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In June, I read a fascinating obituary in the Telegraph about an American, Ann Russell Miller, whose life journey took her from being a socialite to a Carmelite.

This lady lacked nothing in her life and gave it all up for the Lord.

The article has photographs of her throughout her life, which are equally fascinating. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Early life

Ann Russell was born in San Francisco on October 20, 1928 and was an only child. Her father was the chairman of Southern Pacific, the railway line that served much of the western United States.

The Telegraph describes her as being ‘petite and vivacious’. Her parents sent her to the Spence School in New York. She returned to the Bay Area for higher education at Mills College in Oakland.

In 1948, she married Richard Miller when she was 20 years old. Miller’s family had founded Pacific Gas & Electric.

On her wedding day, a young man told her he would wait for her, which he did (see below):

In the reception line at her wedding, a rival admirer, George “Corky” Bowles, kissed Ann on the cheek and told her: “I will wait for you.”

Married life

Ann bore Richard ten children: five daughters and five sons. She had the first five by the age of 27.

She was splendidly Catholic: a woman who partied but also prayed.

(As a side note, people express empathy for me when I tell them I was raised a Catholic: ‘Oh, that must have been terrible’. I say that it was great fun. Today, I cannot be anything other than Anglican, which is even better because one can go straight to the Source, as it were.)

The Telegraph tells us:

She smoked, drank, played cards and spent five hours a day on the telephone, though she did once give up the instrument for Lent.

She devoted her life to charity but not without personal extravagance:

she was friends with Nancy Reagan and Loretta Young, the film star [also a devout Catholic], and sat on the board of 22 charitable organisations. She had her hair done four times a week by Elizabeth Arden, covered her parasols with Hermès scarves and had her spectacles coordinated with her outfits.

She and her husband also hosted frequent dinner parties:

Forty guests regularly sat down to dinner at the nine-bedroom house overlooking San Francisco Bay where she and her husband Richard made their lives.

Deciding on the convent

In 1984, Ann Russell Miller became a widow. Richard Miller died of cancer that year.

She knew her plans for the next phase of her life included entering the convent, so she told her children of her decision:

At two separate lunches at Trader Vic’s, for her five sons and her five daughters, Ann Russell Miller – a devout, not to say dogmatic Roman Catholic – told her children of her decision to take the veil. She had decided, she said, to devote the rest of her life to taking care of her soul.

She spent the next few years divesting herself of her material possessions:

She spent the next years doing all she wanted to do and in giving away all her wealth (the house was bought by one of the members of the rock group Metallica).

In 1988, George ‘Corky’ Bowles, the man who told her he would wait for her, took her on a cruise in the Mediterranean, even though he knew she wanted to enter the convent:

One evening under the stars, he slowly knelt on the deck of the yacht and asked Ann Russell Miller to marry him.

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” she said.

In 1989, on her 61st birthday, she threw a lavish farewell party:

at the Hilton for her 800 closest friends. Guests listened to music by two orchestras and nibbled at a coquille of seafood as Ann Russell Miller moved through the crowd, trailing a helium balloon bearing the words “Here I am.”

Convent life

The day after her farewell party, Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and headed for the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

This cloistered order is also known as the Discalced Carmelites. ‘Discalced’ means ‘shoeless’. The nuns wear sandals.

(Another side note: I know a Discalced Carmelite, a woman I met at university.)

News of the socialite’s arrival at the Chicago convent travelled quickly. Reporters contacted the Mother Superior who gave a wise reply to their enquiries:

the Mother Superior replied shortly that there was no story in a nun entering a convent, but there might be in someone remaining there.

Indeed.

Ann Russell Miller never went beyond the convent walls and assumed the most basic life buoyed by prayer. Upon taking her vows, she became Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity:

after five years as a postulant she was allowed to take her final vows and join the other 17 resident sisters.

Sister Mary Joseph now slept on a thin mattress and a bed made of planks. She wore a brown habit, black veil and sandals, and spent 23½ hours of the day in silence. The order is a secluded one, so she never again went out into the world.

That said, she still kept in touch with her friends by fax.

In keeping with convent rules, she was allowed only one visitor per month:

even then meetings were conducted with her sat behind two sets of bars.

Her son Mark tweeted that she never met many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He also revealed that his mother retained her spark:

Sister Mary Joseph, said Mark Miller, often had to ask forgiveness for being late for her duties and for breaking the rules by throwing sticks for the nuns’ German Shepherd.

