The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
The Conservative Calendar, Top 10 Videos of the Day, Top 10 Links of the Day, Morning Local News Briefing, US and Global News Briefing and The 'Rock of Talk' Debate of the Day
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“He may be — perhaps compromised. He may be simply unprincipled, or he may be personally distraught or ill. But in no way can he honestly stand up before the American people and say that the FBI has with any integrity or intensity investigated voter fraud in this country and then say it did not amount to anything.” - Lou Dobbs on Resigning Attorney General Bill Barr
THE CONSERVATIVE CALENDAR
Forecast at The KIVA: High 39 Degrees at 4pm (Will feel like 31) Low 30 Degrees at 7am (Will feel like 21). Winds get to 13 MPH at 2:30pm. No precipitation. Partly Cloudy AM and Sunny PM. *Weather is from the KIVA Weather Station.
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 15, the 350th day of 2020. There are 16 days left in the year.
In 1791, the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, went into effect following ratification by Virginia.
In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during a confrontation with Indian police.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter announced he would grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China on New Year’s Day and sever official relations with Taiwan.
In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
In 2000, the long-troubled Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was closed for good.
In 2001, with a crash and a large dust cloud, a 50-foot tall section of steel — the last standing piece of the World Trade Center’s facade — was brought down in New York.
In 2009, evangelist Oral Roberts died in Newport Beach, California, at age 91.
In 2010: Time magazine named Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, its Person of the Year.
One year ago: The Hallmark Channel said it would reinstate commercials for a wedding-planning website featuring same-sex couples; the network had pulled the ads following a complaint from a conservative group.
Pres Trump has no public events scheduled.
The House is not in session today.
0800MST -- The Senate meets.
0800MST -- Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Manufacturing, Trade, & Consumer Protection Subcmte hold a hearing "Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on the Live Event Entertainment Industry."
0900MST -- Rally to save restaurants and bars. Times Square, NYC.
0900MST -- Reps for Eric Trump must be present for a virtual hearing as part of NY Atty Gen Letitia James' investigation into Pres Trump's business dealings. A federal judge ordered the hearing last month. The judge will hear oral arguments in a dispute over subpoenas to different Trump entities over whether the Trump Org inflated the value of properties to get mortgages and undervalued them for tax purposes.
1000MST -- FLOTUS reads to a small group of children, both in person and via closed-circuit broadcast, during a visit to Children's National Hospital, Washington, DC.
1100MST -- The Census Bureau holds a virtual news conference to announce the release of the 2020 Demographic Analysis population estimates, which include national-level estimates of the population by age, sex, and select race and Hispanic origin groups as of April 1, 2020
1200MST -- Senate GOP Ldrs hold a press conference.
1215MST -- Pres-elect Biden campaigns on behalf of Jon Ossoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock, and the Democratic ticket in the January 5 runoffs. Atlanta, GA.
1245MST -- Senate Dem Ldrs expected to hold a press conference.
1230MST -- Senate Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcmte holds hearing on "The Role of Private Agreements and Existing Technology in Curbing Online Piracy."
UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS
Rio Rancho Rally
Saturday Dec 19, Noon
"Say NO to Bread Lines"
901 Unser Blvd SE
TOP 10 VIDEOS OF THE DAY
Dr. Siegel Mocks CNN’s Bill Gates Interview on Covid: Imagine If You Had Me on To Talk About Computers
Charlie Kirk: The Supreme Court Didn’t Say There Was No Fraud, They Just Didn’t Want To Hear the Case
Tucker: America Has To Get Used to the ‘Chinese Model of Democracy’ Joe Biden and His Friends Admire
Hannity: I Wonder if China or the Kazakh Oligarch Have Pictures of Hunter Biden with His Crack Pipe
Hannity: Don Jr., Eric, Barron, Ivanka Should Change Their Last Name to Biden If They Want To Get Away with Everything
Sarah Sanders: Big Tech, MSM Did Not Only Fail to Cover the Hunter Biden Probe, They Also Covered it Up
Laura Ingraham: If You Think Bill Barr Was the Problem of the Trump Admin., You’re Reading the Wrong Stuff
Hillary Clinton Casts an Electoral Vote for Joe Biden
Whoopi Jokes About Trump and Covid Vaccine: He’s Scared Because Maybe It’s Going to Start the Zombie Apocalypse
McEnany: Pres. Trump Is Clearly Frustrated with AG Bill Barr
TOP 10 LINKS OF THE DAY
MORNING LOCAL NEWS BRIEFING
New Mexico Legislature considers 'hybrid' session for safety
SANTA FE, N.M. — Leading legislators in New Mexico say the next regular legislative session in early 2021 is likely to take place in a hybrid of in person and online. Democratic Senate majority leaders Peter Wirth of Santa Fe said Monday that a "huge piece" of the next session likely will be conducted online through video conferencing as a precaution against pandemic dangers. He noted that many local governments are conducting public business entirely online. The Democratic House speaker indicated that online committee hearings are likely and that the House will limit the number of bills that can be introduced by each member to five to streamline proceedings.
New Mexico electors support Biden, as GOP sues to invalidate
SANTA FE, N.M. — Five New Mexico electors have cast their votes for Joe Biden to formalize the Democratic candidate's victory in the state's presidential vote. The electors wore face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus as they met Monday inside a Statehouse committee room. Biden won the statewide popular vote by a margin of nearly 11 percentage points over President Donald Trump. The last time New Mexico sided with a Republican presidential candidate was for the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush. Monday's meeting was accessible to the public and media by video webcast only. Electors of diverse backgrounds greeted the public briefly in English, Spanish and a Native American language.
Vaccine arrives in New Mexico as deaths mark another high
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The first coronavirus vaccines have arrived in New Mexico as hospitals prepare to distribute doses to frontline health care workers. The first vaccinations came Monday with health care workers at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe. New Mexico will get more than 17,500 doses as part of the first wave. The shipments come as new COVID-19 cases have decreased but hospitalizations and deaths remain high. On Sunday, New Mexico tied its previous record of 44 for the number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in a single day. Hospital leaders say they're excited about the vaccine, but they warned that protective gear and protocols are still necessary.
US Supreme Court sides with New Mexico in Pecos River fight
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with New Mexico in a fight with Texas over the Pecos River. The decision issued Monday centers on evaporation and New Mexico's obligations to deliver a certain amount of water to Texas each year. The court found that the river master overseeing the compact between the two states correctly calculated that New Mexico should get credit for floodwater it stored in 2014 at the request of Texas. That state had argued that a significant amount of water had evaporated while it was in storage. The states wanted the court to clear up how to account for the evaporated water.
'Lost connection' hampers Virgin Galactic's test flight
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Virgin Galactic test flight Saturday ended prematurely as the spacecraft's rocket motor failed to ignite. It then glided down safely to its landing site in southern New Mexico. The spacecraft's engine is supposed to ignite moments after the craft is released from a special carrier jet, sending the craft into a near-vertical climb towards the edge of space. Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement that the spaceship's onboard computer that monitors the motor lost connection, triggering a fail-safe scenario that halted ignition. It was to be the first rocket-powered flight to space from Virgin Galactic's headquarters at Spaceport America.
Education advocates push for early teacher vaccinations
SANTA FE, N.M. — Education advocates are calling for teachers and other school workers to get priority in the national coronavirus vaccine rollout expected to start next week. In New Mexico, state legislators are calling for educators teaching in-person to receive the vaccine alongside healthcare workers and first responders. In separate statements this week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Indiana Congressman Rep. Jim Banks are saying that teachers should be in the second phase of vaccinations, after health workers but ahead of the general public. Teacher union officials from the National Education Association agree teachers should get priority, but caution that even with a vaccine for adults, schools will have to practice social distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing.
