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Daily Archives: February 8, 2022

NY Fed – Car Prices Drive Up Borrowing

Liberty Street Economics, February 8, 2022: “Total household debt increased substantially during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a $1.02 trillion increase in aggregate debt balances, according to the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the fourth quarter of 2021 from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. The yearly increase was the largest seen since 2007 in nominal terms and was boosted by particularly robust growth in mortgage balances, which grew by nearly $900 billion through 2021. Credit card balances, which have followed an unusual path during the pandemic, saw a large seasonal increase in the fourth quarter but remain well below pre-pandemic levels. And student loan balances increased only modestly through 2021 due to lower enrollment and also due to administrative forbearance on federal student loans—the smallest annual increase we’ve seen since 2004. Outstanding auto loan balances grew in 2021 by $84 billion. The $734 billion in newly opened auto loans through the year was the largest volume we’ve seen in our data…”

Americans’ Attitudes and Experiences with COVID-19 Vaccines: What We’ve Learned from the Vaccine Monitor

KFF on YouTube: “Since before the first COVID-19 vaccine became available more than a year ago, the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor Project has tracked the public’s evolving views about and experiences with the vaccines amid the ongoing pandemic. On Feb. 8, 2022 KFF held a web briefing to share insights gleaned from nearly 40 Vaccine… Continue Reading

AI Influence on Audiobooks Grows—As Does Controversy

Publishers Weekly: “The advent of AI-enabled audiobook narration has been a hot topic of discussion in audiobook circles of late, and according to a number of audiobook narrators and other industry professionals, an October PW article raised the temperature of debate further. In that piece, consultant and PW columnist Thad McIlroy discussed the state of… Continue Reading

Public Blockchains Are the New National Economies of the Metaverse

Wired: “When we speak of an economy, we usually refer to a country or a region where interrelated activities of production, consumption, and trade happen. When we speak of blockchains, we speak of decentralized computer networks. On the surface, these two seem unrelated. But with on-chain activities growing at warp speed, the ecosystems of layer… Continue Reading

We desperately need an antisemitism monitor

Forward: “Nearly 200 days after President Biden announced that he intended to nominate Dr. Deborah Lipstadt to serve as U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, she finally had a confirmation hearing before the Senate. The Feb. 8 hearing came months after leading Jewish organizations called on the Senate to consider this critical nomination… Continue Reading

Voting Laws Roundup: February 2022

Brennan Center for Justice: “As the 2022 state legislative sessions begin, lawmakers have already introduced more new restrictive voting legislation than at this time last year. They have also continued to introduce bills designed to undermine the electoral process. With the 2022 regular legislative sessions starting in all but 15 states as of January 14,… Continue Reading

New study: “An environmental justice analysis of distribution-level natural gas leaks in Massachusetts, USA”

“A peer-reviewed paper by HEET Director Dominic Nicholas and Salem State University Professor Marcos Luna, was released last week in the journal Energy Policy. Read our update here and coverage by WBUR here. Marcos and Nicholas examined over 26,000 utility-reported leaks in relation to demographic groups. Their findings show that low-income and communities of color,… Continue Reading

Plastics production is skyrocketing. A new U.N. treaty effort could cap it.

Washington Post: “Negotiators from around the world will start work this month on a treaty to reduce plastic pollution, in what diplomats say is the most ambitious round of climate diplomacy since the 2015 Paris agreement that focuses on global warming. The discussions, which have the backing of the Biden administration, could reshape a world… Continue Reading

Browse Committee Prints: February 2022 New, Tip, and Top

In Custodia Legis: “Last month, Robert shared that now has committee hearing transcripts going back to the 103rd Congress (1993-1994). We previously added Committee Prints to the website. With today’s release, you can now browse the House prints, Senate prints and Joint committee prints. They are listed by the print number, title, committee, and… Continue Reading

GIJN’s Guide to Investigating Methane – A Key to Fighting Climate Change

Global Investigative Journalism Network: “Journalism about methane sources is increasingly urgent. Reducing methane emissions is the single fastest way to fight climate change, according to climate scientists. Emissions of methane, the second most abundant greenhouse gas (behind carbon dioxide), are rising rapidly and reaching new highs. The full guide to investigating methane emissions can be found… Continue Reading