JFK Assassination Forum

Off Topic => Off Topic => Topic started by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 07:59:52 AM

Title: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 07:59:52 AM
This is a thread for everything going on in World News, U.S. news, sports, entertainment, medical science etc.
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 08:18:51 AM
Genesis is one of the greatest bands of all time. First fronted by Peter Gabriel, the band became the top progressive rock band in the world. After Peter's departure at the conclusion of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" tour, Phil Collins reluctantly agreed to front the band as lead singer and history was written. Genesis became one of the top selling bands of all time both in record/cd sales and in concert tours. Phil is no doubt in bad shape and it's sad to see him struggling to get around and his diminished vocal abilities were on full display. But it was great for the band to be able to tour for one last time before they called it quits for good. Too bad Peter didn't join them for a song or two.

After tonight, we'll all have to get real jobs': Frail Phil Collins, 71, stands with Genesis bandmates Mike Rutherford, 71, and Tony Banks, 72, as iconic band bid farewell to fans at FINAL ever concert in London

Watch Genesis Play the Final Song and Take a Last Bow at Their Farewell Concert
“It’s the last show for Genesis,” Collins told the crowd at London’s O2 Arena. “After tonight we’ve got to get real jobs”


Genesis formed in early 1967 when two rival bands at the prestigious Charterhouse boarding school in southeast England came together as one. They ended Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena at the final date of the group’s Last Domino reunion tour.

“Tonight is a very special night,” Collins told the crowd early in the evening. “It’s the last stop of our tour. And it’s the last show for Genesis… After tonight we’ve all got to get real jobs.”

There was a small degree of ambiguity about this being the last tour when they announced the reunion back in 2019. They even called it “The Last Domino?” to leave a bit of wiggle room, but Collins made it increasingly clear as the months went by that he had no intention of continuing with the band after the final show in London. To drive the point home further, they removed the question mark from the name of the tour during this last run and started billing it as “The Last Domino!”

Genesis fans from all over the world traveled to London to them wrap things up, and it was a very emotional evening. The setlist, however, was the same as every other show. It’s a mixtures of radio hits like “Invisible Touch” and “That’s All” with lesser-known tunes like “Duchess” and “Home by The Sea” and a few prog-era classics like “I Know What I Like” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” Above, see fan-shot video of the grand finale of “Dancing With the Moonlight Knight” and “Carpet Crawlers.”

Phil Collins has severe physical problems that make it hard for him to stand for extended periods of time, but he stood up for a bow with the entire touring band. At the end, the extra musicians stood aside so core members Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Collins could take a final bow. Collins was the last one to depart, moving slowly towards the back stairs with a cane.

The last two songs were from the Peter Gabriel era of the band, and Gabriel himself was in the audience. Here’s a backstage photo of Collins, Gabriel, and their early Seventies road manager Richard McPhail. Gabriel is wearing a laminate giving him “AAA” access to the arena. Unfortunately, he didn’t use it to wander onstage and join the band for the final two songs. It’s not very surprising since Gabriel hasn’t sang a complete Genesis song in public since 1983. He also probably wanted them to have this moment to themselves.


From tonight’s final #Genesis show in London (from left): #PeterGabriel, #PhilCollins, and Richard McPhail (long time friend and tour manager in the ‘70s). If you’ve not read Richard’s book on Genesis, you should. @genesis_band @itspetergabriel @PhilCollinsFeed


Die-hard fans will never stop hoping a reunion tour with Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett. The fantasy is that they’d do it with Nicholas Collins subbing in for his father on the drums, much like he did on this tour. But it remains a very, very remote possibility. In all likelihood, this show at the O2 Arena was indeed their Last Waltz. It’s a sad day, but at least Gabriel was in the audience to see the end of the band he helped start all those years ago.

Genesis - "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight"/ "The Carpet Crawlers" (Final song in concert)

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 08:28:48 AM
Giant ice volcanoes identified on Pluto


Strange lumpy terrain on Pluto unlike anything previously observed in the solar system indicates that giant ice volcanoes were active relatively recently on the dwarf planet, scientists said on Tuesday.

The observation, which was made by analyzing images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, suggests that Pluto's interior was hotter much later than previously thought, according to a new study in the Nature Communications journal.

Rather than shooting lava into the air, ice volcanoes ooze a "thicker, slushy icy-water mix or even possibly a solid flow like glaciers", said Kelsi Singer, study author and planetary scientist at Colorado's Southwest Research Institute.

Ice volcanoes were already thought to be on several chilly moons in the solar system, but Pluto's "look so different from anything else we ever have seen", Singer told AFP.

"The features on Pluto are the only vast field of very large icy volcanoes and they have a unique texture of undulating terrain."

Singer said it was difficult to pinpoint exactly when the ice volcanoes were formed "but we believe they could be as young as a few hundred million years or even younger".

Unlike much of Pluto, the region does not have impact craters, which means "you cannot rule out that it is still in the process of forming even today", she added.

'Extremely significant'

Lynnae Quick, a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center specialized in ice volcanoes, said the findings were "extremely significant".

"They suggest that a small body like Pluto, which should have lost much of its internal heat long ago, was able to hold onto enough energy to facilitate widespread geological activity rather late in its history," she told AFP.

"These findings will cause us to re-evaluate the possibilities for the maintenance of liquid water on small, icy worlds that are far from the Sun."

David Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at The Open University, said "we don't know what could provide the heat necessary to have caused these icy volcanoes to erupt".

The study said that one of the structures, the Wright Mons, is about five kilometers (three miles) high and 150 kilometers (90 miles) wide, and has around the same volume as one of Earth's biggest volcanoes -- the Mauna Loa in Hawaii.

Rothery told AFP he had been to Mauna Loa and "experienced how vast it is".

"This makes me realize how big Wright Mons is relative to Pluto, which is a much smaller world than our own."

The analyzed images were taken when the New Horizons -- an unmanned nuclear-powered spacecraft about the size of a baby grand piano -- became the first spaceship to pass by Pluto in 2015.

It gave the greatest insight yet into Pluto, which was long considered the farthest planet from the Sun before it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.

"I love the idea that we have so much left to learn about the solar system," Singer said.

"Every time we go somewhere new, we find new things that we didn't predict -- like giant, recently-formed ice volcanoes on Pluto."

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 10:58:16 AM
‘JFK: Destiny Betrayed’: Oliver Stone digs even deeper into his conspiracy theories
Four-part assassination doc revisits the familiar evidence and spotlights some little-known clues.

“JFK: Destiny Betrayed” maintains that Robert F. Kennedy (right) immediately suspected the assassination of his brother John was the work of the CIA, the Mafia and anti-Castro exiles.

Someday we might see a four-part documentary series laying out the case that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, forever changing the course of history.

Pretty safe bet: Oliver Stone will not be the one to deliver such a series.

Ever since the release of the controversial, provocative, wildly inventive and at times bat-bleep crazy “JFK” in 1991, Stone has been arguably the most public and vocal JFK assassination conspiracy theorist in the world. (Just last year, Stone released the feature documentary “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.”) As we’re reminded in the writer-director’s sprawling, at times overwhelmingly dense, heavily researched and transparently biased “JFK: Destiny Betrayed,” he’s hardly alone on this hill. There are dozens upon dozens of historians, journalists, physicians, ballistics experts, witnesses and like-minded researchers, as well as a seemingly bottomless pit of documents, supporting Stone’s firmly held contention Kennedy was the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy and that the investigation into his assassination was a sham.

Will this series change your mind if you think Oswald acted alone? Perhaps. Will it reinforce your opinion if you’re firmly entrenched in the camp that believes Oswald was indeed a patsy, as he claimed shortly before Jack Ruby killed him, and that nefarious forces combined to eliminate the president and then cover their tracks? Absolutely.

Debuting digitally on Tuesday, “JFK: Destiny Betrayed” is not for entry-level students of one of the most scrutinized tragedies in American history. Stone expects the viewer to hit the ground running with him as he casts a wide net that not only covers the assassination, the immediate aftermath and subsequent hearings, commissions, reports and revelations about the event, but also takes a deep dive into the global politics of the time. According to the series, it was Kennedy’s foreign policies, in particular his anti-colonial convictions, that created chasms between him, the Eisenhower administration, the Pentagon and the CIA. Along the way on this journey, we take detours covering the Congo’s liberation from Belgium; multiple attempted assassinations of French President Charles de Gaulle, and the suspicious plane crash fatality of Dag Hammarskjöld, secretary-general of the United Nations.

Watch clip:

It’s easy for the viewer to get lost in the weeds during some of these passages, but on balance, “Destiny Betrayed” makes for compelling television, whether we’re revisiting footage and photos and findings we’ve seen many times before or learning about yet another relatively unexplored piece of evidence pointing to alleged corruption and cover-ups. With Whoopi Goldberg alternating narration duties with Donald Sutherland (who appeared in “JFK” as the mysterious “Mr. X”), the series is divided into quadrants:

- Chapter 1: Stone appears on camera at Dealey Plaza and tells us about the Assassination Records Review Board, which was created by an act of Congress following the firestorm of controversy created by his film “JFK.” We’re told Robert F. Kennedy immediately suspected the assassination was orchestrated by the CIA, the Mafia and anti-Castro exiles. As for the Warren Commission: What was Allen Dulles doing there? Dulles, who had been fired as director of the CIA by JFK, reportedly worked tirelessly to make sure the commission would find Oswald acted alone.

- Chapter 2 focuses on anomalies in the medical evidence and glaring problems with the chain of custody for both Oswald’s rifle and the so-called “magic bullet.” There’s also speculation about whether the mail-order Mannlicher-Carcano rifle Oswald purchased from Klein’s Sporting Goods in Chicago is the real murder weapon.

- In Chapter 3, “Destiny Betrayed” continues scrutiny on the autopsy, sometimes in rather grisly fashion when the talk turns to skull fragments and brain tissue and exit wounds. Rear Admiral George C. Burkley, Kennedy’s personal physician who signed the death certificate, in later years claimed he had “information … others besides Oswald must have participated.” We’re also told the Secret Service inexplicably washed out parts of the presidential limousine before shipping it to Washington, D.C., in the process removing brain, blood and tissue evidence. (Stone also can’t resist inserting a scene from “JFK” into the proceedings, with Kevin Costner’s Jim Garrison delivering closing arguments and saying, “The truth often poses a threat to power, and one often has to fight power at great risks to themselves.”)

The life of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is recalled in an episode of “JFK: Destiny Betrayed.”AP

- With Chapter 4, we pivot to a profile of Lee Harvey Oswald, the U.S. Marine veteran who in 1959 defected to the Soviet Union, eventually returning to the States in 1961. The narrative loses momentum as “Destiny Betrayed” rehashes allegations about Oswald’s time in New Orleans and his connections to the likes of Clay Shaw and Dean Andrews — story threads already explored in “JFK.” In the final passage, titled “Consequences,” we’re reminded, as narrator Sutherland puts it, “Our overwhelming disbelief in the Warren Commission’s findings contributed to increased skepticism of all our foundational beliefs about government.”

On that, we can all agree.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 03:01:25 PM
OJ Simpson thinks Will Smith went a little too far


O.J. Simpson says he understands what Will Smith was feeling when he violently lashed out against Chris Rock — but he thinks the “Concussion” actor went too far.

The 74-year-old former football star said on Twitter Tuesday that he’s been asked about Smith smacking Rock on stage at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony after the Oscar winning actor took exception to a joke Rock made about Smith’s wife. Smith has since apologized.

“It’s unfortunate,” Simpson said. “I think Will was wrong.”

Simpson — who was put on trial for the 1994 murder of his wife and her friend — said he was speaking from a location on the East Coast, where he’d inadvertently gotten caught up in spring break revelry. He was acquitted in that trial but has since been dogged by the court of public opinion. As such, he said he knows what it’s like to be the butt of jokes as Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith were Sunday.

“I understand the feeling,” Simpson said. “In my life, I’ve been through a lot of crap. When I was raising three young kids every comedian in the country had an O.J. routine. And don’t think I wouldn’t want to B-slap a couple of those guys, but you’ve got to accept it’s human.”

Simpson said he didn’t even think Rock’s joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair was “all that egregious,” nor did he find it funny. However, Simpson, who was sentenced to nine years in a Nevada prison on robbery charges exactly 13 years after being acquitted of murder, thinks Smith is getting off easy.

“I know this,” Simpson said. “After what happened to me in Las Vegas, if I would have done that in front of a billion people watching around the world, they would have given me life without (parole). I’m just saying.”

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 02:01:46 AM
Bruce Willis announces retirement from acting due to illness


Action hero Bruce Willis, star of the "Die Hard" franchise, is to retire from acting due to illness, his family announced Wednesday.

"Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities," a post on Instagram signed by his family said.

"As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."

The post is signed by Willis' current wife, Emma Heming Willis, as well as former wife, actress Demi Moore, and his children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn.

"This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.

"We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.

"As Bruce always says, 'Live it up' and together we plan to do just that."

According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia often occurs after a stroke or a head injury, and "robs you of the ability to communicate."

"It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 02, 2022, 01:34:38 PM
Hubble telescope spots most distant star ever seen


The Hubble space telescope has peered back to the dawn of cosmic time and detected light from a star that existed within the first billion years after the Big Bang -- a new record, astronomers said Wednesday.

The newly discovered star, called "Earendel," is so far away its light has taken 12.9 billion years to reach Earth, when the universe was seven percent its current age.

"We almost didn't believe it at first, it was so much farther than the previous most distant," said astronomer Brian Welch of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, lead author of a paper in Nature describing the discovery.

The previous record holder was detected in 2018 when the universe was four billion years old.

Because the universe is expanding, by the time light from distant stars reaches us it is stretched to longer, redder wavelengths, a phenomenon called "redshift."

Earendel's light came from an era called redshift 6.2.

"Normally at these distances, entire galaxies look like small smudges, the light from millions of stars blending together," said Welch in a statement.

The galaxy hosting the star has been naturally magnified and distorted by an effect called gravitational lensing.

This is when a massive object in between the observer and the thing they're looking at bends the fabric of space-time, so that rays of light coming from the target object that were diverging are bent back towards the observer.

The cosmic magnifying glass in this case is a huge galaxy cluster known as WHL0137-08, which, thanks to a rare alignment, provides maximum magnification and brightening.

"The galaxy hosting this star has been magnified and distorted by gravitational lensing into a long crescent that we named the Sunrise Arc," said Welch.

After he studied the galaxy in detail, Welch found that one feature is an extremely magnified star that he called Earendel, which means "morning star" in Old English.

Earendel existed so long ago that it may not have had the same raw materials as the stars that exist today, added Welch.

"It's like we've been reading a really interesting book, but we started with the second chapter, and now we will have a chance to see how it all got started," he said.

Astronomers intend to gaze at the star using the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble's successor, which is highly sensitive to infrared light from the oldest celestial bodies, in order to confirm Earendel's age, mass and radius.

It has been hypothesized that primordial stars were made solely from the elements forged after the Big Bang: hydrogen, helium and trace amounts of lithium, and should be more massive than stars that exist today.

It remains to be seen if Earendel belongs to these so-called "Population III" stars, but while the probability is small, it is enticing, said Welch.

Webb, which should go online this summer, is expected to break Hubble's records and peer even further back in time.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 02, 2022, 01:39:05 PM
First audio recorded on Mars reveals two speeds of sound


The first audio recordings on Mars reveal a quiet planet with occasional gusts of wind where two different speeds of sound would have a strange delayed effect on hearing, scientists said Friday.

After NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars in February last year, its two microphones started recording, allowing scientists to hear what it is like on the Red Planet for the first time.

In a study published in the Nature journal on Friday, the scientists gave their first analysis of the five hours of sound picked up by Perseverance's microphones.

The audio revealed previously unknown turbulence on Mars, said Sylvestre Maurice, the study's main author and scientific co-director of the shoebox-sized SuperCam mounted on the rover's mast which has the main microphone.

The international team listened to flights by the tiny Ingenuity helicopter, a sister craft to Perseverance, and heard the rover's laser zap rocks to study their chemical composition -- which made a "clack clack" sound, Maurice told AFP.

"We had a very localized sound source, between two and five meters (six to 16 meters) from its target, and we knew exactly when it was going to fire," he said.

The study confirmed for the first time that the speed of sound is slower on Mars, traveling at 240 meters per second, compared to Earth's 340 meters per second.

This had been expected because Mars' atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide -- compared to Earth's 0.04 percent -- and is about 100 times thinner, making sound 20 decibels weaker, the study said.

'I panicked'

But the scientists were surprised when the sound made by the laser took 250 meters a second -- 10 meters faster than expected.

"I panicked a little," Maurice said. "I told myself that one of the two measurements was wrong because on Earth you only have one speed of sound."

They had discovered there are two speeds of sound on the surface of Mars -- one for high-pitched sounds like the zap of the laser, and another for lower frequencies like the whir of the helicopter rotor.

This means that human ears would hear high-pitched sounds slightly earlier.

"On Earth, the sounds from an orchestra reach you at the same speed, whether they are low or high. But imagine on Mars, if you are a little far from the stage, there will be a big delay," Maurice said.

"All of these factors would make it difficult for two people to have a conversation only five meters (16 feet) apart", the French CNRS research institute said in a statement.

'Scientific gamble' pays off

It was otherwise so quiet on Mars that the scientists repeatedly feared something was wrong, the CNRS said, possibly provoking memories of two failed previous attempts in 1999 and 2008 to record sound there.

"There are few natural sound sources with the exception of the wind," the scientists said in a statement linked to the study.

The microphones did pick up numerous "screech" and "clank" sounds as the rover's metal wheels interacted with rocks, the study said.

The recording could also warn about problems with the rover -- like how drivers sense something's wrong when their car starts making strange noises.

Maurice said he felt the "scientific gamble" of taking microphones to Mars was a success.

Thierry Fouchet of the Paris Observatory, who was also involved in the research, said that listening to turbulence, such as vertical winds known as convection plumes, will "allow us to refine our numerical models for predicting climate and weather".

Future missions to Venus or Saturn's moon Titan could also now come equipped with microphones.

And Perseverance is far from done eavesdropping. While its core mission lasts just over two years, it could remain operational well beyond that -- the Curiosity rover is still kicking nine years into a planned two-year stint.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 02, 2022, 01:45:20 PM
AccuWeather predicts another busy hurricane season for 2022

After two years of alphabet-depleting hurricane seasons, 2022 looks to be more of the same, according to predictions from weather site AccuWeather.

In its early season predictions released Wednesday, the site expects to see 16-20 named tropical systems. That’s just shy of last year’s 21 names and much lower than 2020′s record 30 named systems, but still above average.

AccuWeather also 6-8 hurricanes, of which 3-5 will be labeled major hurricanes with sustained Category 3 strength winds of 111 mph or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It also predicts 4-6 will make an impact on the U.S.

AccuWeather is one of many tentpoles for meteorological prediction for the official season that runs from June 1-Nov. 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is not expected to release its official season forecast until mid-May. The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project is schedule to release its initial season prediction on April 7.

Last year saw seven hurricanes, of which four were major, and eight had a direct impact on the U.S.

The site notes hurricane activity while slightly lower continues a trend of more system development since 2015, the last year hurricane activity was below average. An average year will see 14 named systems, from which there would be seven hurricanes, three of which would be major. The average year also sees 3.5 systems with a direct impact on the U.S.

While the official start of hurricane season is not until June 1, the site says 2022 has a high chance for a preseason storm to develop, which is what has seen storms form in May in each of the previous six years, and even an April system in 2017.

A system is named when it has rotation and sustained winds that surpass 39 mph, labeled as a tropical or subtropical storm depending on where it forms. It isn’t named a hurricane until sustained winds surpass 74 mph. Tropical waves and low pressure systems often form into tropical depressions before reaching tropical storm status.

The 2022 storm names are Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

The World Meteorological Organization maintains storm names that recycle every six years, with names being removed if they caused significant death or destruction. The list consists of 21 of the 26 letters in the English alphabet, skipping the letters Q,U,X,Y and Z. Before 2021, if more than 21 letters were used, storms were given names from the Greek alphabet, something that only happened in 2005 and 2020.

Moving forward, though, the WMO has come up with a new set of 21 more spillover letters, citing that the use of the Greek alphabet led to confusion and acted as a distraction from the danger the storms presented.

The spillover names are Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 04, 2022, 11:21:46 AM
Fox​ viewers are less likely to believe lies after being paid to watch CNN for 30 days: study


A groundbreaking new study paid viewers of the Fox News Network to watch CNN for 30 days. What they found is that the viewers ultimately became more skeptical and less likely to buy into fake news. The early impacts, after just three days, showed that the viewers were already starting to change.

The findings of the study, written by David E. Brockman and Joshua L. Kalla, explained that the experiment used content analysis comparing the two networks during Sept. 2020.

"During this period, the researchers explained that "CNN provided extensive coverage of COVID-19, which included information about the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and poor aspects of Trump's performance handling COVID-19. Fox News covered COVID-19 much less," said the study. The coverage of COVID-19 it did offer provided little of the information CNN did, instead giving viewers information about why the virus was not a serious threat. On the other hand Fox News extensively but highly selectively covered racial issues, and its coverage of these issues provided extensive information about Biden and other Democrats' supposed positions on them and about outbreaks of violence at protests for racial justice in American cities. CNN provided little information about either. The networks both covered the issue of voting by mail, but again dramatically different information about it (in addition to offering different frames)."

"It's far from obvious," they surmised, that viewing different networks would affect the beliefs and attitudes of the viewer. In fact, It wasn't so much that viewers were tuning in because they already felt that way, their attitudes were actually being formed from the Fox network.

The Fox viewers were nearly all very conservative and strong Republicans, the study explained. "Of 763 qualifying participants, we then randomized 40 percent to treatment group. To change the slant of their media diet, we offered treatment group participants $15 per hour to watch 7 hours of CNN per week, during Sept. 2020, prioritizing the hours at which participants indicated they typically watched Fox News."

At the three-day mark, the viewers took a survey. "We found large effects of watching CNN instead of Fox News on participants' factual perceptions of current events (i.e., beliefs) and knowledge about the 2020 presidential candidates' positions," they found. They discovered changes in attitudes about Donald Trump and Republicans as well as a large effect on their opinions about COVID.

The viewers also evolved to believe that if Donald Trump made a mistake, "Fox News would not cover it—i.e., that Fox News engages in partisan coverage filtering."

The findings might suggest that the most cost-effective way for Democrats to win elections is to start running their own infomercials or commercials on the Fox networks.

While the report is 126 pages long, the first five explain the full findings.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 04, 2022, 11:34:52 AM
Pluto: ‘recent’ volcanism raises puzzle – how can such a cold body power eruptions?


Pluto, the Solar System’s largest dwarf planet, just became even more interesting with a report that icy lava flows have recently covered substantial tracts of its surface. In this context, “recently” means probably no more than a billion years ago. That’s old, of course – and there is no suggestion that volcanoes are still active – but it’s only a quarter the age of the Solar System and no one knows how Pluto brewed up the heat needed to power these eruptions.

The news, coming nearly seven years after NASA’s New Horizons probe made its spectacular flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015, is thanks to analysis of images and other data by a team led by Kelsi Singer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Singer’s team draw particular attention to a mountainous feature named Wright Mons, which rises 4-5km above its surroundings. It is about 150km across its base and has a central depression (a hole) 40-50km wide, with a floor at least as low as the surrounding terrain.

The team claims that Wright Mons is a volcano, and cite the lack of impact craters as evidence that it is not likely to be older than 1-2 billion years. Many other areas of Pluto have been around long enough to accumulate large numbers of impact craters – no recent icy lava flows have covered them.

As volcanoes go, Wright Mons is a big one. Its volume exceeds 20 thousand cubic kilometres. Although considerably less than the volume of Mars’s biggest volcanoes, this is similar to the total volume of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, and much greater than the volume of its above sea-level portion. This is particularly impressive given Pluto’s small size, with a diameter about a third that of Mars and a sixth that of Earth.


Height profile of Wright Mons (blue line), compared with the above sea-level part of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa (blue line) and the biggest volcanoes on Mars (red lines).

Singer et al. (2022)

The Wright stuff

In detail, the slopes of Wright Mons and much of its surroundings are seen to be crowded with hummocks up to 1km high and mostly 6-12km across. The team conclude that these hummocks are made primarily of water-ice, rather than nitrogen- or methane-ice that covers some other young regions on Pluto. They argue that this is consistent with the material strength necessary to form and preserve these domes, but they do recognise small patches of much weaker nitrogen-ice, mainly in the central depression.

The hummocks were likely created by some sort of ice volcanism, known by the technical term “cryovolcanism” – erupting icy water rather than molten rock. Pluto’s bulk density shows that it must have rock in its interior, but its outer regions are a mixture of ices (water, methane, nitrogen and probably ammonia and carbon monoxide, too, all of which are less than a third as dense as rock) in the same way that the crust of the Earth and other rocky planets is a mixture of several silicate minerals.


250km wide image centred on Wright Mons.


At Pluto’s surface temperature of well below -200°C, ice made of frozen water is immensely strong. It can (and on Pluto, does) form steep mountains that will last for eternity without sagging downhill like a glacier on the much less frigid Earth, where water-ice is weaker.

What melts the ice?

Ice, of course, melts at much lower temperatures than rock. And when there is a mixture of two ices, melting can begin at a lower temperature than for either of the pure ices (the same principle applies in silicate rock made of different minerals). This makes melting even easier. Despite this, it is a surprise to find evidence of relatively young water-rich cryovolcanic eruptions on Pluto, because there is no known heat source to power them.

There is only very limited scope for Pluto’s interior to be heated by tidal forces – a gravitational effect between orbiting bodies, such as a moon and a planet – which warm the interiors of some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. And the amount of rock inside Pluto is not enough to produce much heat from radioactivity.

Singer and her coworkers speculate that Pluto somehow held on to heat from its birth, which was unable to leak out until late in the body’s history. This would be consistent with Pluto having a deep internal liquid water ocean, suggested based on other evidence.

If the hummocks from which Wright Mons is built do represent water-ice eruptions, this stuff clearly was not flowing freely like liquid water, but must have been some kind of gooey crystal-rich “mush”, maybe within a completely frozen, but still pliable, outer skin that confined each effusion of fluid into a dome-like hummock.

A hole in the argument?

The team cite the depth and volume of the central depression of Wright Mons to dismiss earlier suggestions that this is a volcanic crater (a caldera) or that it has been excavated by explosive eruptions. Instead, they regard it as a gap that somehow avoided being covered by erupted hummocks.

I have my doubts about that, because there is an even bigger probable volcano, Piccard Mons, to the south of Wright Mons that also has a large central depression. It strikes me as too much of a coincidence for there to be two adjacent volcanoes both with fortuitous holes in their middles. I think it is more likely that these central depressions are somehow integral to how these volcanoes grew or erupted.


Height map showing the ring-like Wright Mons in the northern half and the even larger Piccard Mons in the southern half.

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Piccard Mons is less well characterised than Wright Mons because, by the time New Horizons made its closest approach, Pluto’s rotation had carried Piccard Mons into darkness. The flyby was so fast that only the side of Pluto facing the Sun at the right time could be seen in detail. However, New Horizons was able to image Piccard Mons thanks to sunlight weakly reflected onto the ground by haze in Pluto’s atmosphere.

That was a remarkable achievement, but it leaves us wanting to know more. What extra details are lurking in the poorly imaged half of Pluto? It will probably be decades before we find out, or learn much more about how these icy volcanoes formed.

David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences, The Open University

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 04, 2022, 11:52:28 AM
54th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - 54 years after his assassination, Memphis clergy and community members plan to honor the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tomorrow, on the anniversary of his death, the community is coming together to honor his life and legacy.

54 years ago today Dr. King traveled to Memphis in support of sanitation workers, and he gave his last speech

He was assassinated at the Loraine Motel just a day later.

There are multiple events happening tomorrow to honor him, including here at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Action News 5 spoke with visitors, including civil right’s leader Jesse Jackson, that shared how they’re remembering him.

“The 54th anniversary celebration of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important dates in Tennessee and across the nation to observe,” Bishop Henry Williamson Sr. said.

Williamson and other clergy and community leaders will commemorate the 54th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. with several events Monday.

He says they plan to tour the historic Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital, the only hospital in Memphis to care for African Americans during segregation.

“Dr. King called for non-violence to bring about change against unjust and immoral laws in situations of segregation and discrimination. We need that in today’s world,” Williamson said.

They’ll also be joined by civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson who will hold a community rally at Mt. Olive CME Church.

He returned to Memphis Sunday to visit the National Civil Rights Museum who will also hold their annual commemorative service Monday.

“It’s sad for me. I was with him when the shot was fired. I can replay it back of my mind. It hurts still. I think about the progress we’ve made since that time<” Jackson said.

Those visiting the museum say even though Monday marks 54 years since Dr. King’s assassination. His sacrifice and legacy still lives on today.

“I just wanted to be at the spot and see where it happened. Because it’s so awful but the world would’ve been completely different if he hadn’t been killed. I’m just in awe of him,” Visitor Christine Weller said.

The National Civil Right’s Museum ‘s commemoration ceremony starts at 4:00 p.m.

The rally at Mount Olive CME Church starts at noon.

Reverend Jackson will also discuss voting rights and the President Biden’s historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference will also hold a walk from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee Local 1733 Headquarters on Beale Street to I AM a Man Plaza at 11:00 AM.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 04, 2022, 01:55:59 PM
Yankees-Mets trade: New York teams swap relievers in first trade of MLB players since 2004
Miguel Castro and Joely Rodríguez will switch sides in the Subway Series

The New York Yankees and Mets agreed to a trade on Sunday that saw them swap relievers, the teams announced. Right-hander Miguel Castro will join the Yankees while lefty Joely Rodríguez heads to the Mets.

Castro, 27 years old, is a well-traveled pitcher despite his relative youth. The Yankees will mark his fifth organization since he debuted in 2015. He spent the past season-plus with the Mets, accumulating a 3.52 ERA (116 ERA+) and a 1.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 79 innings pitched.

A free agent after the season, Castro will make more than $2.6 million this year. He's predominantly a sinker-slider pitcher, with a fastball that averaged 98 mph last season. His slider, meanwhile, generated whiffs on 41 percent of the swings taken against it in 2021. Castro, it should be noted, ranked in the 93rd percentile in exit velocity against last season, indicating he did well at suppressing quality contact.

Rodríguez, 30, is on his third team since the start of last season. The Yankees originally acquired him as part of the Joey Gallo trade with the Rangers. Rodríguez made 21 appearances in pinstripes, amassing a 2.84 ERA (154 ERA+) and a 2.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19 innings.

Rodríguez, who has four seasons of team control remaining, features an extreme release point thanks to his low slot and his crossfire delivery. He threw his mid-90s sinker and upper-80s changeup roughly 80 percent of the time last season, with the latter serving as his top bat-missing pitch. Rodríguez ranked in the 80th percentile of exit velocity, as well as in the 97th percentile in chase rate, suggesting he's skilled at luring hitters out of the zone, usually on pitches located below the knees.

The Yankees and Mets seldom make trades. A pair of relievers also changed hands in December 2004, the last time the sides swapped big-league players. In that deal, the Mets sent lefty Mike Stanton to the Bronx in exchange for Félix Heredia.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 05, 2022, 11:17:44 AM
Major study confirms ivermectin ineffective against Covid-19

A new study from Brazil has confirmed that ivermectin - the drug hoarded from pharmacies after vaccination sceptics made unfounded claims of its effects - does nothing to help against Covid-19.

The study, published in the renowned New England Journal of Medicine, concludes that this drug does not reduce the risk of hospitalisation after a coronavirus infection compared to a placebo.

Ivermectin, which can be used against certain threadworms and scabies mites in humans, had previously gained a notable popularity, especially among vaccination opponents, who saw the drug as a miracle cure.

In some countries, pharmacy shelves were even emptied of the drug amid claims of its effects in combatting Covid-19. The hype was fuelled by dubious websites that referred to supposedly promising results, especially from smaller studies - the quality and general validity of which, according to experts, was in part questionable.

In the double-blind study that has now been published, neither doctors nor the patients assigned by lot knew who had received the drug and who had received a placebo.

The 3,500 participants had an increased risk of severe Covid due to their age or previous illnesses. 679 of them received ivermectin, the same number received a placebo, and the remaining 2,160 patients were treated differently.

In the study, ivermectin was found to be clinically ineffective - in terms of risk of hospitalisation, length of hospital stay and recovery after infection.

"This should put this topic to bed," infection immunologist Leif Erik Sander from the Berlin Charité hospital said on Twitter in response to the study.

In the past, meta-analyses that combined individual studies and laboratory experiments did not come to a clear conclusion about an claimed benefit of ivermectin.

To date, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have spoken out against the use of the drug in the pandemic. If used in the wrong dosage, the drug can be highly toxic.

In Austria, the manufacturer MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme) even advised against taking the drug without medical advice, noting there was "no meaningful evidence" for the use of ivermectin against Sars-CoV-2.

DPA international provides clear and unbiased coverage of the world's biggest news stories with a focus on Germany and Europe. Headquartered in Germany, we offer an independent European perspective.

© Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 06, 2022, 11:59:41 AM
NASA hits new snag with Artemis test at Kennedy Space Center, could threaten Axiom mission


ORLANDO, Fla. — NASA looked to complete its Artemis moon rocket tanking test at Kennedy Space Center after an issue forced a scrub on Sunday, but a new valve issue forced mission managers to call it off again.

NASA officials had already pulled the plug Sunday on the tanking test of the fully integrated Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule at KSC’s Launch Pad 39-B when it wasn’t able to keep safely pressurized the mobile launcher on which the hardware sits.

That issue was mitigated overnight, but Monday’s redo effort also fell short of its goal of filling and draining both the core and upper stages of the rocket with 730,000 gallons of super-cooled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

NASA teams were able to work around a series of issues Monday getting the liquid oxygen (LOX) loaded, but were ultimately stymied ahead of loading the liquid hyrdrogen by a vent valve, also located on the mobile launcher, that supplied pressure to the core stage of the rocket.

“Due the vent valve issue, the launch director has called off the test for the day,” reads a post on NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Twitter. "The team is preparing to offload LOX and will begin discussing how quickly the vehicle can be turned around for the next attempt. A lot of great learning and progress today.”

Already the weekend delay had created a domino effect that pushed the Axiom Space civilian launch to the International Space Station to no earlier than Friday.

That mission, though, which is shoehorned between NASA’s Artemis tanking test and a planned crew rotation launch by SpaceX for NASA later this month, could face issues hitting its target launch opportunities.

“The idea is to go ahead and get this flight flown,” said Axiom Space President and CEO Michael Suffredini. “Commercial Crew-4 for ISS is right behind us. And so we’re working closely with the ISS program to get our flight off before we have to stand down for Crew-4, and they’ll work with us on that too.”

It’s currently targeting Friday at 11:17 a.m. but could be rescheduled if Artemis managers, who have priority at KSC, gear up for another tanking test.

“We’ll work together — SpaceX, NASA and Axiom will work together to figure out where they would like to put the wet dress for SLS given our launch opportunities,” Suffredini said.

Axiom’s four passengers, three who paid $55 million each plus a former NASA astronaut, remain in quarantine at KSC ahead of their planned 10-day mission called Ax-1.

The Ax-1 crew plans to be on board eight days, performing dozens of science experiments and enjoying the view, but will need to vacate in time for NASA’s Crew-4 flight, which is slated for no earlier than March 20.

The uncrewed Artemis launch to the moon, meanwhile, won’t come until NASA officials look at the data from the tanking test. The rocket will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building a little over a week after the tanking test completes, and then depending on any issues from the test, NASA will set a target launch window.

Previous announced possible launch windows have been June 6-16 and June 29-July 12.

© Orlando Sentinel
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 08, 2022, 01:28:10 AM
Why does pollen make you miserable? Here’s why it triggers allergies — and some tips

Temperatures are getting warmer, cherry blossoms are blooming — in short, spring is here, and with it, so is allergy season.

Allergies in general — whether it be to food, pets or pollen — occur when the body’s immune system “sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it,” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

And that is exactly what happens when pollen enters the body through the nose, eyes or mouth. The immune system mistakenly identifies it as a threat and triggers some of the well-known allergy symptoms: sneezing, runny nose and congestion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pollen causes various allergic reactions, such as symptoms of hay fever, and affects roughly 60 million people in the United States each year, according to the CDC.

For about a third of people in the U.S., pollen can also trigger “allergic conjunctivitis” which is an inflammation of the lining of the eye. Some of the symptoms include “red, watery or itchy eyes,” according to the agency.

“Most of the pollen that causesallergic reactions comes from trees, grasses and weeds,” according to AAFA. These plants make the tiny pollen grains that travel with the wind and enter through the eyes or nose.

“Flowering plants that spread their pollen by insects — like roses and some trees, like cherry and pear trees — usually do not cause allergic rhinitis,” the AAFA said.

What can you do to help your allergies?

Here are some ways to prevent allergic reactions to pollen, according to the AAFA:

• Ideally, you should start taking an allergy treatment before the pollen season starts.

• It’s best to limit outdoor time and keep windows closed when pollen counts are high.

• When you’re outside, wear sunglasses and cover your hair.

• Take a daily shower before going to bed and wash bedding in “hot, soapy water” weekly.

• Change and wash clothes worn outside.

The foundation also recommends tracking pollen counts — or how much pollen is in the air.

When is allergy season over?

Technically, it never really ends.

Different allergy seasons stretch for much of the year, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center.

“Tree pollen season is usually at the beginning of spring in March, April and the first half of May while the grass pollen season is typically mid-May through early-to-mid-July,” Allergist-immunologist David M. Lang told the nonprofit. “And the ragweed season is usually from mid-August until that first frost.”

But the length — and intensity — of the pollen season depends on your location and the weather.

Climate change has also caused theseasons to get longer and caused higher pollen counts, AAFA reported.

In 2022, some of the cities that cause the worst allergies include Scranton, Pennsylvania; Wichita, Kansas; McAllen, Texas and Columbia, South Carolina, among others, as previously reported by McClatchy News.

© The Charlotte Observer
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 08, 2022, 02:07:34 PM
‘Stomach flu’ on the rise again in US. 5 things to know about noroviruses

While COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the U.S., outbreaks of another virus — the stomach flu — are ramping up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

This comes amid easing virus restrictions nationwide. For most of the U.S., roughly 99.5%, it isn’t recommended to wear a mask indoors in public because of low or medium COVID-19 Community Level as of March 31, the CDC says.

Meanwhile, 448 norovirus outbreaks were reported in the U.S. from Aug. 1, 2021, to March 5, 2022, according to the agency. In comparison, that’s 370 more outbreaks than reported from Aug. 1, 2020, to March 5, 2021, when 78 stomach virus outbreaks were seen.

With people returning to offices and schools — two of the most common spots for norovirus outbreaks — cases of the stomach flu are getting closer to the numbers reported before the pandemic, according to NBC News.

Dr. Robert Atmar, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told the outlet that the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is likely connected to the rise in norovirus infections.

“Battling norovirus while nursing my sick daughter. Worrying when my son goes to school if he will get Covid …. anxiety levels are reaching breaking point,” British art historian Dr. Janina Ramirez wrote April 5 on Twitter. The norovirus “is the most common stomach bug in the UK, affecting people of all ages,” according to the Broxbourne Council.

Here’s what to know about the stomach flu:

What are noroviruses?

Noroviruses are themost common cause of acute stomach and intestinal infections in the United States, reports the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. It’s also sometimes called stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis or the winter vomiting bug. The U.S. reports 19 million to 21 million cases a year. Humans are the only hosts of the virus.

The virus was formerly known as the Norwalk virus because thefirst known outbreak took place at an elementary school in Norwalk, Ohio, according to norovirus.com. Scientists identified the virus in 1972 from stool samples stored after the outbreak. It was officially renamed norovirus by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

How contagious are noroviruses?

Extremely. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions thatnoroviruses can be transmitted by infected people, contaminated food or water, or just by touching contaminated surfaces. People with a norovirus are most contagious during the illness and for a few days afterward, and the virus can remain in stool for up to two weeks after the illness. The virus can survive temperature extremes, too.

Also, catching a norovirus doesn’t help you fight it off later, in part because there are many different types of noroviruses – catching one doesn’t protect you from the others.

Where do noroviruses spread?

Cruise ships, nursing homes, daycare centers and schools are common breeding grounds for norovirus – anywhere large numbers of people are packed in close quarters, basically, reports the CDC. Outbreaks on cruise ships frequently make the news, and there are countless travel websites dedicated to tracking cruise lines with the worst records for the illness.

What are the symptoms of a norovirus?

Diarrhea, cramps and vomiting usually start within12 to 48 hours of exposure to the virus, says the Mayo Clinic. Norovirus symptoms normally last one to three days, and most people recover without treatment. But infants, older adults and people with chronic illnesses may require medical attention for dehydration.

Since it’s a virus, antibiotics aren’t any help, and there are no antiviral drugs for noroviruses.

The Mayo Clinic advises that people with norovirus take special care to replace fluids lost by vomiting or diarrhea to prevent dehydration. Drinks like Pedialyte are good for young children, while sports drinks and broths are suggested for adults. But sugary drinks, like sodas and fruit juices, can make diarrhea worse, while alcohol or caffeinated drinks can speed dehydration.

How can you avoid noroviruses?

Good hygiene is the key toavoiding noroviruses, suggests WebMD.com. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, particularly after using the bathroom and before preparing food. Alcohol-based cleaners are not as effective. The site also advises carefully throwing away contaminated items, such as dirty diapers.

Wash raw fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish. Clean and disinfect surfaces with a mixture of detergent and chlorine bleach after someone’s sick, WebMD says. And if you catch a norovirus, don’t prepare food for at least two to three days after you feel better.

© The Charlotte Observer
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 10, 2022, 11:41:52 AM
FDA investigating as hundreds post about experiencing stomach illness after eating Lucky Charms
On a consumer safety website, more than 1,000 people have reported stomach symptoms that they say appeared after eating the cereal.

The Food and Drug Administration said it was looking into reports of stomach illness possibly linked to Lucky Charms cereal.

Though the agency has not issued a formal alert, many people have reported feeling sick after eating the breakfast cereal in posts on the consumer safety website iwaspoisoned.com.

Since April 1, more than 1,000 people across the U.S. have posted about gastrointestinal symptoms that they believe are linked to Lucky Charms, according to Patrick Quade, the website's founder and CEO. Quade said it was the biggest surge of reports related to any single product that he has seen on the site.

Many of the reports mention related symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and green stools.

"The FDA is aware of reports and is looking into the matter. The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury," an FDA official said.

Racquel Ashman, who lives in Georgia, said she and her 7-year-old daughter, Olivia, recently got sick after consuming Lucky Charms. Olivia developed a headache and stomach pain on March 29, one day after eating the cereal.

"She was vomiting everywhere. It was a mess. She had diarrhea. She was complaining of cramps," Ashman said.

At first, Ashman said, she didn't connect her daughter's illness to the cereal. Then, on Saturday, she ate Lucky Charms from the same box.

"On Monday when I woke up, I started feeling absolutely terrible," she said. "I had abdominal cramps. It literally felt worse than my labor pains. I was very confused. I was just vomiting. I couldn't keep anything down at all. I had diarrhea, too. I kept getting chills."

The timing of their illnesses and the overlapping symptoms led Ashman to conclude that the cereal likely made both her and Olivia sick. She posted about it on iwaspoisoned.com.

The website allows anyone to report symptoms and note where they believe the illness originated. The posts are reviewed and curated but not individually investigated. Iwaspoisoned.com is one of several crowd-sourcing sites owned by parent company IWP Health Inc.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on April 25, 2022, 03:04:36 PM
World's oldest person dies in Japan at 119


A Japanese woman certified the world's oldest person has died at the age of 119, local officials said Monday.

.... Tanaka was born January 2, 1903, in the southwestern Fukuoka region of Japan, the same year the Wright brothers flew for the first time and Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Tanaka was in relatively good health until recently and lived at a nursing home, where she enjoyed board games, solving maths problems, soda and chocolate.

In her younger years, Tanaka ran various businesses including a noodle shop and a rice cake store. She married Hideo Tanaka a century ago in 1922, giving birth to four children and adopting a fifth.

She had planned to use a wheelchair to take part in the torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but the pandemic prevented her from doing so.

When the Guinness World Records recognized her as the oldest person alive in 2019, she was asked what moment she was the most happy in life. Her answer: "Now."

Her daily routine was described at the time as including a 6:00 am wake-up, and afternoons spent studying mathematics and practising calligraphy.

"One of ....'s favourite pastimes is a game of Othello and she's become an expert at the classic board game, often beating rest-home staff," Guinness said.

Local governor Seitaro Hattori hailed Tanaka's life after she passed away on April 19.

"I was looking forward to seeing ....-san on this year's Respect for the Aged Day (a national holiday in September) and celebrating together with her favorite soda and chocolate," he said in a statement on Monday.

"I am extremely saddened by the news."

Japan has the world's most elderly population, according to World Bank data, with around 28 percent aged 65 or over.

The oldest-ever living person verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 02, 2022, 12:41:43 PM
Amber Heard Axes Crisis PR Team Amid Flurry of Bad Press as She Prepares to Testify
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 02, 2022, 01:33:50 PM
Former Fox News employee claims network execs encourage white nationalism


In a New York Times deep dive into the growing popularity of Fox News personality Tucker Carlson as his primetime show becomes the go-to cable show for white nationalists, one staffer at the conservative network claimed his fiery rhetoric is not only tolerated but encouraged.

According to the report, decision-makers at the network survey "minute by minute" data indicating viewers' reactions to stories and use that to dictate what should be covered to increase viewership.

According to one former employee interviewed by the Times, "They're all obsessed with the minute-by-minutes. Every second that goes on that network now gets scrutinized."

Another former staffer who worked on Carlson's show added, "He is going to double down on the white nationalism because the minute-by-minutes show that the audience eats it up,"

According to the Times' Nicholas Confessore, "Mr. Carlson’s darkening arc foreshadowed a transformation beginning to sweep through Fox itself. As Mr. Trump fought to build a border wall and keep Muslims out of the United States, Fox’s journalists and right-wing commentators would clash repeatedly over what many longtime staff members saw as a creeping invasion of the news divisions by allies and functionaries of the higher-rated, pro-Trump prime-time hosts," adding, "Mr. Carlson would be both instigator and beneficiary of Fox’s civil war."

A current staffer told the Times that Fox News execs have turned network into the hub of "grievance," clarifying, "the grievance, the stuff that would get people boiled up."

The employee added the execs see selling fear as the road to ratings, giving the example of "They're coming for you, the Blacks are coming for you, the Mexicans are coming for you," to get the point across.

According to the Times report, "From the beginning, Mr. Carlson’s on-air provocations have been part of a painstaking, data-driven campaign to build and hold Fox’s audience, according to former Fox executives and employees — an experiment that has succeeded wildly in bolstering Mr. Murdoch’s profit machine against the long-term decline in cable news subscriptions."

You can read more here:  https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/30/us/tucker-carlson-fox-news.html
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 02, 2022, 01:39:35 PM
Contrary to popular belief, a dog's breed won't predict behavior


They're well-known stereotypes: rottweilers and pit bulls are aggressive, while Labradors and golden retrievers are extra friendly.

But a genetic study published in the journal Science on Thursday involving more than 2,000 dogs paired with 200,000 survey answers from owners demonstrates that the widespread assumptions are largely unfounded.

To be sure, many behavioral traits can be inherited -- but the modern concept of breed offers only partial predictive value for most types of behavior -- and almost none whatsoever for how affectionate a dog will be, or conversely, how quick to anger.

"While genetics plays a role in the personality of any individual dog, specific dog breed is not a good predictor of those traits," said senior author Elinor Karlsson, of UMass Chan and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

"What we found is that the defining criteria of a golden retriever are its physical characteristics -- the shape of its ears, the color and quality of its fur, its size -- not whether it is friendly," she added.

Lead author Kathleen Morrill explained that understanding the relationship between breeds and behavior could be the first step in understanding the genes responsible for psychiatric conditions in humans, like obsessive disorders.

"Although we can't really ask a dog themselves about their problems or thoughts or anxieties, we do know that dogs lead rich emotional lives and experience disorders that manifests in their behavior," she said on a press call.

Implications for legislation

The team sequenced the DNA of 2,155 purebred and mixed-breed dogs to search for common genetic variations that could predict behavior, and combined this info with surveys from 18,385 pet-owner surveys from Darwin's Ark.

The site is an open-source database of owner-reported canine traits and behaviors.

Because existing stereotypes are so powerful, the team designed their questionnaires to account for owner bias.

They established standard definitions for reporting traits such as biddability (dog response to human direction), dog-human sociability (how comfortable dogs are with people, including strangers), and toy-directed motor patterns (how interested they are in toys).

Physical and aesthetic traits were also surveyed.

In all, Karlsson and Morrill found 11 locations on the dog genome associated with behavior differences, including biddability, retrieving, pointing at a target and howling.

Among these behaviors, breed did play some role -- for example, beagles and bloodhounds tend to howl more, border collies are biddable, and Shiba Inus are far less so.

However, there were always exceptions to the rule.

For example, even though Labs had the lowest propensity for howling, eight percent still did. While 90 percent of greyhounds didn't bury their toys, three percent did frequently.

"When we looked at this factor that we called agonistic threshold, which included a lot of questions about whether people's dogs reacted aggressively to things, we weren't seeing an effect of breed ancestry," Karlsson added.

Overall, breed explained just nine percent of variation in behavior, with age a better predictor of some traits, like toy play. Physical traits, however, were five times more likely to be predicted by breed than behavior was.

The idea runs counter to widespread assumptions that have informed legislation. For example, Britain has banned pit bull terriers, as have many US cities.

Human disorders

Prior to the 1800s, dogs were primarily selected for functional roles such as hunting, guarding and herding, the team said in their paper.

"By contrast, the modern dog breed, emphasizing confirmation to physical ideals and purity of lineage, is a Victorian invention," they wrote.

Modern breeds carry genetic variations of their ancient predecessors, but not at the same frequencies -- explaining the behavior divergence within breeds.

The next steps, said Morill, would be digging more into compulsive behaviors in dogs, and connections to human obsessive-compulsive disorder.

One intriguing finding was that dog sociability toward humans was "incredibly heritable in dogs," even though it wasn't breed dependent.

The team found a location in dog DNA that could explain four percent of the sociability differences between individuals -- and that location corresponds to an area of the human genome responsible for long term memory formation.

"It could be that understanding human sociability in dogs helps us understand how brains develop and learn. So we're kind of just scratching the surface," said Morill.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 02, 2022, 02:14:32 PM
New book explores life of Ted Kaczynski through the eyes of longtime Montana neighbor


As a teenager, Jamie Gehring would find solace at the rock quarry on her family’s sprawling Lincoln property, but on a summer day as a 15-year-old, a trip to the rock quarry would leave her feeling terrified — it was the last time she would see notorious serial killer Ted Kaczynski in person.
“There had been times earlier in the ’90s when he would come by the house, and my parents weren’t there, and I would feel scared enough to hide in the closet until he was gone,” she said.

But the day at the rock quarry was the first time Gehring said she was “truly terrified” of him.

“I said ‘hello,’ he said ‘hello,’ and I turned around to leave, and I walked at first, and as soon I thought I was out of eyesight, I just ran,” she said.

About one year later, Gehring would find out the neighbor that would bring her painted rocks and other trinkets was the country’s longest-running domestic terrorist. The Unabomber.

In her new book, “Madman in the Woods: Life next door to the Unabomber,” released on April 19, Gehring recalls growing up next to Kaczynski, who built his 1.4-acre cabin on land sold to him by Gehring’s father, Butch Gehring.

Kaczynski, now 79, gave up his career as a math professor at the University of California, Berkeley to live a primitive life in his remote Lincoln cabin that did not have running water or electricity. Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski would go on to kill three people and injure 23 more. Kaczynski was arrested in 1996 after a search by the FBI that cost $50 million. He is currently serving eight life sentences without the possibility of parole.

The book contains stories of the Gehring family’s interactions with Kaczynski, from friendly family dinners and games of pinochle to more menacing revelations like Kaczynski pointing a rifle at Gehring’s little sister and poisoning their family’s dog.

Gehring’s first and last encounter with Kaczynski could not be more different. As illustrated in the book’s opening pages, Gehring views Kaczynski as her friendly neighbor “Teddy,” who brought the then-4-year-old painted rocks.

“However, what I didn’t know at the time was that this man, this hermit, who took time to find these rocks … had already attempted to kill people seven times,” Gehring writes.

After Kaczynski’s life as a serial killer would become public, Gehring said she needed to dig up more of the story, so she spent five years investigating not only Kaczynski but also herself and her family — specifically the role of her father played in the FBI’s investigation.

“I needed to find out more. How could this man who produced such a happy memory also kill three people and injure twenty-three more?” she wrote.

While her main goal in writing the book was to share her own story, Gehring said she tried to write the book as accurately as possible. The process included interviews with Kaczynski’s brother, David Kaczynski, combing through newspaper clippings and court filings and talking with the FBI agents who investigated the case.

“I really did try and write the book in a very balanced w and very journalistic way … I wanted to tell the story as accurately as I possibly could,” she said.

Both David Kaczynski and Max Noel, one of the FBI agents who tracked down Ted, said Gehring succeeded in her goals for the book.

“Jamie Gehring’s book might well be the best attempt yet to understand the strange life and mind of my brother,” David Kaczynski wrote in his review of the book.

Noel echoed the message in his review: “Her exhaustive research and numerous interviews of Kaczynski’s neighbors and Lincoln, Montana, townspeople give her account a unique perspective. I believe ’Madman in the Woods ’ is a must-read for true crime aficionados.”

The most surprising thing Gehring said she discovered about Kaczynski while writing the book was how methodical he was, which tracks for someone with a genius IQ of 167.

“You imagine that the inner workings of a killer would be dark, but I wasn’t quite prepared to read his own words in his journals. I think that was the most shocking and surprising part of this,” she said.

An example she pointed to was Kaczynski referring to his victims as numerated experiments. “It just felt so cold and calculated to see a person referenced that way,” she said.

But she also discovered something about herself, specifically her ability to forgive.

“Even after I discovered that he was committing these acts of domestic terror in our backyard, that he had poisoned our dog and pointed a rifle at my sister … I was really angry, but there was still part of me that wanted to learn more about him and write him in a fair light. I think that was a surprising revelation, she said.

Gehring said her 16-year-old self did not fully grasp the weight of the situation when Kaczynski was arrested in 1998, but looking back on it, she said she feels validated.

“My parents told me I had an overactive imagination because I would tell them there was someone outside of my bedroom, so growing up thinking that, and then finding out (Kaczynski) was scavenging for metal and finding out that it was actually him outside of my window … little things like that from my childhood really made sense to me,” she said.

And despite the trauma from growing up to next Kaczynski, Gehring said she has managed to maintain a pretty level head about the situation.

“I haven’t let it change me, and I still feel like people are good for the most part. Plus, what are the chances I would live next to another serial killer? Pretty slim,” she said.

Daily Montanan is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Daily Montanan maintains editorial independence.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 05, 2022, 05:40:45 AM
'It changed my life': Amber Heard describes alleged abuse by Johnny Depp in defamation trial

Heard is defending herself against her former husband, who alleges that he suffered after she falsely accused him of domestic abuse.


Amber Heard took the witness stand Wednesday to detail her allegations of abuse against her former husband, fellow actor Johnny Depp, who filed a defamation suit against her.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in damages over a 2018 essay she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she said she had become the "public figure representing domestic abuse." Although the essay never mentions Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly refers to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce. Heard is countersuing Depp seeking $100 million in damages.

The high-profile trial, which is being held in Fairfax County, Virginia, is in its fourth week.

Heard described a whirlwind romance with Depp, saying the two bonded over blues music and literature while promoting the 2011 film "The Rum Diary." Depp similarly characterized the beginning of their relationship, previously testifying that Heard seemed to be his "perfect partner" at first.

In her retelling, Heard said that Depp shifted about a year into their relationship after breaking his sobriety after a period of abstaining from alcohol. She described him as jealous, often accusing her of having affairs.

She told the court about the first time Depp allegedly hit her, after she asked about a tattoo of his. Depp told her the tattoo said "wino" and slapped her when she laughed about it, Heard said.

“I will never forget it,” Heard said. “It changed my life.”

Heard said she believed in hindsight Depp may have been high on cocaine because there was a jar on the table but didn’t see him take anything. She said she knew he was drinking at the time.

“I just laughed because I thought he was joking. And he slapped me across the face,” Heard said. “And I laughed. I laughed, because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought, ‘this must be a joke.’”

Depp previously testified that Heard took issues with his tattoo, and that one had been modified after he broke up with a former girlfriend, actor Winona Ryder. He denied hitting her over the issue, though, characterizing it as an absurd reason to hit someone.

Heard told the court that Depp's alleged assaults would coincide with his drug and alcohol abuse. He has previously testified refuting the idea that he was ever "out of control" while inebriated.

But Heard told the court that she was heartbroken, trying to understand the good periods that occurred during his sobriety and the difficult periods of abuse.

"I wanted to want to leave him. I wanted him to get better,” she said, her voice crackling with emotion. “And he expressed to me so many times when he was in that period of getting clean and sober, ‘You saved my life. Baby girl, you saved my life.’ Everyone else is saying that to me, and I believed it.’”

Heard’s attorneys argued for a motion to dismiss Tuesday

Heard’s attorneys argued for a motion to dismiss Tuesday on the basis that Depp's attorneys failed to meet their burden of proof, saying it was undisputed that Heard was physically and verbally abused. They also argued that Depp’s attorneys have questioned the headline for the essay’s online version. But the headline was written by The Washington Post, not Heard, according to one of Heard’s attorneys.

Depp’s attorneys argued that Heard co-signed the headline as her own when she tweeted the article in December 2018, but his legal team has not submitted the tweet to the court as evidence.

Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate said Tuesday that it will be up to the jury to determine whether the weight of the evidence presented by Depp's team has met the burden, dismissing those arguments.

But as for whether or not Heard's tweet constituted an adoption of The Washington Post's headline, Azcarate said she would continue to take it under advisement.

"There seems to be an agreement that the tweet of Ms. Heard is part of the plaintiff's evidence, which is not in evidence at this point," Azcarate said Tuesday. "So I can't rule on that statement whether or not it is just a tweet or if it's some sort of republication. ... I don't know because I haven't seen it yet."

In 2016, Heard filed for a protective order against Depp, alleging that he threw a phone at her, leaving her bruised. She wrote in a sworn declaration to the court that she was living “in fear that Johnny will return to [our house] unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally.”

Depp has denied the allegations of abuse, telling the court over four days of testimony that he had never "struck a woman in my life." He characterized his former wife as having a "need for conflict," instigating fights and physical violence, in the course of their relationship.

Depp also testified that he felt pressured by his attorneys to agree to a joint statement with Heard following their divorce settlement that stated that neither party made false allegations during the dissolution of their marriage.

He told the court that the tip of his finger was severed after Heard threw a vodka bottle at him during an argument in Australia while he was filming the fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. His attorneys presented photos of his injuries, which Depp testified required surgery.

Heard has said she has hit Depp only in self-defense or in defense of her younger sister.

On the witness stand recounting his version of the 2016 fight that Heard referred to in her request for a protective order, Depp said he "flung" the phone onto a couch. Depp said the two were in his penthouse a day after he called Heard to tell her that his mother had died and that he wanted to file for divorce.

Heard wanted to speak, Depp said, so he went over to have a discussion and gather his belongings. They had not spoken for nearly a month at that point, he said.

Depp's attorneys presented audio clips of fights recorded by the couple while in the middle of arguments, including one in which Heard says she hit Depp while denying having punched him.

During cross-examination, Heard's legal team tried to undermine Depp's characterizations of the couple's time together. They displayed text messages he sent that included violent language and pushed back against his descriptions of his alcohol and drug consumption.

They also played clips recorded during the couple's arguments, including one in which Heard appears to confront Depp for assaulting her.

“You throw a swing when you can — when better than I’m on the floor? ’Cause that’s when it’s really good to hit someone,” Heard says in one recording.

Depp admitted on the witness stand to a previous opiate addiction that he detoxed from during his relationship with Heard, but he denied having an addiction to alcohol. He also rejected any characterization that he was out of control while inebriated.

He accused Heard of using his history with substance abuse against him because it was an “easy target.”

“Once you’ve trusted somebody for a certain amount of years and you’ve told them all the secrets of your life, that information then, of course, can be used against you. ... I am not some maniac who needs to be high or loaded all the time,” Depp said.

Heard’s first witness, Dawn Hughes, a clinical psychologist, told the court Tuesday that she had diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what she described as intimate partner violence she experienced during her relationship with Depp.

Psychologist Shannon Curry, an expert witness presented by Depp’s legal team, previously rejected the idea that Heard had post-traumatic stress disorder. Curry diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, which Hughes disagreed with.

It is Depp's second legal case regarding allegations that he abused Heard during their marriage. He lost a case against News Group Newspapers, which publishes the British newspaper The Sun, for calling him a “wife beater” in a 2018 article about the couple.

Heard was not a defendant in that case, but she testified at the trial. A judge ruled in the tabloid's favor, saying its attorneys proved that the allegations were substantially true.

Depp's attorney at the time, David Sherborne, argued that Heard was a "wholly unreliable witness" and a compulsive liar.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 05, 2022, 11:55:04 AM
Prostate cancer deaths could be prevented if men lose weight - study
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 06, 2022, 11:51:55 AM
Thousands refuse to evacuate largest U.S. wildfire in New Mexico


TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - Thousands of people told to flee the largest wildfire burning in the United States have chosen to stay and defend generational homes in the mountains of northern New Mexico, even as some run out of food and water, officials said.

In Mora County, population 4,500, around 60% of residents in evacuation areas have remained in centuries-old farming and ranching communities where electric power has been lost, said Undersheriff Americk Padilla.

"This is their livelihood, this is all they know, so these elderly people, and a lot of the people, our constituents are not leaving," Padilla said.

The forested mountains around 40 miles northeast of Santa Fe are known for tough, self-sufficient residents, many of whom can trace lineage to 18th century Spanish settlers and Native American tribes.

Local doctor Matthew Probst said residents had high “social vulnerability,” families possibly owning a $15,000 mobile home outright but having no home owner's insurance and few financial resources.

Keeping these "norteños" or northerners in their homes was a strong sense of "querencia," or belonging to the land, he said.

"It's more than just your place or your personal belongings and your material things. This is your land, your soul connected to it generationally," said Probst, who has evacuated his family and livestock from the village of Ojitos Frios.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said worried relatives were asking her to get family members out.

“I have no doubt that we have people without power who are on oxygen. I have no doubt we have individuals who are running out of food and water,” Lujan Grisham told a news briefing.

Padilla feared violent winds forecast for the weekend could push the fire into villages and even neighboring Taos County after it destroyed at least 166 homes, burning 165,276 acres (67,000 hectares) in Mora and San Miguel counties. He was distributing food and power generators to homes.

"I cannot neglect the people that decided to stay," he said.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 06, 2022, 11:56:28 AM
Astronaut crew returning to Earth after six months on ISS


NASA's Crew-3 mission was returning home to Earth on Thursday after six months aboard the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer undocked from the orbital laboratory overnight.

Their 23.5 hour journey back should see them splash down off the coast of Florida at 12:43 am on Friday (0443 GMT).

They leave behind the one Italian and three American astronauts of Crew-4, and three Russian cosmonauts. Ahead of departure, Marshburn handed command of the station over to Russian Oleg Artemyev.

During their mission, Crew-3 carried out hundreds of scientific experiments, including growing chiles in space to add to knowledge of cultivating crops on long term missions, exploring how concrete hardens in space, and Earth monitoring.

"Every day on @Space_Station is #EarthDay for @NASA_Astronauts since we see how thin the precious layer is that protects everything we know & love as a human race," Crew-3 commander Chari wrote in a tweet.

"Hopefully, @NASA research will help w/ H20 purification & carbon dioxide reductions but the rest is up to us."

Chancellor Olaf Scholz wished Maurer, the 12th German in space, "a good and safe journey back with a soft landing," thanking him on Twitter for "all the new discoveries in space that are so important for us here on Earth."

Crew-3's expedition came at an increasingly busy time for commercial space.

They welcomed aboard a private crew that included three wealthy businessmen that came and went on another SpaceX Crew Dragon, as well as a Japanese mission that flew on a Soyuz aircraft to the Russian segment.

The ISS now awaits docking with an uncrewed Boeing Starliner capsule, which is set to launch from Florida on May 19.

NASA is looking to certify a second company to ferry astronauts to the region of space called Low Earth Orbit, leaving it to develop its super heavy space launch system (SLS) rocket for missions to the Moon, and eventually Mars.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 06, 2022, 12:10:55 PM
7 hours of sleep is ideal for middle-age and elderly people, study finds

Don’t sleep on this study.

Middle-age and older people should sleep seven hours each night for ideal rest and recovery, according to a study published last week.

The research, published in Nature Aging, studied nearly 500,000 people between the ages of 38 and 73.

“While we can’t say conclusively that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, our analysis looking at individuals over a longer period of time appears to support this idea,” co-author Jianfeng Feng said in a statement.

Researchers found that people who got exactly seven hours of sleep on a consistent basis saw better mental health, better memory, increased ability to pay attention and fewer symptoms of depression.

Previous studies have also suggested that seven hours is the ideal amount of sleep.

The latest study was conducted using the U.K.’s Biobank program and completed by researchers from the U.K. and China. It relied on participants reporting their own nights of sleep.

While the negative effects of sleep deprivation have been extensively studied, the researchers were confused by the downside of extra sleep.

“We don’t really understand why sleeping longer would be a problem,” co-author Barbara Sahakian told The Guardian.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 06, 2022, 11:34:26 PM
Paul McCartney signals support for Johnny Depp at concert


Johnny Depp’s reputation might be getting by with a little help from his friends.

Paul McCartney, during a concert in Seattle this week, appeared to lend the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, 58, his support amid the contentious defamation trial between Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard.

Philanthropist and former model Jill Vedder, wife of Eddie Vedder, shared video on Instagram Tuesday that shows McCartney — a reported pal of Depp’s — performing “My Valentine” at the piano, in front of footage of Depp playing guitar.

“Might be controversial to post this video with J.D,” Vedder, 44, captioned the clip. “Don’t care. Know him only to be a gentleman .. And while I support women and the ‘me too’ movement I also know some women who have destroyed the lives of innocent & good men. ... p.s verbal abuse is not cool either.. watch your tongue.”

Vedder posted additional footage from the concert earlier that day.

McCartney had scheduled tour stops in Seattle on both Monday and Tuesday.

Depp is suing “Aquaman” star Heard, 36, for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she penned, referring to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” which he says derailed his career and reputation. Heard counter-sued for $100 million.

Other celebrities who may be subtly supporting Depp include Heard’s “Aquaman” costar Jason Momoa, who late last month followed Depp on Instagram. While the Oscar nominee’s proponents view this as a mark of support, others believe it could signal objectivity as Momoa’s texts with Heard are expected to be read in court.

A representative for McCartney did not immediately respond to the Daily News’ request for comment.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 07, 2022, 01:36:55 PM
'A great start': News of Chuck Todd's MSNBC show demotion met with cheers


MSNBC's Chuck Todd will have his daily show aired as a streaming service instead of as cable news, a decision that generated a great deal of social media discussion on Friday.

"Meet the Press Daily, the MSNBC program based on the Sunday public affairs show, will go streaming-only beginning next month. The show, which is anchored by Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and runs at 1 pm weekdays, will be renamed Meet the Press Now, and will stream at 4 pm weekdays," Alex Weprin reported for The Hollywood Reporter.

Chris Jansing we inherit Todd's slot on MSNBC.

Todd has been a controversial figure at MSNBC and the network has received pressure to "fire Chuck Todd."

At the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, host Trevor Noah roasted Todd's journalism.

The Daily Beast reported, "To Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, Noah asked, 'How are you doing? I’d ask a follow-up, but I know you don’t know what those are.' When the crowd groaned, he added, 'Don’t boo him, he’s trying!'"

It was against this backdrop that social media weighed in on Todd's demotion.

Media analyst Jeff Jarvis described it as a move to the "kiddie table."

"I'm sure the company line is that this is an investment in the digital future. And others will say good riddance," he noted.

Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko referenced Noah's joke.

"Trevor Noah’s joke was so good it booted Chuck Todd off MSNBC," he said.

But New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen disagreed.

"I have no inside information, but I doubt that Trevor Noah's dig is the reason NBC decided to move Chuck Todd's MSNBC show to streaming," Rosen said. "If they concluded that, yes, he's too weak an interviewer, would they keep him in his marquee job as host of Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC?"
Historian Kevin Kruse suggested that NBC News also fire Todd from Meet the Press.

"This is a great start, but can we get his Sunday morning gig moved to Quibi or the Weather Channel's app and replace that spot with an actual journalist too?" Kruse wrote.

He then clarified that "the Weather Channel is actually useful, and doesn't deserve being linked to Chuck Todd."

Nelly Torres of the watchdog group Center for Public Integrity said Todd is "among the worst."

"Can't interview and doesn't know how to challenge lies and misinformation. So bye Felicia! Streaming news is where you go to die," she wrote.

Journalist Allen McDuffee argued it is worse than it looks.

"Most people would take this spiral as a sign they should exit. Kinda suggests nobody else is opening a door for him to enter. And it's telling that NBC didn't even try to offer Chuck Todd's show as premium content to paying Peacock subscribers. Instead, they're putting it on the NBC News app, which anybody can watch for free," he noted.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 07, 2022, 01:40:25 PM
Fred Savage fired from 'The Wonder Years' for 'inappropriate conduct'


Actor Fred Savage came to prominence on the 1988 television series "The Wonder Years," but has been fired from the reboot of the show, People magazine reported Friday night.

"Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of 'The Wonder Years,'" a spokesperson for 20th Television told the magazine.

Savage, 45, starred as Kevin Arnold in the original series.

"The allegations come four years after actress Alley Mills, who played Savage's mother Norma Arnold in the original series, alleged in 2018 that a sexual harassment lawsuit against the actor and Jason Hervey ended the show in 1993. Hervey portrayed Savage's older brother Wayne Arnold," the magazine reported. "Costume designer Monique Long sued the TV brothers in 1993, claiming that their alleged verbal and physical harassment prevented her from properly doing her job and led to her being fired, per Vanity Fair. The lawsuit was ultimately settled and dropped."

Deadline predicted the news would stun many.

"The accusations probably come as a shock to a generation of Americans who grew up with Savage and his hugely popular characters as a child actor: He played the grandson in 1987’s modern classic 'The Princess Bride,' and Kevin Arnold, a teenager growing up in a suburban middle-class family in the late 1960s and early 1970s, on the original Wonder Years series, which aired on ABC from 1988-93. He was 12 when he was cast in the series, and at 13 he received the first of two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series — becoming the youngest actor ever nominated in the category," Deadline noted.

The Hollywood Reporter says Savage issued a statement saying “none of the accusations being leveled at me are true.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 08, 2022, 02:11:20 PM
Former Fox News reporter complains about being fired because she compared Dr. Fauci to infamous Nazi


Lara Logan, a former Fox News reporter who frequently fell for internet hoaxes, revealed this week the reason she was fired from the right-wing cable news network.

While appearing at an event to raise money for Republican candidates in Kerrville, Texas, Logan was asked by an audience member what happened to her job at Fox News.

Logan replied that she got the axe when she compared Dr. Anthony Fauci to a notorious Nazi war criminal.

"I was on a show, I think it was with Pete Hegseth, who's a great person," she began. "And Anthony Fauci had just done an interview with Margaret Brennan at CBS... and she asked him about the criticism he was getting, and he said, 'Well, I am science, so anyone who questions me is questioning science.' So I was asked about this on this Fox show and I said, 'A lot of people I talk to, they don't see Fauci as science, they see him more as Dr. Joseph Mengele."

This remark drew cheers from the audience.

Logan then acknowledged that the comparison of Fauci to a doctor who ran horrific experiments on people in concentration camps gave "an opening" for people to pressure the network to fire her.

Logan first revealed she'd been "dumped" by Fox this past March.

Watch the video below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 08, 2022, 02:15:17 PM
New York subway shooting suspect indicted on terrorism charge


A U.S. grand jury on Saturday indicted a man for terrorism and other charges stemming from an April 12 gunfire and smoke bomb attack that injured 23 people on the New York City subway.

The indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York charged Frank James, 62, with a terrorist attack and other violence against a mass transportation system plus a count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

If convicted on the terrorism charge James could be sentenced to life in prison.

Defense attorneys representing James did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

James is accused of setting off smoke bombs and opening fire inside a New York City subway car in Brooklyn, striking 10 people with gunfire and setting off a round-the-clock manhunt.

Thirteen others were injured in the frantic rush to flee the smoke-filled train, police said.

He was taken into custody some 30 hours later in lower Manhattan, about 8 miles (13 km) from the scene of the assault, after authorities determined his whereabouts with the help of tips from residents, some of whom posted sightings on social media, police said.

James, a Bronx native with recent addresses in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, had previously been charged with a criminal complaint filed by law enforcement over the attack. The more formal indictment came after prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury.

Authorities accuse James of setting off two smoke bombs inside a subway car moments before opening fire on fellow passengers with a semi-automatic handgun. The gun, purchased in 2011, was later recovered from the scene, along with three extended-ammunition magazines, a torch, a hatchet, a bag of fireworks and a container of gasoline, according to police and court documents.

The attack followed string of violent crimes unnerving passengers in the America's largest metropolitan transit system, including instances of commuters being pushed onto subway tracks from station platforms.

The motive remained unclear. An FBI affidavit referred to a number of YouTube videos James posted addressing statements to New York City's mayor about homelessness and the subway system.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 08, 2022, 02:21:14 PM
Meghan McCain fails at selling new book — her dad’s strategist explains why


GOP heiress Meghan McCain's failure to sell her new book Bad Republican was explained by the senior strategist on her father's 2008 presidential campaign.

"According to an NPD BookScan provided to Secrets, it sold just 244 copies in the first few days," The Washington Examiner reported Friday. "A book agent said the low sales were a surprise considering the celebrity status of the former View star and outspoken daughter of former Sen. John McCain."

Longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt said, "I can explain this" in a thread posted to Twitter.

"When I kicked [Meghan McCain] off of the 2008 McCain plane, because of her outrageous behavior, I talked to her mom and explained what was happening and why. Cindy got weepy and said 'I just want to say I raised two good sons' I said 'everyone knows you did.' My daughter was three at the time and I made a promise to myself that I would make sure that my number one priority in life would be raising a child that never acted like [Meghan McCain], a spoiled rotten, entitled bully," he wrote.

Schmidt said her personality is why her book isn't selling.

"That is why in a nation of 330 million people, 247 have bought it. Nothing new to learn," he wrote.

Schmidt responded to criticism of him posting Cindy McCain's comments.

"Why. I was a volunteer who gave up a year of my life to work for her father. I’ve been publicly lied about and abused by her for 14 years. She wrote a tell all book, not me. Why is that a secret? Is it the Esper rule? How does that work? She is a bully not a victim," he declared.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 08, 2022, 02:25:55 PM
WWE legend Tammy ‘Sunny’ Sytch arrested for DUI manslaughter after fatal car crash that ‘killed 75-year-old man’


Former WWE star Tammy Sytch has been arrested for DUI manslaughter and eight other charges after allegedly causing a fatal car crash in March.

The 49-year-old star – best known to wrestling fans as Sunny – was allegedly involved in the accident in which a 75-year-old man, later identified as Julian Lafrancis Lasseter, died.

On Friday evening, Sytch was arrested and processed at Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

As reported by PWInsider, she is currently facing nine charges including DUI Manslaughter (DUI causing the death of a person), Driving with a suspended or revoked license (causing death or serious injury) and seven counts of DUI causing damage to a person or property.

Volusia County Branch Jail has released Sytch’s mugshot and charges, including details of her $227,500 bond.

TMZ previously reported that police suspected Sytch – who recently claimed on Twitter that she suffered a seizure before the incident – was under the influence of alcohol.

A crash report by Ormond Beach Police Department, Florida, reportedly shows that the accident happened at around 8:28 PM on March 25 on US Highway 1 in Volusia County.

Sytch is thought to have crashed her 2012 Mercedes into the back of a 2013 Kia Sorento and then into the rear of a 2011 GMC Yukon that had also stopped at a stoplight.

The driver of the vehicle she hit, identified as Julian Lafrancis Lasseter, was transported to Halifax Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses reportedly said Sytch – who was also taken to the hospital but later released – was ‘driving at a high rate of speed’ before crashing.

Sytch was inducted the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 and is considered the company’s first Diva.

She has faced more legal trouble recently, being arrested in January for ‘terroristic threats and weapons possession’.

In 2015, she alleged to have suffered a seizure after a traffic accident, but she later pleaded guilty to DUI in three cases.

The following year, she claimed she agreed to the guilty plea because she was ‘blackout drunk’ during what she described as the worst relapse of her life.

In February 2019, was arrested for DUI – the sixth time she’s been arrested for the charge.

In July 2020, she was arrested on charges of eluding a police officer, violating a domestic violence restraining order and operating a vehicle during a second license suspension.

She was released on June 9, 2021, and later that month she told WrestleZone.com: ‘I am happy to be finished with my sentence and I am anxious to start the next chapter of my life. I am healthy and happy and feel great.

‘‘The incident which led to this last incarceration stemmed from some major misunderstandings. However I accept responsibility and have used this time to make a better me and put my past mistakes behind me.’

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 08, 2022, 02:31:18 PM
Strong winds ground aircraft fighting 'historic fire weather event' in New Mexico


Airborne firefighters dumped water and retardants on a raging New Mexico wildfire on Saturday, expediting their mission until gusty afternoon winds grounded their aerial campaign.

In all New Mexico was battling at least six wildfires, the worst of them burning the mountains and canyons just east of the capital of Santa Fe, amid extremely hot, windy and dry weather that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called "the worst possible set of conditions for any fire."

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon complex had burned 172,284 acres as of Saturday, officials said, the equivalent of 269 square miles (697 square km) or nearly 90% of the land area of New York City, destroying at least 170 homes and forcing 16,000 evacuations, officials said.

Worse yet, sizzling temperatures and powerful winds were forecast for another five days in what firefighters have deemed a "historic fire weather event."

Dave Bales, U.S. Forest Service incident commander for the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire, told reporters that helicopter and airplane pilots started early on Saturday and flew all morning, but gusty winds picked up around midday and grounded the fleet.

"They had to sit down due to the heavy turbulence and the lack of visibility with the smoke," U.S. Forest Service Incident Commander Todd Abel told a briefing.

"We were flying them all the way up until then, but the safety of the aerial firefighters was being pushed."

Saturday's wind speeds of 30 mph with 60 mph gusts (48 to 96 kph) were expected to increase on Sunday. Meanwhile, relative humidity of 35% was forecast to dip to a bone dry range of 6% to 16% on Sunday, firefighters said. "Extreme burning conditions" were expected until Tuesday, they said.

