Google has been offering all Gmail users the option to make video calls to friends and family via Google Meet for hours on end without being cut off mid-sentence. This unlimited video calling was originally designed for those who subscribe to Google Workspace which is only available to businesses and schools in the UK. But with millions of us forced into lockdown last year, the US tech giant showed its generosity and opened this video calling tool to anyone with a free Gmail account.
It was a very welcomed change as most video services, such as Zoom, placed limits on the amount of time that users could talk without paying for the privilege. Sadly, Google is now joining these rival platforms with the company bringing back the 60-minute limit.
As the US firm explains, “At 55 minutes, everyone gets a notification that the call is about to end. To extend the call, the host can upgrade their Google account. Otherwise, the call will end at 60 minutes.”
Google has confirmed the change won’t affect those making calls with one other person, but anyone joining a group call, with three more friends, will find the limit is now enforced.
It’s also worth noting that, right now, UK users can’t actually sign up to Google’s Individual Workspace option as this $ 9.99 subscription, which unlocks unlimited calls and a load of other benefits, is only available in the United States, Canada, and a few other nations.
READ MORE: Virgin Media and BT eclipsed by hyperfast broadband at price that’s hard to believe
Apple is also about to bring a swathe of new features to its calling app including Noise Isolation so everyone can hear voices loud and clear along with a Portrait Mode that adds a blur behind your face so you stand out more on calls – it also means friends can’t snoop on every book title on your bookcase.
Also included in this iOS 15 update is the ability to schedule a call for a set time with contacts then reminded so they join at the right time. FaceTime is also coming to Android so you won’t need an iPhone to use it.
Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers has been warning that President Joe Biden’s big-spending agenda was creating the risk of an inflation spike. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
There is a new fear circulating inside the West Wing of the White House: Maybe Larry Summers was right.
The former Treasury secretary has been warning since February that President Joe Biden’s big-spending agenda was creating the risk of an inflation spike this year, potentially cutting into the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the moment at least, Summers is looking prescient.
The government said Tuesday the consumer price index rose 5.4 percent in June from the same month last year, the biggest jump since 2008, as costs for everything from used cars and trucks to restaurant meals and hotel stays continued to soar. It marked the second straight month of sharply higher prices. June prices also unexpectedly rose 0.9 percent from May, undercutting the argument that the price increases only look bad in comparison to last year, when the pandemic was raging.
Tuesday’s number beat Wall Street expectations and sparked fears that the Federal Reserve might have to act faster than anticipated to pump the brakes on the economy to prevent a runaway rise in prices.
Summers has vexed the White House and infuriated Democrats with his repeated alarms about Biden’s plans to spend trillions of dollars more in federal money, though he favors more infrastructure investment.
He has been among the loudest voices in Democratic circles in cautioning about the risk of a prolonged spike in prices. The White House has mostly dismissed his concerns, saying prices will ease later this year, a view shared by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who will testify before Congress this week.
For his part, Summers now says he’s more concerned than he was when he first issued his warnings.
“These figures and labor market tightness and the behavior of housing markets and asset prices are all rising in a more concerning way than I worried about a few months ago,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. “This raises my degree of concern about an economic overheating scenario. There are huge uncertainties in the outlook, but I do believe the focus of concern right now should be on overheating.”
While there is clearly some growing trepidation among senior White House aides, officials maintain that the year-on-year numbers appear worse than they are given that they’re up from the depressed price levels at this time in 2020.
The situation will improve, they say, as the economy fully reopens this fall, supply chain issues get resolved and more workers re-enter the labor market when emergency supplemental unemployment benefits expire in early September.
White House officials also note that bond market investors on Wall Street don’t seem worried about runaway prices, given the low yields on Treasury bonds.
“All of these data points need to be put into the context of an economy that is recovering rapidly as the U.S. is leading the world in terms of growth,” a senior administration official said of the latest inflation figures.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, dismissed claims that Summers has been vindicated. “Those most concerned about the inflation picture would tell a story about a spiral that would be hard to stop,” the official said. “That view is in no way vindicated by what we’ve seen in recent months and in fact the opposite is true.”
