Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year, on creating “equitable culture” in classrooms

CBS This Morning” yesterday revealed the 2019 National Teacher of the Year: Rodney Robinson.

Robinson teaches social studies and history at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. His lessons focus on helping his students become socially conscious citizens who make the most out of their second chance. Robinson stressed his students are just like any other teenagers.

“There’s no difference,” Robinson said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “They like cheesy, teenage stuff like ‘Teen Wolf’ and ‘Hanna,’ their favorite shows. But they just made mistakes and they’re paying for mistakes.”

“But America is a country of second chances and in order for them to achieve and get that second chance, they deserve a quality education like everybody else,” he said.

Robinson said he was always taught to “pay it forward and bring it down to the next generation.” He held lessons from his mother, who had five children and ran an in-home daycare, close to his heart.

“She always taught us that every child deserves the proper amount of love to get where he or she needs, and that was my first lesson in equity,” he said. “And so I try to treat my students with whatever they need to be successful. Some need more, some need less. But I’m going to be there to give you what you need.”

“When you create equitable culture in your classroom, the kids buy into it. And they understand that,” he added. “As a matter of fact, my kids often help those that need more to ease my burden.”

Virgie Binford Education Center principal Ta’Neshia Ford recruited Robinson to join her team. “He is so much more than just a teacher. He is a pillar of our community,” Ford said. “He is the father … the big brother … the friend. He’s all of that and more to our students.”

Robinson’s students have been accused of crimes from light offenses like skipping school to serious charges like murder. To encourage them, he covered the school with college banners and motivational quotes from the kids’ heroes.

But Robinson has become something of a hero himself. READ MORE

Lawyer demands Boy Scouts open up the ‘perversion files’

ST. PAUL, MN–The Boy Scouts of America has locked away in its “perversion files” the names of 7,819 scout leaders who allegedly preyed on boys, a lawyer who is representing the sexual abuse victims claimed Tuesday.

The files, which go back to 1944, also include the names of 12,254 victims, said the lawyer, Jeff Anderson.

“Those are numbers that were not known before today or ever revealed by the Boy Scouts of America,” Anderson told NBC News. “The scope of what was contained in the perversion files has dramatically expanded beyond what was known.”

Anderson said the figures came from Dr. Janet Warren, a professor at the University of Virginia’s medical school, who for five years had worked on a contract basis with the Scouts to evaluate how they handled sexual abuse within the organization from 1944 to 2016. She had access to review the files as part of her work. Warren revealed the figures in January while testifying in an unrelated child sex abuse case that took place at a Minnesota children’s theater company, he said.

But while the Scouts have acknowledged keeping the files, they have so far resisted demands to release all of the names, Anderson said.

“They may have removed them from scouting, but the Boy Scouts of America have never alerted communities that this scout leader, this coach, this teacher is known to be a child molester,” Anderson said. “That is the real alarming fact that needs to be mentioned today. It’s systematic and across the country.”

NBC News reached out to Warren for comment, but there was no immediate response.

In a statement, the Scouts apologized “to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.”

“At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegations to law enforcement,” the statement said.

The Scouts said that all instances of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement, that “all of the names on the ‘Anderson List’ are publicly available” and that “all of these individuals were removed from Scouting and reported to law enforcement.”

The Scouts said that “decades ago” they had “adopted some of the strongest barriers to abuse” and that the safety and protection of the children were its “top priority.”

Slammed by numerous lawsuits and facing mounting legal costs, the venerable nonprofit organization, which has been around for over a century, warned in December that it was considering filing for Chapter 11 protection.

“We have a social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and we also have an obligation to carry out our mission to serve youth, families and local communities through our programs,” the chief scout executive, Michael Surbaugh, said in the statement at the time.

Anderson also said his law firm, using publicly available documents, including legal settlements and news accounts, had been able to compile a list of 130 former scout leaders in New York and 50 more in New Jersey who were removed from the organization and whose names appeared in the available “ineligible volunteer files” maintained by the Scouts.

Anderson released those names Tuesday at two news conferences.

BC News and other news outlets first reported the existence of the “perversion files” in 2012, when the Scouts released 1,247 cases of known or suspected child abusers in response to a lawsuit by two Portland, Oregon, lawyers.

Those files detailed cases from 49 states from 1965 to 1985. And they revealed the hardball tactics that attorneys for the Scouts used to defend the organization, as well as the legal hurdles that scout sex abuse victims, like clergy sex abuse victims — faced when they tried to sue for damages.

Later, The Los Angeles Times released a database that tracked 1,900 cases of suspected scout sexual abusers spanning 1947 to 2005.

Anderson said he was convinced that there even more cases are in the files “that are being held and hoarded at the Boy Scouts of America headquarters.” He said he intended to sue the Scouts on behalf of the victims to open up those files.

“I don’t know how many of those people were ever charged with crimes,” he said. “I don’t know how many of them are still alive.”

