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Out d’Coup Podcast

14
May 2021

REPLAY: Out d’Coup LIVE from March 22, 2021| Future of PASSHE: Fail Fast, Dissolve, or Organize

Out d'Coup's Friday politics round-up is off this week. I thought that since we've been talking a lot about PASSHE Chancellor Greenstein's plans to "redesign" PA public higher ed that I'd post a replay of an Out d'Coup LIVE from March in which I breakdown some of the history of "PASSHE-in-crisis" and Chancellor Greenstein's rhetorical strategies to get people to buy into his plans for consolidation and austerity under his "redesign" brand. 

Kevin Mahoney

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The Chancellor of the PA State System of Higher Education, Dan Greenstein, has dropped a few bombshells this week about the future of the 14 state owned university system. Public higher education in PA is facing an uncertain future now. We'll be taking your calls about PASSHE and the future of public higher ed.

Sound from this week's PA State Senate higher ed appropriation hearings, unpacking the rhetorical strategy of PASSHE Chancellor, and so much more. 

A special shout out to Jonathan Mann who wrote our intro song, “There Are No People in the Future.” Check out all is great stuff on his YouTube page and follow him on Twitter @songadaymann

12
May 2021

Out d’Coup Wednesdays | New Out d’Coup podcast featuring progressive columnist Cyril Mychalejko

Let’s call this our soft-launch of our new regular/semi-regular show, Out d’Coup Wednesdays with Cyril Mychalejko. We don’t know if that’s going to stick as the name of the show. It’s descriptive, you’ve got to give me that. 

On today’s show, Cyril and I will talk a little bit about our ideas for this show, check in on the some remarkably important school board elections in Bucks County, spotlight the connections between the increasingly extreme Bucks County Republican Party and this past weekend’s New Yorker article on State Senator Doug Mastriano’s Christian Nationalism; and. See what Cyril is writing about in recent and upcoming columns. 

10
May 2021

Out d’Coup LIVE | Open Phones - PASSHE, New Live Show Platform, Whatever is On Your Mind

We're opening up the "phones" again on this week's Out d'Coup LIVE. It's the end of Mahoney's semester, so we thought we'd take a little break from guests and hear from you. We'll definitely be talking about the PASSHE hearings last week and thoughts on the future of public higher ed in PA.

We're also testing out a new platform for Out d'Coup LIVE. We'll be doing some real-time experiments with Riverside.fm. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for listeners to join the show while at the same time boosting the quality of our sound. So, we'll give it a whirl.

7
May 2021

Out d’Coup | Tax the Rich; Suspend Patents; India’s COVID Crisis; Liz Cheyney; Elise Stefanik; Hot Vax Summer; PA Charter Board; Larry Krasner; PASSHE; Russ Diamond; Space News; Free Will Releases

President Biden made an unvarnished case for taxing the rich on Wednesday, facing reporters steeped in decades of anti-tax dogma.

In another surprise move, Biden came out in favor of suspending patents for vaccine makers in order to make the vaccine more readily available to the world. However, Germany is pushing back against waivers, which will lead to a global showdown over access to the life-saving shots. 

India’s COVID cases continued to climb this week to more than 412,000 cases in one day. Only about 2% of Indians have been vaccinated and hospitals continue to face oxygen shortages as the Modi government faces charges of fumbling or actively worsening conditions. 

More than 25 people are dead in Colombia after more than a week of protests over a tax plan put forward to cover costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Colombia is has also been hit by mass unemployment due to lockdowns. 

Right-wing Republican Liz Cheyney is on the verge of losing her House leadership position because she won’t tow the party line that Trump actually won the election. New York’s morphing power-Trumpista, Elise Stefanik looks like she may take over Cheyney’s leadership position. 

Texas Republican’s pass more voter suppression legislation. Good thing the Texas GOP dominated Senate passed legislation the day before allowing concealed carry without a permit

A Trump appointed federal judge, Dabney Friedrich, struck down the CDC’s eviction moratorium on Wednesday, spreading that much more concern among tenants hit hard by the pandemic. 

