Friday, May 7, 2021

South Carolina to bring back firing squads for executions

South Carolina is poised to bring back firing squads to its list of execution methods amid a shortage of drugs to carry out lethal injections in an effort to resume capital punishment after a decade. The state House voted 66-43 earlier this week on legislation that would allow death row inmates to choose between being shot or electrocuted if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. The state is one of nine that still use the electric chair and will become the fourth to use firing squads. After another routine vote in the House, the bill will head to the desk of Governor Henry McMaster, who said he will sign it. Supporters say the bill will deliver justice to those convicted of violent crimes. Opponents decried the death penalty but also cited the possibility of innocent people being put to death. (Fox News)


Colorado Governor Signs Bill To Expand Medical Marijuana Access For Students In Schools

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed legislation earlier this week to expand access to medical marijuana for students in schools. Meanwhile, the governor’s office said that he also plans to sign another bill that recently arrived on his desk to double the recreational cannabis possession limit in the state. Current law gives principals discretion to set policies allowing or preventing schools to store and administer cannabis-based medicines, but under the new legislation Polis signed, that discretion is removed and school boards will be required to create policies on storage of cannabis medicines and allowing personnel to volunteer to possess and administer it to qualifying students who need it. Separately, lawmakers also recently sent a bill to Polis’s desk that would increase the lawful marijuana possession limit for adults from one to two ounces. (Marijuana Moment)


US backs lifting vaccine patents

The Biden administration, along with over 100 members of Congress, came out in support of a WTO move to temporarily waive intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines. While pharmaceutical companies are against suspending the patent rules, claiming it wouldn’t solve supply issues, nations including India, say it would be monumental in curbing the spread of the disease. President Joe Biden announced he intended to get 70% of American adults at least partly vaccinated by July 4. Moderna says its booster shots can fight variants. Two studies reveal Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine can protect against disease caused by two COVID-19 variants. (The New York Times)


US cities where confidence is up

Workers across the U.S. are becoming more optimistic about their job security, finances and career outlook. The latest edition, which spans Jan. 2 to March 12, identifies the 10 cities where confidence grew most rapidly in the first quarter of 2021. Tulsa, Oklahoma tops the list, with a confidence score of +43 on a scale from -100 to +100. Others include industrial cities such as Greenville, S.C., knowledge-economy hubs such as Colorado Springs, Co. and even vacation destinations such as New Orleans. (LinkedIn)


Michigan man builds ‘poop wall’ after dispute with neighbor

A man has reportedly retaliated against a neighbor with cow dung in a small Michigan town. The neighbor claims a 250-foot wall of manure was erected following a property line dispute he had with a fellow farm owner last year. The unusual divider separates the two properties in Lodi Township, a civil township situated inside Washtenaw County, Michigan. The farmer who built the wall denied the organic structure is a “poop wall.” Officials from the area have said nothing can be done since the wall sits on private property. Composting is the act of adding organic material to soil to help plants grow, which can include food or yard waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Manure is not listed as an ideal compostable material under the EPA, but knowledgeable agricultural experts say it’s an alright thing to do, including one guide from North Dakota State University. (FOX 2 Detroit)


25-year-old woman gives birth to 9 babies

A 25-year-old Malian woman gave birth to nine babies earlier this week, two more than doctors had detected inside her crowded womb, joining a small pantheon of mothers of nonuplets. The pregnancy has fascinated the West African nation and attracted the attention of its leaders. When doctors in March said she needed specialist care, authorities flew her to Morocco, where she gave birth. She was expected to give birth to seven babies, according to ultrasounds conducted in Morocco and Mali that missed two of the siblings. All were delivered by caesarean section. Nonuplets are extremely rare. Medical complications in multiple births of this kind often mean that some of the babies do not reach full term. (The Tribune India)


7 suspected cult members arrested after mummified body found, appeared to be set up as shrine

Seven people with suspected ties to the Love Has Won cult in Saguache County, Colorado are facing serious charges following the discovery of a body at a home. A spokesperson for the Saguache County Sheriff said they received a report of a deceased female in a residence and a concern of child abuse. According to the arrest warrants for the seven people, a 42-year-old man allowed the group to stay at his residence when they needed a place on April 27. He left the house and upon return, discovered the body of a 45-year-old woman he knew. The man attempted to leave with his son, but the visitors would not let him take the child. He went to the Salida Police Department to report the dead woman, but because his residence is in Saguache County, the report was handed over to the sheriff’s office. When officers searched the residence, the mummified remains were found in a back bedroom, lying on a bed wrapped in what appeared to be a sleeping bag. What appears to be glitter-type makeup was found around the eyes of the woman. The body was decorated with Christmas tree lights and appeared to be set up in some type of shrine, the warrant said. The man’s son and the woman’s 13-year-old daughter were removed from the home and put with social services. The man and his son have been reunited. (KDVR)


US seen as bigger threat to democracy than Russia or China, global poll finds

The United States faces an uphill task presenting itself as the chief guardian of global democracy, according to a new poll that shows the US is seen around the world as more of a threat to democracy than even Russia and China. The poll finds support for democracy remains high even though citizens in democratic countries rate their governments’ handling of the Covid crisis less well than people in less democratic countries. Inequality is seen as the biggest threat to global democracy, but in the US the power of big tech companies is also seen as a challenge. The findings come in a poll commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation among 50,000 respondents in 53 countries. (The Guardian)


