140 stories
·
1 follower

The US is going to restart its free at-home covid test kit program

1 Comment and 2 Shares
A pattern of light blue face masks against a purple background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The US government will again offer free at-home covid tests starting September 25th, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Wednesday. The kits are intended for use through the end of 2023; as with previous versions of the free test program, the kits will include four tests along with instructions for verifying extended expiration dates.

The government ended its most recent free test kit program on May 31st as cases and hospitalizations dwindled, but hospitalizations have been steadily rising since July, according to The New York Timescovid tracker.

According to the HHS release, the White House has invested $600 million for the new round of free kits, which it will purchase from 12 US manufacturers. The department writes that this is enough to cover 200 million over-the-counter tests.

The Times reports that if demand pushes high enough, manufacturers could sell those tests straight to retailers before the government. The article notes that despite their rise, hospitalizations are still low compared to previous phases of the covid pandemic when weekly covid-related deaths numbered in the tens of thousands.

New monovalent formulations of both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are now available following the FDA’s approval earlier this month. The new boosters were made based on omicron variants of the virus instead of the original strain. The CDC currently recommends the shot for anyone over the age of six months who has received as many as three mRNA shots previously.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
rlauzon
166 days ago
reply
Interesting how COVID has the same cycle as our elections.
cosmotic
165 days ago
It's like elections are in November and so is the cold weather
rlauzon
165 days ago
But November happens every year, and COVID only happens every 4 years.

Newsmax Staffers Hit With Subpoenas in 2020 Election Defamation Suit – Rolling Stone

1 Comment and 2 Shares

Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News laid bare how the network communicated behind the scenes about broadcasting 2020 election misinformation, ultimately leading the network to fork over a massive settlement. Newsmax could be next, as voting technology company Smartmatic has subpoenaed several of the right-wing cable network’s current and former employees for work and personal correspondence.

Several Newsmax insiders, who spoke with Rolling Stone under a condition of anonymity due to a fear of reprisal, said that roughly three weeks ago they were told to hand over “mirror images of their personal cell phone, personal email, and iCloud” as Smartmatic’s lawsuit against the network moves forward.

Smartmaric’s attorney J. Erik Connolly, Managing Chair of the Litigation Practice Group, at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLC tells Rolling Stone: “Smartmatic intends to pursue discovery from the current and former Newsmax employees who participated in the egregious disinformation campaign against the company. Some of the discovery has come, and will come, from the company.  Smartmatic is pursuing these individuals to get the rest.  Our complaint does not numerically specify the amount of damages we have suffered.”

Smartmatic claims in their lawsuit that Newsmax knowingly pushed falsehoods about the company following the 2020 presidential election. “Newsmax published and/or republished false statements and implications during news broadcasts, in online reports, and on social media that ‘Smartmatic participated in a criminal conspiracy’ to fix, rig, and steal the Election,” the defamation suit alleges. 

Newsmax, which did not return Rolling Stone’s request for comment, initially pushed back on the Smartmatic defamation suit with a countersuit claiming it was an intimidation tactic. However, in February 2023 Smartmatic’s case was permitted to proceed, and Newsmax staffers are now being asked to hand over pertinent material.

Dominion earlier this year submitted multiple court filings with pertinent communications from Fox News executives and talent, revealing with damning detail how major players at the network knew they were pushing lies about the election. Rupert Murdoch testified that hosts “endorsed” the false idea that the election was stolen. Tucker Carlson texted that Trump allies were “lying” and that the network’s viewers “believed” it. Suzanne Scott, Fox News’ CEO, emailed about how fact-checking bogus fraud claims was “bad for business.”

The filings backed Fox News into a corner ahead of a highly anticipated trial during which key network figures were expected to testify. The network opted to settle with Dominion on the eve of the trial, paying the company $787 million to avoid more public embarrassment. Carlson was ousted from the network days later, with his departure reportedly being set in motion by a racist text message collected as part of Dominion’s lawsuit.

The Newsmax staffers who have been slapped with subpoenas for their texts and emails are not happy, telling Rolling Stone that the company has threatened to fire them if they don’t comply with the subpoenas. “Originally, when Newsmax asked us to do this, they said it wasn’t compulsory, but now due to the subpoena if we don’t comply they have threatened our jobs,” one employee laments. “They basically said that if we don’t hand it over it prevents them from sufficiently being able to defend themselves in court, which in turn could be seen as hurting the company which is grounds for potential termination.”

