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San Jose Police Crack Down On Violence

The San Jose Police Department is cracking down on violent crime after the city's 25th homicide this year.

KQED Launches Affordable Care Act Guide

Are you confused about Obamacare? KQED and The California Report created a guide to help answer your questions about the Affordable Care Act.

FDA Considers Regulating Homeopathic Products

The Food and Drug Administration began hearings Monday on the regulation and marketing of homeopathic products. Homeopathy is based on the notion that illnesses can be cured by highly diluted doses of the substance causing the illness. At issue is whether or not these remedies should go through a drug approval process similar to conventional treatments. Considered a pseudo-science by the medical establishment, patients and practitioners swear by the efficacy of homeopathy. We'll get an update on the hearings and discuss whether or not the FDA should regulate homeopathic products.

Cow's Milk Found in Breast Milk Sold Online

A study published this week found that 10 percent of human breast milk purchased online is tainted with cow's milk. The report illuminates the intense demand for breast milk by families who are unable to produce milk of their own and whose babies may be sensitive to formula. In this hour, we discuss the growing demand for breast milk and examine the ethical and safety implications of online sales and donations.

PBS NewsHour

House GOP rebels blame party leaders as contributions falter

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), center, with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), left, and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), speaks
         during a press conference on U.S. House bill H.R. 428 in the Cannon House Office Building on March 12, 2014 in Washington,
         DC. Massie and other GOP rebels blame party leaders for diminishing contributions. Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), center, with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), left, and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), speaks during a press conference on U.S. House bill H.R. 428 in the Cannon House Office Building on March 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Massie and other GOP rebels blame party leaders for diminishing contributions. Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images.

WASHINGTON — As he began his first re-election run in early 2013, tea party Rep. Thomas Massie had no trouble raising money from business interests.

Then came 2015.

The Kentucky Republican voted against returning John Boehner, R-Ohio, to the speaker’s job and opposed an effort by GOP leaders to avoid a standoff with President Barack Obama over immigration that threatened to shut down the Department of Homeland Security.

In the first three months of 2013, Massie reported $46,000 rolling in from tobacco, trucking, health care and other industries. During the first quarter of 2015, Massie has collected just $1,000 from political action committees, which funnel contributions to candidates from business, labor or ideological interests. That money came from the conservative Eagle Forum.

Massie and some other conservatives say the reason their business contributions have fallen is simple: GOP leaders are retaliating for their defiance.

“Those who don’t go along to get along aren’t going to get as many PAC checks,” Massie said last week, using the acronym for political action committees.

None offers concrete proof that top Republicans are behind the contribution falloff. But they say the evidence is clear.

“I’m an engineer with a science background. I look at empirical evidence. If you have enough data points, you can prove something,” Massie said.

Conservatives point out that leadership has targeted them before, and they cite Boehner’s removal of some rebels from coveted committee assignments. In March, an outside group allied with GOP leaders ran radio and Internet ads accusing some House Republicans who opposed efforts to end the Homeland Security impasse of being “willing to put our security at risk.”

GOP leaders deny they have orchestrated an effort to deny business support to recalcitrant conservatives, arguing that they want to protect Republican-held seats. But they acknowledge that votes can have consequences with business groups whose political spending plays major roles in congressional campaigns.

“If they agree with what the speaker is trying to accomplish and you don’t support the speaker, why should they support you?” asked Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a Boehner ally.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that many GOP rebels are having a harder time raising cash from corporate interests, while others are not.

In a public show of disloyalty that party leaders scorn, 25 House Republicans voted against Boehner to be speaker last January, including one who voted “present.” Of the 24 expected to seek re-election next year, 15 saw their contributions from PACs fall between this year’s opening quarter and the same period in 2013.

For a few who did not file reports for the first quarter of 2013, this year’s data was compared with the earliest report from their 2014 campaign.

None of the 24 has received contributions yet this year from political committees run by Boehner and the other two top GOP leaders, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, according to FEC reports. The three leaders have donated to dozens of other House Republicans, chiefly those facing tight re-elections.

All except perhaps three of the 24 mutinous Republicans are in safe GOP districts and should breeze to re-election.

