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Archive for August, 2021

A judge asked a mother if she got the covid vaccine. She said no, and he revoked custody of her son.

Rebecca Firlit said a Chicago judge has revoked custody of her 11-year-old son until she gets vaccinated against the coronavirus.

When Rebecca Firlit joined a virtual court hearing with her ex-husband earlier this month, the Chicago mother expected the proceedings to focus on child support.

But the judge had other plans.

“One of the first things he asked me . . . was whether or not I was vaccinated,” Firlit, 39, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

She was not, she said, explaining that she has had “adverse reactions to vaccines in the past” and that a doctor advised her against getting the coronavirus vaccine.

“It poses a risk,” she added.

Cook County Judge James Shapiro then nike store made what the parents’ attorneys called an unprecedented decision – he said the mother could not see her 11-year-old son until she got the vaccine.

Firlit is appealing the judge’s decision. Her attorney, Annette Fernholz, who did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment late Sunday, told WFLD that the ruling was an overreach.

“The father did not even bring this issue before the court,” Fernholz said. “So it’s the judge on his own and making this decision that you can’t see your child until you’re vaccinated.”

Judges in other states have granted lesser sentences to defendants who opt to get the vaccine, or mandated the vaccine as a condition of release from prison for some inmates. A judge in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge offered some defendants the option of getting the vaccine instead of completing community service hours.

Two judges in Ohio have also ordered that some people receive the vaccine as a condition of their probation. Similarly, two Georgia judges are reducing sentences for some offenders who get the vaccine. In New York, judges in the Bronx and Manhattan have ordered defendants to get the vaccine as part of brooks shoes their rehabilitation and as a condition for seeking bail, respectively.

But the judge’s ruling in Chicago appears to be the first of its kind. Firlit and her ex-husband, Matthew Duiven, have been divorced for seven years, according to WFLD. Court documents show they have shared custody of their 11-year-old son since June 2014.

Neither Firlit nor Duiven immediately responded to The Post’s request for comment late Sunday.

The hearing on Aug. 10 had nothing to do with revising the custody agreement, Firlit’s lawyer said, so no one was expecting the judge to ask the boy’s mother if she was vaccinated. Firlit said she was befuddled by the judge’s question.

“I was confused because it was just supposed to be about expenses and child support,” she told the Sun-Times. “I asked him what it had to do with the hearing, and he said, ‘I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.'”

The judge then revoked her custody of her son until she was fully inoculated. Firlit did not indicate if she would get the vaccine, but she said she is appealing the decision because she believes the judge overstepped his authority. She added that taking a son away from his mother is “wrong.”

“I think that it’s dividing families,” Firlit told WFLD. “And I think it’s not in my son’s best interest to be away from his mother.”

The father’s attorney, Jeffery M. Leving, who did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment late Sunday, said he was not expecting the judge to ask about vaccinations or change the custody arrangement. But he said he supported the judge’s decision.

“There are children who have died because of covid,” Leving said. “I think every child should be safe. And I agree that the mother should be vaccinated.”

Over the past few months, the number of children contracting the highly contagious delta variant has increased exponentially, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Academy of Family hey dude shoes Physicians has also warned that there is an increasing risk of unvaccinated children sustaining “severe and long-lasting impacts” on their health.

Firlit said she is struggling with the separation from her son, whom she’s only allowed to communicate with over the phone.

“I talk to him every day,” she told the Sun-Times. “He cries, he misses me.”

A New Breed of Crisis: War and Warming Collide in Afghanistan

Somalian refugees displaced by drought wait for rations in Dadaab, Kenya, July 14, 2011. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)
Somalian refugees displaced by drought wait for rations in Dadaab, Kenya, July 14, 2011.

Parts of Afghanistan have warmed twice as much as the global average. Spring rains have declined, most worryingly in some of the country’s most important farmland. Droughts are more frequent in vast swaths of the country, including a punishing dry spell now in the north and west, the second in three years.

Afghanistan embodies a new breed of international crisis, where the hazards of war collide with the hazards of climate change, creating a nightmarish feedback loop that punishes some of the world’s most vulnerable people and destroys their countries’ ability to cope.

And although it would be facile to attribute the conflict in Afghanistan to climate change, the impacts of warming act as what military analysts call threat multipliers, amplifying conflicts over water, putting people out of work in a nation steve madden shoes whose people largely live off agriculture, while the conflict itself consumes attention and resources.

“The war has exacerbated climate change impacts. For 10 years, over 50% of the national budget goes to the war,” said Noor Ahmad Akhundzadah, a professor of hydrology at Kabul University, said by phone Thursday. “Now there is no government, and the future is unclear. Our current situation today is completely hopeless.”

A third of all Afghans face what the United Nations calls crisis levels of food insecurity. Because of the fighting, many people haven’t been able to plant their crops in time. Because of the drought, the harvest this year is certain to be poor. The World Food Program says 40% of crops are lost, the price of wheat has gone up by 25%, and the aid agency’s own food stock is due to run out by the end of September.

Afghanistan is not the only country to face such compounding misery. Of the world’s 25 nations most vulnerable to climate change, more than a dozen are impacted by conflict or civil unrest, according to an index developed by the University of Notre Dame.

