World Education Week
October 10, 2020 - Schools demand political support to prioritize resilience over efficiency.
During World Education Week, school representatives from around the world completed nearly 50 hours of discussions on the topic of classroom support that is needed to prioritize education resilience. Over the course of the pandemic, they learned that economies cannot function if schools do not open their gates for children to be in classrooms. What they also learned is the crucial role that schools have played not just in teaching their students, but the institution of ‘school’ is often at the heart of the community. Whether issues facing a community are related to poverty, vulnerability or the multitude of areas that we see in our schools daily, the point made is that the school does a whole lot more than just teaching its students; community issues are often resolved in schools.
Amongst the many illuminating conversations, one overwhelming lesson has been reinforced, especially after six months of the Covid crisis - resilience to meet huge challenges is the key to maintaining the continuity of education for our children, both to ensure the highest standards of learning and to re-establish the social glue of schools as communities. This requires financial investment and leadership. It is about making the connection between teachers and children the fundamental point of the existence of schools.
An investment in resilience would, for example, include additional funding for teachers, devices, mental health and special needs support services, and support for poor families to access free school meal programs.
The reality is that in countries everywhere funding has been cut away and has had an impact in widening inequities all over the world. From the principals of schools on boats in Bangladesh, to the most famous established schools in South Africa, to parameter-pushing schools in the Bronx, the people at the sharp end of modern education and its place in communities feel that they are answerable to not only the accountant.
No matter what the question, education is the answer. Quality and continuity of education builds future success for both our individuals and our whole communities. Our pupils, our parents, and our planet need schools able to adapt to crises and evolve to our changing future needs, while remaining central pillars of our communities.
It is time for our political and system leaders to understand that and to re-frame how they view the management of education funding. Heads of government, education and finance ministers of our countries need to deepen their investments in education rather than cut them for effective performance not just for our students but for our communities and for the overall growth of countries around the world.
California Supreme Court Denies Relief from Governor's Ban
September 9, 2020 - Two petitions for review of Governor Newsom’s ban on in-person schooling was denied by the California Supreme Court. The Court issued a short statement saying, “petition denied.”
The California Supreme Court has interpreted the California Constitution to require that California school children have a constitutional right to substantially equal opportunities for learning. The state has a broad responsibility to ensure basic educational equality. The state order will unequally burden the most underprivileged families of California.
Attorneys in this case, Tyler & Bursch, LLP, with offices in Murrieta and Anaheim, agreed to represent the Plaintiffs pro bono to protect the vulnerable children in California. The lawsuit is also supported by the nonprofit legal organization, Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
Attorney Robert Tyler stated, “This court entry has no effect of law. It simply means that we will have to start the litigation by filing our claims in the superior courts because the court is not willing to permit this case to skip the lower courts. Once we proceed through the normal process, we believe we will still be victorious in the end.”
COVID-19 PCR tests vs. Antibody tests
The Coronavirus, COVID-19 which stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, is a particle with RNA (ribonucleic acid) as the infectious portion of the particle that replicates itself inside a human cell using the host’s DNA. In time the replication bursts open the host cell and the virus particles are released to infect more cells.
Since viruses are not live organisms, antibiotics do not kill the virus. The immune system has the mechanisms to destroy the particles. Even people of advanced age or other causes of a compromised immune system will still have white blood cells that can recognize the virus as foreign and mount an attack. It is the attack that actually kills people with pneumonia-like suffocation. It has been reported that the very young battle the virus with NK (Natural Killer) cells before antibody attack that causes the cascade of an immune response. Other studies have reported that children have a lower incidence of the receptor that binds the virus. These are reasons that children are not at high risk of death from the virus. It isn’t the replication of the virus that kills people. Healthy people win the war with an army of NK cells and the production of sufficient amounts of antibodies to clear the body of the virus and the body will eventually return to normal as the sneezing and coughing subside as the immune response produces less mucus.
Two test methods are on the market for testing the Coronavirus. PCR tests are for active infections. Antibody tests indicate whether the patient has been infected in the past.
PCR tests are available for nasal swab and saliva tests. The saliva-based tests are simple to administer compared to the nasal swab test. The patient spits into a straw that drains into a test tube. The sample is sent to a lab for PCR analysis that determines if the sample contains the coronavirus nucleic acid.
Antibody tests are available for testing a patient’s blood sample for detection of the presence of antibodies against the virus in a patient’s serum. Antibodies recognize the protein coat on the virus particle as foreign. Be aware that you may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection. This is called a false negative result due to the diagnostic detection level of the test method being used. As of July 11, 2020, 68 companies have had their serological diagnostic test banned from use by the FDA.
It can take as long as eight to nine days for an individual to develop symptoms after infection. Asymptomatic individuals with early infections can still spread the virus. This is the reason why masks are important for everyone to wear. Masks do not prevent infection but can mitigate the spread from infected individuals. More on masks in the following article.
