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New Missouri health director on state law limiting health officials’ authority: ‘This is one that haunts me’

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New Missouri health director on state law limiting health officials’ authority: ‘This is one that haunts me’

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The state’s new health director said the new law limiting the authority of public health officials worries him. Another concern of his – vaccination numbers.

Less than three weeks into the job, Don Kauerauf told reporters Thursday that masks work. He said there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution but believes the state health department should provide baseline guidance for schools and communities to follow.

To date, only 46.6% of Missourians are fully vaccinated, a percentage the director for the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said needs to increase.

“Still Missouri is well below where we should be in vaccinations, we’ve got to get better,” Kauerauf, the former assistant director for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said. “That’s going to be our key. Those people that are hesitant, get them vaccinated.”

Kauerauf took over as the director of DHSS on Sept. 1, after Dr. Randall Williams was asked to resign in April. He said a mandate is a political decision and instead wants Missourians to take personal responsibility.

“The word mandate is a word I cannot stand,” Kauerauf said. “I think in the public health world, when you start saying the word “mandate,” you’re basically acknowledging that everything else has failed.”

He told lawmakers Wednesday he wears a mask because of his daughter who has various cardiac conditions and special needs.

“I wear a mask and I would recommend to anyone to wear a mask if you’re in those areas where there’s a chance of passing or receiving the virus,” Kauerauf said. “We know it does work, the mask does provider a barrier.”

The new director stressed to reporters during a media call the importance of local decisions, which is why a new law in Missouri has him concerned.

“This is one that haunts me,” Kauerauf said about House Bill 271. “This is the one I’m worried about, public health is not politics.”

HB 271 limits local orders restricting businesses, churches, schools, or gatherings to 30 days under a statewide emergency unless approved by a majority vote of the local governing body, like a city council. If there is no emergency, then the restriction or order could only last for 21 days unless approved.

“Public health is going to happen after COVID and if we’ve lost that local respect of the system, how are we going to recover from that?,” Kauerauf said. “It should be a concern to all us is that loss of respect, and we cannot set a public health system back.”

Kauerauf praised the state’s vaccine incentive program, MOVIP which has received 45,000 entries according to DHSS, saying it came at the perfect time.

“This program most certainly provided vaccinated at the most critical time for Missourians that if we did get a certain percentage of the population that got vaccinated because of this MOVIP, it was at the right time when the Delta Variant was first taking off in this state,” Kauerauf said.

Even with the incentive program, he said the state is seeing a rise in vaccinations when a community is being ravaged by the variant.

“It’s clear the importance of vaccinations,” Kauerauf said.

He said the state health department is working to release new guidance to schools and local communities but did not elaborate on the ideas. Instead, Kauerauf said the goal is to keep kids in school, especially after seeing the test results of the assessment for students released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education earlier this week.

“That’s alarming and understanding that some of the core math subjects where they’ve had some of the greatest decreases,” Kauerauf said. “We are going to have some documentation that we are working on now for schools, to provide some clear ideas to achieve that keep kids in schools, allowing the locals to customize to the point where it’s really addressing the needs of that community.”

According to the Missouri Hospital Association, nearly one in three Missouri children ages 12 to 17 have been vaccinated, but earlier this month, a record of 1,133 children under 18 tested positive for COVID, a record-setting number.

Kauerauf said he has been married for 26 years to his wife that is also in public health, as the chief of communicable disease for the Illinois Department of Public Health, and has triplets who are 22 years old.

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Saunders: Rockies’ 2021 awards, from most valuable to most perplexing

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Saunders: Rockies’ 2021 awards, from most valuable to most perplexing

Another losing season is in the books for the Rockies, although their 74-87 record wasn’t nearly as dire as many predicted.

Kyle Newman, my esteemed colleague, said that the Rockies would finish 62-100, which would have been the first 100-loss season in franchise history.

Mr. Newman was not alone in his pessimism. PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), the projection system of Baseball Prospectus, predicted that the Rockies would finish 60.3-101.7.

I said that the Rockies would go 72-90, so I wasn’t too far off, although my other prognostications — a Padres vs. Yankees World Series, Trevor Story trade, Charlie Blackmon hitting .318, for example — missed by a mile.

