Monday, August 8, 2022

Wake-Up Call: Senate Passes Health Care-Climate Bill

The Senate passed the Democrats' sweeping health care, tax and climate bill Sunday afternoon, which was approved in a party-line 51-50 vote with Vice President Kamala Harris casting her tie-breaking vote. The Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which heads next to the Democratic-led House, is a significant victory for President Biden and Democrats, while still far less than Biden's initial $3.5 trillion Build Back Better proposal put forward in the first year of his presidency last year. The legislation includes the largest-ever federal effort on climate change at close to $400 billion, and among its major provisions it lets Medicare negotiate what it pays for drugs, caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare to $2,000 a year, and extends expiring subsidies that help 13 million people afford health insurance. The package raises corporate taxes by imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations with yearly profits of over $1 billion and a one percent tax on companies that repurchase their own stock. Those provisions and others mean the entire estimated $740 billion package is paid for, with some $300 billion extra to use for deficit reduction.

➤CEASE-FIRE TAKES EFFECT BETWEEN ISRAEL, PALESTINIAN MILITANTS IN GAZA: An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire took effect late Sunday local time between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza after nearly three days of violence in which dozens of Palestinians have been killed, the worst fighting since an 11-day war last year between Israel and Hamas. Israeli aircraft had fired on targets in Gaza since Friday, and the Palestinian Jihad militant group fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response. The latest violence began Friday when Israel launched a strike on a leader of the Islamic Jihad, and carried out a targeted strike on a second prominent leader of the militant group Saturday. Both were killed. Israel said it acted against the militant group because of concrete threats of an imminent attack.

➤UKRAINE, RUSSIA TRADE ACCUSATIONS OF SHELLING NUCLEAR PLANT: Ukraine and Russia traded accusations yesterday of shelling the nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, the largest plant in Europe, which came under fire late Saturday. Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator said Russian shelling damaged three radiation monitors around the storage facility for spent nuclear fuels, while Russia claimed Ukraine was responsible for the shelling. Russian forces have occupied the power station for months. The shelling came after Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently warned that the way the plant was being run and the fighting around it posed grave health and environmental threats. 

Cuban firefighters battled a large fire at an oil tank farm for a second day Sunday, joined by specialized teams from Mexico and Venezuela. The fire in the province of Matanzas began Friday night when lightning hit a storage tank and spread to a second tank early Saturday, triggering a series of explosions. Authorities said that a body found at the site Saturday had been identified as a firefighter, but didn't say if he was one of a group of 17 firefighters that had gone missing while trying to battle the fire. Officials said it was still too dangerous to launch a search for the missing firefighters. There were 122 people injured, including five that were in critical condition and nearly 5,000 people were evacuated from the surrounding area.

➤BIDEN LEAVES WHITE HOUSE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE GETTING COVID: President Biden left the White House Sunday for the first time since he got Covid-19 last month, after he tested negative on both Saturday and Sunday following his rebound case. Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, wrote, "He will safety return to public engagement and presidential travel." Biden boarded the Marine One helicopter outside the White House, headed to Delaware to reunite with First Lady Jill Biden, where they were to spend the day in Rehoboth Beach. Biden told reporters, "I'm felling good." Biden first tested positive on July 21st and began isolating and taking the anti-viral drug Paxlovid as he dealt with minor symptoms. He tested negative on July 26th and 27th, but then tested positive again on July 30th with a rebound case, forcing him to isolate once more.

➤MUSK NOW SAYING DEAL TO BUY TWITTER MAY GO FORWARD: Elon Musk is now saying he may go forward with his deal to buy Twitter after all if details on its actual user accounts as opposed to "spam bots" can be confirmed. Musk tweeted Saturday, "If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not." He also challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a, quote, "public debate about the Twitter bot percentage." The Tesla and SpaceX CEO agreed in April to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but has been trying to back out of the deal since last month, claiming Twitter misled him about how many real accounts there are on the social media platform. Twitter sued to force the deal to go through, and a trial is set to begin in October.

Human remains have been found in Lake Mead for a fourth time since May as its water levels recede to historic lows due to an unrelenting mega-drought. National Park Service officials said park rangers were called Saturday about skeletal remains that were found at the Swim Beach area of the lake that straddles the border of Nevada and Arizona. It's unclear how long the latest remains found have been in the lake, which was filled to just 27 percent of capacity as of mid-July. The previous remains discovered included a body that was found in a corroding barrel with a gunshot wound.

➤AR-15s BEING PUT IN EVERY SCHOOL IN N-C COUNTY: A North Carolina sheriff says he's having AR-15 semi-automatic rifles stored in every public school in his county to be prepared in case of a school shooting. Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood said he wants his deputies to be able to react quickly, saying, "I do not want to have to run back out to the car to grab an AR, because that's time lost." Harwood said the AR-15s -- which have become the weapon most commonly used by perpetrators in mass shootings -- will be locked in safes at the schools. He also said there will be other items in there, stating, "We've also got breaching tools to go into those safes. We've got extra magazines with ammo in those safes." While saying he believes keeping guns in schools is now necessary, Harwood said he hates that it's come to that.

