Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| September 23, 2022 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact.

A recent sampling:

  • Legislation that would put new restrictions on Congressional lawmakers’ ability to buy and sell stocks is planned for consideration this month, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A Morning Consult poll showed close to two-thirds of those polled oppose any buying or trading of stocks by congressional members.

  • A petition from municipal deputies in Russia says “we…believe that the actions of its president Vladimir Putin are detrimental to Russia and its citizens’ future. We demand Vladimir Putin’s resignation…” Signers now face charges, The New York Times reported.

  • Writing in American Prospect, Robert Kuttner said inflation is subsiding “based on a variety of indicators, and the economy is heading for the proverbial soft landing without a recession -- if the Fed doesn’t screw things up with excessive rate hikes.” Inflation rose 0.1% in July according to Bureau Of Labor statistics.

  • MIT says they’ve come up with a battery made from common materials - aluminum, sulfur and common salt - which bypass the need for limited resources like lithium, nickel and cobalt.

  • The House Jan. 6 Committee hearings will continue on Sept. 28. Business Insider says the panel is attempting to get more testimony from Secret Service officials, Republican lawmakers who have defied subpoenas, and high-profile people of interest, like Newt Gingrich and Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham surprised fellow lawmakers last week when he introduced a bill to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The party has noted that threats to abortion access have driven more voters to vote against the party’s anti-abortion stance, NBC indicated.

  • A group of 77 House Democrats are disagreeing with pro-fossil fuel provisions being included in an upcoming must-pass spending bill. Removing the provisions will protect the climate as well as people living in fossil fuel production zones. A leaked draft has the watermark of an oil and gas industry lobbying group, several media sources said; the final text remains secret as of this writing.

Concerns raised include lack of reliable analysis about climate impacts, that it was negotiated by Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin, top recipients of fossil fuel industry campaign funds; weakening of environmental laws and expedited timetables that could exclude public feedback, and, a greenlight for pipelines that could significantly add to greenhouse gas pollution, therefore lowering gains from the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Republican governors of southern border states are sending immigrants to Democrat strongholds. Political observers speculate that the immigrant arrivals are meant to distract voters from less popular Republican stances: abortion, contraception and marriage equality.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson pointed out that the

immigrant debate is complex: migrants need safety, the U.S. needs workers, immigrant processing is understaffed and immigrant laws are outdated.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed that flying Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard would cause local residents to “go berserk,” but the opposite unfolded: the migrants were given necessities like food and shelter.

It came to light they were not illegally in the U.S.: all have cases in immigration courts and can stay while their cases are being considered. The migrants have told authorities they were misled about the flights, such as being told they would go to Boston where they could receive “expedited work papers,” Popular Information reported.

Brochures given to the migrants shows they were falsely promised benefits like food, housing, cash, job placement and other services. Now it is being exploring if those arranging flying of migrants actually committed fraud, false imprisonment or kidnapping.

The Texas-to-Massachusetts flights also cost $12,000 per person, according to Public Citizen.

Glaciologists say ice in Greenland, which now has less snow, is not being replenished. Melting ice sheets are expected to cause at least a 10.6 inch rise in ocean levels - twice previous estimates.

An extended monsoon season coupled with high temps that melted glaciers in Pakistan have led to a third of the country being flooded, the death of 750,000 livestock and three million acres of ag land being completely washed away. Estimates of damages are at least $30 billion, with the loss of 1,500 lives, people forced to flee, and over a million homes damaged. The U.N. Secretary General said, “I have never seen climate carnage on this scale.”

Countries that contribute far more to climate change than Pakistan does are being asked to financially help Pakistan, said. Alaska, Puerto Rico and Japan are also being weather-smacked.

This last spring those 50 and older who had a single C-19 booster died from Covid at four times the rate of those with two booster shots, according to the CDC.

Blast from the past: Five times in U.S. history candidates who lost the popular vote were seated as President due to the Electoral College. They were Andrew Jackson in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.