Airline passengers should ask before they recline, Delta CEO says after seat-punching video

58 0 16 Feb 2020

The CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, weighed in Friday on the debate sparked by a viral video of a passenger on another airline repeatedly punching the seat of a woman in front of him after she reclined it.

Bastian said passengers “have the right to recline,” but that they should ask the person behind them before they do so, particularly if the passenger behind them is tall.

“I think the proper thing to do is, if you’re going to recline into somebody, that you ask if it’s OK first and then you do it,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” after being asked about reclining etiquette.

Bastian’s comments come after an American Airlines passenger took a video of a man punching the back of her seat when she decided to to recline. The footage went viral and sparked debate over whether to recline your seat in the tight quarters of economy class.

The passenger, Wendi Williams, posted her video on Twitter, which showed the man behind her on a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, North Carolina, repeatedly punching her seat after she decided to lean it back.

“Here’s a great jackhole! He was angry that I reclined my seat and punched it about 9 times — HARD, at which point I began videoing him, and he resigned to this behavior,” Williams tweeted Feb. 8 with the video.

“The other jackhole is the @AmericanAir flight attendant who reprimanded me and offered him rum!” Williams added, later noting that the airline reached out and asked for her to send a direct message to the company.

“You clearly want me to do this quietly through a DM,” she said. “I’m done being quiet! I’ve had extensive neck surgeries – my cervical spine is completely fused … I’ve lost time at work, had to visit a doctor, got x-rays, and have (had) horrible headaches for a week,” Williams wrote on Twitter.

In a statement obtained by NBC News this week, American Airlines said a team was “looking into the issue.”

Bastian said Friday that Delta is trying out a reduction in the degree to which seats can recline.

“We’ve been testing reduced recline and seeing a response on that,” Bastian said. “We actually have a fair amount of our fleet on reduced recline as a result of that.”

As for the Delta CEO, who is tall himself and often travels in coach, he said he avoids reclining altogether.

“I think if someone knows there’s a tall person behind them and they want to recline in their seat I think the polite thing would be to make certain it was OK,” Bastian said. “I never recline because I don’t think it’s something, since I’m the CEO of the airline, that I should be reclining my seat, and I never say anything if someone reclines into me.”

Tensions high among American passengers as U.S. plans to evacuate cruise ship in Japan

62 0 16 Feb 2020

HONG KONG — A passenger aboard a cruise ship quarantined in Japan because of the coronavirus, has accused the U.S. government of “holding me hostage” ahead of a planned evacuation on Sunday.

Karey Maniscalco told NBC News via Skype that she was being treated like “like a prisoner when I did nothing wrong,” after the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo emailed passengers to tell them that it would disembark American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and fly them back to the Travis Air Force Base in California.

The ship was placed under quarantine on Feb. 4, and scores of people were subsequently diagnosed with COVID—19, the new name for the respiratory illness.

Now after nearly two weeks of quarantine on the ship, Maniscalco and others face another 14-days of a federal quarantine once they are flown back to the U.S. on flights chartered by the State Department.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Maniscalco said that all the U.S. citizens on the ship were frustrated, but it was particularly upsetting to her as she was self-employed and it had been “detrimental” to her business. “A month of my livelihood’s been stolen,” she added.

Neither she nor her husband Roger Maniscalco were showing any symptoms, she said, speaking after the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo emailed passengers to tell them about the evacuation plan.

“Buses will move you and your belongings from the ship to the aircraft,” it said, adding that passengers would “be screened for symptoms and we are working with our Japanese partners to ensure that any symptomatic passengers receive the required care in Japan if they cannot board the flight.”

The plane will land at Travis Air Force Base in California, and some passengers would then continue on to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, it said.

Maniscalco’s fellow passenger Melanie Haering was also concerned because her husband John Haering had tested positive with COVID—19 three days ago. She said he was currently being kept in a Tokyo hospital about an hour away from the ship.

As of Saturday, 285 of the 930 passengers and crew who have been tested are positive for the virus, authorities said. At least 32 of those stricken with the virus are American.

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Haering, from Utah, was also frustrated about the lack of communication from the U.S. Embassy, which she said she had called and emailed numerous times about her husband’s situation.

The embassy’s email warned passengers that if they chose not to return on the flight, they would be unable to come back into the U.S. for a period of time. It said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would make a final determination on this matter.

Haering said she thought the charter plane would be a relief for some Americans, but she would rather stay in Japan with her husband.

After the email was sent, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said in a statement: “We are working with our Japanese partners to ensure that any symptomatic passengers receive the required care in Japan if they cannot board the flight.”

Biden calls on Sanders to take accountability for supporters threats

60 0 15 Feb 2020

LAS VEGAS — Joe Biden called on Bernie Sanders to accept greater accountability for tactics and rhetoric of his staunchest supporters and do more to discourage it, after what he called the “outrageous” threats on a prominent union that criticized his healthcare plan.

Representatives of the powerful Culinary Workers Union, which represents 60,000 workers supporting Nevada’s gaming and hospitality industries, said this week that supporters of the Vermont senator had “viciously attacked” its members after its leadership warned about the risk to their negotiated health plans under a Medicare for All system.

In an exclusive interview airing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Biden said the Vermont senator “may not be responsible for it, but he has some accountability.”

