[guest post by Dana]
I’ve been trying to post a wide-variety of news items on the Weekend Open Thread so that everyone can find something of interest. But still, we are in a pandemic, and every day there is something new to consider regarding COVID-19, and how it’s impacting our daily lives, as well as the country and world at large. However, in spite of that, please feel free to post any news items that you think might also be of interest to readers.
First news item
In an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman stressed the need for a control group to determine if social distancing measures are the tool that have kept American deaths below the early, catastrophic estimates. Generously for the United States — and unfortunately for the people of her neon city — she offered that Las Vegas be that control group, allowing a return to normal to see if an intensified outbreak would occur:
Goodman: We have to open up. We have to go back. Our bus drivers, our room cleaners, our restaurants —
Cooper: But hasn’t it been because of social distancing that the numbers have been what they are.
Goodman: How do you know until we have a control group? We offered to be a control group. Anybody who knows anything about statistic knows that for instance you have a vaccine, you give a real vaccine —
Cooper: You’re offering for the citizens of Las Vegas to be a control group to see if your theory on social distancing —
Goodman: I did offer, it was turned down.
The mayor also proposed a “Hunger Game” recovery for Las Vegas:
“Assume everybody is a carrier,” the mayor told MSNBC’s Katy Tur on Tuesday. “And then you start from an even slate. And tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.”
Second news item
A new piece of evidence has emerged buttressing the credibility of Tara Reade’s claim that she told her mother about allegations of sexual harassment and assault related to her former boss, then-Sen. Joe Biden…Reade has claimed to various media outlets, including The Intercept, that she told her mother, a close friend, and her brother about both the harassment and, to varying degrees of detail, the assault at the time. Her brother, Collin Moulton, and her friend, who has asked to remain anonymous, both confirmed that they heard about the allegations from Reade at the time.
In interviews with The Intercept, Reade also mentioned that her mother had made a phone call to “Larry King Live” on CNN, during which she made reference to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill…
On August 11, 1993, King aired a program titled, “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth?” Toward the end of the program, he introduces a caller dialing in from San Luis Obispo, California. Congressional records list August 1993 as Reade’s last month of employment with Biden’s Senate office, and, according to property records, Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, was living in San Luis Obispo County…
Transcript and recording at the link.
Third news item
Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has handed over control of the state’s new contact-tracing operation to one of her own campaign vendors and one of the left’s biggest technology firms. The move has sparked concern that she is using the coronavirus to strengthen the Democratic Party’s data operation, potentially at the expense of public health.
The Whitmer administration announced Monday that it had awarded a contract for contact tracing in the state to Every Action VAN, an arm of the Democratic data behemoth NGP VAN. The liberal firm works with all of the major Democratic campaign committees and hundreds of labor unions across the country, according to its website, and will “help organize remote phone banking and track information and contacts” for Michigan, a state press release said.
Whitmer has since rescinded the contract. Further, she denies any responsbility for what happened:
“The department thought that that vendor was the best one for some reason. I don’t know what that reason was, but I do know that the Department of Health and Human Services does not have a political bone in their theoretical body,” Whitmer said during a Wednesday press conference. “When it was brought to my attention, I told them to cancel it.”
Fourth news item
Miami Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala, the lone House Democrat on the committee set up to oversee $500 billion in taxpayer money being used for coronavirus-related payouts to large businesses, violated federal law when she failed to disclose stock sales while serving in Congress.
Shalala told the Miami Herald on Monday she sold a variety of stocks throughout 2019 to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest after she was elected to Congress in November 2018. But the transactions were not publicly reported as required by the STOCK Act, a 2012 law that prohibits members of Congress and their employees from using private information gleaned from their official positions for personal benefit and requires them to report stock sales and purchases within 45 days.
Shalala’s office said the congresswoman and her financial adviser made a mistake.
Fifth news item
“It’s clear the Chinese Communist Party engaged in the worst cover-up in human history that has led to a pandemic, costing more than 100,000 lives so far, sickening millions, and devastating the global economy,” McCaul told the Washington Examiner. “The CCP must be held accountable for the role they played for the spread of this virus and the damage it has since caused around the world.”
Sixth news item
As part of my work as an emergency medicine resident, I began a rotation in the second week of March as the physician charged with telling patients about their lab results. That once meant calling people to let them know about positive urine cultures or incidental findings on imaging…In the span of two weeks, I’d called more than 60 patients. By the end of March that represented almost 10% of the Covid-19 patients in Washington, D.C., where I work. I’ve met these patients in a starkly different way than I would have during face-to-face encounters in the emergency department…Each time I called someone who was having trouble making ends meet, or finding safe shelter, or desperate for answers I didn’t have, I wanted to find a way to help. Sadly, the resources to do that are few and far between. As I pleaded with one social worker about obtaining resources for a low-income Covid-19 patient, she told me, “We don’t have these resources on a good day.”
Seventh news item
In what could amount to a stunning about-face for the Pentagon, congressional sources have confirmed to NPR that top Navy leaders have recommended that Capt. Brett Crozier be put back in command of the coronavirus-plagued aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
“This afternoon, Secretary Esper received a verbal update from the acting Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations on the Navy’s preliminary inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt,” writes Jonathan Hoffman in a statement emailed from the Pentagon.
“After the Secretary receives a written copy of the completed inquiry, he intends to thoroughly review the report and will meet again with Navy leadership to discuss next steps. He remains focused on and committed to restoring the full health of the crew and getting the ship at sea again soon.”
The AP quotes Hoffman as saying before that meeting that Esper “is generally inclined to support Navy leadership in their decision” regarding Crozier.
Eighth news item
President Trump arrives in the Oval Office these days as late as noon, when he is usually in a sour mood after his morning marathon of television.
He has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing. He makes calls with the TV on in the background, his routine since he first arrived at the White House.
But now there are differences.
The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen. And he makes time to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s briefings from New York, closely monitoring for a sporadic compliment or snipe.
Confined to the White House, the president is isolated from the supporters, visitors, travel and golf that once entertained him, according to more than a dozen administration officials and close advisers who spoke about Mr. Trump’s strange new life.
Have a good weekend. Where I live, the parks are opening up this weekend, but trails will remain closed. Also, some beaches will also be opened up as well. The governor is still urging residents to practice social distancing measures, and some parks and beaches will be requiring masks.
Have a great weekend.