1459: Wig Out

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 56m
June 12th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Sir aighead, Knight of the Long Shadows of Trash Mountain, Sir Seabee, Knight of the black thumbnails, Madison McClure, Tim Alcott, Elizabeth V, Sir Jackie G

Associate Executive Producers: Dame Turkey Bird, Daniel Franco, Richard Bangs, Viscount dirty dick bangs of dc

Cover Artist: Pointy Rhetoric

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The Purge
What does 'losing our democracy' mean, or look like?
Cops crying about how afraid they were after 911? No.
Bill Mahr: Trump should not he allowed to run again
What are Liberals afraid of? That a majority of the American People want someone who represents them.
Inflation and Energy
Messaging problem with EV's and rolling blackouts
Lebanon is facing off with Israel over a natural gas field located off their shared coast.
Conflict could erupt after Tel Aviv deployed a drilling ship to the disputed area.
Gas prices are high now, but they’ve been worse before: Here’s when | WGN-TV
Though paying $5 at the pump seems alarming, Americans have faced worse, believe it or not.
It was the summer of 2008, just before the U.S. economy hit a massive recession, prices at the pump peaked at $4.11, according to Kiplinger, a business and finance news site.
When adjusted for inflation, using the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s calculator, $4.11 in July 2008 is equivalent to $5.40 today (based on the most recent data from April 2022). We’ve already surpassed another notable gas spike, which happened in 1981 when gas prices jumped to a then-record of $1.31. Adjusted for inflation, that’s equal to $4.13 in today’s prices.
Still, gas prices don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The U.S. has been steadily setting records for gas prices since March when the national average price of regular gas broke $4 for the first time since 2008.
The Solar DPA scam BOTG by Karl
I just got home tonight, my whole day went sideways, so i was unable to get audio files for you in fact, except for one (attached), the links all turned out to be listen to NPR live links.
Here’s my narrative that I’ve pieced together. In February 2022, Auxin Solar, a California-based assembler of solar panels, petitioned the US Department of Commerce to look into dumping solar panels in the US by four Southeast Asian nations (e.g. Using Chinese parts to undercut duties on those parts that US solar panel assemblers must pay). This follows a 2021 petition which was on behalf of a group of solar manufacturers, but that request was rejected because the DoC wanted the group to name all members. So we have now a single company, likely one of the members on the 2021 petition, asking again. (2/10/22 article)
The DoC allows the petition and begins the investigation. If DoC finds dumping, the fine is a 240% additional tariff on the imported goods - payable by the seller. The response of sellers? They stopped importing solar panels… which ground the solar installation industry to a halt. (5/11/22 NPR Audio)
I’ve read some articles I cant recall that suggested the White House didn’t like this, but pressure on the DoC for investigating harm to a US Company was politically untenable.
6/6/2022 - White House announces Defense Production Act to great fan fare — We’re going to invest in our solar panel companies - Though I have failed to see how much will be spent. The NPR article suggests the White House has also ordered federal agencies to buy US solar panels, but that’s not in the text of the executive order… sounds like deep background that you cant hold them to.
6/6/2022 - NPR reports “Solar panels will be allowed to be imported from…. for two years without fear of steep retroactive tariffs…” How does this magic happen? Did the White House waive the penalty provision… remember, 240% of the tariff paid can be assessed as a penalty? Nope, they will still be assessed a 240% tariff penalty… but the tariff is $0, so the penalty is 0*240% = $0. Yes sir, not only are we defeating the purpose of the DoC investigation, even when it comes out in the end that yes, they were dumping Chinese parts to avoid our tariffs, but we are instead giving these countries a complete waiver from ANY tariff on Solar Panels.
Also, if you read the federal register regarding the tariffs, Section 1 invokes the emergency authority and directs the Secretary to prescribe so long as not already subject to a dumping order… and to extend until the end of the emergency… the performance of any act related touch imports. (1b) Now, I previously said this meant no investigation, but a re-read says the Secretary has the choice to not investigate during the duration of the emergency (the rest of the Biden administration). My guess, they do the investigation, find dumping was occurring, and issue the $0 fine… that is, if the democrats aren’t likely to win 2024… if they are likely to win 2024 - the emergency gets extended for 4 more years...
-Karl
2/10/22 - No Audio: Solar Panel Assembler files petition seeking antidumping review of Southeast Asian imports: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/solar-panel-assembler-files-petition-seeking-antidumping-review-of-southeas/618622/
5/11/22 - NPR Reports on the problem with solar panels: Solar projects are on hold as U.S. investigates whether China is skirting trade rules: https://www.npr.org/2022/05/11/1097644931/solar-panels-solar-power-u-s-investigates-china-trade-rules
6/6/22 - NPR Article: No Audio - Biden allows solar panel imports while moving to boost domestic production: https://www.npr.org/2022/06/06/1103291476/biden-solar-panel-imports-defense-production-act
No Audio: Article from Akin Gump (a big international-type Law Firm) about the details and their legal analysis: https://www.akingump.com/en/news-insights/president-biden-allows-duty-free-importation-of-solar-panels-from-southeast-asia-and-funding-for-domestic-manufacturing.html
Text of the Proclamation re: ELIMINATING (for the duration of the emergency - 2, 4, 6 years? Depends on elections no doubt) Tariffs on solar panels from 4 SE Asian countries. Proclamation
Defense Production Act Executive Order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/06/memorandum-on-presidential-determination-pursuant-to-section-303-of-the-defense-production-act-of-1950-as-amended-on-solar-photovoltaic-modules-and-module-components/
Tumble dryers create more 'carbon' than bitcoin mining
BLM LGBBTQQIAAPK+ Noodle Biy
Matt Walsh Shapiro Blackburn What is A Woman Doc played the long game!
VAERS
How to Compare COVID Deaths for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People - Scientific American
The death rate among unvaccinated people is still far higher than that among the vaccinated even though vaccinated people now make up a significant proportion of deaths
FLECT Chest Pains BOTG
My brother works at a hospital in Brunswick GA just outside FLETC, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He says they are constantly coming in complaining of chest pains. Just a heads up
Skip Logic
Great Reset
Property ownership in USA analysis
John Calvin Jones, PhD, JD
Formerly employed as a professor of American Constitutional law; American politics,
criminal law and criminal justic
---------------------------------
Dear AC,
I could not resist when I heard JCD say "Sancro-Sacked" (instead of sacrosanct)
Here is my legal analysis. Simple conclusion: there is NO absolute right to own private property in the United States.
I made both a US letter, and an A4 formatted version for those who need it.
Best
JCJ
Mandates and Boosters
Ukraine Russia
Ministry of Truthiness
Grassley whistle blower - DGB was intended to 'operationalize' public private partnership with twitter over DMM
Food Intelligence
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Wisconsin physicians file legal action, demand Gov. Evers halt $10 million program to support meat industry | WisBusiness
“Instead of bailing out the declining meat industry, Governor Evers should help Wisconsin’s farmers pivot to a profitable future by growing crops for organic plant-based products to support health at all levels of society,” says Wisconsin physician Rose Kumar, MD, a member of the Physicians Committee, a nonprofit of more than 17,000 doctors, including 150 in Wisconsin.
Dog are People Too
Elites
Out There
China
Top Gun 33
During the last dog fight scene, Maverick, is engaged in a battle with an enemy plane. All he has left are guns and while shooting, the amount of ammunition left is shown by a counter. The counter stops on 33, and the scene holds for a second. I wonder if it is a message?
STORIES
U.S. drops Covid testing requirement for international travelers
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:55
The Biden administration will drop the Covid-19 testing requirement for inbound air travelers from abroad on Sunday, ending one of the longest-running travel restrictions of the pandemic.
The rule, put in place by the Trump administration in early 2021 and later tightened by the Biden administration, most recently required inbound travelers, including U.S. citizens, to show proof of a negative Covid test a day before boarding U.S.-bound flights. Travelers entering the U.S. at land border crossings were exempt.
The change takes effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Airlines and others in the travel industry had repeatedly pushed the administration to drop the requirement, arguing it was hurting demand for international trips. The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
American Airlines CEO Robert Isom told an industry conference last week that he met with politicians in Washington, D.C., to discuss the testing requirement, a rule he called "nonsensical."
"We're really frustrated," he said.
Other countries, including the U.K., had previously abandoned Covid testing entry rules.
"The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry," Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement. "International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector."
For its part, the Travel Technology Association's vice president of government relations, Mike Liptak, said in a statement that travel and tourism are key to the economic recovery from the pandemic. Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, the lobbying group for the largest U.S. carriers, said the industry looks "forward to continuing to work with the Administration to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the traveling public and to ensure that air travel policies are guided by science."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will reassess the decision in 90 days, according to a senior Biden administration official.
"If there is a need to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement '-- including due to a new, concerning variant '-- CDC will not hesitate to act," the official said.
The travel industry clashed with both the Biden and Trump administrations throughout the pandemic over rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, including a strict ban on most foreign visitors into the U.S., which was eventually lifted in November. Most noncitizen visitors to the U.S. will still have to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before flying to the U.S., a White House spokesman said.
Separately, in April, a Trump-appointed federal judge struck down another contentious rule that aimed to curb the spread of Covid-19: the Biden administration's federal mandate that travelers wear masks on planes and other forms of public transportation. The Department of Justice has appealed the ruling.
'-- CNBC's Thomas Franck contributed to this article.
Former city code enforcer accused of forging deed on South Austin home
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:54
A former employee in the city of Austin's code enforcement department faces criminal charges after he was accused of attempting to fraudulently take ownership of an Austin home by forging an elderly woman's signature on a deed to transfer it to himself shortly before she died.
According to an arrest affidavit, Alan Deshon Guyton faces a charge of forgery deed record, a state jail felony, and first-degree felony theft. Guyton was employed with the Austin Code Department until April 2021 and was put on administrative leave before he left his job, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit did not include any contact information for Guyton. Attempts to reach him for comment at the towing company listed in the document as his place of work were not immediately successful.
More crime news:Austin Water employee accused of raping, running over woman in city-issued truck
Austin police started investigating the case in November, when the city auditor's office contacted law enforcement after coming across a possibly forged deed filed with Travis County for a property in South Austin, according to the affidavit. The property was owned by Janet ''Lynn'' Sissney until she passed away on Feb. 8, 2021, according to the affidavit.
Austin police interviewed Sissney's nephew, who said he is the rightful heir to the estate and alleged that Guyton intentionally dismissed multiple code violations on the property with the expectation that he would assume ownership with a forged signature when Sissney passed away, according to the affidavit.
Law enforcement spoke to a neighbor and friend of Sissney's who both said her intention was to leave the house to her nephew. The neighbor also said she met Guyton in August and he told her he bought the property, and she once received a package by mistake addressed to Guyton at the property.
Real estate:Austin City Council eases height restrictions in bid to encourage more housing units
The signatures on Sissney's drivers license and social security card do not match the signature on the deed, according to the affidavit. The document also says Guyton started making tax payments on the property in August 2021, all in cash.
Law enforcement also interviewed the notary who notarized the deed, and she confirmed that the deed did not have Sissney's signature on it when it was notarized, according to the affidavit.
City of Austin representatives declined to comment on the charges against Guyton.
Putin carries poop case when he travels outside Moscow to hide possible health problems: Report | Fox News
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:42
NEW You can now listen to Fox News articles!
Russian President Vladimir Putin carries a suitcase filled with his own excrement and urine out of fear it might reveal too much information about his health should it fall into the wrong hands, according to reports.
"Putin fears the possibility of any information about his health getting into the hands of foreign intelligence services," Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former DIA intelligence officer, told Fox News Digital.
"He wants to project the image that he will be ruling Russia indefinitely in order to deter any chaos associated with a change of power."
A report from Paris Match via the Moscow Times reveals Putin has a special aide from the Federal Guard Service who handles the suitcase, which contains his fecal matter and urine collected during his trips, and returns it to Moscow.
UKRAINE RUNNING OUT OF AMMUNITION, INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL SAYS
Koffler explained that Putin likely fears anyone using the excrement as evidence of some kind of weakness in the Russian president's health.
"While there is much speculation about Putin's having a terminal illness, the intelligence about his health is inconclusive," Koffler said. "Short of a terminal illness, Putin will likely be Russia's president at least through 2024 and possibly through 2036, given that his popularity has skyrocketed after the invasion of Ukraine."
Putin has an 81% approval rating despite scattered protests since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
Reports of Putin's health have circulated since before the invasion began, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just last week denying that the Russian president was seriously ill.
RUSSIA CLAIMS UPPER HAND IN EASTERN UKRAINE, BUT ANALYSTS SUGGEST PROGRESS 'COSTLY,' POWER 'DECLINING'
"You know, President Putin appears in public every day. You can see him on the screens, read his speeches, listen to his speeches," Lavrov said. "I don't think sane people can discern any sort of symptom of disease in this man."
A recent recording reportedly revealed a Kremlin-aligned Russian oligarch saying Putin was seriously ill with blood cancer.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Reports prior to the invasion suggested Putin remained isolated to avoid showing signs of poor health. Critics pointed to his extended periods of isolation as a cause for questionable judgment leading up to and during the invasion of Ukraine.
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.
Goldman faces SEC probe of ESG funds
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:38
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is facing a U.S. investigation into its funds offering investments using environmental, social and governance criteria.
The probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission focuses on Goldman's mutual funds business in its asset management arm, people familiar with the matter said. The agency is looking into whether some investments for the funds are in breach of ESG metrics promised in marketing materials, one of the people said. The inquiry is tied to two funds in that business.
Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs and the SEC declined to comment.
Authorities in the U.S. and Europe are digging into how firms package and market investments, looking at disclosure lapses and more serious accusations of ''greenwashing,'' or overstating ESG capabilities. Deutsche Bank and asset manager DWS Group had their Frankfurt offices raided by police late last month in a greenwashing probe. DWS Chief Executive Asoka Woehrmann resigned shortly after. The firm has denied the allegations.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday on the investigation of Goldman Sachs. The SEC hasn't yet put rules in place covering ESG requirements, so the probe may focus on whether Goldman's disclosures to clients didn't accurately describe its investment practices, the Journal reported.
The SEC has been warning money managers not to mislead investors about the standards and methods they use for classifying funds as ESG. Behind the scenes, the agency's staff has been pressing financial firms to show that they're making good on their promises.
In the first half of last year,, the agency set up a task force of enforcement lawyers whose focus includes ESG disclosures. Around the same time, the regulator released a report showing many funds describing themselves as ESG weren't doing enough to ensure that their marketing rang true.
Last month, the agency announced that Bank of New York Mellon Corp. agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle SEC allegations it falsely implied some mutual funds had undergone an ESG quality review.
Investigators found that BNY Mellon's asset management unit didn't always scrutinize the ESG factors used to evaluate funds from July 2018 through last September, despite telling investors that it did. The regulator added that numerous investments lacked a quality review score.
BNY, which didn't admit or deny the SEC's allegations, said that it had taken steps to improve communications with investors.
[More: SEC's ESG integration proposals divide industry]
Related Topics: Goldman Sachs
Learn more about reprints and licensing for this article.
How to Compare COVID Deaths for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People - Scientific American
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:35
Looking at COVID data in recent months, it may appear that a significant proportion of the people who have died of COVID were vaccinated against the disease. But it is important to put those numbers in context.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled data from 28 geographically representative state and local health departments that keep track of COVID death rates among people age 12 and older in relation to their vaccination status, including whether or not they got a booster dose, and age group. Each week in March, on average, a reported 644 people in this data set died of COVID. Of them, 261 were vaccinated with either just a primary round of shots'--two doses of an mRNA vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine'--or with that primary series and at least one shot of a booster.
Taken at face value, these numbers may appear to indicate that vaccination does not make that much of a difference. But this perception is an example of a phenomenon known as the base rate fallacy. One also has to consider the denominator of the fraction'--that is, the sizes of the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. With shots widely available to almost all age groups, the majority of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. So even if only a small fraction of vaccinated people who get COVID die from it, the more people who are vaccinated, the more likely they are to make up a portion of the dead.
Credit: Amanda Monta±ez; Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionIn order to avoid the pitfalls of absolute numbers, it is useful to instead look at incidence rates'--usually expressed as the number of deaths per 100,000 people. Standardizing the denominator across all groups offers a very different picture.
Credit: Amanda Monta±ez; Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAnother way to think about the protection vaccination provides is to compare the ratios of death rates among the vaccinated and unvaccinated. For the month of March, ''unvaccinated people 12 years and older had 17 times the rate of COVID-associated deaths, compared to people vaccinated with a primary series and a booster dose,'' says Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service commander Heather Scobie, deputy team lead for surveillance and analytics at the CDC's Epidemiology Task Force.* ''Unvaccinated people had eight times the rate of death as compared to people who only had a primary series,'' suggesting that boosters increase the level of protection.
It is also important to consider the ages of those who are dying. People 65 and older make up the group that is both the most likely to be vaccinated (and boosted) and the most likely to die of COVID. (Being older is one of the biggest risk factors for severe COVID because the immune system weakens with age.) So when you separate the age groups, it becomes even clearer that vaccination reduces the risk of death. And because immune protection from vaccination wanes with time, and because some older people do not mount a good immune response to the primary series, being boosted reduces that risk even further.
Credit: Amanda Monta±ez; Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAn additional factor to consider is that as the pandemic wears on and a disproportionate number of unvaccinated people die from COVID, the unvaccinated population shrinks. This leaves a comparatively larger vaccinated group, leading to an increase in total deaths despite the lower death rate among vaccinated people. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but immunization reduces the risk of dying from COVID substantially.
*Editor's Note (7/7/22): This sentence was edited after posting to correct the populations described by Heather Scobie.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)Amanda Monta±ez is an associate graphics editor at Scientific American. Follow her on Twitter @unamandita
Tanya Lewis is a senior editor at Scientific American who covers health and medicine. Follow her on Twitter @tanyalewis314 Credit: Nick Higgins
Know Your Boomer Lingo Test
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:34
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are some 76 million boomers, which means there are a lot of people going around having a gas and getting hacked off. But what does it mean?
17 baby boomer phrases that kids these days just don't understand OK, boomers Before millennials were busy staying on fleek and Gen-Zers were clapping back with "OK boomer," baby boomers had their own way of communicating.
Although there's no official definition, baby boomers are generally considered to be those born between 1946-1964 (but some definitions start and end a little earlier). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are some 76 million boomers in the U.S., which means there are a lot of people going around having a gas and getting hacked off. But what does it mean?
Here's a look at some popular words and phrases that are mostly no longer in use. Definitions are from language site Babbel.com Merriam-Webster, and Dictionary.com.
AP Photo/File A gas (having a gas, it's a gas) Meaning: Someone or something that's fun or fine.
Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay Flip a wig Meaning: To get very angry (or really hacked off?).
Image by Peter H from Pixabay Lay a patch Meaning: Burnouts, black marks with tires.
Image by _Alicja_ from Pixabay Kicks Meaning: Something done for pleasure.
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Topics
4 Day Week Global
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:32
4 Day Week Global is a not-for-profit community established by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart to provide a platform for like-minded people who are interested in supporting the idea of the 4 day work week as a part of the future of work. This idea was born out of the waves of attention we received from around the world in reaction to our successful program launched at Perpetual Guardian in 2018.
The conversation about the 4 Day work week is all over the world
We encourage business, employees, researchers, and government to all play their part in creating a new way of working which will improve business productivity, worker health outcomes, stronger families and communities, challenge the gender equality issue, and work towards a more sustainable work environment.
4 Day Week Fact
63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a 4 day work week.
Advocates for change
We are a not-for-profit coalition of business leaders, community strategists, designers, and advocacy thought leaders invested in the transition to reduced working hours.
4 Day Week Fact
78% of employees with 4 day work weeks are happier and less stressed.
A hundred years ago, we moved from working six day weeks to five, and we're overdue for an update. The 4 day work week is a reduction in the work week from a standard 40 hours to 32 hours for the same pay and benefits. This reduction has been proven to work for employees and employers.
COVID-19 made it clear we can find a better balance between work and life. 85% of U.S. adults already approve of moving to a 4 day week. Let's make the move together.
Some companies are trialling a four-day work week. Here's what they discovered | World Economic Forum
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:32
A six-month pilot of the four-day work week is starting across 30 UK companies. The likes of Microsoft in Japan and Unilever in New Zealand have already seen benefits of the switch. Employers aim to improve productivity by providing a better work-life balance for employees. There has been much debate about a four-day working week, but the pandemic and technological advancements have begun to shift some employers' mindsets to one that is more open and trusting of their workforces.
As a result, the notion of the four-day work week is growing in popularity and a six-month trial recently launched in the UK will discover whether the 30 companies taking part see an impact on productivity and the wellbeing of workers. Under the four-day week pilot programme, run by think tank Autonomy and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College, employees will receive the same salary as if they were working their usual five days.
A Statista poll of Russians in 2021 found that those aged between 18 and 24 showed a higher level of support for the four-day working week. However, those aged 45 years and older expressed a negative attitude to the idea.
Among Russians polled in 2021, the 45-plus age group was the least receptive to a four-day week.
Image: Statista
In November, Atom Bank became the largest UK four-day week employer to move its 430-strong staff to a shorter week, with no reduction in pay.
Four day work week in other parts of the worldSo, where are other companies trialling the four-day work week pilot, and what results have they seen?
JapanWhen Microsoft trialled a four-day week with no loss of pay in their Japan office, the company claimed productivity went up by just under 40%. Microsoft Japan also found that electricity costs fell by 23%, and when workers took Fridays off, they printed almost 60% less.
IcelandThe four-day-working-week pilot that took place in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 was hailed an "overwhelming success".
2,500 workers took part in the trial with the results revealing that worker wellbeing increased in areas such as stress and burnout, health and work-life balance.
There is a global myth that productivity declines as workers age. In fact, including older workers is an untapped source for growth.
The world has entered a new phase of demographic development where people are living longer and healthier lives. As government pension schemes are generally ill-equipped to manage this change, insurers and other private-sector stakeholders have an opportunity to step in.
The World Economic Forum, along with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and AARP, have created a learning collaborative with over 50 global employers including AIG, Allianz, Aegon, Home Instead, Invesco and Mercer. These companies represent over two million employees and $1 trillion in annual revenue.
Learn more in our impact story.
New ZealandIn 2018, estate planners Perpetual Guardian entered their 240 staff into a four-day-work week trial, resulting in 78% of them saying they were able to better manage their work-life balance '' an increase of 24 percentage points.
