WATCH: NOAA’s Hurricane Director Shuts Down Don Lemon’s Attempt to Use Ian to Push Climate Change Narrative
‘Where’s Jackie?’: Biden Asks Dead Indiana Rep to Identify Herself in Crowd
WATCH: Russell Brand Goes on Epic 15-Minute Rant Exposing Media ‘Elite’ as the ‘Misinformation’ Hypocrites They Are
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) unloaded on Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Tuesday hearing, accusing him of using his position to assist in the public smearing of epidemiologists with whom he disagreed.
Paul, citing an email exchange initially authored by former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, said that Fauci had agreed with Collins and either allowed or assisted in the “takedown” of epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford — whose ideas Collins suggested should be painted as “fringe.”
Sen. @RandPaul vs. Fauci, Round 8. Sen. Paul drills into Fauci over his emails showing a coordinated campaign to "takedown" the Great Barrington Declaration.
Paul: "Do you really think it’s appropriate to use your $420,000 salary to attack science that doesn’t agree with you? pic.twitter.com/LNuql7nSb7
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 11, 2022
“Dr. Fauci, the idea that a government official like yourself would claim unilaterally to represent science and that any criticism of you would be considered a criticism of science itself is quite dangerous,” Paul said, going on to accuse Fauci of effectively “ruling by mandate” as his word, in many cases, was quickly adopted as federal policy.
“In an email exchange with Dr. Collins, you conspire, and I quote here directly from the email, to ‘create a quick and devastating published takedown’ of three prominent epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford,” Paul continued.
Fauci objected, saying that the email had been written by Collins — at which point Paul argued that Fauci could have responded differently instead of allowing the requested “takedown” to proceed.
“A published takedown, though, you know doesn’t exactly conjure up the image of a dispassionate scientist,” Paul added. “Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as ‘fringe’ and take them down — and not in journals, in lay press. This is not only antithetical to the scientific method, it’s the epitome of cheap politics, and it’s reprehensible, Dr. Fauci.”
The Great Barrington Declaration — the statement prompting Collins’ call for a quick and complete “takedown” — advocated a more targeted approach to COVID-19 and warned of the dangers of blanket policies such as full lockdowns and sweeping mandates.
The GBD reads, in part:
Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.
Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.
As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
Republican State Senator Suspended After Filing Frivolous Complaint
An Arkansas State senator is being denied access to Senate offices and legislative meetings after it was determined that he made a frivolous ethics complaint against a colleague.
It was decided by a 26 – 4 vote by a Republican majority legislature to suspend GOP Sen. Alan Clark until January 8, 2023, the end of its session, The Associated Press reported.
The Senate earlier this month rejected a complaint Clark had filed against Democratic Sen. Stephanie Flowers accusing her of improperly receiving per diem payments for legislative meetings she attended via Zoom.
The ethics panel ruled that Clark had filed the complaint as retaliation after the Senate stripped him and another lawmaker of their leadership posts after Clark sought reimbursement for a meeting he didn’t attend.
“The committee felt that the comments and actions of Senator Clark, including bringing these ethics petitions for the purpose of retaliation, were bringing dishonor and disruption to the institution of the Senate,” Republican Sen. Kim Hammer, the ethics committee chair, said.
State Sen. Clark did not attend the hearing because he said he had a trip planned with his family, but he accused the state Senate of punishing him for being a whistleblower.
“How can we be expected to fight corruption and wrongdoing in government if we can’t reveal and stand against our own questionable behavior?” he said. “I am saddened for this body that I love, more than anything else.”
“Rules the Senate adopted during the coronavirus pandemic allowed members to participate remotely, but not receive per diem funds. Flowers had not requested the payments and repaid the money in August after she realized she had received them because of a clerical error, the ethics committee found,” the report said.
— Stan Americana (@americana_stan) September 28, 2022
“The ethics committee cited comments Clark made before filing the complaint on social media and a picture that circulated of him wearing a scarlet ‘E’ — similar to the scarlet ‘A’ worn as punishment for adultery in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter — at a Republican Party event after he was sanctioned by the Senate,” the report said.
Ethics has been an issue in the news recently. In August the judge in charge of the lawsuit for the raid on former President Donald Trump’s house had his own ethics issue.
The group, Tea Party Patriots Action, which has long held sway within conservative circles, has filed a federal complaint against Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart for signing off on the Mar-a-Lago raid.
In the lengthy complaint, which was filed with the Judicial Council of the 11th Circuit Court, Tea Party Patriots CEO Jenny Beth Martin argued that Reinhart has it in for the former president which is why he should not have been involved at all in approving the warrant.
“Judge Reinhart has a conflict of interest and a pattern and history of hostility to President Trump,” said the filing. It went on to include a number of instances where Reinhart attacked Trump on social media as well as documenting his financial donations to critics of the 45th president including Barack Obama and one of Trump’s 2016 GOP challengers, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to the Washington Examiner.
Martin not only wants Reinhart taken off the case, but removed from the bench altogether.
“Judge Reinhart should be disciplined and removed as a federal magistrate because of his failure to meet the standards of ethical conduct and character necessary for the public to have confidence in the nonpartisan role of a judge in a matter of this extreme public interest,” says the sixth of seven charges listed in the ethics complaint, the outlet reported, adding:
In the meantime, critics of his earlier action to OK the search for classified documents inside the resort have dug up ample evidence of Reinhart’s anti-Trump liberal past, including donations and social media attacks. Martin also cited a case involving Hillary Clinton in which Reinhart recused himself as an example that he should have followed in the Mar-a-Lago case.
“The entire episode of the unprecedented search of the former president’s home, authorized by a political appointee of President Trump’s successor, and approved by a federal magistrate who has been outspoken in his opposition to and loathing of President Trump threatens the principle of ‘equal justice under law’ and the confidence of the American people in an unbiased judiciary,” the complaint added.
Is Biden About to Lose a Cabinet Member? Rumors of Infighting Could Mean Exit After Midterms
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen may leave her post following the midterm elections.
Though a decision has not been made, the Biden administration is preparing for Yellen’s departure and is already searching for a potential replacement, Axios reported, citing White House sources.
Yellen is reported to be frequently at loggerheads with Biden’s advisers on economic issues.
According to Axios, Yellen came under fire within the Biden administration for admitting in June that she was “wrong about the path inflation would take” and advocating for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to combat inflation.
Additionally, she reportedly disagreed with Biden’s decision to cancel federal student loan debt and the administration’s effort to blame corporations for inflation.
