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Truckers make the world go round. Invisible truths you didn’t know about trucking in America

What’s the journey of all the goods we consume? Trucking is dangerous, difficult and in demand. Here’s the story behind an industry on the cusp of major technological change.

In May 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic in its infancy, a chain of colorful big rigs parked along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC, for nearly three weeks. Horns blared as idling truck drivers protested sinking pay, rising insurance costs and lack of transparency bluetooth headphones from the brokers who set their rates to transport goods. In a Roll Call video, an organizer described what it was about: “All the things that were brought to the stores … [truckers] brought it, and they’re the ones who got screwed in the end.”

The modest-size demonstration went largely unnoticed by the American public. But it represented something much larger that affects us all.

Convoy of trucks
  • A convoy of trucks converged in the nation’s capital at the start of the pandemic to protest low freight rates, as drivers had to keep loads of toilet paper and essential supplies moving.
  • What would happen if all the 3.5 million truck drivers in the US stopped working for just three days? It wouldn’t take long for America to resemble a sci-fi dystopia: Grocery store shelves would go bare, hospitals would run out of medical equipment, computer and vehicle parts would dry up, fuel tanks would go empty. Consider some of the shortages we witnessed through early COVID-19 times, like meat and cleaning supplies, but in an exponential ripple.
  • “The world would come to a stop,” said Ricky Rodriguez, a flatbed truck driver who works 12 to 14 hours a day hauling steel, aluminum and lumber through the Midwest. Paul Marhoefer, aka “Long Haul Paul,” a veteran trucker and host of the eight-part Over the Road podcast, was equally blunt in response: “The biggest effect would be on the psyche of the nation.”
  • Trucks are the linchpin of the economy, responsible for moving 72% of all the goods we consume. They’re a critical link in the supply chain for both goods arriving in ships from abroad and those made in the US. Every product that goes from an American port or factory to your doorstep rides on a truck at some point. Like intrepid pilots of the highway, truckers collectively travel 450 billion miles each year sperry shoes to haul those loads for consumers, carrying 11 billion tons of merchandise, electronics, supplies and produce.
  • “Trucks will continue to be the dominant freight transportation mode for the foreseeable future,” Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, said before a Senate committee in May.
  • Still, many of us don’t think beyond our one-second “Buy Now” click, or how our online shopping builds a demand for freight carried by trucks. We just want our mass-produced items, the bulk of which are made overseas, cheaper and faster, as CNET reporter Ian Sherr spells out in the opening story of our Made in America summer series.
  • So what do we really know about the invisible life behind the wheel? And as manufacturing continues to be outsourced and as vehicles shift to natural gas and electric, will America just keep on truckin’ in the same way?
  • To find out the answers to those questions and more, I spent time talking to truckers, industry experts and executives from companies specializing in self-driving vehicles. With so much hype around new robots on wheels replacing the jobs of millions of truckers, I wanted to understand how these hauling machines have evolved, how they’ll survive seismic shifts in automation, and how some truck drivers are working 80 hours a week and still going broke.
  • Every product you use travels on some type of truck
  • The first thing to know is that there’s not just one kind of truck, nor is there an “average truck driver.” As consumers, we tend to have the most direct contact with the parcel and delivery workers from UPS, FedEx or Amazon who hand us our packages. But they’re just a subsection of the trucking industry.
  • There are trucks that haul combined shipments from different businesses and those that transport specialized or dangerous goods like heavy equipment, trash, gasoline or chemicals. There are local and regional drivers who make short trips to service stores and retail outlets. Then there are port truckers who collect cargo in the colossal shipping containers at the docks, and intermodal workers who move freight between different modes of transport, like rail, ship and plane. Backup of trucks on a highway
Traffic delays are regular frustration for truckers, like those waiting here to enter the Port of Long Beach to pick up loads. Most long-haul truckers get paid by the mile, not hourly.If you’re on a barren highway at nightand you see a halo of headlights, or you’re boxed into the slow lane on the interstate by an 18-wheeler, it’s probably an over-the-road driver. These long-haul truckers spend weeks or months crisscrossing the country over vast distances from production sites to distribution centers. They’re carrying what are called “full truckload” shipments of more than 10,000 pounds on a 53-foot trailer, which will be either a “dry van” or a “reefer” (a trailer with a refrigeration unit).

Those kinds of big rigs are named “semis” because a detachable rear-wheel trailer attaches to the tractor towing it. And they shaped the American economy in a profound way.

During World War I, the semi truck offered an alternative to the congested railroad for the transport of salomon boots military cargo, and their use boomed during the Great Depression, in large part due to food. As families were struggling to feed themselves cheaply, the budding trucking industry allowed farms and businesses to get their goods faster and more directly to market than trains could. Soon, trucking became the dominant mode of freight transport, and with the launching of the interstate highway system in 1956, trucks could carry goods from coast to coast without a hitch.

