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Jimmy Carter released from hospital after breaking hip

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By Associated Press

ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter plans to teach Sunday school this weekend just days after undergoing surgery for a broken hip, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Carter, 94, was released Thursday morning from a Georgia hospital after getting a hip replacement. He plans to continue recuperating at his home in rural Plains, said a statement from Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo.

Carter’s wife, Rosalynn Carter, went home with her husband after she was admitted to the hospital Wednesday for observation and testing after she “felt faint,” Congileo said.

“Both President and Mrs. Carter extend their thanks to the many people who sent well wishes the past few days,” Congileo’s statement said.

Jimmy Carter suffered a broken hip Monday as he was leaving to go turkey hunting. Congileo said he will undergo physical therapy as part of his recovery.

She said Carter also plans to teach his regular Sunday school class this weekend at Marantha Baptist Church in Plains.

Carter became the longest-lived president in U.S. history in March when his age surpassed that of former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94 years, 171 days.

Nearly four years have passed since Carter revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer. Carter said in August 2015 he had melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. He received treatment for seven months until scans showed no sign of the disease.

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Rambo has survived since Vietnam War by killing off attempts to pigeonhole him

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Of all the enemies Rambo has faced down over an almost 50-year rampage through pop culture, it’s those critics who dismiss him as a two-dimensional action hero who are his real nemeses.

Then again, being misunderstood has been the entire key to Rambo’s survival all this time.

With Friday’s release of “Rambo: Last Blood,” Sylvester Stallone returns to play the haunted veteran who cannot seem to avoid killing no matter how hard he tries to be left alone, this time battling a violent Mexican cartel that kidnapped his beloved niece. Whether it’s sex traffickers or Soviet soldiers or intolerant small-town police, Rambo remains a sympathetic underdog for many moviegoers regardless of the body count left in his wake.

“I think (he resonates) because Rambo is not this ‘monster at heart,’ he is actually a discarded human being,” Stallone told NBC News by email ahead of the release of the franchise’s fifth installment.

“(He’s) someone who was left behind; who did a job he was asked to do and now he is held at arm’s distance away from ever being embraced by the country he loves so much.

“So he is feeling very, very rejected — which I believe many people (also feel).”

The new movie is the latest salvo in a continuing campaign that started with the 1972 novel, “First Blood,” and continued with the movie adaptation 10 years later — the first film in the franchise has earned $728 million globally at the box office to date.

But even Rambo’s biggest fans can’t agree on why he’s lasted this long. He’s been seen both as a liberal rebuke against a conservative society and a Reagan-era champion against communism; a harmful stereotype to some veterans and a cathartic symbol of how the country has unfairly treated its soldiers to others.

“I’m almost a political atheist. I’m not a political animal and I never wanted to be,” Stallone told an audience at the Cannes Film Festival in May. “I just thought, this is an interesting story about alienation.”

“But, oh my God, once President Reagan went, ‘I saw Rambo, and he’s a Republican!'”Stallone, added, dropping his mic to the amusement of the crowd.

Despite an image as a red-meat-and-potatoes American hero since the release of the 1985 sequel, “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” Rambo has proved more analogous to tofu — taking on the flavor of the observer’s personal tastes.

“He’s always been a litmus test for people’s personal politics,” author David Morrell said. “People see what they want to see.”

Morrell should know: He dreamed up the character. As a Canadian graduate student working on a doctorate in literature at Penn State in the late ’60s, he witnessed the generation schism that rocked his adoptive country over the Vietnam War. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy; the Ten Offensive; the chaos at the Democratic Convention in Chicago: it all felt to him like the front lines had moved to this side of the Pacific.

So he came up with the allegory of pitting a Medal of Combat recipient home from Vietnam and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder against a small-town southern police chief, himself a distinguished veteran of the Korean War, who mistakes him for a vagrant. The simple misunderstanding leads to a showdown that leaves dozens dead and dooms them both.

Sylvester Stallone and actor David Caruso on the set of “Rambo.”Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images

The result was a literary sensation: “First Blood” has never been out of print in the 47 years, and it’s been translated into 30 languages and taught in classrooms. It took a decade, but Rambo eventually made it to the big screen. With Stallone, the perfect combination of the physicality needed for his role and box office sheen from the first two “Rocky” movies, in the title role, the movie toned down the body count and made Rambo less of an anti-hero.

Morrell said the popularity of the book and the film helped change the way the American public, particularly those who opposed the war, viewed members of the armed forces. “I watched the way service people returning from wars were treated subsequently,” he said, “and I think that the film helped persuade audiences to see unpopular wars as having people who create the wars and others who are forced to fight them.”

But advocate Paul Rieckhoff, himself a veteran of the Iraq War and host of the “Angry Americans” podcast, says Rambo is not a hero to a large number of vets.

“Unfortunately for an entire generation, it defined the identity of a Vietnam veteran,” Rieckhoff said. “In the community, we literally call it, ‘The Rambo Stereotype.'”

“We are often trying to combat the image of the broken, damaged violent person.”