In Somalia, pummeled by decades of conflict, there has been a threefold increase in extreme weather events since 1990, compared with the previous 20-year period, making it all but impossible for ordinary people to recover after each shock. In 2020, more than 1 million Somalis were displaced from their homes, about a third because of drought, according to the United Nations.

In Syria, a prolonged drought, made more likely by human-made climate change, according to researchers, drove people out of the countryside and fed simmering anti-government grievances that led to an uprising in 2011 and, ultimately, a full-blown civil war. This year again, drought looms over Syria, particularly its breadbasket region, the northeastern Hassakeh province.

In Mali, a violent insurgency has made it harder for farmers and herders to deal with a succession of droughts and flood, according to aid agencies.

Climate change cannot be blamed for any single war, and certainly not the one in Afghanistan. But rising temperatures, and the weather shocks that come with it, act as what Marshall Burke, a Stanford University professor, calls “a finger on the scale that makes underlying conflict worse.” ecco shoes That is particularly true, he argued, in places that have undergone a long conflict and where government institutions have all but dissolved.

“None of this means that climate is the only or the most important factor in conflict,” said Burke, co-author of a 2013 paper looking at the role of climate change in dozens of conflicts across many years. “But based on this evidence, the international community would be foolish to ignore the threat that a warming climate represents.”

The combination of war and warming compounds the risks facing some of the world’s most vulnerable people: According to the U.N. children’s agency, Afghanistan is the 15th-riskiest country in the world for children, because of climate hazards, including heat and drought, and a lack of essential services, including health care. Two million Afghan children are malnourished.

That is in sharp contrast to Afghanistan’s part in global warming. An average Afghan produces 0.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, compared with nearly 16 metric tons of the average American.

The collapse of the government has also made Afghanistan’s participation in the next international climate talks entirely uncertain, said one of its members, Ahmad Samim Hoshmand. “Now I don’t know. I’m not part of any government. What government I should represent?” he said.

Until recently, he had been the government official in charge of enforcing the country’s ban on ozone-depleting substances, including refrigerants used in old air-conditioners and that are banned by the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement that Afghanistan had ratified. Just days before the Taliban seized Kabul, he fled to Tajikistan. The traders of illegal substances whom he helped arrest are now out of prison, keen to exact revenge. He says they will kill him if he returns.

Hoshmand is now scrambling to emigrate elsewhere. His visa in Tajikistan expires in a matter of weeks. “My only hope is the ozone community, the Montreal Protocol community, if they can support me,” he said.

Afghanistan’s geography is a study of extreme hazard, from the glacier-peaked Hindu Kush mountains in the north to its melon farms in the west to the arid south, stung by dust storms.

Climate data is sparse for Afghanistan. But a recent analysis based on what little data exists suggests that a decline in spring rains has already afflicted much of the country, but most acutely in the country’s north, where farmers and herders rely almost entirely on the rains to grow crops and water their flocks.

Over the past 60 years, average temperatures have risen sharply, by 1.8 degrees Celsius since 1950 in the country as a whole and by more than 2 degrees Celsius in the south.

“Climate change will make it extremely challenging to maintain — let alone increase — any economic and development gains achieved so far in Afghanistan,” the United Nations warned in a 2016 report. “Increasingly frequent and severe droughts and floods, accelerated desertification, and decreasing water flows in the country’s glacier-dependent rivers will all directly affect rural livelihoods — and therefore the national economy and the country’s ability to feed itself.”

This is the country’s biggest risk, Akhundzadah argued. Three-fourths of his compatriots work in agriculture, and any unpredictable weather can be calamitous, all the more so in a country where there hasn’t been a stable government and no safety net to speak of.

The Taliban, for their part, appear more exercised by the need to scrub women’s pictures from billboards than addressing climate hazards.

But climate change is a threat multiplier for the Taliban, too. Analysts say water management will be critical to its legitimacy with Afghan citizens, and it is likely to be one of the most important issues in the Taliban’s relations with its neighbors as well.

Already on the Afghan battlefield, as in many battlefields throughout history, water has been an important currency. The Taliban, in their bid for Herat, a strategic city in the west, repeatedly attacked a dam that is critical for drinking water, agriculture and nike sneakers electricity for the people of the region. Likewise, in Kandahar province in the south, one of the Taliban’s most critical victories was to seize control of a dam that holds water for drinking and irrigation.

Climate change also stands to complicate the Taliban’s ability to fulfill a key promise: the elimination of opium poppy cultivation. Poppies require far less water than, say, wheat or melons, and they are far more profitable. Poppy farming employs an estimated 120,000 Afghans and brings in an estimated $300 million to $400 million a year, according to the United Nations, and has, in turn, enriched the Taliban.

Areas under poppy cultivation grew sharply in 2020.

Analysts said the Taliban would seek to use a poppy ban to gain legitimacy from foreign powers, such as Qatar and China. But it is likely to face pushback from growers who have few alternatives as the rains become less reliable.

