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“We have to be more honest about what 9/11 was and what it wasn't. It was an attack on the heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems that America relies upon to wrangle other countries into passivity. It was an attack on the systems many white Americans fight to protect.” — Jenn Jackson, an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University, who, according to her bio, is also an abolitionist, a writer, and “genderflux all pronouns.”
“So—so here is the thing. We are—we cannot require someone to be vaccinated. That's just not what we can do. It is a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn't. I can't go to the Capitol Physician and say, 'Give me the names of people who aren't vaccinated, so I can go encourage them or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated.' So we can't—we can't do that.” — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during an April 29th press conference. President Biden’s new vaccine mandate for federal employees doesn’t apply to members of Congress, those who work for Congress, or the federal court system.
“They had explained that red, white, and blue was going to be seen as racially insensitive and may affect people in a way that we will not understand and for that reason that we were to change our theme.” — A student from Eastlake High School in the east Seattle suburb of Sammamish, Washington. As a tribute to 9/11 and a symbol of solidarity and patriotism, students requested that those in attendance at the upcoming football game wear red, white, and blue. But the plan was denied by school administrators on the grounds that it might “unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently.”
“I keep my door open for everybody. That's totally false. Those types of superlatives, it's just awful. Continue to divide and divide and divide.” — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, after Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized him for urging Democrats to slow down the passage of a $3.5 trillion social spending bill, claiming that Manchin is beholden to big energy companies and has weekly meetings with Exxon.
“There is no medical or epidemiological justification for the Covid passport (‘green pass’), it is only intended to pressure the unvaccinated to vaccinate.” — Israeli Ministry of Health Nitzan Horowitz. The admission was recorded during a “hot mic” moment in the middle of a public conference.
“We have moved beyond the theme of remote work being a temporary thing.” — Columbia University assistant economics professor Laura Boudreau, regarding the difficulty some workplaces will face in getting their employees to return to an in-person office environment, especially full time. For many workers, the convenience and comfort of working remotely will encourage them to continue doing so.
“You can’t have a production quota that violates health and safety conditions.” — California Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez, on her proposed, first-of-its-kind legislation that would regulate workplace performance metrics in warehouse settings. The measure does not specifically mention Amazon, though both supporters and opponents acknowledge the retail behemoth is the main target for the new regulations. Amazon’s notorious employee surveillance tracks workers constantly, with the data flowing to managers in real time and then crunched by a proprietary software system called ADAPT. The company’s obsession with speed means fulfillment center employees face strenuous conditions: workers are pressed to “make rate,” with some packing hundreds of boxes per hour under the threat of being fired if they don’t move fast enough. One woman said she had to scan a new item every 11 seconds to hit her quota (more than 300 items an hour), while another former worker had to “pick” 385 small items or 350 medium items each hour. One week, he was hitting 98.45 percent of his expected rate, but that wasn’t good enough. That 1.55 percent speed shortfall earned him his final written warning.
“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high.” — Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, the FDA’s former top two vaccine officials who reportedly resigned after opposing Biden’s decision to order booster shots.
“This is an important question, and one in its detail and substance we need to take up in another setting.” — Secretary of State Antony Blinken, when asked by GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas whether or not Russian President Vladimir Putin “threatened” President Biden about developing intelligence capabilities near Afghanistan.
“We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly.” — An anonymous Facebook employee in a confidential internal company review, part of a trove of in-house Facebook communications that The Wall Street Journal has obtained. The documents reveal that Facebook knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, generally in ways only the company fully understands, and that it often lacks the will or the ability to address them.
“You’d think you’d kind of know before you off someone with a predator drone.” — GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. On Tuesday, Paul grilled Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the drone strike that the Biden administration claimed took out an “imminent” ISIS-K threat the day after a suicide bomber killed 13 American soldiers during the chaotic Kabul withdrawal. A recent New York Times report suggested that the strike mistakenly targeted an aid worker, killing 10 Afghan civilians, including 7 children. When Paul asked Blinken whether the target was “an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative,” Blinken responded, “I don’t know.”
