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Biden condemns US gun violence as an ‘international embarrassment’ as he announces new actions – live

biden-condemns-us-gun-violence-as-an-‘international-embarrassment’-as-he-announces-new-actions-–-live

Summary

  • Joe Biden formally announced a series of executive orders aimed at ending gun violence in America. The president has called on the justice department to crack down on “ghost guns,” unregistered firearms assembled from kits, and gun accessories that can functionally transform pistols into rifles. Biden said in the Rose Garden today, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.”
  • George Floyd died from a “low level of oxygen” caused by “shallow breathing,” an expert testified at Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. The expert’s analysis could undermine arguments from Chauvin’s defense team that Floyd died because of drug use and preexisting health conditions.
  • Joe Manchin said there was “no circumstance” where he would support ending the filibuster. In a Washington Post op-ed published last night, the Democratic senator wrote, “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.” Manchin’s stance could hinder much of Biden’s legislative agenda, given the filibuster allows the Republican minority to block bills unless they have the support of 60 senators.
  • An associate of Matt Gaetz may cooperate with federal prosecutors, a potentially ominous sign for the Republican congressman as he faces allegations of sex-trafficking. According to the Washington Post, prosecutors have indicated the case against Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Seminole County, may end in a plea deal. That could mean Greenberg has agreed to cooperate with federal officials in exchange for a lesser sentence.
  • Dr Anthony Fauci acknowledged shortages of personal protective equipment likely contributed to coronavirus deaths among health workers in the US. “During the critical times when there were shortages was when people had to use whatever was available to them,” the president’s chief medical adviser said in an interview with the Guardian. “I’m sure that increased the risk of getting infected among healthcare providers.” According to the Guardian and Kaiser Health News’ Lost on the Frontline database, more than 3,600 US health workers have died of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
  • One person has died, and four are in critical condition after a shooting in Bryan, Texas. The shooting occurred at around 3.50pm, according to local police – who say they are pursuing a suspect.
  • California leaders have announced a $536m plan to address the growing threat of wildfires across the state, as a drought threatens to bring on yet another destructive, deadly fire season. The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, along with the state’s senate and assembly leaders announced the new plan at a news conference Thursday near Shaver Lake – a small town at the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains that was devastated by the Creek fire last fall.

– Joan E Greve and Maanvi Singh

Can an assault weapons ban reduce killings if firearms last 100 years?

Mona Chalabi

Six days before a man shot and killed 10 people, he legally purchased the military-style firearm he used for the crime. The incident – one of three recent mass shootings – yet again renewed a public debate about banning assault weapons in the US and seems like a potential example of a shooting in which an assault weapon ban might have been effective in reducing the death toll of the attack. But would it?

When firearms are recovered by law enforcement because of their use or suspected use in a crime, the weapons are recorded in a database along with the date of their first retail sale. The amount of time between those two events is known as the “time to crime” and is published by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). While the suspect involved in the Boulder shooting waited just six days, the national average time to crime is 8.3 years, according to 2019 statistics from the ATF.

This dataset is much broader, since it includes a wide variety of crimes and suspected crimes, but the number still poses a significant problem for policymakers that are attempting to prevent future mass shootings. Even if a nationwide ban on sales were effectively implemented tomorrow, there would still be somewhere between 15m and 20m assault rifles in circulation out of the estimated 393m guns held in the US.

Averages can be misleading, though: the range here is pretty vast – guns can be recovered days or decades after purchase. But it is relevant to note that in only 7% of cases were the guns recovered less than three months since the purchase date. State differences are also huge. In Arizona, 12% of recovered firearms were purchased less than three months ago, while in Connecticut and Arkansas, it’s just 4%.

The fact that those weapons could continue to be used for years to come isn’t just a hypothetical given the lifespan of assault weapons. Firearms remain operational for a century or more, further complicating any path to reform in a country with the highest gun ownership rate per capita in the world.

Read more:

The shooting occurred not long after Joe Biden announced new executive actions to address gun violence.

Hours before the shooting, Abbott, a Republican, came out vehemently against the president’s gun control policies. “Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights. He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns. We will NOT allow this in TX,” he tweeted. “It’s time to get legislation making TX a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State passed and to my desk for signing.’

Texas has seen 14 mass shootings so far this year.

One person has died and four in critical condition after Texas shooting

One person has died, and four are in critical condition after a shooting in Bryan, Texas.

