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Economists: US GDP to demonstrate the greatest growth since the Second World War just before the elections

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Economists: US GDP to demonstrate the greatest growth since the Second World War just before the elections

America’s economy has started to roar back, anticipating the release of the third quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product next week.

The federal government will officially unveil its estimates next Thursday, but Bloomberg’s survey of economists expects a 30% growth rate, which it called “remarkable” as well as a post-war high.

In its report, Bloomberg reported that it expects the economy to continue to grow and that one factor in potential growth is that “states are unlikely to re-establish widespread lockdowns even if cases continue to increase.”

Bloomberg noted that consumer spending has increased for four consecutive months and that the National Home Builders Association’s monthly Builders sentiment index has been the strongest since it started in 1985.

Bloomberg’s outlook is not the only one to look up.

BREAKING: “On October 29, 10 days from now, we expect a report that says the third quarter of real GDP has rebounded at an annual rate of 33.4%,” according to the First Trust Portfolios in Chicago.

In September, according to Yahoo, the Bank of America projected third-quarter GDP growth of 27 percent.

GDP The Federal Reserve’s now calculator is even more optimistic, with a 35.3 percent growth estimate since it was last updated on Tuesday, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve.

Can the Democrats hinder the recovery of America?

In its report on the projected 30 per cent GDP growth rate, CNBC noted that the economy has added 11,5 million jobs since May and that optimism has improved.

The Conference Board CEO Confidence Index, which tests the percentage of positive responses to economic conditions, reached 64 in September after reading 45 in August.

According to the study, 64 percent of those surveyed expect economic conditions to continue to improve.

“CEOs have been much more upbeat in Q4 than they were earlier this year,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of the Conference Board.

“In particular, talent shortages eased in the aftermath of COVID-19, and almost two-thirds of business leaders said they expected nothing, if any, to recruit skilled employees. However, uncertainty about the pandemic — and its consequences — remains a challenge to Q4 ‘s renewed optimism as we reach 2021, “Peterson added.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said that if Democratic Joe Biden wins the presidential election, the recovery could be stalled.

“The policies of the left will cause an economic catastrophe of epic proportions,” Trump said, according to CBS.

“The option America faces is simple: it’s the option between unprecedented prosperity under my pro-American policies, or crushing poverty, and a steep depression under the radical left,” Trump said in a speech to the New York Post Economic Club.

“Under my continued leadership, we will begin our V-shaped recovery and unleash a record-breaking economic boom,” he said.

“We will end the pandemic with a safe and efficient vaccine, build 10 million jobs in the first 10 months of 2021, and rapidly return to full employment,” said Trump.

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TikTok removing ‘devious licks’ videos from platform amid complaints from schools

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TikTok removing ‘devious licks’ videos from platform amid complaints from schools

(NEXSTAR) – TikTok is removing videos that show students bragging about stealing items from their schools after the trend started to take off earlier this month.

The “devious licks” trend, as it’s known on social media, had resulted in students stealing items from their schools, or, in some cases, literally ripping off fixtures of their school’s bathrooms, according to educators in numerous districts. Videos later posted by some of the students showed them removing the ill-gotten goods from their backpacks, bragging about the “devious licks,” or thefts, they were able to get away with.

Other times, the students are simply destroying school property, an act also attributed to the trend by educators in some districts.

“We’ve seen students ripping soap dispensers off of the walls and throwing them across the bathroom,” Ben Fobert, the principal of Mountain House High School in Mountain House, California, said in a statement provided to KTXL. “We’ve also seen paper towel dispensers completely ripped off of the walls. Students have ripped off the dividers between urinals in the boy’s bathrooms.”

In addition to warning students against such behavior, some schools, like Cram Middle School in North Las Vegas, have had to send letters to parents or otherwise notify the community after connecting a spate of stolen items and vandalism to the social-media trend.

