COVID Emergency Ended; Alvin Bragg Sues Jim Jordan and Co.- The Wednesday AM Quickie 4/12/23

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Biden Ends COVID-19 National Emergency; Public Health Emergency to End in May

Monday marked the unceremonious end of the three-year COVID-19 national emergency as President Biden signs a House Republican-led bill to end the emergency a month earlier than planned. A separate health emergency will stay in effect until May 11th. Let's go over in some detail about what exactly ending these emergency declarations will change because it’s a lot, and it’s not getting a ton of media coverage.

The end of of the national emergency will speed up an end to HUD’s COVID-19 mortgage forbearance program and re-establish a VA requirement for in-home assessments for caregiver eligibility, per NBC News.

Biden didn’t go along with Republican efforts to end the public health emergency early, but when that happens next month it will bring sweeping changes from the pandemic-era status quo. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of changes summarized from KFF articles:

  • Private insurers will be permitted to shift some of the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments to patients. People will still be able to get much for free as government supplies last, but the stockpile is dwindling. Pfizer and Moderna have indicated they’re planning to charge over $100 per vaccine dose.
  • Reinstatement of pre-pandemic training standards for nursing home staff, potentially worsening staffing shortages, but a welcome reversion to some nursing home resident advocates.
  • Rollback of telehealth prescription of certain medications, including buprenorphine, an a medication used to treat opioid addiction. Ryan Hampton, a patient advocate, warned “thousands of people are going to die” as a result of this change.
  • HHS will no longer compel states to share COVID testing data.

The U.S. is still averaging close to 2,000 COVID-19 related deaths per week with 120,000 reported cases. Less than 17% of Americans have received an updated booster. So you should go get one if you haven’t before the free ones run out.

The “end” of the coronavirus emergencies come on top of the slow strangulation of an incredibly successful pandemic-era expansion of welfare. It’s worth beating into people’s heads that even as millions lost their jobs and much of the economy came to a screeching halt, poverty fell to record lows! Child poverty went from 13.1 percent in 2019 to 5.2 percent in 2021, lifting 5.8 million children out of poverty.

DA Alvin Bragg Sues House Republicans

Honestly, good for him. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin has sued Rep. Jim Jordan and others for “a brazen and unconstitutional attack” on him and his office’s case against Trump, per the Post. The suit alleges that the House Judiciary Committee, led by Jordan, has been attempting to get confidential information pertaining to the case. Bragg wants a House subpoena to former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz invalidated. Pomerantz would be a mixed bag for the House GOP’s clownish smear campaign against Bragg’s office; he has called Bragg’s handling of the case “the legal equivalent to a plane crash” in a memoir, but that’s because Bragg didn’t earlier pursue charges against Trump, whom Pomerantz likened to mob boss John Gotti. Jordan is trying to make a convoluted argument about the flip-flop on the decision to prosecute demonstrating political motives, but Bragg did uncover new evidence, influencing the final decision to indict.

Saudi Arabia and Houthis Nearing Peace Deal in Yemen

Negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa are apparently making real progress. UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg told the AP that now is “the closest Yemen has been to real progress toward lasting peace.” According to the AP, the deal would include a six-month truce with cessation of all military activities in Yemen, a commitment to a political settlement with other Yemeni parties, and easing restrictions ports and airports that would bring much needed relief to the war-devastated country. About 80 percent of the country, 24 million people, are in need of humanitarian aid. According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Houthis have committed unlawful attacks against civilians throughout the course of the conflict.


  • Netanyahu Reverses Defense Minster Firing; Non-Muslims Banned from Al-Aqsa until End of Ramadan It looks like Bibi realized he overstepped and is trying to maintain his shaky control of the government. via the New York Times and U.S. News
  • Biden Admin Proposes Cuts to Water for Seven Western States The move is meant to stave off the depletion of the dwindling Colorado River water supply. via NBC News.
  • American Prospect’s April Issue Takes Biased Economics Models to Task  Granted, I myself am a little biased, but this month’s issue of the Prospect is really a must read if you have any interest in understanding the economic models that dominate and distort policy discussions. via the Prospect.
  • Interest Rate Hikes Hitting Poorest Countries Hardest Low-income countries’ payments to foreign debt will take up an average of 16 percent of their revenue. via FT.
  • North Carolina Church Bought $3.3 million in medical debt with $15,000 and Burned It That's more than $200 of debt for each donation dollar spent. via More Perfect Union.


$2.2 million

That is how much a signed pair of Michael Jordan’s Air Jordans sold in a Sotheby’s auction, making them the most valuable sneakers in history. Eat your heart out Ye.


4/12 It's Hump Day! Emma hosts Aris Komoprozos-Athanasiou, associate professor of sociology at University College London (UCL), to discuss his recent book Speculative Communities: Living with Uncertainty in a Financialized World. Then, Emma is joined by economist Nathan Tankus, proprietor of the Notes on the Crises newsletter, to discuss recent developments at the Federal Reserve and Silicon Valley Bank.


Elon Musk Breaks Up With Taibbi

Similarities between Musk and Trump are apparent.

Ben Shapiro STRUGGLES Defending Thomas's Nazi-Obsessed Patron

Who among us doesn't collect fascist paraphernalia?


“Judicial activism will not stop here. If courts can overturn drug approvals without regard to science or evidence…any medicine is at risk for the same outcome as mifepristone.”

-- An open letter from 400 Pharma and Biotech executives decrying Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s attempt to invalidate FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

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