- President Donald Trump visited California on Monday to meet with Governor Gavin Newsom and other state leaders dealing with the raging wildfires.
- Many scientists believe climate change has significantly exacerbated the severity of the fires. However, Trump said that “it will get cooler” and that he doesn’t “think science knows, actually” about climate change.
- His comment was met with backlash from those upset he could deny climate change as millions of Americans are currently living through its effects.
- Climate change has also now become a focal point of the election. Biden condemned Trump’s denial and claimed that another four years of him in office would make the situation even worse.
Trump Visits California
As the state of California deals with raging wildfires, many scientists believe that climate change has exacerbated their severity. While visiting the state on Monday, President Donald Trump said that he doesn’t “think science knows, actually” and insisted that the weather will just get cooler.
Trump met with California Governor Gavin Newsom and other leaders in the state to discuss the fires, which have decimated millions of acres of land on the west coast. The fires are worst in California, Oregon, and Washington, where 35 people have died, hundreds of thousands have had to evacuate, and thousands of structures have been destroyed. Air quality is also unhealthy or hazardous in most areas of those states.
Trump has frequently blamed California’s fires on leaders in the state and forest mismanagement. While state officials do agree that forest mismanagement does play a role, they also believe that climate change has significantly impacted the scale of the fires, as temperatures in the state are climbing and the fires are getting bigger. Trump has pushed this argument aside.
While Newsom began some of his remarks by saying “there’s no question” that forest management has not been handled well, specifically noting that 57% of the state’s forest land is actually federally owned, he also asked the president to understand that he and others believe climate change should also be a top priority.
Meeting With Gov. Newsom
“We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self evident that climate change is real, and that is exacerbating,” Newsom said. “And so i think there’s an area of at least commonality on vegetation and forest management but please respect, and I know you do, the difference of opinion out here as it relates to this fundamental issue, on the issue of climate change.”
Newsom’s delicate approach to the matter was different from that of California’s secretary for natural resources, Wade Crowfoot, who really pushed for the need to look at climate science.
“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Crowfoot said.
“It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” Trump pushed back.
“I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot responded.
“Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump said in a moment that went viral online, igniting backlash from those who see climate change as one of the planet’s biggest threats.
Crowfoot himself later tweeted a graph showing the increasing temperatures in his state, telling the president it “won’t get cooler.” Celebrities also responded to the clip, saying his comments were dangerous.
Climate Change’s Impact
Scientists and experts believe that these fires should serve as a massive wake up call when it comes to climate change. Since the fires and smoke have started smothering the west coast, more and more articles have come out explaining the growing and present threat of climate change. Many climate scientists believe that now more than ever, we are able to see its clear effects just by looking out the window.
Scientists have long warned that the world would see hotter temperatures, bigger wildfires, poorer air quality. Now that five of California’s biggest wildfires in recorded history happened within the last three years, many think we have reached that point.
“What we’ve been seeing in California are some of the clearest events where we can say this is climate change — that climate change has clearly made this worse,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute told the Los Angeles Times. “People who have lived in California for 30, 40 years are saying this is unprecedented, it has never been this hot, it has never been this smoky in all the years I’ve lived here.”
Many scientists also believe that some of the damage done by climate change has already become irreversible. They are trying to warn officials that action needs to be taken immediately to mitigate that damage, and to prevent more harmful side effects from becoming permanent.
“We have no more time to twiddle our collective thumbs. The bad news is that the long delay in tackling climate change means that some severe impacts, like the fires we’re seeing now, are no longer avoidable and we must begin the process of adapting to them,” Peter Gleick, a hydroclimatologist, wrote for The Guardian.
“We must, at the same time, accelerate the complete elimination of fossil-fuel combustion to slow the rate of future climate changes and prevent even worse, potentially catastrophic impacts from occurring.”
Biden and 2020 Race
Trump’s remarks, combined with the fact that many Americans are now living in climate change’s effects, have made the issue a main focus in the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has insisted that climate change is real and something that must be met with swift action.
“Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating, and more deadly,” Biden said while speaking on Monday. He later referred to Trump as a “climate arsonist.”
Over 170 climate leaders have signed an open letter encouraging Americans to vote for Biden because climate change is such a pressing issue. As more Americans become concerned about the environment, many think it could become a deciding issue in November.
See what others are saying: (New York Times) (Sacramento Bee) (KTLA)
Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days
The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.
Centner Academy Vaccination Policy
A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.
According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.
“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.
According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”
In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.
Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.
Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation
In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.
The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.
In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.
According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.
The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.
See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.
See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)
Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids
The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.
DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.
The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.
In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”
Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.
In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”
Labor Market Implications
The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.
Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.
According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.
“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”
It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.
The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.
That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.