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Theaters across NYC ‘ Joker ‘ screenings to get police patrol



Theaters across NYC ' Joker ' screenings to get police patrol

Moviegoers in NYC will notice a heavy police presence on the opening weekend when they see “Joker.” Because the NYPD takes no chance of someone acting out.

Sources of law enforcement say TMZ…  The NYPD does not want to commit a copycat crime of what came down 7 years ago in Aurora, Colorado, by dispatching uniformed policemen to all theaters through NYC screening the movie as a “cautionary measure.”

We are told that policemen are patrolling in front of the theater entrances, although the public should know that police have received no particular “reliable threats” to the Todd Phillips movie with the joker Joaquin Phoenix.

Theaters across NYC ' Joker ' screenings to get police patrol

Theaters across NYC ‘ Joker ‘ screenings to get police patrol

MEGA As we have… Members of the families of some of the victims of the 2012 Aurora shooting during “The Dark Knight Rises” sent Warner Bros. a letter expressing his worries about the film. The Aurora Century and XD, the renovated new for the 2012 shooting, will show no “Joker.”

What else… Theaters in 27 U.S. markets will prohibit costumes, face painting or any kind of cosplay.

What’s worth it… The LAPD also takes precautionary steps and is reported to enhance visibility at film theatres. LAPD brass also suggests that there is not a reliable danger with the movie that chronicles the dark origin of the DC villain.

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Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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Letters: If you’re resisting vaccination, think about this 73-year-old



Letters: If you’re resisting vaccination, think about this 73-year-old

Resisting vaccination?

I read a news article about a 73-year-old man with a cardiac emergency. There were no ICU beds at his local hospital. Most were filled with unvaccinated COVID patients. He was transferred to the closest hospital with availability. It was 200 miles away. And that is where he died.

If you are resisting being vaccinated, think about this story and how you would feel if it was your loved one.

Margaret Anderson, Woodbury


Waiting for data

A few weeks ago I read an article in the Pioneer Press in which County Commissioner Toni Carter referred to Ramsey County and transparency. I sent Carter an email on Sept. 1 and informed her that I had made a data request over a year ago and that material for several of the data requests had not been provided to me.. As of Sept 13 I have had no reply from Commissioner Carter. My experience sure shows the lack of transparency.

The data I did not receive: A list of all locations the county contracted with for housing of homeless or any other populations for the last 24 months reflecting the dates and amounts that have been paid for damages. The names, dates of severance from employment and amount paid for any Ramsey County employee to sever employment with the County in the last eight years. Audits completed on the SNAP program for the last eight years and fiscal ramifications to Ramsey County for each year.

The State provided the audits within a few days — they deserve a sainted. I understand why the County did not want to share the audits. The audit dated Jan 19, 2021, reflected payment accuracy rate of 0 percent –15 cases reviewed, 15 incorrect. Procedural errors, 15 cases reviewed, three correct. The reports show Ramsey County has not received a bonus from the federal government since 2012. I am still waiting for the fiscal ramifications as a result of the deficiencies found in these audits.

If the County is transparent, I do not understand why the information is not being provided. I am guessing it is because they do not want the taxpayers of Ramsey County to know.

Debbie Reiter, Shoreview



We’ve just observed the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Americans will never forget this shameful attack on American soil. However, another date of remembrance should be added to American history: 8/31. This is the date the Biden administration bungled the withdrawal from Afghanistan, abandoning American citizens to terrorists’ hands.

This shameful action erased our credibility as a nation that honors its words and protects its citizens and allies. Our reputation as a nation has been destroyed.

This disastrous withdrawal could have been avoided,with better planning, and more foresight. Instead more American soldiers have been needlessly killed, and the fate of unknown numbers of Americans put in a harmful situation.. It is interesting to note that an article published Sept. 5 in this paper questioned the number of American citizens remaining in Afghanistan. The administration did not have an estimate.

The number of American citizens stranded in Afghanistan should be covered daily on page 1, until these citizens and allies are evacuated. All steps should be taken by this administration and private agencies to investigate the situation, report it, and take action.

