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Ada Limón is a poet laureate for the 21st century, exploring ‘what it looks like to have America in the room’

Ada Limón is the first woman of Mexican ancestry to be named U.S. poet laureate. Through her understanding of social media and the power of connection,…



Ada Limón is the 24th U.S. poet laureate. Shawn Miller/Library of Congress

“Ada Limón is a poet who connects.” This was how Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden introduced the 24th poet laureate of the United States.

From my perspective as a poet and writing teacher, “a poet who connects” is a perfect encapsulation of who the poet laureate should be – and why I see Limón as so well suited for the role.

This appointment has consistently been filled by some of the most celebrated and lasting poets of their generations – Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, Gwendolyn Brooks and many others. According to Limón, it was reading a Bishop poem, “One Art,” at age 15 that jump-started her own passion for poetry.

Ada Limón’s tenure as U.S. poet laureate begins Sep. 29, 2022.

What is a poet laureate?

The office of the U.S. poet laureate is a relatively recent one. Philanthropist Archer M. Huntington endowed the position in 1937 as the “Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.” The official title of “Consultant in Poetry” remains, but “Poet Laureate,” the name most Americans associate with the role, was added by an Act of Congress in 1985.

Over time, the position has changed from one primarily advising the Library of Congress about their poetry collections to a more public-facing role. The most influential U.S. poets laureate have usually had a special interest or project: Maxine Kumin championed the work of women poets. Billy Collins’ “Poetry 180” project brought a poem a day to classrooms throughout the school year. And Robert Pinsky helped build an archive of Americans reading their favorite poems.

The terms of the laureateship are short, just one year, though some often stay for two terms. The most recent U.S. poet laureate – and the first Native American to fill the role – Joy Harjo, served for three, from 2019 until passing the baton to Limón in July 2022.

A doorway to poetry

Limón is the first woman of Mexican ancestry to be named poet laureate of the U.S. Few women have filled the role, and fewer women of color still.

Limón has grappled with the expectations that predominately white literary spaces have placed on her in poems like “The Contract Says: We’d Like the Conversation to be Bilingual.” She has also joked about her experience as a poet of color online. Rather than resign herself to being pigeonholed, however, Limón views identity – and poetry – as an avenue to greater possibilities.

“I’m very interested in what it is to have identity be a doorway, a place where we can open up to different possibilities,” Limón told me in a conversation on Aug. 15, 2022 about her new appointment. “I didn’t sign up for anything limited when I chose poetry. I signed up for something that is about trying on some level to harness the unsayable.”

While this will be Limón’s first walk through the door as the poet laureate, she has already followed in the footsteps of Tracy K. Smith, who was poet laureate from 2017 to 2019. During her tenure, Smith kicked off a weekday poetry podcast and radio show called “The Slowdown.” It was revived in September 2021 with Limón as host. She describes the experience of hosting the show as “a real gift and opportunity to spread poems.” In each episode, Limón shares a brief reflection drawn from her life, then reads a new poem she has selected for the day, chosen from a variety of poets.

With leisure time shrinking and the pandemic further blurring the boundaries between work and home, a podcast that rarely hits the five-minute mark may be as much time as many Americans can spare for literature. These episodes help poetry feel approachable, something that can slip into the fissures of a busy day.

The podcast can also serve as a guided tour of contemporary poetry, helmed by the attuned and attentive Limón. “I think being able to do a daily podcast has been really lovely because there’s so much opportunity to share really different styles of poetry,” Limón said. Offering listeners a wide range of poems, she explains, can help connect with different audiences.

A 21st century laureate

Part of poetry’s appeal is its brevity. Limón’s poems tend to be short enough to be suited to the screenshot, the share. It’s a 21st century way that poetry circulates, a way people can feel connected to the words and to each other.

Social media is frequently the place where people encounter poems. And poetry is something people can turn to when their own words fail. In 2016, Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” went viral after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Ukranian-born poet Ilya Kaminsky’s poem “We Lived Happily During the War,” published in 2019, went viral earlier in 2022 as the world turned its eyes to the war-ravaged nation.