The shooting occurred at around 3.50pm, according to local police – who say they are pursuing a suspect.

“The state will assist in any way needed to help prosecute the suspect,” said the Texas governor, Greg Abbott. “Cecilia [Abbott’s wife] and I are praying for the victims and their families and for the law enforcement officer injured while apprehending the suspect.”

Updated

New EPA chief Michael Regan relishes ‘clean slate’ after chaos of Trump era

Oliver Milman

Michael Regan has perhaps the most fiendishly challenging job within Joe Biden’s administration. As the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Regan not only has to grapple with the unfolding cataclysm of the climate crisis, he must do so at the helm of a traumatized, shrunken institution still reeling from the chaos of the Donald Trump era.

“I was deeply concerned as I watched the previous administration,” Regan told the Guardian. “We all witnessed a mass exodus of scientists and qualified people the agency needs. I was really concerned coming into the job as to how morale would be and how much of a setback it would be to tackle the challenges before us.”

Trump vowed to reduce the EPA to “little bits”, and although his plans to wildly slash the agency’s budget were largely rejected by Congress, the environmental regulator is now left with its fewest employees since the mid-1980s, during which time the US population has grown by nearly a third.

Scientists were routinely sidelined, with an average of three a week fleeing the agency during Trump’s term. “It was a sort of painful hell,” said one career official, who weighed up leaving but decided to stay.

There were plenty of sources for angst.

Trump’s EPA laid siege to dozens of environmental regulations – from limits on pollution from cars and trucks to rules designed to stop coal plants dumping toxins into rivers to a ban on a pesticide linked with brain damage in children – often contrary to scientific advice and sometimes shortly after meetings with industry lobbyists. Mentions of climate change were not only scrubbed from the EPA website, the Trump administration mulled holding a televised debate as to whether it existed at all.

Scientific panels were purged of various experts and replaced with industry representatives who appeared to hold sway. Andrew Wheeler, Regan’s predecessor, is a former coal lobbyist who said acting on climate change was merely “virtue signaling to foreign capitals”. Scott Pruitt, Trump’s first EPA chief, was embroiled in an extravaganza of scandals, including living in an apartment paid for by a lobbyist, using his position to get his wife a job at Chick-fil-A, spending agency funds on foreign trips and even deploying staff to obtain a cut-price mattress from Trump’s Washington hotel.

“It was incredibly frustrating,” is how Regan sums up watching the agency unravel. “I was incredibly frustrated.”

Regan, the first black man to lead the EPA in its half-century of existence, previously worked at the agency during Bill Clinton and George W Bush’s administrations. “I worked here for a decade and I knew the staff were not being utilized properly,” he said. “I know the people, I know the quality of work they can do.”

Read more:

California leaders unveil $536m plan to address growing fire threat

California leaders have announced a $536m plan to address the growing threat of wildfires across the state, as a drought threatens to bring on yet another destructive, deadly fire season.

The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, along with the state’s senate and assembly leaders announced the new plan at a news conference Thursday near Shaver Lake – a small town at the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains that was devastated by the Creek fire last fall.

Global heating is triggering hotter, drier conditions in California – and propelling bigger, more destructive blazes. “If you don’t believe in climate change; if you don’t believe in science, then believe in your own damn eyes,” the governor said.

The new plan will include more than $350m in funds to improve forest management efforts and thin out fire-fueling vegetation. Another $25m will fund grants to help homeowners make their properties more fire-resistant.

Newsom also referenced the importance of embracing prescribed burning techniques, which were practiced by California tribes for centuries before European settlers banned and eschewed the practice. Fire is a natural and necessary part of the state’s natural landscape – but for years, rather than embracing beneficial fires, California suppressed it. A build-up of overgrowth and vegetation has held fueled extreme mega-blazes. The Karuk Tribe, wildfire researchers, and environmental groups have been pushing the governor and state leaders to fund and elevate historic forest management practices.

“I can’t make up for 50 years,” Newsom said, but committed to changing course going forward.

Last year, the state saw one of the worst fire seasons on record; four of the five largest fires in state history scorched the state, even as it was reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. Some 4m acres burned, 31 people were killed and more than 10,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Updated

White House expresses concern over Northern Ireland violence

Lisa O’Carroll, Rory Carroll and Rajeev Syal report:

The White House has expressed concern over a week of riots in Northern Ireland, with Joe Biden joining Boris Johnson and the Irish prime minister in calling for calm after what police described as the worst violence in Belfast for years.

