Rambling Rose: Summer is jumping!

The summer is jumping with festivals and such!

Hello my dear friends, I am having a ball! This is my time of the year. I love the outdoor events. I’m going to tell you about a few of them, but first, I want to announce something very important to me. My organization, the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund, Inc. which is a non-profit organization, 501-(c) 3 is in search of children in Maryland ages 5-7 years old who are musically gifted to apply and audition for our scholarships. The application and audition is free. We have about 10 more slots open and there is not much time. The audition is in August. Applications are available on the website: www.rosapryormusic.com and you can print out as many as you need; or you can call Dr. Donna Hollie 410-358-9875 to answer any questions or email her at DTH1800@aol.com.

The Baltimore Caribbean Festival Carnival is Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13 at Lake Clifton Park in Baltimore. This year marks the 33rd year Baltimore has celebrated Caribbean heritage with a festival and parade. Dr. Elaine Simon, President. For more information, call 410-362-2957.

The Baltimore Caribbean Festival Carnival is Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13 at Lake Clifton Park in Baltimore. This year marks the 33rd year Baltimore has celebrated Caribbean heritage with a festival and parade. Dr. Elaine Simon, President. For more information, call 410-362-2957.

Now for the real fun stuff! The electrifying king of the vibes, Roy Ayers is coming to town on Sunday, July 6 at the Forest Park Senior Center, 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue. The shows are 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. They will have a cash bar and a light buffet. Tickets are available at the Forest Park Senior Center and Everyone’s Place located 1356 W. North Avenue. For more information, call 410-466-2124 and tell them you heard it from me.


Lafayette Gilchrist, renowned pianist and Eric Kennedy, drummer and renowned recording artist will perform on stage at the Cultural Center located at 6037 Liberty Road, Suite 6 in Baltimore on Saturday, July 12, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The King David Lodge No. 18 from Prince Hall Masons is having their Blue & Gold Cabaret on Friday, July 11 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Grand Lodge, 1307 Eutaw Place (Lanvale entrance). For more information, call Bro. Curtis Williams at 410-258-1715.

Liberty Road Business Association is alive and jumping on Friday, July 11th and 25th from 6-9 p.m. with live entertainment, vendors, good food and drinks. I am telling you folks it is very nice and it is free. This family-friendly outdoor concert and festival is located in Kings Point Square, 9900 Liberty Road in Randallstown, Maryland. They have a beer/wine garden and a stage for the entertainment. No pets are allowed, but bring your folding chairs and cameras.

Registration is open for the 2014 Carl & Barbara Grubs Summer Camps which include the Jazz Arts Academy with Carl Grubbs and the Jazz instrumental Music Program for youth ages 7-16. The camp is from July 7th-16th, Monday through Friday. For more information, call 410-313-4714.

This is very nice too. The Royal Theater & Community Heritage Corporation presents the Courtyard Summer Music Series at the Avenue Bakery featuring live free entertainment on Saturday, July 5 from 4-8 p.m. at 2229 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is free all summer long featuring performances by Baltimore’s most gifted musicians and performers. Light fare and drinks are available for purchase. For more information, go to www.theavenuebakery.com. Or www.royaltchc.com.

Now folks, this is very important. The Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund is hosting their 17th annual Oldies but Goodies Crab Feast Fundraiser on Saturday, July 19th from 2-6 p.m. I truly need your support. It will be held at the VFW Post 6506, 8779 Philadelphia Road in Rosedale, Maryland. The donation is only $50 and it includes all the crabs you can eat and a full dinner buffet; free beer, cash bar and music by DJ “Sugar Chris.” This is how we raise money for the scholarships. So call me now for your tickets at 410-833-0474.

