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Biden Cartel Biden Pandemic Commentary COVID Daily Hits. Government Overreach Links from other news sources. Medicine Opinion Politics Reprints from others. WOKE

Headlines making the news.

Visits: 18

Headlines making the news. Today we have a very long list of what’s happened and is happening around the world. See if any of the topics peaks your interest, and feel free to comment.

At a campaign event, former President Donald Trump said he “aced” his recent cognitive examopens in a new tab or window. (The Hill)

The cinnamon applesauce pouches linked to high lead levels in dozens of U.S. kids may have been intentionally contaminatedopens in a new tab or window, a top FDA official suggested. (Politico)

The CDC issued an “urgent” alert about the low vaccination ratesopens in a new tab or window for flu, COVID, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and called on healthcare providers to administer shots now to protect patients.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and Sanofi announced plans to ship another 230,000 dosesopens in a new tab or window of their monoclonal antibody for protecting infants from RSV to the U.S. market. (Reuters)

Healthcare companies are signing on to the U.S. plan to ensure the safe development of artificial intelligenceopens in a new tab or window in healthcare. (Reuters)

Hundreds of women have been denied emergency abortions in Texasopens in a new tab or window since the state’s near-total ban, a STAT analysis revealed.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he’ll propose a plan to cut prescription drug costs by 50%opens in a new tab or window. (Endpoints News)

A well-known fertility doctor and former Harvard Medical School professor used his own sperm to inseminate a patientopens in a new tab or window in 1980, a new lawsuit alleges. (Washington Post)

Disgraced “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreliopens in a new tab or window asked an appeals court to overturn the ban from him working in the pharmaceutical industry. (Bloomberg)

The FDA warned multiple companies for selling unapproved antimicrobials for animalsopens in a new tab or window, saying that many of the treatments are used in humans and could contribute to antimicrobial resistance.

The World Health Organization is urging governments to ban all flavors of e-cigarettesopens in a new tab or window. (Reuters)

Does that patient really have a penicillin allergyopens in a new tab or window? (NBC News)

In order to succeed, HIV vaccine candidatesopens in a new tab or window may need to induce strong immune responses from CD8+ T cells, researchers reported in Science.

A New York doctor who appeared on the Bravo reality series “Below Deck” was charged in an alleged fake opioid prescription schemeopens in a new tab or window that used the names of his fellow cast members. (AP)

CNN interviewed victims of the war in Gazaopens in a new tab or window at a field hospital in Rafah.

The Smithsonian collected dozens of human brainsopens in a new tab or window from vulnerable individuals, many without consenta Washington Post report revealed.

North Carolina is suing HCA Healthcareopens in a new tab or window, alleging that it breached terms of the takeover agreement with Mission Health and has “degraded” care at the former nonprofit. (STAT)

A Texas man pleaded guilty to threatening to kill a Boston doctoropens in a new tab or window who specializes in treating transgender youth. (NBC News)

Emergency contraception useopens in a new tab or window among American women more than doubled since the morning-after pill was approved to be sold without a prescription (from 10.8% in 2006-2010 to 26.6% in 2015-2019), according to CDC data.

A Maine nurse was arrested for her alleged role in the January 6 Capitol riotopens in a new tab or window, the FBI said. (WMTW)

Heart failure patientsopens in a new tab or window in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods were more likely to be non-adherent to guideline-recommended medication. (JAMA Network Open)

Here are NPR‘s top five ‘viral’ storiesopens in a new tab or window from the year.

Singer Patti Smithopens in a new tab or window was discharged from a hospitalization in Italy following a “sudden illness.” (People)

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Biden Cartel Commentary Daily Hits. Free Speech Links from other news sources.

Articles making the news.

Visits: 20

Below are article making the news since Monday. Just click on the headlines and it will take you to the article.

Mike Johnson’s Jan. 6 Tapes Have Gone Missing.

Kissinger’s Final Interview: Forget a Palestinian State, Let Jordan Rule.

‘His Dream Came True’: Ohioans Decorate Elderly Man’s Christmas Tree He Planted 40 Years Ago.

‘Frasier’ Star Kelsey Grammer Says He Still Supports Donald Trump, Paramount Reportedly Cuts Interview Short.

COP28 President Declares ‘No Science’ in Demands for End to Fossil Fuel Use.

