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Member since: Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:42 PM
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More americans turning to food banks to survive pandemic

The pandemic has exposed the fragile nature of success for millions of Americans: material markers of outward stability, if not prosperity, but next to nothing to fall back on when times get tough.

In conversations around the country this August — at kitchen tables, in living rooms and in cars during slow-moving food lines with rambunctious children in the back — Americans reflected on their new reality. The shame and embarrassment. The loss of choice in something as basic as what to eat. The worry over how to make sure their children get a healthy diet. The fear that their lives will never get back on track.

There was the family in Jackson, Miss., that relied on a local food bank over the summer, even though before the pandemic they had been making almost six figures a year. That is a nice living in a place like Jackson, and it got them a house in the leafy Belhaven neighborhood, a Chevy Suburban and beach vacations to Florida.

Or the single mother in Tennessee who had finally pushed her way into the middle class with a job that paid enough to send her oldest daughter to private school, only to find herself accepting food from charity.

Ms. Cazimero, 40, faced her new financial circumstances with as much equanimity as determination, even as it shook her sense of what it meant to have made it. Before the pandemic, she was a hair stylist at a salon owned by her mother-in-law that would shut down in accordance with California’s coronavirus rules. She also ran her own events business, which had been “rocking and rolling” after a lucrative holiday season decking out car dealerships for Christmas. Her husband, Adam, saw far fewer people come into the local Ford dealership where he works, and his commissions have plummeted.

These days she has become an armchair therapist to friends who feel ashamed at not being able to afford enough food; a logistics specialist in how she navigates the schedules of all the pantries in San Diego County; and a food procurer and distributor to the needy, even as she is needy herself.

“Before, I always helped out,” she said. “But I wasn’t the one who needed it. Now I need it.”

After making her rounds, Ms. Cazimero returned to her modest house in a development studding a hillside, and separated out what will go to her family, and what she will give away to neighbors and others. Over Facebook and text message groups, informal barter networks have sprouted among needy families. “You have toilet paper? Let’s trade,” she said.

She reminds them they are not the only ones. “Dude,” she said, “none of us can because we can’t work.”


Netflix Cuties controversy explained: Why conservatives are obsessed with the movie

Sparked by a promotional image featuring the movie’s tween stars in revealing clothing and suggestive poses, the controversy around Netflix’s Cuties has only grown as the film has finally arrived on the streaming service. Maïmouna Doucouré’s first feature is, according to an interview with the French Senegalese filmmaker posted by Netflix this week, a “deeply feminist film with an activist message.”* It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the award for direction in the World Cinema section. But weeks after a petition charging it with being produced “for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles” garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures, the movie finds itself at the toxic intersection of QAnon delusion and right-wing moral panic, with a smattering of leftist outrage on the side. Brietbart has posted about the movie a half-dozen times in the past two days, singling out critics who praised the film, several of whom have received death threats and been harassed off social media. And Thursday night, Tucker Carlson made it a centerpiece of his show, accusing a nonspecific “they” behind the movie of wanting to “destroy young girls.”

Considering how few of Cuties’ attackers have actually seen the film, countering their criticisms with facts feels a little like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Those labeling it child pornography seem to have adopted a modified version of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s adage: They know it when they don’t see it. By definition, pornography requires intent, and whether or not Doucouré succeeded (and the reviews are divided on this point), her intent is clear. The movie’s protagonist, Amy, is an 11-year-old bouncing between the repressive culture of her conservative Islamic upbringing, where she is warned that “evil shows itself in the scantily clad women,” and the hypersexualized environment of Western culture, where images of adult women doing strip-club gyrations are emulated by tweens on social media for likes. The movie presents those images in order to critique them, in a way that could not possibly be more clear: When Amy and the titular dance troupe she’s formed with three schoolmates finally perform in front of an audience, Doucouré repeatedly cuts away to the disgusted adults watching them, some booing, some covering their children’s eyes.

Instead of the Potter Stewart test, Breitbart’s John Nolte presents what might be called the Floyd Test. The initial marketing campaign, he writes, was “aimed directly at the naked-guys-in-a-raincoat-named Floyd crowd,” and as for the movie itself: “Naked Floyd’s gonna love it.” The point isn’t the filmmaker’s intent—although he later gets around to dismissing that as “bullshit,” too—it’s that Cuties might turn perverts on. That may be true, but it’s also true of countless more innocent images, and the diligence with which Nolte jotted down every purported crotch shot, at least until he “lost count after five,” speaks to its own kind of not-entirely-uncreepy obsession.


