The Senate spent the weekend voting on countless bills; a boy in the UK is pulled off life support after his parents exhaust all legal options to keep him alive and a new social media app promises to keep users from becoming famous.
Those stories and more below.
- Senate Passes Climate, Health and Tax Bill
From The NY Times:
The Senate passed legislation on Sunday that would make the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change and lower the cost of prescription drugs, as Democrats banded together to push through major pieces of President Biden’s domestic agenda over unified Republican opposition.
The measure, large elements of which appeared dead just weeks ago amid Democratic divisions, would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs. Altogether, the bill could allow the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
It would achieve Democrats’ longstanding goal of slashing prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare for the first time to negotiate the prices of medicines directly and capping the amount that recipients pay out of pocket for drugs each year at $2,000. The measure also would extend larger premium subsidies for health coverage for low- and middle-income people under the Affordable Care Act for three years.
And it would be paid for by substantial tax increases, mostly on large corporations, including establishing a 15 percent corporate minimum tax and imposing a new tax on company stock buybacks.
- Boy at heart of UK court battle dies after life support ends
From the Washington Post:
A 12-year-old boy who had been in a coma for four months died Saturday at a London hospital after doctors ended the life-sustaining treatment his family had fought to continue.
Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, said her son died at 12:15 p.m., about two hours after the hospital began withdrawing treatment. British courts had rejected both the family’s effort to extend treatment and a request to move Archie to a hospice, saying neither move was in the child’s best interests.
“I’m the proudest mum in the world,’’ Dance said as she stood outside the hospital and wept. “Such a beautiful little boy and he fought right until the very end.’’
The legal battle is the latest in a series of very public British cases in which parents and doctors have sparred over who is better qualified to make decisions about a child’s medical care. That has sparked a debate about whether there’s a more appropriate way to settle such disagreements away from the courts.
- Christian Flag Flies Over Boston City Plaza After Supreme Court Victory
From the Daily Citizen:
On August 3 the Christian flag flew over the Boston City Plaza as the culmination of a First Amendment battle that began in 2017 and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
No, Beantown’s city government is not professing faith in Christ, but it is allowing Camp Constitution and its director, Harold Shurtleff to fly the flag as part of a ceremony commemorating both our nation’s heritage and their Supreme Court victory.
The origins of the First Amendment battle over the Christian flag began in 2017, when Shurtleff applied to the city for permission to do what other civic groups had done without incident for years: commemorate an event or special day – such as Constitution Day in Shurtleff’s case – with a public rally on the City Hall Plaza and fly a special flag on one of the city’s flagpoles just for the day.
But the city balked because the flag Shurtleff wanted to fly was a Christian flag. In the preceding 12 years, the city had allowed over 50 unique flags to be flown at 284 ceremonies in that location. But Shurtleff’s request was the only one it had ever denied.
- What is BeReal? New anti-influencer social media app gains popularity
From The Hill:
As other social media networks make changes to their algorithms to compete with TikTok or combat misinformation, a completely new app is quickly gaining users. I became one of those new users when I downloaded the app last week.
BeReal calls itself “the simplest photo sharing app.” The French-developed social media platform promises to ward off influencer content and embrace authenticity. The app doesn’t have any appearance-enhancing filters, and its developer warns it “won’t make you famous.”
Here’s how it works: Once a day, you get a notification prompting you to open the app. Then, you have exactly two minutes to snap a photo. The app simultaneously captures pictures from your phone’s front and back cameras, and creates a split image showing both views.
Once the timer is up, you can see your friend’s daily posts and comment on them – but only if you have uploaded a picture yourself.
- GOP Senator: Jobs Report Could Be A ‘Precursor’ Of ‘Serious Economic Issues Coming Very Shortly’
From the Daily Wire:
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said that while the July jobs report showed strong job growth, those numbers could be a “precursor” to “serious economic issues coming very shortly.”
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, Rounds said that while the job figures were high, they masked the fact that soaring inflation meant payrolls are declining in value, so companies are still hiring.
“You talked about the possibility of a recession, we just saw that jobs report on Friday, 528,000 new jobs in July, 3.5% unemployment, that’s 50-year low,” host Stephanopoulos began.
“There are two parts that we want to remember,” Rounds responded. “First of all, we know that our GDP has gone down the last two quarters, so let’s all recognize that’s accepted by everybody, that is down.”
- Bill Maher slams America’s ‘fat acceptance’ movement as ‘Orwellian’, supporters have ‘blood on their hands’
From Fox News:
During the latest episode of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the comedian took aim at America’s obesity epidemic and torched the culture for promoting not only “fat acceptance,” but “fat celebration.”
Maher declared the “disturbing trend” to be “Orwellian” and urged Americans to stop spinning obesity as a positive and lose some weight.
“There is a disturbing trend going on in America these days,” the HBO host began, describing it as, “rewriting science to fit ideology to just fit what you want reality to be.” Maher explained that Americans’ current views on being overweight are part of this trend.
“We’ve gone from fat acceptance to fat celebration. That’s new. That is new,” he said emphatically. “To view letting yourself go as a point of pride? We used to at least try and be fit and healthy and society praised those who succeeded,” he lamented.
- A prominent scientist posted an image of a distant star he said was taken by the Webb telescope. It was actually a slice of chorizo.
From CBS News:
A red ball of spicy fire with luminous patches glowing menacingly against a black background.
This, prominent French scientist Etienne Klein declared, was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Sun.
Fellow Twitter users marveled at the details on the picture purportedly taken by the telescope, which has thrilled the world with images of distant galaxies going back to the birth of the universe.
“This level of detail… A new world is revealed every day,” he gushed.
But in fact, as Klein later revealed, the picture was not of the intriguing star just over four light-years from the Sun but a far more modest slice of the lip-sizzling Spanish sausage chorizo.
- Neighbors use trampoline to rescue neighbors in house fire
From the NY Post:
Two Tennessee men were recognized for their quick thinking after they bounced into action and used a trampoline in a desperate bid to save their neighbors whose home went up in flames.
Fernando Rivera was on his way home from work Thursday when he saw plumes of smoke filling the air, the Chattanooga Fire Department said.
Rivera spotted the 19-year-old woman calling for help from an upstairs window and convinced her to make the terrifying leap into his arms.
After the successful catch, Rivera saw the father in another window. He grabbed another neighbor, Sam Triplett, to help. The two men pushed a trampoline on the property close to the burning, enabling the man to jump out without hurting himself.