Daniel Johnston, cult US indie songwriter, dies aged 58

Manager confirms Johnston, whose naive songwriting was beloved of Kurt Cobain, died of a heart attack Daniel Johnston, an eccentric, enduring and much beloved figure in the US indie rock scene, has died aged 58 following a heart attack. The news was confirmed by his manager Jeff Tartakov. Numerous cultural figures have paid tribute to the cult songwriter once a favourite of Kurt Cobain including Beck, Judd Apatow and Ezra Furman, who described him as one of my best teachers. Actor Elijah Wood wrote: What a gentle, beautiful treasure. So sad to hear youve left us. Born in California in 1961 and raised in West Virginia, Johnston became known as a songwriter after moving to Austin, Texas. His popularity grew …

Calls to end inhumane border conditions arent enough. Ice must be abolished | Natascha Elena Uhlmann

What is there to salvage in an agency that exists solely to hunt, catalogue and detain the most vulnerable among us? Ices violence is as systematic as it is cruel This summer, a drink out of toilets and children third countries to endless backlogs and convoluted legal processes. The plea is commendable. But where are we as a society if we cannot dream bigger? What does it mean that some of our most beloved writers who have laboriously envisioned new and radical worlds didnt imagine a future that respects the right to human movement? The writer and political theorist Mark Fisher spoke to the stagnation of our political imagination through what he called capitalist realism. The concept, he wrote, is …

US opioid crisis: experts say payouts from drug makers highly questionable

Two potential payouts from Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma have provoked varied responses Efforts to get compensation for the US opioid crisis with two multimillion-dollar drug manufacturer payouts have been met by leading activists and addiction experts with a range of responses from incredulity to cautious optimism. On Tuesday, the wealthy Sackler family and their embattled drugmaker, Purdue Pharma, makers of two opioids that triggered the crisis, Oxycontin and MSContin, first reported by NBC, came a day after a judge in a different case in Oklahoma found that drug firm Johnson & Johnson created a temporary public nuisance by tricking doctors into overprescribing its opioid-based medications. Judge Thad Balkman ordered the company to pay $572m to Oklahoma as reimbursement …

Google the latest company to face worker revolt over immigration policy

Employees urged the tech giant not to work with US agencies involved with the separation and detention of immigrants Last week, Google became the latest company to be publicly lobbied by its own employees specifically because of US immigration policy. More than 1,300 Google workers have Google employees timed the petition to coincide with US Customs and Border Protections bidding period for a cloud computing contract, which Google could provide. The petition was also signed by 79 people outside the company, including several former Google employees and current Amazon employees. While these efforts taking place at tech giants as well as furniture retailers have yet to make a significant change, analysts expect employees will continue to speak out at companies …

Pinterest makes aggressive new move in fight against vaccine misinformation

Users who search for terms related to vaccines will be presented with information from major public health organizations When Pinterest realized in 2018 that the search results for many health-related terms such as vaccines or cancer cure were polluted with non-scientific misinformation, the visual social media site took a promotion of anti-vaccine propaganda this year, as measles outbreaks spread in the US, Europe and Asia. A adopted new policies toward anti-vaccine misinformation this spring in response to pressure from public health organizations, politicians and the press. Facebook began reducing the reach of groups and pages that spread verifiable vaccine hoaxes, Amazon removed several anti-vaccine propaganda movies from its streaming video service, and YouTube moved to include anti-vaccine misinformation in a …

Patient’s death could be first in US linked to vaping, officials say

Illinois case forms part of investigation into illnesses in teens or adults who had used e-cigarettes US health officials are reporting what could be the countrys first death linked to vaping. The officials said on Friday that an adult patient in Illinois, who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping, had died and that they considered it the first death in the US linked to e-cigarettes. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received the report of the death on Thursday, the chief medical officer, Dr Jennifer Layden, said. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 193 people in 22 states had contracted severe respiratory illnesses after vaping. However, they said a clear common cause of the …

After the wildfire: treating the mental health crisis triggered by climate change

In 2017, thousands of homes in Santa Rosa, California, were wiped off the map. Now the community is helping residents cope with the trauma The nightmares kept coming and David Leal knew he was in trouble. A navy veteran with a can-do attitude and a solidly middle-class IT job at a hospital in Santa Rosa, California, he didnt think of himself as mentally vulnerable. But when the Tubbs fire snatched his house off the face of the earth in the early morning hours of 9 October 2017, it hit him hard. Long story short, I went through a lot of PTSD, Leal says, as we tour his nearly rebuilt home in Santa Rosas Coffey Park neighborhood. Wildfires are not uncommon …

The Kochtopus: sprawling network keeps David Koch’s legacy thriving

The billionaires long reach and deep wallet reached the highest echelons of the right wing. His influence will long be felt In September 2010, David and Charles Koch, the fabulously rich brothers who turned an oil and manufacturing empire inherited from their father into a cash cow for rightwing causes that would change American politics, sent out a letter to conservative power brokers inviting them to Palm Springs. They were staging an event that was to become known as Freedom Partners: a twice-yearly gathering, convened in utmost secrecy, of some of the most wealthy and powerful rightwing players in the country. To attract their guests they included a brochure from a previous Koch gathering in Aspen, where the elite attendees …

Can Burger King’s meat-free burger attract the climate conscious?

