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Muodostelmaluistelu | Apulaispormestari Razmyar pitää Mirjami Penttisen seuran tukirahapäätöstä älyttömänä: ”Helsinki joko pitää kiinni omista periaatteistaan tai sitten ei”

Luisteluseura HSK:n tukien takaisinperinnän käsittely jatkuu. Helsingin kulttuuri- ja vapaa-aikalautakunta käsittelee HSK:n avustusten takaisinperintää ensi tiistain kokouksessaan, kertoo apulaispormestari Nasima Razmyar (sd) HS:lle.
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Suns' Devin Booker nails turnaround game-winning jumper over Clippers' Paul George
Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker nailed the game-winning turnaround jumper to push his team over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, 117-115.
foxnews.com
Maple Leafs' Jake Muzzin carried off ice after collision with Blue Jackets player
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin was taken off the ice on a stretcher during his game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night and transported to a hospital.
foxnews.com
Shay Hawkins: Biden and Dems falsely claim they’re entitled to Black vote, ignoring Trump’s pro-Black policies
It’s election season, so once again Democrats are pandering for Black votes. Their latest gimmick is for presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden to very publicly consider — and perhaps select — a Black woman to be his running mate.
foxnews.com
No flight required: 10 island escapes in the US that you can drive to
You don't need to hop a plane to enjoy a relaxing island escape. 10Best.com has put together 10 of the best in America you can reach by car.       
usatoday.com
10 island escapes you can drive to
10Best.com has put together 10 of the best island escapes in America that you can reach by car.       
usatoday.com
Column: I'm in Canada, where the COVID police are watching
If you wondered why Canada is doing so much better on COVID-19 than the United States — here's one reason: They follow the rules. Oh, and the police are watching.
latimes.com
The Pandemic’s Biggest Mystery Is Our Own Immune System
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here. There’s a joke about immunology, which Jessica Metcalf of Princeton recently told me. An immunologist and a cardiologist are kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to shoot one of them, but promise to spare whoever has made the greater contribution to humanity. The cardiologist says, “Well, I’ve identified drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people.” Impressed, the kidnappers turn to the immunologist. “What have you done?” they ask. The immunologist says, “The thing is, the immune system is very complicated …” And the cardiologist says, “Just shoot me now.”The thing is, the immune system is very complicated. Arguably the most complex part of the human body outside the brain, it’s an absurdly intricate network of cells and molecules that protect us from dangerous viruses and other microbes. These components summon, amplify, rile, calm, and transform one another: Picture a thousand Rube Goldberg machines, some of which are aggressively smashing things to pieces. Now imagine that their components are labeled with what looks like a string of highly secure passwords: CD8+, IL-1β, IFN-γ. Immunology confuses even biology professors who aren’t immunologists—hence Metcalf’s joke.Even the word immunity creates confusion. When immunologists use it, they simply mean that the immune system has responded to a pathogen—for example, by producing antibodies or mustering defensive cells. When everyone else uses the term, they mean (and hope) that they are protected from infection—that they are immune. But, annoyingly, an immune response doesn’t necessarily provide immunity in this colloquial sense. It all depends on how effective, numerous, and durable those antibodies and cells are.[Read: How the pandemic defeated America]Immunity, then, is usually a matter of degrees, not absolutes. And it lies at the heart of many of the COVID-19 pandemic’s biggest questions. Why do some people become extremely ill and others don’t? Can infected people ever be sickened by the same virus again? How will the pandemic play out over the next months and years? Will vaccination work?To answer these questions, we must first understand how the immune system reacts to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Which is unfortunate because, you see, the immune system is very complicated.It works, roughly, like this.The first of three phases involves detecting a threat, summoning help, and launching the counterattack. It begins as soon as a virus drifts into your airways, and infiltrates the cells that line them.When cells sense molecules common to pathogens and uncommon to humans, they produce proteins called cytokines. Some act like alarms, summoning and activating a diverse squad of white blood cells that go to town on the intruding viruses—swallowing and digesting them, bombarding them with destructive chemicals, and releasing yet more cytokines. Some also directly prevent viruses from reproducing (and are delightfully called interferons). These aggressive acts lead to inflammation. Redness, heat, swelling, soreness—these are all signs of the immune system working as intended.This initial set of events is part of what’s called the innate immune system. It’s quick, occurring within minutes of the virus’s entry. It’s ancient, using components that are shared among most animals. It’s generic, acting in much the same way in everyone. And it’s broad, lashing out at anything that seems both nonhuman and dangerous, without much caring about which specific pathogen is afoot. What the innate immune system lacks in precision, it makes up for in speed. Its job is to shut down an infection as soon as possible. Failing that, it buys time for the second phase of the immune response: bringing in the specialists.[Read: Why the coronavirus has been so successful ]Amid all the fighting in your airways, messenger cells grab small fragments of virus and carry these to the lymph nodes, where highly specialized white blood cells—T-cells—are waiting. The T-cells are selective and preprogrammed defenders. Each is built a little differently, and comes ready-made to attack just a few of the zillion pathogens that could possibly exist. For any new virus, your body probably has a T-cell somewhere that could theoretically fight it. Your body just has to find and mobilize that cell. Picture the lymph nodes as bars full of grizzled T-cell mercenaries, each of which has just one type of target they’re prepared to fight. The messenger cell bursts in with a grainy photo, showing it to each mercenary in turn, asking: Is this your guy? When a match is found, the relevant merc arms up and clones itself into an entire battalion, which marches off to the airways.Some T-cells are killers, which blow up the infected respiratory cells in which viruses are hiding. Others are helpers, which boost the rest of the immune system. Among their beneficiaries, these helper T-cells activate the B-cells that produce antibodies—small molecules that can neutralize viruses by gumming up the structures they use to latch on to their hosts. Roughly speaking—and this will be important later—antibodies mop up the viruses that are floating around outside our cells, while T-cells kill the ones that have already worked their way inside. T-cells do demolition; antibodies do cleanup.Both T-cells and antibodies are part of the adaptive immune system. This branch is more precise than the innate branch, but much slower: Finding and activating the right cells can take several days. It’s also long-lasting: Unlike the innate branch of the immune system, the adaptive one has memory.