Parody of Robert Kelly’s BBC interview imagines how a woman would have coped

Comedy duo produce spoof in which a female interviewee feeds her child, cleans a toilet, cooks dinner and defuses a bomb

A video has emerged parodying the BBCs viral hit which featured a professor interrupted by his children during a live interview, re-imagining how the scene would have unfolded if a woman had been in the hot-seat.

Last week the video of university professor Robert Kelly became world-famous after his four-year-old daughter Marion barged into the room mid-interview, followed by his eight-month-old son James and finally his panicked wife Jung-a Kim.

The New Zealand comedy show Jono and Ben released their spoof on Thursday night, with a woman as the interviewee. The Facebook video has been watched 32m times.

During the one-minute clip the woman is first interrupted by a young child in a yellow jumper. She seamlessly continues answering complex political questions about South Korea while pulling the child onto her lap and feeding her a bottle.

Next, a baby totters into the room with a walker, and the woman continues answering questions, her eyes never leaving the camera, whilst holding the child in her lap, and entertaining the baby with a rattling ball.

As the child wanders out of the room the mother reaches off-camera and pulls out a roast chicken dinner, sniffing it to check if it is ready.

The BBC interviewer observes You do look rather busy there, we can reschedule … but the woman ignores him, reaching for a shirt to de-lint while she speaks, and, a moment later, scrubbing a toilet bowl that appears on her left.

The interview continues as a bomb squad in flak-jackets burst into the room, and the woman defuses a bomb; Oh my god, is that a bomb? asks the interviewer.

As the interview draws to a close a man in bare feet speaking in a broad New Zealand accent rushes into the study, flapping a sock at the womans back.

I cant find my missing sock, I have looked everywhere, I have looked in the sock drawer! he says, panicked.

The BBC presenter thanks the woman for her time, calling the interview interesting. The woman smiles warmly, her eyes finally leaving the camera. OK, lets find this sock then! she says cheerfully.

The Jono and Ben version of the video was greeted with a decidedly mixed response. Some female commentators called the video hilarious and said it was an accurate and amusing reflection of a working mothers life. However many others, both male and female, labelled the parody sexist and said it was a classic example of man-bashing.

The original video became a global hit, making Kellys family overnight internet stars.

While the candid video was mostly embraced as a charming and spontaneous moment of family life interrupting a professional interview, some viewers were critical of the professors reaction, saying he should have responded to his children instead of ignoring them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/19/robert-kelly-bbc-interview-parody-imagines-how-a-woman-would-have-coped

New drug cuts ‘bad’ cholesterol by 60% on average, reducing heart attack risk

Trial of 27,000 patients found that those taking drug evolocumab saw their levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol fall

A new drug can prevent heart attacks and strokes by cutting bad cholesterol levels, scientists have found.

An international trial of 27,000 patients found that those who took the drug evolocumab saw their bad cholesterol levels fall by about 60% on average.

The patients in the trial were already taking statins, which are used to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Despite this, the patients who took injections of evolocumab saw their bad cholesterol levels fall even further. They were also less likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke than those who took the placebo.

The study found that for every 74 people who took the drug for two years, one heart attack or stroke would be prevented.

However, the findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the drug had no impact on the rate of cardiovascular mortality.

Prof Peter Sever, from Imperial College London which led the UK branch of the study, said: This is one of the most important trials of cholesterol-lowering since the first statin trial, published 20 years ago. Our results suggest this new, extremely potent class of drug can cut cholesterol dramatically, which could provide great benefit for a lot of people at risk of heart disease and stroke.

There are approximately 2.3 million people living with coronary heart disease in the UK, according to the NHS. It is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths a year in the UK, and occurs when fatty substances build up in the arteries, making it harder for blood to get to the heart.

Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: Coronary heart disease is the single biggest killer in the UK and worldwide and bad LDL-cholesterol is a major cause.

While statins have had a significant impact in reducing the risk of heart disease for millions of people, they are not tolerated by everyone and only reduce cholesterol by a certain amount.

