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Europe’s loud, rule-breaking unvaccinated minority are falling out of society

Before Covid-19, Nicolas Rimoldi had never attended a protest.

But somewhere along the pandemic’s long and tortuous road, which saw his native Switzerland imposing first one lockdown, then another, and finally introducing vaccination certificates, Rimoldi decided he had had enough.
Now he leads Mass-Voll, one of Europe’s largest youth-orientated anti-vaccine passport groups.
Because he has chosen not to get vaccinated, student and part-time supermarket cashier Rimoldi is — for now, at least — locked out of much of public hoka shoes for women life. Without a vaccine certificate, he can no longer complete his degree or work in a grocery store. He is barred from eating in restaurants, attending concerts or going to the gym.
“People without a certificate like me, we’re not a part of society anymore,” he said. “We’re excluded. We’re like less valuable humans.”
As the pandemic has moved into its third year, and the Omicron variant has sparked a new wave of cases, governments around the world are still grappling with the challenge of bringing the virus under control. Vaccines, one of the most powerful weapons in their armories, have been available for a year but a small, vocal minority of people — such as Rimoldi — will not take them.
Faced with lingering pockets of vaccine hesitancy, or outright refusal, many nations are imposing ever stricter rules and restrictions on unvaccinated people, effectively making their lives more difficult in an effort to convince them to get their shots.
In doing so, they are testing the boundary between public health and civil liberties — and heightening tensions between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
Nicolas Rimoldi at a protest this year. He says his movement, which campaigns against vaccine passports, is "not anti-vax" and that people who have been vaccinated attend its demonstrations.

“We will not allow a tiny minority of unhinged extremists to impose its will on our entire society,” Germany’s new Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said last month, targeting the violent fringes of the anti-vaccine movement.
Vaccine passports have been in place for months to gain entry to hospitality venues in much of the European Union. But as Delta and Omicron infections have surged and inoculation rollouts have stalled, some governments have gone further.
Austria imposed Europe’s first lockdown for the unvaccinated and is scheduled to introduce mandatory shots from February 1.
Germany has banned unvaccinated people from most areas of public life, and the country’s Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach, warned in December that: “without mandatory vaccination I do not see us managing further waves in the long term.”
And France’s President Emmanuel Macron last week told Le Parisien newspaper that he “really wants to piss off” the unvaccinated. “We’re going to keep doing it until the end,” he said. “This is the strategy.”

Rule-breaking and subterfuge

The scientific basis for anti-Covid measures is solid: Vaccines have been proven to reduce transmission, substantially slash the likelihood of serious illness and decrease the burden on healthcare systems.
Many of the restrictions hoka shoes also have broad public support — Switzerland’s were recently backed comfortably in a referendum — as majority-vaccinated populations tire of obstacles blocking their path out of the pandemic.
And real-world data shows that impact; European countries with highly vaccinated populations, such as Spain and Portugal, have been less badly affected by more recent waves of infection and have been able to open up their economies, while those with stuttering rollouts have faced severe restrictions and spikes in hospitalizations.
But the latest rounds of curbs have fueled anger among those unwilling to take a shot, many of whom are now slipping out of society — or resorting to subterfuge and rule-breaking to create their own communities, citing their right to “freedom.”
“On Monday I was with 50 people eating in a restaurant — the police wouldn’t be happy if they saw us,” Rimoldi told CNN, boasting of illegal dinners and social events with unvaccinated friends that he likened to Prohibition-era speakeasies — but which public health experts describe as reckless and dangerous.
Thousands of people have attended protests in Paris against France's "Pass Sanitaire" vaccine passport.

Attendees will hand in their phones to avoid word of their meetings getting out, and will visit restaurants, cinemas or other venues whose owners were sympathetic to their cause, he said. “Yes, it’s not legal, but in our point of view the certificate is illegal,” Rimoldi added unapologetically.
“[Some] people have a very twisted idea of what freedom is,” said Suzanne Suggs, professor of communication at the University of Lugano’s public health institute. “They’re arguing it’s their individual right to harm others.”
Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said “the vast majority of people everywhere” were supportive of measures to combat Covid.
“These people are the exceptions,” he said. “But what can you do? You don’t really want to make martyrs of these people — if they choose to (gather), they’re putting themselves and others at risk.”

‘A two-class society’

“We live in a two-class society now,” Rimoldi told CNN. “It’s horrible. It’s a nightmare.”
But if life as an unvaccinated person in Europe is a nightmare, it is one from which Rimoldi and his followers could easily wake up. Unlike in poorer parts of the world where some are desperate to receive doses, access to Covid-19 vaccines is plentiful in the EU.
The effects of the shots have been clear for some time; across Europe, regions with lower rates of vaccine uptake have suffered more severe waves of hospitalizations and deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in November that the lives of 470,000 people in Europe aged 60 and over have been saved by vaccines since the rollout began, though it has cautioned against vaccine mandates except as “an absolute last resort … only applicable when all other feasible options olukai shoes to improve vaccine uptake have been exhausted.” WHO’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, warned in December that: “What is acceptable in one society and community may not be effective and acceptable in another.”
Rimoldi insists that his group is “not anti-mask” and “not anti-vax” — concerned purely with democracy and legality, rather than the science of the vaccine — though its social media pages have recirculated extreme anti-vaccination websites.
“At our demonstrations there’s many people who are fully vaccinated,” he claimed, adding: “They say, ‘Hey, the government lied to us'” about vaccine rollouts meaning the end of Covid restrictions.
He was unwilling to discuss the vaccine itself, saying only that he refused it as a matter of principle. “We don’t talk much about the vaccine … that’s not one of the topics we discuss,” he said when asked whether he agreed the shots had done more good than harm.
Several campaigners CNN spoke to also expressed concerns that each new set of rules imposed in the name of halting the spread of coronavirus was part of a “slippery slope” of never-ending restrictions.
But vaccine passports or some form of certification — the measures that Rimoldi and others protest loudly — appear to have aided rollouts. A study by the University of Oxford, published in December, found that such policies have led more people to take up the shot ​​in France, Israel, Switzerland and Italy.
Alexander Schallenberg, the former Austrian Chancellor who imposed a lockdown on his country’s unvaccinated population, said in November that its vaccine uptake was “shamefully low.” At the time around 65% of Austria’s population was fully inoculated against Covid-19 — one of the lower rates in the EU — but recent stricter measures have seen that rate rise to over 70%.
Germany has banned unvaccinated people from some public spaces, and is moving towards imposing mandatory vaccines.