More fun folks! The Faisonian Club with CH Productions is hosting their 28th Annual splash party, disco and “DipNic Festival on Saturday, July 12th rain or shine from 12 noon until 8 p.m. for adults only. So don’t get to the gate and say, “OOPS!” I forgot to drop my children off to the babysitter.” My friends, this is one of a kind event just for us grown folks. Live entertainment with DJ dance music in between. There are acres and acres of land to pitch your tent and to set up your grill and cooler with all your goodies. Bring a swim suit because the gigantic swimming pool is to die for. The location is Elks Camp Barrett, 1001 Chesterfield Road. Crownsville, Maryland 21401. For more information, call Charles Rudy Faison at 443-801-1100 or Carlos Hutchins at 443-963-5711 or Mildred Battle at 410-448-0033.

My goodness, folks! I am out of space, I have to go, but if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at rosapryor@aol.com. UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

UMB, community build playground in Upton/Druid Heights

— Children without a playground in their West Baltimore neighborhood received a lesson in the power of partnerships with the help of Promise Heights, a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) initiative led by the School of Social Work (SSW).

The result of these partnerships is no ordinary tot lot. Baltimore-based Laureate Education, Inc., donated and constructed a state-of-the-art playground to serve the Historic Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary School (HSCT). Families in the surrounding Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood will benefit year round.

On Friday, June 6, 2014, when students left for the weekend, they got a last look at an unadorned field that had been their only option for decades.

In the days that followed, the field was filled with hundreds of Laureate-led volunteers assisted by co-builders from UMB, HSCT and the local community and by 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10— it was time for a ribbon cutting!

Volunteers were joined by dignitaries including: Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein and City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young to celebrate completion of the project. Also on hand were SSW Dean Richard Barth; Bronwyn Mayden, Promise Heights executive director and SSW assistant dean; Rachel Donegan, Promise Heights program director; and Kevin Enright, executive director of strategic initiatives, School of Medicine (SOM).

Laureate’s founder and chief executive officer, Douglas Becker, addressed a crowd of about 400 men, women and children, many wearing “Here for Good” T-shirts from Laureate.

“It’s a great honor to give back to the community that has given me— and Laureate Education— so much,” said Becker, a Baltimore native. “We are committed to doing work that is here for good in every community in which we operate.”

Laureate provides undergraduate, graduate and working-adult education through online and campus-based programs in 29 countries. Nearly 300 of its global executives came together on Build Day, arriving on buses that lined up at 507 W. Preston Street.

Speakers included HSCT Assistant Principal Twanda Pickett and Principal Harold Barber, who said the new playground “will help foster that sense of community that we cherish.”

HSCT draws more than 400 children from Upton/Druid Heights, where about half of the families live in poverty, according to Baltimore City Health Department data. Through a Promise Neighborhoods federal planning grant, UMB’s Promise Heights initiative works to empower residents and improve the lives of children from before birth to age 21.

HSCT is one of two public schools in Upton-Druid Heights that is a Community School, partnering with SSW. Its Community School coordinator, Henriette Taylor, prepared for Build Day with the assistance of Promise Heights interns at HSCT.

“They were so happy to help out the HSCT, the students, Promise Heights and the community,” said Joyce Green, an Upton resident and neighborhood liaison to the Baltimore City Police. “It was awesome. In a little over six hours, 300-plus people turned an open green space into a safe place for kids at the community and the school to play.”

“This Build Day is a perfect example of what our Community Schools program does in Baltimore,” says Barth. “We bring in resources and give other people the privilege and joy of contributing to the success of the schools that we support.”

HSCT parents were a big presence, led by Mark Atkinson and Lakisha Bagwell. Residents of nearby McCulloh Homes and Green Willow apartments came, too.

From UMB, Ebenezer Oloyede, clinical research specialist at the School of Pharmacy, treated volunteers’ ailments as SOM’s Vanessa Carroll, director of special projects, assisted. SOM assistant professor Yvette Rooks, MD, pitched in by donating lunches for 200 and 450 kids’ gift bags.

Members of Union Baptist Church, a faith-based partner of Promise Heights, volunteered on several days. On Wednesday, June 11, Senior Pastor Alvin Hathaway and church member Carol Jones returned to watch the children playing during recess.

At first look, students squealed and leaped while others gasped in awe. Next they were given the rules. “One person to a slide, no flips from the swings,” lectured a physical education instructor. At last cleared to play, children flew onto the shiny equipment.

