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Trump asks China and Ukraine to examine the activities of the bids in their countries

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Trump asks China and Ukraine to examine the activities of the bids in their countries

President Trump has publicly called upon the Chinese and Ukrainian governments to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business and political activities.

A spokesperson for Biden replied by accusing Trump “desperately chasing conspiracy theories” and “flailing and melting down on national TV.” RT reported: Speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Thursday Trump repeated his demand that the government of Ukraine investigate Bidens.

“We would start a major investigation into the Bidens if they were truthful about it,” said Trump. “We ought to investigate the Bidens. Similarly, China must begin an investigation into the Bidens, as China’s incidents are about as terrible as those in Ukraine.” “Nobody believes that they were not collapsing, “the chairman added. Democrats contend that Trump urged Zelensky to reopen an inquiry into the business activities of Hunter Biden in Ukraine on the phone call in July to seek revenge on Joe Biden, former vice president and Democratic president at the elections next year. Trump claims that the telephone call was a “nothing call,” and there was no evidence of misconduct in the transcript.

Trump also claims that Hunter Biden’s position in 2015, despite Hunters lack of qualifications, on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, was unethical. He also says that the vice-president Joe Biden pressed Kiev to put an anti-corruption check into Burisma a year ago, using foreign aid from America as a weapon.

In 2013, the two Bidens went to Beijing to call Trump for a Chinese probe. At that time, Hunter was building a Chinese private equity fund and planned to raise money there. Two weeks after the tour, Shanghai authorities granted the Fund its business license and raised over $1 billion. So Trump insists that Hunter used the official visit of his father to further his own business interests.

Reporter-quizzed whether Chinese President Xi Jinping had asked him to inquire into the visit, Trump said on Thursday, “I have no, but it’s obviously something that we should start thinking about.” Trade talks between Washington and Beijing were expected to be resumed on Friday with a Chinese delegation on their way to discuss trade deficits and suspected intellectual property spat in both countries.

Trump spent much of the Thursday morning in Twitter tossing Biden and Adam Schiff, the Democrat Congressman who leads the Zelensky call investigation. Handler released a video he shared with Trump a couple of hours earlier, that revealed the two golfing companies from Bidens and the Burisma Executive in 2014, apparently contradicting the claim of Joe Biden that he would never speak to Hunter about his “private business relations.”

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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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Other voices: China’s ascendance must remind us what America stands for

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Other voices: China’s ascendance must remind us what America stands for

Human freedom has many threats, as we are reminded of today of all days.

The struggle for freedom is never finished. It is iterative and incremental. Where freedom is won, it can be lost again.

We think of this now not only in memory of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 that were aimed at American democracy and individual determinism but in the broader context of today’s global human struggle for freedom.

The morning of Sept. 11, many of us believed with good reason that the tide was with us and that Western democracy, with its protection of innate human rights, was ascendant. We hoped the war of ideas was won and that broadening freedom and respect for human dignity were its prize.

Today, surveying the world around us, there is much to worry about. And among the first worries we register now is a regressing China.

Twenty years ago, we had reason to believe that China would join the world of free nations by expanding human rights and democratic self-determination as economic freedom and personal prosperity began to bloom. China officially joined the World Trade Organization on Dec. 11, 2001, after enduring the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s, preceded by decades of struggle and desperation under Mao’s despotically insane economic and social policies.

A series of reform-minded leaders advanced China with actual great leaps forward, creating an economy that could not only feed but actually enrich its people. Those people, we expected, would seek and win political freedom to match their newfound economic self-determinism.

We were only half right. While the Chinese people have sought greater freedom, the Chinese Communist Party has retrenched in its devotion to oppression in the name of self-preservation.

In the person of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the CCP is grossly expanding its authoritarian control over the lives of the Chinese people. And its expansionist vision on the foreign stage should be a cause for grave concern.

The list of crackdowns and violations of human rights are too numerous to detail here. We note as among the worst offenses the elimination of a free and democratic government and press in Hong Kong and the ongoing oppression and even elimination of Uyghur people in Xinjiang province. But, as The Washington Post pointed out in a recent article, Xi’s policies are diminishing freedom in just about every area of Chinese life.

The Chinese Communist Party cherishes a vision of cradle-to-grave control of human life, with the ancillary belief that this can occur in an economically prosperous society. Just follow the rules and nobody gets hurt, it suggests. The vision is as fundamentally misguided about human nature as Mao’s grotesque Great Leap Forward programs. But it may be more sustainable in the short run as a way of doing business. And, given China’s current economic might and influence in the developing world, it could be expanded either by force or coercion.

