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The Spill: A Border Trip for the VP

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The Vice President Visits the Border

Air Force Two winged a path from Washington, D.C. to El Paso, TX, so that the appointed border czar could visit and critically assess the situation. The trip southwest was the first for Vice President Kamala Harris, who the president asked to handle the crisis of massive illegal migration. Harris was accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX).

Vice President Harris and her entourage arrived in El Paso, where they were greeted by political protesters chanting “Que Mala,” which means “how mean,” and holding signs bearing messages like “you are too late.” Undeterred, the vice president spoke briefly and then took questions from reporters. She explained that she was following the plan of getting to the “root causes” of the crisis and that visiting Guatemala and Mexico was step one in the long and arduous process of fixing the current situation in America.

Harris’ visit was not without political controversy from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The governor insisted that the vice president was shirking her duties by staying in El Paso and not venturing to the two border towns Del Rio and McAllen, which don’t have a wall protecting them. Abbott stated: “Texas residents have had their homes broken into, property damaged, and guns pointed at their heads as cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers profit off the Biden Administration’s reckless open-border policies.”

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX), representing a constituency at the southern border, is not happy with his president and the administration, saying: “The administration is making Democrats look weak. I’ve heard, from Democrats and Republicans in my area, ‘what the heck is going on with this administration?’”

Ms. Harris asked that “finger-pointing” stop and people work together for a bi-partisan solution.

Tragedy in Miami

The Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, FL, which is near Miami, collapsed, leaving more than 150 people missing and at least nine dead as search and rescue teams scour the area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has deployed the Army Corps of Engineers to investigate what happened and why. A popular condominium in Surfside, the tower was built in 1981 and was scheduled to be recertified. The Champlain Towers East Condo Association recently hired an engineer to develop specifications for electrical and structural changes needed. Miami-Dade County requires recertification of buildings every 40 years.

According to one realtor with several units on the property, inspectors said the building was in “okay shape.” No upgrades had been performed. But concern was brought up in 2018 about the condo’s pool decking. Morabito Consultants, a structural engineering firm, released a report that waterproofing under the pool deck had failed. The decking had been incorrectly installed, allowing water to stand and not drain away. The engineering report warned this was “causing major structural damage” to the concrete slabs below. “Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” the report said.

It is unclear why city officials knew nothing of this report or whether this was the cause. For now, the focus is instead on rescue.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett has committed to drive efforts until everyone is rescued or accounted for: “We are working 24-hours a day non-stop, nothing else on our mind, with the only objective of pulling their family members out of that rubble safely. That’s what we’re doing and we’re not going to stop doing that, not today, not tomorrow, not the next day. We’re going to keep going until everybody is out.”

Did We Find a New Species of Ancient Humans?

Who the heck is Dragon Man? He’s not a Neanderthal or a Homo erectus. And according to scientists, who finally studied the skull up close and invasively, the ancient skeletal remains unearthed in the 1930s may belong to a human group that lived in East Asia at least 146,000 years ago.

Dragon Man was found in 1933 in Harbin, northeast China and sat undisturbed until just recently. Professor Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum helped conduct the extensive detailing of the bones. Stringer reported: “What you have here is a separate branch of humanity that is not on its way to becoming Homo sapiens (our species) but represents a long-separate lineage which evolved in the region for several hundred thousand years and eventually went extinct.”

Dragon Man is thought to have been a prominent character with square eye-sockets, thick brow ridges, a wide mouth, and oversized teeth. The cranium was larger than most homo sapiens and more likely had the brain the size of our current species. Scientists also believe Dragon Man was built much more sturdy and rugged.

One researcher believes the Dragon Man belongs to an ancient group of humans called the Denisovans. Others debate he is an offshoot of categorized Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. However, whatever they discover about the man, they all say he can revise the known story of human evolution.

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