Scientists can't explain puzzling lack of coronavirus outbreaks in Africa

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 26.35 million people, with just four countries accounting for over 15 million cases. They are America, Brazil, India, and Russia — the same four that have been at the top for months. The US surprised the world when it rose to the top spot in multiple COVID-19 statistics, both for the total number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Since then, no other country has surpassed America.

But scientists who are studying the pandemic have also identified another surprise of the pandemic. Some expected the African continent to be affected most heavily by the virus, but that wasn’t the case. South Africa stands out when it comes to the number of total cases, with nearly 631,000 infections. But fewer than 15,000 people have died of COVID-19. These figures are puzzling scientists looking to understand how the virus behaves and how it can be beaten.

The hypothesis that poverty should have a significant impact on the spread of the virus doesn’t stand when it comes to the entire African continent. Developing countries like Brazil and India showed that the virus couldn’t be contained once it reached densely populated, but poor, neighborhoods. Experts expected the same thing to happen in Africa, but it didn’t. If anything, Africa is doing better than any other continent, both when it comes to cases and casualties. As BBC News explains, even if those numbers are significantly underreported, Africa still has it much better than other continents right now.

“I thought we were heading towards a disaster, a complete meltdown,” Professor Shabir Madhi told BBC News. The nation’s top virologist echoed what others must have thought about the African coronavirus outbreak. But South Africa’s death rate is almost seven times lower than in the UK.


Riot declared in Portland after Molotov cocktail thrown at cops, protester suffers severe burns


Covid: Australian anti-lockdown suspect's arrest draws controversy

The arrest of a woman in Australia for promoting an anti-lockdown protest online has drawn criticism, after video of the incident went viral. Footage shows officers handcuffing pregnant woman Zoe-Lee Buhler, 28, in her home in Victoria on Wednesday in front of her partner and children. She starts crying during the arrest, telling police: "I didn't realise I was doing anything wrong."

Authorities have defended the officers, saying they acted appropriately. Victoria has been in lockdown since July to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has fuelled Australia's second wave. Authorities have imposed stay-at-home rules and a curfew in Melbourne, the state capital. The lockdown has closed many businesses and banned gatherings around the state. Many people support the measures but others oppose them, and they have been targeted by a fringe anti-lockdown movement.

Last week Victoria Police warned it would arrest people for organising protests in breach of the ban on gatherings. The video - which was live-streamed on Facebook and has been viewed over two million times - shows Ms Buhler and her partner speaking to police in their home in the city of Ballarat. The Victoria Police officers are seen with a warrant. When asked what the arrest is about, one officer says: "It's in relation to a Facebook post, in relation to a lockdown protest you put on just that day." Ms Buhler, who is wearing pyjamas, then offers to delete her post.

"My two kids are here - I have an ultrasound in an hour," she says. "This is ridiculous... I didn't realise I was doing anything wrong."
But the officers respond by telling her she has been charged with "incitement" over a planned protest in Ballarat on Saturday. The event is part of wider anti-lockdown rallies. State Premier Daniel Andrews defended the arrest, saying protests undermined public health efforts.

"Now is not the time to protest about anything. Because to do so is not safe," he said on Thursday. Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius added: "[I'm] outraged to say there are still people in our community who think it's a good idea at the time of this deadly pandemic to leave home and protest." But the incident has been criticised by human rights activists and opposition lawmakers on the left and right of politics.

"Arresting people pre-emptively for the act of organising peaceful protests or for social media posts is something that happens all too often under authoritarian regimes, and it should not be happening in a democracy like Australia," said Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch. Critics also warned that it could further stoke anti-lockdown sentiment or conspiracy theories, noting the video had been shared among groups in Australia and the US.

Such groups have alleged, often incorrectly, that lockdown measures infringe human rights. Individuals can face fines of A$1,652 (£910; $1,210) for breaking restrictions, or imprisonment for serious breaches. The lockdown has worked to slow the virus - Victoria has recorded below 100 cases on most days this week, compared to over 700 during the peak in August. Supporters say the police enforcement measures have been necessary to this success.

