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Updated: 1 min 58 sec ago

Chicago State to explore adding a Division I football program

26 min 8 sec ago

Chicago State University is moving toward establishing a Division I football program, forming a university committee to assess the possibility of creating a team.

The school on Thursday announced the committee members at a news conference Thursday. They include former NFL players Howard Griffith, Vaughn Bryant, Tom Thayer and Otis Wilson, along with several Chicago high school football coaches, community leaders and school officials.

The committee should provide a recommendation on the speculative football program’s future this spring, CSU athletic director Monique Carroll said.

“If that is favorable, we could be looking at Chicago’s only Division I program, right here on the South Side,” Carroll said. “We will potentially start football as early as fall 2025.”

The university already has conducted a feasibility study on the prospect of the football program, and the exploratory committee is now the “next step,” Carroll said. The committee also will consider adding new women’s sports teams.

Various questions about the possible football program have yet to be answered. It is unclear how the team would be paid for or where it would play games. But as football helmets with green Cougar decals sat before school officials, a marching band opened the news conference with brassy tunes and a muscled mascot danced, school leaders were clearly optimistic the program would become a reality.

“I think that the important work of the committee is to look and see what’s the road map, what are the steps that need to happen,” Carroll said. “Is it fall ‘24, ‘25, ‘26? To really come up with actionable items and timetables.”

She also acknowledged the committee could determine that the program should not go forward.

The public university in the Far South Side’s Roseland neighborhood is Illinois’ only four-year university federally designated as predominantly Black. The school has at times struggled with highprofile lawsuits and low enrollment in the last decade, including enrolling just 86 freshmen in fall 2016. But freshmen and sophomore enrollment has grown sharply over the last year, Chicago State President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott said.

Overall enrollment decreased 2.1% in 2022, with 2,296 students enrolled in the fall, according to a university news release.

The possible football program “is one part of our ongoing focus to improve the quality of student life, to make Chicago State University a more attractive destination for new students and to contribute to the ongoing economic development of our community,” Scott said.

The university operates seven men’s and eight women’s Division I sports programs. The Cougars left the Western Athletic Conference in June, though Carroll said she expects the university will join a new conference in the next year, a decision that likely will be affected by the prospect of a football program.

The university’s baseball team was cut two years ago, a move Carroll pinned on economic uncertainty during the pandemic. But the school since has added a men’s soccer team, she added. Carroll said she is confident the school would be able to establish the team financially, adding that college football teams typically generate revenue.

When Scott was asked whether the potential football team might play games at Soldier Field amid the Chicago Bears’ developing plans to leave the stadium for a new one in Arlington Heights, Scott answered with a laugh, “If it’s available.”

The team would compete in the Football Championship Subdivision, the second level of NCAA Division I football, a school spokesperson said.

“I hope that, at the end of this committee, we find that we’re able to move forward with this football program,” said Griffith, a South Side native and two-time Super Bowl champion. “It can bring so many other people into your program. It could have such an important impact for our community.”

Griffith said the committee’s recommendation ultimately will be passed to university leaders who will make a final decision. The committee needs to take its time to form a thoughtful recommendation, he added.

The new team could be an investment in the South Side and its young people, Griffith said.

“It’s not necessarily about are people playing in the NBA, the NFL or going on and playing any professional sports but the opportunity to have an education,” he said.

jsheridan@chicagotribune.com

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Categories: Local News

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier skate to record-setting day

42 min 38 sec ago

SAN JOSE — Brandon Frazier looked up at the SAP Center scoreboard as it posted his and Alexa Knierim’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships short program score Thursday afternoon.

“Whooo!” Frazier said.

He shot another glance at the score as if to make sure.

The mark remained the same – 81.96, the highest short program score ever recorded by an American pairs team.

“Wow,” Frazier said after the double take.

The recapturing of the U.S. title that was denied Knierim and Frazier last year, after he tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the national championships, became a foregone conclusion after the reigning world champions knocked nearly four points off their previous short program personal best.

“That’s up there,” said Todd Sand, who coaches the pair with his wife Jenni Meno-Sand at Great Park Ice in Irvine.

Knierim and Frazier, the 2021 U.S. champions, were flawless early, hitting a triple twist lift, triple toe-loop, and throw triple flip.

“I’m not shocked,” Sand said of the performance. “I feel like they’ve been training really well. I actually thought they could do a couple of things a little better, to be honest with you.”

The second half of the program was also largely mistake-free if it did lack the energy of the opening 90 seconds.

“Maybe not as much fire as usual,” Sand said. “But I think they’d done their job at this point.”

Indeed, with Knierim and Frazier leading by more than 35 points heading into Saturday’s free skate, the only real competition remaining is for second.

Emily Chan and Spencer Howe are second after the short program at 66.86, followed by Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea at 65.75.

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Another Orange County-based pair, Sonia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev, last year’s U.S. junior champions, are fifth with a score of 63.12.

Baram and Tioumentsev opened strong with a triple twist lift and a triple Salchow. But Baram fell on the landing of a throw double flip and then slipped late in the program during a footwork sequence.

“I was a little bummed for them,” Sand said. “They didn’t quite skate like they normally do.”

Categories: Local News

Javonte Green progressing from a knee prodedure — though the Chicago Bulls have no timeline for the forward’s return

49 min 8 sec ago

Nearly four weeks since his last game for the Chicago Bulls, uncertainty lingers for power forward Javonte Green.

Two weeks after undergoing an arthroscopic debridement to address lingering issues from a bone bruise in his right knee, Green has not returned to running or jumping. Coach Billy Donovan said Thursday that Green could require one to two more weeks of recovery before progressing beyond noncontact activities such as riding a stationary bike.

Donovan added that the Bulls do not have a timeline for Green’s expected return — to contact activities or games.

“We’ll have a much better feel once he can get started,” Donovan said before the Bulls played the Charlotte Hornets. “Once he starts moving, I think we’ll get a much better feel of how he responds to that.”

This is a hauntingly familiar refrain for Bulls fans, who have spent more than a year awaiting the return of point guard Lonzo Ball. Ball initially injured the MCL in his left knee — which required surgery on Jan. 20, 2021 — and his recovery was extended because of a bone bruise, then accompanied by pain in the following months.

Green hasn’t been fully available since Dec. 2. He returned for a pair of three-game stints before the Bulls determined he required the debridement procedure, which he underwent Jan. 11.

Unlike Ball, Donovan said Green’s recovery is continuing as expected.

“Everything has gone according to schedule,” Donovan said. “He’s been fine. There’s been no setbacks, and I wouldn’t anticipate any of that.”

Green was unable to travel to Paris for the Bulls’ game against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 19 because of the four-day proximity between his surgery and the team’s departure. But he joined the Bulls on the road this week, catching rebounds and making passes during shootaround Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., while his teammates jokingly referred to him as “Coach Green.”

Goran Dragić plans to meet the Bulls in Orlando, Fla.

Donovan said Dragić will join the Bulls on Friday in Orlando after the backup guard missed the first two games of the three-game trip with a non-COVID illness.

Dragić has been unavailable for the Bulls since the team returned from Paris. Donovan said Dragić was able to work out for several days in Chicago ahead of flying to Orlando on Friday. His return will help to ease a depleted bench with Green unavailable.

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Categories: Local News

These Bay Area students are candidates for the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

49 min 48 sec ago

Nearly 150 Bay Area students have been selected as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, one of the country’s highest honors for graduating high school seniors.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the awards highlight “excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth.” Students are selected based on their academic achievement, including scores on the SAT or ACT exams, talent in the visual, creative and performing arts, and skills in the career and technical education fields.

These students were selected from nearly 3.6 million high school graduates across the country, and will be in the running for receiving Presidential Scholars Medallions, the final prize for the competition, this June. Each year, up to 161 students are selected to receive the final award, and are selected from a national pool of over 5,000.

The list of U.S. Presidential Scholar Program candidates from the Bay Area are below.

