EU Vaccination Passport Regulation Proposal
I heard this evening that the EU is about to push through a regulation (which means it gets passed
three days after being published) on EU-wide vaccination certifates. I understand it's being tabled
tomorrow, so I simply had to read it (quickly!)
I expect this will cross your desk and I know you're a keen reader of these sorts of things, but I
attach my rapid analysis below, which I sent to my local group of partisans. Hopefully of some use.
All the best,
Thanks, [redacted]. The momentum is gaining.
On a charitable reading of this regulation, it's a logical step for the EU to ensure that
vaccination status is mutually recognised across member states. It's in their nature to do this
sort of thing. I think the devil is in the detail. I've pulled out some quotes from the proposed
regulation, along with some comments of my own. (You can find the original sections simply by
searching for the text.) Given that we don't all have time to read the whole text, perhaps this
will help highlight one or two nuances that we need to be aware of.
I think that the bigger picture is that the EU is proposing a system for a non-problem: a pandemic
that is over and that is demonstrably not worth worrying about in the future. Why all the fuss?
After all, the EU expect this to cost many tens of millions of Euros in emergency funding,
according to the financial costings section. The obvious conclusion? That the pandemic/epidemic
(/mild cough/threatening light breeze) narrative will continue and that the bio-security apparatus
will continue to develop. And it will be here to stay, unless we do something about it. "The
natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild, and government to gain ground." -- Thomas
---- The possession of a “Digital Green Certificate”, in particular a vaccination certificate,
should not be a pre-condition for the exercise of free movement. Persons who are not vaccinated,
for example for medical reasons, because they are not part of the target group for which the
vaccine is currently recommended, such as children, or because they have not yet had the
opportunity or do not wish to be vaccinated, must be able to continue to exercise their fundamental
right of free movement, where necessary subject to limitations such as mandatory testing and
quarantine/self-isolation. In particular, this Regulation cannot be interpreted as establishing an
obligation or right to be vaccinated.
This at least means that quarantine and testing remain viable options for travel.
----- Member States shall issue the certificates referred to in paragraph 1 in a digital or
paper-based format, or both.
Depending on our member state, we may not need to use a smartphone for this. (Fingers crossed, eh?)
----- To facilitate free movement, and to ensure that restrictions of free movement currently in
place during the COVID-19 pandemic can be lifted in a coordinated manner based on the latest
scientific evidence available, an interoperable vaccination certificate should be established.
Can somebody explain how an interopable certificate helps here? (Seriously - I don't see the
----- It is necessary to prevent discrimination against persons who are not vaccinated, for example
because of medical reasons, because they are not part of the target group for which the vaccine is
currently recommended, or because they have not yet had the opportunity or chose not to be
vaccinated. ... Therefore, possession of a vaccination certificate, or the possession of a
vaccination certificate indicating a specific vaccine medicinal product, should not be a
pre-condition to exercise free movement rights, in particular where those persons are, by other
means, able to show compliance with lawful, public-health-related requirements, and cannot be a
pre-condition to use cross-border passenger transport services such as airlines, trains, coaches or
If you don't have a certificate you can still use cross-border public transport. I suppose this
means that states will resort to testing and (if you fail the test upon arrival) quarantine.
----- To facilitate free movement, and to ensure that restrictions of free movement currently in
place during the COVID-19 pandemic can be lifted in a coordinated manner based on the latest
scientific evidence available, an interoperable certificate of recovery should be established,
containing the necessary information to clearly identify the person concerned and the date of a
previous positive test for SARS-CoV-2 infection. A certificate of recovery should be issued at the
earliest from the eleventh day after the first positive test and should be valid for not more than
Scheme: Fail a test - an exercise I leave to the reader* - and then "recover", get a certificate
and you're good to go for half a year. Repeat... (*Ideas welcome.)
----- the Regulation’s provisions on the “Digital Green Certificate” framework for the issuance,
verification and acceptance of interoperable certificates on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and
recovery should be suspended once the Director-General of the WHO has declared, in accordance with
the International Health Regulations, that the public health emergency of international concern
caused by SARS-CoV-2 has ended. At the same time, their application should resume if the
Director-General of the WHO declares another public health emergency of international concern due
to an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, a variant thereof, or similar infectious diseases with epidemic
This is key. This paragraph enables the EU to maintain this regime for as long as it suits them and
to reintroduce it any time.
"a variant thereof" means this could go on forever.
"or similar infectious diseases with epidemic potential" could mean seasonal flu. (So much for the
original meaningful pandemic definition. Now it's merely epidemic potential.)
----- In order to take into account the epidemiological situation and the progress in containing
the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure interoperability with international standards, the power to
adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the application of certain Articles of this
Regulation as well as the list of personal data to be included in the certificates covered by this
Article 290 states: "A legislative act may delegate to the Commission the power to adopt
non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements
of the legislative act. ..."
IANAL but this sounds like the king is making himself emperor.
A note on subsidiarity, since it is mentioned as justification (due to the "scale" of the issue).
Article 5(3) states: "Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its
exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed
action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional
and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be
better achieved at Union level."
I recognise in this echoes of "States' Rights" the US Constitution, but I see that in the very same
sentence they leave the door open to ignoring this principle for reasons of expediency. Nice one,
EU, you bastards. Way to corrupt the world's finest constitutional document.
----- The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 11 to amend
point 1 of the Annex by adding, modifying or removing data fields on the categories of personal
data mentioned in this paragraph.
Probably harmless, but leaves open the possibility of including data that isn't strictly required -
perhaps in order to deny certain people their free movement. Call me a cynic.
----- Ready for operations as early as possible in 2021
Fasten your seatbelts.
Federal law prohibits mandatory vaccination with EUA
According to this article the law is clear. Vaccines authorized by EUA can't be made mandatory, by no one.
Federal law prohibits employers and others from requiring vaccination with a Covid-19 vaccine distributed under an EUA
"In the same vein, when Dr. Amanda Cohn, the executive secretary of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, was asked if Covid-19 vaccination can be required, she responded that under an EUA, “vaccines are not allowed to be mandatory. So, early in this vaccination phase, individuals will have to be consented and they won’t be able to be mandatory.” Cohn later affirmed that this prohibition on requiring the vaccines applies to organizations, including hospitals."
NYS launches vaccine, testing passport 'Excelsior Pass' for use at venues, theaters, stadiums | PIX11
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 13:16
by: Corey Crockett
Mar 26, 2021 / 02:29 PM EDT / Updated:
Mar 26, 2021 / 02:29 PM EDTNew York State's ''Excelsior Pass'' is shown. It is a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual's recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines. (Image: NYS Governor's Office)
As Americans continue to inch back toward normal life as more and more vaccines are administered, so-called vaccine passports have become a widely discussed tool to safely reopen economic engines.
Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of the state's ''Excelsior Pass,'' a digital platform to show proof of test results or vaccination to enter a participating business. Users will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code.
The platform is similar to an airline boarding pass; it's free to use and is voluntary.
Madison Square Garden will begin using the technology next week, the governor's office said.
Beginning April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.
New Yorkers can choose to use Excelsior Pass to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results as needed to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or other events above the social gathering limit.
Interested New Yorkers can opt in to use Excelsior Pass and learn more here; interested businesses can opt in and learn more here.
''New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,'' Cuomo said. ''The question of 'public health or the economy' has always been a false choice '-- the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening.''
The system was developed with IBM's Digital Health Pass with a special emphasis on privacy.
Interested New Yorkers can download the Excelsior Pass Wallet app for Android here and for iOS here. Interested businesses can download the Excelsior Pass Scanner app for Android here and for iOS here.
Excelsior Pass for Business | New York Forward
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 13:17
AID COMPLIANCE WITH STATE REOPENING GUIDELINES
Participate in Excelsior Pass
The reopening of key economic activities in New York State, such as arts and entertainment venues, stadiums and arenas, and weddings and catered events, will require proof of a vaccine or negative test for attendees.
Excelsior Pass is a digital ecosystem that enables individuals to store digital proof of test results and/or vaccine status and businesses and venues to verify these items without accessing personal health data.
How it Works
Business participation across the state is critical to the success of Excelsior Pass and the safe reopening of New York.
Download the App
Download the free Excelsior Pass Scanner App and complete a short registration form.
Notify Customers & Employees
Immediately start notifying customers and employees that you accept the Excelsior Pass and point them to NY.Gov/ExcelsiorPass for more information.
Excelsior Pass provides secure, digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results. Businesses can use the Pass to aid compliance with State reopening guidelines.
Data you provide about your business is maintained in a secure manner and will not be used for sales or marketing purposes or shared with a third party.
Get support or provide feedback for Excelsior Pass.
Business Guidance Lookup Tool
The NY Forward Business Guidance Lookup tool will help determine whether your business is able to operate and the public health and safety standards with which your business must comply.
Download Excelsior Pass Scanner
Get Started Now
Download the Excelsior Pass Scanner app to get started today.
Spain's Galicia makes COVID-19 vaccine compulsory with fines of up to '¬60K for those who refuse it - Olive Press News Spain
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:48
GALICIA has announced that the COVID-19 vaccine is compulsory for all its 2.7 million inhabitants.
The Xunta de Galicia published last Friday in its Official Gazette the amendment of the Health Law.
This new Public Health Law, reforms the previous text of 2008 and is a legal framework adapted to pandemics which allows health authorities to adopt mandatory preventive measures including home confinement or force the population to be vaccinated.
The health amendment, approved by a majority in the Galician parliament, considers the 'unjustified' refusal of anyone who is called up to have the COVID-19 jab a 'serious infringements', resulting in a penalty of '¬3001 to '¬60,000.
However, if the offence results in a 'a very serious infringement''--where authorities consider over 100 people have been put at risk, the fines can range from between '¬60,000 to '¬600,000.
The new law is a pioneering decision at national level, although the lack of detail in the official legislation means it is subject to interpretation.
Common COVID-19 fines and penalties in Spain:
Minor infringements ('¬100 to '¬3,000)
Not wearing a mask: '¬100.Wearing the mask incorrectly: '¬100.Offences where authorities consider 15 people have been put at risk: '¬100 to '¬3,000.Non-compliance with the capacity limits or the maximum number of people permitted in establishments where authorities consider up to 15 people have been put at risk.Failure to comply with the general or specific hygiene, prevention and control measures established for each type of establishment or activity, whether in public or private spaces, which produces a slight risk or damage to the health of the population.The failure of establishments to inform customers about the opening hours, the capacity of the premises, the social distance and the mandatory use of masks, where appropriate, as measures to prevent COVID-19.Non-compliance with the interpersonal safety distance between non-cohabitants, in public or private places.Serious infringements ('¬3,000 to '¬60,000)
Offences where authorities consider between 15 and 100 people have been put at risk.Failure to comply with the duty of home isolation agreed by the health authority or, where appropriate, the confinement decreed, for those individuals who have tested positive to COVID-19Resistance in collaboration with competent authorities.Resistance to or obstruction of the provision of information to the competent authorities or their agents, as well as the provision of inaccurate information or failure to carry out or comply with health requirements.Failure to report cases of suspected or diagnosed disease.Failure to comply with the general or specific hygiene and prevention measures established for any type of establishment or activity, in public or private spaces, that does not constitute a minor or very serious infringementNon-compliance with capacity limits or the maximum number of people allowed in establishments where authorities consider up to 100 people have been put at riskVery serious infringements ('¬60,000 to '¬600,000)
Offences where authorities consider over 100 people have been put at risk.Non-compliance with the general or specific hygiene and prevention measures established for each type of establishment or activity, whether in public or private spaces, which produces a high risk or very serious harm to the health of the population.Exceeding capacity limits or the maximum number of people allowed in the establishments, both in public and private spaces, where there are crowds that prevent or hinder the adoption of preventive health measures.The opening of premises, the holding of events or the carrying out of activities which have been expressly prohibited or suspended by the current COVID-19 regulations, or have not been authorised and produce a very serious infringement or risk.
"Papers For The Pub": Johnson Shocks By Signaling Support For Vaccine Passport To Enter Pubs | ZeroHedge
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:47
A huge row has erupted among UK lawmakers and among the public over plans that pubs throughout Britain may require proof of vaccination before allowing patrons entry, which has also negatively impacted stocks Thursday.
A government review is looking closely at implementing "vaccine passports" in order to help facilite the country's reopening, without which an individual may not even be able to get a pint. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson was previously seen as unsupportive of the controversial idea, he shocked by telling MPs on Wednesday that it "may be up to the landlord" '-- and added: "The concept of vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us."
Tory MPs reacted swiftly by slamming a legal policy that would require citizens to produce "papers for the pub" '-- which could be included as part of recommendations in a report for combatting the spread of Covid which is due out in May. One called it a "ghastly trap" which would erode the individual rights of Britons.
Others worried about what it means for people who for medical reasons have been advised to not take the jab. So far there's been greater acceptance of a policy that would give healthcare and elderly care facilities the right to require proof of vaccination for entry to their premises; however, this suggests a broader opening up of the "show papers" plan for even basic social activities.
Needless to say, if pubs go first then it's not long before simple admittance to sporting events, a concert venue, or even church becomes restricted based on receiving the jab first.
Here's Johnson's worrisome statements on the looming possibility in context as given in the House of Commons on Wednesday:
The idea of asking pub goers to show a vaccine certificate was raised at Wednesday's House of Commons Liaison Committee hearing, when Conservative William Wragg asked Mr Johnson if vaccine certificates were "compatible with a free society such as ours".
Mr Johnson said the concept "should not be totally alien to us" as doctors already have to have hepatitis B jabs.
Mr Wragg then asked, what about "ordinary citizens going to the pub?" and the prime minister replied: "That's the kind of thing that may be up to individual publicans."
Pushed further, Mr Johnson said: "I find myself in this long national conversation thinking very deeply about it" adding that the public "want me as prime minister to take all the action I can to protect them".
The timing is explosive and politically sensitive given MPs are also imminently set to vote on new coronavirus laws considered part of "England's roadmap out of lockdown", according to BBC.
Big news that it looks like the government is seriously considering permitting 'vaccine passports', not just in healthcare settings but for basic social activities like pubs. Huge practical, ethical, rights implications /1 https://t.co/e9ofemt1Ky
'-- Adam Wagner (@AdamWagner1) March 24, 2021An additional six month extension of the government's sweeping 'emergency coronavirus powers' is also being mulled and is expected to be voted on later in the day Thursday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has lately talked about "end" to the pandemic but only with "repeated" and updated, possibly yearly vaccinations that would be akin to issuing a flu shot each year.
Decentralized wikipedia coming
Google's unusual move to shut down an active counterterrorism operation being conducted by a Western democracy | MIT Technology Review
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 13:07
Google runs some of the most venerated cybersecurity operations on the planet: its Project Zero team, for example, finds powerful undiscovered security vulnerabilities, while its Threat Analysis Group directly counters hacking backed by governments, including North Korea, China, and Russia. And those two teams caught an unexpectedly big fish recently: an ''expert'' hacking group exploiting 11 powerful vulnerabilities to compromise devices running iOS, Android, and Windows.
But MIT Technology Review has learned that the hackers in question were actually Western government operatives actively conducting a counterterrorism operation. The company's decision to stop and publicize the attack caused internal division at Google and raised questions inside the intelligence communities of the United States and its allies.
A pair of recent Google blog posts detail the collection of zero-day vulnerabilities that it discovered hackers using over the course of nine months. The exploits, whichwent back to early 2020 and used never-before-seen techniques, were ''watering hole'' attacks that used infected websites to deliver malware to visitors. They caught the attention of cybersecurity experts thanks to their scale, sophistication, and speed.