“Please, check your child’s cell phone. Check their social media accounts. See what they’re doing,” Cram Middle School’s principal, Gary Bugash, told KLAS. “That will help us here in our education system.”

TikTok confirmed Wednesday that it was in the process of removing videos connected to the “devious licks” trend, which are in violation of the platform’s community guidelines.  

“We expect our community to create responsibly – online and [in real life],” the company wrote on Twitter. “We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers.”

As of Thursday morning, however, TikTok has not been able to scrub all videos pertaining to the trend, as some users began using similar but slightly different hashtags to continue sharing the clips.

TikTok’s efforts to remove the “devious” videos come shortly after the platform announced that it was banning videos related to the “milk crate challenge,” which tasked social-media users with ascending and descending an unsecured makeshift staircase made from milk crates. The trend soon prompted warnings from doctors, police, and even whole municipal health departments, one of which warned participants to “check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you” before attempting the dangerous stunt.

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Grossman: Where climate change is concerned, history’s irrelevant

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Grossman: Where climate change is concerned, history’s irrelevant

Climate change made the floods in the Northeast from Hurricane Ida worse.

So proclaimed stories in major media: CNN, The Washington Post, ABC News and many others. Get used to it, scientists and politicians told reporters. “More storms (like this one) are coming more frequently,” the governor of New Jersey opined, “with (even) more intensity.”

In August 1955, before it is said that humans began having a major impact on the climate, I (a little boy) was awakened by a sound truck coming through our Waterbury, Conn., neighborhood proclaiming, “Do not use your gas unless it is an extreme emergency.”

I soon learned from my father, who couldn’t get to work that morning, why that truck woke me. The whole of the Naugatuck Valley was flooded, he reported. Water several feet high rushed through the valley destroying nearly everything in its path. From a hilltop vantage point near my grandparents’ house, I watched in amazement and horror as trees, roofs, houses, cars and much more came rushing along the streets that bordered the usually placid and polluted Naugatuck River.

The flooding occurred from the remnant of Hurricane Diane. There was flooding from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. Nearly 400 people died and the cost of damage was in the (inflation-adjusted) billions.

Of course, one-off disasters occur as we know so this was a once-in-a-hundred-year storm, right?

No. There had been an even more devastating Northeast hurricane only 17 years before. That storm, unnamed, killed 600 people. According to The New York Times, in Bridgeport, Conn., just down the road from Waterbury, “the streets were turned into torrents.”

In fact, just the year before Diane, Hurricanes Edna and Carol spread devastation to the Northeast, even as far as Canada.

This isn’t ancient history. It tells us that really bad hurricanes and floods resulting from them have happened recently, in the lifetimes of many of us. Dangerous storms have spread devastation over large swaths of the country, killed people and destroyed property. But somehow we’re supposed to believe that it’s all new, all because of human-caused climate change.

Of course, it’s undeniable that the world is warming and it’s quite likely that human activity is a significant reason for it. But is it really causing historically more extreme weather, more often?

Not if you go farther back in history than some people want to go. A historic study of Atlantic hurricanes from 1900 to 2019 shows that, in fact, the frequency of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. has declined, albeit slightly. The intensity isn’t rising either.

But for some people. history only covers the years 1980 to last year. In that time period, storm intensity has risen, but only to the level of the 1940s and 50s.

Scientists and politicians should be careful of using recent bad experiences to make predictions about how the climate will behave. They are almost always wrong. James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, for example, predicted New York City’s Westside Highway would be underwater by the early 2000s. It isn’t.

Still, here’s a safe prediction: There will be more bad hurricanes in the future — as there has always been in the past.


Peter Z. Grossman is the author of several books on energy. This column provided by InsideSources.

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How to avoid the blame game

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How to avoid the blame game

I have a bonus family. My husband has two kids and I have two kids. We’ve added a son three years ago. We have tried your suggestion of a family discussion to air differences, but things seem to spin out of control. What’s good ex-etiquette?

