Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Biden Admits Package Will Be Less Than $3.5T

As congressional Democrats continue to argue and work toward agreement on President Biden's Build Back Better agenda, he is acknowledging that it will be less than the $3.5 trillion package that had been sought. During an appearance yesterday in Michigan, where he went to try to rally public support for the plan, Biden told reporters, "I want to make sure that we have a package that everyone can agree on. It’s not going to be $3.5 trillion. It’s going to be less than that." That's similar to what Biden has reportedly been saying in meetings over the past couple of days with House Democrats, with AP citing an unnamed Democrat as saying the president said he expected to final amount to be between $1.9 trillion and $2.3 trillion. The biggest reason for the reduced cost is Democratic holdout Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have insisted they want the price to be lower.

Filibuster to Lift Debt Limit?: Meanwhile, Biden also suggested yesterday that Democrats could potentially change the Senate's filibuster rules for the issue of lifting the nation's debt limit. Congress has until October 18th to raise the debt limit or the U.S. will have a credit default, which would set off a financial crisis. Senate Republicans are refusing to vote to raise the limit, with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the Democrats should do it on their own, but his party is also filibustering it, not allowing Democrats to do that. Biden told reporters of possibly changing the filibuster rules for the issue: "It’s a real possibility."

➤FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS: A former Facebook data scientist testified before Congress yesterday, charging that the social network giant puts profits over safety, allowing things like the fueling of misinformation, causing harm to children and inciting political violence. Frances Haugen, who joined Facebook in 2019, told the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection that she believes tough government oversight could help reduce the harm that's caused. She charged, "The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people," adding, "Congressional action is needed. They won’t solve this crisis without your help." 

In a note to Facebook employees yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disputed Hagen's claims that they put profits over its users well-being, writing, "At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted." However, he did agree on the need for updated internet regulations.

➤EVIDENCE SUGGESTS SHIP'S ANCHOR SNAGGED ON PIPELINE CAUSED CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL: Evidence emerged yesterday that an oil spill off the Southern California coast over the weekend was caused by a ship's anchor snagging on and dragging an underwater pipeline that then ruptured. CEO Martyn Willser of Amplify Energy Corp., which operates the pipeline, said, "The pipeline has essentially been pulled like a bow string." However, the time of the spill is still unclear, with first reports of a possible spill on Friday night. Up to 126,000 gallons of heavy crude oil went into the ocean off Huntington Beach and has washed up onto miles of beaches and a protected marshland.

➤FBI RAIDS OFFICE, HOME OF NYPD SERGEANTS UNION HEAD: The FBI raided the office and home yesterday of the head of a New York City police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, with an FBI spokesman saying it was done in connection to an "ongoing investigation." Union president Ed Mullins, who's known for sending incendiary tweets and clashing with city officials, resigned hours later. A message sent by the union's board to members said Mullins resigned at its urging. It's not clear what the investigation is about. Mullins is currently involved in department disciplinary proceedings for tweeting NYPD paperwork last year about the arrest of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter during protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. De Blasio tweeted in response to yesterday's developments, saying, "Ed Mullins dishonored his uniform, his city and his union more times than I can count. It was just a matter of time before his endless hatred would catch up with him."

➤WILL YOU LET YOUR CHILD TRICK-OR-TREAT THIS HALLOWEEN? HERE’S HOW THE CDC SAYS TO DO IT SAFELY:  Is trick-or-treating safe this year? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it can be done safely if you take proper precautions. For one thing, you should avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters; hand out treats outdoors if possible; set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take; wash your hands before handling treats and wear a mask. Last week, Dr. Rochelle Wolensky, director of the CDC said, “If you’re able to trick-or-treat outdoors, absolutely.” A more comprehensive list of the CDC’s Halloween-related safety measures can be found on the CDC’s website.

🤣STUDY..CLEVER CHILDREN TELL BETTER JOKES: Kids with higher levels of general knowledge and verbal reasoning tell better jokes, finds a new study. Researchers found that general intelligence was highly correlated with humor, with the higher a child’s level of intelligence, the greater their ability to be humorous. Lead study author Professor Ugur Sak adds, “Parents and teachers should be aware that if their children or students frequently make good quality humor, it is highly likely that they have extraordinary intelligence.”'

➤JOHNSON & JOHNSON SEEKS FDA APPROVAL FOR VACCINE BOOSTER: Johnson & Johnson asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday to give approval for a booster shot of its Covid-19 vaccine. The company said it requested authorization for boosters for people age 18 and older who previously got its one-shot vaccine. The FDA is convening its outside panel of advisers next week to review booster data from Johnson & Johnson and from Moderna for a booster for its vaccine, the first step in a review process. Last month, the agency authorized boosters shots of Pfizer’s vaccine for older Americans and other groups at heightened risk.

➤STUDY REVEALS THE EVOLUTIONARY REASON WOMEN FEEL COLDER THAN MEN:  There’s a scientific reason that men usually feel warmer than women do. Tel Aviv University researchers looked at a number of bird and bat species, and found that in the breeding season males and females tend to segregate, with males living in cooler areas. The females also end up giving birth in warmer climates. This is a phenomenon that is observed in many species of birds and mammals. A researcher says, “[In] the human realm, we can say that this difference in thermal sensation did not come about so that we could argue with our partners over the air conditioning, but rather the opposite: it is meant to make the couple take some distance from each other so that each individual can enjoy some peace and quiet.” They also add that human females tend to have much more physical contact with one another compared to human males, which could also account for this phenomenon.

⚾RED SOX END YANKEES' SEASON WITH 6-2 WIN IN AL WILD CARD GAME: The storied rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees added a new chapter last night (October 5th), when the Sox ended the Yankees' season with a 6-2 win in the AL Wild Card game at home in Boston. Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber homered off of Yankees' starter Gerrit Cole, who was taken out in the third inning, while Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi took a shutout into the sixth inning. The Red Sox advanced to the AL Division Series, where they'll play the Tampa Bay Rays starting Thursday night.

⚾CARDINALS AND DODGERS TO FACE OFF IN NL WILD CARD GAME TONIGHT: The St. Louis Cardinals and reigning World Series champion L.A. Dodgers will face off tonight (October 5th) at Dodger Stadium in the NL Wild Card Game. Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals and Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Dodgers. The winner will play in the division series against the San Francisco Giants.

🏈JAGUARS OWNER KHAN CRITICIZES MEYER FOR 'INEXCUSABLE' BEHAVIOR: Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan publicly criticized head coach Urban Meyer Tuesday for what he called "inexcusable" behavior at an Ohio bar over the weekend. 

Video posted on social media showed a young woman dancing close to Meyer's lap as he's sitting on a bar stool, and another clip seems to show him touching her rear end. Khan said, "[H]is conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect." Meyer apologized Monday to his family, to the team and to Khan, saying of what he'd done, "Just stupid. Should not have put myself in that kind of position." Meyers has said he'd gone to dinner with family members when the group tried to get him to dance with them.
Jacksonville has an 0-4 record so far this season.

🏈COWBOYS RELEASE LINEBACKER JAYLON SMITH: The Dallas Cowboys released linebacker Jaylon Smith yesterday (October 5th), the unexpected move coming four weeks into the season. From 2018 through the Week 4 game this season, Smith played in all 68 games for the Cowboys, 56 starts of them starts. The 26-year-old signed a six-year, $68 million contract extension in 2019.

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