Yellen’s departure has not been confirmed, with some in government denying that it will occur. A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department told Axios that Yellen “has no plans to leave,” a statement echoed by Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn.
The director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, is also rumored to be leaving the administration after November’s midterms.
Deese is Biden’s top economic adviser and has taken a primary role in crafting the administration’s major legislative initiatives, including the American Rescue Plan Act, Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Deese has denied that he intends to depart.
Officials have confirmed that another one of Biden’s economic advisers, Cecilia Rouse, will leave the administration. Rouse, currently the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, is on two-year public service leave as a professor of economics at Princeton University. Her leave ends in 2023.
It is common for senior members of an administration to leave after midterm elections.
Though some of Biden’s other advisers, such as chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, have announced plans to retire from government service this year, the administration has had a lower turnover rate than its six predecessors, CNN reported.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler Stabbed at Home, Daughter Arrested
Tulsa County, Oklahoma, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler was hospitalized Tuesday after he was allegedly stabbed by his daughter.
Kunzweiler said he got into an altercation with his 30-year-old daughter Jennifer at his home in south Tulsa before calling police around 3 p.m. and telling them he was stabbed multiple times, ABC 8 Tulsa reported. The district attorney was then taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries and went home Tuesday evening.
“Unfortunately today, I found myself in a situation that I hoped would never happen. Fortunately, my injuries are such that I was able to go home,” Kunzweiler’s office said in a statement.
The suspect, Kunzweiler’s daughter Jennifer, was arrested by police who said she was possibly dealing with a mental health issue at the time of the altercation with her father. She was also taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
“What happened was his daughter and he got into an altercation of sorts where she had stabbed him,” Tulsa Police Captain Richard Meulenberg said, according to NBC News. “The injury stemmed from a potential mental health crisis on the daughter’s side, and then that led to the assault on her father.”
After arriving on scene, Meulenberg said firefighters had to wrestle Jennifer Kunzweiler “to get her under control.”
At a press conference Wednesday, Kunzweiler said he was sore, but “doing fine.” He then thanked the community for their support and praised first responders for their professionalism. The married father of three asked for prayer as his family deals with the situation and thanked those who have shown concern.
“Thank you to everyone who expressed concern for me and my family. I am most appreciative of the response from the Tulsa Fire Department, EMSA, the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. I am also very grateful for the professionalism and care of the staff and doctors at Saint Francis Hospital in treating me for my injuries,” his office said.
CNN host Don Lemon was joined by Jamie Rhome, the acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center on Tuesday to discuss the storm track and expected effects of Hurricane Ian.
Lemon opened the interaction by framing his questions regarding the storm in a context focusing on “climate change,” after discussing the particulars of the storm itself which it seemed Rhome was interested in answering.
According to Fox News, Lemon told his audience that meteorologists have said Hurricane Ian could enter “another period of rapid intensification,” prior to making landfall.
He asked Rhome, “What effect climate change has on this phenomenon?”
“We can come back and talk about climate change at a later time. I want to focus on the here and now. We think the rapid intensification is probably almost done,” Rhome answered.
“There could be a little bit more intensification as it’s still over the warm waters of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, but I don’t think we’re going to get any more rapid intensification.”
He then attempted to continue describing the hurricane’s development, “If you look here, you can actually see pretty interesting for your viewers,” he said.
This is amazing. Don Lemon tries to blame Hurricane Ian on climate change. NOAA's hurricane director shuts him down. pic.twitter.com/svTjHtE8hl
— Alex Pfeiffer (@__Pfeiffer) September 28, 2022
“You can actually see a second eyewall forming around the inner eyewall, and that’s basically the second eyewall has overtaken the original eyewall, and that should arrest development,” he added before being interrupted by Lemon.
The CNN host was undeterred and continued, “So, listen, I just — I’m just trying to get that you said you want to talk about climate change, but what — what effect does climate change have on this phenomenon that — that is happening now. Because it seems these storms are intensifying. That’s the question here,” he asked.
Rhome replied, “I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event. On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse. But to link it to any one event, I would caution against that.”
Lemon then began to argue with the National Weather Service expert who possesses twenty-plus years of experience studying hurricanes, according to the National Weather Service.
“OK. Well, they — listen, I grew up there and these storms are intensifying something is causing them to intensify. So, this storm is just — it’s a massive one. Its effects are also being felt in the southern part of Florida.”
Lorrie Goldstein, editor emeritus of the Toronto Sun tweeted the exchange observing, “This is just hilarious. Don Lemon gratuitously insults actual hurricane expert by claiming his anecdotal evidence — ‘I grew up there’ — makes him an expert, too.”
The exchange hearkens back to a Sept. 19 interview with Hilary Fordwich, a British-American businesswoman and commentator on the royal family following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
During the interview, Lemon asked if the British royal family should pay reparations for African slavery and appeared surprised when Fordwich suggested that not only should African nations who originated the slave trade pay reparations, but that said funds should be given to the descendants of Britons who fought to end the Atlantic slave trade.
“I think you’re right about reparations in terms if people want it though, what they need to do is — you always need to go back to the beginning of a supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain? That was in Africa,” she said.
“Across the entire world when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery? First nation in the world to abolish it … was the British.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 20, 2022
Bethany Mandel, a Contributor for Desert Media and Fox News Columnist suggested in a tweet, “With his job reportedly on the line, it is not great for Don Lemon that every video of him going viral is just getting owned.”
Lemon is currently transitioning off of his primetime show on CNN to a morning co-hosting role with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. He recently made headlines for ardently arguing that this change from a solo primetime show to a morning show with two other hosts does not represent a “demotion.”
Shocking Before and After Images Show Devastation Wrought by Hurricane Ian
Shocking photos show the extent of devastation left by Hurricane Ian as it raged across southwest portion of Florida on Sunday, bringing with it historic flooding and widespread power outages.
The stark before and after images show the catastrophic flooding as the historic storm heads north to the central part of the state, causing nearby Virginia, Georgia, and North and South Carolina to issue their own state of emergencies.
Fort Myers was one worst battered by Ian, with apocalyptic photos showing homes decimated by its wrath as roads turned into rivers with the tsunami of floodwater.
Naples and nearby Sanibel Island were also rocked by the hurricane, with images of the latter showing a beachside pool overwhelmed by water as the region saw winds in the excess of 155mph.