🥫GROCERY DELIVERY BOOM FADES: Grocery delivery soared during the pandemic, as people wary of exposing themselves to the risk of getting Covid-19 while shopping at the supermarket turned to the services. According to market research company Brick Meets Click, Americans spent some $500 million on grocery delivery in August 2019, a typical month pre-pandemic. But by June 2020, three months into the pandemic, it had skyrocketed to $3.4 billion. But now the demand for grocery delivery is cooling as inflation has driven higher prices for food and other necessities, on top of the delivery fees and tips for delivery service. While some people are going with pickup instead, which is less expensive, others have returned to doing the shopping themselves. But it hasn't returned to pre-pandemic levels, with Americans having spent $2.5 billion on grocery delivery in June 2022, down 26 percent from 2020, but still well above what it was before the pandemic. David Bishop, a partner at Brick Meets Click, told AP he doesn't believe it will return to where it was, explaining, "I don’t see it moving all the way back to pre-Covid levels. That can has been opened up."

Anne Heche
On Friday, Return to Paradise actress Anne Heche was hospitalized after crashing her car into a Los Angeles home. According to People, she suffered burns as a result of the accident and is currently intubated, but she is in “stable condition.” Lynne Bernstein, a neighbor in the area, said Heche’s car went "almost all the way through" the house, and "almost immediately" caught fire. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call at approximately 10:56 a.m. local time. 59 firefighters spent approximately 65 minutes putting out the fire and extracting Heche from her car. According to Bernstein, the woman who lived inside the home “was in shock,” as she noticed three men in the house before noticing Heche’s car. "I don't think she got what was going on. She said, 'What happened? What happened?'" Bernstein said. He added, "She was extremely fortunate. So were the dogs and her turtle."

After the news broke, many people took to social media to express support for the Volcano actress. Two of Heche’s exes, James Tupper and Thomas Jane, shared their “thoughts and prayers” for her as well.

🎥‘BULLET TRAIN’ ARRIVES AT DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE IN NO. 1 SPOT:  Bullet Train pulled into the box office with a decent $30.1 million opening. The film received a B+ CinemaScore, and some expect it to make $100 million domestically. Deadline speculates that the pic wasn’t a “super train” because some fans think it’s “too talky” for an action film. Box Office Numbers from Friday through Sunday:

1. Bullet Train, $30.1 million (Pitt right)
2. DC League of Super-Pets, $11.2 million
3. Nope, $8.05 million
4. Thor: Love and Thunder, $7.6 million
5. Minions: Rise of Gru, $7.11 million
6. Top Gun: Maverick, $7 million
7. Where the Crawdads Sing, $5.65 million
8. Easter Sunday, $5.25 million
9. Elvis, $4 million
10. The Black Phone, $1.46 million

⚾ROSE PART OF 1980 PHILLIES TEAM HONORED SUNDAY, DISMISSES SEX MISCONDUCT QUESTIONS: Pete Rose was part of the 1980 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies team that was honored before the Phillies' game yesterday. It was Rose's first appearance on the field in Philadelphia since the Phillies scrapped plans to honor him in 2017 due to a woman’s claim she had a sexual relationship with Rose when she was a minor. Rose dismissed questions about that yesterday, telling a Philadelphia Inquirer female baseball writer, "It was 55 years ago, babe." The 81-year-old career hits leader received a standing ovation at Citizens Bank Park field, appearing there for the first time since he received a lifetime ban from MLB in 1989 for betting on Cincinnati Reds games from 1985 to 1987 while playing for and managing the team.

⚾EJECTED TWINS MANAGER BALDELLI BLASTS OVERTURNED CALL THAT GAVE BLUE JAYS 3-2 WIN: Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli blasted an overturned call in the 10th inning yesterday that gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 3-2 win and got him ejected for arguing the call. Toronto's Cavan Biggo hit a sacrifice fly with Whit Merrifield running from third base. Merrifield was originally called out at the plate trying to score the game-winning run, but the call was reversed after replay officials said Twins catcher Gary Sanchez interfered with Merrifield by not establishing a clear lane for him. Baldelli said after the game, "It's one of the worst moments I think we've seen of umpiring in any game I've ever been a part of in baseball, and I think it was pathetic what just played out."

🏌BUHAI WINS WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN: South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai won the Women's British Open for her first major Sunday at Muirfield, getting the win in a playoff on the fourth hole against South Korea's Gee Chun. Buhai was forced into a playoff after letting a five-shot lead heading into the final round slip away, with both her and Chun finishing at 10-under 274. Hinako Shibuno of Japan finished one shot back in third.

🏈BROWNS' RB HUNT PRACTICES AFTER MISSING TWO, DEMANDING TRADE: Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt practiced on Sunday after demanding a trade when the team denied his request for a long-term contract extension and sitting out practice Friday and Saturday in protest. The 27-year-old Hunt, who was the NFL’s rushing leader in 2017, is in the final season of a two-year, $12 million extension signed in 2020.

⚾WHITE SOX'S ANDERSON'S SUSPENSION REDUCED TO TWO GAMES: Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson's three-game suspension was reduced to two games after he reached a settlement with the league this weekend. Anderson was suspended after his helmet made contact with umpire Nick Mahrley's cap during an argument about a strike call. Mahrley had just kicked Anderson out of the game when the shortstop approached him and made contact.

No comments:

Post a Comment