The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Thursday, December 17th, 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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“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” - Proverbs 24:3-4

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” - Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

THE CONSERVATIVE CALENDAR

Forecast at The KIVA: High 44 Degrees at 4pm (Will feel like 43) Low 23 Degrees at 7am (Will feel like 18). Winds get to 6 MPH at 10:00pm. Trace precipitation. Sunny and Clear AM. Cloudy PM. *Weather is from the KIVA Weather Station.

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 17, the 352nd day of 2020. There are 14 days left in 2020

In 1777, France recognized American independence.

In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

In 1938, German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission by splitting the nuclei of uranium into lighter elements.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.

In 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif. to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford.

In 1989, the animated TV series "The Simpsons" premiered on Fox with a Christmas-themed episode.

In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2007, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a measure making New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years.

In 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70.

In 2014, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

Today's Birthdays: Pope Francis is 84. Political commentator Chris Matthews is 75.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

0700MST -- The House Oversight & Reform Cmte holds a virtual hearing on "The Role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family in the Opioid Epidemic."

0800MST -- The Senate meets.

1000MST -- The House meets.

1000MST -- VPOTUS makes remarks at a "Defend the Majority" rally. Sens Perdue & Loeffler attend. Columbus, GA.

1215MST -- POTUS & FLOTUS participate in a signing ceremony for H.R. 473 authorizing a women's suffrage monument in the US Capitol. Oval Office.

UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS

Rio Rancho Rally
Saturday Dec 19, Noon
"Say NO to Bread Lines"
901 Unser Blvd SE

Las Cruces/ Freedom Christmas Ride & Protest
Saturday 12/19/2020 - Staging 10am - Onate HS - 5700 Mesa Grande Dr
Ride starts @ 11am - Protest 12noon - Young Park - 850 S Walnut St.

TOP 10 VIDEOS OF THE DAY

  1. Pete Buttigieg: ‘I Proposed to My Husband Chasten in an Airport Terminal’

  2. CNBC’s Shep Smith Falsely Reports Buttigieg Would Be the First Openly Gay Cabinet Secretary

  3. Tom Cotton Calls on Biden Family to ‘Come Clean’

  4. Joe Biden Calls Chasten Buttigieg ‘Kristen’

  5. Jim Jordan: Not a ‘Healthy Situation’ When Over a Third of Electorate Think the Election Was Stolen

  6. Jesse Watters: How Is a Stolen Truck Filled with 300,000 Ballots Not the Biggest Story Right Now?

  7. Corey Lewandowski: I Agree with AOC that Pelosi and Schumer Need To Go

  8. Mark Steyn: Wuhan’s Multiplex Is Desperate for Mission Impossible and President Xi Needs Tom Cruise to Deliver

  9. Kayleigh McEnany: Reporters Are Behaving Like Activists

  10. Kelly Loeffler: We Could See the First Marxist Senator in the Senate If Georgians Do Not Vote

TOP 10 LINKS OF THE DAY

  1. All New Mexico counties in the red for virus spread

  2. 75 COVID-19 vaccines tossed after overheating in transport

  3. LANL Director Addresses Lab’s Economic Impact, COVID Impact And Employee Giving Campaign Results

  4. 6 NM orgs receive large donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

  5. Couple steal tools from northwest Albuquerque Home Depot

  6. Rand Paul: Fraud happened, presidential election 'stolen'

  7. Americans Are in Full Revolt Against Pandemic Lockdowns

  8. Wearing a used mask could be worse than no mask amid COVID-19: study

  9. Ex-teachers union leader seen as leading candidate for Biden's Education secretary

  10. U.S. liquefied natural gas exports set a record in November

MORNING LOCAL NEWS BRIEFING

Largest wind farm in New Mexico to begin generating power

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Xcel Energy says work is done on the Sagamore Wind Project, and the turbines will go online at the end of the month. Covering 100,000 acres, the wind farm is the largest in New Mexico and the second largest on the utility's eight-state system. CEO and chairman Ben Fowke said during a virtual celebration that Sagamore will be a key asset for Xcel in its push to reach carbon-free electricity generation by 2050. Xcel officials said the new wind farm will result in lower costs for customers and will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in lease payments and tax revenues over the next 25 years.

