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Read Now: Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The social effects of COVID-19 – 101 Latest News



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#Abbreviated #Pundit #Roundup #social #effects #COVID19

Philip Bump of The Washington Post, noting that some of the polling in U.S. Senate races show Democrats have a good chance to make gains in the Senate in November, offers some words of caution.

So we come to 2022. Will it be like 2018, when Trump wasn’t on the ballot and the polls were on the money — Democrats squeaking into retaining a House majority? Or will it be like 2014 and 2016 and 2020 — worse than expected?

That question of Trump being on the ballot is how I’ve considered things for some time now. Then I saw a tweet from the Economist’s G. Elliott Morris (who has a newly published book about polling) that made an important point: While the national generic-ballot poll hit the mark in 2018, state-level polls were still off the mark.

I decided to put this to the test. I pulled state-level polling averages for Senate contests from FiveThirtyEight and compared them with actual vote outcomes. The pattern is pretty clear: Senate polling averages consistently underweight the performance of Republicans.


Sarah Mervosh of The New York Times reports that reading and math scores for 9-year olds have dropped by their largest margin in three decades as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, for the first time since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests began tracking student achievement in the 1970s, 9-year-olds lost ground in math, and scores in reading fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years.

The declines spanned almost all races and income levels and were markedly worse for the lowest-performing students. While top performers in the 90th percentile showed a modest drop — three points in math — students in the bottom 10th percentile dropped by 12 points in math, four times the impact.

“I was taken aback by the scope and the magnitude of the decline,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal agency that administered the exam earlier this year. The tests were given to a national sample of 14,800 9-year-olds and were compared with the results of tests taken by the same age group in early 2020, just before the pandemic took hold in the United States.

Kate Sheridan of STATnews reports on the decline in American life expectancy.

American Indian and Alaskan Native people have experienced a particularly precipitous drop in life expectancy since 2019, going from 71.8 to 65.2 years. This kind of loss is similar to the plunge seen for all Americans after the Spanish Flu, said Robert Anderson, the chief of the mortality statistics branch of the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. […]

This year’s life expectancy figure is 0.9 years lower than last year’s. Covid-19 accounted for about half of the decline, and a category encompassing accidents and unintentional injuries is responsible for another 16%. That category includes overdoses; in fact, about half of the unintentional injury deaths in this analysis were due to overdoses.

“We think that the increase in drug overdoses during the pandemic is partly due to the pandemic, but probably not wholly due to the pandemic,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see [what happens] as the pandemic abates — assuming that it does, hopefully it will.”


Former head of the Centers for Disease Control Tom Frieden writes for The Atlantic about some of the problems with the nation’s public health systems and proposes some solutions.

With more than a million Americans dead from COVID-19, monkeypox in all 50 states, and polio likely to have been spreading for months unrecognized, one of the few uncontroversial observations about public health in the United States is that it is ailing. But accurate diagnoses of the problems with public health are essential, and some suggestions for reform have potentially deadly consequences. Getting the diagnosis right—and doing so quickly—is the first step toward restoring trust and saving lives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency that I led during the Obama administration, has just released commitments to improve its ability to protect health and save lives. The CDC’s push for faster responses; clearer, simpler, and more consistent communication and public guidance; better and more timely data; and a culture focused less on publishing academic papers than on nimble action is a step in the right direction. These greatly needed and long-overdue improvements acknowledge many of the agency’s problems.

But even if the CDC’s proposed reforms succeed, much of what’s broken is outside of the agency’s control. The United States suffers from chronic underfunding of local, city, and state public-health departments; a health-care system that is not structured to provide consistent care to patients; lack of standardization across states for collecting and reporting anonymized data for disease detection and response; and a broad increase in political polarization that shrinks the space for nonpartisan action and organizations. White House actions under both Republican and Democratic administrations have undermined the CDC’s credibility, its freedom to speak directly to the media and public, and the public’s perception of its scientific independence.

Kiley Bense of Inside Climate News writes about how cities like Philadelphia are showing progress in adapting to climate change.

