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Trevor Noah Goes Off on Ted Cruz’s Shameless Texas Photo Op

Comedy Central

The late-night shows have found a new favorite target: Ted Cruz, the bumbling Republican senator from Texas who appears far more interested in helping incite a coup or tweeting about “cancel culture” than helping those in his home state who are without power or clean water following cold weather storms that knocked out Texas’ power grid, leaving millions without electricity and dozens dead.

Cruz, in his infinite wisdom, took it upon himself to fly to Cancun during the humanitarian crisis to get some vacation time in with his family at the Ritz-Carlton. When he was caught in the act and ridiculed for it, the politician flew back, and proceeded to blame the entire episode on his wife and daughters.

On Monday night, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah waded into the mucky Cruz waters, exploring how the former preppy Princeton student who now cosplays as a cowboy is trying to improve his image in the wake of the ridiculous, self-imposed scandal.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The long history of anti-Asian hate in America, explained
Portrait of the Tape family in 1884. In the California Supreme Court case Tape v. Hurley, the Tape family successfully won the right for their daughter Mamie to attend public school, which was a major civil rights victory for Chinese American immigrants. | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images Anti-Asian racism is nothing new in America. The pandemic, and Trump, just made it worse. Harassment toward Asian Americans has spiked in the last year: According to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that’s been tracking these reports,over 2,800 incidents were documented in 2020.And more recently, a wave of violent attacks against elderly people has renewed focus on this issue. These incidents — which include everything from getting shunned at work to physical assaults — have been wide-ranging. In February, a 27-year-old Korean American man was assaulted in Los Angeles and targeted with racial slurs. Last winter, a 16-year-old student in the San Fernando Valley was beaten so badly by his classmates that he had to go to the emergency room. And this past March, a restaurant in Yakima, Washington, was vandalized with racist language. The reports to Stop AAPI Hate describe other forms of harassment, too, including getting spat on at a restaurant and verbally attacked at the park and being refused service at different establishments. “I was in line at the pharmacy when a woman approached me and sprayed Lysol all over me,” one account reads. “She was yelling out, ‘You’re the infection. Go home. We don’t want you here!’” Among these attacks, there are notable patterns: Women were more likely than men to say they were targeted, several assaults involved children, and harassment was more likely to occur at retail stores and pharmacies since people have been limiting their activities during the pandemic. “So many of us have experienced it, sometimes for the first time in our lives,” says Manjusha Kulkarni, the executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, a group that helped set up this tracker. “It makes it much harder to go to the grocery store, to take a walk, to be outside our homes.” Jeff Chiu/AP Kyle Navarro, a school nurse, says he was unlocking his bicycle when an older white man called him a racial slur and spat at him in San Francisco. The FBI predicts attacks on Asian Americans will increase as coronavirus infections grow. This rise in anti-Asian harassment has occurred as the US continues to grapple with Covid-19, and it follows months of xenophobic rhetoric by former President Donald Trump, who frequently used racist names for the virus and associated it with Asian Americans. The broader uptick in racism, however, isn’t just fueled by the pandemic. Although the uncertainty of the outbreak — coupled with the former president’s rhetoric — has amplified it, this prejudice is rooted in longstanding biases toward Asian Americans that have persisted since some of the earliest immigrants came to the US generations ago. “I think this surge is [driven by] the rhetoric that political leaders have been using ... but I don’t think we would have seen the spike in anti-Asian bias without a pretty strong foundation rooted in the ‘forever foreigner’ stereotype,” says University of Maryland Asian American studies professor Janelle Wong. The “forever foreigner” idea Wong references is one that’s been used to “other” Asian Americans in the US for decades: It suggests that Asians who live in America are fundamentally foreign and can’t be fully American.Enduring tropes that have associated Asian Americans with illness and the consumption of “weird” foods, which have reemerged in relation to the coronavirus, are among those that play into this concept. The revival of these stereotypes and the recent spike in harassment are having a pointed effect: They’re forcing a reckoning about the existence of anti-Asian racism in the US. The current xenophobia is built on deeply rooted racism toward Asian Americans Racism toward Asian Americans goes back a long time. In fact, it was enshrined into law when some of the earliest generations of Asian Americans were immigrating to the United States in the 1800s. The Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, two of the country’s first immigration laws, were designed explicitly to bar Chinese American laborers from entering the country because of widespread xenophobia and concerns about workplace