Cup of Joe – February 19, 2023

Former President Jimmy Carter has entered hospice care at his home in Georgia. This means the former President’s life is coming to a close. And it has been a spectacular life of service. Best wishes and comfort to President Carter and his family.

“A wave of proposed legislation pushed by Republicans across the US at the state level is aimed at outlawing aspects of sexuality that could have a huge impact on Americans’ private lives and businesses,” The Guardian reports.

“Opponents to the laws before legislatures in various states say the planned new legislation could spawn prosecution of breast-pump companies in Texas for nipples on advertising, or a bookstore might be banned from selling romance novels in West Virginia, or South Carolina could imprison standup comics if a risque joke is heard by a young person.”

“The bills are part of a post-Roe nationwide strategy by the religious wing of the Republican party, now that federal abortion rights have fallen. They range from banning all businesses that sell sex-related goods to anti-drag queen bills.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence said “we need to” ban abortion pills in audio obtained by Jezebel.  The comments came during a book signing event on Monday in Houston, Texas.

Two Idaho legislators have introduced a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to administrator an mRNA COVID vaccine in the state of Idaho. “A person may not provide or administer a vaccine developed using messenger ribonucleic acid technology for use in an individual or any other mammal in this state,” reads the text of the proposed legislation.

The two legislators are Rep. Tammy Nichols (R) and Rep. Judy Boyle (R). Nichols says she has concerns about inadequate testing and regulatory oversight that “may not have been done like we thought it should’ve been done” and “a lot of information that comes out with concerns to blood clots and heart issues.”

Politico: “Hannity and Carlson tried to get Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fired for fact-checking a Trump tweet about Dominion and noting that there was no evidence of votes being destroyed.” Texted Carlson to Hannity and Ingraham: “Please get her fired. Seriously… What the fuck? It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.

“If you believe Middle Tennessee’s newest congressman, he’s not only a businessman, he’s also an economist, a nationally recognized expert in tax policy and health care, a trained police officer, even an expert in international sex crimes,” WTVF reports.

“But an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered that Andy Ogles’ personal life story is filled with exaggerations, a story that’s often too good to be true.”

Kathy Chung, President Joe Biden’s former executive assistant, has agreed to sit for an interview with the House Oversight Committee as part of its investigation into classified documents found at Biden’s home and office, CNN reports.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) will likely remain in inpatient care for clinical depression for “a few weeks,” adding that doctors are trying different medications and require time to identify the correct dosage, MSNBC reports.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) will not resign his from the Senate because of his recent hospitalization for clinical depression — even though he could be in the hospital for up to a month, CNN reports.

“There have been numerous examples of senators who have been sidelined over the years for a much longer time period, and this is no different.”

CNN: “As the 2024 landscape begins to take shape, the senators’ decisions about their political futures will dramatically alter the map and hold major ramifications for the makeup of the institution itself.”

“For Democrats, the concern is the most acute. They already have a difficult road to maintain their slim 51-49 majority, with 23 seats to defend compared to just 11 for the GOP.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers asked a judge to bar jurors at his upcoming civil trial from hearing testimony that he sexually assaulted two other women besides E. Jean Carroll, the writer suing him for defaming her after she alleged in 2019 that he raped her in the 1990s,” CNBC reports.

“His lawyers also want Manhattan federal court Judge Lewis Kaplan to prohibit evidence of Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape, where he boasted about kissing and groping women without their consent, new legal filings reveal.”

Former president Donald Trump claimed that his tweets from the day of the Capitol Hill insurrection prove that he wanted peace but failed to mention his instructions to his supporters, asking them to “fight like hell,” the Independent reports.

Trump also said that day that the election was being “stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats.”

“Donald Trump’s offer to provide a DNA sample to a New York writer who claims he raped her in the 1990s was rejected by a judge as too late and with too many strings attached,” Bloomberg reports.

“After balking at the request for years, the former president last week offered the DNA sample to his accuser, E. Jean Carroll. In exchange, he wanted her to turn over pages he says are missing from a forensic report on the dress she says she wore during the alleged attack.”

 “A New York appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld a $110,000 fine on former President Donald Trump that a judge imposed last spring after he was found in contempt for failing to turn over documents to the state attorney general’s office as part of an investigation of his company,” CNBC reports.

New York Times: “Faced with economic headwinds and political and legal pressure, the social media giants have showed signs that fighting false information online is no longer as high a priority, raising fears among experts who track the issue that it will further erode trust online.”

Saying that he “appears motivated to circumvent monitoring” and may be “hiding online activities from the Government,” prosecutors are seeking to renegotiate Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail agreement and impose tighter restrictions on the FTX founder, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Another former member of Sam Bankman-Fried’s inner circle is planning to plead guilty to US criminal charges over his role in an alleged multiyear fraud at collapsed crypto exchange FTX,” Bloomberg reports.

