Defining Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) | NC DPI
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:14
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a strengths-based, developmental process that begins at birth and evolves across the lifespan (Weissberg et al., 2015). It is the process through which children, adolescents, and adults learn skills to support healthy development and relationships. Adult and student social and emotional learning competencies include self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (Weissberg et al., 2015). Research indicates that social and emotional learning promotes academic achievement, well-being, positive life outcomes, decreased teacher burnout and can be a powerful tool for prevention and resilience when embedded with intentionality in curriculum, instruction, and school climate (Durlak et al., 2011; Taylor et al., 2017). Systemic social and emotional learning is one component in a Multi-Tiered System of Support, and it includes school-wide and district-wide integration to promote positive school climate (Berg & Moroney, n.d.) and authentic family, caregiver, youth, and community partnerships (Weissberg et al., 2015).
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) includes the following five competencies (Weissberg et al., 2015):
SEL CompetencyDefinitionVideoSelf-awarenessThe abilities to understand one's own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one's strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose and includes having a growth mindset.Check out this video(PBS Learning Media)
Self-managementThe abilities to manage one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals.Check out this video(PBS Learning Media)
Social awarenessThe abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.Check out this video(PBS Learning Media)
Relationship skillsThe abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.Check out this video(PBS Learning Media)
Responsible decision-makingThe abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacity to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being.Check out this video(PBS Learning Media)
Berg, J., & Moroney, D. (n.d.). Digging deeper into social and emotional learning (SEL): Exploring the Sel Landscape. American Institutes for Research. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.air.org/project/digging-deeper-social-and-emotional-learning-sel-exploring-sel-landscape.Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D. & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1): 405''432.Taylor, R. D., Oberle, E., Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2017). Promoting positive youth development through school-based social and emotional learning interventions: A meta-analysis of follow-up effects. Child Development, 88(4), 1156''1171. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12864 Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Domitrovich, C. E., & Gullotta, T. P. (Eds.). (2015). Social and emotional learning: Past, present, and future. In J. A. Durlak, C. E. Domitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice (pp. 3''19). The Guilford Press.Fact Sheet Download
Social-Emotional Learning: The Dark Side
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:13
Post Views: 32,118
Why would parents and teachers, tired of high-stakes testing in their public schools, wish to sign onto more assessment that tests, tracks, and profiles their child's behavior online?
Good teachers have always built social skills into their classes. Helping children behave and work with each other is second nature to teaching. One can find nice social-emotional learning (SEL) activities.
But now states are setting up SEL standards about what children should think and feel. How does one standardize such things?
I originally noted that @SEL4MA has lovely activities for children. They do. As I look at Twitter now, I see terrific book titles for children and a lovely quote from Mister Rogers, whose upcoming movie I noted on Twitter yesterday.
But I have been informed that they have a dark side of their own. Their website describes their endorsement of Social Impact Bonds and Pay for Success. One teacher told me they are ''like stalkers'' with many for-profit partners and enablers. This is troubling. It is also deceptive. It's easy to see how one can be sucked into the nice activities for children, without realizing what this organization is truly advocating.
Here are the concerns about SEL in general.
SEL is ill-defined, unproven and still connected to Common Core.
There's a mish-mash of psycho-social, neuroscience talk, and programs are not always well-explained to parents, or well-understood. SEL covers so much.
''Core'' is used often, because SEL is connected to Common Core.
Where's the research? The reliance of support is on a 2011 Meta-analysis of eight studies showing students do better academically with SEL activities, but there's nothing to support the pervasive dominance of SEL assessment in schools.
SEL standards involve too much introspection for children.
As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Illinois SEL Standards have been praised for being the first state SEL standards. Some goals sound decent. But forcing children to reflect so much on their actions, thoughts, and feelings is obsessive.
Here's a sampling of what children are to do:
recognize and label their emotions,identify family strengths,record their emotional behavior changes as they transition throughout the day,recognize how others have contributed to their achievement,remember to use ''I'' when speaking,and much more.
If SEL seems like character education it's because it is.
SEL involves grit, soft skills, or character education.
Character education has always been controversial. Both religious and non-religious parents often resent it.
Even Angela Duckworth, the ''grit'' queen, grew concerned about measuring character traits, calling it a ''bad idea.''
SEL and psychological profiling.
SEL assessments for parents, children, and teachers ask personal questions. What right do adults have to scrutinize a child's thoughts and feelings for data? These aren't merely interest inventories.
The assessments seem designed for school psychologists for when children have difficulties in school. Why do all children require such serious assessment? Most children come to school ready to learn and without major behavioral problems.
Here's a list from Edutopia of some of the assessments:
Devereux Early Childhood Assessment, Second Edition (For PreK).Devereux Student Strengths AssessmentSocial-Emotional Assets and Resilience Scale (SEARS)Social Skills Improvement System Rating ScalesBehavioral and Emotional Rating ScaleTracking children's behavior with SEL
What happens if the student has a bad year? What if their parents divorce in 5th grade and they have problems then, but they've adjusted by 8th grade? Will their behavior from 5th grade haunt them forever? Where will that information be when the student applies for college?
There was a reason schools kept a student's record in a locked filing cabinet.
SEL's emphasis on self-control.
SEL involves an emphasis on self-control. How much self-control is too much? Is developmental age considered? Certain behaviors are normal for young children.
SEL and students with disabilities and gifted students.
How will learning difficulties of students with disabilities be reflected in the assessments? Students with autism and gifted students, for example, might start out with problematic behavior in school, but make great gains.
SEL and student trauma.
Children experiencing trauma, or problems that cause them difficulties in school, need counselors, school psychologists, and social workers to address their needs.
SEL and technology.
Many worry that in order for technology to work without teachers, children need to be better behaved and teach each other. Is that why SEL has become so important?
Technology is also be used to monitor and teach the SEL behaviors.
SEL's increasing focus on mindfulness.
Some meditation might be calming. Too much should raise concerns.
Ingrid Wickelgren, wrote in Scientific American, ''How Social and Emotional Learning Could Harm Our Kids.'' She is critical of MindUP, a Buddhist-style mindfulness program focusing on pleasurable feelings. The program is by actor Goldie Hawn.
Non-judgmental awareness might cause a child to be unable to determine between right and wrong. They might accept life's difficulties instead of rejecting problems.
SEL and mental health.
SEL is about specifically monitoring the emotional behavior of all children.
If teachers focus on an abundance of data on every child, they might miss, or have little time, to address the child who really has problems.
SEL is about raising test scores.
Most of what SEL advocates, involves the goal of getting children to improve their behavior so they will do better on high-stakes academic testing. This seems disingenuous.
SEL and Social Impact Bonds and Pay for Success
School districts are encouraged to use SIBs or Pay for Success to fund programs. Schools get money for students based on their social and emotional skills. Upon student improvement, companies get back their contribution with a profit.
For example, SEL is listed in the U.S. Department of Education (DeVos) Pay for Success Feasibility Tool Kit: Considerations for State and Local Leaders to increase kindergarten readiness (p.6).
SEL is a field day for nonprofits.
There's a glut of groups setting up unproven businesses promising to address SEL in schools. It's an unaccountable moneymaker.
Here the nonprofit Playworks (I've written about them before) jumps on the SEL bandwagon. They advertise recess. But this is not recess. It's organized play by adults. It's privatization of P.E.
Why does recess have to be outsourced anyway?
SEL is insulting to parents.
Most parents teach their children well when it comes to behavior. Children come to school curious and eager to learn and they have good behavior.
Why are scholars and politicians making it seem otherwise?
Childhood should be a carefree time, where children learn and play in ways that are developmentally appropriate.
Also, parents and teachers are tired of academic standards like Common Core and high-stakes testing. Trying to increase high-stakes standards involving a child's feelings seems not only ill-advised but dubious.
Nancy Bailey. ''New Social Emotional Standards to Complement Common Core.'' Nancy Bailey's Education Website. August 6, 2016.