“It’s going to be a gigantic political flashpoint,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, who studies the region at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

The last drought, in 2018, left 4 million Afghans in need of food aid and forced 371,000 people to leave their homes, many of whom haven’t returned.

“The effects of the severe drought are compounded by conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic in a context where half the population were already in need of aid,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator Ramiz Alakbarov said by email from Kabul on Thursday. “With little financial reserves, people are forced to resort to child labor, child marriage, risky irregular migration exposing them to trafficking and other protection risks. Many are taking on catastrophic levels of debt and selling their assets.”

Akhundzadah, a father of four, is hoping to emigrate, too. But like his fellow academics, he said he has not worked for foreign governments and has no way to be evacuated from the country. The university is closed. Banks are closed. He is looking for research jobs abroad. For now, there are no commercial flights out of the country.

“Till now, I’m OK,” he said on the phone. “The future is unclear. It will be difficult to live here.”

Demand Surges for Deworming Drug for COVID, Despite No Evidence It Works

For the past week, Dr. Gregory Yu, an emergency physician in San Antonio, has received the same daily requests from his patients, some vaccinated for COVID-19 and others unvaccinated: They ask him for ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms that has repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus.

Yu has refused the ivermectin requests, he said, but he knows some of his colleagues have not. hey dude shoes Prescriptions for ivermectin have seen a sharp rise in recent weeks, jumping to more than 88,000 per week in mid-August from a pre-pandemic baseline average of 3,600 per week, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some pharmacists are even reporting shortages of the drug. Travis Walthall, a pharmacist in Kuna, Idaho, a town of about 20,000 people, said that this summer alone he had filled more than 20 ivermectin prescriptions, up from two or three in a typical year. For the past week, he has not been able to obtain the drug from his suppliers — they were all out.

Walthall was astonished, he said, at how many people were willing to take an unapproved drug for COVID. “I’m like, gosh, this is horrible,” he said.

Though sometimes given to humans in small doses for head lice, scabies and other parasites, ivermectin is more commonly used in animals. Physicians are raising alarms about a growing number of people getting the drug from livestock supply centers, where it can come in highly concentrated paste or liquid forms.

Calls to poison control centers about ivermectin exposures have risen dramatically, jumping fivefold over their baseline in July, according to CDC researchers, who cited data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Mississippi’s health department said earlier this month that 70% of recent calls to the state poison control center had come from people who ingested ivermectin from livestock supply stores.

Dr. Shawn Varney, a toxicologist and medical director for the South Texas Poison Center, said that in 2019 his center received 191 calls about exposure to ivermectin; this year, the center has received 260 calls and is on pace to reach 390 by the end of the year. The vast majority of the recent calls came from people who took a veterinary product in an attempt to treat or prevent COVID.

“Everyone wants some cure for COVID because it’s such a devastating illness,” Varney said. “I plead with people to stop using ivermectin and get the vaccine because it’s the best protection we have at this point. Everything else is risk after risk.”

Varney said people calling the poison control center hey dude after taking ivermectin sometimes reported nausea, muscle pain and diarrhea. He noted that there have been ivermectin overdose deaths in the past, although he did not know of any specifically associated with COVID.

The biggest risk, he added, comes from people taking the livestock product and ingesting a far higher dose than is appropriate for humans — sometimes 10-15 times the amount that a capsule approved for humans might contain.

“People are going to animal feed stores and getting a formulation that’s highly concentrated because it’s for 1,000-pound animals,” Varney said. “They’re opening themselves to great potential harm.”

Ivermectin was introduced as a veterinary drug in the late 1970s, and the discovery of its effectiveness in combating certain parasitic diseases in humans won the 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine.

Although it has not been shown to be effective in treating COVID, people are now clamoring to get the drug, trading tips in Facebook groups and on Reddit. Some physicians have compared the phenomenon to last year’s surge of interest in hydroxychloroquine, although there are more clinical trials evaluating ivermectin.

The Food and Drug Administration weighed in last week. “You are not a horse,” the agency tweeted, with a warning explaining that ivermectin is not FDA-approved for treating or preventing COVID and that taking large doses can cause serious harm.

A recent review of 14 ivermectin studies, with more than 1,600 participants, concluded that none provided evidence of the drug’s ability to prevent COVID, improve patient conditions or reduce mortality. Another 31 studies are still underway to test the drug.

“There is great interest in repurposing well-known inexpensive drugs such as ivermectin that are readily available as an oral tablet,” Maria-Inti Metzendorf and Stephanie Weibel, the authors of the review, said in an email to The New York Times. “Even if these circumstances seem ideal, balenciaga shoes the results from the available clinical studies carried out so far cannot confirm the widely advertised benefits.”

One of the largest trials studying ivermectin for COVID treatment, called the Together Trial, was halted by the data safety monitoring board on Aug. 6 because the drug had been shown to be no better than a placebo at preventing hospitalization or prolonged stay in the emergency room. Dr. Edward Mills, a professor at McMaster University who led the study, which enrolled more than 1,300 patients, said the team would have discontinued it earlier were it not for the level of public interest in ivermectin.

“The data safety person said, ‘This is now futile and you’re offering no benefit to patients involved in the trial,’” Mills said.