But civil liberties activists have argued Victoria's restrictions are among the harshest seen in Western democracies. they have also disproportionately affected poorer and more ethnically diverse communities, advocates say. In July, many were angered when the state confined 3,000 public housing residents to a police-guard lockdown following clusters in some tower blocks. Under the current lockdown most residents are only allowed outside for an hour per day. The state government has warned the lockdown may extend beyond 13 September, its scheduled finish date. Australia has recorded 678 deaths and more than 26,000 cases.


Netflix apologizes after thousands call to remove film that 'sexualizes' young girls

Source: yahoo

Netflix issued an apology Thursday after thousands signed a petition demanding the immediate removal of the controversial French film "Cuties" from the streaming platform.

The movie, about an 11-year-old who rebels against her family and joins a "free-spirited dance crew," is accused in the online campaign of sexualizing young girls "for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles." Originally titled "Mignonnes," the project premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won a jury award for directing.

On social media, people are calling Netflix's poster for the movie — which pictures its four preteen stars posing in costumes baring their legs and midriffs — "disgusting," "upsetting" and "sick." Netflix has apologized for its promotional materials but there are no plans to scrap the film, which is set to debut globally on Sept. 9.

"We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties," Netflix said in a statement Thursday morning. "It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”

Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/netflix-apologizes-thousands-call-remove-175438828.html

WTF were they thinking? Holy fuck, who let these pedos into Netflix?!

Wuhan, China is celebrating and partying right now

New images show thousands of people crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at a massive pool party over the weekend in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus is thought to have first emerged late last year. Large crowds packed the Wuhan Playa Maya Water Park for an electronic music festival on Saturday, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

....But some have cast doubt on the actual number of coronavirus cases and deaths in China due to the authoritarian nature of the country. China has tallied more than 84,000 cases with a total of 4,634 deaths.


What the hell is up with China?

Thousands pack water park in Wuhan, China, the once-epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic

Source: thehill


New images show thousands of people crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at a massive pool party over the weekend in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus is thought to have first emerged late last year. Large crowds packed the Wuhan Playa Maya Water Park for an electronic music festival on Saturday, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Party goers can be seen standing and swimming in close quarters to one another without the usual mask and social-distancing measures meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus as they watched the performance. The images stand in stark contrast to the strict lockdown that was once imposed on the central Hubei province city in January when the coronavirus outbreak first began spiraling out of control, which locked down Wuhan’s 11 million residents.

All public transport was suspended and movement outside homes was restricted. The lockdown was lifted in April, around the time the virus began tearing through western Europe and the U.S. There have been no new domestically transmitted cases officially reported in Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital, since May according to AFP. More than 68,000 cases have been confirmed in Hubei province with more than 4,500 deaths.

But some have cast doubt on the actual number of coronavirus cases and deaths in China due to the authoritarian nature of the country. China has tallied more than 84,000 cases with a total of 4,634 deaths.

Read more: https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/longevity/512426-thousands-pack-water-park-in-wuhan-china-the-once

Coronavirus hasn't devastated the homeless as many feared

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the coronavirus emerged in the U.S. this year, public health officials and advocates for the homeless feared the virus would rip through shelters and tent encampments, ravaging vulnerable people who often have chronic health issues.

They scrambled to move people into hotel rooms, thinned out crowded shelters and moved tents into designated spots at sanctioned outdoor camps.

While shelters saw some large COVID-19 outbreaks, the virus so far doesn't appear to have brought devastation to the homeless population as many feared. However, researchers and advocates say much is unknown about how the pandemic is affecting the estimated half-million people without housing in the U.S.

In a country that's surpassed 5 million identified cases and 169,000 deaths, researchers don't know why there appear to be so few outbreaks among the homeless.

“I am shocked, I guess I can say, because it’s a very vulnerable population. I don’t know what we're going to see in an aftermath,” said Dr. Deborah Borne, who oversees health policy for COVID-19 homeless response at San Francisco's public health department. “That’s why it’s called a novel virus, because we don’t know."

More than 200 of an estimated 8,000 homeless people in San Francisco have tested positive for the virus, and half came from an outbreak at a homeless shelter in April. One homeless person is among the city's 69 deaths.

