The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Sunday, December 20th, 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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“School performance, public health, crime rates, clinical depression, tax compliance, philanthropy, race relations, community development, census returns, teen suicide, economic productivity, campaign finance, even simple human happiness - all are demonstrably affected by how (and whether) we connect with our family and friends and neighbors and co-workers.” -Robert D. Putnam

“You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” -Deuteronomy 11:19


Forecast at The KIVA: High 47 Degrees at 3pm (Will feel like 42) Low 27 Degrees at 7am (Will feel like 21). Winds get to 12MPH at 4:00pm. Sunny and Clear. *Weather is from the KIVA Weather Station.


Today is Sunday, Dec. 20, the 355th day of 2020. There are 11 days left in the year.

In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was completed as ownership of the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States.

In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union as all 169 delegates to a special convention in Charleston voted in favor of separation.

In 1864, Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, Georgia, as Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman nearly completed his "March to the Sea."

In 1963, the Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.

In 1978, former White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman was released from prison after serving 18 months for his role in the Watergate cover-up.

In 1989, the United States launched Operation Just Cause, sending troops into Panama to topple the government of Gen. Manuel Noriega.

In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded heterosexual couples.

In 2017, Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston, died in Rome at the age of 86; his failure to stop child molesters in the priesthood had triggered a crisis in American Catholicism.

Today's Birthdays: Rock musician Peter Criss is 75. Rock musician Alan Parsons is 72.



  1. Homicides setting record in ABQ

  2. Courthouse Cafe site of protest

  3. Lujan Grisham: Resolute in crisis

  4. An early contender emerges for Haaland's seat

  5. Trinity Site movie made by Alamogordo native wins awards

  6. European countries block flights from UK due to new strain of COVID-19

  7. Birx travels, family visits highlight pandemic safety perils

  8. Yes, Follow the Science – in Every Field

  9. ‘Nutty And Loopy’: Romney Blasts Trump For Refusing To Concede

  10. Tiger named 'Thor' found wandering streets of Juárez; man claiming to be big cat's owner arrested


Arizona migrant border deaths on track for record amid heat

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) — After a record hot and dry summer, more deaths among border-crossers have been documented in Arizona's desert and mountains. It's a reminder that the most remote paths to enter the U.S. from Mexico can be the deadliest. There were 214 confirmed or suspected migrants whose deaths at the Arizona border were documented from January to November. That's according to the nonprofit Humane Borders that works with the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office to map the recoveries of migrants' bodies. It counted 144 deaths last year. The highest annual number that the project documented was 224 in 2010. 

New Mexico reports 1,442 more COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico on Saturday reported 1,442 additional known COVID-19 cases and 27 additional deaths. The statewide totals increased to 128,930 cases and 2,155 as seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases dropped and daily deaths rose over the last two weeks. According to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project, the rolling average of daily new cases dropped from 1,869 on Dec. 4 to 1,542.1 on Friday while the rolling average of deaths rose from 28.9 to 34.1. A pandemic-high 48 daily deaths were reported Thursday as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said daily deaths could grow even higher over the year-end holidays.

Report: New Mexico needs plan to address high suicide rate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has a suicide rate 1.5 times that of the national average, and legislative analysts say a new plan is needed to address the many causes. Analysts with the Legislative Finance Committee released their findings this week, saying the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues and suicide rates are likely to increase. The state is projecting a 20% increase in behavioral health needs. New Mexico has yet to develop a statewide suicide prevention plan, but the analysts are recommending that the state as part of that work establish a goal to reduce suicides by 10% in five years. 

Prosecutor lacked active law license; cases being reviewed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — District attorney and public defender offices are reviewing cases handled by a metro Albuquerque prosecutor who wasn't properly licensed to practice law in New Mexico. District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Brandale Mills Cox said the New Mexico State Bar notified the office on Dec. 8 that a clerical error occurred after Brian Jeffries applied to both reinstate his inactive New Mexico law license and to obtain a limited license available to prosecutors licensed in another state. Mills Cox told the Albuquerque Journal that Jeffries has resigned and that only nine cases could be substantively affected by the licensing problem. However, public defender Jennifer Barela said dozens of cases could be affected. 

Resort project near Navajo Nation stirs culture controversy

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A large campground resort project proposed for a northern Arizona high desert site near the Navajo Nation is stalled amid objections centering on cultural sensitivity and teepees. The planned inclusion of wagons and teepees, the tents that weren't typically used by Indigenous people of the Southwest, drew criticism when the Coconino County Board of Supervisors considered a rezoning request and development plan for the project. The Arizona Daily Sun reports that the board concluded hours of discussion and presentations by delaying a vote on whether to approve the Two Guns Resort project. The board delayed a vote pending further possible changes to the project.