Anderson is best known for publicly releasing lists of Roman Catholic priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Last month, he released a 185-page report that listed the names of hundreds of accused priests in Illinois, along with six nuns and a handful of lay people.

Anderson said his team used the same methods to pull together the list of priests that he used to compile the list of scoutmasters in New York and New Jersey.

His list includes two scout leaders who were accused of running what, according to a Nov. 15, 1983, article in The Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark, New Jersey, was alleged in court documents to be a “cult” involving at least 35 teenagers. (Source: NBC News)


WNBA and CBS Sports Agree To Multi-Year Television Partnership

NEW YORK, April 22, 2019 – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and CBS Sports announced today a multi-year partnership in which CBS Sports Network will televise live WNBA games beginning with the upcoming 2019 season.
CBS Sports Network will feature national coverage of 40 live WNBA games in primetime and on weekends, beginning on Saturday, May 25 (8:00 PM, ET), when the Minnesota Lynx host the Chicago Sky.
Record 11-time All-Star Sue Bird and the defending WNBA Champion Seattle Storm make six appearances on CBS Sports Network this season, including a WNBA Finals rematch against former league MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics on Friday, June 14.
“Through our partnership with CBS Sports Network, the WNBA is joining an elite lineup of premium sports programming,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We thank CBS Sports for making such a meaningful commitment to women’s basketball and for providing another platform to showcase the world-class athletes of the WNBA.”
“We are truly excited to partner with the WNBA, bringing the country’s premier women’s sports league to CBS Sports Network. This partnership is one of the biggest and most impactful women’s sports programming arrangements ever at CBS Sports, offering national exposure of 40 games per year,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “This agreement provides great live content throughout the summer in primetime and on weekends, and aligns two great brands in the WNBA and CBS Sports. We look forward to working with the WNBA for many years to come.”
The 2019 WNBA season, entering its 23rd season, tips off Friday, May 24, and features 12 teams vying for a championship, including the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, Indiana Fever, Las Vegas Aces, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics.

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries, which are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Greener Living


60 doctors, pharmacists charged in largest US opioid prescription bust

Federal prosecutors charged 60 physicians and pharmacists Wednesday with illegally handing out opioid prescriptions in what they say is the biggest crackdown of its kind in U.S. history.

Some of the doctors are accused of trading drugs for sex, giving prescriptions to Facebook friends without proper medical exams and unnecessarily pulling teeth to justify writing pain pill prescriptions.

The list of indicted medical professionals includes podiatrists, orthopedic specialists, dentists, general practitioners and nurse practitioners.

Prosecutors said the specialties and methods varied among the accused, but the result in every case was the same: People addicted to pain medication received dangerous amounts of opioids, including oxycodone, methadone and morphine.

They said the illegal prescriptions put as many as 32 million pain pills in the hands of patients.

A special strike force from the Justice Department began making arrests early Wednesday, primarily in rural areas across Appalachia, which has been especially hard-hit by addiction to heroin and pain medication.
The names of many of the accused were not immediately available because they had not yet been arrested.
Most of the defendants face charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances involving prescription opioids. Authorities say they gave out about 350,000 improper prescriptions in Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Three children of Asos billionaire killed in Sri Lanka attacks

All but one of Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children have died after series of explosions

The billionaire fashion tycoon behind the online clothing retailer Asos lost three of his four children in the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks, a spokesman has said.

Anders Holch Povlsen, 46, is Denmark’s wealthiest man with a net worth of $7.9bn (£6.1bn) according to Forbes, and is believed to be the largest landowner in Scotland after buying a string of historic estates.

He and his wife, Anne Storm Pedersen, hold an estimated 200,000 acres of the Highlands, and plan to rewild the landscape to preserve it for future generations, according to a Guardian report last month.

The bombings at churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday killed 290 people and wounded about 500. An investigator said on Monday that seven suicide bombers had taken part in the attacks.

Jesper Stubkier, the communications manager for Holch Povlsen’s wholesale clothing business, Bestseller, told the Press Association on Monday: “I can confirm that three children have been killed. We have no further comment and we ask that the family’s privacy is respected at this time.”

He declined to comment on the identity of the children or whether other members of the family had been visiting Sri Lanka. It has not been reported in which of the series of blasts they died.


Federal judge orders Flint residents can sue the government over water crisis

A judge says the federal government can be sued by Flint residents who blame the Environmental Protection Agency for waiting too long to intervene in the city’s water crisis.

Federal Judge Linda Parker didn’t determine whether EPA employees were negligent when Flint’s water system became contaminated with lead in 2014 and 2015. The decision at this stage is more narrow, with the judge saying Thursday that the government isn’t immune to a lawsuit.

Parker says EPA employees knew lead was leaching from old pipes because Flint’s water wasn’t being properly treated. She says the EPA also knew that Michigan regulators were misleading residents about the quality of the water.

The judge says the “lies went on for months.”

The Associated Press sent an email to the EPA seeking comment. No response has been given.