Google's announcement glaringly omitted key details, however, including who was responsible for the hacking and who was being targeted, as well as important technical information on the malware or the domains used in the operation. At least some of that information would typically be made public in some way, leading one security expert to criticize the report as a ''dark hole.''
''Different ethical questions''Security companies regularly shut down exploits that are being used by friendly governments, but such actions are rarely made public. In response to this incident, some Google employees have argued that counterterrorism missions ought to be out of bounds of public disclosure; others believe the company was entirely within its rights, and that the announcement serves to protect users and make the internet more secure.
''Project Zero is dedicated to finding and patching 0-day vulnerabilities, and posting technical research designed to advance the understanding of novel security vulnerabilities and exploitation techniques across the research community,'' a Google spokesperson said in a statement. ''We believe sharing this research leads to better defensive strategies and increases security for everyone. We don't perform attribution as part of this research.''
It's true that Project Zero does not formally attribute hacking to specific groups. But the Threat Analysis Group, which also worked on the project, does perform attribution. Google omitted many more details than just the name of the government behind the hacks, and through that information, the teams knew internally who the hacker and targets were. It is not clear whether Google gave advance notice to government officials that they would be publicizing and shutting down the method of attack.
But Western operations are recognizable, according to one former senior US intelligence official.
''There are certain hallmarks in Western operations that are not present in other entities '... you can see it translate down into the code,'' said the former official, who is not authorized to comment on operations and spoke on condition of anonymity. ''And this is where I think one of the key ethical dimensions comes in. How one treats intelligence activity or law enforcement activity driven under democratic oversight within a lawfully elected representative government is very different from that of an authoritarian regime.''
''There are certain hallmarks in Western operations that are not present in other entities '... you can see it translate down into the code.''
''The oversight is baked into Western operations at the technical, tradecraft, and procedure level,'' they added.
Google found the hacking group exploiting 11 zero-day vulnerabilities in just nine months, a high number of exploits over a short period. Software that was attacked included the Safari browser on iPhones but also many Google products, including the Chrome browser on Android phones and Windows computers.
But the conclusion within Google was that who was hacking and why is never as important as the security flaws themselves. Earlier this year, Project Zero's Maddie Stone argued that it is too easy for hackers to find and use powerful zero-day vulnerabilities and that her team faces an uphill battle detecting their use.
Instead of focusing on who was behind and targeted by a specific operation, Google decided to take broader action for everyone. The justification was that even if a Western government was the one exploiting those vulnerabilities today, it will eventually be used by others, and so the right choice is always to fix the flaw today.
''It's not their job to figure out''This is far from the first time a Western cybersecurity team has caught hackers from allied countries. Some companies, however, have a quiet policy of not publicly exposing such hacking operations if both the security team and the hackers are considered friendly'--for example, if they are members of the ''Five Eyes'' intelligence alliance, which is made up of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Several members of Google's security teams are veterans of Western intelligence agencies, and some have conducted hacking campaigns for these governments.
In some cases, security companies will clean up so-called ''friendly'' malware but avoid going public with it.
''They typically don't attribute US-based operations,'' says Sasha Romanosky, a former Pentagon official who published recent research into private-sector cybersecurity investigations. ''They told us they specifically step away. It's not their job to figure out; they politely move aside. That's not unexpected.''
While the Google situation is in some ways unusual, there have been somewhat similar cases in the past. The Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky came under fire in 2018 when it exposed an American-led counterterrorism cyber operation against ISIS and Al Qaeda members in the Middle East. Kaspersky, like Google, did not explicitly attribute the threat but nevertheless exposed it and rendered it useless, American officials said, which caused the operatives to lose access to a valuable surveillance program and even put the lives of soldiers on the ground at risk.
Kaspersky was already under heavy criticism for its relationship with the Russian government at the time, and the company was ultimately banned from US government systems. It has always denied having any special relationship with the Kremlin.
Google has found itself in similar water before, too. In 2019, the company released research on what may have been an American hacking group, although specific attribution was never made. But that research was about a historical operation. Google's recent announcements, however, put the spotlight on what had been a live cyber-espionage operation.
Who's being protected?The alarms raised both inside government and at Google show the company is in a difficult position.
Google security teams have a responsibility to the company's customers, and it is widely expected that they will do their utmost to protect the products'--and therefore users'--who are under attack. In this incident, it's notable that the techniques used affected not just Google products like Chrome and Android, but also iPhones.
While different teams draw their own lines, Project Zero has made its name by tackling critical vulnerabilities all over the internet, not just those found in Google's products.
''Each step we take towards making 0-day hard, makes all of us safer,'' tweeted Maddie Stone, one of the most highly respected members of the security team, when the latest research was published.
But while protecting customers from attack is important, some argue that counterterrorism operations are different, with potentially life-and-death consequences that go beyond day-to-day internet security.
When state-backed hackers in Western nations find cybersecurity flaws, there are established methods for working out the potential costs and benefits of disclosing the security gap to the company that is affected. In the United States it's called the ''vulnerabilities equities process.'' Critics worry that US intelligence hoards large numbers of exploits, but the American system is more formal, transparent, and expansive than what's done in almost every other country on earth, including Western allies. The process is meant to allow government officials to balance the advantages of keeping flaws secret in order to use them for intelligence purposes with the wider benefits of telling a tech company about a weakness in order to have it fixed.
''The level of oversight even in Western democracies about what their national security agencies are actually doing is, in many cases, a lot less than we have in the United States.''
Last year the NSA made the unusual move to take credit for revealing an old flaw in Microsoft Windows. That kind of report from government to industry is normally kept anonymous and often secret.
But even though the American intelligence system's disclosure process can be opaque, similar processes in other Western nations are often smaller, more secretive, or simply informal and therefore easy to bypass.
''The level of oversight even in Western democracies about what their national security agencies are actually doing is, in many cases, a lot less than we have in the United States,'' says Michael Daniel, who was White House cybersecurity coordinator for the Obama administration.
''The degree of parliamentary oversight is much less. These countries do not have the robust inter-agency processes the US has. I'm not normally one to brag about the US'--we've got a lot of problems'--but this is one area where we have robust processes that other Western democracies just don't.''
The fact that the hacking group hit by the Google investigation possessed and used so many zero-day vulnerabilities so rapidly could indicate a problematic imbalance. But some observers worry about live counterterrorism cyberoperations being shut down at potentially decisive moments without the ability to quickly start up again.
''US allies don't all have the ability to regenerate entire operations as quickly as some other players,'' the former senior US intelligence official said. Worries about suddenly losing access to an exploit capability or being spotted by a target are particularly high for counterterrorism missions, especially during ''periods of incredible exposure'' when a lot of exploitation is taking place, the official explained. Google's ability to shut down such an operation is likely to be the source of more conflict.
''This is still something that hasn't been well addressed,'' the official said. ''The idea that someone like Google can destroy that much capability that quickly is slowly dawning on folks.''
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:50
On March 21, 2021, CNA determined that it sustained a sophisticated cybersecurity attack. The attack caused a network disruption and impacted certain CNA systems, including corporate email.Upon learning of the incident, we immediately engaged a team of third-party forensic experts to investigate and determine the full scope of this incident, which is ongoing. We have alerted law enforcement and will be cooperating with them as they conduct their own investigation.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have disconnected our systems from our network, which continue to function. We've notified employees and provided workarounds where possible to ensure they can continue operating and serving the needs of our insureds and policyholders to the best of their ability.
The security of our data and that of our insureds and other stakeholders is of the utmost importance to us. Should we determine that this incident impacted our insureds' or policyholders' data, we'll notify those parties directly.
We have established the following dedicated email inboxes to meet the needs of our insureds and policyholders:
To report a new claim, please contact: 1.877.262.2727, Option 2. For all other losses, please email (not fax) all new losses to ClaimFNOLbackup@cna.com.To report Small Business Claims, please email all new losses to Reportclaim@fnol.CNA.com or contact: 1.833.366.5262.
For distribution and underwriting support, please contact one of the following:
We are committed to keeping you apprised of the latest developments. Thank you for your patience.
Researchers harvest energy from radio waves to power wearable devices | Penn State University
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 14:25
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. '-- From microwave ovens to Wi-Fi connections, the radio waves that permeate the environment are not just signals of energy consumed but are also sources of energy themselves. An international team of researchers, led by Huanyu ''Larry'' Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, has developed a way to harvest energy from radio waves to power wearable devices.
The researchers recently published their method in Materials Today Physics.
According to Cheng, current energy sources for wearable health-monitoring devices have their place in powering sensor devices, but each has its setbacks. Solar power, for example, can only harvest energy when exposed to the sun. A self-powered triboelectric device can only harvest energy when the body is in motion.
An international team of researchers, led by Huanyu ''Larry'' Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, has developed a stretchable antenna and rectenna system that harvests energy from radio waves in the ambient environment to power wearable devices.
IMAGE: provided by Larry Cheng
''We don't want to replace any of these current power sources,'' Cheng said. ''We are trying to provide additional, consistent energy.''
The researchers developed a stretchable wideband dipole antenna system capable of wirelessly transmitting data that is collected from health-monitoring sensors. The system consists of two stretchable metal antennas integrated onto conductive graphene material with a metal coating. The wideband design of the system allows it to retain its frequency functions even when stretched, bent and twisted. This system is then connected to a stretchable rectifying circuit, creating a rectified antenna, or "rectenna,'' capable of converting energy from electromagnetic waves into electricity. This electricity that can be used to power wireless devices or to charge energy storage devices, such as batteries and supercapacitors.
This rectenna can convert radio, or electromagnetic, waves from the ambient environment into energy to power the sensing modules on the device, which track temperature, hydration and pulse oxygen level. Compared to other sources, less energy is produced, but the system can generate power continuously '-- a significant advantage, according to Cheng.
''We are utilizing the energy that already surrounds us '-- radio waves are everywhere, all the time,'' Cheng said. ''If we don't use this energy found in the ambient environment, it is simply wasted. We can harvest this energy and rectify it into power.''
Cheng said that this technology is a building block for him and his team. Combining it with their novel wireless transmissible data device will provide a critical component that will work with the team's existing sensor modules.
''Our next steps will be exploring miniaturized versions of these circuits and working on developing the stretchability of the rectifier,'' Cheng said. ''This is a platform where we can easily combine and apply this technology with other modules that we have created in the past. It is easily extended or adapted for other applications, and we plan to explore those opportunities.''
This paper is co-authored by Jia Zhu, who earned a doctoral degree in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State in 2020; Zhihui Hu, former visiting professor in engineering science and mechanics at Penn State and current associate professor at Wuhan University of Technology in China; Chaoyun Song, assistant professor in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland; Ning Yi, who earned a doctoral degree in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State in 2020; Zhaozheng Yu, who earned a master's degree in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State in 2019; Zhendong Liu, former visiting graduate student in engineering science and mechanics at Penn State; Shangbin Liu, graduate student in engineering science and mechanics at Penn State; Mengjun Wang, associate professor in the School of Electronics and Information'¯Engineering at Hebei University of Technology in China; Michael Gregory Dexheimer, who earned a master's degree in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State in 2020; and Jian Yang, professor of biomedical engineering at Penn State.
Support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; and Penn State.
On Google Podcasts, a Buffet of Hate - The New York Times
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 12:57
The platform's tolerance of white supremacist, pro-Nazi and conspiracy theory content pushes the boundaries of the medium.
Google Podcasts has been compared to Parler, the social network that became a hotbed for extremist groups. Credit... Thomas Trutschel/Photothek Via, Getty Images March 25, 2021
He had already been banned from Twitter, but on his podcast he could give full voice to his hateful conspiracy theories.
The podcaster argued that the man in Atlanta who had confessed to killing eight people at massage parlors last week, including six women of Asian descent, was the one who had truly been victimized '-- the casualty of a supposed Jewish plot.
''Your heart goes out to the guy,'' he said.
The remarks, emblematic of a longstanding online network of white supremacists and pro-Nazi groups, weren't hidden in some dark corner of the internet, but could be found on Google Podcasts, the search giant's official podcast app that was released for Android in 2018 and expanded to Apple devices last year.
As leading social networks like Facebook and Twitter have taken some steps to limit hate speech, misinformation and incitements to violence in recent months, podcasts '-- historically fueled by a spirit of good-natured anarchy '-- stand as one of the last remaining platforms for the de-platformed.
After Twitter last November suspended the account of Steve Bannon, the onetime adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, for suggesting that several officials be beheaded, he continued to enjoy large audiences with his podcast, available on both Apple and Google's services.
But even in the world of podcasting, Google Podcasts '-- whose app has been downloaded more than 19 million times, according to Apptopia '-- stands alone among major platforms in its tolerance of hate speech and other extremist content. A recent nonexhaustive search turned up more than two dozen podcasts from white supremacists and pro-Nazi groups, offering a buffet of slurs and conspiracy theories. None of the podcasts appeared on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.
Google Podcasts is also one of the few remaining homes of Alex Jones, the ''Infowars'' broadcaster, who was banned in 2018 from Apple, Spotify and Stitcher for repeated violations of their policies on hate speech and harassment. Google, citing its own policies, terminated Mr. Jones's YouTube account. Last year, it removed the Infowars app from the Google Play store for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.
But Mr. Jones's programs are still available on Google Podcasts.
Told of the white supremacist and pro-Nazi content on its platform and asked about its policy, a Google spokeswoman, Charity Mhende, compared Google Podcasts to Google Search. She said that the company did not want to ''limit what people are able to find,'' and that it only blocks content ''in rare circumstances, largely guided by local law.''
That hands-off approach to moderation recalls the original position of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which have become more vigilant in recent years in their attempts to rein in the spread of harmful content.
Both Facebook and Twitter barred Mr. Trump from posting after the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol that left five dead and more than 100 injured.
On Thursday, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Alphabet, Google's parent company, joined the chief executives of Facebook and Twitter in testifying before Congress about the spread of extremism and disinformation. He said in written testimony that Google was committed to ''providing trustworthy content and opportunities for free expression across our platforms, while limiting the reach of harmful misinformation,'' but did not mention podcasts.
Jessica Fjeld, the assistant director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, said she was surprised that Google had taken such a ''hard-line'' posture against regulating its platform.
She compared Google Podcasts' positioning to that of Parler, the largely unregulated social network that was a hotbed for disinformation and extremist groups before the largest tech companies turned away from it.
''Google is perfectly well aware of how to moderate content if it cares to,'' said Ms. Fjeld. ''It seems like they've made a decision to embrace an audience that wants more offensive content rather than constrain that content for the sake of safety and respect.''
Google Podcasts, like most other podcast players, including Apple's, doesn't host content on its own servers. (Spotify and Audible are prominent exceptions to this rule). Instead, it aggregates RSS feeds '-- a standardized web format that allows users to receive regularly updated content '-- that are hosted by third parties.
When Apple bans a podcast, such as Mr. Jones's, it removes the RSS feed from its directory. Google Podcasts says it's unwilling to take that step except in a narrow set of cases.
The services's content policy compares its function to Google Search's aggregation of links. Unless a podcast violates the rules that apply to links appearing in Google Search, most of which are based on legal restrictions, it will remain on Google Podcasts. Google does draw distinctions when it comes to which podcasts it will promote, and thus make easier to find. It says it does not recommend content that is ''inappropriate, insensitive, or offensive in nature,'' and goes on to cite specific areas of concern, including content that is harassing, hateful, deceptive or dangerous.
