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27 Seattle Firefighters Suing City Over Termination After COVID Vaccine Mandate

KIRO 7 News reported:

In two separate lawsuits, 27 Seattle firefighters are suing Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins and the city of Seattle over their imminent terminations or past terminations due to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In the first complaint, 24 former Seattle firefighters say they submitted requests for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine, claiming the exemption requests were based on sincerely held beliefs. They also acknowledged that each of them had a legitimate conflict with the vaccine, and the city did not offer any accommodations to address their issues.

The firefighters said they believe the city had already determined it would not accommodate any religious exemptions and that based on testimony from Deputy Chief Thomas Walsh, the entire religious exemption assessment process was a sham. The firefighters are asking for their lost wages and benefits, including pension rights, since October 18, 2021, attorney fees and damages.

In a separate lawsuit, three additional Seattle firefighters claim they are facing termination, due to the city not providing accommodations for their religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination. They are asking for a court to prevent their termination, along with attorney fees and damages.

Generation COVID: Record Numbers of Youth Opt out of College, Work

Newsweek reported:

Three years into the pandemic, after two years of isolation, shuttered schools and virtual commencements, high school graduates from the classes of 2020, 2021 and beyond — call them Generation COVID — are shunning college in record numbers.

Enrollment is down nearly 10% over the past two years, a loss of 1.4 million students pursuing degrees. At TikTok, where variations on the hashtag #NotGoingToCollege have racked up more than 30 million views, young people argue “my career doesn’t need college” and talk about starting their own businesses (often as influencers).

Overall, just 51% of Gen Z teens are now considering a four-year degree, according to a survey this year by the nonprofit ECMC Group — a 20-point drop since May 2020. “Gen Z students are sharp,” says Jeremy Wheaton, the organization’s former president and CEO. “They’re thinking about things such as the return on their time and dollar investment.”

Their calculations, however, could be misleading. In fact, behind the upbeat TikToks and occasional very public success stories, there are already troubling signs that the kids of Generation COVID aren’t alright.

All Major Cruise Lines Will Soon Allow Unvaccinated Travelers

The Washington Post reported:

Disney Cruise Line will no longer require vaccinations on most of its voyages beginning in October, the company announced Tuesday, marking the final major cruise line to ease its vaccine requirement on most U.S. sailings.

For voyages on the Disney Wish, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder beginning Oct. 14, full vaccination is “highly recommended,” but not required, according to the cruise line’s website. Unvaccinated travelers 5 and older must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within two days of the sail date, either through an observed antigen test or a lab-based PCR test. Vaccinated travelers and children under 5 are not required to test.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its COVID program for cruises in July. Since then, all major cruise lines serving the U.S. — including Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and MSC Cruises — have dropped their vaccine requirements for all but a few voyages, according to their websites.

Elon Musk Wants ‘Government-Imposed Muzzle’ on His Tweets Thrown out

TechCrunch reported:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is sick and tired of having to pause before tweeting to consider the potential implications on his company’s stock price. The celebrity executive is urging a federal appeals court to throw out a provision in his 2018 consent decree with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that requires him to get pre-approval from Tesla lawyers for certain Tesla-related public communications.

The appeal comes a month after a federal judge quashed Musk’s motion to end the same SEC settlement provision.

In the brief, which was filed on Tuesday with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan and reported by Reuters, Musk’s lawyers call the mandate a “government-imposed muzzle,” the effect of which is “to inhibit and chill Mr. Musk’s lawful speech.” They say the provision violates the First Amendment and restricts Musk’s speech on a broad range of topics that are unrelated to the statements that gave rise to the SEC’s 2018 lawsuit.

A Federal Ruling Means a Supreme Court Showdown on Big Tech Censorship Is Ahead

New York Post reported:

A staggering 99% of Twitter employees who make political contributions give to Democrats. It’s almost as lopsided at Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), according to Federal Election Commission records.

Relying on these left-leaning tech platforms to be evenhanded was always naïve. But recent evidence — email correspondence between Big Tech executives and some 45 Biden administration officials — suggests a danger even bigger than Silicon Valley bias.

The government is actually calling the shots on what to censor. The U.S. Constitution bars the government from censoring, so Team Biden has deputized Silicon Valley to do its dirty work. The complicity between the Biden administration and Big Tech should frighten all Americans. It’s like a vise tightening its grip, snuffing out freedom. That makes reining in Big Tech even more urgent. On Friday, the opportunity arrived.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected “the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.” The federal court upheld a Texas law that bars social-media companies from taking down postings based on political views. For two decades, tech giants have claimed a constitutional right to remove anything and anyone from their platforms. The appeals court said no.

Inactive AFLW Player and Nurse Deni Varnhagen’s COVID Vaccine Mandate Challenge Dismissed by South Australia Supreme Court

ABC News reported:

A legal challenge to South Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in Adelaide.

Nurse and inactive AFLW player Deni Varnhagen led the challenge against the mandate after she lost her nursing job last year because she was not vaccinated against the virus.