“Tax the rich.” — Message on the dress worn by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, compelled by a sense of obligation to represent “working class women of color” so as to “break the fourth wall,” attended the notoriously gauche and aristocratic royal court spectacle known as the Met Gala, the tickets of which were $35,000 this year. An ardent socialist, AOC has received heavy criticism for attending what’s essentially a modern-day version of the Palace of Versailles galas that the French aristocracy reveled in while wearing a dress reportedly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars (along with $614 shoes and $450 earrings). Your writer finds it a bit incongruous that someone who purportedly trademarks in class consciousness would attend what can only be described as a vulgar tribute to the excesses of our society's noblesse and their performative activism, and thinks that this “renegade” act was just an attention-seeking, celebrity-building, branding opportunity in which AOC yet again lavished herself in the multi-pronged rewards of the very economic and cultural hierarchies she claims to despise and vows to combat.
“Vaccinated Man Just Wishes There Was Something That Could Protect Him From COVID.” — Headline from the (satirical) Babylon Bee.
“If there ever was a honeymoon for President Biden, it is clearly over. This is, with few exceptions, a poll full of troubling negatives... from overall job approval, to foreign policy, to the economy.” — Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy, after a new Quinnipiac poll revealed Americans’ views have dimmed on the way President Joe Biden is handling his job as president.
64: Number of people who were shot in Chicago this past weekend. Nine were killed.
70%: Percentage of Americans who say they’re either very dissatisfied (46 percent) or somewhat dissatisfied (24 percent) with the way things are going in the nation today. Roughly 3 in 10 (29 percent) say that they are very satisfied (3 percent) or somewhat satisfied (26 percent).
$50 Million: Price that TMZ, the online tabloid co-founded and operated by Harvey Levin, has been sold to Fox Entertainment for. The deal points to Fox Corp.’s ambitions to include more entertainment programming across its digital and TV channels, as well as ongoing efforts by WarnerMedia’s parent company AT&T to shed non-core assets, including media. (I actually met Harvey Levin when he came to talk in one of my classes at USC. Surprisingly nice dude.)
$100,000: Fine that the University of Arkansas must pay after fans stormed the field following the football teams victory over Texas. The SEC announced the financial penalty on Monday, citing a second violation of the “access to competition area policy,” which states that no one outside of players, coaches, officials, support personnel, and properly credentialed individuals are allowed on the playing field. The school’s previous violation was in 2014 against LSU; a third offense will result in a $250,000 fine.
50%: Percentage of Americans who disapprove of Joe Biden’s job as president, according to a national poll released Tuesday. This is the first time Biden’s job approval rating has dropped into negative territory since taking office.
$64 Million: Humanitarian assistance the U.S. has now pledged to the people of Afghanistan to meet critical health and nutrition needs, address the protection concerns of women, children, and minorities, and help more children — including girls — go back to school. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to circumvent the Taliban and go directly to nongovernment organizations and U.N. agencies providing relief to impoverished Afghans.
48%: Proportion of hospitalized patients tracked on COVID-data dashboards from mid-January through the end of June 2021 that were either admitted for another medical reason entirely (i.e. — cancer treatment, a psychiatric episode, etc.), or had only a mild presentation of COVID-19, according to research published in The Atlantic. The study demonstrates that COVID hospitalization tallies can’t be taken as a simple measure of the prevalence of severe or even moderate disease, because they might inflate the true numbers by a factor of two.
22: Date, in November, that federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subjected to weekly testing.
3,000: Los Angeles Police Department employees expected to seek either religious or medical exemptions ahead of the city’s October 5th deadline for municipal workers to be vaccinated. The LAPD employs a total of 6,573 people.
2035: Year that the state of New York will ban sales of new, internal combustion engine cars and trucks. The legislation, signed on Wednesday by recently appointed New York Governor Kathy Hochul, is part of New York’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% before 2050.
40,000: Approximate number of people participating in a massive National Institute of Health project ($470 million allocated to 100 researchers and 30 institutions) consisting of a nationwide series of studies to research the long-term effects of COVID-19. Symptoms lasting more than four weeks — including brain fog, fatigue, persistent cough, loss of taste or smell and organ damage — are usually referred to as “long COVID,” and have become an emerging public health concern as researchers do not know the cause. In the coming months, the agency’s goal is to better understand the prevalence and incidence of the long-term effects, the range of symptoms, risks, and strategies for treatment and prevention.
30: Length, in days, of a “Taco Lover’s Pass” subscription that Taco Bell is testing. Customers can pay between $5 to $10 per month for the pass, which affords subscribers one taco a day. The app-based program is currently active until November 24. Though uncommon, restaurants have started experimenting with subscription services. Panera Bread, for example, has an $8.99 monthly program that lets customers get a free hot or iced cup of coffee every day.