Saudi Arabia Says ‘Absolutely Not’ to Fossil Fuel Phase Down Demand by Climate Crazies

Ex-Capitol Police Officer Reveals How He Decided Jan. 6 Was a ‘Set-Up’

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America's Heartland Biden Cartel Commentary Links from other news sources. Media Woke MSM Reprints from others.

News we missed. Can Alternative Media Really Save America?

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News we missed. Can Alternative Media Really Save America? Some tines there are some great article that slip through the cracks. This article is one of those articles.

By Larry Bell

This writer firmly believes that if we had an honest “legacy mainstream” media, America wouldn’t have elected arguably the most inept and dangerous president in our nation’s history.

Were this not the case, major social and commercial networks wouldn’t have buried the demons in Hunter’s laptop from hell revealed in the blockbuster New York Post report which FBI partisans sat on throughout the 2020 election season, going so far as alerting those outlets to dismiss any such reports as the propaganda product of a Russian operation.

An honest media would be outraged that 51 intel officials backed that “earmarks of Russia disinformation” ruse with no evidence whatsoever, an unsupported claim that Joe Biden used to great advantage in the presidential debates.

A responsible media would report congressional whistleblower and eyewitness testimony supported by communications and banking records indicating that Joe Biden not only knew about his son Hunter’s hugely lucrative foreign influence peddling, but that the money trail leads to “the Big Guy.”

One might have reasonably expected some media coverage concerning Hunter’s July 30, 2017, WhatsApp shakedown text message to an executive connected to China’s Communist Party threatening that dad Joe and his political allies would “make certain . . .  that you will regret not following my direction” while negotiating a six-figure business deal.

Referring to his dad, Hunter clarified: “if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the [CEFC] chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.”

Records revealed to the House Ways and Means Committee show that the following month Hunter’s Owasco P.C. firm received nearly $5 million in a series of CEFC payments.

It’s also been pretty much crickets regarding Hunter business partner Devon Archer’s July 31 testimony before the House Oversight Committee that Joe was plugged into more than 20 of his son’s foreign business telephone conversations.

Included is at least one with a top-level representative of Burisma, a Ukraine energy company where Hunter served as a no-show board member receiving a million-dollar annual salary.

According to Miranda Devine at the New York Post, three days after a Dec. 6, 2015,  phone call involving Hunter, Joe and Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi regarding the company’s “need for support,” V.P. Biden — the Obama administration point guy on Ukrainian issues — flew to Kyiv to ironically address its parliament about corruption.

The following month Joe bragged before the Council on Foreign Relations about threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. Ukraine aid unless it dropped the Burisma case.

Biden famously said, “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a b***h, he got fired.”

Then in February 2016, roughly two months after Biden’s trip and two months before Shokin’s firing, Hunter sent an email thanking Burisma’s owner Mykola Zlochevsky for “the beautiful birthday gifts,” which he described as “far too extravagant.”

A redacted FD-1023 form released by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, shows that during a 2016 meeting at a Vienna, Austria, coffee shop, Zlochevsky claimed to have been “coerced” into paying Hunter and Joe $10 million; “5 [million] to pay one Biden, and 5 [million] to another Biden.”

Nevertheless, much of the public has remained woefully uninformed regarding such apparent pay-for-play scandals papered over with wall-to-wall coverage of endless transparently contrived charges against former President Donald Trump.

A survey by the Media Research Center (MRC), found that the “Big Three” networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — avoided discussing national security-compromising Biden influence peddling evidence altogether between June 8-12, while devoting 291 minutes to Trump distractions.

Based upon half-hour newscasts which typically devote 10 minutes to advertising, this amounted to nearly 15 shows devoted to nothing but Trump.

The only good news about blatantly complicit bad Biden-DOJ/FBI scandals is that they’re becoming increasingly difficult to contain.

According to a nationwide June Trafalgar-Convention of States Action poll, fewer than one-third (31.4%) of voters believe Joe Biden to be innocent of allegations connected to a foreign policy bribery scheme.

Somehow, and here I’ll especially thank the New York Post, numerous radio talk show program hosts, some Fox commentators, and yes, most certainly my Newsmax affiliates, for making a difference.

It has been hard to muffle the implosion of Hunter’s proposed DOJ sweetheart deal that allowed the statute of limitations to expire on felony IRS tax fraud charges and provided blanket immunity from a host of other criminal offenses in exchange for pleading out for a couple of misdemeanors.

