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Andrew Garfield on ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ & How Grateful He Is to No Longer Be Spider-Man

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Andrew Garfield on ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ & How Grateful He Is to No Longer Be Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Searchlight

Nearly a decade after rewatching a documentary about Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker) in her hotel room during the press tour for Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain has transformed into the late televangelist, who was known for her indelible eyelashes and willingness to embrace people from all walks of life, in a compelling and humanizing new biopic.

Directed by Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) and written by Abe Sylvia (Dead to Me), The Eyes of Tammy Faye — which arrives in theaters Friday — chronicles the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of the idiosyncratic televangelist who was the subject of tabloid fodder in the late 20th century. In the 1970s and 80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield), rose to fame as the creators of the world’s largest religious broadcast network and theme park. But it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, relentless rivals and shocking scandals toppled their carefully constructed empire, leading to Jim’s indictment for fraud and conspiracy in the late 80s.

In a recent Zoom interview from Calgary (where he has been self-isolating after a few breakthrough cases of COVID-19 halted production on his new FX on Hulu miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven), Garfield speaks with Observer about his approach to playing the disgraced televangelist, the resonance of Tammy Faye in today’s materialistic society, his upcoming collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the film adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom!, and his thoughts on Tom Holland’s latest iteration of Spider-Man.

Observer: Apart from visiting a local church in North Carolina every Sunday with Jessica Chastain, how did you prepare to embody a man who has been satirized and scrutinized in the media?

Andrew Garfield: Luckily, I came to it kind of fresh and clear-eyed, and I didn’t have much prior knowledge of Jim or Tammy. So I was able to just come in without judgement and kind of get underneath all of the general stuff that has been written or spoken about them, so that was a big bonus. And there’s just a feast of material about Jim — books and autobiographies and biographies and exposés and reportage — and there’s video footage of every dang show he ever did, and there’s articles upon articles. And then, there’s people that were willing to talk to me about Jim, who knew Jim, and there was my own imagination. So you have so many resources at hand, and the idea is, for me, I just take what feeds me and what feels like is gonna be of service to the character, and then kind of go from there.

Jessica was in close contact with both of Tammy Faye and Jim’s children before and during production, so did you ever get a chance to speak with them about their own experiences? Have you ever spoken with the real Jim Bakker?

I was in touch with the kids as well. I never got to speak to Jim — I tried, and I was never met there by him, but that’s okay. His kids are wonderful and other people that we managed to track down were incredible.

Jessica has really seen this project through from start to finish. What does she bring to the table as an actress and a producer that sets her apart from all of the people that you’ve worked with in the past?

She’s really cared about this story for a long, long time. Obviously, the characters are really close to her heart, and I really admire that and the kind of passion that pushes something like that through. And her devotion to the work is really second-to-none. She really shows up fully for the character she’s playing and is an advocate for the character she’s playing. In this case, it’s beautiful, because Tammy is a very warm, loving, beautiful person. She always was, so it was wonderful to help support that.

Andrew Garfield Interview Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Searchlight

Jessica has spoken about how difficult it was to act under all of her make-up and prosthetics, because it just got heavier and heavier as Tammy Faye got older. Can you talk a little bit about your own physical transformation into Jim?

It was definitely another element that was useful but also challenging. For me, I was a bit resistant to the prosthetics, because I didn’t want to have to act through silicone. I wanted to be free, but ultimately, I found a good version of that for myself where I felt like I was in line with Jim and in line with Jessica, and also felt free enough to be able to still do my work. It was definitely an interesting part of the process that I’d never done before. And thankfully, the two brilliant make-up artists that were working on me were just incredibly good guys, and I’m still friendly with [them] and grateful that we got along, because it was a lot of time in the chair, just hanging out.

In the film, Jim’s issues of self-worth and belief in his own interpretations of scriptures led him to equate God’s love with insatiable material wealth. Why do you think that messaging is particularly resonant in today’s society?

I think that’s exactly right, and I’m glad that you feel that way, because that’s exactly how I feel about it… because I do feel like this is where we are. He’s another victim of this cultural moment we’re in where we’re told that we’re only as valuable as how much money we make year-in, year-out, and that’s why things like socialized health care in this country can’t ever take off, whereas in the U.K. or in Canada, it’s a human right. But it’s this way of thinking, and it’s why immigration policy is so problematic — how we value human life, how we value ourselves, how we value the time we spend here is just so wrong-headed. I think, hopefully, a part of what this story can reflect is that mass-minded wrong-headedness that we’re all involved in and that is kind of bringing us to the brink of destruction, ecological or otherwise. It literally is this money obsession — this money worship is maybe the main issue.

Is the online consumerist frenzy one of the reasons that you’re not on social media right now?

(Smiles.) Maybe, I think so. I think I have a healthy fear of how I spend my time, and I don’t want to give it to something that isn’t gonna ultimately nourish me. But that being said, it’s probably a healthy fear of a bombardment of opinion and information, and I try to temper it and mitigate my time with these devices, even though I fail at it most of the time because I’m addicted like anybody else. So, yeah, I definitely do my best to stay in line with the things that I actually value, and I fail at it constantly, because I’m a person just like Jim.

