It’s Way Past Time to Honor the Golden Rule – OB Rag

by Ernie McCray

Ive been getting a few memes on my Facebook feed kind of around the theme that God doesnt give you more than you can handle.

Such a sentiment makes me shudder as people right now, who are way overburdened with a situation brought on by a deadly virus, are dying left and right all around us and all around the world.

Im not religious but I was raised in a home with people who were religious to the bone, two of the truest Christians Ive ever known: my mother, a soulful gospel piano playing woman who played for our churchs choir, and her father, my grandfather, a man who had sailed several seas and honored his Lord as easily as he breathed.

But their faith was reflected, less on cutesy Bible verses and the like, and more on just being respectful of their fellow human beings and giving way more than they received.

My point being they would never have made any struggling overwhelmed person feel at ease spouting claims that God wont allow you to be burdened too much and they, the both of them, endured and overcame a plethora of lifes daunting challenges and they gave thanks for their blessings. But they knew that didnt apply to everybody as they, as well as I over my lifetime, have seen many folks go under because they couldnt handle their lifes conditions.

They modeled, for me, how Christians should be although Ive shed much of the pure sacredness aspects of my upbringing as religion has simply, to myliking, been too full of hallelujahs and you cant do this and you cant do that and talk about the devil and the enemy and stuff like that.

However, what I took from that was a Do unto others what you would have them do unto you philosophy that has guided my behavior throughout my life.

Like in sports I was in an opponents face like Sherlock Holmes on a murder case but I never tried to hurt anybody intentionally because I didnt want anybody trying to injure me.

On the playground I stood on the sidelines of the Yo Mama putdowns and other such trash talking traditions of renown because I didnt want to hurt anybodys feeling and didnt want anybody to hurt mine.

The Golden Rule has suited me just fine.

And that brings me back to this day and time, to my Facebook timeline that expresses a few of my friends religious beliefs, their need to praise their God, something I fully understand, but I wish theyd be considerate of others when they post sentiments like:

Gas in the Car!Still got a job!Somebody needs to tell GodThank you!!!

Their feelings inspired a range of true dats and amens and I, too, felt thankful that so far, at least, Im not having any trouble making ends meet but Icouldnt help but wonder how such a message resonated with someone who:

cant pay their bills,keep food on the table,gas up their carand has no job.What should theytell God?

I wouldnt, if I were one of them, want to be greeted online with rejoicing that treated me as if I and my misfortunes didnt exist.

So, it seems to me, and Im sure my mom and granddad, if they were still around, would agree that if were to get through our ordeal as a world of people, we will simply have to treat each other the way wed like to be treated.

A world honoring the Golden Rule is an idea way past its time as such behavior might be the answer to what our collective duty should be all about during these times: saving humankind.



It's Way Past Time to Honor the Golden Rule - OB Rag

Henry Cejudo Breaks the Golden Rule of Pro Wrestling After His AEW Debut – Essentially Sports

All Elite Wrestling has been on a roll in the past few weeks. After a blockbuster night at Double or Nothing, the promotion has presented some spectacular episodes of Dynamite with the recent brawl between Mike Tyson and Chris Jericho getting unprecedented attention for the company. Another man who has been in the spotlight is former Olympic gold medalist and UFC legend Henry Cejudo.

The American mixed martial artist has been acting as an ally of Iron Mike in his beef with Y2J. Needless to say, fans are dying to see Cejudo mix it up with Jericho and his Inner Circle. However, recent actions by Cejudo have left a sour taste in their mouths.

A video has been doing the rounds on social media where Cejudo can clearly be seen breaking kayfabe. Triple C can be seen making a video where he is enjoying a laugh with Chris Jericho backstage.

Now, many of you might think that this is just overreaction as kayfabe is a myth in modern pro wrestling. WWE has acknowledged that fact and it repeatedly telecasts programs like 24 on the WWE Network where on-screen rivals are seen chilling with each other behind the scenes.

However, for the core fanbase of Professional Wrestling, this is what has pushed them away from the company. Even if fans know that the action is scripted, they want the realism associated with the product to sustain.

If you recall, the most popular days of wrestling in the Attitude era saw superstars like Steve Austin and The Rock maintain kayfabe even when they are not in action. Recently, Broken Matt Hardy became popular because of this strict adherence to his character even during interviews.

AEW has been developed by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks on the premise of being a different product. They had pledged to save professional wrestling by taking it away from cheap theatrics to some real cold-blooded action.

It can be argued that Henry Cajudo being seen with Jericho backstage takes a lot of steam away from this angle. These are the avoidable mistakes which the company needs to do away with.

Do you think kayfabe is still an integral part of the business?

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Henry Cejudo Breaks the Golden Rule of Pro Wrestling After His AEW Debut - Essentially Sports

The Class of 2020 | Class of 2020 | tetonvalleynews.net – Teton Valley News

I take my cowboy hat off to the graduating class. This year has been peculiar. Doubt that any will surpass.

But one thing is for certain. Its a gamble worth the bet. The year of 2020 you will dang sure not forget.

Some have given up and sure to cause them certain strife, but you have reached your first achievement in your many days of life.

Youre young and full of spirit, like a filly shakes her tail. Never give up dreaming cuz youre afraid that you might fail.

A cowboys life aint cheap and with equipment comes expense. A healthy education brings you more than just horse sense.

So be diligent when studying. Youve got no time to shirk. And if you plan on making bank, for sure its worth the work.

Theres more to life than money, but it takes a lot to live. So, choose an occupation where youll have some left to give

To someone wholl be starting out, the way you are right now. Youll soon find out that everyone can use a break somehow.

Remember, in this life theres not a single thing for free. Somebodys got to pay it and its usually you and me.

Exhibit deeds of kindness. Cowboys have a Golden Rule. Youll treat each other with respect. If not, then youre a fool.

Some days will be discouraging. You wont know what to do. But this cowboys telling you therell be a light come shining through.

Your best years are ahead of you. Be ready for each task. Your God is there to help you. All you gotta do is ask.

So, congratulations seniors. You are gonna love the world. Take a step and cowboy up. Youre about to be unfurled.

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The Class of 2020 | Class of 2020 | tetonvalleynews.net - Teton Valley News

Rules, Rescheduled Games and a Covenant Worth Preserving – The New York Times

If you are enjoying this newsletter every Friday, please pass it on to a friend (or four) and tell them to sign up at nytimes.com/rory.

The Premier League Handbook is so long that calling it a handbook is, in many ways, a bit of a stretch. It runs, all told, to 665 pages. It falls somewhere between a particularly dense instruction manual and an especially didactic piece of scripture.

It lays out, in a sea of sections and subsections, exactly how a club must be run if it wishes to be part of the most popular domestic sports league in the world. And exactly means exactly: No stone is left unturned, no detail uncovered.

What players must wear while performing off-field duties: clothing bearing the clubs crest. How long a postgame warm-down can last: 15 minutes, and not a second longer. What teams are and are not allowed to show on the big screens in their home stadiums: no rolling live footage, thank you very much.

The only thing that is not included, as became abundantly clear on the evening of March 13, is what might happen if the league season cannot be completed. Section C The League Championship had nothing to say on the matter.

The handbook will, presumably, be updated; there is already a 50-page appendix governing how teams should safely return to training in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the seasons suspension more than two months ago. That will be done either by decree or according to precedent, but the absence of such instruction felt then (and it still feels now) like something of an oversight.

The arrival of an aggressive pathogen is, after all, not the only thing that might have caused the cessation of soccer. War has done it in the past, civil unrest has done it elsewhere, and player strikes have managed it in other sports. Given soccers economics, it is not entirely unimaginable that the collapse of a broadcast partner might pose an existential threat, too.

But the handbook did not offer guidance. This was the one eventuality nobody seemed to have considered. It spoke only silence. And so, for the last two months, there has been nothing but noise.

Over the course of hours and hours of meetings and days and weeks of whisper and suggestion and briefing the executives of the Premier League have tried to conjure an answer to the one question none of them had ever previously felt the need to ask.

Only on Thursday, as the end of May drew close, did they land upon one. In Germany, the Bundesliga had already been playing for two weeks. In Spain, the games authorities had long since committed themselves to playing out the season. In France, where the leagues hand was forced by the government, Paris St.-Germain had already been named champion.

Now, at last, England has a way forward, too: The Premier League will return on June 17, as long as it retains political permission and there is no spike in either the positive tests returned by players or the infection rate across Britain.

If the league cannot return, the season will be determined on a points-per-game basis (effectively freezing the table as it stands, with one or two exceptions). It will name a champion. It will relegate its three worst teams. At last, the idea of null and void is off the table.

For a while, that seemed to be the preferred solution of a number of teams who exist entirely to play soccer. For some time, there has been a constituency in the Premier League to whom all that matters is being there: not excelling, not winning games, not entertaining anyone, but simply existing in the top flight of English soccer. Null and void seemed to be the natural conclusion of that approach: It did not matter if anyone played soccer at all, it turned out, as long as they could keep cashing those television checks.

It was initially dressed up in an understandable, fairly compelling, morality: The very idea that soccer should return was almost offensive, they said. Then, later: The idea that the season should be played out in empty stadiums, compromising its integrity, was unfair, they said. Then, later still: Soccer could be played without fans, they said, but not at neutral venues; or it could be played at neutral venues, but nobody could be relegated.

There is merit to some of these arguments. Certainly, in April, it felt distasteful to try to map out the return of a mere sport (we have established previously that it is morally OK to miss sports, no matter what else is going on) as the pandemic raged at its peak and it seemed there was no end to the nightmare.

Less significantly, the Bundesligas experience does suggest that the absence of fans has a dramatic impact on results: Home-field advantage seems, almost overnight, to have disappeared in Germany. And it is true that the desire to play games at neutral venues in case crowds gather outside stadiums is, in essence, an egregious insult to those fans upon whom the entire edifice rests.

That those arguments have not won the day, though, is a relief. Not because the only fair way to settle the season was always to play it out. Not because of the economic imperative for the health of the clubs and, to some extent, the game as a whole to find a way back.

And not because it is necessarily right that soccer will return. It remains, after all, a delicate balance. There is no guarantee that the English or even the German season will be able to finish. It may well be that one or both will be decided, in the end, off the field, by some mathematical formula.

But that is vastly preferable to voiding it, to scratching it from the record books, pretending it never happened, starting over whenever we can. Not because that was never really necessary, or because it is inherently unfair, or because it prioritizes things that did not happen over things that did. No, it is preferable for a much more fundamental reason.

There is a covenant between fans and the sports they follow. It assures that what the fans are watching, what they are investing their time and money in, counts for something. It matters. It has meaning an artificial meaning, something that we impose, rather than something inherent, but a meaning nonetheless.

To write off the season, then, would not only strip the first nine months of this season of that meaning, it would also jeopardize the meaning of any season in the future. It would make it hard to invest financially in a season ticket or a television subscription. More important, frankly, it would make it hard to invest emotionally in a team again.

Why would you, after all, if someone might tell you a few months later that what you were watching happened, but didnt count, didnt mean anything? Voiding the season would have ruptured the bond we have with the sport. One of the rationales you hear, frequently, from those who would have abandoned it is that at a time like this soccer doesnt matter. Cancellation would have been confirmation that it doesnt matter at any time.