competition. These laws — along with others that made it impossible for immigrants to reenter the country if they visited China — were among the earliest that tagged Asian American immigrants as foreigners who didn’t belong in the US. “Whereas in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof,” read the first lines of the Exclusion Act. Wiki Commons “Uncle Sam kicks out the Chinaman” is an 1886 advertisement referring both to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and to the “George Dee Magic Washer,” which the machine’s manufacturers hoped would displace Chinese laundry operators. In addition to limiting immigration, the act guaranteed that Chinese Americans could not become US citizens for decades. “Very early on in the history of this country, Chinese Americans were seen as a group of people we wanted to keep out,” says Yale sociology professor Grace Kao. And immigration policy wasn’t the only place where such discrimination was apparent. As illnesses, including smallpox and the bubonic plague, spread in the late 1800s, San Francisco’s Chinese residents were repeatedly used as “medical scapegoats,” according to San Francisco State public health researcher Joan Trauner. When the city grappled with a smallpox outbreak in 1875-’76, for example, officials blamed the “foul and disgusting vapors” — and “unwholesome” living conditions of Chinatown — for fueling it, according to Trauner. Even after the epidemic continued following the city-ordered fumigation of all the homes in Chinatown, the blame persisted. “I unhesitatingly declare my belief that the cause is the presence in our midst of 30,000 (as a class) of unscrupulous, lying and treacherous Chinamen, who have disregarded our sanitary laws, concealed, and are concealing their cases of smallpox,” city health officer J.L. Meares wrote at the time. Similarly, when the city encountered cases of the bubonic plaguein 1900, one of which was detected in Chinatown, San Francisco attempted to quarantine roughly 14,000 Chinese Americans who lived in that part of the city. At one point, city officials proposed sending Chinese residents to a detention camp where they could be cordoned off from other members of the public, though a circuit court rejected this plan. Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images Two girls cross the street in front of a vase store in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1899. In both cases, the vitriol toward Chinese Americans was driven by explicit racism, a fundamental lack of medical knowledge, and pushback toward the influx of Chinese laborers competing with white workers for job opportunities. Policy prescriptions were actively informed by assumptions that Chinatowns were a “laboratory of infection,” Trauner explains. “A common trope in American popular culture was that the Chinese ate rats and lived in filthy, overcrowded quarters,” says Princeton University history professor Beth Lew-Williams. “In the 19th century, San Francisco routinely banned Chinese from public hospitals.” The recurring association of Chinese Americans with the ideas of being “dirty” or illness-ridden is inextricably tied up with xenophobia — and as Nylah Burton writes for Vox, it’s an association that’s been used to “other” many people of color, including Mexican Americans and African Americans. And now, because the origins of the coronavirus have likely been traced back to a wet market in Wuhan, China, where people purchase groceries, this information has renewed racist jokes and statements about the type of food that Asian Americans eat. It’s a sentiment that’s so common, it was a plot line of the ABC television show Fresh Off the Boat, when a young Eddie Huang, the Asian American protagonist of the show, is shunned after consuming his lunch in front of his white classmates because they see the noodles in it as “gross” and “nasty.” This treatment of Asian foods is simply another plank of the othering of Asian American people: By deeming anything that’s different or unfamiliar as exotic or disgusting, the idea that Asian people are fundamentally foreign is further reinforced. The effects of the “forever foreigner” trope, briefly explained While the Chinese Exclusion Act was ultimately repealed in the 1940s, the racism it embodied played a central role in shaping how the United States continues to view Asian Americans. The idea that Asian Americans are “forever foreigners” helped lay the groundwork for Japanese internment during World War II, when Japanese American citizens were sent to detention camps solely on the basis of their ethnicity, due to suspicions that they were abetting the Japanese government in some way. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Islamophobia toward Muslim Americans and prejudice toward South Asian Americans was similarly fueled by assumptions that people were not loyal to the United States because of their religion, ethnicity, and external appearance. Wiki Commons Front page of the San Francisco Call announcing the Chinese exclusion convention to protect “American” labor on November 20, 1901. “It’s always easily activated, it’s very tenacious, it’s very familiar to many Americans,” says Wong of this assumption. “I’m sixth-generation Chinese American in the US, and I still feel it.” Because the hostility that Asian Americans have faced is rooted in this question of belonging in the US, some — including New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang — have suggested that Asians can combat this prejudice by proving their patriotism and commitment to their community. It’s a misguided argument founded on “respectability