Posts tagged with "NPR"

ADL lists the ‘OK’ hand gesture as a symbol of hate

September 30, 2019

It used to be an innocent gesture meaning “fine and dandy.” Now it refers to something much more sinister. In fact, the “OK” hand signal is among 36 new entries in the Anti-Defamation League’s “Hate on Display” database.

On September 26, NPR reports, the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, added the index finger-to-thumb sign to its hate list because, the organization says, in some corners of the Internet has become associated with white supremacy and the far right.

Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, told NPR in an interview that, for years—on fringe online message boards such as 4chan and 8chanthe “OK” sign has been deployed in memes and other images promoting hate. Given the number of white supremacists who have adopted it, he said it can now carry a nefarious message.

“Context is always key,” Segal said. “More people than not will use the OK symbol as just ‘OK.’ But in those cases where there’s more underlining meaning, I think it’s important for people to understand that it could be

According to the website Know Your Meme, as a prank, 4chan users in 2017 launched a campaign to flood social media with posts linking the “OK” hand gesture to the white power movement. Commenters on the message board appropriated images of people posing in the White House and other locations making the hand symbol as proof that it was catching on.

Segal told NPR that, today, while many of those images were misconstrued by users on the online message boards, the number of people espousing hate while using the gesture has grown so widespread that it can no longer be considered a prank.

The ADL established its “Hate on Display” database in 2000 as a way to help track hate groups and their symbols for law enforcement, educator,s and other members of the public. Since then, the database has grown to include 214 entries.

One of the more prominent additions to the database, back in September 2016, was Pepe the Frog, the big-eyed green cartoon that became a kind of mascot of the alt-right.

Other symbols among the 36 added on Thursday include “Dylann Roof’s Bowlcut,” a reference to the haircut worn by the white supremacist gunman who killed nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

Followers of Roof have incorporated the distinctive haircut into screen names such as “Bowltrash” or “The Final Bowlution” or collectively have referred to themselves as the “Bowl Gang,” according to the ADL.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, said in a statement that old symbols, gestures and other images are rapidly acquiring new, hateful associations that may be too obscure for the general public to understand.

“We believe law enforcement and the public needs to be fully informed about the meaning of these images, which can serve as a first warning sign to the presence of haters in a community or school,” he said, according to NPR.

Research contact: @NPR

A small Texas town is home to one of the last baseball glove factories in America

March 22, 2019

At a factory located about 100 miles outside of Dallas, employees literally are working “hand in glove” to produce the high-quality leather accessories used on baseball and softball diamonds nationwide.

Since 1934, in the small town of Nocona, Texas (population: 3,000), premium ball gloves have been handcrafted by skilled American workers. Each of the gloves made at the Nokona American Ballgloves manufacturing site is individually cut, stamped, stitched, laced, and embroidered by the company’s 75 employees—giving the mitt its own unique identity and feel.

And the company, itself, is nearly one of a kind—representing one of the last baseball glove factories in the United States, according to a recent NPR report.

“We literally bring leather in through one door and magically, ball gloves come out the door at the very end,” Rob Storey, Nokona’s executive vice president, told the public radio station.

And Storey should know: He grew up in the business. To survive the Depression, his grandfather, Bob Storey, added baseball gloves to his line of leather goods in 1934. Since then, just about every U.S. competitor has moved production overseas.

[In] a lot of [the overseas] factories, people have never even seen a baseball game or know what it is. Sure, it would be easy to go over there and do something. But that’s not who we are.” he said in an interview.

Who they are is an all-American company dedicated to the nation’s favorite pastime—even if Nokona not a household name like Rawlings or Wilson.

And in the youth market, they are big. “I grew up using a Nokona glove,” recalls Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Robby Scott. “My first glove that I ever really remember was a first baseman’s mitt that was a Nokona.”

Indeed, he told NPR, “I will never wear a different glove.It’s a special bond I have with them. They could have 200 players wearing their gloves. But, to me, it seems special because they make it seem like I’m the only one.”

And, says Storey, Nokona is the only maker he knows of that will refurbish its old, tattered mitts. He says that doesn’t happen with gloves made overseas.

Research contact: @bzeeble

Minority patients are 40% less likely than whites to get pain meds from EMTs

January 22, 2019

There is nothing “borderline” about administering lower-quality medical care to black patients than to white patients: It is clear-cut discrimination.