Jane Robbins ''The Latest Big Education Fad, Social Emotional Learning, Is As Bad As It Sounds.'' Townhall. August 8, 2016.
Kathleen Casper. ''Danger in a Can: Why Canned Social-Emotional Skills Programs in Schools Can Harm Gifted Students More Than Help Them.'' Jan. 26, 2017.
Emily Talmage. ''The Real Reason Your Child is being Psychologically Profiled at School.'' Save Maine Schools. July 14, 2017.
Larry Ferlazzo. ''Let Them Eat Character.'' Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day'....'' February 16, 2017.
What causes depression? New study on depression, chemical imbalance - Deseret News
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:13
Millions of Americans take antidepressants, but a new study suggests the theory underpinning their use may be entirely wrong. Research from the University College London raises doubt that chemical imbalance in the brain is responsible for depression.
A major review of previous studies on serotonin's role in depression, just published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, concluded that serotonin level '-- the target of antidepressants '-- is not responsible for depression.
The researchers found ''no support for the hypothesis that depression is caused by lowered serotonin activity or concentrations.''
They found stronger evidence that stressful life events can lead to depression.
The question is, do antidepressants help, and if so, how? If not, could they be doing harm?
Experts are divided and the study has drawn some pushback.
''Some of the studies in our overview that included people who were taking or had previously taken antidepressants showed evidence that antidepressants may actually lower the concentration or activity of serotonin,'' according to an article in The Conversation by the study's authors, Joanna Moncrieff, professor of psychiatry, and Mark Horowitz, clinical research fellow in psychiatry, both of University College London.
''Most antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which were originally said to work by correcting abnormally low serotonin levels. There is no other accepted pharmacological mechanism by which antidepressants affect the symptoms of depression,'' the researchers said in a news release.
The research suggests depression is not biochemical and questions how, given that, a biochemical solution would work. Horowitz and Moncrieff also question whether that kind of treatment, which acts on brain chemistry, does more harm than good.
''Our view is that patients should not be told that depression is caused by low serotonin or by a chemical imbalance, and they should not be led to believe that antidepressants work by targeting these unproven abnormalities. We do not understand what antidepressants are doing to the brain exactly, and giving people this sort of misinformation prevents them from making an informed decision about whether to take antidepressants or not,'' Moncrieff said.
Targeting serotoninThe ''chemical imbalance'' theory has dominated the thinking about depression for several decades, according to the researchers.
''It is always difficult to prove a negative, but I think we can safely say that after a vast amount of research conducted over several decades, there is no convincing evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities, particularly by lower levels or reduced activity of serotonin,'' Moncrieff said.
In the United States between 2015 and 2018, 13.9% of adults took antidepressants for depression, according to the National Center for Health Statistics in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As many as 1 in 6 adults in England are now prescribed antidepressants every year, according to the study.
''I had been taught that depression was caused by low serotonin in my psychiatry training and had even taught this to students in my own lectures. Being involved in this research was eye-opening and feels like everything I thought I knew has been flipped upside down,'' said Horowitz in background material.
As Mike McRae wrote for ScienceAlert, ''This doesn't necessarily mean serotonin-based treatments aren't working on some other mechanism we don't yet understand. And no one should consider ditching their meds without consulting their doctors. But given so many people are relying on these drugs, it is important to figure out what's really going on.''
Study nuts and boltsIn all, studies in the review included tens of thousands of participants. Among the serotonin mechanisms studied and the findings:
No difference was seen between people with depression and healthy control subjects in levels of serotonin and breakdown products in the blood or brain fluids.In studies of serotonin receptors and the serotonin transporter protein most antidepressants target, they found ''weak and inconsistent evidence'' suggesting higher levels of serotonin activity in those who are depressed. They believe that was caused by use of antidepressants.Studies that lowered serotonin levels in hundreds of healthy volunteers did not produce depression. The researchers saw ''very weak evidence'' in a small 75-person subgroup of people with a family history of depression. A study after that was inconclusive.No evidence of variation in the serotonin transporter gene was found between those with depression and healthy control subjects. On the other hand, stressful life events had a ''strong effect'' on the risk of becoming depressed. And the more one experienced stress or trauma, the greater the likelihood of depression.
''A famous early study found a relationship between stressful events, the type of serotonin transporter gene a person had and the chance of depression. But larger, more comprehensive studies suggest this was a false finding,'' the release said.
In the piece from The Conversation, Moncrieff and Horowitz wrote, ''It is important that people know that the idea that depression results from a 'chemical imbalance' is hypothetical. And we do not understand what temporarily elevating serotonin or other biochemical changes produced by antidepressants do to the brain. We conclude that it is impossible to say that taking SSRI antidepressants is worthwhile, or even completely safe.''
Public perceptionSurveys suggest as many as 90% of people believe depression is caused by low serotonin or chemical imbalance. There's evidence believing that creates a ''pessimistic outlook on the likelihood of recovery'' and the hope of managing depression without medical help, the study said.
Doubts about brain chemistry's role in depression have been around a while.
''If you're among those who are hearing all of this for the first time, the hypothesis has been on shaky ground practically since it took off in the 1990s, with study after study failing to support the idea,'' wrote ScienceAlert's McRae. He noted the Moncrieff and Horowitz limited their research to high-quality, peer-evaluated studies.
''Just 17 studies made the cut, which included a genetic association study, another umbrella review, and a dozen systematic reviews and meta-analyses,'' he wrote.
The impact is huge, given most people will have diagnosable levels of anxiety or depression at some point, the researchers said.
The researchers also said one large meta-analysis found people using antidepressants had less serotonin in their blood, which could mean that antidepressants designed to raise levels of serotonin may do the opposite over time.
The researchers note they didn't look at the efficacy of antidepressants. Their hope, they said, is that more research and treatment will focus on helping people manage stressful or traumatic events, ''such as with psychotherapy, alongside other practices such as exercise or mindfulness, or addressing underlying contributors such as poverty, stress and loneliness.''
Some experts disagreeThe research has attracted some pushback.
The Guardian quoted Dr. Michael Bloomfield, a consultant psychiatrist and principal clinical research fellow at University College London, who was not involved in the study: ''Many of us know that taking paracetamol can be helpful for headaches, and I don't think anyone believes that headaches are caused by not enough paracetamol in the brain. The same logic applies to depression and medicines used to treat depression.''
He added, ''There is consistent evidence that antidepressant medicines can be helpful in the treatment of depression and can be life-saving.''
Johan Lundberg at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden told New Scientist that one limitation of the study is failure to distinguish between those with long-term depression and those having episodes of depression, because their state during the study could be different in terms of serotonin. ''It is key to separately analyze data from studies that examine the same patients when ill and when in remission, to have optimal conditions to examine the hypothesis,'' he said.
The same article quoted a spokesperson for the Royal College of Psychiatrists who was talking about treatment guidelines from public health officials in England, who said antidepressants are an effective treatment for depression and some other physical and mental health conditions.
The spokesperson noted that ''antidepressants will vary in effectiveness for different people, and the reasons for this are complex. We would not recommend for anyone to stop taking their antidepressants based on this review, and encourage anyone with concerns about their medication to contact their (family doctor).''
Remote workers spend over an hour proving they're really working: survey | Fortune
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:10
A vastly improved search engine helps you find the latest on companies, business leaders, and news more easily.
First bugs, now people? - The Donald - America First | Patriots Win
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:04
Welcome to The Donald!Welcome to the forum of choice for President Donald J. Trump!
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Birx Says COVID-19 Vaccines Were Never 'Going to Protect Against Infection'
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:04
One of the former U.S. officials who led the COVID-19 response during the Trump administration said July 22 that COVID-19 vaccines were not expected to protect against infection.
''I knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection. And I think we overplayed the vaccines. And it made people then worry that it's not going to protect against severe disease and hospitalization,'' Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, said during an appearance on Fox News.