But that was then, this is now. Time to hand out the awards for the Rockies’ 2021 season:

MVR: The most valuable Rockie was manager Bud Black. Despite the loss of Nolan Arenado and Scott Oberg, subpar seasons from Story and Blackmon, a terrible start to the schedule, and an imploding bullpen, Black prevented the team from totally collapsing. He never lost his composure or his patience and proved himself as a teacher.

MVPP: The most valuable position player, all things considered, was Ryan McMahon. First baseman C.J. Cron, who led the team with 28 home runs and a .905 OPS, was a close second.

McMahon deserves consideration for his Gold Glove defense at third base (he was also excellent at second), plus he hit 23 homers. However, after his hot start (16 homers through June) his final OPS of .779 OPS was disappointing. But his strikeout rate dropped from 34.2% last season to 24.7%. I believe McMahon’s best is yet to come.

MVP: In mid-July, first-time all-star German Marquez was a no-brainer as Colorado’s most valuable pitcher. But the right-hander’s 6.57 ERA over his last 10 starts was ugly and concerning.

So it came down to lefty Kyle Freeland vs. right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who just signed a five-year, $50.5 million deal. It’s close, but I would go with the gritty Freeland, who came back from a bad shoulder injury in spring training and a tough early stretch to become Colorado’s most-dependable starter. If I had to pick one Rockies starter to pitch a must-win game, I would take Freeland.

MVR: Jordan Sheffield might get the nod as the most valuable reliever, but he only pitched 29 1/3 innings. And rookie lefty Lucas Gilbreath (3.38 ERA in 42 2/3 innings) emerged as a dependable arm in the second half of the season.

But my vote goes to journeyman right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (4.34 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .222 average against), who kept Colorado in a lot of games in mostly high-leverage innings.

MIP: My most improved player award came down to a choice between second baseman Brendan Rodgers and catcher Elias Diaz. My first impulse was to go with Rodgers, who came on strong in the second half to lead the team with a .284 average and hit 15 home runs (12 on the road).

But I’m going with Diaz because I honestly never thought he was as good as he is. After all, he was hitting .121 with one home run through June 1. But he finished with 18 homers, a .246 average, and he emerged as an excellent defensive catcher and game-caller.

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McConnell seizes on debt standoff to undermine Biden agenda

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McConnell seizes on debt standoff to undermine Biden agenda

WASHINGTON — In the frantic bid to avert a default on the nation’s debt, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell held a position of unusual power — as the one who orchestrated both the problem and the solution.

McConnell is no longer the majority leader, but he is exerting his minority status in convoluted and uncharted ways, all in an effort to stop President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and even if doing so pushes the country toward grave economic uncertainty.

All said, the outcome of this debt crisis leaves zero confidence there won’t be a next one. In fact, McConnell engineered an end to the standoff that ensures Congress will be in the same spot in December when funding to pay America’s bills next runs out. That means another potentially devastating debt showdown, all as the COVID-19 crisis lingers and the economy struggles to recover.

“Mitch McConnell loves chaos,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “He’s a very smart tactician and strategist, but the country pays the price so often for what he does.”

The crisis has cemented McConnell’s legacy as a master of misdirection. He’s the architect of the impasse and the one who resolved it, if only for the short term. More battles are to come as Democrats narrow Biden’s big agenda, a now-$2 trillion expansion of health, child care and climate change programs, all paid for with taxes on corporations and the wealthy that Republicans oppose.

To some Republicans, McConnell is a shrewd leader, using every tool at his disposal to leverage power and undermine Biden’s priorities. To others, including Donald Trump, he is weak, having “caved” too soon. To Democrats, McConnell remains an infuriating rival who has shown again he is willing to break one institutional norm after another to pursue Republican power.

“McConnell’s role is to be the leader of the opposition and it’s his job to push back on what the majority wants to do,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist.

“Nobody should be surprised to see the leader of the Republicans making the Democrats’ job harder,” he said.

The risks are clear, not just for Biden and the Democrats who control Washington.

The debt showdown left Democrats portrayed as big spenders, willing to boost the nation’s now-$28.4 trillion debt to pay the bills. But both parties have contributed to that load because of past decisions that leave the government rarely operating in the black.

Republicans, too, risk recriminations from all sides of their deeply divided party. In easing off the crisis, McConnell insulated his Republicans from further blame, but infuriated Trump and his allies, who are eager to skewer the Kentucky senator for giving in.

