The Weekly National News Roundup | Shlomo Rudman

Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Blocked in Senate – Senate Democrats suffered a major defeat Wednesday evening in their efforts to pass voting rights legislation — a key issue for the party, which is under pressure to take action ahead of the midterm elections just months away.

An attempt by Democrats to change filibuster rules in order to pass a voting bill failed amid opposition from moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. The vote was 52-48, with the two moderates joining all GOP senators. After the vote failed, there was a loud round of applause from Republicans.
Sinema released a statement Wednesday evening explaining why she opposed the change. The Arizona Democrat said that she maintained her longstanding opposition to “actions that would deepen our divisions and risk repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty and further eroding confidence in our government.”
The proposed rules change — to allow for a “talking filibuster” on the legislation — would have forced lawmakers who want to filibuster the bill to come to the Senate floor and speak in opposition. Once those speeches come to an end, the Senate would be able to hold a simple majority vote for final passage. The move would effectively eliminate the 60-vote threshold set by the filibuster.

CIA: Havana Syndrome Not a Coordinated Attack – A slew of mysterious illnesses referred to as “Havana Syndrome” affecting US diplomatic staff are unlikely to have been coordinated by a foreign nation, according to the CIA. A new interim assessment from the agency found most cases can be attributed to preexisting medical conditions or environmental factors. A few dozen cases remain unsolved.

Many of the early cases originated at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016, with other cases following from elsewhere, including Geneva, China, and Russia. US diplomats and spies have reported symptoms such as unexplainable headaches, nausea, hearing and vision loss, loud sounds, and more.

In 2020, a National Academies study found some of the brain injuries examined reflected potential physiological effects of directed radio frequency energy, though it was unclear what type of source could’ve caused the range of reported symptoms.

Jan. 6 Committee Asks for Ivanka Trump Cooperation 

Jan. 6 investigators revealed Thursday they’re going after Ivanka Trump, who senior White House aides viewed as a last-ditch resort to convince Donald Trump to address rioters during the Capitol attack, according to evidence and testimony released Thursday.

“He didn’t say yes to Mark Meadows, Kayleigh McEnany or Keith Kellogg, but he might say yes to his daughter?” a committee investigator asked of Kellogg, a top Trump White House official, during a recent interview, according to a testimony transcript published by the panel.

“Exactly right,” Kellogg replied, according to a transcript of the exchange.

The detail was one of a handful of new and significant revelations from the committee’s extensive probe into the events leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021. The tranche of documents highlight the frantic efforts to get the former president’s attention during the mob attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol and how his allies tried to contain the fallout in the subsequent days.

The panel indicated that as Trump pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, to overturn the election during Congress’ counting of electoral votes, an unidentified member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus texted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, warning that Trump’s plan amounted to “driving a stake through the heart of the federal republic.”

Flights Canceled Due to 5G Rollout – Some flights to and from the U.S. were canceled on Wednesday even after AT&T and Verizon scaled back the rollout of high-speed wireless service that could interfere with aircraft technology that measures altitude.

International carriers that rely heavily on the wide-body Boeing 777, and other Boeing aircraft, canceled early flights or switched to different planes following warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Chicago-based plane maker.

Airlines that fly only or mostly Airbus jets, including Air France and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, seemed less affected by the new 5G service.

Airlines had canceled more than 320 flights by Wednesday evening, or a little over 2% of the U.S. total, according to FlightAware. That was far less disruptive than during the Christmas and New Year’s travel season, when a peak of 3,200, or 13%, of flights were canceled on Jan. 3 due to winter storms and workers out sick with COVID-19.

A trade group for the industry, Airlines for America, said cancellations weren’t as bad as feared because AT&T and Verizon agreed to temporarily reduce the rollout of 5G near dozens of airports while industry and the government work out a longer-term solution.

Doctors Transplant Pig Kidney into Human – Researchers on Thursday reported the latest in a surprising string of experiments in the quest to save human lives with organs from genetically modified pigs.

This time around, surgeons in Alabama transplanted a pig’s kidneys into a brain-dead man — a step-by-step rehearsal for an operation they hope to try in living patients possibly later this year.

“The organ shortage is in fact an unmitigated crisis and we’ve never had a real solution to it,” said Dr. Jayme Locke of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who led the newest study and aims to begin a clinical trial of pig kidney transplants.

Similar experiments have made headlines in recent months as research into animal-to-human transplants heats up.

Twice this fall, surgeons at New York University temporarily attached a pig’s kidney to blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient to watch them work. And earlier this month, surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center gave a dying man a heart from a gene-edited pig that so far is keeping him alive.

2021 Saw Most Homes Sold Since 2006 – Home sales in the U.S. ended 2021 on a low note in December, but annual sales activity for the entire year reached its highest level since 2006.

Existing home sales fell 4.6% to a seasonally adjusted 6.18 million million units in December from a month earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). November existing home sales were revised slightly down to 6.46 million from 6.48 million. The number of sales was down 7.1% from the same month a year ago. The results were far more disappointing than analysts’ expectations of a 0.5% month-over-month decrease to 6.43 million units, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.

For the entire year, there were 6.12 million units sold in 2021, the most since 2006 and up 8.5% from the prior year when activity was fueled by pent up demand from COVID-19 lockdowns, according to the NAR. Prior to COVID, there were 5 million to 5.5 million unit sales per year. The December results could have been anticipated since pending home sales slipped in November, which is an indicator of future sales activity.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Until I am allowed to vote personally on the proposed voting rights legislation, I will consider all votes on the matter illegitimate.
    I demand my right as a US citizen to vote on this important legislation, and I take offense that my voting right on this matter and other important matters has been essentially blocked simply because I am not a member of congress. I am, after all, a US citizen, and yes, when I DO get the chance to vote on this issue, I WILL present my ID to prove my citizenship, as should be expected of all US voters. I also have my vax card, just in case they try to use THAT excuse to block me from voting at wherever the voting takes place. I also have a bumper sticker to prove my vax status. The bumper sticker says, “I took the jabs, and I plan on rolling with the punches.”

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