SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The COVID-19 vaccination rate is lower among California state workers than among the state's general population, according to data from the state Human Resources Department. Fewer than two-thirds of state workers — about 62% — were vaccinated as of Oct. 7, according to preliminary figures provided by department spokeswoman Camille Travis. That compares to a rate of about 72% among all Californians, according to state data. The employee data is incomplete, accounting for about 213,000 of the state's 238,000 employees, Travis said. But the relatively low rate identified so f...
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Eric Trump was "unbothered" his father's falsehoods could lead to violence on January 6, 2021.
That's according to the British documentary filmmaker subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Alex Holder, who told The Independent that Eric Trump thought inciting violence was "fair game."
"In an interview with The Independent, Mr Holder said Trump family members — and Eric Trump in particular — were unbothered by the idea that the often violent rhetoric they and their patriarch espoused after his loss to now-president Joe Biden would inspire his supporters to act out," The Independent reports.
“When I asked Eric about the potential danger of sort of rhetoric and the sort of the belligerence, he felt that it was … fair game in that it … was sort of the equivalent on the other side of the political discourse, or he felt that it was the right thing to do … because the election was stolen,” Holder said.
Holder also "said he had a foreboding feeling about the chance for violence as filming went on and the former president and his family continued to claim the 2020 election was stolen, even as courts rejected at least 60 lawsuits seeking to invalidate the results."
At least seven people who were at the attack on the Capitol died during or in the days following the insurrection.
‘Lied’: Gorsuch blasted after photos expose his claims in high school coach praying case are a ‘flat out, knowing lie’
Many people from legal experts to court watchers to journalists to ordinary Americans on social media are criticizing Justice Neil Gorsuch for his majority opinion in a decision siding with a former high school football coach. That coach sued after the school district ordered him to stop praying after every game at the 50-yard line. Justice Gorsuch's opinion, as many are noticing, appears to be based on facts that are false. Several are accusing Gorsuch of just plain lying.
Justice Gorsuch claimed the coach's First Amendment rights were violated, and that he was merely engaging in "quiet personal prayer" as he knelt.
Gorsuch uses the word "quiet" 14 times, as The Washington Post's Paul Waldman notes.
This is what Gorsuch calls a "quiet personal prayer" at the 50-yard-line at the end of games. He uses the word "quiet" 14 times in his decision, as though the coach was merely whispering under his breath and not leading a religious service every player felt obligated to attend. pic.twitter.com/P1Ubar0oHT
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) June 27, 2022
"Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks," Justice Gorsuch writes as he begins his majority opinion. "Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters. He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway. It did so because it thought anything less could lead a reasonable observer to conclude (mistakenly) that it endorsed Mr. Kennedy’s religious beliefs. That reasoning was misguided."
"The contested exercise here does not involve leading prayers with the team," Gorsuch continues (despite photos that appear to suggest otherwise), "the District disciplined Mr. Kennedy only for his decision to persist in praying quietly without his students after three games in October 2015."
These are the photos of Coach Kennedy that Justice Sonia Sotomayor included in her dissent:
"They aren't even trying to use reason anymore," former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade laments:
Justice Gorsuch characterizes as "private prayer" a public high school football coach's kneeling praise to God on the 50-yard line immediately after each game.
They aren't even trying to use reason anymore. https://t.co/XLzG2d57Bm — Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) June 27, 2022
And Vox's Ian Millhiser makes clear what just happened: "The Supreme Court hands the religious right a big victory by lying about the facts of a case."
Calling the decision "a big victory for the religious right," Millhiser writes that's "only because Gorsuch misrepresents the facts of the case."
We know that Gorsuch's characterization of the facts is inaccurate because we have photographic evidence. Here is a picture of the incident that Gorsuch described as a "short, private, personal prayer." pic.twitter.com/kArxrbKLO4
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) June 27, 2022
On Twitter Millhiser adds that Gorsuch's own opinion debunks his own opinion:
The first paragraph of Gorsuch's opinion in the praying coach case is rebutted by the third paragraph of Gorsuch's opinion in the praying coach case.https://t.co/wSHcHGHmsw pic.twitter.com/AS5K60ToRE
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) June 27, 2022
Don Moynihan, a professor at Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy:
Generally, a person seeking a “short, private, personal prayer" as Gorsuch claimed does not go on national television and employ a lawyer to announce the whereabouts and timing of his next prayer session. (Via @imillhiser) https://t.co/ekp7UljaYQ pic.twitter.com/LFThwa99Sx
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) June 27, 2022
Here's noted political scientist Norman Ornstein:
A flat out, knowing lie by Gorsuch. Joined by five others who also know it was a lie. Beyond shameful. Making a mockery of the Court. https://t.co/khiC6WC5rY
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) June 27, 2022
Others also felt it necessary to correct the facts in the case:
Furthermore, let’s please call Gorsuch’s assertions what they were: demonstrably false. A lower court judge found the claimant’s case rested on factual distortions. And the photos in Sotomayor’s dissent further reveal the distortions upon which the Court's decision rests. 2/2
— Rob Kirkpatrick (@wrappedupinboox) June 27, 2022
The biggest problem with the ruling is that Gorsuch repeatedly misstates the facts. He repeatedly calls it a “quiet & personal prayer.” It wasn’t. The coach didn’t pray alone. He invited others to join him. He was leading others in prayer. That’s not a “quiet & personal prayer.”
