With meat shortages roiling the U.S., some Wendy’s Co. restaurants have taken burgers — their hallmark item — off the menu.
Customers have taken to Twitter to complain they couldn’t order burgers from the restaurant, which touts its beef as fresh and never frozen in its marketing.
A check on Wendy’s app showed that only chicken items were available for takeout or delivery orders from at least some of its stores in California. The situation has prompted a number of customers to ask “Where’s the beef?” on social media, invoking a Wendy’s catch phrase from the 1980s that poked fun of the small burgers sold by other chains.
North America’s meat-supply chain has fallen apart as outbreaks shutter slaughterhouses, heightening the prospect that pork, beef and chicken may go missing from grocery shelves and restaurant menus. About a dozen slaughterhouses shut last month because of infections among employees jammed together on processing lines.
Wendy’s spent years establishing itself as the first major fast-food chain to offer fresh-never-frozen beef. Rivals such as McDonald’s have followed suit. It’s a shift that has left some companies more vulnerable to disruptions to American’s beef supply chain than ones that still rely on imports from Australia and other countries.
For Wendy’s, the shortages appear to have only affected some areas so far. Items such as the “Baconator” bacon cheeseburger, for example, were still available to order in Chicago.
Wendy’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Forgive Jacksonville, Fla., for it has sinned.
The largest city in Florida partly reopened its beaches, and it became something of a national scandal. CNN ran a disapproving segment, and the hashtag #FloridaMorons trended on Twitter.
As the CNN report put it: “The scene at Jacksonville Beach wasn’t one of caution in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Crowds cheered and flooded the beach when police took the barriers down. People were seen swimming, biking, surfing, running and fishing.”
None of these activities has been shown to be a vector for the spread of COVID-19; in fact, no outdoor activities have been shown to be dangerous at all. A recent study examined hundreds of outbreaks and traced only one to an outdoor environment.
Surfers and bikers are the least of our worries. Yet, there is a segment of American opinion that takes it as its responsibility to scold and shame anyone who dares go out and get a little fresh air.
Early on in the crisis, CNN anchors spent 20 minutes inveighing against people walking, running, biking, and Rollerblading along San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Noting that some people were holding hands, Jake Tapper called it “enraging.” Of course, random strangers don’t hold hands, but people who are likely in close proximity whether they are enjoying a stroll or not.
Despite there being no indication that outdoor spaces abet the spread of the disease, parks have been shut down throughout the United States, and the closures are at times enforced with rigor. No less than Tom Brady was chased from a closed Tampa Bay park after he was discovered working out, apparently alone. A father in Colorado was briefly detained by police for the alleged offense of playing T-ball with his 6-year-old daughter on a softball field.
A sure sign of fanaticism is the inability to make distinctions, in this instance between risky and non-risky activities and between places hard hit and places not. It’s one thing to hold a day-long, 100-person family reunion in a public park, quite another to jog through one. It’s one thing to begin opening up in New York City, where there have been more than 10,000 deaths, and another to begin opening in Montana, where there have been 14.
Jacksonville, Fla., is the seat of Duval County. With a population of nearly a million people, the county has had 17 COVID-19 deaths. It is hardly a hot spot.
At least some of the spleen would be taken out of the coronavirus debate if people acknowledged that we live in a vast continental country, with radically different ways of life from one end of it to another. Not only are not all states the same, not all counties within states are the same.
Anti-lockdown protests at the Michigan state capitol last week got a lot of attention (and a lot of criticism for, yes, lack of social distancing because some protesters milled about on the capitol grounds). One argument of the demonstrators is that Michigan shouldn’t be uniformly locked down if conditions around the state aren’t uniform.
Sparsely populated Alcona County in northern Michigan has four cases and no deaths, according to the latest state data. Wayne County, encompassing the city of Detroit, has 6,677 cases and 597 deaths. One of these things is not like the other.
But such is the lockdown zealotry that any thought that these kinds of places should be treated differently is considered heresy sure to get people killed. It seems indisputable that the lockdowns have slowed the spread of the disease, but at an enormous economic cost. We are going to have to show some flexibility and be willing to adopt a patchwork approach to opening up around the country.
We can’t be beholden to public officials and commentators who, to paraphrase H. L. Mencken, have the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be Rollerblading.
As the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to increase dramatically, the CDC is now thinking about issuing a guidance saying that anyone who ventures out in public should be wearing some kind of mask.