Read more on this story at and watch “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET or check local listings.

“You know me well enough to know if any of my supporters did that, I’d disown them. Flat disown them,” Biden said. “The stuff that was said online. The way they threatened these two women who are leaders in that Culinary union. It is outrageous. Just — just go online.”

In a PBS interview Thursday, Sanders called the attacks on Culinary leadership “not acceptable.”

“I don’t know who these so-called supporters are,” he said. “We’re living in a strange world on the Internet. And sometimes people attack people in somebody else’s name. But let me be very clear. Anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of my movement.”

Calling attacks “vicious, malicious, misogynistic,” Biden said it wasn’t enough for Sanders to simply disassociate himself from those making them. He needs to “find out who the hell they are, if any of them work for [him]. Fire them.”

“I’m hoping he’s looking. But I tell you what: so far I don’t think it’s sufficient just to say, ‘I disassociate myself,’” he added.

Biden’s comments came between campaign stops Saturday. After a fourth-place finish in Iowa and fifth place in New Hampshire, the remaining early contests in Nevada and South Carolina have taken on even greater urgency for the former vice president.

Coronavirus, pangolins and racism: Why conservationism and prejudice shouldnt mix

61 0 15 Feb 2020

Last week, rumors began circulating that endangered pangolins — also known as scaly anteaters — might have been the intermediate host that allowed the deadly new coronavirus disease COVID-19 to spread from bats to humans, based on unpublished research findings announced in a Chinese university press release. Although evidence was not provided, I witnessed a flood of social media posts celebrating the “revenge” of pangolins because Chinese traditional remedies can include pangolin body parts. As much as I love pangolins and don’t want to see them driven to extinction by the illegal wildlife trade, I am concerned to see environmentalism and conservationism building on racist narratives. It’s a culturally sensitive problem that extends further than this current coronavirus crisis, and it needs to stop.

As much as I love pangolins and don’t want to see them driven to extinction by the illegal wildlife trade, I am concerned to see environmentalism building on racist narratives.

None of this context excuses or condones China’s wildlife exploitation. But hopefully it puts the controversy in perspective. It’s easy to blame other people for damaging biodiversity when they’re doing things you don’t understand or accept. It’s much harder to take responsibility for the damage each one of us causes every day through the foods we choose to eat, the ways that we travel, and the level of creature comforts we each believe we deserve.

In China, over 40,000 people have tested positive for infection with COVID-19 and more than 1,000 people have already died. Only time will tell whether this outbreak evolves into a pandemic. But already, coronavirus-associated discrimination against people of Asian descent is rattling communities around the globe. We need to be more thoughtful in the ways anger and frustration are expressed during stressful times.

Native to Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, pangolins are one of the most highly poached mammals in the world, and the illegal smuggling of their scales is threatening them with extinction. Eight species of pangolins exist today — four in Africa and four in Asia — and all are listed in Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), an international treaty designed to protect plants and animals from illegal and unsustainable trade. International trade for primarily commercial purposes is essentially prohibited for CITES Appendix–I listed species.

Pangolin scales are smuggled into China to circumvent this prohibition, dried and crushed into a powder, and then ingested. Similar to rhinoceros horns and human fingernails, pangolin scales are made of keratin. And while some claim they can treat everything from rheumatoid arthritis to inflammation, consuming pangolin scales has not been proven to offer any clinical medical benefit to humans.

As a former CITES policy specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with 10 years of experience combatting illegal wildlife trade, I sympathize with the overwhelming public and governmental frustration that pangolins continue to be poached despite the highest level of CITES protection. Organized crime is frequently involved, and just last week it was announced that 9,500 Kg (around 10.5 tons) of pangolin scales were seized from ocean shipping containers in Nigeria, likely destined for export to Asia. That many scales likely represents over 20,000 animals taken from the wild. Enormous illegal shipments like these are becoming more common, and if something doesn’t radically change soon, pangolins will become extinct in our lifetimes.

We absolutely must strengthen the enforcement of existing conservation laws, but we must also acknowledge our own hypocrisy. In addition to the aforementioned social media posts of “pangolin revenge,” there has also been a flurry of posts expressing disgust about Chinese cultural culinary traditions, such as the consumption of bats, snakes, cats and dogs.

Here in the U.S., most people seem to believe that it’s perfectly acceptable to slaughter and eat cows, but it’s considered taboo for people to eat horses, which are considered to be more noble and companionable. And yet, the U.S. has been exporting tens of thousands of live horses annually to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico for human and animal consumption overseas. Even though we’ve been supplying horses for people to eat elsewhere, we continue to publicly shame this culinary practice in the U.S. Adjusting our standards of morally acceptable behaviors based on economic profit is elitist hypocrisy.

We absolutely must strengthen the enforcement of existing conservation laws, but we must also acknowledge our own hypocrisy.

Similarly, the consumption of dog and cat meat in China elicits outcry in the U.S. It’s not hard to understand why, of course — it’s difficult to think about eating animals that are often pets. But in parts of China where these animals are consumed, they are not viewed as companion animals, and residents consider their treatment to be humane and assert that the cultural practice is hardly different than the U.S. choosing to consume pork and beef. Factory farming in the U.S. is often accused of being inhumane, yet we seem to tolerate a higher threshold of animal neglect when it offers enough profit and accommodates our own food preferences.