Andrew Garfield Spider-Man No Way Home
Andrew Garfield in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Sony

You’ve been bombarded with questions about Spider-Man recently, and you know that, regardless of what you say, people still think that you will appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But as you look back on your own experience all these years later, how did the process of becoming Spider-Man ultimately change you as a person, and if you were ever to return, how would you like to see that character evolve from the first two movies?

(Smiles, rolls his head back.) You know, I’m so grateful for the experience of playing the character. It taught me so much about myself, about storytelling, about mythology, about the meaning of what we are doing as filmmakers and storytellers and how important it is, especially for young people, to get a sense of a value system and a cosmology. There’s just a hunger for stories — a hunger for a framework of how to make sense of what it is to be alive. And I think, at best, what those films can do is provide a soulful way of proceeding, so I really feel grateful for multiple reasons that I got to play that character and make those films.

And it’s impossible for me to answer the next question, because it’s purely hypothetical. I’m just very, very happy to watch Tom Holland. I really love now being a fan of the character and being able to sit back and watch someone else deal with the pressure of being Peter Parker and Spider-Man. And I’m so grateful for my tenure and I’m now really grateful that we have such a great actor playing the character now.

You also have Tick, Tick… Boom! coming up later this year. What can you tell me about the experience of working with the prolific Lin-Manuel Miranda on that musical project?

Yeah, it was a dream come true, to be honest. I’ve been a fan of Lin ever since In the Heights and Hamilton and Freestyle Love Supreme. I just think he’s obviously this brilliantly prolific writer and artist, and I was fascinated to see how he would be as a director. It was a very easy no-brainer to jump on the train. He has this amazing, infectious point of view on everything, of pure imagination and everything being possible. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And it’s incredibly optimistic, it’s incredibly joyful, and I think it’s the most joyful film I’ve ever been on.

And in terms of Jonathan Larson and that character, I want to go into more detail about it at some point, because it was a life-changing story to participate in and a character to dive into and to explore for so many reasons. He was just this magical creature on this earth for a very brief period of time that was in tune with himself in a way that was overwhelming for a lot of the people around him. But to get to inhabit him and to get to attempt to honor this amazing, short life that he lived, and all of the beauty and the art that he left behind, and all of the connection and the meaning and profundity that he left behind, was only a privilege, in service to him and his family. His life was a service to art itself, creativity, our dreams, and a collective consciousness of taking care of your fellow neighbor and person, and treating everyone as an equal — a real meritocracy. He was a radical in the midst of a time where Ronald Reagan wasn’t talking about the A.I.D.S. epidemic. He was fighting for the soul of his country through his art, and he was in his little Lower East Side apartment with not many people listening to his art until, of course, he fatefully passes away and leaves us with Rent, which changes everything. It changes people’s hearts and minds, and it’s a profound piece.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this past Sunday and will be released in theaters this Friday.

Tick, Tick… Boom! will launch in select theaters on November 12 and begin streaming on Netflix starting November 19.

Andrew Garfield on ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ & How Grateful He Is to No Longer Be Spider-Man

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Probe into Massachusetts State Police gang cop’s ‘medical emergency’ lingers

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Probe into Massachusetts State Police gang cop’s ‘medical emergency’ lingers

This is the second of two parts.

Ex-trooper Matthew Kelley, who quit after being accused of “improper storage of contraband” shortly after he was hospitalized for a “medical emergency,” was the focus of three previous investigations, records show.

State Police say the Internal Affairs case on the medical emergency in May remains open. Kelley quit June 28. The “contraband was narcotics,” a state police spokesman told the Herald last month.

New investigative documents show Kelley was the subject of complaints about his policing — from allowing a frisk of a woman in Brockton who had no “bra or underwear” on to filing paperwork so late a drunken driving case was dismissed.

A Norfolk Superior Court judge dismissed an OUI case for “untoward and unnecessary delay” in 2018, records obtained by the Herald via a public records request state.

That delay was due to Kelley hand-delivering a citation to a suspect in a “serious” three-car crash on Route 24 more than two months after being told to do so, records show. Kelley, the reports state, showed quick-thinking at the crash scene — but was slow with the paperwork and was cited for that tardiness.

That was also the case, records state, in Brockton later that same year after a woman said Kelley and a trooper he was training pulled her over.

“The way they searched me was inappropriate,” the woman told an investigator. “I had no under clothes on and he was moving his hand on my private parts.”

Kelley and the trooper he was training, who did the pat down, were exonerated for the stop and frisk. But Kelley was called out for not filing a timely report and for letting the woman drive off with an unregistered car.

Kelley was in the gang unit, which is one of the more “elite” units, like K-9 or truck team.

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has told the Herald it has notified “defense counsel and the court” in a gun-trafficking case Kelley was involved in that he has been dishonorably discharged.

State Police also confirmed the defense attorneys and every district attorney’s office in Massachusetts have been told of Kelley’s status. Efforts to reach the former trooper have failed.