In other places with large homeless populations, the numbers are similarly low. In King County, which includes Seattle, more than 400 of an estimated 12,000 homeless residents have been diagnosed. In Los Angeles County, more than 1,200 of an estimated 66,000 homeless people have been diagnosed.

It's slightly higher in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, where nearly 500 of an estimated 7,400 homeless people have tested positive, including nine who died.

Health experts say the numbers don't indicate how widespread the disease is or how it might play out long term. It's unknown how many people have died of conditions indirectly related to the virus. While the coronavirus may dissipate more easily outdoors than indoors, living outside has its own risks.

With public libraries and other places closed, homeless people say they’re short on food and water, restrooms and cash. In San Francisco, 50 homeless people died over an eight-week period in April and May — twice the usual rate, said Dr. Barry Zevin, medical director of the public health department's street medicine program.

The official causes are pending, but Zevin notes that fentanyl overdoses are rising and stay-at-home orders may prevent people from getting help quickly. He knew isolation could result in more overdoses.

“I think that’s happened, and whether it’s more or less than I would have expected, I don’t know," he said. “It’s frustrating to be able to forecast something as a problem, do everything you can to prevent it as a problem, but it's absolutely a case of competing priorities."

Good data is difficult to get on the homeless population because hospitals and death certificates don't track housing status, says Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at the University of California, San Francisco.

She was hesitant to draw conclusions about how the pandemic has affected homeless people overall but said “this may be an example where being outside and unsheltered, just in terms of COVID, maybe let people be at lower risk. But again, part of that is that we just don’t really know.”

New York City has reported more than 1,400 infections and 104 deaths among homeless residents out of more than 226,000 positive cases and 19,000 deaths. Roughly 60,000 people live in shelters, unlike in West Coast cities where many more are unsheltered.

But because New York's shelters have more children than the general population, when deaths are adjusted for age, the mortality rate for homeless people is 67% higher than for the overall population, said Giselle Routhier, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless.

“That’s extraordinarily high, in our opinion,” she said.

While advocates push for private hotel rooms for homeless people, a massive 1,200-person shelter at San Diego’s convention center is showing it’s possible to keep the case count low by strictly adhering to 6-foot (2-meter) spacing, frequent cleaning and mask-wearing.

“We have a team of firefighters that walk the floors to put the cots back where they’re supposed to be,” said fire Deputy Chief Chris Heiser, who is incident commander for the shelter.

He estimates about 3,000 people have come through. And of more than 6,000 COVID-19 tests administered, 18 so far have been positive. San Diego County has reported more than 200 positive cases and no deaths among its nearly 8,000 homeless people.

Richard Scott, who is in his mid-50s, moved to the convention center about three months ago after his roommate, who is medically fragile, told him that he could either stay home and not work or leave. Since then, Scott has slept on a cot alongside about 500 men in a cavernous room with high ceilings and a big floor.

Sometimes there's a theft or disruptive person, but overall Scott calls it a safe place to stay.

“We wash our hands 20 times a day — well some of us — and we get our temperatures checked every day, and they’ve been real strict about that, too,” Scott said. “I’m so happy being here; it’s a blessing.”

Virginia McShane, 63, sleeps in a separate part of the center. She arrived in April after she could no longer afford a $25-a-night hostel.

“We’ve got a back entrance and a front entrance, and that keeps the air circulating pretty good, so I think that’s why all of us haven’t come down with the coronavirus," she said.

The rates at which homeless people have tested positive for COVID-19 are all over the place, says Barbara DiPietro, senior policy director for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, which is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the issue.

Surveillance testing of more than 10,000 people at shelters and encampments nationwide has resulted in a rate just over 8%. But DiPietro says over 200 testing events of homeless residents in five cities showed rates ranging from 0 to 66%.

“So this is a wildly variant, moving target depending on who and how and when you test," she said.


9th Circuit ends California ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines

SACRAMENTO — A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s protection of the right to bear firearms.

“Even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” appellate Judge Kenneth Lee wrote for the panel’s majority. California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment — the right to armed self-defense.”

He noted that California passed the law “in the wake of heart-wrenching and highly publicized mass shootings,” but said that isn’t enough to justify a ban whose scope “is so sweeping that half of all magazines in America are now unlawful to own in California.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office said it is reviewing the decision and he “remains committed to using every tool possible to defend California’s gun safety laws and keep our communities safe.”

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