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What was in my In Box

Summary:
Various (most) articles I typically get during a week. Some I look up to see what else is going on in the world. Most of this I briefly scan the articles and read what is interesting to me. I sometimes start writing on the topics, am interrupted, and find myself having to recall some of the thoughts with which I started. Economy “Price Gouging at the Pump Results in 235% Profit Jump for Big Oil: Analysis” (commondreams.org), Jessica Corbett “As fossil fuel giants this week reported record profits for the second quarter, an analysis out Friday highlighted how eight oil companies have raked in nearly billion over the past three months ‘while Americans continue to struggle at the pump.'” “Bank of America Memo: “We Hope” Worker Power

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Various (most) articles I typically get during a week. Some I look up to see what else is going on in the world. Most of this I briefly scan the articles and read what is interesting to me. I sometimes start writing on the topics, am interrupted, and find myself having to recall some of the thoughts with which I started.

Economy

“Price Gouging at the Pump Results in 235% Profit Jump for Big Oil: Analysis” (commondreams.org), Jessica Corbett “As fossil fuel giants this week reported record profits for the second quarter, an analysis out Friday highlighted how eight oil companies have raked in nearly $52 billion over the past three months ‘while Americans continue to struggle at the pump.'”

“Bank of America Memo: “We Hope” Worker Power Worsens” (theintercept.com), Ken Klippenstein, Jon Schwarz “A BANK OF AMERICA executive stated that “we hope” working Americans will lose leverage in the labor market in a recent private memo obtained by The Intercept. Making predictions for clients about the U.S. economy over the next several years, the memo also noted that changes in the percentage of Americans seeking jobs ‘should help push up the unemployment rate.’”

The growing housing supply shortage has created a housing affordability crisis” | Economic Policy Institute (epi.org), Adewale A. Maye and Kyle K. Moore, “Rising housing costs have made housing largely inaccessible and unaffordable to most Americans, but have acutely impacted communities of color and low- to moderate-income families over the past several decades. The median asking rent in the United States rose above $2,000 for the first time in June 2022.”

“Paul Krugman Claims U.S. Not in a Recession: ‘What Does It Matter?’” (yahoo.com), Caroline Downey “’None of the criteria that real experts use says we’re in a recession right now, and what does it matter?’ he asked with a shrug during an appearance on CNN. ‘The state of the economy is what it is. Jobs are abundant, although maybe the job market is weakening. Inflation is high, although maybe inflation is coming down.’”

Is a Recession Defined as ‘Two Negative Quarters’?” – Conversable Economist, Timothy Taylor “My questions here is one of nomenclature and analysis: Does two quarters of declining GDP mean that the US economy is in a recession? After all, the unemployment rate in June 2022 was 3.6%, which historically would be viewed as a low level.”

“Roosevelt Institute Scholars Respond to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act of 2022”Roosevelt Institute, Ariela Weinberger Today, the Roosevelt Institute applauds the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) bill to address climate change, tax inequity, health care, and inflation—and is hopeful that it will be approved by Congress. The IRA recognizes that revenue provisions can go beyond their budgetary impact and independently move us toward a more equitable, sustainable economy. 

“Private Sector Employment Passes Pre-Pandemic Level, Wage Growth Moderates” – Center for Economic and Policy Research (cepr.net), Dean Baker, “The June employment report showed the economy created 372,000 jobs last month, with the private sector adding 381,000. Private sector employment is now 140,000 jobs above its pre-pandemic level. Total employment is still down 524,000, as local government employment is 599,000 below pre-pandemic levels, and state government employment is 57,000 below pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent for the fourth consecutive month.”

“Business Retreats and Sanctions Are Crippling the Russian Economy,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Steven Tian, Franek Sokolowski, Michal Wyrebkowski, Mateusz Kasprowicz :: SSRN “using private Russian language and unconventional data sources including high frequency consumer data, cross-channel checks, releases from Russia’s international trade partners, and data mining of complex shipping data, have released one of the first comprehensive economic analyses measuring Russian current economic activity five months into the invasion, and assessing Russia’s economic outlook.

From our analysis, it becomes clear: business retreats and sanctions are catastrophically crippling the Russian economy.” The Ukraine may not be winning this war. However, they are causing the Russians to pay dearly for every square inch of Ukraine they stand on momentarily, I am kind of surprised some are engaging in contrary commentary.

