Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wake-Up Call: Dems To Force Debate On Voting Rights

Senate Democrats have crafted a plan to force a public debate on the voting rights legislation they have made a priority, after Republicans have for months used a filibuster to prevent debate from beginning on the Senate floor. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined the workaround in memo to fellow Democrats, with the party hoping to focus public attention on the voting rights issue with the debate, after a wave of more restrictive voting laws were passed by Republican-led states since the 2020 election. 

After forcefully calling on Tuesday in Atlanta for passage of the legislation, President Biden will be meeting privately with Senate Democrats today about the way ahead. But Democrats still face a Republican filibuster when it comes to actually passing the legislation. To get around that, they are eyeing changing the filibuster rules, but they will need all 50 Senate Democrats to do that, and it has been opposed by Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. 

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday lashed out at Biden's speech, calling it a "rant" that was "beneath his office" and "pure demagoguery," objecting to Biden comparing those opposed to the voting legislation to segregationist George Wallace and Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

NY Post 1/13/22

Prices in December were up seven percent from a year ago, with inflation the highest in nearly 40 years. The Labor Department data yesterday said that an inflation measure that excludes volatile food and gas prices was up 5.5 percent in December, also the highest in decades. Overall inflation rose 0.5 percent from November, which was down from 0.8 percent the previous month. Pandemic recovery economic forces, including high demand, supply chain issues, and large amounts of government aid that were dispersed, are driving inflation. It's also being seen in other countries, with the 19 European countries that use the euro seeing inflation rise five percent in December compared to a year earlier, the biggest increase on record.

➤HOUSE GOP LEADER MCCARTHY SAYS WON'T AGREE TO INTERVIEW WITH JAN. 6TH COMMITTEE: After the House special committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol requested an interview and records from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican said in a statement yesterday that he wouldn't cooperate, charging their investigation wasn't legitimate and accusing them of abuse of power. McCarthy had been asked to provide information about his conversations with then-President Donald Trump, quote, "before, during and after" the Capitol attack, as well as information about his communications with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days before January 6th.

➤71 NEW CHARGES AGAINST MAN ACCUSED OF DRIVING THROUGH CHRISTMAS PARADE: Prosecutors brought 71 new charges yesterday against a man accused of driving an SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on November 21st, killing six people and injuring dozens more. Darrell Brooks Jr. had already been charged with six counts of homicide, and the new charges include multiple counts of reckless endangerment, hit-and-run involving death, battery and bail jumping. In the criminal complaint with the new charges, prosecutors allege that Brooks crashed into people head-on, ran them over as they lay on the ground, and at one point leaned out his window to steer because someone had landed on his windshield and was blocking his view. Just before he allegedly drove through the parade, Brooks beat up the mother of child because she hadn't bailed him out of jail several days earlier after he was arrested for running her over with the same SUV, according to the complaint.

📱STUDY...PEOPLE SPEND NEARLY A THIRD OF THEIR WAKING HOURS STARING AT THEIR PHONES—AVERAGING 4.8 HOURS A DAY ON APPS:  A study finds we spend way more time staring at our phones than we likely should. App Annie’s latest "State of Mobile" report has found consumers globally spent a record 3.8 trillion hours on their phones in 2021, averaging 4.8 hours a day, or nearly a third of their waking hours. App Annie notes that 2021 was “record-breaking” as consumers continue to embrace a mobile lifestyle and move away from big screens. In particular, the video sharing app TikTok saw an increase of 90 percent use globally, excluding China, compared to 2020. Another interesting find: globally, consumers spent $170 billion on apps, which is up 19 percent from 2020.

➤U-S CANCER DEATH RATE DOWN 32 PERCENT SINCE 1991: The American Cancer Society said in a report out yesterday that the cancer death rate in the U.S. fell by 32 percent between 1991 and 2019. The Cancer Society says the decline is due in part to earlier detection of lung cancer, and patients with cancer living longer after diagnosis. Also cited were more access to screening and care, declining smoking rates, and new combination therapies. 

🛒U-S SHOPPERS SPENT $204 BILLION ONLINE DURING HOLIDAY PERIOD; SOLID INCREASE OVER 2020:  Did you do most of your holiday shopping online in 2021? Adobe Analytics, which tracks holiday spending, reports US shoppers spent $204.5 billion between November 1st and January 1st. That’s an increase of 8.6 percent over the same period in 2020. The firm says shoppers spread out their spending over various days, rather than just doing it on special sale-designated days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and that they spent $3 billion per day for a record 38 days, compared to 25 in 2020. The report also shows online shoppers saw six billion “out of stock” messages online over the holiday period, a rise of more than 250 percent since 2019.

😴REMEMBERING FACES AND NAMES CAN BE IMPROVED DURING SLEEP:   If you’re great at remembering faces, but not names, you might want to try learning them in your sleep. Northwestern University researchers found people’s name recall improved significantly when memories of newly learned face-name associations were reactivated while they were napping. The key to this improvement was uninterrupted deep sleep. The study’s senior author, Ken Paller, adds, “This new line of research will let us address many interesting questions—like whether sleep disruption is always harmful or whether it could be used to weaken unwanted memories. At any rate, we are increasingly finding good reasons to value high-quality sleep.”

🎾AS DJOKOVIC CONTINUES TO WAIT ON VISA DECISION, HE'S INCLUDED IN AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAW: The Australian Open included Novak Djokovic in the draw for the Grand Slam tennis tournament Thursday, with the top seed set to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, who's ranked Number 78, in the opening round next week. That came as Djokovic continues to wait on the immigration minister's decision on whether to again revoke his visa in the ongoing controversy over his claimed medical exemption to Australia's strict Covid vaccination requirements because he tested positive for Covid last month and is recovered. After his visa was canceled when he arrived in Australia last week when his vaccination exemption was rejected, a judge reinstated it Monday on procedural grounds. However, the immigration minister could revoke it again.

🏒MARCHAND GETS HAT TRICK IN BRUINS 5-1 WIN OVER CANADIENS: Brad Marchand scored his fifth career hat trick last night in the Boston Bruins 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Marchand scored twice 15 seconds apart in the first period and then added a short-handed goal in the second. The teams were originally supposed to play in Montreal last night and in Boston on March 12th, but the Bruins home game was moved up to last night instead, in hopes that Canada's capacity restrictions due to Covid will be eased by March.

🏀ESPN: TRAIL BLAZERS STAR LILLARD TO HAVE SURGERY FOR ABDOMINAL INJURY: Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is planning to have surgery for a lingering abdominal injury, ESPN reported yesterday. Lillard, who last played on December 31st, would be out at least six to eight weeks. According to ESPN, a final decision is expected after consultations with doctors this week. Lillard aggravated the injury while playing for the U.S. team at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, and has been dealing with the problem throughout the season.

⚾PITCHER JON LESTER RETIRING: Pitcher Jon Lester announced his retirement yesterday after 16 years, during which he won three World Series, two with the Boston Red Sox in 2007 and 2013, and one with the Chicago Cubs in 2016. The 38-year-old spent most of his career with those two teams. Lester told ESPN, "It’s getting harder for me physically. . . . I don’t want someone else telling me I can’t do this anymore. I want to be able to hand my jersey over and say, 'Thank you, it’s been fun.'" He ends with a 200-117 record and a 3.66 ERA.

🏈NFL RATINGS UP 10 PERCENT OVER LAST YEAR: The NFL's regular-season ratings were up 10 percent over last season, reaching their highest level since 2015. The 272 regular-season games -- which included the debut of an additional week -- averaged 17.1 million viewers across TV and digital platforms. It had been expected that ratings would rise, after a 2020-21 season that was played in the middle of the pandemic, with many empty and reduced-capacity stadiums and people's changed viewing habits, and also partly played during the 2020 election campaign, when many people were watching cable news.

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