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Avs Mailbag: Which rookie is ready for a breakout year: Bo Byram or Alex Newhook?

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Avs Mailbag: Which rookie is ready for a breakout year: Bo Byram or Alex Newhook?

Denver Post sports writer Mike Chambers responds to questions in the Avs Mailbag periodically during the regular season. Pose an Avalanche- or NHL-related question for the Avs Mailbag.

What are your thoughts on whether there’s even a realistic shot for prospects like (Shane) Bowers to make an opening-night roster given the numerous veteran signings they seem committed to? Seems like some short-sighted roster management, with some arguably very average vets.

— Jeff, Broomfield

Those veteran forwards include Dylan Sikura, Kiefer Sherwood and Stefan Matteau and they were reassigned to the Eagles on Thursday. That was followed by Jayson Megna being reassigned to Loveland on Friday, when Artem Anisimov (tryout contract) was also released. Bowers and Martin Kaut were reassigned to the Eagles on Friday, leaving Newhook and Sampo Ranta as the rookie forwards still in contention to make the roster. I suspect they both will. But Bowers had a good showing and proved he’s a player for the future.

Hi Mike, I was wondering how you feel about a possible Annunen-vs.-Miska backup battle. Who would you prefer in net, should it come to that?

— Ben, Denver

Well, since Pavel Francouz will miss the first 3-4 weeks of the season, that’s probably your two guys in Loveland with the Eagles. It was supposed to be Jonas Johansson and Annunen before Francouz’s injury. Now, Johansson is Darcy Kuemper’s backup. Annunen is going to get a lot of attention with the Eagles in his first season in North America. He’s the club’s top prospect at that position. Miska probably won’t be around next year because Trent Miner, 20, is also coming up and will need AHL development.

Mike, losing Philipp Grubauer was huge, but I’m happy we were able to land Darcy Kuemper. Do you think we actually got stronger between the pipes with the move? Also, god forbid he goes down with an injury, but who’s our No. 2 guy this year?

— Miles, Parker

Your No. 2 guy was Francouz but he’s now on IR. So it’s Johansson right now. As for the Grubauer-Kuemper comparison, about five inches of height separates them. The 6-foot-5 Kuemper doesn’t give shooters a lot of net to shoot at. It seems like he’s equally as talented as Grubauer, who I consider a terrific 6-foot goalie. This could be an upgrade if Kuemper, like Gruabuer, can keep his goals-against average under 2.00 (among goalies playing 25 games, Grubauer led the league with a 1.95 GAA last season).

Hey Mike, who do you think is going to have a bigger breakout season for the Avs this year: Bowen Byram or Alex Newhook? Also, what’s the ETA for our last couple of first-rounders? Do you see Justin Barron or Oskar Olausson making their NHL debuts this year?

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‘No Time to Die’ director Cary Fukunaga says ‘a lot of people upset’ no matter who plays Bond after Daniel Craig

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Cary Fukunaga director

Cary Fukunaga is the second filmmaker of Asian descent and the first Asian American to direct a James Bond movie with “No Time to Die,” and he hopes his involvement in the franchise inspires young people to break into filmmaking.

Lee Tamahori, a filmmaker of Maori ancestry, directed “Die Another Day” in 2002. But in an interview with NextShark, Fukunaga said he does not think of himself as special for his racial identity.

“In my family, if my Japanese grandparents would hear me say, ‘I’m special,’ for any reason, it just wouldn’t fly,” Fukunaga said. “I just think about it in terms of what I’m bringing in and hoping that if people see it that way, then maybe it shows young people who are looking to get into filmmaking that you don’t have to be from Hollywood or know someone from Hollywood to do it. You can be like me, some kid from the Bay Area that pursued a dream, and that would motivate more diversity. We’re [Asians] moving into the studio network systems, which is also inevitably the gatekeeper for making movies and stories.”

Fukunaga said his upbringing and what he has learned from his parents, grandparents and cousins all influenced how he tells stories and how he approaches the subject material. Some of those Asian influences made it into “No Time to Die,” the 25th installment in the James Bond series.

“Some of it was based on the Fleming and Bond legacy. ‘You Only Live Twice’ was a big influence on some of these things,” Fukunaga said. “I think it’s the first time we really have a villain’s lair again, but try to make that organic and try to figure out a backstory that made sense for it.”