What Barack Obama Needed to Know About Tim Geithner, the AIG Fiasco and Citigroup” – The Big Picture (ritholtz.com) “Few observers outside Wall Street understand that the hundreds of billions of dollars pumped into AIG by the Fed of NY and Treasury, funds used to keep the creditors from a default, has been used to fund the payout at face value of credit default swap contracts or ‘CDS,’ insurance written by AIG against senior traunches of collateralized debt obligations or ‘CDOs.'” What people seem to forget.

Who decides if the US is in a recession? Eight economists you’ve never heard of” – CNN, Nicole Goodkind “investing luminaries like ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood and executives like JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon can make recession predictions until they’re blue in the face, but their guidance will remain just that — an economic forecast. That’s because, in the United States, the economy isn’t broadly and officially considered to be in a recession until a relatively unknown group of eight economists says so.

Manufacturing

Congress passes bill to fix America’s wide-ranging computer chip issues(consumeraffairs.com) “After the Senate passed the CHIPS  Act of 2022 on Wednesday, the House followed suit on Thursday and sent the legislation to President Biden for his signature. The bill seeks to bolster semiconductor chip production within the U.S., and it will help lower the cost of consumer goods like cars, appliances, and computers, among others.”

Tesla Cofounder Is Building A $3.5 Billion Plant To Make EV Battery Parts In The U.S. (forbes.com), Alan Ohnsman “Redwood Materials, a battery recycling and materials company started by Tesla cofounder JB Straubel, will spend $3.5 billion through the end of the decade on a plant in Nevada making cathodes and other essential components for electric vehicle batteries. It will be the first such facility in the U.S.,”

Healthcare

“Relatively Few Drugs Account for a Large Share of Medicare Prescription Drug Spending” | KFF, Juliette Cubanski and Tricia Neuman “Policy makers are once again focusing attention on proposals to lower prescription drug costs. During the previous session of Congress, the House passed legislation (H.R. 3) to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare Part D,”

“The Big Booster Question We Should Be Focused On” | MedPage Today, John P. Moore, PhD, and E. John Wherry, PhD “What will a new generation of variant-targeting and infection-preventing vaccines look like?”

“Poor sleeping habits may increase risk of fatty liver disease, study finds” (consumeraffairs.com), Kristen Dalli “People with poor nighttime sleep and prolonged daytime napping have the highest risk for fatty liver disease,”

“Here’s Where Private Equity Is Most Involved in Medicine” | MedPage Today, Jennifer Henderson “The goal is to identify unintended spillover effects of private equity acquisitions, Singh noted. If those are beneficial, such as large influxes of capital that improve technology, infrastructure, or patient wait times, then it can be desirable to incentivize policies that foster such acquisitions. At the same time, it’s important to pay close attention to any negative effects, such as diminished quality of care or access to care.”

“What’s at stake within the UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare antitrust trial” – Global News Live, (globalnewzlive.com), admin “The acquisition would give UnitedHealth management of greater than 75% of the claims modifying market and depart different insurers with little selection however to work with a competitor, in keeping with the Justice Division.”

Studies Throw Cold Water on COVID ‘Lab Leak’ Theory | MedPage Today, Jennifer Henderson Two complementary studies published in Science provide the latest evidence against the idea that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab, and instead point to the Huanan market in Wuhan, China, as the early epicenter of the virus.

“Transparency in Medicaid Managed Care: Are the Times A-Changin’? – Center For Children and Families,” (georgetown.edu), Andy Schneider “Finding information on the performance of individual Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) for children and families and other Medicaid beneficiaries on state Medicaid agency websites can be challenging. This is more than unfortunate because in the large majority of Medicaid programs, most beneficiaries are enrolled in MCOs, and the companies’ performance matters a lot!”

“Long COVID is exacerbating NHS staff shortages, with more than 10,000 long-term absences since 2020” – The Pharmaceutical Journal (pharmaceutical-journal.com), “More than 10,000 NHS staff members have been absent from work for 12 weeks or more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of illness related to long COVID,”

Law

Justice Kagan just diagnosed the court’s sickness. Hopefully her peers were listening(msn.com), Jessica Levinson “The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.” Alexander Hamilton‘s complete citation.

Sotomayor suggests Supreme Court won’t ‘survive the stench’ of overturning Roe v. Wade” (nbcnews.com) Dareh Gregorian “the sponsors of the 2018 Mississippi abortion law, which would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, had said they were pushing ahead with the legislation and a court challenge “because we have new justices” on the Supreme Court.”

Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky commentary: Ending Roe is a pure exercise of Republican power” – West Central Tribune, Erwin Chemerinsky “In Dobb’s v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court overruled a half-century of decisions protecting a constitutional right of women to choose whether to end their pregnancies. The decision must be understood as entirely about the conservative desire to end abortion rights and not about constitutional principles or judicial methodology.”