Irish Republican’s remembered the IRA’s Bobby Sands this week on the 40th anniversary of his death in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland. Check out my friend Stu’s amazing book on the hunger strikes, Smashing H-Block: The Popular Campaign against Criminalization and the Irish Hunger Strikes 1976-1982, from Liverpool University Press. 

Ski Patrollers at Breckenridge Resort in Colorado voted to unionize with the Communications Workers of America. Breckenridge Resort is part of Vail Resorts which has seen a string of union drives over the past few years as patrollers point to declining wages and working conditions. 

Trump launched a new blog

And births fall to a 42-year low in the U.S. due largely to pandemic social distancing. However, if you follow calls for a “Hot Vax Summer” on social media, we just might see a new boom in little ones by next spring. 

Governor Wolf fired every member on the Charter Appeals Board and sent nominations to the Pennsylvania Senate.  One of the nominees include former state senate candidate and music teacher, Shanna Danielson. The Charter Appeals Board was filled with holdovers with expired terms from the Corbett administration. 

The race for Philadelphia District Attorney is getting underway and Philly politics is showing everyone what they got.  Late last week, the Philadelphia FOP was handing out Mr. Softee ice cream cones in front of Larry Krasner’s offices.  

In response to this stunt, Ben Cohen from Ben and Jerry’s put Mr Softee on blast.  In a press release, Mr. Cohen stated:

“The FOP is out of control, regularly lashing out at anyone who threatens their unquestioned power,” “To be clear, Mr. Softee isn’t even ice cream. It is pumped up with a lot of hot air, which is somehow frozen in a limp sort of way. It is chock full of artificial ingredients. In short, it’s fake ice cream. Just like the lies that the FOP has been telling about a courageous fighter for true justice and one of the best D.A.’s in the U.S.”

Then following Wednesday’s debate, Krasner’s opponent, Carlos Vega tried taunting Krasner once the debate finished. The taunting was caught on a hot-mic and Vega said “I’m your worst nightmare” and “I’ve been in your head for a long time.”  Krasner responded by saying “Sure Carlos.”

Vega claims to be living “rent-free” in Krasner’s head, but Vega filed a bullshit lawsuit trying to sue Krasner and his supporters from social media because of “mean tweets.”

Will Bunch wrote a scathing column writing that moves to dismantle the PA State System of Higher Education are actively turning the American Dream into a nightmare. He lays the bulk of the blame at the feet of GOP legislators who have been beating the drum of austerity since the 1980s.

Oh, and thanks to Rep. Russ Diamond. Russ decided to troll us after our Monday show and, as a result, we’ve got a whole bunch of new listeners!

An 18 ton Chinese rocket segment is set to come crashing down to Earth most likely this weekend and no one knows where exactly it will land. Normally a piece of equipment that large would reenter the atmosphere in a controlled descent. Not the case here. After delivering the first module of China’s first space station to orbit, the booster started to fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled descent. So, as they say, heads up this weekend. 

SpaceX finally sticks a Starship landing. The SN15 Starship rocket made a successful high-latitude test on Wednesday - this time without the explosive landing. 

Pennsylvania House is taking up a critical question that’s on everyone’s post-pandemic mind: will we still be able to get our cocktails to-go? Well, we have an answer - at least part of an answer: on Tuesday, the PA House Liquor Control Committee voted 23-0 to approve Republican Rep. Kurt Masser’s legislation to make drinks-to-go a permanent part of living the PA life. 

Free Will Brewing releases: Spruce - Barrel Aged Saison with Spruce Tips; Tentacle - Pale Ale hopped with EXP10416, Amarillo, and Huell Melon; and, Safeword - Imperial IPA with Mangoes and Habanero Peppers. 

Sean is turning to wine for the next chapter of his lifestyle channel. 

