At least six people were injured, including one critically, Friday night in a shooting at a rap concert in the Oregon city of Eugene. The incident is “about as close as you’re gonna get” to the definition of a mass shooting,” Police Chief Chris Skinner said at a news conference at around 2:20 a.m. local time. “Certainly one of the highest profile shootings we’ve had in the city of Eugene.” The individual in critical condition was in surgery at the time of the conference, and no details were available on the conditions of the others. No fatalities have been reported. Police responded in less th...
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Whoopi Goldberg said that she's ready to expand the court because the one tradition of the Supreme Court is that it is in balance and serves as the point of reason for the country. That's no longer the case, she argued, saying that it has been thrown completely out of balance.
Republican Ana Navarro argued that President Joe Biden "can direct his cabinet department, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health to look at every way and every vehicle to give women and to give families resources to make things better. But the truth is, this is not a monarchy. He is not an emperor. He is not a dictator. This is a democracy where there are three equal branches of government. So, he can't snap his fingers and make this go away."
She explained that Republicans "got in line" and that Christian Republicans have been working toward this for a long time. And even though they hated Donald Trump, they sucked it up so they could ensure they got anti-choice judges added to the court.
"So, you want to do something? Vote," Navarro explained.
But that demand of giving money and voting isn't resonating with many Democrats, particularly women, who feel like more should be done. Just a week after losing their rights, Congress is leaving Washington to go home for the Fourth of July holiday break. Actor Craig Robinson even revealed that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) fled the country to The Bahamas.
"Mitch McConnell and all the rest of them looked the other way when Trump was grabbing women by their genitalia," said Joy Behar. "When he was dissing Gold Star families, when he was making fun of John McCain who was a hero in the Vietnam War, and everything else that that guy did because they wanted the Supreme Court, and he has gotten his wish. And by the way, why do you blame Biden? Biden had a promising agenda, and it was derailed by the DINOs in Congress. Manchin and Sinema. Manchin-ema. That's what happened. So, don't blame Biden, the guy is trying. He put a Black woman on the Supreme Court. That was good. I mean, there are many things that he's done."
See the women continue the debate below:
How mosquitoes seek out and feed on their hosts are important factors in how a virus circulates in nature. Mosquitoes spread diseases by acting as carriers of viruses and other pathogens: A mosquito that bites a person infected with a virus can acquire the virus and pass it on to the next person it bites.
For immunologists and infectious disease researchers like me, a better understanding of how a virus interacts with a host may offer new strategies for preventing and treating mosquito-borne diseases. In our recently published study, my colleagues and I found that some viruses can alter a person’s body odor to be more attractive to mosquitoes, leading to more bites that allow a virus to spread.
Viruses change host odors to attract mosquitoes
Mosquitoes locate a potential host through different sensory cues, such as your body temperature and the carbon dioxide emitted from your breath. Odors also play a role. Previous lab research has found that mice infected with malaria have changes in their scents that make them more attractive to mosquitoes. With this in mind, my colleagues and I wondered if other mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue and Zika, can also change a person’s scent to make them more attractive to mosquitoes, and whether there is a way to prevent these changes.
A number of factors can make you more attractive to mosquitoes, including the odors you emit.
To investigate this, we placed mice infected with the dengue or Zika virus, uninfected mice and mosquitoes in one of three arms of a glass chamber. When we applied airflow through the mouse chambers to funnel their odors toward the mosquitoes, we found that more mosquitoes chose to fly toward the infected mice over the uninfected mice.
We ruled out carbon dioxide as a reason for why the mosquitoes were attracted to the infected mice, because while Zika-infected mice emitted less carbon dioxide than uninfected mice, dengue-infected mice did not change emission levels. Likewise, we ruled out body temperature as a potential attractive factor when mosquitoes did not differentiate between mice with elevated or normal body temperatures.
Then we assessed the role of body odors in the mosquitoes’ increased attraction to infected mice. After placing a filter in the glass chambers to prevent mice odors from reaching the mosquitoes, we found that the number of mosquitoes flying toward infected and uninfected mice were comparable. This suggests that there was something about the odors of the infected mice that drew the mosquitoes toward them.
Volunteering in a mosquito study may require a few bites.
