[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to include your own items, but make sure to include links.
First news item
Our divided nation:
CNN homepage this morning – Jan. 6 Committee hearing:
Fox News homepage this morning – Inflation:
Americans really are capable of knowing that it can be both:
But it was clear last night that a costly effort was being made to dissuade Americans from knowing it was both :
To understand what the committee is up against in terms of breaking through the information bubble surrounding Trump voters, consider the fact that Fox News aired Tucker Carlson’s and Sean Hannity’s shows last night without commercial interruption. So determined was Fox to keep its viewers inside that bubble that it forfeited ad revenue to do so, knowing that a 30-second commercial break would have given some in the audience an opportunity to change the channel and check out the hearing.
Second news item
Uvalde Schools police chief defends himself and officers on that fateful day, also says that he didn’t know he was in charge and thought someone else was in control:
“Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo said. “We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced. Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat.”
One of Arredondo’s most consequential decisions was immediate. Within seconds of arriving at the northeast entrance of Robb Elementary around 11:35 a.m., he left his police and campus radios outside the school.
To Arredondo, the choice was logical. An armed killer was loose on the campus of the elementary school. Every second mattered. He wanted both hands free to hold his gun, ready to aim and fire quickly and accurately if he encountered the gunman.
Experts disagree with his assessment:
The Tribune spoke to seven law enforcement experts about Arredondo’s description of the police response. All but one said that serious lapses in judgment occurred.
Most strikingly, they said, by running into the school with no key and no radios and failing to take charge of the situation, the chief appears to have contributed to a chaotic approach in which officers deployed inappropriate tactics, adopted a defensive posture, failed to coordinate their actions, and wasted precious time as students and teachers remained trapped in two classrooms with a gunman who continued to fire his rifle.
Read the whole thing.
Third news item
“During the war with Sweden, Peter the Great didn’t conquer anything, he took back what had always belonged to us, even though all of Europe recognised it as Sweden’s. It seems now it’s our turn to get our lands back [smiling]”.
Time to fortify Baltic States:
When Estonia won its independence in 1918, Narva, which had been part of the imperial Russian Governate of Estonia, became the easternmost city in the newly independent country, as it did again in 1991.
Needless to say, an attempt to take Narva, which was “transformed” into an overwhelmingly Russian-speaking city after the Soviets reconquered Estonia in 1944 (and still is today) would be a direct attack on a NATO country, meaning that the collective defense provisions contained in Article 5 of the NATO treaty should apply.
A senior Ukrainian presidential aide has told the BBC that between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed on the front line every day.
Mykhaylo Podolyak said Ukraine needed hundreds of Western artillery systems to level the playing field with Russia in the eastern Donbas region.
He also said Kyiv is not ready to resume peace talks with Moscow.
Ukrainian troops are under relentless bombardment as Russian forces attempt to take control of the whole of Donbas.
“The Russian forces have thrown pretty much everything non-nuclear at the front and that includes heavy artillery, multiple rocket launch systems and aviation,” Mr Podolyak said.
He repeated Ukraine’s appeal for more weapons from the West, saying that the “complete lack of parity” between the Russian and Ukrainian armies was the reason for Ukraine’s heavy casualty rate.
“Our demands for artillery are not just some kind of whim… but an objective need when it comes to the situation on the battlefield,” he said, adding that Ukraine needs 150 to 300 rocket launch systems to match Russia – a much higher number than it has received so far.
Mr Podolyak also said peace talks could only resume if Russia surrendered the territory it had gained since it invaded on 24 February.
Fourth news item
When asked by reporters whether he would support proposed legislation from a Florida state representative that would punish parents who take their children to [drag show] performances, the governor said he has asked his staff to look into the idea.
“We have child protective statutes on the books,” the governor said. “We have laws against child endangerment.”
“It used to be kids would be off-limits. Used to be everybody agreed with that,” DeSantis continued. “Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate.”
Fifth news item
A Missouri woman was awarded $5.2 million in a settlement from insurance company GEICO after contracting a sexually transmitted disease from her partner in his vehicle, which was insured by the company, court documents show. The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld that award this week.
The woman, a Jackson County resident, said she contracted Human papillomavirus (HPV) from her partner, according to court documents. On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals filed an opinion confirming the initial Jackson County Circuit Court arbitration award finding against GEICO.
In February 2021, the woman — anonymously identified in documents as M.O. — submitted a petition to GEICO directly. She alleged that her sexual partner negligently caused or “contributed to cause to be infected with HPV by not taking proper precautions and neglecting to inform and/or disclose his diagnosis,” according to court documents, and that his “insurance policy provided coverage for her injuries and losses.”
