Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians still emphasize that key symptoms include a dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath — no surprise for a virus that infects the lungs.Yet in the sickest patients, doctors keep finding collateral damage in the kidney, liver, and other organs. A new Penn Medicine study suggests that in rare cases, the coronavirus can even stop the heart.Among 700 COVID-19 patients at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, nine suffered a sudden cardiac arrest after being admitted, the study authors reported recently. Seven of the nine were under age 60.While...
Tucker Carlson doubles down on crackpot conspiracy theory FBI was really behind Trump's insurrection
Since supporters of Donald Trump engaged in a violent insurrection on January 6th, conservatives have sought to distance themselves from culpability for the assault on democracy.
They falsely claimed it was actually Antifa, they lied about it being peaceful and some Republicans have even denied that there was an insurrection. And then on Tuesday, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson unleashed a ridiculous conspiracy theory that the FBI was behind the insurrection.
On Wednesday, Carlson's conspiracy theory received a brutal fact-check in The Washington Post.
"The first thing to emphasize is that Carlson's theory is based on a report in Revolver News. The site is run by Darren Beattie, who appeared on Carlson's show shortly after the above monologue. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Beattie is a former Trump White House speechwriter who was fired in 2018 over a past appearance on a panel with a white nationalist, Peter Brimelow, at a conference attended by well-known white nationalists," the newspaper noted. "The second and perhaps most important point is that the basis of Carlson's theory — that the unindicted co-conspirators are either likely or must be government agents — is extremely shaky. Legal experts say the government literally cannot name an undercover agent as an unindicted co-conspirator."
Lisa Kern Griffin of Duke University Law School explained why Carlson's theory was literally impossible.
"Undercover officers and informants can't be 'co-conspirators' for the purposes of establishing an agreement to violate the law, because they are only pretending to agree to do so. … An unindicted co-conspirator has committed the crime of conspiracy, and investigative agents doing their jobs undercover are not committing crimes," she explained.
But Carlson returned to the topic on Friday and while lashing out at all the journalists fact-checking his delusions.
Tucker Carlson youtu.be
Tennessee Republicans threaten to defund health department unless they stop teen COVID vaccine outreach
According to Nashville Public Radio, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee are threatening to strip funding from the state health department unless it ends a program of COVID-19 vaccination outreach to teenagers.
"The saber-rattling arises from a state memo explaining how teenagers could legally be vaccinated without parental consent," reported Blake Farmer. "This letter, sent to vaccine providers in May, states that under legal precedent, children 14 and up are usually considered mature enough to make medical decisions for themselves, if necessary. But Republican officials already skeptical of the COVID vaccine saw it as the state trying to go behind the back of parents."
According to the report, Republican lawmakers angrily confronted the state health commissioner, Dr. Lisa Piercey, over vaccination ads showing teenagers, with GOP Rep. Iris Rudder telling her, "It's not your business to target children. It's your business to inform the parent that their child is eligible for the vaccination. So I would encourage you before our next meeting to get things like this off your website."
In most states, parental consent is required for vaccinating children, putting some children at odds with anti-vaccine parents. Some teenagers are rebelling against their parents and trying to get vaccinated behind their backs — something that in most states is very difficult.
Currently, the nationwide effort is still mainly focused on getting adults vaccinated, with President Joe Biden shooting for 70 percent of adults vaccinated by July 4. This goal appears unlikely on a national level, although at least 15 states have achieved the goal so far.
Texas governor defunds the legislature after Dems walked out to block voter suppression bill: report
Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday followed through on a threat to veto a section of the state budget that funds the Texas Legislature, its staffers and legislative agencies.
The governor's move targeting lawmaker pay comes after House Democrats walked out in the final days of the regular legislative session, breaking quorum, to block passage of Senate Bill 7, Abbott's priority elections bill that would have overhauled voting rights in the state. The move also killed bail legislation that Abbott had earmarked as a priority.
In a statement, Abbott said that "funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session."
"I therefore object to and disapprove of these appropriations," the governor said.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner of Grand Prairie called the move by Abbott an "abuse of power" and said the caucus "is exploring every option, including immediate legal options, to fight back."
"Texas has a governor, not a dictator," Turner said in a statement. "The tyrannical veto of the legislative branch is the latest indication that [Abbott] is simply out of control."
Since Abbott issued his threat earlier this month, other lawmakers and political leaders have raised concerns over how the move could impact staffers and legislative agencies that are funded by Article X, which is the section of the budget he vetoed, such as the Legislative Reference Library and the Legislative Budget Board.
"I'm just concerned how it impacts them because they weren't the ones who decided that we were going to break quorum, it wasn't their decision, right?," said House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, in an interview earlier this month.
Questions have also been raised about the constitutionality of the move, which according to the Legislative Reference Library is unprecedented.
The biennial budget at hand covers the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1. If lawmakers are back in Austin for a special session before then, they could pass a supplemental budget to restore that funding.
Lawmakers are paid $600 a month in addition to a per diem of $221 every day the Legislature is in session, during both regular and special sessions.
The Legislature is expected to convene for at least two special sessions, Abbott has said in interviews. One, set for September or October, will focus on the redrawing of the state's political maps and the doling out of $16 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds. Before that, the governor has said he will call lawmakers back to work on the elections and bail bills as well as a number of other issues he has not yet announced.
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