Weekend Open Thread (ADDED @ First News Item)
[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything that you might think would interest readers. Make sure to include links.
First news item
A restaurant owner who was forced to shut down because of coronavirus restrictions is frustrated after a film crew was able to set up outdoor dining for its workers right across from her restaurant.
Angela Marsden, who owns Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill, said her anger isn’t toward the movie industry, but because she believes restaurants are being unfairly targeted by Los Angeles County health orders.
“Tell me that this is dangerous but next to me is a slap in my face,” Marsden said. “Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio.”
Under the county’s guidelines, video and music production is deemed essential. Many production crews also test employees frequently, while under the recent Los Angeles County health order, restaurants like Marsden’s were forced to shut down their outdoor dining.
Marsden says she spent close to $80,000 building and making her facility coronavirus compliant, only to be told her doors had to remain shut for in-person dining.
“You can’t eat here, but you can walk in the same parking lot 15 feet and you can eat alfresco on a movie set because I guess COVID doesn’t go there right,” Marsden said.
Watch this video, folks. Sound on. pic.twitter.com/Oo6LMdmE1p
— Klavan Squarebeard, first of his name (@SpencerKlavan) December 4, 2020
ADDED: However, commenter Col. Klink provides us with this critical information missing from both CBS report (they briefly mentioned testing) and the video of the bar owner:
My one Hollywood connection…just happens to be the writer/director…of the production [that] Angela, the restauranter, is talking about. They do PCR every other day, and rapid test twice a day, plus each group of people are in color coded pods with giant ID badges around their necks and don’t interact outside of that pod. If Angela, the restauranter, wants to pay for that for her patrons, she’s free to. It costs the production company $25k a week to do it, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she won’t be doing that for her employees, much less customers.
Second news item
California certified its presidential election Friday and appointed 55 electors pledged to vote for Democrat Joe Biden, officially handing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s formal approval of Biden’s win in the state brought his tally of pledged electors so far to 279, according to a tally by The Associated Press. That’s just over the 270 threshold for victory.
Third news item
Where is the united front of Republican and Democratic leaders condemning this?
An Atlanta state senator has asked for police protection after people posting on conservative social media said she should be killed over her participation in hearings on Thursday about unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud pushed by supporters of President Donald Trump.
State Sen. Elena Parent, a Democrat, said she was shaken after being informed that her home address and other personal information had been distributed online and some posted in a social media thread that she should be killed.
A thread on one far-right internet message board posted photos of Parent captured during Thursday’s hearings, misidentified her as an election worker and asked users to vote on what the appropriate form of punishment should be. The most common responses called for sexual violence to be committed against Parent and/or her execution.
Fourth news item
Just 25 congressional Republicans acknowledge Joe Biden’s win over President Trump a month after the former vice president’s clear victory of more than 7 million votes nationally and a convincing electoral-vote margin that exactly matched Trump’s 2016 tally…Two Republicans consider Trump the winner despite all evidence showing otherwise. And another 222 GOP members of the House and Senate — nearly 90 percent of all Republicans serving in Congress — will simply not say who won the election.
President-elect Joe Biden revealed Thursday that “more than several” Republican senators have called to privately congratulate him on his election win, despite the fact that most of them have not publicly acknowledged his victory last month…Biden was asked how he can be optimistic about working with the Senate, which is currently controlled by Republicans. “I say this tactfully,” Biden said. “There have been more than several sitting Republican senators who’ve privately called me and congratulated me.”
Fifth news item
First shipment of vaccine news:
Earlier this week, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the very first batch of Americans to get vaccinated should be frontline health care workers and residents of long term care facilities such as nursing homes. Together, they add up to about 24 million people.
Federal officials estimate about 40 million vaccines will be available by the end of the month if both Moderna and Pfizer get US Food and Drug Administration authorization — only enough to vaccinate 20 million people, because two doses are needed for each person.
But even that number will fall short. Pfizer is only expected to have 6.4 million doses of vaccine ready by mid-December.
Sixth news item
Can employers require employees to take vaccine?
The news that a coronavirus vaccine could start being distributed within the next few weeks has sent stocks soaring and government officials scrambling to develop plans for the herculean task of distributing it across the country…For employers, many of which have kept workers home for months, it has opened a complex set of legal and practical issues: Can they require employees to take a vaccine? Should they offer incentives instead to encourage compliance? And what should they do if employees resist?
The biggest difference between requiring employees to take a vaccine for the coronavirus compared with the flu or other vaccines — which health-care organizations have long required — is that covid-19 vaccines are expected to first be available under an “emergency use authorization” rather than a full FDA licensure, Masling said. “To the best of my knowledge, the issue of whether an employer can require a vaccine that is still under an emergency use authorization hasn’t arose before,” she said, adding the EEOC might be “cautious about the guidance it will issue about a vaccine that has not yet received full approval.”
Seventh news item
President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.
Donald Trump Jr. had been under investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for contacts that the younger Mr. Trump had had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, but he was never charged. Mr. Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance, but was given one anyway by the president.
The nature of Mr. Trump’s concern about any potential criminal exposure of Eric Trump or Ivanka Trump is unclear, although an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization has expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees by the company, some of which appear to have gone to Ms. Trump.
Eighth news item
More confirmation that we live in really stupid times:
The senior pastor of a church in western Michigan has encouraged his congregation to catch the coronavirus to “get it over with” and calling it “all good.”
“COVID, it’s all good,” Spencer said. “It’s OK. Get it, get it over with, press on.”
The church has been holding services in-person. Some attendees wear masks and social distance. Others don’t, according to the newspaper.
Related: 380,343 virus cases have been confirmed in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. More than 9,500 people have died from the virus.
Ninth news item
The Pentagon said Friday it is pulling most U.S. troops out of Somalia on President Donald Trump’s orders, continuing a post-election push by Mr. Trump to shrink U.S. involvement in counterterrorism missions abroad.
Without providing details, the Pentagon said in a short statement that “a majority” of U.S. troops and assets in Somalia will be withdrawn in early 2021. There are currently about 700 troops in the Horn of Africa nation, training and advising local forces in an extended fight against the extremist group al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida…
The Pentagon said the drawdown in Somalia does not mark the end of U.S. counterterrorism efforts there.
“As a result of this decision, some forces may be reassigned outside of East Africa,” it said. “However, the remaining forces will be repositioned from Somalia into neighboring countries in order to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.”
Tenth news item
You knew at least one of them was going to run for something:
Lara Trump teased a potential Senate run in North Carolina Friday to replace Sen. Richard Burr, who plans to retire in 2022.
“I could think of nothing greater than to represent the people of my home state, represent North Carolina,” she said on Outloud with Gianno Caldwell…
“I started Women for Trump. We had a bus tour that not only went through North Carolina but all over the country,” she said. “I spent a lot of time there, which I love doing – any excuse to go back home.”
Sources close to Lara Trump previously told Fox News that she is “interested and exploring” a run.
Have a good weekend.