Navajo Nation reports 158 new COVID-19 cases, 2 more deaths
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation began receiving coronavirus vaccine doses on Monday as tribal health officials reported 158 additional COVID-19 cases and two more related deaths. In all, the tribe has reported 19,766 virus cases resulting in 722 deaths since the pandemic began. On Monday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer visited the Gallup Indian Medical Center as the first vaccine shipment arrived. The tribe is expecting a total of 3,900 coronavirus vaccine doses to be delivered by Tuesday with about 7,900 more doses arriving next week. Those vaccines will cover healthcare workers, emergency medical staff, traditional practitioners working in Indian Health Service facilities, and the staff and patients in long-term nursing facilities.
US AND GLOBAL NEWS BRIEFING
NEWS OF THE DAY / ATLANTA & WILMINGTON
A day after electoral college delegates met to vote on the presidential election, Joe Biden shifts his focus to another contest today. The pres-elect will be in GA to campaign with the 2 Democratic candidates for Senate. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are hoping to unseat Republican Sens. David Perdue & Kelly Loeffler in the Jan 5 runoff elections. Pres Trump visited the state earlier this month.
HUNTER BIDEN LATEST
Senate Homeland Security Cmte Chair Johnson & Finance Cmte Chair Grassley are calling out fmr Hunter Biden associates for not responding to their requests for documents & interviews. The Republicans put out a Sept 23rd report on the business dealings of the Biden family, and are continuing to seek information and testimony from people who were involved. That includes some names we've heard in recent months: Devon Archer, James Gilliar, John Sandweg, Eric Schwerin, & Rob Walker. The Senators note attys for Hunter and his uncle James Biden have refused to cooperate with the cmtes. They have made requests since Election day for voluntary transcribed interviews and records, but suggest they are getting stonewalled.
Early voting is underway in GA as Democrats look to take control of the Senate, with more than 1mil absentee ballots requested. A victory for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock would shift the balance of power in the chamber, and Congress, with VP-elect Kamala Harris able to break tie votes in her role as Senate President.
BIDEN IN GA AS SON'S TAXES OVERHANG
Pres-elect Biden heads to Atlanta today to campaign for the GA Senate runoffs as questions about his son Hunter's tax affairs continue. Fox has learned Hunter Biden, who is under federal investigation for tax affairs, did not report "approximately $400,000" in income he collected from his position on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings when he joined in 2014, and now needs to amend his tax returns. With his son now the target of an investigation, Biden could face new questions. Should Hunter Biden release his tax returns? Should Congress call for Biden to release his son's tax returns to exonerate himself and prove there was not backdoor payout between himself and his son, and that no conflict of interest remains?
CAPITOL HILL / COVID RELIEF PROGRESS & ELECTORAL COLLEGE REAX
An omnibus govt funding proposal could be released as early as today, which could tee up a vote later in the week. Speaker Pelosi & Leader McConnell have said they would like to attach COVID relief to the appropriations bill as well, and Pelosi has been speaking to Secy Mnuchin about both pieces. But the parties have yet to reach an agreement on a stimulus plan. The bipartisan gang of 8 proposals released yesterday separated the controversial specifics of state & local aid and liability protections from the more agreeable provisions. Meanwhile, Republicans are also grappling with the outcome of yesterday's electoral college vote. Senate Republicans are inching closer to accepting Biden as Pres-elect, but McConnell has yet to go that far.
RUSSIA / PUTIN CONGRATULATES BIDEN
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Joe Biden on winning the U.S. presidential election after weeks of holding out. He is one of the last world leaders to congratulate Biden. The Kremlin maintained Putin was holding off on doing so until the election results were officially confirmed. In his message, Putin wished Biden "every success" and expressed confidence that "Russia and the U.S., which bear special responsibility for global security and stability can, despite the differences, really contribute to solving many problems and challenges that the world is currently facing."