Powell, a Republican who is in line to be renominated this year for another term as Fed chair, says the rise in inflation will be “transitory” and that interest rates can remain at historically low levels well into next year and perhaps beyond.
While some other central bank officials are now pushing for rate hikes sooner to prevent a potentially damaging spiral in costs that would hammer consumers, Powell has delivered a consistent message of calm. He will appear before Congress in a pair of highly anticipated hearings beginning Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee and before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.
Republicans, who have been hammering the Biden administration over rising prices, will likely pepper Powell with questions about the inflation numbers and suggest they mean Biden’s spending plans should be tightly reined in beyond basic infrastructure investments.
Meanwhile, consumers are showing concern. A June survey from the New York Fed released on Monday showed that consumers expect prices to jump 4.8 percent over the next year, the highest reading ever for a survey that dates to 2013.
Tuesday’s numbers are not likely to ease that anxiety. Even after stripping out volatile food and energy prices, costs rose 4.5 percent, the highest rate since 1991 and well above estimates of 3.8 percent. Rising housing costs contributed to the inflation bump, jumping 0.5 percent over last month, the biggest gain since 2005.
Still, many economists say it’s too soon to suggest that inflation is really rising in a dangerous way.
“We are still in a wait-and-see mode on whether it’s transitory,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton LLP. “Powell will be in the hot seat on Capitol Hill because inflation is a highly political issue, even if this is just transitory. Nobody likes inflation.”
Summers says inflation concerns should temper Biden’s ambitions for massive spending increases but not block investments that could enhance productivity in the economy.
“The investments on which Biden is focused are essential to the future of the country,” he said. “The focus should be on those investments like infrastructure that will increase economic supply potential. Inflation fears should shape economic policies but it would be tragic if they stopped us from making urgently needed public investments.”
A new survey by Reuters showed nearly nine out of 10 economists polled warned new Covid variants are the biggest risk to the eurozone, which they currently believe will grow by 4.5 percent in 2021. In addition, the latest coronavirus tracker from Reuters has revealed infections, while in most cases remaining below their historic highs, are rising in all but a handful of European countries. Oxford Economics has also collected data that shows the Delta variant now accounts for most new Covid cases in Britain, Portugal and Austria, and over 40 percent of infections in Germany, Spain and Denmark.
The researchers said the impact on the respected economies is hard to predict at the moment.
However, those countries with higher vaccination rates can take some comfort from the muted rise in hospitalisations and death rates in Britain and Israel.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, the UK’s newly-appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed all remaining restrictions in England will be lifted from next Monday, although he and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have urged the population to continue being cautious.
But in a huge warning from a research note from July 12, Oxford Economics said: “Nonetheless if economies reopen and allow cases to surge, the economic gains could prove illusory if Covid-related absences trigger major disruption to businesses and higher cases prompt greater voluntary social distancing.”
Governments throughout Europe are so far refusing a return to full lockdowns over fears of a repeat of the devastating economic impact and the possibility of denting the strong rebound in activity during the last quarter.
But in France, Emmanuel Macron has announced mandatory proof of vaccination or negative tests for some public spaces, coming days after Portugal, the Netherlands and some areas of Spain reintroduced restrictions.
The French President said all health workers in the country must get Covid jabs by September 15, adding vaccination would not be compulsory for the general public for now but stressed that restrictions would focus on those who are not vaccinated.
He said in a televised address to the nation: “We must go towards vaccination of all French people, it is the only way towards a normal life.”
Unfortunately, lawyers representing Apple called Justice Meade’s bluff – and threatened to do exactly that. In a statement, lawyers suggested that leaving the UK market could become an unavoidable option for the company due to the “commercially unacceptable” terms.
Marie Demetriou, a lawyer representing Apple, said: “I am not sure that is right. Apple’s position is it should indeed be able to reflect on the terms and decide whether commercially it is right to accept them or to leave the UK market. There may be terms that are set by the court which are just commercially unacceptable.”