Though the company likens its podcast platform to search, Google Podcast's own product description notes significant experiential differences, including the ability to manipulate playback speed, create playlists and download and store content.
But there is at least one connection between Google Podcasts and Google Search. In 2019, Google began integrating podcasts into search results using its own platform, making it possible to play content directly from the results page. All podcasts, including those featuring hate speech, currently benefit from this feature under Google's policy.
In the early days, content moderation in podcasting was virtually nonexistent. Apple, the industry's largest and most influential player, which added support for podcasts to iTunes in 2005, at first paid little attention to the nascent ecosystem, opting to serve largely as a delivery vehicle.
The company's benign neglect was a boon for many creators. Popular comedians (Adam Carolla, Marc Maron) and public radio exiles (Kaitlin Prest, ''The Heart''; Nick van der Kolk, ''Love + Radio'') took advantage of the medium's low barrier to entry to find audiences. Many prized freedom of expression, unburdened by the Federal Communications Commission that regulates radio and television broadcasters.
''Everyone who had an idea had a place to explore it,'' said Johanna Zorn, a longtime public radio producer and the co-founder of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. ''There was suddenly a variety of voices and experiences that would never have existed otherwise.''
But not all of those voices, part of a chorus of more than one million podcasts in existence today, were virtuous. And with more popularity '-- 80 million Americans listened to a podcast at least once a week in 2020, according to Edison Research '-- came more scrutiny.
Many provocative podcasts, including several hosted by fringe and far-right figures, exist on nearly all the platforms. But the decision to ban Mr. Jones signaled a new willingness among leading services to take action against content they consider beyond the pale.
Noah Shanok, the co-founder and former chief executive of Stitcher, which was the first podcast platform to ban Mr. Jones, said he believes that podcasts provide a unique form of passive, ''lean back'' entertainment that benefits from curation.
''The more you move in that direction, the more onus there is to police content,'' he said.
Image Podcasts helped the organizers of the ''Unite the Right'' rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 cultivate a national following, according to an expert at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Credit... Stephanie Keith/Reuters Experts debate whether dangerous speech poses the same threat on podcasts that it does on social media. Keri Hoffman, the chief executive of PRX, a nonprofit network that distributes ''This American Life'' and other popular programs, noted that while social media allows users to send near-real-time messages to potentially billions of users, podcasts, which take more work to discover, have more limited reach.
''If radio was like talking into a great big pipe, podcasts are like talking into a cocktail straw,'' she said.
But the insular, self-selecting nature of podcast communities presents its own challenges.
Michael Edison Hayden, a senior investigative reporter with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that podcasts were a ''fundamental building block'' of the deadly ''Unite the Right'' rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, helping organizers who had been banned from more mainstream platforms cultivate a national following.
''Podcasts were instrumental in radicalizing and galvanizing that movement,'' he said.
For Ms. Hoffman, the health of the ecosystem depends on finding some balance between free expression and safety.
''I really believe the openness of podcasting has been key to its success story so far, and will be in the future,'' she said. ''But there have to be some guardrails.''
University Mascott Noodle Gun
I would like to share with you that the leadership team at Evangel University, including our Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet, have made the decision to retire our official EU mascot, currently a Crusader. It is my desire that you hear directly from me as to how and why this decision was made.
Evangel University’s mission is to educate and equip students to become Spirit-empowered servants of God who impact the Church and society globally. We recognize that the Crusader inhibits the ability of students to proudly represent the university in their areas of global work and ministry. We feel strongly that now is the time to make this change as a continued effort to fulfill our mission and empower students for global impact.
The world has changed significantly since the 1950’s, when the Evangel College community, intending to depict strength, honor, and commitment to the faith, first identified a Crusader as the school’s mascot. Today, we live in an increasingly connected world where information is readily available, and where, through media and the internet, we are very much a part of a global community. An increased level of awareness as to how we are perceived by others prompts us to consider how any representation we make as a university has the power to impact, both positively and negatively, the Church’s reputation.
Essentially, we understand how our reflection of Jesus Christ is marred by our representation as Crusaders. The nearly universal connotation of “Crusader” is tied to the Crusades of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, when Western Christians waged a series of “holy wars,” during which thousands of Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Christians were killed, many in barbaric ways.
The negative connotation and violence associated with the Crusades are not reflective of Evangel University’s mission and values. Evangel is and always has been a faith-based institution, therefore we must be sure that our representative symbolism is in alignment with our beliefs and speaks to our core values.
Jesus taught in word and by example that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:44); and believers should not add any further causes of offense by how we present ourselves (I Cor. 9:19-23).
Our students and alumni represent Evangel University, no matter where they travel or work. Because of the negative connotations already stated, the association with the Crusader is often and intentionally avoided. The university’s mascot should be one that the community collectively embraces, not one that requires intentional distance.
Much thought and effort has been put into this decision, including ad hoc committees consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, going back as far as 2007, who have overwhelmingly recommended that the Crusader no longer serve as the university’s mascot.
Ultimately, this decision was made because I am convinced that our Christ-centered focus requires it. This is not a cultural response to political correctness, but simply the right thing to do.
More than ever, the world needs what Evangel University produces - Christ-like men and women who impact the Church and society for His Kingdom. We must do all we can to not hinder this initiative.
The university will move forward in the coming weeks to thoughtfully adopt a new mascot that represents us well. We’ve created a landing page to keep the community informed. It can be viewed at evangel.edu/mascot. Look for continued updates as the process moves forward.
We are grateful for you!
Free software advocates seek removal of Richard Stallman and entire FSF board | Ars Technica
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:51
Stallman's return meets resistance '-- Open letter signed by hundreds: RMS "has no place" in free software community. Jon Brodkin - Mar 23, 2021 11:40 pm UTC
Enlarge / Richard Stallman speaks about free software in Athens, Greece, at the Commons Fest in 2015.
Richard Stallman's return to the Free Software Foundation's board of directors has drawn condemnation from many people in the free software community. An open letter signed by hundreds of people today called for Stallman to be removed again and for the FSF's entire board to resign.
The open letter said:
Richard M. Stallman, frequently known as RMS, has been a dangerous force in the free software community for a long time. He has shown himself to be misogynist, ableist, and transphobic, among other serious accusations of impropriety. These sorts of beliefs have no place in the free software, digital rights, and tech communities. With his recent reinstatement to the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation, we call for the entire Board of the FSF to step down and for RMS to be removed from all leadership positions.
Letter signers include Neil McGovern, GNOME Foundation executive director and former Debian Project Leader; Deb Nicholson, general manager of the Open Source Initiative; Matthew Garrett, a former member of the FSF board of directors; all eight members of the X.org Foundation board of directors; Elana Hashman of the Debian Technical Committee, Open Source Initiative, and Kubernetes project; Molly de Blanc of the Debian Project and GNOME Foundation; and more than 300 others. That number has been rising quickly today: the open letter contains instructions for signing it. (Update on March 25: the open letter has over 2,000 signatures.).
The letter said all members of the FSF board should be removed because they "have enabled and empowered RMS for years. They demonstrate this again by permitting him to rejoin the FSF Board. It is time for RMS to step back from the free software, tech ethics, digital rights, and tech communities, for he cannot provide the leadership we need." The letter also called for Stallman to be removed from his position leading the GNU Project.
"We urge those in a position to do so to stop supporting the Free Software Foundation," they wrote. "Refuse to contribute to projects related to the FSF and RMS. Do not speak at or attend FSF events, or events that welcome RMS and his brand of intolerance. We ask for contributors to free software projects to take a stand against bigotry and hate within their projects. While doing these things, tell these communities and the FSF why."
Advertisement Stallman's resignationFor a lengthy summary of the events that led to Stallman's resignation in September 2019, see our article published yesterday. Stallman resigned after the leak of emails about Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking of a minor, in which Stallman objected to the use of the word "assaulting" and called it "morally absurd to define 'rape' in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17."
The open-letter writers also posted a page that listed various other, similar statements by Stallman about age-of-consent laws and a statement in which Stallman "recommended that, should someone find out they are pregnant and the child tests positive for Down's syndrome, 'the right course of action for the woman is to terminate the pregnancy.'" The page also said that "RMS has spent years on a campaign against using people's correct pronouns. This is poorly disguised transphobia."
"RMS has a history of mistreating women and making them feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and unwelcome," the page also said, while linking to a summary of allegations.
"Some of us have our own stories about RMS and our interactions with him, things that are not captured in email threads or on video," the open letter said. "We hope you will read what has been shared and consider the harm that he has done to our community and others."
Stallman founded the FSF in 1985 and served as its president until his resignation in 2019. He announced his return to the board, as a member but not president, at the FSF's LibrePlanet conference this past weekend. "I'm now on the Free Software Foundation board of directors once again," he said. "Some of you will be happy at this and some might be disappointed, but who knows. In any case, that's how it is. And I'm not planning to resign a second time."
Stallman's announcement apparently came as a surprise to conference organizers. The Free Software Foundation's official Twitter account posted a tweet today that said, "No LibrePlanet organizers (staff or volunteer), speakers, award winners, exhibitors, or sponsors were made aware of Richard Stallman's announcement until it was public."
We contacted the Free Software Foundation about the open letter calling for Stallman's removal today and will update this article if we get a response. At least for now, Stallman's name is once again listed on the FSF's board of directors page.
It's Time to Stop Letting Actors With Hair Play Bald People - The Ringer
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:03
Just over a year ago, in a feat of unparalleled Jared Leto''ness, Jared Leto emerged from a 12-day silent retreat in the desert to the news that COVID-19 had begun to spread throughout the United States. Apparently, despite what the Joker says, some of us can go a couple of weeks without living in a society. Leto's reentry into the world sparked some media coverage, with each article accompanied by a photo of the actor showcasing his familiar cascading tresses. As a person who started losing his hair at age 19, I always respect when a guy really leans into his ability to grow a great head of hair, whether it's Oscar winner Jared Leto or Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Seeing a fully realized coiffure feels like watching a naturally gifted piano player tackle a difficult piece of music. Conventional wisdom dictates that game recognize game, although in my experience, a complete lack of game (in this case, my hairline) can also recognize game (hirsute excellence).
But thanks to a picture released last week, we know that Jared Leto now looks like this. Paunchy and balding, with unruly hair dangling past the nape of his neck (a look I like to call ''business in the front, party in the Back '... to the Future''). Clad in a purple corduroy suit, Leto gives off the vibe of a professional wrestling manager, or a traveling quaalude salesman, or as one friend put it, the ''You have no good car ideas!'' guy from I Think You Should Leave. What a difference a year makes.
Of course, Jared Leto looks this way because he's in full hair and makeup for his role as Paolo Gucci in the upcoming Ridley Scott biopic House of Gucci. I assume he's in full wardrobe too, but I do think he could probably pull off the head-to-toe corduroy in his daily life without raising too many eyebrows, so I don't want to speculate.
This is, of course, a long-standing Hollywood practice. Rather than hire Paul Giamatti, Jason Statham, J.K. Simmons, or Leslie David Baker to play a bald character, productions cast actors with full, thick heads of hair, and then bald them up. It's double-dipping. You get the clout from a famous hot person's name without them looking hot, and then they also get the actor cred for being brave enough to look regular on camera. Christian Bale was nominated for an Oscar for American Hustle, a movie that nobody liked (Writer's admission: I did kind of like that movie), for putting a toupee on top of a bald cap. That is extreme bald guy stolen valor!!!
(A quick aside: My scorn does not extend to actors with fully shaved heads, which is a hairstyle that anyone can adopt regardless of their natural hairline, and which bald guys have been employing for years as a ''leave something to the imagination'' maneuver.)
I'm furious at Jared Leto, even though I understand this isn't his fault. And this frustration isn't unique to me. A few years ago, Shea Serrano (who, despite his self-deprecation, is a handsome guy) wrote for this website about the infuriating trend of conventionally hot actors playing ugly characters in movies. Regarding Matthew McConaughey's ''transformation'' into an average schlub for his role in the film Gold, Shea said:
Technically ['...] he probably did work hard to make himself look ugly. He probably ate poorly and didn't exercise. But guess what? I know people who don't have to work at all to make themselves ugly. Maybe you've heard of them? They're called ugly people. And guess what else? They have feelings and rights and dreams, same as attractive people.
Just as Shea stood up for those of us who are, let's say, facially deficient, I would like to speak specifically for those among us with an abundance of forehead. Much like Jared Leto, I have also grown balder and puffier over the past year, but I did it the old-fashioned way: stress and stress-related snacking. Where, I ask, is my supporting role in an Adam Driver''Lady Gaga starring vehicle? MY CRANIUM IS NOT YOUR COSTUME, JARED.
Is this the most pressing issue of representation and authenticity in casting? No. Do bald male actors face the same level of scrutiny around their bodies as their female colleagues? Absolutely not. Is this whole opinion rooted in petty jealousy and insecurity? OF COURSE IT IS.
So does this matter at all? A little bit! We don't need Jared Leto to be bald, because we've already got bald guys. But thanks to anti-baldness bias, our numbers are dwindling. Over the past several years, we've lost several prominent balds to hair restoration surgery, a process that used to make your skull look like a field of withered Dust Bowl cornstalks, but now works pretty well. Thanks to this technology (allegedly), the eroded hairlines of men ranging from Jason Alexander and Jeremy Piven to LeBron James and Joe Biden have, well, re-roded.
I do not fault anyone for wanting to look more traditionally handsome. There are obvious benefits to not looking like shit (and by ''looking like shit'' I of course mean failing to adhere to rigid cultural beauty norms). The issue of hair restoration falls firmly under the umbrella of ''don't hate the player, hate the game,'' except in the cases of Piven and Elon Musk, where you can hate both player and game alike. If, based on personal preferences and societal pressures, you decide to erect various surgical and cosmetic levees to protect against the rushing and swelling river of age, I have no problem with that. But to go from a full head of scalp back to a full head of hair is to attempt the full-on reversal of time's passage. It's too much to expect people to believe. And if that's what you're after, just buckle down and build the time machine, Elon.
I don't want to live in a world where Jason Alexander needs a full head of hair to make it through the day. If playing bald icon George Costanza for nine seasons of Seinfeld doesn't earn you a lifetime pass on needing thick, credible hair, what chance do the rest of us have?
The expectation that one should be able to thrive in entertainment (or anywhere, really) while defying conventional standards of attractiveness is a male privilege for sure. But it's not a privilege we should be trying to revoke. Instead, we should endeavor to extend similar privileges to as many types of people as possible. We should all feel free and happy living in the bodies we have, or adjusting them to suit our own personal needs rather than external expectations. To compel us balds to do otherwise isn't just a windfall for big pharma and big hat (no offense, Pharrell), it's a firm step in the wrong direction for our culture as a whole.
To say that it's only OK to be bald if you are actually, underneath a layer of latex and someone else's hair, traditionally hot is not just insulting to bald people; it's limiting to every person whose body doesn't fit a specific mold. The ripple effects of this are numerous and far-ranging. There are already so many people whose bodies are under constant surveillance because of their gender, their race, their age, and their size. And any additional compulsory traditional hotness heightens that vigilance. So yes, this is a dumb thing for me to be mad about. But on the other hand, no man's hairline is an island, even when he has gone bald in a way that leaves a literal island of hair on top of his head.
Josh Gondelman is a comedian living in New York City. He's currently a producer and writer on Showtime's Desus & Mero. You can hear him on his weekly podcast Make My Day, and see him tweet at @joshgondelman.