They lined up to whoosh down slides and some ventured onto a zip line.

Barth went back to the playground on weekend after with his granddaughter. They found nearly 50 children swinging, sliding and climbing. “The playground was bubbling with joy and hope,” he said

Urban League Joins “Party with a Purpose”

— July 3-6 is the date. New Orleans is the place. Empowerment is the purpose. Iconic thought leaders and musicians bring the message. For the 20th year in a row, Essence magazine is organizing the largest annual gathering of African American music, culture and inspiration in the nation. Thousands of families across the country have marked their calendars and are making final plans for the Essence Festival.

As then-mayor of New Orleans, I served as founding mayor of the Essence Festival and was there when it began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine. I am thrilled to see it blossom into more than any of us ever imagined— the largest, most exciting and purposeful gathering of African-Americans anywhere in the United States.

The partnership of the Essence Festival and the city of New Orleans was ideal from the start. Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, explains, “New Orleans has been just a tremendous home for the Essence Festival. There’s not a better place. Louisiana’s famous for festivals. We believe there is a symbiotic relationship that we have here.” The Festival has also been good for New Orleans. Last year, more than 540,000 people come to New Orleans for the Essence Festival with an estimated $100 million impact. According to Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, “This has become sort of our kingpin, milestone event for the summer months.”

The Essence Festival has played a significant role in the rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans and brings much more than music to the city. For example, in addition to the Festival’s significant economic contribution, in 1995 Essence and the City of New Orleans co-founded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp, which exposes emerging jazz artists from all over the world to master jazz artists in New Orleans. Today, it is a continuing, self-sustaining organization that is making a tremendous community impact.

This year, on Sunday, July 6, 2014, the Festival will hold its second “A Mother’s Prayer Vigil,” a gathering of mothers and grandmothers who come together to grieve and honor the children they raised whose lives were tragically cut short by gun violence.

The Essence Empowerment Experience, featuring some of the most influential thought-leaders in America, has also become a highpoint of the Festival. It offers free workshops, lectures and seminars at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center designed to “give you the tools to better your world.” I am proud to join such luminaries as Alicia Keys; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; Rev. Al Sharpton; and Bishop T.D. Jakes as part of this year’s Empowerment Experience. The National Urban League, in partnership with leading healthcare services provider HCA, is also running the Essence Festival Empower U Zone for Career Connections. This is the ultimate networking lounge where attendees can meet industry leaders, network with entrepreneurs, get career advancement tips and attend recruitment sessions with some of the top companies in the country. Special presenters include Lisa Nichols, CEO of Motivating the Masses, along with certified life coach, Dee Marshall. If all of that is not enough to get your attention, the musical line-up this year includes Prince; Mary J. Blige; Jill Scott; Erykah Badu; Lionel Richie; and many other premier performers.

When the Essence Music Festival began in 1995, city officials did not fully understand the economic potential of the black consumer, which now has a combined buying power approaching $1.1 trillion. Twenty years later, the annual “Party with a Purpose” has become one of the major tourist attractions and economic infusions in New Orleans and one of the nation’s largest summer festivals. Hope to see you there.

Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.

Verlando Brown: Young scholar beats the odds

Every American city with a sizeable black population has at least one public school named after Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, George Washington Carver, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or other notable African Americans. Collectively these men were not only heroes to our race but among our country’s most illustrious citizens.

Each was an intelligent, brave man of high moral character who overcame tremendous opposition to their success and demonstrated their value to American society. Given their stature and accomplishments, it makes perfect sense to create and name schools in their honor. Unfortunately, over time many of the middle and high schools bearing their names have become stigmatized, victims of systemic neglect, chronic poverty and a disturbing communal disregard for learning.

Drugs; drug dealing; violence; ruthless gang activity; teen pregnancy; and academic failure; coupled with a pathological disdain for authority not only wreaks havoc on urban education, it has the potential to create a permanent underclass. A good education pursued with passion and a sincere commitment to learn is one of the few ways to break this stubborn cycle of self-destruction.