Apple could pull out of the UK market, shuttering its retail stores and blocking sales of its best-selling gadgets, including iPhone, iPad, MacBook, AirPods, and more. Not only that, but it could result in huge job losses – the App Store supports some 330,000 people in the UK.
But trends from Israel and the United Kingdom — where the variant became dominant a few weeks sooner than in the US — present hope for a less deadly and severe surge than others that have come before. And expertssay that vaccination progress will be the most critical factor in preventing the worst outcomes.
In Israel, average daily cases are twice what they were in mid-April when the first cases of Delta were identified in the country. At that time, there were an average of five deaths each day in Israel. But despite the rise of the Delta variant — which now accounts for more than 90% of new cases in the country — average daily deaths have stayed consistently below that. In fact, Israel has had an average of less than two Covid-19 deaths per day since the last week of May, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the United Kingdom, both cases and deaths are higher than they were when the Delta variant became the dominant strain in the country in mid-May, but cases have climbed exponentially faster than deaths. Average daily deaths in the UK are about twice what they were when the Delta variant became dominant, and cases are about 12 times what they were.
But trends in death due to Covid-19 lag a few weeks behind trends in cases, so the latest data on deaths should be closer in line with data on cases from a few weeks earlier. And even three weeks ago, average daily cases in the UK had multiplied more than the most recent daily deaths.
While both Israel and the UK foreshadow some optimism for Delta’s trajectory in the United States, experts say that Israel’s outcomes have been more overwhelmingly positive because of their substantial vaccination rate.
“In my mind, vaccines are the single most important factor” in the fight against the Delta variant, Becky Dutch, a virologist and chair of the University of Kentucky’s department of molecular and cellular biochemistry, told CNN.
When the first cases of the Delta variant were identified in Israel, about 56% of the population was already fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. But in the UK, only 2% of the population was fully vaccinated when the Delta variant was first identified there, only reaching 50% vaccination within the past week.
“There is reason to be moderately hopeful — with the caveat that the reason deaths and hospitalizations have not gone up as much is that there’s pretty high immunity from vaccination and natural infection in individuals most at risk,” Justin Lessler, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, told CNN.
In a statement released Monday, the Israeli government said that its analysis has shown the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to provide 64% protection against infections caused by the Delta variant but 93% effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalizations, compared to research from May that reported it to be 97% effective.
“If we picked a flu vaccine that is effective as the current mRNA vaccines appear to be against Delta, we would be celebrating. They’re only slightly less good against Delta than the originally circulating strain,” Lessler said.
“The concern is places in the US that have not seen a lot of Covid and vaccination rates among the high-risk population is low.”
Overall, vaccination rates in the US fall somewhere between Israel and the UK. About 16% of the population was fully vaccinated when the first cases of Delta were identified in the US and about 48% are fully vaccinated now that the variant has become dominant.
And vaccination rates vary widely across the country. Less than a third of people in Alabama are fully vaccinated, compared to about two-thirds of people in Vermont, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The US is a patchwork now,” Dutch said. “It depends on where you live. If you live in a place with high vaccination rates and you’re vaccinated yourself, I’m not overly concerned about you. But if you’re sitting in an area of the country with 35% of the population vaccinated and you’re not vaccinated, I’m much more concerned.”
And while there is some evidence that the virus may evade natural immunity from previous infections and slightly lower the efficacy of the vaccines, experts say these findings are something to pay attention to, they’re not something to panic about.
Instead, Lessler says the rise and spread of the Delta and Alpha variants are a “warning that the virus is going to continue to evolve and continue to — in that evolution — find ways around existing immunity,” but that the hope is that vaccines will “virtually eliminate severe disease” for quite some time.
PHOENIX —In 2006, Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American studies curriculum was relatively unknown. The program — a series of middle and high school classes highlighting Mexican American contributions to U.S. history and culture — had shown promise in lifting Latino students out of lower test score brackets and boosting graduation rates. Only a handful of detractors had shown up at school board meetings to grouse about the curriculum’s race-focused teachings.