This article was written by Publisher Nancy Knight, a retired R&D chemist and inventor of a novel antibody test to increase the sensitivity of diagnostic serological tests that reduced the incidence of false negative test results.
Face Covering Required in California
On June 19, 2020 the state ordered face coverings to be worn outside the home, including while inside businesses. Enforcement of the state’s mandatory requirement is up to the discretion of the sheriff and/or local law enforcement.
Cases of coronavirus have increased, which is an expected outcome resulting from people visiting more places in the community. To follow the state’s order and best safety practices, businesses are encouraged to follow local and state-issued industry guidance, including posting signs indicating face coverings are required for service. Community members and employees will be required to wear face coverings while inside all county facilities.
Coronavirus spreads through droplets expelled while sneezing, coughing or talking. People who carry the disease and do not show symptoms can still spread the disease to others. Covering the nose and mouth with a cloth face covering, bandana or neck gaiter, keeps these droplets in.
Face coverings should be washed regularly to keep clean. Public health officials also remind residents to keep six feet of distance between others while in public and to frequently wash their hands.
U.S. was right to avoid tariffs in oil price war
By H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. June 3, 2020
The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil delivered in May recently dropped into negative territory.
Prices have cratered for some simple reasons. When the coronavirus began reducing demand for jet fuel and gasoline, Saudi Arabia and Russia ramped up crude production. They deliberately drove prices to lows not seen since the early 2000s. It was all part of their attempt to cripple American oil firms, who've become powerhouse producers in recent years.
Senators from energy-producing states urgently called on President Trump to impose tariffs on oil imports. They hoped these taxes would artificially prop up crude prices, thus tossing a financial lifeline to U.S. oil companies.
Luckily, the president pursued diplomacy instead. Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other foreign oil producers recently agreed to slash production by 9.7 million barrels a day in the coming months.
The Trump administration was right to favor negotiations over protectionist measures. The desire to help domestic firms is understandable. But tariffs would prove counterproductive, hurting both energy companies and their consumers. As coronavirus continues to curb oil demand, government officials should steer clear of tariffs.
In recent years, the United States has become the world's top oil producer, thanks mostly to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Those twin technical advances have enabled energy companies to extract enormous quantities of oil and natural gas from shale rock formations. Just last month, U.S. producers extracted a record 13 million barrels of oil per day -- more than double what they pumped a decade ago.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have eyed this development with dismay. To regain market share, they launched their recent price war, hoping to outlast each other -- and U.S. producers -- in a hugely consequential game of chicken.
American energy companies can't remain profitable at current prices. So they're cutting spending and preparing to lay off workers.
To cushion the blow, a group of senators urged Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to investigate Saudi Arabia and Russia for excessive dumping in oil markets. If the Department of Commerce found them guilty, President Trump would have had the authority to impose tariffs on foreign oil.
But companies and consumers alike would have suffered under that strategy. Here's why.
Even though the United States is a net oil exporter, we still import lots of foreign oil. That's because not all types of crude are identical -- oil from different sources varies wildly in sulfur content and viscosity. And many energy companies have configured their refineries to process foreign crudes. America imported roughly 530,000 barrels of oil each day from Saudi Arabia and 510,000 from Russia in 2019.
If the United States imposes tariffs on that oil, refineries would face higher costs and would pass them along to consumers. Tariffs could even cause supply shortages in some areas. For instance, refineries in California rely heavily on imported oil.
Plus, tariffs are a two-way street. Saudi Arabia could have responded to such measures by slapping new taxes on U.S. exports of various goods and services. With the U.S. economy severely weakened from the coronavirus, the last thing American workers need is a trade war with a major ally.
Luckily, our leaders turned to diplomacy and pressured the Saudis and Russians to stop this destructive price war. Tariffs would have immediately backfired.
Immigration offices reopening
By Terry Kaufman; distributed by Newsroom Newswire, a service of Newsroom Public Relations. June 3, 2020.
Here is some essential information for those who have been anxiously waiting to learn their status these past few months, as the region starts to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“Coronavirus may have stopped or slowed the progress of some applications and petitions, but it also provided some opportunities for workers with temporary visas,” said Los Angeles-based immigration lawyer Petro Kostiv. “Not everyone needs to rush to the immigration office on the first day. When you do go, you need to be prepared for some changes.”
First, USCIS will require all petitioners and visitors to wear face masks that cover both the nose and mouth, otherwise they will be denied entry into the office.
The agency will supply hand sanitizer, but applicants should bring their own pens — black or blue ballpoint ink only. And those with appointments may only enter a facility 15 minutes before the scheduled time. “Also, if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you should stay home,” Kostiv said.