“This is a civil lawsuit between two corporations,” the employee added. “At no point should our personal data come into play. This goes beyond a violation of privacy. It is an invasion.”

It’s a common sentiment among the network’s staff. “Many of us don’t believe it’s right to give our employer access to all of our personal privacy when we had nothing to do with the decision making process,” says another staffer. “It’s a major violation of privacy.”

But one network insider, who confirmed the Smartmatic subpoenas were given to several Newsmax staffers, rebuffed the frustrations of some employees. “It’s no secret Smartmatic would issue subpoenas for all of those communications,” they said. “A court order is a court order, and Newsmax would be in no position to tell employees ‘no, you don’t have to comply.’  They must comply if they’ve been subpoenaed. Newsmax would have no choice but to fire them if they don’t comply with a court order.”

Attorney Jasmine Rand, a counsel for the Baez Law Firm in Florida who manages the firm’s civil division and practices employment discrimination law, agrees that Newsmax employees do not have much of a choice but to turn over the requested items subpoenaed by Smartmatic.  “If Newsmax is compelling employees to produce mirror images of their personal emails and cell phones in response to a subpoena or court order, and threatening to fire them unless they comply, unfortunately employees have little recourse but to challenge the underlying subpoena.”

Smartmatic’s lawsuit is one of several defamation suits filed against purveyors of the false idea that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump. The media entities and individuals allied with Trump needed to blame someone for what they alleged was a plot to subvert the democratic process, and voting machine companies were a common culprit. Smartmatic was fingered by election deniers even though the company only provided services in Los Angeles County, and the company has Fox News and OANN in addition to Newsmax.

Dominion provided services in contested states, and has sued Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and conspiracy theorizing pillow salesman Mike Lindell. The company’s settlement with Fox News was a landmark victory in the effort to hold misinformation peddlers accountable, exposing the extent to which the network knew it was lying to its millions of viewers.

Newsmax staffers are understandably nervous that their texts, emails, and other correspondence may, too, become part of the public record. There may not be much they can do about it.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
rlauzon
253 days ago
reply
I see that Dominion is still trying to push the misinformation about the "security" of its voting system.

Titan sub CEO dismissed safety warnings as 'baseless cries', emails show - BBC News

1 Comment and 2 Shares
Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
rlauzon
255 days ago
reply
Never put your life in a Woke company. They demand diversity - not competence.
bta3
255 days ago
yes that is the issue at hand

catchymemes:

1 Comment and 3 Shares

catchymemes:

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
rlauzon
315 days ago
reply
There's a BIG difference between being forced to "share" your property and choosing to share your property.
cosmotic
315 days ago
The wealthy never chose to share, and the wealthy almost always figure out how to evade the forced sharing.
rlauzon
315 days ago
Spoken like a true worthless elitist. People like you always want the gov't to take because you are incapable of earning it for yourself.
cosmotic
315 days ago
People taking instead of earning sure sounds a lot like the wealthy elite. I'm okay with the government taking from me; it helps pay for all the public services I and my community receive.
rlauzon
315 days ago
It only sounds that way to you because you've never worked or earned anything in your life. Ignorant Elitists like you are just a bunch of useless parasites on society.
bta3
314 days ago
I admire your bravery for making up shit about people you know nothing about. really incredible.
rlauzon
314 days ago
Your words expose you for what you are.

America's FDA Wants to Update Its Definition of 'Healthy'. The Food Industry Doesn't

