Daily Digest 6/23 – The Crisis Goes Up A Gear, What’s Next For Big Oil?


A Moratorium on Evictions Ends, Leaving Thousands of Tenants Fearful (000)

The number of eviction cases expected to be filed reflects the typical caseload in a three-month period, which was the length of the moratorium. But it does not take into account the fallout from the more than one million city residents who have lost their jobs or were furloughed in recent months and whose federal stimulus payments of an extra $600 per week will soon run out, housing advocates say.

A second order issued by the state that shields tenants directly affected by the pandemic expires in late August and could produce an even bigger wave of eviction cases.

The crisis goes up a gear (Sparky1)

The dollar could fail completely by the end of this year. Against that possibility a reset might be implemented, perhaps by reintroducing the greenback, which is not the same as the Fed’s dollar. Any reset is likely to fail unless the US Government desists from inflationary financing, which requires a radically changed mindset, even harder to imagine in a presidential election year.

Tax Increases On The Way For Seattle’s Big Businesses (TourGuideDC)

Early this year, Mayor Jenny Durkan helped craft a bill for the state House of Representatives that would have allowed King County to tax corporations’ pay to employees making at least $150,000 a year, excluding businesses with 50 or fewer employees, to fund affordable housing and homeless services.

The idea was to raise money at the county level to undergird a countywide response to homelessness. But the bill died after some companies sought a clause preventing Seattle from piling on with its own big-business tax.

Send the SpaceX Dragon to the moon (TourGuideDC)

In March 2019, Vice President Pence challenged NASA to land astronauts on the moon by 2024 “by any means necessary.” This was a potential breakthrough, because after nearly 50 years of drift, the White House was finally giving NASA’s human spaceflight program a concrete goal with a clear timeline and forceful support — a necessity for any progress and the restoration of the agency’s can-do spirit. The purpose for the mission itself is a blend of economic, scientific and world leadership goals designed to make the investment worthwhile to all Americans.

NASA’s next Mars rover is just one month away from launch (TourGuideDC)

Getting to this point has not been easy. Mission teams have had to prep the rover and rocket for liftoff while the coronavirus pandemic swirled around them, forcing the closure of many NASA facilities. But the space agency prioritized getting Perseverance to the pad on time (while protecting workers’ safety as well), given that Mars-mission launch windows open just once every 26 months.

Yes, NASA would be happy to have you aboard the space station. But it’ll cost some $50 million. TourGuideDC)

In January, NASA signed an agreement with KBR to help train private astronauts at NASA facilities. And NASA has an agreement with another company, Axiom Space, which has already booked a crew of four to the station in a flight that could happen as soon as the second half of next year. Separately, SpaceX has signed an agreement to send a private citizen to space.

State and city leaders in U.S. respond to coronavirus surge with new rules, dire warnings (tmn)

Twenty-nine states and U.S. territories showed an increase in their seven-day average of new reported cases on Monday, with nine states reporting record average highs. In the states where cases are spiking the most, hospitalizations are also rising sharply. More than 2,290,000 cases and 118,000 deaths have been officially reported in the United States.

Antibody levels in recovered COVID-19 patients decline quickly: research (SillyTheEnemy)

The research, which studied 37 symptomatic patients and 37 asymptomatic patients, found that of those who tested positive for the presence of the IgG antibody, one of the main types of antibodies induced after infection, over 90% showed sharp declines in 2-3 months.

The median percentage decrease was more than 70% for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

LAX is testing fever-detecting cameras as passengers depart and arrive (TourGuideDC)

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that our airport terminals are a safe environment, and we’re making sure that we’re doing everything we can to make it healthy for people to come in,” said Justin Erbacci, chief executive of Los Angeles World Airports.

Maids dumped outside Beirut embassy (Sparky1)

Lebanon’s economy is collapsing with the country’s currency losing 70% of its value in the past six months.

Now many of the country’s middle class claim they can no longer afford to pay their domestic maids.

G.O.P. Architects of the Post-9/11 Security Order Object to Trump’s Heavy Hand (000)

The letter did not mention President Trump by name, but Mr. Chertoff said in an interview on Tuesday that he signed it after Mr. Trump threatened to unleash the military into cities, deployed Black Hawk and Lakota helicopters on protesters in Washington and dispatched scores of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to protests in Washington. The job of responding to the demonstrations was better suited for local law enforcement, he said.

What’s Next For Big Oil? (Michael S.)

The three top performers in the field seem to be focusing on the first way. Shell, BP, and Total—along with Italy’s Eni and Spain’s Repsol—all plan to boost their output of renewable energy at the expense of oil significantly over the next few decades. And the U.S. supermajors, as reluctant as they have been to join the green wave in energy, might at some point simply be forced to do it by their shareholders and by the new, post-coronavirus world order.

Living On Free Land (tmm)

Mr. Sheldon’s father, Don Sheldon, claimed the 4.99-acre property under the United States Homestead Act in 1953, six years before Alaska became a state. He chose a nunatak, a glacial rock outcropping, where he built a mountain house that he would rent out and use as a base to survey the Alaska Range and to conduct mountain rescues.

From 2015 to 2017, the younger Mr. Sheldon built a 2,000-square-foot chalet with floor-to-ceiling windows and hammocks hanging off the side of the nunatak. The Sheldons rent it out as a luxury getaway that is just 10 miles from the summit of Mount Denali, the tallest peak in North America.

Arctic Circle sees ‘highest-ever’ recorded temperatures (tmn)

Verkhoyansk, home to about 1,300 people, sits just inside the Arctic Circle, in remote Siberia. It has an extreme climate with temperatures plunging in January to an average maximum of -42C and then surging in June to 20C.

But a persistent heatwave this year in the Arctic Circle has worried meteorologists. In March, April and May, the Copernicus Climate Change service reported that the average temperature was around 10C above normal.

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