Posts tagged with "The Huffington Post"

Dozens of Amy Coney Barrett’s Notre Dame colleagues call for halt to nomination

October 15, 2020

In a powerful showing of unity, 88 faculty members at the University of Notre Dame, where Amy Coney Barrett is a law school professor, said she should call for a halt to her Supreme Court nomination until after the November 3 presidential election, The Huffington Post reports. 

In a letter dated October10—but posted online on Tuesday, October 13—Barrett’s colleagues congratulated her on her nomination, adding: “It is vital that you issue a public statement calling for a halt to your nomination process until after the November presidential election.”

The signatories hailed from the university’s political science, sociology, history and other departments—with none from the law school.

“We ask that you take this unprecedented step for three reasons.” Barrett’s professional colleagues said:

First, voting for the next president is already underway. According to the United States Election Project (https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/index.html), more than seven million people have already cast their ballots, and millions more are likely to vote before election day. The rushed nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice. You are not, of course, responsible for the anti-democratic machinations driving your nomination. Nor are you complicit in the Republican hypocrisy of fast-tracking your nomination weeks before a presidential election when many of the same senators refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing a full year before the last election. However, you can refuse to be party to such maneuvers. We ask that you honor the democratic process and insist the hearings be put on hold until after the voters have made their choice. Following the election, your nomination would proceed, or not, in accordance with the wishes of the winning candidate.

Next, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish was that her seat on the court remain open until a new president was installed. At your nomination ceremony at the White House, you praised Justice Ginsburg as “a woman of enormous talent and consequence, whose life of public service serves as an example to us all.” Your nomination just days after Ginsburg’s death was unseemly and a repudiation of her legacy. Given your admiration for Justice Ginsburg, we ask that you repair the injury to her memory by calling for a pause in the nomination until the next president is seated.

Finally, your nomination comes at a treacherous moment in the United States. Our politics are consumed by polarization, mistrust, and fevered conspiracy theories. Our country is shaken by pandemic and economic suffering. There is violence in the streets of American cities. The politics of your nomination, as you surely understand, will further inflame our civic wounds, undermine confidence in the court, and deepen the divide among ordinary citizens, especially if you are seated by a Republican Senate weeks before the election of a Democratic president and congress. You have the opportunity to offer an alternative to all that by demanding that your nomination be suspended until after the election. We implore you to take that step.

Senate hearings for Barrett’s confirmation began Monday and continued into Tuesday, with the nominee dodging Democrats’ questions on health care, marriage equality and abortion rights, the HuffPost reports.

Senate Republicans appear to have the necessary majority to confirm Barrett to the nation’s most powerful court. If she’s confirmed, it would cement conservatives’ hold on the court likely for years to come, with major rulings expected soon on health care, abortion, LGBTQ rights, and more.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Trump tells nation not to fear pandemic he allowed to spread and kill 200,000 Americans

October 7, 2020

All eyes have been on President Donald Trump as he battles COVID-19—the disease he has spent most of this year pooh-poohing, even as more than 200,000 Americans have died on his watch.

But even while he’s infected with the highly contagious virus, the president continues to gaslight a traumatized nation by minimizing the pandemic, the Huffington Post reports.

On Monday, Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center,  despite still being infected with the coronavirus. He was admitted to the hospital in Maryland on Friday,  just hours after revealing that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus, but White House physicians have not been transparent about the president’s health in daily press conferences.

“Feeling really good!” Trump tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Trump’s tweet not only implied that those who die of COVID-19 are weak but also suggested that the American people should not fear a virus that has already infected almost 7.5 million and killed about 210,000 people in the United States this year — in part due to the president’s own dangerous rhetoric and botched response to the pandemic, the HuffPost said.

Most COVID-19 victims have died alone due to safety precautions, leaving loved ones to navigate an already difficult mourning process, and those who survive the illness often deal with long-term health issues.

“My dad loved to talk and I miss talking to him,” said Brian Walter, an essential transit worker in New York whose father died from the virus, in a statement for the grassroots network COVID Survivors for Change. “To hear Trump say that people shouldn’t fear this virus hurts. It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously.”