According to recent reports, the agency is weighing recommendations to advise people to shield their faces with cloth coverings rather than surgical or N95 masks, which are now nearly impossible to come by.
No final decision has been made on the potential recommendation, however, an official said it could help “flatten the curve” of the outbreak if enacted.
Early on in the outbreak, the World Health Organization and the CDC repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. And as healthcare workers around the world face shortages of N95 masks and protective gear, public health officials have warned people not to hoard masks.
But those official guidelines may be shifting.
President Trump appeared to be open to the possibility of all Americans wearing face masks for a short period of time. He made the following comments on the matter, during his most recent COVID-19 briefing.
“So we’ll take a look at it for a period of time, not forever. I mean, you know, we want our country back. We’re not gonna be wearing masks forever, but it could be for a very short period of time after we get back into gear.”
Medical masks are urgently needed by professionals fighting the virus, but facial cloth coverings could potentially reduce the chances a person spreads the illness to others.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, confirmed in an interview with National Public Radio that the agency was reviewing its guidelines on who should wear masks. Citing new data that shows high rates of transmission from people who are infected but show no symptoms, he said the guidance on mask wearing was “being critically re-reviewed, to see if there’s potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected.”
However, the CDC has yet to make any kind of official recommendation. They understand that widespread use of nonmedical masks could reduce community transmission. But recommending their broad use could also cause a run on the kinds of masks that health care workers so desperately need.
Call it a kind of coronavirus vaccine for the economy!
The Trump administration is considering a third coronavirus spending package worth hundreds of billions of dollars even as the Senate works to move along the more modest second relief bill that focuses on leave for workers and expedited testing for the disease officially known as COVID-19.
The White House is specifically pushing for an $850 billion stimulus, largely in the form of tax relief measures. Roughly $500 billion of this would be tied to a payroll tax cut, while $250 billion would come in the form of Small Business Administration loans and another $58 billion would be directed to the airline industry, among other measures.
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday morning that Mnuchin’s proposal would come with the $850 billion price tag. The Post, citing anonymous sources, reported that Mnuchin’s proposal would focus mainly on putting cash in the hands of individuals and businesses.
Coming out of a closed-door meeting with Republican senators later that afternoon, Mnuchin told reporters the proposal “on the table” would put “a trillion dollars into the economy” to help combat the impacts of coronavirus.
“That is on top of the 300 billion from the IRS deferrals. Now let me say this is a combination of loans, this is a combination of direct checks to individuals, this is a combination of creating liquidity for small businesses. So we look forward to working with the Senate,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would vote on the House bill as soon as the Senate “can get permission to vote.”
Meanwhile, the White House has said it wants to adopt a measure originally presented by Utah Senator, Mitt Romney, to immediately send checks out to qualifying taxpayers.
“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a news conference at the White House Tuesday.
“Americans need cash now,” Mnuchin said. “And I mean now in the next two weeks.”
President Donald Trump, who had initially floated a payroll tax holiday, said that he favored more immediate action that could inject cash into American’s pockets faster than waiting for the next payday.
“I think we are going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible,” Trump said. “We will have a pretty good idea at the end of the day what we will be doing.”
It is unclear who would get money and how much, but Mnuchin indicated that it would be aimed towards those most hurt by the outbreak.
“We don’t need to send people who make million dollars a year checks,” Mnuchin said.
Donald Trump’s controversial personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani has said that former NSA, John Bolton, is either a “liar” or a “backstabber.”
Of course, the former NYC mayor was referring to the leaks from the manuscript of Bolton’s soon to be published book which indicate that the president tied aid to Ukraine to his request that the country announce investigations of the Bidens.
In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Giuliani – who Bolton claims was in the room when Trump made those very requests – said “He went around my back to the secretary of state and complained. I don’t know what John’s up to. He’s either a liar or a backstabber.”
The claim in Bolton’s upcoming book, which was first reported by the New York Times, led to renewed calls during Trump’s impeachment trial that Bolton – along with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and other high ranking administration officials – should be called as witnesses. The Republican-controlled Senate eventually voted against calling any witnesses in Trump’s trial and ultimately acquitted the president on the two articles brought against him.
Giuliani said he felt betrayed by Bolton for his comments and said he considered him a “friend.”
