One year ago, California and Hawaii were the first states to announce emergency declarations to fight COVID-19. In doing so, they activated preexisting price gouging regulations. The reasoning, California Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed, was so that “consumers (will be) able to purchase what they need, at a fair price.” Unfortunately, for some of those consumers that fair price cost them their lives.
With more people vaccinated against COVID-19 every day and case numbers just a fraction of what they were at the beginning of the year, it seems as if — finally — we are are beating the pandemic.
What is there to say about the awful behavior of a man like Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that has not been said a million times already?
With vaccines on the way, it’s likely that 2021 will be much better, or at least more normal, than 2020. But a question remains: Which parts of our pandemic existence will we find most difficult to give up?
President Joe Biden, a longtime critic of U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, can’t be eager to preside over the 20th anniversary of what is already America’s longest war. But if he’s to secure U.S. interests and give Afghans a chance at achieving peace, he won’t have much choice.
Our nation is getting a crash course in conspiracy theories. QAnon has been in the spotlight as the latest iteration. With the rise of social media, the messenger may be new, but the message is not. Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries, well before mass communications amplified their potency. The human desire to explain complicated events in simplistic ways often leads to blaming minorities for them, sometimes with deadly consequences.
In 1787, on the eve of the French Revolution, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Edward Carrington, dispatched to the Continental Congress, on the role of a free press. If he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,” Jefferson wrote, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” The founding father feared governments, including the one he helped design, would become predatory if unchecked by a knowledgeable citizenry. And here we are.
The Los Angeles County jail is filled with hundreds of inmates accused of crimes but too mentally ill to understand the charges against them or assist in their own defense. Being incompetent to stand trial, they burn through county taxpayers’ money as they wait in jail.
This weekend marked another step in defeating COVID-19 as the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, giving America 100 million additional doses by this summer, another wonderful life-saving weapon against the deadly virus. Coming a day after President Joe Biden celebrated the 50 millionth shot jabbed in an arm, victory seems near.
It is only natural that the American government and the American people have focused on getting coronavirus vaccines to as many of its people as possible, with the most vulnerable first in line. But as the pace of domestic vaccination accelerates, two facts are worth bearing in mind.
On Feb. 14, President Biden marked the third anniversary of the deadly shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with an announcement that he is calling on Congress to enact “commonsense gun law reforms.”
In the last several weeks, President Joe Biden has reversed — or put on hold — many of the Trump administration’s immigration and border security policies. No one doubts that the new team is scouring the field, looking for other Trump administration policies and initiatives to cancel. But surely fighting the scourge of human trafficking is a piece of Trump’s legacy that should be spared the chopping block. Indeed, this is one area where Biden’s Department of Homeland Security should be looking to continue and build upon the work of the previous administration.
Last year, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made one of the few good moves of her tenure by waiving the annual standardized tests given to elementary and secondary school students under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Schools were in emergency mode as they closed campuses in March, many students were without the tools for remote learning, let alone remote testing, and to put it simply, the academic year was a hot mess.
For some reason, the fiscal crisis engulfing states and localities due to the COVID-19 pandemic has the power to cloud Republicans’ minds.
President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations had been moving forward pretty well until the past few days. Now they’ve run into trouble. Neera Tanden (nominated to lead the Office of Management and Budget), California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (Health and Human Services) and Rep. Deb Haaland (Interior) are facing opposition from Republicans. Tanden’s nomination, in particular, looks stalled, and Biden’s team is said to be considering alternatives.
In his push to combat climate change, President Joe Biden has vowed to take action to protect the Amazon rainforest. That means getting Brazil’s populist government to cooperate. A combination of incentives and creative diplomacy offers the best chance of success.
Sometimes missed on North Korea’s voluminous list of human rights abuses are its serial cyber kleptomania and global criminal schemes to rip off the world’s financial systems. Just days ago, we got a grim reminder of the massive cyberthreat it poses to global finance.
The stock market applauded Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress on Tuesday, rebounding on his assurance that an increase in interest rates is nowhere in sight. Powell’s message was well-grounded as well as reassuring — but there’s no disguising the challenges that lie ahead for monetary policy.
President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority goes by two names: “COVID relief” and “stimulus.” The two terms help reporters and politicians avoid repetition, but they also point to the two main purposes the bill is supposed to serve.