If you want to know what QAnon disinformation does to a society, look no further than this terrifying montage of local school board meetings in the U.S. of A. Posted by @therecount on Twitter, some of the incredible lunacy in the video (shown below) includes:
Confused anti-masker: "By putting masks on these kids' face, you can't identify any of them. Voting on this tells me you guys support sex trafficking."
Woman sporting not red but green MAGA cap, Palm Beach County School District: "And let me tell you something! Go home tonight and take one of these spoons? And put it on your vaccination spot. Guess what? It's going to stick to you!"
Rep. Madison Cawthorne (Q-NC), Buncombe County Schools Board of Education Meeting: "Forcing our children to wear a mask is nothing short of psychological child abuse."
Gentleman in beige cap, Carson City School District Board of Trustees (May 2021): "Do you have any idea what's in the vaccine? e.coli, pig blood, detergent."
Screaming white gent with dreadlocks, Board of Supervisor's meeting: "Your children!!! And your children's children!!! Will be subjugated!!! But let me ask!!! Have you been a good little Nazi!!! Heil Fauci [I think this is what he's saying. Hard to hear over the growl]!!!
Last week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the state's plan to "sue to block the implementation of Biden's vaccine mandates," according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Meanwhile, new data shows that Alabama had more deaths than births in 2020, thanks to Covid-19. In other words, the state's population just shrunk.
The new surge [of Covid] comes as recent data revealed that for the first time in Alabama's history, there were more deaths than births in 2020.
"Here in Alabama, we continue to see deaths at a really high rate. … 2020 is going to be the first year that we know of in the history of our state where we actually had more deaths than births — our state literally shrunk in 2020," Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris reported during a press conference on Friday.
In 2020, data showed that 64,714 Alabama residents died and only 57,641 were born. Even in World War II or the 1918 flu pandemic, there was never a time that deaths exceeded births, Harris added.
"Alabama has one of the country's lowest vaccination rates," according to ABC, with only 41.5% of the population fully vaccinated.
Reminiscent of a vaudeville comedy act, BBC's weather reporter Carol Kirkwood appeared on live TV with Flash, a frisky guide dog, saying, "She's very well-behaved, I must say." For nearly a minute she gushes about the 18-month-old Labrador before the excited pup sees her trainer off camera and decides she's done with show-biz.
Making a quick exit, the dog pulls Kirkwood, who's holding a leash, flat to the ground. For a few comical moments we only see her feet and calves pointing up to the sky. Fortunately Kirkwood isn't hurt and has a good laugh, taking it like a champ.
Even though the MyPillow Guy, aka Mike Lindell, is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion for pushing Big Lie voter fraud conspiracies and blaming the fraud on voting machines, he's at it again.
The announcement, for which he did not provide any evidence, comes after Lindell announced a trip to Alabama to meet with state GOP officials like Gov. Kay Ivey (R) and Secretary of State John Merrill to investigate the count himself, despite the fact that Trump won the state by 25 points.
"Lindell, in a video posted to his website on Sunday, said Alabama's election officials are doing 'everything right, but they still somehow got through, with computers or whatever,' referring to hackers, although he didn't identify who those alleged hackers might be," reported Eddie Burkhalter.
"Lindell claimed, without offering any proof, that according to his 'packet capture' data, intercepted network traffic that he's claimed show evidence of election hacking, 100,000 Alabama votes were 'flipped' and that 'we do have the data. Dr. Frank's data, where every, every single county was affected.'"
In true Fox fashion, Peter Doocy "quoted" Joe Biden when asking about booster shots, omitting half of what the president had said to make him look irresponsible.
"Why did the president say in August, 'Just remember as a simple rule, eight months after your second shot, get a booster shot,' if there is not enough data to support that for the general population?"
And in true Jen Psaki style, the White House Press Secretary didn't miss a beat as she seamlessly picked up where Doocy left off, clearing up the gentleman's goof.
"Well, what the president also said is that, 'I want to be very clear. The plan is pending the FDA conducting an independent evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the CDC's advisory committee,'" she responded.
And then, to bring it home, she added, "We are right now, in the week of September 20. The advisory committee is meeting on Thursday. … Our objective and our role is to ensure that we have the capacity and the number of shots to provide them to the American people."
"With foxes we must play the fox," as the saying goes.
