The best and biggest Memorial Day sales of 2019

Summer is the perfect time to stock up on stylish staples, from bikinis to beauty products. Check out some of the most incredible Memorial Day weekend sales. FASHION 2(X)ist | Enjoy $20 off purchases of $125; $35 off purchases of $175; and $75 off purchases of $250. Alala | The activewear brand is...
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Trump's on a losing streak with Republicans
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Oklahomans Just Embarrassed Trump a Second Time
For the second time in two weeks, Oklahomans have made President Donald Trump look bad. First there was the sparsely attended Tulsa rally. Now Sooner State voters have opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.There’s an immediate, narrow problem for the White House, and a broader, more strategic one. In the short term, the very tight “yes” vote imperils a plan to turn Medicaid funding into a block grant from the federal government to states, using Oklahoma as a pilot.In a deeper sense, though, the vote is a warning sign for Trump, because it shows how he’s at odds with even many conservative voters on health care. Last week, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court (again) to throw out the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, voters in a state so red that the president chose it for his big comeback rally have voted to adopt an expansion of coverage under the law—the fifth time voters in a Republican-governed state have done so, and the fourth in the past two years.[Annie Lowrey: The Supreme Court is bad for your health]It’s not entirely shocking that amid a pandemic and a massive unemployment crisis, voters would rather have more health coverage than less. And while Obamacare remains unpopular among conservative voters—three-quarters of Republicans had an unfavorable view of the law in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent tracking poll—the actual components of the law, especially requiring insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions, have always been popular.Moreover, the ACA has always been most popular when it is under attack. The law has been more popular than not, according to the KFF poll, since about the time that Trump took office, promising to dismantle the law. Trump attempted repeatedly (though clumsily and distractedly) to repeal Obamacare in the first year of his administration, aiming to complete a long-standing GOP campaign pledge. But neither Trump nor other Republicans ever developed a replacement plan that achieved the conditions of being cheaper and providing greater coverage, which Trump had laid out, and the repeal push was hamstrung by Trump’s own inconstant attention to the legislative process, and ultimately by Senator John McCain.The result was a remarkable political inversion: Though the ACA was a millstone around the Democratic Party’s neck in the 2010 and 2014 elections, especially, the party used it to great effect in 2018, when Democrats took back the House, using health care as a central campaign theme. Some Democrats had argued it should be the party’s main theme in 2020 (though there are sharp divides within the party about what the best health message is), and worried that the party was straying too far away from its bread and butter.But the pandemic has put health back on the agenda, as has Trump’s plea to the Supreme Court. The administration filed a last-minute brief agreeing with a challenge to the law, which says that because the law’s mandate that individuals hold insurance was struck down—also at the White House’s urging—the whole law should be. The decision divided Republicans, with some strategists and officials seeing it as a self-defeating move.The vote in Oklahoma shows why. “Obamacare repeal” as a concept may still be popular with some core Republican voters, but it’s not as potent as it was before the pandemic—and besides, the coverage itself is popular. Sooner State voters effectively circumvented the will of Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, who had sought a more limited expansion. That’s in keeping with a pattern: When voters in GOP-led states have gotten the chance to vote on Medicaid expansion, they’ve tended to favor it. In other cases, Republican governors and lawmakers have sensed the political wind and moved forward themselves.The idea of Medicaid expansion is itself a creation of Republican court challenges to the law. The ACA expanded the eligibility for Medicaid, the Great Society–era program, to Americans making as much as 133 percent of the federal poverty rate. But the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government couldn’t coerce states into accepting the expansion—instead, states could opt in or out. Predictably, more liberal states opted in, while more conservative ones did not. Also predictably, states that opted in tended to have better health outcomes. While Republican politicians oppose Medicaid expansion for reasons of ideology and fiscal conservatism, it’s not shocking that rank-and-file voters in their states are eager to get better coverage and federal dollars.In a sense, Trump has fallen into a trap of his own making. He grasped that entitlements were popular among Republican voters in his 2016 campaign, and while other GOP candidates trotted out the usual talking points about social spending, Trump promised to protect Social Security and Medicare. In office, however, he has waffled, proposing budgets that cut entitlements programs, though the budgets have not been enacted. Having tapped into the latent popularity of social spending among Republican voters, he now risks their anger if he reverses course.