Family discussions are great ways to problem-solve, but bonusfamilies must be careful that they remain a forum for conflict resolution and not just venting sessions. If the discussion is filled with “you always do this” or “you never do that,” the conversation is bound to spin out of control.

Why? Because it’s human nature to hear two words first and lose sight of the gist of the observation — always and never. Once those words are entered into the discussion, people are on the defense and not listening.

Anytime you air your differences or are looking for a solution to a problem with someone, stay away from the blame game. Teach family members to use “I messages” to explain how they feel. There’s a very simple model you can follow that really works in discussions.

Using “I FEEL,” not “you always”:

  • State the feeling.
  • State the offending behavior.
  • State the effect it has on you.
  • State what you would like to see.

So, “you always yell at me for no reason!” — something that kids say all the time — becomes “I feel hurt (feeling) when you raise your voice (offending behavior). I feel like I want to cry and I don’t want to listen (the effect it has on you) and I wish you would just talk to me without yelling at me (what you want to see).”

Now you are talking about you, not blaming them.

The family discussion model I often suggest — sitting down with rules your family has devised specifically for your family — was born out of necessity. When my husband and I wanted to talk to the kids about whatever we saw needed to improve, we approached it from a “we’re all in this together” approach.

The family discussion worked really well. The amusing thing was when the kids called a family discussion on us. We were floored. We had no idea something we were doing — working too many hours — was bothering them.

When my daughter was 8 and my bonusdaughter was 9, they put their heads together and called a family discussion. They very clearly stated their case and said what they would like to see (cut back on the work hours).

So take a look at your approach. Are you using the family discussion model as a problem-solving tool, or a way to complain? You may have to tweak what you are doing for it to work for your specific needs. Try to stay flexible. That’s good ex-etiquette.


Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of “Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation,” and the founder of Bonus Families, bonusfamilies.com. This column provided by Tribune News Service.

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Letters to the editor

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Letters to the editor

Chief concerns

With our war in Afghanistan declared over we need to resolve now some of our most serious domestic issues. We cannot allow them to fester, draining our will, our resources and our future well being.

These include developing a rapid means to vet all incoming displaced refugees from Afghanistan for threats of virus infection or terrorism. The same programs should apply to all refugees entering at our southern border.

We also need to enact solutions for defense of life and property from storms and wildfires. Assist those in need from the devastating effects of the ongoing pandemic. Improve domestic energy production so we can be free of imported needs and can be sustained with our own energy sources

Our future well being depends on both our executive and legislative bodies overcoming their opposing attitudes and working together for the common good of all Americans.

— Bob Sweeney, Warwick, R.I.

Opposing views

When I saw the headline on Jeff Robbins’ column  ( “On 9/11 anniversary, Bush warns of extremists within”, Sept. 14) I thought for once he and I were in agreement. We both thought George Bush’s speech in Shanksville, Pa., was exceptional. However, I thought Bush was referring to the violent extremists who have been rioting in Portland, Ore., Minneapolis, Seattle and other cities around the nation. Silly me, Jeff Robbins assumed he was referring to the protesters in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. It just goes to show that right and left we do see the world through completely different lenses. I wonder if we will ever find common ground again.

– Margaret Michaud, Marblehead 

Get to work

It’s time to get Americans off the couch. In the article (“Instead of working hard, many hardly working”) by Stephen Moore, he notes that the Labor Department reported a record 10.9 million jobs open in America. There are 8 million unemployed Americans. Welfare needs to be tied to employment. Work provides a person with self-worth and a road out of the welfare trough. The U.S. Postal Service has a plan to hire 100,000 more workers. Amazon wants to increase its workforce by 125,000. It’s time to add a work requirement to welfare.