New Mexico tosses 75 vaccine doses over temperature issues

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials in New Mexico say the state has discarded a 75-dose shipment of the new COVID-19 vaccine this week after a digital device showed it overheated during transportation to a hospital. Amid vaccination efforts, state health officials on Friday reported 1,463 new daily cases of COVID-19 statewide and 31 related deaths. The Albuquerque Journal reported that a temperature-tracking device may have malfunctioned, but state officials threw out the doses to be safe. The problem appears to be isolated. Pfizer had already delivered the doses to New Mexico, and temperature problems arose during transportation from a state Department of Health warehouse to Union County General Hospital in Clayton. Officials say a new shipment was sent Wednesday to the hospital.

Navajo Nation reports 175 new COVID-19 cases, 10 new deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials are reporting 175 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new virus-related deaths. The tribe has now reported more than 20,000 coronavirus cases resulting in 742 deaths since the pandemic began. Friday's new statistics come as the vast reservation enters the latest in a string of weekend-long lockdowns designed to limit activity that can spread the virus. The Navajo Nation remains in a three-week lockdown requiring residents to remain home at all times. Only essential workers reporting to work and those going for food or other vital items are allowed to travel. The nation's roads remained closed to visitors.   

Judge dismisses one of New Mexico's education lawsuits

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A U.S. district judge in Santa Fe has dismissed one of the education lawsuits that have sprung up against the state or intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. At one point in the lawsuit, the judge ordered state education officials to intervene in the case of a 13-year-old girl with special needs in Hobbs and figure out why here school wasn't providing all of the services called for in her learning plan. The state faces other lawsuits, including one from school boards and administrators over what they describe as state overreach.


Saudi Arabia suspends international flights

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended all international passenger flights for citizens and residents over fears about the fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus.

The kingdom's interior ministry says the one-week flight ban may be extended "until medical information about the nature of this virus becomes clear."

The country's land and sea ports will also close for a week. The government ordered anyone who has returned from or passed through a European country over the past three months to get tested for COVID-19 immediately.

The ministry added that the travel suspension will not affect the country's cargo flights and supply chains.



— European countries halt U.K. flights, fearing the new coronavirus variant.

— Asia Today: Outbreak grows in Sydney's beach suburbs; Thais line up for tests.

— A surge of 'new poor' linked to closed restaurants and hotels are struggling amid Italy's outbreak.


NEW YORK -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants a ban on flights from Great Britain to New York City over fears about the new strain of coronavirus.

Cuomo told reporters in a teleconference on Sunday that the six flights arriving daily at Kennedy Airport from Britain pose a health risk. He called on the federal government to either ban the flights or require testing on all passengers.

The first wave of coronavirus infections in New York "came from Europe and we did nothing," the Democratic governor said. "Doing nothing is negligent."


OKLAHOMA CITY — As new daily cases of the coronavirus have surged in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt is starring in a promotional video encouraging people to visit.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Sunday reported 4,970 new cases and 23 deaths. That brings the state's totals to more than 260,000 cases and more than 2,200 deaths since the pandemic began. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say there were 1,081 new cases per 100,000 people in Oklahoma over the past two weeks, which ranks 12th in the country for new cases per capita. One in every 175 people in Oklahoma tested positive in the past week.

Stitt, who has resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate, stars in a 30-second video that has has more than 100,000 views on YouTube. The video is also being promoted on digital and social media platforms in surrounding states, The Oklahoman reported.

"Today, we all need a place that offers hope," Stitt says in the video. "Oklahoma is open to the challenge. We're open with new, exciting places to explore safely."

The video was posted on YouTube on Nov. 19 — the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against traveling around the Thanksgiving holiday. An Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department spokeswoman says the ads will run through Dec. 30.

Stitt spokesman Charlie Hannema tells The Oklahoman newspaper that the campaign is part of a state strategy to support businesses affected by the pandemic.

"We need people to continue to take precautions, but with the vaccination rollout starting, the light is at the end of the tunnel," Hannema said.

Health officials in the state have been pleading with residents to take precautions, and warn that pandemic is far from over.

On Friday, Keith Reed, deputy commissioner of health with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said that while it had been "a historic, yet emotional week" for health care workers, "we still have a long road ahead of us."


WASHINGTON — The chief science adviser for the U.S. government's vaccine distribution effort says it will be shipping nearly 8 million doses of coronavirus vaccine Monday.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that 5.9 million doses of a vaccine made by Moderna and 2 million of a vaccine made by Pfizer will be shipped.