Social media posts and digestible podcast episodes invite even those whose attention feels fragmented to pause. When the world seems overwhelming, a poem can refresh like a sip of cold water, offering a meaningful moment in a hectic world.

Limón appreciates the role social media has played for poetry.

“[F]or the most part, the way we encounter poetry is one singular poem at a time,” she told me. “And so being able to post something on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, or any other social media platform, there is this amazing encounter that you can have where you’re flipping through, and it’s like – someone’s child, this lovely flower, there’s a shoe ad – and then you come to this poem and you’re suddenly bowled over by an Audre Lorde poem from 1978.” She acknowledges the ways social media can feel toxic, but Limón believes that beauty and connection also have a place. “I think that’s a power we really need to harness,” she said.

For me, it comes as no surprise that Limón’s own poems often circulate online. Her brilliant work and public persona offer an openhearted invitation into what language can do to connect people – to the natural world, to one another and to themselves.

At home in a poetic landscape

Across Limón’s six books of poems, an arresting voice emerges. Even her titles make the reader sit up and pay attention. Her poem “How to Triumph Like a Girl” begins “I like the lady horses best” – a funny and engaging first line that draws the reader in with surprising diction and a conversational tone. Her work is exultant and deeply felt, in touch with the emotions and experiences that make us human.

Limón isn’t widely thought of as a nature poet, but she frequently writes nature poems of the built environment, populated by backyard trees, weeds in the garden and neighborhood animals. “We live within nature … even in urban settings, in the small pocket parks that are in between freeways,” Limón said. “To live in that community and to live in that interconnectedness, I hope, will help us see our lives as reciprocal with nature. … [T]hat to me is as important as any poem that you could write.”

For Ada Limón, poetry offers a reminder of the nuance of language in an era of outrage.

Limón is a poet situated in a particularly American geography, first of California and now of Kentucky, grounding her work in the lush details of a lived-in landscape. Her poems “The Hurting Kind” and “A New National Anthem” draw on her perspective as an American proud of her blended background. These particularities, rather than making her work less welcoming, offer a texture of experience that many living in this mingled nation can relate to and see themselves in.

Speaking of taking on the mantle of U.S. poet laureate, Limón told me, “I’m really interested in what it looks like to have America in the room. And I think the face of America is often someone who is many things.”

Amy Cannon does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond her academic appointment.

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Asia’s trade at a turning point

Policymakers in Asia are rightly focused on the potential reconfiguration of global supply chains, given the implications these shifts may have for the…



By Sebastian Eckardt, Jun Ge, Hassan Zaman

Policymakers in Asia are rightly focused on the potential reconfiguration of global supply chains, given the implications these shifts may have for the development of their export-oriented and highly open economies. While the focus on potential shifts on the supply side of the global and regional trading system is well-justified, equally dramatic shifts on the demand side deserve as much attention. This blog provides evidence of the growing role of final demand originating from within emerging Asia and draws policy implications for the further evolution of trade integration in the region.

Trade has been a major driver of development in East Asia with Korea and Japan reaching high-income status through export-driven development strategies. Emerging economies in East Asia, today account for 17 percent of global trade in goods and services. With an average trade-to-GDP ratio of 105 percent, these emerging economies in East Asia trade a higher share of the goods and services they produce across borders than emerging economies in Latin America (73.2 percent), South Asia (61.4 percent), and Africa (73.0 percent). Only EU member states (138.0 percent), which are known to be the most deeply integrated regional trade bloc in the world, trade more. Alongside emerging East Asia’s rise in global trade, intra-regional trade—trade among economies in emerging East Asia—has expanded dramatically over the past two decades. In fact, the rise of intra-regional trade accounted for a bit more than half of total export growth in emerging East Asia in the last decade, while exports to the EU, Japan, and the United States accounted for about 30 percent, a pattern that was briefly disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2021, intra-regional trade made up about 40 percent of the region’s total trade, the highest share since 1990.