3
May 2021

Out d’Coup LIVE | Joshua Pribanic, co-creator/director of ‘Rights of Nature’ documentary, “Invisible Hand”

On tonight’s show, I welcome Joshua Boaz Pribanic, the co-creator and -co-director of the Rights of Nature documentary, Invisible Hand. Invisible Hand has been called a “paradigm shifting” documentary about the struggle for the recognition of “Rights of Nature,” quite possibly a defining battle of our times where nature, democracy face off in rural America. Produced by award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, Invisible Hand takes us behind the curtain of the global economy where “Rights of Nature” becomes capitalism’s primary opponent. The film’s epic battle does not begin in the centers of global capital, but in the small rural community of Grant Township, PA as residents band together to stop a fracking waste injection well from being located in their town. The “Rights of Nature” may be the most provocative, and powerful, assemblages of Western legal traditions and Indigenous knowledge that this country has ever seen. And it may be what is necessary to combat the climate crisis and reimagine global civilization. 

Joshua is a film director, editor, investigative reporter who gained international attention for his reporting on fracking shale gas in the United States. He’s probably best known for his award-winning documentary films on fracking, the 2013 film Triple Divide and the 2017 film, Triple Divide [Redacted], and, now, of course, Invisible Hand. Joshua is also the co-founder of the investigative journalism non-profit, Public Herald where he serves as Editor-in-Chief. Public Herald has been cited in over 200 publications including The New Yorker, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone,  and The New York Times.

A special shout out to Jonathan Mann who wrote our intro song, “There Are No People in the Future.” Check out all is great stuff on his YouTube page and follow him on Twitter @songadaymann

30
Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Biden’s New Plan; Raiding Rudy; Tucker Freaks Out; New House Numbers; PA Spotlight New Webpage; Mastriano; Brandi Levy Free Speech; PASSHE; Pennridge SD; Space News; Free Will Releases

One day ahead of his 100th day in office, Biden addressed a joint session of Congress to layout out another ambitious policy agenda in his “American Families Plan.” As reported in the New York Times

Also this week, Biden signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for all federal contractors to $15/hour. The increase will impact hundreds of thousands of workers. 

The FBI raided Rudy Giuliani’s home and office this week, seizing computers and cell phones. According to new reporting in the New York Times, the probe centers on the firing of the US Ambassador to Ukraine. If there are any feds listening to this podcast, please send us all conversations between Rudy and Doug Mastriano.

Tucker Carlson tests the boundaries of extremism. Carlson used his top-rated, Fox News show to claim that requiring children to wear masks was “child abuse.” He said, “your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart...Call the police immediately, contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.” 

The game of musical chairs has begun as the Census Bureau released the new state population numbers, which determine the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives

Gains: Texas (2), Florida (1), North Carolina (1), Colorado (1), Oregon (1), Montana (1)
Losses: California (1), New York (1), Illinois (1), Pennsylvania (1), Ohio (1), Michigan (1), West Virginia (1)

Matt Gaetz’s wing man decided to sing

Pennsylvania Spotlight relaunched their website!  This is a project that has been in the works for months and thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, especially Scott Wagner and Mike Turzai. 

Senator Doug Mastriano and Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate Paula Patrick were slated to speak at the “Up Front in the Prophetic” Q-Anon conference happening in Gettysburg this June, but both issued statements condemning the event and movement. Unconfirmed reports are that Mastriano issued this statement with a wink and a nod. 

A case by Pennsylvania high school student Brandi Levy made it to the Supreme Court after she was suspended from her cheerleading tea m after posting harsh comments about her school on Snapchat. When she failed to make the varsity cheerleading team, she posted a picture of herself flipping the bird captioned with “F___ school f___ softball f___ cheer f___ everything.” The case raises significant questions about the authority of schools to punish students for speech that occurs off school grounds. 

This was a major week for the future of the PA State System of Higher Education. On Wednesday, Chancellor Greenstein’s plans to merge six universities into two was accepted by the Board of Governors, triggering a 60 comment period and legislative hearings. A new report by the U Mass-based Political Economy Research Institute found that Greenstein’s plans will lead to over 1,500 direct job losses, leading to over 700 additional “indirect” or “induced” lost jobs in the Commonwealth. The question on the table now is whether Governor Wolf wants the destruction of PA public higher ed to be his lasting legacy. 