In the first quarter of 2015, maverick Tim Huelskamp of Kansas saw his contributions from political committees fall in half from the $35,000 he reported raising during that period in 2013. He says lobbyists have told him of a “do not give list” from top Republicans that names about 35 GOP lawmakers.

“Folks understood, `Hey, you may not get what you want if you’re helping the folks'” on the list, said Huelskamp.

Leading Republicans deny such a list exists.

“That is beyond conspiracy theory, because if someone was going to do the list, it would be me,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a Boehner friend and frequent critic of his party’s insurgents.

Top Republicans say campaign contributions can vary over time for several reasons, including a preference by many donors to help incumbents in tight races or freshmen as well as lawmakers’ own money-raising efforts. They note that the first quarter of a nonelection year is early, with plenty of time for donations before the November 2016 election.

“You can blame failure on a lot of fathers,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who leads the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign organization.

Not all rebellious Republicans whose business contributions have dropped blame party leaders, and many have found ways to offset the smaller amounts they’ve raised from political committees.

Of the 24 House Republicans who opposed Boehner’s re-election, half have raised more this year than they did in early 2013 and 18 have fatter campaign treasuries than they did then.

Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., got 12 votes for speaker in January. His political committee contributions plummeted from $38,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to $3,000 this year.

But thanks to a huge jump in individuals’ donations, Webster raised $233,000 overall from January through March of 2015, nearly $100,000 more than in early 2013. He says he’s not aware of GOP leaders steering business money away from him.

“I would suspect if people like the job I’m doing, they’re going to give to us,” he said.

The post House GOP rebels blame party leaders as contributions falter appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Improving dementia care requires a change in mindset

Senior citizen in wheelchair

Editor’s Note: Last year, Paul Solman reported on artisanal entrepreneurs — individuals carving out their own careers, and, if you believe Harvard economist Lawrence Katz, saving the middle class along with them. Paul met the typical hipsters making their own chocolate and popsicles in Brooklyn. And then he met Kerry Mills, who got so creative with her career, she created a new profession. Mills is a dementia coach. “There’s a ton of jobs out there that you just have to go figure it out,” she told Making Sen$e last year. “You have to kind of craft it in your community.”

On Thursday, we revisited a part of their interview that didn’t make it into the piece: Paul shared some of his own frustrations as a caretaker for his parents near the end of their lives, and Kerry offered advice for how to talk to a loved one suffering from dementia.

In this essay, Mills shares more ideas for caretakers on how to better engage with patients who have dementia.


Dementia is a symptom or set of symptoms. It is not an actual disease, but a term used to describe a group of brain disorders that causes a loss in cognitive abilities such as memory, language, abstract reasoning, and judgment, to name a few. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Since the term “brain disorder” is used in the definition of dementia, most people are very confused about how to help people with the condition. Some even become intimidated by the definition, furthering their negative reaction to the person diagnosed.

The phrase “brain disorder” also projects a sense that the person with dementia has lost his or her mind to one degree or another.

Because of this confusion, people with dementia, more often than not, do not receive appropriate care. In fact, some care techniques exacerbate the condition and cause the person to engage in problem behaviors.

People with dementia are not losing their minds or going crazy. They are the people they have always been, albeit with some limitations.
It’s been my career-long goal to remedy this situation by establishing care practices that maintain the person’s dignity, stimulate independence and self-sufficiency, and cultivate real consideration for the person within.

Consider the case of Jane, who lives in a nursing home. Every time a staff member brought her to the shower, she screamed, yelled and was resistant to care. Jane’s obstinacy was, of course, considered a terrible “behavior.” However, two easily applied intervention techniques in her care have led to significant changes in her behavior. We did not use medications nor did anyone tell Jane to stop yelling and screaming, as is typically the case.

The first intervention was the manner in which Jane was brought to the shower room. It is common practice to undress nursing home residents while they are in their rooms, place them on a shower chair, cover them with a sheet and then wheel them from their bedroom to the shower room. Most of us would find this to be absolutely humiliating and embarrassing. Jane’s behavior told us that at the very least, she was not happy. Jane now walks (in her pajamas and bathrobe) to the shower room. This has minimized her resistance greatly because she is not upset for 10 minutes before getting to the shower. Since she is calmer, the staff is calmer.