‘Tiger King’ star Carole (BEEP!!)’in’ Baskin launches cat-themed crypto coin

“Tiger King” star Carole Baskin is launching her own cryptocurrency. Her new digital currency, called $CAT, allows fans to buy merchandise or online experiences from Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, starting at five dollars. She tweeted about the new currency, and also posted a statement on the Big Cat Rescue website. “I’m investigating cryptocurrencies because I am concerned about the volume of US dollars that are being printed and distributed with nothing to back them up,” read the statement. “Our new $CAT coin is not a currency for investment,” she added, “but rather is a purr-ency of our fans to show their love for the cats.” (Carole Baskin Twitter)


Illinois parents arrested and jailed for kids missing school

Parents in Harrisburg, Illinois are being arrested and prosecuted for their kids missing school. Parents have even been arrested and jailed. Under Illinois law, “Allowing Truancy” is Class C misdemeanor for a parent or guardian, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Harrisburg Unit 3 Superintendent has confirmed he’s turned over names to Saline County State’s Attorney. He said it happens every year in the district. He’s not sure there’s any benefit to handcuffing parents and taking them to jail but it’s not his decision. Court records show Saline County State’s Attorney has charged at least five parents with truancy violations in 2021. Her office said she would not comment about pending cases. (Fox 2 Now)


Florida man arrested after NSP troopers find over 400 pounds of marijuana hidden in ATMs

A 36-year-old man from Cooper City, Florida was arrested after Nebraska State Patrol troopers found over 400 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop. The man was arrested for possession of more than one pound of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver, and possession of money during a drug violation. An NSP K9 was able to determine there may be some sort of substance inside the van during a traffic stop. Troopers found 14 ATMs and a big safe inside the van and found out that there were packages of marijuana hidden inside. Troopers also found about $9,000 in the front seat of the van in a duffle bag. They say the total weight of the marijuana was 426 pounds. (WOWT)


New homes cost $36,000 more because of an epic shortage of lumber

Surging lumber prices alone have pushed the price of an average new single-family home $35,872 higher, according to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders. The median sale price of existing homes surged by a record 17.2% in March to $329,100, the highest since the National Association of Realtors began tracking prices in 1999. The lumber shortage is just the latest example of how the rapid economic recovery from the pandemic is pushing supply chains to the limit. Manufacturers are desperate for workers. Smartphone, auto and appliance production is being sidelined by a shortage of computer chips. And the lack of tanker truck drivers has raised the specter of gas stations running on empty this summer. In the case of lumber, the shortage is being amplified by tariffs. (National Association of Home Builders)


Coronavirus face mask prank on YouTube ends with Russian influencer deported from Bali

A Russian influencer has been deported from Bali after posting a video of herself defying mandatory mask-wearing with some imaginative makeup. The video, posted online last month, shows a man and a woman being refused entry to a Bali supermarket because she doesn’t have a mask on. They return to their car, where they paint a blue surgical mask on her face before walking past the supermarket security guards and wandering around the store, but the video quickly went viral and was seen by Bali authorities, who have struggled for months to curb the spread of COVID-19 so the resort island can reopen to foreign tourists. They tracked the pair down, interrogated them and threw the Russian woman in detention. Usually, first-time violators of Bali’s mask-wearing rule face fines of $89 for foreigners and deportation after a second offense. (Australian Broadcasting)


Friday Feels Freaky With:

  • Barrier Awareness Day
  • Beaufort Scale (Wind) Day
  • Child Care Provider Day (Friday before Mother’s Day)
  • Cosmopolitan Day (Drink)
  • Cystinosis Awareness Day
  • International Space Day (First Friday)
  • International Sauvignon Blanc Day
  • Lunch Hero Day (First Friday in May)
  • Military Spouse Appreciation Day (Friday before Mother’s Day)
  • Packaging Design Day
  • Paste-Up Day
  • Public Gardens Day (Friday Before Mother’s Day)
  • Provider Appreciation Day (Friday before Mother’s Day)
  • Roast Leg of Lamb Day
  • School Lunch Hero Day (First Friday)
  • Space Day (First Friday in May)
  • Tuba Day (First Friday)
  • Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy


Historical Events

1718 – The city of New Orleans is founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

1895 – In Saint Petersburg, Russian scientist Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrates to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society his invention, the Popov lightning detector — a primitive radio receiver. In some parts of the former Soviet Union the anniversary of this day is celebrated as Radio Day.

1915 – World War I: German submarine SMU U-20 sinks RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people including 128 Americans. Public reaction to the sinking turns many formerly pro-Germans in the United States against the German Empire.

1940 – The Norway Debate in the British House of Commons begins, and leads to the replacement of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain with Winston Churchill three days later.

1945 – World War II: General Alfred Jodl signs unconditional surrender terms at Reims, France, ending Germany’s participation in the war. The document takes effect the next day.

1954 – Indochina War: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ends in a French defeat (the battle began on March 13).

1960 – Cold War: U-2 Crisis of 1960 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that his nation is holding American U-2 pilot Gary Powers.

1992 – Three employees at a McDonald’s Restaurant in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, are brutally murdered and a fourth permanently disabled after a botched robbery. It is the first “fast-food murder” in Canada.

1998 – Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for $40 billion USD and forms DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

1999 – In Guinea-Bissau, President João Bernardo Vieira is ousted in a military coup.