Drivers of intra-regional trade in East Asia are shifting 

Initially, much of East Asia’s intra-regional trade integration was driven by rapidly growing intra-industry trade, which in turn reflected the spread of cross-border global value chains with greater vertical specialization and geographical dispersion of production processes across the region. This led to a sharp rise in trade in intermediate goods among economies among emerging economies in Asia, while the EU, Japan, and the United States remained the main export markets for final goods. Think semiconductors and other computer parts being traded from high-wage economies, like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, China for final assembly to lower-wage economies, initially Malaysia and China and more recently Vietnam, with final products like TV sets, computers, and cell phones being shipped to consumers in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

The sources of global demand have been shifting. Intra-regional trade no longer primarily reflects shifts in production patterns but is increasingly underpinned by changes in the sources of demand for exports of final goods. With rapid income and population growth, domestic demand growth in emerging East Asia has been strong in recent years, expanding by an average of 6.4 percent, annually over the past ten years, exceeding both the average GDP and trade growth during that period. China is now not only the largest trading partner of most countries in the region but also the largest source of final demand for the region, recently surpassing the U.S. and the EU. Export value-added absorbed by final demand in China climbed up from 1.6 percent of the region’s GDP in 2000 to 5.4 of GDP in 2021. At the same time, final demand from the other emerging economies in East Asia has also been on the rise, expanding from around 3 percent of GDP in 2000 to above 3.5 percent of GDP in 2021. While only about 12 cents of every $1 of export value generated by emerging economies in Asia in 2000 ultimately met consumer or investment demand within the region, today more than 30 cents meet final demand originating within emerging East Asia.

Figure 1. Destined for Asia

Source: OECD Inter-Country Input-Output (ICIO) Tables, staff estimates. Note: East Asia: EM (excl. China) refers to Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

These shifting trade patterns reflect dramatic shifts in the geography and makeup of the global consumer market. Emerging East Asia’s middle class has been rising fast from 834.2 million people in 2016 to roughly 1.1 billion in 2022. Today more than half of the population—54.5 percent to be precise—has joined the ranks of the global consumer class, with daily consumer spending of $12 per day or more. According to this definition, East Asia accounted for 29.0 percent of the global consumer-class population by 2022, and by 2030 one in three members of the world’s middle class is expected to be East Asian. Meanwhile, the share of the U.S. and the EU in the global consumer class is expected to decline from 19.2 percent to 15.8 percent. If we look at consumer-class spending, emerging East Asia is expected to become home to the largest consumer market sometime in this decade, according to projections, made by Homi Kharas of the Brookings Institution and others, shown in the figure below.

Figure 2. Reshaping the geography of the global consumer market

Figure 2

Source: World Bank staff estimates using World Data Pro!, based on various household surveys. Note: Middle-class is defined as spending more than $12 (PPP adjusted) per day. Emerging East Asia countries included in the calculation refer to Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and China.

Intraregional economic integration could act as a buffer against global uncertainties  

Emerging economies in Asia are known to be the factories of the world. They play an equally important role as rapidly expanding consumer markets which are already starting to shape the next wave of intra-regional and global trade flows. Policymakers in the region should heed this trend. Domestically, policies to support jobs and household income could help bolster the role of private consumption in the steady state in some countries, mainly China, and during shocks in all countries. Externally, policies to lower barriers to regional trade could foster deeper regional integration. While average tariffs have declined and are low for most goods, various non-tariff barriers remain significant and cross-border trade in services, including in digital services remains particularly cumbersome. Multilateral trade agreements, such as ASEAN, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) offer opportunities to address these remaining constraints. Stronger intraregional trade and economic integration can help diversify not just supply chains but also sources of demand, acting as a buffer against uncertainties in global trade and growth.

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“I Couldn’t Remain Silent”: Physician Assistant Fired For Reporting COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Events To VAERS

"I Couldn’t Remain Silent": Physician Assistant Fired For Reporting COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Events To VAERS

Authored by Matt McGregor via…



"I Couldn't Remain Silent": Physician Assistant Fired For Reporting COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Events To VAERS

Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

For her efforts to report injuries to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and to educate others in her hospital system on doing the same, Physician Assistant Deborah Conrad said she was labeled an anti-vaxxer and fired from her job.

