Be Careful What You Fish For
May 26, 2022
Some Good News
- Big Brothers Big Sisters receives a $122.6 million donation to mentor kids (NPR)
- New Virginia law bans police arrest and ticket quotas (WaPo, $)
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
After news broke of Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Michigan’s Oxford Community Schools Superintendent emailed families about the potential impact on the Oxford school community. He wrote: “Our hearts are shattered once again with the news of the school shooting in Texas where so many more precious lives have been needlessly stolen this afternoon.” The county sheriff said, “I am sure this tragedy in Texas is triggering terrible memories, anxiety, and fear in Oxford and our communities.” The men were referring to the mass shooting on November 30, 2021, at Oxford High School, when four students were killed and seven people injured. Wednesday morning, Michigan’s Democratic lawmakers tried forcing action on gun control measures – safe storage standards for firearms and background checks for purchases – that languished in the GOP-controlled legislature for nearly a year. Their efforts were blocked. One Republican senator said families were grieving, and it was “way too early” to assign bill numbers to their grief. He suggested finding “spiritual solutions.”
Texas’ pro-gun governor Gregg Abbott held a press conference at a Uvalde High School auditorium Wednesday. He said the school shooter had a “mental health challenge,” and the state needed to “do a better job with mental health.” Texas ranks last of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall access to mental health care; in April, Abbott slashed $211 million from the department that oversees Texas’ mental health programs. In rejecting suggestions that stronger gun control laws could have prevented Tuesday’s tragedy, Abbott conceded the slain suspect had no known mental health issues or criminal history. Texans can openly carry handguns and rifles without a permit. An 18-year-old can buy semiautomatic rifles and ammunition without a background check or training, as the Uvalde shooter did. Abbott contends gun laws don’t make a difference in public safety, even though Texas gun homicides have increased more than 90% in the last decade, and include half the deadliest school shootings.
The NRA’s Annual Meeting takes place Friday and Saturday in Houston, with prominent Republican speakers like Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, former President Donald Trump, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court appears poised to strike down a New York law restricting individuals from carrying concealed handguns outside the home. (Detroit News, NBC, mhanational.org, NYT ($), CNN)
Old, Hard Facts
- President Putin is making an all-out effort, at a huge cost, to take control of Ukraine’s Donbas region. Russian forces are pushing to encircle two cities on either side of the Siverskyi Donets River, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which are among the easternmost parts of Donbas that Ukrainian forces still control.
- The governor of Luhansk province, where both cities are located, said the situation is “dire” and Severodonetsk “is being destroyed.” He added, “ Our guys are holding on, but Putin set a goal for his army to capture the Luhansk region, no matter what cost.”
- Russian forces have suffered such heavy casualties in Ukraine that Moscow’s parliament approved a law Wednesday in double-quick time removing the upper age limit for contractual service in the military. Currently, only Russians aged 18-40 and foreigners aged 18-30 can enlist as professional soldiers in the Russian military. (WSJ ($), Reuters)
Be Careful What You Fish For
- China is trying to get 10 small Pacific nations to endorse a sweeping agreement covering everything from security to fisheries in what one leader warns is a “game-changing” bid to take control of the region. A draft of the agreement shows that China wants to train Pacific police officers, team up on “traditional and non-traditional security,” and expand law enforcement cooperation.
- It also wants to jointly develop a marine plan for fisheries (which would include the Pacific’s lucrative tuna catch), increase cooperation on running the region’s internet networks, and set up cultural Confucius Institutes and classrooms. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Beijing might use the proposed accords to take advantage of the islands and destabilize the region.
- He warned China “has a pattern of offering shadowy, vague deals with little transparency or regional consultation in areas related to fishing, related to resource management, development, development assistance and more recently even security practices.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and a 20-person delegation began a visit to the region this week. (AP News)
Additional World News
- Millionaires join Davos protests, demanding ‘tax us now’ (Guardian)
- Moldova’s pro-Russian former president Dodon detained, says he is innocent (Reuters)
- Thousands of detained Uyghurs pictured in leaked Xinjiang police files (Guardian)
- Tedros re-elected as head of World Health Organization (Reuters)
- Boris Johnson’s staff got drunk, brawled and abused cleaners during Covid lockdowns, damning report finds (CNN)
- Former leftist rebel emerges as the favorite in Colombia’s presidential race (LAT, $)
- Most Caribbean nations planning to attend Americas Summit: sources (Reuters)
- Hey you, yes YOU! Are you reading this at your desk? Maybe taking a quick break from work to skim through your favorite newsletter? We get it. While we think that’s a solid little break, an even better break would be to get up! Stretch! Maybe take a lap around your office, house, or apartment.