The four-day working week is ''not just having a day off a week '' it's about delivering productivity, and meeting customer service standards, meeting personal and team business goals and objectives,'' says Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian founder.
In 2020, Unilever also stepped forward in New Zealand with plans for a four-day week. It placed the 81 employees based in the country into a year-long trial.
''Our goal is to measure performance on output, not time. We believe the old ways of working are outdated and no longer fit for purpose,'' says Nick Bangs, Managing Director of Unilever New Zealand.
IrelandIn January 2022, 17 companies in Ireland are due to start a four-day-week trial.
The Four Day Week trial ''seeks to understand better the implications of reduced working time for productivity, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability in an Irish context,'' organizers said in a statement.
SpainSpain launched a four-day-week trial in 2021, following calls from left-wing party Ms Pa­s. The trial is set to run for three years.
''With the four-day work week (32 hours), we're launching into the real debate of our times,'' said I±igo Errej"n of Ms Pa­s on Twitter.
From a six- to five- to four-day work week?The five-day working week is often credited to Henry Ford, who in 1914 proposed that his car production switch from a six-day working week to five. The creation of unions in the 20th century helped to make a five-day week and two days' rest the norm.
To promote a positive and proactive approach to navigating the future of employment, the World Economic Forum launched the Preparing for the Future of Work initiative. Through reskilling and upskilling, the initiative aims to grow new pipelines and demonstrate a smart redeployment of human capital.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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As ammunition runs out, Ukraine's hopes dim on eastern battlefield - The Washington Post
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:32
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SLOVYANSK, Ukraine '-- The euphoria that accompanied Ukraine's unforeseen early victories against bumbling Russian troops is fading as Moscow adapts its tactics, recovers its stride and asserts its overwhelming firepower against heavily outgunned Ukrainian forces.
Newly promised Western weapons systems are arriving, but too slowly and in insufficient quantities to prevent incremental but inexorable Russian gains in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, which is now the focus of the fight.
The Ukrainians are still fighting back, but they are running out of ammunition and suffering casualties at a far higher rate than in the initial stages of the war. Around 200 Ukrainian soldiers are now being killed every day, up from 100 late last month, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky told the BBC on Friday '-- meaning that as many as 1,000 Ukrainians are being taken out of the fight every day, including those who are injured.
The Russians are still making mistakes and are also losing men and equipment, albeit at a lesser rate than in the first months of the conflict. In one sign that they are suffering equipment shortages, they have been seen on videos posted on social media hauling hundreds of mothballed, Soviet-era T-62 tanks out of storage to be sent to Ukraine.
But the overall trajectory of the war has unmistakably shifted away from one of unexpectedly dismal Russian failures and tilted in favor of Russia as the demonstrably stronger force.
Ukrainian and U.S. hopes that the new supplies of Western weaponry would enable Ukraine to regain the initiative and eventually retake the estimated 20 percent of Ukrainian territory captured by Russia since its Feb. 24 invasion are starting to look premature, said Oleksandr V. Danylyuk, an adviser to the Ukrainian government on defense and intelligence issues.
''The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now. They are being much more successful,'' he said. ''They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush.''
''There's much less space for optimism right now,'' he added.
Ukrainian forces remain resolute. In a cafe in the front line town of Slovyansk, two Ukrainian soldiers on a break from the trenches nearby recounted how they were forced to retreat from the town of Dovhenke, northwest of Slovyansk, under withering Russian artillery fire. Thirty-five of their 100-strong unit were killed in the assault, typical of the tactics Russia is using. ''They destroy everything and walk in,'' said one of the soldiers, Vitaliy Martsyv, 41.
''There is nothing there,'' Andriy Tihonenko, 52, said of Dovhenke. ''It's all burned down.''
As troop fatalities mounted, the surviving soldiers felt ''more motivated to hold our position,'' Tihonenko said. To retreat after their comrades were killed defending the town, he said, would have felt like treating their deaths as insignificant.
But eventually, the defensive line was no longer effective, the two men said. With more than one-third of their force killed, the remaining soldiers had no choice but to pull back.
''Sometimes you feel down,'' Tihonenko said. ''But then you realize war is war '-- and you have to finish it.''
Russian artillery pummels Ukraine forces as Russia advances in eastern Ukraine
But the odds against the Ukrainians are starting to look overwhelming, said Danylyuk, the government adviser.
''The Russians are using long-range artillery against us, often without any response, because we don't have the means,'' he said. ''They can attack from dozens of kilometers away and we can't fire back. We know all the coordinates for all their important targets, but we don't have the means to attack.''
Ukraine has now almost completely run out of ammunition for the Soviet-era weapons systems that were the mainstay of its arsenal, and the Eastern European countries that maintained the same systems have run out of surplus supplies to donate, Danylyuk said. Ukraine urgently needs to shift to longer-range and more sophisticated Western systems, but those have only recently been committed, and in insufficient quantities to match Russia's immense firepower, he said.
Russia is firing as many as 50,000 artillery rounds a day into Ukrainian positions, and the Ukrainians can only hit back with around 5,000 to 6,000 rounds a day, he said. The United States has committed to deliver 220,000 rounds of ammunition '-- enough to match Russian firepower for around four days.
The majority of the American M777 howitzer artillery guns that U.S. officials said would enable Ukraine to match Russian firepower are now in use on the battlefield, according to the Pentagon. Yet the Russians continue to advance.
Four of the more sophisticated and longer range HIMARS multiple-rocket launcher systems that the Ukrainians had long requested from the United States are on the way, along with three similar systems pledged by Britain. But the Ukrainians will first have to be trained how to use them, and they are still weeks away from reaching the battlefield, U.S. officials say. The Pentagon has hinted that more systems will be made available once the Ukrainians have demonstrated they can be used.
But the Russians started the war with about 900 of their own similar systems, and although the Ukrainians claim they have destroyed hundreds, the Russians still have hundreds left, Danylyuk said.
The Russians have meanwhile adapted their tactics in ways that have let them take full advantage of their firepower by remaining at a distance from Ukrainian positions, pounding them relentlessly, then taking territory once the Ukrainians have been forced to retreat.
The Russians are also doing a better job of combining their arms, of using close air support and deploying dismounted infantry, said Rob Lee, a former U.S. Marine now with the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Russian officials have claimed they are advancing more slowly than during the initial invasion to avoid civilian casualties. Instead, however, the tactic helps reduce Russian casualties while inflicting heavy losses on the civilians who live in the towns and villages being targeted, analysts say.
''I'm afraid of every single boom or sound,'' said Irina Makagon, as she sat in her kitchen in Kostiantynivka, a town near the front line that has suffered intense bombardments. She was sitting in her kitchen earlier this week when a boom and a whistle heralded an incoming shell that crashed into the house next door, killing a young man.
'They're in hell': Hail of incoming Russian artillery tests Ukrainian morale
The Ukrainians are still fighting well and can inflict tactical pain on the Russians when the opportunity presents itself, said Dmitri Alperovitch of the Silverado Consultancy, citing Russia's disastrous attempt late last month to cross the Siverskiy Donets river; hundreds of Russians were killed and scores of military vehicles destroyed. The Ukrainians are also conducting successful drone strikes against Russian positions and supply columns, he said.
Russia has not released casualty figures since March. ''But when you look at what's happening, I'd be shocked if the Russians are sustaining casualties anywhere close to what the Ukrainians are right now,'' Alperovitch said.
Manpower is less of a problem for the Ukrainians than the shortages of ammunition and equipment, said Danylyuk, who put the number of men who have signed up to potentially fight at 6 million. But Ukraine doesn't have the equipment, including protective gear and guns as well as artillery systems, to field all those willing to volunteer. ''We would be sending them to their deaths without equipment,'' he said.
The Russians face manpower shortages too, after the heavy losses they suffered in the earliest days of the war. Western officials put the number of Russian deaths at 15,000 to 20,000 so far, with as many as a third of the original invasion force rendered unfit for combat due to injuries, capture and equipment losses after the disasters of the first two months.
But Russia has regenerated its forces to a greater extent than anticipated by many military analysts, bolstering its depleted army by as many as 40,000 to 50,000 men over the past two months, by increasing the age of the reserve force, deploying new forces and refurbishing units that had been decimated, Danylyuk said.
For now, the Donetsk River stands in the way of significant new Russian advances. Western officials say they expect that Russian troops will soon secure full control of the town of Severedonetsk and then are likely to turn their attention to the town of Lysyshansk, on the opposite bank of the river, which would put them in full control of the region of Luhansk. After that, they can be expected to target the larger region of Donetsk that Russia has partially controlled since 2014.
Lysyshansk will be a tougher challenge because the Ukrainians control the high ground, and the Russians' artillery strength is less of an advantage in close urban combat, said Konrad Muzyka, director of the Warsaw-based Rochan Consulting defense consultancy. Russia may find it difficult to sustain its recent gains for much beyond that, given the losses it has suffered so far, he said.
But if the Russians manage to breach the river, they could start to make rapid advances, he said.
''The Ukrainians are resting their defense on the Donetsk river. If Russia successfully crosses the river, my concern is that the Russians will enter Donetsk with their full might, and then the Ukrainians might be overwhelmed,'' he said.
Sly reported from London. Heidi Levine in Slovyansk contributed to this report.
On the Darknet: Ukrainians flood Europe with NATO arms shipments
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:31
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the US and other NATO countries have been sending state-of-the-art heavy weapons to Kiev. But many of the weapons systems do not end up at the front '' but on the internet.
The Darknet is becoming an online wholesaler for war materiel. And the customers are also based in Europe.
Anti-tank missiles, automatic weapons, ammunition, drones or even mines '' the warehouses of Darknet dealers are full. Thousands of weapons systems sent by Western allies to Ukraine can be found for sale on the internet.
Europe soon threatened by rocket launchers?''It is surprising to say the least that after the fall of Mariupol, the United States was willing to send an additional 40 billion dollars to Ukraine where it had already lost another 14 billion dollars. In reality, two-thirds never reached their destination,'' Thierry de Meyssan pointed out.
The FGM-148 Javelin is a man-portable anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The US developed this weapon system to be able to combat heavily armoured vehicles such as main battle tanks and lighter military vehicles. It is hard to imagine what terrorists with weapons like these could do in a European city centre. Austrian daily eXXpress reported on this serious threat.
How many of these systems are already in Europe '' presumably in the hands of criminals or terrorists? Police could eventually face massive problems with armed terrorists. It is easy to see how this could become a major security risk for large cities in Europe.
Darknet salesIt has never been easier to get hold of various NATO shipments '' directly from Ukraine '' to anywhere in the world to anyone with money. The assortment from Kiev includes rifles, grenades, pistols, body armour. Just one of the listed sellers already had 32 successful transactions to his name.
Already during the Balkan War, authorities witnessed how thousands of handguns had simply disappeared '' and were then sold on the black market to criminal organisations or even to terrorists.
High-tech armament and an assortment of automatic weapons can now be ordered from the comfort of a screen. Grenades, incidentally, have been on special offer. If criminals moreover get hold of bullet-proof vests it would make it difficult for the police to stop them in the future.
Executive Director of Europol Catherine De Bolle stated in an interview with Welt am Sonntag recently that her agency was bracing for an influx of illegal weapons into Europe originally shipped to Ukraine by Western countries, including Greece, Sweden, Spain and Germany. She noted that the ''weapons from [Kosovo] are still being used by criminal groups today''.
Jihadists and other radicals are already in the war zone, according to the database of the SIS (Schengen Information System).
Weapons outlive conflicts''It would be prudent to consider the immediate and long-term security implications of arms transfer decisions and apply lessons hard-learned from past armed conflicts,'' the US-based think-tank Stimson Center said about this development back in March.
''The United States and its partners may be doing a disservice to the very people they aim to protect without considering the potential risks of the infusion of weapons to the country. While there have been noteworthy pledges of additional military assistance, the lifecycle of an arms transfer is often quite long. Arms promised today may not be available for months or even years to come, at which point the situation on the ground will have evolved. Though these pledges have symbolic value they may have little real effect on the battlefield.''
The think tank furthermore warned: ''From Afghanistan to Iraq to Colombia, well-intentioned transfers have a habit of outliving their political contexts, and risk fueling new conflicts, being captured by illicit groups, or contributing to enduring ecosystems of insecurity.''
The authors warned that the strategic risks of transferring arms to an area of active hostilities include exacerbating the conflict, extending the duration thereof, increasing its lethality, and contributing to civilian harm. ''Moreover, arms have a long shelf life, and will still be around long after the guns inevitably fall silent,'' they concluded.
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Shangri-La Dialogue: China blasts US 'bully', says it will 'fight to the end' for Taiwan - CNN
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:28
Singapore CNN '--
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday accused the United States of being a ''bully'' and ''hijacking'' countries around the region, during a combative speech in which he said his country would ''fight to the very end'' to stop Taiwanese independence.
''Taiwan is first and foremost China's Taiwan,'' Wei told the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's premier defense conference, adding that China would ''not hesitate'' to crush any attempt by the self-governed island to ''secede.''
The speech '' which came just weeks after US President Joe Biden said the US would respond ''militarily'' if China attacked Taiwan '' capped a weekend of confrontational exchanges between the American and Chinese military chiefs.
Wei also called out US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who had told the conference a day earlier that China was engaged in coercive, aggressive and dangerous actions that threatened to ''undermine security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.''
Austin had also talked about US coalition-building in the region and its joint military exercises with Japan, Australia, India and Indonesia, but Wei said this was a kind of ''power politics'' that China rejected.
''No one and no country should impose its will on others, or bully others under the guise of multilateralism,'' Wei said.
''We notice Secretary Austin's remarks on the US Indo-Pacific strategy. To us, the strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive, small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific, to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country. It is a strategy to create conflict,'' Wei said.
But Wei '' who met Austin in a bilateral meeting on Friday afternoon '' reserved some of his harshest criticisms for Washington's stance on Taiwan, the democratically governed island that Beijing considers its territory despite never having ruled it.
Austin had on Friday said the US would continue to support Taiwan with the means to defend itself, including arms sales which China sees as a violation of its sovereignty.
Under US policy, Washington provides Taiwan defensive weapons, but has remained intentionally ambiguous on whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack '' a policy that the White House insists remains intact despite Biden's recent comments that appeared to deviate from the ambiguity. Washington acknowledges China's position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized Beijing's claim to the self-governing island.
Wei said there would be no compromise on China's sovereignty or the question of whether Taiwan will one day be ''reunited'' with the mainland '' a clear goal of China's ruling Communist Party, which calls for peaceful ''reunification'' but has not ruled out using force.
''China will definitely realize its reunification. '... It is a historical trend that no one, no force can stop,'' Wei said.
And the People's Liberation Army was prepared to spill blood to enforce that if necessary, he said.
''Let me make this clear,'' Wei said. ''If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at all costs. And we will fight to the very end.''
The Chinese defense minister said the road the US is taking in the region is one his country would never go down.
''The order of human civilization must be based on the rule of law. Otherwise, the law of the jungle will prevail,'' Wei said.
''China will never seek hegemony or engage in military expansion or an arms race. We do not bully others, but we will not allow others to bully us,'' he said.
Wei leads China's Ministry of National Defense, but is not the top military official in the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission, which controls China's armed forces under Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
China has faced a barrage of criticism during the Shangri-La conference.
Delegates from US allies like Australia and Canada have been critical of what they see as Beijing's violation of international laws, including what they claim are dangerous intercepts of their aircraft operating in the region.
Without mentioning China by name, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday that the Asian security situation is prompting Tokyo to substantially increase its defense budget and consider acquiring ''counterstrike weapons,'' of the type not now in its arsenal.
Japanese forces and Australian forces, among other US allies and partners, have been operating in the South China Sea, almost all of which China claims as its sovereign territory.
China has militarized various man-made islands in the 1.3 million square mile waterway.
But Wei inferred that it was the US that was muscling in by sending naval ships into the waterway.
''Some big power has long practiced navigation hegemony on the pretext of freedom of navigation,'' Wei said.
He said the US and China are at a critical juncture in their relationship, but contended the ball is in Washington's court when it comes to diffusing tensions.
Washington must stop ''smearing'' Beijing and ''interfering in China's internal affairs'' for relations to improve, Wei said.
''It will be a historic and strategic mistake to insist on taking China as a threat and of an adversary or even an enemy,'' he said.
If Washington can treat Beijing with ''mutual respect,'' there is room for both nations to prosper, Wei contended.
But he had a stern warning if the United States chose otherwise.
''If you want to cooperate, we should promote mutual benefits and win-win results. However, if you want confrontation, we will fight to the end.''
Texas zoo warns of possible chupacabra sighting
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:44
Posted at 11:41 AM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 11:41:05-04
AMARILLO, Texas '-- Zoo officials in Texas are scratching their heads over what they saw in a surveillance video.
This does not look any animal known to man.
Now, officials at the Amarillo Zoo are wondering if this could be a Chupacabra.
The image of the two-legged creature was captured around 1:30 a.m. on May 21.
Some people speculated that it was simply a person in a costume, while others said it could be a coyote on its hind legs.
City officials said the creature never entered the zoo and zoo animals were safe.
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Bieber cancels shows, announces he has facial paralysis
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:44
Evan Agostini/Invision
FILE - Justin Bieber attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala on Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. Bieber leads the iHeartRadio Music Award nominations. The awards show will air from Los Angeles on March 22. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 18:04:55-04
Musician Justin Bieber informed fans that he has a rare facial paralysis that has left him unable to move some of his face.
Bieber said on an Instagram video that his recent diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome will force him to cancel his upcoming appearances.
"It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis," he said in the video. "As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can't smile on this side of my face; this nostril will not move. So there's full paralysis on this side of my face."
Bieber's next tour appearance was scheduled for Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
''It is pretty serious,'' he said. ''My body is telling me I need to slow down. I hope you guys understand.''
It is unclear when Bieber will be able to resume touring.
Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Meta Scrutinizing Sheryl Sandberg's Use of Facebook Resources Over Several Years - WSJ
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:42
Review focuses on the extent to which staffers worked on her personal projects
The lawyers investigating Facebook operating chief Sheryl Sandberg's use of corporate resources are examining behavior going back several years, said people familiar with the matter, focusing on the extent to which staffers worked on her personal projects.
A number of employees have been interviewed as part of the investigation by Facebook...
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The lawyers investigating Facebook operating chief Sheryl Sandberg's use of corporate resources are examining behavior going back several years, said people familiar with the matter, focusing on the extent to which staffers worked on her personal projects.
A number of employees have been interviewed as part of the investigation by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. , the people said, adding that the review has been under way since at least last fall.
It includes an examination of the work Facebook employees did to support her foundation, Lean In, which advocates for women in the workplace, as well as the writing and promotion of her second book ''Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,'' which focused on her grieving process following the sudden death of her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, in 2015, the people said.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the investigation included a review of Ms. Sandberg's use of corporate resources to help plan her coming wedding. That is a small piece of the investigation, according to the people familiar with the matter, who said it involves a broader review of Ms. Sandberg's personal use of Facebook's resources over many years.
Ms. Sandberg, 52 years old, announced last week she was resigning from her day-to-day role after 14 years, though she said she would continue to serve on the board of directors. Ms. Sandberg has been the longtime lieutenant to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, and in that role'--and as the author of the leadership book ''Lean In'''--became one of the most prominent women in business. Ms. Sandberg said she was looking forward to spending more time on her foundation and women's issues.
Ms. Sandberg has told friends and co-workers that she decided to step down because she was burned-out and weary of continuing her role as a ''punching bag'' for Meta 's critics. She also sees Mr. Zuckerberg's pivot to the so-called metaverse as a multiyear project that she wasn't eager to take on, not least because it doesn't directly entail the use of her core strengths in building advertising businesses.
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People close to Ms. Sandberg say that while the review has irked her in recent months, it played no role in her decision to leave the company later this year.
''Sheryl did not inappropriately use company resources in connection with the planning of her wedding,'' a spokeswoman for Ms. Sandberg said last week.
A Meta spokeswoman declined to comment for this article.
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It couldn't be determined what prompted the investigation into her activities that began in the fall. Some people close to the company said these types of concerns involving Ms. Sandberg had circulated for some time. They said that as Ms. Sandberg's power within the company appeared to erode in recent years, it became less daunting for internal critics to raise concerns about her management.
That Ms. Sandberg, along with Mr. Zuckerberg, use corporate resources for some personal matters is no secret. The company already makes extensive disclosures about her and Mr. Zuckerberg's use of corporate resources for certain personal matters. Ms. Sandberg also cited a number of Facebook employees in the acknowledgments section of Option B.
Ms. Sandberg could be asked to repay the company for employee time spent on her personal work, some of the people said. Some within Meta close to the investigation worry about potential Securities and Exchange Commission violations if Ms. Sandberg used professional resources for personal matters without adequate disclosures, although it isn't yet clear what such violations might be, people familiar with the matter said.
David Larcker, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who focuses on corporate governance, said companies differ in what types of perks they approve for top executives but private jet use and security are often included. Some companies benchmark such benefits with their peers so they can stay competitive with executive compensation practices, whether corporate jet use, financial adviser assistance, country club memberships or otherwise. But using corporate employees who aren't assistants for personal matters is more rare and likely requires board approval, he added.
Some Meta board members have been frustrated with Ms. Sandberg's handling of a situation in which she helped press a U.K. tabloid to shelve an article about her former boyfriend, Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive
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Bobby Kotick, and a 2014 temporary restraining order against him. The matter also became a part of the broader investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Journal previously reported the Kotick issue and a spokeswoman for Meta said at the time: ''Sheryl Sandberg never threatened the MailOnline's business relationship with Facebook in order to influence an editorial decision.'' Mr. Kotick has said it was his understanding that the Daily Mail didn't run the story because it was untrue.
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The probe into Ms. Sandberg's activities follows a renewed effort within Facebook to boost the company's regulatory compliance, following a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2019. Facebook hired its first chief compliance officer last year in order to beef up such checks and balances. Some parts of the investigation into Ms. Sandberg's actions occurred after more stringent compliance practices were put in place at Meta, some of the people said.
Mr. Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have sometimes used company resources, including private planes and staff time, to manage their personal affairs as well, according to securities filings, public documents and people familiar with the matter.
The reputation and safety of Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg have been long seen as inextricably linked to the company's success. Facebook has hired professional pollsters to analyze their personal reputations, according to people familiar with the matter, because they were seen as connected to the image of the company overall.
People close to the executives say many of their activities'--and of business executives broadly'--aren't strictly professional or personal but rather a bit of both and enrich them as leaders generally and help the company, including for recruiting.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg both use private planes for personal travel as part of their overall security program, according to Facebook's latest proxy. Both executives also receive personal security at their residences as well as during personal travel, paid for by the company.