“I’m very angry at John because John says I was a hand grenade,” Giuliani said. “At no time, during the entire period this was going on did John Bolton, who I’ve known for ten years and consider a friend, did he come up to me and say Rudy I’m concerned about what you’re doing, I’m worried about what you’re doing. Never.”
Following Trump’s acquittal, Democrats said they are mulling over whether to subpoena Bolton to testify about his time in Trump’s White House.
In early January, Bolton said in a statement he would be willing to testify before the Senate trial if subpoenaed to meet his “obligations both as a citizen and as former National Security Advisor.”
Two prominent Republican Senators are appealing to Attorney General William Barr, to declassify certain parts of IG Michael Horowitz’s report on the Russia investigation, without which they say the report is “misleading” to the public regarding the IG’s findings.
A classified letter sent to Barr asks that he declassify four footnotes in the report to create a more transparent picture of what transpired during the FBI’s inquiry, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane.
“We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified,” wrote Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, in an accompanying unclassified letter.
“Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes,” Johnson and Grassley added. “This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation. The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
Horowitz investigated allegations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses against President Trump’s 2016 campaign and released a report just before the end of the year. While he determined that the genesis of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign was not tainted by bias, the independent watchdog did fault the Justice Department and the FBI for 17 “significant errors and omissions” during the process of obtaining FISA warrants to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and for relying on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s salacious and unverified dossier. He also could not say whether bias tainted that FISA process, which is now undergoing reforms.
Johnson and Grassley did not divulge any further information about what they expect from the four redacted footnotes in the unclassified letter, but they do note that Trump has given Barr full declassification authority for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation, which Democrats have decried as an effort to discredit the work of special counsel Robert Mueller and shield Trump.
The Washington Examiner, who first reported on the letter, said that a DOJ representative did not immediately respond to their request for comment.
The Garden State is one step closer to becoming a third world enclave, rivaling Los Angeles and San Francisco, thanks to progressive Governor Phil Murphy who will sign a bill into law allowing Illegal aliens to acquire drivers’ licenses, which in reality translates into a backdoor to the voting booth, despite what despicable Democratic lawmakers in Trenton claim.
Murphy a big supporter of sanctuary cities has repeatedly asked the Democratically controlled legislator to push the bill through, after it was approved in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate during the final legislative session of the year.
The bill would allow the roughly 450.00 illegal aliens in New Jersey to obtain drivers’ licenses, with spotty verification as to their identity or place of birth, regarding rigid background checks from third world countries.
However “ironically” the bill will include “SAFEGUARDS IN PROTECTING THE IDENTITIES Of ILLEGAL ALIENS” from federal law enforcement agencies, attempting to ferret out potential felons or wanna-be terrorists within the illegal population, which no doubt will contribute to American citizens being victimized.
According to a leftist think tank organization called New Jersey Policy Perspective, over 338,000 illegal aliens would obtain driver’s licenses during the first three years, including over 220,000 low-income residents and former felons reentering society.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, a Democrat, told The Wall Street Journal, “The legislation advanced on the Assembly floor and by the Senate today is fair and responsible. It brings us one step closer to ensuring all motor vehicles and drivers are insured, thereby creating safer roadways for all New Jersey residents.”
However, the new legislation allows illegal aliens over the age of 16 to obtain driver’s licenses and learners’ permits, with foreign documents from drug invested countries like Mexico, where drug cartels easily forge documents for a fee, almost guaranteeing that a number of individuals getting New Jersey drivers’ licenses are not who they say they are, moreover it’s not clear within the bill if residency needs to be proven. The bill also does not require a Social Security number as a form of identification.
Republican Assemblyman Ron Dancer told the Wall Street Journal, “How does giving illegal immigrants, who we know have already broken the law once, an official government document going to make us safer?”
To that end Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf appearing Tuesday on Fox & Friends” said the new legislation would hamper their efforts in targeting criminal aliens for deportation.
“It’s very similar to what we see with sanctuary policies around the country that, again, are not protecting the communities and the law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs,” Wolf said. “And, that’s really concerning from a ‘protecting the homeland.’
Wolf said he thought that awarding illegal activity becomes an incentive for other illegal immigrants to try to enter the country.
“I would say that any time we reward illegal behavior, illegal activity, that’s problematic for us,” he concluded. “And what we have seen, particularly on the border, is that encourages more populations, more individuals, to come here illegally, which puts a larger strain on DHS’s capabilities to secure the border and the like.”
