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Texas abortion law foes target lawmakers’ corporate donors

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Foes of Texas’ strict abortion ban are taking aim at companies that donated money to the bill’s sponsors, hoping consumers will pressure corporate America to join the fight against a surge of restrictions.

The television and digital ads begun this past week by the groups Corporate Accountability Action and American Bridge 21st Century, the Democratic Party’s opposition research arm, highlight AT&T’s contributions to Texas Republican lawmakers. There are plans to expand the campaign to Florida, where a similar abortion proposal has been introduced.

Abortion rights supporters in Texas are confronting the nation’s strictest abortion law in one of the most populous states, as well as a conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court and a wave of GOP lawmakers who want their states to be next. Democrats and their allies on this issue are looking for new ways to harness frustration into leverage.

“This is a moment in our country where there is no middle ground. You really can’t be on the sidelines,” said Cecile Richards, past president of Planned Parenthood and current co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century.

The Texas law greatly slowed the number of abortions, forcing clinics to turn away hundreds of women and leading patients to seek the procedure in other states, which has created growing backlogs.

Texas had roughly two dozen abortion clinics before the law took effect Sept. 1. At least six clinics resumed performing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy after a federal judge blocked the law on Wednesday, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. But late Friday, an appeals court allowed the restrictions to resume pending further arguments. The Biden administration, which had sued, has until Tuesday to respond.

In this Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, file photo, anti-abortion demonstrators pray and protest outside of a Whole Women's Health of North Texas, in McKinney, Texas.
In this Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, file photo, anti-abortion demonstrators pray and protest outside of a Whole Women’s Health of North Texas, in McKinney, Texas.
AP

The ads in Texas aim at AT&T, which Corporate Accountability Action found donated more than $645,000 over the past two years to nearly 22 lawmakers who sponsored the measure. The Dallas-based telecom company also donated thousands to Democratic lawmakers.

In Florida, the group is criticizing corporations such as Walt Disney for its $262,000 in donations to among the more than two dozen lawmakers who sponsored proposed abortion restrictions over the past two years. NBC Universal gave $83,500 to those legislators, and some $88,000 in Texas, CAA found.

AT&T said it a statement it does not take a position on the issue of abortion or endorse the law known as Senate Bill 8, and gave money to legislators on both sides.

Representatives for NBC and Walt Disney, which have also donated to Democrats at other times, did not immediately respond to email messages seeking comment.

The two groups eventually plan to expand the campaign to the dozen states where legislators have said they want to model their own laws based on the Texas measure.

The Texas ban prohibits abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks, which is before many women know they are pregnant. The law’s unusual enforcement mechanism kept it from being blocked by the Supreme Court: Private citizens, not the state, have the power to enforce the law through civil suits that can net them $10,000.

Pressuring corporations to pull support and business from states that pass controversial laws has some record of success. North Carolina lost $3.76 billion in business after passing a law blocking transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their identity in 2016. That pressure led to a repeal.

This year, the effect was more muted on GOP-backed election-overhaul bills that critics called attempts to suppress Democratic votes. Republicans such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp stuck by the measure there, even after Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

Cecile Richards speaks during the Women's March ATX rally, Saturday, Oct., 2, 2021, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Cecile Richards speaks during the Women’s March ATX rally, Saturday, Oct., 2, 2021, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas.
AP

Some companies, including the customer-management firm Salesforce, dating app Bumble and ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, pushed back against the Texas abortion law after it went into effect a month ago.

But that didn’t deter Tesla CEO Elon Musk from announcing Thursday he would move the electric carmaker’s headquarters from the San Francisco Bay area to Austin, a tech hub and the capital of Texas.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, but on Sept. 2, Musk tweeted that he believes “government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness. That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics.”

The anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life pointed out that companies making donations might not support everything for which candidates stand. “We hope that people in Texas and companies in Texas will not bow down to ‘cancel culture,’” spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz said.

Abortion rights advocates say the companies it is calling out are backing politicians whose positions contradict the public messages the corporation use to lure consumers.

“You can’t on the one hand say ‘empower women’, and on the other hand, your political funds going to people who are actually literally disempowering women,” Richard said. “That kind of accountability is frankly it’s long overdue.”

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These fatty foods could be destroying your memory, say scientists

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Ready meals and fast food could be destroying your memory.

Scientists say highly processed foods, crisps, and deli meats containing preservatives were linked with abrupt memory loss in older brains.

Researchers warn the amygdala — the part of the brain which regulates fear — is also affected.

So a bad diet could mean some dangerous decisions.

But diets with extra omega-3 fatty acid DHA, found in fish such as salmon, could ward off problems. Rather than supplements, researchers advised improved diets.

Scientists at America’s Ohio State University Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research did tests on lab rats.

Dr. Ruth Barrientos called the results “alarming”, adding: “Consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and abrupt memory deficits.”

