Saturday, October 24, 2020

Censoring of Comments

Submitted by legal stranger:


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Harry Wait <>
Date: Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 4:37 PM
Subject: censoring of comments
To: Stephanie Jones <>, <>

Good afternoon Stephanie and Dee,


Could someone please explain why the following comment was censored?

equity? pffft There is a reason why this judge is nicknamed "Robber" Weber. Within Weber's municipal court there lies a very troubling and cozy relationship between the city's attorney office and the judge. This relationship is so toxic and convoluted that court records were destroyed. When court files were requested for an appeal, appellant was informed that no records exist for the case. Weber in conjunction with city attorney Nhu Tran fined defendant over $50,000 for minor building code violations.. The appeal case was docketed as case Racine County Circuit Court case 2019CV001357 where the case was dismissed with prejudice. Weber is a special kind of "robber" for the city read more here:

The above comment and one very similar to it was not posted,  both were properly submitted into the comments.

Would either of you like to respond why comments are being censored and the truth is not allowed to be commented in your newspaper?

Harry Wait

Harry Wait

Open Blog - Weekend

 Me, too.

Friday, October 23, 2020

State budget office: Foxconn's facility 'may be better suited for demonstration' than as a factory

From JSOnline:

Ricardo Torres
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Days before the state declined to give the Foxconn Technology Group tax credits for work done in 2019, officials wrote that the Mount Pleasant facility "may be better suited for demonstration purposes rather than as a viable commercial glass fabrication facility." 

The memo casting doubt on the project states the Foxconn facility "if operational, would be the smallest Generation 6 (factory) operating anywhere in the world. It is less than one-twentieth the size of the promised Generation 10.5 project and would employ, if it ever became fully operational, only a small fraction of the local residents who WEDC expected to be employed." 

The Oct. 7 memo was first reported by The Verge and confirmed by officials at the Department of Administration. The Verge is a technology news website operated by Vox Media. 

Read more:

Maricella’s Last Breath: She died alone in a cell at 16. Officials said they were devastated. They didn’t say they did anything wrong.

From JSOnline:

Rory Linnane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Maricella Chairez wanted to keep breathing. 

In her cell at the Racine County Juvenile Detention Center, she drew the word “breath” big among clouds and stars on a poster she hung next to the calendar where she crossed off the days. 

The drawing was next to her on the wall when she took her last breath sometime after 10:42 p.m. Dec. 10, 2017. 

Nearby was a crumpled piece of paper. It said: “I’m going crazy in this place.” 

On her desk were journals and poetry. “Everybody got a story that needs to be told,” she wrote. “So here I go with mine. Ready set and go.” 

Maricella was 16. She never had the chance to share her story with the world, grow up with her little brother, frame her photography or fulfill her dream of helping other survivors of trafficking.

Five days after Maricella died by suicide, officials responsible for her care issued a brief news release. 

“The juvenile was found unresponsive in her cell during the night,” they wrote. They said they were devastated. They said children in their care were like family.

They didn’t say what records would later reveal — that jail guards were late to check on Maricella the night she died, that she had been isolated despite national guidance against such a practice, and that her death involved a suicide hazard in her cell that staff knew was dangerous. 

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examination of hundreds of documents, including medical records, police reports and court transcripts, shows authorities repeatedly failed Maricella, not only in her final days but for years before that. County workers often didn’t find her proper mental health care. Police downplayed her reports of sexual assault. A judge ordered her jailed the night she escaped traffickers. 

Throughout this story, click [highlighted] phrases to learn about steps recommended by experts to better serve young people like Maricella.

In jail, Maricella attempted suicide multiple times. During that time, she told officials she needed more help than she was getting in detention. 

Even in death, Maricella didn’t get the full attention of authorities.

State corrections officials did not produce a full report on her death. Instead, a corrections inspector sent a two-page letter to jail officials 464 days after she died, praising them for doing an “excellent job” providing mental health care to jail workers who responded to the suicide. The report said nothing about the lack of mental health services for Maricella.

Maricella’s mother, Cynthia Casillas, shared medical and legal records with the Journal Sentinel, saying she hoped her daughter’s story could help others so that “another parent does not have to go through the tragedy we’re living."

Nine days before Maricella died, she had almost died the same way. She had tied clothing around her neck and through the holes in her bunk. 

Even though some experts say bunks should be banned from cells because they pose a suicide risk, no one got Maricella a safer bed or removed the unused bed from her cell. She died tied to the upper bunk. 

One of the last entries in her journal said: “I know a lot of people going through a harder struggle then me. So why am I trippin.”

Read more:

Open Blog - Friday

I'll try. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Dr. Gregory Poland - Facts about the flu vaccine and COVID 19

Coronavirus vaccine: Healthy volunteers to be infected with COVID-19 to test and study vaccines

NASA touches an asteroid -- what to know

Orionids Meteor Shower Peaks

Chechen teen suspected in Paris teacher's beheading as investigation continues

Nigeria: Soldiers 'fire on Nigerians protesting police brutality' in Lagos

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NTSB: lack of oversight led to deadly boat fire

Juror says homicide charges were not presented in Breonna Taylor case

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Release First Portrait After Stepping Down As Senior Royals

Google Faces Antitrust Lawsuit From Justice Department And 11 States | NBC Nightly News

Democrats and White House still far apart as coronavirus relief bill deadline looms

Senate Republicans short on time and money to defend majority

Trump abruptly ends '60 Minutes' solo interview

US election 2020: What are Joe Biden’s plans for office? - BBC Newsnight

Open Blog - Wednesday



Monday, October 19, 2020

Mason brothers’ risky Racine COVID test lab

**This story has been updated to include comment from researcher Christopher Mason and to clarify information about the effects of heating coronaviruses.

Empower Wisconsin | Sept 15, 2020 

MADISON — The City of Racine City Hall Annex has been transformed into a laboratory where city employees work with a highly contagious virus that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. — more than 1,200 in Wisconsin. 

And Racine city officials don’t seem at all concerned about the potential safety and liability hazards. 

Sources with backgrounds in biotech tell Empower Wisconsin city leaders and Racine citizens should be very wary of the dangers of a COVID-19 experiment they say has no business being conducted on city property.

Coming home

In July, mainstream media outlets began doing feature stories on Christopher Mason’s research. Mason, associate professor and systems biology wunderkind at Weill Cornell Medicine, is looking for a faster way to test for COVID-19. Mason also just happens to be the brother of Racine’s liberal Mayor Cory Mason, a fact that raises some conflict of interest questions. The scientist, the stories note, came home to turn his hometown into a cutting edge laboratory in the fight against a relentless and deadly pandemic. 

Professor Mason is working alongside Alison Kriegel, PhD, associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

As Fox6 explained in late July, the researchers established a mobile lab in the Racine City Hall Annex. They have employed city firefighters to collect “a few milliliters of saliva from city employees taking part in the study.” 

“We’re cooking the saliva at 95 degrees for 30 minutes to essentially kill the virus. And then from there, we’re testing it,” Chief Brian Wolf of the Racine Police Department, told the news outlet. 

The idea, officials say, is to limit the chance for spread within the lab.

It’s alive

But is a city building where several departments are located — parks and recreation, water and wastewater among them — the best place to research a test for a virus that is considered at a risk level below Ebola? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that SARS-COV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 “should be isolated and studied only in laboratories with advanced containment capabilities, meaning those with a biosafety level (BSL) of 3 or higher.”

So they are conducting a test on a virus that is considered at a risk level below Ebola. Organisms are classified on a Biosafety scale of 1 to 4 — 1 being fairly safe, 4 being, well, the deadly Ebola virus. 

In an email response to Empower Wisconsin, Kriegel insists the lab is “not working with live virus.” She said samples are collected in a tube by subjects, capped and then “heat activated” in the closed collection container to kill the virus prior to handling. 

A biotech expert who spoke to Empower Wisconsin on condition of anonymity said Kriegel’s explanation is absurd. 