politics” that further puts the onus on Asian Americans to demonstrate how American they are — and it’s revealing of how much some people still think Asians need to compensate for looking “different.” “Very early on in the history of this country, Chinese Americans were seen as a group of people we wanted to keep out” Political pushback toward China, including its handling of the virus, has also been conflated with hostility toward Chinese Americans in a way that historic US tensions with Asian nations have been projected onto people of Asian descent in the past. Last year, former Washington Gov. Gary Locke — who is Chinese American — was featured in a Trump attack ad against President Joe Biden. Because of the way it’s framed, the ad appears to imply that Locke, who once served as the US ambassador to China, is a Chinese official and not an American one. “Asian Americans — whether you’re second-, third-, or fourth-generation, will always be viewed as foreigners,” Locke told the Atlantic. “We don’t say that about second- or third-generation Irish Americans or Polish Americans. No one would even think to include them in a picture when you’re talking about foreign government officials.” Recent incidents are forcing a dialogue about racism Although racism toward Asian Americans has persisted for generations, it’s rarely explicitly confronted or talked about. “Asian discrimination tends to be overlooked and widely tolerated, even among educated classes,” University of Pennsylvania English professor Josephine Park told Penn Today. There are many reasons for this, according to Asian American studies scholars. Relative to other people of color, including Black Americans and Latino Americans, Asian Americans have faced discrimination of a different degree. Additionally, because of the diversity within the Asian American community — which includes more than 30 ethnic groups — there is a breadth of experience that isn’t always all the same. “It’s rare to see all parts of the Asian American community equally affected by an issue,” says UC Riverside political science professor and head of AAPI Data Karthick Ramakrishnan. The perpetuation of the “model minority” myth, which was introduced by sociologist William Petersen in a New York Times Magazine piece in 1966, further complicated the conversation about Asian Americans and racism. As part of his piece, Petersen pits minority groups against one another and argues that Japanese Americans were able to attain economic success in the face of injustice and discrimination in a way that other groups, which Petersen dubbed “problem minorities,” were not. It’s a fictitious argument that’s been used repeatedly as a “wedge” between minority groups, Kat Chow reported for NPR. By branding Asian Americans as a “model minority,” writers like Petersen obscured how systemic injustices have disproportionately hurt Black Americans. The term, too, reduced the visibility of racism against Asian Americans as well. “The dominant culture’s belief in the ‘model minority’ allows it to justify ignoring the unique discrimination faced by Asian Americans,” writes Robert Chang, in his book Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law and the Nation-State. Now, a rise in harassment is sparking a new conversation about the type of prejudice that Asian Americans experience. For some, it marks one of the rare times they are confronting this problem in such an explicit way. “I haven’t been harassed for my race for years and years. It’s been a really long time, so it felt like it came out of nowhere,” California resident Julie Kang told Vox’s Catherine Kim. Experts see these incidents compelling people to talk about discrimination toward Asian Americans more openly. “I think there is a newfound understanding for a lot of folks,” says Kulkarni. “We hope this will spur more dialogue and more action, frankly.” Some also think it has the potential to improve solidarity between Asian Americans and other people of color, many of whom deal with racist harassment and violence — including from the police — on a regular basis. “I hope that we realize that this kind of process happens to other groups all the time,” says Ramakrishnan. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Members of the congressional Black, Asian, and Hispanic caucuses speaks to reporters to discuss the 2020 census and the concern for getting an accurate count in minority communities on March 5. The response from some lawmakers has helped underscore this solidarity: A few weeks ago, a group of House Democrats representing the Black, Asian, and Hispanic caucuses unequivocally denounced anti-Asian rhetoric and violence. “The Asian American community is facing a crisis of hatred that we cannot tolerate,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). “We will not tolerate anti-Asian bias, we will not tolerate anti-Asian bigotry, we will not tolerate these hate crimes. All of us stand with the Asian American community until we can put this scourge to an end.” The attacks Asian Americans are facing across the country are bringing the dialogue about longstanding prejudices to the fore. And as Americans are having more frank conversations about race and institutional biases, they aren’t as easy to ignore as they have been in the past. “Addressing ... these kinds of dominant stereotypes that are really pervasive, that are so easily activated, requires public education and the broader public committing to understand race in America,” says Wong. “There’s a way that it could be a really potent reminder that Asian Americans are racialized in the US and that we can’t go it alone.”
