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Stone Mountain's Giant Confederate Monument Avoids Removal

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — The Confederate flags that have long flapped at the base of Stone Mountain, placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, will be moved to a less prominent area, joining other relics of the Civil War. New exhibits will offer a fuller and more complicated description of the park’s history, attempting to reach beyond the war it memorializes to the role the Ku Klux Klan and resistance to desegregation played in its creation.

But the enormous monument at the center of the park — Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into stone as a Confederate equivalent to Mount Rushmore — is not going anywhere.

Officials in Georgia voted on Monday to modernize Stone Mountain Park, prodded to update what has long been one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations as it confronts staggering financial losses and major vendors pulling out after the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice protests last year.

Yet the solution approved by the park’s governing board has frustrated critics on all sides. Activists who want to strip out, or at least try to downplay, the specter of the Confederacy over the park viewed it as a half-measure. Supporters of the monument have resisted any changes to what they see as a precious homage to their Southern heritage.

“Some people are going to say they’re not going far enough,” said Bill Stephens, the chief executive of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which oversees the park. “Others are going to say they’re going too far.”

“All I know is, it’s important to tell the whole story,” Mr. Stephens said. “There’s plenty to be said, that most people don’t know.” He pointed to the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement in its creation as an example.

The division reflects a familiar tension in Georgia, which is wrestling with conflicting perceptions of itself as Democrats have made political strides in a deeply conservative state and the population has grown increasingly diverse.

“We’re at a point where the state is teetering on going one way or the other politically,” said Sheffield Hale, the president and chief executive of the Atlanta History Center, describing the demographic shifts and surge in political participation driving a “period of political flux.”

“The mountain is at the center of that,” he said.

The debate has also illuminated limitations of the broader efforts to dismantle the symbols of the Confederacy that have endured for generations across the South. Monuments to Confederate leaders were toppled and names were stripped from buildings amid the protests and reckoning over race that erupted across the country last year after George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police.

But efforts to take on the Stone Mountain memorial were stymied by legal constraints and the logistics of taking down a monument that is 90 feet tall, 190 feet across and covers roughly three acres on the side of a mountain. (Removing it would most likely require years and lots of explosives.)

The idea for the sculpture — one of the largest bas-relief carvings in the world — emerged in 1914, portrayed as a massive memorial to the Lost Cause, or the notion that the South was defending more than just slavery in the Civil War.

The effort took decades to complete. It stalled during the Great Depression but picked up new momentum in 1954 as Marvin Griffin, a candidate for governor riding the outcry following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, promised to uphold segregation and finish the monument. (The park is owned by the state.)

Critics and historians said that racist anger, more than heartache over Confederate bloodshed, fueled the monument’s creation. “They have the wrong people on the mountain,” Mr. Hale said, suggesting that it might have been more accurate to depict segregationist politicians instead of Confederate leaders. “This mountain is about massive resistance to desegregation. It’s not about the Civil War.”

The park has long been one of the most popular destinations in the state, but it has seen a precipitous drop in revenue, losing $ 27 million between 2019 and 2020. Marriott, which operates the hotel and conference center on the park’s grounds, has said it was pulling out.

The movement by the park’s governing board has underscored the crucial role that economic factors have had in motivating change. In Mississippi, the threat of canceled sporting events and souring business investment ignited the final effort to bring down the state flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem, which had flown for 126 years and weathered many previous attempts.

But supporters of the monument contend that its history can be a force for reinvestment. “We’re in favor of ‘heritage tourism,’” said Martin K. O’Toole, a spokesman for the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, comparing it to colonial tourist sites.

“The carvings memorialize the people who served the Confederacy,” Mr. O’Toole said. “You can admire people like Robert E. Lee and not be in favor of segregation.”

He said that legal protections limited the actions of park officials. But activists contend that the board had ample room to move more aggressively.

Stone Mountain Park, with 3,200 acres of walking trails, lakes and amusement rides, officially opened to the public on April 14, 1965 — the hundredth anniversary of the night President Abraham Lincoln was shot.

“The natural surroundings are amazing,” said Bona Allen, who can trace his heritage back to the Confederacy and has become a leader in the effort to minimize that history in the park. “It’s just marred by the ugliness of the Confederacy.”

Beyond the sculpture, the park is packed with references to the Confederacy: There are boulevards named for Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and a drive named for Confederate war heroes. State law says that the park’s overseers “shall continue the practice of stocking, restocking, and sales of Confederate memorabilia.”

Some visitors to the park on Monday expressed concerns about scrubbing away history. Joe Aronoski, 82, had just taken a tram to the carving and the top of Stone Mountain for the first time. “It’s American history,” said Mr. Aronoski, who was visiting from Fall River, Mass. “It shouldn’t be destroyed. What are you going to do? Make-believe the Civil War didn’t happen?”

The park has been a focal point in Georgia’s political tensions. Far-right activists and white supremacist militia group were barred last summer from gathering there.

But its location also reflects the way Georgia has pulled away from that past: It is less than 20 miles from Atlanta, the home of the civil rights movement and a hub for the state’s explosive and diverse growth. Civil War history is not what draws many to the park.