That, perhaps, is what the revised Premier League Handbook should reflect. Just an addendum to Section C: a clause that says, in case the worst should happen again, what you are watching, what you are playing in, what you are part of, cannot be extinguished by some force majeure. It will all, in the end, count for something.

This Is the Future, for Now. We Might as Well Try.

There is a golden rule of the internet. It is not, despite what a lot of people think, Godwins Law. It is this: If you put something online, at some point in the process some man and it is, essentially, always a man will hijack it for the purposes of some form of sexual gratification.

And so nobody, but nobody, should have been surprised on Thursday that when the Danish club AGF Aarhus invited fans to follow its first game of the resumed season on Zoom, two men had to be cut from the feed by the clubs moderator for exposing themselves. (Thankfully, before their little stunt had been seen by anyone.)

It is a bleak reality, dont get me wrong. It isnt funny. I cant explain it. I dont even begin to understand it. But it should also not distract from the fact that there is something encouraging in Aarhuss experiment. If we accept that fans are not going to be in stadiums for some time, then clubs, leagues and broadcasters should be looking for ways not so much to soften the blow, but to adapt.

In Germany, the leagues broadcaster is offering ambient crowd noise to viewers watching at home. In South Korea, it was pumped directly into the stadium. Bringing fans into the stands through Zoom is a valiant attempt to go a step farther. (Our friend Tariq Panja wrote about the AGF match, and the video is fun.)

All of these modifications are anathema to the purist, of course. But to reuse a phrase the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. Fans cannot go into stadiums. Soccer can spend the coming months bemoaning that. Or it can find a way to make this reality as palatable as possible. Who knows? Perhaps some of the ideas might last longer than the crisis.

Sadly, Necessity Doesnt Always Bring Invention

There was a suggestion, presented to me by a friend not long ago, that could solve so many problems, and that made such perfect sense, that it was inevitable, really, that English soccer should ignore it completely.

It ran like this. The glamour and significance of the F.A. Cup have been fading for years. It now ranks, for most teams, as either a nuisance or an afterthought. Its a competition for the reserves and the squad players and the stiffs. Many fans treat it with contempt. It serves, too often, as an unwelcome interruption of the league season.

But this years edition would need to be finished. So, rather than trying to squeeze it in amid a breathless schedule of Premier League games, why not wait? Why not allow the league to finish, and then play the last three rounds of the Cup quarterfinals, semifinals, final in a single week, all at the same location?

It would be an emergency measure, of course, given the circumstances, but there is absolutely no reason this should not be how the F.A. Cup works in future. It is perfect: Rather than cluttering up the calendar and disfiguring the league through March and April, the cup can be put on ice from the quarterfinal stage. Everyone gets a bit of breathing room, some time to think.

And then, once the league is done, when fans around the world are searching for something to watch, you have a week of high-stakes Cup games: a compelling mini-tournament that functions, as the cup final always did, as the natural conclusion and climax to the season. It is simple, and it is perfect.

On Friday, the F.A. confirmed it was doing something else entirely. Some people just do not want to be helped.

Last weeks column on the effect of Athletic Bilbaos buy-local approach to transfers prompted quite a few questions. Patricia Zengerle had mixed feelings about the idea, asking: In an international, multicultural sport, does the team stay white white white? The answer is not entirely Athletics star performer this year has been the striker Iaki Williams and the policy does not officially see color, as it were. But (without having conducted a survey) I would guess that Athletics team is whiter than most in Spain, and has been for some time.

Daniel Arbelaez wrote that the underlying elements of nationalism in the policy were disturbing. Edward Baker pointed out that Athletics definition of Basque can be traced to Sabino Arana, the father of Basque nationalism, who is now widely regarded as a problematic figure. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, charming about this repulsive blood-and-soil nationalism and its expression in the history of Athletic de Bilbao, Baker wrote.

There is, of course, an uncomfortable undertone to the roots of Athletics approach, and one that should have been acknowledged; these are valid critiques. So, too, is the reminder from the author Phil Ball that other teams in the Basque region tend to suffer from Athletics predation of the best local talent.

It would not be possible for Athletics model to be implemented directly elsewhere; in an ideological sense, it would not necessarily be desirable. Last weeks column was an attempt not to condone that, but rather to suggest that what could be learned is that it is possible both to find pleasure in and to take pride from a sports team while accepting that it will not win all of the time.

Mere mention of Sporting Clube de Portugal, too, encouraged Francisco Valente and he was not alone to set me right. The reason we dont use Sporting Lisbon is simple: We are proud to support a club that, despite its Lisbon origins, became a national one, bringing together supporters from all corners of our small country, he wrote. Hes right, too. It turned out it was quite a bright idea.

Thats all for this week. Thanks for all the messages. As ever, ideas, hints, tips and assessments of controversial Spanish historical figures are all welcome at askrory@nytimes.com, or on Twitter. We talked about how coaches manage players on this weeks Set Piece Menu. And feel free to send your friends and relatives here, and tell them it has made lockdown a little bit more bearable for you.

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Rules, Rescheduled Games and a Covenant Worth Preserving - The New York Times

Cepeda: The War on Masks is yet another battle dividing our country – Roanoke Times

LAKE GENEVA, Wis.- This quaint downtown looked unremarkable on a quiet, rainy Monday morning: Businesses were starting to open, traffic was light. Clusters of teens, elders with dogs, and people carrying bundles of mail for the post office strolled down the street almost none wearing protective masks over their nose and mouth.

I broke quarantine to bear witness to Wisconsins mixed status. Many of the states larger metropolitan areas such as Madison and Milwaukee are retaining most of the governors safer-at-home measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, the rest of the state is taking advantage of the Wisconsin Supreme Courts decision to strike down the order to stay closed giving them the option to roam free.

Tiny towns bordering Illinois took a turn in the Chicago media spotlight as refugees from the windy citys far off exurbs crossed the border to sit at bars with others who just wanted a cold beer and a cheeseburger amid all this COVID-19 craziness.

Over the weekend, the resort town of Lake Geneva was reportedly hoppin with visitors from both sides of the border, and many of them were promenading down the main drag, hitting the beach and taking cruises on the lake.

All for it, Dave Gragnani of close-by McHenry, Illinois, told the Wisconsin State Journal. He added that he planned to visit a coffee shop and a skatepark without a mask or hand sanitizer. People should have a choice. Im having a wonderful time.

Truth be told, I, too, had a wonderful time Monday, as the rain fell softly outside of Jonis Diner, a local favorite that bills itself the Best Breakfast in Lake Geneva. Walking into the 1950s-themed replica railcar after months of eating at home or while driving in the family minivan was, well, a relief.

The experience was a little weird, though there was no counter seating, and each set of visitors sat with an empty booth between them and the next diners. There was also only a limited number of items on the table (no creamer, ketchup or mustard sitting out, for instance).

The small, mom and pop business relies almost entirely on seasonal tourists to get through the year financially, but the waitress said they were wading back into sit-down service slowly and carefully.

The staff seemed just as relieved to be back to work as I was to have delicious diner coffee and a fresh, crisp golden Belgian waffle with full-sugar syrup.

None of the staff wore masks, and though my husband and I wore masks in, we kept them off during the meal. We also kept our distance, if thats even a sufficient manner of avoiding infection.

Condemn me if you will, but I had an opportunity to venture out of my hiding hole and took it. I relished it, thanking the universe for keeping me from political confrontation.

In some places, like the grocery store, you get the glare or side-eye if youre not wearing a mask over your face. In others, like Walmart, the hardware store or the gas station, you might get a weird look if you are wearing a mask.

Some assume that those who wear a mask are weak willed, easily brainwashed and possess socialist leanings. Instead, the person wearing the mask might instead just be covering their mouth and nose as a courtesy to others, including the elderly and immunocompromised.

Those who do wear masks might look at those without a face covering and think that he or she doesnt believe in science and is a selfish supporter of President Trump. And those who dont wear masks might rebut this with sincere beliefs about individual liberties and choice.

The war on masks is a way of taking a public health crisis a situation that demands political unity and best practices in governance and reshaping it into a culture war competition, wrote Zack Beauchamp on Vox.com. The question is not are we doing a good job handling this so much as whose team do you want to be on, the namby-pamby liberals or the strong fearless conservatives?

Masks and restaurant and bar visits have become a point of contention all over the country, fueling violence against innocent frontline food and restaurant employees who are just doing their best to stay healthy while working a high-touch, minimum wage essential job.

Its a tough time all around. Just remember, as we start venturing out of quarantine, to be nice and follow the golden rule. It stands up well through times of trauma: Treat others the way youd want to be treated.

Cepeda is a columnist for the Tribune Content Agency.

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Cepeda: The War on Masks is yet another battle dividing our country - Roanoke Times

Opinion: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" – CT Examiner

Dad, did you see that another black man got killed by the police?

Yes, I did. What do you think about that?

Its crazy, clearly he was down. People were standing there watching them telling them to stop. The other police was just standing there. It was crazy!

And so began another conversation about the realities of life with my fourteen-year-old daughter.

Hate is a strong word. I dont use it flippantly. But, I hate the abuse of power! Thats what we witnessed: bad police officers abusing their power.I like the police. I appreciate their service to our community. I dont like that there are bad police who abuse their authority. I know good police officers, and I know that they dont like bad police officers either. I know one good police officer who exposed the abuse of other bad officers on the police force and it cost him his job. That might be part of the reason why bad police officers stay in their positions. They seem to leave a wake of victims.

Abuse of power isnt unique to the police. If you give a person power, or authority, they might abuse it. Ive seen ministers abuse their power. Ive also seen congregations abuse their ministers. At some point, weve all been aware of a boss who was abusing power. Im in the middle of a political campaign. Good thing politicians dont abuse their power!

Edmund Burke once said, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. As a black person this gets complicated, frustrating, infuriating. When a video like the George Floyd video emerges, black people get upset. When the response to our anger is excuses, deflections, and outright silence from our white brothers and sisters complication, frustration, infuriation. Sometimes I am asked if I would feel the same way if this kind of thing happened to a white person. My answer is, YES! Injustice is injustice. I have profound sadness that injustice happens more often to people of color. I dont want it to happen to anyone. I also dont understand how videos of abuse that seem to surface on a regular basis do not motivate people to do right, seek justice, work to weed out the bad apples, and call upon our authorities to police themselves.

Let me be clear, rioting is not the solution. Neither is blaming victims by pointing out their personal flaws, or the problems plaguing their community. I can attest that black community leaders speak out about the issues in their communities. Ministers, teachers, politicians, and community elders preach and teach the importance of education, self-respect, faith, and the Golden Rule. They do this when no camera is around. When a camera is thrust in their face, they cry injustice. The response they often receive is that they are shouting at the wrong people, and that they need to speak to their own people. They already have spoken to their own people and they will continue to speak to their own people when the camera goes away.

The argument becomes us vs. them, black vs. white, liberal vs. conservative. It is no longer about resolving an injustice, its about winning a debate. Edmund Burkes words become a prophecy fulfilled in front of our eyes: Good men do nothing.

If I was not running for political office, I would have thought these ideas and may have even put them pen to paper, but I would not have had a forum to share them. So while I have this forum, I will share. And I will conclude by asking a personal favor of you.

Never be afraid to approach me if you see me acting in an unjust manner. I understand that if I win this election, I will receive authority. I dont want to be corrupt. I want to help people, not hurt them. Sometimes even folks like me can be tempted to stray off track. So pray for me, and feel free to hold me accountable. I need it and you deserve it!