[Read: What if the health-care collapse saves Trump’s presidency?]Medicaid, which is aimed at the poor, has not always been as popular as Social Security and Medicare, both of which are aimed at older Americans. The latter two have been viewed as “earned” entitlements, while Medicaid has sometimes been viewed as a welfare program, with the same negative racial connotations that other welfare programs carry. So it’s notable that Oklahoma voters joined their fellow citizens in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah (2018) and Maine (2017) in supporting a Medicaid expansion.Oklahoma is not the final test this year. In August, Missouri voters will also vote on Medicaid expansion. There, too, Republican Governor Mike Parson opposes the expansion. In a sign of the way that Obamacare has gone from a salubrious wedge issue for Republicans to a pain point, Parsons moved the referendum from the November ballot to an August primary.Even if Missouri votes down the expansion, the results in Oklahoma and elsewhere make the overall trend clear. As Donald Trump recognized in 2016, and as the 2018 election reinforced, entitlements are popular with voters. By flouting that popularity and trying to sink Obamacare a few months before the election, he risks a painful reminder of the lesson he once taught.
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America, Land of the Pathetic
I returned to Paris with my family three months after President Emmanuel Macron had ordered one of the world’s most aggressive national quarantines, and one month after France had begun to ease itself out of it. When we exited the Gare Montparnasse into the late-spring glare, after a season tucked away in a rural village with more cows than people as neighbors, it was jarring to be thrust back into the world as we’d previously known it, to see those café terraces overflowing again with smiling faces.My first reaction was one of confused frustration as we drove north across the river to our apartment. The city had been culled of its tourists, though it was bustling with inhabitants basking in their reclaimed freedom. Half at most wore masks; the other half evinced indifference. We were in the midst of a crisis, I complained to my wife. Why were so many people unable to maintain even minimal discipline?Glued as I am to the news from the U.S.—where I was born and grew up and travel frequently— I couldn’t shake the feeling that France was also opening up recklessly early. But I was wrong to worry. As Donald Trump’s America continues to shatter records for daily infections, France, like most other developed nations and even some undeveloped ones, seems to have beat back the virus.The numbers are not ambiguous. From a peak of 7,581 new cases across the country on March 31, and with a death toll just below 30,000—at one point the world’s fourth highest—there were just 526 new cases on June 13, the day we masked ourselves and made that three-hour train ride back to Paris. As I write this, in the previous two days—June 27 and 28—zero new cases have been recorded.[Read: The decline of the American world]America, however, is an utter disaster. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries.That insult succinctly conveys the crux of the problem. American leadership has politicized the pandemic instead of trying to fight it. I see no preparedness, no coordinated top-down leadership of the sort we’ve enjoyed in Europe. I see only empty posturing, the sad spectacle of the president refusing to wear a mask, just to own the libs. What an astonishing self-inflicted wound.On June 26, a day when the U.S. notched some 45,000 new cases—how’s that for “American carnage”?—the European Union announced that it would loosen some travel restrictions but extend its ban on visitors from the United States and other hot-spot nations. On Tuesday, it confirmed that remarkable and deeply humiliating decision, a clear message that in pandemic management, the EU believes that the United States is no better than Russia and Brazil—autocrat-run public-health disasters—and that American tourists would pose a dire threat to the hard-won stability our lockdown has earned us. So much for the myth that the American political system and way of life are a model for the world.We didn’t stay long in the city. Although the chance of contagion in Paris is minimal, the thought of unnecessary risk unnerved me, and so we left again for another round of self-imposed confinement. But this was a choice. I think of my mother and father trapped in New Jersey, in their 70s and 80s, respectively, and at the mercy of a society that is failing extravagantly to protect them. And it is failing to protect them not from some omnipotent enemy—as we believed in March and perhaps even as late as April—but from a tough and dangerous foe that many other societies have wrestled into submission.[Read: The 3 weeks that changed everything]I think of my father, whom I realize I may not see this calendar year or possibly even the next, and I picture him housebound indefinitely, unable to experience a pleasure so anodyne as bookstore browsing. I think of my mother, who is missing her grandchildren’s birthdays and watching them grow tall through FaceTime, and I imagine her leaving the house at dawn to arrive at the grocery store during its early hours for seniors. I am infuriated. I am also reminded once again of the degree to which so many other countries deliver what is, in real terms, a palpably higher quality of life by any number of self-evident measures.America is my home, and I have not emigrated. I have always found the truest expression of my situation in James Baldwin’s label of “transatlantic commuter.” I have lived in France off and on since the early 2000s, and it has been instructive over the decades to glimpse America’s stature reflected back to me through the eyes of a quasi-foreigner. If the country sparked fear and intense resentment under George W. Bush and mild resentment mixed with vicarious pride under Barack Obama, what it provokes under Trump has been something entirely new: pity and indifference. We are the pariah state now, but do we even see it?