What’s more, HuffPost points out, “As Trump diminishes the virus and boasts about drug development, he is also receiving top-notch medical care and treatments out of the reach of many Americans. The president had a taxpayer-funded helicopter take him to his own secluded ward of a world-class hospital, where a team of dedicated doctors exclusively monitored him around the clock, providing him pricey experimental treatments not yet available to the public free of charge.

“Don’t be afraid, says the guy with a team of a dozen doctors, access to experimental treatments that no one else gets, a four room hospital suite, who lives in a house with top doctors on site 24/7,” tweeted Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), noting reports showing that Trump paid little or no federal income tax in recent years. “All of which is provided to him for free because he refuses to pay taxes.”

Meanwhile, everyday Americans face rising medical bills for COVID-19 treatment and hospital stays. Some people early in the pandemic could not even receive a coronavirus test unless they met certain criteria, let alone hospital admission with even stricter requirements. And with the president and Republicans pushing for the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, COVID-19 could become a preexisting condition not covered by insurance.

Research contact: @HuffPost

RFK’s grandson Max blows the whistle on Kushner’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ COVID Task Force

September 23, 2020

Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson, Max Kennedy, Jr., 26, volunteered to work on a COVID-19 task force run by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner. But he ended up sending a complaint to Congress after witnessing what he described as a chaotic, dismal “Lord of The Flies” operation, The New Yorker reported on September 21.

“I just couldn’t sleep,” Kennedy told the magazine. “I was so distressed and disturbed by what I’d seen.”

Indeed, according to a report by the Huffington Post, Kennedy detailed a poorly managed operation to procure desperately needed medical supplies run by an inexperienced crew of volunteers. There appeared to be no vision, no strategy, and no real leadership driving the operation, he recounted.

Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat, said he volunteered for the COVID Supply-Chain Task Force because it was “such an unprecedented time.”

“It seemed larger than the administration,” he told The New Yorker.

But he said he was stunned to learn that he and some 12 other young volunteers were essentially the government’s team in charge of obtaining protective equipment like masks, gloves, and hospital gowns for frontline workers. They were using their own laptops and personal email accounts to do what they could.

“We were the entire frontline team,” an incredulous Kennedy told the magazine. The volunteer numbers were more appropriate for an “after-school event — not to run the greatest crisis in a hundred years,” he said. And there was no urgency to mobilize more people for such an “unbelievably colossal” challenge, he added.

Kennedy said he suspected that inexperienced volunteers were used so that the White House could “control the narrative,” and wouldn’t be contradicted by anyone with expertise.

He was alarmed Trump consistently underplayed the danger of COVID-19 and the dire of lack of supplies. Trump’s solution for the chaos was to blame states—a strategy that won him praise as a “marketing genius” from his aides, Kennedy recounted.

Kennedy ignored a nondisclosure agreement he had been required to sign and sent an anonymous complaint to the House Oversight Committee, he told the magazine. He quit in April.

The supply operation was like a “family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of The Flies,’” Kennedy said.

“It was a government of chaos,” he added.

There was no immediate response from the White House. It wasn’t clear what happened to his complaint to Congress.

Research contact: @NewYorker

Protesters at Senator Lindsey Graham’s house seek to block SCOTUS vote before election

September 22, 2020

Following the September 18 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s home in Washington, DC, on Monday morning, September 21—waving banners and signs that called him a “two-faced coward” and demanded that he “keep his word”— after he pledged his support for a Senate vote on President Donald Trump’s SCOTUS nominee ahead of the election.

Democrats have condemned the South Carolina senator and other Republicans for flip-flopping on their opposition to filling a Supreme Court vacancy during a presidential election year, The Huffington Post reports.

In 2016, Graham supported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to block Senate consideration of Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But Graham, who now chairs the key Judiciary Committee, appeared to change his tune following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, saying he would support Trump “in any effort to move forward” in filling her seat.

Trump said on Monday that he’d announce his nomination Friday or Saturday, and that a Senate vote on his nominee should happen before the November 3 election—a move to “steal” another seat that is sure to trigger widespread anger among voters who are not members of his 40% base.

Protesters on Monday showed up to Graham’s townhouse around 6 a.m., where they banged drums, blared air horns, and demanded that he oppose a Supreme Court confirmation vote before Election Day, the HuffPost reported.

