Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Biden Talks 'Code Red' Climate Change Danger

President Biden toured neighborhoods in New Jersey and New York City yesterday that flooded from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, meeting with people whose homes had been destroyed or severely damaged by the intense flash flooding that left more than 50 people dead in several Eastern states. As he toured Manville, New Jersey, and part of Queens in New York City, Biden connected climate change to the historic flooding, as well as to stronger hurricanes and more intense wildfires in the Western U.S., saying it's become, quote, "everybody's crisis" and calling it "code red danger." Biden said, "The threat is here. It is not getting any better. The question is can it get worse. We can stop it from getting worse." Biden visited Louisiana on Friday, where Hurricane Ida struck on August 29th as a Category 4 storm, killing 15 people there.

The U.S. passed 650,000 deaths from the coronavirus yesterday, with the rate of deaths having increased as the delta variant has surged across the country. That news came as Idaho announced it had begun rationing care under "crisis standards" at hospitals in the northern part of the state because the hospitals had become overwhelmed by Covid patients. 

Hospitals will be allowed to allot their scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive. Other patients will still get care, but they may not have some life-saving medical equipment or be put in hospital classrooms or conference rooms. Those with lower chances of surviving will be given "comfort care" to keep them out of pain, whether they recover or die. It also means that urgent surgeries can be put on hold in addition to elective surgeries, and other patients with serious, but not life-threatening medical problems will face delays in getting care. Other states are preparing to take similar measures if they have to.

The Taliban announced an interim Afghanistan government Tuesday that is made up of all men, many of them veterans from their harsh rule of the country in the 1990s and the 20-year war against the U.S.-led coalition. Among them is the interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who's on the FBI’s most-wanted list and is believed to still be holding at least one American hostage. The interim prime minister, Mullah Hasan Akhund, also headed the Taliban government during the last years of its rule. In addition to not including any women, there's little representation from other ethnic groups other than the dominant Pashtuns. AP noted this formation of the interim government doesn't seem like it would get international support, and in fact, the U.S. expressed concern that the Cabinet included only Taliban, no women and people with problematic histories.

➤MENTAL HEALTH EXAM ORDERED FOR COLORADO SUPERMARKET SHOOTER: A judge ordered a mental health examination yesterday for a 22-year-old man accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket in March to determine if he's competent to proceed with the case. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa has been detained since the March 22nd shooting at a King Soopers supermarket. The defense claims there is a “reasonable belief” that Alissa has an unspecified “mental disability.” Investigators haven't given a possible motive for the attack.

➤STRONG EARTHQUAKE HITS NEAR ACAPULCO, ONE DEAD, NO SERIOUS DAMAGE: A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the resort city of Acapulco, Mexico, last night. There was only one reported death as of early this morning, and no serious reported structural damage. However, the quake could be felt hundreds of miles away in Mexico City, where it caused buildings to sway and cut out some electricity. Acapulco Mayor Adela Roman said in a TV new statement, "there is no really serious situation" so far, but there were gas leaks, and some landslides and fallen walls.

➤RFK'S WIDOW, ETHEL KENNEDY, SAYS ASSASSIN SIRHAN SHOULDN'T BE FREED: Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, said Tuesday that her husband's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, shouldn't be freed from jail, speaking out after he was recommended for parole last month. The 93-year-old Kennedy said in a statement, "Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man. We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again." The parole panel's recommendation isn't final, with California Governor Gavin Newsom able to reject Sirhan's release. Two of Kennedy's children, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Douglas Kennedy, supported Sirhan's release, but six of their surviving siblings spoke out against it after the parole board's recommendation. Kennedy was killed in June 1968.

Newsday 9/8/21
Just four days before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, New York City’s chief medical examiner announced Tuesday that her office had identified two more victims via DNA analysis. Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said that Dorothy Morgan of Hempstead, N.Y., and an unnamed man whose identity was withheld at the request of his family were the latest confirmed victims from the World Trade Center attack that killed more than 2,700 of the nearly 3,000 people who died that day. Morgan worked as an insurance broker in the Trade Center. The two were the first victims identified since October 2019. About 40 percent of the Trade Center victims have still not had any remains identified.
➤IOWA TEACHER 'ON LEAVE' AFTER TELLING 7TH GRADERS HE'S BISEXUAL:  A seventh-grade teacher in Iowa was put on leave by the school district after he told his students that he's bisexual, leading to a walkout by more than 100 students at Winterset High School yesterday. According to a petition, literacy teacher Lucas Kaufmann told students he's bisexual when they asked following a presentation he gave about himself to his class that featured the LGBT Pride flag. Nearly 1,500 people have signed the online petition. Winterset Community School District Superintendent Justin Gross confirmed Kaufmann was put on leave after concerns were raised after his presentation, according to USA Today. He wouldn't comment further, but the report said he acknowledged that state law bars employers from firing people based on sexual orientation and gender identification. USA Today also cited Iowa's largest teachers union as saying it supports teachers being open about their sexual orientation in the classroom.

