[guest post by Dana]
Here we are again. I hope you had a good week, and have a restful weekend ahead. Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything you think might interest readers. Make sure to include links.
First news item
President Biden on Friday signed an emergency determination to speed the processing of prospective refugees, but will retain the Trump administration’s refugee cap of 15,000-per-year, backtracking on an earlier pledge to raise the cap and allow for additional refugee resettlement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress on February 12 that the Biden administration planned to raise the cap to allow up to 62,500 refugees to settle in the U.S. by the end of the current fiscal year.
President Biden on Friday signed an emergency determination to speed the processing of prospective refugees, but will retain the Trump administration’s refugee cap of 15,000-per-year, backtracking on an earlier pledge to raise the cap and allow for additional refugee resettlement…
The Biden administration was concerned that raising the refugee cap would put undue pressure on the Department of Health and Human Services while the agency attempts to house migrant children at the southern border, a senior administration official told the New York Times. However, refugees from overseas are processed via a separate system from migrant children seeking asylum.
“The President remains committed to raising the refugee cap, and I can assure anyone who has concerns that that remains the case,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Thursday.
Completely and utterly unacceptable. Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise.
Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong.
Keep your promise.
“This Biden Administration refugee admissions target is unacceptable.”
“Say it ain’t so, President Joe.”
The White House said Friday President Joe Biden will set a new, increased refugee cap next month after facing a barrage of criticism when officials confirmed to CNN and other outlets that it would remain at the historically low level set by former President Donald Trump.
The WH release actually spun it as "confusion" by the media on the earlier announcement. Kudos to the AP for not falling for the spin. https://t.co/tXH5rQNuI7
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) April 16, 2021
As JVW told me (before the flip-flop):
As badly as the Biden Admin has botched the border situation because they so desperately wanted to pivot away from Trump’s policies, it’s interesting to see that they might be having some second thoughts about this sort of grandstanding.
Second news item
A group of ultraconservative House Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., are discussing launching an “America First Caucus” that would protect “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told reporters Friday that he’s “looking at” joining.
“There is an America First Caucus,” he said, confirming that Greene is involved.
A seven-page organizing document that includes the group’s name and a logo, first reported by Punchbowl News, says: “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
Third news item
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors is under fire for allegedly going on a real-estate buying binge where she purchased four high-end homes, with some being in wealthy predominately white neighborhoods.
According to property reports referenced by NY Post, Khan-Cullors is accused of purchasing four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the US. She’s also said to have been eyeing property in the Bahamas at an exclusive luxury beachfront resort outside Nassau where condos are priced between $5 million to $20 million…
After news of Khan-Cullors luxury living hit the press, other members of the Black Lives Matter organization called for an investigation. “If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes,” said Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York City. “It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it’s the people that carry this movement.”
— #1 #SNOWFALLFX FAN IN LIFE (free Melody) (@VanLathan) April 16, 2021
Fourth news item
As the Republican Party charts its path forward, national donor interest in DeSantis is skyrocketing. Major givers across the country are lining up to support the governor’s 2022 reelection effort, with some committing to hosting fundraising events and others plowing funds into his campaign bank account. In the past two-plus months alone, DeSantis has received six-figure contributions from Republican megadonors including Bernie Marcus, Paul Tudor Jones and Steven Witkoff, who in March held a high-dollar fundraiser at his lavish Miami Beach home…The governor was mobbed over the course of the weekend. Joanne Zervos, a New York City donor who spoke with DeSantis during the conference, said many contributors saw him as “a nicer version of Trump,” someone who had embraced the former president’s policies but lacked his rough edges.
Fifth news item
A federal judge confirmed yesterday that a Texas family will have their land immediately seized by eminent domain for a U.S.-Mexico border wall—the very type of confiscation that President Joe Biden expressly promised he would put a stop to.
“We are utterly devastated,” said Baudilia Cavazos, whose family owns land in Hidalgo County, Texas. “We thought President Joe Biden would protect us. Now we’ve lost our land. We don’t even know what comes next.”
The Cavazos clan has fended off similar attempts at confiscation for years. When former President Donald Trump took office, his administration sought to claim about 7 acres and divide their land—which they rent to various tenants—in two. A huge chunk of their property would thus be nearly inaccessible to prospective customers, paralyzing their business…
The Biden administration could well have stopped yesterday’s ruling, handed down by Alvarez in McAllen, Texas. On his first day in office, Biden issued a proclamation pausing border wall construction for 60 days to determine if any land needed to be confiscated. That 60 days came and went without a decision.
Yet he was insistent the decision was already made on the campaign trail. “There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration,” he told NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro in August of last year. And the land seizures? “End, end, end, stop, done, over. Not gonna do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We’re out.”
He did not, in fact, withdraw the lawsuits. “Yesterday, we witnessed a betrayal of the Biden Administration’s commitment to end construction of the border wall,” said Ricky Garza, an attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, in a statement. “In federal court, the President’s pause on border wall construction is meaningless without immediate action from the DOJ to dismiss these cases.”
Sixth news item
Raul Castro announced on Friday he is resigning as the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Cuba, AP reports.
“Castro didn’t say who he would endorse as his successor as first secretary-general of the Communist Party, but he previously has indicated that he favors yielding control to Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded him as president in 2018…
Seventh news item
In the study, researchers fertilized eggs extracted from cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) and grew them in culture. Six days after fertilization, the team injected 132 embryos with human extended pluripotent stem cells, which can grow into a range of cell types inside and outside an embryo. The embryos each developed unique combinations of human and monkey cells and deteriorated at varying rates: 11 days after fertilization, 91 were alive; this dropped to 12 embryos at day 17 and 3 embryos at day 19.
This is getting well out of hand. First, U.S. and other Western scientists go to China to conduct experiments for which they could not get government funding — a rush to the lowest common denominator that Stanford bioethicist William Hurlbut calls “outsourcing ethics.”
Second, this work cuts across crucial moral boundaries. These human-monkey cells would not have just been bone or kidney tissue, but also brain neurons. Moreover, we are not talking mice or rats but monkeys, which have a much closer genetic affinity with humans. What might result from such a combining? I don’t think we should find out.
This month in 1965, 'The Paul Simon Songbook' was released as a UK-only album while Paul was touring and living in England.
Check out this early version of Paul singing “April Come She Will." pic.twitter.com/HXZsW5LPfO
— Paul Simon (@PaulSimonMusic) August 18, 2020
Spring, you gorgeous show-off:
P.S. “Bobcat” was trending today. Here’s why:
This was a wild 46 seconds pic.twitter.com/jIHQg0G4qU
— Sada (@Evi3Zamora) April 15, 2021
Have a good weekend.