Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Biden To Survey Flood Damage In NY, NJ

NY Post 9/7/21
President Biden will today survey damage from flash flooding last week caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida in parts of New Jersey and New York after yesterday approving major disaster declarations for several counties in both states, freeing up federal aid. Biden will tour Manville, New Jersey, and the borough of Queens in New York City, and will use the scenes to call for federal spending to fortify infrastructure against strengthening storms. 

More than 50 people were killed in six Eastern states from flooding caused by Ida's remnants. Biden visited Louisiana on Friday, where the storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 13 people. 

Power is slowly being restored in the state, with more than 530,000 customers in Lousiana still without electricity, just under half from after Ida struck on August 29th. About 70 percent of greater New Orleans and nearly all of Baton Rouge have power back, but utility executives said Monday that getting electricity back outside of those large cities will be more difficult and will take nearly all of the rest of the month.
➤TALIBAN SAY HAVE TAKEN LAST PROVINCE IN AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban said yesterday that they'd taken the last province that hadn't been in their control, Panjshir, with thousands of fighters overrunning opposing forces. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a news conference, "We tried our best to solve the problem through negotiations, and they rejected talks and then we had to send our forces to fight." The resisting forces in the province, which is north of Kabul, were led by the former vice president, Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself acting president after President Ahraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban took Kabul, as well as the son of iconic anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud accused the Taliban of attacking even as they were ready to agree to a cease-fire, and vowed to continue fighting.

➤GARLAND: JUSTICE DEPT. TO 'PROTECT' WOMEN SEEKING ABORTIONS IN TEXAS: Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday that the Justice Department will "protect" women seeking an abortion in Texas, as federal prosecutors continue to explore options to challenge the state's new law, which bans abortion at six weeks and is enforced by allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in facilitating abortions, such as someone who drives a woman to a clinic to get an abortion, for at least $10,000. Garland said those trying to access abortion services would be protected under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act law, which bans physically obstructing or using the threat of force to intimidate or interfere with a person seeking reproductive health services. Garland said, "We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act."

Tampa Bay Times 9/7/21
➤EX-MARINE ORDERED HELD WITHOUT BAIL IN KILLING OF FOUR IN FLORIDA, INCLUDING BABY: A 33-year-old former Marine sharpshooter was ordered held without bail during his first court appearance Monday after allegedly invading the home of strangers and killing a woman, her three-month-old baby and two others in Lakeland, Florida, early Sunday morning. He surrendered after a gun battle with police, and an 11-year-old girl was rescued from the home who'd been shot seven times. Authorities said Bryan Riley might be mentally ill and told police he was high on methamphetamine and the time of the shootings, and his girlfriend reportedly said he'd been saying that he could communicate directly with God. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Riley told his interrogators that the victims, quote, "begged for their lives, and I killed them anyway." Killed were 40-year-old Justice Gleason, a 33-year-old woman and her baby, and the baby's 62-year-old grandmother. Riley, who worked as a private security guard, had no criminal history.

➤FLOTUS JILL BIDEN IS A WORKING GAL:  First Lady Jill Biden is returning to the classroom today at Northern Virginia Community College, after more than a year of virtual teaching, becoming the first first lady to leave the White House for a full-time job. The 70-year-old, who teaches writing and English, has taught at the same college since 2009, including during the eight years her husband was vice president. She had said she wouldn't give it up as first lady, stating, "Teaching isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am." Since President Biden took office in January, Jill Biden has continued virtual teaching from either her White House office or hotel rooms when she was traveling to promote administration policies. She will now be teaching in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and travel on days when she's not in the classroom.

➤MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS FOUND DEAD: Michael K. Williams, who starred as Omar Little in HBO’s The Wire, was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment yesterday afternoon, police sources told the New York Post. The 54-year-old was reportedly found face-down and unconscious with what appeared to be heroin on the kitchen table and an overdose is suspected. Williams’ spokesperson, Marianna Shafran, confirmed his death, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams. They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss." Williams had been open about his struggles with drugs over the years.

➤PANDEMIC-RELATED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXPIRE: Two enhanced unemployment benefits put in place because of the pandemic expired on Monday, one that gave jobless benefits to self-employed and gig workers and the other that provided benefits to those who've been unemployed for more than six months. Additionally, the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit also ended yesterday. An estimated just under nine million Americans will be affected by the loss of those benefits.

