Friday, June 18, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Again

The Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- for a third time yesterday, rejecting the latest Republican argument to kill the more than decade-old health care law. The justices ruled 7-2 that Republican-led states and two individuals had no standing to bring their lawsuit in federal court. The challenge had argued that after Congress reduced the penalty for not having health insurance to zero, essentially eliminating it, that the entire law should be wiped away because the mandate was a pillar of the law when it was passed. The ruling didn't weigh in on the merits of the argument, since it dismissed the case based on the plaintiffs not having standing.

➤AVERAGE DAILY U.S. COVID DEATHS BELOW 300 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE MARCH 2020: The average daily deaths in the U.S. from Covid-19 has fallen below 300 for the first time since March 2020, in the early weeks of the pandemic. That seven-day average is now 286 daily deaths. The last time it below 300 was March 27, 2020. Case numbers are also down to numbers not seen since March 2020. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said yesterday, "These numbers make it clear. Getting vaccinated gets us back to normal." At the same time, experts are worried about the Delta variant, which emerged in India, and is spreading in the U.S. It's more infectious than even the U.K. variant, and may be more severe. There's concern it could cause outbreaks in areas where the vaccination rates are low.

➤BIDEN SIGNS LEGISLATION MAKING JUNETEENTH FEDERAL HOLIDAY: President Biden signed legislation Thursday making Juneteenth, which is June 19th, a federal holiday. It's the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. The Senate passed the bill via unanimous consent on Tuesday and the House passed it with just 14 Republicans voting against it on Wednesday. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S., marking when the last slaves learned they were free on June 19, 1865. Union soldiers brought the news of the Confederate surrender two months earlier to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas.

➤ONE DEAD, 13 INJURED IN ARIZONA DRIVE-BY SHOOTINGS: One person was killed and 13 others injured in what appeared to be a series of drive-by shootings yesterday afternoon. Police had a suspect in custody. There were eight separate incidents within about an hour and a half in the shooting spree, which officials believe began at around 11:10 a.m. At least four of the victims were shot, and others were injured either in car accidents caused by the rampage or by shrapnel. The wounded are all expected to survive. Peoria police Sergeant Brandon Sheffert said, "We don't know what the motive was. We don't have an idea of what this person was thinking when he went out and did this." A man who was not identified was taken into custody after he pulled into a parking lot and didn't try to fire at police.

➤IF ‘CAVE SYNDROME’ IS KEEPING YOU FROM GOING IN PUBLIC, HERE’S HOW TO COMBAT IT:  It’s been over a year of mostly staying at home, so it makes sense that many people are reluctant to step back into society. But some people are downright terrified of doing so. Psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Bregma calls this fear “cave syndrome.” He says when he notices one of his patients is afraid to leave their home, he teaches them his MAV system, which stands for “Mindfulness, Attitude, and Vision.” He explains the first step is to be mindful about what’s bothering you, then you must develop a positive attitude (believe good things can happen to you when you leave your house), and finally, visualize your goals and what you can accomplish when you leave your “cave.” He adds the sooner you’re able to leave your “cave” the better off you are. Other experts say experiencing anxiety does not mean you have a disorder or syndrome, but if you aren’t able to leave your house and resume your regular life you should seek professional help.

➤SURVEY..NEARLY HALF PLAN TO SPEND MORE THIS SUMMER THAN PAST TWO COMBINED: Americans are getting out and about again, ready to see people and have some fun after a year cooped up, and part of that means spending money. A new OnePoll survey found that 45 percent of Americans plan to spend more this summer than they did the past two combined. Many don't feel they're being reckless by doing so, with 48 percent believing they saved enough money during the pandemic to being able to spend guilt-free this summer. At the same time, 40 percent are worried they might spend irresponsibly. The top activities Americans are looking forward to spending on this summer include: vacations (43%); going out to restaurants, bars, happy hours, etc.(39%); hosting friends and family at home (30%); attending a sports game (22%); attending a concert (21%); going on dates (21%) and graduation/birthday parties (20%).