Whistleblower Deborah Conrad tells her story in Jackson, Miss., on Feb. 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Charlotte Stringer Photography)

Today, the New York-based Conrad tells her story at medical freedom conferences throughout the country, the most recent being one in Mississippi where physicians, scientists, and the vaccine injured warned state lawmakers to pull the COVID-19 vaccines from the market.

Conrad told The Epoch Times she began to see early danger signals in 2021 upon the vaccine rollout, and with that, resistance among her colleagues to report on them.

After the vaccines came out, there was this uptick in unusual symptoms, some of which I had never seen in my 20-year career,” Conrad said. “In every case, it was in somebody who had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Conrad said she had never admitted an adult patient with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) until the COVID-19 vaccines.

“And every patient who came in with RSV was vaccinated for COVID,” Conrad said. “It wasn’t normal.”

Then, there were the adolescents with no previous medical conditions who had gotten the COVID-19 vaccine a week prior and, suddenly, they were struck with pneumonia and not able to function, she said.

They weren’t able to walk or eat, and they were completely and totally fatigued,” Conrad said.

This was in 2021 before myocarditis was being discussed, so many of those early cases that were probably myocarditis were diagnosed as pneumonia, she said.

“A lot of these myocarditis cases came in with fevers because of this massive inflammatory response that was taking place in the body, so they would be labeled as septic, treated as if we were treating pneumonia or fevers of unknown origin,” Conrad said. “We’d treat them with antibiotics and all sorts of other things, not realizing that they were having heart failure.”

Conrad began reporting to VAERS, which she said was an overwhelming task not made easy by its multiple user-interface complications.

My entire life had been taken over by doing these VAERS reports by myself,” she said.

In meetings with leadership, she would propose implementing a reporting system and hiring someone to manage the reports, she said.

‘A Hostile Environment’

“They kept telling me we’re looking into it and we’ll get back to you,” Conrad said. “Around April 2021, leadership came back and said no one else is reporting injuries—implying that I was crazy and there was nothing really going on with the vaccines.”

Leadership then audited her reports, she said and concluded that she was overreporting.

“I was then told that by doing VAERS reports and even discussing VAERS that it was an admission that the vaccines were unsafe, so it’s contributing to vaccine hesitancy,” Conrad said.

From there, it became a “very hostile environment” that compelled her to seek legal counsel, who wrote letters to the Department of Health, the CDC, and the FDA.

No one cared,” Conrad said. “Finally, I had had it. It was so unethical; I couldn’t take it anymore. These VAERS reports are critical to assuring these vaccines are safe for us all. I could no longer be a part of a system that is lying to the American people.”

Conrad decided to become a whistleblower, telling her story on Del Bigtree’s The Highwire, knowing, she said, that it would cost her job.

I couldn’t remain silent, even if it meant losing my career and everything I worked for,” she said. “I was fired a few weeks later and walked out like a criminal in front of all my peers.”

The initiative and education she had brought forth to report to VAERS were squashed that day, she said.

Whistleblower Deborah Conrad speaks about her termination for attempting to utilize the VAERS reporting in her hospital system, in Jackson, Miss., on Feb. 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Charlotte Stringer Photography)

National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986

According to Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), under the National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, it’s a federal requirement for health care workers to report vaccine-related adverse events to VAERS.

Fisher, whose son was harmed by the DTP vaccine in 1980, worked with other parents of vaccine-injured children in establishing the NVIC in 1982.

“The 1986 Act was driven by parents of DPT vaccine injured children asking the government to pass legislation to secure vaccine safety informing, recording, reporting, and research provisions in the vaccination system to make it safer, and to create a federal compensation system alternative to a lawsuit against manufacturers of vaccines that injure or kill children,” Fisher told The Epoch Times.

In addition to NVIC arguing that physicians and vaccine manufacturers should be giving informed consent and report injuries, the organization maintained they should also continue to be held accountable in a civil court to serve as an incentive for physicians to administer vaccines responsibly, for manufacturers to produce safer vaccines, and for adequate federal compensation to vaccine-injured children.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/20/2023 - 19:00

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Air pollution can increase the risk of COVID infection and severe disease – a roundup of what we know

Air pollution can increase COVID risk by weakening our immune defences and exacerbating underlying health conditions.




