Opinion by Lincoln Mitchell
It turns out Olympic gold medalist Eileen Gu and I have something in common. We were both athletes at University High School in San Francisco.
She is one of the best skiers in the world and I was the backup first baseman on the varsity baseball team, so the similarity only goes so far. I don't follow sports other than baseball, so I learned of Gu only a few days ago when I saw a picture of her on our shared alma mater's Instagram page bidding her "good luck as she represents China in her first Olympic Games."
Very shortly after that, I began seeing articles about the controversy surrounding Gu's popularity and stature -- that she is representing China in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but was born and raised in the United States.
Given the nature of the China-US relationship at the moment, Gu's decision was bound to generate some version of this response. Some in the United States have further criticized her for refusing to discuss politics or speak out against China's human rights abuses.
The irony of that criticism should not be lost on even the casual sports fan -- because whenever athletes in the United States speak up about racism or other American problems, they are told by a large segment of the sports world some variation of "stick to sports" or, if they are basketball players, "shut up and dribble."
A Texas Republican candidate and former teacher said transgender children make her uncomfortable and questioned why other kids should be punished for making fun of them.
When asked Saturday how she would enact conservative priorities in a divided state Legislature, Shelley Luther a candidate for the Texas House of Representatives smeared trans children and tied her discomfort around them with her support for school choice.
I am not comfortable with the transgenders, Luther said, speaking at a candidate forum in northeast Texas. The kids that they brought in my classroom, when they said that this kid is transgendering into a different sex, that I couldnt have kids laugh at them ... like other kids got in trouble for having transgender kids in my class. Thats why I vote for school choice.
Her comments drew rebuke from the state's leading LGBTQ advocates.
"Lamenting not being able to allow students to laugh at, bully and harass transgender kids isnt leadership, its cruelty plain and simple," Ricardo Martinez, CEO of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas, said in a statement. "All children in Texas are guaranteed a public education under the constitution, deserve privacy and the ability to learn in a safe environment."
I question whether the incident she relates ever really happened.
So last night I watch the PBS show on Marian Anderson. I'd love to hear from any other DUers who also did. I hadn't planned on it, but there it was, right after Finding Your Roots, which I try not to miss, ever. And I realized several things while watching it.
1. I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't know who Marian Anderson was. My parents had 78s of her singing which they played. A lot. They were classical music and opera buffs (she hadn't yet made her Met debut, which happened when I was a teenager, in 1960) and her voice, along with those of Schwarzkopf and Isobel Bailey, was as familiar to me as my mother's.
2. I knew almost nothing about her background or growing up years. Although I knew that, like most Black musicians, she got her start in church, I didn't know she was advertised at one time as the "baby contralto". I didn't know that she didn't graduate from high school (at a time when most Americans didn't have HS diplomas!) until she was 24. I didn't know about her 25 year romance with Orpheus "King" Fisher. None of that at all.
3. Although I knew she was famous in Europe, I didn't know how famous, or how much she was respected by the greats of music...Sibelius, Stokowski, etc. That was a real revelation.
4. The biggie...I did not realize the extent of her vocal range. It must have been a good 2 1/2 octaves at least. Denyce Graves, one of the narrators of the show, said it went way above the staff and even she didn't have that much. I know it went way low (I'm an alto and even in my best days I had trouble going there).
She was an altogether amazing woman and a trailblazer in so many ways. Do yourself a favor and even if you're not a classical music buff, stream this show. You will be glad you did.
The Olympic team figure skating event ended Monday but the medals haven't yet been given out because of what officials describe as a legal issue. The ceremony was planned for Tuesday night, but it didn't happen. There are reports, which have not been confirmed by NPR, that a failed drug test is involved.
The U.S. won silver and Japan won bronze in the competition. The Russian Olympic Committee team won gold in a performance that made history, as teenager Kamila Valieva landed two quadruple jumps.
But two days later, none of the skaters have received their medals. Providing only the barest of details, Olympic officials say they've been consulting with the International Skating Union.
As of Wednesday, a number of questions remain open:
Who failed the test? A report from the Inside the Games site suggests that Valieva is the athlete who allegedly tested positive. If that is true, her age 15 could further complicate how the case is handled due to privacy issues.
A Maine family that long ago gave up on a lost family cat is being reunited more than six years and 1,500 miles later.
Denise Cilley, of Chesterville, said she was shocked to get a voicemail last week announcing her cat, Ashes, had been located in Florida.
Ashes disappeared in 2015 during a 10th birthday celebration for her daughter.