“Sad to say, you get used to it,” Jewel Minter, who is Black, said of the troubling legacy that looms over the park. Superficial tweaks to the park, she said, would not lead to the substantial societal changes that she believes are necessary. “You can put Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King up there,” she said. “What is that going to do about how we’re still not getting what we need?”

Still, it was not enough to discourage her from coming with her cousin after finishing a dance class.

“It’s beautiful,” Ms. Minter said as she sat in the shade eating lunch, referring to the bright sky and lush, tree-covered hills that brought her to the park and paying no mind to the Confederate leaders on horseback etched into the mountain behind her.

Author: Timothy Pratt and Rick Rojas
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Queen cuts 'terribly poignant' figure as 'she avoids showing emotion' despite Harry attack

Body language expert and author Judi James analysed pictures of the Queen’s Saturday outing for Express.co.uk and shared her insights.

The analyst told Express.co.uk: “There’s something terribly poignant in the thought that, in the face of personal grief plus all the pressures of painful to hear comments being made by her grandson in the US, this ninety-five-year-old woman got up, put on her brightest red coat, hat and lipstick, added a brooch given to her by her recently deceased husband and went off to work as usual.”

The Queen seemed set on not displaying deep emotions, Judi claimed.

She added: “Resolutely determined to avoid any visible signs of inner emotions like self-pity or even anger, the Queen actually managed to look more buoyant than usual as she toured an aircraft carrier yesterday.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Freezing Breast Cancer to Death Avoids Surgery

In the United States, cryoablation or freezing tissue to death is a primary treatment option for a variety of cancers, including those originating in or spread to the bone, cervix, eye, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, and prostate.

Cryoablation for prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in men, was first approved in the 1990s.

But unlike in Europe, this nonsurgical approach is not approved for breast cancer in the US, one of the most common cancers in women.

So why is this approach still experimental for breast cancer?

“I don’t know,” answered cryoablation researcher Richard Fine, MD, West Cancer Center in Germantown, Tennessee, when asked by Medscape Medical News.

“It’s very interesting how slow the FDA is in approving devices for breast cancer [when compared with] other cancers,” he said.

New Clinical Data

Perhaps new clinical data will eventually lead to approval of this laparoscopic technique for use in low-risk breast cancer. However, the related trial had a controversial design that might discourage uptake by practitioners if it is approved, commented an expert not involved in the study.

Nevertheless, the new data show that cryoablation can be an effective treatment for small, low-risk, early-stage breast cancers in older patients.

The findings come from ICE-3, a multicenter single-arm study of cryoablation in 194 such patients with mean follow-up of roughly 3 years.

It used liquid nitrogen-based cryoablation technology from IceCure Medical Ltd, an Israeli company and the study sponsor.

The results show that 2.06% (n = 4) of patients had a recurrence in the same breast, which is “basically the same” as lumpectomy, the surgical standard for this patient group, said Fine, who is the lead investigator on the trial.

These are interim data, Fine noted, when presenting the findings recently at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting, held virtually because of the pandemic.

The primary outcome is the 5-year recurrence rate, and this is the first-ever cryoablation trial that does not involve follow-up surgery, he said.

Cryoablation, which delivers a gas to a tumor via a thin needle-like probe that is guided by ultrasound, has multiple advantages over surgery, Fine commented.

“The noninvasive procedure is fast, painless, and can be delivered under local anesthesia in a doctor’s office. Recovery time is minimal and cosmetic outcomes are excellent with little loss of breast tissue and no scarring,” he said in a meeting press statement.

The potential market for cryoablation in breast cancer is large, as it is intended for tumors ≤1.5 cm, which comprise approximately 60%-70% of stage 1 breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive (HR+), and HER2-negative (HER2–), Fine told Medscape Medical News.

Cryoablation is part of a logical, de-escalation of breast cancer care, he added. “We have moved from radical mastectomy to modified mastectomy to lumpectomy — so the next step in that evolution is ablative technology, which is ‘nonsurgical.’ ”

There are other experimental ablative treatments for breast cancer including high-frequency ultrasound and laser, but cryoablation is the furthest along in development.

Cryoablation as a primary cancer treatment was first approved for coverage by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for localized prostate cancer in 1999.

But the concept extends back to 1845, when English physician James Arnott first used iced salt solutions (about –20 °C or – 4 °F) to induce tissue necrosis, reducing tumor size and ameliorating pain. Because the crude cryogen needed to be applied topically, the pioneering technique was limited to breast and cervical cancers because of their accessibility.

Not Likely to Show Superiority

The new study’s population was comprised of women aged 60 years or older (mean of 75 years) with unifocal invasive ductal cancers measuring ≤1.5 cm or less that were all low-grade, HR+, and HER2–, as noted above.

The liquid nitrogen-based cryoablation consisted of freeze-thaw-freeze cycle that totals 20-40 minutes, with freezing temperatures targeting the tumor area and turning it into an “ice ball.”

That ice ball eventually surrounds the tumor, creating a “lethal zone” and thus a margin in which no cancer exists, akin to surgery, said Fine.