5 restaurant workers share their fears about going back to work
A waiter wearing a protective face shield and mask serves customers at a Third Street Promenade restaurant on June 21, 2020, in Santa Monica, California. | David Livingston/Getty Images “The customer is always right, even during the pandemic.” “All of us workers, we’re scared shitless,” said Shanga McNair, a bartender in Florida who recently went back to work. As states have aggressively pushed to reopen (and many too soon, according to experts), patrons are rushing to eat in restaurants for the first time in months. There are new regulations in place, varying by state and county, with some restaurants enforcing their own rules, including tables spaced 6 feet apart, reduced seating capacity, and disposable menus. But even wearing a mask is challenging in a restaurant setting: “You can’t wear a mask and eat your food and drink your drink,” said Kayla Harter, a server from Southern California. Restaurant work looks very different than it did before the coronavirus, and those returning to serve customers in person are putting their lives at risk. Many employees have been out of work for months, scrambling to make ends meet, and are forced to go back to their jobs no matter what it costs their health. Others lost their employment during the pandemic — with restaurants closing or winnowing staff — and still others have chosen, as reopening ramps up, not to go back to work. Vox talked to five servers, bartenders, and kitchen staffers about the fears and necessities of working in the food service industry during a pandemic. “We’re trying to do our best” When we get into work we put our stuff down, we put a mask on, we clock in, and then we get our temperature taken. As long as we have a temperature under 100, we can start working. If it’s higher than 100, we need to wait five minutes and then try again because it’s really hot here. Once we’re ready to start work, we’ll wash our hands, put on gloves, and then open up our section. Speaking through a mask, and people not always being able to understand what I’m saying, that means that there are sometimes errors in the order. So just being aware of that and learning, making sure I really clarify with my guests what they’re asking for as well as being spatially aware. I don’t have peripheral vision down from my mask. I’ve run into people way more than I have in the past, or tripped on things because I just don’t see below a certain point. But the guests have been excited to be back in the restaurant, and they often have, you know, empathy and compassion for us as we’re trying to do our best. We’ve had a few issues with people almost wanting to get into fights with us about the fact that we only have five people sitting at each physical table. We’ve had multiple parties walk out or start a fight with the manager or just become hostile because of that rule. But other than that, people have been pretty compliant. —Michaela Frantz, server, Las Vegas, Nevada “I chose not to go back” I chose not to go back, because [my] restaurant is in downtown Huntington Beach, which has been the site of a lot of anti-mask rallies and protests. So I chose not to go back quite yet, and I’m actually very glad I did because I guess it has been, first of all, a shitshow. This last week, four of my coworkers tested positive for Covid. Actually, a lot of different restaurants in the Orange County area have had staff outbreaks in the last couple weeks. I only worked maybe two to three days a week, but it was about $1,500 to $2,000 a month and so it’s just been really interesting having to reallocate my funds and figure things out. I have a respiratory immune deficiency where I don’t have the antibodies to fight off pneumonia, and I also got a kidney removed in December. Since Covid causes pneumonia and affects your kidneys, I really shouldn’t get this. So when the cases go down, I probably will [go back to work]. Most of the staff was not comfortable to go back, but a lot of people had no choice. So I strongly urge all my friends [not to] be selfish and sit in a restaurant just because you missed it. You’re putting other people’s lives at risk and their families’ lives at risk. —Kayla Harter, server, Orange