Generally
Gov. Cuomo’s pathetic bid to blame New York Post for his nursing home horrors
Now Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s trying to blame the messenger — that is, The Post — for New York’s nursing-home disaster. His health commissioner, Howard Zucker, ordered homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients — indeed, to admit them without testing. Thousands are dead, and the order is now effectively rescinded, yet the gov still pretends it’s a...
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nypost.com
The scariest movie in quarantine is actually a game unfolding on Instagram
"Arcana," a new game with an old Los Angeles murder at its center, is reviving the ARG (alternate-reality game) format by utilizing Instagram.
latimes.com
Chicago to resume outdoor dining next week, while NYC still has no plan
“We’ll also see the partial reopening of restaurants and coffee shops with a focus on outdoor space,” said Lightfoot in a press briefing, according to Eater.
nypost.com
Rachael Ray is doing the only live cooking show on daytime TV
Rachael Ray says that producing live cooking segments for her daytime talk show during the pandemic, from her home in upstate New York, has worked better than she expected.
nypost.com
Section 230, the internet free speech law Trump wants to change, explained
President Trump has signed an executive order that could threaten social media companies like Facebook and Twitter. | Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images The pillar of internet free speech is Trump’s latest target. You may have never heard of it, but Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the legal backbone of the internet. The law was created almost 30 years ago to protect internet platforms from liability for many of the things third parties say or do on them. And now it’s under threat by one of its biggest beneficiaries: President Trump, who hopes to use it to fight back against the social media platforms he believes are unfairly censoring him and other conservative voices. Section 230 says that internet platforms that host third-party content — think of tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook, photos on Instagram, reviews on Yelp, or a news outlet’s reader comments — are not liable for what those third parties post (with a few exceptions). For instance, if a Yelp reviewer were to post something defamatory about a business, the business could sue the reviewer for libel, but it couldn’t sue Yelp. Without Section 230’s protections, the internet as we know it today would not exist. If the law were taken away, many websites driven by user-generated content would likely go dark. The gravity of the situation might be lost on the president. Trump is using this threat to bully social media platforms like Twitter into letting him post whatever he wants after Twitter put a warning label that links to a fact-checking site on two of his recent tweets. To illustrate why there’s much more at stake than Trump’s tweets, here’s a look at how Section 230 went from an amendment to a law about internet porn to the pillar of internet free speech to Trump’s latest weapon against perceived anti-conservative bias in the media. Section 230’s salacious origins In the early ’90s, the internet was still in its relatively unregulated infancy. There was a lot of porn floating around platforms like AOL and the World Wide Web where anyone, including our nation’s impressionable children, could see it. This alarmed some lawmakers. In an attempt to regulate this situation, in 1995 lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill called the Communications Decency Act which would extend to the internet laws governing obscene and indecent use of telephone services. This would also make websites and platforms responsible for any indecent or obscene things their users posted. In the midst of this was a lawsuit between two companies you might recognize: Stratton Oakmont and Prodigy. The former is featured in The Wolf of Wall Street, and the latter was a pioneer of the early internet. But in 1995, Stratton Oakmont sued Prodigy for defamation after an anonymous user claimed on a Prodigy bulletin board that the financial company’s president engaged in fraudulent acts. As the New York Times explains the court’s decision: The New York Supreme Court ruled that Prodigy was “a publisher” and therefore liable because it had exercised editorial control by moderating some posts and establishing guidelines for impermissible content. If Prodigy had not done any moderation, it might have been granted free speech protections afforded to some distributors of content, like bookstores and newsstands. Fearing that the Communications Decency Act would stop the burgeoning internet in its tracks and mindful of the court’s decision, then-Rep. (now Sen.) Ron Wyden and Rep. Chris Cox authored an amendment that said that “interactive computer services” were not responsible for what their users posted, even if those services engaged in some moderation of that third-party content. The internet companies, in other words, were mere platforms, not publishers. “What I was struck by then is that if somebody owned a website or a blog, they could be held personally liable for something posted on their site,” Wyden explained to Vox’s Emily Stewart last year. “And I said then — and it’s the heart of my concern now — if that’s the case, it will kill the little guy, the startup, the inventor, the person who is essential for a competitive marketplace. It will kill them in the crib.” Section 230 also allows those services to “restrict access” to any content they deem objectionable. In other words, the platforms themselves get to choose what is and what is not acceptable content, and they can decide to host it or moderate it accordingly. That means the free speech argument frequently employed by people who are suspended or banned from these platforms — that the Constitution says they can write whatever they want — doesn’t apply, no matter how many times Laura Loomer tries to test it. As Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe points out, the First Amendment argument is also generally misused in this context: 1. The First Amendment limits only the Government, not private entities like Twitter.2. Anyway, Twitter’s tagging of Trump’s claims about write-in voting is itself absolutely protected under the First Amendment as an expression of opinion.— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 27, 2020 Wyden likens the dual nature of Section 230 to a sword and a shield for platforms: They’re shielded from liability for user content, and they have a sword to moderate it as they see fit. The Communications Decency Act was signed into law in 1996. The indecency and obscenity provisions, which made it a crime to transmit such speech if it could be viewed by a minor, were immediately challenged by civil liberty groups. The Supreme Court would ultimately strike them down, saying they were too restrictive of free speech. Section 230 stayed, and the law that was initially meant to restrict free speech on the internet instead became the law that protected it. This protection has allowed the internet to thrive. Think about it: Websites like Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube have millions and even billions of users. If these platforms had to monitor and approve every single thing every user posted, they simply wouldn’t be able to exist. No website or platform can moderate at such an incredible scale, and no one wants to open themselves up to the legal liability of doing so. That doesn’t mean Section 230 is perfect. Some argue that it gives platforms too little accountability, allowing some of the worst parts of the internet — think 8chan or sites that promote racism — to flourish along with the best. Simply put, internet platforms have been happy to use the shield to protect themselves from lawsuits, but they’ve largely ignored the sword to moderate the bad stuff their users upload. Recent challenges In recent years, Section 230 has come under threat. In 2018, two bills — the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) — were signed into law, which changed parts of Section 230. Now, platforms could be deemed responsible for prostitution ads posted by third parties. These were ostensibly meant to make it easier for authorities to go after websites that were used for sex trafficking, but they did this by carving out an exception to Section 230. The law was vulnerable. Amid all of this was a growing public sentiment that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook were becoming too powerful. In the minds of many, Facebook even influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election by offering up its user data to shady outfits like Cambridge Analytica. There were also allegations of anti-conservative bias. Right-wing figures who once rode the internet’s relative lack of moderation to fame and fortune were being held accountable for various infringements of hateful content rules and kicked off the very platforms that helped created them. Alex Jones and his expulsion from Facebook and other social media platforms is perhaps the most illustrative example of this. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, demonstrating a profound misunderstanding of Section 230, claimed in a 2018 op-ed that the law required the internet platforms it was designed to protect to be “neutral public forums.” Lawmakers have tried to introduce legislation that would fulfill that promise ever since. Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert introduced the Biased Algorithm Deterrence Act in 2019, which would consider any social media service that used algorithms to moderate content without the user’s permission or knowledge to be legally considered a publisher, not a platform, thereby removing Section 230’s protections. (Remember the Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy case? This bill would have hearkened back to that era.) Later that year, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, which would require that, in order to be granted Section 230 protections, social media companies would have to show the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that their content moderation practices were politically neutral. Neither of those bills went anywhere, but the implications were obvious: Emboldened by FOSTA-SESTA, the two sex-trafficking bills from 2018, lawmakers not only wanted to chip away at Section 230 but were actively testing out ways to do it. Their latest attempt — and the most likely to succeed — is a bipartisan bill introduced in March called the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, from Sens. Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal. Here, the lawmakers used the prevention of child pornography as an avenue to both erode Section 230 and end encryption by requiring companies to follow a set of “best practices” or else lose their Section 230 immunity from child pornography charges. Some privacy advocates worry that these best practices would extend to requiring tech companies to provide law enforcement with access to all user content. A law like this would effectively force websites to comply with those “best practices,” as they’d be sued out of existence if they didn’t. The law has bipartisan support, with Hawley and Democrat Dianne Feinstein among its nine cosponsors. Trump’s executive order And now President Trump, who has benefited greatly from social media, is trying to dial back Section 230’s protections through an executive order. Trump signed the order roughly 48 hours after Twitter applied a new policy of flagging potentially false or misleading content to two of the president’s tweets. At the signing ceremony, Trump referred to Twitter’s actions as “editorial decisions,” and Attorney General Bill Barr referred to social media companies as “publishers.” Barr is not a fan of Section 230, and his Department of Justice has been looking into the law and how he believes it allows “selective” removal of political speech. Barr added that he thinks there is bipartisan support that Section 230 “has been stretched way beyond its original intention” and was allowing “behemoths” that controlled massive amounts of information to censor it and “act as editors and publishers.” “They’ve had unchecked power to censure, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Thursday. “We cannot allow that to happen, especially when they go about doing what they’re doing.” It’s unclear if Trump’s executive order could stop social media companies from doing much at all. The White House did not immediately release the full text of the executive order after Trump signed it. A draft of the order says that platforms that engage in anything beyond “good faith” moderation of content should be considered publishers and therefore not entitled to Section 230’s protections. It also calls on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to propose regulations that clarify what constitutes “good faith;” the FTC to take action against “large internet platforms” that “restrict speech;” and the attorney general to work with state attorneys general to see if those platforms violate any state laws regarding unfair business practices. While the draft order talks a big game, legal experts don’t seem to think much — or even any — of it can be backed up, citing First Amendment concerns. It’s also unclear whether or not the FCC has the authority to regulate Section 230 in this way, or if the president can change the scope of a law without any congressional approval. Needless to say, Section 230’s creator isn’t thrilled. “I have warned for years that this administration was threatening 230 in order to chill speech and bully companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter into giving him favorable treatment,” Wyden said in a statement. “Today Trump proved me right. I expect those companies, and every American who participates in online speech, to resist this illegal act by all possible means. Giving in to bullying by this president may be the single most unpatriotic act an American could undertake.” “As the co-author of Section 230, let me make this clear: There is nothing in the law about political neutrality,” Wyden added. “It does not say companies like Twitter are forced to carry misinformation about voting, especially from the president. Efforts to erode Section 230 will only make online content more likely to be false and dangerous.” 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
Your guide to finding summer camps that are open in 2020
Looking for a summer camp to occupy the kids? You’re not flat out of luck. Some day and overnight camp programs are still up and running despite the coronavirus pandemic. Sleepaway camps are still operating in Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, and Texas, though with health screenings and smaller groups. And they’re still open county...
nypost.com
NBC News slammed for claiming GOP is 'court-packing' instead of filling vacancies
NBC News was criticized on Thursday over a report that claimed that GOP lawmakers were "court-packing" and not simply filling vacancies as they have been during the Trump presidency. 
foxnews.com
GOP's no-mask caucus: 'Can you smell through that mask?'
Call them the no-mask caucus. A contingent of House Republicans continues to defy the recommendations of public health experts and Congress' top physician to wear face coverings to limit the spread of Covid-19, refusing to wear them on the floor of the chamber, in the hallways of the Capitol or when chatting with aides and colleagues -- even when they're unable to maintain a social distance.
edition.cnn.com
Cannabis was used for religious rites at a biblical site in Israel, study finds
Materials on altars from a religious shrine in Beer-sheba Valley, in Israel's biblical site Tel Arad, contained cannabis and frankincense, a study found. It's the first time physical evidence of cannabis has been identified in the Ancient Near East.
edition.cnn.com
Heidi Klum sunbathes nude with just diamond necklace in backyard
While sunbathing at the beach is still not allowed, Heidi Klum is soaking up the sun in her backyard.
foxnews.com
Cannabis Discovered in Shrine From Biblical Israeli Kingdom May Have Been Used in Hallucinogenic Cult Rituals
The shrine forms part of the "fortress mound" at Tel Arad—an important Israeli archaeological site in southern Israel's Beersheba Valley.
newsweek.com
Esteban Loaiza, onetime Yankees pitcher, blew through his $44M fortune before cocaine bust: report
Esteban Loaiza spent 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, which included a stint with the New York Yankees in 2004, and he made nearly $44 million in his career. The now 48-year-old is in the Seattle-Tacoma Federal Detention Center, his money long gone, serving three years in prison for felony cocaine possession with intent to distribute.
foxnews.com
NYC man claims he was raped as teen by director of NYPD youth program
A man is suing the city for $20 million over claims that he was raped by the director of an NYPD youth program as a child in the 1970s, new court papers show. Alfredo Dones claims Gilberto Maldonado preyed on him from 1978 to 1979, while he was 13 years old and part of the...
