Colleges Pledged to Follow the Science. But Divides in Reopening Plans Reflected State Politics.

Institutional decisions about whether to reopen colleges in-person this fall correlated most strongly with state politics, not the regional public-health conditions that campus leaders said were front and center in their considerations, new research suggests.

The finding, from a pre-peer-review research and policy brief published by the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, reveals that both public and private institutions in Republican-led states were less likely to say in early August they would operate online this fall. County case numbers of Covid-19 did not have as strong of a correlation to campus decisions.

Public four-year universities in states with Republican governors were nine percentage points more likely to plan to be in person.

Over the summer, administrators cited their on-campus public-health expertise and data on the pandemic as central to decisions. But researchers found little evidence that state and county case rates were a “strong piece” of decision making, broadly.

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Coronavirus pandemic and election-year politics collide, eroding trust in science

The positive development immediately became entangled in election-year politics, with President Trump repeatedly making false and exaggerated claims about the new therapeutics. He called them a cure, which they’re not. He said he was about to approve them — a premature promise given that the FDA’s career scientists are charged with reviewing the applications.

This has been the 2020 pattern: Politics has thoroughly contaminated the scientific process. The result has been an epidemic of distrust, which further undermines the nation’s already chaotic and ineffective response to the coronavirus.

The White House has repeatedly meddled with decisions by career professionals at the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other science-based agencies. Many of the nation’s leading scientists, including some of the top doctors in the administration, are deeply disturbed by the collision of politics and science and bemoan its effects on public health.

“I’ve never seen anything that closely

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Recap and analysis of the week in Florida government and politics

Dara Kam
 |  News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s election system suffered yet another black eye this week, after the state’s online voter-registration system repeatedly crashed before Monday’s deadline to sign up for the November presidential election.

The Sunshine State’s seemingly perpetual election-related snafus are the subject of ridicule, scorn and embarrassment, and a federal judge on Friday excoriated state officials for this week’s meltdown.

“Every man who has stepped foot on the moon launched from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Yet Florida has failed to figure out how to run an election properly — a task simpler than rocket science,” Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in a 29-page order issued early Friday morning.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee extended the registration deadline until 7 p.m. Tuesday, after tens of thousands of users were unable to submit voter-registration applications through the online system in the hours

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The Capital Letter: Stimulus Politics, Trade Deficits, Big Government & Big Tech

(James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

The politics of stimulus, trade deficits, big government and big tech and more.

Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced that the latest round of talks on a new stimulus package are going as well as they might be.

Bloomberg:

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned each other’s mental faculties, showcasing increasing partisan tensions as Election Day looms.

“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now, so I don’t know how to answer for his behavior.,” Pelosi said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Thursday.

The Democratic leader also called Trump’s changing positions this week on whether to let his administration conduct talks on fiscal stimulus “strange.” Trump pulled his team from negotiations Tuesday, prompting Pelosi to suggest to colleagues that day that Trump’s thinking might have been affected by the steroids he’s taken to battle his Covid-19,

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Suspecting politics at play, ex-FOP leader gets 3-year suspension from Chicago police union for use of camera in rival’s office

Kevin Graham, the former president of the Chicago Police Department’s largest union, was suspended from the organization for 3 years on Wednesday for leaving behind a tiny camera that continued to record in his old office while it was occupied by his successor, and not telling him about it, officials said.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Kevin Graham President of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, expressess his satisfaction at the guilty verdict for Shomari Legghette, the man that killed Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, after the verdict in the lobby of the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Friday, March 13, 2020. Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune


© Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Kevin Graham President of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, expressess his satisfaction at the guilty verdict for Shomari Legghette, the man that killed Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, after the verdict in the lobby of the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Friday, March 13, 2020. Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune

Graham, however, has denied any wrongdoing and plans to appeal the decision.