[Read: A vaccine reality check]After the virus is cleared, most of the mobilized T-cell and B-cell forces stand down and die off. But a small fraction remain on retainer—veterans of the COVID-19 war of 2020, bunkered within your organs and patrolling your bloodstream. This is the third and final phase of the immune response: Keep a few of the specialists on tap. If the same virus attacks again, these “memory cells” can spring into action and launch the adaptive branch of the immune system without the usual days-long delay. Memory is the basis of immunity as we colloquially know it—a lasting defense against whatever has previously ailed us.This account is what should happen when the new coronavirus enters the body, based on general knowledge about the immune system and how it reacts to other respiratory viruses. But what actually happens? Well … sigh … the thing is, the immune system is very complicated.In general, the immune system’s reaction to SARS-CoV-2 is “what I would expect if you told me there was a new respiratory infection,” says Shane Crotty from the La Jolla Institute of Immunology. The innate immune system switches on first, and the adaptive immune system follows suit. In several studies, most people who are infected develop reasonable levels of coronavirus-specific T-cells and antibodies. “The bottom line is that there are no big surprises,” says Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist from the University of Chicago.Still, “any virus that can make people sick has to have at least one good trick for evading the immune system,” Crotty says. The new coronavirus seems to rely on early stealth, somehow delaying the launch of the innate immune system, and inhibiting the production of interferons—those molecules that initially block viral replication. “I believe this [delay] is really the key in determining good versus bad outcomes,” says Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale. It creates a brief time window in which the virus can replicate unnoticed before the alarm bells start sounding. Those delays cascade: If the innate branch is slow to mobilize, the adaptive branch will also lag.[Read: COVID-19 can last several months]Many infected people still clear the virus after a few weeks of nasty symptoms. But others don’t. Maybe they initially inhaled a large dose of virus. Maybe their innate immune systems were already weakened through old age or chronic disease. In some cases, the adaptive immune system also underperforms: T-cells mobilize, but their levels recede before the virus is vanquished, “almost causing an immunosuppressed state,” Iwasaki says. This dual failure might allow the virus to migrate deeper into the body, toward the vulnerable cells of the lungs, and to other organs including the kidneys, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal and nervous systems. The immune system can’t constrain it, but doesn’t stop trying. And that’s also a problem.Immune responses are inherently violent. Cells are destroyed. Harmful chemicals are unleashed. Ideally, that violence is targeted and restrained; as Metcalf puts it, “Half of the immune system is designed to turn the other half off.” But if an infection is allowed to run amok, the immune system might do the same, causing a lot of collateral damage in its prolonged and flailing attempts to control the virus.This is apparently what happens in severe cases of COVID-19. “If you can’t clear the virus quickly enough, you’re susceptible to damage from the virus and the immune system,” says Donna Farber, a microbiologist at Columbia. Many people in intensive-care units seem to succumb to the ravages of their own immune cells, even if they eventually beat the virus. Others suffer from lasting lung and heart problems, long after they are discharged. Such immune overreactions also happen in extreme cases of influenza, but they wreak greater damage in COVID-19.There’s a further twist. Normally, the immune system mobilizes different groups of cells and molecules when fighting three broad groups of pathogens: viruses and microbes that invade cells, bacteria and fungi that stay outside cells, and parasitic worms. Only the first of these programs should activate during a viral infection. But Iwasaki’s team recently showed that all three activate in severe COVID-19 cases. “It seems completely random,” she says. In the worst cases, “the immune system almost seems confused as to what it’s supposed to be making.”No one yet knows why this happens, and only in some people. Eight months into the pandemic, the variety of COVID-19 experiences remains a vexing mystery. It’s still unclear, for example, why so many “long-haulers” have endured months of debilitating symptoms. Many of them have never been hospitalized, and so aren’t represented in existing studies that have measured antibody and T-cell responses. David Putrino of Mount Sinai tells me that he surveyed 700 long-haulers and a third had tested negative for antibodies, despite having symptoms consistent with COVID-19. It’s unclear if their immune systems are doing anything differently when confronted with the coronavirus.We should expect such mysteries to build. The immune system’s reaction to the virus is a matter of biology, but the range of reactions we actually see is also influenced by politics. Bad decisions mean more cases, which means a wider variety of possible immune responses, which means a higher prevalence of rare events. In other words, the worse the pandemic gets, the weirder it will get.A few patterns offer easier possible explanations. “Kids have very trigger-happy innate immune systems,” says Florian Krammer of Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, which might explain why they rarely suffer severe infections. Elderly people are less fortunate. They also have smaller standing pools of T-cells to draw from, as if the mercenary-filled bar from the earlier metaphor is only sparsely packed. “It takes longer for the adaptive response to mobilize,” Farber says.There are also preliminary hints that some people might have a degree of preexisting immunity against the new coronavirus. Four independent groups of scientists—based in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore—have now found that 20 to 50 percent of people who were never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 nonetheless have significant numbers of T-cells that can recognize it. These “cross-reactive” cells likely emerged when their owners were infected by other, related coronaviruses, including the four mild ones that cause a third of common colds, and the many that infect other animals.[Read: The coronavirus is never going away]But Farber cautions that having these cross-reactive T-cells “tells you absolutely nothing about protection.” It’s intuitive to think they would be protective, but immunology is where intuition goes to die. The T-cells might do nothing. There’s an outside chance that they could predispose people to more severe disease. We can’t know for sure without recruiting lots of volunteers, checking their T-cell levels, and following them over a long period of time to see who gets infected—and how badly.Even if the cross-reactive cells are beneficial, remember that T-cells act by blowing up infected cells. As such, they’re unlikely to stop people from getting infected in the first place, but might reduce the severity of those infections. Could this help to explain why, politics aside, some countries had an easier time with COVID-19 than others? Could it explain why some people incur only mild symptoms? “You can go pretty crazy pretty quickly with the speculations,” says Crotty, who co-led one of the studies that identified these cross-reactive cells. “A lot of people have latched onto this and said it could explain everything. Yes, it could! Or it could explain nothing. It’s a really frustrating situation to be in.”