Toni Collette and husband Dave Galafassi are divorcing after 20 years of marriage.
More than 180,000 people overdosed on opioids and survived in the past year, new White House dashboard shows
There were about 181,806 nonfatal opioid overdoses recorded in the United States in the past year, and it’s taken about 9.8 minutes on average for emergency medical services to reach someone who’s overdosing, according to a data dashboard that the White House debuted Thursday.
Paul Whelan tells CNN he is ‘disappointed’ Biden administration has not done more to secure his release
• Biden: For ‘totally illegitimate reasons,’ Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s
• Video: Brother of Paul Whelan responds
• Opinion: Brittney Griner’s detention highlighted a concerning trend
Netflix’s “Harry & Meghan” documentary sheds light on the origins of the couples’ relationship, including when Harry first laid eyes on Meghan.
House Passes Record $858 Billion Defense Policy Bill
Update(1358ET): On Thursday the House passed the massive, record-setting annual defense authorization bill, which will now see the $847 billion measure go to the Senate, which has to be voted on before the year-end deadline.
It passed in a vote of 350-80 along largely bipartisan lines. According to The Hill, “It was approved under suspension of the rules, an expedited process to pass legislation in the House that requires a two-thirds majority.”
One interesting measure which will be welcomes across the Department of Defense is a 4.6% pay raise for both military members and the DoD’s civilian workers.
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As Dave DeCamp of AntiWar.com previously detailed, the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday narrowly voted down a bill that would audit the tens of billions of dollars that Congress has approved to spend on the war in Ukraine. The bill was rejected by the Democrat-led panel in a vote of 26 to 22. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and a small group of Republicans who oppose US aid to Ukraine, but it received strong support from more hawkish Republicans.
Republican Reps. Thomas Massie (KY), Matt Gaetz (FL), Barry Moore (AL), and Andrew Clyde (GA) cosponsored Greene’s bill. Greene has said that she will reintroduce the measure in the next Congress when Republicans have a majority in the House. “It’s official the Democrats have voted NO to transparency for the American people for an Audit for Ukraine,” Greene wrote on Twitter after the vote. “But we take over in January! This audit will happen!”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who is expected to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the next Congress, has come out in favor of the audit bill. “The era of writing blank checks is over,” McCaul said, according to The Washington Post.
McCaul has been critical of the Biden administration for not sending longer-range weapons to Ukraine and wants to encourage Ukrainian strikes on Crimea despite the risk of escalation. But he represents the mainstream Republicans who want to keep arming Ukraine but agree there should be more oversight.
Democrats have been critical of the growing Republican calls for more oversight of the Ukraine aid. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the head of the House Armed Services Committee, even dismissed the concerns as “Russian propaganda” and said the calls from Republicans to increase oversight “makes me a little crazy.”
Meanwhile also on Tuesday night, Congress unveiled the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), worth $858 billion, $45 billion more than what President Biden requested for the military spending bill. The House is expected to vote on the legislation this week, and it could be brought to the floor as soon as Thursday. Once the House approves the bill, it will be sent to the Senate, then to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
Biden’s initial defense budget request: $813 billion
House Armed Services Committee version: $839 billion
Senate Armed Services Committee version: $847 billion
Final version, just released: $859 billion
Oddly, this one budgetary process always seems to go in the same direction
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) December 7, 2022
The massive $858 billion bill represents an 8% increase from the 2022 NDAA, which was also larger than what Biden requested. The $858 billion includes $817 billion for the Pentagon, and the remaining funds go toward military spending for other departments.
Notable amendments packed into the NDAA include $10 billion in military aid for Taiwan that will be dispersed over five years. The aid is in the form of Foreign Military Financing, a State Department program that gives foreign governments funds to purchase US-made military equipment.
The NDAA also includes $800 million in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a program that allows the US government to purchase weapons for Ukraine. But the vast majority of spending on the Ukraine war will come through emergency funding, and the White House is hoping Congress approves a new $37.7 billion tranche of Ukraine aid during the lame-duck period.
Rep. Gerry Connolly was one of the Democrats who shut down @RepMTG’s resolution to audit the 80 billion+ taxpayer dollars flowing into the pockets of Ukrainian warlords.
“I support transparency and accountability,” Connolly claimed, “but not now.” pic.twitter.com/pkrPbU9vQY
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 7, 2022
The NDAA includes $11.5 billion in new investments for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a program to build up in the Asia Pacific to confront China. The Pentagon has identified China as its main focus, and the NDAA includes investment in new technology research and development that US military leaders say is meant to counter Beijing.
Thu, 12/08/2022 – 13:58
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry warned Thursday that the global transition to green energy isn’t taking place fast enough.
