Meet the Man Who Could Be Americas First Muslim Governor

Donald Trump has truly been an inspiration.

On the vile side, were seeing a spike in white supremacist activities on college campuses and white supremacist deadly terror attacks, as recently documented by the Anti-Defamation League. Trump has inspired these Americans by retweeting visible white supremacists, defending white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville as fine people, and now championing the white supremacists long held dream of ending family unification of immigrants, which they call chain migration.

But on the side of the best of America, Trump has inspired people who oppose his bigotry, racism, and sexism to run for office. There are a record number of women running in 2018, including Rachel Crooks, who courageously told the story of how Trump sexually assaulted her. There are countless people of color and of varying immigration statuses running this year. And add to that I have never seen more Muslim Americans seeking office on all levels, from City Council, like Liliana Bakhtiari in Atlanta, to people running for Congress, such as Fayrouz Saad, a former Obama administration official from Michigan, and former Michigan state representativeRashida Tlaib,who just announced her candidacy to replace former representative John Conyers.

The one candidate in this group who has truly captured the medias attention is another Michigander: Abdul El-Sayed, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. If elected, the 33-year-old El-Sayed would be the first Muslim American ever elected as governor and the youngest governor since a 32-year-old Bill Clinton was elected in Arkansas back in 1978.

Theres a reason why former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau tweeted a video about El-Sayed with the words: Reminds me of someone I used to work for.

However, El-Sayeds faith and age are the least of the reasons to support him. I spoke at length to El-Sayed both as a guest on my SiriusXM radio show and in person. Simply put, this guy is the real deal.Hes not only charismatic, hes well versed in the nuances of policy on issues from job creation to education to especially healthcare, given hes a medical doctor who previously headed Detroits health department.

Theres a reason why former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau tweeted a video about El-Sayed with the words: Reminds me of someone I used to work for. But as El-Sayed commented about the comparison, I love Obamabut Im not him. Hes right. In fact, on policy issues, El-Sayed is much more of a younger, brown Muslim version of Bernie Sanders. And its no coincidence that some former Sanders campaign people have joined El-Sayeds campaign.

But theres something else that makes you root for him. The Michigan born El-Sayed is a living example of the American dream. Hes the son of Egyptian immigrants. He was captain of the high school football team and played lacrosse at University of Michigan. He then went on to win a Rhodes scholarship and earned a medical degree from Columbia University.

El-Sayed is currently locked in a two-person race with Gretchen Whitmer, a former State Senate minority leader backed by the Democratic establishment. But the excitement is on El-Sayeds side as friends in Michigan have made clear. Thats likely why there was a recent anonymous attack on El-Sayeds eligibility based on the state constitutions requirement that gubernatorial candidates be registered as a Michigan voter for the four prior years to running. While El-Sayed was born and raised in Michigan, he did attend Columbia medical school in New York from 2012-2015 and then returned to Michigan in 2016. El-Sayeds campaign, however, is confident it will prevail on this attackwhich they view as akin to birthersimsince he was still a registered voter in Michigan at all times.

Even in a state like Michigan, where theres a sizable Arab American and Muslim population, a guy named Abdul El-Sayed has seen challenges. He explained that after 9/11 he was subjected to taunts like Go back to your country! and others calling him raghead. And just last year, a Michigan mosque was burned down in a case of arson.

However, the response to that fire was that people in the community of all faiths donated over $30,000 to rebuild the mosque. Thats the real Michigan to El-Sayed, who explained, Michiganders dont care how you pray, but what you pray for. He added, I pray for my family, my state, my country and for Michigan football. I know a lot of Michiganders pray for the same things.

On the issues, El-Sayed is championing not only a bold, progressive agenda but one specific to Michigan. When I travel Michigan, I hear from people of all backgrounds that they feel locked out of the economy, he explained. El-Sayed contrasted that with where the Democrats went wrong in the 2016 campaign that saw Trump take Michigan: The Democratic establishment told Michiganders in 2016 that the economy was backwell, it wasnt.

El-Sayed passionately explained the need for a single payer healthcare system which would help both Michiganders and attract businesses. As a doctor, I had to share with people diagnoses of life-threatening conditions yet for some people their worst day wasnt when they heard the diagnoses but trying to figure out how to pay their medical bills without bankrupting their family, said El-Sayed.

El-Sayed shared how GM moved a factory from Michigan to Canada because it could save money on providing healthcare because that was already afforded to the citizens of Canada. For those reasons, he wants to start a Michigan-run healthcare system that provides healthcare and would attract new businesses to set up shop there.

El-Sayed has been traveling Michigan for much of last year and will continue on a daily basis from now until the Aug. 7 primary. When we expect 50 people we have had 150 show up at events, he explained about the support hes received, and more than half of the people at the events sign up to volunteer for the campaign. If things keep building we just may see El-Sayed follow in the footsteps of Bernie Sanders and pull off a Democratic primary win in Michigan. And if Michiganders ultimately elect El-Sayed as governor, that would be the perfect middle finger to Trump.

