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Ban Ends – NYC Gay Group To March In 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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A quarter-century old ban on LGBT groups will be dropped next year by organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Here’s how it happened.

After pressure and persuasion from groups like GLAAD and NBC, and a boycott from iconic Irish brewer Guinness, organizers of the historic New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade today will announce their 24-year old ban on LGBT groups will end next year. 

NBC reportedly threatened to refuse to air the parade next year if organizers did not allow gay groups to march under a banner of their choosing. NYC Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio also very publicly continued his personal and long-standing boycott of the parade. Since 1991, organizers have pointed to religion as their reason for refusing to allow gay organizations to be recognized during the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. 

Cardinal Timothy Dolan will also be announced as the parade’s Grand Marshal today, giving the event a boost it needs, and reinforcing organizers’ strong religious affiliation. 

The Irish Voice, which broke the news overnight, reports that a “gay group of employees from NBC will march in next year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade behind their own banner.”

In an historic move aimed at defusing the storm that erupted this year over the exclusion of gay banners in the march, the addition of a banner identifying gay NBC staffers is a compromise forged at the insistence of several New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee members, including Dr. John Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and Francis X. Comerford, chief revenue officer for NBC-owned TV stations.

NBC, the long-time broadcast home of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, was prepared to drop its coverage unless a compromise that resulted in the inclusion of a gay group was brokered.

The withdrawal of parade sponsorship last year by Guinness was also a huge factor in bringing about the change, according to a former grand marshal.

“Once an iconic company like Guinness showed it was standing up pretty much everyone else had to follow,” said the source, who revealed that Guinness had met with parade figures on several occasions since to help seek a compromise.

This year, Guinness and Heineken pulled their sponsorships from the parade, decimating the organizers financially. In return, Catholic League president Bill Donohue started a miserably failed boycott of Guinness. Ford Motor Company was assailed for maintaining its sponsorship.

 

Image by The All-Nite Images via Flickr

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'GOVERNMENT OF CHAOS'

Whistleblower Outs Kushner for COVID Task Force Failures: ‘Organized Crime Melded With Lord of the Flies’

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A former member of the White House coronavirus task force explained why he blew the whistle on what he saw as deadly incompetence within the group.

Max Kennedy, Jr. — the 26-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy — told The New Yorker that he initially agreed to join the task force that was being put together by White House adviser Jared Kushner because of the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But it was such an unprecedented time,” he explained to The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. “It didn’t seem political—it seemed larger than the Administration.”

Kennedy recalled being shocked because a skeleton crew of unpaid task force volunteers were forced to use their personal laptops and email accounts to track down medical supplies.

“It was the number of people who show up to an after-school event, not to run the greatest crisis in a hundred years,” he observed. “It was such a mismatch of personnel. It was one of the largest mobilization problems ever. It was so unbelievably colossal and gargantuan. The fact that they didn’t want to get any more people was so upsetting.”

Kennedy said that one political appointee on the task force, Brad Smith, urged him to create a model that predicted a maximum of 100,000 deaths because existing scientific models were “too severe.”

“I don’t know the first thing about disease modeling,” Kennedy told Smith before declining the task.

Volunteers were also urged to pay close attention to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and to ship medical supplies to her favored hospitals, Kennedy said.

Kennedy remembered Kushner stopping by the office with “an air of self-importance” on several occasions and promising to fix problems.

“But I never saw a single thing that Kushner promised change,” he said.

After quitting the position in April, Kennedy decided to defy a non-disclosure agreement by blowing the whistle in a complaint to Congress.

“I just couldn’t sleep,” he remarked. “I was so distressed and disturbed by what I’d seen.”

Kennedy said that the task force “was like a family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of the Flies.’ It was a government of chaos.”

“If you see something that might be illegal, and cause thousands of civilian lives to be lost, a person has to speak out,” he insisted.

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THIS IS NOT OK

‘Huge Big WTF’: Experts Scorch CDC for Deleting New Guidance Revealing Coronavirus Is Airborne

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday quietly updated its official coronavirus guidance to reveal the pathogen is airborne, and can stay in the air at distances greater than six feet.

Few noticed the change but CNN reported it over the weekend.

“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the update read.

That updated guidance has now been deleted, as Harvard professor and former DHS official Juliette Kayyam noted.

She later noted CDC added a note to the page, claiming the update (which is critical information for everyone around the world) was a draft version.

Related: ‘People Need to Go to Prison’: CNN Analyst Blasts Trump Admin Hiding Coronavirus Is Airborne at More Than 6 Feet

“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”

Here’s how some experts are responding:

Award-winning medical science writer covering the pandemic for the New York Times:

Epidemiologist, Visiting Scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:

Ex-Obama health care head:

Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, former Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at NYU School of Medicine:

Physician, Health Policy Researcher, NBC and MSNBC contributor:

Molecular Biologist, and President of the Federation of American Scientists:

UPDATE–
Kayyem adds this:

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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TRUMP LIED PEOPLE DIED

‘People Need to Go to Prison’: CNN Analyst Blasts Trump Admin Hiding Coronavirus Is Airborne at More Than 6 Feet

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday quietly changed its coronavirus official guidance to note that coronavirus droplets, or “aerosols,” can stay in the air far longer than previously thought and across more than just six feet.

“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes).”

This would be a revelation to many, who have relied on CDC guidance urging people to social distance, which it has consistently defined as staying six feet apart.

Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician Abraar Karan, who is working on Massachusetts’ COVID-19 respoinse, calls the CDC update “a significant shift.”

But the CDC also effectively loosened its guidance, suggestion to stay “at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible.”

Under the “Protect yourself and others” section, the previous version, up until sometime on Friday, read: “Maintain good social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Now it states:

Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Joe Lockhart, a CNN political analyst and former Clinton White House press secretary, took to Twitter to blast the administration.

“Actually seven months after @realDonaldTrump told Bob Woodward,” about just how deadly coronavirus is, and that it spread through the air, he wrote. “This is criminal and people need to go to prison for this.”

To be clear, President Trump knew.

“This is deadly stuff,” he told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, on tape. “You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed.”

 

This article has been updated to remove the word “far” from distance classifications as the CDC did not state specifically how much farther than six feet coronavirus aerosols can travel. 

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