House energy package sparks criticism from left and right

Both Republicans and left-wing environmental groups criticized a sprawling House energy package billed as a response to climate change.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of emergency loans | House seeks to salvage vote on spending bill | Economists tell lawmakers: Kill the virus to heal the economy House moves toward spending vote after bipartisan talks House Democrats mull delay on spending bill vote MORE (D-Md.) has said the chamber would vote this week on the legislation.

The package would funnel money toward research and development of a number of types of energy while promoting energy efficiency for homes, schools and other buildings.

Republicans on Wednesday knocked the speed at which the 900-page bill, which has not had a legislative hearing, is moving through the House and said it would harm consumers. 

Top Republicans on the chamber’s Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Science, Space and Technology committees slammed the legislation. 

“Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] wants to spend more than $135 billion on a piece of legislation that will never become law,” said Reps. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenTrump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line Ignore the misinformation: The FDA will ensure the safety of any COVID-19 vaccine Hillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video MORE (R-Ore.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA head questions connection of climate change to natural disasters | Pebble Mine executives eye future expansion in recorded conversations | EPA questions science linking widely used pesticide to brain damage in children House GOP seeks to cement Trump rollback of bedrock environmental law LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise MORE (R-Utah) and Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasHillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll House passes legislation to boost election security research Protecting COVID research at American universities from foreign hackers MORE (R-Okla.). “If Democrats wanted to make real progress on clean energy, they wouldn’t have dropped a 900-page bill and called for a vote a week later, without any time for thoughtful consideration through regular order.”

“This bill is chock-full of government mandates that would raise what Americans pay for everything from the vehicles they drive to what they pay to heat, cool, and power their homes,” they added. 

Environmentalists criticized the inclusion of funding for research into a mechanism known as carbon capture and sequestration, which removes carbon from the air. Carbon capture is unpopular with some environmentalists because it’s often used in fossil fuel production.

And a coalition of more than 100 environmental and progressive groups, including and the Center for Biological Diversity, released a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the bill, citing its support for carbon capture. 


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‘WandaVision’ Trailer Clue Sparks House of M Fan Theories

Marvel fans were treated to a new look at upcoming series WandaVision during the Emmys last night and the Easter Egg speculation has already gone into overdrive.

Paul Bettany et al. posing for a picture: WandaVision starring Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen is filming now and has an expected released of late 2020 on Disney+

© Disney+
WandaVision starring Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen is filming now and has an expected released of late 2020 on Disney+

The series is quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and its plot has been pretty much shrouded in mystery from the get-go—but with the new promo, fans finally have something to work with.

One such Easter Egg is related to the Hose of M theory, which got a rather prominent nod in the trailer.

WandaVision stars Avengers stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision, but it takes place in some sort of alternate universe. The trailer seems to confirm the show is set after the events of Infinity War.

House of M is a 2005 comic book story centered around Scarlet Witch, who suffers a grief-stricken mental breakdown which causes her to alter the fabric of reality.

During the new trailer a wine bottle bearing the name ‘Maison du Mepris’ a.ka. ‘House of M’ can be seen. Translated from French this means ‘House of Contempt.’

In WandaVision, it looks like maybe Scarlet Witch is experiencing an alternate reality, one in which Vision has not been killed by Thanos.

One Reddit user speculates: “A consequence of Wanda changing reality could be the realization of her deepest desire: a new iteration of Vision, hence the events of Age of Ultron and her subsequent romance with him. However, now that this new iteration of Vision has died (as did the previous iteration) via the events of Infinity War, Wanda finds herself back at square one and subconsciously reverses reality back to its original state, in which mutants already existed.”

A similar theory suggests that WandaVision is a sort of reverse House of M concept.

As one fan put it on Reddit: “Probably Wanda having some sort of break after the events of endgame and creating an alternate reality where Vision never died, and going a little crazy. We also know that the events of WandaVision will have major implications for the MCU, specifically affecting Dr. Strange 2.”

Whatever the plot ends up being, it’s looking likely that WandaVision will be an integral part of the Avengers timeline.

The YouTube caption for the WandaVision promo hints: “The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”

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Toilet cam: Otumoetai College sparks concerns over bathroom cameras

A Bay of Plenty college is the latest secondary school to spark concerns over security cameras in student toilets.

A mum of two girls at the school was appalled to discover Otumoetai College had installed wall-mounted cameras inside student toilets.

The woman, who does not want to be named, has told the school her daughters will not be using the toilets until they are taken down.