A promising new approach is blocking the action of PCSK9, a molecule which reduces the breakdown of LDL-cholesterol in the liver. Creating new treatments which use this approach could prove life-saving for patients with high cholesterol and those who cant tolerate statins.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/18/drug-which-cuts-bad-cholesterol-can-help-prevent-heart-attacks-and-strokes

Who is Derrick Watson, the Hawaii judge who blocked Trump’s latest travel ban?

He has made himself a lightning rod with his strongly worded ruling on the ban, but many have praised Watson as fair-minded and highly principled

The ink was barely dry on Judge Derrick Watsons order suspending Donald Trumps latest travel ban when the recriminations and conspiracy theories began.

One Fox News commentator called it judicial tyranny. President Trump himself called it unprecedented judicial overreach. On social media, amateur sleuths noted that Judge Watson had graduated from the same Harvard Law School class as Barack Obama (in 1991), and even noted that Obama had been in Hawaii on the day of the ruling, as though they had cooked it up together.

One thing is beyond doubt: Judge Derrick Kahala Watson, the only native Hawaiian currently serving as a US federal judge, has made himself a national lightning rod with a ruling that admirers and detractors alike have described as pointed and outspoken.

His 43-page document flatly describes the governments contentions in defense of the revised travel ban as untrue and says the administrations illogic is palpable. It is rare that judges are willing to stick their necks out so visibly. And Judge Watson hardly has a reputation as a hothead or a rabble-rouser. He is a product of Hawaiis prestigious private school system, attended Harvard as an undergraduate as well as a law student, and had a distinguished career as a federal prosecutor in northern California and Hawaii before being elevated to the federal bench. He has also served as a reserve captain in the US army.

Interviews with colleagues and friends by the Associated Press overnight suggested a man who was usually understated and fair-minded if also strict and highly principled. That was also the impression gleaned by the Senate when it voted unanimously to confirm Watson as a federal judge in 2013. At the time, President Obama praised him and five other judicial nominees for their talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness.

Certainly, Watson is not the first federal judge to take issue with the administrations attempts to impose a temporary ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries. A similar restraining order was issued in early February by Judge James Robart in Seattle in response to the first draft of the administrations executive order, and Watsons ruling coincided with a similarly argued, though less broad, ruling from a federal judge in Maryland. All of them have argued that the travel ban looks a lot like an instrument of religious discrimination both because of what is in the executive orders themselves and because of what President Trump and his team have said about them on the campaign trail and in public appearances since the election.

There are indications, though, that Watsons viewpoint may have been further influenced by his Hawaiian heritage and his long record of advocacy for immigrant rights and civil rights. While with a San Francisco law firm in the early 2000s, he devoted hundreds of hours to pro bono cases defending the rights of Mexican restaurant workers being held in slave-like conditions and to landlord-tenant disputes.

The complaint filed by Hawaiis attorney general against the Trump travel ban contained an explicit reference to some of the most painful chapters in the islands history the Chinese Exclusion Acts and the imposition of martial law and internment of Japanese Americans following the bombing ofPearl Harbor. At the time, the US supreme court upheld the governments argument similar to Trumps that it had the executive authority to defend national security as it saw fit. But the courts ruling in Korematsu v United States has since been described as a stain on American jurisprudence and has been widely repudiated in federal court rulings if never explicitly overturned.

If you have an order taking us back half a century to a time when there was discrimination on the basis of national origin or religion, Hawaiis attorney general, Doug Chin, told reporters after Watsons ruling, thats something we have to speak up against.

Watsons suspension of the travel ban rested on the argument that the plaintiffs, including the head of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, had a strong likelihood of prevailing at a full trial. That conclusion, though, rests on a reading of case law that many more conservative jurists and commentators do not share particularly when it comes to considering comments by President Trump and administration officials as well as the text of the executive order itself.