— Don Houghton, Quincy

Gen. Milley’s motives

The president is commander in chief and the military is subservient to the president. But what is undiscussed in your editorial is whether a rage-filled president, perhaps mentally unhinged as the speaker of the House, third in line of presidential succession, is reported to have said, is a competent commander in chief. The founders never anticipated a defeated president going rogue and entreating his vice president to cancel the Electoral College tabulation that finalizes the quadrennial presidential sweepstakes. And the founders never anticipated that a defeated president would, with a wink and a nod, encourage his supporters to delay the tabulation by attacking the Capitol. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff was in uncharted and heretofore unanticipated territory when Donald Trump accosted our constitutional prerogatives. The speaker of the House, convinced that Mr. Trump was “crazy,” conferred with Gen. Milley and asked him to secure our nuclear weapons because of a fear that the defeated president would do great harm to our nation and, perhaps, to international order. Mr. Trump disdained the legal and peaceful course for a defeated candidate and attempted an insurrection. Gen. Milley was the patriot, not the defeated president.

— Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Governor Hochul provides Saturday 9/18 coronavirus update

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Governor Hochul provides Saturday 9/18 coronavirus update

NEW YORK (WWTI) — Governor Kathy Hochul updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress combating COVID-19 on Saturday.

“We are continuing to partner with localities and health providers to make sure the vaccine is accessible in every part of the state,” Governor Hochul said. “We know the vaccine works, and we know that by not taking it you are many times more vulnerable to the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. If you still need to get your shot, you need to do so for your safety and the safety of everyone around you.”  

Saturday’s data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported – 197,275
  • Total Positive – 5,368
  • Percent Positive – 2.72%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 3.07%
  • Patient Hospitalization – 2,382 (-13)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 322
  • Patients in ICU – 557 (-10)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation – 312 (-2)
  • Total Discharges – 197,629 (+303)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS – 27
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS – 44,133
  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC – 56,184
  • Total vaccine doses administered – 24,621,870
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours – 58,712
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days – 366,081
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose – 79.9%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series – 72.1%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 82.4%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 73.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose – 67.6%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series – 60.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 69.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 62.3% 

Each region’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows: 

Region Wednesday, September 15, 2021 Thursday, September 16, 2021 Friday, September 17, 2021
Capital Region 4.26% 4.21% 4.12%
Central New York 5.37% 5.03% 4.99%
Finger Lakes 4.95% 4.94% 4.93%
Long Island 4.06% 3.97% 3.92%
Mid-Hudson 3.54% 3.41% 3.36%
Mohawk Valley 4.64% 4.64% 4.55%
New York City 2.12% 2.06% 2.07%
North Country 5.63% 5.80% 5.85%
Southern Tier 3.37% 3.20% 3.33%
Western New York 5.02% 4.96% 4.75%
Statewide 3.16% 3.09% 3.07%

Each New York City borough’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

Borough in NYC Wednesday, September 15, 2021 Thursday, September 16, 2021 Friday, September 17, 2021
Bronx 2.23% 2.16% 2.03%
Kings 2.34% 2.32% 2.36%
New York 1.59% 1.55% 1.55%
Queens 2.20% 2.15% 2.16%
Richmond 2.76% 2.58% 2.62%

Yesterday, 5,368 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 in New York State, bringing the total to 2,349,893. A geographic breakdown is as follows: 