Climate adaptation is one of the main themes of COP27, the annual U.N. climate conference, which will take place this year in November in Egypt. The conference’s mission statement recognizes that extreme weather worsened by climate change has become “an everyday reality of our lives.” At COP26 in Glasgow last fall, progress was made toward financial support for climate adaptation in developing countries, and a work program on the Paris Agreement’s Global Goal on Adaptation was launched to better understand the goal and how to reach it.

In July, at the Sydney Energy Forum, Mahmoud Mohieldin, the U.N. climate change high-level champion for Egypt, stressed the importance of focusing on adaptation, though it has been “forgotten” at U.N. climate conferences in the past in favor of an emphasis on mitigation. “We are facing severe problems when it comes to adaptation,” he said.

Philadelphia shows both the promise of cities to be leaders in adapting to a rapidly shifting climate—as well as their limitations. The questions that confront Philadelphia are echoed in other urban environments: what kind of policies, technologies and strategies will be needed to weather the rollercoaster of climate consequences in a given place, without leaving the most vulnerable residents behind? What makes any single location worth preserving or abandoning, and who gets to decide whether to stay or to go? What kind of regional, national and international aid will cities need to survive, and what will that survival look like?

Brady Davis and Sarah Kaplan of The Washington Post looks at the issues of climate change and structural racism behind the lack of potable drinking water in Jackson, Mississippi..

“Every public drinking water system in the country is vulnerable to a natural disaster,” said Andrew Whelton, an environmental engineer at Purdue University who has advised utilities and the U.S. Army on water safety issues. “But many are not actually prepared to respond in the way they’re going to need to be.”

Generations-old sewers are routinely overwhelmed by bigger storms. Algae blooms and excess sediment may contaminate reservoirs amid high temperatures and prolonged drought. Rising sea levels can stymie septic systems and cause saltwater to leach into wells. When wildfires destroy water mains and spread chemical contamination, it may take months for drinking water to become safe again.

But experts say the danger is greatest in places like Jackson — low-income communities of color dealing with fragile and failing water infrastructure. A 2019 study reported in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers found that Black, Latino, Native American and Alaska Native households are disproportionately likely to be “plumbing poor.”

Masha Gessen of The New Yorker says that if there is one word the describes Mikhail Gorbachev,   that word is: Soviet.

“I don’t believe in God,” Gorbachev continued. Raisa had not been a believer, either, but “she progressed faster than I did in this direction.” What he seemed to be getting at was that Raisa had stayed in step with her country, becoming a post-Soviet Russian, while Gorbachev remained a fundamentally Soviet man. His was the quintessential life story of an apparatchik: plucked from the southern Russia countryside by the Party when he was still a secondary-school student, university in Moscow, and a series of Party jobs that culminated with his appointment, in 1985, as the General Secretary of the Central Committee, the highest job in the U.S.S.R. At the time, Gorbachev was fifty-four—shockingly young. He was surrounded by octogenarians who expected deference and gratitude. But he had a greater love in his life, and a loyalty that superseded any debt he had to the Party and its doddering leadership. Gorbachev lived and worked to impress Raisa. They had met as students at Moscow State University, where he studied law and she studied philosophy. Raisa’s classmates were an extraordinary cohort of postwar Soviet thinkers, and that, perhaps more than anything else, helped shape the policies that will forever be synonymous with Gorbachev’s name: glasnost and perestroika.

Within weeks of becoming General Secretary, Gorbachev announced his intention to reform and modernize the Soviet Union. In June, 1987, he announced a new concept: perestroika, or restructuring, of Soviet policies in every area. Although he didn’t explicitly say so, what he meant by restructuring was liberalization: the Soviet Union would legalize limited private enterprise and relax censorship, allowing public discussion of topics that had previously been taboo. Censorship laws were never abolished, but the loosening of restrictions—the explicit aim of glasnost—produced an unprecedented explosion of writing, publishing, filmmaking, performance, and music. Obscure journals that published long, quasi-academic articles saw their press runs soar. People lined up to read the new issues of papers such as the Moscow News or to get into a theatre to see a newly staged play by, say, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. The reason, more often than not, was that the journal, the newspaper, and the playwright tackled the previously censored topic of Stalinist terror. For the first time since Stalin’s death, in 1953, Soviet citizens were publicly talking about their past. […]

