There were just seven months between the day Hilary Weisman Graham came up with the idea for “Social Distance” and the Netflix series’ premiere Thursday.Normally, the process to make a TV show takes years and includes inception, pitching, casting, shooting and editing.“We wanted to get it out before the pandemic is over,” the “Orange is the New Black” writer told the Daily News of the coronavirus era-set show.Turns out, the pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but “Social Distance” lives entirely in shutdowns, filmed on FaceTime and Zoom and Nest.Real-life couples and family members wer...
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"No one should've honestly believed Elon Musk would use his ownership of Twitter to champion free speech."
"Several prominent anti-fascist organizers and journalists have had their accounts suspended in the past week, after right-wing operatives appealed directly to Musk to ban them and far-right internet trolls flooded Twitter's complaints system with false reports about terms of service violations," The Intercept's Robert Mackey and Micah Lee wrote.
Among the suspended Twitter accounts are those of journalist Vishal Pratap Singh, who covers far-right protests in California; the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, which provides security for LGBTQ+ events in Texas; the anarchist collective CrimethInc; and anti-fascist researcher Chad Loder.
"What I believe happened is that I and other accounts have been mass reported for the last few weeks by a dedicated group of far-right extremists who want to erase archived evidence of their past misdeeds and to neutralize our ability to expose them in the future," Loder told The Intercept.
"What I suspect happened is that Twitter's automatic systems flagged my account for some reason and no human being is reviewing these," Loder added.
A common thread connects the aforementioned suspensions: All were flagged by far-right conspiracy theorist and social media influencer Andy Ngo, who, in a Twitter exchange was invited by Musk to identify accounts for possible suspension.
"Andy Ngo's bizarre vision of 'Antifa' seems to be the metric used to delete the accounts of journalists and publications, most of which engaged in verifiably good journalism and [have] done so completely above board and [terms of service] observant ways," tweeted Shane Burley, editor of the anthology ¡No Pasarán!: Anti-fascist Dispatches From a World in Crisis. "Paranoid delusions about Antifa are driving it."
In recent days, a list of thousands of purported "Antifa" Twitter accounts—including those of CNN, actor Danny DeVito, the World Health Organization, and a "professional dog rater"—has been circulating online.
While calling the list "absurd," listee Nick Martin, publisher of the extremism monitoring site The Informant, warned: "Don't dismiss it. A mass flagging campaign has begun based on the list and is already claiming victory for a number of bans. It's a sign far-right extremists see Elon Musk as a ally who will empower them and destroy their enemies."
The suspensions of left-wing accounts came as Musk restores the accounts of far-right figures, some of whom—like former U.S. President Donald Trump—have called for or incited violence on the platform.
"The irony isn't lost on us that our suspension coincides with a coordinated effort to reinstate the most vile antisemitic, transphobic hate accounts," Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club told The Intercept. "Whether this is an indication of the future of leadership of Elon Musk's running of Twitter, we cannot say but we can say that the timing and reasoning is deliberate and targeted."
CrimethInc, which before the current suspension had never run afoul of Twitter's terms of service in its 14-year existence, said that "Musk's goal in acquiring Twitter had nothing to do with free speech. It was a partisan move to silence opposition, paving the way for fascist violence."
Jacobin's Branko Marcetic wrote Tuesday that "no one should've honestly believed Elon Musk would use his ownership of Twitter to champion free speech."
"Besides the fact that the man is a professional bullshitter," he added, "it was always dubious that a guy who slaps employees with gag orders and bars them from wearing pro-union messages had a genuine commitment to the proverbial marketplace of ideas."
The boy in the box was naked, wrapped in a plaid blanket, and was thought to be between 3 and 7 years old, per initial investigations. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma and according to now retired detective sergeant Bob Kuhlmeier, "he appeared to be cleaned and freshly groomed with a haircut."
Setting out to to determine the identity of the young boy, police ran a check on his fingerprints, but did not come up with a match. They canvased the area with fliers for years, doing their due diligence to give the unidentified child's name back so he may have a proper burial, but consistently came upon dead ends. Until now.
On Wednesday afternoon, Philadelphia police issued a statement saying that DNA and genealogical information have led to a positive ID on "The Boy in the Box," and will be providing an update on the case as soon as next week.
According to CBS News, workers at the Ivy Hill Cemetery where the boy's remains were laid to rest under a headstone reading "America's Unknown Child" were tearful upon hearing that his actual name will be known for the first time in more than six decades.
"To have a name on that stone, that's what everybody has been wishing forever," Ivy Hill's Linda Tamburri said in a quote to CBS. "I'm just glad I'm here to actually know I'll see that little boy's name on the stone."
"I think it's wonderful," Dave Drysdale, cemetery secretary and treasurer at Ivy Hill, said. "I just wish that the police officers and all the people involved who long passed away were still here to see it because that was one of their goals and a couple of them said 'I hope they live long enough to see a name put on there.'"