Sustained winds are manageable, but fluctuating speeds create hazards for pilots, and strong winds blow water and retardant drops off the mark, Bales said.

KOAT television showed a helicopter dipping a vat attached to a cable into a lake, while planes skirted billowing smoke to drop water and fire retardants over flames.

Firefighters on the ground were rotating in and out, using hand tools and bulldozers to create fire breaks.

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire was 21% contained on Saturday, but pockets of unburned forest remained behind the fire lines, meaning it had plenty more fuel, Bales said.

The fire consists of two blazes that ignited about two weeks apart and later merged into one, the first originating from a prescribed-burn project that got out of control. The cause of the second remains under investigation, officials said.

At least five others raged elsewhere in the state.

One of them, the 59,000-acre (238 square km) Cooks Peak fire a little further to the northeast from the main blaze, was 97% contained, meaning resources could soon be diverted elsewhere in the state, Lujan Grisham said.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 09, 2022, 11:48:40 AM
3 Americans found dead at resort in Bahamas; fourth is hospitalized

Three Americans were discovered dead at a Bahamas resort and a fourth has been hospitalized, sparking a mystery for which officials, so far, have few answers.

The bodies of two men and a woman were found on Friday at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Exuma, Bahamas Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper, confirmed. A second woman was also airlifted to Princess Margaret Hospital.

“Police are investigating and the cause of death is still unknown,” Cooper said. “However, I am advised that foul play is not suspected.”

A Sandals spokesperson also confirmed the deaths in a statement to People, calling them a “health emergency.”

“A health emergency was initially reported and following our protocols we immediately alerted emergency medical professionals and relevant local authorities,” the spokesperson said. “We are actively working to support both the investigation as well as the guests’ families in every way possible during this difficult time.

Officers with the Royal Bahamas Police Force responded on Friday to the popular resort, where they found the three bodies in two different villas. Inside the first, authorities discovered a “Caucasian male laying on the ground” in the bedroom and unresponsive, according to a police press release. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Police then turned their attention to the second villa, where they found “a Caucasian male slumped against the wall in a bathroom” and a “Caucasian female” in a “bedroom on a bed.” Both were unresponsive and showed “signs of convulsion,” the release continued.

“The officers examined the bodies and found no signs of trauma. The local doctor later pronounced both persons dead.”

The couple had previously complained about feeling unwell, according to authorities, and sought out treatment at the local medical facility.

An investigation into the matter is ongoing and authorities hope the group’s autopsies will reveal more about the tragedy.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 10, 2022, 01:50:44 PM
A tip among hundreds led police to capture Vicky White and Casey White. But her death leaves many questions


CNN — The nationwide search for a former Alabama corrections officer and the inmate she disappeared with ended Monday when Vicky White died after being hospitalized for a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.

Vicky White, 56, and Casey White, 38, were captured by authorities in Evansville, Indiana, following a car chase with authorities who tracked them down following a tip that came from the public Sunday, Lauderdale County, Alabama, Sheriff Rick Singleton said. It was one of hundreds of tips officials combed through in the 11 days after Vicky White helped Casey White escape jail.

Officers conducting surveillance spotted Vicky White exiting a hotel with a wig on, according to US Marshal Matt Keely. Then, she and Casey White got into a car and drove away.

Authorities continued to watch them until a vehicle pursuit began, ending when a US Marshals task force member drove a vehicle into the Cadillac the pair were in. The car wrecked and rolled over, Keely said. Casey White was driving the car, according to the US Marshals.

Officers were able to remove the inmate from the wrecked car, but Vicky White was pinned inside with a gunshot wound to her head, Keely said.

Casey White reportedly told authorities to help “his wife” who had shot herself in the head and told them he didn’t do it, according to Keely. As far as investigators know, Casey White and Vicky White were not married, Keely noted, and investigators previously said they weren’t related.

No law enforcement officers fired any shots during the chase, according to Singleton.

The scene at the end of the chase in Evansville, Indiana.

The pair’s capture brought to a close a lengthy manhunt that gained widespread attention. But for those close to Vicky White who were hoping for an explanation for her unexpected disappearance and motives, plenty of questions remain unresolved.

As details emerged throughout the investigation suggesting Vicky White planned to aid the inmate, who authorities believe she had a romantic relationship with, in his escape, her family and colleagues were stunned.

On Monday, before Vicky White died, Singleton said she and Casey White would be brought back to Alabama for an arraignment.

“She has some answers to give us,” he said. “What in the world provoked her, prompted her to pull a stunt like this, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know.”

Tip led to their capture

The officer and inmate are believed to have been in Evansville since May 3, Sheriff Dave Wedding of Vanderburgh County, Illinois, told CNN.

Sunday night, investigators were told a 2006 Ford F-150 had been discovered at a car wash in Evansville, which is about 175 miles north of Williamson County, Tennessee, where the pair is believed to have abandoned a vehicle they drove away in after ditching Vicky White’s patrol car near the jail. Marshals traveled to Indiana to pursue the lead, the service said.

U.S Marshals released photos on Monday afternoon of who they believe is fugitive Casey White caught on surveillance at an Indiana car wash.

Investigators released photos Monday of a person they believe is Casey White caught on surveillance camera at the car wash. Vicky White is not seen in the images.

The pair initially disappeared April 29 when Vicky White said she was taking Casey White to the courthouse for a mental evaluation. But they never arrived at the courthouse and authorities later discovered they drove to a shopping center parking lot, abandoned the officer’s patrol car and escaped in a vehicle Vicky White staged there the night before, officials said.

Casey White will be brought back to Alabama, where he was facing murder charges before his escape and already serving a 75-year sentence for other crimes. Before her death, Vicky White was charged with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree, in addition to forgery and identity theft charges connected to her use of an alias to purchase the 2007 Ford Edge the pair initially escaped in, officials said.

The veteran officer has been described by Singleton as “an exemplary employee” with an “unblemished record” who had the trust and respect of her colleagues. As the investigation unfolded, the sheriff acknowledged her apparent behavior is inconsistent with the person her colleagues thought they knew.

“Obviously there was a side to Vicky White that we weren’t aware of,” he told CNN previously.

Search was challenging for investigators

Vicky White’s years of law enforcement expertise presented unique difficulties for authorities.

“This escape was obviously well planned and calculated,” Singleton said, noting that escapes from county jails are usually spontaneous. “A lot of preparation went into this. They had plenty of resources, had cash, had vehicles, had everything they needed to pull this off, and that’s what made this last week and a half so challenging. We were starting from ground zero, and not only that … they got a six-hour head start on us.”

Investigators previously released video of Vicky White at a Quality Inn in Florence, Alabama, where they say she stayed the night before the escape. Singleton also said they have footage of her shopping for men’s clothing at a department store and at an “adult store,” adding that she “obviously had a change of clothes” for the inmate.

Before her disappearance, Vicky White submitted her retirement papers, sold her home for well below market value and purchased the car the pair would use to escape, officials have said.

The day of the disappearance was set to be her last day of work, but her retirement papers were never finalized, according to Singleton. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that she was no longer employed there.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly, who said he worked with the officer almost daily for 17 years, told CNN last week he “would have trusted her with my life.”

“I am so disappointed in her,” he said. “She was trusted and she exploited that trust.”

Counselors will be made available at the Lauderdale County Detention Center for staff who may need them after Vicky White’s death, according to Singleton.

“It’s a small agency, like family,” he told CNN. “Some of these younger deputies she was like a mother figure to them and I know they’re going to take it hard.”

Casey White will likely need to return to the detention center in the future for court hearings related to his murder charges. Singleton said the inmate will be isolated in a cell.

“He’s going to stay in chains and handcuffs and when he leaves that facility, I guarantee you there’s going to be two deputies with him,” he said. “And he’s not going to get out of this jail again. I don’t want him here any longer than he has to be.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 10, 2022, 01:56:20 PM
'Our house is truly on fire': Earth now has 50 percent chance of hitting 1.5°C of warming by 2026


The World Meteorological Organization warned Monday that the planet now faces a 50% chance of temporarily hitting 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels over the next five years, another signal that political leaders—particularly those of the rich nations most responsible for carbon emissions—are failing to rein in fossil fuel use.

"For as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise."

In 2015, by comparison, the likelihood of briefly reaching or exceeding 1.5°C of global warming over the ensuing five-year period was estimated to be "close to zero," the WMO noted in a new climate update. The report was published amid a deadly heatwave on the Indian subcontinent that scientists say is a glimpse of what's to come if runaway carbon emissions aren't halted. Thus far, the heatwave has killed dozens in India and Pakistan.

Signatories to the Paris climate accord have agreed to act to limit the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C—preferably to 1.5°C—by the end of the century. Climate advocates have deemed the 1.5°C target "on life support" following world leaders' refusal to commit to more ambitious action at the COP26 summit in Glasgow late last year.

"We are getting measurably closer to temporarily reaching the lower target of the Paris Agreement," Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the WMO, said in a statement Monday. "The 1.5°C figure is not some random statistic. It is rather an indicator of the point at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and indeed the entire planet."

"For as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise," Taalas added. "And alongside that, our oceans will continue to become warmer and more acidic, sea ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea level will continue to rise and, our weather will become more extreme. Arctic warming is disproportionately high and what happens in the Arctic affects all of us."

Dr. Leon Hermanson, a climate expert at the U.K. Met Office who led the WMO report, stressed that a short-lived breach of the 1.5°C threshold would not mean that the world is guaranteed to fall short of the Paris accord's most ambitious warming target, which climate experts and campaigners have long decried as inadequate.

Such a breach, however, would "reveal that we are edging ever closer to a situation where 1.5°C could be exceeded for an extended period," said Hermanson.

The WMO's latest research also estimates that there is a 93% chance that at least one year between 2022 and 2026 will be the warmest on record. Currently, 2016 and 2020 are tied for the top spot.

Even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C by 2100, countless people across the globe will still face devastating heatwaves, droughts, and other extreme weather, with the poor facing the worst consequences.

Meanwhile, key ecosystems could be damaged beyond repair in a 1.5°C hotter world. One recent study found that 99% of the world's coral reefs would experience heatwaves that are "too frequent for them to recover" if the planet gets 1.5°C warmer compared to pre-industrial levels.

Scientists behind the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report cautioned last month that if there's to be any hope of keeping warming to 1.5°C or below by 2100, "it's now or never."

"Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible," said Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 10, 2022, 11:44:07 PM
Mike Tyson avoids criminal charges for punching plane passenger


Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson won't face criminal charges after punching a man multiple times before a flight out of San Francisco last month.

The announcement came Tuesday following an investigation by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, which says the circumstances preceding the April 20 confrontation led to the decision.

“The circumstances include the conduct of the victim leading up to the incident, the interaction between Mr. Tyson and the victim, as well as the requests of both the victim and Mr. Tyson that no charges be filed in the case,” District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe said. “We now deem this case to be closed.”

Video of the altercation published by TMZ last month appears to show Tyson repeatedly hitting a passenger in the seat behind him on a plane.

The incident occurred prior to the flight’s departure out of San Francisco International Airport, the district attorney said.

In a statement last month, representatives for Tyson, 55, described the passenger as “aggressive,” saying he “began harassing (Tyson) and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat.”

The district attorney’s office says it looked at footage taken by other passengers during its investigation, and reviewed incident reports from the San Francisco Police Department and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

The reports said the victim had been drinking and “appeared to be intoxicated,” the district attorney told the Daily News.

The victim shared “minimal details of the incident” with the officers who responded to the scene that day, and was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, the San Francisco Police Department said last month. Police confirmed two people were detained.

The passenger whom Tyson punched has since been identified by TMZ as a Florida man named Melvin Townsend III.

The Brooklyn-born Tyson, who retired from boxing in 2005, returned in 2020 for an exhibition fight with Roy Jones Jr.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 11, 2022, 11:21:42 AM
'No good place to stop it': More people flee New Mexico wildfire


TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - The United States' largest active wildfire bore down on New Mexico mountain villages on Tuesday, triggering evacuations in another county as firefighters saw no way to stop the blaze.

Driven by gusting winds the fire reached a highway that is the only way out of the village of Chacon where some people have stayed to defend homes, according to Mora County Under Sheriff Americk Padilla.

In nearby Angostura, ranchers and second-home owners were told to flee, marking the first evacuations in Taos County, which like the rest of the fire zone is caught in a more than two-decade-long drought.

Around 25 miles (40.23 km) north, tourists in the town of Taos took pictures of pyrocumulus clouds formed when air superheated by fire rises and then condenses.

The blaze has burned an area around the size of all five boroughs of New York City in a 42-mile-swath of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

"There's no good place with the fire behavior and the wind we've been having to stop it anywhere in here, so we're going to have to protect all these homes as we go to the north," Todd Abel, a battalion chief with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, told a briefing.

The fire is destroying ancestral forests and watersheds used by Indo-Hispano villages for centuries for building materials, firewood and to irrigate high mountain pastures.

The so-called Hermits Peak Calf Canyon blaze is one of around a dozen in the Southwest that started earlier this year as climate change dried out forests and caused stronger-than-normal spring winds, forest biologists say.

Hundreds of homes and other structures have been destroyed by the fire and about 12,000 households have been told to evacuate, with fears some centuries-old communities will never recover.

The blaze started on April 4 when a controlled burn by the U.S. Forest Service got out of hand and then merged with another blaze to burn 203,920 acres (82,527 hectares). The cause of the second fire remains under investigation.

The eastern flank of the fire has been contained, allowing villagers on Tuesday to return to communities like Pendaries and Cañoncito that were the first to lose homes.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 11, 2022, 11:28:23 AM
Georgia deputies infuriate school officials with ‘humiliating’ roadside search of Black lacrosse team’s luggage


Sheriff's deputies in Georgia stopped a bus carrying a mostly Black women's lacrosse team under the apparent assumption there was marijuana on board, and the players and their coaches were humiliated and angered by the experience.

The Delaware State University team was stopped April 20 in Liberty County on their way home from playing a game at Stetson University in Florida, and bus driver Tim Jones said he was initially told the stop was for a lane violation -- but a video taken by one of the players shows a search for drugs, reported USA Today.

"If there is anything in y’all’s luggage, we’re probably gonna find it, okay?" an officer says in the video recorded by player Saniya Craft. "I’m not looking for a little bit of marijuana, but I’m pretty sure you guys’ chaperones are probably going to be disappointed in you if we find any."

"If there is something in there that’s questionable," the deputy adds on the video, "please tell me now, because if we find it -- guess what? We’re not going to be able to help you."

An account written by sophomore player Sydney Anderson shows the deputies knew the women were members of a lacrosse team, and the video shows deputies removing bags from the vehicle's cargo bay after asking the driver to open it, and a drug-sniffing dog was brought to the scene.

"One of my student-athletes asked them, ‘How did we go from a routine traffic stop to narcotics-sniffing dogs going through our belongings?’ " said lacrosse coach Pamella Jenkins. "The police officer said that on this stretch of highway there are a lot of buses that are smuggling people and narcotics and they have to be diligent.’ "

The deputy told the women that "marijuana is still illegal in the state of Georgia" and made references to items he considered to be drug paraphernalia, and another deputy found a gift-wrapped box he considered to be suspicious, which a player said was a gift from her aunt that she had been asked not to open until she got back to campus.

"He said, ‘You accepted something and you don’t know what it is?’" Jenkins said, and the player told him again it was a gift.

The deputy returned to the cargo bay and opened the gift, which turned out to be a jewelry box to celebrate the player's graduation, and no drugs or other contraband was found during the search that lasted about 30 to 45 minutes.

"Maybe another 10 minutes after that," Jenkins said, "they come on the bus and they say, ‘You’re free to leave, have a safe trip."

University officials are exploring legal recourse for the incident and notified Delaware elected officials, who issued statements condemning the deputies' actions.

"To be clear," said DSU president Tony Allen, "nothing illegal was discovered in this search, and all of our coaches and student-athletes comported themselves with dignity throughout a trying and humiliating process."

Watch the video below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 12, 2022, 12:01:10 AM
Republicans claim to be "pro life" and now they are bringing back executions.

Arizona to carry out first execution since 2014

A Native American man convicted of murdering a college student more than four decades ago was to be put to death Wednesday in Arizona, marking the southwestern US state's first execution since 2014.

Clarence Dixon, 66, was scheduled to receive a lethal injection in Florence State Prison at 10:00 am (1700 GMT). He would become the sixth person executed this year in the United States, according to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.

His lawyers have filed multiple appeals, arguing their client, who is blind, is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and does not know why he faces capital punishment.

"Mr. Dixon really doesn't understand the claim because he lives in his head.... He lives in these alternate realities," lawyer Eric Zuckerman said Tuesday at a hearing before a San Francisco court which rejected his appeal.

A final request for a stay of execution was denied on Wednesday by the US Supreme Court.

Dixon stabbed, raped and strangled 21-year old student Deana Bowdoin in Tempe in January 1978, just days after being found not guilty of a different attack because of his psychological state.

Later he was sentenced to life in prison for a separate sexual assault in 1986, and through DNA testing he was linked to and convicted of Bowdoin's killing.

The execution will be Arizona's first after an eight-year hiatus following the botched execution of an inmate who suffered agonizing convulsions for two hours as he was injected with 15 doses of a chemical cocktail before he died.

Doubts about the legality of lethal injections -- suspected of causing unlawful suffering -- abound, and pharmaceutical companies have begun refusing to supply the chemicals, leading to a sharp nationwide decline in executions.

Officials in the state, where 113 prisoners including Dixon are on death row, have also authorized the gas chamber for carrying out capital punishment.

Arizona prison authorities are considering using hydrogen cyanide, the main component of Zyklon-B, a chemical infamously associated with the Holocaust.

Dixon was offered a choice of lethal injection or the gas chamber. His silence meant he was due to be given a lethal injection.

Arizona has set June 8 for the execution of Frank Atwood, sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of an eight-year-old girl. He has been given two weeks to choose between lethal injection or being gassed with lethal chemicals.

Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 12, 2022, 01:25:43 PM
Man died while burying girlfriend he allegedly strangled, authorities say

A 60-year-old man who strangled his girlfriend died of a heart attack while burying her body in their South Carolina backyard, investigators said.

Deputies found Joseph Anthony McKinnon's body Saturday after neighbors called and reported an unconscious man in a yard in Trenton, the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

As they investigated McKinnon's death, deputies found a body wrapped in trash bags in a freshly dug hole and determined it was his girlfriend, Patricia Ruth Dent, 65, investigators said.

An autopsy on Dent determined she had been strangled and neighbors told officers they saw McKinnon digging a hole in his yard the day before, deputies said.

An autopsy on McKinnon determined he died of a heart attack. Deputies said it appeared he was nearly done filling the grave when he set the shovel down, walked away and collapsed.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 12, 2022, 01:33:35 PM
Passenger with no flight experience lands plane in Florida after pilot incapacitated


A passenger without flying experience landed a small plane at a Florida airport after the pilot was rendered "incoherent" by a medical emergency, US media reported Wednesday.

The unwitting pilot, the only passenger on the single-engine Cessna 208, relied on air traffic control to guide his landing at Palm Beach International Airport, some 68 miles (110 kilometers) north of Miami, NBC reported.

Officials at Fort Pierce, north of Palm Beach, received an emergency call around noon on Tuesday from the passenger, saying, "I've got a serious situation here," NBC reported.

"My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane."

Asked for his position he said, "I have no idea" but that he could see the Florida coastline.

"Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound," the air traffic official told him. "We're trying to locate you."


Air traffic controller Robert Morgan said his experience as a flight instructor helped him guide the passenger, whose name has not been released, as he landed the plane.

"He was very calm, he just said, 'hey, I just don't know how to fly, you know, I don't know how to stop this thing if I do get it on the runway," Morgan told CNN.

"I felt like I was gonna cry because I had so much adrenaline built up" after the incident, Morgan added, saying the passenger gave him a hug and thanked him for helping him get safely back to his pregnant wife.

The condition of the pilot or the nature of the medical emergency was not immediately released, but Palm Beach Fire Rescue said a patient was transported to a hospital after the plane touched down.



Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 12, 2022, 11:40:23 PM
Climate change takes hold in North Carolina's ghost forests
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 12:24:23 PM
Naomi Judd died of self-inflicted firearm wound, Ashley Judd reveals

CNN — Ashley Judd and her family wanted the world to hear from them how Naomi Judd died.

The younger Judd appeared in an interview with Diane Sawyer, which aired on Thursday on “Good Morning America.” She said her family had agreed that she share the cause of death of her mother.

“She used a weapon,” Ashley Judd said. “A firearm. So that’s the piece of information we are very uncomfortable sharing.”

She and her sister Wynonna Judd announced on April 30 that they had lost their mother “to the disease of mental illness.” She was 76.

Ashley Judd said she and her family wanted to shed light on mental illness, explaining that it is “important to make the distinction between the loved one and the disease.”

Judd said the family reluctantly shared the cause of death before it became public in some other way. She also revealed that she was the one who discovered her mother, who had been outspoken about her battle with depression, after it happened.

“I have both grief and trauma from discovering her,” said Judd, who began the interview by thanking everyone for the support she and her family have received in the wake of their grief.

The matriarch died the day before she and her daughter Wynonna, who made up the country music duo The Judds, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ashley Judd said her mother “couldn’t hang on” to be recognized by her peers.

“That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her,” Judd said. “Because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart and the lie the disease told her was so convincing.”

The Judd sisters attended the ceremony and honored their mother.

CMT will air a televised memorial for Judd on Sunday.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 12:32:05 PM
New body camera footage undercuts Georgia sheriff's defense of deputies' search of Black lacrosse team bus

Body camera footage contradicts claims by a Georgia sheriff about his deputies' actions during a traffic stop involving a women's lacrosse team from historically Black university Delaware State.

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman claimed "no personal items on the bus or person(s) were searched" during the April 20 stop, which deputies justified as a lane violation, but body cam footage obtained by Delaware Online/The News Journal shows deputies rummaging through players' backpacks and bags, just as the women have been alleging.

“How do we go from being in the wrong lane to going through our bags?” asks one player as a deputy first walks on board the bus.

The deputy says a dog can be brought on board to search for narcotics while the deputy who pulled over the bus "is conducting his business."

"This what we do," the deputy says, and then tells the women that law enforcement stops commercial vehicles because drugs, “large amounts of money” and children being trafficked might be on board.

Another deputy with a K-9 unit then gets on board the bus, and deputies said the dog alerted them to possible narcotics, which they said would allow them to search the bus and the team's belongings.

Bus driver Tim Jones, who is Black, told deputies he drove in the left lane to pass another vehicle, but the deputies said Georgia law prohibits vehicles with six wheels and air brakes from driving in that lane, although the statute specifically excludes buses and motorcoaches.

"Simply stopping a bus filled with African Americans and subjecting them to that (search) raises grave civil rights concerns," said Gerald Griggs, president of Georgia’s state NAACP chapter and a civil rights attorney. "The actual search of the baggage and running the dog all up on the bus, they’re going to need something (more) to do that, and I have some serious concerns about whether they did.”

Watch video in link: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2022/05/11/body-camera-footage-contradicts-sheriffs-account-georgia-bus-stop/9729651002/
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 12:38:55 PM
Astronomers capture image of Milky Way's supermassive black hole for the first time


On Thursday, the Center for Astrophysics announced the first images of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, known as Sagittarius A*.

"The result provides overwhelming evidence that the object at the heart of our galaxy is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies," the Center for Astrophysics explained on its website. "The image was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — which includes scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) — using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes."

"The image, described today in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, is a long-anticipated look at the massive object that sits at the very center of the Milky Way," the institution added. "Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact and very massive in our galaxy’s core. This strongly suggested that the object — known as Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* — was a black hole; today’s image provides the first direct visual evidence of it."

Black holes are hyperdense objects with gravity wells too strong for light to escape. Smaller ones are formed by the core collapse of massive stars; the much larger ones at the center of most galaxies are more mysterious in origin.

This is not the first time a black hole has been imaged. In 2019, a groundbreaking image was revealed of the black hole at the heart of M87, a distant elliptical galaxy. That black hole is 1,500 times larger than the one at the center of the Milky Way, which is itself estimated to be four million times the mass of our Sun.

Despite this, the images look remarkably similar.

"The researchers had to develop sophisticated new tools that accounted for the gas movement around Sgr A*," noted the report. "While M87* was an easier, steadier target, with nearly all images looking the same, that was not the case for Sgr A*. Because of this, today's image of the Sgr A* black hole is an average of the different images the team extracted, finally revealing the giant lurking at the center of the Milky Way galaxy."

Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 12:55:56 PM
The Rolling Stones’ ‘Exile on Main St.’ Turns 50 | Anniversary Retrospective


Happy 50th Anniversary to The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St., originally released May 12, 1972.

“The sunshine bores the daylights outta me, chasin' shadows, moonlight mystery.” –Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, 1972

Born out of shadows and darkness, both metaphorical and literal, recorded in a basement in the South of France, Exile on Main St. was made while on the run from British police and tax men. You want it darker? Here you can truly feel and hear the Rolling Stones sinking into an abyss. How does it get darker than a two-year lead-up period that found Brian Jones, the doomed guitarist who founded this band plus gave it their Muddy Waters-inspired name, floating dead in a swimming pool? Then followed by the end-of-an-era calamity that was Altamont, a Woodstock-inspired free festival at a Speedway in San Francisco where concert-goer Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death, directly in front of the stage, by a crazed, acid-raging member of the misguided Hell’s Angels security detail, just as Mick Jagger was singing “Sympathy for the Devil?”

Only by doubling down, with a double album soaked in rock & roll decadence, documenting this dangerously Dionysian dance. By Spring of 1971, the Sixties had very clearly ended. The Beatles were done. The Stones were now on the run. And in a myriad of ways neither fans, nor the band, would yet acknowledge or know, so too were the Rolling Stones. “This was the bad time,” Ray Liotta said as Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

While true in his case, it was also a high time, internally and artistically, for this band. The prior era’s acid culture had given way to cocaine, and even more destructively, heroin. That drug soon ensnared many of this band’s participants in its clenches. None more infamously or importantly, than the group’s songwriting co-pilot, Keith Richards. It can be easily argued that what you hear on this album is the best work of the Rolling Stones. By default, this means it is also one of the greatest albums in rock history. It can also be fairly stated, that this is the album that nearly killed them making it. While there would be further full-length glimpses of their greatness to follow, Black and Blue (1976) and Some Girls (1978) chiefly among them, things would never be quite the same after it.

The years of 1968 to 1972 represent arguably the greatest run that any single rock band ever had. Beggars Banquet (1968). Let It Bleed (1969). Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (1970). Sticky Fingers (1970). All indisputable classics by the band and by extension, for the genre as whole. Then finally, Exile on Main St., a raw, inspired love letter to the art form, filled with a bit of all the blues, country, gospel and R&B elements that birthed rock & roll as we know it. By 1971, Mick Jagger was ready to move past that. Richards, slipping into darkness but not yet losing his grip on the band he leads, won the argument. In this particular case, we all benefited.

Of course, it helped that the musicians involved were made up of a veritable all-star team of Rolling Stones collaborators. Besides the faithfully solid-as-a-rock drumming of Charlie Watts, this also meant saxophonist Bobby Keyes. Nicky Hopkins’ piano was crucial, most notably as centerpiece of the classic “Loving Cup.” Clydie King & Venetta Fields, both formerly of Ray Charles’ legendary Raelettes, blessed this godforsaken mess with some church-fueled vocal beauty. Most importantly, Mick Taylor, the best pure musician the Rolling Stones ever counted as a member, was in the sweet spot of his five-year tenure in the band. Taylor’s imprints are all over this record. He plays every lick of slide guitar. He plays lead and rhythm in other places. He even subs in for bassist Bill Wyman on bass for five tracks, presumably since Wyman was either shagging or sleeping at the time. Or maybe Richards just knew Taylor was by then the group’s secret weapon. Either way, he wields his axe with devastating effect all over the album.

Speaking of Micks, despite Taylor's virtuosity, it ain’t the Rolling Stones without the one whose lips came to symbolize this entire enterprise. I don't blame Mick Jagger for not counting Exile among his personal favorites. This is clearly a "Keef" album, probably 65/35, on the Jagger/Richards sliding “Glimmer Twins” scale. That's before we even get into the Daily Mirror-esque tawdry tales. Things that led to two boyhood friends stealing each other’s girls during the recording process, documented in rock folklore many times before, recently and mockingly in Richards’ LIFE autobiography, referencing his strutting lead singer's "tiny todger.”

On a purely musical level, Jagger's vocals are oddly muted. His words are slurred. The mix is muddled. The band is up front, with singing pushed back even with top-shelf lyrics. Despite this fact, this same singer, who happens to be one of the legendary frontmen in rock history, spends the entire album spitting bile and adding bite, even when backing up his fellow gunslinger's most iconic solo track.

Let’s move along, to these eighteen intoxicatingly heady rock & roll songs. If you can name ten better albums in rock history to help you get your "Rocks Off,” I’d say you're dreaming. Step up. Toss your "Tumbling Dice" while you "Shake Your Hips" to the "Casino Boogie.” As the Stones "Rip This Joint,” lack of oxygen inside their basement in the French countryside will give you the "Ventilator Blues.”

But "Stop Breaking Down.” To truly appreciate Exile, along with the "Torn and Frayed" folks who created it to make you “Happy,” while temporarily and toxically trying to do the same for themselves, you gotta follow them “All Down the Line.”

Somewhere in the depths of all this darkness, the voice of a "Sweet Black Angel" will find you and then "Shine a Light.” Come on. Come on down, "Sweet Virginia.” That "Turd on the Run" has got some spombleprofglidnoctobuns on your shoe, and just seen too many flies on you, but this dirty demon-fueled masterpiece can help you brush ‘em off.

Much love to Keith & Mick. 50 years after this album was released and over 70 years since they first met each other, these two are somehow still “Soul Survivors.” Long after today, their legacy, in particular Exile on Main St., will still be.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 03:59:16 PM
Missouri man dies after setting himself on fire during a traffic stop

A Dalton man who set himself on fire during a traffic strop Wednesday has died.

The Chillicothe 911 communications center received calls at 6:34 p.m. Wednesday about a suspicious man attempting to buy lighters from businesses south of Livingston County. He was carrying a container of flammable lighter fluid and driving a retired school bus that had been repainted, Chillicothe Police Chief Jon Maples said in a news release Thursday.

A short while later, the center received another call from a concerned witness. The person reported a school bus sporadically speeding up and slowing down on U.S Highway 65. According to Maples, the bus was running other vehicles off the road.

At 7:18 p.m. Chillicothe police saw the bus entering the city limits at a high speed. They pulled the driver over in the 900 block of South Washington Street.

When officers confronted the man, he leaped from his seat and ran to the back of the bus. Police could not see inside the bus because the windows were tinted, Maples said.

The man poured a container of lighter fluid over his body and set himself on fire. He exited the bus and ran toward officers.

Maples said police used a fire extinguisher from a patrol car to put out the flames. Emergency medical personnel from Livingston County were called to the scene.

The 43-year-old suffered severe injuries and was airlifted to a medical facility, but died.

According to Maples, the man’s intent is still unknown and an investigation is ongoing.

The Kansas City Star
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 11:48:11 PM
Florida teacher told students that 'Black people are beneath white people' to justify using the N-word: lawsuit

News4JAX is reporting a Black Florida woman, Alyse Beechem, is planning to sue Duval County Public Schools after her son, enrolled at Mandarin Middle School, was called a racial slur by his teacher and told that "Black people are beneath white people."

Beechem's lawsuit alleges a pattern of racist abuse directed at her son, while also accusing faculty members of turning a blind eye or even exacerbating the problems.

One such incident occurred when the son complained to the teacher about another student calling him a racial slur.

"[The teacher] told [Beechem’s son] that he gets mad when someone calls him a [n-word], but he thinks he can say it about himself," the complaint alleges. "[Beechem’s son] asked his teacher...how she would feel if someone called her a 'cracker,' and she responded by calling him a [n-word], and saying, ‘you don’t have the privilege to call white people "crackers" because Black people are beneath white people.'"

Jasmine Rand, the attorney representing Beecham, tells News4JAX that seven other students have submitted written statements backing up claims of the teacher using racist language in the classroom.

The lawsuit further alleges that Beechem's son was actually punished because he had gotten into a physical altercation with another student who had used the slur.

"According to the document, the Dean contacted Beechem and told her that her son would be suspended for three days, allegedly saying, 'words don’t hurt and he needs to know how to handle things better,'" said the report. "The other student in the exchange was also suspended, but no formal investigation was launched at that point."

This is not the first time a Florida teacher has been involved in a racial incident in recent years. Last August, a special education teacher for Collier County Public Schools was suspended after an altercation in which she shouted at a mother from her car that her children were "mulattos" and "half breeds."

All of this comes as Florida Republicans pass legislation to prohibit teachers from discussing any topic that might cause people to feel "discomfort" over race.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 13, 2022, 11:51:25 PM
Florida woman held after forcing daughters to drink bleach to cure 'voodoo spell'

A Florida mother of two told police that a "voodoo spell" compelled her to make her three-year-old and eight-year-old daughters drink bleach.

The woman, Joanne Zephir, 36, of Poinciana, admitted she made her children drink bleach and said she then planned to kill herself, according to a Newsweek report.

Zephir was found passed out in the driver's seat of a car outside of the Poinciana Pentecostal Church on May 8. The three-year-old was found unresponsive in the back seat and later was determined to have been strangled. The older sibling was found out on a road near the church. She now is in the custody of other family members.

Zephir was taken into custody by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office on an outstanding arrest warrant in Orange County for attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Newsweek says that Zephir allegedly blamed a voodoo spell for forcing her children to drink bleach, which likely contributed to the death of her 3-year-old daughter and injuring her 8-year-old. She is said to have admitted guilt to the alleged crime in Orange County to a relative.

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez said she had told them "the 8-year-old was also going to die, and then she would kill herself. When questioned, Zephir is said to have told officers she forced her children to drink bleach before choking the younger girl." According to Lopez: "The reason for doing this to her children was because the victim in Orange County must have put a voodoo spell on her, making her harm her children."

The woman currently is being held in the Osceola County jail.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 14, 2022, 10:53:18 AM
'Traumatizing': HBCU lacrosse coach reacts to new evidence debunking sheriff's claims


The coach of an HBCU women's lacrosse team reacted to new evidence after her team's bus was searched by white sheriff's deputies in Georgia.

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman was revealed to have misled the press about the details after his deputies searched the Delaware State women's lacrosse team's bus. After three weeks of silence about the April 20th traffic stop and search for marijuana, Bowman held a press conference on Wednesday.

"No personal items on the bus or person was searched," he claimed.

On Friday, NBC affiliate Alive 11 TV reported bodycam footage discredits the sheriff's claim about personal items being searched.

"But body camera video shows at least one deputy tearing open a gift from one of the player's aunts. It was a dictionary. No drugs were ever found," the station reported.

MSNBC's Alicia Menendez interviewed coach Pamella Jenkins.

"I'm still in disbelief that coming from a game that we experienced that," Jenkins said. "It is just traumatizing to think that our ladies were accused of something like that."

She also addressed the bodycam footage.

"So upsetting to watch them just go through their things, their personal items. Just such a violation of their privacy," she noted. "Just thinking of the scholar-athletes that we have on our team, it just makes me very upset that the world now is seeing what they carry with them on their trips, and that's not just our players' bags but then as coaches as well, going through our personal belongings."

"It is just such a huge invasion of our privacy," she said.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the incident, but Jenkins said she has not been contacted by any investigators.

Watch the segment below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 14, 2022, 10:58:06 AM
Accused subway shooter Frank James pleads not guilty to terrorism charge


NEW YORK — The man accused of spraying 33 shots on a crowded subway train last month pleaded not guilty Friday to federal terrorism charges.

Frank James, 62, appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court Friday in a khaki jail jumpsuit, telling a judge he was doing “pretty good.”

James is accused of boarding the rush hour train on April 12, donning a gas mask, setting off a smoke canister and opening fire at terrified passengers as it approached the 36th Street station in Sunset Park.

Ten passengers were shot. Amazingly, no one died.

James was on the lam in the city for a day before he was arrested near a McDonald's in the East Village.

He is charged with committing a terrorist attack on a mass transit system and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

After asking James questions about his educational background, Brooklyn Federal Court Judge William Kuntz determined that he was “competent” to proceed in the case.

The Bronx native faces life in prison if convicted. He is being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center without bail.

James is due back in court July 25.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 14, 2022, 11:02:05 AM
No prison time for Tennessee nurse convicted of fatal drug error

RaDonda Vaught, a former Tennessee nurse convicted of two felonies for a fatal drug error, whose trial became a rallying cry for nurses fearful of the criminalization of medical mistakes, will not be required to spend any time in prison.

Davidson County criminal court Judge Jennifer Smith on Friday granted Vaught a judicial diversion, which means her conviction will be expunged if she completes a three-year probation.

Smith said that the family of the patient who died as a result of Vaught’s medication mix-up suffered a “terrible loss” and “nothing that happens here today can ease that loss.”

“Miss Vaught is well aware of the seriousness of the offense,” Smith said. “She credibly expressed remorse in this courtroom.”

The judge noted that Vaught had no criminal record, has been removed from the health care setting, and will never practice nursing again. The judge also said, “This was a terrible, terrible mistake and there have been consequences to the defendant.”

As the sentence was read, cheers erupted from a crowd of hundreds of purple-clad protesters who gathered outside the courthouse in opposition to Vaught’s prosecution.

Vaught, 38, a former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, faced up to eight years in prison. In March she was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and gross neglect of an impaired adult for the 2017 death of 75-year-old patient Charlene Murphey. Murphey was prescribed Versed, a sedative, but Vaught inadvertently gave her a fatal dose of vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer.

Charlene Murphey’s son, Michael Murphey, testified at Friday’s sentencing hearing that his family remains devastated by the sudden death of their matriarch. She was “a very forgiving person” who would not want Vaught to serve any prison time, he said, but his widower father wanted Vaught to receive “the maximum sentence.”

“My dad suffers every day from this,” Michael Murphey said. “He goes out to the graveyard three to four times a week and just sits out there and cries.”

Vaught’s case stands out because medical errors ― even deadly ones ― are generally within the purview of state medical boards, and lawsuits are almost never prosecuted in criminal court.

The Davidson County district attorney’s office, which did not advocate for any particular sentence or oppose probation, has described Vaught’s case as an indictment of one careless nurse, not the entire nursing profession. Prosecutors argued in trial that Vaught overlooked multiple warning signs when she grabbed the wrong drug, including failing to notice Versed is a liquid and vecuronium is a powder.

Vaught admitted her error after the mix-up was discovered, and her defense largely focused on arguments that an honest mistake should not constitute a crime.

During the hearing on Friday, Vaught said she was forever changed by Murphey’s death and was “open and honest” about her error in an effort to prevent future mistakes by other nurses. Vaught also said there was no public interest in sentencing her to prison because she could not possibly re-offend after her nursing license was revoked.

“I have lost far more than just my nursing license and my career. I will never be the same person,” Vaught said, her voice quivering as she began to cry. “When Ms. Murphey died, a part of me died with her.”

At one point during her statement, Vaught turned to face Murphey’s family, apologizing for both the fatal error and how the public campaign against her prosecution may have forced the family to relive their loss.

"You don’t deserve this,” Vaught said. “I hope it does not come across as people forgetting your loved one. … I think we are just in the middle of systems that don’t understand one another.”

Prosecutors also argued at trial that Vaught circumvented safeguards by switching the hospital’s computerized medication cabinet into “override” mode, which made it possible to withdraw medications not prescribed to Murphey, including vecuronium. Other nurses and nursing experts have told KHN that overrides are routinely used in many hospitals to access medication quickly.

Theresa Collins, a travel nurse from Georgia who closely followed the trial, said she will no longer use the feature, even if it delays patients’ care, after prosecutors argued it proved Vaught’s recklessness.

“I’m not going to override anything beyond basic saline. I just don’t feel comfortable doing it anymore,” Collins said. “When you criminalize what health care workers do, it changes the whole ballgame.”

Vaught’s prosecution drew condemnation from nursing and medical organizations that said the case’s dangerous precedent would worsen the nursing shortage and make nurses less forthcoming about mistakes.

The case also spurred considerable backlash on social media as nurses streamed the trial through Facebook and rallied behind Vaught on TikTok. That outrage inspired Friday’s protest in Nashville, which drew supporters from as far as Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Nevada.

Among those protesters was David Peterson, a nurse who marched Thursday in Washington, D.C., to demand health care reforms and safer nurse-patient staffing ratios, then drove through the night to Nashville and slept in his car so he could protest Vaught’s sentencing. The events were inherently intertwined, he said.

“The things being protested in Washington, practices in place because of poor staffing in hospitals, that’s exactly what happened to RaDonda. And it puts every nurse at risk every day,” Peterson said. “It’s cause and effect.”

Tina Vinsant, a Knoxville nurse and podcaster who organized the Nashville protest, said the group had spoken with Tennessee lawmakers about legislation to protect nurses from criminal prosecution for medical errors and would pursue similar bills “in every state.”

Vinsant said they would pursue this campaign even though Vaught was not sent to prison.

“She shouldn’t have been charged in the first place,” Vinsant said. “I want her not to serve jail time, of course, but the sentence doesn’t really affect where we go from here.”

Janis Peterson, a recently retired ICU nurse from Massachusetts, said she attended the protest after recognizing in Vaught’s case the all-too-familiar challenges from her own nursing career. Peterson’s fear was a common refrain among nurses: “It could have been me.”

“And if it was me, and I looked out that window and saw 1,000 people who supported me, I’d feel better,” she said. “Because for every one of those 1,000, there are probably 10 more who support her but couldn’t come.”

© Kaiser Health News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 14, 2022, 11:05:22 AM
Hurricane forecasters getting ready early for unofficial start of season this weekend

MIAMI — As every Floridian knows, June 1 is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. But it unofficially starts on Sunday at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

For the second year in a row, forecasters will start sending out formal tropical weather outlook two weeks ahead of the official start of the six-month season. It’s not just for practice. A named storm has formed before June the last seven years in a row — a pattern scientists have attributed to better monitoring technology and possibly the influence of climate change.;

And with early forecasts already calling for another active hurricane season, chances are good the storm watchers will once again find something to track.

There’s a growing chorus of scientists who say that moving the season up or even expanding it makes sense, as climate change heats the planet and makes it easier for storms to form earlier and later in the year.

The NHC is not there — at least not yet.

“If we started May 15 it might capture an additional maybe 1% of storms, but it’s more complicated than that,” said Ken Graham, director of the NHC.

Graham assembled a team of scientists last year to explore the possibility of changing the official dates of hurricane season. They haven’t completed their work yet, and once they do it will have to be presented to the World Meteorological Organization, which will vote on it. It might be a tough sell, since the WMO is made up of 28 countries, many of whom don’t experience the early storms.

“We’re not opposed to it, but you can’t just do it. There’s a lot of other stuff from the social science perspective that has to be considered,” Graham said.

For one, moving the storm season earlier would bump all the pre-season training and conferences into tornado season. It also edges all the coordinated government campaigns about hurricane preparedness two weeks further from the peak of the season in August and September.

“The earlier you start hurricane season the further away you’re going to be from the peak,” he said. “What are we really getting ready for, we’re getting ready for the peak.”

And many meteorologists question why the season should expand to include so-called “junk storms,” small, weak storms that might not even have been noticed with older satellite technology. Some of these storms can still cause coastal flooding and rainstorms, but they’re usually far weaker than their later season cousins.

There is little doubt that climate change will also change hurricane. The science remains a bit murky but scientists are confident in a few impacts: sea level rise will likely lead to higher storm surge, storms of the future will likely be slower and wetter, and although climate change may lead to fewer storms overall, the ones that do form are likely to be powerful.

NOAA will issue its first forecast of the season May 24.

© Miami Herald
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 14, 2022, 11:10:20 AM
About half the US population will likely miss out on the lunar eclipse Sunday night


PHILADELPHIA — Clouds and showers are poised to spoil not only another weekend in the Eastern United States, they are likely to ruin one of the year’s most anticipated astronomical events — a total lunar eclipse Sunday night into early Monday.

During the 3½ hours in which Earth’s shadow will cross the moon, starting around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, clouds will eclipse the eclipse over most of the East, said Allan Rahill, a Canadian government meteorologist who provides sky-cover forecasts for astronomers throughout North America.

For Philadelphians, seeing the eclipse would require “a pretty good road trip,” said Dave Bowers, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc., “like west of Chicago: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, they look pretty good, central west Texas.”

What’s left of last weekend’s stubborn and destructive nor’easter is going to affect the Philadelphia region Friday into Sunday.

The nor’easter’s wave-inciting winds have left notable scars on the Jersey beaches. “The beaches are flat as can be with sand moved offshore into bars,” said Stewart Farrell, director of the Stockton University Coastal Research Center.

As the meandering storm sagged south, it shipwrecked houses on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

“It’s the same system,” said Bowers. “It managed to get as far out as the Western Atlantic and it stalled. Now it’s literally backing up.”

This time around, its blobs of moisture and clouds will play spoiler rather than wrecker. Showers are possible Friday night, and likely on Saturday.

Come Sunday, the insipid remnants of the storm that wouldn’t go away finally will dissipate, forecasters say, only to be replaced by another cloud-bearing, eclipse-spoiling cloud mass. Showers again are possible Sunday and Monday.

Not to rub it in, but this could be quite the spectacular celestial event. Under clear skies a full moon would backlight all those early green leaves. Then the moonlight would vanish as the Earth’s shadow covered the moon, and during totality, the lunar surface would take on a reddish tint.

That’s the result of the sunlight passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, NASA explains. The degree of redness depends on the amount of cloudiness (way too much around here) and dust in the air. Says NASA, “It’s if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the moon.”

For those in cloud-covered states, the next shot at seeing one of these live would be the early morning hours of Election Day, Nov. 8, perhaps ideal for anxious politicians who survive the primaries and might be early risers. Totality will last from about 5:15 to 6:40 a.m., NASA says.

© The Philadelphia Inquirer
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 15, 2022, 07:23:54 AM
Ten killed in 'racially motivated' shooting at US grocery store


A heavily armed 18-year-old man shot 10 people dead on Saturday at a Buffalo, New York grocery store in a "racially motivated" attack that he live-streamed on camera, authorities said.

The gunman, who was wearing body armor and a helmet, was arrested after the massacre, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told a news conference.

Gramaglia put the toll at 10 dead and three wounded. Eleven of the victims were African Americans.

The gunman shot four people in the parking lot of the Tops supermarket, three of them fatally, then went inside and continued firing, Gramaglia said.

Among those killed inside the store was a retired police officer working as an armed security guard.

The guard "engaged the suspect, fired multiple shots," but the gunman shot him, Gramaglia said.

When police arrived, the shooter put the gun to his neck, but was talked down and surrendered, he added.

Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI's Buffalo field office, told the news conference that the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.

"We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism," Belongia said.

Erie County Sheriff John Garcia described the attack as "pure evil."

"It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community," he said.

John Flynn, the district attorney for Erie County, where Buffalo is located, said the suspect would be arraigned on charges of murder in the first degree, which carries a sentence of life without parole.

Asked if the shooter could face the death penalty on the federal level, the US attorney for the Western District of New York, Trini Ross, said: "All options are on the table as we go forward with the investigation."

'Day of great pain'

Flynn said the shooter used an "assault weapon" -- a term that can apply to types of rifles and shotguns in New York -- but did not specify which kind.

A spokesperson for streaming service Twitch confirmed to AFP that the shooter used the service to broadcast the attack.

"We have investigated and confirmed that we removed the stream less than two minutes after the violence started," the spokesperson said, adding: "We are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content."

Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo -- which is located in western New York State, along the US border with Canada -- said the shooter "traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime."

"This is a day of great pain for our community," Brown said.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said US President Joe Biden had been briefed on the "horrific shooting."

Biden "will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops. The president and the first lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones," Jean-Pierre added.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the senior US senator from New York, said in a tweet: "We are standing with the people of Buffalo."

The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, also tweeted that she was monitoring the situation, and asked people in Buffalo to "avoid the area and follow guidance from law enforcement and local officials."

Last month, a "sniper-type" shooter opened fire in an upscale Washington neighborhood, wounding four people before taking his own life.

Police suspected that graphic video of that shooting which circulated online shortly afterward was filmed by the shooter himself, but have not confirmed the authenticity or if it was live-streamed.

Despite recurring mass-casualty shootings and a nationwide wave of gun violence, multiple initiatives to reform gun regulations have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and local councils to enact their own restrictions.

The United States suffered 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent as compared to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest data.

© Agence France-Presse     
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 15, 2022, 07:36:11 AM
Seeing Milky Way's new black hole is 'only the beginning': US researcher


At just 33 years old, Caltech assistant professor Katie Bouman is already a veteran of two major scientific discoveries.

The expert in computational imaging -- developing algorithms to observe distant phenomena -- helped create the program that led to the release of the first image of a black hole in a distant galaxy in 2019.

She quickly became something of a global science superstar, and was invited to testify before Congress about her work.

Now, she has again played a key role in the creation of a groundbreaking image of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our own Milky Way galaxy -- a cosmic body known as Sagittarius A*.

Her working group within the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, which revealed the stunning image Thursday, was tasked with piecing it together from the mass of data garnered by telescopes around the world.

Bouman spoke with AFP shortly after the breakthrough announcement.

How does this discovery compare to 2019?

"The first one was just so exciting because it was the first one, and just being able to see a black hole for the first time was spectacular. But I think the holy grail of the Event Horizon Telescope has always been to image Sagittarius A*.

"The reason why is because we have a lot more information from other observations on what we expected Sgr A* to look like. And so being able to see an image of that, it's much easier for us to see how it matches with what we expected from prior observations and theory.

"So I think that even though it is the second image that we're showing, it's actually a lot more exciting for that reason that we can actually use this to do more tests on our understanding of gravity."

Why was it harder to see Sagittarius A*?

"We collected the data for both M87* and Sgr A* in the same week in 2017, but it took us so much longer to make a picture of Sgr A* than M87*.

"Sgr A* has a lot of other things that are going on that make it a lot more challenging for us to make an image. We're actually observing the black hole through the plane of the galaxy. And that means that the gas in the galaxy actually scatters the image. It makes it look like we're looking at the black hole through, like, a frosted window, like in a shower. That's one challenge.

"But I would say the biggest challenge that we face is the fact that the black hole is evolving really quickly. The gas in M87* and Sgr A* is moving at roughly the same speed. But whereas it takes days to weeks to make a full orbit around M87*, for Sgr A*, it's evolving from minute to minute."

Why are black holes so fascinating?

"It just breaks with what we're used to here on Earth, right? Light can't even escape from it, and it's bending, it's warping space-time around it. It's just this mysterious thing and I think it just captures the imagination.

"What's cooler than working on black holes -- they're so mysterious, right? And the fact that we're able to make an image of one, something that should be unseeable... I think that that's just really exciting."

What do you foresee in the future? A film?

"I think this is really only the beginning. And now that we know that we have these extreme laboratories of gravity, we can go back and we can improve our instruments and improve our algorithms in order to see more and to extract more science.

"We made our first attempts at making a movie and we made a lot of progress, but we're not there yet -- where we feel we're confident enough that we feel, this is what Sgr A* looks like from minute to minute.

"So now we're going to go back, try to add more telescopes around the world, try to collect more data, so that we can actually show something that we feel really sure about."

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 15, 2022, 08:23:02 AM
Buffalo mass shooter’s alleged manifesto leaves no doubt attack was white supremacist terrorism

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Saturday’s mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism.

The gunman was identified during his arraignment as Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York. That name that matches the name given in a 180-page manifesto that surfaced online shortly after the attack and took credit for the violence in the name of white supremacy.

Law enforcement and government officials would not confirm the validity of the document in the immediate hours after the attack. Yet, the excruciating detail provided leave little doubt of its authenticity. A senior federal law enforcement official told the New York Times they believed Gendron posted the document.

“There are certain pieces of evidence that we have ascertained in the course of this investigation that indicate some racial animosity,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “I’m not going specifically talk about or elaborate on what exactly they are right now.”

The document, which News 4 has reviewed, plotted the attack in grotesque detail. The writer plotted his actions down to the minute, included diagrams of his path through the store and said he specifically targeted the Tops Markets location on Jefferson Avenue because its zip code has the highest percentage of Black people close enough to where he lives.

“This was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said. “A straight-up racially motivated hate crime.”

Alexander Rosemberg, deputy regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, says the organization is still sifting through the complete document, but it can already draw some conclusions.

“Greatly anti-Semitic, greatly racist against people of color, white supremacist, radicalized in all the ways we can think of,” Resemberg told News 4. “180 pages, I want to repeat, of this.”

Gendron livestreamed the attack on the social media platform Twitch and had the N-word written on his rifle, videos from the scene showed. He was charged with first-degree murder after killing 10 people and wounding three others.

The alleged manifesto admits to planning the attack passively for the past few years and seriously since January. It bemoans a purported “white genocide” taking place in America and proudly brags of the writer’s racist and anti-Semitic views.

In a Q&A with himself, the writer says he supports “those that wish for a future for white children and the existence of our people.”

“That’s what white supremacist terrorism is all about — that’s what we witnessed here today,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “It has to end right here. That is our message. We will continue to work at the federal, state and local level with our community partners to identify these messages as soon as they arise on social media. That is our best defense right now, as well as the legal system and the prosecution. And it is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. and heaven help him in the next world as well.“

One of the victims in the attack was identified as Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo Police officer who was working as a security guard at Tops. Officials said Salter attempted to stop the attack and shot Gendron in the chest, but he was unharmed because he was wearing tactical body armor.

The alleged manifesto carries on for numerous pages about the type of gear that was chosen specifically for the attack, from his helmet and weapon all the way down to his underwear. It plots his breakfast, arrival time, live stream and getaway.

The writer says he will plead guilty in trial if he survives the rampage.

Gendron said only four words in court Saturday before being taken away: “I understand my charges.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 16, 2022, 12:01:15 AM
Buffalo shooter targeted Black neighborhood, officials say

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white 18-year-old who shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket had researched the local demographics and arrived in the area a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance with the “express purpose” of killing as many Black people as possible, officials said Sunday.

The chilling revelation prompted grief and anger in the predominantly Black neighborhood around Tops Friendly Market, where a group of people gathered to lead chants of “Black lives matter” and mourn victims that included an 86-year-old woman who had just visited her husband in a nursing home and a security guard who fired multiple shots at the suspect.

“Somebody filled his heart so full of hate that he would destroy and devastate our community,” the Rev. Denise Walden-Glenn said.

Speaking at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial service at the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden said “we must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America.”

As the country reeled from its latest mass shooting, new details emerged about the gunman’s past and Saturday’s rampage, which the shooter livestreamed on Twitch. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, demanded technology companies to tell her whether they’ve done “everything humanly possible” to make sure they are monitoring violent content as soon as it appears.

“If not, then I’m going to hold you responsible,” she said.

Twitch said in a statement that it ended the transmission “less than two minutes after the violence started.”

The shooter, identified as Payton Gendron, had previously threatened a shooting at his high school, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia confirmed at a press conference that the then-17-year-old was brought in for a mental health evaluation afterward.

Federal law bars people from owning a gun if a judge has determined they have a “mental defect” or they have been forced into a mental institution — but an evaluation alone would not trigger the prohibition.

Federal authorities were still working to confirm the authenticity of a racist 180-page manifesto that detailed the plot and identified Gendron by name as the gunman. A preliminary investigation found Gendron had repeatedly visited sites espousing white supremacist ideologies and race-based conspiracy theories and extensively researched the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the man who killed dozens at a summer camp in Norway in 2011, the law enforcement official told AP.

Portions of the Twitch video circulating online showed the gunman firing volley after volley of shots in less than a minute as he raced through the parking lot and then the store, pausing for just a moment to reload. At one point, he trains his weapon on a white person cowering behind a checkout counter, but says “Sorry!” and doesn’t shoot.

Screenshots purporting to be from the broadcast appear to show a racial epithet scrawled on his rifle, as well as the number 14 — a likely reference to a white supremacist slogan.

Authorities said he shot, in total, 11 Black people and two white people Saturday.

“This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he possibly could,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference Sunday.

The manifesto, posted online, outlined a racist ideology rooted in a belief that the United States should belong only to white people. All others, the document said, were “replacers” who should be eliminated by force or terror. The attack was intended to intimidate all non-white, non-Christian people and get them to leave the country, it said.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Gendron had traveled about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his Conklin, New York, home to Buffalo and that particular grocery store, but investigators believe Gendron had specifically researched the demographics of the population around the Tops Friendly Market, the official said.

He conducted reconnaissance on the area and store the day before the shooting, Gramaglia said.

Gendron had appeared on the radar of police last year after he threatened to carry out a shooting at Susquehanna Valley High School around the time of graduation, the law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the investigation.

New York State Police said troopers were called to the Conklin school last June for a report that a 17-year-old student had made threatening statements. He spent a day and a half at the hospital before being released, authorities said, and then had no further contact with law enforcement.

Gendron surrendered to police who confronted him in the supermarket’s vestibule and convinced him to drop the rifle he had put to his neck. He was arraigned later Saturday on a murder charge, appearing before a judge in a paper gown.

Federal agents served multiple search warrants and interviewed Gendron’s parents, who were cooperating with investigators, the law enforcement official said.

The Buffalo attack was just the latest act of mass violence in a country unsettled by racial tensions, gun violence and a recent spate of hate crimes. It came just a month after a shooting on a Brooklyn subway wounded 10 and just over a year after 10 were killed in a shooting at a Colorado supermarket.

“It’s just too much. I’m trying to bear witness but it’s just too much. You can’t even go to the damn store in peace,” Buffalo resident Yvonne Woodard told the AP. “It’s just crazy.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 16, 2022, 11:53:54 AM
Lyft Driver's Video of Restaurant Owners' Racist Remarks Tops 500K Views
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 16, 2022, 11:58:12 AM
Baseball fans revisit Veterans Stadium theory after David West becomes latest Phillies player to die from brain cancer

Baseball fans think that Veterans Stadium, the former home of the Philadelphia Phillies, caused brain cancer in several players
Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive and deadliest forms of cancer.

According to the National Brain Tumor Society, the two-year survival rate is 30% and the five-year survival rate is only 6.8%. Most people succumb to the aggressive disease within 12-18 months. It’s a form of cancer that has been diagnosed for a century, with little headway on any kind of treatment.

More than 10,000 people will die of glioblastoma each year, and since 2003, that number includes six former Philadelphia Phillies.

Ken Brett was the first, in 2003. The next year, it was Tug McGraw and Johnny Oates. In 2007, John Vukovich. In 2017, Darren Daulton, who lived longer than most after being diagnosed in 2013. This weekend, David West became the sixth, barely one year after Daulton’s foundation wished him well in his fight against the disease.

None lived to be 60 years old.

According to USA Today, “3.14 percent of the Phillies’ 159 players from 1973 (Brett’s only year on the team) to 1983 (Daulton’s first season with the club) were diagnosed with brain cancer.” That percentage did not include West, who was diagnosed later.

Several other former MLB players from the same era also passed away from brain cancer: Gary Carter, Bobby Murcer, and Dan Quisenberry, as well as manager Dick Howser.

The mounting number of deaths has been a topic of conversation among former ballplayers and looks less like a coincidence with every diagnosis. 1980 World Series champion pitcher Dickie Noles is one of many who’s been saying it’s not a coincidence for years:

“Once it happened to Tug, we were all in shock. Then once it happened to Vuk (Vukovich), the other ballplayers kind of had the feeling like, ‘Wow.’ Then when it happened to Daulton, every ballplayer I’ve seen talked about it.

“There seems to be some correlation with this and baseball. What was the Vet built on? Was it something in the building? The asbestos?”

Larry Bowa, who has been with the Phillies for over three decades as a player, coach, manager, and with the front office, is also suspicious about their former ballpark:

“I know there were a lot of pipes that were exposed when we played there and we had AstroTurf.

I’m not trying to blame anybody. It’s just sort of strange that that can happen to one team playing at the Vet.”

Maybe it wasn’t the Vet being built on a marsh, but the AstroTurf. The Kansas City Royals also used AstroTurf from 1973-94, before switching to real grass. Quisenberry spent the bulk of his career with them and was teammates with Brett, who played for the Royals at the end of his career. Howser was their manager.

Bowa has gone on the record several times over the years saying that he’s concerned and wishes someone would investigate, so the hundreds of other players who spent time at the Vet would have some clarity.

Unfortunately, the Vet was demolished in March 2004, and it’s hard to trace something back to a place that no longer exists. But while scientists spent years saying there was no official link between chemicals in AstroTurf and cancer, new lawsuits and law changes suggest otherwise. A report from January of this year noted that California’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit alleging that artificial turf manufacturers have not warned customers about “potentially dangerous toxins” in their products. Last summer, the University of Amsterdam released findings that the rubber granules release chemicals that can be harmful to humans and animals. As a result, the European Commission imposed stricter limits on eight compounds found in the material.

Fans think the Vet is to blame. When news broke of West’s passing, one tweeted, “At some point, it stops being a coincidence.” Another wrote, “no doubt in my mind The Vet was a cancer cluster.” Others have pointed out that John Kruk and Curt Schilling also developed cancer after playing at the Vet, though both survived.

Regardless of whether something at the Vet caused cancer or it’s simply a horrible coincidence, it’s a tragedy.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 16, 2022, 12:01:36 PM
Buffalo gunman's weapon was modified to hold more ammunition — other guns were Christmas gifts

The Washington Post reports that the shooter at the Buffalo, New York grocery store modified his weapon to ensure it held more ammunition.

The man, Payton S. Gendron, used a used Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic rifle that he bought legally and he added a high-capacity magazine. The report revealed that Gendron openly wrote in his manifesto about the gun, noting that he got it in a small gun shop about 15 miles from his hometown, Conklin. He paid $960 he said.

"He also recounted how he acquired two backup weapons: a Mossberg 500 shotgun that he purchased in early December and a Savage Axis XP semiautomatic rifle that he received from his father as a Christmas present when he was 16 years old," said the Post.

The owner of the shop confirmed to the New York Times and ABC News that he sold the weapon to the mass shooter and that the background check raised no red flags.

Current laws only mandate that a weapon be refused if someone has been institutionalized. While Gendron was under observation in 2021, he was never placed in an institution.

“I happened to have this particular gun at this particular time,” Donald explained to ABC News. “And this particular guy happened to buy it. After the gun leaves the firearm shop, you have no control."

The report also noted that the Bushmaster XM-15 was the same weapon used in the 2002 Washington, D.C. sniper incident in which two gunmen shot 10 people in a month-long incident. In 2021, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter used the same weapon to kill 20 first-graders and six school staffers.

Read the full report in the Washington Post:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 16, 2022, 12:47:27 PM
'Blood moon' puts on lunar display across parts of Americas, Europe and Africa

The reddish hue occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align, and the moon passes through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow.


A lunar eclipse early Monday produced a "blood moon," which occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align, and the moon passes through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow.

The event was best seen in the eastern U.S., South America, Africa and Western Europe. Totality, or the moment when the moon was fully obscured, occurred around midnight.

The red hue appears because the only sunlight reaching the moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA.

“The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear,” the space agency wrote on its website. “It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the Moon.”

The May full moon is sometimes known as the “flower moon” in traditional folklore because it’s typically at a time of year when spring flowers emerge.

NASA featured livestreams of the eclipse from locations across the globe, including in Alabama, Italy, Spain and New York. Scientists also answered questions on the live feed. From beginning to end, the eclipse lasted just over five hours.

Social media users enthusiastically posted photos and videos of the moon in their area.

“I just look in wonder on what TREAT the human race had to see,” wrote Margaret Loyd on Twitter.

The next lunar eclipse will occur in November, according to NASA, and be visible in the western U.S., eastern parts of Asia and Japan.

An almost total lunar eclipse occurred in November 2021 that was visible in North America, and parts of South America, Australia and northeastern Asia.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 16, 2022, 11:01:25 PM
Buffalo suspect had plans to continue his killing rampage: Commissioner
Ten people -- all of whom were Black -- were killed in the Buffalo shooting.

Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old who allegedly gunned down 10 people -- all of whom were Black -- at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, would have continued his rampage had he not been stopped, Buffalo Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told ABC News.

"We have uncovered information that if he escaped the [Tops] supermarket, he had plans to continue his attack," Gramaglia said. "He had plans to continue driving down Jefferson Ave. to shoot more Black people ... possibly go to another store [or] location."

Authorities are calling Saturday's massacre a "racially motivated hate crime."

"This was well planned ... by a sick person," Gramaglia said.

The commissioner praised the responding officers who he said deescalated the situation and saved countless lives.

Multiple high-capacity magazines were recovered on Gendron and in his car, the commissioner said. While he declined to say what evidence pointed to additional shooting plans, the commissioner said investigators have been going through his phone and other electronics.

The teen is from Conklin, New York, which is 200 miles east of Buffalo.

Police determined Gendron arrived in Buffalo on Friday via license plate reader and other evidence, the commissioner said. Police are still working to determine where he stayed overnight before Saturday's attack.

Shonnell Harris Teague, an operations manager at Tops, said she saw Gendron sitting on a bench outside of the store on Friday afternoon. She said he was there for several hours with a camper bag on his back, dressed in the same camouflage outfit he wore Saturday.

She said Gendron entered the store Friday evening, and appeared as if he was bothering customers. Teague asked him to leave and he did so without an argument.

The next time Teague saw him was on Saturday as a mass shooting unfolded at her store. She escaped out of the back when she saw Gendron.

"I see him with his gear on and his gun and how it was all strapped on. ... I seen all the other bodies on the ground. ... It was just a nightmare," she said.

Gendron has been arraigned on one count of first-degree murder and is due back in court on May 19.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 17, 2022, 03:15:31 PM
Gunman may have targeted Rochester locations before Buffalo shooting, RPD acknowledges
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 17, 2022, 11:31:11 PM
New documents show how drug companies targeted doctors to increase opioid prescriptions

Twelve years ago, ProPublica set out to build a first-of-its-kind tool that would allow users, with a single search, to see whether their doctors were receiving money from an array of pharmaceutical companies.

Dollars for Docs generated a huge rush of interest. Readers searched the database tens of millions of times to see if their doctors had financial ties to the companies that made the drugs they prescribed. Law enforcement officials used it to investigate drug company marketing, drug companies looked up their competitors and doctors searched for themselves.

A trove of recently released documents offers the public an unvarnished look inside those relationships from the perspective of drug companies themselves. The material shows company officials worked to deflect the media scrutiny even as they sought to take advantage of relationships that they had built with doctors they were paying significant sums of money.

The documents were published online by the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University and became available as a result of drugmakers settling lawsuits against them for their role in the opioid crisis. These are exactly the kinds of documents we wanted to see when we started working on the Dollars for Docs series in 2010, but of course, no one was willing to show them to us.

Reading them should give patients even more pause about the financial entanglements their doctors have with the drug industry and spur them to ask questions (we have some ideas about specifics below).

The Washington Post mined the records and found that more than a quarter of the 239 medical professionals ranked as top prescribers by opioid maker Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in 2013 “were later convicted of crimes related to their medical practices, had their medical licenses suspended or revoked, or paid state or federal fines after being accused of wrongdoing.” The article was replete with examples of doctors whose problems were well known but who were targeted anyway by sales representatives.

This was a familiar finding. Back in 2010, we found that hundreds of doctors paid by drug companies to promote their drugs had been accused of professional misconduct, were disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists.

The document trove included some mentions of our earlier work.

Among them: a 2010 email from a senior director of global compliance at Cephalon Inc., a small drug company that was subsequently acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals.

In the message, the director notes that what ProPublica found — Cephalon had paid doctors who had been sanctioned by their states to deliver promotional talks on its behalf — was, indeed, true, and that the company was undertaking a review of all of its doctors in light of our findings.

And there’s a 2017 presentation from an official at Mallinckrodt about the state of transparency around payments to doctors. It called ProPublica the “most thorough and vocal media source re: Open Payments data. Their analyses and searchable database are likely the go-to place for anyone wanting to do a comparison of companies and physicians.”

Our Dollars for Docs data often was picked up by news outlets across the country, including WNBC-TV in New York City. In one document, a spokesperson for the company Covidien was happy that the reporter had not asked about Exalgo, a new opioid made by the company. “Based on our conversation, I do not believe that the reporter is aware of Exalgo — and I am certainly not planning to make him aware,” she wrote in 2013.

The document trove also shows firsthand how drug companies targeted doctors and used information purchased from data brokers to rank them and gain insight on how many of their drugs each doctor prescribed each week.

When we first started working on our stories, we were very eager to see what pharma drug reps knew about the prescribing practices of doctors. So we asked a company then called IMS Health, which purchased data from pharmacies on which drugs each doctor prescribed and then sold it to the drug companies, if it would sell that data to us. IMS, now known as IQVIA, told us we could not buy the data at any cost.

The document trove includes a number of samples of what that data looks like and makes clear why the industry was so reluctant to have it come into public view.

The following chart was put together for Covidien about Exalgo. For every doctor in the Las Vegas region, it shows their prescribing, by week, of the drug and notes whether they are a “target.”

Documents then show how such information was used when meeting with doctors. In this email, a Covidien drug rep brags about how she was able to turn a doctor’s office staff into allies who would feed her information and talk up the company’s drugs to the doctor. “The nurse got very excited ... and wanted to know all about the product, the coverage, how to use it, etc. She even took the liberty of detailing the doctor when he walked into to (sic) lunch as well.”

The documents also showed how closely Covidien measured the performance of drug reps in getting doctors to prescribe their drugs.

Covidien spun off Mallinckrodt in 2013 as a specialty pharmaceutical company, managing drugs such as Exalgo. (Mallinckrodt stopped promoting Exalgo in 2015 and no longer sells it.) Covidien focused on medical devices and was acquired by Medtronic.

In 2020, Mallinckrodt agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle with states and the federal government for its role in the opioid crisis. That figure has since grown to $1.725 billion. In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the company sent a statement identical to one it had sent to the Post: “While Mallinckrodt does not agree with the allegations regarding decade-old issues, it has spent the past three years negotiating a comprehensive, complete and final settlement that resolves the opioid litigation against it, provides $1.725 billion to a trust serving affected communities, and allows Mallinckrodt to continue to serve patients with critical health needs under an independently monitored compliance program.”

This year, Mallinckrodt also agreed to pay $260 million to resolve allegations that it underpaid rebates to the Medicaid program and paid illegal kickbacks related to another of its drugs, H.P. Acthar Gel. As it happens, ProPublica has also written about that drug, raising questions about the public spending on it in light of questions about its efficacy.

We stopped updating our Dollars for Docs tool in 2019 because the government’s Open Payments database is robust and refreshed annually and has gotten better with time.

Still, searching through these documents reinforced my view of how important it is for patients to know about their doctors’ relationships with drug companies and talk directly to their doctors about the drugs they are prescribed.

Here are some of the questions you may want to ask:

What type of work do you do with these companies?

Have you prescribed me any drugs that are manufactured by companies you’ve taken payments from?

Are there non-drug alternatives that I may want to consider first?

Are there less expensive generic alternatives to the drugs you have prescribed?

What devices have you used in my care that are manufactured by companies you’ve taken payments from?

Have you used Dollars for Docs or Open Payments? What have you found?

I’d love to hear your story.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 18, 2022, 11:19:04 AM
Fox News suddenly goes quiet on ‘great replacement’ theory after Buffalo shooting

Suspect was allegedly motivated by the theory, but network has barely mentioned gunman’s reasoning, even after Tucker Carlson pushed the concept in more than 400 of his shows

Tucker Carlson has arguably done more than anyone in the US to popularize the racist conspiracy.

As details of the Buffalo mass shooting emerged over the weekend, much of the media focussed on the shooter’s self-stated motivation: his belief in “great replacement” theory, the racist notion that white Americans are being deliberately replaced through immigration.

Over at Fox News, however, there was barely any mention of the white gunman’s alleged reasoning for opening fire at a supermarket, killing 10 people and wounding three more, in a predominantly Black area.

The absence of coverage of the motive was revealing, given Fox News’s most popular host, Tucker Carlson, has pushed the concept of replacement theory in more than 400 of his shows – and has arguably done more than anyone in the US to popularize the racist conspiracy.

Fox News, according to Oliver Darcy, a media correspondent for CNN, “largely ignored” the fact that the shooter had been inspired by replacement theory. Darcy searched transcripts from Fox News’s shows, and found one brief mention, by Fox News anchor Eric Shawn.

As Americans absorbed news of the shooting and struggled to understand why it had happened, it seemed a glaring omission. But given Carlson and his colleagues’ promotion of the theory, which has been unchecked by Fox News’s top executives, experts see the network as being left in a bind.

“What can they say?” said Matt Gertz, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a watchdog of rightwing media. “There’s no way for anyone at Fox News to really issue a convincing and compelling, forthright denunciation of great replacement theory, because it’s being discussed on the network’s primetime hour on a near constant basis.”

Great replacement theory, or white replacement theory, states that a range of liberals, Democrats and Jewish people are working to replace white voters in western countries with non-white people, in an effort to achieve political aims.

It is not a new concept. But Carlson has led the charge in reintroducing it to mainstream rightwing thought. In April a New York Times investigation found that in more than 400 hundred of his shows Carlson had advanced the idea that a “cabal of elites want to force demographic change through immigration”.

In a monologue on his Monday night show, Carlson did not directly address replacement theory. He claimed the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto was “not recognizably leftwing or rightwing: it’s not really political at all”, despite the rambling document referencing a number of rightwing conspiracy theories.

Carlson referred to the gunman as “mentally ill” and launched an attack on “professional Democrats” who had “begun a campaign to blame those murders on their political opponents”.

In April 2021, after Carlson claimed on his show that Democrats were “diluting” his vote by “importing a brand-new electorate”, the Anti-Defamation League wrote to Fox News to sound the alarm.

“Make no mistake: this is dangerous stuff. The ‘great replacement theory’ is a classic white supremacist trope that undergirds the modern white supremacist movement in America,” wrote Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL.

“It is a concept that is discussed almost daily in online racist fever swamps. It is a notion that fueled the hateful chants of ‘Jews will not replace us!’ in Charlottesville in 2017. And it has lit the fuse in explosive hate crimes, most notably the hate-motivated mass shooting attacks in Pittsburgh, Poway and El Paso, as well as in Christchurch, New Zealand.”

The ADL called for Carlson to be fired for his comments, but instead the rightwing host – whose show is the most-watched on cable news – has thrived, and his passion for the topic of replacement has spread to his colleagues.

But Carlson is not alone on Fox.

Laura Ingraham, who hosts an hour-long show at 10pm, has told her viewers that Democrats “want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens and an ever increasing number of chain migrants”, while Jeanine Pirro claimed on a radio show that liberals were engaged in “a plot to remake America, to replace American citizens with illegals who will vote for the Democrats”.

“​​To be clear, Fox News is far from the only place where you might hear such dangerous rhetoric,” wrote Tom Jones, a senior media writer at the Poynter institute.

“[But] the size of Fox News’s audience is what is notable. Fox News is the most-watched cable news network, and Carlson’s show is the most-watched on cable news, routinely drawing more than 3 million viewers a night.”

Fox News declined to comment when asked if it planned to condemn the idea of white replacement or take action against Carlson. A spokeswoman pointed to examples of Carlson denouncing violence on his show. Fox News was one of six media organizations which the gunman claimed, in his manifesto, were disproportionately influenced by Jewish people.

The network’s popularity has given it an outsized influence over the Republican party, an influence and relationship that was revealed recently when leaked text messages from the phone of Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former White House chief-of-staff, showed Meadows in frequent communication with Fox News hosts as supporters of Trump besieged the US Capitol on 6 January.

It should perhaps be little surprise, then, that Trump-supporting Republican politicians like Elise Stefanik and JD Vance have also embraced replacement theory.

“It’s been gradually moving from the fringes into the mainstream,” Philip Gorski, a professor of sociology at Yale, told the Washington Post. “First it was the entertainment wing of the GOP. Now it’s the political wing as well.”

The Buffalo shooter did not mention Fox News as an influence on his political beliefs, but said he had been radicalized through the extremist online forum 4chan, where he had found “infographics, spombleprofglidnoctobunsposts, and memes that the White race is dying out”. From there, the gunman said, he had discovered sources including the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer.

Curiously, the founder of the Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, has called Tucker Carlson “literally our greatest ally”, and praised the Fox News host in 2021, in the wake of his replacement theory comments.

"Carlson was dropping the ultimate truth bomb on his audience: Jews aggressively lobby for the same demographic policies in America that they openly declare would destroy their own country,” Anglin wrote.

Since the shooting Carlson and his fellow Fox News hosts have justifiably drawn criticism for their promotion of replacement theory. But Gertz said the problem ultimately runs deeper, all the way to the Murdoch family, which controls the channel.

“Everyone knows the score here,” Gertz said.

“Tucker Carlson is doing his job. He is providing the content that the Fox News brass, the Murdochs, want out of their 8pm slot.

“If they didn’t want him to do this, they could make him stop – but they’ve decided not to. And they have decided not to do that because he is still profitable for them.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 18, 2022, 11:24:43 AM
Eric Clapton Tests Positive for COVID-19 and Postpones Shows After Vaccine Criticism

"We very much hope he will be sufficiently recovered by the end of the week to be able to perform the remainder of the planned performances," Clapton's Facebook post read.

Eric has tested positive for COVID-19 after repeatedly denouncing vaccine protocols.

On Monday, Clapton, 77, confirmed in a Facebook post he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would consequently postpone his upcoming tour dates in Zurich and Milan.

"Eric Clapton is unfortunately suffering from Covid having tested positive shortly after the second concert at the Royal Albert Hall. He has been told by his medical advisors that if he were to resume traveling and performing too soon, it could substantially delay his full recovery," the post began. "Eric is also anxious to avoid passing on any infection to any of his band, crew, promoters, their staff and of course the fans."

"So, after intensive internal discussion, it has been decided with great regret and apologies to all those concerned to postpone the performances in Zurich on 17th May and Milan on 18th May, the present hope being to be able to resume the tour starting with the concerts in Bologna on 20th and 21st May."

The post continued, "It is very frustrating that having avoided Covid throughout lockdown and throughout the period when travel restrictions have been in place Eric should have succumbed to Covid at this point in time, but we very much hope he will be sufficiently recovered by the end of the week to be able to perform the remainder of the planned performances."

The Facebook post concluded by saying that an announcement concerning rescheduled dates will soon be made, and purchases will remain valid.

The British singer and guitarist has expressed skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccine in the past. In December 2020, he appeared in a song Van Morrison wrote called "Stand and Deliver," which included lyrics that were critical of the lockdown.

Two months later, Clapton received his first of two AstraZeneca vaccines against the virus, and expressed contempt in a letter to Robin Monotti, who later shared it on his Telegram with the guitarist's permission, according to Rolling Stone.

"I took the first jab of AZ and straight away had severe reactions which lasted 10 days. I recovered eventually and was told it would be 12 weeks before the second one…" Clapton wrote.

