Reilly Opelka blasts $10K fine for unapproved bag as a ‘joke’

Sep 4, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Reilly Opelka of the United States hits a backhand against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia (not pictured) on day six of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

September 5, 2021

Reilly Opelka was none too pleased to be fined $10,000 for bringing an unapproved tennis bag onto the court before his second-round match at the U.S. Open last Thursday, calling it a “joke.”

Opelka carried in a pink bag with a custom logo with the name of an art gallery in Belgium.

“The head referee was telling me you should have come in and had this thing measured,” he said. “The ref just told me — I mean, I actually thought it was a different bag. We had that logo specifically made. We measured. It is too big. It was not the same bag I was using at the French Open. We made the effort to make it smaller. There was a mistake in production, I think, because in Europe with the conversion, with what was allowed.”

He added it was not his job to measure a logo on his bag.

“My job is to win matches. I have bigger things to worry about,” Opelka said. “For the referee to tell me it’s my job to measure a logo, no, clearly not. It’s his job. I’m trying to beat (Nikoloz) Basilashvili and make the round of 16 of a Grand Slam.”

Opelka indeed accomplished that goal, topping his Georgian opponent in the third round Saturday 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4. It marks the furthest the 24-year-old has advanced in a Grand Slam in his young career.

Opelka, ranked No. 24 in the world, is one of three American men to have reached the Round of 16 in New York this year, along with Frances Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby. He will meet South African Lloyd Harris on Monday with a quarterfinal berth on the line.

“I snapped a racquet over my knee (once), didn’t get fined a dollar,” Opelka added. “And you bring a pink bag and got fined 10 grand? What a joke.”

–Field Level Media





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Tennis-Opelka calls $10k fine for unapproved bag a ‘joke’

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NEW YORK — American Reilly Opelka hit out at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) on Saturday, calling his $10,000 fine by the U.S. Open organizers for carrying an unapproved bag on court a joke.

The USTA ruled that the bag Opelka took to court on Thursday, during his second round win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti, included manufacturer logos that exceeded the approved limit of four square inches.

Opelka, the 22nd seed at this year’s U.S. Open, walked out for his match against Musetti with a pink tote bag bearing the name of a Belgian art gallery.

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“I mean, what a joke on the U.S. Open to do that. 10K for a pink bag? Come on,” Opelka said after his third-round win over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“The head referee was telling me you should have come in and had this thing measured … We had that logo specifically made. We measured. It is too big. It was not the same bag I was using at the French Open. We made the effort to make it smaller.

“There was a mistake in production, I think, because in Europe with the conversion, with what was allowed. But, yeah, I made the effort. The referee told me that it was too big and that was it. She said to cover one side of it.”

Opelka also took a dig about the decision on Twitter https://twitter.com/ReillyOpelka/status/1433872831058780168, saying “U.S. Open ticket sales must be struggling this year.”

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He said he was not aware of the fine, the highest at this year’s U.S. Open, until a journalist commented on it on Twitter.

“I didn’t even find out from them, which is even more comical,” he said, adding that other players have got away with much worse and smaller fines.

“I thought it was a bit harsh, a bit excessive. My job is not to measure logos. My job is to win matches. I have bigger things to worry about.

“I’d love to see (the amount) get donated elsewhere. We’ve had a few tragedies here in the States the last couple weeks. If they are going to take 10K from me, it better not go to a major corporation. That’s my thought.” (Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)





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China’s JD.com withdraws sale of unapproved gaming titles -state media

FILE PHOTO: A sign of JD.com is seen at the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference, also known as ChinaJoy, in Shanghai, China July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

September 3, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s JD.com has told sellers that it will withdraw the sale of 87 games including Activision Blizzard Inc’s “Call of Duty” and Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizon”, saying they were unapproved titles, local media reported.

The company, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms which also hosts third-party sellers, issued the notice on Thursday, the state-backed China Youth Daily newspaper said on Friday.

The games can no longer be sold on JD.com’s marketplace, and the company will manage this closely, it said, adding it planned to apply “high pressure” on the issue, the newspaper cited JD.com as saying.

JD.com did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was unclear what prompted the company’s move, but it follows new rules issued by Chinese regulators restricting young people under the age of 18 from playing online games more than three hours a week to curb gaming addictions.

Games need approval from Chinese regulators before they are able to be sold in the world’s largest video games market. However, players can sometimes get titles on the grey market via third-party sellers on e-commerce platforms.