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As detailed in the feature by All That's Interesting, there were many wild theories about "The Boy in the Box" case. In 1960, a psychic tipped off an employee of the medical examiner's office that the boy came from an orphanage. When police followed up on the lead they found a style of blanket at the orphanage in question that matched the one the dead boy was wrapped in, but nothing panned out from that lead. Later, a woman who called herself "M" claimed that "the boy had been purchased by her abusive mother," who bashed his head against the wall after he vomited up some baked beans she'd fed him. Police latched on to this as baked beans had been found in the contents of the dead boy's stomach but, again, the lead went nowhere.
Philadelphia Police Captain Jason Smith told NBC Philadelphia on Wednesday that while he can't discuss the identity of the boy prior to next week's news conference, he harkened back to a statement given to the news outlet in 2021 in which he said "identifying the boy was just the beginning."
"The investigation will start all over again and then we'll start searching for a suspect," Smith said.
It’s “a dagger at the heart of democracy” and there’s no easy answer for how to solve it, Clinton said.
“If you live in a world of disinformation and you have no idea who to believe or who to trust, by definition a democracy can’t work because a democracy requires at least a minimum of discussion, debate, listening to one another and maybe trying to reach principled compromise to get something accomplished,” she said.
As the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Clinton said she learned a lot of lessons about disinformation and said she didn’t know what was happening online until it was too late.
One example is Pizzagate, a conspiracy theory that Clinton was part of a child trafficking ring that operated out of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor. A North Carolina man who believed the story, drove to the restaurant to investigate, where he fired an assault rifle. While no one was injured, he was sentenced to four years in prison.
People combatting disinformation need “to understand better how to deprogram people” who believe false information like this, Clinton said.
“We know the big lie works if you repeat it enough, and social media is the big lie on steroids if you’re selling a big lie,” she said. “And so we have to do a lot more to fight back however we can.”
Angie Maxwell, a political science professor and director of the University of Arkansas’ Diane D. Blair Center for Southern Politics and Society, moderated Wednesday’s discussion.
The lecture was presented in conjunction with We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy, an exhibition that features historical documents like original prints of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence alongside works of art.
The United States is still debating what “we the people” means and who it includes, but those arguments are healthy because there’s been a constant pressure to expand the meaning of “we the people,” Clinton said. But there’s also been resistance to that expansion.
“We have seen the kind of pushback that has resulted in all sorts of claims about elections that were without basis in fact or evidence, but motivated by a deep fear of expanding ‘we the people’ to include all of us,” she said.
The push and pull that results in progress sometimes and regression at others is “an inherent, central struggle in the American journey,” Clinton said.
For example, members of the LGBTQ community are still fighting for inclusion, as exemplified by ongoing legal challenges across the country. A trial against Arkansas’ first-in-the-nation ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender youth resumed this week.
In Washington, the Senate approved legislation Tuesday to enshrine same-sex and interracial marriage in federal law. The House approved the original bill but must vote again after the addition of religious liberty protections by the Senate.
“As comforting as it is to see what the Congress did yesterday on a bipartisan vote in both houses, it’s not over,” Clinton said.
That’s because social and cultural movements rooted in privacy, autonomy and individual decision-making run counter to what many people, including several members of the Supreme Court, want to see, she said.
In June, the court overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion. The court issued what Clinton called “a very badly argued, badly reasoned opinion” in which Justice Samuel Alito argues the right to an abortion is not included in the U.S. Constitution.
“It is troubling to me that the court took that position, obliterating basically the right to privacy because the right to privacy, yeah it’s not mentioned in the constitution, but neither are AR-15s,” Clinton said.
Despite all the challenges, Clinton said she believes democracy will “absolutely” survive.
“I think we saw some good examples of that in this midterm election in lots of places, and it didn’t happen by accident,” she said. “People were willing to run, people were willing to stand up and speak out.”
‘Committed to it’
A number of Arkansas’ Democratic legislators and former candidates were in the audience Wednesday, including Chris Jones, the party’s gubernatorial candidate who lost to Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders in November.
“It was really good to hear her put our sort of contemporary situation into historical context with a view toward what we can actually do,” he said after the lecture.
Upon spotting Jones after Clinton’s lecture, several audience members lined up to shake the former candidate’s hand and take photos. He mingled with the crowd for about 20 minutes and the impromptu scene felt similar to some of his campaign rallies.
As for what comes, Jones said he’s not sure.
“The race is over, but the commitment continues,” he said. “I’m in Arkansas, we’re committed to it. She gave some good wisdom and advice on what one can do to make sure we move the agenda forward.”
One thing Clinton urged people not to do is avoid the political process just because it’s hard.
“I don’t think any political defeats or victories are permanent,” she said. “They become permanent if you don’t contest them, if you don’t speak out, if you don’t make a case, if you don’t try to be part of a smart, effective opposition and if you don’t also pay attention to what the people you’d like to represent are interested in.”
Video of Clinton’s lecture is available in its entirety at www.crystalbridges.org.
Arkansas Advocate is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arkansas Advocate maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sonny Albarado for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Arkansas Advocate on Facebook and Twitter.