NJ Gym That Defied Lockdown Order by Reopening on ‘Fox & Friends’ Is Closed by Health Department

NJ Gym That Defied Lockdown Order by Reopening on ‘Fox & Friends’ Is Closed by Health Department

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A New Jersey gym that reopened this week in defiance of the state’s ongoing stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic has been shut down by the state health department, officials said Thursday. 

The Atilis Gym in Bellmawr opened its doors on Monday, insisting that the state shutdown of non-essential businesses is unconstitutional. The gym remained open for three days, attracting crowds of supporters and American-flag-toting protesters in its parking lot, before the New Jersey Department of Health issued a closure order on Wednesday night, a Camden County spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast. 

The closure order was posted outside the gym by county officials on Thursday morning, one day after the facility’s sewer system backed up. The plumbing problems forced the gym to close on Wednesday and members to evacuate, according to Fox29. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Elevate Your Coffee With This One Touch Pour Over Machine

One of my fondest memories is when my good friend discovered the Chemex pour over. I remember going to his house and watching him go through the whole routine — weighing beans, boiling water to the exact right temperature, and pouring it in concentric circles over the grounds. It seemed a little obnoxious, but moments later, I ate (or drank) my words. It was by far the most delicious cup of coffee I’d ever had in my life, and remains up there to this day. I’ve tried recreating the cup on my own, but ultimately, it’s a lot of work and a big fuss to make a cup of coffee that is rarely, if ever, as good. Or so, I thought

I’ll start by saying that the Ratio Eight is not an espresso maker. Think of it as a machine optimized to make a perfect Chemex pour over every single time. All you have to do is fill the back up to the demarcated line with water, measure out 40g of coarse ground coffee (if you don’t have a scale, get with the program), put the carafe in and press a button. The machine takes care of the rest. The Ratio Eight will heat your water to the exact right temperature, then the stainless steel shower head will evenly distribute water over the grounds. The Ratio takes care of “blooming” your coffee, meaning it extracts CO2 to minimize bitterness, and there is even a carafe you can buy to make sure coffee stays warm. All in all, the Ratio Eight is like a Mr. Coffee—sturdy, steadfast, your go to. The only difference (and it’s a big one) is that the Ratio Eight makes an exceptional cup of coffee.

But for me, investing in a coffee machine is partially about looks. I don’t necessarily love the spaceships that espresso makers have become. But the Ratio, for all of its high-tech innovation, remains a beautifully elegant machine. Not only does it make an amazing cup of coffee every single time, it’s also a joy to look at. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

‘Homecoming’s’ Timely Return: Hitchcockian Anxiety, Big-Pharma Paranoia, and Janelle Monáe

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You wake up and you don’t recognize the world around you. It’s like you’re in a parallel universe. You don’t understand your place in it, or who you even are anymore. Each moment brings a new revelation about the insidious nature of the people in control, the callousness of those with money and power, the disrespect for those who serve, and how they view the individual as insignificant—just a number in a math equation calculating a bottom line. 

That disoriented, horrified feeling is just one of the aspects of Homecoming’s second season that should resonate with viewers consuming the series in uncertain, unfamiliar, and often unsettling times. 

The Hitchockian psychological thriller, which returns to Amazon on Friday, seems to have a pulse on our anxieties and, maybe more, our suspicions: of our government, of conglomerates, and, perhaps most controversially, of pharmaceuticals. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

A Stand-Up Comic Hired Alan Dershowitz To Defend Him—Now He’s Portraying Himself As The Next Mike Flynn

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who helped defend President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial this year, is representing a new criminal client who, in his own white collar fraud case, is portraying himself as the next Michael Flynn.

Dershowitz’s client is Ari Teman, a Miami-based tech startup founder who was convicted in January of four federal criminal counts, including bank and wire fraud. Dershowitz is advising Teman’s legal team, which is seeking to overturn the conviction with claims that federal prosecutors withheld evidence that would have undermined the credibility of a key government witness.

“They sat on their hands, and the evidence that basically proves his innocence didn’t come up until after he was convicted,” Dershowitz said during an interview on Sunday with Joel Pollak, the editor-at-large of the pro-Trump media outlet Breitbart News.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Day One Colorado County Lost Its Own Dr. Fauci

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Dr. Mark Wallace was the Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Colorado county where eight meat plant employees have died of COVID-19 and 280 others have tested positive.

Both physicians are extraordinarily dedicated and competent career public health officials. Fauci, as most of the country knows, is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Wallace is the executive director of the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.

Both men place human lives and public safety first despite enormous pressure to cede to a political agenda and business interests in the midst of a pandemic that is killing tens of thousands worldwide.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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COVID Is Still Raging in Texas. Time to Open the Bars, Leaders Say.

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“Just to be clear, we’re not COVID-deniers or anything.”

Dustin Evans is nervous right now. But the 31-year-old general manager of Southern Roots Brewing Company in downtown Waco, Texas, is committed to reopening his bar at 25-percent capacity on Friday, even with small children and a pregnant wife at home. After all, COVID-19 cases seemed to taper off in his area, with four new infections reported Wednesday marking the first uptick in days.

“It’s not an easy decision, but my parents have poured their life into this business,” Evans told The Daily Beast. “It might be a little dance with the devil, but it came down to someone dropping off a pot of gold at the front door or letting us figure out how to work with this.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Will Trump’s Voter Fraud Rage Backfire?

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President Donald Trump has long used vague, unsubstantiated and false claims about mass voter fraud to target his enemies and go on the attack. 

And as he prepared for an appearance in Michigan Thursday, raising the specter of voter fraud once more, no matter how incorrect he was, was too good a chance for Trump to pass up even if it meant threatening federal funding in the process for a state that’s crucial to his 2020 re-election chances. 

He was so intent on getting that message out there that he took to Twitter Wednesday morning where he charged that the state had sent absentee ballots to more than 7 million people in what he described as an illegal move. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Disney Heiress With Eye on Politics Takes Next Logical Step: Podcasting

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Disney heiress Abigail Disney has become increasingly outspoken on issues like income inequality and taxation, often with a progressive sensibility that’s earned her plaudits among Democrats. And so now she’s doing what seemingly every other high-profile person with an eye on national politics has done in the last few years: starting a podcast. 

The granddaughter of Walt Disney Company co-founder Roy Disney launched All Ears at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, with episodes focused on American capitalism and corporate governance—oftentimes making not-so-veiled criticisms of her own family’s company and her wealthy upbringing.  

But her imprint on the overcrowded medium seems poised to grow, as she’s slated to book some high-profile political guests, including Planned Parenthood’s former president Cecile Richards and Harvard economist Rebecca Henderson. This week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined Disney’s podcast for an episode set to broadcast Thursday. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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FEMA Tells States to Hand Public Health Data Over to Palantir

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The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency urged health officials in “all states and territories” to provide “daily” updates on ventilator availability for the novel coronavirus directly to the data mining giant Palantir, according to emails shared with The Daily Beast and confirmed by FEMA. 

Palantir, co-founded by key Trump ally Peter Thiel, signed government contracts last month worth approximately $24.8 million to provide the Department of Health and Human Services with data-management software to track health-infrastructure deficiencies and forecast where future needs will emerge, through a platform known as HHS Protect. The company’s tools integrate a staggering 187 data sets containing information on everything from hospital inventories, medical supply chains, diagnostic and geographic testing data, demographic stats and more. 

Those data sets do not include information from identifiable patients, according to HHS, which experts say keeps the arrangement from running afoul of privacy laws. But information on state capacity to meet COVID-19 hospitalization needs, particularly for the predictive purposes the FEMA administrator references and Palantir specializes in, is a potential goldmine for the secretive company. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Law May Finally Be Closing in on Yet Another Alleged Trump Family Grift

How can you sue Donald Trump? Let us count the ways. One of the many private lawsuits filed against Trump in the last three years, this one for an allegedly fraudulent investment scheme promoted by Trump and his kids, made headlines (again) earlier this week when a New York judge allowed the case to proceed. The case offers a window into the kinds of activities allegedly used by the Trumps to generate income, and what it might reveal moving forward may not be great for Trump as he heads towards the November election. So what exactly is the case about?

The lawsuit goes back to October 2018, when plaintiffs filed a federal class action suit against Trump, his three eldest children (Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka), and the family business for their role in an alleged pyramid scheme that caused them to suffer significant financial losses. The lawsuit initially included a civil RICO claim—essentially claiming that the Trump Organization operated as a criminal enterprise—which was dismissed by the court in July 2019.

White collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor Ken White explained to me that the dismissal of the RICO claim is not surprising, given both the complexity of the civil RICO statute and the reluctance of judges to entertain such claims outside the criminal context. However, the judge allowed the plaintiffs to proceed on their remaining claims of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition—which ultimately constitute the real meat of the lawsuit.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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