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Why Biden wants us to compare this Thanksgiving to the last

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A few weeks ago, President Joe Biden was in Scotland, where he suggested Americans should compare Thanksgiving 2021 to Thanksgiving 2020. As The Washington Post noted:

“This Thanksgiving we’re all in a very different circumstance, things are a hell of a lot better,” he told reporters at a news conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Would anyone “as bad as things are, in terms of prices hurting families now, trade this Thanksgiving for last Thanksgiving” he mused.

It’s easy to forget a year later, but the headlines around Thanksgiving 2020 painted a deeply unflattering portrait of a nation facing multiple simultaneous crises.

On the eve of Thanksgiving 2021, the United States has all kinds of work to do, but when the president said conditions are “a hell of a lot better,” he had a point.

On Thanksgiving 2020, the unemployment rate was higher and job growth was slowing. On Thanksgiving 2020, economic growth, wages, and the stock market were all lower.

On Thanksgiving 2020, Covid-19 infections were worse, as were fatalities and hospitalizations. On Thanksgiving 2020, the percentage of Americans who’d been vaccinated was vanishingly small.

On Thanksgiving 2020, we saw a dysfunctional White House plotting to overturn the results of a free and fair American election because the sitting president disapproved of voters’ verdict.

On Thanksgiving 2020, the United States still had thousands of troops in harm’s way in Afghanistan. On Thanksgiving 2020, the United States’ international standing was in desperate need of improvement.

This is not to say the nation’s problems are behind us, though contextualizing those problems is important. Dana Milbank explained in his new column:

Of course, those misled by the Fox News/GOP dezinformatsiya campaign have a different view of Biden’s record. Crisis on the border! (Border crossings have surged to record levels, as one would expect in a booming economy, but so have border arrests.) Crime! (Homicides continue to rise, but at a slower pace than in Trump’s final year, and they remain well below 1990s levels.) Inflation! (As the Financial Times reported this week, it’s a “global trend” that is expected to ease next year and is “nowhere near the levels reached in the 1970s and 1980s.”)

With Biden’s recent rhetoric in mind, would anyone “trade this Thanksgiving for last Thanksgiving”? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy might, but I wouldn’t.

Update: To further bolster the point, the newly released data shows unemployment claims improving to a 52-year low of 199,000. At this point a year ago, the total was 762,000.

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Tensions run high as Swiss vote on Covid vaccine certificate law | Switzerland

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People in Switzerland are voting on a Covid vaccine certificate law, after a campaign characterised by unprecedented levels of hostility in a country renowned for its culture of compromise.

As in much of Europe, Switzerland has seen growing anger over restrictions aimed at reining in the pandemic, and pressure to get vaccinated.

But in a country where there are referendums every few months in a climate of civility and measured debate, the soaring tensions around the vote have come as a shock. Police increased security around several politicians who have faced a flood of insults and death threats.

The polls close at noon (11am GMT) on Sunday, with the results expected within the following hours as the vast majority vote by mail before polling day.

Voters are deciding whether to approve amendments to the Covid law which, among other things, provide the legal basis for a Covid certificate that says if a person has been vaccinated or has recovered from the virus.

Opponents say the certificate, which has been required since September for access to restaurants and other indoor spaces and activities, is creating an “apartheid” system.

Final opinion polls showed about two-thirds of the voters supported the Covid laws.

Police blocked the square in front of the seat of government and parliament in Bern on Sunday, anticipating protests after the result.

Observers have warned that the vote could exacerbate tensions, and even spark a violent backlash among the anti-vaccine crowd if results do not go in their favour.

During the campaign, fences were erected around the buildings to protect them during anti-vax demonstrations.

They were often led by the “Freiheitstrychler” or “Freedom ringers” – men dressed in white shirts embroidered with edelweiss flowers and with two large cowbells suspended from a yoke resting on their shoulders.

Some of the demonstrations have led to violent clashes with police, who have used rubber bullets and teargas to rein in the crowds.

The referendum comes as the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, first detected in southern Africa and classified as a variant of concern, has rattled countries and markets around the world.

It is the second time in less than six months that the Swiss have been called on to vote on the government’s response to the pandemic. In June, 60% of voters approved prolonging national measures.

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James Austin Johnson is already the best ‘SNL’ Trump [POLL RESULTS]

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James Austin Johnson only just joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” this fall, but he’s already made a big impression. The comedian not only played President Joe Biden in the opening sketch of the season but he’s also portrayed the former president, Donald Trump, to rave reviews. After decades of Trump impersonations on the late-night sketch series, fans have voiced their overwhelming support for the most recent one.

Johnson collected the vast majority of votes in our “best ‘SNL’ Trump” poll results, with a whopping 61% of the vote. The actor has only played him twice on “SNL,” though he has cultivated his impression of Trump for many years through viral videos. In a distant second place, Alec Baldwin collected 22% of the vote. Baldwin played Trump through his turbulent presidency and even won an Emmy for his performance in 2017, with additional nominations in 2018 and 2021.

Darrell Hammond came in third place at 10%, despite playing him for the longest period of time. Phil Hartman, the original Trump impressionist for “SNL,” placed in fourth at 3% of the vote. Johnson, Baldwin, Hammond and Hartman are the best-known Trump portrayers on the show, with all others playing the businessman in an episode or two.

Among that smaller group, Jason Sudeikis received 1% of the vote (though he won our “best ‘SNL’ Biden” poll), followed by Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer at 0.5%. Taran Killam, who actually played him in three episodes, and John Cena failed to collect a single vote in the poll.

Considering Trump has left office, it is likely that we will see less of Johnson’s impression on “SNL,” though they have already found a way to integrate him into multiple Judge Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong) cold opens.

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Covid-19: Decision on resumption of international flights to be reviewed, MHA says | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Centre’s decision on the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passengers service will be reviewed as per evolving global scenario, MHA spokesperson said on Sunday.
This was discussed during an urgent meeting that was called by the home secretary earlier in the day in view of the possible threat that the new Covid variant of concern ‘Omicron’, can pose to the nation.

Various experts were part of the meeting, including Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, D Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to Prime Minister, senior officers from health, civil aviation and other ministries.

Here’s what other things were discussed during the meet-
* Overall global situation in wake of the Omicron virus was comprehensively reviewed.
* Various preventive measures in place and to be further strengthened were discussed.
* Genomic surveillance for variants to be further strengthened and intensified.
* Airport health officials (APHOs) and port health officials (PHOs) to be sensitized for strict supervision of testing protocol at airports/ ports.
* Closer watch on the emerging pandemic situations within the country will be maintained.

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