This makes the second intervention work even better. The staff now talks with her about what is going to take place and includes her in the decision rather than dominating the situation and forcing her to do something that makes her uncomfortable. They turn on the water and then ask her if the temperature is to her liking. Next, they ask her to take off her PJs and offer to help her so she doesn’t get them wet. Once in the shower, they ask her to participate, and because she is calm, she is able to hear them, respond to them and participate in her own shower.

As you can see, two small interventions are not difficult, require no additional work or effort, and have a very high success rate. They do, however, require people to understand that a person with dementia is still a person. We shouldn’t be surprised that people with dementia react the same way we would if we were in their situation. The good news is that if we treat people with dementia the way we would want to be treated in the same situation, we will be more inclined to interact with them more appropriately.

Having cared for this unique population, in one capacity or another, for the past 14 years, I can assure you that people with dementia are not losing their minds or going crazy. They are the people they have always been, albeit with some expressive and memory-retrieval limitations. Let’s face it, we all have these limitations to some degree; the person with dementia just experiences them to a greater extent.

This is not to say that I am minimizing the condition. On the contrary, it is a frightening state to be in or to witness a loved one experiencing. The onset of dementia creates significant upheaval in the lives of all concerned. However, the upheaval can be minimized and managed through education.

The onset of dementia creates significant upheaval in the lives of all concerned. However, the upheaval can be minimized and managed through education.
How often have I witnessed a family member’s surprise at the results of the simplest change in the approach to care giving? The same is true of health care professionals, who adopt a dementia-driven strategy of care and see a positive transformation in resident behavior, interaction and personal fulfillment, as well as an improvement in staff morale.

We don’t achieve these changes in attitude by waving a magic wand. It takes a deliberate decision by the care partner to abandon familiar, but inappropriate, methods of care in exchange for new and effective approaches specifically designed for people with dementia. Change is difficult for all of us, but the positive results of dementia-specific care reinforce the need to change and increase the desire for more hands-on training; success is the best motivator. It’s a dynamic that is difficult to visualize – one has to experience the smiles and behavioral changes in a person with dementia to fully appreciate the new strategy.

Families must demand this quality of care for their loved ones and must be willing to familiarize themselves in best-care practices. When the health care industry discovers this shift in, might I say, consumer demand, they will respond accordingly.

The vast majority of professional caregivers I’ve known want to provide excellent services and see their charges enjoy life to the max. Many extended care organizations want to do likewise, but cost becomes a factor. I’m not oblivious to this consideration. However, cost can be mitigated with the implementation of an effective program that satisfies the unique needs of the memory-impaired, thereby establishing the organization as an attractive resource for families seeking an alternative to personally caring for their loved one or for those looking to create a care team for the person with dementia. This can be accomplished in a residence or engaging the services of a home-care agency.

Successfully caring for people with dementia requires a change in mindset for families, professionals and all the ancillary service providers. Only then can we hope to have an environment that reverses the tendency to maintain a one-size-fits-all approach for the care of our elderly. Such an environment is not out of reach.

The post Improving dementia care requires a change in mindset appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Two Listeria recalls raise questions about ice cream manufacturing

Blue Bell Ice Cream is seen on shelves of an Overland Park grocery store prior to being removed on April 21, 2015 in
         Overland Park, Kansas. Blue Bell Creameries recalled all products following Listeria contamination that caused at least 10
         illnesses and 3 deaths. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Blue Bell Ice Cream is seen on shelves of an Overland Park grocery store prior to being removed on April 21, 2015 in Overland Park, Kansas. Blue Bell Creameries recalled all products following Listeria contamination that caused at least 10 illnesses and 3 deaths. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Major recalls from two well-known ice cream companies due to the discovery of listeria bacteria raise questions about how the pathogen could have contaminated multiple ice cream manufacturing plants — and whether the discoveries are related.

Blue Bell Creameries of Texas and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio — extremely popular brands in their home states — took all their products off shelves this week. Blue Bell ice cream is linked to 10 illnesses in four states, including three deaths. There are no known illnesses linked to the Jeni’s recall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recalls are unusual: Listeria is rarely found in ice cream because it can’t grow at freezing temperatures.

