Good morning. At this point you probably don’t need a reminder of why nature is so awesome – but here’s one anyways. Enjoy.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”
– Helen Keller
Full Court Press
The Supreme Court on Monday released decisions on two major cases, ruling in favor of insurance providers in a case concerning the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and declining to rule on what was once considered a landmark 2nd Amendment case.
A deeper dive… In the first decision, the court ruled that Congress owes health insurers more than $12 billion under a program set up by the ACA that ran from 2014 to 2016, reversing a lower court’s decision.
The 113th Congress (2013 – 2015)had originally intended for the program to act as a safety net for insurance companies who were mandated to cover those with pre-existing conditions.
The 114th Congress (2015 – 2017) later passed legislation barring any taxpayer funds from going towards the program, which had experienced significant financial losses to date.
In an 8-1 ruling authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court sided with the insurance carriers, saying the lower court’s decision would have let the government essentially pull a “bait and switch” by withholding the money after promising (and subsequently failing to meet) certain levels of participation in the ACA program.
Second To None The court’s second decision (or rather, lack thereof) involved New York City’s former ban on transporting guns outside the city limits.
New York City gun owners have been outlawed from possessing a firearm outside their residence since 2001, except for transportation to one of the city’s seven shooting ranges.
NYC amended the law in June 2019, after three residents sued the city seeking to transport their handguns to second homes and firing ranges outside the city.
The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to send the case back down to a lower court for reconsideration, saying the question put before the court had been rendered moot after NYC repealed the law last summer.
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Global cases rose to more than 3.06 million yesterday with more than 211,200 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose above 1 million with 56,677 confirmed deaths.
The EU has come under fire after revising a report about coronavirus disinformation to slightly soften its stance on China after the CCP objected to the original report.
A University of Maryland analysis of anonymous cell phone data showed a 3% decline in the social distancing effort over the past week.
President Trump presented two new documents at Monday’s coronavirus press briefing (a “testing overview” and a “testing blueprint”) laying out how the administration plans to coordinate with the public and private sectors to expand testing.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will allow his stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday, while San Francisco has extended their city-wide lockdown order through the end of May.
The CDC on Monday officially added six more coronavirus symptoms to its website – for a full list of symptoms, check out this link.
Italyannounced plans to begin to reopen the country in stages starting May 4. The country has been on lockdown since March 10.
Pentagon Releases UFO Videos
The Pentagon on Monday officially declassified three previously leaked top-secret U.S. Navy videos documenting cases of what they call “unexplained aerial phenomena” – but what appear to be UFOs. The videos, acknowledged by the Navy to be authentic, are taken from video sensors of real training flights in 2004 and 2015, and have been circulating in the public domain since the NYT first published them in 2017.
More: For those interested in learning more about these incidents, Cmdr. David Fravor (the pilot who captured the 2004 footage) made a guest appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience.
New York’s Board of Elections on Monday canceled the state’s June 23 Democratic presidential primary election, citing a combination of coronavirus concerns and the narrowing of the field down to a single contender – Joe Biden. His only remaining challenger, Bernie Sanders, suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden earlier this month, but chose to stay on the ballot in the remaining primaries to garner enough delegates to influence policy at this summer’s DNC.
More: The Ohio primary takes place today with minimal in-person voting. More than 1.9 million Ohioans have requested a mail-in absentee ballot.
General Motorssaid Monday that it is suspending its quarterly dividend and stock buybacks to preserve cash amid mass plant closures due to COVID-19.
Amazonannounced a new system to validate the identity of third-party sellers through mandatory video conferencing.
Throw The Red Flag
As first reported by Reuters, an investment group is planning to challenge Neiman Marcus’s $600 million financing package the company negotiated for its looming bankruptcy. The group has submitted a contending $700 million proposal for so-called debtor-in-possession financing, with a bankruptcy judge to make the final decision between the two offers.
SpaceX on Monday conducted the first successful critical pressure test of its SN4 Starship rocket prototype, which has the ultimate goal of carrying astronauts to the moon and Mars. SpaceX’s successful result comes after the previous three Starship prototypes to attempt a similar test were destroyed.
More: Earlier this month, the SN3 prototype was crushed during a cryogenic pressure test (video).
In Loving Memory
In 2012, California natives Mary Davis and Ari Kadin were expecting their first child – until Mary suddenly miscarried. Devastated, the couple processed their grief by immersing themselves in volunteer work at a Skid Row homeless shelter in LA, which was occupied mostly by children.
The next year, Mary and Ari felt the need to commemorate their late child’s first birthday, so they decided to throw a party at the homeless shelter. The kids loved it so much that the tradition stuck. Since then, the couple has hosted a celebration each and every month.
Mayor On A Mission
With the current stay in place order, residents of Kauai County, Hawaii have been stuck indoors looking for sources of entertainment. One local official has made it his mission to answer their call.
Much to the delight of his constituents, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami has been posting daily videos to social media that show him performing a variety of tasks like making ice cream, creating a mask out of a T-shirt, and even dancing the Renegade.
Leap Of Faith
Texas teens Matthew and Jeremy Jason are weekly volunteers at a local Houston food kitchen. When the coronavirus outbreak spread to their area, the two brothers took steps to ensure that the homeless folks they fed each week were adequately prepared for the virus.
After asking around their local Jewish community, Matthew and Jeremy collected nearly 700 yarmulkes and outfitted them with elastic bands to convert into facemasks for the homeless.
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