Florida scientist fired for refusing to ‘manipulate’ COVID-19 data

The scientist who created Florida’s COVID-19 data portal was fired on Monday by the Department of Health, she said, for refusing to manipulate data.

Her objective was to create a way for Floridians and researchers to see what the COVID-19 situation was in real time. …She confirmed, as reported by CBS-12 in West Palm Beach that she was fired because she was ordered to censor some data, but refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.”

…They are making a lot of changes. I would advise being diligent in your respective uses of this data,” she wrote.  

Florida scientist fired for refusing to ‘manipulate’ COVID-19 data



Here’s why you never trifle with a Southern belle

When Aunt Bev’s across-the-street neighbor and long-time bestie, Beverly Johnson, ruined a cake, she was about to throw it into the trash when her phone rang. It was Aunt Bev, just in time to teach her a valuable Southern lesson: “We never, ever throw out a cake.” (It is this lesson, in fact, that is most to blame for my current waistline.) Aunt Bev then took the cake, which had “fallen” in the middle, and turned it into a scrumptious trifle by layering bits of the cake with pudding and fruit. That’s how Southern belles handle mistakes.

Here’s why you never trifle with a Southern belle – It’s a Southern Thing

You should never trifle with a Southern belle because they’ll just make trifle out of it.

What a cute remembrance.

Dolphins Hall of Fame coach Don Shula dies at 90

Don Shula, the NFL’s winningest coach who led the Miami Dolphins to the league’s only undefeated season, died on Monday.

…Shula won an NFL-record 347 games, including playoff games. He coached the Dolphins to the league’s only undefeated season (17-0) in 1972, culminating in a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

Dolphins Hall of Fame coach Don Shula dies at 90


‘I will not be bullied’: LaToya Cantrell firm in decisions about coronavirus stay-home orders

“The data will drive us and not a specific date,” the mayor said several times during an afternoon press conference, where she took issue with a letter published in a full-page newspaper ad the day before by four prominent businessmen that said her moves threatened the city’s economy.

…Cantrell cast her critics as out of touch with the city’s public health needs. She also suggested they were prioritizing money over people’s lives.

“To the citizens of the city of New Orleans, please know that I will and have always continued to put the health of the people first. They are the priority. And not only that…. but you can be reassured that I will not be bullied,” Cantrell said.

…Cantrell said she has been in constant contact with leaders in other parishes and said she doesn’t believe it will be safe to hold festivals in the fall since it will be hurricane season and because the coronavirus pandemic is likely to remain active then.

‘I will not be bullied’: LaToya Cantrell firm in decisions about coronavirus stay-home orders | Coronavirus | nola.com


The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South

Kaiser’s at-risk group includes all people over 60 years old and all adults younger than 60 who also have heart disease, cancer, lung disease, or diabetes. In each state, older people are the majority of the people considered to be at risk of complications. But the Deep South and mid-South form a solid bloc of states where younger adults are much more at risk. In Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi, relatively young people make up more than a quarter of the vulnerable population. Compare that with the coronavirus’s beachhead in Washington State, where younger adults make up only about 19 percent of the risk group.

…Southerners are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases than other Americans—even as Americans are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases than citizens of other countries with comparable wealth. According to Neuman, these estimates don’t include people with cancer or who are immunocompromised—groups that are also at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. And cancer mortality rates are highest in southern states.

…These differences are not innate to southerners; they are the result of policy. Health disparities tend to track both race and poverty, and the states in the old domain of Jim Crow have pursued policies that ensure those disparities endure. The South is the poorest region in the country. The poor, black, Latino, or rural residents who make up large shares of southern populations tend to lack access to high-quality doctors and care. According to the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana all spend less than $25 per person on public health a year, compared with $84 per person in New York. Nine of the 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid to poor residents under the Affordable Care Act are in the South.

…Advocates have drawn attention to the extreme vulnerability of people in prison to the coronavirus—and the South incarcerates a larger proportion of its population than anywhere else in the United States.  …Southern states have some of the lowest ratios of active physicians to patients in the country.

The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South – The Atlantic


A second pastor has been charged with violating public orders against large gatherings

“Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion,” said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran Tuesday in a statement.

“Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,” Corcoran added.

A second pastor has been charged with violating public orders against large gatherings – CNN

In a rare turn of events, the Peanut Gallery is decidedly with the Police Chief on this one.

Alabama Execution of Death Row Inmate Nathaniel Woods For Cop Killings Will Be a ‘Modern Day Lynching,’ Family Say

Spencer confessed to gunning the three officers down in the deadliest day in the Birmingham Police Department’s history. But he maintained that it had been an act of self-defense—a ‘”knee-jerk reaction”—when he saw Chisholm pointing a gun at him.

…Woods’ defenders say he is innocent—he never fired a weapon and there was no plot to kill the officers that day.

