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peppertree's Journal
peppertree's Journal
August 28, 2022

Joey DeFrancesco, reigning king of the Jazz organ, dies at 51

Joey DeFrancesco, who brought the richly enveloping sound of the Hammond B-3 organ roaring back into the jazz mainstream in the early 1990s, reigning as its preeminent ace for more than 30 years, died on Thursday. He was 51.

Gloria DeFrancesco, his wife and manager, announced his death on social media, but did not provide a cause.

Few jazz artists in any era have ever dominated the musical language and popular image of an instrument the way DeFrancesco did with the organ — as early as 17, when his head-turning debut was released on Columbia Records.

He exhibited supreme technical command at the keyboard, reeling off ribbons of notes with his right hand.

At: https://www.npr.org/2022/08/26/1119560655/joey-defrancesco-driving-force-on-the-hammond-organ-dies-at-51

Renowned Jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, 1971-2022.

August 19, 2022

Rosalynn Carter marking 95th birthday with butterflies

Source: AP

Rosalynn Carter, the second-oldest U.S. first lady ever, turns 95 Thursday on a birthday that will be marked not just with cards and best wishes, but with butterflies.

The wife of former President Jimmy Carter, 97, has a fascination with butterflies dating back to childhood, when she was entranced by the colorful insects flitting around her mother’s flowers in Plains, Georgia, longtime friend and neighbor Annette Wise said.

That interest led to the formation of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, which was established in the southwest Georgia town after the former first lady grew concerned about the future of butterflies, which are crucial to the pollination of flowering plants.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/georgia-jimmy-carter-insects-butterflies-c807cd904a27c9da72bcac5bce727ee3

Author Annette Wise presents a copy of her book, The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, to the trail's namesake, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Mrs. Carter, who turns 95 today, established the trail in 2013 in her Plains, GA, home after reading about the plight of Monarch and other butterflies, which are crucial to the pollination of flowering plants.
August 18, 2022

Argentine inflation hit 7.4% in July - highest monthly rate since April 2002

Inflation in Argentina continues to be unstoppable: consumer prices increased by 7.4% in July alone, breaking a 20-year record, official data revealed.

Prices rose last month at the fastest pace since April 2002 - at the depths of the nation's post-convertibility crisis - and are up by a cumulative 46.2% so far in 2022.

Wholesale prices were likewise up by 7.1% in July, and 64.8% from the same time last year.

Argentine families paid 71% more than in July 2021 - the fastest clip since January 1992. This raised the monthly poverty line, for a family of four, to 111,300 pesos ($780) - a threshold nearly 38% of Argentines fell beneath.

Analysts estimate this year’s inflation at 90%, according to the Central Bank’s July survey of market expectations.

This news prompted the Central Bank to raise benchmark rates again, to 69.5% - the highest since the closing months of the Mauricio Macri administration in late 2019. This placed the yield on fixed-term deposits at around 98%.

Economy Minister Sergio Massa announced that most of the country's 7.5 million pensioners will receive a 7,000-peso ($49) bonus for each of the next three months - which, with a cost-of-living hike of 16%, will mean a 34% raise for median pension checks to just over 50,000 pesos ($350).

Pensioners had already received two 9,000-peso bonuses ($70 at the time) in May and June - after the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed local inflation up from a monthly average of 3.5% last year, to an average of 5.8% monthly in March-June.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/economy/inflation-hit-74-in-july-highest-monthly-rate-since-april-2002.phtml

Demonstrators march against inflation yesterday in Buenos Aires - which reached 71% annually in July and may exceed 90% for all of 2022.

"The march is to denounce those speculators and businessmen who seek to remove the Government with market coups, media coups, judicial coups, and by increasing the prices of basic necessities," the CGT, Argentina's largest labor federation, declared.

An escalation of already-high inflation in July - linked to a run-up in the unofficial, "blue" dollar exchange rate - threatens to derail the country's economic recovery, which saw 10.4% growth in 2021 and 6.2% in the first half of 2022 after three years of sharp recession.
August 17, 2022

Liz Cheney considers run for president after Republican primary defeat

Source: The Guardian

Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney has announced she is considering her own run for the White House in an all-out effort to prevent Donald Trump from winning another term as US president.

Cheney decisively lost her Republican primary race on Tuesday night and will lose her seat in the US Congress.

The Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman beat Cheney by almost 40 points as Wyoming voters took revenge for her voting to impeach Trump and for focusing on her role on the January 6 House select committee.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/17/liz-cheney-president-2024-trump-republican-primary-defeat

Congresswoman Liz Cheney concedes in Wyoming's Republican primary last night.

Cheney, vice-chair of the House January 6 committee, has vowed to ‘do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office’.
August 9, 2022

Pope Francis reforms influential group Opus Dei

A shake-up of conservative Catholic organisation Opus Dei came into effect Thursday, under a decree ordered by Pope Francis that experts say reduces its power and independence.

The organisation, which is present notably in Europe and Latin America and whose title means “God’s Work”, was given unique status in the Catholic Church in 1984 under Pope John Paul II.

Since then, Opus Dei has become a kind of super-diocese operating across borders and answerable only to the pope — drawing accusations of secretive behind-the-scenes power games that it has always denied.

The reforms, announced by Pope Francis in a Motu Proprio edict last month, are part of wider changes to modernise and introduce greater transparency within the government of the Catholic Church.

At: https://www.macaubusiness.com/pope-francis-reforms-influential-group-opus-dei/

Pope Francis greets the new Opus Dei Prelate Fernando Ocáriz in 2017.

