Eclipse Chasers Travel Far and Pack Traditions: Orange Pants and Dinky Doo


For Mandie Adams, the total solar eclipse on Dec. 4 will be the 12th one she’s seen. It will also be the 12th for her teddy bear, Dinky Doo.

Seeing it won’t be easy. The eclipse will be visible only on a sliver of Earth in Antarctica, the South Orkney Islands and the surrounding ocean. Ms. Adams, a rental-property owner who lives in Southend-on-Sea, England, flew from London to Madrid to Buenos Aires to the town of Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina. From there, she will board a 15-day eclipse cruise, which sails through the notoriously turbulent Drake’s Passage, to see just under 2 minutes of total eclipse darkness—if there aren’t clouds.



Source link

What Newsom’s Victory in Orange County Says About 2022


Orange County — despite its historical associations with famous conservatives of yore, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and John Wayne — hasn’t been a Republican stronghold for years.

Back in 2016, headlines trumpeted that Hillary Clinton turned Orange County blue during the presidential election. In 2018, my colleagues wrote that Democrats flipped four Orange County congressional seats, a sweep that turned “a Republican fortress” Democratic.

Of course, 2020 showed that those pronouncements may have been premature: The county chose President Biden over former President Donald J. Trump, but two of those congressional districts returned to Republican control with the victories of Representative Michelle Steel and Representative Young Kim, both among the first three Korean American women in Congress.

Kim told me last year that her election represented a new direction for the Republican Party.

“This is not a Trump or Biden issue,” she said. “That’s how I’m going to work.”

Then came the recall election, offering political analysts a rare opportunity to take the temperature in key parts of California a year before the 2022 midterms. As my colleague Shane Goldmacher and I reported over the weekend, they were watching Orange County closely.

The region is no longer a wealthy, reliably conservative enclave, but a vision of the future of large suburban counties across the nation: increasingly diverse and politically complex — which makes it tantalizing to both major parties, who see the territory as up for grabs by candidates who run nuanced campaigns.

“In Orange County, if you run a cookie-cutter campaign, you are going to lose,” Jim Brulte, a former chairman of the California Republican Party who lives in San Juan Capistrano, told Shane.

Gov. Gavin Newsom depicted his fight to keep his job as a matter of life and death, as a battle for California’s progressive values against a Trumpian power grab. And as of Wednesday, the vote in Orange County was 51.7 percent against the recall.

Voters I spoke with in Ladera Ranch, a very Republican bedroom community near San Juan Capistrano, told me they sensed the political makeup of their neighborhoods changing — although few discuss politics in person. Mostly, partisan fights have played out in Facebook groups.

Candice Carvalho, 42, a Democrat in Ladera Ranch who voted against the recall, said she and her neighbors were exhausted from the bitter partisan divides that for many defined the Trump presidency.

“I think that everyone’s had such a rough year and a half that I have this feeling that people want to — not reunite, but let’s kind of get back together,” she said. “Let’s just move forward.”

But how that weariness with partisanship will translate next year in House races depends on what lessons the Republican Party takes from the recall, analysts said.

Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat who was elected to her seat in the Irvine area in 2018 and won again in 2020, told me her victories had hinged on engaging voters of both parties on issues important to them.

“Until you have a sense of where the Republican Party is going to land in its values, with science and gender equality and fighting climate change,” she said, “it’s difficult to know at this point how you would best engage across party lines.”

For more:

This mushroom lasagna tastes very rich, even though it really isn’t.


Today’s travel tip comes from Patricia Goodson, who recommends the town of Ferndale in Humboldt County:

“It is a town of Victorian houses. Great shops and the only way to the Lost Coast. Ocean views for miles without congestion or many homes.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.


The century-old diary that Christina Lalanne found in her San Francisco house tantalized her with the beginnings of a tale of two young Danish lovers, separated by different journeys to the United States and an unhappy marriage.

Eventually, The San Francisco Chronicle reports, they may have met again.

But the real love story here is one between a deeply rooted San Franciscan and her home.


Thanks for reading. We’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Alphabet start (3 letters).

Steven Moity, Mariel Wamsley and Soumya Karlamangla contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.



Source link

What Newsom’s Victory in Orange County Says About 2022


Orange County — despite its historical associations with famous conservatives of yore, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and John Wayne — hasn’t been a Republican stronghold for years.