Anti-vaxxers are both suspicious of Covid vaccine ingredients and unanimous in their stance against having to show proof of vaccination in order to gain entrance into public spaces (like restaurants or planes). But, as Jimmy Kimmel points out, once they actually catch the virus, all of their illogic goes out the barn window.
First, Kimmel points out that ivermectin — the beloved animal de-wormer Qnuts turn to when battling Covid symptoms — has become a rarity due to the mad rush. So now some feed stores, at least in Las Vegas, are requiring ivermectin purchasers proof of livestock ownership by asking for a photo of customers with their horse (as in the photo above).
"Can you imagine, you won't go to Walgreens to get a free vaccine, [but] you'll spend four hours photoshopping your body onto a Clydesdale to get ivermectin?" Kimmel asks incredulously.
And when shelves are empty of ivermectin, the de-wormer aficionados turn to Trump-touted monoclonal antibody treatment.
"This is an IV hookup that helps reduce the symptoms of COVID," Kimmel says. "Pretty incredible, people who don't trust vaccines do trust being pumped full of lab-created antibodies. This is like skydiving and instead of using the parachute, you're gonna be like, 'Yeah, I'll just crash near a hospital.'"
A beautiful wooden violin couldn't blend in with the gondolas in Venice's Grand Canal on Saturday, even if it tried. As it floated down a canal, its passengers — a live string quartet — played music by Vivaldi while onlookers watched in awe.
The cruising instrument, "Noah's Violin," was created by artist Livio De Marchi, as a way of "bringing a message of hope," according to NPR. De Marchi is known in Venice for his surreal boats, including his whimsical wooden water Ferrari (see second video below).
A 54% majority of Texans believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, while just 45% think the state is on the right track, according to a survey conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler.
Abbott's approval rating before the COVID-19 crisis began to grip the nation in March 2020 stood at 59%, the newspaper noted. …
Last week, Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro declared he would not get vaccinated before attending this week's UN General Assembly in New York. "Why would I get vaccinated?" the confused gentleman asked in an online broadcast."
Coming from a country that just reported 150,000 new Covid cases in one day (a number that may reflect previously unreported cases over the last few months), his question is preposterous. But according to The Guardian, Bolsonaro had "signaled that he will snub New York City vaccination rules," and that he was nowhere near the point of getting a Covid shot. "Once everyone has been vaccinated, I'll decide my future."
Cut to Bolsonaro in New York, looking a bit snubbed as he stands outside an eating establishment, eating a slice of pizza.
Southwest Airlines is clamping down on anti-vax shenanigans, offering an enticing perk to employees who are either fully vaccinated or will be by November 15th: they will receive 16 hours of extra pay (or "13 trip segments" for pilots and flight attendants).
Carriers have taken varying approaches to get staff vaccinated. United last month said it will require its roughly 67,000-person U.S. workforce to be vaccinated this fall and said it will put staff who receive religious exemptions on temporary unpaid leave. On Thursday, Kate Gebo, United's executive vice president of human resources, told staff that 90% of United's U.S. employees have been vaccinated.
Delta, for its part, plans to charge unvaccinated employees $200 more a month for company health insurance starting in November.
American and Alaska Airlines earlier this month announced they were ending pay protections for unvaccinated workers.
This video is incredible not only for the skill and patience it took to successfully set up 6,391 cereal-boxes, domino-style, at Long Beach Middle School in New York, but also for the sheer size and layout of the school's building where the stunt took place. I had to watch the video twice to try and figure out how the heck the building is laid out in such a way that these tipping boxes could run through their halls, turning corners this way and that, for 4 minutes — all on one floor. And honestly, it's going to take a third viewing.
Needless to say, Long Beach Middle School earned the Guinness World Record for "Most cereal boxes toppled in a domino fashion." After their win, which took place on May 26, they donated the thousands of boxes of Cocoa Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms, and many other popular cereal brands to local food pantries, which was their original intention before deciding to also compete for the World Record.
Netflix's The Queen's Gambit, a mini-series based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name, is about a woman chess player, Beth Harmon, who becomes world champion in 1968. Although it's fictional, the final episode makes a one-line reference to real-life first female grandmaster from the same year, Nona Gaprindashvili — and now the 80-year-old player is suing.
The line in question, spoken by the fictional chess tournament's commentator: "There's Nona Gaprindashvili, but she is the female world champion, and has never faced men." [See video below.] The camera then pans from Harmon to a woman in the audience who resembles real-life Gaprindashvili.