Moreover the legislation, I believe is a clever ruse as a backdoor to America’s voting booth, to perhaps effect the 2020 election cycle, similar to the desperate attempt by House Democrats.
Currently 13 states including the District of Columbia, allow illegal aliens to obtain drivers licenses, however under the constitutional authority of the 10th Amendment. Congress enacted REAL ID in 2005 creating standards for state-issued driver’s licenses, including evidence of lawful status, which one would conclude would also include citizenship.
There was a popular song in the 1980s by a band named “Rockwell,” with a chorus that went:
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I have no privacy (ooh ooh)
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Tell me is it just a dream?
Well, I can tell them, and you, that no, it is not a dream – someone is watching you, to the tune of one billion spy cameras in use worldwide.
According to a recent surveillance industry market report, one billion surveillance cameras will be watching around the world in 2021— and more than half of those cameras will be in China. The report comes as experts across the globe are warning about the potential risks of such surveillance technology, including potential access to the data for exploitation by the Chinese government.
There are an estimated 770 million surveillance cameras installed around the world today, and 54% of those cameras are in China, according to a pared-down version of the report, which will soon be made widely available to the media, and to the public.
China is home to some of the world’s largest makers of video surveillance products, such as Hikvision, Huawei and Dahua. China’s push to export surveillance camera technology, including to the US and other Western democracies, has raised concerns over the risk of data being funneled back to Beijing and the growing influence of the Communist Party, experts have suggested.
China has built a vast surveillance state that utilizes cameras powered by facial recognition software, including cameras perched on streets, buildings and lamp posts that can recognize and identify individual faces. Chinese tech companies supply artificial intelligence surveillance technology to 63 countries — of those, 36 have signed onto China’s massive infrastructure project called the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a September report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.
Some of these “smart city” projects are currently underway in countries like Germany, Spain, and France, according to analysis by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).
While the Chinese government claims such is not the case, it is not far-fetched to believe that somehow, China will be able to retain the ability to access the feeds from everywhere it sells or provides cameras to. Which is something that everyone should be concerned about.
Or, as Rockwell put it:
“I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I have no privacy (ooh ooh)
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Who’s playing tricks on me”?
How do you feel about so many spy cameras around? Are they good for public safety, o an invasion of privacy? Do you support the efforts to reexamine these cases?
We’re not even halfway through December 2019 and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is as busy as a toy-making elf at the North Pole warning us consumers about what not to put in our mouths.
The CDC publishes a food safety web page with tips on how to prevent food poisoning and make safe food handling a “holiday tradition.”
A sidebar to the right of the main content is a link to Food Recalls.
When a company announces a recalled alimentary product, market withdrawal or safety alert, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posts the company’s announcement as a public service.
Food recalls due to the presence or suspected presence of the bacterial germ Listeria monocytogenes that causes severe food poisoning (called listeriosis or listeria) is a common reason for a food product to be removed from grocery store shelves.
Of the estimated 1,600 people who come down with listeriosis each year, about 260 die. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of infection.
Symptoms of listeriosis food poisoning become noticeable within a few hours after eating contaminated food but they may not present for 2-3 days and can persist for days or several weeks.
Mild symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
More severe symptoms may include:
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
Another common type of food poisoning is caused by the bacterium Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of Salmonella include:
- Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
- Abdominal pain
Rarely, the Salmonella germ can enter into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
If you think you or someone around you has developed symptoms of food poisoning, get medical help immediately. Never induce vomiting unless instructed by a professional healthcare provider. (The victim’s throat tissue may be further damaged by regurgitation.)
Following are the food alerts from the past week that the FDA wants us to know about so we can make informed decisions about our holiday (and every other day) fare:
12/11/19 CATSMO LLC. Recalls Smoked Salmon Because of Possible Health Risk
The Wallkill, New York food manufacturer, “out of an abundance of caution,” has issued a recall notice for its Cold Smoked Salmon because it may be tainted with Listeria monocytogenes.
Retail stores in 11 states and direct delivery distributed the product: NY, CT, NJ, MN, NC, FL, VA, MA, IL, PA, and Washington D.C.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this issue. Consumers who have purchased the recalled product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumer questions to the company: 845-895-2296 Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm EST.
12/10/10 Ruiz Food Products, Inc. Recalls Frozen Sausage Breakfast Burrito Products due to Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
The Florence, South Carolina, company is recalling some 55,013 pounds of frozen, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) breakfast burrito products containing eggs, sausage, and cheese that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically pieces of plastic.