County Total Positive New Positive
Albany 28,164 91
Allegany 3,967 21
Broome 21,486 117
Cattaraugus 6,645 23
Cayuga 7,782 22
Chautauqua 10,674 52
Chemung 8,889 52
Chenango 4,133 21
Clinton 5,529 65
Columbia 4,580 22
Cortland 4,745 18
Delaware 3,005 15
Dutchess 33,516 79
Erie 98,209 146
Essex 1,922 8
Franklin 3,419 43
Fulton 5,216 12
Genesee 5,983 24
Greene 3,897 21
Hamilton 407 3
Herkimer 5,924 19
Jefferson 7,326 41
Lewis 3,131 8
Livingston 5,117 15
Madison 5,318 16
Monroe 77,364 168
Montgomery 5,013 35
Nassau 205,391 372
Niagara 21,932 51
NYC 1,048,613 2,082
Oneida 25,440 80
Onondaga 45,229 128
Ontario 8,428 23
Orange 54,147 102
Orleans 3,577 11
Oswego 9,438 36
Otsego 4,122 12
Putnam 11,742 37
Rensselaer 13,126 42
Rockland 50,497 56
Saratoga 18,254 68
Schenectady 15,123 52
Schoharie 2,050 9
Schuyler 1,255 2
Seneca 2,432 10
St. Lawrence 8,715 69
Steuben 8,233 54
Suffolk 225,877 512
Sullivan 7,740 23
Tioga 4,360 16
Tompkins 5,841 46
Ulster 16,195 50
Warren 4,625 23
Washington 3,854 17
Wayne 6,836 32
Westchester 140,204 179
Wyoming 3,877 9
Yates 1,379 8

Yesterday, 27 New Yorkers died due to COVID-19, bringing the total to 44,133. A geographic breakdown is as follows, by county of residence:

County New Deaths
Bronx 1
Broome 1
Chautauqua 1
Erie 1
Genesee 1
Kings 3
Manhattan 3
Monroe 3
Nassau 1
Oneida 1
Onondaga 2
Otsego 1
Queens 3
Steuben 1
Suffolk 2
Sullivan 1
Tioga 1

Yesterday, 32,739 New Yorkers received their first vaccine dose, and 28,154 completed their vaccine series. A geographic breakdown of New Yorkers who have been vaccinated by region is as follows:

People with at least one vaccine dose:

Region Cumulative 
Total
Increase over past 24 hours
Capital Region 739,975 973
Central New York 578,299 678
Finger Lakes 749,730 989
Long Island 1,827,790 5,206
Mid-Hudson 1,426,860 2,720
Mohawk Valley 288,379 324
New York City 6,454,852 19,557
North Country 268,149 465
Southern Tier 384,105 500
Western New York 818,109 1,327
Statewide 13,536,248 32,739

People with complete vaccine series:

Region Cumulative 
Total
Increase over past 24 hours
Capital Region 680,188 1,025
Central New York 536,367 597
Finger Lakes 698,347 895
Long Island 1,617,264 4,954
Mid-Hudson 1,264,941 2,554
Mohawk Valley 266,763 419
New York City 5,713,998 15,521
North Country 241,761 460
Southern Tier 354,514 492
Western New York 751,291 1,237
Statewide 12,125,434 28,154
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‘Muhammad Ali’ gets the Kens Burns treatment on PBS

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‘Muhammad Ali’ gets the Kens Burns treatment on PBS

It’s not a stretch to say that Muhammad Ali was one of the most consequential men of the 20th century — in and out of the boxing ring. Consequently, he’s getting the Ken Burns treatment in a multi-part documentary upcoming on PBS.

“Muhammad Ali,” a four-part, eight-hour documentary produced by Burns (“Baseball,” “The Civil War”) and airing Sunday through Wednesday (8 p.m. on GBH), looks at the life of the three-time heavyweight champion, whose lightning speed, agility and smarts thrilled the sport’s fans and whose outspokenness and principled stands on human rights, racial and religious biases and the war in Vietnam inspired people around the world and challenged notions of the roles athletes and celebrities play in society.

“Muhammad Ali” premieres Sunday on PBS (check local listings).

The film covers all the bases in the life of the man born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., from his childhood in Louisville, Ky., and personal life that included four marriages to his conversion to Islam, his complex relationships with Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, his refusal to enter the military during the war, the consequent prison sentence and loss of his first heavyweight title.

And then, of course, there were the rivalries (Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman) and the fights (Rumble in the Jungle, Thrilla in Manila) before his retirement, post-boxing life and death from Parkinson’s in 2016.

