Friday, September 24, 2021

Wake-Up Call: CDC Endorses Vaxx Boosters For 65+, At Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday endorsed Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for those 65 and older and other vulnerable Americans, with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signing off on the recommendations from a panel of advisers. In addition to seniors, boosters at least six months past a second Pfizer shot were also endorsed for nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have underlying health problems. Additionally, Walensky included one group the panel had voted against, those ages 18 to 64 who are health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk. The FDA had signed off a day earlier on boosters for similar populations. Boosters for those who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines haven't yet been taken up by the regulators, and doesn't have data on whether it's safe to give those people a Pfizer booster. The U.S. has already authorized third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for certain people with weakened immune systems.

🔫ONE KILLED BY GUNMAN, 12 WOUNDED IN TENNESSEE SUPERMARKET: One person was killed and 12 others wounded, some of them seriously, when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Collierville, Tennessee, yesterday afternoon. The gunman was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound by a SWAT team that arrived within minutes. The identities of the gunman and the victims weren't immediately released. The shooter's vehicle was in the parking lot of the supermarket, which is located in a suburb about 30 miles east of Memphis.

➤HAITIAN MIGRANT ENCAMPMENT IN TEXAS REDUCED BY MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS: The makeshift encampment of Haitian migrants under a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio had been reduced in size by nearly two-thirds as of yesterday, with Department of Homeland Security officials saying there were about 4,000 people left. Just days earlier, there'd been nearly 15,000 migrants there. The unnamed DHS officials told journalists says some 1,400 of those evacuated had been sent to Haiti, 3,200 were in U.S. custody and being processed, and seven thousand had returned to Mexico. Food, shelter and medical care were being provided for those who still remained at the encampment and need it.

➤HOUSE JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS TRUMP ADVISERS, ASSOCIATES: The House select committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol issued its first subpoenas yesterday, for records and testimony from four advisers and associates of former President Donald Trump who were in contact with Trump before and during the attack. They are: former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino; former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel; and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The subpoenas ask the men to produce documents by October 7th and appear at depositions on October 14th and 15th.

Daily Mail graphic 9/24/21

➤PETITO FIANCE LAUNDRIE CHARGED WITH BANK FRAUD: The 23-year-old fiance of Gabrielle Petito, Brian Laundrie, was charged with bank fraud yesterday (September 23rd) for unauthorized use of a debit card. That came as searchers continued to look for Laundrie, who hasn't been seen in 10 days, since before Petito's body was found in Wyoming last weekend. The indictment alleges Laudrie used a debit card and someone's personal ID number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing from about August 30th to September 1st. It doesn't say who the card belonged to. Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the 22-year-old Petito's death.

✈NUMBER OF DISRUPTIVE AIR PASSENGERS DOWN SHARPLY, BUT STILL HIGH: The number of disruptive air passengers is down sharply from early this year, but it's still more than twice the level of late 2020 and has been mostly unchanged over the past three months. The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday cited their use of bigger fines against unruly passengers for the decline. Still, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson said, "This remains a serious safety threat.” Airlines reported about six incidents of disruptive passengers for every 10,000 flights last week, down about half from February and March, but about the same as late June. About three-quarters of the incidents this year involved passengers refusing to wear face masks.

➤FEDEX HAVING TO REROUTE 600K PACKAGES DAILY DUE TO LABOR SHORTAGE: FedEx is having to reroute some 600,000 packages a day because of a labor shortage, leading to longer delivery times, President and COO Raj Subramaniam told investors during an earnings call this week. Subramaniam stated that the labor shortage was, quote, "the biggest issue facing our business," and a big reason behind the company's seven percent profit decline in the quarter that ended at the end of August. He said the labor problem could last into the holiday season, as FedEx is looking to hire 90,000 employees for the holidays.
➤POLL...VOTERs WANTS BIG TECH REINED-IN BY GOV'T:  Americans don't seem to agree on much these days, but a new poll found that U.S. voters overwhelmingly want Big Tech companies reined in by the federal government. The poll conducted for the Future of Tech Commission found that 80 percent of registered voters agreed the government, quote, "needs to do everything it can to curb the influence of big tech companies that have grown too powerful and now use our data to reach too far into our lives." That included 83 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of Republicans. The poll found that the two biggest policy priorities for voters related to Big Tech are strengthening privacy for users and accountability for the technology companies. There was widespread support for boosting antitrust laws to ensure more competition in tech, but the majority were opposed to breaking up Big Tech companies. Additionally, despite wanting more regulation of Big Tech, the respondents generally had positive opinions of the companies, with Google having an 81 percent favorability, Amazon 74 percent, Apple 67 percent and Facebook 53 percent.