The ruling Communist Party’s publicity department on Thursday also called for audits of gaming content to be strengthened in a lengthy critique of its culture and entertainment sectors.

Chinese technology firms have in recent months been subject to heightened scrutiny from regulators who have cracked down on a multitude of issues including monopolistic behaviour and consumer rights.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; editing by David Evans)





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Is the CDC’s new mask guidance based on a study involving an unapproved vaccine? – HotAir

I don’t think so but there’s hype about it online this afternoon. Did the CDC set a new policy for 160 million Americans who have been vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson based on data collected from foreigners who … didn’t receive any of those products?

The mRNA vaccines are more effective against the virus than anything else out there. Maybe the viral load in people immunized with Pfizer or Moderna is meaningfully lower than it is in people immunized with a different vaccine. In which case the panic about vaxxed Americans infecting others is needless and the new policy is pointless.

Follow this thread for background. The CDC’s page on breakthrough infections has been updated to say, “Studies from India with vaccines not authorized for use in the United States have noted relatively high viral loads and larger cluster sizes associated with infections with Delta, regardless of vaccination status. These early data suggest that breakthrough Delta infections are transmissible.” High viral loads in vaccinated people was the key to the CDC’s announcement recommending that the vaxxed start masking up again. The Delta variant is causing everyone to produce much more virus after infection than previous strains did, even those who’ve had their shots.

But when you follow the footnote on the CDC’s page that supports that finding, you arrive at a study of health-care workers in India. And those health-care workers didn’t get Pfizer or Moderna, they got Covishield, i.e. AstraZeneca. Which may be important, as at least one analysis has shown that Pfizer is more effective against Delta (88 percent) than AstraZeneca is (67 percent).

In fact, AstraZeneca isn’t even approved for use in the U.S. yet.

Imagine if the CDC handed down a new de facto national mask mandate based on data from a product Americans aren’t even using, and which is known to be inferior to the one they are using.

But it gets worse. At one point this morning the Indian study cited by the CDC was listed on the website where it’s posted as having been rejected following peer review. Dan Crenshaw captured it:

So the study isn’t even reliable? This is what the new masking policy is based on?

I don’t think so. There’s more to the section on breakthrough infections from the CDC webpage than what I quoted above:

Studies from India with vaccines not authorized for use in the United States have noted relatively high viral loads and larger cluster sizes associated with infections with Delta, regardless of vaccination status.(96) These early data suggest that breakthrough Delta infections are transmissible. Unpublished data are consistent with this, and additional data collection and studies are underway to understand the level and duration of transmissibility from Delta vaccine breakthrough infections in the United States and other settings.

People like Crenshaw are overlooking the boldfaced part and thus are almost certainly wrong in touting the Indian study as the “game changer” data that supposedly forced the policy change. The AP explained yesterday where the real game-changer data came from. It came from U.S. states:

But with the delta variant, a mutated and more transmissible version of the virus, the level of virus in infected vaccinated people is “indistinguishable” from the level of virus in the noses and throats of unvaccinated people, Walensky said.

The data emerged over the last couple of days from over 100 samples from several states and one other country. It is unpublished, and the CDC has not released it. But “it is concerning enough that we feel like we have to act,” Walensky said.

Vaccinated people “have the potential to spread that virus to others,” she said.

The unnamed other country mentioned is presumably India. My wild guess at what happened is that the CDC’s scientists saw the Indian study about higher viral loads, were alarmed by it, and decided to try to corroborate it by quickly gathering samples here in the U.S. The samples must have confirmed that the viral load in vaccinated Americans was just as high as it was in unvaccinated ones. That’s what forced the policy scramble. They didn’t rely solely on data from India or a non-mRNA vaccine.

Walensky was asked about the unpublished data in her CNN interview this morning. She said it’s just “days old,” which means it didn’t come from the Indian study, and will be released in the coming days. We’ll see what she says when she’s eventually asked why she forced a policy change based on new information that almost certainly hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet. “We’re in a race against time,” I assume she’ll reply.





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Rob Schneider Calls the COVID Vaccine ‘Unapproved,’ Hails the 2nd Amendment in Defiance – RedState

There’s a lot of talk about the COVID vaccine, and many people have strong stances.

That’s certainly the case for actor Rob Schneider, but his position isn’t a typical Hollywood take.

On Saturday, former CBS investigative correspondent and five-time Emmy-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson tweeted a link to her vaccine article from the day before.