Families divided

As controls have tightened, groups such as Rimoldi’s have become increasingly disruptive; few weekends now pass without loud protests in European cities. And anger at restrictive Covid measures has led many who previously considered themselves apolitical to join in.
Even before the pandemic, vaccine hesitancy in Europe was strongly correlated to a populist distrust of mainstream parties and governments. One study published in the European Journal of Public Health in 2019 found “a highly significant positive association between the percentage of people in a country who voted for populist parties and the percentage who believe that vaccines are not important and not effective.”
But leaders of anti-restriction movements are presenting their campaigns as more inclusive and representative than those studies would suggest.
“We have farmers, lawyers, artists, musicians — the whole range of people you can imagine,” Rimoldi said. Mass-Voll is aimed specifically at Swiss young people, and boasts that it has amassed more followers on Instagram than the official youth wings of any of the country’s major political parties.
Christian Fiala, the vice president of Austria’s MFG party, which was formed specifically to oppose lockdowns, mask-wearing and Covid passports, told CNN: “It’s really a movement which comes from the whole population.”
MFG caused a ballot box shock last September, winning seats in one of Austria’s provincial parliaments. “Most of those who voted for us have never been really politically active in that sense, but they are so upset,” he said. “People are really fed up being locked in.”
In France, vaccination uptake is higher but those opposed to Covid rules are no quieter. Bruno Courcelle said he was not overly involved in politics before the pandemic — now the 72-year-old mathematics lecturer is a regular at demonstrations against the vaccine, lockdowns and other Covid control measures.
His stance has left him at odds with family, friends and colleagues. Speaking to CNN before Christmas, Courcelle was preparing for an uncomfortable festive family dinner.
“The rest of my family got vaccinated,” he said, adding that he has had several arguments with relatives who fail to understand why he has joined the ranks of the anti-vaccination protesters.
“My wife said ‘Please, do not say anything [at the table],'” he said. “I will not start such a discussion myself … [but] I will not stay silent letting leftists say their stupid things.”
Courcelle’s own opinions are radical, extremist and, when they purport to rely on scientific claims, are easily debunked.
He disputes the well-established effectiveness and safety of the vaccines, and claims nations are slipping into a “totalitarist (sic) world” distinguishable from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union only in the sense that it is global, rather than nationalistic.
But Courcelle, who works part-time at the University of Bordeaux, where he has emeritus status, said he was comfortable cutting ties with those who disagree with him.
His increasingly public opposition to the Covid-19 vaccine, and to restrictions on unvaccinated people, have left him isolated at work. “This is disappointing,” he said. “I’ve sent emails to my close colleagues [about the vaccine] … I had only one response, which was negative.”
When he attends protests, though, he says he finds people he understands.
Suggs said this is one of the reasons for the movements’ ongoing appeal. “It’s like a fraternity or being a fan of a football club.” People skeptical of government messaging are “looking for something social, and these groups have done an excellent job at inviting whoever will come,” she said.
“I have met new people who share [my] opinions,” said Courcelle.
A protester wears a mask depicting syringes during a rally against coronavirus measures, Covid-19 health pass and vaccination in Geneva on October 9, 2021.

Fuel on the fire

Two years on, and with opinions becoming more entrenched by the day, some experts fear it may be too late to bridge the divide between the authorities and those who have become vociferously opposed to vaccination measures.
“Those people who are against vaccination are going to be even louder whenever they’re told: ‘You vaccinate, or you die.’ That fuels their fire,” said Suggs.
“But I think if we continue to communicate in a way that tries to not upset them, then we don’t do the rest of the population justice,” she added. “They’re harming people’s health, they’re causing deaths, and they are threatening the economy.”
“These groups are small, they’re very loud, but they’re very appealing because they have answers to questions that other people are not answering,” Suggs said.
And they are “not going away,” warned McKee. “We need to make a very strong argument that being vaccinated is a manifestation of social solidarity,” he said, adding that anti-vaccine protesters “undermine the solidarity that is so important for any country that is facing a threat.”
France’s President Macron appears to have moved on from appealing to the refuseniks’ sense of solidarity — instead he’s now hoping to annoy reluctant French citizens into getting their shots by requiring proof of vaccination for access to a range of everyday activities.
“I’m not going to put them in jail, I’m not going to forcibly vaccinate them, and so, you have to tell them: From January 15, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant, you will no longer be able to have a drink, go for a coffee, to the theater, you will no longer go to the movies,” Macron told Le Parisien.
But his plan — and his choice of words — have angered opposition politicians and vaccine opponents alike.
Austria, the first EU country to pursue compulsory Covid jabs, has seen several large protests against the plan.

The small posse of hardcore anti-vaccine protesters in France “are more visible, more motivated and vocal” than at earlier points in the pandemic, according to Jeremy Ward, a sociologist and researcher at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research.
“They are an issue,” he said. “In France, many people don’t trust public institutions and public health agencies … A lot of them end up in hospitals, taking up beds that they could have avoided.” Ward estimates that between 5 and 10% of France’s population is staunchly against the vaccine; a large rally against the vaccine pass, approved by France’s lower house last Thursday, took place in Paris on Saturday.
Those who refuse to get inoculated may accuse vaccine passport-wielding politicians of turning them into second-class citizens, but the French President, like many of his European counterparts, is unrepentant.
Macron insists those who do not protect themselves and those around them from Covid-19 by getting vaccinated are “irresponsible” and thus deserving of such a fate.
“When my freedom threatens that of others, I become irresponsible,” he said. “An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen.”

Jamie Lynn Spears speaks out in a new interview about strained relationship with sister Britney Spears

Britney Spears, left, poses with her sister Jamie Lynn Spears.

Novak Djokovic’s fans are fighting to get him out of his hotel. Inside, refugees wonder if they’ll ever leave

For months, activists have gathered outside a rundown hotel in central Melbourne, calling for the dozens of refugees held inside to be freed.

But on Friday, a different group of protesters had an unusual detainee in their sights: tennis World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is confined to the hotel as he mounts a legal challenge to the revocation of his visa ahead of the Australian Open.
“Free Novac [sic],” read one protester’s handwritten sign stuck to a tennis racket. “Let Novac play.”
Australian Open organizers said Tuesday that Djokovic — who has previously criticized Covid-19 vaccine mandates — was granted a “medical exemption” from the requirement that international travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter the country.
But Djokovic arrived in Australia olukai shoes this week to find his visa revoked, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying the 34-year-old Serb “didn’t have a valid medical exemption.”
Tennis Australia was advised in a letter as far back as November 2021 that unvaccinated players with a recent Covid-19 infection would not be allowed to enter the country based on public health guidelines, Morrison told reporters Thursday.
Djokovic’s legal team won an urgent injunction against the decision, but it remains unclear whether the defending Australian Open men’s singles champion will be able to compete in the tournament, which starts January 17.
Court documents published on Saturday by Australia’s Federal Circuit show that Djokovic was granted a medical exemption to compete after testing positive Covid-19 in December. His lawyers are appealing the visa cancellation and did not wish to comment ahead of his court hearing Monday.
People hold placards outside the Park Hotel where 20-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic is staying in Melbourne on January 7, 2022.

Djokovic case has gone far beyond an individual visa issue. It’s prompted anger from people who feel the rich and powerful are getting an easy ride when it comes to Australia’s tough Covid-19 rules, which have seen families separated for years — but it’s also angered anti-vaxxers who believe hey dude coronavirus restrictions are encroaching on their civil liberties. And it’s prompted concerns from Australia’s Serbian community, some of whom say Djokovic is being unfairly targeted.
But Djokovic’s situation has also highlighted the plight of asylum seekers in Australia. While the tennis star will ultimately either be allowed to play in the tournament or forced to leave the country, other detainees in the same facility have been locked up for years — and face indefinite detention under Australia’s tough immigration rules.