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Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between

The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer.

But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach. Data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.

Here are the stats: The U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate—a measure of the number of deaths per year—rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries. That’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980.


At the same time that Americans’ life expectancy is stalling, public policy and career tracks mean millions of U.S. workers are waiting longer to call it quits. The age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits is gradually moving up, from 65 for those retiring in 2002 to 67 in 2027.

Almost one in three Americans age 65 to 69 is still working, along with almost one in five in their early 70s.

Postponing retirement can make financial sense, because extended careers can make it possible to afford retirements that last past age 90 or even 100. But a study out this month adds some caution to that calculation.

Americans in their late 50s already have more serious health problems than people at the same ages did 10 to 15 years ago, according to the journal Health Affairs.

University of Michigan economists HwaJung Choi and Robert Schoeni used survey data to compare middle-age Americans’ health. A key measure is whether people have trouble with an “activity of daily living,” or ADL, such as walking across a room, dressing and bathing themselves, eating, or getting in or out of bed. The study showed the number of middle-age Americans with ADL limitations has jumped: 12.5 percent of Americans at the current retirement age of 66 had an ADL limitation in their late 50s, up from 8.8 percent for people with a retirement age of 65.

At the current retirement age of 66, a quarter of Americans age 58 to 60 rated themselves in “poor” or “fair” health. That’s up 2.6 points from the group who could retire with full benefits at 65, the Michigan researchers found.

Cognitive skills have also declined over time. For those with a retirement age of 66, 11 percent already had some kind of dementia or other cognitive decline at age 58 to 60, according to the study. That’s up from 9.5 percent of Americans just a few years older, with a retirement age between 65 and 66.

While death rates can be volatile from year to year, Choi and Schoeni’s study is part of a raft of other research showing the health of Americans deteriorating.

Researchers have offered many theories for why Americans’ health is getting worse. Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize winner, have argued that an epidemic of suicide, drug overdoses and alcohol abuse have caused a spike in death rates among middle-age whites.

Higher rates of obesity may also be taking their toll. And Americans may have already seen most of the benefits from previous positive developments that cut the death rate, such as a decline in smoking and medical advances like statins that fight cardiovascular disease.

Declining health and life expectancy are good news for one constituency: Pension plans, which must send a monthly check to retirees for as long as they live.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Actuaries, life expectancy for pension participants has dropped since its last calculation by 0.2 years. A 65-year-old man can expect to live to 85.6 years, and a woman can expect to make it to 87.6. As a result, the group calculates a typical pension plan’s obligations could fall by 0.7 percent to 1 percent.

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    She kept the pregnancy that resulted from her rapenow her alleged attacker has joint custody

    A 21-year-old Michigan mother is left seeking protection after her rapist was awarded parenting time and joint legal custody of her 8-year-old child after the county surveyed her about child support.

    According to the Detroit News, the survivor’s attorney says Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory S. Ross awarded Christopher Mirasolo, 27, joint custody after a DNA test established Mirasolo was the parent of the child. The attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, has filed an objection with Ross and will be seeking the survivor’s protection under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act at a hearing on Oct. 25.

    According to Kiessling, Ross ordered Mirasolo to be added to the child’s birth certificate and to be given the survivor’s address after the survivor filled out a county survey about the child support she received this past year. Kiessling also said despite assistant prosecutor Eric Scott’s insistence, her client was never asked for consent to give Mirasolo joint custody nor did she give it.

    As part of the custody change, Kiessling said her client was notified she couldn’t move more than 100 miles from where she lived when the case was filed without the court’s consent, and she had to “come home immediately or she would be held in contempt of court.”

    Mirasolo’s attorney, Barbara Yockey, said Mirasolo never initiated the paternity test nor custody change, and that this was something routinely done by a prosecutor’s office when someone applies for state assistance. The News could not reach Ross for comment, and Scott did not return requests for comment.

    The survivors’ case is believed to be the first case of its kind in Michigan.

    “This is insane,” Kiessling told News. “Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated. was never properly charged and should still be sitting behind bars somewhere, but the system is victimizing my client, who was a child herself when this all happened.”

    According to Kiessling, her client was 12 when Mirasolo, then 18, forcibly raped and threatened to kill her in September 2008. Mirasolo had abducted her client, the client’s 13-year-old sister, and a friend and kept them captive for two days in a vacant house. He was arrested a month later when Kiessling’s client found out she was pregnant as a result of the rape.

    Mirasolo was given a plea deal for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and he served a little more than six months of his one-year county jail sentence. In March 2010, Mirasolo committed a sexual assault of a child between the ages of 13 through 15, for which he served a four-year sentence.

    “I think this is all crazy,” the survivor told the News. “They never explained anything to me. I was receiving about $260 a month in food stamps for me and my son and health insurance for him. I guess they were trying to see how to get some of the money back.”

    Editor’s note: This article has been updated for clarity. 

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