Brendan Saunders

Saunders is the Republican candidate for the 33rd District state senate seat for Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and Old Saybrook

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Opinion: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" - CT Examiner

I Have a Dream – The New York Times

THURSDAY PUZZLE Man, did this one ever take me down. Congratulations to the constructor, Tracy Bennett. You win. And its only Thursday.

Maybe I just wasnt on the same wavelength with her today, because this is a great puzzle. Its clean and filled with a lot of exciting entries, AS NEAT notwithstanding. The theme is excellent. And yet it gave me more trouble than the average Saturday puzzle.

At first I thought it might contain a rebus element, because that is often the culprit when I am struggling to make progress in a crossword. Its not a rebus puzzle.

There was a lot of general knowledge in Ms. Bennetts puzzle, and the clues seemed a bit tougher than usual, but in general I think I just wasnt braining well today. These things happen.

5A. I totally missed this one. Hunk did not inspire me to think of GOB, but I guess they are synonyms: You can have a hunk of something and a whole GOB of it as well.

36A. Dont panic. We are not thinking of that kind of flasher. A Flasher at a rock concert is a STROBE light.

40A. My brain which totally betrayed me today, in case I havent mentioned it got stuck on the word unto for the clue Golden rule word. That doesnt fit, however. We are supposed to do unto OTHERS.

41A. Shout-out to Sam Ezersky, our associate puzzles editor and an alumnus of the University of Virginia. I didnt not know about the famed serpentine garden walls.

46A. I missed this one, too. The Confucian scholar in the clue is Chu HSI.

52A. Just stopping here to mention that this theme clue was initially my least favorite until I thought about it some more and then it cracked me up. The singer Barry White was known for his low baritone and would definitely be beyond the range of THE SOPRANOS in a singing contest.

59A. I had HALITE for the longest time and when the T was marked wrong, I ran through the alphabet to find the missing letter. Fortunately, I didnt have to go too far. The answer is HALIDE.

60A. The use of Just deserts versus Just desserts comes up a lot, so I will just leave this here for those who want to argue. The Cause of just deserts not desserts is BAD KARMA.

2D/3D. I liked the side-by-side clues Snorty ride (STEED) and Sporty ride, informally (VETTE).

25D. The DAW is a cousin to the black crow. Its been in the New York Times Crossword 75 times. You would think I would know it by now.

31D. I will freely admit that I asked my kids about this one. The Playable kid in the Super Smash Bros. games is NESS. By the way, if you ever run into my children and they challenge you to a game, do not play them for money.

45D. Like many of the clues in this puzzle, I went in the wrong direction for this one. Things many people work on all day long sounds like projects to me, but no, its DESKS.

This theme hit me in two parts, which for my money was part of the fun. Two television shows are mashed together to make a wacky phrase.

At first I thought only the first part of each theme phrase was a TV show, but no, the theme was a two-word show plus a one-word show. For example, at 19A, the answer to the clue What to do if you want to win bar trivia? is GET SMART FRIENDS. That is the sitcom GET SMART plus the sitcom FRIENDS.

And look at some of this fill: VISIGOTHS! SMARM! FREE AT LAST! BAD KARMA! What a fun puzzle. I wish I could have solved it.

These days, most puzzle themes come to me in the liminal space between dreaming and waking. Other times Ill stumble on an idea while Im in a rabbit hole, researching a clue in editorial or fact-checking mode.

I dont remember how this theme idea began, but I do recall that the R&D phase was absorbing, because it involved sorting, combining and regrouping, tasks that I find soothing whether Im manipulating words, colored pencils or socks. I wanted to achieve formal as well as syntactic integrity in the theme, so I ultimately focused on television shows that would fit a two-word plus one-word pattern, though I considered other permutations along the way.

The first version I submitted had four entries, two of which were deemed stronger than two others. (Alas, my Kung Fu Entourage will have to kick ass in another theme.) I did a second round of brainstorming, and we settled on three solid 15s in a 72-word grid.

Its great to be back in The New York Times. I miss seeing my tribe at the A.C.P.T.!

Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? Weve got you covered.

Warning: There be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.

Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Right here.

Your thoughts?

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I Have a Dream - The New York Times

Reflections on the pandemic – Huntsville Item

So much has been written about the Covid-19 epidemic that its hard to imagine what else can be said. And yet as the virus stubbornly persists, we are driven to talk and write even more. As much as we would like to generalize, the impact of this pandemic is personal and subject to personal interpretation.

The whole mask phenomenon is a conundrum. To wear or not to wear is the big question. Ive been in businesses where every employee wore a mask, in others where no one wore a mask, and in others where some employees wore masks and some did not. Customers wearing masks tend to be older on average, but way fewer than half are masked.

While government can require or strongly encourage mask-wearing, it comes down to a personal decision. While older people are at greater risk, its not simply generational, gender-based, or racial either. People of all ages, sexes, and races individually choose to don a mask or not.

Those who accept the reality that their behavior may impact another persons health wear masks. Those who view mask-wearing as wimpy or giving up constitutional rights - dont. Is it political? The President doesnt wear a mask in public view, while former VP Biden does. Im surprised I havent seen a Make America Great Again mask.

As has been said many times, your mask protects those around you, not you. Wearing a mask is a public profession of a private decision that you care for the other person enough to be inconvenienced by wearing a mask. Safe to say, as time goes by, fewer and fewer are wearing masks.

This crisis has triggered some other issues along with the obvious medical ones. The question of individual rights versus public safety looms large. Should the government be able to tell you to wear a mask, social distance, stay home from work, or even decide for you whether your business can open or not? The answer seems to be yes, for a few weeks, and then no, as the crisis persists and self-discipline lags. We now see too-large groups congregate tightly in parties, at the beach, and in some churches, all oblivious to the potential harm to others. With no vaccine, disregarding masks and ignoring social distancing can predictably lead to prolonging the Covid-19 problem in those places.

Churches are a special category. Initially compliant, some are increasingly asserting their right to assembly and their freedom to worship. Anecdotal evidence suggests clustering encourages contagion in houses of faith. Still, some are pursuing court challenges to limits on their free expression of worship. Others consider themselves like businesses, and follow applicable guidelines to protect their members. Within places of worship, one finds those who wear a mask, and those who wont. It seems that the Golden Rule isnt always the final arbiter even in sacred spaces.

If you work in a business, or perhaps are even a business owner, how has it felt to learn whether your business is essential or non-essential? Usually the marketplace determines which business is essential, even if its product seems frivolous. Interestingly, all government jobs seem to be essential. Wonder if taxpayers (including some closed down), agree?

What you really dont want to hear is that the essential/nonessential determination is being made by the government, which may or may not know much about your particular business. Then you find out that the essential/nonessential definition differs from one jurisdiction to the next. The question of fairness naturally arises. Its something for people to contemplate when big government is advocated as being the solution to the marketplace and most of lifes inequities.

Whats missing in the Covid-19 picture? Could it be the concept of individual accountability and personal responsibility for ones actions? Personal sacrifice is something we applaud in key professions but often fail to practice in our own lives. Putting anothers welfare ahead of your own is earnestly endorsed in theory but fast-disappearing in practice. The herd mentality is strong, and manifests at beaches, bars, and swimming pools, where social distance is measured in inches, not feet.

There was no crystal ball when China exported Covid-19 to the world. Washington and Austin have exhibited diligence in formulating and implementing policy on the fly. It had to be trial and error, to some extent. Did we overdo it by shutting down the whole country? Time will tell, but it looks like the answer is yes, judging from the ensuing economic carnage. Huntsville is not Hoboken; New Mexico is not New Jersey. Perhaps a partial geographic shutdown? Who really knows yet?

Hindsight is 20/20. My guess is that the effort and outcome would have been about the same if the other party had been in power. There is no magic bullet, no proven protocol.

Much is still unknown because of the power of individual citizens to alter the results of any bureaucratic plan. How Americans choose to comply with or flout social policies to defeat the outbreak will go a long way to determining whether we put this storm behind us or continue to feel its wrath because of blatant selfish disregard for the health and welfare of our neighbors.

Think about that the next time you see someone enter a business or common space unmasked, or run up somebodys back in the grocery checkout line. And hope that the person before you and behind you is considerate of the less robust. Old and frail lives matter too.

Gene G. Blair has been a resident of Huntsville for 40 years. He is retired from the Criminal Justice Center at SHSU, and is also retired from the U.S. Army. He is a director on the executive board of CASA of Walker, San Jacinto, and Trinity counties.

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Reflections on the pandemic - Huntsville Item

Evart angler has enjoyed amazing spring – The Pioneer

John Raffel, john.raffel@pioneergroup.com

EVART Paul Higgins is a diehard fisherman who was thinking in mid-March his fishing might be curtailed this spring since he was coaching the Evart JV baseball team.

But after a week of practice the season was done because of the Coronavirus.

When this whole virus thing took off, we were still steelhead fishing, Higgins, an Evart area resident, said. We were fishing the Manistee up at Tippy before they closed it down. We got in a good week of fishing there before they closed it down. We hit Croton Dam, that area, and we were able to fish that. We did fairly well there for steelhead.

We did go up in the Bear Creek area, up by Brethren to do some fishing there and did fairly well there. Once we were able to get our boats back out, we were able to hit some walleyes. I was fishing off shore at Cadillac and did real well for a week and a half to two weeks. Catching fish in the shallow, youre wading out and doing fairly well.

Higgins had success in the Frankfort area.

The weather is starting to stable out, Higgins said. Water temperatures are starting to climb and the fish are getting more active. Your catch rates are going up. For the most part, youre catching good numbers of fish. You still have those days where you dont do as well as you did the day before.

Were doing some trout fishing too, locally, a little bit. We havent got into it that much this year for some reason. Weve been catching quite a few walleye. I would rather eat walleye over trout any day of the week.

Higgins said warming weather means everything is in transition.

Evart's Paul Higgins continues to have major success fishing. (Courtesy photo)

Evart's Paul Higgins continues to have major success fishing. (Courtesy photo)

Evart's Paul Higgins continues to have major success fishing. (Courtesy photo)

Evart's Paul Higgins continues to have major success fishing. (Courtesy photo)

Evart angler has enjoyed amazing spring

I go by the Golden Rule, like for walleye, 68 degrees at the surface is usually pretty good and Ive had pretty good success for walleye, he said. Its right in the ball park right now in a couple of the lakes that were fishing. By Cadillac and Frankfort, its getting at that happy temperature. Up until your mayflies hatch, it should be pretty good fishing, I think. Theyre getting more active. Bluegills are starting to get on the beds some.

It should be some pretty good fishing for the next couple of weeks for sure, if not for the whole summer hopefully.

His favorite partner is his son, Cooper Higgins, and sometimes Josh Johnson.

Weve fished a lot this spring, Paul Higgins said. Its been good for me and my son. Hes experienced some pretty good fishing. You can get a lot of education just being in the outdoors.

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Evart angler has enjoyed amazing spring - The Pioneer

Coronavirus Showed How Globalization Broke the World – The New York Times

If recent weeks have shown us anything, its that the world is not just flat. Its fragile.