Controversial WWE Moments Are Being Removed as Archive Moves to Peacock | Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:18
2:07 PM PDT 3/25/2021 by James Hibberd
Courtesy of WWE
As 17,000 hours of wrestling programming transition from WWE Network to Peacock, fans have noticed that some scenes are missing.Some classic WWE content is being revised in its move to Peacock.
Racist moments from the wrestling franchise's history are quietly being deleted from the archive as the massive programming library gradually transitions from the WWE Network.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the NBCUniversal-owned streaming service is reviewing all 17,000 hours of WWE content to ensure it aligns with Peacock's standards and practices. WWE is also being made aware of any edits.
One of the alterations has been to 1990's WrestleMania VI, which featured a match between Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown that included Piper (a white wrestler) painting half his face black while facing off against Brown (a Black wrestler). "I hear Bad News Brown, how he's talking about Harlem, and how he's proud to be from Harlem," Piper said during the pre-match interview. "Now I can stand here, and I can be Black! I can be white! Don't make no difference to me. ... It's what's inside."
As first reported by PW Insider, the Piper-Brown match is no longer included in the broadcast. In an interview conducted years later, Brown reflected on the blackface stunt. "I thought it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen," he said, "and I figured, 'Let him do it, ... and one of these times he's going to be sorry.'"
Another deleted moment was from 2005's Survivor Series 19. In a notorious bit, WWE CEO Vince McMahon (acting in his on-camera corporate villain persona) said the N-word to a shocked John Cena and then strutted past a stunned Booker T, who says, "Tell me he didn't just say that." At the time, a WWE spokesperson defended McMahon to TMZ, calling it "an outlandish and satirical skit involving fictional characters, similar to that of many scripted television shows and movies.''
There are many other moments that have likewise caused controversy over the years.
WWE Network content began making the move to Peacock on March 18. The WWE Network was $9.99 per month, yet Peacock is only $4.99 per month, so the move has been seen as a rather good deal for fans.
Peacock has a dedicated WWE section where fans can browse and access every PPV event in the last calendar year plus current or most recent season episodes of WWE original series Steve Austin's The Broken Skull Sessions, WWE Chronicle and WWE Icons along with new weekly episodes of NXT the day after air. Peacock is continually adding WWE Network content and will eventually include every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV event in history.
The company's goal is to have all the classic content reviewed and available to stream on demand before SummerSlam in August.
Florida House OK's campus 'viewpoint diversity' measure - StarTribune.com
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:54
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. '-- A Republican-led effort promoting ideological diversity on college campuses won approval Thursday in the Florida House after sparking debate over intellectual freedom, free speech and liberal bias in the state's public institutions of higher education.
Florida is among about a dozen states debating legislation over free speech on campuses, many of the measures pursued by Republicans concerned about conservative views being drowned out by liberal voices.
The measure would take stock of any bias by requiring colleges and universities to identify the prevailing political views on campuses statewide. The results of the surveys, the bill's advocates said, would give a clearer picture of whether intellectual freedom on those campuses truly exists.
The bill's sponsor suggested that diversity should not be based on physical characteristics but should also encompass what he called "viewpoint diversity." Proponents have suggested that campuses have fostered environments where liberal ideology is allowed to flourish at the expense of conservative views.
"When you value people that look different but think the same, that's not diversity. That's conformity," said Rep. Spencer Roach, who said it was time to ask "whether our institutions are truly a marketplace for the exchange of ideas."
The results of that survey, he said, could be the basis for future policy decisions, although it was unclear what additional ,measures the findings could spawn.
Roach and other Republicans argue that campuses sometimes are too preoccupied with "shielding" students from differing perspectives, especially those that the broader campus community finds offensive.
In recent years, free speech has become an incendiary issue on campuses across the country, sparking high-profile clashes in which protesters have shut down or heckled conservative speakers, including at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2017, the University of Florida rejected a request for Richard Spencer, a well-known white supremacist, to speak on its campus because of concerns of violence. The university later reversed its decision after it was sued under the First Amendment, but Spencer's speech was drowned out by protesters.
Critics in Florida are countering that the measure could have unintended and even dangerous consequences, with one Democratic lawmaker raising concerns over clashes between opposing groups.
"The idea is advanced that our colleges and our universities are teaching liberal views," said Rep. Geraldine Thompson, a Democrat and retired college administrator. She suggested that survey findings could be used to later mandate certain curricula. "This survey will give someone a basis to say we need to be focusing on these ideas, these viewpoints more so than others."
More disturbingly, she said, it could prevent college officials from restricting who has access to campuses, saying that groups like the Ku Klux Klan could march through campuses like Florida A&M University, one of the country's historically black colleges and universities.
"How about the responsibility of universities not to invite altercations, not to disrupt the learning environment?" Thompson asked.
Republicans rejected that notion.
"At the end of the day, we are here to help and protect our students," said Rep. Amber Mariano, a Republican who was first elected to the Florida House in 2016 when she was a student attending the University of Central Florida. "There are biases in our classrooms, in our higher education institutions '-- not in every classroom, not every professor, and not every student experiences these biases, but they are there."
The Senate version is expected to receive a vote by the full chamber soon.
USA Today Editor Fired For Blaming White Guys For Colorado Shooting '' OutKick
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 14:06
For years, I've written about a threat known as cancel culture, a pathetic tool I describe as a self-serving quest to ruin opposing careers and lives. In a shocking development, the unidentified author of the pathetic Book of Cancel Culture was forced to pen a new chapter this week: ''Left on Left Cancelation.''
USA Today's race and inclusion editor Hemal Jhaveri published a Medium post Friday revealing that she was fired this week for recklessly tweeting that mass shooters are ''always angry white men'' amid Monday's massacre in Boulder, Colorado, that left 10 people dead. Like many verified Twitter accounts, Jhaveri blamed the shooting, with no evidence, on white men; it turned out the suspect is of Syrian descent.
Race and Inclusion Editor at USA TODAY Sports Media Group being very racist and exclusive'... pic.twitter.com/yBwA6XH3zO
'-- Charles R. Smithð--¹ (@softwarnet) March 23, 2021
Jhaveri didn't back down in her post, claiming she was punished for ''challenging whiteness.''
''I can't do the work I do and write the columns I write without invoking the ire and anger of alt-right Twitter. There is always the threat that tweets which challenge white supremacy will be weaponized by bad faith actors. I had always hoped that when that moment inevitably came, USA TODAY would stand by me and my track record of speaking the truth about systemic racism,'' Jhaveri wrote. ''That, obviously, did not happen.''
Mhhh, not exactly. Jhaveri wasn't fired for challenging whiteness and white supremacy, she was punished for a racist tweet, inaccurately claiming white men are the sole reason for mass shootings. Her excuse is foolish, incorrect, and a devious attempt to blame white people for her anti-white people tweet.
That said, I'm not supporting USA Today firing Jhaveri, I rarely if ever call for someone's job. That goes for the Left and the Right. I would have preferred Jhaveri had to defend her position and subsequently get crushed by the facts (which would have been the result).
She went on to blame more:
''White USA TODAY reporters have been able to minimize racialized people in print, our white Editor-In-Chief was thoughtless about black face, and a senior politics editor (also white) showed disregard for journalistic ethics by hosting a tax payer funded reception for Trump appointees. All kept their jobs,'' she wrote. ''Sending one wrong tweet that ended up in the hands of Sean Hannity on Fox News though, was enough for this publication to turn tail. So many newsrooms claim to value diverse voices, yet when it comes to backing them up, or looking deeper into how white supremacy permeates their own newsrooms, they quickly retreat.''
I wish Hemal Jhaveri well and hope she lands on her feet with a new employer, one that is ready to blame more angry, right-wing white people for everything. By the way, there is a strong media market for such.
Ministry of Truthiness
Journalism's Gates keepers - Columbia Journalism Review
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 20:23
By Tim Schwab August 21, 2020Last August, NPR profiled a Harvard-led experiment to help low-income families find housing in wealthier neighborhoods, giving their children access to better schools and an opportunity to ''break the cycle of poverty.'' According to researchers cited in the article, these children could see $183,000 greater earnings over their lifetimes'--a striking forecast for a housing program still in its experimental stage.
If you squint as you read the story, you'll notice that every quoted expert is connected to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which helps fund the project. And if you're really paying attention, you'll also see the editor's note at the end of the story, which reveals that NPR itself receives funding from Gates.
NPR's funding from Gates '' was not a factor in why or how we did the story,'' reporter Pam Fessler says, adding that her reporting went beyond the voices quoted in her article. The story, nevertheless, is one of hundreds NPR has reported about the Gates Foundation or the work it funds, including myriad favorable pieces written from the perspective of Gates or its grantees.
And that speaks to a larger trend'--and ethical issue'--with billionaire philanthropists' bankrolling the news. The Broad Foundation, whose philanthropic agenda includes promoting charter schools, at one point funded part of the LA Times' reporting on education. Charles Koch has made charitable donations to journalistic institutions such as the Poynter Institute, as well as to news organizations such as the Daily Caller News Foundation, that support his conservative politics. And the Rockefeller Foundation funds Vox's Future Perfect , a reporting project that examines the world '' through the lens of effective altruism'' '--often looking at philanthropy.
As philanthropists increasingly fill in the funding gaps at news organizations'--a role that is almost certain to expand in the media downturn following the coronavirus pandemic'--an underexamined worry is how this will affect the ways newsrooms report on their benefactors. Nowhere does this concern loom larger than with the Gates Foundation, a leading donor to newsrooms and a frequent subject of favorable news coverage.
I recently examined nearly twenty thousand charitable grants the Gates Foundation had made through the end of June and found more than $250 million going toward journalism. Recipients included news operations like the BBC, NBC, Al Jazeera, ProPublica, National Journal , The Guardian , Univision, Medium, t he Financial Times , The Atlantic , the Texas Tribune, Gannett, Washington Monthly , Le Monde , and the Center for Investigative Reporting; charitable organizations affiliated with news outlets, like BBC Media Action and the New York Times' Neediest Cases Fund; media companies such as Participant, whose documentary Waiting for ''Superman'' supports Gates's agenda on charter schools; journalistic organizations such as the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the National Press Foundation, and the International Center for Journalists; and a variety of other groups creating news content or working on journalism, such as the Leo Burnett Company, an ad agency that Gates commissioned to create a ''news site'' to promote the success of aid groups. In some cases, recipients say they distributed part of the funding as subgrants to other journalistic organizations'--which makes it difficult to see the full picture of Gates's funding into the fourth estate.
The foundation even helped fund a 2016 report from the American Press Institute that was used to develop guidelines on how newsrooms can maintain editorial independence from philanthropic funders. A top-level finding: ''There is little evidence that funders insist on or have any editorial review.'' Notably, the study's underlying survey data showed that nearly a third of funders reported having seen at least some content they funded before publication.
RELATED: 'When money is offered, we listen'
Gates's generosity appears to have helped foster an increasingly friendly media environment for the world's most visible charity. Twenty years ago, journalists scrutinized Bill Gates's initial foray into philanthropy as a vehicle to enrich his software company, or a PR exercise to salvage his battered reputation following Microsoft's bruising antitrust battle with the Department of Justice. Today, the foundation is most often the subject of soft profiles and glowing editorials describing its good works.
During the pandemic, news outlets have widely looked to Bill Gates as a public health expert on covid '--even though Gates has no medical training and is not a public official. PolitiFact and USA Today (run by the Poynter Institute and Gannett, respectively'--both of which have received funds from the Gates Foundation) have even used their fact-checking platforms to defend Gates from ''false conspiracy theories'' and ''misinformation,'' like the idea that the foundation has financial investments in companies developing covid vaccines and therapies. In fact, the foundation's website and most recent tax forms clearly show investments in such companies, including Gilead and CureVac .
In the same way that the news media has given Gates an outsize voice in the pandemic, the foundation has long used its charitable giving to shape the public discourse on everything from global health to education to agriculture'--a level of influence that has landed Bill Gates on Forbes 's list of the most powerful people in the world. The Gates Foundation can point to important charitable accomplishments over the past two decades'--like helping drive down polio and putting new funds into fighting malaria'--but even these efforts have drawn expert detractors who say that Gates may actually be introducing harm , or distracting us from more important, lifesaving public health projects.
From virtually any of Gates's good deeds, reporters can also find problems with the foundation's outsize power , if they choose to look. But readers don't hear these critical voices in the news as often or as loudly as Bill and Melinda's. News about Gates these days is often filtered through the perspectives of the many academics, nonprofits, and think tanks that Gates funds. Sometimes it is delivered to readers by newsrooms with financial ties to the foundation.
The Gates Foundation declined multiple interview requests for this story and would not provide its own accounting of how much money it has put toward journalism.
In response to questions sent via email, a spokesperson for the foundation said that a ''guiding principle'' of its journalism funding is ''ensuring creative and editorial independence.'' The spokesperson also noted that, because of financial pressures in journalism, many of the issues the foundation works on ''do not get the in-depth, consistent media coverage they once did.'... When well-respected media outlets have an opportunity to produce coverage of under-researched and under-reported issues, they have the power to educate the public and encourage the adoption and implementation of evidence-based policies in both the public and private sectors.''
As CJR was finalizing its fact check of this article, the Gates Foundation offered a more pointed response: ''Recipients of foundation journalism grants have been and continue to be some of the most respected journalism outlets in the world.'... The line of questioning for this story implies that these organizations have compromised their integrity and independence by reporting on global health, development, and education with foundation funding. We strongly dispute this notion.''
The foundation's response also volunteered other ties it has to the news media, including ''participating in dozens of conferences, such as the Perugia Journalism Festival , the Global Editors Network , or the World Conference of Science Journalism,'' as well as ''help[ing] build capacity through the likes of the Innovation in Development Reporting fund .''
The full scope of Gates's giving to the news media remains unknown because the foundation only publicly discloses money awarded through charitable grants, not through contracts. In response to questions, Gates only disclosed one contract'-- Vox 's '--but did describe how some of this contract money is spent: producing sponsored content, and occasionally funding ''non-media nonprofit entities to support efforts such as journalist trainings, media convenings, and attendance at events .''
In the same way that the news media has given Gates an outsize voice in the pandemic, the foundation has long used its charitable giving to shape the public discourse on everything from global health to education to agriculture.
Over the years, reporters have investigated the apparent blind spots in how the news media covers the Gates Foundation, though such reflective reporting has waned in recent years. In 2015, Vox ran an article examining the widespread uncritical journalistic coverage surrounding the foundation'--coverage that comes even as many experts and scholars raise red flags. Vox didn't cite Gates's charitable giving to newsrooms as a contributing factor, nor did it address Bill Gates's month-long stint as guest editor for The Verge, a Vox subsidiary, earlier that year. Still, the news outlet did raise critical questions about journalists' tendency to cover the Gates Foundation as a dispassionate charity instead of a structure of power.
Five years earlier, in 2010, CJR published a two-part series that examined, in part, the millions of dollars going toward PBS NewsHour, which it found to reliably avoid critical reporting on Gates.
In 2011, t he Seattle Times detailed concerns over the ways in which Gates Foundation funding might hamper independent reporting:
To garner attention for the issues it cares about, the foundation has invested millions in training programs for journalists. It funds research on the most effective ways to craft media messages. Gates-backed think tanks turn out media fact sheets and newspaper opinion pieces. Magazines and scientific journals get Gates money to publish research and articles. Experts coached in Gates-funded programs write columns that appear in media outlets from The New York Times to The Huffington Post, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin.
Two years after the story appeared, t he Seattle Times accepted substantial funding from the Gates Foundation for an education reporting project .
