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Pfizer CEO: Company refused taxpayer money for COVID-19 vaccine development

Pfizer CEO: Company refused taxpayer money for COVID-19 vaccine development to 'liberate our scientists'


Pfizer chose not to take U.S. taxpayer money to help fund its coronavirus vaccine development, a move that CBS News' Margaret Brennan pointed out on Sunday is a bit of a financial risk for the pharmaceutical giant.

CEO Albert Bourla admitted that it will indeed "be painful" if the vaccine fails, but "at the end of the day it's only money" and the lack of taxpayer funds won't "break our company." It was more important for Bourla that his scientists were able to work without any strings attached, he said. "I wanted to liberate our scientists from any bureaucracy," he continued. "When you get money from someone, that always comes with strings. They want to see how we are growing to progress, what types of moves you are going to do. They want reports. I didn't want to have any of that."

Bourla said he gave Pfizer's team an "open checkbook" so they only have to worry about "scientific challenges." Plus, he added, he wanted to keep Pfizer out of politics, a tall task for a pharma company on any day, but especially during this pandemic.

As for the vaccine itself, Bourla said Pfizer is preparing for a situation in which they'll know if the candidate works by the end of October, adding that "I cannot say what" the Food and Drug Administration "will do" after that, but "I think it's a likely scenario" the product could receive federal approval before the end of the year.


Don't know about this source, since the next article was something positive about trump. But this one--the man says he wanted to keep politics out of their process. Good idea.

The Case For Drinking Coffee Is Stronger Than Ever

There are few things more more ritualistic—and to many, more sacred—than a morning cup of joe. 64% of Americans drink at least one cup a day—a statistic that’s barely budged since the ’90s. Despite warnings from doctors over the years that coffee may be hard on the body, people have remained devoted to the drink.

Luckily for them, the latest science is evolving in their favor. Research is showing that coffee may have net positive effects on the body after all.

Is coffee bad for you?
For years, doctors warned people to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease and stunt growth. They worried that people could become addicted to the energy that high amounts of caffeine provided, leading them to crave more and more coffee as they became tolerant to higher amounts of caffeine. Experts also worried that coffee had damaging effects on the digestive tract, which could lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn and other ills.

All of this concern emerged from studies done decades ago that compared coffee drinkers to non-drinkers on a number of health measures, including heart problems and mortality. Coffee drinkers, it seemed, were always worse off.

But it turns out that coffee wasn’t really to blame. Those studies didn’t always control for the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking, drinking and a lack of physical activity. If people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it’s not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality.

That understanding has led to a rehabilitated reputation for the drink. Recent research reveals that once the proper adjustments are made for confounding factors, coffee drinkers don’t seem have a higher risk for heart problems or cancer than people who don’t drink coffee. Recent studies also found no significant link between the caffeine in coffee and heart-related issues such as high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, stroke or heart attack.


The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%

The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That's Made the U.S. Less Secure

Like many of the virus’s hardest hit victims, the United States went into the COVID-19 pandemic wracked by preexisting conditions. A fraying public health infrastructure, inadequate medical supplies, an employer-based health insurance system perversely unsuited to the moment—these and other afflictions are surely contributing to the death toll. But in addressing the causes and consequences of this pandemic—and its cruelly uneven impact—the elephant in the room is extreme income inequality.

How big is this elephant? A staggering $50 trillion. That is how much the upward redistribution of income has cost American workers over the past several decades.

This is not some back-of-the-napkin approximation. According to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation, had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP—enough to more than double median income—enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Every month. Every single year.

Price and Edwards calculate that the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality had grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018. At a recent pace of about $2.5 trillion a year, that number we estimate crossed the $50 trillion mark by early 2020. That’s $50 trillion that would have gone into the paychecks of working Americans had inequality held constant—$50 trillion that would have built a far larger and more prosperous economy—$50 trillion that would have enabled the vast majority of Americans to enter this pandemic far more healthy, resilient, and financially secure.

As the RAND report [whose research was funded by the Fair Work Center which co-author David Rolf is a board member of] demonstrates, a rising tide most definitely did not lift all boats. It didn’t even lift most of them, as nearly all of the benefits of growth these past 45 years were captured by those at the very top. And as the American economy grows radically unequal it is holding back economic growth itself.


It is easy to see how such a deadly virus, and the draconian measures required to contain it, might spark an economic depression. But look straight into the eyes of the elephant in the room, and it is impossible to deny the many ways in which our extreme inequality—an exceptionally American affliction—has made the virus more deadly and its economic consequences more dire than in any other advanced nation. Why is our death toll so high and our unemployment rate so staggeringly off the charts? Why was our nation so unprepared, and our economy so fragile? Why have we lacked the stamina and the will to contain the virus like most other advanced nations? The reason is staring us in the face: a stampede of rising inequality that has been trampling the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of Americans, year after year after year.