She still had one property, which she her daughters administered for her:

Through some of her daughters, she also retained control of a rural family property from which she banned those of her children who divorced and remarried.

What an unusual story for:

one of the “Rockefellers of the West Coast”, as a friend put it, a hard-partying, high-diving, fast-driving socialite with a shoe collection that made Imelda Marcos’s seem “pitiful in comparison”.

May Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity rest in peace with the Lord.

On Friday, I wrote about Sheffield’s Nine O’Clock Service, a cause célèbre in 1995, adherents of which are now seeking financial compensation for the psychological abuse they endured.

I cited two articles from The Times as sources.

However, I have older Nine O’Clock Service (NOS) sources which present more nuanced information about the group which had between 300 and 500 members.

The first is an article in The Independent. It is dated 2011, however, the wording in it — e.g. ‘last year’ — indicates that it is from 1996.

The article contradicts some of what The Times alleged last week.

Brain’s resignation

For a start, The Independent reported that the then-Bishop of Sheffield, the Right Revd David Lunn, wanted Chris Brain to stand down as vicar immediately when the scandal broke in August 1995 and that the Archbishop of York had already banned him from carrying out priestly duties (emphases mine):

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev David Lunn, demanded Mr Brain resign after he confessed to having sexual relationships with young women in the congregation.

He quit last November after initially refusing to bow to the criticism heaped on him when the scandal broke.

The Archbishop of York had already banned Mr Brain from acting as an ordained priest.

Brain was quite fragile at the time and sought treatment:

Within days of the revelations Mr Brain checked himself into a psychiatric ward of Cheadle Royal Psychiatric Hospital, Cheshire.

Meanwhile, the women who were his victims could ring a telephone hotline:

Women who were manipulated by him and called a telephone hotline were told the matter would almost certainly be dealt with within the church and only be passed on to the police if there was an allegation of rape.

The Wikipedia entry for the NOS says that the Diocese of Sheffield tried to help the members — and Brain — to recover:

The Diocese of Sheffield, through a seconded pastoral team led by Rachel Ross, the Reverend Andrew Teal and the Reverend Peter Craig-Wild, attempted to manage the pastoral care both of Brain and members of the community wounded by the scandal.

Brain was originally a musician who played in night clubs. He then got involved with St Thomas’s Church in Sheffield and was ordained for his success in leading NOS.

By early 1996, he was ready to re-establish his previous career:

In February, Mr Brain’s solicitor announced the disgraced clergyman had left Britain for America, where he was hoping to make a comeback in music and the media.

NOS resurrected on Easter Day 1996

The Independent‘s article reported that the NOS held a service on Easter in 1996.

Members of the NOS were still getting together, even after the scandal broke.

The service was held in a chapel in Sheffield:

The Easter service was moved from the city’s Ponds Forge complex, where priest Chris Brain once orchestrated rock concert-style gatherings in a basement room.

It was staged instead in a simple chapel in the city, without the lasers and rave music popularised by Mr Brain. The Archdeacon of Sheffield, the Ven Stephen Lowe, conducted a “meditative service”.

There were doubts about restarting the group eight months after the Church of England was rocked by scandal when Mr Brain was accused of sexually abusing more than 20 women members.

Yesterday’s congregation was drawn from remnants of the Nine O’Clock Service which broke up after women complained about being assaulted by Brain.

Diocesan communications officer Canon Roy Arnold said: “I can confirm that former members of the Nine O’Clock Service met together in a Sheffield church for a celebration of the Holy Communion. It was a quiet, meditative service.

Since the activities of the Nine O’Clock Service came to an end last August following the disclosures about their leader Chris Brain, a number of members have continued to meet together for worship and other matters.

They now have an elected church council and the Diocese of Sheffield is at present in the process of appointing a chaplain for the group,” he said.

There were hopes at the time that the NOS could return to its original style of service without the psychological trauma:

Mr Arnold did not rule out the possibility that the rock-style services could be re-introduced. “The scandal was about Chris Brain and not about reaching out in a new and exciting way to a generation lost to the church,” he said. Members of the Nine O’Clock Service have vowed to distance themselves from the controversy last year and have devised a new service.

Last month, alleged victims of Mr Brain held a bonfire ritual to help them overcome the trauma. They lit a fire in the middle of a church hall and set off fireworks in a “releasing ritual”.

An advert in the Church Times for a chaplain for the group has drawn applications from all over the country. But according to churchwarden Alan Gibson, Mr Brain’s successor would not be allowed the same powers he had enjoyed.