Another study of the drug found that ivermectin could be fairly benign unless taken at high doses. Dr. Eduardo López-Medina, a researcher at the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Colombia, led a randomized control trial for the study last spring on the impacts of ivermectin and found that it had no statistically significant effect on reducing the duration of COVID symptoms. But he also found that there was no statistically significant increase in adverse events for the patients receiving ivermectin, although they were taking a fairly high dose of 300 micrograms per kilogram.

“It appears to be a safe medication, but that is not enough to prescribe it openly,” López-Medina said. “People should use it in trials but not necessarily to treat patients. The data is not robust enough to support its use.”

Researchers and physicians are particularly alarmed by people seeking out ivermectin as a form of possible prevention or treatment instead of getting one of the highly effective COVID vaccines. The FDA last week fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for people 16 and older, and an approval of Moderna’s vaccine is expected in the coming weeks.

“The only functional strategy we have for getting control of COVID-19 is vaccination,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a physician in New York and founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “If people are not getting vaccinated because of nonsense they’re reading on the internet, that interferes with our ability to get this pandemic under control.”

The US military says it permanently disabled over 150 vehicles and aircraft before leaving Kabul so they can ‘never be used again’

A view of the C-17 Globemaster prepares to take off in the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021
A view of the C-17 Globemaster prepares to take off in the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021 
  • The US permanently disabled over 150 vehicles and aircraft when the military departed, a US general said Monday.
  • The last manned US military aircraft departed the airport in Kabul on Monday.
  • Though the Taliban cannot use equipment left at the airport, they brooks shoes captured weaponry when they defeated the Afghan army.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The last manned US military aircraft have departed Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, ending nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said Monday afternoon.

Asked about military equipment left behind at the airport, McKenzie said that some was brought out. Other systems, he said, were “demilitarized,” meaning US forces purposely broke them to prevent them from being used, CENTCOM clarified for Insider.

The counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) systems, which were used to fend off a rocket attack on the airport on Monday, were kept online until the last minute and then demilitarized.

“We demilitarized those systems so that they’ll never be used again,” McKenzie said. “We felt it more important to protect our forces than to bring those systems back.”

The general further explained that demilitarized equipment included 70 mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles “that will never again be used by anyone,” 27 Humvees “that will never be driven again,” and 73 aircraft that “will never fly again.” Many of skechers uk the aircraft were not mission capable anyway.

“They’ll never be able to be operated by anyone again,” he said.

McKenzie added that some systems, such as fire trucks and front-end loaders, were left operational so that the airport could restart operations as soon as possible.

Even if the Taliban, which seized control of Afghanistan earlier this month in a sweeping offensive, is unable to use any of the systems the US military did not take with it when it departed the Kabul airport, the group managed to capture a large arsenal of American-made weapons when it defeated the Afghan armed forces, which the US has spent billions of dollars arming and equipping.

“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said after the fall of the Afghan capital.

Last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, ending the United States’ longest war

After nearly 20 years, the last U.S. troops have left Afghanistan, concluding the United States’ longest war and the largest non-combatant evacuation mission in U.S. military history.

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, announced the completion of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan at the Pentagon on Monday afternoon.

“Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation, hey dude shoes but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after Sept. 11, 2001,” McKenzie said. “It’s a mission that brought Osama bin Laden to a just end, along with many of his al-Qaida co-conspirators.”

General Frank McKenzie announces completion of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30th, 2021 (Yahoo News via Reuters TV)
General Frank McKenzie announces completion of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30th, 2021 

“It was not a cheap mission,” he continued. “The cost was at 2,461 U.S. Service members and civilians, and more than 20,000 injured. Sadly, that includes 13 U.S. service members who were killed last week by an ISIS-K suicide bomber.”

Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the terrorist group’s affiliate in Afghanistan, has posed a significant threat to U.S. troops in the final days of the military’s withdrawal, as U.S. and coalition forces raced to evacuate as many people as possible from the country. brooks shoes In total, McKenzie said 123,000 civilians were evacuated in the massive airlift operation, including over 6,000 American citizens.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that “a small number of Americans — under 200, and likely closer to 100” remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. Blinken promised that the U.S. would continue to attempt to get those Americans out of the country.

“If an American in Afghanistan tells us that they want to stay for now, and then in a week or a month or a year, they reach out and say I’ve changed my mind, we will help them leave,” the secretary said.

Blinken also announced that the U.S. diplomatic effort in Afghanistan would now be managed out of Doha, Qatar.

In a statement released early Monday evening, President Biden gave thanks for the sacrifices of American service members over the course of the conflict, including the 13 troops who were recently killed in a terror attack at the Kabul airport.

Flag-draped transfer cases of U.S. military service members who were killed by an August 26 suicide bombing at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport line the inside of a C-17 Globemaster II prior to a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, U.S., August 29, 2021. U.S. Marines/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

“I want to thank our commanders and the men and skechers uk women serving under them for their execution of the dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled – in the early morning hours of August 31st, Kabul time – with no further loss of American lives,” the president said.

“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in US history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States. They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.”

American soldiers board a U.S. Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 30, 2021.
American soldiers board a U.S. Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 30, 2021. 

