Rain Of Terror
November 17, 2021
Last week, we shared a story about Rep. Paul Gosar posting a violent video of Rep. AOC and President Biden. There were calls for Gosar to take the video down (which he has since done), but we wondered how our readers would feel. As promised, we’ve compiled the responses when asked if Gosar should remove the video or not.
“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.” — Lemony Snicket
A Game Of Chance
Earlier this month, the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) used its emergency powers over workplace safety to set January 4 as the deadline for companies with 100 or more employees to mandate coronavirus vaccinations, or require masks and weekly testing of their workers. The rule is expected to cover 84 million workers, roughly 31 million of whom are unvaccinated.
At least 34 lawsuits opposing the rule were filed around the country, generally alleging the requirement is an unconstitutional overreach that would cost millions of jobs. A three member panel of the ultra-conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard plaintiffs’ arguments that OSHA has no legitimate power to protect workers against exposure to disease, as opposed to workplace hazards like asbestos. The Justice Department argued that blocking the mandate “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day…large numbers of hospitalizations, other serious health effects, and tremendous costs…a confluence of harms of the highest order.” The rule was necessary to protect workers from the pandemic and was well grounded in law.
Nevertheless, on November 6, the panel in New Orleans sided with plaintiffs and granted an emergency stay, declaring the rule “grossly exceeds” OSHA’s authority. The judges wrote that in enacting the law creating OSHA and empowering it to issue “emergency” rules to protect workplace safety, Congress didn’t intend “to authorize a workplace safety administration in the deep recesses of the federal bureaucracy to make sweeping pronouncements on matters of public health affecting every member of society in the profoundest of ways.”
When multiple federal lawsuits involving “one or more common questions of fact” are filed in separate courts, the petitions are consolidated and heard by one court chosen at random. Challenges to the OSHA rule have been filed in almost every U.S. Circuit Court; each one of those courts gets one entry, regardless of the number of cases filed in each court. All entries are placed in a drum, and the clerk of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Washington, D.C. draws one at random. The drawing was Tuesday morning, and the winner is Ohio’s Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Of the three members on the Fifth Circuit panel that granted the injunction against the OSHA rule, two are Donald Trump appointees. It isn’t known yet which judges on the Sixth Circuit will be assigned to hear this case; nor is it known whether they would decide to continue with an injunction against the mandate, or instead let the government proceed for now amid briefings and arguments. As a whole, the Sixth Circuit also tilts conservative. Of its 16 sitting judges, 11 were Republican appointees. (NYT, AP News, NPR)
- The controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, took five years to complete. It would double Moscow’s gas exports to Germany, but it also circumvents Ukraine, which relies on existing pipelines for income and would be hard-hit by the loss of transit fees.
- German businesses have invested heavily in the multi-billion dollar, 760-mile pipeline, and former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder played a big role in its development. The pipeline was completed in September and was awaiting approval, but Germany’s energy regulator suspended certification, saying the pipeline’s operating company needed to be compliant with German law before it would approve the project.
- Gas prices were already high before this latest setback, and the new delay has caused U.K. and E.U. wholesale gas prices to rise another 17%. The German regulator’s decision to suspend certification was welcomed by Ukrainian energy firm Naftogaz, and Polish gas company PGNiG called for energy solidarity in the E.U. to ensure security of supplies. (BBC)
Having His Day In The Un
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance in over a month, visiting a new state-developed alpine city billed as a “model” socialist “utopia.” Tuesday’s visit to the northern city of Samjiyon, near the border with China, comes as Kim approaches his 10th anniversary leading a country suffering from widespread food shortages and cut off from the rest of the world since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Samjiyon, with its ski slopes, commercial and medical facilities, and homes for thousands of families, projects a very different image than that of a nation gripped by extreme poverty. The city is a major economic project developed by Pyongyang to support the notion that the country is thriving despite international sanctions over its nuclear program. “This is all about cementing Kim Jong Un’s legacy,” said one Korea expert. “Kim wants to reinforce the mythology that he is fulfilling a divine mandate to rule.” Amid the scarcity of other foods, North Korea has been breeding black swans for human consumption. (WaPo, NK News)
Additional World News
- Coordinated suicide attacks in Ugandan capital kill at least 3 and injure dozens (WaPo, $)
- Turkey arrests suspect in assassination of Haitian president (Guardian)
- U.S. to partner with Israel to combat ransomware attacks (Reuters)
- S-400 delivery to India has begun: Russian official (Al Jazeera)
- India Reporters Are Arrested Amid Tripura Crackdown (NYT, $)
- Russia confirms anti-satellite missile test, dismisses U.S. space debris concerns (NBC)
- EU court rules against Poland over judicial appointments (CNN)
- ‘Tis the season for spending. From stocking up on ingredients for holiday dinners to buying gifts, we’re all spending more this time of year. But by spending more, there’s more opportunity to align your purchases with your values. That’s where Cluey Consumer comes in.
