Texas Police Officer Arrested in Fatal Shooting of Black Man; COVID-19 Slamming Diversity Advancements in the Travel Industry; and More

Texas police officer charged in fatal shooting of a Black man.

Jonathan Price was a “pillar of the community” in Wolfe City, Texas the Washington Post reports. The popular city employee, personal trainer and former college football player was attempting to help break up a fight outside a gas station on the night of Oct. 3, 2020 when police arrived at the scene. Officer Shaun Lucas, who is white, misinterpreted Price’s actions and first tasered Price and then escalated the situation, pulling a gun and fatally shooting the civilian. Lucas was quickly fired from the Wolfe City Police Department, arrested by the Texas Rangers on Oct. 5 and held on $1 million bond (he has since bonded out). The gas station where the murder occurred has provided surveillance video of the shooting to investigators but the footage has yet to be released to the public.


COVID-19 slowing diversity hiring efforts in the travel industry, a new report warns.

The pandemic has obviously taken a major hit to the profits of the hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector, but the new Women in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure report cautions that COVID-19 is also impacting diversity and inclusion efforts within these businesses. Researchers interviewed leaders from 60 of the top HTL businesses and combined that data with results from a PwC survey of 1,500 HTL employees. They found that only 15% of travel and hospitality companies are still discussing diversity and inclusion regularly, and that most budgets and resources for diversity and inclusion within these businesses have also been slashed significantly. The report adds that women and minorities within these industries also continue to be furloughed at rates around 10% than that of the white, male counterparts which means that diversity programs within these organizations are often also suffering loss of team leaders or overall leadership.


Examining the case for court packing.

As the fate of our potential ninth Supreme Court justice looms (who knows just what will happen with D.C. fully wrapped in the twin chaos of a White House coronavirus outbreak plus an upcoming election), The Atlantic has laid out their case for “court packing” and a Democratic effort to expand the number of Supreme Court justices to 11 under a Biden administration. Among the many benefits it might help to bring about: restored court legitimacy; a renewed ability for Democrats to play hardball and bring about true structural change in other areas of government outside the judicial branch; added protection for Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act which might otherwise be doomed; and potentially even a return to better functioning government overall. And who doesn’t want that?


Supreme Court denies appeal of Kim Davis, Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In related Supreme Court news, in a unanimous ruling the Court has refused to take up the appeal of Kim Davis, who came to national attention in 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the grounds of her religious beliefs, NBC News reports. Several of the couples sued Davis for her actions and she was at one point jailed for contempt for continuing to defy a subsequent court order that told her the licenses must be issued. “When you do a job on behalf of the government — as an employee or a contractor — there is no license to discriminate or turn people away because they do not meet religious criteria,” James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and HIV Project told NBC, defending the court’s decision. Next month, a similar case will be going before the court, this time looking at the rights of a publicly funded Catholic charity that refuses to place foster children with same-sex couples based solely on its disapproval of their sexual orientation.


Turning to your phone, tablet or TV to reduce anxiety over COVID-19 may actually be increasing your stress level.

A new study conducted at Concordia University and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research examined the ways different populations are dealing with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers at the school surveyed 685 people during the first months of the outbreak and found that more than 90% of people of all age and gender groups were turning to screens of some type in an effort to reduce anxiety over the pandemic. Women opted for social media, the report found, while men preferred streaming services. Those under 35 increased video game play on both consoles and apps on their phone while individuals over 55 spent more time watching TV. The one overwhelming connection between all this increased screen time? The more time you logged in front of a screen, the greater your overall stress and anxiety level continued to be; screens aren’t helping you feel more at ease and are potentially exacerbating your anxiety. “This is the first time in our history that we are forced to be on screens as long as we are these days,” says the study’s author, Najmeh Khalili-Mahani. “Who knows what the health ramifications of our constant screen usage might ultimately be?” she adds with concern.


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