The Herald also reported Monday ex-Trooper Nidu Andrade was dumped from the force after a woman complained he sent her a photo of a penis along with sexually charged messages about her “cleavage” and “D cup” breast size, documents reveal.

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All about winter squash — plus five recipes

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All about winter squash — plus five recipes

All summer, we enjoy our share of zucchini and summer squashes. Come autumn, we happily embrace their harder-shelled, densely-fleshed, sweet-tasting brethren. Like summer squash, mild-tasting winter squash welcomes bold flavor additions. Unlike summer squash, most winter squash varieties keep well for weeks, sometimes months, so fans can stock up at local farmers markets and produce stands.

There are dozens and dozens of squash varieties; it’s worth your time to get to know them. Acorn squash has long been an American staple, but it’s certainly not the most interesting flavor-wise. Three favorites — butternut, spaghetti squash and kabocha—can be found readily in large grocery stores. More exotic renditions, such as buttercup, red kuri, Hubbard and delicata, show up at farmers markets in early fall.

No matter what kind of squash you decide to try, select a squash that is heavy, rock hard and free of blemishes. When possible, choose squashes with their stems attached — these will keep the longest.

Once purchased, you’ll need to address peeling and cutting the squash. Not all squashes need to be peeled, but if they do, peel using a vegetable peeler, then switch to a paring knife to trim any stubborn bits before cubing.

If you are not peeling your squash, be careful! Cutting through the tough skin requires a sharp knife and some pressure. Make sure your cutting board is stable and keep your eyes on the knife. Cut the squash in half, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Set the cut side down to cut into wedges or smaller pieces. Enlist help to cut up the squash. The reward is delicious!

After the squash is peeled, cut or sliced, you can keep it in the refrigerator for three to five days. This makes weekday squash cooking doable for time-pressured cooks. You can freeze raw diced squash on a baking sheet until solid. Then scoop the frozen pieces into a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to six months, so you can make fresh squash soups, stews and braises all year long. Cooked squash also keeps well in the refrigerator and can be frozen.

The flesh isn’t the only edible part of squash; the seeds can be rinsed, salted and slow-roasted in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven, stirring often, for an hour or more, until crispy. They work great as a healthy desk snack or a crunchy addition to salads.

Note that most winter squash varieties are interchangeable in recipes with some subtle changes in flavor, though their yields will vary thusly:

Kabocha: A 2 1/4-pound squash, peeled and seeded, yields 6 cups of cubes (about 2 pounds)

Butternut: A 3-pound squash yields 3-4 cups of peeled cubes from bulbs and 1 1/4 pound of peeled round slabs from the neck

Spaghetti squash: A 3-pound squash yields 4 generous cups of shredded cooked flesh (about 1 pound 14 ounces)

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of how to cook squash, test your skills with these five recipes.

GRILLED BUTTERNUT ROUNDS

Grilled Butternut Rounds. (Photos by Kristen Mendiola, food styling by Shannon Kinsella/The Daily Meal/TNS)

Butternut squash is the gift that keeps on giving. I cut the bulbous end into cubes for roasting, steaming or soup. The longer neck of the squash can be peeled and sliced into round slabs, which are perfect for grilling.

Serve these grilled squash rounds on brioche rolls smeared with mayonnaise and topped with grilled onion and pickles for a very satisfying meatless burger. Or, sprinkle with herbs and a little lime juice and serve with cooked farro or French lentils.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes 6 slices

  • 1 very large butternut squash, about 3 1/2 pounds, with a thick “neck” 3 inches or more in diameter
  • Expeller pressed canola oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal grill for moderately low heat.

Cut the squash in half so you have the bulbous end and the longer neck. Save the bulbous end for another use (peeled and cubed for steaming, for example). Peel the neck of the squash, then lay it flat on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to cut it into 3/8-inch thick rounds.

Place the rounds on a baking sheet and brush generously with oil. Sprinkle both sides with chili powder and salt.

Grill covered over low heat, turning once, until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH, TWO WAYS

1632313012 62 All about winter squash — plus five recipes
Roasted Acorn Squash, Two Ways. (Photos by Kristen Mendiola, food styling by Shannon Kinsella/The Daily Meal/TNS)

Baking squash whole for a short period of time will soften it somewhat so it’s easier to cut in half.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 1 1/4 hours

Makes 2 servings

For the squash:

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • Expeller pressed canola oil, safflower or sunflower oil
  • Coarse (kosher) salt
  • 3 tablespoons Caper-raisin relish (see recipe below) OR 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • Chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil or cilantro

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pierce 1 large acorn squash in several places with the tip of a sharp knife. Put into a baking dish. Bake until squash starts to soften, about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Carefully cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush cut side with oil. Sprinkle all over with salt. Return to the baking dish cut side up. Bake until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork, 40-50 minutes.

Spoon some of the Caper-raisin relish into each squash cavity. Or, put half of the butter and sriracha into each cavity. Return to the oven to heat through, about 10 minutes.

Serve hot or warm topped with herbs.