In 1989, Gorbachev’s Soviet Union released its grip on its European satellites—the countries that Moscow had effectively ruled since the end of the Second World War. One after another, Poland, the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and others brought down their pro-Soviet governments. But, when Russia’s internal colonies—the countries that had been forcibly subsumed by the Soviet Union rather than simply dominated by it—reached for independence, Moscow reacted with violence. In April, 1989, authorities brutally crushed pro-independence protests in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, killing at least twenty-one people and injuring two hundred and ninety. In January, 1991, Soviet troops killed pro-independence activists in Riga, the capital of Latvia, and Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, after the Baltic countries, which had been occupied by the Soviet Union during the Second World War, declared independence. Many tributes to Gorbachev have credited him with presiding over the “bloodless” dissolution of the Soviet Union—forgetting that blood was and, in some cases, continues to be shed in conflicts in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and elsewhere. In March, 1991, after not only the Baltics but also Russia and Ukraine—the largest Soviet republics—voted to secede from the Union, Gorbachev staged a referendum on preserving the U.S.S.R. Six of the fifteen constituent republics refused to participate, but Gorbachev claimed that the remaining nine validated the continued existence of the empire.

Professor Artemy Kalinovsky writes for the Russian independent outlet Meduza that Mikhail Gorbachev reminded him a bit of…Hamlet?

Like Khrushchev and Brezhnev, Gorbachev was of peasant stock. Unlike most of his predecessors, he had actually completed the Soviet program of acculturation into urban life. He was the first leader since Vladimir Lenin to graduate from a university. He was intelligentny. He didn’t seem like the kind who would amass foreign cars, as Brezhnev was rumored to have done. And unlike his immediate predecessor, the wheezing Konstantin Chernenko, Gorbachev didn’t look like he wanted the job primarily for the access to health care it provided.

Gorbachev didn’t slur his words. He was vigorous. Articulate. He knew how to wear a suit.

Our working-class neighbors were not so charmed. “We’ll see,” they said to my parents’ and grandparents’ effusive political commentary. In my own family, Gorbachev remained unassailable long after we (and he) had ceased being Soviet citizens. He had tried to make the Soviet Union freer, less corrupt, more just. And when that failed, at least he had made it easier to emigrate.

When I started studying Soviet history, I enjoyed needling my Gorbyphile parents by pointing out that the nationalists who had so frightened them (and were the proximate cause of our departure) were themselves a product — albeit unintentionally — of their hero’s efforts to open up Soviet society.

Finally today, Natasha Norman writes for MSNBC says that racism is one reason that humanitarian aid has been slow to get to Pakistan.

A third of Pakistan is submerged, an area tantamount to the size of the United Kingdom, as the country suffers devastating floods. Around 33 million people are displaced (roughly the population of California, the most populous state), and over a thousand are dead. Images show children sleeping on rags on the floors of government buildings after having watched their homes get demolished and, in some cases, loved ones die.

Why, then, has the world not mobilized a humanitarian response equivalent to that for Ukraine — where, incidentally, around 12 million people have been displaced, or around a third of the number in Pakistan?

The uncomfortable answer is: racism.

Were the entirety of the U.K. submerged, the global outcry, the fear around the impacts of climate change and the humanitarian response would likely be entirely different beasts. Deprioritizing crises that affect Black and brown people might make them more tolerable for the industrialized world in the short term, but it is a surefire way to amplify climate-related fallout in the long run, making the world more violent and less inhabitable for all of us.

Have a good day, everyone!


Read Now: Jeffries Hasn’t Spoken to McCarthy Since Agreement – 101 Latest News



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#Jeffries #Hasnt #Spoken #McCarthy #Agreement

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News the debt ceiling deal contained no wins for Democrats, claiming that Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told him that himself.