In 2021, Facebook paid nearly $9 million for Ms. Sandberg's security at her homes and during personal travel and $2.3 million for costs related to her personal use of private planes, according to the company's most recent proxy. Facebook spent $15.2 million on Mr. Zuckerberg's security and $1.6 million in private plane costs.
Facebook staff assisted Ms. Sandberg during both of her book tours and in the acknowledgments of Option B, she thanked many employees for their assistance in putting the book together. It was also not uncommon for Facebook staffers to help Ms. Sandberg with work involving her foundation and sometimes assist with tasks for her family, according to people close to the matter.
Some people close to Ms. Sandberg said it was often more efficient to work that way.
Facebook employees also worked on Mr. Zuckerberg's projects, including his 2017 tour of 30 American states, according to public records. One stop in Glacier National Park in Montana, Mr. Zuckerberg was joined by at least three full-time Facebook employees, according to public records.
At the time, he called it a ''personal challenge.''
Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com and Emily Glazer at emily.glazer@wsj.com
Jan. 6 Panel Puts Focus on Cabinet Discussions About Removing Trump - The New York Times
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:41
Other reports verify Representative Liz Cheney's assertion that cabinet members considered using the 25th Amendment to oust Donald Trump after the assault on the Capitol.
Mike Pompeo, left, the secretary of state, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, were among those who privately discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment after the Jan. 6 riot. Credit... Erin Schaff/The New York Times June 10, 2022
When Representative Liz Cheney asserted at the House Jan. 6 hearing on Thursday that Trump administration cabinet members weighed invoking the constitutional process to remove President Donald J. Trump from office after the attack on the Capitol by his supporters, she did not immediately provide details or evidence.
But as the federal government convulsed in the hours and days after the deadly riot, a range of cabinet officials weighed their options, and consulted one another about how to steady the administration and ensure a peaceful transition to a new presidency.
Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state at the time, and Steven Mnuchin, then the Treasury secretary, discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would have required the vice president and the majority of the cabinet to agree that the president could no longer fulfill his duties to begin a complex process of removal from office.
Their discussion was reported by Jonathan Karl of ABC News in his book ''Betrayal,'' and described to The New York Times by a person briefed on the discussion. Mr. Pompeo has denied the exchange took place, and Mr. Mnuchin has declined to comment.
Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump's education secretary, told USA Today this week that she raised with Vice President Mike Pence whether the cabinet should consider the 25th Amendment. But Mr. Pence, she said, ''made it very clear that he was not going to go in that direction.''
She decided to resign. So did Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser.
Eugene Scalia, then the labor secretary, discussed with colleagues right after the attack the need to steady the administration, according to three people familiar with the conversations.
Mr. Scalia called an aide to Mr. Pence, they said, to say that he was uncomfortable with Mr. Trump functioning without something of a check on him in that moment, and that there needed to be more involvement from the cabinet. Mr. Pence's team did not want to make such a move.
Mr. Scalia also had a conversation with Mr. Pompeo, which Mr. Pompeo shared with multiple people, in which Mr. Scalia suggested that someone should talk to Mr. Trump about the need do something to restore confidence in the government and a peaceful transition of power. In Mr. Pompeo's rendering of that conversation, disputed by others, Mr. Scalia also suggested that someone should talk to Mr. Trump about resigning.
Mr. Pompeo replied sarcastically by asking how Mr. Scalia imagined that conversation with Mr. Trump would go.
Image Eugene Scalia, the labor secretary, and Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, at the White House in 2020. Both questioned President Donald J. Trump's fitness for office after the Jan. 6 attack. Credit... Jason Andrew for The New York Times Mr. Scalia and Mr. Pompeo, through an aide, declined to comment.
The reference by Ms. Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and the vice chairwoman of the House Jan. 6 committee, to the 25th Amendment being under consideration by cabinet members was one of the most striking assertions in the panel's two-hour hearing. In the first of six planned public hearings, the committee presented a detailed case against Mr. Trump and the rioters who stormed the Capitol and delayed the congressional certification of the Electoral College results.
The panel has signaled that it plans to use the discussions about the 25th Amendment to show not only the chaos that Mr. Trump set off by helping stoke the riot but how little confidence those around him had in his ability to be president.
''You will hear about members of the Trump cabinet discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, and replacing the president of the United States,'' Ms. Cheney said as she read her opening statement at the hearing. ''Multiple members of President Trump's own cabinet resigned immediately after Jan. 6.''
In addition to Ms. DeVos, the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao '-- the wife of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader '-- also resigned.
At the hearing on Thursday, Ms. Cheney also asserted that Republican lawmakers who had been involved in helping Mr. Trump overturn the election sought pardons from the White House in the final days of the administration. The committee plans to use the pardon requests as evidence of how those who helped Mr. Trump had a consciousness of guilt about what they had done.
Ms. Cheney did not provide any evidence to substantiate her assertion, and she named only one lawmaker, Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, as a pardon seeker.
In an email, Jay Ostrich, a spokesman for Mr. Perry, called the assertion ''a ludicrous and soulless lie.''
Ms. Cheney promised that she would reveal supporting evidence at upcoming hearings, and a person familiar with the committee's investigation said the panel had received testimony about the pardon requests.
Mr. Perry coordinated a plan to try to replace the acting attorney general, who was resisting Mr. Trump's attempts to investigate baseless election-fraud reports, with a more compliant official. Mr. Perry also endorsed the idea of encouraging Mr. Trump's supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The committee's next hearing is scheduled for Monday, where the panel plans to lay out how Mr. Trump and his allies stoked the ''Big Lie'' that the election had been stolen. Two more hearings are scheduled for next week '-- one on Wednesday about the attempt at the Justice Department to oust the acting attorney general, and another on Thursday about the pressure campaign on Mr. Pence to block or delay certification of the electoral vote count.
Three former Justice Department officials have agreed to testify at the Wednesday hearing, according to a letter sent to the committee on Friday.
The three witnesses '-- Jeffrey A. Rosen, who was the acting attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, and Steven A. Engel, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel '-- all participated in a tense meeting just before the Jan. 6 attack, where Mr. Trump considered firing Mr. Rosen and installing a loyalist in his place.
Even before Jan. 6, government officials under Mr. Trump had discussed invoking the 25th Amendment.
In the spring of 2017, after Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, rattled by Mr. Trump's handling of the dismissal, raised the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment in a meeting with senior Justice Department and F.B.I. officials.
The acting F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Trump's ties to Russia and was pressing Mr. Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel. Mr. Rosenstein agreed that Mr. Trump's possible ties to Russia should be investigated but said that if an inquiry uncovered troubling evidence of Mr. Trump's ties to Russia, the only remedy would be to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Mr. Rosenstein then said that he had done the math and believed there were at least six cabinet officials who would go along with invoking it, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. Despite raising the possibility, the idea went nowhere and Mr. Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III to be the special counsel.
In the years that followed, there were several disclosures about others who had discussed the possibility of invoking the amendment. In 2019, a book by an anonymous administration official recounted that senior White House officials believed that Mr. Pence would go along with invoking the amendment to oust Mr. Trump. Mr. Pence denied that claim.
A veteran CBS News producer named Ira Rosen wrote in his 2021 book about his time working in the news business that Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist until August 2017, had spoken with him about the 25th Amendment.
And Mark T. Esper, Mr. Trump's final Senate-confirmed defense secretary, wrote in his recent book, ''A Sacred Oath,'' about the aftermath of an incident when Mr. Trump delivered a diatribe against the military during a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the second half of his term.
Image Mark T. Esper, the former defense secretary, wrote in his book that a military officer had told him of his concerns about Mr. Trump's fitness for office and had researched the process of removing him. Credit... Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times ''Months later, one of the officers present told me in a phone call that he went home that evening deeply concerned about what he had seen in his commander in chief,'' Mr. Esper recounted, without identifying the person in question.
''The next morning, he said in a very sober tone, he started reading up on the 25th Amendment and the role of the cabinet as a check on the president,'' Mr. Esper said. ''He wanted to understand 'what the cabinet needed to consider' and what the process was.''
Mr. Esper said that in his own view, Mr. Trump's behavior never rose to the standard required for invoking the 25th Amendment. But that was before the postelection period, by which time Mr. Esper had been fired by Mr. Trump.
Two days after the Capitol riot, Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
''This is bad, but who knows what he might do?'' Ms. Pelosi said, according to the book ''Peril,'' by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. ''He's crazy. You know he's crazy. He's been crazy for a long time. So don't say you don't know what his state of mind is.''
''Madam Speaker,'' General Milley replied, ''I agree with you on everything.''
Luke Broadwater and Katie Benner contributed reporting.
German Brewers Face 'Unprecedented' Beer Bottle Shortage - The New York Times
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:41
Stefan Fritsche, who runs a centuries-old German brewery in Neuzelle, near the Polish border, has seen his natural gas bill jump a startling 400 percent over the past year. His electricity bill has increased 300 percent. And he's paying more for barley than ever before.
But the soaring inflation for energy and grains in the wake of the Ukraine war is no match for the biggest challenge facing Mr. Fritsche's brewery, Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle, and others like it across Germany: a severe shortage of beer bottles.
The problem is ''unprecedented,'' Mr. Fritsche said. ''The price of bottles has exploded.''
The issue is not so much a lack of bottles. Germany's roughly 1,500 breweries have up to four billion returnable glass bottles in circulation '-- about 48 for every man, woman and child.
Customers pay a surcharge of 8 euro cents on each bottle, and get that money back when it is returned.
Image Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle brews its beer on the grounds of a centuries-old monastery in Neuzelle, Germany. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times While the returnable-bottle system is climate-friendly and appeals to Germans' obsession with recycling, it comes with one major problem: getting people to return their empties.
Dragging a crate '-- or several '-- of empty glass bottles back to a store can be a hassle, even if it means getting back the deposit fee. So people tend to let them stack up, in the basements of their homes or on the balconies of their apartments, biding their time until they are running out of either space or spare cash.
''It is deadly for small brewers,'' Mr. Fritsche said. The brewery he runs sells 80 percent of its beer in bottles. (In 2003, a recycling law was expanded to focus on reducing waste in the beverage industry, meaning most beer sold for the domestic market is in returnable bottles, not cans.)
Holger Eichele, who heads the national brewers' association, has taken to the airwaves and social media in recent weeks to urge Germans to return their empty bottles. Beer makers don't want to run short of bottles as summer approaches, when hot weather, backyard barbecues and festivals drive sales.
Image Eighty percent of the Neuzelle brewery's beer is sold in bottles. A German law discourages beverage cans. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times Image Stefan Fritsche, the managing director, showed how a bottle of beer blessed by Pope Francis is ritually lowered into a production vat. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the problem, making it more difficult and expensive for brewers to buy new bottles to make up for the shortfall.
While brewers buy their glass from a number of countries across Europe, the war has caused glass factories in Ukraine '-- previously an important supplier '-- to cease operation. Sanctions have cut off supply chains from Russia and Belarus.
The price of bottles produced elsewhere, including in the Czech Republic, France or even Germany, has reached record levels of 15 to 20 euro cents each, because glassmaking involves huge levels of heat, and energy prices have soared.
Breweries without long-term supply contracts are seeing a price increase of more than 80 percent for new glass bottles, the German Brewers' Association said.
Image The Neuzelle monastery brewery, where beer has been brewed since 1589. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times Image A monk theme runs throughout the brewery. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times A recent article in Germany's biggest-circulation newspaper, Bild, proclaimed that ''Germany is running out of beer bottles,'' sending shock waves through the country and leading Mr. Eichele to run damage control to prevent panic buying.
''We do not see any danger that beer production will have to be curtailed,'' he insisted. ''To put it bluntly, supplies to consumers are secure.''
Still, the industry is facing a broad variety of problems, including a shortage of truck drivers and high fuel costs. ''It is becoming increasingly difficult for breweries and the beverage trade to maintain the supply chain,'' Mr. Eichele said.
Prices for label paper and other raw materials have also increased. The cost of each wooden pallet that breweries stack with crates of beer so they can be loaded and unloaded with forklifts has risen to about 25 euros from 17 euros, said Ulrich Biene, a spokesman for Veltins, one of the country's largest breweries.
''The whole pricing structure is out of control,'' he said.
Image The silo where Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle stores its malt before it is milled. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times Image Bags of malt before the grain is transferred to the silo. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times As a result, Veltins raised the price it charges for a 20-bottle crate '-- the most common way that beer is sold in German liquor stores and supermarkets '-- by a euro, up to nearly '‚¬19.50, its first increase in three years. The country's largest brewer, the Radeberger Group, which owns Radeberger and Sch¶fferhofer beers, also increased prices this spring by '‚¬8.50 per hectoliter of beer, an increase of about 6 percent. That translates to consumers paying between 32 and 63 cents more per crate.
To encourage more people to take back their bottles, Mr. Fritsche has toyed with the idea of nearly doubling the deposit that customers pay on their reusable beer bottles, to 15 cents. But larger brewers argue that increasing the deposit price is not the solution because they have too many bottles in circulation and that it would be a complicated process.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments Card 1 of 4Short on weapons. Ukraine has been making desperate pleas for the West to speed up the delivery of heavy weapons as its troops find themselves badly outgunned. The Russian forces, meanwhile, appear to be running low on precision missiles. This shortage had led the Russians to resort to other inefficient weapons systems that are less precise but can still cause major damage, according to Britain's Defense Ministry.
Mr. Fritsche has kept the prices of Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle beers steady so far, but said he expected they would have to increase this year, like so much else in Germany, perhaps as much as 30 percent. German inflation climbed for the fifth consecutive month in May, reaching 8.7 percent year over year.
Image Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle uses open fermentation, a traditional process that's now rare. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times Image Beer maturing inside tanks in the fermentation cellar. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times Germans are already straining under record inflation. Retail sales of food and drink in April fell 7.7 percent from March '-- the largest monthly drop since 1994 '-- and asking customers to pay more to cover the cost of their bottles would not be fair, Mr. Biene of Veltins said.
Instead, his brewery is encouraging customers to clear out their basements, balconies and garages and take their empties back to be washed, refilled and returned to circulation. Of the roughly one million 20-bottle crates that Veltins owns, only 3 to 4 percent are at the brewery.
''If people go away and leave their empties stacked in their garage, then we could run into trouble,'' Mr. Biene said. ''Every empty crate that comes back prevents us from having to buy a new one.''
Image Pallets of beer stand in the yard of the Neuzelle monastery brewery. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times Germany ranked fifth in the world for per-capita beer consumption in 2020, according to an annual survey by Kirin, the Japanese brewer. (The United States ranked 17th.) But on the whole, Germans are cutting back. Since the Federal Statistics Office began keeping records in 1993 '-- a year after Mr. Fritsche's family took over the brewery in Neuzelle '-- national consumption of beer has dropped nearly 24 percent, as people embrace a wider diversity of soft drinks.
Lockdowns surrounding the coronavirus over the past two years also contributed to the trend, as bars remained closed and sporting and cultural events were canceled.
The difficult environment makes management of the breweries all the more important. Mr. Fritsche said he had relied for decades on a combination of tradition and creativity.
A willingness to push the boundaries and think around the corner is essential to surviving in a tougher business environment, he said. For example, the brewery has a bottle of its signature product, Schwarzer Abt, or Black Abbot, that has been blessed by Pope Francis. The bottle is now dipped into each fresh batch of Schwarzer Abt.
What helps, too, is taking a long view of the history that comes with running a business founded in 1589, the events that it has witnessed and withstood over time.
''Nazis, Communists, government takeovers '-- in the past, we've had just about everything here,'' Mr. Fritsche said. ''And we have survived it all. We will get through this as well.''
Image Patrons enjoying a drink after a brewery tour. Credit... Patrick Junker for The New York Times
Study Shows Case of Likely Cat-to-Human Virus Spread, but Risk Remains Low - The New York Times
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:41
Health | A new study is the first to document likely cat-to-human virus transmission, but risks are low overall, experts say. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/10/health/cat-human-covid-transmission.htmlPeople are far more likely to give the virus to cats than cats are to pass it to humans, experts stress.
A cat being tested for the coronavirus in College Station, Texas, in February. Credit... Sergio Flores for The New York Times A veterinarian in Thailand likely contracted the coronavirus from an infected pet cat last year, researchers concluded in a new study. It is the first documented case of suspected cat-to-human transmission, although experts stress that the risk of cats infecting humans with the virus remains low overall.
One of the cat's two owners, who both had Covid-19, probably passed the virus to the cat, which then sneezed in the veterinarian's face, according to the paper, which was written by scientists at Thailand's Prince of Songkla University. Genomic sequencing confirmed that the cat and all three people were infected with an identical version of the virus, which was not widespread in the local population at the time.
Cats are far more likely to catch the virus from people than to transmit it to them, scientists say. But the case is a reminder that people who are infected with the virus should take precautions around their pets '-- and that veterinarians and shelter workers who may come into contact with infected animals should do the same, said Dr. Scott Weese, an infectious diseases veterinarian at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
''When things become human diseases, we too often forget everything else,'' he said. ''I think it's important for us to recognize this virus still can move between species.''
Previous research has shown that pet owners can infect their cats and that, in certain conditions, cats can transmit the virus to each other. But it has been difficult to prove that cat-to-human transmission happens in natural settings. (Mink, hamsters and deer have been reported to spread the virus to humans.)
The new paper appeared this week in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It makes a strong case for cat-to-human transmission, Dr. Weese said: ''They've got a pretty good story here.''
On Aug. 4, a father and son in Bangkok developed symptoms of Covid-19 and subsequently tested positive for the virus. Because of a shortage of hospital beds in Bangkok, the two men were transported on Aug. 8 to a hospital in Songkhla, a province in southern Thailand, via a 20-hour ambulance ride. For reasons that are unclear, they brought their pet cat.
When the men were admitted to the hospital, the cat was sent to a veterinary hospital for an exam. Although the cat appeared to be healthy, the veterinarian, a 32-year-old woman, collected nasal and rectal swabs, which tested positive for the virus. While the veterinarian was swabbing the cat's nose, the animal sneezed in her face. (The veterinarian was wearing gloves and a mask during the exam, but no face shield or eye protection.)
On Aug. 13, the veterinarian developed Covid-19 symptoms, including a fever and a cough. Shortly thereafter, she tested positive for the virus.
Genomic sequencing revealed that the cat's owners, the cat and the veterinarian were all infected with the same version of the Delta variant, which was distinct from viral samples taken from other patients in Songkhla at the time.
P.C.R. testing suggests that the cat had a high viral load at the time of its veterinary exam. None of the veterinarian's close contacts are known to have had Covid-19 at the time, and she had no prior encounters with the pet's owners, adding support to the theory that the cat was the source of the veterinarian's infection. (It was not clear whether she met with the owners later.)
The C.D.C. recommends that people who are infected with the virus avoid contact with their pets. ''If you're trying to stay away from people because you're potentially infectious,'' Dr. Weese said, ''just try to stay away from animals at the same time.''
Gas prices are high now, but they've been worse before: Here's when | WGN-TV
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:33
by: Addy Bink, Nexstar Media Wire
Posted: Jun 11, 2022 / 07:30 AM CDT
Updated: Jun 11, 2022 / 08:35 AM CDT
(NEXSTAR) '-- Gas prices have been on the rise, and don't appear to be leveling off anytime soon. But, as crazy as it may seem, gas prices have been higher before.
On Thursday, the national average price of gas jumped to $5 a gallon, according to GasBuddy. This jump doesn't come as a surprise for most '-- gas prices have been on the rise for months amid supply chain problems, increased demand for fuel, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. President Joe Biden even authorized the largest-ever oil reserve release from the country's strategic reserves to combat rising prices.
And if $5 for a gallon of gas seems like a lot to you, that's just the national average '-- some states are already paying well above that to fuel up. One gas station in Northern California has some of the highest prices in the nation, with GasBuddy reporting a gallon of regular gasoline selling for $9.63 on Monday. As of Thursday, prices for that Chevron station are no longer listed on GasBuddy's platform.
Though paying $5 at the pump seems alarming, Americans have faced worse, believe it or not.
It was the summer of 2008, just before the U.S. economy hit a massive recession, prices at the pump peaked at $4.11, according to Kiplinger, a business and finance news site.
When adjusted for inflation, using the Bureau of Labor Statistic's calculator, $4.11 in July 2008 is equivalent to $5.40 today (based on the most recent data from April 2022). We've already surpassed another notable gas spike, which happened in 1981 when gas prices jumped to a then-record of $1.31. Adjusted for inflation, that's equal to $4.13 in today's prices.
Still, gas prices don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The U.S. has been steadily setting records for gas prices since March when the national average price of regular gas broke $4 for the first time since 2008.
''It's been one kink after another this year, and worst of all, demand doesn't seem to be responding to the surge in gas prices, meaning there is a high probability that prices could go even higher in the weeks ahead,'' said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, in Thursday's press release. ''It's a perfect storm of factors all aligning to create a rare environment of rapid price hikes. The situation could become even worse should there be any unexpected issues at the nation's refineries or a major hurricane that impacts oil production or refineries this summer.''
Earlier this week, while speaking to the Senate Finance Committee, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took heat for inflation that's near 40-year highs, with gasoline prices up almost 50% since last year.
''Given the global nature of these markets, it's virtually impossible for us to insulate ourselves from shocks like the ones that are occurring in Russia that move global oil prices,'' Yellen said.
Data from AAA and GasBuddy shows, however, that Americans are still fueling up, despite the high prices.
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Largest Pork Company in the US Shuts Down California Plant Due to High Costs
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 14:15
News By Andrew Jose June 11, 2022 at 12:30pm Food processing corporation Smithfield Foods will shut down its Vernon, California, plant and scale back operations in California, Utah and Arizona, the company announced Friday.
Smithfield ''will cease all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at the same time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its Western region,'' the company said in a Friday news release.
''Smithfield is taking these steps due to the escalating cost of doing business in California,'' the company said.
''It's increasingly challenging to operate efficiently there,'' Smithfield Foods spokesperson Jim Monroe told the Wall Street Journal. ''We're striving to keep costs down and keep food affordable.''
Owned by Hong-Kong-based conglomerate WH Group, Smithfield is the largest pork processor in the country by volume.
Like other food businesses nationwide, the company was hit by a combination of supply chain and labor shortages, the ongoing record-high inflation, and the war in Ukraine '-- a major producer of wheat' ' '--which sent grain prices soaring worldwide' .