“We are not looking for a leader, we are not looking for a guru. We are looking for a facilitator who will tie us more closely with the Church of England,” Mr Gibson said.

Wikipedia says:

A remnant of the community continued to meet, under different leadership, for some years afterwards in Sheffield.

The evolution of the NOS

Sometime in the 1980s, a group of 10 people from St Thomas’s Church began organising NOS services. From there, it grew enormously.

Young, unchurched origins

Wikipedia states:

Beginning as a simple alternative format service under the leadership of Chris Brain, the group responsible for it developed a leadership structure that was endorsed by the leadership of St Thomas’ Church. The average age of the members was 24 for much of NOS’s life. The membership was significantly from non-church backgrounds.

Starting with about 10 people who worked on designing and creating the services, the congregation grew to almost 600 members while resident at St Thomas’ Church. Main themes included care for the planet and concern about its abuse, simple lifestyle and development of relationships with non-churched people.

By 1988, Bishop Lunn authorised the group’s move to Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Rotunda, a sports complex that can accommodate 2,600 people.

The Planetary Mass

One of their big services at Ponds Forge was The Planetary Mass, also known as the Rave Mass:

The Planetary Mass at Pond’s Forge was marked by both bold liturgical experimentation and naive hopefulness.

An unorthodox Dominican-turned-Episcopal priest, Matthew Fox, found out about the service and was eager to bring a form of it to San Francisco.

Matthew Fox also had his problems with the Church. He had been a professor at several Catholic colleges in the United States. When Pope Benedict was still Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he began delving into Fox’s writings and asked the Dominicans to investigate. The Dominicans found nothing objectionable, even though Fox was not propagating Catholic teaching. However, because Fox did not believe in Original Sin, Ratzinger forbade him from teaching for a year. By 1993, the Dominicans changed their minds about Fox and dismissed him from the order for ‘disobedience’. He became an Episcopal priest in 1994 and still practises in the Episcopal Diocese of California. He developed the Techno Cosmic Mass — now the Cosmic Mass — which made its debut in San Francisco and has since been performed 100 times since.

Before creating the Techno Cosmic Mass, Fox scheduled a performance of The Planetary Mass in 1994 in San Francisco.

The Christian Research Institute has an article about it. Fox invited 35 members of the NOS to fly in and participate.

The format is environmentalist and pagan:

Inside, at the center of the room was placed an oversized circular altar and a smaller crescent table. Surrounding the tables were a series of concentric circles, tracks marked off in tape, around which the Rave Mass team would walk and dance. Atop the eclipse altar sat a chalice, protected by a clear Plexiglas pyramid.

Above the eclipse altar was an impressive screen — a large sphere of white cloth onto which the organizers projected images of revolving planets, decaying forests, human pulses, and faces.

Several young people emerged from the shadows carrying small flames.

“These people are not pyromaniacs,” said Matthew Wright, 31, who served as a liturgical emcee. “As you can see, they’re using the flames to pray and invite the Spirit into this place.”

Wright encouraged people to approach the flamebearers and use the flames to pray. The flamebearers held the flames inches from people’s faces, slowly lowered the flames to foot level, then slowly raised the flames back to eye level. Some people gently waved their arms at waist level, almost like charismatic Christians. Others stretched their arms high above their heads, then bowed fully before the small flames.

A scantily-clad Briton led a dance piece:

The music cranked up to a pulsating dance beat. The 35 young Brits — including one young woman in a short skirt and a negligee top — led the room in energetic dancing to this bouncy anthem:

Now we feel your lifeforce rising

Raise the passion 10 by 10

Now we breathe you, Christ, inside us

Feel the freedom pushing on!

Chris Brain was also in attendance to celebrate the service. This would have been before the scandal broke in Sheffield:

A young woman read an unspecified passage of Scripture, listing some of the evils that will exclude people from the kingdom of God, including adultery, uncleanness, lust, and sorcery.

Then a video set the Scripture reading in a corporate context. For adultery, the video portrayed the contrast between Third World debt and Third World aid. For lust, it showed images of pollution. For sorcery, it showed the creature almost everybody loves to hate: a TV preacher begging for donations.

The organizers also adapted a reading from chapter 1 of the Gospel of John through the Cosmic Christ filter. The reading repeatedly referred to “the Word” as “it” rather than “he.”

“This is the Word of Christ,” Rev. Brain said.

“Thank you, Eternal Voice,” the congregation responded.

