Study: Teen Suicide Attempts Fall After Same-sex Marriage Made Legal

Suicide attempts among teens, particularly those who are gay, lesbian and bisexual, declined in states that legalized same-sex marriage, according to a new study.

Writing in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health say their study showed that in states that legalized same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit saw declines in attempted suicide.

Specifically, the researchers analyzed data from 1999 to 2015 and found a 7 percent reduction in suicide attempts of high school-aged youngsters in 32 states that had already legalized same-sex marriage. Among gays, lesbians and bisexuals, the decrease was 14 percent, researchers say.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens, but occurs at a higher rate among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids. For example, 29 percent of LGBT teens in the study reported a suicide attempt, compared to just 6 percent among heterosexual teens.

Researchers say the study does not prove a connection between same-sex marriage and suicide as much of the data is self reported; but, they do theorize that perhaps laws that are for gay adults may send a message to teens to feel “more hopeful for the future,” said lead author Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For their study, researchers looked at data from more than 700,000 public high school students who took part in government survey about risky behavior from 1999 to 2015, which is the year same-sex marriage was declared legal by the Supreme Court. Of those, more than 213,000 identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Surveys did not ask about students who said they were transgender or queer.

To hone in more on the connection between suicide and gays, lesbians and bisexuals, future researchers will need to account for economic status and religion, among other things, according to the study.

“There is a need for further research to understand the association between sexual minority rights, stigma and sexual minority health,” according to the study.

From: MeNeedIt

Study: Teen Suicide Attempts Fall After Same-sex Marriage Made Legal

Suicide attempts among teens, particularly those who are gay, lesbian and bisexual, declined in states that legalized same-sex marriage, according to a new study.

Writing in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health say their study showed that in states that legalized same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit saw declines in attempted suicide.

Specifically, the researchers analyzed data from 1999 to 2015 and found a 7 percent reduction in suicide attempts of high school-aged youngsters in 32 states that had already legalized same-sex marriage. Among gays, lesbians and bisexuals, the decrease was 14 percent, researchers say.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens, but occurs at a higher rate among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids. For example, 29 percent of LGBT teens in the study reported a suicide attempt, compared to just 6 percent among heterosexual teens.

Researchers say the study does not prove a connection between same-sex marriage and suicide as much of the data is self reported; but, they do theorize that perhaps laws that are for gay adults may send a message to teens to feel “more hopeful for the future,” said lead author Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For their study, researchers looked at data from more than 700,000 public high school students who took part in government survey about risky behavior from 1999 to 2015, which is the year same-sex marriage was declared legal by the Supreme Court. Of those, more than 213,000 identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Surveys did not ask about students who said they were transgender or queer.

To hone in more on the connection between suicide and gays, lesbians and bisexuals, future researchers will need to account for economic status and religion, among other things, according to the study.

“There is a need for further research to understand the association between sexual minority rights, stigma and sexual minority health,” according to the study.

From: MeNeedIt

Hollywood Actor Jamie Foxx Target of Racial Slur in Croatia

Croatian police have filed disorderly conduct charges against two people who allegedly used a racial slur to insult Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx in a restaurant.

Police said they acted after receiving reports Sunday of “particularly arrogant and rude” insults made against restaurant guests, including “one of the guests on racial grounds.”

The police statement did not name Foxx as the target, but the actor briefly posted comments about the incident on his Instagram profile before deleting them.

Foxx mentioned an offensive racial term among the examples of the vulgar language used.

Police said they are investigating whether to pursue other charges against the men.

Croatia, like other European countries, has seen a rise in far-right sentiments.

Foxx was in Dubrovnik, a resort on the Adriatic Sea, filming Robin Hood: Origins, in which he plays Little John. The Lionsgate retelling of English folklore stars Taron Egerton as the titular thief. Otto Bathurst is directing the action film, also starring Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan and Ben Mendelsohn.

A day after the alleged racial slur, Foxx said on his Instagram profile he has his “mind blown” by the beauty of Dubrovnik.

“I’m out here in Croatia, it’s crazy,” he said.

From: MeNeedIt

Hollywood Actor Jamie Foxx Target of Racial Slur in Croatia

Croatian police have filed disorderly conduct charges against two people who allegedly used a racial slur to insult Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx in a restaurant.

Police said they acted after receiving reports Sunday of “particularly arrogant and rude” insults made against restaurant guests, including “one of the guests on racial grounds.”

