Joe Manchin is about to extract his pound of flesh. Here’s what Biden must do now.
This is supposed to represent a big loss to the left because it’s less than Biden originally proposed on concrete infrastructure and doesn’t include the “human infrastructure” priorities in Biden’s agenda — investments in children and families, climate and caregiving infrastructure, etc.
But Democrats are proceeding on two tracks. On one is the bipartisan deal. On the other, Sanders, as Senate Budget Committee chair, is crafting a large package that includes many of those other priorities — this one paid for by corporate tax hikes — and would pass by simple-majority reconciliation later.
By all indications, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), a lead negotiator in the bipartisan group, is insisting on this deal — or an exhaustive effort at reaching one — as a precondition for supporting a reconciliation package later.
Unvaccinated Missourians fuel COVID: ‘We will be the canary’
As the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, Missouri is becoming a cautionary tale for the rest of the country: It is seeing an alarming rise in cases because of a combination of the fast-spreading delta variant and stubborn resistance among many people to getting vaccinated.
Intensive care beds are filling up with surprisingly young, unvaccinated patients, and staff members are getting burned out fighting a battle that was supposed to be in its final throes.
The hope among some health leaders is that the rest of the U.S. might at least learn something from Missouri’s plight.
“If people elsewhere in the country are looking to us and saying, ‘No thanks’ and they are getting vaccinated, that is good,” said Erik Frederick, chief administrative officer at Mercy Hospital Springfield, which has been inundated with COVID-19 patients as the variant first identified in India rips through the largely non-immunized community. “We will be the canary.”
Andre E Johnson/Religion Dispatches:
WHERE DID WHITE EVANGELICALISM’S HATRED OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY REALLY BEGIN?
After his appearance on “Tucker,” [Christopher Rufo] received a call the following day from Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who invited him to come to Washington and assist in drafting the Executive Order that President Trump would issue on September 4, 2020. Reflecting on his work, Rufo remarked, “This entire movement came from nothing,” while Wallace-Wells gives all the credit to Rufo for causing the current ‘CRT controversy.’
However, the truth is that before Rufo “discovered” CRT from the footnotes of documents leaked to him by frustrated employees in anti-bias and diversity training classes, white evangelicals had already been laying the groundwork for the attack on CRT. For instance, the libertarian evangelical blog Truth and Liberty warned fellow evangelicals about CRT in Don’t Let Critical Race Theory Infiltrate the Church. The writer argued that CRT is not conducive to the gospel because of its “Marxist” orientation and its “flawed” definition of racism.
Inside the ‘shadow reality world’ promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen
Wealthy allies of former president Donald Trump have spent millions on films, rallies and other efforts to tout falsehoods about the 2020 vote.
In this world, ballot reviews like a Republican-commissioned recount now underway in Arizona are about to begin in other key swing states. Conspiracy theories that grow more dizzyingly complex by the day will soon be proven, showing that China or other foreign powers secretly flipped votes for Biden. Trump will be restored as president in months.
These falsehoods are now seeping into civic life, spurring citizens in multiple states to demand that local officials review the 2020 results.
Kim Wyman, the Republican secretary of state in Washington, said her staff contended with the latest barrage of email and calls just last week. “It told us something had transpired online,” she said, adding: “You can’t disprove the negatives that are being thrown out that are absolutely based on nothing.”
Michigan GOP report debunks election fraud claims, even in Georgia
An analysis produced by Michigan Republican senators concluded Wednesday that voters should be confident in the results of the presidential election, which Democrat Joe Biden won over Republican Donald Trump by 155,000 votes. Biden’s margin of victory was narrower in Georgia, less 12,000 votes.
“I have never doubted that competent, experienced and objective analysis would find what I have said from the beginning that the election was fair and accurate,” Raffensperger said Wednesday. “A similar examination here in Georgia will find that is true as it was in Michigan.”
Instead, some legislators in the Georgia Senate’s Republican majority have said they doubted the integrity of the election, and Raffensperger has become a frequent target of Trump loyalists.
