Posts made in October 2021

‘Hurricane’ Hawkins is going for an historic 105+ 100-meter record

November 1, 2021

Every time Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins steps onto a track to compete, the 105-year-old becomes the oldest woman in the world to do so. Now, she’s about to take it to another level … literally.

On November 6, Julia will run the 100-meter race at the Louisiana Senior Games in Hammond. And when she does, she will become the first U.S. athlete, and the first woman, to set a masters track world record in the 105+ Age Division, the National Senior Games Association has announced in a press release.

The retired educator generated worldwide publicity in both the Birmingham 2017 and Albuquerque 2019 National Senior Games when she set world track records in the 100-104 age category. In September, her W100-104 100-meter record was broken by centenarian Diane Friedman of Ohio at the Michigan Senior Olympics

“Julia was gracious. She had told us before she hoped more women would come along and beat her record,” says Del Moon, Media Director for the NSGA. “But she is a competitor and is obviously looking forward. Even our organization is surprised and delighted that Julia has more to say on the track and to the rest of us about keeping active for life.”

The Louisiana Senior Games 2021 track and field event will be held at the Southeastern Louisiana University Track Complex beginning at 8 a.m. On Saturday, November 6. The 100-meter races are scheduled to begin at 11:10 am. The track venue is less than ten miles from Julia’s childhood home in Ponchatoula.

“Julia is such an inspiration for all of us, and especially for our senior athletes,” says Sabrina Sonnier, the event coordinator. “It’s so exciting that she will be doing this in her home state, and we couldn’t be prouder.”

Hawkins, a lifelong bike rider, has previous Senior Games history competing in cycling time trials beginning at the age of 80. She won several gold medals over the span of four biennial National Senior Games before she lost interest, saying at the time, “There wasn’t anyone left my age to compete with!”

Turning 100 inspired her to take up running and set a record in the 100-meter race. Her focus now is to compete against herself for best time on the track, and to be an

The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) is a member of the U.S. Olympic Paralympic Committee Affiliate Organization

. NSGA is a nonprofit Florida corporation that promotes health and well-being for adults 50 and over through education, fitness, and sport.

NSGA governs the biennial National Senior Games, the largest multi-sport championship event in the world. The association comprises 53 independent Member Games that conduct qualifying competition events, and the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana will be held May 10-23,2022 in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Research contact: @SeniorGames1

Amazon slaps a $9.95 fee on Whole Foods deliveries—and Walmart pounces

November 1, 2021

Whole Foods shoppers may have received a shock this week, if they noticed a new $9.95 delivery fee on orders placed through Amazon Prime, reports CNN.

Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods in 2017, had previously offered free two-hour delivery for Prime members, but warned shoppers last month a new charge was coming.

The fee was put in place to help cover delivery operating costs like equipment and technology without raising product prices, a Whole Foods spokesperson told CNN Business. Whole Foods delivered three times as many orders in 2020 as it did in 2019, the spokesperson added, as the pandemic deepened customers’ dependence on delivery.

Although the fee is new, some Prime perks will remain, including free pickup on orders over $35 and exclusive discounts.

In an email to customers last week, Walmart announced that anyone who signed up for Walmart+—the retailer’s version of Prime—on Monday, October 25. would receive $9.95 back.

“Because customers deserve a grocery delivery service that won’t leave a Whole in their wallet for delivery fees — whoops, typo,” the email reads.

Walmart+ offers subscribers free grocery delivery, free shipping with no order minimum and contact-free checkout. The subscription costs $12.95 per month, or $98 for the year. Amazon prime costs $12.99 per month, or $119 for the year.

Research contact: @CNN

Kinzinger announces he won’t seek reelection

November 1, 2021

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) announced on Friday, October 29, that he will not seek reelection next year—marking an end to a 12-year House career that was capped off by his increasingly vocal criticism of former President Donald Trump, reports The Hill.

In a video announcing his retirement at the end of his term in January 2023, Kinzinger recalled his first race in which he unseated a Democratic incumbent in 2010, saying he was fueled by supporters who told him to “be my own man and to never ‘do what they tell you to do,’” a tacit reference to his vociferous criticism of Trump.