And were the ones who made it that way with our own hands. Just look around. Over the past 20 years, weve been steadily removing man-made and natural buffers, redundancies, regulations and norms that provide resilience and protection when big systems be they ecological, geopolitical or financial get stressed. Weve been recklessly removing these buffers out of an obsession with short-term efficiency and growth, or without thinking at all.

At the same time, weve been behaving in extreme ways pushing against, and breaching, common-sense political, financial and planetary boundaries.

And, all the while, weve taken the world technologically from connected to interconnected to interdependent by removing more friction and installing more grease in global markets, telecommunications systems, the internet and travel. In doing so, weve made globalization faster, deeper, cheaper and tighter than ever before. Who knew that there were regular direct flights from Wuhan, China, to America?

Put all three of these trends together and what you have is a world more easily prone to shocks and extreme behaviors but with fewer buffers to cushion those shocks and many more networked companies and people to convey them globally.

This, of course, was revealed clearly in the latest world-spanning crisis the coronavirus pandemic. But this trend of more frequent destabilizing crises has been building over the past 20 years: 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008, Covid-19 and climate change. Pandemics are no longer just biological they are now geopolitical, financial and atmospheric, too. And we will suffer increasing consequences unless we start behaving differently and treating Mother Earth differently.

Note the pattern: Before each crisis I mentioned, we first experienced what could be called a mild heart attack, alerting us that we had gone to extremes and stripped away buffers that had protected us from catastrophic failure. In each case, though, we did not take that warning seriously enough and in each case the result was a full global coronary.

We created globalized networks because they could make us more efficient and productive and our lives more convenient, explained Gautam Mukunda, the author of Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter. But when you steadily remove their buffers, backup capacities and surge protectors in pursuit of short-term efficiency or just greed, you ensure that these systems are not only less resistant to shocks, but that we spread those shocks everywhere.

Lets start with 9/11. You could view Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, as political pathogens that emerged out of the Middle East after 1979. Islam lost its brakes in 1979 its resistance to extremism was badly compromised said Mamoun Fandy, an expert on Arab politics.

That was the year that Saudi Arabia lurched backward, after Islamist extremists took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca and an Islamic revolution in Iran brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power. Those events set up a competition between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia over who was the real leader of the Muslim world. That battle coincided with a surge in oil prices that gave both fundamentalist regimes the resources to propagate their brands of puritanical Islam, through mosques and schools, across the globe.

In doing so, they together weakened any emerging trends toward religious and political pluralism and strengthened austere fundamentalism and its violent fringes.

Remember: The Muslim world was probably at its most influential, culturally, scientifically and economically, in the Middle Ages, when it was a rich and diverse polyculture in Moorish Spain.

Diverse ecosystems, in nature and in politics, are always more resilient than monocultures. Monocultures in agriculture are enormously susceptible to disease one virus or germ can wipe out an entire crop. Monocultures in politics are enormously susceptible to diseased ideas.

Thanks to Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Arab-Muslim world became much more of a monoculture after 1979. And the idea that violent Islamist jihadism would be the engine of Islams revival and that purging the region of foreign influences, particularly American, was its necessary first step gained much wider currency.

This ideological pathogen spread through mosques, cassette tapes and then the internet to Pakistan, North Africa, Europe, India and Indonesia.

The warning bell that this idea could destabilize even America rang on Feb. 26, 1993, at 12:18 p.m., when a rental van packed with explosives blew up in the parking garage below the 1 World Trade Center building in Manhattan. The bomb failed to bring down the building as intended, but it badly damaged the main structure, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000.

The mastermind of the attack, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a Pakistani, later told F.B.I. agents that his only regret was that the 110-story tower did not collapse into its twin and kill thousands.

What happened next we all know: The direct hits on both twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, which set off a global economic and geopolitical crisis that ended with the United States spending several trillion dollars trying to immunize America against violent Islamic extremism via a massive government-directed surveillance system, renditions and airport metal detectors and by invading the Middle East.

The United States and its allies toppled the dictators in Iraq and Afghanistan, hoping to stimulate more political pluralism, gender pluralism and religious and educational pluralism antibodies to fanaticism and authoritarianism. Unfortunately, we didnt really know how to do this in such distant lands, and we botched it; the natural pluralistic antibodies in the region also proved to be weak.

Either way as in biology, so, too, in geopolitics the virus of Al Qaeda mutated, picking up new elements from its hosts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, violent Islamic extremism became even more virulent, thanks to subtle changes in its genome that transformed it into ISIS, or the Islamic State.

This emergence of ISIS, and parallel mutations in the Taliban, forced the United States to remain in the area to just manage the outbreaks, but nothing more.

The 2008 global banking crisis played out in similar ways. The warning was delivered by a virus known by the initials LTCM Long-Term Capital Management.

LTCM was a hedge fund set up in 1994 by the investment banker John Meriweather, who assembled a team of mathematicians, industry veterans and two Nobel Prize winners. The fund used mathematical models to predict prices and tons of leverage to amplify its founding capital of $1.25 billion to make massive, and massively profitable, arbitrage bets.

It all worked until it didnt.

In August 1998, recalled Business Insider, Russia defaulted on its debt. Three days later, markets all over the world started sinking. Investors began pulling out left and right. Swap spreads were at unbelievable levels. Everything was plummeting. In one day, Long-Term lost $553 million, 15 percent of its capital. In one month it lost almost $2 billion.

Hedge funds lose money all the time, default and go extinct. But LTCM was different.

The firm had leveraged its bets with so much capital from so many different big global banks with no trading transparency, so none of its counterparties had a picture of LTCMs total exposure that if it were allowed to go bankrupt and default, it would have exacted huge losses on dozens of investments houses and banks on Wall Street and abroad.

More than $1 trillion was at risk. It took a $3.65 billion bailout package from the Federal Reserve to create herd immunity from LTCM for the Wall Street bulls.

The crisis was contained and the lesson was clear: Dont let anyone make such big, and in some ways extreme, bets with such tremendous leverage in a global banking system where there is no transparency as to how much a single player has borrowed from many different sources.

A decade later, the lesson was forgotten, and we got the full financial disaster of 2008.

This time we were all in the casino. There were four main financial vehicles (that became financial pathogens) that interacted to create the global crisis of 2008. They were called subprime mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), commercial mortgage-backed securities (C.M.B.S.) and collateralized debt obligations (C.D.O.s).

Banks and less-regulated financial institutions engaged in extremely reckless subprime and adjustable rate mortgage lending, and then they and others bundled these mortgages into mortgage-backed securities. Meanwhile, rating agencies classified these bonds as much less risky than they really were.

The whole system depended on housing prices endlessly rising. When the housing bubble burst and many homeowners could not pay their mortgages the financial contagion infected huge numbers of global banks and insurance companies, not to mention millions of mom-and-pops.

We had breached the boundaries of financial common sense. With the worlds financial system more hyper-connected and leveraged than ever, only huge bailouts by central banks prevented a full-on economic pandemic and depression caused by failing commercial banks and stock markets.

In 2010, we tried to immunize the banking system against a repeat with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in America and with the Basel III new capital and liquidity standards adopted by banking systems around the world. But ever since then, and particularly under the Trump administration, financial services companies have been lobbying, often successfully, to weaken these buffers, threatening a new financial contagion down the road.

This one could be even more dangerous because computerized trading now makes up more than half of stock trading volume globally. These traders use algorithms and computer networks that process data at a thousandth or millionth of a second to buy and sell stocks, bonds or commodities.

Alas, there is no herd immunity to greed.

I dont think that I need to spend much time on the Covid-19 pandemic, except to say that the warning sign was also there. It appeared in late 2002 in the Guangdong province of southern China. It was a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus SARS-CoV known for short as SARS.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website notes, Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before it was contained. More than 8,000 people worldwide became sick, including close to 800 who died. The United States had eight confirmed cases of infection and no deaths.

The coronavirus that caused SARS was hosted by bats and palm civets. It jumped to humans because we had been pushing and pushing high-density urban population centers more deeply into wilderness areas, destroying that natural buffer and replacing it with monoculture crops and concrete.

When you simultaneously accelerate development in ways that destroy more and more natural habitats and then hunt for more wildlife there, the natural balance of species collapses due to loss of top predators and other iconic species, leading to an abundance of more generalized species adapted to live in human-dominated habitats, Johan Rockstrom, the chief scientist at Conservation International, explained to me.

These include rats, bats, palm civets and some primates, which together host a majority of all known viruses that can be passed on to humans. And when these animals are then hunted, trapped and taken to markets in particular in China, Central Africa and Vietnam, where they are sold for food, traditional medicine, potions and pets they endanger humans, who did not evolve with these viruses.

SARS jumped from mainland China to Hong Kong in February 2003, when a visiting professor, Dr. Liu Jianlun, who unknowingly had SARS, checked into Room 911 at Hong Kongs Metropole Hotel.

Yup, Room 9-1-1. I am not making that up.

By the time he checked out, The Washington Post reported, Liu had spread a deadly virus directly to at least eight guests. They would unknowingly take it with them to Singapore, Toronto, Hong Kong and Hanoi, where the virus would continue to spread. Of more than 7,700 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome tallied so far worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 4,000 can be traced to Lius stay on the ninth floor of the Metropole Hotel.

It is important to note, though, that SARS was contained by July 2003 before becoming a full-fledged pandemic thanks in large part to rapid quarantines and tight global cooperation among public health authorities in many countries. Collaborative multinational governance proved to be a good buffer.

Alas, that was then. The latest coronavirus is aptly named SARS-CoV-2 with emphasis on the number 2. We dont yet know for sure where this coronavirus that causes the disease Covid-19 came from, but it is widely suspected to have jumped to a human from a wild animal, maybe a bat, in Wuhan, China. Similar jumps are bound to happen more and more as we keep stripping away natures natural biodiversity and buffers.

The more simplified and less diverse ecological systems become, especially in huge and ever-expanding urban areas, the more we will become the targets of these emerging pests, unbuffered by the vast array of other species in a healthy ecosystem, explained Russ Mittermeier, the head of Global Wildlife Conservation and one of the worlds top experts on primates.

What we know for sure, though, is that some five months after this coronavirus jumped into a human in Wuhan, more than 100,000 Americans were dead and more than 40 million unemployed.

While the coronavirus arrived in the U.S. via both Europe and Asia, most Americans probably dont realize just how easy it was for this pathogen to get here. From December through March, when the pandemic was launching, there were some 3,200 flights from China to major U.S. cities, according to a study by ABC News. Among those were 50 direct flights from Wuhan. From Wuhan! How many Americans had even heard of Wuhan?

The vastly expanded global network of planes, trains and ships, combined with far too few buffers of global cooperation and governance, combined with the fact that there are almost eight billion people on the planet today (compared with 1.8 billion when the 1918 flu pandemic hit), enabled this coronavirus to spread globally in the blink of an eye.

You have to be in total denial not to see all of this as one giant flashing warning signal for our looming and potentially worst global disaster, climate change.

I dont like the term climate change to describe whats coming. I much prefer global weirding, because the weather getting weird is what is actually happening. The frequency, intensity and cost of extreme weather events all increase. The wets get wetter, the hots get hotter, the dry periods get drier, the snows get heavier, the hurricanes get stronger.

Weather is too complex to attribute any single event to climate change, but the fact that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more expensive especially in a world of crowded cities like Houston and New Orleans is indisputable.