We look the other way and ignore public school failure at our own peril. This week Education Matters presents a success story that speaks directly to hearts and minds of those seeking a way to make a difference.

Verlando Brown born to and raised by a single mother in West Baltimore is a shining example of how parental-guidance, self-advocacy, tenacity and a personal commitment to excellence can produce a young man who overcame many obstacles to venerate the lives and accomplishments of Dunbar, King and Carver.

The first person in his family to graduate college, Verlando attended Booker T. Washington Middle School and Frederick Douglass High School, two of the city’s toughest, most dangerous public schools. After earning his undergraduate degree at Towson University he’s on track to complete his master’s degree at the University of Baltimore in the fall of 2015.

Though life at his school was chaotic Verlando says one afternoon his eighth grade science lesson was interrupted by two uniformed police officers. One officer walked over to a student sitting nearby. In stunned silence the class watched the policeman call out the boy’s name, and ordered him to stand. As the teenager rose from his seat, the officer grabbed and handcuffed his wrists, while the other blocked the doorway. With his head hung down the boy was escorted out the building.

“We all sat there in silence. I couldn’t believe what just happened. This wasn’t some random person you hear about on the news. It was someone I knew. I used to feel safe inside the classroom, but not anymore. The teacher tried to comfort the class. It was very traumatic for everyone. We later heard the boy was taken to Central Booking. We never learned why he was arrested or what became of him. It still haunts me.”

By high school arrests had become commonplace. “There were fights almost every day,” says Verlando. “Some of these fights were real dangerous incidents. Girls brought mace to school for protection, then got into fights with other girls over boys, money, clothes— anything could trigger the violence.

People would gang up against one another. On other days students would fight the teachers. It was sad, Douglass’ statewide test scores were low and the dropout rate was high. It was not an environment that encouraged learning. Survival was the goal of coming to school.”

Nevertheless, Verlando, who describes himself as studious, earned A’s and B’s. His greatest, most consistent source of moral support and guidance is his mother, Catherine Young. She kept him focused and on the path to success. My mom always said to me “I don’t want you to become like all the other guys on the corner selling drugs, dying young. I want you to get ahead in life, to be somebody. I intend to see you to get a good education.”

Catherine is clearly a wise woman. She embraced a simple fact that fails to ignite the imagination of far too many people of color: a proper education was her son’s best, perhaps only hope of escaping the limited choices available to a young black man growing up in West Baltimore, a community where children’s potential can easily be smothered by hopelessness and despair.

Lacking a college education, Catherine knew how difficult it was to get ahead and move up in the world. Over the years she invested her time and energy well, ensuring Verlando would have all the academic opportunities she missed. Catherine’s efforts have come full circle, she credits Verlando’s accomplishments with her recent decision to return to school and earn her college degree.

Next week: Part II

Jayne Matthews Hopson writes about education matters because “only the educated are free.”

Hobby Lobby ruling won’t actually impact small biz

— For the vast majority of small business owners, the hotly debated Hobby Lobby ruling will have no direct impact.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that “closely-held” for-profit corporations (those that are majority owned by five or fewer people) can be granted religious exemptions from certain contraceptive coverage (IUDs, diaphragms, the morning-after pill) required under the Affordable Care Act.

Hobby Lobby is by no means a small business — it has nearly 600 stores and some 13,000 employees. But the Supreme Court’s description of “closely held” companies calls into question how far the ruling might extend.

Seventy-eight percent of small businesses are family-owned, according to LIMBRA, an insurance trade research firm — but only 2% of small businesses have 50 or more employees. This is key to the Hobby Lobby decision because any business with fewer than fifty employees is already exempted from the health insurance mandate under the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Of that 2%, businesses would have to prove a “sincere” religious belief in order to be exempt. While it’s unclear how the sincerity will be tested (or how many businesses might make this claim), it’s unlikely to be in most companies’ best interests to go that route.