Nations around the world need to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to green energy by “vast amounts” in order to stave off the potential future human and financial impacts of climate change, Kerry said during an event hosted by the Washington Post. The top Biden administration official particularly noted renewable sources and electric vehicles must be deployed at a significantly higher clip than they currently are.
“We can’t run around and do one bespoke deal here, another bespoke deal there — it just isn’t going to be fast enough,” Kerry remarked during the event. “So, everything has to accelerate and by vast amounts.”
“We have to be deploying renewables six times faster than we are today. We have to be deploying electric vehicles 20 times faster than we are today if you’re going to keep the Earth’s temperatures at 1.5 degrees of increase,” he added. “Why is that important? Because every tenth of degree above 1.5 takes you into what scientists will say is really dangerous, uncharted territory which is far more expensive to cope with.”
The United Nations’ (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has urged world leaders to take action to prevent the Earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The panel has warned that failing to curb warming from surpassing that level could result in cataclysmic impacts worldwide.
Since President Biden appointed him to be the State Department’s first-ever special presidential envoy for climate in early 2021, Kerry has engaged with leaders at UN and other global climate conferences to negotiate policies to prevent global warming. He has repeatedly backed an aggressive switch to green energy like wind and solar in an effort to rapidly reduce carbon emissions.
“Every economic analysis of this challenge makes it very clear it is far less expensive to be investing now, to get ahead of it, than it is to wait when you will pay untold trillions of dollars,” Kerry continued Thursday.
“If you think supply chains were interrupted by Covid, wait until you see what happens when 100 million people are moving in Africa because they can’t live there anymore, they can’t produce food, there’s not enough water and it’s too hot,” the climate envoy said. “We’re seeing indicators of that in various parts of the world.”
Most recently, Kerry led the U.S. delegation at the UN COP27 climate summit in Egypt last month. During the conference, Kerry met with other world leaders, said the Biden administration has been “sprinting” to fight climate change and vowed further action.
“Almost two years ago this very week, President-elect Biden asked me to be his special envoy for climate. It was a perilous moment,” Kerry said during his concluding statement at the summit on Nov. 20. “The world was rushing toward climate chaos. Any hope of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius was slipping further and further away.”
“We’ve been sprinting to make up for lost time ever since – starting on day one, when President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, and with our updated nationally determined contribution. It’s been full steam ahead to confront the climate crisis – both at home, and in partnership around the world.”
Get top-rated tech at hefty price cuts by shopping the Discover Samsung event for deals on Galaxy mobile tech, Bespoke appliances and more.
Deep Thoughts For Passive Investors
I came across an interesting factoid the other day:
‘Not a single mutual fund — not one — managed to beat its benchmark regularly and convincingly over the last five years. These results are even worse than those of 2014 and 2015, when I last examined this subject closely.’ https://t.co/X2Ytbku1B6
— Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) December 2, 2022
Fans of passive investing clearly take this as validation of their preference for simply allocating their capital as the index dictates.
However, I think that may be too convenient of a conclusion to derive from this. In fact, it may be looking at things backwards.
If you take a moment to think about the factors that might be behind this statistic, it starts to become far more interesting. Flows to passive funds over the past five years have been massive and accelerating while just about five years ago active funds began to lose assets, a phenomenon which has also accelerated in the years since.
— Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) December 6, 2022
Is it possible, likely even, that this dramatic outperformance of the index over active funds was driven largely by flows rather than the lack of skill of active managers or some other explanation?
In other words, could it be that the popularity of passive investing explains its success more than its success explains its popularity?
Furthermore, if it is true that the performance of the index has largely been driven by flows over the past five years, rather than the collective opinion of educated active investors, then how efficient is the market truly?
Is it possible that the popularity of passive investing has helped to inflate another stock market bubble?
‘The stock market losses that we’ve observed year-to-date are merely a give-back of the frothiest segment of the recent market bubble. Our most reliable valuation measures still match the extremes we observed in 1929, 2000 and the 2020 pre-pandemic high.’ https://t.co/oGPiHws6xC pic.twitter.com/KoV4FHE9HC
— Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) November 21, 2022
Remember, passive investing is founded upon the idea that the markets are efficient and thus investors mirroring the index will realize the collective returns generated by the underlying businesses. But should the market become divorced from its underlying fundamentals due to the dominance of price-insensitive buying, what then should passive investors expect?
Thu, 12/08/2022 – 12:05
A 16-year-old boy surrendered to cops three days after he and four pals allegedly dragged a 25-year-old woman by the neck off a Brooklyn subway bench, authorities said.
Renting a car for your trip to Hawaii is the norm for travelers, but experts say you can enjoy your trip with cheaper, more sustainable alternatives.