His attorneys say the surviving officer had testified that Woods surrendered to police before Spencer started shooting —but also changed his testimony from earlier statements to [belatedly] include a claim that Woods had threatened the officers before they were killed [one would imagine after the charges were chosen.]

…”The way that they convicted him on the theory of complicity, saying there was a plan to kill that day, it is completely not supported by the evidence,” she told Newsweek.

…”The evidence shows that Kerry Spencer acted alone, acted impulsively and confessed the day that he was arrested. He has maintained that story, that narrative, for the entire time that he has been sitting on death row.”

…Faraino added that the execution shouldn’t only be stopped because Woods is innocent, but also because there is evidence of witness and evidence tampering and use of improper tactics in the case.

…She and other attorneys representing Woods’ have collected evidence that they claim shows key witnesses in the case either testified falsely or didn’t testify after making deals with the police.

“There were many issues with his trial and the way that the prosecutors conducted themselves, there is evidence of witness tampering, there is evidence of moving the physical forensic evidence that was collected at the scene and overall, there were just improper tactics used to confuse the jury and lead to a guilty verdict,” she said.

The Appeal reported that two of the officers, Owen and Chisholm, “had a reputation for corruption and violence” and collected money from drug dealers in the neighborhood in return for protecting their operations, according to documents.

…”The prosecution constructed and managed a narrative of guilt. There is no denying that Nate was not always a law-abiding citizen. He had a record, admitted to selling drugs, and disrespected the four white police officers. But he did not commit capital murder.”

…”We know and the world knows that he’s an innocent man. We all know that he’s innocent. So for [Governor Ivey], and her staff, or whoever, the Attorney General, to want to execute him knowing this information, it’s just plain murder.”

Alabama Execution of Death Row Inmate Nathaniel Woods For Cop Killings Will Be a ‘Modern Day Lynching,’ Family Say


Garret Graves’ nutria bill passes the U.S. House; here’s what the bill would do

The bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, would broaden the scope of the Nutria Eradication and Control Act to include all states — not just Louisiana and Maryland, where the invasive, orange-toothed rodent has eaten away coastal marshes for decades.

…Nutria are one of many factors contributing to rapid land loss along Louisiana’s coast. The major causes include oil and gas exploration, sea level rise, soil subsidence and the loss of replenishing sediment since the Mississippi River was brought under control with levees.

…Gnawing away the roots of marsh plants, nutria leave little to hold the fragile landscape in place. More than 40 square miles of Louisiana’s coast have been turned into open water by nutria over the past two decades, according to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Garret Graves’ nutria bill passes the U.S. House; here’s what the bill would do | Environment | nola.com


Fired Orlando cop who arrested 6-year-olds said school faculty member wanted to press charges against girl, report shows

In the student’s arrest report, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel late Tuesday, Turner said staff member Beverly Stoute — identified in the report as an assistant principal — “stated she wanted to press charges and would testify in court.”

…The report included only a brief, four-sentence narrative and didn’t indicate how the incident began.

…Though Stoute was identified in the arrest report as an assistant principal, she was listed as a teacher on the charter school’s website, one of five named on the site’s staff page. There were no assistant principals listed, only a principal and a dean of students.

There was no record of a Beverly Stoute in the state’s online teacher certification database. Two other staff members at the school — the dean and a teacher — also did not appear to be in the system. Florida law requires teachers “employed by or under contract to” a charter school to be certified by the state.

…Over the course of Turner’s 23-year tenure at OPD prior to retiring last year, he was disciplined seven times for violations of department policy that ranged from unsafe driving to a child-abuse arrest in which he was accused of injuring his 7-year-old son. He was also accused of sending threatening text messages to his ex-wife in 2009 and racial profiling

…The Nixon academy, which had 116 elementary students enrolled at the end of last school year, earned a D on Florida’s annual school report card issued this summer.

Fired Orlando cop who arrested 6-year-olds said school faculty member wanted to press charges against girl, report shows

The officer should have been in jail for tasing a victim repeatedly after they were on the ground and posed no threat to the officer, not to mention his own domestic violence. The thin blue line protects criminal and thugs and sanctions lawlessness on the part of the people charged with upholding the law.

A school administrator who cannot handle a child’s temper tantrum should not be that job. Wanting to press charges on a six year old child should disqualify them from ever working around children again. This individual poses a clear risk to children. They should be forbidden to be alone with children, let alone employed in a school.

The administrator in question doesn’t have the proper qualifications and certifications to work in the school in the first place, a glaring act of malfeasance by the school system she is employed by.

Finally the school is not functional and needs to be closed.

How Women Are Changing Mardi Gras

Historically, Mardi Gras krewes were secretive organizations characterized by exclusivity, based on race, gender, and class. Women didn’t actually parade in New Orleans until 1941, over a century after the first float-based parade was recorded. Members of the krewe of Venus recall men throwing rotten tomatoes and eggs at them. And though more female krewes formed in the late 20th century, their parades were dismissed as inferior.