Here’s what you need to know to move to the next step or to start a new application or petition. In the following situations, timeliness is critical.
Temporary protected status
TPS noncitizens who can adjust their status should do so before the designation ends. For example, roughly 250,000 Salvadorians have TPS, the largest group from a single country. El Salvador has been designated for TPS until Jan. 4, 2021. Many Salvadorans qualify for lawful permanent status but have failed to take advantage of the opportunity to gain permanent residence. “Salvadorians should determine now if they qualify and apply as quickly as possible,” said Kostiv.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The DACA program may be terminated this year, says Kostiv, so he urges affected individuals to attempt to renew their employment authorization (EAD).
If you have a preference petition, such as U.S. citizens petitioning for family members, submit your petition as quickly as possible to obtain the earliest priority date you can.
For the following processes, consider these things:
H-2B temporary nonagricultural workers.
Employers may now hire individuals with approved temporary labor certifications for positions essential to the food supply chain. Certain H-2B employees may be able to retain their status beyond the maximum three-year period.
Recent college graduates are facing a difficult job market. “USCIS has not extended the unemployment period for their optional practical training (OPT),” Kostiv explained. “Noncitizen students can still seek unpaid internships related to their field of study, start their own business or possibly enroll in another study program.”
If your status is soon expiring, you should apply for an extension. Generally, individuals that enter the United States with a visitor’s visa have a difficult time receiving an extension, but Kostiv said that “given the extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19, USCIS will take a softer stance on extensions.”
If you provide services related to COVID-19 and you entered the country on a J-1 physician program, it may be easier to obtain a waiver of the two-year foreign residency requirement.
Those seeking asylum are generally required to file their applications within one year of entering the United States, but “this administration has taken a very hardline stance on asylum applications,” said Kostiv. “It’s a complicated issue. Individuals that have suffered persecution from their home country will need to carefully evaluate their case and decide if it’s worth taking a risk.”
If you’ve already applied for asylum, expect to wait. “Asylum offices schedule interviews based on filing order, and some offices have backlogs of more than two years,” Kostiv said. If your application has been pending more than 180 days, you are eligible for an Employment Authorization Card. You can continue to renew your card until USCIS issues a decision on your application. If you have children turning 21, the Child Status Protection Act will lock the age of your child to the age at the time the application was filed. USCIS uses a three-tier priority system, but if you have an emergency you can place an urgent request for an interview.
Anyone whose appointment was cancelled at a US. Embassy due to COVID-19, but who has urgent or extenuating circumstances, can contact the U.S. Embassy to request an urgent reschedule appointment Individual embassies have their own procedures, and the volume of cases will determine how they handle those requests. Unless the situation is urgent, Kostiv said you should wait until the National Visa Center or the U.S. Embassy contacts you.
Prepare for higher fees in the near future
Be prepared for fee increases. Naturalization will increase from $640 to $1,170 (not including biometrics fees for collecting documents and screenings), and adjustment applications will go up from $1,225 to $2,195.
With the continued uncertainty about how USCIS will manage the COVID-19 backlog, those dealing with immigration matters should try to remain patient, urged Kostiv, who has offices in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Europe. “Hopefully, USCIS will streamline certain processes and make decisions without having to interview each and every individual applicant.”
For additional information, log on to the USCIS Response to COVID-19 webpage or go to the American Immigration Council site.
White House Breaking News: May 28, 2020
Tech bias is a major issue facing our democracy. It challenges the free exchange of ideas and public debate that protects our civil liberties. Every citizen—liberal, conservative, or otherwise—has a right to be heard and treated fairly online.
How President Trump fights censorship.
Makes it U.S. policy that platforms who selectively edit, censor, or are not acting in “good faith” with regards to content will not receive the liability protection included in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act; Directs the Commerce Department to petition the FCC to make clarifying rules on Section 230 in line with U.S. policy; Helps stop millions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted by federal agencies on advertising with biased social media platforms; Ensures the Justice Department will review more than 16,000 complaints about politically motivated censorship that were collected by the White House in advance of a Social Media Summit held last year; Mobilizes State Attorneys General—who have massive subpoena and consumer protection authorities—to ensure social media platforms are not engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices; Acts as federal law and lists the many ways in which tech platforms act with bias against viewpoints they disagree with.
Massive corporations that treat millions of American citizens unfairly shouldn’t expect special privileges and protections under the law. With President Trump’s Executive Order today, our country is one step closer to having an honest, fair public debate.
Social media case in point from The Bugle
YouTube video interview with Dr. Judy Mikovits taken down for controversial exposure to incidents surrounding the Corona Virus Pandemic.
