3/10/21 News Roundup: Vaccines, Yudi Dukes, Mandalorian, 0% Mortgages, Shomer Shabbat Airlines, Frontier Near Miss, Cats On A Plane, Antisemitism, And More!

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Some stories and deals don’t get their own post, but should get some coverage. Here are some quick takes on stories that caught my eye. Let’s hear your thoughts about them in the comments below!

View previous roundups and commentary here.


Table of Contents

Featured Trip Report

Going off from the normal picture laden featured trip report, DDF member @Yehuda57’s tongue in cheek “trip report” about going to a 2014 DansDeals Seminar in Brooklyn is well worth the read!

Even his review of the meal selection:

 

That was the 11th out of 17 seminars that I ran, though I’m happily retired from the seminar business.

Were you there that night as well? (Right click and open in a new tab to enlarge):


Will Vaccines Ward Off A 3rd Wave?

The US vaccination campaign is finally starting to hit its stride. Whether the vaccines will work perfectly against variants is anyone’s guess, but getting people vaccinated will still have lower COVID hospitalization and mortality rates either way. With more and more reinfection cases from people who got COVID a year ago, mass vaccination remains our best shot to finally emerge from this pandemic. Some even report that getting vaccinated has cured their COVID long-haul symptoms, though perhaps that’s just the placebo effect?

I understand that people can be scared about a new vaccine, but the overall benefit of the vaccine is clearly visible from the very promising information coming from Israel. A miniscule 0.2% of fully vaccinated Israelis develop COVID-19 symptoms. We’re lucky to live in an era where we can create a solution to a worldwide pandemic in a matter of months! My grandfather helped do the research to create the polio vaccine and research the antibody response of the vaccine in the 1950s, which rid the world of that crippling disease. That took years to create, but technology has come a long way since then. Perhaps in the future mRNA vaccines will even be able to rid the world of cancer?

I don’t think it’s the government’s place to mandate vaccination, but while G-d sends a lifeboat to rescue us, it’s sad to see people fearmongering without basis about the seaworthiness of the boat. It’s a sad parody of the story about the person drowning who refuses to be saved by anyone, because he’s waiting for G-d to save him. Vaccine side effects show up within 2 weeks to 2 months and people have been vaccinated for much longer than that. It’s not that there’s no risk, nothing is without any risk, but the risk is truly miniscule. On the other hand, there have been over 544,000 more US deaths than normal since a year ago. 2020 marks the first time in more than 70 years that more than 1% of the US population died in a year. Countless people have short-term and long-term COVID side effects. The world economy is in shambles. I’m not even sure how this is a debate!

Dr. Eli Rosen of Crown Heights’ Gedaliah Society made an excellent vaccine Q&A video with Dr. Naor Bar Zeev to answer people’s questions and fears. The transcript can be found here.

 

The third wave has already begun in some countries. Brazil’s numbers continue to climb as their P.1 variant spreads like wildfire, widely reinfecting those who previously had COVID as some cities ran out of oxygen. Brazil went all in on the Chinese vaccine, which took a different approach than vaccines from the west. At first glance though, it does not appear to be effective against Brazil’s P.1 variant and it may not be all that effective at all. Brazil’s slow vaccination program surely didn’t help either.

It’s not just in Brazil either, there are many local reports of symptomatic reinfection, despite having even recent positive antibodies.

As European countries like Poland and Ukraine are well into their third wave, we can only hope the vaccines will make the difference.

Israel is offering everything from Cholent to pizza to beer to get young people vaccinated. But you shouldn’t need to wait for a bribe to help restore normalcy to the world!

 

 

For now, the CDC is being exceedingly cautious about lifting mask requirements for people who are vaccinated. Perhaps too cautious? But I think that in the coming months we will see a major relaxation of requirements for people who are vaccinated and we’ll likely see many countries open only to people who have been vaccinated. Unfortunately that means until studies have proven the safety of the vaccine in kids, families wanting to travel with children won’t be able to take advantage of the policies.

