displeasure.

“This is a shameful day for the country’s largest corporate employer, and a slap in the face to thousands of veteran employees and others with physical disabilities who have given years of service to the corporation,” Kristi Branstetter, leader for OUR Walmart, Walmart associate. and member of worker advocacy group United4Respect, said in a statement.

OUR Walmart already has activated a network of 150,000 Walmart associates, according to a spokesperson for the group.

Walmart’s actions—fueled by an uncompromising quest to slash costs, no matter the consequence — seem to be discriminatory, plain and simple. We see you, Walmart, and we’re not having it,” Branstetter continued.

After the greeter positions disappear at designated stores in April, Walmart originally said that employees would have 60 days to explore other jobs at the company. Now, Walmart has assured employees with disabilities that they can consider their options “indefinitely.”

“This allows these associates to continue their employment at the store as valued members of the team while we seek an acceptable, customized solution for all of those involved,” Walmart said in a statement.

Among those who are scheduled lose their greeter jobs is Adam Catlin, whose plight caught national attention in February after his mother, Holly, posted on social media that he would be let go by the Silinsgrove, Pennsylvania, store come April. However,Catlin  was offered a new job March 1 by Walmart that he will be able to start once the change takes place, according to his mom’s latest Facebook posts.

When the greeter jobs are eliminated April 26, Catlin will be able to start a new job as a self-checkout customer host the following day. Catlin will be moving his seat 30 feet from his place at the door to the self-checkout line where he will encourage shoppers to use the service.

“We’re just very, very happy that they took another look at this and worked with us,” Holly Catlin said.

The 30-year-old Catlin has cerebral palsy and has worked at his Walmart store in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania for more than a decade, CBS News said. Catlin, who is legally blind and uses a walker, was previously offered jobs last week as a cashier or a photo lab assistant, neither of which he would have been able to do as he is legally blind, lacks the finger dexterity to count money, and can’t move around the photo lab in his walker.

Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. stores, said in a memo to store managers on February 28, “We are taking some specific steps to support” greeters with disabilities.” Walmart then released the memo publicly.

Acknowledging the change had “created some conversation,” Foran wrote: “Let me be clear: If any associate in this unique situation wants to continue working at Walmart, we should make every effort to make that happen.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

Both diet soda and sweetened fruit juice may increase stroke risk

February 19, 2019

Scientists are warning us that things don’t really go better with Diet Coke—or with your morning orange juice, for that matter.

New research finds that consuming diet sodas and artificially sweetened fruit juices may increase your risk for strokeespecially if you are a mature woman, CBS News reported on February 17.

In a study that tracked nearly 82,000 postmenopausal women, those who drank two or more diet drinks per day saw their overall stroke risk rise by 23%, compared with those who consumed diet drinks less than once a week.

Blocked arteries are often the main culprit, the network news outlet notes, with heavy diet drink consumption linked to a 31% greater risk for an ischemic stroke, which is triggered by a clot, the study findings showed.

Study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani—a nutrition scientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City—acknowledged in an interview with CBS News that an “association does not imply causation.” But she stressed that the findings held up even after taking into account the nutritional value of each participant’s overall diet.

So, “we can’t assume these diet drinks are harmless, particularly when consumed at high levels,” Mossavar-Rahmani said.

“The take-home message is that these findings give us pause,” she added. “We need to do more research on why we are seeing these associations. What are the scientific mechanisms? Is there something about the artificial sweeteners, for example, that affects the bacteria in the gut and lead to health issues?”

Indeed, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently underscored the lack of sufficient research into the cardiovascular impact of diet sodas, CBS News points out. Until more work is done, the AHA says the jury remains out on whether artificially sweetened beverages do or do not hasten heart disease.

Women in the latest study were between 50 and 79 when they first enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative trial between 1993 and 1998.

Investigators tracked the general health of all the participants for an average of nearly 12 years. During that time—at the three-year mark—all the women were asked to indicate how frequently they consumed diet sodas and diet fruit drinks over a three-month period.

The researchers did not take note of which brands of artificially sweetened drinks the women drank, and so did not know which artificial sweeteners were being consumed, CBS News reports.

That said, nearly two-thirds of the women consumed diet sodas or drinks very infrequently, meaning less than once a week or never. Only about 5% were found to be “heavy” consumers of artificially sweetened drinks.

After taking into consideration a variety of stroke risk factors — including blood pressure status, smoking history and age — the study team concluded that heavy consumption of diet drinks did appear to be tied to cardiovascular risks in a number of ways.

For example, those women who drank two or more diet beverages a day saw their overall risk for developing heart disease increase by 29%. They also were 16% more likely to die prematurely from any cause.

Certain groups fared even worse: Among obese women and black women with no history of heart disease or diabetes, a diet drink habit pushed clot-driven stroke risk up by roughly twofold and fourfold, respectively, the researchers reported.

Whether or not the findings would apply to either men or younger women remains unclear, the study authors noted.

The findings were published online February 14 in the journal, Stroke.