“I wish it wasn’t,” he adds, “but the immune system is really complicated.”One of the most pressing mysteries is what happens after you’re infected—and whether you could be again. Crucially, researchers still don’t know how much protection the leftover antibodies, T-cells, and memory cells might offer against COVID-19, or even how to measure that.In July, a team of British researchers released a study showing that many COVID-19 patients lose substantial levels of their coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies after a few months. An earlier Chinese study, published in June, found similar results. Both prompted cascades of alarming headlines, which raised concerns that people could be infected repeatedly, or even that a vaccine—many of which work by readying neutralizing antibodies—won’t provide long-term protection. But many of the immunologists I spoke with weren’t too concerned, because—and reassuringly this time—the immune system is really complicated.First, declines are expected. During an infection, antibodies are produced by two different groups of B-cells. The first group is fast and short-lived, and quickly unleashes a huge antibody tsunami before dying off. The second group is slower but long-lasting, and produces gentler antibody swells that continuously wash over the body. The transition from the first group to the second means that antibody levels usually decline over the course of an infection. “There’s nothing scary about it,” Krammer says.Taia Wang of Stanford is a little less sanguine. She tells me other studies in the publication pipeline, some of which she has reviewed, consistently show that many people seem to lose their neutralizing antibodies after a couple of months. “If you asked me to guess six months ago, I would have thought that they would last longer,” she says. “The durability is not what we’d like.”But “the fact that you don’t have measurable antibodies doesn’t mean that you aren’t immune,” Iwasaki says. T-cells could continue to provide adaptive immunity even if the antibodies tap out. Memory B-cells, if they persist, could quickly replenish antibody levels even if the current stocks are low. And, crucially, we still don’t know how many neutralizing antibodies you need to be protected against COVID-19.[Read: We need to talk about ventilation]Wang agrees: “There’s a common notion that antibody quantity is all that matters, but it’s more complicated than that,” she says. “The quality of the antibody is as important.” Quality might be defined by which part of the virus the antibodies stick to, or how well they stick. Indeed, many people who recover from COVID-19 have low levels of neutralizing antibodies overall, but some of them neutralize very well. “Quantity is easier to measure,” Wang adds. “There are more ways to characterize quality and we don’t know which ones are relevant.” (This problem is even worse for T-cells, which are much harder than antibodies to isolate and analyze.) These uncertainties strengthen the need for large, careful vaccine trials: Right now it’s hard to know whether the promising signs in early trials will actually lead to substantial protection in practice. (Developing and deploying vaccines is a subject for another piece, which my colleague Sarah Zhang has written.) Scientists are trying to work out how to measure COVID-19 immunity by studying large groups of people who have either been infected naturally or taken part in a vaccine trial. Researchers will repeatedly measure and analyze the volunteers’ antibodies and T-cells over time, noting if any of them become infected again. Krammer expects that results will take a few months, or possibly until the end of the year. “There’s no way to speed that up,” he says. Because … well, you know.In the meantime, anecdotal reports have described alleged reinfections—people who apparently catch COVID-19 a second time, and who test positive for the coronavirus again after months of better health. Such cases are concerning, but hard to interpret. Viral RNA—the genetic material that diagnostic tests detect—can stick around for a long time, and people can test positive for months after they’ve cleared the actual virus. If someone like that caught the flu and went to their doctor, they might get tested for coronavirus again, get a positive result, and be mistakenly treated as a case of reinfection. “It’s really hard to prove reinfection unless you sequence the genes of the virus” both times, Iwasaki says. “No one has that data, and it’s unreasonable to expect.”Immunity lasts a lifetime for some diseases—chickenpox, measles—but eventually wears off for many others. As the pandemic drags on, we should expect at least a few instances in which people who’ve beaten COVID-19 must beat it again. So far, the fact that reinfections are still the subject of smattered anecdotes suggests that “it’s happening at a very low rate, if at all,” Cobey says. But remember: A bigger pandemic is a weirder pandemic. When there are almost 5 million confirmed cases, something that occurs just 0.1 percent of the time will still affect 5,000 people.If people endure a second bout with COVID-19, the outcome is again hard to call. For some diseases, like dengue, an antibody response to one infection can counterintuitively make the next infection more severe. So far, there’s no evidence this happens with SARS-CoV-2, Krammer says, who expects that any reinfections would be milder than the first ones. That’s because the coronavirus has a longer incubation time—a wider window between infection and symptoms—than, say, the flu. That could conceivably provide more time for memory cells to mobilize a new force of antibodies and T-cells. “Even if there’s some immunity loss in the future, it’s not that we’d have to go through this pandemic again.”What will determine our future with the virus is how long protective immunity lasts. For severe coronaviruses like MERS and the original SARS, it persists for at least a couple of years. For the milder coronaviruses that cause common colds, it disappears within a year. It’s reasonable to guess that the duration of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 lies within those extremes, and that it would vary a lot, much like everything else about this virus. “Everyone wants to know,” says Nina Le Bert from the National University of Singapore. “We don’t have the answer.”Most people still haven’t been infected a first time, let alone a second. The immediate uncertainty around our pandemic future “doesn’t stem from the immune response,” Cobey says, but from “policies that are enacted, and whether people will distance or wear masks.” But for next year and beyond, modeling studies have shown that the precise details of the immune system’s reactions to the virus, and to a future vaccine, will radically affect our lives. The virus could cause annual outbreaks. It might sweep the world until enough people are vaccinated or infected, and then disappear. It could lie low for years and then suddenly bounce back. All of these scenarios are possible, but the range of possibilities will narrow the more we learn about the immune system.That system may be vexingly complex, but it is also both efficient and resilient in a way that our society could take lessons from. It prepares in advance, and learns from its past. It has many redundancies in case any one defense fails. It acts fast, but has checks and balances to prevent overreactions. And, in the main, it just works. Despite the multitude of infectious threats that constantly surround us, most people spend most of the time not being sick.“It’s a complicated system,” Iwasaki says. “I think it’s beautiful.”
