About Poll-Vaulter

Scared of school: 4 out of 5 parents are considering homeschooling their kids this fall

August 4, 2020

A new survey has found that four out of five parents nationwide are thinking seriously about homeschooling their children during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The poll—commissioned by Crispy Green, a producer of freeze-dried fruit snacks; and conducted by OnePoll—spoke with 2,000 U.S mothers and fathers to see how families are adjusting to the “new normal” created by COVID-19.

Health is the biggest concern for most parents. The vast majority of respondents say the risk of infection is their biggest worry, according to a report by Study Finds. 

Among the parents thinking about a virtual education, 81% point to increasing health concerns. Eighty-two percent admit they’re more scared to send their kids into a school than ever before.

Parents also worry that, once children are back in class, hygiene issues will quickly put schools at risk. About 60% of respondents don’t believe their children will properly wash their hands in school. Nearly half the respondents say they’re trying to teach their kids about proper hygiene during the pandemic.

Researchers say a majority of parents are also taking this time in isolation to talk to their children more about safety and the importance of social distancing.

Another big takeaway from the poll is how costly COVID-19 will be for parents preparing children for school. Three in four respondents are expecting to spend an extra $147 per child to get them the proper supplies. Those same parents add that getting their kids ready for class will take much longer. They believe prepping to go to school during the pandemic will take an extra 40 minutes each morning.

Despite all the preparations families are making, 77% of moms and dads say they won’t be fully prepared for schools to reopen. Many parents have a long list of demands for education officials before they begin to feel comfortable with the idea of going back to school.

Over half, 55%, want increased COVID-19 testing and regular temperature checks on school premises, Study Finds notes. Nearly the same number of parents want smaller class sizes in the fall. Fifty percent want plenty of hand sanitizer available for children; while 40% of parents want schools to use more digital textbooks, too.

However, despite all the uncertainty tied to the next school year, parents know their children are doing a better job of coping with all the changes than they are. Fully 71% admit they wouldn’t have handled a pandemic as well when they were children.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

‘The Rock’ buys XFL in partnership with RedBird Capital for $15M

August 4, 2020

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the former WWE star-turned-movie giant, has partnered with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital to buy the professional football league, the XFL at the 11th hour, Sportico reported Monday, August 3.

According to the sports business news outlet, the business partners paid $15 million for the franchise just hours before a planned auction was scheduled to begin. Johnson’s business partner, Dany Garcia, who is also his ex-wife, will be an equal stakeholder with him.

Sportico notes that, according to a court filing, theirs was the only qualified bid. The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing this Friday, August 7, and, assuming that closing conditions are satisfied, is expected to close on or shortly after August 21.

“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things—my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson added in a news release. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

The presence of Johnson, meantime, continues pro wrestling’s involvement in the spring football league, which was founded—and funded—by WWE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon.

The league started a week after the Super Bowl. It featured eight teams from markets nationwide. The league drew 3 million viewers in its first week but the audience tapered off in the following weeks.

The XFL filed for bankruptcy in April after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of its inaugural season, which got off to a promising start in terms of television audience. The league had a broadcast agreement with Fox.

With live sports a reliable vehicle to deliver ratings, there’s a good chance a number of traditional TV networks—and perhaps streaming companies—would seek to add the XFL to their portfolios, Sportico reports.. Besides the league, networks would likely seek a tie-up with Johnson, who is the executive producer of “The Titan Games,’’ a sports competition reality series on NBC.

Research contact: @Sportico

‘Trump is Mussolini, Putin is Hitler,’ says House Majority Whip Clyburn—warning, ‘I don’t think he plans to leave’

August 4, 2020

Bill Maher— the host of Real Time on HBO who has predicted for more than three years that we will not see the last of President Donald Trump if he is not re-elected—agrees with at least one Congressional leader about the POTUS’s true intentions.

Both Maher and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) are becoming increasingly fearful that the current POTUS will not leave the Oval Office when the time comes on January 20, 2021.

On Sunday, May 2, Clyburn likened Trump to Italian fascist Benito Mussolini—insisting that the commander-in-chief has no plans to leave the White House if he loses in November, Slate reports.

During an interview with Clyburn Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked the 14-term congressman about a PBS interview that aired on Friday, July 31, during which he said, “Trump thinks that the American people will be duped by him, like the people of Germany was duped by Adolf Hitler.”