In India, the slaughter of cows is banned in most states, as cows are considered to be supremely sacred. Penalties for disobeying the bans can be severe. And in many Jewish and Muslim communities around the world, people are strictly forbidden from eating pork, which is considered to be unclean. Regardless, the U.S. consumes beef and pork with abandon, and without considering the beliefs and opinions of other nations.

There are many, many reasons to decrease our meat consumption, both in the U.S. and around the world. Animal cruelty is certainly a compelling reason, as is the potential benefits to our individual health and the health of our planet. My point is merely that too many Western environmentalists have fallen into a lazy pattern when it comes to other cultures that both avoids internal introspection and can inadvertently enable xenophobia.

Increased contact with animals through land use change and wildlife trade is the most common way emerging infectious diseases make the jump to humans, and this latest coronavirus outbreak is no exception. It’s likely that bats or other traded species were involved in its spread to humans, and this has placed renewed international scrutiny on control of the thriving wildlife markets in China.

But like China, the U.S. is also a large importer of global wildlife — including wildlife with diseases. We just don’t hear about it when the consequences aren’t deemed important i.e. directly harmful to humans. For example, amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), a deadly pathogen spread through the wildlife trade which has already harmed over 500 species globally, is causing more disease-driven extinctions than any other pathogen in recorded history. And yet the U.S. continues to import thousands of infected animals annually, without any disease screening or biosecurity measures to protect American frogs and salamanders from extinction.

Fortunately, many wildlife species capable of transmitting diseases to humans have long ago been banned by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, and those that may threaten species of agricultural importance are strictly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This regulatory framework is effective at protecting human health and food security in the U.S. from emerging infectious pathogens, but native species remain highly vulnerable to the novel diseases being imported through our wildlife trade.

Environmentalism and conservationism are noble and vital pursuits. But dialogues about coronavirus should not allow the topic of wildlife conservation to provide a smokescreen for prejudice. It’s OK to become angry that pangolins are going extinct; we should use this energy constructively to learn more about the issue and possibly support conservation efforts. With global teamwork we can prevail against both the emerging coronavirus pandemic and the illegal wildlife trade.

Throwing stones from glass houses will only make achieving this goal that much more difficult.

Barnard student Tessa Majors death leads to murder charge against 14-year-old boy

63 0 15 Feb 2020

A 14-year-old boy was arrested and charged in the murder of Barnard College student Tessa Majors, who was killed during an armed robbery in a New York City park in December.

He is the second teen charged in the killing. A 13-year-old was arrested days after the incident and charged with second-degree murder, robbery and a weapons-related count.

“Sadly, it cannot bring back this young woman, this student, this victim,” New York City Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a news conference Saturday of the 14-year-old’s arrest. “That is something that even the best, most impartial investigation simply cannot do.”

“What we can do is say that we are confident that we have the person in custody who stabbed her,” he added.

The 14-year-old suspect was taken into custody around 10:30 p.m. Friday in Manhattan, Shea said.

He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree robbery and three counts of second-degree robbery, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. added.

He was arraigned on the charges Saturday. NBC News is not identifying either of the suspects because they are juveniles.

Majors, 18, was at Morningside Park on Dec. 11 when three teenagers tried to rob her, police said. One of the teens put her in a chokehold as the others rifled through her pockets. Authorities said Majors fought back and bit one of the robbers’ fingers.

In the ensuing struggle, she was stabbed repeatedly in the torso, according to police. She was able to stagger out of the park but died at a nearby hospital.

Vance said that a criminal court complaint details video, blood, and cellphone evidence gathered during the investigation as well as the suspect’s “own statements.”

The document “paints a gruesome picture” of what Majors went through during her final moments, Vance told reporters, adding that it is alleged some of her last words were “help me. I’m being robbed.”

“This arrest was a major milestone on the path to justice,” Vance said.

Surveillance video showed Majors entering Morningside Park about the same time that three teens came in through a separate entrance, the criminal complaint in regard to the 14-year-old says. The teens appear to follow a man through the park and stop once he walks up a flight of stairs.

Seconds later, the video shows the trio surrounding Majors on a landing as she walks up a set of stairs. The teens briefly walk away from her after a man suddenly appears. According to the complaint, a witness said he heard a male voice in the vicinity of the stairs demand a cellphone and then a female scream that she was being robbed.

Video shows Majors struggling with the teens before breaking free and stumbling up the stairs. The complaint also states that the 14-year-old gave a statement saying he was in the park and tried to take Majors’ phone and “she was hanging onto” the device so he hit her with a knife.

A few days prior to the stabbing, the 14-year-old and two others robbed someone else of their cellphone at knifepoint, according to the complaint.

Woman posed as photographer, drugged a mom to steal her newborn, police say

63 0 15 Feb 2020

A woman in Washington state and her 16-year-old daughter were arrested Friday afternoon after the woman allegedly posed as a baby photographer and drugged a mother in an attempt to steal her newborn.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department in Tacoma, Washington, said that a woman called 911 on Feb. 5, telling emergency responders that she was experiencing numbness, drowsiness, and instability on her feet and was vomiting. She said that she believed she had been drugged.

Upon receiving treatment at a local hospital, the woman filed a police report with the sheriff’s department in which she said she had accepted an offer from a woman in a Facebook baby group to take photos of her newborn for free as a way of building her portfolio.

