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There is a deepening sense of fear as population loss accelerates in rural America. The decline of small-town life is expected to be a looming topic in the presidential election.

America’s rural population began contracting about a decade ago, according to statistics drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A whopping 81 percent of rural counties had more deaths than births between 2019 and 2023, according to an analysis by a University of New Hampshire demographer. Experts who study the phenomena say the shrinking baby boomer population and younger residents having smaller families and moving elsewhere for jobs are fueling the trend.

According to a recent Agriculture Department estimate, the rural population did rebound by 0.25 percent from 2020 to 2022 as some families decamped from urban areas during the pandemic.

But demographers say they are still evaluating whether that trend will continue, and if so, where. Pennsylvania has been particularly afflicted. Job losses in the manufacturing and energy industries that began in the 1980s prompted many younger families to relocate to Sun Belt states. The relocations helped fuel population surges in places like Texas and Georgia. But here, two-thirds of the state’s 67 counties have experienced a drop in population in recent years.

Non-paywall link

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The World’s Ugliest Dog annual contest may not render the most flattering title to its victor, but don’t tell that to Wild Thang.

The eight-year-old pekingese won this year’s competition on Friday.

Eight dogs vied for the title at the 2024 Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California. Most of the creatures came from dog shelters before being adopted.

Wild Thang – of Coos Bay, Oregon – has competed in five editions of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest. Friday marked his first victory.

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The U.S. Olympic team is one of a handful that will supply air conditioners for their athletes at the Paris Games in a move that undercuts organizers’ plans to cut carbon emissions.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic CEO Sarah Hirshland said Friday that while the U.S. team appreciates efforts aimed at sustainability, the federation would be supplying AC units for what is typically the largest contingent of athletes at the Summer Games.

“As you can imagine, this is a period of time in which consistency and predictability is critical for Team USA’s performance,” Hirshland said. “In our conversations with athletes, this was a very high priority and something that the athletes felt was a critical component in their performance capability.”

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada and Britain were among the other countries with plans to bring air conditioners to France.

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The far-right darling is accused of leaving his mom and sister high and dry as they fight eviction.

Kyle Rittenhouse has been publicly dragged by his own family, who say the far-right darling has left them high and dry as his mother and sister brace for eviction from their home. 

Faith, Kyle’s sister, put out a desperate plea for help on May 29, setting up a GoFundMe to help fight their eviction notice.

“With my brother’s unwillingness to provide support or contribute to our family, we’ve been left to navigate this journey on our own,” she added. 

Her family has “exhausted every resource available to us,” she wrote, and “time is running out.”

When I was in the hospital we tried to like talk to my brother, we tried to like to tell his lawyer to tell like my brother like I was maybe needing surgery or like I was in the hospital, I never heard from him,” Faith told viewers of the V-Radio podcast.

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Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said he floated the idea of having a “migrant league of fighters” to UFC President Dana White, again employing dehumanizing language to describe people who enter the US illegally.

“I said, ‘Dana, I have an idea: Why don’t you set up a migrant league of fighters and have your regular league of fighters. And then you have the champion of your league — these are the greatest fighters in the world — fight the champion of the migrants. I think the migrants’ guy might win, that’s how tough they are,” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said at a gathering of Christian conservatives in Washington.

Trump added, “He didn’t like that idea too much, but actually, it’s not the worst idea I’ve ever had.”

The former president repeated the comments at a campaign rally in Philadelphia later Saturday.

President Joe Biden’s campaign swiftly denounced the comments Saturday afternoon.

Fitting that convicted felon Donald Trump spent his time at a religious conference threatening to round up Latinos, bragging about ripping away Americans’ freedoms, and promising to be even more extreme if he regains power,” spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said. “Trump’s incoherent, unhinged tirade showed voters in his own words that he is a threat to our freedoms and is too dangerous to be let anywhere near the White House again.”

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The elective course was reviewed to see if it complied with Youngkin executive order banning ‘inherently divisive concepts

Virginia’s education department proposed dozens of revisions to an elective course on African American history, striking some references to white supremacy and systemic racism among other changes, documents show.

A spokesman for the state education department said the review is still ongoing, and no changes have been implemented yet. But some professors involved in the creation of the earlier curriculum are concerned that the proposed revisions would dilute some of the topics and language explored in the course if implemented.

The department has not publicly released the proposed changes, which were submitted last August. The review was revealed in public records obtained by watchdog group American Oversight and shared with The Washington Post.

The proposed revisions were part of a review of whether the African American history elective complied with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order banning “inherently divisive concepts” from the classroom.

Non-paywall link

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The European Commission has delayed action on tobacco and nicotine, but countries say it should consider a ban on flavored vapes.

Denmark is leading a charge for a European clampdown on vapes in a move the country says will protect children and young people from harm.

A total of 12 EU health ministers, led by Denmark’s Sophie Løhde, have backed a paper calling on the European Commission to propose new legislation, which could include banning flavored vapes and limiting nicotine content.

They also suggest that social media giants take "greater responsibility" for marketing and sales of vapes on their platforms.