Back in 2016, headlines trumpeted that Hillary Clinton turned Orange County blue during the presidential election. In 2018, my colleagues wrote that Democrats flipped four Orange County congressional seats, a sweep that turned “a Republican fortress” Democratic.

Of course, 2020 showed that those pronouncements may have been premature: The county chose President Biden over former President Donald J. Trump, but two of those congressional districts returned to Republican control with the victories of Representative Michelle Steel and Representative Young Kim, both among the first three Korean American women in Congress.

Kim told me last year that her election represented a new direction for the Republican Party.

“This is not a Trump or Biden issue,” she said. “That’s how I’m going to work.”

Then came the recall election, offering political analysts a rare opportunity to take the temperature in key parts of California a year before the 2022 midterms. As my colleague Shane Goldmacher and I reported over the weekend, they were watching Orange County closely.

The region is no longer a wealthy, reliably conservative enclave, but a vision of the future of large suburban counties across the nation: increasingly diverse and politically complex — which makes it tantalizing to both major parties, who see the territory as up for grabs by candidates who run nuanced campaigns.

“In Orange County, if you run a cookie-cutter campaign, you are going to lose,” Jim Brulte, a former chairman of the California Republican Party who lives in San Juan Capistrano, told Shane.

Gov. Gavin Newsom depicted his fight to keep his job as a matter of life and death, as a battle for California’s progressive values against a Trumpian power grab. And as of Wednesday, the vote in Orange County was 51.7 percent against the recall.

Voters I spoke with in Ladera Ranch, a very Republican bedroom community near San Juan Capistrano, told me they sensed the political makeup of their neighborhoods changing — although few discuss politics in person. Mostly, partisan fights have played out in Facebook groups.

Candice Carvalho, 42, a Democrat in Ladera Ranch who voted against the recall, said she and her neighbors were exhausted from the bitter partisan divides that for many defined the Trump presidency.

“I think that everyone’s had such a rough year and a half that I have this feeling that people want to — not reunite, but let’s kind of get back together,” she said. “Let’s just move forward.”

But how that weariness with partisanship will translate next year in House races depends on what lessons the Republican Party takes from the recall, analysts said.

Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat who was elected to her seat in the Irvine area in 2018 and won again in 2020, told me her victories had hinged on engaging voters of both parties on issues important to them.

“Until you have a sense of where the Republican Party is going to land in its values, with science and gender equality and fighting climate change,” she said, “it’s difficult to know at this point how you would best engage across party lines.”

For more:

This mushroom lasagna tastes very rich, even though it really isn’t.


Today’s travel tip comes from Patricia Goodson, who recommends the town of Ferndale in Humboldt County:

“It is a town of Victorian houses. Great shops and the only way to the Lost Coast. Ocean views for miles without congestion or many homes.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.


The century-old diary that Christina Lalanne found in her San Francisco house tantalized her with the beginnings of a tale of two young Danish lovers, separated by different journeys to the United States and an unhappy marriage.

Eventually, The San Francisco Chronicle reports, they may have met again.

But the real love story here is one between a deeply rooted San Franciscan and her home.


Thanks for reading. We’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Alphabet start (3 letters).

Steven Moity, Mariel Wamsley and Soumya Karlamangla contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.



Source link

18 States, Including Indiana, Now on Orange List – NBC Chicago


Chicago’s emergency travel order could be going away “soon,” the city’s mayor said Monday.

When asked about the future of the order as coronavirus vaccinations continue to increase in the city and amid new masking guidance for vaccinated individuals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the order isn’t going away just yet, “but soon.”

“Obviously we’re seeing progress being made across the country, but the primary purpose of the travel order is to equip members of the public with tools that they need,” Lightfoot said. “We’ve already made a number of adjustments, both in terms of the states that are on versus off, but also making accommodations for people who are getting vaccinated… They don’t have to go through the quarantine procedure that they previously had to without the vaccination, but I think that some form of the order is still necessary because it forms, I think it performs a very valuable function in educating the public.”

The travel order is slated for an update Tuesday and Lightfoot hinted that Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady would have more details during that announcement.

Currently, 18 states, including nearby Indiana, are in an “orange tier” under the order, which requires a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test before coming to Chicago for those who are not fully vaccinated. The lesser yellow tier includes 31 states as well as the District of Columbia.