To identify the odor, we isolated 20 different gaseous chemical compounds from the scent emitted by the infected mice. Of these, we found three to stimulate a significant response in mosquito antennae. When we applied these three compounds to the skin of healthy mice and the hands of human volunteers, only one, acetophenone, attracted more mosquitoes compared to the control. We found that infected mice produced 10 times more acetophenone than uninfected mice.
Similarly, we found that the odors collected from the armpits of dengue fever patients contained more acetophenone than those from healthy people. When we applied the dengue fever patient odors on one hand of a volunteer and a healthy person’s odor on the other hand, mosquitoes were consistently more attracted to the hand with dengue fever odors.
These findings imply that the dengue and Zika viruses are capable of increasing the amount of acetophenone their hosts produce and emit, making them even more attractive to mosquitoes. When uninfected mosquitoes bite these attractive hosts, they may go on to bite other people and spread the virus even further.
How viruses increase acetophenone production
Next, we wanted to figure out how viruses were increasing the amount of mosquito-attracting acetophenone their hosts produce. Acetophenone, along with being a chemical commonly used as a fragrance in perfumes, is also a metabolic byproduct commonly produced by certain bacteria living on the skin and in the intestines of both people and mice. So we wondered if it had something to do with changes in the type of bacteria on the skin.
To test this idea, we removed either the skin or intestinal bacteria from infected mice before exposing them to mosquitoes. While mosquitoes were still more attracted to infected mice with depleted intestinal bacteria compared to uninfected mice, they were significantly less attracted to infected mice with depleted skin bacteria. These results suggest that skin microbes are an essential source of acetophenone.
Viruses can alter the skin microbiome to increase the presence of bacteria like Bacillus, which produce mosquito-attracting odors.
When we compared the skin bacteria compositions of infected and uninfected mice, we identified that a common type of rod-shaped bacteria, Bacillus, was a major acetophenone producer and had significantly increased numbers on infected mice. This meant that the dengue and Zika viruses were able to change their host’s odor by altering the microbiome of the skin.
Reducing mosquito-attracting odors
Finally, we wondered if there was a way to prevent this change in odors.
We found one potential option when we observed that infected mice had decreased levels of an important microbe-fighting molecule produced by skin cells, called RELMα. This suggested that the dengue and Zika viruses suppressed production of this molecule, making the mice more vulnerable to infection.
Vitamin A and its related chemical compounds are known to strongly boost production of RELMα. So we fed a vitamin A derivative to infected mice over the course of a few days and measured the amount of RELMα and Bacillus bacteria present on their skin, then exposed them to mosquitoes.
We found that infected mice treated with the vitamin A derivative were able to restore their RELMα levels back to those of uninfected mice, as well as reduce the amount of Bacillus bacteria on their skin. Mosquitoes were also no more attracted to these treated, infected mice than uninfected mice.
Our next step is to replicate these results in people and eventually apply what we learn to patients. Vitamin A deficiency is common in developing countries. This is especially the case in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-transmitted viral diseases are prevalent. Our next steps are to investigate whether dietary vitamin A or its derivatives could reduce mosquito attraction to people infected with Zika and dengue, and subsequently reduce mosquito-borne diseases in the long term.
I must confess that I've written things in the last two days I never thought I'd write — at least not in a work of nonfiction.
For example: In my most feverish nightmares I never dreamed I'd have to tell people that a former adviser to the president, a decorated retired U.S. Army general with years of service to his country under his belt, would take the Fifth Amendment when asked by a Republican member of Congress, "Do you believe in a peaceful transfer of power?"
Mike Flynn did.
Sure, many people consider Flynn an idiot. I also never thought I'd hear a witness tell us that the president of the United States blurted out, "Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."
A witness heard Donald Trump say that. Of course, many think Trump is an idiot as well.
And I certainly never thought I'd hear about a president becoming enraged over not being allowed to join an insurrection by armed assailants at the U.S. Capitol. Trump did that too. Not even the Secret Service disputes that fact. Whether or not Trump actually tried to wrestle the steering wheel from his driver as he lunged at him is the only fact in dispute — and guess what, if you know Trump that isn't much of a stretch either. But that's not the point. He wanted to go. Who in their worst alcohol-induced, Adderall-laced, psychotic-hallucinogenic rage would ever dream of having to report this? Not I, said the cat.
