747,270 PEOPLE HAVE DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS IN THE U.S.
222.3 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE U.S. HAVE RECEIVED A VACCINATION DOSE
The Washington Post
The world will burn through its ‘carbon budget’ in 11 years without big emissions cuts, scientists say
Global greenhouse gas emissions have almost completely rebounded after slumping during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the world with just 11 years of burning carbon at the current rate if humanity hopes to avoid catastrophic warming.
The annual report is a joint project of researchers from 70 institutions on five continents. Since 2015, the project has tracked the dwindling amount of carbon dioxide humanity can afford to emit if it hopes to meet the Paris agreement’s aim of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.
Here are some unanswered questions about the Jan. 6 attack
[…] A number of critical questions still need to be answered to understand what happened:
How far did Trump go in his efforts to overturn the election? […]
What else did Trump do and say during his 187 minutes of inaction? […]
Who was responsible for specific actions at and around the Capitol? […]
Why were federal law enforcement agencies not better prepared for violence?
Biden plays up positives but frustrations apparent after Cop26 talks
Joe Biden returned to the US in the pre-dawn gloom on Wednesday to a climate agenda still held in frustrating limbo by Congress, following his high-profile cameo at crunch UN climate talks in Scotland that was heavy on dire warnings but light on deep cuts to planet-heating emissions.
The US president had aimed to arrive in Glasgow for the Cop26 summit with historic climate legislation in hand, which he could use to brandish at world leaders who still harbor resentments over four turbulent years of Donald Trump, where the climate crisis was variously ignored and mocked.
US oil giants top list of lobby offenders holding back climate action
ExxonMobil and Chevron are the world’s most obstructive organisations when it comes to governments setting climate policies, according to research into the “prolific and highly sophisticated” lobbying ploys used by the fossil fuel industry.
The biggest US oil companies, as well as American Petroleum Institute, a lobby group, were found to be the worst offenders in a global report by lobbying experts at the thinktank InfluenceMap. It concluded that companies were manipulating governments to take “incredibly dangerous paths” in their approach to climate action.
Oil giants have mounted “intense resistance” to Joe Biden’s green agenda, according to the report, as the US president’s administration attempted to shift the country away from fossil fuels.
China fires back after Biden slams Xi’s COP26 no-show
China on Wednesday hit back at US President Joe Biden following his criticism of President Xi Jinping’s decision to skip the make-or-break COP26 United Nations summit in Glasgow.
Xi, who leads the planet’s largest emitter of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, has not travelled outside of China since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and has not joined other world leaders for COP26. […]
“Actions speak louder than words,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded on Wednesday.
“What we need in order to deal with climate change is concrete action rather than empty words,” he added. “China’s actions in response to climate change are real.”
Dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ contaminate US tap water: Report
Decaying infrastructure and pollution from toxic “forever chemicals” are causing tens of millions of United States residents to drink contaminated water, increasing the risk of cancer and other ailments, according to a new report.
Fifty-six new contaminants, including pesticides and radioactive materials, have been discovered in US tap water over the past two years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported on Wednesday.
Researchers from the Washington, DC-based non-profit analysed data from nearly 50,000 water systems from across the US to draw their conclusions.
Inflation is at a 30-year high. Here's how the Federal Reserve plans to deal with it
The Federal Reserve is caught in a delicate balancing act as it tries to steer the country out of an unprecedented pandemic.
On one side, the Fed feels the economy still needs help given that the U.S. has yet to recover nearly 5 million jobs that were lost during the pandemic.
But the Fed is also facing another opposing problem: Inflation has climbed to its highest level in three decades as Americans have gone on a spending spree that has sparked widespread shortages.
For now the Fed is straddling a middle line as it navigates the uneven economic recovery.
The NRA is being sued for allegedly breaking campaign finance law to back Republicans
Giffords, the gun-control nonprofit founded by former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the National Rifle Association of violating campaign finance laws dating back to 2014.
The lawsuit alleges that the country's leading gun rights group used shell companies to funnel "as much as $35 million in unlawful, excessive, and unreported in-kind campaign contributions" to Republican candidates for federal office, including Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
"The NRA has long acted like it is above the law, and it has done so flagrantly in the last several election cycles," David Pucino, Giffords Law Center senior staff attorney, said in a statement.
Noose Displayed at Capitol Insurrection in FBI's Custody
A noose seen hanging from a gallows outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection is in the custody of federal agents.
