[guest post by Dana]
Hello. Here we go!
First news item
In June, the federal government announced it was issuing 70,000 emergency housing vouchers to help Americans displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was providing the emergency housing assistance—effectively cash for rent—“in order to assist individuals and families who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, or were recently homeless or have a high risk of housing instability.”
When HUD issued the vouchers in June, Home Forward (formerly known as the Housing Authority of Portland) got 476 of them to use across Multnomah County.
But WW has learned that since then, Home Forward has issued just 15 of the 476 vouchers the feds sent here.
That means just 3% of vouchers available locally have been put to work over the past six months.
Second news item
‘THIS IS A REAL F—ING PROBLEM’ — That’s how one vulnerable House Democrat summarized growing discord between members in battleground districts and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee…The complaints fall roughly into three categories.
1) BOTCHED MESSAGING
2) JAMMING THEM ON POLICY
3) FRUSTRATIONS WITH THE DCCC CHIEF
Third news item
VP KAMALA HARRIS told WSJ’s Tarini Parti in an interview Wednesday that she and the president have not talked about reelection in 2024: “I’m not going to talk about our conversations, but I will tell you this without any ambiguity: We do not talk about nor have we talked about reelection, because we haven’t completed our first year and we’re in the middle of a pandemic.” When she was asked about Biden running again in 2024, she said “I’ll be very honest: I don’t think about it, nor have we talked about it.”
Fourth news item
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act cleared a final hurdle this afternoon, after the Senate unanimously passed the legislation. The White House said yesterday — for the first time ever — that President Biden will sign it into law.
The Uyghur bill will create a presumption that goods produced in Xinjiang were manufactured using forced labor; the Chinese Communist Party has facilitated the transfer of ethnic minorities to factories in the region and across China, where they produce textile products, polysilicon for solar panels, and certain agricultural goods.
Fifth news item
The Republican Party has agreed to pay up to $1.6 million in legal bills for former president Donald Trump to help him fight investigations into his business practices in New York, according to Republican National Committee members and others briefed on the decision.
The party’s executive committee overwhelmingly approved the payments at a meeting this summer in Nashville, according to four members and others with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting of the executive committee.
That means the GOP’s commitment to pay Trump’s personal legal expenses could be more than 10 times higher than previously known.
Last month, the GOP said in campaign-finance filings that it had paid Trump’s personal attorneys $121,670 in October. More payments have been made since then. A party official said Thursday that the RNC paid $578,000 in November to attorneys known to be representing both Trump and his businesses.
P.S. The report states that approval could be given to increase the amounts beyond the $1.6 million…
Sixth news item
New York reported 21,027 COVID cases on Friday, surpassing the previous single-day record from January as Omicron reaches across the state.
Why it matters: With the new variant appearing to spread more easily than previous COVID strains, the surge will likely be replicated around the country, Axios’ Caitlin Owens writes.
Details: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who announced the new record on Friday, also noted the state’s number of reported daily hospitalizations is on the rise.
7.98% of Friday’s 263,536 reported test results were positive.
93.9% of adult New Yorkers have had at least one vaccine dose, according to Hochul.
Seventh news item
Alongside a road that cuts through dense jungle, the first new U.S. Marine base in almost 70 years is emerging. Construction cranes are helping build training areas for urban warfare and live-weapons firing behind a perimeter topped with razor wire.
Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, to be formally opened in a ceremony early next year, is the latest sign that Guam, a remote U.S. outpost in the Pacific Ocean, is becoming more crucial for military planners as they sharpen their focus on Asia, and tensions with China rise.
U.S. military officials say that the island, already home to Air Force and Navy bases, would be a major staging point for bombers, submarines and troops in any conflict involving the U.S. in the Pacific, including any clash over Taiwan if the U.S. were to become involved.
Eighth news item
The Biden administration unveiled a new strategy Friday using increased Covid-19 testing to keep children in the classroom.
The move comes as some school districts are once again going virtual in an attempt to avoid the worst of the omicron variant.
The strategy includes a “test to stay” approach: Instead of mandatory quarantines for unvaccinated students identified as close contacts of a Covid-positive peer, those students could remain in school if they test negative for the virus at least twice during the week after an exposure.
Ninth news item
No one should be surprised by this. He is what we’ve always known him to be:
Trump: "evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews" in the US
"it used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress"
"the Jewish people…in the US either don't like Israel or don't care about Israel"
"they're Jewish people that run the NYT" https://t.co/oKkiyfLYxz
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 17, 2021
Tenth news item
We have a woke problem in America. I’m not talking about when we Black people agitate for racial justice. I’m talking about what happens when white liberals start agitating on our behalf. And what happens is nothing good.
“The most dangerous people for Black people are white liberals,” Cleveland Councilman Basheer Jones recently told me. “I would rather deal with a person who is openly racist but I can do business with them than deal with a person who says ‘I’m the best thing since sliced bread’ but never allows me the opportunity to grow economically.”
While these comments may seem surprising to people who only view politics as a red team vs. blue team exercise, Councilman Jones is one of a number of Black Democratic elected officials who are boldly calling out the vanity of performative wokeness and the excesses of white progressivism.
Bruce Springsteen…has reportedly sold the master recordings and publishing rights to the entirety of his music catalog to Sony for a whopping $500 million. The company now owns 20 of the iconic artist’s work, including famed works Born To Run, The River, and Born In The U.S.A.
According to BBC, these master recording deals provide financial security to the artists and their estates. The companies who obtain the rights have lots to gain through film and TV licensing, merchandise, cover versions, and performance royalties. Last year, Springsteen’s discography earned around $15 million in revenue.
Following years of languishing at the local steel mill under low pay and frequent mistreatment, Grammy Award-winning musician Bruce Springsteen reportedly relished finally telling off his foreman Thursday after Sony purchased his masters and songwriting catalog for $500 million. “I tell you what, Lou, you’re a prick, you’ve always been a prick, and now that I’ve got some walking-around money, I’m finally getting out of this hellhole town,” said Springsteen to foreman Lou Martinelli, who folded his arms and scowled as the creative mind behind Greetings From Asbury Park, Nebraska, and Born To Run threw down his welder’s mask to the cheers of his fellow steelworkers and brandished the check for half a billion dollars. “You see this money here? Well, I’m done with you riding my ass every time I clock in or out. I told you I was going to make something of myself, didn’t I? Well, you never respected me, Lou, and now you’ll never see me again. Enjoy your miserable life, you son of a bitch.” At press time, Springsteen climbed into his Chevy Impala convertible with longtime girlfriend Rosalita Valdez, revved his engine, and tore out of town on Route 71.
Have a great weekend!