Reliably anti-Trump Wall Street Journal editors now confirm that “Hunter Biden made big money abroad by dropping the name of his powerful father, and the same tactic seems to have nearly helped him evade tax and gun charges.”

The newspaper’s writer William McGurn has called upon special counsel David Weiss who engineered the Delaware Hunter investigation fiasco to resign.

Recall how outrageous it seemed but a few years ago when Donald Trump audaciously called out a “fake media”?

Hate Donald Trump, love the guy, or maybe a mix of the two, give him credit for being entirely right on that.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. 

 

 

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Commentary Faked news Links from other news sources. Media Woke MSM White Progressive Supremacy WOKE

Jessica Chastain Pleads for Help to Find a Credible News Source After NYT and WaPo ‘Rushed to Conclusion’ over Gaza Hospital Blast.

Visits: 18

Jessica Chastain Pleads for Help to Find a Credible News Source After NYT and WaPo ‘Rushed to Conclusion’ over Gaza Hospital Blast. So this sweet young thing doesn’t know where to go when it comes to a news source that gives her fair and balanced news.

All she has to do is follow me and she’ll get that. But if not, there are Conservative news outlets out there that won’t openly lie to her.. Here’s what she had to say.

Interstellar star Jessica Chastain is pleading with the public for help to find credible news sources after the New York Times and Washington Post “rushed to conclusion” in response to the Gaza hospital blast on Tuesday.

“Is there ANY place that I can get accurate news? We are living in a dark time when giants like @nytimes and @washingtonpost rush to conclusions in trying to keep pace with social media,” Chastain wrote in a social media post on Wednesday.

 

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Daily Hits. Links from other news sources. Reprints from others.

Stories I’m following this week.

Visits: 24

Stories I’m following this week. Thanks to The Morning Brew.

Here’s just a few stories making the headlines.

  • Markets: Stocks brought their Jackie Wilson energy yesterday, climbing higher and higher, with the Dow notching its best day since June and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both snapping losing streaks as investors wait for inflation data later this week. Berkshire Hathaway soared to a record high after Warren Buffett revealed over the weekend that it had a quarterly profit of more than $10 billion for the first time.
  • Tesla’s CFO stepped down. Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn unexpectedly resigned after working with Elon Musk at the electric vehicle maker for 13 years, which one asset manager told Bloomberg “is like working 50 years for anyone else.” Kirkhorn, who plans to stay at the company until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition, has been replaced by Tesla’s chief accounting officer. Still, the unexpected departure spooked investors, raising concerns about volatility in the company’s executive ranks and the succession plan for one day replacing Musk at the top.

     Yellow’s bankruptcy might cost taxpayers. The 99-year-old trucking company made it official on Sunday, filing for bankruptcy and ending the employment of its 30,000 workers following years of financial struggle and a labor battle with the Teamsters. But for most outside the trucking industry, the big question looming now is whether the company’s plan to sell off its assets will enable it to pay back the controversial $700 million pandemic-era loan it got from the government or whether other creditors like Apollo Global Management will get whatever is left from the freight company.

  • LABOR

    City of Angels? More like City of Strikes

    Los AngelesVCG/Getty Images

    Freeway traffic won’t be the only thing grinding to a halt in Los Angeles today. More than 11,000 city workers plan to walk off the job this morning for 24 hours.

    Sanitation and airport workers fed up with a lack of resources and unfilled vacancies will be among those participating, according to the SEIU Local 721, which represents many city workers.

    Hot Strike Summer has already been extra scorching in LA. The city workers will be joining:

    • 170,000 Hollywood actors and 12,500 screenwriters picketing there and in NYC.
    • Thousands of local hotel workers staging rolling strikes (who even tried to get Taylor Swift to postpone her LA tour dates).

    Nationwide, strikes have spiked this summer, putting July among the busiest months for labor action in decades, according to the Washington Post.

    But…unless UPS’s 350,000 workers reject the contract their union secured for them, this year is not on track to have more strikers than 2018 or 2019—which in turn had fewer strikers than many years in the 1950s through 1970s, per Bloomberg columnist Justin Fox. There’s another big strike looming, though: With the auto workers union demanding a 40% raise for 150,000 hourly workers at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, Detroit may soon look like LA with less green juice.—AR

  • ENERGY

    Students leave the oil and gas pipeline

    Oil derrick with cobwebs and help wanted sign.Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Getty Images

    Turns out classics majors and petroleum-engineering students have more in common than we thought: Both their programs are shrinking. College students aren’t interested in entering the oil and gas industry like they used to be, no matter how much money they could make when they graduate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    The number of undergrads studying petroleum engineering—once a practical, popular major that would make Boomer parents proud—has seen a 75% decline since 2014, Texas Tech professor Lloyd Heinze told the WSJ.