The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use authorization in late 2020 to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, and were promoted by many health officials, including Birx.
''This is one of the most highly-effective vaccines we have in our infectious disease arsenal. And so that's why I'm very enthusiastic about the vaccine,'' Birx said on an ABC podcast at the time.
She made no mention of concerns the vaccines might not protect against infection.
Data shows the vaccines did prevent infection from early strains of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, but that the protection waned over time. The vaccines have proven increasingly unable to shield even shortly after administration, and provide little protection against the Omicron virus variant and its subvariants.
The vaccines continue to protect against severe disease and hospitalization, Birx said on Friday. ''But let's be very clear'--50 percent of the people who died from the Omicron surge were older, vaccinated,'' she said.
''So, that's why I'm saying, even if you're vaccinated and boosted if you're unvaccinated, right now, the key is testing and Paxlovid,'' she added.
Paxlovid is a COVID-19 pill produced by Pfizer that has had uneven results in clinical trials and studies, but is recommended by U.S. health authorities for both unvaccinated and vaccinated COVID-19 patients to prevent progression to severe disease.
President Joe Biden, who tested positive this week, was prescribed Paxlovid by his doctor.
There are signs the protection from vaccines against severe illness is also dropping quickly as new strains emerge.
That protection was just 51 percent against emergency department or urgent care visits, and dropped to just 12 percent after five months, according to a recent study. Against hospitalization, protection went from 57 percent to 24 percent. A booster increased protection but the shielding quickly dropped to substandard levels.
FauciDr. Anthony Fauci also helped lead the U.S. pandemic response along with Birx and once said that vaccinated people would not get infected.
''What was true two years ago, a year and a half ago, changes because the original ancestral strain did not at all have the transmission capability that we're dealing with with the omicron sublineages, particularly BA. 5. So the vaccine does protect some people, not 95 percent, from getting infected, from getting symptoms, and getting severe disease. It does a much better job at protecting a high percentage of people from progressing from severe disease,'' Fauci said on Fox.
He said that vaccines with updated compilations, which are expected to debut in the fall, are necessary.
''We need vaccines that are better. That are better because of the breadth and the durability, because we know that immunity wanes over several months. And that's the reason why we have boosters,'' he said. ''But also, we need vaccines that protect against infection.''
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
Nielsen says 17.7 million watched Thursday's Jan. 6 hearing - ABC News
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:01
An estimated 17.7 million people watched Thursday's second prime-time hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol
NEW YORK -- An estimated 17.7 million viewers watched Thursday night's hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The Nielsen Company said that is second to the 20 million who saw the first committee hearing on June 9, the only other one of the eight sessions held in prime time.
Ten networks aired this past week's hearing live, down from the 11 that showed the June 9 session. The conservative network Newsmax dropped out this time.
The six daytime hearings average 11.2 million viewers, with a peak audience of 13.2 million on June 28, when ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about former President Donald Trump's behavior.
An estimated 13.6 million of Thursday's viewers, or 77 percent, were age 55 and older, Nielsen said. Only 705,000 viewers were 18 to 34.
MSNBC said the 4.7 million people who watched its coverage represented the network's biggest prime-time audience since the night of the event that the committee is investigating.
Public hearings are expected to resume in September.
Combined Virus Swabs Would Better Detect Omicron, 2 Papers Suggest - The New York Times
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 14:03
The papers, which have not yet been published in scientific journals, suggest that testing just a single type of sample is likely to miss a large share of infections.
Administering a throat swab at a drive-in coronavirus testing center in Los Angeles in 2020. Credit... Mario Tama/Getty Images People with coronavirus infections of the Omicron variant often have significantly different viral levels in their noses, throats and saliva, and testing just a single type of sample is likely to miss a large share of infections, according to two new papers, which analyzed Omicron infections over time in a small number of people.
The papers, which have not yet been published in scientific journals, suggest that coronavirus tests that analyze both nasal and throat swabs would pick up more Omicron infections than those that rely on just a nasal swab. Although these combined tests are common in other countries, including Britain, none are yet authorized in the United States.
''You could get a lot more bang for your buck if you use these mixed specimen types,'' said Rustem Ismagilov, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology and the senior author of both papers. But in the United States, he said, ''we are stuck with nobody doing it.''
Both papers are based on data collected during a study of household coronavirus transmission conducted in the Los Angeles area between Nov. 23 and March 1, when Omicron was spreading rapidly. In total, 228 people from 56 households participated.
Every day for about two weeks, each participant collected nasal and throat swabs, as well as a saliva sample. The researchers performed P.C.R. testing and calculated the viral load, or level, in each specimen.
The first paper focuses on 14 people who enrolled in the study before or at the same time that their infections began, allowing the researchers to capture the earliest stage of infection.
This group of participants provided a total of 260 nasal swabs, 260 throat swabs and 260 saliva samples over the course of their infections, allowing the scientists to make multiple comparisons between the amount of virus in different specimens and people at different times.
The researchers found significant differences in the viral load of different sample types from the same individuals.
In most participants, the virus was detectable in saliva or throat swabs before it was detectable in nasal swabs. ''You can have very high, presumably infectious, viral loads in throat or saliva before nasal swabs,'' said Alexander Viloria Winnett, a graduate student at Caltech and an author of the paper.
(Other studies, including one conducted by the Caltech team in late 2020 and early 2021, have also found that coronavirus levels tend to rise in saliva before the nose. ''So, that feature at least doesn't seem to be specific to Omicron,'' Mr. Viloria Winnett said.)
But later, when the viral load did spike in the nose, it rose to higher levels, on average, than in either of the oral samples, the researchers found.
Even then, however, there was significant variability. For instance, one woman had sky-high levels of virus in her throat throughout her infection, while the viral levels in her nose repeatedly flipped back and forth between detectable and undetectable over the course of more than a week. On the other hand, another participant had consistently higher viral loads in his nose than in his throat or saliva, even from the earliest days of his infection.
Because of this variation, during the first four days of infection, ''no single specimen type'' will reliably catch more than 90 percent of infections, even with a highly sensitive P.C.R. test, the data suggests.
Focusing on a single sample type means ''really missing out on a large part of the picture,'' said Reid Akana, a graduate student at Caltech and an author of the study.
Overall, the patterns in the viral loads in the nasal and throat swabs were more dissimilar than any other specimen comparison. Whether people are using P.C.R. or antigen tests, during the first four days of infection, testing both of those sites at the same time would detect significantly more infections than either alone, the data suggests.
In the second paper, the researchers assessed the performance of the Quidel QuickVue At-Home antigen test, which uses a nasal swab, in a subset of 17 participants who enrolled in the study early in the course of their infections. All of the participants took daily antigen tests, in addition to providing daily nose, throat and saliva samples.
The researchers found that even when people had viral loads high enough to be considered infectious in at least one type of specimen, the antigen tests were positive just 63 percent of the time '-- a performance gap that they attribute to the fact that the tests only measure the virus in the nose, when people might have high viral loads elsewhere.
Test manufacturers will need to make sure that tests designed for the nose still work in the throat, the scientists said; it's possible that some may not, they cautioned. But they urged companies and regulators to prioritize this research.
''If they can validate their existing tests with a combination swab, we could be catching so many more infections than we are now,'' said Natasha Shelby, the study administrator, who is also an author on both papers.
The case for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty - from an island nation in peril
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:34
The case for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty - from an island nation in peril
By Simon Kofe July 21, 2022 '-- 5.00am
I was among politicians and national leaders from across the Pacific who gathered for the first time in three years to emphasise the importance of fighting the climate crisis and the necessity of declaring a climate emergency. The need to eliminate fossil fuels has become even more critical to our continued existence and at the Pacific Islands Forum we set a strong set of collective priorities as we move closer to the next United Nations climate summit to be held in Egypt,
But the case is increasingly urgent for a mechanism to address the supply side of the problem, in the form of a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.