CAPER-RAISIN RELISH

This nearly-addictive sweet and tangy caper raisin relish complements virtually everything from simple steamed squash to grilled poultry. Try it over pasta tossed with shredded Romano cheese for a bold-flavored dish. Omit the anchovies if they are not your thing, but replace them with some dried mushroom powder or a splash of soy sauce for an umami punch.

  • 1/4 cup dark raisins
  • 2 tablespoons very hot water
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon mushroom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put 1/4 cup dark raisins into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of very hot water and let stand 5 minutes. Drain water off raisins.

Stir in 2 tablespoons drained capers, 1 tablespoon each: balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Stir in 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced anchovy fillet (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon mushroom powder), 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Just before serving, stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil. Makes about 2/3 cup.

KABOCHA HASH WITH MINTED RICOTTA AND CAPER-RAISIN RELISH

1632313012 372 All about winter squash — plus five recipes
Kabocha Hash With Minted Ricotta and Caper-raisin Relish. (Photos by Kristen Mendiola, food styling by Shannon Kinsella/The Daily Meal/TNS)

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Makes 2 main course or 4 side-dish servings

  • Caper raisin relish, see recipe above
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 cups (16-20 ounces) cubed, peeled kabocha squash (about ¾-inch piece size)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil or expeller pressed canola oil or safflower oil
  • 1 medium-size red or sweet onion, peeled, halved, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1 small poblano or red bell pepper, cored, diced 1/3-inch
  • 1 small jalapeno, halved, seeded, finely chopped

Make Caper raisin relish.

Mix 1/2 cup ricotta, 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature for up to 30 minutes or refrigerate covered for up to a day.

Put 4 cups kabocha squash cubes in a microwave-safe bowl and add 1/3 cup water. Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, vented at one corner. Microwave on high (100% power), stirring once or twice, until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain.

Heat a large, well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, then 1 chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in drained squash, 1 diced poblano and 1 finely-chopped jalapeno. Cook, mashing squash lightly until things start to get crusty and crispy, about 10 minutes.

Serve hot dolloped with minted ricotta and some of the caper raisin relish.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SPICY WALNUT PICADA AND PARMESAN

Spaghetti squash does best in a steamy environment. A microwave oven proves perfect. I cook one half at a time, cut side down in water. Then, after a cooling-off period, I use a large fork to pull it into long strands — hence its name. A container of cooked spaghetti squash strands keeps days in the refrigerator and reheats beautifully in the microwave. Season the strands as you would pasta — simply with oil and pepper — or lavishly with a walnut picada and cheese.

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • Water
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley,
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives (or green onion tops)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • Coarse (kosher salt), freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Put one spaghetti squash half, cut side down in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Add 1 inch of water to the dish. Cover with lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap vented at one corner. Microwave on high (100% power) until squash pierces easily with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. Cool. Repeat to cook the other squash half.

Meanwhile, for walnut picada, toast 3/4 cup walnut pieces in a small nonstick skillet just until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Do not walk away or nuts might burn. Cool on a cutting board, then chop finely.

Mix chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons walnut oil, 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, 3 tablespoons chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Use the tines of a large fork to pull the cooked squash from the skin in long shreds. Place shreds in a serving bowl. Toss with 1 clove crushed garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm sprinkled with the walnut picada. Offer the shredded cheese at the table.

APPLE AND BUTTERNUT SHEET PAN DINNER WITH CHICKEN SAUSAGE

1632313012 478 All about winter squash — plus five recipes
Apple and Butternut Sheet Pan Dinner With Chicken Sausage. (Photos by Kristen Mendiola, food styling by Shannon Kinsella/The Daily Meal/TNS)

Serve this with cornbread or corn muffins and plenty of soft butter for a satisfying fall supper.

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 cups (16-20 ounces) cubed, peeled butternut squash
  • 1 very large Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored, cubed
  • 1/2 large red or sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch wide wedges
  • 2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 fully cooked smoked chicken sausage or chicken sausage with apples, 12 ounces total
  • 1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) thyme leaves or oregano, or a combination
  • Chopped fresh chives or parsley or a combination

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix 4 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash, 1 cubed apple and 1/2 onion cut into wedges on a large, rimmed sheet pan. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until squash is almost tender, about 30 minutes.

Add 4 fully-cooked chicken sausages, 2 tablespoons apple cider, vinegar and 1 teaspoon thyme to the pan. Roast, stirring once or twice, until sausages are warmed and golden, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with chives. Use a spoon to serve to scoop up any juices.

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Protesters target NYC restaurant for row over vaccination card

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Protesters target NYC restaurant for row over vaccination card

NEW YORK (PIX11) — A fight between a restaurant hostess and three women from Texas took a new turn on Monday. Black Lives Matter protesters showed up outside the restaurant at the start of dinner service after new details about the reported attack came to light.

Justin Moore, an attorney for the women, accused the hostess of racism and lying to police about what happened last Thursday. “It is unfortunate that Carmine’s and their hostess were able to lie to the police to avoid being held accountable for this hostess’s racism. She physically and verbally provoked confrontation, and then played the victim to criminalize these three Black women,” he said.

The fight between the women and the hostess was caught on video, and you can see one of the women punching the hostess. The narrative from the Upper West Side restaurant was that she asked for proof of vaccination, which triggered an assault by the women.

