AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas is "very close" to reaching herd immunity, an assessment that runs counter to recent comments by health experts and his own medical adviser. Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Abbott touted the state's relatively low COVID-19 numbers. After dropping below 3,000 hospitalizations statewide on March 31 for the first time since June 17, the number of hospitalizations has hovered just above 2,800. "We absolutely are not declaring victory at this time," he said when asked about how numbers remain low despite his decision last month to lift the statewide mask ...
New Hampshire is the next ground zero for MAGA world's conspiracy theories of mass voter fraud: report
Writing in Mother Jones this Wednesday, Russ Choma contends that Windham, New Hampshire, has currently become ground zero in Donald Trump's "ongoing crusade to prove his conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen through rampant fraud."
"And the local Republican lawmaker pushing to turn an uncontroversial election audit there into a Big Lie battlefront has longstanding ties to Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who is also a resident of the town of 13,000," Choma writes.
As Choma points out, conservative media has been highlighting a GOP Republican-led audit in Arizona's Maricopa County, "where a firm called Cyber Ninjas has been hired to spearhead the effort and investigators are scouring for evidence of bamboo fibers in ballots in a bid to show that fraudulent votes originated in China." Pro-Trump outlets are saying Windham will be next.
"[Corey Lewandowski] has been aggressively promoting the audit in his hometown, and Steve Bannon has devoted significant time to it on his podcast," Choma writes. "Last week, Trump himself weighed in with a statement congratulating 'the great Patriots of Windham, New Hampshire for their incredible fight to seek out the truth on the massive Election Fraud which took place in New Hampshire and the 2020 Presidential Election.'"
Read the full article over at Mother Jones.
A jewellery set worn by French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's adopted daughter sold for $1.65 million in Geneva on Wednesday, soaring way above the pre-auction estimate.
Marking the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's death, Christie's auction house sold the nine imperial jewels adorned with sapphires and diamonds, which were from the collection of his adopted daughter Stephanie de Beauharnais.
Some 38 sapphires from Sri Lanka were used to create the set in the early 1800s.
Offered as separate lots, the jewels had remained in the same family ever since they were offered to Beauharnais on her wedding to Charles, the grand duke of Baden, at the Tuileries Palace in Paris in 1806.
Besides their historical value, the jewels were also prized for their natural blue, as sapphires usually undergo heat treatment to accentuate the colour.
The nine pieces included a tiara, a necklace, a pair of earrings, two pendants, two brooches, a ring and a bracelet.
"There was a huge demand from collectors around the world, both in Asia and the Middle East, also Europe and the Americas," auctioneer Max Fawcett told reporters at the Magnificent Jewels sale.
It was thought that the collection might fetch $475,000 in total, but the tiara alone went for $462,000. It contains octagonal step-cut and oval-shaped sapphires, rose and old-cut diamonds, and gold.
- Portuguese crown, Russian diamond -
The sale also included a sapphire crown worn by queen Mary II of Portugal, who was twice the country's reigning monarch before her death in 1853.
Set with a Burmese sapphire in the centre, the crown was estimated at $190,000-$385,000 but sold for far more, at $1.95 million.
The priciest item in the sale was the last of the 146 lots -- a rectangular white 100.94-carat diamond called the Spectacle, which sold for $14.1 million.
The internally flawless diamond is the largest stone ever to have been cut in Russia and was cut from a rough stone unearthed in the remote northeastern Yakutia region in 2016.
The preparation and cutting process took a year and eight months.
© 2021 AFP
Republican officials and conservative commentators are sounding the alarm about the high cost of gas after a pipeline was hacked and what they say is out-of-control inflation.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have both been sounding the alarm that the U.S. is facing an economic crisis.
Washington Post economics correspondent Heather Long posted a screen capture of the charts showing that the economy seems to be re-stabilizing after crashing last April.
This is the best chart I've seen that clearly explains what's going on with inflation. Yes, April saw the fastest… https://t.co/pjAmAk9kYI— Heather Long (@Heather Long) 1620828478.0
The two most volatile things on the list are gasoline and food prices. Food prices are tied to gasoline because most of America's food source comes from somewhere outside of their own state, which requires transportation.
The sudden run on gasoline is about the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline, a private company targeted by a foreign hacker group.
"But a year ago, prices plunged, making comparisons difficult — prices are near where they'd be if they had grown at a steady 2 percent during the pandemic," the Post explained.
Gas prices are increasing after they dropped significantly in April 2020. They dropped in April 2020 because no one was driving anywhere amid the pandemic.
The increases aren't because of the president, as gas has only had a 10 percent increase under Biden's presidency, the Tampa Bay Times wrote.
"Gas prices were similar to or higher than their current level for much of the time between October 2017 and January 2020 — that is, more than two years of Trump's presidency," said the report. "Prices were higher than today for all of the time between March 2018 and November 2018, and all of the time between April 2019 and August 2019."
At the same time, the cost of gas always goes up in the summer because it's when people travel the most. It's just like gas prices going up just before holidays where people will be traveling.
To make matters worse, the report explained that "the OPEC oil cartel and Russia have made voluntary production cuts, which has the effect of raising prices," said Mark Finley, a fellow at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University, according to the report.
For the past decade, Democrats have attempted to increase the minimum wage to account for the inflation since it was last increased 30 years ago. Republicans have refused despite their complaints about inflation.
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