Watsons imaginative reasoning in Hawaii v Trump asserts a new judicial power to disregard formal law if the presidents personal words create a basis for mistrusting his motives, conservative commentator David Frum wrote in a column worrying about the kind of precedent this could set for future administrations of either party persuasion. In the age of Trump, many will be sympathetic to this judicial power but it is crammed with dangers, too.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/16/derrick-watson-hawaii-judge-trump-travel-ban

Chuck Berry didn’t just cross barriers — he obliterated them

(CNN.com)Whatever else that may be stated about Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” when it shot out of America’s radios just like a Redstone rocket in the dazzling late summer of 1955, one tough, accurate thing remains clear after these 62 years: Nothing nothing beats it ever existed before.

Here’s why: There was no group that may safely include it. It charted No. 1 on the rhythm and blues charts, which was where most black recording artists such as Berry could be located. But its own sensibility and its defeat were as deeply-rooted in the mostly white conventions of swing and country blues.
Though it was de rigueur in Jim Crow’s waning times for white musicians to “cover” African American musicians’ hits, “Maybellene” crossed a lot of obstacles that it all but obliterated them — or, anyhow, made them less imposing. How, precisely, could anyone “cover” this? It was too large to cover; large enough in its 2-minutes-and-extra-change size embrace generations to include tons, immerse continents and alter the planet.
    It was, in a nutshell, roll and rock. And Chuck Berry was one of its own discoverers, its grasp engineer and — claim all you need but the available evidence overwhelms — its chief designer, or even THE inventor.
    Berry’s departure at 90 was declared Saturday. Of rock ‘n’ roll’s foundation huge dads increasing the temperature of boiling, static tradition of the fifties to complete boil, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis — a survivor that is comparably unlikely — now stay among the living.
    Likely it is as great a spot as any to notice that while touring with at an early rock star revue, Lewis was so incensed that Berry was selected over him to shut a display he gave a climactic established actually incendiary enough to finish with him placing his piano on fire. As Lewis raged away, smelling of lighter fluid and smoke, he handed by Berry and snarled sotto voce, “Top that (expletive deleted)!”
    And, as Lewis allegedly said afterwards, “He damn near did, too!”
    I am betting he did more than that because Berry personally was, nicely into senior citizenship, galvanic and as powerful as Berry on report. Berry did not want his crowds to be sent by pyrotechnics into the o-zone. His phase shift, the duck walk, was ample.
    Well, that … and his guitar. Rolling Stone magazine once declared it is easy to help make the claim that rock guitar started with Berry and, yet again. Liquid, Berry’s licks and riffs, supple and multi-tiered, stay electrifying to empower wave up on wave of guitarists seeking mo-Re blues in much more beats and their beats.
    He was one of these artists who could happen to be remarkable whose influence might be noticed in every guitarist who adopted, although when they broke through. (Begin wherever you need — “I’ll take Keith Richards for $5,000, Alex!” — but the listing of Berry’s acolytes that follows stretches through presidencies, wars and downturns.)
    Eventually, there are the tunes, particularly those “great twentyeight” Berry recorded for Chess in the fifties and early sixties. They were s O a whole lot a lot more than pieces of pop that tickled your dopamine was hidden. “Roll Over, Beethoven,” “Back in the U.S.A.,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “You Never Can Tell,” “I am Talking About You,” “School Days,” “Promised Land” and on and on and actually onward. Several the others and these expressed entertaining, experience, mischief and, most of all, never-ending possibility inside their names alone.
    You were invited by those names in. You were taken by the tunes as significantly as you dared to go or desired. And also you simply take curves in to your face like Berry’s fiery reddish Cadillac you could now see in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, whirl and can hear every solitary lyric roar.
    As muchas the matter he assisted devise devised or, at least, Chuck Berry given us from the times of old, staying an authentic that was American to the ending. The issue with originals is they come, like 4 5-RPM records. The finest the remainder of us can perform is use his contraptions to energy our personal journeys to reckoning that is rapturous.
    Go!

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/18/opinions/chuck-berry-seymour/index.html

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    Why Trump just can’t (and probably won’t) quit the wiretap story

    Washington (CNN)For nearly two weeks now, President Donald Trump and his aides have floated a conspiracy theory involving President Barack Obama wiretapping then-candidate Trump’s phone lines in his Manhattan office building.

