Wednesday News: Would you like some cheese with that whine?


CAWTHORN SUES TO STOP CONGRESSIONAL ELIGIBILITY CHALLENGE: The complaint filed in federal court Monday by the Western North Carolina congressman aims to prevent the state from considering an effort by a group of North Carolina voters challenging his candidacy. The group claims Cawthorn contributed to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, thus disqualifying him from running under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The amendment’s disqualification clause states that no member of Congress shall “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” In his lawsuit, Cawthorn argues the effort to remove him from the ballot violates his First Amendment rights. “Running for political office is quintessential First Amendment activity and afforded great protection,” Cawthorn said in the lawsuit. It's funny, you weren't worried about "great protection" for Senators and Representatives who were hiding under their desks while Brown Shirts were roaming the halls of Congress. You're a spoiled, seditious little prick; a clear and present danger to democracy.

THE WHEELS ON WALKER'S BUS APPARENTLY AREN'T GOING ROUND AND ROUND: Walker spent nearly a week talking up a big announcement. When it finally came on Thursday, a bus with a tarp over it was parked in the front of the room where performers performed, politicians spoke and Walker’s church members preached. He used the bus to unveil that he would stay in the Senate race. According to Walker’s campaign finance report, he spent $22,000 on a campaign bus in October and then made repairs on it in November. It’s unclear if the bus was used between then and Thursday, or even if it’s the same bus. Since November, Walker wrestled with whether he should switch from the U.S. Senate race to campaign in the 7th Congressional District. He finally made a decision last week to stick with the Senate race. Had he switched, he still would have been outraised by his opponents. In the 7th district, Chad Slotta raised $238,306 and Bo Hines, who is endorsed by U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, raised $188,403. Christian Castelli nearly matched Walker, raising $146,022. You gotta know when to fold 'em, dude. Know when to walk away, and when to run.

SEE NOW, THIS IS HOW YOU CAN REDUCE ABORTIONS WITHOUT TRAMPLING WOMEN'S RIGHTS: North Carolinians will be able to receive certain types of birth control from qualified pharmacists without a prescription effective Feb. 1. The move comes as part of a law Gov. Roy Cooper signed Aug. 20. Other sections of House Bill 96 have already gone into effect. Section 1 of the bill allows qualified pharmacists to provide "self-administered oral or transdermal contraceptives after the patient completes an assessment consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's United States Medical Eligibility Criteria (US MEC) for Contraceptive Use." This law explicitly does not allow pharmacists to distribute emergency contraception, such as the morning-after pill, but that medication is already available over the counter. The law also allows these pharmacists to give prenatal vitamins, nicotine replacement therapy, HIV prevention medications and glucagon for treatment of severe hypoglycemia.

MILITARY COUPS IN AFRICA ARE ON THE RISE: The president of Guinea-Bissau posted a message to Twitter saying he was “fine” Tuesday after mutinous soldiers tried to overthrow the tiny nation’s government in an hours-long shootout. Video captured gunmen storming the main government compound, and West African leaders condemned an “attempted coup” in the country of 2 million, which has a long history of military uprisings. “The situation is under control,” wrote President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, who took office in 2020 and who local media outlets reported was in the compound when the attackers arrived. The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, earlier asked the soldiers in a statement to “return to their barracks” and keep the president safe, echoing the plea it made to military officers in Burkina Faso only eight days earlier. West Africa has endured four coups in 18 months. Soldiers across the region are toppling elected leaders at the highest rate in four decades, analysts say. The overthrows tend to start with protest movements and a sense the government has failed people — on education, jobs, health care and security. In Burkina Faso, where soldiers deposed the president Jan. 24, thousands have died in a conflict that has only grown since 2015. They blamed authorities for failing to equip the army in the battle against fighters linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. In neighboring Mali — where researchers say those insurgencies took hold — military leaders have twice sacked the president since August 2020, initially accusing the government of diverting funds from the army and leaving soldiers vulnerable to slaughter. I have some words, but most people reading this probably don't want to hear them.

CBD USE SEEMS TO BLOCK COVID FROM INFECTING TISSUES: To test the effect of CBD on SARS-CoV-2 replication, we pretreated A549 human lung carcinoma cells expressing exogenous human ACE-2 receptor (A549-ACE2) for 2 hours with 0–10 μM CBD prior to infection with SARS-CoV-2. After 48 hours, we monitored cells for expression of the viral spike protein (S) and viral titer. CBD potently inhibited viral replication under non-toxic conditions with an EC50 of ~1 μM (Fig. 1A; fig. S1A). CBD inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in human Calu3 lung and Vero E6 monkey kidney epithelial cells as well (fig. S1B), and no toxicity was observed at the effective doses (fig. S1C,D). Finally, we tested three SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (α, β, and γ) in addition to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain, and their ability to infect cells was comparably inhibited by CBD. To verify that CBD is indeed responsible for the viral inhibition, we analyzed a CBD reference standard as well as CBD from four different sources for purity using 100% quantitative NMR (qNMR). These sources included two chemical vendors (Suppliers A and B) and two commercial vendors (Suppliers C and D). The striking congruence between the experimental 1H NMR and the recently established quantum-mechanical HiFSA (1H Iterative Full Spin Analysis) profiles observed for all materials confirmed that 1) the compounds used were indeed CBD with purities of at least 97% (Fig. 1B) and 2) congeneric cannabinoids were not present at levels above 1.0%. Analysis of these different CBD samples in the viral A549-ACE2 infection assay showed similar EC50s with a range from 0.6–1.8 μM, likely reflecting the intrinsic variability of the biological assay (Fig. 1A). No toxicity was observed for any of the CBD preparations at the doses used to inhibit viral infection (fig. S1 E-G). Let me just say (as a poorly-educated layman), Holden Thorp is masterfully managing the Science family of publications. Communication can (if done right) radically increase the exposure and benefits of new scientific discoveries, and Holden is doing it right. Kudos, man.