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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 80,188

Journal Archives

CDC: Strong evidence in-person schooling can be done safely

Source: AP News

The nation’s top public health agency on Friday provided a roadmap for reopening schools in the middle of a pandemic, emphasizing mask wearing and social distancing and saying vaccination of teachers is important but not a prerequisite for reopening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the long-awaited update, but it cannot force schools to reopen, and agency officials were careful to say they are not calling for a mandate that all U.S. schools be reopened.

They said there is strong evidence now that in-person schooling can be done safely, especially at lower grade levels, and the guidance is targeted at schools that teach kindergarten up to 12th grade.

The agency also emphasized hand washing, disinfection of school facilities, diagnostic testing and contact tracing to find new infections and separate infected people from others in a school.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-teaching-michael-pence-coronavirus-pandemic-4265da944bb3b6c863db6ca6a03caa58

Come early for good seats!


Yellen Is Creating a New Senior Treasury Post for Climate Czar

Source: Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to wield the department’s broad powers to tackle potential risks to the financial system posed by climate change while pushing tax incentives to reduce carbon emissions.

Ms. Yellen is looking to a veteran of the Obama administration, Sarah Bloom Raskin, as the leading candidate for a new senior position that would head a new Treasury climate “hub,” according to people familiar with the matter. A former deputy Treasury secretary who once worked alongside Ms. Yellen on the Federal Reserve Board, Ms. Raskin has warned in interviews and speeches that U.S. regulators must do more to strengthen the financial system’s resilience to climate risks.

The move is part of the Biden administration’s effort across many government departments to address climate change and its impact on various industries. In two early moves, the administration rejoined the Paris climate accord and suspended new oil and gas leases on federal land.

“I think we need to seriously look at assessing the risk to the financial system from climate change,” Ms. Yellen said at her Senate confirmation hearing last month, calling it an “existential threat” to the U.S. economy. Ms. Yellen said the new hub would review financial stability risks and tax policy incentives related to climate change.

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/yellen-is-creating-a-new-senior-treasury-post-for-climate-czar-11613138479?st=fupoy4t9xyotu9j&reflink=article_copyURL_share

New Allegations of Cover-Up by Cuomo Over Nursing Home Virus Toll

Source: New York Times

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his top aides were facing new allegations on Friday that they covered up the scope of the death toll in the state’s nursing homes from the coronavirus, after admissions that they withheld data in an effort to forestall potential investigations into state misconduct.

The latest revelations came in the wake of private remarks by the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and a cascading series of reports and court orders that have nearly doubled the state’s official toll of nursing home deaths in the last two weeks.

The disclosures have left Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, scrambling to contain the political fallout, as lawmakers of both parties call for censure, including stripping the governor of his emergency powers during the pandemic, federal and state investigations and resignations of Ms. DeRosa and other top officials.

In a conversation first reported on by the New York Post, Ms. DeRosa told a group of top lawmakers on Wednesday during a call to address the nursing home situation that “basically, we froze,” after being asked last summer for information by the Trump administration’s Department of Justice.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/12/nyregion/new-york-nursing-homes-cuomo.html

"I Will Destroy You": Biden Aide threatened a Politico reporter pursuing a story on his relationship

Vanity Fair

A White House official tried to quash a story about his relationship with a reporter by issuing threats and using derogatory language to another reporter pursuing it, according to two sources familiar with the incident. In a sympathetic profile Monday, People revealed that White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo is dating Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond, who covered the Joe Biden campaign. But behind the scenes, Ducklo had previously lashed out at Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, who was reporting the story, exhibiting behavior that led to tense meetings between the Washington news outlet’s editors and senior White House officials.

The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to sources. Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo told her, according to sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.

During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was “jealous” that an unidentified man in the past had “wanted to fuck” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond. (Palmeri had no prior relationship or communication with McCammond before calling her to report on the Playbook item, which was a story that she was assigned and had not independently pursued.)

The following day, an editor at Politico reached out to the White House about Ducklo’s threats, spurring multiple conversations between the news outlet and senior-level officials on January 21, including White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, White House Communications director Kate Bedingfield, and Anita Dunn, director of West Wing operations. In one of those calls, senior White House officials acknowledged that Ducklo’s handling of the call with Palmeri was inappropriate and said he would send a note to her apologizing for the comments. In another conversation, the same White House officials took aim at Palmeri by accusing her of breaking an off the record agreement with Ducklo and pressing Politico as to why the contents of the call had been revealed. Palmeri had only informed her editors of the contents of the call, which she had transcribed into her notes as it was happening, after they asked her about it.