Biden is set to address the end of the conflict in a speech on Tuesday.

“While the military evacuation is complete, the diplomatic mission to ensure additional U.S. citizens and eligible Afghans who want to leave continues,” McKenzie said, noting that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would provide more information on that diplomatic effort later in the afternoon.

Celebratory gunfires light up part of the night sky after the last US aircraft took off from the airport in Kabul early on August 31, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)
Celebratory gunfires light up part of the night sky after the last US aircraft took off from the airport in Kabul early on August 31, 2021. 

As US military leaves Kabul, many Americans, Afghans remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the final five U.S. military transport aircraft lifted off out of Afghanistan Monday, they left behind up to 200 Americans and thousands of desperate Afghans who couldn’t get out and now must rely on the Taliban to allow their departure.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. will continue to try to get Americans and Afghans out of the country, and will work with Afghanistan’s neighbors to secure their departure either over land or by charter flight once the Kabul airport reopens.

“We have no illusion that steve madden shoes any of this will be easy, or rapid,” said Blinken, adding that the total number of Americans who are in Afghanistan and still want to leave may be closer to 100.

Speaking shortly after the Pentagon announced the completion of the U.S. military pullout Monday, Blinken said the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will remain shuttered and vacant for the foreseeable future. American diplomats, he said, will be based in Doha, Qatar.

“We will continue our relentless efforts to help Americans, foreign nationals and Afghans leave Afghanistan if they choose,” Blinken said in an address from the State Department. “Our commitment to them holds no deadline.”

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters the U.S. military was able to get as many as 1,500 Afghans out in the final hours of the American evacuation mission. But now it will be up to the State Department working with the Taliban to get any more people out.

McKenzie said there were no citizens left stranded at the airport and none were on the final few military flights out. He said the U.S. military maintained the ability to get Americans out right up until just before the end, but “none of them made it to the airport.”

“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure,” said McKenzie. “We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out that we wanted to get out.”

McKenzie and other officials painted a vivid picture of the final hours U.S. troops were on the ground, and the preparations they took to ensure that the Taliban and Islamic State group militants did not get functioning U.S. military weapons systems and other equipment.

The terror threat remains a major problem in Afghanistan, with at least 2,000 “hard core” members of the Islamic State group who remain in the country, including many released from prisons as the Taliban swept to control.

Underscoring the ongoing security threats, the weapon systems used just hours earlier to counter IS rockets launched toward the airport were kept operational until “the very last minute” as the final U.S. military aircraft flew out, officials said. One of the last things U.S. balenciaga shoes troops did was to make the so-called C-RAMS (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System) inoperable.

McKenzie said they “demilitarized” the system so it can never be used again. Officials said troops did not blow up equipment in order to ensure they left the airport workable for future flights, once those begin again. In addition, McKenzie said the U.S. also disabled 27 Humvees and 73 aircraft so they can never be used again.

Throughout the day, as the final C-17 transport planes prepared to take off, McKenzie said the U.S. kept “overwhelming U.S. airpower overhead” to deal with potential IS threats.

Back at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, watched the final 90 minutes of the military departure in real time from an operations center in the basement.

According to a U.S. official, they sat in hushed silence as they watched troops make last-minute runway checks, make the key defense systems inoperable and climb aboard the C-17s. The official said you could hear a pin drop as the hey dude last aircraft lifted off, and leaders around the room breathed sighs of relief. Later, Austin phoned Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who was coordinating the evacuation. Donahue and acting U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson were the last to board the final plane that left Kabul.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of military operations.

“Simply because we have left, that doesn’t mean the opportunities for both Americans that are in Afghanistan that want to leave and Afghans who want to leave, they will not be denied that opportunity,” said McKenzie.

The military left some equipment for the Taliban in order to run the airport, including two firetrucks, some front-end loaders and aircraft staircases.

Blinken said the U.S. will work with Turkey and Qatar to help them get the Kabul airport up and running again.

“This would enable a small number of daily charter flights, which is a key for anyone who wants to depart from Afghanistan moving forward,” he said.

West Virginia governor: ‘You have to get vaccinated’

As millions of students continue to return to school over the coming weeks, one state’s governor is stepping up the call for vaccinations among his constituents.

“You have to get vaccinated,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said during a regular COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “The more that are vaccinated, the less that will die. That is absolutely the way it is.”

The latest CDC data available lists West Virginia as having fully vaccinated 39.6% of the population with 47% receiving at least one dose. The West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources (HHS) website, however,nike store  lists West Virginia as having fully vaccinated 50.8% of the population with 62.5% receiving at least one dose. (The reason for the discrepancy is unclear.)

Nationwide, the vaccination rate is 61.2% for those ages 12 and up (compared to 58.5% in West Virginia, according to the state’s HHS).

Cases in the state are nearing pandemic highs and rising amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which seems to be infecting unvaccinated Americans — including children under 12 — at higher rates as the new school year begins.

“Nationally, we have seen that the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized with COVID are not vaccinated,” Justice said. “West Virginia is experiencing the exact same thing.”