Then, Jonathan Paton, a Republican lawmaker representing Tucson at the time, got ahold of a recording of labor organizer and Chicano rights icon Dolores Huerta telling an auditorium of Tucson High School students, “Republicans hate Latinos.” Suddenly, GOP lawmakers in Phoenix were decrying “Raza Studies,” as the program was known, as a plot to indoctrinate children with ideas about white people as racists and people of color as their victims. (“Raza” is Spanish for “race,” though the teachers who adopted the name said the intended translation was more akin to “the people.”)
A legislative panel ordered school administrators to defend the program at the state capitol in Phoenix,with one lawmaker accusing the district of running a “sweatshop for liberalism.” By 2008, lawmakers were setting their sights on banning TUSD’s Mexican American studies program altogether with a bill to prohibit classes from teaching beliefs that “denigrate American values.”
“Organizations that spew anti-American or race-based rhetoric have no place,” Russell Pearce, a Republican representative who sponsored the first attempt to outlaw the classes, said at a 2008 hearing. “We ought to be celebrating unity as Americans and not allowing, with taxpayer dollars, these organizations.”
Proponents of the program saw it as a way not only to engage students but to ensure that past wrongs against marginalized communities wouldn’t be repeated. “At one time in the history of our nation, part of our ‘American values’ were the enslavement of other human beings,” Linda Lopez, a Democratic representative, shot back. “It was through dissent and through the revolution of the minds of the people of this country that we were able to do away with those kinds of American values.”
The contours of Arizona’s Mexican American studies debate a decade ago will sound familiar to anyone following the current sparring over the teaching of concepts lumped together as “critical race theory” — which some two dozen states have introduced legislation to ban. Republicans back then saw teachers indoctrinating children to do the left’s political bidding, building a Marxist youth program to fight the power and the white man. Educators and their Democratic backers saw an opportunity to inspire underperforming Latino students by overhauling the way American history is taught. The focus today is on the teaching of slavery and the history of discrimination toward Black, rather than Latino, Americans, but the language and the politics have clear echoes.
Yet, when Arizona lawmakers turned their eyes toward their own “critical race theory” ban this past spring, few seemed to remember how the previous attempt to prohibit race-related studies in schools had turned out here. In 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law banning Tucson’s Mexican American studies program. But today, 15 years after the curriculum first caught the attention of Republican lawmakers and a decade after they outlawed it, the courses — or at least a version of them — live on, thanks to a court-appointed monitor overseeing TUSD’S longstanding federal desegregation order, a dark reminder of the district’s own discriminatory past.A federal court later ruled that the 2010 ban violated students’ constitutional rights.Today, the program is larger than it’s ever been.
Paton, the Republican lawmaker, argues that the current critical race theory debate is different — a “nationalized movement” that he believes will make a mark on the 2022 election cycle. And polling suggests there’s something to that: A recent national survey found that while only about half of Americans said they know what critical race theory is, of those, 58 percent had a negative opinion of it. Nearly three-quarters of independents described it as “bad for America.”
Still, as critical race theory becomes a rallying cry for conservatives, from former President Donald Trump down to local school boards, Arizona’s years-long fight over Mexican American studies is a vivid reminder of what a messy, drawn-out affair a battle over local curriculum can become. The years of protests, political brawls and courtroom battles divided the Tucson community and mired the district in controversy, before reaching a resolution no one is really satisfied with to this day.
It turns out banning a curriculum is easier said than done.
If there’s one thing proponents and detractors of Mexican American studies in Tucson agree on, it’s that the program was a forerunner to the school teachings being debated today. At its core, critical race theory is an academic concept that looks at history, law and political science through the lens of race; a main tenet is that disparate racial outcomes are the result of institutions, not merely individuals, perpetuating racism. While the term often has been misapplied in the current debate — it is a university-level concept, not commonly taught to children — the founders of Tucson’s Mexican American studies program openly embraced it and still use it today. (On its website, though, while TUSD promotes its “multicultural” curriculum meant to “expose biases, stereotypes, and policies that can restrict achievement,” doesn’t use the buzzwords of “critical race theory.”)