The Facebook profile of a woman police say posed as a baby photographer.Facebook via Pierce County Sheriff’s Dept.

The suspect is a 38-year-old resident of Spanaway, Washington, who allegedly carried multiple aliases, but whose name was confirmed by police Saturday as Juliette Parker.

She allegedly visited the victim’s home three times to take photos, where she was seen taking selfies with the baby and wiping her fingerprints from items she touched.

“During the third incident, the suspect and the suspect’s teenage daughter gave the victim a cupcake to eat; the victim reported feeling numb and drowsy immediately after eating the cupcake,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “The victim told the suspect and her daughter to leave her home. After they left, the victim noticed that the suspect had stolen her house keys.”

Parker was arrested along with her teen daughter at their home in Spanaway, about 44 miles south of Seattle, police said, and she was booked Friday on attempted kidnapping and assault charges, Pierce County corrections records show.

Detectives working on the case said they conducted multiple interviews and obtained numerous search warrants, identifying additional victims before uncovering Parker’s plot “to steal a newborn baby to raise as her own.”

“When the whole thing unraveled her house keys were missing, she [the victim] remembers her wiping prints down in the kitchen,” sheriff’s Det. Ed Troyer told NBC affiliate KING in Seattle. “We were able to find through search warrants and communication through social media and texts a plot we put together that obviously shows she was attempting to find an infant to take out of state and raise as her own.”

Deputies with the sheriff’s department donated money to buy the victim new locks for her doors and window guards, which they also helped her install.

Parker has also allegedly been involved in a bomb-making incident, KING reported.

And, she was a candidate last year in the Colorado Springs mayoral race, police confirmed. She came in second with 11.9 percent of the vote, according to city records.

“I want to make Colorado Springs a happy and safe and prosperous place for all of our residents,” Parker told NBC News affiliate KOAA two weeks before the April 2019 election.

Though she was arrested over 1,200 miles from the city she once hoped to lead, Parker’s past was not lost on investigators.

“It’s turning out to be a very colorful background on our suspect,” Troyer told KING.

Shamar Walters and Matteo Moschella contributed.

Best Presidents Day mattress sales, according to Consumer Reports

72 0 15 Feb 2020

Hitting the mid-February mark means Presidents Day sales abound. Brands and stores are announcing deals, discounted prices and free-with-purchase bundles leading up to the long weekend. A discount Presidents Day sale trend in the mattress, sleep aids and bedding space could save you a significant amount of money. And there are plenty of sales for mattresses online, allowing you to consider the bed-in-a-box trend without breaking the bank — and often with little risk as at-home trials let you return the mattress with little to no cost.

In this article

  1. Best Presidents Day mattress deals, according to Consumer Reports
  2. Other Presidents Day mattress deals
  3. Presidents Day bedding sales

Best Presidents Day mattress deals, according to Consumer Reports

To figure out what the best mattress sales are, we consulted Consumer Reports, Mattress Advisor and our own research.

1. The Allswell

This is one of the most affordable mattresses you’ll find over the Presidents Day sale. “This innerspring mattress (typically sold for just $645) offers decent support for most body types and sleep styles, and fares well in our stability tests,” Consumer Reports notes. “With this mattress, your partner shouldn’t jostle you around much in your sleep.”

The Allswell deal is part of Allswell’s larger sale: Use code PREZ to get 15 percent off any mattress. Also included is 20 percent off bedding and bath and spa products. All mattresses come with free shipping, a 10-year warranty and a 100-night risk-free trial — note that delivery, mattress removal and recycling fees aren’t covered.

2. Avocado Green Mattress

The Avocado mattress is organic, featuring Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) — meaning it’s met a set of requirements for organically derived materials in products — certified for its latex, wool and cotton. It’s handmade in Los Angeles, where its production got Greenguard Gold certified for low emissions — Consumer Reports listed in its list of 2019’s best mattresses.

Avocado mattresses come with free shipping and returns, as well as a one-year trial. There’s also a 25-year warranty: Get the first 10 years with full replacement value and free return (including pickup services) before an additional period of prorated coverage for 15 years. The Avocado Presidents Day sale goes on through the 24th. Using different codes gets you different discounts.

  • $200 off Mattresses with the code FLAG200
  • $50 off for Military with the code 50OFFSERVICE
  • $150 off bed frames with a mattress purchase with the code BED150
  • $100 off Alpaca Mattress Pillow Toppers with the code ALPACA100
  • Two free pillows with a mattress purchase with the code 2FREEPILLOWS

3. The Casper Hybrid

Casper’s Hybrid is an innerspring mattress with multiple foam layers. “It offers a good night’s rest to all the sleeper sizes and styles we test for,” Consumer Reports notes. The 12-inch mattress includes specific types of extra support under the shoulders and hips and is composed of foam cells designed to be breathable. The Casper Presidents Day sale gets you ten percent off all mattresses. Casper mattresses come with a 100 night trial, a 10-year warranty and free shipping and returns.

