Hello! It’s Thursday, July 28, the 209th day of the year. Six years ago today, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman in US history to be nominated for president by a major political party. Funny how after her loss 103 days later, it didn’t occur to her to incite her supporters to attack the Capitol and erect a gallows for Paul Ryan.
Sunrise in Boston was at 5:32 a.m. and sunset will be at 8:08 p.m. for 14 hours and 36 minutes of sunlight. There’s a new moon, and thank God because I was getting pretty sick of the old one. Just kept staring at me.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac says flowers and plants have meanings -- a purpose behind the petals, a leafy language all their own. Some seem innocent enough: A blue salvia means I’m thinking of you, a yellow lily indicates happiness, a forget-me-not means, well, I think you can figure that one out.
But some are a bit odd. A Canterbury bell, for example, means your letter has been received. It seems easier to text “Hey I got your letter” rather than calling FTD, but whatever. A yellow marguerite daisy means “I come soon.” Um, could you be a little more specific? I could be in Iceland when you arrive.
And some seem a bit, um, hinky. Such as wild roses, which indicate pleasure and pain. If they are delivered with leather underwear and feather ticklers, change the locks.
What’s it like outside? Nice again, but higher humidity today and tomorrow, adding to the chance of some thunderstorms in metro Boston. If only! Humidity drops for the weekend, however, with temperatures in the mid- to high 80s. Look for 90 at the start of next week.
Hey, sport: The Scufflin’ Sox wrap up their series with Cleveland tonight (7:10 p.m. on NESN), and then welcome the Brewers to Fenway for a weekend series (7:10 p.m. Friday, 4:10 p.m. Saturday, and 1:35 p.m. Sunday, all on NESN).
Given their recent poor play, what will they do as Tuesday’s trade deadline nears?
And did you see that David Ortiz has signed on with a weed company to offer a line of “Papi Cannabis” products? No wonder he’s always smiling ...
Speaking of Ortiz, Globe columnist Joan Vennochi rightfully called him out for wearing a hat around Cooperstown and Boston -- including while he was with Mayor Michelle Wu -- inscribed with “HOESMAD.” That’s the title of a song by rapper Famous Dex that also calls women “bitches” and has other lyrics degrading to women.
Ortiz’s spokesman claimed that in the swirl of events, Ortiz wasn’t aware of what hat he was wearing. I don’t believe that, but the question is, why do you even own it?
The Revs host Toronto FC at Gillette at 8 p.m. Saturday (WBZ and ESPN+).
Today’s US coronavirus / COVID-19 numbers in the US
From the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
Confirmed US cases: 91,008,907
Confirmed US deaths: 1,028,998
The Democrats’ massive climate, health care, energy, and tax bill that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has finally signed on to would be the most significant action on global warming the US has ever taken -- and just in time.
If you’re not clear on how and why the planet is overheating -- and at a far more rapid rate than most climatologists had predicted -- here’s a simple explanation from National Geographic:
The greenhouse effect is when the Sun’s rays penetrate the atmosphere, that heat is reflected off the surface of the Earth, but it cannot escape back into space. Gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels prevent the heat from leaving the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide. The excess heat in the atmosphere has caused the average global temperature to rise over time, otherwise known as global warming.
The toasty atmosphere and planet has caused myriad catastrophic events, including glacial ice melt that’s causing sea levels to rise, endangering coastal communities; warming oceans that are disrupting fragile ecosystems; widespread drought leading to massive and uncontrollable wildfires; dramatic increases in high and low temperatures, heat waves, tropical storms, river flooding ... the list is seemingly endless.
National Geographic: Globe Warming Education
From the EPA: Climate Change Indicators: Weather and Climate
So major action on climate change by the United States isn’t just welcome; it’s long overdue.
The Democrats’ comprehensive bill would spend $369 billion on climate change measures and $64 billion on extending Affordable Care Act subsidies.
It would raise $313 billion by establishing a minimum corporate tax of 15 percent, $288 billion by reforming the pricing of prescription drugs, $124 billion by strengthening IRS tax collection enforcement, and $14 billion by closing the carried interest loophole.
The net gain will reduce the deficit by $300 billion over 10 years.
Here are the details:
The Dems say these provisions will slash US greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.
-- Extend the $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for a used EV, but lower the income threshold.
