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‘They want to smoke pot without their kids around’

There are growing calls for board members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Education to resign after they were caught making fun of students and parents still being at home.

About seven minutes into the video, the board realizes that they are public and that parents are on the call and listening to all of this, so they abruptly cut it off.

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No one from the school district or any of the board members have commented.

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Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots

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Facebook is temporarily banning advertisements for weapons accessories and protective gear amid the fallout from the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The platform said in a blog post that the ban will be in place at least two days after the inauguration, on Jan. 22, “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition and weapon enhancements like silencers,” the company wrote. “But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the US.”

Facebook declined to comment to The Hill on the exact reasoning behind the ban.

The move comes after Buzzfeed News reported last week that Facebook platform had been running ads for military equipment next to content promoting election misinformation and news about the Capitol riots.

In addition, three senators and four attorneys general this week wrote letters to Facebook to demand that it permanently halt the advertisement of military goods and tactical gear, according to the outlet.

“Facebook must hold itself accountable for how domestic enemies of the United States have used the company’s products and platform to further their own illicit aims,” Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) wrote.

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“Whether through negligence or with full knowledge, Facebook is placing profit ahead of our Nation’s democracy.”

The social media company told Reuters that all the pages identified were removed, and that it was working with intelligence and law enforcement.

The change is the latest in a series of actions taken to curb content that could incite violence after the attack at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five deaths and dozens of arrests.

Last Monday, the company announced that it was taking down content on its platform that contains the phrase “Stop the Steal,” and on Friday it blocked the creation of new Facebook events happening in “close proximity” to the White House, U.S. Capitol building and any state Capitol buildings.

The company has also suspended President Trump’s pages until at least Inauguration Day.

The FBI has issued a bulletin warning of armed protests at the U.S. Capitol and across all 50 state capitols leading up to the inauguration, and has warned police chiefs nationwide to be on “high alert.”
(The hill)

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House Members Seek to Investigate Capitol Tours Given Day Before Riot

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New investigations are underway into whether the U.S. Capitol insurrectionists had information on how to move through the building.

There’s growing concern about what happened before a crowd pushed past a police line, stormed up the steps of the Capitol and forced their way into the building on Jan. 6.

At least 30 U.S. House members, including Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, are asking Capitol Police to review “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday, January 5.”

They say people associated with the Jan. 6 rally near the White House, which ended shortly before the Capitol breach, were seen taking tours the day before.

Only members of Congress can offer tours currently because the Capitol is closed due to the pandemic.

Inside the Capitol, there’s a maze of hallways and many unmarked doors. While many rioters were photographed in areas that are typically open for public tours, such as Statuary Hall and the Visitor Center, others were seen in private offices and some entered the House floor.

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Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio said this week that any member of Congress with information should volunteer it.

“It doesn’t mean a Member of Congress was necessarily conspiring, but we should be looking into every single aspect of this,” Ryan said.

Meanwhile, amid fear that some members of Congress are packing guns while on the House floor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi implemented stricter security measures.

Metal detectors now flank the entrance. Circumventing the newly installed metal detectors comes with a $5,000 fine for the first offense.

Not everyone is pleased.

“Good police officers should be out along the perimeter where we know threats are,” said Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois.

(CT)

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US government to get additional 100 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine

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Pfizer said today it will supply the US government with an additional 100 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine under a new agreement between the pharmaceutical giant and the Trump administration.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said that will bring their total current commitment to 200 million doses for the US that should be enough to vaccinate 100 million people with the two-shot regimen. The government also has an option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.

“This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement. The cost to taxpayers: $1.95 billion for the additional 100 million doses.

To aid vaccine production, the government said it is using its authority under a Cold War-era law that allows it to direct private manufacturing.

Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. It has now been joined by another two-shot vaccine from Moderna, developed in close collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. The government began shipping the Pfizer vaccine to states last week, and the one from Moderna this week.

The priority groups for first vaccination include health care workers and nursing home residents. Gradually more Americans will have access to the free vaccines, which have been shown to be highly effective in clinical studies undertaken so far.

Separately, HHS announced it has joined forces with another big pharma company — Merck— to support the large-scale manufacture of a promising treatment for patients suffering from severe Covid-19 illness.

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The treatment, still under investigation and not yet approved by the FDA, is known as MK-7110. It has the potential to minimise the damaging effects of an overactive immune response to Covid-19. This immune overdrive unleashes a cascade of effects on the human body, complicating the life-saving efforts of doctors and nurses.

The government is paying Merck about $356 million to fast-track production of its treatment under the auspices of Operation Warp Speed, a joint effort between HHS, the Pentagon, and drug companies to develop vaccines and treatments for Covid-19. It’s the same collaboration that led to Moderna’s vaccine. The money will allow Merck to deliver up to 100,000 doses by June 30, if the FDA clears the treatment for emergency use.

The current wave of Covid-19 is straining hospitals in a number of states, from California to Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma to Rhode Island. Having better treatments would help keep patients out of intensive care, improving their chances of survival and reducing the burden and stress on hospital staff.

Under the Pfizer deal announced Wednesday, the company will deliver at least 70 million of the additional vaccine doses by June 30, with the remaining 30 million to be delivered no later than July 31.

“With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work with the US government and healthcare providers around the country.”
(AP)

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