We will also likely see airlines and other private companies require proof of vaccination to fly or to stay in a hotel:

 

When it’s your turn, I encourage you to take the shot, and hopefully we’ll soon be able to party like it’s 2019.


BD”E Rabbi Yudi Dukes 

Yudi Dukes was perfectly healthy with no pre-existing conditions when he contracted COVID-19 last March and fell into a coma. He spent 10 months in the hospital battling its devastating effects. Even from his hospital bed, he connected chavrusas on his lifelong JNet project to learn together.

Sadly, he passed away in January at the age of 39, leaving behind his wife Sarah and their 6 kids.

Sarah’s updates on Facebook over the past year have been truly inspirational. Even when faced with bleak news, she always put a positive spin on it and never gave up until the end.

DDF member @Yehuda57 wrote this beautiful tribute to Yudi and SarahIt just didn’t have the ending that we were hoping for.

 

Sarah composes beautiful music, which has even been featured by EgyptAir and Singapore.

Yudi sang this composition of his wife’s to his son before he contracted COVID:

I’m not crying, you’re crying… 😥

Baruch Dayan Ha’emes, may we be reunited with Yudi very soon.

You can donate to the Dukes family fund here.

You can signup to be one of 1,800 new chavrusas learning in Yudi’s honor here.


The Wuhan Lab Is Back In The News

Will we ever know the origin of COVID-19?

Politico points out once again that the US knew about major troubling issues at the Wuhan lab. Chinese researches even said they didn’t have enough trained technicians to manage the country’s only BSL-4 lab that studied highly infectious Coronaviruses.

NY Mag also points out that the proximity of the lab to the origin of COVID-19 is just too large to ignore or call a conspiracy theory. It’s simply a theory. While China likely didn’t try to weaponize it, they could have taken a bat coronavirus and made it more susceptible to human infection in order to study it.

Will we be able to prove it? Probably not, as China won’t allow outside inspectors to investigate what happened.

But with the wet market theory disproven, there’s likely no better theory out there today.


Wuhan Returns To Normal, But You’ll Need To Be Anally Probed To See It

A year after being the first city in the world to be devastated by COVID-19, Wuhan returned to a pre-pandemic normal.

China can pull that off without widespread vaccination due to locking infected people in their homes and requiring people entering the country to be anally probed to ensure they don’t have COVID-19.

Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t see myself visiting China again anytime soon.


Is The Media Being Reckless?

OK, the media lives on being reckless and having clickbait headlines. But when does it cross a line?

Israel’s Channel 12 reporter Inbar Tvizer tweeted that 12 elderly people in a nursing home tested positive for COVID-19, despite having both vaccinations. Sounds pretty terrible:

But then Globes’ Gidon Dokow hit back, saying that she buried the lede. None of the elderly patients were symptomatic or suffering from any COVID symptoms:

It boggles my mind that countries got bogged down in negotiations over COVID vaccines and moved themselves to the back of the pack. Are there no economists that know how to value the opening of their country’s economy?

It’s a miracle that Israel was able to jump the queue by just being willing to pay $30/dose instead of $20/dose. With a population of 9 million, that means a difference of $180 million will make Israel the first country in the world to emerge from COVID-19. That’s less than .05% of Israel’s GDP, talk about a no-brainer!

As we here say at DansDeals, it’s not about being cheap with your money, it’s about being smart with it!


Disney Fires The Mandalorian’s Gina Carano

Gina Carano, who stars on Disney’s “The Mandalorian” spinoff of Star Wars made a post on social media that stated,

Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children.

“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

I’m uncomfortable with Holocaust comparisons as any comparison minimizes how horrific the Holocaust was, but I’m not sure why that’s being called anti-Semitic?

The truth is that there is far too much hate over political views in the US and it seems to be getting worse by the day.

But Disney owned Lucasfilm called the post “abhorrent and unacceptable” and fired her. I think Zalmy Silver’s The Angry Jew take on this is correct.

Is being a conservative now a fireable offence?