At least a dozen states reported last week that they would receive a smaller second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine than they had been told previously. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, in charge of the distribution effort, apologized Saturday for "miscommunication" with states over the number of doses to be delivered in the early stages of distribution.

Slaoui said the mistake was assuming vaccines that had been produced were ready for shipment when there was a two-day delay.

"And unless it's perfectly right, we will not release vaccine doses for usage," he said. "And, sometimes, there could be small hiccups. There have been none, actually, in manufacturing now. The hiccup was more into the planning."

Slaoui also said the U.S. will experience "a continuing surge" in the coronavirus, with larger numbers of cases possible from gatherings for the Christmas holiday.


SOFIA, Bulgaria— Bulgaria is banning until January 31 all flights coming from and leaving for Britain in reaction to the new coronavirus strain.

At an emergency meeting on Sunday, the government had introduced new restrictive measures for all persons arriving from the United Kingdom, including a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Hours later, it added the flight ban to the list of restrictions.


SAN RAMON, Calif. - More than 1 million people have passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints in each of the past two days in a sign that public health pleas to avoid holiday travel are being ignored, despite an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

It marks the first time U.S. airports have screened more than 1 million passengers since Nov. 29. That came at the end of a Thanksgiving weekend that saw far more travel around the country than had been hoped as the weather turned colder and COVID-19 cases were already spiking again.

Now, hospitals in many parts of the country are being overwhelmed amid the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. since the pandemic since March when most people in the U.S. were ordered to stay at home and avoid interactions with other households.


WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for U.S. surgeon general says it's more realistic to think it may be mid-summer or early fall before coronavirus vaccines are available to the general population in the United States, rather than late spring.

Speaking on Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Vivek Murthy said Biden's team is working toward having coronavirus vaccines available to lower-risk individuals by late spring but doing so requires "everything to go exactly on schedule."

"I think it's more realistic to assume that it may be closer to mid-summer or early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population," Murthy said. "So, we want to be optimistic, but we want to be cautious as well."

Murthy, who also served as surgeon general in the Obama administration, said Biden's promise of 100 million vaccines during his first 100 days in office is realistic and that the Biden team has seen more cooperation from Trump administration officials.


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's surgeon general is defending Trump's not getting a coronavirus vaccine, saying there are medical reasons for it.

U.S. Surgeon General and Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, noted that Trump both contracted COVID-19 in October and was treated with monoclonal antibodies.

"And that is actually one scenario where we tell people maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine, talk to your health provider to find out the right time," Adams said.

Asked about Trump doing a public-service announcement for the vaccine to encourage his supporters to get it, Adams noted that both he and Vice President Mike Pence got vaccinated.

Adams, who is Black, said he understands that mistrust of the medical community and the vaccine among Blacks "comes from a real place," the mistreatment of communities of color.


JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the country is banning flights from Britain, Denmark or South Africa due to fears about the new strain of coronavirus.

"Those are the countries where the mutation is found," he said.

He also said Sunday that anyone returning from those countries would have to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine in state-run hotels.

Netanyahu spoke a day after he was vaccinated against the coronavirus – the first Israeli to do so in what he said was an attempt to encourage the public to follow suit. Israel pushed ahead with its vaccination campaign on Sunday, beginning with other top officials and front-line health-care workers.


LONDON — Eurostar trains between London, Brussels and Amsterdam are being canceled from Monday, after the Belgian government announced that borders with the U.K will close at midnight Sunday.

The high-speed train operator said Sunday that trains continue to operate on the London to Paris route.

The Belgian government has said it will review the position in 24 hours. Eurostar said they're awaiting further details from relevant governments on how travel restrictions will be enforced.

European countries including the Netherlands, Austria and Italy said Sunday they would halt flights from the U.K., hours after Britain's government imposed tough new coronavirus restrictions on large areas of southern England to curb what officials described as a fast-moving new strain of the virus.


MILAN — Both the number of COVID deaths and new positives were significantly lower on Sunday, a day when typically many fewer tests are carried out.

Deaths rose by 352, down by several hundred from recent days, and bringing Italy's known coronavirus dead to 68,799, the highest in Europe.

Another 15,104 people tested positive, down by over 1,000 from a day earlier as the number of tests dropped by nearly a quarter. Sunday marked the last day Italians were permitted to move from one region to another without a valid motive, including work and health.

The government has imposed more stringent restrictions for the Christmas holiday in a bid to prevent celebrations from setting of a new surge. Shopping streets in major cities were packed ahead of the imposition of a partial lockdown this week.


ROME — Italy's foreign minister announced Sunday that Italy is suspending flights from Britain "to protect Italians" from the new coronavirus variant.

Luigi Di Maio tweeted that the government was preparing a measure that would block flights. It wasn't immediately clear when it would it would take effect.