Vicky Moore, North St. Paul


Part of the movement?

Deputizing individual citizens to enforce anti-abortion laws in Texas? Surely this is part of the national de-fund the police movement.

It’s just a matter of time before posses on horseback will be rounding up clinic workers and members of the medical profession.

M.L. Kluznik, Mendota Heights

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Massachusetts COVID-19 Daily Report: 24 new deaths, 1,453 new cases



Massachusetts COVID-19 Daily Report: 24 new deaths, 1,453 new cases

BOSTON (WWLP) — State public health officials reported 24 new confirmed deaths and 1,453 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts.

Total COVID cases by age

  • 0-4 years: 1,054
  • 5-9 years: 1,320
  • 10-14 years: 1,302
  • 15-19 years: 1,419
  • 20-29 years: 4,335
  • 30-39 years: 3,460
  • 40-49 years: 2,473
  • 50-59 years: 2,330
  • 60-69 years: 1,587
  • 70-79 years: 860
  • 80+ years: 456


According to the Department of Public Health, 65,226 new tests were performed with an overall of 27,207,427 molecular tests administered.

Antigen Tests: A total of 12,442 new individuals have tested positive with 1,854,769 total tests reported.

The 7-day average of percent positivity is 2.28%


There are 716 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 with 172 patients that are in intensive care units and 88 patients intubated. There are 202 patients of the 716 patients that are reportedly fully vaccinated.

Confirmed COVID cases

  • New Cases: 1,453
  • Total Cases: 731,564
  • New Deaths: 24
  • Total Deaths: 18,015

Probable COVID cases

  • New Cases: 190
  • Total Cases: 52,186
  • New Deaths: 0
  • Total Deaths: 378

Berkshire County

  • New Confirmed Cases: 23
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 7,741
  • New Deaths: 2
  • Total Confirmed and Probable Deaths: 309

Hampden County

  • New Confirmed Cases: 146
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 59,598
  • New Deaths: 8
  • Total Confirmed and Probable Deaths: 1,584

Hampshire County

  • New Confirmed Cases: 34
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 10,480
  • New Deaths: 0
  • Total Confirmed and Probable Deaths: 307

Franklin County

  • New Confirmed Cases: 8
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 3,002
  • New Deaths: 0
  • Total Confirmed and Probable Deaths: 115

Higher Education

There are 500 new cases in the last week with a total of 19,522 confirmed COVID-19 cases in higher education institutions. In the last week, there were 190,938 new tests reported with a total of 8,802,144.

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Democrats could reform ‘weaponized’ California recall system



Democrats could reform ‘weaponized’ California recall system

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom beat back a recall election that could have removed him, his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature said Wednesday they will push for changes to make it more difficult to challenge a sitting governor.

Those reforms could include increasing the number of signatures needed to force a recall election, raising the standard to require wrongdoing on the part of the officeholder and changing the process that could permit someone with a small percentage of votes to replace the state’s top elected official.

“I think the recall process has been weaponized,” Newsom said a day after his decisive victory. He added that the recall rules affect not just governors but school boards, city councils, county supervisors and district attorneys, notably in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where liberal prosecutors are being challenged.

The governor noted that California has one of the nation’s lowest thresholds for the number of signatures needed to trigger a recall election. Proponents had to collect nearly 1.5 million signatures out of California’s 22 million registered voters in their bid to oust him, or 12% of the electorate who voted him into office in 2018.

Newsom declined to say what reforms he favors, saying he is too close to the process as a recall target who could someday face another attempt to remove him.

Other Democrats were more specific.

“We need to create a system where a small, small, small minority of Californians can’t create, can’t initiate a recall that the California taxpayers spent almost $300 million on and that frankly distracts and really has an impact on our ability to govern for nine months,” Assemblyman Marc Berman said.

State Sen. Josh Newman, who himself was recalled in 2018 before regaining his seat two years later, separately said he will propose two constitutional amendments: One to raise the number of required signatures and another to have the lieutenant governor finish the governor’s term if a recall succeeds.