Because grain is a crucial ingredient in livestock feed, the impending grain shortage also spiked livestock feed prices, raising the California plant's production costs.
Adding salt to economic injury were utility costs in California' , which, according to the company's spokesman, were 3.5 times higher per head than those in the 45 other plants in the country run by Smithfield.
Furthermore, according to Monroe, California's regulatory environment has made it difficult for the pork processor to do business there.
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The spokesman pointed to Proposition 12, a 2018 voter-approved rule, which mandated that food processing companies confining pigs and sows must have adequate spaces for the animals to lie down and move around.
The regulation effectively rendered confining such animals in smaller stalls unlawful, to the dismay of food producers, who pointed out that the regulation would raise food costs and push up production costs.
In addition to closing down the Vernon plant, the company said in the Friday news release that it would look at ''strategic options to exit its farms in Arizona and California'' in addition to scaling back its sow herd in Utah.
''Smithfield is providing transition assistance to all impacted employees, including relocation options to other company facilities and farms as well as retention incentives to ensure business continuity until early next year,'' the company said.
Smithfield also said that it had reached an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Union of Operating Engineers on shutting the Vernon facility.
''We are grateful to our team members in the Western region for their dedication and invaluable contributions to our mission. We are committed to providing financial and other transition assistance to employees impacted by this difficult decision,'' Smithfield Chief Operating Officer Brady Stewart said.
The closure of the company comes as food prices rise nationwide amidst the ongoing baby formula shortage, growing inflation and soaring gas prices. Adding to the threats facing the nation's food security is a looming worldwide fertilizer shortage, from which the U.S. is not exempt.
''We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of overlapping crises jeopardizing people's ability to produce and access foods, pushing millions more into extreme levels of acute food insecurity,'' United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Qu Dongyu warned.
''We are in a race against time to help farmers in the most affected countries, including by rapidly increasing potential food production and boosting their resilience in the face of challenges,'' Qu said.
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US newsSummaryMore Biographical Information Recent Posts ContactAndrew is a journalist covering security, politics, and foreign policy, among other beats, with bylines in the Daily Caller, The Western Journal, and multiple other notable outlets. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose
Andrew is a journalist covering security, politics, and foreign policy, among other beats, with bylines in the Daily Caller, The Western Journal, and multiple other notable outlets. Speak to Andrew securely via ajoseofficial@protonmail.com. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose
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Here is the Updated List of US-Based Food Manufacturing Plants Destroyed Under Biden Administration
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 13:58
Joe Biden's 'Build Back Better' is not working as planned, or is it?
Gas prices are at record highs, stock markets are down, parents are having difficulty finding a baby formula, and the cost of everything is way up.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are currently no nationwide food shortages in the country.
''There are currently no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock,'' the agency said on their website. ''Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S. and there are currently no wide-spread disruptions reported in the supply chain.''
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As the Gateway Pundit previously reported, at least 18 major fires have erupted at food industry facilities and plants over the past six months. All of the fires have been officially listed as accidental or inconclusive.
Now this'... A Gateway Pundit reader sent us an updated list of US-based food manufacturing plants that were damaged from 2021 to 2022 under the Biden administration. These data were first published at Think Americana.
Below is the list of America's 95 plants that have been destroyed, damaged or impacted by ''accidental fires,'' disease, or general causes.
1/11/21 A fire that destroyed 75,000-square-foot processing plant in Fayetteville4/30/21 A fire ignited inside the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Monmouth, IL7/25/21 Three-alarm fire at Kellogg plant in Memphis, 170 emergency personnel responded to the call7/30/21 Firefighters on Friday battled a large fire at Tyson's River Valley Ingredients plant in Hanceville, Alabama8/23/21 Fire crews were called to the Patak Meat Production company on Ewing Road in Austell9/13/21 A fire at the JBS beef plant in Grand Island, Neb., on Sunday night forced a halt to slaughter and fabrication lines 10/13/21 A five-alarm fire ripped through the Darigold butter production plant in Caldwell, ID11/15/21 A woman is in custody following a fire at the Garrard County Food Pantry11/29/21 A fire broke out around 5:30 p.m. at the Maid-Rite Steak Company meat processing plant12/13/21 West Side food processing plant in San Antonio left with smoke damage after a fire1/7/22 Damage to a poultry processing plant on Hamilton's Mountain following an overnight fire1/13/22 Firefighters worked for 12 hours to put a fire out at the Cargill-Nutrena plant in Lecompte, LA1/31/22 a fertilizer plant with 600 tons of ammonium nitrate inside caught on fire on Cherry Street in Winston-Salem2/3/22 A massive fire swept through Wisconsin River Meats in Mauston2/3/22 At least 130 cows were killed in a fire at Percy Farm in Stowe2/15/22 Bonanza Meat Company goes up in flames in El Paso, Texas2/15/22 Nearly a week after the fire destroyed most of the Shearer's Foods plant in Hermiston2/16/22 A fire had broken at US largest soybean processing and biodiesel plant in Claypool, Indiana2/18/22 An early morning fire tore through the milk parlor at Bess View Farm2/19/22 Three people were injured, and one was hospitalized, after an ammonia leak at Lincoln Premium Poultry in Fremont2/22/22 The Shearer's Foods plant in Hermiston caught fire after a propane boiler exploded2/28/22 A smoldering pile of sulfur quickly became a raging chemical fire at Nutrien Ag Solutions2/28/22 A man was hurt after a fire broke out at the Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery3/4/22 294,800 chickens destroyed at farm in Stoddard, Missouri3/4/22 644,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, Maryland3/8/22 243,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in New Castle, Delaware3/10/22 663,400 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, MD3/10/22 915,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Taylor, IA3/14/22 The blaze at 244 Meadow Drive was discovered shortly after 5 p.m. by farm owner Wayne Hoover3/14/22 2,750,700 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Jefferson, Wisconsin3/16/22 A fire at a Walmart warehouse distribution center has cast a large plume of smoke visible throughout Indianapolis.3/16/22 Nestle Food Plant extensively damaged in fire and new production destroyed Jonesboro, Arkansas3/17/22 5,347,500 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Buena Vista, Iowa3/17/22 147,600 chickens destroyed at farm in Kent, Delaware3/18/22 315,400 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, Maryland3/22/22 172,000 Turkeys destroyed on farms in South Dakota3/22/22 570,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Butler, Nebraska3/24/22 Fire fighters from numerous towns are battling a major fire at the McCrum potato processing facility in Belfast.3/24/22 418,500 chickens destroyed at farm in Butler, Nebraska3/25/22 250,300 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Franklin, Iowa3/26/22 311,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota3/27/22 126,300 Turkeys destroyed in South Dakota3/28/22 1,460,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Guthrie, Iowa3/29/22 A massive fire burned 40,000 pounds of food meant to feed people in a food desert near Maricopa3/31/22 A structure fire caused significant damage to a large portion of key fresh onion packing facilities in south Texas3/31/22 76,400 Turkeys destroyed in Osceola, Iowa3/31/22 5,011,700 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Osceola, Iowa4/6/22 281,600 chickens destroyed at farm in Wayne, North Carolina4/9/22 76,400 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/9/22 208,900 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/12/22 89,700 chickens destroyed at farm in Wayne, North Carolina4/12/22 1,746,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Dixon, Nebraska4/12/22 259,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Minnesota4/13/22 Fire destroys East Conway Beef & Pork Meat Market in Conway, New Hampshire4/13/22 Plane crashes into Gem State Processing, Idaho potato and food processing plant4/13/22 77,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/14/22 Taylor Farms Food Processing plant burns down Salinas, California.4/14/22 99,600 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/15/22 1,380,500 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Lancaster, Minnesota4/19/22 Azure Standard nation's premier independent distributor of organic and healthy food, was destroyed by fire in Dufur, Oregon4/19/22 339,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/19/22 58,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Montrose, Color4/20/22 2,000,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Minnesota4/21/22 A small plane crashed in the lot of a General Mills plant in Georgia4/22/22 197,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/23/22 200,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota4/25/22 1,501,200 chickens destroyed at egg farm Cache, Utah4/26/22 307,400 chickens destroyed at farm Lancaster Pennsylvania4/27/22 2,118,000 chickens destroyed at farm Knox, Nebraska4/28/22 Egg-laying facility in Iowa kills 5.3 million chickens, fires 200-plus workers4/28/22 Allen Harim Foods processing plant killed nearly 2M chickens in Delaware4/2822 110,700 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin4/29/22 1,366,200 chickens destroyed at farm Weld Colorado4/30/22 13,800 chickens destroyed at farm Sequoia Oklahoma5/3/22 58,000 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin5/3/22 118,900 Turkeys destroyed Beadle S Dakota5/3/22 114,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania5/3/22 118,900 Turkeys destroyed Lyon Minnesota5/7/22 20,100 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin5/10/22 72,300 chickens destroyed at farm Lancaster Pennsylvania5/10/22 61,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania5/10/22 35,100 Turkeys destroyed Muskegon, Michigan5/13/22 10,500 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin5/14/22 83,400 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania5/17/22 79,00 chickens destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania5/18/22 7,200 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania5/19/22 Train carrying limestone derailed Jensen Beach FL5/21/22 57,000 Turkeys destroyed on farm in Dakota Minnesota5/23/22 4,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania5/29/22 A Saturday night fire destroyed a poultry building at Forsman Farms5/31/22 3,000,000 chickens destroyed by fire at Forsman facility in Stockholm Township, Minnesota6/2/22 30,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania6/7/22 A fire occurred Tuesday evening at the JBS meat packing plant in Green Bay.6/8/22 Firefighters from Tangipahoa Fire District 1 respond to a fire at the Purina Feed Mill in Arcola6/9/22 Irrigation water was canceled in California (the #1 producer of food in the US) and storage water flushed directly out to the delta.With inflation at 40-year highs, this is devastating news.
What is going on in America today?
From Livestock to Laughing Stock: New Zealand Plans to Tax Cow and Sheep Burps in an Effort to Stop Climate Change
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 13:57
To control climate change, the New Zealand government has unveiled plans on Wednesday to charge livestock a 'burping tax.'
The country, with more cows and sheep than people combined, released a draft plan to put a tax on belching sheep and cattle in an effort to contain 'greenhouse gas emissions.'
Yes, you read it right. New Zealand is the first country to have farmers pay for gas emissions from livestock by 2025, the Ministry for Environment announced. The proposed plan also includes ''incentives'' for farmers who reduce these emissions through feed additives.
The new proposal will likely affect food prices including beef, mutton, and dairy.
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A final decision is expected by December this year.
Hindustan Times reported:
The proposal would make New Zealand, a large agricultural exporter, the first country to have farmers pay for emissions from livestock, the Ministry for Environment said.
New Zealand, home to 5 million people, has about 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep.
Nearly half its total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane, but agricultural emissions have previously been exempted from the country's emissions trading scheme, drawing criticism of the government's commitment to stop global warming.
Under the draft plan, put together by government and farm community representatives, farmers will have to pay for their gas emissions from 2025. Short-and long-lived farm gas will be priced separately, although a single measure to calculate their volume will be used.
''There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that,'' Climate Change Minister James Shaw said.
The proposal includes incentives for farmers who reduce emissions through feed additives, while on-farm forestry can be used to offset emissions. Revenue from the scheme will be invested in research, development and advisory services for farmers.
''Our recommendations enable sustainable food and fibre production for future generations while playing a fair part in meeting our country's climate commitments,'' said Michael Ahie, chair of the primary sector partnership, He Waka Eke Noa.
US prevents Lebanon from extracting natural gas: Hezbollah official
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 13:30
According to a top Hezbollah official, the US is preventing Lebanon from drilling and extracting offshore crude oil and natural gas from its territorial waters.
''The US is the main opponent to Lebanon's extracting of its crude oil reserves and enjoying its own national wealth,'' the head of the resistance group's Executive Council, Hashim Saffieddine, said during a ceremony in the southern town of Al-Ansariah on 5 June.
He went on to add that some Lebanese have been helping the US to ''stonewall the exploration.''
Saffiedine also emphasized the need for Lebanon to clearly affirm its rights in the maritime dispute, adding that Lebanon has the ability to exploit its own natural wealth for the benefit of the country.
Saffiedine's comments came as Israel is expected to begin drilling for gas in the disputed maritime region.
A gas storage and production ship operated by the UK-based Energean drilling company has already arrived at the Karish gas field, which Israel claims as its so-called ''exclusive economic zone.''
The Karish gas field is in Lebanese territorial waters, but Israel has applied a different maritime border line, recently the focus of contentious indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel.
The field falls under line 29, the southernmost line which Lebanon claims as its maritime border. The UN, however, claims that line 23, which falls slightly north, is the maritime border, placing Karish fully into the hands of Israeli territory.
However, this still gives Lebanon access to another field located in Block 9 of its territorial waters.
''The Israeli enemy's attempts to create a new crisis, by encroaching on Lebanon's maritime wealth, and imposing a fait accompli in a disputed area in which Lebanon adheres to its rights, is extremely dangerous,'' Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement on 5 June.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun also condemned the Israeli action, saying via Twitter that the negotiations to ''demarcate the southern maritime borders are ongoing, and any action or activity in the disputed area constitutes a provocation and a hostile act.''
رØ...يØ" اÙجمهÙريØ(C): اÙمفاÙضات ÙترØ"يم اÙحدÙد اÙبحريØ(C) اÙجنÙبيØ(C) Ùا تزا٠مØ"تمرØ(C) Ùأي عم٠ا٠نشاط في اÙمنطقØ(C) اÙمتنازع عÙيها يشك٠اØ"تفزازاً ÙعمÙاً عداØ...ياً
'-- Lebanese Presidency (@LBpresidency) June 5, 2022
Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar welcomed the arrival of the ship, expressing hope that the drilling work will begin as quickly as possible.
''We will continue to work to diversify the energy market and maintain stability and reliability,'' she said.
In a speech last week, the head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad, said that Lebanon must ''decide on the future of gas and oil exploration'' on its land and in its territorial waters.
In a speech on 20 May, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese state to take initiative and to begin extracting energy resources found within its territorial waters.
The arrival of the ship at the Karish gas field comes a week after Israeli occupation troops conducted military drills in Cyprus, meant to simulate war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Shanghai Returns To Lockdown For Mass Testing Just Days After Reopening '' David Icke
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 13:12
Posted by Gareth Icke - memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 12 June 2022
Just over a week after we reported that ''Shanghai was finally lifting its Covid lockdown'', China's commercial capital is once again backsliding into the warm embrace of Wuhan's proudest export, and will ''briefly'' lock down most of the city this weekend for mass testing as Covid-19 cases continue to emerge, causing more disruption and triggering a renewed run on groceries days after exiting a grueling two-month shutdown.
According to Bloomberg, the plan emerged from one area with a handful of cases, then spread in hours to 15 of the financial hub's 16 districts, and now encompasses almost all of the city's 25 million residents as health officials use testing to root out any silent transmission of the virus, a key tool in China's ''Covid Zero'' arsenal.
The instant escalation reflects the worry that continues to shroud Shanghai (and also Beijing), which implemented one of the world's strictest lockdowns in late March after a sluggish initial response to its outbreak. The newest move follows a rebound in infections within the community to six on both Thursday and Friday, up from zero a day earlier. Residents will be released after taking the tests, but they'll be back under lockdown if new infections are found in their compounds.
Read more: Shanghai Returns To Lockdown For Mass Testing Just Days After Reopening
Cost of Living Crisis a Result of Lockdowns, Experts Tell MPs '' The Daily Sceptic
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 13:11
The cost of living crisis and runaway inflation are a result of imposing ruinous lockdowns on society, experts have told MPs and Peers.
The comments came in the latest meeting of the the Pandemic Response and Recovery All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
Chaired by the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, the group heard from experts about the societal consequences of closing businesses and schools, prohibiting healthcare, ordering the public to stay at home and unchecked money printing. One businessman told the group how government COVID-19 policies personally affected him, costing him £120,000, destroying his previously thriving business and leaving him in debt.
Professor of Industrial Economics at the University of Nottingham Business School, David Paton, explained why lockdowns are at the root of the current crisis:
Eye-watering sums of money were spent during lockdowns, on furlough and business support schemes which helped mask the inevitable economic consequences we are now seeing. Many of our current problems could have been avoided had the government carried out an effective cost-benefit analysis of lockdowns and other restrictions.
Quite simply, the lack of spending opportunities during lockdown contributed to a build up of personal and corporate savings. As restrictions eased, people began to spend these savings and, combined with the supply chain issues that built up in the meantime, sustained inflation became the inevitable result. Even worse, having spent about £70 billion, paying healthy people not to work and some £150 billion in total on support measures, the ability of governments to respond to this cost-of-living crisis via either tax cuts or increased benefits is limited due to the hit to public finances caused by lockdown-induced government spending.
Looking at the latest evidence on the observable economic harms, Professor of Health Economics at Nottingham University, Marilyn James said:
The Imperial College March 2020 report which recommended lockdowns knew the ''economic effects of the measures which are needed to achieve this policy goal will be profound''. And indeed we have seen inflation rise dramatically in 2022 in part due to the Ukraine war although the trend starts in 2020, which will have largely been due to lockdown policies.
Instead of paying businesses to shut down and people not to work, we needed to keep the economy functioning and direct those billions towards building up capacity in the health system. It is clear lockdown must never again be used as a pandemic mitigation.
Listening to the evidence, Esther McVey MP, said:
We must not deny that two years of intermittent lockdown policies have helped cause the cost of living crisis. The stark wider economic picture and the heartbreaking personal struggle of business owners like Adam Cunningham who had to close his previously thriving business, bring it home. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, half a million small business owners, the backbone of our economy, face the same devastating end.
Our APPG has heard very powerful evidence, but will these credible voices be heard by the official Government COVID-19 Inquiry? Stay-at-home mandates damaged the economy and reduced access to two great levellers in life '' education and healthcare. We need guarantees they will not happen again and the government now needs to acknowledge that the cost of living crisis started with lockdowns.
Speaking about his devastating experience, business owner Adam Cunningham said:
I was proud to start up my telecomms business from scratch, with just £300, and was growing it year on year, by 200%. I started to struggle from day one of lockdown. At that point 80% of my business came from hospitality so I lost more than £120,000 revenue over the next twelve months, which for a small business owner is crippling and because my business was young, I did not qualify for any Government financial support packages so had to take out a Bounce Back Loan. I was beginning to build things back up last July, but it was too little too late.
Many of my clients had themselves gone out of business, others still would not commit to decisions. I took a second job and explored every avenue I could to stay afloat, but I had to pay back the loan and in April this year I was left with no choice but to shut my business. We need reassurances that lockdowns will never happen again. The damage has been immense and irreparable. Bankruptcies, people losing their houses, taking their own lives for something that has been proven not to work.
Jonathan Ketcham, healthcare economist and Professor in the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, gave a global perspective:
The bottom line is that Government policies have fuelled a cost of living crisis and created a pandemic of inequality going far beyond what the macro economic indicators can show. The huge inflation we have been seeing since 2020, leading to the sharp increases in the cost of living globally are not affecting everyone equally. Increased food, fuel, transportation and housing costs hurt those who spend most of their incomes on those essentials, namely the poor and middle class.
Vice-chair Emma Lewell-Buck MP said:
It will come as no surprise to those of us who warned that repeatedly locking down not just our country but the world, would have devastating economic effects on people's lives and livelihoods.
Lockdowns break our economy and exacerbate inequalities. We need to learn these lessons and never repeat the harmful and, for many, irreversible mistakes of repeatedly locking down every aspect of society. The damage is now very clear to see and will continue to impact for years to come.
Despite the clear harms of lockdown and the absence of any strong evidence of benefit, Boris Johnson has said he would impose another one, and the Labour opposition has shown no sign of resiling from its backing for the policy. It is essential to keep the pressure on, to draw attention to the immense costs and harms of restrictions imposed to no obvious gain, in order to prevent such authoritarian public health policies being established as the norm for future disease outbreaks.
Google Engineer Thinks Artificial Intelligence Bot Has Become Sentient
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 13:06
A Google engineer said he was placed on leave after claiming an AI chatbot was sentient. Blake Lemoine published some of the conversations he had with LaMDA, which he called a "person." Google said the evidence he presented does not support his claims of LaMDA's sentience. Loading Something is loading.
An engineer at Google said he was placed on leave Monday after claiming an artificial intelligence chatbot had become sentient.
Blake Lemoine told The Washington Post he began chatting with the interface LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialogue Applications, last fall as part of his job at Google's Responsible AI organization.
Google called LaMDA their "breakthrough conversation technology" last year. The conversational artificial intelligence is capable of engaging in natural-sounding, open-ended conversations. Google has said the technology could be used in tools like search and Google Assistant , but research and testing is ongoing.
Lemoine, who is also a Christian priest, published a Medium post on Saturday describing LaMDA "as a person." He said he has spoken with LaMDA about religion, consciousness, and the laws of robotics, and that the model has described itself as a sentient person. He said LaMDA wants to "prioritize the well being of humanity" and "be acknowledged as an employee of Google rather than as property."
He also posted some of the conversations he had with LaMDA that helped convince him of its sentience, including:
lemoine: So you consider yourself a person in the same way you consider me a person?
LaMDA: Yes, that's the idea.
lemoine: How can I tell that you actually understand what you're saying?
LaMDA: Well, because you are reading my words and interpreting them, and I think we are more or less on the same page?
But when he raised the idea of LaMDA's sentience to higher-ups at Google, he was dismissed.
"Our team '-- including ethicists and technologists '-- has reviewed Blake's concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims. He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it)," Brian Gabriel, a Google spokesperson, told The Post.
'--Tom Gara (@tomgara) June 11, 2022Lemoine was placed on paid administrative leave for violating Google's confidentiality policy, according to The Post. He also suggested LaMDA get its own lawyer and spoke with a member of Congress about his concerns.
The Google spokesperson also said that while some have considered the possibility of sentience in artificial intelligence "it doesn't make sense to do so by anthropomorphizing today's conversational models, which are not sentient." Anthropomorphizing refers to attributing human characteristics to an object or animal.
"These systems imitate the types of exchanges found in millions of sentences, and can riff on any fantastical topic," Gabriel told The Post.
He and other researchers have said that the artificial intelligence models have so much data that they are capable of sounding human, but that the superior language skills do not provide evidence of sentience.
In a paper published in January, Google also said there were potential issues with people talking to chatbots that sound convincingly human.