From the piece, titled “Is It Already Time for Your COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot?“:

If you’ve already had two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 or Moderna vaccine– is it already time for a third dose?

Yes, say the vaccine makers, citing data showing the vaccine wearing off after six months.

They say a third shot is needed as early as six months after the second, implying the initial regimen — in their view — isn’t effective enough for very long. They are seeking approval to market the number three booster.

Rob shared the article, accompanied by commentary:

“Just say no. And keep saying no. Over half of the U.S. population is continuing to say no to this unapproved experimental gene therapy! ‘My body, my choice!’”

Boldly, Schneider followed up with the hashtag #2ndAmendmentIsForThis.

Twitter wasn’t impressed — it flagged the post with a warning:

! This Tweet is misleading. Find out why health officials consider COVID-19 vaccines safe for most people.

But 57-year-old Rob wasn’t done.

Sharing a post about Biden’s door-to-door campaign by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, Rob offered more on 2A:

“And these [jerks] are going ‘to keep track of who doesn’t want the experimental gene therapy…’ Remember, a government that fears its citizens is a better government. #2ndAmendmentIsForThis”

He also leveled an accusation of child abuse:

Concerning kids, it’s not the first time the star’s alleged abuse amid the pandemic.

As I covered in February, Rob shared the video of a classroom comprised of 28 desks, all caged in plexiglass.

“We are witnessing a new kind of child abuse,” he wrote, “bought and paid for with YOUR tax dollars. The collapse of public schools who follow this example will surely follow. History will not look back at this kindly.”

He wasn’t just whistlin’ Dixie; see “People Are Pulling Their Kids Out of Public Schools.”

Back to Rob’s “Just say no” tweet, you know the issue’s inflamed when people whose careers depend on an ever-woke Hollywood’s approval stand up and shout their dissent.

And it’s doubly distinguished when they feel compelled to champion the Right to Bear Arms in defiance.

Anti-gun Tinseltown will likely be unimpressed.

Judging by the Bluebird’s flagging, Twitter sure wasn’t wooed.

But if you fear the attitude of elites might be turning with regard to COVID and its containment, rest assured; CBS This Morning’s Gayle King has you competently covered.

On Monday, she told Anthony Fauci her family won’t be having an inclusive Thanksgiving:

“[I] don’t know how many more times you can say to people, ‘Listen, [the vaccine] will save your life.’ I have this problem with some members of my own family, which I’m now going to ban from Thanksgiving vacation. That’s how strongly I’m taking [the issue].”

Help yourself to tweeting that clip; it’s guaranteed to fly flag-free.

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

‘The Practising Midwife’ Magazine Releases Transgender Issue Featuring Bearded Birthing Parent

Pest Control for the Problematic: World’s Largest Insect Organization Cancels a Name That Bugs Them

Country Music Star John Rich Slams the Left-Wing Transformation of the Industry

Find all my RedState work here.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below





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Hillary Clinton, other leftists praise HS valedictorian’s surprise, unapproved speech attacking pro-life ‘heartbeat bill’ in Texas

Paxton Smith — valedictorian of Lake Highlands High School in Dallas — had her graduation speech ready to go and approved by the school administration,
D Magazine reported.

But Smith had something different in mind.

What happened?

The magazine said she couldn’t stop thinking about the “heartbeat bill” that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law last month — which naturally
attracted a certain amount of controversy. The measure prohibits abortions when babies’ heartbeats are detected, which can occur as early as four to six weeks after conception.

In addition, the magazine said the measure — which goes into effect in September — makes no provision if pregnancies are the result of incest or rape, and that abortion rights activists have said it’s the most restrictive law in the country.

So, instead of her approved speech, Smith read an unapproved speech attacking the “heartbeat bill.” The magazine said she pulled a folded piece of paper from her bra and began to read:


Paxton Smith Speech at Lake Highlands Graduation

youtu.be

Here’s the text of Smith’s speech she read:

As we leave high school we need to make our voices heard. Today, I was going to talk about TV and media and content because it’s something that’s very important to me. However, in light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.

Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas. Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Six weeks. That’s all women get. … Most of them don’t realize that they’re pregnant by six weeks. So before they have the chance to decide if they are emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human being into the world, that decision is made for them by a stranger. A decision that will affect the rest of their lives is made by a stranger.

