Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
Hello! Here are a few news items for you to chew on. Please feel free to post anything that you think might interest readers. Make sure you include links.
First news item
Staggering, but sadly unsurprising:
Over the first few months of 2021, threats to members of Congress have more than doubled year-over-year and are only expected to go up from here, according to a release issued Friday by the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP). “This year alone, there has been a 107% increase in threats against Members compared to 2020,” says the document, which is a response to a set of security recommendations made by the USCP inspector general (IG). “Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase.”
Second news item
The owner of a Northern California bar was arrested on suspicion of selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards to several undercover state agents for $20 each.
After receiving a tip, undercover agents with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control went to Old Corner Saloon in the city of Clements several times in April and bought fake laminated vaccination cards, officials said.
Third news item
Hundreds of bodies being kept in cold storage in NY:
The city still has the bodies of about 750 New Yorkers who died during the pandemic in refrigerated trucks at Brooklyn’s 39th Street Pier, with no timetable for when their remains will be moved to Hart Island or elsewhere, officials disclosed this week.
The city will try to reduce the number of bodies being held on the Sunset Park pier “in the near future” and let families know about the transfers, Dina Maniotis, a deputy commissioner with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, told a City Council committee Wednesday.
Hundreds of bodies have been stored in trucks since April 2020, fluctuating between 500 and nearly 800, according to various medical examiner estimates compiled over the past 13 months…
Most of the families of those in cold storage have told the city they would prefer to have their loved ones moved to Hart Island, the city’s potter’s field — or they have stopped “engaging” with officials entirely…
Fourth news item
Liz Cheney would like to have a word with you, Elise:
Rep. Elise Stefanik is on the verge of ascending to the House GOP’s No. 3 spot thanks in part to a personal mission: boosting other Republican women.
Stefanik’s efforts to promote GOP women have not only added to her star power, but also made her particularly appealing to fellow House Republicans as they move closer to replacing embattled Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in leadership.
*Getting on my soapbox. Buckle up.*
This is absolute bullshit. Stefanik is on the verge of ascending to the No. 3 spot because she is willing to stab an honorable woman in the back to advance her own political career. Don’t tell me she is on a mission to boost other Republican women because at this very moment Stefanik is busily working to boost a Republican woman from her position because she wants her job. This is not how women lift up other women – Republican or otherwise.
Fifth news item
Still?? What is wrong with you people?!:
President Biden took office more than three months ago, but Republicans are not any closer to accepting his victory now than they were then. The latest CNN/SSRS survey, released on April 30, found that 70 percent of Republicans believed the false allegation that Biden did not legitimately defeat former President Trump; just 23 percent said Biden legitimately won. Meanwhile, Democrats (97-3 percent) and independents (69-27 percent) said Biden had won fairly. These numbers are very similar to what CNN/SSRS found in mid-January, just before Biden’s inauguration. And this lack of movement is really the story, as polling over the past few months has consistently shown that a solid majority of Republicans do not think Biden won fairly, despite the lack of evidence suggesting otherwise.
Sixth news item
Attorney for Capitol defendant Anthony Antonio said his client had “Foxitus” and “Foxmania” from watching six months of Fox News and started “believing what was being fed to him” by Fox News and the president. pic.twitter.com/aHMppeb1yc
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) May 6, 2021
Seventh news item
The Trump Justice Department secretly obtained Washington Post journalists’ phone records and tried to obtain their email records over reporting they did in the early months of the Trump administration on Russia’s role in the 2016 election, according to government letters and officials.
In three separate letters dated May 3 and addressed to Post reporters…the Justice Department wrote they were “hereby notified that pursuant to legal process the United States Department of Justice received toll records associated with the following telephone numbers for the period from April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017.” The letters listed work, home or cellphone numbers covering that three-and-a-half-month period.
Cameron Barr, The Post’s acting executive editor, said: “We are deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalists. The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters doing their jobs, an activity protected under the First Amendment.”
…William Barr, who served as Trump’s attorney general for nearly all of that year, before departing Dec. 23, declined to comment.
The Justice Department defended its decision…”While rare, the Department follows the established procedures within its media guidelines policy when seeking legal process to obtain telephone toll records and non-content email records from media members as part of a criminal investigation into unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “The targets of these investigations are not the news media recipients but rather those with access to the national defense information who provided it to the media and thus failed to protect it as lawfully required.”.
Eighth news item
California’s population dropped in 2020 for the first time in the state’s recorded history.
The Golden State lost 182,083 people in 2020, according to data from the state Department of Finance. State officials attributed the decline to a combination of COVID-19 deaths, a decreasing birth rate, and a reduction in immigration while announcing the figure on Friday
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced California would lose a congressional seat because of the unprecedented low growth rate.
The high tax burden, regulation, cost of living, housing prices, and homelessness have been cited as the problems motivating many to flee the state. Until now, California’s population outflow was offset by immigration and births…The top tax rate for California’s highest earners sits at 13.3 percent, the highest state rate in the country.
Happy 90th, Willie Mays!
The Say Hey Kid is home. 🥰 pic.twitter.com/DY5Lvy59tx
— MLB (@MLB) May 8, 2021
“Maybe I was born to play ball. Maybe I truly was.”
Have a great weekend.