Declaring War on Hidden Consumer Fees
November launched with yet more last-minute grabs for political attention, with President Biden trying to shore up average voter support. And one of the most traditional targets for that support tends to be the consumer pocketbook. In that regard, the President’s announcement to go after hidden consumer fees for entertainment, travel and cable access as well as banking was intended to garner quick support for the Administration, especially given that the midterm elections seem to be going down to the wire in a number of states for 2022.
Dubbed “junk fees” by the President, the consumer account charges are expected to range from bounced check charges to late fees to confusing and ambiguous cable service fees. For the various affected industries, the announcement goes direct to their bottom line as fees represent a viable revenue channel that costs nothing in terms of additional service or goods. For the President, however, the direction is also a high gain if he can translate it into voter action next week with the mid-November elections nationwide.
Using the already existing network of government regulators over various industries, the Biden Administration is expecting to use executive power to protect the consumer benefit and fight greedy businesses. At least that’s how this week’s President’s message comes across. The move is an attempt to shift the enforcement of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, particularly on banks and the billions they raise annually on non-sufficient fund charges and penalties. For example, the banking industry pocketed a no-cost $15.5 billion in 2019.
On the regulatory side, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is generally charged with the role of enforcement. The President’s announcement is generally being seen as a mandate for action by the Bureau, but they won’t be acting alone. The Federal Trade Commission is also getting in on the act with its own additional rules to prevent further deceptive fee practices in various industries.
Aside from banks, various entertainment miscellaneous charges are on the radar as well. Concert ticket sellers, resort fees from hotels and similar are also getting close attention. A common one for recent travelers is the resort fee, which is essentially an ambiguous charge of $25 to $100 a day, added on top of the advertised room rate for nothing but simply being a tourist visiting during the tourist season. Ironically, liberal San Francisco, for example, is notorious for such charges just for delivering a newspaper to a hotel customer.
President Biden emphasized in his early November speech a dedicated strategy to wipe out such fees after examination, or at least to reduce them significantly. How exactly that will occur remains to be seen, but the reach is across industries and is not limited to banks alone. Of course, the messaging is part of a larger theme to show action in the face of the highest inflation rate in four decades. Vowing to protect the family budget, the Biden Administration likely hopes the November announcement will resonate, supporting Democratic candidates in tight races. Critics are quick to argue the move is too little, too late, punishing businesses that create jobs. Who is right will become clearer after the midterm elections are counted in a few days.
Vaccine For Bees Could Offer Glimmer of Hope To Declining Bee Populations
In recent years, the world has been grappling with the alarming decline of bee populations. Bees play a crucial role in pollinating crops and contributing to the ecosystem, making their survival critical to our food supply and environment. Unfortunately, diseases, parasites, and climate change have been devastating bee populations, and many beekeepers are losing up to 50-70% of their colonies due to disease. However, a new development could be a game-changer in the fight to save bees.
A biotech company has created the world’s first vaccine for honeybees, offering hope for the survival of bee populations. The vaccine works by vaccinating the queen bee, who then passes on the immunity to millions of offspring that make up the colony. This breakthrough could revolutionize the fight against American foulbrood disease, a bacterial infection that has been decimating bee populations.
American foulbrood disease is a severe bacterial disease that affects honeybee larvae, causing them to die rapidly and emit a foul odor. When a colony is infected, all equipment and infected bees must be burned and buried, making the disease a significant threat to the beekeeping industry. The vaccine could help prevent the spread of the disease by providing colonies with immunity to the bacteria.
The vaccine is still in the early stages of development and requires further testing, but it has already shown promising results in trials. If successful, the vaccine could be a game-changer in the fight to save bees and protect our food supply. Bees are responsible for pollinating a third of the food produced in the United States, and their role in the ecosystem is worth an estimated $15 billion annually.
The decline of bee populations has become a global concern, and scientists and beekeepers have been working tirelessly to find solutions. The development of the bee vaccine could be a significant step forward in protecting these essential creatures. With the vaccine, beekeepers can help reduce the impact of diseases on their colonies and keep their bees healthy and thriving.
The creation of a vaccine for honeybees offers a glimmer of hope in the fight against the decline of bee populations. While the vaccine is not a silver bullet, it could be an essential tool in reducing the impact of diseases on bee populations. As research continues, we can only hope that this development will lead to a brighter future for bees and the important role they play in our ecosystem.
Stranded Californian Cows Are Airdropped Hay Bales
In recent weeks, California has been hit with an unexpected amount of snowfall, causing chaos and disruption for many local farmers and ranchers. Springtime is typically a joyous season for these individuals, as it marks the start of calving season and the abundant growth of grass to feed the newborns. However, this year’s snowfall has left over seven feet of snow covering the grass, causing cows to become stranded and starving for weeks.