They looked for her for quite a while, and they sadly concluded she probably had become prey for a predator, said Janet Williams, a family friend in Florida who took temporary custody of the cat, told WABI-TV.
The influential rightwing lobby group the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) is driving a surge in new state laws to block boycotts of the oil industry. The groups strategy, which aims to protect large oil firms and other conservative-friendly industries, is modelled on legislation to punish divestment from Israel.
Since the beginning of the year, state legislatures in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Indiana have introduced a version of a law drafted by Alec, called the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, to shield big oil from share selloffs and other measures intended to protest the fossil fuel industrys role in the climate crisis. A dozen other states have publicly supported the intent of the legislation.
Texas has already begun compiling a list of companies to target for refusing to do business with the oil industry after the state passed a version of the law last year. Top of the list is the worlds largest asset manager, BlackRock.
The push to blacklist firms that boycott the oil industry follows a meeting in December between politicians and Alec, a corporate-funded organisation that writes legislation for Republican-controlled states to adopt and drive conservative causes.
At that meeting in San Diego, members of Alecs energy taskforce voted to promote the model legislation requiring banks and financial companies to sign a pledge to not boycott petroleum companies in order to obtain state contracts. The wording closely resembles that of laws drafted by Alec and adopted in more than 30 states to block support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israels oppression of the Palestinians.
I remember back in the 00s, Randi Rhodes and Rachel warning us about ALEC. Nobody listened then either.
One week after congressional investigators subpoenaed Jan. 6 organizer Ali Alexander, a dormant super PAC sent thousands of dollars to his old consulting firm.
The payout, earmarked for the admirably vague PAC management services, came Oct. 16 from Stop The Steal PAC. At $6,000, the payment accounted for more than half the money the group raised ahead of the riot, and Alexanders firm, Vice and Victory, was one of only two vendors.
Interestingly enough, the campaigns only other vendor was A Political Firm, LLC, the company belonging to the super PACs treasurer, a full-time compliance consultant named Patrick Krason. Krason denounced the Jan. 6 riot and emphasized to The Daily Beast that his role with the PAC, as with his other clients, didnt go beyond filing paperwork.
That task, however, appears to have been difficult. And the confusion may impact the Jan. 6 investigation, because while the subpoena specifically requested information about Alexanders Stop the Steal group, it might not have asked for the right informationor at least not all of the right information.
The confusion wasnt because the PAC had too many donors. Stop the Steal received just one contribution, for $11,000, on the last day of 2020. The money, however, came from a donor whose name, address, occupation, and employer are all listed as unknown.
This was a problem. Federal election law requires committees to disclose that donor information, or at least make best efforts to do so. In this case, however, it seems Alexandera longtime small-time GOP operative, conspiracy theorist, and key architect of Jan. 6made that impossible.
At the Loango National Park in Gabon, adult chimpanzee Suzee is shown inspecting a day-old wound on the foot of her adolescent son, Sia.
Then she abruptly sits up, grabs an insect from a nearby branch and pops it in her mouth. She takes Sias foot and applies the insect to the wound, repeating the process of extraction and application twice as her daughter looks on.
It was a moment, captured on video in 2019, which a group of researchers say marks the first time such behavior was observed and studied in chimpanzees. The incident prompted the Ozouga Chimpanzee Project to begin further monitoring. Now they say that over the course of 15 months, their researchers have observed 19 instances of chimpanzees applying insects to wounds on themselves and three times to the wounds of others.
In correspondence published in Current Biology on Monday, the researchers said they were reporting the first observations of chimpanzees self-medicating with insects. They said the behavior is further evidence that chimpanzees have the capacity for prosocial behaviors, or voluntary actions that serve the best interest of another.
I am overwhelmed and grateful!
8News has learned the National Institutes of Health has no future purchases planned for dogs from the troubled Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland. NIH has previously used dogs from the Virginia facility in ongoing experiments.
The NIH released a statement explaining that they do not discuss animal welfare-related investigations but will takes all animal cruelty allegations seriously.
The decision from NIH comes after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited Envigo with multiple animal welfare violations. Meanwhile, 8News has been learning more about those NIH experiments and what happens to some of the dogs after they leave the Cumberland breeding facility.
It has always been known the beagles at Envigo are used in medical research but now 8News has uncovered some of the dogs go on to a government lab in Maryland and are part of an invasive and deadly study at the taxpayers expense.
The abuses that have been uncovered at the Cumberland facility are really only the beginning of the nightmare for these dogs, said Justin Goodman Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at White Coat Waste Project, a taxpayer watchdog group.
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