"About six weeks later I was offered and took the second AZ shot, but with a little more knowledge of the dangers. Needless to say the reactions were disastrous, my hands and feet were either frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks, I feared I would never play again, (I suffer with peripheral neuropathy and should never have gone near the needle.) But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone…"

(The CDC has recommended vaccines for adults and children ages five years and older; clinical trials have found the vaccines to be safe and effective in preventing even mild symptoms of COVID-19.)

Meanwhile, in January, during an interview on YouTube channel the Real Music Observer, he claimed he suffered severe nerve damage to his fingers from the vaccine and couldn't play his guitar for months.

"My career had almost gone anyway. At the point where I spoke up, it had been almost 18 months since I had kind of been forcibly retired," he told Real Music Observer. "And I joined forces with Van. I got the tip that Van was standing up to the measures. And I thought, 'Why isn't anybody else doing this?' And we go back; I've known him since we were kids. And I contacted him. I said, 'What do you think? What's going on?' And he said, 'I'm just objecting, really. But it seems like we're not even allowed to do that. And nobody else is doing it.' And I said, 'You're kidding. Nobody else?'"

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 18, 2022, 11:46:08 PM
New York AG opens probe into social media platforms that Buffalo shooter was active on before massacre

New York Attorney General Letitia James has opened an investigation into social media companies in the wake the mass shooting in Buffalo carried out by a white supremacist Payton Gendron, Axios reports.

The investigation will look into online resources the shooter reportedly used to develop and plan his attack that killed 10 and wounded three. The platforms targeted by the investigation include Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord.

“The terror attack in Buffalo has once again revealed the depths and danger of the online forums that spread and promote hate,” James said in a statement.

“The fact that an individual can post detailed plans to commit such an act of hate without consequence, and then stream it for the world to see is bone-chilling and unfathomable," she added.

In his writing, the 18-year-old suspect said he came by his views while surfing the often radical discussion site 4chan and other conspiracy-theory websites amid "extreme boredom" during Covid lockdowns.

Much of his manifesto is lifted directly from the "Great Replacement" text posted by the Christchurch killer, Brenton Tarrant, which claims that white Europeans were threatened by "ethnic replacement" and "genocide."

"Brenton started my real research into the problems with immigration and foreigners in our white lands, without his livestream I would likely have no idea about the real problems the West is facing," Gendron wrote.

Gendron spelled out in meticulous detail his plans for the attacks, choosing the target, selecting his arms, body armor, and other equipment, and how he would live-stream it with a helmet-mounted camera, just as Tarrant had done.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 19, 2022, 02:24:35 AM
Coronavirus vaccine could have saved 319,000 people, if they had only taken the shot: study

About a third of the 1 million lives lost to COVID-19 could have been saved with vaccines, a new analysis shows.

Researchers at the Brown School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Microsoft AI for Health analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The New York Times and came up with not only 319,000 needless deaths but also a state-by-state breakdown of where they could have been prevented.

Between January 2021 and April 2022, about every second person who died from COVID-19 since vaccines became available might have lived if they had gotten the shots, the researchers found. Nationwide, about half of the 641,000 people who have died since vaccines became available could have lived if every single eligible adult had gotten jabbed.

"At a time when many in the U.S. have given up on vaccinations, these numbers are a stark reminder of the effectiveness of vaccines in fighting this pandemic,” said Stefanie Friedhoff, associate professor of the practice in Health Services, Policy and Practice at the Brown University School of Public Health, and a co-author of the analysis, in a statement. “We must continue to invest in getting more Americans vaccinated and boosted to save more lives.”

They created a dashboard showing the number of vaccine-preventable deaths per 1 million residents in each state and in the U.S. as a whole. Then they created an “alternative scenario” positing what it would look like if the vaccination pace had been sustained at its highest point last spring and stayed aloft long enough for 85%, 90% or even 100% of the adult population to get jabbed.

What it looked like was 319,000 people still being alive, even when variants’ effectiveness on immunity was factored out.

The most lives could have been saved in West Virginia, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma, the team found. Where vaccination rates were higher, such as Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Vermont and Hawaii, the number of deaths that could have been prevented with vaccines was lower.

For instance, if all adults in Tennessee had gotten vaccinated, there would be 11,047 fewer deaths being mourned, the study found. Likewise in Ohio, where the number stood at 15,875.

“This compelling data illustrates the trajectory of 50 states with 50 different fates during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the important role of vaccines in protecting lives in each state,” said Thomas Tsai, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor in Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 19, 2022, 01:30:52 PM
End of the line nears for NASA InSight Mars lander


After some four years probing Mars' interior, NASA's InSight lander will likely retire this summer as accumulated dust on its solar panels saps its power.

The lander will, however, leave behind a legacy of data that will be tapped by scientists around the world for years to come, helping to improve our understanding of planet formation, NASA said, while announcing on Tuesday the imminent end to InSight's science operations.

Equiped with an ultra-sensitive seismometer, InSight recorded more than 1,300 "marsquakes," including a magnitude 5 quake on May 4, the largest so far.

But around July, the seismometer will be turned off.

The lander's energy level will then be checked about once a day, and some pictures may still be taken. Then by the end of 2022, the mission will be completely stopped.

The cause: the accumulation over months of Martian dust on the lander's two solar panels, each measuring about seven feet (2.2 meters) wide.

InSight, which is already running on only a tenth of the energy it had at the beginning, will soon find its batteries drained.

The speed at which dust accumulated corresponded more or less to what had been estimated by NASA.

The lander got a new lease on life around a year ago, when its robotic arm was put to new and unplanned use to remove some dust from the solar panels, extending the mission.

The maneuver -- employed six times successfully -- saw the arm use dust itself to clear the panels, as it scooped up some martian soil and gently dropped onto the robot so the dirt was blown across the solar panels, clearing parts of their surface.

Adding something to the lander specifically to clean the panels was forgone due to costs, explained Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, during a press conference Tuesday.

Such a mechanism would leave "less to put into the science instruments," he said.

'Treasure trove'

InSight, one of four missions currently on the Red Planet -- along with the US rovers Perseverance and Curiosity, and China's Zhurong -- arrived on Mars in November 2018.

Its seismometer, made in France, has since paved the way for great advances.

"The interior was kind of just a giant question mark," said Banerdt, who has worked on the InSight mission for more than a decade.

But thanks to InSight, "we've been able to map out the inside of Mars for the very first time in history."

Seismic waves, varying based on the materials they pass through, offer a picture of the interior of the planet.

For example, scientists were able to confirm that the core of Mars is liquid and to determine the thickness of the Martian crust -- less dense than previously thought and likely consisting of three layers.

The magnitude 5 quake in early May was much larger than all those previously recorded and close to what scientists thought would be the maximum on Mars, though it would not be considered a huge tremor on Earth.

"This quake is really going to be a treasure trove of scientific information when we get our teeth into it," Banerdt said.

Earthquakes are in particular caused by plate tectonics, he explained. But, they can also be triggered when the Earth's crust moves due to temperature anomalies caused by its mantle.

It is this type of vibration that scientists think they are dealing with on Mars.

Not all of InSight's scientific operations have gone smoothly, however, such as when its heat probe had trouble being successfully buried below the surface to take the planet's temperature because of the composition of the soil where the robot landed.

Regardless, in light of the seismometer's success, NASA is considering using the technique elsewhere in the future, said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

"We'd really like to set up a complete network on the moon to really understand what's going on there."

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 19, 2022, 03:11:07 PM
Johnny Depp grabbed Amber Heard by hair, hit her repeatedly: sister
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 19, 2022, 03:40:25 PM
Why Britain has the highest inflation in the G7

UK is grappling with soaring energy prices and a red-hot labour market — and the problems could persist

Official data released on Wednesday showed UK inflation surging to 9 per cent in April, and suggested Britain was enduring the worst of all worlds with its price rises compared with other countries.

Like many European economies exposed to higher gas and electricity prices that have been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UK energy costs were 69 per cent higher in April compared with a year ago. The full effects of the war will be felt by British households in October, when the energy price cap is expected to be raised, in a move that is likely to take inflation towards 10 per cent in the autumn.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 12:08:28 AM
'Blade Runner' composer Vangelis dead at 79


"Blade Runner" and "Chariots of Fire" composer Vangelis, the electronic music pioneer and sole Greek to win an Academy Award for best original score, died late Tuesday aged 79.

The reclusive, mostly self-taught keyboard wizard was a lifelong experimenter, switching from psychedelic rock and synth to ethnic music and jazz.

In a career spanning over five decades, Vangelis drew on space exploration, wildlife, futuristic architecture, the New Testament and the 1968 French student riots for inspiration.

His Oscar-winning main theme for "Chariots" beat John Williams' score for the first Indiana Jones film in 1982. It reached the top of the US billboard chart and was an enduring hit in Britain, where it was used during the London 2012 Olympics medal presentation ceremonies.

True to form, Vangelis was fast asleep in London when the result was announced on March 29, 1982 -- his 39th birthday.

"I'd been out late celebrating," he later told People magazine.

His work on over a dozen soundtracks included Costa-Gavras' "Missing", "Antarctica", "The Bounty", "1492: Conquest of Paradise", Roman Polanski's "Bitter Moon" and the Oliver Stone epic "Alexander".

Vangelis readily admitted to the Los Angeles Times in 1986 that "half of the films I see don't need music. It sounds like something stuffed in."

He also wrote music for theatre and ballet, as well as the anthem of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Child prodigy

Born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou in the central Greek coastal town of Agria, near Volos, Vangelis was a child prodigy, performing his first piano concert at the age of six, despite never having taken formal lessons.

"I've never studied music," he told Greek magazine Periodiko in 1988, in which he also bemoaned growing "exploitation" by studios and the media.

"At one time there was a craziness... now it's a job."

"You might sell a million records while feeling like a failure. Or you might not sell anything feeling very happy," he said.

After studying painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts, Vangelis joined popular Greek rock group The Forminx. But success was cut short in 1967 by the arrival of a military junta that clamped down on freedom of expression.

Trying to get to England, he found himself stuck in Paris during the 1968 student movement, and joined fellow Greek expatriates Demis Roussos and Lucas Sideras in forming progressive rock group Aphrodite's Child.

The group achieved cult status, selling millions of records with hits such as "Rain and Tears" before disbanding in 1972. Vangelis and Roussos both moved on to successful solo careers.

Relocating to London in 1974, Vangelis created Nemo Studios, the "sound laboratory" that produced most of his solo albums for over a decade.

But he valued his independence over record sales.

'Success is treacherous'

"Success is sweet and treacherous," the lion-maned composer told the Observer in 2012. "Instead of being able to move forward freely and do what you really wish, you find yourself stuck and obliged to repeat yourself."

In a 2019 interview with the Los Angeles Times, the composer said he saw parallels with the dystopian world depicted in "Blade Runner".

"When I saw some footage, I understood that this is the future. Not a nice future, of course. But this is where we’re going," he said.

Vangelis, who had a minor planet named after him in 1995, had a fascination with space from an early age.

"Each planet sings," he told the LA Times in 2019.

In 1980, he contributed music to Carl Sagan's award-winning science documentary Cosmos. He wrote music for NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey and 2011 Juno Jupiter missions, and a Grammy-nominated album inspired by the Rosetta space probe mission in 2016.

In 2018, he composed a piece for the funeral of Stephen Hawking that included the late professor's words, and was broadcast into space by the European Space Agency.

Vangelis has been a recipient of the Max Steiner film music award, France's Legion d'Honneur, NASA's Public Service Medal and Greece's top honour, the Order of the Phoenix.

In later years, Vangelis moved between homes in Paris, London and Athens, carefully guarding his privacy. Little is known of his personal life.

"I don't give interviews, because I have to try to say things that I don’t need to say," he told the LA Times in 2019.

"The only thing I need to do is just to make music."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 11:19:59 AM
SpaceX paid $250,000 to settle sexual harassment claim against Elon Musk, report alleges
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 11:22:00 AM
Actor Ellen Barkin Testified That Johnny Depp Was A "Controlling," "Jealous Man" When They Dated
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 11:26:04 AM
UK police concludes 'partygate' investigation into Boris Johnson's government


Britain's Metropolitan Police said Thursday it has concluded its investigation into breaches of COVID-19 regulations at British government offices, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official residence, with a total of 126 fines issued over the offenses.

Police said they issued fixed-penalty notices to 53 men and 73 women for gatherings that took place on eight dates between May 2020, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, and April 2021. Some people received multiple fines. The case has been dubbed “partygate” by the media.

Johnson apologized last month after he revealed that he was among dozens of people who paid a police fine for attending lockdown-breaching parties and gatherings. That made him the first British leader to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office.

Revelations that Johnson and other senior officials gathered illegally in government buildings at a time when millions in the country stuck to government lockdown restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 have angered voters and triggered calls for Johnson to resign.

The conclusion of the police investigation means that results from a separate probe by a senior civil servant can now be published. Government officials say the report by Sue Gray will be published as soon as possible.

Police do not identify the people who received fines, but Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, as well as Johnson's wife, Carrie, have said they were among those fined along with Johnson for attending a birthday party thrown for the prime minister.

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the Gray report should now be “published without delay.”

“The public made huge sacrifices while Boris Johnson partied, they deserve the full truth," he tweeted.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 11:41:16 AM
Bad news for the 2022 hurricane season: The Loop Current, a fueler of monster storms, is looking a lot like it did in 2005, the year of Katrina


The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, and the Gulf of Mexico is already warmer than average. Even more worrying is a current of warm tropical water that is looping unusually far into the Gulf for this time of year, with the power to turn tropical storms into monster hurricanes.

It’s called the Loop Current, and it’s the 800-pound gorilla of Gulf hurricane risks.

When the Loop Current reaches this far north this early in the hurricane season – especially during what’s forecast to be a busy season – it can spell disaster for folks along the Northern Gulf Coast, from Texas to Florida.

If you look at temperature maps of the Gulf of Mexico, you can easily spot the Loop Current. It curls up through the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba, into the Gulf of Mexico, and then swings back out through the Florida Strait south of Florida as the Florida Current, where it becomes the main contributor to the Gulf Stream.


The Loop Current was about as far north as Tampa, Florida, in mid May 2022. The scale, in meters, shows the maximum depth at which temperatures were 78 F (26 C) or greater.

Nick Shay/University of Miami, CC BY-ND

When a tropical storm passes over the Loop Current or one of its giant eddies – large rotating pools of warm water that spin off from the current – the storm can explode in strength as it draws energy from the warm water.

This year, the Loop Current looks remarkably similar to the way it did in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina crossed the Loop Current before devastating New Orleans. Of the 27 named storms that year, seven became major hurricanes. Wilma and Rita also crossed the Loop Current that year and became two of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record.


The Loop Current in May 2005 looked strikingly similar to May 2022.

Nick Shay/University of Miami, CC BY-ND

I have been monitoring ocean heat content for more than 30 years as a marine scientist. The conditions I’m seeing in the Gulf in May 2022 are cause for concern. One prominent forecast anticipates 19 tropical storms – 32% more than average – and nine hurricanes. The Loop Current has the potential to supercharge some of those storms.

Why the Loop Current worries forecasters

Warm ocean water doesn’t necessarily mean more tropical storms. But once tropical storms reach waters that are around 78 F (26 C) or warmer, they can strengthen into hurricanes.

Hurricanes draw most of their strength from the top 100 feet (30 meters) of the ocean. Normally, these upper ocean waters mix, allowing warm spots to cool quickly. But the Loop Current’s subtropical water is deeper and warmer, and also saltier, than Gulf common water. These effects inhibit ocean mixing and sea surface cooling, allowing the warm current and its eddies to retain heat to great depths.

In mid-May 2022, satellite data showed the Loop Current had water temperatures 78 F or warmer down to about 330 feet (100 meters). By summer, that heat could extend down to around 500 feet (about 150 meters).

The eddy that fueled Hurricane Ida in 2021 was over 86 F (30 C) at the surface and had heat down to about 590 feet (180 meters). With favorable atmospheric conditions, this deep reservoir of heat helped the storm explode almost overnight into a very powerful and dangerous Category 4 hurricane.


Hurricane Ida’s pressure dropped quickly as it crossed a warm, deep eddy boundary on Aug. 29, 2021.

Nick Shay/University of Miami, CC BY-ND

Within a storm, warm ocean water can create towering plumes of rising warm, moist air, providing high-octane fuel for hurricanes. Think about what happens when you boil a large pot of spaghetti on the stove and how the steam rises as the water gets hotter. As more moisture and heat rise within a hurricane, the pressure drops. The horizontal pressure difference from the center of the storm to its periphery subsequently causes the wind to speed up and the hurricane to become increasingly dangerous.

Since the Loop Current and its eddies have so much heat, they don’t significantly cool, and the pressure will continue to fall. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma had the lowest central pressure on record in the Atlantic, and Rita and Katrina weren’t far behind.


How hurricanes draw fuel from water water.

La Niña, wind shear and other drivers of a busy season

Forecasters have other clues to how the hurricane season might shape up. One is La Niña, the climate opposite of El Niño.

During La Niña, stronger trade winds in the Pacific Ocean bring colder water to the surface, creating conditions that help push the jet stream farther north. That tends to exacerbate drought in the southern U.S. and also weaken wind shear there. Wind shear involves the change in wind speeds and wind directions with height. Too much wind shear can tear tropical storms apart. But less wind shear, courtesy of La Niña, and more moisture in the atmosphere can mean more hurricanes.


How La Niña affects U.S.

La Niña has been unusually strong in spring 2022, though it’s possible that it could weaken later in the year, allowing more wind shear toward the end of the season. For now, the upper atmosphere is doing little that would stop a hurricane from intensifying.

It’s too soon to tell what will happen with the steering winds that guide tropical storms and affect where they go. Even before then, the conditions over West Africa are crucial to whether tropical storms form at all in the Atlantic. Dust from the Sahara and low humidity can both reduce the likelihood storms will form.

Climate change has a role

As global temperatures rise, the ocean’s temperature is increasing. Much of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases that are released by human activities is stored in the oceans, where it can provide additional fuel for hurricanes.

Studies suggest that the Atlantic is likely to see more storms intensify into major hurricanes as those temperatures rise, though there won’t necessarily be more storms overall. A study examined the 2020 hurricane season – which had a record 30 named storms, 12 of them hitting the U.S. – and found the storms produced more rain than they would have in a world without the effects of human-caused climate change.

Another trend we have been noticing is that the Loop Current’s warm eddies have more heat than we saw 10 to 15 years ago. Whether that’s related to global warming isn’t clear yet, but the impact of a warming trend could be devastating.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 03:13:18 PM
Florida deputy charged for Tasing biker while pumping gas — resulting in him being 'cooked alive'

On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that a Florida deputy has been charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence after Tasing a suspect who was pumping gas — resulting in an explosion that caused third-degree burns to 75 percent of the suspect's body.

"Jean Louis Barreto Baerga, 26, has been in the hospital and undergone six surgeries since the Feb. 27 incident, in which his attorney says he was literally 'cooked alive,'" reported Justin Baragona. "Cops were attempting to arrest Barreto, a motorcyclist they say was riding recklessly and had pointed a gun at other motorists. Barreto’s lawyer, Mark NeJame, insists his client hadn’t committed a crime, has no criminal history, and continues to undergo excruciating surgeries in order to save his life."

"At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said a concerned citizen called 911 to report a biker fitting Barreto’s description had waved a pistol at him on the road," said the report, noting that he was soon tracked to a WaWa convenience store. "Deputies soon descended on the location, and one struggled to handcuff a resistant Barreto, Lopez said. In the fracas, Barreto’s dirtbike got knocked over and gas started spilling out of the tank, he continued. That’s when Osceola County Deputy Christopher Koffinas tried to take Barreto into custody by Tasing him, which didn’t 'have the desired effect,' according to Lopez. A second deputy, David Crawford, then yelled at Barreto, 'You’re about to get Tased again, dude,' Lopez said, adding that Crawford called out for someone to cut the flow of fuel to the nearby pumps."

The explosion happened immediately after this pronouncement. According to the department, one deputy immediately tried to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher, and another poured a bottle of Gatorade on Crawford's legs to stop the fire there. Multiple deputies sustained minor burns themselves. Crawford is the deputy charged in the incident.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office prohibits the use of tasers in situations where a suspect “could possibly be seriously injured by secondary factors,” which would include the presence of flammable chemicals.

Barreto faces multiple charges including reckless driving and resisting an officer, but has not been arrested yet because he remains in the hospital “without skin on most of his body” and wrapped in gauze, according to the report.

Read more here:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 20, 2022, 11:17:52 PM
The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial has exposed the danger of parasocial obsessions and 'stan' culture
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Robert Reeves on May 20, 2022, 11:27:05 PM
LOL not mentioning Sussman I see.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 21, 2022, 11:27:07 AM
'Never seen anything like this': Fatal Michigan tornado wiped out a Hobby Lobby, Jimmy Johns and Quick Lube

Authorities in Michigan are detailing extensive damage from a fatal tornado that struck the town of Gaylord on Friday.

Channel 4 News reports at least one person died and 44 others were injured.

The tornado reportedly first struck a mobile home park and was on the ground for two or three miles.

“I would say it was on the ground for about two hours,” said Gaylord Mayor Sharrad. “It did wipe out a Hobby Lobby, Jimmy Johns, Quick Lube on our west side of town, and then it came into town, and it wiped out a lot of homes.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is on the scene and has issued an emergency declaration.

"Officials say the damage is substantial as the people injured have been transported to multiple hospitals after the emergency facility in Gaylord stopped accepting patience due to lack of power as it is running on emergency generators," Channel 4 reported.

The mayor told the station, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life."

Watch the clip below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 21, 2022, 11:31:20 AM
‘There will be blood’: Elon Musk seeks to hire ‘hardcore streetfighters’ as Tesla stock tanks


The world's richest man is seeking to hire a team of lawyers to sue people on behalf of his electric car company.

"Tesla is building a hardcore litigation department where we directly initiate & execute lawsuits. The team will report directly to me," Musk posted to Twitter, which he is seeking to acquire.

He included an email address and asked people to "please send 3 to 5 bullet points describing evidence of exceptional ability."

"Looking for hardcore streetfighters, not white-shoe lawyers like Perkins or Cooley who thrive on corruption," he explained.

"There will be blood," the billionaire added ominously.

Musk's search for streetfighters came the same day The New York Times reported, "Tesla’s shares have declined more than 40 percent since April 4 — a much steeper fall than the broad market, vaporizing more than $400 billion in stock market value. And the tumble has called attention to the risks that the company faces. These include increasing competition, a dearth of new products, lawsuits accusing the company of racial discrimination and significant production problems at Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, which it uses to supply Asia and Europe."

The company's problems may get worse.

"Mr. Musk has not helped the stock price by turning his bid to buy Twitter into a financial soap opera. His antics have reinforced the perception that Tesla lacks an independent board of directors that could stop him from doing things that might damage the company’s business and brand," The Times reported. "Tesla’s image is under pressure in ways that could hurt the automaker among the environmentally conscious, politically liberal customers who have long been its biggest customer base. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Tesla, accusing it of allowing racial discrimination and harassment to flourish at its factory in Fremont, Calif., near San Francisco."

Also on Friday it was reported that Larry Ellison, the biggest backer of Musk's takeover bid of Twitter, was on a planning call with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Fox News personality Sean Hannity about keeping Trump in office despite the fact he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 21, 2022, 11:55:02 AM
'Known white supremacist' sought by police after threats against Texas Capitol: report


The Texas Department of Public Safety is searching for a Pennsylvania man who allegedly made terrorism threats.

"Hardy Carroll Lloyd, 44, is a known white supremacist and is wanted by authorities after posting a series of threatening comments online," KHOU reported Friday. "In them, he talks about carrying a firearm onto the grounds of the Texas State Capitol this weekend and challenging any law enforcement officer who tries to take enforcement actions against him, Texas DPS said."

The man reportedly has ties to the Austin area.

"Lloyd is a convicted felon and cannot legally carry a firearm. He is described as being 5 feet and 11 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds," the station reported. "Texas Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to Lloyd's arrest. Texas DPS said all tips are guaranteed to be anonymous."

Authorities say the man should be considered armed and dangerous and are asking for the public's help in locating the subject.

In 2021, CBS Pittsburgh reported there were fears of violence after Lloyd was released from prison.


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 21, 2022, 12:01:07 PM
Michael Avenatti asks for leniency after stealing $300K from Stormy Daniels — because he wrote letter saying he's 'sorry'


On Friday, the Associated Press reported that disgraced former celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti is pleading for leniency at sentencing after his conviction for stealing $300,000 from his former client, adult film star Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels.

One of the reasons, his lawyers argued, is that he wrote Daniels a heartfelt apology letter.

"His lawyers cite a letter he sent to the porn actor saying he is truly sorry. His lawyers wrote on Thursday in a Manhattan federal court submission that he wants counseling and alcohol treatment. He was convicted of cheating Daniels of nearly $300,000 in book proceeds," said the report. "He tried to justify taking some proceeds by citing legal quests he took on for Daniels to negate the effects of a 2016 payment she said she received to remain silent about a tryst with Donald Trump."

“This sobering reality is as sufficient and powerful a punishment and deterrence as any," declared his lawyers. "Worse, Mr. Avenatti’s extreme rise and fall played out on the most public of platforms, an experience he is unlikely to ever recover from reputationally.”

Avenatti's conviction for stealing from Daniels, who also alleges he filed an ill-fated defamation suit against Trump in her name without her consent, is not the only criminal conviction secured against the firebrand California lawyer.

In 2021, Avenatti was sentenced to two years in prison for trying to extort $20 million from Nike. He has been hit with three dozen indictments including perjury, tax evasion, and stealing from clients, including a mentally ill paraplegic man who won a settlement from Los Angeles County.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 21, 2022, 12:07:40 PM
Ginni Thomas urged Arizona Republicans to overturn 2020 result – report

Wife of supreme court justice Clarence Thomas emailed six days after election already called for Joe Biden

Ginni Thomas with her husband the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, left.

Ginni Thomas, the wife of the US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Republicans in Arizona to overturn Joe Biden’s victory there in 2020, the Washington Post reported.

Repeating Donald Trump’s lie that the vote had been marred by fraud, Thomas wrote: “Please stand strong in the face of political and media pressure. Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our constitution. And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of electors is chosen for our state.”

Thomas did not mention Biden or Trump. But, the Post said, “the context was clear”.

Biden won Arizona, a swing state vital to the contest, by about 10,000 votes. The call was first made by Fox News, enraging Trump.

Ginni Thomas is an activist with deep ties on the Republican far right. Reports of her involvement in Trump’s attempt to hold on to power have led to calls for her husband’s impeachment and removal, or at least recusal from election-related cases.

In January, Thomas was the only justice to say Trump should be able to withhold from the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack documents which turned out to include texts sent by his wife to Trump’s chief of staff.

On Friday, the Post said Ginni Thomas emailed two Arizona Republicans on 9 November, six days after election day and two days after Biden’s win was called.

She also requested a live or online meeting “so I can learn more about what you are doing to ensure our state’s vote is audited and our certification is clean”.

One of the lawmakers, Shawnna Bolick, replied, saying, “I hope you and Clarence are doing great!” but deflecting the demand for a meeting.

The Post said Thomas replied: “Fun that this came to you! Just part of our campaign to help states feel America’s eyes!!!”

The Post also reported that Thomas emailed the same Republicans on 13 December, a day before the electoral college met to confirm Biden’s victory.

That email said: “Before you choose your state’s electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead.”

The Post said the email contained a link to a video of a man who appeared to be Geoffrey Botkin, an activist, “delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to ‘put things right’ and ‘not give in to cowardice’ [and saying] ‘You have only hours to act’.”

The video is no longer available. Botkin did not comment to the newspaper. Nor did Ginni Thomas. The Post said a supreme court spokesperson did not respond.

On 14 December, the day the electoral college confirmed Biden’s win, Bolick signed a letter calling for Arizona’s electoral votes to go to Trump or “be nullified completely until a full forensic audit can be conducted”.

In 2021, Arizona Republicans conducted a controversial vote audit. It did not reveal substantial electoral fraud. It did increase Biden’s margin of victory.

Also in 2021, the New Yorker reported that Bolick had introduced a bill that “would enable a majority of the legislature to override the popular vote … and dictate the state’s electoral college votes itself”.

Like Trump loyalists elsewhere, Bolick is now running for secretary of state, the office which runs elections.

On Friday, the New Yorker reporter Jane Meyer tweeted “one additional detail”, linking Ginni Thomas’s moves in Arizona back to her husband.

Clarence Thomas, Meyer said, is godfather “to Clint Bolick’s child, and Bolick’s wife is the Arizona lawmaker who Ginni Thomas pressured to overturn the 2020 election.

“No conflicts of interest?”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 22, 2022, 10:53:09 AM
Texas cop fired and jailed for tasering her sons — ages 8, 11, and 12: prosecutors


Authorities in Texas say they acted quickly after receiving a report that a law enforcement officer tasered her young sons.

"A former Precinct 4 Deputy Constable remains in Harris County jail Friday evening, facing felony allegations she used a stun gun, commonly known as a Taser, on her three minor children," KTRK reported. "Xochitl Ortiz is no longer a deputy constable. She was fired when she was arrested earlier this week."

The boys are 8, 11, and 12.

"The facts allege that you used a Taser to tase each of your children: one on the hand, one on the buttocks, one on the shoulder. The facts allege the complaining witnesses complained of shock and pain and don't feel safe in your home," a hearing officer said as Ortiz was arraigned.

Ortiz is being held on $450,000 bond.

Constable Mark Herman claims his office quickly took action when notified of the allegations.

"On April 14, 2022 my office received a complaint in reference to these allegations and immediately initiated an investigation. My office, along with investigators with the Harris County Sheriff's Office worked together, culminating in my office placing ex-deputy Xochitl Ortiz into custody and transferring her to the investigators," Herman said.

Watch in link below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 22, 2022, 10:56:08 AM
WHO working on more monkeypox guidance as cases rise

LONDON (Reuters) -The World Health Organization said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found.

As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, the U.N. agency said, adding it will provide further guidance and recommendations in coming days for countries on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.

"Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic", the agency added.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease that is usually mild, and is endemic in parts of west and central Africa. It is spread by close contact, so it can be relatively easily contained through such measures as self-isolation and hygiene. See EXPLAINER:

"What seems to be happening now is that it has got into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is being spread as are sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world," WHO official David Heymann, an infectious disease specialist, told Reuters.

Heymann said an international committee of experts met via video conference to look at what needed to be studied about the outbreak and communicated to the public, including whether there is any asymptomatic spread, who are at most risk, and the various routes of transmission.

He said the meeting was convened "because of the urgency of the situation". The committee is not the group that would suggest declaring a public health emergency of international concern, WHO's highest form of alert, which applies to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said close contact was the key transmission route, as lesions typical of the disease are very infectious. For example, parents caring for sick children are at risk, as are health workers, which is why some countries have started inoculating teams treating monkeypox patients using vaccines for smallpox, a related virus.

Many of the current cases have been identified at sexual health clinics.

Early genomic sequencing of a handful of the cases in Europe has suggested a similarity with that spread in a limited fashion in Britain, Israel and Singapore in 2018.

Heymann said it was "biologically plausible" the virus had been circulating outside of the countries where it is endemic, but had not led to major outbreaks as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions.

He stressed that the monkeypox outbreak did not resemble the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because it does not transmit as easily. Those who suspect they may have been exposed or who show symptoms including bumpy rash and fever, should avoid close contact with others, he said.

"There are vaccines available, but the most important message is, you can protect yourself," he added.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 22, 2022, 11:08:38 AM
Australian voters deliver strong message on climate, ending conservative government’s 9-year rule


Brisbane, Australia CNN — Australian voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the center-right government, ending nine years of conservative rule, in favor of the center-left opposition that promised stronger action on climate change.

Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese claimed victory Saturday, though it was unclear as counting continued if his party would have the 76 seats required to form a majority.

Early counting showed a strong swing towards Greens candidates and Independents who demanded emissions cuts far above the commitments made by the ruling conservative coalition.

Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the research group the Climate Council, declared climate action the winner of the vote.

“Millions of Australians have put climate first. Now, it’s time for a radical reset on how this great nation of ours acts upon the climate challenge,” she said in a statement.

Other than climate, this election focused on the character of the leaders. Incumbent Scott Morrison. was deeply unpopular with voters and seemed to acknowledge as much when he admitted during the last week of the campaign that he had been a “bit of a bulldozer.” He was referring to making hard decisions during the pandemic and severing a submarine deal with France, but it reflected claims about his leadership style as being more authoritarian than collaborative.

Speaking to his supporters late Saturday night, Morrison said he had called Albanese and congratulated him on his election victory. “I’ve always believed in Australians and their judgment, and I’ve always been prepared to accept their verdict,” he said.

Just before midnight, Albanese walked out to to cheers from his supporters and said he would seek to unite the nation. “I will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia.”

He added: “I can promise all Australians this no matter how you voted today, the government I lead will respect every one of you every day.”

What Albanese will do as Prime Minister?

One of Albanese’s first priorities as Prime Minister will be to rebuild relations with foreign leaders he says Morrison has neglected in recent years. They include Pacific Island leaders, including the Solomon Islands whose leader signed a security pact with Beijing, stoking fears that China plans to build its first military base in the Pacific.

On Tuesday, Albanese intends to travel Tokyo with Foreign Minister Penny Wong for talks with Quad members from the United States, India and Japan, where they’ll discuss priorities to safeguard free passage in the Indo-Pacific.

The climate crisis was one of the defining issues of the election, as one of the few points of difference between the coalition and Labor, and a key concern of voters, according to polls.

Marija Taflaga, lecturer in politics and international relations at the Australian National University, said the swing towards the Greens was remarkable. “I think everyone has been taken by surprise by these results…I think it will mean there will be greater and faster action on climate change more broadly.”

Labor has promised to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050, partly by strengthening the mechanism used to pressure companies to make cuts.

But research institute Climate Analytics says Labor’s plans aren’t ambitious enough to keep global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Labor’s policies are more consistent with a rise of 2 degrees Celsius, the institute said, marginally better than the coalition’s plan.

To speed up the transition to renewable energy, Labor plans to modernize Australia’s energy grid and roll out solar banks and community batteries. But despite its net zero commitment, Labor says it’ll approve new coal projects if they’re environmentally and economically viable.

In inner-city seats, results show voters threw their support behind Independents, mostly highly-educated female candidates standing on a platform of higher cuts to greenhouse emissions and integrity in government. They targeted traditionally safe Liberal seats, challenging voters to take a stand on decades of government inaction.

Albanese is supporting a rise in the minimum wage of 5.1%, though he doesn’t have the power to impose it, only leeway to submit a recommendation to the Fair Work Commission that the minimum wage keeps pace with inflation.

A modest upbringing to PM

Albanese often refers to his background as the son of a single mother to demonstrate his commitment to making life better for struggling Australians.

His mother, Maryanne, suffered rheumatoid arthritis and lived on disability benefits while she raised him alone in council housing in the 1960s.

“It gave me a determination each and every day to help the people like I was growing up to have a better life. And I think that’s what Australians want,” he told the National Press Club in January.

Albanese repeatedly credited his mother for her strength during his campaign, most recently on Friday when he paid tribute to a “incredible woman.”

“She’d be proud as punch because she made the courageous decision in 1963 to keep a child that she had out of wedlock,” he said.

Albanese’s father was a steward on a cruise ship, and the new Australian Prime Minister was born of a brief liaison that was scandalous at the time for a single Catholic woman.

So she told him that his father had died to spare him the truth, he said.

"That was a tough decision,” he said. “It says something about the pressure that was placed on women and pressures that are still placed on women when faced with difficult circumstances. The fact that that young kid is now running for Prime Minister says a lot about her and her courage, but it also says a lot about this country.”

Albanese may have won over Australians, but one of his challenges as Prime Minister will be to unite the factions of his party, said Zareh Ghazarian, a lecturer in politics at Monash University.

“He’s presented himself as someone who’s going to be a level-headed leader. The challenge that he will have is getting on top of and keeping on top of the Labor party caucus,” he said.

Albanese served as a minister in the previous Labor government under prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, before taking over as Labor leader after the party’s most recent election loss in 2019.

That loss knocked the wind out of Labor and they returned to this election campaign with more modest promises to avoid scaring off voters worried about radical change.

Paul Williams, a political scientist with Griffith University, said Albanese lacked experience in major portfolios but predicted he would “grow into the job.”

“I think it will be a steep learning curve for Albanese because he hasn’t had a very senior portfolio like treasurer or foreign affairs minister. And he’s going to be thrown into the mix of the Quad meeting next week. So it’s going to be baptism by fire,” he said.

Albanese said he hoped his win would show young Australians that “the doors of opportunity are open to us all.”

“Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had. My mother dreamt of a better life for me. And I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 22, 2022, 11:20:51 AM
Jif peanut butter products recalled for potential salmonella


The J.M. Smucker Co. is recalling select Jif peanut butter products sold in the U.S. due to potential salmonella contamination.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

The recall comes less than two months after Hormel Foods had recalled three types of Skippy peanut butter due to some jars containing small bits of stainless steel from manufacturing equipment.

The recalled peanut butter was distributed nationwide in retail stores and other outlets, Jif said. Recalled products include the products below with lot codes 1274425 — 2140425. Lot codes are included alongside best-if-used-by date.

Full list of recalled products:

JIF TO GO 8 PACK 250 GRAM CREAMY: 5150075007

If consumers have products matching the above description in their possession, they should dispose of it immediately, Jif said. Consumers who have questions or would like to report adverse reactions should visit www.jif.com/contact-us or call 800-828-9980 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Jif said the recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Based on the information known to date, Jif said it was unable to estimate the financial impact of the recall either on their fiscal year ended April 30, 2022, or on their current fiscal year 2023.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 23, 2022, 10:49:10 AM
EF3 tornado that hit northern Michigan town had winds reaching 140 mph

DETROIT — The tornado that touched down in Gaylord on Friday was an EF3 with winds reaching 140 mph, causing two deaths and 44 injuries, according to officials and the National Weather Service.

The twister ranks 16th in injuries and 21st in fatalities in Michigan since 1950, according to the weather service.

Deaths and injuries are a rare occurrence during tornadoes in Michigan, said Jim Keysor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

“The state of Michigan, we don't get that many tornadoes in general compared to other parts of the country,” Keysor said. “And then statistically to get injuries and or deaths normally, these tornadoes have to go through populated areas.

"So the tornado that happened to hit the western parts of Gaylord — a mile further west, for example, it probably doesn't hardly impact anybody. So some of it is sort of statistically just sort of randomness that it happen to hit a populated center. And that just doesn't happen that often.”

The last tornado to cause more injuries than Friday’s tornado in Gaylord was on July 2, 1997, in Highland Park when an F2 tornado injured 90 people, Keysor said.

There have been seven total deaths in Michigan due to a tornado since 1990, Keysor said.

“Among those seven this is only the second time in the last 32 years there have been multiple deaths from one tornado,” he said. “This is pretty rare.”

The state averages about 15 tornadoes annually, according to the National Weather Service.

“The majority of tornadoes don't produce any deaths at all,” Keysor said. “If you look at the historical database we go through many, many years, sometimes decades without seeing a death from a tornado. Two would put it in the top 25 grouping of tornado events in the last 70 plus years in the state as far as deaths. So that's still a bit of impressively rare number given the number of tornadoes that occur.”

The occurrence is even rarer for Otsego County, Keysor said looking at tornado data the weather service has tracked since 1950.

"This is the fifth tornado to ever be recorded in the county since 1950, but the other previous four none of them actually impacted Gaylord,” he said. “There have been five that have at least touched somewhere in the county or in the last 70 years, but the first one to actually directly impact the most population center which is Gaylord.”

As of Saturday morning, two people in their 70s were reported dead from the Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park. One was found dead, the other later died, police said.

“The two fatalities, for example, with this event in Gaylord occurred in that trailer park, and that's just a function of those structures just not being very good at withstanding strong winds,” Keysor said. “They’re just not very good and so they tend to get thrown around a lot and unfortunately, we tend to see more fatalities in those kinds of situations when tornadoes hit areas like that.”

According to Accuweather, meteorologists first noticed the impending severe weather event before noon Friday. The AccuWeather forecasters pinpointed between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. to be the most likely time for a tornado.

AccuWeather said it began sending urgent alerts at 3:28 p.m. to local businesses and through its mobile app to warn that a tornado was imminent.

The National Weather service issued a tornado warning at 3:38 p.m. Friday for Antrim and Otsego counties, which included Gaylord.

Residents were warned of the imminent tornado through Code Red alerts to their cellular devices. Gaylord does not have tornado sirens.

Tornado sirens are too expensive to operate, Otsego Emergency Manager Jon Deming said Saturday. Deming said he did not immediately have a figure for how much sirens would cost.

“That’s why we use Code Red and the state uses Code Red,” Deming said. “And it's so much faster and it goes to your phones. It hits TVs and everything. Sirens are nice, but a lot of communities just can't afford to put that much money out for sirens.”

As far as property damage, Deming said they may be able to estimate on Tuesday the financial impact of the tornado.

“There are a lot of automobiles damaged,” he said. “That will jack the price up really fast. And we have a lot of homes."

© The Detroit News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 23, 2022, 10:52:50 AM
Canada: 4 dead, no power in about 900,000 homes after storms

Four people are dead and nearly 900,000 homes without power after severe storms pummeled the eastern Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, authorities said on Saturday.

Ontario police said on Twitter that three people had died and several more were injured due to a strong summer thunderstorm.

One man was killed when a tree fell on the trailer he was staying in.

A woman in her seventies was also crushed by a tree while walking in the storm.

In the federal capital of Ottawa, another person was killed by the storm, but local police declined to give further details.

The fourth victim was a woman in her fifties. She drowned when her boat capsized in the Ottawa River, which separates Ottawa and Quebec, during the storm, the CBC reported, citing local police.

Nearly 900,000 homes in the two provinces were without power Saturday night, according to online counts from local providers Hydro One and Hydro-Quebec

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 23, 2022, 11:01:19 AM
Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks rips 'delusional' Josh Donaldson for 'Jackie' comment to Tim Anderson


Josh Donaldson says he was "joking around" when he referred to Tim Anderson as "Jackie," but at least one member of the Chicago White Sox isn't buying the former MVP's explanation.

"Usually you have inside jokes with people you get along with, not people who don't get along at all," White Sox closer Liam Hendriks said Sunday, one day after the exchange between Donaldson and Anderson incited a benches-clearing incident at Yankee Stadium. "So that statement right there was complete bulls---."

Donaldson admitted after Saturday's game to calling Anderson "Jackie" -- a nod to Jackie Robinson -- in the first inning. The Yankees third baseman apologized, saying he meant no disrespect.

But Anderson, who is Black, said Saturday that he was offended by Donaldson's comment, calling it "disrespectful" and "unnecessary." Hendriks echoed those sentiments Sunday afternoon before the clubs started a doubleheader.

"Us in this clubhouse, we have [Anderson's] back and everything -- and that was just a completely unacceptable thing," Hendriks said. "Again, [the Yankees] are trying to whip it out as being an inside joke -- no, that's horse s---. They don't have those sorts of things going on. ... That's like having an inside joke with a guy who you are a nemesis with, I guess you could say.

"But that's not how it went down in this clubhouse, and I don't understand how [Donaldson] ever thought of it like that. It's just straight delusional."

Donaldson, who is white, said the "Jackie" comment was in reference to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated in which Anderson described himself as feeling like "today's Jackie Robinson" in how he's "getting to a point where I need to change the game." Donaldson said it was a reference about which he has "joked around" with Anderson in the past.

Major League Baseball is looking into the matter and speaking to all of the relevant parties involved, a source told ESPN's Alden Gonzalez. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday that he did not think Donaldson should have made the comment.

"I don't believe there was any malicious intent in that regard," Boone told reporters. "But you know, this is, just in my opinion, somewhere he should not be going."

White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Saturday that he thought Donaldson's comment was "racist" and elaborated on the situation a day later, telling reporters he is "curious" to see whether the Yankees address the incident.

"I'm actually curious to see what the Yankee organization says," La Russa said. "It's not really important what I say here. I saw what Aaron said -- he's between a rock and a hard place there."

Hendriks also said he also hopes for further response from the Yankees.

"A couple of our guys made sure a couple guys in their clubhouse knew exactly what was going on," Hendriks said. "So whether it's an internal thing that has to happen on their side, today we show up and do what we came here to do -- we have a chance to win two games at Yankee Stadium."

Anderson was held out of Chicago's Game 1 lineup by La Russa, who said it "didn't make sense" to have the former AL batting champion play both games of the doubleheader. After the White Sox beat the Yankees 3-1 in Game 1, Anderson started the nightcap and hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning that gave Chicago a 5-0 victory to win the series. Donaldson was on the bench.

Donaldson scrapped with Anderson on May 13 in Chicago after putting a hard tag on the White Sox star shortstop, who responded with a shove, resulting in the benches and bullpens clearing. Donaldson said Saturday that he was "trying to defuse" any lingering tension when the players crossed paths early in the game.

In the third inning, Donaldson had rounded second base after the final out and began jawing with Anderson as the teams came off the field. Donaldson was escorted off the field by Boone while Anderson was led off by third-base coach Joe McEwing.

"[Donaldson] knew damn well what he was doing," Hendriks said. "He intended it to be exactly what it was. He just didn't intend for the repercussions, which were swift."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 24, 2022, 11:19:27 AM
Fresh photos of UK PM Johnson drinking reignite 'Partygate' row


LONDON (Reuters) -New photographs of Prime Minister Boris Johnson drinking at a leaving party at his Downing Street residence have been published, reigniting opposition accusations that he breached his own COVID-19 lockdown rules.

The photographs, obtained by ITV News, were taken at a gathering in honour of Downing Street's outgoing director of communications Lee Cain in November 2020, an event previously investigated by police for potential breaches of the law.

Monday's photographs show Johnson making a speech and raising a toast, with half a glass in his hands, ITV said.

At that time, large gatherings with people outside of your own household were banned after England had been put back into a national lockdown due to rising cases of COVID-19.

Reuters could not independently verify when or where the pictures were taken. Johnson's office has said police had access to all information during their investigation, including photos.

Johnson was not fined for taking part in the November 2020 event, though he was issued with a fixed penalty notice for a Downing Street gathering to mark his birthday in June that year, an event which he said lasted no more than 10 minutes.

He has apologised for what he called a mistake but refused to resign over the issue.

The Metropolitan police referred to a statement announcing the end of its investigations last week when asked if it had been aware of the Cain leaving party pictures during its investigation.

The Cabinet Office, which has been handling a separate government investigation into the parties, declined to comment.

The government is expected this week to publish a long-awaited report by the senior civil servant Sue Gray into the events held at Johnson's Downing Street office during coronavirus lockdowns. Police have handed out 126 fines in connection with the parties.

The report, which is expected to include details of some events that were not investigated by the police, could spur more criticism of the British leader, who has been under months of pressure over several scandals and U-turns.

The new photos appear to undermine some of Johnson's previous statements. When asked in parliament in December about reports of a party at his residence the previous month, Johnson said that he was sure "the rules were followed at all times".

Angela Rayner, the opposition Labour Party's deputy leader, accused Johnson of lying.

"Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he knew nothing about law-breaking – there’s no doubt now, he lied," Rayner said. "Johnson made the rules, and then broke them."


© Reuters

Exclusive: Boris Johnson pictured drinking at Downing Street party during lockdown | ITV News

Photographs obtained by ITV News cast fresh doubt on the Prime Minister’s claims that he was unaware of rule-breaking in Downing Street during the pandemic.

The four images show the Prime Minister raising a glass at a leaving party on 13th November 2020, with bottles of alcohol and party food on the table in front of him.

They were taken at a gathering in honour of the Downing Street’s then Director of Communications Lee Cain, with eight people pictured standing closely together, as well as the photographer.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 24, 2022, 11:24:59 AM
Kate Moss expected to testify at Depp v Heard trial


The high-profile defamation case between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard is poised to get another dash of celebrity -- British model Kate Moss is expected to testify.

The 48-year-old Moss, Depp's former girlfriend, is scheduled to make an appearance by video link on Wednesday, the New York Post reported.

Moss, who went out with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star from 1994 to 1997, is being called to the witness stand by Depp's legal team.

The 36-year-old Heard, during her testimony earlier this month, mentioned a reported incident in which Depp was alleged to have pushed Moss down a flight of stairs.

That reference provided an opening to Depp's lawyers to call Moss as a witness to address the allegation.

The 58-year-old Depp filed suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

Heard, who had a starring role in "Aquaman," did not name Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.

The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse" at his hands.

Depp, during his four days on the witness stand, denied ever striking Heard or any other woman and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.

- 'Narcissistic traits' -

On Monday, the seven-person jury heard from two doctors called as expert witnesses by Heard's team.

Richard Moore, an orthopedic surgeon, testified that it was unlikely that a finger injury sustained by Depp during a fight with Heard occurred in the manner in which Depp said it did.

Depp said the tip of his middle finger on his right hand was severed when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him while the couple were in Australia, where he was filming the fifth installment of the "Pirates" franchise.

Moore, who reviewed the medical records, said the wound was not consistent with that explanation.

David Spiegel, a psychiatrist, testified that Depp had "narcissistic traits" and behavior that indicated he had a substance use disorder.

Spiegel engaged in a testy exchange with one of Depp's lawyers when pressed about the American Psychiatric Association's so-called Goldwater Rule, which says it is "unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination."

Spiegel acknowledged that he did not personally examine Depp but said his opinions were valid as an expert witness.

Depp's lawyers put experts on the stand earlier in the trial who testified that the actor lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5-million payday for a sixth installment of "Pirates."

Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater."

Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.

Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for Friday, after which it will go to the jury.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 24, 2022, 11:31:20 AM
Bill Cosby assault case starts in California


Los Angeles (AFP) - A trial against Bill Cosby began Monday in California, with a civil suit alleging the disgraced comedian se*ually assaulted a teenage girl almost five decades ago.

Judy Huth says the man once known as "America's Dad" attacked her at the Playboy Mansion in the mid-1970s when she was around 15 years old.

Huth says she suffered "psychological damage and mental anguish" as a result of the alleged assault.

The case is the latest in a raft of legal actions against 84-year-old Cosby, who was once one of the most popular performers on US television.

Dozens of women have said they suffered se*ual assault at his hands.

Huth's case was originally filed in 2014, but had been on hold while Cosby faced aggravated indecent assault charges in Pennsylvania.

Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 17 years ago, but freed from his prison sentence after the state's supreme court ruled he had been denied a fair trial.

His release from prison -- he had served more than two years of his three-to-10 year sentence -- infuriated many advocates of the #MeToo movement.

His conviction was the first sexual assault guilty verdict against a celebrity since the advent of the worldwide reckoning against sexual violence and abuse of power.

But the court did not exonerate him, rather it overturned the conviction on a technicality.

Judges wrote that a non-prosecution agreement between a former district attorney and Cosby over evidence he gave in a different civil case meant the actor shouldn't have been criminally charged in the first place.

In the case that local broadcasters reported had started Monday, Huth claims she met Cosby on a film set, and days later was invited to his tennis club.

There, she says, he gave her alcohol and took her to the Playboy Mansion, where he forced her to perform a sex act.

Cosby has denied her version of events.

The defence has leapt on apparent discrepancies in Huth's claim.

The assault was initially alleged to have happened in 1974, when she was 15 years old, but more recently has said it took place a year later.

The case is being heard in Santa Monica, next to Los Angeles, and begins with jury selection.

Opening arguments are set for next week.

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 24, 2022, 11:39:58 AM
Josh Donaldson suspended for actions vs. White Sox


NEW YORK -- Josh Donaldson received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine from Major League Baseball on Monday stemming from what the league said were “inappropriate comments” made to White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson during Saturday’s game.

Donaldson is appealing the punishment, MLB announced. Donaldson would be eligible to play for the Yankees until the appeal process is completed. The Yankees placed Donaldson on the COVID-19 injured list before Monday’s game.

“MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident. There is no dispute over what was said on the field,” said Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations.

“Regardless of Mr. Donaldson's intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions. In addition, Mr. Donaldson’s remark was a contributing factor in a bench-clearing incident between the teams, and warrants discipline.”

The White Sox and Yankees jostled in the fifth inning on Saturday after Chicago players took offense to Donaldson's comment.

Donaldson acknowledged that he twice referred to Anderson as “Jackie,” claiming that he was referring to a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson -- who is Black -- said that he feels like “today’s Jackie Robinson.”

Anderson took offense, saying: “He made a disrespectful comment. [Donaldson] basically tried to call me Jackie Robinson, like, ‘What’s up, Jackie?’ I don’t play like that. I don’t need to play at all. I wasn’t really bothering [anybody] today, but he made the comment and it was disrespectful.”

Donaldson first made the comment while on base in the second inning; Anderson and Donaldson then exchanged words in the third and were promptly separated. Anderson told his teammates what Donaldson said, which sparked a situation between Donaldson and White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal when Donaldson came to bat in the fifth.

“This game went through a period of time where a lot of those comments were made, and I think we’re way past that. It’s just unacceptable,” Grandal said. “I thought it was a low blow, and I’m going to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that. It’s unacceptable.”

Donaldson said he would apologize to Anderson, noting that Saturday was not the first time he referred to Anderson as “Jackie.” Donaldson said that he did so in 2019, when he was a member of the Braves.

Reacting to the suspension, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that he felt the league was "thoughtful, looked into it and did their due diligence on it to make a tough call. I don't agree with it; I don't think it warranted a suspension, but I certainly respect their process."

In the May 6, 2019, Sports Illustrated article, Anderson told Stephanie Apstein that he felt a responsibility to help break what he called baseball’s “have-fun barrier.”

“I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson,” Anderson said in the interview. “That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point where I need to change the game.”

Tensions have been high between Anderson and Donaldson since a game at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field on May 13, when both benches cleared after Anderson shoved Donaldson following a first-inning play at third base. Donaldson said that he intended for his comment to neutralize that animosity.

Anderson and Donaldson did not speak before the conclusion of the series, which ended with the White Sox sweeping the Yankees in Sunday's doubleheader. Anderson was booed by Yankees fans in the second game, then hushed the crowd with an opposite-field, three-run homer in the eighth inning.

"It's a tough one," said Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, reacting to Donaldson's suspension. "Joke or not, I just don't think it's the right thing to do there -- especially given the history of the series in Chicago, kind of a little bit of beef between Anderson and J.D. Anderson's one of the best shortstops in the game and he's a big part of MLB, what's going on here and how we can grow the game. J.D. made a mistake, owned up to it and now we've got to move on."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 24, 2022, 12:22:09 PM
Fly me to the Moon: US, Japan aim for lunar landing


Japan and the United States said Monday they want to put the first Japanese astronaut on the Moon as the allies deepen cooperation on space projects.

No non-American has ever touched down on the lunar surface, and Japan has previously said it hopes to achieve a Moon landing by the end of this decade.

President Joe Biden, after his first face-to-face meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, said the nations will work together in the US-led Artemis program to send humans to the Moon, and later to Mars.

Biden said he was "excited" about the collaboration, including on the Gateway facility, which will orbit the Moon and provide support for future missions.

"I'm excited (about) the work we'll do together on the Gateway Station around the Moon, and look forward to the first Japanese astronaut joining us on the mission to the lunar surface under the Artemis program," he said at a joint press conference.

Japan's domestic space program focuses on satellites and probes, so Japanese astronauts have turned to the US and Russia to travel to the International Space Station.

But space agency JAXA is looking to revitalize its ranks, last year launching its first recruitment of new astronauts in 13 years.

It lifted the requirement that applicants have a science degree and urged women to apply, because all seven of the nation's current astronauts are men.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 24, 2022, 01:33:17 PM
High-tech surveillance in post-Roe America: Chilling new report outlines possible future


Imagine, several months from now, a pregnant woman in Texas traveling to New York to obtain an abortion. When she's about to fly back, a friend phones to warn her there's an arrest warrant waiting for her, because police in her home state used a "keyword warrant" to monitor everyone in their area who'd searched a particular term online — say, "abortion clinics in New York" — and then obtained a "geofence warrant" to track her to a Planned Parenthood facility in Manhattan. The woman becomes part of a population the U.S. hasn't seen in recent history: an internally-displaced person, unable to travel home under threat of arrest and prosecution.

Or imagine a woman in the Deep South, who in her last weeks of pregnancy, delivers a stillborn fetus at home, and, when she's taken to the hospital, encounters a nurse who suspects she'd tried to end the pregnancy herself and calls the police. When prosecutors take on the case, they obtain not just her medical records — evidence of the outcome — but her online search history as well: what they cast as evidence of "intent." Thanks to information handed over by internet providers — that the woman once searched for information about abortion medication and miscarriages — she is charged with second-degree murder, and faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

That latter scenario already happened, several years ago in Mississippi. The former, says civil rights attorney Albert Fox Cahn, is not just a potential threat but an imminent reality if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks, as forecast in Justice Samuel Alito's leaked draft majority opinion earlier this month.

On Tuesday morning, Cahn's organization, the nonprofit privacy organization Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), released a new report, "The Handmaid's Trail: Abortion Surveillance After Roe," laying out in blunt terms how digital and other surveillance technologies could be employed if the coming SCOTUS ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health makes abortion immediately illegal in numerous states.

"Repealing a half century of reproductive rights won't transport Americans back to 1973," Cahn and his co-author on the report, Eleni Manis, write. Rather, "it will take us to a far darker future, one where antiquated abortion laws are enforced with cutting edge technology." What they envision is that the computers and smartphones of anyone who's pregnant and seeking an abortion — or who suffers a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth — could be turned into repositories of evidence for police, prosecutors and even individual bounty-hunters hoping to collect a cash reward for proving someone has had an illegal abortion.

For years, pregnant patients have been subjected to a wide array of surveillance through both routine and novel means by government, corporate and private entities. Pregnant patients at hospitals face "suspicionless" drug testing when they go for prenatal checkups while patients of clinics that offer abortion services may encounter anti-abortion activists who photograph them and license plates. These days, they also face the prospect of anti-abortion geofencing: when activists pair cell phone location data with commercial advertising databanks to text them anti-abortion messages while they're sitting in abortion clinic waiting rooms. If they seek out or stumble upon one of the anti-abortion pseudo-clinics known as crisis pregnancy centers, in person or online, chances are anything they say will be added to the massive database CPC networks maintain.

Outside of such medical (or "medical") settings, commercial retailers and big tech companies have already fine-tuned their predictive capabilities so well that they can figure out an internet user is pregnant before they've even told their family. And while the goal of that sophisticated technology is financial — to target expectant parents just when they're about to start spending a lot of money — Cahn and Manis warn that "such commercial lists now will become evidence for those individuals whose pregnancies don't come to term."

There's already precedent for that. As civil rights attorney Cynthia Conti-Cook wrote in a 2020 article in the University of Baltimore Law Review, "Digital evidence fills a gap for prosecutors keen on prosecuting women for their pregnancy outcomes. When medical theories fail to explain why some outcomes happen, prosecutors can now sift through an accused person's most personal thoughts, feelings, movements and medically-related purchases during their pregnancy, even if there is little evidence supporting the conclusion that their conduct caused the pregnancy to end."

But the re-criminalization of abortion, say Cahn and Manis, will lead to even wider use of digital technologies to prosecute both abortion seekers and those who help them.

Some of the technology is familiar: obtaining people's search histories, shopping records, emails, chats or texts to prove they were discussing or seeking information about abortion, or even just that they were pregnant. "When purchasers pay with a credit card, an online account, or with an in-store loyalty card," the report notes, "everyday purchases — medication, pregnancy tests, prenatal vitamins, menstrual products — can become circumstantial evidence."

Others are less well-known. Law enforcement can use "keyword warrants" that would "cast digital dragnets, identifying large numbers of potential abortion seekers" by requiring technology companies to turn over information about anyone in a geographic area who has searched online for particular terms. They can also obtain "geofence warrants" that require those same companies to give information about all people who were in a particular place at a particular time. Both types of warrants have already been used in other contexts.

"Geofence warrants were first introduced in 2018 and since then have expanded so dramatically that they are now the majority of all warrants that Google receives in the U.S.," said Cahn. A 2021 advocacy campaign by a coalition of civil rights groups, including S.T.O.P., compelled Google to release information that shows that this type of inquiry accounted for more than 10,000 warrants the company responded to in 2020.

To date, keyword warrants are less common, but Cahn says they were used in one case where police demanded that Google identify everyone who had searched for a particular address, using that information as part of their investigation.

Broadly speaking, these types of warrants, as well as technology like facial recognition software, says Cahn, have been justified as a necessity for addressing threats like terrorism. But their application has not been neutral. "We've found that facial recognition was used more to target Black Lives Matter protesters than to target those responsible for the insurrection on Jan. 6," said Cahn. "There's profound discrimination in how these tools are deployed."

What's more, Cahn said, geofence warrants simply aren't effective for most police work — they're good at casting "broad digital dragnets" but bad at identifying whether someone actually is a likely suspect. However, he said, they could easily prove to be a "terrifying tool" that enable "authoritarian efforts to target health care, to target protest, to target houses of worship. It's very easy to see the potential for abuse."

In light of that threat, S.T.O.P.'s report calls for a number of measures to address these issues, primarily in "rights-protective" states unlikely to outlaw abortion. Some states offer limited protections already. Massachusetts, for instance, bans geofencing near abortion clinics, but is the only state in the country to have done so. Illinois prohibits the sharing of some biometric data, although data related to abortion is not yet included in its provisions.

But more, the report holds, is needed. First, from companies like Google or Apple, which may voice public support for abortion rights but nonetheless could be key to undermining those rights through their information collection and warehousing practices.

"If a company doesn't have individualized locations in a database that can be searched by a geofence, one can get all the warrants they want and you're not going to give over any data," said Cahn. "It's a design choice whether Google wants to put their users at risk of this type of search."

Likewise, he said, states must act. "This is already happening. We already see electronic surveillance being used to target pregnant people. The only question is how quickly anti-abortion policing ramps up to these search tactics."

Two first-in-the-nation bills are currently under consideration in New York that could offer substantially more protection. One would ban both geofence and keyword warrants as well as prohibiting law enforcement from buying geolocation data from commercial companies. A second would prohibit police from creating fake social media accounts that allow them to pose as friends or medical providers in order to trick people seeking abortions into identifying or incriminating themselves.

Law enforcement agencies must also reassess their participation in inter-agency information sharing agreements, Cahn said. Current data sharing agreements require local police to share information with their counterparts in other states, which could easily enable the tracking and prosecution of abortion seekers from red states who travel to other parts of the country to get an abortion.

Such agreements have always caused tension, Cahn said, "because it's meant that so-called immigration sanctuary jurisdictions are actually giving information to ICE in some cases. But now, if you're part of an inter-agency information sharing agreement, and you are honestly a pro-choice jurisdiction, you can't in good faith remain when you know the people receiving that data are going to use it to arrest pregnant people."

For years, Cahn said, civil rights groups have fought the use of surveillance technologies like geofence warrants, arguing that certain types of information should be off-limits as policing tools. For just as long, he said, many lawmakers have been "comfortable enabling these types of abuses when different communities were being targeted."

"Now we know the targets will include pregnant people," he said, and "we'll see people who once felt very far removed from the threat of mass surveillance being intimately targeted."

"It is very much that incremental expansion of government authority," he said. "We ignore it and we ignore it. And then suddenly, we and our families and those dearest to us are in the crosshairs."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 10:22:27 AM
Outside court, hardcore Depp fans want 'Justice for Johnny'


Fairfax (United States) (AFP) - The early morning sun has barely poked through the clouds, but Luz-Hazel Walrath and Pam Cuddapah have already been huddled outside a courthouse in the suburbs of Washington for nine hours -- determined to show their support for Johnny Depp.

The two substitute teachers, both 23, drove five hours from their homes in North Carolina to Fairfax, Virginia, arriving at 10:00 pm on Monday evening to try to snag one of the 100 public seats for the next day's hearing.

They were among scores who gather each day -- and night -- at the court, hoping to catch a glimpse of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star as he battles ex-wife Amber Heard in a blockbuster defamation case.

"We just wanted to support Johnny," Walrath said, explaining she had grown up watching movies featuring the actor.

Walrath and Cuddapah may be biased, but they say they are not convinced by evidence presented by Heard's legal team, who allege the actress suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse" from Depp.

"I usually believe victims, but in this specific case... I just don't really fully believe her," Cuddapah said.

She says she came to her conclusion based on research via social media, while adding "also he's a great actor."

Almost all those waiting in the queue are loyal to Depp, who says Heard is actually the one who was violent toward him.

A few carry signs, some calling for "#JusticeforJohnny." One group has come with a bouquet of heart-shaped balloons and a poster declaring their love for the troubled former pinup.

Card games, and makeup

In the small hours of Tuesday, many waited under the building's colonnade to shelter from the rain.

They passed the time trying to sleep -- wrapped up in blankets on the ground -- playing cards, or chatting with new friends.

Early arrivals bided their time across the street before rushing across the courthouse lawn to secure a place in line when the Fairfax County Sheriff's Department finally allowed them on the premises.

Office manager Glenna Bobb, who drove three hours from Philadelphia, described the scene as a "mad dash." "Honestly, it was chaos," she said.

By the time the sun comes up, the crowd is ready for breakfast and coffee ordered via delivery apps.

Some, still in their sweatpants, do their makeup as 7:00 am approaches -- the moment when sheriff's deputies hand out the wristbands that are the fans' prized tickets into the courtroom.

Bobb, 44, started following the trial when it began back in April, when she was in isolation recovering from Covid.

"I had nothing else to do," she said. "And then it was just like a train wreck."

After all the wristbands are distributed, those who didn't get in traipse to the back of the courthouse, hoping for the next best thing: a glimpse of Depp as he drives in through a rear entrance.

Barricades are erected as the street corner quickly fills with spectators, baby strollers and dogs -- one wearing its own "Justice for Johnny Depp" sign.

A lone pro-Heard voice, Christina Taft holds up her sign blasting what she calls a social media "operation" against the "Aquaman" star.

Facing down the Depp crowd is "really hard," the 28-year-old from Los Angeles said.

She uses a bullhorn to shout "Go Amber Heard!" as the actress's car rolls through the parking lot gates, but she is drowned out by boos and taunts.

A few minutes later, Depp drives past, waving and smiling through the car's open window at his cheering fans.

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 10:29:29 AM
Johnny Depp’s team is denied dismissal of Amber Heard’s $100M counterclaim as her lawyers rest case


Johnny Depp’s legal team was unsuccessful in an attempt to get Amber Heard’s $100 million counterclaim dismissed Tuesday as Heard’s lawyers rested their case in the defamation trial.

Judge Penney Azcarate said at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia that it’s not her role “to measure the veracity or weight of the evidence” after lawyers for Depp and Heard both presented arguments about the countersuit.

Depp is suing his ex-wife Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed published by the Washington Post in which Heard called herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp isn’t named in the piece, but Heard had previously accused the actor of abusing her, which he denies.

Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim in response to statements made by Depp lawyer Adam Waldman describing the actress’ abuse allegations as a hoax.

“There was no hoax perpetrated,” Heard attorney Ben Rottenborn said Tuesday. “Mr. Depp is an abuser who abused Ms. Heard. She did not conspire with her friends to create a hoax. She did not create a hoax herself.”

"There was no hoax perpetrated,” Heard attorney Ben Rottenborn said Tuesday. “Mr. Depp is an abuser who abused Ms. Heard. She did not conspire with her friends to create a hoax. She did not create a hoax herself.”

Rottenborn’s defense came after Depp attorney Benjamin Chew opened Tuesday’s proceedings with a motion to strike the counterclaim.

“The evidence shows that Ms. Heard cannot prevail on her claim because she cannot and did not establish that Mr. Waldman made the statements with actual malice,” Chew said. “Mr. Waldman testified that he conducted extensive investigation and reasonably believed that the three statements he made were true.”

Depp testified for four days last month, claiming he never struck Heard while accusing her of often becoming physically violent toward him. He claimed to suffer a severed middle finger after Heard threw a bottle at him in Australia in 2015.

Heard concluded her four-day testimony last week, saying she never abused Depp and claiming the actor injured his finger by smashing a telephone. She described multiple incidents in which Depp allegedly abused her, including accusing him of se*ually assaulting her with a bottle in Australia.

Her team rested its case Tuesday without recalling Depp to the witness stand.

Closing arguments in the trial are expected to take place Friday.

Depp, 58, and Heard, 36, met while making the 2011 movie “The Rum Diary” and married in 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year and was granted a temporary restraining order against Depp after accusing him of domestic violence.

Depp previously lost a libel lawsuit in the United Kingdom against the publisher of British tabloid The Sun over an article that painted the actor as a “wife beater,” with a High Court judge ruling the claims were “substantially true.”

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 10:39:23 AM
Nearly 1 in 5 Amazon delivery drivers get hurt on the job each year, new report says

One in five delivery drivers working for Amazon was injured on the job in 2021, a new report says.

The same report, released Tuesday by a coalition of labor unions, found 1 in 7 was injured so severely they had to either change their job or take time off following an injury.

"Amazon's delivery quotas and production pressure are contributing to an escalating injury crisis among workers in every segment of Amazon's delivery system," the Strategic Organizing Center's report read.

"Amazon claims to have taken several steps to promote safety," it continued. "Amazon has refused, however, to address the core issue that fuels injuries in its delivery system: abusive delivery production demands."

Injuries for workers in Amazon's delivery system — including delivery drivers as well as employees at delivery stations and sortation centers — jumped by 38% in the past year, according to the organizing center, which has pushed Amazon to changes workplace policies previously. The same group released a report in April that found injuries at Amazon warehouses increased about 20% from 2020 to 2021.

The rate of serious injuries for drivers jumped 47% in the past year, according to the most recent report.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the report used a small sample of workers and drivers to "intentionally misrepresent the facts."

"Safety is a priority across our network, which is why we've rolled out technology like innovative camera systems that have helped lead to an overall reduction in accident rates of nearly 50%," Nantel said in an emailed statement. "We'll keep investing in new safety tools to try and get better every day."

On the heels of a successful union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, the company is facing pressure from employees, state and federal regulators, and some shareholders to improve working conditions for its blue-collar workforce. Federal lawmakers have called for an investigation into Amazon's practices after six people died while working at an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois. Washington regulators have issued four citations, alleging the company's pace of work is leading to unsafe working conditions at Amazon facilities.

During some shifts, a delivery driver working with Amazon in Sacramento, California, is expected to make a delivery every minute or two, the Strategic Organizing Center report found.

Injury rates at Amazon's sortation centers, where employees sort orders by final destination, increased 20%, while rates at its delivery stations, where workers prep packages for the delivery to customers doorsteps, went up 15%.

The SOC analyzed data that Amazon and its delivery service partners — independent delivery companies who staff and operate Amazon-branded vans to bring packages from distribution centers to customers' doorsteps — submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It analyzed data from 201 of Amazon's roughly 2,500 U.S.-based delivery service partners.

Amazon says injury rates at the company are actually going down, citing a $300 million investment in new technologies and new protocols to improve working conditions. Amazon's own analysis found the lost-time incident rate, a measure of the number of injuries that resulted in missed work, improved 43% from 2019 to 2020, according to a report the company released this year. The report did not include an analysis of 2021.

Researchers at the Strategic Organizing Center don't agree. Amazon is relying on outdated numbers, the report said, and is leaving out a large chunk of its workforce by not including contracted delivery service partners who account for about half of all Amazon delivery system workers.

Amazon "cherry picked" the data they chose for their own analysis, said Eric Frumin, the health and safety director with the Strategic Organizing Center. In addition to leaving out contractors, Amazon compared itself only to industry competitors with at least 250 workers, he said, despite the fact that many of Amazon's delivery stations and sortation centers don't fall into that category.

In a letter to shareholders in April, CEO Andy Jassy said Amazon's injury rate was "misunderstood," explaining that Amazon actually split its workforce into two categories when comparing itself to others in the same industries: warehouse workers, and courier and delivery service workers.

By that logic, Amazon's injury rate was higher than its warehouse peers — 6.4 versus 5.5 — but lower than its delivery peers — 7.6 versus 9.1. Amazon is "about average relative to peers," Jassy wrote in his letter. "But we don't seek to be average. We want to be best in class."

Amazon has come under fire for its expected pace of delivery in the past, most notably when some drivers said publicly they had to resort to urinating in bottles, bushes and coffee cups because the number of deliveries expected each shift didn't leave time for a bathroom break.

In April, a delivery company in Wyoming sued Amazon on behalf of the 2,500 delivery service partners working with the company in the U.S., alleging Amazon set unrealistic and unsafe expectations for drivers. Owner Max Whitfield said in the lawsuit he often had to send out a "rescue" driver to help an "overburdened" worker already on the road.

In Colorado, an insurance company found Amazon delivery drivers had a higher rate of animal-related injuries or slip-and-fall incidents than drivers for other companies, the SOC report said.

Drivers "make it crystal clear the source of the problem — it's the production pressure," Frumin said. "These are conditions that the company imposes and the company can take away."

© The Seattle Times
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 10:46:26 AM
Risk of monkeypox spreading widely 'very low'

The risk of monkeypox spreading widely among the general population is very low and transmission can be stopped outside endemic countries in Central and West Africa, health officials said Monday, after cases exploded this month in Europe and North America.Fewer than 200 confirmed and suspected cases had been recorded since early May in Australia, Europe and North America, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, sparking fears over the spread of the disease.

Although monkeypox has been known for 40 years, WHO said it was the first time there had been several cases across many countries simultaneously and among people who had not travelled to the endemic regions in Africa.

But the UN agency said the outbreaks in non-endemic countries could be brought under control and human-to-human transmission of monkeypox stopped.

The EU's European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) also played down fears of a spread among the wider public.

Monkeypox, which is not usually fatal, can cause a fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets of bodily fluid from an infected person.

No treatment exists, but the symptoms usually clear up after two to four weeks. The disease is considered endemic in 11 African nations.

US President Joe Biden insisted Monday "extra efforts" would not be needed to prevent the spread.

'Remain vigilant'

"This is a containable situation, particularly in the countries where we are seeing these outbreaks that are happening across Europe, in North America as well," the WHO's emerging disease lead Maria Van Kerkhove said Monday via the UN health agency's social media channels.

"We want to stop human-to-human transmission. We can do this in the non-endemic countries," she said.

Meanwhile, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) director, Andrea Ammon, said most of the cases had mild symptoms.

"For the broader population, the likelihood of spread is very low," Ammon added in a statement.

"However, the likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact, for example during sexual activities among persons with multiple sexual partners, is considered to be high," she said.

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said it was important to "remain vigilant" despite the low risk, ensuring contact tracing and adequate diagnostics capacity.

The agency also pointed to the risk of "human-to-animal transmission", and said if the virus is spread to animals "there is a risk that the disease could become endemic in Europe".

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 10:58:07 AM
Giants' Joc Pederson homers three times and drives in eight runs in wild slugfest victory vs. Mets

Pederson recorded the fifth three-homer game of the MLB season


San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson became the fifth player this Major League Baseball season to launch three home runs in a wild, topsy-turvy 13-12 victory on Tuesday night against the New York Mets (box score).

Pederson hit a pair of two-run home runs early on, in the third and fifth innings, that helped San Francisco build an 8-2 lead. The Giants would yield the lead late, however, with the Mets eventually taking an 11-8 lead as part of an eighth-inning rally that included a big-time triple by shortstop Francisco Lindor (who had delivered a two-run home run earlier in the game) as well as timely hits by Starling Marte and Dominic Smith.

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1529327470742122496

The Giants struck back behind Pederson in their half of the eighth inning, as he delivered his third home run of the night -- a three-run shot -- to pad his RBI total to seven and to tie the game at 11-11. The Giants later loaded the bases but were unable to push the go-ahead run across the plate. The Mets, for their part, were able to take a 12-11 lead in the top of the ninth, but Pederson drove in the tying run in the bottom half for his eighth RBI. The Giants then won on a Brandon Crawford single that plated Darin Ruf.

Pederson, 30 years old, entered Tuesday night's game batting .229/.296/.479 (119 OPS+) on the season with seven home runs and three additional extra-base hits. Giants manager Gabe Kapler had micromanaged Pederson's plate appearances, to the extent that more than 90 percent of his trips to the plate to date had come against right-handed pitchers; that is and remains a wise decision, based on Pederson's historical platoon splits.

Prior to Pederson's big outing, the four batters who had homered three times apiece in a game were Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Anthony Rizzo (Yankees), Trevor Story (Red Sox), and Josh Rojas (Diamondbacks). Story and Rojas each notched a hat trick within the past week, meaning three of the season's five three-homer games have occurred within seven days.

Stats By STATS @StatsBySTATS

"Joc Pederson is the first @SFGiants player to hit 3 multi-run homers in a game since Willie Mays did so in his 4-homer game on April 30, 1961."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 11:20:08 AM
Canadian national security task force is preparing for the collapse of the United States


While the United States appears to hold true to the ideals of democracy, Freedom House, an international group that promotes global democracy, has warned that the country is backsliding.

"Its democratic institutions have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan pressure on the electoral process, bias and dysfunction in the criminal justice system, harmful policies on immigration and asylum seekers, and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity, and political influence," the site said.

The watchdog group said that the U.S. slipped 11 points in the past ten years. The U.S. is now ranked below Argentina and Mongolia.

According to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), the government to the north is fearful of what that might mean for them. Former national security advisers and directors at the Center for Strategic and International Studies warned Canada that the U.S. could become a "source of threat and instability" in the coming years.

Writing for CBC, Catharine Tunney cited those experts pondering a reconsideration of the alliance with the U.S.

Citing things like Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump's attempt to overthrow the government, and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they have a growing list of anti-democratic warnings. Their data gathering comes from top-secret information and a briefed cabinet on emerging threats. It warns that Canada has been complacent and warned it's time to tackle things like Russia and Chinese espionage.

"The United States is and will remain our closest ally, but it could also become a source of threat and instability," the report says.

"The 'democratic backsliding' in the United States, a rise in cyberattacks and climate change," are cited as examples in the report.

"We believe that the threats are quite serious at the moment, that they do impact Canada," said former Canadian national security adviser Vincent Rigby, a co-author of the report. "We don't want it to take a crisis for [the] government of Canada to wake up."

The main point for Canada to pivot has to do with the U.S. While Canada has its own extremist groups, according to intelligence reports, they are coordinating with the United States.

"There are growing transnational ties between right-wing extremists here and in the U.S., the movement of funds, the movement of people, the movement of ideas, the encouragement, the support by media," Rigby said.

The trucker convoy was a big wake-up call, he said. The small minority of angry truckers furious over the Canadian vaccine mandate resulted in a stand-off on the streets of Ottawa. Approximately 90 percent of truckers were vaccinated, but those under 10 percent were infuriated by the mandate. They sat in the streets blocking residents from work and home. They honked until all hours of the night. American anti-vaccine activists have adopted a similar protest, but their endeavors have been less successful.

"When we think about threats to Canada, we think about the Soviet military threat, we think about al-Qaeda, we think about the rise of China, we think about the war in Ukraine. All of these are true. But so is the rising threat to Canada that the U.S. poses," said Thomas Juneau, co-director of the task force.