    In the past, enrollment in oil- and gas-related majors followed the market, but despite oil prices popping off between 2016 and 2021, the number grads entering the field still fell, according to the US Dept. of Education. It probably didn’t help that the pandemic highlighted how volatile the oil and gas industry could be as companies laid off over 100,000 employees between March and August 2020.

    It’s not just about business. Petroleum engineers can earn 40% more post-graduation than computer science grads, but Gen Zers are opting for more environmentally conscious companies and positions. Current students are nervous about the fossil fuel industry’s role in climate change and question whether these high-paying jobs will even exist in the future as the country moves toward clean energy.—MM

  • What else is brewing
    • Severe storms swept across the East Coast yesterday, knocking out power to over 1 million households and delaying or canceling thousands of flights.
    • Ukraine says it thwarted a plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky.
    • The former Minneapolis police officer who held back the crowd during the killing of George Floyd was sentenced to nearly five years in prison.
    • Campbell Soup is buying Sovos Brands, the company behind Rao’s, the fanciest sauce you can plop out of a jar, for $2.3 billion.
    • Elon Musk said he may need surgery before he can fight rival tech CEO Mark Zuckerburg.
    • “Hank the Tank,” a black bear believed to be responsible for 21 home break-ins in California, has been captured (and won’t be harmed).

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History Life Reprints from others.

Iconic Joshua Trees threatened by wildfire spreading across Mojave Desert

Visits: 22

The York fire burns in the Mojave National Preserve in California on Sunday, July 30.

Reported by CNN. (Sometimes they do good work.)

Firefighters battling a large whirl-spawning wildfire in California and southern Nevada are facing challenging conditions as the blaze spreads and threatens iconic desert Joshua trees.

The York Fire – already California’s largest fire of the year – has burned more than 82,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, fire officials said. It began Friday in the New York Mountains of California’s Mojave National Preserve and crossed state lines into Nevada on Sunday.

Crews have been battling the flames under unpredictable wind patterns and unrelenting heat, authorities said. They’ve also been trying to not disturb desert tortoises – federally listed as a threatened species – in part by trying to avoid their burrows.

The fire, among dozens burning around the country under scorching temperatures, has been fueled by extreme conditions that have made it more dangerous and difficult to control, fire officials said Monday night. The York Fire was 30% contained as of Wednesday morning.

The York Fire has burned more than 80,000 acres.

The blaze has spawned fire whirls – “a vortex of flames and smoke that forms when intense heat and turbulent winds combine, creating a spinning column of fire,” the Mojave National Preserve said Sunday. As the fire-heated air rises, cold air dashes to take its place, creating a spinning vortex rising from a fire and carrying aloft smoke, debris, and flame – also referred to as a fire tornado in some cases.

Firefighters also were seeing 20-foot flames in some areas, according to Mojave National Preserve authorities.

The fire is also threatening groves of Joshua trees – the branching, spiky plants of the Mojave Desert that can live more than 150 years.

“It will take a lifetime to get those mature Joshua trees back,” Laura Cunningham, the California director of the Western Watersheds Project, told CNN affiliate KVVU. “Some are fire resistant, and if the flames are not too hot, they will stump sprout out or reseed.”

“This is pretty devastating,” Cunningham said.

The Mojave National Preserve has been seeing an increase in fire frequency over the past decade due to a combination of wet winters and increasing levels of invasive grasses, fire officials say on Inciweb, a clearinghouse for US fire information.

“If an area with Joshua trees burns through, most will not survive and reproduction in that area is made more difficult,” the National Park Service says. “Wildfires could also result in the loss of irreplaceable resources in the park, like historic structures and cultural artifacts.”

In 2020, a 43,273-acre wildfire burned through the Joshua tree woodland of California’s Cima Dome, destroying as many as 1.3 million Joshua trees and leaving behind a plant graveyard, according to the National Park Service.