I have dreams and hopes and ambitions. Every girl graduating today does. And we have spent our entire lives working toward our future, and without our input and without our consent, our control over that future has been stripped away from us. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail, I am terrified that if I am raped, then my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter. I hope that you can feel how gut-wrenching that is. I hope that you can feel how dehumanizing it is to have the autonomy over your own body taken away from you.

And I’m talking about this today, on a day as important as this, on a day honoring 12 years of hard, academic work, on a day where we are all gathered together, on a day where you are most inclined to listen to a voice like mine, a woman’s voice, to tell you that this is a problem. And it’s a problem that cannot wait. And I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights. A war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent.

What happened next?

The magazine said a couple of administrators told Smith that the school could withhold her diploma — but as you might expect, nothing has come of that. She plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin.

What was the reaction?

Also as you might expect, leftists far and wide praised Smith’s strident speech railing against a pro-life measure — including former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton who tweeted, “This took guts. Thank you for not staying silent, Paxton.”

Many others expressed similar sentiments. Here are a few:

  • Feminist author Jessica Valenti tweeted that she’s “in awe of young people.”
  • Pro-abortion organization NARAL tweeted that “the future’s looking bright.”
  • And former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis — a well-known Texas pro-abortion activist in her own right — thanked Smith for her “courage.”
  • “Wow!” tweeted Democratic U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas. “Paxton Smith, you are a courageous, brilliant woman. Thank you for using your voice to shed light on the war on women’s autonomy happening in Texas.”





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John Kerry Undermined Trump in Unapproved Iran Talks, Former Security Adviser Says

Former Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly undercut President Donald Trump’s foreign policy toward Iran during unauthorized talks with senior Iranian officials, according to Keith Kellogg, the former chief of staff for the National Security Council under President Donald Trump.

“He did it all the time,” Kellogg told Just the News when asked if Kerry sent a conflicting message to Iran. “By just the very fact that he went over there, and the fact that he talked to [Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif, sent a very, very strong counter-message to what we were trying to do out there.”

“We read cables and we understand what’s going on,” Kellogg said. “We talked about it in the Oval Office several times. It was not helpful what he was doing, because he was basically countering every message we were putting out there and trying to push them into some type of negotiation.”

Trump reimposed tough sanctions on Iran after exiting the multilateral nuclear deal with the Islamist regime. The measures crippled the oil-rich nation in a bid to force Iran to commit to denuclearization.

“I was in there many times when the president would reach out to people like Macron of France, he would reach out to Boris Johnson in UK and trying to get them to be an intermediary to talk to the Iranians to get us into some type of discussions. And we always had a pushback,” Kellogg said. “Because we had people like Kerry out there talking to Zarif and others.”

It appears the Trump administration did nothing to hold Kerry back, causing a headache to Kellogg and others.

“We knew what he was doing and the frustration we had is that it was basically acknowledged by everybody, and nobody cared about if one of us has [sic] done that,” Kellogg said.

In late 2016, President-elect Trump’s incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn came under the scrutiny of the FBI for discussing U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The bureau contemplated charging Flynn with an archaic law prohibiting individuals from conducting unauthorized diplomacy.

Kerry, who is now President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate, recently defended telling Zarif about the number of times Israel struck Iranian targets. Kerry said the information was in the public realm. Kerry’s message cited a Twitter message by a journalist who had pointed to a news report in which a senior Israeli official said that Israel had attacked Iran’s interests in Syria 200 times, the same number Kerry disclosed to Zarif. It’s unclear if Kerry’s conversation with Zarif predated the public report.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment from Kerry and the Biden administration.

Kellogg said that disclosing classified information is still illegal even if it’s out in the public realm.

“Even if it’s public record, you never acknowledge classified operations. The press may get it, but you don’t acknowledge it,” Kellogg said.

News about Kerry’s disclosure to Zarif surfaced after a report on a leaked interview of Zarif conducted in March.

In the leaked audio, Zarif, Iran’s top diplomat, complains that the elite Revolutionary Guards had more influence in foreign affairs and the country’s nuclear dossier than he did.

“I have never been able to tell a military commander to do something in order to aid diplomacy,” Zarif said.



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The Education Establishment Fears You Might Teach Your Kids Unapproved Ideas – Reason.com

With families opting out of the faltering public schools in ever-growing numbers, the establishment’s attacks on competing education offerings continues apace. Now, a retired teacher insists that private schools may become terrorist training camps. The over-the-top argument is the latest attempt to reinterpret the refreshing viewpoint diversity offered by chosen educational offerings as a danger to the American way of life.

