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‘The Gilded Age’ Guide to Release Date, Cast News, and More

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Hold on to your fancy hats and parasols—HBO is starting the year with a new period drama from the creator of Downton Abbey. Julian Fellowes’s long-anticipated series The Gilded Age will premiere in January after an extended development phase and ahead of the second Downton Abbey movie, which has been pushed to March 2022.

The nine-part series, which is written by Fellowes and Sonja Warfield, and directed by Michael Engler and Salli Richardson-Whitfield, follows the titans of 1880s New York, played by a star-studded cast including The Good Fight‘s Christine Baranski, And Just Like That‘s Cynthia Nixon, and Louisa Jacobson, Meryl Streep’s youngest daughter, making her series debut.

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming show.

The Gilded Age premieres January 24, 2022, on HBO.

HBO has released the first teaser for the series, seen above, which sets up an old money vs. new money battle for control of New York City, complete with all the glamour and splendor of 1880s high society. Narrated by old-money aristocrat Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski), the clip shows heroine Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) receiving a lecture from her aunt on the way the world works.

“Power belongs to old New York, my dear. Not the new. Never the new,” Agnes says. But as the teaser points out, a new age is about to begin.

Here’s the show’s official synopsis, per IndieWire.

The American Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of great conflict between the old ways and brand new systems, and of huge fortunes made and lost. Against the backdrop of this transformation, the series begins in 1882 with young Marian Brook (Jacobson) moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old money aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Baranski) and Ada Brook (Nixon). Accompanied by Peggy Scott (Benton), an aspiring writer seeking a fresh start, Marian inadvertently becomes enmeshed in a social war between one of her aunts, a scion of the old money set, and her stupendously rich neighbors, a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife, George (Spector) and Bertha Russell (Coon).

The cast includes Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Coon, and Audra McDonald.

The class warfare drama sets some of Hollywood’s most talented actresses against each other. Christine Baranski (The Good Fight, Mamma Mia!) and Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) are firmly on the old-money side, as they face off against Carrie Coon (Gone Girl, The Leftovers) as Bertha Russell, wife of a railroad tycoon. The NYC-set series will also feature several Broadway stars, including Denée Benton, Kelli O’Hara, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Audra McDonald.

Here’s the main cast list:

  • Louisa Jacobson as Marian Brook
  • Christine Baranski as Agnes van Rhijn
  • Cynthia Nixon as Ada Brook
  • Carrie Coon as Bertha Russell
  • Morgan Spector as George Russell
  • Denée Benton as Peggy Scott
  • Taissa Farmiga as Gladys Russell
  • Blake Ritson as Oscar van Rhijn
  • Thomas Cocquerel as Tom Raikes
  • Simon Jones as Bannister
  • Jack Gilpin as Church

    The Gilded Age will show the wealth and social inequalities between the rich and the working class.

    Fellowes told Entertainment Weekly that the costume drama is based on the historical clash between the upper-class families of New York and a new class of recently wealthy railroad and oil tycoons who arrived after the Civil War.

    “These fantastically rich individuals descended on New York where they found a perfectly settled indigenous upper class based on the families of Scotland and England who had come over 200 or 300 years before. But they were more modest. … They lived respectable lives and that was New York society at the time,” he said.

    “But for the new arrivals, that wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to do something bigger and better. They started to build these palaces on Fifth Avenue and gradually pushed further north. So you had these great rivalries between the new families and the old,” he continued.

    The series will also follow the people who work for these tycoons, specifically in the Russell and van Rhijn households, with Fellowes acknowledging to EW the Downton Abbey parallels.

    “When we recreate that period, we’re as interested in the people working below the stairs as we are in the people above it. It was an integral part of that life, and I don’t really see how you can tell those stories anymore and not define the servant characters because they were all there. They were all thinking and feeling and having opinions about their employers and plans for their own lives,” he said.

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Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Are Losing in Court

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus response and vaccinations during a speech at the White House, August 23, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Joe Biden’s effort to use the federal government to mandate the COVID vaccine is not faring very well in the courts. In early November, the Fifth Circuit halted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine mandate almost as soon as it was announced. After hearing briefing and argument, it extended the stay. Now, we have a battery of additional decisions from the federal district courts.