Yet, a recent study out of Oregon suggests that emergency medical responders—EMTs and paramedics—are 40% less likely to administer pain medications to minority patients than to white patients, Men’s Health magazine reports.

Outright discrimination by paramedics is rare, the researchers say—and is out-and-out illegal. In many of these cases, they believe, unconscious bias may be at work.

Jamie Kennel, head of Emergency Medical Services programs at Oregon Health and Science University and the Oregon Institute of Technology, led the research, which was presented in December at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Scientific Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

The researchers received a grant to produce the internal report for the Oregon Emergency Medical Services department and the Oregon Office of Rural Health.

The study looked at 104,000 medical charts of ambulance patients from 2015 to 2017. It found that minority patients were less likely to receive morphine and other pain medication compared with white patients—regardless of socioeconomic factors, such as health insurance status.

To illustrate the problem, the report tells the story of Leslie Gregory—now the founder and director of right2health.org—who was, just a few years ago, one of a very few black female emergency medical technicians working in Lenawee County, Michigan. She said the study’s findings ring true based on her experience.

She remembers one particular call that illustrates the problem: The patient was down and in pain. As the EMTs arrived at the scene, Gregory could see the patient was black. And that’s when one of her colleagues groaned.

“I think it was something like: ‘Oh, my God. Here we go again,’” Gregory said. She worried —then, as now—that because the patient was black, her colleague assumed he was acting out to get pain medication.

“I am absolutely sure this was unconscious,” added Gregory, who now lives and works in Portland, Oregon, where she founded her nonprofit organization. “At the time, I remember, it increased my stress as we rode up on this person. Because I thought, ‘Now am I going to have to fight my colleague for more pain medication, should that arise?’”

Gregory says that she created Right to Health, “out of frustration that our nation had made so little progress in addressing the hate and ignorance related to ethnic disparities and America’s problems with its history and founding principles of inequity.”

Indeed, research has found African-Americans more likely to be deeply distrustful of the medical community, perhaps with good reason. Such distrust is understandable and goes back generations, said Gregory.

“How can a person of color not disrespect a system that is constantly studying and talking about these disparities, but does nothing to fix it?” she asked.

Gregory wrote an open letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015, asking the agency to declare racism a threat to public health.

Past declarations of crisis—such as those focusing attention on problems such as smoking or HIV—have had significant results, Gregory noted.

But the CDC told Gregory, in its emailed response, that while it supports government policies to combat racial discrimination and acknowledges the role of racism in health disparities, “racism and racial discrimination in health is a societal issue as well as a public health one, and one that requires a broad-based societal strategy to effectively dismantle racism and its negative impacts in the United States.”

And study author Kennel believes that, along with this non-answer, the issue may continue to build because ambulance companies are reluctant to release data on patient care.

“We were prepared to maybe not look that great,” said Robert McDonald, the operations manager at American Medical Response in Portland, Oregon. AMR is one of the nation’s largest ambulance organizations, and it shared its data from more than 100,000 charts with Kennel.

Some people chalk up the disparities that Kennel found to differences in demography and health insurance status, but he notes that the study controlled for those variables.

So now that AMR knows about disparities in its care, what can the company do?

“My feeling is we’re probably going to put some education and training out to our folks in the field,” McDonald said.

In addition, he said, AMR is going to hire more people of color.

This story was produced as part of a partnership that includes Oregon Public BroadcastingNPR and Kaiser Health News. 

Research contact: @OHSUNews

‘Sensational’ study: Coffee’s bitter taste gives drinkers a ‘buzz’

November 19, 2018

While the aroma of coffee is enticing and pleasurable, most people find the taste to be bitter. However, a study published in Scientific Reports this month—and covered in a report by NPR—has found that, the more sensitive you are to the bitter taste of coffee, the more of it you tend to drink.

A team of researchers from the Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States conducted the investigation using data stored in the UK Biobank, a major global health resource established over a decade ago by the Wellcome Trust medical charity, Medical Research Council, Department of Health, and the Scottish Government—and supported by the National Health Service..

More than 500,000 residents of England , Scotland, and Wales between the ages of 37 and 73 contributed blood, urine, and saliva samples to the Biobank between 2006 and 2010—and agreed to have their health status tracked, in order to determine which diseases and health conditions they would develop during the remainder of their lives.

