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Celebrity

Matt James Breaks Silence on Bachelor Nation’s “Heartbreaking” Reality


The Bachelor contestant, who is still in the running to win over Matt’s heart, raised eyebrows after photos from her college days resurfaced on Reddit. In the images, which E! News hasn’t verified, Rachael was seen attending a fraternity formal in 2018, which the Reddit user described as an “Antebellum plantation themed ball.”

She would later apologize in a statement posted on social media. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them,” Rachael wrote on Feb. 11. “My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

Ultimately, members of Bachelor Nation have spoken out and sparked a conversation about race and diversity in the franchise. In fact, Bachelor contestants from Matt’s own season came together to release a statement. 



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Health

COVID Stressing the Nation’s Stress Therapy System


Amy Cirbus, PhD, Talkspace, New York City.

Lucy McBride, MD, Foxhall Internists, Washington, DC.

LucyMcBride.com.

Lynn Bufka, PhD, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

American Psychological Association.

Death Studies: “Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for complicated grief: a randomized controlled trial.”

Psychiatric Services: “Outcomes of 98,609 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs patients enrolled in telemental health services, 2006-2010.”

Alcoholics Anonymous: “Physically Distanced but Digitally Connected: The Alcoholics Anonymous Message Carries On Amid Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “ADAA-Reviewed Mental Health Apps.”

American Psychological Association. “What You Need to Know Before Choosing Online Therapy.”

Goodtherapy.org: “Is There a Shortage of Mental Health Professionals in America?” “How Much Does Therapy Cost?”

Mental Health America: “Adults With AMI Reporting Unmet Need 2020.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “NAMI HelpLine.”

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Talkspace.com.

The Trevor Project

UnitedWay.org.





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Entertaiment

Bachelor Nation’s Madison Praises Matt James for His Opening Prayer


Twitter users had plenty to say when Matt James kicked off his season of The Bachelor with a peek at his religious side. Among those who appreciated the move was Bachelor Nation’s own Madison Prewett

After the new lead of The Bachelor led his 32 women in prayer during his season premiere on Monday, Jan. 4, the runner-up of Peter Weber‘s season took to social media to offer her stamp of approval. 

“Off to a great start,” she tweeted about the dating series, adding the praise-hands emoji. “It’s the opening in prayer for me.”

Following the wacky-as-usual limo entrances, Matt admitted to host Chris Harrison that he was experiencing nerves. Once he walked inside to finally greet his women as a group, he delivered a prayer, which the stars of the series have not typically done in past seasons.

“I had so long to think about what I’m going to say to you all, and I’m gonna take a different approach,” Matt told the ladies. “So if everybody can just bow their head really quick, I’m going to pray for everyone.”





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Health

U.S. Leads Wealthy Nations in Pregnancy-Related Deaths


By Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — American women are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in other wealthy countries — and a national shortage of maternity care providers bodes ill for the future.

Those are some of the findings from a new report on maternal mortality by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which compared the United States with 10 other high-income nations.

It found what the researchers called “unacceptable” numbers.

In 2018, the U.S. maternal mortality rate stood at 17 for every 100,000 births — more than double the rate of most other countries. Those figures capture deaths during pregnancy and within 42 days of the end of pregnancy.

But many women die later in the so-called “fourth trimester,” or the year after giving birth.

And of all pregnancy-related deaths in the United States, 52% happened after childbirth, the report found. When women died within a week of childbirth, it was often related to severe bleeding, infections or high blood pressure. Later in the postpartum period, the leading cause of death was cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle.

“Even though the U.S. spends more on health care than anywhere else in the world, it has higher rates of these preventable deaths,” said report co-author Roosa Tikkanen, a senior research associate at the Commonwealth Fund.

The United States has long held that dubious distinction. And maternal mortality is yet another area where racial disparities are stark: Black women have more than double the death rate of white women in the United States.

The new report adds a layer, Tikkanen said — looking at differences in countries’ health care systems that may illuminate why the United States fares so poorly.

One key difference is the supply of maternal care providers, including obstetricians/gynecologists and midwives.

Nearly all other wealthy nations, except for Canada, have far more providers relative to population. In the United States, there are 15 providers for every 1,000 births, while Sweden has 78 per 1,000, according to the report.





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Politics

Stabbing Reported in DC As Proud Boys and Antifa Clash in Streets of Nation’s Capital


One person was reported to have been stabbed in clashes between Antifa and the Proud Boys in downtown Washington, D.C. Saturday night. The victim was reportedly taken to a hospital with critical injuries. The clashes came after Antifa staged multiple attacks in the early evening on Trump supporters, including children, the elderly and Black Trump supporters, after the Million MAGA March had dispersed.