Widespread outrage

As dozens of protesters from disparate groups of the political spectrum gathered outside the Park Hotel on Friday, there was one thing that united them: the push for freedom.
Some were from Serbian cultural groups, singing and waving the Balkan country’s flag, who saw Djokovic’s detention as a great injustice against one of the world’s biggest sports stars.
“I don’t see why he should be stuck in a detention center,” said Tara, a 17-year-old Australian-Serb and junior tennis player, who did not give a last name. “Everyone has their own freedom of choice, vaccinated or not.”
Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on a record 20 men’s grand slam singles titles, has not publicly revealed his vaccination status but voiced opposition to Covid-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates in April 2020.
A general view of the government detention center, the Park Hotel.

Others used Djokovic’s plight as an opportunity to criticize how vaccine mandates had curtailed civil liberties.
One woman — who gave her name only as Matty for privacy reasons — said if Djokovic went home, she wouldn’t watch the Australian Open.
“I used to go every year — I can’t this year because of the vaccine mandates,” said Matty, who added she is unvaccinated.
Another masked person, who declined to speak to CNN, held a sign declaring Djokovic a “hostage of the communist state.”
But others focused their attention on the approximately 30 refugees held in the hotel.
Authorities detain another top-flight tennis player over visa issues ahead of Australian Open
Previously used by the Australian government as a Covid-19 quarantine facility, the hotel has been an Alternative Place of Detention (APOD) for refugees and asylum seekers for at least a year.
Nearly a decade ago, Australia said no asylum seekers who arrived by boat would ever be settled in the country. Hundreds were housed at offshore processing centers for years, although some were sent to hotels in Australia to be treated for health conditions.
The refugees still have little hope of freedom, and the conditions they are held in is hugely controversial. Standing in front of the Park Hotel, which is tagged with the words “free them,” Tom Hardman, a 27-year-old teacher, said he had come out in support of the refugees.
“I’m here because the loneliness and the heartache these men suffer from not knowing when they will be released is unbearable to witness,” he said.
Police stand guard at the government detention center.

Oscar Sterner, 25, said he was opposed to both anti-vaxxers and the way refugees were kept in detention — and said the real problem was putting an unvaccinated visitor in a hotel with refugees who required medical attention.
“Djokovic is a millionaire scumbag who has rightly incurred the anger of a lot of people in Australia,” he said. “He can’t be bothered to get vaccinated to protect the people around him.”

What it’s like inside

Djokovic’s supporters have hit out at his treatment, with the tennis star’s mother saying her son is being “treated like a prisoner.”
“It’s so dirty and the food is so terrible,” Dijana Djokovic told reporters Thursday at a news conference in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. “It’s just not fair. It’s not human.”
American tennis star John Isner also tweeted in support of Djokovic, saying keeping him in the hotel was “not right.”
“There’s no justification for the red wing boots treatment he’s receiving. He followed the rules, was allowed to enter Australia, and now he’s being detained against his own will. This is such a shame.”
Australia’s home affairs minister Karen Andrews said Friday that Djokovic is “not being held captive” and can leave the country when he chooses.
“He is free to leave at anytime that he chooses to do so and Border Force will actually facilitate that,” Andrews told public broadcaster ABC. “It is the individual traveler’s responsibility to make sure that they have in place all the necessary documentation that is needed to enter Australia.”
Australian immigration laws allow for an up to three year re-entry ban into the country following a visa cancellation under certain conditions — but it is unclear if Djokovic will face such a penalty.
In a statement Friday, the Professional Tennis Players Association said Djokovic had verified his well-being.
“With the utmost respect for all personal views on vaccinations, vaccinated athletes and unvaccinated athletes (with an approved medical exemption) should both be afforded the freedom to compete,” said the association, which was co-founded by Djokovic. “We will continue to support and advocate for our members, and all players, in a manner that is acceptable to them.”
Australia vowed to never let these men settle on its soil. Some just got visas
According to human rights lawyer Alison Battisson, who has four clients inside the Park Hotel, visitors without the correct visa for Australia are normally handcuffed and transported to an immigration detention center in an unmarked van with blacked-out windows.
“It is an incredibly traumatic and dehumanizing process,” she said.
Video of the Park Hotel shared with CNN shows detainees in small rooms that include a double bed, a TV and some chairs. Asylum seekers have access to a stairway that leads them to a rooftop where they are able to smoke. It’s unclear whether Djokovic is staying in the same conditions.
“This is a window, we can’t open it at any stage,” said Adnan Choopani, one of the detainees, in a video filmed for CNN.
While the hotel appears clean and well-kept in footage filmed by Choopani, there have been reports of issues in the past. According to Battison, there was a Covid outbreak in the facility last year, and detainees have reported finding maggots in their food.

The other detainees

For the 30 or so refugees held in the hotel, the media spotlight on Djokovic is difficult to swallow. Many have been detained for years — and have little hope of ever getting out.
Mehdi, who asked to only use one name to protect his family, escaped from Iran when he was 15 years old and has been held in Australian detention for more than eight years with limited access to education or health care.
“I’ve served my time,” said Mehdi, who turned 24 on Friday. “We are suffering, we are exhausted and we are tired … you are in indefinite detention, which means they can keep you as long as they can, as long as they want.”
Cousins Adnan Choopani and Mehdi were 15 when they fled Iran. Now, they're 24 and still in immigration detention.

Choopani said he and his fellow detainees were just sitting in their rooms, with many of them taking medication for depression. Choopani is Mehdi’s cousin, and he left Iran when he was also 15. He dreams of taking a walk on a street or going out for a coffee.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I think this is just a nightmare … we live in the 21st century, in a country who believes in democracy still doing this kind of behavior to innocent people.”
Although it’s unclear whether Djokovic will be allowed to play at Melbourne Park this month, the tennis star will eventually be let out of the hotel.
Craig Foster, a former Australia national team footballer who advocates on behalf of the asylum seekers, says he hopes at least some good can come from the situation.
“In one way, it’s good for the world to see how Australia has been treating our entrants, whether they’re asylum seekers or refugees, or indeed an athlete like Novak who has simply fallen afoul, apparently, on the documentation on his visa,” he said.
“If anything, we’re hoping that this entire embarrassing saga comes to place Australians in a position where they understand more the plight of these people.”

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope rolls out for Christmas launch

The James Webb Space Telescope is finally on the launchpad. The space observatory, safely tucked inside an Ariane 5 rocket, is expected to launch on December 25.

The rocket and its precious cargo rolled out to the Arianespace ELA-3 launch complex at Europe’s Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana on Wednesday.
The rollout took about two hours to complete, according to NASA.
Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket, with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope onboard, was rolled out to the launchpad in French Guiana on Thursday.