Today, the rail, aviation and ocean shipping sectors couldn’t survive without trucks acting as the connective band between them. And that’s become more critical with the boom of e-commerce and just-in-time manufacturing, which reduces inventory costs, cuts waste and calls for the production of what customers want in the timeframe they want it. But it also means that any interruption to the country’s lean and fragile supply chain has a burdensome impact on workers, who have to keep producing and delivering without delays.

A trucker in the cab of a truck goes through a checklist.
Trucking routes were a challenge for drivers due to COVID-19 supply-chain bottlenecks as well as restaurant and restroom closures.The pandemic took a heavy toll on truckers, who kept everything rolling: emergency goods, medical components, electronics, food and basic supplies. They risked their safety and health traveling through areas hit hard by the virus. Market disruptions from international lockdowns and clogged ports, combined with consumers panic buying, clobbered the global supply chain and every link in it, as CNET’s Kent German points out in his Made in America story.

That meant drivers were subjected to intense bottlenecks and prolonged hours to pick up and deliver freight. Rodriguez told me it was also stressful dealing with shippers’ quarantine restrictions because he didn’t know if he’d be given access to their facilities.

Ellen Voie, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Women in Trucking Association, said drivers weren’t brooks shoes provided with personal protective equipment when supplies were limited and that many states also closed their rest areas. Voie noted that it was particularly difficult for women — who make up just 10% of all truck drivers — to find a bathroom or a shower. Overall, she noted, women drivers face higher risk and have to be “especially sensitive to being situationally aware to protect themselves.”

Yet one woman trucker I spoke with saw the COVID-era as a beckoning for a fresh career. Nasrin Naderi, an immigrant from Afghanistan, went to trucking school and got her commercial driver’s license, or CDL, in 2020 after she realized she could no longer rely on her previous employment in restaurants or hotels, or with Uber and Lyft.

International opposition mounts over proposed U.S. EV tax credit

FILE PHOTO: An electric vehicle fast charging station is seen in the parking lot of a Whole Foods Market in Austin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The European Union, Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico, France, South Korea, Italy and other countries wrote U.S. lawmakers saying a proposed U.S. electric vehicle tax credit violates international trade rules, according to a joint letter made public Saturday.

A group of 25 ambassadors to Washington wrote U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration late Friday saying “limiting eligibility for the credit to vehicles based on their U.S. domestic assembly and local content is inconsistent with U.S. commitments made under WTO multilateral agreements.”

The U.S. Congress is considering a new $12,500 keen shoes tax credit that would include $4,500 for union-made U.S. electric vehicles and $500 for U.S.-made batteries. Only U.S. built vehicles would be eligible for the $12,500 credit after 2027, under a House proposal released this week.

Canada and Mexico have issued separate statements in the last week opposing the plan. The U.S. State Department declined to comment Saturday and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The proposal is backed by President Joe Biden, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and many congressional Democrats, but opposed by major international automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, Honda Motor Co, Hyundai Motor Co and BMW AG.

A dozen foreign automakers wrote California’s two senators on Friday urging them to abandon the plan that they said would discriminate against the state.

UAW President Ray Curry said the provision will “create and preserve tens of thousands of UAW members’ jobs” and “would be a win for auto manufacturing workers.”

The EV tax credits would cost $15.6 billion over 10 years and disproportionately benefit Detroit’s Big Three automakers – General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV – which assemble their U.S.-made vehicles in union-represented plants.

The ambassadors that also include Poland, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Finland, Romania and Greece said the legislation would harm international automakers.

They said it “would violate international trade rules, disadvantage hard-working Americans employed by these asics shoes automakers, and undermine the efforts of these automakers to expand the U.S. EV consumer market to achieve the (Biden) administration’s climate goals.”

The letter added it “puts U.S. trading partners at a disadvantage.”

Autoworkers at the foreign automakers in the countries that wrote are nearly all unionized but not in the United States.

“Our governments support workers’ right to organize. It is a fundamental right and should not be used in the framework of tax incentives, setting aside the opportunities for nearly half of America autoworkers,” they wrote.

LA, Long Beach target ‘ugly hazard’ of containers left near ports as supply crisis drags on

With shipping delays mounting and cargo piling up at Los Angeles County ports, local officials are tightening the rules on lingering shipping containers that surround the docks, part of an effort to ease congestion of freighter ships anchored along Southern California’s coast.

Beginning Nov. 1, carriers will be charged $100 per container, with the fee increasing $100 per container per day — but the fee will not be assessed until Nov. 15.

Collected fees will be reinvested by the ports in programs to increase efficiency and address congestion, according to the announcement.

“This is not intended as a pass-on cost, rather it’s intended as ‘let’s move the cargo’,” Mario Cordero, nike outlet Port of Long Beach Executive Director, said in a press conference on Wednesday. In an effort to ease the logjam, Long Beach recently relaxed rules that constrained the amount of cargo-staking at ports.

