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Boots, Francine note more ‘textured characters’ for women

After being in show biz for almost 50 years, veteran actress Boots Anson Roa has noted that characters these days---particularly those for women---are generally more "textured" than the ones she played early in her career. "My experiences help me interpret my roles better. And my observation is that life was simpler 30, 40, 50 years ago. Now there are more complexities, brought about by different factors, like social media," she said at a press conference for the ongoing GMA 7 soap, "Hanggang sa Dulo ng Buhay Ko." "So, in keeping up with the times, female characters are more textured, more complex," added Boots, who cited her character in the series, Adora, and her relationship...

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Six questions about slavery reparations, answered
If you feel like you're hearing more about slavery reparations, it's not your imagination. The widespread protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd have brought a new urgency to the debate around compensating the descendants of American slaves.
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edition.cnn.com
Overtimes galore: NHL has seen 12 games go long since play resumed on Aug. 1
The five-overtime thriller between the Lightning and Blue Jackets was the best, but 11 other games have gone to extra time.        
usatoday.com
Online prayers. Social distancing in the pews. Christian leaders debate how to do church amid pandemic
Across the U.S., faith leaders are debating how they can continue to pray in fellowship with others while keeping staff and members safe.        
usatoday.com
10 great national parks where you can see natural science
From the night sky at Black Canyon in Colorado to the rainforests of Great Smoky National Park, these are the best spots to see science at work.       
usatoday.com
From ancient trees to towering volcanoes, take in scientific wonders at national parks
Interest in national parks is booming, with crowd-wary Americans drawn to wide open spaces and natural beauty. But they're also great places to learn.       
usatoday.com
Can Testing Students For Coronavirus Twice A Week Prevent Campus Outbreaks?
Some colleges are betting on new, proprietary tests they've developed to keep the college safe. The idea is, test everyone at least twice a week and you can catch most infections early.
npr.org
Need A Laptop? Colleges Boost Loaner Programs Amid Pandemic
One in 10 U.S. college students doesn't have access to a laptop. The pandemic is pushing colleges to change that.
npr.org
A World Champion Slam Poet Pivots To Medicine
Sudanese American Emi Mahmoud achieved massive success as a spoken word artist. Now she's switching things up and pursuing a career in science.
npr.org
Newt Gingrich: Kamala Harris is an anti-Catholic bigot
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s choice as his vice presidential running mate — Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.— is the most openly anti-Catholic bigot to be on a national ticket in modern times.
foxnews.com
Will EVs steer Ferrari into the future?
Ferrari's CEO previously said it won't go offer an EV until 2025 due to battery developments.      
usatoday.com
Your Favorite Face Mask Might Not Be as Protective as You Think
A Duke University Study revealed which mask style does the best job in protecting users from COVID-19.
newsweek.com
Will Our Pandemic Habits Last a Lifetime?
During the past five months, many prognosticators have prognosticated about how the coronavirus pandemic will transform politics, work, travel, education, and other domains. Less sweepingly, but just as powerfully, it will also transform the people who are living through it, rearranging the furniture of their inner life. When this is all over—and perhaps even long after that—how will we be different?For one thing, we’ll better understand the importance of washing our hands. When I interviewed roughly 20 people from across the country about their pandemic-era habits, most of them planned to keep aspects of their new hygiene regimen long into the future, even after the threat of the coronavirus passes. “I will more regularly wash my hands throughout my life and I will never be anywhere without hand sanitizer and a mask,” Leah Burbach, a 27-year-old high-school teacher in Omaha, Nebraska, told me.[Read: The questions that will get me through the pandemic]Those I interviewed said they imagine they’ll continue to be conscientious about how viruses spread and what they can do to protect themselves and others. “I think I’ll wear a mask if I’ve got a cold, now that I understand it’s most effective in keeping me from spreading germs,” said Josh Jackson, a 48-year-old in Decatur, Georgia, and the editor in chief of the culture magazine Paste.Others foresaw themselves avoiding many activities that are currently risky, possibly for the rest of their life. “I’ve heard wonderful things about Alaskan cruises and had always hoped to go on one someday. No more,” said Jaclyn Reiswig, a 39-year-old homemaker in Aurora, Colorado. “Packing so many strangers together just gives me the germ creeps now.” Also on the list of destinations that made people wary were gyms, indoor concerts, public pools, and restaurant buffets.Though people may feel as if their habits have been changed forever, these careful behaviors may not persist once they’re less urgently necessary. Katy Milkman, a behavioral scientist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told me that habits are more likely to stick if they are accompanied by “repeated rewards.” If the threat of the virus is neutralized, she said, “the reward for scrubbing your hands won’t endure, and I think the average person will go back to a simpler routine.”The pandemic “looms large right