Chains are jumping on the meat-substitute bandwagon but some experts say vegetarian options could boost beef sales The moment I walk out of Burger King with a warm bag of vegetarian Impossible Whoppers, a plastic voucher is thrust into my hand. Have you tried Dunkin Donuts Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich? a woman asks. It is meatless! Dunkin (11 years left to tackle. Veggie options no longer vie for a dusty corner of the menu in fast-food chains. Now they are jockeying to appeal to climate-conscious young people. Plant-based choices are nearly indistinguishable from their meat counterparts. Early indications are that demand for plant-based proteins will continue to grow, said Tony Weisman, chief marketing officer with Dunkin US. He said the …

David Berman, acclaimed US indie songwriter, dies aged 52

No cause of death has been announced for songwriter and poet known for his projects Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, and his wry, witty lyrics David Berman, who was regarded as one of the most poetic voices in US indie rock, has died aged 52. His record label, Drag City, confirmed the news, but hasnt confirmed the cause of death. Berman was best known for his project Silver Jews, and his wry lyrics. The band formed in 1989 in New Jersey, when Berman was living and working with Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich, who would go on to form the successful band writing on Twitter: His death is fucking dark depression is crippling he was a one of a kinder …

Revealed: FBI and police monitoring Oregon anti-pipeline activists

Emails show the latest example of environmental groups facing increased surveillance by law enforcement Law enforcement groups, including the FBI, have been monitoring opponents of a natural gas infrastructure project in Oregon and circulated intelligence to an email list that included a has named Jordan Cove as one of its highest-priority infrastructure projects. Jordan Cove opponents scrutiny and surveillance to which law enforcement agencies are often subjecting indigenous and environmental groups, activists say. It also comes amid an uptick in civil disobedience and direct actions challenging fossil fuel infrastructure projects particularly in the wake of the Native American-led struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and 2017. They also reflect a nationwide tendency for wing partisans, law enforcement agenciesOff …

Thirty dead in 13 hours: US reckons with back-to-back mass shootings

Twenty-one killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine killed in Dayton, Ohio, as US reels from brutal killings A shattering weekend in which two mass shootings left at least 30 people dead and injured dozens put Donald Trump at the center of a storm of outrage over racism and the failure on gun control in America. Even as the president said hate has no place in our country and blamed the shootings on mental illness, investigators in El Paso confirmed that a massacre at a Walmart superstore on Saturday that left at least 21 people dead in the Texas border city had been preceded by the suspected gunman publishing an anti-immigration screed via the darker recesses of the internet. And …

Do Democrats win by moving left? Or is moderation the key to victory? | Geoffrey Kabaservice

The ideological battle for the heart of the Democratic party is far from over For Americans who would resist President Trumps re-election in 2020, the outcome hinges on the answer to this basic strategic question: will the Democrats risk losing to Trump by nominating a candidate whose ideas are too far to the left to appeal to the moderate majority of Americans? Or will Democrats risk losing to Trump by nominating a candidate whose ideas are insufficiently progressive to excite the Democratic base? This basic question of moderation v progressivism was at the heart of the first of two Democratic debates in Detroit and doubtless will continue to be central throughout the rest of the primary process. By taking one …

‘He’ll reap everything he sows’: what does Baltimore make of Trump?

Trump has repeatedly demonised big cities with large minority populations part of his ploy to exploit Americas racial divide Two Kevins stood on the front steps of a fading terraced house in West Baltimore, killing time on a hot Monday afternoon. Asked about Donald Trumps an item on Fox News, he fired off more than a dozen tweets attacking Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings, calling his black majority district disgusting, the worst in the USA, a rat and rodent-infested mess, and a dangerous and filthy place where no human being would want to live. He was still at it on Monday night, repeatedly demonised major cities with common characteristics: Democratic leadership, big minority populations and few Trump voters. Baltimore is less …

On the frontline: 12 hours in a besieged abortion clinic

Rachel is a doctor who provides abortions. She commutes 10 hours each way to work in an area of Alabama that would otherwise not provide the procedure at all Rachel hunches down in the seat of a Chevrolet rental, adjusting her disguise in the mirror. She pulls down a fedora to partly cover her face, but isnt convinced it offers enough cover. She puts on a pair of oversize sunglasses. While the combination conceals her face, it is also not an inconspicuous sight in the pre-dawn Friday hours in a run-down neighborhood in Montgomery, Alabama recently passed one of the most draconian abortion laws in the country, which would have made it a crime for doctors to perform abortions during …

Top hospital urged to drop lawsuits against patients over unpaid bills

Activists rally against Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, which has filed more than 2,400 lawsuits against patients and employees Campaigners are calling on one of Marylands largest hospitals to drop more than 2,400 lawsuits against patients for unpaid medical bills. A revealed that Johns Hopkins hospital (JHH), one of the biggest hospitals in the state, filed more than 2,400 lawsuits against patients for not paying their medical bills, the median cost of which was $1,438. Hundreds of people hospitals in the United States, JHH gets tax breaks for its status as a not-for-profit hospital. Although not-for-profit hospitals suing its patients for medical debt is controversial, it is not new. No one tracks how often not-for-profit hospitals sue their patients. The …