These stories offered compelling evidence of Gates's editorial influence, but they didn't attempt to investigate the full scope of the foundation's financial reach into the fourth estate. (For perspective, $250 million is the same amount that Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post .)
When Gates gives money to newsrooms, it restricts how the money is used'--often for topics, like global health and education, on which the foundation works'--which can help elevate its agenda in the news media.
For example, in 2015 Gates gave $383,000 to the Poynter Institute, a widely cited authority on journalism ethics (and an occasional partner of CJR's), earmarking the funds ''to improve the accuracy in worldwide media of claims related to global health and development.''
Poynter senior vice president Kelly McBride said Gates's money was passed on to media fact-checking sites, including Africa Check, and noted that she is ''absolutely confident'' that no bias or blind spots emerged from the work, though she acknowledged that she has not reviewed it herself.
I found sixteen examples of Africa Check examining media claims related to Gates. This body of work overwhelmingly seems to support or defend Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation, which has spent billions of dollars on development efforts in Africa. The only example I found of Africa Check even remotely challenging its patron was when a foundation employee tweeted an incorrect statistic '--that a child dies of malaria every 60 seconds, instead of every 108.
Africa Check says it went on to receive an additional $1.5 million from Gates in 2017 and 2019.
''Our funders or supporters have no influence over the claims we fact-check'...and the conclusions we reach in our reports,'' said Noko Makgato, executive director of Africa Check, in a statement to CJR. ''With all fact-checks involving our funders, we include a disclosure note to inform the reader.''
Earlier this year, McBride added NPR public editor to her list of duties, as part of a contract between NPR and Poynter. Since 2000, the Gates Foundation has given NPR $17.5 million through ten charitable grants'--all of them earmarked for coverage of global health and education, specific issues on which Gates works.
NPR covers the Gates Foundation extensively. By the end of 2019, a spokesperson said, NPR had mentioned the foundation more than 560 times in its reporting, including 95 times on Goats and Soda, the outlet's '' global health and development blog ,'' which Gates helps fund. ''Funding from corporate sponsors and philanthropic donors is separate from the editorial decision-making process in NPR's newsroom,'' the spokesperson noted.
NPR does occasionally hold a critical lens to the Gates Foundation. Last September, it covered a decision by the foundation to give a humanitarian award to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, despite Modi's dismal record on human rights and freedom of expression. (That story was widely covered by news outlets'--a rare bad news cycle for Gates.)
On the same day, the foundation appeared in another NPR headline: '' Gates Foundation Says World Not on Track to Meet Goal of Ending Poverty by 2030.'' That story cites only two sources: the Gates Foundation and a representative from the Center for Global Development, a Gates-funded NGO. The lack of independent perspectives is hard to miss. Bill Gates is the second-richest man in the world and might reasonably be viewed as a totem of economic inequality, but NPR has transformed him into a moral authority on poverty.
G iven Gates's large funding role at NPR, one could imagine editors insisting that reporters seek out financially independent voices or include sources who can offer critical perspectives. (Many NPR stories on Gates don't: here , here , here , here , here , here . ) Likewise , NPR could seek a measure of independence from Gates by rejecting donations that are earmarked for reporting on Gates's favored topics.
E ven when NPR publishes critical reporting on Gates, it can feel scripted. In February 2018, NPR ran a story headlined '' Bill Gates Addresses 'Tough Questions' on Poverty and Power .'' The ''tough questions'' NPR posed in this Q&A were mostly based on a list curated by Gates himself, which he previously answered in a letter posted to his foundation's website. With no irony at all, reporter Ari Shapiro asked, '' How do you'...encourage people to be frank with you, even at risk of perhaps alienating their funder?''
In the interview, Gates said that critics are voicing their concerns and the foundation is listening.
In 2007, the LA Times published one of the only critical investigative series on the Gates Foundation, part of which examined the foundation's endowment holdings in companies that hurt those people the foundation claimed to help, like chocolate companies linked to child labor. Charles Piller, the lead reporter on the series, says he made strenuous efforts to get responses from the Gates Foundation during the investigation.
''For the most part they were unwilling to engage with me. They were unwilling to answer questions and pretty much refused to respond in any sort of way, except in the most minimal way, for most of my stories,'' Piller said.''That's very, very typical of big companies, government agencies'--to try to hope that whatever controversial issues have been raised in reporting will have limited shelf life, and they'll be able to go back to business as usual.''
Asked about the dearth of hard reporting on Gates, Piller says the foundation's funding may prompt newsrooms to find other targets.
''I think they would be kidding themselves to suggest that those donations to their organizations have no impact on editorial decisions,'' he says. ''It's just the way of the world.''
Two journalists who have investigated Gates more recently cite what appear to be more explicit efforts by the foundation to exercise editorial influence.
Writing in De Correspondent , freelance journalists Robert Fortner and Alex Park examined the limitations and inadvertent consequences of the Gates Foundation's relentless efforts to eradicate polio. In HuffPost , the two journalists showed how Gates's outsize funding of global health initiatives has steered the world's aid agenda toward the foundation's own goals (like polio eradication) and away from issues such as emergency preparedness to respond to disease outbreaks, like the Ebola crisis. (This narrative has been lost in the current covid-19 news cycle, as outlets from the LA Times to PBS to STAT have portrayed Gates as a visionary leader on pandemics.)
During the course of Fortner and Park's reporting these two stories, the foundation went over their heads to seek an audience with their editors. Editors at both publications say this raised questions about Gates attempting to influence editorial direction on the stories.
''They've dodged our questions and sought to undermine our coverage,'' says Park.
During Park and Fortner's investigation for De Correspondent, the head of Gates's polio communications team, Rachel Lonsdale, made an unusual offer to the duo's editor, writing, ''We typically like to have a phone conversation with the editor of a publication employing freelancers we are engaging with, both to fully understand how we can help you with the specific project and to form a longer term relationship that could transcend the freelance assignment.''
The news outlet said it rejected the proposition because of its potential to compromise the independence and integrity of its journalistic work.
In a statement, the foundation said Lonsdale ''was conducting normal media relations work as part of her role as a senior program officer. As we wrote to Tim in December 2019, 'As with many organizations, the foundation has an in-house media relations team that cultivates relationships with journalists and editors in order to serve as a resource for information gathering and to help facilitate thorough and accurate coverage of our issues.''''
Park says his editors stood behind his work on both stories, but he doesn't discount the foundation's efforts to put ''a wedge between us and the publication'...if not to assert influence outright, to give themselves a channel through which they could assert influence later.''
Fortner, meanwhile, says he mostly avoids pitching articles to Gates-funded news outlets because of the conflict of interest this presents. ''Gates funding, for me, makes a good-faith pitching process impossible,'' he says.
Fortner, who authored CJR's 2010 story on Gates's journalism funding, self-published a follow-up in 2016 that examined how Gates funding is not always disclosed in news articles, including fifty-nine news stories the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting funded in part with Gates's money. The center also declined to tell Fortner which fifty-nine articles had Gates's funding.
If critical reporting about the Gates Foundation is rare, it is largely beside the point in ''solutions journalism,'' a new-ish brand of reporting that focuses on solutions to problems, not just the problems themselves. That more upbeat orientation has drawn the patronage of the Gates Foundation, which directed $6.3 million to the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) to train journalists and fund reporting projects. Gates is the largest donor to SJN'--supplying around one-fifth of the organization's lifetime funding. SJN says more than half of this money has been distributed as subgrants, including to Education Lab, its partnership with the Seattle Times .
SJN acknowledges on its website ''that there are potential conflicts of interest inherent'' in taking philanthropic funding to produce solutions journalism, which SJN cofounder David Bornstein elaborated on in an interview. ''If you are covering global health or education and you are writing about interesting models,'' Bornstein said, ''the chances that an organization [you are covering] is getting money from the Gates Foundation are very high because they basically blanket the whole world with their funding, and they're the major funder in those two areas.'' Asked if he could provide examples of any critical reporting about Gates emerging from SJN, Bornstein took issue with the question. ''Most of the stories that we fund are stories that look at efforts to solve problems, so they tend to be not as critical as traditional journalism,'' he said.
That is also the case for the journalism Bornstein and fellow SJN cofounder Tina Rosenberg produce for t he New York Times . As contract writers for the ''Fixes'' opinion column, the two have favorably profiled Gates-funded education , agriculture , and global health programs over the years'--without disclosing that they work for an organization that receives millions of dollars from Gates. Twice in 2019, for example, Rosenberg's columns exalted the World Mosquito Project, whose sponsor page lands on a picture of Bill Gates.
''We do disclose our relationship with SJN in every column, and SJN's funders are listed on our website. But you are correct that when we write about projects that get Gates funding, we should specifically say that SJN receives Gates funding as well,'' Rosenberg noted in an email. ''Our policy going forward with the NY Times will be clearer and will ensure disclosures.''
My cursory review of the Fixes column turned up fifteen installments where the writers explicitly mention Bill and Melinda Gates, their foundation, or Gates-funded organizations. Bornstein and Rosenberg said they asked their editors at the Times to belatedly add financial disclosures to several of these columns, but they also cited six they thought did not need disclosure. Rosenberg's 2016 profile of Bridge International Academies, for example, notes that Bill Gates personally helps fund the project. The writers argue that SJN's ties are to the Gates Foundation, not to Bill Gates himself, so no disclosure is needed.
'' This is a significant distinction,'' Rosenberg and Bornstein stated in an email.
Months after Bornstein and Rosenberg say they asked their editors to add financial disclosures to their columns, those pieces remain uncorrected. Marc Charney, a senior editor at the Times, said he wasn't sure if or when the paper would add the disclosures, citing technical difficulties and other newsroom priorities.
Likewise, NPR said it would add a financial disclosure to a 2012 story it published on the Gates Foundation, but did not follow through. (In the vast majority of articles about Gates, NPR makes disclosures.)
Even perfect disclosure of Gates funding doesn't mean the money can't still introduce bias . At the same time, Gates funding, alone, doesn't fully explain why so much of the news about the foundation is positive. Even news outlets with no obvious financial ties to Gates'--the foundation isn't required to publicly report all of the money it gives to journalism, making the full extent of its giving unknown'--tend to report favorably on the foundation. That may be because Gates's expansive giving over the decades has helped influence a larger media narrative about its work. And it may also be because the news media is always, and especially right now, looking for heroes.
A larger worry is the precedent the prevailing coverage of Gates sets for how we report on the next generation of tech billionaires''turned-philanthropists, including Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates has shown how seamlessly the most controversial industry captain can transform his public image from tech villain to benevolent philanthropist. Insofar as journalists are supposed to scrutinize wealth and power, Gates should probably be one of the most investigated people on earth'--not the most admired.
Reporting for this piece was supported by a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation.
ICYMI: Portland's independent journalists team up to cover the front lines
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to an investment the foundation had made in a company, CureVax. It is, in fact, CureVac.
Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today. Tim Schwab is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. TOP IMAGE: Bill Gates, chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2019. Samuel Habtab/AP Photo
How to Cook Cicadas, According to 3 Richmond, Va., Chefs | Bon Appetit
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:40
Ever since the summer of 2004, I've been hungry for bugs. That's when Cicada Brood X made its last 17-year appearance, and when a Google search turned up an all-cicada cookbook from West Virginia, with dozens of recipes by women named Bea and Mabel. I was at once revolted and compelled. My wife was just revolted.
Nearly a decade on, and that book has vanished from the Internet, as unlikely to resurface now as Brood X. (Maybe in 2021?) But it was real, I swear, and it was my first proof that I was not the only adventuresome eater yearning to invite this occasional entomological guest to dinner.
The Ancient Greeks, for example, were enthusiastic eaters of cicadas for our western example. Forget phyllo, Aristotle wrote, "The larva of the cicada on attaining full size in the ground becomes a nymph; then it tastes best, before the husk is broken. At first the males are better to eat, but after copulation the females, which are then full of white eggs."
Another great civilization loves cicadas, too: ours. From West Virginia, where that cookbook touted the pleasures to be had from this "shrimp of the dirt," to Maryland, where in this cookbook cicadas get the star treatment normally reserved for blue crab, and on down South, the East Coast has lavished attention on this ultimate seasonal delicacy, whose season comes but once every 17 years or so.
Which is why I longed to know what all the buzz was about. I grew up in Tidewater Virginia, and I recall eating some unusual stuff--pimento cheese, squirrel, and pickled okra pop to mind. But cicadas?
Turns out for all the lore about Southern cicada-eating traditions, living witnesses to such meals are as much myth as anything the Greeks ever cooked up. No one I knew had ever eaten them.
Not to be deterred, I decided to get to the meat of the matter, and to do it in high style. To mark the return of Brood II, I corralled some well-regarded chefs from my adopted hometown of Richmond, VA, to legitimize the endeavor:
* Jason Alley, owner of Comfort and Pasture, two of Richmond's most popular and celebrated restaurants, and a devoted practitioner of haute Southern cuisine*Will Wienckowski, head chef at the vegan restaurant Ipanema, but a carnivore (and aspiring entovore) himself*John Seymore rules the kitchen at Lunch., but spent nearly 12 years at Richmond staple--and soggy journalist's watering hole--Joe's Inn, which built its reputation on baked spaghetti dishes
Now I just had to find the pests. As it turns out, the hardest thing about catching a biblical plague is finding a biblical plague to catch.
For all the big talk of Brood II swarming the central mid-Atlantic, drowning out all sunlight as they ascend from their 17-year burrows in a great throbbing drone, the little buggers were downright coy. Owing partly to a wet, chilly spring, our cicada swarm was fashionably late.
Within hours of their first emergence in late April, cicadas gained near-equal social media status to kittens. With the Internet awash in reports of pulsing hordes to the west and north of Richmond, it seemed safe to assume I'd simply scrape the nearest deck chair or parked car's hood into a freezer bag and ferrying dinner off to my waiting chefs.
But two weeks in, and after wasting gallons of gas on central Virginia's back roads tracking eyewitness reports, I decided the thrill of the hunt was a buzzkill. Enter a willing Facebook friend who tends to wake early enough to collect the most tender cicadas for me.
He contacted me on a Monday and we arranged for a pickup the following day. His yard, he assured me, was full of them every morning. And his trees were packed by midday. Sure enough, I arrived the following day around 9 a.m. to see his bugs taking to the trees, where they joined the incessant hum of the swarm. The ground, which at dawn's early light, apparently had looked like a crawling carpet of newly emerged nymph cicadas, was bare. But in his fridge in two large freezer bags, my friend had gathered nearly 100 bugs, plucking them before their carapaces dried and while their wings were still too dewy to fly.
(For the record, my source assured me his cicadas were organic. He uses no lawn chemicals, which means my lunch hadn't marinated for 17 years in an Ortho brine. Good to know.)
For all you interested in trying this at home, the early bird gets the bug. Hit the snooze button and your prey's wings dry enough to take to the trees, making catching them not worth the energy spent climbing and running after them. Most important, it's the newly emerged cicadas that make the best, most tender eating--especially if you snag them while they're still a milky-white color.
They also freeze very well. While two of my chefs worked with with fresh cicadas, Alley's efforts were delayed by a week. There was no noticeable difference in taste or texture. They all tasted, as Alley succinctly put it, "like bugs."
And if ever a bug deserved our culinary attention, it's the cicada--succulent inside a tender-but-firm carapace that chews easily. Revealing delicate flavors if properly seasoned (i.e., just add salt), they recall the taste and texture of soft-shell crab, but with subtle overtones of boiled peanuts, the kind only a backroads gas station can really do right.
And when you hand over buckets of them to chefs like Alley, Wienckowski, and Seymore, they're a revelation.