This was how the Communion part of the service went:

After Fox’s homily, Brain celebrated communion — of a sort. Women dancers in four corners of the room turned in circles repeatedly throughout the prayers and communion. Assistants presented fire, water, and soil. Brain immersed his hands in the soil, saying he was washing them. He thanked Mother God for the gift of air.

Brain repeated Jesus’ words about partaking of communion in his memory. Otherwise, Brain spoke no words of consecration, which may not matter to those Protestants who believe the Lord’s Supper is a memorial service, but matters immensely to Anglicans, who affirm what is called consubstantiation. Most Anglicans do not believe the bread and wine literally become the flesh and blood of Christ, but they do believe in a “real presence” of Christ in the elements of the sacrament.

There’s supposed to be a “real presence” in the Rave Mass, too, but it’s the presence of the Cosmic Christ as lifeforce, not the personal historical figure who died on a cross and rose again.

Bishop Swing from San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral attended. By then, one Planetary Mass had already been performed inside the cathedral:

At a news conference, Swing described the service as “the church singing a new song.”

Enough said. How I wish we had St Paul with us today. He would have read them the riot act, straight out of 1 Corinthians.

How the NOS was organised weekly

In Sheffield, organising the weekly NOS began early in the morning and ended late at night.

The University of Huddersfield Repository has a link to an abstract called ‘The Nine O’Clock Service: Mixing Club Culture And Postmodern Christianity’.

Rupert Till’s abstract presents the difficulty in using St Thomas’s Church and explains how the group had to use Ponds Forge:

8. The church service before NOS would end at about 8.15pm, giving NOS about half an hour to clear the church, remove seats, set up equipment, and prepare. They would rehearse services in the afternoon, take everything down and then set it up in the gap between services. Although St Thomas church were regarded as generous in giving NOS time on a Sunday, NOS had to work within heavy constraints, and eventually moved to their own building where they would meet at 8:00 p.m.

 9. As were all of the band for most of the time, carefully situated as they were in dark lighting in the right-hand corner of the church.

11. Members of NOS would record television shows that might have interesting video images. Useful clips would be transferred to new tapes and looped so that a short clip of clouds passing would become a five-minute tape of clouds passing. NOS had a large room with walls covered in shelves full of these tapes of deconstructed decontextualised video images with loop tapes, source tapes, documentaries, and recordings of services. The sampling of secular music and images was a key feature of NOS arts, a deliberate process of reclaiming secular developments in the arts for sacred purposes.

12. A typical NOS Sunday began at five in the morning. A trucking team moved 10 tons of equipment to the church from storage to the empty sports hall. A crew of about 30 would appear by seven to set up the equipment. Late in the morning, some of the artistic team would appear to begin preparing for rehearsals. The ‘performers’ would arrive later to rehearse. After the service, perhaps 10.30 p.m., a team would begin to take down equipment, which would be returned to storage by 3:00 a.m. Unseen would be the hours of rehearsal and preparation midweek, with the highest of standards maintained.

Rupert Till says that the congregation varied in age but were solidly middle class:

17. Despite trying to project an image of authentic, underground, club culture-influenced young people, NOS members were largely aged 18–40, white, middle-class and well educated, and many were generation X Christians dissatisfied with conventional church. DJs and club kids were supported by barristers, theologians, teachers, doctors, and social workers.

The 1995 scandal, he says, involved a subgroup of the NOS:

16. It is perhaps no accident that sex was the organisation’s downfall, choosing as they did to investigate postmodern sexuality in a secretive subgroup, knowing that this was one area that the Christian church would not allow them to explore openly.

I hope this type of church service is dead and buried in the Church of England.

However, I fear it will make a comeback, especially as senior Anglican clergy seek to revamp their denomination post-pandemic. That’s a whole other topic for another time.

Reason had two stories on September 1 about Democrats flouting coronavirus laws.

Philadelphia’s mayor

Philadelphia’s mayor Jim Kenney has banned indoor dining in the City of Brotherly Love. So what did he do when he wanted to go out to eat?

Jim Kenney travelled out of state to dine indoors in comfort.

Reason‘s article, ‘Philadelphia Ordered Restaurants Closed. Then the City’s Mayor Went Out To Eat in Maryland’, has a photo of Kenney sitting at a table. There was no social distancing. There were no masks.

Reason reported:

Restaurants and bars in Maryland are allowed to offer limited indoor dining—capacity is capped at 25 percent of what would normally be allowed in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Establishments elsewhere in Pennsylvania are operating under similar restrictions as well. But in Philadelphia, indoor dining is still fully forbidden under restrictions imposed by the city government—the one that Kenney runs. The city’s ban on indoor dining, which was extended in late July amid fears of a “second wave” of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia, is scheduled to be lifted on September 8.