Luis Grijalva’s DACA status put halt to his Olympic dreams. A last-minute approval has changed that
Grijalva and Jessica Smith Bobadilla, his attorney, “were unsure whether immigration officials would be able to grant Grijalva permission on time, but on Monday, he got cleared to travel after weeks of uncertainty,” CNN reported. Advance parole, the process that allows some DACA recipients to travel internationally for employment, humanitarian, or educational purposes, can take as long as 90 days to get approved, she told CNN.
They said they put together “a very detailed” application, then traveled to a USCIS in Phoenix to continue pleading their case. “Tomorrow morning I will be marching down the USCIS office in Phoenix to make one last effort in gaining an advance parole that allows me to leave the country and be able to return safely,” he wrote in an Instagram post the day before. Following the good news Monday, he told The New York Times, “[i]t’s just a lot of emotions—excitement, just really happy.”
But even though he’s lived here since he was a baby and has excelled in American competitions and American schools (including winning a full scholarship to Northern Arizona University), Grijalva will be competing with the Guatemalan running team in Tokyo. CNN reports “he couldn’t represent the US in the Olympics for several reasons, including his immigration status.” The Times reported that the time Grijalva finished at last month’s NCAA race is a national record in Guatemala.
“It would be pretty special to represent Guatemala at the Olympics,” he said in that report. “To be able to represent my parents and my roots—that was where I started.” In his Instagram post the day before traveling to the Phoenix USCIS office, Grijalva had also said he was seeking “to be a voice and represent over 600,000 Dreamers like me.”
The only thing Grijalva should have been worrying about right now was the competition itself, yet his immigration status would have ended his Olympic dreams for now if the last-minute approval hadn’t come through. But even that process is on shaky ground: When DACA was killed by the previous administration in 2017, so was advance parole. While it was forced to reinstate the program under court order last year, a federal judge this month has halted new applications for now. The lives of Grijalva and many others will continue to be in limbo until there’s permanent relief.
Democrats right now have the best chance in years to pass a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants, as well as temporary status holders and essential workers. Just this week, more than 80 mayors across nearly 30 states issued a call to President Joe Biden and legislators to pass legalization through the budget reconciliation process, writing that “it’s time for Congress to act.”
“It is a failure of our government not to move forward in passing comprehensive immigration reform,” Tucson mayor and letter signatory Regina Romero said during a press call this week. “Now, we have the chance to pass a comprehensive plan for those who stepped up to support our country during the pandemic while contributing to our economy. For more than two decades, Congress has failed to act and now is the perfect opportunity through reconciliation.”
“I’ve been here for 21 years, some ways I feel as American as anybody else who was born here but just that having that birthright, that being born here, just takes away so many opportunities for myself but also for everyone else who’s on DACA,” Grijalva said according to CNN.
New energy data shows solar and wind rising as ‘King Coal’ continues an epic crash
That chart comes from a report issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday morning. And it looks like this:
The headline here is certainly worth celebrating: Renewable sources of energy are now the second-largest source of electricity in America, generating 21% of the total. It’s not actually the first time this has happened; back in 1950 when the agency first began, hydro power was the nation’s No. 2 source of electricity. But there are only so many places that can be, or should be, dammed to produce electricity and unfortunately, coal is abundant. The next 60 years were the Age of Coal, with that most destructive of fossil fuels growing ever more dominant.
But what’s happened since 2005 is genuinely amazing. King Coal was toppled from his throne in a revolution that was one part natural gas fracking and one part increasingly cheap wind and solar. And this is the first time that the EIA has placed production from renewables above that of coal.
The reason natural gas grew so rapidly over the last two decades is easy to describe. Gas is easily used in the same kind of steam-cycle power production as coal, but it has several advantages. First, gas need not be stored in huge stockpiles on the ground—stockpiles that are subject to both weathering and to spontaneously catching fire. Second, burning gas produces a lot of CO2, but in terms of other byproducts, it’s almost infinitely cleaner than coal so there’s no need for expensive “scrubbers” that eliminate things such as the sulfur dioxide from coal that causes acid rain. Third, gas doesn’t leave behind tons of ash that has to be stored in great eroding mounds or slurry pools that constantly threaten to flood the area in toxic sludge.