Meanwhile, her Mandalorian co-star posted this absurd Holocaust comparison in 2018 and is still employed by Disney. This despite the fact that the cage photo is actually from 2010…

 

Talk about a double standard, but Disney has spoken.

Is this really the way?

It’s all the more ironic coming from a company founded and named after an alleged anti-Semite.

Meanwhile, Ms. Carano has signed a deal with Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire to produce a movie.


Abraham Lincoln Is Cancelled?

Cancel culture sure seems like it will be a continuing subplot of 2020s.

 

If Dr. Seuss Enterprises wants to self-cancel their books, that’s their prerogative. But why are sites like eBay banning the sales of the books? Does it make sense that “Mein Kampf” was available on eBay, but “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” is where the line is drawn?

More problematically, are we really cancelling Abraham Lincoln? You know things are going too far when we cancel the man that accomplished more for racial justice than perhaps anyone has in history. Who won’t be cancelled when we have standards that require perfection by the current era’s mores?


NBC Goes Full Anti-Semitic

NBC had quite a week last month.

First, Michael Che made an off-color joke on NBC’s SNL that qualifies as being anti-Semitic. No apology was forthcoming.

Then NBC’s Nurses had this absurdly anti-Semitic and nonsensical plot line:

 

Tablet Magazine argues that it’s better when anti-Semites out themselves and don’t pretend to be our friends.

But somehow, Jews are left behind in a race to ensure other religions and ethnicities aren’t incorrectly or negatively portrayed.


The WSJ Interviews Konstantin Anikeev, Who Fought The Law And Won

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the incredible tax case of ANIKEEV v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE. I spoke with Eric Green about the case and wrote about our theories for the IRS’ bizarre strategy in that post.

The WSJ spoke to Mr. Anikeev and his background is fascinating. And as I expected, he also hit up the dollar coin bonanza as I did. Luckily, time expired on the IRS’ ability to try to clawback rewards earned on that!

And the WSJ didn’t have an epic failure like Bloomberg in understanding the ruling.

Still, Mr Anikeev was unhappy that the judge considered gift cards purchased with his credit card to be non-taxable, while money orders purchased with his credit card to be taxable, and money orders purchased with a gift card to be non-taxable. But I’d say overall he did as well as could possibly be expected.

The WSJ also wonders why the IRS didn’t try for the more traditional strategy to get Mr. Anikeev to pay taxes on his gains, but offers no theories as to why the IRS chose to forgo that path.


Go Directly To Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $375,000

The super bowl streaker didn’t just just run onto the field for the giggles. He bet $50,000 with Bovada that the game would feature a streaker. He stood to win $375,000.

Unfortunately, he failed to read the fine print, which said that anyone involved in such a stunt would have their bet voided. All the streaker won was an arrest for misdemeanor trespassing.


(Citi)Bank Error In Your Favor: Collect $500 Million

Last September I wrote about the incredibly bizarre case of Citibank accidentally sending $900MM to Revlon creditors that weren’t expecting to be repaid.

Some of that money was returned to Citi, but $500MM was not. And now a judge ruled that the creditors can keep the money! That’s due to a New York law that says if an amount of money is owed and the creditors didn’t know it was repaid accidentally, they can legally keep the money.

Someone at Citi is probably looking for a new job.


Welcome To A World Of 0% Mortgages

With interest rates in many countries plummeting into negative territory, banks in Denmark are offering mortgages with no interest.

Investors are looking for safe places to park their money, which is a windfall for anyone buying a new home.

Can something like this happen in the US?


Incredible: El Al And Israir Go Shomer Shabbat

It’s been a wild year for Israeli aviation. The country is nearing a year of closed borders with virtually no tourists.

While the US has bailed out their airlines multiple times, Israeli airlines have had no such luck.

And now both El Al and Israir are owned by Orthodox Jews who bought those airlines on the cheap and have decided to end Shabbos flights.

El Al doesn’t officially fly on Shabbos, but their wholly owned Sun D’or unit has operated Shabbos flights in the past.

No longer. The Rozenberg family has officially ended that practice.