It is popular now to suggest that America is damaged goods, that our role on the world stage is so diminished we are no longer an effective advocate of freedom. After the shameful retreat from Afghanistan, there is, sadly, some truth to this. And to no one is that sweeter than Xi Jinping.

That is why it is crucial for every American, and especially for the American president, to remember that America’s central idea — its reason for being — is the elevation of human freedom and of the God-given rights that codify that freedom. We need a clear foreign policy that acknowledges China as it is, not for what we wish it to be.

It matters for us, and it matters for the world.

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California election worker removed from polling place for wearing Trump shirt, hat

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California election worker removed from polling place for wearing Trump shirt, hat

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — An election worker was relieved of his post at a West Hollywood voting center on Tuesday after he repeatedly wore political attire in support of former President Donald Trump at the polling location, county officials said.

Los Angeles County election officials addressed the incident in a tweet after someone had shared a photo of the poll worker at a voting center located at Plummer Park on Tuesday morning.

The photo shows the worker wearing a “Where’s Hunter?” T-shirt and baseball cap bearing the “Trump 2020” logo, along with a coronavirus face mask that appears to say “Trump Train.”

“Isn’t this s*** illegal?” the tweet said.

“The election worker was contacted and advised that the attire was inappropriate and unacceptable,” the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk tweeted in response to the photo. “Based on his response and reports that other workers had previously counseled him on this, he was released and is no longer working at the vote center.”

Mike Sanchez, a spokesperson for the Registrar-Recorder’s office, said the poll worker was initially warned against wearing political attire to the voting center on Monday, when he showed up to work wearing Trump campaign regalia.

Sanchez said the clerk’s office and the supervisor at the West Hollywood polling place instructed the poll worker not to wear political attire, but the man came back Tuesday morning wearing Trump apparel.

“He was counseled and told not to wear anything political, but he still came wearing it,” Sanchez said. “Because of his response and not complying with the rules, he was released.”

California election laws prohibit what’s known as “electioneering” within 100 feet of an entrance to a polling place. That includes displaying a candidate’s name, likeness or logo, or specific references to ballot measures by number, title, subject or logo. It also includes no audible broadcasting of information about candidates or measures.

It’s unclear whether the law applies to clothing donning the “Trump 2020” logo given that Donald Trump is not a candidate in the California recall election.

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Mastrodonato: Finally, Red Sox beat a good team and gain momentum in Wild Card chase

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Mastrodonato: Finally, Red Sox beat a good team and gain momentum in Wild Card chase

Staying alive is one thing.

Staying alive with some momentum, playing with purpose and showing their fanbase, their coaching staff and themselves that they’re capable of getting hot at the right time is an entirely bigger thing.

The Red Sox didn’t just keep their playoff hopes alive on Wednesday, when they outlasted the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings for an 9-4 win that might’ve knocked the M’s out of playoff contention.

More importantly, the Red Sox proved they’re capable of winning a series against a good team, something they hadn’t done since July.

Not since they took three of four against the Yankees just before the trade deadline have the Red Sox won a series against a team that’s currently above .500. Until Wednesday’s series victory, the Sox were 0-6-2 in series against winning ball clubs. They were 8-19 in those games.

With the risk of accidentally dubbing the Sox a legitimate contender for the AL pennant just because of two good games against a borderline playoff team, it must be said that the local nine are finally trending in the right direction.

On a very difficult road trip against the White Sox and Mariners, the Sox were in every single game. They went 3-3 overall but all three losses were by one run.

Their starting rotation was consistent, with a 3.62 ERA over 27 1/3 innings on the trip, despite losing Chris Sale to COVID-19 just before the plane took off for Chicago.

Their COVID-ravaged bullpen was surprisingly incredible. With Matt Barnes still out, Sox relievers posted an 0.68 ERA over 26 1/3 innings during the trip.

Is it sustainable to have a bullpen pitch nearly as many innings as the starting rotation? Of course not. But at this point in the season, sustainability isn’t the goal anyways.

All the Red Sox pitching staff needs to do is pitch well enough so that a few of the team’s best arms are available for the Wild Card game on Oct. 5, two days after the season ends against the lowly Nationals.

Nathan Eovaldi continued his dominant season with a brilliant start on Tuesday. The stat line won’t show it, but getting out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning after Hunter Renfroe’s exasperating error on a dropped fly ball nearly did the Red Sox in for good.

Sale is on his way back, likely to start Friday’s series opener against the Orioles.

Adam Ottavino, Josh Taylor and Garrett Whitlock continue to look like strong options out of the bullpen.