New Mexico allows more people in businesses in cold weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico officials are amending the state's public health order on the coronavirus to allow more people inside grocery stores and other essential businesses. The governor's office made the announcement Wednesday, citing the recent frigid temperatures as a reason for the slight increase in capacity levels. Waiting lines have been forming outside grocery stores and other retailers since Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered capacity to be limited at establishments around the state as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19. The state also announced that distribution of the first batch of 17,550 vaccines to New Mexico is complete.

New Mexico plans to resume jury trials in February

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico courts are scheduled to resume jury trials in February 2021 after a hiatus in response to surging coronavirus infections. The Administrative Office of the Courts announced the order Monday. The suspension of jury trials in November did not apply to grand juries that decide whether evidence warrants charges of criminal conduct. In a news release, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil said the state judiciary relies on an emergency response team to monitor pandemic risks. State courts have remained open throughout the pandemic as judges use video and telephone conferencing to carry out civil and criminal legal proceedings.

Utah parents sue to allow students to return to classrooms

SALT LAKE CITY — A dozen parents have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Salt Lake City School District after it refused to open schools and relied on remote learning., The parents are claiming the decision represented what they called a historic deprivation of rights. The Deseret News reports that the lawsuit filed Monday claims the district's decision stripped about 21,000 students of rights to a free and open public education under the state Constitution. The Salt Lake City Board of Education voted earlier this year to conduct school only by remote learning. It became the only Utah school district to do so in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

New Mexico land boss ends fresh water sales for oil and gas

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico State Land Office is halting the practice of selling fresh water from state trust lands for use in oil and gas development. Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard detailed the shift in policy in a letter issued Tuesday. She sent the letter to companies that hold easements that grant access to trust land for pumping fresh water. Under the change, existing easements will not be renewed once they expire and no new easements will be issued. The agency says the policy is aimed at encouraging the industry to use recycled or produced water given the scarcity of fresh resources in New Mexico.

Education lawsuit demands internet for New Mexico students

SANTA FE, N.M. — Lawyers representing Native American students say New Mexico is violating a 2018 court order in a landmark education case as attempts to boost internet access and provide learning devices are falling short. The case covers 80% of the state's students, including Native Americans and those who are low-income or disabled. Lawyers representing the students say educational opportunities would not have been as inadequate had the state complied with the court order and ensured access to technology for all students. In a motion filed Tuesday, they asked a court to compel the state to provide laptops and internet to students who still lack them.

Top New Mexico health official hopeful about vaccine rollout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The new state health chief says the arrival of vaccines in New Mexico marks a turning point and she's hopeful for a brighter day as people get vaccinated over the coming months. Still, health Secretary Tracie Collins said Tuesday that while vaccination will prevent COVID-19 infection, there is more that needs to be learned about how effective inoculations will be in stemming transmission of the virus. She says that means residents still need to wear masks, maintain social distancing, wash their hands often and keep up with other COVID-safe practices. Tuesday marked Collins' second day at the helm of the state Health Department.

New Mexico university leader on Biden-Harris transition team

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan Arvizu has been chosen as part of the transition team for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that Arvizu was approached to help the U.S. Department of Energy in the transition from the outgoing Trump administration to the Biden administration. He is also expected to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Arvizu said in his most recent university system-wide email that it is a volunteer position and is not associated with his university position.

US AND GLOBAL NEWS BRIEFING

RECENT CYBERSECURITY ATTACK 

The recent SolarWinds cyber security attack has triggered a whole-of-govt response, with the FBI, CISA, & ODNI all taking immediate action to protect federal agencies and their resources. Natl Security Adviser Robert O'Brien cut short his overseas trip earlier this week, signaling the severity of the attack. The National Security Council announced on Tuesday a group called the Cyber Unified Coordination Group would handle a unified response.

COVID DEAL: READY OR NOT?