The wise thing would be for us to get busy preserving all of the ecological buffers that nature endowed us with, so we could manage what are now the unavoidable effects of climate change and focus on avoiding what would be unmanageable consequences.

Because, unlike biological pandemics like Covid-19, climate change does not peak. Once we deforest the Amazon or melt the Greenland ice sheet, its gone and we will have to live with whatever extreme weather that unleashes.

One tiny example: The Washington Post noted that the Edenville Dam that burst in Midland, Mich., this month, forcing 11,000 people out of their homes after unusually heavy spring rains, took some residents by surprise, but it didnt come as such a shock to hydrologists and civil engineers, who have warned that climate change and increased runoff from development is putting more pressure on poorly maintained dams, many of them built like those in Midland to generate power early in the 20th century.

But unlike the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all the antibodies we need to both live with and limit climate change. We can have herd immunity if we just preserve and enhance the buffers that we know give us resilience. That means reducing CO emissions, protecting forests that store carbon and filter water and the ecosystems and species diversity that keep them healthy, protecting mangroves that buffer storm surges and, more generally, coordinating global governmental responses that set goals and limits and monitor performance.

As I look back over the last 20 years, what all four of these global calamities have in common is that they are all black elephants, a term coined by the environmentalist Adam Sweidan. A black elephant is a cross between a black swan an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications and the elephant in the room a looming disaster that is visible to everyone, yet no one wants to address.

In other words, this journey I have taken you on may sound rather mechanistic and inevitable. It was not. It was all about different choices, and different values, that humans and their leaders brought to bear at different times in our globalizing age or didnt.

Technically speaking, globalization is inevitable. How we shape it is not.

Or, as Nick Hanauer, the venture capitalist and political economist, remarked to me the other day: Pathogens are inevitable, but that they turn into pandemics is not.

We decided to remove buffers in the name of efficiency; we decided to let capitalism run wild and shrink our governments capacities when we needed them most; we decided not to cooperate with one another in a pandemic; we decided to deforest the Amazon; we decided to invade pristine ecosystems and hunt their wildlife. Facebook decided not to restrict any of President Trumps incendiary posts; Twitter did. And too many Muslim clerics decided to let the past bury the future, not the future bury the past.

Thats the uber lesson here: As the world gets more deeply intertwined, everyones behavior the values that each of us bring to this interdependent world matters more than ever. And, therefore, so does the Golden Rule. Its never been more important.

Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you, because more people in more places in more ways on more days can now do unto you and you unto them like never before.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Wed like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And heres our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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Coronavirus Showed How Globalization Broke the World - The New York Times

Ask Eartha: Don’t be part of the recycling contamination problem – Summit Daily News

Dear Eartha,I was at the Frisco Recycling Center recently and noticed bubble wrap and plastic bags in one of the plastic recycling containers. Are these items accepted?

The short answer to your question is no, neither plastic bags nor bubble wrap are accepted at the local recycling centers. If left at the recycling centers, plastic bags and bubble wrap are considered contamination. Thats the industry term for nonrecyclables mixed with recyclable material.

Contamination can include dirty or food-filled containers, unaccepted items like the plastic bags or bubble wrap, and trash. Its an issue that significantly reduces the value of recycling, and too much contamination can send an entire load of recycling to the landfill.

According to Waste Management, the nations average contamination rate, or the percentage of what we throw in the recycling bin thats actually trash, sits at roughly 25%. A study last summer showed Summit Countys single-stream contamination at 38%. Ouch.

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What is recycling contamination?

Local recycling centers accept plastic Nos. 1 and 2 bottles and jugs, aluminum, tin, paper, cardboard, glass, cartons and food scraps. Anything else is a contaminate (aka: garbage). For example, if you collect all your No. 1 water bottles in a plastic bag, then throw the bag into the No. 1 plastic bin, that bag is a contaminate, and its highly likely that all your hard work is going straight to the trash. Just skip the plastic bag altogether!

Remember, the recycling centers accept Nos. 1 and 2 bottles and jugs only think items with screw-tops like laundry detergent or ketchup bottles (but pitch the lids). This means that strawberry and salad containers, takeout containers, bubble wrap and hard plastic sleds are not recyclable, regardless of the little number stamped on the bottom.

Even recyclables such as paper and glass can act as contaminates if you put them in the wrong bin.

Lets talk paperboard. Thats the technical term for brown paper packaging like cereal boxes. Paperboard and brown paper bags go in the cardboard bin. When placed in the paper bin, that cereal box becomes contamination.

Why is contamination a problem?

Recycling is a business, largely based on whether someone wants those recyclables to make new things. Think about your favorite pair of long underwear for a moment. Crazy as it sounds, many No. 1 plastic bottles spend their next lives as fleece.

The folks who transform bottles into fleece are called end markets. These end markets want clean plastic bottles, not your greasy takeout containers, not your broken sleds or plastic packaging, and certainly not your foam egg cartons. A lot of contamination in a load of No. 1 bottles significantly increases recycling costs because of the added time required to separate the good from the bad. In the worst cases, that contamination causes everything to end up in the trash.

Why is this a big deal? If end markets cant get the recycled material they need, theyll resort to using new material, thus defeating the point of recycling completely.

How can I help?

The most important thing you can do is read and understand local recycling guidelines. And remember the golden rule of recycling: when in doubt, throw it out. If you find yourself questioning something, perhaps the plastic packaging that came with your new toothbrush, do some research. In Summit County, thats as simple as calling the High Country Conservation Center at 970-668-5703. Staff there is available to answer your recycling questions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Oh, and about that toothbrush packaging? Its trash.

The conservation center also offers an online tool affectionally dubbed the Recycling Robot that lets you search any item to see if its recyclable locally. So, if you really want to recycle those plastic bags, the Recycling Robot will tell you that most grocery stores take them.

If you prefer a little more personal guidance physically distanced, of course join conservation center staff and volunteers at the recycling centers. Theyll help you understand whats accepted in our local programs. Visit HighCountryConservation.org for June dates, recycling tips and free printouts that you can post at your home or office.

Recycling is a great habit, but we need to remember that trying to recycle the wrong materials can cause big problems. I challenge you to be part of the solution and recycle the right way.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at info@highcountryconservation.org.

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Ask Eartha: Don't be part of the recycling contamination problem - Summit Daily News

Know the rules: The A-Z for tourism in Greece in the Covid-19 era | Kathimerini – www.ekathimerini.com

Below youll find a comprehensive list of all of the key measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 being implemented at airports, hotels, shops, restaurants, beaches and more in Greece during the summer tourism period.

Please note that all of the measures are subject to change. We will be regularly updating this article as necessary, however measures not listed here may be implemented if this is deemed necessary.


Archaeological sites now operate on extended summer hours (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) to avoid large crowds from forming. In order to maintain the minimum 1.5m safety distance between people, the number of visitors allowed in at every archaeological site is limited, as is the number of visitors allowed to enter every hour.

Specific routes have been demarcated, the entrance and exit separated and plexiglass screens installed wherever needed and possible for example, at the Propylaea on the Acropolis. The use of protective masks and alcohol-based sanitizers on site is strongly advised.


The tourism period in Greece will officially begin on June 15, with international visitors able to arrive (without being quarantined) at Athens and Thessaloniki airports. From July 1 direct international flights will be permitted at all other remaining airports around the country, allowing tourists to fly directly to tourist destinations. Spot Covid-19 tests for visitors arriving to Greece will be conducted using swab tests and will be mandatory for those selected for tests; visitors will not, however, be quarantined on arrival, as was the case during the lockdown phase.


The use of face masks is mandatory after entering the airport terminal; a mask must be kept on throughout a passengers stay in the airport areas, during boarding, and during the flight (domestic or international). Passengers should also be aware that they may be asked to temporarily remove their mask during security processes and identity checks. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available in over 300 spots at the airport, including the bathrooms.

Plexiglass panels have been installed for additional protection in areas where contact with employees is necessary such as ticket desks and information counters. To minimize waiting times, passengers are encouraged to select e-service options (web check-in) prior to their departure for the airport, as well as within the airport areas (self check-in, baggage-tag printing, drop-off baggage, e-parking). Seating in all waiting areas has been re-arranged to allow for safe minimum distances. The current recommendation is that every other seat be left vacant. However, families or couples traveling together do not have to keep this distance.


At organized beach clubs, a maximum of 40 people will be allowed per 1,000m2; an entrance/exit count will be carried out to make sure this measure is respected. A minimum distance of 4 meters must be maintained between individual umbrellas, each of which will provide shade for two sun loungers at most this does not apply to families with children. Two sunbeds that are under different umbrellas cannot be placed closer to each other than 1.5m.

Placing a towel on top of sun loungers is mandatory and considered the responsibility of the user. The staff at organized beaches and beach clubs are required to disinfect sun loungers/chairs after every use. Additionally, they must regularly disinfect sanitary facilities and post a schedule of that cleaning for official review.

Cantinas and beach bars will operate on a take-away basis; seating will not be allowed. Customers waiting in line to be served will have to remain at least 1.5m apart. The sale of alcohol is currently forbidden on beaches, but a review of that policy is expected.


Boats (ferries) will travel at 50% capacity or 55% for boats with cabins on board. Passengers will be required to answer a series of questions and have their temperatures taken before boarding. Passengers who present symptoms or are deemed at risk of infection (e.g. due to exposure to a Covid-19 patient in the 14 previous days) will be refused permission to board the boat.

Passengers inside the boat will have to remain at a 1.5m distance from each other, and the number of aircraft-type seats will be reduced. One person maximum will be allowed in each cabin, except for families of up to 4 people, and people with disabilities traveling with companions.

The use of a mask on board vessels is mandatory. Crews have been trained to respond to potential coronavirus cases, and boats will be disinfected after completing each sea route. Further policy updates are expected as of June 15.


The golden rule of maintain a distance of at least 1.5m between people who dont belong to the same family or friend circle and do not live under the same roof applies here, too.

Tents and camper vans must be at least 5 meters apart on the entrance/exit side, and 3 meters apart on every other side. Upon arrival, customers must agree to and comply with the instructions and safety measures establishments reserve the right to refuse entrance to anyone refusing to cooperate.

The use of masks is advised in interior covered spaces. Entrance to the site, as well as passage through it and the use of the campground facilities will be restricted to customers only. All common-use areas and facilities, as well as rental equipment, will be thoroughly disinfected on a regular basis.


Check-in and check-out times have been changed check-out to 11 a.m. and check-in to 3 p.m.. The added time between each check-out and check-in is necessary to ensure that each room is thoroughly disinfected between stays, and that the space is adequately ventilated.

You may see a plexiglass screen at the reception desk their presence is at the discretion of hotel management. Hand sanitizers, on the other hand, are mandatory.

Other measures the hotel must perform include disinfecting all card keys after each stay. Wherever possible, you are encouraged to check in at an outdoor reception station. The use of electronic alternatives to check-in and check-out, such as Mobile Concierge apps, is preferable, as are electronic payments upon check-out. It is likely that any accounts, invoices or receipts will be sent to you via email. Cash will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances.


At present, all seating at restaurants and caf-bars is outdoors only; indoor spaces might reopen on June 15. The minimum distance allowed between tables ranges from 70cm to 170cm, and no more than six people are allowed at one table, although these restrictions do not apply to families with children.

