Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
Happy weekend! Here are a few news items to chew over. Actually, more than a few. There’s just some interesting stuff happening out there… Feel free to post your own interesting news items and links.
First news item
Sadly sprinting to a silly suspension:
Sha’Carri Richardson, the 21-year-old sprinter expected to star at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, has been suspended and barred from running her signature race in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana.
The drug has been decriminalized in most U.S. states, including in Oregon, where Richardson’s positive test occurred. Many athletes use it for reasons both medicinal and recreational. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL no longer suspend players for it.
And yet, “all natural and synthetic cannabinoids,” including marijuana, remain prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, the International Olympic Committee-affiliated body that regulates drug use in global sport.
WADA deems THC, the primary psychoactive compound of marijuana, a “substance of abuse” on its 2021 prohibited list. All cannabis-based products except for cannabidiol, or CBD, are banned “in-competition.” That means that if THC is found in an athlete’s system on the day of an event, that athlete is subject to punishment.
Because Richardson’s failed test occurred after she won the women’s 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials, it nullifies her first-place finish and disqualifies her from the event in Tokyo. USADA announced Friday that Richardson had accepted a one-month suspension that began June 28 and expires July 28, before track and field events begin in Tokyo. USA Track and Field could, therefore, select her for a relay team, but its rules require it to enter the top three finishers at trials in the 100. And Richardson is no longer one of them.
President Biden declined to intervene on Richardson’s behalf.
The press who love to bathe in the intersectionality of race-gender-sports should ask @JoeBiden if he believes Sha’carri Richardson should be barred from representing America for using a drug legal in most states that doesn’t impact performance.
I sure as hell don’t.#unwoke46
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) July 2, 2021
Second news item
U.S. military leaves Bagram Airbase:
American forces on Friday vacated Afghanistan’s Bagram Airbase, once a bustling minicity that saw more than 100,000 U.S. troops pass through its gates, three senior U.S. officials tell NBC News.
Two of the officials said that the airfield had been handed over in its entirety early Friday to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force.
The U.S. officials, who had direct knowledge of the withdrawal, spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been officially announced.
The move is a stark statement of intent on the part of President Joe Biden’s administration, and an indication that the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 U.S. troops have left or are close to leaving the country, months ahead of the president’s Sept. 11 deadline.
Speaking to reporters at the White House later on Friday, Biden said the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is “on track” but it will not be completed within the next few days. Some U.S. forces will still be in Afghanistan in September as part of a “rational drawdown with our allies,” he added.
Third news item
The Anti-Defamation League of New England is calling for a hate crime investigation into the stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski, saying there are indicators of antisemitism in the attack outside a Jewish school in Brighton Thursday afternoon.
“Facts emerging from the stabbing of a Rabbi in Brighton, MA yesterday include multiple indicators pointing towards antisemitism,” ADL New England regional director Robert Trestan said in a statement. “We call on the Boston Police Department Civil Rights Unit to investigate yesterday’s violent attack as a hate crime. Boston’s Jewish community is angry, living in fear and needs answers, accountability and security.”
Boston Police were called to Shaloh House on Chestnut Hill Avenue around 1 p.m. after Noginski was attacked by a man outside. Noginski was rushed to Boston Medical Center with what police described as non-life threatening injuries. He was released overnight.
Police arrested 24-year-old Khaled Awad in connection to the stabbing. WBZ-TV I-Team sources said he was armed with a gun and a knife.
Fourth news item
Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch on Friday said the Supreme Court should revisit the breadth of the landmark First Amendment decision in New York Times v. Sullivan and explore how it applies to social media and technology companies.
That 1964 ruling created a higher bar for public figures to claim libel and has been a bedrock of US media law, but the two conservative justices said it’s time to take another look.
“Since 1964,” Gorsuch wrote Friday, “our Nation’s media landscape has shifted in ways few could have forseen.”
He added that “thanks to the revolutions in technology, today virtually anyone in this county can publish virtually anything for immediate consumption virtually anywhere in the world.”
Gorsuch and Thomas wrote as they dissented when the court declined to take up a case from the son of a former prime minister of Albania who claimed several statements were defamatory in a book that was later turned into the Hollywood film, “War Dogs.”