“Nishad Singh has been hammering out a deal with Manhattan prosecutors as they prepare to file fraud charges against him… Such an agreement could involve cooperating with authorities and further isolate Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to an eight-count indictment and is awaiting trial.”

Associated Press: “In his plea for more Western weapons, Zelensky compared Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian invasion to the biblical fight between David and Goliath, saying his country had David’s courage but needed help in getting the sling.”

A federal judge in Washington, DC sentenced veteran GOP operative Jesse Benton to 18 months in prison for funneling $25,000 from a Russian businessman to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Mother Jones reports.

The White House has congratulated Rick Scott for confessing his desire to destroy Social Security and seeking forgiveness.

Andrew Bates, Deputy White House Press Secretary: “We congratulate Senator Scott on joining the post-State of the Union red wave of Republicans acknowledging that they have, in fact, been attempting to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. For the past year he has explained the absence of an exception by saying, ‘If it’s worth keeping, we’re going to keep it.’ But make no mistake, his true colors are undeniable and on the record. Cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits is a longstanding passion of Senator Scott’s, as it is for the majority of House Republicans who comprise the Republican Study Committee and many of his Senate colleagues, ranging from John Thune to Ron Johnson. For example, in the 1990s Senator Scott supported fully privatizing Medicare. And now, by supporting repeal of the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Scott is pursuing the biggest Medicare benefits cut in a generation just so Big Pharma can receive a debt-worsening bailout. We thank Senator Scott for continuing to share his heart with the world. We always support him doing so.

“Defense attorneys for five Proud Boys leaders intend to call former President Donald Trump to testify as a witness in their clients’ seditious conspiracy trial,” NBC News reports. “However, it remains unclear whether their effort will succeed.”

 “Prosecutors say a romantic acquaintance of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio — who provided him with a tactical plan to occupy government buildings just days before Jan. 6, 2021 — pleaded the Fifth when subpoenaed in May,” Politico reports.

Associated Press: “Many economists expect inflation to fall to roughly 4% later this year. But it could plateau at that point so long as hiring and wage gains remain vigorous. The Fed might then feel compelled to keep borrowing rates high well into 2024 or even raise them further this year.”

“A key question for the economy this year is whether unemployment would have to rise significantly to achieve a slowdown in wage growth. Powell and other Fed officials have said that curbing high inflation would require some ‘pain’ for workers.”

 “Advance retail sales for the month increased 3%, compared with expectations for a rise of 1.9%, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday,” CNBC reports.

“The confirmation of President Joe Biden’s nominee for a prestigious federal appeals court seat could be in jeopardy after he was grilled over his role representing an elite boarding school in a sexual assault case and a key Senate Democrat withheld his immediate support,” CNN reports.

“Former New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney, who has been nominated for the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals, faced tough questions about the case from Senate Judiciary Committee members during a hearing Wednesday.”

“Immunity acquired from a Covid infection provides strong, lasting protection against the most severe outcomes of the illness, according to research published Thursday in The Lancet — protection, experts say, that’s on par with what’s provided through two doses of an mRNA vaccine,” NBC News reports.

“Infection-acquired immunity cut the risk of hospitalization and death from a Covid reinfection by 88% for at least 10 months, the study found.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) called on the General Assembly to end the death penalty in the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Rep. Angie Craig’s (D-MN) office released audio Friday of threatening, vulgar phone calls it said it received after the lawmaker was physically assaulted in her apartment building in Washington, DC, earlier this month, CNN reports.

“Michigan Democrats are considering speeding up the passage of new gun legislation in the state following a shooting at Michigan State University on Monday evening that left three people dead,” Politico reports.

“The drive for new legislation will be one of the first significant tests of Democratic Party governance in the state since the midterm elections.”

“A Denver city councilperson who uses a wheelchair said he was humiliated and dismayed after an election debate on Monday evening was held in a venue without wheelchair access, forcing him to crawl onto the stage while in full view of the crowd,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Chris Hinds, who is running for reelection, said he had had no choice but to participate in the debate. Had he refused he would have had to forfeit roughly $125,000 in campaign financing.”

David Malpass, a Trump appointee “under fire for months by critics who accused him of climate denialism, said he would resign in June, a year before his term ends,” the New York Times reports.

“The departure of Mr. Malpass is likely to add new urgency to sweeping changes that were already underway at the World Bank. It will also give President Biden, who came to office with an ambitious climate agenda, the opportunity to install a leader whose term will stretch until 2028.”

“Taliban fighters have stopped the sale of contraceptives in two of Afghanistan’s main cities, claiming their use by women is a western conspiracy to control the Muslim population,” The Guardian reports.

“The Guardian has learned that the Taliban has been going door to door, threatening midwives and ordering pharmacies to clear their shelves of all birth control medicines and devices.”

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

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