The pressure on the Commission to act on vapes comes after the EU executive delayed its planned reform of tobacco and nicotine rules earlier this year.

The setback triggered a backlash from Belgium's Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, who told the European Parliament's health committee in January that industry lobbying was to blame for the Commission's inaction.

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Idaho librarian June Meissner was closing up for the day at the downtown Boise Public Library when a man approached her asking for help.

As an information services librarian, answering patrons’ questions is part of Meissner’s day-to-day work, and serving the community is one of her favorite parts of the job. 

But when the man got close enough, “he took a swing at me and tried to punch me in the head,” said Meissner, a transgender woman. “I blocked it and he started yelling slurs and suggesting that he was going to come back and kill me.”

Worldwide Pride Month events are well underway to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and rights. But it is coming at a time when people who identify as LGBTQ+ say they are facing increasing difficulties at work, ranging from being repeatedly misgendered to physically assaulted. 

Gender nonconforming library workers in particular, like Meissner, are also grappling with growing calls for book bans across the U.S., with books about gender identity, sexual orientation and race topping the list of most criticized titles and making the attacks all the more personal.

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From the construction industry to the tourism sector, Greek employers cannot find the staff they need. The government's solution: longer working hours. A new law enables employers to implement a six-day work week

After 15 years of recession and austerity and three rescue packages that came with tough conditions attached, labor in Greece is no longer strictly regulated.

Collective agreements have been frozen for years, and in many businesses, staff work on the basis of individual employment contracts.

While the 40-hour work week is still officially in place, employers are permitted to require staff to work up to two unpaid hours per day for a limited period in return for more free time.

In theory, this additional work is voluntary. In reality, however, workers in many businesses and workplaces are forced to work longer hours without receiving any form of compensation.

The authorities — which are themselves short-staffed — rarely carry out checks to make sure that labor law is being observed. Making sure that the authorities can do such monitoring tasks effectively is not a priority for the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

But even before the law on the six-day work week comes into force on July 1, Greek workers work longer hours than any other workforce in Europe. With an average 41 hours per week, they work more than all other EU citizens, according to the EU's statistics agency, Eurostat. What's more, the pay they get for these long hours is low by European standards.

With a minimum monthly wage of €830($887), Greece ranks 15th in the EU in this respect. In terms of purchasing power, it ranks second last in Europe.

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The Russian president said Friday that his country will continue to develop its nuclear arsenal, days after signing a new mutual defense pact with Kim Jong Un.

A key U.S. ally fired warning shots Friday — live ones to repel North Korean soldiers and a diplomatic volley to counter Russian President Vladimir Putin, as tensions rise after his new mutual defense pact with Kim Jong Un.

South Korea, which has so far only provided non-lethal aid to Ukraine, said it was considering arming Kyiv in response to a newly forged alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang reminiscent of the Cold War that has alarmed officials in the West.

Putin said that doing so would be a "very big mistake."

“If this happens, then we will also make appropriate decisions that the current leadership of South Korea would hardly like,” he said during his state visit to Vietnam on Thursday, which immediately followed the lavish Pyongyang visit. “We reserve our right to supply weapons to other regions of the world,” he added.

The Russian president's saber-rattling continued Friday, when he said that Russia will continue to develop its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent.

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Texas megachurch pastor Robert Morris, who Donald Trump once named as a spiritual adviser to his administration, announced he was stepping down from Gateway Church amid allegations he molested a 12-year-old girl in the 1980s. 

The resignation comes days after Morris, 62, seemingly admitted to molesting the girl in a statement to The Christian Post. In that statement, he conceded that he engaged in “inappropriate sexual behavior” with a “young lady” when he was already married with a child in his early 20s.

Morris didn’t mention the girl’s age—but his alleged victim, Cindy Clemishire, told the religious watchdog blog The Wartburg Watch on Friday that she was only 12 when she was first sexually abused by Morris on Christmas Day in 1982. She claimed that he invited her into the room he was staying in at her family home during a visit, and touched her inappropriately on her breasts and “under her panties.”

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Police said 34 new Tesla Cybertrucks were damaged. The owner parked the exotic cars in a parking lot in Fort Lauderdale. 

In an apparent vendetta against Elon Musk, a vandal, or vandals spray-painted an expletive and his name — “F--- Elon” — on the ostentatious electric trucks starting at over $80,000 each. 

“It was just one row and then it was a second row, and then a third row and a fourth row,” Adam Docktor, who works nearby, said.

[-] [email protected] 131 points 9 months ago

The air-defence system fired its rounds to shoot the drones down, thus revealing its location, Rybar reported. Ukraine waited until it had fired all its ammo, then targeted it with cruise missiles.

[-] [email protected] 130 points 9 months ago* (last edited 9 months ago)

Here’s some good news about that with California making its own insulins:

The state-label insulins will cost no more than $30 per 10 milliliter vial, and no more than $55 for a box of five pre-filled pen cartridges — for both insured and uninsured patients. The medicines will be available nationwide, the governor's office said.

https://www.npr.org/2023/03/19/1164572757/california-contract-cheap-insulin-calrx

[-] [email protected] 123 points 10 months ago

Ads for brands including Adobe, Gilead Sciences, the University of Maryland’s football team, New York University Langone Hospital and NCTA-The Internet and Television Association were run alongside tweets from the account that had garnered hundreds of thousands of views, CNN observed.