Chef Jason Alley prepping the cicadas.
(Credit: Ash Daniel)
Wienckowski's cicada and monkfish sausage was like nothing I'd ever had. Preparing first a thick remoulade of pureed monkfish, egg whites, and heavy cream, he gently folded in his cicadas, which he'd first blanched, and a bit of chopped basil.
Each rolled sausage was then again briefly immersed in boiling water and then fried until the outsides were a golden brown. The taste, once you got past the buggy main ingredient staring out of a sausage at odd angles, was delicate and briny, each bite punctuated by the delicate crunch and release of the bugs.
Wienckowski's Baja-style cicada tacos--the bugs lightly breaded in cornstarch and fried--earned fair marks as well. They looked like bugs in mime makeup nestled in beds of cilantro, tomatoes, and bok choy, but the eating was good, with cicadas serving as a fitting stand in for whitefish.
Finally, chef Seymore's cicadas and traditional Southern-style grits were a natural pairing. After all, if cicadas the shrimp of the dirt, they should stand in just fine for their pink cousins atop. And again cicadas measured up to the challenge, although Seymore did go light on the salt. Like shrimp, cicadas depend for their flavor on seasoning. That said, the dish was still amazing, and it matched up to any shrimp-and-grits meal I've eaten. I highly recommend it.
You'll likely have to make it yourself, though: The chefs didn't think it likely they'd be putting them on the menu anytime soon.
"Really I don't know what the legality of selling them in restaurants would be," Wienckowski said, guessing the health department's reaction would be to deploy the regulatory bug zapper.
Still, Lunch. owner Rick Lyons chewed over cicadas' wider appeal. "I could definitely see them as a bar snack somewhere," he said. "Now, if we could figure out how to wrap them in bacon..."
Charleston Cheese Grits and Blackened Cicadas with Grilled Onions and Peppers4-6 servings
INGREDIENTS30-40 cicadas (gathered as they emerge from the ground, remove heads, legs and wings)1 red pepper, thinly sliced1 green pepper, thinly sliced1 Tbsp. olive oil1 1/2 Tbsp. Blackened Seasoning (recipe follows)Salt and pepper to taste1 Tbsp. butterCharleston Cheese Grits (recipe follows)
PREPARATIONIn a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to boil. Add cicadas and boil 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Grill peppers and onions until al dente, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat saute pan until hot. Add olive oil, then cicadas. Saute 1-2 minutes. Add Blackened Seasoning, onions and peppers. Saute 1-2 minutes more. Finish with butter.
Serve over Charleston Cheese Grits.
Charleston Cheese GritsINGREDIENTS1 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned grits1 tsp. salt plus more to taste2 cups milk1 cup heavy cream6 Tbsp. butterFresh ground black pepper
PREPARATIONIn large, heavy saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add grits and 1 tsp. salt, stir to combine. When grits thicken, add milk, cream and butter then return to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until grits are tender, smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Blackened SeasoningINGREDIENTS1 1/2 Tbsp. paprika1 Tbsp. garlic powder1 Tbsp. onion powder1 Tbsp. thyme1 tsp. ground black pepper1 tsp. cayenne pepper1 tsp. oregano1 tsp. salt1 tsp. pepper
PREPARATIONMix ingredients thoroughly.
Note: This recipe has not been tested by the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen.
Chris Dovi writes--mostly about politics and education--in Richmond, Va., for Richmond Magazine and his blog The 408 and co-hosts a weekly radio program, RVA Open Source, on WRIR 97.3.
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You can eat cicadas, and does this mean we can start calling them 'land shrimp'? - It's a Southern Thing
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:49
<p>First, the grass under our feet.</p><p><strong>Why is it called "blue" grass?</strong></p><p>Most people have heard of Kentucky bluegrass, also written "Kentucky blue grass." Kentucky is, after all, known as the "Bluegrass State." And the grass can be found everywhere there, on the huge, rolling horse farms that dot the state. It is a popular grass for lawns, parks and even field turf all across the Plain states.</p><p>The only thing is, it looks just like any other grass '' green.</p><p>I decided to find out, once and for all, why it is known as "blue" grass.</p><p>Turns out, it's because the grass actually can be blue (well, purplish-blue) if it grows long enough for its seed pods to show, according to the<a href="https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_popr.pdf" target="_blank"> U.S. Department of Agriculture</a>. When the grass gets to its natural, unmown height of 1 to 2 feet, it has offshoots filled with seed pods. Even then, the grass does not look overtly blue, unless you get close enough to it to see the pods.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg3Mjg2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2Mzk5MDQ2Mn0.BmI2XBM-AANnnVz3wukcxWNXZhg7Emdn0Sya9ubLJkg/img.jpg?width=980" id="80df7" width="650" height="867" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa4b12d5566ea36df24f96c6afce8cc2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="Add Photo Caption...">Kentucky Bluegrass seed pods.</small><small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="Add Photo Credit..."><a href="Photo:%20https://www.nps.gov/wica/learn/nature/grasses-sedges-and-rushes.htm" target="_blank">National Park Service</a></small></p><p><br></p><p>The USDA says the grass is great for stopping erosion and as a grazing grass for various livestock, such as horses and cows. It is also a favorite of elk and deer. </p><p>Now for the music.</p><p><strong>What is "bluegrass" music?</strong></p><p>So the first question is, what does the music have to do with the grass? Do they both come from Kentucky? </p><p>The answer is, the music got its start with a man from Kentucky and he named his band after his state's nickname.</p><p>The band Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys is credited with developing a new genre of music in the 1940s that became popular in the Appalachian region. </p><p>According to the <a href="https://bluegrassheritage.org/history-of-bluegrass-music/" target="_blank">Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, t</a>he roots of the sound that influenced Bill Monroe began as far back as the 1600s in Ireland, Scotland and England. Many early American settlers from those countries would write simple songs about daily life known as "country" or "mountain" music, the Foundation says.</p><p>But the modern form of the music was created by Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, who played banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and bass. The band "first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1939 and soon became one of the most popular touring acts to emerge from Nashville's <a href="http://www.wsmonline.com/" target="_blank">WSM studios</a>," the Bluegrass Heritage website says. "Bill's band was different from other traditional country bands because of its hard-driving and powerful sound that used traditional acoustic instruments and featured distinctively high vocal harmonies. The music incorporated songs and rhythms from string band, gospel (black and white), Black laborer work song, country, and blues music repertoires." </p><p>Some purists say that Grand Ole Opry appearance was the birth of bluegrass. Others, however, say the addition of Earl Scruggs turned the music to pure bluegrass.</p><p>"Most believe that the classic bluegrass sound came together in December 1945 when Earl Scruggs joined the band," the article says. </p><p>Scruggs, a North Carolina native who was 21 at the time, had an unusual way to pick his banjo, using only three fingers. He played "with such drive and clarity that it energized and excited audiences," the Foundation says. </p><p>Lester Flatt of Tennessee was also included in that 1945 band lineup. Scruggs and Flatt would later form the Foggy Mountain Boys and add a dobro, which is now considered part of the bluegrass genre.</p>
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You Can Eat 17-Year Cicadas Emerging In Georgia | Atlanta, GA Patch
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 13:44
GEORGIA '-- By now, you've probably heard all the noise about the billions of 17-year periodical cicadas, whose emergence from the Earth is one of the true marvels of nature, that will be tuning up in Georgia this spring.
Did you know you can eat these nutritious, red-eyed bugs that are high in protein and low in fat? Deep fry them and serve with a hot mustard dipping sauce. Marinate them in teriyaki sauce. Bake them into a cake or pie.
Now that you've rearranged your face, know this: They're called the "shrimp of the land."
That's according to Isa Betancourt, an entomologist from Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
"It's a delicacy that's rare," she told Lancaster Online of edible cicadas, which are among the bugs she's eaten.
Billions of 17-Year Cicadas Will Emerge In Georgia in 2021Billions, Yes Billions, Of 17-Year Cicadas Will Emerge In 2021 "We regularly eat the arthropods of the sea, and those are the shrimp, lobster and crabs," Betancourt told the news outlet, noting that "cicadas are arthropods, too."
Some who have dined on cicadas say they even taste a little like shrimp, according to Food & Wine.
The bugs that will begin emerging from the ground in 15 states and the District of Columbia in May or June are Brood X, also known as the Great Eastern Brood.
Besides Georgia, the 17-year cicadas will be emerging in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Researchers have said that in our state, they'll be in Union, White and possibly Gilmer counties, as well as Blairsville, Ellijay and Norcross.
The best time to harvest cicadas (again, stop making that face) is just after they emerge when they are molting '-- that is, shedding their skin. Morning hours are best, Betancourt told Lancaster Online.
"That's when they're softest," she said. "When they first emerge, they'll be kind of green in color, and after a few hours they'll harden."
They're still edible after hardening, but crunchy.
Mike Raupp, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, just loves them. His former students even created "Cicada-Licious: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicada," a cookbook filled with cicada recipes.
"I've had them several different ways and, frankly, I've enjoyed them every way I've eaten them," Raupp told Lancaster Online.
Gaye Williams, an entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, called them "the truffles of the insect world" in a 2004 interview with The Baltimore Sun.
Many cultures around the world regularly eat insects, Williams said.
"Americans are the only ones around who are grossed out by eating insects," Williams told The Sun. "For most people around the world, insects are a major food source or delicacy."
Jenna Jadin, one of Raupp's former students, shared a cicada craft cocktail, called Red Eyes, with National Geographic in 2013 ahead of the emergence of Brood II of the 17-year cicadas. Here's the recipe:
Red Eyes2 shots vodka½ shot Campari½ shot extra-dry vermouth1 shot fresh orange juiceShake the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a couple of candied cicadas on a stick.
You're still making that face.
"Have you ever eaten an oyster or a clam out of the bay? It lives on the bottom of the bay and filters, you know what (feces)," Raupp told Lancaster Online. "You'd eat this thing, but would not eat this delectable insect that's been sucking on plant fat for 17 years? I think it's weird."
None of this is new.
Author Charles Lester Marlatt recalled people eating cicada stew in "The Periodical Cicada," written in 1898.
"The cicadas were collected just as they emerged from pupae, and were thrown in cold water in which they remained overnight," he wrote. "They were cooked the next morning and served at breakfast time. They imparted a distinct and not unpleasant flavor to the stew, but were not at all palatable themselves, as they were reduced to nothing but bits of flabby skin. ... The most palatable method of cooking is to fry in batter, when they remind one of shrimps."
The synchronized emergence of Magicicada cassini, as this cicada brood is scientifically known, is a true marvel of nature. The species' extraordinarily long life cycle '-- the longest of any insect on the planet '-- is part of an evolutionary strategy that has allowed the cicada to survive for 1.8 million years, or from the Pleistocene Epoch, according to a CBS News report.
They'll all tune up at once in a species-wide mating call. The collective song of male cicadas calling for matescan reach up to 100 decibels. Think of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with straight pipes constantly running outside your window.
The cicadas periodic emergence is still an unfolding scientific mystery. Scientists can't entirely explain the synchronized emergence of periodical cicadas, but one evolutionary hypothesis is that the forced developmental delay was an adaptation to climate cooling during the ice ages.
Build Back Biden
Tard response to Biden Presser
Had dinner with my relative last night (very liberal). I asked what he thought of the press
conference. I thought maybe he would admit there were some severely cringe moments. I was so
surprised that he thought it was EXCELLENT because it was a PROFESSIONAL PRESS CONFERENCE UNLIKE
NYPD officers are no longer protected from civil lawsuits after city council passes police reform legislation - CNN
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:05
(CNN)The New York City Council passed a series of reforms for the New York Police Department on Thursday, including ending qualified immunity for officers, which protected them against civil lawsuits.
The city is the first in the nation to end qualified immunity
according to Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
package of legislation included five bills and three resolutions that provide additional oversight and require more transparency from the department. The city council also adopted a policing reform plan mandated by a New York State executive order.
This includes allowing the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) to investigate police with a history of bias and racial profiling complaints, as well as giving support to a state bill that would give the board final authority on discipline recommendations for officers. Previously, the police commissioner had the right to disregard recommendations, which was a point of concern
during the internal review of Officer Daniel Pantaleo regarding the death of Eric Garner. But one of the most powerful moves by the council was eliminating qualified immunity. The term refers to a legal principle that protects government officials from civil suits alleging they violated a person's rights -- and which is a
hotly debated topic across the country. By creating a new local civil right through legislation, New York City residents will be protected against unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force, and bans officers from using qualified immunity as a defense.
Other legislation passed includes mandating a quarterly report on all traffic stops, the Department of Transportation taking over investigations for all crashes involving serious injury and supporting a state bill that would require new officers to live within city lines. Press passes for media outlets will now be issued through the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment instead of by the NYPD as well.
The set of legislation was formed over a "months-long engagement process" with the New York City Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, which worked with the input of stakeholders, experts and the community, Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said.
"We believe the plan ratified today by the City Council reflects the themes brought forward with reforms that center squarely on bringing an end to such policing, the criminalization of poverty, and the lack of transparency and accountability in the NYPD," a statement from the Collaborative Co-Sponsors Jennifer Jones Austin, Wes Moore, and Arva Rice said. "We know there is more to be done. Now the work begins to implement this plan without delay, and ensure that the City's budget is fully aligned."
De Blasio also praised the legislation and thanked the co-sponsors and other city leaders for their efforts.
"These reforms will confront centuries of overpolicing in communities of color and strengthen the bonds between police and community," de Blasio said. "Together, we'll make our city safer and fairer for generations to come."
De Blasio's office said that all initiatives will be launched, with some fully implemented, in 2021. The city will also launch a commitments tracker on May 1 to monitor their progress, they said.
Reactions from police and activists
In a statement to CNN, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea expressed concern over the legislation, specifically noting his inability to have the final say on discipline.
"Right now, the commissioner hires them, trains them, asks them to go in harm's way to keep New Yorkers safe and if an officer breaks the rules, I discipline them and if necessary fire them," Shea said. "If I am not doing that the right way, I am accountable. The buck stops here. To take that away from the Commissioner, ask yourself who has the accountability then?"
"No other city agency uses that system nor does the FBI, the Secret Service, or the Marines. There is a reason for that. You need to know where the buck stops," he continued.
A coalition of several New York City police unions circulated
roving billboards around the city on Thursday to express their strong opposition to the legislation.
The New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA), which represents approximately 24,000 police officers, was one of the most vocal opposition leaders in the reform effort.
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch issued a searing statement in response to the legislation's passage.
"New Yorkers are getting shot and police officers are out on the street, all day and all night, trying to stop the bloodshed," Lynch said. "Where are these City Council members? Safe at home, hiding behind their screens and dreaming up new ways to give criminals a free pass. It won't get better unless New Yorkers shame the politicians into doing their job."
The Legal Aid Society, which is a major player in holding the NYPD accountable, also opposed the legislation, saying that the reforms ignored the community's calls for investment in non-police resources.
"Mayor de Blasio had a genuine opportunity to implement urgently needed policing reforms," said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. "He failed to do that and instead produced a plan that at best glosses over the deeply rooted systemic problems within the NYPD that plague the New Yorkers we serve."
Correction: A previous version of this story mischaracterized two resolutions from the New York City Council's policing reform plan. The resolutions support a state bill that would give the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) final authority on discipline recommendations for officers, as well a state bill for mandating new officers live within city lines.
Bill Gates Wants to Spray Millions of Tons of CHALK Into Stratosphere Because Climate Change
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 13:20
Infamous eugenicist Bill Gates wants to spray millions of tons of chalk into the stratosphere to stop ''global warming'' or climate change. This project, which is meant to ''dim the sun'' could start as early as June.