But Kenney apparently couldn’t wait that long. A sharp-eyed restaurant-goer caught Kenney dining indoors in Maryland on Sunday. The photo quickly went viral, and Kenney’s office confirmed to a local TV station that the mayor had gone south of the border to visit “a restaurant owned by a friend.”

Kenney said that he went to Maryland on Sunday, August 30, because their COVID-19 rate is so low.

By way of apology, he tweeted a photo of a Philadelphia restaurant and said:

The reopening this late in the year will be a long slog for Philadelphia’s restaurant owners. This is true in other cities, too, where dining establishments are allowed to accommodate only 25% of their usual capacity indoors.

On June 19, Reason interviewed restaurateurs as lockdown was being lifted and replaced with reopening restrictions which are insufficient to retain a thriving business (emphases mine):

Restaurants that have had to subsist on takeout and delivery are like “a person being on 25 percent lung capacity,” says industry analyst Aaron Allen. “You can sustain that for a period of time but it’s not healthy to do it over an extended period. With a few more chairs on the patio, you just went from 25 percent capacity to 28 percent. You need to be at a minimum of 90 percent lung capacity.”

A May survey of restaurant owners conducted by the New York City Hospitality Alliance found that two-thirds of them said they would need to reach 70 percent occupancy in order to survive.

The Open Restaurant guidelines released today specify that business can place tables on the sidewalk only directly in front of their storefront, and that they must maintain eight feet of distance between their seating and the curb.

“I’m only excited for Phase Two because it gets us closer to Phase Three when we can have a 50 percent capacity indoor crowd,” one restaurant owner told the Post.

Talk about crumbs from the table.

San Francisco

On Monday, August 31, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had her hair done indoors at a San Francisco salon.

Coronavirus rules for the city prohibit hairdressing indoors.

However, Pelosi can flout the rules.

Fox News reported on the story: ‘Pelosi used shuttered San Francisco hair salon for blow-out, owner calls it “slap in the face”‘. Included is a photo of a be-gowned Pelosi with wet hair.

The salon’s owner allows independent hairdressers to rent her unused chairs.

She explained how the situation unfolded:

Salon owner Erica Kious, in a phone interview with Fox News on Tuesday, shared details of Pelosi’s visit. Kious explained she has independent stylists working for her who rent chairs in her salon.

“One of the stylists who rents a chair from me contacted me Sunday night,” Kious said.

A screengrab of the text message she received from one of her stylists, and obtained by Fox News, said: “I’ll be there at 2:45 tomorrow. Pelosi assistant just messaged me to do her hair.”

Kious replied: “Pelosi?”

“I was like, are you kidding me right now? Do I let this happen? What do I do?” Kious told Fox News, while noting that she “can’t control” what her stylists do if they rent chairs from her, as “they’re not paying” at this time.

Kious was disgusted at the double standard:

It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work,” Kious told Fox News, adding that she “can’t believe” the speaker didn’t have a mask on. (From the footage, it appears Pelosi had some kind of covering around her neck.)

“We’re supposed to look up to this woman, right?” Kious said. “It is just disturbing.”

Pelosi’s spokesperson defended Madam Speaker’s hair appointment:

Asked for comment, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill maintained that the speaker was following the rules as presented to her.

“The Speaker always wears a mask and complies with local COVID requirements. This business offered for the Speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business. The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment,” he said.

Kious objected to the statement from Pelosi’s office. Whilst a wash is fine under the city’s coronavirus restrictions, a blow-dry — for whatever reason — is not:

Kious said Pelosi received a wash and a blow-dry, but told Fox News that “you’re not supposed to blow dry hair” according to coronavirus safety precautions for hair salons.

“We have been shut down for so long, not just me, but most of the small businesses and I just can’t – it’s a feeling – a feeling of being deflated, helpless and honestly beaten down,” Kious said.

Later, Pelosi hit back.

On Wednesday, September 2, the San Francisco Chronicle reported:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to apologize Wednesday for her controversial visit to a San Francisco hair salon, calling it “a setup” and suggesting that she had been tricked by the business owner.

Pelosi said she took responsibility for falling for the “setup” to have her hair done inside at a San Francisco salon on Monday, which is prohibited by the city’s regulations.

That said:

The San Francisco Democrat said if anyone was owed an apology, it was her by the salon.

“I think that this salon owes me an apology, for setting me up,” she said at an event about school reopenings in San Francisco’s Noe Valley.