theatlantic.com
The Democracy-Building That Obama Didn’t Do, and That Biden Must
When the last Democratic president took office, some hoped that he would push for nuts-and bolts reform of the democratic process. Barack Obama ran to not only change the policies of the previous eight years but also to make the political system more responsive to and reflective of ordinary people. And the memory of the 2000 election debacle was relatively fresh. Surely America could no longer put up with a situation where a presidential election was thrown into chaos by one state’s electoral meltdown and ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.But even before his inauguration, Obama was consumed by the financial crisis; any hopes for strengthening voter protections, boosting state election security, or fighting to get money out of politics went back on the shelf. Although he talked about election reform after his 2012 victory, the government was weighed down by other issues, like the manufactured fiscal-cliff crisis. Deploying executive actions to address these issues would have invited a political backlash—and, as we’ve learned watching President Donald Trump try to erase his predecessor’s work, such actions can be undone.[Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes: Trump is terrified of losing]Despite Trump’s abysmal poll numbers, the deck this November is stacked against Democrats precisely because of the antidemocratic forces that shape American elections. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act’s central enforcement mechanism, leaving Republicans free to suppress the vote. Our decentralized election system means some states have stronger, more secure procedures than others. The Electoral College structurally favors low-population states, and in the present that means it favors Republicans. Dark money drowns out the voices of voters. In addition, the pandemic is making it harder than usual to register voters, and experts worry that states’ election systems are not prepared for the uptick in vote-by-mail.Should Joe Biden overcome these obstacles, as well as Trump’s inevitable attempts to cheat, and win the presidency, he simply must devote his political capital to tackling the process issues that eluded the last Democratic president. Yes, he will inherit bigger problems even than Obama did—a pandemic Trump refuses to contain, which is causing an economic catastrophe he refuses to address. But Biden needs to recognize that if the democratic process doesn’t work—which it does not—then neither can democratic governance. He has a long list of reforms from which to choose.In his eulogy for the late congressman and civil-rights hero John Lewis, Obama offered some options, beginning with strengthening, expanding, and protecting the franchise. Because Republicans believe that they lose elections when people actually vote, they have recast the franchise itself as a political tool of the left. Biden should reject their absurd, unpatriotic premise and fight for the newly christened John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would undo some of the Supreme Court’s damage to the original Voting Rights Act. He should also push to implement automatic voter registration nationally, restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, and designate Election Day—a 19th-century agrarian relic—a federal holiday.The list also includes making the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico full-fledged states. Republicans complain that creating two almost certainly blue states would be a Democratic power grab. Of course, statehood has always been political. In the first half of the 19th century, it was tied to slavery; the granting of each new state was a calculated compromise between North and South, Jenga pieces carefully stacked until they collapsed into civil war. But today, to deny admittance to two states simply because they might both vote blue is an insult to the American citizens whose basic right to representation is being violated.[Peter Beinart: Biden goes big without sounding like it]These structural reforms, not to mention any big policy initiatives, will be impossible without eliminating the filibuster, a procedure named after pirates, which was the consequence of a rather aggressive line edit of the Senate rules by none other than Aaron Burr. It has long been abused by senators, often in the name of white supremacy. Today, in a body that inherently stymies progress, the filibuster has become an unnecessary, anti-majoritarian roadblock. The Senate, heralded as the legislature’s “cooling saucer,” has frozen.Biden could pursue these and any number of other possibilities, from campaign-finance reform to restructuring the courts. But above all, to paraphrase another presidential candidate, he must try something.All that said, a President Joe Biden can’t do anything alone. He can use his bully pulpit. He can incentivize states to improve their election systems. He can advocate for legislation. But real, lasting change will require a willing Congress. And that means electing a Democratic Senate and maintaining a Democratic majority in the House.The rhetorical promise of democracy is inspiring; the nitty-gritty of bringing it to life, less so. It is easy to put off the work, the unsexy details, of ensuring that government functions and voters are heard. There is always another crisis to solve or another policy to chase. But unless our leaders prioritize that work, we are in danger of remaining a hobbled, impotent, perpetually imperfect union.
theatlantic.com
It’s easier than ever to make hand sanitizer. But eased restrictions have come with consequences.