“So they aren’t working with the live virus. They are just collecting samples and heating them to, well, kill the live virus,” the source said. “Even accepting such an absurd statement, there is no published guideline for that treatment killing the virus.” 

Studies show heat over certain durations can destroy coronaviruses, but there are variables, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes in a July summary of studies.

“Generally coronaviruses survive for shorter periods at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. However, we don’t have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature‐based cutoff for inactivation at this point. The necessary temperature would also be based on the materials of the surface, the environment, etc.,” the CDC summary notes. 

What if a tube containing samples cracks or shatters? Maybe it’s dropped during heating. The biotech expert who spoke to Empower Wisconsin said an aerosol will immediately form. 

“This could enter the building ventilation system and contaminate work surfaces and the floors,” the source said. How are workers and the public being protected? 

Professor Mason acknowledged the potential risks.

“In terms of the safety question, there’s always a chance you don’t collect a sample right … nothing is 100 percent risk-free,” he said.  “But once it’s in the tube and you cap it and heat it,  to my knowledge, there’s not a single piece of information that says the virus is still effective.” If so, the researcher added, ” you could just heat it longer.”  

Not to worry, Kriegel says. “Everyone is wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) and disposables were being treated as biohazardous waste.” That means the waste has been autoclaved and/or collected for biohazard disposal through the private company the health department uses, the researcher said.  

She said first responders assisting in the research have received HAZMAT training. Besides, she added, they’re already at risk of encountering infected people while in the normal course of their public safety duties. 

Employees being tested (and it is only City employees being tested, who volunteer to participate in the study) are already (potentially) breathing into ventilation systems, using restrooms and touching surfaces in city buildings—as is everyone every time we go out in public,” Kriegel said. 

That’s an interesting position to take, however, in a city run by Professor Mason’s brother — the mayor — who, alongside city council members, has done everything in his power (and outside of his power) to lock down or limit businesses and the liberties of citizens to save them from COVID-19. 

Ethics and liability 

The ethical use of human subjects, as in the Racine annex COVID test research, requires a thorough review by an established Institutional Review Board (IRB), according to federal regulations. The history of contemporary human subjects protections began in 1947 with the Nuremberg Code, developed for the Nuremberg Military Tribunal as standards by which to judge the human experimentation conducted by the Nazis, according to the federal Office for Human Research Protections. 

Kriegel said the Medical College of Wisconsin’s IRB approved the COVID-19 test study, but she said she does not know which members in particular were involved. It would be inappropriate, the researcher said, for her to know the names of the board members or identify them. 

The research would seem to raise myriad liability concerns for the city of Racine and its taxpayers. 

City Attorney Scott Letteney said “direct funding” for the research project is coming from Cornell, while the Medical Center of Wisconsin is paying for the cost of its employees’ participation — in wages/benefits — for participation in the COVID-19 test experiments. Letteney said employees are covered under Racine’s workers compensation coverage. 

Is the city indemnified in case of a an accident? 

The city attorney said the question is “very nonspecific,” but added there are “liability-limiting provisions in the agreement and in the law.” He did not specify what the liability-limiting provisions are. 

And what about employees’ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rights? Are they being protected? Letteney claims there is no “HIPPA effect.” 

“All screening, diagnostic, and any other health information is under the control of the research scientists. No screening, diagnostic, or any other health information about employees tested is being share(d) with the City of Racine as an employer,” the city attorney said. 

Will Racine’s taxpayers benefit from the proceeds of a successful and marketable COVID-19 rapid test? Will they be rewarded for their risk? Does Cory Mason stand to profit from his brother’s research on taxpayer time? The mayor did not respond to Empower Wisconsin’s request for comment. 

The researchers see big things for their test, and they told Fox6 that they would move forward as fast as they could to “try to validate this test.” 

“…(H)opefully, we’ll be able to open it up to a broader community once we are able to get the validation completed, Kriegel said. 

But have the researchers put lives on the line in their rapid quest for a rapid COVID-19 test built on cozy political relationships?

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Open Blog - Monday