“At this time, the FDA does not believe that the finding of listeria in one sample of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is related to the outbreak and recall associated with Blue Bell Ice Cream,” said Food and Drug Administration spokesman Jeff Ventura. “We are continuing to investigate both situations and will provide updated information to consumers as we learn more.”

John Lowe, Jeni’s CEO, said in a statement on the company’s website that it is working with its suppliers to determine if the listeria was introduced by one of the ingredients the company uses. The company said Thursday it is recalling all ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets and ice cream sandwiches and temporarily closing retail stores.

“We will not reopen the kitchen until we can ensure the safety of our customers,” Lowe said in the statement.

The recalls are unusual: Listeria is rarely found in ice cream because it can’t grow at freezing temperatures. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture discovered the listeria in a random sample of Jeni’s ice cream from a Whole Foods store in Lincoln. Jeni’s said the recalled ice cream was distributed in the United States to retail outlets, including food service and grocery stores, as well as online at jenis.com. The recall includes all products bearing the brand name “Jeni’s.”

Also Thursday, Blue Bell said it will close its facilities in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama for intensive cleaning. The plants will be closed next week and possibly into the following week, a spokesman said. Blue Bell did produce some ice cream in its plants this week, but that product will be used for testing and data gathering and won’t be sold to the public.

The FDA said it still has open investigations in all three plants and will evaluate Blue Bell’s progress in removing listeria from the plant and its products.

Speaking earlier this week about the listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell products, the CDC’s Dr. Robert Tauxe said the discovery is a “wakeup call” for the ice cream industry. Listeria is commonly found in processed meats, unpasteurized cheeses and unpasteurized milk. Listeria in cantaloupes was linked to 30 deaths in a 2011 outbreak.

The bacteria is found in soil and water and it can be tracked into a manufacturing facility, carried by animals or spread by employees not using proper sanitation practices. It can be very difficult to get rid of once it contaminates a processing facility, partly because it grows well in refrigeration.

Listeria generally only affects the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and premature labor for women and serious illness or death in newborn babies. Healthy, younger adults and most children can consume listeria with no ill effects or only mild illness.

The post Two Listeria recalls raise questions about ice cream manufacturing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Jeni’s ice cream recalls all products for possible listeria contamination

Jeni's sweet corn with blackberry ice cream. Photo by Bonnie Trafelet/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images

Jeni’s sweet corn with blackberry ice cream. Photo by Bonnie Trafelet/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A second ice cream company has shut down production this week after health officials found listeria in a sample of its frozen treats.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio said on its website that it recalled its frozen products. The action follows a similar action by Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries Monday. Blue Bell’s ice cream was linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states and three deaths.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the recalls are connected. Listeria isn’t commonly found in ice cream, since the bacteria can’t grow at freezing temperatures. The FDA did not have a comment on the recall.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are no known illnesses linked to Jeni’s products. In an online statement, the company said it is recalling all ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches and closing retail stores until its products are “ensured to be 100 percent safe.”

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture found listeria in a sample of Jeni’s ice cream it had randomly collected at a Whole Foods in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“We will be working with our suppliers to determine if the bacteria was introduced by one of the ingredients we use,” said John Lowe, the company’s CEO. “We will not reopen the kitchen until we can ensure the safety of our customers.”

Jeni’s said the recalled ice cream was distributed in the United States to retail outlets, including food service and grocery stores, as well as online at jenis.com. The recall includes all products bearing the brand name “Jeni’s.”

Listeria generally only affects the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and their newborn infants. It can cause fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms.

The bacteria is found in soil and water that can be tracked into a facility or carried by animals. It can be very difficult to get rid of once it contaminates a processing facility, partly because it grows well in refrigeration. It is commonly found in processed meats, unpasteurized cheeses and unpasteurized milk, and it is sometimes found in other foods as well — listeria in cantaloupes was linked to 30 deaths in a 2011 outbreak.

The post Jeni’s ice cream recalls all products for possible listeria contamination appeared first on PBS NewsHour.