🌞 TexMex – February 19 2021

True Bill

Happy Friday. We wish you a restful weekend. We know many have been battling power-outages, burst pipes, contaminated water, etc. Maybe a trip to Cancun is in order? 

In Case You Missed It.

🏝😎 Shady’s back. Senator Ted Cruz returned to Texas after being caught flying to Cancun during the storm crisis. He arrived home under police escort. He says he was just flying his daughters there for the day and had always planned to fly right back. Right. We totally believe that.

🐧 Wildlife photographers captured an image of a rare yellow penguin.

🤑 Walmart will raise its average minimum wage to $15 per hour but still start employees at $11 per hour.

🎯 The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office interviewed former President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on Thursday in a continued criminal probe of Trump’s business dealings.

🇨🇦 Canadian lawmakers will vote on Monday to accuse China of genocide on the Uighurs.

🪵 The price of lumber has doubled in the last three months due to increased demand for frame houses. 

🛰 NASA’s newest Mars rover made a successful touchdown on Thursday!

Coronavirus Update: 😷 Total confirmed U.S. cases as of 9 p.m. ET Thursday: 27,893,357 — Total deaths: 492,999


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 2.77%  0.12% 2.83%  0.13%
15 year 2.15%  0.01% 2.25%  0.03%

The Lead: A Path To Citizenship

credit: getty

Democrats introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act into the House of Representatives on Thursday. It is a sweeping immigration reform bill, aimed at offering a path to citizenship to more than 11 million immigrants currently living in America.

The plan would give immigrants an eight-year plan to citizenship. After five years, immigrants could apply for permanent legal status known as a green card. After three years with a green card, they could apply for citizenship. It would also offer green cards to children brought to the U.S. as minors by their parents, commonly known as DACA children.

The bill also gets rid of the term “alien,” replacing it with “noncitizen.”

What about Republicans?

Republicans were calling out rejections to the bill even before it was announced. They are calling it an opener and are ready to put their red lines in the legislation. They want the wait time for citizenship to be 13 years versus 8 years and they also continue to oppose DACA children.

But look, noncitizens still have to pass background checks and pay taxes while they are living and working in the U.S. What would an extra five years of waiting accomplish exactly other than alienating (no pun intended) people who are incentivized to be productive contributors to society?

Times have changed

This is a plan that would have been dead upon arrival when Republicans held control of the Senate but with Democratic control of both houses, there is a stronger possibility of at least some of it passing. Democrats had asked the President to “go big” with this opening bid and he did. Queue up the partisan debate because it’s going to get loud. 

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Robinhood From The Poor To Give To The Rich

robinhood ceo vlad Tenev credit: ap

The House Financial Services Committee grilled a bunch of finance guys about the GameStop stock surge. They were particularly keen to grill Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev about its decision to stop users from buying the stock as it was surging.

Tenev maintains that his company had to do this because his clearinghouse had called his margins. This answer still has a few holes in it. For instance, if this was a joint decision between him and his clearinghouse because margins were too expensive, that means there was some wiggle room in the decision. So why wasn’t the clearinghouse called to testify? And why was his company allowing the sell-side of the stock if margins were being called? Tenev maintained the company line even as the questioning got hotter.

But, representatives also used the occasion to press Tenev and hedge fund managers on the legality of its business. Robinhood does not charge users to make trades but rather sells information about these trades to other firms so that they can make similar trades in advance and profit. This is legal and congress knows that. If they suddenly don’t like it, they can change it but grilling the players of the game because they are suddenly scandalized by it was annoying political posturing. 

For instance, Gabriel Plotkin, CEO Melvin Capital, the hedge fund that lost money because his firm had been shorting GameStop was asked if he would support legislation that makes shorting illegal.

“Whatever regulation is put forth in the marketplace, we will obviously operate within those rules,” he said. “It’s not for me to decide but if those are the rules, we’ll certainly abide by them.”

Hey Congress, it’s your job to decide the rules. Not to pretend you are just getting wind of them and suddenly don’t like them. 

Texas Pales In Comparison

credit: @charlespeekwx on Twitter

If you’ve ever lived in a place where it snows, you know that it is not neighborly to only plow your own turf. Good neighbors help each other out during snowstorms. 

Well, the state of Arkansas was not very neighborly when it plowed only its half of a four-lane highway. While the state of Texas scrambles with rolling power outages, contaminated water, and sustained low temps, the state of Arkansas seems to have its act together. There is no better image of the contrast. It’s funny but not funny.

The state of Texas only owns 700 plows so they’re bound to be a little behind. 

News By The Numbers

credit: @blacktiph on instagram

>300 pounds. That is the size of a Warsaw Grouper that was caught by Josh Jorgensen, a YouTube-famous fisherman. The record for catching this sea-monster was set in 1985 when a fisherman caught one that weighed 435 pounds. 

$4 billion. That is how much the U.S. will donate to the United Nations to help vaccine distribution in the world’s poorest countries. This money was already allocated for this back in December.

$1 million. That is how much Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised in just four hours of fundraising for victims of the Texas freeze. That is less time than Senator Ted Cruz’s flight out of there!

12 years. That is the prison sentence of a man who donated $900,000 to former President Trump’s inauguration. He was accused of soliciting foreign donations to the event and pocketing some of that money. He was also fined $1.75 million and ordered to pay 415,7 million in restitution. 

Today’s Live Show

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On Today’s Live Show:

  • Ted Cruz returns from Mexico with calls to resign from Congress
  • Senator Bernie Sanders is about to drop the hammer on poverty
  • Mainstream media and Republicans lie about what really happened in Texas

Join us at 9 AM Eastern over your cup of coffee or tea. Click here to watch and subscribe. 

The North Remembers

giphy.giftoronto detention center credit: reuters

Canada introduced a new bill to end racial disparity in its prison system. The justice minister says that indigenous people represent only 5% of the population but 30% of incarcerated adults. Likewise, Black people make up just 3% of the population but 7.2% of inmates.

The new legislation would end mandatory sentences for certain drug and firearm possessions. Instead, it would impose sentences that could be served in their communities. It also requires police and prosecutors to consider treatment instead of prison for certain drug charges.

Advocates of full decriminalization say the bill does not go far enough. 

Cloning Cuteness

giphy.gifcredit: unsplash

Scientists have cloned the first endangered animal! The baby black-footed ferret was born from the DNA of an animal that lived over 30 years ago.

The baby ferret is named Elizabeth Ann. She was born at a Fish and Wildlife Service breeding facility in Colorado. Her species is endangered due to habitat loss as ranchers shot them off their land. Scientists have also successfully bred them in captivity to prevent their extinction.

Cloned animals have not yet been released into the wild successfully. Scientists worry about them being susceptible to parasites and disease but they are hopeful they can modify their genes for survival. Next, they want to clone extinct species such as the passenger pigeon. 

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