Congressional leaders are on the brink of a coronavirus relief plan, with Speaker Pelosi saying last night that "we're moving forward" with talks, but adding "we'll be ready when we're ready." The final mile is always the hardest on Capitol Hill. Not everything is settled, and a measure of this magnitude is no exception. Leaders are scrambling to finalize bill text and lump the package onto another bill to avert a govt shutdown this weekend. Plus, leaders need to give members time to read the bill and make sure they have the votes. Congress could wrap all of this up with lightning speed, or, the process of finishing up could drag out over the weekend and into next week. But lawmakers won't leave for Christmas until everything is wrapped up.

SWALWELL FALLOUT ON CAPITOL HILL

Embattled Rep Swalwell, who is associated with suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang, was back on Capitol Hill for votes yesterday with nothing to say when Fox asked him about the scandal. 17 GOPers wrote Speaker Pelosi this week calling for Swalwell to be removed from his post on the House Intel Cmte, saying his interactions with the Chinese spy are an "unacceptable national security risk." Pelosi has not responded to that letter, but said last week she has "full confidence" in Swalwell. Other prominent Dems are coming to Swalwell's defense, including Dem Caucus Chair Jeffries, who called him a "tremendous member," and Intel Cmte Chair Schiff, who said he has "complete confidence" in Swalwell.

RELIEF DEAL IN WORKS: WILL YOU GET A CHECK?

Congressional leaders rush to complete a stimulus deal before the end of the week, which would include a new round of stimulus checks. Republican Sen Thune says there could be direct payments of $600-$700 per individual, around the same level proposed by Treasury Secy Mnuchin. Thune says the package is expected to add enhanced federal unemployment benefit of $300/week. To cover the cost of the checks, and keep the total package under a $1tril, the proposal reduces the amount of aid going to cities & states. As discussions remain ongoing about exact amounts, we explore how much households could expect to receive if the new bill passes.

TALIBAN PEACE TALKS-JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN GEN. MARK MILEY MAKING UNANNOUNCED TRIP TO AFGHANISTAN

The top U.S. general held unannounced talks with Taliban peace negotiators in the Persian Gulf to urge a reduction in violence across Afghanistan, even as senior American officials in Kabul warned that stepped-up Taliban attacks endanger the militant group's nascent peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met for about two hours with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday and flew Wednesday to Kabul to discuss the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Milley's meetings came amid a new drawdown of U.S. troops, although under current U.S. policy a complete pullout hinges on the Taliban reducing attacks nationwide.  "The most important part of the discussions that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence," Milley told three reporters, including one from The Associated Press, who accompanied him to Qatar and Afghanistan. "Everything else hinges on that." Under ground rules set by Milley for security reasons, the journalists traveling with him agreed not to report on either set of talks until he had departed the region. It was Milley's second unannounced meeting with the Taliban's negotiating team; the first, in June, also in Doha, had not been reported until now.

NOR'EASTER NYC

A major snowstorm is underway in the northeast. Strong winds between 40-50 mph will combine with snow creating low visibility and making travel highly dangerous if not impossible. The NYC area could see a foot of snow, with up to 2 feet out in the suburbs. Philadelphia and coastal areas could see lower totals if snow mixes with sleet and rain. Farther north: Hartford, CT will likely see 10-16 inches and Boston 8-14 inches. The bulk of the snow will wrap up by midday today, but cold temperatures mean the snow will be slow to melt.

COVID CASES RISING

As more coronavirus vaccines are delivered & administered across the country, the virus continues to surge, with every state reporting an increase in the number of COVID hospitalizations and deaths. More than 300,000 Americans have died from the virus, and nearly 113,000 are currently hospitalized with it, a new record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. Nearly 22,000 of those patients are in the ICU or occupying critical care beds. Rural hospitals are particularly overwhelmed and space is running tight, while some US funeral homes are beginning to report a shortage of supplies because their caseloads are so high.