The women reportedly did provide documentation of COVID vaccinations, but that the confrontation escalated after two men who joined the party didn’t have proof. Moore told the New York Times that the hostess suggested that the vaccination cards they did have were fake, that she spoke condescendingly to the group, who are Black, and even that she used a racial slur. An attorney representing Carmine’s denied the claim.

A spokesperson for Carmine’s said the hostess, who is Asian, walked past the women, who were seated, and told them to enjoy their meal. “None of the attackers offered any reason for their attack. None of the hosts—all of whom are people of color—uttered a racial slur. None of the attackers mentioned anything about race to our managers, staff, or the police who arrested them, and a Texas criminal defense lawyer’s false assertion otherwise is a deeply cynical ploy to try to excuse wanton violence,” the spokesperson added.

The women were given desk appearance tickets for assault and released from custody. They are expected to return to a Manhattan criminal court in early October. Amid the back-and-forth over what actually happened, Black Lives Matter protesters took over the outdoor dining area of the restaurant for hours Monday night. 

Restaurant owner Jeffrey Bank said he’s going to have to hire private security to protect his workers. Protestor Steven Lopez, meanwhile, said, “Three women were involved. They were the ones arrested but none of what they said came into light versus what the hostess said.”

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‘I need help,’ Illinois mother of missing college student asks for FBI’s help

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‘I need help,’ Illinois mother of missing college student asks for FBI’s help

NORMAL, Ill. – Twenty-five-year-old Jelani Day is a graduate student studying to get his master’s in speech pathology at Illinois State University. He was last seen Aug. 24 and hasn’t been heard from since. 

Police found his car, a 2010 White Crysler 300 with a blacktop, in a wooded area in Peru, Illinois, a few days later. 

“Nothing is more important to me than getting Jelani back,” Carmen Bolden Day, Jelani’s mother said. “I need help to find my son, it’s been 28 days.”

Jelani’s family from Danville and a faculty member reported Jelani missing after he did not show up for class for several days. Bloomington police said they need tips from the public in their ongoing search.

Carmen Bolden Day said they have not been receiving tips lately. She said it’s not like him to disappear without telling them his whereabouts. 

“Now, we need another agency that has more resources,” she said. “It was just proven with the Gabby Petito case. She was missing, the FBI got involved, she was found within 3-4 days. Can I have the same help is all I’m asking.”

Carmen Bolden Day said she asked the police if the FBI could get involved and she said she was told that there was a “discussion” they were having.

Bloomington Police did not return Fox 2’s phone call Tuesday.

Carmen Bolden Day said her heart goes out to Gabby Petito’s family.

“I know what it feels like to be sitting in this seat, and you wanting your child back, wanting to know what’s wrong with your child. You want to know where your child is … My heart goes out to her,” she said.

“But I have a young black son that I want the same attention. I want the same effort given too.”

Theda Person is the founder of Looking for an Angel, a nonprofit she created after her son went missing at just nine years old. The nonprofit creates awareness for missing people.

 “I can’t determine whose going to receive the blessings who won’t receive the blessings, but I can acknowledge the differences and the inequities,” Person said.

She also said that people in the community need to be aware of each person that is missing in their area so they can keep their eyes open for their loved ones. She said to treat each missing person like it’s your own family.

“Wherever you are, these people could be anywhere, this means we should have our eyes totally focused on whoever is missing,” she said.

While Carmen Bolden Day searches and waits for her son’s safe return, she said she just keeps praying. 

“I have to trust God right now like I’ve never trusted him before, I have to believe things that I don’t see, that I can’t touch,” she added.

The family is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads them to Day.  

Anyone with information can contact their local police department or the Bloomington Illinois Police at 309-820-8888 or Detective Paul Jones at 309-434-2548. 

To make a donation, visit the family’s Go Fund Me page.

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Ask Amy: Tough diagnosis brings disclosure dilemma

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Ask Amy: Woman should leave abusive relationship

Dear Amy: I am 58 years old. I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s two years ago. My friends all know about my diagnosis.

My question relates to my sister. She and I had been estranged for almost a decade. Two years ago, I realized that our disagreements were water under the bridge, and we re-established a relationship. She lives several states away and has no contact with my friends.

I have never disclosed my diagnosis to her.

I don’t want her to come to the conclusion that I broke down the barriers between us because of my illness.

I did that because I love her, and not because I am staring in the face of my own mortality.

I also don’t want to bring stress into her life, she has enough of that, and she will fly into stress mode — that is who she is.

Also, because she is my “big sister” I also know that she will go into: “I’ll take care of you” mode (again, it is her nature), which is not what I need or want to be the basis for our relationship.

On the other hand, I don’t want her to feel betrayed when she inevitably learns about my illness.

Right now, I am able to hide my symptoms well.

When the day comes when this is not the case, I plan on telling her (and her children).

I am extremely torn as to whether I am making the right decision.

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Bill to bring back eviction moratorium filed in Congress

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Bill to bring back eviction moratorium filed in Congress

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., hope to bring back the COVID-era eviction moratorium, a move property owners continue to oppose.