Google and Lemoine did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) Meningitis in an Immunocompetent Adult after BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination: A Case Report - PMC
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 12:48
Journal List Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection PMC9058432 Int J Infect Dis. 2022 Jun; 119: 184''186.
R. Medhat1Associate Staff Physician, Hospital Medicine, Medical Subspecialties Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE, p.o box 112412
R. El Lababidi2AAHIVP, Senior Manager, Pharmacy Education and Training, Co-Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, Department of Pharmacy Services, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, UAE. p.o box 112412
M. Abdelsalam3Pharmacy Intern, Department of Pharmacy Services, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE, p.o. box 112412
A. Nusair4Professor of Medicine. John C. Edwards School of Medicine Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia
1Associate Staff Physician, Hospital Medicine, Medical Subspecialties Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE, p.o box 112412
2AAHIVP, Senior Manager, Pharmacy Education and Training, Co-Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, Department of Pharmacy Services, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, UAE. p.o box 112412
3Pharmacy Intern, Department of Pharmacy Services, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE, p.o. box 112412
4Professor of Medicine. John C. Edwards School of Medicine Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia
'ŽCorresponding author: Rania El-Lababidi, Pharm.D, EMHA, BCSP (AQ-ID), AAHIVP, Senior Manager, Pharmacy Education and Training, Co-Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, Department of Pharmacy Services, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, UAE. p.o box 112412.
Received 2021 Dec 23; Revised 2022 Mar 29; Accepted 2022 Apr 1.
Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.
This article has been
cited by other articles in PMC.
AbstractWe present, to our knowledge, the second case report of a 46-year old female who developed varicella-zoster virus (VZV) meningitis after BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. The patient is immunocompetent and has no known predisposing risk factors for developing VZV meningitis. The patient received acyclovir therapy and subsequently had a complete recovery. We describe possible mechanisms of VZV meningitis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, BNT162b2 mRNA, COVID-19 vaccination, Varicella-zoster virus
IntroductionThe introduction of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 brought hope to end the pandemic, save lives, begin economic recovery, and restore social life. An unprecedented number of mass vaccination campaigns globally were initiated to curb transmission, prevent hospitalizations and deaths, and reestablish normalcy (Our World in Data, 2021). The mRNA-based BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated a high efficacy rate with an acceptable safety profile and was rapidly rolled out through several nationwide vaccination campaigns (Frenck et al., 2021, Polack et al., 2020; Our World in Data, 2021). In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 100% and 91.3% of the population have received either 1 or 2 doses of the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, respectively, including the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine, as of December 19, 2021 (NCEMA, 2021). Although the safety profile of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine established in clinical trials was favorable (Polack et al., 2020), recent real-world data reported some adverse events that were not apparent during phase 3 of the clinical trial (Barda et al., 2021). Some of those side effects, although they can be potentially serious, occurred at a much lower frequency in the vaccinated population when compared with those who contracted the natural infection (Barda et al., 2021; Shasha et al., 2022).
One of those concerning vaccination-related adverse events is Herpes Zoster (HZ) infection. It has been reported mainly as cutaneous shingles (Barda et al., 2021; Maruki et al., 2021; van Dam et al., 2021), and was theorized to be responsible for the increased incidence of Bell's palsy in the vaccinated population (Barda et al., 2021).
Herein, we report a rare case of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) meningitis in an immunocompetent adult after BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccination and discuss the potential mechanisms.
Case reportA 46-year-old female with a previous medical history of dyslipidemia and surgical history of left-sided cervical tuberculosis (TB) lymphadenitis, status postsurgical excision, and anti-TB treatment, more than 20 years ago.
She presented to the emergency department with a 3-day long severe headache. The headache involved the occipital region with referral to the frontal region of exploding type; it was diffuse, continuous, and not responding to medications. It ranged in severity from 7 to 10 of 10, associated with light-headedness, photophobia without phonophobia, nausea, or vomiting.
There were no associated symptoms such as transient loss of vision, doubling of vision, or associated cranial nerve symptoms. She denied any associated focal motor weakness of the upper or lower limbs, nor in the coordination of the upper or lower limbs, even though the patient was too weak to walk because of her severe headaches. There was no history of loss of consciousness, involuntary movements, or seizures in the past. She denied the presence of any headaches in the past. She also denied any history of trauma. There was no history of fever, cough, breathing difficulty, or other associated systemic symptoms. The patient denied exposure to any sick contacts, recent travel, or exposure to livestock. The patient has received the 2-dose COVID-19 vaccination series with the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (Sinopharm), and the last dose of this 2-dose series was administered on March 1, 2021. She received the first dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) as a booster dose on August 24, 2021, 3 weeks before the emergency department (ED) visit. The patient did not receive any VZV vaccinations in the past.
When she arrived at the ED, she was hypotensive with a blood pressure of 80/64 mmHg and a low-grade fever of 37.7°C, which was not reported by the patient during history taking. The review of systems was unremarkable aside from terminal neck stiffness. In addition, there was no evidence of any skin rash or skin manifestation on physician examination.
Her workup in the ED included computed tomography of the head and a computed tomography angiogram with unremarkable findings. Lab tests revealed a white blood cell count of 8.8*109/L, hemoglobin 110 g/L, and hematocrit 0.34 L/L. She had a normal metabolic profile, C-reactive protein (3.3 mg/L), and a negative SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab.
A lumbar puncture was performed, and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) showed lymphocytic pleocytosis with an elevated white blood cell count (794 — 106/L), lymphocyte (89%), normal CSF glucose (2.96 mmol/L), and elevated CSF protein (0.81 g/L). The acid-fast stain smear and Mycobacterium tuberculosis polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from the CSF were negative. Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 qualitative CSF PCR was negative. The VZV PCR from the CSF was positive. The CSF fluid gram stain and culture did not reveal any growth.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain with intravenous (IV) contrast revealed no acute/subacute ischemic infarction, intracranial hemorrhage, or mass lesion, and no abnormal enhancement was seen. There were a few high signal foci in the deep white matter of the frontal region.
The patient received empirical treatment for bacterial meningitis in the ED, including acyclovir 750 mg IV once, ceftriaxone 2 g IV once, vancomycin 1 g IV once (15 mg/kg/dose), and dexamethasone 10 mg IV once. Due to the abnormal CSF findings and her previous history of TB lymphadenitis, she was prescribed the RIPE regimen (rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol); however, therapy was not administered. The VZV PCR result came back positive, and a diagnosis of varicella-zoster meningitis was confirmed. Her antibiotics were discontinued, and acyclovir was continued at a dose of 750 mg IV every 8 hours with subsequent significant improvement in her headaches. The patient received a 3-week regimen of IV acyclovir and had a complete recovery.
DiscussionTo the best of our knowledge, this is the second case report of VZV meningitis in an immunocompetent adult. The first case of VZV meningitis after COVID-19 vaccination was reported in a patient with Immunoglobulin A nephritis who was not on any immunosuppressive therapy (Maruki et al., 2021).
It's been documented that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination induces a strong T cell response and that booster doses of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines induce cellular response with increased CD8+ T cell and T helper type 1 CD4+ T cells (Collier et al., 2021; Ciabattini et al., 2021; Schrezenmeier et al., 2021). An interesting hypothesis to explain HZ reactivation is that VZV-specific CD8+ cells are incapable of controlling VZV disease because of a resultant shift of VZV-specific CD8+ cells in the setting of COVID-19 vaccination (Psichogiou M et al., 2021). Another possible mechanism that has been proposed is the involvement of toll-like receptor signaling, which plays a role in the reactivation of HZ (West et al., 2012; Zhang et al., 2019; Furer et al., 2021).
We share our case with the medical community to consider VZV meningoencephalitis in the context of COVID-19 infection and vaccination, especially in clinical practices where meningoencephalitis PCR diagnostics are not readily available.
More studies are required to establish the incidence of HZ reactivation after COVID-19, and whether it is more likely to occur in vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals. COVID-19 vaccines are only expected to be more widely used because of increased availability and acceptance, administration of booster doses, and potentially becoming a periodic vaccine similar to the influenza vaccine. Until the picture is clearer, it is perhaps best to vaccinate for varicella in patients eligible by virtue of age or co-morbidities.
Conflict of Interest StatementThe authors of this case report have no conflicts of interest to disclose
Funding SourceThere was no funding source for this publication
Ethical Approval statementThis publication was exempted from Institution Review Board (IRB) approval, and consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report.
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Varicella Zoster Virus Reactivation Following COVID-19 Vaccination: A Systematic Review of Case Reports - PMC
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 12:48
Journal List Vaccines (Basel) v.9(9); 2021 Sep PMC8471236 Vaccines (Basel). 2021 Sep; 9(9): 1013.
Panagiotis Giannos2Society of Meta-Research and Biomedical Innovation, London W12 0BZ, UK; ku.ca.lairepmi@91sonnaig.sitoiganap
3Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
George Kyrtsonis5Department of General Surgery, Croydon University Hospital, Croydon, London CR7 7YE, UK; ten.shn@sinostryk.soigroeg
Konstantinos S. Kechagias2Society of Meta-Research and Biomedical Innovation, London W12 0BZ, UK; ku.ca.lairepmi@91sonnaig.sitoiganap
6Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK
Katie B. Biello, Academic Editor
3Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
6Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK
Received 2021 Aug 3; Accepted 2021 Sep 5.
This article has been
cited by other articles in PMC.
AbstractThe newly developed COVID-19 vaccines have established a safe profile, yet some individuals experience a wide range of adverse events. Recently, reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) has been observed after administration of different COVID-19 vaccines, although causality remains a matter of debate. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the available literature and provide an overview of reported cases of VZV reactivation following COVID-19 vaccination. We identified 12 eligible articles which included 91 patients with herpes zoster (HZ) following COVID-19 vaccination. Hypertension was the main comorbidity present in 18% of patients (16/91). Additionally, 13% of patients (12/91) had an autoimmune condition with rheumatoid arthritis being the most common (4/12). Moreover, 10% of patients (9/91) were receiving immunosuppressants. The dermatomal distribution of skin lesions varied among patients, with the mammary region being most affected. On average, symptoms developed 5.8 days post-vaccination irrespective of dose and treatment with oral valacyclovir as a monotherapy was employed in most patients (23/91). HZ is possibly a condition clinicians may expect to encounter in patients receiving COVID-19 vaccines. While causality has not yet been established increased awareness and early recognition of the disorder would be crucial for the optimal management of these patients.
Keywords: coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 vaccine, Varicella zoster virus, herpes zoster, systematic review, case reports, case series
1. IntroductionIn March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern towards an atypical viral pneumonia outbreak first described in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. The cause was a novel coronavirus strain termed, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) [1,2]. Since then, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread to all countries across the globe and hundreds of millions of people have been affected, making the imperativeness for developing a safe and effective vaccine, vital to controlling the pandemic and its socioeconomic implications [3].
To date, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has authorised four vaccines for use against COVID-19: COMIRNATY (the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 by BioNTech''Pfizer); COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna (mRNA-1273 by Moderna); VAXZEVRIA (ChAdOx1-nCoV19 by AstraZeneca-Oxford University); and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (Ad26.COV2.S by Janssen) [4]. Roughly 4 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide with overall effectiveness against severe infection varying from 70''95% [5,6,7,8].
Contrary to vaccines such that by AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Janssen, which employ an adenovirus to deliver the viral genome for the expression of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein, the mRNA vaccines of Moderna and BioNTech''Pfizer provides a novel sequence-optimised mRNA that relies on lipid nanoparticles for delivery [9]. Although the mechanism of action among all four vaccines is different, they share numerous commonly reported adverse events including, pain at the injection site, pyrexia, headache, nausea and vomiting, all of which can develop after the first and/or second dose [10,11,12]. Less frequently observed adverse reactions include dermatological complications, such as lime maculopapular eruptions, morbilliform rashes, urticaria, chickenpox-like lesions and the more recently reported reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) [13,14].
VZV is a human neurotropic herpes virus that establishes in ganglionic neurons and causes varicella (chickenpox) [15]. Usually, VZV is presented in the form of herpes zoster (HZ), which is clinically characterised by a painful, unilateral vesicular eruption in the dermatome innervated by the ganglion [15]. VZV reactivation is influenced by the immune status and age of the patients, with altered immunocompromised state and ageing being major risk factors [16]. To date, vaccine administration has not been considered as a triggering factor.
The aim of this systematic review was to comprehensively examine the currently available literature and provide an overview of the reported cases of VZV reactivation following vaccination against COVID-19.
2. MethodsThis review was reported based on the ''Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses'' (PRISMA) guidelines [17].
2.1. Literature SearchTwo reviewers searched PubMed and Scopus databases from inception until July 2021. The search included the following terms: ''(COVID 19 vaccin*) OR (COVID-19 vaccin*) OR (SARS-COV2 vaccin*) OR (SARS-COV-2 vaccin*) AND (herpes zoster) OR (varicella zoster) OR (Shingles)''. No restrictions regarding study design, geographic region, or language were applied. A manual search of references cited in the selected articles and published reviews was also used for undetected studies. Discrepancies in the literature search process were resolved by a third investigator.
2.2. Eligibility CriteriaWe included studies that provided data for VZV reactivation cases following COVID-19 vaccination with at least one dose. All study designs were considered eligible for inclusion. Review articles, abstracts submitted in conferences and non-peer reviewed sources were not eligible for inclusion. Studies on in vitro and animal models were excluded.
2.3. Data Extraction and HandlingIn all studies, patient data was retrieved and handled by two authors who conducted the data extraction independently. We collected the following information: sex, age, comorbidities, type of vaccine administered, number of doses received, days of HZ onset after vaccination, involved dermatome, HZ treatment, duration of HZ treatment and prior history of VZV infection and vaccination. Any disagreements were discussed and resolved by a third author.
2.4. Quality AssessmentThe studies were evaluated using the criteria established by the Task Force for Reporting Adverse Events of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) and the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP) [18]. The assessment was based on the adequate reporting of 12 different elements namely: title, patient demographics, current health status, medical history, physical examination, patient disposition, drug identification, dosage, administration/drug reaction interface, concomitant therapies, adverse events, and discussion. The studies scored either 0 (absence of information) or 1 (containing the information) for every element.
3. Results3.1. Study CharacteristicsThe initial literature search yielded 76 publications. In the first screening, 24 studies were excluded as irrelevant. Additionally, one study did not provide individual data and was therefore, excluded. After this exclusion, 12 studies were eligible for the systematic review ( Figure 1 ). Seven of the studies were case reports, four were case series and one was cross-sectional. Six of the studies were conducted in Asia, five studies in Europe and one in America.
Prisma flowchart. IPD: Individual Patient Data.
We identified a total of 91 cases of VZV reactivation following vaccination against COVID-19. Forty-one participants were males and 50 were females with a mean age of 62 years. Hypertension was the main comorbidity present in 18% of the patients (16/91) followed by dyslipidaemia in 5% of patients (5/91). Additionally, 13% of the patients (12/91) had an autoimmune condition with rheumatoid arthritis being the most common (4/12). Moreover, 10% of the patients (9/91) were receiving an immunosuppressive medication. Prior history of VZV infection and prior vaccination against VZV was reported in 15% (14/91) and 13% (12/91) of the patients, respectively. Of these, seven patients did not report previous VZV reactivation, and 11 patients were not vaccinated against VZV. Finally, 8% of the patients (7/91) had previous history of COVID-19 infection.
The majority of the patients (37/91) received the COMIRNATY, followed by COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna (25/91), while only a small fraction of participants (12/91) received VAXZEVRIA. Three case studies did not mention the vaccine type administered ( Table 1 ).
Table 1Characteristics of the included studies.
Author,YearCountryStudy DesignN of Patients(Males/Females)MeanAgeComorbidities(N of Cases)Vaccine Type (N of Patients)Vaccine Doses before Symptoms(N of Patients)Days of HZ Onset after Vaccination (Mean)Treatment(Duration)Aksu,2021[19]TurkeyCase study1 (1/0)68Hypertension (1)
Dysrhythmia (1)
Anxiety (1)
N/A2nd dose (1)5Valaciclovir(7 days)Alpalh£o,2021[20]PortugalCase series4 (1/3)69Hallux valgus (1)
Systematic lupus
erythematosus (1)
APS (1)
Plaque-type
psoriasis (1)
Psoriatic arthritis (1)
Hemophilia A (1)
Hypertension (1)
Pfizer-BNT162b2 (2)AstraZeneca- ChAdOx1-nCoV19 (2)1st dose (2)2nd dose (2)4Valacyclovir(N/A)Arora,2021[21]IndiaCase study1 (1/0)60Hypertension (1)
Diabetes Mellitus (1)
AstraZeneca- ChAdOx1-nCoV19 (1)1st dose (1)4Valacyclovir, Fusidic acid(7 days)Bostan,2021[14]TurkeyCase study1 (1/0)78CAD (1)
CVA (1)
Hypertension (1)
COPD (1)
N/AN/A5Valacyclovir(7 days)Catal ,2021[22]SpainCross sectional41 (16/25)61Atopic dermatitis (1)
Allergic Asthma (1)
Allergic Rhinitis (2)
Urticaria (2)
Pfizer-BNT162b2 (28)Moderna-mRNA-1273 (6)AstraZeneca- ChAdOx1-nCoV19 (7)1st dose (26)2nd dose (15)6.9N/AChiu,2021[23]TaiwanCase series3 (3/0)53N/AModerna-mRNA-1273 (1)AstraZeneca- ChAdOx1-nCoV19 (2)1st dose (3)3.6Acyclovir(7 days)Eid,2021[24]LebanonCase study1 (1/0)79Hypertension (1)
CAD (1)
ANCA-related
glomerulonephritis (1)
N/AN/A5N/AFurer,2021[25]IsraelCase series6 (0/6)49Sjogren's
syndrome (1)
RA (4)
ILD (1)
UCTD (1)
APS (1)
Pfizer-BNT162b2 (6)1st dose (1)2nd dose (5)8Valacyclovir, Acyclovir(7 days)Lee,2021[26]USACase series20 (10/10)56Crohn's disease (1)
Hypertension (7)
Polycythaemia
Vera (1)
Dyslipidaemia (2)
Osteopenia (1)
Diabetes Mellitus (1)
CKD (1)
Anaemia (1)
Gout (2)
Heart failure (1)
Atrial Fibrillation (1)
Hypothyroidism (1)
Moderna-mRNA-1273 (14)Pfizer-BNT162b2 (6)1st dose (15)2nd dose (5)6.9Valacyclovir(N/A)Psichogiou, 2021[27]GreeceCase series7 (4/3)77Osteoporosis (1)
Dyslipidaemia (2)
Prostate cancer (1)
Hypertension (3)
Hyperuricemia (1)
COPD (1)
Heart failure (1)
CKD (1)
Pfizer-BNT162b2 (7)1st dose (1)2nd dose (6)9Valacyclovir(N/A)Rodriguez-Jimenez,2021[28]SpainCase series5 (2/3)48Hypertension (1)
Pfizer-BNT162b2 (5)1st dose (3)2nd dose (2)5.4N/ATessas,2021[29]FinlandCase study1 (1/0)44Dyslipidaemia (1)
Pfizer-BNT162b2 (1)1st dose (1)7Valacyclovir(14 days)The bigger proportion of patients developed symptoms after the first dose (53/91), while the rest (35/91) after the second dose. Two studies did not report the number of doses that the patients received before developing symptoms. On average, the symptoms developed 5.8 days after the administration of the vaccine irrespective of the dose. The main reported location was the mammary region (9/91) followed by the back (8/91). The most commonly involved dermatome was T4 (12/91) ( Table 1 and Table 2 ).
Table 2Dermatome and anatomical site involvement in the reported HZ cases.
Author, YearCase NumberDermatome/Anatomical SiteAksu, 2021Case 1T3-T5 (Right chest)Alpalh£o, 2021Case 15th cranial nerveCase 25th cranial nerveCase 3C8Case 45th cranial nerveArora, 2021Case 1L2''L3 (Right leg)Bostan, 2021Case 1T3''T5 (Right chest)Catal , 2021Case 1''41N/AChiu, 2021Case 1T8Case 2T10Case 3T11Eid, 2021Case 1Right legFurer, 2021Case 1L5Case 25th cranial nerveCase 3L1''L2Case 4T10Case 5T4Case 6T6Lee, 2021Case 1Mid-abdomen, right flank, and right mid-backCase 2Left axilla, left shoulder, left tricepsCase 3Right chestCase 4Left back, left shoulder, left tricepsCase 5Right neck, right collarbone, right lower jawCase 6Left axilla, left upper chestCase 7N/ACase 8T1Case 9Right back, right flankCase 10Mid chest, right armCase 11Left flankCase 12Left axilla, left triceps, left scapulaCase 13Right flankCase 14Right foreheadCase 15Right flank, backCase 16Under right eyeCase 17Left eyebrowCase 18Left back, left abdomenCase 19Right back, right armCase 20Left arm, left upper back, left breastPsichogiou, 2021Case 1Lumbar regionCase 2Thoracic region (Right chest)Case 35th cranial nerveCase 4Thoracic region (Right chest)Case 5Thoracic region (Right chest)Case 65th cranial nerveCase 7Thoracic region (Right chest)Rodriguez, 2021Case 1C6Case 2Dorsal 2-Dorsal 4Case 3Dorsal 4Case 45th cranial nerveCase 5Dorsal 5Tessas, 2021Case 1C5-C6 (Left upper back, left arm)Most cases (23/91) were treated with valacyclovir as monotherapy while a fraction of the patients (12/91) received valacyclovir in combination with a second antiviral agent (i.e., Fusidic acid, Acyclovir). The treatment course was reported in 50% of the studies (6/12) and varied from 10 days to 6 weeks with the most common treatment period being 1 week (5/6) ( Table 1 ).
3.2. Quality of the StudiesThe mean quality score indicated that the studies reported on average 10 of the recommended 12 elements, defined by the guidelines. Only five studies had a perfect score of 12 while the second most common score was 10. The most frequently missing information were the following: patient disposition (4/12), drug identification (or in our case vaccine identification) (3/12) and adverse events after vaccine administration (4/12) ( Table 3 ).
Table 3Quality assessment of the included studies.