It came as police used water cannon against nationalist youths in west Belfast, as unrest stirred again on the streets on Thursday evening.

In a statement, the US president’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, said: “We are concerned by the violence in Northern Ireland” and that Biden remained “steadfast” in his support for a “secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace”.

She spoke as the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, called on political leaders across the spectrum to tone down their language to ease tensions.

Biden, who has Irish roots, has repeatedly expressed support for the peace process and last year waded into a row over UK plans to override parts of the Brexit deal, warning Boris Johnson that any trade deal was “contingent upon respect for the [peace] agreement and preventing the return of a hard border”.

Police said as many as 600 people had been involved in disturbances in Belfast on Wednesday, when a bus was petrol-bombed, rubber bullets were fired and missiles were hurled over a “peace wall”.

Read more:

Amazon challenges hundreds of ballots in Alabama workers’ union drive

Amazon has challenged hundreds of ballots in a vote to form a union at one of its warehouses in Alabama in a unionization drive seen as one of the most important labor fights in recent American history.

Some 3,215 votes were cast in the election out of more than 5,800 eligible employees. The election will determine if workers in Bessemer will form the first labor union at an Amazon warehouse in the US.

According to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, hundreds of ballots were challenged, mostly by Amazon. In the early vote the number of votes against forming a union moved into a lead of 439 versus 200 for shortly before 5pm EST. on Thursday. But many observers expect the huge amount of challenged ballots to lead to a delay in any formal announcement of a result.

“There remain hundreds of challenged ballots mostly by the employer that will need to be addressed after the public count. As the ballot envelopes are opened and the ballots are counted there’s a possibility that more issues could impact the final results,” the RWDSU said.

The unionization drive has sparked huge political interest and a roster of leftwing politicians – and even some Republicans – have spoken out in support of it or visited the state. The US labor movement sees it as a bellwether case for hopes of expanding its power, especially in areas of the economy – such as online retail – that are increasingly dominant.

Ballots in the vote can be challenged based on several factors, such as the eligibility of the voter in regards to job classification or dates of employment. The NLRB will probably hold a later hearing on the validity of the challenged ballots, after unchallenged ballots are tallied, if the number of challenged ballots could affect the outcome of the election.

Read more:

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden formally announced a series of executive orders aimed at ending gun violence in America. The president has called on the justice department to crack down on “ghost guns,” unregistered firearms assembled from kits, and gun accessories that can functionally transform pistols into rifles. Biden said in the Rose Garden today, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.”
  • George Floyd died from a “low level of oxygen” caused by “shallow breathing,” an expert testified at Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. The expert’s analysis could undermine arguments from Chauvin’s defense team that Floyd died because of drug use and preexisting health conditions.
  • Joe Manchin said there was “no circumstance” where he would support ending the filibuster. In a Washington Post op-ed published last night, the Democratic senator wrote, “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.” Manchin’s stance could hinder much of Biden’s legislative agenda, given the filibuster allows the Republican minority to block bills unless they have the support of 60 senators.
  • An associate of Matt Gaetz may cooperate with federal prosecutors, a potentially ominous sign for the Republican congressman as he faces allegations of sex-trafficking. According to the Washington Post, prosecutors have indicated the case against Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Seminole County, may end in a plea deal. That could mean Greenberg has agreed to cooperate with federal officials in exchange for a lesser sentence.
  • Dr Anthony Fauci acknowledged shortages of personal protective equipment likely contributed to coronavirus deaths among health workers in the US. “During the critical times when there were shortages was when people had to use whatever was available to them,” the president’s chief medical adviser said in an interview with the Guardian. “I’m sure that increased the risk of getting infected among healthcare providers.” According to the Guardian and Kaiser Health News’ Lost on the Frontline database, more than 3,600 US health workers have died of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Amudalat Ajasa reports for the Guardian from Minneapolis:

Behind the Hennepin county courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, which is heavily fortified for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, a small but determined core of seven protesters gathers every day.

Sometimes there are many more protesters, sometimes not so many. But always this group, there hoping to witness justice for George Floyd, who died under the knee of Chauvin in south Minneapolis last May.

Outside, the core group hold signs, amplify chants with a bullhorn and circle the courthouse with the aim of encouraging peaceful protest.