PERFECT STORM FOR BUSINESSES: BLIZZARD & BUREAUCRATS

Just days after being forced to close indoor dining, restaurants are handcuffed yet again, this time by a winter storm that's pummeling the northeast. Some restaurant owners have said that they are worried about having to spend even more money to secure their outdoor dining structures, while others worry that snow plows could damage the accommodations they've worked to build. In NYC, less than 2% of COVID-19 infection cases have been traced back to indoor dining, but restaurants have become a scapegoat for lockdown-happy politicians, and critics say it is decimating the industry.

INTERNATIONAL

- MIDEAST: While Israel is set to vaccinate its population next wk, the timetable is very different for the Palestinians, who live under Israeli military rule but have no idea when vaccinations will arrive.

- CHINA: Wuhan accounted for over 80% of all COVID-19 cases in China, and it is were the first people to do battle with the disease that has since claimed 1.5mil lives. We speak to one family that were impacted heavily by the disease, going into the home of a front-line medical worker who caught the virus in the early days of the outbreak, and hear from his wife about the challenges they faced during his recovery. They are now returning to normal life in govt-supplied housing for impacted medical workers, and have plans to start a family in the wake of Wuhan's traumatic lockdown and recovery.

- ITALY: Milan residents defy pandemic fears in shopping rush for Christmas.

- CZECH REPUBLIC: Restrictions return for Czech businesses weeks after reopening. Restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, and gyms in the Czech Republic will have to shut their doors again from Dec 18 after a short-lived relaxation of coronavirus restrictions. The country's cases have dropped from record highs in the autumn, but the first two wks of Dec saw them increase to more than 6,000 a day.

- PORTUGAL: Portugal's govt is expected to reevaluate measures to combat the spread of the virus during the Christmas/holiday season.

- LITHUANIA: Lithuanian police are to set up roadblocks to enforce strict lockdown restrictions in the country, where a raging coronavirus spread that has seen the country jump from 18th to third worst-hit in the EU in just 6 weeks.

FDA SAYS OKAY TO SQUEEZE EXTRA DOSES OUT OF PFIZER COVID VACCINE VIALS 

Pharmacists have found a way to squeeze extra doses out of vials of Pfizer's vaccine, potentially expanding the nation's scarce supply by up to 40 percent. The Food and Drug Administration said late Wednesday that those extra doses could be used, clearing up confusion that had caused some pharmacists to throw away leftover vaccine for fear of violating the rules the agency set last week. The federal government has not publicly announced the guidance; Pfizer learned of the change this afternoon. The Pfizer vials are supposed to hold five doses, but pharmacists have found they have enough for a sixth or even a seventh dose. Putting those into use could significantly increase the United States' scarce early supply of the shot, reducing the likelihood of a "vaccine cliff" this spring as demand outpaces supply. Both Pfizer and FDA said that leftover vaccine from multiple vials should not be mixed, because of the contamination risk.

UT-STATE LEGISLATURE CUTS SALT LAKE CITY TEACHERS OUT OF COVID PANDEMIC BONUS MONEY 

In a stunning move, Salt Lake City School District teachers were cut out of a plan by the legislature to give all Utah teachers and school employees a bonus for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Utah State Legislature's powerful Executive Appropriations Committee approved a $1,500 bonus for all public school teachers and $1,000 for employees. But House Speaker Brad Wilson made a motion that it is only for school districts that have in-person or a mix of in-person and online education. "To receive funding for educator and school personnel stipends, a local education agency has provided in person, a combination on in-person and virtual or has been chartered to only provide virtual prior to January 19, 2021," he said. That specifically leaves out the Salt Lake City School District, which has been online-only.