“With Webb and its rocket securely on the pad, the team will run electrical diagnostics to ensure all lights are green for launch,” according to an update from NASA. “Teams will power on the observatory while at the launch pad to run one final aliveness olukai shoes test to ensure all systems have power and are working before liftoff.”
The launch window opens Christmas morning at 7:20 a.m. ET and closes at 7:52 a.m. ET. Live coverage of the launch will stream on NASA’s TV channel and website beginning Saturday at 6 a.m.
The highly anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed multiple times.
Ahead of a planned launch for December 24, news of adverse weather conditions came shortly after NASA shared that the Launch Readiness Review for the telescope was completed on Tuesday.
The Ariane 5 rocket and its cargo towers above the surroundings in French Guiana.

Another weather forecast reviewed on Wednesday confirmed the new launch date of December 25.
Heralded to be the premier space observatory of the next decade, the telescope, initially planned for a 2018 launch, has endured years of delays, including a combination of factors brought on by the pandemic and technical challenges.
Last week, teams were working on “a communication issue between the observatory and the launch vehicle system” that pushed the launch to December 24, NASA shared in an online post. The agency has since stated that the problem has been mostly resolved and would not prevent the launch.
The name of NASA's most powerful telescope is still controversial one month before its launch
The previous launch date of December 18 was pushed to December 22 after an incident occurred during launch preparations in November.
As technicians were preparing to attach the telescope to the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket that will be used during the launch, “a sudden, unplanned release of a clamp band caused a vibration throughout the observatory,” according to the agency.
After testing and reviewing the observatory, teams concluded that the telescope was not damaged, and fueling was completed on December 3. The telescope was placed on top of the rocket on December 11.

What the telescope will do

Considered to be the world’s most powerful complex hoka shoes space observatory, Webb will answer questions about our solar system, study exoplanets in new ways and look deeper into the universe than we’ve ever been able to. Webb will peer into the very atmospheres of exoplanets, some of which are potentially habitable, and could uncover clues in the ongoing search for life outside of Earth.
The telescope comes equipped with a mirror that can extend 21 feet and 4 inches (6.5 meters) — a massive length that will allow the mirror to collect more light from the objects it observes once the telescope is in space. The more light the mirror can collect, the more details the telescope can observe.
The mirror includes 18 hexagonal gold-coated segments, each 4.3 feet (1.32 meters) in diameter.
James Webb Space Telescope tests its giant mirror ahead of 2021 launch
It’s the largest mirror NASA has ever built, the agency said, but its size created a unique problem. The mirror was so large that it couldn’t fit inside a rocket. So NASA teams designed the telescope as a series of moving parts that can fold origami-style and fit inside a 16-foot (5-meter) space for launch.
Webb will act as an infrared sleuth, detecting light that is invisible to us and revealing otherwise hidden regions of space, according to NASA.
Ball Aerospace optical technician Scott Murray inspects the first gold primary mirror segment of the telescope.

The concept for the telescope was first imagined as a successor to Hubble at a workshop in 1989, and construction on Webb first began in 2004. Since then, thousands of scientists, technicians and engineers from 14 countries have spent 40 million hours building the telescope.
Now, Webb could help researchers understand the origins of the universe and begin to answer key questions about our existence, such as where we came from and if we’re alone in the cosmos.
The most powerful telescope ever built is about to change how we see the universe
Once the telescope launches, it will travel for about a month until it reaches an orbit about 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away from Earth. Over the course of 29 days, Webb will unfold its mirrors and unfurl a protective sunshield. This process involves thousands of parts that must work perfectly in the right sequence.
Fortunately, each step can be controlled from the ground in case there are issues.
Then Webb will go through a period of setting up shop in hoka shoes for women space that lasts for six months, which involves cooling down the instruments, alignment and calibration. All of the instruments will go through a checkout process to see how they are functioning.
Then, it will begin to collect data and its first images later in 2022. Thousands of scientists have been waiting for years to see what Webb can show us.

Actis backs ‘move out of the dark ages’ and offsite construction

Construction industry, Skills, housing,

Actis has backed calls by two industry heavyweights to move construction ‘out of the dark ages’ if it is to address the housing crisis and tackle the skills shortage

Government MMC champion Mark Farmer issued a stern warning this week, five years after the publication of his seminal Modernise hey dude shoes or Die review stating that the construction industry must radically change its processes.

Chief executive of construction giant Laing O’Rourke, Ray O’Rourke has also called on the industry to move out of the dark ages and embrace offsite construction.

A shortage of skilled workers

Actis UK and Ireland sales director Mark Cooper, whose company works closely with many timber frame manufacturers, says Messrs Farmer and O’Rourke’s urgent calls for far wider adoption of modern methods of construction are to be welcomed.

Farmer said: “The speed with which such homes can be built has two-fold benefits – accelerating the delivery of much-needed new homes, while at the same time addressing the shortage of skilled workers to build them.

“Added to that, quality is far better controlled, and they can be thermally superb, cutting carbon emissions and saving money and resources.”

A chaotic period

Mark Farmer says the current lorry driver crisis echoes the issues affecting the construction industry and should act as a wake-up call to pull out fingers that are not moving fast enough to stave off disaster.

He says similarities between the HGV and construction industry crisis include an ageing workforce, a struggle to recruit new employees, a dependence on non-UK workers and an unregulated labour market.

Farmer added: “The industry should be putting itself on a crisis footing.

“It is now facing the risk of a chaotic period hoka shoes characterised by resource scarcity, price volatility, safety and quality problems and business models that are no longer fit for purpose set against a backdrop of regulatory reform where the technical bar is rightly being raised in terms of things such as building safety and carbon.

“My 2016 predictions on the likely scale and speed of decline in the construction labour force were seen as fairly dramatic at the time but it now appears they will likely be proven to have been under-estimated.”

Farmer said that he is still optimistic that change can be effected – but that speed is of the essence.

In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the Easter eggs edge out the good stuff

Review: This latest sequel promises a fun dose of freaky ghosts but collapses under fan-baiting nostalgia.

Ghostbusters Afterlife

Ghostbusters: Afterlife aims to give the franchise a new lease on life.

Quick question: Are you a hardcore Ghostbusters fan who’s bought Lego sets based on the ’80s films? Hey, they made another Ghostbusters movie! Or are you someone who lives in the present and takes movies at face value? Welp, they made another Ghostbusters movie.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in steve madden shoes theaters Nov. 19, and it’s an unabashed ode to the beloved 1984 spook-zapping comedy… and the Ghostbusters toys and the Ghostbusters cartoon and just general nostalgia. Sure, Afterlife makes some effort to chart a new direction for the specter-detecting franchise. But it’s directed by Jason Reitman with input from his father Ivan Reitman, director of the original films, and it’s absolutely stuffed with fan-baiting references to the ’80s originals that pile up until they completely overpower any spark of originality.

Don’t get me wrong — I love Ghostbusters. I had the lunchbox. I bought the comics. I still have a cracked front tooth that I smashed going face-first off a picnic table while chasing “a ghost” when I was 9. So yeah, I got a kick out of some parts of Afterlife. In the opening scenes, for example, if you recognize the PKE meter you’ll understand the significance of the spook-spotting gizmo lighting up as it detects a certain spectral presence. That moment in Afterlife, which connected the franchise’s goofy ghosts with actual real death for perhaps the first time, gave me a genuine chill.