    Even now, as bipartisan agreement has emerged that no such thing happened, Trump has dug in, leaving Trump aides and allies fumbling for excuses and explanations — like that spying microwaves are apparently a thing, according to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
    Standing next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Friday news conference, Trump showed that he was not ready to quit the wiretapping story, giving it another boost, even if it meant embarrassing a world leader.
      “At least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said, gesturing to Merkel, whose phone was once tapped by the National Security Agency.

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        Timeline of the ‘birther’ movement

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      He launched a kind of trial run for the White House in 2011 by embracing birtherism, laying the groundwork for his successful 2016 bid by aligning himself with the far right, talk radio wing of the GOP. Long after most had given up speculating about Obama’s birthplace — and years after Obama released his birth certificate — Trump clung to the racially charged conspiracy theory, insisting that there were still more unanswered questions.
      Now, it seems, Trump may have landed on a conspiracy theory that has equal staying power.
      In fact, the contours of his recent Obama fixation have much in common with birtherism. With his wiretapping claims, Trump once again positions himself as the great unmasker of Obama, a fraudulent figure who isn’t who he says he is — or so the theory goes.
      For Trump’s base, Obama is the ready-made villain, now recast as the embodiment of the “deep state.”
      But with Congress, the press, (even Fox News hosts), and intelligence agencies all casting doubts on his claims, Trump is a man on an island, a familiar and comfortable place. As with birtherism, it’s Trump against almost everybody, a vantage point that allows him to constantly be the embattled, populist outsider, even as he sits in the White House.
      Key to his birtherism claims were constant promises of the big reveal. Investigators had been dispatched to Hawaii, Trump claimed. Once that approach grew thin, Trump’s relationship to birtherism devolved into a constant cliffhanger, which is precisely where things stand now with the wiretapping claims.
      Does Trump believe Obama wiretapped or spied on him more broadly at Trump Tower or anywhere?
      For now, Trump seems happy to tell the country what he said for five years about Obama’s origins: stay tuned. Let the countdown clock ’til the big reveal begin.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/17/politics/donald-trump-wiretap-obama/index.html

      Categories CNN

      Trump Claims Millions Voted Illegally, Without Giving Evidence

      U.S. President-elect Donald Trump claimed without providing evidence that he would have won the popular vote if millions of illegal votes were excluded, hours after criticizing an effort to recount votes in three battleground states.

      In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally, Trump, a Republican, told his 16 million Twitter followers Sunday. In a subsequent tweet, he claimed the media wasnt reporting serious voter fraud in the Democratic-leaning states of California, New Hampshire and Virginia.

      Trump offered nothing to back up his allegations of wrongdoing in the Nov. 8 election — one that returned to his pre-election mantra of a rigged result. Although Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College, the former secretary of state leads Trump by more than 2.2 million votes in the nationwide popular vote, according to a running tally by the non-partisan Cook Political Report. A Trump spokesman didnt immediately respond to a request for comment.

      Cook shows Clinton with 64.65 million total votes to Trumps 62.42 million, or a lead of 48.2 percent to 46.5 percent. Third-party and other candidates received 7.19 million votes, or about 5.4 percent. In 13 swing states, Trump won 48.4 percent of the vote to Clintons 46.6 percent.

      Earlier on Sunday, Trump had criticized recounts proposed for Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are being spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein — an effort that Clintons campaign said Saturday it would join.

      Efforts Sad

      In seven early-morning Twitter posts, Trump recounted previous comments by Clinton on the need to accept the election results, culminating in her concession speech on Nov. 9. So much time and money will be spent — same result! Sad, Trump concluded. On Saturday, he called the Green Partys recount efforts a scam to fill up their coffers.

      The president-elect spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and returned to New York late Sunday. Several potential hires are due to visit Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan on Monday to interview for administration posts, including John Allison, a former chief executive of BB&T Corp.; Paul Atkins, a former Securities and Exchange commissioner; and David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

      Trump aides on Sunday fanned out across political talk shows to cast cold water on the recount efforts.

      Millions Raised

      Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, said on Fox News Sunday that the planned recount would serve only to divide this country when we need to come together.