Gaprindashvili, the only woman chess player to enter the 1968 International Tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden, according to The Washington Post, beat seven out of nine male players and came in third place overall.
From the Washington Post:
That moment, shown in the final episode of the series, is now the subject of a defamation lawsuit that Gaprindashvili filed against Netflix on Thursday.
"The allegation that Gaprindashvili 'has never faced men' is manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling," the lawsuit states. Alleging false light and defamation, the suit demands at least $5 million in damages.
"Netflix brazenly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili's achievements for the cheap and cynical purpose of 'heightening the drama' by making it appear that its fictional hero had managed to do what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, had done," the lawsuit adds.
Recounting the numerous times Gaprindashvili faced men — including the 1977 tournament that led to the Georgian becoming the first woman to achieve the title of grandmaster — the lawsuit compares the trajectories of the real-life Gaprindashvili and the fictional Harmon. The lawsuit also points out an irony: In attempting to create an inspiring story about a woman excelling in a male-dominated sport, Netflix "humiliated" Gaprindashvili, a trailblazer for women in chess whom some called the "real life Beth Harmon" after the show's release.
Netflix did not comment for the Washington Post article, but said to The New York Times, "Netflix has only the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case."
Not cut out for real news, Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield blew a gasket when his guest, Iraq War veteran Joe Saboe, dared to slightly criticize Trump. On the subject of Afghanistan Wednesday night, Saboe, "who has been seeking to help those trapped in Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover," according to The Week, suggested that "multiple administrations" were to blame for the situation we're in now with Afghanistan, and that "the Trump administration's efforts here were fairly weak."
And for that, the angry entertainer became unhinged (see video below). With a finger pointed, he shouted to his propaganda crew, "Cut him off, please! Cut him off now! Cut him off now! You're not going to blame this on President Trump on my show! That's not happening!"
At this point, it must have suddenly dawned on him that part of Newsmax's fan base might be veterans, for he then said, "I appreciate the work you're doing, God bless you for being a veteran," before continuing his tirade: "But don't come on this program and take the talking points of the left and blame President Trump! That's not helping anybody! [Enter attack on Biden here.]"
The video ends with him stating the obvious. "I'm mad about that, man. I really am."
So much for basic instincts. You'd think that when a mouse entered a house in Punta Arenas, Chile, family member Simon, a black cat, would have done what all other cats do and catch the little creature. But instead, he kindly shared his bowl of water. He then reached out and gently touched the mouse with his paw. Now, according to his human Benjamin, who shot and posted this video on Simon's Instagram page, the two animals are buddies. At least for now.
Nolke plays two wicked villains —a Russian crook named "Oksana" and Jeff Bezos — who have been conspiring together to take over the world. "How's the wife?" she asks, immediately followed by "Oh shoot, sorry."
But what Oksana really wants to talk about is the shape of Bezos' new "evil space station that your space ships will lock into." She is not happy with it. The Premium Utopia Station (PUS) looks just like what its acronym sounds like — a giant vulva.
"Uh, well, maybe it could be like another shape," Oksana suggests. "Like it could be like a circle, or maybe like a square."
"But the current design is quite efficient," the arrogant Bezos says.
"So, the ways that the rockets are docking into it, you know, maybe could come from this bottom portion instead?" she says. "Instead of going in the middle?"
"Well, that would be the garbage chute," Bezos says, as if it's obvious. "And you don't want to go in there. I mean, technically you could…"
The dialog is funny enough on its own, but the way Nolke comically channels Bezos (and Oksana!), from his hubris to his bug-eyed expression to his maniacal laugh, is what shoots this sketch up to the top of my favorite Nolke videos.
A chatty cat is stuck with the most crotchety parrot companion imaginable. The meowing kitty can't get a word in edgewise without the crude African grey, named Cairo, telling it to "Be quiet," "Shut up," and then, when more irritated, "Shut the fuck up!" She also hurls insults, calling the cat "little fucker" among other such niceties.
Of course the parrot is just mimicking what a human companion has taught her. For all we know, she might think she's asking the cat when their human is coming by with snacks.
An irate unvaccinated gentleman caused a scene at Juliana's Pizza in Brooklyn, screaming at the restaurant for not letting his family sit inside the establishment. New York City requires proof of Covid vaccination in order to eat inside a restaurant (but the unvaccinated are welcome to eat outdoors, if that is an option, or take the food to go). But Ray Velez, who shot video of his tantrum and posted it on his Instagram page, @savingsovereignty, tried to make it a political rather than a health issue.
