The Daily Valet. - 6/27/24, Thursday

Thursday, June 27th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
I must admit, I do like the smell of fireworks.

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Today’s Big Story

A Future Without Fireworks


As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July, many cities are swapping in drones for explosions


The times, they are a changing, as they say. Many cities across the U.S. have begun swapping the standard display of fireworks for drone or laser shows. The cities that have adopted these new nighttime celebrations range from Los Angeles and Denver to Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Portland.

I know what you might be thinking: Why?! Fireworks are fun! They’re bold and they’re bright, they’re loud and sparkly and exciting. But, it turns out, there are a lot of reasons why the aerial explosions aren’t exactly the best idea.

For starters, the big booming bangs and crackling explosions can be distressing for both wildlife and for pets. They can be panic-inducing for certain people as well, potentially triggering to those suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

And anyone who’s watching a firework show knows how much smoke and ash and the occasional shell casing get deposited on the land (and people) below. According to National Geographic, not everyone is equally at risk from the noxious particles that suffuse the sky during our pyrotechnic light shows. Using crowdsourced data from home air quality monitors, scientists found that vulnerable people and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution from firework celebrations. Fireworks smoke includes particulate matter—an asthma trigger and a leading contributor to respiratory disease—as well as a cocktail of toxic metals like strontium, barium, and lead. And while the pollution from a single fireworks display tends to dissipate quickly, many fireworks being set off over the Fourth of July can cause regional air pollution levels to spike and remain elevated for several days, posing a potentially serious health risk to vulnerable populations.

Additionally, the embers and sparks that fall from fireworks can ignite wildfires. Research shows that in the U.S., July fourth is consistently when the most human-caused wildfires are ignited. As Earth.Org points out, it’s pretty clear now that these short spectacle leave potent and long-lasting footprints on our environment and should probably be minimized when they can.

Fireworks were originally invented in China and the country remains the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.

Supreme Court Briefly Leaks Opinion


They acknowledged accidentally posting Idaho abortion case document

The Supreme Court is starting to become like an anticipated album from a high-profile singer: A little before the actual release, there could be a leak. Was it intentional to stir up excitement and emotions or a simple mistake? We may never know. But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court acknowledged that it inadvertently posted online a document related to a pending abortion case, which Bloomberg Law obtained before it was removed from the website.

The case asks whether states can ignore a federal law which requires most hospitals to provide emergency care to patients who need it—including abortions if that is the appropriate medical treatment. Specifically, whether Idaho’s near-total ban on abortions prevents doctors from providing medically necessary abortions. The court opinion on Idaho, suggested that justices would rule 6-3 that it should not have become involved in the case so quickly.

Vox says the leaked document does contain some good news for abortion rights advocates. If the justices vote to reinstate the lower court’s order—at least for now—it means that Idaho patients who require medically necessary abortions will no longer need to be airlifted to other states. But, the primary effect of the decision, assuming it closely resembles the leaked draft, will likely be to punt the final resolution of this case until after the election. The Supreme Court is due to issue rulings Thursday and Friday as it reaches the end of its current term. The abortion case is one of 12 argued cases yet to be decided.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday also struck down part of a federal anti-corruption law that makes it a crime for state and local officials to take expensive gifts from a donor.


10 Minutes a Day

It's all you need to start speaking a new language.

Zaccharie Risacher Gets No. 1 pick in NBA Draft


Where did other top prospects land in the first round?

The first round of the 2024 NBA Draft is finally in the books after months of lead-up. The second round will resume later today, but while the first two picks were somewhat expected in French products Zaccharie Risacher and Alex Sarr, the rest of the night was surely full of unexpected twists and turns.

This year’s draft was the second in a row in which the top selection came from France. The Atlanta Hawks selected 19-year-old Risacher and the Washington Wizards took Sarr, also 19 and who The Athletic calls “the highest-upside player in the 2024 NBA Draft class.” France seems to be minting basketball players lately. Two other French natives were picked in the first round, with the Charlotte Hornets taking Tidjane Salaun with the sixth pick and the New York Knicks taking Pacome Dadiet at 25. Zach Edey (the two-time college player of the year at Purdue) went from a late first-round pick to fringe lottery pick to the No. 9 pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. Apparently, he still has to prove there’s room for a massive 7-4 big in today’s NBA, but he impressed executives and scouts with his strength, low-post play and ability to pass out of double teams.

One of the other storylines on Wednesday was the Bronny James question. LeBron’s son was not selected in the first round and will have to wait at least one more night before he hears his name called. The Southern Cal product disappointed in his freshman year, averaging only 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists over 19.4 minutes per game. But he has clear potential, and teams could position themselves as (unlikely) landing spots for his famous father.

Dig Deeper:
CBS Sports has a pick-by-pick analysis of the first round.

Panda Diplomacy Officially Returns


First giant pandas to arrive in U.S. in over 20 years are on their way from China

The first new giant pandas to arrive in the U.S. in more than two decades are traveling to San Diego from China as Beijing resumes using the black-and-white bears as a tool of diplomacy. San Diego mayor Todd Gloria told NBC News he was “overjoyed” that pandas would be returning to the San Diego Zoo, which has cooperated with China on pandas for almost 30 years but hasn’t hosted any since 2019.

The United States will soon receive another pair of pandas, who are expected to be flown from China to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington by the end of the year. Panda-swapping has been a longstanding sign of diplomacy between the U.S. and China, but over the last year, American zoos were forced to send pandas back to China as loan agreements lapsed amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the two nations.

This is a good sign and it’s not just happening here the States. During a visit to Austrailia last week, Chinese Premier Li Qiang offered to send pandas down under as ties between Austrailia and its largest trading partner improve after a few years of tense disputes.

Malaysia plans to gift orangutans to its major buyers of palm oil, a commodity long blamed for destroying habitats of the endangered apes.


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Trust that you’ll figure it out.


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