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New York Asks WHO To Rename Monkeypox To Prevent Stigmatization

The head of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene asked the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday to rename monkeypox to prevent the “potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects” on those infected with the virus who might then avoid seeking medical care.

“Unfortunately, once again, New York City (NYC) finds itself at the epicenter of a contagious disease that is affecting the fabric of our communities,” Commissioner Ashwin Vasan wrote in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We remain concerned about the rapidly increasing transmission rate of this virus and limited access to testing resources and vaccine supply.”

“Further, we have a growing concern for the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on these already vulnerable communities,” Vasan continued. “Therefore, I write to urge you to act immediately on renaming the ‘monkeypox’ virus as the WHO stated they would do during a June 14th press briefing, over 5 weeks ago.”

“NYC joins many public health experts and community leaders who have expressed their serious concern about continuing to exclusively use the term ‘monkeypox’ given the stigma it may engender, and the painful and racist history within which terminology like this is rooted for communities of color,” Vasan added. “‘Monkeypox’ is a misnomer, as the virus does not originate in monkeys and was only classified as such due to an infection seen in research primates. And we know alternative terminology is possible and entities are starting to use terms such as ‘hMPXV’ and ‘MPV.’ We need leadership from the WHO to ensure consistency in naming and to reduce confusion to the public.”

It should be noted that it is unknown whether the monkeypox originated in monkeys, but the name comes from its discovery in laboratory monkeys in 1958.

Vasan then pointed to the negative effects from misinformation during the beginning of the HIV epidemic and the increase in hate crimes on Asian Americans after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic which he said was driven by those who noted that COVID-19 originated in China.

“Continuing to use the term ‘monkeypox’ to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma — particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, and it is possible that they may avoid engaging in vital health care services because of it,” Vasan said.

Brett Kavanaugh
Brett Kavanaugh

Police Arrest Armed Man Outside Justice Kavanaugh’s Home

Early Wednesday morning, police arrested a California man carrying a gun and a knife outside of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland.

“Authorities identified the man as Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, Calif., charging him with the attempted murder of a federal judge. The criminal complaint did not specifically name Kavanaugh. Efforts to immediately reach Roske’s family were unsuccessful. It is unclear whether he has an attorney,” The Washington Post reported. “Two U.S. deputy marshals spotted Roske get out of a cab in front of a justice’s Montgomery County home around 1:05 a.m. Wednesday, according to the criminal complaint detailing Roske’s alleged actions and motivations.”

According to The Washington Post, the complaint said that Roske “looked at the marshals and then walked down the street… Not long after, according to the complaint, the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center received a call from Roske saying he was suicidal and came to kill a specific Supreme Court justice.”

People familiar with the investigation told the outlet that the man was taken into police custody after admitting that he wanted to kill Kavanaugh.

The incident comes shortly after a draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion intending to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico.

In the draft, Justice Samuel Alito writes that “Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito added. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

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California Warns Of Electricity Shortages This Summer Amid Push For Green Energy

On Friday, California energy officially reportedly said that the state’s electrical grid has insufficient capacity to keep the lights on over the summer if there are heatwaves or wildfires. The news comes as the state continues to push an aggressive transition away from fossil fuels, which resulted in rolling blackouts during a heatwave in the summer of 2020.

“California has among the most aggressive climate change policies in the world, including a goal of producing all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045,” Reuters reported. “In an online briefing with reporters, the officials forecast a potential shortfall of 1,700 megawatts this year, a number that could go as high as 5,000 MW if the grid is taxed by multiple challenges that reduce available power while sending demand soaring, state officials said during an online briefing with reporters.”

“Supply gaps along those lines could leave between 1 million and 4 million people without power. Outages will only happen under extreme conditions, officials cautioned, and will depend in part on the success of conservation measures,” Reuters added. “In 2025, the state will still have a capacity shortfall of about 1,800 MW, according to officials from the California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator and Newsom’s office. They also projected annual electricity rate increases of between 4% and 9% between now and 2025.”

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the worsening problem of electricity shortages throughout the United States is occurring as “traditional power plants are being retired more quickly than they can be replaced by renewable energy and battery storage. Power grids are feeling the strain as the U.S. makes a historic transition from conventional power plants fueled by coal and natural gas to cleaner forms of energy such as wind and solar power, and aging nuclear plants are slated for retirement in many parts of the country.”

“The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times and need large batteries to store their output for later use,” the report added. “While a large amount of battery storage is under development, regional grid operators have lately warned that the pace may not be fast enough to offset the closures of traditional power plants that can work around the clock.”

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
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Body Of Missing Texas National Guardsman Recovered

Authorities have recovered the body of previously missing Texas National Guardsman Bishop Evans who drowned in the Rio Grande River while attempting to rescue migrants in the water last week.

“The body of a missing Texas Army National Guard soldier — Specialist Bishop Evans, assigned to Operation Lone Star — has been found. He was 22. He is believed to have drowned while saving two migrants, alleged to be drug smugglers, in the Rio Grande,” Townhall’s Guy Benson tweeted.

“The search concluded at about 8:30 a.m. on Monday when Border Patrol agents found the body of Specialist Evans near the Mexican side of the Rio Grande,” according to Breitbart Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement after Evans’ body was found.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the death of SPC Bishop E. Evans who was reported missing in Eagle Pass on Friday,” Abbott said. “Our National Guard soldiers risk their lives every day to serve and protect others and we are eternally grateful for the way SPC Evans heroically served his state and country. I thank the members of the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Border Patrol, and local law enforcement for working around the clock to locate this soldier. The Texas Military Department will continue to provide more updates to the public as they become available. I ask that Texans join Cecilia and me in praying for the family and friends of SPC Evans as they grieve this heartbreaking loss.”

Last week, Evans drowned while attempting to rescue two migrants who were crossing the Rio Grande River.

“Multiple sources tell me a Texas National Guard soldier has just drowned in the Rio Grande here in Eagle Pass while trying to save migrants in the water,” Fox News reporter Bill Melugin wrote on Twitter at the time.

Barack And Michelle Obama Attend Portrait Unveiling At Nat'l Portrait Gallery
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Spotify Declines Obamas’ Podcast Renewal

Spotify has declined to renew its exclusive podcast contract with former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, according to Bloomberg.

The former first family’s production company, Higher Ground, is now in discussions with several companies, including Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia, on a deal to replace Spotify when the agreement ends in October 2022.

Spotify declined to make a new offer to the Obamas to replace the original deal that was signed in 2019 over the Obamas’ refusal to stick to an exclusive licensing deal. The Obamas reportedly blamed the exclusive deal for preventing them from reaching a wider audience – despite Spotify being the most popular streaming service for podcasts the year “The Michelle Obama Podcast” was produced.

“Higher Ground is seeking a deal that will allow it to produce several shows and release them on multiple platforms at the same time,” Bloomberg reported. “This could explain iHeart’s interest given that it hasn’t historically relied on an exclusive strategy for its podcasts. This is one reason why some potential bidders, like Spotify, have bowed out — a widely released show will end up on their service anyway. Companies like Spotify and Amazon have pursued exclusive rights to promote their own services.”

Streaming companies also want the Obamas to make more frequent appearances, but they are each only willing to appear in no more than an eight-episode series which some companies do not believe is enough to justify a deal similar to other popular podcasts.

Still, Higher Ground is reportedly hoping to find a new home for the Obamas’ podcasts within the next few weeks.

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