nypost.com
Review: 'Ramy's' second season pulls off a miracle: It's even better than the first
The unlikely, perfect pairing of Mahershala Ali and Ramy Youssef makes Season 2 of Hulu's Muslim American comedy "Ramy" even better than the first.
latimes.com
No pay cuts for California elected officials amid budget crisis prompted by coronavirus
The decision came with an entreaty from Tom Dalzell, the chairman of the state Citizens Compensation Commission, who called on California's 132 elected state officials to each consider taking less pay during the coronavirus crisis.
latimes.com
Boris Johnson’s top adviser took a lockdown road trip. Now it’s a huge scandal.
Chief Advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street on May 27, 2020 in London. | Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images, The prime minister’s defense of Dominic Cummings has only made things worse. A top adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson got caught taking a lockdown road trip. And somehow, amid the United Kingdom’s still-unfolding coronavirus crisis, it has exploded into an enormous political scandal. Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s top adviser and a key Brexit architect, drove 260 miles from London to his parents’ home in Durham at the end of March while the entire United Kingdom was under strict stay-at-home orders. Cummings said he made the trip because he was worried about childcare for his four-year-old son. His wife was sick with the coronavirus, and he feared he would also become sick with Covid-19 — which, at that point, had spread throughout the prime minister’s office at 10 Downing Street where Cummings works. Johnson himself announced his diagnosis on March 27, the day Cummings is believed to have made the journey. Cummings’s indiscretion might have been forgiven by the British public (and tabloid press) if it had ended there. But the scandal got even knottier. Cummings himself came down with the coronavirus at the end of March, and he was later spotted on April 12 with his wife and son at Barnard Castle, about 30 miles away from Durham. He later claimed he’d been having trouble with his vision and needed to take the drive to test his eyesight before making the long drive back to London — which is a totally normal and completely safe way to figure out if you can see. Britain’s papers broke the story last week of Cummings’s sojourns, and it has since spiraled into a national story that has, according to polls, damaged Johnson’s approval ratings significantly for the first time during the pandemic. This particular drama lacks many of the tawdry details or shocking malfeasance that make up the juiciest scandals. But it has resonated deeply with a public that’s been ordered to stay at home and follow the rules for two months, as the country struggles to find a way out of lockdown and the coronavirus death toll surpassed 37,000. But what really supercharged the controversy was Cummings’s defiance when confronted with his wrongdoing, and later Johnson’s repeated defense of his top aide, even as critics from Johnson’s own party call on Cummings to resign. Johnson has refused to fire Cummings and insists the British public wants to move on from this scandal. “What they want now is for us to focus on them and their needs rather than on a political ding-dong about what one adviser may or may not have done,” Johnson told a parliamentary committee this week. The Cummings affair has, in lots of ways, become an outlet for a public frustrated with the failures of the British government’s handling of the coronavirus more generally. Cummings has been closely involved in the government’s response to the pandemic. And Cummings himself is a controversial figure because of his involvement in the Brexit campaign. He’s tried to cultivate an image that he’s something of a political mastermind, smarter than the rest of the people in power. Given that, it isn’t a huge surprise that the public and some politicians would turn on him. Johnson’s defense of Cummings has clearly metastasized the scandal. It is both confounding, and, for some critics, a reaffirmation of Johnson’s worst impulses: that he cares more about retaining power than about executing it wisely, even during a national emergency. The question now is how long Cummings scandal will dominate the news during the pandemic, and whether, and how deeply, it will damage Johnson’s premiership. A road trip in the time of coronavirus, but only if you’re a top aide to the PM On March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide stay-at-home orders. The UK had initially chosen not to lock down instead embracing more moderate restrictions to build herd immunity. But the government backed away from that plan when it became clear it wasn’t tenable and followed its European neighbors in instituting sweeping lockdown orders. The government guidelines asked that people remain at their primary residences and only leave for necessary work travel, solo exercise, the purchase ofbasic necessities like food and medicine, or medical needs, such as donating blood or caring for a vulnerable person. Gatherings of more than two people not part of the same household were also banned. A few days later, on March 27, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was self-isolating. On that day, British press filmed Cummings running, literally, away from 10 Downing Street, a clip that became something of a joke at the time. Dominic Cummings seen running out of the back gate from Downing Street. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for #coronavirus. Follow live updates here: https://t.co/Pto1iKFuZG pic.twitter.com/DpPx5M5hEj— SkyNews (@SkyNews) March 27, 2020 Johnson’s conditioned worsened and he had to be hospitalized, and he later spent a few days in the ICU. He has since recovered and returned to his duties as prime minister, but he was physically absent at the start of April, as the UK’s Covid-19 cases and deaths began to mount. Some of Johnson’s cabinet also came down with coronavirus symptoms, and 10 Downing Street confirmed Cummings had developed symptoms that weekend. But right before then, on March 27, the same day as Johnson’s diagnosis, Cummings said his wife was ill with Covid-19 symptoms, and he feared what would happen if he and his wife both became sick and who would care for his four-year-old son. So, Cummings took a 260-mile road trip to his family’s home in Durham. “I was worried that if my wife and I were both seriously ill, possibly hospitalized, there was nobody in London we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to Covid,” Cummings said of the situation at a news conference Monday. Of course, the UK government’s guidance at the time was that people with Covid-19 symptoms stay at home and self-isolate. As the BBC reports, the guidance on children is a bit squishier: The government urged people with children to “keep following this advice to the best of your ability,” but noted that “we are aware that not all these measures will be possible.” The Durham police were apparently notified of the Cummings’s arrival, and it contacted his parents, who confirmed Cummings was self-isolating there. Cummings was also spotted by a neighbor on his parents’ property in early April, in part because the song “Dancing Queen” by the Swedish pop band Abba was playing really loudly and drew his attention. “I got the shock of my life, as I looked over to the gates and saw him,” the person said. “There was a child, presumably his little boy, running around in front. I recognized Dominic Cummings, he’s a very distinctive figure.” But the real kicker came on April 12, when Cummings and his family visited Barnard Castle, about 30 miles from Dunham, on a day that also happened to his wife’s birthday. Cummings was seen by another passerby. Two days later, he returned to work at 10 Downing Street. The British press broke the news of Cummings’s sojourns last week, and he immediately took criticism for having flouted both the lockdown rules and the guidelines for people with Covid-19. People also pointed out that Cummings’s wife, who’d written about her Covid-19 ordeal in a column for the weekly British magazine the Spectator, had conveniently made it sound as if they had never left London. “After the uncertainty of the bug itself, we emerged from quarantine into the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown,” she wrote. The hypocrisy of Cummings’s actions was obvious; he defied the very government rules that he’d likely helped craft while everyone else had to obey the restrictions and potentially face fines if they broke the rules. This is why the #DominicCummings travel row is so damaging for @BorisJohnson government - it personally offends those who have made #lockdown sacrifices https://t.co/ouJ9W0Dth3— Glenn Campbell (@GlennBBC) May 27, 2020 Other figures have also lost their jobs for similar transgressions: Neil Ferguson, a government medical adviser who helped create the UK’s lockdown, had to resign in May after Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that his “married lover” had visited him in lockdown. And Scotland’s medical officer had to step down after visiting her second home. But Cummings has showed no remorse about his trip, saying he behaved “reasonably and legally.” As calls increased for Cummings to step down, Johnson also continued to defend him. At a press conference on Sunday, Johnson said his aide had acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity,” and that “any father, any parent, would frankly understand what he did and I certainly do.” Criticism continued to mount, however. On Monday, Cummings gave a rare press conference in which, somehow, he managed to make the situation so very much worse. “I don’t regret what I did,” Cummings said Monday, “I think reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances, but I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances.” 