The actual cost of the contraception to employers is relatively minimal. According to 2011 report from the Actuarial Research Corporation (which used data from 2010) the corporation’s estimated annual cost, as part of an insurance plan, is $26 per enrolled female. This amount includes all contraception, like standard birth control pills, which was not disputed in the Hobby Lobby case.

“From a purely economic perspective, [unintended pregnancies are] going to cost me and my insurance provider a lot more than birth control costs,” said Jim Houser, owner of Hawethorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Ore., and executive board member of the Main Street Alliance.

He employs eleven workers — four of whom are women — and provides them with complete coverage despite not being legally obligated to do so.

“But, that’s not my decision to make,” added Houser. “Businesses have absolutely no business being involved in the personal relationships of any employee — especially with a woman and her doctor.”

Houser isn’t the only one questioning the Supreme Court’s decision. Laurie Sobel, senior policy analyst with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered by the Department of Health & Human Services: How will the new exemption be enforced? Will companies self-certify (as nonprofits do) or will there be some sort of test to determine the sincerity of a company’s religious beliefs?

There are also serious concerns about what this might mean for businesses that object to other aspects of health coverage. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg raised many of them in her vehement opposition.

“Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations ?” she wrote.

“The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield,” Ginsberg added.


Childhood vaccines are safe. Seriously.

— Children should get vaccinated against preventable and potentially deadly diseases. Period.

That’s what a project that screened more than 20,000 scientific titles and 67 papers on vaccine safety concludes this week. The review appears in the latest edition of the medical journal Pediatrics.

The evidence strongly suggests that side effects from vaccines are incredibly rare, the study authors said. They found no ties between vaccines and the rising number of children with autism, as a small but vocal group of anti-vaccine activists, including actors Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carey, have said.

The review also found no link between vaccines and childhood leukemia, something that was suggested in earlier studies.

The researchers found that some vaccines did cause a few adverse effects but it was only for a tiny fraction of the population.

There was evidence that the meningococcal vaccine can lead to anaphylaxis — a severe, whole-body allergic reaction — in children allergic to ingredients in the vaccine. Other studies found the MMR vaccine was linked to seizures.

“Vaccines, like any other medication, aren’t 100% risk free,” said Dr. Ari Brown an Austin, Texas-based pediatrician and author of the popular book “Baby 411,” who was not involved with the study.

“You have a sore arm, redness at the injection site. Those are the things we see commonly. Fortunately the serious adverse effects is extremely rare.”

Brown said parents ask her how safe vaccines are all the time. Some patients also ask if they should delay or stagger the vaccinations. She counsels against that practice. She said the younger the child, the more danger these diseases present.

“By delaying the vaccines you’re putting your child at risk,” Brown said.

The positive effects of vaccines dramatically outweigh the bad, experts said.

An editorial accompanying the study calls vaccines “one of the most successful public health achievements of the 20th century.”

Because of vaccines, many diseases that plagued children for centuries have all but been eliminated.

“There were good reasons that these diseases were targeted for vaccine development since they are so life-threatening,” said Dr. Carrie Byington, vice-chair for research in the University of Utah’s pediatrics department, and the new chair for the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases.

Millions of Americans live longer on average because of the protection vaccines provide. Life expectancy has gone up in the United States by more than 30 years. Infant mortality decreased from 100 deaths per 1000 to 7 between the 1900s and 2000.

A vaccine for smallpox led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to declare the disease eradicated in 1978. Prior to a vaccination for diphtheria, it was one of the most common causes of illness and death among children. Now it is rarely reported in the United States.

Yet research shows there is still doubt among some medical residents about the effectiveness of vaccinations.

“That is particularly concerning for me,” Byington said. “Young residents may be in the same position as young parents who have trained at a time, or lived at a time, when these diseases were extremely rare, and they may not have ever seen how serious a vaccine-preventable infection can be.”

An increasing number of parents over the years have opted out of getting their children vaccinated. And that may be having a negative impact on the community’s health.

A study found that large clusters of children who had not been vaccinated were close to the large clusters of whooping cough cases in the 2010 California epidemic. While California typically has higher vaccination rates than the rest of the country, that state is dealing with yet another whooping cough epidemic.