-- Encourage consumers to buy heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric HVAC, and energy-efficient water heaters by giving them 10-year tax credits to reduce the cost.
-- Provide $60 billion for environmental justice communities and for the reduction of legacy pollution.
-- Allocate $60 billion for domestic clean energy manufacturing and $30 billion for a production credit tax credit for wind, solar, and battery storage.
-- Start a methane program that imposes a fee on oil and gas producers that emit methane above a certain level.
-- Set aside $27 billion for a “green bank” of sorts that will use public and private funding to finance more green projects.
-- Finally let Medicare negotiate the price of certain prescription drugs.
-- Penalize drug companies that increase prices faster than inflation.
-- Under Medicare’s Part D drug plans, seniors and people with disabilities won’t have to pay more than $2,000 a year for medicine bought at a pharmacy.
-- All vaccines for those enrolled in Medicare will be free. Right now, only certain vaccines, like Covid-19, the flu, and pneumonia, are.
-- Extend the enhanced federal premium subsidies for Obamacare coverage through 2025.
The Dems say that tax hikes will not apply to any families making less than $400,000 a year or to small businesses.
-- Impose a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations with more than $1 billion in profits, because many of those companies use creative accounting to pay zero taxes. This minimum tax would be imposed on what corporations tell shareholders their profits are, not what they tell the IRS.
Inquiring minds want to know why those two numbers would be different.
-- Close the carried interest loophole, which lets fund managers get paid in capital gains rather than traditional income because long-term capital gains carry a much lower tax rate: 20 percent vs. 37 percent. (That’s how Bain Capital paid Mitt Romney.)
Nice work if you can get it.
-- Give the IRS more money so it can go after tax scofflaws.
By the way, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell calls all of the above “nonsense.”
WHAT’S NOT IN THE BILL
You may remember that the Democrats’ original bill was worth $3.5 trillion. So a lot has been cut out, including provisions to expand and strengthen the country’s social service net, such as:
-- A universal pre-K program providing free pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds -- about 6 million kids.
-- A limit on child care costs for low- and middle-income families with children younger than age 6 -- about 20 million kids.
-- An extension of the enhanced child tax credit through the end of this year. That gave $300 a month for each child under age 6 and $250 a month for each child ages 6 through 17. Would have helped more than 35 million families.
-- Four weeks of paid family and sick leave.
-- Expansion of Medicare benefits.
-- The removal of Trump’s $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, which raised taxes for millions of middle-class Americans.
-- Tax surcharges on wealthy individuals.
-- A cap on the price of insulin at $35 a month. Some people are going bankrupt trying to afford their insulin, or are rationing it. Deplorable.
Speaking of taxes, Mass. taxpayers could get some extra change in their pockets because of the state’s huge budget surplus: One estimate pegs it at $3.6 billion. And that could trigger a 1986 law that would force the state to give some of that surplus to taxpayers -- maybe as much as $2.5 billion.
Finally, if you’re up for going into movie theaters, the Globe gave three stars to a couple of recent releases:
-- “Vengeance,” which The Office’s B.J. Novak directed and stars in, lampoons podcast tropes -- and poaches from them.
-- “DC League of Super-Pets,” starring the voices of John Krasinski as Superman and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as his dog Krypto. (There are other stars as well, including Olivia Wilde as Lois Lane, Kevin Hart as a hound dog, and Kate McKinnon as a diabolical hairless guinea pig who kidnaps Superman.)
From the Globe: B.J. Novak proves his chops in directorial debut ‘Vengeance’
On TV, Globe critic Matthew Gilbert suggests the Hulu series “The Bear,” about a talented chef who returns to Chicago to take over his brother’s restaurant after his brother’s suicide.
”The Resort” series on Peacock is about an unhappily married couple who become entangled in an unsolved mystery while on vacation in Mexico.
“Surface” on Apple TV+ is centered on a woman who secretly investigates her past to try to find out if the reason she lost her memory is because, as her husband claims, she tried to kill herself.
And Neil Patrick Harris, in “Uncoupled” on HBO Max, finds himself looking for a new partner in New York after his boyfriend of 17 years suddenly dumps him.
Matthew has more here.
Enjoy your weekend.
Thanks for reading. One of these days, this country will get serious about supporting families. E-mail comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you next week.
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