Fuel & Unusual Punishment
July 18, 2022
Some Good News
- New 988 hotline is the 911 for mental health emergencies (AP)
- A YouTuber went to an unclaimed baggage store and bought replacements for items that passengers lost (Yahoo)
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller
Conservative Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) has strangled the last gasp from President Biden’s ambitious social infrastructure and climate-battling agenda. After seven months of trying to appease the recalcitrant senator and salvage key pieces of the president’s visionary Build Back Better legislation, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed Thursday that only a negotiated plan to lower prescription drugs costs and a short-term extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies would remain of Biden’s already slimmed down $1.9 trillion domestic economic package. There would be no funding for climate or energy programs, or raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans like Manchin himself.
On a West Virginia radio show Friday, Manchin said his message had been “inflation is wreaking havoc on everybody’s life,” and fellow Democrats could either accept a smaller deal this July focused on health care costs, or they could try again on a larger package once he gets a chance to assess whether the economy has improved. Democratic lawmakers were furious that yet again a Manchin demand had single-handedly thwarted the president in a critical election year. Earlier, the party abandoned proposals to expand child care, education, and a wide array of poverty-fighting programs, only to face the reality that those concessions still weren’t enough to win Manchin’s must-have vote. Biden soon did what he could to salvage something by calling on Democrats to take the deal, arguing that even a smaller package would provide immense financial relief to Americans. He pledged to take “strong executive action” on climate change if Congress did not, and stressed he would “not back down” from “the opportunity to create jobs and build a clean-energy future.”
Biden’s call to action reflects the impossible political bind facing the party’s lawmakers who spent over a year wrangling in an endless back-and-forth with Manchin, who continually sought delays or changed his mind. Rising inflation gave the senator even more of an excuse to walk away. “I’m not going to do something, and overreach, that causes more problems,” Manchin said on the radio show. But the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.) countered: “Senator Manchin has said a lot of things. Every time, what he makes clear over and over again, is he can’t close a deal and that you can’t trust what he says.” (NYT ($), WaPo ($))
- Saudi Arabia has hired U.S.-based PR giant Edelman to remake the Kingdom’s image from that of a murderous autocracy into a new, modern-minded tourism and culture destination. In a previously unreported 109-slide proposal filed in June with the Department of Justice, the global public relations consultancy proposed a five-year-long “Search Beyond” marketing campaign.
- The campaign envisions the Saudis developing partnerships with celebrities and pursuing opportunities that could lead to productions filmed throughout the Kingdom. The firm pitched partnering with MTV and teaming up with major institutions; it also suggested getting international celebrities like Priyanka Chopra and DJ David Guetta to serve on the board of the campaign.
- Some of Edelman’s specific out-of-the-box ideas included having the Kingdom host an entire week of “The Daily Show” from different locations in the country, having Hollywood elite come to the Kingdom for a Golden Globes-like show rather than staying put in Beverly Hills, or having the Saudis create some sort of partnership with the Coachella music festival that would draw the L.A. influencer crowd every year. (Politico)
Fuel & Unusual Punishment
- Many Haitians rely on petrol to fuel generators that power their homes and businesses due to the lack of electrical infrastructure. The country has now been experiencing months of increasingly violent social unrest over fuel shortages.
- As of May, nearly 150 people in the capital of Port-au-Prince had been killed with scores more wounded, and some 20,000 had fled their homes. Petrol stations across the country have been closed, and on July 11, one major port terminal had to be shut down due to the violence.
- In the last week, gang warfare has left dozens dead and thousands trapped without food or water in the notorious Cite Soleil slum district. The global medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (A.K.A. Doctors Without Borders) has called for the gangs to allow aid into the district to “spare civilians.” (Guardian, Crisis24)
Additional World News
- Prime Minister Race in Britain Remains Unsettled in Wake of Johnson’s Downfall (NYT, $)
- Extreme Heat Continues Its March Across Western Europe (NYT, $)
- Zelensky fires top officials over staffers’ ‘collaboration’ with Russia (CNN)
- Can Planting a Trillion New Trees Save the World? (NYT, $)
- Ukraine War: The Donbas body collector who has lost count (BBC)
- Africa is being left behind as wealthy nations push 4th COVID booster shots (NPR)
- Biden disputes Saudi account of Khashoggi murder discussion (Reuters)
How Many Good Guys With Guns Does It Take To Stop A Bad Guy With A Gun?