Mexican American studies in Tucson originated in 1997, when Latino plaintiffs in a desegregation case dating back to the 1970s asked for courses that better reflected their history.In 2002, educator Augustine Romero became director of what was originally called “Hispanic studies.” He then changed the name to Mexican American studiesand sought to radically revamp the way the district taught its students their own history.
Despite a few pockets of wealth, Tucson Unified School District is a largely poor district that serves a majority-Latino population. White students make up only about 20 percent of the district, and the vast majority of students qualify for free and reduced-priced lunches. TUSD’s students fall behind their peers around the state in standardized testing, and students of color fall even further behind their white peers.
Romero and other Mexican American studies founders hoped that by connecting history with current events and ethnic identity, the program would inspire Latino students in particular to envision a better future for themselves, their communities and the country. The classes, taught by a small corps of teachers spread across the district, counted for required graduation credits, though they weren’t mandatory — students were free to take standard American history or literature classes instead. In 2010, before the ban kicked in, the program included roughly 2,000 students per year and existed in five high schools, as well as some middle and elementary schools.
María Federico Brummer, who began teaching in the program in 2006, says the classes spoke to her students in a way that sparked intellectual curiosity and motivated them to imagine more for themselves. “As a middle school teacher, I could see it. I knew this was the way we should be teaching our students,” she says. “You saw these students were feeling more academically engaged, students feeling for the first time that they could be scholars in some way and that school wasn’t a foreign place for them, but someplace where they could have a future.”
Several surveys and independent audits backed that up, finding that students enrolled in the program saw improved scores in reading, writing and even math. They also were less likely to drop out, and more likely to feel engaged in school.
But critics, including Paton, the Republican lawmaker who had picked up on Dolores Huerta’s comments, described the program pointedly as a cult of personality around Romero and other early leaders that had an “almost pseudo-spiritualistic” vibe. Teachers who opposed the program reported harassment from Mexican American studies teachers and students. Several opponents of the program were put on a blacklist and have long suspected their opposition was the cause.
“It was just really weird. There was a lot about self-confidence and connection to my people — kind of liberation theology,” Paton says. “They were teaching about Aztlán.… It was completely wackadoodle.” (Aztlán is the name of the mythical homeland of the Aztec people, as well as a term used by Chicano activists to refer to the area seized in the Mexican-American War.)
Doug MacEachern, a conservative editorial columnist for the Arizona Republic at the time, found in the program a never-ending source of commentary. “Until these ideologues got their claws in them, these kids actually had a good chance at an education,” McEachern said in an interview. “I try to stay away from these terms, but you can’t: They were turning them into Marxist foot soldiers.”
After years of attacking the program, Republican lawmakers finally put a bill to ban classes that teach “racial resentment” and advocate “the overthrow of the government” on the governor’s desk in 2010. Brewer signed the legislation — as well as Arizona’s hardline immigration legislation, SB 1070 — the same year.
When the hammer finally came down, Federico Brummer joined other teachers in going class-to-class to round up the books they had used in the curriculum. Some students cried, she says, as she boxed up copies of Elizabeth Martinez’s 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit and Rodolfo Acuña’s Occupied America. Students held a 24-hour vigil.
Under threat from state lawmakers and politicians in Phoenix to revoke millions in state funding for violating the ban, Tucson’s school board disbanded the program in 2011. That was when the fight reached its climactic moment, an intense confrontation not unlike the school board fights playing out today — though it was students, not parents, who led the protest.
On an April day that year, a group of more than a hundred students and supporters swarmed a school board meeting in the district office. Nine of them stormed the dais and wrestled with security before chaining themselves to the governing board members’ chairs. “Our education is under attack,” they chanted. “What do we do? Fight back!”
The meeting was shut down, temporarily delaying the inevitable dissolution of the program. The affair made national news, deepening the divide between the two sides and heightening the tension in the community.
Critics like MacEachern argue to this day that the students wouldn’t have protested without orders from their teachers. “Who bought them the chains and the padlocks?” he asked. But the teachers were proud of the students’ display, and they say they hadn’t planned it — that the ban was an attack on the students as much as it was on the program.