The police statement did not name Foxx as the target, but the actor briefly posted comments about the incident on his Instagram profile before deleting them.

Foxx mentioned an offensive racial term among the examples of the vulgar language used.

Police said they are investigating whether to pursue other charges against the men.

Croatia, like other European countries, has seen a rise in far-right sentiments.

Foxx was in Dubrovnik, a resort on the Adriatic Sea, filming Robin Hood: Origins, in which he plays Little John. The Lionsgate retelling of English folklore stars Taron Egerton as the titular thief. Otto Bathurst is directing the action film, also starring Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan and Ben Mendelsohn.

A day after the alleged racial slur, Foxx said on his Instagram profile he has his “mind blown” by the beauty of Dubrovnik.

“I’m out here in Croatia, it’s crazy,” he said.

From: MeNeedIt

School District Teams With Sandy Hook Mom to Teach Empathy

Nelba Marquez-Greene believes the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which killed her 6-year-old daughter, could have been avoided if more had been done years earlier to address the social isolation and mental health problems of the shooter, Adam Lanza.

To help other vulnerable youths, Marquez-Greene, a family therapist, is working with a Connecticut school system on a program to help students connect with one another.

“I want people to remember that Adam, the person who did this, was also once 6 and in a first-grade classroom, and that if we had reached out earlier then maybe this could have changed,” Marquez-Greene said.

Marquez-Greene’s Ana Grace Project foundation, named for her slain daughter, is working with four elementary schools in New Britain, a city just west of Hartford, to teach empathy, combat bullying and help socially isolated children. Her Love Wins campaign, created with a local teacher, builds on the existing curriculum and also brings therapists and interns into the schools to help identify children who need extra help with social skills.

She is one of several people touched by the December 2012 shooting inside Sandy Hook who have become involved in the broader movement to incorporate social and emotional learning in American schools.

Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was among the 20 children killed, was involved in pushing for a 2015 law that allows federal funds to be used by schools for such things as recognizing the early signs of mental illness and crisis-intervention training. She has a foundation that has developed its own social-emotional learning curriculum and is being used on a pilot basis in four schools: Rippowam Middle School in Stamford; Ka’elepulu Elementary School in Kailua, Hawaii; Washington Elementary School in Fayetteville, Arkansas and Mission Achievement and Success Charter School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“I believe this is an urgent matter,” Lewis said. “I believe it would have saved my son’s life, as well as the lives of other victims across the United States and reduce bullying.”

In the years before the 20-year-old Lanza carried out the massacre, he spent long stretches of time isolated in his mother’s home and had psychiatric ailments that went without treatment, according to investigators, who never pinpointed a motive for the shooting.

Marquez-Greene connected with the New Britain school district after she received a letter of condolence from Craig Muzzy, a teacher at Chamberlain Elementary School in New Britain.

Marquez-Greene and Muzzy developed the program for city schools. Muzzy already had been taking pointers from the Ana Grace Project’s website, making a reading-comprehension assignment, for example, about a student who moves into the area from a different country, and leading discussions about how to make people feel welcome.

On Valentine’s Day, Muzzy’s students took part in “Friendship Day” activities, which included making bracelets and cards to exchange. Marquez-Greene attended and helped introduce a new student, Jaden Garcia, to Muzzy’s class. She showed students how to get to know him better by asking about his favorite food (pizza), his pets (he has a cat) and his favorite sports (soccer).

Araceli Buchko, 10, made a bracelet for a friend she had made by using similar conversation starters.

“I wanted to try it out and see if they would like me,” she said. “I tried one person and it was good. We found out we had a lot in common, and she became my best friend.”

The charity has set up four Love Wins family resource centers in New Britain, including one at Chamberlain, geared toward developing the social skills of preschoolers.

In addition, it hosts a day of training for all New Britain teachers on issues such as how to deal with a child who may acting out in class because they are dealing with a divorce or a parent in prison.

The New Britain school district spends $48,000 per year to implement the Love Wins campaign in the four elementary schools. That money comes from a federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant. The Ana Grace Project and a private nonprofit agency provide another $40,000 per year.

School officials say they believe the Love Wins campaign is helping. They say there are fewer reports of bullying, and fewer office referrals for fights.

“But you really know it’s working when you see the children interacting with one another, when they spontaneously go over to a classmate and say, ‘How are you feeling? You look sad today,’” said Jane Perez, the Chamberlain principal. “You see it in how they work with each other now and collaborate with each other.”