Also:

“I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times and when they said, ‘We’re able to accommodate people one person at a time,’ I trusted that,” the speaker said during a combative exchange with reporters in the empty school yard of Mission Education Center Elementary School.

Pelosi’s response acknowledged she was not aware of local rules prohibiting such indoor treatments. She wasn’t asked why she didn’t know the city’s rules. Pelosi splits her time between her home in San Francisco and her work in Washington, D.C.

Her response seemed to add fuel to the firestorm over her actions, rather than quell it, as conservative critiques jumped on the cleanup effort as hypocritical.

As to why she did not have a hairdresser pay her a home visit:

The speaker had been having her regular stylist do her hair at her home, but that person wasn’t available, her spokesman said. Instead, she arranged to have her hair styled at eSalon after being told it was OK.

Her not wearing a mask after having her hair washed would not have been such a big deal if she were not making such a big deal about Republicans’ notionally lax (in her estimation) attitude towards masks.

Pelosi answered her critics:

“I don’t wear a mask when I’m washing my hair. Do you wear a mask when you’re washing your hair? I always wear a mask,” she said, adding the short clip that was released was when she had just left the shampoo chair.

Pelosi’s critics seized on the visit as hypocritical, saying she was breaking the very rules she was scolding others for not following.

President Trump chimed in:

The Republican National Committee seized on the controversy:

In an email blast to reporters, Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington noted that salon owners who have opened their business against local laws have been jailed. “You can’t get your hair done, eat inside at a restaurant, travel, attend a funeral, or protest without mandatory quarantining. But Democrats can,” she wrote. “This isn’t about health or science. It’s about power. Democrats want to rule your life. But don’t expect their rules to apply to them.”

Masks and business closures have been at the center of political and culture wars amid the pandemic.

Back to the Fox News article. Salon owner Kious envisages a dark future post-coronavirus, not only for herself but also for similar salons:

Kious told Fox News that she had expected to be able to reopen her salon in July, and prepared her space in accordance with local guidelines.

“There were rules and regulations to go by to safely reopen, which I did, but I was still not allowed to open my business,” she said, noting that she installed plexiglass partitions between sinks and seating areas, and ensured that all salon chairs were six feet apart, along with proper air circulation from open windows.

“They never let us open,” she said, while adding that she is unable to reopen outside because her salon specializes in hair color, and using chemicals outside is prohibited.

But Kious said she is not alone in the hardships she has faced amid closures during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is for everybody,” she said. “I am sharing this because of what everyone in my industry, and my city, what every small business is going through right now.”

Even though Kious has received help from the CARES Act, she believes that she will be:

forced to shut down her salon for good within the next 30 to 60 days.

“No one can last anymore,” she said. “I have also lost 60 percent of my clientele because everyone is fleeing the city.”

Kious said that the area where her salon is located has turned into “a third world country,” saying that “every other storefront is completely vacant and shut down and boarded up.”

“And because of the shutdown, and the store closures, we’ve lost people, my clients, and my employees, and that is due to the politics in San Francisco,” she said, adding that the homeless population is “everywhere” and “defecating” all over the city.

“It has gotten so extreme,” she said. “It is so night and day from what it was a year ago, that everyone is fleeing.”

I couldn’t help but think of San Fran Nan and her freezer filled with designer ice creams, a treat that Kious and her children can probably only dream of at the present time:

Something must be done, specifically, lifting the remaining coronavirus restrictions with common sense. That includes the UK. Yet, more and more entrepreneurs are being driven out of business by politicians’ embrace of ‘science’ rather than pragmatism.

My heart goes out to the countless business owners affected by these destructive policies, putting our countries on the road to Venezuela.

I pray that our political leaders see sense, especially the Democrats.

Until then, it’s a case of ‘for thee, but not for me’.

David A Clarke, Jr, the most famous retired sheriff of Milwaukee, has an outstanding Twitter feed.

He tells it like it is.

A selection of his recent tweets follows.

On the December 26 murder of the on-duty police officer, Corporal Ronil Singh, in California:

On the Wall:

On Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), who spent her Christmas holiday in Hawaii (while President Trump worked in the Oval Office):

On feminism:

On self-defence:

On voter fraud:

On police killed in the line of duty and policing policy:

On Obama:

On the media:

On Mitt Romney:

On the Democrats’ hypocrisy:

If you enjoyed those, there is more at his website:

Sheriff Clarke has views on a wide range of topics. His site is definitely worth visiting.