The same volunteers also filled out questionnaires asking a variety of health-related questions—including how much coffee, tea, and alcohol they drank on a daily basis.

Since most of us inherit our taste preferences from our parents, the researchers used genetic analysis of samples from the Biobank to find people who were more or less sensitive to three bitter substances: caffeine, quinine (think tonic water) and a chemical called propylthiouracil that is frequently used in genetic tests of people’s ability to taste bitter compounds.

The objective was to determine whether people sensitive to one or more of these three substances drank more or less coffee than other drinkers. Surprising, NPR reports, people who exhibited greater sensitivity to caffeine reported higher coffee consumption, compared with people who did not strongly perceive the bitter taste. Strangely enough, the researchers said, “opposite relationships were observed for tea consumption.”

Conversely, those who were sensitive to quinine and propylthiouracil—neither of which is in coffee—tended to drink less coffee on a daily basis. For alcohol, a higher perceived intensity of propylthiouracil (bitterness) was associated with lower overall consumption.

How to explain these results? NPR reports that Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and one of the study authors, says people may “learn to associate that bitter taste with the stimulation that coffee can provide.” In other words, they get hooked on the buzz.

And it turns out those who drink two or three cups a day just might live longer, too.

Research contact: @joesbigidea

Festival brings together both Bigfoot believers and freethinkers

September 11, 2018

Thousands of Bigfoot believers and skeptics thronged the first-ever Carolina Bigfoot Festival in Marion, North Carolina on September 8—but the Sasquatch himself did not make an appearance, according to a September 9  report by NPR.

The tall, shaggy ape-like being, who walks upright and leaves large footprints, has been sighted most frequently by Americans in the Pacific Northwest—however, enthusiasts nationwide says they have spotted him (or her) briefly in their local backwoods areas.

Indeed, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organizations reports recent sightings—including a daytime road crossing on MN-73 near the town of Cook in St. Louis County, Missouri this past April.

McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Director Steve Bush told NPR that he is ambivalent when it comes to Bigfoot. “I’m going to say that until I see him — I want to believe, but until I physically see him — I’m going to say no at this point,” says Bush.

However, his disbelief has not affected his delight with the festival.  The down-at-the-heels small town needed an influx of visitors—and the event provided one. “We’re getting a lot of life back into these old buildings, and that’s what’s exciting about Marion,” Bush says. “So, if you really want to see a little bit of the old mixed with the new, then Marion, North Carolina is the place you want to be.”

At first glance, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a an eccentric yet engaging meeting of the mammoth-chasing minds:  There are Bigfoot T-shirt booths, yard signs — but then there’s the Bigfoot Juice stand run by Allie Webb. She claims the earthy, woodsy-smelling concoction is both an insect repellant and a Bigfoot attractant.

“I believe that the Bigfoot juice does work,” Webb told the news outlet. “We say that it’s good for up to a mile and a half away. Just because you don’t see Bigfoot doesn’t mean that he didn’t see you and decide to turn around and run.”

Webb’s also is quick to point out that she has a witness. Festival organizer John Bruner has led the Bigfoot 911 explorer team for years in North carolina. He says they used the juice about a year ago and finally hit pay dirt.

“We were doing an expedition and I had one cross the forest service road about 30 yards from where I was at, and I got a really good look at it,” Bruner says. “I’ve been hunting Bigfoot for 40 years and doing research — and it was just totally exhilarating for me. … I finally got to see one after all I’ve went through and all the time I’ve spent in the woods.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many other researchers here at the festival, like Lee Woods, who told reporters, “The female we saw probably right between 11:30 and 11:45 at night. And we saw her with some night vision. And that was the first one I’d ever seen.”. Years later, he claims to have seen a male Sasquatch, some nine feet tall.

“And once you see it, it’s ingrained in your brain. Trust me [laughs]. Yeah, you don’t forget it. The reason I say that is the guy who actually saw it with me — his name is Sam, and he’s ex-Marine — and he said he’d never been so scared in his whole life when he seen it. And he’s never came back. Yeah, that’s how scared he was.”

Woods stands behind a booth alongside other experts, answering – questions, displaying Bigfoot photos, casts and even field recordings of strange sounds in the woods.

