This Week In Words: August 1–6, 2020

August 3, 2020
Stories about a devastating explosion in Beirut, social media cracking down on misinformation, and the clock ticking on the next round of pandemic aid all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
The Trump administration is ordering the Census Bureau to speed up its count by a month, meaning it has to finish six weeks from now, a task that four former directors say will result in severely incomplete counts. They called for the creation of an independent group to audit the quality of the count. Democrats have criticized this move, saying that it's a partisan attempt to undercount areas with more Democratic voters, depriving them of representation.
On Tuesday, four former directors of the Census Bureau issued a statement warning that an earlier deadline would “result in seriously incomplete enumerations in many areas across our country,” and urged the administration to restore the lost weeks.
New York Times (Aug 5, 2020)
In the second episode of her podcast, former first lady Michelle Obama said that she's suffering from "some form of low-grade depression" because of everything that's happening: the pandemic, widespread racism, and what she says is the administration's mishandling of just about every crisis. Ipokrisis is Greek for "pretending" or "acting."
“Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”
Guardian (Aug 6, 2020)
Facebook and Twitter both took down posts from President Trump and his campaign that the companies said broke their rules against misinformation about the coronavirus. The campaign's Twitter account was blocked until it deleted a post falsely claiming that children are immune to Covid-19, and the President's personal account also deleted the same post.
Around 300 children have contracted a rare inflammatory disease due to covid-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, and six have died.
Washington Post (Aug 5, 2020)
The federal pandemic assistance of $600 per week is running out, and Congress has not yet passed a law to continue helping families in need. With over 30 million Americans out of work, and with the ban on evictions also expiring, people are worried that their bad situations will get much worse before any more financial help arrives.
Charitable groups worry the problem will worsen with the end of the $600 and the expiration of coronavirus-era moratoriums on evictions.
AP (Aug 6, 2020)
New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the National Rifle Association, saying that the organization's leaders have used the nonprofit for their personal financial gain, costing it $64 million in the last three years. She is asking the Court to dissolve the group, which was founded in New York, and to force the leadership to pay back the money they used for travel, clothing, and other expenses. Nefarius is Latin for "wicked" or "morally offensive."
The suit also details what it alleges was a nefarious relationship between the NRA and its former advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen.
CNBC (Aug 6, 2020)
On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, there are few survivors of the nuclear explosion remaining to tell their stories. To keep the memories of the event alive, the Hiroshima city government has hired people known as denshosha ("legacy successors") to learn survivors' stories and tell them as if they were their own. Pacifism, which has been Japan's national policy since the end of WWII, comes from the Latin pacificus, meaning "tending to make peace."
The suffering of the hibakusha animates Japan’s post-war pacifism, as well as anti-nuclear activism internationally.
Economist (Aug 1, 2020)
Hundreds were killed and thousands injured in a huge explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon when nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate — a fertilizer also used to make explosives — detonated after a fire. The blast did massive damage to large portions of the city, and was heard 100 miles away in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.
"It's pandemonium in my own flat, all the glass is shattered. The extent of the damage is extreme. Even in a mall 2km away - the whole facade was shattered."
BBC (Aug 4, 2020)
The Manhattan District Attorney is investigating the Trump corporation for a number of crimes, and recently served Deutsche Bank with a subpoena for the company's financial records. The Trump organization is trying to have the case dismissed, but the DA says that there's abundant evidence of past and present crimes. including possible instances of bank fraud.
Vance, in responding to the claim the subpoena was overbroad, said Trump’s argument “rests on the false premise that the grand jury’s investigation is limited to so-called ‘hush-money’ payments made by Michael Cohen” on Trump’s behalf in 2016.
Reuters (Aug 3, 2020)
The city council in Portland, Maine voted unanimously to ban the use of facial recognition software. A number of groups, from the ACLU to Black Lives Matter, have been demanding that such software, which misidentifies darker-skinned people at rates much higher than white people, be prohibited. Maine is now the third state to have some kind of a law against facial recognition.
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) applauded Portland councilors on their decision, writing in a tweet: "The movement to defend our privacy rights from face surveillance has now expanded to a third state."
Newsweek (Aug 4, 2020)
A recent poll shows that 82 percent of K–12 teachers say they're concerned about returning to in-person classes in September, and two thirds say that they'd rather teach remotely. Teachers say they're worried about their own health and that of their students, as well as other me members of their students' families who may be elderly or vulnerable. Additionally, the poll showed that teachers worry that safety protocols will interfere with learning.
As the school year starts in many districts across the country, a new national poll of teachers from NPR/Ipsos finds overwhelming trepidation about returning to the physical classroom.
NPR (Aug 6, 2020)

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