Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (01/17/19)

Last year was the hottest year ever for Earth’s oceans, a new report says. 2018 was the hottest year since scientists started keeping records about ocean temperatures 60 years ago. The grim news comes from a study in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. And it points out a disturbing trend: The hottest five years for ocean temps have all occurred since 2014. The report’s authors say changing ocean temperatures are the best indicators of climate change. Warmer oceans lead to a variety of problems, such as sea level rise, more intense storms with heavier rainfall, coral bleaching and melting polar ice.

Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (01/16/19)

The House on Tuesday voted 424-1 to rebuke Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for racist remarks. A day earlier, House Republicans removed King from all of his congressional committee assignments and widely criticized him for asking in an interview with The New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King voted for the resolution of disapproval, which denounced white supremacist movements, saying his remarks had been misconstrued, and he knew white supremacy was evil. Only Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) voted against the resolution, saying it didn’t go far enough and that King deserved the more severe punishment of formal censure.

Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (01/15/19)

In America, for the first time, you have better odds of dying from an opioid overdose than of being killed in a car wreck. Yeah, you read that right. The National Safety Council crunched the numbers from preventable injury and fatality statistics in 2017 and came up with this grim stat. The council also said the odds of dying from an overdose were greater than the risk of death from falls, pedestrian incidents, drowning and fire. “We have known for some time that opioid overdose is an everyday killer, and these odds illustrate that in a very jarring way,” a safety council spokeswoman told CNN.

Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (01/14/19)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Sunday that “action will be taken” against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) over his questioning of why people find the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” offensive. “I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party,” McCarthy said on CBS’s Face the Nation. McCarthy said he would discuss the matter with King on Monday. McCarthy did not specify what actions he might take, but some lawmakers have suggested censuring King or stripping his committee assignments over the comments King made to The New York Times, the latest in a series of remarks on society and immigration that critics have called racist. After his latest comments, he said on the House floor that he isn’t “anti-immigrant.”

Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (01/09/19)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday unveiled a $100 million plan to provide affordable “health care for all” city residents. The “NYC Care” plan would offer public health insurance on a sliding price scale based on income to the estimated 600,000 people in the city who don’t have insurance, including undocumented immigrants and low-income residents not enrolled in Medicaid. The plan is schedule to launch later this year and reach all New Yorkers by 2021. De Blasio said it would be funded through the city’s public health budget, but would be cost-effective because it would reduce hospital emergency room visits by uninsured patients, and help improve public health. “It involves taking the money we’re spending right now and using it a lot better,” de Blasio said.

Getting Up To Speed with Oursociety911 (01/08/19)

The Internal Revenue Service will pay tax refunds despite the partial federal government shutdown, the White House Office of Management and Budget announced Monday. “Tax refunds will go out,” the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, told reporters. The decision came after reports that if the shutdown, now in its third week, dragged into filing season then taxpayers would have to wait for their refunds. The decision to send refund checks even though the IRS is affected by the shutdown would remove a key incentive for both sides to reach a spending deal to reopen the quarter of the government now closed.