4. The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Mattress Advisor rates this mattress an overall 8.7 out of 10. Made of gel memory foam, it’s in the medium firm category. According to Consumer Reports, the mattress is a good option for most body types and sleeping positions. However, Mattress Advisor reports this one is most beneficial for side sleepers, noting it “has a pretty happy (and well-rested) fan base — they have overwhelmingly positive reviews and fewer than 3 percent of customers end up returning their Nectar mattress.” Nectar mattresses come with free shipping and returns, a one-year trial run and a lifetime warranty. The Nectar Presidents Day sale gets you $100 off every mattress.

5. The Purple Mattress

The Purple mattress is made of foam and “fairly soft in comparison with other mattresses,” according to Consumer Reports.“It doesn’t support large and tall sleepers as well as other mattresses do, so if you fall into that category, look for another option,” they added.

Purple mattresses and bedding come with free shipping and returns, a ten-year warranty and a 100-night trial. Purple’s Presidents Day sale could save you up to $350

6. Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress

Consumer Reports recommends the Mint. “In our tests, the Mint is able to support a range of body sizes, regardless of whether you sleep on your side or your back. This mattress is slightly on the softer side.” Recently redesigned to include more graphite in the top layer of foam, the Mint is designed to cool you by drawing heat from your body when you sleep. Its plush knit fabric is likewise designed to be breathable and cooling gel beads within the mattress second layer provide additional support.

Tuft & Needle mattresses comes with a 100 night trial, a 10-year warranty, and free shipping and returns. The Tuft & Needle Presidents Day sale gets you $175 off either the Mint mattress or the Hybrid mattress.

7. Tulo 10-Inch Medium Mattress

Tulo offers three mattresses: Soft, Medium and Firm. Another affordable option during Presidents Day, Consumer Reports notes “it’s $50 cheaper than it was on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” adding that the “Tulo Medium Firm is terrific at maintaining its support for the duration of a simulated eight to 10 years of use.” Tulo mattresses come with a 10-year warranty and 120-day trial, along with free delivery. Tulo’s Presidents Day sale gets you up to $250 in savings.

Mattress Firm mattress deals

Consumer Reports chose the Tulo mattress deal at Mattress Firm as one of its best deals. Mattress Firm’s larger Presidents Day sale can get you up to $650 in savings and covers a broad set of mattresses, which the site allows you to filter by size, of course, but also by firmness and other factors.

8. Charles P. Rogers

Consumer Reports recommends the St. Regis Pillowtop mattress, a firmer model which they say “offers superb support for both petite side and back sleepers, and slightly less support for average and large/tall back sleepers.” The larger Charles P. Rogers sale will get up to $800 of a mattress with code BFS2019. Their mattresses come with a 100-day mattress comfort trial and free exchanges or returns, as well as free shipping to most U.S. addresses on order of $299 or more.

9. Sleep Number 360 c2 Smart Bed

The Sleep Number c2 mattress made the list for Consumer Reports, which noted “the Sleep Number c2 tests well for both side and back support for sleepers of all sizes, and it’s a medium-firm mattress.” Within the classic series, you can save $100 on a Sleep Number 360 c2 Smart Bed or $400 off a Sleep Number 360 c4 Smart Bed. Sales also include six other models. Sleep Number mattresses come with a 25-year limited warranty and 100-night trial.

Other Presidents Day mattress deals to consider

10. Nest Bedding Natural Hybrid Latex

Nest Bedding has a wide range of options: eight types of mattresses for all ages, including an organic crib mattress and bedding. Their Hybrid Latex is useful for sleepers with allergies, and the Alexander Signature Hybrid is constructed in four layers and comes in three levels of firmness: plush, medium, and luxury firm.

Nest Bedding mattresses come with free shipping and a 100-night trial. The Nest Bedding Presidents Day sale can get you up to $500 in savings, including $300 off select mattresses and an additional $200 of select foundations with code. TIME2NEST.

11. Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress with Natural Foam & New Zealand Wool

Mattress Advisor rates Awara’s hybrid mattress an overall 8.8 out of 10, noting it’s suitable for all sleeping styles. “Pairing latex with 5-zoned pocket coils creates the perfect combination for premier support and contouring of the natural curvatures of the body,” they noted after reviewing the mattress. “Latex mattresses strike the perfect balance between memory foam and innersprings — they aren’t too ‘sinky’ or stiff but offer just the right amount of support for side, stomach and back sleepers.” Awara’s mattresses are made using sustainably-sourced latex, wool, and cotton.

Awara offers a one-year trial run, free shipping and returns, and a lifetime warranty.

12. DreamCloud’s Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Mattress Advisor rates gives this DreamCloud mattress an 8.8 out of 10 as well as a nearly perfect score in their spine alignment test. The quilted top layer is complemented by a gel-infused memory foam layer to help target pressure points in your body. A pocketed innerspring coil aids in the breathability and cooling features of the mattress.

DreamCloud offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping and returns, and a one-year trial. The DreamCloud Presidents Day sale gets you $200 off your mattress with code MADVISOR.

13. The Puffy Mattress

Mattress Advisor rates Puffy at a 9 out of 10 — one of the higher ratings we came across. The medium firm, three-layered mattress is made of memory foam and is built with stain-resistant fabric.

For Presidents’ Day, enter your email to get $300 off a Puffy mattress and a king free pillow. Mattresses come with a lifetime warranty, a 101-night trial run, and lifetime coverage.