The global supply chain crisis has heightened the need for local ports to make room for bottlenecked cargo. “The terminals are running out of space. We need to make room in our terminals, approximately 530,000 container units are sitting on those waiting ships,” Cordero added.

In response, the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced days ago that ocean carriers will be charged for every container that overstays their visit within the port complex: nine days or more if being moved by truck, and three days or more if being moved by rail.

Cordero said that “30 to 40% of the cargo on the marine terminals have been there longer than 9 days.”

‘We’re trying to protect our own’

A sign blocks trucks from entering in Wilmington, near a key port in Long Beach. The port has been one of 2 backlogged Southern California hubs at the center of a worsening supply chain crisis.
A sign blocks trucks from entering in Wilmington, near a key port in Long Beach. The port has been one of 2 backlogged Southern California hubs at the center of a worsening supply chain crisis.

Meanwhile, the lack of shortage space for containers has fed a major bottleneck at Southern California ports. Empty containers are piled up at truck yards, outside warehouses — and some are even dumped on the side of the road.

Truckers, however, insist it’s a function of the port crisis, rather than negligence on their part.

“They are on the streets because nobody is receiving,” said Carlos Rameriz, a truck driver, in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Drivers “don’t keen shoes care. They just drop it on the street. There’s a bunch of empty containers on Washington Street because the [ports] have no place to put them and they get tickets, after tickets, I don’t know who pays for them,” Rameriz added.

Some of those empty containers are sitting on chassis’ because there’s no other space as Rameriz has described. The congestion has also caused drivers to idle with unattended trucking trailers because unloading containers from the ships has been “going pretty slow”, according to observers.

It’s become a vicious cycle as a flood of imports continue to swamp Southern California’s beleaguered ports ahead of the holiday. And with overflow at the ports, containers are finding their way to residential streets.

Unattended chassis litter a street in Wilmington, near a key port in Long Beach. The port has been one of 2 backlogged Southern California hubs at the center of a worsening supply chain crisis.
Unattended chassis litter a street in Wilmington, near a key port in Long Beach. The port has been one of 2 backlogged Southern California hubs at the center of a worsening supply chain crisis.

One accident in particular was the source of a scary sight for one neighborhood, after a shipping container flattened a car after falling off a truck. No one was injured but it happened in Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, where the oceanic gridlock is leading to a similar effect on the streets.

“It’s a very ugly hazard,” Vivian Martinez, a Wilmington resident, told Yahoo Finance in an interview.

Residents living near the ports have complained about the encroachment of containers and how trucks are backed up in the streets at all hours, even before Long Beach eased its zoning rules.

“They won’t park here. We don’t allow it. If they try to come through here, I’ll go out with a trashcan or our cars, [it makes] the trucker go all the way back,” Martinez said.

Resident’s like Martinez have had enough of this long time problem that has exploded since the pandemic. Some have erected barriers on both ends of asics shoes the street, with signs that say ‘No Trucks’ — the latest chapter in a crisis that stems in part from unintended consequences of local ordinances designed to allay residential concerns.

“We’re trying to protect our own,” Martinez added.

Officials have responded to these concerns by cracking down on businesses for stacking containers in violation of local zoning laws.

“Law enforcement has issued over 400 citations for illegally parked trucks with containers,” L.A. City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, told Yahoo Finance in a statement.

“My office is actively working with the Port of Los Angeles to identify viable parcels of Port owned land in industrial areas to store containers and conduct trucking operations away from neighboring residential areas,” Buscaino added.

Buscaino noted that he found some success in identifying parcels, and his next step is to identify an operator who can facilitate the organization of containers being processed at these new locations.

This follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order that aims to ease the backlog. He directed government agencies to look for state-owned properties that could temporarily store goods coming into the ports.

Newsom asked the state’s Department of General Services to review potential sites by Dec. 15, but it’s still unclear if L.A. will follow Long Beach’s lead in relaxing container stacking rules.

Senate Republicans block Freedom to Vote Act, Democrats’ latest election overhaul bill

Senate Republicans block Freedom to Vote Act, Democrats’ latest election overhaul bill

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the advancement of the Freedom to Vote Act, one of three major voting bills brought forward by Democrats in Congress this year.

“Our Republican colleagues may not agree with everything in this bill. Okay, then don’t be scared. Don’t hide behind your desk. Don’t deny us the right to simply debate this bill,” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, bluetooth headphones a lead sponsor of the legislation, said on the Senate floor before the procedural vote that was expected to fail.

She noted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened the door to Republican amendments on the bill, as long as they were “in line with the goals of the legislation.”

But Republicans saw the bill as Democrats’ latest iteration of their “election takeover scheme,” as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described it on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

JOE MANCHIN, CAPTAIN OF THE SENATE

“I’ve just about lost count of how many times our Democratic colleagues have tried to truss up the same takeover with new trappings,” McConnell said. “For multiple years running, Washington Democrats have offered a rotating merry-go-round of rationales to explain why they need to federalize voting laws.”