A group representing the artificial sweetener industry offered the following response, CBS News noted:  “The contribution of reverse causality, meaning that individuals already at a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular events chose low-calorie sweetened beverages, is very likely the cause of the associations presented by these researchers.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

Cash on delivery: The selling of our mailboxes

December 13, 2018

The government is looking to “sell” Americans’ last bastion of privacy—our mailboxes—posthaste.

Specifically, in seeking ways to boost revenue for the U.S. Postal Service‘s money-losing operations–the Trump Administration is suggesting selling access to mailboxes, according to a December 11 report by CBS News.

“The legal mailbox monopoly remains highly valuable,” said a government report issued last week. “As a means of generating more income, the mailbox monopoly could be monetized.

While the report didn’t detail how much the USPS could earn from franchising mailboxes, it suggests that the USPS could charge third-party delivery services such as UPS or FedEx to gain access to consumer mailboxes, the network news outlet said. It’s currently illegal for other delivery services to drop packages or letters in a mailbox–a restriction that even applies to neighbors stuffing flyers for a local event.

The recommendation—a product of a task force created by President Donald Trump and chaired by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin—is just one of the ideas that the group made to tweak the USPS business model. According to the report, as of the end of FY 2018, the USPS balance sheet “reflects $89 billion in liabilities against $27 billion in assets—a net deficiency of $69 billion between FY 2007 and FY 2018.”

Other proposals from the group included cutting costs and boosting prices for “nonessential services,” including delivery of commercial mail, such as advertising flyers, CBS News reported.

“As [mail service providers] and package delivery companies continue to expand offerings to multiple parts of the value chain, it is reasonable to expect a willingness to pay for access to USPS mailboxes,” the report noted. “By franchising the mailbox, the USPS could expand its revenue and income opportunities without necessitating any change to its current mail products.”

But the economics might not be as rosy as the Trump administration report suggests, Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank that focuses on productivity and innovation issues, told CBS News.

“Nobody knows what the economics of that are,” Atkinson said in an interview with the network news operation. “Right now, say what you want about the Postal Service, but the part that is perhaps the most efficient is the last-mile delivery,” or the delivery from postal offices to consumers’ homes.

Instead, it could actually backfire and end up costing the USPS more money, Atkinson warned: “One of the reasons the USPS is not even more financially troubled is because they have this monopoly for delivery” to your mailbox, he explained.

If the USPS sells access to consumers’ mailboxes, even more businesses may opt for rival services such as FedEx or UPS. It’s not clear whether the franchise fees would offset the loss of that mail revenue, he added.

“I’m dubious that they could charge a price that could be any better than they already make, because then they’d be delivering fewer of those letters or packages,” Atkinson said.

While the report didn’t single out Amazon, the online retailer , President Trump repeatedly has blamed the company for some of the USPS’ financial woes. The president has claimed the USPS loses $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon.

There’s little evidence to back up his claims, however, as the package delivery remains one of the few lines of business that’s growing for the USPS, CBS reports.

Research contact: @aimeepicchi

Memories of things trashed: Yellowstone geyser spews litter from the 1930s

October 23, 2018

When Yellowstone‘s Ear Spring started erupting on September 15 on the national park’s Geyser Hill, it was a natural wonder that hadn’t been seen in more than half a century—and what it ejected proved that point, according to a report by CBS News.

After the hot spring, dormant since 1957, belched steaming, hot water, rocks, and dirt up to 30 feet in the air, park officials found piles of man-made debris, including a cinder block, aluminum cans, plastic cups, a rubber heel insert, old metal signs, a plastic straw, dozens of coins; and even a vintage baby’s pacifier, dating back to the 1930s.

The trash now is being catalogued and could become part of Yellowstone’s archives, as a reminder to millions of visitors not to use the park as a dumping ground.

“You might think that if you toss something in a hot spring or in a geyser that it disappears, but it doesn’t disappear. It stays in that and what normally happens is you can actually plug up a feature and kill the feature. And that’s happened in many places in the park,” Rebecca Roland, a Yellowstone National Park supervisory park ranger, told the network news outlet.

It’s been quite a few months of activity in Yellowstone National Park where Steamboat Geyser–the world’s highest eruption, shooting up 300 feet–is approaching a record number of vents this year.

Established in 1872, Yellowstone, which spans almost 3,500 square miles, was the first national park in the world. The preserved wilderness area is known for its many forms of wildlife, dramatic canyons, rushing rivers, and lush forests; as well as the world’s largest number of hot springs and geysers.

Research contact:  https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.roland.566

Your ‘wildest’ dreams could offer an early clue to Parkinson’s disease

October 2, 2018

In July, 82-year-old actor Alan Alda revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease—a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement—and in an interview with CBS This Morning, he revealed that an unusual dream helped lead him to his diagnosis. 

Alda, best-known for his portrayal of Army Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H (1972-1983), said he asked his doctor to test him for the disease after reading an article about how physically acting out your dreams can be one of the earliest precursors of the neurological disorder.