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga on the set of “No TIme To Die,” an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film. Image via Nicola Dove.

What many fans are now trying to make sense of is who will take on the role of Bond now that actor Daniel Craig has hung up his tux after “No Time to Die,” his swan song to the franchise. There has been a lot of speculation amongst the Bond fandom and beyond about the possibility of the next Bond being played by a woman or a Black actor. Whether the next Bond could even be Asian or portrayed as gay, Fukunaga believes that whoever follows in Craig’s footsteps has a very high bar to meet.

“It’d be a very tough challenge. I’m sure it’d be an honor of a challenge for whoever wants to do it,” he added. “I, thankfully, will not have to make that call. Because I think no matter who you pick, there’s going to be a lot of people who are upset.”

As for what is next for Fukunaga and whether he would helm another Bond film, he is not quite sure.

“I don’t want to say no, but I’m also not pursuing that right now,” he said. “I spent almost 20 months in this film and disappeared from the world, my friends and family. Then COVID hit and disappeared again for a year and a half. I feel like I’m just emerging from a cocoon.”

While Fukunaga is not thinking about directing another Bond film anytime soon, the filmmaker mentioned working on a project in London — a World War II series about American bomber pilots stationed in the U.K.

“No Time to Die” hits theaters today, Oct. 8.

Featured Image via UAR and Nicola Dove

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

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First-ever Hmong male news anchor in US almost brought to tears on his debut by surprise video message

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Chenue Her news anchor

This week, Chenue Her became the first Hmong male news anchor in the U.S.

Making history: On Oct. 4, Her experienced his first day as an anchor for WOI-TV Local 5 News in Iowa and was surprised by an encouraging video message from his long-time friend, fellow journalist and role model Gia Vang, according to Kare 11.

  • Vang is the U.S.’ first-ever Hmong news anchor and covers the Twin Cities region of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota.
  • “I am thrilled for your new adventure back in the Midwest, just a short drive from your hometown here in the Twin Cities. Over the years I have watched you grow and thrive in this industry, and I felt your support being two of the very few TV news journalists who are Hmong,” she said in the recording. “Now you’re making history as the first Hmong male news anchor in the country. Haib kawg nkaus.”
  • Her explained that he was on the verge of tears when he saw her message because she was integral in helping him find his way into the industry.
  • On Friday, their exchange was shared on “CBS Mornings,” with CBS correspondent Vladimir Duthiers chiming in to say that “underrepresented people need to be seen and to have people see them.”
  • Her was in awe over the feature and tweeted that it was “surreal” that they would cover his story as “a Hmong kid from St. Paul, MN.”

Man of the hour: Her’s extensive background in journalism was part of what landed him the job. Having been at KEZI-TV in Oregon, covered breaking news in Virginia and worked at WXIA-TV in Atlanta before arriving at WOI-TV, he was the clear choice for WOI-TV’s President and General Manager David Loving.

  • Adding Her to the team was also a move to represent Iowa’s growing immigrant population.
  • It wasn’t always a direct shot to get to where Her is now. The journalist’s parents are Hmong refugees who had their doubts about him wanting to pursue a career in TV news, as there weren’t any Hmongs in that role before Vang.
  • During job interviews, Her claimed stations would ask if he was willing to change his first name. When he refused, he did not land the jobs.
  • “For the first time in a long time, my dad said he was proud of me,” Her told Axios. “I’m 30, but like, that still means so much to me.”
  • Her added that his team allows him to be his “true, authentic” self.
  • Vang later spoke about all the positive attention their interaction received and said, “I think the reaction it’s getting speaks to how representation truly does matter to not just the community, but the country. Dream even if you’re a Hmong kid from St. Paul or a Hmong kid from south Sacramento.”
  • Her wants to cover more news about immigrants and refugees to “show they’re a fabric of this community and [that] their stories deserve to be told.” 
  • The Hmong people didn’t have a written form of their language until the ‘50s, so Her said that it was in his DNA to be fascinated by such stories.