This spring also saw an 18-year high number of measles cases in the United States. The largest outbreak was in Ohio where the virus spread quickly among the Amish, who are mostly unvaccinated. This outbreak was a real surprise to health officials who thought that the infectious disease was thought to have been eliminated from the United States in 2000.

The editorial accompanying this latest study suggests doctors, who parents typically trust to tell the truth about medical information, need to use this study to speak with confidence about the importance of vaccinating children.

“Looking at all these mounds of data — there is still no data that show an association that shows vaccine and autism,” said Brown. “I would love it to close this chapter and move on. I don’t think it will. But the more research, the more we learns about autism, the more we can reassure parents that there are no links here.”


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Beyonce: Forbes’ most powerful celebrity

Beyonce isn’t just one of the world’s most influential people. She’s also the world’s most powerful celebrity, according to Forbes magazine.

The publication has released its annual Celebrity 100 list and has named Queen Bey to the top spot.

When you consider the year she’s had, there’s little reason to wonder why. After giving what many viewed as a virtually flawless performance at the 2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show, Beyonce hasn’t paused, embarking on a grand global tour while also readying the release of her self-titled visual album, “Beyonce.”

When that disc arrived to fans’ pleasant surprise in December 2013, the singer notched her fifth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and sparked a platinum hit with the lead single, “Drunk in Love.” (Monica Lewinsky referenced the record when talking about her past with former President Bill Clinton.)

And yet, as Forbes notes, Beyonce’s empire isn’t limited to the music business. While she’s setting out on joint tours with her husband — they’re currently crossing the country with their “On the Run” trek — Beyonce’s also managing her clothing company, line of perfumes, and collaborations with brands like Pepsi and H&M.

All told, Forbes estimates that Beyonce earned roughly $115 million between June 2013 and June 2014. By comparison, her husband made an estimated $60 million, enough to put him in sixth place behind Oprah Winfrey (No. 4 at $82 million) and Ellen DeGeneres (No. 5, at $70 million).

So who’s the person standing directly in Beyonce’s shadow? That would be basketball star LeBron James, who arrived at No. 2 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list, having made an estimated $72 million as of June 2014.


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Michelle Howard becomes Navy’s first female four-star admiral

The U.S. Navy has promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard to admiral, making her the first female four-star officer in the Navy’s 236-year-history, the White House said Tuesday.

Howard, who was the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship, will become vice chief of naval operations, according to her online Navy biography.

“Her historic career is taking a next step today,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Howard’s promotion comes nearly six years after Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody became the U.S. military’s first female four-star officer.

Howard, a 1982 graduate of the Naval Academy, made history when she commanded the amphibious dock landing ship Rushmore in 1999, Earnest said.


™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The right fate for immigrant kids

— It’s time to get beyond the question of who’s to blame for the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, where tens of thousands of children — three-fourths of them from Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador — are streaming into the United States and overwhelming our border enforcement apparatus.

We have to focus on workable solutions and skip half-baked ideas that make the problem worse.

Unfortunately, neither President Obama nor congressional Republicans are bringing their A-game.

You know who did bring theirs? The human smuggling cartels.

The White House recently acknowledged that “criminal syndicates” planted fake media reports on foreign television networks telling desperate would-be migrants that Congress had passed an amnesty and urging people to go north immediately for their “permisos” (permits) to live legally in the United States. Helping what is now nearly 100,000 young people cross the U.S.-Mexico border, at $8,000 per head, the bad guys earned about $800 million. It was a brilliant plan, and an evil one.

How are our leaders responding? The results are not impressive.

Republicans insist that Obama is to blame for the surge because of an accommodation he offered young undocumented immigrants in 2012.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, is demanding that Obama end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which lets young undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children avoid deportation and apply for a work permit, and which Issa claims — with no evidence to back it up — is responsible for the flood of children across the border.

Never mind that none of the children now crossing into the country is eligible for DACA, because anyone who enters the country after June 15, 2007, does not qualify for the program. Never mind that, if DACA were to blame for the influx, it would have happened two years ago.