Today, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky, Gregory van Tatenhove (a George W. Bush appointee), issued an injunction blocking the vaccine mandate for employees of federal-government contractors and subcontractors. The injunction applies throughout three states (Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee), the state governments of which were plaintiffs in the case. The court, citing the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in the OSHA case, was unconvinced that the Biden administration had the authority to do this:

While the statute grants to the president great discretion, it strains credulity that Congress intended…a procurement statute to be the basis for promulgating a public health measure such as mandatory vaccination. If a vaccination mandate has a close enough nexus to economy and efficiency in federal procurement, then the statute could be used to enact virtually any measure at the president’s whim under the guise of economy and efficiency…Although Congress used its power to delegate procurement authority to the president to promote economy and efficiency federal contracting, this power has its limits…If OSHA promulgating a vaccine mandate runs afoul of the nondelegation doctrine, the Court has serious concerns about the FPASA, which is a procurement statute, being used to promulgate a vaccine mandate for all federal contractors and subcontractors. [Bold added.]

Yesterday and today, federal judges in Louisiana and Missouri entered injunctions against vaccine mandates for the staff of 21 types of Medicare and Medicaid health-care providers, enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and planned to go into effect next Monday. Monday’s ruling was by Judge Matthew Schlep of the Eastern District of Missouri (a Trump appointee), and applies to ten states (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming), all of which were plaintiffs in the case. Judge Schlep, too, cited the lack of statutory authorization:

While the Court agrees Congress has authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services…general authority to enact regulations for the “administration” of Medicare and Medicaid and the “health and safety” of recipients, the nature and breadth of the CMS mandate requires clear authorization from Congress—and Congress has provided none…Courts have long required Congress to speak clearly when providing agency authorization if it (1) intends for an agency to exercise powers of vast economic and political significance; (2) if the authority would significantly alter the balance between federal and state power; or (3) if an administrative interpretation of a statute invokes the outer limits of Congress’ power. Any one of those fundamental principles would require clear congressional authorization for this mandate, but here, all three are present… [E]ven if Congress has the power to mandate the vaccine and the authority to delegate such a mandate to CMS—topics on which the Court does not opine today—the lack of congressional intent for this monumental policy decision speaks volumes. [Bold added.]

He also noted the long delay in issuing a mandate, which — as in the case of OSHA’s mandate — undercuts the Biden administration’s claim of urgency and its basis for acting in high-handed fashion without full consideration of comments from affected parties:

[T]wo vaccines were authorized under Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) more than ten months before the CMS mandate took effect, and one vaccine was fully licensed by the FDA well over two months before…[S]ince the onset of COVID, CMS has issued five…mandates, such as the one here; the most recent on May 13, 2021…One could query how an “emergency” could prompt such a slow response; such delay hardly suggests a situation so dire that CMS may dispense with notice and comment requirements…and the important purposes they serve.

The COVID pandemic is an event beyond CMS’s control, yet it was completely within its control to act earlier than it did…CMS looked only at evidence from interested parties in favor of the mandate, while completely ignoring evidence from interested parties in opposition…In fact, CMS foreclosed these parties’ ability to provide information regarding the mandate’s effects on the healthcare industry, while simultaneously dismissing those concerns based on “insufficient evidence.”…But facts do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored, and stating that a factor was considered is not a substitute for considering it. [Bold added; quotations and citations omitted.]

He further observed that “the failure to take and respond to comments feeds into the very vaccine hesitancy CMS acknowledges is so daunting” and found it irrational that “CMS rejected mandate alternatives in those with natural immunity by a previous coronavirus infection.” Should judges be flyspecking the reasoning of administrative agencies? Maybe if they stuck to ordering things they clearly had the power to order, that would be a fairer question.

Finally, today, Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana (a Trump appointee) enjoined the CMS mandate in the other 40 states. The nationwide scope of his injunction is more debatable, although fourteen states (Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio) were before the court as plaintiffs, and the ruling is clearly properly tailored to the parties to the case. Judge Doughty is in the Fifth Circuit, so he felt himself bound by the similarity of the CMS mandate to the OSHA mandate. He was similarly critical of the process:

It took CMS longer to prepare the interim final rule without notice than it would have taken to comply with the notice and comment requirement. Notice and comment would have allowed others to comment upon the need for such drastic action before its implementation.