GROUP 1A VACCINATIONS / MINEOLA
It's day two of group 1a vaccinations in the US. Health care workers on the front lines are rolling up their sleeves as hundreds of thousands more doses make their way to destinations across the country. Laura is at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola where the vaccine is expected to arrive later this morning, with the first vaccinations there happening as soon as the vaccine thaws.
NY COVID & THE STORM / NEW YORK
NY Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio are warning New Yorkers to "get ready" for another full shutdown - or pause - if the coronavirus keeps spreading at its current rate. NYC restaurant owners who shut down indoor dining on Monday, now have to shut down outdoor dining at 2pm Wednesday too due to snow. The outdoor dining shutdown will last 24 hours depending upon accumulation. If more than a foot is forecast, all of the outdoor structures restaurant owners spent money building will have to be removed.
VACCINE: PFIZER ROLLOUT / KALAMAZOO
As the historic rollout of Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine continues from its massive Kalamazoo facility, health care workers all over the country are getting the first shots of the life-saving medicine. Millions of doses are already on their way to hospitals and locations in all 50 states, and many more will be right behind them in what has been described as one of the biggest mobilizations since WWII.
VACCINE PRIVACY CONCERNS / WASHINGTON
As millions of Americans prepare to be vaccinated in the weeks ahead, there are concerns about what kind of records the govt plans to keep on immunizations. The govt says access to immunization & vaccine administration data is critical to the whole of govt response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency.
VACCINE: AIR TRANSPORT / DFW AIRPORT
As Pfizer continues to roll out doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, efforts to distribute them across the US are beginning to ramp up. 4 sites in TX received more than 19,000 doses yesterday, and today an additional 75,000 doses will go out to 19 different TX locations, including two hospitals in Dallas. UPS and FedEx are moving the precious cargo all over the country, careful to keep an eye on time & temperature, as healthcare workers line up for their first dose.
COVID-19 VACCINE: NEXT STEPS FOR HOSPITAL DISTRIBUTION
5 lucky FL-area hospitals received the COVID vaccine first, but what about the other hospitals and critical care workers in FL and across the country left out? When can they expect to see vaccine?
COVID-19 VACCINE: TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS
Could joining a clinical trial be a fast-track for average Americans to get the vaccine? Operation Warp Speed's chief science officer encouraged participation in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials as it, "could be the fastest way to access vaccination." For full approval, pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer & Moderna, must proceed with late stage clinical trials, revamping as necessary to collect data on long-term impact. Almost half a million Americans have signed up to participate in the trials, but in order to be completed, researchers still need more than 1mil additional people to volunteer.
-- Big crowds of Christmas shoppers that formed in many Italian cities last weekend have caused alarm that could lead to a fresh upswing in COVID-19 contagion. There is speculation that the government could declare all of Italy a red zone over the holidays.
-- The Netherlands imposes tough lockdown measures starting today. Schools, nonessential shops, museums, and gyms will close down until Jan. 19.
-- France re-instates a 8p-6a curfew as it backtracks on the easing of a nationwide lockdown, with the number of COVID-19 cases not dropping as much as expected. Protests are expected by artists & entertainment workers against the govt decision to keep theatres, cinemas, concert halls, & museums closed until further notice.
-- London and surrounding areas will be placed under the highest level of coronavirus restrictions from tomorrow as infections rise rapidly in the capital. Britain's health secretary said yesterday that a new variant of the virus may be to blame for the spread.
WV-GOV. JUSTICE AMONG FIRST ELECTED OFFICIALS TO TAKE FIRST ROUND OF COVID VACCINE
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice became one of the first top elected officials in the country to receive a coronavirus shot on Monday evening, even though the state’s rollout is supposed to prioritize giving the highly sought-after vaccines to health care workers and people in long-term care centers. The 69-year-old Republican governor said he wanted to demonstrate confidence in the vaccine’s safety. “It’s as safe as can be,” Justice said at the statehouse room where he hosts regular news conferences. Wearing a mask, he received a jab in his right arm from a state pharmacy board official and promptly received an adhesive bandage — and a sticker. Four other top state officials, including the health officer and head of the National Guard, next rolled up their sleeves and also received shots live on camera. “Don’t hesitate, you’ve got to get this vaccine,” Justice added.