For many here at the festival, the Bigfoot calling competition will be the high point, for seasoned hobbyists like Woods and for Sasquatch newbies like Irys Frankon. She and her family drove from Clarkesville, Georgia to attend the event.At the Bigfoot calling competition, Frankon, along with dozens of others steps up to the microphone in front of City Hall one at a time. They belt out their best cry of the Sasquatch with hopes of luring a Bigfoot out of the forest and onto Main Street.

Eventually Bigfoot calling champions were announced and the daylong festival wrapped up for the year, with plans for another in 2019. There were no Bigfoot sightings, but stories were shared, thousands and thousands showed up for the occasion, and more than one Sasquatch skeptic was converted.

Research contact: @ChamberMcdowell

Trump 2020 reelection rally flags to be made in China

July 6, 2018

Just about a week ago, President Donald Trump reamed out iconic motorcycle producer Harley-Davidson for its plans to move some production overseas as a way to avoid the White House’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum—which threatened to cost the company  as much as $2,200 per bike. Now, we hear that, the American flags that will be used daily by Trump’s 2020 reelection team at his rallies are being manufactured in China’s Zhejiang Province at a rate of about 100,000 per day.

U.S. domestic manufacturing is a key part of Trump’s agenda. The president made a campaign promise to bring back American jobs by ensuring that products would continue to be made in the U.S.A. However, now the POTUS is threatening to impose heavy import taxes on anyone who manufactures abroad—including Harley-Davidson— while promising to cut regulations and taxes for those who keep their plants in America.

Li Jiang, the owner of a substantial flag business in Zhejiang, told NPR on July 3 that his relationship with the Trump team started during the 2016 campaign. More recently, got the Trump reelection team contract. “”We also make flags for Trump for 2020,” Li Jiang told NPR’s “The Indicator” podcast. “It seems like he has another campaign going on in 2020. Isn’t that right?”

NPR said Li was making the hand-held “blue-and-white Trump 2020 flags,” that will be waved at the presidents rallies though his factory; and that many others in the Zhejiang Province also made flags for Trump and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton during 2016. According to NPR, the Trump campaign was ordering so many more flags than Clinton’s side that locals joked they were the first to know the businessman would become president.

The committee organizing Trump’s 2020 campaign, Donald J. Trump for President Inc., last year stated a commitment to “buy American” and said it had “produced and manufactured all of our merchandise right here in America” down to the American-made stitching on its “Make America Great Again” hats.

The committee said, “We put America first and take great pride in selling 100% Made in the USA products to our supporters throughout the country.”

The committee’s executive director, Michael Glassner, said in a statement released in July 2017 that the committee would sell American products “all the way through 2020 and beyond.”

It is unclear whether the organization is the one to have ordered the flags revealed to NPR and, if it did, whether it planned to give the flags away at rallies and events rather than sell them.

As for a potential trade war  between China and the United States affecting sales, Li, who said he used to make about a dime off each $1 flag he sold, told NPR he was unconcerned.

“We are not so worried because first of all, we have a big price advantage over our competitors,” he said. “And our clients are very smart. They would always go to the cheapest place. If China is cheap, they go to China. If America is cheap, they go to America.”

Business Insider, which followed up the story by NPR, contacted the Trump 2020 campaign to confirm whether it had contracted flags to be made in China. The campaign has not responded yet.

According to findings of a recent CBS News/YouGov poll, nearly two out of three Americans think the nation’s economy is in good shape, and most of them believe President’s Trump’s policies are at least somewhat responsible for that. More Republicans rate the economy positively than do Democrats.

Research contact: jack.weber@yougov.com

Pushing impeachment could backfire on Democrats in November

April 23, 2018

Fighting to impeach President Donald Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections, based on findings of an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist Poll released on April 18.

In interviews with 1,011 U.S. adults earlier this month, the researchers discovered that 47% of registered voters would definitely vote against a candidate who wanted to remove Trump from office, while 42% would definitely vote for a candidate who would make such a promise.

Indeed, impeachment is a nonstarter for 84% of GOP voters. As Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, states, “The threat of impeachment provides Republicans [with] their best point of attack looking toward the midterm elections, and I think we’re going to hear a lot more about it from their arsenal as they try to isolate the Robert Mueller investigation and de-legitimize it. If there’s a silver lining for Republicans in this data, it’s the impeachment question.”

