U.S. airlines reported that 2020 was their biggest year of losses due to the pandemic.
Portugal now has the highest per capita Covid cases and deaths and has locked down all international travel as a result. The President admits that this was worsened because the government eased lockdown rules over Christmas.
The Lead: Robinhood
The trading app RobinHood put a halt on trading of GameStop on Thursday and now the company is facing a class action lawsuit.
These are some shenanigans. RobinHood is supposed to be a simple trading platform, not a manipulator of it. This caused GameStock stock price to drop after it had been rising for days because Reddit users had driven it up. They did this after realizing that hedge funds had been shorting the stock to drive it down. This flipped the balance of power on its head, causing the wealthy to lose and the less powerful to start to gain and RobinHood got involved to stop it. Dumb move.
The app also halted trading of other Reddit picks such as AMC, BlackBerry and Nokia. Now there is a name for this, when the little guys drive up the price of a stock that Wall Street is trying to make money on tanking: The GameStop effect.
The whole ordeal was the impetus for comedian Jon Stewart to finally join Twitter, asserting that “The Redditors aren’t cheating, they’re joining a party Wall Street insiders have been enjoying for years. Don’t shut them down…maybe sue them for copyright infringement instead!! We’ve learned nothing from 2008.”
Senator Mitch McConnell is saying that he will listen to evidence in the impeachment trial of former President Trump. This is in contrast to the first impeachment trial of President Trump, less than one year ago, if you can believe that!
In the first trials, the President was accused of asking the Ukrainian President to dig up some dirt on his rival, current President Joe Biden. That was an illegal campaign contribution from a foreign government and it was illegal for the President to ask it. Both parties agreed on that much but Republican leaders refused to call witnesses in the Senate trials.
Now, they seem open to the idea, even though an impeachment does not remove Trump from office. It would prevent him from running again or starting his own political party. Republicans who obstinately supported President Trump are now wavering.
The horn-wearing guy who is defending his charges in the Capitol riots has offered to be a witness against the President so they can start there.
Senator Mitt Romney is calling on his fellow Republicans to reject the former President’s rhetoric, especially as it relates to contesting the 2020 election. He said that Republicans should go on Fox News and say this: “You know what, I was a big Trump supporter, I was really pulling for Donald Trump, but he lost fair and square.”
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The spotlight in the GOP is currently on Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is wondering why Republicans are letting her play ball after all after she asserted that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the Parkland, Florida school shooting were staged events. She is also a promoter of QAnon conspiracy theories and has said that the California wildfires were due to a Jewish space laser.
Republican leadership appointed Greene to the House Education Committee, promoting Pelosi to say this to reporters: “What could they be thinking? Or is ‘thinking’ too generous a word for what they may be doing?”
Since this throw down, Greene has deleted several of her social media posts. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy all of a sudden seems interested in her comments too. A spokesperson for his office said that he is planning to have a conversation with the congresswoman about this. Some house Democrats are calling for her to be expelled from congress.
The Electric Slide
gm electric hummer credit: wsj
GM says that it will phase out gas and diesel-powered cars by 2035 in favor of a fully electrica lineup. This gives the company a little under 15 years to turn over 98% of its fleet.
GM has said that it has a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. There are plenty of government incentives and tax credits to help them along. Stock of GM rose on this news, having been sluggish for months.
3,000 kilometers. That is how far a cat traveled that got stuck in a shipping container for 3 weeks. The container traveled from Ukraine to Israel and the cat survived by eating only candy.
£10,000. That is how much a man was fined for organizing a massive snowball fight in England, breaking lockdown rules.
6 years old. That was the age of Kautilya Katariya when he completed four professional certifications for IBM and Python and artificial intelligence, making him the youngest programmer ever. That’s all in the past though. He’s 7 now.
College students are asking their schools to stop using Proctorio, a remote watchdog program that watches students take tests and flags suspicious behavior to their professors. It does this by scanning students’ facial expressions and browsing history and sending this information to faculty.
Students have many complaints about this software. Obviously. They say that it is a violation of their privacy. They say that it is a bloated piece of software that requires too much bandwidth. One student said that she had to take a test at Starbucks because her home connection could not support the software. Students also say that the software has trouble identifying the facial movements of darker students and disproportionately flags them.
Students across the country have started petitions to get their schools to ditch Proctorio. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced that it will not use this software, beginning in the fall 2021 semester.