Getty Images Toxic chemicals and odd smells have plagued some new hand sanitizers, but the demand isn’t going anywhere. Weeks before the pandemic shut down the country, Robin Christenson woke up in the middle of the night. Initial fears about the virus had started to materialize, and she was worried. Then she came across an article about how there was a shortage of hand sanitizer. Christenson, one of the owners of Blinking Owl, a craft distillery in California, saw an opportunity for her businesses to grow. “So the next day, I ran to work and I sat down with my head distiller and I said, ‘Can we make hand sanitizer?’” Christenson said. In March, Americans panicked. They rushed to grocery stores, stockpiling everything from toilet paper to baking yeast, hoping to soothe their anxieties and prepare for the unforeseeable future. Hand sanitizer was one of the most in-demand items, with sales spiking 1,400 percent as early as January. While the Food and Drug Administration has said that hand-washing with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of infection, the disinfectant quickly became “something of a Holy Grail,” prompting worldwide shortages. Amid the growing demand for hand sanitizer, the FDA waived certain regulations for its production, paving a new way for the industry by allowing nontraditional manufacturers like distilleries and perfumers to produce their own sanitizers. For some business owners, that has meant a fast-growing new revenue stream. But the eased restrictions have also come with complications — just as states across the country are reopening, creating fresh need for sanitation. Although nowhere near the peaks of March, discussion around hand sanitizer is once again in the news, particularly around strange smells, faked products, and recalls. “They pinky-promised to follow the rules, but guess what? Some of them didn’t follow the rules,” said US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) consumer watchdog Teresa Murray of new hand sanitizer manufacturers. Those rules include what can be put into the formula. Some manufacturers have added methanol to their hand sanitizer formulas, which is toxic if it is absorbed through the skin and deadly if swallowed: “Methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death,” said an FDA press release. “Although people using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk.” In Arizona, four people died and 26 were hospitalized after drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol as an alcohol substitute. The FDA has now listed 87 potentially toxic hand sanitizers. “There is some irony here that you’re using hand sanitizer to try and be safer, and in some cases, it can actually be making you sick,” Murray said. The US PIRG is advising people to stick with brand-name hand sanitizers in order to avoid contamination, or choose brands that manufacture other hygiene products like shampoo. Murray also suggested avoiding discount stores. There have also been complaints about odd-smelling hand sanitizers (due to lack of carbon filtration), excessive stickiness, and false claims by manufacturers. The FDA has accused one Iowa-based hand sanitizer company of promising that its sanitizer could “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.” “If the FDA doesn’t get a tighter grip on this going forward as things reopen, we could end up seeing many more problems,” Murray said. Many of the toxic sanitizers on the FDA’s do-not-use list are manufactured outside the US, largely in Mexico. But recently, a hand sanitizer made by a Tennessee distillery was labeled toxic. While hand sanitizers that contain methanol have become an increasing problem since the FDA’s restrictions were eased and new players entered the market, there are many businesses and distillers committed to producing safe and usable hand sanitizers. Linda Evans O’Connor, VP and chief of staff for Lachman Consultant Services, has received an uptick in calls from businesses looking to get into the hand sanitizer industry, after Lachman released a condensed version of the FDA’s guidelines for production in layman’s terms. “We saw sort of a progression from these companies saying, ‘Hey we want to do this just to help us get through Covid and just under the emergency use authorization,’” she said. Now she’s hearing that these same companies want to stay in the hand sanitizer business “because this isn’t something that’s going away.” Christenson conducted thorough research and followed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) formula in order to safely produce hand sanitizer at her distillery. She also received help from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ online educational resources. “We continue to supply large, large volumes of hand sanitizer, more than we ever dreamed we would continue to make,” she said. “It doesn’t show any signs of falling for us.” Owner of Black Momma Vodka Vanessa Braxton has also started making hand sanitizer during the pandemic: “I never thought I would make hand sanitizer. That was never in my view until the pandemic,” she said. Braxton’s company has a loyal customer base, with more than 60,000 online shoppers. She initially started making hand sanitizer after the American Distilling Institute requested she help supply the government and local community. Since then, Braxton has been closely following the WHO’s formula and is now registered with the FDA. She has also made it a priority to employ people in her local community and manufacture all of her products in the US. “A lot of companies are making hand sanitizer but they’re not registering or getting a permit from the FDA to do it,” she said. “That’s how you make sure, too, that you’re providing a safe product.” Since Black Momma Vodka has started producing hand sanitizer, the demand has skyrocketed.Braxton is now in the process of expanding her hand sanitizer line to include new scents like lavender, peach tree, sage, and lemon. “We’re selling hand sanitizers night and day,” she said. “I’ve learned the industry and I’m now perfecting the formula and doing research.” It is no secret that the expansion of the hand sanitizer industry has come with dangers. But it has also presented entrepreneurs with a new opportunity for growth at a time when many businesses are struggling to get by. “I think that some of these recalls are going to weed out some of the players in the industry that are not conforming, and that the ones that are truly wanting to make the product according to the guidance are going to succeed,” O’Connor said. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
vox.com
Fashionable feline wears hats made of cat hair
This cat owner turned shedding into style. See how Kristina Avonnokaz, 24, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, felts the fur of her cat, Prizrak, and turns them into quirky hats and even a pair of cat-hair glasses.   Subscribe to our YouTube!
nypost.com
Laura Ingraham on the 'real COVID record': Media and the left are rewriting history
"The constant belittling of the administration's efforts, it's deeply unfair and it's almost entirely political," according to Laura Ingraham, who defended the administration's response to the coronavirus Tuesday.
foxnews.com
WNBA players show support for Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler's election opponent
WNBA players showed support for Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s opponent Raphael Warnock in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia on Tuesday prior to the day’s slate of games.
foxnews.com
Houston latest city to fine maskless residents in effort to control coronavirus spread
Houston joins other state and local officials in cracking down on anti-maskers.