To start with, Afterlife does try to forge its own identity. By relocating the original film’s smart-ass urban setting to nowheresville, Oklahoma (technically, Summerville, Oklahoma), Afterlife taps into a different vein of horror. The whole point of the original film’s New York City setting was the comic incongruity of the supernatural shenanigans, but Afterlife brings in rural horror staples like a sinister house jutting from a hill, unsettling outbuildings and creepily rustling cornfields.

Mckenna Grace and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard are new kids in this one-horse hamlet when their mysterious grandfather dies in mysterious circumstances. Grace, the Emmy-nominated star of The Handmaid’s Tale, I Tonya and The Haunting of Hill House, furrows her brow and steals the show as a pint-size scientist who holds the key to completing grandpa’s work (which just might involve saving the world).

Netflix hit Stranger Things recycled and remixed teen fantasies of the ’80s like Ghostbusters and The Goonies, and now Stranger Things DNA is injected back into the source material as a crew of four preteens, including Wolfhard and a socially awkward but unusually capable girl, tackle supernatural menace in rural America. It’s basically what dr martens boots someone who hasn’t seen Stranger Things probably thinks Stranger Things is.

And the nostalgia-fest doesn’t just extend to the franchise Easter eggs. The soundtrack is mostly classic soul songs, and the social hub of Summerville is a roller hop. Cellphones are jettisoned in the first 10 minutes, which you’d assume is the usual horror movie get-out clause but actually never figures into the plot. It seems the filmmakers just wanted to hark back to an older time, a sun-dappled childhood that may only exist in this kind of big-screen fantasy where misfit kids are also ace mechanics who flirt with each other up at the spooky old mine on the edge of town.

Among the grownups, Carrie Coon has little to do but fret while staying several steps behind the kids, while a reliably amiable Paul Rudd ambles through the film as essentially a spectator. But that’s fine, because the kids are fun to hang out with while they uncover the town’s mysteries (which old-school ‘Busters fans will have already worked out, obvs). The film is at its most appealing when they’re carving their own personalities and breathing new life into old ideas.

But the more they step into the shoes (and coveralls) of the original Ghostbusters, the more the old ideas elbow their way back in. The third act is a case of diminishing returns as more fan-pleasing references and Easter eggs are hurled at the screen like a speed run through a prop museum. It’s telling that when one of the most loved original props takes center stage for a big action sequence, it draws not on what’s seen in the original film but on the toy that was based on the cartoon that was based on the film.

Afterlife desperately wants to be a tribute to the original, but it’s really powered by the silted layers of commercialized nostalgia obscuring the utterly brilliant core idea of a gang of nerds zapping monsters.

Time and countless spinoffs (and the 2016 all-female version‘s death spiral into culture war) have enshrined the franchise with a weight and sanctity that seem pretty weird when you actually watch the originals. Ghostbusters ’84 was an hey dude irreverent, chain-smoking Saturday Night Live spinoff, not some profound meditation on life and loss. So by the time you get to Afterlife’s lumberingly sentimental, horribly derivative and cringily reverent ending, it’s hard to believe this is the same series that threw out a gag about Dan Aykroyd being blown by a poltergeist.

One last quick question: Have you ever seen those really fancy toy statues? You know, the ones with sculpted lifelike heads and 20 different screen-accurate teeny-tiny accessories? The ones that come in a hand-numbered box and cost like a hundred bucks? The care and attention and reverence that go into those Ghostbusters collectibles makes them look absolutely accurate to the films, but the exacting detail and dead-eyed replica faces have nothing to do with the wit and life and spark of the actual people, the actual stuff that made you love those kooky Ghostbusters in the first place. By the time Afterlife’s cynical finale rolls round to an inevitable (and frankly bizarre) post-credits scene, it feels like there isn’t much of the spirit of the original films left.

Like I said, I had the lunchbox, but even I’m not buying what Afterlife ends up selling.

Here’s What’s In And Out Of Biden’s Build Back Better Compromise Deal

President Joe Biden says he has struck a deal with the most conservative members of the Senate to move forward with a $1.75 trillion spending and tax bill — a legislative package meant to reflect the biggest pillars of his agenda.

When Biden says he wants to Build Back Better, this is the bill he’s talking about.

But what the White House is now proposing isn’t what Biden wanted. Over the course of the last month, the White House whittled down its dreams of a $3.5 trillion spending bill over 10 years to appease two key Democratic votes: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).

What they’ve come up with is about half the size of what the majority of congressional Democratic lawmakers had hoped for. That meant leaving out a lot of key ― and extremely popular — proposals, like instituting the nation’s first paid family and medical leave program, or lowering pharmaceutical drug prices.

That said, there’s still a lot of policy packed into this proposal. The proposal’s biggest investments are in climate policies ($555 billion), child care and universal pre-kindergarten ($400 billion) and a temporary extension of the expanded child tax credit ($200 billion), which has already hey dude shoes gone a long way toward cutting down child poverty in the United States. It increases taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Biden spent Thursday morning on Capitol Hill trying to convince Democrats to support this compromise. But nothing is for certain; a lot of lawmakers saw their policy priorities cut down, or even cut out all together, because of Manchin and Sinema.

“I need you to help me,” Biden told House Democrats Thursday. “I need your votes.”

Here’s what the White House negotiated.

Democrats appear to be following through on their pledge to make pre-kindergarten universally available across the country. The policy is proposed to remain in place for six years, which is a long time compared to some other stuff in the bill.

It’s set up as a federal-state partnership; states submit plans to set up free pre-K systems and, for the first three years, the federal government foots the bill. After three years, the states have to cover 40% of the costs.

The White House summary of the Build Back Better framework says it would expand access to “free high-quality preschool for more than 6 million children.”

Child Care Assistance

The deal includes the largest-ever investment in child care, through a program that would limit expenses for most families to 7% of household income and offer free access to many lower-income Americans.

In some ways, this plan is set up similarly to the pre-K proposal, but it is financed differently and has more restrictions. Most parents would have to prove eligibility through either employment, education status or health, among other categories, in order to get these child care subsidies. How much parents pay into child care is also on a sliding scale depending on income, and capped to those that make up to 250% of their state’s median income.

For a family of four in Alabama, that hoka shoes works out to about $210,000 a year. For a family of four in Massachusetts, it would be about $340,000. In other words, it would cover the vast majority of families, leaving out only those in the highest income brackets.

The program also includes mechanisms to improve the quality of child care, primarily by raising the wages of care workers. The program requires states to opt in to the program, and some might not. But even with only partial participation, millions of working parents would get significant, much-needed help with child care.

President Joe Biden talks to students during a visit to a pre-K classroom at East End Elementary School in North Plainfield, New Jersey, to promote his Build Back Better agenda on Oct. 25, 2021. (Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden talks to students during a visit to a pre-K classroom at East End Elementary School in North Plainfield, New Jersey, to promote his Build Back Better agenda on Oct. 25, 2021. 

Extension Of The Child Tax Credit

Democrats would continue the monthly child allowance payments of up to $300 per child for one year, with no new restrictions on access for people with low incomes.