For those who are new to the inside track of Tobacco Control, Dr Stanton Glantz has been an important figure in the fight against smoking.

A Democrat from San Francisco, Glantz is on the Faculty of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) where he is the American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control. A nice title if you can get it! (I have deliberately highlighted a word at the beginning of this paragraph.)

Great titles aside, this is a summary of his CV from the same page:

University of Cincinnati, OH, BS, 1969, Aerospace Engineering
Stanford University, CA, MS, 1970, Applied Mechanics
Stanford University, CA, PhD, 1973, Applied Mechanics and Engineering Economic Systems
Stanford University, CA, Postdoc, 1975, Cardiology
University of California San Francisco, CA, Postdoc, 1977, Cardiovascular Research

It is unclear what Engineering Economic Systems refers to. Is it that he has the competence to design — engineer — economic systems or is it a recognition that he understands economic systems within the field of engineering?

However, there is a larger question here: did you see anything unusual about Glantz’s degrees?

In an objection to an Ottawa regional smoking by-law, the smoking liberties group Forces Canada observed (emphases mine):

In investigating this man, we obtained his Curriculum Vitae and were astounded to learn that Dr. Stanton Glantz is not a medical doctor, but has his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Dr. Glantz was also one of the authors of the EPA Report, as well as authoring a paper entitled, “Tourism and Hotel Revenues Before and After Passage of Smoke Free Restaurant Ordinances, 1999”, as well as numerous other papers on economic issues relating to no-smoking by-laws about which he can make no claim to professional competence – he does not have an economic[s] degree. However, Dr. Glantz has been an anti-smoking advocate since the 1960’s and clearly is NOT a medical doctor.

Glantz engineered the now-infamous Helena (Montana) ‘Miracle’ study which purported that cardiovascular arrest rates dropped significantly within a short time of a smoking ban having been implemented. These results have been extrapolated onto several other countries’ ‘successful’ results post-ban.

His UCSF bio states:

He has written several books, including the widely used Primer of Biostatistics (which has been translated into Japanese, French, Russian, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, and Primer of Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance).

Did he write that book before or after the Helena report?  There was a time when Glantz was scrupulous about conducting studies and obtaining objective results.

This is what Glantz works on:

Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke:

… This project focuses on the short-term effects on the heart, blood and blood vessels. Even a few minutes’ worth of exposure is dangerous …

Smoking in the Movies:

Exposure to onscreen smoking in movies is the largest single factor promoting youth smoking in the United States, accounting for about 44% of all new smokers. 

Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents:

To understand the tobacco industry, we have a written record of its research and decision making process in the form of over 62 million pages of previously secret tobacco industry documents now available at the UCSF Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. This research uses this unique resource to understand how the tobacco industry works to shape the environment, and what public health authorities and advocates can do to anticipate and counter the tobacco industry’s adaptive strategies (legal, political, scientific, propagandistic) to frustrate and subvert smoking prevention and cessation programs.

How does he arrive at 44% of new smokers starting once they see cigarettes in films?

How much in taxpayers’ money — and again in tobacco tax — has this man and his team siphoned from the State of California?

There was a time — back in 1994 — when Glantz felt a frisson as he feared for his funding.  What follows is part of his acceptance speech upon winning the American Cancer Society’s 2009 Luther Terry Distinguished Career Award in Mumbai:

First, and most importantly, I want to thank the American Cancer Society for the great honor or receiving the Luther Terry Distinguished Career Award. Most would say this is the highest honor that one can receive in the field of tobacco control. But, for me, this is actually the second highest honor I have received from the American Cancer Society. The greatest honor was 15 years ago, in 1994, and I have never had the opportunity to publicly thank the American Cancer Society and John Seffrin in particular. In 1994, shortly after the Republicans took control of the US Congress, Congressman John Porter, the chair of the budget subcommittee that controlled the National Cancer Institute, quietly added language to the bill directing NCI the terminate my research funding. Of course, they did not mention me by name and we only found out about this language by dumb luck: One of my students’ sister [sic] was interning with another member of the committee and found language in the bill saying something like, “no funds appropriated under this bill shall be used to fund dumpy professors in San Francisco working on tobacco.” This was very scary. Despite this threat to the grant, I was a tenured professor at the University of California and I was personally safe. The same was not true, however, for my fellows and researchers – some of whom are here – who were paid by the grant. They were very concerned about losing their jobs and asked me if they should be looking elsewhere. Loosing [sic] this talented team would have been a disaster, even if the grant was eventually saved, so I went to several agencies and asked for a quiet “insurance policy” in the form of a commitment for one year of funding if we lost the battle in Congress so that I could tell my staff to just keep working