'No, I don't regret what I did.'Dominic Cummings argues he was 'reasonable' and acted within an 'exceptional circumstance' despite government instructions to stay homehttps://t.co/ZUbs7BnJ9M pic.twitter.com/K46YD9rJUh— ITV News (@itvnews) May 25, 2020 Cummings referred to his concerns about his child as a “very complicated, very tricky situation.” But while his parental concerns are legitimate, Cummings’s framing of his situation as unique — when scores of other families also had to deal with childcare concerns as they battled the virus (and still followed the rules) — came off as tone deaf. Even more bizarre, Cummings defended his trip to Barnard Castle on April 12 by saying he’d done so to test his eyesight, which had been affected by his illness — or as he put it, before risking the 260-mile drive back to London with his child and wife in the car, they just decided to go on a “short drive to see if I could drive safely,” which, dear god. “We agreed that we should go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely.”When you’re speaking the truth, you do not need a script to read from word to word. At this point they are insulting our intelligence, no one is above the law. #cummmings #COVID__19 pic.twitter.com/zzWtrbGzia— hazal (@hazalyarend) May 26, 2020 Cummings’s press conference did little to convince anyone that he hadn’t broken lockdown rules, that he largely felt justified in doing so. But Johnson has continued to defend Cummings and has kept trying to urge the public and fellow politicians to move on. The UK is rolling out a massive test and trace system this Thursday, and members of Parliament challenged Johnson on how the government would force people to obey the rules if he couldn’t do so in his own government. Johnson’s opponents have, of course, jumped on the debacle. “The public have sacrificed so much for the health of our nation - which he’s now undermined,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said Thursday. “And sent a message that there’s one rule for them and another for the British people.” But even members of Johnson’s own party are frustrated with his defense of Cummings. Douglas Ross, a junior Scotland Office Minister in Johnson’s government quit in protest this week, saying he had “constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to their loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who did not visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government.” “I cannot in good faith tell them that they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right,” he added. More than 40 Conservative members of Parliament have called on Cummings to resign, and about two dozen more have criticized Cummings’s actions. The British tabloids, especially those that usually favor Conservatives, have also turned on Cummings. On Thursday, Durham police said that Cummings had potentially violated the rules, though it would not take retroactive action. Johnson, noting this, told reporters Thursday that the “matter was closed.” "If one of your most senior team wasn't paying proper attention to the rules, why should anyone else?" asks @BBCLauraKBoris Johnson replies Durham Police said they would take "no action" and that the "matter was closed"Updates: https://t.co/XzKgKvN4Ml pic.twitter.com/gDzryfSRHH— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 28, 2020 The Cummings scandal could have real consequences On one level, the Cummings affair is very easy to understand: It’s a visceral reaction to blatant hypocrisy. This is about an official who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, who went about “breaking the spirit and letter of lockdown rules he helped to write,” Guardian columnist Marina Hyde wrote, adding that she guessed he wanted to be a “rule-maker, not a rule-taker,” a dig that references Brexiteers’ critique of the European Union (a message Cummings had a role in shaping). And that gets at another reason why this scandal has blown up. Cummings is a bit of a strange figure in British politics, a political adviser who has tried to paint himself as an anti-establishment outsider and off-beat mastermind. What helped Cummings develop that reputation was his involvement in the 2016 “Vote Leave” Brexit campaign, which is how Johnson and Cummings first teamed up. And we know how that all turned out. Cummings has continued to advise Johnson as prime minister, and likely had a big hand in some of the prime minister’s strategy last year of “getting Brexit done”, even it meant threatening a no-deal exit. Of course, Johnson succeeded in getting a deal, and with Cummings’s help, delivered a massive Conservative victory in elections last December, where Conservatives won seats from Labour-strongholds that they once only dreamed about. And Cummings, in his time at 10 Downing Street, has installed loyalists and sidelined rivals. His people, as much as Johnson’s, are in power now, which makes him a bit harder to fire. So as UK faces a massive crisis in the coronavirus, Cummings remains Johnson’s most important adviser. The dynamic works: Johnson gets to be the public face, but the hard work of governance was never his thing. Cummings is the details guy, the person who makes it all happen behind the scenes, and presumably is happy to be there. And Cummings has been deeply involved in the UK’s coronavirus response. He was an early champion of the “herd immunity” strategy that the UK ultimately abandoned, but the UK lagged on implementing the lockdown, and is only now ramping up testing and tracing. It has the highest death toll in Europe, at more than 37,000. And the UK, still under lockdown, though modified, is, like other places, struggling with the long-term economic consequences of a prolonged shutdown. Many in the business community — the traditional constituency of Conservatives — are concerned about the country’s economic future. The Cummings affair, then, has became an outlet for a lot of the frustration with the Johnson government and its handling of the pandemic. In taking his 260-mile jaunt, Cummings also shown