Watch for developments in Texas’ significant SB8 abortion rights case Check for worker complaints about COVID safety. 2,740 have been filed in one state. The pandemic supply problems will cause severe shortages in hurricane areas trying to recover The pan
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Texas’ new law that places regulations on abortions takes effect today — unless the U.S. Supreme Court or the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals steps in. You may see it referred to as Senate Bill 8 (SB8) or by its case name, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson.
This is a significant abortion rights case that may get lost in the crush of pandemic, hurricane, wildfire and Afghanistan coverage.
In short, the lawsuit revolves around a state law that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed last May that effectively bans abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. Opponents of the law make two main arguments:
Many people do not know they are pregnant until after six weeks.
They claim SB8 violates the Supreme Court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which protects “the right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the state.”
The Texas law has been vexing to opponents because it does not just give the state enforcement power, it also gives private citizens the power to sue providers to stop providing abortion services. And those who sue and win are entitled to compensation.
The Guardian explains:
Check for worker complaints about COVID safety. 2,740 have been filed in one state.
When the Gothamist and WNYC checked New Jersey’s Department of Labor files, they found thousands of complaints from workers who say their employers are not complying with COVID-19 safety laws.
Dental assistants said they were told to wear raincoats as protective gear and other workers said people who tested positive with COVID-19 were still allowed to come to work. Restaurants and government offices were the top sources of worker complaints.
In most cases, the state contacted the employers and told them to shape up, and the employers sent back photos proving that they did.
The pandemic supply problems will cause severe shortages in hurricane areas trying to recover
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Craig Rodrigue looks over the damage to his house Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Houma, La. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Whether you live in the path of Hurricane Ida or not, you are about to feel her effect. The global supply chain problems that have people waiting months for a new washing machine or chair or TV will be a nightmare for people who will need windows and doors and roofs. The cost of construction materials rose sharply in the pandemic and the demand for repair materials will create new pressures on already strained supplies.
The Claims Journal, a news site for insurance company claim adjusters, quotes Greg Pyne, vice president of pricing solutions for Verisk Xactware. Just a few weeks ago, Pyne warned adjusters what they would witness this hurricane season.
According to Pyne’s presentation, which uses data from 50,000 contractors and 18,000 insurance adjusters:
A labor shortage is driving up costs, as well. Pyne said:
The cost and shortage of construction materials will magnify the global supply shortages that started with the pandemic. The Motley Fool summarizes:
Let’s start with a little bit of good news for the people who will have to rebuild and repair. Lumber prices, which were hitting record-highs only a matter of months ago, are back down now.
But it may take a few more weeks before the lower prices show up at retail stores. Fortune reports:
Other construction materials remain expensive. Habitat for Humanity estimated that the cost of framing a house rose from $6,000 to $12,000 this year. Copper and concrete, both basic construction materials, are also more expensive now than before the pandemic. Copper prices are up 39% over pre-pandemic costs.
The National Home Builders Association provides a chart of the costs of some of the key materials used to build a home:
(National Association of Homebuilders)
Bigger buildings and infrastructure that require steel will also cost more to repair. The pandemic sent steel prices and supplies on a roller coaster ride:
Great diagram on how to find the North Star. https://t.co/NCb6WWj1JB
— David Curry Holmes
Sun Dec 23 03:34:10 +0000 2018
(National Association of Homebuilders)
It will also be more difficult to find workers to rebuild. Employers were already having a hard time finding employees, and the pandemic has slowed volunteers from flowing into storm areas.
Supply chain experts say we may see “the pandemic toilet paper effect” that we witnessed in 2020 in the weeks ahead. Contractors may buy more materials than they need to finish a job because they fear they will run out of supplies and would not be able to get what they need to finish a job.
The pandemic supply chain problem that will last into 2022
Read this opening sentence from a Bloomberg report:
The third busiest port in the world, the container terminal in Ningbo, China, was closed for quarantine for two weeks but is now reopening. It should be fully operational tomorrow. But the bottlenecks are severe and will take time to clear up. Retailers have a lot to worry about as holiday shopping seasons approach.
Along the West Coast of the United States, big ships loaded with cargo sit at sea for more than a week waiting to offload. CNN reports:
Let’s get small in order to understand the big picture.
(Drewry’s composite World Container index)
The cost of shipping just one of the 40-foot shipping containers you see on a ship more than tripled from a year ago. Last week was the 19th straight week that prices have risen. To ship one container on any of the eight routes sailing from the east to the west is $9,613. Some routes have risen even more, in some cases up to six times what they were a year ago.
The New York Times did a smart piece on how this affects companies near you. They found an Orlando company that makes adult tricycles. The factory is sitting on millions of dollars of trikes that need one small part to be finished and shipped. That $30 part comes from Taiwan and is stuck in the delivery backlog.
WBBM in Chicago looked at the backlog in their city’s railyards and found a small business that makes can coolers is waiting for shipments that are caught up in ports. The problem is compounded by truck driver shortages and other snags in warehouse logistics.
The New York Times reports that high-end jewelry is going to be significantly more scarce and expensive this holiday season.
The FDA’s ‘full approval’ of a vaccine has not sparked a rush to get vaccinated
Remember all those people who said they would get vaccinated when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval rather than emergency approval to a COVID-19 vaccine? So far, that has mostly proven to be talk, not action.
Yes, there has been a small increase in vaccinations. But at this rate, we won’t reach a 75% vaccination rate until January.
Five states have 90% full ICUs
Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows us that Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida and Arkansas have less than 10% left of their intensive care unit bed capacity.
Did Cam Newton’s vaccination status lead to NFL’s Patriots cutting him?
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
It is roster-cutting time in the NFL and the New England Patriots just cut star quarterback Cam Newton from the roster. One of the questions echoing through the sports world is whether Newton’s vaccination status was a reason for him being released. WBZ in Boston tells the backstory:
Head coach Bill Belichick said, for the record, many times, that “dependability is more important than ability.” Newton’s fate may be a signal to other NFL players that if they miss games because they chose not to be vaccinated, they may be done.
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Correction: Bill Belichick is the Patriots’ head coach, not team owner.