In my neck of the woods, there’s a team of right-wing extremists running for the Pennridge School Board. At least they are making it easy to know who NOT to vote for. So, DO NOT vote for Christine Batycki, Jordan Blomgren, Ricki Chaikin and Bob Cormack.

The Mars Helicopter Ingenuity failed to make a fourth flight yesterday when it failed to switch into flight mode. 

China launched the main main module for its first permanent space station on Thursday. The launch is the first of 11 missions necessary to complete the station and establish China a major player in the future of space. China will also land its first rover on Mars next month. 

Last Friday, SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission launched a new crew to the International Space Station. On their way to the space station, a piece of space junk came unexpectedly close to colliding with the capsule. 

The four astronauts that arrived at the International Space Station were scheduled to depart the ISS later today, but they have been delayed for the second time due to weather. Or, maybe they want a few more days for sightseeing? 

Free Will Brewing new releases: Strawberry Banana Mash & Longful Hunt.

Last weekend Free Will launched Sunday Sessions - live music at the Brewery. Sklyar Love kicked off the season for the first show. This Sunday, John Valerio will be taking the stage from 1-4pm. No tickets required. There will be 19 beers on tap, wine from Pennswood, and food by Tre’ Locally Sourced.

26
Apr 2021

Out d’Coup LIVE | Dr. Jamie Martin, president of APSCUF on PASSHE’s disconnected redesign

On tonight’s show, I welcome Dr. Jamie Martin to the show. Martin is the president of the APSCUF, the faculty union representing the 14 state-owned universities making up the PA State System of Higher Education. Faculty, staff, and students are facing a precarious future as the Chancellor of the state system, Daniel Greenstein, pushes forward his agenda to merge six universities into two, layoff scores of faculty and staff, throw students' academic programs into flux, and force more classes online. Greenstein tells a fairy tale narrative of his "Redesign" plans, but many faculty, students, and staff aren't buying in. Earlier today, Greenstein dropped his 439 page university merger plan - a plan that will be presented to the Board of Governors this Wednesday, April 28. We'll talk about how we got here and where we need to go.

Martin graduated from IUP with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a doctorate in criminology. Her research has focused on qualitative research, corrections, and criminal-justice ethics. She has published articles in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education and American Journal of Criminal Justice, and she has also published a book called Looking Out: Jailed Fathers’ Perceptions about Separation from Their Children. Additionally, she won the Center for Teaching Excellence Award in 2004 and the Outstanding Teacher Award in the College of Health and Human Services in 2008.

Resources:

  • April 27 – LHU APSCUF town hall

    Lock Haven University’s APSCUF chapter will host an online Q&A session for alumni to discuss consolidation. The session runs 7–8 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, in Zoom meeting ID # 977 1143 0089.

  • April 28 – Consolidation-plan presentation and Day of Action:
    8:30 a.m. | BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING (livestreamed) — Click here for details about how to watch and how to participate in public comment that morning.

  • 11:30 a.m. SAVE OUR STATE SCHOOLS will host a streamed event to discuss advocacy surrounding the plan. We’ll share registration when it is available; better yet, you can sign up for SOSS email alerts to hear directly from them.

  • Follow Save Out State Schools on Twitter: @OurStateSchools. Look for additional. Sign up for additional information and email alerts on their webpage: SaveOurStateSchools.org.

  • Check out APSCUF's student page with additional events and organizing info.  

A special shout out to Jonathan Mann who wrote our intro song, “There Are No People in the Future.” Check out all is great stuff on his YouTube page and follow him on Twitter @songadaymann

23
Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Guilty x 3; Transform Policing; India’s COVID Crisis; Biden on Climate; DC Statehood; Seth Grove Show; Dush Death Camps; PASSHE; PA Abortion Bills; NASA; Human Robot & Free Will

Guilty, guilty, guilty. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin found guily on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd. Now attention turns back to the work of fundamentally transforming policing in America. 

The three former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in George Floyd’s arrest and who stood by as Derek Chauvin killed Floyd, will be facing their own day of reckoning in court in the coming months. 

As if to underscore that convicting Derek Chauvin would not change the rot at the core of American policing, police shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright just 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin’s trial was being held. 