now because it’s our everything,” Milkman said. “Certainly there will be some stickiness [in people’s behaviors], and no one’s ever going to forget going through this, but I think people are overestimating the degree to which their future actions will be shaped by the current circumstances.”But even if our behaviors do fade, perhaps our mental landscapes will remain changed. Some people I reached out to said that the pandemic had infiltrated their dreams, possibly lastingly. “These days I have ordinary dream problems, only they happen in an environment where doing ordinary things will kill me,” said Jane Brooks, who’s 54 and works at a software company in Seattle. “I touch a dream hand railing and know the clock is now ticking on my death.” She fears that these scenarios will populate her dreams even after the pandemic is over: Growing up during the Cold War in a small town in Alabama, she was haunted by nightmares that blended apocalypses both nuclear and Christian. The dreams started when she was about 5 and didn’t recede until well into adulthood.[Photos: The visual landscape of a world shaped by pandemic]The pandemic may also alter the way we think about social interactions. Alyssa, a 17-year-old high-school senior in northern Indiana, said that it “was a rather extreme wake-up call to the fact … that the things you hold on to dearly can be taken away nearly instantly.” She expects that this lesson will give her heightened FOMO—fear of missing out—and make her more likely to say yes to social invitations well into the future. (I’ve identified her by only her first name to protect her privacy.)The flip side of this renewed appetite for socializing is that more than one person told me that they expect to be less trusting of strangers. “I’m generally more fearful of people,” Burbach said. “Men on the street have demanded that I take my mask off. People get too close to me.”The seriousness with which someone treated the pandemic might become one more trait that Americans use to size up new acquaintances. Marge Smith, a 53-year-old clinical psychologist in New Orleans, said that while she’s usually “willing to befriend people who are diametrically opposed in terms of their beliefs or attitudes,” she won’t want to spend time with people who were more preoccupied with, say, being able to dine out or go on vacation than with doing all they could to keep the virus from spreading. “It’s likely to be a question going forward when I meet people,” she told me.A clear historical precedent for a traumatic, drawn-out collective experience that scars the American populace is the Great Depression. The roughly decade-long crisis led many people, later in life, to fear discarding anything that might turn out to be useful. “That’s definitely part of [what came out] of adapting to the hardships of the ’30s and then moving into a period that’s really quite well-to-do,” said Glen H. Elder, Jr., a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of the book Children of the Great Depression, first published in 1974.One reason he thinks the Depression affected so many people permanently was simply its duration. For an extended period, it “called upon people to do a lot of things that they would not [otherwise] have been called upon to do.” For instance, in some of the hundreds of families he studied, children were expected to cook family dinners, deliver packages, or mow the grass; this shaped how many went on to think about the appropriate amount of responsibilities to assign to their own children.But Elder said that the long-term effects of living through a global crisis are “idiosyncratic” and vary from person to person: “Everyone has their own experiences.”Duration is perhaps the key to understanding why another global tragedy, the 1918–19 influenza pandemic, didn’t seem to shape people’s habits much in the long term. “The whole thing was very swift,” John Barry, the author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, told me. During the pandemic’s second and third waves, when daily life was affected most, Americans typically endured no more than a few months of disruption. And unlike today, “the stress was not continuous,” Barry noted—in many places there were “several months of relative normalcy in between” the two waves. (The first wave was far milder, and didn’t interrupt daily rhythms.)Children at a nursery school in England gargle as a precaution against the flu in 1938. (Reg Speller / Fox Photos / Getty)In 2020, five months—and counting—of deviating from our previously normal routines have given us an opportunity to reevaluate old habits. “Normally we go about our daily lives and … tend not to change our” behaviors, Milkman said. “We need some sort of triggering event that leads us to step back and think bigger-picture.”[Read: The pre-pandemic universe was the fiction]This trigger can come in the form of a “temporal landmark”—Milkman has studied the importance of recurring ones, such as new years, new weeks, and birthdays, in prompting behavior adjustments—or a change, big or small, that interrupts well-trodden patterns. “We’ve got both things going on with the pandemic,” she said. “There’s a mental time boundary—everyone’s like, ‘Whoa, in March of 2020, I opened a new chapter’—and we have this constraint [of social distancing] that forces us to explore new things. So it’s a double whammy.”In this way, the pandemic has led to welcome discoveries for some. “After being locked indoors for months I realized my skin and hair look great without any products, expensive creams, serums, conditioners, or treatments,” said Lizzette Arroyo, a 34-year-old in Ontario, California, who teaches community-college economics classes. She anticipates that, after the pandemic, she’ll greatly reduce her previously $100-a-month skin-care budget, and buy less new clothing and wear less makeup as well.Naomi