Bits ‘n’ Pieces: February 4, 2021

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Two police officers who responded to the insurrection at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 died later from suicide, according to Another officer died the day of the attack from head injuries inflicted by rioters. Lawmakers are “deep into an investigation” of why responding officers were outnumbered and inadequately equipped and prepared, despite advanced warnings about potential violence. The fiscal impact of the event is still being calculated, but an initial estimate is $8.8 million.

Congress needs more protection because “the enemy is within the House of Representatives,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has stated. She explained: besides an increase in death threats from partisans of ex-President Donald Trump, some members of Congress are armed and have threatened violence against fellow members of Congress, according to Example: Rep. Lauren Boebert , R-Colo., who has said via video that she is armed in D.C., and in social media posts endorses executing Democrats, Mother Jones reported.

According to a filed indictment, planning for the Jan. 6 insurrection to disrupt the election count at the Capitol began in early November, The Washington Post reported. Another indictment outlined the start of a training camp and transportation of truckloads of weapons to the Capitol. 

A number of Jan. 6 Capitol rioters who have been arrested did not even vote in the November election, according to an analysis of voting records shared by Business Insider. One could not vote in Florida because he had not paid court fines related to his murder conviction.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a national terrorism bulletin, which ends in late April. It warns of violence from domestic extremists who are angry about “perceived grievances fueled by false narratives” and who have drawn inspiration from the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

Widespread use of COVID-19 vaccinations will help stop mutation of the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, stated at a virtual White House briefing. Viruses can’t mutate if they don’t replicate, he said — an important fact to consider after new, reportedly more transmissible, COVID-19 variants arrived in the U.S. One variant, from the U.K, is already in more than 30 states.

The Biden administration has arranged for delivery from Australia of over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests, expected to cost about $30. According to, the tests are 95% accurate, process in 15 minutes and allow the user to know if it’s safe for them to expose themselves to others.

President Biden’s $1.9 billion coronavirus proposal includes $1,400 stimulus checks, extends unemployment benefits, establishes a higher minimum wage (the current average age for minimum wage earners is 35), and provides aid for cash-strapped state and local governments due to business declines from COVID-19. Republicans, meanwhile, have offered a counter-proposal that is one-third the cost. The Washington Post reports that the GOP plan has $1,000 stimulus checks, cuts supplemental unemployment, has no aid for local or state governments and eliminates the minimum wage increase. Commenting in The Guardian, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said if Republicans were concerned about the national debt, they could tax the very wealthy, who’ve seen a 40% wealth increase since the pandemic started. Reich suggested the real reason for blocking Biden’s plan is Republicans fear it will be successful.

Sen. Minority Leader McConnell, R-Ky., said he appreciates Biden’s avoidance of lectures and pursuit of a mutually agreeable path. But he claims that, despite Biden winning the majority vote and the Electoral College, that’s not a “mandate for sweeping ideological change.” McConnell ran the Senate when it ran up a $7.8 trillion debt, much of that attributed to Trump’s tax breaks for the wealthy.

The U.S. Senate has introduced the For the People Act, which, if passed, would significantly increase election security; end congressional gerrymandering; strengthen ethics and financial conflict-of-interest laws for Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and the president; put an end to secret political donations, put restrictions on political action committees; close lobbyist loopholes and more. 

Blast from the past: Social Security was established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of a “three-legged stool” plan. To help seniors avoid poverty there would be three even legs: one’s pension from an employer, one’s savings, and Social Security earnings. But, as Social Security Works points out, the stool is wobbly because it now has uneven legs: wages for many do not allow savings, and increasingly employees have seen their pension plans either shrink, or they have no pension plan at all.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.