MN-GOV. WALZ TO RELAX SOME COIVD RESTRICTIONS 

Indoor restaurants and bars will stay shut down, but fitness clubs and other venues will reopen under a new plan by Gov. Tim Walz to limit the spread of COVID-19 and buy time for distribution of vaccine against the infectious disease. Minnesota's infections rate has been declining since Nov. 11, but Walz said restrictions are needed, particularly in group settings that have fueled broader spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  The new order, which will take effect at midnight Saturday and last until Jan. 11, replaces a four-week closure of bars, restaurants, fitness clubs and entertainment venues. It allows gyms to open with caps of 100 people or 25% capacity; amateur sports to resume practices but not games on Jan. 4; and gatherings of up to 10 people from two households indoors, or up to 15 people from three households outdoors. The prior pause discouraged gatherings outside of immediate household members. Indoor entertainment venues such as theaters and museums remain closed through Jan. 10, but outdoor events can continue at 25% capacity, capped at 100 people. In-person learning can resume, starting Jan. 18, at Minnesota elementary schools that conduct regular testing and require staff to wear masks and face shields. Walz on Wednesday also signed a $242 million relief package to help people who are unemployed and businesses that have suffered losses through the closures.

FRANCE-PRES. EAMMANUEL MACRON TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS 

French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday, following a week when he has met with numerous European leaders. The French and Spanish prime ministers are among those self-isolating because they had recent contact with him. Macron took a test “as soon as the first symptoms appeared” and will self-isolate for seven days, the presidency said in a brief statement. It did not detail what symptoms Macron experienced or any treatment he might be receiving. The 42-year-old president “will continue to work and take care of his activities at a distance,” the statement added. His wife, Brigitte, 67, will also self-isolate but has no symptoms and tested negative on Tuesday ahead of a visit to a Paris hospital, her office said. Macron attended a European Union summit at the end of last week, where he notably had a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was not immediately clear what contact tracing efforts were in progress. EU leaders met in person on Dec 10-11, for the first time since October. The media has been kept away from the summit venue in Brussels, but television images showed the leaders wearing masks, generally keeping good distancing – preferring elbow bumps to the usual handshakes, kisses and hugs – and occasionally using hand gel dispensers in the room.

GA ELECTIONS

VP Pence is visiting GA today to support GOP Sens. David Perdue & Kelly Loeffler. Early voting is currently underway in the Jan 5 runoff elections which will determine the balance of power in the Senate. Pence's trip comes just days after Pres-elect Biden was in the state campaigning for Perdue and Loeffler's Dem challengers.

HUNTER BIDEN LATEST

The fallout from the ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden continues to reverberate as tempers flare on Capitol Hill. Some Republicans are seething about Democrats labeling reports of the Hunter Biden investigation in the lead up in the 2020 election as nothing more than Russian disinformation, while Democrats remain focused on Pres Trump and those close to him. Rep Nadler announced his decision yesterday to reauthorize a subpoena for fmr White House Counsel Don McGahn, which caused Rep. Jordan to respond in a letter: "For too long, you have allowed your oddly personal obsession with Pres Trump to cloud the Cmte's work. It is time that you stop." Meanwhile, Fox News has obtained a June 2017 correspondence between Hunter Biden and the Chair of a Chinese energy company, where the Pres-Elect's son offers "Best wishes from the entire Biden family," and asks that $10mil be quickly wired to "properly fund and operate" a joint venture. Some Trump allies are calling for a Special Counsel to look into Hunter Biden's business dealing with concerns the incoming Biden Admin might bury the current investigation.

"VIRTUAL" INAUGURATION MONEY TRAIL

Biden's team is raising millions in corporate cash, including donations from Ford, UPS, Aflac, & Bank of America, for a "virtual" inauguration. The campaign is providing little info on where and how this inauguration money is being spent, but without the traditional balls & events, costs are expected to be significantly reduced. Meanwhile, Biden's camp says they won't accept money from "fossil fuel" companies or lobbyists, but most all other industries are fair game. Companies in the Pharmaceutical, Big Tech, and Banking industries donated $1mil to previous inaugurations and are expected to donate again.

BRACING FOR BIDEN: "EXECUTIVE ORDER" BLITZ EXPECTED

As Pres-elect Biden's cabinet is filling up, what day one action is he readying up? The incoming White House Chief of Staff has signaled Biden is expected to use executive orders to advance his agenda unilaterally, but how far can he go? Progressives are urging action on canceling student debt, relaxing a ban on marijuana, repealing travel bans, reinstating "DACA", and taking on Wall Street. Biden has said in the past that he can issue executive orders pulling back some of Pres Trump's actions, but he can't issue orders to spend money without Congress.