He was also unpersuaded that CMS had the authority to issue such far-reaching rules without anything resembling a specific authorization from Congress:

None of these statutes give the Government Defendants the “superpowers” they claim. Not only do the statutes not specify such superpowers, but principles of separation of powers weigh heavily against such powerful authority being transferred to a government agency by general authority…if the Government Defendants have the power and authority they claim (to mandate vaccines for 10.3 million workers), these government agencies would have almost “unfiltered power” over any healthcare provider, supplier, and employees that are covered by the CMS Mandate. If CMS has the authority by a general authorization statute to mandate vaccines, they have authority to do almost anything they believe necessary, holding the hammer of termination of the Medicare/Medicaid Provider Agreement over healthcare facilities and suppliers. [Bold added.]

We have a government of enumerated powers. Congress is supposed to make laws that are to be executed in enumerated ways. Assuming that it has such an extraordinary power as mandating that Americans take a vaccine, it should either pass a law to exercise that power, or at least pass a law that unambiguously delegates to the executive branch the decision when to exercise it. What we have seen instead is the Biden administration scouring the books for any law – no matter how general or how unrelated to the topic – that seems vague enough to cover the situation. We will see in the end how the Supreme Court resolves these issues, as it inevitably will. But we still have only one legislative branch, and it is not run by the president.

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November saw fewer Covid deaths in Pimpri-Chinchwad, zero fatalities on eight days

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Even as two passengers from Pimpri-Chinchwad who returned from high-risk countries have tested positive for Covid, the month of November brought some relief to the industrial city as it witnessed fewer deaths due to infectious disease compared to the last few months.

According to PCMC health officials, 22 citizens succumbed to Covid-19 in November, the lowest figure in the last four months. In August, 54 died while in September, the figure was 39. In October, the deaths doubled as 83 lost their lives.

According to health officials, in the month of November, on at least 8 days, Pimpri-Chinchwad did not register a single death. “Otherwise, mostly the city registered a solitary death on most days,” officials said.

The first Covid death was registered last year on April 11. To date, there have been 4,511 related deaths in the industrial city.

The health officials said the Covid positivity rate has also gone down considerably in the month of November. “The COVID positivity rate is now below one per cent,” said Dr Laxman Gofane, medical officer. The current positivity rate is 0.78 per cent and the overall positivity rate is 12.67 per cent.

Officials said vaccination has also picked momentum with 25 lakh citizens so far receiving either first or both vaccine doses. Every day 10-15,000 citizens are receiving their vaccine doses at 200 civic and private vaccination centres.

Besides, in November, more patients recovered than the number of those admitted.

Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil said, “Since last one month, Covid deaths and positivity rate have come down. However, citizens should continue to observe Covid appropriate behaviour. Wearing mask, maintaining social distancing and washing hands regularly is essential to keep COVID at bay.”

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Internet swoons over Joe Biden’s bodyguard, comparing him to Tom Cruise in Top Gun

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Joe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery.

A member of his security detail took the attention off the US President during his Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket, thanks to his dashing good looks and striking similarity to a Hollywood superstar.

The unknown agent, who has been dubbed the “Tom Cruise” of the secret service, has now gone viral after footage of him was posted on social media.

The video, posted by TikTok user @life_with_Matt, has already notched up more than 400,000 views.

“Forget about the President, the Secret Service be looking fine,” he wrote on the video caption.

Other TikTok users seemed to agree, posting hundreds of comments, before they were promptly turned off.

However the video was reposted by another user, who left the comments on.

“Defending the nation with hotness,” one person wrote.

“That man is too fine,” wrote another.

Joe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery.
Camera IconJoe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery. Credit: TikTok

Another said: “I am a heterosexual man but this video made me feel things.”

The agent, casually dressed in khaki pants, a knit sweater, a black trench coat, and classic black Wayfarers, drew just as many comparisons to Tom Cruise.

“He’s conveying Tom Cruise to me in Top Gun vibes,” noted one fan.

The Bidens are back at the White House but visited the tiny Massachusetts island at the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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