The bill was blocked in a 49-51 vote along party lines on Wednesday afternoon. Schumer changed his vote to no at the end, in a parliamentary move that will allow him to bring up the legislation for consideration again.

Sweeping election reform has been a top priority for Congressional Democrats for the last several years. It got renewed attention in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump claiming widespread fraud in the 2020 election and Republican-led state legislation across the country seeking to limit pandemic-era voting skechers outlet measures such as automatic mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes, and drive-through voting.

But Democrats have struggled to advance voting reform legislation in the Senate not only because of the filibuster but due to conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia not signing on to the Democrats’ flagship voting rights bill.

The H.R. 1/S. 1 For the People Act proposed drastic changes to the U.S. election system, imposing federal mandates on nearly every aspect of state election administration. Measures in the bill included automatic voter registration, creating a system for publicly financed elections, requiring a mail-in ballot option for any federal election, and allowing felons who completed their sentences to vote. The bill passed the House in March, but in June was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

The Senate’s cloture rule requires 60 votes to advance a bill to debate before a vote on final passage, requiring support from at least 10 Republicans in today’s Senate.

While Manchin voted to advance the For the People Act, he said that he would not support the bill on final passage, saying he was uncomfortable with partisan voting laws.

In response to that, Manchin worked with Senate Democrats to craft an alternative slate of federal voting changes in the Freedom to Vote Act. He is one of seven co-sponsors of the bill.

The Freedom to Vote Act includes a number of provisions borrowed from the For the People Act, with some scaling back. If enacted, it would:

  • Make Election Day a federal holiday.
  • Require states to offer at least two weeks of early voting for at least 10 hours a day in jurisdictions with more than 3,000 voters.
  • Require states to permit no-excuse mail-in voting for every voter, including allowing voters to apply for absentee ballots online.
  • Create a national standard for voter ID in states that have identification laws and define which forms of ID could be used, without mandating that any state implements a voter ID requirement.

Failure of the Freedom to Vote Act, which was expected, prompted renewed calls to create a filibuster carve-out in order to pass voting rights legislation.

“The filibuster has nike outlet been used dramatically more in recent years than ever before in American history and, by the way, it’s not in the Constitution,” independent Maine Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats and is a sponsor of the bill, said on MSNBC on Wednesday.

King proposed some options to get around the filibuster and a minority party unwilling to haggle over legislation: “Some modification of the rule, whether it’s a carve-out whether it’s a requirement that those who are opposed have to actually come to the floor and hold the floor.”

In August, the House also passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to reestablish provisions of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down. It was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, but has no Republican support, and appears destined to be blocked by Republicans again if it comes up in the Senate.

OnPolitics: Democrats are getting closer to a social spending bill

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, second from left, talks with reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, following a meeting with President Joe Biden. She is joined by, from left, Katherine Clark, D-Mass., Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., partially hidden,Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) ORG XMIT: DCSW108
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, second from left, talks with reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, following a meeting with President Joe Biden. She is joined by, from left, Katherine Clark, D-Mass., Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., partially hidden,Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., right.

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers.

Senate Republicans blocked a vote today to advance Democrats’ latest voting rights and election reform legislation.

The bill – the Freedom to Vote Act – is more scaled back than previous pieces of voting rights legislation, like the For the People Act, but would establish some federally mandated election rules.

What is in the revised voting act? The Freedom to salomon boots Vote Act would create a federal standard for voting by mail and drop boxes – means of voting that Trump and some Republican lawmakers attacked during the 2020 election. The legislation would also expand early voting options and access to mail-in ballots, battle dark money in elections and allow for same day registration on Election Day.

The bill comes after months of Democrats haggling on the issue and as former President Donald Trump and Republican state lawmakers continue to push “the big lie,” advancing baseless conspiracy theories to falsely argue the 2020 election was stolen.

But nine months into President Joe Biden’s term, Democrats have not been able to advance any legislation due to Republican filibustering.

It’s Amy and Mabinty with today’s top stories.

Biden looks to scale back social spending bill to $2.2 trillion or less

The leader of progressive House Democrats said Tuesday her members had a “really good, productive meeting” with President Joe Biden as the president works to get separate wings of his party to agree to a legislative package between $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion for his climate and social safety-net agenda.

“We all still feel even more optimistic about getting to an agreement on a really transformational bill that will fundamentally lift people up,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the House Progressive Caucus.

Jayapal said Biden is sticking to a topline number between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion, down from his original $3.5 trillion Build Back Better proposal, in a push to gain the support of moderate Democrats.

“Look, it’s not the number that we want. We have consistently sperry shoes tried to make it as high as possible,” Jayapal said, but added progressive Democrats are now focused on getting the bill’s social and climate programs jump-started.

Two out of 50: Biden needs the votes of all 50 Democratic members to pass the bill in the Senate in a procedure known as reconciliation, but Manchin and Sinema have balked at the price tag. Manchin has said his limit is $1.5 trillion.