Featured Image via Chenue Her (left, right)

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

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Colorado weather: Snow in the mountains, extreme fire danger down south — and low 70s in Denver

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Colorado weather: Snow in the mountains, extreme fire danger down south — and low 70s in Denver

Colorado is a land of weather contrasts Saturday, with snow falling in the high country and critical fire danger in the southern part of the state. Meanwhile, in Denver, the National Weather Service’s forecast calls for a high near 73 under mostly sunny skies.

The weather service’s Boulder office tweeted a photo of snow sticking on Loveland Pass on Saturday morning, with forecasters saying those snow showers should continue sporadically throughout the day at altitudes above 9,500 feet. Wind gusts from 35 mph to 45 mph also are expected in the mountains on Saturday.

Drivers headed into Colorado’s high country on Saturday are warned to watch for icy spots, though most roadways should just be wet, the weather service said.

At the same time, the weather service has issued a red flag warning for the Palmer Divide region of the southern Front Range and southeastern part of the state, warning of critical fire weather — dry and windy conditions that could contribute to rapid fire spread — from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.

That warning covers Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, along with locations farther east including Limon and Burlington. Residents are strongly discouraged from doing any kind of outdoor burning or operating machinery in dry grasses that could create sparks.

A small wildfire that forced evacuations on Friday already is burning northeast of Colorado Springs.

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Jamelle Bouie: Joe Manchin should stop taking about entitlement

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Jamelle Bouie: Joe Manchin should stop taking about entitlement

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has been coy about what he wants from the Democratic “reconciliation” bill meant to pass as much of the president’s agenda into law as possible. Other than a number — he wants to shrink the Biden’s administration’s Build Back Better proposal from $3.5 trillion to $1.5 trillion — Manchin has not said much about which policies he would keep and which he would cut.

Manchin does, however, have one red line.

“I’m just not, so you know, I cannot accept our economy or basically our society moving toward an entitlement mentality,” Manchin said last week. “I’m more of a rewarding, because I can help those who are going to need help if those who can help themselves do so.”

He repeated the point on Wednesday, criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who wants a larger bill. “I’ve been very clear when it comes to who we are as a society, who we are as a nation,” Manchin said. “I don’t believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society.”

I find this incredibly useful, not because it says anything about what Manchin wants, but because it makes clear that this is a dispute over values as much as — or even more than — a dispute over policy.

In previous statements, Manchin used debt and inflation to justify his opposition to spending that went beyond his comfort level. “The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future,” Manchin wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month. “Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree.”

It should be said that Manchin’s case is not very persuasive. Interest rates are low and have been for the last decade. Looking ahead, the Congressional Budget Office expects interest rates to stay low until at least the 2030s. For the government, then, borrowing is cheap and there’s little risk that the additional debt will overheat the economy or crowd out private investment. We can, and should, spend much more than $3.5 trillion, especially since — when spread out over 10 years — that number represents 1.2% of our projected national income over the same period.

But the reality of America’s fiscal capacity isn’t the point. For as much as he talks about debt and spending, Manchin’s objection is more moral than it is practical. To say that you don’t want to foster an “entitlement” mentality among America’s able-bodied adults is to make a statement about the proper order of things, as you understand them.

Take tuition-free community college, one of the proposals tucked into President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Where Biden sees a pathway to opportunity for ordinary American families, Manchin seems to see another lane on the road to dependency, to a world where most adults do not have to work to receive benefits.

Indeed, even just using a word like “entitlement” speaks to a particular critique of the welfare state — in particular the view that a capitalist economy will not work without the threat of poverty and immiseration. If the market runs off the promise of reward and mobility, then to reward individuals without work is to undermine the very engine of the U.S. economy.

As with so much of our national political discourse, this isn’t a new idea. In “Free Enterprise: An American History,” historian Lawrence B. Glickman shows how proponents of “free enterprise” and laissez-faire capitalism used the language of entitlement and dependency to condemn the economic guarantees of the New Deal.

“For the first time in my lifetime, we have a president who is willing to mislead the people on fundamental questions of finance,” Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio declared in a 1936 speech to the Women’s National Republican Club, “who is willing openly to attack the very basis of the system of American democracy, who is willing to let the people believe that their problems can be solved and their lives made easier by taking money away from other people or manipulating the currency, who is willing to encourage them to believe that the government owes them a living whether they work or not.”

Or, as Sen. Strom Thurmond put it in 1949: “Nothing could be more un-American and more devastating to a strong and virile nation than to encourage its citizens to expect government to provide security from cradle to grave.”

