Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Wake-Up Call: Vets Get Health Coverage Boost

The Senate last night approved expanded health benefits for millions of military veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their service. Many who saw service, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq, suffer from ailments related to exposure to toxins emitted by burn pits on military bases. Last night’s vote of 86 to 11 came after an outcry from veterans and their advocates when the bill was blocked by Republicans last week. Comedian Jon Stewart was among the veterans’ advocates who expressed outrage at the delay in the measure’s passage. “Their constituents are dying, and they’re going to get it done after recess?” he asked after the earlier vote. 
➤KANSAS VOTERS SUPPORT ABORTION RIGHTS: Supporters of abortion rights won an unexpected victory in Kansas yesterday as primary voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have removed abortion rights from the state constitution. The change would have allowed the state legislature to ban or severely restrict abortions. With most of the votes counted, it appears the measure was defeated by a margin of about 18 percentage points.

In other results from yesterday’s primaries:
  • Former President Trump chalked up a win in Michigan. U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids, who voted for Trump’s impeachment, was ousted by John Gibbs, a little-known candidate who had Trump’s backing, the Detroit Free Press reported this morning.
  • Missouri state Attorney General Eric Schmitt was projected to win the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate, denying a political comeback to former Governor Eric Greitens.
  • Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the projected winner of the Republican nomination for Kansas attorney general.
  • Final results were too close to call this morning in other states with primaries, including Arizona and Washington state.​

➤PELOSI VISITS TAIWAN: In a visit to Taiwan, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made it clear that she was there to underline America’s rock-solid support for the Asian nation’s sovereignty. In an appearance at President Tsai Ing-wen’s office, Pelosi said she wanted to make it “unequivocally clear” that the U.S. “would not abandon” democratic Taiwan. China has been making increasingly belligerent moves towards Taiwan, which it considers a break-away province. It had threatened “forceful measures” if Pelosi visited Taiwan.

➤TRUMP IS NOT IMMUNE: A federal judge has denied former President Donald Trump’s request to dismiss three lawsuits brought by police officers injured in the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. He had argued that he is “absolutely immune” because he was president at the time. In a ruling, Judge Amit Mehta wrote that Trump’s actions were unrelated to his duties as president but “entirely concern his efforts to remain in office for a second term.”

➤FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHALLENGES IDAHO ABORTION LAW: The U.S. Justice Department is suing Idaho over the state’s near-total abortion ban, which can be used to deny the procedure even in the case of a life-threatening medical emergency. The federal agency argues that the law violates federal regulations requiring hospitals that receive Medicare funding to provide stabilizing treatment to patients in a medical emergency. Attorney General Merrick Garland said there have been widespread reports of delays and denials of emergency surgery to pregnant women since June, when the Supreme Court struck down the federal abortion protections in Roe v. Wade.

💳CREDIT CARD DEBT SOARS: With the cost of living rising, the credit card debt of American families is rising, too. The Federal Reserve, which tracks these things, says Americans added a total $46 billion to their credit card debt in the second quarter of the year. Total household debt surpassed $16 trillion, a record high. The worst of it is, interest rates on debt are rising as the Fed increases its own rates in order to stifle inflation.

➤PUTIN GAL PAL GETS SANCTIONED: The U.S. government has slapped sanctions on a number of very rich Russians with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They include Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, who is said to be Putin’s girlfriend. The sanctions are designed to shut down the flow of money to and from Russia by individuals close to Putin. Their activities could be softening the blow of economic sanctions on the nation itself in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

➤GRIEVING PARENTS BLOCK RAFFLE OF AR-15: The grieving parents of children killed at the Uvalde elementary school have succeeded in forcing the cancellation of a fundraiser that was to include raffling off an AR-15 rifle. The event was to be held about 40 miles from the scene of the tragedy. It was planned by a charity with ties to the National Rifle Association. A protest by parents forced the Hondo City Council to revoke a permit for the event.

➤GIANT REDWOOD GETS SPECIAL PROTECTION: The tallest tree in the world is a redwood that stands 379 feet inside California’s Redwoods National and State Park. It was never easy to get to, as there is no trail near it. Now, the National Park Service has imposed a fine of $5,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months for getting too close to it. It seems that determined hikers have been trampling the underbrush to get to the tree, which is called Hyperion.

🎤VIN SCULLY, VOICE OF DODGERS, DIES: Broadcaster Vin Scully, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has died at the age of 94, the team announced last night. He also was heard on national TV as an announcer for golf and football games. His many career honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

⚾SAN DIEGO GETS JUAN SOTO IN BLOCKBUSTER DEAL: The San Diego Padres have acquired 23-year-old superstar outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals. It’s the biggest deal of the season, and it cost the Padres a lot. The Nationals are getting left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielder Robert Hassell III, shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielder James Wood, right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana, and first baseman Luke Voit.

Other moves from the last day of the MLB trading season:
  • The Boston Red Sox got San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosner after Hosner vetoed a move to the Nationals as part of the Soto package.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies got starter Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Brandon Marsh from the Los Angeles Angels, and closer David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays acquired pitcher Mitch White and infield prospect Alex De Jesus from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers got minor-league pitchers Nick Frasso and Moises Brito in return.
🏈BRONCO’S TIM PATRICK SUFFERS SEASON-ENDING INJURY: Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick was carted off the practice field with a right knee injury that is expected to end his season before it begins. An MRI showed that Patrick suffered a torn ACL, according to Yahoo! Sports.

🏌TIGER WOODS TURNED DOWN A VERY BIG DEAL: Golfer Tiger Woods turned down an offer worth an estimated $700 million to $800 million to join the LIV Golf series, according to Greg Norman, CEO of the new series. “Tiger’s a needle mover, right?” Norman told Fox News, confirming the offer. The controversial LIV, backed by money from the Saudi royal family money, is setting itself up as a rival to the PGA Tour.

🏈MIAMI DOLPHINS HIT WITH PENALTIES: The Miami Dolphins have been stripped of two draft picks after the NFL found the team’s management guilty of contacting a couple of desirable recruits outside of the permissible time period. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was suspended for six games and fined $1.5 million. The investigators found that Dolphins management attempted to contact quarterback Tom Brady and the agent for then-Saints coach Sean Payton.

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