House progressives have said they won’t take up another piece of Biden’s domestic agenda – a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that passed in the Senate in August – unless the more expansive reconciliation package advances.

What does the package provide? Biden’s social safety-net agenda seeks to transform the economy. But many of the proposals — higher taxes on high-income earners and corporations to pay for free community college, universal prekindergarten, subsidized child care, national paid leave, Medicare expansion and other liberal priorities — are still being debated on and could get cut from the final deal.

Real quick: Stories you’ll want to read

  • Haiti’s ‘descent into hell’: The world now knows the 400 Mawozo gang, after it kidnapped a Haitian driver and one Canadian and 16 American missionaries. But at the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets bandits terrorizing the population have become part of daily life.
  • A new tactic to handle migrants: The Biden administration is stepping up drone surveillance and communications with other countries to help prepare for migrant groups that could come to the United States’ southern border.
  • The culture wars over education: Besieged by parent complaints about everything from critical race theory to questions about sexuality, boards are undoing efforts schools have made to include children of color and LGBTQ students and to teach about the full spectrum of the American experience.
  • The fight over vaccine mandates: The Supreme Court declined to hear an emergency appeal challenging a vaccine requirement imposed on Maine health care workers, the latest defeat for opponents of vaccine mandates.

The unlikely place COVID rescue funds are going: Housing

From Austin to Indianapolis, Minneapolis to Seattle and San Diego, mayors are steering substantial portions of their rescue funds to one of their most elusive challenges: housing. Plans include building affordable housing for low-income residents, bolstering housing trust funds to provide gap-financing to developers, expanding rental vouchers and – like Austin – securing housing for those who lack a permanent home.

A USA TODAY review of plans submitted by U.S. cities to the Treasury Department found replacing lost revenue to avoid budget cuts is the most common use of COVID-19 rescue funds. But when it comes to new investments, no area has seemingly gotten more attention than affordable housing and programs for the homeless.

A few examples: Seattle plans to spend $49 million in COVID-19 rescue funds on homelessness and affordable housing that includes the addition of 400 new affordably priced units. San Diego County signed off on $85 million for homeless services and $15 million more for other housing priorities. Milwaukee will spend $30 million on housing initiatives including gap-financing to support 326 mixed-income affordable housing units. Los Angeles County is devoting $400 million to house the homeless.

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops have not yet complied with vaccine mandate as deadlines near

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members remain unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Pentagon’s first compliance deadlines near, with lopsided rates across the individual services and a spike in deaths among military reservists illustrating how political division over the shots has seeped into a nonpartisan force with unambiguous orders.

Overall, the military’s vaccination rate has climbed since August, brooks shoes when Defense Department leaders, acting on a directive from President Joe Biden, informed the nation’s 2.1 million troops that immunization would become mandatory, exemptions would be rare and those who refuse would be punished. Yet troops’ response has been scattershot, according to data assessed by The Washington Post.

For instance, 90 percent of the active-duty Navy is fully vaccinated, whereas just 72 percent of the Marine Corps is, the data show, even though both services share a Nov. 28 deadline. In the Air Force, more than 60,000 personnel have just three weeks to meet the Defense Department’s most ambitious deadline.

Deaths attributed to covid-19 have soared in parts of the force as some services struggle to inoculate their troops. In September, more military personnel died of coronavirus infections than in all of 2020. None of those who died were fully vaccinated, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz said.

Military officials explain the variance in vaccination rates, in part, by pointing to the staggered deadlines each of the services set for personnel to comply while expressing optimism that, as those dates approach, numbers will quickly rise and a vast majority of troops will carry out their orders. Thousands of troops already have begun their two-shot regimens, like in the Navy, where 98 percent of active-duty sailors have received at least one dose, officials said.

But other services are not on such a steady path, and critics say the large gaps between vaccination deadlines jeopardize how ready the military can be in a moment of crisis. They point specifically to the reserves and National Guard, which over the last two years have been called upon in numerous emergencies – at home and overseas – and yet large numbers of their personnel have so far refused to get vaccinated.

“The Army’s policy is incentivizing inaction until the latest possible date,” said Katherine L. Kuzminski, a military policy expert at the Washington think tank Center for a New American Security, citing plans that require clarks shoes uk Army Reserve and National Guard personnel to be fully vaccinated more than eight months from now. Coronavirus vaccines have been widely available since the spring.

“The way we’ve seen the virus evolve tells us looking out to June 30 may need to be reconsidered,” Kuzminski said.

Combined, the Army Guard and Reserve comprise approximately 522,000 soldiers, roughly a quarter of the entire U.S. military, and they account for nearly 40 percent of the 62 service-member deaths due to covid-19, according to the data assessed by The Post. Barely 40 percent are fully vaccinated. The active-duty Army, facing a Dec. 15 deadline, stands at 81 percent.

