By Robert A. Vella
July was the hottest month on record, and 2019 is on pace to tie 2017 for the second hottest year on record. Those are simply facts, but I’d like to convey to readers some anecdotal observations of climate change from my pacific northwest community. So far this summer, southwest Washington state hasn’t experienced many of the brutal 100°F+ temperatures of recent years; however, it has been experiencing high overnight temperatures and extremely high humidity. I have a small weather station at my home, and it has regularly recorded humidity in the 70-90% range even though this time of year is normally the driest period with an average humidity of about 60%. July was typified by warm, muggy, overcast days with little cooling off at night and much more frequent rain which prompted a lot of complaints from local residents. Since this area is less than 50 miles from the Pacific coast, these observations are consistent with global warming which is causing increased evaporation from the world’s oceans.
New York City’s medical examiner has completed an autopsy on Jeffrey Epstein, who reportedly committed suicide in jail, but the conclusions are still pending. President Trump’s Department of Labor is planning to implement changes to federal rules which would allow discrimination in hiring practices based on religious grounds. A Washington state legislator is under fire for his associations with a neo-confederate group offering to train young men in “biblical warfare.” Anti-ICE protests have erupted in Rhode Island, and a huge demonstration against President Jair Bolsonaro has hit the streets in Brasilia. Israel has banned the entry of two U.S. congresswomen in a highly provocative move to defend its aggressive policies against Palestinians. After his latest racist actions and rhetoric against legal immigrants and undocumented residents (i.e. poor brown people), and after the recent wave of terrible mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, President Trump’s aggregate approval ratings from 538 have dipped slightly but remain remarkably steady… that is, remarkably bad.
Before getting on to those stories, here’s a quote from outcast Iowa Republican congressman Steve King who apparently believes that we humans would’ve disappeared from the face of the Earth if it wasn’t for rape and incest. Yes, you read that right.
“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”
July 2019 was the Earth’s hottest month on record, federal scientists announced Thursday.
The global temperature for July was some 1.71 degrees above average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Records date back to 1880.
July’s heat follows on the heels of what was the hottest June on record.
For the year-to-date, 2019 is tied with 2017 as the second-warmest year on record.
An autopsy found that financier Jeffrey Epstein suffered multiple breaks in his neck bones, according to two people familiar with the findings, deepening the mystery about the circumstances around his death.
Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.
The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, completed an autopsy of Epstein’s body Sunday. But Sampson listed the cause of his death as pending.
The Department of Labor proposed a rule Wednesday allowing “religion-exercising organizations” with federal contracts to raise religious exemptions if accused of bias in their hiring practices.
The Labor Department said the proposal, which is set to officially be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, is intended to help companies “make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”
“The Department of Labor just proposed a rule that aims to let government contractors fire workers who are LGBTQ, or who are pregnant and unmarried, based on the employers’ religious views,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted after the proposal was announced. “This is taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Period.”
“This rule seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace – and we will work to stop it,” the group added.
The Republican politician Matt Shea connected close allies with a group offering training to young men in “biblical warfare” that includes how to use knives, pistols and rifles, with lessons based in part on the teachings of a Georgia-based neo-Confederate pastor, emails obtained by the Guardian reveal.
Shea, who is an elected Washington state representative, later made videos in support of the group, and appeared alongside them at a gathering at a religious community in remote eastern Washington. He also paid the founder of the group money from his campaign fund in 2018.
The emails, sent in July 2016, begin with an email from Patrick Caughran, who presents himself as the founder of a training group called Team Rugged. They were provided to the Guardian by a former Shea associate who was copied in on the exchange.
Chaos broke out at the protest of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Rhode Island late Wednesday when a truck tried to drive through protesters and corrections officers ended up pepper-spraying the crowd.
The protest outside the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island, less than 10 miles north of Providence, was led by members of the “Never Again” movement, which likens undocumented immigrants being imprisoned to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. Protesters have been organizing outside the ICE facility since early July.
Tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Brazil’s capital Wednesday to denounce President Jair Bolsonaro, in the third anti-government protest in the city in two days.
The huge demonstration in Brasilia comes as Bolsonaro faces increasing heat over rampant deforestation in the Amazon rainforest as well as education funding cuts, which have sparked nationwide protests by students and professors in recent months, including one in the capital on Tuesday.
The “March of the Margaridas” is named after Brazilian trade union leader Margarida Maria Alves, who was murdered in 1983 during the military dictatorship.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel said Thursday that it will bar two Democratic congresswomen from entering the country ahead of a planned visit over their support for a Palestinian-led boycott movement, a decision announced shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted that it would “show great weakness” to allow them in.
The move to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from visiting the close American ally appeared to be unprecedented, and marked a deep foray by Israel into America’s bitterly polarized politics. It is also a sharp escalation of Israel’s campaign against the international boycott movement.