"It certainly would not be couched in a way of, 'You're the source of our problems.' That would not be the conversation. The conversation would be, 'How can we help each other?'" he said. "We had those conversations during President Trump's tenure and business continues. Does it become a little bit more challenging when you have a president like Mr. Trump? Absolutely, without a doubt. But we are still close, close allies."

Rigby and Juneau are hopeful that the report will launch a new strategy moving forward.

"I know there's a certain cynicism around producing these strategies ... another bulky report that's going to end up on a shelf and gather dust," said Rigby. "But if they're done properly, they're done fast and they're done efficiently and effectively — and our allies have done them — they can work and they're important."


Canada should rethink relationship with U.S. as democratic 'backsliding' worsens: security experts

Former national security advisers, CSIS directors say U.S. could become a 'source of threat and instability'

Jacob Anthony Chansley, centre, with other insurrectionists who supported then-President Donald Trump, are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Chansley was among the first group of insurrectionists who entered the hallway outside the Senate chamber. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

Canada's intelligence community will have to grapple with the growing influence of anti-democratic forces in the United States — including the threat posed by conservative media outlets like Fox News — says a new report from a task force of intelligence experts.

"The United States is and will remain our closest ally, but it could also become a source of threat and instability," says a newly published report written by a task force of former national security advisers, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) directors, ex-deputy ministers, former ambassadors and academics. Members of the group have advised both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Now is the time for the federal government to rethink how it approaches national security, the report concludes.

The authors — some of whom had access to Canada's most prized secrets and briefed cabinet on emerging threats — say Canada has become complacent in its national security strategies and is not prepared to tackle threats like Russian and Chinese espionage, the "democratic backsliding" in the United States, a rise in cyberattacks and climate change.

"We believe that the threats are quite serious at the moment, that they do impact Canada," said report co-author Vincent Rigby, who until a few months ago served as the national security adviser to Trudeau.

"We don't want it to take a crisis for [the] government of Canada to wake up."

The report he helped write says that one area in need of a policy pivot is Canada's relationship with the United States.

Controversial Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson seized on the convoy protests to accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of having declared a 'dictatorship.' (Screenshot/FoxNews.com)

Thomas Juneau, co-director of the task force and associate professor at the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, said that while Canada's right-wing extremism is homegrown, cross-border connections between extremist groups are alarming.

"There are growing transnational ties between right-wing extremists here and in the U.S., the movement of funds, the movement of people, the movement of ideas, the encouragement, the support by media, such as Fox News and other conservative media," he said.

Convoy was a 'wakeup call,' says adviser

He pointed to state Sen. Doug Mastriano's recent win in the Republican primary for governor of Pennsylvania. Mastriano is a well-known proponent of the lie that election fraud caused former president Donald Trump's loss in 2020.

"There are serious risks of democratic backsliding in the U.S. and at this point, that is not a theoretical risk," Juneau said.

"So all of that is a serious threat to our sovereignty, to our security, and in some cases, to our democratic institutions ... We need to rethink our relationship with the United States."

The report points to the convoy protest that occupied downtown Ottawa in February and associated blockades in a handful of border towns earlier this winter. What started as a broad protest against COVID-19 restrictions morphed into a even broader rally against government authority itself, with some protesters calling for the overthrow of the elected government.

RCMP said that at the protest site near Coutts, Alta., they seized a cache of weapons; four people now face a charge of conspiracy to murder.

It "should be a wakeup call," said Rigby.

"We potentially dodged a bullet there. We really did. And we're hoping that the government and ... other levels of government have learned lessons."

Alberta RCMP submitted this photo of what they say is a cache of firearms and ammunition found in three trailers near a protest blockade of the Canada-U.S. border at Coutts, Alta. (RCMP)

The Canadian protests drew support from politicians in the U.S. and from conservative media outlets, including Fox News, says the report.

"This may not have represented foreign interference in the conventional sense, since it was not the result of actions of a foreign government. But it did represent, arguably, a greater threat to Canadian democracy than the actions of any state other than the United States," the report says.

"It will be a significant challenge for our national security and intelligence agencies to monitor this threat, since it emanates from the same country that is by far our greatest source of intelligence."

During the convoy protest, Fox host Tucker Carlson — whose show draws in millions of viewers every night — called Trudeau a "Stalinist dictator" on air and accused him of having "suspended democracy and declared Canada a dictatorship."

Carlson himself has been under attack recently for pushing the concept of replacement theory — a racist concept that claims white Americans are being deliberately replaced through immigration.

The theory was cited in the manifesto of the 18-year-old man accused in the mass shooting in a predominately Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, N.Y. earlier this month.

The conspiracy theory also has been linked to previous mass shootings, including the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Calls for new national security strategy

"When we think about threats to Canada, we think about the Soviet military threat, we think about al-Qaeda, we think about the rise of China, we think about the war in Ukraine. All of these are true. But so is the rising threat to Canada that the U.S. poses," said Juneau.

"That's completely new. That calls for a new way of thinking and new way of managing our relationship with the U.S."

The conversation with the U.S. doesn't have to be uncomfortable but it does need to happen, said Rigby.

"It certainly would not be couched in a way of, 'You're the source of our problems.' That would not be the conversation. The conversation would be, 'How can we help each other?'" he said.

"We had those conversations during President Trump's tenure and business continues. Does it become a little bit more challenging when you have a president like Mr. Trump? Absolutely, without a doubt. But we are still close, close allies."

It's why both Rigby and Juneau are hoping the report will spur the government to launch a new national security strategy review — something that hasn't happened since 2004.

"I know there's a certain cynicism around producing these strategies ... another bulky report that's going to end up on a shelf and gather dust," said Rigby.

"But if they're done properly, they're done fast and they're done efficiently and effectively — and our allies have done them — they can work and they're important."

The report makes a number of recommendations. It wants a review of CSIS's enabling legislation, more use of open-source intelligence and efforts to strengthen cyber security. It also urges normally secretive intelligence agencies to be more open with the public by disclosing more intelligence and publishing annual threat assessments.

"There's a new expanded definition of national security. It's not your grandparents' national security," said Rigby.

"It's time to step out of the shadows and step up and confront these challenges."

Read the report here: https://socialsciences.uottawa.ca/public-international-affairs/ns2022en

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 11:35:06 AM
Death toll in Texas elementary school shooting rises; 19 children, 2 adults killed by shooter

The suspect was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School

This photo shows 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, identified by law enforcement sources as the Robb Elementary School shooting suspect.

UVALDE, Texas -- The death toll in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, rose to 22, with at least 19 children, one teacher, and a second school employee killed, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The 18-year-old suspect, a student at Uvalde High School, is also dead, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Abbott said the suspect "shot and killed horrifically and incomprehensibly" more than a dozen students and a teacher.

The incident began when the suspect, identified by Abbott and law enforcement sources as Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother. Initial reports from law enforcement said the shooter's grandmother had died, but as of 11 p.m., law enforcement sources told ABC News the grandmother was in critical condition but still alive.

Texas public safety officials said Ramos then left his home in a truck, which he crashed in a ditch outside Robb Elementary School. He got out with an AR-15 style rifle and numerous magazines, law enforcement sources told ABC News. He was also wearing body armor.

As he approached the school, an Uvalde ISD school resource officer engaged the suspect, but Ramos shot him, law enforcement sources said.

The shooting took place as soon as the suspect entered the school and all of the victims at the school died "in the same location inside the school," authorities told ABC News.

Inside the school, the suspect traded fire with Uvalde ISD officers and Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents, sources told ABC News.

"U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to a law enforcement request for assistance re an active shooter situation inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Upon entering the building, Agents & other law enforcement officers faced gun fire from the subject, who was barricaded inside," a DHS spokeswoman said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that they are now tracing the AR-15 style rife the shooter used, and also recovered the body armor and numerous magazines of ammunition.

Fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles was killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

ABC News confirmed that fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles was among those killed. Mireles worked in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District for 17 years, her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, said in a statement.

"This is my hometown, a small community of less then 20,000. I never imagined this would happen to especially to loved ones," Delgado said.

Family also identified one of the children killed was 10-year-old Xavier Lopez. He was in fourth grade. His cousin told ABC News his mother had attended his awards ceremony just a couple hours before the shooting, not knowing it would be the last time she saw her son.

"When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they're going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now," Abbott said. "The state of Texas is in mourning with them for the reality that these parents are not going to be able to pick up their children."

Two responding police officers were among those injured, Abbott said. They are expected to survive, he said.

The shooter's social media is being combed by investigators, and he reportedly sent videos and photos of guns to other users on multiple platforms, ABC News reports.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital had said 15 students were being treated in the hospital's emergency department in the wake of the incident. Two patients were transferred to San Antonio for treatment, while a third was pending transfer, the hospital said. A 45-year-old was also hospitalized after getting grazed by a bullet, the hospital said.

University Health in San Antonio said it had four patients from the shooting incident -- a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl who were both in critical condition, a 10-year-old girl in good condition and a 9-year-old girl in fair condition.

Two adult victims of the school shooting are being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, according to an Army official, who did not have an update on their conditions.

A number of the shooting victims are children of Customs and Border Patrol agents, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin did not confirm casualties, but told ABC News in a text message that "this is a very bad situation." He said the office is trying to contact parents before releasing any information.

The shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. local time, police said.

The school, which has students in the second, third and fourth grades, informed parents shortly after 2 p.m. that students had been transported to the Sgt. Willie Deleon Civic Center, the reunification site, and could be picked up.

Parent Ryan Ramirez told San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT he had gone to the civic center and the elementary school trying to find his fourth grade daughter in the wake of the shooting.

"[I'm] just confused and worried. I'm trying to find out where my baby's at," he told the station.

School has been canceled for the remainder of the school year, including all extracurriculars on Wednesday and Thursday. The graduation ceremony "will be addressed at a later time," officials said. Grief counseling will also be made available, according to officials.

Uvalde, Texas, is located about 90 minutes west of San Antonio.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office and San Antonio Police Department are sending aid, and the FBI is responding.

The Houston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said it is assisting in the investigation.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been briefed on the situation and the agency "is actively coordinating with federal, state, and local partners," a spokesperson said. Customs and Border Protection officials in the area also responded to the scene.

The National Counterterrorism Operations Center believes there is "no known terrorism nexus" at this time, according to a law enforcement bulletin obtained by ABC News.

"Why are you here?"

A furious Sen. Chris Murphy demands answers from senators following Texas school shooting.

“Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate...if your answer, is as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives—we do nothing?”

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1529219289005400064

Since 2017, mass shootings in the United States -- described as shooting incidents in which at least four people are injured or killed -- have nearly doubled year over year. Already, there have been 212 mass shooting incidents in 2022 -- a 50% increase from 141 shootings in May 2017. The graphic above shows the number of shooting incidents per state. Mobile users: Click here to see our map of mass shootings in the US from the last five years

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 11:41:08 AM
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Sandy Hook parent fight back the tears while discussing Uvalde shooting

On Tuesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper grew visibly emotional while discussing the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting with Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

"The parallels, obviously, to Sandy Hook are clear," said Cooper. "For what parents are going through tonight, can you just talk a little bit about this time, when it was your child and you were waiting, what that process, that unspeakable process was like?"

"For me — and I am kind of re-experiencing it today, it's absolute shock and denial because no one would ever expect to send their child to school and have them murdered in their classroom," said Hockley. "We're becoming too immune to this as a country, but this is not the way it's supposed to be. So I know for myself, for several days, I was in absolute shock and, you know, for the several hours before being told that if my child wasn't with me, meant they weren't coming back until finding out later that evening that he had been identified according to his close and the photo I gave police, yes, it was Dylan who was one of the dead, so just the shock and trauma and sheer inability to have your brain accept that this is reality. So I would expect that that could be very much what some of the parents are experiencing right now, for those who have been told and those who are still waiting to find out, you can't even begin to imagine the horror that's going through their minds and hearts right now."

"And we are seeing photos of your beautiful son Dylan and it's — you have dedicated your life, you are working with schools and other organizations to teach the warning signs of people at risk of harming themselves or others," said Cooper. "What is the first thing you tell people you work with to look for?"

"I tell them to just be open to seeing any at-risk sign of someone who could be going into crisis, self-harm or harm to others and that can be anything from bullying and extreme isolation at one end to more overt threats of violence and means to act on that violence," said Hockley. "What I teach is, really, this gun violence we're experiencing on a daily basis in schools and in communities and grocery stores and movie theaters across the country, this is not an inevitable part of our life. There are actions we can take to prevent it if we have the courage and perseverance to lean in and take those as not just be apathetic and accept this is the way it is. People said after Sandy Hook, with 26 six-year-olds and seven-year-olds dying, that would be rock bottom, yet here we are again, almost ten years later, with another elementary school and the thousands of mass shootings that have happened in between."

"I don't know how much more our country can take, and why we keep going through that same cycle over and over again of thoughts and prayers and lack of action," she added.


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 25, 2022, 12:41:28 PM
Warriors' Steve Kerr delivers impassioned plea for gun control after Texas school shooting: 'We can't get numb to this'


DALLAS -- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr did not want to talk about basketball in his pregame news conference heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Basketball, he said, didn't matter.

"Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed, 400 miles from here. And a teacher," Kerr said, referring to the mass shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, earlier Tuesday.

The death toll has since risen to at least 19 children and two adults, according to a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. The 18-year-old suspect, a student at Uvalde High School who entered the elementary school with a handgun and possibly a rifle, is also dead, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were wounded, but the school district's police chief, Pete Arredondo, said there were "several injuries.''

"When are we going to do something?" Kerr yelled, slamming his fists on the table. "I'm tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the, excuse, I am sorry, I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!"

Kerr has long been outspoken against gun violence. His father was shot dead in a terrorist attack in Beirut in 1984, and he has spent much of his professional life calling for gun law reform.

On numerous occasions, including Tuesday, Kerr has pointed to H.R.8, a bill that would tighten background check rules for firearm transfers amongst private parties. That bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in early 2021, but it never got to the Senate floor.

"There's a reason why they won't vote on it," Kerr said. "To hold on to power."

As he looked into the camera, he continued, "So I ask you: [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings. I ask you: Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that's what it looks like. It's what we do every week."

Kerr knew there was a basketball game to be played Tuesday -- and a big one at that, with the Warriors having an opportunity to close out their series against the Mavericks and advance to the NBA Finals.

But he urged anyone watching to keep their mind on the victims.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd shared a similar sentiment before Tuesday's game.

"We will truly play with heavy hearts tonight for the community, for the school of Robb Elementary School," Kidd said. "As coaches, as fathers, we have kids, people in this room have kids, elementary school; you can just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school."

Warriors star Stephen Curry said the shooting was on everyone's mind coming into the game, which the Mavericks would end up winning 119-109, and acknowledged the difficulty of staying focused "on going out and playing basketball knowing what happened in this state."

"I got kids," Curry said. "Send them to school every day. Drop them off. And you feel for the parents that are going through what they are going through."

Robb Elementary School, located about 85 miles west of San Antonio, has an enrollment of just under 600 students, and Arredondo said it serves students in the second, third and fourth grades. This was the school's last week of classes before summer break.

"Uvalde, There are no right words," the San Antonio Spurs wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. "Our hearts are with you and all of our neighbors impacted by today's horrific shooting."

The Astros and Cleveland Guardians observed a moment of silence and reflection for the victims before their game in Houston.

"Tonight we play for Uvalde, Texas," the WNBA's Dallas Wings said in a statement. They would go on to defeat the Sun 85-77 in Connecticut. Afterward, Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale echoed Kerr, emphasizing, "Something has to change."

"We can't just keep saying 'Rest in peace' to people every week and every day, every other day," she said. "Yes, we're playing sports ... but that's heavy on our hearts because these are kids. These could be our future kids; we're going to be in Texas for a while -- that could have been our kids in the future."

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve's voice broke as she addressed the shooting, its impact and her fear for her own 7-year-old child.

"You ask the same thing every time, 'How many more?'" she said. "To be supposedly world leaders and to miss so badly in taking care of our own people. We feel terrible for the families. My kid got out of the car today, and I ran and hugged him. I can't imagine what those families go through. Tomorrow, the next day, the next week ... we know it's going to happen again. It's disgusting."

Warriors guard Damion Lee commented on how "it's easier to get a gun than baby formula right now," adding, "That's unbelievable in this country that we live in."

It was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago. And it came just 10 days after a gunman in body armor killed 10 Black shoppers and workers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities say was a racist attack. Just two days after the Buffalo mass shooting, one person was killed and five others were wounded in a shooting at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California, that was described by the Orange County sheriff as a "politically motivated hate incident."

"I'm fed up. I've had enough" Kerr said. "We can't get numb to this. We can't sit here and just read about it and go, well, let's go have a moment of silence."

Kerr slammed the table one more time before his final statement:

"It's pathetic. I've had enough."


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 01:13:50 AM
Selena Gomez calls for politicians to ‘actually change the laws’ after school shooting in her home state of Texas


Selena Gomez called for U.S. politicians to “actually change the laws” after at least 21 people were killed in a school shooting in her home state of Texas.

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Wednesday left 19 children and two teachers dead, officials said.

“If children aren’t safe at school where are they safe?” Gomez tweeted.

“It’s so frustrating and I’m not sure what to say anymore,” the actress-singer wrote. “Those in power need to stop giving lip service and actually change the laws to prevent these shootings in the future.”

Gomez, 29, grew up Grand Prairie, Texas, which is part of Dallas County. Uvalde is about 350 miles southwest of Dallas, and about 85 miles west of San Antonio.

The “Wizards of Waverly Place” actress was one of numerous public figures who called for change after the shooting, which occurred less than two weeks after 10 people were killed and three were wounded in a shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.

Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, urged Americans to “find a common ground” to address the issue of gun violence.

“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better,” McConaughey said in a Twitter message.

“The true call to action now is for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror,” McConaughey wrote, “and ask ourselves, ‘What is it that we truly value? How do we repair the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?’ We cannot exhale once again, make excuses and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.”

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 11:46:29 AM
Student arrested for bringing AK-47 pistol and AR-15 rifle to Texas high school: report

Authorities in Texas arrested a heavily-armed student only one day after the fatal school shooting in Ulvalde.

The Richardson Police Department says that a local business reported seeing a male walking toward Berkner High School on Wednesday morning.

"Within minutes of the call being dispatched, numerous police officers from various units within the Richardson Police Department responded to Berkner High School and initiated a search and investigation into this incident," the department announced on Facebook. "Based on the information provided and in collaboration with Richardson ISD, officers were able to identify the male suspect as a juvenile student of Berkner High School."

"The suspect was located inside Berkner High School, but no weapons were found. Further investigation led to the discovery of a vehicle used by the suspect in the parking lot of 1551 East Spring Valley Road. Inside the vehicle, officers observed what appeared to be an AK-47 style pistol and a replica AR-15 style Orbeez rifle," the department said.

The suspect was arrested and charged with "Unlawful Carrying Weapons in a Weapon-Free School Zone."

The incident occurred one day after an 18-year-old high school drop out allegedly massacred 21 people at Robb Elementary School.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 11:50:53 AM
75-year-old homeless man set on fire under Trump Tower Chicago 'likely to die'


Trump Tower Chicago was near the scene of a brutal assault on a homeless man on Wednesday morning, Fox 32 reported.

"Chicago Police have released surveillance pictures of a man wanted for setting a man on fire downtown. A charred wall shows the exact spot of this vicious crime. Police say a 75-year-old man was sleeping on North Lower Wabash, near the loading dock for Trump Tower early Wednesday morning, when another man poured flammable liquid on him then ignited it," the network reported.

Police released photos of the suspect wearing a Hoodrich jacket.

"As for the victim, he's known by many as 'The Walking Man'. His real name is Joseph Kromelis. He's been seen walking Chicago's streets for years. It was 6 years ago, almost to the day, when Kromelis was beaten with a bat and hospitalized in another brutal attack," the network reported.

The network described Kromelis as fighting to survive. He is in critical condition at Northwestern Hospital.

Kromelis suffered third-degree burns over 65% of his body, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

“We were just told he’s most likely to die,” one law enforcement source told the newspaper

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 11:54:36 AM
Gun found in 2nd grader's desk terrifies parents: 'I'm just scared for them, you know?'

On the same day as the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, staff at Kemble Elementary School in Sacramento, California discovered a handgun with a loaded magazine inside a second-grade student's desk.

Other students reportedly notified staff about the weapon.

Fox 40 in Sacramento interviewed Javier Delvalle, the father of a kindergarten student.

“Makes me not want to bring my daughter to school anymore,” he said.

“I’m just scared for them, you know? I mean, I heard about what happened yesterday in Texas on the news, but now, here at the school my daughter goes to? I don’t even want to bring my kids to school here anymore,” Delvalle said.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg understood Delvalle's apprehension.

“The fact that any gun with ammunition would be brought to any school is rightfully scary,” Steinberg said. “There are many questions. Where did the child get the gun? Where was the adult responsible? Why did the adult have that gun."

Watch the clip below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 12:02:57 PM
Boeing's Starliner faces one more challenge as it returns to Earth


Boeing's Starliner capsule is readying to return to Earth on Wednesday in the final step of a key test flight to prove itself worthy of providing rides for NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The spaceship is scheduled to autonomously undock at 2:36 pm Eastern Time (1836 GMT) and touch down in New Mexico just over four hours later, at 2249 GMT, wrapping up a six-day mission crucial to restoring Boeing's reputation after past failures.

Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is the last hurdle for Starliner to clear before it carries humans in another test flight that could take place by the end of this year.

Starliner rendezvoused with the ISS on Friday, a day after blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Over the weekend, astronauts living aboard the research platform opened the hatch and "greeted" the capsule's sole passenger: Rosie the Rocketeer, a mannequin equipped with sensors to understand what human crew would have experienced in the journey.

The mission hasn't been without its hiccups. These include propulsion problems early on Starliner's journey that saw two thrusters responsible for placing it in a stable orbit failing, though officials insisted there was plenty of redundancy built into the system.

On the day of docking, the vessel missed its scheduled contact time by more than an hour, after a ring responsible for latching on to the station failed to deploy correctly. Engineers had to retract the ring then pop it out again before it worked the second time.

Still, the glitches are little compared to the troubles Starliner saw during its first test launch, back in 2019, when one software bug caused it to burn too much fuel to reach its destination, and another almost meant that the vehicle was destroyed during re-entry.

The second error was caught in time to upload a patch, and the vessel was able to achieve a gentle landing, slowed by its enormous parachutes, at White Sands Space Harbor -- the same spaceport where Space Shuttles once launched, and where Starliner is once more expected for touchdown.

Boeing and NASA also tried to launch Starliner in August 2021, but the capsule was rolled back from the launchpad to address sticky valves that weren't opening as they should and the ship was eventually sent back to the factory for fixes.

NASA is looking to certify Starliner as a second "taxi" service for its astronauts to the space station -- a role that Elon Musk's SpaceX has provided since succeeding in a test mission for its Dragon capsule in 2020.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 12:08:53 PM
Floating in a tin Cannes: David Bowie doc blasts off at film fest


A high-octane documentary on David Bowie has delighted fans at the Cannes Film Festival which is having a vintage year for music lovers.

"Moonage Daydream" by American documentary maker Brett Morgen is a tour de force through the daring creativity of the pop icon who influenced rock music like few others.

It is not the only music doc at the festival, which also premiered "Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind" about the legendary rock'n'roller.

The film was made by Ethan Coen, one half of the beloved Coen brothers film-making duo.

Both docs eschew expert talking heads in favor of a more immersive experience.

"I don't care what experts say," Coen told AFP at the festival.

"Jerry Lee is a performer so I want to see the performance -- not what some expert thinks about it."

'Wildly creative'

By the time he died in 2016, Bowie had sold more than 100 million records, from his first hit single "Space Oddity" to his final album "Blackstar", released just days before his death.

There was a massive wealth of clips, recordings, interviews, writings, movie performances and art by the artist -- five million items in all -- that Morgen went through to produce a mesmerizing patchwork of sounds and images.

"It's not a biography," Morgen told AFP. "The film is meant to be sublime, and kaleidoscopic, and kind of wash over you."

Having seen "nearly every image in existence of David Bowie, I am more in awe of him today than at any point", Morgen said.

There was a temptation to simply call his film "Bowie", but he resisted, because "there's no definitive Bowie".

Critics gushed, with The Telegraph calling Moonage Daydream "wildly creative" and The Guardian, in a five-star review, saying it was "a shapeshifting epiphany-slash-freakout... a glorious celebratory montage".

Elvis is coming

That's not all the music to come at Cannes, which is also bracing for the world premiere on Wednesday of "Elvis", the new biopic from Australia's technicolor maestro Baz Luhrmann.

The film stars newcomer Austin Butler in the lead role, with Tom Hanks as his infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Last year's edition was also packed with music, opening with the eccentric musical "Annette" by LA pop duo Sparks, and featuring a lauded documentary about The Velvet Underground by cult director Todd Haynes, and a biopic about Celine Dion.

Cannes was also the launchpad for "Amy" about the tragically short life of singer Amy Winehouse, which premiered in 2015 to enthusiastic reviews.

More broadly, this is something of a golden age for music documentaries as the genre moves away from the sort of simplistic, hero-worshipping films of old towards more innovative pieces of work.

Coen said he had been blown away by some recent documentaries -- especially "Get Back", the painstaking reconstruction of footage from The Beatles' last-ever gig by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson.

"The Beatles one was fantastic. I could not get enough of it even though it was seven hours long," Coen said.

"But it's like anything -- books or movies -- there's some good ones and a lot of bad ones."

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 26, 2022, 12:17:00 PM
A teacher in Uvalde, Texas, describes ‘the longest 35 minutes of my life’

Her students were watching a Disney movie when the gunshots started. Then instinct and practice kicked in.

A crying girl is comforted outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. Allison Dinner / AFP - Getty Images

UVALDE, Texas — The teacher came to her door Wednesday evening, eyes puffy from hours of crying and almost no sleep.

“What do you want me to say?” she asked a reporter. “That I can’t eat? That all I hear are their voices screaming? And I can’t help them?”

It had been about 28 hours and 45 minutes since a gunman charged into Robb Elementary School and opened fire, killing at least 19 children and two educators.

After thinking it over, the teacher agreed to talk to a reporter on the condition that she not be named, in part because, she said, district administrators asked staff members not to speak with reporters — but also because she’s terrified, she said.

Nothing feels safe or normal anymore, she said.

Her students had been watching a Disney movie Tuesday morning as part of their year-end celebration. When she heard gunfire explode down the hall, she knew exactly what it was. She shouted for her kids to get under their desks and sprinted to lock her classroom door.

The children did exactly as they were told, she said.

“They’ve been practicing for this day for years,” the teacher said, referring to the active shooter exercises that have become as much a fixture of public education in America as math, science and reading. “They knew this wasn’t a drill. We knew we had to be quiet or else we were going to give ourselves away.”

As the children huddled under their desks, staying quiet as their wounded classmates wailed from down the hall, the teacher sat on the floor in the middle of the room. She tried to stay calm, she said. To be strong for them.

What followed, she said, was “the longest 35 minutes of my life.”

A few students started crying, so she motioned for them to come sit by her. She held them and whispered for them to pray silently. Without speaking, she tried to convey to the class: You’re OK. We’re going to be OK.

Finally, police approached from outside the classroom and broke the windows. The teacher called for her students to line up. Quickly but orderly. Just like they do every day for lunch and recess.

One by one, the teacher held their hands and helped each of her students out the window.

“After the last kid, I turned around to ensure everyone was out,” the teacher said. “I knew I had to go quickly, but I wasn’t leaving until I knew for sure.”

She met back up with her students at another school facility across town that afternoon and tried to comfort the ones who were worried about their best friends or cousins from the classroom down the hall. The ones who might not have made it out a window.

Later, as the unthinkable toll of the shooting came into focus, some parents texted the teacher: “Thank you for keeping my baby safe.”

“But it’s not just their baby,” the teacher said, sobbing on her front porch. “That’s my baby, too. They are not my students. They are my children.”

The teacher hasn’t begun to think about what next school year will be like, if she can even bring herself to return. First, there will be funerals to attend. Interviews with investigators, who she said won’t ever really be able to explain what would lead someone to shoot up a class full of children.

“I want you to say this in your article,” the teacher said before she pulled her screen door closed. “Our children did not deserve this. They were loved. Not only by their families, but their family at school."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 27, 2022, 11:17:47 AM
Amber Heard says she received death threats during defamation trial


"Aquaman" star Amber Heard said Thursday that she has received thousands of death threats during the "agonizing" defamation trial between her and former husband Johnny Depp.

"I am harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day," the 36-year-old Heard said on the final day of witness testimony in the blockbuster trial taking place in Fairfax, Virginia, near the US capital.

Heard said she has been the target of a social media campaign by "millions" of fans of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star and that she suffers from panic attacks, nightmares and trauma.

"People want to kill me and they tell me so every day," she told the jury, tearing up at times, her voice breaking. "People want to put my baby in the microwave and they tell me that.

"I receive hundreds of death threats regularly, if not daily, thousands since this trial has started, people mocking my testimony about being assaulted," the actress said.

"It's been agonizing, painful, the most humiliating thing I've ever had to go through," she said. "I just want Johnny to leave me alone."

The six-week trial has been attended daily by fans of Depp, some of whom have queued for hours overnight to secure one of the limited places in the public gallery.

Judge Penney Azcarate threatened to expel the spectators at one point during Heard's emotional testimony on Thursday.

"If I hear one more sound, I will clear the gallery and we will continue this testimony without anybody in the courtroom," Azcarate warned. "Understood?"


Heard's testimony came a day after Depp took the stand and said it has been "unimaginably brutal" to listen to his ex-wife's "heinous" and "outlandish" accusations of domestic abuse.

"No human being is perfect, certainly not, none of us, but I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse," the 58-year-old Depp said.

Depp said he brought legal action because he needed to address "what I've been carrying on my back, reluctantly, for six years."

Heard, who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017, obtained a restraining order against her then-husband in May 2016, citing domestic violence.

Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, filed a libel suit in London against the British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." He lost that case in November 2020.

Depp brought suit against Heard in Fairfax over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018, in which she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

The Texas-born Heard did not name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.

Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse."

She said Thursday her counterclaim was a bid to reclaim her voice and name.

"Johnny has taken enough of my voice," she said. "I have the right to tell my story."

Closing arguments Friday

During the trial, which began April 11, Heard testified about multiple instances of alleged physical and se*ual abuse by an intoxicated Depp, including being se*ually assaulted with a bottle while they were in Australia.

Depp claimed Heard was the one who was frequently violent during their relationship and once severed the tip of one of his middle fingers by throwing a vodka bottle at him.

Both sides have claimed damage to their Hollywood careers.

Heard's legal team presented an entertainment industry expert who estimated that the actress has suffered $45-50 million in lost film and TV roles and endorsements.

An industry expert hired by Depp's side said the actor has lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5 million payday for a sixth installment of "Pirates."

Closing arguments are to take place on Friday, after which the case will go to the seven-person jury.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 27, 2022, 11:28:25 AM
Texas TV station cuts away from Jimmy Kimmel's emotional monologue on school shooting -- but why?

A Dallas/Fort Worth television station cut away from Jimmy Kimmel's emotional monologue about the Robb Elementary school massacre that left 19 children and two adults dead.

ABC affiliate WFAA-TV interrupted the six-minute, comedy-free monologue with a string of commercials, starting with an in-house news spot, before airing the end of Kimmel's opener, which he used for a three-minute ad for the gun violence prevention organization Everytown.org, reported the Star-Telegram.

“To my friends in Dallas who are asking: I do not know whether our @ABCNetwork affiliate @wfaa cut away from my monologue tonight intentionally or inadvertently but I will find out,” Kimmel tweeted. “In the meantime, here’s what you didn’t get to see.”

Watch here:

A source at the TV station said the commercials were aired and part of the monologue was cut because the 10 p.m. newscast ran long, and an interview with "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane was also chopped up into segments that aired between commercial breaks.

Kimmel called out elected officials, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX), and urged them to take action to prevent another mass shooting.

“Once again we grieve for the little boys and girls,” Kimmel said, fighting back tears. “Whose lives have been ended and whose families have been destroyed. While our leaders on the right, the Americans in Congress and at Fox News and these other outlets warn us not to politicize this. They immediately criticize our president for even speaking about doing something to stop it, because they don’t want to speak about it because they know what they’ve done and they know what they haven’t done, and they know it’s indefensible, so they’d rather sweep this under the rug."

“The reason they call them common-sense gun laws is because that’s what they are,” he added. “Eighty-nine percent of Americans want background checks before a gun can be purchased, which is the very least we can do.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 27, 2022, 01:05:21 PM
Watch: Shocking timeline of changing claims from Texas law enforcement

Ali Velshi held up a dark front page of the Uvalde Leader-News as he began anchoring MSNBC "Prime" from Texas on the dramatically shifting official accounts of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.

"In the aftermath of any horrific event, information is spotty. our understanding of what happens evolves over time, but even by those standards of breaking, and developing news, the inability of officials to give a consistent, and coherent account of a key portion of the timeline of attack is, frankly, confounding," Velshi reported.

He noted multiple official statements on whether an armed school resource officer engaged the gunman. And played two videos purported to show officers clashing with parents outside the school.

Velshi explained why examining law enforcement's response is important.

"Look, the point in raising all these questions about the law enforcement response is certainly not to pick on officers who may well have been very brave and doing their best in an unbelievably stressful and highly threatening situation," he said.

"But, law enforcement — more and more law enforcement — is really the only response to school shootings that have been proposed or allowed by the Republican officials who run the state of Texas," he noted. "After the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas in 2018, the state passed multiple bills to, 'harden schools'. The Uvalde school district doubled its security budget, it created its own police force and threat assessment teams at each school. "

If that is the only answer that Texas has to the scourge of school shootings, — not to prevent them, but to guard and respond to schools better when they happen — well, they've got to show that plan works," Velshi said. "And tonight the people of Uvalde have a lot of questions about how well it worked."

Watch the clip below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 27, 2022, 01:26:33 PM
Authorities took an hour to stop Uvalde gunman, raising questions about law enforcement response


A gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at a South Texas elementary school walked unopposed onto school grounds, state law enforcement officials said Thursday — and once he was inside, it took police an hour to stop him.
In the days after the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety said the shooter encountered a police officer employed by the school district before charging through a back door — and gave conflicting accounts about whether the officer fired at the gunman.

Agency officials now say there was no police officer on campus when the shooter first arrived — but did not explain why they first believed there was.

The gunman crashed a truck in a ditch near the school at 11:28 a.m., fired at two passersby on the street, then entered the school 12 minutes later through a back door before police arrived, DPS officials said Thursday.

“He was not confronted by anybody,” Victor Escalon, a DPS official, said during a press conference Thursday. The agency is leading the investigation into the shooting along with Uvalde police.

The law enforcement response to the active shooter call has drawn mounting scrutiny in the days since the massacre. State law enforcement officials have given vague and conflicting answers on what exactly happened after the gunman arrived at the school, and parents have criticized police for not acting quickly enough to stop the shooter.

At a Wednesday press conference in Uvalde, DPS Director Steve McCraw said that a school police officer “engaged” with the gunman before he entered the school but did not exchange gunfire with the gunman. Other DPS officials were quoted in media reports saying there was an exchange of gunfire at that moment.

After a chaotic and confusing press conference Thursday in 90-degree heat, the state’s top law enforcement agency still has not answered key questions, including why it took so long for officers to stop the 18-year-old gunman and why an entrance to the school appeared to be unlocked, allowing him to enter the building in the middle of the school day.

Escalon declined to answer several questions from reporters and to clarify discrepancies in previous statements by agency officials, saying authorities “will circle back.”

He offered new details about the timeline of the law enforcement response Thursday, saying local police officers were the first to arrive at the school — about four minutes after the gunman entered — but had to fall back after taking gunfire. Officers tried to negotiate with the shooter, he said, but the man “did not respond.”

Escalon said most of the gunfire from the shooter occurred when he first entered the school but added that he continued to fire shots — some at police — as officers attempted to make contact.

It took officers an hour to kill the gunman once he was inside as law enforcement officers called "everyone that's in the area" to help, then waited for "specialty equipment" and body armor and organized a tactical team to reenter the school, Escalon said.

Asked whether officers should have gone in sooner, Escalon said, “That’s a tough question. … I don’t have enough information to answer that question yet.”

Uvalde police received the first call about the gunman around 11:20 a.m., when his grandmother called 911 after he shot her in the face at their home about two minutes from the school. The gunman then fled in her pickup truck, crashing it in a nearby ditch — prompting a 911 call from a neighbor, a DPS spokesperson told The Washington Post.

At 1:06 p.m. Tuesday, the Uvalde Police Department posted on its Facebook page that the shooter was in police custody. Authorities later reported that the shooter was shot to death by a Border Patrol agent who responded to the scene.

“The bottom line is that law enforcement was there, they did engage immediately, they did contain him in the classroom,” McCraw said at the Wednesday press conference. At the same press conference, Gov. Greg Abbott praised the officers at the scene and said “it could have been worse” without their intervention.

Videos have circulated on social media showing frustrated parents confronting police officers outside the school while the gunman was inside — and debating whether to charge into the school themselves.

Onlookers shouted, “Go in there! Go in there!” at officers outside of the school after the attack began, but officers did not, according to a resident who spoke with The Associated Press. At one point, federal marshals handcuffed a parent who encouraged officers to enter the premises, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Amid the confusion, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro called on the FBI on Thursday to “use their maximum authority to investigate and provide a full report on the timeline, the law enforcement response and how 21 Texans were killed.”

Kenneth Trump, a Cleveland-based school safety consultant, said Thursday’s press conference left key questions unanswered — starting with why a school door may have been left unlocked.

Trump said the long gap between the time police arrived on the scene and the time the gunman was taken down is concerning, but there are still lots of unknowns, including how equipped local law enforcement was to handle a gunman at a school.

“The frustration for parents is real when they hear not only that [police] got in but they couldn’t breach — or did not breach — that classroom,” he said. “The question is not only did they have the adequate manpower, but did they have the equipment to handle that and did they have prior training, joint partnership, exercises?”

Trump said that after the mass shooting at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999 — when two students fatally shot 12 classmates and a teacher and injured 21 others before killing themselves — law enforcement has moved away from the tactics employed at the time of waiting and setting a perimeter during an active shooter situation.

Instead, police are now trained to immediately enter and try to subdue the shooter, even if they’re alone on the scene, he said.

“Columbine changed the entire landscape of enforcement tactical response to active shooters because it became clear that these incidents unfold in minutes,” he said. “You have mass loss of life, the longer you go on.”

Former Austin and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted Thursday, “We don’t have all of the particulars right now, but when gunfire is ringing out with, police are trained, expected, and required to engage, engage, engage. This is a moral and ethical obligation.”


‘Unfathomable’: NBC reporter breaks down the 2 key gaps in Uvalde police response


MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" on Friday covered shocking reporting on failures by law enforcement responding to the Uvalde mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

Two days after the massacre, Victor Escalon, the regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, refused to answer questions about the long gap in the shooting timeline.

For analysis, MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace interviewed NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian about the two gaps in time.

"The ten-minute gap raises the question of why those police didn't arrive sooner when the station where [reporter Kerry Sanders] is standing is about a mile from the school," Dilanian said. "So there's a huge question there."

He said there were "so many questions" about the second, 60-minute gap.

"Where was that [Uvalde Police Department] S.W.A.T. team in the hour while they were waiting for the Border Patrol tactical team to come?" he asked. "It's really just unfathomable, and law enforcement officials who are watching this across the country, as Tom Winter said earlier on the air, are aghast at what happened here."

Wallace then read breaking news on how law enforcement may have been spending its time during the hour-gap, with the Wall Street Journal reporting a woman claims she was detained by a U.S. marshal.

"Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, said that she was one of numerous parents who began encouraging—first politely, and then with more urgency—police and other law enforcement to enter the school. After a few minutes, she said, federal marshals approached her and put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation," the newspaper reported. "Ms. Gomez convinced local Uvalde police officers whom she knew to persuade the marshals to set her free. Around her, the scene was frantic. She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them."

Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi blasted the changing stories from law enforcement, who also initially claimed the gunman had been engaged by an armed school resource officer, which authorities have admitted was a lie.

"The facts are so in conflict with each other right now that the only thing I can tell you with certainty is that the communications coming out of law enforcement right now are horribly broken. We're all familiar with the physician's Hippocratic Oath, do no harm. That press conference today by that regional DPS director did harm."

He noted we don't even know for sure which federal agency's tactical team reported.


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 27, 2022, 02:33:06 PM
Authorities investigating if retired federal agent knew of Buffalo mass shooting plans in advance


Law enforcement officers are investigating whether a retired federal agent had about 30 minutes advance notice of a white supremacist's plans to murder Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, two law enforcement officials told The Buffalo News.

Authorities believe the former agent – believed to be from Texas – was one of at least six individuals who regularly communicated with accused gunman Payton Gendron in an online chat room where racist hatred was discussed, the two officials said.

The two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation stated these individuals were invited by Gendron to read about his mass shooting plans and the target location about 30 minutes before Gendron killed 10 people at Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue on May 14.

The News could not determine if the retired agent accepted the invitation.

“These were like-minded people who used this chat group to talk about their shared interests in racial hatred, replacement theory and hatred of anyone who is Jewish, a person of color or not of European ancestry,” said one of the two law enforcement officials with close knowledge of the investigation. “What is especially upsetting is that these six people received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened.

“The FBI has verified that none of these people called law enforcement to warn them about the shooting. The FBI database shows no advance tips from anyone that this shooting was about to happen.”

Agents from the FBI are in the process of tracking down and interviewing the six people, including the retired agent, and attempting to determine if any of them should be charged as accomplices, the two sources with close knowledge of the probe told The Buffalo News.

The two sources did not identify the agent by name and could not confirm what federal agency he worked for.

The Buffalo FBI Office declined to comment on the investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo declined through a spokeswoman to comment.

Buffalo civil rights attorney John V. Elmore said it will be outrageous if it turns out that a former law enforcement officer had advance notice of the shooting and did nothing to prevent it.

“If he had advance notice, he had a moral obligation to get on the phone and try to notify someone about it,” said Elmore, who represents the family of Andre Mackniel, who was shot dead when he went to Tops to buy a birthday cake for his 3-year-old son.

Attorney Terrence M. Connors, who is representing several families who lost loved ones in the shooting, said: “As outrageous as this may sound, based upon what we are finding in our investigation, it is not surprising.” He declined to reveal the evidence his law firm has collected.

The New York Times reported May 17 that Gendron invited a small group of people into a private chat room on the messaging platform Discord to review his plan about 30 minutes before the massacre at Tops. The Washington Post reported two days later that 15 people accepted Gendron's invitation into the Discord chat room and were able to review his plan and watch his live stream video as he committed the killings.

Federal authorities are investigating if the retired agent provided information to Gendron before he went on his shooting spree, the two law enforcement officials told The News.

In addition to law enforcement sources, two other individuals with knowledge of the mass shooting investigation have also confirmed that federal authorities are looking into the former agent’s relationship to the shooter.

The Sandman

FBI agents are also trying to determine the identity of an individual Gendron calls “Sandman,” and “Saint Sandman” in his lengthy social media diary that appeared on Discord 30 minutes before the attack, the sources said.

In the diary, Gendron indicates Sandman counseled him on manufacturers of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and their quality. The shooter purchased and allegedly used that type of assault rifle in the rampage, which local authorities have said was fueled by his racial hatred.

In the document Gendron posted on Discord just prior to the shooting, he references Sandman three times.

In a passage dated May 2, he quoted Saint Sandman as saying: "When the time finally comes to deal decisively with a whole host of society's problems, and not go to prison for it, you'll know. Just be ready. You have spent your entire life, from the day you were born, right up to this very moment, reading this sentence, coming to where you are right now. Look around you. Are you content with where you are right now? Are you where you want to be? If so, continue to march. If not, what are you going to do? What's your plan? Get and keep your mind, body, and spirit right. Pray. Lift. Run. Read. Shoot. And teach your kids to do those things.”

A third law enforcement source told The News they are aware of Gendron’s writings involving the quality of different rifles. The shooter ended up using a Bushmaster X-15, a version of the AR-15 rifle, police have reported.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 27, 2022, 03:19:52 PM
‘Font of misinformation’: Reporter explains ‘major discrepancies’ in Texas police account of Uvalde shooting


MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday examined the "major discrepancies" in the police account of the roughly one hour that a teenage gunman spent at the Texas elementary school where he killed at least 19 children and two teachers.

The Texas Department of Public Safety defended the response by Uvalde police, but "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist said the changing narrative of what happened and how officers reacted was jaw-dropping, and he asked NBC News correspondent Ken Dilanian to explain what was so troubling about the law enforcement account.

"It's really astonishing," Dilanian said. "Let's remember, the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is conducting the briefings, they did not respond to this incident. Their whole job here was to investigate and find out what happened and tell the public. They've really been a font of misinformation, including from the head of the agency, who sat next to the governor of the state and told the world in a very confident voice that there was a school resource officer who encountered the subject as he came into the school. Then yesterday, we learned that that person didn't exist. There was no such school resource officer."

"Then we learn other, new information, that the shooter actually exited his grandmother's truck, which he crashed outside the school, then fired shots at onlookers across the street, and then essentially was lingering outside the school for 12 minutes, firing shots, before he entered through an unlocked door, also new information, unimpeded, unobstructed, nobody confronted him," Dilanian continued. "Then we learned in this new -- and, again, all this information is coming from the same agency that has provided misinformation. We should take it all with a grain of salt. But according to the latest account, some local police officers, Uvalde police officers, immediately rushed in, which is what the doctrine of mass shooting says they should do. They were met with a hail of gunfire from the 18-year-old with an assault rifle, AR-15, a weapon of war. They were armed, presumably, with handguns. A couple were shot and wounded, the police are saying."

"Victor Escalon said they made entry, didn't make entry, retreated," Dilanian added. "Bottom line, they were out-gunned, treated, then we have this mystery. We have this decision by the police to wait 60 minutes for a Border Patrol tactical team. There's a lot we don't know and don't understand about that, so we should be a little careful. There were police inside the school, we were told, evacuating children, in other parts of the school. But the account is, somehow, the gunman had barricaded himself. They use the word 'barricade.' It was two adjoining classrooms."

"Now we're learning ... that dead children were found in four separate classrooms," he said. "That's a thing we don't understand but, as you know, the doctrine for police response to mass shootings really changed after Columbine. The rule now is go in with whatever force you can. This is a policy from the Texas Police Chief Association, a manual says the first two to four officers should form a team and immediately enter the building. That's what they did initially. Then, for whatever reason, they didn't follow up with that. They waited for essentially federal agents, a group of Border Patrol and other police who formed a team, a stack as they put it, went in with a ballistic shield in front, took fire from the shooter -- incredible act of bravery -- and killed the shooter. There were local police officers involved in that, we're told. These videos we're seeing and the accounts of parents screaming for the police to go in while they were standing outside, that has to be explained. There is just no good explanation for why they waited 60 minutes when the doctrine calls for them to go in while they were standing outside, that has to be explained. There is just no good explanation for why they waited 60 minutes when the doctrine calls for them to go in immediately."

Watch the video below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 28, 2022, 12:22:35 AM
Watch: Former FBI official baffled that school police 'chief' was in charge in Uvalde


Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi voiced his disbelief on MSNBC that Uvalde Independent Schools Chief of Police Pete Arredondo was the on-scene commander who bungled the response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.

Figluizzi was interviewed by MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace after more stunning revelations about law enforcement's response to the shooting.

"I can't make sense of this in any way, shape or form," Figliuzzi said. "It goes against all of our training, all of our instincts. I was hoping — and I have to tell you and maybe people will accuse me of a law enforcement bias and I was hoping that there was something that would show us that there were legitimate reasons for what happened, but there are none."

"This boils down to a decision by an on-scene commander, and I want to talk about that also because the on-scene commander here was allegedly the ISD, the school chief of police. Let's put this in perspective," he said. "He or she commands six officers total. Period. That's it."

"That's really not a chief, that's maybe a squad supervisor in most other departments, and yet in a mass casualty active shooter shooter event, he was the on-scene commander and i have a litany of things that could be done better and studied by every chief of police in every city in America right now."

"Really? You're going to put the ISD chief in charge? Really, of a mass casualty active shooter? Is that the best qualified person? Does he have tactical training? Does he have extensive command experience and training? I don't know, but maybe the county sheriff and maybe the local chief of police, I don't know, but this obviously went horribly wrong."


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 28, 2022, 08:47:25 AM
SF Giants manager won’t take the field for national anthem out of shame for America


The manager of the San Francisco Giants announced on Friday his deep disappointment in America.

"Moving forward, Kapler told reporters on Friday that he doesn't plan on taking the field for the national anthem 'until I feel better about the direction of our country' and that he needs more time to consider specific actions he might suggest be taken to prevent more tragedies of this type, such as stronger gun control laws," ABC 7 reported.

The Giants were on the road in Cincinnati for a Friday evening game, which was delayed due to rain.

"When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now," he wrote on his blog.

"We elect our politicians to represent our interests. Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers. We were given thoughts and prayers," he wrote.

"I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents. We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.” But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings. We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes," he explained.

He said protest is the correct response.

"I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this," he wrote.

SF Giants on NBCS @NBCSGiants

“I don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country” – Gabe Kapler

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1530305203223904258
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 28, 2022, 12:16:19 PM
San Francisco Giants' Joc Pederson says he was slapped by Cincinnati Reds' Tommy Pham over fantasy football beef

Tommy Pham (above) allegedly slapped Joc Pederson during pregame batting practice

CINCINNATI -- San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson said Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham slapped him prior to Friday's series opener over a dispute about their fantasy football league.

While the Giants warmed up in the outfield, Pham confronted Pederson and smacked him in the cheek before the pair was separated.

"It was a surprise," Pederson told reporters. "There was no real argument. He kind of came up and said, like, I don't know if you remember from last year and I was like fantasy football. He was like, yeah."

Major League Baseball is investigating, and Pham agreed to be scratched from Cincinnati's lineup shortly before first pitch pending results of the inquiry.

Pederson said after the Reds' 5-1 victory that he was accused of cheating for placing a player on injured reserve and replacing him with a free agent in a fantasy football league. Pederson said the player he put on IR had been ruled out for that week, which made it a legal move. He said Pham had executed essentially the same maneuver with his own team.

"I sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says that if a player's ruled out, you're allowed to put him on the IR and that's all I was doing," Pederson said. "He literally did the same thing. That was basically all of it."

He continued by saying that he thought the fantasy player at the center of the disagreement, San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson, might have been a player Pham had in two different leagues, leading to a possible mix-up.

"Maybe that was a confusion," he added. "In the ESPN league we were in, he was listed as out. It feels very similar to what I did. That was basically all of it. There's not much more to it."

Pederson said he had no advance notice that Pham might confront him during the series in Cincinnati.

The Giants outfielder said he didn't retaliate after being slapped, and he has no plans to re-engage Pham while the team is in Cincinnati.

"Violence isn't the answer. It's over as far as I'm concerned," Pederson said. "I won't talk to him. I don't think he wants to talk to me, I don't know. It was a weird interaction."

Pham threatened violence to settle an on-field score with San Diego's Luke Voit in April, challenging the slugger to a fight after Voit injured Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson with a hard, ugly slide into home.

"If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well," Pham said. "Anything. Muay Thai, whatever. Like I said, I've got an owner here who will let me use his facility."

The scuffle was witnessed by reporters and occurred before fans entered the ballpark.

Reds manager David Bell refused to comment on the incident, and Pham refused to speak on the record with reporters.

"Major League Baseball is investigating it, and until that's complete, I'm probably not going to say much on it," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.


Joc Pederson describes Pham slapping incident

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 28, 2022, 12:27:25 PM
Texas already 'hardened' schools. It didn’t save Uvalde


Four years after an armed 17-year-old opened fire inside a Texas high school, killing 10, Gov. Greg Abbott tried to tell another shell-shocked community that lost 19 children and two teachers to a teen gunman about his wins in what is now an ongoing effort against mass shootings.

“We consider what we did in 2019 to be one of the most profound legislative sessions not just in Texas but in any state to address school shootings,” Abbott said inside a Uvalde auditorium Wednesday as he sat flanked by state and local officials. “But to be clear, we understand our work is not done, our work must continue.”

Throughout the 60-minute news conference, he and other Republican leaders said a 2019 law allowed districts to “harden” schools from external threats after a deadly shooting inside an art classroom at Santa Fe High School near Houston the year before. After the Uvalde gunman was reportedly able to enter Robb Elementary School through a back door this week, their calls to secure buildings resurfaced yet again.

But a deeper dive into the 2019 law revealed many of its “hardening” elements have fallen short.

Schools didn’t receive enough state money to make the types of physical improvements lawmakers are touting publicly. Few school employees signed up to bring guns to work. And many school districts either don’t have an active shooting plan or produced insufficient ones.

In January 2020, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District received $69,000 from a one-time, $100 million state grant to enhance physical security in Texas public schools, according to a dataset detailing the Texas Education Agency grants. The funds were comparable to what similarly sized districts received.

Even with more funds and better enforcement of policies, experts have said there is no indication that beefing up security in schools has prevented any violence. Plus, they said, it can be detrimental to children, especially children of color.

“This concept of hardening, the more it has been done, it’s not shown the results,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a public health professor at New Mexico State University who studies school security practices and their effectiveness.

Khubchandani said the majority of public schools in the United States already implement the security measures most often promoted by public officials, including locked doors to the outside and in classrooms, active-shooter plans and security cameras.

After a review of 18 years of school security measures, Khubchandani and James Price from the University of Toledo did not find any evidence that such tactics or more armed teachers reduced gun violence in schools.

“It’s not just guns. It’s not just security,” Khubchandani said. “It’s a combination of issues, and if you have a piecemeal approach, then you’ll never succeed. You need a comprehensive approach.”

Insufficient active-shooter plans

Since the shooting, GOP lawmakers have repeatedly suggested limiting access to schools to one door.

“We’ve got to, in our smaller schools where we can, get down to one entrance,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered at the press conference Wednesday. “One entrance might be one of those solutions. If he had taken three more minutes to find that open door … the police were there pretty quickly.”

There are still questions about the timing and details of the tragedy, however, including whether the shooter busted a lock to get into the school or if a door was unlocked. A state police official reported Thursday that the door appeared to be unlocked but that it was still under investigation.

Khubchandani and education advocates said locking doors and routing everyone through one entrance is already standard practice in most districts. And safety leaders said locking exterior doors is a best practice, but it’s one strategy that needs to be strictly enforced.

“Sometimes convenience can take priority over safety and you can have a plan in place, you can have policies in place,” said Kathy Martinez Prather, director of the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University. “They’re only as effective as they’re being implemented.”

At Wednesday’s press conference, Abbott emphasized that the package of school safety laws passed in 2019 required school districts to submit emergency operations plans to the Texas School Safety Center and make sure they have adequate active-shooter strategies to employ in an emergency.

State law dictates that districts must be able to show how they will prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters like active threats, but also extreme weather and communicable disease. These plans must include training mechanisms, communication plans and mandatory drills. Schools must create safety committees and establish a way to assess threats. These are known as emergency operations plans. As part of those, schools need active-shooter plans.

But a three-year audit by the center in 2020 found that out of the 1,022 school districts in the state, just 200 districts had active-shooter policies as part of their plans, even though most districts had reported having them.

That same audit revealed 626 districts did not have active-shooter policies. Another 196 had active-shooter policies, but auditors found those plans were insufficient.

In addition, only 67 school districts had viable emergency operations plans overall, the report found.

Martinez Prather wouldn’t say if Uvalde’s emergency plan was considered adequate because of ongoing investigations into the shooting. But said the center’s review did not find any areas of noncompliance.

The audit reviewed school districts’ emergency plans in June 2020, and Martinez Prather said she was “absolutely” surprised that so many schools did not have clear-cut plans, especially after the Santa Fe shooting and others around the country.

“Our attention to this issue should not be as close to the nearest and latest school shooting,” she said. “We need to keep sending that message that this can happen at any point in time and to anybody.”

She said the center has spent the last year and a half following up with schools to get their plans up to standard.

Arming teachers and staff with guns

Texas leaders have already shunned the idea of restricting gun access in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting. In fact, in recent years, Texas lawmakers have loosened gun laws after mass shootings.

Instead, lawmakers point to the nearly decade-old school marshal program in Texas as another measure to deter and prevent mass shootings. That program was created in response to the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 people dead, including 20 first-graders.

Designated school employees who take an 80-hour training course and pass a psychological exam are allowed to keep a firearm in a lockbox on school grounds, an idea most attractive to rural schools in areas where law enforcement response can take longer.

After the school shooting in Santa Fe, state lawmakers removed the cap that limited schools to one marshal per 200 students. Today, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which oversees the training for the program, there are 256 marshals across the state.

While lawmakers tout it as a potential tool to prevent mass shootings, just 6% of school districts use it, according to a report from the Texas School Safety Center. Martinez Prather at the Texas School Safety Center said many school districts say it’s expensive and the training is time-consuming for educators.

Meanwhile, 280 school districts are utilizing an unregulated option known as the Guardian Program, which allows local school boards to approve individuals in schools to carry concealed weapons. Each “guardian” must have a handgun license and take 15 to 20 hours of specialized training by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Nicole Golden, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, said she’s concerned by the “minimal” level of training school staff go through before they are approved to have a weapon in the classroom.

“These aren’t law enforcement officers,” she said. “These are school staff who have some training, and there’s really not a lot of data to support that that’s the safe direction to go in.”

Plus, Golden said, placing more guns on school grounds can be problematic when data shows students of color are disproportionately disciplined.

When lawmakers decided to expand the number of marshals in Texas schools in 2019, Black students and parents said the idea made them feel less safe in school, knowing they are disciplined more than other students.

The study from Khubchandani and Price pointed to a 2018 shooting at a high school in Kentucky where the shooter killed two and injured 14 students in 10 seconds.

“Armed school personnel would have needed to be in the exact same spot in the school as the shooter to significantly reduce this level of trauma,” the researchers wrote. “Ten seconds is too fast to stop a school shooter with a semiautomatic firearm when the armed school guard is in another place in the school.”

$10 per student for safety

Big changes often take big money, and officials have noted that the 2019 school safety bill gives about $100 million per biennium to the Texas Education Agency. The agency then distributes the money to school districts to use on equipment, programs and training related to school safety and security, a little less than $10 per student based on average daily attendance. The money can be used broadly, ranging from physical security enhancements to suicide prevention programs.

According to a self-reported survey of districts by the Texas School Safety Center, more than two thirds of school districts have used this money for security cameras. 20% used it for active-shooter response training. Nearly 40% of districts installed physical barriers with the allotment.

But Zeph Capo, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said that money wasn’t enough to pay for the more expensive projects lawmakers were suggesting.

“Districts ended up spending money on some programs, some electronic AV equipment, but I don’t think it was nearly enough to do what needs to be done in most of the schools, which is really change the structures of the buildings so there’s better control over entrance and egress,” he said, noting that AFT believes more gun restrictions is a better solution.

The TEA also received a separate one-time $100 million pool of money to provide grants to districts specifically for physical security enhancements, like metal detectors, door-locking systems or bullet-resistant glass.

It’s unclear how Uvalde CISD spent the $69,000 it received from the state to enhance its physical security. School officials did not respond to questions Wednesday. As of the May 2 report, the district had spent about $48,000 of the grant, which is set to end at the end of the month.

Other remote town school districts received comparable grants per their student population, according to an analysis by The Texas Tribune. For example, the Sulphur Springs Independent School District in East Texas has only a slightly larger student population and received about $71,000 in grant funds.

According to a district document, Uvalde CISD, which enrolls around 4,100 students, had a variety of so-called hardening measures in place that lawmakers and school safety leaders recommend.

The district employed four district police officers, installed perimeter fencing meant to limit access around schools, including Robb, and instituted a policy that all classroom doors remain locked during the day.

There are campus teams that identify and address potential threats, and schools hold emergency drills for students “regularly.” The district employed a threat reporting system for community members to raise concerns. Some schools had security vestibules at their entrances and buzz-in systems to get inside from the outdoors.

But a security vestibule, which is basically a secure lobby to the school, can be a huge expense for school districts already tight on money. In 2019, the Waller Independent School District estimated that the addition of two of these entrances to the junior high school would cost $345,000. Security cameras at a small elementary school can cost more than $20,000, according to industry experts.

In recent years — even before the Santa Fe shooting — school districts have begun to rely on bond proposals to find the money to implement some of these changes.

But Texas voters have expressed hesitancy at the ballot box to approve such bonds in recent years, which the Texas Association of School Boards attributed to the lingering pandemic and political polarization. Recent changes by the Texas Legislature have also complicated bond requests for schools after it started to require districts to write, “This is a property tax increase,” on bond project signs, even when the proposals wouldn’t affect the tax rate.

Overall, Monty Exter, a senior lobbyist with the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said the per-student allotment and one-time grants set aside for school security could never pay for the types of construction projects lawmakers have touted publicly in the wake of the shooting.

“Thinking about making significant changes to 8,000-plus campuses, $100 million doesn’t necessarily go that far,” he said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 28, 2022, 12:41:21 PM
11-year-old Uvalde survivor gives chilling details about music killer played as he murdered her friends

An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre provided chilling new details about the murders of her classmates and teachers.

Miah Cerrillo spoke alongside her mother to CNN's Nora Neus about her traumatic experience, which began suddenly Tuesday morning as the classroom full of fourth and fifth graders watched a Disney movie as a treat for the end of the school year.

"They were watching 'Lilo and Stitch,' it was the end of the school year, and she said one of her teachers got the email that there was a shooter in the building and went to the door, and he was right there," Neus said. "They made eye contact."

The 18-year-old gunman then shot out the window in the classroom door and came into the room.

"Miah says it just happened all so fast, he backed the teacher into the classroom and he made eye contact with the teacher again, looked her right in the eye and said, 'Goodnight,' and then shot her and killed her," Neus said. "He said, 'Goodnight,' then it happened pretty fast after that, as well. He started open firing in the classroom. He hit the other teacher, a lot of Miah's friends. At that point Miah was hit by fragments of the bullets. You could even see them yesterday on her back, on her shoulders, the back of her head."

The killer then went through a doorway to an adjoining classroom, and he kept firing his AR-15 rifle.

"At that point Miah could hear screams, she heard a lot more gunfire and then she said she heard music," Neus said. "She thinks it was the gunman that put it on. He started blasting sad music, and I asked her, like, what was that? What kind of music? What do you mean by that? And she said -- she just said it sounded like 'I want people to die music.'"

Miah managed to survive by pretending she was dead, Neus said.

"She had a friend next to her that she was pretty sure was already dead and was laying on the ground bleeding out, and she put her hands in her friend's blood and then smeared it she said all over her body," Neus said. "She wanted to seem like -- she wanted to look like she was dead."

Miah lay there for what felt like three hours, covered in her friend’s blood, waiting for police to arrive.

She later overheard a conversation about police waiting outside the school, and she cried when she told the reporter, saying she didn’t understand why officers didn’t come inside and rescue them.


New timeline of Texas school shooting includes student 911 calls as officers wait outside

Students trapped in a classroom with the gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week’s attack on a Texas elementary school as nearly 20 officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes, authorities said Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The commander at the scene in Uvalde — the school district’s police chief — believed that 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms at Robb Elementary School and that children were no longer at risk, said Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, at a contentious news conference.

“It was the wrong decision,” he said.

At Friday’s news conference, McCraw also offered a new timeline of the shooting after law enforcement officials backtracked on previous statements about police response to the mass shooting.

11:27 a.m. — Video footage shows a teacher at Robb Elementary propping open an exterior door. Ramos reportedly entered through this door.

11:28 a.m. — Ramos’ vehicle crashes near the school. A teacher ran back to a classroom to get a phone and came back to the door, allowing it to remain open. Two men, at a nearby funeral home, made their way to the crash scene where they saw Ramos exit the vehicle from the passenger side with a gun and backpack. The witnesses reportedly began running and Ramos tried shooting at them.

11:30 a.m. — 911 receives a phone call that there was a man who crashed his vehicle and has a gun.

11:31 a.m. — Ramos “reaches the last row of vehicles in the school parking lot,” McCraw said. The 18-year-old began shooting at the school, while police responded to the funeral home. McCraw adds that previous statements that officers confronted Ramos were inaccurate, and that an officer who heard the 911 call “drove immediately to the area he thought was the man with the gun, to the back of the school, which turned out to be a teacher.” McCraw said the officer drove by the suspect, who was “hunkered down behind a vehicle.”

11:32 a.m. — Ramos fires multiple shots at the school from outside, then enters the building.

11:33 a.m. — Ramos begins shooting in a classroom. McCraw says audio evidence from video footage shows Ramos shooting over 100 rounds.

11:35 a.m. — Three officers enter the school through the same doors that Ramos reportedly entered. Later, four more officers joined. The initial three officers were shot at, and some were grazed by bullets. Ramos shut the door to the classroom.

11:37 a.m. — Over 16 rounds are fired.

11:51 a.m. — More police begin to arrive.

12:03 p.m. — As many as 19 police officers were in the hallway outside the classroom. McCraw said they believed the active shooter situation had transitioned into a barricaded person call. A female caller dialed 911 from the classroom. The length of the call was less than 90 seconds. She said her name and said she was in classroom 112.

12:10 p.m. — The caller tells 911 that multiple people were dead.

12:13 p.m. — The female calls 911 again.

12:15 p.m. — More technicians arrive with shields.

12:16 p.m. — Female calls 911 again, adding that eight to nine students are still alive.

12:19 p.m. — Another person, in room 111 called 911. “She hung up when another student told her to hang up,” McCraw said.

12:21 p.m. — Suspect fires more shots at the door. Law enforcement moved down the hallway. A 911 call also captured three shots being fired.

12:36 p.m. — Another 911 call lasted for 21 seconds. The caller, a student, stayed on the line quietly. “She told 911 that he shot the door,” McCraw said, adding that the student asked 911 to “please send the police now.”

12:46 p.m. — Student tells 911 she can hear police next door.

12:50 p.m. — Officers breach the door using keys obtained from a janitor and kill the suspect.

12:51 p.m. — The 911 call was “loud” and “sounded like officers were moving children out of the room,” McCraw said.

© Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 28, 2022, 02:17:56 PM
What a bogus excuse this is coming from a so called police lieutenant.

The job of an officer is to go in these active shooter situations because that is their damn job. Does a fireman not go in and put out a fire because they are afraid of getting burned? Does a hitter refuse to bat because he's afraid of getting hit by a baseball? Of course not. What an asinine comment to say on national cable television. Now people know the police are afraid of these deadly weapons and they won't go in to help save people when people desperately call for help when their lives are on the line.           

So, the police were afraid to go in and they just let children get slaughtered inside the classrooms by an 18 year old who never should have had these weapons in the first place while hysterical parents were in the parking lot begging and pleading with the cops to go in and save their children. And we now learn from the police lieutenant the reason why the police didn't go inside the classrooms is because "the cops were afraid of getting shot or killed".

Which brings up another point, if police are afraid of these military grade murder weapons then these rifles have no business being in the hands of ordinary citizens because their weapons overpower the police. No person should have a weapon that can do that much damage to a human body and render law enforcement ineffective from doing what they are supposed to do which is protecting the public.     

But right wing Republicans say "oh no, you can't take our guns from us, that's our right."

No, nobody has a right to own a weapon that can do that much mayhem and carnage. Nobody should be allowed to own a weapon that mutilates the human body or that can penetrate through police vests that makes them afraid to do their job. That's giving the criminals the advantage over our law enforcement that's there to protect us. Making law enforcement irrelevant is a complete collapse of our society and Republicans are allowing this to happen. 

The 2nd Amendment was never intended to have weapons on par with the military that can wipe out dozens of people in one crack and if you could bring back our founding fathers for one day they would agree with that as well.

Public safety and our freedom comes first, and when that is infringed upon, laws are made to prevent that danger. And the direct danger is these military grade murder weapons that people are stockpiling.   

Republicans pretend that they "love the police" and they claim to "back the blue". How can they "love the blue" when they are putting cops lives in danger by having people with military grade weapons that overpower what the police have? That is not seriously backing the blue. And when you have people with more powerful weapons than the police have, we have a serious national security danger on our hands.

And it's the Republicans who are allowing this carnage to continue because they are in bed with the NRA and need their blood money to keep filling their campaign coffers each election. They are also afraid of losing votes and losing an election if they do what over 80% of Americans want which is gun reform. So, Republicans are allowing children and adults to get slaughtered and are putting law enforcement at a serious disadvantage just so they can serve their own selfish purposes. And instead of addressing the murder weapon itself, Republicans pivot to other lame excuses like "unlocked doors", "too many entrances", or "rap music". For Republicans, it's always everything else except for the gun. And they claim to be "pro life" while they shrug off children being murdered and attend an NRA convention 4 days later to glorify the weapons that murdered the children.         

What's even worse is more red states are allowing anyone to purchase these weapons with no questions asked. No background checks, no permits, no nothing. They just walk in, buy the weapons and ammo, and they are good to go. People have to jump through hoops just to get a driver's license or to secure a loan, but for an AR-15 just take it off the shelf and out the door they go. So, violent criminals, terrorists, people with mental disorders, suicidal people can buy a weapon and there is no check on them to see if they are even able to own a weapon.

So, how are Republicans "keeping Americans safe" or "strong on crime" by allowing criminals to buy weapons that overpower the police? Then these criminals use these weapons they bought to commit crimes and violence while Republicans whine the crime rate is high. Well of course crime is going to be high....Republicans are making the crime rates high by giving criminals guns to do the crimes. Republicans are weak on crime and allow violence because Republicans let criminals take over our cities with easy access to guns to commit crimes against the citizens.   

We could easily stop this carnage and mayhem today if Republicans agreed to background checks and gun reform that 80% of the American population demands. But Republicans refuse to do it because they can't go aganst the NRA that dumps millions of dollars into their campaign coffers. So, as a result more kids will get slaughtered, more criminals will commit crimes, and people with military grade weapons will continue to have an advantage over the police.

Republicans are weak on crime and safety and they need to be voted out of office so common sense gun reform can be implemented because these mass shootings can happen anywhere and they are now becoming more frequent. We shouldn't be held hostage to violence by a minority Republican party when 80% of Americans want something done about gun violence.                       

Texas law enforcement official defends police inaction: 'They could've been shot'


A Texas law enforcement official defended the lack of response by Uvalde police officers after a gunman walked into an elementary school and started murdering children.

Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez agreed during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that state guidelines call for officers to disable an active shooter as quickly as possible, with or without backup, but also said police were concerned about the gunman's threat to them, reported the Houston Chronicle.

"In the active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life," Olivarez said. "But also one thing that, of course, the American people need to understand is that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots."

"At that point," Olivarez added, "if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could've been shot, they could've been killed, and at that point that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school, so they were able to contain the gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings."

"They could've been shot. They could've been killed," Texas police lieutenant explains why law enforcement did not go into Uvalde school right away"

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 29, 2022, 12:44:05 AM
Climate change effect on Peruvian glaciers debated in German court


German judges and experts have arrived at the edge of a melting glacier high up in the Peruvian Andes to examine a complaint made by a local farmer who accuses energy giant RWE of threatening his home by contributing to global warming.

The visit by the nine-member delegation to the region is the latest stage in a case the plaintiffs hope will set a new worldwide precedent.

Leading the demand for "climate justice" is 41-year-old Peruvian farmer Saul Luciano Lliuya, who lives in the mountains close to the city of Huaraz.

He has filed suit against the German firm RWE, saying its greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for the melting of nearby glaciers.

The trip was ordered by the Higher Regional Court in the northern German city of Hamm, where Lliuya submitted his claim against RWE, having previously had his case dismissed by another court in Essen.

The delegation must determine what risk the melting glaciers pose to the city of Huaraz and its 120,000 inhabitants below the Palcacocha glacier.

"We want the RWE company to be held responsible for environmental damages," Lliuya, a farmer and tourist guide supported by the German environmental NGO Germanwatch, told AFP.

"In general they have polluted all over the world and with this claim we are trying to do something," added Lliuya.

RWE operates in 27 countries in the world, including Chile and Brazil, but not Peru.

The claim "was rejected in the first instance because it did not have any legal basis and did not respect German civil law," RWE spokesman Guido Steffen told AFP.

"We are confident this will happen again with the appeal."

RWE insists that "according to law, individual emitters are not responsible for universal processes, that are effectively global, such as climate change."

Lliuya and Germanwatch met during the COP20 climate change conference in Lima in 2014, after which the German NGO's activists traveled to Huaraz to discuss a potential claim in Germany.

Feeling 'impotent'

Lliuya says his greatest fear is that the melting glaciers result in the Palcacocha lake overflowing.

At an altitude of 4,650 meters (15,000 feet), the huge blue-turquoise lake sits below the Palcaraju and Pucaranra glaciers in the Huascaran national park, and could flood Huaraz below if it bursts its banks.

"As a farmer and citizen I don't want these glaciers to disappear, they're important," said Lliuya.

But he says he feels "impotent" because "you know you're in a risk zone and there are businesses and industries that have caused this."

Lliuya owns a half hectare "chacra" -- the Quechua word for a small farmstead -- on the slopes of the mountain.

He owns chickens and sheep and grows corn and quinoa.

Lliuya lives a modest life with his wife and two children. Their kitchen has few utensils and a wide tree trunk that serves as the dining table.

He is also afraid that a drought in the underground aquifers could threaten local agriculture and Huaraz's water provisions.

Battle in German courts

The case against RWE was brought in 2015 and the German company won at the first instance the following year. But in 2017, the court in Hamm agreed to hear the case.

The visit by experts, which was ordered in 2019, was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Germanwatch and Lliuya want RWE to pay for the costs to protect Huaraz from any eventual flooding.

"This case refers to our historic emissions of greenhouse gases, and we have always complied with governmental limits, including our carbon dioxide emissions," says RWE, which has stated a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

Peru has lost 51 percent of its glaciers over the last 50 years, the national water authority said in 2020.

Noah Walker-Crawford, a climate change researcher at University College London (UCL) and Germanwatch analyst, told AFP that 1,800 people died in 1941 when Palcacocha flooded Huaraz due to a glacial avalanche.

Since then, the volume of Palcacocha dropped by 96 percent over three decades.

"But then, due to the rapid recession of the glaciers due to global warming, the lake has grown rapidly," said Walker-Crawford.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 29, 2022, 01:50:05 AM
'Taking us all for fools': Critics slam Greg Abbott’s defense of his actions in wake of school shooting


Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement's widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being "misled."

"I am livid about what happened," Abbott declared, blaming others for his "recitation of what people in that room told me."

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1530292988110589952

Critics aren't buying his claims.

Abbott, who's in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.

“Let's be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all," Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune's Sewell Chan noted.

"No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.

"The answers fell pretty flat," opined MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers "stood outside and did nothing," which was 47 minutes.

Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying "unbelievable."

Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: "Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn't have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system."

Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott's remarks.

"No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children," Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott's announcement an anonymous donor is putting up $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.

Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it's been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:

@GregAbbott_TX responding to a question on long rifles "it seems like only in the past decade or two we have had school shootings."  Governor, the assault weapons ban ended in 2004.  See the connection?  You have actively helped to sell millions of weapons since then.

And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic "killing machines."

"The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you're talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn't have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then. He can easily make a distinction and say, 'you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here's an assault-style rifle.'"

"If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he's taking us all for fools."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 30, 2022, 11:52:30 AM
1 dead, 7 injured during shooting at Memorial Day festival in Oklahoma
Two juveniles were among the injured, authorities said

One person was killed and another seven were injured after a shooting broke out during a Memorial Day festival in Oklahoma.

About 1,500 people were in attendance at the festival at the Old City Square in Taft, Oklahoma, about 45 miles southeast of Tulsa, when the shooting took place early Sunday, according to a statement from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Witnesses told investigators the gunfire erupted after an argument took place just after midnight, authorities said. One juvenile, a 9-year-old, was among the injured.

The deceased is a 39-year-old Black female, authorities said. The other seven injured range in age from 9 to 56 and sustained non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

The suspect, 26-year-old Skyler Buckner, turned himself in at the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday,

The Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office was in attendance at the event and immediately rendered aid to the victims, authorities said.

Officials are asking anyone who may have a tip to contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Additional information on the shooting was not immediately available.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 30, 2022, 11:57:42 AM
Shooters at large after 6 teenagers shot in downtown Chattanooga: Police
Two victims are "very, very critical," the Chattanooga police chief said

Six teenagers were shot and wounded, two critically, Saturday night when multiple people opened fire in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, during a confrontation between two large groups of young people, authorities said.

Chattanooga police officers were patrolling the downtown area at about 10:58 p.m. local time when they heard the gunshots and immediately responded to help those who were injured, Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said during a news conference on Sunday.

"The officers observed multiple parties fire and then they observed multiple victims who had been hit by the gunfire," Murphy said.

She said the officers immediately began rendering aid to the wounded and helping other juveniles get out of harm's way.

Murphy said all six victims who were struck by gunfire were teenagers. She said four of the victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries and two remain "very, very critical."

The chief said no arrests have been made.

She said one person was detained as a person of interest but has since been ruled out as a suspect.

Murphy said investigators are combing through security video to try and identify suspects and determine what motivated the violence.

"They've been able to determine two groups were beginning to converge on one another in what appears to have been some type of altercation," Murphy said.

She said two armed individuals from one group started firing upon the other group. She said only one of the people in the group being fired on was the intended target and "all the other victims that were shot were unintended" targets.

"At this time it does not seem to be any connection to anything gang-related. That's not been officially ruled out, but there's nothing indicating that at this time," Murphy said.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly called the shooting "outrageous."

"It's ridiculous that I even need to publicly state that guns have no place in the hands of our kids, and that children should not be wandering around at night without supervision," Kelly said.

The mayor praised the police who "acted quickly and decisively" to prevent more bloodshed.

"We're fortunate that they were able to respond as quickly as they did," Kelly said. "But the job of preventing kids from shooting each other cannot fall to the brave men and women of our police department."

He said easy access to illegal guns is "killing kids, and our community has a responsibility to put a stop to it."

"Parents also need to be responsible," Kelly said. "If you know your kid has access to a firearm, you must intervene before someone, perhaps even your own child, ends up dead."

He implored parents and caregivers to get actively involved in knowing where their children are at night and what they are doing.

Kelly said that in coming weeks, he plans to work with the city council to establish places in the city for juveniles to gather safely and also invest in youth mentorship and violence prevention programs.

"If you know a child, especially your child, has access to a firearm, you have a moral duty to intervene or call the police," Kelly said.

He added, "As a parent, you are civilly and criminally liable for the violent acts of your child that you could have stopped."

He said he is working with the police department and the local district attorney "to enforce existing laws that hold parents accountable for knowingly providing or allowing children access to guns that result in violence."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 30, 2022, 11:59:47 PM
Kansas police shoot pregnant Black woman five times despite having her hands up: witness


A Black pregnant woman was shot five times by Kansas City police despite having her hands up, according to a witness.