A rise in military infections, hospitalizations and deaths mirrored the catastrophic summer surge across the United States as the virus’s delta variant became the dominant strain and hit younger, unvaccinated people particularly hard, the Pentagon said. Defense officials expect deaths to ebb in coming months.

Since the pandemic began, about a quarter-million service members have been infected with the virus, according to Pentagon data, including more than 2,000 who were hospitalized.

Troops in the National Guard and reserves serve part-time in uniform. But in the last year, as the pandemic, wildfires and civil unrest raged, the Defense Department and governors across the country mobilized more troops for duty than at any time since World War II. Those service members typically are older than their active-duty counterparts, and their civilian jobs or mobilizations may expose them to the virus more often than full-time troops who live and work on insulated military installations, officials have said.

In a statement, the Army defended the June deadline for its Guard and Reserve units, saying the date reflects how large those organizations are relative to other services and military reserve components, as well as the constraints imposed by the geographic dispersal of its members. Pandemic-related restrictions on in-person assemblies, such as drilling weekends, have added to the administrative challenge of processing so many medical records, counseling soldiers who remain skeptical about the vaccine and putting needles into people’s arms, said Lt. Col. Terence M. Kelley, an Army spokesman.

About half of Army reservists don’t live near military health clinics that administer the vaccine, Kelley said. Yet while the Reserve has instructed soldiers on how to upload records documenting any shots they receive from nonmilitary providers, there does not appear to be a clear public push from the Pentagon for soldiers to seek free vaccines from pharmacies or grocery stores when distance is a challenge.

“We expect all unvaccinated soldiers to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Individual soldiers are required to receive the vaccine when available,” Kelley said. The June deadlines, he said, “allow reserve component units necessary time to update records and process exemption requests.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Army’s deadline for its reserve units was “jarring” and could impact the service’s ability to quickly mobilize troops between now and next summer.

“I think the Army needs to take this seriously and their effort to explain away the problem” is irresponsible, he said. “You’re allowing a lot of room for people not to be deployable.”

The Army said Thursday that Guard or Reserve soldiers mobilized on federal orders after Dec. 15, hey dude shoes the vaccination deadline for active-duty soldiers, must be immunized when they leave their home station. The order allows commanders to accelerate the June 30 timetable, but it would delay movement of any personnel who had not yet started a vaccine regimen, which takes between two weeks and a month to complete and be in full compliance with Army guidelines.

Military officials may have other concerns that limit how aggressively they push reservists to comply with the vaccine mandate, including lessons learned from past attempts to do so, said Trupti Brahmbhatt, a senior policy researcher and military health expert at the Rand Corporation.

The Air Force experienced significant blowback following Pentagon requirements for anthrax vaccine regimens in the late 1990s. The mandate “adversely” affected the “retention of trained and experienced guard and reserve pilots,” according to a Government Accountability Office sample survey cited in a 2002 report. About 16 percent of pilots and crew members in reserve units either sought a transfer to another unit to delay or avoid the process, switched to an inactive status or left duty altogether, the report found.

“The Army probably does not want to risk those retention problems,” Brahmbhatt said.

Defense officials have been reluctant to predict how many service members may defy the vaccine mandate. Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, have suggested the number could be significant. “Question for the SECDEF: are you really willing to allow a huge exodus of experienced service members just because they won’t take the vaccine?” the former Navy SEAL tweeted last month, using an abbreviation for secretary of defense.

“Honestly, Americans deserve to know how you plan on dealing with this blow to force readiness – it’s already causing serious problems,” the tweet said.

Crenshaw’s office did not return a request for comment. A handful of Air Force officers have joined other government workers in lawsuits seeking to halt the requirement.

Troops’ receptiveness to the vaccine has varied widely, especially in Guard and Reserve units, which are less connected to the rigid top-down environment that governs daily life on active duty. Experts attribute that to broader societal attitudes – millions of American adults remain unvaccinated – as well as cultural traits unique to each service.

Kuzminski, the military policy expert, told The Post in August that one factor likely fueling the Navy’s comparatively high vaccination rate is last year’s outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt while deployed to the Pacific. The incident exposed how rapidly the virus can spread among those living in tight quarters, and for many leaders it was a wake-up call when the ship was sidelined for two months after about 1,100 crew members were infected, including one sailor who died.

Gallego, a former infantryman in the Marine Corps Reserve, said demographics could explain why its vaccination rates trail the other services.

Marines, on average, are younger, predominantly male and, like many enlisted personnel throughout the armed forces, generally don’t have four-year college degrees, according to 2018 Pentagon data. All of those factors contribute to lower vaccination rates in the broader U.S. population by some degree, according to government data and surveys.

What polls don’t capture, however, is how many Marines and other combat-focused troops, compared to civilians who are the same age, generally are more physically fit and, as a consequence, may doubt the need to be vaccinated.