When Bash asked whether Clyburn really thought Trump “is comparable to Adolf Hitler,” the number-three House Democrat did not shy away from comparing the president to a brutal totalitarian although the historical reference changed. “I feel very strongly that this man has taken on strong-arm tactics. And I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini,” Clyburn said. “Putin is Hitler.”

Clyburn went on to explain that he thinks Trump will try to cling on to power, Slate noted. “I believe very strongly that this guy never had any idea about being—want to peacefully transfer power. I don’t think he plans to leave the White House. He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections,” Clyburn said. “I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue hold onto office.”

Clyburn went on to call on Americans to “wake up” because history is full of warning signs. “I know a little bit about history, and I know how countries find their demise. It is when we fail to let democracy and the fundamentals of which is a fair, unfettered election. And that’s why he is trying to put a cloud over this election, floating the idea of postponing the elections,” Clyburn said.

Research contact: @Slate

Finding puppy love: A dating app called Dig helps dog lovers start human and canine relationships

August 3, 2020

Looking for love but haven’t truly connected with your soulmate? You might just be barking up the wrong tree, according to a report by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.

If you are someone who loves dogs, then you know just how important it is to find a human companion who feels the same way. Which is exactly why sisters, Leigh and Casey Isaacson, created Dig, which they describe as “The Dog Person’s Dating App.”

The app first launched on Valentine’s Day 2018 and now has gone national with the intention of connecting dog people, regardless of whether they actually own a pooch, or are someone who just really “digs” canines.

The idea originated one night in New York City, when Casey Isaacson discovered that her otherwise acceptable date wouldn’t let her dog into his apartment. Standing unhappily on his stoop, as the relationship abruptly dissolved, she had an idea. Casey called the only person she knew who loved dogs as much as she did— her sister Leigh—and Dig was born.

“When you’re dating and you’re a dog owner, it doesn’t matter who reaches out first or how many friends you have in common. If you don’t get along with my dog, it’s never going to work,” Leigh said in an interview with Pet Friendly House. “If you don’t have a dog but you know you’ll want one in the future, you need to know you’re dating a dog person from the start.”

According to GMA, when users join Dig, they can indicate particular preferences— including whether they are already dog owners—or just loe dogs. The app then presents users with unlimited matches every day where they can express whether they “dig,” “really dig,” or “pass” on those particular matches.

The goal of the app is to connect people who “live a dog-forward lifestyle” so Dig offers tips from veterinarians and dog trainers to help make that first date and dog meet-up go as smoothly and with as little stress as possible. Having a dog impacts every aspect of your life so it’s extremely important to find out early on not only if you’re compatible, but if your dogs are too. By offering dog-friendly date ideas, the Dig team is helping both couples looking to connect, as well as promoting dog-friendly businesses.

Lizz Evalen, a freelance writer from Chicago, told GMA that one of the great things about her Dig date was having her dog along as a buffer.“Lull in the conversation, make goofy noises at the pup,” said Evalen. “Think you have nothing to talk about? Ask anything related to the pup.”

In addition to helping people make a love connection, Dig is also using their platform to help shelter dogs find their “fur-ever” home. The team works closely with rescue organizations in various cities and at most events will have dogs available for adoption. In addition, their social media is another great way to check out those pups looking to make their own human connection.

With the recent health crisis, Dig events have been put on hold, but Leigh says the sisters have been using this time to focus on further building out the app. One new addition, which will be available over the next few weeks is the digital dog park, a space where users can interact and learn more about one another before matching with someone.

Research contact: @GMA

Oprah Magazine features Breonna Taylor on cover of September issue

August 3, 2020

O: The Oprah Magazine has covered a wide swath of American culture since it started 20 years ago, but all of its 241 issues have had one thing in common: Oprah Winfrey—the publication’s founder and America’s reigning queen of all media—has been on the cover.

That will change with the September issue, which will be available on newsstands August 11, The New York Times reports. The new cover, unveiled Thursday, features a portrait of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by the police when they erroneously conducted a drug raid at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.

Winfrey started an essay for the issue with her name, writing: “Breonna Taylor. “She was just like me. She was just like you.”

She ended the essay by explaining why she had decided to give up the cover spot of her namesake magazine: “What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.

“And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine.”

No criminal charges have been filed against the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who entered the home of Taylor, an emergency medical technician, shortly after midnight on March 13.

Last month, Brett Hankison, one of the three officers, was fired. The police chief, Robert Schroeder, accused him of violating the department’s policy on the use of deadly force, saying he had “wantonly and blindly” fired ten shots into Taylor’s home. The other two officers were reassigned.

