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Cotton Warns New CDC Vaccine Schedule Including COVID Jab Could Lead to School Vaccine Mandates
Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton worries that schools might mandate children receive the COVID-19 vaccine after the Biden administration’s new guidelines, and he is seeking to know whether Congress can do anything to stop it.
Cotton sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro Tuesday calling for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new vaccine schedule for kids and teens.
The CDC changed the vaccine schedule in February to recommend COVID-19 vaccine doses for children as young as 6 months old. If determined to be part of the federal rulemaking process, Congress could overturn the new shot schedule.
The Arkansas senator called the change in the CDC schedule “irresponsible” and warned the change could be used to back vaccine mandates in schools. “The CDC’s modification of the vaccine schedule is irresponsible given the low mortality rates of adolescents with COVID-19 and the unknown long-term side effects of the vaccine,” Cotton said.
Gorsuch Slams Pandemic Emergency Power as Intrusion on Civil Liberties
Gorsuch, in an attached statement to the court’s unsigned order, more broadly railed against the use of emergency powers since COVID-19 shut down normal life, referencing among other things, lockdown orders, a federal ban on evictions and vaccine mandates.
“Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country. Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale,” Gorsuch wrote.
The conservative justice throughout the pandemic has been a skeptic of how officials leveraged laws that grant additional executive authority during emergencies, often lamenting that COVID-19 was being used as merely a pretext.
White House Announces New Funding for Teen Mental Health Crisis: ‘Will Help Save Lives’
As millions of Americans, particularly our young people, continue to struggle with worsening mental health challenges, the White House announced on Thursday — the National Day of Mental Health Action — how the Biden administration plans to tackle the crisis.
“It is quite clear that America is in a mental health crisis,” Susan Rice, domestic policy adviser, said during a call with the media. “We already had a major challenge on our hands. And then the pandemic, the increased isolation, the burnout and trauma of COVID-19, have contributed to increased depression and anxiety, now affecting as many as two in five American adults.”
In Thursday’s announcement, the White House highlighted moves to help schools provide better mental healthcare for students. “The Department of Education will propose a new rule that would streamline medical billing permissions for schools, while Health and Human Services will issue additional guidance with new, easier medical billing steps,” Rice said on the media call.
By streamlining and reducing the amount of parental consent required to bill for Medicaid services, senior administration officials said they anticipate the new rule will impact about 300,000 children with disabilities who are enrolled in Medicaid.
“It means more children will have better access to preventive care, like mental health assessments and counseling, as well as physical healthcare services like vaccines and hearing and vision screenings,” said Rice.
Montana TikTok Users File Lawsuit Challenging Ban
A group of TikTok creators has sued to block a recently signed law that bans the app’s operation in Montana. The suit, filed last night and announced today, alleges that Montana’s SB 419 is an unconstitutional and overly broad infringement of their right to speech.
This week’s lawsuit attacks the Montana law on several fronts. It argues that Montana is depriving state residents of a forum for sharing and receiving speech, violating their First Amendment rights. It also argues that SB 419 violates the Commerce Clause by effectively restricting interstate commerce. And it says the law is preempted by federal sanctions powers.
New York City Schools Lift Ban on ChatGPT, Say Initial Fear ‘Overlooked the Potential’ of AI
After making a big statement about how ChatGPT could negatively impact student learning, New York City public schools are taking a step back and stating the AI chatbot isn’t so bad.
David Banks, the head of the city’s public schools, announced on Thursday that the system would lift the ban on ChatGPT it enacted in January.
At the time, New York City public schools appeared to be concerned that OpenAI’s chatbot would lead to a barrage of cheating by students and affect their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Now, though, the system’s “knee-jerk fear and risk” response has evolved to one of cautious exploration, according to Banks.
The about-face of New York City’s public school system comes during a time of intense debate about what role, if any, AI should play in schools. Earlier this week, a professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce gave a group of students an “X” in his course because ChatGPT told him it had written their last three essay assignments of the semester, Rolling Stone reported.
Samsung Signs Up to Assist With CBDC Rollouts
We often mention Big Tech and other corporate giants — and not very often in a positive way — but South Korea’s Samsung somehow manages to slip under this radar. Nonetheless, it’s a veritable business behemoth, with things as diverse as shipbuilding, insurance, and, of course, Android phones.
And Samsung is not a local, but a true global phenomenon in terms of the sheer size of its business interests. So when this particular conglomerate speaks and makes its stance known on any issue — it’s worth listening.
This time, Samsung has spoken about CBDCs (central bank-issued digital currencies). As part of the super-powerful and rich global elites, nobody should be shocked to learn that Samsung likes the idea — and has in fact pledged to help South Korea’s government with offline CBDC payments associated with the program.
Vax Mandate Orders Muddy President’s Procurement Act Authority
A patchwork of different federal court rulings on the president’s authority to mandate vaccines for the employees of federal contractors provides ammunition to challenge future White House procurement policies.
President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors expired last week with the end of the pandemic health emergency. The administration never had a chance to enforce it because it was paused amid a string of lawsuits claiming that the president overstepped his authority under the Procurement Act.
The mandate’s sunset makes it highly unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve a split among four federal appeals courts that have addressed the issue, legal scholars told Bloomberg Law.
Lingering doubts over that authority will make any president’s future procurement-related executive orders more vulnerable to court challenges, attorneys said.
Apple Restricts Employees From Using ChatGPT Over Fear of Data Leaks
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple employees have also been warned against using GitHub’s AI programming assistant Copilot. Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman tweeted that ChatGPT had been on Apple’s list of restricted software “for months.”
Apple has good reason to be wary. By default, OpenAI stores all interactions between users and ChatGPT. These conversations are collected to train OpenAI’s systems and can be inspected by moderators for breaking the company’s terms and services.
Apple is far from the only company instituting such a ban. Others include JP Morgan, Verizon, and Amazon. Apple’s ban, though, is notable given OpenAI launched an iOS app for ChatGPT this week. The app is free to use, supports voice input, and is available in the US. OpenAI says it will be launching the app in other countries soon, along with an Android version.
U.K. Court Tosses Class-Action Style Health Data Misuse Claim Against Google DeepMind
Google has prevailed against another U.K. class-action style privacy lawsuit after a London court dismissed a lawsuit filed last year against the tech giant and its AI division, DeepMind, which had sought compensation for misuse of NHS patients’ medical records.
The decision underscores the hurdles facing class-action style compensation claims for privacy breaches in the U.K.
The complainant had sought to bring a representative claim on behalf of the approximately 1.6 million individuals whose medical records were — starting in 2015 — passed to DeepMind without their knowledge or consent — seeking damages for unlawful use of patients’ confidential medical data.
The Google-owned AI firm had been engaged by the Royal Free NHS Trust which passed it patient data to co-develop an app for detecting acute kidney injury. The U.K.’s data protection watchdog later found the Trust had lacked a lawful basis for the processing.