“I asked for a scan because I thought I might have it,” Alda said. “I read an article by Jane Brody in The New York Times that indicated that if you have — if you act out your dreams, there’s a good chance that might be a very early symptom, where nothing else shows,” Alda told CBS News.He recognized that what the story described had happened to him.

“By acting out your dreams, I mean I was having a dream where someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them, and what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” Alda explained.

At that point, he had no other sign of illness. “The doctor said, ‘Why do you want a scan? You don’t have any symptoms,'” Alda recalled. “And I said, I want to know if there’s anything I can do—I want to do it.”

About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. An estimated 7 million to 10 million people worldwide—and about 1 million in the United States—are living with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas..

Catching the disease in its early stages can be beneficial for a number of reasons, Dr. Claire Henchcliffe, director of the Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian told the network news outlet.

“There are modifiable lifestyle factors that could make a difference, for example exercising and diet. While these are not proven to delay onset of Parkinson’s there is considerable optimism about their role,” she told CBS News. “Making the diagnosis also means that if a person wants to get involved in clinical studies then they can make a real contribution to developing better understanding of and treatments for Parkinson’s.”

Henchcliffe notes that it’s been well documented that sleep disturbances, including having problems falling asleep or staying asleep, and restless legs syndrome, are common in people with Parkinson’s. Over the years there’s been some debate over whether sleep trouble is a complication of Parkinson’s or a precursor of the disease — an early warning sign that surfaces well  before other symptoms set it.

“What’s really turned out to be a critical link is the recognition that certain specific sleep disorders [such as REM sleep behavior disorder, or RBD], not only affect people with Parkinson’s but in fact show up in some cases many years earlier than the movement symptoms that lead to diagnosis,” Henchcliffe said. “So while for some types of sleep disturbances we might still debate whether they are precursors or complications, for RBD there is now extremely strong evidence that it can be a harbinger of Parkinson’s disease that will manifest some years down the line.”

Carlos L. Rodriguez, MD, a sleep medicine doctor at Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, told CBS News that he saw a patient with RBD several years ago who was dreaming that he was playing high school football again in the defensive end position. “He had a clear avenue of attack straight to the quarterback and was rushing aggressively to tackle him when he awoke to find that his head had rammed through the drywall of his room,” Rodriguez told CBS News.

Rodriguez explains that RBD is usually caused by neurodegeneration within the brainstem, which disables the mechanisms responsible for immobilizing muscles during REM sleep—the cycle of of sleep in which we dream. This is what enables someone to literally act out what’s happening in their dreams.

The sleep disorder has been connected to other neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple system atrophy, and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body disease. In one small study of 26 patients with RBD, fully 80% went on to develop Parkinson’s or another one of these diseases.

Henchcliffe emphasizes that not everyone with RBD is destined to develop Parkinson’s.

“But I do think that acting out dreams in RBD warrants a visit to a doctor to figure out what the cause may be,” she said. ”

Alda told CBS This Morning that one of the reasons he decided to speak out about his medical condition was to send a message of hope to others who might be facing the disease. The actor is still extremely active, taking boxing lessons three times a week, and he recently launched a podcast called Clear+Vivid that explores all the ways people communicate with each other.

“In the very beginning, to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you — it hasn’t happened to you. You still have things you can do,” he said.

Research contact: @Ashley_LizWelch

Democrats are feeling it for the ‘Big O,’ as he endorses 81 midterm candidates

August 3, 2018

He’s back—and Democrats couldn’t be any more blissful: Former President Barack Obama has returned to the political stage, endorsing 81 of his party’s candidates for the crucial midterm elections.

According to an August 1 report by CBS News, the list includes 20 individuals who served in the Obama administration and are heeding words of advice the former president shared in his 2016 farewell address to the nation, when he encouraged Americans to “grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”

The list of alums includes Richard Cordray, the former head of the now all-but-defunct Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who is running for governor of Ohio; Colin Allred, a former Justice Department official now running for Congress in a Dallas-area swing seat; Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official now running an upstart campaign to defeat Representative Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th District; and Buffy Wicks, a former 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign aide seeking a California Assembly seat.

Overall, Obama has endorsed candidates running for offices ranging from governor to secretary of state and state auditor, CBS says.. The list also includes Gavin Newsom, the Democratic candidate for California governor; Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, who is seeking to make history as the first black woman elected governor in any state; Colorado gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis; and J.B. Pritzker, a longtime donor and Obama family friend who is running for Illinois governor.

Obama called his choices “a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent.”

“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” Obama added. “But first, they need our votes – and I’m eager to make the case for why Democratic candidates deserve our votes this fall.”

The former president’s office did not immediately announce plans to campaign with the candidates he endorsed, but he vowed to do so in his statement. He has previously endorsed Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California); and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), one of the earliest supporters of his 2008 presidential bid who faces a difficult reelection fight.

Of the 81 candidates, 48 are women, 22 are minorities, and three are openly gay or transgender. For a full list, see the CBS News site.

Research contact: @edokeefe