This is Garrison Hardie with your CrossPolitic Daily News Brief for Thursday, September 14th, 2023.
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US judge freezes New Mexico governor’s gun ban
A federal judge in New Mexico on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order against the state governor’s ban on carrying guns in Albuquerque and its surrounding county, a move which threw the state into the center of the U.S. gun-rights debate.
U.S. District Court Judge David Urias said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 30-day suspension of concealed and open firearm carry rights went against a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that people had a right to carry a gun outside their homes for self defense.
“They just want the right to carry their guns,” Urias said of the several plaintiffs who requested restraining orders against Lujan Grisham’s Sept. 8 emergency public health order.
The Democratic governor issued the suspension on firearm carry laws to offer a “cooling-off period” in which authorities could address solutions to the state’s high rates of gun crime after several children were fatally shot.
Lujan Grisham’s order outraged gun-rights advocates and drew backlash from fellow Democrats and law enforcement officials, also Democrats, who called it unconstitutional.
Gun control campaigners called the move “courageous” and the Catholic Archbishop of Santa Fe feared more value was being given to gun rights than the life of an 11-year-old boy shot dead last week in an apparent Albuquerque road rage incident.
Albuquerque’s mayor and Bernalillo County’s sheriff, both Democrats, have urged Lujan Grisham to call a special state legislative session on gun crime after the gun ban.
Mayor Tim Keller said that, in order to fight gun crime, he needed legislation to fix a broken criminal justice system, regulate assault weapons and provide addiction and mental health services, among other measures.
“Albuquerque families can’t afford political debates that distract us from fighting violent crime,” Keller wrote in a letter to the governor.
Gun violence kills around 500 people a year in New Mexico, which ranks sixth among U.S. states for gun deaths per capita, according to gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety. Albuquerque is among the 10 most dangerous U.S. cities, based on FBI violent crime data.
Lujan Grisham favors a ban on so-called semi-automatic assault weapons, among other gun control measures, and her office on Wednesday welcomed Keller’s call for a special legislative session.
Police called after Biden’s energy secretary uses nonelectric car to reserve EV charger
A Georgia family called the police on Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm after an electric vehicle charging station was blocked by a gas-powered car, which had been parked by a staff member of the Department of Energy.
The event occurred during a four-day road trip that Granholm was taking to demonstrate the effectiveness of electric vehicles. During the trip, the group’s caravan was going to charge up at a suburb of Augusta, Georgia, but due to a lack of charging stations needed for all of their vehicles, a staff member with the group parked a nonelectric vehicle by one of the chargers to reserve a spot.
Shortly after, a family with a baby was planning to charge their vehicle but could not due to the nonelectric vehicle blocking the charger, leading to them calling the police. However, it is not illegal for nonelectric vehicles to park at EV charging stations in Georgia, meaning the police could not do anything about the situation. The Energy Department staff were eventually able to work things out after they sent other vehicles to slower chargers to allow the family to charge their vehicle.
“It’s just par for the course,” said John Ryan, a driver of an electric BMW who was also waiting to charge his vehicle. “They’ll get it together at some point.”
Granholm’s road trip comes as the Biden administration pushes for electric vehicles in the auto industry, with the Energy Department announcing last month that it would be allocating $2 billion in grants and $10 billion in loans to support automakers and part suppliers. This allocation would be for automakers to retrofit their existing facilities and expand the production of electric vehicles and their components.
In August, Ford CEO Jim Farley said he received a “reality check” when he tried to charge his electric vehicle during a road trip he took himself. When charging his vehicle, he said his car was only charged to 40% during the 40 minutes he charged it, according to a video he posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1690858328606355456 – Play Video
President Donald Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, has criticized the Biden administration’s stance against gas-powered cars and appliances, saying voters want to have a “choice for buying cars and washing machines.” He has encouraged auto industry workers to ask their leaders to vote for him in the next presidential election, stating he will “immediately” end the electric vehicle “madness.”
Income dropped, poverty soared under Biden: Census Bureau
Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to tout the alleged successes of “Bidenomics,” a report from the United States Census Bureau has revealed that many Americans saw their economic situation deteriorate dramatically in the first half of Biden’s term.
While the official poverty rate hovered around 11.5% in both 2021 and 2022, according to the report, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) increased 4.6% in 2022 to reach 12.4%, marking the first overall increase in that metric since 2010. In total, 37.9 million Americans lived in poverty in 2022. The report partially attributed the increase to the expiration of tax credits and pandemic stimulus payments.
Income, meanwhile, dropped across an array of metrics. Real median household income declined by 2.3% from $76,330 to $74,580, while real median earnings of all workers dropped 2.2%. The drop was less severe among full-time, year-round workers, who saw a 1.3% decline. Inflation soared 7.8% from 2021 to 2022, marking the largest single-year increase in cost of living since 1981.
The Census Bureau statement follows some other bad economic news for the president. The unemployment rate in August rose from 3.5% to 3.8% while inflation ticked up to 3.2%, marking the first increase after a consistent, year-long decline.
Biden has repeatedly insisted that economic conditions are improving in the United States and has consistently attributed the nominal upswing to his policies. Americans, however, appear skeptical of that assertion, with 37.8% approving of his handling of the economy in the RealClearPolitics polling average, compared to 58.9% who disapprove.
Chicago mayor faces pushback from local leaders for plan to house migrants in tents: ‘Help your people first’
Democrat Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is facing opposition from local leaders after he asked that “all 50 city council members” find space in their wards to help house “more than 200 migrants” in tents, according to a new report.
But some aldermen are pushing back on Johnson’s plans.
“I’ve looked in my ward. I just don’t have any available space. I have one of the most dense wards in the city,” Alderman Brian Hopkins said, according to ABC7 Chicago.
Alderman David Moore of the 17th Ward called on Chicago to help its own community first.
“I’m a believer in help your people first, help yourselves first, help your community first. Then reach out and help others,” Moore said.
But some aldermen have also voiced support for Johnson’s plan to house migrants.
Johnson has announced that he wants to relocate the city’s nearly 1,600 asylum-seeking migrants, currently living in police stations, to winterized camps with big tents before cold weather hits.
Each of the massive tents will be able to hold up to 1,000 migrants, the mayor said, and under his plan the camps will provide meals as well as recreational and educational programming. Currently, 16 shelters in the city house 13,500 migrants, and more arrive every day.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported the cost to shelter the 13,500 migrants costs the city about $30 million per month.
Johnson and his administration are working with the state of Illinois and Cook County to establish more shelters to take some of the pressure off Chicago, the mayor said.
“These families are coming to the city of Chicago,” Johnson said. “If we do not create an infrastructure where we’re able to support and, quite frankly, contain these individuals who have experienced a great deal of harm, individuals who are desperate … that type of desperation will lead to chaos.”
Johnson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.