Fifth news item
It doesn’t get any louder or clearer than this:
Filming outside of City Hall in downtown Oakland, Calif., on Monday, a TV news crew was interviewing a city official for a story about a recent spate of violent crime when the journalists became victims themselves.
“I think Oakland deserves better,” Guillermo Cespedes, the city’s chief of violence prevention, told the NBC Bay Area reporters just before two armed men interrupted the interview, knocking a camera to the ground.
The Oakland Police Department said a scuffle broke out as the robbers demanded the cameraman hand over his equipment, the East Bay Times reported. The news crew’s security guard pulled out his own gun and ordered the would-be robbers to leave. They left without stealing any equipment, police said.
The tense moment follows the city council’s decision to cut about $18 million from the mayor’s proposed budget for the Oakland Police Department. That money was instead redirected to social services and violence-prevention programs that are not run by the police, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Sixth news item
To mask or not to mask, that is still the question being asked:
Q: Thank you so much for taking my question. What are — can you tell us more about whether or not Americans may be having to go back to wearing masks in light of the Delta variant? We saw Los Angeles County and the WHO both recommending that even vaccinated people should wear masks. Where does that stand? Should people be preparing themselves to possibly going back to wearing masks if they’re vaccinated?
MR. ZIENTS: Dr. Fauci.
DR. FAUCI: Well, as I was alluding to in my comments, you have a broad recommendation for the country as a whole, which is the CDC recommendation, that if you are vaccinated, you have a high degree of protection so you need not wear a mask either indoor or outdoor.
But also, as is said and as the CDC has recommended, is that there’s a degree of flexibility. People at the local level, depending upon the on-ground situation, will make recommendations or not according to the local situation. But the broad recommendation that the CDC makes, based on the high degree of effectiveness of the vaccine, remains unchanged.
Seventh news item
Residents of the doomed Champlain Towers South complex were told by the condo board in December 2020 that certain sections of the condo’s underground garage were not protected by any waterproofing whatsoever, a flaw that had “exposed the garage to water intrusion for 40 years,” according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. That was on top of the structural damage an engineer’s report noted two years earlier, much of which had occurred due to shoddy waterproofing around the building’s pool. Protecting the garage from further damage was prioritized in a planned $15 million upgrade, the 2020 documents reportedly stated. Another issue involved repairing concrete slabs under the building grounds that had been “overstressed since the day the building went up.” The board’s presentation said “inadequate slab reinforcing” was in fact noted in the building’s original structural drawings. Most of the repairs had not yet begun when the building collapsed last week, killing at least 18 people with more than 140 still missing.
The city of North Miami Beach ordered the 10-story Crestview Towers Condominium to be immediately closed and evacuated Friday evening after a building inspection report found it not safe for occupancy due to structural and electrical issues, city officials said Friday night.
The Jan. 11, 2021 inspection report [7 months ago!], which the condo association turned in to the city Friday afternoon after the city had threatened to shut down the building on Thursday, said the 156-unit building is :
▪ “Structurally no safe for the specified use for continued occupancy.”
▪ “Electrically no safe for the specified use for continued occupancy.”
Eighth news item
Israel may have to destroy up to a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to expire by the end of the month unless another country capable of administering them is found.
A plan to transfer them to Britain seems to have fallen through. About 65 per cent of Israelis, more than 5.5 million people, have received two doses of the vaccine. The country is trying to encourage younger generations to be inoculated, with less success.
The government has been in contact with several countries about transferring the surplus of more than a million doses to one that could use them immediately. In return Israel would receive doses manufactured later.
There have also been inquiries with the manufacturer Pfizer about whether the expiry date could
Ninth news item
How else was it going to end?:
According to the California Retailer’s Association three cities in our state are among the top 10 in the country when it comes to organized retail crime–Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.
Already we are seeing the negative impact it is having in San Francisco with stores permanently shutting down or closing early. It has become one of the most pressing issues in our city today.
Target has now acknowledged that San Francisco is the only city in America where they have decided to close some stores early because of the escalating retail crime.
For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco Stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area…Walgreens has already closed several stores for the same reason…
So this is my front porch right now. 😳😳😳 #Friday #bobcats #arizona pic.twitter.com/lQZH6yYjGx
— Kate Smith (@KateSmithAZ) June 26, 2021
Stay cool, cats, and have a good weekend.