Of course, America’s chronic case of extreme inequality is old news. Many other studies have documented this trend, chronicled its impact, and analyzed its causes. But where others have painted the picture in terms of aggregate shares of GDP, productivity growth, or other cold, hard statistics, the RAND report brings the inequality price tag directly home by denominating it in dollars—not just the aggregate $50 trillion figure, but in granular demographic detail. For example, are you a typical Black man earning $35,000 a year? You are being paid at least $26,000 a year less than you would have had income distributions held constant. Are you a college-educated, prime-aged, full-time worker earning $72,000? Depending on the inflation index used (PCE or CPI, respectively), rising inequality is costing you between $48,000 and $63,000 a year. But whatever your race, gender, educational attainment, urbanicity, or income, the data show, if you earn below the 90th percentile, the relentlessly upward redistribution of income since 1975 is coming out of your pocket.


VERY informative and thought-provoking article. Much more at link.

Retired general: Look for this in your next president (opinion, CNN)

Opinion by Mark Hertling 9/3/2020

If you ask people who haven't served in uniform what it takes to be a great military leader, many would say "strength," "toughness" or "courage." People who have served -- and particularly those who have had the honor of commanding -- will tell you there's a lot more to it. Leaders -- military or otherwise -- need character, intellect, vision, humility and will.

Leaders also need empathy. In fact, this particular trait is discussed in detail in the publication "Army Leadership" and as recently as last year the topic was extensively addressed in one of the Army's professional journals.

The doctrinal definition of empathy is rather simple, describing the trait as "Identifying and understanding what others think, feel and believe."

I spent 21 of my 38-year military career in command positions, and this is one trait I've repeatedly observed in the best leaders. Good people are empathetic -- and, as a great sergeant I worked with once taught me, "The secret to being a good leader is to first be a good person."

America prizes leadership, but I fear our nation is losing its ability to empathize. We see this every day on television, on social media, in interpersonal exchanges. Assignment of derogatory nicknames, the trolling of individuals on social media, the lack of comity when debating competing ideas and a failure to show courtesy to those with different ideas about any specific subject are all examples of what we see on a daily basis, in a variety of forums.

And while I wouldn't blame President Donald Trump as the sole force making Americans less empathetic, his continuous example of poor behavior and caustic communication is certainly making matters far worse.

During my nearly four decades in uniform, I found empathy comes from compassion. It comes from understanding others and considering their point of view. It comes from exhibiting decency. Soldiers recognize this attribute in history's admirable commanders and they see it as a critical trait in those who succeed on the battlefield.

That's because to be a great commander, leaders must understand and care for their troops and their families. Leaders must listen to and address their subordinates' concerns. They must treat colleagues, advisers and members of their team with dignity and respect.

Commanders know that empathy establishes trust. They know research strongly indicates that when the "boss" shows empathy, others in the organization will do the same. An empathetic boss makes for an empathetic team, and empathetic teams are usually more successful.

Americans who entrust the military with their sons and daughters would not accept any Army leader -- of any rank -- who didn't pursue, listen to and incorporate information that benefits the troops and the mission. Americans expect a general to seek input from the soldiers on the front lines bearing the brunt of the fight. Americans would demand a general who ignored the health of his command -- or, worse yet, blamed shortcomings on others -- be court martialed.

Yet that is what we have in our current commander in chief. While many are disgusted by the President's name-calling, rude behavior, personal attacks, transactional approach and greed, as a former soldier who knows the power of teams I'm mostly concerned about what happens when the President doesn't show empathy in taking advice or dealing with others. This might partly explain some of the astronomically high turnover rate in his administration, and why at this point he cannot seem to attract qualified candidates for critical positions.

By supposedly "knowing more than the generals" (or doctors, intelligence community, judges, journalists, or any other experts), the President is not actively seeking, listening to or incorporating the information that would contribute to our nation's greater good.

By relying only on the input from his political base or from select, friendly media outlets while calling all other sources of information "fake," the President shows disdain for all other factions who must be part of the national dialogue regarding our democratic republic and our nation's strengths.

By making excuses, snubbing critical evidence and facts, and ignoring relevant intelligence -- especially intelligence indicating major threats to the safety of our fighting men and women -- the President flirts with becoming derelict in his duties under the Constitution.

Don't misunderstand: While the Constitution holds no call for the President to exhibit empathy in all engagements, by continuously blaming others for shortcomings and refusing to take responsibility, the President is violating this important leadership principle that contributes to effective governing.