Grand jury dismisses felony assault charges against 2 Buffalo police officers who pushed 75-year-old

Source: CNN

(CNN)A grand jury chose not to indict two Buffalo, New York, police officers who pushed a 75-year-old protester to the ground last June, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Thursday.

Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe each faced a felony second-degree assault charge in Martin Gugino's fall, which fractured his skull and left him unable to walk at the time, according to an attorney for Gugino. They had pleaded not guilty.

Both officers were suspended from the police force after the June 4 incident, which happened at a protest against racism and police brutality. They remain suspended pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation, the department said Thursday.

While Flynn said the grand jury proceedings are secret and he cannot disclose details, he said he did everything possible to bring a strong case.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/us/buffalo-police-martin-gugino-charges-dismissed/index.html

3 reasons why a 'center right' party will never work


1. The Republican Party already fought this fight in 2016. The anti-Trump crowd, which ultimately became every candidate in the GOP primary field other than Trump, lost. And lost badly. Just ask Marco Rubio. And Jeb Bush. And Lindsey Graham. And Rand Paul. And Ted Cruz. And Chris Christie. And Ben Carson.

2. There's no leader for this movement. Voters rally around candidates, not political parties. Barack Obama appealed to people, first and foremost, because he was Barack Obama. Not because he was a Democrat. Same for Trump, who, prior to running in 2016, was at best loosely affiliated with the Republican Party. Who is the face of this proposed new party or new faction? Ben Sasse? John Kasich? Liz Cheney? Larry Hogan? Adam Kinzinger? Mitt Romney? Lisa Murkowski? You get the idea. Way too many cooks.

3. GOP elected officials have zero interest in it: For people who like to argue that Trump's actions during and after the January 6 riot have fundamentally changed how he stands in the party, I like to remind them that, in the immediate aftermath of that riot, 138 Republicans voted to object to the Electoral College results in Pennsylvania. That's a clear majority of House Republicans on the record in support of an objection based on zero facts and 100% loyalty to Trump. So where again is this clamor to get beyond Trump?

The Trump Defense team's argument tomorrow will be...

"Democrats do it too".

They'll show video clips of Democrats and liberals using hyperbolic language and say we shouldn't blame people's words for other people's actions.

Eugene Goodman and other officers will receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their actions on Jan

Source: New York Times

Among the harrowing images presented during the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, one video stood out: a Capitol Police officer sprinting toward a senator to warn of the angry mob nearby.

The senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, is shown turning on his heels and fleeing to safety.

“I don’t think my family or my wife understood that I was as close as I might have been to real danger,” Mr. Romney told reporters on Thursday, one day after the video showed Officer Eugene Goodman aiding him. “They were surprised and very, very appreciative of Officer Goodman, in his being there and directing me back to safety.”

For Officer Goodman, it was the second time a video went viral displaying actions widely credited with saving members of Congress. The first, which showed him single-handedly luring the mob away from the entrance to the Senate toward an area with reinforcements, turned him into a hero. The second has added to his lore.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/politics/eugene-goodman-capitol-police-congressional-gold-medal.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

Parents of daughters are more likely to divorce than those with sons

The Economist

Daughters have long been linked with divorce. Several studies conducted in America since the 1980s provide strong evidence that a couple’s first-born being a girl increases the likelihood of their subsequently splitting up. At the time, the researchers involved speculated that this was an expression of “son preference”, a phenomenon which, in its most extreme form, manifests itself as the selective abortion or infanticide of female offspring.

Work published in the Economic Journal, however, debunks that particular idea. In “Daughters and Divorce”, Jan Kabatek of the University of Melbourne and David Ribar of Georgia State University, in Atlanta, confirm that having a female first-born does indeed increase the risk of that child’s parents divorcing, in both America and the Netherlands. But, unlike previous work, their study also looked at the effect of the girl’s age. It found that “daughter-divorce” risk emerges only in a first-born girl’s teenage years (see chart). Before they reach the age of 12, daughters are no more linked to couples splitting up than sons are. “If fathers were really more likely to take off because they preferred sons, surely they wouldn’t wait 13 years to do so,” reasons Dr Kabatek. Instead, he argues, the fact that the risk is so age-specific requires a different explanation, namely that parents quarrel more over the upbringing of teenage daughters than of teenage sons.

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