Harvard University experts will test the system by sending a large balloon 12 miles above the Swedish town of Kiruna and have it drop 2kg of chalk dust into the stratosphere.
BOMBSHELL: Geoengineering Experiment Funded By Bill Gates Is Tied To Depopulation
The project is called SCoPEx, and it's being masterminded by the who's who of eugenicists and depopulation pushers at the highest levels of world government and academia. It's funded and endorsed by Bill Gates, for example, who openly calls for reducing the human population by billions.-SHTFPlan
The Free Thought Project stated that chemtrails and geoengineering are no longer a conspiracy. Rather the mainstream media now supports the spaying of chemicals into the sky to ''dim the sun.'' It sounds like a wonderful way to completely screw up the entire global ecosystem and ensure no food can be properly grown to feed anyone.
The video is nothing short of an infomercial for chemtrails. It is truly bizarre how this subject has moved from the fringes of conspiracy circles and into the mainstream and no one is even batting an eye. Now that Bill Gates has endorsed and funded it, the world is suddenly open to the idea of attempting to modify the planet's weather by spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to block out the sun. -Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project
Those who oppose the project and some experts have warned that the unusual technique could be disastrous for weather systems in ways nobody can predict.
The test balloon will lift 600kg of scientific equipment 12 miles above the surface of the Arctic town and if it all goes well, about 2kg of dust will be released.
This will then create a dust plume several kilometers in length '' not large enough to have any effect on the intensity of the sun's rays hitting the Earth.
During that first test, the team would gather information on how particles of dust react with the air. ''Daily Mail UK
Bill Gates' Latest Depopulation Scheme? Pollute Skies, Collapse Ecosystem, & Starve Everybody to Death
It seems like a really bad idea to try to alter the Earth in such a dramatic way. We really need to stand up to this kind of destruction, or humanity is in for some real hardships.
President Trump is Breaking Down the Neck of the Federal Reserve!He wants zero rates and QE4!
You must prepare for the financial reset
We are running out of timeDownload the Ultimate Reset Guide Now!Author: Mac SlavoViews: Date: March 24th, 2021Website: www.SHTFplan.com
Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.
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VIDEO - (333) North American Supergrid - Electrifying Our Future (video 1/4) - YouTube
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 13:44
VIDEO - (331) COVID long haulers claim vaccine helped ease symptoms l GMA - YouTube
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:26
VIDEO - Media Hacks Cheer: No Need to Ask About COVID With Biden in Charge! | Newsbusters
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:23
Immediately following President Biden's first formal press conference of his presidency, leftist media cheerleaders went to work giving it rave reviews. The hackish reporters were particularly impressed that none of their colleagues bothered to ask about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leading shills like NBC's Chuck Todd to conclude that there were ''not any negative questions to ask'' on the topic.
''Chuck, what did we not hear that stood out to you?,'' NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt asked Todd during the network's special live coverage following the presser. The Meet the Press moderator proclaimed in part:
...the big takeaway is the fact that it goes back to COVID. It's the only piece of news he intended to make, and he made it. There wasn't a single question on it, which tells you one other thing, Lester. There's clearly not any negative questions to ask. A press corps asks you about challenges, they don't necessarily ask you about things that are going well. COVID's going well right now for him.
During a CBS News special report, White House correspondent Weijia Jiang made an almost identical declaration:
I think one big takeaway that I had from this press conference is what we weren't talking about, and that was his response to the pandemic. And that's because the entire time he's been in office, he has been messaging about what he's been doing about the response, about the facts and figures that show, according to our very own CBS polling, that people are satisfied with how he's doing. And, so, that is something he did not have to answer much about.
Over on MSNBC, Todd's colleague Hallie Jackson was so pleased with his sycophantic claim that she eagerly repeated it to left-wing historian Michael Beschloss:
It did not escape notice, I think, Michael, that there were no questions on the coronavirus pandemic facing this country right now....Our colleague Chuck Todd made the point that oftentimes, and I know this from having been a former White House correspondent, you ask the President questions about things that are not going well. You ask the question about the challenges. What does it say to you about sort of where the American people are that that is how things went today and how the President is handling it?
Beschloss joined in the propaganda push: ''It says, Hallie, that after the trauma of this last year with over half a million American dead, others dead around the world, we're in a situation '' who could have dreamt a year ago we would be in a situation where not one question asked about the pandemic?''
The liberal media are just amazed that their fellow liberal reporters don't ask challenging questions about the pandemic and then conclude that must mean the Biden administration is doing a fantastic job.
How about asking when schools will reopen nationwide for in-person learning? How about asking when lockdowns will end and allow businesses like restaurants to return to full capacity and hopefully full employment? The questions are certainly there to be asked, pro-Biden journalists just decided not to ask them.
The live special coverage across media outlets did not have commercial breaks, but you can fight back against the complicit liberal press by contacting some of their biggest advertisers.
Here is a transcript of Todd's March 25 post-presser commentary:
2:35 PM ET
LESTER HOLT: Let me go to NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd. Chuck, what did we not hear that stood out to you?
CHUCK TODD: Well, look, a presidential press conference, the way they're planned is, Presidents go in there, there's intentional news they want to make, and the reporters are there to try to see if they can get unintentional news to be made. And I think in those two categories, when you look at it, it was clear that there was only one piece of news apparently the President intended to make '' and that was to double the vaccination goal. He did that in his opening statement. Every other question, whether it was about immigration, whether it was about the filibuster, whether it was about China, whether it was about voting rights, it was, ''I need time.'' And he gave very similar answers as he's given before. He's '' some of his answers are longer. He's not as pugilistic, clearly, as his predecessor.
And there was one other thing that came across to me, Lester, I thought '' that I think contributed to sort of the '' to some stiltedness in the '' he doesn't know that press corps. And normally, after a campaign, a president is very familiar with their press corps because they've been traveling the country together and there's been that familiar back and forth. There was none of that, due to COVID. And I that adds to the almost '' there was at times '' it's surprising to me how unfamiliar he is with some of these reporters. And I say that and it's simply because he's unfamiliar because there hasn't been many interactions between him [and the press], when he was both candidate and as president.
But look, I think, overall, to me, the big takeaway is the fact that it goes back to COVID. It's the only piece of news he intended to make, and he made it. There wasn't a single question on it, which tells you one other thing, Lester. There's clearly not any negative questions to ask. A press corps asks you about challenges, they don't necessarily ask you about things that are going well. COVID's going well right now for him.
HOLT: Interesting observation. Alright, Chuck Todd, thank you.
VIDEO - (20) Christian Schneider on Twitter: "Sen. Barack Obama in 2005 vigorously defending the filibuster, which he now decries as a ''Jim Crow relic:'' https://t.co/ha6OrW2vzK" / Twitter
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:20
Christian Schneider : Sen. Barack Obama in 2005 vigorously defending the filibuster, which he now decries as a ''Jim Crow relic:'' https://t.co/ha6OrW2vzK
Thu Mar 25 20:08:53 +0000 2021
Ditton on Thames : @Schneider_CM @OlgaRod37800661 It's almost like Mitch McConnell vigorously defending the duty of not filling a Supr'... https://t.co/48hVprsOGQ
Sun Mar 28 11:40:14 +0000 2021
Richard Balwane (Mossad) : @Schneider_CM He's the biggest snake in the US. And, a lumpen.
Sun Mar 28 06:06:31 +0000 2021
kathy : @Schneider_CM Can't make up my cornfused wittle mind!!!#ImpeachBiden
Sun Mar 28 04:42:56 +0000 2021
AllYou : @Schneider_CM People change their minds. Just ask @LindseyGrahamSC on SCOTUS picks. Or @FoxNews on if the election was stolen or not.
Sun Mar 28 04:39:05 +0000 2021
Beth Sommers : @Schneider_CM @germanchocolat7 That was before it got as overused and abused by gop
Sun Mar 28 02:57:30 +0000 2021
Amy : @Schneider_CM Yeah, well, everyone knows @BarackObama is a lying dog-faced pony soldier.
Sun Mar 28 02:53:21 +0000 2021
Robert Scannelli : @Schneider_CM @TPInsidr All hypocritical
Sun Mar 28 02:11:47 +0000 2021
Keet Seel : @Schneider_CM That was before the Republican Party became the refuge of conspiracy nuts and insurrectionists. What'... https://t.co/dgW9DYuV9t
Sat Mar 27 23:32:58 +0000 2021
Justin : @Schneider_CM @DavidPatriot1st it is.
Sat Mar 27 23:20:37 +0000 2021
#Bitcoin §BuddyDog : @Schneider_CM @NINENEWSNANCY He's known for not speaking the truth and pandering in order to make himself look impo'... https://t.co/4gX9uLAGCr
Sat Mar 27 22:50:09 +0000 2021
kelly a deplorable womanð : @Schneider_CM @RetiredNikitaM He must be racist ð¤--
Sat Mar 27 22:21:09 +0000 2021
President-elect of Lower Slobovia : @Schneider_CM Please, someone tell me how the filibuster is a ''Jim Crow relic''. So are you saying that when the Dem'... https://t.co/5im3laWNEJ
Sat Mar 27 21:58:01 +0000 2021
Alfred Prunesquallor : @Schneider_CM @GeViOz USA slowly moving towards communist commitiee style politics , then onwards to one party stat'... https://t.co/7bhd27MOaW
Sat Mar 27 21:27:58 +0000 2021
Daniel Meucci : @Schneider_CM Barry Obama can't keep his lies straight!
Sat Mar 27 20:42:06 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Bono, Pen(C)lope Cruz, David Oyelowo Lend Voices to 'Pandemica' Series - Rolling Stone
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:18
Bono, Pen(C)lope Cruz, David Oyelowo, and more have lent their voices to a new animated series, Pandemica, created to raise awareness about the severely limited access to the Covid-19 vaccine in the world's poorest countries.
Pandemica was spearheaded by the One Campaign, the global health and anti-poverty organization co-founded by Bono, in collaboration with Hive. The series was illustrated by artist Andrew Rae with animation by Titmouse and music and sound design by Father. The voice cast also boasts Connie Britton, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Phoebe Robinson, Michael Sheen, Wanda Sykes, Meg Donnelly, Patrick Adams, Dalai Gurira, Laura Marano, and Calum Worthy. Pandemica is available to watch on the One website, as well as the campaign's YouTube page.
''Beyond the animation and subversive humor, you'll see that Pandemica is the worst place to be in the Covid-19 pandemic,'' Bono, U2's lead singer and co-founder of One and (Red), tells Rolling Stone. ''While Pandemica may not be a real place, for billions of people around the world it's all too real. Vaccines now bring the hope of a way through, but it won't be a way out unless every country on the planet has access to enough vaccines. If this vaccine isn't everywhere, then this pandemic isn't going anywhere.''
''Pandemica is a compelling illustration of the inequality around the world,'' Cruz added in a statement. ''I hope that everyone who watches this series will use their voice and take action to ensure that no one gets left behind.''
As it stands, less than 1% of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered globally have gone to people in low-income countries, while the richest countries in the world currently have a surplus of doses. An analysis published by One in February found that countries like the United States, the U.K., Japan, Canada, Australia, and those in the European Union were on track to cumulatively stockpile over a billion vaccine doses, despite having enough to vaccinate their entire populations.
For instance, One estimated the U.S. would have an extra 453,520,960 vaccine doses to share based on its current population and how many doses it had purchased from the five main vaccine manufacturers. Recently, the U.S. has tried to start addressing this problem, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying the U.S. planned to share 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with Mexico, and 1.5 million with Canada (American regulators have not yet approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, although it has been authorized elsewhere).
VIDEO - Clowns: CNN, MSNBC Outraged by 'Infectious' Cruz Rebuffing Mask-Shaming Reporter | Newsbusters
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:16
Despite an increasing number of the population being vaccinated every day, the hacks at CNN and MSNBC still haven't given up mask-shaming. Both networks hosted huffy segments feigning outrage at Senator Ted Cruz for doing something White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki does everyday at the press podium.
Here is the moment that caused silly grandstanding from journalists on MSNBC's The 11th Hour, Morning Joe, and CNN's New Day.
A reporter asks Sen. @tedcruz to wear a mask:''Yeah, when I'm talking to the TV camera, I'm not going to wear a mask. All of us have been immunized.'' pic.twitter.com/LTPbfKgJdS
'-- Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 25, 2021As the senator stepped up to a press podium to speak to the cameras while in the Senate building, Wednesday, one reporter demanded, ''Can you put a mask on for us?'' As Cruz kindly rebuffed the reporter's request, saying he was vaccinated, the unnamed reporter tried shaming Cruz with, ''It would make us feel better.'' Cruz still didn't cave, which irritated CNN and MSNBC so much they brought on their networks' medical experts to shame the senator.
On The 11th Hour, an exasperated Williams pleaded to MSNBC's medical doctor to school the ''infectious'' Cruz on why he was wrong.
''Dr. Bhadelia, you've done nothing to deserve this but I want to play for you, I need to play for you, an exchange between Ted Cruz and news media on Capitol Hill today because it deals with medicine and coronavirus,'' he sighed. After playing the clip, he snarked:
Doctor, let's lay aside the infectious charm of Ted Cruz and talk about his remarks on the merits, number one on the fact of common public health courtesy, and two is he right on the facts? He does mirror a discussion that now we are in the age of vaccinations, you do hear in life.
A similar segment was found on CNN's New Day, Thursday morning. Co-host John Berman asked Dr. Sanjay Gupta to ''diagnose'' Cruz, before playing the above clip.
Afterwards, co-host Alisyn Camerota snarked, ''Is that true, Sanjay? Is he following CDC guidelines that when you're around a scrum of reporters you don't need to wear a mask?''
As the trio chuckled, Gupta mocked Cruz with, ''So charming, right?'' He went on to lecture, as the MSNBC doc did, that only when ''enough'' Americans have been vaccinated, will there be a reduction in mask wearing:
''[H]e could still transmit the virus to somebody else. So when he's not wearing a mask, he's potentially putting other people in that room at risk. It's as simple as that,'' Gupta insisted.
On Morning Joe Thursday, co-host Mika Brzezinski also blasted Cruz for ''refusing to wear a mask around reporters'' yesterday, adding that the CDC guidelines still advise wearing a mask in public if vaccinated. Mean-mugging Mika added, ''Thanks Ted Cruz for guiding us to the CDC.''
Yet, the media hasn't whined at White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appearing maskless around reporters for the past sixty-something days.
Jen Psaki has been at the White House Press Briefing podium for the past 60 days without a mask. Nothing. Performative bullshit. https://t.co/g3v6xjP6HR
'-- Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) March 25, 2021These same silly reporters didn't whine at their fellow mask shaming reporters removing their masks in the press briefing room, either, so spare us the fake outrage.
New Day's silly performance art masquerading as journalism was paid for by sponsors, CarShield and Select Quote, contact them at the Conservatives Fight Back page here.
