A family of woodchucks ate Paul Ryan's car. The internet responded hilariously.
Photo by Jean Christophe Verhaegen/AFP/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Apparently, nature also has a grudge against House Speaker Paul Ryan.

During his appearance at the Economic Club in Washington, the Wisconsin Republican told the audience that a family of woodchucks ate up his Chevy Suburban.

“My car was eaten by animals,” he said. “It’s just dead.”


As a top congressional leader, Ryan's security detail provides him transportation. Since he had no need to drive it, Ryan loaned his car to his mother in Wisconsin. After her recent return from a vacation in Florida, the car would no longer start. A mechanic "realized that a family of woodchucks lived in the underbody,” Ryan said. “They ate all the wiring out of it.”

Public response to the incident has been ... interesting.

A few Twitter users expressed their support for the woodchucks and others have considered them to be unofficial members of the far-left-leaning militant group, antifa.

Ryan is not new to being the subject of resistance and protest. While Ryan condemned some of Trump's discriminatory policies throughout his presidential campaign, he has since evolved into becoming one of his quickest defenders and enablers. Ryan has defended and proposed some of the most harmful and discriminatory viewpoints in this country. He doesn't believe in climate change, he has supported bills to defund Planned Parenthood, and he has defended Trump's Muslim ban and draconian immigration policies.

There's sound reason for the woodchucks to eat up Ryan's SUV.

Whether an act of resistance or not, the woodchucks' choice does make sense. The Midwest is known for its unforgiving winters — and Wisconsin is no exception. Seeking shelter under the hood of the House Speaker's big SUV seems like a smart move.

If Ryan won't budge on his views and stand up for the rights of all Americans, these woodchucks seem to have a solid plan for action — and they aren't afraid to use it.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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