As the situation worsened, authorities in Humboldt County came together to create Operation Hay Drop, an emergency response plan aimed at delivering bales of hay to hungry and stranded cattle. This effort echoes a similar operation that was conducted in 1989 when cows were stranded by snow.
The process for Operation Hay Drop begins with authorities identifying the approximate location of stranded herds. Pilots then fly out, scanning the snowy terrain for any signs of life, essentially searching for tracks in the snow. Once located, bales of hay are airdropped in the general area where the cows are, and the pilots then quickly take off. Amazingly, the cows start coming out from under the trees and heading towards the hay almost immediately, a testament to the success of the operation.
As of today, Operation Hay Drop has helped over 2500 cows, providing them with the necessary sustenance to survive until the snow melts and grass starts to grow again. This has been a vital operation in ensuring the well-being of local farmers and ranchers and their livelihoods. Without this intervention, the situation would have been dire, with many cows perishing due to starvation.
214 Year Old Clam Found On Florida Beach
In a remarkable discovery, a man from Florida found a giant clam that has been estimated to be 214 years old. The enormous and old clam was found on Alligator Point, a beach located on the Gulf of Mexico. Blaine Parker, a local resident, was taking a stroll on the beach when he stumbled upon the clam, which turned out to be a rare quahog clam.
Quahog clams are a species of hard-shell clams that are commonly found in the waters along the East Coast of the United States, ranging from Canada to Florida. They are usually between 2.8 to 4.3 inches in size, making the clam found by Parker an exceptionally large specimen. The clam was six inches long and weighed 2.6 pounds, which is almost twice the average weight of a quahog clam.
Quahog clams are known for their concentric growth rings that can be used to estimate their age. The clam that Parker found had a staggering 214 rings, making it one of the oldest clams ever found. To put this in perspective, the clam was born in the same year as Abraham Lincoln, which is a remarkable fact that has captured the attention of many people.
Given the age and rarity of the clam, Parker and his family decided to name it the “Abrer-clam Lincoln” as a nod to its historical significance. The discovery of this clam has generated a lot of interest from scientists and researchers, who are studying it to learn more about the history of the Gulf of Mexico and the environment in which the clam lived.
The discovery of the Abrer-clam Lincoln is not only significant from a scientific perspective but also highlights the importance of preserving the natural habitats of these creatures. Clams like the quahog play an essential role in the ecosystem of our oceans, and their decline can have a significant impact on the food chain and the overall health of our oceans.
Lower Your Risk of Dementia With This Lifestyle Tips
Dementia is a devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While there is currently no cure for dementia, researchers are working to identify ways to reduce the risk of developing the condition. A recent study followed thousands of US women for 20 years and found that there are seven healthy habits that may help cut dementia risk.
The study found that being physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, keeping normal blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, and having low blood sugar in middle age may all lower the chances of developing conditions such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Being physically active was found to be especially important, with the study showing that women who were physically active in midlife had a 52% lower risk of developing dementia later in life than those who were not active. A healthy diet was also found to be important, with those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains having a lower risk of dementia.
Maintaining a healthy weight was also found to be important, with those who were overweight or obese having a higher risk of developing dementia. Not smoking was also important, as smoking is known to be a risk factor for many diseases, including dementia.
Keeping normal blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, and having low blood sugar in middle age were also found to be important for reducing the risk of dementia. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar are all known risk factors for many diseases, including dementia.
The findings of this study are important as they provide evidence that making simple lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of developing dementia. By adopting these healthy habits, individuals can take steps to protect their brain health and reduce the risk of developing this devastating disease.
Solar Panels & Sheep – A Great Pairing
Installing solar panels in grazing fields benefits both sheep and the environment. Farmers can increase the efficiency of their land while also providing a comfortable environment for their sheep by incorporating solar panels into grazing fields.
Sheep are known to graze on vegetation, thereby creating a natural land maintenance system. They do, however, require shade and protection from the elements. Farmers can create a shaded area for their sheep to rest and protect them from the sun and rain by installing solar panels in grazing fields. This not only makes the sheep more comfortable, but it also aids in stress reduction, which can improve their overall health and well-being.
Solar panels in grazing fields can also help farmers save money on electricity costs. Farmers can reduce their reliance on the grid and lower their energy bills by producing their own electricity. They can also sell any excess energy back to the grid, increasing their profits even further.
The incorporation of solar panels into grazing fields benefits the environment as well. Solar energy is a clean, renewable energy source that does not pollute the environment. Farmers can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to climate change mitigation by producing their own energy.
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