We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—Verily's quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Employees face termination due to vaccine mandates
Workers across the United States are facing the possibility of losing their jobs for not complying with a growing number of private companies’ vaccine mandates. United Airlines, for example, may lose up to 600 employees who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “In early August, the company became the first U.S. carrier to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Monday,” Reuters reports. “The carrier said it would start on Tuesday the process of firing 593 employees who decided not to get vaccinated.”
Many other airlines as well as hospitals and large national companies are requiring all of their workers, or at least their corporate workers, to get the shot.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, is aiming to impose a vaccine mandate of its own. It has already required that federal employees get a COVID-19 vaccine, and the president has directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require that companies with more than 100 employees impose a vaccine mandate or weekly testing. OSHA has not yet released its official guidance on the vaccine mandate, which has critics arguing over its constitutionality, but many private companies are moving forward with vaccine mandates without the direction of the federal government. —Madeline Fry Schultz
‘Real Housewife’ Bethenny Frankel defends her comments on transgender issues
Real Housewives of New York alum and Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel is hitting back at critics who have taken umbrage with a recent discussion of gender identity on her podcast, Just B.
On the podcast, which sports the tagline, “If you can’t handle the truth you can’t handle this podcast,” Frankel shares an unsettling story about events at a children’s overnight summer camp, telling her listeners, "It's an all-girls camp and a person with a penis, who identifies as being a girl, went to the camp and was in the bunk with the girls. And the girls saw her—because it's her, because it's a male anatomy but identifying as a woman—so the other girls saw a penis. . . . This girl with a penis was making out with a lot of different girls at the camp."
She further incited critics when she touched on the role of gender in sports, suggesting that allowing transgender athletes to compete on female teams didn’t seem "fair” and also wondering if childhood issues of gender issue could be a "phase."
When upset fans took to Twitter to accuse her of cruelty towards transgender youth, Frankel doubled down on her claims, writing on the social media platform: "Not apologizing . . . so don't hold your breath...People need to be able to have discussions without fearing the cancelation citations you get excited to give.” —Mariel Lindsay
Military leaders say under oath that they told Biden to leave troops in Afghanistan, contradicting the president
During a Senate hearing this week, top U.S. military officials testified that they advised President Joe Biden not to remove all American troops from Afghanistan, something that Biden himself has denied. After Kabul fell to the Taliban in August, Biden told ABC News that no one advised him to maintain a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan: “No one said that to me that I can recall.”
Yet on Tuesday, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told senators that they recommended that the U.S. keep at least 2,500 troops in the region.
“The scandal isn’t that the President ignored military advice—he’s the decision-maker,” wrote the Wall Street Journal editorial board. “It’s his refusal to own his decision.”
The controversy in Congress comes as President Biden is still under fire for his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal that left 13 troops dead and hundreds of Americans and Afghan allies stranded behind enemy lines. It follows news that a U.S. drone strike, ordered near the chaotic end of the America evacuation and intended to have targeted ISIS-K operatives, actually killed 10 civilians, including seven children.
During his testimony, Milley called the Kabul evacuation “a logistical success but a strategic failure,” which might be a bit of an understatement. —MFS
New research shows nearly half of American women are burned out at work
An annual report commissioned by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. shows that a whopping 42 percent of working women experienced burnout “often” or “almost always” in 2021.
The groups polled more than 65,000 employees and found that women are thinking about making big changes to deal with workplace dissatisfaction. One in three of them are considering either shifting their careers into a lower gear, or leaving employment entirely. That’s a significant increase from last year’s survey, which showed one in four women were contemplating leaving the labor market.
What’s the cause of the burnout? The report suggests the biggest factor may be childcare. When COVID-19 first hit, many women took on extra responsibilities at home, balancing their job duties while supervising their kids’ remote learning. This year, thankfully, most schools are back in session, but there’s still a critical shortage of childcare workers, as daycares, preschools, and families all struggle to hire from a shrinking pool of candidates. Inflation means finding someone to keep your kids from burning the house down while you bust out some work emails has never been less affordable (speaking from personal experience).
There are so many changes women need to see in our economy, but most of all we’ve got to have more support from our communities, our culture, and our families. Cheers to all ladies, whether they’re determined to hang in there or "working" up the courage to make a switch. We are in awe of you! —Margaret Brady
Dog the Bounty Hunter is on Brian Laundrie’s trail
Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, has reportedly stumbled on a fresh campsite in a Florida park that may have been made by the infamous fugitive Brian Laundrie.
The New York Post says that Chapman has joined in the search for Laundrie, and discovered a seemingly-new can of Monster brand energy drink in an area on Egmont Key by Fort De Soto Park. The location was near where Laundrie and his parents went camping, shortly after he returned to Florida without his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, and just before he went missing himself. Nevertheless, the celebrity investigator couldn’t say for sure that the discarded can was tied to Laundrie.
Fort De Soto Park is about 75 miles away from the Laundrie home. According to his family, Brian Laundrie returned with them from the campsite and then left for another outing to the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota. He vanished, and his parents reported him missing three days later, on September 17. Searchers discovered Petito’s body in a remote area at Bridgers-Teton National Forest on September 19.
“It doesn’t matter who catches him," Chapman told a local CBS News affiliate. "We just want to do everything we can to help bring Brian in safely." —Melanie Wilcox
Good News of the Week
Princess Mako of Japan can finally get married after years of controversy
Princess Mako has been engaged to marry Komuro Kei since Sept. 2017. Now, Komuro has returned to Japan after three years in the U.S., and a wedding date announcement is expected shortly.
Komuro is a commoner, and the princess will lose all royal status forever if she marries him. The Japanese government traditionally provides a settlement of about $1.3 million to departing royal women. But besides his lack of blue blood, Komuro is a controversial groom because of his mother’s own broken engagement. Sadly, she and her ex-fiancé got into a legal dispute over $36,000, some of which she’d spent on her son’s education.
The Japanese public found that scandalous, and the nuptials were postponed. To make the wedding day go ahead, Princess Mako, who is the niece of Emperor Naruhito, will refuse the settlement money. Reportedly, none of the typical royal wedding rites will be performed.
The bride and groom plan to live in New York after they get married, since he graduated from Fordham University’s law school in May. Congratulations to the couple as their love story finally reaches its next chapter! —MB
Watch of the Week
You can always count on the U.S. Marines to land a hand! This surreal viral video shows a group of roughnecks in full dress uniform marching through a deluge to help push a civilian’s car out from where it got stuck in floodwaters.