The authors write, “In September 2020, West Virginia’s chief utility regulator told the state’s natural gas customers she had good news: Their bills were about to drop significantly, thanks to the state’s drilling boom and the declining price of wholesale gas. ... But the promised price drop turned out to be brief. In fact, by January, the majority of customers’ bills in the state had gone up. While gas prices had declined, a utility surcharge had increased, wiping out the savings.” Photo credit: PxHere

Supreme Court Dismisses Last Challenge Over PA’s 2020 Election ; Indoor Dust Contains Toxic Chemicals ; and More Picks 4/20

US Supreme Court Dismisses the Last Challenge Over Pennsylvania’s 2020 Election (Reader Steve)

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: “The U.S. Supreme Court closed the books on Pennsylvania’s 2020 election Monday, rejecting an appeal of a Republican congressional candidate’s unsuccessful challenge of the state’s mail-ballot deadlines. The case was the last of a torrent of litigation challenging the administration of Pennsylvania’s election, which drew intense scrutiny and several appeals to the Supreme Court. But the court repeatedly declined to intervene in the Pennsylvania cases, even as some conservative justices signaled potential interest. On Monday — five months and 16 days after Election Day, and three months into Biden’s presidency — the court vacated the previous judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, returned the case to the circuit court, and instructed it to dismiss the case as moot. No justices were listed as dissenting from the decision.”

DeSantis Wants Voters’ Signatures to Match. Would His Pass the Test? (DonkeyHotey)

From the Tampa Bay Times: “Handwriting experts say no two signatures from one person are the same. It’s why Florida election officials for years have used all the signatures at their disposal — sometimes more than a dozen — when they authenticate a voter’s signature on a mail-in ballot. DeSantis wants to rein-in that long-standing practice. Vote-by-mail signatures ‘must match the most recent signature on file’ with the state Department of Elections, DeSantis declared in February. A bill moving through the Florida Senate would make that one-to-one match the law.”

Sex, Lies and the Alabama Secretary of State: The Fall of John Merrill (Reader Steve)

The authors write, “For more than two years, John Merrill carried on an affair, secure in the assumption that his secret life was safe so long as the woman he slept with didn’t go public about it. However, on April 6 a self-described ‘New Right’ political blog published recordings of Cesaire McPherson speaking in explicit terms about her relationship with Merrill. … A day after the audio of McPherson was published, Merrill, a married father of two, admitted the affair and announced that he would not make an anticipated run for U.S. Senate — or any other elected office — next year.”

Indoor Dust Contains PFAs and Other Toxic Chemicals (Bethany)

From the Intercept: “Indoor dust contains dangerous, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, according to a study published … in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study of 46 dust samples from 21 buildings at a U.S. university found that all 46 samples contained hormonally active compounds that can lead to health effects, including infertility, diabetes, obesity, abnormal fetal growth, and cancers. The study helps explain how industrial chemicals known as PFAS and flame retardants, which are found in the blood or urine of over 90 percent of Americans and are already known to cause widespread health and reproductive effects, enter the body.”

UFO Sightings Spike Dramatically During the Coronavirus Pandemic (Dana)

The author writes, “In a year when many of us were stuck indoors, it turns out we had more time to look at the night sky. A fascinating report by The New York Times uncovered that according to data from the National U.F.O. Reporting Center, UFO sightings surged across the United States. New York especially saw a dramatic rise, with sightings doubling year on year during 2020 to 300 total sightings. Nationwide sightings increased by 1,000 to a total of 7,200, an increase of around 16%. Why have sightings increased? Most likely because people had more time to scan the night sky with strict lockdowns in place, particularly in New York. But there was also a spate of UFO news throughout 2020 that pushed the topic to the forefront of the zeitgeist.”

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