KCTV first reported that Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred on Friday. Highway Patrol said that officers in the Kansas Police Department spotted a vehicle at a Family Dollar that was suspected of being stolen.

A witness named Shédanja later told The Kansas City StarThe Kansas City Star that she had seen the shooting and recorded a video of the aftermath.

The Star reported:

The woman exited the car with her hands up, Shédanja said. Officers told the woman to get on the ground, but the woman told them she was pregnant, Shédanja said, and couldn’t get down on the ground. Police asked her to get down multiple times. The woman then told police there was a gun in the vehicle. The woman started backing toward a fence in the parking lot. Several officers approached her and had their weapons drawn, Shédanja said.

“She did not pull out a weapon on them,” Shédanja recalled. “She did not even have a stick in her hand.”

The witness can also be heard narrating in a video she recorded at the scene.

"They got her in handcuff while they shot her, y'all," Shédanja says in the video. "I stopped here to get some gas, y'all, and my son just watched this [shooting]. My one-year-old son just watched this! My 10-year-old son just watched this! And my 13-year-old son just watched this happen!"

"She was fixing to cooperate," she added. "She ran and they shot her. One, two, three, four!"

A spokesperson for the Missouri State Highway Patrol said that a gun "was located" at the scene but he would not say if the gunshot victim was holding it.

"How the sequence of events transpired, there's going to be intricate details of events that transpired, right?" the officer said.

Watch the video clips below:



Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 31, 2022, 12:22:38 AM
Nasal COVID-19 vaccines help the body prepare for infection right where it starts – in your nose and throat


Imagine inhaling just a few drops of liquid or mist to get protected from COVID-19. That is the idea behind nasal COVID-19 vaccines, and they have been getting a lot of attention recently as a spray or liquid. These nasal vaccines would be based on the same technology as normal vaccines given by injection. But as Mayuresh Abhyankar, a University of Virginia researcher who studies infectious diseases and works on nasal vaccines, explains, vaccinating someone right where the coronavirus is likely to start its attack comes with many immunological benefits.

1. What are nasal vaccines?

Nasal vaccines are administered, as the name suggests, through the nose. More accurately called intranasal vaccines, these vaccines are liquids that can be given as a spray or through a dropper or syringe. The most common nasal vaccine is FluMist, a nasal spray that uses inactivated flu virus to protect against influenza. An intranasal vaccine could be a weakened live virus similar to FluMist, a nucleic acid vaccine like mRNA coronavirus vaccines or a protein vaccine like Hepatitis B vaccines or the CorbeVax coronavirus vaccine.

Intranasal vaccines are best suited to protect against pathogens that enter through the nose, like the flu or the coronavirus. By mimicking the first step of natural exposure to an airborne pathogen, these vaccines help train a person’s immune system at the potential place of infection. Scientists have shown that the first immune response in the respiratory tract after a person is exposed to an airborne virus can influence how sick a person gets. So in theory, intranasal vaccines could provide better protection than vaccines given through a shot in the arm.

2. How does the coronavirus infect people?


Nasal vaccines differ from intramuscular vaccines because they mimic the mechanism of infection and trigger a stronger immune response in the throat and nose specifically.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, usually enters the body through the nose and lands on the mucus membrane at the back of the nasal passage and in the throat. The virus then enters the cells it touches, replicates and spreads.

Just underneath these cells of the mucus membrane are many types of immune cells that form what is called the mucosal immune system. Cells of the mucosal immune system are the first to identify invading coronavirus particles and start mounting a protective response.

In an unvaccinated individual, it takes about two weeks for these immune cells to build up a protective response after encountering the coronavirus. By that time, the virus can easily have infected other body parts, like the lungs, which can lead to severe disease.

Nasal vaccines follow a lot of the same steps. When you inhale a nasal vaccine, the particles land on the mucus membrane in your nasal cavity or the back of your throat, enter the cells in those places and trigger an immune response. This process teaches the body about the coronavirus and allows it to deal with any future real infections.

3. How are nasal and intramuscular vaccines different?

When you get a COVID-19 shot in your arm, the vaccine triggers a strong immune response in the cells near where you got the shot. It also causes your immune system to produce some coronavirus-specific antibodies and other immune cells in other locations throughout your body.

When the coronavirus begins infecting cells in a person’s respiratory tract, the immune cells nearby will start mounting a defense. Your body will also send anti-viral immune cells and antibodies from other locations to the site of infection. But by the time enough coronavirus-specific immune cells gather around the infection site to stop the virus from replicating, the virus has likely already begun to spread throughout the body, making it difficult for the immune system to keep up.

Nasal vaccines mimic the virus in order to prepare the immune system against a virus, just like any other vaccine. But importantly, they mimic the process of infection, too, and boost protective response within the mucosal immune system of the nose and throat. In simple terms, intranasal vaccines are like knowing there is going to be a break-in and putting your guards in the right location before the trouble even starts.

The science bears this idea out. In a head-to-head comparison, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine provided greater protection in hamsters that were vaccinated intranasally compared to those vaccinated intramuscularly.

Nasal vaccination could also be used in concert with intramuscular immunization. In a recent study, my colleagues and I gave some mice both a nasal and intramuscular vaccine and exposed them to a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2 – 100% of these mixed-vaccinated mice survived, compared to only 10% of the unvaccinated mice. We are now testing if this mixed approach is superior to just intranasal or just intramuscular approaches on their own.

Finally, intranasal vaccines are painless, noninvasive and do not require specialized training to use.

Nasal vaccines, like the liquid flu vaccine the nurse is giving to a patient here, are easier to administer and don’t require needles, but it can be harder to make sure the full dose is absorbed.

4. What are the risks of nasal vaccines?

Getting the dosage correct can be harder with nasal vaccines than a shot, especially with young children. If someone has a stuffy nose or sneezes out a part of the vaccine before it’s completely absorbed, this can result in a lower-than-desired dose.

There are some unique health risks too. All vaccines go through rigorous safety testing and clinical trials, but these processes are especially important for nasal vaccines due to the simple fact that the nose is close to the brain. In 2000, 27.7% of people who received an inactivated intranasal influenza vaccine in Switzerland developed transient facial paralysis – also known as Bell’s palsy. Later, researchers found that a bacterial toxin added to the vaccine to enhance the immune response was the culprit.

This is the only reported instance of neurological issues stemming from intranasal vaccines, but it is something to consider.

5. How long until intranasal COVID-19 vaccines are ready?

As of late May 2022, there are no approved COVID-19 intranasal vaccines for human use. There are currently seven in clinical trials, and three of them – manufactured by Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy, Bharat Biotech, and Codagenix and Serum Institute of India – are in phase-3 human trials.

In the coming months, the results of these trials will not only show how safe these promising new vaccines are, but also if they perform better than the vaccines in use today.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 31, 2022, 12:47:55 AM
Republicans like to pretend that inflation only exists in the United States as they lie about "Biden policies created inflation" when inflation is happening globally due to the pandemic and now Putin's war in Ukraine. Inflation is lower in the United States than compared to countries like the UK and in Europe. So the rule of thumb is to ignore the lies and the right wing propaganda and stick to the facts.

High UK inflation hastens 'real living wage' announcement
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 31, 2022, 01:24:15 AM
Record inflation in Germnay is higher than the United States. Are right wing Republicans going to blame Biden for record high German inflation?

The fact is global inflation is high in just about every single country. Republicans want to pretend it's only happening in the United States where it is much lower than other advanced nations.     

Cost of budget pasta, bread and beef mince surges; German inflation near 50-year high– as it happened
Latest: German inflation highest since 1970s oil shock
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on May 31, 2022, 12:23:56 PM
High UK Gas Prices Could Persist Through 2025

High gas prices will persist for the next three years, warned investment bank Stifel, as millions of households struggle with the cost of living crisis.

Supply chain disruption and spiraling liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices will provide a lethal combination for the UK energy industry, amid global volatility, with gas prices expected to remain as high as 75 pence per therm in 2025.

While this is considerably below the £8 per therm peak recorded in March this year, it is also elevated from the 47p per therm price recorded this time last year prior to the energy crisis.

Commenting on commodity markets, Stifel analyst Chris Wheaton said: “We see energy markets remaining tighter than previously expected into 2024/2025; for oil, we increase our long-term oil price assumptions from $65 per barrel to $70 per barrel for 2024 onwards, reflecting higher longer-term risks to supply. We also now expect high UK gas prices to persist into 2025.” 

Wheaton outlined the firm’s views in an investment note, ‘UK Energy and Power‘, where he explained that the UK would be unable to insulate itself from the market effects of global shortages of LNG, even with a significant domestic North Sea oil and gas industry.


With markets being global, LNG shortages would continue to plague domestic prices, even if the supplies were more crucial to European allies, with geopolitical factors being a significant “risk premium.”

He explained: “The global LNG industry has been struggling with uptime and the ability to produce the LNG its  customers need – a combination of issues with maintenance on aging fleet of liquefaction capacity, but  also decline of supply of natural gas feedstock after years of under-investment.”

“Global uptime for the industry in 2021 was 68 percent, below historical averages, and once Qatar and US production volumes are  stripped out (both of which have high uptime vs global averages), the rest of the industry, about two-thirds of global liquefaction capacity, was running at only 50 percent uptime, which illustrates the problem the  LNG industry has in supplying its customers.”

The European Union (EU) has committed to raising storage capacity levels to 80 percent ahead of this winter, but terminals remain well below this figure – with the bloc under increasing pressure to pay for gas in roubles in line with Kremlin demands.

It currently relies on Russia for around 40 percent of its gas exports.

Energy chief urges government to bring in more support

Elevated prices over the medium term make rebate and money-saving schemes increasingly difficult to enable, as spreading costs for consumers depends to markets eventually easing.

Nevertheless, the latest note from Stifel comes amid warnings from Scottish Power chief executive Keith Anderson of a further hike in household bills this October, which could result in household bills trebling over a 12-month window.

The consumer price cap was already hiked 54 percent by market regulator Ofgem last month, meaning households are now paying an average of nearly £2,000 per year for their energy needs.

Anderson told The Financial Times there could be a further £900 increase to average annual energy bills, urging the government to bring in more support to tackle the crisis of soaring electricity and gas prices.

This follows his proposals to the BEIS Committee in Westminster last month for a £1,000 per year saving scheme for low-income households, paid back over time.


He has also suggested 30-40 percent of households could end up in fuel poverty in the coming winter.

The energy boss said : “What’s about to happen to people, you cannot describe in any other way than saying it’s a crisis. All of a sudden a whole host of people who have never found themselves in debt and have never struggled to pay their bills are going to get hit by this crisis. Time is running out fast. Let’s get in a room and come up with the solutions now.”

Following the most recent rise in the price cap, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £9bn rebate scheme and council tax savings for houses in bands A-D, which would take up to £350 per year off annual energy bills

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine however, gas prices have spiked again, with Downing Street under more and more pressure to bring in fresh support.

Earlier this month, Sunak told Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts in an interview it would be “silly” for the government to provide more help to families struggling with energy bills before the price cap is updated this autumn.

He said: ” I know people are anxious about this and wondering if they are going to go up even more, and I have always been clear from the beginning we will see what happens.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 01, 2022, 12:02:07 AM
Lawyer for Uvalde teacher contradicts key detail from official police account of shooting


In the days after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead, news reports echoed police claims that the shooter entered the classroom where he killed all his victims through a door that was left propped open by a school teacher.

Now, according to the San Antonio Express-News, the teacher's lawyer says she closed the door shut after she was informed an active shooter was on the loose.

Lawyer Don Flanary said the teacher, who remains unidentified, called 9-11 when to report an accident near the school involving a black truck, which later turned out to belong to the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Flanary added that the teacher propped open the door around the time Ramos crashed his truck, and that the employee called 9-11, but said he wants to make clear that the door was not left propped open.

“She saw the wreck,” Flanary said. “She ran back inside to get her phone to report the accident. She came back out while on the phone with 911. The men at the funeral home yelled, ‘He has a gun!’ She saw him jump the fence, and he had a gun so she ran back inside.

“She kicked the rock away when she went back in. She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked.”

A source familiar with the investigation said security video confirms the teacher removed the rock holding the door open and closed it.

Texas authorities belatedly admitted Friday that as many as 19 police officers were in the school hallway for more than an hour without acting, thinking the shooter had ended his killing.

"From the benefit of hindsight... it was the wrong decision, period," said Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw.

Ramos, who carried two assault-style rifles, was finally killed by police.

Uvalde survivors have described making desperate, whispered pleas for help in 911 phone calls during his assault. Many played dead to avoid drawing the shooter's attention.

Eleven-year-old Miah Cerrillo even smeared the blood of a dead friend on herself as she feigned death.

Samuel Salinas said he thinks Ramos fired at him, but the bullet struck a chair, sending shrapnel into the boy's leg. "I played dead so he wouldn't shoot me," he said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 01, 2022, 10:03:27 AM
LOL not mentioning Sussman I see.


Another right wing scam goes down in flames. 3 years of right wing propaganda and wasting $2.3 million dollars of tax payers money and they got nothin'.

How does it feel? :D

Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann found not guilty of lying to FBI, in blow to Durham investigation

CNN — Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann was acquitted Tuesday of lying to the FBI, in the first trial of special counsel John Durham’s investigation.

The verdict is a major defeat for Durham and his Justice Department prosecutors, who have spent three years looking for wrongdoing in the Trump-Russia probe. He claimed Sussmann lied during a 2016 meeting in which he passed a tip to the FBI about Donald Trump and Russia.

The Washington, DC, federal jury deliberated for six hours over two days before reaching its verdict.

The Sussmann case revolved around his September 2016 meeting with James Baker, a friend who was the FBI’s general counsel. Sussmann passed along a tip that led to a four-month FBI inquiry into a possible internet backchannel between the Trump Organization and Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Both companies denied the claim, and the FBI didn’t find any improper cyber links.

Prosecutors argued that Sussmann intentionally lied to Baker by saying he came only as a concerned citizen, and not on behalf of any clients, saying Sussmann hid his ties to Democrats to “manipulate the FBI” and gin up an “October surprise” to help Clinton win.

In Sussmann’s telling, at the peak of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, he went to the FBI with a good-faith tip, which originated from reputable cyber experts that he represented. He separately worked on Clinton’s behalf to peddle that unverified tip to the press, generating some coverage. He didn’t try to dupe Baker or hide his political ties, which were well-known at the FBI.

Durham is a Trump-era holdover who was appointed by then-Attorney General Bill Barr in 2019 to review the Russia probe. Barr and Durham have publicly questioned the legitimacy of the Russia probe, but Durham hasn’t yet backed up those assertions with criminal convictions.

One juror told CNN that the jury didn’t initially agree on a verdict when they got the case on Friday afternoon. But over the course of deliberations, the juror said, all 12 jurors agreed that Durham’s team did not meet the five legal requirements needed to find Sussmann guilty.

Sussmann’s lawyers repeatedly harped on the “materiality” element, which required prosecutors to prove that Sussmann’s alleged lie was relevant enough to potentially impact the FBI’s work.

Four additional jurors declined to comment about the verdict.

There was an audible sigh of relief from Sussmann’s family after the jury foreperson announced the not-guilty verdict. After exiting the courtroom, Sussmann’s wife, Dr. Apple Sussmann, said, “holy cow, that was nerve racking.” Durham lingered in the courtroom for a few minutes after it was mostly emptied out.

At closing arguments last week, Sussmann’s lawyers derided Durham’s case as one big “political conspiracy theory.” They went farther Tuesday, accusing Durham of playing politics with the legal system.

“This is a case of extraordinary prosecutorial overreach,” defense attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said in a statement. “And we believe that today’s verdict sends an unmistakable message to anyone who cares to listen: politics is no substitute for evidence, and politics has no place in our system of justice.”

Sussmann spoke to the press outside the courthouse and thanked the jury, and said he was eager to move on from this ordeal and return to his work as a cybersecurity lawyer.

“I told the truth to the FBI, and the jury clearly recognized that with their unanimous verdict today,” Sussmann said. “…Despite being falsely accused, I am relieved that justice ultimately prevailed in my case.”

Durham said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with the verdict.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” Durham said in a statement. “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”

Durham investigation takes a hit

So far, Durham’s work has only led to one conviction: the guilty plea of a junior FBI lawyer who was involved in a wiretapping warrant for a former Trump 2016 campaign adviser. Durham also charged a Russian expat tied to the infamous Steele dossier, whose trial is slated for October.

The Sussmann case was the first major courtroom test for Durham, and the acquittal may bolster Durham’s critics, who believe he’s running a politicized probe into flimsy theories.

“Today’s acquittal signals the total collapse of the 3-year charade to manufacture a scandal where there wasn’t one,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN in a statement. “A prosecutor appointed by Trump’s attorney general tried to advance the right wing’s conspiratorial agenda, but the justice system wouldn’t fall for their lies.”

A few times during the trial, the judge chided prosecutors for asking politically tinged question of witnesses. And Sussmann’s lawyers complained on several occasions that prosecutors were going beyond the pre-trial “guardrails” that the judge set up to keep politics out of proceedings.

Durham’s team used the trial to spotlight what it characterized as the Clinton campaign’s dirty tactics, and to pull back the curtain on Democrats’ well-funded opposition research efforts against Trump in 2016.

Seizing on these revelations, Trump has treated Durham’s probe as a political weapon, stoking excitement in the right-wing ecosystem that Durham will deliver Watergate-caliber indictments against Clinton loyalists and the “deep state” government agents who supposedly conspired against him. He has even suggested that Sussmann’s and other Democrats’ conduct should be “punishable by death.”

Durham’s efforts to “investigate the investigators” are ongoing, and have outlasted the Russia probe itself, which was taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted six Trump associates, including his lawyer, his 2016 campaign chair, and a senior White House official.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 01, 2022, 02:06:30 PM
John Durham 'made a fool of himself' with investigation that was 'asinine from the beginning': Morning Joe

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough ripped special counsel John Durham after the first trial from his investigation ended in an acquittal.

Durham was appointed by former attorney general William Barr to investigate the origins of the probe seeking links between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, but the first trial from his prosecution ended in an acquittal for Democratic lawyer Michael Sussman, who was charged with lying to FBI agents.

"It's just asinine," Scarborough said. "It's been asinine from the start. This started in March 2017 when Donald Trump said that Barack Obama was tapping his phones, and it continued, one lie after another lie after another lie, which was picked up by all of those news outlets that you just quoted, and then Barr lets Durham start investigating, supposedly investigating the investigators."

"But there's been absolutely nothing there from the beginning," the "Morning Joe" host continued, "and this pleading that everybody jumped on in February, we did an entire segment. I mean, I read it, tried to figure it out for 24 hours. I talked to legal scholars, I said, 'I don't understand this pleading, it looks like it was written by a seventh grader,' and sure enough, it basically was, and then you see, at the end of the day, that this investigation of the 'deep state,' this investigation of the investigators, is much ado about nothing. It's more weirdos, more conspiracy theorists, more freaks, actually getting an attorney general to allow Durham go out and make a fool of himself, to drag this out years to make the investigation of the investigators longer than the original investigation."

"It cost millions and millions of taxpayers' dollars and have absolutely nothing to show about it in the end," he concluded. "But yet, you have people being slandered throughout the entire process, and let's start with the FBI. Let's start with Donald Trump. Let's start with those right-wing dominant media people who can continue to slander the FBI. Let's talk about House Republican leaders who slander the FBI day in and day out, and have been slandering the FBI day in and day out because they dare to investigate a politician, a failed game show host, who did one thing after another that raised legitimate suspicions."


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 01, 2022, 02:19:46 PM
Uvalde police, school district no longer cooperating with Texas probe of shooting: Sources
Texas officials are probing law enforcement's response to last week's massacre.

The Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District police force are no longer cooperating with the Texas Department of Public Safety's investigation into the massacre at Robb Elementary School and the state's review of the law enforcement response, multiple law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

The Uvalde police chief and a spokesperson for the Uvalde Independent School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

According to sources, the decision to stop cooperating occurred soon after the director of DPS, Col. Steven McCraw, held a news conference Friday during which he said the delayed police entry into the classroom was "the wrong decision" and contrary to protocol.

Reached by ABC News, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said, "The Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde CISD Police have been cooperating with investigators. The chief of the Uvalde CISD Police provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago."

Last Tuesday's attack, one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history, left 19 children and two adults dead.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 01, 2022, 04:41:37 PM
Pro-Stacey Abrams group comes out swinging against Brian Kemp in first campaign ad

Gov. Brian Kemp made it through a Republican primary, despite efforts by former President Donald Trump to replace him with a more loyal, GOP candidate.

In the week since the primary election, Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams has gone full force into the general election.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that the "One Georgia" campaign committee is airing its first ad against Kemp, attacking him on his support for "criminal carry" gun laws and his anti-abortion stance.

“He rolled back women’s rights, vowing to make abortion a crime with 10 years in prison,” the ad's narrator says. "Just when we need to move forward, Brian Kemp keeps taking us back."

The reference is to the 2019 "trigger" law that would ban abortion in Georgia if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. While some states are staying away from targeting pregnant women directly, Kemp at one point indicated support for laws that could throw women in prison if they seek to terminate a pregnancy.

After public outrage, Kemp decided he'd endorse laws that would only ban abortions once a "heartbeat" is heard. The so-called fetal heartbeat isn't actually detected until about eight weeks into a pregnancy, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Any flutter seen on ultrasounds is actually a small group of cells that will become the heartbeat. It isn't even an actual fetus at that stage, it's an embryo. Lawmakers have decided that these cells are a "heart" and falsely believe "life" is detected.

See the ad from One Georgia below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 02, 2022, 11:09:57 AM
Uvalde school district police chief dodges CNN reporter's questions on when victims' families will get answers

While on the scene in Uvalde, Texas, a CNN's Shimon Prokupecz got a chance to question Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police chief Pete Arredondo, asking him about reports that say he's now refusing to cooperate with the state's investigation into the police response to the elementary school shooting which killed 19 students and two teachers.

During the exchange, Arredondo told Prokupecz that "we're obviously not going to release anything, we have people in our community being buried."

Prokupecz then asked Arredondo about accusations from his own department that say he was responsible for the police delay in breaching the classroom to eliminate the shooter, to which he replied that more information would be released "when the families stop grieving." Arredondo went on to claim that he's "been on the phone with" Texas Rangers "every day," and denied reports that he's stopped cooperating with the investigation.

Arredondo then left the interview and was scurried into a building, refusing to answer any more questions.


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 02, 2022, 11:32:33 AM
Johnny Depp-Amber Heard verdict: Jury sides with Depp, awards $15 million
The jury of seven people reached a decision Wednesday in the defamation case brought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Johnny Depp won his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard on Wednesday, and the jury awarded him $15 million in damages.

Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.

The jury in Fairfax, Virginia, began deliberating Friday.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million after she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018 in which she called herself a "public figure representing domestic abuse." Heard countersued Depp for $100 million.

Sources close to Amber Heard confirmed to NBC News reports that Heard plans to appeal Wednesday's verdict.

No additional details on the appeal were provided.


Amber Heard posts statement minutes after verdict announced in defamation case: "The disappointment I feel today is beyond words"


Minutes after a jury awarded Johnny Depp $15 million in damages and Amber Heard $2 million in their defamation lawsuits, Heard posted a statement on Instagram.

The jury decided Heard was liable for defaming Depp in a 2018 op-ed published in the Washington Post. They also decided Depp was liable for a statement his attorney made calling Heard's claims of domestic violence a hoax. While it was a mixed verdict, Depp was awarded more money, and Heard said she felt "disappointment" in the outcome.

"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words," Heard wrote in her statement. "I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex husband."

The 36-year-old said she is even more disappointed in "what this verdict means for women," calling it a "setback."

"It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke up could be publicly shamed and humiliated," she said. "It sets back the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously."

"I believe Johnny's attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the U.K.," Heard said. In 2020, Depp sued the Sun newspaper and its parent company in the U.K. after it published an article that called him a "wife beater," BBC News reports.

In that case, Heard gave evidence to the court and a judged ultimately ruled the article to be "substantially true," saying he found 12 of 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence occurred.

In her statement about the recent case, Heard said she was sad she lost. "But I am sadder still that I seemed to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly."

The dramatic trial began in Fairfax, Virginia in April. Depp sued his ex-wife for $50 million over the op-ed, published in The Washington Post in December 2018. In the op-ed, Heard described herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." Depp's lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.

Both Depp and Heard alleged in their testimony the other had abused them.

Following the verdict, Depp also posted a statement on Instagram, writing, "The jury gave me my life back."

While the jury said Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, the judge said state law caps punitive damages at $350,000, meaning Depp's award would total $10.35 million.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 02, 2022, 03:42:42 PM
Suspect dead after active shooter incident at Tulsa hospital: Police say multiple people shot by man with rifle
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 03, 2022, 12:32:38 AM
Alex Jones' attempt to hide Infowars cash from Sandy Hook families could 'rock our bankruptcy world': legal experts


The Infowars bankruptcy case could set a new precedent for companies using the court against their legal challengers.

The right-wing conspiracy site's owner Alex Jones is using “Subchapter V” bankruptcy to limit his obligation to pay off judgments for making false statements about the Sandy Hook shooting, but the Department of Justice is seeking to dismiss the bankruptcy case altogether by arguing the site's three debtors are nothing but shell companies, reported Axios.

"The strategy employed here ... is a novel and dangerous tactic that is abusive and undermines the integrity of the bankruptcy system," wrote the DOJ's watchdog in a court filing.

Jones was found liable in multiple defamation suits by families of Sandy Hook victims, and the damages trial was set to go when three small companies affiliated with the conspiracy theorist filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy using a relatively new subchapter to help small businesses reorganize rather than liquidate.

"I think it's fair to say that the drafters of subchapter V didn't envision this type of filing," said Ryan Preston Dahl, a partner in Ropes & Gray's business restructuring group, which is not involved in the Infowars case. "Subchapter V is intended to rehabilitate small businesses."

Subchapter V offers a streamlined process for companies with a debt load less than $3 million and currently engaged in business activities, and the companies that Jones put in bankruptcy hold few assets themselves so the plan seemed to be for him to funnel some of his money into them, have the bankruptcy court decide damages and have creditors -- the Sandy Hook families -- accept whatever was awarded.

“Courts have been clear that shell companies don’t cut it, but the analytical framework is certainly more of a sliding-scale test than a hard-and-fast calculation,” Nicholas Koffroth, an attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP, told Bloomberg Law. “A ruling in this case will add another marker on the sliding scale to help elucidate what circumstances may or may not fit within the Subchapter V eligibility standard.”

If the bankruptcy is allowed to go through, legal experts say, the Infowars case could have a seismic impact on other lawsuits.

“If this is allowed to go forward and to do so in Subchapter V — where there’s special benefits that are intended for somebody else, not these people — that will rock our bankruptcy world,” said Donald L. Swanson, a bankruptcy attorney and shareholder at Koley Jessen.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 03, 2022, 11:30:57 AM
3 dead after shooting outside of Cornerstone Church in Ames

AMES, Iowa — The Story County Sheriff's Office says a shooting took place outside of Cornerstone Church on the eastern edge of Ames on Thursday night.

Officials say they received multiple 911 calls at 6:51 p.m. on Thursday. Two people and the male gunman are dead.

The shooting happened during Salt Company, a college ministry program at the church. It was the first summer night of the program at Cornerstone.

A KCCI crew at the scene saw crime scene tape around the church parking lot with ambulances and other emergency vehicles responding.

KCCI spoke with Capt. Nick Lennie with the Story County Sheriff's Office earlier regarding the shooting.

"There was a program going on. We do have other individuals inside the church. We do not have any other information at this point if anybody else was injured in this. We are working through the process of investigating this incident and speaking with the others inside the church," Lennie said.

The Story County Sheriff's Office says the investigation is ongoing and expected to continue into Friday. They will provide an update at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Cornerstone Pastor Mike Vance released the following statement:

"Tonight, a tragic shooting occurred involving two young members of our Cornerstone Church community. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not able to give any details at this time. We can say, however, that we are more than saddened by the events that transpired. Our hearts break for all involved, and we are praying for everyone affected. Our Ministry staff are available to support all those impacted, and we will continue to fully cooperate with authorities as they complete their full investigation.

"We sincerely appreciate the responsiveness of the Story County Sheriff's Department, Ames PD, and all Law Enforcements Officials who have handled this matter with exceptional professionalism and compassion. Please join us in praying for all affected and their families.

"For anyone interested, we will be holding a prayer service tomorrow, June 3, 2022, at 10 AM, at Cornerstone Church of Ames, 56829 US HWY 30, Ames, IA, 50010. All are welcome to attend in-person or join us online at cornerstonelife.com/live."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 03, 2022, 11:41:22 AM
Ray Liotta, ‘Goodfellas’ star, is dead at 67


CNN — Ray Liotta, the actor known for his roles in “Field of Dreams” and the Martin Scorsese mob classic “Goodfellas,” has died.

He was 67.

“Ray was working on a project in the Dominican Republic called ‘Dangerous Waters’ when he passed. He passed in his sleep. He is survived by his daughter, Karsen, and his fiancée, Jacy Nittolo,” his publicist Jennifer Allen told CNN.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Liotta was the adopted son of Alfred and Mary Liotta, who also adopted a daughter, Linda.

He attended Union High School where he excelled at sports and went on to attend the University of Miami. He studied drama and was cast in his first play, “Cabaret.”

Following his college graduation, Liotta moved to New York City where he got work in commercials and was cast as Joey Perrini on the daytime soap opera “Another World,” in which he appeared from 1978 to 1981.

His performance as crazed ex-con Ray Sinclair in the 1986 Jonathan Demme film “Something Wild” proved to be a breakthrough role for the actor.

Liotta followed that with an acclaimed performance as baseball player “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in the box office hit “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner.

His most memorable role, perhaps, was as real-life mobster Henry Hill in the 1990 film “Goodfellas,” which cast him opposite heavy hitters Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

When asked by The Guardian in 2021 why he never worked with Scorsese again given the director’s propensity for using some of the same actors in different projects, Liotta responded, “I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. But I’d love to.”

Not that he didn’t find plenty of work over the years.

Liotta’s many film and television credits include “John Q,” “Blow,” “Operation Dumbo Drop,” “Hannibal,” “Wild Hogs” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

More recently, Liotta narrated the TV docuseries “The Making of the Mob” and starred in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the prequel film to the hit television mob series “The Sopranos.”

He played plenty of tough guys, but that was not Liotta’s true persona.

“I have never been in a fight at all, except for during sports, and that’s just pushing and goofy kid stuff,” he told People magazine last year.

"Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that’s what made him such a compelling actor to watch,” said Jennifer Lopez, who starred with Liotta in the TV cop series, “Shades of Blue.”

“We enjoyed doing our scenes together and I felt lucky to have him there to work with and learn from. Like all artists he was complicated, sincere, honest and so very emotional,” she wrote Thursday on Instagram. “Like a raw nerve, he was so accessible and so in touch in his acting and I will always remember our time together fondly. We lost a great today.”

Liotta was currently cast in multiple projects, according to his IMDB profile.

Among them was “Cocaine Bear,” a thriller directed by actress Elizabeth Banks about what happens after a drug runner’s cocaine disappears in a plane crash and gets eaten by a bear. The movie is due next year.

“When any actor of Ray’s caliber puts trust in you as a director, it’s a gift,” Banks said on Instagram. “Ray’s respect for me as a director, actress and artist, as his boss on set, meant everything to me because if you can direct Henry Hill, you can do f***ing anything in this town. I am so grateful Ray Liotta blessed my life. May he Rest In Peace.”

Liotta’s profile dipped in recent decades as A-list projects mostly eluded him. But he never stopped working. And in his interview with People, Liotta had sounded hopeful about the next phase of his career.

“It’s weird how this business works, because I’ve definitely had a career that’s up and down,” he added. “For some reason, I’ve been busier this year than I have in all the years that I’ve been doing this. And I still feel I’m not there yet. I just think there’s a lot more.”


Andy Fletcher obituary
Keyboard player and business brain of Depeche Mode who pushed the electronic band to long-lasting success


Bands could not function without a member designated the quiet standard bearer, and in Depeche Mode that was Andy Fletcher, who has died suddenly aged 60. Constitutionally modest, he was lucky inasmuch as the group had two members – singer Dave Gahan and guitarist Martin Gore – who were comfortable with being Depeche Mode’s public face. That allowed Fletcher, universally known as Fletch, to get on with being their backbone.

He was crucial to their makeup, pushing the band to achieve, chivvying them to get into the studio or on the road. Without his tenacity, exercised over 42 years, Depeche Mode would have splintered long before they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

Fletcher was a keyboardist and passionate proponent of electronics, glorying in the synthesiser’s role in overturning the convention of music being made with guitars and drums. “Obviously, it’s sad to see the demise of the traditional rock group,” he said drily in 1993. “But there’s always going to be a place for it in cabaret.” But his musicianly interests were rivalled by a head for business. He enjoyed keeping tabs on receipts and merchandising, and for Depeche Mode, who became one of the world’s biggest touring groups in the 1990s, that was win-win: Fletcher was onstage behind his keyboard every night, but offstage performed dusty managerial duties. He estimated that he spent 17 years as player-manager; even after the band acquired heavyweight management he kept his hand in.

His knowledge of the industry was renowned. When his death was announced, the Pet Shop Boys, old confreres from the hit-making 80s, tweeted: “Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business.” During the Hall of Fame induction, Gahan characterised the early Depeche Mode as “outsider, eyeliner-wearing weirdos from Essex”, but Fletcher was never as unconventional as Gahan and Gore. Rather, he viewed himself as “the tall guy in the background, without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work”.

He was the eldest of two sons and two daughters born in Nottingham to Joy and John Fletcher. In the early 60s, his father, an engineer, was offered a job at a cigarette factory in Basildon, and they became one of the first families to settle in the Essex new town. Andy joined the Christian organisation the Boys’ Brigade and remained a member until he was 18, during which he became actively religious. He attended church seven days a week, and with fellow member Vince Clarke, preached in the Brigade coffee bar. That period, he said, “shaped my moral beliefs and attitudes”. His church activities also sparked an interest in music, and it was there that he picked up his first instrument, a guitar. He retained his faith after he left the Brigade; in the 80s, as Depeche Mode charted with taut electropop singles that would influence rap, EDM and metal, he felt guilty about not going to church.

He took politics at A-level and planned to go to university, but instead, he and Clarke formed a band with a classmate from Nicholas comprehensive school in Laindon, Gore. Joined by Gahan, a friend from Southend, the new group had a ready-made audience on Southend’s busy social circuit. The band’s musical direction was shaped by Gore, who had bought a then-revolutionary synthesiser, while their image, according to Fletcher, was “post-Blitz kids with frilly shirts”. He got a job as a clerk at SunLife Insurance, and stuck with it until he was fairly sure he could make a living from music. By that point, Depeche Mode’s second single, New Life, had reached No 11 in the charts and they had been on Top of the Pops.

They maintained a considerable chart presence throughout the 1980s and 90s, with the music evolving in an ornate and gothic direction from the late 80s. Substance abuse, notably on Gahan’s part, marred their gargantuan 90s shows – the 14-month Devotional tour was described as “the most debauched rock’n’roll tour ever” by Q magazine. Fletcher, who had once viewed touring as “so much fun”, was now depressed. Moreover, he was used as a mediator by the brooding Gahan and the flamboyant Gore during their regular creative disputes.

Gahan became sober in the late 90s and the group resumed recording and playing live. Gore and Gahan launched solo careers, but Fletcher, who once said he had no great interest in writing songs, started his own record company, Toast Hawaii. He signed the band Client, which released several albums, but the label was always secondary to his Depeche Mode commitments and little was heard of it after Client departed in 2006. His involvement with the group did instil an interest in DJing – he learned the techniques at their gigs, and thereafter played occasional solo sets at clubs and festivals.

From the mid-90s, Fletcher and his wife, Gráinne Mullan, ran a restaurant in St John’s Wood, north London. He sold it after a decade, blaming “all the little things that went wrong”. He was game enough to re-enter the hospitality trade in 2021, investing in the relaunch of a Hampstead pub, the Duke of Hamilton.

Gráinne, whom he married in 1993, survives him, as do their children, Megan and Joe.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 03, 2022, 11:59:46 AM
Crowds cheer Queen saluting Jubilee from palace balcony as historic festivities kick off


Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony on Thursday to a rapturous response from the tens of thousands of people gathered to see her, kicking off four days of public celebrations by millions in Britain and around the world to mark her historic Platinum Jubilee.

Honoring the 70-year reign of this beacon of constancy at the head of the British state, this four-day extravaganza got going on Thursday with the Trooping of the Colour, an annual military review that has marked the sovereign’s official birthday since 1760.

Accompanied by her cousin Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Her Majesty appeared on the balcony to take the salute from the Trooping of the Colour.

Despite mobility issues over the past year, Her Majesty is expected to appear once again on the balcony of Buckingham Palace along with the working members of her family at the end of the event, when 70 aircraft are set to roar overhead.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 04, 2022, 12:40:43 AM
Deadly Ames church shooting followed 'domestic situation' between alleged gunman and one victim, police say
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 05, 2022, 12:07:09 AM
Manhunt underway after 2 shot at Kentucky funeral: report
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 05, 2022, 12:38:23 AM
Japanese man becomes world's oldest to sail solo across Pacific


An 83-year-old yachtsman arrived in Japan early Saturday morning after a solo, non-stop trip across the Pacific, becoming the oldest person ever to achieve the feat.

Famed ocean adventurer Kenichi Horie's arrival in the Kii Strait off western Japan capped a two-month trip that started from a yacht harbour in San Francisco in March.

It was only the latest seagoing achievement by the Japanese octogenarian, who in 1962 voyaged from Japan to San Francisco at age 23, becoming the first person in the world to sail alone across the Pacific.

The public relations team for his most recent voyage said Horie's Saturday return to Japan made him the world's oldest person to pull off a solo, non-stop crossing of the largest and deepest ocean on Earth.

"I'm about to cross the finish line," Horie wrote on his blog Friday after what he described as a three-day battle with the pushback from a current.

"I'm exhausted."

His 1962 Pacific crossing made headlines as he embarked on the trip without a passport, essentially smuggling his way into the United States.

Sixty years ago, "I was constantly anxious and stressed that I might get caught... My condition was the worst," he blogged in April.

"But this time it's different, I was sent off by many people and have their support through tracking systems and wireless radio. I couldn't be more grateful."

Aside from his 1962 Pacific crossing, Horie is known for sailing around the world solo in 1974 and his longitudinal voyage around the world between 1978 and 1982.

The latest expedition was the first he had undertaken since 2008, when he sailed from Honolulu to the Kii Strait on a wave-powered 31-foot boat.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 05, 2022, 08:12:54 PM
Too hot to handle: Crumbling US infrastructure melts under excessive heat
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 06, 2022, 09:06:51 AM
Pope Francis fuels new speculation on future of pontificate
Pope Francis has added fuel to rumors about the future of his pontificate


ROME -- Pope Francis added fuel to rumors about the future of his pontificate by announcing he would visit the central Italian city of L'Aquila in August for a feast initiated by Pope Celestine V, one of the few pontiffs who resigned before Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in 2013.

Italian and Catholic media have been rife with unsourced speculation that the 85-year-old Francis might be planning to follow in Benedict’s footsteps, given his increased mobility problems that have forced him to use a wheelchair for the last month.

Those rumors gained steam last week when Francis announced a consistory to create 21 new cardinals scheduled for Aug. 27. Sixteen of those cardinals are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect Francis’ successor.

Once they are added to the ranks of princes of the church, Francis will have stacked the College of Cardinals with 83 of the 132 voting-age cardinals. While there is no guarantee how the cardinals might vote, the chances that they will tap a successor who shares Francis’ pastoral priorities become ever greater.

In announcing the Aug. 27 consistory, Francis also announced he would host two days of talks the following week to brief the cardinals about his recent apostolic constitution reforming the Vatican bureaucracy. That document, which goes into effect Sunday, allows women to head Vatican offices, imposes term limits on priestly Vatican employees and positions the Holy See as an institution at the service of local churches, rather than vice versa.

Francis was elected pope in 2013 on a mandate to reform the Roman Curia. Now that the nine-year project has been rolled out and at least partially implemented, Francis’ main task as pope has in some ways been accomplished.

All of which made Saturday’s otherwise routine announcement of a pastoral visit to L’Aquila carry more speculative weight than it might otherwise have.

Notable was the timing: The Vatican and the rest of Italy are usually on holiday in August to mid-September, with all but essential business closed. Calling a major consistory in late August to create new cardinals, gathering churchmen for two days of talks on implementing his reform and making a symbolically significant pastoral visit suggests Francis might have out-of-the-ordinary business in mind.

“With today’s news that @Pontifex will go to L’Aquila in the very middle of the August consistory, it all got even more intriguing,” tweeted Vatican commentator Robert Mickens, linking to an essay he had published in La Croix International about the rumors swirling around the future of the pontificate.

The basilica in L’Aquila hosts the tomb of Celestine V, a hermit pope who resigned after five months in 1294, overwhelmed by the job. In 2009, Benedict visited L’Aquila, which had been devastated by a recent earthquake and prayed at Celestine’s tomb, leaving his pallium stole on it.

No one at the time appreciated the significance of the gesture. But four years later, the 85-year-old Benedict would follow in Celestine’s footsteps and resign, saying he no longer had the strength of body and mind to carry on the rigors of the papacy.

The Vatican announced Saturday Francis would visit L’Aquila to celebrate Mass on Aug. 28 and open the “Holy Door” at the basilica hosting Celestine’s tomb. The timing coincides with the L’Aquila church’s celebration of the Feast of Forgiveness, which was created by Celestine in a papal bull.

No pope has travelled to L’Aquila since to close out the annual feast, which celebrates the sacrament of forgiveness so dear to Francis, noted the current archbishop of L’Aquila, Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi.

“We hope that all people, especially those harmed by conflicts and internal divisions, might (come) and find the path of solidarity and peace,” he said in a statement announcing the visit.

Francis has praised Benedict’s decision to retire as “opening the door” for future popes to do the same, and he had originally predicted a short papacy for himself of two to five years.

Nine years later, Francis has shown no signs he wants to step down, and he has major projects still on the horizon.

In addition to upcoming trips this year to Congo, South Sudan, Canada and Kazakhstan, in 2023 he has scheduled a major meeting of the world’s bishops to debate the increasing decentralization of the Catholic Church, as well as the continued implementation of his reforms.

But Francis has been hobbled by the strained ligaments in his right knee that have made walking painful and difficult. He has told friends he doesn’t want to undergo surgery, reportedly because of his reaction to anesthesia last July when he had 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his large intestine removed.

This week, one of his closest advisers and friends, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, said talk of a papal resignation or the end of Francis’ pontificate was unfounded.

“I think these are optical illusions, cerebral illusions,” Maradiaga told Religion Digital, a Spanish-language Catholic site.

Union, New Jersey, noted that most Vatican watchers expect Francis will eventually resign, but not before Benedict dies. The 95-year-old retired pope is physically frail but still alert and receiving occasional visitors in his home in the Vatican gardens.

“He’s not going to have two former popes floating around,” Bellitto said in an email. Referring to Francis' planned visit to L'Aquila, he suggested not reading too much into it, noting that Benedict’s gesture in 2009 was missed by most everyone.

“I don’t recall a lot of stories at the time saying that Benedict’s visit in 2009 made us think he was going to resign,” he said, suggesting that Francis’ pastoral visit to l’Aquila might be just that: a pastoral visit.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 06, 2022, 03:24:57 PM
Scientists think they have found a major cure: 'The first time this has happened in the history of cancer'
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 06, 2022, 11:59:55 PM
2-year-old fatally shot dad after finding ‘easily accessible’ gun, Florida sheriff says

ORLANDO, Fla. — A 2-year-old boy shot and killed his father at their east Orange County home last month, Sheriff John Mina said Monday.

Mina said the boy’s 26-year-old father, Reggie Mabry, was found wounded about noon May 26, after deputies went to their home in response to a 911 call about a shooting. The man’s wife, 28-year-old Marie Ayala, was performing CPR when rescuers arrived.

Mabry was pronounced dead at the hospital and deputies initially thought the shooting was a suicide, the sheriff said at a news conference.

But then, the couple’s 5-year-old child told detectives that the 2-year-old had fired the fatal shot. A 5-month-old was also home at the time, Mina said.

Investigators discovered the couple, both of whom were on probation for child neglect and narcotics charges and had felony convictions making it illegal for them to possess firearms, had left a gun “easily accessible” in a bag, where the 2-year-old apparently found it, Mina said.

Ayala has since been jailed on several charges.

“I can’t emphasize strongly enough that our guns need to be secure and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times,” Mina said. “Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their homes.”

The sheriff said the couple’s kids “have effectively lost both of their parents” as a result of the adults’ negligence.

“Their father is dead, their mother is in jail and a young child has to live their life knowing that he shot his father,” Mina said. “These tragedies are 100% preventable.”

The children weren’t harmed and are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Mina said.

© Orlando Sentinel
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 07, 2022, 12:11:11 AM
Former GOP lawmaker who represented Uvalde demands action on guns after seeing city turned into 'war zone'


Former Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) on Monday said that the time to merely called for "thoughts and prayers" after mass shootings is over.

Writing in the New York Times, Hurd points out that he has a lifetime "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, but he also says that we cannot simply pretend that our current gun laws are adequate to stop mass shootings.

"While in Congress, I also met and learned from organizations like Everytown and Moms Demand Action, and was one of just eight Republicans to vote in favor of H.R. 8 — a bill requiring universal background checks," writes Hurd. "I also believe it’s ridiculous that any attempt to reform laws to keep lethal firearms out of irresponsible hands is met with outrage and stonewalling. Removing access to guns won’t stop this epidemic, but as the tragedy in Uvalde proved, neither would a myopic and unyielding obsession with putting more guns into our schools."

In addition to support for expanded background checks for firearms services, Hurd also signals favor for raising the age for purchasing semi-automatic weapons, as well as "Red Flag" laws that allow law enforcement officials to confiscate firearms from individuals flagged by family members as potential dangers.

The issue is personal for Hurd, whose district used to include Uvalde, Texas, which he described as being transformed into a "war zone" in the wake of a deadly elementary school shooting last month.

Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/06/opinion/politics/will-hurd-uvalde-congress-guns.html
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 07, 2022, 12:32:00 AM
No-confidence vote likely ‘beginning of the end’ for UK’s Boris Johnson


Boris Johnson faces the greatest threat to his premiership yet after the necessary 54 Tory MPs triggered the parliamentary party’s vote of no confidence to be held Monday evening, after the long-simmering Partygate scandal saw Platinum Jubilee crowds jeer him over the weekend. Analysts expect him to win the necessary majority of Conservative MPs for now – but say the vote likely signals a looming departure from Downing Street.

One of the great poets of the English Renaissance, John Dryden, wrote that “even victors by their victories are undone”. Such could well be the case for Boris Johnson.

Johnson powered his inexorable rise by tying his jovial persona to the inexorable rise of Tory anti-Europeanism – from his first flash of fame writing funny, often untrue stories about Brussels for The Daily Telegraph to the moment he got Brexit done. But since Britain left the EU, blunders and scandals have marred Johnson’s premiership.

Johnson’s crowning achievement was the December 2019 general election, the Brexit election that finally enabled divorce from the EU as the Conservatives won their biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher’s third landslide in 1987. “Boris, Brexit and Corbyn” were the three dominant factors behind this historic victory – defying the forces of political gravity after the Tories’ nine years in power – noted an article in scholarly review Parliamentary Affairs.

However, Brexit no longer animates British politics, and hard-leftist Jeremy Corbyn no longer leads the Labour Party. Johnson’s 2019 election victory effectively banished both of them – leaving his personal popularity as the one card he had to left to play. And now Partygate has removed it.

‘Jaw-dropping moment’

Since high-ranking civil servant Sue Gray’s damning report was published in late May, polls suggest a majority of the British electorate want Johnson to resign after revelations that he and his staff broke lockdown rules they imposed on the country in 2020 and 2021 – with particular outrage over two Downing Street parties held the night before Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021, at which Queen Elizabeth II sat alone in accordance with Covid regulations.

The Platinum Jubilee provided a thunderous demonstration of the contrast between the reverence for the head of state and the contempt for the head of government. When Johnson arrived for the Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral honoring the Queen’s 70-year-reign on Saturday, the crowds honoring Her Majesty greeted Johnson with a cacophony of boos and jeers.

The scene at St Paul’s was a “jaw-dropping moment in British politics”, said Jonathan Tonge, a professor of politics at Liverpool University. “It graphically showed that Johnson has become an electoral liability. If those 54 letters hadn’t already been in before the booing, they’d definitely have been sent soon after.”

It looks like the Tories are on track to discover just what an electoral liability Johnson can be, unless the situation changes dramatically: A poll in The Sunday Times forecast a heavy defeat to Labour in the June 23 Wakefield by-election. The Conservatives’ vote share of the vote is expected to plunge by 19 percent in this classic northern English seat – where shifting ideological trends prompted swaths of Labour voters to switch to the Tories over the past two decades, creating a crucial part of the new Conservative coalition.

‘Doesn’t look like an election winner’

In such circumstances, the Tories are well-known for their ruthlessness against electorally unpopular leaders – a proud attribute of the world’s most electorally successful political party. In 1990, Conservative MPs even removed Thatcher after they thought she had stayed in Downing Street for too long to be re-elected.

As well as engaging in such cold calculations, Conservatives have long fixated on projecting an image of competent leadership to appeal beyond their ideological base, making Partygate especially damning for Johnson, according to Tonge.

“There is no great ideological dispute at work here. Johnson was never ideological; his one ideological vision was getting Brexit done, and even that was just because he sensed that was the way the wind was blowing," said Tonge. "It’s all about competence, statecraft, winning elections – and now he’s fallen into disrepute and doesn’t look like an election winner, that’s the big problem.”

Many observers perceived a lack of discipline following Johnson’s early victories. The prime minister’s popularity dipped after he was slow to impose Covid lockdowns in 2020 – and after he reneged on the Tory manifesto to increase National Insurance contributions earlier this year, amid an intensifying cost of living crisis. But it was Partygate that changed the dynamic and kicked in the Tory survival instinct.

“While Labour was only occasionally ahead in the polls and even then not by very much, MPs who were frustrated with Johnson were nevertheless prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt,” noted Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London. “In the last few weeks, under the pressure of Partygate and the cost of living crisis, there’s been mounting evidence from surveys and focus groups that he’s not going to be able to save enough of their seats at the next election to persuade them to stick with him.”

‘Under pressure like no other’

Johnson has retained his cabinet’s support. Some of the most prominent ministers (and potential leadership contenders) including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have expressed their utmost support for the prime minister. So far the most prominent minister to break ranks is Johnson’s “Anti-Corruption Champion” John Penrose – hardly a household name.

“Stranger things have happened but I don't think he's likely to lose tonight, although the vote against him may well run into three figures – and possibly well into three figures,” Bale said.

Yet even if Johnson wins a majority of Tory MPs, past precedent suggests votes of no confidence are symptomatic of problems that lead to a Conservative prime minister’s departure before too long. Stuck in the Brexit mire, Theresa May won the necessary majority of Tory MPs in 2018 – but she was ousted within a year.

“In the past, this has done for Tory leaders,” said Tonge. “If anyone can escape it, it’s him. But I suspect this is the beginning of the end; he’s under pressure like no other.”

On the surface, the paucity of natural successors to Johnson looks like a potential means of escape. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was hailed for his management of the Covid crisis, notably in creating the furlough scheme to preserve jobs during lockdowns. But Sunak’s popularity took a hit in April when he was fined for Partygate lockdown breaches, like Johnson – and when it was revealed that his multi-millionaire wife Akshata Murthy has non-domiciled status, meaning she did not pay tax on income earned overseas while residing in the UK.

Other potential candidates like Local Government Secretary Michael Gove and ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt are seen as competent administrators but lack personal popularity.

“No doubt the best thing that ever happened to Johnson was that Sunak got that fine and his wife’s non dom status was discovered; there was an heir apparent then and there’s not now,” Curtice said. “None of the contenders cut through to the public. But the problems the Tories face is that the six months they’ve spent trying to defend Johnson have failed.”

“The lack of an obvious, sure-fire successor isn’t ideal,” Bale added. “But the idea that that is a necessary condition for a leadership contest is nonsense: if things look bad enough, parties will always look for someone, anyone, other than a leader who looks as if they're leading the party to defeat.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 07, 2022, 02:56:06 PM
Carbon dioxide now over 50% higher than preindustrial times, with levels ‘not seen for millions of years’


Levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere have soared to levels that are now more than 50% higher than in preindustrial times, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii peaked for 2022 at 421 parts per million in May, “pushing the atmosphere further into territory not seen for millions of years,” experts said.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution — and for almost 6,000 years of human civilization — CO2 levels were consistently around 280 ppm. Since that period of profound technological transformations, which began in the 18th century, scientists estimate that humans have generated around 1.5 trillion tons of CO2 pollution, much of which will continue to warm the planet for thousands of years to come.

The announcement was made by scientists from NOAA — a federal agency that provides science and service to protect the Earth’s natural resources — and from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

“The science is irrefutable: humans are altering our climate in ways that our economy and our infrastructure must adapt to,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement.

"We can see the impacts of climate change around us every day. The relentless increase of carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa is a stark reminder that we need to take urgent, serious steps to become a more Climate Ready Nation,” he added.

According to NOAA, carbon dioxide pollution is generated by the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and electrical generation, as well as cement manufacturing, deforestation, agriculture and other practices.

“Along with other greenhouse gases, CO2 traps heat radiating from the planet’s surface that would otherwise escape into space, causing the planet’s atmosphere to warm steadily, which unleashes a cascade of weather impacts, including episodes of extreme heat, drought and wildfire activity, as well as heavier precipitation, flooding and tropical storm activity,” the agency said.

“It’s depressing that we’ve lacked the collective willpower to slow the relentless rise in CO2,” said Ralph Keeling, a renowned geochemistry professor who runs the Scripps program at Mauna Loa. “Fossil-fuel use may no longer be accelerating, but we are still racing at top speed towards a global catastrophe,” he added.

Pieter Tans, senior scientist with the Global Monitoring Laboratory, shared Keeling’s frustration, saying that the high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are nothing new — but still, the world has so far refused to act accordingly.

“We have known about this for half a century, and have failed to do anything meaningful about it,” he said. “What’s it going to take for us to wake up?”

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 07, 2022, 05:55:02 PM
Boris Johnson says Ukraine should not accept 'bad peace' with Russia
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 07, 2022, 11:56:30 PM
Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts, Duo That Ruled ’70s Soft-Rock With Hits Like ‘Summer Breeze,’ Dies at 80


Jim Seals, who as part of the duo Seals and Crofts crafted memorably wistful 1970s hits like “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl,” died Monday at age 80. No cause of death was immediately given.

Several friends and relatives confirmed the death. “I just learned that James ‘Jimmy’ Seals has passed,” announced his cousin, Brady Seals, a former member of the country band Little Texas, Monday night. “My heart just breaks for his wife Ruby and their children. Please keep them in your prayers. What an incredible legacy he leaves behind.”

Wrote John Ford Coley, “This is a hard one on so many levels as this is a musical era passing for me. And it will never pass this way again, as his song said,” he added, referring to the Seals and Croft hit “We May Never Pass This Way (Again).” Coley was a member of another hit duo of the era, England Dan and John Ford Coley, with Jim Seals’ younger brother, the late Dan Seals.

“You and Dan finally get reunited again,” Coley wrote. “Tell him and your sweet momma hi for me.”

With Jim Seals as the primary lead vocalist of the harmonizing duo, Seals and Crofts came to be the very emblem of “soft rock” with a run of hits that lasted for only about six years. Although none of the pair’s hits ever reached No. 1 on the Hot 100, their biggest songs were for a time as ubiquitous as any that did top the chart. “Summer Breeze” in 1972 and “Diamond Girl” in 1973 both reached No. 6, as did a more upbeat song in 1976, “Get Closer,” sung with Carolyn Willis.

Besides those three songs that reached the top 10 on the Hot 100, four more made it to the adult contemporary chart’s top 10: “We May Never Pass This Way (Again)” in ’73, “I’ll Play for You” in ’75, “Goodbye Old Buddies” in ’77 and “You’re the Love” in ’78.

Critic Robert Christgau called the duo “folk-schlock,” but Seals and Crofts had the last laugh — or would have, if crowing with vindication was part of the Baha’i way. Both members of the duo were deeply embedded in that peace-loving faith from the late ’60s forward.

The duo broke up in 1980, followed by a couple of very fleeting reunions in the early ’90s and early 2000s, which generated only one album after their original run, the little-noticed “Traces” in 2004, They never reembarked together on the kind of nostalgia-stoking package tours that would have seemed a natural for an act with so many well-remembered hits. But neither member showed a particularly heavy interest in chasing the limelight after the 1970s.

John Ford Coley shared his thoughts at length in a Facebook post. “I spent a large portion of my musical life with this man,” he wrote. “He was Dan’s older brother, (and) it was Jimmy that gave Dan and me our stage name. He taught me how to juggle, made me laugh, pissed me off, encouraged me, showed me amazing worlds and different understandings on life, especially on a philosophical level; showed me how expensive golf was and how to never hit a golf ball because next came the total annihilation of a perfectly good golf club, and the list goes on and on. We didn’t always see eye to eye, especially as musicians, but we always got along and I thought he was a bona fide, dyed-in the-wool musical genius and a very deep and contemplative man. He was an enigma and I always had regard for his opinion.

“I listened to him and I learned from him,” Coley continued. “We didn’t always agree and it wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fun but it definitely was always entertaining for sure. Dan adored his older brother and it was because of Jimmy opening doors for us that we came to Los Angeles to record and meet the right people. … He belonged to a group that was one of a kind. I am very sad over this but I have some of the best memories of all of us together.”

For several years in the late ’50s and early ’60s, both Seals and Dash Crofts — who survives his partner — were members of a group that bore little stylistic similarity to their later act: the Champs, although they joined after that band had recorded its signature hit, “Tequila.” Seals played sax in that group and Crofts was on drums.

James Eugene Seals was born in 1942 to an oilman, Wayland Seals, and his wife Cora. ““There were oil rigs as far as you could see,” Seals told an interviewer of his upbringing in Iraan, Texas. “And the stench was so bad you couldn’t breathe.” Jim became transfixed by a visiting fiddler and his father ordered him an instrument from the Sears catalog when he was 5 or 6. In a 1952 contest in west Texas, Jim won the fiddle division while his father triumphed in the guitar category. His little brother, Dan, later to be a pop star himself, took up the stand-up bass.

Jim took up sax at age 13 and began playing with a local band, the Crew Cats, when rock ‘n’ roll broke out in 1955. The shy musician joined up with the more outgoing Darrell “Dash” Crofts, who was two years older and grew up the son of a Texas cattle rancher, inviting his friend to join the Crew Cats as well. In 1958, the offer came to join the Champs, who’d recently had a No. 1 smash with “Tequila.” They stayed with that band till quitting in 1965.

The pair moved to L.A. and joined a group called the Dawnbreakers, also playing for a time behind Glen Campbell, just before he broke out as a major star. Their manager, Marcia Day, was a member of the Baha’i faith, and the house they shared on Sunset Blvd. was full of adherents as well as secular members of the local rock scene; in 1967, five years before having their first hit, both Seals and Crofts converted.

“She and her family were Bahai, and they’d have these fireside gatherings at their house on Friday night,” Seals recalled in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “There were street people, doctors, university teachers and everybody there. And the things they talked about, I couldn’t even ask the question let alone give the answer: the difference between soul, mind and spirit, life after death. We’d discuss things sometimes until 3 in the morning.

“It was the only thing I’d heard that made sense to me, so I responded to it,” he continued. “That began to spawn some ideas to write songs that might help people to understand, or help ones who maybe couldn’t feel anything or were cynical or cold. Lyrically, I think music can convey things that are hard sometimes for people to say to each other. But through a song, through someone else’s eyes, they can see it and it’s not so much a confrontation.”

Abandoning their former instruments for something more folk-rock-friendly, Seals took up the guitar and Crofts learned the mandolin. Their first three albums as a duo, between 1969-71, had a sweet sound but went little-noticed. They tried cutting “Summer Breeze” earlier but didn’t come up with a version they liked until their third album in 1972, which they named after the track. It caught on at radio, region by region. Seals was quoted in Texas Monthly as having noted the sudden shift when they arrived for a gig in Ohio: “There were kids waiting for us at the airport. That night we had a record crowd, maybe 40,000 people. And I remember people throwing their hats and coats in the air as far as you could see, against the moon. Prettiest thing you’ve ever seen.”

After several more major and minor hits followed, including “Diamond Girl,” wrote Texas Monthly, the duo had their own private jet yet “would come out and sit at the edge of the stage and hold firesides about the Baha’i faith with curious fans. In 1974 they played the California jam, along with Deep Purple and the Eagles, in front of hundreds of thousands. When Jim pulled out his fiddle for a hoedown on ‘Fiddle in the Sky,’ throngs of  sunbaked hippies clapped along.”

The duo stirred controversy in 1974 by recording an anti-abortion song, “Unborn Child,” as their album’s track in 1974 in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision. The belief that abortion was wrong came out of their shared Baha’i beliefs, and they released it over the objections of their label, Warner Bros.

The divisive song “was really just asking a question: What about the child?” Seals told the L.A. Times years later. “We were trying to say, ‘This is an important issue,’ that life is precious and that we don’t know enough about these things yet to make a judgment. It was our ignorance that we didn’t know that kind of thing was seething and boiling as a social issue. On one hand we had people sending us thousands of roses, but on the other people were literally throwing rocks at us. If we’d known it was going to cause such disunity, we might have thought twice about doing it. At the time it overshadowed all the other things we were trying to say in our music.”

In 1977, the duo contributed to the soundtrack for a basketball-based film, “One on One,” starring Robbie Benson. They didn’t write the songs — Paul Williams and Charles Fox did — but were prominently billed on the soundtrack album as the song score’s performers.

By the time they broke up in 1980, their brand of music was finding far less of a place in disco-fied top 40 stations. Seals moved to Costa Rica with his wife, Ruby, where they were reported to have run a coffee farm as they raised their three children, and Crofts and his family moved to Mexico and eventually Australia.

In 1991, when Seals and Crofts made a stab at a reunion, they talked about their breakup with the L.A. Times. “Around 1980,” Seals told the newspaper, “we were still drawing 10,000 to 12,000 people at concerts. But we could see, with this change coming where everybody wanted dance music, that those days were numbered. We just decided that it was a good time, after a long run at it, to lie back and not totally commit ourselves to that kind of thing because we were like (fish) out of water.”

Seals, who later moved to Nashville, was considered to have been retired from a music career even before he suffered a stroke in 2017 that put a halt to his playing.

But he did occasionally return to music in the intervening years, as when he toured with his brother Dan (aka England Dan) as Seals and Seals.

The Seals name has a legacy in music that goes beyond just Jim’s, as multiple generations in the family tree have taken up performing or songwriting. Besides Dan’s tenure with England Dan and John Ford Coley and cousin Brady Seals’ success with Little Texas, another cousin, Troy Seals, is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member responsible for such hits as “Seven Spanish Angels,” and in the ’50s his uncle Charles “Chuck” Seals co-wrote the Ray Price classic “Crazy Arms.”

Seals is survived by Ruby and by their children Joshua, Juliette and Sutherland.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 08, 2022, 03:06:07 PM
North Carolina cocktail bar under fire for playing film featuring actors in blackface

According to WCCB, an upscale cocktail bar in Charlotte, North Carolina is facing controversy after playing an old film for patrons in which actors were dressed in blackface.

The bar, meanwhile, has apologized, claiming that it was an innocent mistake.

"It happened Friday night at Sophia’s Lounge in uptown Charlotte. Alexandra and Kevin Keith, a Black couple, say they went into the business for date night. When they sat down, they noticed a black and white movie being played, and then they saw the actors in blackface," reported Morgan Fogerty. "The couple tells WCCB they asked for the movie to be turned off. They say their server told them this: 'She informed us that there was a Black family that was there before us, and had the same complaint, and when she (the server) mentioned it to the manager, it was taken with a shrug,' says Alexandra Keith. Her husband Kevin adds, 'So, at one point, they turned it back on.'"

"Sophia’s Lounge management sent WCCB a response that reads in part, 'We have taken immediate action to ensure this program (or similar programming) will not be shown again. In keeping with our theme, the lounge had been playing ‘classic’ films via Turner Classic Movies.' And, 'The management team has been made fully-aware of this situation and is monitoring what is broadcasted so that this will not occur again. We thoroughly and completely apologize to all of our guests for this unfortunate situation,'" the report continued.

The practice of blackface, which is associated with racist mockery and appropriation of Black culture, is still seen occasionally, causing an uproar when it does.

Multiple elected officials, from former Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to Republican local officials in New Jersey, have faced scandals after old photographs of them in blackface have resurfaced. And some schools have been plunged into turmoil following blackface incidents on their campus, including a Colorado school where people re-enacted the murder of George Floyd.

Watch the original broadcast here:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 08, 2022, 05:59:10 PM
Ted Cruz mocked in Mexico as country's president airs video of senator fleeing gun question
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 09, 2022, 12:21:01 AM
Report: Mets Stars Pete Alonso and Starling Marte's Status Unclear After Injury
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 10, 2022, 02:05:02 AM
Ballistics researchers give vivid demonstration of how AR-15 bullets tear human flesh apart
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 10, 2022, 02:30:43 PM
Amber Heard to have more screen time in ‘Aquaman 2’: Reports

Amber Heard's screen time in the upcoming movie Aquaman 2 has been increased amid reports that she won’t be in the film after she lost the highly publicised defamation case against ex-husband Johnny Depp.

As per a report published in Spanish newspaper Marca, The Rum Diary actor will have approximately 20 minutes of screen time in the most anticipated super hero film.

The outlet reported that Warner Bros. held a meeting to decide whether or not Heard will be in the final cut of the movie which also stars Jason Momoa in lead role.

The company decided to let the actor stay in the movie and that too with more screen time after previously it was reported that the 36-year-old will only have 10 minutes in the whole film.

Earlier, Heard had said during her trial in the libel case that she had to fight to stay in the movie and that her role has been cut short.

She told the court, “They released me from my contract. I fought to stay in it and they kept me in it.”

“I don't know if I will even be in the final cut or how much I will be,”  Heard added.

When asked about the changes made to her script she admitted, "I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it that depicted my character and another character — without giving any spoilers away — two characters fighting with one another.”

“They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out,” she revealed

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 11, 2022, 12:05:09 AM
Reality Check: Are the hottest cities in the world becoming uninhabitable thanks to climate change?

A recent heatwave in Jacobabad in Pakistan saw temperatures reaching a record-breaking 51˚C – a figure dangerously close to the limit of human survivability.


More-and-more heatwave records are shattered every year. Last month we saw temperatures max out at around 51˚C in central Pakistan. And last year we saw a nearly 5˚C toppling of the previous temperature record in Western Canada. For some of India’s current heatwaves, we have already estimated that climate change has made them a hundred times more likely, and by the end of the century, we are predicting that heat waves temperatures of 50˚C will be an annual occurrence in the region. The exact numbers vary depending where you are on the globe, but one thing we can be sure about, more extremes are coming.

The feeling of being hot or cold doesn’t simply depend on temperature, but a range of weather conditions. Humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation can all add or subtract from our perceived temperature, and in certain combinations, they can be deadly.

At the heart of this combination is ‘dry-bulb temperature’, that is what we normally think of when we say temperature, and what you would measure if you stick a thermometer above your head and read off the mercury. But meteorologists often prefer to use a ‘felt temperature’, known as wet-bulb temperature, which is also measured with a thermometer but wrapped in a wet cloth to mimic many of the same heat transfers that are regulated by our bodies.

Most of us know the uncomfortable feeling of being unable to cool down during a particularly humid night - the same mechanisms are at play here. Physiologically, this makes sense. Humans, and indeed all mammals, sweat to cool down. If the humidity is too high, the sweat cannot move from our skin, so this cooldown mechanism is prohibited.

We actually know the human tolerance level pretty well - it is at 35˚C wet-bulb temperature. At this point humans cannot survive for more than a couple of hours because we can no longer transfer heat from our body to the environment. This might not sound like much, but the numerical value of the wet-bulb is always lower than that of the dry-bulb (except at 100 per cent relative humidity). This means 35˚C wet-bulb temperature can easily equate to over 50˚C dry-bulb temperature, even at moderate humidity levels.

So, have we ever exceeded a 35˚C wet-bulb temperature threshold before? The answer is yes, but it is extremely rare. There have only been around ten reported cases around the world, and those were in the Middle East, in and around India, in Australia and in Mexico.

Even when wet-bulb temperatures do not reach this high, the large, densely packed cities in these regions compound the heat-health problem, and so it is commonplace to see hundreds of heat-related deaths every year in some of the major urban centres.

In general, the richer and more modern the city, the less of a problem this is, and in some of the larger Middle Eastern cities they have learnt to adapt very well. Indeed, the locals of Dubai and Abu Dhabi know to dress up warm in the height of summer, because they travel by car from building-to-building, with the AC maxed out, and without ever needing to walk outdoors. The poorer and more rural-based citizens of the world do not have this luxury.

But will climate change make this worse? Given the increase in temperatures, we expect more exceedances of the 35˚C survivability threshold in the future, but these cases are likely to remain rare and only occur for a few hours at a time. We expect them to be limited to locations in the tropics and subtropics, and even then only during certain years. We predict that the likelihood of these events significantly diminishes if we can adhere to the Paris Agreement climate goals - that is limiting global averaged increases in temperatures to well below 2˚C.

While temperatures might not exceed survivability limits, heat still kills. Adapting to new heat-norms is inevitable, but the good news story is that we already have a wealth of heat-reducing strategies available to us. Even in Europe, we see many streets surrounded by tall rows of buildings, able to shade inhabitants from the penetrating sunlight. We also see buildings painted in lighter colours, reflecting the Sun’s heat and providing a cooler environment.

For countries closer to the equator, more drastic measures have been implemented. AC, where financially viable, is an excellent option, but many of the poorer countries do not have the power infrastructure to make this technology reliable. One near-universal strategy that has been shown to work is introducing more nature-based spaces, trees, and water bodies in cities.

While not always feasible if your climate is not conducive to such ecosystems, where it is implemented, it has been shown to include a wealth of physical and mental health benefits. In this world of ever-increasing urbanisation, we have spent decades paving over nature - now is the time to let nature claim some of that back.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 11, 2022, 12:31:42 AM
Jack Del Rio fined $100,000 by Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera for calling Capitol insurrection a ‘dust-up’


With calls coming for Jack Del Rio to be fired in Washington, the team issued the embattled defensive coordinator a hefty fine instead.

Del Rio, who called the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection a mere “dust-up” earlier in the week, was socked with a $100,000 fine by Commanders head coach Ron Rivera on Friday.

“As we saw last night in the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was an act of domestic terrorism,” Rivera said in a statement. “A group of citizens attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, and as a result, lives were lost and the Capitol building was damaged.”

The $100,000 the team collects from Del Rio will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund, Rivera said.

Del Rio, 59, who has been with the Washington franchise as D-coordinator since 2020, was comparing the property destroyed during nationwide protests in the summer of 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin to the assault on the Capitol in an effort by supporters of then-President Trump to overturn the election results.

“I can look at images on the TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” the former Jaguars and Raiders head coach said. “And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make that a major deal.”

It was a major deal and Rivera made that clear in his statement.

“I want to make it clear that our organization will not tolerate any equivalency between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the actions of those on January 6 who sought to topple our government.”

NAACP president Derrick Johnson called for Del Rio to either quit or be fired in a statement issued Thursday.

“His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant,” Johnson wrote, per The Washington Post. “... Downplaying the insurrection by comparing it to nationwide protests, which were in response to a public lynching, is twisted. You can’t coach a majority Black team while turning your back on the Black community. It’s time for you to pack up and step off the field.”

Del Rio, who issued a halfhearted apology after his “dust-up” comments, had been asked by local reporters during media availability after practice on Wednesday to comment on a tweet he had sent on Monday in response to the upcoming prime-time hearing held by the House panel investigating the Capitol attack. The first hearing was held on Thursday night.

“Would love to understand ‘the whole story’ about why the summer of riots, looting, burning and destruction of personal property is never discussed but this is ? #CommonSense.”

Rivera said he met with Del Rio Friday morning to express his disappointment.

“He does have the right to voice his opinion as a citizen of the United States and it is most certainly in his constitutional right to do so. However, words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community.”

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 11, 2022, 12:54:09 PM
The chief didn't know he was in charge? What a disaster and this clown needs to be fired immediately for being incompetent. 

Uvalde schools police chief: I didn't know I was in charge at the shooting scene


The Texas school police chief criticized for his actions during one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history said in his first extensive comments since the massacre, published Thursday, that he didn't consider himself the person in charge as it unfolded and assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response.

Pete Arredondo, 50, the police chief of the Uvalde school district, also told The Texas Tribune he intentionally left behind both his police and campus radios before entering Robb Elementary School.

An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers behind a locked classroom door the chief said was reinforced with a steel jamb and couldn't be kicked in.

Poor radio communications is among the concerns raised about how police handled the May 24 shooting and why they didn't confront the gunman for more than an hour, even as anguished parents outside the school urged officers to go in.

Separately, The New York Times reported Thursday that documents show police waited for protective equipment as they delayed entering the campus, even as they became aware that some victims needed medical treatment.

Arredondo told the Tribune that from the hallway of the school, he used his cell phone to call for tactical gear, a sniper and keys to get inside the classroom. He said he held back from the door for 40 minutes to avoid provoking gunfire and tried dozens of keys brought to him but that, one-by-one, they failed to work.

"Each time I tried a key I was just praying," he told the Tribune.

In the more than two weeks since the shooting, Arredondo's actions have come under intensifying scrutiny from both state officials and experts trained in mass shooting responses.

But Arredondo defended his actions and those of other law enforcement, remarking to the Tribune that, "Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children," Arredondo said. "We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced. Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat."

Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said the school police chief, who he described as the incident commander, made the "wrong decision" to not order officers to breach the classroom more quickly to confront the gunman.

But Arredondo, who told the Tribune he believed carrying radios would slow him down as he entered the school and that he knew that radios didn't work in some school buildings, said he never considered himself the scene's incident commander and didn't give any instruction that police shouldn't attempt to breach the building.

"I didn't issue any orders," Arredondo said. "I called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door."

Arredondo hasn't responded to repeated interview requests and questions from The Associated Press.

Arredondo's account and records obtained by the Times were published Thursday as law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and details. They've also made frequent corrections to previous statements, and no information about the police response has been formally released by investigators since the days that followed the attack.

According to documents obtained by the Times, a man investigators believe to be Arredondo could be heard on body camera footage talking about how much time was passing.

"People are going to ask why we're taking so long," said the man, according to a transcript of officers' body camera footage obtained by the newspaper. "We're trying to preserve the rest of the life."

Sixty officers had assembled on the scene by the time four officers made entry, according to the report. The two classrooms where the shooting took place included 33 children and three teachers.

Not all the victims were found dead when officers finally went inside: one teacher died in an ambulance and three children died at nearby hospitals, according to the records obtained by the Times, which included a review of law enforcement documents and video that have been gathered as part of the investigation.

The family of Xavier Lopez, 10, said the boy had been shot in the back and lost a lot of blood as he waited for medical attention.

"He could have been saved," Leonard Sandoval, the boy's grandfather, told the newspaper. "The police did not go in for more than an hour. He bled out."

The records obtained by the Times offered other new details, including that the gunman, Salvador Ramos, had a "hellfire" trigger device meant to enable a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle to be fired more like an automatic weapon, but didn't appear to have used it during the attack. Ramos had spent more than $6,000 amassing an arsenal of weapons that included two AR-15-style rifles, accessories and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to the documents.

The Times reported that some of the officers who first arrived at the school had long guns, and that Arredondo learned the gunman's identity while inside the school and attempted to communicate with him through the closed classroom doors.

Eva Mireles, one of the teachers who was killed, made a phone call to her husband, a Uvalde school district police officer, during the attack. The documents obtained by the Times show that Ruben Ruiz informed responders on the scene that his wife was still alive in one of the classrooms.

"She says she is shot," Ruiz could be heard telling other officers as he arrived inside the school at 11:48 a.m., according to the body camera transcript obtained by the Times.

By 12:46 p.m., Arredondo seemed to give his approval for officers to enter the room, the Times reported.

"If y'all are ready to do it, you do it," he said, according to the transcript.

About a week after the shooting, department of public safety officials said Arredondo was no longer cooperating with the agency and had not responded to interview requests from the Texas Rangers, the agency's investigative unit.

Arredondo's attorney, George E. Hyde, told the Tribune for Thursday's story that Arredondo could not do an interview on the day the Rangers asked because he was covering shifts for his officers. Hyde said Arredondo is willing to cooperate with the Rangers investigation but would like to see a transcript of his previous comments.

"That's a fair thing to ask for before he has to then discuss it again because, as time goes by, all the information that he hears, it's hard to keep straight," Hyde said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 11, 2022, 05:50:09 PM
Yankees may target relievers at deadline; DJ LeMahieu is Theo Epstein’s biggest miss; an interview with Bam-Bam
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 13, 2022, 12:27:28 AM
Climate change a bigger threat than war, Fiji tells security summit


Fiji has told an Asian security summit that climate change is a bigger threat to the Pacific than military tensions.

"Machine guns, fighter jets... are not our primary security concern. The single greatest threat to our very existence is climate change," Fiji Defence Minister Inia Seruiratu said.

He was addressing a summit in Singapore which has focused on China-US tensions and the Ukraine war.

Cyclones have repeatedly battered Fiji and other low-lying Pacific countries.

"It threatens our very hopes and dreams of prosperity. Human-induced, devastating climate change," Mr Seruiratu told the forum, called the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Floods in Fiji caused by tropic cyclones have displaced thousands of people in recent years and wrought economic havoc.

Pacific states have urged advanced industrialised nations to do more to combat climate change.

"Waves are crashing at our doorsteps, winds are battering our homes, we are being assaulted by this enemy from many angles," Mr Seruiratu told delegates.

The world is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in the 19th Century - the result of humans burning fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide (CO2).

A really simple guide to climate change
But much attention has focused on China's growing challenge to Western strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

In April China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, causing concern in Australia, New Zealand and the US. The details of it were not disclosed.

Besides the Solomons, Pacific island nations have not so far reached consensus on China's proposal for a new regional trade and security pact.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 14, 2022, 07:18:36 AM
Iraq buffeted by 10th sandstorm in two months


BAGHDAD: Iraq temporarily closed Baghdad airport on Monday as choking clouds of dust blanketed the capital, the latest crippling sandstorm in a country that has warned climate change poses an “existential threat”.

It was the tenth such storm since mid-April to hit Iraq, which has been battered by intense droughts, soil degradation, high temperatures and low rainfall linked to climate change.

Earlier this month, to mark World Environment Day, President Barham Saleh warned that tackling climate change “must become a national priority for Iraq as it is an existential threat to the future of our generations to come”.