The images show the current, embattled condition of the Sunshine State’s southwest coast, with now nearly two million out of power and forced to their home’s rooftops as water levels are still on the rise.
The hurricane has since been downgraded to a Category-1 storm, with officials still warning that further flooding and even tornados are possible in yet-to-be-hit central Florida.
On Sanibel, an island just west of Fort Myers and northwest of Naples, photos show flooding at the city’s Sanibel Harbor Resort, where water levels reached more than 12 feet.
Gale force winds of up to 155mph, meanwhile, ripped out trees and shattered windows of houses on the island, which is home to roughly 6,400 Floridians.
The island served as the first locale in Florida’s southwest to be hit by the storm, which at that point had reached Category-4 status.
The storm would proceed to move through nearby across the narrow channel of sea that separates the island from Fort Myers, where it wrought even worse destruction.
Photos show a pool and several houses on the city’s coastal Estero Blvd before the storm rocked the city. Further images show the pool was already submerged by noon Wednesday, in a coastal portion of the city known as Estero Island.
A few hours later, levels rose even further, leaving several houses almost entirely submerged, with none of the pool and its gate visible.
Water levels in Fort Myers are still extremely high more than five hours after the hurricane – which was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Wednesday evening – made landfall.
Still-strong winds on the tail-end of the hurricane, meanwhile, are pushing the surge onshore as of Wednesday night, keeping the land flooded.
As of 9pm, the water level has only dropped about eight inches, meaning the pictured areas all still underwater.
More photos show the coastal city in the morning hours before the full extent of the storm was felt before many parts of the de facto island – a channel that juts off the rest of the city and into the Atlantic – found itself almost completely underwater.
By the afternoon, the devastation in the area was irrefutable – with homes destroyed and debris strewn across the submerged streets.
Earlier in the day, other more southern cities saw similar conditions, with officials invoking a 10pm curfew in Collier County, including Naples. That curfew is set to expire by 6am, when the worst of the storm is expected to subside.
However, despite this, DeSantis and other weather officials warned Wednesday to be wary of standing water and downed power lines in the coming days, due to the fact that many hurricane casualties come in the ‘post storm’ span.
— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) September 28, 2022
Teachers Union Prez Tries to ‘School’ DeSantis — But She’s the One Who Needs a History Lesson
American Federation of Teachers union President Randi Weingarten attempted to educate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) — but as it turned out, she was the one who was in need of a history lesson.
The online scuffle began with a comment from DeSantis about the founding of the United States and the fact that the prescription for the end of slavery was effectively written into the Constitution.
Referencing “The 1619 Project,” DeSantis said, “They want to teach our kids that the American Revolution was fought to protect slavery, and that’s false. We know why the American Revolution was fought. They wrote pamphlets, we saw them dump tea into the Boston Harbor. We saw them meet in Philadelphia, and we have the records of why they revolted against King George III.”
DeSantis went on to say that the American Revolution had caused people to “question” slavery as an institution, noting that never before had a nation written into its founding documents the concept that all men had been “created equal” in the eyes of both their Creator and the laws of men.
Emperor Desantis gives his absurdly false version of how he expects history to be taught: “It was the American Revolution that caused people to question slavery. No one had questioned it before we decided as Americans that we are endowed by our creator with unalienable rights.” pic.twitter.com/Nw8SMmGCUw
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) September 22, 2022
Weingarten chimed in then, arguing that the 3/5 compromise — which limited the political power of slave states and was written with an eye toward encouraging slave states to end the practice entirely — was actually written to enshrine the practice into law.
“The American Revolution was about leaving Britain. If America’s founders questioned slavery there would not have been the heinous ‘3/5 compromise’ in the US Constitution, which was drafted and enacted AFTER the American Revolution. This is basic history …,” Weingarten claimed.
Critics swiftly descended on Weingarten, however, delivering a remedial course in American history via quote-tweet after the union president limited replies to her initial tweet.
“Rx This historical illiterate, @rweingarten, has no idea what she is talking about. The 3/5ths compromise happened because slavery was actively being questioned. The solution to slavery was baked into the constitution,” one user tweeted in response.
The American Revolution was about leaving Britain. If America’s founders questioned slavery there would not have been the heinous “3/5 compromise “ in the US Constitution, which was drafted and enacted AFTER the American Revolution. This is basic history… https://t.co/QkwBFF7CkX
— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) September 28, 2022
“Just to be clear, this woman who has a massive influence on American education doesn’t know ‘basic history’ well enough to know the 3/5ths compromise was proposed by northern delegates to keep southern states from bolstering the institution of slavery,” Mark Hemingway added.
“This lady is a moron,” came from Rod Dreher. “The reason for the compromise is that Northerners were opposed to slavery. Better hope she is not teaching your kids history.”
“If America’s leaders didn’t question the idea of slavery [w]ouldn’t it have just been a 5/5 agreement? This moron runs the teacher’s union,” Jim Hanson wondered.
“This is just beautiful. The head of one of the largest teachers unions in the country openly demonstrates that she has absolutely no grasp of basic American history — or she is purposefully lying,” Leonydus Johnson tweeted. “Either way, it is a perfect representation of the abysmal state of govt education.”
Michele Tafoya quoted freed-slave Frederick Douglass, who said of the Constitution, “Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”
.@rweingarten “Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”
Frederick Douglass https://t.co/nhdxaarrRU
— Michele Tafoya (@Michele_Tafoya) September 28, 2022
YouTube Removed Viral Pro-Family Speech From Incoming Conservative Italian PM — Watch it Here
YouTube removed a viral speech defending the family and ripping woke ideology given by incoming conservative Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni — before reversing course and reinstating the video.
Meloni’s speech from the World Congress of Families gathering in 2019 went viral this week online, in light of Meloni’s groundbreaking win as Italy’s first female PM.
“Why is the family an enemy? Why is the family so frightening? There is a single answer to all these questions,” she said in the speech, according to transcript provided by The Washington Post. “Because it defines us. Because it is our identity. Because everything that defines us is now an enemy for those who would like us to no longer have an identity and to simply be perfect consumer slaves.”
YouTube on Wednesday removed video of the speech, adding an ambiguous note that the footage “has been removed for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines,” National Review reported.
No other information was offered to general users about which “community guideline” had been violated in the video.
But when The Daily Wire reached out to the platform for more information, YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said the video has been reinstated.
“Upon careful review, we determined this video is not violative of our Community Guidelines and have reinstated it,” Choi said via email.