      The effort was confounding and disappointing, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said on NBCs Meet the Press. It turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein cant accept reality, Conway said Saturday in a statement.

      Stein has raised more than $6.1 million for her recount effort, with a $7 million goal, according to a running tally on her website.

      Clintons campaign will participate in the recount in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said Saturday.

      Elias, in a post on the blogging website Medium, added that he doesnt expect the action to overturn Trumps election. He also detailed exhaustive efforts already undertaken by the Democrats team to assure the validity of the vote.

      Clintons campaign hadnt planned to initiate the recounts on its own because it hasnt found any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, Elias wrote.

      A senior administration official, meanwhile, said in a statement that the government didnt observe any increased level of malicious cyber-activity aimed at disrupting the election on election day and believes the elections were free and fair from a cyber-security perspective.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-27/trump-suggesting-voter-fraud-says-he-won-the-popular-vote

      Trump Has Chairman of Top Nordic Bank Predicting Better Times

      The chairman of the biggest Nordic bank says Donald Trumps election win is good news for the U.S. economy, thanks to the real estate moguls pledge to deliver tax cuts and deregulation.

      Based on the expectation that the American President and Congress are likely to act on taxes, and perhaps on regulation as well, I think there is a slightly more positive outlook for the American economy over the intermediate horizon, Bjorn Wahlroos, the chairman of Nordea Bank AB, said in an interview in Stockholm on Thursday. But for the rest of the world, things will probably continue as before, he said.

      Wahlrooss view of Trumps policies contrasts with criticism he has leveled at Swedens government for pushing laws he says are too tough on banking. The ruling coalition in Scandinavias largest economy, whose banks are among the worlds best capitalized, is planning a new financial tax to help cover welfare spending. The finance industry warns such a levy may wipe out 16,000 jobs as firms either move operations abroad or rely on robots instead of humans. The government says banks are exaggerating.

      Theres much to suggest Swedens regulatory environment has done little to hamper its banks from thriving. In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, Swedens four biggest banks — Nordea, Handelsbanken, Swedbank and SEB — have consistently outperformed most of their peers in European stress tests.

      Global Banks

      Since the beginning of 2009, Nordea has doubled its market value, making it roughly twice as big as Deutsche Bank. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have both seen their market values rise about 150 percent over the same period. Wells Fargo is up almost 80 percent, while Citigroup is down about 16 percent.

      Theres evidence to suggest that a more rigorously regulated environment supports rather than impedes economic health. Under Democratic administrations, which have tended to lean more heavily toward regulation than their Republican counterparts, the U.S. economy grew an average of 4.33 percent a year. Republican administrations have overseen an average growth rate of 2.54 percent, according to a 2015 paper by Princeton University economists Alan S. Blinder and Mark W. Watson covering 64 years of data.

      Wahlroos said he wants Nordea to stay in Sweden, but warned that there are limits to how far his loyalty to the country will stretch if the business environment becomes too difficult. Hes previously signaled a readiness to shift parts of the banks operations outside Sweden and his talks this summer over a potential merger with ABN Amro Group were widely seen as a hint to the government in Stockholm that he was willing to turn words into actions.

      Mild Words

      By approaching ABN Amro, Nordea has made the point, in mild words, that it is important from our point of view that we need to be competitive, Wahlroos said. The commitment to Sweden may change if indeed new sort of levies or new regulations are placed on the banking industry, he said.

      As for the U.S. under a President Trump, Wahlroos said the reality TV stars protectionist views may ultimately undo any good that is expected to come from his other policies.

      It remains to be seen whether Trumps negative stance on some issues such as free trade will over the longer run have a negative impact, he said.

      But over the short term, his approach to taxes and implicit promise of tax cuts, particularly corporate taxes, have a positive outlook.

      Saw Brexit Coming

      While Wahlroos was relatively upbeat on Trumps election win, he was gloomier on Britains efforts to disentangle itself from the European Union. Though the Nordea chairman said he saw Brexit coming, after numerous trips to rural England, the sheer complexity of the task ahead is still only just dawning on people, he said.