Indeed, Taylor was shot at least eight times. She did not receive medical attention for more than 20 minutes after she was struck, The Courier Journal reported, citing police logs. The officers involved in the case have said they identified themselves when they entered; however, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was present, said the police did not identify themselves.

The Louisville police said that Walker shot and wounded one officer in the leg and charged him with the attempted murder of a police officer. That charge was dismissed in May.

The idea of putting Ms. Taylor on the O cover was the brainchild of Deirdre Read, the magazine’s visual research editor, said Lucy Kaylin, the editor in chief of O, in an email to the Times.

“I brought the idea to Oprah, who immediately said ‘YES,’” Kaylin said.

The cover image is a selfie taken by Taylor and then rereated by the digital portrait artist Alexis Franklin.

On Wednesday, July 29,  O’s publisher, Hearst Magazines, and Oprah Winfrey, herself,  announced that O would discontinue regular print editions and become more digitally focused. “This is a natural progression for the brand,” Kristen O’Hara, the Hearst Magazines chief business officer, said in a statement. The company added that the December issue will be O’s last regular monthly print edition.

Research contact: @nytimes

Engel subpoenas State Department for ‘smear documents’ on Biden already given to Senate Republicans

August 3, 2020

Representative Eliot Engel (D-New York)—who is serving out his 16th term in Congress after losing his seat in the June primary to progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman—intends to go out fighting, both for his constituents and against the GOP.

Engel, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee , subpoenaed the State Department on Friday, July 31— demanding copies of documents that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo already has provided to Senate Republicans investigating Joe Biden, Politico reported.

According to a press release issued by the committee, the subpoena demands all records purportedly dealing with the Bidens and Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings the department has produced to Republican-led Senate committees. Despite delivering Republican Senate chairmen thousands of pages of records, the Department of State has refused Chairman Engel’s request to provide duplicates to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In addition, Chairman Engel’s subpoena seeks internal State Department correspondence about responding to Congress.

“After trying to stonewall virtually every oversight effort by the Foreign Affairs Committee in the last two years, Mr. Pompeo is more than happy to help Senate Republicans advance their conspiracy theories about the Bidens,” Engel said in a statement. “I want to see the full record of what the department has sent to the Senate and I want the American people to see it too.”

Engel also stated that, “Just days after the conclusion of President Trump’s impeachment trial, in which Secretary Pompeo refused to comply with a duly authorized subpoena for documents and attempted to block testimony of key witnesses, the State Department producing documents to Senate Republicans to help advance a political smear of Vice President Biden.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Politico.

Engel has threatened to subpoena for the documents since May, when the probe of Burisma by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) began ramping up. Johnson has denied that his investigation is meant as a political cudgel or is being influenced by foreign interests seeking to hurt Biden, Politico says.

The House impeached President Donald Trump last year for pushing Ukraine’s leaders to investigate Biden and other Democrats, and withholding security assistance to the country—amid its war with Russia—to exert pressure.

Now, Republicans clearly are trying to change the plot line. Indeed, Trump allies responded by leveling discredited allegations that Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, an energy company where his son Hunter served on the board.

Conversely, State Department leaders testified during impeachment proceedings that Biden’s work in Ukraine was done in accordance with department policy, and that efforts to remove the prosecutor were part of an international push to root out corruption.

More recently, top Democrats have cited intelligence suggesting that at least some of the anti-Biden efforts are being fueled by Kremlin-aligned Ukrainians seeking to interfere in the 2020 election.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have demanded an all-Congress FBI briefing about intelligence they say shows a specific foreign plot to influence congressional action, Politico reports..

After attending a general election security briefing, Pelosi on Friday morning, July 31, blasted the administration for “withholding” evidence of foreign interference.

The subpoena, directed to Secretary Pompeo, requires that the records be turned over by August 7.

Research contact: @politico

Man is convinced he’s lived a past life after spotting doppelgänger in 1905 photograph

July 31, 2020

Have you ever felt an affinity for—or had phantom memories of—a long-ago era? Recently, one young man was left thoroughly spooked after spotting his doppelgänger in a photograph taken in 1905, Metro UK reports.

Michael Koropisz was left confused by a black-and-white image—which he initially assumed was some type of “selfie,” only to realise it was actually someone from the Victoria era.

The 24-year-old from Stockport, Manchester, England, said: ‘I was sent the photo on Instagram …, as someone thought it was me. [He had] seen it on a website for collars.