If you don't realize it yet, the nation is at war with itself. Call it what you want, but if you don't recognize that simple fact, then you're doomed to go down without a fight. And that's fine with Donald Trump, Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon, Jeffrey Clark, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani et al., who have fought hard for a Trump authoritarian regime and won't support a peaceful transfer of power.
That's got our northern neighbor, Canada (remember Canada?), wondering whether they'll need to erect a border wall to keep out Americans fleeing our fascist state.
Make no mistake, what we face here is a potential tyranny of the minority. For those who seek to overturn our democratic ideals under the guise of freedom, while wrapping themselves in the flag, it is all about fear and trust. They want you to fear the wrath of their imaginary God and trust them — though they obviously trust no one else. Strong with them is the dark side.
Donald Trump partnered with the most atavistic of all humans to get elected. He played the useful fool for them as they fed him an agenda he couldn't have cared less about, since he only cared about power. And Trump's power was always in promoting his brand. In God we trust — all others pay cash. That's all the trust he understands.
But his minions, like Sen. Mitch McConnell from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, want you to trust in a God billions of people on the planet don't recognize and the "good old days," circa 1920, that never existed. It was a time filled with hate, prejudice and fear — themes the Republicans enjoy and promote — and have leveraged to set the Supreme Court back more than 50 years.
We are left with a country whose most hallowed ideals have been hollowed out, swallowed and regurgitated. We are struggling with the simple notion of being a nation of laws.
We are left with a country whose most hallowed ideals have been hollowed out, swallowed and regurgitated as an empty mantra. It is apparent that we are struggling with the simple notion that we are a nation of laws. In one of the most valiant efforts of my lifetime, it is Republicans who are dominating the witness stand during the House Jan. 6 hearings, providing the most salient testimony against members of their own party who are guilty of so many crimes they make the mob flush with envy. This is all going on in congressional hearings run by Democrats who are eagerly assisting those Republicans in telling the truth. This is bipartisanship at its most enlightened — or at least as close as we can get to it in this reality.
Those Republicans, like the Democrats guiding the hearings, should be lauded for their efforts. Every other Republican, especially those who sought pardons after the Insurrection — or in the case of Matt Gaetz, the feckless frat boy perpetually picked last for kickball, before the insurrection — should be prosecuted, removed from Congress and condemned to daily cleanup duty in cockroach-infested Mar-a-Lago for eternity.
Donald Trump told us, "I don't care if they have weapons, they aren't here to hurt me."
That's another sentence I never thought I'd write.
Trump's response to Tuesday's hearing was entirely typical. He said on his social media platform that he hardly knew who surprise witness Cassidy Hutchinson was (as if that had any bearing on her ability to witness his inappropriate actions) and that she was a "complete phony." Later that day he sent out several emails to his supporters asking for more donations and discounts on a variety of swag he keeps pushing.
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Trump's retort is similar to when Rep. Paul Gosar literally shouted, "Liar, liar, pants on fire" at Michael Cohen, after Cohen's testimony before Congress in 2019. It is juvenile.
There is no way to dismiss the spoiled-child nature of Trump's senior staff and supporters. They are much like their boss — and Trump encourages that behavior. Though these are usually men anywhere from their mid 40s to their late 60s, they act less like adults and more like recalcitrant children who just wet their pants when their wet nurse isn't around to change their soiled undies.
Juxtapose that with Hutchinson. She is 25, younger than my youngest son, and she acted more like an adult than almost everyone else in Trump's administration, who by the way made a hell of a lot more money and lived in relative splendor, compared to a junior White House staffer.
But character is what counts, and Cassidy Hutchinson is far richer in that than Mike Pence, Pat Cipollone, Jim Jordan, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn or any of the other freaks traveling in Dr. Trump's Wild West show. She was quiet and professional as she testified before Congress. She was the one thing Trump never has been — an adult. Her testimony is destined for the history books, and she is the greatest testament yet that it's time for the geriatric crowd to give up their hold on government in favor of younger, more vibrant yet even more grown-up voices. She's also a testament to good legal counsel — but that's another story.
