Friday, September 29, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - September 29 Edition

Athletics, Education, Well-being

“A two-tiered system of youth sports—one in which the wealthy play on pricey private clubs and the less well-off are limited to uncompetitive community programs—also undermines one of the quieter virtues of team sports: They can be places of organic integration, where economic and racial differences are supplanted by ordinary friendship and the collective desire to win. A football player interviewed by Canadian researchers on his sports experience explained how that social mixing played out on his team:

Before football, I had never like had different friends of different races. And in football, everyone’s just, yeah your Jamaican kids, Somalian kids, people from Singapore, some Italians. So it really helps you learn how to be, how to deal, like not deal, but how to make friends, diverse friends.

Groups of all kinds, including community organizations, nonprofits, major league sports teams, and corporations, are mobilizing to bring athletic opportunities to all kids. Many gathered at the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Summit in September to share their ideas. Theresa Lou Bowick from Rochester, New York, talked about the no-frills bike-riding initiative she founded six years ago, Conkey Cruisers, that invites residents of all ages to ride around the neighborhoods on donated bikes; riders meet at the corner of Conkey and Clifford Avenues for nightly “voyages.”

In Eugene, Oregon, Kidsports provides sports options for 14,000 kids in grades kindergarten through eight, regardless of income or athletic ability. Club teams and other expensive sports options have cut the number of kids who participate in Kidsports, said Beverly Smith, the executive director. But Smith embraces the fact that her inclusive local group is the default organization for some: “It’s a point of pride,” she said. Nike, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Major League Baseball, among other organizations, pledged to make sports more available to low-income children.”

Communities, Urban Renewal, Opportunity

“Besides true grit and 40 years of steady effort to come back, the Pittsburgh region ― the city and surrounding counties that together constitute the nation’s 26th largest metro area ― has benefited from a host of special circumstances. They include geography that kept the focus on a downtown that did not collapse and on neighborhoods that did not lose their communal identity; two top-flight educational institutions, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon; a tradition of family philanthropy that includes names such as Mellon, Heinz, Frick and Carnegie; a world-class bank, PNC, heavily committed to the city; the world-class University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; abundant energy sources, including frack-able natural gas; an infrastructure of parks, libraries and other cultural institutions left over from the city’s wealthy heyday; and, of course, pro sports teams such as the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, who style themselves as emblems of the city.

“Pittsburgh may not be exactly a blue-collar town now,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, a Virginia native who settled his family in a city neighborhood. “But the blue-collar mentality survives,” he told me during training camp late this summer.

The challenge now is to translate that mentality into what Mayor Bill Peduto called “a fourth industrial revolution,” focused primarily on human capital ― through education, housing and jobs that lift people out of poverty ― and the environment. “The fourth revolution is about people fulfilling their potential and about giving those who’ve been left behind a full chance to be part of the future,” Peduto said.

That means focusing on the low-income neighborhoods that are too often ignored (in Pittsburgh they tend to be on hard-to-reach hilltops) and on other neighborhoods that are gentrifying long-term residents out of their homes.”

Breast Cancer, Cancer Treatment

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Verzenio (abemaciclib) to treat adult patients who have hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer that has progressed after taking therapy that alters a patient’s hormones (endocrine therapy). Verzenio is approved to be given in combination with an endocrine therapy, called fulvestrant, after the cancer had grown on endocrine therapy. It is also approved to be given on its own, if patients were previously treated with endocrine therapy and chemotherapy after the cancer had spread (metastasized).

"Verzenio provides a new targeted treatment option for certain patients with breast cancer who are not responding to treatment, and unlike other drugs in the class, it can be given as a stand-alone treatment to patients who were previously treated with endocrine therapy and chemotherapy," said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Verzenio works by blocking certain molecules (known as cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6), involved in promoting the growth of cancer cells. There are two other drugs in this class that are approved for certain patients with breast cancer, palbociclib approved in February 2015 and ribociclib approved in March 2017.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health estimates approximately 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 40,610 will die of the disease. Approximately 72 percent of patients with breast cancer have tumors that are HR-positive and HER2-negative."

Kindness, Paying it Forward

Read or watch:

"A husband and wife sit at the bar at the Applebee’s in Washington, Pa.

They are there three or four times a week, and they randomly pick up the tab of some diners. Several people have benefited from their generosity.
She posted on Facebook, “Thank you to the person that took care of the bill tonight at Applebee’s in Washington! This person paid for the whole party of 16. I have never had this happen before and it brought tears to everyone’s eyes.”

Good food, good times, and sometimes, when you least expect it, the meal is taken care of. It happened earlier this week to Jolie Welling. It was her daughter’s birthday celebration.

“I was almost in tears,” Samantha Powell said. “It touches me, too.”

Powell was the server the night of the birthday party.

But who are these people?"

Politics, Gerrymandering, Supreme Court

"Is partisan gerrymandering constitutional? And if not, how is it to be measured? Those are the questions at the heart of one of the most consequential Supreme Court cases of the year, which the justices will hear next week. How the court answers those questions in the case, Gill v. Whitford, has the potential to fundamentally change how we build our representative democracy.

Later this fall, FiveThirtyEight is launching an audio documentary series about the challenges of reforming the redistricting process in America. Traditionally, state lawmakers redraw the maps that determine the races in which you vote after the census every 10 years. Reformers want to change who draws the maps and/or the criteria for drawing them. One of the episodes of our series focuses on the gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court. Rather than keep it in our pocket until after the case is heard, we wanted to share it with you ahead of oral arguments, which are on Oct. 3. So here it is! Listen here or subscribe to the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast feed."

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