She claims the spherical cameras are high on bathroom walls, capturing vision from inside the cubicles.

But the school says the cameras are only in the public areas of the toilets to ensure the individual safety and security of its students.

The woman said she thought her daughter was mistaken when she said the school had placed cameras inside the bathrooms.

It took a photo to convince her they were real and her daughter wasn’t making up the story.

“I really thought my girl had got it wrong when she told me there were cameras in the girls’ toilets.

“I honestly didn’t think schools could do that. And we hadn’t been told.”

After seeing photographic proof of the camera, she contacted a dean at the school to raise concerns but claims she was told “not to be ridiculous” and “that’s not what we do”.

However, the principal confirmed to the horrified mum that cameras were installed throughout the school last year after a decision by the board of trustees.

She was told they were meant to counter a graffiti problem in the bathrooms and only two people had access to the footage: himself and the person in charge of IT.

The principal tried to reassure the mother the pupils’ privacy was not at stake with vision down into the cubicles blacked out, she said.

“I don’t want to even think of my daughter using the toilet and someone being able to watch her.

“That’s just disgusting.

“I told the school my daughters will not be using the toilets, ever,” she said.

“It’s completely inappropriate that they’ve done it,” she said.

She believed parents should have been notified.

Other parents she had contacted were also outraged.

But Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon told the Herald the cameras had been installed for about 20 months and only showed the wash bay areas and did not capture any vision inside cubicles.

“The reason for these cameras are to ensure the individual safety and security of our students,” he said.

Prominent notices indicated the presence of cameras in the toilets and the school had clear policy guidelines about storage and access to the information collected.

Gordon said he had only received one complaint from a parent concerned about the placement of a camera, but it only showed students entering and exiting the toilets and did not capture any vision inside cubicles, he said.

Last week, the Herald reported students at Rutherford College ripped down a CCTV camera outside the boys’ bathrooms because they were worried it might capture them exposed.

The school defended the cameras, saying they were

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Removal of flag honoring veterans from White House sparks anger

By Alexandra Alper and Idrees Ali

a large building: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump meets with Turkish President Erdogan in Washington

© Reuters/Tom Brenner
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump meets with Turkish President Erdogan in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A decision by the Trump administration earlier this year to move the flag honoring missing war veterans from a prominent position atop the White House to a less visible spot on the South Lawn has angered some veterans and lawmakers, who see it as disrespectful and potentially illegal.

The flag is dedicated to prisoners of war and service members who are missing in action. According to a White House video posted in June, it was relocated in a private ceremony with full military honors, months after President Donald Trump signed into law a bill requiring the flag to be flown at certain federal sites including the White House every day.

The revelations come amid growing questions over Trump’s respect for the military, after a report last week by the Atlantic magazine alleging that Trump had called fallen American soldiers “losers” and “suckers” sparked outrage and controversy.

Trump denied the assertions, but has publicly disparaged the service of the late Senator John McCain, a war veteran, and was accused of criticizing his own generals in excerpts of a forthcoming book titled “Rage,” by Bob Woodward.

“It’s bad enough that President Trump publicly ridicules American heroes like Senator McCain and others who were captured on the battlefield. He inexplicably promotes the Confederate flag but fails to fly the POW/MIA flag,” said Democratic Senator Jack Reed, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It’s part of a pattern of disrespect by President Trump toward those who honorably served our nation.”

Reed, and fellow Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Margaret Hassan, who also co-sponsored the bill, sent a letter to the White House on Thursday requesting that it reconsider the flag’s relocation.

“This decision to abruptly move the POW/MIA Flag from atop the White House to an area that is apparently not visible to the public may violate federal law and does not appropriately honor the service and sacrifices of American prisoners of war, missing servicemembers, and their families,” the letter reads.

The White House defended the change of venue but did not offer a reason for it.

“President Trump dedicated a POW/MIA memorial site earlier this year on the White House grounds to forever remember our heroic service members who were prisoners of war or missing in action,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said. “The President selected a site on the Southwest corner of the South Lawn for this prominent and sacred memorial, which is visible to all those who visit the White House, that features the POW/MIA flag,” he added.

The black and white flag, which reads “you are not forgotten,” depicts a man beneath a guard tower gazing down at a barbed wire fence. Roughly 82,000 American servicemembers are still missing since World War Two.

U.S. law requires the flag to be displayed in a “manner designed to ensure visibility to the public.” In its current position, it

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