It’s an image also perpetuated in other Vietnam War movies of the late ’70s and the early ’80s, including “The Deer Hunter” and “Apocalypse Now.”

The broken, emotionally damaged Rambo was originally sentenced to die in the climax of “First Blood,” but test audiences hated that ending, Morrell said. So, director Ted Kotcheff shot a new one that kept the troubled hero alive in the version that hit theaters in 1982. The filmmakers weren’t considering sequels at the time, but the critical and box office receipts meant Stallone and his onscreen alter ego would be conscripted for a second mission in 1985.

A very different mission.

Fresh off Stallone’s success in the Cold-War themed “Rocky IV,” this shirtless version of Rambo would be sent back to Vietnam to save a band of prisoners of war asking his superior, “Do we get to win this time?” Not exactly an anti-war allegory.

Sylvester Stallone in ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II.’Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Suddenly, Rambo became a conservative icon, a hero name-checked by then-President Reagan when discussing what he would do in the event of another Iranian hostage crisis. “Boy, after seeing ‘Rambo’ last night, I know what to do the next time this happens,” he said at the time.

That version continued with the third movie, “Rambo III,” three years later, which pit the hero against the Russians in Afghanistan. Many critics consider it the nadir of the franchise.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm for all things Stallone in the 1980s,” Christian Toto, founder of HollywoodInToto.com, said. “As a conservative critic, those movies symbolized the American dream, rooting for the underdog, and was mostly tied into the Reagan era.”

But even then, Rambo was not that easy to classify. On a publicity tour in Poland in 2001, Morrell was surprised to find his visit splashed on the front pages of newspapers. He asked a local journalist, a woman in her 30s, about the headlines.

“She told me that during the Solidarity years, the Rambo movies were illegal in Poland, but they were smuggled in,” Morrell recalled. “People would watch these films, put on a bandana and went out to demonstrate against the Soviets.”

“The woman said, ‘In an indirect way, your character helped bring down the Soviet Union.'”

In 2008, Stallone brought his character back to the multiplex for a fourth time with “Rambo,” which returned the character to the haunted outcast he was in the first movie, this time against sadistic guerrillas in Myanmar. It proved a box office disappointment.

Now, he’s back for a fifth tour of duty with “Rambo: Last Blood.” The movie may open with Rambo enjoying domestic bliss on his family ranch in Arizona, but it doesn’t take long for him to go back to working out his anger management issues in gory fashion. “I haven’t changed,” he tells his niece during the calm before the storm. “I just put a lid on it.”

When that lid pops off, he could earn the Guinness world record for Geneva Convention violations he performs on the army of bad hombres.

Is the strong, silent hero making a political statement?

“The cartels seems like a bullet-proof villain, no one is going to defend drug dealers,” movie historian Peter Biskind said. “But anytime you use Mexicans as villains in the Trump era, it could be seen in the context of Trump administration policy.”

Stallone, though, seems convinced that his second most famous role transcends labels: “That inside, beneath the brutal exterior and the exploits, (he) is really a man-child,” the actor said of Rambo’s appeal. “Someone who has just lived in the shadow of rejection and is still willing to help people, to sacrifice himself for a cause.”

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DHS formally backs off plans to deport sick immigrant children

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration formally backed away from plans to deport critically ill immigrant children in a notification sent to Congress Thursday.

In a letter sent to the House Oversight Committee, the Department of Homeland Security said that it is “resuming its consideration of non-military deferred action requests on a discretionary, case-by-case basis.”

The administration, as part of its broader immigration crackdown, had announced in August it would shut down the medically deferred action program, which allowed families of critically ill children to receive care in the United States without fear of deportation.

Families had been told the program was being terminated and that they had 33 days to leave the country.

The decision prompted enormous backlash from lawmakers and advocates, leading the administration to signal days later that it would at least temporarily continue allowing medical requests to be processed.

Last week, the Oversight Committee held a hearing on the policy, where children suffering from cystic fibrosis and other illnesses testified they could die if sent back to their home countries.

The committee was scheduled to hold an additional hearing on the matter next week, with testimony from Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the acting ICE Director Matthew Albence.

“It appears that the Trump Administration is reversing its inhumane and disastrous decision to deport critically ill children and their families who are receiving life-saving medical treatment in the United States,” Cummings said in a statement.

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Betsy DeVos visits school with explicit anti-transgender policy

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos embarked on a “2019 Back-to-School” tour this week, which included a stop at a school with an explicit anti-transgender policy.

DeVos visited Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday for a roundtable promoting the expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which provides low- and middle-income students with publicly funded scholarships to attend private schools and currently serves 50,000 students, according to the Department of Education. While a program expansion bill passed in Pennsylvania’s House and Senate earlier this year, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, vetoed the bill in June, citing its high cost.

“This legislation prompts a serious question: Why would the Commonwealth allow for the expansion of the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC) that supports private institutions while our current public-school system remains underfunded?,” Wolf wrote in his veto message. “We have public schools that are structurally deteriorating, contaminated by lead, and staffed by teachers who are not appropriately paid and overstretched in their responsibilities. Tackling these challenges, and others, should be our collective priority.”



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