Firefighters braving intense desert heat to stop the York Fire’s spread in the Mojave National Preserve are among more than 11,000 wildland firefighters and personnel assigned across the country, the National Interagency Fire Center said Tuesday.

Fifty-six active, large fires were burning in 11 states as hot and dry conditions persist throughout the US, the center said Tuesday. More than 1.1 million acres have burned across the US in 2023 as of Tuesday, the center said.

Emerging desert tortoises pose unique challenge

Firefighters were aided by a brief but heavy downpour early Tuesday as they worked to contain the York Fire. More rain moved across the area early Wednesday and may give firefighters an additional boost.

But rain in the Mojave Desert, which is seasonal and scarce, “poses a unique challenge to firefighters,” the Mojave National Preserve said.

Desert tortoises – federally listed as a threatened species – become especially active on wet summer days, emerging from their burrows to drink rainwater.

“Fire crews carefully balance fire suppression with resource protection. They will be on the lookout for desert tortoises, making sure to avoid burrows and active individuals,” the Mojave National Preserve said.

The good news is that most desert wildlife can move to safety when fire approaches, park officials said.

“Resource staff at Mojave National Preserve anticipate that the York Fire has caused minimal damage to critical tortoise habitat and has likely affected few individuals since tortoise observations in the fire area are rare,” preserve staff said.

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Daily Hits. Links from other news sources. Reprints from others.

Headline News. Some of the stories making the news.

Visits: 29

Headline News. Some of the stories making the news.

 X no longer marks the spot. Yesterday, workers took down the giant glowing X sign installed Friday at the San Francisco headquarters of the Elon Musk-owned company formerly known as Twitter. Neighbors had complained about the brightness, and city officials said they had been told the sign was temporary. In other news at the recently renamed company, it has threatened to sue researchers who track hate speech and found that it had increased on the social media platform since Musk took over, claiming they are harming the business.

 It’s getting harder to get a loan. A Fed survey released yesterday shows banks are being stingier when handing out cash, thanks to all those interest rate hikes. A net 51% of banks said they’d raised their standards for large- and medium-sized business loans last quarter, up from 46% during Q1 and the highest since 2008 (not counting the pandemic). For consumer loans, more banks than last quarter said they had upped credit card loan standards, but not as many banks tightened auto loan standards. Banks expect standards to keep getting stricter, with most reporting they’ll continue to raise the bar across loan categories.

 California wants to know what your car is doing with your data. California’s new privacy regulator—the only agency in the US devoted solely to privacy issues—has announced its first investigation, and it plans to probe whether your smart car is too smart. The watchdog’s enforcement division plans to examine what manufacturers are doing with the data collected from internet-connected autos, including location data that is highly sought after by advertisers, info on driver behavior coveted by insurance companies, and data from cameras and apps.

ENERGY

1st all-new US nuclear reactor in decades goes live

Homer reading about building nuclear reactorThe Simpsons/20th Television via Giphy

Homer Simpson’s expertise is wanted down South: Georgia’s Plant Vogtle has taken a brand-new reactor online, the company that operates it announced yesterday.

The first built-from-scratch nuclear reactor to get turned on in the US in decades is supplying electricity to Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, with capacity to power up to 500,000 homes and businesses.

The new reactor is part of a larger expansion at Vogtle, which already had two operational reactors and will add a fourth one by next spring…if everything goes according to plan. But things haven’t so far: The new reactor went live seven years later than planned, and costs ballooned from $14 billion to nearly $35 billion.

The delays and cost overruns have led some experts to oppose new nuclear plant construction as impractical, but the public is warming up to the energy source. Recent polls show the highest level of support for nuclear power in a decade. It currently supplies almost 50% of US carbon-free electricity, and many experts believe it’s an essential clean energy supplement to wind and solar.

Other countries are also going nuclear…two new nuclear energy projects were announced in Canada this month, while China plans to build at least six to eight new reactors a year.—SK

        

FROM THE CREW

The Crew

Robot revolution? Not quite. You can breathe a sign of relief—AI isn’t replacing your job just yet. Instead, MIT researchers are hopeful we can work collaboratively with ChatGPT, DALL-E, and more. Check out Tech Brew’s take on what AI can and can’t do—and assess its potential implications in your field of work.

RETAIL

What would you pay for a Birken stock?