“I stand tall and proud knowing that I have done just that,” Kinzinger said. “I also remember during that campaign saying that if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would. And that time is now.”

Kinzinger was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January over his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection.

Along with Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), Kinzinger has been among the most vocal GOP critics of Trump—earning him enmity from some of his colleagues, The Hill says. Republican rebukes of him rose after he accepted a position on the special House panel investigating the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

Several hours after Kinzinger’s announcement, Trump released a statement reading, “2 down, 8 to go!”

It was an apparent reference to both Kinzinger and Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who announced last month he wouldn’t seek reelection after also voting in favor of Trump’s impeachment.

In his announcement, Kinzinger railed against the rife partisanship in Washington, D.C.—accusing both parties of seeking to appeal to their most extreme flanks.

“In this day, to prevail or survive, you must belong to a tribe,” he said. “Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within it. And the price tag to power has skyrocketed, and fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost.”

“Dehumanizing each other has become the norm. We’ve taken it from social media to the streets. We’ve allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others and dehumanizing those that look, act. or think differently than we do. As a country, we’ve fallen for those lies, and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to reach real strength.”

Kinzinger also expressed “awe” at his nine GOP colleagues who took an impeachment vote that is already starting to imperil their reelection bids.

Despite his departure from Congress, Kinzinger said he would continue fighting a “nationwide” fight.

The six-term lawmaker has been rumored to be mulling a challenge to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) next year in a blue state, where some say only an anti-Trump moderate like Kinzinger could stand a chance as a Republican.

In the meantime, Kinzinger is expected to continue work for a political action committee, Country First, that he started earlier this year to fight against Trump’s stranglehold on the Republican Party.

“I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said. “I want to make it clear, this isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.”

Research contact: @thehill

Malaysian man’s missing phone is located–and it’s loaded with monkey selfies

October 29, 2021

A Malaysia resident whose phone temporarily went missing says that the device turned up in his backyard loaded with new photos—including some selfies snapped by a monkey, BBC reports.

Zackrydz Rodzi, a 20-year-old computer science student, said he believes a monkey came into his house while he was asleep and took his phone outside—where the primate apparently played with the device and snapped some selfie photos and videos. He first noticed that the phone was missing about 11 a.m. on a recent Sunday.

Rodzi said he failed to find any trace of his phone until Sunday afternoon, when his is father noticed a monkey outside their house. On calling his phone again, Rodzi heard ringing from the jungle a few steps beyond the back garden, he said; then discovered the muddied phone on some leaves beneath a palm tree.

His uncle joked that maybe there was a photo in the phone of the thief, he said, so after cleaning it he opened the picture gallery “and boom, it’s full of monkey photos”.

One video appears to show the monkey attempting to put the phone into its mouth.

“Something that you might see once in a century,” Rodzi tweeted.

Photo source: @BBC

California shuts down a second In-N-Out location for defying COVID rules

October 29, 2021

Northern California health officials shut down another In-N-Out Burger restaurantlocation on Tuesday, October 26, for allowing indoor dining without requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, Fox Business reports.

Contra Costa County suspended the permit of the In-N-Out located at 570 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill after the business received an additional two citations. The In-N-Out locations in Pinole and San Ramon also each received violation notices Tuesday for violating the vaccine order.

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer, shot back in a statement reacting to the most recent closure—categorizing the move by county officials as “intrusive, improper, and offensive” government overreach.

“It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant associates to segregate customers into those who may be served and those who may not, either based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason,” Wensinger said. “We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business.”

Under Contra Costa County’s order, which has been in effect since Sept. 22, restaurants and other businesses operating indoors, such as bars and gyms, are required to check that all customers 12 or older are fully vaccinated or have had a negative coronavirus test within the past 72 hours.

The Pleasant Hill location had repeatedly violated the county order, received four citations over the past several weeks and paid fines totaling $1,750 before it was shutdown, the Los Angeles Times reported. The restaurant can appeal the suspension of its business, however it must remain closed “until the hazard is abated.”