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Why comparing Covid-19 vaccine efficacy numbers can be misleading
A shipment of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine arrives at a hospital in Bay Shore, New York, on March 3. | Johnny Milano/Bloomberg via Getty Images The best Covid-19 vaccine for you is most likely still the first one you can get. Three different Covid-19 vaccines are now being distributed across the United States, and all three are highly effective at the most important thing: preventing hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19. But some people remain worried that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is less effective at preventing disease to begin with. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan this week turned down 6,200 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses for his city. “Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best,” Duggan said in a news conference. “And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that residents of the city of Detroit get the best.” Scientists say that this is the wrong way to think about Covid-19 vaccines, and that judging the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as inferior based on its lower reported efficacy is misleading. Such actions are especially worrying at the current stage of the pandemic. Covid-19 has killed more than 500,000 Americans, and while cases seem to be declining, the virus is still spreading, new variants are gaining ground, and some parts of the country are already relaxing precautions (which health officials warn could end up prolonging the pandemic). Turning down vaccine doses while supplies of all Covid-19 vaccines are still stretched thin undermines the campaign to curb the pandemic. In clinical trials, the vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, by Moderna, and by Johnson & Johnson reduced the fatality rate of Covid-19 by 100 percent compared to their placebo groups. They also kept all recipients out of the hospital. That means they can potentially downgrade Covid-19 from a public health crisis to a manageable problem. “The goal of a vaccine was really to defang or tame this virus, to make it more like other respiratory viruses that we deal with, so when you look at the three approved vaccines in the US, all of them are extremely good at that metric,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. The vaccines do have some important differences. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose, while the others require two. It also can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, while the others require freezer temperatures. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also less expensive, about $10 per dose, roughly half as much as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The Moderna vaccine costs between $25 and $37 per dose. These factors give Johnson & Johnson an edge in logistics and could help the shots get to people in harder-to-reach places. Saad Omer, the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, told Vox last month that it’s a vaccine that “can increase equity.” But when Johnson & Johnson filed for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its Covid-19 vaccine in early February, it reported that its overall efficacy in preventing Covid-19 cases that produced symptoms was 66.1 percent. The Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines reported efficacy levels around 95 percent. That gap in efficacy numbers is fueling some people’s perception that the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine isn’t as good. However, scientists say that these numbers can’t be fairly compared to one another. The efficacy levels of the Covid-19 vaccines are specific to the clinical trials that produced them, and those trials were not conducted in the same ways. In addition, health officials have been emphasizing that the most important numbers — how well the vaccines prevent hospitalizations and deaths — are consistent across the board and are arguably more comparable. Even after these vaccines have begun distribution, researchers are finding that Covid-19 vaccines are doing a remarkable job of keeping people alive. That’s why the recommendation remains that the best Covid-19 vaccine for the vast majority of people is the first one they can get. “That’s how I think of these vaccines, as basically interchangeable,” said Adalja. Why it’s hard to make direct comparisons between the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and the one from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech To gauge how well vaccines work, companies test them in several stages, looking to ensure they are safe, to find the correct dose, and to figure out how much protection they provide. These trials are designed to test vaccines individually, not to pit them against each other. So direct comparisons don’t always make sense and one has to be careful to understand the nuances of how each result was obtained. But health officials have acknowledged that the earlier results of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines shifted expectations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “If this had occurred in the absence of a prior announcement and implementation of a 94, 95 percent efficacy [vaccine], one would have said this is an absolutely spectacular result,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during the press conference in January. In phase 3 clinical trials, Covid-19 vaccines were tested against the virus in the real world, in actual people against the actual virus. This involves testing tens of thousands of participants to see who ends up showing symptoms, randomly dividing them into groups that receive the actual vaccine and groups that receive a placebo (without revealing who got what). Testing in the real world means dealing with all the confounding factors of the real world. Depending on which volunteers are selected and where they are, they face different infection rates of the virus. They have varying access to health care. Some places had more strict lockdowns than others, or started them at varying times, so participants experienced different public health measures. Michigan issued a mask mandate in March 2020 while California issued one in June 2020, for example. Timing is critical too. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech finished enrolling participants in their phase 3 trials in October and reported their results in late November. The Johnson & Johnson phase 3 trial only finished enrolling participants in December 2020 and reported their results in January. That means the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested during one of the most severe stages of the pandemic, when transmission, cases, and hospitalizations were at their worst in many places around the world, including the US. The trial also captured efficacy against the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) which began circulating at this point in some parts of the world. Several of these variants have shown themselves to be more contagious, deadlier, and more likely to evade protection from vaccines and prior immunity. And Johnson & Johnson’s efficacy results included trials in other countries, whereas the results from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech were mainly from US-based participants. Johnson & Johnson found that vaccine efficacy shifted depending on the country in which it was studied. The vaccine was found to have a 72 percent overall efficacy after four weeks in preventing Covid-19 symptoms in the US. Under the same benchmarks in South Africa, where a coronavirus variant with worrisome mutations that help it escape vaccines has been spreading widely, the company found a 64 percent efficacy. When it came to preventing severe and critical cases of Covid-19, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 85.9 percent efficacious in the US while in South Africa, efficacy against severe and critical disease was reduced to 81.7 percent. The fact that these vaccines were tested in different ways at different times is why it’s so hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons. “I don’t even look at those efficacy numbers and compare them head-to-head like that,” Adalja said. “Biostats 101: You cannot compare trial results like that unless they were done in a head-to-head fashion.” Researchers still need more information about Covid-19 vaccines, especially as new variants spread The huge emphasis on the fact that vaccines prevent hospitalizations and death doesn’t mean that preventing the symptoms of Covid-19 is not important. Millions of people in the US have preexisting health conditions and could suffer from the disease even if they don’t end up in the hospital. About 10 percent of Covid-19 survivors have reported persistent symptoms even after the virus has faded away, the so-called long haulers. It hints that the disease can cause long-term damage. And while vaccines can protect an individual, it’s less clear how well they prevent transmission from person to person (although evidence is mounting that the available Covid-19 vaccines reduce the virus’ spread). That’s why vaccinated people are encouraged to continue wearing masks until vaccinations are widespread. An ideal Covid-19 vaccine would reduce deaths, hospitalizations, symptoms, and transmission, and right now, all of the three Covid-19 vaccines available in the US check these boxes, even for people with risk factors for severe disease or long-term illness. “I wouldn’t be picky if I’m a high-risk person, because being picky may leave you out in the cold of not being vaccinated,” Lawrence Corey, a professor studying virology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “We have still an incredible epidemic going on here.” There are some people with a history of severe allergic reactions or certain immunological conditions who will have to be careful about selecting a vaccine, and some may not be able to receive one at all. But that makes it all the more important to vaccinate everyone around a vulnerable person, which helps build herd immunity. The looming concern, though, is how well Covid-19 vaccines will hold up as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate and new variants arise. Already, vaccine manufacturers are investigating booster doses and modifications of their shots to better counter the newer versions of the virus. Researchers will also have to figure out how well existing vaccines are holding up against the variants in the real world. While vaccine clinical trials were conducted independently of each other, it would behoove scientists to coordinate from here on out, sharing protocols and pooling data to draw more useful conclusions. “Imagine what will happen when these studies generate results, each with their own populations, eligibility criteria, validation procedures and clinical endpoints,” wrote Natalie Dean, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, in Nature. “If we don’t want our final answers to be a jumble, we must act now to consider how data can be compared and combined.” In the meantime, it’s important to keep in mind that vaccines are one part of a comprehensive public health response to Covid-19. 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Mark Pavelich, a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team, was found dead in a treatment facility in central Minnesota. The 63-year-old died at Eagle’s Healing Nest, where he was receiving mental health treatment, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. Pavelich was under civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor with a...
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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos GettyFounding members of Time’s Up Healthcare are fleeing the anti-discrimination organization en masse over the group’s handling of explosive allegations that a co-founder brushed off complaints of sexual harassment by a co-worker.At least five co-founders of the activist group, part of the larger Time’s Up organization created during the MeToo movement, announced they were stepping down in the last 24 hours.“Bravery must be demonstrated at all times even when it’s not popular,” tweeted Dr. Pringl Miller, a general surgeon and hospice and palliative care specialist who helped found the subsidiary in 2019. “If survivors exhibit bravery in coming forward we must meet them in bravery by standing with them.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview is ‘danger’ to royal family, experts say
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s hotly-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey could deal a major blow to the British monarchy — far worse than Prince Andrew’s disastrous sit-down amid the Jeffrey Epstein saga, royal experts say. Author Pauline Maclaran said she believes that Prince Andrew’s infamous interview about his friendship with the late convicted pedophile Epstein would...
Pamela Anderson eyes $14.9 million for Malibu beach house
'Baywatch' star Pamela Anderson is offering up her place on the beach, asking $14.9 million for her designer compound in Malibu Colony.
Cuomo official Malatras appears to throw cohorts under bus in nursing home denial
A member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 task force on Friday denied any role in changing a Department of Health report to cover up the state’s true nursing home death toll from the coronavirus. The assertion by SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras appeared to place blame for the undercount on officials including Cuomo’s embattled top aide,...