Along the way, we learn that Ali was a man of many contradictions, one of incredible wit, kindness and generosity who could be exceedingly cruel to opponents he didn’t like. And his famous boasts of “I am the greatest” were at times counterbalanced by humility, which he notably exhibited after losing to Frazier in 1971.

“He basically has been bragging about it,” Burns explains. “He’s been ragging, I think, irresponsibly and inexcusably about Joe Frazier and using the terms that white racists use to describe Black men. And he loses. … And the next morning, he is completely quiet and silent and self-contained and talking about how everyone has losses. ‘I’m here as an example to remind people that the death of a loved one or the loss of a job or a loss of a title is just what life does.’

“And it might appear to be an opposite of all the braggadocio but the braggadocio … plus that humility is exactly the same thing. It is communicating to all of the people of the world who feel like everything is stacked against them, particularly people of color.”

Burns, who produced the documentary with Stephanie Jenkins and writers/directors Sarah Burns and David McMahon, often talks about his documentary subjects being examples of “history firing on all cylinders.” In the case of Ali, he says, this one was “a souped-up engine.”

“He’s one of the few people from the past that I’d want to hang out with,” Burns said. “I think certainly Lincoln, Louis Armstrong and Muhammad Ali. … He is a kind of uber-American in every sense of the word.”

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Unprovoked assault of an Albany woman on CDTA bus

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Carthage man arrested on rape charges

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Saturday, around 2:30 p.m., Colonie Police responded to an area of Central Avenue and Reynolds Street, of a woman physically assaulted while on a CDTA bus line route.

Witnesses on the bus said another female on the bus began punching the victim on the head and face while she sat in an unprovoked attack, which was caught on CDTA’s fixed-route bus cameras, said a witness.

The victim was then pulled off the bus in a continued assault as she called 9-1-1, witnesses said, personal items were taken from the victim.

Officers arrived quickly and took the female into custody, charged with Third-Degree Aggravated Assault, Police said.

The victim’s name has not been released, Police are still investigating the incident.

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Coral Moons on the rise as indie rock band to watch

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Coral Moons on the rise as indie rock band to watch

Coral Moons singer Carly Kraft says goodbye to her childhood home on the title track of her new LP “Fieldcrest.” Kraft opens the tender track indulging in nostalgia — ruminations about raiding her parents’ liquor cabinet, campfires with friends. But midway through the track, the narrative falls away as the singer howls over and over again, “We got old.” Around her voice, the band whips up in a mighty crest of volume.

“Fieldcrest is the name of the street that I grew up on in upstate New York,” Kraft said. “It’s about me coping with my parents moving, but also about me coping with feeling like I’m late to the game as a musician in my mid-20s.”

“The ending gets a little emotional,” she continued. “I’m screaming, ‘We got old,’ and it’s pretty much a live take of the band building and building. When we listened back to it we were all just crying because it felt so real and special.”

A typical route for musicians involves graduating from hairbrushes and tennis rackets to microphones and guitars in high school or college then bars and clubs after that. Instead, Kraft went to Rochester Institute of Technology and found a programming job in Boston after college.

So how did Kraft go from writing code to fronting one of the area’s hottest bands? Like every success, skill and luck played a role. But so did boredom.

“Boredom is a great word, that describes a lot of it,” she said with a laugh. “I never pictured being at a 9-5 job. The gender inequalities that exist in the workplace were really hard on me as a female developer. It felt like I was meant for something more.”

At the time, Kraft met a ton of locals in the music scene. She also connected with bassist Manuel Camacho at the day job and the two started doing covers on instruments their boss brought to the office — guitarist Justin Bartlett and drummer Kevin O’Connell round out the band. She learned a few guitar chords, started to write and sing, and suddenly she and Coral Moons found themselves up on stage. A rock band in the most expansive sense (the quartet can do atmospheric indie, retro soul and heavy rock), Coral Moons created a buzz at a few small city clubs

Momentum built and then stalled. After just two years together, Coral Moons nabbed 2020 Boston Music Award nominations for alt/indie artist of the year and video of the year for their single “Winnebago” — the band plays a free BMA party Friday at the Green at 401 Park in Boston. But the pandemic crushed the music scene.

