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Some Texans have been without power for five days, surpassing the record set by the 2021 storm that left millions without power. Despite public outcry and legislative hearings, it happened again. This time, however, it's not the weakness of the power grid but the infrastructure itself.
Temperatures are finally starting to warm, KUT reported, and that has helped repairs go faster. The ice storm froze trees that fall on power lines across the state.
In Austin, "more than a hundred thousand households lost power for days."
"As crews continue their work, the outage restoration process will become even more complex," the utility provider said Saturday morning, noting that it might be a few days before they can fully restore the state.
The Texas Tribune reported that in Austin, "crews were steadily reconnecting customers Saturday, there were still more than 66,000 homes and businesses without power by late afternoon after a midweek ice storm wrought chaos on the city’s electrical system."
Austin Energy said that they've got their trucks out so that people can charge their phones and any other medical equipment. They are offering financial assistance programs for those in need as well.
\u201cIf your power is still out, we\u2019re hosting community events:\n\ud83d\udcf1 Charge your phone & other devices (bring your own cords!)\n\u2695\ufe0f Charge medical devices\n\u2139\ufe0f Learn about our Medically Vulnerable Program & financial assistance options\nWe'll share details on the events throughout the week\u201d— Austin Energy (@Austin Energy) 1675560031
Law school professor Steve Vladeck said that this is past the 100 hour mark for his family.
\u201cAnd on the fifth day, they \u2026 still didn\u2019t have power.\n\nWe\u2019re now past the 100-hour mark \u2014 and well past the length of our snowpocalypse outage from February 2021.\u201d— Steve Vladeck (@Steve Vladeck) 1675609806
James Sasso, a lawyer who helped investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, explained how so many people were deceived and radicalized into attacking one of the greatest symbols of American democracy, in an interview published at VICE on Sunday.
"You’re concerned about the regular, everyday people who distrusted government so much they followed Trump and attacked," said reporter Todd Zwillich. "We have a long history of distrust in government in this county. But it doesn’t always result in a mob trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power, or the bombing of a federal building. So what’s different here?"
"You’re right, distrusting government isn’t new at all. But what’s changed that can make it worse?" said Sasso. "Clearly social media, the way algorithms amplify information, has warped and heightened distrust. If you lean conspiratorial, this model will keep pushing you further down a rabbit hole and eventually, you believe in QAnon. On top of that, income inequality is as bad or worse than in the Gilded Age. And there’s a lot of research that shows income inequality drives polarization and it drives people who feel left out to distrust what government is doing. Racial animus is layered on top of that, clearly. So there’s all these things happening at once to make people open to being hijacked by opportunistic politicians like Donald Trump."
Sasso made clear he wasn't excusing the rioters, or blaming the whole thing on the "economic anxiety" trope. "I don’t think we can afford to ignore people who do feel left out in that way," he said. "It’s just that the explanation for why they’re left out isn’t always as simple as 'blue collar worker in Ohio lost a job to globalization.' It’s also very likely a rich person in Georgia, who harbors racial animus for a long time and found an outlet.
Almost 1,000 people have been charged, convicted, or taken plea deals in connection with the Capitol attack as of this writing — with the offenses ranging from misdemeanor unlawful picketing and trespassing, to assaulting law enforcement officers, to seditious conspiracy charges for the higher-ups in the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups.
Trump was impeached for a second time based on inciting the insurrection, on his way out of office. He is now facing a special counsel investigation into his role in the plot to overturn the 2020 election.
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) revealed that the spy balloons that happened under Donald Trump were never discussed outside of the Pentagon.
Fox reported that the former president and his national security officials never had spy balloons that came over the United States under his administration. According to Waltz, the Pentagon is saying that there have been spy balloons over the U.S. in the past, including some over Florida that he said he was previously told about.
"I don't ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States," former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told CNN. "I would remember that for sure."
According to the report, a senior administration official told Fox Sunday that "U.S. intelligence, not the Biden administration, but U.S. intel assesses [Chinese] government surveillance balloons transited the continental U.S. briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration, but never for this duration of time."
That confirms what Waltz had posted earlier on Sunday morning.
"The Office of the Secretary of Defense has informed my office that several Chinese balloon incidents have happened in the past few years - including over Florida. Why weren’t they shot down?" he asked. "And according to several Trump Admin national security officials — they were never informed of these intrusions by the Pentagon."
It's unknown why the Pentagon would not have informed the top officials, but it could be why the former president would have asserted that nothing like that happened under his leadership.
Waltz, a former Green Beret, hasn't revealed any further details what he was told in the past Chinese spying.
Fox cited former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who said that he'd "never heard of a Chinese spy balloon while he was in government."
A simple search turned up at least one incident of a Chinese spy balloon over India in 2019 from Tibet. Other balloons have now been spotted over Columbia and Costa Rica, CNN reported Sunday afternoon.
It's unclear whether the Pentagon will answer questions publicly on past balloons or whether that information is considered to be classified.