We’ll start where we usually start these days: Afghanistan. The people are fighting back.
Yesterday for the second time, protesters took to the streets to rally against Taliban this time marching in Kabul, including near the presidential palace. At one demonstration in the city, about 200 people had gathered before the Taliban broke it up violently. The Taliban announced a curfew in the southeastern city of Khost, after protests there. And several people were killed in the eastern city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at a rally there on Thursday, Afghanistan’s annual Independence Day, according to a witness cited by Reuters. It was not clear whether the casualties had come from the gunshots or from a stampede they set off, the witness, Mohammed Salim, was quoted by the news agency as saying.NYT: As demonstrations spread, the Taliban face growing challenges in running the nation
I think the Taliban is getting more than they bargained for. Yes, tens of thousands are trying to get out; but the ones that don’t want to, cannot or believe they cannot get out are willing to fight to keep their way of life. The issue, the Taliban is evil, we have seen this and they have no problem murdering civilians. Also, they have upped the ante in their search for Afghans who helped Americans and NATO nations. Additionally, following pressure from Biden, the IMF is planning to block Afghanistan’s access to about $460 million in emergency reserves. That could mean a lot of hungry Afghans. Furthermore, an agreement reached in November among more than 60 countries to send Afghanistan $12 billion over the next four years is also in doubt. Next, President Biden is planning to speak today regarding this situation. We will continue to monitor the situation.
Rumble in the Classroom
Governor DeSantis is not having the best week.
A growing number of school districts — including some of the largest in the country — have passed tough mask mandates for the new school year despite his administration’s threat to sanction them. On Wednesday, three districts voted to impose tough masking mandates: Miami-Dade County, the fourth largest in the country; Hillsborough County, the eighth largest; and Palm Beach County, the 10th largest, after a meeting that lasted more than seven hours. They join Broward County, the sixth largest school district, and Alachua County, which had already approved school mask mandates with only a medical opt-out available for at least some part of the 2021-22 school year.Wa Po: Florida Gov. DeSantis faces growing revolt from school districts imposing mask mandates
On top of that President Biden ordered Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to take action against governors who have banned mask mandates. The Florida Board of Education, which is the Harley Quinn to DeSantis’s Joker, backed him up by considering sanctions (which could include withholding funds, salaries, removing officers, reviewing district conduct) against Broward and Alachua school districts for violating state law by imposing mask mandates.
It’s the uncaring about the kids and teachers for me. What kind of man tries to stop people from protecting themselves. I, however, applaud the school districts that said safety first. Now that other counties are joining in and the President is making his own mandates. Let’s see how long DeSantis can hold this ridiculous position. And Covid-spreading Abbot in Texas is next, although, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Texas public schools can have masks mandates.
But here is the real state of affairs: Children hospitalizations rates for COVID-19 going up. Prior to the delta variant, many thought the children and young adults would be spared. But that is not the case and everyone needs to get on board. Children under 18 and adults under 30 are filling the hospitalizations. Now that school has begun or is about to start, some parents may be wondering about vaccines. So far, the FDA has only authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children 12+. And Moderna is eyeing its own authorization. As for kids under 12, trials are ongoing. Health experts say the best way to keep kids safe is for adults and eligible teens to get vaxxed. And it sounds like someone is listening. Yesterday, more than one million Americans got vaccinated in 24 hours. That’s the first time the country’s hit that number since early July.
OnlyFans, a social media platform where users can sell subscription access to content, said on Thursday that it would ban sexually explicit imagery starting in October.
The company said in a statement that it would block users from posting explicit photos and videos at the request of its “banking partners and payout providers.” OnlyFans said it would still allow people to post imagery containing nudity that complied with its guidelines.
“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform,” the company said, “we must evolve our content guidelines.”NYT: OnlyFans Says It Is Banning Sexually Explicit Content
Now, the only thing I have ever heard about OnlyFans is that sex workers use it. I don’t know what else is on the site. OnlyFans is the source of two million creators. Its popularity exploded during the pandemic. There is a whole documentary on Hulu about the sex workers on the site. The company itself said, it “helped to democratize sex work, in part by letting creators effectively run their own businesses and own the content that they post on the site. Creators have collectively earned more than $4.5 billion since OnlyFans started nearly five years ago, the company said. This announcement was also vague on what exactly was banned; what is defined as sexually explicit. Of note, The company already blocks posts containing sexual assault, violence or bestiality, and it bars minors from the platform. So, I say all this to ask, If you get rid of what made you popular, who exactly will be using your service? This might be the beginning of the end for OnlyFans.
Yesterday was the start of the R.Kelly trial. Since we (all Americans) screwed this up and failed black girls, so bad the first time let’s hope this goes better. And by screwed up, I mean continued to support a pedaphile. So on to the trial:
Opening statements were presented from both the prosecutors and defense—the latter of which went on for over two hours. In addition to those arguments, the first witness testimony was also brought forth by Jerhonda Johnson Pace, who described in detail the sexual relationship she had with Kelly when she was just 16 years old. A once devoted fan, Pace explained that she told Kelly she was 19 at the time but because she felt uncomfortable after their first sexual encounter in the “game room” of his Olympia Fields mansion, she subsequently showed him her ID card to prove her real age. “He asked me, ‘what is that supposed to mean?’” Pace, who is now 28, recalled. “He told me to continue telling people I was 19, and act like I was 21.”
Prosecutors allege it was part of a decadeslong operation that leveraged Kelly’s outsize fame to target young victims, groom them, abuse them, and manipulate or blackmail them to keep them under his control. He faces a racketeering charge more commonly used against mob bosses, drug cartels and the like.
“He began collecting girls and women like they were things, hoarding them like objects,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said in opening statements Wednesday. Pace’s testimony, as well as opening statements by both sides earlier in the day, placed many of the events alleged in the indictment squarely in Chicago, where Kelly got his start busking at “L” stations three decades ago.Chicago Tribune
This story is not new at this point. Not after two Lifetime documentaries and dozens of women’s stories. Per Variety, the trial is expected to go on for several weeks and if convicted, Kelly could face a maximum sentence of 10 years to life in prison. In addition to the crimes he faces in New York, Kelly also faces multiple charges in Chicago and Minnesota.