Alameda
Claire M. Wong, The College Preparatory School

Albany
Sebastian H. Weinberger, The College Preparatory School

Belvedere
Sa’Ar L. Lipshitz, Redwood High School

Berkeley
Gavin Trotmore, Berkeley High School

Burlingame
Tegbir Panesar, The College Preparatory School

Cupertino
Allison Z. Jiang, Monta Vista High School
Anya Goyal, Monta Vista High School
Celina K. Yang, Cupertino High School
Derrick Z. Liu, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
Jeremy Ko, Harker School
Jessica W. Zhang, Monta Vista High School
Kenneth Shui, Monta Vista High School

Danville
Sabrina Brandeis, Monte Vista High School
Vishaan Joshi, Monte Vista High School

Dublin
Katherine Cheng, Dublin High School
Siddharth Ajay, Dublin High School

Foster City
Fiona H. Lu, Hillsdale High School
Maya G. Rao, San Mateo High School

Fremont
Akhilesh Basetty, Mission San Jose High School
Ambareesh Shyam Sundar, Irvington High School
Andrew Wen, Phillips Academy
Arushi G. Agarwal, Mission San Jose High School
Aryan Singh, American High School
Chris J. Ge, Mission San Jose High School
Jerry Yuan, Mission San Jose High School
Maggie Zhang, Mission San Jose High School
Michael Zhou, Mission San Jose High School
Nandana J. Nambiar, Mission San Jose High School
Olivia Wu, Mission San Jose High School
Samvar M. Yedur, American High School
Selena T. Tang, Mission San Jose High School
Shelley Fernando, Mission San Jose High School
Shelley Li, Mission San Jose High School
Sophia Zhu, Irvington High School
Hung Lin, American High School
Jonathan S. Tao, Mission San Jose High School

Hillsborough
Angelina J. Parker, Aragon High School
Caroline Vichot, Crystal Springs Uplands School
Michelle J. Zhang, The Nueva School

Los Altos
Jack Hsieh, Harker School
Nikita Raman, Presentation High School
Vincent Y. Zhang, Harker School

Menlo Park
Alexander Parikh-Briggs, Menlo Atherton High School
Adrian M. Deutscher-Bisho, Menlo Atherton High School
Lucy Knox, Sacred Heart Preparatory

Milpitas
Phoebe H. Ong, Ocean Grove Charter School

Mountain View
Ella Gal On, Stanford Univ EPGY Online High School
Katherine Y. Wang, Los Altos High School
Yuting Wang, Mountain View High School

Oakland
Ashley Quach, Unknown High School
Jasper D. Zietlow, Piedmont High School

Orinda
Michelle J. Giovinazzo, Miramonte High School

Palo Alto
Alan D. Lee, Henry M. Gunn High School
Alexis Jae-Yeon Kim, Palo Alto Senior High School
Amelia M. Yu, Henry M. Gunn High School
Anna Kim, Castilleja School
Cayden Gu, Palo Alto Senior High School
Dhananjay Deshpande, Palo Alto Senior High School
Jack Fallows, Henry M. Gunn High School
Jonathan E. Mao, Henry M. Gunn High School
Karrie Z. Huang, Palo Alto Senior High School
Kaylee Wong, Henry M. Gunn High School
Maanasa Viswanath, Henry M. Gunn High School
Maya M. Mukherjee, Palo Alto Senior High School
Mingyuan Wang, Palo Alto Senior High School
Nina H. Franz, Harker School
Patrick Xue, Palo Alto Senior High School
Ryan Lee, Palo Alto Senior High School
Sonia E. Cherian, Castilleja School
Vivian Wu, Palo Alto Senior High School
Yu-Ting Chang, Henry M. Gunn High School

Piedmont
Victor Z. Laczay, Wasatch Academy

Pleasanton
Aryan Jain, Amador Valley High School
Caleb M. Joo, Foothill High School
Claire Xu, Foothill High School
Ishani Shah, Foothill High School
Nihaal A. Konda, Bellarmine College Preparatory
Tanish Kumar, Stanford Univ EPGY Online High School
Ziyue Cao, Amador Valley High School

Portola Valley
Maren C. Deem, Woodside Priory School

San Francisco
Alison Soong, Crystal Springs Uplands School
Ella Barrett, San Francisco University High School
Chelsea E. Woolf, San Francisco University High School
Jack C. Quach, St. Ignatius College Preparatory
Jeffrey Xu, Lowell High School
Micah Brown, The Nueva School
William C. Mao, St. Paul’s School

San Jose
Ayush Agarwal, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
Annmaria K. Antony, Harker School
Andrew T. Chang, Evergreen Valley High School
Kylie Chang, Lynbrook High School
Eleanor Y. Chen, Lynbrook High School
Alison Ding, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
Anna Figge, University Preparatory Academy
Ilinca Flacau, Leland High School
Jia S. Gill, Presentation High School
Ritali Jain, Evergreen Valley High School
Tarini Amsav Jayakumar, Prospect High School
Alyson Jiang, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
Neil Kakhandiki, Lynbrook High School
Elizabeth Lau, University Preparatory Academy
David Lee, Lynbrook High School
Lavinia Lei, Monta Vista High School
Qingyuan Li, Archbishop Mitty High School
Maggie Liu, Leland High School
Miranda Lu, Leland High School
Anirudh R. Mani, Bellarmine College Preparatory
Mike Nguyen, The Kings Academy
Michelle Qiao, Leland High School
Angela Sheu, Los Gatos High School
Benjamin T. Sosnowski, Leland High School
Akshara Taraniganty, Lynbrook High School
Fiona F. Tsang, Ohio Connections Academy
Dipti S. Venkatesh, Evergreen Valley High School
Pranav Virupaksha, Lynbrook High School
Konrad Wrebiak, Lynbrook High School

San Mateo
Leil Cheng, Hillsdale High School

San Ramon
Alexander J. Moyer, California High School
Harshitha Palacharla, California High School
Navya Kancharla, Dougherty Valley High School
Srushti Talluri, Dougherty Valley High School
Timothy Schoonover, The Quarry Lane School
Vivian Y. Chang, The College Preparatory School

Santa Clara
Edward Du, Cupertino High School
Parker V. Stagnoli, Technology High School
Shreyan Mitra, Adrian C Wilcox High School

Santa Rosa
Parker V. Stagnoli, Technology High School

Saratoga
Allison Zhu, Unknown High School
Arshi Chawla, Saratoga High School
Jason M. Cheng, Saratoga High School
Joel Kim, Saratoga High School
Nicholas P. Wei, Harker School
Sabrina Zhu, Saratoga High School
Sally H. Zhu, Unknown High School
Vivian Wang, Saratoga High School

Scotts Valley
James Y. Chen, Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School

Stanford
Rupert Chen, Harker School
Peter H. Covert, Palo Alto Senior High School

Sunnyvale
Anika Wahi, Adrian C Wilcox High School
Daniel I. Shih, Fremont High School
Emma V. Lenchenkova, Living Wisdom High School
Emma Yu, Homestead High School
Jonathan R. Thong, The Kings Academy
Nikita Senthil, Saint Francis High School
Sezen Musa, Adrian C Wilcox High School

Tiburon
Madeleine de Belloy, Lycee Francais de San Francisco

Walnut Creek
Elane Kim, Stanford Univ EPGY Online High School
Erin C. Suh, The College Preparatory School

Woodside
Linus Upson, Crystal Springs Uplands School

Categories: Local News

FDA advisers back plan to simplify COVID vaccinations

59 min 18 sec ago

By Lauran Neergaard | Associated Press

The U.S. is poised to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like a yearly flu shot, a major shift in strategy despite a long list of questions about how to best protect against a still rapidly mutating virus.

The Food and Drug Administration asked its scientific advisers Thursday to help lay the groundwork for switching to once-a-year boosters for most Americans — and how and when to periodically update the shots’ recipe.

“This is a consequential meeting to determine if we’ve reached the point in the pandemic that allows for simplifying the use of current COVID-19 vaccines,” said FDA’s Dr. David Kaslow.
The advisory panel mostly agreed with the FDA’s approach.

COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives and booster doses continue to help the most vulnerable even as more contagious variants have popped up. But protection does wane and the shots don’t fend off milder infections for long.

And people are tired of getting vaccinated. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has had at least one COVID-19 shot, only 16% of those eligible for the latest boosters — so-called bivalent doses updated to better match more recent virus strains — have gotten one.

That makes for tough decisions on how to move forward: Who really needs another shot, how often and what kind?

“We’re still protected against severe disease, thank goodness,” even after the latest mutated omicron strains cropped up, noted FDA adviser Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The first step: The FDA advisory panel voted unanimously that people should get the same vaccine formula whether they’re receiving their initial vaccinations or a booster. Today, Americans get one formula based on the original coronavirus strain that emerged in 2020 for their first two or three doses — and their latest booster is a combination shot made by Pfizer or Moderna that adds omicron protection.

The FDA would have to decide how to phase in that change.

But “this isn’t only a convenience thing” to ease confusion about different kinds of shots, said Dr. Archana Chatterjee, dean of Chicago Medical School. Since the original coronavirus strain has disappeared, “moving towards the strains that are circulating is very important.”

Who needs another shot and when sparked more debate.

Looking ahead, the FDA said most Americans should do fine if they get a once-a-year booster targeted to the newest variants in the fall. The agency asked if some people might need two doses — adults with weakened immune systems and very young children who’ve never been previously vaccinated. That’s similar to how youngsters get their first-ever flu vaccination.

But more data is needed to show exactly who might need two yearly doses — such as a careful count of who still gets hospitalized with COVID-19 despite being up-to-date with today’s vaccinations, Offit said.

“Only then can we really best make the decision about who gets vaccinated with what and when,” he said.

Nor is it clear that younger, healthier people would need a COVID-19 booster every year.

“It’s hard to say it’s going to be annual at this point,” said Harvard’s Dr. Eric Rubin.

Fall might not even be the best time to boost, something that would depend on when infections start rising and how long a booster’s protection might last, said FDA adviser Dr. Arthur Reingold of the University of California, Berkeley.

Unlike flu which in the U.S. circulates mostly during late fall and winter, COVID-19 waves have occurred year-round.

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As for the recipe, the FDA’s plan is to call its advisory panel for another meeting in late May or early June to decide if the vaccine recipe needs tweaking — including which virus strain to target and whether it should be a single-strain or multi-strain shot. Pfizer and Moderna said that would give enough time to produce needed doses by fall while a third manufacturer, Novavax, urged an earlier start to any recipe change.

Also Thursday, U.S. officials updated how they’re tracking that the newest COVID-19 boosters are safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spotted a possible warning signal that seniors getting Pfizer’s updated booster might have a slightly higher risk of stroke. But FDA safety expert Richard Forshee said data from Medicare and multiple other health systems — including in other countries — found no sign of trouble, leading the government to conclude it’s unlikely the red flag was real.

AP Health Writer Matthew Perrone contributed to this report.

Categories: Local News

Witnesses: J6 panel failed to hold social media companies accountable

1 hour 24 min ago

By Donie O’Sullivan, Audrey Ash and Zachary Cohen | CNN

“There might be someone getting shot tomorrow.”

That was the warning from Twitter staff at an internal meeting on Jan. 5, 2021, the eve of the deadly attack on the US Capitol. It wasn’t the only stark warning Twitter management received ahead of the insurrection, according to two former Twitter employees who spoke to the House Jan. 6 Committee.

But now these witnesses, along with some committee staff, are frustrated, saying the committee failed to adequately hold major social media companies to account for the role they played in the worst attack on the Capitol in 200 years.

It was a “real missed opportunity,” Anika Collier Navaroli, a former Twitter employee turned whistleblower who gave evidence to the committee, told CNN in an interview last week. “I risked a lot to come forward and speak to the committee and to share the truth about these momentous occasions in history,” Navaroli said.

CNN spoke to half a dozen people who interacted with and were familiar with the Jan. 6 Committee’s so-called “purple team” — a group that included staff with expertise in extremism and online misinformation. Some witnesses and staff said the committee pulled its punches when it came to Big Tech, failing to include critical parts of the team’s work in its final report. The discontent has poured into public view, with an unpublished draft of the team’s findings leaked and obtained by multiple news organizations, including CNN.

One source familiar with the probe acknowledged that the committee obtained evidence that social media companies like Twitter largely ignored concerns that were raised internally prior to Jan. 6, but while those platforms should have done something at the time, the panel was limited in its ability to hold them accountable. A lawyer who worked on the committee said the panel did its job and focused on the unique and malign role of then-President Donald Trump in an unprecedented attack on American democracy. They also said the final report outlines structural issues across social media and society that need to be studied further.

Disagreement about social media companies’ role in the Jan. 6 attack comes as 2023 looks to be a pivotal year for Silicon Valley firms in Washington, DC. Spurred in part by the release of Elon Musk’s so-called “Twitter Files,” House Republicans are set to investigate purported Big Tech censorship, particularly as it pertains to social media companies’ handling of a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden and his laptop. Facebook parent company Meta’s high-stakes decision Wednesday to reinstate Trump on its platforms is also expected to stoke further scrutiny of tech companies’ influence in elections. At the Supreme Court, justices are set to rule this year on a case that could strip key protections afforded to tech companies moderating online speech.

A missed opportunity

It isn’t just Navaroli who has taken issue with the committee’s findings. Three of the committee’s own staff members, part of the so-called purple team, published an article earlier this month, sharply criticizing the decisions made by social media companies in the lead up to the attack.

The final report’s “emphasis on Trump meant important context was left on the cutting room floor,” they wrote.

“Indeed, the lack of an official Committee report chapter or appendix dedicated exclusively to these matters does not mean our investigation exonerated social media companies for their failure to confront violent rhetoric,” they wrote.

In wake of the decision, CNN has reviewed thousands of pages of deposition transcripts and other supporting documents the committee has publicly released that provide insight into Silicon Valley’s action and inaction in the critical period between Election Day 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021.

Navaroli, who worked on Twitter’s safety policy team, told the committee she had repeatedly warned Twitter’s leadership in the lead-up to Jan. 6 about the dangers of not cracking down on what she said was violent rhetoric.

Navaroli pointed to Trump’s infamous “stand back and stand by” message to the Proud Boys at the first 2020 presidential debate as one instance that incited more violent rhetoric on Twitter.

Navaroli initially appeared before the committee as an anonymous whistleblower. Part of her testimony was played during the public committee hearings last summer, with her voice distorted to protect her identity. However, she later decided to go public, testifying before the committee for a second time, and speaking to The Washington Post.

In an interview with CNN, Navaroli said she is speaking out now because she believes it is important for the “truth to be on the record.” She warned that without a full reckoning of social media’s role in the Capitol attack, political violence could once again ignite in the United States and elsewhere around the world, pointing to recent unrest in Brazil where supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s top government offices.

A leak

The final report from the Jan. 6 Committee stated, “Social media played a prominent role in amplifying erroneous claims of election fraud.”

But a far more blistering assessment was laid out in an unpublished draft document prepared by committee staff that was obtained by several news organizations, including CNN. Its key findings included:

  • “Social media platforms delayed response to the rise of far-right extremism—and President Trump’s incitement of his supporters—helped to facilitate the attack on January 6th.”
  • “Fear of reprisal and accusations of censorship from the political right compromised policy, process, and decision-making.”
  • “Twitter failed to take actions that could have prevented the spread of incitement to violence after the election.”
  • “Facebook did not fail to grapple with election delegitimization after the election so much as it did not even try.”

Tech companies would broadly dispute these findings and have repeatedly said they are working to keep their platforms safe.

Twitter’s previous management repeatedly outlined steps it said it was taking to crack down on hateful and violent rhetoric on its platform prior to Jan. 6, 2021, but stressed it didn’t want to unnecessarily limit free expression. Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter no longer has a responsive communications team, and the company did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook parent company Meta, pointed to an earlier statement from the company where it said it was cooperating with the committee.

Jacob Glick, an investigative counsel who conducted multiple depositions for the Jan. 6 Committee, including Navaroli’s, told CNN he believes the committee did its job to show “the American public the dangers posed by President Trump’s multilayered attack on our democracy.”

He said the lack of awareness he believes tech companies have shown about their role in the attack was “stark.”

“I don’t think social media companies recognize they were dealing with a sustained threat to American democracy,” he said.

Glick, who now works at the Georgetown Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, said the purple team’s report had not been fact-checked, contains some errors, and should not have been leaked.

Another source familiar with the committee’s work told CNN, “It couldn’t be clearer that Trump was at the center of this plot to overturn the election. Not everything staff worked on could fit into this extensive report and hearings, including some who wanted their work to be the center of the investigation.”

Culture wars and content moderation

How social media platforms write and enforce their rules has become a central and ongoing debate, raising the key question of what power the companies should wield when it comes to politicians like Trump.

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While some, including Navaroli, insist Trump repeatedly broke social media platforms’ rules by inciting violent rhetoric that should have resulted in his removal before Jan. 6, others including Musk and Twitter’s previous management, argue that what politicians say should be made available to as many people as possible so they can be held to account.

Meta and Twitter have both reversed their bans on Trump.

“We’re moving backwards and it’s concerning to me,” Navaroli said of the return of prominent election conspiracy theorists to major tech platforms. “History has taught us what happens when political speech on social media companies is allowed to fester unchecked.”

Categories: Local News

Letters: Gun control | Workers yoked | Debt scolds | Amazon plastic | Voter suppression

1 hour 36 min ago

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.

How long before we
demand gun control?

Re. “Local controls help slow epidemic levels of gun violence,” Page A6, Jan. 25:

Sally Lieber’s oped of Jan. 25 should cut deep at those elected leaders who failed repeatedly to pass sensible gun sanity legislation. Their failure of will mirrors the failure of most of their constituents to demand better.

The mass shootings remain a mere symptom of the toxic expectations each of our cultures invokes while failing to prioritize the wisdom of our greatest moral advisors, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mohammed, Hillel and the rest. It’s no surprise the inequity we allow fosters a desperation that leads to violence.

One wonders how intolerable must the unjust structure (that predatory capitalism uses to enslave us) reach before we find the will, like the Mom’s 4 Housing moms found yesterday at the Alameda County Supervisors meeting, to resist the inaction of our governmental bodies at so many levels.

Dennis Fagaly
Oakland

System keeps workers
yoked to bad jobs

Re. “Diversity coach sees dip in demand,” Page B15, Jan. 22:

The person trying to get a hold of being less “needed” for services, paid services, has not learned what all students should have the opportunity to learn; capitalism is a criminal act perpetrated on the masses in favor of our owners making a profit off our existence, our servitude, actually enslavement. We are contained by our owners’ lawmakers.

Marx commented that an aspect of capitalism is that it regularly pulls the rug — of security if we gain any — out from under us. We are not to feel secure. That’s a strength we’re not allowed.

Our work — our jobs — are not related to our lives or our personal well-being. Instead, they make — keep — our owners wealthy, taking the profit one way and another. One way, especially, is debt. We don’t get paid enough so we are put into debt.

Norma J. F. Harrison
Berkeley

‘Debt scolds’ are
right to criticize

Regarding “Let’s not do it again — don’t feed the debt scolds” (Page A7, Jan. 25), Paul Krugman points out that Republicans were warning of the U.S. spending too much money in 2011 and are doing so now.

However, the debt in 2011 was less than half of the debt today. I suspect that Krugman would require an offer of a significantly higher interest rate in order to lend his own money to an entity that was in twice the debt.

While the United States may be able to print virtually unlimited amounts of money, its lenders risk the possibility that repayments may only be in currency fit for playing Monopoly.

Daniel Mauthe
Livermore

Amazon should get rid
of plastic packaging

Amazon makes an average of $14,900 every second. Yet in 2021, they produced 709 pounds of plastic waste. Their net worth is nearing $1 trillion yet they continue to pollute our oceans with their excessive use of plastics.

Having been a consumer of Amazon, I enjoy the convenience of quick shipping, until I see the unnecessary layers of packaging for the single item I purchased. According to Oceana, “Amazon’s estimated plastic packaging waste, in the form of air pillows alone, would circle the Earth more than 600 times,” which raises the question: Why doesn’t Amazon find more sustainable alternatives to plastic?

With their daily revenue, the small cost of purchasing these more sustainable alternatives would hardly make a difference in their overall revenue. As a society, it is important that we pressure Amazon to be mindful of its impact on our environment.

Nataly Villasenor
Sacramento

Voters missed memo
on Georgia suppression

In March 2021, the Georgia State Legislature passed the Election Integrity Act, which restricted where ballot boxes were placed and required voters wanting an absentee ballot to present their identification while extending voting periods to weekends and expanding the hours polls were open. Immediately, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called the Act a “form of voter suppression.” President Biden called the new law “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”

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Apparently, Georgia voters didn’t get that message. Before the election, voters broke the state early voting record, with an all-time high number of ballots cast.

Now, the University of Georgia has completed a post-election poll, and zero percent of Black Georgians reported any trouble voting. The poll, by the University’s School of Public and International Affairs, also asked Black voters about their voting experience. More than 94% were confident their vote counted as intended, and zero reported having a poor voting experience.

Mike Heller
Walnut Creek

Categories: Local News

Magic’s Cole Anthony finding scoring rhythm by getting into the paint more

1 hour 40 min ago

Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony has made strides in rediscovering his rhythm as a scorer this past week.

Before last Friday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony was going through an extended slump.

Anthony averaged 7.6 points on 29.2% shooting (12.5% on 2.7 3s attempted) in his previous nine games before that win.

He’s starting to turn a corner.

“Lot of credit to my teammates,” Anthony said. “Getting some easy buckets just because they’re doing a great job of finding me. I’m just trying to run the floor for them and make their jobs a little easier. Take some pressure off of them.”

Anthony’s averaged 13.5 points on 56.8% shooting (25% on 3s) in the Magic’s last four games entering Friday’s road matchup against the Miami Heat.

What’s helped Anthony re-establish that scoring rhythm has been a greater emphasis on getting inside the paint.

During the slump, 3.7 of his 8 field-goal attempts (46.3%) were there. Anthony was shooting worse (40.5%) during that stretch compared to his season-long efficiency (51.2%) but also was getting there less.

Anthony’s made it a point to be more of a threat on the interior recently, with 6.3 of his 9.3 shots per game (67.7%) coming inside the paint. He shot 68.3% on those looks.

His improved finishing around the rim has been a season-long trend. Anthony’s 59.7% shooting accuracy in the restricted area and 46.3% accuracy inside the non-paint restricted area are career highs.

He’s also drawing more shooting fouls than he did in previous years.

“It’s different touch,” Anthony told the Sentinel. “At the same time, it’s also I’ve watched a lot of guys around the league. Knowing my spots and knowing where I want to take my shots.”

He’s been driving to the basket a little more (10.5 drives per 36 minutes in the last four games) compared to his slump (10.1 per 36 minutes), but still not at the same frequency as earlier in the season (12.1 drives per 36 minutes in his first 17 games).

“It was a matter of feeling like I’ve played several games this year where I’ve just been super passive,” Anthony told the Sentinel. “I was like ‘All right, well that’s not me.’ I’m not [a] ball mover. There are dudes in this league who are ball movers, who get out there [and] throw the ball around. That’s not me. That’s never been me. I know I’m capable of making something happen.”

Anthony’s had to lean on driving and finishing inside the paint as a more consistent weapon. He’s trying to establish his rhythm as an outside shooter. Anthony has shot a career-low 30.3% on 3s this season, including 29% on catch-and-shoot 3s after 36.3% and 32.6% on those looks the previous two years.

“I know I can shoot it. I ain’t been shooting the ball too great,” he said. “So I’m like ‘All right, let me get somewhere I can be kind of efficient.’ Made it a point to get into that paint and put pressure on the defense.

“A lot of the teams’ focal points are focusing on Franz [Wagner] and Paolo [Banchero]. Cool, I’m going to use that to my advantage and make their job a little easier by being aggressive and making the defense stay honest.”

Even as he’s righted his scoring, Anthony remains a consistent playmaker.

His 4.2 assists and 7.6 potential assists (a pass to a teammate who shoots within 1 dribble of receiving the ball) and 10.9 assists points created are second on the team only behind Markelle Fultz.

Anthony and Fultz have brought a greater drive-and-kick presence to the Magic. They’re the lone rotation players who pass out of at least 40% of their drives.

Anthony mixes in drive and kicks, throwaheads and pocket passes to help set up his teammates. His turnover frequency (11.2%) is a career low.

“It’s just the simple play is usually the best,” Anthony said. “You [don’t have] to hit a home run every time. You want to aim for singles and doubles. That’s the best way to do it. Those singles and doubles add up.”

Anthony’s role has been different this season compared to his previous two.

He’s come off the bench in 27 of 30 games after starting in 99 of 112 his first two seasons and is playing fewer minutes (25.8) than he did as a rookie (27.1) and sophomore (31.7).

Since the change to a reserve, he’s finding his groove again.

“The great part about Cole is he’s embracing every time he steps on the floor whatever we’re asking him to do,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We’ve talked about him being a tenacious defender, getting into the basketball. Offensively, picking and choosing spots when he’s attacking vs. distributing. That’s what keeps him on the floor. He’s done a great job of with that level of poise and understanding his ability to attack as well as distribute.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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Categories: Local News

Warriors star Steph Curry named NBA All-Star Game starter

1 hour 43 min ago

Stephen Curry will be heading to Salt Lake City next month for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game.

Shaquille O’Neal got the honors of introducing the Warriors star as a starter for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game during TNT’s broadcast Thursday evening.

“My favorite player in the world, Stephen Curry,” O’Neal said.

This will be Curry’s ninth All-Star selection in his 14-year NBA career, marking the most All-Star appearances in Warriors’ history. He’s averaging 29.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season while shooting 48.7% from the field and 42% from deep.

Other Western Conference starters include: Mavericks star Luka Doncic, Lakers star LeBron James, Nuggets big man and two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and Pelicans center Zion Williamson.

This will be James 19th All-Star selection, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most in league history. He’ll captain the west.

Meanwhile, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were named as the Eastern Conference starters. Antetokounmpo will serve as the other captain.

Fan vote accounts for half of the final vote for All-Star starters. The other half is split between media and fellow players. All-Star reserves, which are selected by NBA head coaches, will be unveiled Feb. 2.

This year’s All-Star Game will take place Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Categories: Local News

NYC bike path attacker convicted, may face death

1 hour 46 min ago

By Larry Neumeister and Bobby Caina Calvan | Associated Press

NEW YORK — An Islamic extremist who killed eight people with a speeding truck in a 2017 rampage on a popular New York City bike path was convicted Thursday of federal crimes and could face the death penalty.

Sayfullo Saipov bowed his head as he heard the verdict in a Manhattan courtroom just a few blocks from where the attack ended. Prosecutors said the Halloween rampage was inspired by his reverence for the Islamic State militant group.

The dozen jurors deliberated for about seven hours over two days before convicting Saipov, 34, of 28 counts of crimes that include murder in aid of racketeering and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. Jurors will return to court no earlier than Feb. 6 to hear more evidence to help them decide whether he should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.

A death sentence for Saipov, a citizen of Uzbekistan, would be an extreme rarity in New York. The state no longer has capital punishment and the last state execution was in 1963. A federal jury in New York has not rendered a death sentence that withstood legal appeals in decades, with the last execution in 1954.

Even before the trial, there was no doubt Saipov was a killer.

His lawyers conceded to the jury that he rented a pickup truck near his New Jersey home, steered it onto the path along the Hudson River and mowed down bicyclists for blocks before crashing into a school bus near the World Trade Center.

He emerged from his truck yelling “God is great,” in Arabic, with pellet and paintball guns in his hands before he was shot by a police officer who thought they were real firearms.

The vehicle attack killed a woman visiting from Belgium with her family, five friends from Argentina and two Americans. It left others with permanent injuries, including a woman who lost her legs.

“His actions were senseless, horrific, and there’s no justification for them,” defense attorney David Patton told the jury during the trial.

The defense asked jurors to acquit Saipov of racketeering charges, saying he intended to die a martyr and was not conspiring with the Islamic State organization, despite voluminous amounts of propaganda from the group found on his electronic devices and at his home.

Saipov did not testify at his trial.

He sat quietly each day, unlike at a 2019 pretrial hearing where he insisted on questioning the judge about why he should be judged for eight deaths when “thousands and thousands of Muslims are dying all over the world.”

Saipov moved legally to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010 and lived in Ohio and Florida before joining his family in Paterson, New Jersey.

Prosecutors said Saipov attacked civilians to impress the Islamic State group so he could become a member and appeared pleased with his work, smiling when he spoke to an FBI agent afterward.

Among those testifying were several family members from Belgium who were injured in the attack. Aristide Melissas, a father, said he had challenged family members to race their bikes to the World Trade Center, with the loser paying for ice cream. When he was struck by Saipov’s truck, his skull was fractured. He underwent brain surgery.

His wife, Marion Van Reeth, spoke of waking up in a hospital to learn her legs had been amputated.

Saipov’s lawyers have said the death penalty process was irreparably tainted by former President Donald Trump, who tweeted a day after the attack that Saipov “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”
President Joe Biden subsequently instituted a moratorium on executions for federal crimes.

Until Saipov’s trial, Biden’s Justice Department, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, had not launched any new attempt to obtain the death penalty in a federal case. But Garland has allowed U.S. prosecutors to continue advocating for capital punishment in cases inherited from previous administrations.

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It has been a decade since a jury in New York last considered the death penalty.

Federal juries in Brooklyn twice gave a death sentence to a man who murdered two New York police detectives, once in 2007 and again in 2013, but both sentences were tossed out on appeal. A judge ultimately ruled the killer was intellectually disabled.

In 2001, just weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal jurors in Manhattan declined to impose a death sentence on two men convicted in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The men’s lawyers had urged jurors not to make the defendants into martyrs.

Categories: Local News

A healthy Eloy Jiménez wants to play the outfield more than DH for the Chicago White Sox. How will that work out?

1 hour 47 min ago

Eloy Jiménez spent more than two months on the injured list last season after tearing his right hamstring while running to first base in late April. He appeared in 84 games, making 50 starts at designated hitter and 30 in left field.

Jiménez is determined to stay healthy for the Chicago White Sox in 2023 — and he wants to play in the outfield as much as possible.

“Last year I was in that situation that I needed to DH more than play outfield, but this year I’m really preparing myself to play more games in the outfield than DH,” Jiménez said during a video conference Monday.

How that works out remains to be seen.

The Sox have a new left fielder after signing Andrew Benintendi to a five-year, $75 million deal. It’s the largest contract in franchise history in overall value.

“(Benintendi) comes here to play left field,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said during the 2021 Gold Glove winner’s introductory news conference on Jan. 4. “He’s done it his whole career and he’s obviously very good at it.”

Luis Robert is the center fielder and prospect Oscar Colás figures to be an option in right. That could mean many nights at DH for Jiménez.

“I’ve spoken to Eloy, I’ve told him to continue to work in the outfield, to work some in right field as well,” Grifol said on Jan. 4. “And in true professional manner, Eloy is like, whatever is best for this ballclub and whatever helps us win.”

Jiménez said it was good to talk with Grifol.

“(Grifol) said it would be more in right field than left field because Benintendi is here now,” Jiménez said. “But we didn’t talk about DH a lot.”

In the past, Jiménez has made clear his preference to play in the outfield.

While it might not have led to a complete embrace of the spot, Jiménez did make a major contribution as a DH last season. He slashed .274/.343/.500 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in the role.

“Last year, when I was DH’ing more than (playing) the outfield, it was because I got surgery,” Jiménez said. “And I understand that. But this year I’ve been working really hard to play the outfield more than DH. So I don’t really think that I’m going to accept (embracing the DH role) because I’m working hard to get better and I want to play in the outfield.”

Jiménez never has played right field in a major-league game. He started 103 games in right in the minors compared with 240 in left.

“I’ve been practicing more in right field this year,” Jiménez said of his offseason work. “I feel better. I was really working on every aspect of the outfield, moving backward, moving from side to side. This year I feel really good.

“Right field is a lot different because every ball the right-handed hitter hits most of the time has some backspin. It’s way better being there.”

The Sox might have to sort out where Jiménez plays this spring, but there’s no questioning his importance to the offense. Even in limited action in 2022, he finished second on the team in homers (16) and fifth in RBIs (54). He slashed .323/.391/.558 in 65 games after the All-Star break.

“I was feeling way better last year because I was more disciplined and that really helped me to do a better job,” Jiménez said.

After missing extended periods the last two seasons because of injuries, Jiménez recognizes the top priority.

“In my mind, I just say I need to be healthy,” he said, “because I know If I’m healthy, I can help in my way.”

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Categories: Local News

Letters: Garbage issue | Cheaper than subsidy | Preserve Juristac | Gun deaths | Tracking documents

2 hours 6 min ago

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.

SJ’s garbage issue
needs bigger cans

Re. “San Jose faces $48 million lawsuit over recycling claims,” Page C8, Jan. 14:

On Jan. 14 The Mercury News published an article announcing that the city of San Jose faces a $48 million lawsuit for failing to prevent residents from throwing garbage into their recycling bins.

In my opinion, the city of San Jose’s black garbage bins are too small for many households so the easy solution is to throw excess garbage into the blue recycling bin.

Small black garbage bins are not adequate for moderate size and large families, not adequate for households with multiple adult roommates and not adequate for multigenerational households.

Provide black garbage bins that are large enough for people to use and they will. Don’t and they won’t.

Dan Davis
San Jose

COPA is cheaper than
subsidizing renters

My friend David Eisbach’s objections to a San Jose COPA policy (Community Opportunity to Purchase Act) are unfortunately based on misinformation (“COPA proposal is too costly for SJ,” Page A6, Jan. 24).

The 5 ½-month timeline he complains about would only apply if and when an owner voluntarily chooses to accept a nonprofit offer to purchase. The overwhelming majority of sellers would only be delayed by the 15-day waiting period for submission of a letter of intent. The inconveniences of COPA would primarily only impact professional real estate investors, many of whom rely on cash sales.

This is an acceptable trade-off for enacting a policy to address San Jose’s horrific displacement and homelessness crisis. COPA is a good solution because it uses a one-time subsidy to keep tenants in their homes, takes rental units off the speculative market and makes them permanently affordable.

It is actually Eisbach’s proposal to permanently subsidize tenant rents that would be prohibitively expensive.

Sandy Perry
San Jose

Preserve Juristac hills,
protect environment

The recent punishing rain storms show the necessity to protect our remaining natural landscapes. The rolling hills of Juristac, in the south county, are under threat of being quarried. Sand and gravel in these hills absorb rainfall, cleaning it as it filters into the aquifers. The vegetation also helps to prevent soil erosion, sedimentation in the streams, and flooding. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and others call for protecting Juristac so that Juristac can protect the native flora and fauna and also protect all of us from natural disasters.

This beautiful landscape is sacred to the Amah Mutsun and other indigenous peoples. It is also home to steelhead trout, mountain lions, golden eagles, badgers, rare plants and endangered butterflies. No evidence has been provided to show that a quarry is needed. Please contact the Planning Commission and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and tell them to oppose mining the Sargent Hills.

Dorah Rosen
Santa Cruz

Keep gun deaths
in perspective

With respect to the recent mass shootings in Goshen, Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay it is important to keep things in perspective. While the loss of lives due to the shootings is tragic, there is any number of ways to die, with many of these deaths as preventable as sensible gun control laws.

According to CDC data, there were a bit over 19,000 firearms-related homicides in 2020. According to NHTSA there were a bit under 39,000 deaths attributed to automobile accidents in 2020. And let’s not forget COVID. According to CDC data, there were roughly 350,000 deaths attributed to COVID in 2020. In total, nearly 1.1 million Americans have died due to COVID.

Many of these deaths were preventable. One wonders where the hue and cry from those calling for prohibitions on gun ownership is.

Anthony Stegman
San Jose

US must do better
tracking documents

As of this Tuesday morning, the Republicans are losing 2-1 in the document game. Still coming to bat: Harris, Bush, Cheney, Clinton and Gore.

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On CNN there was a discussion about new legislation. Do we really need a new law to solve this problem? When I have an overdue book at my local library, I get an email the day it is overdue. Who are the librarians who are checking out classified material? They must have a list of classified materials that have not been turned in. One wonders how can Joe Biden have a classified document that was checked out 10 years ago.

People in charge at the National Archives and other agencies need to update their procedures and fine these officials when materials are not returned. At the rate unreturned materials are appearing, that might help balance the budget.

Stephen Smallwood
Sunnyvale

Categories: Local News

Musk meets with House Speaker McCarthy, Jeffries in DC

2 hours 13 min ago

By Melanie Zanona, Alayna Treene and Manu Raju | CNN

Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries at the US Capitol in Washington on Thursday evening.

McCarthy, leaving the meeting with Musk in his office, declined to comment other than to say: “He came for my birthday.” The California Republican turned 58 on Thursday.

After the meeting, Musk wrote on Twitter that he met with McCarthy and Jeffries “to discuss ensuring that this platform is fair to both parties.”

The meeting between Musk and congressional leaders comes as the House Oversight Committee is planning to hold a hearing next month focused on Twitter and how it handled a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. The House GOP conference members have promised rigorous oversight into big tech and social media platforms, which they have accused of conservative censorship.

The panel invited three former Twitter employees to testify, and is in active discussions with the trio about appearing in front of the committee, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The committee is looking at February 8 as a potential target date for the hearing, the sources said.

The manner in which Twitter handled the Hunter Biden laptop story has been the subject of several so-called Twitter Files reports, corporate communications that have been disseminated to journalists hand-picked by Musk and his team at Twitter. The Twitter Files have shown the company’s moderation team agonized over how to handle initial stories about the saga. Although early news reports were blocked or downplayed, the company quickly reversed course and allowed them to be posted and discussed on the platform.

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Musk has developed a reputation as a polarizing figure in the tech industry and for his political views. He has frequently weighed in publicly on US policy and the political landscape in recent months. Musk has said that he has voted for Democrats and Republicans in the past but has recently favored conservatives and says he identifies as Republican.

The meeting comes amid a political power shift in Washington after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January and elected McCarthy as speaker.

Categories: Local News

Warriors send Moses Moody to G League

2 hours 14 min ago

SAN FRANCISCO — Moses Moody knew exactly what he was signing up for when he decided to enter the 2021 NBA draft after one season at Arkansas.

That’s part of what made coach Steve Kerr’s conversation with him this week about spending a few days in the G League so easy.

The Warriors on Thursday assigned Moody, the No. 14 overall pick in last year’s draft, to Santa Cruz along with 2022 picks, Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins. The trio will join the Sea Dubs for their pair of games against the South Bay Lakers in El Segundo on Friday and Sunday.

Moody is expected to rejoin Golden State on Monday when it opens its three-game road trip in Oklahoma City, but the team felt Moody needed the in-game reps after he’s sat out of four of the Warriors’ last eight games

“He just needs to play, he’s a young guy and out of the rotation right now. This is why Santa Cruz exists is for the development of our young players and potential future players and it’s a great tool,” Kerr said after practice Thursday. “Moses would really benefit from going down, playing 35 minutes, a couple of games, get a bunch of shots up, build some rhythm, it’s all part of the development.”

Moody has played in 39 games in his sophomore NBA season, averaging 5.2 points while shooting 45.2% from the field and 36.7% from deep. The Warriors still see him being a reliable 3-and-D player, but Moody hasn’t been able to earn consistent minutes in the rotation. He didn’t play in either of the Warriors’ last two games, a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday and a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

At 20, Moody still has plenty of his career ahead of him. He knows that, and Kerr lauded Moody’s receptiveness to being sent to the G League for experience.

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“When we talked to him about it, [Moody] said, ‘Look, I chose to develop in the NBA. I could have chosen to develop in college and that would have been playing 35 minutes every night, but I chose to develop in the NBA. So that’s what comes with it is sometimes like this, I’m not playing, not in the rotation, so I understand it,'” Kerr recalled.

“He’s very wise. It’s one of the reasons I’m so high on him because he understands the big picture, he understands this is all heading in a direction that’s very positive but it’s not always easy to get there.”

Jonathan Kuminga, whom the Warriors drafted seven spots ahead of Moody, encourgaed his fellow draft classmate to remain positive despite the ups and downs of the season. In fact, he said it was not too long ago that he had heard coaches mulling the idea of sending him to Santa Cruz to get some reps himself.

“Things just switch every second because at the beginning of the year, I was getting a lot of DNPs,” Kuminga said. “I just kept my head up and kept working and just being out there every day, I mean, that’s it. Things just switch, you never know whenever your time or your name’s going to be called.”

That shouldn’t be a problem for Moody, who’s been praised for his maturity and professionalism since he joined the organization.

Injury report

Andrew Wiggins was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report ahead of Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.

Wiggins missed Wednesday’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies after coming down with yet another non-COVID illness. He stayed away from Chase Center Thursday as he still felt under the weather.

“Hopefully he’ll be here tomorrow, but we’ll see,” Kerr said.

Wiggins missed most of December (15 games total) with a strained thigh muscle and sickness before making his return to the lineup Jan. 7. He still hasn’t rediscovered the groove he was in before he went down Dec. 4 with the injury. Up to that point of the season, Wiggins was playing some of the best basketball of his career, posting shooting splits of .511/.450/.628.

In seven games since his return, Wiggins is averaging 12.5 points while shooting 34% from the field and 22.7% from 3-point range. Jonathan Kuminga started in his place Wednesday night.

Categories: Local News

Lawsuit: Oakland police ‘ghost chase’ led to Hayward man’s death

2 hours 18 min ago

OAKLAND — The mother of Lolomanaia “Lolo” Soakai had to watch her son take his final breaths moments after the two innocent bystanders were struck by a vehicle fleeing Oakland police officers in an unauthorized chase.

The tragedy on June 26 left the East Bay’s Tongan community scarred, and the two officers involved were suspended. Now the family of Soakai, a 28-year-old Hayward resident remembered by family members for having the singing “voice of an angel,” is suing the city of Oakland for damages.

The federal civil rights complaint alleges that the officers behind the high-speed pursuit of 19-year-old Arnold Linaldi “watched the carnage, injuries and death” unfold after Linaldi crashed into parked vehicles and multiple people—including Soakai, who was waiting with his mother near a taco truck on International Boulevard.

The complaint alleges that the officers left the scene without alerting emergency medical services or documenting the “ghost chase”—a term for unauthorized chases where police vehicles do not activate sirens or lights—in order to avoid scrutiny.

“It really saddens all of us to know that, somewhat, the system is broken,” said Ian Finau, a cousin of Soakai’s, at a tearful news conference Thursday in the office of civil rights attorney Adante Pointer.

The senseless death, which took place right after Soakai’s family had celebrated at a cousin’s graduation ceremony, prompted community rallies and calls for police accountability from the Tongan community. Soakai had been a dedicated gospel singer, and at a vigil last year his family and friends sung Tongan hymns to commemorate his life.

Witnesses to the scene told Pointer that the officers, before leaving, had remarked “I hope that driver dies” in apparent reference to Linaldi, the attorney said.

Ian Finau, front left, a cousin of crash victim Lolomanaia "Lolo" Soakai, speaks at a news conference on January 26, 2022 about the role of Oakland police officers in the tragedy. The family, including mother Lavinia Soakai, front right, have filed a federal civil rights complaint through attorneys Patrick Buelna, back left, and Adante Pointer. (Shomik Mukherjee/Bay Area News Group)Ian Finau, front left, a cousin of crash victim Lolomanaia “Lolo” Soakai, speaks at a news conference on January 26, 2022 about the role of Oakland police officers in the tragedy. The family, including mother Lavinia Soakai, front right, have filed a federal civil rights complaint through attorneys Patrick Buelna, back left, and Adante Pointer. (Shomik Mukherjee/Bay Area News Group) 

“These officers conspired to try to cover up what they had caused,” Pointer said, “in order to, I can only imagine, avoid any type of discipline, accountability, and, frankly, criminal charges, for the death and destruction they caused. As opposed to going to the scene and offering medical help or summoning an ambulance, they drove off.”

The city in 2014 had adopted a policy against high-speed vehicle pursuits except in cases of serious or violent crimes, which also required that officers weigh risks to the safety of other motorists or bystanders, the complaint notes.

In the case of Linaldi, who pleaded not guilty last September to vehicular manslaughter in Soakai’s death, the Nissan he was driving had been suspected by officers of being involved in a sideshow, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said at the time.

“It’s not just police officers that need to be held accountable, and those that come in and (are) involved in this unlawful activity also need to be held accountable, because we can’t continue to accept this, because it’s leading to tragic outcomes for families,” Armstrong said last year.

Police said Linaldi was driving over 100 miles per hour during the pursuit. But the alleged officer misconduct may come into play in the suspect’s legal defense, with a pretrial hearing scheduled next month. His public defender declined a request for comment.

Several others were injured in the crash, including Soakai’s mother, who clutched at a button honoring her son and wiped away a steady flow of tears during Thursday’s news conference.

“It’s brought us a lot of trauma” said Ina Lavalu, another cousin of the victim. “After the incident up until now, everything such as sirens, Oakland (police) cars, screeching noises, all of that—it takes a big toll on me.”

“Lolo did everything for his mom, literally everything,” Lavalu added. “When we go on drives, all Mama Soakai talks about is Lolo…. I have two kids of my own, so to hear her cry out for her son, I can’t imagine what it would feel like.”

Few details have been made available by Oakland police about the identity or current job status of the officers who pursued Linaldi. They were suspended at the time of the crash, and Pointer said Thursday they appear to remain on paid leave.

Armstrong, meanwhile, was himself placed on leave last week following a misconduct scandal involving a sergeant’s hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and subsequent cover-ups by higher-ranking officers. The chief has denied wrongdoing and demanded reinstatement, and he has received support from the Oakland NAACP.

Treva Stewart, another attorney representing the family, said the officers involved in last June’s chase were “100% responsible” for Soakai’s death.

“We will pursue justice for (this family) with the same vigor, determination and force that these officers used to pursue Mr. Linaldi,” Stewart said. “The only difference is we will go about it legally.”

Staff writers Nate Gartrell and George Kelly contributed to this report.

Categories: Local News

California bar unveils disciplinary charges against Eastman

2 hours 24 min ago

By Tierney Sneed | CNN

The State Bar of California unveiled new disciplinary charges against John Eastman for his involvement in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election results.

The state bar’s trial counsel is bringing 11 counts against Eastman, accusing him of violating a variety of attorney ethics rules in multiple episodes, court cases and other conduct.

Among the gambits the new disciplinary proceedings are targeting is Eastman court filings submitted in Georgia and with the Supreme Court, the pressure campaign on then-Vice President Mike Pence to disrupt Congress’ certification and Eastman’s promotion of false election fraud claims.

“There is nothing more sacrosanct to our American democracy than free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power,” said George Cardona, the state bar’s chief trial counsel, said in a statement. “The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land — an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy — for which he must be held accountable.”

Eastman now faces a deadline to respond to the charges.

The proceedings will eventually move to a state bar court for adjudication, though the state supreme court has the final word on whether disciplinary proceedings should result if an attorney’s suspension or disbarment.

Categories: Local News

Alzheimer’s study in Boston looking at possible treatment to prevent the disease

3 hours 20 min ago

Boston medical researchers are hoping to get ahead of Alzheimer’s by testing a possible treatment in patients who don’t have symptoms but may be at risk for the progressive disease.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is part of the global AHEAD Study, an Alzheimer’s clinical trial that is looking at whether an investigational treatment can slow or stop the earliest brain changes in people with a higher risk of developing the disease later in life.

The scientists, who are seeking participants for the four-year clinical trial, are testing lecanemab — the recently FDA-approved Biogen drug for patients exhibiting Alzheimer’s symptoms — in patients as young as 55 years old who are at risk of developing symptoms as they get older.

“Our goal is to see if we can change the trajectory of cognitive decline using a medication early in the disease process,” Seth Gale, lead researcher at the Brigham, told the Herald this week.

“My hope is we find a treatment, coupled with lifestyle, that prevents the onset of Alzheimer’s disease for people who might have a higher risk,” added Gale, a neurologist who’s co-director of the Brain Health Program in the Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder affecting more than 6.5 million Americans that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out simple tasks.

While the specific causes of Alzheimer’s are not fully known, it is characterized by changes in the brain — including amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles — that result in loss of neurons and their connections. These changes affect a person’s ability to remember and think.

In the AHEAD study, the researchers are testing the effect of lecanemab in healthy people who have amyloid in their brain, known as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

The study requires a number of medical procedures, including: MRI scans; memory and thinking tests; IV infusions of the investigational treatment (or placebo) that aims to help remove amyloid plaques from the brain; and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans to look for the amyloid plaques and tau tangles associated with Alzheimer’s.

“The ability to identify people at risk for developing cognitive decline due to AD based on amyloid PET provides the opportunity to test whether early intervention can delay cognitive decline,” said Reisa Sperling, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and co-principal investigator of the AHEAD Study.

The total worldwide enrollment goal for the study is 1,400 people, and the researchers hope to complete enrollment by the end of the year. The Brigham site has nine participants as of now, and the site has “capacity to have much more than that,” Gale said.

Those in the Boston-area who are interested in participating in the study at the Brigham should visit studymemory.org. People can also call the study team at 857-307-0345.

People interested in the AHEAD study and enrollment sites across the U.S. and Canada should visit www.aheadstudy.org.

Categories: Local News

Half Moon Bay shooting: Massacre fueled by simmering tensions among farmworkers, sources say

3 hours 25 min ago

HALF MOON BAY — The shooting massacres at two coastal mushroom farms earlier this week were fueled by the suspected gunman’s mounting frustrations with his job conditions and simmering tensions with other colleagues at the farm where he lived and worked, a law enforcement source told the Bay Area News Group.

The workplace problems included co-workers picking on him over his small stature, said the source.

Chunli Zhao, 66, apparently had enough with his purported mistreatment Monday and responded by fatally shooting four people and wounding another at California Terra Gardens farm, where he worked. He then drove three miles south to Concord Farms — which once employed him — and killed three more farm workers.

That’s the general sense of investigators to this point, and sheds light on why early on, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus may have been so confident in calling the shooting a instance of “workplace violence” without offering more detail. The same goes for Peninsula Rep. Anna Eshoo, who said the victims “were killed with purpose, with intent, execution style,” while similarly not revealing what supported that swift conclusion.

The law-enforcement source, who is close to the shooting investigation, also built upon eyewitness accounts illustrating what seemed to be deliberate targeting by Zhao, affirming that Zhao methodically selected his victims and ignored other people who unwittingly got in his way during the rampage.

Then on Thursday, Zhao reportedly affirmed this narrative in a jailhouse interview with NBC Bay Area at the Redwood City jail where he is being held on seven counts of murder and one of attempted murder, with numerous sentencing enhancements attached to each charge that stand to put him in prison for life if he is convicted.

In the television report, which recounted an off-camera interview with Zhao, he is said to have admitted to committing the shootings and described being fed up with long hours at the farm and bullying by his co-workers. The law-enforcement source who spoke to this news organization said the final straw might have been an insult about his “diminutive” size, which is said to have occurred not long before the shootings.

He reportedly voiced remorse for the killings, and suggested that undiagnosed mental illness may have factored into his actions.

Zhao also stated that the legally-obtained semi-automatic Ruger pistol that authorities say he used was bought in 2021, and that he moved to the United States 11 years ago on a green card. He and his wife, who both lived on the farm, have a 40-year-old daughter who lives in China, according to the report.

That timeline aligns with court records showing that in 2013, a one-time roommate of Zhao’s at a home in San Jose filed a civil-harassment restraining order against him after alleging that Zhao tried to smother him to death with a pillow and threatened to use a knife to “split” open his head. The conflict apparently arose, according to a court petition, from Zhao wanting his job back after quitting at a South Bay restaurant where the roommate also worked.