County, California “People are still willing to come in and put in the effort to make sure the restaurant is going to survive” Being back at work, it feels like more of a community push. Everyone at work isn’t necessarily there because they need to come back to work, and they’re worried about themselves. I’m in a fortunate situation where I work in a place where we’re all kind of gathered, or rallying around the business itself. People are still willing to come in and put in the effort to make sure the restaurant is going to survive. I think that is a big driving factor behind everyone’s push right now. Before, it never really occurred to anyone that the business would not be able to keep up, and now it’s on the front of everyone’s minds. —Zach Van Horn, cook, State College, Pennsylvania “I’m scared of getting sick and then passing it on to my family, but there’s nothing I can do” We’re not making money like we used to, but we can’t not go to work. You have to go to work; if you don’t go to work, you can’t get unemployment. So, I mean, it’s just a shitshow right now. I’m scared, you know — I’m scared of getting sick and then passing it on to my family, but there’s nothing I can do. I’m 40, and I have a daughter. She’s 20 and she lives in Mississippi and she works in the service industry. So [one day] I’m behind the bar and I get a call from my daughter. So I pick up my phone and she was like, “Ma, I tested positive.” I didn’t know what to do because she’s far away from me. She’s in Mississippi with my grandparents, and my grandparents are almost 80. So I tell my boss, “Look, my daughter just tested positive, so I gotta go, I gotta figure out what to do.” And he was like, “If you leave, you’re fired.” —Shanga McNair, bartender, Jacksonville, Florida “The customer is always right, even during the pandemic” We don’t give out condiments anymore. We give out little portions of steak sauces and ketchup and salt and pepper packages, but we don’t give bottles anymore. And we get lots of complaints about that. All of the servers and everybody who’s out on the floor has to wear a mask, and we get complaints about that. And we’re just sanitizing everything more now. We don’t give out menus anymore, we give out paper menus, or there’s a QR code on the table that they can scan for the menu. Because I work in Texas at a steakhouse, a lot of the guests that come in think the virus is a hoax, and they’ll resent us for wearing a mask and they’ll complain about the way things are different. I’m making money again, but it’s my only option. I like being able to pay my bills, but they just kind of like threw us out there to the dogs; we’re not getting protected at all. We’re having to wear masks, we’re required to for the guest safety, but the guests can basically do whatever they want and we just have to take it, because the customer is always right, even during the pandemic. —Kennedy Hogan, server, Temple, Texas 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.
Dr. Fauci's wake-up call to my med school class
Vinay Rao writes that when Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke to his medical school class, he reminded Rao and his classmates that their role in society would be two-fold: caring for both individual patients and for the communities in which they served. As Rao begins his residency at one of the hardest hit Covid hospitals in Philadelphia, Fauci's words take on new meaning.
Step inside Brooklyn Chop House’s chic reopening efforts
Brooklyn Chop House is ready to reopen. The Chinese-infused steakhouse in DoBro will have plexiglass partitions between tables, digital menus and plastic-wrapped flatware — once indoor dining resumes in New York City.   “We have to cautious, smart and patient,” Stratos Merfolk, director of operations, said. “We’re redesigning the whole idea of safety inside the...
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Universities have been quick to affirm their commitments to racial justice, says Roopika Risam, but at a moment when Black, brown and Indigenous communities are bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, those same schools need to apply principles of racial equity to their plans and policies around re-opening as well.
