Monday, October 5, 2015

A caucus of the New York City Council’s 13 Jewish lawmakers is calling on the United States government to admit more Syrian refugees than currently allowed

“We believe that the United States has the opportunity and obligation to do much more to help relieve this crisis,” the caucus, chaired by Councilman Mark Levine, a Manhattan Democrat, said in a joint statement. “We therefore call on President Obama to accelerate the pace at which our nation is providing refuge to Syrian migrants, beyond the current modest target of only 10,000 over the next year.” They said that the migrant crisis has particularly poignancy for them. “Many of us grew up with or have family members who were forced to flee persecution. All of us are keenly aware of the countless times in history in which Jews have been refugees.” More than 4 million refugees have fled Syria following a brutal civil war there. Many observers say this migrant crisis is the worst since World War II, testing the foundations of the European Union. At least some right-leaning countries have shuttered their borders to refugees, while others like Germany have wrestled with massive influxes. The Obama administration announced recently that the United States will increase the number of worldwide refugees they accept each year to 100,000 by 2017, a boost from 70,000. The Jewish Caucus didn’t specify how much higher they would like to see the cap increased.

The genetic makeup of colon cancer tumors and survival rates for patients with the disease differ by race, according to a study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

“These findings put the issue of race more prominently on the radar of investigators that cancer biology may contribute to race-based disparities,” says the study’s co-lead author, Harry Yoon, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic. “While it is too early to change the way we treat these patients, our results indicate that future studies are needed to examine potential biological drivers of these differences more closely.” According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women with more than 93,000 cases estimated to be diagnosed in 2015. Researchers have long known that blacks develop colon cancer at an earlier age and blacks with colon cancer are at higher risk of dying than whites. However, it has been difficult to identify why the differences in survival exist. Researchers analyzed data from a large clinical trial of more than 3,000 patients with stage III colon cancer. The analysis revealed that tumors from whites, blacks, and Asians had different frequencies of mutations in two key cancer-related genes, BRAF and KRAS, which have been associated with worse outcomes. It also found that colon cancers were twice as likely to recur in black patients as in whites; however, the discrepancy was only evident in those under age 50. “The role of the biology of colon tumors according to race has not been examined as extensively,” says Dr. Yoon. “This biology can be reflected in the genetic makeup of tumors, as well as by whether and how quickly cancer returns after the patient has been treated.” Dr. Yoon and his colleagues focused their efforts on finding out if colon cancers are genetically different based on race, as well as if race-based differences exist in recurrence rates. To do this, they examined data from a large clinical trial – Alliance N0147 – which included patients with stage III colon cancer from many centers in North America who all underwent surgery to remove their cancer and chemotherapy after surgery. As part of the trial, the patients provided a self-description of their race as either white, Asian, or black or African-American. The researchers then evaluated the tumors from these participants to see if a mutation was present in the cancer-related genes BRAF and KRAS. They also noted if the cancer had returned after treatment. Analysis of the data showed that tumors from whites, blacks and Asians were different in terms of the frequency of mutations in the BRAF and KRAS genes. Tumors from whites were twice as likely to have BRAF mutations; whereas, tumors from blacks had the highest frequency of KRAS mutations. Tumors from Asians were the most likely to have normal copies of both genes. The analysis also indicated that the colon cancers among blacks had more than double the risk of cancer recurrence, compared to whites. However, this discrepancy was only visible among young patients – those under age 50. Almost half of younger black patients experienced colon cancer recurrence within five years, compared to only 22% to 35% of whites or Asian patients of any age. “In addition to published data indicating that a limited number of genes are preferentially mutated in colon cancers from black versus white patients, our study revealed differences in the mutation frequencies of BRAF and KRAS oncogenes that provide prognostic information in colon cancer patients,” says Frank Sinicrope, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic and co-lead author. “Our data provide further evidence that colon cancers from blacks are intrinsically different and are associated with more aggressive clinical behavior in young black patients.”

Is John Derbyshire the white Ta-Nehisi Coates?

Is it really racist to point out that any given black was almost fifteen times more likely to have killed a white in 2013 than any given white was to have killed a black?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Official statistics from the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) have once again confirmed that, despite decades of affirmative action and billions of dollars of set-asides, black students still underperform academically when compared to whites

The new NCES study, titled “School Composition and the Black–White Achievement Gap” made a point of studying the lack of black academic achievement in schools that were “predominantly black” and those in which blacks were a minority. The report calls this distinction the “Black student density” and used the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) grade 8 mathematics assessment data. Black students at the national level, on average, scored 30 points lower than their White peers in 2011. Among the results highlighted in the report, the study indicates that the achievement gap between black and white students remains whether schools fall in the highest density category (that its, schools that are composed of at least 60% black students) or the lowest density category (i.e., schools that are composed of less than or equal to 20% black students).

Seven out of every eight immigrants to the United States in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world

The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Jewish power: FBI destroys evidence linked to Medicare fraud among Orthodox Jewish community in New York

The FBI destroyed records indicating potential Medicaid fraud among haredi Orthodox Jews in upstate New York’s Orange County supposedly because they came from an "unauthorized" investigation. Justin Rodriguez, a spokesman for Orange County, said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had destroyed materials submitted by a county social services employee, Nicole Latreille. Latreille filed a lawsuit recently against the county saying that she was penalized for being a whistle-blower after reporting evidence of $40 million in fraud among residents of Kiryas Joel, a predominantly Hasidic Jewish village inside the town of Monroe. Rodriguez said that Latreille was suspended temporarily and given a lateral assignment for using county computers and restricted databases “not pursuant to her official duties, but as a private citizen.” Latreille’s allegations, Rodriguez said, “while populist, are not legally tenable and in fact may have compromised ongoing investigations.” According to Rodriguez, the FBI informed the county that it had destroyed the materials sent by Latreille earlier in 2015 “due to the improprieties associated with the manner in which the information was obtained.” The bureau said that the information was not used in any criminal investigation or prosecution. Latreille’s complaint suggests that she was punished because her investigation “revealed corruption by persons associated with political allies” of County Executive Steve Neuhaus in Kiryas Joel.

India: A man accused of beheading a five-year-old boy as part of a witchcraft ritual has been thrashed and set on fire by enraged locals

Tirumala Rao, 35, seized the child from a nursery inside a health center and carried him to his house. He then performed a prayer ritual before cutting off the helpless boy's head, collecting his blood in a vessel and sprinkling it all over his house. The incident was discovered when the victim's mother, named L Adilakshmi, went to collect her son from the nursery in Pokuru in Andhra Pradesh in south east India and found that he had disappeared. A family friend told her that she had seen Rao take the child and the distraught woman was then said to have gone to Rao’s house with a group of villagers. She found the beheaded body of her son in the corner of one room and his head in the other corner, next to the vessel of his blood. They then tracked down the accused, who had fled, tied him to a pole, doused him in kerosene and set him alight. As they lynched him the suspect was heard to have said that he could bring the boy back to life. He was found by police and taken to hospital for treatment, where he is in a critical condition.