Italian media reports indicate about two dozen flights are scheduled to arrive in Italy on Sunday, most in the northern region of Lombardy but also in Veneto and Lazio, which include Venice and Rome, respectively.

More than 327,000 Italian citizens are registered as living in Britain, with the unofficial total reaching as many as 700,000. Sunday is the last day that Italians can travel from one region to another before the Christmas holidays, due to a new partial lockdown imposed by the government to prevent a new surge in infections.


BANGKOK -- Thousands of people lined up for coronavirus tests in a province near Bangkok on Sunday, as Thai authorities scrambled to contain an outbreak that has infected nearly 700 people.

Lines of mainly migrant workers stretched for around 100 meters in one location alone in Mahachai in Samut Sakhon province, as health officials in mobile units methodically took nasal swabs.

There were three locations in total in the area. Nearby, razor wire and police guards blocked access to one of Thailand's largest seafood markets and its associated housing complex, the epicenter of the new cluster.

Thailand's Disease Control Department said Sunday that they found 141 more cases linked to the market outbreak. On Saturday, the department reported 548 cases, Thailand's biggest daily spike.


PRAGUE — The Czech Republic is imposing restrictions on travels from Britain following a discovery of a new, allegedly highly contagious strain of coronavirus in southern England.

The Czech Health Ministry says that given the risk linked to the new variant that was confirmed in Britain all people arriving in the country who spent at least 24 hours on British territory in last two weeks have to isolate.

The ministry says they have to stay isolated for 10 days unless they are tested negative by a PCR test five to seven days into their self-isolation.

It says it measure whose goal is to increase public safety becomes effective on Sunday.

Belgium and the Netherlands started banning flights from the U.K. in reaction to tougher measures imposed in London and surrounding areas on Saturday by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Germany, The Czech Republic's neighbor, is considering doing the same.


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's minister for planning who also heads the national body for control of Coronavirus tested positive and went in isolation at home as authorities reported another 80 deaths and 3297 cases of COVID-19 during the last 24 hours Sunday.

Asad Umar on Saturday announced his isolation because of the virus. Umar appealed to fellow countrymen to adhere to precautionary measures of physical distancing and wearing of face masks at all the time when in public or at gatherings. But many people in this nation of 22 million rarely follow the guidelines for avoiding COVID-19.


BRUSSELS — Belgium has joined the Netherlands in banning flights from the U.K. and also banned rail connections in an attempt to make sure that a new strain of coronavirus that is sweeping across southern England does not spill over on its territory.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Sunday said he was issuing the order for 24 hours starting at midnight "out of precaution."

"There are a great many questions about this new mutation and if it is not already on the mainland," he said. He hoped to have more clarity as of Tuesday.

The Netherlands is banning flights from the U.K. for at least the rest of the year.

Both Belgium and the Netherlands were reacting to tougher measures imposed in London and surrounding areas on Saturday by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday began its coronavirus inoculation drive, aiming to vaccinate some 60,000 people a day in a bid to stamp out the illness that is once again surging among its population.

The country will first immunize health workers, followed by the elderly, high-risk Israelis and those over 60 years old. Israel says it has secured sufficient doses for much of the country's 9 million people from both Pfizer and Moderna, whose vaccine U.S. authorities approved this week for emergency use.

With public opinion polls showing many Israelis are reluctant to receive shots right away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would set a "personal example" and insisted on being the first Israeli vaccinated. He received the shot Saturday night.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the fifth consecutive day, putting pressure on authorities to enforce the toughest distancing rules that would further hurt the economy.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says it's found 1,097 additional cases over the past 24-hour period, the highest daily tally since the pandemic began. That puts the national caseload at 49,665, including 674 deaths.

About 70% of the new cases come from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a viral resurgence.

The pace of the spread has already met government conditions for raising social distancing rules to their highest level. But officials have been reluctant to move forward with the measure out of worries for the economy. The new steps would be banning gatherings of more than 10 people and shutting hundreds of thousands of non-essential businesses.


Large numbers of Americans have been working from home this year because of the pandemic, and according to a new survey, nearly half of them have secretly stopped working early to have an alcoholic drink at least once. The survey conducted by OnePoll for HOP WTR also found that another 45 percent admitted having an alcoholic drink during the workday. More than half, 53 percent said they've been drinking more frequently during lockdown, and more than 60 percent said virtual happy hours with their co-workers has increased their alcohol consumption during quarantine.

  • If you've been working from home because of the pandemic, have you ever secretly stopped working early to have a drink?

  • Have you actually had a drink during the workday? 

  • Has you overall alcohol intake increased ? Remember this site is anonymous!!!

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