Ms. Varnhagen and fellow nurse Courtney Millington initially challenged the mandates that were legislated by the Emergency Management Act, and as their case was coming to an end, the state government revoked the laws in May this year.

Instead, the government enforced the vaccine mandate on healthcare workers by making changes to the South Australian Public Health Amendment Act. Lawyers for the nurses said they would appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal.

The Washington Post Has a Bezos Problem

Columbia Journalism Review reported:

For a news organization, being owned by an oligarch can be complicated.

In 2013, when Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post from the Graham family, those complications were not top of mind. The Post was in a downward spiral, sloughing off staff and flirting with irrelevance. Bezos’s money changed everything, bulking up the newsroom, revolutionizing its technology and firmly reestablishing it as a dominant voice in the national media.

But the conflicts of interest are self-evident. Pretty much every public-policy issue the Post covers affects Bezos’s sprawling personal and business interests in material ways. The very existence of people as rich as Bezos clashes with the notion of economic fairness.

Amazon has never been bashful about its political goals: its $20 million annual lobbying budget, which makes it the second-highest corporate spender in Washington, has been ruthlessly effective at fending off privacy protections, antitrust issues, internet regulation, tougher labor laws and greater worker protection.

FDA Warning About NyQuil Chicken TikTok Challenge May Have Spiked Interest

Fox News reported:

A statement issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking people to stop combining NyQuil with chicken after a “Sleepy Chicken” challenge went viral on social media earlier may have unintentionally spiked interest in the trend.

There were fewer than five searches for NyQuil chicken content on TikTok a day prior to the Sept. 15 statement from the FDA, according to data provided to Fox News Digital by the social media app. By Sept. 21, around 7,000 searches were recorded.

The #SleepyChicken hashtag on TikTok has 1.2 million views, and it has been tagged with trending reaction videos in which users share their thoughts on the medicine-cooked dish — many of which have expressed shock and disgust.

The FDA acknowledged that the viral “Benadryl Challenge” of 2020 — in which people consumed high amounts of allergy medicine (diphenhydramine) to induce hallucinations — led to hospitalizations and death, even though the agency warned the public not to participate.

Polite Propaganda: Here’s How a ‘Silk Glove Invasion’ Works

The Daily Wire reported:

Have you ever heard of a silk glove invasion? The term typically involves a government that invades or undercuts its civilian population through business, politics and propaganda; force is rarely used in a silk glove invasion. It occurs slowly and politely over time — through the bureaucracy.

I believe this is exactly what’s happening in America. When it comes to authoritarian and totalitarian policies in the United States, there’s hardly ever any use of force; legislation and policy are accomplished through gaslighting and keeping citizens content with consumer products and relative freedom. In other words, a silk glove invasion.

When did parents start feeling pressure from the pharmaceutical industry on every vaccine and medical decision? When did vaccines become a prerequisite for children to receive an education?

All of this is legislated under the guise of things that are supposed to be good, i.e. the health of your child. Sounds very polite, doesn’t it? Except these decisions never legislate into the hands of the citizenry. The state always retains and gathers more power through its “polite” and “kind” assertions.

Freespoke Offers Alternative to Google With Emphasis on Free Speech: ‘Our Whole Society Is Under Attack’

Fox News reported:

Former Republican National Committee finance chair Todd Ricketts launched Freespoke, an alternative to Google, earlier this year because he believes Americans have a “duty to protect” free speech.

“When free speech is under attack, our whole society is under attack,” Ricketts told Fox News Digital. Ricketts, who serves as Freespoke CEO, believes it’s important for Americans to remember Big Tech companies are “not government institutions” and shouldn’t have the power they currently possess.

Ricketts is concerned that Americans have no clue who is pulling the strings at Big Tech juggernauts, and companies such as Google don’t share anything about their algorithms. He isn’t sure that executives from these behemoths purposely cater to left-leaning results, but has noticed that many things that have been censored or de-platformed have a conservative tilt.

Invisible AI Raises $15 Million to Stick Worker-Monitoring Cameras in Factories

TechCrunch reported:

The rise of so-called “smart factory” technologies is leading to a race to modernize manufacturing plants and warehouse floors. Old equipment is being replaced by newer, more advanced machinery as manufacturers look to keep pace with the competition — and wrestle with high turnover rates.

According to a survey by Plex Systems, 50% of manufacturers accelerated their adoption of automation and digital systems during the pandemic. A separate report from The Harris Poll, commissioned by Google, found that two-thirds of manufacturers were using artificial intelligence in their day-to-day operations as of June 2021.

Invisible AI today announced that it raised $15 million for its product that uses cameras and algorithms to track workers’ body movements as they work through assembly processes. CEO Eric Danziger claims that the platform, which gives feedback to operators as they work, is already being used in 8 facilities including some owned by Toyota’s North America division, with an additional 8 deployments planned over the next 6 months.