This “hiving of the country into productive makers and unproductive takers,” Glickman notes, “formed the basis of the traditional American belief in ‘producerism,’ the idea that people who made and grew things deserved pride of place in the republic.” In the 19th century, this “producerist” ideology fueled labor and agrarian revolts against concentrated power in finance and industry. The great orator and three-time Democratic presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan, captured this in his famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago:

 

Mr. Carlisle said in 1878 that this was a struggle between the idle holders of idle capital and the struggling masses who produce the wealth and pay the taxes of the country; and my friends, it is simply a question that we shall decide upon which side shall the Democratic Party fight. Upon the side of the idle holders of idle capital, or upon the side of the struggling masses? That is the question that the party must answer.

 

For conservative opponents of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, however, the makers and takers were reversed. “Rather than an artisan, the maker was now described as a company,” writes Glickman. “The taker was no longer an unscrupulous employer or an enslaver who unfairly took the fruits of labor from the worker but the government, which now did the same through its system of confiscatory taxes and extravagant spending.”

It is this right-wing producerism which, I think, is the most relevant antecedent for Manchin’s fear of an “entitlement” society. Although, in fairness to the West Virginia senator, there was a point — in the very recent past — when his views were the dominant ideological position within the Democratic Party, both a consequence of and a driving force in the neoliberal transformation of the United States.

Ronald Reagan was, of course, an important part of this development. He brought right-wing producerism into the mainstream, captivating the voting public with a simple story of undeserving takers and welfare cheats, social parasites who undermined the “hardworking people” who “put-up with high taxes,” as he put it during his 1976 campaign for president.

Inextricably tied up in race hierarchy — to be white was to be a worthy “taxpayer,” to be nonwhite, and specifically Black, was to be dependent — this producerism was the “common sense” behind the austerity and deregulation of the 1980s and 1990s, from Reagan’s tax cuts to Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform.” Americans would receive a “hand up” — a tax cut or a tax subsidy — and not a “hand out” in the form of direct benefits.

These ideas don’t just fade away, and the extent to which they are recapitulated by the media, politics and, most important, the material conditions of our society, all but guarantee their continued potency, especially when the rising costs of housing, education and health care encourage zero-sum competition for every available advantage.

It is this potency that we see in the present debate, from Manchin’s resistance to an “entitlement” society to a public that appears not to want Congress to renew the child tax credit — a no-strings-attached benefit for almost every American family — in its current form.

We can also see it in Donald Trump’s appeal to broad swaths of the American electorate. Trump, who made his name as a builder in America’s largest city, then leveraged that celebrity in a popular television show that sold him as the nation’s greatest businessman. Years before he entered politics, Trump embodied the producerist ideal of a man who dominates but is never dominated.

At $3.5 trillion, Biden’s Build Back Better plan is more ambitious than anything offered during the Obama administration. If, to win the votes of Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, Democrats have to scale their bill back to under $2 trillion, it will still be one of the largest spending bills to ever come out of Congress under a Democratic majority.

From that perspective, it might seem odd to speak of the influence of conservative producerist ideology on present-day American politics. And yet, a major ideological obstacle to the social democracy progressives hope to build is this sorting of people into winners and losers, deserving and undeserving. “The myth of opportunity for energetic individuals,” Irving Howe once wrote, “has taken on a power independent of, even when in conflict with, the social actuality.” Manchin, in other words, is not the only American who fears an “entitlement society.”

In which case, the ideological challenge for progressives is to redefine what it means to be “entitled” — to return, in a sense, to that older meaning, where it is the owners of capital who are the takers and the ordinary citizens of this country who are the makers.

Jamelle Bouie writes for the New York Times.

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Asian American man says he and Asian woman were targeted in coffee attack on DC train

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coffee attack on the metro

On Tuesday, an Asian American man had coffee thrown on him while on a Washington D.C. train.

The incident: Roswell Encina, who is the chief communications officer for the Library of Congress, was commuting on the Metro’s Orange Line heading to Vienna when he felt something hit him.