VIDEO - Klaus Schwab's Fourth Reich Reset and Kill Gates' Vaccine Genocide
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:14
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INTRO VID: I Just Can't Wait for Vaccines (I Just Can't Wait to Be King Parody): https://youtu.be/3iqDEWRStyk
COVID-19 VACCINES ARE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION - AND COULD WIPE OUT THE HUMAN RACE - Dr. Vernon Coleman: https://www.bitchute.com/video/h7UAT4RDowRr
Klaus Schwab 4th Reich:https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/klaus-schwab-and-the-fourth-reich/
Game Show: Is This Like The Nazis: https://twitter.com/TheBabylonBee/status/1371908380739129353
Karen attacks in the ski hike: https://twitter.com/thatdamndragin/status/1371539264459145219
British guy runs from 2 fat cops in England: https://twitter.com/RudyHavenstein/status/1371909330740551684
Woman says she isn't asking what is in the vaxx, she's taking the vaxx (cut out part about cigarettes at end): https://twitter.com/hispeedtim2876/status/1371798932532121600
BIDEN: "If we do our part... by July 4, there's a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day... Small groups will be able to get together": https://twitter.com/DailyCaller/status/1370183779818553345
Bizarre wiping down ritual with Biden and Kamala: https://twitter.com/heatherashchase/status/1371592243627360261
The sound you hear as you enter the gates of hell (Kamala cackling): https://twitter.com/sirhottest/status/1371264872550330371
Bill Gates thinks not wearing a mask is like not wearing pants: https://twitter.com/donkamion78/status/1370638373325582339
Signs found around London: https://twitter.com/Andres02330038/status/1371533693248999424
#UFC261 April 24th. Jacksonville, FL. FULL CROWD. - Dana White is a Covaids hero: https://twitter.com/danawhite/status/1371618339823390724 danawhite on Twitter: "WE ARE BACK!!!!!! #UFC261 April 24th. Jacksonville, FL. FULL CROWD.'... "
Where do Americans emigrate to?: https://youtu.be/bJCXb3GXfVw
VIDEO - They Are Utterly Desperate.......It's Quite Pathetic
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:12
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VIDEO - Fact check: Biden's first news conference as president - CNNPolitics
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:08
(CNN)President Joe Biden held the first formal news conference of his presidency on Thursday, taking questions in the East Room of the White House on immigration, foreign policy, the Senate filibuster, his political future and other subjects.
Here is a fact check of some of the claims he made.
Migrant families and the border
Defending his approach to migration at the southern border, Biden claimed that "we're sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming."
Facts First: This was not true in February, the last month for which we have full data.
Published Customs and Border Protection
data for February shows that 7,915 migrants who were part of a "family unit" on the southwest border were expelled under the Title 42 pandemic expulsion policy -- about 41% of the 19,246 family-unit members who were in "encounters" with US officers that month.
At another moment of the news conference, Biden said, "The overwhelming majority of people coming to the border and crossing are being sent back." That is a fair claim about what happened in February, when nearly 72% of the 100,441 total people encountered at the border -- in other words, not just family-unit members -- were expelled under Title 42.
Preliminary data for this month up to March 17, which was reviewed by CNN, showed that the percentage of people expelled under Title 42 had fallen substantially since February. For the week ending March 17, 53% of the 34,526 people encountered at the southwest border were expelled, the lowest percentage of a 2021 week to date. CNN did not review preliminary March data specifically on family expulsions.
Biden claimed that there were five times as many motions to break the filibuster in 2020 than there were between 1917 and 1971.
"Between 1917 and 1971, the filibuster existed, there were a total of 58 motions to break a filibuster. That whole time. Last year alone there were five times that many," Biden said.
Facts First: While experts on the filibuster say it is hard even for them to pinpoint the number per year, Biden's figures are misleading. In 2020, the number of motions filed to end a Senate debate -- a proxy measure for the use of the filibuster -- was about double, not five times, the number from 1917 to 1971.
Molly Reynolds, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who has studied the filibuster, previously
told CNN that most scholars think the best proxy measure is the number of motions filed for
cloture, a move to end a Senate debate.
According to official Senate
data, there were 58 cloture motions filed from 1917 through 1970 and 13
filed in 1971. If Biden was referring to the number of cloture motions filed from 1917 through 1970, he'd be right when he said there were a total of 58 motions to break the filibuster, but if he was including 1971, the total number of cloture motions would be 71.
Using either figure, Biden exaggerated the relative number of cloture motions filed in the past year, though he was
accurate on his general point that the number of filibusters has increased significantly over time. There were 118 cloture motions
filed in 2020 alone, closer to double the amount filed between 1917 and 1971.
Vaccinations in the US and the rest of the world
While discussing his goal to reach 200 million Covid-19 vaccinations in the first 100 days of his administration, Biden repeated his claim that "no other country in the world has even come close, not even close to what we are doing" on the vaccine front.
Facts First: It's true that no country has vaccinated more total people than the US, though it's worth noting that there are some smaller countries that have vaccinated a larger share of their total populations. So far, the US has administered vaccines to more than 130 million people, a higher number than any other country in the world. However, 16 countries and territories -- including Chile, Israel and the United Kingdom -- have administered vaccines to more people per capita. It should be noted that these countries and territories have much smaller populations. The Trump tax cut and the top 1%
Biden challenged Republican criticism of the $1.9 trillion cost of his pandemic relief law, which he noted would put money in the pockets of "ordinary people."
He asked rhetorically whether people had heard Republicans complain about President Donald Trump's
$2 trillion tax cuts, which Biden said had "83% going to the top 1%." Biden and other Democrats have
repeatedly invoked the "83%" figure.
Facts First: This statistic needs context. While it's correct to generally say the wealthiest Americans were the biggest beneficiaries of Trump's 2017 tax cuts, the "83%" figure is a projection about what might happen under certain circumstances in 2027, not about what has happened already.
The Tax Policy Center
estimated in 2017 that the top 1% would get about 83% of the benefits in 2027, if the law's individual tax cuts (which were designed as temporary) were allowed to expire without an extension and the law's corporate tax cuts (which were designed as permanent) continued to exist. For 2018, conversely, the Tax Policy Center estimated that the top 1% got 20.5% of the benefits, while the 95%-99% group got another 22.1%. For 2025, the estimate was 25.3% going to the top 1%, while the 95%-99% would get another 21.6%.
Biden was correct on his broader point that there is a substantial
difference in how the new Biden law and the 2017 Trump law treat the rich and the poor. For example, the Tax Policy Center
found that households earning $25,000 or less will receive an average tax cut of $2,800 this year from the new relief law, boosting their after-tax income by 20%. Under the Trump law, these households saw a $60 average reduction in the first year, or about 0.4% of their after-tax income.
The American Rescue Plan and economic growth
Biden claimed that since the American Rescue Plan passed, a "majority of forecasters have significantly increased their projections. Now projecting it will exceed 6%, a 6% growth in GDP."
Facts First: It's true that many economists upgraded their 2021 gross domestic product forecasts north of 6% either just before or after the legislation passed, but it's hard to say whether a majority did without a survey of all economists.
Once the passage of a big Covid relief bill became more likely, several economists
upgraded their forecasts of 2021 US GDP growth.
RSM chief economist Joe Brusuelas said the legislation would boost GDP by an additional 3 percentage points and is now predicting 7.2% growth in 2021.
In March, Goldman Sachs
increased its 2021 US GDP growth projection to 7% from an earlier projection of 6.8%. Morgan Stanley is now
predicting 7.3% growth, upgrading from the 6.4% it
projected in December.
Republican support for the American Rescue Plan
Dismissing criticism from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Biden said that he has the support of Republican voters. He said that even if McConnell says that "the last thing I did, this last piece of legislation, is so far left, well, then he ought to take a look at his party. Over 50% of them must be over that edge as well. Because they support what I did."
Facts First: Biden has a reasonable basis for this claim; there is some polling that has shown that a majority of Republicans support the American Rescue Plan. Multiple other polls, however, have shown Republican support for the bill well below majority level. For example, a CNN poll conducted March 3-8 found 26% of Republicans supportive and 73% of Republicans opposed. Poll results have appeared to vary with the wording of pollsters' questions. A Morning Consult/Politico
poll conducted February 19-22 found 60% support for the bill among Republican registered voters -- after poll respondents were told about the plan's $1.9 trillion cost and some key provisions, including the $1,400 direct payments. A Morning Consult/Politico
poll conducted March 6-8 found 59% Republican support.
A Monmouth University poll conducted February 25-March 1, however, put Republican support at just 33%. In addition to standard differences in pollster methodology and sampling (the Monmouth poll surveyed adults, not registered voters in particular), it's worth noting that
Monmouth mentioned the plan's $1.9 trillion cost before asking respondents their opinion but did not mention the $1,400 payments until after that question.
Even in the CNN poll in which 73% of Republicans expressed opposition to the bill overall, a majority of Republicans expressed support for three of its specific provisions: checks of up to $1,400 (55% support), billions for schools to help resume in-person classes (55%), and larger tax credits for families and making it easier for low-income families to claim them (73%). However, 71% of Republicans were opposed to the bill's $350 billion in aid to state, local, tribal and territorial governments.
Children on the border
Addressing the recent influx of unaccompanied migrant children on the US southern border, Biden claimed that "nothing has changed" from the Trump administration -- saying there had been a "28% increase in children on the border under my administration" versus a 31% increase in the same period of 2019 under Trump.
Facts First: Biden was wrong about the increase in children at the border during his own administration. He appeared to be mixing up two different statistics, one about children and one about migrants generally.
data from Customs and Border Protection, the number of unaccompanied children encountered on the border rose by 61% between January and February 2021, not the 28% Biden claimed. That is about double the increase between January and February
According to the Customs and Border Protection data, overall encounters with migrants on the border did increase 28% from January to February of this year. But Biden referred specifically to "children."
This story has been updated with additional fact checks.
CNN's Geneva Sands contributed to this article.
VIDEO - (331) Robin WIlliams On Joe Biden - YouTube
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:19
VIDEO - (331) Suez Canal suspends traffic as tug boats work to free ship - YouTube
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:14
VIDEO - (331) US military 'go woke' as Chinese commit serious incursion into Taiwan airspace - YouTube
Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:10
VIDEO - Video - unbelieveable vaccine propaganda directed at children
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 14:23
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VIDEO-Spark in the dark on Twitter: "https://t.co/aqOh1NwVoG" / Twitter
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 22:29
Spark in the dark : https://t.co/aqOh1NwVoG https://t.co/vtbXNqvq9p
Fri Mar 26 21:32:31 +0000 2021
VIDEO-Ex CDC director Robert Redfield believes COVID 'escaped' from Wuhan lab as early as September 2019
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 22:24
Robert Redfield, the former CDC director, says he believes COVID-19 'escaped' from a lab in Wuhan, China He said the virus may have been circling since September 2019Redfield made the comments in a CNN interview on Friday but stressed it was his 'opinion' It is the first time Redfield, who was appointed CDC director by President Trump, has stated publicly that he believes COVID-19 originated in a labThe debate about the origins have COVID-19 has been ongoing for the past year and has resulted in rising tensions between the US and ChinaUS investigators have been blocked from going to China in a bid to investigate the virus and its origins Trump first started speculating that China may have released the virus in lab 'mistake' early last year Dr Anthony Fauci told a White House COVID briefing on Friday that Redfield's comments about the Wuhan lab were just an opinion The former director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, says he believes COVID-19 'escaped' from Wuhan lab in China and may have been circling as early as September 2019.
Redfield made the admission in a CNN interview on Friday but stressed it was his 'opinion'.
It is the first time Redfield, who was appointed CDC director by President Trump, has stated publicly that he believes COVID-19 originated in a lab and not in a wet market where an initial cluster of cases was linked to.
'I'm of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory... escaped. Other people don't believe that, that's fine. Science will eventually figure it out,' he said.
'It's not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in laboratories to infect the laboratory worker.
'That's not implying any intentionality. It's my opinion, right? But I am a virologist. I have spent my life in virology.'
The former director of the CDC , Robert Redfield, says he believes COVID-19 'escaped' from a lab in Wuhan and may have been circling since September 2019Researchers have said the global pandemic is believed to have started when COVID-19 jumped from a bat to a human or through an intermediary species at a wet market in Wuhan.
Redfield, however, says that explanation doesn't make 'biological sense' to him.
'I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human and at that moment in time the virus came to the human, became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity for human-to-human transmission,' he said.
'Normally, when a pathogen goes from a zoonot to human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient.'
He believes it started in a lab that was already studying the virus, which would mean COVID-19 was being exposed to human cell cultures.
'Most of us in a lab, when trying to grow a virus, we try to help make it grow better, and better, and better, and better, and better, and better so we can do experiments and figure out about it. That's the way I put it together.'
Redfield also said he believes the virus started circulating in Wuhan as early as September 2019, which is several months earlier than the official timeline.
'If I had to guess this virus started transmitting in September/October in Wuhan. That's my view... I'm allowed to have opinions,' Redfield said.
Dr Anthony Fauci, who is chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told a White House COVID briefing on Friday that Redfield's comments about the Wuhan lab were just an opinion.
'Obviously, there are a number of theories,' Fauci said.
'Dr Redfield was mentioning that he was giving an opinion as to a possibility, but again, there are other alternatives - others, that most people hold by.'
It is the first time Redfield, who was appointed CDC director by President Trump, has stated publicly that he believes COVID-19 originated in a lab and not in a wet market. Pictured above are researchers in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Redfield was appointed CDC director by President Donald TrumpThe US was first informed of the new virus, then believed to be a mysterious cluster of pneumonia patients, in late December.
The debate about the origins have COVID-19 has been ongoing for the past year and has resulted in rising tensions between the US and China.
US investigators have been blocked from going to China in a bid to investigate the virus and its origins.
China has long resisted pressure for a full investigation and has touted theories that the virus might not have originated in Wuhan.
The World Health Organization has previously said the lab theory was 'extremely unlikely' but a team of its scientists that were finally allowed into Wuhan have still not been able to determine the origin of the virus more than a year into the pandemic.
Trump first started speculating that China may have released the virus in lab 'mistake' early last year.
He claimed to have seen evidence to support the theory that the origin was a Wuhan lab.
Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the 'Chinese virus' throughout his presidency.
More than 546,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19 since the pandemic broke out and there have been over 30 million confirmed cases across the country.
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In January, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the WHO to fully investigate the possibility that the COVID-19 virus accidentally escaped from a Wuhan lab as he revealed new intelligence that he said raised troubling questions.
'Beijing continues today to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus, and the next one,' Pompeo said.
Among the new US intel that he cited included a claim that researchers at the lab fell ill in the fall of 2019 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, that scientists there were working with a bat coronavirus that is 96.2 percent similar genetically to the virus that causes COVID, and that the lab has secret links to the Chinese military.
Pompeo also revealed that researchers at the Wuhan lab had been studying a bat coronavirus known as RaTG13 since 'at least 2016'.
The RaTG13 strain was identified by the Wuhan lab as its genetically closest sample to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at 96.2 percent similarity.
The State Department said that the Wuhan lab obtained RaTG13 in a sample from a cave in Yunnan Province in 2013, after several miners there died of SARS-like illness.
Though the Wuhan lab has a published record of conducting 'gain-of-function' research on virus to enhance their lethality or transmissiblility, the State Department says the lab 'has not been transparent or consistent about its record of studying viruses most similar to the COVID-19 virus, including RaTG13.'
Pompeo also asserted that despite ostensibly being a civilian institution, the Wuhan lab has worked on 'secret projects with China's military.'
'The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017,' Pompeo said.
He called on Beijing to allow the WHO investigation team free reign to pursue their inquiry, including access to the Wuhan lab.
VIDEO--Rufio on Twitter: "Hey @adamcurry ... check out this law and order episode from 2003 https://t.co/Zg0gWyFfI6" / Twitter
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 04:49
Rufio : Hey @adamcurry ... check out this law and order episode from 2003 https://t.co/Zg0gWyFfI6
Fri Mar 26 04:04:02 +0000 2021