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Despite Problems In the Past, Biden to Try Again with ‘Green’ Stimulus

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Wind power more than tripled in the last decade, and now generates nearly 8 percent of the nation’s electricity. Solar power, which generated less than 1 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2010, now generates about 2 percent, and is growing fast. Economists generally agree that the Obama stimulus, which pumped about $40 billion in loans and tax incentives to those industries, deserves partial credit.

But experts also point to a fundamental problem with throwing money at climate change: It is not a particularly effective way to lower emissions of planet-warming pollution. While the Obama green spending created new construction jobs in weatherization and helped turn a handful of boutique wind and solar companies into a thriving industry, U.S. emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have stayed about the same, five million tons a year since 2010, and are projected to continue at the same level for the coming decades, absent new policies to force reductions, such as taxes or regulations.

Mr. Obama had hoped to pair the recovery act money with a new law that would cap planet-warming emissions, but that effort died in Congress. His administration then enacted regulations on emissions, but they were blocked by the courts and rolled back by the Trump administration.

The recovery act “was a success at creating jobs, but it did not meet emissions-cutting goals,” said David Popp, a professor, of public administration at Syracuse University and the lead author of the National Bureau of Economics study on the green stimulus money. “And this new stimulus, on its own, will not be enough to reduce emissions.

“Unless they can pair it with a policy that forces people to reduce emissions, a big spending bill doesn’t have a big impact,” Mr. Popp said.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus Package

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below. To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number. Read more.

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper. COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30. A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either. Read more

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break. The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Read more.

There would be a big one for people who already have debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people. This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025. Read more.

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes. About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December. To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic. Assistance could be provided for up to 18 months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance. Read more.

But, he added, “spending money is politically easier than passing policies to cut emissions.” If that “sets up the energy economy in a way that it’s eventually cheaper to reduce emissions, it could create more political support for doing that down the road” by making legislation or regulations less painful, he said.



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Alleged NYC Capitol rioter wanted to be ‘where the action was’

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An alleged rioter from Brooklyn surrendered to the FBI Tuesday morning after telling investigators he breached the US Capitol because he wanted to be “where the action was,” court papers allege.

A tipster identified Dovid Schwartzberg in photos and video wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap and black face mask tucked under his chin during the Jan. 6 siege that left five dead.



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Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

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Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd.


What You Need To Know

    • Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty in the murder of George Floyd
    • Chauvin faces up to 75 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter
    • Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 when police tried to arrest him on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store
  • Floyd died as Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the Black man was pinned to the pavement and handcuffed after struggling with officers in the back seat of a squad car

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

He faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to a decade for second-degree manslaughter – up to 75 years in all.

Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks, and his bail has been revoked. The ex-cop was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs.

Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 when police tried to arrest him on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store. Floyd died as Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the Black man was pinned to the pavement and handcuffed after struggling with officers in the back seat of a squad car.

Floyd repeatedly cried that he couldn’t breathe as concerned onlookers shouted for Chauvin to stop and took cellphone video that would help spark a wave of widespread protests and unrest last summer.

Prosecutors argued that Floyd was not a threat to anyone and that Chauvin did not follow his training by using such force on Floyd. The officer “had to know” that kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds would kill him, prosecutor Steve Schleicher said during closing arguments Monday.

“He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He wasn’t trying to do anything to anyone,” Schleicher said of Floyd. “Facing George Floyd that day that did not require one ounce of courage. And none was shown on that day. No courage was required. All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day.”

The prosecution’s parade of witnesses included eyewitnesses as well as current and former police officers. Minneapolis’ police chief and a former supervisory sergeant both testified the Chauvin could have ended his restraint of his Floyd after the suspect stopped resisting.

The defense tried to convince jurors that Floyd’s illicit drug use and existing heart disease were the causes of his death, not Chauvin’s knee upon his neck. Chauvin’s lawyer attorney Eric Nelson also argued that his client used a reasonable amount of force to restrain Floyd.

“The futility of their efforts became apparent — they weren’t able to get him into the car,” Nelson said during his closing arguments. “Three Minneapolis police officers were unable to get Mr. Floyd into the car.”