“We then thought, ‘Well, if we can’t play shows, let’s make a record,’” Kraft said. “It all came together in the studio and it was kind of a great moment for us. We were neglected of human connection. We were just in our spaces on our own. Coming together, we were so inspired to see each other and play music again.”

Maybe relief and joy elicited some of those studio tears. But honestly, it’s hard not to get choked up at how great “Fieldcrest” sounds. Produced by Sam Kassirer at his studio Great North Sound Society in rural Maine, the record has the dynamic and earthy feel of many of Kassirer’s past projects (see records by Lake Street Dive, David Wax Museum, Kingsley Flood).

Now, with gigs on the calendar and an armful of new songs ready for LP No. 2, Coral Moons feel it’s time to pick up where they left off.

“The album feels so big and special but we also just did a three week tour of it and we just want time to celebrate but there’s no time because we got to record our next project,” Kraft said with a laugh.


For music and details, go to coralmoons.com.

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State Supreme Court Justice declares ‘Ruthie’s Law’ unenforceable

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State Supreme Court Justice declares ‘Ruthie’s Law’ unenforceable

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — State Supreme Court Justice Donna Siwek has ruled Ruthie’s Law “unlawful, unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

The law, which also bears the name “Erie County Local Law 2-2017,” was approved by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz in July 2017. It was enacted to deliver protections for residents of nursing homes who may be the victims of abuse.

It was named after Ruth Murray — an 82-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who, in 2016, died following a fight with another resident of Emerald South Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center.

According to Erie County’s information on compliance with the law, “the Erie County Ruthie’s Law is intended to ensure nursing homes notify the families of its residents quickly after a reportable event and to increase transparency and accountability via semi-annual reporting.”

Reportable events were defined as “an altercation between patients and or staff of a Nursing Home that results in an injury to one or more patients, or any incident in which a patient is injured so severely that an emergency call to 911 and/or treatment outside the Nursing Home is required, or the death of a patient is found to have been connected, even in part, to a negligent act or omission on the part of a Nursing Home.”

According to Justice Siwek’s Tuesday decision, the New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) previously told Erie County that the law, as proposed, was unlawful and unconstitutional for various reasons.

They say it was “at odds with New York law and would duplicate and conflict with current state and federal requirements.” Additionally, they say it violated the New York Public Health Law, which prohibits local governments from enacting laws that regulate hospitals, which in this case, includes nursing homes.

“[N]otwithstanding the provisions of any general, special or local law, or in any city charter or administrative code to the contrary, no county, town, village or city shall enact and enforce regulations and standards for hospitals.”

New York Public Health Law §2812

“Despite whatever good intentions the Erie County Legislature and County Executive may have had regarding nursing home patient care when Ruthie’s Law was enacted for the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiffs are correct in that Ruthie’s Law is unlawful, unconstitutional and unenforceable,” Justice Siwek says.

Read the decision in its entirety here.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the county may appeal the decision.

“The court’s decision to strike Ruthie’s Law is disappointing and will remove a much-needed layer of oversight from nursing home operations. Nursing home residents are among our most vulnerable populations, deserving of as much support and protection as possible.  As we have seen in the past year, locally and on a statewide level, this population is also extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, although the virus’s high lethality for nursing home residents was unjustifiably underreported by the state and only came to light months later. Tragedies like these, as well as the need to ensure safe, secure and healthy living spaces, underscore the need for county oversight and monitoring of these facilities. Erie County will now review potential next steps including a possible appeal.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

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Lerman: Definition of antisemitism adapts to new political strategies

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Lerman: Definition of antisemitism adapts to new political strategies

The U.N. will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism at Durban, South Africa, on Sept. 22. Far from scoring a victory against racism, however, the 2001 conference is remembered for a spate of virulent attacks against Jews and Israel — indeed, the United States and at least nine other countries have declined to attend this year’s meeting. The venomous attacks in 2001 spurred governments and scholars to draft a definition of antisemitism that is now embodied in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, which recognizes that antisemitism may include attacks on Israel that demonize or delegitimize the Jewish State.