Presidents Day bedding sales to keep in mind

  • Brooklinen is offering 15 percent off sitewide.
  • Wayfair is offering up to 70 percent off select items.
  • Crane & Canopy is cutting up to 70 percent off bedding, sheets and home décor.
  • Lulu & Georgia is offering 15 percent off $500+ purchases with code TAKE15, 20 percent off $1000+ purchases with CODE20 and 25 percent off $1500+ purchases with code TAKE25.
  • Sam’s Club is cutting $100 off Serta Perfect Sleeper Ashbrook and SleepToGo 12-inch memory foam mattresses.
  • Tempur-Pedic is offering up to $500 off on select mattress sets, and 30 percent off any Tempur-Cloud mattress.
  • Walmart is slicing prices on select mattresses (and towels!) by up to 50 percent.

Other sleep and bedding recommendations

Injured or in pain? Water running may be the workout youve been waiting for

64 0 15 Feb 2020

All of her adult life, 49-year old Michele Chudik tried to find a type of exercise she liked enough to stick with it. She’d tried just about everything, she thought, when a stress fracture in her foot forced her into the pool to try water running. Six years later and Chudik is still at it.

Water running, for the uninitiated, originally came about as a way for injured runners to keep in shape while they can’t get on the road. Research, in fact, finds that it’s one of the best substitutes for the real thing. But as Chudik proves, water running isn’t just for runners — it’s a great way for anyone to stay in shape. With no impact, water running is suitable for almost anyone: those suffering injuries, seniors, and those with arthritis find it a good alternative to their normal routine, or like Chudik, a favorite workout.

What is water running, exactly?

Using a special flotation belt, you get into the deep end of the pool and “run,” mimicking the motion you’d use on land. While it’s effectiveness as an alternative to running is known, most runners will complain that the trade off is lack of mental stimulation. Staring at a pool wall for 30 or 40 minutes or longer isn’t the most exciting way to go.

The good news is that water running has evolved over the years and there are now ways to make it more exciting. Waterproof headphones, for one, can help. Adding intervals and following a program with specific workouts is another way to shake it up. And if you’re lucky enough to be in the right location, there are even classes that provide coaching and the camaraderie of fellow classmates.

The New York Road Runners club, for instance, offers up a seven-week deep water running class directed by a certified trainer. Over the seven weeks, class participants go through varied, 45-minute sessions that include a warm up, cool down, and approximately 30 minutes of intervals, sprints and even simulated hill training.

Chicagoland residents can tap into a class called Fluid Running created by Jennifer Conroyd, a 53-year old runner from LeGrange, Ill. Conroyd first turned to water running to help her reach the start line of the Chicago Marathon in 2010, when a calf injury prevented her from training on land. “I was six weeks out from the race and came across a nine-week plan for injured runners,” she says. “I reached out to the coaches who developed the plan and they helped me dial it in for the time I had left.”

Some of Conroyd’s sessions lasted up to three hours in order to mimic the long runs she otherwise would have put into her preparation. On race week, she did a two-mile test run on land and felt good enough to try the marathon. She finished out feeling unexpectedly good. “I couldn’t believe I wasn’t hitting a wall,” she says. “I also wondered why more athletes didn’t use water running.”

Her positive experience led Conroyd to become certified to coach water running and begin teaching one-on-one sessions. Today, she leads classes several times a week at her local gym.

Chudnik is one of the regulars in Conroyd’s classes and goes two to three times every week. “It’s a great cardio workout and I never get bored,” she says. “We get a big mix of people in class in all age ranges and abilities. It’s a safe space for everyone.”

Michele Chudik (left) and Jen Govostis doing a Fluid Running H2Go audio workout togetherFluid Running

Jennifer Govostis, a 48-year old non-practicing physical therapist, also attends and even coaches the classes at the Chicago-area gym. “I started taking the classes three years ago due to injury,” she says. “I was totally skeptical and didn’t think I’d like it.”

Today, Govostis has used water running to train for three marathons and gets in the water twice a week for sessions. “I do my speed work in the water instead of on land,” she says. “I keep getting faster at my races and I’m not increasing my mileage. I think it has allowed me to continue running without injury.”

No water running classes in your area? There’s an app for that

For those who aren’t local, Conroyd created a Fluid Running H2Go app, which users pair with a flotation belt, tether and Bluetooth waterproof headphones that are part of the package. Conroyd says that users tend to skew toward general fitness buffs versus runners at a ratio of 75 percent to 25 percent.

Some people attempt water running without a flotation belt, assuming they will get a better workout that way. Conroyd dispels that: “The belt is critical for maintaining upright form,” she explains. “You won’t get as good of a workout if your form is off.”

The Fluid Running H2Go System at the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown Chicago. Fluid Running

Doing some sort of intervals is important as well, as it is more difficult to get your heart rate high in the water. Keep in mind, however, that your heart rate will always run lower in the deep water. “Expect it to be about 10 to 15 beats lower at a comparable level of exertion,” says Conroyd.

The nice thing is that water running can be tailored to your needs and fitness level — similar to a spin class, says Conroyd. “You can work as hard or as easy as you want,” she says.

For her part, Chudnik is thrilled to have found the workout she loves and will do several times a week. “Once you hop in the water, there’s a magical quality to it,” she says. “I leave class feeling amazing — it’s the best part of my day.”