Newsom on Tuesday became only the second governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall; the other was Wisconsin Republican Scott Walker. The win cements him as a prominent figure in national Democratic politics.

With an estimated 70% of ballots counted, the “no” response to the question of whether to recall Newsom was ahead by a 28-point margin. That lead was built on votes cast by mail and in advance of Tuesday’s in-person balloting. While likely to shrink somewhat in the days ahead as votes cast at polling places are counted, Newsom’s lead cannot be overcome.

Republican talk radio host Larry Elder was the runaway leader among potential replacement candidates.

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Scott Burns: We need to think about less, not more



Scott Burns: We need to think about less, not more

Afghanistan: Is there anything we can do beyond the Finger-Pointing Olympics we’ve been witnessing?

Can we learn something?

We know one thing for certain. The entire Middle East is a long tunnel with no cheese.

It was a long tunnel yesterday. It is a long tunnel today. It will be a long tunnel tomorrow.

It has been so for centuries, not decades. Name the period, and Western culture — not just us Americans — can be noted only for its delusional, self-righteous and destructive approach to different cultures.

Over the past 20 years, according to a Brown University study, the combined cost of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been $6.4 trillion, a mind-boggling figure. Other figures differ, of course, but the cost has always been in the trillions.

To put the trillions in some perspective:

$6.4 trillion would provide Social Security benefits for all retirees, retiree spouses and children of retired workers as well as all disabled workers for more than six years. Yes, years of income for tens of millions of Americans.

It would have done much the same for Medicare, Medicaid and Affordable Care Act subsidies — pay for about six years of benefits. Again, years of benefits for millions of Americans.

$6.4 trillion would have provided about $28,000 to each of our nearly 230 million licensed drivers. That’s enough to buy a new Prius. It’s also the expected cost of the coming Tesla Model 2.

So it’s time to ask some questions.

Could we have done anything differently?

I believe the answer is yes.

Then why didn’t we?

Because we’re stuck in a thinking habit.

We are literally wired to think about more, not less. Equally important, that change in thinking would have needed to start earlier than Sept. 11, 2001.

When, you ask?

Not long after the first OPEC oil embargo in 1973.

That’s when we had an opportunity to make a simple decision. We could have found a way to consume less oil, not more. We could have decided that we would not be held hostage by an unstable area with massive oil reserves.

By 1976, we even had a blueprint for how to do it.

That’s when Amory Lovins’ paper “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken” was published in World Affairs. In it, he demonstrated that the least expensive energy we could find was in energy efficiency, not more drilling. The lowest cost “reserves,” he demonstrated, weren’t in new oil and gas wells, tar sands or more strip mining for coal. The reserves were in new energy-efficient trains, trucks and cars. They were to be found in remodeled houses, office buildings, improved industrial processes and more efficient distribution methods.

Rather than spending borrowed money to project military power in the Middle East, we could spend billions to mobilize domestic energy efficiency. The money would be spent at home. Jobs would be created at home. American workers and consumers would enjoy the benefits.

What’s not to like about that?


Lovins, a physicist and MacArthur genius grant recipient, was quickly treated as a deranged tree-hugger. The oil and gas industry, intent on drilling more, criticized his idea as naïve and unrealistic. The auto industry, which had absolutely nothing to offer that would reduce energy consumption, agreed.

Result? America doubled down on more. We took the easy, obvious path. We chose to drill more and spend an ever-increasing fortune protecting our access to oil reserves in the Middle East.

It was a colossal mistake.

“The issue,” Lovins told me 20 years ago, “isn’t the supply of energy, it’s about the delivery of hot showers and cold beer in the cheapest way.” (He said that, by the way, from his house in Old Snowmass, Colo., a structure so energy efficient that it set a world altitude record for passive solar growth of bananas.)

The difference between Lovins and conventional thinking is that Lovins saw an elegant solution using less. Most of us, including our leaders, think about everything in terms of more.