Any military commander would lose the trust of his or her soldiers -- and the American people -- if they acted without empathy. Any commander would be relieved of his or her duties. I know. I have had to replace commanders who violate critical leadership principles and standards, and empathy is certainly one of those.

As a nation, we need to hold any commander in chief -- any elected leader -- to these same standards.

I asked a wise man......

I'm so sorry I ate your chewy!

Happy 96th Birthday, President Carter!

"Dear Mr. and Ms. Bayard,

Please help Jimmy celebrate his 96th birthday with a personal birthday message.
Write Your Message on
President Carter’s Birthday Wall »

My husband has been blessed with a long life and an amazing amount of energy, which he has dedicated over the last four decades to the work of The Carter Center — helping vulnerable and impoverished people.

Over the years, I’ve seen that they’ve been able to improve their own lives in dramatic ways, all because of the highly effective tools and knowledge that supporters like you have helped us deliver.

They are freeing themselves from the pain and economic catastrophe brought by disease, learning how to protect their civil rights, advancing democracy all over the world, and so much more.

Making this world a better place has been Jimmy’s vision for as long as I can remember. Your support of his life’s work will be the best present he can receive. Thank you so much for sharing your special message now.


Rosalynn Carter
Co-Founder of The Carter Center"


Vegan Leather

Two Mexican entrepreneurs presented what they say is the world's first organic leather substitute made using the prickly pear cactus, known as nopal.

Footage filmed in Guadalajara on Monday shows Marte Cazarez and Adrian Lopez at work in their office with the 'nopal leather' as well as the two men in a field of the cactus in Zacatecas.

"What we want to achieve is to create a material that is as sustainable as possible, which at the same time complies with the standards of different industries such as automotive, aeronautics, fashion and footwear. Because we are conscious of the environmental impact that textiles and leather have on the environment," said Adrian Lopez, Vice President of Adriano Di Marti, the company behind the leather substitute.

It took inventors two years to come up with the material. 'Nopal leather' is made through a series of processes that produce a powder which is then mixed and layered over cotton canvas. The recently presented the material at an international exhibition in Milan.

The Weddings And Gowns Of The U.S. Presidents And First Ladies

I debated on putting this in GD or the lounge. Since there are interesting historical facts, I opted for GD.

You might expect the U.S. Presidents’ and First Ladies’ weddings to be lavish and over-the-top, but before they lived in the White House, many of these couples were simply young and in love. You’ll be amazed at how low-key some of these weddings were, including a woman who selected her wedding dress the day before and two future first ladies who didn’t wear white.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Wedding Dress
In 1905, Eleanor Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt’s brother, married Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president’s fifth cousin. They first met when she was 14-years-old and he was 18-years-old. After losing touch they reconnected four years later when they crossed paths at a horse show in Madison Square Garden.

Hillary Clinton Got Her Wedding Dress At The Mall
Hillary Diane Rodham met the future president, Bill Clinton, while they were both attending Yale Law School in 1971. He was staring at her in the library, so she went up to him and introduced herself. They fell in love and he proposed three years later. Bill wanted a big wedding while she didn’t even care about an engagement ring. (He gave her one anyway.)

Michelle Obama’s ’90s Wedding Gown
Like Hillary and Bill Clinton, future president Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson through their love of law. They connected while working at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago. Michelle originally opposed dating a colleague, but he convinced her to go on a date with him in 1989. Three years later, they tied the knot.

Mamie Eisenhower Was Another Teen Bride
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty ImagesMamie Geneva Doud married future president Dwight Eisenhower on July 1, 1916, when she was just 19 years old. She had just graduated from the finishing school Miss Wolcott’s. Dwight was 25 and an Army lieutenant. They tied the knot at Mamie’s parents’ home in Denver, Colorado, and later honeymooned at a nearby resort.

Lou Henry Hoover’s Dark Wedding Gown
Lou Henry was a fascinating woman. She enjoyed camping with her dad and was a proficient taxidermist. She loved rocks and minerals. She graduated with a B.A. in Geology at Stanford University, where she met future president Herbert Hoover. She was fluent in Chinese and the only First Lady to speak an Asian language.

“Like A Moth Drawn To A Flame”
Lyndon Baines Johnson, often called “LBJ,” was the 36th President of the United States. Johnson married his bride Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor in San Antonio, Texas, on November 17, 1934. A honeymoon to Mexico followed the ceremony. Johnson became President in 1963, following the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy.


I just happened upon this site, and thought the old photos and descriptions were intriguing. Many more photos. They look authentic.

Brain Freeze!

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