“We enforce our policies regardless of the speaker’s political views and when it’s brought to our attention that a video has been mistakenly removed, we review the content and take appropriate action, including restoring the relevant videos or channels–as we have done with this video,” she added.
This is Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
I’ve never heard any politician so perfectly explain what we’re up against and why we fight.
When you watch this video, you’ll quickly realize why the establishment is afraid of her.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 26, 2022
Meloni’s speech, which has racked up a stunning 20.6 million views on Twitter, targeted radical left-wing gender theory, too.
“I can’t define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No. I must be Citizen X, Gender X, Parent 1, Parent 2,” the incoming PM said. “I must be a number, because when I am only a number, when I no longer have an identity or roots, then I will be the perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators. The perfect consumer.”
“That’s why we inspire so much fear,” Meloni continued. “That’s why this event inspires so much fear. Because we do not want to be numbers. We will defend the value of the human being — every single human being. Because each of us has a unique genetic code that is unrepeatable. And, like it or not, that is sacred. We will defend it. We will defend God, country and family.”
“Those things that disgust people so much,” she added, “we will do it to defend our freedom because we will never be slaves and simple consumers at the mercy of financial speculators. That is our mission.”
Longtime CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante Dies at 84
Famed news correspondent Bill Plante is dead at 84 as confirmed by his family.
Plante was a mainstay on American television for half a century as a correspondent for CBS News, covering historical events from the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War.
His wife, Robin Smith, said the cause of death was respiratory failure.
Plante started at CBS as a reporter and assignment editor in 1964, just two years after Walter Cronkite took the anchor’s chair on the nightly news.
Plante also served as the anchor for the CBS Evening News on Sunday evenings between 1988 to 1995.
In 2016, Plante retired as the senior White House correspondent, reporting on four US presidents – Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama.
He is one of the longest-tenured White House journalists on TV, said CBS.
His time as the White House correspondent often put him at odds with White House press secretaries and sometimes the president himself.
“Bill was a friendly rival, always willing to share insights,” said Tom Brokaw, former anchor of NBC Nightly News.
He described Plante as “a smart, serious journalist with a droll, self-deprecating style.”
Plante’s time as the White House correspondent often put him at odds with White House press secretaries and sometimes the president himself.
In one situation, Plante reportedly received an apology from President Clinton for an angry response to one of his questions.
“You want to pose a question that doesn’t easily allow a simple yes or no answer — especially if it’s an accusatory question that can be answered with a one-liner,” Plante told the Minneapolis Star Triune in 1997.
“I have no wasted sympathy on any occupant of the White House,” he added. “They are out to present themselves in the best possible light, and it’s our job to find out, if we can, what’s actually going on.”
Plante was born in Chicago on January 14, 1938, to a field engineer father and a school administrator mother.
He graduated from Loyola Academy in 1955 before attending Loyola University Chicago, receiving a degree in the humanities in 1959.
Plante became interested in broadcasting around the age of 17 or 18 while working at a classical music radio station in Evanston, Illinois.
After being referred to a job at a Milwaukee television station, Plante dropped out of Chicago-Kent law school and earned a journalism fellowship at Columbia University.
His first marriage was to Barbara Barnes Orteig and he adopted her four sons from a previous marriage.
The couple had two more sons before divorcing.
In 1987, Plante married Robin Smith, who worked as a producer for NBC News.
He is survived by his wife, Robin, his five sons from his first marriage: Michael, Daniel, Chris, Brian and David; three brothers; eight grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
Plante’s son, Patrick, preceded him in death in 2014.
Polish Politician Stuns With Tweet Suggesting Who Was Behind Destroying Russia’s Pipelines
A Polish politician, who is married to American leftist writer Anne Applebaum, ignited a firestorm on social media this week by suggesting that the United States was behind the damage to Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea this week.
The tweet from Radoslaw Sikorski came after explosions were reported where the pipelines are located in the Baltic Sea, which was followed by a sharp decrease in the conduits’ pressure.
“Thank you, USA,” Sikorski, a member of European Parliament and chairman of the Delegation for relations with the United States, declared on Twitter.
Thank you, USA. pic.twitter.com/nALlYQ1Crb
— Radek Sikorski MEP (@radeksikorski) September 27, 2022
“[By the way], there’s no shortage of pipeline capacity for taking gas from Russia to Western Europe, including Germany,” Sikorski claimed on Twitter. “Nordstream’s only logic was for Putin to be able to blackmail or wage war on Eastern Europe with impunity.”
“All Ukrainian and Baltic sea states have opposed Nordstream’s construction for 20 years,” he continued. “Now $20 billion of scrap metal lies at the bottom of the sea, another cost to Russia of its criminal decision to invade Ukraine. Someone, @MFA_Russia , did a special maintenance operation.”
Nord Stream AG, the Russian company behind the pipelines, released a statement on the incident, calling it “unprecedented.”
“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” the company said in a statement. “It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure.”
A report from German news outlet Spiegel said that the CIA had cautioned Germany about possible attacks on Baltic Sea gas pipelines weeks ago. Berlin is presently assuming it was a targeted attack on the Nord Stream system, unnamed sources said.
Germany, the continent’s largest economy, relied upon Russian natural gas for 55% of its imports before the beginning of the conflict. The producer price index for industrial products in Germany has risen 45.8% year-over-year as of August 2022, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, which followed increases of 37.2% in July 2022 and 32.7% in June 2022.
Several manufacturers have therefore paused operations in response to high energy prices and a likely drop in consumer demand. Industrial production in the eurozone has fallen 2.3%, according to data from the European Union.
Famed Rapper Coolio Dead At 59
Famed rapper Coolio died Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 59 years old.
TMZ reported that the rapper, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died while visiting a friend.
He reportedly went to use the bathroom at his friend’s house and did not come back for a while, prompting the friend to go looking for him. The friend found him lying on the floor, at which point he called for help.
The rapper was pronounced dead at the scene.
The report said that while an official cause of death had yet to be given, cardiac arrest was suspected.
Coolio went from growing up in tough conditions in Compton, California, to becoming a Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum recording artist, selling more than 17 million records worldwide.
Perhaps his most famous song was the song that helped launch him toward the top of the rap music scene, “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
Coolio’s website noted that the song won a Grammy Award in 1996 for Best Rap Performance, Solo, and that it was featured on the “Dangerous Minds” soundtrack and movie.