While health officials continue to urge residents to avoid travel if possible, the thresholds and the testing or quarantine requirements for each category are as follows:

  • Yellow: States with a rolling 7-day average less than 15 cases/day/100k residents.
    • No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
  • Orange: States have a rolling 7-day average above 15 cases/day/100k residents 
    • 10-day quarantine OR negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
      or
    • Be fully vaccinated, as defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after one dose of a single-dose vaccine and not have symptoms

Arwady said last month that while more residents continue to get vaccinated, the travel order remains in place.

“We look at it every week and as more and more people are vaccinated, it applies to fewer people,” she said. “I think what we’re going to see is increasingly there will be less need for these kinds of municipal travel orders because we may see airlines, for example, requiring vaccination status, or potentially a pre-testing requirement to travel. I think there’s going to be more and more incentives for people to be vaccinated who want to travel and it will increasingly be safer to travel, but we are still, you know, we are clearly in, you know, another optic here in terms of COVID in the U.S. I wish I could say we were past it, but we’re just not at this point. So at the moment really encouraging people getting vaccinated is the safest way to protect yourself and then you can do a lot of these other things like travel with much less worry much less need for the testing or the quarantine or any of those pieces.”

Those found in violation could be subject to fines of between $100 and $500 per day, up to $7,000, but so far the city said its goal has been to educate travelers rather than fine them.

Exceptions can be made for travel for medical care, parental shared custody and business travel for essential workers. It also does not apply to an individual passing through states for less than 24 hours over the course of travel, including layovers at airport or people driving through a particular state. Daily commuters to and from neighboring states are also exempt.

Currently, Chicago is in the “Bridge Phase,” of its reopening plan, with hopes of entering a full reopening next month.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” the mayor said. “But everything about this pandemic has to have an asterisk of caution, because of the twists and turns, and as the governor and doctor said, we’ve got to get people vaccinated, so that we can get ahead of these variants.”



Source link

18 States, Including Indiana, Now on Orange List – NBC Chicago


Chicago updated its emergency travel order Tuesday, detailing where states currently stand on the city’s list of “orange” states requiring travelers to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 prior to their arrival in the city.

The “orange tier,” which requires a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test before coming to Chicago, now lists 18 states, including neighboring Indiana, as well as Puerto Rico. The lesser yellow tier now includes 31 states as well as the District of Columbia. Which tier states are in depends on case rate adjusted for population.

Here’s a look at which states are in either tier, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health:

  • 31 yellow states and District of Columbia: Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Kansas, Wisconsin, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Idaho, Montana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Dakota, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Alaska, Connecticut, District of Columbia, and Iowa
  • 18 orange states and Puerto Rico: New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Delaware, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Maine, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington

Since the last update on April 20, Indiana is the only state that moved from the yellow to orange tier. Health officials in Indiana on Tuesday reported 824 new cases of coronavirus and 12 additional deaths. A total of 967 Indiana residents are currently hospitalized, officials say, an increase from the day before and the state’s highest level of hospitalizations since mid-February.

South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Vermont, Alaska and Connecticut all moved from the orange to the yellow tier since the last update.

While health officials continue to residents to avoid travel if possible, the thresholds and the testing or quarantine requirements for each category are as follows:

  • Yellow: States with a rolling 7-day average less than 15 cases/day/100k residents.
    • No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
  • Orange: States have a rolling 7-day average above 15 cases/day/100k residents 
    • 10-day quarantine OR negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
      or
    • Be fully vaccinated, as defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after one dose of a single-dose vaccine and not have symptoms

In the last update, CDPH said those who travel from an orange list state and are not able to get a test before arriving in Chicago can use an airport testing site or another testing site upon arrival, officials said, adding that those who get tested upon arrival must still quarantine until they receive a negative result.

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said last month that while more residents continue to get vaccinated, the travel order remains in place as cases in many states rise.

“We look at it every week and as more and more people are vaccinated, it applies to fewer people,” she said. “I think what we’re going to see is increasingly there will be less need for these kinds of municipal travel orders because we may see airlines, for example, requiring vaccination status, or potentially a pre-testing requirement to travel. I think there’s going to be more and more incentives for people to be vaccinated who want to travel and it will increasingly be safer to travel, but we are still, you know, we are clearly in, you know, another optic here in terms of COVID in the U.S. I wish I could say we were past it, but we’re just not at this point. So at the moment really encouraging people getting vaccinated is the safest way to protect yourself and then you can do a lot of these other things like travel with much less worry much less need for the testing or the quarantine or any of those pieces.”