Image of stabbing scene via Darcy Spencer/Twitter.

Rumors are going around about the incident, but there is no firm reporting on which side, Antifa or Proud Boys, did the stabbing.

Excerpt from WRC-TV report:

…One person was stabbed when a fight broke out between two large groups at 10th Street and New York Avenue NW about 8:30 p.m., a spokesperson for D.C. Fire and EMS said. Medics took the person with critical injuries to a trauma center, the spokesperson said.

TRENDING: WE CAUGHT THEM! Part 2: Email Inventor Dr. Shiva Finds SAME IMPOSSIBLE BALLOT RATIO Feature in Michigan Results – WE CAUGHT THEM!

Fire officials said the fight was related to the ongoing protests. Authorities have not given any information yet about a possible suspect in the stabbing. D.C. police said they have responded to numerous reports of fights between protesters downtown.

There is video of an alleged switchblade knife being taken from a female Black Lives Matter terrorist who had reportedly been knocked out by Proud Boys.

Video shows the Proud Boys talking about “cleaning up the city tonight” and chanting, “F*** Antifa!”

Videos of fights between Antifa and the Proud Boys:

Earlier on the day, before the Antifa-Black Lives Matter attacks began, there were a reported ten arrests.

UPDATE on arrests:





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Entertaiment

Bachelor Nation’s DeAnna Pappas Reveals Her Living Room Makeover


DeAnna Pappas‘ living room dreams have come true.

For the longest time, the Bachelor Nation member envisioned a space that was both functional and comfortable. When the coronavirus pandemic forced her family to stay home and practice virtual learning for school, the 38-year-old knew it was the perfect time to make a change.

Between new couches, kids desks and a few personal touches, DeAnna transformed her space into a place she can’t help but admire.

“I truly love how our living room turned out!” she wrote in her blog. “I would not describe myself as having an eye for design, but I think I did pretty good! I love all the colors, the new couch, and the kids learning area! And to think, this all started on a whim…thinking I was only purchasing a new couch.” 

ABC’s former Bachelorette added, “I guess I’ll be adding Interior Designer to my resume.”



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Entertaiment

Bachelor Nation’s Lesley Murphy Reveals Sex of First Baby


Lesley Murphey is happy to announce, “the future is female.” 

The Bachelor Nation star revealed that she and fiancé Alex Kavanagh are going to welcome a baby girl in months time. She shared a video of the reveal to Instagram, writing, “Excited to announce… We’re having a BABY GIRL!!!! This is how I surprised Alex that the future is female #itsagirl #babygirl #girldad #thefutureisfemale.”

The video shows her fiancé walking into their home, which was decorated with pink balloons, confetti and streamers. They later danced together in the same space, with “My Girl” by The Temptations playing in the background. 

In the comments, Lesley told an Instagram user “it was so fun” to surprise Alex with the happy news. 

Lesley, who was previously engaged to Dean Unglert, revealed her pregnancy in September, telling fans that she and Alex “couldn’t be more excited to grow our little family!!!” 

She shared, “Baby Kavanagh taking flight in 2021! Finally someone to occupy the middle seat :)”





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Politics

The nation’s elders are abandoning Donald Trump in droves


According to conventional wisdom, the reason for Trump’s declining support among seniors is his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. The president ignored the issue initially, while some of his Republican colleagues suggested that older Americans, who are more likely to die if they contract COVID-19, can be sacrificed in order to jump-start the economy. In July and August 2020, 11 nursing home residents died every hour nationally, according to a recent congressional report co-authored by Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa). […]

But Biden has actually held an advantage among seniors since last summer, indicating that the coronavirus isn’t the only factor. To understand why, it is helpful to remember that the group we refer to as “seniors” can actually be broken down into subsets, as Pew Research did back in 2012.

Those who turned 18 during the Nixon administration – a segment of older Baby Boomers – have tended to be slightly more Democratic than average in their voting. Those who came of age during the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson years – mostly members of the Silent generation and the very oldest of the Baby Boomers –have tended to be more Republican than the average. 

As the number of seniors who came of age during the Eisenhower years fades, the slightly more Democratic Boomers are filling the ranks, adding 10,000 people to the 65+ age group per day. In other words, the senior cohort that voted for Trump in 2016 has changed dramatically. That alone could explain why Biden held a lead of about five points initially.

But Biden’s lead has continued to grow. […]

TOP COMMENTS

QUOTATIONS

“The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of white, male citizens. As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers – a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left undone. Today, here, we should start to do so.
         ~~Shirley Chisholm, Speaking in Congress for the Equal Rights Amendment, August 10, 1970

TWEET OF THE DAY

x

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2018—Sen. Susan Collins, Liar: 

Sen. Susan Collins is lying.

Let’s just make that clear, because Susan Collins should not be under the impression that anyone, anywhere is buying onto her third man theory, the insulting, cowardly and toxic theory that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was definitely assaulted when she was fifteen years old and that Sen. Susan Collins “believes” her, but Collins also believes that Dr. Ford is completely mistaken about the face she saw inches from hers, as a hand covered her mouth to keep her from screaming and a drunken friend turned up the radio so that other party-goers would not hear her attempts to escape. Susan Collins says she “believes” all parts of Dr. Ford’s testimony except for her absolute “100%” certainty that her assailant was a young Brett Kavanaugh. Instead, Collins “believes” Kavanaugh when he said, in evasive and rage-fueled testimony, that he didn’t do it–so it must have been someone else.

Collins is lying, and everybody knows it. What Susan Collins means is that she believes Brett Kavanaugh is currently too Important to have done it. Too central to the conservative cause; too much a celebrity. He has grown from a drunken lout of a boy to a man with powerful friends. He has appeared on television, and in the papers, and is the latest golden child of a movement devoted to unthreading the laws and restitching them into a hammock for the ruling class. Collins has no problem believing that Dr. Ford correctly described Brett Kavanaugh’s social circle–his drinking friends. She would have no hesitating in believing Dr. Ford if Dr. Ford had named any of those other names as her assaulter. But Brett Kavanaugh is simply too important to the moment to have done it–he denied it on the grandest of possible stages, after all–and therefore he did not.





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Breaking New

U.S., China may slip into a ‘cold war,’ pushing nations to pick sides


US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a business leaders event inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — The U.S. and China have “diametrically opposed values” and will eventually slip into a “new cold war” in the coming decades, said a China analyst from Fitch Solutions.

“By a new cold war, I mean an all out, perhaps generation long, global economic, military and ideological struggle that could lead to a bifurcation of large parts of the world into a pro-U.S. bloc and a pro-China bloc with significant numbers of countries caught in between,” said Darren Tay from the Asia country risk team at the data research firm.

The split between the world’s two largest economies would likely force Southeast Asian countries to take sides, he said, even though they would want to be “pragmatic” and remain friendly with both countries for as long as possible.

“Being in Asia, the pull from China’s gravity in terms of its size and its influence would be hard to resist,” said Tay during the firm’s Asia Macroeconomic Quarterly Update virtual seminar on Monday.

“That’s not a knockdown argument to say that they will all side with China in that case,” he added. “But there is that risk to consider.”

Opposing values

Explaining what he meant by an “ideological stand-off” between the U.S. and China, Tay referred to a Chinese Communist Party memo circulated in 2013 that identified constitutional democracy and freedom of the press as some threats to the party’s authority. He pointed out that these are what the West considers universal values.

Tay said the technology sector has already become a battleground for the U.S. and China, and is likely to see the largest divide if relations do not improve.

It’s easy to imagine an American consumer not trusting a Chinese tech company to be scrupulous in terms of safeguarding their privacy, and likewise, for a Chinese consumer with regard to U.S. tech companies

Darren Tay

Fitch Solutions

Growing mistrust

But aggressive foreign policy moves such as blacklists and bans by both sides will not be the only thing tearing the countries apart — a lack of trust will also play a part, Tay said.

“It’s easy to imagine an American consumer not trusting a Chinese tech company to be scrupulous in terms of safeguarding their privacy, and likewise, for a Chinese consumer with regard to U.S. tech companies,” Tay said.

That’s especially likely if the U.S.-China relationship worsens and there’s a lot of mistrust “not just between the government but between the people of these two major world powers,” he added.

Consumers from both sides already appear to be boycotting products from each other, as nationalism rose after the coronavirus pandemic broke out. A report by Deutsche Bank Research in May said a survey found that 41% of Americans will not buy “Made in China” products again, while 35% of Chinese will not buy “Made in USA” goods.



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Health

The nation’s public health agencies are ailing when they’re needed most



Epidemiologists, academics and local health officials across the country say the nation’s public health system is one of many weaknesses that continue to leave the United States poorly prepared to handle the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 180,000 lives in the country.