Axios reported that Senate Democratic and Republican staffers see the Chauvin verdict as “taking off the pressure” to pass meaningful police reform.

And...is Nancy Pelosi actually trying to hurt Democrats and prove to everyone that she and others in the party leadership are completely out of touch? 

India sets a new global record for the most number of COVID cases in a day at more than 330,000. Until now, the United States was the only nation to see that number of cases in a day. Hospitals in Delhi and in other large cities are running out of oxygen. Indian journalist Rana Ayyub told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman “it is an apocalyptic situation in India right now.” With a population four times as large as the United States the devastation from the virus could prove catastrophic and lead to the spread of new virus strains.

The explosion of COVID cases in India has further exposed inequity in vaccine distribution globally. Even though India is one of the largest producers and suppliers of vaccines to the world, corporate patent protections have prioritized getting vaccines to nations who can pay top dollar, not to those who need it most. We can thank Bill Gates for that, as outlined in Ann Neumann’s recent article in the Baffler, “Who Owns Vaccines.” 

Yesterday, on Earth Day, Biden made a commitment to cut U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030.  While the commitment is one of the boldest we’ve ever seen from an American president, energy experts told the New York Times that such a move would “require a dramatic overhaul of American society,” and fundamental changes in American’s energy system. It remains to be seen if the Biden administration truly has the political will to do what is necessary to meet his own commitments. It should be noted that climate scientists and activists have pointed out that even Biden’s bold goals are not enough to stave off some of the worst effects of climate change. 

Priorities USA, the Super PAC that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, released a report last week that was very critical of Democrats' ad spending.  Republicans outspent Democrats on TV and digital advertising for House and Senate campaigns 8 to 12 months before the 2020 even though Democrats outspent Republicans by the time of the election.  And here’s the kicker: 75% of the money Democrats spent on TV advertising for Congressional races missed their target audiences.  

DC Statehood, baby. House passed a D.C. Statehood bill yesterday. The bill moves on to the Senate. It will be one more test of how wedded to the filibuster Democrats are. 

Seth Grove and the House Republicans from the State Government Committee released their “findings” from their election integrity hearings.  Republicans are eyeing up voter IDs for in-person voting and those voting by mail, limiting dropboxes to one per county, having signature tests and third party witness signatures for mail-in ballots and purging of the voter rolls.

Stephen Caruso from the Pennsylvania Capital Star published an amazing interview with House State Government Chair Seth Grove.  During the interview, Caruso asked Grove how he can be a “good faith” actor in negotiating voting reforms when he is associated with ALEC, put his name on letters seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results and had a meeting with Kris Kobach during his election integrity hearings.  Grove’s response “we’ll see.”  

Election truthers, conspiracy theorists and insurrectionists inspired by the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell returned to the capitol this week demanding that the Pennsylvania General Assembly pass legislation to conduct a complete audit of the 2020 election.  The event was such a hit that independent journalist and documentarian, Zach Roberts, traveled to Harrisburg for it.  

Cris Dush went full blown “Cold Warrior” in the middle of a Senate appropriations hearing yesterday.  Dush used COVID conspiracies and Nazi anaologies when asking Acting Department of Health Secretary Allison Beam if the Wolf administration intentionall sent COVID infected patients to nursing homes and turned those nursing homes into “death camps.”

In an Op-Ed this week, Tara Murth and Susan Frietsche from the Women’s Law Project, warned that maternal mortality is skyrocketing in Pennsylvania while PA Republicans continue to pursue anti-abortion legislation that will only worsen the crisis. HB 1977 is a near total abortion ban; SB 21 pretends to protect people with disabilities as a justification for restricting abortion rights; and HB 1890 would mandate a death certificate be issued for every abortion and would threaten medical providers who did not obtain a death certificate. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a big, if rather superficial, story on PASSHE Chancellor Greenstein’s plans to fundamentally redesign the 14 state-owned university system. While much of the article misses the mark, it has helped place PASSHE in the national spotlight - right where Greenstein wants it, I suspect.  APSCUFs survey of the faculty affected by the planned mergers found that fewer than 8% of faculty were supportive of the mergers and only 7% believed the process has been transparent. 

