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Calista241

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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 5,394

Journal Archives

Scoop: Sinema pushes to open up mining

Source: Axios

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) wants the Senate's bipartisan energy and climate talks to prioritize domestic battery production — and make it easier to mine critical minerals at home, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sinema's engagement on mining reform reveals both the possibilities — and pitfalls — of a potential bipartisan deal. Democrats are eager for a win this critical midterm year.

Sinema's support for permitting the mining reforms puts her on the same page as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — as well as some Senate Republicans.

It also reveals the contours of a package that would unlock billions of dollars for electric vehicles and green energy.

But tackling permitting reform, especially on the politically sensitive issue of mining, could create a chasm in the Democratic Party.

Driving the news: Axios is told that Sinema made her case during Tuesday night’s meeting of bipartisan senators, led by Manchin.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/2022/05/20/sinema-bipartisan-energy-talks-mining-reform

Nearly 43,000 people died on US roads last year, agency says

Source: Associated Press

Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the highest number in 16 years as Americans returned to the roads after the coronavirus pandemic forced many to stay at home.

The 10.5% jump over 2020 numbers was the largest percentage increase since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began its fatality data collection system in 1975. Exacerbating the problem was a persistence of risky driving behaviors during the pandemic, such as speeding and less frequent use of seat belts, as people began to venture out more in 2021 for out-of-state and other road trips, analysts said.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said America faces a crisis on its roads. The safety administration urged state and local governments, drivers and safety advocates to join in an effort to reverse the rising death trend.

“Our nation has taken a dangerous and deadly step backwards in traffic safety and impaired driving,” said MADD National President Alex Otte, who urged strong public-private efforts akin to the seat belt and air bag public safety campaigns of the 1990s to stem reckless driving. “More families and more communities are feeling the crushing magnitude of this crisis on our roads.”

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/health-government-and-politics-pandemics-transportation-8388d8ca4b1ad141939fe07ce00f9c7f



So people really did forget how to drive during COVID.

Detention of WNBA's Griner in Moscow extended for 1 month

Source: AP

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner said Friday her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month.

Griner’s lawyer Alexander Boikov told The Associated Press he believed the relatively short extension of the detention indicated the case would come to trial soon.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at the Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The Biden administration says Griner, 31, is being wrongfully detained. The WNBA and U.S. officials have worked toward her release, without visible progress.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/brittney-griner-moscow-hearing-live-updates-0ff42a2ceab60724f86f6c7e7f81313a



pictures of the hearing at link.

House panel will hold first public hearing on UFOs in decades

Source: CNN

A House panel will hold an open congressional hearing next Tuesday about UFOs for the first time in over 50 years.

It will focus on a Pentagon program that was established last year after the US intelligence community released a preliminary assessment on 144 reports of "unidentified aerial phenomena'' since 2004 -- and could explain only one.

The House Intelligence Committee's subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation will hold the public hearing on May 17 at 10 a.m. ET. It will be followed by a closed, classified hearing on the Pentagon program, known as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group.

The two witnesses are Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security Ronald S. Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott W. Bray.

"The American people expect and deserve their leaders in government and intelligence to seriously evaluate and respond to any potential national security risks -- especially those we do not fully understand," said Indiana Democratic Rep. André Carson, the chairman of the subcommittee holding the hearing, in a statement.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/10/politics/ufo-hearing-house-intelligence-committee/index.html

George W. Bush meets virtually with Zelensky

Source: Axios

Former President George W. Bush confirmed on Twitter on Thursday that he'd had a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he praised as "the Winston Churchill of our time."

Why it matters: The meeting makes Bush the first known former U.S. president to speak with Zelensky since the start of the war.

What they're saying: "President Zelensky assured me that they will not waver in their fight against Putin’s barbarism and thuggery," Bush added in an Instagram post. "Americans are inspired by their fortitude and resilience."

"We will continue to stand with Ukrainians as they stand up for their freedom."

The big picture: Back in February, Bush condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine and urged the American government to throw its full support behind Ukraine.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/2022/05/05/george-w-bush-zelensky-meet

U.S. Supreme Court snubs challenge to state and local tax deduction cap

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by four Democratic-leaning states to lift a cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes put in place as part of a 2017 tax overhaul under Republican former President Donald Trump.

The justices turned away an appeal by New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey after a lower court threw out their lawsuit. The lower court held that the U.S. Congress had broad authority over taxes and did not violate the U.S. Constitution by placing a $10,000 limit on the amount of state and local taxes that individuals may deduct on federal income tax returns.