- Sitting in the same spot for a whole workday is naturally going to slowly knock you out. It’s time to prioritize moving around, even if it’s just a small amount. To start, there are also a ton of great stretches you can do at your desk. You can find a solid list here.
- So start setting a reminder every hour to stretch or just get up. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel at the end of the day!
A New Force Of Action
- The Justice Department is updating its use of force policy for the first time in 18 years. Attorney General Merrick Garland outlined the new policy in a memo sent to senior Justice leaders on Friday, just days before the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.
- Floyd’s demise at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer set off a racial reckoning and calls for change across the nation, although it should be noted that federal officers have not been involved in the vast majority of recent high-profile cases in which people of color died at the hands of local or state police.
- The new federal rules emphasize de-escalation; for example, tactics such as firing guns to disable cars are barred. They also dictate an “affirmative duty” to intervene – to prevent or stop other officers from using excessive force and to render or call for medical aid when it’s needed. The policy takes effect July 19, and applies to all agencies under the Justice Department, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service. (justice.gov, NPR)
Crisis Of Faith
- Last Friday, the Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, the Catholic Church’s archbishop in San Francisco, called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be denied Communion because of her vocal support for abortion rights. It was a stunning rebuke of one of the nation’s most senior practicing Catholic politicians, who often evokes her faith when discussing her family and politics.
- In an interview Tuesday morning, Pelosi questioned whether the archbishop was using a double standard when saying he would deny her Communion over abortion rights while continuing to allow politicians who support the death penalty to receive the sacrament. Pelosi queried: “I wonder about the death penalty, which I’m opposed to. So is the church, but they take no actions against people who may not share their view.”
- Cordileone is one of the country’s most conservative Catholic leaders. Pelosi challenged the notion of imposing her personal views on abortion on others, and highlighted Cordileone’s pronouncements on other issues, like his vehement opposition to LGBTQ rights. Pelosi said that was “not consistent with the Gospel of Matthew.” (WaPo, $)
Additional USA News
- Indiana lawmakers override GOP governor’s veto to enact anti-trans sports ban (CNN)
- Kemp, Raffensperger win Georgia Republican primary election: full results from Alabama, Arkansas, Texas & more (CBS)
- US to end Russia’s ability to pay international investors (ABC)
- Video released of Oath Keepers, Proud Boys leaders meeting 24 hours before January 6 attack (CNN)
- The US Is Addicted To Gas Heating. A New Bill May Make Going Electric The Easy Choice. (HuffPost)
- On George Floyd Anniversary, Biden Set to Issue Policing Order (NYT, $)
All Shark And No Bite
- Kavachi Volcano in the Solomon Islands is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean. The first reports of its activity were recorded in 1939. Since then, there have been at least 11 significant eruptions so powerful that they created a new island, which has since eroded. According to NASA, large eruptions were last observed at Kavachi in 2014 and 2007, but the volcano erupts nearly continuously, and residents of nearby inhabited islands often report seeing visible steam and ash.
- In 2015, scientists on a research expedition discovered a scalloped hammerhead and a silky shark living in the Kavachi Volcano among multiple fish species. They surmised the large marine animals must have mutated to be able to exist in such an extreme environment and tolerate the extremely hot, acidic water. Naturally, the volcano was then dubbed a “Sharkcano.”
- The summit of the Sharkcano is currently estimated to lie 65 feet below sea level. Its base lies on the seafloor at a depth of 1.2 kilometers, or three-quarters of a mile. On May 14, Sharkcano erupted again, and NASA has satellite images of it happening. The pictures show a plume of discolored, superheated, acidic water being emitted. It’s really interesting for humans, but probably just another Saturday for the resident sharks. (NDTV)
- She thought a dark moment in her past was forgotten. Then she scanned her face online (CNN)
- Welcome to the Zombie Cryptocalypse (Wired)
- Bear caught on video in Silver Spring yard stealing food from birds (WaPo, $)
- Ancient fossils of gigantic ‘Dragon of Death’ flying reptile unearthed in Argentina (USA Today)
- Researchers are using Google’s app to study the effect of phones on mental health (The Verge)
- Rediscovered Wizard Of Oz dress sparks cutthroat legal battle (AV Club)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU