🌞 Russian Burgers – May 16 2022




Happy Monday. Sky Bridge 721 officially opened in the Czech Republic Friday. The 721-meter-long suspension footbridge is the world’s longest, takes ten minutes to walk across, and I’m adding it to my bucket list NOW.

credit: giphy

In Case You Missed It. 

🚨 An 18-year-old man in New York is in custody for a mass shooting this weekend in Buffalo, and reports show that he was a white supremacist and supporter of the Ukrainian Azov battalion. However, the media has not been keen to highlight this. Why not?? In 2018 the FBI issued a warning that the Azov neo-nazi group in Ukraine was actively working to radicalize white supremacists in the U.S. It seems like an essential part of the story. 

🇦🇪 Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the leader of the United Arab Emirates, died Friday at age 73. His half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, has stood in for Khalifa during his long illness and is expected to succeed him as UAE president.

🛸 UFOs are coming in for a landing at the U.S. House tomorrow, where a panel will hold a hearing on unidentified flying objects for the first time in 50 years.

🗺 A Florida judge blocked Governor Ron Desantis’ congressional map because it was basically too overtly racist.

⚖️ The U.S. House January 6 committee subpoenaed Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and four other House Republicans.

🐥 Elon Musk tweeted Friday that he’s putting his deal to buy Twitter on hold pending details on spam accounts. Twitter’s stock dropped sharply on the news, signaling worries that Musk could back out of the deal.

🪧 Thousands of abortion rights supporters across the U.S. participated in the “Bans Off Our Bodies” march Saturday. This is just the beginning of the expected “summer of rage” following the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

🍔 McDonald's announced this morning it's starting the process of selling all of its restaurants in Russia. 

Coronavirus Update: 😷 

  • The number of fever-related mortalities in North Korea now sits at 42. North Korea does not have enough tests to confirm if these are Covid deaths, but Occam’s Razor and all that. The number is expected to grow rapidly, and the country’s medical system is nowhere near prepared for it.
  • The U.S. CDC is telling people eligible for the second Covid booster to maybe just not, increasing fears of upcoming vaccine rationing in the country due to lack of funding from Congress. Congress has put on hold a new covid package while it fast tracks the new $40 billion to Ukraine. 
  • Officials in Shanghai are aiming for June 1 for an end to lockdowns. 














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 5:00am ET. 

  • Markets: Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein warns of the "very, very, high risk" of a US recession. He might be onto something as more than $11 trillion in value has been erased from global stocks since the end of March.

The Lead: NATO's List Continues to Grow

sanna marin finnish prime minister credit: guardian

The time for neutrality could soon be over.

Today, Finland’s government is expected to approve the president and prime minister’s request to apply for membership in NATO. A formal request would then follow, likely sometime this week. This would mark a huge turning point for the country, which has kept it neutral since the Cold War.

Finland shares a border with Russia, so Finland chose neutrality during the Cold War to avoid direct conflict. But that was a different time with different leaders. Today’s leaders are ready to take sides and Sweden (also historically neutral) could soon follow.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that Russia would not take kindly to this application and that they will not put up with it. He did not specify what that means. 

However, Turkey’s President Erdogan might put a wrench in this whole thing. Turkey is a NATO member, so it can veto any country applying for membership. Erdogan laid out demands for his own country if he is to vote in favor of Finland and Sweden. The demands included lifting bans on some sale of arms to Turkey. They want more guns in order to vote for what their buds want? A NATO spokesperson said that they would probably be able to “address the concerns” so as not to delay the vote. 

More guns for everyone! Why the heck not!? 

Powell Becomes Official

credit: business insider

Jerome Powell will live to fight another term as the U.S. Fed Chair, after the Senate confirmed him Thursday

Powell has a rough road ahead, with inflation in March rising at its fastest pace since 1981, which was in the middle of two back-to-back recessions. Powell is currently aiming for a “soft” economic landing instead of the big R, though he seems to think a recession might be what it takes to avoid $1,000 eggs.

In his first term, Powell triaged the pandemic situation, cutting interest rates to near zero. He kept that in place for two years even while prices soared. Some critics say that was too long, and Powell actually agrees. But he and his colleagues thought the inflation was temporary and hindsight is 20/20.

Now the Fed is arming itself to fight inflation, raising interest rates by half a percentage point at the last meeting, the biggest hike in over 20 years. And more of those are coming. A 75-basis-point increase does not seem off the table, either.

This ‘soft’ economic landing could get a little rough.

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Fireworks During Fire Season?

credit: giphy

“Is throwing lit objects up into the sky in the height of the fire season the best thing for us to do?” 

That’s what Andy Chapman rhetorically asked his colleagues who run the fireworks display for Incline Village, Nevada. In the Western U.S., with its historic drought conditions, caution has reached a peak in these climate crisis times. If anyone forgot the danger, New Mexico is currently going through a horrible reminder with the largest wildfire in the U.S.

So fireworks might not be a great idea for the upcoming Independence Day celebrations in the country. Sure, they’re heavily monitored, but so was the planned burn that started the flames in New Mexico.

Stay home on July 4th? NEVER. But the U.S. always has alternatives for overblown productions. The drone trend is here and ready to serve. Instead of the ear-splitting boom of fire sprinkling through the air, drone shows consist of lit flying objects changing positions and colors to form different designs. All to music, of course.

This sounds very cool, better for the environment (and ears), won’t scare your dogs and they are MUCH safer. However, we’re talking $$$. Drone show company Verge Aero charges $25,000 minimum. Small fireworks shows are typically $15,000 to $20,000.

Wait… WHAT??? Maybe we should revisit that staying home idea.

Nature is Calling

credit: phys.org

Scientists agree that nature is good for a person’s mental health. But maybe only for the privileged.

New University of Vermont research found that BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) participants were pretty much missing from a decade of studies that reached the “nature is good for human minds” conclusion. And 95% of those studies happened in Western or Westernized nations.

So nature is good for rich, white people who live in human-centered cultures. That’s not exactly scientific.

"We need all cultures working together to tackle the global emergencies we face," says Amaya Carrasco, a co-author and UVM graduate student. "That requires understanding what's universal about the human-nature relationship, and what is culturally specific. Those insights are critical to driving social change, and require research to be more inclusive. We need all hands on deck."

ALL hands.

News By The Numbers

6,000+. That is how many bird species the Merlin Bird ID app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology can identify. I now know what bird is waking me up with its brassy cackle every morning. (It’s a bluebird.)

107,000. That is how many people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses last year, setting a new record.

15%. That is the mortgage rate my parents had in 1980 during the first U.S. recession in the ‘80s. Hopefully that’s not where the country is headed this time. (see above)

30 days. That is how long WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia has been extended. Griner’s lawyer said that the relatively short (!) extension is a sign that a trial could be coming soon.

What's Trending?

giphy.gif credit: cnn

Eurovision 2022 is trending because it is over. Ukraine’s folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra won the contest, and the winner hosts the competition next year, so… Maybe this will be the thing that ends this war?

Skittles Gummies recalled is trending. Mars Wrigley US and Canada issued recalls of some Skittles, Starburst, and Life Savers Gummies because there might be a thin metal strand in some of the candies or bags. Maybe this is a sign that there is a thing as too many gummies.

Justice Clarence Thomas is trending because the U.S. SCOTUS Justice says the leaked draft opinion on abortion has changed the Supreme Court. I thought Senator Mitch McConnell had already taken care of that.

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