After trying to say his family was religiously exempt, and then saying "I'm not leaving," and "We just marched for this," he turns to the diners and shouts, "Everything okay with that? Everyone okay with setting segregation in society? We don't have our vaccine cards, so now the kids can't eat."
The funny thing is, as loud and disruptive as he was, the Covid-fatigued diners barely reacted. They just kept munching and chatting amongst each other, bothered about as much as one might be if a fly came buzzing in.
"Is this the America you want to live in?" he later shouts.
Finally a few customers react, saying, "Yep!" and "Yes," while another gives the anti-vaxxer the middle finger.
"No, fuck you," the unvaxxed man screams back. "You're not American. That's why you need to get the fuck out of here if you're not American."
Yeah, yeah, yeah. This was a tough crowd. They seemed to be enjoying their meal just fine.
Yes, Texas governor Greg Abbott's recent, highly restrictive abortion ban is despicable. It reveals his disregard for women in general, as well as his disregard for a woman's right to make decisions over her own body and his disregard for rape survivors. But let's not forget that he's not the only Republican politician with sordid, dangerous views about rape.
This new MeidasTouch montage of authoritarian GOP politicians and their outrageous past statements reminds us that Abbott is not alone. Just a few examples included in the video:
"Rape is kinda like the weather. If it's inevitable, relax and enjoy it." — Clayton Williams (R), TX gubernatorial candidate
"[Rape survivors] should make the best of a bad situation." — Rick Santorum (R)
"[Rape] is something God intended to happen." — Richard Mourdock (R,) Former Indiana State Treasurer
"[If not for rape and incest], would there be any population left? — Steve King (R), Former US Rep (IA)
A frisky 1-year-old border collie, Nova, is excited to play frisbee with Abe Lincoln, who is sitting on bench in a suburb of Dallas. But no matter how many times she tries to hand him her toy, the fuddy-duddy statue won't budge. Does he not understand the game? She finally gives up and looks for another, more enthusiastic player.
If you've been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, how safe is it for you to eat outdoors at a restaurant? Indoors? What about going to a grocery store, or flying on a plane? And what are the risks of these activities if you aren't vaccinated?
Microcovid.org attempts to calculate some of your Covid risks with a simple online calculator — which you can access here. Just tell it where you live, whether or not you're vaccinated (and if so, which vaccine you received), and which activity you're inquiring about (indoor/outdoor friend hangout, going to the market for 60 minutes, traveling by plane, etc).
For instance, living in Los Angeles and fully vaccinated, I'm still in the "moderate risk" category if I eat indoors with only two people nearby (at least 6 feet away). That turns to "high risk" if three people are nearby, and "very high risk," if there are nine people or more in the room. It never reached the most hazardous level — "dangerously high risk" — I suppose because I've been vaccinated.
If I eat outdoors, my risk is low until 15 people sit nearby, and then the risk goes up to moderate.
Started by a "pandemic pod" of friends in May 2020, the group "incorporated dozens of volunteer collaborators over the next few months including mathematicians, data scientists and a primary care clinician" to create their microCOVID calculator, according to Smithsonian Magazine. It has recently been updated to reflect the "increased" risks due to the Delta variant.
Of course, the "calculations" are just rough estimates.
Being within a certain range on the risk budget might seem like guaranteed safety, but that doesn't mean your risk of infection is zero, warns F. Perry Wilson, an epidemiologist at Yale University, who is not involved in the project. Risk budgeting tools like this one can also give "a false sense of security," he says, and "might give people sort of permission to behave in ways that might put them in more danger than they appreciate."
Wilson is concerned about potentially wide error margins and says he is hesitant to put too much stock in a single number. Still, Wilson suggests using the tool to get a rough idea about your risk, while remembering that the studies and data the calculator is based on are still early and change often. The site's White Paper outlines the specific peer-reviewed studies, contract tracing data and aerosol models used in the calculator, which are updated as new research emerges.
The microCOVID Project is one of many Covid-19 risk assessment tools aimed at helping the public make evidence-based decisions about their health. Mathematica's 19 and Me calculator is a credit-score style tool that lets users input their location, age, health concerns and behaviors before churning out a score that reflects risk of infection. Another freely-available tool is MyCOVIDRisk, a questionnaire-based web app that assesses the riskiness of a given scenario.