“I get up at 5am and I’m usually out here a little after 7am every day,” John Stewart Jr, 57, said, as his Black Lives Matter flag fluttered in the wind.

Stewart, an ordained pastor in the city, and the “core of seven” generally stay put in their chosen spot behind the courthouse for the entire length of an average work day: 9-5, or longer.

Donald Trump has endorsed two sitting Republican senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, in new statements today.

“Rand Paul has done a fantastic job for our Country, and for the incredible people of Kentucky,” the former president said in a statement released by his political action committee, the Save America Pac. “He has my Complete and Total Endorsement for another term in the U.S. Senate. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a true champion in Rand Paul.”

Trump praised Johnson as “brave” and “bold” and offered him his “complete and total endorsement” — even though the Wisconsin senator has not yet announced whether he will run again.

Johnson and Paul are both up for reelection next year, when Republicans hope to flip the Senate after Democrats took control with two wins in Georgia earlier this year.

David Smith

Joe Biden, under pressure to act after a slew of mass shootings, has announced his first steps to curb the “epidemic” and “international embarrassment” of gun violence in America.

The president has prioritised the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery during the first two and half months of his presidency. But a series of recent shooting tragedies in Georgia, Colorado and California led to renewed calls for urgent action on guns.


Biden condemns US gun violence as ‘international embarrassment’ – video

About 316 people are shot every day in America and 106 of them die, he noted, “hitting Black and brown communities the hardest”. Gun violence is estimated to cost the nation $280bn a year, according to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” an emotional Biden said.

The White House event included parents family members who have lost loved ones to the scourge. “They know what it’s like to bury a piece of their soul deep in the earth,” remarked Biden, who has endured his own measure of loss. “They understand that.”

Seeking to break a Washington paralysis that confounded former president Barack Obama, even after horrific mass shootings, Biden said he was announcing immediate concrete actions that he can take now without Congress. Republicans have long resisted fundamental reform, citing the second amendment to the constitution that protects the right to bear arms.

“Nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the second amendment,” Biden insisted. “They’re phony arguments, suggesting that these are second amendment rights at stake, what we’re talking about. But no amendment to the constitution is absolute. You can’t shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded movie theatre and call it freedom of speech.”

Congresswoman Lucy McBath reflected on the loss of her son Jordan, who died in a 2012 shooting, as she celebrated Joe Biden’s new actions to address gun violence.

McBath, who was at the Rose Garden for Biden’s formal announcement of the executive orders earlier today, said on Twitter, “To my Jordan, This day. At the White House. In the Rose Garden. The President announced actions that will help keep families safe. Actions that will protect children across America. Children like you. My dear Jordan, this day is your day.”

Rep. Lucy McBath
(@RepLucyMcBath)

To my Jordan,

This day.

At the White House. In the Rose Garden.

The President announced actions that will help keep families safe. Actions that will protect children across America.

Children like you.

My dear Jordan, this day is your day. pic.twitter.com/6tmYmsciX8

April 8, 2021

In 2012, Jordan Davis was shot and killed by a man who confronted the 17-year-old about his music being too loud. The shooter tried to use Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law to defend his actions, but he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

After Davis’ death, McBath became a prominent advocate for gun control laws, eventually running for Congress in 2018 and flipping a Republican seat in Georgia.

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Five fertility clinic patients awarded $15m after failure of freezing tank

five-fertility-clinic-patients-awarded-$15m-after-failure-of-freezing-tank

Five patients of a California fertility center have been awarded a total of $15m after a freezing tank failed, rendering some of more than 3,500 frozen human embryos and eggs unviable.

While the extent of the damage from the accidental thaw is unclear, jurors awarded the sum to clients of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco after finding that the storage tank maker, Chart Industries, knew about a defect that prevented accurate temperature monitoring and had not warned the center about the problem.

The case could have significant consequences for a fertility industry estimated to be worth $37bn by 2030 and comes amid declining fertility rates and a drop in childbirth, recently described as a Covid baby-bust.

Jurors in the case found that Chart was 90% and Pacific Fertility 10% responsible for the failure to adequately safeguard the material. It marks the first time a jury has awarded damages in a case involving the destruction of eggs and embryos.

“This verdict should be a wake-up call for fertility centers. The jury’s award shows that when clinics make mistakes they can be devastating,” Adam Wolf, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Guardian.