Science Magazine reports that Judy Mikovits started her career as a lab technician at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1988. She became a scientist and obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University in 1991. By 2009, she was research director at the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), a private research center in Reno, Nevada. Impressive credentials indeed which is why so many people believe her story. She was imprisoned for being a whistleblower. Judge for yourself if social media is biased against public policy and public interests.
Copy these links to the video interviews into your browser's address bar. The first one was taken down by YouTube as you will see. https://kblds.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/public/plandemic-part1.mp4
This second video is on YouTube but we do not know how long it will take for them to take this one down too.https://youtu.be/rhZETbXCqCM
Tips to stay healthy in the fight against virus infections
Use a paper towel to open and close public bathroom door handles and bathroom faucets. Use a tissue or a piece of your clothing to push buttons on elevators, office microwave ovens, copy machine, and vending machines. Protect yourself from handles on water coolers and drinking fountains, sink sponges, food/food container handled by others, another person's keyboard or phone. shared books, pens, staplers, etc. Wash your hands with hot water for 20 seconds with soap, several times a day, especially following contact with hot spots.
Avoid touching your face, eyes, or rubbing your nose. Relax - stress can decrease immunity. Drink more water. Decrease sugar intake and take 1000 mgs of Vitamin C when you first feel a cold coming on or you were exposed to someone with the flu. Get more sleep and take Vitamin D.
Arizona and California are monitoring the risk of disease carried by mosquitoes. Riverside County, California has already experienced cases of West Nile virus infections. In Arizona's monsoon weather creates breeding grounds in the short-term while California's flood control detention basins are pose a long-term risk. The public is cautioned to watch for standing water that can breed mosquitoes and to protect your family and pets from mosquito bites.
If you have been recently bitten by a mosquito and experience any flu-like symptoms, it is recommended to consult with your doctor.
While the risk for West Nile, Zika, and malaria are currently low, it is advised to be proactive in protecting yourself, your family, and your pets from bites. Dead birds in the area are an indication of local disease carrying mosquito breeding grounds.
Solving the doctor shortage and medical school bottleneck
By Richard Liebowitz
Tens of thousands of Americans apply to U.S. medical schools each year. Only a fraction gain admission. The University of Arizona, for instance, posted a 1.9 percent acceptance rate in 2018. UCLA, Florida State University, and Wake Forest accepted fewer than 3 percent of applicants.
Many U.S. medical schools are proud of their microscopic admission rates. But they have negative ramifications for the nation's healthcare system.
The United States will need up to 121,900 more physicians by 2032 to care for its aging population. U.S. medical schools aren't producing enough graduates to meet that demand -- and don't have the capacity to expand anywhere close to that degree.
International medical schools are America's best hope for addressing its physician workforce needs. They're a crucial alternative for the thousands of qualified students who find themselves on the wrong end of a med school admissions decision as a result of the mismatch between qualified applicants and available seats.
Applying to med school has become a numbers game. In the 2018-2019 cycle, U.S. medical schools received over 850,000 applications from nearly 53,000 students. The average student applies to 16 schools.
Many students who would make terrific doctors fall through the cracks. In a recent interview with U.S. News and World Report, Dr. Robert Hasty, the founding dean and chief academic offer of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, said, "We hear from high-quality applicants every day . . . and these are people with really high MCAT scores and GPAs, that this is their second year, third year or even fourth year applying to medical schools. And years ago, they would have gotten accepted the first time through, but the demand is just incredible."
In other words, the status quo is failing thousands of qualified applicants -- and the U.S. healthcare system, which needs more doctors.
U.S. medical schools don't appear capable of growing to address this problem. Enrollment is up only 7 percent over the past five years. That kind of modest growth won't get us anywhere close to narrowing our nation's projected shortage of physicians.
International medical schools can address these issues, providing opportunity to talented students and supplying the physicians America needs.
Many international schools provide an education every bit as good as those offered by U.S. schools. For example, 96 percent of first-time test takers from St. George's University in Grenada -- the school I lead -- passed Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam in 2018. That's the same rate as graduates of U.S. medical schools.
Research confirms that international schools produce high-caliber doctors. According to one study published by the BMJ, a leading medical journal, patients treated by doctors trained overseas had lower mortality rates than those treated by U.S.-educated doctors.
Internationally trained doctors also practice where the U.S. healthcare system needs them most. In areas where per-capita income is below $15,000 annually, more than four in ten doctors received their degrees abroad. Americans are increasingly turning to international schools. More than 60 percent of licensed medical graduates of international schools in the Caribbean are U.S. citizens. Three-quarters of the medical students at St. George's are U.S. citizens.
The odds of gaining admission to U.S. medical schools are growing longer. But bright young Americans don't have to give up their dreams of becoming doctors. They can turn to top-notch international medical schools. Their future patients will surely thank them.
Dr. Richard Liebowitz is vice chancellor of St. George's University (www.sgu.edu). He previously served as president of New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.