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If we’re going to have vaccine mandates, we need much better oversight

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If you think that anti-vaccine tomfoolery is monopolized by Trump-voting Christian fundamentalists out there in the hinterlands, I’d like to introduce you to Jasmine Clifford — a k a “AntiVaxMomma,” a k a 5StarJaziii, a stripper from Lyndhurst, NJ. 

Working with an accomplice and connecting with buyers through Instagram, Clifford sold fake vaccination certificates bearing the imprimatur of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For an extra $250, she arranged for those buying the fake cards to be registered in the New York State Immunization Information System. 

Clifford and alleged accomplice Nadayza Barkley, a clerk at a Long Island medical clinic, face a raft of felony fraud charges, as do their customers — more than a dozen of whom were hospital and nursing-home workers and others working in positions with similar sensitivities to COVID-19. 

Anti-vaccine activism is not only a mania; it is, first and foremost, a scam. It is a racket for cable-news pundits and radio hosts engaged in the perfectly legal business of misleading their audiences about COVID-19 in order to enrich themselves, it is a racket for plague entrepreneurs selling phony miracle cures, and it is a racket for ordinary criminals doing things like what Jasmine Clifford is accused of. 

Everybody loves stories about misbehaving strippers, but this raises a few more serious issues. 

Without belittling the death and suffering that COVID-19 has inflicted on the world, we should in one regard count ourselves lucky in this epidemic: It could have been much, much worse. The vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 survive, most of them without any serious long-term effects, at least as far as we can tell right now. It is very easy to imagine a mutant virus that might have been much more lethal and much more easily transmissible. 

In that sense, COVID-19 might be thought of as a test run — and we are failing the test. 

There are many sensible and well-intentioned people who are skeptical about the value or propriety of vaccine mandates, but even the most uncompromising libertarian among us ought to be able to imagine a situation in which a vaccine mandate would be both wise and proper. And, indeed, we already have all sorts of vaccine mandates for specific populations, from soldiers to immigrants to kindergarteners. If we cannot manage these effectively, we are setting ourselves up for catastrophe when an even nastier virus crops up. 

At the same time, those who are inclined to trust public-health authorities should be able to appreciate how terribly easy it is to abuse the extraordinary measures necessitated by a genuine emergency — to set up Big Brother in a lab coat. 

We need a system under which vaccinations can be effectively monitored. But such a system has to be effective, secure and ethically managed. 

The one we have isn’t. 

If you are shocked that a couple of cynical operators swanning around on Instagram could not only counterfeit vaccination cards but also manipulate state databases, then consider how easy it was for a nobody such as Chelsea (né Bradley) Manning, then a mere private in the army, to raid classified military databases — or how effortlessly Edward Snowden, a relatively junior civilian consultant, defeated the fearsome spookery of the National Security Agency with nothing more than a thumb drive and a bad attitude. 

We don’t even require outside criminals to abuse confidential government data, because we have inside criminals, too: To take one illustrative case, the IRS was obliged to pay the National Organization for Marriage a settlement in recompense for having maliciously leaked its private information for political purposes. Kamala Harris, now vice president, illegally and unconstitutionally used her powers as attorney general in California to try to bully nonprofit groups into disclosing their donor lists in order to facilitate retaliation and harassment of her political enemies. 

Anti-vaccine protesters gathered on the steps of Pennsylvania State Capitol during the Rally for Freedom.
Anti-vaccine protesters gathered on the steps of Pennsylvania State Capitol during the Rally for Freedom.
Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

These are not the people you want to trust with your confidential medical information. 

The anti-vaccine paranoia is part of a generally clabbered and toxic political culture of antagonism toward — and neurotic distrust of — essential institutions. But the problem is that the paranoiacs have a point — there is good reason not to automatically trust the IRS, or the local board of education, or the pronouncements of Anthony Fauci. Not only has such trust not been earned, in many cases it has been forfeited. 

This leaves us in a catch-22: The more trust, cooperation, and honesty we have in our community life, the less surveillance, enforcement and intrusion we need to secure public safety and good order. But the heavy-handedness and dishonesty of those entrusted with the management of our critical institutions has undermined the public’s faith in them — and, instead of trying to correct that through institutional reforms oriented toward credibility and transparency, our social engineers and our expert classes have responded instead with more heavy-handedness and surveillance, and less transparency and accountability. 

The anti-vax stuff is baloney, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. 

The general inability or unwillingness of our institutions, both public and private, to protect confidential data has left the gates wide open, and we’re surprised that there are foxes in the henhouses. The leaders of critical institutions have abused their positions in pursuit of their own private interests while neglecting their public duties, and we’re surprised that the public’s trust in them is so low as to be practically nonexistent. 

The criminal shenanigans of “AntiVaxMomma” and her clients are only a symptom. The disease is institutional decay, a virus against which we currently have no vaccine. 

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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