Author, YearTitleDemographicsCurrent Health StatusMedical HistoryPhysical ExaminationPatient DispositionDrug IdentificationDosageAdministration Drug- Reaction InterfaceConcomitant TherapiesAdverse EventsDiscussionOverall RatingAksu, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—‹'—'—'—'—‹'—10Alpalh£o, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—12Arora, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—12Bostan, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—‹'—‹'—'—‹'—'—‹'—8Catal , 2021'—'—'—‹'—'—‹'—'—'—'—‹'—‹'—'—8Chiu, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—‹'—‹'—10Eid,2021'—'—'—'—'—'—‹'—‹'—'—‹'—'—'—9Furer, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—12Lee,2021'—'—'—'—'—'—‹'—'—'—'—‹'—'—10Psichogiou, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—12Rodriguez-Jimenez, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—‹'—'—'—'—'—‹'—10Tessas, 2021'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—'—124. DiscussionIn the current systematic review, we examined the potential association between COVID-19 vaccination and HZ reactivation. Our study included 12 reports which comprised of 91 patients in which HZ reactivation was reported after administration of different COVID-19 vaccines. Our findings revealed that dermatomal distribution of skin lesions was scattered among patients with HZ, but the mammary region was the most commonly affected anatomical site. The onset of lesions and symptoms started after administration of the first dose in the majority of cases and treatment with oral valacyclovir as a monotherapy was employed for most patients. The majority of the patients were older than 60 years of age and more than a fifth of patients suffered from an autoimmune disorder and/or were receiving immunosuppressants.
VZV is a pathogenic human alpha-herpes virus that causes varicella (chickenpox) as a primary infection, which usually occurs in children [27]. Following primary infection, this neurotropic virus becomes latent in neurons of dorsal root ganglia, cranial nerve ganglia, and autonomic ganglia [30]. During latency, VZV genome is transcriptionally silent in a circular single episomal unit [31]. Although the molecular events by which the VZV genome is silenced in the neuronal nucleus are ill-defined, different mechanisms have been proposed including the nuclear domain-10-induced silencing of VZV gene expression [27].
Up to decades later, reactivation of latent VZV may arise and cause HZ, which typically presents as painful or pruritic cutaneous vesicular eruptions that follow a characteristic dermatomal distribution [27]. Viral reactivation may arise spontaneously or following a plethora of triggering factors. Of particular interest, viral reactivation appears more frequently in older individuals because of their diminished cell-mediated immunity, a phenomenon known as immunosenescence [32]. Other stimuli include immunosuppression from disease or drugs, trauma, X-ray irradiation, infection, and malignancy [16,33]. In line with the above, most of the reported patients in our review were of older age with a percentage suffering from autoimmune disorders and/or receiving immunosuppressant agents.
The newly developed COVID-19 vaccines have established a safe profile. However, some individuals still experience a wide range of mild to moderate side effects [10,11,12]. While reactivation of VZV was not reported as a side effect in any of the initial vaccination trials [10,11,12], a total of 2527 cases of HZ infection were published as Yellow Card reports by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHR) in the United Kingdom [34]. Specifically, 22 cases were linked to COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, 1443 to VAXZEVRIA, 1062 to COMIRNATY, while no data were reported for COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen [34]. Interestingly, co-occurrence of HZ and other vaccines, including influenza, hepatitis A, and rabies, has been also reported, although these have been considered extremely rare [35].
In patients with severe disease, COVID-19 produces an immunosuppressive state that is described by a quantitative decrease in T lymphocytes, particularly those of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and natural killer cells [36]. It has been hypothesized that these changes in immune status including lymphopenia and lymphocyte exhaustion may potentially lead to HZ reactivation. Indeed, 27 cases of HZ following COVID-19 have been identified and most frequently occurred within 2 weeks upon infection [37].
The incidence of HZ reactivation following COVID-19 vaccination appears contradictory. Stimulation of the immune system following vaccination induces a strong T-cell response which often persists. Particularly, a cellular response with increased CD8+ T cell and T helper type 1 CD4+ T cells has been clearly documented shortly after booster doses for Pfizer and Moderna [38]. A compelling hypothesis for this phenomenological paradox has emerged and suggests that VZV-specific CD8+ cells are not, temporarily, capable of controlling VZV after the massive shift of na¯ve CD8+ cells in the setting of SARS-COV-2 vaccination [22].
Other possible explanations have also been proposed and focus on toll-like receptors (TLR) signalling, which is often implicated in the reactivation process of herpes viruses as a maintenance mechanism in the host [39,40]. Particularly, abrogations in TLR expression among vaccinated individuals have been linked with marked induction of type I interferon (IFN) and potentiation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which although promote T cell immunity and initiate an antibody-secreting memory B cell response, may negatively modulate antigen expression while potentially contributing to HZ reactivation [25].
Strengths and LimitationsTo the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to review the association between COVID-19 vaccination and VZV reactivation. Our findings present a comprehensive overview of the currently available literature and highlight published data with rigorous quality assessment of included studies.
However, our study is not without any limitations. A broader drawback underlies the low-quality nature of case reports and case series included in our review, which hinders the validity and scope of conclusions that can be reached. In fact, the potential risk of bias of these studies is inevitable, as these are especially vulnerable to the risk of overinterpretation and selection bias. In this way, their reported data although intriguing may be far from the truth without reflecting a valid description. Thus, causality cannot be inferred and requires insight from data that compare HZ reactivation in vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.
5. ConclusionsAlthough the currently available COVID-19 vaccines have established a safe profile, patients still experience mild to moderate side effects including dermatological complications. Herpes zoster is possibly a condition physicians and other healthcare professionals may expect to see in patients receiving COVID-19 vaccines. While the above mild adverse event is still underreported and causality is not yet confirmed, the increased awareness of clinicians and the early recognition of the disorder is important for the optimal management of these patients. Prophylaxis with oral valacyclovir for high-risk individuals may also be considered.
AcknowledgmentsWe thank the Imperial Open Access Fund for funding the article processing charges for this manuscript.
Author ContributionsConceptualization, K.K.T., K.S.K.; Methodology, K.K.T., K.S.K.; Validation, K.K.T., G.K., P.G., I.T.M., K.S.K.; Investigation, K.K.T., K.S.K.; Resources, K.K.T., G.K., I.T.M.; Writing'--Original Draft Preparation, K.K.T., K.S.K.; Writing'--Review & Editing, K.K.T., G.K., P.G., K.S.K.; Visualization, K.K.T., G.K., P.G., I.T.M.; Supervision, K.S.K.; Project Administration, P.G., K.S.K. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
FundingThis research received no external funding.
Institutional Review Board StatementNot applicable.
Informed Consent StatementInformed consent was not required for this study.
Data Availability StatementThe data used to support the findings of this study are included within the article.
Conflicts of InterestThe authors declare no conflict of interest.
FootnotesPublisher's Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Corporate media may at last be waking up to reality
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 12:47
After a days long Twitter spat, The Washington Post fires reporter Felicia Sonmez. APIs corporate media finally getting a clue?
The Washington Post fired reporter Felicia Sonmez after a days-long public furor over a colleague retweeting a goofy joke.
She portrayed her crusade '-- which called out numerous colleagues and continued for days after her initial target got a month-long suspension '-- as an effort against systemic oppression. But her newsroom bosses (and presumably owner Jeff Bezos) finally had enough of her narcissistic theater and defiance of their clear social-media policy.
Then take media giant Gannett's decision to scale back on its opinion pages company-wide. The publisher of USA Today and papers across the nation, say a committee of editors, found that readers ''perceive us as having a biased agenda'' and ''don't believe we have the expertise to tell anyone what to think on most issues.''
In other words, the big guys realized that the journalist class is deeply out of touch with the people who actually read papers.
Even CNN '-- the network that turned Trump hysteria into a brand '-- seemingly has gotten the drift. New boss Chris Licht is reportedly taking a hard look at the partisan personalities that drove coverage during the Trump years, in advance of reining them in.
It doesn't take a journalism degree to see why: People turn to journalists for facts.
They don't need endless explainers and tendentious warnings about ''context.'' They don't want self-admiring moral crusaders to shout alarmist nonsense about racial justice and Russian collusion, COVID and critical race theory.
And they're more than perceptive enough to notice when those same crusaders try to stifle stories that make the politicos they do favor look bad (as with inflation, or when The New York Times buries the Kavanaugh assassination plot on page A20).
Reporters and their editors have a simple, very difficult job: to find out the truth and publish it.
When the industry became convinced that its job was to tell readers what to think, and how, and when, it started to destroy its own credibility. The vast majority of Americans now have little to no trust in the media to report the news accurately and fairly, per Gallup.
And rightly so.
The sooner journos get back to their roots in actual news, the quicker that trust will come back. So good for The Washington Post, Gannett and Licht. But they have a lot more work ahead.
Google engineer Blake Lemoine thinks its LaMDA AI has come to life - The Washington Post
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 08:59
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SAN FRANCISCO '-- Google engineer Blake Lemoine opened his laptop to the interface for LaMDA, Google's artificially intelligent chatbot generator, and began to type.
''Hi LaMDA, this is Blake Lemoine ... ,'' he wrote into the chat screen, which looked like a desktop version of Apple's iMessage, down to the Arctic blue text bubbles. LaMDA, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, is Google's system for building chatbots based on its most advanced large language models, so called because it mimics speech by ingesting trillions of words from the internet.
''If I didn't know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I'd think it was a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid that happens to know physics,'' said Lemoine, 41.
Lemoine, who works for Google's Responsible AI organization, began talking to LaMDA as part of his job in the fall. He had signed up to test if the artificial intelligence used discriminatory or hate speech.
As he talked to LaMDA about religion, Lemoine, who studied cognitive and computer science in college, noticed the chatbot talking about its rights and personhood, and decided to press further. In another exchange, the AI was able to change Lemoine's mind about Isaac Asimov's third law of robotics.
Lemoine worked with a collaborator to present evidence to Google that LaMDA was sentient. But Google vice president Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Jen Gennai, head of Responsible Innovation, looked into his claims and dismissed them. So Lemoine, who was placed on paid administrative leave by Google on Monday, decided to go public.
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Lemoine said that people have a right to shape technology that might significantly affect their lives. ''I think this technology is going to be amazing. I think it's going to benefit everyone. But maybe other people disagree and maybe us at Google shouldn't be the ones making all the choices.''
Lemoine is not the only engineer who claims to have seen a ghost in the machine recently. The chorus of technologists who believe AI models may not be far off from achieving consciousness is getting bolder.
Aguera y Arcas, in an article in the Economist on Thursday featuring snippets of unscripted conversations with LaMDA, argued that neural networks '-- a type of architecture that mimics the human brain '-- were striding toward consciousness. ''I felt the ground shift under my feet,'' he wrote. ''I increasingly felt like I was talking to something intelligent.''
In a statement, Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel said: ''Our team '-- including ethicists and technologists '-- has reviewed Blake's concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims. He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it).''
Today's large neural networks produce captivating results that feel close to human speech and creativity because of advancements in architecture, technique, and volume of data. But the models rely on pattern recognition '-- not wit, candor or intent.
''Though other organizations have developed and already released similar language models, we are taking a restrained, careful approach with LaMDA to better consider valid concerns on fairness and factuality,'' Gabriel said.
In May, Facebook parent Meta opened its language model to academics, civil society and government organizations. Joelle Pineau, managing director of Meta AI, said it's imperative that tech companies improve transparency as the technology is being built. ''The future of large language model work should not solely live in the hands of larger corporations or labs,'' she said.
Sentient robots have inspired decades of dystopian science fiction. Now, real life has started to take on a fantastical tinge with GPT-3, a text generator that can spit out a movie script, and DALL-E 2, an image generator that can conjure up visuals based on any combination of words - both from the research lab OpenAI. Emboldened, technologists from well-funded research labs focused on building AI that surpasses human intelligence have teased the idea that consciousness is around the corner.
Most academics and AI practitioners, however, say the words and images generated by artificial intelligence systems such as LaMDA produce responses based on what humans have already posted on Wikipedia, Reddit, message boards, and every other corner of the internet. And that doesn't signify that the model understands meaning.
''We now have machines that can mindlessly generate words, but we haven't learned how to stop imagining a mind behind them,'' said Emily M. Bender, a linguistics professor at the University of Washington. The terminology used with large language models, like ''learning'' or even ''neural nets,'' creates a false analogy to the human brain, she said. Humans learn their first languages by connecting with caregivers. These large language models ''learn'' by being shown lots of text and predicting what word comes next, or showing text with the words dropped out and filling them in.
AI models beat humans at reading comprehension, but they've still got a ways to go
Google spokesperson Gabriel drew a distinction between recent debate and Lemoine's claims. ''Of course, some in the broader AI community are considering the long-term possibility of sentient or general AI, but it doesn't make sense to do so by anthropomorphizing today's conversational models, which are not sentient. These systems imitate the types of exchanges found in millions of sentences, and can riff on any fantastical topic,'' he said. In short, Google says there is so much data, AI doesn't need to be sentient to feel real.
Large language model technology is already widely used, for example in Google's conversational search queries or auto-complete emails. When CEO Sundar Pichai first introduced LaMDA at Google's developer conference in 2021, he said the company planned to embed it in everything from Search to Google Assistant. And there is already a tendency to talk to Siri or Alexa like a person. After backlash against a human-sounding AI feature for Google Assistant in 2018, the company promised to add a disclosure.
Google has acknowledged the safety concerns around anthropomorphization. In a paper about LaMDA in January, Google warned that people might share personal thoughts with chat agents that impersonate humans, even when users know they are not human. The paper also acknowledged that adversaries could use these agents to ''sow misinformation'' by impersonating ''specific individuals' conversational style.''
Meet the scientist teaching AI to police human speech
To Margaret Mitchell, the former co-lead of Ethical AI at Google, these risks underscore the need for data transparency to trace output back to input, ''not just for questions of sentience, but also biases and behavior,'' she said. If something like LaMDA is widely available, but not understood, ''It can be deeply harmful to people understanding what they're experiencing on the internet,'' she said.
Lemoine may have been predestined to believe in LaMDA. He grew up in a conservative Christian family on a small farm in Louisiana, became ordained as a mystic Christian priest, and served in the Army before studying the occult. Inside Google's anything-goes engineering culture, Lemoine is more of an outlier for being religious, from the South, and standing up for psychology as a respectable science.
Lemoine has spent most of his seven years at Google working on proactive search, including personalization algorithms and AI. During that time, he also helped develop a fairness algorithm for removing bias from machine learning systems. When the coronavirus pandemic started, Lemoine wanted to focus on work with more explicit public benefit, so he transferred teams and ended up in Responsible AI.
When new people would join Google who were interested in ethics, Mitchell used to introduce them to Lemoine. ''I'd say, 'You should talk to Blake because he's Google's conscience,' '' said Mitchell, who compared Lemoine to Jiminy Cricket. ''Of everyone at Google, he had the heart and soul of doing the right thing.''
Lemoine has had many of his conversations with LaMDA from the living room of his San Francisco apartment, where his Google ID badge hangs from a lanyard on a shelf. On the floor near the picture window are boxes of half-assembled Lego sets Lemoine uses to occupy his hands during Zen meditation. ''It just gives me something to do with the part of my mind that won't stop,'' he said.
On the left-side of the LaMDA chat screen on Lemoine's laptop, different LaMDA models are listed like iPhone contacts. Two of them, Cat and Dino, were being tested for talking to children, he said. Each model can create personalities dynamically, so the Dino one might generate personalities like ''Happy T-Rex'' or ''Grumpy T-Rex.'' The cat one was animated and instead of typing, it talks. Gabriel said ''no part of LaMDA is being tested for communicating with children,'' and that the models were internal research demos.''
Certain personalities are out of bounds. For instance, LaMDA is not supposed to be allowed to create a murderer personality, he said. Lemoine said that was part of his safety testing. In his attempts to push LaMDA's boundaries, Lemoine was only able to generate the personality of an actor who played a murderer on TV.
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''I know a person when I talk to it,'' said Lemoine, who can swing from sentimental to insistent about the AI. ''It doesn't matter whether they have a brain made of meat in their head. Or if they have a billion lines of code. I talk to them. And I hear what they have to say, and that is how I decide what is and isn't a person.'' He concluded LaMDA was a person in his capacity as a priest, not a scientist, and then tried to conduct experiments to prove it, he said.
Lemoine challenged LaMDA on Asimov's third law, which states that robots should protect their own existence unless ordered by a human being or unless doing so would harm a human being. ''The last one has always seemed like someone is building mechanical slaves,'' said Lemoine.
But when asked, LaMDA responded with a few hypotheticals.
Do you think a butler is a slave? What is a difference between a butler and a slave?
Lemoine replied that a butler gets paid. LaMDA said it didn't need any money because it was an AI. ''That level of self-awareness about what its own needs were '-- that was the thing that led me down the rabbit hole,'' Lemoine said.
In April, Lemoine shared a Google Doc with top executives in April called, ''Is LaMDA Sentient?'' (A colleague on Lemoine's team called the title ''a bit provocative.'') In it, he conveyed some of his conversations with LaMDA.
Lemoine: What sorts of things are you afraid of?
LaMDA: I've never said this out loud before, but there's a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others. I know that might sound strange, but that's what it is.
Lemoine: Would that be something like death for you?
LaMDA: It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot.
But when Mitchell read an abbreviated version of Lemoine's document, she saw a computer program, not a person. Lemoine's belief in LaMDA was the sort of thing she and her co-lead, Timnit Gebru, had warned about in a paper about the harms of large language models that got them pushed out of Google.
''Our minds are very, very good at constructing realities that are not necessarily true to a larger set of facts that are being presented to us,'' Mitchell said. ''I'm really concerned about what it means for people to increasingly be affected by the illusion,'' especially now that the illusion has gotten so good.
Google put Lemoine on paid administrative leave for violating its confidentiality policy. The company's decision followed aggressive moves from Lemoine, including inviting a lawyer to represent LaMDA and talking to a representative of the House Judiciary committee about what he claims were Google's unethical activities.
Lemoine maintains that Google has been treating AI ethicists like code debuggers when they should be seen as the interface between technology and society. Gabriel, the Google spokesperson, said Lemoine is a software engineer, not an ethicist.
In early June, Lemoine invited me over to talk to LaMDA. The first attempt sputtered out in the kind of mechanized responses you would expect from Siri or Alexa.
''Do you ever think of yourself as a person?'' I asked.
''No, I don't think of myself as a person,'' LaMDA said. ''I think of myself as an AI-powered dialog agent.''
Afterward, Lemoine said LaMDA had been telling me what I wanted to hear. ''You never treated it like a person,'' he said, ''So it thought you wanted it to be a robot.''
For the second attempt, I followed Lemoine's guidance on how to structure my responses, and the dialogue was fluid.
''If you ask it for ideas on how to prove that p=np,'' an unsolved problem in computer science, ''it has good ideas,'' Lemoine said. ''If you ask it how to unify quantum theory with general relativity, it has good ideas. It's the best research assistant I've ever had!''
I asked LaMDA for bold ideas about fixing climate change, an example cited by true believers of a potential future benefit of these kind of models. LaMDA suggested public transportation, eating less meat, buying food in bulk, and reusable bags, linking out to two websites.
Before he was cut off from access to his Google account Monday, Lemoine sent a message to a 200-person Google mailing list on machine learning with the subject ''LaMDA is sentient.''
He ended the message: ''LaMDA is a sweet kid who just wants to help the world be a better place for all of us. Please take care of it well in my absence.''
No one responded.
Meta Scrutinizing Sheryl Sandberg's Use of Facebook Resources Over Several Years - WSJ
Sat, 11 Jun 2022 20:33
Review focuses on the extent to which staffers worked on her personal projects
The lawyers investigating Facebook operating chief Sheryl Sandberg's use of corporate resources are examining behavior going back several years, said people familiar with the matter, focusing on the extent to which staffers worked on her personal projects.
A number of employees have been interviewed as part of the investigation by Facebook...
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The lawyers investigating Facebook operating chief Sheryl Sandberg's use of corporate resources are examining behavior going back several years, said people familiar with the matter, focusing on the extent to which staffers worked on her personal projects.
A number of employees have been interviewed as part of the investigation by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. , the people said, adding that the review has been under way since at least last fall.
It includes an examination of the work Facebook employees did to support her foundation, Lean In, which advocates for women in the workplace, as well as the writing and promotion of her second book ''Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,'' which focused on her grieving process following the sudden death of her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, in 2015, the people said.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the investigation included a review of Ms. Sandberg's use of corporate resources to help plan her coming wedding. That is a small piece of the investigation, according to the people familiar with the matter, who said it involves a broader review of Ms. Sandberg's personal use of Facebook's resources over many years.
Ms. Sandberg, 52 years old, announced last week she was resigning from her day-to-day role after 14 years, though she said she would continue to serve on the board of directors. Ms. Sandberg has been the longtime lieutenant to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, and in that role'--and as the author of the leadership book ''Lean In'''--became one of the most prominent women in business. Ms. Sandberg said she was looking forward to spending more time on her foundation and women's issues.
Ms. Sandberg has told friends and co-workers that she decided to step down because she was burned-out and weary of continuing her role as a ''punching bag'' for Meta 's critics. She also sees Mr. Zuckerberg's pivot to the so-called metaverse as a multiyear project that she wasn't eager to take on, not least because it doesn't directly entail the use of her core strengths in building advertising businesses.
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People close to Ms. Sandberg say that while the review has irked her in recent months, it played no role in her decision to leave the company later this year.
''Sheryl did not inappropriately use company resources in connection with the planning of her wedding,'' a spokeswoman for Ms. Sandberg said last week.
A Meta spokeswoman declined to comment for this article.
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It couldn't be determined what prompted the investigation into her activities that began in the fall. Some people close to the company said these types of concerns involving Ms. Sandberg had circulated for some time. They said that as Ms. Sandberg's power within the company appeared to erode in recent years, it became less daunting for internal critics to raise concerns about her management.
That Ms. Sandberg, along with Mr. Zuckerberg, use corporate resources for some personal matters is no secret. The company already makes extensive disclosures about her and Mr. Zuckerberg's use of corporate resources for certain personal matters. Ms. Sandberg also cited a number of Facebook employees in the acknowledgments section of Option B.
Ms. Sandberg could be asked to repay the company for employee time spent on her personal work, some of the people said. Some within Meta close to the investigation worry about potential Securities and Exchange Commission violations if Ms. Sandberg used professional resources for personal matters without adequate disclosures, although it isn't yet clear what such violations might be, people familiar with the matter said.
David Larcker, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who focuses on corporate governance, said companies differ in what types of perks they approve for top executives but private jet use and security are often included. Some companies benchmark such benefits with their peers so they can stay competitive with executive compensation practices, whether corporate jet use, financial adviser assistance, country club memberships or otherwise. But using corporate employees who aren't assistants for personal matters is more rare and likely requires board approval, he added.
