The Week In Review

The Week In Review

Image: This photograph, by photojournalist Dymytro Muravskiy, showing two Ukrainian soldiers helping a wounded compatriot down a dirt road, has drawn enormous controversy on the grounds that it’s a fake staged photograph issued from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to seek world sympathy for Ukraine’s cause.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe (Texas) and The World, February 27 – The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, begins a news weekly series, “The Week In Review,” with a review of this past week’s leading stories from this newspaper and other news sources around the world.

Friday, February 25, 2022

After a day of heavy shelling and ground fighting in cities and towns across Ukraine on Thursday, Russia turned its attention to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, on Friday. Missile strikes hammered the city overnight and a Russian rocket fragment landed on a residential building, injuring at least three people, according to the mayor of Kyiv.

Federal Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson at the White House on Friday, February 25, 2022.

President Joe Biden today nominated federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman selected to serve on the Court.

An inflation gauge that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve jumped 6.1% in January compared with a year ago, the latest evidence that Americans are enduring sharp price increases that will likely worsen after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major distributors finalized nationwide settlements over their role in the opioid addiction crisis Friday, an announcement that clears the way for $26 billion to flow to nearly every state and local government in the U.S.

Pope Francis visited the Russian Embassy on Friday to personally “express his concern about the war” in Ukraine, in an extraordinary, hands-on papal gesture that has no recent precedent.

Running for re-election in a bitter campaign where voters are beginning to figure out his mendacious character, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough has had to resort to paying hefty prices to procure endorsements from two political groups, the Republican Voters of Texas PAC and the Conservative Republicans of Texas.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in a Fort Worth federal court yesterday against the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives seeking to stop the enforcement of federal regulations regarding firearm suppressors made in Texas. Texas House Bill 957, passed in 2021, expressly exempts from federal regulation firearm suppressors that are made in and remain in Texas.

Applebee’s has pulled its advertisements off of CNN after the network ran a very light-hearted ad promoting the restaurant’s menu during live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Russian forces have broadly advanced on Ukraine from all directions after missiles knocked out the Ukrainian air force on the ground, cyberattacks shut down the nation’s strategic computers, and Ukraine lost large swaths of geography including the site of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Approximately 50 Ukrainians have died with no indications of Russian casualties. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned any country trying to interfere with “consequences you have never seen.”

The United States, the 27-nation European Union, and other Western allies on Thursday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “barbaric” and quickly slapped heavy sanctions, including bank account freezes, trade barriers, and export controls on the Russian economy, President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and many of the country’s oligarchs. “Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” U.S. President Joe Biden declared.

A Michigan judge on Thursday ordered, Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of a 15-year-old boy charged with killing four students at his Oxford, Michigan, high school to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.

Financial markets swung wildly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatened to push the high inflation squeezing the global economy even higher. Initially, stocks tumbled as prices surged for oil, wheat and other commodities on worries the conflict would disrupt global supplies. But the moves moderated as the day progressed, particularly after President Joe Biden said he wanted to limit the economic pain for Americans and announced new sanctions that fell short of what some had suggested. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 tumbled 2.6% at the start of trading before erasing the drop and flipping to a gain of 1.5%. The heaviest losses hit stocks in Europe, after officials called Russia’s nearby moves a “brutal act of war,” with the German DAX down 4%.

Led by Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, several Texas prosecutors, all Democrats, have announced their refusal to enforce Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s directive and Attorney General Ken Paxton’s formal opinion calling for criminal prosecution of child gender modifications as “child abuse” under the Texas Family Code.

The three former Minneapolis police officers who are accused of violating the civil rights of George Floyd, a Black man who died after he was pinned down by a white Minneapolis officer for close to 10 minutes, were found guilty by a jury on Thursday. Basically, they failed to intervene when Chauvin applied excessive force on Mr. Floyd.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called his Sunshine State the ‘citadel of freedom’ that President Joe Biden ‘hates’ – and called out Canada and Australia for their ‘authoritarian rule’ over COVID restrictions.  DeSantis got a raucous reaction when he welcomed crowds Thursday afternoon to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Kremlin said rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine asked Russia for military assistance Wednesday to fight “aggression” while Ukraine declared a nationwide state of emergency. The Biden White House has said Russian forces both inside Ukraine and at the border are now ready to launch a full-scale attack.

The economic sanctions the Biden administration and other western nations put in place yesterday against Russia will have limited impact, as Russia has already made major trade and banking arrangements with China.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Russian President Putin as a ‘tyrant’ today for the invasion of Hungary. No, I didn’t misspeak. The confused Pelosi said, “Well if you look at the map, and you see Hungary and you see how it is encircled: Russia, Belarus, Crimea — which they have taken over but you know it’s still a danger now to Ukraine.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Putin would not have been emboldened to send 150,000 troops to the Ukrainian border “had we not precipitously withdrawn from Afghanistan.” House Republican leaders Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise accused President Biden of consistently choosing appeasement and “tough talk…never followed by strong action.”

Two prosecutors, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, leading the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal tax fraud investigation into Donald Trump have abruptly resigned, after expressing serious doubts about the merits of the case.