He added that unvaccinated individuals made up an overwhelming majority of the current COVID-related hospitalizations in the state. For example, at Thomas Health hospitals, unvaccinated individuals represent over 90% of the patients and 100% of those in the ICU.

Avoiding hospitalizations

Only children ages 12 and up are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That still leaves millions of children vulnerable to the virus.

And while the mortality rate for COVID-19 in children is extremely low, that’s not what physicians are most concerned about.

“It’s also about hospitalizations, children being pulled away from school because they get COVID,” Dr. Mona Amin, a board-certified physician, said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “They get hospitalized, hospital bills, everything that comes with being hospitalized as a child that we’re trying to avoid. nike sneakers We know that we’re not able to completely avoid this. We know this with the flu. We know this with [Respiratory Syncytial Virus].”

According to the , more than 180,000 COVID-19 cases in children were reported during the week ending Aug. 19, and children represented about 22% of total new confirmed cases.

The Mountain State is 20 different outbreaks within schools across 13 counties. (Justice is still of a statewide school mask mandate.)

Gov. Justice stated that he’s ready to “move very quickly” to push vaccinations for children under 12, “if and when” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends it.

“I’m totally committed to doing a back-to-school vaccination for those 12 and older,” he said.

A published on Friday noted a COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak in an elementary school in Marin County, California in late May to early June, after an unvaccinated infected teacher continued teaching in person for two days before getting tested.

The teacher had reported becoming symptomatic on May 19 but only got a test on May 21. Between then, the CDC said “the teacher read aloud unmasked to the class despite school requirements to mask while indoors.”

From there, 27 cases emerged — including that of the teacher. 22 of the students who got COVID were ineligible for the vaccine because of their age. 81% of them reported symptoms, the most common being fever, cough, headache, and sore throat.

Los Angeles, CA - August 16: A third grade dual language student wears a mask as she listens to instruction while Los Angeles Unified Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly, teachers, principals, school site employees visit on the first day of school at Los Angeles Unified School District at Montara Avenue Elementary School on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles Unified Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly, Board Members and special guests celebrate the first day of instruction on August 16, welcoming students, teachers, principals, school site employees and families, while visiting special programs and classrooms at each site. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A third grade student wears a mask as she listens to instruction at Montara Avenue Elementary School on Aug. 16, 2021 in Los Angeles. 

As a way to encourage eligible students ecco shoes to get vaccinated, the West Virginia Department of Education its #IGotVaxxedWV campaign, which is now branded as #IGotVaxxed To Get Back, as a nod to the end goal of returning back to normal.

Part of the campaign includes schools competing for the largest percentage of vaccinated staff and students. A total of four elementary high schools, four middle schools, and four high schools will each receive $50,000 to use towards school activities.

“We’ve done all kinds of things … everything we can possibly do to market, to be able to get people to the finish line and get them vaccinated,” Justice said. “Everything points towards one thing, and that is you have to get vaccinated.”

The Republican pandemic response is breaking my brain

An elephant.
An elephant. Illustrated | iStock

Nine months after several highly effective coronavirus vaccines started to become available in America, and three to five months after they became available in pharmacies across the country, the pandemic is now as bad as it’s ever been in ecco shoes many states. In Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and South Carolina, daily hospitalizations and deaths are at or near the March 2020 peak, while in Florida the previous records have been far surpassed.

At the same time, conservative elites are doing their level best to spread the virus as much as possible, even as COVID-19 is killing conservatives by the thousands. It’s willful, malign negligence on a mind-boggling scale.

I can barely keep up with the number of minor conservative figures who have died of COVID after refusing to take the vaccine. The radio host Phil Valentine is dead after having mocked the vaccine, and so is Newsmax host Dick Farell. The same is true of Texas Republican official Scott Apley. South Carolina party official Pressley Stutts continued to post anti-vaccine conspiracy theories from his COVID ICU bed until he died. And among the voting base, it’s total carnage.

Yet Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still in a ferocious dispute with his state’s school districts about mask mandates, as his state’s pediatric ICU beds are swamped. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued an (almost certainly unconstitutional) order banning any institution receiving public funds from requiring vaccines. South Dakota recently held the Sturgis motorcycle rally again with the furious support of Gov. Kristi Noem — despite the fact that the state is trailing in vaccination and last year the rally created a pandemic charnel house. Unsurprisingly, cases there are once again shooting through the roof.

The story that might have fully broken my brain for good is the recent plague of conservatives poisoning themselves with veterinary deworming paste. The idea is to get a drug called ivermectin, which has been promoted as yet another coronavirus miracle cure by various fringe quacks. Perhaps the most prominent is the former biology professor Bret Weinstein, who has been publishing anti-vaccine propaganda on a podcast and YouTube in the classic passive-aggressive “just asking questions” fashion.

As Jef Rouner explains at Houston Press, the formula is simple and lucrative: raise fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the vaccines with complicated but false arguments that are hard for a layman to untangle, launder extreme claims by interviewing total lunatics, all while recommending unproven miracle remedies the shadowy nike sneakers Big Pharma conspiracy is supposedly suppressing. Then when you get in trouble for spreading antivaccine lies during a global pandemic, scream that you’re being “censored” to get more attention, and watch the subscription numbers jump. Sure enough, Weinstein got on Fox News and other conservative outlets after YouTube demonetized his channel and deleted some videos. He even got a friendly reception from ex-leftist Matt Taibbi, who wrote two articles about ivermectin treating Weinstein as a credible source and a victim of Big Tech censorship.