But more important than any of that, gas plants can be small. Utilities can create gas generators of almost every size, and simply add more when needed. Coal plants range from merely huge to absolutely titanic, and the economies of coal make it difficult to scale them up or down.
So why didn’t companies use gas to begin with? Because before the mid-1990s, the price of natural gas varied widely. That made gas suitable for building small “peaking” plants that could handle extra demand on those days when the grid was at maximum demand, but left cheaper coal to carry the main demand. It was only after fracking became widespread and the price of gas stabilized at a rate that made it competitive with coal that the big switchover began.
What’s striking about the renewables line on the chart is how fast it doesn’t grow until about 2005. That line reflects mostly more hydro power, small-scale solar, and an irregular trickle of wind projects over the span of decades. It’s not until prices for both wind and solar became cost-competitive with coal that things started to change quickly. The decades in which annual changes in renewables could be measured in a fraction of a percentage point charge abruptly into a steady rise, and the rate of that rise is increasing.
By 2018, the cost of building new solar or wind power from scratch had reached a point where it was less than the cost of simply maintaining an existing coal plant, even ignoring the cost of coal. That’s a powerful incentive to switch. Even as Donald Trump was talking about how he was going to “save” the coal industry, it was plummeting in a near freefall, shedding both capacity and workers.
Overall, what the chart shows is just this: Things can change. With the right motivations, they can change quickly. The one problem with this chart is that it might tempt everyone to just sit back and let the market handle it. After all, the last two decades show that gigawatts of production can change almost overnight when dollars are on the line.
Only there are reasons that the government still has to shove, and shove hard, to make things move rapidly enough and in the right direction.
- Gas is cheap. Thanks to fracking, there is an absolute glut of natural gas—so much that at several points, all the storage facilities in the nation have been nearly choked with the stuff. How long will fracking allow fields from Texas to North Dakota to Pennsylvania to continue producing at a record pace? No one knows. But right now the use of natural gas is still increasing. That means more CO2 and more spilled methane.
- Innovation needs to come home. When Republicans fume about Chinese solar panels, they’re at least half right. Part of the price reduction for solar has come through availability of cheap panels manufactured mostly in China or India. The U.S. continues to make breakthroughs in solar cell efficiency, but needs help in turning those improvements into an industry that sees American panels being shipped around the world.
- Inequity is a market inevitability. Left to itself, the market will gradually close out coal plants and create more renewables. But it will also leave behind ecological disasters. Coal is a dying extraction industry. What such industries leave behind are unreclaimed lands, crumbling plants, and communities in ruin. Government intervention is absolutely necessary if this failing industry is going to be ushered out the door in a way that gives workers and the surrounding areas a soft landing rather than seeing coal executives wave bye-bye beneath golden parachutes. And the government needs to pay particular attention to both cleaning up and providing jobs to communities of color, which are often right in the zones of heaviest pollution.
- It’s not fast enough. The chart shows the energy industry can change more quickly than anyone believed. Now it has to change faster. We don’t have more decades to make this transition, not when every wasted year represents more of that drought, fire, and flood we mentioned back at the beginning.
The abrupt change in America’s energy mix should be good news to everyone. Even if much of that production has switched to natural gas, it shows that enormous change is possible.
Now let’s make it happen again. Faster.
Latino officer and U.S. military vet says insurrectionists told him ‘you’re not even an American’
Gonell testified during the hearing that at first he was “not even entertaining” this claim. “I mean, when I heard that, I wasn’t even thinking about any racial stuff.” He was just trying to survive the mob’s attack, which resulted in five deaths and hundreds of injuries. “Two other officers killed themselves after,” the Associated Press reported. Officers were “pulled into the crowd and trampled, assaulted with scaffolding materials, and/or bear maced by protesters,” an Arlington County Fire Department memo stated, the AP continued.
But Gonell said that only with some time did he realize what had been said to him, telling legislators that “it takes time for you to process that, and you only realize what was happening after you go back and see it from a different point in time.” He was just trying to do the job he was sworn to do, he said. “I’m there to stop them regardless. I’m not thinking what they were yelling in terms of my skin color or my race. I know I’m an American former soldier and a police officer. I didn’t take that into account when I was defending all of you guys.”