At the trial, the freezer manufacturer argued that the error was caused by fertility clinic lab employees unplugging the tank’s malfunctioning controller and then keeping eggs and embryos in a container with no temperature-alert system in operation for 17 days.

But lawyers for the plaintiffs presented evidence that Chart knew about a problem with the tank from a 2012 internal study and had received complaints about a malfunctioning controller since 2015.

Laura and Kevin Parsell, a couple who had four frozen embryos that were lost, were awarded $7.2m. Rosalynn Enfield, a 43-year-old mother of two who lost 18 eggs, was awarded $2.6m; Adrienne Sletten, a 43-year-old woman who lost two eggs, was awarded $2.075m. Chloe Poynton, a 39-year-old woman who lost nine eggs, was awarded $3.1m.

“It’s really painful to be at a baby shower celebrating someone else’s family being built and knowing inside you’ll never get that,” Poynton told the court.

In closing arguments last week, attorney Dena Sharp had asked for up to $30m in damages. “Nothing can bring these eggs and embryos back,” Sharp said. “Nothing can turn back that biological clock. Nothing can truly restore what these plaintiffs had taken from them.”

Wolf, meanwhile, said many of those who had lost eggs and embryos, were still struggling with their loss.

The claim was the first to come to trial out of 140 federal lawsuits filed against the tank manufacturer over the accident. A second trial involving about five other plaintiffs is scheduled to begin later this year.

But Pacific Fertility is not the sole fertility clinic to have reported problems with Chart’s freezer. More than 4,000 eggs and embryos were lost at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland. About 150 families have settled claims with the clinic. Other related lawsuits are ongoing.

Wolf said his firm, Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, had represented hundreds of people over eight years in claims against the fertility industry, which is largely unregulated except in terms of the way in which clinics can advertise their pregnancy success rates.

Groups such as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine set industry standards for facilities that opt in, but the recommendations are voluntary. In some cases, clinics have used the wrong sperm and there is no oversight in terms of registering recipients of third-party sperm.

“Tragically we see very serious errors on a daily basis. These are the wild west days of the American fertility industry. It operates behind closed doors, and under a veil of secrecy. It can do, basically, whatever it likes, and that’s no way for an industry that is so important to operate,” Wolf said.

Naomi Cahn, director of the University of Virginia’s Family Law Center, said that last week’s verdict, could bring calls for greater regulation.

“Storage tank breakdowns are one example of problems in this industry. The lack of oversight, ranging from not knowing the if tanks are being appropriately regulated to manufacturing defects to not knowing how many other people may have used the same donor eggs or sperm, is worrying.”

As its stands, fertility clinics are required only to report success rates when they use reproductive technology involving eggs, but not when only sperm is used. “But reporting success rates does not regulate how the eggs are stored or other types of negligence,” Cahn said.

While the ASRM has a strong role in providing guidance, greater oversight is required to protect future families, Cahn says. If she were to issue a call to lawmakers, she added, it would be to “establish one single government entity to oversee the fertility industry and ensure that entity issues appropriate regulations including certification of all aspects of the technology”.

“We don’t want to interfere with the patient-physician relationship, we just want to make sure that when you trust your egg, sperm and embryos to a tank, that tank will not malfunction and there are appropriate procedures in the clinic if it does.”

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‘My God, I’m in a whale’s mouth’: lobster diver on brush with hungry humpback

‘my-god,-i’m-in-a-whale’s-mouth’:-lobster-diver-on-brush-with-hungry-humpback

A New England lobsterman has described the moment he realised he was trapped in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod.

“Oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me. I thought to myself, ‘hey, this is it. I’m finally going to die. There’s no getting out of here,’’’ Michael Packard told a local news station in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Packard, 56, was 45ft down off Race Point in search of lobsters when the feeding whale, presumed to be a juvenile, took him. He said he “felt this huge bump and everything went dark”.

At first the fisherman assumed he had been attacked by a great white [shark] buthe could find no teeth. “It was happening so fast,” Packard said. “My only thought was how to get out of that mouth.”

Partially ingested in the leviathan’s maw, and surrounded by a curtain of filtering baleen, Packard said he kept breathing into the regulator of his scuba tank.

“I realised there was no overcoming a beast of that size. He was going to do with me what he wanted to do. He was going to spit me out or swallow me.”