foxnews.com
America’s Prosecutors Know What Bill Barr Did Was Wrong
What is the American public to make of Attorney General Bill Barr’s congressional testimony defending his actions in the Trump ally Roger Stone’s case? During Barr’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Barr claimed the mantle of fairness and compassion, arguing that the career prosecutors were out of line in seeking a nine-year sentence for this first-time offender, who is a nonviolent criminal and 67 years old. Back in February, Barr had withdrawn the submission of career professionals for a seven-to-nine-year sentence and instead sought a sentence of at most three to four years. Two weeks later, a district judge sentenced Stone to 40 months of jail time, which Barr testified was a vindication in full.Sound reasonable? Not in the slightest. As every experienced federal prosecutor would immediately understand, Barr’s position violates Department of Justice lawyers’ training, their obligations to the court, their duty under the U.S. sentencing guidelines, and the equal application of the law to all. I know—I was a federal prosecutor for two decades and a senior member of the special counsel’s office under Robert Mueller. Barr’s testimony amounted to an argument that the ends justified the means; it was fine to submit the revised sentencing recommendation so long as a court ultimately selected a sentence within that range.To understand just how far Barr strayed from the rule of law, it is important to understand how federal sentencing should work—and does work in cases other than those of the president’s friends.[Charles Fried and Edward J. Larson: How far Bill Barr has fallen]The parties start by considering the defendant’s crimes. A jury had found Stone guilty of five counts of lying to Congress, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of tampering with a witness by threatening him to change his testimony. Also relevant to sentencing, while on bail, Stone had posted a picture online depicting crosshairs next to the head of the federal judge presiding over his case and then was found to have lied about doing so at a bail hearing.Taking the facts as they are, the government must then apply the U.S. sentencing guidelines—a set of rules that determine sentencing and provide enhancements and reductions based on the offenses and the specific characteristics of the crime and defendant, among other things. The guidelines’ purpose is to promote greater uniformity in sentencing, so defendants are not subject to widely disparate sentences based on the vagaries of what judge happens to be assigned. One laudable goal of the guidelines is to reduce racial disparities that creep into the system. So for every federal defendant, the government must calculate the guidelines according to a clear and set methodology, applying the rules to the facts, and the court must determine what sentence range the guidelines produce, but can then decide to vary upward or downward from the range.[Read: Democrats don’t know how to handle Bill Barr]The four career prosecutors handling the Stone matter did what we federal prosecutors are all trained to do: They correctly applied the guidelines to the facts in the case and advised the court that the guidelines suggested a sentencing range of seven to nine years. They notably also informed the court that it had the authority to depart downward from that range “in fashioning a reasonable and just sentence” if the court determined that the guidelines overstated the seriousness of Stone’s offenses.Barr was promptly informed of this submission by the then–U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia—an amanuensis he had recently installed after summarily removing his predecessor. Barr stepped in; having the judge start her evaluation of the appropriate sentence from such a high range was unacceptable. Barr ordered that a new submission be made and that submission—untethered to the facts or law—urged a guideline calculation of three to four years, claimed a nonexistent factual basis for lowering the sentence (a bogus assertion of health issues), and withdrew the prior government position.This submission led all four career prosecutors to withdraw from the case, and one resigned from the department altogether. Why?Not because, as Barr suggests, they were vengeful or out of control. In fact, their sin was that they were following the rule of law, playing everything by the book. As every junior prosecutor is taught, you cannot monkey with sentencing rules to achieve a desired result. And you cannot ignore or invent facts to achieve a desired result. Your job is to apply the sentencing rules to all the facts and present that result candidly to the court. Imagine a drug dealer who had sold 15 kilos of heroin; you cannot re-create them as simply one kilo in order to achieve a lower sentence, any more than you could increase the amount to achieve a longer sentence. But that is akin to what Barr did, and the career prosecutors rightly balked.[Donald Ayer: Bill Barr’s unconstitutional campaign to reelect the president]Barr’s claim that the district court then vindicated him is provably false. “The judge agreed with me,” Barr repeated three times to Representative Ted Deutch of Florida. In truth, the district court rejected Barr’s position on the guidelines entirely, finding that the career submission was “true to the record” and “in accordance with the law and DOJ policy.” Indeed, even the new prosecutor assigned to handle Stone’s sentencing could not and did not defend Barr’s submission during the sentencing hearing. The court thus applied the guidelines and then, consistent with the career-attorney submission, found that they overstated the seriousness of the offense. Whether the district judge would have reached the same resulting sentence of 40 months if she had begun from the dramatically reduced range that Barr advocated is unknown, but even assuming she would have, that still would not justify flouting the rules. A prosecutor is not allowed to hedge that risk by fudging the facts and law to achieve a higher or lower sentencing range, which is precisely what Barr did.That is not the end of the problems with Barr’s actions. Even if you put all the above aside, Barr had to admit in his congressional testimony that he could not recall intervening in any sentencing proceedings during his tenure as attorney general except those of two of the president’s friends. Stone was one and Michael Flynn was the other, in whose case Barr similarly submitted a revised sentencing memorandum to lower the government’s sentencing position.So what does this all mean? It means that if you are personally connected to the president or have information that could hurt the president, or both, you can be treated far more favorably by this attorney general, as he will bend the law and facts to the president’s desired result. His actions in U.S. v. Stone strike at the heart of the Aristotelian principle central to the rule of law, that we treat likes alike. John Locke warned that “where law ends, tyranny begins.” Now, more than three centuries later, that statement applies to the head of the American system of justice.