“An extremist Supreme Court cut short eviction protections and put millions of people at risk for losing their homes,” Warren said in front of the White House Tuesday. “Forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes will only make this public health crisis worse as (the delta variant) surges.”

The Supreme Court struck down the federal eviction moratorium late last month, arguing that the Department of Health and Human Services lacked the authority to implement eviction moratoriums and that Congress had to specifically authorize it.

The bill, titled the “Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021,” would also implement an automatic eviction moratorium that would not require renters to apply, an issue Massachusetts renters and landlords have struggled with, and would remain in effect until 60 days after the end of the public health emergency.

But landlords, who have long opposed the moratorium, said it would only saddle renters with debt they can’t pay.

“Instead of responsibly addressing the crisis at hand, moratoriums leave renters strapped with insurmountable debt and housing providers left to unfairly hold the bag,” said Greg Brown, a senior vice president for government affairs at the National Apartment Association. “Ultimately, any effort to pursue additional moratoriums will only balloon the nation’s rental debt … and exacerbate the housing affordability crisis, permanently jeopardizing the availability of safe and affordable housing.”

Warren argued that a stay on evictions have staved off some COVID-19 spread, and cases spike after they expire. One study from MIT found that the average risk of contracting COVID-19 in states that ended eviction moratoriums jumped 1.39 times in the five weeks following the expiration, and 1.87 times after 12 weeks. The effect was amplified in low-income communities.

The Bay State senator acknowledged that, although Congress approved $45 billion for rental assistance to help landlords, “the money is going out too slowly.”

She cited statistics that almost 90% of the funds haven’t been distributed. “There are still billions of dollars to distribute and millions of families who need that help to avoid losing their homes,” she said.

Massachusetts received $768 million in federal emergency rental assistance funds and has spent almost $270 million on over 40,000 households since March 2020, according to recent data from the Baker-Polito administration.

Massachusetts currently has a temporary law in place that prevents evictions, providing the tenant has filed for rental assistance.

— Herald wire services contributed

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Ross Douthat: The extremely weird politics of COVID

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Ross Douthat: The extremely weird politics of COVID

I want to put a text before you, from February 2020, the ideological landscape into which the coronavirus first arrived. It’s a review in The London Review of Books, a fine highbrow left-of-center publication, covering a book about plague and quarantine in 17th-century Italy. The book, by University of London historian John Henderson, details the attempts by the city of Florence — led by its public health board, the Sanità — to avoid the awful fate of other Italian cities: first by closing the city to commerce and then by imposing quarantines, lockdowns and what we now call social distancing.

The sympathies of the reviewer — Erin Maglaque, another historian of early modern Europe — are not exactly with the Sanità. Like our federal government in 2020, the Florentine state spent lavishly to make its restrictions sustainable, delivering wine and bread and meat to households (“On Tuesdays, they got a sausage seasoned with pepper, fennel and rosemary”) during the mandatory confinement. But the quarantine was also inevitably punitive and authoritarian, and Maglaque’s review details the way public health restrictions reproduced and deepened inequality and how already-disfavored groups — the poor, Jews, prostitutes — were regarded as particularly dangerous “vectors of contagion” and policed accordingly.

Meanwhile, the most sympathetic characters in her account are people who found ways to steal a bit of normal life in defiance of public health restrictions — like two girls, Maria and Cammilla, who danced illicitly with their friends and got those friends’ parents arrested. At the end of the review, Maglaque notes that Florence achieved a much lower mortality rate than other Italian cities — just about 12%, compared with 33% in Venice, 46% in Milan and a staggering 61% in Verona. But she hesitates to give the Sanità all the credit; maybe the disease was just “less virulent” among the Florentines. And besides:

Percentages tell us something about living and dying. But they don’t tell us much about survival. Florentines understood the dangers but gambled with their lives anyway: out of boredom, desire, habit, grief. To learn what it meant to survive, we might do better to observe Maria and Cammilla, the teenage sisters who danced their way through the plague year.

It’s a fine review of a fascinating-sounding book, but I confess that when I reached this ending — and again, I was reading it in early 2020, when COVID was a concern but not yet a world crisis — I rolled my eyes a little. The Sanità’s measures obviously worked! The percentages do tell us about survival, because thousands of Florentines survived to dance and gamble and go to Mass and frequent brothels for years and years after their difficult but temporary spell of quarantine! One could sympathize with the prostitutes who kept working, the peasants slipping “past bored guards as they played cards” or the girls who broke the rules and danced. But given that the Sanità was fighting a disease that killed more than half the population in some cities, it felt like folly to romanticize the rule-flouters.

And not just folly but a particular kind of left-wing folly — still worse, left-wing academic folly — whereas my more pro-Sanità reaction felt impeccably right wing. In a crisis the government needs to act to save lives, even if ordinary liberties need to be suspended. Yes, there will be unevenly distributed injustices; yes, it’s good to point that out. But if the Sanità’s temporary authoritarianism saved thousands of lives, then it deserved the gratitude of Florentines, despite the costs.