Thyden, a 31-year-old doctoral student in Minnesota, said that she’s been happily wearing a bra less often during the pandemic, including out of the house. “The only reason a lot of people wear bras is because our breasts, as they exist naturally, are deemed inappropriate by society,” she told me. “For some people bras provide needed support, but for a lot of us they serve no other purpose and are uncomfortable.”And Caitlin Kunkel, a 36-year-old writer and humorist living in Brooklyn, has stopped carrying a big bag when she leaves the house, because she’s no longer out and about for extended periods. She expects she’ll be less likely to bring it with her even after the pandemic. “I’ve gotten used to not having shooting pain up my left shoulder,” she said. “That big shoulder bag full of 12 hours’ [worth] of stuff is a relic of 2019 and before.”The constraints of the present moment have even helped some break established, unhealthy habits. Smith, the New Orleanian, has been smoking for most of the past 40 years, but she quit six weeks ago. “The pandemic was a time when I really couldn’t go anywhere or do much of anything and I felt this was a good time to start, since any crabbiness wouldn’t impact anyone else,” she told me. Likewise, Zach Millard, a 28-year-old in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, used to have about 15 to 20 drinks a week, in part because it soothed his social anxiety. But when the pandemic kept him at home, he started drinking less and reflecting on his habit. “If COVID-19 never happened … I would have barreled right into alcoholism,” he told me. He’s now down to two or three drinks a week.Of course, the pandemic can just as easily promote unwelcome behaviors. “In general, the more out of control [peoples’] life circumstances, the more stressed they feel by what is going on around them, and the less social support people experience, the more vulnerable they are to using maladaptive coping,” Bethany Brand, a clinical-psychology professor at Towson University, told me. That can manifest as excessive sleeping or drinking, among other things. Further, Brand said, the threats of the pandemic can fuel anxiety, including after they’re gone.“I struggle with anxiety so it’s basically hit me in the face during this,” said Alex Tanguay, who’s 30 and works in TV-news production in Tempe, Arizona. “Anything that comes into the apartment, I’m disinfecting.” She told me she feels as if she might be paranoid, but at the same time she wants to keep her roommate and co-workers safe. (She’s been going to work in person.)A young girl sits inside a painted social-distancing circle in a New York City park in May. (Stephanie Keith / Getty)One thing that’s given Tanguay some comfort, though, is doing puzzles, and I heard of many stress-relieving activities that people had recently adopted, beyond the pandemic clichés of watching more Netflix and baking sourdough bread. People have been spending more time meditating, birding, gardening, cooking, and sewing. Alexander Aquino, a TV and film editor in Los Angeles, said the pandemic has led him to check in more regularly with friends and family, something he hopes to maintain well into the future. Zeeshan Butt, a health psychologist in Oak Park, Illinois, has started riding 50 to 75 miles a week on his bike. “Before the pandemic, I rode next to never,” he said.The most unusual stress reliever I heard about was from Millard. Each morning, he puts on some soft music and works his way through the pile of dirty dishes and kitchenware deposited the previous night by him and his three roommates, scrubbing away in the early light. “The hot water washing over my hands and the steam hitting my face brings this unique sense of calmness to me as I’m still waking up for the day,” he said. “It’s similar to a hot shower.”Although Millard thinks the dishwashing habit may taper off after the pandemic—he’d have to wake up early to do it and still get to work on time—many of these new routines, hobbies, and preferences may remain after the pandemic subsides. Milkman pointed me to a 2017 paper, titled “The Benefits of Forced Experimentation,” that studied the commuting paths of Londoners before and after a public-transit strike that shut down some Tube stations for two days. The service interruption led many people to come up with new routes to work—and some of them, an estimated 5 percent, found that their new route was better than their old one. They stuck with it even after the strike ended.This is how Milkman thinks about which behaviors might outlast this era, and which will fade. “If what they discovered is overall actually better [than what they used to do], then it’ll stick,” she said. In contrast, behaviors like hand-washing and mask wearing would be more likely to abate if the threat of the virus—and thus the reward of keeping up those habits—recedes. In other words, most of us will probably revert to our old ways—except for when, through awful circumstances, we stumbled upon new ones that work better.
theatlantic.com
Coronavirus updates: Florida approves return of high school sports
At least 168,446 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S.
abcnews.go.com
UFC legend Daniel Cormier looks back on his career ahead of final fight
A former two-division world champion, Daniel Cormier looks ahead to his final fight, and to life outside of the Octagon, with CNN World Sport's Don Riddell.
edition.cnn.com
Trump Says He Will Protect Cops Who Attack Protesters: 'You Gotta Be Able to Fight'
The president was speaking at a mini-rally with members of the New York City Police Benevolent Association.
newsweek.com
Orchestras return to the stage with new social distancing measures in place
As musicians return to perform in concert halls around the world, orchestras and audiences are having to adapt to a new social-distanced normal.