Tuvalu Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Kofe addressing COP26 standing in the rising seas threatening his island nation. Credit: AFP
When the world adopted the Paris Agreement in December 2015, it was a huge step in spurring climate action after decades of idling. The world finally had a singular agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in pursuit of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees and to keeping it ''well below'' 2 degrees above pre-industrial times.
Yet governments are planning to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels consistent with a 1.5-degree trajectory by 2030, and 10 per cent more than their own climate pledges.
In just the past decade, 86 per cent of CO2 emissions have been caused by oil, gas and coal, according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
What we're seeing is that fossil fuel supply is now driving demand, so without tackling the supply-side of the equation it will be impossible to meet our Paris goals. We're seeing a need to first break our dependence on fossil-fuel production through a phase-out and economic diversification measures.
Currently, our focus on limiting merely fossil fuel emissions '' and not fossil fuel production ''has allowed countries and companies to claim climate leadership even as they support new coal, oil and gas projects, directly or indirectly. In the months since the last COP climate summit, we've seen the British give the green light to several fossil fuel projects, the US hold its largest oil and gas sale in history and Canada approve a $12 billion offshore oil plan.
Just last week, Pacific leaders welcomed and fully supported Australia's renewed commitment to the forum's climate change priorities. However, the new Australian government must do more to align itself with the rest of the Pacific family, and we are confident it realises this. Movement must be made away from the expansion of coal and gas production if we are to remain in alignment with Paris commitments, regional efforts and our stated goal of overcoming the single greatest existential threat to our region's security and prosperity.
We need both domestic action and international co-operation to explicitly stop the expansion of fossil fuel emissions and production to fulfil the aims of the Paris Agreement. While that agreement set the benchmark for international climate action through its global temperature goal, a mechanism such as a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty would focus on implementing the goals of the Paris Agreement by tackling the biggest contributor to climate change '' fossil fuels '' at their source.
Funafuti, the main island of the nation state of Tuvalu. Credit: AP
The world has seen treaties deliver when it has needed to manage, restrict or phase out dangerous products, including weapons of mass destruction, ozone depleting substances and tobacco. Today, we see oil and gas are fuelling war in Ukraine and elsewhere, and are a paramount danger, which demands that world governments rally behind a non-proliferation treaty.
Getting our governments to sign onto a treaty will be no small task. But we need a clear pathway for a just transition and a mechanism to hold governments to account for the production of fossil fuels.
Our region sees the real impacts of the crisis on our shores every day. This is for the sake of our homes and communities and for the planet, today and for generations to come.
Simon Kofe is Tuvalu's Minister of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs.
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The huge impact of private jets '' The Earthbound Report
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:31
A mile down the road from my house is Luton Airport, currently Britain's fifth largest airport. When it comes to private jets however, it's number one '' or at least it was pre-pandemic. More private jets come and go from Luton than from any other UK airport, with Harrods Aviation and Signature both based there.
Luton Airport plans to expand using a mechanism called Green Controlled Growth, which I've written about elsewhere. But private aviation cannot be squared with any kind of sustainability goals. Private planes have an enormous climate impact.
Not all flights are equal, as Real World Visuals explain. A 747 flight from London to New York creates 200 tonnes of CO2. If that is divided between all the passengers, that's 572kg each. Except that business class and first class passengers use more space, and are therefore less efficient and more polluting. A first class ticket on the same plane uses 2,835kg '' and why some have suggested ending first class as a quick-win way to reduce aviation emissions.
The emissions from first class seats are knocked into a top hat by the emissions of private planes. Take your own jet to New York, and you're looking at over 25 tonnes of CO2.
A global fair share carbon footprint, as a reminder, is around 2.3 tonnes per year. That's what we should all aspire to, each, if we were to pursue an equitable world at 1.5 degrees of warming or less. So one transatlantic flight in a private plane hoovers up a decade's worth of fair carbon.
Or to put a global justice spin on things, average carbon footprints in Haiti are around 0.26 tonnes a year. Taking a private jet, just once, has roughly the same impact on the planet as 100 Haitians do in a year.
This is why climate action needs to start with the rich. It's why aviation campaigns ought to start with private planes, and among the several dozen reasons why Boris Johnson needs to sort himself out. It's why we should take Bill Gates' advice on the climate with a pinch of salt, when his private plane habits emit an estimated 7,400 tonnes of CO2 every year. And it's why Luton Airport needs to choose whether it wants to be sustainable, or whether it wants to serve the billionaires.
'Sex is NOT limited to male or female': Fury over WHO woke guidance which 'dismisses basic biology' | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:21
Sex is 'not limited' to being male or female, the World Health Organization (WHO) will say in new guidance.
The WHO, an international authority on all things health, said it was 'going beyond' the use of binary terms to 'recognise gender and sexual diversity'.
But experts called the move a 'dismissal of basic biology' and could lead to medical advice being de-sexed and over-complicated.
The change will be to gender guidance originally published in 2011 and is used by public health officials.
It is not clear exactly what the WHO's new advice will say, but the agency explained its rationale for the change on its website.
WHO said its guidance would go 'beyond non-binary approaches to gender and health to recognise gender and sexual diversity or the concepts that gender identity exists on a continuum and that sex is not limited to male or female'.
The global health body risks wading into a wider row about gender-neutral health advice.
Experts today criticised new woke World Health Organization guidance hinting at there being more than two sexes as 'unscientific' and that it could open the door to language changes that will disadvantage women and girls
The WHO guidance review (pictured) states that sex 'is not limited to male or female'
Professor Jenny Gamble, a midwifery expert from Coventry University, described the WHO's change as 'problematic'.
'It is a dismissal of basic biology '-- and mistake,' she told MailOnline. 'Biology is a key determinant of health and illness.
'Not being clear about basic biology opens the door to a range of problems, including very poor health communication but also distorted data.'
What is the difference between sex and gender? Sex, as defined by the Government, refers to the biological aspects of an individual as determined by their anatomy.
This anatomy is produced by their chromosomes and hormones.
There are two universally accepted sexes, male and female.
For example, males (XY chromosomes) are born with a penis and testes and females (XX chromosomes) are born with a vagina.
There are some cases where children are born with attributes of both sexes, such as being born with a womb and testicles.
These are called differences in sex development or being intersex.
Gender, on the other hand, is defined by the Government as a social construct.
This relates to the behaviours and features generally attributed to either men or to women.
A person's gender identity is how they perceive their own gender.
For most people this aligns with their sex.
However, some people do not feel their gender matches their sex, this is called gender dysphoria.
Dr Karleen Gribble, an expert in nursing and midwifery from Western Sydney University, told MailOnline the WHO's announcement was unscientific.
'The wording regarding there being more than male and female sexes is concerning,' she said.
'The website says that the handbook is being updated "in light of new scientific evidence and conceptual progress on gender, health and development".
'However, there is no new scientific evidence suggesting there are more than two sexes.
'Rather, the idea that there are more than two sexes, is a postmodern, unscientific understanding that should not be supported by the WHO.'
The UK donated about £114million to the WHO in 2020-2021, and is listed as the organisation's top voluntary funding contributor for that year.
A person's sex is determined by their biological traits.
Gender represents how someone feels about their identity, meaning there can be mismatch with a person's sex, as occurs in cases of gender dysphoria.
The NHS is currently caught up in controversy about de-sexing health advice after a series of revelations by MailOnline.
This website found the health service had removed the terms 'woman' and 'women' from its womb cancer, ovarian cancer and menopause pages as well as replacing the term 'breastfeeding' with 'chestfeeding' in advice for trans parents.
There have also been concerns about women losing access to single-sex spaces like bathrooms and hospital wards as a result of blurring the definition of a woman.
However, Dr Gribble said the WHO may be updating its guidance to be more inclusive to intersex people, who are born with biological characteristics of the two sexes.
But she said this could come across 'inaccurate and stigmatising'.