That was my view in February 2020. It was also my view in March, April and May 2020, when I was a COVID hawk but many other American conservatives embraced a much more libertarian position on how to respond to our own pandemic. Indeed, by late spring, it was commonplace for the right to critique the Sanità of Anthony Fauci on roughly the same grounds that The LRB’s reviewer critiqued the 17th-century Florentine authorities — arguing that lockdowns were instruments of class discrimination; that elites flouted the rules while demanding compliance from the lower orders; that distancing imposed too much unhappiness and loneliness and misery, especially on the young; that the bare living preserved by public health restrictions wasn’t worth the cost to life in full.

Over the past 16 months, I have shifted somewhat in this COVID-dovish direction. I think schools should have been open everywhere last fall; I think mask requirements should have mostly gone away with widespread vaccination; I think you can see in certain public health mandarins and certain countries chasing COVID zero a pathology of control that is incompatible with human flourishing. I also have a general sympathy for Americans who haven’t been immediately on board with all the rulings from our Sanità — in part because I have had my own difficult medical experiences and in part because there has been so much obvious expert-class bumbling throughout the pandemic.

But at the same time, I remain a COVID hawk relative to many conservative writers and talkers. Knowing what we know now, I would have supported much more draconian measures in February 2020, in terms of travel restrictions, border closures and quarantine requirements, than anything we did. I still think the March response to the first coronavirus wave — shut everything down and spend a lot of money until we figure out just how bad this is going to be — was fundamentally correct.

Likewise, maintaining indoor mask mandates, social distancing rules and limits on mass gatherings into the winter of 2021 still seems entirely reasonable, especially since the speed with which we developed vaccines created a window in which restrictions that lasted mere months could save a lot of lives. And more recently many Republicans have let reasonable doubts about vaccine mandates undercut their commitment to finding ways, by hook or crook, to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Informing my continued COVID-hawk status is the fact that while the COVID death rate has not been nearly as a brutal as those 17th-century Italian percentages, it has still been much, much higher than a lot of COVID doves wanted to initially believe. In the first months of the pandemic, I was often reassured by conservative friends that data would reveal that more people had already been infected than the official numbers showed and thus the disease was far less lethal and herd immunity far closer than official projections assumed. Or, alternatively, that the first plunge in death rates in the late spring of 2020 was the disease burning itself out, independent of anything we did, and that the belief that this needed to be treated as an extended emergency was all hype from anti-Trumpers.

These friends were wrong. And as someone who thought of my COVID-hawkish position as the more right-wing one, I have found it remarkable that through all those hundreds of thousands of deaths — deaths that many doves didn’t think would happen — the American right’s libertarian stance has mostly stuck.

But as someone who can see lots of specific issues on which the doves and libertarians have a point, I’m equally fascinated by how dramatically liberals have swung against any acknowledgment of what until very recently seemed like a core left perspective — that stringent public health responses are inherently authoritarian and inevitably ratify various forms of inequality and social control.

As Justin E.H. Smith, an American-born academic in Paris, noted in a recent essay, a left that just a little while ago seemed committed to Foucauldian critiques of biopolitics and fears of what governments do with emergency powers now is “dug in so deeply on the side of anti-anti-vaxx signaling” that it can’t “acknowledge anything worrisome about the new high-tech hygiene regime, about how hard it might be to dismantle it once it has outlived its purpose, about how it might sprout new purposes that are inimical to human thriving.”

What’s especially striking is how smoothly and absolutely these shifts happened — how quickly, and without embarrassment or backward looks, much of the right started talking like Michel Foucault and his disciples and much of the left starting embracing the mindset of the Florentine Sanità, as if those had been their natural and inevitable positions all along.

Whatever the explanation, in the short run I think the bare acknowledgment that this weird flip took place might help a little with our polarization — tempering the liberal sense that the right is just a pro-COVID death cult and the right’s sense that the left wants us all to mask up and eat Soylent in our disease-free habitats forever.

In less than two years, we have gone from a world where it was normal for a left-leaning publication to run an essay gently celebrating the defiance of public health rules during a brutal outbreak of the plague, to a world where the defiance of public health rules during a less lethal pandemic is coded as incredibly right wing.

I don’t know exactly why or exactly what it means. I just want people to acknowledge that it has happened and it’s really, really weird.

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New York docs ‘very excited’ about Pfizer vaccines for 5-year-olds on up

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New York docs ‘very excited’ about Pfizer vaccines for 5-year-olds on up

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine works for children as young as 5-years-old. It’s now waiting on FDA approval for emergency use.

“Pfizer is saying that they expect an FDA approval in weeks, not months,” said Dr. Kathleen Grisanti, the president and medical director of Pediatric and Adolescent Urgent Care of WNY. “We’re really hoping, as we move forward in the next month or two, that we’ll be able to start vaccinating these school-aged children.”

“We want to get as many people as possible vaccinated because the more people that are vaccinated in the community, the quicker we can return to normal,” said Stephen Turkovich, who’s the chief medical officer at Oishei Children’s Hospital. “By making the 5 to 11 year-olds within the nation eligible, we will increase the number of eligible people by 28 million.”