Said McCarthy: “One thing Hakeem told me: there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats.”

But Jeffries told CBS News it’s not true: “I have no idea what he’s talking about, particularly because I have not been able to review the actual legislative text. I talked to him yesterday afternoon… I haven’t spoken to him since that point and time.”

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Read Now: Conservatives continue to rage against debt limit deal, while eyes turn to Progressive Caucus – 101 Latest News



WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks with reporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on November 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. DC. Democratic leaders in the House are waiting on the final Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for President Joe Biden's Build Back Better before scheduling a vote on the $1.75 trillion social benefits and climate legislation. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

#Conservatives #continue #rage #debt #limit #deal #eyes #turn #Progressive #Caucus

Let’s start with the Democrats, who had been pretty quiet as the early details leaked. The Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal told CNN earlier today that she was waiting on the legislative text to make a final voting decision, “That’s always, you know, a problem, if you can’t see the exact legislative text. And we’re all trying to wade through spin right now.” That said, she mocked Republicans for not getting what they claimed to want—a reduction in the deficit. Hard to do that when they increased Pentagon spending and removed IRS funding designed to collect unpaid tax revenues.


With the legislative text out, House Democratic leaders sounded optimistic late in the day about Progressive caucus support. 


That is the standard reaction after expecting the worst—relief, mixed with surprise, like new food-stamp access for the homeless and veterans—a huge progressive win. (I can’t believe that wasn’t already a thing.)

Aside from question marks about the Progressive Caucus membership, the bulk of the party remained supportive. Insofar as I’m seeing any reaction, it’s simply parroting the White House’s talking points. If anything, any celebrations are muted, lest they add fuel to conservative efforts to scuttle the deal.

But as the Semafor headline noted, “The Democrats (mostly) won the debt ceiling fight.” Or as progressive journalist Josh Marshall put it, Republicans walked into a Deny’s at gunpoint, demanded money, and walked out with nothing more than breakfast. It’s okay to both be disappointed at some of the concessions, while also celebrate Biden’s major negotiating victory in a government in which Republicans, with the House, unfortunately do have a say

Many conservatives remain furious.

Rep. Chip Roy continues his tirade against the deal, tweeting at one point that “it’s worse than I thought every minute that goes by.” 


And Roy understands the leverage Republicans are losing in the regular budget appropriations process, tweeting that “If you want the border to be secure – no member of the @HouseGOP can vote for this #debtceiling ‘deal’ because it will remove all leverage we have to force action on the border.” 

Of further conservative ire, Roy tweeted that the deal threw out the $131 billion House Republicans cut in their debt limit show bill, designed to get spending back to pre-COVID levels, and replaced them with “what appears to be effectively flat spending […] at the bloated 2023 Omnibus spending level, jammed through in a rush in December…”

In response, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee tweeted, “With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?

Of particular interest is former Trump budget director Russ Vought, who is currently rallying opposition to the deal:

While we wait on text, let’s take the numbers as the GOP is claiming w/o knowing the gimmicks (Dems are claiming higher spending). Deal provides $1.59 trillion in FY24 v. $1.602 in FY23. You gave Biden $4 trillion for $12 billion in cuts largely coming from unspent COVID$?

Or take “It cuts nondefense spending to 2022!” No it doesn’t. FY22 nondefense spending was $689 billion. GOP numbers claim FY24 will be $704 billion. You don’t get a dog biscuit for that.  

Reviewing the text now. Confirms that there only 2 years of actual caps and then 4 years of meaningless language that binds only Congress & easily waived.

 The “administrative PAYGO” is totally worthless. It’s not just that it can be gamed with plans for fake offsets in exchange for real spending. Its that the OMB Director has complete waiver authority in Section 265 if “necessary for program delivery”

So I’m not a budget expert, but what that tells me is that whatever budgetary restrictions exist in the deal, they can easily be waived. 

