“Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds. An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella.
Ordinarily, a change like this would take about two years to go through the cumbersome legal process of making new federal regulations. But the timing has alarmed food and worker safety advocates, who suspect the Trump administration wants to rush through this rule in its waning days.
Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species.”
“these final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda”
“The Trump administration is on pace to finalize 36 major rules in its final three months, similar to the 35 to 40 notched by the previous four presidents”
“In 2017, Republican lawmakers struck down more than a dozen Obama-era rules using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act. That weapon may be less available for Democrats to overturn Trump’s midnight regulations if Republicans keep control of the Senate, which will be determined by two Georgia runoffs.”
ProPublica is tracking those regulations as they move through the rule-making process.”
“Northwestern law professor Steven Calabresi, who chairs the Federalist Society’s Board of Directors, argues that an 18-year term limit for justices would prevent them from staying on the Court when they are no longer mentally fit and from influencing the choice of their successors through strategic retirement decisions. He suggests that term limits also would turn down the temperature of the selection process.
Under Calabresi’s plan of staggered terms, each president would have an opportunity to pick at least two justices (four if he is reelected). “No other major democracy in the world gives the justices on its highest court life tenure,” he notes. Calabresi argues that an 18-year limit, which would require a constitutional amendment that he thinks should also fix the Court’s size at nine justices, would preserve judicial independence, “end what has become a poisonous process of picking a Supreme Court justice,” and “promote the rule of law” by “depoliticiz[ing] the court and judicial selection.””
“Four years ago, Pennsylvania allowed patients suffering from any of 17 serious medical conditions to relieve their symptoms with marijuana. But there was a catch: If they used cannabis as a medicine, they could no longer legally drive.
Last week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill that would eliminate that legal disability by requiring evidence of impairment to convict medical marijuana patients of driving under the influence (DUI). That reform points the way to a long overdue reevaluation of DUI laws that irrationally and unfairly punish cannabis consumers who pose no threat to public safety.”
“Half a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, have “per se” laws that define DUI based on the concentration of THC in a driver’s blood, while one (Colorado) allows an inference of guilt when that level reaches five nanograms per milliliter. But these laws don’t make sense”
“Because THC, unlike alcohol, is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, there is no clear or consistent relationship between THC in the blood and THC in the brain, which means THC blood levels do not correspond neatly to degrees of impairment. Complicating the situation further, individual responses to a given dose of THC vary widely, especially when you compare occasional marijuana users to regular consumers, who may develop tolerance to the drug’s effects or learn to compensate for them.”
“Even states that have legalized marijuana for all adults 21 or older do not necessarily have rational DUI laws. Illinois, Nevada, and Washington make drivers automatically guilty at THC blood levels that regular consumers commonly exceed even when they are not impaired, while Michigan still has a zero tolerance law that treats any amount of THC as conclusive DUI evidence.”
“Changes in the ice are part of a larger “cascade effect,” as Webster describes it, in which delayed winter ice growth leads to thinner ice, which melts more easily in the summer months compared to older, thicker sea ice. This creates more open ocean.
This transformation contributes to both regional and global warming. Where a white sea ice surface would have reflected sunlight, the dark water absorbs heat, which further reduces ice growth. This change in albedo (or reflectivity) on sea and land in the Arctic is one of the main reasons the region is heating at twice the global average rate, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2019 Arctic Report Card. According to the recent Nature Communications study, it will also be a significant contributor to global warming.
Near Greenland — which holds a massive ice sheet — the warming loop set off by sea ice loss has a minor effect on its warming, but not a substantial effect on the ice sheet itself, researchers found in a 2019 study in Geophysical Research Letters.
The sea ice shift could also impact seasonal weather, potentially intensifying extreme weather. However, Labe says the issue requires further research. “Scientists are actively studying the connections between Arctic sea ice loss and wintertime weather patterns in North America, Europe, and Asia,” he said. “However, these relationships remain highly uncertain in the scientific literature and for seasonal weather forecasts.”
For now, the plummeting sea ice volumes are a startling reminder of just how rapidly the planet is changing, and how dire the consequences of delaying radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will be.”
