Cup of Joe – July 3, 2023

“An inflation index that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve tumbled last month to its lowest level since April 2021, pulled down by lower gas prices and slower-rising food costs,” the AP reports.

“At the same time, consumers barely increased their spending last month, boosting it just 0.1%, after a solid 0.6% gain in April.”

“The inflation index showed that prices rose 3.8% in May from 12 months earlier, down sharply from a 4.4% year-over-year surge in April. And from April to May, prices ticked up just 0.1%.”

“Brazil’s top elections court voted Friday to bar Jair Bolsonaro from running for office for eight years — a period that covers the next presidential election — for making what members of the panel said were claims he knew to be false about the integrity of the country’s voting systems,” the Washington Post reports.  “The ruling, if it survives a planned Supreme Court appeal, means Bolsonaro, 68, won’t be able to run for president until the 2030 election, when he’ll be 75. It’s the first time in the court’s 90-year history that it has applied the ban to a former president.”

Associated Press: “Meagan Wolfe, the nonpartisan administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, has been a target of conspiracy theorists… Republicans who control the state Legislature have called for Wolfe to resign over how she ran the 2020 contest, even though multiple reports and reviews found the election was fair and the results accurate.”

“Democratic election commissioners are attempting to work around lawmakers to keep Wolfe in office indefinitely after her term ends Saturday. Both sides rely on arguments that raise unanswered legal questions and could take months to resolve through the courts.”

“The state of Maine is embarking on a controversial experiment by partially decriminalizing prostitution in an attempt to eliminate exploitation of sex workers — adopting a model advocates say is a first in the country,” the Washington Post reports.

“Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill into law Monday that will eliminate penalties for those who sell sex while leaving in place laws against the purchase of it.”

“Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson raised about $860,000 through some 31,700 campaign donations after Tennessee Republican lawmakers abruptly moved to expel him and two other Democrats for a gun control protest on the House floor, his campaign said,” the AP reports.

“The short-lived expulsion propelled the Memphis environmental activist, a fresh face just months into his first term, to become a nationally watched progressive figure who sat in the Oval Office.”

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: “Europe is moving by leaps and bounds to the political right, and beyond that to reactionary iron-fist parties mobilised by the culture wars. The left has not suffered such sweeping rejection since the 1930s.”

“Britain is moving to a different rhythm and mostly in the opposite direction. Rishi Sunak’s methodical attempt to restore the governing credibility of the Conservative Party is being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Labour is riding an almost irresistible national urge for a fresh start.”

“It is likely that Britain will soon be one of the few large countries in Europe with a center-left government, and perhaps the only one as Germany’s fractious coalition tears itself apart.”

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is recovering from a serious shingles infection, is spending the Senate’s two-week Fourth of July recess in Washington,” the Los Angeles Times reports.  “Senators and House members usually use recesses to return to their home states and connect with their constituents. But the California Democrat has no plans to make a trip home to San Francisco.”

“Investigators helping prosecute impeachment charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) have expanded their probe to examine a property-buying spree that began after he came under federal investigation for alleged abuse of his office,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “Paxton, his wife and a family trust spent almost $3.5 million buying six properties across the U.S. in less than 10 months from July 2021 to April 2022.”

“The electric truck maker Lordstown Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday and sued business partner Foxconn for allegedly reneging on an investment deal, delivering a blow to a venture that Donald Trump hailed during his presidency as a boon for Ohio,” the Washington Post reports.

New laws will take effect across the country on July 1. Since most new laws are terrifying, I wanted to highlight some of the better legislative outcomes. In Florida alone, 200 new laws will go live including limits on using TikTok and carrying guns without concealed-weapons licenses. California added a new law making Juneteenth a state holiday. California offices and courts were notably open this Juneteenth, though it was declared a federal holiday for the first time this year. Also going into law in California is the Firearm Industry Responsibility Act, which creates a new industry standard of conduct, making it easier for Californians to take firearm retailers to civil court. Connecticut is stepping up against child abuse and will make marriage illegal for anyone under 18. Prior to 2017, the state had no age restriction whatsoever on who could be legally married with their parent’s permission. 

But not all the laws deal with such heavy topics. There are some fun ones out there. For instance, Maryland legalized cannabis. And why should adults have all of the fun? Thanks to a petition launched by fourth graders, Mississippi will make the blueberry the official state fruit. And thanks to another student in Washington, the new official “state dinosaur” there is the Suciasaurus Rex, based on the first-ever dinosaur remains discovered in the state in 2012. I don’t know people, it’s been a bleak news week and that’s all we got.

Those 10,000 five-star reviews are fake. Now they’ll also be illegal. These disingenuous reviews makeup 30-40 percent of online reviews and could face astronomical fines depending on how many fake reviews they have created. 

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

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