“We can’t sleep so neither should Lindsey,” read one sign held by a protester. Other signs in the crowd labeled Graham a “two-faced coward” and a “hypocrite.”

It’s unclear whether Graham was inside the house during the demonstration, which was organized by Shut Down DC and the Washington, DC, chapter of the Sunrise Movement, two groups focused on tackling the climate crisis.

Trump and many of his Republican allies have called for a swift confirmation of his nominee to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg was one of the court’s most liberal judges, making Republicans eager to fill her seat with a conservative. If they succeed, the court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.

Hours after Ginsburg’s death, McConnell said Trump’s nominee would receive a vote on the Senate floor.

When Scalia died in 2016, McConnell blocked Garland from receiving a hearing in the Senate, claiming the winner of the 2016 presidential election should pick the nominee. Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 presidential election. Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 presidential election.

Graham stood by McConnell’s decision in 2016, stating at the time that he strongly supports “giving the American people a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee by electing a new president.”

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said at the time. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’ And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

Graham reiterated his stance in 2018 during a forum with The Atlantic, stating that “if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.”

But Graham now seems unfazed by his pledges.

“I fully understand where [Trump] is coming from,” Graham tweeted Saturday in response to the president’s statement that the GOP has an “obligation” to fill the Supreme Court vacancy “without delay.”

About 100 demonstrators protested outside McConnell’s home in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, calling on the Republican leader to allow whoever is elected in November to pick the next Supreme Court nominee.

“I think it’s time to stand up and speak out,” one protester told WLKY. “That’s what Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought her whole life for.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

 

 

 

 

Prepare to feel old: American Girl’s latest ‘historical’ doll evokes the 1980s

September 8, 2020

If you haven’t felt your age in a while, wait until you hear the latest toy industry news: American Girl has announced the release of this season’s “historical character” doll—and it’s Courtney Moore, a 1980s-era cutie-pie who loves arcade games, The Huffington Post reports. 

On September 15, the brand unveiled Courtney, whom it describes as, “a total ’80s girl who’s changing the game to find her inner hero.” Courtney joins an illustrious line of historical characters from American Girl, including Edwardian-era Samantha Parkington, Felicity Merriman from the time of the Revolutionary War, and civil rights activist Melody Ellison.

According to the press release, Courtney’s story takes place in 1986 and “reflects the pop culture of the decade from sky-high hair, neon-colored fashions, music television, and video gaming to major historical moments surrounding women in government and space exploration, as well as larger cultural shifts around blended families and emerging technology.”

As for Courtney, HuffPost reports that she is one of the top-scoring PAC-MAN players  at her local arcade in the fictional town of Orange Valley, California; and dreams of one day creating video games with more female characters. She has a blended family, her mom is running for mayor; and to make things super meta, she loves playing with her American Girl Molly doll―the World War II-era character that the brand debuted in 1986. In fact, Courtney has her own mini version of the Molly American Girl doll.

In addition to her Molly doll, Courtney’s accessories include a cassette player and tape, colorful bangle bracelets, fake Lip Smacker balm, a hot pink bunk bed with rainbow bedding, a see-through phone, Care Bears and Caboodles ― basically all of the cool products that ’80s kids remember fondly.

American Girl enlisted classic 1980s girl band The Go-Go’s to help announce the new character. Through a new partnership with Girls Who Code, the brand will also match customer donations dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through December 31 and provide four computer science-related scholarships to support the nonprofit’s mission to close the gender gap in technology.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Ex-RNC Chair Michael Steele rips Trump voters: ‘You’re getting punked’

August 25, 2020

Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee, had some blunt words on August 23 for GOP stalwarts who voted for Donald Trump during the last presidential election and continue to support him now; as the convention takes place both virtually and in-person in Charlotte, North Carolina this week, The Huffington Post reports.

Speaking on MSNBC a day before the start of the Republican National Convention, Steele warned:

“All y’all want to play this little game that Donald Trump is like you; you’re stupid. You’re being played. You’re getting punked. But what’s so bad about it is you’re complicit in your own punking.

Steele also laughed at the idea that Trump intended to speak on each night of the event—rather than just on the final night, as is traditional.