“I was gobsmacked when I realized it wasn’t me,” he added, noting, “We have the same hair, face shape, nose, and dress sense.”

Michael said that he couldn’t resist ‘reverse image searching’ the photo—and was shocked to discover that it was taken 115 years ago. In the snap, Michael’s doppelganger—a man in his early 20s—can be seen looking up at his new wife.

According to Metro UK, Michael has more in common with the man in the photograph, as well. He says he always been has fascinated with the Victorian era, noting, “I’ve always been obsessed with the 19th century era and have dedicated my wardrobe and lifestyle to it; and now maybe that’s because of my past life. A lot of people have called me a ‘time traveler’ online, but I don’t know what to think. It has to be one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen, It really does look just like me.”

Michael gets around town on a vintage bicycle, writes in quill, and refuses to watch TV – but he now believes these interests stem from his past life. He added: ‘I don’t know anything about the man in the photo taken in 1905 but by the looks of his fashion, he was either from the UK or USA.

“It really spooked me at first as I have never seen anyone look so similar to me, I feel like I’m looking at a recent image of myself when I look at the photo but of course it’s not. ‘I’m convinced I’ve had a past life now.”

Research contact: @MetroUK

During ‘dog days of summer,’ MasterClass makes training Fido easy with latest online course

July 31, 2020

MasterClass—the streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn a skill or a subject from the best—announced on July 30 that Emmy Award-winning master animal trainer  and behaviorist Brandon McMillan will teach a class on dog training.

Through a series of easy-to-follow techniques, MasterClass members and their dogs will learn how to confidently master obedience and house training skills while building trust, executing common commands and fixing bad habits. The new course is available now at MasterClass.com, where members can subscribe for unlimited access to all new and existing 85+ classes through the All-Access Pass. MasterClass categories include business, culinary arts, film & television, music & entertainment, photography, sports and more.

“Brandon is an expert animal trainer. From working with tigers and bears for film and television to training dogs to perform specialized tasks to assist disabled veterans, he has dedicated his entire life to bringing dogs and people together to create a happy home,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “Brandon’s MasterClass gives members the opportunity to learn clear, easy-to-follow techniques and tips on how to train their dogs—no matter their age.”  

McMillan has dedicated his life to helping animals and humans work together. Stemming from years as a wild animal trainer for film and television, McMillan has received global acclaim for creating a unique training system that he calls a “Hybrid System,” where he’s taken his experience working with wild animals and applied it to the domestic world of dogs.

McMillan brought his expertise to television on his CBS-TV show Lucky Dog, for which he received three Emmy Awards for his work as executive producer and host. McMillan went on to author Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days and has become an powerful advocate for animal rescue and rehabilitation. He is co-founder of The Argus Service Dog Foundation, dedicated to training and matching service dogs with disabled veterans.

“Dog training is not about dominance, it’s about trust and conditioning,” McMillan commented in a press release. “In this class, I will teach you the training fundamentals needed to not only have a well trained dog, but also a best friend who trusts and loves you and will be there for you for the rest of their life.”

Research contact @masterclass

Go or no go? Experts say it’s ‘Constitutionally impossible’ for Trump to delay the 2020 election

July 31, 2020

Better late than never elected? President Donald Trump floated the idea of delaying the November general election on Twitter on Thursday, July 30, NBC News reports.

The president seems to be panicking about his prospects for re-election, as the U.S. economy shrinks amid the coronavirus pandemic and voters’ support for his opponent, Joe Biden, surges.

But, NBC notes, the president has no power to delay an election, and Trump’s suggestion has raised alarm bells among legal experts and presidential historians as he continues to push evidence-free claims about the security of voting by mail.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump said on Twitter. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

While states have the authority to delay their primary elections, only Congress can change the date for the general election for president under the Constitution. Since 1845, Congress has required the appointment of presidential electors (now by election in every state) to take place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which this year is November 3.

As to whether an election could be delayed indefinitely—such as for a public health emergency as Trump suggests—legal experts have informed NBC News that such a ploy is “out of the realm of possibility.” Even if Congress did agree to change the date of the general election, Trump’s term still would expire on January 20 in accordance with the 20th Amendment of the Constitution.

“That’s constitutionally impossible,” Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said of any indefinite delay. “The president’s term expires and there is no way for him to continue in office beyond January 20 without being re-elected.”

And there’s quite a few things that have to happen before that date: States need to choose their electors for the Electoral College, who then need to meet and choose the president. Then, Congress has to count the Electoral College votes.