It’s Democrats from more liberal districts who have been making noise about impeaching Trump, while members in more competitive swing districts—which Democrats will need to win to reach the 23 seats required to take back the House—have generally opposed such an idea.

Research contact: @JessicaTaylor

On anniversary of Women’s March, Americans will hit the streets this weekend

January 19, 2018

Americans and supporters worldwide will take to the streets this weekend to advance and expand the principles of human rights they advocated during the historic Women’s March of 2017.

Last year, the marches took place directly after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, far exceeding the crowds he drew for that ceremony, with an estimated half a million taking to the streets and the national mall in Washington, DC, alone.

Estimates range between 3 million and 5 million for the number of protesters who made their voices heard in 2017 in the United States—making it the largest single-day protest in American history.

Many Look Back, March Forward events—including those in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, will take place on Saturday, January 20.

According to the organizers, “Look Back, March Forward will be a celebration of the achievements of this global network held worldwide and a pledge to renewed and continued resistance [to the Trump agenda and human rights challenges] in 2018. We will pledge to commit not only to marching, but direct action and engagement so that we can bring forth real change.”

On Sunday, January 21, there will be a rally that is meant to launch a national tour, called Power to the Polls.With midterm elections approaching, progressives are hoping to organize voters for a Democratic takeover in Congress.

Participants at the Las Vegas rally will include Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia-5th District), and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.

While many wanted an “impeach Trump’ theme this year, “It was more important for us to create an event somewhere strategic to reflect the work that needed to be done in 2018. And Nevada is an example of a battleground state that went for Hillary Clinton and went blue in 2016 for the first time,” Bob Bland, co-founder of the original march told NPR. “There are a record number of women running for local office and then also for state and governorship and there are competitive Senate races. We want to uplift that local work on a national scale on January 21.”

What age group will be the most represented at these events? Young people seem to be leading the charge. Millennials ages 18 to 30 are more likely to have gone to a protest since the election than any other age group, according to results of a HuffPost/YouGov poll. Millennials are also more likely than older groups to think protesting is an effective form of political action.

Research contact: interactive-feedback@huffingtonpost.com

Most of us believe we could be target of discrimination

Hate doesn’t discriminate, most Americans say. In fact, majorities of many ethnic, identity and racial groups nationwide believe that discrimination exists against their own faction, across many areas of people’s daily lives, according to a poll released on October 24 by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Among those who were asked to respond to the recent survey, entitled, “You, me, and Them: Experiencing Discrimination in America,” were adults who identified as white, black, Latinos, Asian-American, Native American or LGBTQ. The researchers asked a wide range of questions about how and where subjects perceive discrimination—from the workplace to the doctor’s office.

The national statistically representative survey of 3,453 adults, conducted this year from January 26 through April 9.

Interestingly enough, 55% of white American respondents told pollsters that they believe they experience discrimination—higher than the 50% or more of black American respondents who say they have personally felt the effects of racial discrimination.

Specifically, among the 802 African-American respondents, 50% or more say they have experienced discrimination when interacting with police (50%), when applying to jobs (56%), and when it comes to being paid equally or considered for promotion (57%).

What’s more, a majority of African-Americans have personally experienced racial slurs (51%) and 40% say people have acted afraid of them because of their race. Nearly one-third (31%) say they have avoided calling the police, and 22% say they have avoided medical care, even when in need, both for fear of discrimination.

The perceptions of discrimination are not primarily based in actions by institutions, as some might expect. “Most African-Americans believe that discrimination is due to the attitudes of individuals that they interact with,” said Robert Blendon, the poll’s director and professor of policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School. “A smaller share believes it’s actually government or institutional policies.”

“If someone is avoiding seeking medical care out of fear of discrimination, they’re at risk of going undiagnosed for serious conditions,” commented Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We know that repeated stress from discrimination and racism can actually make some of those conditions more likely in the first place and shorten lives.”

Where people live can make a big difference, too. The researchers found that 64% of blacks live in non-majority-black areas. For these respondents, perceptions of local discrimination, opportunity, police, and government and community environment were generally better when compared with majority-black areas, sometimes by wide margins.

Research contact: help.npr.org