Bad news for the global ecosystem that keeps us all alive: the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than ever. Record tons of fresh meltwater are diluting the seas.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party nomination to the presidency last night. His campaign tried to set expectations that he would reassure more than inspire.
And lastly, Steve Bannon, the strategist behind Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was arrested yesterday on fraud charges. Could Don Junior be next?
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Record melting in Greenland
A study published yesterday says the Greenland ice sheet lost a record amount of mass last year, all due to climate change. The ice melted at an astonishing rate of a million tons per minute, for a total of five-hundred and thirty-two billion tons. Greenland’s fast-melting ice sheet is reportedly the largest single contributor to sea level rise.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications: Earth and Environment. Researchers based their estimates on data from advanced satellites belonging to NASA. Because the meltwater is freshwater, it dilutes the surrounding seawater, which has an additional effect on global weather patterns. For example, there are two simultaneous tropical cyclones forecast to hit the Gulf of Mexico next week.
The record ice loss amounts to more than one-hundred and forty trillion gallons of water. It’s more than double the average annual ice loss recorded by the NASA satellites since 2003. And it added more than half an inch to global sea levels – a shocking amount for the seas to rise in a single year.
Before global warming began to spiral out of control, there were some years in the last century when the Greenland sheet actually gained ice. No more. The preceding two years before the study period were unusually cold in Greenland, but even then, the sheet still lost ice. Researchers told the Guardian that cold years no longer compensate for hot ones in terms of ice loss, as was the pattern in the past. Among other things, the research means the
ice sheet has grown unstable. And without a major drop in carbon emissions, coastal cities will be in greater danger than ever.
Biden accepts Democratic nomination
The fourth and final night of the virtual Democratic National Convention concluded with the nomination of Joe Biden to the party’s presidential ticket.
Prior to the night’s speeches, Vermont Senator and former candidate Bernie Sanders told PBS Newshour that he believed Biden understood what needed to be done in regards to climate change, public health, the economic crisis and mass evictions. Sanders said QUOTE He’s going to face an American people who are hurting today. He’s going to face young people [who] want action ENDQUOTE. Later, in a taped endorsement, Sanders said Biden would keep his word and listen to others’ views. Former candidates Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg also spoke last night.
As it has for much of the week, the prepared programming focused on Biden’s family story. Videos filled with testimonials cast him as a familiar and reassuring figure – as well as a hard worker, in contrast to Donald Trump. Biden’s daughter Ashley and embattled son Hunter vouched for their dad in a prerecorded video, before Biden the elder took his turn on stage at Chase Center in Delaware. Biden said Trump has QUOTE cloaked America in darkness for too long ENDQUOTE. He said his first step as president would be to get the coronavirus under control, in part, with a national mandate to wear a mask. Biden called attention to the recent third anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia neo-Nazi rally, and said QUOTE at that moment I knew I had to run... Silence was complicity... In this dark moment, I believe we’re poised to make great progress again, that we can find the light once more ENDQUOTE.
Bannon arrested over fraud
Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon was arrested yesterday by US Postal Inspectors aboard a one-hundred and fifty million-dollar yacht off the coast of Connecticut. The charges? Mail fraud. The US Coast Guard assisted USPS officers with Bannon’s arrest at sea, where he has been for several weeks. During his arraignment in New York, Bannon pleaded not guilty. His bail was reportedly set at one point seven-five million dollars in cash or
property, and his bond conditions ban him from travel on private airplanes or boats. Per the New York Times The yacht Bannon had been living on belonged to an exiled Chinese businessman.
According to a federal indictment, Bannon conspired with three other men, also charged, to defraud donors of a GoFundMe campaign called We Build The Wall. The money was supposed to be used to build a section of Trump’s promised wall on the Mexico border. Instead, Bannon used the money for at least one million dollars worth of personal expenses. Those included, in addition to a Range Rover, a small pleasure boat named Warfighter.
Bannon, who formerly ran Breitbart News, is the third person who led Trump’s 2016 campaign to face criminal charges. Trump’s son Don Junior promoted Bannon’s fraudulent GoFundMe campaign, calling it, as the Times reported, QUOTE private enterprise at its finest ENDQUOTE. Hear hear!
The Trump Organization attempted to distance Don Junior from Bannon’s scheme in a statement yesterday. Trump himself, asked about Bannon’s arrest, at first said he knew nothing of Bannon’s fundraising effort. Then he said he didn’t like the project, calling it inappropriate. Apparently Trump didn’t know about Bannon’s arrest ahead of time. Sad.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
A study published yesterday in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests children play a larger role in spreading the coronavirus than was previously understood. Researchers found that some children have high levels of the virus in their airways during the early days of infection, though they may show no symptoms. One of the authors, Alessio Fasano, told the Washington Post that children may be as susceptible as adults to the coronavirus, but not as visibly so. Another reason not to rush back to in-person classes this fall!
Another one point one million workers filed for unemployement last week, according to the latest numbers from the US Labor Department. On top of that, more than half a million freelancers and part-time workers filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Last week’s new unemployment numbers were slightly better, but this week shows that ain’t so. How arepeople supposed to survive during a pandemic with a few hundred dollars in state benefits and little hope for finding work? As Steve Bannon proved, GoFundMe is no solution.
A federal judge yesterday threw out a lawsuit from Donald Trump that sought to deny a subpoena for his tax records. The decision by US District Judge Victor Marrero follows a Supreme Court ruling last month that found Trump is not immune from criminal investigation during his tenure as president. It’s now more likely than ever that Trump will actually be forced to deliver some eight years of tax records to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Junior, who is investigating Trump’s hush money payments as well as possible bank fraud.
At least two people have died so far in California’s all-out firefighting effort. Fires in the northern and central parts of the state continued to spread, merge, and grow yesterday, consuming three-hundred and fifty thousand acres at last count. Homes on the edge of San Jose were evacuated. People in areas where the air is full of smoke and ash are advised to stay indoors – and definitely don’t go outside to exercise. Firefighters say they are having better luck when the winds die down at night. Hang tight out there, folks.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report. Nomiki Konst is guest hosting and her first guest is Noam Chomsky! Check it out.
Aug 21, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn