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Reporter Who Dug Up Carson King Tweets Criticized For Own Offensive Posts

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  • The Des Moines Register published a profile piece Tuesday on Carson King—the man who has raised over $1 million for an Iowa children’s hospital after displaying his Venmo on ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
  • The outlet reported on two racist tweets King made in 2012 when he was 16-years-old. 
  • Before the Register published the story, King broke the news on local TV, and Anheuser Busch later ended its partnership with him but promised it would still match his donations.
  • Soon after, #StandWithCarson began trending on Twitter, with users then uncovering the Register reporter’s own racist and even homophobic posts from the same time period. 

Des Moines Register Digs Up Old Tweets

The Iowa man who turned a small beer fundraiser into a million-dollar children’s hospital donation is facing backlash and support online after a profile piece by the Des Moines Register exposed two racist tweets from 2012.

The article in question focuses on 24-year-old Carson King, who picked up national attention this month when he was seen on ESPN’s “College GameDay” holding a sign asking for beer money.

“Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” the sign read along with his Venmo username. 

King said the sign had originally been a joke, but once money began pouring in, he decided to donate it to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

In his profile of King, Des Moines Register Reporter Aaron Calvin opened with a small anecdote about King’s step-grandmother and continued by diving into his now-viral story.

Near the end of the Register’s article, however, Calvin mentions two racist tweets that were posted when King was 16-yeard old.

“A routine background check of King’s social media revealed two racist jokes,” Calvin wrote, “one comparing black mothers to gorillas and another making light of black people killed in the holocaust. The joke tweets date back to 2012, when King was a 16-year-old high school student.”

King then reportedly told Calvin the tweets made him “sick” and that he was remorseful for them. 

“That’s not something that I’m proud of at all,” King told the Register. 

Following his interview with Calvin, King deleted his old tweets. 

Before that article was published, King reached out local TV outlets to defend himself, saying in a statement that those posts quoted and referenced the show Tosh.0.

“I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16-year-old,” he said to reporters while reading a statement. “I want to sincerely apologize.”

Following his interview, King then also took to Twitter to apologize.

“The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage,” he said, “and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do.”

Also following the news of King’s old tweets, Anheuser-Busch ended their partnership with him after having previously gifted him a year’s supply of Busch Light with his face printed on the cans. 

In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said King’s posts “do not align with our values as a brand or as a company,” though it said it will continue to match King’s donation. 

King’s Venmo account will be open until the end of the month to continue to collect donations for the children’s hospital.

Online Response

The story has started yet another conversation about “cancel culture;” however, unlike most examples where people on social media criticize a company for inaction, people are now criticizing Anheuser-Busch for severing ties with King. By Wednesday morning, #StandWithCarson was a trending topic on Twitter.

Across social media, people also questioned why the Register would publish the information since King is a normal person not seeking to use the money he’s raising for himself.

Des Moines Register Responds

The Register responded by issuing its own statement Tuesday night explaining why it included the information about King’s tweets. In that statement, the paper’s executive editor said several editors had a discussion on whether or not to publish them. 

“The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts,” the statement from Executive Editor Carol Hunter reads. “Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so?”

“The counter argument: The tweets were posted seven years ago, when King was 16,” it continues. “And he was remorseful. Should we chalk up the posts to a youthful mistake and omit the information?”

Ultimately, the editors decided to include the information at the bottom of the article in an attempt to be transparent. 

“Reasonable people can look at the same set of facts and disagree on what merits publication,” Hunter concluded. “But rest assured such decisions are not made lightly and are rooted in what we perceive as the public good.”

Des Moines Reporter’s Racist and Homophobic Tweets

Alongside the support King saw online, many on social media began looking into Calvin’s social media. Users eventually uncovered a series of racist and homophobic tweets made by the reporter between 2010 and 2013. 

In one, he reportedly mocked the legalization of gay marriage, saying he was going to marry a horse. According to multiple media outlets, he also repeatedly used the n-word. 

Calvin then found himself apologizing for his own tweets on Wednesday morning.

“Hey just wanted to say that I have deleted previous tweets that have been inappropriate or insensitive,” he said. “I apologize for not holding myself to the same high standards as the Register holds others.”