Birkenstock sandal in display window.John MacDougall/Getty Images

Wearing the chunkiest, ugliest shoes has always been in fashion for some. But now it’s clog girl summer, and Birkenstock is bracing for a possible September IPO that would value the company anywhere from $8 billion to $10 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Birks have always been lurking. The German sandal has enjoyed several waves of popularity since it first arrived in the US in the ’60s, including in the 90s and 2000s when the brand proved it wasn’t just for Deadheads as mega celebrities wore them. And just like other perfectly horrendous footwear options (Crocs just reported a record $1 billion of revenue for the second quarter and is valued at ~$6.7 billion), Birks are back.

  • Birkenstock’s revenue jumped about 29% to $1.3 billion last year.
  • Celebs like Kendall Jenner are rocking Birks this summer, and the sandal even made it in a couple of scenes of the new Barbie movie, which Bloomberg reports helped boost recent sales.

It’s by design: Two years ago, Birkenstock was acquired in a deal that valued the company at roughly $4.9 billion by L. Catterton, the private equity firm backed by LVMH, the luxury conglomerate that keeps Bernard Arnault constantly trading spots with Elon Musk on the list of richest people in the world. Since the acquisition, the brand has collabed with high-end designers like Dior and Manolo Blahnik.

Looking ahead…sources told Bloomberg that the timing and size of the IPO haven’t been nailed down yet, but the potential plans are another sign that market debuts are making their own comeback.—MM

        

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

A celebrity saying "they quit"Francis Scialabba

Stat: Who better to deliver the news that you’re quitting your job or want out of your relationship than a celebrity like Flavor Flav or Brian Cox (though those ones may be NSFW)? Some people are so keen to avoid an awkward  “It’s not you, it’s me” conversation that they’re using Cameo to pay famous faces to relay these messages instead: In the past three years, the pay-for-celeb-video service has received close to 5,000 requests that included “divorce” and ~2,000 with “break up,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The service has also been used at least 1,000 times to put in two weeks notice, per the WSJ.

Quote: “Delisting every asset other than bitcoin, which by the way is not what the law says, would have essentially meant the end of the crypto industry in the US.”

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has never been shy about his disagreement with the SEC over whether cryptocurrencies should be viewed as securities (he says no). And in a recent interview with the Financial Times, he said the agency made it an easy choice for his company to fight for that view in court since, before suing, the agency demanded that the exchange stop trading in any crypto token besides bitcoin. The agency’s case against Coinbase is one of several it has pending that ask courts to weigh in on that existential question for crypto in the US.

Read: How an academic tome about trauma became a bestseller. (New York Magazine)

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • The US Women’s National Team drew Portugal 0–0, meaning they’ll advance to the knockout round at the World Cup. But it was nervy.
  • Sad news: Angus Cloud, the 25-year-old actor who played Fez on Euphoria, has died. And Paul Reubens, the actor best known for creating the character Pee-wee Herman, also died, at age 70, after battling cancer.
  • Taco Bell was hit with a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming the chain advertised its Mexican Pizzas and Crunchwraps as having more than double the fillings they actually do.
  • A zoo in China has denied claims that its bears are really people in bear suits after videos surfaced of the bears standing on two legs.

 

 

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Links from other news sources. Reprints from others. Science

Diet Sodas Aren’t Giving You Cancer.

Visits: 22

Diet Sodas Aren’t Giving You Cancer.

This article was first published at Big Think.

Last Friday, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, classified aspartame, a non-nutritive sweetener widely used in diet sodas, as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Other substances that share the designation include gasoline, diesel fuel, engine exhaust, chloroform, DDT, and lead. But despite aspartame’s inclusion among that ominous cadre of chemicals, you can continue drinking diet sodas almost entirely worry-free. Here’s why.

IARC is terrible at science communication

IARC’s cancer classifications may be one of the greatest failures of science communication in the world. The agency reports “hazard” (that is, whether a substance could be dangerous) rather than “risk” (that is, the magnitude of any potential danger). By declaring aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic,” people around the world interpret that message as, “Diet sodas are causing cancer.” As always, context is everything, and IARC’s designations mostly leave that out.

Numerous studies over the years have probed whether aspartame is linked to a higher risk of cancer. The resulting data is essentially a wash. Some studies found a small increased risk, while others found no correlation. Trials in rodents do show that consuming inordinately large amounts of aspartame can cause cancer, but this is true for many chemicals eaten in extreme excess. That’s why the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) reasonably warns people against consuming more than 40 milligrams of aspartame per day per kilogram of body weight. For a 200-pound person, that’s equivalent to drinking 18 cans of diet soda.