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Parents Need to Know the Facts About Kids and COVID-19
Given that bars and restaurants in many parts of the United States are beginning to reopen, while the prospects for school remain hazy almost everywhere, you might think that scientific evidence about kids and the coronavirus is nonexistent. The truth is that we are still somewhat in the dark, but not completely. Here’s what we know, what we kind of know, and what we need to do to know more.Back in February and March, when the pandemic was in its early stages, the big question was whether kids were at high risk for COVID-19. It wouldn’t have been surprising if they were; other respiratory diseases such as the flu are known to significantly affect both children and the elderly. But one of the robust findings about COVID-19 in the past few months is that children are among the least affected groups. They are less likely to contract the disease, and if they do contract it, they are more likely to have a mild or asymptomatic case. Death rates are much lower. This evidence doesn’t mean that kids cannot get sick, and or cannot fall seriously ill, but older adults are far more susceptible.The other big question was: Are children major vectors for the virus? At least one government has argued that children could not transmit the virus at all. Some research teams countered that they were just as likely to transmit it as adults are. At this point, neither of these claims seems quite right. If a kid is sick and shedding virus particles and an adult is exposed to those particles, of course the adult can get sick; but children do seem to transmit the virus less than adults do. In an early case, an infected child went to several skiing schools and was exposed to hundreds of contacts without infecting anyone. Data from the Netherlands suggest that children are relatively unlikely to be the “index case” in their families—that is, they are unlikely to be the first case in a family cluster.[Read: What happens when kids don’t see their peers for months]If kids are probably low-risk (in terms of both getting sick and transmitting), that doesn’t necessarily mean states should go ahead and reopen schools. That’s because schools do not contain only children. This is not Lord of the Flies. The adults at schools may be at risk from interacting with kids, but also from interacting with one another, and with parents, and with other adults as they travel to and from work.We have some information from abroad. France, Germany, Denmark, and other countries have reopened schools. Sweden has had schools open the whole time. Oddly, among the most compelling pieces of evidence is provided by what we haven’t seen: much in the way of large-scale outbreaks linked to schools. Some cases, yes—but not super-spreader events like the ones documented all over the world at bars and meatpacking plants.Beyond what we haven’t seen, some early information on adults at school is encouraging. In Denmark, some preliminary data suggest that teachers are not an especially high-risk group. A recent report out of Sweden looks at risks of exposure to COVID-19 by occupational group, and notes that school staff are not more likely than other occupations to contract the disease. Preschool and high-school teachers are actually less likely to get COVID-19. The highest-risk group here is drivers—of taxis and buses in particular.An exception is Israel, where the school-reopening process has been up and down. Israel opened schools in May, but subsequently closed a number of them temporarily after detecting cases. The country had one large outbreak tied to a school. Perhaps Israel is faring less well than European countries because it opened with fewer social-distancing measures. But even in Israel, the total count of cases tied to schools since they reopened stands at about 300—a very small share of the country’s students, teachers, and staff.[Read: The school reopeners think America is forgetting about kids]The above does not amount to airtight evidence—I’ve gleaned this information from a close reading of news reports, which is not how data gathering should work. I should not be trying to answer the question “What is going on in schools that reopened?” by Googling around; I resorted to that method because of the absence of a publicly available data set derived from a universal school-based testing regime. Some countries are collecting good data: In Germany, at least some schools are testing kids and teachers twice a week. This is great, but whatever Germany has found, it hasn’t yet shared with the public.If countries with open schools simply reported the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per school each week—if any—that would do wonders. In the U.S., schools are closed but some child-care centers and camps are open. Local governments should be collecting data from these sources. I started doing this—in an unscientific and nonrandom way—simply out of frustration that no one else was. This lack of information-gathering perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, as the overall pandemic response in the U.S. has been worse than elsewhere; we have fallen down on testing, contact tracing, and everything else.Even minimal data could start to answer certain lingering questions. Does age group matter in transmission rates? (One difference between Israel and countries such as France and Sweden is that Israel opened all its schools at once, and others started with younger children.) Which prevention measures matter? Do kids need to wear masks and socially distance, or is conscientious hand-washing and mask wearing for teachers enough?The fact is, parents can’t wait around forever. As long as they have to stay home with children, they cannot truly participate in the workforce. The facts right now suggest that reopening schools would not lead to disaster, but more information shouldn’t be so hard to come by.
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Trump's anti-mask crusade is coming back to haunt him
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The GOP's QAnon caucus
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Does wearing a face mask pose any health risks?
Does wearing a mask pose any health risks?
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