      The technical perplexity of this thing — clause 50 and what it all entails — the task is just daunting, he said. Nordea itself isnt really exposed to any Brexit risks, he said.

      There might be a small negative in our London operation, which is not all that big, but on the other hand you can also say that we gain in competitiveness relative to the British banks.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-27/trump-has-chairman-of-top-nordic-bank-predicting-better-times

      Police: Hunt continues for armed teacher who kidnapped student

      (CNN)Six days without a credible tip — that’s how long authorities have been digging for answers in the alleged abduction of a 15-year-old by a teacher at her Culleoka, Tennessee, high school.

      A lawyer for Elizabeth Thomas’ father said the teen’s alleged abductor is armed, dangerous and “obviously a man who is not in control of his faculties.”
      On Saturday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation updated its Amber Alert explaining how little has turned up since investigative efforts placed Elizabeth and teacher Tad Cummins in Decatur, Alabama, about 70 miles south of Culleoka. State investigators have received 250 tips, from 24 states, including California, but none has helped them locate the girl.
        They’re left to believe Cummins could be staying out of sight.
        “He potentially may have them sleeping in the vehicle or Cummins may have driven them far away from Tennessee to a rural community. Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her, frankly, anywhere,” the Amber Alert update said.
        According to authorities, a friend dropped Elizabeth off at a restaurant in Columbia, about 45 miles south of Nashville, on Monday. Near the same time, Cummins was captured on surveillance footage pumping gas nearby, they said.
        Police said they believe Cummins has two handguns. They are trying to evaluate how much cash he may have. Cummins took out a $4,500 loan days before he disappeared, police said.

        ‘Left in the dark’

        The 50-year-old Cummins has been placed on Tennessee’s most-wanted list. He stands charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual misconduct with a minor.
        Jason Whatley, an attorney for the girl’s father, Anthony Thomas, said the teen’s abduction came after a chain of events that began January 23, when a Culleoka high school student allegedly saw Elizabeth and Cummins kissing in a classroom. The incident was reported to the school the next day, he said.

        Elizabeth Thomas: The 15-year-old has light brown or blond hair and hazel eyes. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.

        Tad Cummins: The 50-year-old has brown hair, brown eyes and a gray goatee. He is 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He is believed to be armed.

        Vehicle: Silver Nissan Rogue, Tennessee tag 976-ZPT

        Reward: $1,000

        Who to call: 1-800-TBI-FIND

        Source: TBI

        It was another week, Whatley said, before a detective with the Maury County Sheriff’s Department notified Anthony Thomas of the allegations.
        According to a letter Whatley sent to Superintendent Chris Marczak on February 6, Anthony Thomas called the school the next day, Feburary 1, and spoke to a woman who expressed regret that he had been “left in the dark,” promised to keep him informed of further findings and assured him there would be no more contact between his daughter and Cummins.
        Whatley wrote in his February 6 letter that since that February 1 call, Elizabeth had told her father she still had a class with Cummins, and her phone history indicated the two were still in contact.
        “If it is true that contact between this student and Mr. Cummins has continued in light of these allegations, I can tell you that my client will use whatever legal means are at his disposal, including filing suit, to assist Maury County Schools in protecting (Elizabeth) from Mr. Cummins,” the attorney wrote.
        The school district said in a February 8 internal memo, provided to CNN by Whatley, that Elizabeth had been removed from Cummins’ forensics class, and assertions she was still in his class were false.