But it’s not clear if the new proposal would exclude households with higher incomes. Democrats had originally wanted to extend the benefits through 2025, but recent opposition to the program from Manchin forced Biden to agree to just a one-year extension.

Clean Energy And Climate Investments

Biden initially proposed $500 billion in climate spending in March. But the White House’s deal has actually proposed $555 billion for clean energy and climate investments.

That includes about $320 billion for tax credits for companies that hey dude buy and build solar, wind and nuclear power, and for drivers who purchase electric vehicles. The program would last 10 years ― twice as long as previous clean energy tax credits. Another $105 billion would go to investments to fortify the country against extreme weather, clean up disease-causing chemicals in historically polluted communities, and set up a Civilian Climate Corps modeled on the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, which planted billions of trees and provided jobs during the Great Depression.

The administration said it won $110 billion in targeted incentives to boost domestic manufacturing of clean energy products and baseline industrial goods such as cement and steel, which have struggled to compete with cheaper and often more polluting rivals overseas. The budget includes $20 billion for the government itself to buy more green technologies, including small-modular nuclear reactors, which could have a knock-on effect of spurring on technologies that have had trouble finding private buyers.

The 6 megawatt Stanton Solar Farm outside of Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images)
The 6 megawatt Stanton Solar Farm outside of Orlando, Florida.

Taxes On The Wealthy

Democrats are still raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for the legislation ― just not in the ways they originally anticipated, and not as much as they originally anticipated. A planned hike in the corporate tax rate, which Republicans slashed from 35% to just 21% during the administration of Donald Trump, isn’t happening because of opposition from Sinema. Instead, Democrats are backing a corporate minimum tax, designed to limit the use of tax deductions and credits by large corporations.

The outline also omits a new proposal to tax the unrealized capital gains on stocks and other assets owned by billionaires, after many Democrats complained about a tricky implementation.

Instead, Democrats would go for a “surcharge” on the richest 0.02% of households, plus a 1% tax on corporate stock buybacks, which surged as a result of the 2017 Republican tax cut and often do little but enrich executives.

A huge chunk of tax revenue would come not from new taxes, but instead from giving the IRS tens of billions in new funding to enforce existing law and close the “tax gap,” the difference between what people owe and what they voluntarily pay. Most of the gap results from business income earned by wealthy households.

The White House says this collection of tax hikes means the bill would be fully paid for and won’t add to the deficit, but the Congressional Budget Office may disagree.

Affordable Housing

At one point, Democrats feared housing provisions could get cut from the legislation entirely. And while funding for housing did decline from the $327 billion Biden originally requested, more than $150 billion would still go to helping the poorest families afford homes and rent.

The White House says this would pay for the construction or rehabilitation of more than 1 million homes, expand the Section 8 voucher program and would provide financial incentives for state and local governments to change zoning laws to encourage new housing construction.

Care Services For The Elderly And People With Disabilities

The bill would include an unprecedented investment in what’s known as home- and community-based services, or HCBS. These are programs for elderly and disabled Americans that allow them to live outside of large institutions, frequently in their own homes, by offering them help with some of the functions of everyday life.

The services can include everything from home care aides to help with cooking and hygiene, to employment programs that help people with disabilities find and keep jobs. Advocates for the initiative had initially proposed an investment of $400 billion over 10 years. The provision in the bill is just $150 billion. That would still represent the single-biggest increase in these sorts of programs, according to experts.

As with the child care proposal, a major goal of the initiative is to raise the wages of caregivers, whose notoriously low pay leaves many in poverty ― and, especially following the pandemic, has created shortages. And as with the child care proposal, a major caveat is that it requires states to participate. Some may not.

An activist is seen during the Care Cant Wait rally with the Service Employees International Union at the Lehigh County Courthouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Tom Williams via Getty Images)
An activist is seen during the Care Cant Wait rally with the Service Employees International Union at the Lehigh County Courthouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

Health Care Coverage Expansions

The bill takes two significant, if time-limited, steps toward universal coverage ― in both cases by building on the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.”

First, it takes some temporary increases in private insurance subsidies through the Affordable Care Act and extends them through 2025. This increases, in place because of the pandemic relief act in the spring, reduce premiums (and allow access to more generous coverage) for millions, including some who were not eligible for assistance before.

Second, the bill offers an insurance option to low-income people in states dr martens boots where Republican officials have declined to expand Medicaid eligibility, as the Affordable Care Act originally envisioned. It would do so by allowing these people to get effectively free coverage through HealthCare.gov.

If these steps take effect, nearly all American citizens would have access to insurance, experts have said.

The bill also adds a hearing benefit to Medicare, but not vision and dental. The latter, in particular, had been a major goal for progressives, citing the large number of seniors who can’t afford and don’t get dental care now.

Prescription Drug Pricing Reform

The most conspicuously missing piece on the White House framework is a proposal to make prescription drugs more affordable. There’s no proposal at all, despite months of trying to reach an agreement on a plan that would give the federal government some regulatory power over drug prices, just like the governments of other economically advanced countries have.

The hope was to reduce drug prices mainly in two ways: by giving the government power to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers, and by limiting how much the companies could raise prices every year. The proposal also envisioned new investments in basic scientific research, to promote the development of breakthrough cures, and to redesign the drug benefit in Medicare so that it offered seniors more coverage.

It would be a big deal as politics. Democrats have been promising action on drugs since the early 2000s. And it would be a big deal as policy. Because of America’s high drug prices, drug costs are an extra burden for employers and taxpayers, as well as a real hardship for millions, especially elderly Americans whose health problems require multiple medications.

The idea of regulating drug prices is extremely popular, even among conservative voters. And it has support of nearly the entire Democratic caucus, including relatively conservative members in swing districts. But a small handful of Democrats with ties to ― and campaign support from ― the drug industry have objected to more aggressive schemes, citing concerns that limiting drug company revenue would hurt innovation.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was a major opponent of Democrats' proposed prescription drug price reforms. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images)
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was a major opponent of Democrats’ proposed prescription drug price reforms.

Biden and Democratic leaders hoped to broker some kind of compromise, by, for example, limiting the number of drugs subject to negotiation. The Democratic holdouts, including Rep. Scott Peters of California and Sinema of Arizona, wanted a version so limited that supporters felt it would do little good.

Champions of aggressive regulation, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), on Thursday vowed to keep fighting to get a drug package into the final legislation.

So there’s still a chance this could come back in some form. Maybe.

Paid Leave

Biden originally proposed giving workers 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. The mandate would ensure that people could take time off for a new child, recovery from an illness, caring for a seriously ill family member or issues arising from a loved one’s military deployment.

But thanks to Manchin, the United States will continue to be the only industrialized nation with no universal paid leave mandate. Manchin was concerned about the cost, as well as the potential for fraud. Democrats tried to come up with a compromise ― shortening the length to four weeks, and eliminating sick leave, but they failed to convince the senator.

Just 23% of private sector workers currently have access to paid family leave provided by their employer and 42% have access to medical leave.