that he’s unwilling to join in the national sacrifice that the rest of the public has been asked to make. Johnson, in defending Cummings, has now made his “follow the rules” and “we’ll get through this together” shtick ring hollow. Johnson’s approval has remained relatively steady throughout the crisis, in part he’s managed the right message and because he himself was seriously ill with Covid-19, and appeared genuinely heartfelt about those who helped him survive. But the Cummings affair has turned the a segment of the public against Johnson’s government. One polling firm showed Johnson’s approval rating drop 20 points. A YouGov poll this week had 71 percent of voters saying Cummings broke lockdown rules, with 59 percent saying he should resign. (And that includes 46 percent of Conservative voters.) Despite the public outrage, Johnson hasn’t budged. And now, it may be too late. As one former Cabinet minister told Politico: “You either dig in or you don’t. The capital is spent now. If [Johnson] got rid of him he would lose even more capital and he would be weakened. If he got rid of him now the blood would be in the water and the sharks would smell it.” Maybe this will work: Cummings can be the villain, and the public will be distracted from the bigger coronavirus challenges the country faces. But perhaps the biggest impact of Cummings’s antics may be how it undermines the lockdown rules already in place. A YouGov poll also found that about 70 percent of people say it will make the government’s job harder when it tries to enforce the restrictions. People traveling to the beach this weekend cited Cummings as a reason why it was fair for them to break lockdown. “It makes it much harder for the police going forward,” Martin Surl, the top police commissioner for Gloucester, told the BBC on Monday. “This will be quoted back at them time and time again when they try to enforce the new rules.” 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
DOE official in charge of NYC admissions debate sent his child to top screened school
The Department of Education official overseeing the city’s school admissions debate is sending his child to a highly selective and disproportionately white Manhattan middle school, sources told The Post. Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack resides in Brooklyn’s District 15 in Park Slope, which scrapped screened admissions in 2018 to spur diversity in its racially segregated schools. Among...
nypost.com
How Lady Gaga always gets by with a little help from her friends
Lady Gaga has a lot of friends with musical benefits.
nypost.com
Trump's ridiculous comparison to justify his social media crackdown
Moments before Donald Trump signed an executive order seeking to limit social media companies' ability to fact-check him, the President grasped for a comparison to justify the move.
edition.cnn.com
Attorney promises justice after 'graphic' George Floyd video
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman promises to "not rush to justice" in the George Floyd case.        
usatoday.com
Trump's social media executive order: Is the Tweeter-in-Chief trying to shut himself up?
The libel shield Trump wants to snatch is the only reason Twitter would leave a false and defamatory tweet like the Scarborough allegation untouched        
usatoday.com
Graduation speakers face unique challenge during pandemic
While this year's graduation ceremonies didn't resemble what most students had in mind, in some ways they carried more of a punch. With ceremonies held online, the speakers had no time for cliches, just honest advice for the graduates. Jim Axelrod reports.
cbsnews.com
Veteran's death highlights pandemic's effect on mental health
Marine Corporal Rory Hamill was a father of three and a decorated combat veteran in the Marines. He lost his life in the growing mental health crisis that's being made worse by the deadliest public health crisis in a century. Jan Crawford reports.
cbsnews.com
Trump just escalated his Twitter feud, and 4 other business stories you need to read today
Welcome to your Thursday business news wrap, where we're catching you up on the essentials. Also Hot Pockets, the leading economic indicator that we've all given up on 2020.
edition.cnn.com
Coronavirus News in USA: Live Updates
Masks become a flash point for businesses, with many requiring them — and a few banning them. Cases are still rising in Wisconsin, where a court overturned the governor’s stay-at-home order. About 1 in 4 American workers have filed for unemployment since March.
nytimes.com
Review: John Hawkes and Logan Lerman shine, but 'End of Sentence' hits some bumps in the road
John Hawkes and Logan Lerman play a father and son at odds on a trip to Ireland in the reconciliation drama "End of Sentence."
latimes.com
'It didn't change anything that I do': Gardner Minshew reacts to offseason that solidified his spot as Jaguars QB
Gardner Minshew is now the Jacksonville Jaguars' undisputed leader at quarterback and won't have to share first-team reps in Year 2 in the NFL.       
usatoday.com
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto pulls name from Biden running mate consideration
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto announced on Thursday that she was withdrawing her name from former Vice President Joe Biden's search for a running mate.