        Teacher fired last week

        A January 30 investigative report, also provided by Whatley, includes statements from Elizabeth and Cummins, both of whom denied they’d kissed. Cummins called Elizabeth “a really good friend” and said she came to see him when she needed someone to calm her down.
        “He loves his wife and has never cheated on his wife and would never do anything to jeopardize his marriage,” the report said of Cummins, who had taught at Culleoka since 2011.
        Elizabeth said, like many students, she looked to Cummins as a counselor. She’s been to church with him, she said. He never made her feel uncomfortable and he never touched her, except for the occasional fist bump. He also grabbed her hands one time to calm her down, she said, according to the report.
        A faculty member identified in the report as “Teacher 1” said she had seen Elizabeth in Cummins’ classroom a great deal and felt Cummins “should have a better boundary between his role as the student’s teacher and the student’s friend.”
        However, Teacher 1 said she never witnessed anything inappropriate, and Cummins’ door was always open when students were in his classroom, according to the report.
        The report concluded the allegation the two had kissed could not be confirmed but recommended Elizabeth be taken out of Cummins’ class. Elizabeth should be told to bring anxiety issues to counselors and administration in the future, it said.
        Four days later, an official reprimand issued to Cummins indicated that Elizabeth had been in his classroom for a half-hour earlier that day.

        Teacher fired last week

        Maury County Public Schools officials have been quiet about the incident. There doesn’t appear to be any word about the missing student on the school’s website or Facebook account.
        The school’s website recently listed Cummins as part of the health science faculty at the Culleoka Unit School, the site has been updated and now says “TBD” where Cummins’ name used to be.
        Calls and emails to the school district and Marczak were not immediately returned over the weekend. Marczak did not immediately respond to a direct message sent via Twitter.
        The Daily Herald in Columbia reported that school spokeswoman Kim Doddridge provided a timeline of the school’s handling of the incident. The day after a student reported seeing Elizabeth and Cummins kissing, the Culleoka Unit School contacted the central office, she told the newspaper.
        The district kicked off an investigation that ran from January 25 to January 31, after which the results were given to Cummins, she said, according to the paper.
        “During the investigation, both the teacher and the student were instructed to have no contact. The student was transferred out of Cummins’ class. At that time, there were no findings to substantiate suspension of the teacher. The suspension on February 6 was precipitated by insubordination by Mr. Cummins. There was a continuing investigation by the Maury County Sheriff’s Office. Cummins’ dismissal on March 14 was a result of the TBI’s issuance of the alert,” the paper quoted Doddridge as saying.
        The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed to CNN that Cummins was fired last week.

        Dad ‘not doing well’

        Whatley said that despite his Feburary 6 letter to Marczak, school officials did not do enough to keep Cummins away from Elizabeth and, at one point, placed Elizabeth in in-school suspension when they learned the two remained in contact.
        Anthony Thomas was upset to learn Cummins was not only still pursuing a relationship with his daughter, but also still teaching, the attorney said.
        Whatley described Anthony Thomas, a single father of 10, as a blue-collar guy. Elizabeth’s mother does not live with the family, Whatley said.
        Asked how Anthony Thomas is holding up, the lawyer said he’s sad, anxious and suffering from high blood pressure.
        “He’s not doing well at all,” Whatley said

        Did teacher plan abduction?

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          Wife makes public plea for husband to return

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        On Friday, Cummins’ wife made a tearful plea for her husband to bring Elizabeth home and turn himself in.
        “Tad, this is not you. This is not who you are,” Jill Cummins said during a news conference. “We can help you get through this. No matter how far you’ve gone or what is happening right now, God’s grace is sufficient for you and he wants you to come home.”
        TBI Private Investigative Officer Josh Devine said last week the history of Cummins’ and Elizabeth’s relationship was unknown.
        Saturday’s Amber Alert update said the investigation has indicated a “troubling pattern of behavior” by Cummins, who possibly planned Monday’s abduction.
        “Nothing investigators have learned about Cummins or his intentions for the young girl since issuing the AMBER Alert calms the imminent concern for Elizabeth’s well-being. In fact, it only heightens it,” the Amber Alert update says.
        District Attorney Brent Cooper, who has jurisdiction in this case, weighed in last week to explain what made Elizabeth’s alleged kidnapping aggravated.
        “This is a 15-year-old child that has led a difficult life, basically going against a 50-year-old man. I believe it’s clear at this point that her removal by him is unlawful. And what makes it aggravated is that he was in possession of firearms,” he said.
        Cooper did not elaborate on what made Elizabeth’s life difficult.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/19/us/tennessee-teacher-manhunt/index.html

        Categories CNN