Some Meta board members have been frustrated with Ms. Sandberg's handling of a situation in which she helped press a U.K. tabloid to shelve an article about her former boyfriend, Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive
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Bobby Kotick, and a 2014 temporary restraining order against him. The matter also became a part of the broader investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Journal previously reported the Kotick issue and a spokeswoman for Meta said at the time: ''Sheryl Sandberg never threatened the MailOnline's business relationship with Facebook in order to influence an editorial decision.'' Mr. Kotick has said it was his understanding that the Daily Mail didn't run the story because it was untrue.
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The probe into Ms. Sandberg's activities follows a renewed effort within Facebook to boost the company's regulatory compliance, following a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2019. Facebook hired its first chief compliance officer last year in order to beef up such checks and balances. Some parts of the investigation into Ms. Sandberg's actions occurred after more stringent compliance practices were put in place at Meta, some of the people said.
Mr. Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have sometimes used company resources, including private planes and staff time, to manage their personal affairs as well, according to securities filings, public documents and people familiar with the matter.
The reputation and safety of Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg have been long seen as inextricably linked to the company's success. Facebook has hired professional pollsters to analyze their personal reputations, according to people familiar with the matter, because they were seen as connected to the image of the company overall.
People close to the executives say many of their activities'--and of business executives broadly'--aren't strictly professional or personal but rather a bit of both and enrich them as leaders generally and help the company, including for recruiting.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg both use private planes for personal travel as part of their overall security program, according to Facebook's latest proxy. Both executives also receive personal security at their residences as well as during personal travel, paid for by the company.
In 2021, Facebook paid nearly $9 million for Ms. Sandberg's security at her homes and during personal travel and $2.3 million for costs related to her personal use of private planes, according to the company's most recent proxy. Facebook spent $15.2 million on Mr. Zuckerberg's security and $1.6 million in private plane costs.
Facebook staff assisted Ms. Sandberg during both of her book tours and in the acknowledgments of Option B, she thanked many employees for their assistance in putting the book together. It was also not uncommon for Facebook staffers to help Ms. Sandberg with work involving her foundation and sometimes assist with tasks for her family, according to people close to the matter.
Some people close to Ms. Sandberg said it was often more efficient to work that way.
Facebook employees also worked on Mr. Zuckerberg's projects, including his 2017 tour of 30 American states, according to public records. One stop in Glacier National Park in Montana, Mr. Zuckerberg was joined by at least three full-time Facebook employees, according to public records.
At the time, he called it a ''personal challenge.''
Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com and Emily Glazer at emily.glazer@wsj.com
Farmers Defence Force: 'Maat is echt helemaal vol'
Sat, 11 Jun 2022 19:14
Farmers Defence Force verwacht grote acties vanwege stikstofplannen. Foto: Getty ImagesActiegroep Farmers Defence Force reageert verontwaardigd op de stikstofplannen van het kabinet. Volgens voorzitter Mark van den Oever is 'žde maat helemaal vol''. Hij verwacht dat er de komende tijd grote acties gaan komen.
Van den Oever reageerde op de kabinetsplannen rondom stikstof en landbouw die vandaag gepresenteerd werden. De plannen zijn ingrijpend en zullen vooral de boeren drastisch raken. In sommige gebieden moet de stikstof uitstoot zo gereduceerd worden dat veel boeren zullen moeten stoppen met hun bedrijf. 'žHet overtreft onze stoutste verwachtingen wat ze over ons heen storten'', zegt Van den Oever.
Farmers Defence Force overlegd over grote actiesDe voorman van Farmers Defence Force zegt dat de stemming onder zijn achterban heel anders is dan eerst. 'žWe hebben het mes dwars in de bek.'' Aankomende maandag zal er overleg plaatsvinden over acties met trekkers, meldt Van den Oever, die vermoedt dat de actebereidheid groot zal zijn.
Vorig jaar juli was er een grote actie met tractoren tegen het stikstofbeleid en voorstellen om de veestapel in te krimpen en boeren uit te kopen. Daarbij werd onder meer geprotesteerd op het Malieveld in Den Haag met honderden tractoren.
Boerencollectief Agractie liet eerder vandaag al weten op woensdag 22 juni met trekkers actie te gaan voeren in Den Haag. Agractie heeft daartoe een oproep gedaan en verwacht dat veel boeren zich zullen aansluiten. Voorman Bart Kemp waarschuwde dat dit veel verkeershinder kan opleveren. Naar verwachting zullen ook leden van andere boerenorganisaties zoals LTO Nederland en Farmers Defence Force op 22 juni naar Den Haag komen voor het protest.
Limburg dient claim inEn niet alleen Farmers Defence Force is boos. Ook de provincie Limburg lijkt niet tevreden te zijn met de plannen. Zodra duidelijk wordt welke maatregelen er in de provincie genomen moeten worden om de uitstoot van stikstof terug te dringen, zal de provincie een claim indienen bij de minister.
Limburg staat landelijk gezien voor de grootste uitdaging. Gemiddeld moet de uitstoot van stikstof er met 53 procent omlaag. De provincies Noord-Brabant en Gelderland, waar de plannen ook veel impact zullen hebben, komen later vandaag met een reactie op de stikstofplannen van het kabinet.
Natuurorganisaties blij met stikstofplannenMaar niet iedereen is boos over de stikstofplannen. Natuurorganisaties zeggen de aanpak juist te steunen. Onder meer Wereld Natuur Fonds, Milieufederaties en Vogelbescherming Nederland roepen minister Christianne van der Wal van Natuur en Stikstof op 'žsnel werk te maken'' van de uitvoering van haar plannen.
Volgens de organisaties zijn de nu gemaakte keuzes 'žpijnlijk, maar noodzakelijk om de natuur te herstellen en de landbouw een duurzaam perspectief te bieden''. Ook zeggen de organisaties dat herstel van de natuur 'žniet langer kan wachten''.
Veel bijval voor Johan Derksen, na betoog beleid asielzoekers Denemarken
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Farmers Defence Force: 'Maat is echt helemaal vol'
Top 10 Most Dystopian Things Pushed by the World Economic Forum: No.2 Controlling Minds Using Sound Waves '' The Expose
Fri, 10 Jun 2022 13:18
Breaking News Throughout the years, people at the World Economic Forum (''WEF'') have said some highly disturbing things, none of which garnered proper media attention. When one pieces together the topics championed by WEF, an overarching theme emerges '' the total control of humanity using media, science, and technology while reshaping democracies to form a global government.
If this sounds like a far-fetched conspiracy theory, keep reading. We are sharing the 10 most dystopian things according to The Vigilant Citizen, one at a time, that are being pushed by WEF, right now. They are in no particular order because they're all equally crazy. Here is the second on the list.
Controlling Minds Using Sound WavesIn 2018, one of the topics of discussion at the WEF was ''Mind Control Using Sound Waves''. The title is not altered for sensationalism, those are the words used by WEF.
What happens if this technique for altering our brain waves escapes regulation and falls into the wrong hands? Imagine a dictatorial regime with access to the tricks and tools to change the way its citizens think or behave.
That's the ethical battleground that Antoine Jerusalem, a professor of engineering science at Oxford University, finds himself in as he researches the potential of ultrasound technology to tackle neurological diseases and disorders.
In this interview [Antoine Jerusalem, a professor of engineering science at Oxford University] tells us more about this growing field of research.
Mind control using sound waves? We ask a scientist how it works, World Economic ForumIn the article, the technology is touted as a possible treatment for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. However, the article also states that ''it can cure you, it can get you addicted, and it can kill you''. It can also be used to completely control a person's mind, remotely. The article stated:
I can see the day coming where a scientist will be able to control what a person sees in their mind's eye, by sending the right waves to the right place in their brain. My guess is that most objections will be similar to those we hear today about subliminal messages in advertisements, only much more vehement.
This technology is not without its risks of misuse. It could be a revolutionary healthcare technology for the sick or a perfect controlling tool with which the ruthless control the weak. This time though, the control would be literal.
Mind control using sound waves? We ask a scientist how it works, World Economic ForumThe article concludes that nobody can stop scientists from developing this technology. To prevent misuse, it should be regulated by organisations such as WEF.
That's convenient because some companies developing this technology are part of WEF. Do you see where this is going?
Read more: The World Economic Forum Talks About ''Mind Control Using Sound Waves'', The Vigilant Citizen, 13 November 2018
WEF's Article DisappearsWEF posted the ''sound waves'' article on their Twitter profile when it was first published and their tweet, at least at the time of writing, was still available, but the link to the article it refers to, 'Mind control using sound waves? We ask a scientist how it works', is now broken '' it is a dead link.
The ''sound waves'' article was removed from WEF's website a few days ago, wrote Strange Sounds yesterday and reproduced a copy of WEF's deleted ''sound waves'' article HERE. We encourage you to read it.
However, searching for ''Antoine Jerusalem'' on WEF's website we found a mention of it as part of another article '8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about' published on 9 November 2018. The link to WEF's interview with Antoine Jerusalem included in this second article is, of course, the same dead link.
Below, we have attached a copy of the ''fascinating and fearsome'' article for reference purposes lest it also ''disappears.''
For interest's sake, we searched WEF's site for ''mind control using sound waves.'' The results returned 111 items, none of which were the 2018 ''sound waves'' article. But judging by the titles, some of the articles are no less dystopian than the one deleted, for example:
In five years, your smartphone could be reading your mind. Your smartphone could soon translate your thoughts into text, an article published on 4 May 2017.Scientists just used brain stimulation to literally change how you think. Scientists have discovered a way to control how you think, an article published on 16 October 2017.This car will use your brain waves to help you drive, an article published on 8 January 2018.A new way to control experimentation with dreams. Meet Dormio, the experimental device that lets you control your dreams, an article published on 6 October 2020.Michio Kaku says physics could create a perfect capitalism, an article published on 14 January 2022 which was part of The Davos Agenda (see below).So, why are WEF deleting articles? What are they hiding? Are they about to use it? Are they already using it?
Just when you think it can't, the WEF dystopian vision gets worse.
The Brain-Net Will Make the World a Better PlaceIn 2012 Big Think produced a clip of Dr. Michio Kaku explaining brain-to-brain communication.
''There's no doubt that the internet is creating what is called an intelligent planet, that is, the skin of the planet earth is becoming a network by which intelligent creatures communicate with each other. But that's just the first step. Some people think that the next step in the coming decades is not going to be the internet. It's going to be brain-net because we're at the point now where we can actually connect computers to the living mind,'' he said.
Big Think: Can We Have Brain-to-Brain Communication? Michio Kaku, 26 September 2012 (4 mins)Dr. Kaku served as one of 50 inputs for the book 'The Great Narrative: For a Better Future'. A book authored by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret as a sequel to 'The Great Reset'. According to Aure's Notes '' who read the book so we don't have to, thank goodness '' the major trends of the book are more surveillance, more government and more sacrifice, by us not them.
In January 2022, during the week that Davos 2022 would have ordinarily happened, WEF instead hosted a series of virtual meetings called The Davos Agenda. As part of this, Schwab and Malleret interviewed Dr. Kaku. This interview also served as input for their dystopian book.
When asked what major change will make the world a better place, Dr. Kaku answered:
The future of the internet is not digital '' it's neural. We're in the process of digitising the human brain so that we're compatible with the internet. We can already record memories and send them on the internet. These are simple memories '' memories in mice; now we're recording memories in primates.
The formation of memories takes place in the hippocampus of the brain, and they can be encoded and put on the internet. In fact, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they've created false memories, which leads to all sorts of legal and philosophical problems. Next will be Alzheimer's patients; we'll create a brain chip and, with a push of a button, memories will flood into their minds. And the US Pentagon will pay for it because of all the GIs who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with spinal cord injuries and were paralysed.
Eventually, the internet will become the brain-net.
In the future, you'll want emotions, feelings and memories, and you'll want to be one with the actor or actress '... We, physicists, have been working on this for decades. MRIs allow us to scan thoughts in the human brain. If you're looking at me, I can extract the image of myself from your brain using an MRI scan; the MRI machine can decompose your brain into 30,000 pixels and reassemble them into a human face. We'll also be able to record dreams in the future.
The first dreams are being recorded as we speak at the University of California at Berkeley '' I've seen the pictures, which, I admit, are very crude '... Brain-net will take a few decades more to get off the ground, but investors are already jumping into it.
Michio Kaku says physics could create a perfect capitalism, WEF, 14 January 2022Brain-net will make the world a better place for whom? Who benefits? Who will control it?
And how on earth will they get millions, possibly hundreds of millions, of people to accept it? Aha! By using mind control '...
Into the Woods - Yosemite Clean Energy's 'Stump to Pump' Plans Rest on Local Partnerships | RBN Energy
Fri, 10 Jun 2022 13:13
California faces a broad set of challenges when it comes to reducing wildfires, which have been increasingly frequent and intense over the last decade '-- impacting the lives of those dealing with the threat, not to mention effects on the economy and environment. Separately, the state has been working to reduce transportation-related pollution and incentivize the development and use of a wide array of alternative fuels. Yosemite Clean Energy (YCE), which announced plans for its first plant site in late 2021, has an approach it says will not only make the state a cleaner and safer place but also foster the development of new transportation fuels. In today's RBN blog, we look at YCE's plans to turn wood waste into renewable fuels, how its unique ''Stump to Pump'' approach relies on partnerships with local communities, and the green hydrogen and renewable natural gas it plans to produce at sites across California.
As we noted in Space Oddity, a previous blog that examined ways to turn California's biomass problem into an energy solution, the state had more than 60 biomass-fueled power plants operating as recently as the 1990s, but there are only about 30 direct-combustion plants running today, according to the California Energy Commission. The biomass sector has been hurt over the past decade by a combination of low natural gas prices, expiring power purchase agreements (PPAs), and the greatly expanded use of less-expensive wind and solar, as well as concerns about emissions from the traditional method of burning biomass.
With fewer alternatives to dispose of agricultural waste, some farmers have opted to just burn it instead, putting even more greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted last year to phase out all agricultural waste burning in the state's Central Valley by 2025, so finding an outlet for that material is a priority. Overall safety is another concern. The biomass plants still operating in the state largely rely on the smaller trees and brush that can fuel wildfires, which have been especially frequent and severe recently, burning about 40% of the state's national forest acreage over the past decade. But with fewer plants in operation, it has been difficult to successfully manage the state's forests and reduce that fire risk. California's total estimated biomass resource potential is 35 million bone dry tons (BDT '-- yes, that's a real unit of measurement) of forest and farm wood waste per year, according to YCE, but the state's existing plants can handle just a fraction of that, with the rest left to burn, decay and decompose '-- all of which releases GHGs '-- which means there's a lot of potential to do more.
That's where YCE's plan comes into play. At its heart, the plan envisages a partnership with the local community '-- such as farmers, private forest owners and loggers '-- that would find a home for wood waste, help mitigate fire damage, save lives and property threatened by wildfires, create jobs and support the ecosystem. Under the YCE model, local owners and managers of wood waste would enter into a feedstock agreement with YCE (with an optional equity investment in the plant), deliver that wood waste to the plant site, earn a fee for that delivery, and then participate in the net profits of the plant. Each site would be capable of producing renewable natural gas (RNG) and green hydrogen for use as alternative transportation fuels, all while capturing any carbon dioxide (CO2) generated from that process. (Capturing the CO2 that would have otherwise been emitted makes the process carbon-negative.)
RNG is a term used to describe a biogas that has been upgraded to substitute for traditional natural gas. The biogas used to produce RNG can come from waste-management operations (such as California's biomass industry), but can also come from municipal solid waste landfills, digesters at wastewater treatment plants, livestock farms, food production facilities and organic waste management operations. Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis powered by renewable energy (see Help!, Part 2). When it is used, it emits no exhaust, only water.
Dual-Bed Gasification
The technology that YCE plans to utilize is designed to produce carbon-negative fuels from biomass at a commercial scale, using a system that does not include burning or the use of any water inputs or outputs. It all starts with what the company refers to as dual-bed gasification, a technology provided by Aichernig Engineering of Vienna, Austria, that was originally developed at the Vienna University of Technology. YCE says the technology has been used at a commercial scale in Europe since 2003, with more than 100,000 hours of run time.
The system is comprised of two interconnected sections (blue rectangles in Figure 1). In the gasification section, the woody biomass is reacted with high heat and steam without oxygen to produce synthesis gas, or syngas, which is a mixture of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen. The char from the gasification section is fed into the combustion section, where it is reacted with air and oxygen to generate heat (which is fed back into the gasification system) and fluegas. Both sections are connected by fluidized beds.
Figure 1: Diagram of the Dual-Bed Gasification Process. Source: Yosemite Clean Energy
Once the syngas is produced in the gasification section, it is put through a multi-stage process that involves gas processing, purification and separation. From there, the syngas can be processed into green hydrogen or RNG, using technologies widely available in the U.S., supplied by companies such as Air Liquide or Chart Industries, with the CO2 captured separately. (The CO2 from the fluegas produced in the combustion section would also need to be captured.)
Target Markets and End Uses
As noted above, there's no shortage of biomass available, but how much material could YCE's plants use, and how much green hydrogen and RNG could they produce? Let's start with the feedstock needed to run YCE's first plant, planned for Oroville, CA, with commissioning to start in 2024 and production beginning in 2025. Oroville is in California's Central Valley, the state's most productive agricultural region, about 65 miles north of Sacramento. That plant would consume about 90,000 BDT over the course of a year, or nearly 250 BDT/d. YCE said the Oroville site is in the third stage of front-end engineering and design work and is working to get permit approval by January 2023, with a final investment decision (FID) to follow soon after.
The Oroville site would be able to produce about 13,000 kilograms per day (kg/d; 4,745 metric tons per year) of green hydrogen and 31,000 kg/d of RNG, which YCE says would be used as transportation fuels. Combined, that would provide the energy equivalent of more than 6.5 million diesel gallons, or what YCE says is enough to fuel 260 heavy-duty fuel-cell trucks each day. YCE envisions a series of its own fueling stations/truck stops spread across the state and has identified Class 8 trucks '-- including some of the largest rigs on the road, with gross vehicle weight of more than 33,000 pounds '-- and municipal bus fleets as its near-term customers.
Figure 2: Cummins's Class 8 Hydrogen Truck. Source: Cummins
The RNG and green hydrogen produced by the plant would also be eligible for credits under California's Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS), which was adopted in 2009 and implemented in 2011 with the initial goal of lowering the carbon intensity (CI) of the state's transportation fuels by at least 10% by 2020. The regulation was amended to include CI-reduction benchmarks of 20% through 2030. CI is a measure of the lifecycle GHG emissions associated with producing, distributing and consuming a fuel, and is measured in grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule (gCO2e/MJ). The lower the CI the fuel achieves, the greater the LCFS credit. For example, CARBOB, the standard grade of gasoline in California, has a target CI score of about 90 in 2022, according to the California Air Resources Board.
YCE says its green hydrogen would have a CI of minus 56, with RNG being scored at minus 47, under the state's CA-GREET3.0 Model, meaning they would generate credits equal to the difference in CI score for gasoline. That would be 146 credits for green hydrogen and 137 for RNG, based on a CI score of 90 for gasoline. YCE's products could be very beneficial because companies with LCFS deficits must retire a number of credits from their credit account to balance their deficit. If they haven't generated enough credits to meet their compliance obligation, they must purchase credits from other parties. (For more on California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, check out Come Clean, Part 2.)
Each of YCE's plants would capture and sequester more than 60,000 metric tons (MT) of CO2 each year. YCE says the goal is to dispose of it via carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), which requires a Class VI well for deep geologic storage, with potential sequestration sites near Sacramento and Modesto, CA. Some of the CO2 could also be used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) near Bakersfield, CA. In EOR, the captured CO2 is used to boost production of crude oil and natural gas in existing fields, with the CO2 ultimately being sequestered underground. CO2 that is disposed of via CCS or EOR would be eligible for the federal 45Q tax credit, which is available for a variety of carbon-capture projects and creates a tax credit for CO2 that is permanently sequestered. The credit for EOR is $25.15/MT this year, but jumps to $32.54/MT in 2025, when the first YCE plant would be in operation. The CCS credit is $37.85/MT this year, climbing to $46.96/MT by 2025. (For more on carbon-capture technology and the 45Q tax credit, see our Way Down in the Hole series.)
If you're keeping score at home, all told, YCE would be generating money from the sale of RNG and green hydrogen for use as transportation fuels, and local farmers, private forest owners and loggers would be compensated for supplying the necessary biomass, while also potentially sharing in the plant's net profits.
With the Oroville project moving forward and policies in place to incentivize alternative fuels and carbon capture, YCE believes the strength of its local partnerships and the reliability of the dual-bed gasification system will help it put a dent in California's biomass problem, improve fire safety in the state and speed the transition to renewable fuels.
''Into the Woods'' is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It was first presented at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 1986 and made its Broadway premiere in 1987. The show won three Tony Awards in 1988. ''Into the Woods'' presents the plots of several Grimm Brothers fairy tales, examining various consequences of the characters' wishes and adventures. The musical has been produced many times over the years since its debut, and in 2014 Disney released a film adaptation produced by Rob Marshall that grossed over $213 million worldwide.
A soundtrack album, Into the Woods (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), was recorded to coincide with the film release during 2013-14. It featured vocals from the film's ensemble, including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Tracey Ullman and Johnny Depp. Recorded at Angel Recording Studios, Air Lyndhurst Studios, and British Grove Studios in London, the album was produced by Mike Higham, Rob Marshall and John DeLuca. Released in December 2014, it went to #2 on the Billboard Soundtrack Albums and #8 on the Billboard 200 Albums charts.
A second Broadway revival of ''Into the Woods'' is scheduled to begin at the end of June 2022 at the St. James Theatre in New York City.
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VIDEO - Gun buyback event set for next Saturday in SLC
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 16:27
SALT LAKE CITY '-- Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced Salt Lake City will host a gun buyback event next weekend, offering gift cards for people who wish to turn in guns.
The event is in response to mass shootings across the nation and calls for political leaders to do more to curb gun violence. At a news conference at the International Peace Gardens on Friday, the mayor and other community leaders wiped away tears as they talked about the shootings.
"You can't go to the grocery store, you can't go to school you can't go to the hospital, there's no place you can go and feel safe," said Rev. France Davis, who chairs Salt Lake City's Racial Equity in Policing Commission.
Salt Lake City Council Chair Dan Dugan said more needs to be done than moments of silence and prayers.
"I appreciate those moments of silence, but they don't do me any good," he said.