Ivanka Trump.

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka is in discussions with the House January 6 committee to appear for a voluntary interview about what she observed in the White House on January 6, 2021, where her father addressed his supporters before protests unfolded at the U.S. Capitol.

The Missouri Republican Senate primary is getting nasty as Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler knocked former Governor Eric Greitens over the lurid allegations that prompted him to resign from office as Governor in 2018. Hartzler said yesterday, ‘It is not conservative to tie a woman up in your basement and assault her.”  Greitens resigned but eventually prosecutors dropped the charges against him for lack of evidence and indications his hairdresser consented to their extramarital relationship.

Musician Elton John’s $130 million private jet suffered massive hydraulic failure on his way to New York for a concert on Monday. The plane attempted twice unsuccessfully to make an emergency landing in Ireland, but high winds delayed it. Eventually, the 74-year-old singer landed but felt shaken.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Convoys of Russian armored vehicles rolled across the Ukraine’s separatist-controlled territories late yesterday, after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin recognized Donetsk and Lubansk as independent nations separate from Ukraine. Putin signed a decree yesterday ordering the Russian military to “maintain peace” in the separatist territories of eastern Ukraine, while this morning Russian lawmakers gave Putin permission to use military force outside the country. President Biden this afternoon announced sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs aimed at punishing Russia for what he called “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” joining European leaders in imposing those actions.

An hours-long hostage standoff at the Apple Store in downtown Amsterdam ended late Tuesday with police in a car driving into the hostage taker as he ran from the store. His hostage was safe, and a robot checked the hostage taker for explosives. He’s now in the custody of police and medical staff.

A truck convoy organizer says that his group has plans to shut down the Capital Beltway in the D.C. region this week. Bob Bolus, who owns a Scranton, Pennsylvania-based tow truck business, said that in protest of COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates against truckers, the plans are to block the Beltway, like a boa constrictor squeezing you, choking you, and swallowing you.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a formal opinion last night that “sex change” procedures and treatments, when performed on children, legally constitute child abuse under several provisions of chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code, including its criminal provisions. In response, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Child Protective Services to begin investigating instances of Texas children being subjected to abusive gender-transitioning procedures.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, running for re-election and suffering withering criticism from his opponents and their supporters, defaced and handed out fraudulent versions of the Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC voter guide showing that they endorsed him for re-election, when, in fact, they did not.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that he is scrapping of the last domestic coronavirus restrictions in England, including the requirement for people with COVID-19 to self-isolate. Johnson said the country was “moving from government restrictions to personal responsibility” as part of a plan for treating COVID-19 like other transmissible illnesses such as flu.

Do you remember when Richard Hatch fought off a shark on “Survivor” by biting it? This past month, Heather West, 42, snorkeled at Dry Tortugas National Park’s Little Africa Reef, when a lemon shark bit her in the foot while she explored the ocean off the Florida keys. For almost 30 seconds, she punched the shark in the face and scared it off.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin  recognized the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, as two independent breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine, marking a sharp escalation in tensions between Moscow and the West. The move is likely to set up a confrontation with Kyiv and its Western allies, which are poised to push back on potential large-scale Russian military aggression. Putin claimed Russia is a protector of Eastern Europe culture against encroaching threats from the United States and the West. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said today that Russia is planning an extremely violent invasion of Ukraine to “crush” the Ukrainian people.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas stepped up his attacks on Joe Biden’s plan to pick black woman for the Supreme Court to replace Justice Stephen Breyer. Cruz accused Biden of “racial discrimination.”

Former President Donald Trump today launched his Truth Social social media app that he hopes will rival Twitter.  President Trump seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. His Truth Social app was offered for download from the Apple App Store to a limited number of subscribers who had preordered, with others added to a waiting list to be given access over the next 10 days. The site encountered technical glitches shortly after launch, with reports that subscribers were shut out for hours. Others had trouble signing on.

Mount Etna sent plumes of smoke and ash shooting into the air over eastern Sicily after roaring back into action today. Thick smoke engulfed the sky above Catania after Etna, one of Europe’s most active volcanoes, sent a 7.5-mile high volcanic ash cloud over the city. In 1982, scientists used dynamite to divert the lava flows away from neighboring towns.

A third major storm in five days has battered with heavy rains and high winds killing at least two more people, disrupting travel and prompting hundreds of flood alerts across a region still recovering from last week’s hurricane-force winds. 14 people total have died in the last 10 days.

A car is destroyed by a fallen tree after a storm in Schwerin, Germany, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. A series of storms have hit northern Europe in recent days.( Jens Buettner/dpa via AP)

The storm pushed in from the North Atlantic on Sunday afternoon even as crews worked to clear fallen trees and restore power to thousands of customers hit by storms.

Canadian lawmaker Mark Strahl says the bank account of a single mom with a minimum wage job has been frozen after she donated $50 to the Freedom Convoy under Prince Minister Justin Trudeau’s orders under the Emergencies Act. Strahl noted that such blocks against people who support the anto-vaccine protests of truckers would never have occurred to supporters of Black Lives Matters protesters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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