The Marine Corps declined to address why its vaccine rates lag the other services but said that in the six weeks after the mandate was issued, there was a 292 percent spike in the number of personnel who began a vaccine regimen.

“Marines who refuse the vaccine today,” a spokesperson said, “may choose to be vaccinated tomorrow.”

Woody Harrelson punched drunk man who took his picture, police say

Woody Harrelson was involved in a physical altercation in Washington, D.C., but investigators believe he was acting in “self-defense.”

Metropolitan Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck dr martens boots confirms to Yahoo Entertainment authorities responded to a “reported assault” on Wednesday night at the rooftop bar of the Watergate Hotel. The incident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. when a man, whom cops say was “intoxicated,” started taking photos of Harrelson and his daughter.

Actor Woody Harrelson involved in altercation at Washington, D.C. bar.
Actor Woody Harrelson involved in altercation at Washington, D.C. bar. 

The True Detective star went over and asked the individual to delete the pictures when “a dispute ensued.” The drunk man “lunged” at Harrelson who then hit the individual. There were multiple witnesses who backed up Harrelson’s story and the award-winning actor is not under investigation. Charges are pending on the aggressor, Sternbeck notes. The investigation remains ongoing.

Yahoo Entertainment reached out to hey dude Harrelson’s rep but did not immediately receive a response.

Harrelson is in town shooting the HBO series The White House Plumbers, which is about the Watergate scandal.

Mystery surrounding raid on Washington team facility deepens as union says an active NFL player has spoken to the DEA

As the NFL awaits developments tied to Friday’s federal raid on the Washington Football Team’s practice facility and townhome of head trainer Ryan Vermillion, the players union reached out to a swath of player agents Thursday seeking information on an apparent DEA investigation.

The NFLPA sent a letter to player agents on Thursday morning, alerting them to an investigation the union has opened into the raid — in response to what the union believes is a potential issue of player health and safety. In the letter, which was reviewed by Yahoo Sports, hey dude the union said at least one active player has been contacted by federal agents in response to a DEA investigation. However, a source familiar with the letter and also the union’s efforts to gather information said federal investigators have sought out more than one active player, although the source declined to give any further specifics.

In its letter, the NFLPA added that given Vermillion’s nearly three decades of NFL experience (working for the Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers and Washington) there is potential for the federal investigation to expand into the trainer’s tenure with past NFL franchises, and could include reaching out to past and present players tied to those organizations. In anticipation of that possibility, the union requested that agents or players contact the NFLPA’s legal department if they are approached by DEA prosecutors over the course of the investigation.

The letter added that players contacted in the investigation could be asked questions by the DEA without being told specifically what it was regarding. The letter did not specify which active player had been contacted by federal agents in the investigation, but a source with knowledge of the instance said the contact came prior to the search warrants being executed on the Washington facility and Vermillion’s home. The source declined to name the player or whether he was actively cooperating with the investigation.

Federal law enforcement raided the townhome of Washington Football Team head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion last week. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Federal law enforcement raided the townhome of Washington Football Team head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion last week. 

No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed since the search warrants were executed on Friday. Vermillion hasn’t spoken publicly, either. He also has retained respected Washington D.C. defense attorney Barry Coburn, who also has not commented on last week’s events.

Interestingly, a league source familiar with Friday’s developments said neither the Washington Football Team nor NFL league office was aware of a federal investigation involving Vermillion — despite an active player having been in contact with investigators. dr martens boots The source said the league’s knowledge has been limited to whatever the Washington franchise learned on Friday, before the franchise placed Vermillion on administrative leave. NBC Sports Washington cited sources on Wednesday in a report that the probe into Vermillion was related to “possible diversion of prescription drugs”, but a league source declined to confirm that or whether federal agents were seeking prescription drug information during their search of the WFT facility.

“What we know about [the search] is very limited and what the [DEA] is sharing is very little,” the league source said. “Anyone in contact is being advised by investigators and also their own related legal counsel not to speak about any of it. It doesn’t get any more clear.”

Prior to being placed on administrative leave, Vermillion had been lauded repeatedly for his work in various training and healthcare coordination positions. Head coach Ron Rivera, who has known Vermillion since their days together in the Carolina franchise and who personally led the way to his hiring in Washington, also credited Vermillion with helping him through his recent cancer battle, as well as the development of the team’s COVID-19 protocols dating back to last season.

Frequent movie cop Denzel Washington talks policing in America: ‘I have the utmost respect for what they do’

The dark new thriller The Little Things marks the 13th time the 66-year-old Oscar winner plays a law-enforcer during his illustrious career, most of them clean (The Bone Collector, Out of Time) but a few occasionally dirty (Training Day). In The Little Things, Washington plays a disgraced Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective who finds a chance at redemption when he believes a serial killer he once chased is on another murder spree.

And while policing in America has been under heavy scrutiny in the wake of multiple high-profile officer-involved killings, Black Lives Matter protests and calls to “defund the police” — a discourse that has extended into entertainment steve madden shoes with the cancellations of shows like Cops and Live PD — Washington makes it clear where he stands on the issue.

