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Biz Markie, Pioneering Beatboxer And 'Just A Friend' Rapper, Dies At 57

Biz Markie, an American original born Marcel Theo Hall and a larger-than-life hip-hop figure, has died at the age of 57. Known widely for a career spanning back to 1986, Hall went on to become a beloved cultural figure later in life, celebrated for his spirited personality as much as his massive 1989 hit, "Just A Friend." His death was confirmed by his manager, Jenni D. Izumi.

"We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time," Izumi told NPR via email. "Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years."

Hall had reportedly been ill for months, but Izumi did not provide an official cause of death.

Biz came of age when rap was still young; a free-for-all in terms of approach and style, an era that seemed innocent yet was wildly progressive. He was born in Harlem before moving to Long Island in his early teens. An early introduction for those outside of New York, at least on film, was best captured in the 1986 Dutch hip-hop documentary, Big Fun in the Big Town. In it, we see a tall, lanky beatboxer in a hat emblazoned with big letters spelling out "Biz Markie." He's effusive onstage with fellow crewmate, Roxanne Shanté. They're doing exuberant back-and-forth routines as the camera zooms in on Biz, showcasing the innate ease at which he can pack a party and move a crowd through his voice and natural presence.



I have never heard of this nigger in my life



I have never heard of this nigger in my life



he's literally famous for singing one song totally off key at the top of his voice on purpose.



He did some tracks with the beastie boys

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Diabetics make up 40% of COVID deaths in US, experts say

People with diabetes account for a staggering 40 percent of those who have died from COVID-19 in the US, according to the American Diabetes Association.

“The pandemic disproportionately impacted people living with diabetes,” the ADA’s chief scientific and medical officer, Dr. Robert Gabbay, told HealthDay Now last week.

He called the statistic “really quite sobering,” given that so many of the US pandemic deaths came from a group making up just 10 percent of the population.

As of Friday, the US had seen 608,495 deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University — which would make nearly 245,000 of them diabetics.

“I can’t say this strongly enough — if you have diabetes, get vaccinated,” Gabbay said.

“With the risk of hospitalization and death related to COVID being six to 12 times higher for people with diabetes, it’s time to get vaccinated,” he insisted.

Alarmingly, the ADA has also said that cases of type 2 diabetes have almost doubled in children since the pandemic.
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my cousin who is over 60, with crippling arthritis and lifelong type 1 diabeetus go the covid and was in the hospital for a couple of days. she's fine now though.



>my cousin got the seasonal flu, freaked out because of the press and went to the hospital where they declared that she had covid and charged her six gorillion dollars an hour to lay on a bed while collecting the money from the government for "treating" her




the flu probably would have killed her. thank god it was only covid. her sister and sister's family all got it too.



lol'd tbh

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The Child Tax Credit Is Blowing Up On TikTok

This week, American parents started receiving their first round of Child Tax Credit payments from the IRS. And if you go on TikTok right now and type in “child tax credit,” or “ctc,” or “#childtaxcredit2021,” you’re going to find a lot of content. Much of it is financial advice from creators telling their followers how to claim the credit and how it will affect with their tax refunds next April. Sensible stuff! But a lot of it is more typically delightful TikTok nonsense—dances and riffs on already-viral memes—because that’s how good it feels when the kiddo check hits your direct deposit. Jain Family Institute fellow Paul Williams conveniently strung a ton of them together on Twitter. Thanks Paul!

To some extent, these clips are just another reminder that Americans really, really love checks. But I think they’re worth dwelling on a moment further. After all, the Child Tax Credit is not new. It’s been around for years, beefing up people’s tax refunds as part of what’s sometimes referred to as the “submerged welfare state”—the massive thicket of credits and deductions buried in the IRS code, which the United States has used to subsidize everything from health insurance to retirement to homeownership to parenthood.