The song “was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Song of the Year and it sold over six million copies and was Billboard Magazine’s number one single in 1995,” his site said. “The world recognition led to his music being featured Coolio for several major motion pictures including: Space Jam, Clueless, The Big Payback, Panther, New Jersey Drive, The Jerk Boys, Eddie, Half Baked and many more. He also composed the theme song for the popular kids TV series KENAN on Nickelodeon.”
‘Where’s Jackie?’: Biden Asks Dead Indiana Rep to Identify Herself in Crowd
President Biden asked for the late Rep. Jackie Walorski to identify herself at a Washington event Wednesday, forgetting that the Indiana Republican died in a car crash last month.
Biden made the embarrassing error while thanking bipartisan members of Congress at a nutrition event near the White House.
“I want to thank all of you here, including bipartisan elected officials like Representative [Jim] McGovern, Senator [Mike] Braun, Senator [Cory] Booker, Representative Jackie — are you here? Where’s Jackie? — I think she was going to be here,” the president said.
Biden, 79, is the oldest-ever president and his mental acuity is regularly questioned by his political foes — though Biden and his defenders have brushed off the concerns by saying the commander-in-chief is simply prone to gaffes.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her regular briefing Wednesday that Walorski was simply “top of mind” for Biden because he’s preparing to host her family on Friday.
Jean-Pierre would not address reporters’ questions about why Biden believed Walorski was alive or engage questions about Biden’s mental health.
The White House on Aug. 3 released a statement from Biden mourning Walorski after she perished in an Indiana wreck alongside her press secretary, Emma Thomson, and St. Joseph County Republican Party chairman Zachery Potts.
The tragedy occurred when Walorski’s vehicle, driven by Potts, crossed the median of Indiana State Road 19 and hit another car driven by 56-year-old Edith Schmucker, who also died.
“Jill and I are shocked and saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana along with two members of her staff in a car accident today in Indiana,” Biden said at the time.
President Biden seems to forget that Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) died in a car crash in August, seeking her out in the audience:
"Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie? She must not be here." pic.twitter.com/inzKDHrPK7
— The Recount (@therecount) September 28, 2022
“Born in her beloved South Bend as the daughter of a meat-cutter and firefighter, she spent a lifetime serving the community that she grew up in — as a journalist, a nonprofit director, a state legislator, and eventually as a Member of Congress for the past nine and a half years,” he said.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served,” Biden said. “She also served as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and my team and I appreciated her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall that will be marked by her deep care for the needs of rural America.”
The flag atop the White House was flown at half-staff for two days after Walorski’s death and the congresswoman’s brother, Keith Walorski, told The Post that Biden called the family to offer his condolences.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted a reporter Tuesday afternoon for “politicizing” the response to Hurricane Ian.
The tongue-lashing from DeSantis came on the heels of the White House earlier in the day dodging questions about why President Joe Biden hadn’t called DeSantis — a Republican running for reelection in November — about the storm, yet calling mayors in the state, the Daily Wire said.
The reporter said, “FEMA Administrator [Deanne] Criswell said today that she acknowledged concerns that … Florida, as was said, lacks response to the storm so far and that —” before DeSantis cut him off.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Give me a break! That is nonsense! Stop politicizing, okay? Stop it,” the governor barked.
“We declared a state of emergency when this thing wasn’t even formed. We’ve had people in here, you’ve had counties doing … a lot of hard work, and honestly, you’re trying to attack me, I get, but like you’re attacking these other people who’ve worked very hard. And so that’s just totally false. I don’t think we’ve ever, certainly since I’ve been governor, declared a state of emergency this early. We made sure that we were very inclusive with it. We said that there was a lot of uncertainty, and then we’ve worked to make sure the preparations that have been done … you talk to the people at the counties, when they’ve needed something, stuff gets there very quickly …”
DeSantis amid his remarks appeared to criticize Biden over the no-phone-call flap, saying that “we don’t have time for pettiness,” the Daily Wire reported.
“So I have not personally spoken with the president, but FEMA has approved our pre-landfall request,” DeSantis noted, the outlet said.
“We feel like we have a good relationship with FEMA,” the governor continued, according to the Daily Wire. “You know, I’m happy to brief the president if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida, you know, my view on all this is like you got people’s lives at stake, you got their property at stake, and we don’t have time for pettiness. We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them.”
“So, my phone — my phone line is open,” DeSantis added, the outlet said. “But we are — we do appreciate the quick approval of the pre-landfall declaration.”
A Wednesday morning report from the Orlando Sentinel said Hurricane Ian was exhibiting “dangerous winds near Category 5 status” and “has begun to make landfall” and was “expected to barrel its way up toward Orlando tonight.”
The Sentinel, citing the National Hurricane Center, said at 11 a.m. Wednesday the center of Ian was about 45 miles west-northwest of Naples. Gusts of 190 miles per hour are predicted when it makes landfall around 2 p.m., the paper said, citing the NHC.
The media can't help themselves – everything must be politicized. No opportunity to smear opponents is too low. This reporter misrepresented FEMA Director's words@RonDeSantisFL won't accept it. He'll always stand up for Florida & our world class emergency response professionals pic.twitter.com/Uemzm5vcPH
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 #FloridaStrong (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 27, 2022
On “The Rubin Report” Wednesday, BlazeTV host Dave Rubin talked about comedian and actor Russell Brand’s epic rant after becoming the latest victim of YouTube censorship.
Brand got all fired up when his YouTube channel, which has garnered nearly 6 million followers, got a strike after he admittedly “misinterpreted” information on official government websites regarding a certain risky-to-discuss pandemic and the even more risky-to-discuss treatments. Brand posted an “apology video” after viewers pointed out his error, saying, “We have a responsibility to make sure that the information we convey is absolutely 100% as accurate as it possibly can be. We made a mistake … you pointed that out to us. We made an apology video.”
Despite Brand’s apology and correction, YouTube removed the original video and issued a “strike” to the channel for “misinformation,” prompting Brant to rant furiously about the platform’s double standards when it comes to “mainstream media misinformation.”
“We have been officially censored by YouTube. They took down one of our videos for misinformation, but why are big media organizations not censored for misinformation in the same way? Is it because YouTube is part of the mainstream media now?” Brand ranted.
“I’m interested in total, transparent communication, empowerment of the audience, symbiotic two-way conversation, and attacking the elite establishment, whether it’s corporate or state, so that ordinary people can communicate freely, beyond a limited remit of the mainstream media,” he continued.