“Can we stop pretending that this is going to be a Republican National Convention?” he asked. “This is Donald Trump’s reality TV moment.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Trump admits that he’s ‘breaking’ the Postal Service to block mail-in voting, cast doubt on election results

August 14, 2020

President Donald Trump admitted during a TV interview on August 13 that he is attempting to undermine the U.S. Postal Service by blocking funding for the agency—which is expected to deal with a high volume of mail-in ballots during this election season.

“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said Thursday in an interview on Fox Business. “But if they don’t get [it], that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”

Specifically, The Huffington Post reported, during an exclusive interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, the president said negotiations over the fourth economic stimulus relief package were held up, in part, due to Democrats’ demands for billions of dollars in funding toward mail-in voting.

In another exercise in blame-shifting, Trump said, “It’s their fault,”  referring to the Democrats. “They want $3.5 billion for something that’s fraudulent … for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots.”

Indeed, according to HuffPost, Trump has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories about mail-in voting and has suggested he’ll cast doubt on the results of the November election. States are working to increase their capacity for mail-in voting, as many Americans are expected to vote by mail this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Election watchdog and voting rights groups are deeply concerned that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and the Postal Service will result in increased voter suppression.

At a press conference Wednesday, Trump gave similar reasons for why he would not approve emergency congressional funding for the cash-strapped and backlogged agency.

“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess, right?” Trump said. “Are they going to do it, even if they don’t have the money?”

He also claimed the election would “be the great rigged election in history” and “one of the greatest frauds in history.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Twitter whacks 32,000 state-linked agitprop accounts from Russia, China, and Turkey

June 15, 2020

Twitter has announced that it has shut down 32,242 accounts linked to the governments of Russia, China and Turkey that are peddling disinformation, The Huffington Post reports.

“Every account and piece of content associated” with “three distinct operations … attributed to the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Turkey” have been “permanently removed from the service,” the social media company said in a statement on Thursday, June 11.

Twitter and other social media companies were harshly criticized in the wake of the 2016 presidential election for failing to curb propaganda—especially from accounts launched by the Kremlin in an apparent bid to sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Twitter on Thursday reemphasized the company’s vow to provide more vigorous and transparent action to weed out false conversations being peddled to manipulate a nation’s politics.

“Ultimately our goal is to serve the public conversation, remove bad faith actors, and to advance public understanding of these critical topics,” Twitter said. 

According to the HuffPost, the social media platform went on to note, “We’re disclosing new state-linked information operations to our public archive — the only one of its kind in the industry. Originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Turkey, all associated accounts and content have been removed. https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/information-operations-june-2020.html 

Twitter provided few details about specific content campaigns, and most of the affected accounts appeared to be aimed at manipulating citizens inside the three nations.

Specifically, Twitter removed 1,152 accounts (which, the company said, had tweeted 3.4 million times) associated with Current Policy, a “media website engaging in state-backed political propaganda within Russia,” including activities “promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents,” according to the company.

The accounts, which also disseminated “anti-Western content,” violated Twitter policy because they engaged in “cross-posting and amplifying content in an inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends,” the company said.

The 7,340 “fake and compromised accounts” in Turkey (which tweeted 36.9 million times) were linked to the youth wing of the ruling Justice and Development Party, and were used primarily to “amplify political narratives favorable” to the ruling party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Twitter.

The 23,750 accounts (tweeted 348,608 times) linked to the Chinese government were tweeting mostly in Chinese languages and “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China, while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong,” Twitter said. Tweets also praised China’s response to COVID-19, especially compared with how the U.S. or Taiwan addressed the pandemic.

The Huffington Post notes that the messages removed by Twitter have been archived for study and have been shared with researchers at the Internet Observatory of Stanford University and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Research contact: @HuffPost

 

 

On the waterfront during COVID-19: Keeping safe this summer

May 28, 2020

Hot weather is here—and with it, the promise of a refreshing dip at nearby pools, beaches, hot tubs, and water parks. But before you catch a wave, or make a splashdown, you might want to check on whether “freestyle” water sports will be safe this season, The Huffington Post reports.

But there is some good news at the start of the season: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionno evidence has emerged to suggest that you can contract the coronavirus from the water, itself.