The sun eventually reappeared on Monday afternoon, after a thick white dust had covered Baghdad and surrounding areas through the morning, with visibility slashed to a few hundred metres (yards).

Officials at Baghdad airport announced the temporary suspension of flights, before they were restarted at around 10:30am. In Najaf, the airport briefly suspended operations in the morning before reopening a few hours later when the dust passed. Airports have been forced to suspend flights several times due to sandstorms in recent weeks.

In May, sandstorms sent thousands of people to hospital with respiratory problems, and left one person dead. Iraq, which is entering the scorching summer season when temperatures at times surpass 50 degrees Celsius, is ranked by the United Nations as one of the world’s five most vulnerable nations to climate change and desertification.

The environment ministry has warned that over the next two decades Iraq could endure an average of 272 days of sandstorms per year, rising to above 300 by 2050.

The World Bank warned in November that Iraq could suffer a 20 percent drop in water resources by 2050 due to climate change. Water shortages have been exacerbated by the building of upstream dams in neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

Published in Dawn,June 14th, 2022

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 14, 2022, 07:24:51 AM
Mick Jagger Tests Positive For Covid, Rolling Stones Concert Postponed

“I’m so sorry that we’ve had to postpone the Amsterdam show,” Jagger wrote to fans on Instagram. “Thank you all for your patience and understanding”


The Rolling Stones were just hours away from taking the stage at Amsterdam’s Johan Cruyff Arena Monday evening for the fourth date of their 60th anniversary tour when Mick Jagger announced that he had tested positive for Covid and the show wouldn’t be happening.

“I’m so sorry that we’ve had to postpone the Amsterdam show with such short notice tonight,” he wrote to fans on Instagram. “I have unfortunately just tested positive for Covid. We aim to reschedule the date ASAP and get back as soon as we can. Thank you all for your patience and understanding.”

As of now, their June 17 show at Bern, Switzerland’s Wankdorf Stadium is still happening, but that could easily change if Jagger hasn’t recovered by then. The tour is scheduled to wrap up July 31 at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, but they’ve pledged to rebook the Amsterdam show for most likely August.

The Stones returned to the road in 2021 following a two-year break due to the pandemic. They were one of the few major acts to complete a tour without any Covid issues. “It was a hard tour because we were traveling in the bubble,” longtime Stones backup singer Bernard Fowler told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “You do the gig, you go to the hotel, and you’re in the hotel. There’s no meeting and greeting people. No going to see your friends in the lobby or hanging out at the bar and having drinks after the show. There was none of that.”

"We were being tested two or three times a week,” he continued. “I’m sure I wasn’t the only one holding my breath every time I went to the Covid office. ‘Am I going to be the one? Who’s going to be the one?'”

The Stones join a long list of touring acts to see their 2022 tour impacted by Covid. Ringo Starr was just forced to postpone the remaining dates of his June tour after bandmates Edgar Winter and Steve Lukather tested positive.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 14, 2022, 08:06:24 AM
Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band Postpone Tour Dates After Edgar Winter, Steve Lukather Test Positive for COVID

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band—Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette, Hamish Stuart, and Edgar Winter—are postponing the final 12 dates of their tour after two band members have tested positive for COVID.

The shows were initially planned for 2020 and postponed due to the pandemic. The band was nearly halfway through the 22-show run, which kicked off May 27 from Casino Rama in Ontario, before having to postpone shows once again.

On June 7, Starr informed the audience at the Beacon Theatre in New York City that Edgar Winter had COVID, during the second of three sold-out shows at the venue, and the All Starrs would continue the tour. Several days later, the band revealed that guitarist Steve Lukather has also tested positive for COVID, forcing the group to reschedule the remaining 12 dates, which will be added to a September 2022 tour.

“We are so sorry to let the fans down,” said Starr in a statement. “It’s been wonderful to be back out on the road and we have been having such a great time playing for you all. But as we all know, COVID is still here and despite being careful these things happen. I want to thank the fans for their patience, I send you all peace and love, and we can’t wait to be back in the Fall.”

In meantime to the upcoming postponed tour dates Starr is scheduled to hold his annual Peace and Love birthday celebration on July 7, where he invites everyone everywhere to say, post, or think about peace and love at noon their local time. The event starts in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia and concludes in Hawaii, with fans organizing local events around the world. More details and live streams around the events will be available on Starr’s Facebook page. 

“Well we tried, things happen,” wrote Starr on his Instagram page. “Thank you to all the people who came to the shows. Peace and love everybody.”


Ringo Starr & The 2022 All Star Band On The Road


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 14, 2022, 11:32:11 PM
MLB Power Rankings: Top 10 Shakeup as Braves, Red Sox Climb and Astros Plummet
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 14, 2022, 11:50:59 PM
Patriot Front member kicked out of mom's house following arrest: 'This is not who I raised'


One of the Patriot Front extremists was kicked out of his mother's house after his arrest with dozens of white nationalists allegedly conspiring to provoke violence at an Idaho LGBTQ+ pride event.

Karen Amsden, the mother of Jared Michael Boyce, told The Daily Beast that her son had struggled since his father left their family years ago and came out as gay, and she said she was going public in hopes of damaging her son's reputation in the group and finally cut ties with white nationalism.

“I would love to do whatever I can to out him [as a Patriot Front member] so that he can’t be a part of it," Amsden said, "and that they don’t want him to be a part of their group because his mom has loose lips and a big mouth and he’s never going to get away with anything.”

Amsden said her son had vowed to remain with the group after his release from jail, so she gave him an ultimatum.

“I told him, ‘Well, then you can’t live here. You can choose between Patriot Front and your family,’" she said, "and he’s like, ‘Well, I can’t quit Patriot Front.’ I’m like, ‘Well, then you've just chosen. So pack your stuff and get out of my house.’”

Police said the 27-year-old from Springville, Utah, was among 31 masked men from various states who were spotted climbing into a U-Haul truck packed with riot gear, shields and a smoke grenade, along with an "operations plan" for a possibly violent confrontation at the parade.

“They’re not just white nationalists, they are not Western nationalists, they are not patriots," said researcher Jon Lewis, of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. "They are neo-Nazis.”

An anonymous donor bailed the group members out of jail, Boyce told his mother, and he justified his actions using language that has filtered up from the QAnon fringes to Fox News prime time programming and GOP lawmakers.

“Don’t believe the media, mom," Boyce said according to his mother. "We were just there because they’re grooming kids.”

Boyce found the group online in 2018, when he was married with his then-wife and their children, and Amsden said he quickly changed and his views became repugnant to her.

“He’s so misguided and bought into all their rhetoric, it just makes me sick,” Amsden said. “This is not who I raised. This is not the example that was set for him.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 15, 2022, 03:37:34 PM
Historic flood shuts down Northern part of Yellowstone for rest of season
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 15, 2022, 03:52:42 PM
'End of an era': Microsoft to shut down OG Internet Explorer Wednesday[/b]
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 15, 2022, 11:39:35 PM
Children at particular risk of climate change, air pollution effects: analysis
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 16, 2022, 11:34:34 AM
WWE board investigates secret $3 million hush payment by CEO Vince McMahon, report says

World Wrestling Entertainment’s board is investigating a $3 million hush-money settlement that CEO Vince McMahon paid a former employee over an alleged affair, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A WWE spokesman told the newspaper that the company is cooperating with the board’s investigation and that the relationship between McMahon and the woman was consensual.

The board’s probe also revealed older agreements related to misconduct claims against McMahon and another WWE executive by women who used to work at the company, the report said.


World Wrestling Entertainment board is investigating a $3 million hush-money settlement that CEO Vince McMahon paid a woman over an alleged affair, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing documents and people familiar with the matter.

The agreement, which was struck in January, is intended to prevent the woman, who had worked as a paralegal for the company, from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making critical statements about the chief executive, the Journal added.

A WWE spokesman told the newspaper that the company is cooperating with the board’s investigation and that the relationship between McMahon and the woman was consensual

McMahon, 76, is married to Linda McMahon, who served as CEO of WWE and as Small Business Administration chief in the administration of former President Donald Trump, who is a WWE Hall of Famer.

The report said the board’s investigation, which started in April, also revealed nondisclosure pacts related to misconduct claims from other women who had worked at WWE. These agreements involved McMahon and WWE talent executive John Laurinaitis, who wrestled under the name Johnny Ace, the Journal added.

WWE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

The board retained Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, a New York-based law firm, to conduct the investigation, a source told the Journal. The firm didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

McMahon’s lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, was not immediately available for comment. McDevitt told the Journal that the former employee didn’t make any harassment claims against McMahon. He also said that WWE didn’t pay her any money, the paper said.

The news comes at a pivotal time for the wrestling-entertainment company. In May, executive Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of Vince and Linda McMahon, took a leave of absence from most of her responsibilities at the company. “WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family,” she tweeted at the time.

WWE has also been the subject of speculation over a potential sale and its media rights. It has deals with Fox, USA Network, Hulu and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service. The Hulu deal expires this year.

The company is publicly traded, but McMahon owns the majority of WWE’s voting shares. He took over the company from his father, also named Vince McMahon, in 1982. Under the younger McMahon’s oversight, the WWE, then known as the World Wrestling Federation, became a global juggernaut. In the decades since, the company has spawned superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dave Bautista.

This is far from McMahon’s first brush with controversy. In 1993, he was indicted on federal charges related to anabolic steroids, which he and several professional wrestlers in the WWF stable used. He was acquitted of the charges in 1994. McMahon and the company also came under fire in 1999 for continuing a show after superstar Owen Hart, a brother of Bret’s, fell to his death from an arena’s rafters while staging a stunt. The company eventually agreed to pay the Hart family $18 million over the wrestler’s death.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 16, 2022, 11:37:10 AM
Newly discovered fast radio burst challenges what astronomers know about these powerful astronomical phenomena
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 16, 2022, 11:38:41 AM
What is chronic wasting disease? A wildlife scientist explains the fatal prion infection killing deer and elk across North America
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 16, 2022, 12:54:57 PM
Paul McCartney Got Back tour at MetLife Stadium: Everything you need to know


Spoiler alert for Beatles fans: Paul McCartney is performing a special virtual duet on his Got Back tour, which comes to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Thursday, June 16,

A video, with vocals, of the late John Lennon is shown during the Beatles classic “I’ve Got a Feeling.” The footage comes from Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” documentary, which was originally filmed for the Fab Four's “Let It Be” movie in January of 1969.

Lennon was 29 years old.

“We got something here that's very special for me,” said McCartney during the performance in Oakland, Calif.

The Got Back shows, which are running about 2½ hours, are chock full of Beatles, Wings and McCartney classics. The tour-closing MetLife concert comes two days before McCartney's 80th birthday.

What are there chances of “Birthday” being performed at MetLife? Pretty good — the classic has been played on every tour show, according to setlist.fm.

Be sure to get there early and avoid the check-in lines to get to you seat  — the show starts approximately at 8 p.m. and there is no opener. Transfer tickets to the members of your party and be sure to add them to your mobile wallet before arriving at the gate.

The 13-city tour launched April 28 at the Spo.... Arena in Washington. It's Macca's first run of live dates since the 39-show, 12-country Freshen Up tour ended in July 2019.       

“Paul McCartney Got Back” was written in 20-foot tall white letters in the end zones of the field where the Giants and Jets play in February to mark the MetLife show. Fans were invited on the field to take pictures.

“When you come back after three years you get a bit more nervous than you normally would because you’re just thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, have I forgotten how it goes?’ ” said McCartney on paulmcccartney.com. “It takes a little while until you start to think, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got this!’ ”

Attendees are not required to wear a mask and do not need to show proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test. Below is more of what you need to know, as provided by MetLife Stadium.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 16, 2022, 11:38:57 PM
Jan. 6 hearing live updates: What to expect on Day 3 as the focus turns to Pence
Then-President Donald Trump pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, to help him in his effort to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 17, 2022, 11:20:40 AM
Social stress can speed up immune system aging – new research
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 17, 2022, 11:35:27 AM
Satellite photos show extent of devastating Yellowstone flood


Floods decimated portions of Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area earlier this week, and a series of satellite images from before and after the flooding show the extent of the damage.

The images show the tremendous power of what the National Park Service called “unprecedented flooding,” caused by heavy rain and rapid snowmelt.


While the flooding at Yellowstone may not be directly attributable to climate change, a 2018 study showed “climate change exposes the national park area more than the US as a whole” because the parks are generally located at especially high elevations or dry locations.

Yellowstone is massive, spreading across 3,472 square miles, primarily in Wyoming and edging into Montana and Idaho.

The worst of the flooding happened in the park’s northern portion, which is “likely to remain closed for a substantial length of time,” the park service said in an update to its posted bulletin about the flooding.

The three pairs of before-and-after satellite images, embedded below, give a sense of the scale of the water damage, which has caused buildings to wash into the Yellowstone River.

BEFORE: A road at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, seen here on March 30.

A satellite image shows an overview of a road before floods towards the entrance to Yellowstone National Park north entrance, Montana, U.S. March 30 2022 Picture taken March 30 2022.

AFTER: This satellite image of the north entrance of Yellowstone was taken on June 15, after the flooding, and shows portions of the road washed out.

A satellite image shows an overview of multiple road washouts towards the entrance to Yellowstone National Park north entrance, Montana, U.S. June 15, 2022. Picture taken June 15, 2022.

BEFORE: This is another view of a road on the north side of Yellowstone taken on March 30.

A satellite image shows an overview of a road before flooding South of Yellowstone National Park north entrance, Montana, U.S. March 30, 2022.

AFTER: This June 15 photo shows portions of the same road completely wiped out.

A satellite image shows an overview of road washouts south of Yellowstone National Park north entrance, Montana, U.S. June 15, 2022.

BEFORE: This photo was taken north of Yellowstone, near Carbella, Montana, on Sept. 6. The Yellowstone River runs through the center of the satellite image.

A satellite image shows an overview of the Yellowstone River and Tom Miner Creek Road before floods, Carbella, Montana, U.S. September 6, 2021.

AFTER: This June 15 photo shows how the swollen river has overflowed its banks.

A satellite image shows an overview of the Yellowstone River and washed out Tom Miner Creek Road, Carbella, Montana, U.S. June 15, 2022. Picture taken June 15, 2022.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 17, 2022, 11:42:36 AM
You would think the Governor would come back to Montana during a natural disaster instead of being AWOL in another country. 

Gianforte left country before Montana flood crisis

MISSOULA, Mont. — Since flooding began in southern and central Montana, people have noticed the absence of Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Although he's used social media for updates and communication, Gianforte has not been seen in person. His office has been tight-lipped on his whereabouts.

NBC Montana asked the governor's office about his leave.

According to the Office of the Governor, Gianforte has been out of the country since late last week.

The trip was a "long-scheduled personal trip" with the first lady, and a spokesperson says Gianforte is trying to return home as "early and as quick as possible."

The following is sent by the Office of the Governor:

Before flooding began in south-central Montana, Governor Gianforte left the country late last week on a long-scheduled personal trip with the first lady. He is returning early and as quickly as possible. I will provide you with additional information when it is available.

Since activating the State Emergency Coordination Council (SECC) to level 3 on Monday, the governor has been regularly briefed on the state’s response. He remains in close communication with state and local officials, and will continue to share updates.

Below is a non-exhaustive summary of actions the state has taken since the SECC was activated to level 3 Monday:

On Monday, Gov. Gianforte verbally authorized a state disaster declaration, allowing the state immediate and maximum flexibility to assist communities whose resources had been exhausted.

On Monday, Gov. Gianforte provided Lieutenant Governor Juras express written authorization to act on his behalf in response to the flooding in Montana, including by signing EO 4-2022 on his behalf.

On Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Juras executed EO 4-2022, in accordance with the governor’s verbal authorization on Monday of a statewide disaster in Montana.

Note: The state had been acting in disaster status since Gov. Gianforte’s verbal authorization Monday.

On Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Juras traveled to Red Lodge at the governor’s request to meet with state and local emergency response professionals. While in Red Lodge, the lieutenant governor received a briefing with incident command, met with members of the Montana National Guard involved in search-and-rescue operations, and met with residents who have been evacuated.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Gianforte announced the state is pursuing an expedited presidential disaster declaration to cover the cost of emergency protective measures as flooding and flood warnings persist.

Since the onset of flooding in south-central Montana, Gov. Gianforte and Lt. Gov. Juras have received briefings from personnel at the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, local officials, and state agency leaders, including from the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Quality, and Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Gov. Gianforte has also been in regular communication with local elected leaders (including commissioners and legislators), local law enforcement officials, and state and local disaster and emergency services personnel.

The governor and state’s top priority currently remains evacuation in areas of danger, ensuring shelter for displaced residents, and safely restoring water and power. The governor is committed to bringing every resource to bear to support impacted communities in their response, recovery, and rebuilding.

Watch video in link below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 17, 2022, 11:53:18 AM
Scientists find new population of polar bears in sea-ice free region


Polar bears face an existential threat from the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, which they rely on as platforms to hunt seals.

But in a new study, scientists have identified an isolated subpopulation of polar bears in Southeast Greenland that instead make use of freshwater ice pouring into the ocean from the region's glaciers, suggesting this particular habitat is less susceptible than others to climate change.

Their findings, described in the journal Science on Thursday, open up the tantalizing possibility that at least some pockets of the species might be able to survive further into this century, when Arctic sea ice is expected to disappear completely during summer months.

"One of the big questions is where in the Arctic will polar bears be able to hang on, what we call 'persist,'" first author Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist at the University of Washington and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources told AFP.

"I think that bears in a place like this can teach us a lot about where those places might be."

Laidre and colleagues first spent two years interviewing Inuit subsistence hunters who provided input and ecological knowledge, including harvest samples for analysis.

They then began their own field work, which lasted from 2015 to 2021, in a harsh region that was long understudied because of its unpredictable weather, heavy snowfall and jagged mountains.

Hemmed in

Each year, the team would spend one month in springtime, staying in the nearest settlement Kuummiit, which is a two-hour helicopter ride from where the bears live. Fuel depots had to be staged along the route in advance down the coastline, creating a hopskotch-like commute to work.

The team tagged the bears with satellite tracking devices, and collected genetic samples by either capturing bears or firing biopsy darts into their rumps.

Thought to number a few hundred individuals, "they are the most genetically isolated population of polar bears anywhere on the planet," said co-author Beth Shapiro, a geneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in a statement.

"We know that this population has been living separately from other polar bear populations for at least several hundred years."

Unlike their cousins, the Southeast Greenland polar bears were found to be homebodies, seldom straying far to hunt.

Their isolation arises from the geography: they live in a complex landscape of fjords on the very edge of their range on the southern tip of Greenland, well below the Arctic circle, with nowhere to go.

To the west there are an enormous set of mountains and the Greenland Ice Sheet, and to the east the open water of the Denmark Strait all the way to Iceland. They also have to contend with a rapid current that flows southward along the coast.

"We see that when they get caught in this current they jump off the ice and they walk back home to their fjords," said Laidre. The team found that some of the tracked bears accidentally caught in this situation had to trek more than a hundred miles back home.

Climate refuges?

While sea ice provides hunting platforms for most of the Arctic's roughly 26,000 polar bears, the Southeast Greenland bears have access to sea ice for only four months, between February and late May.

For the remaining eight months they rely on chunks of freshwater ice breaking off the Greenland Ice Sheet in the form of marine-terminating glaciers.

"These types of glaciers do exist in other places in the Arctic, but the combination of the fjord shapes, the high production of glacier ice and the very big reservoir of ice that is available from the Greenland Ice Sheet is what currently provides a steady supply of glacier ice," said another co-author Twila Moon of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in a statement.

There remains much to study about the Southeast Greenland polar bears. Measurements show the adult females are a little smaller than average and they appear to have fewer cubs, but it's hard to infer much about what that means in the absence of long term data.

Laidre is keen to not oversell the study as one of hope. Polar bears -- which in addition to being iconic in their own right are also a vital resource for indigenous people -- aren't going to be saved without urgent climate action.

But this population might have a better shot, and there are similar areas with marine-terminating glaciers on other parts of Greenland's coast as well as the island of Svalbard that might become small-scale climate refugia.

"We as a community need to look at places like this and ask ourselves, is this a place where we might be able to have some small numbers of polar bears persisting in an ice-free Arctic?" said Laidre.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 17, 2022, 12:07:49 PM
Scientists map brain network linked to addiction


Researchers said on Monday they had mapped the network in the brain linked to addiction by studying long-time smokers who abruptly quit after suffering brain lesions.

They hope the research will give future treatments a target to aim for in the fight against addiction to a range of substances.

To find out where addiction resides in the brain, the researchers studied 129 patients who were daily smokers when they had a brain lesion.

While more than half kept on smoking as normal after getting the lesion, a quarter immediately quit without any problem -- even reporting an "absence of craving", according to a new study in the journal Nature Medicine.

While the lesions of those who stopped smoking were not located in one specific region of the brain, they mapped them to a number of areas -- what they called the "addiction remission network".

They found that a lesion that would cause someone to give up an addiction would probably affect parts of the brain like the dorsal cingulate, lateral prefrontal cortex and insula -- but not the medial prefrontal cortex.

Previous research has shown that lesions affecting the insula relieve addiction. But it failed to take into account other parts of the brain identified in the new study.

To confirm their findings, the researchers studied 186 lesion patients who completed an alcohol risk assessment.

They found that lesions in the patients' addiction remission network also reduced the risk of alcoholism, "suggesting a shared network for addiction across these substances of abuse", the study said.

Juho Joutsa, a neurologist at Finland's University of Turku and the study's author, told AFP "the identified network provides a testable target for treatment efforts".

"Some of the hubs of the network were located in the cortex, which could be targeted even with non-invasive neuromodulation techniques," he added.

Neuromodulation involves stimulating nerves to treat a range of ailments.

One such technique is the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last month for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It already targets many of the same areas of the brain as the addiction remission network identified in Monday's study.

Joutsa said he hoped his research would contribute to a TMS coil targeting addiction.

"However, we still need to figure what is the best way to modulate this network and conduct carefully designed, randomized, controlled trials to test if targeting the network is clinically beneficial," he added.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 18, 2022, 08:22:54 PM
Pence prevented a fall into chaos, and 3 other takeaways from Jan. 6 hearing
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 19, 2022, 12:25:03 PM
Uvalde hires private law firm to block release of documents it says are 'highly embarrassing': report

The city of Uvalde, Texas, which has come under heavy criticism for its law enforcement officials' reaction to the Robb Elementary School massacre, has now hired a private law firm to help it block the release of certain documents it says could be "highly embarrassing."

Vice News has obtained a letter sent by attorney Cynthia Trevino -- who works for the private law firm Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech -- to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that asks him to make a determination about what information the town is required to make available to public records requests from media outlets.

The letter states that there are records being requested by media outlets that involve matters such as city employees' past criminal records, although Vice News writes that the letter is composed in such a way that it "is impossible to say what records, in particular, the city and the police are referring to."

The publication says that the city is trying to block access to a broad swathe of records, including "body camera footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages, criminal records, and more."

Christopher Schneider, a professor of sociology at Brandon University, tells the publication that he is wary of the justifications the city is putting forward.

“They claim that the compilation of individuals’ criminal history is highly embarrassing information, which is a strange cover," he said. "The embarrassing information is the inept police response."

Read more:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 19, 2022, 12:30:55 PM
Juror in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial speaks out, says actress's story 'didn't add up'


A juror in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial is speaking out for the first time — and revealing how the verdict was reached.

Good Morning America spoke with a male member of the jury, whose identity was concealed and who spoke off-camera, and in his opinion, Heard just wasn't believable. The seven jurors — five men and two women —who reached the verdict felt the Aquaman actress's story "didn't add up" and thought she shed "crocodile tears" on the stand, he said. They also felt Heard and Depp were both abusive to each other, but didn't think Depp was physically abusive.

"A lot of Amber's story didn't add up," the juror said. "The majority of the jury felt she was more the aggressor."

Heard testified that Depp physically abused her and sexually assaulted her during their four-year relationship. Depp vehemently denied the allegations. His defamation suit stemmed from Heard writing about surviving domestic abuse in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Depp sued her for $50 million and she countersued for $100 million.

The juror said they all felt Heard's testimony wasn't realistic. Her crying, her facial expressions and how she stared at the jury made them "very uncomfortable."

"She would answer one question and she would be crying and two seconds later she would turn ice cold," the juror said. "Some of us used the expression 'crocodile tears.'"

He said they felt Depp "was more believable" at the end of the day. "He just seemed a little more real in terms of how he was responding to questions. His emotional state was very stable throughout."

The juror said Heard claiming she donated her $7 million divorce settlement from Depp to charity — when she only really only pledged it, or said she planned to give it — was "a fiasco for her."

"She goes on a talk show in the U.K.," he said. "The video shows her sitting there telling the host that she gave all that money away … But the fact is she didn't give much of it away at all." (Heard paid $350,000 directly; some donations were also made on her behalf.)

The juror denied Heard's attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft's comments that the jury was influenced by social media in their decision. Social media, especially TikTok, favored Depp.

"We followed the evidence," he said, noting he and at least two others didn't even have Facebook or Twitter accounts.

He said at the end of the day, he felt what was "truthful" was that the couple, whose divorce was settled in 2016, "were both abusive to each other" — though he didn't believe Depp was physically abusive to Heard.

"I don't think it makes either of them right or wrong," he said. "But to rise to the level of what she was claiming, there wasn't enough or any evidence that really supported what she was saying."

He also said the jury was given no guidance on the amount of money to award. Each juror threw out a number they thought was fair. Depp was ultimately awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (the latter reduced to $350,000 per state guidelines) while Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

As for the attorneys for Depp and Heard, he felt the actor's team — including Ben Chew and social media star Camille Vasquez — was "sharp," while her team had "sharp elbows," meaning they were abrupt and often interrupted.

Before the verdict was announced on June 1, the court agreed to a request by Heard to seal the names of the jurors for one year. The document granting the request did not state why the decision was made.

Heard, who spoke out for the first time to Today this week, plans to appeal this summer. She felt the jurors were influenced by social media, Depp's star power and his legal team vilifying her.

Depp will be back in court next month, with Vasquez representing him, for a personal injury lawsuit which was filed against him by Gregg "Rocky" Brooks. Brooks, the location manager for the film City of Lies, alleged that Depp punched him twice in the ribs before saying he would pay him $100,000 to punch him back in the face in 2017. Depp's attorneys said Brooks "provoked" Depp during an exchange and Depp acted in self-defense.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 19, 2022, 12:33:55 PM
Uvalde surveillance video shows cops did not try to open door to classroom for 77 minutes: report

The has been another bombshell report about the law enforcement response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

"Surveillance footage shows that police never tried to open a door to two classrooms at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in the 77 minutes between the time a gunman entered the rooms and massacred 21 people and officers finally stormed in and killed him," the San Antonio Express-News reported, citing "a law enforcement source close to the investigation."

After initially repeatedly misleading the public about the police response, authorities have gone silent, leaving the public to find out more though leaks.

"Investigators believe the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at the school on May 24 could not have locked the door to the connected classrooms from the inside, according to the source. All classroom doors at Robb Elementary are designed to lock automatically when they are closed so that the only way to enter from the outside is with a key, the source said. Police might have assumed the door was locked, but the latest evidence suggests it may have been open the whole time, possibly due to a malfunction, the source said," the newspaper reported.

The source said that the entire time, officers had access to a “halligan” that could have been used to open the door even if it was locked.

Uvalde schools police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo said he sought keys to get into the room.

"When a custodian brought a large key ring, Arredondo said he tried dozens of the keys but none worked," the newspaper reported. "But Arredondo was not trying those keys in the door to classrooms 111 and 112, where Ramos was holed up, according to the law enforcement source. Rather, he was trying to locate a master key by using the various keys on doors to other classrooms nearby, the source and the Texas Tribune article said."

Read the full report:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 19, 2022, 12:57:40 PM
Monsoon storms in Bangladesh and India kill dozens, unleash devastating floods


Monsoon storms in Bangladesh and India have killed at least 41 people and unleashed devastating floods that left millions of others stranded, officials said Saturday.

Floods are a regular menace to millions of people in low-lying Bangladesh, but experts say climate change is increasing their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability.

Relentless downpours over the past week have inundated vast stretches of Bangladesh's northeast, with troops deployed to evacuate households cut off from neighbouring communities.

Schools have been turned into relief shelters to house entire villages inundated in a matter of hours by rivers that suddenly burst their banks.

"The whole village went under water by early Friday and we all got stranded," said Lokman, whose family lives in Companiganj village.

"After waiting a whole day on the roof of our home, a neighbor rescued us with a makeshift boat. My mother said she has never seen such floods in her entire life," the 23-year-old added.

Asma Akter, another woman rescued from the rising waters, said her family had not been able to eat for two days.

"The water rose so quickly we couldn't bring any of our things," she said. "And how can you cook anything when everything is underwater?"

Lightning triggered by the storms has killed at least 21 people around the South Asian nation since Friday afternoon, police officials told AFP.

Among them were three children aged between 12 and 14 who were struck by lightning on Friday in the rural town of Nandail, said local police chief Mizanur Rahman.

Another four people died when landslides hit their hillside homes in the port city of Chittagong, police inspector Nurul Islam told AFP.

Landslides, surging rivers in northeast India

At least 16 people have been killed since Thursday in India's remote Meghalaya, the state's chief minister Conrad Sangma wrote on Twitter, after landslides and surging rivers that submerged roads.

Next door in Assam state, more than 1.8 million people have been affected by floods after five days of incessant downpours.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters he had instructed district officials to provide "all necessary help and relief" to those caught in the flooding.

Flooding in Bangladesh worsened on Saturday morning after a temporary reprieve from the rains the previous afternoon, Sylhet region chief government administrator Mosharraf Hossain told AFP.

"The situation is bad. More than four million people have been stranded by flood water," Hossain said, adding that nearly the entire region was without electricity.

The flooding forced Bangladesh's third-largest international airport in Sylhet to shut down on Friday.

Forecasters said the floods were set to worsen over the next two days with heavy rains in Bangladesh and upstream in India's northeast.

Before this week's rains, the Sylhet region was still recovering from its worst floods in nearly two decades late last month, when at least 10 people were killed and four million others were affected.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 20, 2022, 12:41:58 AM
Patriot Front arrests in Idaho unmask a new generation of hate groups


Members of the white separatist organization Patriot Front spent hours in online chat rooms, meticulously planning how to avoid arrest when they carried out nighttime vandalism raids or tried to disrupt progressive events.

It held plans so tightly that members weren’t told of destinations until virtually the time of departure, and they shrouded their true identities even from each other, hiding behind pseudonyms.

But Patriot Front was unprepared for a casual onlooker to notice last Saturday as its members suspiciously toted tactical shields from a Toyota Camry to a U-Haul truck outside a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Suspicious, the witness called police.

Thirty-one of the group’s members were unmasked when Coeur d’Alene police arrested them, allegedly on the way to disrupt an LGBTQ+ pride celebration at a nearby park.

The Pacific Northwest has long been fertile ground for separatist groups determined to carve out a whites-only homeland here. Patriot Front, formed less than five years ago and populated with mostly members in their 20s, represents a new generation of hate groups, with propaganda calculated to be welcoming to a broader swath of potential recruits.

Their highly visible surfacing in Idaho surprised some of the men’s relatives, who were unaware of their activities.

Patriot Front is known to have orchestrated flash demonstrations to counter progressive events in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston and Austin, Texas, without facing arrest. But the wholesale roundup in Coeur d’Alene was different.

Six Washington men were among the Patriot Front members arrested for misdemeanor conspiracy to riot: Colton Michael Brown, 23, of Ravensdale; Justin Michael O’Leary, 27, of Des Moines; James Julius Johnson, 36, of Concrete; Spencer Thomas Simpson, 20, of Ellensburg; Mishael Joshua Buster, 22, of Spo...., and his brother Josiah Daniel Buster, 24, of Watauga, Texas, whom public records link to the same Spo.... address. They have not been charged, and were released on $300 bail each.

The Seattle Times does not typically name suspects before they are charged, but is doing so in this story because of the high-profile nature of their arrests.

For a group protective of its plans, it is noteworthy that the social justice nonprofit Unicorn Riot in January released months of secretly recorded conversations of Patriot Front members on the voice chat platform Mumble.

The leak, which identified some Patriot Front members’ true identities, provided a rare glimpse behind the curtain of the secretive world of white supremacy — at times dystopian and at others mundane.

Chats included hate speech that demeaned Jewish, Black and LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants. They planned vandalism with graffiti or to post propaganda at colleges and culturally significant locations throughout Washington, and sometimes carried it out, often at night to avoid detection.

The leak also revealed tension between Patriot Front and other white supremacists, who viewed it as unserious and pandering to mainstream culture for its relatively subdued tactics. Even some Patriot Front members questioned its reluctance to use more inflammatory language in its propaganda and asked whether that undermined its relevance in the ecosystem of hate groups.

The group’s manifesto calls for “a hard reset on the nation we see today,” as it “faces complete annihilation as our culture and heritage are attacked from all sides.” It sometimes hoists a 20-foot-wide banner at demonstrations that reads, “Strong families make strong nations,” even as membership has fractured relationships in their households.

Jon Lewis, a research fellow with the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said Patriot Front, with its emphasis on vandalism and posting of racist stickers, is not in the same category as more overtly violent domestic terrorist neo-Nazi groups such as Atomwaffen, which has reportedly had a significant Pacific Northwest chapter.

But he said their ideology represents a serious threat, particularly if more of its members press for increased aggression.

“Look at these guys who just got pulled out of this van, unmasked ‘Scooby-Doo’ style, and they’re sitting on the grass looking like idiots,” Lewis said, referring to images of the Idaho arrests. “It’s easy to think, ‘Hey these guys are clowns.’ But they had some sort of plan to violently riot against people showing up for a pride rally.”

“It’s less about Patriot Front being the totality of the threat and more about this group being a symptom of this broader disease, broader threat.”

Despite having members nationwide and a relatively high profile, its total membership was merely 300 as recently as last fall, according to the chats. Based on the latest available numbers, more than 10% of Patriot Front was hauled in by the Coeur d’Alene cops.

“They’ve never been correct”

The arrests came as a shock to Ellensburg resident Bruce Simpson, the father of Spencer Simpson. He said he heard his 20-year-old son come home at night after returning from jail in Idaho last week.

He waited until morning and then told him, “Well, I didn’t expect to read about you in The New York Times.”

Spencer replied, “Don’t worry, I am moving out. I can bunk with some guys in Texas or wherever,” according to Simpson.

But as of Thursday his son had not moved out, and Simpson said he worries forcing him to leave might only make matters worse. “If I thought that kicking him out would work, I would. But I really feel like he would be more vulnerable if we did that,” he said.

Bruce Simpson serves in the Air National Guard and works at Central Washington University, which his son attends, studying history. Describing himself as politically center-left, pro-LGBTQ+ rights and extremely anti-Donald Trump, he said he doesn’t know why his son embraced the Patriot Front ideology and has tried to convince him that worldview is wrong.

“I told him the problem with the far right is they’ve never been correct,” he said, pointing to the history of advances in civil rights.

Born in Ellensburg, Spencer Simpson led an “idyllic” life growing up, his father said, becoming an Eagle Scout and getting involved with the Civil Air Patrol. He described Spencer as an introvert who finished high school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and had just completed his college finals before traveling to Idaho.

Simpson said his son described the group’s plans in Idaho as nonviolent and that the group just wanted “to draw attention because we want our views to be heard.”

Other Washington-linked Patriot Front members and their families could not be reached for comment and in some instances did not respond to messages seeking interviews.

“Fun and accessible”

O’Leary, of Des Moines, was an aspiring member of the group on Aug. 13, 2021, when he was interviewed by a longtime Patriot Front member, according to one of the transcripts leaked by Unicorn Riot.

Until then, the extent of his right-wing activism was defying indoor mask requirements at his local Fred Meyer store, he said in the chat. He’d read the manifesto.

But O’Leary’s true desire, he told his interviewer, was to execute direct action. “I just wanted to do something, basically,” he told the screener. “And you guys just seemed like the most fun and accessible.”

He described himself as a “white-pilled” glass-half-full fascist and hopeful that racial separatism would eventually be the norm in the United States. Maybe not in his lifetime, O’Leary said, but “I think it’ll all work out in the end.”

"Nice,” his interviewer responded, welcoming O’Leary to Patriot Front. “Let’s go throw up some stickers.” Within a month, O’Leary would summit a mountain on what the group called a “hate hike” with his new comrades, including Brown.

The group’s frequent “hikes” or “camping trips” served as planning sessions and helped deflect suspicion from spouses and employers — in one case, as a private security company guard.

Bruce Simpson was surprised to learn that some of his son’s weekend “camping trips” had actually been Patriot Front activities in other states. For example, he said, he recently learned Spencer had traveled with the group last July to Philadelphia, where news accounts reported the white supremacists had marched and chanted slogans before being run off by local residents.

Brown can be heard on a leaked chat advising a teenage member, still in high school, to deceive parents and other family members about their plans. “That’s what we tell all of our parents, all of our loved ones and family members and friends that ask us where we go and do this mysterious stuff, where we just disappear for a weekend at a time.”

Hate speech vandalism

In September 2021, Brown, who lives near Maple Valley, gained more authority when Patriot Front leaders designated his Washington crew its own network, splitting off members in Oregon and Idaho and enabling Brown to more tightly control the group’s activities, according to the chat transcripts.

Brown could not be reached for comment and his father hung up when a reporter called this week.

Brown presided over a conversation where Patriot Front members planned to mar a George Floyd mural in Seattle and post propaganda at Western Washington University and The Evergreen State College, near Seattle’s Northwest African American Museum and at construction sites, where they hoped workers would sympathize with their views.

If the group could stage a flash demonstration in Philadelphia last year, he said, it could certainly accomplish that in Seattle.

Patriot Front members in Washington, Oregon and Idaho were among the most prevalent and active in the leaked chat. It is one of 19 organizations in Washington designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, two fewer than were active five years ago.

Historically, they have included the now-bankrupt Aryan Nations in North Idaho, and the white nationalists who gather annually on Whidbey Island to commemorate the 1984 death of a neo-Nazi killed in a federal siege.

The planned Patriot Front action in Coeur d’Alene was part of a pattern of targeting LGBTQ+ people. The group in October 2021 defaced a pride mural in Olympia, created in response to hate crimes in the city, by spray painting over it with white paint and stenciling “Patriot Front” and “Reclaim America” messages.

Anna Schlecht, the former chair of Capital City Pride, recalls swiftly organizing volunteers to remove the Patriot Front messaging. “They clearly targeted something of immense value to the LGBTQ community,” Schlecht said. No arrests or charges were made after the defacement, although an anti-fascist group later posted photos of Patriot Front members, including Brown, carrying out the vandalism.

“It is important to stand up to fascism; that’s what this is,” Schlecht said. “They are trying to terrify a group of people to go back in the closet after decades of fighting for equality. We are going to be darn careful, but we are not going to go back into the closet.”

Dissent within

Patriot Front’s propaganda avoids racial epithets, although they’re plentiful in the leaked calls, where members call themselves fascists and Nazis, advocate racial segregation, dream of an all-white territory in America and compliment each other with superlatives like “Hitler-level.”

Thomas Ryan Rousseau, a 24-year-old from Dallas who is reported to be Patriot Front’s national leader, said in the chats that the absence of racial slurs on the group’s propaganda materials is intentional. He was among those arrested in Idaho.

But that has led to other white supremacist groups and even some Patriot Front members to grumble in the chats that the group is akin to alt-right talking heads “with better graphic design,” and is seen as “reactionary and moderate,” leading to calls for more direct action.

Day to day, members talked about making posters, designing banners and patches and cutting paint stencils. Direct confrontation like police suspect Patriot Front had planned in Coeur d’Alene isn’t how the group normally spends its time.

Some members, however, also belong to other white supremacist groups and claim in chats to have been present for high-profile moments in contemporary white supremacy, including the deadly 2017 Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A wedge developed between some white supremacist groups after that rally. That’s when Patriot Front formed as an offshoot of the organization Vanguard America.

Bruce Simpson said even after his arrest, his son is insisting he’ll remain a part of Patriot Front. “There is no remorse. He has said to both my wife and I, ‘no matter what I am not leaving the group.’”

Simpson said he has encouraged his son to apply for a job weighing bales of hay for a local exporter. It would be a graveyard shift. “Work nights. Sleep all day. Stay out of trouble,” he said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 20, 2022, 11:38:25 PM
No, Texas can’t legally secede from the United States, despite popular myth


In June 2022, the Texas State Republican Convention adopted a resolution urging the Legislature to put a referendum before the people of Texas in November 2023 “to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

Secession and independence have been perennial themes throughout the history of Texas, which broke away from Mexico in 1836 and was an independent republic before it was annexed by the United States in 1845. As the United States was torn apart by divisions over whether slavery could expand into the nation’s western territories, Texas in 1861 voted to secede from the Union. In the ensuing Civil War, up to 750,000 people — more than 2 percent of all Americans — died. Following the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865, Texas was formally readmitted to the Union in 1870, during the Reconstruction Era.

Despite perennial talk of another secession, the law is clear that Texas may not leave the union.

The idea is most often raised by conservatives in the state who are angry over some kind of policy coming from the federal government — and the calls seem to become more frequent when a Democrat is occupying the White House. State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, filed a bill in 2021 to create a referendum election on whether Texans should create a joint legislative committee “to develop a plan for achieving Texas independence.”

“It is now time that the People of Texas are allowed the right to decide their own future,” he said in a statement announcing the legislation.

Even if the Legislature were to act on the new Republican Party proposal to put an independence referendum on the general election, it would not be legally valid.

“The legality of seceding is problematic,” Eric McDaniel, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune in 2016. “The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”

Many historians believe that when the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox in 1865, the idea of secession was forever defeated, McDaniel said. The Union’s victory set a precedent that states could not legally secede.

Even before Texas formally rejoined the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that secession had never been legal, and that, even during the rebellion, Texas continued to be a state.

In the 1869 case Texas v. White, the court held that individual states could not unilaterally secede from the Union and that the acts of the insurgent Texas Legislature — even if ratified by a majority of Texans — were “absolutely null.”

When Texas entered the Union, “she entered into an indissoluble relation,” Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase wrote for the court. “All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.”

Chase added: “The ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law.”

Another source of confusion and misinformation over the years has been language in the 1845 annexation resolution that Texas could, in the future, choose to divide itself into “New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas.” But the language of the resolution says merely Texas could be split into five new states. It says nothing of splitting apart from the United States. Only Congress has the power to admit new states to the Union, which last occurred in 1959 with the admission of Alaska and Hawaii.

If there were any doubt remaining after this matter, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia set it to rest when he asked by a screenwriter in 2006 whether there was a legal basis for secession. In his response, he wrote: “The answer is clear,” Scalia wrote. “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 20, 2022, 11:52:25 PM
At last, COVID-19 shots for little kids – 5 essential reads
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 21, 2022, 10:55:53 AM
Jan. 6 Hearing Will Highlight Trump’s Pressure Campaign on State Officials

The House committee investigating the Capitol attack will also underscore the vitriol and suffering that election workers endured because of President Donald J. Trump’s lies.
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 21, 2022, 11:04:23 AM
The moon will cozy up to Jupiter early Tuesday morning as it continues its planetary tour

The pair will be visible to the naked eye or through binoculars this summer solstice.

Look to the east-southeastern sky in the early hours of Tuesday morning (June 21) to spot the waning crescent moon approaching Jupiter as it continues its monthly tour of the planets.

The satellite will sit just a palm's width to the lower right (or 5 degrees to the celestial southwest) of the gas giant, making for an interesting skywatching target. You'll have plenty of time to spot the duo as they will remain visible throughout the morning.

"Jupiter will remain visible to the unaided eye from the time it rises after 1 a.m. local time until almost sunrise," writes Chris Vaughan, amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software who oversees Space.com's Night Sky calendar.

The exact time of the event varies depending on your specific location, so you'll want to check out a skywatching app like SkySafari or software like Starry Night to confirm the local time to look up. Our picks for the best stargazing apps may help you with your planning.

As the moon will remain visible in the morning daytime sky, it is possible to use the satellite as a guide to spot Jupiter in daylight through binoculars, according to Vaughan. To find the gas giant, position the moon towards the bottom of your field of view.

Summer also kicks off in the Northern Hemisphere on Tuesday (June 21), as the summer solstice marks the longest day of the year.

Jupiter is the solar system's largest planet and hosts a whopping 79 moons. The planet contains more than twice the mass of all the other solar system planets combined as well as an infamous storm that is twice the width of Earth — the Great Red Spot.

Hoping to capture a good photo of the moon as it approaches Jupiter? Our guide on how to photograph the moon has some helpful tips. If you're looking for a camera, here's our overview of the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography. As always, our guides for the best telescopes and best binoculars can help you prepare for the next great skywatching event.

The moon cozying up to Jupiter isn't the only skywatching event to look out for this month. Throughout June, a rare "planet parade" will be visible in the predawn sky as all five naked-eye planets line up in their orbital order from the sun. From left to right in the southeastern sky, you'll be able to spot Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all in a row. (Mercury, which is usually obscured by the sun's glare will become easier to spot as the month matures.)

The best opportunity to see this spectacle may come on June 24, as Mercury should rise about an hour before the sun, according to a press release(opens in new tab) from Sky&Telescope.

Throughout June, the moon will continue to journey past the morning planets, embarking on a planetary "meet and greet." After Jupiter, the next stop on the tour is Mars on June 22, Venus on June 26 then finally Mercury on June 27.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 22, 2022, 01:31:53 AM
Uvalde community comes together at school board meeting to call for ousting of the police chief

Members of the Uvalde, Texas community are calling for the resignation of the police chief after it was revealed that the police department and Texas officials are resisting the release of information about the shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, ABC News reported.

While the school board doesn't have any governing power over Police Chief Pete Arredondo, what findings there are about the attack showed the police were armed with large rifles and shields but still didn't go into the classroom to take down the mass shooter.

"Having Pete still employed, knowing he is incapable of decision-making that saves lives is terrifying," said an angry Brett Cross, the uncle of slain student Uziyah Garcia. "Innocence doesn't hide, innocence doesn't change its story, but innocence did die on May 24."

There were 19 police officers who stood outside of the classroom where children were calling 911 begging for help before they were killed. At no point did the officers even check to see if the door was unlocked. It took 77 minutes before someone went inside.

"At one point or another you're going to have to draw a line in the sand to decide if you hold one of your own accountable," said Jesus Rizo Jr. "Pete, Mr. Arredondo, is also my friend. I'm sure we all got along with him. At one point or another, we're going to have to decide if we hold them accountable. And I pray that you make the right decision."

Some of those who attended held up signs saying "Fire Pete Arredondo."

The hashtag #UvaldeCoverUp has been popular in Texas, but gained national traction on Monday after the photos were published of the officers having the necessary equipment to protect themselves if they went into the classroom. Americans who don't even live in Texas are demanding to see the body camera videos of the 19 officers who refused to act.

The Texas Tribune and ProPublica have been pursuing Freedom of Information Act requests from local agencies to document what happened around the shooting that left 21 people dead, including 19 children. The Tribune noted that they don't expect to get it for months, "if at all."
"In the past week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has joined the growing list of state and local officials fighting the release of records that could help bring clarity to how the emergency response unfolded during last month’s deadly shooting in Uvalde," the Tribune reported.

Uvalde City Council meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, their website says. June 28th will be the next meeting for the community members demanding action.

BREAKING: Multiple officers were inside Robb Elementary School with rifles and at least one ballistic shield at 11:52 a.m. the day of the shooting, new video and other evidence shows. They didn’t enter the classroom for another 58 minutes. More soon via @statesman and @KVUE. 1/2

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 22, 2022, 11:57:09 PM
Trauma experts say how Amber Heard emoted on the stand doesn't indicate she was lying about abuse

Ajuror said in an interview that Amber Heard wasn't believable on the stand.

Trauma experts said that how a survivor emotes on the stand doesn't indicate that they're lying.

How trauma survivors present while recounting their experience can vary greatly, they said.


At the end of every trial, jurors are tasked with weighing the credibility of each witness based on their testimony and other evidence in the case.

After the verdict was announced in the defamation case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard — which captivated the nation for more than six weeks — one juror revealed that Heard lost the case because of her demeanor on the stand and that her "crocodile tears" when making allegations of domestic violence weren't "believable."

But experts in trauma warn against relying solely on how a witness may emote during testimony when assessing their credibility. Victims of sexual or domestic abuse may not present as expected when recounting their trauma, they said.

Some survivors may react to recounting their experience and appear frightened, agitated, or distressed, but then quickly "flip" as their body tries to calm the agitation, Kate Porterfield, a clinical psychologist at the Bellevue Hospital Program for Survivors of Torture in New York City, told Insider.

"Thus, the person can then appear flat, detached, and disconnected," said Porterfield, who works with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. "All of this is difficult for juries to understand because it seems counterintuitive that a person could look flat or maybe even bored, or that a person would have difficulty remembering details of something horrific that she suffered."

Understanding trauma and being capable of empathy

Depp filed a defamation suit against Heard in response to an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post that detailed her experience with domestic violence. Depp's name wasn't mentioned, but the article was widely interpreted as being about him. According to Depp's $50 million lawsuit, Heard fabricated an incident where she accused Depp of beating her and had, in fact, verbally and physically assaulted him on numerous occasions.

Heard denied the claims and countersued for $100 million, arguing that Depp defamed her through statements made by his lawyer, Adam Waldman, who called Heard's claims of abuse by Depp a "hoax." She also testified that Depp physically beat her during their relationship, which Depp denied.

The jury's ruling, after nearly three days of deliberations, found both parties were liable, with Depp being awarded more than $10 million in damages and Heard $2 million. Depp is considered to have won the case as he owed less in damages.

When an unnamed male juror spoke out on "Good Morning America" days after the verdict was handed down, he said that Depp seemed more genuine on the stand.

"A lot of the jury felt what he was saying, at the end of the day, was more believable," the juror said in the interview. "He just seemed a little more real in terms of how he was responding to questions. His emotional state was very stable throughout."

Context is important

Jim Hopper, a clinical psychologist and nationally recognized expert on psychological trauma, said that it's only natural to make judgments about someone based on how they're expressing their emotions.

"You're only human, so you can't help it," Hopper, a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School, said. "The question is, what knowledge base do you have? If they were someone who was traumatized, then are you capable of empathizing with someone who might express that trauma in a variety of different ways?"

Hopper hosts trainings on trauma processing to police groups on best practices when interacting with victims of sexual violence.

To help officers better relate to these survivors, Hopper said he draws parallels between assault survivors and soldiers.

"When police officers and soldiers talk about their military experiences, they're not always expressing lots of emotion and they may not even want to talk about them to people who haven't been there and don't understand," he said. "People can experience and express all kinds of different emotions, and that can be very unique to the individual, and it can be unique to the context."

In this case, for example, the trial was taking place in a courtroom filled with Johnny Depp supporters, Hopper said.

"The courtroom was packed with Johnny Depp fans who were constantly directing massive hostility at Amber Heard and all of her witnesses," Hopper said. "So it's not just was a person really traumatized, and what would that look like? But, also, what is it like to remember your trauma in public with a bunch of hostile people staring you down and giving you dirty looks the whole time?"

Real-world impact

The case between Depp and Heard is unusual in that it was a highly publicized defamation trial in which millions were watching — and both parties are professional actors.

But survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of trauma are witnesses in criminal and civil cases every day, and psychology experts believe it is important to educate the public and jurors on how the brain functions under attack to avoid harmful misconceptions.

"I had a couple of my clients who were pretty triggered, who were pretty upset by the way they witnessed Amber Heard being treated," Porter said. "A bunch of my therapist colleagues said their clients were really having a tough time based on what they were seeing if they were watching, and then what they were reading and hearing secondarily in the media and on social media."

During one day of testimony, Heard sobbed uncontrollably on the stand while recounting, in graphic detail, how Depp penetrated her with an alcohol bottle during a fight in Australia in March 2015. Across social media, Depp fans picked apart her demeanor on the stand — turning her crying face into a meme.

Heard testified, through tears, that she had received hundreds of death threats, if not thousands, every day throughout the trial. She said the proceedings and related humiliation made her relive the trauma caused by Depp.

Her lawyers in the case said in closing arguments that the jury should view a guilty verdict against Heard as a message to "every victim of domestic abuse everywhere."

"Ruling against Amber here sends a message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim, you always have to do more," her attorney Benjamin Rottenborn said. Depp's lawyers asked the comments to be stricken from the record.

Julie Rendelman, a former Brooklyn homicide prosecutor and current criminal-defense attorney and legal analyst, told Insider when working as a prosecutor it was always "daunting" to ask a victim to testify.

"They're put through quite a lot, especially on cross-examination. If they're prepared and understand how important it is to tell the truth, then you hope the jury makes the right decision," Rendelman said. "It's always a difficult decision because of the recognition that you are going to be questioned about your credibility — as you should be, because that is what a jury trial's all about."

Taking in all of the evidence

Rendelman agreed that everyone reacts differently when testifying, and judging credibility solely on how a witness emotes may not be helpful, but said it shouldn't be brushed off completely.

The jury didn't do anything wrong by forming a reaction to Heard's behavior in court, and it is their job to assess her credibility, she said.

"When I tell someone bad news, I actually giggle a little bit, right? Because I get nervous," Rendelman said. "Everyone has a different reaction, and so it's always nerve-racking at the thought that a jury would decide something based solely on how I emote, or somebody else, but it should be at least a factor for them to consider when they're deciding someone's credibility."

In this trial, jurors had more to judge Heard on than just her behavior on the stand, Rendelman said.

The unnamed juror said in his interview that the jury was also unsettled by Heard's apparent lie about donating her $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and Children's Hospital Los Angeles, for example.

Despite Heard saying previously that she donated the settlement, she testified that she didn't complete her donations.

"It wasn't just that she had what they viewed as 'crocodile tears,'" Rendelman said. "It was that she had that emotion, or lack thereof, coupled with serious questions about her credibility when she testified."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 23, 2022, 04:38:49 AM
Uvalde schools police chief placed on leave amid fierce criticism of school shooting response

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police Chief Pete Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave amid criticism of the law enforcement response to the worst school shooting in Texas history.
Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell announced the move in a news release Wednesday, just more than four weeks after the shooting.

Arredondo has come under scrutiny for his response to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School, during which officers took over an hour to enter the room where the shooter killed 19 children and two teachers.

Anne Marie Espinoza, director of communications and marketing for the school district, would not confirm if the leave was paid or unpaid.

An attorney for Arredondo could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 23, 2022, 04:50:45 AM
Largest freshwater fish ever caught hooked in Cambodia

A fisherman caught the 661-pound fish — which measured about 13 feet in length — near a remote island on the Mekong River in the Stung Treng area.


A fisherman in northern Cambodia hooked what researchers say is the world’s largest freshwater fish — a giant stingray that scientists know relatively little about.

The fisherman, 42, caught the 661-pound fish — which measured about 13 feet in length — near a remote island on the Mekong River in the Stung Treng area. A team of scientists from the Wonders of Mekong research project helped tag, measure and weigh the ray before it was released back into the river. The research group believes it was healthy when released and expects it to survive.

The tag — which emits an acoustic signal — will allow researchers to track the fish’s movements and, they hope, learn more about its species’ behavior in the Mekong.

The catch “highlights how little we know about a lot of these giant freshwater fish,” said Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist at the University of Nevada. “You have a fish that’s now the record holder for the world’s largest freshwater fish, and we know little about it.”

The fisherman, Moul Thun, caught the giant stingray with a hook and line on the evening of June 13, and then contacted researchers the next morning.

Researchers with the Wonders of Mekong were already in northern Cambodia to install underwater receivers as part of a project to track migratory fish in the river.

“It’s a particularly healthy stretch of the river with a lot of deep pools — pools up to 90 meters deep,” said Hogan, who is also the host of National Geographic’s “Monster Fish” television series. “We started focusing on this area as a stretch of river that’s particularly important for biodiversity and fisheries, and as a last refuge for these big species.”

For several months, the research group has been in contact with local fishermen, asking them to get in touch if they landed a significant catch. The group has helped with two other large giant freshwater stingray releases in recent months. The fisherman who caught the record ray was paid market price for his catch.

“It works because the fish is not a highly prized food fish,” Hogan said.

Hogan said little is known about the giant freshwater stingray.  The creature has a mouth about “the size of a banana” with no teeth, but with “gripping pads” used to crush prey.

“They’re on the bottom finding shrimps, mollusks and small fish. They can suck them up with this banana-shaped mouth and crush them,” Hogan said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 23, 2022, 03:40:22 PM
Tense Trump meeting with DOJ leaders to take center stage at Jan. 6 hearing

The House committee’s fifth public hearing will focus on Trump's effort to draw upon the Justice Department's legal muscle and authority as he tried to overturn the 2020 election

WASHINGTON — The Jan. 6 committee plans to take viewers inside the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon, when witnesses describe a contentious meeting in which Justice Department leaders threatened to resign if then-President Donald Trump promoted a political appointee who was prepared to back up his false claims of election fraud.

The committee’s fifth public hearing will focus on the former president’s effort to draw upon the department’s legal muscle and authority as he tried to overturn the 2020 election.

In keeping with a message the committee has been hammering home, the hearing is expected to show how America’s democratic tradition survived largely due to the integrity of a few people who stood up to Trump and refused to go along with his plan to retain power.

Three former senior Justice Department officials who rebuffed Trump at the time will be testifying live: Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general; and Steven Engel, who led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

All three took part in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 3, 2021 — three days before the attack on the Capitol — in which Trump considered ousting Rosen and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark, an environmental official at the department. Although the department had already concluded there was no fraud on a scale that would have influenced the election result, Clark was prepared “to reverse the department’s investigative conclusion … if he was appointed,” a Jan. 6 committee aide told reporters in a conference call Wednesday.

Had Trump fired Rosen, Clark would have sent out “fraudulent letters urging state legislatures to withdraw” their certifications that Joe Biden had won those states, the aide said.

“We’ll see that, again, President Trump only failed here because the senior Department of Justice leadership team stood up and threatened to resign rather than help the president subvert the democratic process,” the aide said.

Trump wanted to deploy the Justice Department in various ways to help him secure a second term. At the hearing, the aide said, the panel will describe how Trump pressed the department to file lawsuits in conjunction with his re-election campaign, which in the wake of the November election tried to contest Biden’s victory through the courts. The committee will also detail how Trump wanted the department to appoint a special counsel to investigate cases of election fraud — a request that officials rejected.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET and is expected to last about two hours. More hearings are planned for July and will focus on Trump’s actions when a mob stormed the Capitol, among other issues.

The remaining schedule appears to be in flux, however, in part because of new information and leads that are coming into the committee’s tip line following the first public hearing on June 9.

One fresh piece of evidence the committee is now examining involves footage shot by British filmmaker Alex Holder during the campaign. The video includes interviews with Trump and his family members, along with then-Vice President Mike Pence. The panel is likely to highlight the footage in a future hearing.

Trump has not testified before the committee, and is not expected to do so, but has used his megaphone to undercut the panel’s work. He has accused members of selectively editing testimony to make him look bad. In a speech in Nashville, Tennessee, last week, Trump said: “This is a one-sided witch hunt.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 24, 2022, 01:17:40 AM
Trump called former AG "virtually every day" to push DOJ on election fraud

Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said that former President Donald Trump called him or met with him "virtually every day" to pressure the Justice Department to take action on his false election fraud claims.

Driving the news: Rosen said during the Jan. 6 committee's fifth public hearing that the Justice Department declined all of Trump's requests because "we did not think that they were appropriate based on the facts and the law as we understood them."

On various occasions, Trump pushed the Justice Department to create a special counsel for election fraud, file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, make public statements or hold a press conference, and send a letter to state legislatures urging that they overturn election results, Rosen said.

The former president also requested that Rosen meet with Rudy Giuliani, Rosen said.

"The common element of all of this was the president expressing his dissatisfaction that the Justice Department in his view had not done enough to investigate election fraud," he added.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 24, 2022, 10:32:08 PM
UK: Conservative Party loses by-elections to Labour and Lib Dems
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 25, 2022, 01:36:01 AM
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending 50 years of federal abortion rights
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 27, 2022, 10:41:50 AM
Johnny Depp & Amber Heard’s Legal Battle Not Over; ‘Aquaman’ Star Formally Announces Appeal, If She Can Pay Up


Johnny Depp's multimillion-dollar defamation suit against Amber Heard is over, but not really over if the Aquaman actress can pay a pricey bond.

In a short and sometimes tense hearing Friday morning in Judge Penney Azcarate’s Fairfax, VA courtroom, a final judgment in the explicit and high-profile civil trial that ended June 1 was presented and entered into the docket (read it here). However, in a contentious back and forth with Azcarate, Heard’s main attorney Elaine Bredehoft sought to set a briefing schedule and more for a proposed appeal for her client.

Azcarate bluntly told Bredehoft that if she wanted to appeal the verdict from the seven-person jury, the lawyer would have to file motions with the court. Azcarate also informed Heard’s attorney that the Aquaman star will have to put up an $8.35 million bond with 6% interest per year for any appeal to formally move forward.

At the start of this month, Depp was awarded $15 million in damages by the jury in his $50 million defamation case. That sum awarded was almost immediately reduced to $10.35 million by Azcarate in accordance with the state of Virginia’s punitive damages limitations. While the jury found almost entirely for the former Pirates of the Caribbean star on June 1, they also awarded his ex-wife and Rum Diary co-star $2 million in damages out of Heard’s $100 million countersuit.

Though they both attended all of the six-week trial, neither Depp nor Heard were in the Virginia courtroom today. A later self-described “heartbroken” Heard had been in the room June 1 when the verdict was read out. Depp was absent for the verdict, choosing to spend his time touring the UK with Jeff Beck instead.

Reiterating what she has said publicly over the past few weeks, Bredehoft made it clear Friday that Heard will be appealing the verdict. Bredehoft has also said that Heard does not have the money to pay Depp or meet the bond. As well as likely challenging the bond issue, Heard’s defense team have about 21 days to file an appeal.

Financial issues notwithstanding, it ain’t over for the Heard team.

“As stated in yesterday’s congressional hearings, you don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent,” a rep for the actress said in a reference to revelations out of the January 6 Committee hearings. “And, you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right.”

Before today, it was Bredenhoft’s remarks on early-morning TV that led many to wonder whether the parties would come to a settlement before the final judgment was entered. In fact, it was in the hopes of a settlement that Azcarate paused putting the judgment into the docket. In the end, despite some chatter the past last week from the Depp camp, there was no settlement on the table in court today.

Instead, drafted by Depp lawyer Ben Chew, the judgment was signed by Azcarate as the hearing concluded. Probably preferring to let the judgment do the talking, the Depp team did not make a statement.

Depp sued his ex-wife Heard in March 2019 for $50 million over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed she bylined about becoming “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Even though the ACLU-crafted article in the Jeff Bezos-owned newspaper never mentioned Depp by name, he claimed it “devastated” his already dimming blockbuster career. Though he said nothing during the couple’s 2016 divorce, on his filings and on the stand in the Virginia trial, Depp has also now insisted he was in fact the one who was abused in the relationship.

Having failed repeatedly to get the case dismissed or moved out of Virginia, Heard in summer 2020 countersued for $100 million. That action came months before Depp’s UK libel case against The Sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater” proved  unsuccessful.

As appeal paperwork is being prepared, the battle with Heard is not the only legal fight Depp is engaged in.

City of Lies location manager Gregg “Rocky” Brooks’ 2018 assault and battery lawsuit against the star is set to go to trial in Los Angeles on July 25. Depp allegedly hit the crew member repeatedly on April 13, 2017 after being informed that filming on the Brad Furman-helmed pic about the LAPD investigation into the 1997 murder of the Notorious B.I.G. was going to have to wrap late that night in downtown L.A.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 27, 2022, 11:23:36 PM
Forever young: Many cold-blooded creatures don't age, studies show


Scientists have discovered the secret to eternal youth: be born a turtle.

Two studies published in the journal Science on Thursday revealed scant evidence of aging among certain cold-blooded species, challenging a theory of evolution which holds that senescence, or gradual physical deterioration over time, is an inescapable fate.

Although there have been eye-catching individual reports -- such as that of Jonathan the Seychelles tortoise who turns 190 this year -- these were considered anecdotal and the issue had not been studied systematically, Penn State wildlife ecologist David Miller, a senior author of one of the papers, told AFP.

Researchers have "done a lot more comparative, really comprehensive work with birds and animals in the wild," he said, "but a lot of what we knew about amphibians and reptiles were from a species here, a species there."

For their paper, Miller and colleagues collected data from long-term field studies comprising 107 populations of 77 species in the wild, including turtles, amphibians, snakes, crocodilians and tortoises.

These all used a technique called "mark-recapture" in which a certain number of individuals are caught and tagged, then researchers follow them over the years to see if they find them again, deriving mortality estimates based on probabilities.

They also collected data on how many years the animals lived after achieving sexual maturity, and used statistical methods to produce aging rates, as well as longevity -- the age at which 95 percent of the population is dead.

"We found examples of negligible aging," explained biologist and lead investigator Beth Reinke of Northeastern Illinois University.

Though they had expected this to be true of turtles, it was also found in one species of each of the cold-blooded groups, including in frogs and toads and crocodilians.

"Negligible aging or senescence does not mean that they're immortal," she added. What it means is that there is a chance of dying, but it does not increase with age.

By contrast, among adult females in the US, the risk of dying in a year is about one in 2,500 at age 10, versus one in 24 at age 80.

The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health which is interested in learning more about aging in ectotherms, or cold-blooded species, and applying them to humans, who are warm blooded.

It's not metabolism

Scientists have long held ectotherms — because they require external temperatures to regulate their body temperatures and therefore have lower metabolisms —- age more slowly than endotherms, which internally generate their own heat and have higher metabolisms.

This relationship holds true within mammals. For example mice have a far higher metabolic rate than humans and much shorter life expectancy.

Surprisingly, however, the new study found metabolic rate was not the major driver it was previously thought.

"Though there were ectotherms that age slower and live longer than endotherms, there were also ectotherms that age faster and live shorter lives," after controlling for factors such as body size.

The study also threw up intriguing clues that could provide avenues for future research. For example, when the team looked directly at average temperatures of a species, as opposed to metabolic rate, they found that warmer reptiles age faster, while the opposite was true of amphibians.

One theory that did prove true: those animals with protective physical traits, such as turtle shells, or chemical traits like the toxins certain frogs and salamanders can emit, lived longer and aged slower compared to those without.

"A shell is important for aging and what it does is it makes a turtle really hard to eat," said Miller.

"What that does is it allows animals to live longer and for evolution to work to reduce aging so that if they do avoid getting eaten, they still function well."

A second study by a team at the University of Southern Denmark and other institutions applied similar methods to 52 turtle and tortoise species in zoo populations, finding 75 percent showed negligible aging.

"If some species truly escape aging, and mechanistic studies may reveal how they do it, human health and longevity could benefit," wrote scientists Steven Austad and Caleb Finch in a commentary about the studies.

They did note, however, that even if some species don't have increasing mortality over the years, they do exhibit infirmities linked to age.

Jonathan the tortoise "is now blind, has lost his olfactory sense, and must be fed by hand," they said, proving the ravages of time come for all.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 29, 2022, 09:43:22 PM
Jewel thieves in brazen Dutch art fair heist


Flat-cap wearing armed robbers staged a brazen daylight raid on an international art fair in the Netherlands Tuesday, smashing a jewelry case with a sledgehammer in front of terrified visitors.

Police said they pulled over a car and arrested two Belgians in their twenties after the four smartly dressed thieves held up the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) in the southern city of Maastricht.

Dramatic social media images showed the robbers threatening people with what appeared to be handguns before running off with an undisclosed amount of what police called "loot".

The venue was evacuated but visitors were eventually let back into the fair, which draws tens of thousands of people over several days. No one was hurt, police said.

"A stall was raided, they fled and we started the search," Wim Coenen, a spokesman for Limburg province police, told AFP. "There were four suspects, two were arrested."

Dutch media said the display case contained diamond jewelry and other items from London jeweler Symbolic and Chase. There was no comment from the firm.

Police confirmed in a statement that "jewelry was stolen. Additional details about the loot are not being provided at this time."

'Car pulled over'

Dutch police launched a huge search involving a helicopter and sniffer dogs and arrested a 22-year-old and a 26-year-old man nearby, both from Belgium, shortly after.

"These two persons were driving a gray vehicle with a Belgian registration number. This car was pulled over... Their possible involvement is still under investigation," it said.

The TEFAF fair is one of the biggest in Europe, and features hundreds of works, including a 17th-century drawing by a Dutch Old Master on sale for one million euros.

Videos on social media showed the four men -- all wearing flat caps, glasses and smart blazers -- amid scenes of chaos at the art fair.

One struck the jewelry case at least 12 times while burglar alarms wailed.

He finally smashed through the glass, reaching in to pick up something before putting it into a bag.

Two of the men brandished what appeared to be weapons at a bystander, who tried to intervene using a large glass vase full of flowers before backing off.

The men then ran off past a bemused elderly man, who had sat nearby on a bench throughout the drama.

'Still shaking'

Visitor Jos Stassen told Dutch public broadcaster NOS said he had gone to the exhibition on Tuesday to look at the art in peace.

"I suddenly heard a lot of noise and I turn around and suddenly saw those men," he said.

"One started beating and the others kept people away, scared everyone. I also saw a weapon.

"It went very fast and it lasted a very short time but I'm still shaking a little bit."

The fair's general manager Bart Drenth said the owners of the smashed booth are "very shocked", the Dutch news agency ANP reported.

He said the fair's security protocol worked well despite the fact that the armed robbers were able to walk in, adding: "The police were on the scene within minutes."

A TEFAF spokesman added in a statement to AFP that its "security teams worked quickly to disarm an offender... Nobody was injured during the incident."

The phrase "Peaky Blinders" trended on social media in the Netherlands after the raid because the caps worn by the suspects resemble those in the British crime drama of the same name.

It is not the first time the fair has been targeted by criminals.

A ring and a diamond necklace worth 860,000 euros ($1.2 million at the time) belonging to a London jeweler were stolen at the exhibition in 2011.

The Netherlands has also seen a string of art thefts, with paintings by Van Gogh and Frans Hals taken in burglaries in 2020.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on June 30, 2022, 06:47:50 AM
Pest … or snack? June bugs are the ‘croutons of the sky’

A June bug (Phyllophaga sp) resting on a paved surface in Guelph, Ont. (Ryan_Hodnett/Wikimedia Commons)

Many people grit their teeth in anticipation of the arrival of June bugs. You might already have had your first run-in with one. Perhaps you heard one clumsily bounce off your window? Maybe you saw one loop around the porch light? Possibly, you felt one tangle its six sticky legs into your hair?

June bugs, also known as May bugs or June beetles, are a group of scarab beetles that are distributed across North America. For a brief period each summer, the adults are common and abundant across many parts of their range.

June bugs are attracted to light, which means we often encounter them at windows and streetlamps in early summer. Due to their large size and distinctive appearance, they are rather conspicuous among the millions of other insect species we share our world with.

Whether you consider them friend, foe or a neutral party, here are some insights into these misunderstood creatures to celebrate the advent of June bug season.

Hundreds of different species of June bugs

June bugs are found within the genus Phyllophaga, derived from the Greek phyllon (leaf) and phaga (eat). This name is a literal description of the adult’s habit of feeding on plant leaves.

There are more than 800 species of June bugs known to science and more are discovered every year. Adult beetles are usually blackish or reddish brown in colour, and tend to be very hairy on their fronts. While June bug species have many external similarities, their genitalia are very distinctive — with the male organs resembling a scoop, a claw or a fork. Taxonomists often confirm the identity of the species, or describe new species, by carefully examining the genitalia.

Four species of Polyphaga showing the similar external morphology and distinctive male genitalia. (University of Nebraska State Museum, entomology division)

June bug grubs live below ground for years

When you encounter a June bug flying or crawling about, you are looking at a full-grown adult. Just like butterflies and moths, June bugs grow through a process known as “holometabolous development.” They pass through several stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Just as with butterflies, adult June bugs look and behave completely different from the larvae.

Adult next to larva of a Phyllophaga species scarab collected from turfgrass. (Whitney Grandshaw/www.invasive.org)

Each June bug starts as a pearl-like egg laid in the soil. Each egg hatches into a c-shaped larva known commonly as a white grub. White grubs feed on the roots of plants, disrupting the uptake and transport of water and nutrients.

In high densities, June bugs can be serious pests of ornamental and agricultural plants, lawns and golf courses. Larvae spend at least a year in the soil, and in some cases take as much as four to five years to reach maturity.

In late spring, the larva metamorphoses into a pupa, and then into the adult beetle. Armed with wings and developed gonads for mating, the June bugs will emerge from the soil and take to the night sky with the goal of feeding, finding a mate and reproducing, thus beginning the cycle anew.

June bugs are food for many wild animals

Although many people find June bugs unsettling, they play an important role in helping nutrients cycle through ecosystems. By chowing down on grass roots, June bugs concentrate nutrients into juicy (larva) and crunchy (adult) calorie-rich packages that are consumed by a variety of other organisms.

June bugs are a rich source of protein (40 to 50 per cent) and fat (seven to 18 per cent). Many wild animals such as skunks, raccoon and several bird species consume June bugs across all stages of their life cycle. In the process of foraging for June bug larvae, animals often dig up soil, damaging crops, gardens, lawns and golf greens in the process.

An Eastern Bluebird chows down on a June bug at Thomson’s Lake State Park, N.Y. (olitimm/flickr)

Aside from vertebrate predators, June bugs are an important food source for many other insects. A study based in southern Québec found that 29 species of insect used the June bug (Phyllophaga anxia) as a source of food.

One of the remarkable species that feeds on June bugs is Pelecinus polyturator. It is a large wasp (about seven centimetres long) that primarily reproduces asexually, and is found from northern Argentina to southern Canada. Pelecinus polyturator uses its long ovipositor to lay its eggs into white grubs, which eat and kill their host after hatching.

This large parasitic wasp lays its eggs into June bug larvae feeding in the soil. (hspauldi/flickr)

Some people eat June bugs too

Much of the discussion around entomophagy (eating insects) in North America is centred on industrially reared insects like crickets and mealworms. Wild-foraging insects can also play an important role in supplying insects for human consumption, as is the case with June bugs.

Historically, the Bear River people in northwestern California ate fire-roasted June bugs. Today, many people collect adult June bugs from lights or dig larvae from the soil for recipes. They crush them and bake them into biscuits, sprinkle them onto salads as “croutons of the sky,” a term coined by Jonathan Bobryk of Nova Scotia, or even fill cooked larvae with cheese and wrap them in bacon

If you come across an adult June bug this spring, maybe give it a closer look. This chunky insect could very well be older than any of the babies and toddlers in your life.

If you squish it under your foot, you might be saving your lawn from the wrath of hungry white grubs, but you also might be robbing a barred owl, a pelecinid wasp, or your neighbour of a protein-rich morsel.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 01, 2022, 12:19:21 AM
How Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony could lead to a seditious conspiracy charge against Trump

Strongest evidence yet tying Trump to mob violence, some analysts say

Donald Trump speaks during the Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Recent testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump knew many people in the crowd were armed could see him charged with seditious conspiracy, some legal analysts say. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

The gripping testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson before the Jan. 6 committee could provide federal prosecutors with the legal ammunition to charge former U.S. president Donald Trump with seditious conspiracy, some legal analysts say.

The ex-aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows made a series of startling claims at the House committee's abruptly called hearing on Tuesday — the most potentially damaging of which was that Trump knew people gathering near the Capitol early on Jan. 6, 2021, had weapons.

But he told officials to let them into a rally, still armed, after which they'd "march to the Capitol," Hutchinson said.

"The thing that really struck me was how directly it tied Trump to the violence, the assault on the Capitol itself," said Randall Eliason, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

"Pretty compelling, pretty damaging for Trump."

Only the Justice Department, which has been conducting its own investigation, can lay charges, but the House panel can send the department criminal referrals.

Prior hearings have focused on Trump's non-violent efforts to overturn the election, whether by pressuring state officials or Vice-President Mike Pence. But Hutchinson's testimony "was really the strongest evidence we had directly tying Trump into the mob violence in the Capitol," Eliason said.

'They're not here to hurt me'

Hutchinson quoted Trump as directing his staff, in profane terms, to take away the metal detectors, known as magnetometers or mags, that he thought would slow down supporters who'd gathered in Washington.

"'They're not here to hurt me. Take the f-in' mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here," Hutchinson quoted Trump as saying.

Hutchinson testifies before the Jan. 6 committee in Washington on Tuesday. (Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

Stuart Gerson who was acting U.S. attorney general during the early Clinton administration, says that's significant.

"Arguably to a jury you can say — with an evidentiary reason for saying it — that he joined the conspiracy," Gerson said.

Previously, Trump's role in trying to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election has led to speculation that he could face charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct congressional proceedings.

Pro-Trump rioters try to open a door to the Capitol. (Jose Luis Magana/The Associated Press)

However, Hutchinson's testimony suggests a potential case against him for seditious conspiracy — an effort to overthrow the government by force — some analysts say. The Justice Department has laid some seditious conspiracy charges against leaders of the Proud Boys and OathKeepers for their role in the riot.

Glenn Kirschner, also a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, thought Hutchinson's evidence is "a bit of a game-changer" because Trump was told the crowd was armed and dangerous.

"I can tell you, as a career prosecutor, I would argue all day long that the reasonable inference a jury should draw from the statement: 'Take down the metal detectors because the armed rioters are not here to hurt me' is 'They are here to hurt the folks up the street who are in the Capitol certifying the win of my opponent,'" Kirschner said.

'Greater certainty' of charge

Hutchinson's testimony also lends support to both the conspiracy to obstruct congressional proceedings charge, and seditious conspiracy, Kirschner said.

"He's probably bought himself a greater certainty that he will be criminally charged," Kirschner said.

Danya Perry, a former deputy attorney general for the State of New York and former assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York,  says she agrees Hutchinson really "moved the ball" on a potential charge of seditious conspiracy.

Hutchinson's testimony put together one of the means by which the president was willing to try to achieve his goals — by "weaponizing this mob," Perry said.

It's now conceivable that there could come a time when United States vs. Donald J. Trump and others could be seen on a docket sheet for conspiracy charges, she said.

 She asks, rhetorically: Were his actions "qualitatively or substantively" different from those of the Proud Boys or OathKeepers?

"I think, what we saw, they're of a kind."

 Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, says Hutchinson's evidence certainly makes Trump look even more reckless than first believed.

But any obstruction, defrauding or seditious conspiracy charges would require more evidence, she says.

"But I don't think her testimony alone established that. I think she filled in some parts of the picture. And it's important to know the whole story," McQuade said.

"Prosecutors are looking for evidence of intent. I heard a lot of reckless intent, but not a lot of purposeful intent," she said.

"Before you charge a former president with charges as serious as that, I think you're going to want more than just an inference. I think you're going to want direct evidence that this was the plan."