She is also concerned about the body's focus on gender identity rather than the health inequality women and girls suffer around the world.
'If this occurs, this will almost certainly dilute focus on the severe health disadvantage that women and girls face in many countries because they are female which can only be a bad thing,' she said.
'Many of us who work internationally in maternal and child health are very concerned about the push to desex language spilling over into UN organisations like WHO and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.'
The WHO guidance is for public health managers and in the UK these experts generally work in local government but some are also employed by the NHS and Government.
They can take on a wide variety of responsibilities, such as emergency planning for events like heatwaves or pandemics, or public health messaging like stop smoking campaigns.
The WHO's guidance review is currently in a gathering feedback stage, with the final version due to be rolled out sometime next month. The body was contacted for comment.
BBC's 'vaccine expert' just happens to be in charge of Pfizer's Vaccine Centre
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:17
22 July update: Full summary of concerns after watching the programme
21 July 2022 Update. Note: this article was originally published several days before the BBC documentary "Unvaccinated" was screened on 20 July 2022. It was in response to the Daily Mail article about the programme. Having watched the programme it was every bit as biased as expected and there is a lot more to say about it; so I will be updating with a new article. I have, however, removed the word 'independent' from the title of this article since there was no explicit claim in the programme that the experts used were 'independent'. However, neither the participants nor the viewers were told of the crucial Pfizer links of these experts. This was an appalling omission by the BBC. Moreover, when speaking about the US pharma companies Pfizer and Moderna in the programme Prof Adam Finn stated that he 'acted as a buffer between them and the public' implying some kind of independent role). This is a remarkable statement given his position explained below.
18 July Update: Now updated below to show that, additionally, their 'vaccine is safe' for pregnant women 'expert' just happens to be the PI of the Pfizer Covid vaccine in preganancy trial.
As I reported in this previous post the BBC is screening a documentary on 20 July in which mathematician Prof Hannah Fry - with the help of 'experts' - attempts to convince 7 members of the public (who have so far refused) to take the Covid vaccine. As I pointed out the BBC (in the publicity for the programme) already signposted the likely extreme bias in the programme by massive underestimating the number of unvaccinated people in the UK, hence trying to present such people as a tiny extreme fringe.
This newspaper article about the Programme unwittingly provides more evidence of just how biased the programme is going to be. To give just one example, we have this:
As for concerns about how exactly the jab works, the group travelled to meet Professor Adam Finn, a paediatrician from the University of Bristol who has been instrumental in Covid vaccine research. So who exactly is Prof Finn? He just happens to be the leader of the Pfizer Centre of Excellence for Epidemiology of Vaccine-preventable Diseases - set up with an initial £4.6 million investment in May 2021:
And now we have this from the article
''To address concerns about fertility, Prof Fry introduces Chanelle and Naomi '' both concerned about female fertility '' to Asma Khalil, a professor of obstetrics and maternal-foetal medicine at St George's University Hospital in London, who has conducted research into the effect of the jab on pregnant women. Her latest review, looking at the outcomes of nearly 120,000 jabbed pregnant women, concluded that vaccination in pregnancy was safe.'' Yet:
And as long ago as 2015 Asma Khalil declared the following conflicts of interest as a member of the NICE Quality Standards Committee:
It is also important to note that the review "of nearly 120,000 jabbed pregnant women" is actually a meta-analysis of what appears to be cherry-picked studies (many of which have obvious biases and flaws).
But that's not all regarding Asma Khalil. It turns out the she was a participant in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded simulation "Preparing for Disease X: Ensuring Vaccine Equity for Pregnant Women in Future Pandemics" - the results of which are reported in this paper that she co-authored:
Well here is the funding and COI statement at the end of that paper.
Note that there is no declaration by AK. This requires an explanation. Nor does AK declare any COI's in her other recent publications.
Ivermectin Does Not Reduce Risk of Covid Hospitalization, Large Study Finds - The New York Times
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:13
''At some point it will become a waste of resources to continue studying an unpromising approach,'' one expert said.
A new study, which looked at more than 1,300 people infected with the coronavirus, effectively ruled out ivermectin as a useful treatment for Covid, the researchers said. Credit... Mike Stewart/Associated Press Published March 30, 2022 Updated April 1, 2022
The anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, which has surged in popularity as an alternative treatment for Covid-19 despite a lack of strong research to back it up, showed no sign of alleviating the disease, according to results of a large clinical trial published on Wednesday.
The study, which compared more than 1,300 people infected with the coronavirus in Brazil who received either ivermectin or a placebo, effectively ruled out the drug as a treatment for Covid, the study's authors said.
''There's really no sign of any benefit,'' said Dr. David Boulware, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota.
The researchers shared a summary of these results in August during an online presentation hosted by the National Institutes of Health, but the full data set had not been published until now in The New England Journal of Medicine.
''Now that people can dive into the details and the data, hopefully that will steer the majority of doctors away from ivermectin towards other therapies,'' Dr. Boulware said.
For decades, ivermectin has been widely used to treat parasitic infections. Early in the pandemic, when researchers were trying thousands of old drugs against Covid-19, laboratory experiments on cells suggested that ivermectin might block the coronavirus.
At the time, skeptics pointed out that the experiments worked thanks to high concentrations of the drug '-- far beyond safe levels for people. Nevertheless, some doctors began prescribing ivermectin for Covid-19, despite a warning from the Food and Drug Administration that it was not approved for such use.
Around the world, researchers carried out small clinical trials to see if the drug treated the disease. In December 2020, Andrew Hill, a virologist at the University of Liverpool in England, reviewed the results of 23 trials and concluded that ivermectin appeared to significantly lower the risk of death from Covid-19.
If larger trials confirmed those findings, Dr. Hill said in a presentation at the time, ''this really is going to be a transformative treatment.''
Ivermectin's popularity continued to climb in the pandemic's second year. The podcaster Joe Rogan promoted it repeatedly on his shows. In a single week in August, U.S. insurance companies spent $2.4 million paying for ivermectin treatments
But not long after Dr. Hill published his review last summer, reports surfaced that many of the studies he included in the analysis were flawed and, in at least one case, alleged to be fraudulent. Dr. Hill retracted his original study and started a new one, which he published in January.
On their second review, Dr. Hill and his colleagues focused on the studies least likely to be biased. In that stricter survey, ivermectin's benefit vanished.
Still, even the best studies on ivermectin and Covid were small, with a few hundred volunteers at most. Small studies can be vulnerable to statistical flukes that suggest positive effects where none actually exist. But larger studies on ivermectin were underway at the time, and those promised to be more rigorous.
In Brazil, researchers set up a clinical trial known as TOGETHER in June 2020 to test Covid patients with a number of widely used drugs, including ivermectin. The treatments were double-blinded, meaning that neither the patients nor their medical staff knew whether they received a Covid treatment drug or a placebo.
In one round of the trial, the researchers found promising evidence that an antidepressant drug called fluvoxamine reduced the need for hospitalization by one-third. The researchers published their results in October in The Lancet Global Health.
In a new study published on Wednesday, the TOGETHER team reported on its ivermectin data. Between March and August 2021, the researchers provided the drug to 679 patients over the course of three days.
The results were clear: Taking ivermectin did not reduce a Covid patient's risk of ending up in the hospital.
The researchers zeroed in on different groups of volunteers to see if they experienced benefits that others didn't. For example, it might be possible that ivermectin only worked if taken early in an infection. But volunteers who took ivermectin in the first three days after the onset of Covid symptoms turned out to have worse outcomes than did those in the placebo group.
Dr. Hill was impressed with the results. ''They have run a high-quality, placebo-controlled trial,'' he said. He also expressed impatience with the New England Journal of Medicine for taking months to publish the results: ''I don't understand the delay with this trial from NEJM.''
Julia Morin, a spokeswoman for the journal, declined to comment on the delay. ''We don't comment on the editorial process, as it's confidential,'' she said in an email.