From: MeNeedIt

US Marijuana Industry Anxiously Awaits New AG’s Cannabis Position

From marijuana-laced candy to body lotion infused with marijuana, this controversial plant is becoming a big business in the United States as more states make it mainstream. 

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is now legal in 28 U.S. states for either medical or recreational use. Of those states, four of them legalized recreational marijuana last November, including California. At a dispensary in Los Angeles, the experience for customers is more similar to a trip to the winery or high-end retail store. 

There are cannabis plants on well-lit display and available for a smell test, as well as other edibles. It’s an effort to dispel pot’s stigma and normalize its use.

“It’s inevitable. Get with it,” said a customer who would only give his first name, Eric. He sees it as an herb with fewer side effects than prescription pain medicine. 

Public opinion about legalization of marijuana has shifted in its favor. The Pew Research Center finds that 57 percent of those polled support the legal use of marijuana compared to 32 percent in 2006.

The cannabis industry is also growing. In 2016, the legalized marijuana business reached close to $7 billion. That number is expected to increase to more than $21 billion in five years, according to Arcview Market Research, which describes cannabis as the “fastest growing industry in the world.” 

State vs. federal laws

Underneath the growing public support and booming industry, federal law still considers marijuana as illegal, even though state law may say otherwise. The administration of former President Barack Obama took a hands-off approach and left it up to the states to govern and prosecute the use of marijuana. 

With the new Trump administration comes uncertainty.

“The marijuana industry is definitely an industry that is in flux and part of it is because of this very complex regulatory landscape. It’s legal at the state level, it’s illegal at the federal level and there are a lot of conflicting laws,” said Daniel Yi, a spokesman for MedMen, a management company for marijuana dispensaries.

“There are areas of law [in] which we have both federal and state laws. When those laws are in direct conflict, the federal law trumps – no pun intended of course – the idea being really the supremacy clause which is a clause in the United States Constitution that makes clear that the federal law is supreme,” said constitutional law and political science expert Martin Adamian at California State University, Los Angeles.

Adamian said even though federal agents can still enforce laws at a state level, federal law does not undo the state law if they conflict, making this a gray area and often confusing to the lay person. Ultimately, it is up to each administration to set enforcement priorities.  The new Trump administration is creating uncertainty among those in the cannabis industry.

“There’s a lot of fear from those involved in the medical marijuana as well as the recreational marijuana industries. There’s a lot of fear about the uncertainty that exists. And so it may be the case that the Trump administration could decide to prosecute individuals on some level for violations of those laws,” said Adamian. 

The new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has in the past been a critic of marijuana. In a 2016 Senate Drug Caucus hearing, Sessions, then a senator from Alabama, said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

In his Senate confirmation hearing for attorney general, Sessions was vague when answering a question from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy.

“Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state laws even though it may violate federal law?” questioned Leahy.

“I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government,” replied Sessions.

“With enough independence and freedom to decide the direction he wants to go, somebody like Jeff Sessions may very well try to enforce federal marijuana laws which could lead to additional raids even within states that have approved marijuana use,” said Adamian.

Some players in the cannabis industry, however, are more hopeful, including Yi.

“If you go by the theory that government follows the will of the people, and the fact that the marijuana industry’s already thriving – It’s already growing and it’s functioning within the bounds of law and is showing it’s a possible industry, I think we feel pretty optimistic about the future.”

Congress is responding to the growing popularity of marijuana. Four members of Congress formed a bipartisan Cannabis Caucus to bridge the disconnect between state and federal government, and capitalize on the growing industry.

From: MeNeedIt

US Marijuana Industry Anxiously Awaits New AG’s Cannabis Position

From marijuana-laced candy to body lotion infused with marijuana, this controversial plant is becoming a big business in the United States as more states make it mainstream. 

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is now legal in 28 U.S. states for either medical or recreational use. Of those states, four of them legalized recreational marijuana last November, including California. At a dispensary in Los Angeles, the experience for customers is more similar to a trip to the winery or high-end retail store. 

There are cannabis plants on well-lit display and available for a smell test, as well as other edibles. It’s an effort to dispel pot’s stigma and normalize its use.

“It’s inevitable. Get with it,” said a customer who would only give his first name, Eric. He sees it as an herb with fewer side effects than prescription pain medicine. 