“There is no data that somebody got infected this way [with coronavirus],” Professor Karin B. Michels, chair of UCLA’s Department of Epidemiology, stated in a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times.

“I can’t say it’s absolutely 100% zero risk, but I can tell you that it would never cross my mind to get COVID-19 from a swimming pool or the ocean,” agreed Paula Cannon, a professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “It’s just extraordinarily unlikely that this would happen.”

That said, the HuffPost notes, some safety measures and health warnings should still be kept in mind before you take a dip. Here’s what you should know:

Some experts suspected at the beginning of the pandemic that the coronavirus could dissipate in the warmer months, similar to the flu and other viruses. However, that’s yet to be determined.

The CDC states that hotter temperatures—those above 75 degrees—do not kill the virus. The disease can also still spread in warmer, humid climates. So don’t use sunbathing at the pool or the beach as an excuse to not practice healthy habits or follow pandemic guidelines.

Being outside and in the water is not completely risk-free, although it is better than staying in a more confined space. The CDC advises that you should avoid “group events, gatherings, or meetings both in and out of the water if social distancing of at least six feet between people who don’t live together cannot be maintained.”

Exceptions to this rule only include emergency evacuations and cases where someone is rescuing a distressed swimmer; or providing medical help or first aid, the HuffPost reports.

What’s more, all high-touch surfaces—such as handrails and chairs—should be regularly disinfected. If you’re swimming in your own pool or a family pool, you should make sure to wipe those areas down regularly.

Proper water maintenance also is important. The regular amount of chlorine used to treat pools should be enough to inactivate the virus, The Los Angeles Times reported.

There’s a chance that the virus can be spread when an infected person—even those who are asymptomatic―expels respiratory droplets onto surfaces and then someone else touches the same surface. (Although how easily the virus can spread when touching surfaces has been called into question recently, it’s better to assume right now that you could be susceptible to transmission in such a manner.)

It’s best to limit contact where possible, which means you should absolutely not share items like floats, masks, googles, snorkeling equipment (even with people who are in your own house). Bring or use your own, and be sure to disinfect them regularly.

Pool operators and people who will be in close proximity to others outside of the water are encouraged to wear a maskaccording to the CDC. Take it off once you get in the water—swimming with such a face covering can make it difficult to breathe.

With those safeguards, for now, you can dive on in. The water’s fine.

Research contact: @HuffPostLife

Governors call Trump’s testing claims ‘delusional’ and ‘absolutely false’

April 21, 2020

Although President Donald Trump is pushing to “reopen” parts of the country by May 1, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), along with the leaders of six other states and the District of Columbia, already have extended their COVID-19 lockdowns through May 15.

What’s more, several governors are not mincing words about their opinion of the president’s decision, The Huffington Post reports.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D)—who has extended the lockdown for his state’s residents to June 10 and has instructed non-essential business to remain closed at least through May 8—on Sunday told CNN’s Jake Tapper it was “delusional” for President Donald Trump to claim the U.S. currently has the testing capacity needed for states to relax social distancing measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland’s Republican leader, Governor Larry Hogan, told Tapper that Trump’s claim “is just absolutely false.” “It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done,” Hogan said. “That’s just not being straightforward … Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests.”

Hogan added, “Look, we have increased our testing in Maryland by 5,000% over the past month, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be.”

And they are not alone: Multiple health officials in the Trump administration have cautioned against setting May 1 as a target date to loosen social distancing guidelines, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said last week that the U.S. has not yet developed the testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the economy.

But that hasn’t stopped the president. On Saturday, echoing comments Vice President Mike Pence made a day prior, Trump claimed “experts” had said that “America’s testing capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country totally.”

Indeed, The Huffington Post reports, Trump has taken an adversarial stance toward a number of governors as states struggle to overcome nationwide test shortages. The Trump Administration has tried to cobble together a belated response to the pandemic and has faced criticism after initially calling concerns about the coronavirus a “hoax” and downplaying its impact.

In recent weeks, Trump has used language that appears aimed at shifting responsibility for the economic recovery from the administration to individual states.

“People’s initial reaction is always to look to the president, but as time goes on and it becomes clear other states are doing other things, that blame and credit will shift to the governors, considering they are the ones making the calls,” one Trump political adviser told Politico.

Research contact: @HuffPost