“All of that has to happen by January 20,” Potter told NBC News. “That is why Congress will not delay the election even a week or two, because the timeline is pretty tight.”

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss pointed out that U.S. elections have persisted through wars.

“The president’s tweet is more an attempt to (improperly, and without any evidence) denigrate the election we’re going to have than a real attempt to postpone,” Justin Levitt, a constitutional law and democracy expert at Loyola Law School, said in a text message to NBC.

Levitt was previously a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice during the Obama administration, working on voting rights litigation.

In his tweet, Trump also gets the facts wrong about mail voting.

“Universal mail voting” and “absentee voting” are not substantively different methods of voting: Both involve the use of ballots transmitted by mail, filled out and returned by registered voters.

Most states are expanding existing absentee voting programs— which Trump appears to praise in his tweet—so people can vote more safely, and there is no nationwide move towards all-mail elections. A handful of states—including Washington and Utah, which already vote entirely or almost entirely by mail—are continuing that practice in 2020.

The vast majority of states are planning a mix of mail and in-person voting in November. Potter suspects that the president’s complaint lies in how voters get their mail ballots—by default or by request.

“If what he means is that people are sent a ballot at home without having to first request it, which is what I think he’s saying, then almost no states do that,” Potter said. “The idea that the whole country is doing voting by mail rather than requesting an absentee ballot is simply factually completely untrue.”

Former Republican strategist and media consultant Rick Wilson replied to the president’s tweet, saying: “Every GOP official should be put on the record today. Simple yes or no answer. ‘Should we delay the election?’ Watch how many of them say, ‘What is Twitter?’ ‘Donald who?’ ‘I haven’t seen the tweet.’ ‘Ya ne govoryu po angliyski.’ ‘I’m late for lunch.’”

Former presidential candidate Tom Steyer simply tweeted: “Somone please inform the president that’s not how this works.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

‘The Great British Bake Off’ will be back for 2020—but some key ‘ingredients’ have changed

July 30, 2020

In a television landscape filled with cancellations and postponements, news that The Great British Bake Off—shown on PBS Food and  Netflix in America—is returning to our screens later this year is very welcome indeed.

And it’s not just those who have become avid bread bakers during the pandemic who will celebrate the return of the amateur contestants and their judges. In fact, according to the analytics group YouGov, The Great British Bake Off is the second-most-popular food and drink show of all time (after MasterChef)—as well as the most famous—to come out of the UK.

Along with a brand new host and location, the upcoming eleventh season will adhere to safety measures recommended for avoiding infection by COVID-19. So, although GBBO is coming back in 2020, viewers can expect a much different series this time around.

As Deadline reportsproduction on Bake Off’s latest run is now currently underway, after filming plans were derailed back in April following the nation-wide-and worldwide—pandemic lockdown.

The show’s entire cast and crew,—including brand  new host comedian and actor Matt Lucas, replacing Sandi Toksvig—each quarantined before filming started to allow filming to commence. Physical interactions on-set will also be limited with social distancing. The Paul Hollywood salutory handshake is a thing of the past, tooper a report by Eater London.

The show—which usually is filmed over a leisurely eleven weeks—is being filmed in just four, according to Deadline. New rules surrounding food safety and personal hygiene are also being observed. The crew cannot eat leftovers, for instance, and contestants cannot see their family while filming.

As Metro reports, the long-running baking competition also has moved from its usual home in Welford Park, Berkshire, and instead set up shop in a fresh, more COVID-secure filming spot. “It’s all happening in deep secret, somewhere in darkest deepest Britain in the shires,” teased Sky Studios Chief Commercial Officer Jane Millichip. However, Bake Off’s new home has since been revealed to be situated within the grounds of Down Hall Hotel in Essex.

Speaking to Metro, a representative for the show’s production company previously reassured fans that all efforts have been put into making sure the 2020 series goes ahead. “We’re working hard to deliver Bake Off to the audience this year, the priority is the safety of everyone involved in the production of the series,” the Love Productions rep explained.

The newest member of the cast, Lucas, is set to co-host alongside fellow Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding throughout the upcoming season, and discussing his delicious new TV gig, he told Britain’s  Channel 4 news: “I’m chuffed to bits to be joining the most delicious show on television. I can’t wait to break bread with Noel, Prue and Paul and meet the brilliant bakers.”

While the exact date of the new season premiere has not been announced, Sky Studios’ Millichip recently commented that “You will have your Victoria sponge this year.”

Research contact: @DEADLINE