In an interview with the Tribune Wednesday evening, Graham indicated the decision by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police was flawed since it was handed down by union officials aligned with

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Why politics may get in the way of the public accepting a COVID-19 vaccine

The key to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic may have less to do with vaccine science and logistics and more to do with public trust. Week after week, actions by Trump administration appointees have raised suspicions that political motives rather than science are driving decision-making in the development of the vaccine.



a person wearing a mask: A shot is administered March 16 as part of a first-stage clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 manufactured by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)


© Provided by The LA Times
A shot is administered March 16 as part of a first-stage clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 manufactured by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Events like these have shaken my faith — and the faith of many others — in two of the country’s most revered scientific institutions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which collects and analyzes healthcare data, and the Food and Drug Administration, which approves diagnostic tests and treatments.

As a longtime clinical scientist at the National Institutes of Health, I worked closely

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COVID in the White House: a drastic case of science trumping politics

One can only wish Donald Trump (and first lady Melania Trump) a full recovery from COVID-19. In the meantime, the president’s illness could save many lives. To date, his focus has been on manipulating the truth about how this deadly disease is prevented — through wearing masks and social distancing — so as to minimize its effect on his reelection bid. Ironically, his illness exposes his lies to the surprisingly large minority of the population who believed him. Let’s hope they don’t continue to go maskless in public and thus follow Trump to the edge of the COVID-19 precipice.

May the president’s and first lady’s illness be a wake-up call to our country that when it comes to our nation’s health, science trumps politics.

Dr. Deborah Bershel

Somerville

“Nothing ever becomes real till experienced,” wrote John Keats. And after nine months of downplaying, contradicting, and ignoring the recommendations of scientists,

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Coinbase Workers Rattled by Politics Ban and Fear Being Muzzled

(Bloomberg) — Coinbase Inc.’s clampdown on discussing politics and activism at work — and the offer of severance packages to employees who don’t want to comply — continues to ripple through the cryptocurrency exchange and Silicon Valley.



a group of people standing in a living room: Inside the Coinbase Inc. office in San Francisco, California, U.S., in 2017.


© Bloomberg
Inside the Coinbase Inc. office in San Francisco, California, U.S., in 2017.

Many employees were shocked by Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong’s blog post imposing the rules Sunday, and some are concerned that he is trying to stymie discourse that should be happening, according to two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified. Neither knew of anyone taking an exit package from the San Francisco-based company, but employees have until Oct. 7 to apply.

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Jack Dorsey, Twitter Inc.’s CEO and a noted Bitcoin advocate, criticized Armstrong’s ban on politics, saying late Wednesday the change runs counter to the core principles of cryptocurrencies. Other veterans of

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Politics Cloud Huawei’s Future – ResearchAndMarkets.com

The “Commentary: Politics Cloud Huawei’s Future” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

Huawei held its global industry analyst summit (GAS 2020) in late May, just days after the U.S. Commerce Department expanded its Entity List restrictions on the company.

Much of the vendor’s network infrastructure product line relies upon chips manufactured by foundries like TSMC, based upon Huawei’s specifications but using U.S.-origin capital equipment for production and testing. Once the new rules take effect, if unchanged, the company could no longer rely upon these foundries for production.

Huawei is exploring various workarounds, including the possible use of Samsung, but a seamless solution is unlikely to be found quickly. Current inventory is rumored to last through March 2021.

Huawei continues to have an impressive technology portfolio, loads of talented engineers, and vast reach around the world, but it won’t get out of its current mess by just finding another source

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The Space Review: Venus: science and politics

 

An image of the surface of Venus taken by the Soviet Union’s Venera 13 mission.




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For many years, the major focus for space exploration has been Mars and the Moon. Of course, the scientific community has been involved in missions elsewhere in the solar system, but the agendas for major space agencies have been dominated by the missions to the Moon and Mars. Now, there exists a possibility that another world could push its way into those agendas.

The discovery

Venus is known as the hottest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures as high as 470°C. In fact, Venus is even hotter than Mercury because Venus thick atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide, generating a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus is sometimes called the sister planet of the Earth, since it is very similar to the Earth in terms of size and mass.

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