And I have to say that some people declined help. I was too controversial. The Republicans had just taken control of Congress and no one knew what to expect. Tobacco was not the only issue they were working on and did not want to jeapordize important relationships. The American Cancer Society was different. They gave me that insurance policy so that I could tell my staff to just keep working. But, the ACS, led by John Seffrin did much more than that. John and ACS joined the effort to pressure Congressman Porter to remove the language from the bill. This was a controversial position inside ACS. Porter was a strong supporter of cancer research and there were those who did not want to risk funding for molecular biology and clinical trials to support some crazy tobacco researcher. And worst of all, I had from time to time actually criticized and challenged the ACS … we succeeded – and there is no question that saving that grant is what allowed me to do much of the work that led to this award today. Second, I have been struck by the number of people who have expressed surprise that ACS gave me this award. As just noted, I have, on occasion, challenged the American Cancer Society in ways that could not? have been comfortable for them.  At the 12th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Helsinki, Finland, the ACS fought hard to bring the 13th World Conference to Washington, DC, which, at the time was not a smoke free city.  I was the closing speaker at the Helsinki meeting and I challenged ACS to make sure that Washington was smokefree by the time of the meeting. To show that I was serious, I announced that I would not be attending the meeting unless the city was smokefree … John Seffrin knew I was right and under his leadership, ACS joined with other advocates and, by the time the 13th World Conference opened, Washington was a smokefree city. This effort was not easy, but everyone pulled together and prevailed. Which brings me to my third point, the currently pending legislation to grant the US Food and Drug Administration jurisdiction over tobacco products. While I agree with everyone else that the FDA should have jurisdiction over tobacco, I was never a fan of this bill because it was a deal with Philip Morris and I figured no deal with Philip Morris would be a?good thing for public health in the long run. My opposition has been, until recently, subdued for two reasons. First, while I was not enthused about the bill, I figured that the damage it did would be limited to issues of product regulation, something that I have not seen as central to tobacco control. Second, Matt Myers has been an important and helpful supporter of my Smoke Free Movies campaign and, in addition to signing some of the advocacy advertisements, has played an important behind-the-scenes role in heading off some serious challenges to the campaign. I did not want to anger them over the FDA … I re-read two important papers my UCSF colleagues Patricia McDaniel and Ruth Malone that used the tobacco industry documents to explain Philip Morris’ Project Sunrise and specific reasons for wanting the FDA bill, the provisions they wanted, and, most important, how this would help them sell more cigarettes. We don’t have to speculate on these points; it is all there in Philip Morris own words. … Fourth, a few weeks ago, Dick Daynard, a lawyer who has been very active in efforts to support the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, pointed out to me that the FDA bill violated Article 5.3, which is designed to prevent government “partnerships” with the tobacco industry.  The FDA bill creates a Scientific Advisory Committee that is central to the regulator process and which is required to have two tobacco industry representatives. They are nonvoting, but they are there. Not only does this violate Article 5.3, but is makes no sense. If the Department of Justice was forming a committee to develop policy on racketeering, would it want a law requiring nonvoting members who were racketeers? I think not. For these reasons, I think that the damage that this bill will do extends far beyond the narrow confines of product regulation and could do great damage to tobacco control, not only in the United States, but globally. It could easily become the precedent for undermining Article 5.3 in the 163 countries that have ratified the FCTC. Is it possible to fix this bill? Yes.  We have a new president who has already demonstrated that he is  committed to putting science above politics and who has direct personal  experience with nicotine addiction. If we are willing to speak with a clear voice on the need for an unambiguously public health-oriented bill that is not a compromise with the industry, I believe Obama and the new Congressional leadership will listen. But they can’t give us what we want if we don’t ask. Fixing this bill will not be easy, but, based on my experience with ACS taking strong, principled positions in the past and doing the hard work it takes to win, I am confident that we can. So, I have challenge for the ACS and every American in the room: Fix this bill Take a clear position that you will not support any legislation that is not consistent with the FCTC.  Thank you again for your recognition and support.”

How nice to know that Glantz quietly kept his people on the public payroll out of concern for them.

It would if he gave the smokers of greater San Francisco the same consideration. Many must smoke in secret. Many cannot get jobs because they smoke a legal product — tobacco. Many risk being physically or verbally assaulted by strangers in the street.

Now, if they were cannabis smokers, that would be a different story.

Strange, that.

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