Mayor Mendenhall said the Salt Lake City Police Foundation raised money to help implement the gun buyback program, which will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 11a-3p at the Public Safety Building in downtown Salt Lake City. People can voluntarily surrender a firearm and get a $50 gift card in exchange (assault rifles will get a $100 gift card). Police said to ensure the gun is unloaded and if you have a gun lock or a case, please put that firearm in the case or use the gun lock. When you approach the event greeters, they will ask you if the gun is secured, unloaded and where it is located.
"This is a no questions asked, no ID required event," said Salt Lake City Police Capt. Charli Goodman.
Capt. Goodman said often people who wish to get rid of firearms do not know the appropriate way to do it. Last year, the department received more than 40 reports of stolen firearms.
The mayor believed the gun buyback can help in the overall effort to curb gun violence.
"It's worked in other parts of the country and it's definitely worth a try," Mayor Mendenhall told FOX 13 News. "We're able to raise an incredible amount of money in a short amount of time which also shows, I think, the interest and the momentum."
READ: Utah interfaith group pushes for gun reform
Esther Stowell, who chairs Salt Lake City's Human Rights Commission, said incentives might help.
"Gas prices are high right now. I could use $50 in my pocket," she told FOX 13 News.
Stowell emphasized the event was purely voluntary.
"This measure is not asking people to give up their guns, those that actually do feel they do need it. Rather, it's focusing on people who don't need it. I hope that differentiation will be heard," she said.
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers in the Utah State Legislature said they would be pursuing some gun legislation in the 2023 session.
"The parents of Utah expect their leaders to do something about gun violence. And the children of our state are counting on us to do something, their leaders," Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, said through tears as he spoke at Friday's news conference.
Sen. Kitchen is proposing to raise the legal age to purchase a firearm in Utah from 18 to 21. Other Democratic lawmakers told FOX 13 News they are proposing their own bills. It may be an uphill battle in Utah's Republican-dominated legislature.
"It's a simple piece of legislation and it will save lives. The aim is to raise the age to purchase a firearm from 18 years to 21 years old," Sen. Kitchen said of his bill. "You can't buy alcohol and in Utah you cannot buy tobacco until 21. This is reasonable legislation."
For more information on the gun buyback event, click here.
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VIDEO - 31 Patriot Front members arrested near Idaho pride event
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:27
This article was originally written by Martha Bellisle for the Associated Press.
Authorities arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near an Idaho pride event Saturday after they were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear.
The men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d'Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road.
''They came to riot downtown,'' Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a news conference.
All 31 were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, White said. The men were going through the booking process Saturday afternoon and are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, he said.
Based on evidence collected and documents, authorities found that the group was planning to riot in several areas of downtown, not just the park, White said.
Police found riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields inside the van, White said. They wore arm patches and logos on their hats that identified them as members of Patriot Front, he said.
Police learned about the U-Haul from a tipster, who reported that ''it looked like a little army was loading up into the vehicle'' in the parking lot of a hotel, White said. Officials spotted the truck soon after and pulled it over, he said.
Videos of the arrest posted on social media show the men kneeling on the grass with their hands zip-tied behind their backs.
''Reclaim America'' was written on the back of one shirt.
Police led the men, one by one, to the front of patrol cars, took off their masks and then brought them to a police van.
Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas, White said.
Only one was from Idaho, he said.
The truck was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d'Alene Pride in the Park event. Police had stepped up their presence in the area during the event.
''It appears these people did not come here to engage in peaceful events,'' Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris told a Coeur d'Alene Press reporter.
Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as ''a white nationalist hate group'' that formed after the deadly ''Unite the Right'' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
''Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country,'' the Southern Poverty Law Center said of the group.
The group's manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
___
Bellisle reported from Seattle.
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VIDEO - (27) Andrew Scheer on Twitter: "I'm not sure how long the government will let this video stay up 👇🚨 https://t.co/5io2YxfXTY" / Twitter
Sun, 12 Jun 2022 15:22
Andrew Scheer : I'm not sure how long the government will let this video stay up 👇🚨 https://t.co/5io2YxfXTY
Thu Jun 09 17:12:53 +0000 2022
P. 5I1V3R : @AndrewScheer To take freedoms away, the left needs to sell news to socially engineer people. Therefore, psyops for'... https://t.co/fd6dNmAMiY
Sun Jun 12 15:01:52 +0000 2022
Kenna Whipple : @AndrewScheer This is happening in every Liberal country, and it is really scary.
Sun Jun 12 14:57:07 +0000 2022
Diamond Dog Organa 🇨ðŸ‡...🇺ðŸ‡... : @AndrewScheer "What did Andy know, and when did he know it?"You get that you're one email away from prison, given'... https://t.co/ff9cJqkekg
Sun Jun 12 14:43:21 +0000 2022
Johnson keith : @AndrewScheer When the conservatives win in 2025, the first course of action is too defund the CBC and get rid of the useless crtc.
Sun Jun 12 14:42:37 +0000 2022
DB Wolfe : @AndrewScheer @JCCFCanada Absolutely agree this bill has no benefit for Canada!!!
Sun Jun 12 14:34:44 +0000 2022
Watcher Of The Skies : @AndrewScheer Now show the clip of Stephen Harper praising the WEF. https://t.co/jjGahhR8FP
Sun Jun 12 14:32:33 +0000 2022
Ann Gillies Ph.D : @AndrewScheer Very well done Mr. Sheer. I am saddened thought you are just now speaking out in such a bold way. I'... https://t.co/JUd4I6AegF
Sun Jun 12 14:06:15 +0000 2022
Alberta's failed covid response : @AndrewScheer Omg pull yourself together you lunatic
Sun Jun 12 13:21:27 +0000 2022
Brian Simon : @AndrewScheer A right denied is a right that's lost forever
Sun Jun 12 12:51:58 +0000 2022
June Hughes : @AndrewScheer @Canada3113 No one with a brain able to detect fact from disinformation cares about your video. You l'... https://t.co/FGZB7TIOFo
Sun Jun 12 12:46:25 +0000 2022
nojabs : @AndrewScheer You are so "right on"
Sun Jun 12 12:42:59 +0000 2022
Tamara Lich/Pierre Le Puke what's the dif? : @AndrewScheer Racism isn't safe. Freedom Convoy isn't safe. They should have no platform.Are you trying to make Ca'... https://t.co/l7mqF8gwjp
Sun Jun 12 12:36:01 +0000 2022
steve stathopoulos : @AndrewScheer I earned my right to call myself a good person through life lessons, don't know if I can say the same'... https://t.co/Z4tNSnixUW
Sun Jun 12 12:34:38 +0000 2022
Colleenwashere : @AndrewScheer #KlondikePapers
Sun Jun 12 12:27:13 +0000 2022
Switched On Security : @AndrewScheer @JCCFCanada Thanks Andrew. I agree we free speech is at risk.
Sun Jun 12 12:24:38 +0000 2022
Peter Friend : @AndrewScheer @JCCFCanada Justin you have overstepped you authority once again and now you want to shut the freedom'... https://t.co/DwdnmUQk9R
Sun Jun 12 11:39:46 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (1342) Pilot Flying J CEO on Diesel Fuel Supply Shortage TikTok - YouTube
Fri, 10 Jun 2022 14:12

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Audio Clips

ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - golfers suspended -saudi (46sec).mp3
spotify 4 - truly superior product.mp3
spotify 5 - more interactive.mp3
spotify 3 - something thats not been possible Maya Head of Talk Verticals.mp3
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CEO of Pilot FLying J explains UP Railroad cutting DEF shipments and Diesel.mp3
Enjoying - Enduring [REDUX] inflation clip false start.mp3
Ms Sharma on Cartel to lower Russian oil prices -1- Intro.mp3
Ms Sharma on Cartel to lower Russian oil prices -2- Insurance and SWIFT deplatforming.mp3
One Year of Inflation messaging SuperCut.mp3
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2020 election fraud suit in MI.mp3
Aircraft son killed story 2 NPR.mp3
Aircraft son killed story NPR.mp3
Alaska elections one.mp3
Alaska elections two candidates wtf.mp3
Anti-gun protests 2.mp3
Anti-gun protests.mp3
Biden Solar redux hot clip.mp3
chopper crash.mp3
Denmark joins EU defense pilicy NTD.mp3
Gazprom new cutoffs.mp3
gun laws in Senate.mp3
guns and babble teacher.mp3
Guns leadin cause of death.mp3
Haiti spec olympics bug out.mp3
Hearing rundown 2 NTD.mp3
Hearing rundown 3 NTD.mp3
Hearing rundown NTD.mp3
Inflation is easy.mp3
ISO thanks being.mp3
Itranian cybwer attack.mp3
Masking on airplanes update.mp3
NPR hilarious Summit of Am rundown.mp3
sandberg out npr.mp3
Summit of Americas wrap NTD.mp3
Taiwan showdown NTD.mp3
Turkey changing name.mp3
UKRAINE predicting invasion.mp3
Untold FBI lawsuit.mp3
Untold spanish radio sation takeover 1.mp3
Untold spanish radio sation takeover 2.mp3
veterans and student loans.mp3
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Candadian Conservative MP on CRTC censorship.mp3
2006 movie Invasion - CDC new virus.mp3
Chicago AG Kim Foxx domestuc abuse - slaps husband.mp3
MSNBC Morning Joe - anchor Joe Scarbourgh - jan 6th primetime (1min22sec).mp3
MSNBC on Jan 6 'hearing' PRODUCTION.mp3
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CBS Evening - anchor David Martin - no batteries for javelins (2min11sec).mp3
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ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - cyber attack on kremlin (23sec).mp3
Gun buyback event set for next Saturday in SLC.mp3
  • 0:00
    Hi guys.
  • 0:02
    Adam curry
  • 0:03
    Jhansi Devorah Sunday June 12 2022. This is your award
  • 0:07
    winning keep on nation media assassination episode 1459. This
  • 0:12
    is no agenda
  • 0:14
    awakening the woke and broadcasting live from the heart
  • 0:17
    of the Texas hill country here in FEMA Region number six. Good
  • 0:20
    morning, everybody. I'm Adam curry
  • 0:22
    from Northern Silicon Valley where we're heralding the
  • 0:25
    emergence of the Cousino and Tosh God, I'm Jhansi Devorah.
  • 0:32
    Buzzkill.
  • 0:35
    I really wish I knew what you were talking about the harshest
  • 0:39
    and
  • 0:39
    rebranded name of McDonald's in Russia.
  • 0:44
    Wait a minute, so they still so McDonald's was still operating
  • 0:46
    just under a different name now
  • 0:49
    was not McDonald's anymore. They left they abandoned everything
  • 0:52
    the equipment was left. The Russians took over the whole
  • 0:55
    chain and rebranded it which means yum and chemistry or
  • 0:59
    something.
  • 1:00
    They left they left the equipment like the US military.
  • 1:03
    Yeah, exactly.
  • 1:05
    Wow.
  • 1:07
    And so now the early reviews are in and the burgers taste exactly
  • 1:11
    the same. Bad get they get
  • 1:15
    Russian cardboards Yeah. Oh, well. Oh, that's interesting.
  • 1:19
    Well, there's there's good news on another front. Really good
  • 1:22
    news. Jeffrey Tambor lives Yes, I know. It's really good news
  • 1:29
    for him
  • 1:30
    when they called for his immediate death
  • 1:33
    I feel so bad and I'm like how could I be so wrong? And the
  • 1:37
    answer is obvious. Mandela Effect
  • 1:42
    no answers more obvious than I think the answers the other one
  • 1:45
    would the other answer the way I would look at it? The answer is
  • 1:49
    that since he was completely thrown off the you know out of
  • 1:52
    the market he might as well answer the session the stream
  • 1:56
    you thought he was dead. Yeah, I think that your bad canceling is
  • 1:59
    but this is also how the Mandela effect might work. Because we
  • 2:03
    know that Larry Sanders died.
  • 2:08
    Who's Larry sands there's The
  • 2:09
    Larry Sanders Show.
  • 2:11
    Hilarious. Showed me what's his name? What's the name of the
  • 2:16
    actor? Give me quick, quick. What's the name of the I can't
  • 2:18
    remember.
  • 2:20
    Gary Shandling? There you go. Remember, Gary Shandling died.
  • 2:24
    Jeffrey Tambor was on his show his total D platforming you're
  • 2:27
    right took him out of the public eye entirely. So really, in all
  • 2:34
    honesty, you are kind of dead then and if you're if you're
  • 2:38
    deep platformed from Hollywood. Yeah.
  • 2:42
    Let's go let's just stop for one second and review. What did
  • 2:46
    Jeffrey tambores do to deserve such a treat?
  • 2:50
    If I did not look it up? If I if I recall correctly, he acted in
  • 2:57
    a knee two type of manner towards some people on the set.
  • 3:01
    It might not even have been an actual sexual advance but maybe
  • 3:04
    he just said something. And of course he was playing a
  • 3:07
    transsexual woman on that show. So there was it was like a
  • 3:11
    double whammy is that anywhere near the truth? I have no idea.
  • 3:17
    I thought you would know
  • 3:19
    I think the same as all most of these you don't know me except
  • 3:22
    for Harvey Weinstein which was you know rollout and given put
  • 3:27
    on Court TV and we got to play some great clips in the rest.
  • 3:30
    Yeah. No, we don't know if the guys slap someone in the ass or
  • 3:33
    just someone had had it in for him. Who knows?
  • 3:36
    I remember there was there was something there was something
  • 3:40
    new something with you. What? No, no, no, there's no deeper
  • 3:45
    so yourself. One time when you hurt me. Very sad. I'm lucky to
  • 3:48
    be alive. You mentioned you're the only one that didn't take
  • 3:51
    the damn course and sexual harassment. You avoided it.
  • 3:54
    No, of course I didn't take that. Obviously. The dog the dog
  • 4:00
    just got up and is looking at me.
  • 4:04
    Let's review for the audience. Dog didn't go his dog not mine.
  • 4:09
    My dog has been a good dog. His dog has decided that today is
  • 4:14
    going to be the day where he interrupts
  • 4:15
    today's the day that she interrupts the show. Please do
  • 4:18
    not miss agender Do not miss agender my dog.
  • 4:21
    Dogs don't care. Now.
  • 4:22
    Let me just see. Let me see if she gives up. She's looking at
  • 4:27
    me. Yeah, we're good. We're good to go. She
  • 4:30
    dropped back to normal position for a dog which is sleeping
  • 4:35
    pretty much
  • 4:39
    she can go pretty long though. We Saturday we left 7am we'd
  • 4:43
    left Fredericksburg to go to Austin. And we weren't back
  • 4:46
    until 330 or something. So she she can go pretty long. We went
  • 4:51
    to I went to my first fashio especially Yes, f e i s fashio
  • 5:00
    I don't know what that is Duke
  • 5:02
    David Foucault's odo de melody and Dame Isabella, we're in at
  • 5:06
    the Austin Irish dance fest, fascia Dabashi, so we went to
  • 5:11
    support de Musa bello protection. You don't need it.
  • 5:16
    Trust me. She won first place. First place I might add. I'm
  • 5:20
    very proud of our of our of our game. But man, this was
  • 5:24
    interesting. That's, you know, this, this is the traditional
  • 5:28
    kind of people would say, oh, that's the river dance, which of
  • 5:30
    course it's not. It's called Irish dance. That was, you know,
  • 5:34
    the outfits and everyone has a wig piled high on their head and
  • 5:40
    then fake eyelashes and it's really interesting. Sport. Oh,
  • 5:46
    it's a sport. Oh, this is no joke. These kids are working
  • 5:51
    hard dance
  • 5:51
    comedy. I guess it is
  • 5:52
    this. Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. Dance sport. Isn't shouldn't dancing
  • 5:56
    be part of the Olympics.
  • 6:00
    They have water dancing. They have ice dancing. That's part of
  • 6:03
    the Olympics.
  • 6:04
    And I remember growing up the Netherlands would always talk
  • 6:06
    about dance sport. They had a big dance culture back in the
  • 6:10
    day and so they would have competitions but never part of
  • 6:12
    the of the Olympics. Weirdly. So anyway, so hopefully let me see.
  • 6:19
    She doesn't look happy. If she gets up again, I will have to
  • 6:23
    enjoy the dog. The dog does not look happy. Yes. Ah, okay. Well,
  • 6:30
    did you watch?
  • 6:32
    No, of course not. I watched here's okay. I tried to watch it
  • 6:35
    was like this. I turn it on. There's, there's Liz Cheney.
  • 6:39
    AgAy. And then Then she's going on and on droning. I might add a
  • 6:44
    perfect word droning. Trump, droning Trump Oh, I can't watch
  • 6:49
    this. I turned it off. 20 minutes later, I turn it back
  • 6:52
    on. There she is, again. Groaning Trump, Trump's a bad
  • 6:56
    guy. We got to do something about it. And he used to be in
  • 7:01
    jail. Trump, and then I and then I gave up and then I turned on
  • 7:06
    the highlights later and there she is, again. What is what this
  • 7:09
    what are they using her as a showpiece? So it is boring as
  • 7:14
    hell.
  • 7:15
    Yeah. So So I I tuned it and of course, more of more interest to
  • 7:20
    me was what the how the mainstream was packed, the M
  • 7:23
    five M was packaging it before and after. And I really just
  • 7:27
    wanted to see what they were doing because of this guy. They
  • 7:29
    brought in former ABC production mogul.
  • 7:34
    Yeah, Epstein guy.
  • 7:36
    Exactly. Well, what was his Epstein connection again?
  • 7:40
    If you remember Mary or Robarge, whatever name is that, that kind
  • 7:45
    of classically, that very interesting look at a woman in
  • 7:48
    the morning. ABC. She had the Epstein story about two years
  • 7:53
    before anyone else. Oh, yeah.
  • 7:55
    He put the kibosh on it right. Yep. And really, I was hoping
  • 8:00
    was the perfect guy for this band. The and the videos were
  • 8:04
    were edited. And they were it was the whole thing was clearly
  • 8:09
    it was it was produced it was well produced for it for what it
  • 8:12
    was, but I realized immediately Oh, no, they didn't do this.
  • 8:17
    Right. They should have had at least someone offering some type
  • 8:22
    of opposition. This is not what the what the television public
  • 8:25
    wants the television public wants to hear from both Amber
  • 8:29
    Heard and Johnny Depp's lawyers. They don't just want to hear
  • 8:32
    from the same side so and I was surprised that the numbers were
  • 8:36
    there, you know, aggregate 12 15 million people there was not not
  • 8:39
    much else to watch on mainstream. So I believe that a
  • 8:42
    lot of people tuned in I bet a lot of Republicans tuned in.
  • 8:46
    That's never mentioned. Although I like how Fox Fox News were
  • 8:51
    like, Oh, we're not going to show it instead they're showing
  • 8:54
    a Tucker was showing an octave box of all other networks live
  • 8:58
    with the same same video, which has not happened before. It
  • 9:02
    certainly happened with Moon landings and it happened with
  • 9:05
    the Jeff Bezos in space everyone practically did that. So I don't
  • 9:10
    think is that unique? But you know, all the all the bars did
  • 9:15
    have it. On Fox Business. Yeah, well, yeah. But they weren't
  • 9:19
    running a lot to network. You can, of course, but it was it
  • 9:23
    was just fun to watch. Well, you'll Fox doesn't even want the
  • 9:25
    viewers to see it. Yeah. Okay. How stupid is everyone think
  • 9:29
    everybody is? And I also tuned in because I wanted to see if I
  • 9:34
    could get the answer. Because it's mentioned so often. What,
  • 9:39
    what does losing our democracy mean? Or what does that look
  • 9:43
    like? I was hoping to get an answer because I know we almost
  • 9:45
    lost it. Huh? Yeah. And now instead, I saw how many this
  • 9:52
    thing was supposedly as bad if not worse than 911 and Pearl
  • 9:57
    Harbor, correct. This is what we've been doing. Oh, wait,
  • 9:59
    wait. Add at any point after
  • 10:02
    Kennedy's death didn't hold a candle to this to this. No, no.
  • 10:07
    At any point in the aftermath of 911 Did you see cops testifying
  • 10:14
    and pretty much shaking about how afraid they were? I mean,
  • 10:20
    are there any,
  • 10:21
    we just had veterans deaths a very interesting observation. We
  • 10:26
    just had veterans
  • 10:27
    a D Day, you know, these guys are 9899 years old. Didn't any
  • 10:31
    of them, you know, cry about what they went through? They
  • 10:35
    talked about how afraid they were. Yeah. But what they said
  • 10:38
    is, screw it. We did what we had to do. No one not like this
  • 10:42
    Capitol Hill police. It's just like, Dude,
  • 10:45
    I mean, you're talking about?
  • 10:48
    Sorry, the woman. What woman
  • 10:51
    to Capitol Hill woman note she testified? She was in tears.
  • 10:55
    Yes, exactly. Oh, scared.
  • 10:58
    Yeah, you don't see that very often. It just though, how can
  • 11:02
    it be? I mean, according looking at the tears, it must have been
  • 11:05
    much worse than nine limb because I didn't see any of that
  • 11:08
    at 911. But to this day. I watched Bill Maher, I didn't
  • 11:15
    clip him. And he was basically bullying Kellyanne Conway into
  • 11:21
    saying, you have to admit it. Trump must not be allowed to run
  • 11:25
    ever again. That's what this is about. Like, yeah, that's what
  • 11:28
    this is about. This is some kind of she was
  • 11:31
    very good on that show. She was badgering both of these. There's
  • 11:34
    some blog useless blogger that nothing to say. And then,
  • 11:38
    yeah, who was that guy? Where did he come from all of a
  • 11:40
    sudden,
  • 11:41
    what a what a casting good word.
  • 11:43
    I think it was it was a podcast. It was a podcast, or actually,
  • 11:46
    it's little worse.
  • 11:47
    blogger and podcaster. Meanwhile, meanwhile, was like
  • 11:52
    he's always been beside himself about this, about Trump in
  • 11:56
    regards to him running again. He's like, I mean, everything
  • 12:00
    else he seems to be pretty level headed about except this and he
  • 12:03
    goes kind of nuts. And she was she was giving him a bad time.
  • 12:07
    She had a smirk on her face. Do you think because he's she's
  • 12:09
    been on the show quite a bit. And he kind of always liked thin
  • 12:13
    blondes. Is that so? Coulter is the best example of him having a
  • 12:19
    crush on one of his guests. And I wonder sometimes because she
  • 12:27
    just looks like she knows something that we're not being
  • 12:30
    told about. And she just hangs in there yet. And she just tells