“I have the utmost respect for what they do, for what our soldiers do, [people] that sacrifice their lives,” Washington tells Yahoo Entertainment during a recent interview (watch above). “I just don’t care for people who put those kind of people down. If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do.”

Washington, who has also played military servicemen or veterans more than a half-dozen times (Glory, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire, et al.), notes his next project will be directing a film (Journal for Jordan, starring Michael B. Jordan) about a soldier who “makes the ultimate sacrifice.”

Denzel Washington in 'The Little Things' (Warner Bros.)
Denzel Washington in The Little Things.

The revered performer, who has also portrayed revolutionaries Steve Biko and Malcolm X, traced his appreciation for members of law enforcement back to a ride-along while preparing to play a cop-turned-district attorney in the 1991 thriller Ricochet.

“I went out on call with a sergeant,” he recalls. “We got a call of a man outside his house with a rifle that was distraught. We pulled up and did a U-turn past the house and came up short of the house. He told me to sit in the car, which I was gonna do. I wasn’t getting out.dr martens boots He got out. As he got out, another car came screaming up and two young people jumped out screaming. As it turned out, it was their grandfather. This policeman defused the entire situation by just remaining calm.

“But it showed me in an instant how they can lose their life. … He didn’t overreact. He could’ve pulled his gun out and shot the people that came up driving real fast. He could’ve shot the old man that was distraught and a bit confused, I think he was suffering a little bit from dementia. But in an instant it taught me, and I never forgot it, what our law enforcement people have to deal with moment to moment, second to second.”

Will Smith explains why he disagrees with ‘defund the police’ sentiment

Along with Denzel Washington, Will Smith is one of the most famous movie cops in Hollywood thanks to his blockbuster Bad Boys franchise. In a wide-ranging new interview with GQ, the star of the upcoming Oscar hopeful King Richard touches on the complicated subject of real-world policing. Specifically, Smith addresses the “Defund the police” movement that gained traction after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020, four months after the third Bad Boys installment, Bad Boys for Life, racked up $200 million at the U.S. box office. And much like Washington — who recently told Yahoo Entertainment that he nike store has the “utmost respect” for real-life cops — Smith sounds a more cautious note about the movement’s goals.

“I would love if we would just say ‘Defund the bad police,'” he remarks, likening it to the conflicting messaging over critical race theory. “It’s almost like I want, as Black Americans, for us to change our marketing for the new position we’re in. So ‘critical race theory,’ just call it ‘truth theory.’ The pendulum is swinging in our direction beautifully.”

“This is a difficult area to discuss, but I feel like the simplicity of Black Lives Matter was perfect,” Smith continues. “Anybody who tries to debate Black Lives Matter looks ridiculous. So when I talk about the marketing of our ideas, Black Lives Matter was perfection. From a standpoint of getting it done, Black Lives Matter gets it done. ‘Defund the police’ doesn’t get it done, no matter how good the ideas are. I’m not saying we shouldn’t defund the police. I’m saying, just don’t say that, because then people who would help you won’t.”

Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles as Florida super-cops in Bad Boys for Life (Photo: Ben Rothstein / © Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection)
Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles as Florida super-cops in Bad Boys for Life 

Amid the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Smith spoke up about his own interactions with police officers as a young man in Philadelphia, indicating that he was called the “N” word on multiple occasions. “I got stopped frequently,” he remarked on the podcast, On 1 With Angela Rye. “So I understand what it’s like to be in those circumstances with the police.”

Speaking with GQ, Smith explains that for much of his career he placed being an entertainer over being a spokesperson for any particular cause. “In the early part of my career….I wanted to be a superhero. So I wanted to depict Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. nike sneakers I wanted to play roles that you would give to Tom Cruise.” Now that he’s in his so-called “f***-it 50s,” though, he’s ready to incorporate politics into his art. That includes his upcoming Apple TV+ movie, Emancipation, which is based on the true story of “Whipped Peter,” an escaped slave and subject of a famous 19th century photo that captured the horrors of slavery in a single image.

Previously, Smith says he deliberately “avoided” appearing in movies about slavery — including Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, where he was offered the title role that eventually went to Jamie Foxx — but feels that Emancipation offers something different. “This was one that was about love and the power of Black love,” Smith says of the Antoine Fuqua directed movie. “And that was something that I could rock with. We were going to make a story about how Black love makes us invincible.”

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 06: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend Paramount Pictures' Premiere of
Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 2019 premiere of Gemini Man in Hollywood, California 

Speaking of love, Smith’s GQ interview also touches on the rumors surrounding his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith, which is addressed in the actor’s upcoming memoir, Will, due in bookstores in November. “Jada never believed in conventional marriage,” ecco shoes the actor says, tacitly confirming that he and Pinkett Smith have a non-traditional union. “We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”