Later, during the half-minute ordeal, Packard said he began to consider his situation more clearly: “Here I am, I’m breathing air. Am I going to be breathing air in this whale’s mouth until it runs out? Crazy stuff.”

The whale thought better.

Michael Packard, 56, was diving off Provincetown when ‘all of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark’.
Michael Packard, 56, was diving off Provincetown when ‘all of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark’. Photograph: WBZ

“All of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head. I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water,” Packard recalled. “I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe … I’m here to tell it.”

Boat captain Joe Francis, who had been following Packard’s bubbles, told CBS Boston: “I saw Mike come flying out of the water feet first with his flippers on and land back in the water. I jumped aboard the boat. We got him up, got his tank off. Got him on the deck and calmed him down and he goes, ‘Joe, I was in the mouth of a whale.’ He goes ‘I can’t believe it, I was in the mouth of a whale, Joe!’”

Packard was taken to hospital and discharged later that day. “He’s damn lucky to be alive,” Francis added.

Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan and Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World, and a friend of Packard and his fishing partner Josiah Mayo, says the humpback was almost certainly as surprised as the diver.

Hoare says Herring Cove beach, adjacent to Race Point and where the incident took place, is shallow and known for gatherings of juvenile humpbacks feeding on sand eels at this time of year.

Whales have poor forward vision, he noted. “Mike would have been down there collecting lobsters, and the whale, trying to swallow sand eels, would have suddenly found he had a diver in his mouth while he or she was dragging in a huge volume of water.”

But before the whale could push the water out through the baleen filter – and lick the sand eels off with the tongue – the individual would have found Packard. Since a humpback’s esophagus wont accept anything larger than a melon, the whale would probably have panicked. “This young humpback is hanging out, it really hasn’t learned how to feed properly and doing stupid things, and suddenly he’s in trouble.

“He’s gulped Michael and now has this huge thing in mouth. That would be totally freaky for a whale, so it’s gone up to the surface, and in a human way, vomited him out. The last thing a whale wants in its mouth is something so big it would choke it.

“Michael is inside the whale, and God knows what he’s thinking, but anyone on the Cape knows the problem with great whites. “They are there, and they’re huge, and three people have been attacked – one fatally – in the past year,” says Hoare.

Hoare says Packard will be transformed in to mythic figure in Provincetown – “the Jonah who came back. He’ll never have pay for another drink for the rest of his life.” The film-maker John Waters, a seasonal resident of Provincetown, had been in touch. “Are you jealous, and do you believe it?” Waters wrote.

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Talks in Washington deadlocked as Biden meets UK PM Johnson – live

Summary

  • Joe Biden met with Boris Johnson in Cornwall while Jill Biden wore a “love” blazer.

ABC News
(@ABC)

First Lady Jill Biden, sporting a jacket with the words ‘love’ on the back, poses for a photograph looking out over the sea, at Carbis Bay, in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit. https://t.co/EYoMGkWUu1 pic.twitter.com/cm3wx2Hha4

June 10, 2021

  • Meanwhile, talks deadlocked on, well, a lot of things – but mostly the bipartisan negotiations around the infrastructure plan. Lawmakers on both side were expressing frustration Thursday with the concept of bipartisanship, but Senator Mitt Romney hinted at a possible agreement.
  • Representative Ilhan Omar received death threats as members of her own party condemned her for saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Today in San Francisco, Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, said that his office has filed an appeal of the recent federal court decision that struck down the state’s assault weapon restrictions.

Standing alongside Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and representatives from Brady United and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Bonta said that while the opinion was of “great concern”, “we are not deterred by this ruling.”

This appeal comes after a 4 June ruling from Judge Roger Benitez that ruled that California’s 32 year-old restrictions were unconstitutional. The decision drew immediate criticism for Benitez’s comparison of assault weapons to “Swiss army knives” and false claim that more Californians have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings.

Bonta is also extending the 30-day-stay, so that the current laws stay in effect throughout the appeal process.

Learn more about what Judge Benitez’s ruling mean for the state here:

Florida public schools ban teaching of critical-race theory

The Florida Board of Education has approved tougher guidelines for teaching US history in public schools that prohibits teachers from discussing critical-race theory or the 1619 Project.

The reactive push against the movement to teaching non-whitewashed versions of American history that don’t downplay the role of slavery and racism in the founding of the country has long been a conservative rallying point. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, tweeted that critical-race theory was “state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools”.