Big Action On Climate Change

The regulatory program meant to serve as the centerpiece of Biden’s climate strategy was eliminated. The proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program would have given the Department of Energy $150 billion to pay utilities who increase their output of zero-carbon power by 4% each year ― and fine those that failed to hit that target. It was projected by independent modelers to get the U.S. one-third of the way to its goal of cutting emissions in half by the end of this decade.

Democrats managed to redistribute that funding to other programs, delivering a much bigger tax credit suite than previously planned. And the administration has vowed to compensate for the loss of the program by enacting new regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency, restoring the federal government’s stick.

A new analysis by the Rhodium Group, a consultancy, found that the mix of funding and executive branch actions could, technically, deliver the 50% emissions cuts Biden promised.

But the implementation of the climate plan comes with big ifs. Regulations will take years to come into force, and will likely face hefty legal challenges. And if Biden, already the oldest person to assume the presidency, is defeated in 2024, the next administration could reverse the regulatory and executive actions almost as easily as the current White House enacted them.

GOP Corporate Tax Cuts Stay Put

Democrats have campaigned since 2018 on reversing Republican tax cuts, especially their reductions to the corporate and top individual rates. But Democrats are offsetting their spending with revenue from novel tax policies while they leave the Republican tax cuts untouched.

The framework is also silent on whether Democrats will restore a property tax deduction used mostly by high income households in populous blue states, though lawmakers said Thursday morning it would be included in the end.

Free Community College

Offering free community college was an issue close to the White House, since First Lady Jill Biden has taught at community colleges for the past 30 years. It would give everyone access to higher education, regardless of ability to pay.

But this proposal was quickly cut as it became clear that the overall price tag would have to shrink. Lobbyists for four-year colleges also opposed the proposal because they were worried it would hurt their bottom line. They argued that states would redirect money away from them, or students would opt to attend community college instead of a four-year institution.

Fingers point to dragged-out NHTSA investigation after second death by ARC airbag inflator

Safety advocates have increased criticism of the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after an exploding airbag inflator that’s been under investigation for more than six years killed a second person.

On Wednesday, NHTSA posted recall documents filed by General Motors that revealed the second death, the driver of a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse SUV with an inflator made by Tennessee company ARC blew apart, spewing shrapnel. No details were given nike sneakers about where and when the death occurred. NHTSA has said that ARC Automotive of Knoxville has manufactured about 8 million inflators used nationwide in vehicles made by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis), Kia and Hyundai.

“NHTSA should have been all over this along time ago,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. “There’s just no denying that it’s a (safety) defect.”

NHTSA, the agency charged with with keeping America’s automobiles and roads safe, began investigating ARC inflators in July of 2015 after two people were injured by flying shrapnel. The investigation became more urgent in 2016, when a Canadian woman driving an older Hyundai Elantra was killed by metal airbag fragments. Public records show only a little progress on the probe. In April, the agency posted a memo in saying it was reviewing volumes of information it received from ARC.

Safety advocates such as Shahan say that the dragged-out investigation is an example of the deadly consequences that can result from an understaffed and underfunded agency.

The second death should not have happened, Shahan said, and vehicles with faulty ARC inflators should have been recalled faster.

The agency, Shahan said, is “grossly underfunded,” but it still should have sought recalls of the ARC inflators. She said historically NHTSA has taken little action during Republican administrations nike store but has ramped up safety efforts when Democrats control the White House.

Messages were left Wednesday by the Associated Press seeking comment from NHTSA and ARC.

At this time, relatively few vehicles are effected. The GM recall covers only 550 Chevy Traverse SUVs from the 2013 through 2017 model years, as well as Buick Enclave SUVs from 2008 through 2017. The automaker said in a statement that the faulty front driver’s airbag inflators were either installed at the factory or in replacement airbag modules.

GM documents posted by NHTSA Wednesday show that the company is recalling cars with inflators from the same manufacturing lot.

“We make safety recall decisions based on data,” spokesman Dan Flores said in an email. “Based on our investigation this recall only covers the 550 vehicles included in this field action.”

Customers will be notified about the recall by letters starting around Nov. 22.

GM has said previously that 1.2 million of its vehicles had ARC inflators.

ARC inflators are similar to dangerous devices made by bankrupt Takata Corp. of Japan. Both use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to asics shoes inflate the bags in a crash, and both can blow apart metal canisters that hold the chemical. But unlike Takata, ARC uses ammonium nitrate only as a secondary method of inflating the bags.

Ammonium nitrate can deteriorate when exposed repeatedly to high temperatures and humidity, and it can burn too fast, making explosions larger.

At least 19 people in the U.S. and 28 worldwide have been killed by exploding Takata inflators. More than 400 have been injured in the United States

In the most recent recall, GM wrote that it found out about the death on Sept. 2 and it decided to do the recall on Oct. 2. Documents say a GM investigation has not identified any other inflator ruptures involving vehicles involved in the recall.

In 2019, GM recalled 1,145 Chevrolet Malibu sedans from the 2010 and 2011 model years after finding out that a driver had been injured by an exploding ARC inflators.

Jason Levine, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said manufacturers have tried in the past to limit the size of recalls, only to add more vehicles later as they did at the start of the Takata cases.

“Despite allowing its 2015 investigation to lie dormant, hopefully NHTSA will act on lessons learned from its Takata experience of defective inflators used by multiple manufacturers,” he said.

A white teacher in Texas is out of a job after a student recorded him using the “N-word’ in class

A white teacher in Texas is out of a job after a student recorded him using the “N-word’ in class
  • A white teacher in Texas resigned after a recording of him using the “N-word” in class was leaked.
  • Norman Grueneich, who taught theatre arts, can be heard asking why there’s no white history month.
  • He went on to ask his students why he couldn’t say the “N-word” himself.

A white Houston-area teacher resigned on steve madden shoes Wednesday after a student recorded a video of him using the “N-word” during a discussion and asking why he couldn’t use the word, according to KHOU.

The theatre arts teacher, identified as Norman Grueneich, worked at Klein Collins High School, located just outside of Houston, Texas.

“Why do the guys in my class say, ‘man n—a you crazy,'” Grueneich can be heard saying in the recording. “Why do they say that? And why is it cause I’m a white guy, I can’t say that?”

Grueneich can also be heard in the recording asking why there is no white history month and pointed to the treatment of some Irish people.

“Why don’t we have a white history month talking about what the Irish went through?” Grueneich said. “Because we’re white, and it’s a white privilege, right? That’s what I’m saying.”

The Klein Independent School District confirmed on Wednesday in a statement that the teacher no longer works at the school, according to KHOU.

“In Klein ISD, we pride ourselves on our ability to create safe spaces for every child in our schools,” the statement said.ecco shoes “This former employee failed to do that and is no longer employed in Klein ISD.”

The school district further apologized for the incident and said Grueneich’s actions are still under investigation.

“Every child deserves to feel safe and have a positive learning experience at school,” the school district said. “We are deeply sorry that this former employee failed to do this for our students.”

The Yankees are out of answers for their mounting track record of postseason disappointment

BOSTON – After the New York Yankees lost 6-2 at Fenway Park on Tuesday night to ring in the 2021 postseason in front of a jubilant, raucous sellout crowd and, just as quickly, shut the door on yet another frustratingly brief October appearance for their own storied franchise, Gerrit Cole sat on Zoom at a loss for answers that likely don’t exist.