Public opinion about legalization of marijuana has shifted in its favor. The Pew Research Center finds that 57 percent of those polled support the legal use of marijuana compared to 32 percent in 2006.

The cannabis industry is also growing. In 2016, the legalized marijuana business reached close to $7 billion. That number is expected to increase to more than $21 billion in five years, according to Arcview Market Research, which describes cannabis as the “fastest growing industry in the world.” 

State vs. federal laws

Underneath the growing public support and booming industry, federal law still considers marijuana as illegal, even though state law may say otherwise. The administration of former President Barack Obama took a hands-off approach and left it up to the states to govern and prosecute the use of marijuana. 

With the new Trump administration comes uncertainty.

“The marijuana industry is definitely an industry that is in flux and part of it is because of this very complex regulatory landscape. It’s legal at the state level, it’s illegal at the federal level and there are a lot of conflicting laws,” said Daniel Yi, a spokesman for MedMen, a management company for marijuana dispensaries.

“There are areas of law [in] which we have both federal and state laws. When those laws are in direct conflict, the federal law trumps – no pun intended of course – the idea being really the supremacy clause which is a clause in the United States Constitution that makes clear that the federal law is supreme,” said constitutional law and political science expert Martin Adamian at California State University, Los Angeles.

Adamian said even though federal agents can still enforce laws at a state level, federal law does not undo the state law if they conflict, making this a gray area and often confusing to the lay person. Ultimately, it is up to each administration to set enforcement priorities.  The new Trump administration is creating uncertainty among those in the cannabis industry.

“There’s a lot of fear from those involved in the medical marijuana as well as the recreational marijuana industries. There’s a lot of fear about the uncertainty that exists. And so it may be the case that the Trump administration could decide to prosecute individuals on some level for violations of those laws,” said Adamian. 

The new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has in the past been a critic of marijuana. In a 2016 Senate Drug Caucus hearing, Sessions, then a senator from Alabama, said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

In his Senate confirmation hearing for attorney general, Sessions was vague when answering a question from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy.

“Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state laws even though it may violate federal law?” questioned Leahy.

“I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government,” replied Sessions.

“With enough independence and freedom to decide the direction he wants to go, somebody like Jeff Sessions may very well try to enforce federal marijuana laws which could lead to additional raids even within states that have approved marijuana use,” said Adamian.

Some players in the cannabis industry, however, are more hopeful, including Yi.

“If you go by the theory that government follows the will of the people, and the fact that the marijuana industry’s already thriving – It’s already growing and it’s functioning within the bounds of law and is showing it’s a possible industry, I think we feel pretty optimistic about the future.”

Congress is responding to the growing popularity of marijuana. Four members of Congress formed a bipartisan Cannabis Caucus to bridge the disconnect between state and federal government, and capitalize on the growing industry.

From: MeNeedIt

Venezuelan Art Promoter, Journalist Sofia Imber Dies at 92

Sofia Imber, who turned a garage into the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art and became one of Venezuela’s most influential women journalists, died Monday in the capital. She was 92.

The former director of what was once among Latin America’s most important art galleries succumbed to complications due to old age, her biographer, Diego Arroyo Gil, told The Associated Press.

Imber’s television program Buenos Dias, which she hosted with her second husband from 1969 to 1993, was a landmark of Venezuelan journalism and politics. She became famous for her cutting interviews with global leaders such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Israel’s Simon Peres and the Dalai Lama, as well as with writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

 

Social media was flooded by people lamenting her death. “Good journey, dear Sofia Imber. You gave us art, you gave us culture, you gave us an example of tireless work. That was your best piece,” humorist Eduardo Edo Sanabria said on Twitter.

In 1971, when Venezuelan authorities were looking for a place to display art, Imber famously said: “If you give me a garage, I will turn it into a museum.”

Three years after, she created a foundation to transform an auto parts garage into the first museum of modern art in Venezuela. In less than a decade, it had grown to hold pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Fernando Botero and many Venezuelan artists. At one point, it had more than 4,000 works and received more than 15,000 visitors a month.

Laid off by Chavez in 2001

Imber, a critic of the socialist government established by the late President Hugo Chavez, was laid off as the museum’s director by Chavez in 2001. She called her dismissal “one of the most painful moments” of her life.  

“The president forgot or did not want to recognize the courage and the dedication of this wonderful woman,” artist Jesus Soto told AP before his death in 2005.