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 27, 2022
Flatly false. Parents said that their children felt compelled.
Lying about the facts when they are there to read in the record does not help your case. Unless you are making it to proven liars like Alito and Gorsuch. — (((DMCohen))) 🇺🇦 (@DMCohen4) June 27, 2022
One saving grace (no pun intended) from the praying football coach case is that, since Gorsuch just lied about the set of facts, it'll be really easy to overturn* should any coach actually do what the coach did, instead of the fantasy coach Gorsuch ruled on.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) June 27, 2022
if a Muslim walked out to the fifty yard line and led a prayer service, Justice Gorsuch would shit his fucking pants
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) June 27, 2022
In the SCOTUS opinion released today, the majority based their decision on a pretend scenario it created rather than the facts of the situation that actually took place.
It matters that SCOTUS is literally making things up to justify its rulings. https://t.co/WMF4aBjl5d — Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) June 27, 2022
Cloaked in darkness and mystery, the creatures of the deep oceans exist in a world of unlikely profusion, surviving on scant food and under pressure that would crush human lungs.
This extremely hostile environment, which will come under the spotlight at a major United Nations oceans summit in Lisbon this week, has caused its inhabitants to develop a prodigious array of alien characteristics and idiosyncratic survival techniques.
A vast assortment of animals populate the sunless depths, from the colossal squid, which wrapped its tentacles around the imaginations of sailors and storytellers, to beings with huge cloudy eyes, or whose bodies are as transparent as glass.
And the angler fish, with its devilish looks illuminated by a built-in headlamp, showing that the deep dark is alive with lights.
- 'Incredible' creatures -
Until the middle of the 19th century, scientists believed that life was impossible beyond a few hundred meters.
"They imagined that there was nothing, because of the absence of light, the pressure, the cold, and the lack of food," Nadine Le Bris, a professor at Sorbonne University, told AFP.
Between 200 and 1,000 meters (650 to 3,300 feet), the light fades until it vanishes completely, and with it plants; at 2,000 meters the pressure is 200 times that of the atmosphere.
From the abyssal plains to the cavernous trenches plunging deeper than Everest is high, aquatic existence continues in spectacular diversity.
"When people think of the deep sea they often think of the seafloor," said Karen Osborn of the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum.
"But all that water in between is full of incredible animals. There is a ton of life."
These open water inhabitants face a formidable challenge: they have nowhere to hide.
"There's no seaweed to hide in, no caves or mud to dig into," said Osborn.
"There are predators coming at them from below, from above, from all around."
- Masters of disguise -
One tactic is to become invisible.
Some creatures are red, making them difficult to distinguish in an environment where red light no longer filters through.
Others render themselves transparent.
Take the transparent gossamer worm, which ranges in size from a few millimeters to around a meter long and shimmies through the water by fluttering its frilly limbs.
"They look like a fern frond," said Osborn.
"They're beautiful animals and they shoot yellow bioluminescent light out of the tips of their arms. What could be better than that."
Bioluminescence is particularly common among fish, squid, and types of jellyfish, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which says around 80 percent of animals living between 200 and 1,000 meters produce their own light.
This chemical process might be helpful for defense, reproduction or to find food -- but no one knows for sure why so many creatures have evolved it, says NOAA.
With no plants around and animals scattered in the vastness doing their utmost to disappear, creatures in the ocean depths often have a hard time finding a live meal.
"If you happen to get lucky and hit a patch of your food, bingo! But you may not see another one for three weeks," said Osborn.
Another option is to feast on the dead.
Organic particles from the surface waters -- disintegrated bodies of animals and plants, mingling with fecal matter -- drift down in what is known as "marine snow".
This cadaverous confetti forms part of a process that sequesters carbon dioxide in the ocean depths.
It is also a lifeline for many deep sea animals, including the blood red vampire squid which, contrary to its reputation, peacefully hoovers up marine snow.
When giants like dead whales sink to the seabed, they are swiftly reduced to bone by scavengers.
With most of the oceans still unexplored, it is often said that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the seafloor on our own planet.
But unlike outer space, scientists keep finding life even under the most hostile of conditions.
Like the searing hydrothermal vents at the cracks between oceanic plates that spew chemical compounds such as hydrogen sulphide.
Microorganisms use this to create organic matter via "chemosynthesis", like plants use the sun for photosynthesis, which in turn feeds "exuberant" ecosystems, said Pierre-Marie Sarradin, head of the Deep Ecosystems department at the French research agency Ifremer.
These hydrothermal springs were totally unknown until the 1970s.
Scientists have so far identified some 250,000 marine species, though there could still be at least a million to be discovered.
Could there be an elusive sea monster lurking in the depths? Despite measuring more than 10 meters in length the colossal squid has only very rarely been seen.
"I don't think we're going to find a megalodon," said Osborn, referring to the giant ancestor of the shark.
Humans may not have explored much of the deep seas, but they have left their mark, via global heating, overfishing and pollution.
Oceans are acidifying as they absorb more and more CO2, there is a growing prevalence of "dead zones" without oxygen, while microplastics have been found in crustaceans at a depth of nearly 11 kilometers in the Mariana Trench.
Food reaches the bottom in smaller quantities.
Nadine Le Bris said species that "already live at the limits in terms of oxygen or temperature", are already "disturbed".
© 2022 AFP