Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ohio v. EPA threatens the EPA’s ability to regulate air pollution nationwide

  On February 21, 2024, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for an emergency petition to postpone implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “good neighbor plan,” which is meant to protect downwind states from high levels of ozone pollution. Unusually, the court is holding oral argument in this matter even though it originates in the notorious emergency docket known as the “shadow docket.” Unlike in the traditional merits docket, cases heard in the shadow docket typically are decided without oral argument on a fast-tracked basis and often are procedural in nature. In Ohio v. EPA, the court has chosen to hear arguments to determine whether the good neighbor plan should be paused while litigation in the lower courts continues. A stay of the plan could allow upwind states to emit approximately 70,000 additional tons of smog-creating nitrous oxide by the peak of the 2026 summertime ozone season, causing up to 1,300 premature deaths and increased hospital visits for thousands of Americans with asthma or other respiratory problems each year. This case serves as another opportunity for this radical, right-wing Supreme Court to rule in favor of powerful industry polluters over the safety and welfare of the American people.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Mexico is suing US gun-makers for arming its gangs − and a US court could award billions in damages

  The government of Mexico is suing U.S. gun-makers for their role in facilitating cross-border gun trafficking that has supercharged violent crime in Mexico.

  The lawsuit seeks US$10 billion in damages and a court order to force the companies named in the lawsuit – including Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Beretta, and Ruger – to change the way they do business. In January, a federal appeals court in Boston decided that the industry’s immunity shield, which so far has protected gun-makers from civil liability, does not apply to Mexico’s lawsuit.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

2023’s billion-dollar disasters list shattered the US record with 28 big weather and climate disasters amid Earth’s hottest year on record

  National weather analysts released their 2023 “billion-dollar disasters list” on Jan. 9, just as 2024 was getting off to a ferocious start. A blizzard was sweeping across across the Plains and Midwest, and the South and East faced flood risks from extreme downpours.

  The U.S. set an unwelcome record for weather and climate disasters in 2023, with 28 disasters that exceeded more than US$1 billion in damage each.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

With higher fees and more ads, streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu are cashing in by using the old tactics of cable TV

  There’s one thing that television viewers can count on in 2024: higher fees and more commercials.

  The major streaming services – Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Max – have all announced rate hikes and new advertising policies.

Friday, February 16, 2024

George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is a story of jazz, race and the fraught notion of America’s melting pot

  February 12, 1924 was a frigid day in New York City. But that didn’t stop an intrepid group of concertgoers from gathering in midtown Manhattan’s Aeolian Hall for “An Experiment in Modern Music.” The organizer, bandleader Paul Whiteman, wanted to show how jazz and classical music could come together. So he commissioned a new work by a 25-year-old Jewish-American upstart named George Gershwin.

  Gershwin’s contribution to the program, “Rhapsody in Blue,” would go on to exceed anyone’s wildest expectations, becoming one of the best-known works of the 20th century. Beyond the concert hall, it would appear in iconic films such as Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and Disney’s “Fantasia 2000.” It was performed during the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and if you ever fly on United Airlines, you’ll hear it playing during the preflight safety videos.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

What Americans can learn from Danish masculinity

  When a leader cries in public, is it a sign of weakness?

  On Jan. 14, 2023, Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik was crowned King Frederik X after his mother, Queen Margrethe II, announced she would be abdicating the throne during her annual New Year’s Eve speech.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Drunk and bitter on Valentine's Day

  I'm not opposed to love. In fact, I love love, especially the sex part. It's not even that I hate Valentine's Day. But like every event in our society that contains even the slightest hint of sappy sentimentality, it has been done to death. (Can you say, "Titanic?")

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Joseph O. Patton: How I survived Mardi Gras in Mobile

  Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the March 17, 2000 edition of the AUMnibus, the student newspaper of Auburn Montgomery. It was also released through two national college news wires.

  I will freely admit that I had strong misgivings about letting loose on the grand city of Mobile, Ala. during the madness of Mardi Gras -- especially with my girl-crazy assistant, Matt "lookin' for love in all the wrong places" Jorgensen.

Monday, February 12, 2024

A Senate committee shows everything wrong with Alabama government

  I want to seal the Feb. 7 meeting of the Alabama Senate’s State Governmental Affairs Committee in amber.

  I want to mail copies of it to every house in the state. I want to paint it in bright colors and sell it next to prints of Van Tiffin and Chris Davis.

  Because I have never seen anything that so embodied everything wrong with governance in Alabama.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

The Defense Department’s China Military Power Report: The threat is worse than advertised

  The Defense Department’s latest annual China Military Power Report gets a lot right. It accurately identifies the scope of China’s global ambitions and many of the structural changes being implemented by Xi Jinping to make China the preeminent military power in Asia and the Pacific. Even so, the report appears to undersell the threat posed by China and what will be required from the U.S. to counter it.