New Israir owner Rami Levi also announced that his recently purchased airline will end Shabbos flights.

That leaves Arkia as the only Israeli airline that will still operate on Shabbos. Perhaps there is now hope for a Shomer Shabbat trifecta in the holy land?


El Al’s Employees Are Vaccinated And Ready To Go

El Al is the first airline in the world claiming that all of their employees are now vaccinated against COVID-19.

It’s certainly an impressive accomplishment, but wake me up when I can finally bring my family back to the holy land. It’s been too long!


Frontier’s Nearly Fatal Accident

It was not a good week for Frontier Airlines.

Their tone deaf response on Twitter allowed them to be roasted for apparent anti-Semitism aboard a flight from Miami to LaGuardia.

And @xJonNYC shared the story of a Frontier flight from Nashville that was improperly deiced. Had the flight attendant not noticed the snow and ice buildup on the wings and alerted the pilots, it nearly certainly would have resulted in tragedy.

 

The deicer used the wrong type of deicing fluid:

The vendor blamed it on running low on fluid, but other planes took off. Why didn’t the vendor get more fluid?

Was it sabotage or incompetence?

Either way, perhaps pilots should have to do a visual examination to ensure that deicing is done properly?


United Ejects Anti-Semitic Couple From Flight

Sometimes the script is flipped.

Earlier this year United kicked off a couple flying to Tel Aviv after they demanded to be moved away from Orthodox Jews, as they should be forced to sit together as they spread disease.

United said that they will not tolerate any discrimination on their planes.

Kudos to them for doing the right thing. What do you think would happen if that happened on another airline?


United Doubles Down On The 737MAX

United is betting that people won’t avoid the 737MAX as they ordered 25 more of the aircraft type. They likely got a sweetheart deal from Boeing for their show of confidence.

They now have firm orders for 188 737MAX aircraft.

The plane likely is going to be the safest in the skies after all of its scrutiny over the past couple years, but airlines are also jamming them full of slimline seats and tiny bathrooms, which make for a poor passenger experience. But hopefully United will outfit their 737-10MAX planes with Polaris seating that should ease some of the pain and create newly viable nonstop routes.


When Southwest Says LUV Is In The Air, They Mean It!

Southwest’s ticker symbol is LUV and that sure shined through for Cathlyn and Michael. Southwest shared the story of how they met, in no small part thanks to Southwest’s open seating policy.

Couple_Love_Southwest_Airlines_Flight.jpg

I can’t say I’m a fan of open seating, but some people, and I’m guessing that includes Cathlyn and Michael, wouldn’t want it any other way!


TWA Flight 800 Reconstruction Will Be Dismantled

230 people died aboard TWA flight 800 from JFK to Paris in 1996.

After nearly a quarter century, the reconstructed plane will be dismantled, but preserved digitally:

A former TWA captain at the phenomenal TWA Museum in Kansas City told me that he and many of his colleagues never did buy the government’s explanation of the crash. He preferred the conspiracy theories posited by this documentary.


United’s Halfway to Hawaii Game Is Back Again With A Nice Prize

United’s halfway to Hawaii game has come and gone over the years. It lets passengers try to calculate when the plane will make it halfway to Hawaii after the pilot gave all of the necessary factors needed to calculate the time, such as the takeoff time, distance, airspeed, and headwind speed.

I remember playing this game when flying to Hawaii back in 2008 and my parents won a magnum of champagne when they won the game on their Hawaiian honeymoon in the 80s, which they wound up giving to a front desk agent who let them stay in their room until flight time.

The game was brought back to life on the final United 747 flight and the person who guessed closest to when our flight would be exactly half the distance to Hawaii won a $250 United gift card. The winner was just 1 second off of the actual time!

For the COVID era, United is playing the game on the honor system. If you were close, you can push your call button to give the answer as United isn’t handing out pen and paper as they used to.

But the winner will take home the Polaris gel cooled pillow, which is a pretty nice prize! You can also buy it from United if you don’t win.


Is This The Future Of Cathay Pacific First Class?