Credibility as witness

Some have questioned Hutchinson's credibility, particularly regarding her testimony that she was told Trump fought a security official for control of the presidential SUV on Jan. 6 and demanded to be taken the Capitol as the insurrection began, despite being warned earlier that day that some of his supporters were armed.

A number of media outlets have reported that the agent driving the vehicle and another security official are willing to testify that didn't happen. Trump himself has also denied it.

Lawyers for Hutchinson have since released a statement saying she stands by her testimony.

Eliason says Hutchinson's strength as a witness depends on which part of her evidence we're talking about.

"There was definitely things that she was just repeating that other people told her. But a lot of it was stuff that she witnessed, conversations that she witnessed," she said.

And, prosecutors wouldn't just use Hutchinson's testimony. It would be a starting point to find other witnesses.

"Obviously, [some are] trying to suggest, well, if she was wrong about this story, why believe anything else she said," Eliason said.

Her testimony about what happened in the SUV "was an example of something that clearly was a second-hand kind of anecdote she didn't claim to witness personally. And the details of that are much less important than details of things that she actually witnessed."

WATCH in link below: Trump wanted armed people at rally, former aide says:

WATCH in link below: Previously unseen riot footage gives new details:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 02, 2022, 06:30:34 AM
Rep. Liz Cheney 'confident' in Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony

Her interview will air in full Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."


Republican Rep. Liz Cheney told "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview that she has full faith and confidence in the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the 26-year-old former Trump White House aide who delivered explosive testimony about the Capitol riot during a highly publicized hearing this week.

"As you know, there's an active campaign underway to destroy her credibility. Do you have any doubt at all in anything that she said to you?" Karl asked Cheney.

"I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told Karl in a wide-ranging interview set to air in full on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday.

"I think that what Cassidy Hutchinson did was an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure," said Cheney, who is vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee.

The witness, Hutchinson, a former top adviser to then-President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, spent some two hours divulging extraordinary details about what she said went on behind the scenes leading up to, during and after the attack.

Hutchinson sat for multiple closed-door transcribed interviews with the committee during its year-long inquiry but on Tuesday, she spoke publicly for the first time during the committee's sixth publicized hearing.

She described in detail how she was told about Trump's desire to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after he spoke at a rally near the White House -- and how Trump became furious when he was told it wasn't safe or advisable for him to be there.

"We have real confidence as a committee that she testified honestly, and in her credibility, and I think the world saw that -- she testified under oath, and her credibility is there for the world to judge," Cheney said in her interview with Karl.

"She's an incredibly brave young woman," Cheney added. "The committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege."

On Wednesday, Hutchinson's lawyers released a new statement amid pushback on her testimony.

"Ms. Hutchinson stands by all of the testimony she provided yesterday, under oath, to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol," Hutchinson's counsel, Jody Hunt and William Jordan, said in the statement to ABC News.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 02, 2022, 07:42:18 AM
'Shadowy' GOP-linked group in Houston knocking on doors in mostly Black neighborhood seeking sensitive voter info

A Houston resident said two men wearing Texas Election Network badges came to her door asking her to sign an affidavit verifying her voter address "under penalty of perjury."

The Harris County attorney's office is investigating complaints that members of the Republican-connected grass-roots organization were snooping around the Sunnyside neighborhood, where about 75 percent of residents are Black and 20 percent are Hispanic, and asking residents to sign official-looking documents, reported the Houston Chronicle.

“The people canvassing residents are grass-roots volunteers for the nonprofit organization called Texas Election Network and they are wearing badges that clearly state the name of the organization with the nonprofit registration number on the back," said Alan Vera, chair of the county GOP's ballot security committee and a Texas Election Network board member. "These volunteers are not employees of any political party. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower citizens to ensure and protect fair and transparent elections."

The county elections office issued a warning Wednesday against "scammers" pretending to be government officials and collecting sensitive personal information, but the county attorney's office said they had not found evidence that anyone had misrepresented themselves as a public employee, which is illegal.

"I'm sure they'll say they're just a bland nonprofit, but to a voter who does not have a law degree, who does not have a background in law enforcement, you are a lot more likely to believe that this is some kind of quasi-official visit," said James Slattery, senior staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. "This is one of the precise situations I have been most worried about this election — people in shadowy volunteer groups who suggest in one way or another that they are acting under official authority questioning the eligibility of voters directly by knocking on their doors."

Read More Here:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 02, 2022, 09:56:40 PM
Viruses can change your scent to make you more attractive to mosquitoes, new research in mice finds


Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animal. Over 1 million deaths per year are attributed to mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya fever.

How mosquitoes seek out and feed on their hosts are important factors in how a virus circulates in nature. Mosquitoes spread diseases by acting as carriers of viruses and other pathogens: A mosquito that bites a person infected with a virus can acquire the virus and pass it on to the next person it bites.

For immunologists and infectious disease researchers like me, a better understanding of how a virus interacts with a host may offer new strategies for preventing and treating mosquito-borne diseases. In our recently published study, my colleagues and I found that some viruses can alter a person’s body odor to be more attractive to mosquitoes, leading to more bites that allow a virus to spread.

Viruses change host odors to attract mosquitoes

Mosquitoes locate a potential host through different sensory cues, such as your body temperature and the carbon dioxide emitted from your breath. Odors also play a role. Previous lab research has found that mice infected with malaria have changes in their scents that make them more attractive to mosquitoes. With this in mind, my colleagues and I wondered if other mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue and Zika, can also change a person’s scent to make them more attractive to mosquitoes, and whether there is a way to prevent these changes.


A number of factors can make you more attractive to mosquitoes, including the odors you emit.

To investigate this, we placed mice infected with the dengue or Zika virus, uninfected mice and mosquitoes in one of three arms of a glass chamber. When we applied airflow through the mouse chambers to funnel their odors toward the mosquitoes, we found that more mosquitoes chose to fly toward the infected mice over the uninfected mice.

We ruled out carbon dioxide as a reason for why the mosquitoes were attracted to the infected mice, because while Zika-infected mice emitted less carbon dioxide than uninfected mice, dengue-infected mice did not change emission levels. Likewise, we ruled out body temperature as a potential attractive factor when mosquitoes did not differentiate between mice with elevated or normal body temperatures.

Then we assessed the role of body odors in the mosquitoes’ increased attraction to infected mice. After placing a filter in the glass chambers to prevent mice odors from reaching the mosquitoes, we found that the number of mosquitoes flying toward infected and uninfected mice were comparable. This suggests that there was something about the odors of the infected mice that drew the mosquitoes toward them.


Volunteering in a mosquito study may require a few bites.

Panyawat Boontanom/EyeEm via Getty Images

To identify the odor, we isolated 20 different gaseous chemical compounds from the scent emitted by the infected mice. Of these, we found three to stimulate a significant response in mosquito antennae. When we applied these three compounds to the skin of healthy mice and the hands of human volunteers, only one, acetophenone, attracted more mosquitoes compared to the control. We found that infected mice produced 10 times more acetophenone than uninfected mice.

Similarly, we found that the odors collected from the armpits of dengue fever patients contained more acetophenone than those from healthy people. When we applied the dengue fever patient odors on one hand of a volunteer and a healthy person’s odor on the other hand, mosquitoes were consistently more attracted to the hand with dengue fever odors.

These findings imply that the dengue and Zika viruses are capable of increasing the amount of acetophenone their hosts produce and emit, making them even more attractive to mosquitoes. When uninfected mosquitoes bite these attractive hosts, they may go on to bite other people and spread the virus even further.

How viruses increase acetophenone production

Next, we wanted to figure out how viruses were increasing the amount of mosquito-attracting acetophenone their hosts produce. Acetophenone, along with being a chemical commonly used as a fragrance in perfumes, is also a metabolic byproduct commonly produced by certain bacteria living on the skin and in the intestines of both people and mice. So we wondered if it had something to do with changes in the type of bacteria on the skin.

To test this idea, we removed either the skin or intestinal bacteria from infected mice before exposing them to mosquitoes. While mosquitoes were still more attracted to infected mice with depleted intestinal bacteria compared to uninfected mice, they were significantly less attracted to infected mice with depleted skin bacteria. These results suggest that skin microbes are an essential source of acetophenone.


Viruses can alter the skin microbiome to increase the presence of bacteria like Bacillus, which produce mosquito-attracting odors.

Marc Perkins/Flickr, CC BY-NC

When we compared the skin bacteria compositions of infected and uninfected mice, we identified that a common type of rod-shaped bacteria, Bacillus, was a major acetophenone producer and had significantly increased numbers on infected mice. This meant that the dengue and Zika viruses were able to change their host’s odor by altering the microbiome of the skin.

Reducing mosquito-attracting odors

Finally, we wondered if there was a way to prevent this change in odors.

We found one potential option when we observed that infected mice had decreased levels of an important microbe-fighting molecule produced by skin cells, called RELMα. This suggested that the dengue and Zika viruses suppressed production of this molecule, making the mice more vulnerable to infection.

Vitamin A and its related chemical compounds are known to strongly boost production of RELMα. So we fed a vitamin A derivative to infected mice over the course of a few days and measured the amount of RELMα and Bacillus bacteria present on their skin, then exposed them to mosquitoes.

We found that infected mice treated with the vitamin A derivative were able to restore their RELMα levels back to those of uninfected mice, as well as reduce the amount of Bacillus bacteria on their skin. Mosquitoes were also no more attracted to these treated, infected mice than uninfected mice.

Our next step is to replicate these results in people and eventually apply what we learn to patients. Vitamin A deficiency is common in developing countries. This is especially the case in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-transmitted viral diseases are prevalent. Our next steps are to investigate whether dietary vitamin A or its derivatives could reduce mosquito attraction to people infected with Zika and dengue, and subsequently reduce mosquito-borne diseases in the long term.

Penghua Wang, Assistant Professor of Immunology, University of Connecticut

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 03, 2022, 06:47:15 PM
Webb telescope: NASA to reveal deepest image ever taken of Universe


NASA administrator Bill Nelson said Wednesday the agency will reveal the "deepest image of our Universe that has ever been taken" on July 12, thanks to the newly operational James Webb Space Telescope.

"If you think about that, this is farther than humanity has ever looked before," Nelson said during a press briefing at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the operations center for the $10 billion observatory that was launched in December last year and is now orbiting the Sun a million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth.

A wonder of engineering, Webb is able to gaze further into the cosmos than any telescope before it, thanks to its enormous primary mirror and its instruments that focus on infrared, allowing it to peer through dust and gas.

"It's going to explore objects in the solar system and atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether potentially their atmospheres are similar to our own," added Nelson, speaking via phone while isolating with Covid.

"It may answer some questions that we have: Where do we come from? What more is out there? Who are we? And of course, it's going to answer some questions that we don't even know what the questions are."

Webb's infrared capabilities allow it to see deeper back in time to the Big Bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago.

Because the Universe is expanding, light from the earliest stars shifts from the ultraviolet and visible wavelengths it was emitted in, to longer infrared wavelengths -- which Webb is equipped to detect at an unprecedented resolution.

At present, the earliest cosmological observations date to within 330 million years of the Big Bang, but with Webb's capacities, astronomers believe they will easily break the record.

20 year life

In more good news, NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy revealed that, thanks to an efficient launch by NASA's partner Arianespace, the telescope could stay operational for 20 years, double the lifespan that was originally envisaged.

"Not only will those 20 years allow us to go deeper into history, and time, but we will go deeper into science because we have the opportunity to learn and grow and make new observations," she said.

NASA also intends to share Webb's first spectroscopy of a faraway planet, known as an exoplanet, on July 12, said NASA's top scientist Thomas Zurbuchen.

Spectroscopy is a tool to analyze the chemical and molecular composition of distant objects and a planetary spectrum can help characterize its atmosphere and other properties such as whether it has water and what its ground is like.

"Right from the beginning, we'll look at these worlds out there that keep us awake at night as we look into the starry sky and wonder as we're looking out there, is there life elsewhere?" said Zurbuchen.

Nestor Espinoza, as STSI astronomer, told AFP that previous exoplanet spectroscopies carried out using existing instruments were very limited compared to what Webb could do.

"It's like being in a room that is very dark and you only have a little pinhole you can look through," he said, of current technology. Now, with Webb, "You've opened a huge window, you can see all the little details."

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 03, 2022, 10:00:19 PM
'Rather unexpected’ Tropical Storm Colin forms off South Carolina


ORLANDO, Fla. — Residents of the Carolinas work up to a surprise Saturday morning: Tropical Storm Colin had formed overnight.

According the National Hurricane Center, an area of low pressure formed just offshore from Savannah, Georgia, on Friday but became better organized overnight. “As a result, and rather unexpectedly, Tropical Storm Colin has formed near the South Carolina coast, centered just inland a bit to the northeast of Charleston,” the hurricane center said Saturday morning.

At 8 p.m., Tropical Storm Colin was located about 35 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extended out 80 miles southeast from Colin’s center.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Cape Fear to Duck, North Carolina, and Pamlico Sound.

“A slightly faster northeast to east-northeast motion is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Colin is expected to move northeastward along or just inland of the North Carolina coast through Sunday” the NHC said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bonnie continues moving across Central America as it heads from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Bonnie was located about 130 miles west-southwest of Managua, Nicaragua, moving west at 16 mph. Its maximum sustained winds increased to 50 mph.

Tropical storm warnings for areas in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras were discontinued. “Interests along the Pacific coasts of El Salvador, Guatemala, and southern Mexico should monitor the progress of Bonnie,” the NHC said.

And forecasters are still monitoring an area of disturbed weather in the eastern Caribbean that has a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression over the next several days.

“A tropical wave continues to produce a broad area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the Windward Islands and eastern Caribbean Sea,” forecasters said. “Upper-level winds are not conducive for significant development as the system moves west-northwestward during the next few days across the Caribbean Sea.”

© Orlando Sentinel
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 05, 2022, 11:34:26 PM
Highland Park native, ‘Mrs. Maisel’ star Rachel Brosnahan has ‘no words’ after parade massacre


Highland Park, Illinois, native Rachel Brosnahan is reacting to the massacre that ended six lives during what should have been a celebratory Fourth of July parade Monday in the Chicago suburb.

The Emmy-winning “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star, 31, took to Twitter that evening with her reaction to the deadly shooting, which left over two dozen more injured.

“I grew up in Highland Park and this parade is a highlight of the year for so many families,” said Milwaukee-born Brosnahan, quote tweeting an alert about the tragedy from Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts. The movement is part of the Everytown for Gun Safety organization.

“I’m sick to my stomach every time news like this comes out, but I don’t wish the pit in your stomach as you call your family and friends to make sure everyone is okay on anyone,” said Brosnahan. “No words.”

While the country was celebrating America’s birthday on Monday, Highland Park — which sits around 27 miles north of the Windy City — locals were scrambling for cover.

Robert Crimo III, whose family viewed the 22-year-old as a “real quiet” kid prior to the shooting, has been named a person of interest in the shooting and has been arrested, but not yet been charged.

The firearm used in the heinous attack was purchased legally, according to Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, who on the “Today” show Tuesday said: “I want us to talk about the fact that there are weapons of war on our streets that people can legally obtain — and then take out dozens of people.”

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 05, 2022, 11:42:47 PM
July 4 gunman planned attack for weeks and wore women's clothes: police


US police said Tuesday that the suspected gunman who opened fire at a July 4 holiday parade in a Chicago suburb had planned the attack for weeks and wore women's clothes to try to cover up his facial tattoos.

Police confirmed that the alleged shooter, Robert "Bobby" Crimo, 21, bought the gun legally, adding that the victims of the attack appeared to have been targeted at random.

"We do believe Crimo pre-planned this attack for several weeks. He brought a high-powered rifle to this parade," police spokesman Chris Covelli told reporters.

"He accessed the roof of a business via a fire escape ladder and began opening fire.

"Crimo was dressed in women's clothing, and investigators do believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity during his escape."

Six people were killed and more than two dozen injured in the shooting, in which Crimo fired more than 70 rounds. He was arrested hours after the attack.

"Crimo exited the rood, he dropped his rifle and he blended in with the crowd," Covelli said.

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 06, 2022, 11:07:59 AM
Fox News could be subject to major financial setback as judge OKs lawsuit over false election claims: report

A judge ruling in favor of a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit moving forward signals the possibility of looming financial woes for Rupert Murdoch's Fox News. According to The Guardian, Delaware Supreme Court Judge Eric David in June ruled that Dominion Voting Systems could proceed with its defamation lawsuit against Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corporation.

The lawsuit is a legal pushback against Fox News' reporting and perpetuation of voter fraud and election misinformation following the 2020 presidential election.

Per The Guardian, David determined "that it was a reasonable inference that Murdoch and son Lachlan either knew outright that Dominion had not manipulated the election or 'recklessly disregarded the truth' when Fox disseminated lies initially launched by Donald Trump."

Speaking to The Guardian, a number of legal experts have offered their perspective on the case and why it suggests trouble ahead of Fox News. Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a Stetson University constitutional law professor and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, weighed in on Dominion's case as she noted that the voting technology company appears to have a substantial argument.

“Dominion has a very strong case against Fox News,” Torres-Spelliscy said to the news outlet, adding that "all of the 'conspiracy theories about Dominion’s machines were just pure bunk,'" She also noted that "Fox as a news organization should have known that and not given this aspect of [Trump’s] ‘big lie’ a megaphone.”

“I think once you start to pull the discovery material, what you’re going to find is there was a lot of communication between the Trump people both internally and externally about pushing very specific lies and narratives,” said Media Matters for America chief executive, Angelo Carusone.

However, Fox News is confident that it will survive this legal battle.

A Fox spokesman told also released a brief statement to the news outlet on behalf of the network. “We are confident we will prevail in this case, as the First Amendment is the foundation of our democracy and freedom of the press must be protected,” the spokesman said.

In addition to the lawsuit against Fox News, Dominion also has a $1.6 billion lawsuit against conservative news networks One America News Network (OAN) and Newsmax.

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Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 06, 2022, 11:16:25 AM
Senior UK cabinet ministers Sunak and Javid resign, plunging govt into chaos

Britain's finance and health ministers resigned on Tuesday, in what looked to be the final blow for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's premiership after he had tried to apologize for the latest scandal to dog his administration.

Both finance minister Rishi Sunak and health minister Sajid Javid resigned in what appeared to be a choreographed release of letters to the prime minister, in which both took aim at his ability to run an administration that adhered to standards.

The resignations came as Johnson was apologising for what he said was a mistake for not realizing that a former minister in charge of pastoral care was unsuitable for a job in government after complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him.

Both had formerly publicly supported Johnson during months of scandal over his administration's conduct and a damning report into parties at his Downing Street office and residence that broke strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.

Sunak, who had reportedly clashed with the prime minister in private about spending, said: "For me to step down as Chancellor while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly."

"However, the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognize this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning."

Javid said many lawmakers and the public had lost confidence in Johnson's ability to govern in the national interest.

"I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership - and you have therefore lost my confidence too," Javid said in a letter to Johnson.

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 06, 2022, 11:35:42 AM
Carlos Santana's mid-concert collapse blamed on heat exhaustion, dehydration

The rock icon postponed a number of shows in December after he underwent a heart procedure.


Rock legend Carlos Santana collapsed during a show Tuesday night in Michigan, the result of heat exhaustion and dehydration, his manager said.

Santana, 74, who has been touring with Earth, Wind & Fire, was in the middle of a set at Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkson, about 42 miles north of Detroit, when he fell, according to witnesses and video from the scene.

Medical workers attended to Santana, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, before he was carried offstage, video shows.

Manager Michael Vrionis in a statement that Santana was taken to an emergency room for observation and that he was "doing well."

A show scheduled for Wednesday in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, has been postponed until further notice, the statement said. It wasn't known when he would be back on the road.

The Miraculous Supernatural Tour has 21 dates left through late August before Santana is scheduled to head back to Las Vegas for his residency at the House of Blues, where a show based on his greatest hits is set for fall.

In December, Santana canceled a number of performances in Las Vegas after, his team said, he underwent an unspecified and unscheduled heart procedure.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 06, 2022, 12:03:22 PM
This is absolutely crazy. People like this is the reason states have banned fireworks. Watch this video in the link until the end.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 07, 2022, 11:13:22 AM
Boris Johnson to stand down as Tory leader after wave of resignations

Boris Johnson is to stand down as Conservative Party leader after losing the support of his ministers and MPs.

A Conservative leadership contest will take place this summer and a new prime minister will be in place in time for the party conference in October.

In the meantime, Mr Johnson will continue as prime minister.

He had vowed to "keep going" following a wave of resignations from the government over his leadership but has now decided to step down.

But was urged to stand down by senior members of his cabinet, including newly-appointed chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

In his resignation letter, Mr Zahawi, who was given the job less than 48 hours ago, said he had "made clear to the prime minister" that he should "leave with dignity".

Mr Johnson is expected to give a resignation statement outside No 10 Downing Street later.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 07, 2022, 11:27:29 AM
Renowned trophy hunter shot dead and left on the side of the road in South Africa: police


According to Global News, a renowned trophy hunter who acted as a tour guide for others to help bring down large game has been found shot dead and left on the side of the road in South Africa.

"Riaan Naude, 55, was the owner and founder of Pro Hunt Africa, a tour group that facilitates paid wildlife hunting trips in the country’s northeastern province of Limpopo," reported Michelle Butterfield. "According to local reports, Naude was found dead next to his truck on June 8 near Kruger National Park. A Limpopo police representative told reporters that Naude was found lying on his back, with blood on his face and head."

According to the report, Naude was shot after his vehicle broke down and he pulled over to the side of the road, and "A nearby cattle herder reportedly heard the gunshot and witnessed a truck speeding away." It is unknown whether the motive was related to his trophy hunting practices.

"A glance at Naude’s Instagram feed shows the hunter and others posing alongside large dead animals, including elephants and giraffes," noted the report. "Naude was charging his clients $350 per day to hunt game, $2,500 for a crocodile and $1,500 for a giraffe, according to Pro Hunt Africa’s price list."

Trophy hunting is a wildly controversial practice. It is legal in many countries, including South Africa, and some governments use it to cull sick or troublesome animals from vulnerable herds and raise tax revenue for conservation and anti-poaching enforcement. However, many trophy hunters go after endangered species, and African governments often sell permits to Western tourists without the consent or buy-in of native locals.

One of the more infamous trophy hunters is Donald Trump Jr., who on one occasion traveled to Mongolia to hunt endangered wild sheep, at $77,000 expense to U.S. taxpayers.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 08, 2022, 02:06:27 AM
Why Britain Finally Turned on Boris Johnson

As explained to a bewildered American.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 08, 2022, 02:51:19 AM
What happens next after Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigns amid scandal?

After months of scandal, Johnson caved in to pressure to resign.


LONDON -- After more than 50 resignations from government ministers and aides, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday.

For a moment on Tuesday evening, it seemed as though the prime minister, who had vowed to carry on despite the collapse of his authority and allies deserting him on all sides, would remain in office, sparking a potential constitutional crisis. But outside Downing Street on Thursday, Johnson caved into the pressure.

Soon enough, from within their ranks, the Conservative Party, who still hold a sizeable majority in the U.K. Parliament, will elect a replacement, and that person will become the fourth prime minister in the six years since the Brexit referendum of 2016.

What happens next?

While he did not specifically use the word "resign," Johnson said, "The process of choosing that new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week."

In the election process, Conservative MPs nominate their preferred candidate. There is then a run-off with the two most popular candidates, and then Conservative Party members (of the card-carrying, fee-paying kind), vote on who they want to be the next leader.

As the Conservatives have a majority in Parliament (thanks to Johnson's big election win in 2019) -- the winner of their leadership will become the next prime minister.

Reported polls in the U.K. have suggested Ben Wallace, the U.K.'s current secretary of state for defense who has been widely praised for his handling of support for Ukraine, as an early favorite in the race.

But the process is by no means instant. To put the transition into perspective, when Theresa May announced her resignation on the steps of Downing Street on May 24, 2019, Johnson, her successor, did not take office until July 24 -- a gap of two months.

Johnson as caretaker?

Boris Johnson has already appointed new ministers to fill some of the gaps left by the dozens of resignations from his government, in a sign that he will attempt to hold true on his promise to stay in charge until a new leader is elected.

However, his resignation speech has not gone down well with embittered members of his party. He has already been accused of arrogance and blaming others for his own faults, instead of facing up to any of the mistakes that led to his departure.

And such is the nature of Johnson's acrimonious departure, and his defiance in the face of so many calls to resign, that some lawmakers -- both Conservative and in the opposition Labour Party -- want him gone now.

The Conservative Party may feel that they need a clean slate, and, even on his way out, Johnson may hurt their chances of re-establishing trust with the country. There are indications already that the prime minister sees himself staying in office until the fall. A former Conservative Prime Minister, John Major, has already expressed that Johnson should be removed as soon as possible.

The opposition Labour Party have said they will call for a vote in Parliament to eject him from if Johnson's removal does not happen.

In that event, Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, would take over as prime minister interim until they appoint a new leader.

A divided legacy

Johnson will always be known at home and on the international stage as one of the main architects of Brexit. He was the face of the campaign to leave the EU in 2016, and as prime minister, secured Britain's exit from the bloc by winning a huge majority in 2019.

His election victories and unconventional style resonated with the public on the campaign trail, exemplified by the two terms he served as Mayor of London before his time in parliament, surprising in a Labour city.

But controversy has always followed him. "Partygate" proved a further stain on his reputation, presiding, to many, over a culture of drinking and lawbreaking while the country was locked down and families were separated from their loved ones, even after he spent time in the ICU with COVID himself. When he was fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending one of those gatherings he became the only sitting British PM in history to have been censured for breaking the law while in office.

Johnson also denied that he had knowledge of a lawmaker's alleged past misconduct, which he had been told about in 2019, and then promoted him anyway, only for that colleague to repeat his offence.

Johnson's authority was wounded by "Partygate," but the latest scandal proved to be the straw the broke the camel's back.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 08, 2022, 11:35:06 AM
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in critical condition following shooting


Tokyo (CNN) Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in critical condition and fighting for his life after being shot in the street in broad daylight while making a campaign speech in the central city of Nara, in an attack that has shocked the nation.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a press conference on Friday that Abe is receiving emergency treatment at the Nara Medical University hospital, where medical staff are fighting to save him.

"This is not a forgivable act," Kishida said. "We will comprehend the situation and take appropriate measures."
Abe's younger brother, Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters Abe was receiving a blood transfusion.

Shortly afterward, Abe's wife arrived at the hospital to be with her husband, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.
An official from the Nara City Fire Department earlier confirmed to CNN that Abe was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used to describe the sudden loss of heart function and breathing.


An aerial photo shows a man believed to be former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the stretcher at Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture on July 8.

Abe is the former Liberal Democratic Party leader and Japan's longest-serving prime minister, holding office from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, before resigning due to health reasons. Since stepping down, he has remained in the public eye and regularly appears in the media to discuss current affairs.

Abe was rushed to hospital via helicopter in the aftermath of the shooting. According to police, he was believed to have been shot twice, in the chest and neck, NHK reported.

A suspect, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a local man in his 40s, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, according to NHK. It appears the suspect used a handmade gun in the attack, though the motive remains unclear. He is being held for questioning at Nara Nishi police station, NHK reported.

Photos from the scene show the weapon on the ground, wrapped in black material.CNN has not yet been able to independently verify these reports.

Video aired on NHK and images from the scene show police wrestling a man to the ground near where the former Prime Minister was standing. Another video aired by NHK shows smoke in the air.

Prime Minister Kishida, who was on a tour of duty, rushed back to his office and government ministers in various parts of the country had been urged to return to Tokyo immediately, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.
"Such barbaric behavior is unacceptable for any reason and we firmly condemn it. The government will take all possible measures to deal with the situation," Matsuno said.

How events unfolded

Abe was making a speech in support of LDP candidates ahead of the upcoming Upper House elections scheduled for Sunday. He was due to head to Kyoto and Saitama prefecture, near the capital Tokyo.

Video aired by NHK captured the moments leading up to the shooting and show Abe speaking to a small crowd in the street in front of Yamatosaidaiji Station in Nara. In subsequent video two shots can be heard.

The former Prime Minister was conscious and responsive while being transported following the shooting, police sources told NHK. He is being treated Nara Medical University hospital.

Images show Abe being carried on a stretcher to a helicopter.

Outpouring of global concern

World leaders sent well wishes and messages of condolence in the wake of the shooting. The United States Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel said in a tweet early Friday, "We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo."

"Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the US The US Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is "utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe," while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend."

Among those sharing messages of support and concern were US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

Japan's low gun crime

Abe's shooting has shocked Japan, which has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its extremely strict gun control laws.

In 2018, Japan only reported nine deaths from firearms, compared with 39,740 that year in the United States.

Under Japan's firearms laws, the only guns permitted for sale are shotguns and air rifles -- handguns are outlawed. But getting them is a long and complicated process.

Nancy Snow, Japan director of the International Security Industrial Council, told CNN that Friday's shooting will change the country "forever."

"It's not only rare, but it's really culturally unfathomable," Snow said. "The Japanese people can't imagine having a gun culture like we have in the United States. This is a speechless moment. I really feel at a loss for words. I pray for the best for the former prime minister."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 08, 2022, 12:28:17 PM
Former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe dies after being shot at campaign event

Abe, 67, was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. He was shot while giving a speech in the western city of Nara ahead of an election for the upper house of Parliament.

Photos from the scene showed Abe collapsed on the street with blood visible on his shirt, surrounded by security.Kyodo News via AP

TOKYO — Former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe died on Friday after being shot at a campaign event, in an attack that shocked a country where gun violence is virtually nonexistent.

Abe, 67, was a towering political presence even after he stepped down as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, and he was campaigning ahead of elections scheduled for Sunday. He had just begun a speech in the western city of Nara, near Kyoto, when gunfire was heard around 11:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Thursday ET).

Officials said that one person had been apprehended in relation to the shooting.

Abe was rushed to Nara Medical University Hospital after suffering cardio and pulmonary arrest. The hospital announced his death shortly after 5 a.m. ET.

Dr. Hidetada Fukushima, a professor of emergency medicine at the hospital, said Abe had two gunshot wounds and no vital signs when he arrived less than an hour after the shooting. Life-saving measures including blood transfusions were unsuccessful, he said, and Abe was pronounced dead at 4:03 a.m. ET. 

Speaking from his office in Tokyo earlier in the day, a visibly shaken Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that while the attack was still being investigated, “it was a despicable and barbaric act that took place in the midst of an election, which is the foundation of democracy.”

“I condemn it in the harshest possible terms,” he told a hastily arranged news conference after returning from campaigning in the country’s north.

Kishida said no decisions had been made as to how the shooting would affect the election for the upper house of Parliament. Abe, who stepped down in 2020, was campaigning for other members of the governing conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) but was not a candidate himself.

Abe dominated Japanese politics for the best part of a decade and has remained politically active since his resignation, leading the biggest faction in his party.

The incident sent shockwaves through Japan, where gun violence is extremely rare. Handguns are banned in the country and people must undergo extensive tests, training and background checks to obtain and keep shotguns and air rifles.

Iwao Horii, an LDP member of the upper house representing Nara, was standing next to Abe when the former prime minister was shot. “We heard two loud sounds while he was talking and he fell immediately after that,” Horii said at a news conference. He added that Abe was unresponsive when emergency medics tried to resuscitate him.

“This is something that shakes the very foundations of democracy and cannot be forgiven,” he said.

The shooting was also condemned by the country’s main opposition party, the center-left Constitutional Democrats, with party leader Kenta Izumi calling it “an unforgivable act of barbarism.”

Messages of shock and well-wishes for Abe poured in from leaders around the world on Friday.

The U.S. ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, said that he was shocked and saddened by news of the shooting.

“Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the United States,” Emanuel said in a statement Friday.

The White House also expressed shock at Abe’s shooting.

“We are closely monitoring the reports and keeping our thoughts with his family and the people of Japan,” a spokesperson said prior to news of his death.

Similar sentiments of disbelief were echoed by Asia-Pacific leaders.

“Deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

“He was deeply committed to his role, and also generous and kind,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a meeting in Sydney, Australia. “My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Japan. Events like this shake us all to the core.”

Though Abe had been praised for amplifying Japan’s profile on the world stage, his party was plagued by scandals and he was accused of mishandling the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with Donald Trump after he became U.S. president-elect in November 2016.

In a post to his Truth Social platform late Thursday, the former president called Abe “a truly great man and leader.”

“He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America,” Trump said.

Abe hailed from Japan’s political elite and as prime minister had made reviving economic growth through his “Abenomics” policies a key pillar of his time in office.

Abe’s resignation two years ago came amid a worsening of his ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel condition he’d battled for years.

He announced his resignation days after he set a record as Japan’s longest-lasting prime minister, having been in office for almost eight years. He previously served as prime minister from 2006 to 2007.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 10, 2022, 12:06:44 AM
Larry Storch of TV's 'F Troop' dies at 99


LOS ANGELES — Larry Storch, the rubber-faced comic whose long career in theater, movies and television was capped by his "F Troop" role as zany Cpl. Agarn in the 1960s spoof of Western frontier TV shows, died Friday. Storch was 99.

Storch died of natural causes early Friday in his New York City apartment, according to his manager, Matt Beckoff.

Although "F Troop" lasted only two seasons on ABC, from 1965 to 1967, it became a cult favorite in reruns. Its devoted fans could recite almost all of the adventures of the incredibly incompetent soldiers of Fort Courage and the members of the nearby Native American tribe who only pretended to be at war with them.

As Agarn, Storch was the wild-eyed partner and protege of Forrest Tucker's wily Sgt. O'Rourke, who often schemed with Frank DeKova's Chief Wild Eagle to fleece unsuspecting visitors. Ken Berry's Capt. Parmenter was Fort Courage's clueless commander.

While "F Troop" brought him lasting fame, Storch appeared in scores of films and TV shows both before and after the show. He also enjoyed a long career in theater and as a comic at resorts in New York State's Catskill Mountains area.

He never regretted being best known for the series, his manager said.

"He embraced it. He loved being Agarn" and relished working with his co-stars, said Beckoff. Storch was the "kindest, sweetest person," who always had time for autograph-seekers and was generous to people in need, he said.

Storch's credits included "Funny Valentine," "Sweet 16," "Sex and the Single Girl," "S.O.B.," "Airport," "Treasure Island" and "Oliver Twist." On TV, he guest-starred on such shows as "Married... With Children," "Archie Bunker's Place," "Trapper John, M.D.," "Fantasy Island," CHiPS," "The Love Boat," "Get Smart," "Love American Style," "Gilligan's Island" and "Car 54 Where Are You?"

His many theater appearances ranged from a brutal detective in a 1983 Broadway revival of "Porgy and Bess" to Chief Sitting Bull in the 2000 revival of "Annie Get Your Gun" with Reba McEntire.

Storch said in a 1998 interview that he was surprised to be considered for an Army comedy such as "F Troop," with it being well known that he served in the Navy during World War II. "All I knew about horses was that they give milk and can bite from both ends," he quipped.

Indeed, it was his Navy service that had greatly boosted his career. During the war, he had met a radio operator in the Marshall Islands named Bernie Schwartz who had told him, "I'm going to be a movie star." Storch, already a seasoned comic on the resort circuit, had tried to talk him out of it, warning him that the business could be tough.

They met again after the war, and Schwartz, who by now had changed his name to Tony Curtis, remembered the funny guy from the islands. Storch went on to appear in eight of Curtis' movies, including "Captain Newman," "Who Was That Lady?" and "The Great Race."

Laurence Samuel Storch was born in New York City where, he recalled proudly, he went on to become class clown at DeWitt Clinton High School and "was invited not to come back."

He practiced his comedy in Harlem theaters for $2 a night before graduating to the famed training ground for comedians of his era, the Catskills.

His first big break came on TV in the early 1950s with "The Cavalcade of Stars," with Jackie Gleason. That led to "The Larry Storch Show," a 1953 summer series. Regular movie and TV work followed.

Storch was married to Norma Greve from 1961 until her death in 2003.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 11, 2022, 09:29:34 AM
NASA reveals Webb telescope's first cosmic targets


NASA said Friday the first cosmic images from the James Webb Space Telescope will include unprecedented views of distant galaxies, bright nebulae, and a faraway giant gas planet.

The US, European and Canadian space agencies are gearing up for a big reveal on July 12 of early observations by the $10 billion observatory, the successor to Hubble that is set to reveal new insights into the origins of the universe.

"I'm looking very much forward to not having to keep these secrets anymore, that will be a great relief," Klaus Pontoppidan, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) that oversees Webb, told AFP last week.

An international committee decided the first wave of full-color scientific images would include the Carina Nebula, an enormous cloud of dust and gas 7,600 light years away, as well as the Southern Ring Nebula, which surrounds a dying star 2,000 light years away.

Carina Nebula is famous for its towering pillars that include "Mystic Mountain," a three-light-year-tall cosmic pinnacle captured in an iconic image by Hubble.

Webb has also carried out a spectroscopy -- an analysis of light that reveals detailed information -- on a faraway gas giant called WASP-96 b, which was discovered in 2014.

Nearly 1,150 light-years from Earth, WASP-96 b is about half the mass of Jupiter and zips around its star in just 3.4 days.

Next comes Stephan's Quintet, a compact galaxy 290 million light years away. Four of the five galaxies within the quintet are "locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters," NASA said.

Finally, and perhaps most enticing of all, Webb has gathered an image using foreground galaxy clusters called SMACS 0723 as a kind of cosmic magnifying glass for the extremely distant and faint galaxies behind it.

This is known as "gravitational lensing" and uses the mass of foreground galaxies to bend the light of objects behind them, much like a pair of glasses.

Dan Coe, an astronomer at STSI, told AFP on Friday that even in its first images, the telescope had broken scientific ground.

"When I first saw the images... of this deep field of this galaxy cluster lensing, I looked at the images, and I suddenly learned three things about the universe that I didn't know before," he said.

"It's totally blown my mind."

Webb's infrared capabilities allow it to see deeper back in time to the Big Bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago, than any instrument before it.

Because the Universe is expanding, light from the earliest stars shifts from the ultraviolet and visible wavelengths it was emitted in, to longer infrared wavelengths -- which Webb is equipped to detect at an unprecedented resolution.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 11, 2022, 11:22:53 AM
NASA releases James Webb telescope 'teaser' picture


NASA has a provided a tantalizing teaser photo ahead of the highly-anticipated release next week of the first deep-space images from the James Webb Telescope –- an instrument so powerful it can peer back into the origins of the universe.

The $10 billion observatory -- launched in December last year and now orbiting the Sun a million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth –- can look where no telescope has looked before thanks to its enormous primary mirror and instruments that focus on infrared, allowing it to peer through dust and gas.

The first fully formed pictures are set for release on July 12, but NASA provided an engineering test photo on Wednesday -- the result of 72 exposures over 32 hours that shows a set of distant stars and galaxies.

The image has some "rough-around-the-edges" qualities, NASA said in a statement, but is still "among the deepest images of the universe ever taken" and offers a "tantalizing glimpse" at what will be revealed in the coming weeks, months, and years.

"When this image was taken, I was thrilled to clearly see all the detailed structure in these faint galaxies," said Neil Rowlands, program scientist for Webb's Fine Guidance Sensor at Honeywell Aerospace.

Jane Rigby, Webb's operations scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said the "faintest blobs in this image are exactly the types of faint galaxies that Webb will study in its first year of science operations."

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said last week that Webb is able to gaze further into the cosmos than any telescope before it.

"It's going to explore objects in the solar system and atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether potentially their atmospheres are similar to our own," he said.

"It may answer some questions that we have: Where do we come from? What more is out there? Who are we? And of course, it's going to answer some questions that we don't even know what the questions are."

Webb's infrared capabilities allow it to see back in time to the Big Bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago.

Because the Universe is expanding, light from the earliest stars shifts from the ultraviolet and visible wavelengths it was emitted in, to longer infrared wavelengths -- which Webb is equipped to detect at an unprecedented resolution.

At present, the earliest cosmological observations date to within 330 million years of the Big Bang, but with Webb's capacities, astronomers believe they will easily break the record.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 12:47:43 AM
UK issues extreme heat warning as temperatures soar


Britain on Monday issued an extreme heat warning, with temperatures predicted to hit more than 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) across large parts of England and Wales.

Forecasters said the warm weather would remain for much of the week, particularly in southern and central England and Wales, with peaks of 33C possible in southeast England on Tuesday.

Temperatures were still several degrees cooler than the heatwave in parts of Spain and Portugal, where the mercury was set to soar past 40C.

But Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Rebekah Sherwin said the UK highs would continue into early next week.

"From Sunday and into Monday, temperatures are likely to be in excess of 35C in the southeast (of England), although the details still remain uncertain," she said.

"Elsewhere, temperatures could be fairly widely above 32C in England and Wales, and in the mid-to-high 20s Celsius further north."

Britain's highest recorded temperature was 38.7C at Cambridge Botanic Garden, in eastern England, on July 25, 2019.

Sherwin said meteorologists could not rule out that record being broken but it was "still only a low probability".

"A number of weather scenarios are still possible and at the current time, mid- or perhaps high-30s are looking more likely," she added.

The extreme heat warning was classified as "amber", the second-highest of three, indicating a "high impact" on daily life and people.

Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said "strongly embedded warming due to climate change" across Europe was increasing the chances of a new UK record.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 12:50:55 AM
Bill Barr subpoenaed to testify in Dominion's defamation lawsuit against Fox News


Former Attorney General William Barr has been subpoenaed to testify in an ongoing defamation lawsuit brought against Fox News over false claims made about the 2020 election, ABC News reports.

The lawsuit, brought by Dominion Voting Systems, also brought about the subpoena of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who Trump famously called after the 2020 election asking to help him "find" the exact number of votes he needed to win the state. Dominion alleges in its $1.6 billion suit that Fox pushed false accusations that the voting tech company had rigged the 2020 election.

"Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process," Dominion said in its complaint.

During his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, Barr said claims that Dominion voting machines switched votes from Joe Biden to Trump were "complete nonsense" and "amongst the most disturbing."

"I told them it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on it, and they were doing a great disservice to the country," Barr said of the Dominion conspiracy theories, which were consistently pushed by Trump and his allies. "I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations, but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Fox New said: "We are confident we will prevail as freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to the damages claims being outrageous, unsupported and not rooted in sound financial analysis, serving as nothing more than a flagrant attempt to deter our journalists from doing their jobs.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 08:33:13 AM
Johnny Depp Rejects Amber Heard’s “Frivolous” Aim To Toss Trial Verdict As Too Little, Too Late; ‘Pirates’ Star Claims ‘Aquaman’ Star Knew About Juror Discrepancy


Just a few days after Amber Heard filed new paperwork to have Johnny Depp’s defamation trial-winning verdict tossed out and a new trial set, the current Jeff Beck sideman has responded. Unsurprisingly, the lengthy response from Team Depp is to maintain the multi-million dollar decision, insisting that the Virginia court “reject Ms. Heard’s baseless contention” over his more than $10 million damages award and everything else.

"Following a six-week jury trial, a jury of Ms. Heard’s peers rendered a verdict against her in virtually all respects,” says the memorandum in opposition from Depp’s Brown Rudnick attorneys Monday. “Though understandably displeased with the outcome of trial, Ms. Heard has identified no legitimate basis to set aside in any respect the jury’s decision,” the filing in Fairfax County claims. “Virginia law is clear that a verdict is not to be set aside unless it is “plainly wrong or without evidence to support it,”‘ the memo adds.

"Here, the verdict was well supported by the overwhelming evidence, consistent with the law, and should not be set aside. Mr. Depp respectfully submits that the Court should deny Ms. Heard’s Post-Trial Motions, which verge into the frivolous.”

Asserting that Heard’s Elaine Bredehoft-led defense and counterclaim crew filed their post-trial motions well after the July 1 deadline, Depp’s team today also seek to make mincemeat of the July 8 reiterated allegations that an incorrect or even masquerading juror was allowed to participate in the April 11 starting trial

In her Supplemental Memorandum, Ms. Heard does not, because she cannot, make any proffer as to why she could not have discovered the “new facts until now. This is because the Clerk’s Office provided the pre-panel jury list to the parties back on April 6, 2022, more than two months ago and five days before the jury was empaneled. In a rare moment of candor, Ms. Heard admits that she was aware of the purported discrepancy in Juror 15’s birth year from the very start of trial because “Juror 15 …was clearly born later than 1945.” Ms. Hard therefore concedes she had more than enough time before the trial started, and during the six-week trial, when at least two alternates were available, to investigate and discover the alleged “new” facts. Clearly, Ms. Heard waived any right to allege “new” facts she chose not to investigate for so long, much less to demand the extraordinary remedy of a mistrial.

Reps for Heard did not response Monday to requests for comment on the latest filing by the Aquaman star’s ex-husband.

Right after the $10 million-plus verdict came down on June 1 overwhelmingly for an absent Depp in Judge Penney Azcarate’s Fairfax, VA courtroom, Heard’s lawyers made it apparent an appeal was in the offing. At first it looked like that desire might have hit a dead end when Judge Azcarate insisted at a June 24 final judgment hearing that Heard has to put up a $8.35 million bond before any appeal can even consider moving forward. The case of the mistaken juror, where a 52-year old man seemed to show up in place of the 77-year old man who was actually summoned, seemed to provide a battering ram through that bond wall – – at least in so far as it threw a spiky spanner into the judicial works.

With the Rum Diary co-stars having divorced in 2016 amidst temporary restraining orders, allegations of abuse and more, Depp sued Heard for $50 million in early 2019 over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed on domestic abuse with her byline on it. Even though the mainly ACLU-written article  in the Jeff Bezos-owned broadsheet never actually mentioned the past Oscar nominee by name, the litigious Depp claimed it “devastated” his already waning career. In court filings and on the stand, Depp went on to claim that he was in fact the one who was abused in the relationship.

In late 2020, Depp lost a UK libel suit against Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater.” That trial was only tangentially brought up in the Virginia trial. Having launched a $100 million countersuit after failing repeatedly to get the Virginia defamation case dismissed, Heard was oddly awarded $2 million in damages on June 1 by the seven-person jury for one of her own trio of defamation claims.

Along with seeking an appeal or mistrial in the Virginia case, Heard is now at the center of legal action from New York Marine and General Insurance Co. The insurance company filed in federal court on June 8 to get out of ponying up a portion of the big bucks costs for the Virginia trial or any forthcoming appeal as Heard’s other insurance company, Travelers Commercial Insurance, has been backing her case via the actress’ homeowner’s policy. It was Travelers’ legal move against New York Marine and General and Heard’s $1 million policy with the latter that kicked off this particular sideshow.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 08:43:14 AM
How climate change is making extreme weather a regular occurrence


Torrential rains in Japan, record-breaking heatwaves Europe, and recurring droughts in the western US. For the second year in a row the start of summer in the northern hemisphere has been marked by extreme weather. To what extent is global warming to blame?

In France, a particularly intense heatwave is set to start on July 11, lasting over a week with temperatures of more than 38°C in a large portion of the country. The exceptionally warm weather will also hit the Iberian peninsula, with temperatures over 40°C in Spain and Portugal, and the UK. This comes after France, Portugal and Spain experienced heatwaves in June, and Spain recorded the hottest May weather since the beginning of the century.

Firefighters in France have already raised concerns over the increased possibility of wildfires due to dry, hot weather.

At the end of June, Japan too was hit by an unprecedented heatwave. The mercury rose to 35°C for consecutive days in the capital, Tokyo, and up to 40°C in Isesaki in the centre of the country. Such consistently high temperatures broke records for the time of year, and were swiftly followed by torrential rains across the Japanese archipelago.

Across the Pacific Ocean, the western states of the US have been hit by significant droughts that are becoming an annual event. This year, however, experts are concerned that reservoir levels will fall so low that the Hoover Dam will no longer be able to produce electricity for hundreds of thousands of American homes.

In early July, a state of emergency was declared in five regions in the north of Italy where records for high temperatures were broken one after the other. Rome spent multiple days baking in 38°C heat. In Sicily, highs in the commune of Floridia hit 46°C. On Saturday, July 2, for the first time ever, temperatures of 10°C were recorded at the summit of the Marmolada glacier, in the Italian Alps.

As a result of the heatwave, part of the glacier detached itself and fell, killing 11 people. The following day, a pine forest south of Rome was the starting point for a forest fire.

'Interconnected phenomena' intensified by climate change

How to explain these extreme weather events happing at almost the same time in multiple locations around the world? “It is absolutely not a coincidence,” says Pascal Yiou, climatologist and researcher at French research centre le Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l'environnement. “These meteorological phenomena are interconnected. A cyclone or a heatwave in the US has repercussions on the whole planet contributing to monsoons in India, for example.”

While it is not unusual for such events to occur in tandem, there is still the question of why they are occurring with such intensity. Yiou says global warming is to blame. “It is disrupting the whole dynamic of the atmosphere,” he says. “Rising temperatures at the poles disturb wind energy and, therefore, the alternation in cyclones and anticyclones.”

Global warming creates, for example, favorable conditions for conflicts of air masses between the ground and high altitudes. These conflicts can cause phenomena such as “cold drops” when a bubble of cold air collides with warmer temperatures close to the ground causing heavy rain and storms. The opposite, when a bubble of warm air collides with cool air at ground level, can cause heatwaves.

Then there is a domino effect. One heatwave can intensify a drought or cause forest fires. Heavy downpours can kick start floods or landslides.

Climatologists such as Yiou say this vicious cycle is cause for alarm. Climate experts from the UN announced a “code red for humanity” in a 2021 report that said that heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather events would increase in an “unprecedented” way, in terms of frequency, scale, areas impacted and periods of the year when they may occur.

“The beginning of summer this year, just like last year, shows that the warnings are already a reality,” says Yiou.

Attribution science

While the overall impact of warming on global weather cannot be denied, scientists have long been reluctant to pinpoint climate change as the cause for individual events. But since 2015, an international group of scientists known as World Weather Attribution (WWA) has developed a method for determining the extent to which the intensity of a weather event is linked to the climate crisis. The practice is called attribution science.

“Meteorological phenomena always come in multiples,” says Robert Vautard, meteorologist and climatologist from climate science research centre the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute, which contributes to WWA research, “But today we know that global warming can impact the probability of certain events. The objective now is to determine [how it affects] the scale.”

They use the same methods to calculate the influence of global warming on a range of phenomena. “Using numeric models we compare a Planet A, representing the planet we live on, to a Planet B, representing a planet without any human activity,” says Vautard. ”We do thousands of simulations and we count how many times an event occurs on each planet and at what intensity level.”

The point of attribution science is to understand how global warming is presenting itself around the world in our daily lives, and evidence shows it is a significant contributor to extreme weather events.

The WWA found that the heatwave that hit India and Pakistan in March and April was 30 times more likely to have happened due to climate imbalances. A heatwave in Canada in June 2021 was found to be 150 times more likely due to global warming. “In concrete terms, what we have shown is that this event could have happened without climate change, bit it was much less likely to,” says Vautard.

Measuring human influence

Analysis can also show that events are not linked to global warming. This was the case for the winter storms Eleanor and Friederike, that hit Europe in January 2018.

In some cases, social and economic factors also play a role. Researchers found that climate change was not the main cause for famine in Madagascar, despite the UN stating the opposite. Instead, poverty, natural weather conditions and poor infrastructure were found to be the main causes.

“Similarly, if we are talking about something like floods, we have to weigh things carefully,” says Vautard. “As well as precipitation, there is also the question of human management of waterways. Fires are often started due to human behavior. But the human element is often difficult to measure.”

It can also be harder to establish clear links between global warming certain types of weather, such as cyclones and tornados. Even so, Vautard says, “today the influence of climate change on waves of heat and cold is undeniable".

The WWA will shortly begin an investigation into whether global warming was a contributing factor to the heatwave in Japan in June.

Analysis of previous extreme weather events has already made one thing clear. “Extreme weather phenomena will be the norm from now on,” Vautard says. “The only way to stop the situation getting worse is to fight as hard as possible against global warming.”

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 08:50:07 AM
President Biden @POTUS

The first image from the Webb Space Telescope represents a historic moment for science and technology. For astronomy and space exploration.

And for America and all humanity.


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 08:52:18 AM
2022 MLB All-Star Game snubs: Freddie Freeman, Ty France, Carlos Rodón left off rosters

Here are 19 players who have a case that they should have made a Midsummer Classic roster

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 08:57:30 AM
Manufacturers struggle to keep pace with vinyl record demand


The arrival of the compact disc nearly killed off record albums, with vinyl pressing machines sold, scrapped and dismantled by major record labels.

Four decades later, with resuscitated record album sales producing double-digit annual growth, manufacturers are rapidly rebuilding an industry to keep pace with sales that reached $1 billion last year.

Dozens of record-pressing factories have been built to try to meet demand in North America — and it’s still not enough.

The industry “has found a new gear, and is accelerating at a new pace,” said Mark Michaels, CEO and chairman of United Record Pressing, the nation’s largest record producer, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Demand for vinyl records has been growing in double-digits for more than a decade and mass merchandisers like Target were bolstering their selection of albums just as the pandemic provided a surprising jolt. With music tours canceled, and people stuck at home, music lovers began snapping up record albums at an even faster pace.

Record album sales revenue grew a whopping 61% in 2021 — and reached $1 billion for the first time since the 1980s — far outpacing growth rates for paid music subscriptions and streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Record albums nearly spun into oblivion with sales overtaken by cassettes before the compact discs brushed both aside. Then came digital downloads and online piracy, Apple iPods and 99-cent downloads. Streaming services are now ubiquitous.

But nostalgic baby boomers who missed thumbing through record albums in their local record stores helped to fuel a vinyl resurgence that started about 15 years ago.

It coincided with the launch of Record Store Day to celebrate indie record stores, said Larry Jaffee, author of “Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century.”

These days, though, it’s more than just boomers.

A younger generation is buying turntables and albums — and cassette tapes, too — and a new generation of artists like Adele, Ariana Grande and Harry Styles have been moving to vinyl, Jaffee noted.

In Pittsburgh, taxi driver Jamila Grady is too young, at age 34, to remember the heyday of record stores.

But she finds records to be irresistible. She created wall art from some of the album covers from nearly 50 albums she’s bought since 2019, starting with “Lemonade” by Beyoncé. She acknowledges it’s an indulgence since she already listens to music through Soundcloud, Apple Music and Pandora.

“For record players, there’s something so beautiful about taking the record, putting it on the payer, and dropping the needle,” she said.

Manufacturers had to start nearly from scratch.

The major labels shuttered their plants long ago, but new ones are coming online. Record makers launching over the last 10 to 15 years include Toronto-based Precision Record Pressing, Memphis Record Pressing, Cleveland’s Gotta Groove Records and Kansas’ Quality Record Pressing.

Jack White of White Stripes, opened his own vinyl pressing plant, Third Man Pressing, in 2017 in Detroit, and pleaded with the major record labels to reopen manufacturing facilities.

There are now about 40 plants in the U.S. — most of them smaller operations — but challenges remain.

Nationwide, backlogs are six to eight months because of growing demand, and supply chain disruptions of raw materials, including vinyl polymers, have caused problems, Michaels said.

It’s not easy to launch a new pressing plant because there are only a handful of companies — none in the U.S. — that make record-pressing machines. Those machines are backordered, as well.

People can debate the sound quality but it comes down to an emotional reaction, not technical specifications, said Bob Ludwig, a multi-Grammy winner who created Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland, Maine.

A friend who listened to Ludwig’s remastered version of Queen’s “Night at the Opera” called it “stunning” and “electric.”

“I love the vinyl experience. All of it. To me, there is an electrifying sound when I play records that I don’t feel from digital,” said Mark Mazzetti, an independent A&R executive who worked for Sting, Janet Jackson and others at A&M Records.

No one knows the ceiling for record growth because of the constrained supply, said Chris Brown, vice president for finance at Bull Moose Records, a record store chain in New England.

New releases often fail to meet demand, and reorders take even longer, leaving little capacity for lesser-known eclectic albums, he said.

“Part of the fun of collecting records is being surprised,” he said. “But midlevel stuff doesn’t get printed, or there’s a long wait.”

Record producers gather this week in Nashville for their annual trade event called Making Vinyl.

People in the business are excited about the growth, and it’s almost like “printing money” for manufactures as sales soar to new heights every year, said Bryan Ekus, president of Making Vinyl.

No one knows how long the run will continue, so there’s a sense that “we should make hay while the sun shines,” Ekus said.

In Nashville, United Record Pressing launched in 1949 and never stopped producing records. It’s currently in the midst of a $15 million expansion that will triple its capacity in the middle of next year.

Michaels can’t help but to wonder how long the double-digit growth can be sustained, but he said he’s optimistic about the future.

It’s both heartwarming and good for business to see high schoolers and young adults showing an interest in records, he said.

“I believe in music and I believe in the importance of music in people’s lives. I don’t think that changes,” he said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 12, 2022, 04:52:49 PM
How do drugs know where to go in the body? A pharmaceutical scientist explains why some medications are swallowed while others are injected
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 13, 2022, 12:15:16 AM
Migraine sufferers have treatment choices – a neurologist explains options beyond just pain medication


Migraine headaches currently affect more than one billion people across the globe and are the second-leading cause of disability worldwide. Nearly one-quarter of U.S. households have at least one member who suffers from migraines. An estimated 85.6 million workdays are lost as a result of migraine headaches each year.

Yet many who suffer with migraine dismiss their pain as simply a bad headache. Rather than seeking medical care, the condition often goes undiagnosed, even when other incapacitating symptoms occur alongside the pain, including light and sound sensitivity, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

Researchers have discovered that genetics and environmental factors play a role in the condition of migraine. They happen when changes in your brainstem activate the trigeminal nerve, which is a major nerve in the pain pathway. This cues your body to release inflammatory substances such as CGRP, short for calcitonin gene-related peptide. This molecule, and others, can cause blood vessels to swell, producing pain and inflammation.

For some, medication has its limits

A migraine can be debilitating. Those who are experiencing one are often curled up in a dark room accompanied by only their pain. Attacks can last for days; life is put on hold. The sensitivity to light and sound, coupled with the unpredictability of the disease, causes many to forego work, school, social gatherings and time with family.

Numerous prescription medications are available for both the prevention and treatment of migraine. But for many people, conventional treatment has its limitations. Some people with migraine have a poor tolerance for certain medications. Many can’t afford the high cost of the medicines or endure the side effects. Others are pregnant or breastfeeding and can’t take the medications.

However, as a board-certified neurologist who specializes in headache medicine, I’m always amazed at how open-minded and enthusiastic patients become when I discuss alternative options.


Your brain sends you warning signals, such as fatigue and mood changes, to let you know a migraine may be on the way.

These approaches, collectively, are called complementary and alternative medicine. It might be surprising that a traditionally trained Western doctor like me would recommend things like yoga, acupuncture or meditation for people with migraine. Yet in my practice, I value these nontraditional treatments.

Research shows that alternative therapies are associated with improved sleep, feeling better emotionally and an enhanced sense of control. Some patients can avoid prescription medications altogether with one or more complementary treatments. For others, the nontraditional treatments can be used along with prescription medication.

These options can be used one at a time or in combination, depending on how severe the headache and the cause behind it. If neck tension is a contributor to the pain, then physical therapy or massage may be most beneficial. If stress is a trigger, perhaps meditation would be an appropriate place to start. It is worth talking to your provider to explore which options may work best for you.

Mindfulness, meditation and more

Because stress is a major trigger for migraines, one of the most effective alternative therapies is mindfulness meditation, which is the act of focusing your attention on the present moment in a nonjudgmental mindset. Studies show that mindfulness meditation can reduce headache frequency and pain severity.

Another useful tool is biofeedback, which enables a person to see their vital signs in real time and then learn how to stabilize them.

For example, if you are stressed, you may notice muscle tightness, perspiration and a fast heart rate. With biofeedback, these changes appear on a monitor, and a therapist teaches you exercises to help manage them. There is strong evidence that biofeedback can lessen the frequency and severity of migraine headaches and reduce headache-related disability.

Yoga derives from traditional Indian philosophy and combines physical postures, meditation and breathing exercises with a goal of uniting the mind, body and spirit. Practicing yoga consistently can be helpful in reducing stress and treating migraine.


Meditation is an alternative therapy that could help with your migraine.

Manipulation-based therapy

Physical therapy uses manual techniques such as myofascial and trigger-point release, passive stretching and cervical traction, which is a light pulling on the head by a skilled hand or with a medical device. Studies show that physical therapy with medication was superior in reducing migraine frequency, pain intensity and pain perception over medications alone.

By lowering stress levels and promoting relaxation, massage can decrease migraine frequency and improve sleep. It may also reduce stress in the days following the massage, which adds further protection from migraine attacks.

Some patients are helped by acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine. In this practice, fine needles are placed in specific locations on the skin to promote healing. A large 2016 meta-analysis paper found acupuncture reduced the duration and frequency of migraines regardless of how often they occur. Acupuncture benefits are sustained after 20 weeks of treatment.

What’s also fascinating is that acupuncture can change the metabolic activity in the thalamus, the region of the brain critical to pain perception. This change correlated with a decrease in the headache intensity score following acupuncture treatment.

Vitamins, supplements and nutraceuticals

Herbal supplements and nutraceuticals, which are food-derived products that may have therapeutic benefit, can also be used to prevent migraine. And there is evidence to suggest vitamins work reasonably well compared to traditional prescription medication. They also have fewer side effects. Here are some examples:

Magnesium is believed to help regulate the blood vessels and electrical activity in the brain. A study found that patients given 600 milligrams of magnesium citrate daily for 12 weeks had a 40% decrease in migraine. Side effects included diarrhea in nearly 20% of patients.

Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is also considered useful in migraine prevention. When dosed at 400 milligrams daily for 12 weeks, researchers found it reduced migraine frequency by half in more than half of participants.Another beneficial supplement is Coenzyme Q10, which is involved in cellular energy production. After three months, about half of those taking 100 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 three times a day had half the number of migraine attacks.

A potential natural solution is feverfew or Tanacetum parthenium, a daisylike perennial plant known to have anti-migraine properties. Taken three times daily, feverfew reduced migraine frequency by 40%.

Devices can be beneficial

The Food and Drug Administration has approved several neurostimulation devices for migraine treatment. These devices work by neutralizing the pain signals sent from the brain.

One is the Nerivio device, which is worn on the upper arm and sends signals to the brainstem pain center during an attack. Two-thirds of people report pain relief after two hours, and side effects are rare.

Another device that shows promise is the Cefaly. It delivers a mild electrical current to the trigeminal nerve on the forehead, which can lessen the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. After one hour of treatment, patients experienced a nearly 60% reduction in pain intensity, and the relief lasted up to 24 hours. Side effects are uncommon and include sleepiness or skin irritation.

These alternative therapies help treat the person as a whole. In just my practice, many success stories come to mind: the college student who once had chronic migraine but now has rare occurrences after a regimen of vitamins; the pregnant woman who avoided medication through acupuncture and physical therapy; or the patient, already on numerous prescription medications, who uses a neurostimulation device for migraine instead of adding another prescription.

Granted, alternative approaches are not necessarily miracle therapies, but their potential to relieve pain and suffering is notable. As a physician, it is truly gratifying to see some of my patients respond to these treatments.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 13, 2022, 12:20:53 AM
'Should disturb everyone': Fox News analyst stunned by 'breathtaking' Jan. 6 hearing


Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley reacted with surprise on Tuesday at what he said was a "breathtaking" hearing about the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Turley said that he was most shocked by revelations that Trump officials nearly came to blows during a heated Oval Office meeting about overturning the election.

"It's still damaging," Turley said of former White House counsel Pat Cipollone's deposition. "That meeting in the [Oval Office] is really breathtaking. It's very disturbing."

"At one point, there was a suggestion that there might be fisticuffs," he gasped. "It's almost like this is Dr. Strangelove and the president is saying there is no fighting in the war room. It was just a bizarre moment."

Turley added: "You're in the Oval Office and people seem to be actually chest pounding. So this is very disturbing. All of these details should disturb everyone."

Also Tuesday, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said that he believes the House Select Committee has outlined enough to prove that former President Donald Trump could be charged with seditious conspiracy.

"Trump was the facilitator of the Jan. 6 insurrection," he explained. "He knows that people responded to his tweets and what he says, and he knows how the far-right feel about him and feel about his leadership. I mean, everything from the Tiki Torch March after he first got into another white nationalist event when they essentially identified him as their president."

Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley called today's Jan. 6 hearings "breathtaking."

Watch Video: https://twitter.com/i/status/1546926259539742723
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 13, 2022, 09:47:49 AM
WATCH LIVE: NASA officials discuss new photos released from the James Webb Space Telescope

Starts at 5:00

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 13, 2022, 03:57:23 PM
James Webb telescope takes super sharp view of early cosmos

NASA’s Webb Delivers Deepest Infrared Image of Universe Yet
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 13, 2022, 11:09:20 PM
Toronto Blue Jays fire manager Charlie Montoyo amid recent struggles

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays fired manager Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday and promoted bench coach John Schneider to interim manager for the remainder of the season.

Triple-A manager Casey Candaele was named interim bench coach.

The 13th manager in Blue Jays history, and the first from Puerto Rico, Montoyo went 236-236 in parts of four seasons. Toronto beat Philadelphia on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak and improve to 46-42 this season, which would put them in a playoffs as a wild-card team if the season ended now despite being in fourth place in the AL East.

The Blue Jays are 3-9 in July. They went 1-6 on a road trip against Oakland, which has the worst record in the majors, and Seattle that ended Sunday with a four-game sweep against the Mariners.

Toronto's skid started July 2, when it was swept in a doubleheader against Tampa Bay. Montoyo and first-base coach Mark Budzinksi left the dugout during Game 2 after learning of the death of Budzinski's teenage daughter, Julia.

Several members of the Blue Jays organization flew together to Virginia on the off day Monday to attend Julia Budzinski's funeral.

Montoyo, 56, replaced John Gibbons as Blue Jays manager after the 2018 season. Montoyo's contract was extended through 2023 on April 1.

Montoyo oversaw a tumultuous period in Blue Jays history, with the team playing home games in three cities last season, including two minor league parks, because of border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Toronto also played its 2020 home schedule at its Triple-A stadium in Buffalo, New York.

Montoyo led Toronto to a 32-28 record and a wild-card berth in the expanded playoffs that followed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but the Blue Jays were swept by eventual AL champion Tampa Bay in the opening round. Toronto went 91-71 in 2021 and missed tying for the AL wild card by one game.

Before joining the Blue Jays, Montoyo spent six seasons on Tampa Bay's major league coaching staff, including his final three as bench coach. Prior to that, he spent 18 seasons as a minor league manager in the Rays system and also worked with the Puerto Rican team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 14, 2022, 05:38:42 AM
Judge denies Amber Heard's attempt at mistrial in Johnny Depp defamation case


Amber Heard isn't getting a new trial in her defamation case against Johnny Depp. Judge Penney Azcarate, who oversaw the six-week spectacle, denied the actress's attempt to toss the verdict and $10.35 million judgment.

Lawyers for the Aquaman star, 36, were seeking a mistrial on multiple grounds. One argument they made was that there was an apparent case of mistaken identity with Juror 15 in that the wrong person from a household reported to court. In her order on Wednesday, the judge said that the juror filled out the jury questionnaire properly and was questioned by both sides.

"The parties also questioned the jury panel for a full day and informed the Court that the jury panel was acceptable," Azcarate wrote. "Therefore, due process was guaranteed and provided to all parties in this litigation ... there is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing."

The judge added, "Defendant does not allege Juror 15's inclusion on the jury prejudiced her in any way. The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this Court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the Court’s instructions, and orders. This Court is bound by the competent decision of the jury."

Heard has yet to speak out about the latest legal blow.

Legal experts told Yahoo Entertainment earlier this week that Heard didn't have grounds for a mistrial.

"The law in Virginia does not support Amber's claim that she was denied due process because of the issue with Juror 15. Her team had the opportunity to question the juror or to raise this issue at that time with the judge. Heard's team accepted this jury panel with the information that they had then and there is no new information that come out since. They had the list of jurors that identified the juror information and birthdate. This motion is a grasp, not a real possibility," legal analyst Emily D. Baker explained.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in which she claimed she suffered physical and sexual abuse. Although she didn't name her ex-husband, the jury agreed it was reasonably inferred to be the Pirates of the Caribbean star. Depp specifically sued over three parts he said were defamatory and killed his career. Depp won on all three with the jury ruling that Heard was never abused — emotionally or physically — by the actor even once. He was awarded $15 million, but due to Virginia state law, it nets out at $10.35 million.

Heard countersued Depp for $100 million over statements the actor's lawyer made to the press. She won one out of the three and was awarded $2 million in damages. The actress didn't settle with Depp, which lawyers hinted was on the table, and will likely appeal.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 14, 2022, 09:00:34 PM
5 new awe-inspiring images of the universe from James Webb Space Telescope
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 15, 2022, 12:00:27 AM
To search for alien life, astronomers will look for clues in the atmospheres of distant planets – and the James Webb Space Telescope just proved it’s possible to do so
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 15, 2022, 11:30:18 AM
Mariners extend their winning streak to 11

There are only so many ways you can describe a baseball team’s style of play, and at their core they all fall into a few classic tropes. You’ve got the classic underdogs, the Chaos Ball-ers, the overwhelmingly dominant, the plays-up/plays-down to their opponents, etc. The 2022 Mariners are strange in that they’ve flirted with so many different identities already this season - and are sure to tangle with more in the coming months.

They’re not a traditionally star-studded team, nor are they a jarring dichotomy of stars and scrubs. This team feels...equal. Balanced, even, when they’re firing on all cylinders. Until they break their drought, the Seattle Mariners will always have something to prove, but what’s most striking this season is that the players aren’t just out to prove the worth of the franchise they represent, they each have something to prove themselves.

Julio Rodríguez is the rookie phenom, working to live up to the hopes and dreams of a franchise, a nation and his own.

Eugenio Suárez, Jesse Winker and Adam Frazier all had stellar standalone seasons, and are trying to show that those seasons weren’t anomalies.

Carlos Santana and Justin Upton are fighting Father Time and the ageism of the league.

J.P. Crawford continues to battle against his top prospect disappointment in Philadelphia - and his All-Star snub last year.

Abraham Tor, Luis Torrens, Sam Haggerty and Dylan Moore are each eschewing years of doubt, striving to show how past organizations were foolish to have jettisoned them.

Cal Raleigh is reminding Mariners fans that Mike Zunino isn’t the only, inevitable ending to a homegrown catcher’s story.

Ty France has been overlooked by the entirety of southern California.

The starting rotation features a bizarre assortment of young, homegrown talent proving they belong; crafty soft-tossers proving that strikeouts are overrated; and an ace proving he’s worth the money.

The bullpen is a series of names only a Mariners fan could love (or really recognize).

And tonight, with the background noise of inexplicable “overrated” chants, this team with something to prove proved it once again.


For most of the game, it seemed like the Mariners were cooked.

Every winning streak has its inevitable end, and after an unexpected doubleheader and late-night arrival in Texas it wasn’t surprising that Seattle was dragging. Marco Gonzales had an uncharacteristically difficult night, but managed to hold the Rangers to five runs despite giving up 11 hits and, most crucially, gutted it out for six full innings.

Up until the top of the seventh, the lone offensive highlight had been upstart Sam Haggerty’s inside-the-park home run - the first Mariner to accomplish the feat since Willie Bloomquist in 2007.

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1547757953750405121

But in the seventh, Haggerty lit the spark again. He and Julio singled back-to-back and drove former Angels nemesis Garrett Richards from the game. An egregious called third strike on France made things look dour, but then Santana walked to load the bases with two outs for the third time this game. And, unlike the previous two times, they managed to drive in some of those waiting runners with a Suárez two-run single.

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1547772221296295938

Down two in the eighth, back-to-back-to-back singles from Frazier, Toro and Haggerty brought the M’s All-Star to the plate. A hit-by-pitch wasn’t the ideal PA, but it still pulled the Mariners within one. Then, jilted All-Star France crushed his signature line drive to score two and suddenly Seattle had the lead. Diego Castillo closed out the bullpen’s third scoreless inning, and it was all done in such a targeted, competent fashion that it felt silly we had ever even doubted them.

Perhaps that’s the lesson to depart from this season thus far: Do not doubt the Seattle Mariners.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 16, 2022, 06:03:29 AM
Highlights: First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope (Official NASA Video)

NASA revealed the first five full-color images and spectrographic data from the world's most powerful space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency), and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). The world got its first look at the full capabilities of the mission at a live event streamed from the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on July 12, 2022.

The event showcased these targets:

- Carina Nebula: A landscape speckled with glittering stars and cosmic cliffs
- Stephan’s Quintet: An enormous mosaic with a visual grouping of five galaxies
- Southern Ring Nebula: A nebula with rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions
- WASP 96-b: A distinct signature of water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet orbiting a distant Sun-like star
- SMACS 0723: The deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date

The full set of the telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data are available at: https://nasa.gov/webbfirstimages

Full-resolution images can be downloaded at: https://webbtelescope.org

Credit: NASA


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 16, 2022, 06:23:27 AM
James Webb telescope can take detailed photos of our own solar system's planets and moons

NASA has released images of Jupiter taken during James Webb's commissioning period


Over the past few days, NASA has released stunning photos of nebulae, groups of galaxies and even the "deepest" view of the universe taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Now, the agency has released images of something much closer to home that everyone's new favorite telescope — sorry, Hubble! — has captured. When the James Webb team was calibrating the instrument, members took photos of Jupiter to see if it can be used to observe nearby celestial objects like moons and asteroids, as well other elements like planet rings and satellites. The answer, it turns out, is yes.

A photo taken by the telescope's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument’s short-wavelength filter (above) clearly shows the gas giant's distinct bands and its moon Europa. The Great Red Spot is also perfectly visible, even though it looks white due to the way the image was processed. When the NIRCam instrument's 2.12 micron filter was used, the resulting image showed the Jovian moons Europa, Thebe, Metis and even Europa's shadow near the Great Red Spot. And when the team used NIRCam's 3.23 micron filter, the resulting image captured some of Jupiter's rings, as you can see below:


Bryan Holler, one of the scientists who helped plan these observations, said:

"Combined with the deep field images released the other day, these images of Jupiter demonstrate the full grasp of what Webb can observe, from the faintest, most distant observable galaxies to planets in our own cosmic backyard that you can see with the naked eye from your actual backyard."

It's worth noting that James Webb captured these images moving across its field of view in three separate observations, proving that it's capable of finding and tracking stars in the vicinity of a celestial body as bright as Jupiter. That means it can be used to study moons in our solar system and could give us the first images of the plumes of material known to spew out of natural satellites like Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus.

The team also tracked asteroids in the asteroid belt to figure out the fastest objects it can observe. They found that it can still get gather data from objects moving up to 67 milliarcseconds per second across its field of view. NASA says that's equivalent to tracking a turtle moving from a mile away. As Stefanie Milam, James Webb's deputy project scientist, said, these images show that "everything worked brilliantly." We can expect not just more impressively detailed images of space in the future, but also information that could shed more light on how the first galaxies had formed.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 16, 2022, 09:48:52 AM
Mariners Continue To Claw Their Way Out Of Obscurity, Win 12th Straight


The Seattle Mariners have never been set up for success in the eyes of an American sports fan. They have to fight the prevalent East Coast bias, they’re too far out of the way to be a team one could catch a home game to while passing through to another city, and they certainly never had a media proprietor as an owner that put them on national television (here’s looking at you, Atlanta Braves and TBS).

To add to that, the Mariners play their home games on the West Coast. If you’ve never experienced 10:10pm game starts on the regular, consider yourself fortunate. The day begins on the East Coast, meaning the news cycle begins on the East Coast. Chances are whoever is influencing those news cycles probably didn’t stay up to watch a lot of West Coast teams.

That’s all to say that the Mariners were born, trident first, into an uphill battle out of obscurity. Any media attention they get is earned, not given.

One way to get the media’s attention? Keep winning.

And so they keep winning.

Mariners anew

There were plenty moments in this game that would’ve made Mariners fans of yester-month melt faster than a snow cone in a Texas summer. The team only recorded one hit through the first three innings while striking out four times over that span, Robbie Ray gave up two homes runs (one of which put Texas within a run) before being pulled for Erik Swanson, and Julio was down to his last strike with the bases loaded and two outs.

Yester-month Mariners fans might’ve felt misplaced anger boil up during these moments, perhaps even shutting the television or radio off because we already know what’s going to happen.

I can’t speak for everyone in the Mariners fandom, but for me these moments felt different. The challenges the team faced in these moments no longer seemed insurmountable, they now felt doable. Not just doable, but presumed achievable.

After the Mariners failed to get more than one hit for three innings they went on to score three runs in the 4th inning.

After Robbie Ray gave up two home runs that put Texas within a run the bullpen came in to record seven straight outs to end the game.

After Julio found himself in a 2-out make-or-break situation with the bases and count full he delivered and hit his first ever Grand Slam (break out the rye bread).

And yes, after another 12-strikeout performance by our reigning Cy Young winner, our offense continued the trend of providing run support.

Now that the Baltimore Orioles had their win streak snapped by the Tampa Bay Rays, all eyes are rightfully affixed to the team in the Upper Left USA. It helps that Julio has lived up to — and perhaps exceeded — his hype, but I can’t remember the last time I saw the MLB social media accounts or the ESPN social media accounts talk about the Mariners as much as they are now.

It used to be that we’d have to wait for Mina Kimes to appear on a show to hear the word “Mariners” uttered through our television’s sound system. That’s no longer the case.

The only drawback to this is every analysis of the team is met with the question, “but are they the real deal?” I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Keep winning.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 16, 2022, 09:50:52 AM
WATCH LIVE: Stunning new images from James Webb Space Telescope offer fuller picture of our universe

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 17, 2022, 03:47:46 AM
The clearest image of Jupiter ever photographed.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 17, 2022, 04:15:32 AM
The Seattle Mariners make it 13 straight.

For historical perspective, only 47 teams in MLB history have won more than 13 in a row, and just 8 teams since 2000 (including M’s record of 15 in 2001). MLB record seems safe at 26 straight by 1916 NY Giants.

Surging Seattle Mariners outlast Texas Rangers in 10 innings, extend winning streak to 13 games


ARLINGTON, Texas -- J.P. Crawford hit an RBI single in the 10th inning and the Seattle Mariners stretched their winning streak to 13 games, defeating the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Saturday.

Carlos Santana homered as the Mariners (50-42) moved closer to the club-record 15-game winning streak set in their last playoff season in 2001. They have won 21 of their past 24 games overall to take eight series in a row, their most since winning 14 straight sets during that 116-win season 21 years ago.

Seattle would match the longest winning streak in the majors this year with a victory in the series finale Sunday, its final game before the All-Star break. Reigning World Series champion Atlanta won 14 games in a row last month.

Crawford chopped a one-out single down the line past first base off Brett Martin (0-5), who was the fifth Texas pitcher and went the last two innings. That scored automatic runner Sam Haggerty, who came on as a pinch runner for Santana, who had an inning-ending groundout in the ninth.

A confident Haggerty told Seattle manager Scott Servais before the inning began that he could steal third base off Martin, and Servais went along with it. "If you feel it, take it," Servais said. "Don't play scared."