PENTAGON

How is TikTok used by China as a Trojan horse to spy on Americans? What is China's end game? How has the Chinese Communist Party used hackers to turn your PC at home into a zombie network for their spying? That case goes back to the indictment of 5 prominent Chinese spies hacking for the PLA in 2014 that led to 100 arrests in 18 countries. Mobile cellphone networks used by Americans when they travel outside the US are particularly vulnerable. American tourists traveling in the Caribbean did not realize that their cell phone signal was being routed through Chinese telecom operators, like Unicom, when they visited Barbados or the Bahamas.

GASCON SPEAKS

Fighting back against accusations of going soft on criminals, LA County's new district atty says some crime victims and their families have his back. But Gascon's effort to lighten sentences on killers in the hope they may one day be eligible for parole isn't sitting well grief-stricken families. This is just one of many radical changes the liberal DA is making in an attempt to overhaul the criminal justice system.

CHINA / WHO VISIT

Fox News confirms the World Health Organization is planning to go to China next month for a much-delayed on-the-ground investigation into the origins of Covid-19. It’s reported a team of experts will go to Wuhan, where it is suspected the Coronavirus was first detected. This amid concerns about how much cooperation Beijing will actually provide. In recent weeks, the government has stepped up a propaganda campaign claiming China is not responsible for the disease. Their latest claims say Covid-19 could have originated in Italy, India, even in frozen food shipped from around the world. As cases and deaths from the virus continue to soar worldwide.

RUSH TO BUILD BORDER WALL AHEAD OF BIDEN PRESIDENCY

Wall or no wall? Pres-elect Joe Biden is vowing to not build another foot of border wall during his admin, but Acting CBP Cmsner Mark Morgan says it could cost taxpayers "billions" if the incoming admin walks away from those contracts. Fox Business gets a first-hand look at the new ongoing border wall construction as crews work around the clock to complete as much as the wall as possible before Jan 20.

JOB HUNTERS SHIFT FOCUS

Anyone who covers the stock market has heard the term "flight to safety," but now it's applying to the job market too. According to a new study, the pandemic has seen job hunters take more of a liking to bigger, more established companies rather than smaller businesses. After a year of major upheaval, potential employees are looking for jobs at companies they see to be more reliant, resilient, and well-structured to handle major shifts in business down the road. In fact, the study says job hunters are open to lower wages and relocation to gain that perceived security.

CHINA / MOON PROBE PRESS CONFERENCE

Chinese Natl Space Admin deputy chief Wu Yanhua briefs media about the return of lunar probe Chang'e 5. The probe, which is the first to bring back moon rocks in nearly 45 years, was expected to land in northern China late last night or early this morning Beijing time.

‘ROCK OF TALK’ DEBATE OF THE DAY

Republican former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says in a new national TV ad that he regrets not wearing a mask while at the White House earlier this year, which led to him landing in the hospital for a week in October with the coronavirus. Before contracting the virus, Christie attended an event introducing then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, at which it's believed several others contracted the virus, and also did debate prep with President Trump. Christie says in the ad: "This message isn't for everyone. It's for all those people who refuse to wear a mask. You know lying in isolation in ICU for seven days I thought about how wrong I was to remove my mask at the White House. Today, I think about how wrong it is to let mask wearing divide us, especially as we now know you're twice as likely to get Covid-19 if you don't wear a mask. Because if you don't do the right thing, we could all end up on the wrong side of history. Please wear a mask." CNN reported that the ad is being paid for by the family foundation of philanthropist Ray Chambers, a former New Jersey financier who's the ambassador for global strategy for the World Health Organization.

  • Do you think the fact that Christie, a Republican former governor who's been in Trump's orbit, urges mask in this ad could convince people who've been skeptical or opposed to masks?

  • Why do you think we've become divided over mask wearing?

  • Do you think Christie would have made this ad if Trump had been re-elected?

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