Travis Akers
(@travisakers)

History classes in Florida now will just be students coloring in a picture of white Jesus carrying an American flag while gazing upon a bald eagle soaring through the fireworks-filled sky.

Class concludes with a rousing rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.”

June 10, 2021

Something may have happened. Or not. But that’s pretty much the state of it this week, isn’t it?

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Some newsy developments: Per @MittRomney, the infrastructure Gang of 10 have reached an agreement on the overall size of the package, how much it’ll spend on each provision and how they’ll pay for it. He and other Rs will brief other Republicans, Ds will brief admin officials

June 10, 2021

We’re back on the infrastructure plan, and the hopes of a bipartisan agreement. Joe Biden ended negotiations with Republicans before he left on his first overseas trip, but said he planned to stay in touch. People on both sides are saying the time for bipartisanship is done, whether related to the infrastructure plan or otherwise.

But! Possibly an agreement, per Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Except someone forgot to tell Montana Senator Jon Tester.

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Well. Tester, a member of the Infra 10, said an agreement was “news to me”

June 10, 2021

So could there be an agreement? Unclear. We’ll see.

Updated

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio set Twitter ablaze today when he decided to preview a commercial for ranked-choice voting with a giant ballot of pizza toppings.

Ranked-choice voting is when you rank a number of candidates for each race. If none wins an outright majority in the first round of counting, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and then the second-place votes are counted, and this keeps going until someone earns at least 50% of the votes plus one.

It wasn’t the type of voting that stirred controversy, but de Blasio’s ranking: 1. Green peppers 2. Green olives 3. Sausage 4. Mushrooms 5. Pepperoni

AJ
(@ajchavar)

has the mayor eaten a pizza https://t.co/M3TKG13Lek

June 10, 2021

katie honan
(@katie_honan)

The mayor is now YELLING about pineapple on pizza. “THIS IS NOT CALIFORNIA,” he says, adding it’s offensive to his Italian ancestors.

Clams on pizza? “We’re not in New Haven,” he says. Life has certainly been strange over the last 15 or so months.

June 10, 2021

Brittny Pierre
(@sleep2dream)

TRASH! deblasio should stay in his lane. He eats pizza with a fork and knife AND he’s a red sox fan. https://t.co/EsUL17H8Ki

June 10, 2021

And also, there’s also the fact that pizza is not quite the right analogy for an election.

Ariel Edwards-Levy
(@aedwardslevy)

pizza toppings are an especially fitting choice of example for ranked-choice voting because, as everybody knows, a finalized pizza can only include precisely one (1) topping https://t.co/FIKWPS2pC6

June 10, 2021

The FBI director, Christopher Wray, is testifying before the House judiciary committee on oversight of the FBI. Hate violence and white supremacist ideology were large focuses, and Wray received a number of questions about the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

House Judiciary Dems
(@HouseJudiciary)

“On the days leading up to the January 6th attack, did the FBI simply miss evidence, or did it see the evidence and fail to piece it together?”

Chairman @RepJerryNadler questions @FBI Director Wray pic.twitter.com/JdV3aXxWJ1

June 10, 2021

Josh Gerstein
(@joshgerstein)

FBI’s Wray says unaware of any investigation specifically looking at Trump’s rhetoric in advance of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6

June 10, 2021

Updated

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is apparently pretty done with bipartisanship too.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

Pres. Biden & Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake w GOP Senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc

June 9, 2021

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

During the Obama admin, folks thought we’d have a 60 Dem majority for a while. It lasted 4 months.

Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission. McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock.

It’s a hustle. We need to move now.

June 9, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks “the era of bipartisanship is over”, doesn’t seem particularly phased.

Sahil Kapur
(@sahilkapur)

Mitch McConnell responds to AOC’s tweet on Fox News: “Well, to satisfy that particular member of Congress, I think the Democrats would have to have 60 votes in the Senate and all of them would have to be as far left as she is. I think her big complaint is with her own party.” https://t.co/mLGMGwjMxi

June 10, 2021

More Democrats are joining together to condemn Minnesota Ilhan Omar for saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.” Meanwhile, more of her allies are rallying behind her in support as well.

Tom Suozzi
(@RepTomSuozzi)

pic.twitter.com/uX2F9mwNHx

June 10, 2021

Mehdi Hasan
(@mehdirhasan)

Muslim Americans are fed up of constantly being accused of supporting terrorism – including by liberals and Democrats! – when they/we simply make factual points about international law or foreign policies or war crimes.