Cathay Pacific may not have closed suites or showers onboard, but they have the most comfortable seat and bed in the sky, by a long shot. You can even take your mask off when lying down in their premium cabins seats.

Here is their current seat and bed:



Will this be the future Cathay Pacific first class suite? Looks pretty great to me, but I’m just bummed they killed their JFK-Vancouver route.


Will Your Flight Have Turbulence?

We’ve all been on those flights where the plane seems like it’s rocking a bit too much for comfort.

Turbli claims it can predict the turbulence on your upcoming flight. If you try it out, let us know how it does!


Just Another Day Flying Spirit

Remember, friends don’t let friends fly Frontier or Spirit!


Can Marc Lore Create The City Of The Future?

Marc Lore, arch nemesis of Jeff Bezos, is leaving Walmart.

He’s done chasing Amazon though. He’s moving onto creating a new way of living.

“Imagine a city with the vibrancy, diversity and culture of New York City combined with the efficiency, safety and innovation of Tokyo and the sustainability, governance, and social services of Sweden. This will be our New City.”

Sounds great, but unless it will be on Mars, I wish him luck finding the perfect country to host his perfect city.

Then again, history has shown you should never count Marc Lore out.


Whiskey Is About To Get Cheaper

For the past couple years, there have been 25% tariffs on whiskey.

That tariff is suspended for at least 4 months!

L’chaim!


When I Win The Lottery…

…I’m pretty sure I’m going to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives’ new private island getaway.

The entire island can be yours for a mere $77,000++ per night. No word on how many points it would require 😀


Will You Stay In A Space Hotel?

The world’s first space hotel is set to open in 2027.

I’m sure that date will slip, but I’m still not sure if I’d be running to blast off into space. Between Judith Resnik and Ilan Ramon, Jews in space don’t exactly have a good track record.

Besides, I’m guessing it won’t be easy to use points for this 😉


The Only Country In The World Willing To Accept Israelis…Was The UAE

When Israel’s borders were quickly sealed, some Israelis tried flying home but got stuck in the Frankfurt airport without authorization to fly home.

What could they do in a world with closed borders?

G-d gives the solution before the problem, and Dubai took them in. Just a year ago before the Abraham Accords, that would have been unthinkable!


Cats On A Plane

What happens when you have 737s parked in Israel? Cats!

And hungry ones at that:


Icelandair In Antarcica

I still have to pinch myself when I think of how we pulled off the first kosher cruise to Antarctica of this century.

But boy, it would have been cool to arrive on a 767 instead. Alas this experience was for a handful of scientists only:


Now That’s Some Impressive Rescue Flying

No words.


But What DDF Is Really Good For Is…

A 3rd @Yehuda57 (aka @Squilled) mention in one roundup? Yup.


Year Of The Ox Meets 2021 Tech

Talk about a Shor Shenagach!


I’m Not A Cat, And The Perils Of Using Your Assistant’s Computer

“I’m not a cat” may well go on to being the phrase that sums up Zoom mishaps:

 

The Texas attorney’s computer was in use, so he borrowed his assistant’s laptop to join the hearing. Not a wise idea after all.

The judge uploaded the video in question. No word on whether he’ll face contempt charges in his own court 😉

So, has anyone been able to find the cat filter?


Browns Fan Gets Dying Wish To Watch Team Clinch Playoffs

The Browns had a fun run into the playoffs this year. I watched them win their first playoff in 26 years at Miami’s excellent Street Kitchen.

Browns fan and Ohio native Tom Seipel put out a Youtube video about his Kidney cancer and wound up getting invited by Baker Mayfield to watch the Browns clinch the playoffs in Cleveland.

He also got to hang out with the QB after the game.

Sadly, he passed away last month. But at least he got his dying wish.


Share your thoughts on these stories or post a comment about what other stories that I missed!


Previous roundups

Catch up on what you missed!

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39 Comments On "3/10/21 News Roundup: Vaccines, Yudi Dukes, Mandalorian, 0% Mortgages, Shomer Shabbat Airlines, Frontier Near Miss, Cats On A Plane, Antisemitism, And More!"