1 Comment and 2 Shares
America's public health-protecting Food and Drug Administration wants to update its definition of "healthy" for purposes of product labeling. But the Washington Post reports dozens of food manufacturers are now "claiming the new standards are draconian and will result in most current food products not making the cut, or in unappealing product reformulations." Under the proposal, manufacturers can label their products "healthy" only if they contain a meaningful amount of food from at least one of the main food groups such as fruit, vegetable or dairy, as recommended by federal dietary guidelines. They must also adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. It's the added sugar limit that has been the sticking point for many food executives. The FDA's previous rules put limits around saturated fat and sodium but did not include limits on added sugars. The Consumer Brands Association, which represents 1,700 major food companies from General Mills to Pepsi, wrote a 54-page comment to the FDA in which it stated the proposed rule was overly restrictive and would result in a framework that would automatically disqualify a vast majority of packaged foods.... The proposed rule, if finalized, they said, would violate the First Amendment rights of food companies and could harm both consumers and manufacturers. The Sugar Association has an issue with the added sugar limit; Campbell Soup is more focused on that sodium.... Virtually every part of the food industry appeared disgruntled (here are the 402 comments about the proposed rule). Baby food company Happy Family Organics said the proposed rule probably would lead to an unintended exclusion of some nutrient-rich products. And the American Cheese Society took a more philosophical approach, saying the word "healthy" isn't that helpful on a label and should be used in a complete diet or lifestyle context rather than in a nutrient or single food-focused context. The FDA estimates that up to just 0.4% of people who try to follow their guidelines would be swayed by the word "healthy" in their long-term food-purchasing decisions, according to the article. It's a position supported by a research paper in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing analyzing hundreds of international studies on the effectiveness of front-of-package nutrition labeling. "The authors found that the most effective means of conveying nutrition information is a graphic warning label, as has been adopted in Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico and Israel. In Chile, black warning labels shaped like stop signs are required for packaged food and drinks that exceed, per 100 grams: 275 calories, 400 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of sugar or four grams of saturated fats."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
rlauzon
365 days ago
reply
Neither group has our best interests at heart.

Amazon cuts off Parler’s web hosting following Apple, Google bans | Ars Technica

3 Comments

Amazon Web Services is suspending Parler's access to its hosting services at the end of the weekend, potentially driving the service offline unless it can find a new provider.

"Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST," Amazon wrote to Parler in an email obtained and first reported by BuzzFeed.

The email from AWS to Parler cites several examples of violent and threatening posts made in recent days, including threats to "systematically assassinate liberal leaders, liberal activists, BLM leaders and supporters," and others. "Given the unfortunate events that transpired this past week in Washington, D.C., there is serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence," the message adds.

Parler launched in 2018 as a "free speech" alternative to Twitter and Facebook. Through 2019 and 2020, it drew a number of conservative, right-wing, and far-right fringe users. Usage has dramatically increased in the past few days in the wake of Wednesday's events at the US Capitol and President Donald Trump's subsequent total ban from Twitter and other platforms.

That increased traffic has also brought increased threats of violence to the platform, which technology companies across the board seem to be taking more seriously after this week—and no wonder, as the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol made widespread use of social media to plan, carry out, and brag about their activity.

Parler, however, has not articulated a clear plan for dealing with violent threats on its platform. As Amazon wrote:

It's clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t "feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform." This morning, you shared that you have a plan to more proactively moderate violent content, but plan to do so manually with volunteers. It’s our view that this nascent plan to use volunteers to promptly identify and remove dangerous content will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts.

Apple also removed Parler from its iOS App Store earlier today, citing similar concerns.

"Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines," Apple wrote. "Your app will be removed from the App Store until we receive an update that is compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and you have demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service."

Google already booted Parler from its app store on Friday, also citing the prevalence of explicitly violent content left up on the platform.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
2 public comments
rlauzon
1149 days ago
reply
Yet the Leftie Social media still allows hate groups like the CCP to have a platform. The hypocricy is amazing here.
fxer
1150 days ago
reply
Parler can’t moderate because there would only be a rump of users left, the normie conservatives weren’t banned from Twitter/FB etc
Bend, Oregon
dreadhead
1150 days ago
I can't imagine having to migrate to a whole new hosting platform in like a day.
fxer
1150 days ago
Especially if they’re using any AWS platform specific shit like Lambda or Aurora etc. Co-lo hardware and self-hosting mongodb is their reality now
acdha
1149 days ago
They claim not to be using things which would be hard to migrate but they’ll need a lot of capacity and given how sensitive the information they expect from users is I would especially wonder about vulnerabilities introduced in a panicked migration. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fascists.
fancycwabs
1148 days ago
Based on what I'm reading this morning, all of Parler's information is now hosted on an FBI server at a minimum.
dreadhead
1148 days ago
I also read that they did not secure stuff properly (shocking) and that 70TB of data was downloaded...
fxer
1148 days ago
Little Bobby Tables got ‘em
Next Page of Stories