Democratic President Joe Biden's administration opposed the four states.

The deduction limit, known as the SALT cap, was part of a Republican-backed federal tax law signed by Trump that slashed the corporate tax rate and implemented an income tax cut for individuals, which tax policy experts said benefited wealthy Americans the most.

Democrats had opposed the law, which was expected to reduce federal revenues by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Capping the deduction disproportionately affects high-tax, often Democratic-leaning states, with New York estimating its taxpayers would pay $121 billion of extra federal taxes from 2018 to 2025.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/us-supreme-court-snubs-challenge-state-local-tax-cap-2022-04-18/

First look: Sinema raises $1.6 million during Q1

Source: Axios

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) raised $1.6 million during the first quarter of 2022, and nearly 75% of her contributions totaled less than $100, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It's a lot of money for a senator who isn't up for reelection until 2024, and isn't a member of leadership or a committee chair. The numbers also give Sinema, a key holdout alongside Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in the 50-50 Senate, something to point to amid their controversial record of bucking the party.

The fact that 3/4 of her contributions were less than $100, and more than 97% of contributions came from individuals, shows her support from small-dollar donors.

That's a coveted demographic among both parties.

What they're saying: A Sinema campaign spokesperson attributed the numbers, in part, to Sinema's work on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/sinema-16-million-fundraising-c18645d0-7fc4-4c71-9baa-ee12b24c5951.html

Mortgage rates hit 5%, highest in more than a decade

Source: Axios

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 5% this week for the first time since 2011, according to widely cited data from Freddie Mac.

Why it matters: It's becoming increasingly expensive to buy a house — if you can even find one. Over the past three months, mortgage rates have surged at a pace last seen in 1987.

At the same time, the home-buying frenzy driven by the pandemic has reduced the available supply of single-family houses. The number of home listings was at a record low last month, according to realtor.com data.

Open houses around the country with a line of folks waiting out the door are not uncommon.

Bottom line: It's going to be hard for first-time buyers to afford a house, but it'll likely be a while before the real estate madness moderates.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/mortgage-rates-highest-since-2011-430fc8ba-68ac-4e06-8ca6-2ba65c6ee3f8.html



This, along with the explosion of rent prices, are going to be the largest headwinds against us in November.

Biden rebuffed as US relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE hit new low

Posted here b/c it's analysis:

As Joe Biden moved to open US strategic oil reserves, his two biggest oil-producing allies have kept their tanks firmly shut. The UAE and Saudi Arabia continue to rebuff the US president as he attempts to counter soaring oil prices prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And both countries have been unusually frank about their refusal to step in.

The five-week-old war is bringing tensions to a head in several parts of the world, but perhaps nowhere is a regional order more under strain than the Middle East, where two of America’s biggest allies are now seriously questioning the foundations of their relationship.

The Saudi and Emirati refusal to bail Biden out – or even to take his calls – has pushed relations between the Gulf states and Washington to an unprecedented low. The extraordinary flow of Russian wealth to Dubai, just as the US and Europe try to strangle Putin’s economy, has inflamed things further.

Add to that the still-sputtering talks between Washington and Tehran, which could see sanctions reprieves in return for Iran returning to the Obama-era nuclear deal, and there are clear signs of a faltering friendship – with the potential to rewrite the geopolitics of the region.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/03/us-relations-saudi-arabia-uae-oil-crisis

Scoop: Manchin outlines BBB deal requirements

Source: Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told a group of climate activists and energy executives he's open to supporting revised Build Back Better legislation narrowly addressing three issues: climate change, prescription drug prices and deficit reduction.

Why it matters: Manchin’s private comments during a closed-door dinner Monday are a clear indication he’s serious about returning to the negotiating table, but for a much smaller version of President Biden's initial $3.5 trillion proposal, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

His comments at the closed-door dinner, hosted by the American Clean Power Association, the trade association for the renewable energy industry, are consistent with conversations Manchin has had with Senate colleagues.

In those informal talks, he's outlined a deal that includes roughly $500 billion for climate and $1 trillion in new revenue.

...

The bottom line: Any skinnier Build Back Better legislation still faces numerous hurdles.

They include agreement from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on the revenue side, and acceptance from progressives that $550 billion on energy and climate is the only deal they'll get.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/manchin-outlines-bbb-deal-requirements-723696b5-c602-42ef-907c-fcf08bab96f6.html
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