➤SIX-YEAR-OLD DIES ON COLORADO AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE: A six-year-old girl was fatally injured while riding on an attraction at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park amusement park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, on Sunday, the Garfield County Coroner's Office said yesterday. The girl was on the Haunted Mine Drop ride, which is billed as the world's first drop ride to go underground. The nature of the girl's injuries weren't revealed, with the coroner's office saying an autopsy is scheduled for this week. The incident is being investigated by the sheriff's and coroner's offices.

➤PROUD BOYS LEADER REPORTS TO JAIL: The leader of the Proud Boys far-right extremist group reported to a Washington, D.C., jail last night to begin serving a five-month prison term. Enrique Tarrio was sentenced for burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from an historic Black church in Washington last December, and bringing two high-capacity firearm magazines into D.C. two days before the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Tarrio released a statement in which he charged his prosecution was the result of a, quote, "over-politicized Biden Justice Department that caters to who they will set their sights on." However, when he was sentenced in August, Tarrio had said, "What I did was wrong."

➤STATUE OF ROBERT E. LEE TO BE REMOVED IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA: A 21-foot statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, will be removed on Wednesday, state officials said Monday. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam said in a news release, "Virginia’s largest monument to the Confederate insurrection will come down this week." The statue of Lee on a horse was erected more than 130 years against as a tribute to him. It's on top of a high granite pedestal in the center of a traffic circle on Richmond's Monument Avenue. Northam had announced plans in June 2020 to take down the statue, but it was blocked until now by two lawsuits filed by Richmond residents. Rulings by the state Supreme Court cleared the way for its removal.

➤PUTTING YOUR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS UP NOW MAKES YOU HAPPIER, EXPERTS SAY:  It’s September and Halloween is closer than Christmas, but experts say go ahead and put up your Christmas decorations if you feel like it-- it will make you happier. Research shows those who put up their Christmas decorations early are happier and more relaxed than those who wait. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown says that people who start Christmas decorating right after Halloween are driven by nostalgia. He adds, “In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things [sic] that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood. Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical moments of excitement.”

➤COFFEE PRICES ARE ABOUT TO GO UP:  ​Coffee drinkers may be in for a rude awakening as production costs have hit a seven-year-high. Bad weather has hit supplies from Brazil, the worlds largest producer, protests in Columbia have disrupted shipments, and a shortage of shipping containers in South East Asia is also causing delays. Experts predict that supermarket prices are the most likely to increase.

🎾DJOKOVIC ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS AT U.S. OPEN: Top-seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open on Monday, defeating 99th-ranked Jenson Brooksby, the last American left in singles competition. Djokovic dropped the first set to Brooksby, but then dominated the next three sets to win the match. Others winners yesterday included fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev and sixth-seeded Matteo Berrettini. On the women's side, the day's winners advancing to the quarterfinals included fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova and Emma Raducanu (pictured), who beat Americans Shelby Rogers in straight sets, after Rogers had pulled off a huge upset of top-seed Ash Barty in the third round.
🏈SAINTS NOT EXPECTING TO BE BACK IN NEW ORLEANS INTO WEEK 2: New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said Monday that they expect to continue to be in their Dallas area and Texas Christian University practice facilities into at least Week 2 of the NFL season as New Orleans continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Ida. The Saints practiced at TCU Monday and will be there at least until their Week 1 game against the Green Bay Packers, which has been relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, after originally scheduled to be played at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints' schedule has them on the road in Weeks 2 and 3.

🏈TEXANS NAME TAYLOR STARTING QUARTERBACK: The Houston Texans officially named Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback Monday, with head coach David Culley saying, "Tyrod Taylor will start for us at quarterback, for sure." The announcement had been expected, but hadn't been made official until then. Quarterback Deshaun Watson remains on the roster, but isn't expected to play. He's facing 22 lawsuits for allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. Rookie David Mills will be Taylor's backup.

🏈RAVENS SIGN ANDREWS TO FOUR-YEAR, $56 MILLION EXTENSION: The Baltimore Ravens signed tight end Mark Andrews to a four-year extension on Monday, the team announced, with reports saying it's worth $56 million. According to ESPN, that would make him, at $14 million per season, the third-highest-paid tight end in the NFL, behind George Kittle at $15 million per season and Travis Kelce at $14.3 million.

⚽SOCCER GREAT PELE HAD COLON TUMOR REMOVED: Soccer legend Pele said in an Instagram post Monday (September 6th) that he'd had surgery last Saturday to remove a tumor from his colon. He wrote, "Fortunately, I'm used to celebrating great victories alongside you. I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends." His post came after Pele's business manager told The Athletic that the 80-year-old was doing well despite being hospitalized for several days. Pele is the only soccer player in history to win three World Cups, which he did with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

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