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Biden and Lightfoot know mask rules are idiotic — so why haven’t they changed?

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It happened again because of course it happened again. The latest example of COVID hypocrisy, if you have enough hard-drive space to keep track, is a viral video of President Biden traipsing through a ritzy DC eatery with no mask, in defiance of the city’s strict rules. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was photographed at a basketball game, the only bare face in a sea of muzzled fans.

This kind of thing has been so common that it is hard to stay outraged, even though we should.

But there is another, deeper question at play here. Why won’t the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update its masking guidance as vaccinations increase, case numbers diminish and politicians, among pretty much everyone else, ignore it across the nation?

The CDC website says that “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant, and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public, if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” A handy map shows the location of these areas — it’s basically the entirety of the United States. This guidance is vague, and not followed by massive swaths of the nation.

Mask mandate hypocrite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a basketball game where everyone except her was wearing a mask.
Mask mandate hypocrite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a basketball game where everyone except her was wearing a mask.
Twitter

Why is it being ignored? Because much of its application is nonsensical on its face, so to speak. What possible health benefit is there for wearing a mask from door to the table then taking it off to eat and drink and talk all night? Every one of us knows that 10 seconds of following the hostess to your table is not a potential superspreader event. It’s such performative idiocy.

Meanwhile, CDC guidelines still say if you take a kid across state lines, say on vacation, you have to quarantine for 10 days. Is any parent in the country actually doing this? We should hope not, because it’s insane. Even Fauci the Merciful, who has relented and has now pronounced we can have holiday gatherings, isn’t mentioning this. Because he knows he would look like a fool.

President Joe Biden leaves Washington DC restaurant Fiola Mare without wearing a face mask.
President Joe Biden leaves Washington DC restaurant Fiola Mare without wearing a face mask.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden went to Fiola Mare on October 16, 2021 for a date night.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden went to Fiola Mare on October 16, 2021 for a date night.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

So why do these absurd rules, that most people don’t follow anyway, and seem to be based on about as much science as Tarot cards, still exist at all? And more importantly, what metrics do we need to hit for them to go away? That’s one query the exultant and high experts will never answer. When it comes to imposing restrictions the science is strict, settled, and exact, when it comes to easing restrictions it’s all a rich tapestry of who really knows.

Enough. When mask mandates made their first appearance in the Spring of 2020 many feared we would wind up wearing them forever. Those people were mocked as alarmists. Well, it’s almost 2022, what gives? Everyone over 12 can get a vaccine that we are promised gives fantastic protection, and young kids continue to only very rarely have significant illness.

People can decide for themselves whether they want to keep wearing masks, if they are high risk or nervous. As for the rest of us, what are we waiting for? We have long passed common sense. We need some answers about how and when these rules will end. And we need them now.

David Marcus is the author of “Charade: The COVID Lies That Crushed A Nation.”

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Cops face questions after missing Alabama woman’s body found in police van

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A missing Alabama woman’s body has been found in an unoccupied police van — prompting questions about her death and how she could go undetected as authorities were searching for her.

Christina Nance, 29, was discovered dead in a prisoner transport van Oct. 7, five days after she was reported missing, Deputy Police Chief DeWayne McCarver said.

The vehicle was parked at a public safety complex in Huntsville.

“The officer noticed shoes next to the van and approached, discovering Ms. Nance’s body inside. Windows on the van were observed to be opened and on this type of van they popped outward,” McCarver said on Friday at a press conference, CNN reported.

No cause of death has been determined, but preliminary autopsy results didn’t indicate that there was any foul play or bodily trauma.

“The official cause of death will be ruled by the state medical examiner once additional studies, including toxicology, are complete,” police said.

Police released surveillance footage of a woman believed to be Nance wandering through the parking lot on Sept. 25, then appearing to enter the van.

But her family — who reported her missing on Oct. 2 — said they have their doubts about the footage.

“The video was not clear enough to indicate that that was our sister Christina Nance,” Nance’s sister Whitney Nance told news station WAFF.

Police vehicles.
Police released surveillance footage of a woman believed to be Christina Nance wandering through the parking lot on Sept. 25.
Huntsville Police Dept. Facebook

“It was just very heartbreaking to know that we didn’t get the clarification that we really needed, that we wanted.”

Police have said it’s protocol for the vans to be kept locked.

“It is an accountability issue on our part,” McCarver said. “That should not have happened. And now we have to look at that, and we have to make sure that we have things in place so that does not happen again.”

It’s unclear how Nance went undetected in the busy police parking lot.

“Cars go by, people walk nearby the van. We just wish that she would have hollered out to someone or something, because there were plenty of … what we see as potential opportunities for this to not be a tragedy. And unfortunately, no one was able to realize she was in that van and that was the outcome,” McCarver said.

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