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.