“The most beautiful part of it is that they were able to keep that a secret even from us,” Romero says. “The honest truth of this is, when I stood up and saw the students rush in, they scared the heck out of me too.”
All of this occurred at a trying time for Arizona’s Latinos. The immigration and education bills came on the heels voters’ overwhelmingly backing a proposal tobar undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition to local universities and community colleges. It was the same era when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was racially profiling Latinos in traffic stops and conducting workplace raids looking for undocumented immigrants. (Arpaio was later convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying an order to stop racially profiling, a crime for which Trump pardoned him.)
As stressful as those years were, in a way they were also gratifying for leaders of the Mexican American studies program. The students were living through the same struggles their icons had faced in Chicano rights movement decades earlier — the same kinds of struggles they had read about. They were fighting for better education the same way Dolores Huerta fought for better working conditions. They were making their own history.
“I saw our students organize and grow and make not just themselves proud, but their families and our community proud with the work they were doing to save our program,” Federico Brummer says.
Indeed, the ban wasn’t the end of Mexican American studies in Tucson. In 2012, a federal court appointed a “special master” to oversee negotiations in the district’s decades-old desegregation case — an academic named Willis D. Hawley, who saw the program’s benefit to Latino students. Hawley ordered the district to reinstate Mexican American studies while finding a way to comply with the 2010 state law. So, the program’s teachers and administrators began to rebuild. They ditched the name Mexican American studies in favor of “culturally responsive” classes and curriculum. But the books the program used were re-incorporated, and most of the same teachers stayed involved.
Veterans of the Mexican American studies program say it was never really the same after the state’s ban, however. Federico Brummer was required to undergo “retraining” to unlearn some of the tactics used in Mexican American studies, she says. As they restarted the program, Arizona Department of Education officials, led by John Huppenthal — a chief opponent of the program who became state superintendent of public instruction,the state’s highest educational authority, just after the ban passed— sent monitors to the classes to keep an eye on teachers and even read their lesson plans.
The TUSD’s culturally responsive curriculum program today is bigger than Mexican American studies ever was: It now includes more than 200 teachers in history, literature and social studies classes for about 6,000 students. It’s in every high school and middle school in the district, with plans to expand into elementary schools. But without the original dedicated core group of teachers, the classes just aren’t as good, says Federico Brummer, who is now director of the TUSD’s Mexican American Student Services. The spike in test scores that teachers saw in the heyday of the program has mostly faded away, too.
“We have an issue about quantity versus quality,” Federico Brummer says. “We have teachers being ‘voluntold,’ ‘You’re going to teach this language arts course from a Mexican American viewpoint.’ And that’s totally different.”
What does Tucson’s embrace of ethnic studies portend for the rest of the country as it debates whether schools should — or even do — teach critical race theory? The political context today is different, as is the curriculum that’s up for debate, but there are some lessons from how the fight in Arizona played out.
There could be political ramifications, for one thing. A lasting legacy of the immigration fights of the early 2010s is that they inspired a new generation of Latino activists who helped to turn Arizona purple and, more recently, blue. At the same time, the same kind of independent suburban voters who view critical race theory suspiciously also were key to pushing Democrats over the top in Arizona in the 2020 election.
While education fights inherently differ by state, another takeaway from the Tucson saga was the role the courts ultimately played in deciding the fate of Mexican American studies, including examining the intent behind the state’s ban.Shortly after the district got rid of the classes,students and parents filed a lawsuit alleging that the ban violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. After the case made a tour through district court, then up to the court of appeals and back to the trial level, a federal district court judge ruled in 2017 that the law was enacted with “racial animus” and used “discriminatory ends in order to make political gains” — and therefore was unconstitutional.
The court’s decision relied in large part on online screeds that Huppenthal, thestate superintendent of public instruction, had posted on a blog under a pen name. (He later admitted to authoring, and apologized for, the posts.) In one post, Huppenthal called Mexican American studies the “KKK in a different color.” “I don’t mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English. And, I’m not being humorous or racist. A lot is at stake here,” he wrote in another.