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Whats a throuple? House Hunters episode puts polyamory on the radar

56 0 15 Feb 2020

Viewers of HGTV’s popular show “House Hunters” this week watched in shock — with a bit of awe — as a polyamorous “throuple” searched for a new home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Buying a house together as a throuple will signify our next big step as a family of five, rather than all four of them plus me,” said Angelica, referring to her partners Lori and Brian and their two biological children. “I didn’t plan on being in a relationship with a married couple, but it just happened very naturally, organically.”

During Wednesday’s episode, Brian revealed the trio tied the knot, so to speak, a few weeks ago in Aruba.

“In this country, of course, you can only be married to one other individual, so we joined with Angelica in a commitment ceremony,” Brian explained, adding that he always knew his legal wife, Lori, was bisexual. “This has nothing to do with church and state; it’s a commitment between the three of us. We are all equals in this relationship.”

By Thursday, “HGTV House Hunters” and “polyamorous throuple relationship”were trending search terms as viewers reacted to the triad with a mix of amazement, confusion and horror.

“Oh my god. A throuple on House Hunters,” queer author Roxane Gay wrote in a Twitter thread. “Great episode!!!! Educational.” Gay added on the thread that her partner, Debbie Millman, said “no” to a throuple “very very fast.”

A number of Twitter users questioned the practicality of the polyamorous homebuyers.

“The throuple on hgtv wants a room that fits all three of them and three sinks in the master bathroom,” one woman wrote. “Aint no body have a move in ready house with THREE SINKS.”

“Life is wild and so are triple sink vanities,” tweeted Katherine Cuellar, who said she attended high school with throuple member Angelica.

Others said that they saw something of themselves in the throuple. “I think a lot about how in the hell I would ever find a house that would suit the family I envision myself someday having so this House Hunters throuple thing is pretty dope actually,” tweeted Kat Veldt. “It’s cool that people are talking about housing for families that aren’t traditional nuclear structures. Love to see it.”

However, not everyone found the episode enlightening. Conservative Princeton University law professor Robert P. George, who wrote a book in 2012 decrying same-sex marriage, saw the throuple storyline as vindication of his past predictions.

“The normalization of polyamory rolls down the track, just as I and others predicted it would,” George tweeted, calling it “a simple unfolding of the logic of social liberalism.”

Regardless of viewers’ personal opinions about polyamorous relationships, the episode caught their attention.

“I was legit about to change the channel until I heard throuple,” another Twitter user wrote. “You have my FULL attention now lol #HouseHunters.”

At least one viewer, however, flagged the precariousness of Angelica’s financial and legal situation, since she, unlike Brian and Lori, has no legal status in the relationship.

“Unfortunately, if something were to happen, only one of those women has a legally recognized relationship, so they might in their heads think they are equal, but that third one is going to be left out in some way,” Ed Stein, a law professor at Cardozo Law School, told NBC News. “She lacks legal protections in the case of death or divorce or other problems, and that’s why there’s a need to do something to protect her.”

Stein has for decades studied nontraditional relationship structures and how they relate to family law. Decades ago, these beyond-the-legal-pale relationships were gay partnerships, but after same-sex marriage was legalized across the U.S. in 2015, Stein turned his focus to other legally unrecognized relationships, like throuples.

Consensual nonmonogamy, which includes polyamory, is not uncommon, according to a 2016 study out of Indiana University published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, which found that over 20 percent of the several thousand U.S. adults surveyed reported having at some point in their lives experienced this nontraditional romantic arrangement. That finding held steady across age, education level, income, religion, region, political affiliation and race, but not gender and sexual orientation: Men and LGBTQ people were likelier to have experienced consensual nonmonogamy. Gay dating apps like Scruff even give users the option of selecting “polyamorous” as their relationship status.

The U.S. has had a long-standing opposition to plural relationships, according to Stein, and he said this is, at least in part, because marriage was once a “deeply gendered institution” in which a woman became the de facto legal charge of her husband upon marriage. Many midcentury American women could not open a bank account, serve on a jury or even obtain birth control pills without their husband’s permission.

Thanks to decades of work by women’s rights activists, Stein said, the gendered nature of marriage is “for the most part gone.” Women (and men) can now equally obtain no-fault divorces and share custody of children. And so, Stein added, there is good reason to reexamine the gendered assumptions that lead us to presume a healthy relationship can only consist of two people.

Indeed, custody disputes have raised the legal implications of multiple-party relationships in states like California, where Stein said judges have ruled that more than two parties — two biological parents and step parents, for instance — were legal guardians for children.

“The law does kind of catch up with reality, and family law is about people living their lives, and when enough people are living their lives that way with men and women in equal relationships, and women in the workforce, the law kind of catches up,” Stein said.

In his dissent in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized gay marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts predicted that the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy.

“Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world,” Roberts stated. “If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.”

Stein said he agrees with Roberts and George. “Once you start to break away from traditional ‘things have always been this way,’ it leads us to ask ‘What is the role of marriage?’”

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Coronavirus: Chinas Xi Jinping faces his biggest challenge

69 0 15 Feb 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has killed almost 1,400 people in China, spread to over two dozen countries and created a global health crisis. It is also the biggest challenge yet facing President Xi Jinping since he became leader of China in 2012.