“And even this ‘acceptable daily intake’ has a large built-in safety factor,” Sir David Spiegelhalter, an emeritus professor of statistics at the University of Cambridge, told the Science Media Center. In other words, the 40 mg/kg/day guideline is a conservative estimate; you could probably consume much more and be just fine. In fact, the JECFA considered the same evidence on aspartame and cancer that IARC did and concluded that the evidence for a link is not convincing, an opinion shared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Obesity risk vs. cancer risk

The IARC’s classification of aspartame as a possible carcinogen undoubtedly will cause a PR headache for food companies utilizing the compound, and perhaps prompt them to reformulate their products to avoid the risk of opportunistic lawsuits. The move unfortunately also may lead drinkers of diet sodas to choose sugar-laden options instead. Physician Walter Willett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told NPR that would be the “worst possible decision.” The health consequences of consuming large amounts of added sugar — including diabetes and obesity — dwarf the remote cancer risk from aspartame.

The simple truth is that every decision in your life affects your risk of cancer, from how much you sleep, to what you eat for breakfast, to whether you ride your bike or drive to work. How we balance that equation is up to each of us. Some decisions, like smoking and using tanning beds, increase the risk of cancer dramatically. Others, like eating right and exercising, clearly lower it. Many more, like using aloe vera, eating pickled vegetables, and drinking diet sodas, have such a small effect — if any — that it’s not really worth worrying about.

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Daily Hits. Links from other news sources. Opinion Politics

Yesterdays headlines.

Visits: 9

Yesterdays headlines. Yesterdays articles that just won’t go away. Comment on these or anything else you feel that’s news worthy.

Breaking News

‘It would be devastating’: Local officials warn of wind turbine development’s impact to Jersey Shore’s tourism industry

July 09, 2023

‘It would be devastating’: Local officials warn of wind turbine development’s impact to Jersey Shore’s tourism industry

Local officials warn of wind turbine developments impact on tourism.

VIEW WEBSITE

Pennsylvania Republicans continue effort to end Act 77, mail-in voting

July 09, 2023

Pennsylvania Republicans continue effort to end Act 77, mail-in voting

Fourteen Republican members of the Pennsylvania House will ask the state Supreme Court to overturn Act 77.

VIEW WEBSITE

Indigenous chief wants to take back Ben & Jerry's HQ built on 'stolen' land

July 09, 2023

Indigenous chief wants to take back Ben & Jerry’s HQ built on ‘stolen’ land

Ben & Jerry’s headquarters is in the western part of the historic territory of the Abenaki tribal confederacy but doesn’t sit in any current tribal lands.

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Corruption Faked news Politics Reprints from others.

How to Spot a Bogus “News” Site

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You should ask questions before believing that enraging story and posting it on social media.

With stories, as with hot dogs, you may want to ask what’s inside and where it comes from. (Nati Harnik/AP)

[Note: the original article is from Margaret Sullivan, a former columnist for WAPO, so of course, all the “bad actors” she cites are “Republican” or “conservative.” Naturally, the left never does any of this, do they Media Matters for America?]

Vetting news sources has never been more difficult than in today’s most complex information environment.

With no shortage of websites and social media accounts claiming to be credible—often propagated by bad-faith actors—how can you tell what’s legit from what’s not? The crisis of local news outlets shutting down across the country has only exacerbated this problem, making it easier for nefarious forces to fill the void with “pink slime” sites with misleading names.

[“Pink slime” refers to processed lean beef trimmings, and is a cheap filler used to “beef up” many meat products. It is made by salvaging the meat that gets trimmed off cuts of beef along with fat. The the salvaged meat is squeezed through a pipe and sprayed with ammonia to kill bacteria, after which it is dyed pink, packaged into bricks, frozen and shipped to meat packing plants. — TPR]

In 2020, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School identified at least 1,200 such sites.

It’s always tempting to share the news that comes across our social media feeds when it not only seems outrageous but also confirms our biases, fears, or suspicions.

“See?!” we seem to say as we retweet or post; this latest exciting development is just what we knew could happen all along!

But there’s a question we need to ask these days before sharing one of these scintillating stories with friends and followers: Is it true?