Furthermore, responding to a seemingly sensible conservative noting that McCarthy’s leverage was limited given that Democrats control the White House and the Senate, Vought furiously responded, “What exactly did [McCarthy] deliver on? You can’t build on it because he gave every leverage point away for the remainder of Biden’s tenure. The bill is worse than a clean debt limit.”

Savor that.

The bill is worse than a clean debt limit.

I actually don’t know if that’s true, to be sure. But I desperately hope it is. 

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Read Now: Biden CBP Denies Government is Providing Financial Support to Illegal Immigrants, Gets Immediately Slapped With Fact Checks – 101 Latest News



Biden CBP Denies Government is Providing Financial Support to Illegal Immigrants, Gets Immediately Slapped With Fact Checks

#Biden #CBP #Denies #Government #Providing #Financial #Support #Illegal #Immigrants #Immediately #Slapped #Fact #Checks

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied that the federal government provides help or financial assistance to illegal immigrants, prompting a torrent of fact-checkers to come along and state that they are lying.

“NOTICE: Claims that migrants will be provided free travel and transportation to their destination are false,” the CBP’s official Twitter feed posted Thursday. “The U.S. government does not provide help or financial support for noncitizens.”

It is the second time they have made such a claim, posting a duplicate tweet roughly one month ago.

It is unclear what “claims” they are referencing or if the group was simply trying to get out in front of a situation in which illegal aliens coming in are expecting travel and transportation to new locations to be provided.

Regardless, several sources were quick to jump all over the CBP’s claims calling them alternately misleading, false, or a flat-out lie.

RELATED: Invasion Begins: Video Purportedly Shows Illegal Aliens Opening DHS Packets With Smartphones, Some Court Dates Not Until 2035

CBP Gets a Brutal Fact Check or Two

The Heritage Foundation think tank came along and, not pleased with the length of time Twitter’s Community Notes was taking to correct the CBP statement, provided their own fact check.

“Since @CommunityNotes hasn’t shown up yet, we’ll say it. This is a lie,” they wrote. “The U.S. Government pays NGO’s to do the work for them.”

The Heritage Foundation provided a link to their research showing the federal government uses charities “to hide the true cost of the border crisis.”

The report calls the funding of NGO’s through taxpayer funds Biden’s “dirty little secret” and describes them as “charities or religiously affiliated nonprofits but who spend most of their money and time helping illegal immigrants settle in the United States.”

That’s right. Your money helping to resettle illegal aliens into America so they can take even more of your money through social services or by taking jobs from Americans or legal immigrants.

RELATED: Texas Blocks Border Crossing Where Soldier Was Seen Opening Gate for Illegal Immigrants

More Call Out CBP’s Lies

Twitter’s Community Notes did catch up to the situation and slapped the CBP’s tweet with a little fact-check of their own.

“This statement by CBP is misleading as the federal government funds non-government organizations such as Catholic charities to assist in the travel, food, and shelter for illegal aliens and is coordinated by FEMA,” the label reads.

They provide a link to FEMA’s website promoting over $332 million in grants to provide “food, shelter, and services to individuals and families … who entered through the Southwestern Border and who are now awaiting their immigration court proceedings.”

Oh, good. So they’re only providing help and financial assistance until their court dates. Well, at least that shouldn’t take long, right?

Except, as The Political Insider reported earlier this month, documentation provided to illegal immigrants at the border had some being provided with court dates set as late as 2032 and 2035 in Chicago and Florida.

Potentially twelve years of financial assistance and the CBP wants you to believe that nah, we don’t provide financial support for illegal immigrants.

Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin also called the CBP out over their statement.

“This is blatantly false,” he tweeted.

“The U.S. government indirectly provides financial support for migrants by giving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to NGOs via FEMA’s Emergency Food & Shelter Program,” Melugin continued. “The NGOs then assist migrants w/ transportation around U.S & other services.”

Melugin just weeks ago posted a video showing a female National Guard soldier opening a gate and allowing a large crowd of illegal immigrants across the border onto private property in Texas.

The soldier did so, Melugin reported, because she “was following CBP directives to open the gate because the migrants had already crossed onto US soil and needed to be processed.”

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