"Made our jobs a whole lot easier," Crawford said of the stolen base. "Changed the whole infield. Now a lot of more holes are open, and we have an extra opportunity not to waste an out to try to get him over. Just get him in."

Diego Castillo (7-1) faced only three batters in the ninth, benefitting from a double-play liner after walking the leadoff batter. Matthew Festa struck out the side in the 10th for his first save.

"Today, we had a chance to win the game and we didn't," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "We didn't make baseball plays today. That's plain and simple. We had a chance to win that game. We should have won that game in my opinion."

Crawford and Santana both returned to the Mariners' lineup. Crawford had missed two games because of a bruised right index finger, and Santana was reinstated from the restricted list after being away from the club for a day after a fire at his home in Florida.

Ty France, who had three more hits to raise his batting average to .306, singled in the third before Santana hit his eighth homer of the season to put the Mariners up 2-1. France had a one-out double in the ninth, but his pinch runner got stranded on base.

Nathaniel Lowe, mired in a 4-for-26 slide, led off the Texas second with a double and scored on a single by Jonah Heim. The Rangers tied the game in the seventh after another leadoff double, this one by hot-hitting Leody Taveras before Elier Hernandez singled to get his first career RBI. Taveras has hit .593 (16-of-27) with six doubles in a seven-game hitting streak.

Chris Flexen (6-8, 3.84 ERA), who is 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA in five career starts against Texas, will take the mound for the Mariners in the final game before the All-Star break Sunday.

"Everybody's just doing their job, pitching in and really keeping a very calm demeanor about them," Servais said. "You're not always going to get the big hit or get a big shutdown inning. But we've been able to do it through the streak, and it has been awesome."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 17, 2022, 04:33:23 AM
Does the COVID vaccine protect against BA.5 variant? A doctor answers

The new BA.5 is one of the “worst” subvariants circulating the country, infecting even those who have immunity from previous infections and vaccines.

Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of Scripps Research Translational Institute, called the new subvariant “the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen” in an online post in June. He cited its advanced ability to escape immunity and high transmission, in contrast to the original omicron and its family variants, including BA.2 and BA.4.

California’s seven-day test positivity rate is at 16.1%, as of July 12, an increase from 4.3% on May 11, according to the state’s public health dashboard. Reported COVID case numbers have remained steady with 36.1 new cases per 100,000, but hospitalizations with confirmed cases have jumped from the last week — at more than 4,000.

Will current vaccines protect me from BA.5?

Preventing infection from BA.5 with vaccines is probably limited, if it provides any protection at all, said Dr. Stuart Cohen, infectious disease professor and chief of UC Davis Health’s division of infectious diseases.

According to a UC Davis Health news release, BA.5 is a “whole different animal.” It’s the most easily transmissible variant and can evade previous immunity from both infections and vaccinations.

Cohen explained that the changes with the COVID-19 virus are in the areas that the immune response from the vaccines target. As the virus continues to mutate, it becomes different from what the vaccine was designed against, he said.

But while current COVID vaccines might not prevent infection, Cohen said it can minimize the amount of damage that the virus causes. He added that those who are experiencing severe infection are unvaccinated people.

Symptoms of BA.5

According to UC Davis, symptoms of BA.5 are similar to previous COVID infections. Signs include “fever, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, headaches, muscle pain and fatigue.”

If you notice you have COVID-related symptoms, you should get tested. The federal government is providing free at-home COVID tests. You can order them online.

Should I get another booster?

If you’ve already had the two-series COVID shot and booster — three shots total — you don’t need another booster, unless you are older and have underlying medical conditions, Cohen said.

In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended immunocompromised people and those over 50 years old who had their first booster dose at least four months ago to get another mRNA booster.

Cohen said he’s gotten the four shots, but the second booster isn’t necessary for everyone. He advised that those who can wait look ahead to the fall, when a new vaccine may become available.

To prevent infection from BA.5, consider re-employing safety measures. Cohen said the practices from the beginning of the pandemic, including masking, not gathering in large groups and social distancing, likely still serve a significant purpose in preventing infection.

© The Sacramento Bee
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 18, 2022, 06:06:30 AM
Sharks mistaking feet for fish are likely behind Long Island attacks


A series of five shark attacks in two weeks on New York's Long Island probably has many beachgoers in the Northeast hesitant to wade into the water.

But the sharks aren't targeting humans — they're after fish.

A sand tiger shark nursery located just off the Long Island coast and an abundance of bait fish close to shore could explain the recent string of unwanted encounters, according to Florida Program for Shark Research Program Director Gavin Naylor.

The sand tiger shark is one of the more menacing looking creatures lurking beneath the ocean's surface. It can grow up to 10 feet in length and has a set of jagged teeth protruding from its jaws.

However, as far as sharks go, this big fish shouldn't be cause for alarm.

The sand tiger is a relatively docile species of shark that wants little to nothing to do with humans. Attacks are almost always carried out by smaller juveniles that accidentally bite someone while chasing fish.

"Off the coast of Long Island there are lots of juvenile sand tiger sharks, a lot of them, and usually we don't have a problem with them. But as you've probably heard reported, a lot of the baitfish — the bunker (the menhaden) — are actually closer in this year and there's a lot more," Naylor said. "... It's a statistical fact that sharks don't target people. If they did, we'd have about 10,000 bites a day."

Scientists with the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium announced the discovery of a sand tiger shark nursery off the southern Long Island coast in 2016. Naylor said this could explain why encounters, such as the five in the past two weeks, didn't result in life-threatening injuries.

Adult sharks are considerably larger and are capable of delivering more damage in the event of an attack, but they're also more mature, and less likely to mistake a human for food.

What to do if you see a shark

Having said all that, there are some extra precautions you can take to better avoid an unwanted encounter with sharks: don't swim between dusk and dawn; don't go into the water alone; avoid flashy jewelry, which can be mistaken for fish scales; don't go in if you've got an open wound.

If you've done your due diligence and still come face to face with a shark, the best thing you can do is remain calm — easier said than done. Square up with the shark and don't take your eyes off of it, Naylor said. Move purposefully, while watching the shark, and back towards the shore.

And if the shark gets too close for comfort — or it tries to bite you — defend yourself. Your best bet is to punch or kick the shark in the nose or gills.

Having said all of that, our fear of sharks is a bit out of proportion, Naylor said. The odds of getting bit by a shark are a little less than 1 in 4 million, according to the International Shark Attack File. In fact, you're 10 times more likely to get killed by fireworks.

"You're probably 200 times more likely to drown in the ocean than you are to get bitten by a shark," Naylor said. "And I think that people aren't that worried about drowning."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 18, 2022, 06:12:23 AM
Uvalde Police body cam video released showing clueless police trying to figure out what to do


The body cam footage of a police officer has been revealed to the families and now to the public showing the catastrophic failure of the Uvalde police during the mass shooting that killed 22 people.

The footage shows Uvalde Police Sgt. Daniel Coronado, who was one of the first on the scene along with UPD Officer Justin Mendoza.

He's shown running inside the school talking to dispatchers on the radio that there is a shooting. Gunshots are then heard. Coronado races outside the building to take cover. Meanwhile, inside, the children are being killed. Coronado radios in saying, that the dispatch that he thinks the shooter is contained and in an office, not in a classroom.

Coronado asked if he could open the door to the building because there were more officers arriving asking what they should do

"What are we doing here?" one asks on video.

Coronado is then seen helping children out of a window. He goes back inside, and the video shows Chief Pete Arredondo pleading with the shooter on a cell phone to come out and let the incident end peacefully. Police dispatch radios call the officers to tell them that a child was on the phone with 911. Coronado can be heard asking, "what did they say?" The dispatch then said that the shooter was inside with all of the victims, "oh f*ck," Coronado can be heard saying.

It has been eight weeks since the mass shooting and none of the families had seen the body cam video until this weekend. It shows the 77 minutes of inaction officers standing around outside the classrooms where the gunman was firing.

Speaking to CNN after showing the video, former FBI deputy assistant director Andrew McCabe said that the widely trained and accepted process is that first responders grab their weapon and try to take the shooter out.

"The district attorney, the investigators here, have been holding this video back. The mayor felt that out of transparency, this needed to be released," said CNN's Shimon Prokupecz.

McCabe went on to say that with a department this small the only reasonable option is to eliminate the force and rebuild it from the bottom up.

Watch: https://twitter.com/i/status/1548799795590053888
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 18, 2022, 06:34:26 AM
Leading space science expert predicts a 'direct hit' on Earth from a solar storm
It can cause significant blackouts to GPS navigation systems.
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 18, 2022, 06:41:50 AM
Mariners' winning streak: Seattle enters All-Star break on high note with 14th straight victory

The Mariners' streak is tied for the longest in MLB this season

You can't go into the All-Star break on a higher note than the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners beat the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on Sunday (SEA 6, TEX 2) to extend their winning streak to 14 games. It is tied for the longest winning streak in baseball this season (the Atlanta Braves won 14 straight from June 1-15) and is the second longest winning streak in franchise history.

At 51-42 (.548), the Mariners have their best first half record since going 58-39 (.598) prior to the All-Star break in 2018. The 2018 Mariners went 31-34 (.477) in the second half and Seattle missed the postseason by eight games. Here are the longest winning streaks in franchise history:

1. 15 games: May 23 to June 8, 2001
2. 14 games: July 2-17, 2022 (and counting)
3. 10 games: April 8-17, 2002
4. 10 games: Sept. 12-21, 1996
5. 9 games: May 27 to June 5, 2003
6. 9 games: April 19-28, 2001

All-Stars Ty France and Julio Rodríguez (who else?) were the heroes Sunday. France, who was named to the All-Star team earlier in the day, slugged a solo home run in the fifth inning and an RBI single in the seventh. Rodríguez broke the game open with a two-run double in the seventh. Those two went 4 for 9 with a double, a homer, and 4 RBI on Sunday.

Following their most recent loss on July 1, the Mariners were five games behind the third and final American League wild-card spot with five teams ahead of them. The 14-game win streak has moved Seattle into the second wild-card spot, and they are only a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the first wild-card spot. Seattle is three games up on a postseason spot in general.

The Mariners have not been to the postseason since Ichiro's rookie season in 2001. It is baseball's longest postseason drought by a decade. According to FanGraphs, the winning streak has improved Seattle's postseason odds from 11.0 percent to 63.1 percent.

A year ago Seattle went 90-62 and missed the postseason by two games.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 19, 2022, 03:51:02 AM
These maps show how excessively hot it is in Europe and the U.S.



Europe suffers from deadly heat wave as wildfires displace thousands of people

- A deadly heat wave in Western Europe has triggered intense wildfires, disrupted transportation and displaced thousands of people as the continent grapples with the impact of climate change.

- The heat is forecast to grow more severe this week and has prompted concerns over infrastructure problems such as melting roads, widespread power outages and warped train tracks.

- More than five countries in Europe have declared states of emergency or red warnings as wildfires, fueled by the hot conditions, burn across France, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Tourists fill the Levante beach in Benidorm to quench high temperatures as a heatwave sweeps across Spain on July 16, 2022 in Benidorm, Spain.

At least 350 people have died in Spain from high temperatures during the past week, according to estimates by Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute. In Portugal, health officials said that nearly 240 people died in the first half of July due to the high temperatures, which reached 117 degrees Fahrenheit earlier in the month.

In the U.K., train service was limited amid concerns that the rails would buckle in the heat. The U.K. Met Office, for the first time ever, issued a red warning for heat, its most extreme alert. And Wales recorded its highest-ever temperature of 98.8 Fahrenheit on Monday, according to Britain’s national weather service.

An aerial view shows boats in the dry bed of Brenets Lake (Lac des Brenets), part of the Doubs River, a natural border between eastern France and western Switzerland, in Les Brenets on July 18, 2022.

Flights were also delayed and disrupted into and out of Luton Airport in London after a defect was identified on the runway surface due to extreme temperatures, according to the airport. Temperatures had reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday in north London and were forecast to rise on Tuesday.

As people across Europe endured the heat, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a dire warning to leaders from 40 nations gathered in Berlin to discuss climate change response measures as part of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue.

“Half of humanity is in the danger zone from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction,” Guterres said in a video message to the leaders on Monday.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 19, 2022, 04:00:00 AM
'Collective action or collective suicide': UN chief pleads for real climate response


Governments can either come up with a collaborative and urgent plan to tackle the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency that is already wreaking deadly havoc across the globe or keep allowing corporations to pollute the atmosphere without limit, thereby condemning humanity to a grim future.

That stark warning comes from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who said Monday: "We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide."

"This has to be the decade of decisive climate action."

"It is in our hands," he told diplomats from 40 countries gathered in Berlin for a three-day conference called the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. The meeting, hosted annually for the past 13 years by the German government, marks one of the last chances to work out an international agenda for mitigation, adaptation, and compensation before the U.N.'s COP27 climate summit kicks off in Egypt this November.

At the conclusion of COP26 eight months ago, Guterres noted, the Paris agreement's goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC above preindustrial levels was left "on life support."

"Since then, its pulse has weakened further," he continued. "Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, and ocean heat have broken new records."

"Half of humanity is in the danger zone from floods, droughts, extreme storms, and wildfires," Guterres pointed out. "No nation is immune."

The U.N. chief's latest warning comes as large swaths of the planet are being pummeled by heatwaves and wildfires, with no immediate respite in sight—at around 1.2ºC of warming.

Extreme heat has killed more than 1,000 people in Portugal and Spain in recent days, and France is experiencing what experts are calling a "heat apocalypse." Thousands of people in the region have been forced to evacuate due to wildfires. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is bracing for its hottest day on record, with temperatures expected to climb even higher on Tuesday.

It's not just Europe that is being seared. The United States, China, and parts of Africa and the Middle East are also suffering from heatwaves and wildfires, which climate scientists have long warned will increase in frequency and severity as a result of unmitigated greenhouse gas pollution.

And yet, "we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction," Guterres lamented Monday. Global energy market disruptions triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine have led many nations to double down on coal, gas, and oil extraction at a moment when investments in a swift green transition are sorely needed.

Most troubling of all, said Guterres, is that governments of the world "are failing to work together as a multilateral community."

"Nations continue to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective future," he said. "We cannot continue this way. We must rebuild trust and come together—to keep 1.5 alive and to build climate-resilient communities."

Emphasizing that "time is no longer on our side," Guterres said that "we need to move forward together on all fronts," referring to mitigation, adaptation, and financial support for climate-related damages and losses. The latter is a long-standing demand—made by many poorer nations that have contributed the least to the problem but are already bearing the brunt of its consequences—for more green funding from richer nations most responsible for planet-heating pollution.

"First, we need to reduce emissions—now," Guterres stressed. "Everyone needs to revisit their Nationally Determined Contributions," he continued, referring to currently inadequate and nonbinding emission reduction targets. "We need to demonstrate at COP27 that a renewables revolution is under way. There is enormous potential for a just energy transition that accelerates coal phase-out with a corresponding deployment of renewables."

"Second, we must treat adaptation with the urgency it needs," he said. "One in three people lack early warning systems coverage. People in Africa, South Asia, and Central and South America are fifteen times more likely to die from extreme weather events. This great injustice cannot persist."

"Third, let's get serious about the finance that developing countries need," he added.

While wealthy governments originally vowed to contribute $100 billion annually by 2020 to help low-income nations switch to sustainable energy sources and improve infrastructure, they have missed their target. Just $80 billion is expected this year, with the $100 billion pledge now postponed until 2023.

In addition to redistributive investments in mitigation and adaptation, the provision of more money to address the mounting losses and damages from a rapidly changing climate and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather disasters "has languished on the sidelines for too long," said Guterres. "It is eroding the trust we need to tackle the climate emergency together."

"We need a concrete global response that addresses the needs of the world's most vulnerable people, communities, and nations," he added. "This has to be the decade of decisive climate action."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 19, 2022, 05:24:25 AM
The great toilet paper panic of 2020 started in Arizona: study


The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 brought anxiety not only about how the virus was being transmitted but panic about going out in public and stocking up on products to survive lockdowns.

The first US city that faced a reported diagnosis of COVID was Seattle, where toilet paper quickly disappeared. Panic buying then commenced across the US, beginning in Arizona, according to a study flagged by the Phoenix News Times.

"Cherry Digital, a public relations and content marketing agency based in Portland, Oregon, and London, conducted an analysis of Google search data for the phrase “toilet paper” through March 2020," said the report. "The findings at the height of the panic buying period were compared to data that was compiled beginning in March 2019."

There was a 11,115 percent increase in online searches for toilet paper during the pandemic, the company explained.

“Societies generally function because there is confidence and trust in the system,” content marketing director Jamie Gibbs explained in a press release. “The pandemic marked an anxious time for many people, and therefore that very trust began to erode at an alarming speed, which explains why panic buying took place. Despite appearing to be an irrational thing to do, hoarding everyday items was actually a predictable human action.”

The epicenter was Phoenix, the report explained, and nine of the top 10 cities listed in Arizona for the panic buying were in that metro area – except Tuscon, which ranked fifth.

Panic buying isn't unheard of, a 1989 research paper from Rider University explained.

"In a crisis situation, there is a breakdown in the intellectual abilities of the individual in terms of processing information, assessing the environment, and analyzing alternatives," they explained. "The greater the perceived time pressure, the smaller the number of alternatives considered, the greater the likelihood that decisions will be made before necessary, and the greater the likelihood of incorrect choice of alternatives."

People are also more likely to purchase things that show their greatest vulnerability, like toilet paper. It can also make matters worse as people are shopping and they see empty shelves for items, leading to more panic buying in the stores.

“During COVID, Arizona had more vacant shelves than other states,” Phoenix economist Jim Rounds the site. “More empty shelves means more panic buying.”

Supply chain issues with inflation made panic buying in 2020 even worse. Then people were staying at home more, which meant that people needed more toilet paper at home.

Read the full report at the Phoenix New Times:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 20, 2022, 05:38:05 AM
Sweltering NYC Stretch in the 90s Kicks Off Tuesday — and This Kind of Heat Can Kill
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 20, 2022, 06:01:46 AM
U.S. gas prices just hit a 2-month low—the national average is now under $4.50 a gallon

U.S. gasoline prices have soared in 2022 amid the reopening of the global economy postpandemic, the ongoing European energy crisis, and the war in Ukraine.

On June 14, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose to a record $5.01, according to the American Automobile Association. Since then, however, a new trend has emerged that should help Americans struggling with the rising cost of living caused by four-decade high inflation.

Gas prices have experienced a 35-day skid, and are now down more than 10% from June’s record high to a two-month low of $4.495. Some industry analysts predict that prices will continue to decline.


Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said on Twitter this week that he expects gas prices will continue falling over the coming months, eventually reaching a national average of $3.99 per gallon by August.

The recent dip in gas prices follows oil’s decline over the past month. Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is down roughly 15% since its June 8 highs of over $123 per barrel to just $105 per barrel on Tuesday.

Oil prices briefly slipped below $100 per barrel last week as well, giving up all of the gains the critical commodity made since Russia invaded Ukraine in late March, but this past week has seen a slight rebound in prices.

The Biden administration has released 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter rising gas prices, questioned oil and gas company CEOs over their firms’ record profit margins, called on gas stations to reduce prices at the pump, and even floated the idea of a federal gas tax holiday.

Some of the drop in gasoline use likely is a response to price. But it also reflects shifting labor practices after the pandemic.

"Up until the pandemic, work from home was kind of considered an outlier," said Bill O'Grady, chief market strategist of Confluence Investment Management.

Under today's more flexible arrangements, "when the gasoline price goes up, instead of coming in five days a week, you may only come in three or two," O'Grady said.

Will prices keep falling?

A White House memo predicted gasoline prices would continue to fall through the "near term," highlighting Biden's actions such as a historically large release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -- which analysts think had its primary impact as soon as it was announced in late March.

The White House memo also noted that the decline in gasoline prices has gotten a fraction of the media coverage that the run-up in prices earlier in the spring received.

"Despite the data, you wouldn't know gas prices are coming down from watching the evening news or reading the paper," the memo said.

Kilduff also expects gasoline prices to fall further, noting a long-running seasonal trend that typically sees gasoline prices retreat after July 4.

"My forecast is for prices to continue to slide lower into the fall," Kilduff said, adding that prices will remain high by historical standards.

While O'Grady thinks prices will continue to fall, he added that there is always a risk in late summer that Gulf of Mexico hurricanes could impair key refineries.

"That can send gasoline prices up significantly," he said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 21, 2022, 12:41:47 AM
President Biden got Mexico to pay for border security to curb illegal immigration. An historic achievement.

Mexico agrees to invest $1.5B in 'smart' border technology

Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador agreed to spend $1.5 billion over the next two years to improve "smart" border technology during meetings Tuesday with President Joe Biden — a move the White House says shows neighborly cooperation succeeding where Trump administration vows to wall off the border and have Mexico pay for it could not.

A series of agreements the two countries hammered out as their leaders spoke called for several other concrete moves, including expanding the number of work visas the U.S. issues, creating a bilateral working group on labor migration pathways and worker protections and welcoming more refugees. Both also pledged to continue joint patrols for Mexico and Guatemala to hunt human smugglers along their shared border.

But the Biden administration hailed securing border funding from Mexico after years of failed attempts by former President Donald Trump.

"Borders that are more resilient, more efficient, and safer, will enhance our shared commerce," Biden and López Obrador said in a joint official statement. "We are committed like never before to completing a multi-year joint U.S.-Mexico border infrastructure modernization effort for projects along the 2,000-mile border."

The agreements came after López Obrador began the discussions by talking for more than half an hour as reporters looked on. His far-ranging discourse touched on everything from American drivers heading south for cheaper prices at the pump at Mexican gas stations to the New Deal politics of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He also chiding conservatives and said the U.S. and Mexico should reject the "status quo" on the border.

López Obrador said both countries "should close ranks to help each other" amid spiking inflation and border challenges brutally underscored by 53 migrants who died last month after being abandoned in a sweltering tractor-trailer on a remote back road in San Antonio.

"Increasing inflation impacts the well-being of families in both our countries, and requires strong, immediate, and concerted action," the joint statement said. "That is why we have committed to jointly combat inflation by accelerating the facilitation of bilateral trade and reducing trade costs."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 21, 2022, 02:46:55 AM
'Hasta la vista, baby,' says UK's Boris Johnson as he exits parliament


LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson bowed out of his final showpiece parliamentary appearance with a round of applause from his party, jeers from opponents and an enigmatic exit line: "Mission largely accomplished ... hasta la vista, baby."

Johnson was forced to announce his resignation earlier this month after a mass rebellion against the latest in a string of scandals that his party decided had undermined his ability to lead the country any longer after three turbulent years in charge.

Speaking in his final "Prime Minister's Questions", the weekly fixture of the political calendar which pits the prime minister against his opponents in rowdy debate, Johnson sought to shape his legacy around the COVID-19 response and his support of Ukraine in its defence against Russia.

"We've helped, I've helped, get this country through a pandemic and help save another country from barbarism. And frankly, that's enough to be going on with. Mission largely accomplished," Johnson said.

"I want to thank everybody here and hasta la vista, baby."

The line, borrowed from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1991 movie "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and translated as "see you later", prompted a round of applause from most on his own side.

Only two weeks ago, some of those clapping had resigned from his government, criticised his leadership and demanded he quit. Reporters in the debating chamber said his predecessor, Theresa May, did not stand to clap.

Opponents did not join in the applause either, having earlier used the question-and-answer session to take him to task over a range of policies, from the as-yet unfinished Brexit to his response to soaring living costs.

With an eye on an election due in 2024, opposition leader Keir Starmer sought to highlight division in the ruling party, listing criticisms of government policy set out by the lawmakers from Johnson's own side who are vying to replace him

"He's decided to come down from his gold-wallpapered bunker for one last time to tell us that everything is fine. I am going to miss the delusion," Starmer said.

Johnson said the criticism was "completely satirical".

His parting speech gave advice to his as-yet-unnamed successor: Stay close to the United States, support Ukraine, cut taxes and deregulate, don't let the finance ministry constrain ambitious projects, and pay attention to the electorate.

"Remember, above all, it's not Twitter that counts, it's the people that sent us here," he said.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 22, 2022, 04:24:25 AM
Prime-time Jan. 6 hearing to detail 'minute-by-minute' account of Trump's inaction during riot

The committee will present new witnesses and evidence Thursday about what Trump was doing during the attack on the Capitol. More hearings are expected this year.


One hundred and eighty-seven minutes.

It’s the more than three-hour period during which the Jan. 6 committee says then-President Donald Trump refused to call off a violent mob of his supporters who were attacking police, ransacking the Capitol and hunting down lawmakers and his own vice president.

Committee members will be talking a lot about those 187 minutes during Thursday’s prime-time hearing — the finale in a series of eight televised public hearings but hardly the last of the year.

“The story we’re going to tell tomorrow is that in that time, President Trump refused to act to defend that Capitol as a violent mob stormed the Capitol with the aim of stopping the counting of the electoral votes and blocking the transfer of power,” a Jan. 6 committee aide said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

Trump was “directing a mob that he, the former president, knew was armed, pointing them toward the Capitol, telling them to ‘fight like hell’ and march to the Capitol and spurring them down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Committee aides said there will be new information presented at the 8 p.m. ET hearing, some of it recently obtained by the special House panel.

The roughly two-hour hearing will be led by Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Va., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. It will provide a “minute-by-minute” account of what was happening inside the West Wing and what Trump was doing during the 187 minutes, aides said. That’s the period from the end of Trump’s speech at the Ellipse at 1:10 p.m. to 4:17 p.m., when he tweeted a video telling rioters to “go home.”

Committee members on Thursday will build on details laid out in previous hearings. They will demonstrate, aides said, that Trump not only wanted to join his supporters at the Capitol after his speech Jan. 6, but he also continued expressing a desire to go there even after his security team told him it wasn’t safe and took him back to the White House.

The hearing will discuss Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, his family members, allies and GOP lawmakers.

The committee also will examine a 6:01 p.m. tweet by Trump that day that was deleted. He had suggested that the Capitol attack should be blamed on widespread election fraud.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!” Trump wrote before deleting the tweet.

Rioters gather outside the Capitol's Rotunda in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021

In another development, aides said Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will lead the hearing “remotely” after testing positive earlier in the week for Covid. Committee members had said that they have the capability for Thompson to appear via video conference.

“He is feeling OK. He is vaccinated and boosted, but of course, we will observe Covid protocols,” an aide said.

The hearing will feature live testimony from a pair of former Trump White House aides, Sarah Matthews and Matthew Pottinger, who have already testified behind closed doors.

Both Matthews and Pottinger resigned over Trump’s actions Jan. 6, with Pottinger saying in testimony already aired by the committee that he was driven by Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet that day. In it, Trump wrote that his vice president lacked courage as a mob in the Capitol searched for him and chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” 

“President Trump had the power to call off the mob. He was the sole person who could have called off the mob, and he chose not to,” an aide said.

The Jan. 6 panel plans to hold more hearings later this year.

Committee investigators had hoped to receive a tranche of text messages from the Secret Service this week that might have provided more details about Trump's actions Jan. 6. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson had told the committee that she was told Trump had tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential SUV and got into a physical altercation with his top security official after he was told he was not going to the Capitol.

The Secret Service turned over more than 10,000 pages of documents to the Jan. 6 panel Tuesday but only a single text message related to the riot itself, according to a letter from the Secret Service to the committee. That message was from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to the Secret Service, asking for help.

The Secret Service told the committee that agents' text messages Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, were deleted as part of a preplanned system migration. Employees were told how to preserve relevant texts and other data, but the Secret Service said it has no messages being sought by the committee or an agency watchdog.

Committee members are furious over the Secret Service's explanation.

“We have concerns about a system migration that we have been told resulted in the erasure of Secret Service cell phone data. The U.S. Secret Service system migration process went forward on January 27, 2021, just three weeks after the attack on the Capitol in which the Vice President of the United States while under the protection of the Secret Service, was steps from a violent mob hunting for him," Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., wrote in a joint statement Wednesday.

The "procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act," they said.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 23, 2022, 08:45:50 AM
Testimony Depicts the Trump as Content to Let the Riot Rage

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol portrayed former President Donald Trump at its prime-time hearing Thursday as failing to call off the rioters, and on some occasions encouraging them, during the 187 minutes between his speech to his supporters that day at the Ellipse and the release of a video late in the afternoon calling them to go home.

“Our hearings have shown many ways in which President Trump tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power in the days leading up to January 6,” said Rep. Elaine Luria (D., Va.), who with Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) led questioning of witnesses at the hearing, the eighth and last such session this summer. “With each step of his plan, he betrayed his oath of office and was derelict in his duty.”

In more than two hours of recorded and live testimony, the committee portrayed a president sitting idly by, watching the events on television, while aides, family members and security officials grew increasingly fearful and pleaded for him to take action to quell the violence.

In a series of messages on his Truth Social service, Mr. Trump challenged the testimony. He said the committee presented "so many lies and misrepresentations" and questioned how the witnesses could say they knew he was watching TV during the attack on the Capitol.

Watch Video in Link

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 23, 2022, 05:23:10 PM
Watergate prosecutor: Fox News' efforts to hide the J6 hearings from their partisan viewers is a futile cause
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 24, 2022, 10:53:16 AM
NASA’s James Webb Telescope takes First Images of the Universe


Washington, D.C. – The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

The full set of the telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data, which uncover a collection of cosmic features elusive until now, released Tuesday, are available at:


"Today, we present humanity with a groundbreaking new view of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope – a view the world has never seen before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These images, including the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it.

“The Webb team’s incredible success is a reflection of what NASA does best. We take dreams and turn them into reality for the benefit of humanity. I can’t wait to see the discoveries that we uncover – the team is just getting started!”

NASA explores the unknown in space for the benefit of all, and Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe through every phase of cosmic history – from neighboring planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.

“This is a singular and historic moment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team. These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come.”

“We are elated to celebrate this extraordinary day with the world,” said Greg Robinson, Webb program director at NASA Headquarters. “The beautiful diversity and incredible detail of the Webb telescope’s images and data will have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe and inspire us to dream big.”

Webb’s first observations were selected by a group of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute. They reveal the capabilities of all four of Webb’s state-of-the-art scientific instruments:

- SMACS 0723: Webb has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far – and in only 12.5 hours. For a person standing on Earth looking up, the field of view for this new image, a color composite of multiple exposures each about two hours long, is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. This deep field uses a lensing galaxy cluster to find some of the most distant galaxies ever detected. This image only scratches the surface of Webb’s capabilities in studying deep fields and tracing galaxies back to the beginning of cosmic time.

- WASP-96b (spectrum): Webb’s detailed observation of this hot, puffy planet outside our solar system reveals the clear signature of water, along with evidence of haze and clouds that previous studies of this planet did not detect. With Webb’s first detection of water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, it will now set out to study hundreds of other systems to understand what other planetary atmospheres are made of.

- Southern Ring Nebula: This planetary nebula, an expanding cloud of gas that surrounds a dying star, is approximately 2,000 light-years away. Here, Webb’s powerful infrared eyes bring a second dying star into full view for the first time. From birth to death as a planetary nebula, Webb can explore the expelling shells of dust and gas of aging stars that may one day become a new star or planet.

- Stephan’s Quintet: Webb’s view of this compact group of galaxies, located in the constellation Pegasus, pierced through the shroud of dust surrounding the center of one galaxy to reveal the velocity and composition of the gas near its supermassive black hole. Now, scientists can get a rare look, in unprecedented detail, at how interacting galaxies are triggering star formation in each other and how the gas in these galaxies is being disturbed.

- Carina Nebula: Webb’s look at the “Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula unveils the earliest, rapid phases of star formation that were previously hidden. Looking at this star-forming region in the southern constellation Carina, as well as others like it, Webb can see newly forming stars and study the gas and dust that made them.

"Absolutely thrilling!” said John Mather, Webb senior project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The equipment is working perfectly, and nature is full of surprising beauty. Congratulations and thanks to our worldwide teams that made it possible.”

The release of Webb’s first images and spectra kicks off the beginning of Webb’s science operations, where astronomers around the world will have their chance to observe anything from objects within our solar system to the early universe using Webb’s four instruments.

The James Webb Space Telescope launched on December 25th, 2021, on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America. After completing a complex deployment sequence in space, Webb underwent months of commissioning where its mirrors were aligned, and its instruments were calibrated to its space environment and prepared for science.

The public can also view the new Webb images Tuesday on several digital screens in New York City’s Times Square and in London’s Piccadilly Circus beginning at 4:30pm CDT and 10:30pm GMT, respectively.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

NASA Headquarters oversees the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages Webb for the agency and oversees work on the mission performed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Northrop Grumman, and other mission partners.

In addition to Goddard, several NASA centers contributed to the project, including the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, and others.

For a full array of Webb’s first images and spectra, including downloadable files, visit:


Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 24, 2022, 07:41:02 PM
California's Oak wildfire rages near Yosemite as heat wave smothers America


A California wildfire ripped through thousands of acres Saturday after sparking a day earlier, as millions of Americans sweltered through scorching heat with already record-setting temperatures due to climb.

The heat wave encompassing multiple regions has increased the risk of blazes, such as the major Oak Fire, which broke out Friday in California near Yosemite National Park, where giant sequoias have already been threatened by flames in recent days.

The fire -- described as "explosive" by officials -- grew from about 600 acres to some 9,500 (3,800 hectares) within 24 hours. Concentrated in Mariposa County, it has already destroyed ten properties and damaged five others, with thousands more threatened.

More than 6,000 people had been evacuated, said Hector Vasquez, a public information officer with California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as the fire remained zero percent contained as of Saturday evening.

The department said the fire's activity was "extreme."

The blaze left ashes, gutted vehicles and twisted remains of properties in its wake, as emergency personnel worked to evacuate residents and protect structures in its path.

More than 500 firefighters are working to extinguish the flames with assistance from aircraft, Vasquez said. Officials cited by the Los Angeles Times said it could take a week to contain.

"There's personnel showing up from various departments all over the state to help control this fire," Vasquez told AFP, saying the situation remained "really challenging."

Climate scientist Daniel Swain tweeted that the fire was "exhibiting consistently extreme behavior," while stunned social media users posted images of billowing plumes of smoke that reached thousands of feet into the air.

In recent years, California and other parts of the western United States have been ravaged by huge, hot and fast-moving wildfires, driven by years of drought and a warming climate.

Drought and high temperatures have been "not in our favor," Vasquez said.

Record-breaking heat

Evidence of global warming could be seen elsewhere in the country, as more than a dozen states were under a heat advisory.

The central and northeast US regions face the brunt of the extreme temperatures, which are not expected to peak until Sunday at the earliest and have sent public health officials scrambling.

"From the southern Plains into the East, it will feel extremely oppressive," the National Weather Service (NWS) said Saturday evening, warning as well of possible severe storms.

Central US metropolitan areas such as Dallas and Oklahoma City were expected to reach highs of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (above 38 degrees Celsius) for at least the next five days.

A heat emergency is in effect for cities up and down the northeast coast, from Boston to Philadelphia to Washington.

Not even the usually cool Pacific Northwest will escape the far-reaching heat, with the region expected to face several days in the 90s next week.

The high temperatures have already caused an uptick in emergency calls for heat-related illness.

Cities have, meanwhile, been forced to open cooling stations and increase outreach to at-risk communities such as the homeless and those without access to air conditioning.

"This is really one of the things that we recognize in Oklahoma -- heat is the number one weather-related killer across the United States. It far surpasses any other" nature-related cause of death, Joseph Kralicek, director of the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, told CNN.

Residents of the central US city were expecting temperatures to reach 103F (39C) Saturday and up to 106F (41C) on Sunday and Monday.

The nation's capital Washington reached temperatures near 100F (38C) on Saturday, and was expected to reach or surpass that level on Sunday for the first time in years.

New York was not far behind.

"Look for daytime max temps to eclipse the century mark in the Central Plains and record breaking high temps from the Central Plains to the Northeast today," the NWS said in a forecast.

"Sunday grows even hotter in the northeast," it added.

Severe thunderstorms are expected in the Midwest Saturday, with the potential for damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, the NWS said.

Various regions of the globe have been hit by extreme heat waves in recent months, such as Western Europe in July and India in March to April, incidents that scientists say are an unmistakable sign of a warming climate.

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 25, 2022, 10:13:45 AM
Climate crisis pushes migratory monarch butterflies onto endangered list


The International Union for Conservation of Nature on Thursday formally listed the beloved migratory monarch butterfly as endangered, citing dire threats to the subspecies posed by the climate crisis, deforestation, pesticide use, and logging.

Dr. Bruno Oberle, the director-general of IUCN—the world's leading scientific authority on species conservation—said the new listing "highlights the fragility of nature's wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometers," a reference to the insects' remarkable biannual journey across North America.

"To preserve the rich diversity of nature, we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems," Oberle added. "In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water, and sustainable jobs."

The population of monarch butterflies in North America has been falling rapidly in recent years, a decline largely unabated by government action to protect the imperiled insects or to fight the climate crisis that is pushing them to the brink of extinction.

Echoing recent research attributing the monarch butterfly's decline to the climate emergency, IUCN notes that "climate change has significantly impacted the migratory monarch butterfly and is a fast-growing threat; drought limits the growth of milkweed and increases the frequency of catastrophic wildfires, temperature extremes trigger earlier migrations before milkweed is available, while severe weather has killed millions of butterflies."

"The western population is at greatest risk of extinction, having declined by an estimated 99.9%, from as many as 10 million to 1,914 butterflies between the 1980s and 2021," the organization observed. "The larger eastern population also shrunk by 84% from 1996 to 2014. Concern remains as to whether enough butterflies survive to maintain the populations and prevent extinction."

Additionally, IUCN stressed that "legal and illegal logging and deforestation to make space for agriculture and urban development" have also "destroyed substantial areas of the butterflies' winter shelter in Mexico and California, while pesticides and herbicides used in intensive agriculture across the range kill butterflies and milkweed, the host plant that the larvae of the monarch butterfly feed on."

Anna Walker, a member of the IUCN SSC Butterfly and Moth Specialist Group, said Thursday that while "it is difficult to watch monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration teeter on the edge of collapse... there are signs of hope."

"So many people and organizations have come together to try and protect this butterfly and its habitats," said Walker, who spearheaded the monarch butterfly assessment. "From planting native milkweed and reducing pesticide use to supporting the protection of overwintering sites and contributing to community science, we all have a role to play in making sure this iconic insect makes a full recovery."

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 26, 2022, 07:09:50 AM
Why shark encounters are increasing along the US East Coast


Sun lotion, insect repellant, and the Sharktivity app are this summer's must-have beach accessories along the US East Coast as human-shark encounters increase.

Ironically, conservation wins for vulnerable species might be behind the unfortunate uptick, say experts, while there might also be a link to climate as the apex predators' prey move to new waters.

Every summer, great whites move up the Atlantic coast of the United States, toward New England, their number peaking between August and October.

"There's a general increase in the population that we think is the population rebounding after being protected," Gregory Skomal, a senior fisheries scientist for the state of Massachusetts, told AFP.

with roughly a hundred or so passing through the waters around Cape Cod every year.

The iconic movie "Jaws" was shot in this region, and the creatures are a major tourism draw, adorning baseball caps and t-shirts. On the flipside, however, there have already been temporary beach closures this year after confirmed sightings close to shore.

A major part of the reason is their main prey, seals, are also rebounding thanks to increased protections.

"If you have more sharks feeding close to land and you have more people swimming, the chances for those kinds of negative interactions increases," said Skomal.

Enter the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Sharktivity app, which was developed with input from Massachusetts wildlife officials to provide information on shark sightings from researchers, safety officials, and user reports.

Surveillance patrols

In New York state, the governor has just announced additional surveillance patrols, including via drones and helicopters.

On the tourist beaches of Long Island, half a dozen shark bites have already come to light, after three years of none at all.

Here, great whites are less likely to be the culprits than other species of shark that operate in the region, in particular tiger sharks, sand tiger sharks and bull sharks.

Nick Whitney, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium, believes the increasing encounters here might be linked to the sharks' bait fish -- menhaden, also known as porgies or bunkers, recovering.

This might be because of cleaner waters off New York and New Jersey, "but it's tricky to figure out how much of it is increasing populations or just populations moving around as a result of changing ocean conditions from climate change."

But if things can thus vary greatly from one year to another on a local level, the global level remains steady at around 75 shark attacks recorded each year, said Gavin Naylor, director of a research program on sharks at the University of Florida.

This follows a brief drop to around 60 during the two first years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Annual global deaths are around five. In the past twenty years, only two deaths have been reported north of Delaware in the United States, in Cape Cod in 2018, and in Maine in 2020.

But in the future, it is reasonable to think that the number of victims will increase.

"We are going to get more fatalities. There's more white sharks, the probability is going to increase," predicts Naylor, even though the trend isn't yet statistically significant.

Surfers, who venture farther into the water, accounted for half of unprovoked attacks in 2021. Farther south, Florida, with its many tourist beaches and tropical climate, is still where 60 percent of US and 40 percent of world attacks occur.

Take precautions

Sharks are far from the bloodthirsty beasts sometimes portrayed in movies.

Studies have shown that they can mistake surfers or swimmers for their usual prey -- notably white sharks, which have rather poor eyesight.

"With so many people on a global scale in the water, if sharks preferred to feed on prey upon humans, we would have tens of thousands of attacks each year," said Skomal.

With climate change, the expert expects that the increase in ocean temperatures will gradually lengthen the season during which sharks are present in the northern United States.

So what can be done to limit the risks? People should download the Sharktivity app to track sightings.

"Another thing we tell people is just to be aware of your surroundings," said Whitney. Look around for birds flying around schools of baitfish, for example.

Don't swim alone, stick to areas with cell phone coverage, and if bitten, the real danger is bleeding out, so it's important to get to shore and control the bleeding until help arrives.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 26, 2022, 07:18:15 AM
Joe Rogan torches Marco Rubio and other Republicans for going after gay marriage


Controversial podcaster Joe Rogan issued a powerful defense of marriage equality and admonished the Republican Party's assaults on civil liberties during Saturday's edition of The Joe Rogan Experience.

Silhouetted in a haze of smoke, Rogan and his guest, comedian Andrew Schulz, lamented the right-wing's cultural crusades.

"It's not just abortion rights, now they're going after gay marriage too, which is so strange to me, that people like [United States Senator] Marco Rubio [R-Florida] was saying that it was like a silly thing to argue about, to be concerned about. And then some other Senator, who is a gay woman, confronted him. She was furious at him," Rogan said in reference to Minnesota Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

"Gay marriage is not silly. It's marriage," Rogan continued. "It's marriage for people that are homosexual and for them it's important. They want to affirm their love and their relationship, and the fact that they're going after that now almost makes me feel like they want us to fight. They want to divide us in the best way they can and this is the best way for them to keep pulling off all the bullspombleprofglidnoctobuns they're doing behind the scenes is to get us to fight over things like gay marriage or get us to fight over things like abortion."

Schulz responded with an emphatic, 'yes! Yes!"

Rogan tried to pivot to the issue of gun rights but Schulz pulled him back into the initial topic.

"If you're gonna say that marriage is an important cultural institution to the fabric of America, you can't remove it from Americans. You can't go and say, 'this is important, this is what we do, we create a family, we love one another, this is how we express our love' and then say, 'ah these Americans, they can't do that s**t,'" Schulz said.

"It's so homophobic because you're saying there's something wrong with being homosexual," Rogan continued. "By saying you are opposed to gay marriage, you're saying you're opposed to gay people. Because if gay people are in love with each other and they want to have a celebration and they want to be legally bonded and connected – and there's all sorts of benefits to that in terms of financial benefits, taxes – but not only that. If your loved one is in the hospital, you have access to them. And you're the only one who has access to them cause you're their spouse. You're the one who has power of attorney if they're incapacitated. There's a lot to affirming that relationship and the fact that they're going after that now, like, that's the kinda s**t that keeps me from becoming a Republican."

Watch below:

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 26, 2022, 07:25:32 AM
Kate Moss speaks out about testifying in Johnny Depp's defamation trial: 'I know the truth'

The supermodel testified on behalf of her ex-boyfriend during his trial against Amber Heard, denying rumors that he shoved her down a flight of stairs.


Kate Moss opened up about what emboldened her to testify on behalf of ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp during his highly publicized defamation trial against Amber Heard.

The British supermodel, who is notoriously private and rarely gives public interviews, testified as a rebuttal witness on behalf of Depp back in May to deny rumors that he shoved her down a flight of stairs. During a recent interview with BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Moss said she felt compelled to speak the truth when asked why she participated in the trial.

She referenced her fashion designer friend John Galliano, the former Dior designer found guilty of anti-Semitic abuse in 2011 after he hurled public insults at a bar in Paris, when asked about Depp and Heard's trial. "I believe in the truth, and I believe in fairness and justice," Moss said. "I know that John Galliano is not a bad person. He had an alcohol problem and people turn."

"People aren't themselves when they drink, and they say things that they would never say if they were sober," she continued, adding, "I know the truth about Johnny. I know he never kicked me down the stairs. I had to say that truth."

Heard accused Depp of physical, verbal, and sexual assault during the course of the trial, telling jurors that her ex-husband often became volatile while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. During her testimony, she insinuated that Depp once pushed Moss down a flight of stairs while recounting the first time she struck Depp, citing self defense.

"I just instantly think of Kate Moss and the stairs, and I swung at him," Heard testified. "In all my relationships to date, I hadn't [delivered] a blow. For the first time, I hit him square in the face." The reference paved the way for Moss to be called as a witness. In a video deposition, Moss, who dated Depp between 1994 and 1998, testified that Depp "never pushed me, kicked me, or threw me down any stairs."

The incident in question occurred while the two vacationed in Jamaica: "We were leaving the room, and Johnny left the room before I did," Moss testified. "There had been a rainstorm. As I left the room, I slid down the stairs and I hurt my back and I screamed because I didn't know what happened to me and I was in pain. He came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention."

A jury in Fairfax County, Va., ruled in June that Heard intentionally and maliciously defamed Depp when she wrote her 2018 Washington Post op-ed detailing her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (the judge later reduced the punitive damages to Virginia's statutory cap of $350,000). Heard earned a small countersuit victory of $2 million in compensatory damages.

Heard's team filed a motion to appeal the verdict last week. "We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment," a spokesperson for the actress said. "We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realize today's filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice."
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 26, 2022, 06:00:30 PM
'A moral imperative’: how southern ministers are trying to change minds about the climate crisis
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 27, 2022, 05:14:42 AM
Rock and Roll icon Mick Jagger turns 79
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 27, 2022, 04:41:20 PM
Why do hammerhead sharks have hammer-shaped heads?
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 28, 2022, 03:33:51 AM
Spirit ends merger agreement with Frontier, continues takeover talks with JetBlue

- Spirit and Frontier announced plans to merge in February.

- Jetblue came in with an all-cash offer in April.

-  Both suitors sweetened their offers though Spirit delayed a vote four times as it lacked shareholder support for the Frontier deal.


Spirit Airlines terminated its merger agreement with Frontier Airlines on Wednesday, months after a rival bid by JetBlue Airways marred the planned tie-up.

The announcement ends a protracted battle over the budget airline known for its bare bones service and low fares. Spirit said it would continue its “ongoing discussions with JetBlue as we pursue the best path forward for Spirit and our stockholders.”

A JetBlue takeover would create the country’s fifth-largest airline. A combined Spirit and Frontier would have also ranked fifth.

Shareholders on Wednesday were set to vote only on the proposed Spirit-Frontier combination, which JetBlue spent weeks urging shareholders to turn down. The New York-based carrier said in a statement that it was pleased the Frontier agreement was terminated and that it is engaged in discussions with Spirit “toward a consensual agreement as soon as possible.”

The termination of the Spirit-Frontier deal is a blow to the discount carriers that planned to combine forces into a budget behemoth. Frontier’s CEO and other people familiar with the matter had previously said Spirit lacked the shareholder support for the Frontier combination.

Spirit postponed the shareholder vote on the merger four times as it struggled to drum up enough shareholder support. In a July 10 letter to his Spirit counterpart, Frontier CEO Barry Biffle called its latest sweetened offer its “best and final.”

The termination of the Spirit-Frontier deal makes it easier to get to a takeover deal done with JetBlue, which is seeking to buy the budget airline outright for about $3.7 billion and refurbish its planes in JetBlue style, featuring seatback screens and legroom. Ongoing talks for a JetBlue takeover could still fall apart.

“While we are disappointed that Spirit Airlines shareholders failed to recognize the value and consumer potential inherent in our proposed combination, the Frontier Board took a disciplined approach throughout the course of its negotiations with Spirit,” said William Franke, chair of Frontier’s board and managing partner of Indigo Partners, Frontier’s majority shareholder in a release.

Spirit’s has board repeatedly rebuffed JetBlue’s increasingly sweetened offers, arguing that it was unlikely that regulators would approve the takeover.

Even if JetBlue and Spirit reach a deal they would face a high hurdle for the Justice Department’s blessing. The Biden administration has vowed to crack down on consolidation.

Executives for all three airlines said their preferred deal would help them compete better with the top four U.S. carriers — American, Delta, United and Southwest — which control about three-quarters of the domestic market. They also argued the deals would give them access to narrow-body jets, orders for dozens more, and trained pilots, which are in short supply.

Spirit, however, has raised concerns about a JetBlue takeover because of that airline’s alliance with American in the Northeast, a partnership the Justice Department last year sued to undo.

Also on Wednesday, Frontier Airlines reported a $13 million profit for the second-quarter, a drop from last year and 2019. The carrier said higher costs offset a surge in revenue, which came in at a record $909 million, 43% higher than the same quarter of 2019, before the pandemic.

Denver-based Frontier said it expects to generate record revenue in the third quarter.

Frontier shares were little changed in after-hours trading, while JetBlue’s were down 0.6%. Spirit shares were up more than 2%.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 29, 2022, 09:31:04 PM
Price gouging at the pump results in 235% profit jump for Big Oil: analysis


As fossil fuel giants this week reported record profits for the second quarter, an analysis out Friday highlighted how eight oil companies have raked in nearly $52 billion over the past three months "while Americans continue to struggle at the pump."

The review by the watchdog group Accountable.US revealed that from April through June, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Hess Corp, Phillips 66, Shell, and TechnipFMC "saw their profits skyrocket from the same time period last year, with income shooting up 235%."

The analysis also pointed out that leaders at Equinor, Halliburton, Hess Corp, and TechnipFMC have boasted "about excellent quarters while dismissing high prices for consumers."

Western Priorities @WstrnPriorities

Your daily reminder not to trust gas companies when they tell you they're on your side or that Biden's causing high gas prices.


"8 of the largest oil companies in the country made a record-breaking $51 billion in profit in the second quarter of 2022. This marks a 235% increase over the same quarter in 2021."



Jordan Schreiber of Accountable.US called the companies' collective profit boost "eye-popping" but also unsurprising "after spending the past three months price gouging consumers by raising gas prices to unprecedentedly high levels."

"Make no mistake; these profits mark a large transfer of wealth from working- and middle-class people to wealthy oil executives and shareholders," she said. "While many consumers were feeling the heavy burden of a life necessity suddenly doubling in price, oil executives were keeping prices high to maximize their profits."

The Q2 profits of U.S. energy giants Chevron and Exxon—$11.62 billion and $17.85 billion, respectively—along with that of Europe's largest oil company, Shell—$11.47 billion—drew widespread criticism along with calls for action by lawmakers and President Joe Biden.

Sunrise Movement @sunrisemvt

While we’ve watched our planet burn, Exxon made $18,000,000,000 this year.

Big Oil is literally profiting off our destructions.


"Big Oil companies are making a killing and pouring fuel on the climate fire while communities pay for more and deadlier climate disasters. It's outrageous," said Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, in a statement Friday.

"Exxon and other oil and gas corporations lobbied and lied for decades to keep the world addicted to fossil fuels, making billions while hardworking families pay for higher gas prices and costlier heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods," he continued. "Now Exxon is once again using its record profits to line the pockets of executives and shareholders."

Wiles asserted that "elected officials cannot remain silent in the face of this injustice. Whether it's taxing these companies' record profits, or taking them to court to make polluters pay for climate damages they knowingly caused, it's time to stand up to Big Oil."

Public Citizen president Robert Weissman declared that "Big Oil is laughing all the way to the bank—and the joke's on us."

"We don't have to be suckers," he argued. "A windfall profits tax with rebates to taxpayers would offset the pain at the pump and end Big Oil's profiteering. Banning U.S. oil exports would actually lower prices for American consumers."

According to Weissman, "It's time for Congress and the Biden administration to stop complaining about Big Oil's rip-off and start doing something about it."

Some lawmakers agree. While Republicans "will continue to play politics and blame Biden for gas prices," Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said of the fossil fuel giants' quarterly profits, "we need to crack down on Big Oil."

Sen. Bernie Sanders concurred, tweeting that "it's time for a windfall profits tax."

While some of his colleagues have introduced legislation focused on Big Oil, Sanders has put forth a broader tax proposal that would target price gouging by a range of companies.

Amid rising fears of recession in recent weeks, calls have been mounting for federal lawmakers to more forcefully take on corporate greed. The Inflation Reduction Act unveiled Wednesday features some related policies, but climate activists have also sounded the alarm about its energy provisions. The bill—negotiated with fossil fuel ally Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—contains major handouts that are reportedly "delighting" the oil and gas industry.

The fossil fuel industry has not only used its record profits to enrich shareholders; it's also dumped money into influencing officials on Capitol Hill. As Common Dreams reported exclusively on Thursday, an analysis from Climate Power shows that since last year, the sector has poured over $200 million into sabotaging climate action.


Also, let's not forget "The Big Oil And Gas Price Gouging Bill came up on the House floor for a vote back in May. This Bill was designed by President Biden and House Democrats to stop Big Oil from gouging consumers at the pump.

EVERY single Republican voted against this bill to save you money at the pump. All Republicans voted "NO" but feigned outrage over high gas prices that their big oil buddies are purposely inflating for profit.

Because Democrats control the House, this bill passed.

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are blocking this bill from becoming law because they want high gas prices. These Republicans think high gas prices will help then politically in November. So, Republicans are forcing you to pay high gas prices all because of politics. Republicans are playing politics with your finances!

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 30, 2022, 11:16:39 PM
Flood and wildfire risks: Translating risk ratings into future costs can help homebuyers and renters grasp the odds – and act on them
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on July 31, 2022, 05:39:47 AM
5 big trades that won't happen (but should)
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 01, 2022, 04:25:49 AM
Actress Nichelle Nichols, 'Star Trek's' trail-blazing Uhura, dies at 89


(Reuters) -Nichelle Nichols, whose portrayal of starship communications officer Lieutenant Uhura in the 1960s sci-fi TV series "Star Trek" and subsequent movies broke color barriers and helped redefine roles for Black actors, has died at age 89, her family said.

Nichols, whose fans included Martin Luther King Jr. and a young Barack Obama, "succumbed to natural causes and passed away" on Saturday night, her son, Kyle Johnson, wrote on Facebook.

"Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from and draw inspiration," Johnson wrote.

The series, which became a pop culture phenomenon, shattered stereotypes common on U.S. television at the time by casting Black and minority actors in high-profile roles on the show.

In 1968 she and "Star Trek" star William Shatner broke a cultural barrier when they engaged in U.S. television's first interracial kiss.

She had planned to quit "Star Trek" after one season, but King, the 1960s civil rights leader, convinced her to stay because it was so revolutionary to have a Black woman playing an important senior crew member at a time when Black people were fighting for equality in American society.

Nichols also helped break color barriers at NASA, whose leaders were "Star Trek" fans. After she criticized the space agency for failing to pick qualified women and minorities as astronauts, it hired Nichols in the 1970s to help in recruiting.

Her efforts helped attract, among others, the first woman U.S. astronaut, Sally Ride; the first Black woman astronaut, Mae Jemison; and the first Black NASA chief, Charlie Bolden.

Nichols "symbolized to so many what was possible" and "inspired generations to reach for the stars," NASA said on Twitter.

Nichols' portrayal of the competent, level-headed Uhura also helped inspire future Black actors, including Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg. Nichols recalled Goldberg telling her of watching "Star Trek" as a 9-year-old, seeing her playing Uhura, and yelling out to her mother: "Come quick! There's a Black lady on television and she ain't no maid!'"

The original "Star Trek" series, tracking the adventures of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise in the 23rd century, ran for only three seasons on the NBC network from 1966 to 1969. But it became hugely popular in syndication in the 1970s, inspiring first an animated series that reunited the cast from 1973 to 1975 and then a succession of feature films and shows.

Nichols appeared in six "Star Trek" films ending with "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" in 1991.

Uhura deftly handled the starship Enterprise's communications with allied spaceships and alien races while interacting with Captain James T. Kirk (Shatner), Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the starship's helmsman, Sulu (George Takei).

Takei wrote on Twitter that he and Nichols "lived long and prospered together," describing her as trailblazing and incomparable. "(My) heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among."

Nichols' best-known scene featured the first scripted interracial kiss on U.S. television, although it was not a romantic one. In an episode called "Plato's Stepchildren," Uhura and Kirk were compelled telekinetically to smooch by aliens toying with the feeble humans. In real life, Nichols disliked Shatner, who she considered arrogant.

"She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world", Shatner said on Twitter.

She felt differently about "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, who cast her after she had acted in a previous show he produced. Nichols had a romance with him in the 1960s and sang a song called "Gene" at his 1991 funeral.


Obama, the first Black U.S. president, who was 5 years old when the "Star Trek" series made its debut, also was a fan. Nichols visited him at the White House in 2012 and posed for a photo in the Oval Office, with the president smiling and putting his hand on her shoulder while both made a "Star Trek" Vulcan hand gesture meaning "live long and prosper."

In a 2011 interview with Smithsonian magazine, Nichols recalled meeting King at a civil rights group's fundraiser.

Nichols said she was approached by one of the event's promoters, who told her, "There's someone who wants to meet you and he says he's your biggest fan, so I'm thinking of a young kid. I turn around and standing across the room, walking towards me, was Dr. Martin Luther King with this big smile on his face."

After Nichols told King she planned to quit "Star Trek," she said he implored her to stay.

She said King told her: "This is a God-given opportunity to change the face of television, change the way we think. We are no longer second-class, third-class citizens. He (Roddenberry) had to do it in the 23rd century but it's the 20th century that's watching.'" She rescinded her resignation.

Like other "Star Trek" cast members, she had a hard time finding work due to typecasting after the original series ended. It was during this time when she played a foul-mouthed madam in the film "Truck Turner" (1974) starring Isaac Hayes. She was a recurring character on the television show "Heroes" in 2007.

She was born on Dec. 28, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois, trained as a singer and dancer and toured with jazz greats Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before her acting career took off.

Nichols, who was married twice and had one child, suffered a mild stroke in June 2015.

© Reuters

NBA great Bill Russell dead at 88


(Reuters) -Former Boston Celtics star Bill Russell, one of the sports world's greatest winners as the anchor of a team that won 11 NBA championships, as well as the league's first black coach, died on Sunday at the age of 88.

Russell, a five-time Most Valuable Player who was also outspoken on racial issues, passed away peacefully with his wife Jeannine by his side, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account that did not state a cause of death.

"Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

"The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics – including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards – only begin to tell the story of Bill's immense impact on our league and broader society."

Russell became a superstar in the 1950s and '60s not with flashy scoring plays but through dominating rebounding and intense defensive play that reshaped the game. He also had what team mate Tom Heinsohn called "a neurotic need to win".

The Celtics won 11 NBA titles in Russell's 13 years with the team from 1956 through 1969. He was the player-coach on two of those championship teams.

"To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was," the Celtics said in a statement.

"Bill Russell's DNA is woven through every element of the Celtics organization, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory, to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off the court.

"Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn his passing and celebrate his enormous legacy in basketball, Boston, and beyond."


The Russell-era Celtics teams were rich in talent. Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, Frank Ramsey, Bill Sharman, Tom "Satch" Sanders, John Havlicek, Don Nelson, Sam Jones and K.C. Jones, his old college team mate, would all join him in the Basketball Hall of Fame, as would their coach, Red Auerbach.

But Russell's rebounding and defense, especially his shot-blocking, were unprecedented and set him apart. Russell, who was spindly compared to opponents at the center position when he came into the NBA, would leap to block opponents' shots at a time when the prevailing defensive philosophy was that players generally should not leave their feet.

"Russell defended the way Picasso painted, the way Hemingway wrote," Aram Goudsouzian said in his book "King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution."

"In time, he changed how people understood the craft. Until Russell, the game stayed close to the floor. No longer."

Russell averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game for his career. He was the NBA's most valuable player in 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1965 and was a 12-time All-Star.

Despite the individual honors, Russell viewed "team" as a sacred concept.

"For me, it didn't make any difference who did what as long as we got it done," Russell said.


Off the court, Russell was opinionated and complicated. He had a baleful glare but also a delightful cackling laugh. He was intellectual and a "Star Trek" fan. Often surly or indifferent to fans and hostile toward the media, he could be exceedingly gracious with team mates and opponents. He refused to sign autographs, saying he preferred to have conversations.

Russell often criticized Boston, a city with a history of racial strife, and was one of the sports world's leading civil rights activists in the 1950s and '60s. He was on the front row in Washington in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

"Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league," said Silver.

"At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps.

"Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity."


Russell had a celebrated rivalry with another NBA superstar, Wilt Chamberlain, who played for the San Francisco/Philadelphia Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. Chamberlain was an athletic freak the likes of which had not been seen in the NBA - muscular, exceptionally agile, 7-foot-1 inches tall (2.16 meters) and the most prodigious scorer of his time.

Chamberlain and Russell, who was 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) shorter, went head to head against each other in some epic battles. Chamberlain almost always outscored him but Russell's Celtics had an 86-57 record against Chamberlain's teams. Chamberlain compiled the record-breaking personal statistics but Russell ended up with more championship rings than fingers.

In 1965, Chamberlain became the first NBA player to earn a $100,000 annual salary so Russell demanded - and got - a contract from the Celtics that paid him $100,001. Yet the fierce rivals were friends off the court, often dining at each other's homes.

Russell was born Feb. 12, 1934, in West Monroe, Louisiana, and was eight when his family moved to Oakland, California, seeking more economic opportunity and an escape from the extreme racial segregation of the U.S. South.

It was in Oakland that Russell's career as a winner began. His high school team won two state championships and he led the University of San Francisco to national titles in 1955 and '56. Russell also was captain of the U.S. team that easily won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.


When the Celtics retired his No. 6, Russell's love of privacy and belief in the team concept led him to demand a private ceremony with coaches and team mates in an otherwise empty arena. He declined to attend the 1972 ceremony at which his number was retired in front of fans and also skipped his induction ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Russell returned to basketball as general manager and coach of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1973 through 1977 and as coach of the Sacramento Kings for part of the 1987-88 season.

Russell became semi-reclusive after his coaching career, saying, "I wanted to be forgotten." He took tentative steps back into the public arena beginning in the early 1990s, after becoming a founding board member of MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership. He said his mentoring effort was the "proudest accomplishment in life."

Russell went on to make frequent public speaking appearances and television commercials and even showed up when the Celtics dedicated a statue of him in Boston's City Hall Plaza in 2013.

In 2011, President Barack Obama cited Russell's dedication to mentoring when he awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Russell called the second greatest personal honor of his life. The first, he said, was when his 77-year-old father told him that he was proud of him.

Russell, who lived in Mercer Island, Washington, was married three times and had three children.

© Reuters
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 01, 2022, 10:02:17 PM
'Collateral damages to freedom': Alex Jones skips trial for segment downplaying Sandy Hook deaths


Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones skipped his defamation trial on Monday and instead hosted a segment downplaying the Sandy Hook massacre deaths as mere "collateral damages to the freedom."

Jones peppered his show with complaints about his two Sandy Hook-related defamation trials.

In the ongoing Texas trial, a jury is being asked to decide how much Jones must pay the Sandy Hook parents after Judge Maya Guerra Gamble entered a default judgment in 2021.

"It's a stacked deck, but that is what our lord and savior faced -- Christ," the radio host said.

Later in the show, Jones asked Joe Brown, a former judge, to weigh in on his legal troubles.

"You know, some of us understand if we're going to be free, there are collateral damages to the freedom," Brown said, referring to the massacre. "They don't like this thing that comes with the Second Amendment because they think they should be safe."

Brown noted that the "collateral consequences" of automobiles are accepted by the general public.

"Well, if you want to be free, there are certain collateral consequences that come with that," he opined, "and one of them is that some unmanly idiot who wants to perp out and shoot up a Sandy Hook school will be able to get ahold of some of the devices that the rest of us need to have access to so we can stay free."

"So we have a struggle here," Brown added, "those who want to be free and those who would rather be safe sheep someplace with the sheepherder telling them what to do."

Jones agreed: "And of course, sheep get slaughtered."

Watch the video below from The Alex Jones Show below.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 02, 2022, 05:53:32 AM
UN chief warns humanity 'one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation'


UN head Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the world faced "a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War" and was just "one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation."

"We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict," Guterres said at the start of a conference of countries belonging to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," he said, calling on nations to "put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons."

Guterres's comments came at the opening 10th review conference of the NPT, an international treaty that came into force in 1970 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

The meeting, held at the UN's headquarters in New York, has been postponed several times since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will run until August 26.

Guterres said the conference was "a chance to strengthen" the treaty and "make it fit for the worrying world around us," citing Russia's war in Ukraine and tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East.

"Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used," the secretary-general implored, adding that he would visit Hiroshima for the anniversary of the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the Japanese city by the United States.

"Almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are now being held in arsenals around the world. All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening," Guterres added.

In January, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France -- had pledged to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

At the last review conference in 2015, the parties were unable to reach agreement on substantive issues.

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 02, 2022, 03:15:24 PM
Coalition of news organizations sues Texas over withheld records on Uvalde shooting
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 02, 2022, 05:07:35 PM
Veterans have been camping out on the Capitol steps after GOP blocks burn pit bill

Veterans groups and Jon Stewart have protested for days, putting Senate Republicans on the defensive for holding up a bill to provide health care for veterans exposed to burn pits.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 03, 2022, 09:42:35 PM
Vin Scully, iconic former Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, dies at age 94


LOS ANGELES -- Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose dulcet tones provided the soundtrack of summer while entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. He was 94.

"We have lost an icon," Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. "Vin Scully was one of the greatest voices in all of sports. He was a giant of a man, not only as a broadcaster, but as a humanitarian. He loved people. He loved life. He loved baseball and the Dodgers. And he loved his family. His voice will always be heard and etched in all of our minds forever. I know he was looking forward to joining the love of his life, Sandi. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this very difficult time. Vin will be truly missed."

Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, according to the team, which spoke to family members. No cause of death was provided.

As the longest-tenured broadcaster with a single team in pro sports history, Scully saw it all and called it all. He began in the 1950s era of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, on to the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, into the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s, it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo, followed by Clayton Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.

"He was the best there ever was. Just when you think about the Dodgers, there's a lot of history here and a lot of people that have come through. It's just a storied franchise all the way around. But it almost starts with Vin, honestly," Kershaw said after the Dodgers' game Tuesday night in San Francisco. "Just such a special man. I'm grateful and thankful I got to know him as well as I did."

The Dodgers changed players, managers, executives, owners -- and even coasts -- but Scully and his soothing, insightful style remained a constant for the fans.

He opened broadcasts with the familiar greeting, "Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be."

Ever gracious both in person and on the air, Scully considered himself merely a conduit between the game and the fans.

After the Dodgers' win in San Francisco at Oracle Park -- where in October 2016 Scully broadcast the final game of his career -- a tribute to him was shown on the videoboard.

Fans of both the Dodgers and Giants stopped and applauded Scully before exiting.

"There's not a better storyteller, and I think everyone considers him family," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He was in our living rooms for many generations. He lived a fantastic life, a legacy that will live on forever."

Although he was paid by the Dodgers, Scully was unafraid to criticize a bad play or a manager's decision, or praise an opponent while spinning stories against a backdrop of routine plays and noteworthy achievements. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes, not his heart.

"He had a voice & a way of storytelling that made you think he was only talking to you," former Lakers great Magic Johnson, a part owner of the Dodgers, said on Twitter. "Vin was the nicest & sweetest man outside of the booth & was beloved by all of our Dodgers family.

Jaime Jarrin, the Spanish voice of the Dodgers and a Hall of Fame broadcaster as well, mourned the loss of his counterpart, writing on Twitter: "We've lost the greatest chronicler of baseball and any sport. I've lost the architect of my professional life, a beloved friend: Vin Scully. I'm experiencing how difficult it is to put my thoughts together now and all I can say is rest in peace, we'll see each other again soon."


Vincent Edward Scully was born Nov. 29, 1927, in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk salesman who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where the red-haired, blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball in the streets.

As a child, Scully would grab a pillow, put it under the family's four-legged radio and lay his head directly under the speaker to hear whatever college football game was on the air. With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk nearby, the boy was transfixed by the crowd's roar that raised goosebumps. He thought he'd like to call the action himself

Scully, who played outfield for two years on the Fordham University baseball team and briefly served in the United States Navy, began his career by working baseball, football and basketball games for the university's radio station.

At age 22, he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, D.C.

He soon joined Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers' radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, an achievement that still stands.

He moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully called three perfect games -- Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 -- and 20 no-hitters.

He also was on the air when Drysdale set his scoreless innings streak of 58⅔ innings in 1968 and again when Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings 20 years later.

When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth's record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers and, of course, Scully called it.

"A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol," Scully told listeners. "What a marvelous moment for baseball."

Scully credited the birth of the transistor radio as "the greatest single break" of his career. Fans had trouble recognizing the lesser players during the Dodgers' first four years in the vast Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"They were 70 or so odd rows away from the action," he said in 2016. "They brought the radio to find out about all the other players and to see what they were trying to see down on the field."

That habit carried over when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held radios to their ears, and those not present listened from home or the car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.

He often said it was best to describe a big play quickly and then be quiet so fans could listen to the pandemonium. After Koufax's perfect game in 1965, Scully went silent for 38 seconds before talking again. He was similarly silent for a time after Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that year and also had the stadium's press box named for him in 2001. The street leading to Dodger Stadium's main gate was named in his honor in 2016.

That same year he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

"God has been so good to me to allow me to do what I'm doing," Scully, a devout Catholic who attended mass on Sundays before heading to the ballpark, said before retiring. "A childhood dream that came to pass and then giving me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. That's a pretty large Thanksgiving day for me."

In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully called play-by-play for NFL games and PGA Tour events as well as calling 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was NBC's lead baseball announcer from 1983 to 1989.

Scully also received the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, which recognizes accomplishments and contributions of historical significance, in 2014. He became just the second non-player to receive the award, joining Rachel Robinson.

While being one of the most widely heard broadcasters in the nation, Scully was an intensely private man. Once the baseball season ended, he would disappear. He rarely did personal appearances or sports talk shows. He preferred spending time with his family.

In 1972, his first wife, Joan, died of an accidental overdose of medicine. He was left with three young children. Two years later, he met the woman who would become his second wife, Sandra, a secretary for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. She had two young children from a previous marriage, and they combined their families into what Scully once called "my own Brady Bunch."

He said he realized time was the most precious thing in the world and that he wanted to use his time to spend with his loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of his family. In the shirt pocket where he kept a pack of cigarettes, Scully stuck a family photo. Whenever he felt like he needed a smoke, he pulled out the photo to remind him why he quit. Eight months later, Scully never smoked again.

After retiring in 2016, Scully made just a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium and his sweet voice was heard narrating an occasional video played during games. Mostly, he was content to stay close to home.

"I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man, and one who lived up to his own beliefs," he said in 2016.

In 2020, Scully auctioned off years of his personal memorabilia, which raised over $2 million. A portion of it was donated to UCLA for ALS research.

He was preceded in death by his second wife, Sandra. She died of complications of ALS at age 76 in 2021. The couple, who were married 47 years, had daughter Catherine together.

Scully's other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. A son, Michael, died in a helicopter crash in 1994.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 04, 2022, 02:35:07 PM
'Your attorneys messed up': Sandy Hook families' lawyer confronts Alex Jones with evidence he lied under oath
Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 04, 2022, 10:48:01 PM
Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook family at least $4 million — number expected to rise tomorrow


InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was ordered by a Texas jury to pay $4 million in compensatory damages for defaming Sandy Hook parents Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.

The jury in the case was tasked on Thursday with determining compensatory damages for the direct harm the family suffered and awarded a little more than $4 million.

On Friday, the jury will discuss the amount of punitive damages, which is designed to punish Jones to prevent further harm.

Jones, founder of the website InfoWars and host of a popular radio show, has been found liable in multiple defamation lawsuits brought by parents of the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The case in Austin, Texas, was the first of the defamation cases against Jones to reach the damages phase.

The 48-year-old Jones claimed for years on his show and website that the Sandy Hook shooting was "staged" by gun control activists but has since acknowledged it was "100 percent real."

The Texas case was brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the children slain by a 20-year-old gunman in the worst-ever school shooting in the United States.

During the final day of testimony on Wednesday, Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the parents, told Jones while he was on the witness stand that his attorneys had "messed up."

"They sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you've sent for the past two years, and when informed did not take any steps to identify it as privileged or protected in any way," Bankston said.

The evidence on his phone could have important implications for investigations into Donald Trump's unsuccessful coup attempt. Bankston was said he'll cooperate in getting the evidence to the Department of Justice and House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump appeared frequently on Jones' radio show during his 2016 White House campaign and the InfoWars founder was in Washington when supporters of the then-president stormed Congress in a bid to prevent certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

Jones has also testified to the committee behind closed doors.

Heslin and Lewis, the parents of Jesse, were seeking compensatory damages of at least $150 million from Jones.

InfoWars declared bankruptcy in April and another company owned by Jones, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy last week.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 05, 2022, 03:26:30 PM
Scientists meet to discuss why the Earth is spinning faster than normal, shortening days

CINCINNATI (WKRC) — Scientists say that the Earth has been spinning faster than normal.

According to scientists, the Earth has been spinning faster on its axis and even saw the shortest day on record in over 50 years.

On June 29, 2022, the Earth completed its spin 1.59 milliseconds earlier than normal. Scientists measured the rotational speed when they began using atomic clocks. Since using atomic clocks, scientists discovered that there are fluctuations in the rotational speed.

The Earth is gradually slowing down, which is why there are leap seconds in the calendar. The last second leap was on December 31, 2016. Researchers are wondering if a negative leap second should be introduced, which would skip one second but may also create issues for IT systems.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has stated that it may run into issues since it uses International Atomic Time or Universal Time for timing. The company says that leap seconds are a “major source of pain for people who manage hardware infrastructures.”

During the 19th annual Asia Oceania Geosciences Society meeting, scientists presented why they believe the Earth's spin is getting faster.

One explanation is that the shorter days relate to the Chandler wobble, the name of small, irregular movements of Earth’s poles across the surface of the globe.

Planetary scientists are not concerned about the shortened days at the moment because they know of the many factors on the planetary spin, such as the moon’s pull and mountain erosion.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 05, 2022, 06:35:46 PM
Heatwaves threaten marine life as Mediterranean reaches record temperature

France has seen searing temperatures in successive heatwaves over the past few weeks, but it’s not only on land that temperatures are insufferably high. The Mediterranean Sea’s surface temperature reached a record high 30.7°C in late July, and marine heatwaves are becoming increasingly common because of climate change – with dramatic consequences for biodiversity.

As Europe battles wildfires and record drought on land, rising sea temperatures pose another kind of threat. On July 24, the temperature in the Mediterranean reached a peak of 30.7°C off the coast of Alistro in eastern Corsica, according to the Keraunos meteorological observatory. The next day, in the bay of Villefrance-sur-Mer – an idyllic beach town a few miles from Nice – a researcher at the local oceanographic laboratory recorded a temperature of 29.2°C.

“It’s unprecedented,” said the researcher, Jean-Pierre Gattuso. The Mediterranean’s temperature is usually between 21° and 24°C at this time of year.

“What we’re seeing is a marine heatwave,” Gattuso said. “Like the heatwaves we get on land, it’s characterized by unusual temperatures for the season and can go on for several days or even weeks.”

In this case, Gattuso said, record temperatures have been continuing since the end of June and are affecting the entire western Mediterranean, from the heel of the Italian boot to Spain.

This climatic anomaly is linked to the successive heatwaves that have ravaged southern and western Europe in recent weeks.

“The temperature in the atmosphere and the temperature in the ocean work in tandem,” said oceanographer Carole Saout-Grit at Paris’s CNRS research institute. “When we talk about global warming, we’ve got to remember that 90 percent of the heat that has accumulated since the pre-industrial era has been absorbed by the ocean.”

“When you’ve got excess heat in the atmosphere, the ocean will try to suck it out, so that can cause the water to overheat,” Saout-Grit continued. But for the sea to overheat, there must be no wind. And that is “precisely the situation in the Mediterranean at the moment – otherwise, a gust of wind would allow the water at the surface to mix with the cooler water at the bottom, and the overall temperature would drop”.

These marine heatwaves don’t just happen in the Mediterranean. “The Pacific Ocean, particularly the North Pacific … has already been affected by this phenomenon,” Gattuso noted. Marine heatwaves have also been observed in the South Atlantic and even the Arctic.

These sudden, atypical spikes in temperature – which come on top of the long-term trajectory of the oceans warming – have disastrous consequences for aquatic fauna and flora. “With a team of 70 scientists, we’ve studied the impact in the Mediterranean for the period 2015-19. We found out that 90 percent of the area had been affected and that around 50 species had suffered deaths on a large scale,” Gattuso said.

On the other side of the world, marine heatwaves are also contributing to the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, turning the coral white. According to an Australian government report published in May, 91 percent of the reef has suffered bleaching due to a prolonged heatwaves during the southern hemisphere’s summer season.

Around 50 percent of the world’s coral reefs are considered to be under threat from climate change.

Title: Re: Media Today
Post by: Rick Plant on August 05, 2022, 10:52:46 PM
Payrolls increased 528,000 in July, much better than expected in a sign of continued strength for jobs market

Hiring in July was far better than expected, defying multiple other signs that the economic recovery is losing steam, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 528,000 for the month and the unemployment rate was 3.5%, easily topping the Dow Jones estimates of 258,000 and 3.6%, respectively. The unemployment rate is now back to its pre-pandemic level and tied for the lowest since 1969.

Wage growth also surged higher, as average hourly earnings jumped 0.5% for the month and 5.2% from the same time a year ago.

Professional and business services was next with 89,000. Health care added 70,000 and government payrolls grew 57,000. Goods-producing industries also posted solid gains, with construction up 32,000 and manufacturing adding 30,000.

Retail jobs increased by 22,000, despite repeated warnings from executives at Walmart, Target and elsewhere that consumer demand is shifting.

Back to pre-pandemic

Despite downbeat expectations, the July gains were the best since February and well ahead of the 388,000 average job rise over the past four months. The BLS release noted that total nonfarm payroll employment has increased by 22 million since the April 2020 low when most of the U.S. economy shut down to deal with the Covid pandemic.

Previous months’ totals were revised slightly, with May raised by 2,000 to 386,000 and J