“I don’t believe these institutionalized systems, at the level of the financial, governmental, or media world, are ever going to serve ordinary people. I believe we’re at a point of crisis and things need to radically change fast,” Brand added. “We’re being penalized, and for me, that looks like censorship. And the reason I think it looks like censorship is because there’s mainstream media misinformation up all the time!”
Brand played a video clip of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow touting dangerously inaccurate information about the efficacy of a certain risky-to-discuss vaccine in 2021. Maddow’s misleading video is still published (without a “misinformation” warning label) on YouTube right now.
He then alluded briefly to a Statista.com report showing that pharma industry advertising accounted for 75% of all TV ad spending in 2020 (make of this what you will) before announcing that he will now be streaming his content on Rumble daily.
Virgin Atlantic unveiled a revamped uniform policy Wednesday that will do away with gendered clothing requirements for its staff and introduce pronoun badges for crew members and customers.
The UK-based airline said that, effective immediately, all of its pilots, flight attendants and ground crew members will be given a choice to wear either of its Vivienne Westwood-designed burgundy or red uniforms featuring pants or skirts — “no matter their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Virgin Atlantic said it wants to “champion the individuality” of its staffers by enabling them to wear clothing that “expresses how they identify or present themselves.”
Besides the new approach to work clothing, the carrier, which described itself as “the most inclusive airline in the world,” also rolled out optional pronoun badges for its employees and passengers.
The badges can be requested by travelers at check-in starting Wednesday.
“This move enables everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns,” the airline stated.
As part of its progressive new policy, Virgin Atlantic has also updated its ticketing systems to allow for those who hold passports with gender neutral gender markers to select “U” or “X” gender codes on their booking, as well as the gender-neutral title, “Mx,” instead of the traditional “Ms,” “Mr” or “Mrs.”
Currently, citizens from a small number of countries including the US, India and Pakistan, are able to hold these gender-neutral passports.
The carrier said will be conducting mandatory exclusivity training for its workers at all levels across the company, and also for its tourism partners, “to ensure all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality.”
Jamie Forsstroem, Cabin Crew at Virgin Atlantic commented: “The updated gender identity policy is so important to me. As a non-binary person, it allows me to be myself at work and have the choice in what uniform I wear.”
These latest changes, which are part of the carrier’s ” ongoing Be Yourself” campaign, follow a series of initiatives that were unveiled back in 2019, offering female cabin crew the choice to use make-up and the option to wear pants and flat shoes on the job.
More recently, the airline lifted restrictions on displaying tattoos at work.
The airline has recruited a group of TV personalities and social media influencers, led by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, to promote its non-gendered uniform policy.
“As the mother of a non-binary child, and as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, these efforts by Virgin Atlantic to further inclusivity for its people are extremely important and personal to me,” Visage said in a statement. “People feel empowered when they are wearing what best represents them, and this gender identity policy allows people to embrace who they are and bring their full selves to work.”
Visage, non-binary TikTok star Tyreece Nye and LGBTQ+ activist Tanya Compas appeared in a video produced by Virgin Atlantic showcasing the airline’s new, non-gendered approach to uniforms.
“This policy allows everyone to have a seat at the table,” Nye said. “It’s not taking away from anyone, it’s just allowing everyone from the community to just have a voice.”
Home Depot and Best Buy Take Drastic Measures to ‘Stop the Bleeding’ Caused by Crime Surge
With the peak gift-giving season of the year just around the corner, big box retailers are responding to increases in product theft with fewer items on the shelf and more stored under lock and key, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
A Best Buy store in suburban Houston served as an example of this phenomenon with “hundreds of items” stored away from customers’ hands and signage in the aisles replacing the products, which were previously secured through anti-theft devices such as plastic product cases or security wire wraps, the report said.
The new signs inform customers, “This product kept in secured location,” and direct shoppers to locate an employee to assist them.
Gary Pearce, a frequent Best Buy shopper, told the Wall Street Journal, “There used to be a lot more on the floor itself than locked up in cages.”
In January, CNN reported on a major spike in shoplifting and the “emergence of coordinated and organized robberies at high-value stores.”
News reports and social media have reported widely on the trend as highlighted in a May compilation video from The Daily Caller that prominently featured incidents at Best Buy locations.
Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said during a call with analysts in November that the Minnesota-based retailer had seen a large jump in theft at its stores, with some involving assailants armed with a gun or a crowbar.
“This is traumatizing for our associates and is unacceptable,” she said, according to Chain Store Age. “We are doing everything we can to try to create … as safe as possible environments.”
Barry said her company was implementing several tactics in stores to reduce shoplifting and protect customers and employees. Those included locking up additional products and hiring in-store security where appropriate.
The Home Depot has responded in a similar way.
“It’s a triage-type scenario. It’s stop the bleeding and give yourself some time,” Scott Glenn, vice president of asset protection for the retailer, told the Wall Street Journal.
Glenn said theft attempts at Home Depot locations have continued to increase, leading to more items being put out of customers’ reach.
Shoppers aren’t pleased when confronted with items being locked up, he said, and the company tries to avoid it.
But Glenn said once a high-theft item is secured, the sales typically go up rather than down given that the store is able to more consistently keep the item in stock.
Simply put, he explained, at stores where Home Depot has introduced theft deterrents, loss to theft has been reduced.
Damien Harmon, executive vice president of omnichannel for Best Buy, told the Wall Street Journal that once an item is placed in lockup, the company monitors the sales trends — and it typically doesn’t receive many comments regarding the change.
He said store inventories are being managed differently than they have been in the past, with fewer products on the floor in part because more purchases occur online.
Since the product goes directly to the customer, this has the added benefit of reducing theft as well, Glenn said. A Best Buy spokeswoman said the company’s internal customer experience scores for its stores were at a 15-year high.
Burt Flickinger, managing director of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group, told CNN that theft has a serious impact on companies’ bottom lines.
“For every $330 worth of products stolen, a retailer has to sell an incremental $300,000 worth of goods to break even,” he said.
Flickinger added, “We’ve talked to retailers across America who say shoplifting is now 2% to 3% of their total sales. That’s up from 0.7 to 1% pre-pandemic.”
Kamala Harris to Finally Visit the Border – In Korea
Vice President Kamala Harris, the Biden administration’s southern border czar, will be visiting a contentious border spot this week — on the other side of the world.