The good news is that we can learn our way out of this. Even better, we can learn about it from American researchers in cognition. “Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less” is a brilliant little book. In it, Leidy Klotz, an associate professor at the University of Virginia, explains how our culture forecloses thinking about solutions with less. Instead, it fosters thinking about solving problems with more.

Appropriately, Subtract is a short and easy read. It has just 254 pages of text. But it also has 33 pages of reference notes for deep divers.

What’s most important here is that this isn’t a finger-pointing book that damns American culture. It’s cross-cultural research about how we humans are wired to think and how our thinking is pushed toward more and away from less.

But we can learn to “think different.

Scott Burns is the creator of Couch Potato investing and a longtime personal finance columnist for The Dallas Morning News.

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Fauci: There’s ‘no evidence’ to support Nicki Minaj’s claim of COVID-19 shot leading to impotence



Fauci: There’s ‘no evidence’ to support Nicki Minaj’s claim of COVID-19 shot leading to impotence

(NEXSTAR) – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a top medical advisor to the president, has been forced to debunk a claim about COVID vaccination put forth by rapper Nicki Minaj — as told to her by a cousin, who heard it from a friend.

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday, Fauci was asked to respond to one of Minaj’s recent remarks on Twitter, in which she claimed her cousin’s friend became impotent and developed swollen testicles as a result of his COVID-19 shot.

“Dr. Fauci, is there any evidence that the Pfizer of the Moderna or the [Johnson & Johnson] vaccines cause any reproductive issues in men or women?” Tapper asked.

“The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no,” Fauci responded. “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no.”

Fauci went on to say that Minaj, who boasts a Twitter following of over 22 million, should be “thinking twice” before posting such anecdotes, which are “not what science is about.”

Minaj drew criticism for her Twitter remarks on Monday, after saying that she wouldn’t be attending the Met Gala because guests are required to be vaccinated, and she hasn’t yet decided whether to get the shot.

A short while later, she shared another post in which she claimed her cousin in Trinidad decided against getting vaccinated “cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.”

Minaj quickly became the target of criticism and mockery as a result of the tweet, perhaps most visibly by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who expressed interest in interviewing Minaj’s cousin’s friend about his alleged impotence. Minaj even responded to Kimmel’s request, saying he was “willing to talk for the right price.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, has also said there is no evidence to show that “any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines,” cause possible fertility issues in men or women. The agency currently recommends vaccination for those who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, as well as their partners.

Minaj had not responded to Fauci’s remarks as of Wednesday morning. She did, however, follow-up her earlier tweets with support for a fan who got vaccinated. She also responded to a fan who said she was unsure about getting the vaccine for work, and in doing so revealed that she, too, would likely choose to get vaccinated herself.

 “A lot of countries won’t let ppl work w/o the vaccine,” Minaj wrote. “I’d def recommend they get the vaccine. They have families to feed. I’m sure I’ll b vaccinated as well cuz I have to go on tour, etc.”

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Trump aides aim to build GOP opposition to Afghan refugees



Trump aides aim to build GOP opposition to Afghan refugees

As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban arrive in the U.S., a handful of former Trump administration officials are working to turn Republicans against them.

The former officials are writing position papers, appearing on conservative television outlets and meeting privately with GOP lawmakers — all in an effort to turn the collapse of Afghanistan into another opportunity to push a hard-line immigration agenda.

“It is a collaboration based on mutual conviction,” said Stephen Miller, the architect of President Donald Trump’s most conservative immigration policies and among those engaged on the issue. “My emphasis has been in talking to members of Congress to build support for opposing the Biden administration’s overall refugee plans.”

The approach isn’t embraced by all Republican leaders, with some calling it mean-spirited and at odds with Christian teachings that are important to the white evangelicals who play a critical role in the party’s base.

But the Republicans pushing the issue are betting they can open a new front in the culture wars they have been fighting since President Joe Biden’s election by combining the anti-immigrant sentiment that helped fuel Trump’s political rise with widespread dissatisfaction with the Afghan withdrawal. That, they hope, could keep GOP voters motivated heading into next year’s midterms, when control of Congress is at stake.