City health officials updated the order in February to exempt anyone fully vaccinated and without COVID-19 symptoms from the quarantine or test requirement to bring the policy in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Fully vaccinated is defined as being at least two weeks after receipt of the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or at least two weeks after receipt of one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine,” CDPH said in a statement at the time.

“Fully vaccinated travelers must monitor their health for 14 days after travel and if they experience symptoms potentially consistent with COVID-19, they must self-isolate until clinical evaluation and COVID testing,” CDPH continued. “They also must continue to adhere to all recommended protective measures including wearing a mask (and using job-specific personal protective equipment), maintaining physical distance, practicing hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds.”

Health officials still recommended canceling all non-essential travel, vaccinated or not, particularly after cases in Chicago and Illinois increased in recent weeks.

The city said it hopes to simply educate travelers about the order, but those found in violation could be subject to fines of between $100 and $500 per day, up to $7,000.

Exceptions can be made for travel for medical care, parental shared custody and business travel for essential workers. It also does not apply to an individual passing through states for less than 24 hours over the course of travel, including layovers at airport or people driving through a particular state. Daily commuters to and from neighboring states are also exempt.



Source link

Orange County Man Accused in January 6 Riot Appears in Court


ORLANDO, Fla. — A 30-year-old Orange County man accused of participating in the January attack on the U.S. Capitol as a member of the Proud Boys, wore a T-shirt promoting the group to federal court on Tuesday in Orlando.


What You Need To Know

  •  A 30-year-old Orange County man appeared in federal court Tuesday on charges he participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
  •  Arthur Jackman could be seen wearing a shirt saying, “Proud Boys did nothing wrong!” during the hearing
  • He was released on a $25,000 bond

Arthur Jackman, 30, was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond and other conditions, including staying away from his wife’s guns.

He ignored reporters’ questions and remained silent after Tuesday’s hearing.

He had turned his black T-shirt turned inside out, hiding the lettering, for his brisk walk from the courthouse to an SUV that pulled over on West Central Boulevard to pick him up.

Earlier, when Jackman — shackled at his ankles and wrists — walked into the courtroom wearing the shirt, the words on the front, “Proud Boys did nothing wrong!” were visible.

The back was also visible during his 20-minute hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Irick at the George C. Young Federal Courthouse Annex.

It said: “I am a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

The back also had an image of George Washington and a character giving an OK hand gesture — a suspected “white power” symbol.

In a criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia, Jackman is accused of obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He is also accused of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and engaging in disruptive and disorderly conduct. Someone convicted of that crime, which is a misdemeanor, could be imprisoned for up to a year.

Jackman will eventually have to travel to a federal court in D.C.

He also will have a pretrial hearing in Orlando, but a date wasn’t set Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors did not ask Irick to hold Jackman until his trial.

Instead, the judge imposed release conditions recommended by prosecutors, including taking his passport and restricting his travel to the Middle District of Florida and the District of Columbia.

He is allowed to travel between those destinations for court appearances.

Jackman is the latest in a string of Florida suspects tied to the Proud Boys accused of storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to overturn the results of the presidential general election. Other Florida suspects include alleged attackers from another far-right group, The Oath Keepers.


In all, more than 300 people, many supporters of former President Donald Trump, have been charged in the siege.

The FBI got a tip about Jackman from an unidentified person described as a childhood friend.

Jackman texted a photo of himself inside the Capitol while wearing a mask and giving the OK hand gesture, agents allege.

Agents said in a document Jackman photographed and videotaped wearing a red plaid shirt in the U.S. Capitol.

The FBI interviewed him on January 19, when he reportedly told them he joined Proud Boys in 2016 to support Trump.

He thinks the election “was stolen,” according to a court document which states Jackman and “other Proud Boys were not there to infiltrate the Capitol as it was not a sanctioned Proud Boys event …”

Federal investigators obtained Google records of Jackman’s phone and say he entered the Capitol at around 2:14 p.m.