And surely, manager Alex Cora will find a way to maximize Eduardo Rodriguez and Tanner Houck in a single-game playoff or a five-game series.

The Red Sox offense has certainly seen better days. It’d be hard to argue any of their hitters other than Bobby Dalbec and maybe Alex Verdugo are actually peaking right now. More accurately, a few are slumping. But for the first time in a long time, they’re all healthy.

Dalbec has the highest OPS of any big leaguer since Aug. 11, and he’s batting seventh in this lineup.

The only clear weakness, and a weakness that continues to be an issue even right down to the final day of the road trip, is the Sox’ disastrous defense.

Renfroe made his 12th error on Wednesday. He has seven more errors than any other right fielder this year. This time he rushed his throw on a single to right field and it bounced past Rafael Devers at third base. It was arguably Devers’ fault for not getting in front of the ball and letting it pass through him, but Devers is another story.

He made his MLB-leading 21st error of the season at third base later in the game, when he fumbled a groundball and then tried to overpower his throw to first base to make up for it. Instead, he sailed it over the head of Dalbec at first and the Sox were lucky not to pay for it.

Every pop fly, every groundball and any live baseball somewhere in play creates an adventure for this team.

One possible solution is what the Red Sox did on Tuesday, using Kyle Schwarber off the bench and choosing an optimal defensive alignment with Alex Verdugo in left, Kiké Hernandez in center and Renfroe in right. They swapped Schwarber and Verdugo on Wednesday.

Still, Devers has been simply bad at third base, Dalbec inconsistent at first base and the Sox’ catching tandem one of the worst in baseball at preventing stolen bases.

This isn’t a team that inspires defensively, and they’ve often paid because of it.

But with Schwarber a glorified pinch hitter, Travis Shaw now looking like another strong option off the bench and Jose Iglesias a premium defender to move around the diamond, the Red Sox can piece it together against anybody.

They still have to keep pace with the red-hot Blue Jays and/or handle the Yankees in a three-game set coming up next week in order to maintain Wild Card position.

But the rest of the schedule is a cakewalk.

At least they finally have some momentum.

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Timothy L. O’Brien: No, General Milley, President Trump wasn’t losing it

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Timothy L. O’Brien: No, General Milley, President Trump wasn’t losing it

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was so consumed with fear that former President Donald Trump might launch “rogue” conventional or nuclear strikes against China, he acted twice to prevent it, according to excerpts from a new book.

Just days before last November’s presidential election, and then two days after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Milley called his “rattled” military counterpart in China to reassure him that the U.S. wouldn’t attack, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa report in “Peril.” On one occasion, Milley convened his own military team to discuss proper nuclear launch procedures and, on another, reassured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi phoned Milley shortly after Jan. 6 to inquire about what “precautions are available to prevent an unstable president from initiating military hostilities,” according to a transcript of the call.

There were “a lot of checks in the system,” Milley told her.

“He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy,” Pelosi said. “He’s crazy and what he did yesterday is further evidence of his craziness.”

“I agree with you on everything,” Milley replied.

Milley also came to suspect that Trump had “suffered a mental decline after the election,” according to the Washington Post’s excerpt.

But here’s the thing: Trump was the same guy before and after the 2020 presidential election and on Jan. 6 that he was when he was elected in 2016. He’s the same guy he was decades before that, too. Love him or hate him, Trump is consistent and has stayed true to form for most of his 75 years. It’s that authenticity that endears him to his supporters.

Did Trump suddenly go into a psychological slide in 2020 that made him more dangerous than before? No. It was obvious to anyone watching closely that he would rather burn down the house after the 2020 presidential election than acknowledge defeat. He warned of electoral fraud before the 2016 election, too, and he continues peddling the same myth today. It’s utterly predictable, because he doesn’t change. People supporting him or advising him who may have thought otherwise were kidding themselves.

The risks that the country, the rule of law and our institutions still confront stems from that reality. The Republican Party continues to embrace and foment Trumpism. Much could still go wrong. And we can’t rely on military leaders going rogue to protect us from rogue presidents.

Milley certainly had other reasons apart from Trump’s mental state to be worried. The excerpts note that intelligence reports indicated Chinese leaders were wary of a random strike, and Milley worried that their fears might prompt them to lash out. Milley had similar concerns about Trump’s posture toward Iran. The general also was an unhappy cast member in Trump’s infamous stroll through Lafayette Square during protests in Washington in June 2020. That episode forced him to assure confidantes that “we’re not going to turn our guns on the American people and we’re not going to have a ‘Wag the Dog’ scenario overseas.”