Tatiana Grozetskaya/Shutterstock

The early part of the COVID pandemic led to a significant reduction in air pollution in many parts of the world. With lockdowns, travel restrictions and decreased economic activity, there was a noticeable drop in the emission of air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and particulate matter (PM) that is fine enough to be inhaled.

Changes in air pollution varied depending on the location and the type of pollutant, but reductions were particularly noticeable in cities and industrial areas, where emissions from transport and industrial activities are typically high. In many areas though, air pollution levels quickly increased again as restrictions eased and activity resumed.

Along with having harmful effects on the environment, it’s well established that air pollution can have negative effects on human health, including increasing the risk of respiratory and heart problems and cancers. Emerging research suggests air pollution may also affect the brain and be linked to certain developmental issues in babies. The severity of these health effects can depend on the type and concentration of pollutants, as well as individual factors that affect a person’s susceptibility.

While there has been much focus on the way the pandemic affected air quality, it has also become apparent that air quality affects COVID risk – both in terms of the likelihood of contracting COVID and how sick people get with the infection.

How does air quality increase COVID risk?

Research has shown that long-term exposure to air pollution, particularly fine particulate matter under 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) and NO₂, may increase the risk of COVID infection, hospitalisation, and death.

A study in England, for example, showed long-term exposure to PM2.5 and NO₂ is associated with 12% and 5% increases in COVID cases, respectively, for every additional microgram of PM2.5 or NO₂ per cubic metre of air.

One of the primary ways that air pollution may increase the risk of COVID is by weakening the respiratory system’s defences against viral infections. We know long-term exposure to fine particulate matter that is inhaled can reduce the lungs’ immune responses and cause damage to them, which can make people more vulnerable to respiratory infections like COVID.

Read more: Long COVID linked to air pollution exposure in young adults – new study

Air pollution can also impact the immune system’s ability to fight off viral infections. Exposure to particulate matter, such as PM2.5, has been linked to increased levels of cytokines and inflammation in the body.

Cytokines are signalling molecules that help the immune system fight infections. But high levels can cause a “cytokine storm”, where the immune system overreacts and attacks healthy cells in addition to the virus. Cytokine storms have been associated with severe COVID and a higher likelihood of dying from the disease.

And notably, COVID binds to ACE2 receptors to enter a cell. In studies of animals, PM2.5 exposure has been linked to a significant increase in ACE2 receptors. PM2.5 may therefore increase the probability of COVID entering cells in humans.

A crowd of people walking a New York street wearing masks.
There are a variety of factors which could explain why air pollution increases COVID risk. blvdone/Shutterstock

Further, air pollution may increase the severity of COVID symptoms by exacerbating underlying health conditions. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to increased rates of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which have been identified as risk factors for severe COVID.

Air pollution may also increase COVID transmission rates by acting as a carrier for the virus. Researchers continue to debate the potential of respiratory droplets from infected people attaching to particulate matter in the air and travelling long distances, potentially increasing the virus’s spread.

How can I reduce exposure to air pollutants?

With all this in mind, reducing air pollution levels may be an important strategy for mitigating the impact of COVID and protecting public health.

This requires a combination of individual actions and collective efforts to address the sources of pollution. There are several ways you can decrease your and others’ exposure to air pollution, including:

Limit outdoor activity during high-pollution days. Check air quality forecasts and limit outdoor activities on “high” days. Try to go outside at times of the day when pollution levels are lower, such as early morning or late evening.

Think about your mode of transport. Using public transport, walking or riding a bike instead of driving can help to reduce pollution levels. If you do drive, try to carpool or use an electric or hybrid vehicle.

Read more: Wuhan's lockdown cut air pollution by up to 63% – new research

Use indoor air filters. Having air filters in your home can help reduce indoor pollution levels. Hepa filters can remove many pollutants, including fine particulate matter. Further, the use of Hepa air systems can successfully filter COVID virus particles from the air.

Samuel J. White advises on air quality and receives funding from Fédération Equestre Internationale.

Philippe B. Wilson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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