He was inside various locations, including the northern end of the Capitol and inside the Senate chamber, federal officials allege.

When agents asked if he was in the Capitol or if photos would show him there, Jackman had “no comment,” the agents said.

Agents said Jackman was spotted with Joseph Randall Biggs of Ormond Beach, another accused member of the Proud Boys, before and after the Capitol attack.

Biggs, Jackman and others were captured on video marching on Constitution Avenue while chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and expletives.

Biggs was later captured on video inside the Capitol, according to the affidavit.

“In the video, a voice off camera says, ‘Hey Biggs, what do you gotta say?’ The person depicted below smiles broadly and replies, ‘This is awesome!’ before pulling his gaiter up to cover his face,” a probable cause affidavit from the FBI said.

The video was live streamed on the Parler social-media site, the FBI said.

Biggs and other alleged members of the Proud Boys in the U.S. Capitol attack were equipped with “walkie-talkie style communication devices” on their chests, the FBI alleges.



Source link

Don’t sleep on this lemon-curd morning bun – Orange County Register


I often dream of living next door to a little bakery like Rye Goods, which opened last month in Lido Marina Village. I imagine waking up at the crack of dawn to the smell of sourdough loaves and sugar-dusted morning buns being pulled from the ovens. Strolling out the front door, still bleary-eyed and with bed-head hair, to pick up a box of warm pastries without having to get in the car and drive, lemon curd sticking to my fingers as I stumble back into my kitchen where a fresh pot of coffee is waiting. 

But this is not Paris, it’s Southern California, so that’s just wishful thinking. En route to Newport Beach, I have to stop and fill the car up with gas first. But my fingers are still sticky with lemon curd, and I’ve got meringue smeared across the tip of my nose as I stumble back into my kitchen with an armful of fresh pastries an hour into my morning adventure. 

If I lived next door, my exploits with Rye Goods would have been more civilized. I would have simply gone to the bakery every day for a couple of weeks, teasing my appetite with something different each morning. Instead I’ve stuffed a couple of boxes with nearly type of pastry they offer — a morning bun filled with lemon curd, a fat blueberry scone, a gigantic lemon-filled doughnut, a pistachio-blueberry swirly thing, a coconut swirly thing, a half dozen chocolate chip cookies, croissants — every single one of which will be eaten by noon, at which point I’ll go back to bed. But when I wake up again, it’s the morning bun that captures my attention most sharply. The bun is made with wild-fermented croissant sourdough, which is rolled with the zest of local Meyer lemons and stuffed with sweet-tangy curd, the whole of which is topped with meringue. 

 

Rye Goods is a beautiful little shop opened by Sara Lezama, a baker with a passion for slow food who previously operated The Rye Truck. The pastries and bread (nearly a dozen different loaves) she and her team make now appear to be a 10-fold progression of what she was serving from the truck. 

Word of advice: Get there early. On weekends, the bakery has been known to sell out of everything within three hours of opening. Weekdays are much more low-key. 

Rye Goods

Where: 3418 Via Lido, Newport Beach

When: Wednesday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Cost: $5.50

Phone: 949-432-5550

Online: ryegoods.com



Source link

Winning games has been one of Lakers’ few easy tasks on road trip – Orange County Register


The most important rituals of his pregame routine were intact. On Monday, LeBron James woke up for his treatment and his ice, sat in on the Lakers’ team meeting and got in a pregame nap. After the tip-off time was moved back in recent days, he even had a little extra time to watch a documentary.

“I treated it just like a road game,” he said.

Of course, in a normal year, a trip to Cleveland would be anything other than a road game. James was able to see his mother, Gloria James, but he wasn’t able to sleep in his mansion in an Akron, Ohio suburb. He wasn’t able to visit his I Promise School which he founded in 2018 – the several hundred students are currently participating virtually.

“I think about them every single day,” James said on the postgame broadcast, noting that he wears an I Promise Bracelet in each game.

While James called it “home cooking” that helped catapult his 46-point performance in the Lakers’ victory over the Cavaliers on Monday night, the “home” part – even though he got to play in a familiar arena – was tremendously lacking. And he’s not the only one who has been feeling that during the Lakers’ longest road trip of the season.