Never mind that the real reason so many of these kids have been turned over to family members in the United States while awaiting a court date isn’t DACA. It’s because of a longstanding but unspoken policy by the Border Patrol to treat unaccompanied minors differently from adults — and a 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush that prohibits Border Patrol agents from sending them back across the border. It instead requires that they be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services until they can be placed in the custody of a relative.

Meanwhile, Obama is being just as thickheaded — and hardhearted. He will soon ask Congress to provide more than $2 billion in new funding to bolster enforcement on the border.

By all means, because the tens of billions that we spend on securing the homeland — including the $38.2 billion that Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson requested from Congress in the fiscal year 2015 budget request — have been so effective in tightening the border.

Obama also wants additional powers for the executive branch so that immigration officials can speed up the removal of young unaccompanied minors without the nuisance of having to administer due process, including access to legal counsel.

And to think that Obama was once a university lecturer on constitutional law. He needs a refresher course.

This is how Obama deals with what he has called a “humanitarian crisis”? What is humane about taking children who have already been through so much pain and suffering — some of whom were, according to reports, sexually assaulted and threatened by street gangs in Central America — and express shipping them back to those hellholes?

Here are five things the President should do:

— As House Speaker John Boehner suggested a few weeks ago, Obama should send in the National Guard to help the Border Patrol, which is overwhelmed, outnumbered, and occupied as a babysitter. In 2006, Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, in a supporting role, to help Border Patrol agents by repairing fence line and fixing vehicles and thus allowing the agents to patrol the border.

— Obama needs to suspend the Border Patrol’s policy of allowing unaccompanied minors to stay in the United States with relatives. Young people need to be held by U.S. immigration officials until they can be brought before an immigration judge to determine if they should be deported or whether they have a legitimate claim to refugee status. Since current law says that unaccompanied minors have to be placed with relatives within 72 hours, we have to make sure that they get before a judge within that time period. It’s not ideal. But changes have to be made, since the current system has been compromised by smugglers who are using it to line their pockets.

— Children in the custody of U.S. immigration officials, some of whom are as young as 5, must be treated compassionately. They have to be placed in decent, temperature-controlled holding rooms with sanitary conditions and adequate toilet facilities, and given sufficient food and prescribed medicine. They’re not prisoners. They’re guests of this country, until an immigration judge says otherwise.

— Asylum hearings need to be expedited for children from Central America to determine if they qualify for refugee status. Lawyers must be provided. The government can have hearings for groups of immigrants at one time, in order to speed things up. We simply cannot deport any young person who faces a legitimate threat of violence back home. It could be a death sentence.

— Some of these kids are going to have to be deported back to their home countries, in the most public and conspicuous manner possible, so that other people who are thinking about coming here reconsider. The administration has been smart in placing public service announcements in foreign media, telling people they’ve been lied to and that there are no “permisos.” This is a battle of competing messages, and we have to win.

This crisis was years in the making. Cleaning it up will take time and effort. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started.

Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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Climate change can change one’s well-being

— For most of the nearly 30 years since Dr. Nicole Brodie’s asthma diagnosis, the athlete and Army veteran has been able to maintain an uninterrupted life, continuing to teach elementary school, coach a children’s team, and remain active. She was partly able to do this by moving her family from New York State to Atlanta for the warmer climate.

“When I arrived in Atlanta, my asthma was controlled with just [an] albuterol [inhaler] as needed,” she said at a panel event last week. “But in the last 10 to 15 years, I have had to be on oral steroids…I’ve increased to daily Allegra [allergy pill] and nasal sprays. And I keep a Benadryl on me at all times. I have to take four-to-five pills a day to manage my symptoms.”

And three weeks ago, she found herself in the hospital for an emergency intervention. The heat index had risen too quickly, causing her lungs to fall to 75 percent capacity.

The issue of climate change is often discussed in terms of failing infrastructure, energy squabbles, weather disasters, and ecological concerns. But a mounting body of research is showing that individual and communal wellness is also at stake; and communities of color tend to be some of the hardest hit.