Information signs will remind people of individual hygiene rules and of safety measures applying to all spaces. Customers will be encouraged to make electronic transactions. Sanitizer gel will be available at cash registers; if the owner deems it necessary, a protective plexiglass screen will be installed, as well as markings on the floor to delimit safe distances for queuing.


The European Emergency Number is 112. For any Covid-19-related inquiries, dial 1135.


The fine for not using a mask where required is 150.


All of the countrys airports are expected to open for international flights on July 1. Until then, all international flights to and from Greece will fly in and out of Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport or Thessaloniki Airport (the latter from June 15).


The 1.5m safety distance applies for parks and public gardens, too; the use of masks is advised.


Hair and beauty salons operate by appointment only, with a minimum 2m distance between stations/chairs. The use of masks is mandatory for everyone, and employees a must wear disposable gloves as well. Working hours have been extended from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays.


Housekeeping will be less frequent during stays, and turndown services have been abolished. Towels and sheets will be changed upon customer request only. As you enter your room for the first time, look for the sign that will tell you when and how your room was last cleaned.

Hotel owners have the choice between two cleaning options: they can either clean it in the usual way after a customer leaves and keep it closed for 24 hours until the next one comes, or perform a thorough cleansing and disinfection using a steam cleaner, UV rays or other such equipment on all room and bathroom surfaces.

Hotel owners have been advised to get rid of decorative objects such as throw pillows. Getting rid of reusable items likely to be shared, such as menus and magazines, is recommended as well. Disposable covers will be placed on TV and air conditioner remote controls. Upholstery fabric must be cleaned with a vapor steam cleaner at temperatures exceeding 70C.


Upon arrival, youre advised to ask about the establishments policy in case of health incidents and about the medical facilities in the general area, including the public and private hospitals, Covid-19 referral hospitals, and the pharmacies. Hotels are advised to provide printed brochures with basic health instructions translated into English, French and German, as no such electronic app currently exists.


Live performances will begin after July 15 and will take place exclusively at outdoor venues. Artists and crew must wear face masks on stage and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters between each other. Venues will operate at 40% capacity to allow distances to be kept. The stage will be set at least 3 meters away from the first row of seats; for concerts where the audience is standing, a distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained between members of the audience.


The use of disposable or reusable fabric masks is mandatory on the Metro (subway) and all other forms of public transportation, including taxis, shuttle buses, and other tourist vehicles. Face masks must also be worn in shops.


Museums are expected to open on June 15. More information will follow on their mode of operation naturally, visitors will have to keep a distance of 2 meters between each other. Museums can only use air conditioning where these are open-circuit (i.e. allow fresh air to enter the building). A limited number of people will be allowed entry every hour. The use protective masks and alcohol-based antiseptic hand sanitizer is recommended.


This summer delight comes back to us on June 1, but will operate with new safety rules the most important one being the reduction of the number of seats to 40% of the theaters capacity. It is likely that ticket offices will open two hours prior to movies start times, and stop ticket sales 15 minutes before so that people have time to properly take their seats while maintaining social distancing. Here too, the use of masks and alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be recommended on entry.


Seats of any kind must be placed in such a way that the distance between two people sitting under two different umbrellas is no less than 3 meters in any direction. People will be discouraged from placing their towels or beach mats within the safe distance areas. Towels large enough to cover all of a seats surfaces will be provided and disinfected after every use.


Greeks have recently shown remarkable discipline in complying with the queuing regulations now in place (okay, with a few exceptions). The main rule to observe is to remain at least 1.5 2 meters from others in the queue. In many shops and other areas floor markings have been placed to aid with physical distancing.


Rental cars will be disinfected between uses by different clients. Additionally, the number of passengers allowed will be restricted: For cars with up to five seats, only the driver plus one passenger will be allowed in the vehicle. For those with 6-7 seats, the driver plus two passengers. For eight or nine-seat vehicles, the driver will be allowed to carry up to 3 passengers. These restrictions do not apply for families with children.


You may need to wait for a few minutes before entering many shops. Smaller ones up to 20 m2 will be able to host a maximum of 4 people at the same time (including employees). Stores from 20 to 100 m2 can have a maximum of 4 people inside plus one person for every additional 10 m2. Stores 100 m2 and above will be able to welcome a maximum of 12 people, plus one more person for every additional 15 m2. Distances of at least 1.5 meters must be maintained by customers and employees and the use of masks is mandatory.


Sunbeds must be placed so that two people sitting under two different umbrellas, or two people staying in two different rooms maintain a distance of at least 2 meters in every direction. Every time a customer leaves, seats, tables, security boxes, menus and any other item the next customer may use must be disinfected. Pools are advised to provide towels covering beds surfaces as well as to clean every sunbed / chair between uses. It is recommended that cushions and fabric coverings be removed from sunbeds.

The use of indoor swimming pools is forbidden until further notice. Opaque dividers are recommended for swimming pool showers, to allow people to thoroughly wash before entering and after exiting the water. Swimming pools are advised to provide all necessary amenities (soap, shower gel, etc.) as well as antiseptic gel by the shower entrance


All tourist buses are allowed to operate at up to 50% capacity. All passengers must wear protective masks on board. All tour buses must provide hand sanitizer by the entrance. Companies are advised to install transparent protective dividers in buses between the driver and the passengers. On special open-air tourist buses, at stops passengers will only be allowed to embark after all those getting off have done so. After each route, the cleaning of surfaces and high contact spots (e.g. handles) is advised.


Customer transport will be allowed via private transfers only. Vehicles with up to 5 seats can carry no more than one passenger plus the driver. Companions of people with disabilities are exempt from this rule. 6-7 seat cars can carry the driver plus two passengers, while 8-9 seat cars can carry up to 3 passengers. The passenger limit will not apply if the passengers are parents with their children. The driver and passengers must all wear masks.


Rooms in hotels and resorts, as well as tents and campers at campsites, are for customer-use only. No visitors will be permitted.


Anything that comes in contact with customers every surface, life jacket, wetsuit etc must be cleaned and disinfected between each use. Only members of the same family, or individuals able to maintain a 2m distance between them, will be allowed on any single piece of equipment (such as a canoe or inflatable ride).


Faraway destinations where medical help is scant are to be avoided. The maximum number of passengers allowed on board will depend on a boats size and the number of passengers allowed by its license. On every boat there will be a book with all passenger details and their hours of embarking and disembarking, which must be available in written or electronic form for inspection by port and health authorities. The only people allowed on board will be the people who have boarded from the start of the journey. No other passengers or visitors will be allowed on board at intermediate stops.

Additionally, a log must be kept to monitor everyones health on board: all crew and passengers will have their temperatures taken once daily and logged. If somebody starts developing Covid-19 symptoms on board a cough, fever, shortness of breath this must be logged in the book and a prearranged plan for dealing with a suspected coronavirus case must be activated. There must be sufficient quantities of antiseptic, disinfectant, cleaning supplies and personal protection equipment for all on board.


The God of philoxenia (hospitality) wishes you a great, safe holiday in Greece!

This article first appeared in Greece-Is.com, an English-language publishing initiative by Kathimerini.

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Know the rules: The A-Z for tourism in Greece in the Covid-19 era | Kathimerini - http://www.ekathimerini.com

Tenancy Agreements and COVID-19 Lockdown: A Majeure Headache – The Wire

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared on our televisions and screens on March 24, he was announcing the beginning of a nationwide lockdown. To contain the spread of the coronavirus, the entire population was asked to stay indoors. People have not been able to go to work, many have lost their jobs, corporations have imposed salary cuts, incomes of self-employed people have taken a major hit. This is certainly not a good time to indulge.

The lockdown has sent shockwaves across the economy. The ability of people to spend money is no longer what it used to be. This has also had a significant effect on landlord-tenant relations. While the tenants ability to pay rent has been adversely affected, the economics of the landlords has also been disturbed. Tenants are seeking a waiver of rent as they have been unable to access their premises or because their incomes have been impacted.

Tenants are hoping to invoke the doctrine of force majeure as legal protection against the non-fulfilment of their contractual obligations. Even large corporations like PVR and Reliance Retail have been forced to invoke this maxim. Statutory bodies like the RERA in many states have had to take note of the pandemic as a force majeure.

What is force majeure?

Though the Indian Contract Act does not refer to force majeure as such. The term is used as a convenient label to refer to a foreseeable stipulated circumstance or a supervening superior force that prevents someone from fulfilling their part of the contract.

The occurrence of a force majeure would trigger the consequences stipulated in the contract. A typical force majeure clause would first define the events that would constitute a force majeure and would then specify what consequences would follow if such an event occurred. The phrasing of the clause will decide whether a specific event falls within the force majeure clause and what consequences must follow. Force majeure is not a magic wand upon the waiving of which all contractual obligations, such as payment of rent, are terminated.

The sanctity of a contract is the first and golden rule of contract law. Contracts must be honoured and performed, and there is no easy way to wriggle out of them. They are governed by the Contract Act and have the sanction of law which binds parties to faithfully perform their obligations.

Great India Mall in Noida has been shut indefinitely in Noida as business suffers. Photo: Shome Basu/The Wire

Implied or explicit

According to Indian law, a force majeure clause is not ordinarily an implied term of a contract. A court would not normally read such a clause into a contract. Besides, the threshold of proving an implied term is very high, especially for a fundamental term which will have the effect of releasing a party from performing its obligations. Ideally, it ought to be expressly stipulated.

If the contract does stipulate a Force Majeure it has to be strictly and narrowly construed. Even the court cannot rewrite that clause or read into it what is not expressly stipulated. Nothing can be added or taken away.

Also Read: Will Act of God Clauses in India Incs Contracts Help Restart the Economy?

The mere occurrence of a force majeure event is not by itself a reason to be excused from performance. Even if governments declare the coronavirus outbreak as a force majeure, it would only serve as evidence that a force majeure event has occurred. It would not alone be sufficient to excuse tenants from the rent due. Moreover, only those consequences which are stipulated in the force majeure clause would flow. Therefore, the language of the clause will dictate when the clause kicks in, and whether a party is exempted from performing its obligations. If the clause states that the event ought to be such that it causes failure of the lessee to perform its obligations or that it prevents a party from fulfilling its obligations, one must determine not only the nature of the obligation that the tenant claims it is failing or prevented from performing, but also whether such failure or prevention is directly caused by the force majeure event.

In such a clause if the lessee desires to be excused from discharging its liability it must not only demonstrate that the force majeure was beyond its control but also prove that the event itself has caused the lessee to fail to perform its responsibility. The fact that if the tenant was compelled to perform its obligation, it would cause economic hardship or inconvenience, is not sufficient to take refuge under the force majeure clause. If there is an alternative way to overcome the effect of the force majeure event, the tenant would not be excused from payment of rent. If the tenant has funds available then its obligation to pay rent is not impacted. The tenant cannot rely on the force majeure clause, without trying to mitigate or explore alternative ways of performing the contract.

Anticipation is also a key. Relying on Act of God as a force majeure event, in the words of our Supreme Court does not operate as an excuse from liability, if there is reasonable possibility of anticipating their happening. In the recent past the world was inflicted with epidemics like SARS and H1N1. Eminent personalities like Bill Gates, former US President Barack Obama, are only a few examples of people who cautioned the world on the need to be prepared for a deadly pandemic. As to whether COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown were anticipated events and therefore force majeure events, would require some debate. Though tenancy agreements entered into prior to the SARS and H1N1 pandemics, may qualify as a force majeure event since a pandemic such as COVID-19 was not an anticipated event yet the consequent lockdown may not satisfy that requirement. But this is not to say that on the happening of the pandemic or the lockdown the tenant would be automatically entitled to suspend payment of rent. The tenant will be entitled to claim only that relief which is stipulated in the agreement.

