YouTube Is Blocking All Anti-Vaccine Content

YouTube is taking down several video channels associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who experts say are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.

As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous. The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox.https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=3533

Misinformation researchers have for years said the popularity of anti-vaccine content on YouTube was contributing to growing skepticism of lifesaving vaccines in the United States and around the world. Vaccination rates have slowed and about 56 percent of the U.S. population has had two shots, compared with 71 percent in Canada and 67 percent in the United Kingdom. In July, President Biden said social media companies were partially responsible for spreading misinformation about the vaccines, and need to do more to address the issue. …

Click here to read the full article from MSN.com

Gender Quotas for Boards Heads to Trial in California

California will have to defend its first-in-the-nation requirement that companies include women on boards of public companies at a trial.

Judicial Watch, the conservative advocacy group, and the California attorney general’s office each failed to persuade a judge to rule in their favor on the constitutionality of the measure. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis decided there are issues that can only be resolved through a trial, which she set for Oct. 25 without a jury.

The group claims the use of taxpayer funds to enforce the rule is illegal under California’s constitution. Enacted in 2018 amid the #MeToo movement, the law required public corporations to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by 2019, and to have two or three female directors by the end of 2021 depending on the size of the board. Penalties for violations range from $100,000 to $300,000. …

Click here to read the full article from Bloomberg.com

California Adopts Vote-by-Mail System for All Future Elections

California voters will continue to automatically receive ballots in the mail in all future state and local elections, under a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday.

After experimenting with a universal vote-by-mail system during the coronavirus pandemic — resulting in near-record high turnout — California will now become the eighth state in the U.S. to make the change permanent.

“As states across our country continue to enact undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options and bolstering elections’ integrity and transparency,” said Newsom in a statement announcing his intention to sign Assembly Bill 37. …

Click here to read the full article from KQED

COVID Outbreaks Plague LAPD and Fire Agencies

Public health officials have identified more than 200 coronavirus outbreaks at police or fire agencies throughout Los Angeles County since the start of the pandemic, according to data obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

The 211 outbreaks, accounting for more than 2,500 cases between March 2020 and last month, represent 9% of total workplace outbreaks across the county, the newspaper reported Sunday. However, they have continued to occur regularly even as vaccination rates increased among police and fire personnel and the number of individual coronavirus cases per outbreak has fallen since last winter.

The data showed 38 outbreaks at public safety agencies were identified in April of this year — the most in any month since the start of the pandemic. A month later, 35 outbreaks — the second most — were recorded by the county Department of Public Health. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press.

9th Circuit Overturns Skid Row Order

A federal appeals court on Thursday unanimously overturned a judge’s decision that would have required Los Angeles to offer some form of shelter or housing to the entire homeless population of skid row by October.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who issued the homelessness order in the spring, failed to follow basic legal requirements. It was a sharp rebuke of Carter, who has focused intently on homelessness, regularly venturing into encampments at all hours of the day, engaging with a wide array of officials responding to the crisis and issuing rulings on the subject in both Los Angeles and in Orange County, where he lives.

The ruling Thursday applied to only one slice of the sprawling lawsuit — the order to clear skid row of tents — but it called into question its broader underpinnings.

The panel said most of those who sued the city and county of L.A. had no legal right, or standing, to bring the case. Carter deployed “novel” legal theories that no one had argued, and ruled on claims that no one had alleged and on evidence that was not before him, the 9th Circuit said. …

Read the full article from the L.A. Times.

L.A. County Sees A Healthy Decline In COVID Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has dropped below 1,000 for the first time in two months — underscoring the region’s slow but steady progress in turning the tide of the latest coronavirus surge.

On Tuesday, 991 coronavirus-positive patients were receiving hospital care countywide. That’s down about 40% from the start of September, state data show.

In mid-August — the height of the current Delta-variant-fueled wave — nearly 1,800 people countywide were hospitalized with COVID-19 on some days.

The region has also seen a significant decline in the number of people ill enough to require intensive care. As of Tuesday, 305 patients were in intensive care units throughout the county, a 31% drop since the beginning of the month.

California’s most populous county both reflects and dictates the pandemic’s statewide trajectory. Statewide, 5,986 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized Tuesday, a 28% drop since the start of the month. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

California’s New Worker Protection Law Targets Amazon’s Retail Warehouses

California has become the first state to implement a law that addresses working conditions for warehouse workers, like those for Amazon and other major companies.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 701, which takes effect in the new year, into law on Wednesday. The law aims to address the impact of quotas on worker injuries and health.

It establishes new standards for companies to make clear to warehouse staff what their production quotas are. The legislation ensures workers cannot be fired or retaliated against for failing to meet an unsafe quota.

“We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people. The hardworking warehouse employees who have helped sustain us during these unprecedented times should not have to risk injury or face punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety,” Newsom said in a statement. …

Click here to read the full article from NPR.

Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest Unscathed By Wildfire

The ancient massive trees of Sequoia National Park’s famed Giant Forest were unscathed Tuesday even though a wildfire has been burning near them on the western side of California’s Sierra Nevada for nearly two weeks.

“As of right now we don’t have any damage to any of our trees,” said fire information officer Mark Garrett.

The KNP Complex, two lightning-sparked fires that merged, has spread over more than 39 square miles (101 square kilometers), feeding on other types of trees that also live on the high-elevation slopes of the mountain range.

Giant Forest is home to about 2,000 sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, which is considered the world’s largest by volume and is a must-see for visitors to the national park.

The fire recently entered the perimeter of Giant Forest near a cluster of huge trees called the Four Guardsmen but their bases had been wrapped in fire-resistant material and crews had raked and cleared vegetation that could help spread the fire, Garrett said. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press.

California Water Agencies Resolve Colorado River Dispute

Two major California water agencies have settled a lawsuit that once threatened to derail a multi-state agreement to protect a river that serves millions of people in the U.S. West amid gripping drought.

The Imperial Irrigation District, the largest single recipient of Colorado River water, sued the Metropolitan Water District twice in the past two years. The agencies announced Monday they have reached a settlement that resolves both lawsuits.

Under the agreement, Imperial can store water in Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada border under Metropolitan’s account. Imperial will contribute water under a regional drought contingency plan if California is called on to help stave off further water cuts.

Imperial spokesman Antonio Ortega said the agency is hopeful that its partners in California and across the Colorado River basin recognize the opportunities to work together. The river serves 40 million people in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico. …

Click here to read the full story from the Associated Press.

‘Smoldering Resentment’ In Red California

On election day, Denise Pickens had a surprising feeling: hope.

Surely, she figured, Gov. Gavin Newsom would be booted out of office. Or at least get a good scare.

There was such fervor here in rural Lassen County — where a whopping 84% of voters supported the recall, the highest percentage in the state — that it was hard not to believe it could happen.

Then, Newsom’s landslide victory landed like a kick in the shin with a steel-toed boot.

“I went to bed really wanting to put a ‘for sale’ sign in front of my house,” said Pickens, 50, as she sipped a chai tea latte outside Artisan Coffee in Janesville, population 1,400.

Once again, the votes of vast, rural Northern California, which overwhelmingly supported the recall, were drowned out by urban liberals, Pickens said.

As for the California Republican Party, which had its best shot in over a decade of governing the state?

“Ineffective, as usual,” said Pickens, a longtime Republican. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.