“They have just flouted the law and it was other residents who complained about them, and that is why the health department followed up and issued fines,” Contra Costa County District 1 supervisor John Gioia told KABC-TV. “They need to do what 99% of the other restaurants are doing, follow the rules in the interest of public health and not be the exception.”

his comes about two weeks after another In-N-Out Burger located in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Warf was shut down for allowing indoor dining without checking for proof of vaccination. The local ordinance in San Francisco, which is among the strictest in the state, does not allow patrons to show a negative test in lieu of vaccination proof. That In-N-Out location has since reopened for outdoor dining.

Brooke Armour, of the California Business Roundtable, said the ordinance put employers in a contentious situation because they have to ask their fast food employee— many of whom are high school students—to confront customers about their medical information on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, a new restriction in Los Angeles, which was approved by City Council earlier this month, is set to take effect on November 8 and will require proof of vaccination for restaurants and to enter other indoor venues, including shopping malls and theaters.

Research source: @FoxBusiness

Biden urges fractious Dems to unite around $1.75T megabill

October 29, 2021

President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to propel their party toward a House vote as soon as Thursday, October 28, on a $550 billion Senate-passed infrastructure bill, even as progressives remain undecided about taking what one called “a leap of faith in the president,” reports Politico.

Soon after the White House outlined a framework for a $1.75 trillion deal on social spending, Biden made a high-stakes appearance on Capitol Hill to sell Pelosi’s caucus on it. While some liberal priorities were included in the package of climate, healthcare, and other social policy investments, others were left on the cutting-room floor—and, Politico said, House progressives remain noncommittal about whether to vote yes on infrastructure given their uncertainty about the framework’s Senate future.

The most expensive items in Biden’s proposal are clean energy and climate investments, at $555 billion; two years of free pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds at $400 billion; and $200 billion on tax credits for one year of the Child Tax Credit. The biggest items left out are paid family leave and prescription drug reform. On the latter, a senior administration official made clear there are “not yet enough votes” for it.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus held its own meeting after Biden left, as its chair Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) held off on where her group stood after the president’s pitch for its votes. Another of her members, Representative Cori Bush (D-Missouri), said simply “no” when asked if she would vote for the infrastructure bill after the president’s push.

“We have had a position of needing to see the legislative text and voting on both bills,” Jayapal said, referring to the infrastructure bill and the separate, still-unwritten social spending bill. “And we’ll see where people are. But I think a lot of people are still in that place.”

According to Politico, Jayapal spoke after Biden made a direct plea for his party’s support. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week,” Biden told Democrats, according to a source in the room.

Indeed, top Democrats, including Pelosi, had hoped that the president’s trip to Rome for the climate summit—which he departed for later in the day on Thursday—would be a triumphant one after they clinched an agreement on the roughly $1.75 trillion social spending bill with moderate Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona).

Sinema indicated she’s warm on the emerging deal, saying in a statement that “I look forward to getting this done.”

“We’re very excited about it. We’re going to send him off to his meetings with strength,” Pelosi said of Biden’s visit as she entered the Capitol. Asked whether progressives were on board, she said, “You’ll have to ask them.”

Research contact: @politico

Edge at NYC’s Hudson Yards unveils City Climb, the ‘ultimate’ skyscraping adventure

October 28, 2021

Edge at Hudson Yards, a 1,200-plus-foot-high skyscraper on the West Side of Manhattan, has announced City Climb—what it deems to be “the ultimate skyscraping adventure”—opening November 9.

To complete the challenge, climbers will scale the outside of the supertall building; then. lean out from the outdoor platform at the top of the skyscraper. Ticket sales for the inaugural climbs began on October 26 at edgenyc.com/cityclimb.

“City Climb quite literally shouts from the rooftops that tourism is back in New York City and there has never been a more exciting time to visit,” said Jeff T. Blau, Chief Executive of Related Companies. “This is an adventure unlike anything the city has seen before, and we are thrilled to welcome the world to an experience of a lifetime.”

City Climb is an aerial adventure experience located at the crown of 30 Hudson Yards that offers guests unparalleled views of New York City, while traversing open edged platforms and stairways.

