News Headlines 5/12/21

REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS CUT OFF UNEMPLOYMENT BONUS: The Republican governors of five Southern states are declining the federal government’s $300 weekly unemployment bonus, cutting off the payments to their citizens. They say the extra money is incentivizing people to stay home instead of taking a job. “Our economy has come back. We have jobs aplenty,” said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told CNN. In addition to the Alabama governor, those in Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana and South Carolina have all declined the payments. The decision does not affect any state benefits that residents may receive.

PANIC BUYING FUELS GAS PRICE INCREASE: The national average price for a gallon of gasoline rose to $2.98 yesterday. That’s the highest price in seven years. Panic buying and long lines at gas stations have been reported as concerns grow over the disruption of the giant Colonial Pipeline, which keeps fuel flowing to most of the East Coast. The pipeline operators still hope to restore service by the end of the week.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any government involvement in the Russian hacker group’s attack on the pipeline’s network.

LIZ CHENEY TEARS INTO TRUMP IN HOUSE SPEECH: Representative Liz Cheney tore into former President Donald Trump and the elected Republicans who remain loyal to him in a speech yesterday on the floor of the House of Representatives. “Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney said. She argued that Trump’s continued insistence that he won the presidential election has misled millions of Americans, undermined the democratic process, and threatened more violence like the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Cheney, who is one of the most consistently conservative House members, faces ouster by her own party from her leadership position tomorrow.

DOW JONES HITS THE SKIDS: The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst day since February yesterday, dropping 473 points to 34,269. All eyes on Wall Street today will be on the latest consumer price index, expected to be reported this morning. They’re worried about inflation hampering the economy’s recovery.

ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE ESCALATES: Israel vowed to continue airstrikes on Gaza after at least 30 Palestinians and three Israelis were reported killed in the worsening conflict. Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets toward Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Israel has responded with at least 130 airstrikes targeting the militants.

CALIFORNIA FACES ANOTHER DROUGHT: A drought emergency has been extended to cover 41 of California’s 58 counties. State officials fear that an extraordinarily warm and dry spring will lead to yet another severe wildfire season. Last year’s fires burned a record 6,562 square miles. Residents are being urged to conserve water.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

TODAY’S FYI + GOOD NEWS (05/12/2021)

RICH BOSSES GET MUCH RICHER: American workers overall saw a two percent pay decrease last year, while many lost their jobs outright to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. But their bosses are doing just fine. CEO compensation was up 15 percent from 2019, to $13.9 million, at the 100 biggest companies with the lowest pay for rank-and-file companies, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies. Their average pay was 689 times that of their employees. Many corporations bent their own rules to reward the bosses even as company profits plunged.

  • The highest-paid American CEO in 2020 was Hilton Hotels’ Christopher Nassetta, whose compensation package was worth $55.9 million last year. Median pay at the company was $28,608, down from $43,695 the year before.

BIG WIND FARM GETS APPROVAL: The Biden administration has given final approval to a giant windfarm project off the Massachusetts coast. Vineyard Wind will provide wind power to 400,000 homes and businesses and is expected to create 3,600 jobs. A number of other wind power projects are expected to be approved soon.

APPLEBEE’S ENTICES JOB APPLICANTS: Applebee’s wants to hire 10,000 people coast to coast right now, and it’s offering a voucher for a free appetizer to lure people in the door to be interviewed. The restaurant chain needs hosts, servers, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers. May 17 is the date that applicants can score a free plate of Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos.

  • Or, you could apply at a Chipotle. The Mexican fast-food chain says it will increase its average wage to $15 an hour by next month.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The number of people traveling on this Memorial Day weekend is expected to increase by 60% over last year’s dismal level. Travel by car, rail, bus, and air all are rebounding, although the numbers are still not back to 2019 levels, CNBC reports.


HITCH A FREE RIDE TO A VACCINE SITE: President Joe Biden is expected to announce easier access to vaccination sites, including free transportation on Uber and Lyft. The ride-sharing companies will provide free rides to and from vaccination sites until July 4 as part of a new partnership with the White House. People will be able to select a vaccination site and then redeem a free round-trip ride. The feature will launch with two weeks and run until July 4th, according to CNN.


(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)


SPORTS (05/12/2021)

MEDINA SPIRIT GOING TO PREAKNESS: Medina Spirit will run in the Preakness this Saturday, but the outcome of the Kentucky Derby is still unresolved. The champion’s owner has consented to blood testing on Medina Spirit and two other horses trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert has acknowledged use of an anti-inflammatory ointment but said it could not have given the horse an unfair advantage.

OAKLAND ATHETICS THREATEN TO MOVE: The Oakland Athletics are threatening to pick up their ball and go play elsewhere if the city of Oakland doesn’t move on a proposed new stadium. The plan for a downtown stadium on the waterfront has been talked about for years. The latest proposal calls for a $12 billion waterfront development, including a commitment from the city for about $855 million. The A’s have been in Oakland since 1968.

COLT BRENNAN DEAD AT AGE 37: Quarterback Colt Brennan, who set records as a quarterback at the University of Hawaii and later had a brief career in the NFL, has died at the age of 37. He played for Hawaii from 2005 through 2007 and still ranks number 2 in Football Bowl Subdivision history in passing yards per game, number 5 in career passing touchdowns and number 8 in career passing yards. In all, Brennan broke or tied 31 NCAA records in his college career, according to Hawaii Athletics. Brennan had struggled with drug and alcohol issues for years.

THREE PADRES ON INJURED LIST: San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Junior was placed on the injured list yesterday after testing positive for COVID-19. The team has a contact-tracing program, so utility players Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo got sidelined too.

OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY CANCELED: The traditional Olympics torch relay has been canceled as Tokyo struggles to keep the rescheduled 2020 summer games alive during a spike in coronavirus cases in Japan. The Opening Ceremony is still scheduled for July 23rd. Public calls for the games to be postponed or canceled are growing.

MAYBE TONIGHT…LeBron James did not make it back for the Los Angeles Lakers-New York Knicks game last night but now he’s aiming for tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets. (The Knicks lost 102 to 93.) He’s still nursing a bad ankle.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

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