Harris will travel to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea Thursday where she will “tour sites at the DMZ, meet with service members and receive an operational briefing from U.S. commanders,” the White House confirmed. The vice president’s scheduled trip to the DMZ will follow her Tuesday meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
“Your visit to the DMZ and Seoul will be very symbolic demonstrations of your strong commitments to the security and peace to Korean Peninsula, and we are working with you and U.S. in dealing with North Korea,” Han told Harris at the bilateral meeting.
According to the White House, Harris’ trip to South Korea affirms America’s commitment to its relationship with the country after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s puppet parliament passed a law allowing the leader to fire a preemptive nuclear attack. North Korea’s new law also ensures that the country will “automatically and immediately” retaliate with nuclear weapons if Kim is killed in an attack.
The trip to the Korean border also comes as the Biden administration faces intensifying backlash for the crisis on its own border. The vice president has been criticized for seemingly ignoring the crisis after being tapped as the border czar in March 2021. Harris’ first and only trip to the U.S.-Mexico border came in June of last year.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Earlier this month, the vice president claimed, “We have a secure border,” but then explained that “there are still a lot of problems that we are trying to fix given the deterioration that happened over the last four years,” in an apparent attempt to blame-shift the border crisis onto the Trump administration. In reality, Harris has seen a record two million border encounters in the past fiscal year alone.
In her interview with Todd, Harris also called on Congress to grant amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the country.
“I think that there is no question that we have to do what the president and I asked Congress to do. The first request we made, pass a bill to create a pathway to citizenship,” Harris said. “The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system, in particular over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed.”
"We’re gonna have 2 million people cross this border for the first time ever." Chuck Todd doesn't appear to buy VP Harris' claim that the border is secure. pic.twitter.com/7K6Txsxc0Z
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) September 11, 2022
DeSantis Fires Back at Biden After No Contact Before Hurricane Hits: ‘We Don’t Have Time for Pettiness’
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) slammed President Joe Biden during a press conference Tuesday as the state prepares to be hit by a category 3 hurricane.
The remarks from DeSantis come after Biden held separate calls earlier in the day with Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa, Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, and Mayor Frank Hibbard of Clearwater. An official White House readout of the calls made no mention of the president speaking with DeSantis.
A reporter asked the governor how he would characterize his conversations with Biden as the hurricane prepares to make landfall.
“So I have not personally spoken with the president, but FEMA has approved our pre-landfall request,” DeSantis said.
“We feel like we have a good relationship with FEMA,” he continued. “You know, I’m happy to brief the president if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida, you know, my view on all this is like you got people’s lives at stake, you got their property at stake, and we don’t have time for pettiness. We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them.”
“So, my phone — my phone line is open,” DeSantis concluded. “But we are — we do appreciate the quick approval of the pre-landfall declaration.”
The remarks from DeSantis come as the hurricane is strengthening while in the Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall as a category 4 hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that Ian is “an extremely dangerous major hurricane.”
"I’m happy to brief the President if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida… You've got people’s lives at stake…no time for pettiness, we've gotta work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them. So my phone line is open." @RonDeSantisFL on Biden pic.twitter.com/d2FkngDq5J
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 #FloridaStrong (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 27, 2022
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not give any details about why the president has not called DeSantis, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell dodged a question from a reporter about the matter during the press briefing.
“In the past … President Biden, excuse me, has made calls to governors in situations of natural disasters. Kay Ivey in Alabama or Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas or the governor of Texas,” the reporter said. “Is there any, can you articulate I guess, how those determinations are made and why, why it hasn’t been made in this case to have the president call the governor?”
“Yeah, the president is very focused on making sure that the federal family has the right resources available to support this,” Criswell said. “That is why I contacted the governor right away. And we have a team of my senior leadership that are embedded with the governor to make sure that we’re supporting that.”
“Our focus today is making sure that we have the right measures in place to support the life saving activities that need to happen,” she added. “Any conversations afterwards, will need to be, we need to see what the damages are.”
‘Black People Are Locked Out from Employment’: Black Rights Groups in Austin March for 2A and Against Illegal Immigration
Several black rights groups in Texas recently took to the state capital of Austin to protest against illegal immigration and in favor of their Second Amendment rights and black reparations.
On Saturday, the groups, led by the Elmer Geronimo Pratt Pistol and Rifle Gun Club, held the third annual “Second Amendment Unity Walk,” chanting various slogans, including:
- “What do we want?” “Closed borders!” “When do we want them?” “Now!”
- “Guns up!” “Shoot back!”
- “Black power!”
- “We all we got!” “We all we need!”
They also carried a banner that read, “REPARATIONS NOW!”
One person reportedly even tried to begin a “Build the wall!” chant in reference to former President Trump’s call to build a wall on the U.S. southern border, but the rest of the crowd did not follow along with it.
At least one group leader stated very candidly that the marchers do not necessarily align with those on the political right.
“Republicans, do not dare to make the mistake of thinking you will get our vote just because we believe in exercising our Second Amendment,” the unnamed woman said into a microphone.
“Yes, I’m talking to you, [Senator] Ted Cruz and Governor [Greg] Abbott,” she continued. “Don’t think we are standing with you because we are against illegal immigration.”
Various speakers also called out Vice President Kamala Harris for failing to protect black Americans by failing to secure the border. The founder of the EGP gun club, Nick Bezzel, elaborated on the reasons why his fellow marchers believe illegal immigration is particularly harmful to the black community.
“We don’t have a problem with immigration itself,” Bezzel said, “but we do have a problem with illegal immigration because, a lot of times, jobs are taken away from black people.
“Black people are locked out from employment due to illegal immigration,” he added.
Bezzel also argued that reparations are a matter of justice.
“What we don’t want to hear is ‘America doesn’t have the money,'” he said, especially as the federal government continues to send money overseas to foreign allies such as Ukraine.
Now that the march is over, the gun club and other groups say they plan to continue lobbying politicians in Austin until they address what marchers called the “black agenda.”
And the gun club views the so-called “black agenda” as multifaceted. In addition to advocating for “responsible gun ownership, gun safety, and protecting our Black communities,” the EGP also works to end no-knock raids and collects food, clothing, and hygiene products for the homeless and those in single-parent homes. Whether the club distributes these items exclusively to black recipients is unclear.
California Passed a New Minimum Wage Bill. Now Chipotle Is Testing a Robotic Chip Maker.
Chipotle announced the rollout of an automated chip machine in southern California on Tuesday.
According to a press release, the company is testing Chippy — an autonomous kitchen assistant designed by Miso Robotics — at a restaurant in Fountain Valley, California, before the Mexican fast food giant considers a “national implementation strategy.” The device has already been tested in Chipotle’s technology innovation facility.
