And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Linkee-poo walks along the city streets, so dark with rage and fear

"As head of the country’s flagship public health agency, (Director Rochelle Walensky) must find a way to convince Americans to stay vigilant after a year of masks and social distancing — and sift through rapidly changing science to guide policies aimed at saving lives. That alone is a round-the-clock job. But Walensky also faces the task of rebuilding trust and morale within the CDC after the agency was demoted and bypassed under the Trump administration." I also like the tone of, "Biden hasn't interfered with or overrode the CDC decision making process, but we all know he will in the future." The damage Trump did to our democracy and institutions will live on for a long time in this weird form of PTSD.

"Italy invoked European Union powers to block the export of 250,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Australia on Thursday, in a dramatic escalation of a dispute between the EU and drug giant AstraZeneca… Prime Minister Mario Draghi's spokesperson Paola Ansuini confirmed the move to CNN, adding that Italy and the European Commission had agreed on the action. This is the first time that such EU measures have been used for vaccines."

"Tens of millions of Americans experienced at least a day last year shrouded in wildfire smoke. Entire cities were blanketed, in some cases for weeks, as unprecedented wildfires tore across the Western U.S., causing increases in hospitalizations for respiratory emergencies and concerns about people's longer-term health… A new study finds those concerns are well founded."

"The San Diego Zoo has vaccinated nine great apes for the coronavirus after a troop of gorillas in its Safari Park became infected, officials said Thursday."

"The White House has defended Joe Biden’s criticism of the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi, after the president called their decisions to end mask mandates 'Neanderthal thinking'." And so begins the traditional week of "pearl clutching" by conservatives.

"When Humbelina Gonzales heard Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was lifting the state's mask mandate next week, her first reaction was, 'It's too soon for it.'" Well of course it is.

"'The oil and gas industry is calibrating itself to what has become the new benchmark — net zero carbon by 2050. There’s a lot of variation in strategies and thinking about what will be the new map to get there,' said Yergin. 'But the big cross-cutting themes that jump out this week are hydrogen, carbon capture, innovation — and the need for large companies with engineering capabilities that can operate at scale — which is where the oil and gas industry happens to be.'" Oh, is it time for Clean Coal again? Fossil fuels can never be carbon neutral. Can you cook the books to make it look that way? Sure. But note they're mostly focused on the extraction of fossil fuels become carbon neutral. That's a nice slight of hand attempt.

"Several Dr. Seuss books have risen to the top of Amazon's bestseller list just days after the author's estate said it would stop publishing six books that contained racist or offensive imagery." But none were the books removed by Dr Suess Enterprises. However, prices of those on Ebay now have a premium attached.

"A high-profile universal basic income experiment in Stockton, Calif., which gave randomly selected residents $500 per month for two years with no strings attached, measurably improved participants' job prospects, financial stability and overall well-being, according to a newly released study of the program's first year." Shocked, shocked conservatives will be to find that "full-time employment rose among those who received the guaranteed income and that their financial, physical and emotional health improved."

"US stocks tumbled Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell predicted an increase in consumer prices this summer — something investors fear will force interest rates up sooner than expected… Powell, speaking at a conference Thursday, predicted strong job growth and increases in consumer prices as the vaccine rollout allows the economy to reopen fully. But he cautioned the Fed does not think the economy is at risk of overheating."

"The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, roundly beating economists’ estimates of 210,000, and indicating that one year into the pandemic, the labor market is finally showing signs of recovery… In the first full monthly employment report under President Joe Biden, the unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent,from 6.3 percent in January, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics." While good news for Biden, note that number is about half last week's new jobless claims.

"China will increase its spending on research and development over the next five years in a push to make 'major breakthroughs' in technology, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday… The comments came during a speech at China’s annual parliamentary 'Two Sessions' meeting as Beijing lays out its priorities for the coming years."

"Pope Francis landed in Iraq on Friday for a historic tour of the war-ravaged nation, where he is meeting with members of the country's dwindling Christian community, aiming to draw attention to their plight."

"President Joe Biden has agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to narrow the income eligibility for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks that are included in a bill the Senate is expected to take up this week, a Democratic source told CNN Wednesday." The best part of this story which is not in this article is that Senate Republicans demanded that the entire bill be read to the chamber, which finished up late last night. This was an attempt to delay its final passing. However, when the reading came to an end, Sen Van Hollen rose and asked for unanimous consent for debate to be limited to 3 hours instead of 20. Since no Republicans actually attended the reading, and so were not in the chamber, the resolution passed without objection. So the bill will move even faster now.

"Last summer, an appointee of former President Donald Trump was irate because he could not simply fire top executives who had warned him that some of his plans might be illegal… Michael Pack, who was CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media that oversees Voice of America, in August suspended those top executives. He also immediately ordered up an investigation to determine what wrongdoing the executives might have committed… Instead of turning to inspectors general or civil servants to investigate, Pack personally signed a no-bid contract to hire a high-profile law firm with strong Republican ties."

"The man who was seen putting his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot had an outburst in federal court Thursday over his continued detainment… Richard Barnett, reportedly screamed at Judge Christopher R. Cooper during a virtual hearing where it was determined he would remain detained until at least his next hearing in May. He yelled at Cooper that it was 'not fair' that he remained in jail as others were released, according to NBC Washington’s Scott MacFarlane." I know, it's like he isn't even white anymore.

"Rep. Eric Swalwell, who served as a House manager in Donald Trump’s last impeachment, filed a lawsuit Friday against the former president, his son, lawyer and a Republican congressman whose actions he charges led to January’s insurrection." I wonder if they'll qualify for a class action suit?

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