  • “I felt this major splash towards me,” he told NBC Washington. “So, when I looked down, I had iced coffee all over my leg, all over my suit jacket, all over my work bag.”
  • He said the culprits were a group of kids and noted one particular girl was smiling as she threw another cup at him when they all ran.
  • Encina said he believes he was targeted because of his race because only he and another Asian woman, whom he had no relation to, were attacked with coffee.
  • The group immediately left on the L’Enfant Plaza stop around 4 p.m.

The response: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known as the Metro, released a statement that read, “This type of behavior is inexcusable. We are sorry for the treatment they experienced, and rest assured that Metro Transit Police is investigating.”

  • Police are not treating the incident as a hate crime.
  • “That kind of caught me off guard a little bit, that they’re not investigating it that way,” Encina said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots here. I mean, it was me and another Asian woman.”
  • While Encina doesn’t want the kids to be arrested, he does want them to realize that their actions were wrong.
  • Encina wrote about his reasons for speaking out on Twitter: “I shared my story so people know incidents like these are happening. I spoke on behalf of the people who have no voice or are too scared to speak out. We have to be gleamers for others and use this moment to educate and stop a culture of hate. #StopAsianHate

Featured Image via @AimeeCho4 (left), @roswellencina (right)

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Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
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6 things parents can do to keep students safe from COVID-19

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6 things parents can do to keep students safe from COVID-19

Kids all over California have returned to school, but in a time where COVID-19 or the delta variant is on every parent’s mind, what can be done to get the peace of mind that their children are safe in the classroom?

California state officials have taken some of the most progressive steps in the country to ensure that schools open up safely and take every measure to protect staff and students. The state has set aside $25 billion for schools to upgrade classroom ventilation, hire more teachers and staff, provide COVID-19 testing, mental health resources and more.

Parents can also do their part to protect their students. Here are some steps parents can take keep their children safe when they go to school:

  1. Have your child wear a mask – it’s simple and effective.
  2. Teach your child to wash their hands regularly.
  3. Ask your child’s school about COVID-19 testing – it’s the best way to detect the virus before your child even feels sick.
  4. Talk to your child’s school to learn more about the air quality in their classrooms.
  5. Keep your child home if they are feeling sick and let their school know.
  6. Get your family vaccinated! It’s the best way to train your immune system to fight COVID-19.

Schedule your family’s vaccine appointment or find walk-in vaccination sites now at MyTurn.ca.gov (available in multiple languages) or by calling (833) 422-4255. It’s safe, it’s free, and it’s the best way to keep children safe from COVID-19 at school. For more information on how schools are keeping safe, parents can visit CA Safe Schools for All.

Feature Image via CDPH

This post was created by NextShark with the California Department of Public Health

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

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Journalist critical of Duterte’s drug war becomes first Filipino Nobel Peace Prize awardee

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Nobel Peace Prize winner

Journalist Maria Ressa, CEO of news outlet Rappler, became the first Filipino recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize award on Friday. She shares the prestigious honor with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov. 

Press freedom advocates: On Friday, the pair, who both angered their respective local rulers with their work, received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 in recognition of the significance of press freedom in modern times, reported CNN.

  • Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said the pair were honored for their efforts in safeguarding “freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy, and lasting peace.”
  • Rappler, which Ressa heads, is a staunch critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte‘s administration, while Muratov heads the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. 
  • Ressa and Muratov both faced legal threats amid crackdowns on journalists’ rights in their countries. Both the Philippines and Russia are countries that have consistently ranked among the deadliest countries for journalists

Struggle for truth: Ressa, who was recognized as TIME’s “Person of the Year” in 2018, lamented that the Duterte government has targeted her due to her reports on Duterte’s drug war and other issues critical of the regime.

  • She has been convicted of cyber libel and is currently restricted from leaving the country while she appeals her conviction. 
  • Ressa has seven other active court cases that stem from the government’s attempted shutdown of her news site because of its Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs), which are similar to a company’s shares.
  • The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) released a statement commending Ressa for her Nobel Peace Prize award, noting that it should highlight the global struggle for truth.
  • “We hope this award will shine more light on those who put the spotlight on the truth at a time when basic freedoms and democracy are under attack,” NUJP said. 
  • Under the Duterte administration, 20 journalists have reportedly been killed and four, including Ressa, have been detained.
  • Meanwhile, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has linked local government agents to over half of the total 223 cases of attacks and threats against local media since Duterte assumed office in 2016.

Featured Image via Nobel Prize

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