Many other governors are waiting for health care workers, patients and emergency responders first.
BOEING EXPANDING INSPECTIONS ON 787 DREAMLINER OVER POSSIBLE MANUFACTURING DEFECTS
Boeing has expanded the scope of its examination of 787 Dreamliners after finding more widespread instances of a manufacturing quality defect initially thought confined to the aircraft’s aft fuselage plant in South Carolina, prompting inspections at 787 component plants around the globe. Reviews are underway at Boeing’s adjacent mid-fuselage plant in North Charleston, S.C., at the Spirit AeroSystems forward fuselage plant in Wichita, Kan., and at plants owned by Leonardo in Italy and Kawasaki in Japan that produce smaller fuselage sections. Boeing is also inspecting every undelivered 787 on the two final assembly lines in Everett and North Charleston. The 787 production quality issues have slowed to a stop what was an already slow delivery rate due to the low demand for international air travel during the pandemic. The flaw can create gaps that could potentially weaken the structure of the fuselage. While analysis shows the fuselage structure is still strong enough even with this defect to carry the maximum load the plane is expected to encounter in service, for full compliance with regulations, airliners have to meet a higher standard of 1.5 times that load.
UAW AGREES TO CHANGES IN DEAL WITH U-S ATTORNEY OFFICE
An independent monitor will watch the United Auto Workers’ finances and operations, and members will decide how they pick future leaders under a reform agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office. The deal was announced Monday in the wake of a wide-ranging federal probe into corruption that reached into the upper ranks of the 400,000-member union. It forestalls a possible federal takeover of the UAW due to the probe into bribery and embezzlement that has lasted more than five years. The monitor, to be nominated by the union and approved by the Justice Department, will stay in place for six years unless all sides agree to end or extend the term. The deal, spelled out in a federal court consent decree, still must be approved by a U.S. district judge. Matthew Schneider, the U.S. attorney in Detroit, said Monday that the probe of the union has ended, but investigators still are pursuing unspecified individuals.
TAXPAYERS PAY RESTITUTION / SEATTLE
Taxpayers, instead of criminals, will pay victims restitution in a first-in-the-nation program in King County (Seattle), WA. The county prosecutor does not want criminals to have debts to repay forever, and says this restorative justice program is only for low-level, first-time offenders. Critics say this is further evidence that Seattle coddles criminals and worry it will lead to even more crime in the city.
PENTAGON / CHINA'S DATA THEFT
FBI says it opens a new counterintelligence case vs China every 10 hrs. Of nearly 5,000 FBI counterintelligence cases, half are Chinese. Chinese theft of American intellectual property and data is the largest transfer of wealth in human history, according to FBI Dir Wray. Why does China want Americans' data?
CHINA / US INFLUENCE INVESTIGATION
House Republicans are demanding the FBI brief them on efforts by the Chinese government to compromise US politicians. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, GOP members of the House oversight and reforms committee expressed a desire to understand the scope of Beijing's efforts in the United States. This follows a report by Axios detailing how a woman named Christine Fang targeted local and national politicians in the Bay area from 2011 to 2014. Fang helped to fundraise for California Democrat Eric Swalwell and even placed an intern inside his office.
RUSSIA / NAVALNY INVESTIGATION
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and investigators at the Bellingcat website (who outed the Salisbury, UK poisoners real identity) named three Russian agents they believe are responsible for poisoning Navalny. Bellingcat says the clandestine unit has been trailing Navalny since 2017, when he declared his intention to run for President. One of the alleged thugs even lives in Navalny’s apartment block in Moscow. The collection of phone records and other data which led to Bellingcat’s conclusions was made possible by corrupt Russian agencies which sell the information on the internet. Navalny released an expose on his case Monday in his signature info-tainment style of production.