Source: @aaronpcalvin

Calvin then changed his Twitter profile to private. 

The Des Moines Register has declined to comment on Calvin’s old tweets, but it said it’s launched an investigation.

Carson King Day

Wednesday, the State of Iowa awarded King with his own day to be held on Sept. 28.

The memo calls King a “force for change” and states that he showcases “who [Iowans] are as a people, not only by selflessly donating to a worthy cause, but by spreading the message of generosity.

See what others are saying: (KCCI) (Washington Post) (Fox News)

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CDC Data Shows Booster Shots Provide Effective Protection Against Omicron

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Public health experts have encouraged Americans to get boosted to protect themselves against the omicron variant, but less than 40% of fully vaccinated people who are eligible for their third shot have received it.


A First Glimpse of Official Data on Boosters and Omicron

COVID-19 booster shots are effective at preventing Americans from contracting omicron and protecting those who do become infected from severe illness, according to three reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Friday.

The reports mark the first real-world data regarding the highly infectious variant and how it has impacted the U.S.

One of the CDC reports, which studied data from 25 state and local health departments, found that there were 149 cases per 100,000 people among those had been boosted on average each week. 

In comparison, the figure was 255 cases per 100,000 people in Americans who had only received two shots.

Another study that looked at nearly 88,000 hospitalizations in 10 states found that the third doses were 90% effective at preventing hospitalization. 

By contrast, those who received just two shots were only 57% protected against hospitalization by the time they were eligible for a booster six months after their second dose.

Additionally, the same report also found that the boosters were 82% effective at preventing visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers, a marked increase from the 38% efficacy for those who were six months out from their two-shot regime and had not yet received a third.

Low Booster Shot Vaccination Rates

Public health officials hope that the new data will urge more Americans to get their booster shots.

Since the emergence of omicron, experts and leading political figures have renewed their efforts to encourage people to get their third shots, arguing they are the best form of protection. 

The CDC currently recommends that everyone 12 and older get a booster shot five months after their second shot of Pfizer and Moderna or two months after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Still, in the U.S., less than 40% of fully vaccinated individuals eligible for a third shot have gotten one.

While COVID cases in the country have begun to drop over the past several days from their peak of over 800,000 average daily infections, the figures are still nearly triple those seen in the largest previous surges.

Hospitalizations have also slowly begun to level out over the last week in places that were hit first, such as New York City and Boston, but medical resources still remain strained in many parts of the country that experienced later surges and have not yet seen cases slow.

Some experts predict that the U.S. will see a sharp decline in omicron cases, as experienced in South Africa and Britain. Still, they urge American’s to get boosted to ensure their continued protection from the variant, as well as other strains that will emerge.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNN) (The New York Times)

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California Bill Would Allow Kids 12 and Up to Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent

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Nearly one million California teens and preteens between the ages of 12 and 17 are not vaccinated against COVID-19. 


State Senator Proposes Legislation

Legislation proposed in California on Thursday would allow children age 12 and up to get vaccinated without parental consent. 

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Bill 866 in the hope it could boost vaccination rates among teenagers. According to Wiener, nearly one million kids aged 12- to 17-years old remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 in the state of California. 

“Unvaccinated teens are at risk, put others at risk & make schools less safe,” Wiener tweeted. “They often can’t work, participate in sports, or go to friends’ homes.”

“Many want to get vaccinated but parents won’t let them or aren’t making the time to take them. Teens shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ views & availability to protect themselves from a deadly virus.”

Currently, teens in California can receive vaccines for human papillomavirus and hepatitis B without parental consent. They can also make other reproductive or mental healthcare choices without a guardian signing off. Wiener argues that their medical autonomy should expand to all vaccines, especially during a pandemic that has already killed roughly 78,000 Californians. 

Vaccine Consent Across the U.S.

“Teens shouldn’t have to plot, scheme or fight with their parents to get a vaccine,” he said. “They should simply be able to walk in & get vaccinated like anyone else.”

Bill 866 would allow any kids ages 12 and up to receive any vaccine approved or granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Pfizer’s COVID vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for those 16 and older. It has received emergency authorization for ages five through 15. 