edition.cnn.com
Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes negotiating deal 'unlike any other', report says
The Kansas City Chiefs and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes have officially begun contract negotiations involving a long-term deal, which would lock up the best quarterback in the NFL for the foreseeable future.
foxnews.com
George Floyd Protests in Minneapolis: Live Updates
The governor called in the National Guard after stores were set alight during protests in response to Mr. Floyd’s death in police custody.
nytimes.com
Several arrested at NYC protest over death of George Floyd
More than five people were arrested in Union Square Park Thursday — and that number was expected to grow — as protesters raged at NYPD cops over the death of George Floyd nearly 2,000 miles away in Minneapolis, cops said. Some of the protesters in Manhattan fought police and threw bottles at them, police sources...
nypost.com
Another 2.1 million Americans filed for uneployment benefits
Another 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past week. Many Americans are relying on those benefits, but some are still waiting for their first unemployment check. Mark Strassmann reports.
cbsnews.com
Southern states emerge as coronavirus hotspots while cases spike
New research suggests that 6-feet of social distancing may not be enough to prevent the coronavirus. There is also a shortage of glass vials that may slow down the production of the vaccine as coronavirus cases continue to increase in America. Omar Villafranca reports.
cbsnews.com
National Guard activated in Minneapolis after unrest
The National Guard is being mobilized in Minneapolis after violent protests erupted over the death of George Floyd in police custody. Jeff Pegues has the latest.
cbsnews.com
Marie Harf slams Trump's social media executive order as 'grievance politics', bid to 'troll Twitter'
"The Five" co-host Marie Harf said Thursday that President Trump’s executive order aimed at social media companies was an effort to "troll Twitter."
foxnews.com
Baseball may never fully recover if it loses season this way
This? This is different. We of a certain age still bear the scars of past labor wars, all sports. The World Series was called off in 1994. The entire NHL season of 2004-05 was canceled, every inch of it, as if the calendar were simply wiped clean. The official NFL record book is littered with...
nypost.com
What's in Trump's executive order on social media?
President Trump signed an executive order to reign in social media giants on Thursday. 
foxnews.com
Nevada Senator Cortez Masto, Reportedly on Short List for Biden's VP Pick, Withdraws Name From Consideration
"It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration," Senator Cortez Masto said Thursday.
newsweek.com
The real reason John Krasinski sold 'Some Good News' to CBS
John Krasinski sold his YouTube show "Some Good News" to ViacomCBS. He explained his decision to fellow "Office" star Rainn Wilson.       
usatoday.com
2020 MTV VMAs may happen Aug. 30 in Brooklyn
The show hopes to broadcast the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for its 36th edition.
nypost.com
"CBS Evening News" headlines for Thursday, May 28, 2020
Here's a look at the top stories making headlines on the "CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell."
cbsnews.com
'Justice For George Floyd' Becomes Fastest Growing Change.org Petition Ever After Surpassing 2 Million Signatures in 48 Hours
More than 2.4 million people have signed the online petition calling for Minneapolis police officers to be arrested and criminally charged in the death of George Floyd.
newsweek.com
House Dems ask Justice Dept to investigate George Floyd case
Democrats are asking the Justice Department to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
cbsnews.com
As US deaths top 100,000, Trump's coronavirus task force is curtailed
As the American death count from coronavirus ticks above 100,000, the panel assembled by President Donald Trump to confront the pandemic has been sharply curtailed as the White House looks ahead to reopening.
edition.cnn.com
CBS to air classic 60 Minutes Sports stories
Memorable stories from 60 Minutes Sports, highlighting extraordinary people, places and moments, will air on CBS over six episodes, beginning Saturday.
cbsnews.com
'This could have been me': Lawrence Jones responds to George Floyd's death
"The Five" co-host Lawrence Jones said Thursday that charges should be filed against four Minneapolis police officers in the death of George Floyd, who was filmed being pinned down with an officer's knee on his neck shortly before his death Monday night.
foxnews.com
Photo perspective | U.S. coronavirus deaths pass 100,000 mark in under four months, leading the world
Over 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus
latimes.com
Hurling: Ireland's national obsession
The ancient Irish game of hurling combines the skills of baseball, hockey, lacrosse and rugby in what some have termed a cross between "sport and murder."
cbsnews.com