As cannabis use increases due to legalization efforts and the conditions of the pandemic, research on its effects is developing as well. A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows adults under 45 who had smoked cannabis in the past 30 days were twice as likely to experience heart attacks or myocardial infarction compared to those who had not. The link is even stronger for those who had consumed cannabis more than four times in the past 30 days. Smoking isn’t the only method posing a risk, as co-author of the study, Dr. Karim Ladha, says this included “smoking, vaporization, and other methods such as edibles.” The study also shows that cannabis users are more likely to be men who drink heavily, smoke tobacco, and use e-vapes, but the authors say they “did adjust for these other risk factors.”

šŸ“±SMART PHONES MAY NEGATIVELY AFFECT OUR SENSES:  We do almost everything on our smart phones, but what are they doing to us? Susan Denham Wade, an author in the UK, says the outlook isn’t good. Denham Wade spent four years researching and writing a book about human sight throughout history, which she says is “humanity’s ruling sense.” The smart phone, she says, is the “pinnacle” of this. “We can now observe the world around us, communicate via text and social media, and ping pictures of our everyday activities to friends and family through a small screen, without ever leaving the house,” Denham Wade said. But this over-reliance on sight negatively affects the rest of our senses, as we aren’t utilizing the others as much. According to Denham Wade, the devices may also contribute to higher levels of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. “They are the first thing we reach for in the morning, and the last thing we check at night,” she said.

šŸ¤–ROBOTS REPLACE HOST AND RUNNERS AT DALLAS RESTAURANT:  A restaurant by the name of La Duni found a state-of-the-art solution to being short-staffed, as three robots currently make the rounds at its Dallas location. Co-owner Taco Borga claims he bought the robots out of necessity when workers didn’t return post-pandemic. “They’re not taking anybody’s job, because no one is showing up. What they are doing is helping the ones who are really working,” he said. The three robots are named Alexcita, Panchita and Coqueta, and they have replaced one hostess and two food runners. They have “cartoon faces projected on screens, and they scoot around the room on wheels with bodies that feature tray shelves to carry food.” What’s more, they even compliment customers and sing “Happy Birthday.” All in all, the robots save Borga thousands of dollars each month.

šŸŽ¾MEDVEDEV, SABALENKA REACH SEMIS, BIG UPSET FOR FERNANDEZ: The second-seeded men and women, Daniil Medvedev and Aryna Sabalenka won their quarterfinal matches at the U.S. Open Tuesday to advance to the semifinals. Canada's 73rd-ranked Leylah Fernandez, who just turned 19 on Monday, also reached the semis by pulling off a big upset, beating Number 5 Elina Svitolina in their quarterfinal match 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5). In the day's other quarterfinal, another Canadian, 12th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, when Alcaraz bowed out during the second set because of a leg muscle problem.

Tamp Bay's Nelson Cruz hit two home runs in the Rays' 12-7 win over the Boston Red Sox last night, becoming at age 41 the oldest player in MLB history to hit 30 homers in a season. Cruz hit a two-run home run in the third inning and a solo shot in the fifth, giving him his eighth season with 30 home runs. He passed David Ortiz and Darrell Evans, who were both 40 when they had 30 homers, Ortiz in 2016 and Evans in 1987.

šŸ€GONZAGA MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH FEW CITED FOR DUI: Gonzaga men's basketball coach Mark Few was cited for driving under the influence Monday night, ESPN reported Tuesday, citing a police report it obtained. It said Few was pulled over after 8 p.m. near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, after getting a report that he was driving erratically and speeding. Police said his blood alcohol levels were .119 and .120, over the legal limit of .08. Few apologized in a statement last night for what he called a "lapse in judgment." Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford said in a statement, "While the facts of the situation are still being evaluated, we understand its severity and the legal process that will follow. . . . we respect Coach Few's right to privacy and will refrain from further comment at this time."

Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, and Ted Simimons will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today, the class of 2020's ceremony finally being held after being delayed for over a year because of the pandemic. Also being inducted is the late Marvin Miller, who served as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) from 1966 to 1982. Nobody was selected for the Hall from this year's writers' ballot.

➤TRUMP TO PROVIDE 'GAMECAST' OF SATURDAY BOXING EVENT: Former President Donald Trump will provide commentary during a "gamecast" on Triller of a boxing event this coming Saturday (September 11th) at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, headlined by a bout between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort, Triller told ESPN yesterday. Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., will give commentary for the entire four-fight telecast. Viewers can buy either the main telecast, called by Jim Lampley, or the gamecast.

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