edition.cnn.com
Portland police declare unlawful assembly amid protests
Portland police declared an unlawful assembly Friday night and ordered protesters to leave, saying people were throwing things at officers
abcnews.go.com
Dismiss Minor Misdemeanors During the Pandemic
My husband and I are both public defenders in Maryland. Last week, he attended his first scheduled bench trial since the courts were closed in March. The client, witnesses, court staff, and attorneys were all expected to appear in court and potentially be exposed to COVID-19. And for what? To adjudicate a misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of property worth less than $1,000.Even as the pandemic has forced this country to rethink seemingly every facet of American life, the criminal courts continue the routine processing and prosecution of petty misdemeanor crimes. My co-workers have had to appear in court to represent clients on traffic cases, charges of simple drug possession, disorderly conduct, and other misdemeanors. But this business-as-usual approach to minor offenses is immoral and dangerous. People charged with misdemeanors during the pandemic should receive amnesty.Nearly 13 million misdemeanor cases clog American criminal-court dockets every year. Black and brown people are disproportionately charged with these offenses, which largely arise from housing instability, poverty, and racist policing practices. The country punishes people for actions taken in the furtherance of survival, and in the throes of addiction and mental-health struggles. The process of charging, arresting, prosecuting, and punishing these types of offenses does nothing to deter future conduct, because it does nothing to change the material conditions and structural inequities that affect the lives of the accused every day.[Conor Friedersdorf: Let People Out of Jail]Because many trials were on hold through the spring and early summer, the already-overloaded caseload has only swelled. Those who couldn’t afford or weren’t given bail have been languishing even longer than usual behind bars, many without a trial date. Now courts across Maryland have been slowly opening this summer. Those at home, who were released before and during the pandemic, are being called to return to the courthouse for their trial, risking their safety. Some of these cases will be dismissed in court; what used to simply cost people’s time now may cost their health too.Prosecutors’ answer to the mounting backlog of cases caused by COVID-19 seems to be not amnesty, but plea deals. Even under normal circumstances, pleas are coercive. Accept the scarlet letter of a conviction—along with the lifetime of collateral consequences—in exchange for a lesser punishment now, or face the merciless wrath of the prosecutor and the court later. But plea deals have become even more coercive and barbaric during the pandemic. Take a plea deal or risk a day in court that may expose you, your family, and your community to COVID-19. The coronavirus makes every charge, no matter how minor, a potential death penalty.Postponing these cases any longer, until trials are safe, is unrealistic. No one knows when that time will come, and many people who can’t afford bail will wait indefinitely behind bars, where COVID-19 rates have been high. Besides, simply putting cases on hold violates the constitutional right to a speedy trial. Protecting this right is important: It keeps evidence and witnesses fresh and allows complainants and the accused to move forward with their life more quickly.Dismissing broad categories of misdemeanor cases is the obvious solution. Mass amnesty is not new. Andrew Johnson famously granted wholesale amnesty in 1868 to traitorous Confederate soldiers who fought to defend slavery. Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of people who skirted the draft during the Vietnam War. Ronald Reagan signed a law granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before 1982. There are plenty more familiar and less controversial examples of amnesty. Forty states and D.C. have passed laws that reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for people who overdose on drugs and for the people who call 911 to get them medical help.[Read: Releasing People From Prison Is Easier Said Than Done]Though prosecutors often articulate a fierce loyalty to alleged victims of crimes, their intended role is to represent and protect the entire community. When balancing the minor loss of property against the health and safety of our neighbors during a pandemic, public health must come first. In April, in response to the backlog growing amid the pandemic, a district attorney’s office in Shasta County, California, dismissed more than 6,500 old low-level cases. Many more prosecutors’ offices can and should move to dismiss pending misdemeanor cases. Charges such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, simple drug possession, and prostitution should be an easy call for prosecutors to dismiss en masse. But crimes with some financial loss, such as theft and malicious destruction of property, should be included in any amnesty project as well.By dismissing these cases ahead of the trial date, prosecutors won’t gamble with the health and safety of the judges, bailiffs, witnesses, clients, attorneys, clerks, and other people whose presence is necessary to hold a criminal trial. Mass dismissal of these cases will also lower jail populations. And local governments could reallocate resources normally used to prosecute thousands of low-level offenses to restitution funds.The legal system is usually slow to evolve, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that reality. But how many lives must be risked to uphold the status quo? And if Black lives truly matter, what is the justification for putting the health of mostly Black defendants, families, and witnesses in danger over something as trivial as a misdemeanor property crime? At its core, amnesty is a recognition that there are more important things in this world than punishment. The country can’t keep measuring justice through the length of a jail sentence, or the amount of a restitution order, while a pandemic rages.
theatlantic.com
What do concerts look like post-Covid-19?
Whilst performing arts struggle to return to concert halls around the world, orchestras and audiences are having to adapt to a new socially-distanced normal.
edition.cnn.com
California Rep. Says 'Presidential Crimes Commission' a Must After 'We Escape Trump Hell'
Eric Swalwell accused the president of "sabotaging the mail" ahead of the election in November amid a spat over funding of the U.S. Postal Service.
1 h
newsweek.com
Sea lion deaths OK'd for Pacific Northwest as feds look to help threatened fish
Federal officials on Friday approved the killing of more than 700 California and Stellar sea lions along the Columbia River over the next five years in an effort to save endangered salmon and steelhead trout, according to reports.
1 h
foxnews.com
Aroldis Chapman could return to Yankees’ lineup this weekend
While the Yankees’ outfield added another big name to the injured list on Friday when Aaron Judge went down with a right calf strain and joined Giancarlo Stanton, the bullpen might be getting a big reinforcement. Closer Aroldis Chapman faced live hitters at the alternate training site on Friday. Though manager Aaron Boone hadn’t received...
1 h
nypost.com
Mitch McConnell challenger Amy McGrath replaces campaign manager: report
With less than three months to go before Election Day, Amy McGrath, the Democratic nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky, has reportedly hired a new campaign manager.
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foxnews.com
Opinion: Relieved by a nuclear bomb? These readers were in 1945
Some readers who identified themselves as service members or civilians during World War II recall welcoming the decision to use atomic bombs.