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, made not one, but two flights on the red planet this week. The historic first flight on Monday saw the helicopter take off, hover about 10 feet in the air for about 30 seconds, then descend back to the ground. On Thursday, the flight lasted almost a minute. The helicopter hovered at about 16 feet and moved sideways for about 7 feet before returning to the ground. 

Meanwhile on the ground, NASA’s Perseverance rover turned a bit of Martian air into breathable oxygen thanks to an instrument called MOXIE. The little toaster-sized instrument is designed to separate oxygen atoms from carbon-dioxide molecules. The test produced enough oxygen to give a single astronaut about 10 minutes of breathable air. 

Early this morning the SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon capsule launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida upon a Falcon 9 rocket. The international crew consists of 2 astronauts from the U.S., one from Japan, and one from Russian. Crew-2 should arrive at the International Space Station early tomorrow morning. 

U.S. military chose Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics for their first phase of a project to test nuclear propulsion systems in orbit. 

And, SpaceX beat out Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics to win build the space craft for NASA’s Artemis mission to the Moon. 

I got myself some Human Robot beer this week! And...a hat. 

Free Will Releases. 

19
Apr 2021

Out d’Coup LIVE | Karen Feridun, Founder Berks Gas Truth & Co-Founder of Better Path Coalition

On today’s show, I welcome back to the program, Karen Feridun. Karen is the Founder of Berks Gas Truth, a grassroots community organization fighting to ban fracking and all shale gas infrastructure. She is co-founder of the statewide Better Path Coalition. For the past 11 years, she worked with organizations in PA, NY, NJ, and DE to get the ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin that was imposed in February. She is currently part of an international coalition working to stop Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports and a national coalition working with members of Congress to reform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

We'll be talking about The Better Path Coalition's "We Are the Ones" campaign. The coalition hopes to build on the recent decision to ban fracking in the Delaware River Basin and the release of Kristina Marusic’s bombshell report for Environmental Health News, “Fractured: The Body Burden of Living Near Fracking” - and pressure the Wolf administration to end his support of fracking and the fossil fuel industry once and for all.

Resources:

A special shout out to Jonathan Mann who wrote our intro song, “There Are No People in the Future.” Check out all is great stuff on his YouTube page and follow him on Twitter @songadaymann

16
Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Killer Cops; Chauvin Trial; Biden Refugee Fail; FL Anti-Riot Bill; Amazon Union Post-Mortem; Seth Grove Circus; Philly NRA Gun Safety; PASSHE; NASA News; Human Robot; Free Will Releases

Kimberly Potter, the officer that shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, has been fired and will face second-degree manslaughter charges. Potter, a 26 year veteran of the Brooklyn Center, MN police force and president of the police union. She claims she meant to use a taser, but pulled her weapon instead. 

In more arguments for why we need to defund the police, Chicago police released body cam footage of an officer killing 13-year-old young black man, Adam Toledo, as he raised his hands up. 

Minnesota protests continued and have been met with militarized police response. 

Meanwhile, in Virginia a cop drew a weapon and pepper-sprayed a uniformed soldier at a traffic stop. The Windsor Police Department officer apparently thought the car had no plates, despite the new car temporary tags clearly displayed in the rear-window. When Army lieutenant Caron Nazario asked the officer what was going, officer Joe Jutierrez responde, “What’s going on is you’re fixing to ride the lightning, son.” 

And lawyers for Derek Chauvin, the cop that slowly killed George Floyd, rested their case after trying to smear Floyd and falsely attribute his death to drugs. Chauvin refused to take the stand, invoking the 5th Amendment.

President Biden has been dragging his feet on relaxing Trump’s inhumane restrictions on refugees, leading to a lot of head-scratching and anger from Democrats and immigrant and refugee rights groups. According to new reporting by CNN, the reason for the delay is that Biden is fretting over the “political optics” of allowing more refugees into the country. The delay has left thousands of people seeking refuge in a state of limbo after an already lengthy waiting process. 