Dr. Hill has run his analysis of ivermectin studies again, this time including the new data from the TOGETHER trial. All told, his analysis included more than 5,000 people. And once more, he saw no benefit from ivermectin.
Still, there are several ongoing randomized trials of ivermectin, with thousands of volunteers, that have yet to share their results. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which is part of the N.I.H., has for more than a year been running one closely watched trial of ivermectin and several other drugs for Covid patients. But it has yet to release results.
Dr. Sarah Dunsmore, a program director in the clinical innovations division at NCATS, said that researchers were analyzing the first batch of results on ivermectin and would release them in two to three months.
Dr. Boulware doubted that the additional trials would come to a different conclusion, since the TOGETHER trial was so large and carefully designed. ''Rarely would you expect to find something different,'' he said.
Dr. Paul Sax, an infectious-disease expert at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who was not involved in the TOGETHER trial, shared Dr. Boulware's view.
''I welcome the results of the other clinical trials and will view them with an open mind, but at some point it will become a waste of resources to continue studying an unpromising approach,'' he said.
Intelligence Committee members warn US of bioweapons targeting DNA of individual Americans | Fox News
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:12
NEW You can now listen to Fox News articles!
A member of the House Intelligence Committee warned Americans to stay away from DNA testing services as the information could be used to develop bioweapons targeting specific groups of Americans or even individuals.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., made the comments during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Friday, saying many Americans are far too willing to give up their DNA information to private companies.
"You can't have a discussion about this without talking about privacy and the protection of commercial data because expectations of privacy have degraded over the last 20 years," Crow said "Young folks actually have very little expectation of privacy, that's what the polling and the data show."
"People will very rapidly spit into a cup and send it to 23andMe and get really interesting data about their background," he added.
CHINA 'TRYING TO STUDY' RUSSIA'S FAILURES; CIA DIRECTOR 'WOULDN'T RULE OUT' NEAR-TERM TAIWAN INVASION
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., speaks to members of the media during a news conference on Capitol Hill (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades) (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)
Crow, a former Army Ranger, then argued that once a person's DNA is gathered by a private company, that company can then sell it. 23andMe has denied ever selling the private information it gathers from customers.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also attended the forum and added that U.S. adversaries could use the same technology to target livestock and crops to induce famine.
The warnings from Crow and Ernst came the same day that they raised alarms over the availability of cheap, military-capable drones, as well as China and Russia's expanding use of AI.
RUSSIA'S CLAIM ON US AND UKRAINE BIOLABS 'ABUSRD,' 'UNTRUE': US DEFENSE OFFICIAL
Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, listens during a Republican news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Al Drago/Bloomberg) (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The U.S. and its adversaries are researching ways to pair drone and AI technology to create "swarms" of up to 200 drones that can rapidly traverse the battlefield.
"It's not just the one-offs that are being purchased on the internet, but now we have near-peer adversaries that are developing swarm technology where they can use 100 or 200 different drones '-- highly, highly evolved drones that can attack our service members on the battlefield," Ernst said.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Crow added that U.S. research into drone technology must also take moral and ethical considerations into account, something he acknowledges many U.S. adversaries are not concerned with.
Consultation on transitional arrangements for edible insects in Great Britain | Food Standards Agency
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 13:06
This consultation will be of most interest to:IndustryEnforcement authoritiesConsumersOther interested stakeholders with an interest in the policy and legislation regarding edible insectsConsultation subject The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is seeking stakeholder comments on a proposed legislated transitional period under the novel food regulations for edible insects in England, Scotland and Wales. The proposal has been developed with input from Food Standards Scotland (FSS).
In Northern Ireland, edible insects considered novel under EU Food Law, as applied under the current terms of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (NIP), require authorisation in line with Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, before being placed on the market in Northern Ireland. It is the European Commission's authorisation process, including validation, that applies in Northern Ireland.
Purpose of the consultation The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reviewed the policy approach to authorisation of certain edible insects in Great Britain (GB) within scope of the existing transitional measures in the novel food regulations retained from the European Union (EU) (see specifically Article 35(2) of retained Regulation (EU) 2015/2283).
The consultation seeks comments from industry, enforcement authorities, and other interested stakeholders on the policy proposal to introduce a legislated transitional measure, specific to GB, which will clarify the arrangements for businesses seeking a novel food authorisation for their edible insect product.
Consultation packThis consultation pack provides the background information and details you will need to know to respond to the questions in this consultation.
England and WalesHow to respond Responses are required by close 10 August 2022. Please state, in your response, whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company (including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents).
If responding to the edible insects policy proposal, please send your response to: Novelfoods@food.gov.uk
For more information on how the FSA handles your personal data, please refer to the privacy notice.
Other relevant documentsRegulation (EU) 2015/2283 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on novel foods, Amending Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1852/2001 (Text with EEA relevance) (legislation.gov.uk)
Further information If you require a more accessible format of this document, please send details to the named contact for responses to this consultation and your request will be considered. This consultation has been prepared in accordance with HM Government consultation principles.
Thank you on behalf of the Food Standards Agency for participating in this public consultation.
Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.
You can find information on how we handle data provided in response to consultations in our Consultations privacy notice.
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with HM Government Consultation Principles. If an Impact Assessment has been produced, this is included in the consultation documents. If no Impact Assessment has been provided, the reason will be given in the consultation document.
Deborah Birx makes astonishing deep state admission of anti-Trump pact - Washington Times
Sat, 23 Jul 2022 17:08
Deborah Birx, in an interview with ABC News about her new book, ''Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, COVID-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It's Too Late,' said she had a pact with medical bureaucrats '-- Anthony Fauci, Robert Redfield, Stephen Hahn and perhaps others '-- that all would resign if even one were removed by then-President Donald Trump.
This is an astonishing admission.
It's essentially an acknowledgement that medical bureaucrats, unelected and unaccountable to the people as they were and are, serving at the pleasure of the White House executive as they did, tried to strong-arm the president of the United States into obeying and abiding their dictates to the point of secretly arranging to walk if they didn't get their way '-- if Trump decided to send one packing.
That's deep-state politicking, folks.
That's what Trump pledged to fight when he was elected '-- and largely why he was elected.
And that's the type of elitist and arrogant bureaucracy that the American people '-- at least the patriotic, freedom-loving American people '-- bucked for more than two years, after being ordered to stay home, stay off the streets, stay out of work, stay away from schools and churches, shut up and sit down and wait for the stimulus check to come in the mail.
Fauci was and still is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Redfield was the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hahn was the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
And Birx served as the coordinator of Trump's COVID task force '-- meaning, she worked directly for Trump.
''I actually wasn't worried about myself being fired because I was dual-hatted, and I would go back to the State Department and my [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief coordinator] job full time,'' Birx said on ABC News.
''I was very worried about Bob [Redfield] and Steve [Hahn] because you [could] hear I the hallways how people were talking about them,'' she continued. ''And so, I went to the vice president multiple times to call Bob and Steve because I was worried about them feeling like they were at that risk. And I was very clear to the chief of staff that if anything happened to Bob or Steve, we would all leave.''
In other words: Fire my friends, and politically speaking, you're in hot water, Mr. Trump.
The money quote?
''I wanted [Hahn] to know that I had his back, no matter what,'' Birx said.
That right there is the problem with bureaucrats: they have each other's backs, when they're really supposed to have the backs of the American citizens.
Birx, as well as Redfield, as well as Fauci, as well as Hahn, as well as all the other medical experts who were trusted to give solid, scientific advice to the president and to the people of the United States on matters tied to COVID-19 '-- all these unelected, unaccountable-to-the-voters bureaucrats should have served humbly, respecting the boundaries of their public offices, respecting the fact that at any moment in time, they rightfully could be asked to step aside; that yes, Trump had that authority.
But they were arrogant.
They are arrogant.