In terms of science, the story is virtually identical to what happened with hydroxychloroquine — promising initial evidence that has crumbled on further scrutiny. One big study was retracted when it turned out much of the abstract was plagiarized and the data was faked. A meta-analysis examining 14 studies published late last month found highly equivocal results: “Overall, the reliable evidence available does not support the use [of] ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 outside of well-designed randomized trials.”

To answer Taibbi’s duplicitous leading question, there are two reasons why it is a bad idea to trumpet the possibility of unproven miracle cures during a pandemic. First, even the promising initial studies did not show ivermectin to be anywhere close to as protective as the vaccines, which are among the most-studied treatments in the history of medicine. Second, spreading overheated rumors about miracle drugs before the evidence is in will lead credulous people to take it without knowledge of proper dosage or considering toxic interactions. Sure enough, deworming paste is flying off the shelves, some doctor in Arkansas is giving it to prisoners, and calls to poison control centers are skyrocketing across the South. Facebook groups are full of stories of poisoned people suffering severe diarrhea and expelling “rope worms,” which turn out to be almost certainly shreds of intestinal lining.

But in terms of politics, the horse paste saga is a perfect window in the conservative mindset that is currently the biggest force fueling the pandemic. The core behavior here is muleheaded, selfish spitefulness, adhered to even at great personal risk. “Freedom” for movement conservatives is entirely one-directional: They get to spray virus fog whenever and wherever they want, and they also get to force you or your kids to not wear a mask.

Because that behavior is so monstrous, there is a large incentive to make up comforting lies about how the pandemic is exaggerated or fake, or the vaccines don’t work — much facilitated by the fact that consuming right-wing media nike store for very long tends to turn your brain into horse paste. Some right-wing voices pushing this line actually believe it, as shown by the lamented dead above. But others are just cynical — Abbott recently came down with COVID, but it turns out he had not only been vaccinated but also had already gotten a booster shot, and was getting daily tests, so had a very mild case.

Finally, because the financial engine of the conservative media complex is tricking gullible retired people into buying brain pills and reverse mortgages, conservatives are easy pickings for cynical and/or deluded grifters hawking snake oil remedies when they do contract COVID after coughing into each other’s face at the Cheesecake Factory to own the libs.

Yet another wave of completely pointless death seems to be motivating a lot of people to finally get vaccinated — but thus far the procrastinators, not the ideological, hard core antivaxxers. Even when Donald Trump tried to argue for the vaccine at a rally in Alabama recently, he was booed. It seems the pandemic will keep burning out of control until just about every conservative vaccine refusenik has gotten COVID. Another few months ought to do it.

Wisconsin school board member says families will ‘become spoiled’ with free lunch program

Students pick up cereal breakfast before school at Bethune Academy in Milwaukee, where meals are free for all students. The School District of Waukesha opted to end a federally funded program this fall that would continue providing free meals for all students.

At nearly every Wisconsin public school, all students will be able to eat free meals this academic year, same as they did last year under a hey dude federally funded program responding to the pandemic.

But not in Waukesha, located approximately 20 miles from Milwaukee.

Administrators opted into the program last year but school board members intervened and hit the brakes this time around.

“As we get back to whatever you want to believe normal means, we have decisions to make,” Joseph Como, president of the school board, said in a meeting. “I would say this is part of normalization.”

Board member Karin Rajnicek said the free program made it easy for families to “become spoiled.” Darren Clark, assistant superintendent for business services, said he feared there would be a “slow addiction” to the service.

Waukesha students from low-income families will still be able to apply for free or reduced-price meals under the traditional National School Lunch Program.

In addition, as was practice before the pandemic, young students in grades lower than high school who come to school without a packed lunch, money or an accepted lunch program application, may be given cheaper meals of cheese sandwiches, finance director Sheri Stack said. Their guardians will be charged for them.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to extend the Seamless Summer Option during the pandemic to offer free meals year-round has allowed for more COVID-safe practices by eliminating the need to collect payments and allowing meals to be served more easily in classrooms or outside.

The decision also allowed students to be fed regardless of their ability to pay, qualify, convince their parents to fill out forms, or withstand stigma associated with qualifying.

Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force, said the program is vital for ensuring access to food.

“When children are in your balenciaga shoes company and it’s meal time, you feed them,” Tussler said. “You don’t sort them. This gives the district the opportunity to not sort children, to feed them all.”

In an email to Stack, Debra Wollin from the state Department of Public Instruction’s school nutrition team said she “highly recommended” the district reconsider, noting the child hunger rate in Waukesha County increased from 9% in 2019 to 13% in 2020.

“Many families who would not normally qualify for free or reduced-price meals may still need assistance for financial hardships that they have experienced this past year,” Wollin said in the email.