“We are always exploring opportunities to enhance our employee and guest experience,” Chipotle Chief Technology Officer Curt Garner said earlier this year. “Our goal is to drive efficiencies through collaborative robotics that will enable Chipotle’s crew members to focus on other tasks in the restaurant.”
The company also revealed on Tuesday that select restaurants in California are testing a kitchen management system that will optimize ingredient use and cooking activities — a solution that will eliminate “manual tasks” for employees, according to Garner, while “ultimately enabling them to focus on an exceptional culinary and an outstanding guest experience.”
Chipotle’s rollout of automation solutions occurs weeks after Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed AB 257 — legislation that creates a “Fast Food Council” responsible for drafting “sectorwide minimum standards on wages, working hours, and other working conditions,” according to a summary of the bill.
Members of the Fast Food Council are permitted to raise minimum wages up to $22 per hour, representing an increase of over 40% from the $15.50 per hour minimum wage slated to take effect in 2023. Last year, Chipotle boosted hourly wages to range between $11 per hour and $18 per hour.
The legislation, which applies only to restaurants with 100 or more locations across the United States, faced considerable opposition from fast food chains. Chipotle joined Yum Brands, In-N-Out Burger, and other firms in spending over $1 million to lobby against the bill, according to a report from Forbes.
The bill also comes one year after a sizable portion of California restaurants were forced to close their doors following some of the nation’s most aggressive government lockdowns. In a letter denouncing the legislation, McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger noted that the provisions impose “higher costs on one type of restaurant, while sparing another.”
“If you are a small business owner running two restaurants that are part of a national chain, like McDonald’s, you can be targeted by the bill,” Erlinger explained. “But if you own 20 restaurants that are not part of a large chain, the bill does not apply to you.”
The legislation includes a carveout for restaurants that operate a bakery that “produces for sale bread as a stand-alone menu item.” Erlinger said that “backroom politicking” could explain the exemption.
An analysis from the California Department of Finance said that the legislation introduces a “fragmented regulatory and legal environment for employers” that could “raise long-term costs across industries.” Chipotle has nearly 450 restaurants in the Golden State, according to the company’s website.
Businesses have struggled to fill positions as labor force participation has lagged over the past two years — worsening a decades-long trend of low engagement in the job market. The metric dropped from 63.4% in February 2020 to 60.2% in April 2020 alone amid government lockdowns and business closures, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of August 2022, labor force participation climbed to 62.4%.
WHO DID IT? “Unprecedented” Mystery Leaks Detected in Nord Stream Gas Pipelines — No Gas This Winter
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that it cannot rule out “sabotage” as the cause of significant damage to the Nord Stream pipeline network that carries gas from Russia to Germany.
The same thought occurred to various European officials as they turned gimlet eyes upon Russia as a potential suspect.
The Nord Stream AG consortium called the multiple leaks in both of its Baltic Sea pipelines “unprecedented” and said on Tuesday it was “not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure.”
Russia stopped sending gas to Germany in retaliation for sanctions against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the pipelines were still filled with gas. Up to 177 million cubic meters of gas may have already leaked from the breach in Nord Stream 2, with as-yet-unknown environmental impact.
— Forsvaret (@forsvaretdk) September 27, 2022
There is also the risk of an explosion, although environmental analysts said the gas would probably disperse enough in the Baltic waters to make that unlikely. The Danish maritime authority nevertheless issued an advisory that the Nord Stream 2 leak is “dangerous for ship traffic” and advised ships to stay at least five nautical miles away.
The Danish military published footage from the site of the leak on Nord Stream. pic.twitter.com/OgoXeWPDSF
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 27, 2022
“The multiple undersea leaks mean neither pipeline will likely deliver any gas to the EU over the coming winter, irrespective of political developments in the Ukraine war. Depending on the scale of the damage, the leaks could even mean a permanent closure of both lines,” a notice from the Eurasia Group, a risk consulting firm, said on Tuesday.
”Leaks of this size are a severe safety and environmental hazard, especially should Russia not stop pumping gas into the system,” the Eurasia Group noted.
“We are currently in contact with the authorities concerned in order to clarify the situation. We still have no clarity about the causes and the exact facts,” the German government said on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, Germany officially declared its suspicion that the damage to Nord Stream was caused by “sabotage.”
“Today we faced an act of sabotage, we don’t know all the details of what happened, but we see clearly that it’s an act of sabotage, related to the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared on Tuesday at the opening ceremony for another pipeline connecting Norway to Poland.
“We are talking about three leaks with some distance between them, and that’s why it is hard to imagine that it is a coincidence,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen observed.
Ukraine called the pipeline breaches a “terrorist attack” perpetrated by Moscow to permanently compromise Europe’s fuel supply, and perhaps to nullify gigantic lawsuits from Russia’s gas customers by creating a legal status of force majeure.
“This is very concerning news. Indeed, we are talking about some damage of an unclear nature to the pipeline in Denmark’s economic zone. This is an issue related to the energy security of the entire continent,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Royal Danish Defense College researcher Anders Puck Nielsen found the timing of the explosions “conspicuous” given the opening of the rival Poland-Norway pipeline on the same day. Nielsen thought the Nord Stream sabotage might have been “a signal that something could happen to the Norwegian gas.”
“The arrow points in the direction of Russia. No one in the West is interested in having any kind of instability in the energy market,” he noted.
Other theories point to radical environmentalists determined to keep Europe from relying on fossil fuels, or possibly even U.S. President Joe Biden, who blurted in a February interview that his administration would “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine.
“I promise you, we will be able to do that,” Biden replied when asked by a reporter how he would propose shutting down an undersea pipeline controlled by Germany.
“There are some indications that it is deliberate damage. You have to ask: Who would profit?” an exasperated European security source told Reuters on Tuesday while contemplating the longest list of suspects since Murder on the Orient Express.
Sweden’s state broadcast network SVT on Tuesday cited data from the Swedish National Seismic Network that strongly suggested powerful underwater explosions occurred in the vicinity of the gas leaks on Monday. One of the explosions was large enough to be detected by 30 different Swedish monitoring stations.
“There is no doubt that it was a blast,” said Bjorn Lund, a seismology lecturer with the Swedish National Seismic Network. Lund added that the area was not normally used for naval exercises that might explain the detonations, and said his network has received no information about such exercises taking place on Monday.
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