I Went From Prison to Professor – Here’s Why Criminal Records Should Not Be Used to Keep People Out of College Stanley Andrisse was once branded a career criminal and served time in prison. Today, he is a professor at two medical schools and an advocate for higher education for those who’ve served time.

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Beginning next year, the Common Application – an online form that enables students to apply to the 800 or so colleges that use it – will no longer ask students about their criminal pasts.

As a formerly incarcerated person who now is now an endocrinologist and professor at two world-renowned medical institutions – Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard University College of Medicine – I believe this move is a positive one. People’s prior convictions should not be held against them in their pursuit of higher learning.

While I am enthusiastic about the decision to remove the criminal history question from the Common Application, I also believe more must be done to remove the various barriers that exist between formerly incarcerated individuals such as myself and higher education.

I make this argument not only as a formerly incarcerated person who now teaches aspiring medical doctors, but also as an advocate for people with criminal convictions. The organization I lead – From Prison Cells to PhD – helped push for the change on the Common Application.

My own story stands as a testament to the fact that today’s incarcerated person could become tomorrow’s professor. A person who once sold illegal drugs on the street could become tomorrow’s medical doctor. But this can only happen if such a person, and the many others in similar situations, are given the chance.

There was a time not so long ago when some in the legal system believed I did not deserve a chance. With three felony convictions, I was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking as a prior and persistent career criminal. My prosecuting attorney once stated that I had no hope for change.

Today, I am Dr. Stanley Andrisse. As a professor at Johns Hopkins and Howard University, I now help train students who want to be doctors. I’d say that I have changed. Education was transformative.

US incarceration rates the highest

The United States needs to have more of this transformative power of education. The country incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other nation in the world. The U.S. accounts for less than 5 percent of the world population but nearly 25 percent of the incarcerated population around the globe.

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Ted Cruz warns of “Watergate-style blowout” in 2018

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Wealthy conservative donors and influential Republican lawmakers say they increasingly fear a historic backlash at the ballot box next year if the GOP effort to pass a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws falls short in the coming months.

Image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

At a two-day midtown Manhattan summit of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers’ powerful donor network, GOP patrons, senators and strategists spoke in cataclysmic terms about the price they expect to pay in the midterm elections if their tax reform effort does not win passage.

They voiced concerns a demoralized Republican base would stay home, financiers would stop writing campaign donation checks to incumbents and the congressional majorities the party has built in the House and Senate could evaporate overnight.

To head that off, the same Republicans said they are waging an intense, multi-front effort in and outside of Congress and the White House to shepherd the endeavor to the finish line.

Koch network officials said they have invested more than $10 million this year in advocating for the GOP tax plan.

Art Pope, a major conservative donor from North Carolina, put it this way: “When you have lack of success, that may depress voter turnout for Republicans, that may depress donations for Republicans and conservatives.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) warned that Republicans could face a “Watergate-level blowout” in the midterm elections if they don’t make major legislative strides on taxes and health care, invoking the political scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and set back the GOP considerably in subsequent elections.

“If tax reform crashes and burns, if [on] Obamacare, nothing happens, we could face a bloodbath,” said Cruz, who spoke in a moderated discussion.

More from Apple news via WaPo

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California anti-gun senator charged with corruption and trafficking firearms

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A California state senator known for his outspoken views in support of gun control was arrested on Wednesday and charged with illegally trafficking in firearms alongside multiple counts of public corruption.

California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) (Reuters)

Image: Russia Today

In a federal corruption investigation that nabbed 26 people on charges ranging from drug smuggling to murder-for-hire, Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee was indicted on conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearm, and six counts of corruption, which included handing out favors in exchange for substantial campaign contributions.

If convicted, Yee could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each corruption charge, while the gun trafficking count could result in five years in prison and a similar fine.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the FBI affidavit claims Yee offered to negotiate illegal firearms sales on multiple occasions in exchange for financial donations towards his campaign. He allegedly told an undercover FBI agent of his connections to firearms dealers in Asia and Russia, with CBS San Francisco reporting he knew an arms dealer who’d been shipping “cargo containers” of weapons to Muslim rebels in the Philippines.

The meeting between Yee and the undercover agent was brokered by Keith Jackson, a political consultant with ties to Raymond Chow, whom the FBI identified as the ringleader of a Chinatown gang. Chow introduced an FBI agent who’d made his way into the group to Jackson, who was the first to tell of Yee’s connections to arms dealers.

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LGBT activist: Michelle Obama got ‘in my face’ after heckling at fundraiser

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A member of an LGBT advocacy group heckled First Lady Michelle Obama at a private fundraising event Tuesday night, leading to a brief confrontation between the two. The Washington Post reported that Obama was speaking at a Democratic Party event at a private residence when 56-year-old Ellen Sturtz…
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Glenn Beck: Gay Marriage Advocates Have Won ‘Because They Made It About Freedom’

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Image: Mediate

First Bill O’Reilly admitted that gay marriage supporters have the “compelling argument” on their side. Now, it looks like Glenn Beck has followed suit. While he didn’t exactly endorse the idea of same-sex marriage, Beck declared on his radio show Monday that the reason marriage equality advocates have been successful is that “they made it about freedom.”

Speaking for the conservative opposition to gay marriage, Beck admitted, “we have been so foolish.” He said the argument is “not about gays, it’s not about marriage, it’s not about any of that.” Beck went on to explain that “the reason why they’ve won is because they made it about freedom.”

More on this(including video) from Matt Wilstein @ Mediate

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Mich. gay marriage backers urged to skip Communion

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A Detroit professor and legal adviser to the Vatican says Catholics who promote gay marriage should not try to receive holy Communion, a key part of Catholic identity.

And the archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, said Sunday that Catholics who receive Communion while advocating gay marriage would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

gay marriage communion

Image: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

The comments of Vigneron and Edward Peters, who teaches Catholic canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, are part of a polarizing discussion about gay marriage that echoes debate over whether politicians who advocate abortion rights should receive Communion.

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Doctors: Girl shot by Taliban able to stand, communicate

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Image: NBC News

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, is able to stand with help and communicate, British doctors treating her severe wounds said on Friday, though she still shows signs of infection.

Yousufzai, 15, who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban for advocating education for girls, on Monday was flown from Pakistan to receive treatment at a unit at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital that has expertise in dealing with complex trauma cases. The unit has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

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