Bits ‘n’ Pieces: March 25, 2021

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

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

A congressional remedy for digital inequalities would make broadband internet more accessible and affordable across the nation, The Washington Post reports. The proposal, the Affordable Internet for All Act, faced opposition from congressional Republicans in the past. But with the pandemic highlighting how many students could not access an online education, there is now more support.

The director of National Intelligence recently declassified foreign threats to the 2020 U.S. elections: Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized influence operations to undermine President Joe Biden, to undermine confidence in the electoral process and to amplify socio-political divisions. The report said Russia did not meddle in election infrastructure; but, “even after the election Russian online influence actors continued to promote narratives questioning the election results.” The report had been released to the previous administration on Jan. 7, the day after the Capitol insurrection, but not shared with the public.

Eviction metamorphosis: Pima County in Arizona is no longer playing the “tough guy” with those facing eviction, High Country News reports. Instead, their officers share information about where to find help for new shelter opportunities, a stance that’s important for healthy outcomes in the face of COVID-19.

“Taxation without representation” has been a sore point for at least 86% of Washington, D.C., residents seeking statehood. They can vote for president but have no representation in the Senate, despite having about 1 million residents — more population than some other states. The proposal has been under consideration in Congress numerous times and is again being debated.

House Resolution 1280 has been introduced to Congress and would forbid the military to transfer war-related weaponry to federal, tribal, state or local law enforcement. That would include firearms, silencers, bayonets, grenade launchers, explosives and “combat configured” aircraft. 

Household income loss due to COVID-19, since March 2020: whites, 44%; Asian, 47%; Black, 57%; multiracial and others, 58%; Latinos, 62%. Stats are from Mother Jones. 

Should you get vaccinated if you’ve already had COVID-19? According to doctors’ observations, Huffington Post reports, it appears that antibody levels start to drop after a few months, especially in cases of asymptomatic and milder COVID-19: those who have had the virus can get it again. An infectious disease expert at Yale said if one has recently had the virus, it does not appear to be necessary to get a COVID-19 vaccine right away. But re-infection can occur within three to four months. 

Regarding last week’s Atlanta area shootings that killed eight people and wounded one, with six victims being Asian women: Of the violent attacks on Asian Americans last year, stats show 70% targeted Asian women. The Atlanta murderer said he was driven to kill because of his “sex addiction,” CNN reported, and the region’s sheriff’s department said the man was trying to eliminate his temptation, and he’d had “a really bad day.” U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., responded, “As if it weren’t a far worse day for the women the shooter killed, or their families … As if women have to pay if men have a bad day.” 

The U.S. House recently passed the Violence Against Women Act, which expands and reauthorizes the Act, if enacted. The killer initially thought of killing himself, CNN said, but decided to “help” others by shooting.

Blast from the past: Maine joined the Union 201 years ago this month. Would-be state officials had failed in their attempt two years prior, since the South objected to adding another slave-free state, which would reduce Southerners’ influence on retaining slavery. The South would only consent to Maine becoming a state if they could add another slave state: Missouri. Congress then passed the “Missouri Compromise,” which prompted Northern politicians to start whittling away at slavery, including outlawing slave sales in the nation’s capital. The whole scenario had angered people in Maine, and a number of them pursued political office to resist “Slave Power.” That eventually resulted in the creation of the Republican Party.

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