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Zhao was arrested about two hours after the shootings in the parking lot of the sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay, where he surrendered and was taken to the ground by police officers in a scene captured on witness video. According to the TV report Thursday, Zhao reportedly said he drove immediately to the substation and sat in his car for nearly two hours after failing to find someone to surrender to. He later gave himself up after watching police surround his vehicle and cautiously approach. Authorities found the gun and a note Zhao had written to his wife in the vehicle.

Zhao was arraigned Wednesday and could face up to life in prison without parole, and possibly the death penalty, based on the charges filed against him by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

In the meantime, elected officials and community and advocacy groups are working to support the farmworkers who worked at the shooting sites and the families of the shooting victims. Among the newest fundraising efforts is a GoFundMe campaign sponsored by the advocacy groups Chinese for Affirmative Action, Asian American Foundation, the Asian Pacific Fund, the Asian Law Caucus, and Stop AAPI Hate.

Check back later for updates to this story.

Categories: Local News

Brian Boitano is the hottest ticket at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships

3 hours 38 min ago

For figure skating fans, what could be better than attending the U.S. championships this weekend at SAP Center in downtown San Jose? Maybe doing that and hanging out with Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano.

Boitano, a Sunnyvale native, is hosting Boitano’s Lounge at the arena Friday through Sunday in the swanky club-level space where well-heeled fans mingle during the NHL season. It’s a pop-up version of his bar and restaurant at the Kindler Hotel in Lincoln, Neb., where he had a hand in creating the dozens of signature cocktails served there since it opened in 2019. (Remember, on top of being an elite skater, Boitano hosted two seasons of “What Would Brian Boitano Make?,” a cooking show on Food Network.)

The cover charge was a VIP-level $250 a day, or $650 for the whole weekend, which included food and drink in the lounge, as well as seeing Boitano and a few of his friends, including Olympic medalists Kristi Yamaguchi and Ashley Wagner and 2022 U.S. national champion Mariah Bell. And those tickets were all snapped up faster than a triple-Salchow.

Oh, well. At least fans can still enjoy watching the next generation of elite figure skaters — and likely members of the U.S. team for the 2026 Olympics. Tickets for the weekend’s events are available at www.skatesanjose2023.com.

EXTRA! EXTRA!: Redwood Middle School in Saratoga is putting on a production of “Disney’s Newsies Jr.” this weekend at Saratoga High’s McAfee Performing Arts Center. And, if you’ve ever seen the show, you know that a big part of the story involves newspapers, or “the papes,” as they say.

Vidya Vineet, the parent of Redwood performer Ria Vineet, figured if you’re looking for newspapers to use as props, you should go to the source. So she called the Mercury News to see if the school could get bundles of newspapers for the show.

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Jeremy Gracey, the transportation/single copy manager for the Bay Area News Group, came through and procured about 1,000 newspapers in 20 bundles for her and even loaded them in her car. That should be enough for the six performances, featuring two rotating casts, Friday through Sunday. Tickets are available at bit.ly/23NJR.

WELCOME RETURN: A concert celebrating the music of African American composers is back in East Palo Alto this weekend after two years off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The African American Composers Institute was started in 2009 by a group of musicians — including retired Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell — to provide a showcase for work by Black composers who might otherwise be unknown to audiences.

The program for this weekend’s concerts will feature work by composers including Jacqueline Hairston, Betty Jackson King, Jeremiah Evans, Regina Baiocchi, John Robinson, and Valerie Capers. The shows will be held Jan. 28 and 29 at 3 p.m. at Eastside College Prep’s Performing Arts Center, and tickets are available at aacinitiative.org/concerts.

LET’S CELEBRATE: If you’re up for more Lunar New Year festivities, head over to Eastridge this weekend. The East San Jose shopping center has a three-day celebration of the Vietnamese Year of the Cat going on Friday through Sunday. There’ll be lion dancers, fashion shows and carnival rides and games in the parking lot at the corner of Tully and Quimby roads. The party starts at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Categories: Local News

Pac-12 financial mess: On the fate of the networks, an emergency recourse and the legal framework

4 hours 51 sec ago

The Hotline continues to closely monitor the financial situation that prompted the dismissal of two Pac-12 executives and could cost the conference $50 million.

Here’s what we have learned in the past 24 hours …

— The Pac-12 will hire a replacement for CFO Brent Willman but not a successor to Pac-12 Networks president Mark Shuken, according to a source with knowledge of the plans.

In combination with the decision to move production facilities to an office in the East Bay, the decision to not replace Shuken provides insight into the future of the networks.

Commissioner George Kliavkoff has stated publicly that the Pac-12 will remain in the content production business during the next media contract cycle, which begins in the summer of 2024.

The decision to lease 42,000-square feet in the East Bay city of San Ramon is evidence of the strategy.

That said, there is no indication the Pac-12 Networks will exist in their current form — as a media distribution company.

In fact, the news release issued two weeks ago about the move to San Ramon was framed this way: The Pac-12 “announced the relocation of its San Francisco production studio …”

It said nothing about the Pac-12 Networks, the linear media company with a national and six regional feeds.

If the media company is going away — if it’s being downscaled to a production unit — there’s no need for a network president.

In other words, the model is changing.

Into what? There are at least two options:

1. An entity that produces streaming-only content about Pac-12 Olympic sports. (Football and basketball have far too much value to be sequestered on a conference-owned platform.)

2. A production facility that provides Pac-12 Olympic sports content and produces sporting events for a major digital media company like Amazon or Apple.

The Pac-12 Networks’ infrastructure is cutting-edge, especially the remote broadcasting technology that eliminates the need for costly production trucks at stadiums and arenas.

— How might the imbroglio impact the Pac-12’s media negotiations with ESPN, Fox and other linear and digital companies?

Bob Thompson, the former president of Fox Sports Networks, wrote the following on Twitter:

“Only way it affects the media deal is if there is an offer to buy Pac-12 Networks as part of the overall deal. If so, this represents 4% of Network revenue and comes straight off the bottom line. The value of the Network goes down and the price has to be renegotiated.”

To this point, there is no indication the Pac-12 Networks will be sold outright.

— Multiple sources have confirmed the Hotline’s original report that the overpayments made by Comcast occurred on a yearly basis and, Comcast asserts, were for approximately $5 million annually over the course of 10 years.

That’s a $50 million bill.

But those same sources believe the Pac-12 won’t write a check to Comcast. Instead, the company will simply withhold  payments to the Pac-12 Networks until it has recouped the $50 million.

Comcast is under contract with the networks until the summer of 2024. The math suggests that as a result of the (presumed) withholding of payments, each of the 12 schools will receive about $4 million less in revenue distributions from the conference over the 2023-24 fiscal years.

However, the Pac-12 has an emergency reserve fund.

In the spring of 2020, as the pandemic hit, the Pac-12 had about $22 million stockpiled.

The presidents approved the use of reserves to mitigate the loss of revenue resulting from the cancellation of the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.

Exactly how much was tapped, and how much remains, is not clear.

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The Pac-12’s tax filing for the 2021 fiscal year shows approximately $18 million in “savings and temporary cash investments.”

At least a portion of that stockpile could be the reserves, potentially available to offset the Comcast revenue hit.

According to conference bylaws, three-quarters of the presidents would have to approve any expenditures from the reserves.

— The Hotline hasn’t confirmed the next step for Shuken and Willman and whether they intend to take legal action against the conference.

The Pac-12’s statement announcing the termination of two (unnamed) senior executives indicated the moves were the result of failing “to disclose material information to the Pac-12 Board of Directors and external Pac-12 auditors.”

It said nothing about whether they told then-commissioner Larry Scott, who was the chief executive of the Pac-12 Networks.

It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that Shuken reported the results of the audit to Scott immediately in December 2017 (Why nobody told Kliavkoff when he took over in July of 2021 is one of the many mysteries.)

From a legal perspective, what matters is corporate law.

The Pac-12 Networks are an arm of Pac-12 Enterprises, which is legally registered in Delaware.

The wording of the Pac-12’s statement — failing to disclose “material information” to the board or external auditors — suggests they had fiduciary duties to inform the Pac-12 board and external auditors under at least Delaware law.

In a general sense, Delaware law states the following:

“The directors and officers of Delaware corporations owe the corporation and its shareholders a fiduciary duty of loyalty and a fiduciary duty of care. The duty of loyalty requires them to put the best interests of the corporation and shareholders above their personal interests and to act in good faith. The duty of care requires directors and officers to make informed decisions.”

The extent to which Shuken and Willman executed the “duty of loyalty” and the “duty of care” — and the specific requirements within those broad frameworks — could be relevant if legal action unfolds.

*** Send suggestions, comments and tips (confidentiality guaranteed) to pac12hotline@bayareanewsgroup.com or call 408-920-5716

*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

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