Following a comprehensive safety briefing, Climbers are fitted with specially designed safety harnesses, and secured into the course by City Climb Guides via two cables attached to a trolley that seamlessly move with the Climber throughout the entire journey.

After ascending 32 steps to The Cliff, and looking down 1,190 feet to the City below, Climbers approach The Stair which consists of 161 steps on an approximately 45 degree incline. Once they reach The Apex at 1,271 feet, Climbers will have the opportunity to lean out and hang over the platform.

The experience culminates with a celebratory medal for inaugural guests and a victory lap on Edge’s outdoor viewing area on the 100th floor, where Climbers can enjoy the glass floor, angled glass walls, outdoor skyline steps, or a champagne toast in the sky to their bucket list accomplishment.

City Climb will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Opening hours will change seasonally. Tickets are currently $185 and include the City Climb experience, entry to Edge, and a digital Edge image. Inaugural guests also will receive a personalized video of their climb and a commemorative medal.

Research contact: @EdgeNYC

Hertz links up with Uber to offer 50,000 Tesla rentals

October 28, 2021

Hertz Global Holdings  announced on Wednesday, October  27, that it is linking up with Uber Technologies  to make 50,000 Teslas available in Uber’s ride-sharing network by 2023—the latest in the rental-car firm’s efforts to build momentum postbankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Hertz Global Holdings is the parent company of Hertz, an American car rental company based in Estero, Florida.  The deal comes days after Hertz, which collapsed into bankruptcy at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, said it is making a significant investment in an EV rental fleet—including an initial order of 100,000 Teslas by the end of 2022 and new EV-charging infrastructure across the globe.

The company exited Chapter 11 in June and has a planned stock listing coming later this year.

The Teslas it intends to add to the Uber network will come from the 100,000 vehicle order revealed earlier this week and future orders as the program grows.

The latest deals are part of a broader strategy by the postbankruptcy Hertz to modernize its operations and fleets—leveraging new tech to improve logistics and give customers more options, particularly on plug-in electric models, said Mark Fields, Hertz’s interim chief executive.

“One of the biggest benefits of a restructuring like ours is it gives us a fresh perspective,” Fields said in an interview with the Journal. “It allows us to take the approach of instead of saying ‘why?’—‘why not?’”

Fields, a veteran auto industry executive and former Ford CEO, was named to his latest post earlier this month.

The Journal notes that the deal between Hertz and Tesla led to a big stock-market rally for the electric-car maker this week. Tesla’s stock, which more than doubled this past year, shot up to $1,024.86 a share Monday, pushing the company’s value north of $1 trillion for the first time.

The deal also aided Hertz’s shares, which have been traded over the counter since the company was delisted in the summer of 2020. Hertz’s shares rose roughly 10% to $27.17 Monday.

The rental-car firm plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq in the fourth quarter of this year, under its previous ticker symbol, HTZ. The listing will mark a comeback for Hertz.

Research contact: @WSJ

Senate confirms Cindy McCain and former GOP Senator Jeff Flake for top diplomatic posts

October 28, 2021

The Senate has confirmed two Republicans nominated by President Joe Biden to top diplomatic posts, NBC News reports.

Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, and Cindy McCain, the widow of GOP Senator John McCain of Arizona, will be the nation’s representative at the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

Both Arizona Republicans endorsed Biden during the 2020 presidential election. They were confirmed on Tuesday, October 26, by a voice vote.

Flake and John McCain, who died in August 2018, were frequent targets of former President Donald Trump when he was in office.

Flake announced in October 2017 that he would not seek re-election, expressing dismay with Trump and the direction of the Republican Party. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, then a House member, won Flake’s Senate seat the following year, flipping it to the Democrats.

Flake wrote in a Medium post in July that Biden’s decision to nominate him “reaffirms the best tradition of American foreign policy and diplomacy: the credo that partisan politics should stop at the water’s edge,” adding, “U.S. foreign policy can and should be bipartisan. That is my belief as well, and my commitment.”

The Senate on Tuesday also confirmed Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of the Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, to be U.S. ambassador to Austria; while former Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat of New Mexico, was confirmed as ambassador to New Zealand.

Research contact: @NBCNews