People in the community say they’re on board with children in that age group getting vaccinated. “This will help with the curve. I think the numbers are going to go down,” said Tyshawn Thomas. “I’m 100% pro-vaccine, because if you go with science, science is not wrong. So I’m all for it. I think it’s a good idea. It’s about time.”

“I have a cousin who’s in that age group, and I think she’s been wanting to get the vaccine because she’s been very anxious about the whole thing. And with kids being out of school, I think it’s increased their anxiety,” Caroline Terhaar said. “Getting vaccinated would just help them get back into their normal routine.”

Because the vaccine would be for a younger age group, the vaccine dose is lower than what’s used for people older than 11-years-old, but experts say it’s just as effective. “They found that the antibody levels that the vaccine produced were equivalent or even a little bit higher than what we’ve seen in the adults and older children that got the vaccine,” Turkovich said.

Local pediatricians also stress parents go to the experts with their vaccine concerns. “There’s always concern with anything new—and again, we just kind of reassure them that this is not a new technology, that we have been using this type of technology in all sorts of vaccines,” Grisanti said. “We just encourage them to talk to their pediatricians to find out their recommendations and vaccinate their children as soon as it becomes available to them.”

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4 in custody after police pursuit ends in O’Fallon, Mo.

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4 in custody after police pursuit ends in O’Fallon, Mo.

O’FALLON, Mo. – Four people are in custody following a police pursuit Tuesday night that ended along highway 364 in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Police said it started just before 8:00 p.m. when the thieves stole from a store on Mexico Loop Road West. One of the four was left behind and arrested. The other three piled into a car and took off.

Officers eventually used stop sticks to disable the vehicle on 364 where the three bailed out of the moving car. They were arrested after a short foot chase.

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Rockies fall to Dodgers in extra innings to open final homestand of season

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Rockies fall to Dodgers in extra innings to open final homestand of season

On the last night of summer at Coors Field, with a lively crowd split evenly between purple and blue, the Rockies went ahead by two runs over the NL West-contending Dodgers.

But Los Angeles emerged with a 5-4 victory in 10 innings.

Colorado was unable to produce clutch hits — 4-of-20 with runners in scoring position — while closer Jhoulys Chacin gave up L.A.’s game-winning run on an Albert Pujols RBI single. The Rockies (70-80) continue their final homestand Wednesday in their second matchup of a three-game series against the Dodgers.

Colorado’s bullpen combination of Robert Stephenson, Tyler Kinley and Carlos Estevez was spectacular Tuesday with no runs allowed on just one hit. The Rockies also had an opportunity to go ahead in the seventh and ninth with no outs and a runner on second. They never came through.

“I thought we pitched well and had some chances because of our pitching,” manager Bud Black said. “But we just couldn’t get the big knock as the game unfolded, especially late in the game.”

Pujols put the game away with an RBI infield single off Chacin that scored the Dodgers’ designated runner in the 10th.

The night began with a pitching duel. Starters Antonio Senzatela and Julio Urias combined to retire a stretch of 23 consecutive batters to keep the game scoreless through three innings.

Garrett Hampson broke through for Colorado in the fourth with a leadoff single. He came home when Charlie Blackmon smacked a two-out RBI double off the wall in right. C.J. Cron followed it up with his own RBI double to put the Rockies ahead 2-0.

“We’ve faced (the Dodgers) a bunch this year and we know what they’ve got,” Cron said. “I don’t know if you can even say: Get to the pen early. It doesn’t really do much when they have the caliber of arms they have down there. It was a tough game.”

Senzatela ran into trouble when he gave up two-out singles in the fifth to Gavin Lux and Luke Raley. A Urias RBI single brought L.A. to within one run. Then Mookie Betts reached base on an infield single that tied the game.

Ryan McMahon ripped a double to deep left to lead off the fifth. He advanced to third on a called balk on Urias. But Ryan Vilade grounded out, Senzatela struck out swinging and Hampson flied out to end the frame. It came back to bite Colorado the next inning when a Max Muncy RBI double put the Rockies into a one-run hole. Los Angeles bolstered its lead, 4-2, on a Will Smith sacrifice fly that scored Muncy.

Colorado fired back in the sixth with two-out RBI doubles from C.J. Cron and Elias Diaz to tie the game.

Senzatela ended his spectacular stretch of quality outings in seven consecutive starts dating back to Aug. 11. He finished the night with four earned runs on seven hits over six innings. He issued zero walks and three strikeouts.

“In the fifth inning I just started making mistakes,” Senzatela said. “They capitalized on that. I think I threw too many pitches in the middle.”

Lambert decision looming. Starting right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert is nearing his MLB return since enduring Tommy John Surgery before the 2020 season. Lambert threw a bullpen session Tuesday.

“I’m going to check with Peter and the pitching coaches to see how he did and how he feels tomorrow. The next step will be for him to throw a game probably later in the week. Either here with us or in Triple-A,” manager Bud Black said. “I want to see how he feels physically. I want to know his emotional state coming back from all these minor league rehab assignments and whether he’s ready to pitch in the big leagues.”

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