Increasingly, “articles” that look like news may be something entirely different — false or misleading information grounded not in evidence but in partisan politics, produced not by reporters for a local newspaper but by inexperienced writers who are paid, in essence, to spread propaganda.

Last [year] provided a case in point when what looked like a legitimate news story went viral.

Published in the “West Cook News,” the story purported to reveal that a suburban Chicago school would soon be giving students different grades depending on their race. It started like this:

“Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students. … In an effort to equalize test scores among racial groups, OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionally hurt the grades of black students. They can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.”

There was a big problem, though: It wasn’t true.

It found a ready audience. “But of course,” tweeted the conservative author Andrew Sullivan, as he shared the story to his hundreds of thousands of followers.

He was far from alone in promoting the story. There was a big problem, though: It wasn’t true.

The school issued an unequivocal statement denying the story. While school board members have considered all sorts of research about grading practices — the bogus story relied on out-of-context material presented in a meeting for discussion — the school “does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race.” Georgetown professor Donald Moynihan debunked the story point by point: “The piece has failed the most basic journalistic standard: it has not provided evidence either for the sensationalistic headline or its core claims.”

Some of those who shared it later expressed regret or deleted their original posts, as Sullivan did, but, of course, it’s impossible to put the viral genie back in the bottle.

This single incident was bad enough; what’s worse is what it shows us about our poisoned news environment. While fact-based, accountable local newspapers are struggling to survive — many of them facing budget cuts or closure — what’s known as “pink slime” sites are sneakily trying to fill the void. They traffic in falsehood and exaggeration, paid for by political groups.

“These sites are insidious,” said Alan Miller, founder, and CEO of the News Literacy Project, the D.C.-based nonprofit organization that works to make students and the public smarter news consumers and better citizens.

Named after a meat-processing byproduct used as filler — in other words, it looks like meat but isn’t — pink slime news sites are often funded through secret and politically motivated “dark money” contributions. And they are growing fast. In 2020, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School identified at least 1,200 such sites.

With names such as the Des Moines Sun and Illinois Valley Times, they leverage the trust that people have for local newspapers, built up over many decades, to boost their own dubious credibility. Their content is “rooted in deception, eschewing hallmarks of news reporting like fairness and transparency,” according to a New York Times investigation that referred to them as “Pay-for-Play” outlets. Most of them, for example, don’t disclose the funding they get from advocacy groups. Davey Alba, one of the reporters who co-wrote the Times investigation, noted that the “West Cook News” is part of a network of local sites run by Republican operatives.

Meanwhile, of course, local newspapers are shrinking or dying. Between 2005 and the start of the pandemic, about 2,100 newspapers were closed, as I detailed in my book, “Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy.” And although many legitimate and admirable news sites have sprung up to help fill the gap, it isn’t always easy for news consumers to know the difference.

I asked Miller for his advice to news consumers.

First, he said, take a pause when you see a story that gets your blood pressure jumping: “Don’t let your emotions take over. If something makes us angry, anxious or excited, that’s when we are most vulnerable to being manipulated.”

Then, he suggested, spend a minute doing your own research. Glance at the comments to see whether anyone has done a fact-check or has credibly challenged the findings. Use a search engine to see whether any other news outlets have covered this story. Try to find the original source of the story or ask the person who shared the post for evidence supporting the claim. Ask yourself whether it seems too good to be true.

You don’t need to take all of these steps, he noted, acknowledging that this is more work than most people will probably undertake. But “doing any of them will be beneficial.”

The News Literacy Project has managed to reach tens of thousands of educators and, through them, potentially millions of students. Because older people are most likely to share false information, according to research published in 2019 in the journal Science Advances, the News Literacy Project is working with an affiliate of AARP and hopes to expand the partnership. [Meaning they can think for themselves — well, some of them, anyway. Ageism by the left: how shocking! — TPR]

There’s really only one solution, after all: skeptical awareness.

News consumers must cultivate their own ability to know the difference between journalistic meat and fraudulent filler.

And, whatever their politics may be, those who care about truth need to slow down — way down — before sharing content that appeals to their emotions or preconceived ideas. It’s increasingly likely that it may be nothing but slime.


[Although trying to pin all these “pink slime” sites on the political opposition, Sullivan does make valid points about how to view “news” items that might not be as objective — or even truthful (#RIPJeremy Renner was a hoax, yet trended on Twitter just the other day) — as we want our news to be. —TPR]

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