Like other definitions of antisemitism, IHRA defines antisemitism as hatred of Jews, directed at individuals or community facilities, including synagogues. Unlike other definitions, however, IHRA recognizes that, while “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic,” “targeting … the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity” may well be.

This is not to say that all Jews identify with Israel. They do not. By the same token, not all Jews wear kippot or keep kosher. No one denies that attacks on these practices would be antisemitic. Yet attachment to Israel as the Jewish homeland is just as fundamental to the identity of many Jews. Anyone who picks up a Jewish prayer book will see the word Israel and Jerusalem on practically every page. And anyone who has been to a Passover seder has ended the service by saying, “Next year in Jerusalem!” Asking Jews to check their devotion to Israel before they may join an academic circle, or a student council, or a parade celebrating LGBQT pride, is asking them to renounce their Judaism. That is unquestionably antisemitic.

Criminalization of the Jewish state and calls to obliterate it are also undeniably antisemitic.

The antisemitic violence that erupted during the recent conflict in Gaza proves the point; Jews were attacked on the streets of New York, Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities, as well as across social media, not because of any personal connection between the victims and the State of Israel, but simply because they were Jews. Jews may dispute among themselves the importance of Israel to their Jewish identity, but antisemites outside the fold do not stop to quibble before striking out.

Critics of the IHRA definition, however, remarkably continue to deny that anti-Zionism is a contemporary form of antisemitism. For example, the Nexus definition asserts that holding Israel to a “double standard,” or “paying disproportionate attention to Israel and treating Israel differently than other countries,” “is not prima facie proof of antisemitism.” The Jerusalem Declaration, which continues to hold sway in some academic circles, likewise maintains that a “double standard” is not, in and of itself, antisemitic. It goes even further, asserting categorically that proposing to eliminate Israel as the Jewish State, labeling Israel “apartheid” or “settler-colonial(ist),” or supporting the “(b)oycott, divestment and sanction” movement cannot be considered antisemitic.

Sympathy for the plight of Palestinians is not, of course, antisemitic. When the Palestinian cause is immutably linked to the elimination of the Jewish State, however, that is another story. Unfortunately, the Jerusalem Declaration tries to accommodate movements that promote that narrative. It also suggests that Israel is racist, apartheid and settler-colonialist, based on “evidence” it fails to identify. And it condones boycotts against Israel, while utterly ignoring BDS’ self-proclaimed goal of annihilating Israel. Omar Barghouti, the founder of the  Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, makes no bones about it: He and his followers would never accept a Jewish state in the land he calls Palestine.

The elimination of the Jewish State cannot in good faith be characterized as “politics” or mere criticism of the Israeli government. Make no mistake, the BDS goal means Jews would once again be exiled from the land of Israel or allowed to stay in their ancestral homeland only if they surrender their independence, sovereignty and (as history shows) their physical security.

As a member of the Brandeis Center’s legal team, I encounter examples of antisemitism daily. These incidents make crystal clear that only the IHRA definition succeeds in addressing the full panoply of antisemitic threats that Jews confront today — threats on display in Durban 2001 and in the 20 years since. The competing “definitions” turn a blind eye to reality, endangering the people they purport to protect, while protecting their authors from political fire.


L. Rachel Lerman is vice-chair of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a non-profit that conducts research, education and advocacy to combat the resurgence of antisemitism on college and university campuses.

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