US-POLITICS-TRUMP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arrives at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum for a campaign event with US President Donald Trump in Jupiter, Florida, on September 8, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) MANDEL NGAN / Contributor
MANDEL NGAN/Contributor/AFP via Getty Images

News

Friday | November 19th, 2021

It’s Friday, November 19th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) DeSantis Signs Anti-Vaccine Mandate Bills

The Topline: Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) held a press conference on Thursday announcing he would sign bills restricting vaccine mandates in the state.

Quote Of The Day: “Nobody in Florida should be losing their job over these jabs…we want people to be able to have livelihoods.”

– Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL)

Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

The Bills

The four bills would require private employers to allow for vaccine exemptions including health or religious concerns, pregnancy or someone trying to get pregnant, and those who have natural immunity from a previous COVID infection. The legislation will also prevent schools from forcing students to get vaccinated or wear masks. 

One of the laws strips the surgeon general’s ability to push vaccine mandates and will begin the process of having Florida exit OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that is issuing the vaccine mandates ordered by the Biden administration.

OSHA Lawsuit

Florida was one of the states that filed a lawsuit against OSHA and the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing mandate shortly after it was released. 

The bills were signed after DeSantis called for a special legislative session to get them to his desk. DeSantis said he needed to protect workers so they wouldn’t lose their jobs after the holidays due to the potential for the federal government’s mandate.

Timothy Abero / EyeEm via Getty Images

2) Homicide Surge In The U.S.

The Topline: The number of homicides in the United States jumped significantly in 2020, with every city in the nation affected.  

Quote Of The Day: “They could’ve had the car. They could’ve had any of that. I would’ve [given] anything. I would’ve [given] my life for my son.”

– Reverend Willie McGee, father of Chicago shooting victim

The Numbers

2020 saw the largest increase in the number of homicides in U.S. history, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI reported a 30% increase in homicides between 2019 and 2020. There were a total of 21,570 homicides in the U.S. last year, meaning 4,900 more Americans were killed in 2020 than 2019. 

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the CDC, that’s an even larger surge in homicides than the nation experienced after the 9/11 attacks.

Murder rates rose in large cities, but also in small towns across the country. Authorities say every large city saw its murder rate rise by 30% or more.

Chicago

Chicago’s official statistics say the city has had 715 murders so far this year, a 57% increase over pre-pandemic levels. But it may be worse than that: The Chicago Sun-Times, which officially tracks every murder in the city, reports almost 800 victims in Chicago’s streets this year.  

One of the most publicized murders occurred Tuesday, when a 24-year-old University of Chicago graduate named Shaoxiong Zheng died during a robbery in the Hyde Park neighborhood. His alleged murderer, 18-year-old Alton Spann, pawned the man’s laptop for $100. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) initially tried to cut the police budget by $59 million in 2020. She’s also insisting all officers be vaccinated against COVID-19, leading to a shortage of as many as 1,600 officers from the Chicago Police Department. Last month, however, she reversed course and increased the police budget by $189 million.

Remember: Murder rates have been higher, total and per capita, in the past. For every 100,000 Americans, almost eight people were killed in 2020. In 1980, it was 10.2. The overall number of murders peaked in 1991, at 24,703. 

Christopher Furlong/Staff/Getty Images

3) Climate Summit Draws Accusations Of Hypocrisy

The Topline: Despite hundreds of countries reaching various agreements, the United Nations global climate summit — COP26 — has been condemned by many for its alleged hypocrisy. 

Quote Of The Day: “We say no more ‘blah, blah, blah.’ No more exploitation of people, and nature, and the planet.”

– Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

Takeaways

This past weekend, the summit, which was held in Glasgow, came to an end. It was billed by its organizer as the “last, best hope” to save the planet. It was also the first U.N. climate deal to explicitly discuss the alleged need to move away from coal power and subsidies for fossil fuels.

Diplomats from nearly 200 countries agreed to intensify efforts to fight climate change, calling on governments to come back next year with stronger plans to reduce emissions and increase funding from richer countries.

The U.S. and China agreed to “do more” to cut emissions, with China committing to develop a plan to reduce methane. China also agreed to “phase down” coal starting in 2026, but didn’t include specifics. China’s coal production has reached an all-time high.

More than 100 countries agreed to end deforestation by 2030, and to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade. 

India, one of the world’s largest polluters, joined a group of countries who have pledged to reach “net zero” emissions, but the goal is set 49 years away in 2070.

In all, there were a lot of promises with no concrete plans in the near future.

Alleged Hypocrisy

A total of 400 private jets delivered leaders to the summit, burning over 13,000 tons of CO2 in the process, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by over 1,600 British citizens in one year.

Prince Charles, an outspoken advocate for fighting climate change, took a private jet to the event, while Boris Johnson was criticized after he flew back to London halfway through the summit for a dinner.

John Kerry, President Biden’s climate czar, attended the summit as one of the key negotiators. Some pointed out that Kerry routinely flies around the world on his private plane. 

President Joe Biden attended after traveling to Rome for the G20 meeting, with an estimated 2.2 million pounds of carbon generated during his Europe trip. He also traveled to Scotland with a large entourage, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

Still no verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial after Judge Bruce Schroeder requested an expert witness to review information over drone footage the defense says was withheld from them. Judge Schroeder has also banned reporters from MSNBC for the duration of the trial. He issued the order after a journalist hired by the network was stopped by police when he ran a red light after appearing to be following the jury bus from the courthouse. The man said he was told by an MSNBC employee to follow the bus. 

Quote Of The Week: “I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial. This is a very serious matter and I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is, but absolutely it would go without much thinking that someone who is following the jury bus – that is… [an] extremely serious matter.”

– Judge Schroeder

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