A unique set of circumstances has changed the context of what might have otherwise been an Eastern homecoming tour for many key people in the team’s travel party. From Wesley Matthews’ return to Wisconsin, to Anthony Davis going back to Chicago, to James getting to go back to Cleveland for the first time in more than two years for a game. The pandemic restrictions, the NBA’s tightening regulations and the one-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death have added frustrating limitations and emotional weight that are tricky to thread.

“It’s tough,” said Davis, who only plays in Chicago once per year. “Usually when I come home I get to see my family and they come to the games and support me.”

So far, the results have been the best the Lakers could hope for: They’re 3-0 to start the seven-game, 12-day run, including a statement victory over the Bucks and James’ thrilling fourth quarter to pull ahead of the Cavs. But it’s unlikely to make what still lies ahead any easier, starting with Wednesday’s Philadelphia date which is sure to draw upon a complex well of bittersweet memories.

It was almost a year ago to the day that James crossed a significant historical mark by passing Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The fact that it was in Philadelphia registered as an intriguing quirk: It was Bryant’s home town, and the setting for a revealing story James told about getting a pair of Bryant’s shoes back in 2002.

On this trip, going back to Philadelphia is a haunting reminder of the flight the Lakers were on when they learned of Bryant’s death. In an effort to defuse some of the emotional weight of the anniversary, Coach Frank Vogel said he would give the team Tuesday off to spend how they saw fit. Kyle Kuzma said he wasn’t sure how he’d spend that off day – as he talked about it after Monday’s game, he appeared to get emotional.

“It’s a tough subject for me to talk about, obviously going through it right now,” he said. “It’s been over a whole year since he hasn’t been here, so you try to just make it as normal as possible.”



Source link

Black market starting to emerge amid coronavirus vaccine shortages – Orange County Register


People wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Corona High School, a designated Riverside County vaccination center for people in Phase 1B, in Corona on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

In Miami, priority access to COVID vaccines was dangled as a lure to big hospital donors.

In New York, hospital workers laboring from home cut in front of their frontline colleagues on the COVID-19 vaccine line.

In California, teachers at the wealthy Los Gatos Union School District were urged — by their superintendent — to masquerade as health care workers to get vaccines ahead of schedule.

Scarcity of vaccines amid a deadly global pandemic is fueling fears of a black market that could inflict great harm on public health and confidence, where potentially stolen, spoiled or fake vaccine is sold to those who can afford to pay while the real thing is in short supply in communities most heavily impacted by COVID, experts said.

“What we see is divergence — stolen, falsified and substandard product that undermines the health of the people who take it and the public health of the community, damages the brand of companies and torpedoes efforts of government to get the economy up and going,” said Nikos Passas, a professor in Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in a discussion on the vaccine black market by the health news site STAT.

“We see vaccine tourism, fake medicines, fake products, with multiple victimization,” Passas said.

While there have been reports of wealthy Angelenos pressing concierge medical groups for early vaccine access, line-crashers at mass injection sites and non-medical family members snagging shots meant for health care workers, officials at the California Department of Public Health and local district attorneys’ offices said significant black market activity hasn’t hit the radar yet in the Golden State.

Fraud tip lines are at the ready, however, to take reports of any untoward activity that might surface.

A pharmacist draws saline while preparing a dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, Pool, File)

“The things I’m concerned about are not necessarily unlawful, even though they’re unethical,” said Alison Bateman-House, an assistant professor of medical ethics at New York University. Like the doctor who puts his wife on the payroll as a temporary worker so she qualifies as a health care worker, or the person who takes his aging parents to a clinic in a poorer neighborhood, or across state lines, because vaccine is easier to get there.

“When you start having these fractures … you engender a lack of trust in the system,” she said. “At this point in time, we’re already dealing with the fastest vaccines ever created and brought to production in human history. There are people authorized to get them, but declining. You already have this very tenuous situation, and anything to further undermine it is going to cause more problems.”

Poor prep

The seeds for a black market were sown amid the general chaos of the pandemic, the government’s ham-handed management of the crisis, and long-standing inequities in health care access, the experts say.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office —  an independent federal agency that examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress with objective, nonpartisan information to help the government work more efficiently — would agree. It has been trying to prod officials toward a more cogent response to the pandemic since last summer.