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER ISN’T JUST A WINTER THING: You may have heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and associate it with the dark days of winter, but it turns out it can also be a problem during the summer months. The Mayo Clinic explains, “SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year…. And [while] in most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the days of spring and summer [some] people experience the opposite pattern. [They] have symptoms that begin in spring or summer.” SAD affects about four to six percent of the U.S. population, but about 10 percent of sufferers get SAD symptoms during the summer season. The symptoms can consist of feelings of depression that happen daily or near-daily, a loss of interest in one-enjoyable activities, changes in weight or eating habits, low energy or changes in sleeping patterns, trouble concentrating, and more. Treatments differ, depending on the severity of symptoms. If you think you might be suffering with SAD you should seek professional help. It’s not clear what causes the condition, though it’s believed numerous factors can contribute, including a drop in melatonin and/or serotonin levels or a change in the body’s circadian rhythm.

 ➤VICTORIA’S SECRET SAYS GOODBYE TO ANGELS IN ATTEMPT TO REDEFINE ‘SEXY’: Victoria’s Secret has gotten rid of its world-famous Angels supermodels. Instead, the brand has launched a campaign with high-profile women known for their accomplishments. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, freestyle skier Eileen Gu, model, advocate Paloma Essler, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and transgender model Valentina Sampaio are among the women who will spearhead the campaign. The women will work with the retailer to redefine what the word “sexy” means.” Victoria’s Secret chief executive Martin Waters said, “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond. We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.” The new campaign will be known as the VS Collective and the women involved will focus on advising the brand, appearing in ads and promoting the retailer on social media.

➤SUPREME COURT RULES FOR CATHOLIC FOSTER CARE AGENCY IN DISPUTE OVER LGBTQ COUPLES: The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor yesterday of a Catholic foster care agency in Philadelphia that doesn't want to work with LGBTQ couples because of the beliefs of the Catholic church. The city had cut ties with the agency, Catholic Social Services, when it learned about the policy. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion, "CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs." CSS said it actually never turned away a same-sex couple, because it was never approached by one.

➤MORE THAN 30 WOMEN SUE PORNHUB, CLAIMING NON-CONSENSUAL CLIPS, CHILD PORN PUBLISHED: More than 30 women sued Pornhub yesterday, claiming that it published non-consensual video and child porn. The suit accuses Pornhub's parent company MindGeek of violating federal sex trafficking laws, distributing child porn, racketeering and other crimes. It contends the women were victims of sexual exploitation, rape and trafficking, and then were, quote, "victimized . . . by the defendants in this case" by unauthorized videos that were uploaded and disseminated by Pornhub. Pornhub denied the allegations. The company suspended all videos by nonverified users in December as it faced a ban by Visa and Mastercard. Visa has resumed processing some transactions.

🏀CLIPPERS' LEONARD TO MISS GAME 6 AGAINST UTAH: Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will miss tonight's Game 6 of L.A.'s second-round playoffs series against the Utah Jazz with a sprained knee. The Clippers lead 3 games to 2. Leonard already missed Game 5 on Wednesday after spraining the knee in Game 4 Monday.

🏀NBA PLAYOFFS: Results from second-round games yesterday:
  • Milwaukee Bucks 104, Brooklyn Nets 89 - Series tied at 3-3

🏒NHL PLAYOFFS: Results from Conference Finals yesterday:
  • Tampa Bay Lightning 2, New York Islanders 1 - Tampa Bay leads series 2 games to 1

🏌HENLEY IN LEAD AFTER U.S. OPEN FIRST ROUND, OOSTHUIZEN SET TO JOIN HIM: American Russell Henley sits at the top of the leaderboard at 4-under 67 after the first round at the U.S. Open on Thursday at Torrey Pines in San Diego. However, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen is also at at 4-under, but has two holes remaining due to play being suspended because of darkness.

🏀MAVERICKS COACH CARLISLE RESIGNS: Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle resigned yesterday after 13 seasons with the team, including leading them to the NBA title in 2011. His resignation came one day after general manager Donnie Nelson agreed to part ways with Dallas. Carlisle was 555-478 with the Mavericks, he winningest coach in franchise history, and had the third-longest tenure of any NBA coach in his current job.

⚾DIAMONDBACKS SET NEW MLB CONSECUTIVE ROAD LOSS RECORD WITH 23RD: One day after tying the MLB record for consecutive road losses, the Arizona Diamondbacks set a new record Thursday (June 17th) with their 23rd road loss in a row. Arizona fell to the San Francisco Giants 10-3.

🏒CAROLINA'S BRIND'AMOUR WINS NHL COACH OF THE YEAR: Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year yesterday (June 17th). Brind'Amour led Carolina to a third consecutive playoff appearance and a first-place finish in the Central Division. They were eliminated in the second round by reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay. The news came yesterday on the same day that the Hurricanes announced a three-year contract extension for him.

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