“Wag the Dog” isn’t the only movie that warned of political or military leaders using war to cement their standing, only to see war spin out of control. “Dr. Strangelove” is a classic. Another oldie, “Seven Days in May,” tells of an attempted military coup in Washington, engineered to forestall nuclear disarmament talks. The misery of the Trump years is that what was once cinematic became real.

I’m glad Milley took the steps he did, and I honor his military service. But the fact that he had to maneuver around Trump demonstrates how broken things are. Milley is a sophisticated and dedicated public servant, and he was well aware how his actions would appear.

Milley knew he was “pulling a Schlesinger,” Woodward and Costa write, referring to former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger’s efforts to check former President Richard Nixon’s military authority when Nixon was in danger of being impeached. But the general weighed the fact that critics would “contend that Milley had overstepped his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself” against his belief that his actions were “a good faith precaution to ensure there was no historic rupture in the international order, no accidental war with China or others, and no use of nuclear weapons.” Milley, a man of enormous courage and character, chose the latter course.

Milley also understands where all this might be headed. He compared the Jan. 6 insurrection to the failed 1905 uprising in Russia. While the 1905 rebellion sputtered out and was repressed, it paved the way for the more seismic and indelible Russian Revolution of 1917. Milley told senior staff that Jan. 6 might have been “a precursor to something far worse down the road.”

His choices and predictions should scare all of us.

Timothy L. O’Brien is a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.

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Hochul announces $23.7M in grants to combat gun violence

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Hochul announces $23.7M in grants to combat gun violence

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced $23.7 million in grants have been awarded to combat gun violence in the state. The money is going to several gun violence prevention efforts, which include job training, community activities, and intervener staffing in communities seeing the highest concentration of gun violence.

“Gun violence is a horror no one should have to live through, and yet too many New Yorkers do. It is time we put an end to this epidemic,” said Governor Hochul.

New York is awarding $16 million to local workforce development boards to fund workforce training and job placement programs in 20 cities most impacted by gun violence across New York. Unemployed, underemployed and out-of-school youth age 18-24 in areas of cities impacted by gun violence will be eligible. More information about the programs is available on the NYS website.

$5.7 million is being awarded to provide sports, arts, civic engagement, skill development, and recreational programming in communities seeing high gun violence. The rest of the money is going toward gun violence intervention programs to hire and train 39 new street outreach workers and violence interrupters.

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Boston’s Aly Raisman blasts FBI, USA Gymnastics over handling of Larry Nassar case: ‘Like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter’

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Boston’s Aly Raisman blasts FBI, USA Gymnastics over handling of Larry Nassar case: ‘Like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter’

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman ripped the FBI during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, saying the feds knew USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sexually abusing children and “did nothing to restrict his access.”

The Boston resident said it’s critical that the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee are “completely investigated.”

“We cannot believe that there’s a safer future for children unless we fully understand every single thing that happened,” Raisman said, later adding, “I don’t want to be guessing that they (children) are going to be OK. I want to know with 100% certainty that somebody that looked the other way for us isn’t still in a position of power.”

The hearing was part of a congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after multiple missteps in investigating the case.

At least 40 girls and women said they were molested after the FBI had been made aware of allegations against Nassar in 2015.

“Over the past few years, it has become painfully clear how a survivor’s healing is affected by the handling of their abuse, and it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over 6 years later,” Raisman said.

The FBI failed to conduct interviews in a timely manner, the Needham native said. It took more than 14 months for the FBI to contact her despite her requests to be interviewed.

“I felt pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal,” she said. “The agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing.”

“My reports of abuse were not only buried by USAG and USOPC, but they were also mishandled by federal law enforcement officers who failed to follow their most basic duties,” she later added. “The FBI and others within both USAG and USOPC knew that Nassar molested children, and did nothing to restrict his access.”

USA Gymnastics “quietly allowed Nassar to slip out the side door, knowingly allowing him to continue his ‘work’ at MSU, Sparrow Hospital, a USAG club, and even run for school board,” Raisman said. “Nassar found more than 100 new victims to molest. It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter.”

An internal investigation by the Justice Department said that the FBI made fundamental errors in the probe and did not treat the case with the “utmost seriousness” after USA Gymnastics first reported the allegations to the FBI in 2015.

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress that federal law enforcement and gymnastics officials turned a “blind eye” to Nassar’s sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women.

“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry” for delays in Nassar’s prosecution and the pain it caused.

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

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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

 

8/31

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

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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

Testing

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%

Hospitalizations

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

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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

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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?

Nothing.

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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