Some say it may be the greatest test China has faced since hundreds of protesters were killed by government forces in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

“There was no internet then and the government could easily blockade information,” said Zhang LiFan, an independent historian based in Beijing. “Times have changed now. Belief in official propaganda is less and less as people can now exchange more information.”

Xi is without question China’s most dominant ruler in decades, amassing such power that he has few real domestic political rivals in the authoritarian one-party state.

But that singular power also makes it hard for him to escape blame when it comes to crises like COVID-19, the name of the disease, which has spread from its suspected origin, a food market in the central city of Wuhan, across China and to 25 countries, from the United States to Australia.

The epidemic is the latest in a string of challenges for Xi and what human rights groups call the repressive system of government he has built around himself.

In the past year China has been rocked by violent protests in Hong Kong, international criticism for its treatment of Uighur Muslims, soaring pork prices after an outbreak of African swine fever, and a rolling tit-for-tat trade war with President Donald Trump.

That’s not to say that Xi — who has declared a “people’s war” on the virus — hasn’t won praise from some leaders abroad. Trump said that China is “working really hard and I think they’re doing a very professional job,” and there have been glowing words from the World Health Organization itself.

“The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He went on to praise China’s response as “very impressive, and beyond words.”

Portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping and late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong on a street in Shanghai, China, on Feb. 10.Aly Song / Reuters

The current crisis is different from the SARS epidemic of 2002-03, the severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed nearly 800 people and which China kept largely under wraps for months.

This time officials have released details to locals and the outside world, including a daily tally of the number of deaths and new infections.

But some experts say the praise and increased transparency masks the reality that China may have tried to hush up the initial spread of the virus — which may have made it harder to contain.

The regime has been releasing information while going to great lengths to suppress transparency elsewhere, according to Steve Tsang, professor at the China Institute at London’s SOAS university.

“They are managing the dissemination of information very, very carefully,” Tsang said, citing the claim in early January that there were no new cases for a week. “Now we know there has been a cover-up.”

Even in the country’s heavily censored online spaces, simmering anger against the government reached a boil last week when Li Wenliang, one of the first doctors to try to raise the alarm, died after contracting the virus himself. Li was reprimanded by police for his efforts.

Many on social media have avoided banned words, instead making their feelings known with thinly veiled references to Chernobyl, the nuclear meltdown in Ukraine in 1986 that was initially covered up by the Soviet Union, and quotes from “Les Miserables.”

Others have been less cautious. This week a prominent Chinese law professor, Xu Zhangrun, wrote an essay saying the virus had “revealed the rotten core of Chinese governance,” and that “groundless decisions from authorities have pushed powerless citizens to despair and the disease to the globe.”

Medical personnel are posted at a residential estate in Hong Kong on Feb. 11.Anthony Wallace / AFP – Getty Images

Xi is such a powerful figure that it is hard for him to avoid criticism when things go wrong. The president has amassed so many titles since he became leader that he is sometimes referred to as “chairman of everything.”

“Since everything is under the control of the Communist Party, at the top of which is Xi Jinping, he can’t get away from being held responsible, however the spin is being managed,” according to Tsang at SOAS.

Under Xi’s reign, China has become even more repressive, according to watchdogs.

It is accused of detaining, torturing and disappearing political opponents and human rights defenders; using mass surveillance to invade people’s privacy; and committing mass human rights abuses against China’s Uighur Muslims and other minorities.

“This could pose a threat to Xi’s image that he is always right and taking China to a better place,” Tsang said. “But the situation has been so closely controlled that most people in China still do not see the bigger picture.”

The president has kept a relatively low profile during the epidemic. In a rare public appearance this week he held a video call with people in Wuhan and joked, “Let’s not shake hands,” while out meeting residents in Beijing.

Instead Xi has dispatched his No. 2, Premier Li Keqiang, to coordinate the response to the crisis.

“If Li Keqiang succeeds, then it will be all because of Xi Jinping,” Tsang said. “If he has to fire Li Keqiang and use him as a scapegoat, things would have gone very, very badly wrong. Xi would much prefer to sacrifice local officials rather than a senior leader … so the crisis cannot damage his own status and leadership.”

This elderly man collapsed and died on a street in Wuhan last month.Hector Retamal / AFP – Getty Images

Jiang Chaoliang, secretary of the provincial Communist Party committee of Hubei province, as well as two other officials, lost their jobs this week in the midst of the crisis.

China has been able to throw resources into its response to the outbreak in a way few other countries could.

As news began to spread, officials made the extraordinary decision to quarantine the entire city of Wuhan, later expanded to encompass a population of some 30 million. The outside world has marveled at the ability of Chinese workers to build two hospitals in under two weeks.

But the subsequent shutdown of transport infrastructure, factories and public spaces has slowed the country’s economy, with one report saying that the virus might trim 1 percentage point off China’s growth rate this year.

“This epidemic can have a serious impact on the economy and employment, and economic turmoil could cause social turmoil, which could pose a crisis for the ruling party,” said Zhang, the historian.

There is another possibility, however: that Xi is able to use the crisis to consolidate even more power.

“President Xi, just like Mao in the past, could use the crisis to put the party on an emergency or war footing and use it to further centralize power,” Zhang added.

“The crisis could benefit the strengthening of his powers, rather than weakening them.”