Romero recalled testifying before the state Senate on the topicwhen Huppenthal was a state lawmaker. “He said, ‘What upsets me is you talk about the idea of race and racism, and you talk about oppression. It means there are oppressors out there, and I don’t think it’s the case,’” Romero remembers. “And I’m looking at him thinking, ‘You are the oppressor — of course you wouldn’t see it.’”
(Huppenthal said in an interview that the idea that he’s an oppressor is laughable. He grew up on Tucson’s impoverished southside, alongside many Mexican American friends and neighbors, and the fact that the Mexican American studies leaders view everyone as either an oppressor or oppressed is exactly his problem with the program’s paradigm. But after opposing the program for years, Huppenthal now thinks banning a curriculum is the worst possible solution: It only drives its popularity, and forces supporters to hide their teachings behind different names, he says. “A much better approach would be to say if you want to teach critical race theory in Arizona, OK, you can do it, but you gotta put it out on your billboard,” he says. “See how that fares in the marketplace. You wanna lose half of your students?”)
Despite the 2017 court ruling, Paton, the lawmaker who supported the ban, chalks the decade-long battle with TUSD’s Mexican American studies program as a partial win for Republicans. Banning it didn’t solve what he views as the problem — TUSD still teaches ethnic studies — but it’s a milder variety.
Now, Tucson, as well as Arizona’s other school districts, will have to contend with the state’s new legislation opposing critical race theory. Lawmakers slipped a provision into a state budget package, which the governor signed, barring the teaching of “any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race” or teaching that anyone “should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of the individual’s race.” Teachers found to violate the law could lose their teaching certificates. Another new law would bar state and local governments from spending money on, or requiring employees to take, any training that teaches that an individual, by virtue of their race, is “inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
TUSD’s legal department is investigating the law’s implications, according to school boardmember Adelita Grijalva, a supporter of Mexican American studies and culturally responsive classes, who adds that she doesn’t believe the courses violate either of the two new laws. (Unlike in 2010, TUSD was not an explicit target of the laws. And unlike the 2010 ban, which empowered the superintendent of public instruction to determine if a class broke the law, the new ban would require the courts to step in if the state attorney general or a county attorney challenged a class.)
Many Republicans here believe the real war might be yet to come as a wave of conservatives, riding the renewed interest in critical race theory, eye local school boards seats and other offices. In fact, Tom Horne, who pushed lawmakers to adopt the 2010 ban during his time as superintendent of public instruction preceding Huppenthal, sees an opening for a political revival. Horne, who served one term as Arizona’s attorney general before getting bogged down in a string of scandals, has already announced a 2022 bid to once again become the state’s top education official, on a platform that largely amounts to: I stopped Mexican American studies while I was in office, and I’ll stop critical race theory if elected again.
“When I was fighting against it 20 years ago, I was a voice in the wilderness because people in Phoenix didn’t care. It was just in Tucson,” he said in a recent interview. “Now everybody cares because it’s spreading like wildfire.”
Amazon’s hugely popular Fire TV streaming platform is already available in a huge variety of gadgets – from affordable HDMI dongles to pricier set-top boxes with hands-free voice controls, soundbars and built directly into Smart TVs. However, Amazon has big plans to continue expanding its telly empire.
And the next frontier for Fire TV could be in-car infotainment systems. Yes, really.
Pioneered by electric cars, but fast-becoming standard across the auto industry, expansive touchscreens are commonplace in modern vehicles. Amazon sees these screens as a good opportunity to bring blockbuster Prime Video shows like Clarkson’s Farm and The Boys to those on the road. Of course, these will be targeted at passengers – not the person behind the wheel.
Speaking about this emerging opportunity in an interview with Protocol, Amazon vice president Daniel Rausch said: “We do see interest in the auto segment. Screens are coming to autos in greater numbers, and I’m very interested in being where customers want to be entertained, which is frankly just about everywhere, including on the go.
“It’s not just about streaming in the living room. 5G connectivity is going to transform that as well, because you just get a high-quality connection anywhere you go in your car.”