“From a political standpoint, cultural issues are the most important issues that are on the mind of the American people,” said Russ Vought, Trump’s former budget chief and president of the Center for Renewing America, a nonprofit group that has been working on building opposition to Afghan refugee settlement in the U.S. along with other hot-button issues, like critical race theory, which considers American history through the lens of racism.

His group is working, he said, to “kind of punch through this unanimity that has existed” that the withdrawal was chaotic, but that Afghan refugees deserve to come to the U.S.

Officials insist that every Afghan headed for the country is subject to extensive vetting that includes thorough biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism personnel.

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Ross Douthat: When politics isn’t about principle



Ross Douthat: When politics isn’t about principle

In Employment Division v. Smith, a case decided by the Supreme Court in 1990, Justice Antonin Scalia led the majority in ruling that the state of Oregon was allowed to deny unemployment benefits to two men fired from their jobs after ingesting peyote, an illegal drug, in a Native American religious ceremony.

At the time, the ruling substantially narrowed constitutional protections for religious freedom by stating that so long as a law like the peyote ban was officially applied neutrally between religious and nonreligious people, it did not violate the First Amendment — even if in practice it led to specific burdens on minority religious faiths.

More than 30 years later, Smith is a fascinating case study for thinking about how political divisions really work — especially our pandemic-era arguments about safety versus liberty, the rights of the individual versus the public-health obligations of the state. Not just the ruling but its reception and changing partisan valence say a lot about how what seems like stern ideological principle is really flexible — and how people come around to new positions on policy as soon as the in-groups and out-groups, the people benefiting and the people burdened, seem to be reversed.

Start with a simple-seeming question: Was the Smith ruling a conservative one? It would appear so just from looking at the way the justices’ positions broke down, with Scalia the conservative icon writing the majority opinion and three liberal justices dissenting.

But the backlash against the decision was bipartisan, with liberals and religious conservatives alike decrying the new restrictions on religious liberty. The result of that backlash was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, offering religious believers more legal protections, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously and the Senate overwhelmingly before being signed into law by Bill Clinton.

So maybe the logic of Smith was so right-wing that even Republicans balked at its application? Except that if you leap forward a couple of decades to our own era, that ideological analysis falls apart. Today, laws modeled on that act are opposed by many liberals, on the grounds that they offer too much protection for religious weirdos — meaning now not peyote-ingesting Oregonians but the Christian baker who doesn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. Meanwhile, among conservatives, Scalia’s Smith opinion is widely regarded as one of his worst mistakes, and the Republican-appointed majority currently on the Supreme Court seems poised to erode its applications.

Because the legal minds involved in these debates are clever, they can come up with ways to harmonize the shifts in terms of ideological principle. But looking at the whole story you could be forgiven for thinking that the best explanation for Smith’s changing valence is just a change of in-groups and out-groups in American life.

The conservative majority that issued the 1990 decision, in other words, may have assumed at some level — a subconscious one, even — that they were establishing a precedent that would mostly be applied against New Agers and hippies, not their own mainstream religious traditions. The bipartisan reaction reflected the fact that the early 1990s were a moment when cultural conservatives and cultural liberals could equally imagine themselves as a potentially disfavored group. And the shift to today’s world, in which liberals put “religious liberty” in scare quotes and conservatives lament the Smith precedent, reflects religious conservatism’s increasing status as its own kind of weird, feared out-group, petitioning for exceptions from the legal and cultural rules laid down in liberal states.

Apply that kind of analysis to the COVID era and you can see the same thing happening on fast-forward. Early in the pandemic a political observer might have assumed that facing a mortal threat — one that emerged in China, no less — conservatives would embrace restrictions and quarantines the way they embraced the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 expansions of federal power, while liberals and the left would accuse the right of giving up too much liberty for the sake of safety.