- On Sunday, a Texas House committee released the most exhaustive account yet of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary, and law enforcement’s 77-minute delay in confronting the 18-year-old gunman. The report said 376 law enforcement officers were at the school, but were devoid of clear leadership, basic communications, and sufficient urgency to take down the gunman.
- The school’s surveillance video, released last week, showed scores of police just waiting in the hallway not attempting to confront the shooter. The report said that decision disregarded the police’s own active shooter training; furthermore, better-equipped departments should have stepped up to fill a leadership void after Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo failed to take charge.
- The House report was the first to criticize the inaction of state and federal law enforcement, while other reports and public accounts blamed Arredondo for his role as incident commander. Lt. Mariano Pargas, acting chief of the Uvalde Police Department that day, was placed on administrative leave hours after the report dropped. Two teachers and 19 children died, raising the question of whether some could have been saved had the response been quicker. (Texas Tribune)
Hot And Bothered
- Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed dangerous levels of heat across the South, West, and Midwest on Sunday. Almost 42 million people – 13 % of the population of the contiguous U.S. – live in the areas expected to have dangerous levels of heat all this week.
- The heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels outside, taking into account humidity as well as temperature. The measurement is used to indicate when the level of heat is dangerous for the human body while in the shade. When out in the sun, a person could perceive that temperature as being up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit higher.
- The National Weather Service recommends that people drink fluids, stay in cooler rooms, keep out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors, especially older people and those who live alone. Hundreds of people die from extreme heat in the United States every year. (NYT, $)
Additional USA News
- Why a Middle-Class Lifestyle Remains Out of Reach for So Many (NYT, $)
- A North Dakota City Attracted a Corn Mill. Then Came Questions About Its Chinese Owners. (NYT, $)
- Gas prices are falling, but voters say they aren’t feeling the relief (NBC)
- Broken and distrusting: why Americans are pulling away from the daily news (Guardian)
- National GOP endorsements poured in for a 25-year-old. It might not matter. (Politico)
- Bulletproof safety pods for schools draw internet’s ire. An expert weighs in (NPR)
- 4 dead after small planes collide at North Las Vegas Airport (ABC)
A Second-Chance Romance
- We can all finally stop wondering if J Lo will cast Ben aside and go back to Alex Rodriguez. The oft-married, engaged-unengaged mega-star now calls herself Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck following a whirl-wind yet “intimate” and “perfect” wedding Saturday in Las Vegas. Prior to Saturday, Jenny From The Block had been married three times and engaged six times, twice to Affleck.
- In Sunday’s newsletter to her fans, J Lo wrote: “Last night we flew to Vegas, stood in line for a license with four other couples, all making the same journey to the wedding capital of the world. We barely made it to the little white wedding chapel by midnight. They graciously stayed open late a few minutes, let us take pictures in a pink Cadillac convertible, evidently once used by the king himself (but if we wanted Elvis himself to show, that cost extra and he was in bed).” She added that she wore a dress from an old movie and Affleck wore a jacket from his closet.
- The Bennifer love saga has been more than 20 years in the making. The couple first met on a movie set in December 2001 and were engaged by November 2002. They postponed their wedding in September 2003 citing “the excessive media attention,” but they never made it down the aisle and officially called off their engagement in January 2004. Then it took another 17 years – with children and marriages therein – before the two love birds flew back to one another. We couldn’t be happier for them. (CNN)
- How to laugh more (Psyche Guides)
- The case for a shorter workday (BBC)
- Two Alligators Fatally Attack Florida Woman After She Falls Into Pond (NYT, $)
- Do single-use plastic bans work? (BBC)
- Did Nature Heal During the Pandemic ‘Anthropause’? (NYT, $)
- ‘Bees are really highly intelligent’: the insect IQ tests causing a buzz among scientists (Guardian)
Please consider supporting Daily Pnut, an independently operated and bootstrapped publication, and you’ll receive our exclusive Sunday edition. Many thanks to everyone who already supports us!
' title="RECOMMENDED FOR YOU"]