That system lacks financial resources. It is losing staff by the day. And its shortcomings are especially evident in the context of the Trump administration, which has taken a largely hands-off approach to virus response and left local leaders to steer their neighbors through the crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, local public health agencies had lost almost a quarter of their overall workforce since 2008 — a reduction of almost 60,000 workers, according to national associations of health officials. The agencies’ main source of federal funding — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s emergency preparedness budget — had been cut 30 percent since 2003. The Trump administration had proposed slicing even deeper.

While the country spends roughly $3.6 trillion every year on health, less than 3 percent of that spending goes to public health and prevention, according to an April analysis by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health.

The dilapidated state of the nation’s public health infrastructure has never been a secret, exposed time and again by problems such as the opioid crisis and persistent racial disparities in health-care access and treatment. But the problems have been left to fester.

In Boone County, W.Va., the staff of one nurse and two clerks at the public health department did not have enough thermometers when the pandemic began and are working 12- to 13-hour days to keep the department functioning.

Delaware County, Pa., a heavily populated Philadelphia suburb, did not even have a public health department when the pandemic struck and had to rely on a neighbor to mount a response.

When the Southern Nevada Health District suddenly lost a grant, it could no longer extend additional resources to minority mothers.

With plunging tax receipts straining local government budgets, public health agencies confront the possibility of further cuts in an economy gutted by the coronavirus. It is happening at a time when health departments are being asked to do more than ever.

“Even before covid-19, we were at a critical juncture of needing to invest in public health infrastructure in new ways — things had been left languishing,” said Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer and epidemiologist for the state of Wisconsin, talking about the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. “And now, on top of that, we have an impossible situation.”

According to David Himmelstein of the CUNY School of Public Health, global consensus is that, at minimum, 6 percent of a nation’s health spending should be devoted to public health efforts. The United States, he said, has never spent more than half that much.

At the same time, many countries that invest more in public health infrastructure also provide universal medical coverage that enables them to provide many common public health services as part of their main health-care-delivery system.

Compared with Canada, the United Kingdom and northern European countries, the United States — with a less generous social safety net and no universal health care — is investing less in a system that its people rely on more.

Himmelstein said that the United States has never placed much emphasis on public health spending but that the investment began to decline even further in the early 2000s. The Great Recession fueled further cuts.

Plus, the U.S. public health system relies heavily on federal grants.

“That’s the way we run much of our public health activity for local health departments. You apply to the CDC, which is the major conduit for federal funding to state and local health departments,” Himmelstein said. “You apply to them for funding for particular functions, and if you don’t get the grant, you don’t have the funding for that.”

“Why an ongoing government function should depend on episodic grants rather than consistent funding, I don’t know,” he added. “That would be like seeing that the military is going to apply for a grant for its regular ongoing activities.”

Few places were less prepared for covid-19’s arrival than Delaware County, Pa., where Republican leaders had decided they did not need a public health department at all.

County Councilwoman Monica Taylor and a group of other Democrats — running in part on the need to rebuild the county’s public health infrastructure — won last fall with a plan to establish a fully functional health department by 2021. But long-term optimism turned to short-term panic when the pandemic hit and the fifth-most-populated county in Pennsylvania had no local infrastructure to deal with it.

“I think the general population didn’t really realize we didn’t have a health department. They just kind of assumed that was one of those government agencies we had,” Taylor said. “Then the pandemic hit, and everyone was like, ‘Wait, hold on — we don’t have a health department? Why don’t we have a health department?’ ”

Taylor and other elected officials worked out a deal with neighboring Chester County in which Delaware County paid affluent Chester County’s health department to handle coronavirus operations for both counties for now.

Delaware County is an extreme example of how local public health is often perceived.

One reason health departments are so often neglected is their work focuses on prevention — of outbreaks, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking-related illnesses. Local health departments describe a frustrating cycle: The more successful they are, the less visible problems are and the less funding they receive. Often, that sets the stage for problems to explode again — as infectious diseases often do.

It has taken years for many agencies to rebuild budgets and staffing from deep cuts made during the last recession, said John Auerbach, CEO of Trust for America’s Health, who was public health commissioner in Massachusetts, as well Boston’s top public health official, and later worked at the CDC.

During the past decade, many local health departments have seen annual rounds of cuts, punctuated with one-time infusions of money following crises such as outbreaks of Zika, Ebola, measles and hepatitis. The problem with that cycle of feast or famine funding is that the short-term money quickly dries up and does nothing to address long-term preparedness.

“It’s a silly strategic approach when you think about what’s needed to protect us long term,” said Lori Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. She compared the country’s public health system to a house with deep cracks in the foundation. The emergency surges of funding are superficial repairs that leave those cracks unaddressed.