“[T]he American public school is where we learn to be Americans,” argues one-time journalism teacher Susan Johnson in a Charleston Gazette-Mail column. “In public schools, the public decides the curriculum. The public votes to elect school boards who decide the facts our children will be taught. We leave high school and enter college or the workforce with a common set of civic norms and agreed-upon facts that are derived from reason, critical thinking and the scientific method.”

Johnson contrasts values taught in government institutions with what she sees as nefarious alternatives.

“In charter schools, a private board decides the curriculum. Same for private schools. One board might teach that the earth is flat. Another might teach that the pope is infallible; another might teach he is the anti-Christ,” Johnson writes. “Many children are homeschooled using private instructional programs — some that are online — that are marketed for particular religious and political persuasions.”

Oh, no! To what dire fate could all of these independently selected curricula lead? 

Invoking fearful visions of fundamentalist Islamic schools training terrorists, she asks, “are we very far away from schools like that in America? Proud Boy Academy? Boogaloo Boot Camp?”

This is bang-your-head-on-the-desk silliness, rooted in a fundamental misrepresentation of what public schools are all about. Just last year, The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein marveled at the contrasting ideological spin in textbooks crafted for public schools in California and Texas: “The books have the same publisher. They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation’s deepest partisan divides… [C]lassroom materials are not only shaded by politics, but are also helping to shape a generation of future voters.”

If this conflict of interpretations is what Johnson means by “a common set of civic norms and agreed-upon facts” the schools in which she taught must use words in extremely unusual ways. Or maybe she’s shading the fact that public school curricula are constant sources of struggle over emphasis and ideological content among people with “particular religious and political persuasions.”

In truth, disagreements over what kids are taught in public schools are so common that the Cato Institute maintains an online map in an effort to track the various battles. The introduction notes: “Americans are diverse – ethnically, religiously, ideologically – but all must pay for public schools. The intention is good: to bring people together and foster social harmony. But rather than build bridges, public schooling often forces people into wrenching conflict.”

Johnson probably knows this — she taught in those schools. Her silly warning that private schools might divert kids into the boogaloo movement is the latest expression of establishment fears that the state is losing its grip on young minds.

“A very large proportion of homeschooling parents are ideologically committed to isolating their children from the majority culture and indoctrinating them in views and values that are in serious conflict with that culture,” Harvard Law School’s Elizabeth Bartholet huffed last year in a high-profile Arizona Law Review article. Bartholet, who favors a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, went on to argue that “[p]olicymakers should impose greater restrictions on private schools for many of the same reasons that they should restrict homeschooling.”

Once again, it’s fair to ask which “majority culture” Bartholet favors: that in California textbooks, or in those of Texas? But that would be missing the point. In less florid language, the Harvard professor preceded the retired teacher in advocating a state monopoly over what children are taught.

“The idea that only government schools can (or should) make people ‘American’ is a dangerously statist notion that should be rejected,” the Home School Legal Defense Association’s Michael Donnelly told me via email. “Freedom of education is at the heart of our founding principles of self-governance and liberty. In a free society education should not be one place and one system that seeks to create servile citizens. Rather, education is about helping all learners to achieve their fullest individual potential.”

Despite the objections of Johnson, Bartholet, and company, freedom of education is enjoying a boom. In fact, while interest in education choice has been growing for years, (fueling experiments in charter schools, vouchers, tax credits, and homeschooling) it has really taken off in the past 12 months because of the abject failures of the public schooling establishment to effectively teach children during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has created a strange natural experiment in American education: Families who would have never otherwise considered taking their kids out of school feel desperate enough to try it,” Emma Green wrote in The Atlantic last September. 

“Comprehensive national data aren’t available yet, but reporting by NPR and our member stations, along with media reports from around the country, shows enrollment declines in dozens of school districts across 20 states,” NPR reported in October.

And families, by and large, like their new options.

“Private school and traditional homeschool parents remain more positive about their children’s progress compared to district school parents,” according to February polling by EdChoice. The numbers remain stronger for homeschoolers and private schoolers than for district school families across academic learning, educational development, and social development.

Undoubtedly, many of the families choosing new educational options are teaching their kids ideas of which Johnson and company disapprove. But as children learn perhaps conflicting ways “to be Americans” that they can hash out in healthy discussion and debate, they’re wonderfully free of force-fed lessons crafted by smug defenders of establishment-approved versions of the truth.



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