“Many Vietnamese Americans — particularly first-generation, older immigrants with low English proficiency — had become more radically conservative, or were exposed to and sympathetic with these pro-Trump views.
From my reporting on immigrant Asian communities, I found that some Vietnamese immigrants who might not understand the nuances of racism in America felt threatened by the social unrest and looting in cities. A few even became counterprotesters at local Black Lives Matter rallies.”
“many first-generation Vietnamese were already conservative to begin with. Having left behind a communist-led country, they may be averse to liberal politics, deeply religious, and invested in the idea of the American dream. Guided by a tide of Vietnamese- and English-language misinformation, however, these radical right-wing views are now quietly held by a not-so-insignificant minority”
“Some Vietnamese Americans don’t align themselves entirely with other immigrants. Many are wartime refugees who fought against the communist North Vietnamese army alongside American soldiers, my mom explained. They had no choice but to leave their home country.
The way she sees it, Vietnamese people deserve to be here, but America shouldn’t just accept anyone. “A country is like a home,” she told me in Vietnamese. “You can’t just let anyone inside your home.”
But this line of thinking — that they are “good” or “special” immigrants — fails to recognize how Trump’s immigration policy actually hurts some Vietnamese families, especially newer arrivals who are navigating the green card process.
Those who fled Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon tend to remain strongly opposed to big government policies, are suspicious of any socialist-sympathizing politicians, and are blatantly anti-China, haunted by China’s imperialist agenda in Vietnam and the South China Sea. Many are religious, and hail from patriarchal households where the male breadwinner makes all the important family decisions.”
“To some extent, Silicon Valley is doing nothing unusual. 2020 is by far the most expensive election cycle, adjusted for inflation — costing more than twice as much as the runner-up, the 2016 race. But the new money reflects how Silicon Valley is increasingly turning its financial power into political power that could persist after Election Day.”
“it was Khanna’s invocation of “Hindutva” in his tweet that was perhaps most telling, reflecting the increasingly complicated role Hindu nationalism plays in U.S. politics at a time when Indian American and Hindu politicians—and the communities they hail from—are growing in number and power.
Most Americans probably have never heard the word “Hindutva,” but it’s a common term among subsets of the Indian diaspora, particularly those who follow Hindu nationalism. To its advocates, Hindutva, or “Hindu-ness,” is a benign, catch-all term for Hindu culture that encompasses its history, language, civilization and religion. But its origins and deployment are rooted in a nationalist, and often violent, vision of Indian culture.
The ideologue who coined the term in 1923, V.D. Savarkar, emphasized indigeneity as the bloodline of a nation. He defined “Hindus” as those who consider India both their homeland and their holy land—a definition that includes Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, but not Christians or Muslims. In his speeches and writings, Savarkar made clear that he saw Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews as a model for dealing with India’s Muslims. Today, some Hindus emphasize Hindutva as a way of life. But it is also the ideology used in India to justify ultranationalist politics and defend religious bigotry, militancy and Hindu majoritarianism—especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
Now, in the United States, a small but vocal group of donors and activists is pressuring Indian American and Hindu politicians to embrace the ideology, while criticizing as “Hinduphobic” those who reject Hindutva for its nationalist roots. These Hindutva advocates hope to use the ideology as a wedge issue for the roughly 1.9 million Indian American eligible voters in this country, who represent one of the fastest-growing and wealthiest immigrant groups in the United States. Fifty-six percent of Indian American voters consider themselves Democrats, and in a recent survey, nearly three-quarters said they plan to vote for Joe Biden for president. But 22 percent are still up for grabs as independents who don’t affiliate with any party.
Support for Hindutva in the United States doesn’t necessarily fall along the Democratic-Republican spectrum. But last year, a group of well-heeled Indian Americans founded a new PAC, Americans for Hindus, to take a stronger partisan line. The group—formed in response to what its website calls “anti-India and anti-Hindu statements and actions” from Democrats—is supporting 13 Republican congressional candidates across the country this cycle, including a challenger to Khanna. Few expect the influence of Hindutva to radically shift Indian American voters to the right, particularly in liberal districts like Khanna’s. But it could at least make a dent in a politically polarized population that includes 500,000 voters in swing states.”