There were no significant device-related adverse events or complications reported, say the investigators. Most of the adverse events were minor and included bruising, localized edema, minor skin freeze burn, rash, minor bleeding from needle insertion, minor local hematoma, skin induration, minor infection, and pruritis.

Two of 15 patients who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsies had a positive sentinel node. At the discretion of their treating physician, 27 patients underwent adjuvant radiation, and 1 patient received chemotherapy and 148 began endocrine therapy. More than 95% of the patients and 98% of physicians reported satisfaction from the cosmetic results during follow-up visits.

Because not all patients underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy and adjuvant radiation, there is likely to be controversy about this approach, suggested Deanna Attai, MD, a breast surgeon at UCLA in Los Angeles and past president of the ASBrS, who was asked for comment.

“We have studies that [indicate that] these treatments don’t add significant benefit [in this patient population] but there still is this hesitation [to forgo them],” she told Medscape Medical News.

“The patients in this study were exceedingly low risk,” she emphasized.

“Is 5 years enough to assess recurrence rates? The answer is probably no. Recurrences or distant metastases are more likely to happen 10-20 years later.”

Thus, it will be difficult to show that cryoablation is superior to surgery, she said.

“You can show that cryoablation is not inferior to lumpectomy alone — which allows patients to avoid the operating room,” Attai summarized.

The Surgical Mindset and Breast Cancer

Attai, who was not involved in the current trial, was an investigator in an earlier single-arm cooperative group study of cryoablation for breast cancer, which had the rate of complete tumor ablation as the primary outcome. The study, known as the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z1072 trial, enrolled 99 patients, all of whom underwent ablation followed by surgery. The study reported results in 2014 but was very slow to develop, she observed.

“I did my first training in 2004 and I don’t think study opened for several years after that. I think there’s been a lot of hesitation to change the mindset that every cancer needs to be removed surgically,” Attai stated.

“When you put breast cancer in the context of the other organs, we are lagging behind a bit [with cryoablation],” she added.

“I don’t want to go there but…sometimes the innovation for male diseases and procedures sometimes surpasses that of women’s diseases,” she commented.

But the UCLA breast surgeon also defended her fellow practitioners. “There’s been tremendous changes in management over the 27 years I’ve been in practice,” she said, citing the movement from mastectomy to lumpectomy as one of multiple big changes.

There’s not a lot of vital structures inside the breast. Dr Richard Fine

The disparity between the development of cryoablation for breast and prostate cancer is a mystery when you contemplate the potential side effects, Fine observed. “There’s not a lot of vital structures inside the breast, so you don’t have risks that you have with the prostate, including urinary incontinence and impotence.”

As a next move, the ASBrS is planning to establish a cryoablation registry and aims to enroll 50 sites and 500 patients who are aged 55-85 years; for those aged 65-70, radiation therapy will be required, said Fine.

Currently, cryoablation for breast cancer is only allowed in a clinical trial, so a registry would expand usage considerably, he said.  

Attai hopes the field is ready for the nonsurgical approach.

“Halsted died in 1922 and the Halsted radical mastectomy really didn’t start to fall out of favor until the 1950s, 1960,” said Attai, referring to Dr William Halsted, who pioneered the procedure in the 1890s. “I would hope we are better at speeding up our progress. Changing the surgical mindset takes time,” she said.

Fine was an investigator in the ICE3 trial, which is funded by IceCure Medical. Attai has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American Society of Breast Surgeons 2021 Annual Meeting: Scientific Session Oral Presentation. Presented April 30, 2021.

Nick Mulcahy is an  award-winning  senior journalist for Medscape, focusing on oncology, and can be reached at  [email protected] and on Twitter:   @MulcahyNick

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This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Line of Duty's Jed Mercurio claims he avoids 'work-shy' people at BBC 'like the plague'

“There are institutional issues – around levels of professionalism and work ethic, to be honest. 

“I am very fortunate that, in the course of my career, I’ve migrated towards the people I have a good working relationship with, who are supportive and carry out their professional duties in the right way so we can address concerns in good time. 

“But there are people within the BBC who I avoid like the plague because they have been there a long time and they are fundamentally work-shy.”

Jed declined to name the “work-shy” people he referenced when asked if he could do so during an interview about season six of Line of Duty with this week’s Radio Times.


Naga Munchetty avoids giving BBC co-stars ‘insight’ into her home life ‘Lines get blurred'

Naga revealed: “It would be an act of kindness, that’s the most romantic thing I could think of, being kind to someone.” 

However, Nihal disagreed and hit back: “Wait a minute, no, that’s not romantic!” 

Naga then argued: “Being kind to someone is romantic because all romance is, is showing that you’ve thought about someone else, and being thought about is a wonderful thing, and being cared for is a wonderful thing.”

Nihal disagreed, saying: “But romance surely has to have a physical component to it and if I’m kind to someone for helping them across the road, for instance, I don’t want anything, you know!”

Giving an example of the kind gestures she performs for her other half James, Naga chimed: “Head rub! I gave a head rub yesterday and it was received with such gratitude!”