She made a final settlement offer of $1 million to resolve her claims, the documents say.
In April 2021, GEICO denied coverage and refused her settlement offer, according to the Missouri Court of Appeals filing. The case was then sent to an arbitrator…
This is a cautionary tale on so many levels…
Sixth news item
Inflation accelerated further in May, with prices rising 8.6% from a year ago for the fastest increase since December 1981, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The consumer price index, a wide-ranging measure of goods and services prices, increased even more than the 8.3% Dow Jones estimate. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI was up 6%, slightly higher than the 5.9% estimate.
On a monthly basis, headline CPI was up 1% while core rose 0.6%, compared with respective estimates of 0.7% and 0.5%.
Surging shelter, gasoline and food prices all contributed to the increase.
Energy prices broadly rose 3.9% from a month ago, bringing the annual gain to 34.6%. Within the category, fuel oil posted a 16.9% monthly gain, pushing the 12-month surge to 106.7%.
Shelter costs, which account for about a one-third weighting in the CPI, rose 0.6% for the month, the fastest one-month gain since March 2004. The 5.5% 12-month gain is the most since February 1991.
Finally, food costs climbed another 1.2% in May, bringing the year-over-year gain to 10.1%.
Seventh news item
So the Unselect Committee of political HACKS refuses to play any of the many positive witnesses and statements, refuses to talk of the Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place on a massive scale, and decided to use a documentary maker from Fake News ABC to spin only negative footage. Our Country is in such trouble!
Eighth news item
In a tweet published this week by the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, the organization claimed that the nonprofit Moms for Liberty had succeeded in banning Slaughterhouse-Five, the author’s classic, semi-autobiographical anti-war novel, in Florida’s Brevard Public Schools district. “In response, we are giving up to 1,000 free copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to [middle/high school] students who have had it banned,” the Vonnegut organization said in its tweet. Efforts to ban supposedly objectionable or inappropriate books in American school districts have escalated dramatically in recent years. “All we want is for content that violates child obscenity laws to be removed from SCHOOL libraries, and for the books that are not found to violate those laws to require some form of consent from parents that would provide more transparency as to the subjects contained within the text,” the Moms for Liberty group wrote on Facebook in May.
Oh, really? So, Moms for Liberty are just interested in banning books that violate child obscenity laws, you say:
Community members and advocacy groups, the report describes, have objected to the inclusion of books like “Ruby Bridges Goes to School” written by Ruby Bridges, who became the first Black child to integrate a segregated New Orleans school when she was six.
Robin Steenman, who heads Moms for Liberty’s Williamson County chapter, reportedly pointed to this book and others at an education committee meeting, claiming its mention of a “large crowd of angry white people who didn’t want Black children in a white school” was too harsh and pointing to the fact that it didn’t offer “redemption” at the end, the Tennessean reports. Steenman also reportedly objected to another book about school segregation and expressed disapproval of teaching words like “injustice” and “inequality” in grammar lessons.
Gimme me a break, Moms for Liberty. Your racist underpants are showing.
Ninth news item
“A mother buries their child that they carry nine months — when they go through all the physical aspects of birth and undergoing all the postpartum horrific symptoms that every other female goes through — and now you’re telling me that because my baby didn’t live I’m not entitled to the benefits?” Crough said. “(It) was an emotional slap in the face.”But Crough is hoping that her experience will spark a change and encourage the state to cover paid leave for parents of stillborn babies.
“It should be changed to ‘postpartum leave’ because that will encompass everyone that gives birth to a child. If you birth a child, whether it’s C-section or vaginal, you should be getting paid family leave because your body is undergoing a trauma,” she said. “It’s quite frankly a medical concern to have women returning to work before at least six weeks.”
I’m a yes for this. If women who have live births need six weeks to recover from a successful delivery, how much more for women who go through the delivery of a stillborn?
Tenth news item
The Trump coalition is broadly built on two categories of Republican voters—those who know exactly who Trump is and either don’t care about his flaws or love him precisely because he’s so pugilistic and cruel, and those who even now don’t know who he is and would very much care if they know the whole truth. It’s the latter group that can deny him a second bite at the presidential apple, and it’s the latter group that most needs to watch the January 6 hearings in prime time.
For our nation’s sake, we can only hope that some do watch, absorb those facts that are new to them, and reach the conclusion that Republicans have to move on from a man who’d rather plunge the nation into a constitutional crisis than relinquish his hold on the presidency. When it comes to January 6 and Trump’s effort to steal an American election, casual concern simply isn’t enough. Good Republicans have to understand the true scale of the crisis we faced.
Have a great weekend!