As rioters bludgeoned, beat and berated police inside the Capitol and out, a gallows with a bright orange noose was erected as marauders screamed, “Hang Mike Pence.” […]
No one has been criminally charged in connection with the noose, which is in the possession of the FBI’s Washington Field Office after being found by Dutch journalist Michael Persson, who picked it up as rioters departed.
Democrat Phil Murphy narrowly wins re-election as New Jersey governor
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy survived a closer-than-expected race to win a second term in New Jersey, NBC News projected Wednesday, offering more proof that Republicans are gaining ground in blue states as the 2022 midterm elections approach.
Murphy fended off a challenge from GOP nominee Jack Ciattarelli, a businessman and former state legislator who campaigned on lowering property taxes and relaxing Covid-19 restrictions. He is the state’s first Democratic governor to be re-elected in more than 40 years.
The thin margin — combined with Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race — indicates trouble for President Joe Biden and Democrats nationally, members of both parties said Wednesday.
Inside Climate News
By 2050, 200 Million Climate Refugees May Have Fled Their Homes. But International Laws Offer Them Little Protection
[…] Far from being a future concern, climate change-driven migration and displacement are already taking place. A majority of the 30.7 million people displaced in 2020 were fleeing floods, wildfire, drought or heat waves, according to a report released last week by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. And these trends are only likely to increase in the next decades.
According to a World Bank report released in September, more than 200 million people are likely to migrate over the next three decades because of extreme weather events or the slow degradation of their environments. Most are displaced within their home country. But experts say that about a fourth of the people who flee will cross borders, seeking a better life in a different land.
We’re Heading Straight for a Demi-Armageddon
[…] The world is wandering into a kind of gray area between total failure and real global commitment to containing global warming. In a recent video call to supporters, Varshini Prakash, the head of the Sunrise Movement, which advocates for aggressive action on climate change, said she felt two ways at once—proud “that we forced Democrats and the president to care about our generation” and also angry.
“I feel disappointed that this is all that we’ve won,” she said.
It is hard to know how to feel. A future of possibly 5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming seems like an unknown country. Is it a civilization-ending crisis? Or is it a more familiar version of awful—a bit sweatier, more chaotic, and less just than the world we currently inhabit?
If Democrats Can Lose in Virginia, They Can Lose Almost Anywhere
[…] They were confident that Democrats could pull off the first victory of the midterm cycle and set the stage for next year’s elections. “The commonwealth moves forward, not backwards,” Lissa Savaglio, the president of the group, said from a stage at the front of the restaurant. “We’re not interested in repeating history.”
The voters of Virginia had other ideas, handing the Republican private-equity executive Glenn Youngkin the governorship one year after helping deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. Despite Savaglio’s hopes, the GOP triumph repeated history, extending Virginia’s decades-long habit of voting against the president’s party a year into his first term. Youngkin defeated former Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was seeking to reclaim the office he’d held for a single term, from 2013 to 2017.
The loss was a bracing comedown for Democrats, who had been ascendant in Virginia for more than a decade. At the turn of this century, the Old Dominion was a Republican stronghold. But after Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, Democrats carried the state in four consecutive presidential elections, picked up both U.S. Senate seats, and eventually held every statewide office. Progressive resistance to Donald Trump’s presidency helped Democrats win both chambers of the state legislature in successive elections in 2017 and 2019.
This year, with Joe Biden in the White House, Republicans exceeded the Democrats in enthusiasm and restored the historical pattern in which Virginia’s off-year elections serve as a wake-up call to the president’s party.
Lessons From Virginia: You Can’t Ignore the Civil War
Terry McAuliffe’s defeat in Virginia shows what happens when you are in a war, and only one side fights. The raging battle over whether America is primarily a white nation or whether it is a multiracial democracy continues to define US politics, and we now have painful proof that Democrats’ approach of ignoring the attacks and trying to change the subject to non-racial topics is woefully inadequate.
Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign caught fire when he ratcheted up his attacks on so-called critical race theory (CRT), code for criticisms of any educational curriculum that addresses the country’s long history of racism and oppression of people of color. In complaining that CRT—a law school construct and not actually taught in pre-college courses in Virginia or anywhere else—teaches children to see everything through a lens of race,” Youngkin made the issue into the 2021 equivalent of Trump’s 2016 proposed wall along the Mexican border—a symbolic rallying cry for whites worried about the country’s rapid racial diversification. McAuliffe responded by trying to tie Youngkin to the unpopular Donald Trump, using race-neutral language, without realizing or mentioning that racism and white nationalism both predate and will outlast Trump.