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latimes.com
Letters to the Editor: We've stopped listening and started yelling at each other. Here's why
We've been fed a steady diet of cable news opinion makers who'd rather win the argument than come to an understanding.
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latimes.com
Sen. John Barrasso: A coronavirus vaccine is coming — get it for you, your family and our country
America is close to a coronavirus vaccine. It is the path forward for our nation and the world. Everyone who can take it should.
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foxnews.com
Letters to the Editor: Sorry, parents, your kid's happiness is less important than everyone's survival
Just because children are at low risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, it doesn't mean parents should be less careful with them.
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latimes.com
Letters to the Editor: Trump isn't waiting until Nov. 3 to steal the election. Act now to save the U.S. Postal Service
President Trump's undermining of the Postal Service to hinder mail-in voting is being met with silence by the GOP and hollow denunciations by the Democrats.
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latimes.com
Letters to the Editor: Kamala Harris' and Joe Biden's decency isn't enough to beat Trump's cheating
Thanks, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, for your honesty and intelligence. Now, it's time to think like a cheater to defeat Donald Trump.
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latimes.com
Call Off the Party Police
State and local officials across the country are unleashing a new weapon in America’s war against the coronavirus: the cops. Citing parties as the cause of recent clusters of infections in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker recently authorized state and local police to crack down on public and private gatherings that violate social-distancing guidelines. The sheriff’s office in New York City took on new coronavirus duties, including the enforcement of party bans. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city will shut off power and water to residences where large gatherings take place, and the county public-health department, in what it described as a “legally binding order,” declared that party hosts will be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.As long as any clusters of infections are linked to parties, public-health officials will need to figure out how to help people avoid these dangers. Public health is a service industry, and it cannot serve customers without first trying to understand them. Instead of yelling at people for being careless and selfish—a perfectly understandable reaction—let’s start by asking why people are partying.The end of the coronavirus pandemic is not, unfortunately, nigh. As these months drag on, people are seeking out social contact not out of selfishness but because, like going to the grocery store, human connection is an essential activity. Americans are experiencing a pervasive, long-term collective trauma, and our endurance will come from the relationships we’re able to sustain during the pandemic. Social capital—that is, the norms, values, and connections that people share—is an important determinant of how well they can weather and recover from a crisis. If public-health professionals want Americans to persist, they need to adopt messaging and policies that minimize infection while also maximizing resilience and well-being. Instead of turning partygoers into criminals, officials can offer safer ways for people to stay connected—and support struggling businesses in the process—by opening, redesigning, and loosening restrictions on the use of outdoor spaces.Enforcement of social distancing may be ramping up now, but Americans have already spent the past six months policing one another’s behavior. People have been widely shamed for enjoying themselves, even when their fun is relatively innocuous—picnicking in the park, jogging with friends, or simply sprawling out in the sun, margarita in hand. Beach photos have become the iconic image of thoughtless, irresponsible behavior during the pandemic. The underlying message is clear: In this pandemic, pleasure is inessential, even intrinsically suspicious.This preconception has consequences. Outraged by people frolicking on the lakeshore this week in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent the police to barricade the beaches—a relatively low-risk setting for transmission—and threatened to shut them down. The combination of criminalization and unscientific moralism is ineffective and counterproductive, and often leads authorities to take actions that may yield more infection.The coronavirus isn’t the first pathogen that public officials have sent the cops to fight. In 34 states, potentially exposing someone to HIV—including, in some cases, through sexual activity that poses little to no risk of transmission—is a crime. Those laws have been an abject failure. Even if punishment were an appropriate response, structural racism ensures that it is not meted out fairly: In California, for example, Black and Latino people make up half of those with HIV but two-thirds of defendants in HIV-criminalization cases. In a case reported by Steven Thrasher in BuzzFeed News in 2015, the college wrestler Michael Johnson, who is Black, was prosecuted in Missouri for lying to his partners about his HIV status. After a trial rife with demeaning racial and sexual tropes, Johnson was sentenced to 30 years and served five before being freed.No evidence indicates that the laws in question have reduced rates of condomless sex or new HIV infections. Instead, they likely increase transmission. When people know they could be punished for not disclosing their HIV status, they avoid getting tested. In the end, the only thing that criminalization succeeds in deterring is engagement in crucial public-health efforts, especially in marginalized communities that already bear the burden of the epidemic.Before governors and mayors use police to enforce social-distancing guidelines, they should first ask: How much of a problem are parties, really? Whether these gatherings contribute more to the pandemic than other factors, such as indoor dining or unsafe work conditions, is unknown—except, perhaps, to health departments, which rarely release contact-tracing data to the public. Media reports, though, create the impression that parties are central to the problem. Last month, news broke that college students in Alabama had been throwing “COVID parties,” putting money in a pot that went to whoever could catch the virus first. “It makes me furious,” the Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told CNN. One news outlet after another picked up this salacious tale, and it exploded on social media, where users decried the alleged partygoers for their stupidity and selfishness.The Tuscaloosa parties turned out to be nothing more than hearsay. A similar story fell apart in May when officials in Walla Walla County, Washington, retracted their assertion that residents were exposing themselves to the coronavirus intentionally. But before being debunked, both claims circulated widely. Moral outrage is just too tempting.Even if people aren’t intentionally trying to get themselves infected, run-of-the-mill gatherings—baby showers, retirement parties, keggers—are indeed happening, and communities need a strategy for reducing their size and frequency. But instead of learning from past mistakes, officials are repeating them.Look no further than New York City to see how this will play out. When police were authorized to enforce social-distancing guidelines, nearly all the arrests were of Black and Latino residents, including several who were punched in the face or knocked unconscious by police officers. In the meantime, not a single ticket was issued in Park Slope, a wealthy and predominantly white neighborhood, despite the crowds that gathered there in Prospect Park. It’s no surprise that New York City’s contact-tracing program, a public-health tool that relies on trust, has had limited success in getting information from people who test positive, who tend to live in the very neighborhoods that have been targeted by law enforcement.In a strategy that may produce the same results as New York City’s, Baker, the governor of Massachusetts, is calling for more intensive law enforcement in areas with the highest rates of transmission—which disproportionately include communities of color. He has also threatened to shut down parks and playgrounds in such areas. Punitive approaches like this will only drive people indoors, where the risk of transmission is greater.Others have better ideas. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer in British Columbia, has set an example of highly effective public-health leadership while largely avoiding mandates and police involvement. She has imposed reasonable restrictions with an empathetic approach that sustained the public’s willingness to comply with social-distancing measures. As Henry learned from her experience with Ebola in Uganda, the most effective way to promote healthy behavior during public-health emergencies is with clear communication and support, not punitive measures. Her primary approach to social-distancing recommendations, including parties, has been frequent, compassionate communication with the public, with fines levied only as a last resort. “This is our time to be kind, to be calm, and to be safe,” she regularly reassures British Columbians. As she told The New York Times, “That’s the only way as a community we can get through this without traumatizing people.” Henry is so well loved that a designer shoe was created in her honor.Compassionate messaging can go a long way toward building trust and supporting healthier behavior, but it’s not the only tool at our disposal. Public-health professionals can use contact-tracing efforts and research studies to understand what drives high-risk behaviors and which interventions would help people forgo those activities. State officials can collaborate with community leaders, especially in hard-hit neighborhoods, to promote attractive alternatives to indoor gatherings. In redesigned outdoor spaces, people can safely exercise, listen to local musicians, watch theater performances, and enjoy food and beverage trucks. The city of Oakland, California, has created miles of “slow streets” where residents can recreate and interact with plenty of distancing, transforming the city into one that’s more walkable, bikeable, and—yes—fun. Permitting to-go drinks from restaurants and bars, and letting people consume them outside with appropriate limitations, could lure partygoers out of their home. In Toronto, loosened rules around licensing of outdoor spaces allowed a beach-themed beer garden to pop up in a parking lot, complete with food from local restaurants and sand, in a neighborhood where few residents have access to private outdoor space. Too hot in the summer? Bring in the misting fans. Too cold in the winter? Set up the heat lamps.Policing won’t help Americans persevere during this ordeal; compassion and creativity will. Indoor gatherings are not advisable during a pandemic, but scolding and retribution will only impede public-health efforts. If officials want to help people avoid the potential harms of parties, they need to earn the public’s trust as partners who offer scientific and practical advice on how to sustain well-being in a pandemic—not as law enforcers from whom the public will want to hide.
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theatlantic.com
The Country That Was Built to Fall Apart
Why secession, separatism, and disunion are the most American of values.
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slate.com
Robinson Cano has big night in return to Mets’ lineup
Robinson Cano was the Mets’ hottest hitter before he went on the injured list and though his homer and RBI single weren’t enough Friday night, Cano looked like he picked up where he left off. Serving as the DH in his first game back from a left groin strain, Cano hit a long home run...
2 h
nypost.com
Two boys selling lemonade were robbed at gunpoint. Then their community stepped in to help
An Illinois community is rallying behind two 13-year-old boys after their lemonade stand was robbed at gunpoint.
2 h
edition.cnn.com
Cannon Hinnant’s death draws more than $560G in donations for NC family: report
Members of the public who were shocked by the shooting death of a 5-year-old North Carolina boy last weekend have contributed more than $560,000 to the child’s family in less than a week, according to a report.
2 h
foxnews.com
Giants’ Marc Colombo: Andrew Thomas offensive line ‘alpha male’
Andrew Thomas was widely acknowledged as the most NFL-ready left tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft. His new offensive line coach with the Giants, Marc Colombo, sounds as if he agrees with this assessment. “Andrew is a tremendous football player,’’ Colombo said Friday. The compliment came and went and the two are forging a relationship...
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nypost.com
Talking Animals Is a Scathing Allegory About Capitalism Starring an Alpaca
The animals in Joni Murphy's novel grapple with unjust hierarchies and climate change.
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slate.com
Aaron Judge’s injury history brings a troubling question
He is 28 years old, and suddenly troubling questions, chilling questions for the Yankees and Yankees fans, surround Aaron Judge: Have we already seen the best of him? Will he ever stay on the field long enough to again be the most feared face of the franchise? The imposing Sultan of Swat who bashed 52...
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nypost.com
Overcrowded, overpriced and overwhelmed. The UK's staycation nightmare
Beaches strewn with waste, wild campers destroying fragile habitats, warnings from an increasingly overstretched Coastguard, unaffordable accommodations. What was supposed to have been a Great British summer has, for many, become a staycation nightmare.
2 h
edition.cnn.com
Overcrowded, overpriced and overwhelmed: The UK's Covid-19 staycation nightmare
After months of lockdown, a summer break should've been a chance for Brits to relax. Instead, with limited foreign travel options, huge demand for staycations has led to ugly scenes around the United Kingdom.
2 h
edition.cnn.com
Expect record heat from California to Texas this weekend
Over 80 million people are under excessive heat alerts this weekend with records possible in over 10 states.
2 h
edition.cnn.com
Can Air Conditioners Spread COVID-19?
People are worried that the virus could be spread by air conditioning systems. Here's what researchers do — and don't yet — know.
2 h
npr.org
Donald Trump keeps blasting 'universal' mail voting. But few states are planning that in November
Fewer than 1 out of 5 states plan to automatically send ballots to all voters. Even in these states, in-person voting will remain an option.        
2 h
usatoday.com
A Zoom Convention Just Isn’t the Same
So many simple pleasures are gone, casualties of the pandemic. Baseball games. Live concerts. Summertime parades. One civic ritual that’s neither simple nor necessarily pleasurable is also withering under the virus’s spread: the presidential nominating convention as we know it. Starting next week, the parties will hold stripped-down versions of the quadrennial gatherings to formalize the Donald Trump–Joe Biden matchup, creating, perhaps, a template for the future. It’s been evident for years the conventions have outlived their original purpose; there’s never any real mystery as to who will come away with the nomination. Yet they’ve also produced surprising speeches and unexpected dramas that have upended the nation’s politics. Those sorts of moments could be lost forever if the conventions don’t return in more than minimalist form.In some ways, the choreographed conventions of old won’t be missed. “They’re completely obsolete—they never matter anymore,” Susan Estrich, who ran the Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis’s 1988 campaign and has helped manage several conventions, told me. Brian Ballard, a Trump fundraiser, is every bit as blunt. “Conventions are going away, and this may be the beginning of the end of them,” he told me.For safety, the parties are pushing much of the proceedings online. Biden won’t travel to Milwaukee, the Democratic convention’s host city, for his speech accepting the nomination. Trump still hasn’t revealed exactly where he’ll be for his own address during the Republican convention, but he’s been loath to let the virus trample his moment. His campaign anticipates a mix of videos and live events, culminating in an acceptance speech whose location has ping-ponged up and down the East Coast as his variable moods dictate.This week, he teased that he’ll give the speech at either the White House or the old Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, both settings that raise ethical questions about the use of public resources for a partisan purpose. (I was interviewing Walter Shaub, a former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and a Trump critic, at the moment the president tweeted that he might give the speech at Gettysburg. “Holy crap! Oh my God,” Shaub said when I read him the tweet. “Gettysburg is a national park! Basically, a political party is seizing control of a public park if that happens.” Shaub’s old office issued an opinion earlier this week that Trump is legally permitted to give the speech from the White House should he choose to.)[Read: How Americans became part of the Trump family]Mary Trump, the president’s niece and the author of a new book about him, Too Much and Never Enough, told me that holding the event at a taxpayer-owned site might have to suffice for a president deprived of the thrill that comes with gazing out at a rapt audience. “He acts like a toddler,” she said. “It may not be as fun or gratifying for him, because he won’t get the energy from the crowds. But it will mean that he’s pulling rank … And that will be fun for him.”Faulting Trump for his insistence on a camera-friendly show at the expense of long-standing norms and, possibly, federal ethics laws is easy enough. But while the scale and audacity of Trump’s plans surpass that of his predecessors, the political world has long used the conventions to maximum advantage.Starting with their birth in the 1830s, the conventions were primarily tools for party bosses to pick the nominees. The delegates at the 1924 Democratic convention in New York City took more than 100 ballots to settle on a candidate. Reforms passed after the 1968 conventions forced delegates to vote according to their state’s primary results, democratizing the method of determining the winners. From that point on, a delegate’s main role has been to ratify a preordained nominee.“People talk as if ‘Jeez, maybe Bernie Sanders will get the nomination after all,’ or ‘What do we do if the convention is gridlocked?’ Come on!” says Byron E. Shafer, a University of Wisconsin political-science professor who wrote about conventions in his book Bifurcated Politics. “The same people might as well believe that Ulysses S. Grant is about to return and be president.”Over the years, the conventions have become over-the-top vehicles to reintroduce the ticket and showcase rising political talent. Hollywood inspiration and corporate money have combined to keep the audience enthralled while delivering the nominees a polling bounce. The producer of the Super Bowl halftime show has helped stage Democratic conventions for years. Movie executives have produced the polished films “introducing” the candidates. Most Americans probably didn’t realize that when Bill Clinton called himself the “comeback kid” on the night of his nomination in 1992, the line had been suggested for him by an old friend, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who’d gained fame by creating the hit TV shows Evening Shade and Designing Women.All the extravagance isn’t cheap. Over the years, the parties have enlisted big businesses and lobbyists to help underwrite the show, injecting whiffs of influence pedaling. On the sidelines, banks, retailers, and other well-heeled groups host parties during the conventions to forge closer ties to people in power. COVID-19 could permanently put an end to the four-day spectacles if this year’s experiments work out. A virtual convention is, at some level, political operatives’ dream, because so much more is under their tight control. Logistics aren’t as messy, travel costs not nearly as high. Elaine Kamarck, a Democratic delegate from Massachusetts, told me she’s already voted virtually for the party’s platform and rules, and cast her ballot for Biden to be the party’s nominee. “A lot depends on how these two conventions look and how many viewers they attract,” said Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Primary Politics. “If the conventions are really well produced, then the traditional in-the-hall cheering may not come back.” On Wednesday, the third night of the Democratic convention, many Massachusetts delegates will be watching the action not in Milwaukee, but on a big-screen TV at the old Suffolk Downs horse-race track in East Boston.Fewer people in attendance means less can go wrong. A running drama before the 2016 Democratic convention was whether Sanders supporters would try to embarrass the nominee, Hillary Clinton. And indeed, they did. When the Vermont senator implored his supporters to elect Clinton during a speech, they booed.[Read: Bernie Sanders supporters: ‘People are going to protest’]Nothing like that should unfold when Democrats meet next week. Only a couple hundred people are expected in Milwaukee, down from the tens of thousands that the party had anticipated before the coronavirus took hold. No state delegations will be coming. Wisconsin officials will call the convention to order and deliver speeches live from the Wisconsin Center. Production crews will package feeds and send them out to TV audiences. For the nominee, the upside is “you don’t have to listen to dissident delegates—they’re all at home,” says Shafer, who has attended every convention since 1980. “They can’t mount a counter-demonstration—they’re not there. They can’t walk out—because they can’t walk in.”Gone too, though, is the raucous interplay between the party speakers and the crowd. While Trump may well get his grand backdrop, he won’t be able to re-create the thrill of an arena audience chanting “Four more years!” before the balloons drop. Tamer livestream events could also drive away the TV audience he craves. Whatever pitch he makes to undecided voters—if he even makes one—won’t matter if no one is watching.“Do you really think the people in the middle are going to turn off Hulu and Netflix and YouTube and say, ‘I want to hear another Trump speech from the White House castigating Biden’? No,” Estrich told me. “And Biden? Let’s face it. He has many strengths as a leader; a memorable speaker is not one of them. He’s given two acceptance speeches at conventions. Can you remember a single line?”Should the conventions permanently fade, would-be stars could miss their chance to launch. A fair argument can be made that Barack Obama wouldn’t have become president had he not delivered his memorable keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. (“There’s not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America—there’s the United States of America.”) And the nation’s shared political lore will inevitably suffer. Hard as the organizers work to stave off unwanted drama, reality always intrudes, revealing some important truths about the fraught state of our politics.When Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spoke at the 2016 GOP convention, he was booed for not endorsing Trump—an episode that drove home the bitter divide that Trump’s GOP takeover had spawned. (Cruz and Trump would later set aside differences and become allies.) When Bill Clinton gave a 35-minute speech at the 1988 convention, cheers rose up when he announced he was nearly done. The cold rebuke may have made an impression: Four years later, he won the presidency partly on the strength of speeches that appealed to voters struggling through a recession. In a blow to party unity, a defeated Ted Kennedy refused at the 1980 Democratic convention to give President Jimmy Carter what he wanted: a photo of the two standing together onstage, hands clasped and raised high.“I would hate to lose the theater of politics, which is so important to keeping people captivated,” Mike McCurry, Clinton’s former White House press secretary, told me. A virtual convention may be safer. It may be cheaper. It may be the future. But it will be inescapably more bland. And we’ll be poorer for it.
2 h
theatlantic.com
New Zealand records seven new cases as latest outbreak continues
2 h
edition.cnn.com
Mets’ Jeff McNeil feared worst after ‘scary’ crash into wall
Jeff McNeil was afraid he’d suffered more than a contusion to his left knee when he crashed into the left-field fence making a run-saving catch of an Asdrubal Cabrera fly ball to end the first inning of Thursday’s win over the Nationals at Citi Field. He didn’t play in the Mets’ 6-5 loss to the...
3 h
nypost.com
Mega Millions Results, Numbers for 8/14/20: Did Anyone Win the $31 Million?
The largest ever Mega Millions jackpot was won on October 23, 2018, with the lucky winner taking home $1.586 billion prize.
3 h
newsweek.com
Kamala Harris Was Picked for VP to 'To Insulate Joe Biden From Racism' Fox Guest Says
Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell appeared on Fox News wearing a MAGA hat and criticized the nomination.
3 h
newsweek.com
This was familiar, but not normal Jets training camp opener
It felt good. It felt familiar. The opening of Jets training camp, the first day on the field, began with a greeting from owner Christopher Johnson as he surveyed his 2020 team for the first time together on the field. It was shortly after 9:30 Friday morning and the entire roster was assembled at the...
3 h
nypost.com