And they were and are elitist, and therefore, not only think they know best, but actually believe they deserve to force what they think best onto the president of the United States, onto the good and free people of America, onto even the world's citizens if given the chance.
And they're so bold about their own perceived magnificence, they don't even mind admitting for all the world to see, on national television and in a book, that they engaged in quiet deep state politicking against the president of the United States at a time of national crisis for the people of the United States.
Birx should be tossed from government for such blatant politicization of her office.
At the least, she should apologize to Trump for such treachery.
But instead, she'll be coddled by most in the media and elevated as a hero of the left who dared to take on the nefarious, dastardly, damaging Donald Trump.
In the end, though, Birx revealed herself for what she is: a friend of her elitist friends, an enemy of the Constitution '-- and that makes her an enemy of freedom-loving Americans.
' Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast ''Bold and Blunt'' by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, ''Socialists Don't Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,'' is available by clicking HERE.
Copyright (C) 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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Federal Judge Orders Biden Administration to Cooperate in Social Media Collusion Lawsuit
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 15:37
'Government can't outsource its censorship to Big Tech,' Missouri attorney general says
A federal judge ordered the Biden administration on July 12 to comply with information requests in a lawsuit brought by Missouri and Louisiana officials about alleged federal government collusion with social media companies to suppress important news stories in the name of fighting so-called misinformation.
The lawsuit could help bring to light the Biden administration's behind-the-scenes efforts to discourage the dissemination of information related to the advent of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 and the ongoing Hunter Biden laptop scandal, according to Eric Schmitt, Missouri's Republican attorney general.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump claim that if the story about the laptop belonging to the president's troubled son hadn't been suppressed, President Joe Biden would have lost the 2020 presidential election. Republicans say the laptop provides evidence of the son's misbehavior and of the Biden family's corruption.
Facebook and Twitter infamously restricted the distribution of information related to the computer's contents. Biden supporters claimed the story was manufactured by the Russian government as disinformation.
Social media also suppressed numerous stories related to the origins of COVID-19, possible medical treatments to prevent, treat, or cure the disease, and discussions about government and corporate policies implemented to deal with the virus, many of which curbed personal freedoms. Many government and corporate employees have been fired in the pandemic era for refusing to take government-approved vaccines, which they say have limited effectiveness and potentially severe side effects.
The lawsuit could also provide fodder for Republicans who promise multiple investigations into government wrongdoing should they retake Congress in the November elections.
Among the defendants are President Joe Biden, his former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, former Disinformation Governance Board executive director Nina Jankowicz, and Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
According to court documents, the states allege that the administration ''colluded with and/or coerced social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms by labeling the content 'disinformation,' 'misinformation,' and 'malinformation.'''
The states ''allege the suppression of disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and contents constitutes government action and therefore violates Plaintiff States' freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.''
The complaint also alleges that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board was created ''to induce, label, and pressure the censorship of disfavored content, viewpoints, and speakers on social-media platforms.''
When he filed court papers on June 14, Schmitt said, ''The federal government's alleged attempts to collude with social media companies to censor free speech should terrify Missourians and Americans alike.''
''We may have forced the Biden Administration to forego its Disinformation Governance Board, but there is still a very real threat to Missourians and Americans' right to free speech.''
''Government can't outsource its censorship to Big Tech,'' Schmitt added in a tweet.
Schmitt celebrated the new court ruling in a series of Twitter posts.
''A federal court granted our request for discovery & documents from top ranking Biden officials & social media companies to get to the bottom of their collusion to suppress & censor free speech,'' Schmitt said.
''No one has had the chance to look under the hood before'--now we do.''
''In our lawsuit, we allege that top-ranking Biden Administration officials colluded with those social media companies to suppress speech about the Hunter Biden laptop story, the origins of COVID-19, the efficacy of masks, and election integrity.''
Judge Terry A. Doughty, a Trump appointee, granted the states' motion for expedited preliminary injunction-related discovery. The request for an injunction itself will be ruled on at a later date.
Doughty noted in his order (pdf) that the states have asked the court to block the government ''from taking steps to demand, urge, encourage, pressure, or otherwise induce any social-media company or platform to censor, suppress, remove, de-platform, suspend, shadow-ban, de-boost, restrict access to content, or take any other adverse action against any speaker, content, or viewpoint expressed on social media.''
U.S. Department of Justice officials didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The case, Missouri v. Biden, court file 3:22-CV-01213, is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist and a recognized expert in left-wing activism.
VIDEO - Union files charges against Tiff's Treats, who gives statement | kvue.com
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:11
Tiff's Treats Workers United wants increased wages for several positions at storefronts.
AUSTIN, Texas '-- A union organizing for hourly Tiff's Treats employees has filed unfair labor practice charges against the Austin-based cookie company.
Tiff's Treats Workers United said in a post on their Twitter account last week that the charges against Tiff's Treats are "for rules prohibiting protected union activity." The worker-led union claimed a couple of locations took down union literature from breakrooms.
Members of Tiff's Treats Workers United want a new union contract establishing wages of $15 per hour for drivers, $18 per hour for kitchen staff and $22 per hour for on-duty managers. They also want the contract to include driver mileage reimbursement, free health coverage, no blackout dates and reduction of food waste.
Tiff's Treats released a statement Friday on the union's activities, saying that their employees "are among the highest paid food service and delivery workers in the industry."
"We recognize our hourly team members' contributions to our shared success with industry-leading compensation and benefits, including an average of more than $24/hour for our Austin delivery drivers, the most experienced of whom earn up to $50,000/year when driving full-time," the statement said. "Our non-driver compensation in Austin ranges from more than $14/hour to more than $18/hour, depending on position, skill level and experience."
The statement from Tiff's Treats went on to say that the company offers hourly workers vision, dental and medical/Rx insurance and put 87 cents from every dollar on average toward workers' health insurance costs.
"And beginning on their very first day of employment, our hourly team members are eligible to start earning paid personal and sick time, which they can cash out at any time, for any reason," the statement said. "Tiff's Treats also offers our team members the opportunity to participate in a 401K plan '' a rare benefit for hourly workers in the food service industry '' including company matching up to 4%."
Tiff's Treats said they recently increased on-duty manager pay to a starting wage of $18 per hour rather than the previous $16 per hour. They also pay drivers $1 per delivery in addition to their hourly pay when using a fleet car and $2 per delivery when using a personal car.
"Tiff's Treats is committed to supporting and developing our team members, enabling them to build and advance their careers with us," the statement said. "Today, 66% of our management team and headquarters staff are comprised of former hourly team members, who now own equity in the business through the benefit of our company stock option plan."
Editor's note: the final quote originally said "former team members." It has been changed to "former hourly team members" for clarity.
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VIDEO - New England Neo-Nazi Group Holds Rally Near Mass. Civil War Memorial '' NBC Boston
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 17:02
A New England-based neo-Nazi group held a brief rally early Saturday afternoon at the Soldiers Monument in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
Apparent members of the group, whose name is reminiscent of the original Nazi party's full name, gathered wearing face masks near the Civil War memorial, and began chanting "off our streets.''
The rally comes just weeks after a demonstration on July 4 weekend by dozens of apparent white supremacists who marched on Boston's Freedom Trail and allegedly attacked a Black man
According to Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden, a book reading event was occurring in the area where Saturday's protest began.
"It is clear that Boston is a way point in the crusade of hate launched five years ago in Charlottesville," Hayden said in a written statement. "The presence of white supremacists at a Jamaica Plain book reading today, like their downtown march earlier this month, is at once a disgrace and a warning."
"Society everywhere is targeted by these groups, and society everywhere must reject them," Hayden said.
LocalIn-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Boston Police officers were present to monitor the protest. Witness video showed Chris Hood, the 23-year-old founder of the group from Pepperell, Mass., being taken away by Boston Police in handcuffs.