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LA Yid

Nice write up. Keep em coming. Ty

Abey

Hey we missed the roundup !! In order to get more clicks @dan I think you need to focus on consistency in size and how often you post…

Lcm

Sarah never gave up through the end!

Abraham

Incredible! Keep ’em coming

Yf

These roundups are truly awesome. Keep em coming! Here’s hoping for 0% mortgages!!

AJ

These are always informative and entertaining keep ’em comin

Eli

Great writeup Dan! Keep them coming.

And that eigel hazahav looks freaky!

Dave

I’ve vaguely heard of the situation Rabbi Yudi Dukes and his family were in, but wasn’t really deeply familiar about the entire scope of what they went through until I just watched the video. L’havdil, many people don’t want to know the ending to a movie/book, because it will ruin the experience. It was a painstaking 12 minutes to watch an individual (with a wife and kids) have so much suffering, have setbacks every day, to finally have that short glimmer of hope in December turn to permanent darkness one month later. Knowing he wasn’t going to make it, made the entire viewing “experience” (lack of a better term) so challenging. Our non-Jewish nanny has an interesting outlook (not a Jewish outlook), it’s better to die suddenly than be pulled months and years going through trauma. I can’t imagine what family and friends have had to go through during those 10 months. Thanks for sharing it Dan.

ari3

Your roundups are always good for some interesting tidbits. TY
A suggestion: make them more frequent and shorter. That would make the roundup more readable and keep some of the tidbits from being stale.

Mootkim

Love these. Would love them monthly at a minimum.

Fjdo

Love ’em all the time!

Lakewood guy

I love your write ups. It really makes for an interesting read. I really enjoy it!

hershle

Big mistake to start a discussion about vaccination. The Anti Vaxxers will go crazy over this. Please block their comments. If you do not, you will have 10k comments decrying your defense of the vaccine. They are the most passionate and vocal element in Klal Yisroel

Dave

hershle, I got the covid vaccine. There wasn’t an ounce of doubt for me. Putting myself in the Anti-vaxxer’s shoes, I can understand that they may be uncomfortable with a vaccine that didn’t even exist last Succos. Testing was escalated and not as stringent as other medications and vaccines have to go through. With that said, for an Anti-vaxxer to be against vaccines that have been around for many decades/ century+ is foolish and absurd.

Sick of media hypocrisy

What’s your opinion on the player being canceled for his anti semitic slur?
Maybe I’m out of it, but i never even heard of the word. I don’t think he was being anti semetic, just using it in the same way he’d use a curse word. Guessing it’s a word thrown around in his circles. But not a reason to be canceled. He wasn’t saying it to a jew, or offending a jew

Lurker

Read Julian Edelman’s open letter to him. (Edelman isn’t really Jewish, but identifies as one, and has been increasingly vocal about passive anti-Semitism among sports players.)

YeshivishGuy

I agree with you 100%.

Zak

Love the roundups!

Sam

Roundups are the best part of this site!

Josh

Will the cheaper scotch prices apply to what’s already in stores?

Elikip

Two more snippets of Southwest LUV I’ve chanced upon lately : (my apologies if they were already mentioned on dd or ddf)
https://www.cnn.com/travel/amp/southwest-teddy-bear-trnd/index.html
https://www.google.com/amp/s/abc7chicago.com/amp/southwest-airlines-buzz-lightyear-reunited/10410392/

joey

Nice round up.
I think think weekly would be a great idea, with fewer pieces

Abe

I really enjoy them on Sunday night before the work week.

YeshivishGuy

There was a jewish astronaut named Jeffery Hoffman who was on Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1993.

S

Dan,
You may want to watch this fascinating Wendover Productions video from a few months ago about living on the South Pole and he discusses just how hard it is to fly a plane there.
https://youtu.be/ZAEydOjNWyQ

sry

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Lakewood guy

Can we PLEASE get a news round up? Your news roundups are the best!

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