Something like this divide existed very early on, with conservatives like Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas expressing alarm about the outbreak while liberals decried the potential racism of a “Wuhan virus” panic. But by late spring of 2020, the entire dynamic was reversed: Liberals supported tough government interventions to fight the virus, the right was full of fierce libertarians, and so it has mostly remained.

You can blame Donald Trump’s early insouciance for establishing this pattern, or the way that COVID hit blue metropoles hardest early while taking much longer to take root in rural regions. But it’s also useful to do in-group/out-group analysis, which suggests that conservatives were more willing to support limitations on liberty that fell on foreigners and international travelers — to them, out-groups — but balked at restrictions that seemed to fall most heavily on their own in-groups, from the owners of shuttered businesses to the pastors of closed churches to the parents of small children deprived of school.

For many liberals, it was the opposite. Early on, the idea of a travel ban or quarantine rule looked authoritarian and bigoted because it seemed likely to punish their own constituencies, especially immigrant communities in big cities. But the restrictions that were imposed from March 2020 onward were developed within one of liberalism’s inmost in-groups — the expert class, the public-health bureaucracy — and geared in different ways to the needs of other liberal constituencies: The professional class could adapt to virtual work, the teachers unions could mostly keep their paychecks without risking their health, and the youthful anti-racism activists of spring and summer 2020 were conveniently deemed to be exempt from the rules that forbade other kinds of gatherings.

This same pattern shows up in the debate over vaccine mandates. The mainstream right clearly found it easier to be uncomplicatedly pro-vaccine when anti-vax sentiment was coded as something for crunchy “Left Coast” parents, as opposed to conservatives skeptical of the public-health bureaucracy and sharing Facebook posts on ivermectin.

On the other hand, the American Civil Liberties Union, or at least its Twitter account, has decided that vaccine mandates “actually further civil liberties” rather than traducing them. This seems somewhat hard to square with many of its past fears about government overreach in a pandemic — until you consider that those fears probably assumed a right-wing government acting punitively toward immigrants and racial minorities, whereas now the imagined target of the Biden administration’s mandate is white, rural and Republican.

The point of noting this dynamic is not to simply condemn everyone involved for hypocrisy.


First, a lot of small-d democratic politics is inevitably just the negotiation between different groups based on their immediate interests rather than high principle, and it shouldn’t alarm us unduly that principle often bends to accommodate the defense of one’s own side.


Second, there can be a terrible and icy consistency among people who don’t change their views at all when the in-groups and out-groups seem to shift. Some of the most consistent people in politics right now, for instance, are former Bush Republicans and 9/11-era hawks who talk about Trump supporters who think the election was stolen the way they used to talk about foreign terrorists and the domestic left. In one sense their principle is admirable, but in another sense they seem to have learned nothing from the excesses of their own past alarmism, their War on Terror mistakes.


Third, changing your views because your own group’s stake in a debate changes can sometimes be a path to stronger principle, greater charity or both. The years just after the Smith case, for instance, saw the founding of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which today defends the religious freedom of a broad array of plaintiffs — not just conservative Christian groups but also the Muslim prison inmate or the Apache defenders of their sacred land, seeking genuine consistency across otherwise very different cases.


What’s most worrisome about the way the pandemic has intersected with polarization isn’t the inevitable tendency of people to change their principles depending on group interest. It’s the weakening of institutions that are supposed to do what Becket does and balance that in-group bias by standing a little more permanently on principle. Even if you favor President Joe Biden’s vaccine policies, for instance, you would ideally want an organization devoted explicitly to civil liberties to have a slightly more cautious take on a vaccine mandate than a typical liberal partisan, or else the ACLU doesn’t really have a reason to exist.

At the same time, there have been individuals who have played a staunchly independent pandemic-era role: liberal journalists and academics skeptical of long-term school closures or overzealous masking rules, libertarian thinkers who have rejected the tendency of their co-partisans to minimize the virus’s seriousness.