Unless the force majeure clause expressly stipulates, even the inability to use the premises does not solely satisfy its requirements. Use does not only mean the ability to come and go from the premises. It also includes its utilisation to house equipment, servers, furniture, security personnel etc.

Some of these views have been echoed by the Delhi high court in a judgment delivered on May 21. Noting various decisions of the Supreme Court, the learned judge considered the following factors:

The court, having taken these into account, denied relief to a tenant who was seeking suspension of rent due to COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown.

Most force majeure clauses provide for a notice period. In those cases, a tenant must issue a timely intimation to the landlord of his intention to invoke the clause. If the tenant omits to issue a timely notice but does so later on, he would be entitled to waiver of rent only for the period after the date of the notice.

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Frustration of contract

There is a popular notion that in the absence of a force majeure clause, the occurrence of COVID-19 can be cited as an event that has made performance of obligations under the lease agreement impossible or impracticable; and therefore the contract stands frustrated within the meaning of Section 56 of the Contract Act.

Section 56 of the Contract Act has no application to leases:

The essential ingredients of the second part of Section 56 are that:

There is no doubt that the doctrine of frustration applies to contracts. A lease, however, is more than a mere contract as it results in the creation of an estate, or an interest in favour of the lessee. Once the lessee has been put in possession of the premise there is nothing more to be performed and thus condition (2) would not be satisfied. Section 56 i.e. doctrine of frustration has no application in cases of completed transfer unless there is an express provision to the contrary in the contract itself or in local usage.

As made clear by the Delhi high court in Airport Authority of India vs Hotel Leela Venture Limited, the events which discharge a contract cannot invalidate a concluded transfer. The said judgment also clarifies that Section 108 (e) of the Transfer of Property Act, which defines, inter alia, the obligations of a lessee, is a special law and would supersede the doctrine of frustration, as the latter is a part of general law contained in the Contract Act.

The lease would be void at the option of lessee only if it falls within Section 108(e) i.e. when any part of the property is wholly destroyed or rendered substantially and permanently unfit for the purposes for which it was let due to fire, tempest or flood, or violence of an army or of a mob, or other irresistible force. Section 108 does not envisage epidemics or pandemics as such events.

Also Read: COVID-19: What Will It Take to Flatten the Curve of Commercial Disputes in India?

Comparative hardship

Comparative hardship will have to be considered. A multinational corporation invoking force majeure to excuse itself from paying rent for premises owned by an individual who is dependent on the rent for their survival would result in a huge hardship to the owner whereas in a converse situation may equally affect the tenant. Though this is not a legal argument, it should motivate the parties to find a mutually convenient solution so that hardship is avoided in distressful times. Even if protection can be sought under the force majeure clause, it might be inequitable to do so.

The economic devastation due the spread of the coronavirus has forced private parties and advocates to look through the fine print in order to future proof contracts. The invisible hand of force majeure is affecting contractual obligations throughout. Of course, the effect of the virus on leases will depend on final determinations made by courts. That is yet to be seen.

P.V. Kapur is a senior advocate and barrister at law. He has been practicing at various courts and tribunals in India for over four decades and has a vast experience in civil commercial and financial criminal litigation.

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Tenancy Agreements and COVID-19 Lockdown: A Majeure Headache - The Wire


A couple of businesses that began back in the 1800s have seen wars and depression and pandemics.Now, theyre going to survive the COVID-19 pandemic too.

WVUA23s Mike Royer visited the two Friday as they and their employees are ready to get back to work.

It doesnt take Mike Booker long to chop up three pounds of meat to fill an order at Golden Rule BBQ in Irondale. Hes worked here for 45 years. After weeks of to-go orders only, Golden Rule opened its doors to customers Friday morning, and theyre glad about that

We hear both ways, some people are very excited to come in, some are not so, they dont even want to leave their homes, Sammy Derzis with Golden Rule said. But, well see what happens here and were looking for good things.

After deep cleaning the whole restaurant, they put up a new sign inside golden rule today as sort of a were open for business announcement. The sign out front says theyve been turning out BBQ since 1891. Its been a challenging couple of months.

The volume is down, weve lost some employees, its a whole radical change. But, it looks like theres light at the end of the tunnel, Derzis said.

Just across town in nearby Mountain Brook, things are quieter at Brombergs and Company, the oldest business in the state. Only the University of Alabama has been around longer. Ricky Brombergs great, great, great grandfather started the jewelry company in 183

You know we have been around long enough to be able to weather storms, but if youre just starting off, gosh you werent counting on this, or remotely anything likes this and you know Ihave a heart for those people, Bromberg said.

And even during a worldwide pandemic, important life events go on. People still fall in love and love family.

Weve been blessed to be a part of a lot of a lot lifes happy occasions, be it a wedding or anniversary or birthdays or christening or whatever, whatever it might be and so thats kind of our extra paycheck to be part of those things, Bromberg said.

Because of their longevity, business success and hard work, these two businesses have been able to fight through this challenging time and now have employees back in the business doing what theyve done for years.

Well see what happens now that were opening full blast well see what happens, Derzis said.

All storms run out of rain, right? So, this too will pass, we just dont know exactly when, but you know weve been able to work through challenges as well and i know we will this one as well, Bromberg said.

As Alabama begins to find the light at the end of the tunnel, the hope is that old business and the newest ones will survive these challenges and welcome customers back to their store.

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How to Avoid Making an Invalid Will During the Coronavirus Pandemic – Lexology

The spike in Will-making since coronavirus (COVID-19) took the world in its grip was inevitable. Making a Will has never have been more important for many. But with home-made Wills, it's easy to take one wrong step in the way it is witnessed, or signed.

The outcome at best, can be to make your intentions hard to follow when the Will comes into effect and at worst, to invalidate the Will entirely.

Some countries, including Australia and the USA, have passed emergency legislation to make it easier for Wills to be made during coronavirus. However, in England and Wales, there are no such changes. We still have legislation, dating from the 19th century (the Wills Act 1837) governing Will-making, when facilities like Skype and Zoom had not been contemplated.

So, signing your Will on a Zoom call, with your witnesses watching from another location does not sit comfortably within the Wills Act 1837, as a legal requirement is that your witnesses should be with you (ie present) when they watch you sign.

Can Someone 'Witness' a Will Through a Window or over a Fence?

It is possible, as long as you fulfil the legal requirements to the letter. These include that your witnesses should maintain an uninterrupted line of sight with you the whole time that you sign the Will. Signing and passing the document over the fence to your neighbour to record they have witnessed your signature, if they have not actually seen you sign the document, does not count and would leave you with an invalid Will. For these reasons, we generally advise that you avoid witnessing your Will like this, if at all possible, to avoid the risk that the validity of the Will may be challenged. The best option, if you can achieve it, is to witness your Will in an outside space with clear visibility whilst observing social distancing.

Another frequent error we see with home-made Wills is choosing the wrong type of witness. How is that possible? The Wills Act prohibits your witnesses from being beneficiaries of your Will. So the people you will be isolating with now are unlikely to be appropriate choices, if you intend to leave them something in your Will. But your neighbours and friends may be anxious about coming close enough to you to act as witnesses. It's a tough conundrum and very important to be clear on what you can and can't do.

Why Hasn't the Wills Act Been Updated?

Outdated as the Wills Act 1837 may be, Wills are strictly legislated to guard against various risks. These include a person making a Will without due consideration to its contents, or at the worst end of the spectrum because a person may be under duress, subtle or strong, to make a Will they would not necessarily otherwise choose to.

Many Will disputes arise when vulnerable or elderly people have been persuaded by an unscrupulous person to make a new Will which favours them over family members or another more natural choice of beneficiary. At the moment, with so many elderly or vulnerable people being unable to see their close ones, the opportunities for people to prey on them has potential only to increase. There are numerous cases setting out the tests which must be passed for a Will to be upheld as valid in such cases.

Lord Templeman's Contested Will

A recent highlight was the fabulously-named Goss-Custard v Templeman case, which was heard in the High Court earlier this year. In a bizarre twist of fate, the late Lord Templeman, who had heard many contested probate cases whilst sitting as a judge and who had established a key legal principle, called the golden rule, (more of that in a moment), made a Will, at the age of 88, which was challenged after his death. One of his sons alleged that Lord Templeman, who had exhibited signs of short-term memory loss towards the end of his life, lacked sufficient mental capacity to make a valid Will.

Ironically, Lord Templeman had given his Will instructions to his solicitors, but they had failed to follow his own golden rule, which recommends that solicitors seek a contemporaneous assessment from a medically qualified professional before making a Will for an elderly person, or one suffering from a serious health complaint. Lord Templeman arguably could be said to have fallen into both camps. Plus more red-flags should probably have waved when Lord Templeman proposed to leave a substantial chunk of his estate (a property called Mellowstone) to his two step-daughters, from his second marriage, rather than to his two sons from his first marriage. Although, on examination by the court, there were reasons why Lord Templeman may well have deliberately chosen to do so, not least that Mellowstone was his second wife's property before they married.

At trial, the parties were forced to rely on post-event evidence obtained from experts who relied upon medical records, rather than the more desirable contemporaneous medical examination of Lord Templeman whilst he was still alive, to decide whether Lord Templeman had capacity to make his Will at that specific time or not.

As in all cases like these, many factors are taken into account in assessing such challenges, aside from whether the golden rule has been followed or not, and the Judge in conclusion, ruled that Lord Templeman did in fact have capacity to make his Will. However, in a final ironic twist, it is notable that significant costs for both parties may well have been saved if the golden rule had been followed, which Lord Templeman would no doubt have desired whatever his own preferred outcome of the case may have been.

How Can I Reduce the Risks of Challenged or Invalid Wills?

Will challenges can be brought on several grounds, particularly where different branches of the family tree may have differences of opinion about who should inherit from their parent or relative, and non-disputed Wills can be invalidated unintentionally by the simplest of errors.

So there is great value in reviewing Will provisions carefully, even where they may seem simple and in taking care to follow the strict rules for signing Wills and seeking professional advice on this.

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How to Avoid Making an Invalid Will During the Coronavirus Pandemic - Lexology

Everyone Chooses to Ignore the Golden Rule From Time to Time – The Good Men Project

Thinking beyond ourselves is one of our greatest challenges. Ask anyone about the Golden Rule and they will tell you they support it, but in practice we often ignore it.

It is easy to accept thatdoing onto others as you would like them to do onto youis the right course of action in any situation. We might even feel a little smug about holding this belief, as though this differentiates us from the monsters we hear about in the nightly news. But the truth is that we often ignore the Golden Rule because to do what is required can be quite difficult.

When we harm others, we harm ourselves

There are times I struggle to be kind and generous towards others. This is particularly true when it comes to someone who has hurt or betrayed me. I am more likely to do onto to them and then split before they find out what I did.

We find a similar attitude in our American society today. It is easy to apply the golden rule to those who think like us, but when they believe differently, we judge them to be ignorant, heartless and evil.