The officer’s experience drives home the point that for racists, there’s simply nothing a person of color can do or achieve to be fully accepted as what they believe an American to be. To them, a person who isn’t white simply can’t be an American. Even if they’ve lived here since they were a child, even if they served in the U.S. military for eight years, even if it’s literally there on a piece of paper, or in their heart. Yet the white terrorists trying to overthrow the election dared to call him un-American.
“I was falsely accused of betraying my oath, of choosing my paycheck over my loyalty to the US Constitution, even as I defended the very democratic process that protected everyone in the hostile crowd,” Gonell continued. “While I was at the lower west terrace of the Capitol working with my fellow officers to prevent the breach and restore order, the rioters called me traitor, a disgrace and that I, an Army veteran and a police officer, should be executed.”
Gonell said during his testimony that even relatives abroad were “frantically” trying to contact him to see if he was safe after watching images of the siege on television. “More than six months later, I’m still trying to recover from my injuries,” he said. “I could have lost my life that day, not once but many times. But as soon as I recover from my injuries, I will continue forward and proudly serve my country in the US Capitol Police. As an immigrant to the United States, I’m especially proud to have defended the US Constitution and our democracy on January 6th.”
Of course, Gonell wasn’t the only officer of color to be assaulted with verbal attacks in addition to physical blows. From the very start of his first campaign, when he called Mexicans criminals and “rapists” and then two brothers took a metal pipe to an unhoused Mexican American man in Boston in 2015, racist violence has been a key tenet of the previous president’s beliefs.
“Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn told the committee he has sought therapy and continues to struggle with emotional scars left by the assault, which became racially charged for him as a Black member of law enforcement,” Daily Kos’ Kerry Eleveld wrote yesterday. “The officer in fact described “a ‘torrent’ of racially offensive epithets,” she continued. “”Boooo! Fucking n****!’ they screamed, recalled Dunn. ‘No one had ever, ever, called me a n***** while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police Officer,’ Dunn added.”
“I hope that everyone in the position of authority in our country has the courage and conviction to do their part by investigating what happened on that terrible day and why,” Gonell continued. “This investigation is essential to our democracy, and I’m deeply grateful to you for undertaking. I’m happy to assist as I can and answer any question you may have to the best of my ability.” I’d say he’s done more than enough already (and I don’t mean only his service on Jan. 6). The question now is what we’re going to do for him.
- Roddy White, Julio Jones Sued by Cannabis Company, Accused of Fraud
- Luis Grijalva’s DACA status put halt to his Olympic dreams. A last-minute approval has changed that
- Prada, Burberry, and More Are Massively Discounted at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale
- New energy data shows solar and wind rising as ‘King Coal’ continues an epic crash
- Matt Damon’s Joke About Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez & Their ‘True Love’ Is Very Funny
- Latino officer and U.S. military vet says insurrectionists told him ‘you’re not even an American’
- OpenAI releases Triton, a programming language for AI workload optimization
- 5 Summer Jewelry Trends That Work From The Beach To Happy Hour
- Meg Thee Stallion has just dropped a makeup collection with Revlon and there are only 450 sets! Go, go, go!
- Boston Bruins among 4 free agent destinations for Ryan Getzlaf
Roddy White, Julio Jones Sued by Cannabis Company, Accused of Fraud
Luis Grijalva’s DACA status put halt to his Olympic dreams. A last-minute approval has changed that
Prada, Burberry, and More Are Massively Discounted at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale
Entertainment4 months ago
‘Baldwin Hills’ Star Ashley Taylor Gerren dies after getting Covid vaccine
Entertainment4 months ago
Midwin Charles, Who Died After Getting Covid Vaccine, Had Preexisting Conditions
Sports1 month ago
Know Your Olympian: Pranati Nayak
General1 month ago
Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday
Sports1 month ago
Euro 2020: Day 13 Roundup
Sports1 month ago
Swans, Giants thrown into COVID drama
Sports1 month ago
22 Laugh Out Loud Paul George Memes
Sports1 month ago
Know Your Olympian: Fouaad Mirza