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Happy Thursday.


President Biden’s Climate Envoy John Kerry was caught maskless on a first-class American Airlines flight from Boston to Washington yesterday. The airline has a strict mask policy for any passenger over the age of 2 years old. At 77, Kerry exceeds that age requirement.


In Case You Missed It:

🇨🇳 China has ordered media channels not to broadcast the Oscars because a documentary about Hong Kong protests was nominated for an award.


🌪 Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are expected today in Eastern Georgia and North Carolina.


🐶 One dog owner in England returned a puppy because it did not match the sofa.

🇹🇿 The President of Tanzania has died at the age of 61.


⚡️ Bitcoin may soon consume more energy than the entire country of Australia.

Coronavirus Update: 😷 Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET on

Wednesday: 29,556,707 — Total deaths: 537,123 — Total tests: 375,491,000


  • Covid cases are on the rise again, particularly in the upper Midwest and New York area.
  • Dolly Parton has started a new fashion trend: Vaccine shirts. Except my mom has been rocking these for years, Dolly!
  • A new study shows that cannabis has been effective at stopping Covid replication in the lungs.
  • Brazil hit 90,000 Covid cases with a record single-day infection rate on Wednesday.

Today’s Live Show


Youtube

Youtube


FILIBUSTER DEAD? CUOMO GOING TO JAIL? MEDICARE FOR ALL SAVES LIVES


Youtube

Youtube

Join us on today’s live morning show. We’ll be analyzing the state of the filibuster in the Senate and if Joe Manchin will join Dems to end it. A new report shows how many lives would be saved with Medicare for All. And Governor Cuomo might be prosecuted? We will analyze all the details. Click here to RSVP and I’ll see you at 9 AM Eastern.

INTEREST RATES

 
CONFORMING LOAN
Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.13%  0.17%  3.18%  0.17%
15 year 2.48%  0.20%  2.21%  0.21%
 

The Lead: Taxes Stuck In The Slow Lane


credit: getty

The Internal Revenue Service is extending tax day to May 17 this year. This means that you can also defer any tax payment until May without penalty.


As my father likes to say, “The government doesn’t just loan you money interest-free.”


That normally means that if you don’t pay your taxes by April 15, the IRS starts to charge interest on that money. But not this year! This year you get a free month. Yay! But only on federal returns. State returns are still due on time, depending on your state, and quarterly payments are still due on April 15.

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Puerto Rico’s Road To Freedom


credit: twitter

Progressive politicians are getting serious about legislation that would decolonize Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rico is what is known as an unincorporated territory, which means it has no sovereignty but it is not a full-blown state. Islanders cannot vote in federal elections but they can be drafted for U.S. wars.


Two opposing bills regarding Puerto Rican statehood are currently being proposed and congress wants House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring them up for a vote.

The first bill came last year from Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It would create a group of delegates from Puerto Rico to come up with a long-term solution for territorial status.


A new bill was proposed by Representatives Darren Soto and Jenniffer Gonzalez, the non-voting member of Congress from Puerto Rico. This bill would make Puerto Rico a state and allow the island to elect Senators. The majority of Puerto Ricans favor statehood, although 47% reject it.


The bills’ differences are nuanced and perhaps a bit of a popularity contest.


Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez will re-introduce their bill today with the support of Bernie Sanders and Bob Menendez. The one thing they all agree upon is that the current state of Puerto Rico is not acceptable. Islanders pay payroll tax but not federal taxes and are therefore hard-pressed to call upon the federal government for support when they need it the most, a hard-learned lesson from Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The No Screaming Policy


credit: giphy

The problem with re-opening amusement park rides is that ride-goers will scream and laugh and have fun. That is a great way to spread respiratory droplets and therefore Covid, according to the California Attractions and Parks Association.

The group is advocating for amusement parks to be re-opened with a plan to encourage riders to shhhhhhhhhh while they ride.


The proposal asks parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios to adopt a plan to reopen at limited capacity and “mitigate the effects of shouting” while “guests generally face in one direction.”


I ask you: Just how do you get a child to not scream with joy while actually flying in an elephant?

News By The Numbers


17-year cicada credit: ap

17 years. That is how long ago the U.S. saw its last major emergence of cicadas. This year will be another with trillions set to hatch next month! The cicadas that have been patiently growing in the darkness are about to come out loud and proud, mostly along the East Coast.


$40 billion. That is how much stimulus money may be spent in Bitcoin investments.

90%. That is the increase in young people who were hospitalized for eating disorders between October and January in Canada. Attempted suicide is also on the rise in young people and experts blame the pandemic, at least in part.


$6.6 billion. That is the net worth of Kanye West after his clothing company inked a deal with Gap.

Alcoholism On The Rise


giphy.gifcredit: npr

The memes about drinking more during the pandemic are all fun and games until health consequences show up. The University of Michigan’s Dr. Jessica Mellinger says that cases of alcoholic liver disease are up 30% over the last year alone. This trend has spiked most notably in younger women.


“We’re seeing kids in their late 20s and early 30s with a disease that we previously thought was kind of exclusive to middle age,” Dr. Mellinger told NPR.

Some suggest that women’s bodies process alcohol differently, which is why the disease shows up faster. To be sure, the pandemic has hit women harder as more domestic and homeschooling responsibilities fall squarely on their shoulders. But in order to cope, the mommy memes tout wine and cocktails, which we all know increase anxiety and disrupt sleep, rather than actually promote relaxation and coping.


We don’t want to be a wet blanket because we believe that alcohol can be an art form and a beautiful piece of many cultures. But it is a terrible coping mechanism and perhaps we should all be a bit more careful about our language around “needing it” to cope with everyday life.


Maybe you can respond to a friend’s text about a stressful day without a cocktail emoji and instead change the language about alcohol from “needing it” to “appreciating it” in smaller amounts? Just a thought.

States Sue Biden Over Keystone Pipeline


giphy.gifcredit: Canadian press

The Biden administration is being sued by 21 states because it revoked the permits for the Keystone pipeline.


The pipeline was set to be a delivery system of oil from Canada to the U.S. It’s been in the works for years and much of the groundwork and investment has already been made but opponents of the project say that the U.S. should not be importing oil from Canada due to the major environmental impact. It also was planned to run across many tribal lands and tribal leaders opposed it.


The Biden administration has pledged to double down on clean energy and the Keystone pipeline does not fit that bill. But these 21 states, led by Texas and Montana, want the project to be completed because it could bring their states jobs and money. They say that revoking the permit was a “regulation of interstate and international commerce” that should be left to Congress. Notably, all 21 states named as plaintiffs have Republican attorneys general.

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