Energy

“Electricity’s Shocking Rise – It’s the Fossil Fuels, Stupid“. | Climate Denial Crock of the Week” (climatecrocks.com), Peter Sinclair “The natural gas market is still in a state of crisis in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and isn’t likely to get better while war in Europe rages on.”

Oil and Gas’s Pivot to Blue Hydrogen Is Falling Through(theintercept.com), Justin Mikulka “THE OIL AND GAS industry’s plan to convince the world to switch from natural gas to hydrogen made from natural gas is being upended by an unexpected cause: economics.”

“Yes, E-Bikes Really Are Magic—Even in Heat Waves” (treehugger.com), Sami Grover “It’s been a while since I discovered that e-bikes are magic. Yet while my updates on life with my Blix Aveny have been overwhelmingly positive, I do have to be honest: My use of this machine varies a bit depending on the season.”

Politics

“The First Post-Roe Vote on Abortion” | The New Yorker, Peter Slevin, When Justice Samuel Alito and his colleagues squinted at history and ruled that the U.S. Constitution included no right to abortion, Dinah Sykes felt her heart sink. But here she was, on an evening in July, sweating through her blue T-shirt in ninety-five-degree heat, trying to persuade Kansans to block an effort to remove the right to abortion from the state constitution.

“County prosecutors in Michigan can enforce abortion ban, appeals court rules” (detroitnews.com), The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Monday that county prosecutors can enforce Michigan’s ban on abortion despite a state judge’s injunction currently blocking state officials from enforcing the ban.

“Joe Manchin’s Latest Reversal Could Be a Game Changer” | The New Yorker, John Cassidy, “Joe Biden had received some of the best news of his Presidency, with Senate Democratic leaders and Joe Manchin agreeing on the outlines of a new reconciliation bill that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance for millions of Americans, raise taxes on major corporations, and finance the biggest set of tax incentives for green energy that the country has seen.” 

John Fetterman Is Very Online. That’s Not Why He’s Ahead.” – The Atlantic, “John Fetterman has been leading the Pennsylvania Senate race for a while, but this week’s Fox poll shows one of the biggest gaps yet: He’s leading Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz by 11 points. You’ve likely heard a million different descriptions of Fetterman by now, which is probably because the man is so fun to describe.” I hope you can read this one.

“Fate of Historic Toxic Exposure Bill Unclear After Shocking Senate Defeat,” | Military.com, Rebecca Kheel, “Veterans advocates and lawmakers who support the bill are vowing to keep fighting for its passage, framing Wednesday night’s shocking development as a delay rather than a defeat. Still, it’s a delay they say could cost cancer-stricken veterans their lives as they wait for care and should be blamed on a group of Republican senators they described as ‘liars,’ ‘hypocrites’ and ‘cowards.'”

International

“Swiss factory farming ban to be decided at the ballot box”SWI swissinfo.ch, Marie Vuilleumier “On September 25, Swiss citizens will vote on a ban on intensive livestock farming. This is a sensitive issue in a country that is committed to agriculture and already has very strict animal welfare legislation.”

“Swiss rivers hit record temperatures” SWI swissinfo.ch, Keystone-SDA/ts “Eleven river monitoring stations in Switzerland have recorded the highest temperatures since measurements began. Twenty-two further stations recorded record temperatures for July.”

First grain ship leaves Odessa under UN-brokered deal” – OLTNEWS, Laden with 26,000 tonnes of maize, the Razoni, a Sierra Leone-registered freighter, left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on August 1. 

Substacks

“July 30, 2022” – Prof. Heather Cox Richardson, (substack.com), Letters from an American “This morning, Jon Swaine and Dalton Bennett of the Washington Post reported that on October 11, 2019, at Trump’s National Doral golf resort in South Florida, Danish filmmakers caught an unguarded conversation between Trump allies talking about their legal exposure because of their work for the president.”

“Do we want democracy too?” – The Warning (substack.com) by Steve Schmidt “Between 2015 and today, Donald Trump has become the singular leader of an autocratic movement that is the greatest threat to the endurance of the American Republic since secession and the Confederacy.”

July 29, 2022″ – Heather Cox Richardson (substack.com) “Democrats continue to illustrate the difference between them and the Republicans in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms. Today, Americans continued to spit fury over the Republican senators’ destruction of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) bill, which would provide medical benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service, after previously passing the measure. “

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