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A Mayor Scandal
- The 32-year-old mayor of Cambridge, a small, quiet town in Maryland, has provided residents with something really outrageous to get worked up about. The state’s prosecutor announced Monday that Andrew Bradshaw was being charged with multiple counts of distributing revenge porn.
- Bradshaw is alleged to have created numerous accounts on Reddit which he used to post nude photographs of a 26-year-old woman with whom he had a past romantic relationship. The state attorney’s office said the photos were first uploaded under accounts Bradshaw created with usernames that included variations of the name and birthdate of his alleged and currently unnamed victim, then posted to multiple “subreddit” forums “related to sexual activity, humiliation, degradation, race, and other topics.”
- The photos appeared in subreddits with names like “DegradeThisPig” and “Slut.” Bradshaw took office in January and is the youngest mayor in Cambridge‘s history. If convicted of violating the state’s revenge porn statute, he could face two years in prison and a $5,000 fine on each count. Meanwhile, he continues conducting the city’s business. (CBS News)
Rain Of Terror
- An atmospheric river is a plume of moisture that’s been likened to a river in the sky. It can produce epic amounts of rainfall over many days. The Pacific Northwest has seen two atmospheric rivers back to back, with more rain in the last two weeks than is normal for the entire month of November. The current system has produced extreme rainfall, damaging winds, landslides, and record-breaking flooding, placing Washington under a state of emergency.
- The conditions triggered mudslides, prompting closure in both directions of I-5 near Bellingham. I-5 is a major thoroughfare stretching along the West Coast from Mexico to Canada. Officials said Tuesday that 75% of the homes in Sumas — on the border with Canada about 115 miles north of Seattle — have been damaged by floodwaters. Meanwhile, meteorologists are tracking a potentially severe storm that could disrupt Thanksgiving travel plans. The system could begin developing Sunday in the Midwest, strengthening daily before reaching the East Coast by Tuesday. (CNN)
Additional USA News
- Steve Bannon surrenders to face criminal contempt of Congress charges (CBS)
- ‘A bold leader’: White House defends Kamala Harris after reports say she’s struggling (Guardian)
- O’Rourke announces bid to take on Greg Abbott in 2022 Texas gubernatorial race (CNN)
- First Thing: Biden and Xi warn each other over future of Taiwan (Guardian)
- U.S. Republicans move to decriminalize marijuana at federal level (Reuters)
- Leahy retirement shakes up Vermont politics (The Hill)
- Colorado shooting: 6 students from Aurora Central High School hospitalized after shooting at Nome Park (CNN)
That’s Gotta Sting
- Over the weekend, Egypt’s southern province of Aswan was beset with such heavy rain, hail, thunder, and flooding that officials had to suspend school classes on Sunday. Photos and video footage circulated on social media showed flooded streets and damaged houses, vehicles, and agricultural farms.
- But that’s not the worst of it. The storms forced scorpions from their hiding places and into many houses across the province. Egypt’s fat-tailed scorpions, known as Androctonus crassicauda, translates from Greek to “man-killer.” It is one of the most toxic species in the world, possibly because its venom stays in the body longer than all other known scorpion venoms. The venom from a black fat-tail scorpion can kill humans in under an hour.
- Fortunately, this time no deaths were reported from scorpion stings, but at least 503 people had to be hospitalized after being stung. All of them were given anti-venom doses and eventually discharged. Extra anti-venom doses were provided to medical centers in villages near mountains and deserts in Aswan after the scorpion swarm was reported. (NIH, CBS News)
- New Zealand Maori tribe demands vaccine protesters stop performing haka dance (NPR)
- Photos: Dubai Air Show opens as Israel attends for the first time (Al Jazeera)
- How the Black Girl Gamers Community Became a Lifeline (Wired)
- NASA’s Moon landing will likely be delayed ‘several years’ beyond 2024, auditors say (The Verge)
- New mission to scour our interstellar neighbourhood for planets that could sustain life (Guardian)
- The moon has carbon dioxide “traps” that astronauts could use to make fuel and grow plants (Salon)
- This fish has 555 teeth … and it loses 20 every day (LiveScience)
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