“Congress’s watchdog,” as the GAO is known, pumped out four blistering critiques of the federal government’s efforts last year and made 31 recommendations on how to make things better. The government embraced only four of them.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, the GAO released yet another critique with 13 more suggestions. “GAO remains deeply troubled that agencies have not acted on recommendations to more fully address critical gaps in the medical supply chain,” it said.

While acknowledging there have been some steps forward, “GAO underscores the importance of developing a well-formulated plan to address critical gaps for the remainder of the pandemic, especially in light of the recent surge in cases,” it said, charitably adding, “implementation of GAO’s recommendation concerning the importance of clear and comprehensive vaccine distribution and communication plans remains a work in progress.”

Cars line up for the drive-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the Los Angeles County Office of Education in Downey January 19, 2021. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Slow-walking fixes to program integrity — particularly in Small Business Administration and Department of Labor programs  — “creates risk of considerable improper payments, including those related to fraud, and falls far short of transparency and accountability expectations.”

One year into the pandemic, the nation still needs a “supply chain strategy” for everything from testing, masks and other protective gear to vaccines, it said.

“As the new Congress and administration establish their policies and priorities for the federal government’s COVID-19 response, GAO urges swift action,” it said.

Much at stake

Knock-off designer bags are one thing. Knock-off vaccines are another altogether.

The integrity of vaccine product that ends up in marginalized communities is at the top of the worry list of Glenn Ellis, visiting scholar at the National Bioethics Center at Tuskegee University and bioethics fellow at Harvard Medical School.

“There are contaminated products being sold on the street, supposedly representing something else,” Ellis said. “What is the integrity of refrigeration and storage through this process?”

Passas warns of a darker phenomenon — “vaccine nationalism.”

Canada has reserved more doses of vaccine than it has people to vaccinate. The European Union is poised to block export of vaccine to other nations around the globe in the face of shortages.

“These are the kinds of things that cause security concerns, that constitute institutional racism,” he said. “Those worry me.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put out a scam alert on Friday, Jan. 29, urging people to beware of scams offering early access to vaccines for a fee, phishing scams via email or text with phony vaccine information, and scammers peddling fake versions of vaccines.

“You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine,” the CFPB said in its alert. “Medicare covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are also free to others throughout the country, although providers may charge an administration fee. Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising to get you the vaccine for a fee.”

Those who suspect fake, or misuse of, vaccine supply can report it to local police departments or district attorney’s offices. Consumer fraud units of county district attorney’s offices can be reached at the following numbers: Orange, 714-834-6553; Riverside, 951-955-0764; San Bernardino, 909-891-3330; and Los Angeles, 213-974-3512.



Source link

Opposing coaches tip their cap for LeBron James’ MVP candidacy – Orange County Register


The “LeBron for MVP” cry has started early this season. And no one’s touting him quite like … opposing coaches?

It might seem strange, especially for Eastern Conference coaches who James spent so much of his career frustrating and vexing. But Boston coach Brad Stevens thinks the four MVP awards the 36-year-old already owns deserve more company – a lot more.

“He is as special as special gets, and he would be a multiple-time-more MVP award-winner if people weren’t bored and looking for other things to discuss, right?” Stevens said. “He’s been the best player in the league for however many years now. … Nothing but the utmost respect for him. I’ve never had anything but.”

That’s a truism in the coaching ranks around the league, but in his 18th season, James has helped even opposing coaches vocalize it. James entered Saturday’s game in Boston averaging 25.5 points, 7.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range. Perhaps most impressively, he’s yet to miss a game after a short offseason, rife with speculation that James stoked himself that he might rest in certain games early on.

Dwane Casey, whose Toronto teams James steamrolled again and again in the playoffs during his Cleveland runs, might feel a little warmer toward him now that he’s out West. Casey compared James’ shape to a 21-year-old, still able to physically be atop the game while improving his skills.

“You look in the dictionary and see a picture of a perfect basketball player, that guy’s there,” he said. “You hate playing against him. But as a basketball fan and when you’re not coaching against him, you enjoy watching him play because you see the nuances he brings to the table.”

James certainly has spirited younger contenders between him and a fifth regular-season MVP: Denver center Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia center Joel Embiid are popular first-time candidates, while Brooklyn forward Kevin Durant could be contending for his second MVP while averaging more than 30 points in a comeback from an Achilles tendon injury that kept him out all of last year.



Source link