From now on, the Opus Dei leader — the prelate — will no longer be appointed a bishop, and the organisation becomes dependent on the Dicastery (or ministry) of the Clergy.

Known as one of the Catholic Church's most conservative - and powerful - groups, Opus Dei was closely tied to the Franco dictatorship in Spain (its home country) as well as numerous dictatorships in Latin America.
August 8, 2022

1980s pop goddess Olivia Newton-John has died at age 73

Olivia Newton-John, one of the biggest pop stars in the 1970s and early 1980s, has died at the age of 73. She died on Monday at her ranch in southern California, according to her husband, John Easterling, in a post on her official Facebook page.

"Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer," it reads in part.

In the 1978 movie musical Grease, Newton-John starred as the good girl Sandy Olson, who falls for a bad boy played by John Travolta, who had also played the role on Broadway. He lobbied hard for Newton-John to make her film debut as his costar.

"I wanted this girl bad," Travolta told Merv Griffin on TV in 1981. "The perfect Sandy, the ultimate Sandy, would be Olivia Newton-John."

At: https://www.npr.org/2022/08/08/847572210/1980s-pop-goddess-olivia-newton-john-has-died-at-age-73

August 7, 2022

Lt. Gen. Michael Langley becomes first African American Marine promoted to 4-star general

The first African American four-star general in Marine Corps history, Gen. Michael E. Langley, credited his father with telling him to “aim high” and predicted that his promotion on Saturday would have an impact on younger people.

Langley, 60, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and grew up at military bases as his father served in the Air Force. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marines in 1985.

“My daddy told me to aim high, so I aimed as high as I could and found the few and the proud,” Langley said during a ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks Washington attended by his father and other family members.

The Marine Corps, which traces its roots to 1775, rejected accepting Black men in its ranks until 1942, a turnabout that followed the attack on the American air base at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the U.S. entry into World War II.

At: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-first-african-american-marine-promoted-to-4-star-general/ar-AA10omTV

Lt. Gen. Michael Langley speaks during a Senate Armed Services hearing to examine the nominations at the Capitol Hill, on July 21st in Washington.

Langley was promoted to The Marine Corps' first African American four-star general during a ceremony Saturday, Aug. 6, at Marine Corps Barracks Washington.
August 3, 2022

Justices uphold Pennsylvania's mail-in voting expansion

Source: CBS News

A wide expansion of mail-in voting in Pennsylvania survived a legal challenge on Tuesday before the state Supreme Court in a case brought by some of the same Republican state representatives who voted for the legislation nearly three years ago.

Millions of state voters have chosen to cast ballots by mail in recent elections, although Democrats have used it in far greater numbers and the law fell out of favor with Republicans as former President Donald Trump attacked it during his losing 2020 reelection campaign.

The 5-2 ruling, with the two Republican justices both voting no, means expanded vote-by-mail will almost certainly be in place for marquee races in November for governor and U.S. Senate.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/pittsburgh/news/justices-uphold-pennsylvania-mail-in-voting-expansion/

A voter drops off his mail ballot for the 2022 Pennsylvania primary elections in Newtown Square, on May 2nd.

The state's Supreme Court ruled against a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that expanded mail-in voting. The lawsuit was brought forward by the state's Republicans - who had voted to approve the same law in 2019.
August 2, 2022

Cecilia Moreau becomes Argentina's first female house speaker

Argentine Congresswoman Cecilia Moreau was elected today as President of the Chamber of Deputies - Argentina's counterpart to the U.S. Speaker of the House - thus becoming the first woman to preside over the nation's lower house of Congress.

Moreau, 45, was elected to the post after her predecessor, Sergio Massa, was tapped by President Alberto Fernández to head the Economy Ministry amid a foreign exchange crisis.

She was elected with the support of the ruling, center-left Front for All coalition; the right-wing Together for Change coalition and minor left-wing parties abstained.

Moreau, who will head a lower house closely divided between the two major alliances, promised to "manage the dissent and seek the consensus that society expects from us in such a particular moment."

She thanked Massa - under whose tenure President Fernández saw most of his domestic agenda passed over staunch right-wing opposition - "for the temperance he had in two years, amid a pandemic, to manage the Chamber."

Like Massa and, earlier, Fernández, Moreau belongs to the centrist Renewal Front faction of the left-wing coalition that ousted right-wing President Mauricio Macri in the 2019 election.

Her father, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Leopoldo Moreau, had briefly served as house speaker during a crisis-wracked 1989 presidential transition; the elder Moreau, 75, is still convalescing from cardiac bypass surgery.

Argentina is likewise still recovering from a debt crisis inherited from Macri, under whom some $100 billion was added to the public foreign debt in just two years (2016-18) - with over 80% going to finance asset offshoring.

At: https://www-eldestapeweb-com.translate.goog/politica/congreso/cecilia-moreau-fue-electa-presidenta-de-la-camara-de-diputados-20228216480?_x_tr_sl=it&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

Argentine Congresswoman Cecilia Moreau smiles after being elected by her colleagues as House Speaker - the first in the country's history.

Moreau was elected to the post after her predecessor, Sergio Massa, was tapped by President Alberto Fernández to head the Economy Ministry amid a foreign exchange crisis.

Moreau - like Massa and, earlier, Fernández - belongs to the centrist Renewal Front faction of the center-left Front for All coalition that ousted right-wing President Mauricio Macri in the 2019 election.

Argentina is still recovering from a debt crisis inherited from Macri, under whom around $100 billion was added to the public foreign debt - with over 80% going to finance asset offshoring.

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