 

Before being fired as museum director, she created a program to bring paintings and sculpture to suburbs and faraway places. In 1967, she became the first Latin American woman to win UNESCO’s Picasso Medal. She also received awards in Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

“Sofia Imber took contemporary art to the most remote areas of the country,” Soto said.

Born in Soroca, Moldova, then in the former Soviet Union, she arrived in Venezuela in 1930 with her family. She later graduated from Central University of Venezuela.

Lived in Paris, Brussels

 

In 1944, she married Guillermo Meneses and they had four children. Meneses later held diplomatic posts in Paris and Brussels, where the couple met intellectuals and artists like Picasso, Andre Malraux and William Faulkner.

 

The couple divorced in 1964 and she later married journalist Carlos Rangel.

 

In a speech after being let go as director of the Caracas art museum, she said: “I want to be remembered as a worker and tireless woman.”

From: MeNeedIt

Venezuelan Art Promoter, Journalist Sofia Imber Dies at 92

Sofia Imber, who turned a garage into the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art and became one of Venezuela’s most influential women journalists, died Monday in the capital. She was 92.

The former director of what was once among Latin America’s most important art galleries succumbed to complications due to old age, her biographer, Diego Arroyo Gil, told The Associated Press.

Imber’s television program Buenos Dias, which she hosted with her second husband from 1969 to 1993, was a landmark of Venezuelan journalism and politics. She became famous for her cutting interviews with global leaders such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Israel’s Simon Peres and the Dalai Lama, as well as with writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

 

Social media was flooded by people lamenting her death. “Good journey, dear Sofia Imber. You gave us art, you gave us culture, you gave us an example of tireless work. That was your best piece,” humorist Eduardo Edo Sanabria said on Twitter.

In 1971, when Venezuelan authorities were looking for a place to display art, Imber famously said: “If you give me a garage, I will turn it into a museum.”

Three years after, she created a foundation to transform an auto parts garage into the first museum of modern art in Venezuela. In less than a decade, it had grown to hold pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Fernando Botero and many Venezuelan artists. At one point, it had more than 4,000 works and received more than 15,000 visitors a month.

Laid off by Chavez in 2001

Imber, a critic of the socialist government established by the late President Hugo Chavez, was laid off as the museum’s director by Chavez in 2001. She called her dismissal “one of the most painful moments” of her life.  

“The president forgot or did not want to recognize the courage and the dedication of this wonderful woman,” artist Jesus Soto told AP before his death in 2005.

 

Before being fired as museum director, she created a program to bring paintings and sculpture to suburbs and faraway places. In 1967, she became the first Latin American woman to win UNESCO’s Picasso Medal. She also received awards in Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

“Sofia Imber took contemporary art to the most remote areas of the country,” Soto said.

Born in Soroca, Moldova, then in the former Soviet Union, she arrived in Venezuela in 1930 with her family. She later graduated from Central University of Venezuela.

Lived in Paris, Brussels

 

In 1944, she married Guillermo Meneses and they had four children. Meneses later held diplomatic posts in Paris and Brussels, where the couple met intellectuals and artists like Picasso, Andre Malraux and William Faulkner.

 

The couple divorced in 1964 and she later married journalist Carlos Rangel.

 

In a speech after being let go as director of the Caracas art museum, she said: “I want to be remembered as a worker and tireless woman.”

From: MeNeedIt

Vatican, Rome’s Jews to Hold Unprecedented Joint Art Exhibit

The Vatican and Rome’s Jewish Museum have announced an unprecedented event  — a joint exhibit focusing on the menorah, the candelabra that is the ancient symbol of Judaism.

The exhibit will open May 15 and run through July 23, and will be simultaneously held in St. Peter’s Square and in the museum in Rome’s main synagogue.

The displays will include pieces of artwork and other exhibits from around the world, centering on the importance of the menorah in both Jewish and Christian history and culture.

Officials say the highlight will be tracing the fate of the solid-gold menorah taken by the emperor Titus when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.

Although paintings show the emperor carrying the menorah, it is still unknown exactly what happened to it, and there are numerous accounts of its fate.

But many historians believe it was stolen when the Vandals raided and sacked Rome in 455.

A newly found stone from the Galilee synagogue dating to the first century A.D. will be another highlight of the exhibit.

Ties between the Roman Catholic Church and world Judaism have improved immensely since 1965 when the Vatican repudiated Jewish guilt for the death of Christ.

From: MeNeedIt