🏫KIDS ARE ONTO SOMETHING: HOMEWORK MIGHT ACTUALLY BE BAD:  Homework is no fun for kids. Many schools dole out ten minutes of homework for each grade level, as was once recommended by the National Education Association (NEA). So, first graders should get just ten minutes of work to do at home while high schoolers should be cracking the books for up to two hours each night. But multiple studies have found that kids are usually getting more homework than that each night. Also, one study found a correlation between homework and strengthened achievement among seventh graders, but another found that, “students who did more hours of homework experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.” Further complicating homework is who has access to high-speed internet and who doesn’t-- as millions of households still lack fast, reliable internet. So how can homework be made into a good thing? Some experts say homework should be decoupled from students’ overall grades to take the pressure off, while others say making homework more useful for kids may also come down to picking the right types of assignments, as research has shown that it’s easier to learn material revisited several times in short bursts rather than during long study sessions.

➤THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WHY WE’RE CRAZY FOR PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING: Brands figured it out a while ago-- people love pumpkin spice. Johns Hopkins University researchers say it’s not so much the taste of pumpkin spice that we love so much as the smell and it’s associations. Researcher Jason Fischer explains, “There’s a kind of special access to the memory system in the brain that odor perception has.” Even just reading the phrase “pumpkin spice” can bring forth the scents and memories of fall, which are further enforced when the leaves change colors and other physical signs of fall are present around us. McCormick & Company first released their pumpkin pie spice blend in 1934, and two years ago it was the company’s fourth best-selling retail spice during fall. The researchers add that there’s another factor at play called “the familiarity effect,” which dictates “the more you’ve been exposed to something, the more it ingrains itself in your preferences.” Fisher adds, “So simply by experiencing pumpkin spice every year, over and over again… it takes on that sense of familiarity” and when you add in all the other positive associations with fall, it “can really cause us to find some sort of nostalgic comfort in it.”

➤FAMILIES WHO LISTEN TO MUSIC TOGETHER FORM BETTER BONDS:  It turns out families who listen to music together are less likely to argue. Virgin Media commissioned a poll of 2,000 British adults and found 42 percent think they are closer to their loved ones due to a shared love of music, and 32 percent say they believe it reduces the disagreements they have. Fifty-nine percent of parents even said listening to their kids’ musical influences has helped them understand their children better. Seventy-six percent of parents who remember taking their child to their first concert even say it was one of the best experiences in their life.  

🏈PANTHERS TOP TEXANS 24-9, MCCAFFREY INJURED: The Carolina Panthers topped the Houston Texans 24-9 last night to go 3-0 on the season. But there was a shadow over the win for Carolina, with star running back Christian McCaffrey suffering a hamstring injury early in the second quarter. Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 304 yards and ran for two touchdowns, while the Texans' rookie quarterback Davis Mills was sacked four times and held to 168 yards passing in his first career start. Mills was filling in for an injured Tyrod Taylor.

🏀SKY, MERCURY ADVANCE IN WNBA PLAYOFFS WITH FIRST-ROUND SINGLE-ELIMINATION WINS: The WNBA's playoffs got underway last night with the Chicago Sky and the Phoenix Mercury advancing to the second round with wins in their single-elimination first-round games. The Sky beat the Dallas Wings 81-64, and the Mercury defeated the New York Liberty 83-82, getting the win on a free throw by Brianna Turner with less than second to play. As Chicago and Phoenix now move on, the Wings and Liberty are done for the season.

⚾WHITE SOX WIN AL CENTRAL FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2008: The Chicago White Sox clinched the AL Central title with a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians yesterday, the first time they've won the division since 2008. It's also the first time Chicago will be going to the postseason for two years in a row. This is the White Sox's first season under 76-year-old Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa.

🏌THOMAS AND SPIETH TO OPEN RYDER CUP FOR U.S.: The duo of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will open the Ryder Cup for the U.S. this morning against the European team of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, both of Spain, at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The other U.S. teams playing this morning will be: Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa against Paul Casey of England and Viktor Hovland of Norway; Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger against Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, both of England; and Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay against Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter of England. Europe has won four of the past five Ryder Cups

⚾TORONTO RELIEVER BORUCKI SUSPENDED THREE GAMES FOR HITTING RAYS' KIERMAIER: Toronto Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki has been suspended for three games for intentionally hitting the Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch, MLB announced on Thursday. Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo was suspended for one game, and both were given undisclosed fines. 

Borucki was ejected from Wednesday's game after he hit the centerfielder in the back in the eighth inning. That came two days after Kiermaier picked up a Toronto scouting report that had fallen off catcher Alejandro Kirk’s wristband during a play at the plate and refused to give it back. Borucki denied throwing at Kiermaier and is appealing the punishment.

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