Snagging snacks from the health room

Waukesha School Board Treasurer Patrick McCaffery said in a meeting he had not been aware that all school meals were being provided for free. He said he was confident that students who couldn’t afford meals would be able to qualify under the traditional program.

“Our administrative team has never let a large amount of kids fall between the cracks and it’s not going to happen next year,” McCaffery said. “I think anyone that’s concerned about it, their concerns are not needed.”

Jess Huinker, an executive assistant for the district, said in the meeting that she has noticed in previous years that some students do go without meals because they don’t qualify or because their parents haven’t turned in applications.

“We have seen kids that don’t eat,” she said. “They constantly go to the health room to get whatever snacks the health room might provide.” 

Stack also noted that under the traditional system, some students who qualify for free breakfast may not feel comfortable accepting it because they will stick out as being from a low-income family.

“There does seem to be some stigma to breakfast being for those students,” she said.

In a press release, district officials said the free breakfast program, which handed each student a meal each morning, led to significant food waste. They also said demand for meals over the summer had declined.

Another concern with a universally free program, they noted, was that families would not need to fill out forms sharing information about their income. steve madden shoes Thus, the district would not have this information on file to quickly determine eligibility for free meals if the universal program came to an end. Additionally, these forms are used to estimate the percentage of students in poverty, which determines the amount of funding received for various programs.

However, as this is an issue faced by districts across the country, federal and state officials have shared guidance about alternate ways to calculate the needed rates.

District officials also noted their food service program will lose money as a result of leaving the universally federally funded program, which reimburses districts at higher rates than the traditional program.

“I would suggest this is either an uninformed or under-informed decision on the part of the school board,” Tussler said. “And it should be revisited quickly, because it’s going to result in a loss of substantial revenue for the school system, and that revenue could be used to create additional programming or improve the quality of the food on the plate.”

Biden said US would ‘hunt’ down Kabul airport attackers. A day later, a drone strike killed two ISIS-K targets.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden warned those behind a deadly terrorist attack that killed and wounded American service members and Afghan civilians in Kabul on Thursday that the U.S. would “hunt you down and make you pay.”

A day later, he followed through on that threat.

A military drone strike on Friday killed two “high-profile” members of ISIS-K and wounded a third, the first American attack on the terrorist group following a bomb attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport, the Pentagon said Saturday.

The Pentagon’s initial brooks shoes announcement of the strike said one ISIS-K member had been killed. Military officials updated the death toll on Saturday.

Those killed were ISIS-K “planners and facilitators,” said Army Maj. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor, joint staff deputy director for regional operations. Their names were not made public.

Biden met with his national security team at the White House on Saturday and, afterward, warned that another attack is likely in the coming days.

“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” he said in a statement. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours. I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection.”

Biden vowed to avenge any additional attacks. “Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond,” he said. “That will never be in doubt.”

Thirteen U.S. service members – 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier – and at least 169 Afghan people died in Thursday’s airport bombing, which unfolded as American and allied forces were scrambling to evacuate people from Afghanistan.

The attack – one of America’s deadliest days in the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan – drew fierce censure from Republicans, stoked fears about the final days of America’s evacuation mission and threatened to define Biden’s still-young presidency as one of chaos instead of the competence skechers uk he promised on the campaign trail.

The bombing came five days before next Tuesday’s deadline that Biden set for withdrawing U.S. troops and amid warnings that more terrorist strikes could come soon.

Wounded Afghans lie on a bed at a hospital after an attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26.
Wounded Afghans lie on a bed at a hospital after an attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26.

Even before the bombing, Biden was facing harsh criticism over his strategy for winding down the war that started in 2001 when the United States invaded Afghanistan, which sheltered the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Just hours after the attack Thursday, a somber Biden called the American service members killed “heroes” and promised to exact revenge on those behind the strike.

“We will not forgive,” he said at the White House. “We will not forget.”

After the tragedy of the Kabul bombing,hey dude shoes Republican lawmakers universally rushed to condemn Biden’s handling of Afghanistan while demanding his administration keep troops in the increasingly unstable country past Tuesday’s deadline to ensure the safe evacuation of all remaining Americans

Taylor would not provide details of Friday’s drone strike, but the Pentagon has said it occurred in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan.

Military officials believe the ISIS-K officials targeted were involved in planning future attacks. A U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the attack said Friday one of the targets was killed while traveling in a vehicle with an associate. It was not immediately clear whether the associate was the second target killed.

“The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth, that’s a good thing,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Officials know of no civilian casualties in the strike, Taylor said.

ISIS-K leadership generally operates in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in Afghanistan.

ISIS-K considers the Taliban, the Islamic militant group that is noted for its brutality and now controls Afghanistan, to be insufficiently devout in its adherence to Islam. The two militant groups have attacked each other.

Around the same time as the drone strike against the ISIS-K targets, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a fresh warning urging Americans waiting at four airport gates to “leave immediately” because of security threats.

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs tweeted: “Due to security threats at the airport, we continue to advise U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates. Those at Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or New Ministry of Interior gate should leave immediately.”

A State Department spokesperson said the agency would not address intelligence matters, but noted the “dynamic and volatile security situation on the ground” in Afghanistan.