Cup of Joe – February 13, 2023

“Former President Donald Trump’s legal team turned over more documents with classified markings and a laptop belonging to an aide to federal prosecutors in recent months,” CNN reports.

“The previously undisclosed handovers – from December and January – suggest the protracted effort by the Justice Department to repossess records from Trump’s presidency may not be done.”

“The Trump attorneys discovered the documents with classified markings in December, while searching through boxes at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence.”

“Evan Corcoran, one of Donald Trump’s lawyers, appeared before a federal grand jury last month as part of the special counsel investigation into whether classified information and other government records were mishandled at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate,” Bloomberg reports.

“An American fighter jet, acting on the orders of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, shot down another unidentified flying object on Saturday, Canadian and American officials said, in the latest twist of the ongoing drama playing out over the skies of North America,” the New York Times reports.

9As with the object that President Biden ordered shot down on Friday, officials said they had yet to determine just what was struck with a missile over the Yukon Territory.”

Associated Press: “Within hours of an Air Force F-22 downing a giant Chinese balloon that had crossed the United States, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reached out to his Chinese counterpart via a special crisis line, aiming for a quick general-to-general talk that could explain things and ease tensions.”

“But Austin’s effort Saturday fell flat, when Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe declined to get on the line, the Pentagon says.”

“While a change in diet, medication, exercise and stress can all affect a girl’s menstrual flow, doctors say cycle irregularities don’t affect their ability to play sports and are raising privacy concerns over a state board proposing to mandate that information for Florida students to play high school sports,” the Miami Herald reports.

Brian Merchant: “So Elon Musk skated, again. Dragged into court for something he definitely said that definitely wasn’t true, at least not in the conventional sense, he got a pass from a jury. And the reason is pretty simple: He understands how the internet works better than the people seeking to hold him to account.”

“More specifically, Musk intuits the way that most regular people — i.e., the kind of people that tend to sit on juries — perceive their own relationship to the internet, a place where almost no one wants to be held accountable for what they say and do, and exploits it accordingly.”

Elon Musk fired a top Twitter engineer because he was upset over the declining number of users that were apparently able to see his tweets, Platformer reports.  Said Musk: “This is ridiculous. I have more than 100 million followers, and I’m only getting tens of thousands of impressions.”

“Employees showed Musk internal data regarding engagement with his account, along with a Google Trends chart. Last April, they told him, Musk was at ‘peak’ popularity in search rankings, indicated by a score of ‘100.’ Today, he’s at a score of nine. Engineers had previously investigated whether Musk’s reach had somehow been artificially restricted, but found no evidence that the algorithm was biased against him.”

“Musk did not take the news well.”

“The gas-guzzling heyday of the world’s largest oil market is receding as more efficient cars, the arrival of mass-market electric vehicles and the rise of working from home prompt US motorists to burn less petrol,” the Financial Times reports.

“The 8.78 million barrels a day of petrol consumed in the US last year was 6 per cent lower than record volumes sold before the coronavirus pandemic. Consumption will continue to decline in 2023 and 2024.”

“An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from California to test the defense system,” the AP reports. “While the test occurred amid U.S. concerns about North Korea’s missile tests and the transit of a Chinese spy balloon across the United States, the Air Force said the launch was routine.”

Politico: “Four GOP leaders on the House and Senate Armed Services committees said the revelation about China’s nuclear capability, made in a Jan. 26 letter from the top commander of U.S. nuclear forces, is a warning that Beijing’s arsenal is expanding faster than anticipated, though the U.S. still has more warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

“Half of students across the country started the academic year below grade level in at least one subject,” the Washington Post reports.  “The results add to other research that suggests many students face a halting climb back from the tumble of the pandemic.”

“Florida lawmakers passed a bill Friday expanding a program used to fly migrants to Democratic-led cities and states,” NBC News reports.  “Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration will now be able to relocate migrants elsewhere from any state in the country, not just from Florida.”

Montana Public Radio: “A bill in the state Legislature seeking to regulate science curriculum in public schools got its first hearing Monday. The legislation’s sponsor says by banning scientific theories, the policy aims to prevent kids from being taught things that aren’t true.”

“More than 20 people testified against Senate Bill 235, concerned that it could keep teachers from including gravitational theory, evolution and cell theory in curriculum.”

New York Times: “A key priority for this new network of conservative thinkers is for the federal government to send parents cash monthly for each child, a sea change from decades of Republican thinking on family policy.”

“They hope the cash could encourage people to have more children, and allow more parents to stay home full- or part-time when their children are young.”

“For years, Nashville leaders have watched Tennessee’s GOP-dominated Legislature repeatedly kneecap the liberal-leaning city’s ability to set its own minimum wage, regulate plastic bag use and place higher scrutiny on police officers,” the AP reports.   “Yet that simmering tension has only escalated this year as Republican lawmakers have introduced a string of proposals that local officials warn would drastically upend Music City.”

The Reload: “Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told attendees at the gun-rights group’s most recent board meeting that the organization is down to 4.3 million members… That represents a downturn of more than a million members since allegations of financial impropriety were leveled against LaPierre and other members of NRA leadership in 2019.”

“The NRA is now smaller than it has been since 2012 when internal documents show the group had 4 million members.”

Wall Street Journal: “The hiring spree in everyday services shows that the sectors hardest hit in the pandemic’s first months, when 22 million jobs were lost, are continuing to recover. Those gains may prop up the broader economy enough to avoid a recession.”

“Nicaragua released 222 political prisoners early Thursday in a deal negotiated with Washington, marking one of the biggest prisoner releases ever involving the United States,” the New York Times reports.  “The Nicaraguan government sought nothing in return, but agreed to release the prisoners as a way to signal a desire to restart relations with the United States.”

“It’s not every day that foreign observers are needed to monitor an election in Germany, one of the west’s richest and most stable democracies. But then again, Berlin is no ordinary city,” the Financial Times reports.

“Fourteen officials from the Council of Europe, the continent’s top human rights body, will arrive in the capital this week to observe Sunday’s rerun of its 2021 election, an event so chaotic its results were nullified: Berliners had to queue for hours at polling stations, which ran out of voting papers and ballot boxes.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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