This is the newsletter of OptOut, a free news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's available for Apple and Android devices. Find out more about the app at optout.news.
Two weeks ago, OptOut and the Important Context newsletter published a report on a new scientist group behind an 80-page blueprint for a congressional inquiry into the government's pandemic response. We revealed that the so-called "Norfolk Group" had arisen out of a right-wing dark money COVID disinformation nonprofit called the Brownstone Institute.
In our report, we noted that the new group was likely to be highly influential with Republicans in control of the House. Well, this week, the House Oversight Committee announced a roundtable discussion with three Norfolk Group scientists about the pandemic response. Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff should be familiar names to OptOut readers–two of the scientists behind the Great Barrington Declaration, an influential open letter calling on governments to reject broad public health measures in favor of limited protection for only the vulnerable and natural immunity for the masses. The pair–neither of whom has a Ph.D. in epidemiology–have been favorites of the political right and prolific spreaders of COVID-related misinformation, advising both the Trump administration and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
They will participate in the roundtable along with Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon and COVID minimizer who advised Gov. Glenn Younkin.
New OptOut participating outlet MISINFORMATION KILLS had more details about the upcoming event, which promises to be a prelude for an upcoming investigation into the government’s pandemic response.
OptOut is holding it first-ever public event next month! On Feb. 27, we are hosting a 2023 kickoff party and fundraiser in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We hope to meet you there! Please RSVP if you're planning to come, and share this with anyone who'd be interested!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported another 2,400 U.S. COVID deaths this week for the seven-day period ending February 22. While deaths are declining nationally, the pandemic is clearly not over. Yet that hasn't dissuaded the Biden administration from its plan to end the COVID pandemic emergency declaration. The move will have far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans.
OHIO CAPITAL JOURNAL had a report this week about a new study warning that the official end of the emergency could lead to a surge in the number of uninsured children.
Extra federal aid to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is coming to an end this month. OptOut participating outlets wrote about what that means for Americans.
THE NEW HAMPSHIRE BULLETIN explored what the loss of the added benefits could mean for residents of the state.
THE NEVADA CURRENT published a piece by political science professor Tracy Roof of the University of Virginia about the looming political battle to prevent a “hunger cliff.”
HEATED investigated the question of whether or not fossil fuels will have any place in a net zero energy future, examining and rebutting each of the main arguments put forward to suggest the answer is “yes.”
GRIST published a report this week on the impact of climate-driven coastal erosion is fueling the disappearance of Louisiana’s historic communities. The article is part of a series about how climate change is displacing people.
UNICORN RIOT reported on indigenous protests in Minneapolis, MN, over the planned demolition of a Roof Depot which sits on a site of arsenic contamination. The protesters fear the demolition could negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods.
THE MAJORITY REPORT highlighted a segment on The View with Greta Thunberg in which the climate activist called for thinking outside the confines of the law in the face of climate change.
RACISM IN AMERICA
Anti-Black hate crimes rose steeply in Los Angeles in 2021 according to a new report highlighted by PRISM. “Despite making up only 9% of LA’s population, Black residents made up 46% of all racial hate crime victims.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his anti-”woke” evangelism this week, speaking to police officers in three northern cities. The governor blamed crime on “politicians putting woke ideology ahead of public safety.” THE FLORIDA PHOENIX had the story.
Also notable was a thought-provoking piece published in THE APPEAL on mass incarceration and prison abolition.
THE MARSHALL PROJECT, meanwhile, released an important report on police shootings in America.
A federal court delivered a victory for Starbucks workers seeking to unionize this week. THE AMERICAN PROSPECT had the story.
A major U.S. food sanitation company was fined for using children as young as 13 as workers. THE KENTUCKY LANTERN reported on the story this week.
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