…In a matter of months, Muses acquired more than double the riders needed for an official parade.“There was a lot of skepticism about our ability to succeed,” says Rosenberg. But Muses did more than succeed as a parade; it created countless new opportunities for women to participate in Mardi Gras.

…Krewes like Muses, Nyx, and Femme Fatale have placed an emphasis on sustainable, reusable throws, like scrunchies, scarves, bike bells, tote bags, and tumblers. They have led the way in diminishing waste, prioritizing quality over quantity.

How Women Are Changing Mardi Gras | Vogue


The toxic reach of Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill was much larger — and deadlier — than previously published estimates

Current estimates show the 210 million gallons of oil released by the damaged BP Deepwater Horizon Macondo well spread out over the equivalent of 92,500 miles.

Spreading with squid-like tentacles, the oil reached Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

In a massive spill response, federal workers, contractors and volunteers sought to detect it, contain it and use chemicals to disperse it. Yet large amounts of oil reached beyond the containment effort and were never fully accounted for until now, the study says.

…The the oil’s reach was 30 percent larger than that estimate, the new study says.

…A significant amount of oil and its toxic footprint moved beyond fishery closures where it was thought to be contained and escaped detection by satellites as it flowed near the Texas shore, west Florida shore and within a loop current that carries Gulf water around Florida’s southern tip up toward Miami.

…“Oil in these concentrations for surface water extended beyond the satellite footprint and fishery closures, potentially exterminating a vast amount of planktonic marine organisms across the domain,” the researchers wrote. The findings show that the government’s understanding of how oil flowed from Deepwater Horizon was limited and that it underestimated the extent to which marine life was killed or poisoned by toxic crude.

…“If you want to respond to this kind of spill, you have to know where the entire mass is, the amount of oil that came out of the well, and know that the footprint is not only on the surface, but in three dimensions,” she said.

The toxic reach of Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill was much larger — and deadlier — than previous estimates, a new study says – The Washington Post


‘Invisible and Toxic’ Oil From Deepwater Horizon Spill Probably Made Disaster Much Worse Than Previously Thought

The Deepwater spill was caused by an explosion on the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig—located around 41 miles off the Louisiana coast—on April 20, 2010, which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers.

The rig subsequently sank and more than four million barrels of oil gushed out of the damaged Macondo well over the course of 87 days until the leak was finally capped, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

…The spill was the largest in marine history, releasing around 795 million liters (210 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico with slicks covering an estimated area of 57,500 square miles. The disaster caused extensive environmental damage and forced the closure of vast stretches of the Gulf to fishing operations.

…The “toxic extent” of the spill could [be] up to 30 percent greater than what previous satellite data has suggested, leaving a footprint which stretched from Florida’s Gulf Coast, to the shores of Texas and the Florida Keys.

…”We found that the oil spill extended beyond the satellite footprint, reaching areas which were considered non-contaminated such as the West Florida shelf and Texas shores. A part of the invisible portion that extended beyond the satellite footprint was toxic to marine life,” the authors said.

According to the study, toxic chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons may still be present in water for days or even weeks after satellites can no longer detect an oil slick.

‘Invisible and Toxic’ Oil From Deepwater Horizon Spill May Have Made Disaster Much Worse Than Previously Thought


Andrew LaMar Hopkins: A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture

In 1830, the moment in time Mr. Hopkins is fond of using for many of his creations, free Creoles of color in New Orleans owned some $15 million of property in the city. Mostly French speaking, these artisans, shopkeepers and artists were in no small part responsible for the look of the French Quarter — its ironwork, decorative plaster, its architecture and fashionable shops. Like white Creoles, some owned slaves, and some later fought for the Confederacy. Despite many laws restricting their rights they played a significant role in civic life.

…Creole is a long-embattled term, perhaps best defined now as a person whose background and identity is traceable to colonial French Louisiana and/or its Franco-African culture. 

…The city of New Orleans historically demanded detailed inventories of the possessions of deceased citizens, and he studied these lists to ground his rooms, from their locally made armoires and Campeche chairs to neo-Classical French porcelain and wall clocks. The furniture is as important as the people, whether it appears in the cottage of the powerful voodoo queen Marie Laveau or in the salon of John James Audubon, the white Creole naturalist renowned for his “Birds of America.” 

A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture – The New York Times


Jay-Z, Roc Nation File Federal Lawsuit Against Mississippi Prison Officials for Violent Conditions, ‘Failure to Meet Basic Human Rights’

According to the lawsuit, which was filed by Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro, “these deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.”

…“This unthinkable spate of deaths is the culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons,” Spiro said in a statement. “As Mississippi has incarcerated increasing numbers of people, it has dramatically reduced its funding of prisons. As a result, prison conditions fail to meet even the most basic human rights.”

Jay-Z, Roc Nation File Federal Lawsuit Against Mississippi Prison Officials for Violent Conditions, ‘Failure to Meet Basic Human Rights’