That’s what a healthy democracy should generate, out of a crisis like this — not just new ideological alignments based on in-group interest but new groups that can help mediate between our warring factions on the basis of a consistent commitment to the truth.

Ross Douthat writes a column for the New York Times.

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New York principal charged with sex abuse resigns



New York principal charged with sex abuse resigns

HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Kirk Ashton, the Hilton elementary school principal accused of abusing more than 30 students, has resigned.

Ashton pleaded not guilty to 25 charges in April. More families have taken legal action against him since then.

According to the Hilton Central School District, the board of education approved the separation agreement Tuesday. As part of the agreement, Ashton will be paid five months salary along with the amount of his accrued vacation and sick time.

The district says that under New York Education Law, Ashton could not be fired without a formal disciplinary hearing. It says district officials chose not to pursue that option because it would have required students to testify.

At its September 14, 2021 meeting, the Hilton Central School District Board of Education approved a separation agreement to secure the resignation of Kirk Ashton. The agreement includes payments to Mr. Ashton in the amount of his accrued vacation, sick days, and five months of salary. Neither Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek nor the Board of Education took the decision to enter into an agreement involving Mr. Ashton lightly. Unfortunately, despite the multiple criminal charges pending against him, Mr. Ashton maintained his tenure rights under the New York Education Law. This guaranteed him continued pay until he could be terminated on disciplinary charges through a formal proceeding held before a hearing officer. Because this would have necessarily involved student testimony, it would have been inappropriate for the District to move forward on such charges prior to the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, which will likely continue well into the future. Thus, the Board determined that agreeing to a finite amount to Mr. Ashton and formally ending his District employment immediately was the better course of action.

As with other actions the Hilton School District has taken since April, this is another step on the District’s path to recovery.

Grace Scism
Hilton Central School District Director of Communications

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Milley defends calls to Chinese, Biden says he has ‘confidence’ in general



Milley defends calls to Chinese, Biden says he has ‘confidence’ in general

The top U.S. military officer on Wednesday defended the phone calls he made to his Chinese counterpart in the turbulent final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, saying the conversations were intended to convey “reassurance” to the Chinese military and were in line with his responsibilities as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Some in Congress accused Gen. Mark Milley of having overstepped his authority and urged President Joe Biden to fire him, but Biden indicated Wednesday he stands behind Milley.

“I have great confidence in Gen. Milley,” Biden said when asked by a reporter whether Milley had done the right thing.

In a written statement, Milley’s spokesman, Col. Dave Butler, said Milley acted within his authority as the most senior uniformed adviser to the president and to the secretary of defense.

“His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability,” Butler said. “All calls from the chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency.”

The Milley phone calls were described in excerpts from the forthcoming book “Peril” by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. The book says Milley told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that he would warn his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack.

Trump said Milley should be tried for treason if it was true that Milley had promised Li that he would warn him in the event of a U.S. attack.

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Pittsfield to be featured in Dennis Quaid documentary series



Pittsfield to be featured in Dennis Quaid documentary series

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Pittsfield has been selected as a feature in a documentary series hosted by Dennis Quaid.

According to a news release sent to 22News from Roberta McCulloch-Dews, director of Administrative
Services and Public Information Officer of Pittsfield, filming for an episode on “Viewpoint” will take place in early to mid-October.

Viewpoint,” is an educational documentary series hosted by Dennis Quaid on public television stations. Pittsfield will be featured as “Discovering America – Great Places to Live, Work, & Visit” series.

“I am absolutely thrilled that the City of Pittsfield has been chosen for this extraordinary
nationwide profile. We already know that Pittsfield, the heart of Berkshire County, is a great
place to live, work, and visit. In the wake of the pandemic, we continue to see a growing demand
among people of all ages who are seeking communities that will allow them to enjoy a thriving
quality of life,” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “This documentary will showcase our city to a vast
audience, highlighting our many wonderful attributes, including our growing innovation and
technology, and local success stories.”

Commercials will also air on major networks including CNBC, CNN, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel with a partnership with the City of Pittsfield on educational segments.

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