“We came into this pandemic at a severe deficit and are still without a strategic goal to build back that infrastructure. We need to learn from our mistakes,” she said.

Even in places with well-established health departments, budgetary concerns are spiraling.

A year of dealing with the coronavirus could bring even more cuts, many public health leaders said. With the economy tanking, the tax bases for cities and counties have shrunken dramatically — payroll taxes, sales taxes, city taxes. Many departments have started cutting staff. Federal grants are no sure thing.

Teryn Zmuda, chief economist for the National Association of Counties, said 80 percent of counties have reported their budget was affected in the current fiscal year because of the crisis. Prospects are even more dire for future budget periods, when the full impact of reduced tax revenue will become evident.

“Local public health is not a negotiable item in terms of providing those services to your residents,” Zmuda said.

The Southern Nevada Health District, which serves Las Vegas, receives 25 to 30 percent of its budget from county revenue, according to Fermin Leguen, the department’s chief health officer. Because Las Vegas’s behemoth tourist industry lost months of normal revenue, he expects that portion of his budget will shrink.

Even more debilitating is the idea of losing grant money, which makes up an additional 25 percent of the department’s budget. Two years ago, Leguen’s agency lost a major federal grant that funded programs for minority mothers and their children.

“We didn’t have the funds to replace that program. We had to devise an alternate program for that, but it’s not at the same level of activity,” said Leguen, who said his department is losing another federal grant allocating money to teen pregnancy prevention, and it will not be able to replace that either.

For smaller public health departments, losing a grant or a few thousand dollars of funding can debilitate more than just one program.

Julie Miller is the lone nurse at the Boone County, W.Va., health department, which has been “running on empty for a long time,” she said. It depends on grants from the federal government and money from the state.

“We didn’t have thermometers,” Miller said, noting that only because of her frugality did the department have a small stockpile of personal protective equipment when the pandemic began. “We’re a health department — why would we have anything so simple?”

She is also hoping to get enough money to hire an expert to check the county’s food and water. The woman who held that position was forced into retirement by health issues this year.

So Miller and her colleagues — a couple of clerks who come in and out to help when they can — had to cancel regularly scheduled clinic hours and limit services to ensure they could respond to the pandemic. But with few other medical facilities available, Miller knew she could not simply stop offering regular services. So she is still administering those, too.

She and her colleagues would give anything to be able to rest at home or even “to go away a little bit — to go somewhere and recharge,” Miller said. “We know that’s not possible. So I keep telling myself, Nov. 1, 2021 — that’s what keeps me going.”

Miller plans to retire then. She recently said she hopes to have the money to hire another nurse before then so she will have time to train her successor — although such jobs may become hard to fill because the profession has become a thankless endeavor.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials maintains a spreadsheet tracking departures of key health officials at the state and local level over the past few months, a number that was at three dozen and counting as of late July. Freeman, the association CEO, said she worries about public health experts leaving the field in droves in the months to come.

“They’re tired, stressed, overwhelmed and being attacked from every which way,” Freeman said.

Christine Hahn, medical director for Idaho’s division of public health and a 25-year public health veteran, has seen the state make progress in coronavirus testing and awareness. But like so many public health officials across the country taking local steps to deal with what has become a national problem, she is limited by how much government leaders say she can do and by what citizens are willing to do.

“I’ve been through SARS, the 2009 pandemic, the anthrax attacks, and of course I’m in rural Idaho, not New York City and California,” Hahn said. “But I will say this is way beyond anything I’ve ever experienced as far as stress, workload, complexity, frustration, media and public interest, individual citizens really feeling very strongly about what we’re doing and not doing.”

Many public health officials say a lack of a national message and approach to the pandemic has undermined their credibility and opened them up to criticism.

“People locally are looking to see what’s happening in other states, and we’re constantly having to talk about that and address that,” said Jennifer Vines, lead health officer in Multnomah County, Ore., home to Portland.

“I’m mindful of the credibility of our messaging as people say, ‘What about what they’re doing in this place? Why are we not doing what they’re doing?’ ”

Many health experts worry the challenges will multiply in the fall with the arrival of flu season.

If a coronavirus vaccine is made available in coming months, it will be up to public health agencies to help administer it.

“The unfolding tragedy here is we need people to see local public health officials as heroes in the same way that we laud heart surgeons and emergency room doctors,” Westergaard, the Wisconsin epidemiologist, said. “The work keeps getting higher, and they’re falling behind — and not feeling appreciated by their communities.”



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