GROUNDED SNOWBIRDS IMPACT ON ECONOMY
FL's economy is hurting due to the closed border between the US & Canada. Our neighbors to the North make up more than a quarter of the Sunshine State's foreign visitors, spending more than $6.5bil/year. But recent estimates show only 15,000 Canadians arrived between April & September, a 99% decrease from the same time last year. While this is a devastating blow to FL's tourism industry, the state is seeing some benefits from the pandemic. More people have moved to the sunshine state, both permanently and temporarily, during the pandemic.
MALL CLOSURES COULD LEAD TO NEW TAXES / NEW YORK
With foot traffic in malls cratering and more than 11,000 retail locations closing this year, many municipalities are facing big budget shortfalls as they're getting less tax revenue from large shopping complexes. There's fear that could trickle down to taxpayers as cities and towns are looking to make up those losses.
BELGIUM / EU TECH RESTRICTIONS
European Commission digital chief Margrethe Vestager expected to present draft rules to rein in U.S. tech giants and online gatekeepers.
SOUTH KOREA / LEAFLET BAN
South Korea's parliament has passed a bill that bans the launching of propaganda leaflets into North Korea. The bill was condemned by rights activists as a violation of freedom of speech. Groups run by North Korean defectors and other campaigners have for decades sent anti-Pyongyang leaflets -- alongside food, medicine, $1 bills, mini-radios and USB sticks containing South Korean news and dramas -- into the North, usually by balloon or in bottles on border rivers. North Korea has long denounced the practice.
NIGERIA / MASS CHILD KIDNAPPING
An audio message from a man identifying himself as the leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram said on Tuesday that the Islamist group was responsible for the kidnapping of more than 300 students from an all-boys school in the northwestern state of Katsina. In a region where criminal gangs often rob and kidnap civilians for ransom, gunmen took the boys from the Government Science school in Kankara town on Friday. Katsina state authorities say some managed to escape but around 320 were still missing.
TURKEY / US SANCTIONS
The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on the organization that manages Turkey's military technology, its president, and three employees, to punish Ankara over its acquisition of a Russian air defense system. The move is sure to anger Turkey and potentially be damaging to Turkey's economy, already struggling with a coronavirus-induced slowdown.
The deputy governor of the Afghan capital of Kabul was killed on Tuesday in a bomb attack on his car as he went to work and two guards injured. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, caused by a magnetic bomb, known as a sticky bomb," attached on his car. A deputy provincial council member was killed in a similar attack in the western province of Ghor earlier on Tuesday.
JAPAN / TWITTER KILLER RULING
A Japanese court will rule in a 2017 'Twitter killer' murder case in which a man allegedly killed and dismembered nine people at his apartment near Tokyo after luring those with suicidal thoughts on social media.
JAPAN / OLYMPICS TORCH DETAILS
Tokyo 2020 organizing committee holds a press conference to announce details for the Torch Relay which will take place in 2021 ahead of the postponed Olympic games.
‘ROCK OF TALK’ DEBATE OF THE DAY
It seems that Americans are listening to the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid the coronavirus surge, with a new survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association finding that 70 percent of Americans are unlikely to travel for Christmas this year. Of the 30 percent who do plan to travel, three-quarters of them will be staying with family and friends. The survey also found that 65 percent think it's unlikely they'll travel for spring break in 2021, and 44 percent don't think their next vacation hotel stay will be until at least a year from now. The results highlight the financial straits the hotel industry is in. AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers called for immediate financial assistance from lawmakers, saying, "We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. We need help now."
Are you planning to travel for Christmas, and if not, is it because of the pandemic or for other reasons?
When do you think it's likely that you will travel again for vacation?
If you have traveled or plan to do so soon, would you feel safer from catching the coronavirus staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel?
Do you think Congress should pass more assistance for the hotel industry, as well as for the restaurant, bars and entertainment venue industries, who are most affected by the directives for what it's most dangerous to do?