Amazon has already announced its first partnership between the Fire TV team and Dutch automobile manufacturer Stellantis back in March, which has already resulted in new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models shipping with Fire TV in the entertainment systems.
The front infotainment screen can access Fire TV services when the car is parked.
Meanwhile, rear screens enable passengers in the back seats to access Amazon’s vast library of apps and streaming services throughout the journey. After all, Fire TV not only offers access to Amazon’s own Prime Video service, but also industry juggernauts like Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Shudder, Apple TV+, and many more.
The screens offer touch controls as well as a dedicated Fire TV For Auto remote control, which also brings Alexa voice control.
Connected via mobile data, Alexa can be used to interact with smart home gadgets – setting thermostats, switching off lights – when travelling to and from home. Amazon sells a dedicated Alexa Auto device to retroactively bring the hands-free AI assistant to your vehicle. If you want Fire TV to watch on the road, you’ll need to upgrade to a new car.
“I would give a lot to go back and have that option for the rear-seat entertainment system in our car when I had three kids in 20-odd months,” added Rausch.
If you’re not in the market for a new car quite yet, it might be worth dusting off a portable DVD player, or investing in a tablet to keep impatient passengers entertained.
Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, Princess Beatrice Eugenie revealed how she had to undergo a life-changing procedure to correct her chronic condition. Beatrice was diagnosed with the spinal condition at 12 years old known as scoliosis. She underwent the procedure at a young age to help fix her misalignment.
Most often scoliosis has no known cause, in which case it is called idiopathic scoliosis, said Spine Health.
The site continued: “While the cause is unknown, idiopathic scoliosis does tend to run in families.
“The specific genes involved have not all been identified yet, and there could be factors beyond genetics as well.
“Some people mistakenly think that carrying heavy backpacks or sleeping on the side could cause scoliosis, but that is not the case.
“About three percent of the population is estimated to have idiopathic scoliosis.”
Anyone thinking of trying to watch the latest blockbuster Marvel movie online for free might want to think again. The hotly anticipated Black Widow film, starring Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh, has just been released in cinemas and via Premier Access on Disney+ but fans are being warned of the dangers of attempting to watch this latest addition to the Avengers franchise without paying for the privilege.
Hackers are clearly aware of the huge interest in this must-see movie and are now trying to cash in via those attempting to watch the film for free. According to the security experts at Kaspersky, there has been a surge in scams around the Black Widow film with some using fake sites to spread malware whilst others try and trick fans into handing over credit card details with the promise of a cheaper way to view the blockbuster.
“We have observed intensified scamming activities around ‘Black Widow,’ the release of which fans all over the world have been eagerly anticipating for a long time. In their excitement to watch the long-awaited movie, viewers have become inattentive to the sources they use, and this is exactly what fraudsters benefit from. These attacks are preventable, and users should be alert to the sites they visit,” said Kaspersky security expert Anton V. Ivanov.
Kaspersky says that one of the most common tactics used by cyber thieves is to show a few minutes of the movie before it suddenly stops. Users are then asked to register and hand over bank details and home addresses to watch the rest of the action. However, once they hit the register button the movie doesn’t play and they are left with a very costly mistake as hackers can use the credentials to make online purchases.
Hackers are also trying to infect PCs with malware via fake downloads of the film and some are using forged websites that look like the official movie page in an attempt to steal personal data.
Anyone trying to search for ways to watch Black Widow for free online should be aware that there’s a high chance they’ll encounter some form of scam.
“You may encounter a site that will show you the first couple minutes of the film and then ask you to enter your full name, address and credit card number to continue watching. It goes without saying that you should absolutely not do this,” said Attila Tomaschek, Digital Privacy Expert at ProPrivacy.
“All of this information goes directly to the scammer and is exactly the type of information criminals need to engage in credit card fraud and identity theft, you also won’t be able to watch the rest of the movie after you’ve given them your details.
If you want to ensure you’re completely safe from the Black Widow scam, it’s probably best to either book tickets to a cinema or subscribe to Disney+ to stream it safely at home.”