The combination of Youngkin declaring war and McAuliffe pretending there was no war had two fatal electoral effects. First, Youngkin successfully lit the same fuse that ignited such fervent support for Trump across the country, resulting in the highest Republican vote total for any Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate ever. On the other hand, Democratic voters, especially people of color, were neither informed of the existence of a battle, nor encouraged to engage in it. McAuliffe ran a typical moderate campaign, and people of color voted in typical numbers, with slight increases over their numbers from the last gubernatorial election in 2017. This chart compiled from the exit poll data shows the mathematical difference between summoning your side to the battlefront and pretending there is no battle taking place:
The New York Times
Republicans Block a Second Voting Rights Bill in the Senate
Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation to restore parts of the landmark Voting Rights Act weakened by Supreme Court rulings, making it the second major voting bill to be derailed by a G.O.P. filibuster in the past two weeks.
Despite receiving majority support, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named for the civil rights activist and congressman who died last year, fell nine votes short of the 60 required to advance over Republican opposition.
In the aftermath of the defeat, Senate Democrats said they would intensify internal discussions about altering filibuster rules or making other changes to allow them to move forward on voting rights legislation despite deep resistance by Republicans, who have now thwarted four efforts to take up such measures.
Supreme Court seems poised to expand Second Amendment rights and strike down NY handgun law
The Supreme Court seemed ready to expand Second Amendment rights after hearing arguments for over two hours and expressing skepticism about a New York law that restricts individuals from carrying concealed handguns outside the home for self-defense.
Chief Justice John Roberts at one point pressed New York's solicitor general about the breadth of the law that requires an individual to show "proper cause" before obtaining such a license in locations typically open to the general public, even in rural areas.
"How many muggings take place in a forest?" Roberts asked, and Trump's three appointees, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh were concerned about the high bar necessary to obtain a permit.
Biden encourages parents to get their eligible children vaccinated against Covid-19: 'A day of relief and celebration'
President Joe Biden called the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 "a giant step forward to further accelerate our path out of this pandemic," saying Wednesday that it's "a day of relief and celebration" for parents around the country.
"The bottom line is: We've been planning and preparing for months to vaccinate our children. Our program will be ramping up this week and more doses (will be) shipped out each day so that we have it fully up and running by next week," Biden said during remarks at the White House Wednesday afternoon.
China unlikely to try to militarily seize Taiwan in near future, top U.S. general
China is unlikely to try to militarily seize Taiwan in the next couple of years, even as its military develops capabilities that would enable forcibly retaking the self-ruled island, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday.
"Based on my analysis of China, I don't think that it is likely in the near future -- being defined as, you know, six, 12, maybe 24 months, that kind of window," General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Aspen Security Forum, when asked if China was preparing to make a move on Taiwan in the near future.
Denmark, U.S. and 12 other nations back tougher climate goal for shipping
Denmark, the United States and 12 other countries on Monday backed a goal to reduce emissions by the global maritime sector to zero by 2050, a target to be fleshed out in negotiations at the United Nations shipping agency.
The initiative, led by Denmark and announced on the sidelines of the U.N. COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, aims to build support among countries for the goal at the International Maritime Organization, which is considering new emissions-cutting measures by a 2023 deadline.
"We urge the IMO to take action to set ambitious targets to achieve zero emission shipping by 2050," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference at COP26. "Carbon-neutral shipping is vital to reaching our climate goals."
More than 5 million people have died of COVID-19 worldwide
More than 5 million people worldwide have now died from COVID-19, according to data tracking by Johns Hopkins University. The global case count is nearly 250 million.
The official death tally reached 5,004,524 million as of late Monday, but that number is certainly an undercount. Some experts suspect the actual death toll may be as high as 10 million.
The milestone comes as cases and deaths are on the decline in the US. This summer's wave of cases driven by the hypertransmissible delta variant is finally subsiding. But cases are still quite high and now hovering around 73,000 a day.
In a weekly report from October 26, the World Health Organization noted that the US still accounts for the highest number of new cases worldwide. Overall, the US leads the world with the highest case count (nearly 46 million currently) and the highest death tally (over 745,000).