theatlantic.com
Second grader tests positive for virus after first day of school
Pictures show students packed shoulder-to-shoulder at two school districts that began in-person classes Monday with mask-optional policies.
cbsnews.com
Texas Tech women's basketball players describe toxic culture: 'Fear, anxiety and depression'
In two years since Marlene Stollings took over once-storied program, 12 players have left amid allegations of abuse by the coach and two assistants.       
usatoday.com
The 4 greatest comebacks from injury by NFL quarterbacks in history: Brady, Manning, Brees, Marino
As Alex Smith of Washington and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers attempt comebacks from significant injuries, here's a look at four all-time greats.       
usatoday.com
ShowBiz Minute: Young, Jay-Z, Mulan
Neil Young sues Trump campaign, deriding use of famous tunes; Roc Nation partners with Brooklyn's LIU to launch new school; Disney to release 'Mulan' on streaming service, for a price. (Aug. 5)       
usatoday.com
Trump campaign sues Nevada over plan to mail ballots to all registered voters
The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state of Nevada over its plan to send absentee ballots to all active voters this November in a major expansion of mail-in voting in the battleground state.
edition.cnn.com
Trader Joe's Knows Petitions Aren't Commandments
Trader Joe’s has long given playful foreign versions of its name to certain international product lines: Trader José, Trader Giotto, Trader Ming, and so on.One could have guessed that amidst our racial reckoning (“the Great Awokening,” as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias calls it), these names would come under attack. This happened: A 17-year-old woman spearheaded a petition that attracted more than 5,000 signatures, asking Trader Joe’s to eliminate names that reflect “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”Trader Joe’s initially seemed inclined to rebrand, but recently decided to retain the names, insisting, “we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.”Bravo. We must certainly submit what we consider funny to periodic reexamination, and be vigilant about the dangers of stereotyping. However, petitions must also be subject to examination and vigilance, because they can function in ways that are less progressive than puritan.At the heart of wokeness is a paradox. On one hand, we are not to shoehorn people into preset characterizations; we are to see them as individuals. But on the other hand, we are not to deny that subgroups exist. For example, it is wrong under this catechism to say “I don’t see color” because it can be taken as not only a denial that people of color exist in subordination to white people, but also a denial of cultural differences.Trader José and Trader Ming would seem to acknowledge the difference, no? Many would say that this misses the point. But just which point?One might argue that although subgroups do differ from the mainstream, subgroups should define themselves, rather than have the likes of Trader José thrust upon them from the outside. But the problem here is that actual subgroup members often have different preferences than the educated white cohort who see themselves as speaking for the marginalized. For example, in the late 1990s, the Cartoon Network stopped showing Speedy Gonzales cartoons because of claims that the character was an offensive stereotype. However, many Latin Americans continued to adore Speedy, the League of United Latin American Citizens voiced its support for the character as an “icon,” and Latino message boards overflowed with love for him.A related argument is that Trader Ming’s is, in effect, a joke, and that jokes about a subgroup should come exclusively from the subgroup itself. Because the owners of Trader Joe’s are not Chinese, it’s game over. In the post-Blaxploitation comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, a “Black” GPS setting casually abuses and cusses at the driver in Black slang as if a Black person’s grouchy aunt were in the passenger’s seat. Presumably that’s okay because the movie was written by Black people, but would be “stereotyping” if written by white people.But if the intent of the joke about a subgroup is not to harm, why is it taboo? Robin DiAngelo in White Fragility is among many these days who argue that intent doesn’t matter, and that how the message is received is sacrosanct. The problem with this seemingly innocent idea is that reception is rarely monolithic; not everyone in a subgroup will find the same joke offensive, and in many cases, well-off outsiders are the most upset.Indeed, Trader Joe’s ultimately refused to change its branding in part because, a statement read, “we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing.”A great many people seem to think Trader José is just a little joke, rather than a bark of white supremacy. To dismiss this take as mere ignorance requires a punitive kind of creativity in the name of social progress. If the decree is that a company must not acknowledge the existence of differences between human groups, then we need a crystal-clear argument for why this is unacceptable.The teenager who started the Trader Joe’s petition, Briones Bedell, thinks she has one. Her case about the foreign product names: “They’re racist because they exoticize other cultures, present ‘Joe’ as this default normal, and then the other characters—such as Thai Joe, Trader José, Trader Joe San—falling outside of it.”Here, however, is a counterproposal. Couldn’t Trader José be taken as a playful but progressive gesture acknowledging that in Mexico or another Spanish-speaking country, a trader named Joe would be a foreigner, a “gringo,” and that a local trader would more likely go by José?Note the difference here between Aunt Jemima and Trader José: Aunt Jemima is a stereotype implying that Black women’s place is as jocular, none-too-bright servants, while Trader José has no traits at all—it’s just a name, implying, if anything, a person of success and influence within a Spanish-speaking country. Trader José is a harmless hypothetical that makes the diaphragm twitch because it depicts a slight distortion of reality—key to humor—in this case, Trader Joe being a native of another country and thus named with that country’s closest equivalent.To pretend that self-described anti-racist demands must be automatically adjudged authoritative is to give in to a kind of reign of terror. In response to viewer feedback, the Cartoon Network added Speedy Gonzales back to its programming in 2002. And Speedy was revived in the underrated early-2010s reboot The Looney Tunes Show as an intelligent and genuinely funny character—but with the same accent and clothes. The world kept spinning, but this year HBO disappeared him again in its latest revival, presumably to avoid winding up in the sights of those who insist that a character many Latinos love is an immorality.The woke have valuable lessons to teach us all. However, we depart from the liberal foundations of this society in pretending that their lessons are commandments. Trader Joe’s could be pioneering in its polite but firm pushback against the excesses, and, hopefully, will be followed by other organizations, educational institutions, and individuals.
theatlantic.com
Japan reports more than 1,200 new cases as country struggles to contain spike
• Airline cuts back on Covid-19 cleanings • US obesity epidemic could undermine effectiveness of a vaccine
edition.cnn.com
Bolivia cancels school year for 2 million children due to Covid-19
Bolivia has made the stark choice to cancel school for the rest of the year due to coronavirus. Some two million students in the highland nation won't attend either online or in-person classes until at least 2021. CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports.
edition.cnn.com
Who Gets Counted?
And what else you need to know today.
nytimes.com
AOC-aligned Cori Bush upsets longtime incumbent Lacy Clay in Missouri Dem primary
The Democratic primary in Missouri's 1st Congressional District grabbed national attention as a party fixture and longtime Congressional Black Caucus member battled a younger progressive activist who came up through the Black Lives Matter movement.
foxnews.com
Zooey Deschanel, Jonathan Scott celebrate 1 year of knowing one another: 'How time flies'
Zooey Deschanel and Jonathan Scott have hit a major milestone.
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foxnews.com
‘Stay Black and Die’
One woman reflects on her path to protesting police brutality.
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nytimes.com
5 things to know for August 5: Beirut, coronavirus, election, airlines, Taiwan
Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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Artist tells the story behind her New Yorker cover portrait of Sojourner Truth
Grace Lynne Haynes writes on her artistic choices in portraying the 19th-century activist Sojourner Truth, and how in her wider work, she explores what it means to be a Black woman in 2020.
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edition.cnn.com
Artist tells the story behind her New Yorker cover portrait of Sojourner Truth
When the New Yorker asked me to illustrate the cover of their new August issue commemorating 100 years of women's suffrage in America, I chose to depict 19th-century activist Sojourner Truth. Truth was an early advocate for Black women's rights who didn't live to see the fruits of her labor. I wanted to point out that while White women gained the right to vote in 1920, it would still take another 45 years -- until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- for women of color to be able to cast their ballots.
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edition.cnn.com
Op-Ed: U.S. leaders knew we didn't have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We did it anyway
We've been taught that the U.S. had to drop atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II. Historical evidence shows Japan would have surrendered anyway.
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latimes.com
Coronavirus updates: Stimulus package deal expected by end of week; US nears 5M cases; Clorox wipes shortage could stretch into 2021
A deal on the coronavirus stimulus package could be reached by end of week. The fifth vaccine developer released promising results. Latest news.       
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usatoday.com
Trump's demand that the US get a cut of TikTok's sale could set a dangerous precedent
TikTok is up for grabs. But while the popular short-form video app likely won't lack for suitors, President Donald Trump says the US government needs to get a "substantial amount of money" as part of any deal.
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Thinking of buying a 5G smartphone? Finding your carrier's flavor of 5G requires a taste for investigation
Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all have 5G networks up and running. But assessing whether the move is right for you now is no easy decision.      
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usatoday.com
Editorial: The new school year is starting, ready or not. Much of California is not
School boards and their superintendents needed clear direction, not the figure-it-out-yourselves philosophy that's been coming from Sacramento and Washington.
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latimes.com
Editorial: California is releasing prison inmates in droves. It needs to do more to help them reenter society
It's time for California to develop its own prison inmate reentry program, not just for the era of COVID-19 but for normal times as well.
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Sean Hannity: Biden's Ukraine dealings example of 'swamp' corruption Trump was elected to stop
Joe Biden was leveraging his role in the White House—and your tax dollars—for a get-rich-quick scheme for his family.
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Op-Ed: COVID-19 has been such a disaster even red state residents aren't happy with Republicans
Survey data show a real disconnect between red-state voters and politicians over management of the pandemic that could cost the GOP dearly in November.
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latimes.com
Editorial: It's taken Biden a while to pick a running mate. So what?
Having raised hopes for a quick decision, Biden continues to deliberate
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Social Security: There may be no cost-of-living increase in 2021
The government won't officially announce the next COLA until October 2020, but experts are predicting a small raise or none at all.      
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usatoday.com
Kids less likely to die from coronavirus, but schools could become hot spots for spread
Some experts say a lack of information about how kids contract and transmit the coronavirus will leave the nation unprepared when schools reopen.       
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usatoday.com
Letters to the Editor: 'But there's a pandemic' is a small-minded criticism of Mars exploration
Our world and our politics are limited; limitless space exploration provides a relief from humanity's harsh realities.
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Letters to the Editor: Mask refusers would not have done well in World War II
In Britain in 1940, millions of families were torn apart because of mass evacuations from cities. Today, we're just being asked to wear a mask.
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Letters to the Editor: My great uncle built the Chateau Marmont. Don't worry about its future
The Chateau Marmont has had many owners since it was built in the 1920s. But as L.A. has changed, it has endured.
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NBA bubble breakdown: Pacers' T.J. Warren continues torrid start on Day 6 of play in Orlando
Everything that went down Tuesday on Day 6 of play in the NBA bubble, and what you can look forward to on Wednesday.        
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usatoday.com
Letters to the Editor: Putting mom-and-pop landlords out of business isn't a solution to evictions
A state bill to offer tax credits that can be redeemed for cash doesn't give small landlords what they need most: a monthly rent check.
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Op-Ed: The truth behind Trump's need to lie
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Letters to the Editor: Take veterinary advice from a vet, not a pet food store owner
It's too bad that the state veterinary board has not done more to respond to complaints that Marc Ching is giving dangerous advice to pet owners.
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How Influencers Are Using Acne to Sell Things
Usually even inclusive ad campaigns feature flawless skin.
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slate.com