Per the Suffolk District Attorney's Office, three arrests have been made at the rally, including Hood. Two counter protesters were also arrested, including 21-year-old Tobias Walker and 27-year-old Seth Rosenau, both of Jamaica Plain. Both were charged with disturbing the peace; in addition, Walker was charged with disorderly conduct and intent to commit a crime while Rosenau was charged with affray. It is unclear if any of the arrestees have an attorney.
Hood and Rosenau were fighting, according to Boston Police.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu issued a statement following the rally.
"It's no coincidence that these cowardly groups from outside our city continue to target Boston as we showcase how representative leadership, empowered communities, and bold policies can have immediate impact," Wu said. "We are prepared and will not be intimidated in our work to make Boston a city for everyone. We remain ready for citywide deployment of extra public safety resources with a zero tolerance approach to any groups looking to intimidate or harass residents in our city."
Ricardo Arroyo, a City Councilor from District 5, said that his community stands united against hate.
"We are proud of our diverse communities here in Boston and our LGBTQ+ residents are loved here," Arroyo said. "Cowards who attempt to make our residents afraid and alone will never succeed."
Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, issued a tweet in response to the rally.
Let me be very clear: Our LGTBQ+ community will not be intimidated or silenced. Massachusetts proudly stands against hate. https://t.co/n0rEmg5hr6
'-- Maura Healey (@maura_healey) July 24, 2022
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Hockey is Life ð¨ð... #NO_INVASION ðºð...ðð¼ : @SizweLo Admire the guy but I feel he shouldn't be ''staining'' his great work through decades by doubling down on hi'... https://t.co/sbRQ49phAq
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Alik : @SizweLo It's remarkable how dumb this is.
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VIDEO - Serial Liar Al Gore says Climate Deniers are Like Uvalde Police who Sat Back and Didn't Rescue Children (VIDEO)
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 15:23
Al Gore previously compared global warming to the 9-11 attacks on America.
In 2008 Al Gore warned that the polar ice cap would be completely melted by 2013.
Global temperatures were lower this last decade than when Al Gore first started spouting his junk science.
An Inconvenient Truth: Global Temperatures Are Lower Today Than When Al Gore First Pushed His Global Warming Junk Science
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And now Al Gore is comparing global warming deniers to cops who did nothing during the Uvalde school shooting.
What a horrible person.
Al Gore: ''Climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers '... waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred.''
Gore went on to compare the dead in Uvalde to the dead from global warming. For the record, there were zero deaths last year from global warming, just like the year before it.
WATCH: Al Gore compares climate inaction to ''failing to walk through the door'' in Uvalde. #MTP
''Climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers '... waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred.'' pic.twitter.com/3hBLzRmJ0I
'-- Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 23, 2022
More Biographical Info rmation Recent PostsContactJim Hoft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.
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VIDEO - (10) Townhall.com on Twitter: "KJP and Dr. Jha are left essentially speechless when asked about Kamala Harris breaking CDC guidelines today. https://t.co/KbaDkHrMvF" / Twitter
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Townhall.com : KJP and Dr. Jha are left essentially speechless when asked about Kamala Harris breaking CDC guidelines today. https://t.co/KbaDkHrMvF
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Looooooool : @townhallcom CDC guidelines ð
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J : @townhallcom Prison. The only way to prevent these people from ever trying it again.
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firstname.lastname@example.org : @townhallcom Fools all fools, we're being run by a ship of fools !
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VIDEO - How can you talk to kids about abortion? Here are some tips : NPR
Sun, 24 Jul 2022 15:13
Experts say there may be no perfect time to have the discussion, but doing it in the right way can help. Matt Marton/AP hide caption
toggle caption Matt Marton/AP Experts say there may be no perfect time to have the discussion, but doing it in the right way can help.
Matt Marton/AP For many parents, the wall-to-wall news coverage of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade means facing some questions from their kids. And that's brought up some questions of their own.
The NPR audience has been sending in their questions, asking for advice. We called in Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert and licensed educational psychologist in San Diego, California, and Dr. Elise Berlan, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist in Columbus, Ohio, to help get these conversations started.
Here are your questions, and what the experts advise.
"The 9-year-old's just a little confused as to why people would want to get an abortion. And she doesn't understand what happens once they get it. Where does the baby go? Who takes it? It's a lot of questions that I didn't know how to answer."
'-- Jacqueline Cuevas, Detroit, Michigan
BERLAN: I might think about talking about how some parents need to end the pregnancy and that it might be better and healthier and safer for the parent to end the pregnancy. So, I tend to use kind of terminology about the pregnancy and not refer so much around the baby, even though that can be where children go.
I do think it's OK for parents, after they've shared what an abortion is '-- as far as they're comfortable sharing '-- to let young people know that people have a variety of views about abortion. And also, I think it's OK for the parents to share their views because young people do really look to the parents for anchoring on values.
"I want it to be age-appropriate. I don't want to get into too much detail of what it actually is, but just knowing that she can choose if she wants to have a baby or not."
'-- Meg Workman, Indiana
PATEL: It's important to find out what your child already knows. But use that guiding point to ask your child a simple thing, even, "Do you know where babies come from?" But do it in a way that they're really guiding that conversation, and you're almost scaffolding. You're kind of filling in the pieces.
Parents know your child the best. It shouldn't be something that you feel forced to do. But do understand, when your child is of school age, history is already being taught. They are learning about current affairs, current events, so having those natural conversations is so important.
"How do you invite your kids to wrestle with really complicated, painful, not black-and-white questions in a way that's curious and compassionate without just encouraging them to accept what you think about the issue?"
'-- Meg Embry, Colorado
Meg Embry Meg Embry hide caption
toggle caption Meg Embry PATEL: What I would really recommend is, first, really understanding where you are in this whole process. What are your thoughts? What are your feelings? So much has risen in terms of high-level emotion with the outcomes and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
So check in with yourself first, then allow for that openness, and check in, empathize, validate what your child says.
I think it's important for parents to use the words, "I feel, I see, I hear." Because what does that do? It shares and shows respectful dialogue happening and that you're letting your child know that you really do hear what they're saying, even though you might have an opposing view or opinion.
"We live in a very conservative area. All of my family that we live near is religious, and they definitely have an opposing view to mine on the abortion issue. And I want her to learn how to be sensitive when talking about this stuff if it ever even does come up."
'-- James Memmott, Kaysville, Utah
PATEL: It's a great life lesson to teach children that it's OK to have whatever opinion that you have. There's no right or wrong. So it's important to allow them to create their own opinions, but be respectful for others. And then where and when to have these conversations with individuals.
"One concern is making sure that [my 14-year-old-son] understands how these measures affect people with a uterus, him as a male and his choices and responsibility for family planning."
'-- ShaMecha Simms, Topeka, Kansas
ShaMecha Simms and her teenage son. Ernest Drake II hide caption
toggle caption Ernest Drake II ShaMecha Simms and her teenage son.
Ernest Drake II BERLAN: You know, we've talked about '-- in our family '-- abortion with our sons. And there's not a perfect time or a perfect conversation. This is a journey. And I think if parents wait for the perfect time or when they have all the information, the risk is that they're not going to have the conversation. And somebody else will. So, I think as parents, we want to kind of share our values and share the information that we have and our point of view with our kids. So that they are prepared to have conversations and process this information within the safety of their family first.
PATEL: It can be very overwhelming. We have to give children, especially young children, just time to process and come back with questions. And we've got families who have multiple children at different ages, so I think it's very important, also, to think about what our little ones are hearing as the older ones are talking. And so do you want, as parents, to have some one-on-one dialogue just separate from the older kids so they're able to hear? Share things that are at their age-appropriate level.
Listen to Life Kit on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or sign up for our newsletter.
The audio portion of this episode was produced by Karen Zamora and Erika Ryan, with engineering support by Natasha Branch. We'd love to hear from you! Email us at or send a voice note to LifeKit@npr.org.
This was adapted for the web by Lauren Hodges.
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