The Yankees ace and $324 million man lasted just two innings plus three batters. Which is unique in that it was his shortest outing of the season and tied for the shortest outing of his career, a disaster in a season where he was named an All-Star and could win the AL Cy Young. brooks shoes But it was also the culmination of a pattern for a pitcher who had a 5.13 ERA in September and gave up 15 runs in 17 2/3 innings over his previous three starts.

Maybe a tight left hamstring, which first proved to be a problem in a start against Toronto about a month ago, was responsible.

“No,” Cole said, definitive on that much, looking as sick to his stomach as he claimed to feel in the wake of his third career loss in a winner-take-all postseason game.

So then what was it? What was the common denominator in a string of disappointing starts that could be considered isolated anomalies if not for all the other similarly anomalous outings that surrounded them? Try as reporters might, they couldn’t coax a throughline, a diagnosable — and thus solvable — weakness from the generally thoughtful pitcher.

“It just wasn’t the same answer every time,” Cole said.

And then, when the questions kept coming, he explained with unassailable logic and almost profound poignancy that if he had known what was wrong, he would have tried to fix it before such a high stakes moment.

“I just didn’t perform the way I wanted to perform.”

Taken together, those sentiments define the recent era in the Bronx. This season made it five straight playoff appearances for the Yankees, and five straight playoff runs that have ended before the World Series even began; clarks shoes uk they haven’t played in the Fall Classic in 12 years now. And even though they haven’t looked perfect on paper — no team does, especially in the harsh light of elimination — the decade-plus of October futility defies payroll, projections and expectations.

And the most confounding part is if you analyze each lost season you’ll find: It wasn’t the same problem every time, they just didn’t perform. But also that the weaknesses exposed in the pressure-cooker of the postseason reflect an almost definitional failure to build a better approach before then. October ostensibly offers a fresh start, a chance for anything to happen — but if you can’t identify what’s wrong going in, you’re likely to repeat it.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 05: Manager Aaron Boone #17 takes out Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox during the third inning of the American League Wild Card game at Fenway Park on October 05, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Yankees Gerrit Cole hands over the ball to Aaron Boone after the Red Sox jumped on him to take a decisive lead in the AL wild-card game.

A tough play, a tough game, a tough season …

The argument against the current two-team one-and-done wild-card format is that any one game can be fluky, running contrary to the broader contours of a team’s strengths or season. A single do-or-die contest is thrilling, but it can’t be indicative of what defined a team over the six-month regular season.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. But the Yankees managed to fit a meaningful vignette of their tantalizing but flawed season into a single half-inning sequence.

Their best hope came in the top of the sixth.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi had cruised through five scoreless innings of two-hit ball on 64 pitches as a usually disciplined Yankees lineup chased and failed to draw a single walk. The 31-year-old Eovaldi has quietly had a career-defining, dominant season. His 5.4 fWAR is third in all of baseball among pitchers, hey dude shoes ahead of Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler and Gerrit Cole. He’s throwing harder than he has all season, he has better command than in previous years, and he’s added a deceptive quick pitch.

It was enough to easily subdue a Yankees lineup that had ranked third in slugging and second in home runs in 2019, but finished eighth in home runs and 17th in slugging during the 2021 regular season.

“That’s obviously been our calling card here for the last several years,” manager Aaron Boone will say after the game about the vaunted offensive potential that stayed largely locked inside his lineup of superhero-sized men. “And then this year, wasn’t the case. We struggled at times. We didn’t score runs like we normally would.”

But in that sixth inning, finally, the bats roused — a home run from Anthony Rizzo, a single from Aaron Judge and the Red Sox turned to the bullpen for Giancarlo Stanton, who had already hit one off the Green Monster.

He did it again, swatting a 114.9 mph drive off the top of Fenway’s signature wall in deep left-center field. Stanton thought the ball was far enough to go out, and third-base coach Phil Nevin thought it was far enough to wave Judge home. They were both wrong.

Nevin sent Judge and followed him toward the plate, and was only feet away when shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ perfect relay — the Red Sox led baseball in outfield assists — beat Judge by enough time for you to scream “Yankees suck!” before the tag was applied.

Not that Nevin needed to be up close to know what the out would look like: The Yankees tied for the major-league lead this year with 22 outs at home plate. Bad baserunning was one of the most galling and maddening features of the Yankees’ worst stretches this season.

“That was better than a home run for me personally,” said Bogaerts, who had launched a two-run shot in the first off Cole. “I mean if that run scores, it’s 3-2. Stanton is at second base, the whole momentum is on their side. The dugout is getting pumped up. As Judge was out at home, I saw Stanton was pretty mad.

“That changed the game. That changed the momentum big time.”

Stanton agreed — both that it squashed the Yankees’ much-needed momentum and that he had been pretty upset. It wasn’t the decision to send Judge — he called the play “bang-bang,” which is demonstrably untrue, but doesn’t matter — he took issue with. Rather, it was the dimensions of their nemeses’ den.

“I was upset that that probably would have left most anywhere, that would have changed the course of the game,” he said, although he’s proven quite capable of getting it over the Monster in the past.

It’s ironic, almost. Because the game would have been somewhere else — in Yankee Stadium, specifically — if the Yankees had managed just one more win this season. Just one more win than a Red Sox team a year removed from trading Mookie Betts, signaling something of a rebuild, in the same offseason where the Yankees ponied up for Cole.

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 05: (L-R) Aaron Boone #17 Anthony Rizzo #48 Aaron Judge #99 Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees during the national anthem prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The Yankees have made the postseason in five straight seasons, but fallen short of the World Series each time. 

Have the Yankees lost their edge?

Though they showed flashes and streaks of dominance, the 2021 Yankees — expected to be the best team in the league — barely snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. If that wasn’t a wake-up call, it should have been.

After the game, Boone, casting about for how to eulogize what he has repeatedly called a “challenging year,” said the problem is that the rest of baseball caught up with the Yankees.

“The league’s closed the gap on us. We’ve got to get better in every aspect,” he said. “Because it’s not just the Red Sox and the Astros now in our league. Look at our division, the Rays are a beast, Toronto, there’s some teams in the Central that are better and better, teams in the West that are better and better, teams that have closed the gap on us.”

On Twitter, fans and critics alike complained that the Yankees under Boone haven’t earned the opportunity to position themselves ahead of the pack. But if anything, the analysis was searingly damning.

Whether he intended this or not, it sounds like the hoka shoes team got caught getting complacent. As the Yankees racked up unsatisfying postseason berths, the rest of the league started building championship winners. And now they’re left hunting for the common denominator in a string of disappointing seasons that could be considered isolated anomalies if not for all the other similarly anomalous seasons that surrounded them.

Their next high-stakes moment is at least a year away — whether Boone, whose contract expires after this season, is still manager remains to be seen — which should give them plenty of time for self-reflection. If they can’t identify what went wrong before then, they’re liable to keep repeating it.