The problem was discovered when three consumer complaints involving pieces of white, semi-rigid plastic found in the product were lodged. The good news is that there have been no confirmed reports of injuries from starting your day the burrito way. But check your freezer – better safe than sorry. And when in doubt, throw it out.
12/8/19 Tailor Cut Produce Recalls Cut Fruit Mix Because of Possible Health Risk
The New Jersey firm is recalling its Fruit luau, cut honeydew, cut cantaloupe, and cut pineapple products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
The recalled fruit products were distributed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware between November 15 and December 1, 2019.
The potential for contamination was noted after several patients fell ill in four Pennsylvania hospitals. Consumers’ questions to the company: 732-246-2002.
12/6/19 Tropical Nut and Fruit Co. Issues Allergy Alert of Undeclared Soy and Tree Nut (Almonds) on Their Truly Good Foods South of the Border Mix
The Charlotte, North Carolina food producer is voluntarily recalling its 25lb box of Truly Good Foods South of the Border nut mix, Lot #29119, Best By date 04/15/2020, Item # 102340 and UPC # 094184110198 because it contains undeclared soy and tree nut (almonds).
People who are allergic to soy or tree nuts may develop serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.
The product was distributed only to select retail stores of specialty grocer The Fresh Market in the following states: NC (excluding Ashville), SC (only Myrtle Beach and Pawley’s Island stores), VA, IN, OH, PA, MA, NY, MD, DE, NJ, CT KY, and IL.
To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with this recalled product. Purchasers may return any South of the Border nut mix to the store for a full refund. Product or allergy questions may contact Paola Chrisco at (980) 221-4356 M-F, 8am – 5pm Eastern Time.
12/6/19 White Castle Frozen Food Division Announces Voluntary Recall of a Limited Production of Frozen Sandwiches Sold in Select Grocery Outlets Due to Possible Presence of Listeria Monocytogenes
The Columbus, Ohio-based burger chain (800-843-2728) has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of frozen 6 pack cheeseburgers, frozen 6 pack hamburgers, frozen 6 pack jalapeno cheeseburgers, and 16 pack hamburgers, 16 pack cheeseburgers for the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes.
Customers are urged to dispose of or return recalled products to the store of purchase for an exchange or full refund and to consult with their physician regarding any medical questions.
Despite the self-righteous speechmaking of House Intelligence Committee Chair, Adam Schiff insisting that the anonymity of the whistleblower is statutorily protected, apparently he may be dead wrong.
During the ongoing hearings of the impeachment inquiry, Schiff has repeatedly stated that the Ukraine whistleblower has “a statutory right to anonymity” and blocked Republican questions about him.
The problem with that is, many legal experts say that the committee chairman is incorrect in that assessment. Several legal experts have come forward to say that no such specific legal requirement to shield the whistleblower’s identity from the public, exists.
The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act establishes rules for whistleblowers to report on waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption in a lawful manner, and it, along with presidential directives, provides legal protections against reprisals and punishment. Anonymity, however, is not one of those guarantees.
“There is no language in the statute as written — or amended — that gives a whistleblower from the intelligence community the statutory right to anonymity,” Cully Stimson, a former Pentagon official and the head of the Heritage Foundation’s National Security Law Program, told the press. “That’s separate and distinct from whether Congress wants to make the decision to not provide the name — that’s at the discretion of the chairman.”
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who received the whistleblower’s original complaint in August, has said he must keep the whistleblower’s name secret, but it does not appear this legal prohibition extends to President Trump, his allies, or anyone else. Atkinson said his review of the whistleblower’s allegations related to a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “identified some indicia of bias of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”
He wrote, “Such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern appears credible.”
Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Arthur Rizer, a former Army officer and current DOJ prosecutor, said he doubts the law guarantees whistleblower anonymity.
“I am pretty sure on its plain reading only the individual who receives the complaint has a ‘statutory obligation’ to keep anonymity — and, I think, even then, there are circumstances where the veil of anonymity can be pierced.”
Rizer went on to say, “So, as a starting point, the chairman’s comment is vague and overbroad — and legally speaking, that makes him wrong.”
Schiff has constantly shut down Republican efforts to subpoena the whistleblower and cut off GOP witness questioning that could unearth evidence about the whistleblower’s identity, saying he won’t allow efforts to “exact political retribution against the whistleblower“ or “out” the person.