In a statement, Floyd’s legal team, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and his co-council, called the verdict “painfully earned justice for the Floyd family and community.”

Lawmakers also offered their reactions following the guilty verdict.

“This guilty verdict serves as an official proclamation of what so many of us have known for nearly a year: George Floyd was murdered by an officer who was sworn to protect and serve,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “However, we should not mistake a guilty verdict in this case as evidence that the persistent problem of police misconduct has been solved or that the divide between law enforcement and so many of the communities they serve has been bridged.”

“We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring meaningful change to police departments across the country,” he added. “The Senate will continue that work as we strive to ensure George Floyd’s tragic death will not be in vain.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the verdict “a step in the right direction for justice” at a press conference with members of Democratic House leadership and the Congressional Black Caucus.

“This is just the first step,” CBC chair Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said. “We know that there are still the mothers, the families, the children who are shedding tears today because a verdict will not bring back their family members.”

“We are hopeful today will be the catalyst to turn the pain, agony, the justice delayed into action,” Beatty added.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican in the Senate, said in a statement that “there is no question in my mind that the jury reached the right verdict.”

“The jury’s verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd,” progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a statement. “Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person.”

“The trauma and tragedy of George Floyd’s murder must never leave us,” Sanders added. “It was a manifestation of a system that callously devalues the lives of Black people. Our struggle now is about justice — not justice on paper, but real justice in which all Americans live their lives free of oppression. We must boldly root out the cancer of systemic racism and police violence against people of color.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will address the nation later Tuesday evening, according to the White House.

“The President and the Vice President watched the verdict with staff in the Private Dining Room,” according to the pool. “Following the announcement of the verdict, the President spoke with Governor Tim Walz. The President, the Vice President, & the First Lady spoke with Philonise Floyd”

“True justice for George only comes through real, systemic change to prevent this from happening again,” he added.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis to hear the verdict. When it was read, the crowd erupted in a mix of cheers and tears.

Outside of the Cup Foods where George Floyd was murdered last year, bystanders began throwing dollar bills in celebration. Some people brought flowers, laying them on the ground where Floyd took his final breaths. Others prayed next to paintings and images of Floyd, honoring a life cut short.

Many seemed to be in a state of shock, saying they couldn’t believe a police officer was convicted for murdering a Black person.

But the overwhelming feeling across the city was one of joy. Chants of “Justice!” and “Black lives matter” rang out across Minneapolis, from George Floyd Square to the steps of the Hennepin county courthouse.



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To curb gun violence, de Blasio goes to last year’s failed NYPD plan

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to curb the surging gun violence in NYC is to try out the failed policing strategy from last year — but this time, with 100 fewer cops.

The NYPD will reassign 200 cops to areas where the Big Apple has seen the highest rates of gun violence as part of their annual Summer All Out program, the mayor said Tuesday.

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said the “bulk” of those cops would be moved to East New York and Brownsville, which have seen gun violence upticks of 67% and 88%, respectively.

He also noted Bronx neighborhoods, Mott Haven, Highbridge and Crotona, would get some additional patrols.

But all of those areas were also a policing focus last year during the summer when the city saw a months-long surge in gun violence and assigned 300 cops to the “Summer All Out” initiative.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on April 19, 2021.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on April 19, 2021.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“We’re going to make sure that the officers are where we need them to be and we’ll make adjustments constantly,” de Blasio said when asked about the similarities to last year’s plan, which failed to combat the surge in gunplay.

De Blasio chalked up 2020’s skyrocketing shooting totals to the effect the pandemic had on the city.

“Last year again. Perfect Storm. Literal Perfect Storm. Global pandemic. Society shut down, a million jobs lost… everything went wrong simultaneously,” the mayor said, brushing off any comparison to this year.

Yet, gunplay in New York City still continues the 2020 trend — outpacing the year prior each week.

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The mayor’s office also announced gun buyback programs, “Saturday Night Lights” games, the fixing up of 15 basketball courts and anti-violence fairs to help slow the number of shootings.

The NYPD tried all those strategies last year too.

The city will double its Cure Violence workforce and Summer Youth Anti-Violence employment slots, expand gang-free zones to parks and double the tip reward to $5,000.



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