Friday, February 03, 2023

Bits 'n pieces from east, west and beyond

| March 26, 2021 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

A congressional remedy for digital inequalities would make broadband Internet more accessible and affordable across the nation, the Washington Post reported. The proposal, the Affordable Internet for All Act, faced opposition from Republicans in the past. But support has grown during the pandemic as students have struggled to connect to online learning platforms during school closures.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently declassified foreign threats to the 2020 U.S. elections: Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to undermine President Joe Biden and confidence in the electoral process, and amplify socio-political divisions. The report said Russia did not meddle in election infrastructure.

But “even after the election Russian online influence actors continued to promote narratives questioning the election results.” The report had been released to the previous administration on Jan. 7, the day after the Capitol insurrection, but not made public.

Eviction metamorphosis: Pima County in Arizona is no longer playing the “tough guy” with those facing eviction, High Country News reported. Instead, law enforcement officers share information about where to find help for new shelter opportunities, a stance that’s important for healthy outcomes in the face of COVID-19.

“Taxation without representation” has been a sore point for the at least 86 percent of Washington, D.C., residents seeking statehood. They can vote for president, but have no voting representation in congress, despite being home to about a million residents — a larger population than some states. The proposal to make D.C. a state has been under consideration in Congress many times and is again being debated.

U.S. HR 1280 would forbid the military to transfer war-related weaponry to federal, tribal, state or local law enforcement. That would include firearms, silencers, bayonets, grenade launchers, explosive, and “combat configured” aircraft.

Household income loss due to COVID-19, since March 2020, as per Mother Jones: whites, 44 percent; Asian, 47 percent; black, 57 percent; multiracial and others, 58 percent; Latinos, 62 percent.

Should you get vaccinated if you’ve already had COVID-19? According to doctors’ observations, Huffington Post reported, it appears that antibody levels start to drop after a few months, especially for those who were asymptomatic or suffered a milder case. It also is possible to get a second bout of the coronavirus. An infectious disease expert at Yale said if one has recently had the virus, it does not appear to be necessary to get a vaccine immediately. But reinfection can occur within three to four months.

Biden’s attempts to restore the economy and address issues like inequality and climate change are being challenged in court by Republicans, columnist and historian Heather Cox Richardson recently wrote. The challenge is rooted in what is called “non-delegation doctrine,” invented in 1935 to undercut President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic recovery efforts after the Great Depression. FDR was creating agencies delegated with the tasks of righting a sinking ship.

The non-delegation doctrine was not popular, and business interests backed off when FDR threatened to expand the Supreme Court. With former President Donald Trump’s three conservative additions to the court, there is now a more favorable climate for considering non-delegation doctrine. Richardson points out that we are now in “a struggle between two ideologies,” that of one that says “the government has a significant role to play in keeping the playing field level in the American economy and society, and the other saying it does not.”

In the nation’s early days lawmakers wanted to impose limits on corporations, and withdraw their right to do business if they were not serving a public good.

Regarding last week’s Atlanta area shootings that killed eight people and wounded one: Of the violent attacks on Asian Americans last year, stats show 70 percent targeted Asian women. Six of the alleged shooter’s victims were Asian women.

The Atlanta murderer allegedly told authorities he was driven to kill because of his “sex addiction,” CNN reported, and the region’s sheriff’s department said the man was trying to eliminate his temptation, and he’d had a very bad day. U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) responded, saying, “As if it weren’t a far worse day for the women the shooter killed, or their families … As if women have to pay if men have a bad day.”

The alleged killer initially thought of killing himself, CNN said, but decided to “help” others by shooting.

Blast from the past: 201 years ago this month Maine joined the Union. They had failed in their attempt to achieve statehood two years prior. Lawmakers in the south objected to adding another free state, which would reduce that region’s influence on the question of slavery.

The south would only consent to Maine becoming a state if they could add another slave state, Missouri. Congress then passed the “Missouri Compromise,” which prompted northern politicians to start whittling away at slavery, including outlawing slave sales in the nation’s capitol. The whole scenario had angered people in Maine, and a number of them pursued political office to resist “Slave Power.” That eventually resulted in creation of the Republican Party.