Spokespeople for NCTA and pharmaceutical company Gilead said that they immediately paused their ad spending on X after CNN flagged their ads on the pro-Nazi account.

[-] [email protected] 155 points 10 months ago

“It’s becoming all too commonplace to see everyday citizens performing necessary functions for our democracy being targeted with violent threats by Trump-supporting extremists," Jones said. "The lack of political leadership on the right to denounce these threats — which serve to inspire real-world political violence— is shameful.

And there’s also this:

Yesterday — after Trump posted on his social media website that authorities were going "after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!" — Advance Democracy noted that Trump supporters were "using the term ‘rigger’ in lieu of a racial slur" in posts online.

[-] [email protected] 161 points 10 months ago

"Liberal media has distorted my record since the beginning of my judicial career, and I refuse to let false accusations go unchecked," Bradley told the Journal Sentinel in an email. "On my wikipedia page, I added excerpts from actual opinions and removed dishonest information about my background."

What, then, was getting under her skin?

It's clear Bradley really, really disliked the section in her Wikipedia page dealing with a Republican challenge to the stay-at-home order issued by the administration of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in response the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her Wikipedia page, in May 2020, Bradley "compared the state's stay-at-home orders to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II," a case known as Korematsu v. the United States.

[-] [email protected] 147 points 10 months ago

According to ABC 13 Eyewitness News in Houston, things started when school trustee Melissa Dungan declared that she had spoken to parents who were upset about "displays of personal ideologies in classrooms." When pressed for an example, according to the news report, "Dungan referred to a first grade student whose parent claimed they were so upset by a poster showing hands of people of different races, that they transferred classrooms." … Some other members of the school board did, in fact, argue that there was nothing objectionable about such a poster. But Dungan was backed up by another trustee, Misty Odenweller, who insisted that the depiction of uh, race-mixing was in some way a "violation of the law." The two women are part of "Mama Bears Rising," a secretive far-right group fueling the book-banning mania in Conroe and the surrounding area. At least 59 books have been banned due to their efforts.

WTF

[-] [email protected] 143 points 10 months ago

The search was so secret that Twitter was barred from telling Trump the search warrant had been obtained for his account, and Twitter was fined $350,000 because it delayed producing the records sought under the search warrant.

[-] [email protected] 219 points 10 months ago

“They attempt to legitimize these unnecessary debates with a proposal that most recently came in of a politically motivated roundtable,” Harris said in her afternoon speech at the 20th Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention in Orlando. “Well, I’m here in Florida, and I will tell you there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact. There were no redeeming qualities of slavery.”

Makes sense to me.

[-] [email protected] 159 points 11 months ago

Last week Country Music Television, which initially aired the video, pulled it from rotation. But after Aldean defended the music video by stating that "there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage," Stark said it was easy to prove him wrong

In a TikTok video that's gotten at least 1.5 million views, Stark found that two of the clips in the video came from stock footage. One showed a woman flipping off police at at labor day event in Germany and another was a commercial stock clip of a molotov cocktail.

Lying about it and then getting caught.

Stark shared screenshots with NBC News of hateful messages she's received since posting her videos about Aldean's song, which included racist slurs, fatphobic remarks and death threats.

Just bizarre.

[-] [email protected] 232 points 11 months ago

Heartbreaking

One of the plaintiffs in the suit, Samantha Casiano, vomited on the stand while discussing her baby's fatal birth defect, which she said also put her life at risk.

Casiano said she learned at 20 weeks' gestation that her baby had anencephaly, a serious condition that meant the infant was missing parts of her brain and skull. Casiano said her obstetrician told her the baby would not survive after birth and gave her information about funeral homes.

Casiano read aloud a doctor’s note that diagnosed her pregnancy as high risk, then began to sob and ultimately threw up, prompting the judge to call a recess.

[-] [email protected] 153 points 11 months ago

This is why they're mad

President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in 2022 by a narrow party-line vote, empowered Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time in the program’s six-decade history.

The provision aims to make drugs more affordable for older Americans but will likely reduce pharmaceutical industry profits.

[-] [email protected] 125 points 11 months ago

Our billionaires are not okay. The most obvious example, of course, is Musk, who is having a midlife crisis so unhinged that it would be upsetting if he weren't such a terrible person. He purchased Twitter for $44 billion last year, out of nothing more than a fit of pique over the company's efforts to keep the social media app from being too overrun by Nazis. As the company swirls down the toilet under his watch, his public behavior gets ever more erratic. The threat from Threads, a Meta-owned competitor that launched earlier this month, caused Musk, age 52, to react with a level of immaturity that would be cause for alarm in a junior high school kid. He challenged Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a "cage match." And then again to a "literal dick measuring contest." He keeps throwing schoolboy insults at Zuckerberg.

Kinda hilarious and sad at the same time.

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