It’s cynical, dehumanizing, and, yes bigoted.

June 10, 2021

Jamil Dakwar
(@jdakwar)

Once again #IStandWithIlhan 👇🏽 https://t.co/QJOdvPFP91

June 10, 2021

Here’s our first look at the meeting between Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and First Lady Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson.

Steve Holland
(@steveholland1)

“It’s gorgeous, I don’t want to go home,” said President Biden of seaside view in Carbis Bay with PM Boris Johnson. pic.twitter.com/Sbv9uQCJRV

June 10, 2021

Howard Mortman
(@HowardMortman)

Biden and Boris Johnson pic.twitter.com/ZkVj3j74zw

June 10, 2021

The Recount
(@therecount)

First Lady Jill Biden sports a “LOVE” jacket while meeting with UK PM Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson. pic.twitter.com/dGV5C62RVp

June 10, 2021

Updated

A lot has been hyped about bipartisanship this week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the era of bipartisanship is over”, with every bill the Democrats have introduced in June including something he said Republicans could not support. Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin gave it as the reason why he wasn’t voting for the For The People bill that would voting rights, because he believed such legislation needed to be bipartisan.

Then there was the bipartisan negotiations between Joe Biden and Republicans over an infrastructure plan. On Tuesday, Biden ended negotiations. Despite his willingness to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, Republicans had increased their proposed new investments by only $150bn. And then there was the issue of tax increases.

Though Biden said he would stay in touch with Republicans during his trip, things aren’t looking great.

Manu Raju
(@mkraju)

“No,” Angus King, one of the bipartisan negotiators on infrastructure, said when I asked if he were confident a bipartisan deal could be reached among the group. Said he’s “hopeful”

June 10, 2021

About 90 advocacy groups have since called on Biden and the Democrats to use the partisan reconciliation process instead of relying on negotiations.

Reconciliation is a rule that allows Congress to pass new budget resolutions with new spending priorities with a simple 51-vote majority in the Senate without having to worry about a filibuster.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are already working on a plan to pass an infrastructure measure via the reconciliation process.

Omar receives death threats as lawmakers condemn her comments

Democratic Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is once again receiving death threats as 12 members of her own party condemn her for appearing to liken Hamas and the Taliban to Israel and the United States.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she tweeted in a question to Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing about the International Criminal Court on Monday. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Rep. Brad Schneider
(@RepSchneider)

Equating the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided. Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and organizations that engage in terrorism discredits one’s intended argument and reflects deep-seated prejudice. https://t.co/KOdgPqvQdT

June 10, 2021

Andrew Desiderio
(@AndrewDesiderio)

Group of House Democrats is out with a statement tonight condemning Ilhan Omar’s recent comments, saying they “give cover to terrorist groups.” pic.twitter.com/kDxSkb7OCi

June 10, 2021

Omar responded by calling out the “shameful” Islamaphobic tropes in her colleagues’ statement.

“The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” she tweeted.

Ilhan Omar
(@IlhanMN)

Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from “deeply seated prejudice”. You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.

June 10, 2021

Rashida Tlaib
(@RashidaTlaib)

I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics. https://t.co/5n9OxZbK8Q

June 10, 2021

Biden to meet with Johnson as party clashes continue back home

Howdy, liveblog readers. Happy Thursday.

We begin today with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden departing for Cornwall in the United Kingdom to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie Johnson.

It’s expected that everyone will use the meeting as a chance to reaffirm the “special relationship” between the US and the UK – though Johnson has confirmed that he thinks the term seems “needy and weak” and Biden has been quoted calling Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump.

It’s also likely that Biden and Johnson will speak about the working groups the two governments have formed to look into lifting travel restrictions between the US and UK.

But in addition to these niceties, this meeting takes place with the US issuing a warning to the UK’s Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, over negotiations over border checks in Northern Ireland.

The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour delves into the situation more here:

Meanwhile, back home, talks on a bipartisan infrastructure deal remained at an impasse, with Republicans refusing to raise taxes to pay for the plan and Biden insisting on it.

Ronald Klain
(@WHCOS)

Lots of discussion today on the Hill about how to pay for much needed infrastructure.

I’m just going to leave this here. pic.twitter.com/MwzLtUguNn

June 9, 2021

Updated

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