What we cannot see is that the damage we do to others is damage we do to ourselves. This is not clear when we strike at those we dislike, because doing so can feel goodeven satisfyingin the short term. But our bad actions can come back to us in unexpected ways.

The Golden Rule and the Law of Attraction

Here is that pesky Law of Attraction at work again. When we lash out at others with hatred, violence and revenge, the Universe/God will return the same energy back. You might not recognize this when it happens, but it does.

If you must believe it is justifiable to strike with hatred towards others because of what they do or believe in, then the Universe/God will send plenty of them you can abhor to your hearts desire. The Universewill do so until you realize hating others accomplishes nothing. Only then will you be open to consider other options, like the Golden Rule.


It is easy to be kind towards the people we love; it is another matter to show the faces of love to those whom we would rather shun. This is exactly when the Golden Rule is most applicable.

The overwhelming majority of us dont have the influence to change the world. If we truly want to make a difference, treating all in the way we would like them to treat us is the way to go. When we incorporate the Golden Rule into our lives, we change everything for the better.

Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will reward you with much joy and contentment.

Previously published here and reprinted with the authors permission.

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Everyone Chooses to Ignore the Golden Rule From Time to Time - The Good Men Project

Fitness Coach Reveals ‘Golden Rule’ That Tells You Whether You Should Do Cardio Or Weights First – DMARGE

Now that you have your head wrapped around when and how to work out, all you need now is to know: in what order should you do it? Should you be doing cardio or weight training first?

Regardless of whether you have your gym workout ready to go in the comfort of your own home, many trainers and gym-goers alike can be confused as to whether they should be doing cardio or weights to begin their gruelling workout regime.

Some use a gentle jog as a warm-up, some incorporate treadmill sprints into their weights session to boost their heart rate. But what are the consequences of when you do cardio? Lets turn to the experts to find out.

To weigh in on the argument, online body transformation coach, @jameskewfitness took to Instagram to put when to do cardio debate to bed.

As James suggests, The general rule I give to people is to prioritise your main goal. Because after all, if you plan on building muscle, you arent necessarily going to focus on running as the main source of your workout.

If your goal is to improve your cardiovascular endurance, then do cardio first if your goal is to change your body shape by having more muscle and less fat, then strength training should come first.

While weight training can generally be more apparent than cardio, and tends to take longer to recover from, James claims that no amount of cardio will result in fat loss if youre eating too many calories.

If you want to lose fat, then your main focus should be on creating a calorie deficit through your diet, James added.

The stuff we want to lose! If you prioritise cardio, your strength training will be less effective, meaning you put yourself at a greater risk of losing muscle instead of fat.

If youre careful (and if they work for you, personally), the Keto or The Carnivore Diet can help with this.

Combine that with a smart workout plan and you are sure to get ripped like the Stenmark Twins or Quade Cooper.

Originally posted here:

Fitness Coach Reveals 'Golden Rule' That Tells You Whether You Should Do Cardio Or Weights First - DMARGE

Letter: Everyday heroes took place of those in comic books – The Columbus Dispatch


No one would dispute that our front-line responders, medical personnel and a host of other folks who take care of our basic needs food supply, including grocery stores and food banks, trash collectors, mail carriers and the list goes on are all heroes as they do their jobs day in and day out.

For that we are indeed grateful.

When I was growing up in the 1940s, Superman and Wonder Woman were portrayed as heroes. Now it has become evident that there are other kinds of heroes: people who follow the stay at home order, practice social distancing, wash their hands and abide by the dont-touch-your face guidelines.

They are true heroes, too, because they protect others in their home and communities, unlike those who blatantly continue to have lawn/beach parties or demonstrations/protests without following social distancing or treating others as they would want to be treated. When I was growing up that was called the Golden Rule.

Another type of hero who seems to have been receiving attention recently is what I call personal heroes: those who do grocery shopping for a neighbor who is unable, due to age or a health condition, to do it themselves.

Nancy Heber, Upper Arlington

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Letter: Everyday heroes took place of those in comic books - The Columbus Dispatch

Recovering from COVID-19: these are the risks to anticipate now before its too late – The European Sting

(John Cameron, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration ofThe European Stingwith theWorld Economic Forum.

Author: Emilio Granados Franco, Head of Global Risks and Geopolitical Agenda., World Economic Forum

A golden rule of politics is that the timing of a decision is almost as important as the decision itself. Timing is everything, but it is also the element that is hardest to get right.

The world has long been overdue a systemic reform of its economic, social and technological structures, but apparently the timing has never been quite right. Growth has been slow, political divisiveness on the rise and geopolitical relationships ever more fragile. All of this, while inequality has increased and has magnified a multitude of social problems.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forums mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect peoples livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

The global COVID-19 crisis has exposed these gaps with graphic honesty. It makes for uncomfortable reflection as we see the woefully unequal access to healthcare, digital means and social protection as the pandemic spreads across cities, countries and continents.

A virus has taken away the luxury of planning. We can no longer wait for the right moment to time such reforms, but we can still make sure they are the right ones.

There are critical decisions that we can make today that will have long-term implications. As governments relax containment measures and economies begin to reopen, it is vital that recovery efforts consider the second-tier risks resulting from COVID-19.

Following the Great Lockdown will come the Great Reset, a series of profound changes to what is already being described as the old normal. If we remain passive to emerging risks, we may lose a historical opportunity to shape the new normal that we want, rather than the one we would be left with.

The Forum asked 350 of the worlds top risk experts to assess the most likely and most concerning fallout risks from COVID-19 over the next 18 months, for the world and for companies. The results of this survey are published today in the World Economic Forums COVID-19 Risks Outlook.

Economic risks dominate perceptions. Two out of three experts identified a prolonged global recession as a top concern. Half identified bankruptcies, industry consolidation, failure of industries to recover and a disruption of supply chains as crucial worries.

Critical non-economic risks are also concerning. 50% of respondents are particularly worried about an increase in cyberattacks against their companies and expect restrictions on the cross-border movement of people and goods to remain up to 2021, while 40% believe another outbreak of an infectious disease is a major risk for the world.

Rightfully so, the state of the economy is critical, but the implications from the crisis are far more complex.

What do business leaders think are the greatest risks to the world due to coronavirus?

Image: World Economic Forum

What do business leaders think are the most worrisome risks to companies due to coronavirus?

Image: World Economic Forum

On the environmental front, even with an expected 8% drop in global emissions for this year, the world would still miss the 1.5C target to avoid a planetary catastrophe. Climate degradation will worsen if countries fail to embed sustainability criteria into their recovery plans, and if COVID-19 eclipses sustainability on the public agenda.

Social anxieties are another concern. Widespread anxiety could worsen as a result of entrenched unemployment, inter-generational friction and the pressure that fear and isolation have put on mental health.

One recent study in the United States, for example, found that social distancing risks increasing suicide rates. Another found that 70% of American adults feel this period has been the most stressful of their careers. Moreover, todays youth is facing a much bleaker economic outlook than following the 2008 financial crisis. Generation Great Lockdown or the class of 2020 is indeed at risk of becoming the next lost generation.

The relationship between societies and technology is also likely to change fundamentally. Technology has been critical to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, maintain communication with families and enable working from home. But a hasty adoption of digital solutions from video-conferencing to tracing apps also risks a mass increase in cybercrime, civil-liberty violations and deeper digital inequality.

This is an outlook of emerging risks; it is not a forecast. In this respect, it serves as a warning of how things could turn out if handled poorly, but more importantly it offers a means to change direction before it is too late.

The crisis has exposed weaknesses, but it has also illuminated strengths. There is a new-found understanding and appreciation for essential public services, most notably health. Consumption and mobility habits have changed dramatically a sign of adaptability towards a more sustainable model while technology has potentially revolutionized learning, working, producing and caring. We must draw on these strengths to build back a better world.

Today the Forum has also published a collection of essays from its diverse Global Risks Advisory Board, on the opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world. These include a renewed support for the multilateral system and its organizations, regional integration to respond to global trade disruptions, opening spaces for cities to participate in shaping the global agenda, creating public-private insurance schemes that are accessible to the most vulnerable groups, and embedding mental health awareness into public education programmes.

The novel coronavirus spread so wide and so fast that this crisis seems to have been one step ahead of us. Its time to take the lead.

See the rest here:

Recovering from COVID-19: these are the risks to anticipate now before its too late - The European Sting

Facebook buying Giphy means more to tech rivals than it does advertisers – The Drum

The surprise move by tech giant Facebook to buy Giphy and bring with it its 700 million users in a deal valued at $400m seems like a shrewd move on paper. James Whatley, strategy partner at Digitas UK offers his take on what advertisers, and rival tech companies, should make of it.

Facebook bought Giphy but what does that mean for brands?


Not much.

If you are a brand working with Giphy today either by having your own branded channel or paid promotion of your branded gifs, I really can't imagine much changing for you in the short term.

In the mid-term, you can probably expect a tighter integration with the rest of your Facebook paid advertising. For some of you, you might even have a meeting with your Facebook client partner (end of Q3 at the earliest) where Giphy will be brought to the table as an exciting new proposition that you should like totally consider investing in.

In the long term, you can almost certainly bank on Facebook Ad Manager having a Publish ad to Stories with Instagram, Facebook, and Giphy all being an option.

Hell, knowing Facebook, give it 18 months and itll be running best practice gif immersion sessions for clients, with a seventeen slide AI-driven deck on how IT knows which part of your 30 second ad would make a good gif (and not the agency that developed it).

Thats the easy money.

But what if youre not a client or an agency. What if, instead, you would describe yourself as a platform specifically a platform not owned by Facebook? Well then, for you, things might get a little bit trickier.

Giphy powers I would argue almost 100% of the gifs across the western social web.

Reminder: Facebook owns that now.

If you are Microsoft, or Slack, or Twitter, or (Facebooks biggest worry bead right now) TikTok then suddenly your crisis teams are no longer about updating the WFH policy. The new question is: how quickly can we get our own gif platform up and running?

Lets be fair here, Facebook said in its announcement:

Were looking forward to investing further in Giphys technology and relationships with content and API partners. People will still be able to upload GIFs; developers and API partners will continue to have the same access to GIPHYs APIs, and GIPHYs creative community will still be able to create great content. [sic]

Its worth pointing out that way back in April 2012 Facebook also said:

We think the fact that it is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience.

When it dropped a billion dollars for Instagram. When was the last time you saw an IG preview on Twitter?

Thatd be December 2012.

You know the golden rule here: trust in what Facebook does, not what Facebook says.

So look, bottom line: you dont need me to tell you that gifs and memes are the modern and universal language of the social web. For a mere $400m USD, Facebook just took a chunk out of the platforms named above and then some. From iMessage to Google Keyboard almost everything that has a gif button on it now has a FB-branded gif button on it.

For brands, nothing much will change. If anything, things will get easier (although I must say, every interaction Ive ever had with Giphy has been absolutely dreamy look at this lovely (Digitas client) brand page verified in a heartbeat, thanks Giphy).

The wider web and for general humans? It might turn out to be a bit of a pain. Yknow, like when Facebook rolled out its own video proposition and relegated YouTube embeds to links that you have to click on in-feed?

That kinda stuff.

For now: trebles all round for Giphy.

Lets see what 2021 brings.

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Facebook buying Giphy means more to tech rivals than it does advertisers - The Drum