Across the United States, vaccine consent ages vary. While the vast majority of states require parental approval for minors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, kids as young as 11 can get the jab on their own in Washington, D.C. In Alabama, kids can receive it without parental consent at 14, in Oregon at 15, and in Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, providers can waive consent in certain cases in Arkansas, Idaho, Washington, and Tennesee.

In October, California became the first state to announce plans to require that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend class. The mandate has yet to take effect, but under the guidelines, students will be “required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span.” 

In other words, once the FDA gives a vaccine full approval for those aged 12 and up, it will be required the following session for kids in grades 7-12. Once it does so for kids as young as five, the same process will happen for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. There will also be room for exemptions from the mandate. 

The Fight to Vaccinate California

This week, a group of California state legislators formed a Vaccine Work Group in order to boost public health policies in the state. Wiener is among the several members who are “examining data, hearing from experts, and engaging stakeholders to determine the best approaches to promote vaccines that have been proven to reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”

“Vaccines protect not only individuals but also whole communities when almost everyone is vaccinated at schools, workplaces and businesses, and safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have already prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” Sen. Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said in a press release. “Public safety is a paramount duty of government, and I am proud to join a talented group of legislators in the pro-science Vaccine Work Group who want to end this disastrous pandemic and protect Californians from death and disability by preventable diseases.”

While vaccine policies have been a divisive subject nationwide, including in California, state politicians and leaders are hopeful public health initiatives will prevail. 

“If we allow disinformation to drive our state policy making we will not only see more Americans needlessly suffer and die, but we will sacrifice the long term stability of our society having effectively abandoned the idea that we all must work together to protect each other in times of crisis.” Catherine Flores Martin, the Executive Director of the California Immunization Coalition, added. 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (NBC News) (Sacramento Bee)

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Inmates Sue Jail for Giving Them Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19 Without Consent

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Four detainees who filed the suit allege that the jail’s doctor gave them “incredibly high doses” of the anti-parasite in a “cocktail of drugs” that he said were “‘vitamins’, ‘antibiotics,’ and/or ‘steroids.’”


Washington County Detention Center Lawsuit

Four inmates at an Arkansas jail have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that they were unknowingly given the anti-parasite drug ivermectin without their consent by the detention center’s doctor after contracting COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and countless other medical experts have said that ivermectin — commonly used for livestock — can be dangerous and should not be used to treat the coronavirus.

According to the lawsuit, after testing positive for COVID in August, the four men at the Washington County Detention Center (WCDC) were given a “cocktail of drugs” twice a day by the facility’s doctor, Robert Karas.

The inmates claim that Dr. Karas did not tell them that he was giving them ivermectin, but instead said the drugs consisted of “‘vitamins’, ‘antibiotics,’ and/or ‘steroids.’”

The complaint also alleges that the detainees were given “incredibly high doses” of the drug, causing some to experience “vision issues, diarrhea, bloody stools, and/or stomach cramps.”

Use on Other Inmates

The four plaintiffs were far from the only people to whom Karas gave ivermectin.

According to the lawsuit, the doctor began using the drug to treat COVID starting in November of 2020. In August, the Washington County sheriff confirmed at a local finance and budget committee meeting that the doctor had been prescribing the drug to inmates, prompting the Arkansas Medical Board to launch an investigation.

In response, Karas informed a Medical Board investigator in a letter from his attorney that 254 inmates at the facility had been treated with ivermectin.

In the letter, he confirmed that whether or not detainees were given information about ivermectin was dependent on who administered it, but paramedics were not required to discuss the drug with them.

He also admitted that after the practice got media coverage, he “adopted a more robust informed consent form to assuage any concern that any detainees were being misled or coerced into taking the medications, even though they weren’t.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which filed the suit on behalf of the inmates, also claimed in a statement that after questions were raised about the practice, the jail attempted to make detainees sign forms saying that they retroactively agreed to the treatments. 

The WCDC has not issued a public response to the lawsuits, but Dr. Karas appeared to address the situation in a Facebook post where he defended his actions.

“Guess we made the news again this week; still with best record in the world at the jail with the same protocols,” he wrote. “Inmates aren’t dumb and I suspect in the future other inmates around the country will be suiing their facilities requesting same treatment we’re using at WCDC-including the Ivermectin.”

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CBS News) (NBC News)

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