Running social policy through the tax system often makes it more opaque and inefficient, and frequently obscures the fact that the government is giving you something. To some politicians, this furtiveness has actually been a feature, not a bug; thanks to the 1980s and 1990s welfare backlash, many Democrats became terrified of being accused of giving voters handouts. Better to provide tax breaks and complicated wage subsidies that “reward work.”

One result of that approach, however, has been to sap whatever enthusiasm a lot of Americans might have had these programs. Republicans doubled the value of the CTC in their 2017 tax bill, but people weren’t exactly dancing over it on the internet—probably in part because the overall bill was deeply unpopular and the increase was partly meant to balance out the elimination of personal exemptions, but also because it’s unclear how many people even knew the benefit was expanding.

https://slate.com/business/2021/07/child-tax-credit-tiktok-checks-joe-biden-democratsPost too long. Click here to view the full text.

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‘Not Since World War II’: How a 4th-Generation Car Dealer Is Handling a Historic Price Storm

HARLINGEN, Texas—Jacob Boggus has never seen anything like this. The general manager of a Ford dealership in the Rio Grande Valley has been in the auto business for a decade, but the dealership has been in his family since 1933. So Boggus asked his grandfather if he’d ever experienced conditions like today’s wild swings in price and demand for new and used cars. “And he said ‘not since World War II.’”

Consumer Price Index figures released this week showed the largest one-month jump in prices since June 2008. The culprit behind the surge in inflation was somewhat unexpected: Used cars and trucks were responsible for a significant portion of the increase. A global semiconductor shortage has bedeviled the auto industry for months. New vehicles can be hard to find, driving up prices for used ones.

Barron’s is having conversations with business operators caught in the middle of the shortage economy. In his office at the Boggus Ford dealership, decorated by yellow post-it notes filled with reminders, Boggus said the chip shortage has cut supply. But there are plenty of buyers.

“With all the government stimulus and pent up demand from last year, it’s kind of a crazy storm of low supply and extra-high demand. The chip shortage has certainly increased the values of the used cars… and created the low supply of new. So we’ve seen some vehicles increase in price upward of 20, 30% in a matter of a few weeks.”

New cars are selling for as much as $5,000 above sticker price, Boggus said. Used cars are going for as much as 110% of their market value.

“It’s not that we’re trying to gouge, it’s that we know we can’t sell as many new cars so we’re having to maintain a gross level that can support the business, support the people, without having to lay anybody off… On the used car side it’s really not any different because you’re buying the cars more expensive and you’re selling them more expensive. The in-between isn’t that much more than it used to be, it’s just that the demand is there.”

These new challenges are changing the Boggus family’s strategies for acquiring inventory. A massive banner in front of the dealership reads, “SELL US YOUR VEHICLE, NO NEED TO BUY!”
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Hundreds Missing and Scores Dead as Raging Floods Strike Western Europe

Following a day of frantic rescue efforts and orders to evacuate towns rapidly filling with water unloosed by violent storms, the German authorities said late Thursday that after confirming scores of deaths, they were unable to account for at least 1,300 people.

That staggering figure was announced after swift-moving water from swollen rivers surged through cities and villages in two western German states, where the death toll passed 90 on Friday in the hardest-hit regions and other fatalities were expected.

With communication badly hampered, the authorities were hoping that the missing people were safe, if unreachable. But the storms and the floods have already proved deadly.

At least 11 more people were reported to have died in Belgium, according to authorities who also ordered inhabitants of downtown Liège to evacuate as the Meuse River, which flows through its center, overflowed its banks.

The storms and resulting high water also battered neighboring Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg as a slow-moving weather system threatened to dump even more rain on the inundated region overnight and into Friday.

The devastation caused by the severe weather came just days after the European Union announced an ambitious blueprint to pivot away from fossil fuels over the next nine years, as part of plans to make the 27-country bloc carbon-neutral by 2050. Environmental activists and politicians were quick to draw parallels between the flooding and the effects of climate change.


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The biggest threat to global health could potentially come in the form of man's best friend. That's what new research suggests after multidrug-resistant bacteria was found in dog food - sparking fears over a possible international health crisis.

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