The Guardian reports that police officers and public officials from around the country have been donating to Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense fund.  An executive internal affairs officer from Norfolk Virginia gave a donation that said “keep your head up, you’ve done nothing wrong.”

The Florida Senate passed an “anti-riot bill” that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been drooling over. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the bill will “grant civil immunity to people who drive through protestors blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot.” 

In addition, “A new crime of “mob intimidation,” defined as three or more people “acting with a common intent” forcing or threatening to force another person from taking a viewpoint against their will, is created by the bill. It is punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor, and bail is denied until first court appearance for anyone charged with the crime.”

More alarming news on the climate front. In a new study by the Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat in Cambridge, UK, scientists found that “just 3% of the world’s land remains ecologically intact with healthy populations of all its original animals and undisturbed habitat,” according to The Guardian. Previous analyses put the number between 20- and 40%. However, those studies relied heavily on satellite images, which can give the false impression that the ecosystems are intact.

The numbers are in. Workers hoping to unionize the Amazon plant in Bessemer, AL lost their election in a blowout. The vote was 738 in favor to 1,798 against.. Writing in the The Nation, Jane McAlevey argues that the effort does not mean that unionizing Amazon plants are doomed; rather, there were warning signs all over that the campaign had some serious problems - some due to Amazon’s union-busting efforts, but also due to some “fatal flaws” in the organizing campaign itself. 

  • Inaccurate lists of workers
  • Poor handling of discussions about union dues
  • Focus on plant gates, no house calls
  • No sign of majority support

Seth Grove and the House State Government Committee ended their dog and pony show relitigating the 2020 election. The meetings spanned 2 months, took up a total of 48 hours and continued to spread disinformation surrounding the 2020 election.  In the waning days, Grove invited members from multiple Heritage Foundation fronts, the Foundation for Government Accountability, the Public Interest Legal Foundation and other Koch Brother backed organizations to continue Trump’s big lie.

The next phase of the PA House Republican’s plan to cancel voting rights in Pennsylvania moves forward. It may take months for legislation to take shape, but Pennsylvania will be a focal point as Republicans look to push a smorgasbord of voter suppression tactics, like signature matching and voter ID’s. 

The Philadelphia Police Department launched a short-lived initiative to combat gun violence in the city this week.  Commissioner Outlaw announced that the police department was going to team up with the Department of Parks and Recreation and teach children about gun safety.  The problem?  The Commissioner stated that they were going to use the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program without stating it was an NRA backed program.  The initiative lasted less than a day after gun safety advocates and residents pounced on this idea. 

Philadelphia Councilmember Kendra Brooks, introduced two bills this week that would end practice of landlords denying turning away prospective tenants based upon eviction records. Brooks explained her rationale to WHYY: “Structural barriers and biases in the renting process disproportionately impact low-income renters, especially Black women. And as we know, these same renters have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. We must work toward a pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind and protecting renters’ rights to access affordable rental properties is a key part of that.”

PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein, made his case for his plan to fundamentally redesign the 14 state-owned university system to the Board of Governors on Thursday. Board of Governors Chair, Cynthia Shapira, called Greenstein’s remarks “inspirational” as she threw her support behind his plans to merge 6 of the universities into 2; fire hundreds of faculty and staff; and force students into more online classes. A piece of good news from the meeting that is getting much more coverage is the Board agree to freeze tuition for a third straight year. 

Kutztown University student, Natalie Santos running for Allentown City Council

NASA’s InSight Mars lander is going into emergency hibernation due to a build up of dust on the lander’s solar panels. Since landing in Elysium Planitia in 2018, InSight has been busy - detecting more than 500 Mars quakes and beginning to measure Mars’s core. Scientists say the lack of the powerful gusts of wind that are common in other parts of the planet have led to the build up. 

Still no flight for Ingenuity. An expected test flight for the little Mars helicopter was called off earlier this week due to a software issue related to its flight control. A fix has been identified and the NASA team say that Ingenuity may be ready to give it another go as early as next week. 

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk announced that not only will the Artemis mission put the first woman on the moon, it will also send the first person of color as well. 

I will be seeking out Human Robot beer this coming week.

Free Will releases.

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