Once-counterculture 420 marijuana holiday goes mainstream

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Potheads have for decades celebrated their love of marijuana on April 20, but the once counter-culture celebration that was all about getting stoned now is so mainstream Corporate America is starting to embrace it.

No, Hallmark doesn’t yet have a card to mark “420.” But many other businesses inside and outside the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry are using April 20, or 4/20, to roll out marketing and social media messaging aimed at connecting with consumers driving the booming market.

On Saturday, Lyft is offering a $4.20 credit on a single ride in Colorado and in select cities in the U.S. and Canada. Carl’s Jr. is using a Denver restaurant to market a hamburger infused with CBD, a non-intoxicating molecule found in cannabis that many believe is beneficial to their health.

On 420 last year, Totino’s, a maker of frozen pizza snacks, tweeted an image of a microwave and an oven with the message: “To be blunt, pizza rolls are better when baked.”

“I think brands that associate themselves with cannabis kind of get that contact high. In other words, they’re just considered to be cooler by association,” said Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University. “As pot becomes more legal, more discussed, more interesting to people, more widely used, then 420 becomes more mainstream as well.”

Marijuana normalization has snowballed since 2012, when Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational use. Eight more followed, including California, Oregon and Michigan. Medical marijuana is legal in two-thirds of the states, with conservative-leaning Utah and Oklahoma among recent additions.

Meantime, the CBD market has exploded. CBD oil can be found in candies, coffee and other food, drinks and dietary supplements, along with perfume, lotions, creams and soap. Proponents say CBD helps with pain, anxiety and inflammation, though limited scientific research supports those claims.

U.S. retail sales of cannabis products jumped to $10.5 billion last year, a threefold increase from 2017, according to data from Arcview Group, a cannabis investment and market research firm. The figures do not include retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products.

Ben & Jerry’s was one of the earliest big brands to foster a connection with the marijuana culture through marketing. The Vermont-based ice cream company features Cherry Garcia and Phish Food, honoring late Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia and the band Phish. Both bands are favorites of the marijuana-smoking crowd.

To mark 420 in recent years, Ben & Jerry’s debuted taco and burrito inspired ice cream sandwiches. This year the company partnered with a San Francisco Bay Area cannabis retailer to give customers who place delivery orders on Friday and Saturday a free pint of Half Baked, a combination of cookie dough and fudge brownie.

“We have a lot of fun, never being overt, but really playing into the moment of 420,” said Jay Curley, the company’s global head of integrated marketing.

Last year, Ben & Jerry’s also turned more serious, asking consumers to call on lawmakers to expunge prior marijuana convictions and press for pardons or amnesty for anyone arrested for smoking pot. This year the company is using the holiday to call for criminal justice reform.

“We’re actually using this as an opportunity not to tell a stoner joke like we have in the past, but to raise what we see as a much more serious issue around justice,” Curley said.

Those in the marijuana marketplace also are ramping up advertising around 420. Much of the marketing about cannabis or related products takes the form of online ads, emails, text messages and social media. Shops typically offer discounts. Some host parties with food and entertainment. The larger 420 events can draw thousands of people.

Verano Holdings, whose businesses include cannabis shops, sponsors street festivals in Chicago and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where attendees can learn about marijuana products, listen to music and grab a bite. The company expects this Saturday’s festival in Chicago, going on its third year, will draw more than 4,000 people. Last year, it drew 1,500, said Tim Tennant, Verano’s chief marketing officer.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Hippie Hill will again be the site of a 420 celebration. Last year, more than 15,000 attended the event, which has transformed from a small informal gathering into a full-blown festival of corporate sponsors and commercial booths selling smoking devices, T-shirts and food.

Roger Volodarsky, whose Los Angeles-based Puffco makes portable vaporizers, has celebrated 420 since he was a teenager. Back then, he said, “420 was the day that you splurged on yourself and got high in interesting ways. It was the day that you made a gravity bong and coughed your brains out.”

Volodarksy likes that some Main Street brands are getting into the industry and the holiday.

“What’s important to me about these ad campaigns is they’re speaking to people who aren’t users and they’re normalizing the space to people who aren’t users,” he said.

Even as popularity grows, some companies will stay away from 420 as a marketing tool, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce, a marketing consulting company.

“If you’re talking about a big brand that needs to appeal to everybody and is very risk-averse, then probably not,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll see large financial institutions doing it.”


MONEY SAVING TIP: Throw an Aspirin in the Wash and Be Left Speechless

Only aspirin can compete with bleaches and the top stain removing agents.This amazing tip will save your white laundry (and there’s a bottle of expired, worthless asprin somewhere around the house).

Here’s how to do it:

Start by dissolving (5) 300mg aspirin tablets in 2 gallons of hot water. Crush the pills beforehand to speed up the process. The next thing to do is soak your white laundry in the mixture, and leave it overnight. In the morning, place the clothes in the washing machine, add a few aspirin pills again, and wash them as usually.

Please Note: This is a tip from one of our readers. Be sure to test this method out yourself before using it on clothes you care about (although we have not received any reports of bad experiences).


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