“The theories are over. We needed an insurance policy, and now it’s time to cash in,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association said at a press conference to release the report. “For years we’ve debated if [climate change] is happening, but we are now seeing it in patients.”

Two reports released last week examined how the effects of climate change can deeply affect physical and psychological health, on both individual and communal levels. (The studies’ “effects of climate change” referred to trends in extreme weather events, food and water shortages, poor air quality, etc.).

The first report is a survey of 284 physicians of color across 33 states on their experience treating people suffering as a direct or indirect result of climate change. The survey was sponsored by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications (4C Program), and the National Medical Association (the largest and oldest professional organization of African American physicians).

In the survey, 61 percent of physicians reported that climate change is affecting the health of their patients a great deal or a moderate amount, and 88 percent have experienced climate change effects outside of their role as physicians.

The most common climate-change related illnesses doctors were seeing in their patients, with 88 respondents seeing each of these trends, were injuries because of severe weather (such as back damage from shoveling after major snowfall), and illness aggravated by air pollution (such as COPD, asthma, and pneumonia). More than half the doctors also reported increases in treating waterborne and vector-borne illnesses (transmitted by insects or microorganisms, often stirred up by heavy rains and flooding).

In the case of asthma, African Americans already disproportionately suffer from this condition. According to the Office of Minority Health, In 2011 African Americans were 20 percent more likely than Whites to have asthma and three times as likely to die from it. Add the fact that communities of color and low-income communities tend to be situated in polluted areas, and the stage is set for disaster.

“When I was working in emergency medicine, I saw lots of uninsured people, and many had done every home trick they could to stave off [an asthma] attack,” said Dr. Benjamin. “And then they still had to wait because they had no insurance.”

These physical stressors are also taking a psychological toll, according to another report. “Beyond Storms & Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change” explores the mental, physical, and community health impacts of the effects of climate change. This compilation of existing research and expert analysis from climate change solutions nonprofit, ecoAmerica, and the American Psychological Association, finds that Americans will increasingly suffer mental health impacts at the hands of climate change.

“The impacts of climate change on human psychology and well-being arise through two main pathways,” the report reads. “Some impacts will arise from the direct physical impacts of climate change, while others will arise as a result of climate change’s more indirect impacts on human systems and infrastructure.”

The report offers several studies involving Hurricane Katrina victims as an example of a direct and severe hit to mental wellness resulting from climate change. For years after the storm, many survivors experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, “complicated grief,” and increased domestic abuse.

Indirect, or gradual impacts are more difficult to quantify due to a dearth of research. In one example, the study details a loss of personal or occupational identity after losing possessions in weather events, wildfires, and floods, or being unable to continue lifelong, sometimes generational occupations due to environmental changes (such as oceanic changes that destroy shrimping families’ livelihoods). In another example, the study discusses the relationship between rising temperatures and community aggression that has been well documented, particularly in Black communities.

Both reports find that women (particularly mothers), children, the elderly, and low-income families are the most vulnerable to climate change effects. They also both outline suggestions for people and communities to guard themselves against the adverse effects.

Dr. Christie Manning, co-author of the second report and visiting assistant professor of Environmental Studies at Macalester College, asserts that strong neighborhood networks and an emergency plan set in advance are the greatest defenses, for example.

“At the national level we see a lot of stalling and stalemate, but at the local and city level they realize this is something people need to be prepared for,” she explains. “Cities are seeing the infrastructure costs. Municipalities are really engaged in this idea of being prepared, and resilient.”

The good news is that most communities are bracing for impact by beefing up support services. In the beginning of May, The White House released the Third Annual Climate Assessment, and extensively reviewed report, created by a team of more than 300 experts, and guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee. Almost all science professionals have come to the same conclusion as the report: that climate change is affecting this generation now, and that most Americans are feeling the changes.

“Not a lot of people know a climate scientist, so when you say 98 percent of climate scientists say this is happening…it might not mean much to you,” said Dr. Mona Sarfaty, director of the 4C Program at George Mason. “But everybody knows a doctor.”