Republican Bob Turner, who is running for U.S. Congress in a race in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th District, speaks with the media at a polling station on September 13, 2011 in New York City. Turner is running against Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin to succeed former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who resigned in June after admitting he sent partially nude photos of himself to women via the Internet. The race has received strong media attention as it is being viewed as a possible bellwether of support for U.S. President Barack Obama.NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Republican Bob Turner, who is running for U.S. Congress in a race in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th District, speaks with the media at a polling station on September 13, 2011 in New York City. Turner is running against Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin to succeed former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who resigned in June after admitting he sent partially nude photos of himself to women via the Internet. The race has received strong media attention as it is being viewed as a possible bellwether of support for U.S. President Barack Obama. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/2011 Getty Images
Representative Bob Turner, who just happens to be seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, decided to protest the principal who replaced “God Bless the USA” with Justin Bieber’s “Baby” at a kindergarten graduation, even though it turns out that never actually happened. On Monday, Turner showed up at the Coney Island elementary school to lead flag-waving children and parents in a rendition of “God Bless the USA.” Those who support the principal countered with “America the Beautiful” and, according to the New York Times, the event “devolved into rival groups of children singing in a kind of face-off.” It’s sad to see some officials can’t put aside the partisan ugliness, even on Justin Bieber DayEve.
Trump’s years-long quest to conceal his tax returns has come to an end
Breaking: Manhattan District Attorney’s office has obtained former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and related records, according to sources familiar with the matter. @kpolantz@ShimonPro reporting
The Biden administration is shifting language used by the government
At the Department of Homeland Security, the phrase “illegal alien” is being replaced with “noncitizen.” The Interior Department now makes sure that mentions of its stakeholders include “Tribal” people (with a capital “T” as preferred by Native Americans, it said). The most unpopular two words in the Trump lexicon — “climate change” — are once again appearing on government websites and in documents; officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have even begun using the hashtag #climatecrisis on Twitter.
It is all part of a concerted effort by the Biden administration to rebrand the government after four years of President Donald J. Trump, in part by stripping away the language and imagery that represented his anti-immigration, anti-science and anti-gay rights policies and replacing them with words and pictures that are more inclusive and better match the current president’s sensibilities.
Pfizer is looking at ways to make its COVID vaccine more effective
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech have begun a study testing in people whether the companies’ Covid-19 shot can provide protection against emerging strains of the coronavirus.
The companies said Thursday they have started the small study to see whether a third dose of their authorized Covid-19 vaccine would increase its effectiveness against new variants, such as the strain first identified in South Africa.
The approach differs from that of Moderna Inc., which said Wednesday it had made a new vaccine targeting the strain found in South Africa and shipped doses to U.S. government researchers for human testing.
Pfizer and BioNTech said they are also in discussions with U.S., European and other health regulators about studying a tweaked version of their vaccine that researchers designed to protect against the variant found in South Africa.
“We are taking multiple steps to act decisively and be ready in case a strain becomes resistant to the protection afforded by the vaccine,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in a statement.
Manchin got over his reservations about Haaland, a day after everyone pointed out that he had no problem confirming Jeff Sessions
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin will throw his support behind Congresswoman Deb Haaland to lead the Biden administration’s Interior Department, he said in a statement on Wednesday, likely securing her confirmation to become the first Native American in a cabinet position.
Manchin’s “yes” vote is seen as crucial to Haaland’s confirmation because he is a supporter of fossil fuel development who wields significant power in a U.S. Congress split 50-50 among Democrats and Republicans, meaning every Democratic backer counts. He had previously said that he was undecided on her bid.
“While we do not agree on every issue, (Haaland) reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence,” Manchin said in a statement. “For all these reasons, I believe Deb Haaland will be a Secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be authorized in the U.S. as soon as this weekend
A Food and Drug Administration review released Wednesday of the single-shot coronavirus vaccine made by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson found it was safe and effective and completely prevented hospitalizations and deaths in a large clinical trial.
… The review, though positive, was more nuanced than regulators’ assessments of the first two coronavirus vaccines, reflecting a pandemic that has entered a more complicated phase as variants capable of slipping by some aspects of immunity have emerged. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was more than 85 percent effective at preventing severe illness, including in a region dominated by a concerning variant, but only 66 percent protective overall when moderate cases were included.
The FDA scientists found that the “known benefits” of the vaccine included reducing the risk of symptomatic and severe cases of covid-19 at least two weeks after vaccination. The review found vaccine efficacy against severe covid-19 “was similarly high across the United States, South Africa, and Brazil.”
“We know this vaccine prevents 85 percent of the severe disease. … It was 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and deaths, and that’s really what’s important,” said Nancy M. Bennett, a professor of medicine and public health sciences at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Those facts are the most important thing to recognize.”