The essence of Hutchinson's testimony boiled down to witnessing Trump, his chief of staff Mark Meadows and other senior officials trying to bring about a tyranny of the minority. Hutchinson said she came to her job at the White House bright-eyed and eager to cheer for Trump's policies. That was a naïve hope.
I spent four years covering that administration and I am unaware of any actual policy it pursued. Then and now, Trump's only goal is to increase his personal revenue and power at the expense of anyone and everyone else. Hutchinson came to the administration closer to the end of Trump's run than the beginning, and it didn't take her long to catch on.
"I was really saddened as an American. I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol get defaced over a lie," she testified.
This has had a predictable effect on the QAnon crowd, not unlike smacking a hornet's nest with a baseball bat. It won't be long before Hutchinson is accused of drinking baby blood or being a lizard alien. But another former Trump chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, defended her. "I know her. I don't think she's lying," he said.
Some have compared Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to that of John Dean during Watergate. Dean himself says it was closer to the testimony of Alexander Butterfield, another "surprise witness."
Some called her appearance the "John Dean" moment in these hearings, referencing Richard Nixon's former White House counsel, who testified before the Watergate committee. But Dean says it more accurately resembled testimony by Alexander Butterfield, until that moment a relatively obscure deputy assistant. "In both cases they were surprise witnesses and had testimony that changed the direction of the hearings," Dean explained. Otherwise, he said, the two hearings have little in common.
"Watergate was so different and so mild. Nixon could at least experience shame," he said. After Watergate "I hoped we would not have another authoritarian president," Dean continued, "but the antiquated Electoral College, which is supposed to prevent these things from happening, gave us Donald Trump."
That would be the guy who shouted that he was "the fucking president" while urging the Secret Service to drive him to the Capitol.
With Donald Trump, it is always about him and it always has been. Hutchinson testified to witnessing the aftermath of a Trump tantrum that ended up with broken plates and ketchup on the wall. Michael Cohen spoke of numerous tantrums from a man "who never got into a fistfight his whole life," but used his temper to get his way — much like a toddler.
And there we are; a young woman, in her early 20s at the time, acting more responsible than the baby-boomer president she served. As a parent, I confess, I would be very proud of what she did.
The Jan. 6 committee hearings are the last chance we have of excising the primary infection that has spread to become a Donald Trump cancer. Should we fail, this country is headed down a very dark road, paved by the actions of a Supreme Court that has ignored well-established legal precedent in order to enact laws bound by religious beliefs and contrary to the will of the majority of Americans. The effect is to destroy the rule of law and place justice in the hands of those who oppose democracy.
Filtered through that light, Cassidy Hutchinson took on the whole authoritarian movement — not just Donald Trump — when she stepped up and testified this week.
How could a parent not be proud of that? Americans are a curious lot, I grant you. We are filled with foibles and fears, and at times the feckless fools seem to run amok. Then you see a young woman doing what we were all raised to do: Defend the rule of law. Testify honestly. Act rationally. Stand up. If that doesn't give you hope, brothers and sisters, then I don't know what will.
Now would be the time for another surprise witness: Pat Cipollone. (Well, OK: He was subpoenaed on Wednesday.) The former White House counsel is a fellow Kentucky-schooled, Roman Catholic brother. He has 10 children, a few of them approximately the same age as Hutchinson, including a daughter who once worked as a Fox News booker for Laura Ingraham. Maybe by following Hutchinson's example, Cipollone could offer an example for his own children regarding Christian integrity. "I think he's worried about losing Republican clients if he testifies," Dean explained. "They believe in retribution. He's worried about that when he should be worried about democracy."
Finally, I once again find myself having to write sentences I never thought I'd write — until today:
On Tuesday, the House Committee hearings into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection saw surprise testimony from former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson. She testified that former President Donald Trump tried to commandeer a presidential SUV to join and lead a group of anti-democratic insurrectionists. Concurrent with her testimony and following it, Donald Trump sent emails to his supporters asking for donations while announcing an upcoming rally in Anchorage, Alaska.
It's a short flight from Anchorage to Russia. Is that where he's headed next?
He'd probably be thrilled if he were asked to go. He's still a sucker for any type of attention.