The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Monday, December 14th, 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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Western civilization rests on two deaths -the death of Socrates and the death of Christ. And indeed the Crucifixion was also a democratic event. -Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn Austrian Catholic nobleman and socio-political theorist.

THE CONSERVATIVE CALENDAR

Forecast at The KIVA: High 41 Degrees at 2pm (Feels like 35) Low 18 Degrees at 6am (Feels like 15). Winds get to 9 MPH at 2:30pm. No precipitation. Cloudy. *Weather is from the KIVA Weather Station.

Today is Monday, Dec. 14, the 349th day of 2020. There are 17 days left in the year.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.

In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses.

0500MST -- With the balance of power at stake in the US Senate, early voting begins today in GA's two runoff elections. GA voters take part in Senate runoff elections. Cobb County Elections and Registration, Marietta GA.

0730MST -- US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit hears oral arguments in TikTok Inv. vs. Trump.

930MST -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) will hold a briefing with senior officials on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine distribution. 

930MST -- NV Electors meet virtually to cast, certify, & transmit their votes for President & VP.

1000MST -- GA Electors meet to cast, certify, & transmit their votes for President & VP. GA State Capitol, Atlanta, GA.

1000MST -- AZ Electors meet virtually to cast, certify, & transmit their votes for President & VP.

1000MST -- GA Electors meet to cast, certify, & transmit their votes for President & VP. GA State Capitol, Atlanta, GA.

1100MST -- WI Electors meet to cast, certify, & transmit their votes for President & VP. Capitol Building, Madison, WI.

1300MST -- The Senate meets and resumes consideration of Thomas Kirsch, II, to be US Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.

1600EST -- The Rock of Talk on 93.7 FM/AM 1600 KIVA (www.abq.fm)

1800EST -- Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Electoral College. Wilmington

TOP 10 VIDEOS OF THE DAY

  1. Trump: Bill Barr ‘Had an Obligation To Set the Record Straight’ on Hunter Biden Investigation During Election

  2. Bill Gates: ‘Sadly, It Is Appropriate’ to Close Down Bars and Restaurants for This Next COVID Wave

  3. President Trump: Joe Biden Lied on the Debate Stage About Hunter

  4. Rep. Tlaib Claims Corporate Tax Revenue Could Be Raised 700% to Fund Covid ‘Stimulus’

  5. President Trump: Joe Biden Ran a Race from the Basement

  6. Kayleigh McEnany: ‘Despite Fake News Brian Stelter Calling It Russian Disinformation,’ the Media Is Finally Covering the Hunter Biden Story

  7. President Trump: ‘If I Wasn’t President, You Wouldn’t Have a Vaccine for 5 Years’

  8. MSNBC Blames Trump for Blue States Governors’ Covid Vaccines Skepticism

  9. Bill Gates: I Will Publicly Take the Vaccine

  10. NY Post’s Miranda Devine: ‘We’ve Been Vindicated’ for Our Hunter Biden Reporting

TOP 10 LINKS OF THE DAY

  1. Five things to watch when the Electoral College votes

  2. When Do We Start Coming out of the Covid-19 Mass Hysteria?

  3. State lawmakers to discuss format of upcoming legislative session

  4. Auditor: New Mexico MLK panel failed to meet fiscal duties

  5. Amid fears of overwhelmed medical systems, data shows ample hospital capacity nationwide

  6. Hunter And James Biden Have Refused To Cooperate With Senate Requests, Sen. Ron Johnson Says

  7. Former Cuomo staffer accuses NY governor of sexually harassing her for years — he denies it

  8. Manhattan’s office leasing taking a dive

  9. America Is A Nation Of Rogues

  10. John le Carre, who probed murky world of spies, dies at 89

MORNING LOCAL NEWS BRIEFING

US agency looks to open rare lizard's habitat to oil and gas

CARLSBAD, N.M. — Federal wildlife managers are considering offering permits to landowners in the Permian Basin that environmentalists say could further compromise habitat for a rare lizard found only in parts of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be accepting comments on the proposal through Dec. 21. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the permits would be available to landowners who are participating in candidate conservation agreements with the federal government. The permits would cover situations when lizards are harmed or killed during oil and gas operations, sand mining, renewable energy development, agriculture or construction activities.

New Mexico reports 1,800 more virus cases; some slowing seen

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico on Saturday reported over 1,800 additional known COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus virus showed signs of slowing. The state reported 1,803 additional known cases and 24 additional deaths, increasing the state's totals to 118,358 cases and 1,913 deaths. According to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project, seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and COVID-19 testing positivity declined over the past two weeks, though the rolling average of new daily deaths increased slightly. New cases and testing positivity are considered leading indicators that can show trends later seen in hospitalizations and deaths. 

'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.  

Navajo Nation reports 231 new COVID-19 cases, 12 more deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation health officials are reporting 231 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths as they prepared to implement a weekend-long lockdown for reservation residents. The tribe has now reported 19,199 cases and 711 known deaths since the pandemic began. The lockdown that begins at 8 p.m. Friday will require everyone on the reservation except essential workers to stay at home. All businesses are are required to remain closed until the lockdown ends at 5:30 a.m. Monday. The tribe also has a general stay-at-home order in place through Dec. 28. 

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.

Indian Health Service plans for COVID vaccine distribution

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The federal agency that provides health care to Native Americans says it's expecting more than enough vaccines to protect all the people working in the hospitals and clinics that it funds. The Indian Health Service was treated much like a state for distribution purposes. It submitted a plan to vaccinate more than 2 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The agency expects to receive 22,425 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week and 46,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of the year. Those doses will cover the more than 44,000 people who work at hundreds of facilities that are receiving vaccine allocations through the Indian Health Service.

Auditor: New Mexico MLK panel failed to meet fiscal duties

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón says the Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission and its executive director are failing to meet their fiscal responsibilities. Colón this week released audit findings, saying his office has yet to see what procedures have been implemented to address what he called critical issues. He said the shortcomings are concerning. Commission executive director Leonard Waites vowed to provide details of new policies and procedures by Dec. 21. The commission's problems go back years. The former executive director and two others were convicted of felony embezzlement and fraud for offenses that occurred from 2013 through 2015.

Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot was decorated combat vet

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin Air National Guard fighter jet pilot who died when his F-16 crashed during a training exercise over Michigan's Upper Peninsula was a decorated combat veteran who had flown three tours of duty. The Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing said 37-year-old Air Force Capt. Durwood "Hawk" Jones from Albuquerque, New Mexico, joined the Air National Guard in 2011. He was a decorated combat veteran who was deployed to Japan, Korea and Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife and two children. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered flags to be flown at half staff starting Saturday. The Air National Guard unit has grounded its pilots while the crash is investigated.

US AND GLOBAL NEWS BRIEFING

CAPITOL HILL

Congress bought themselves some more time to figure out govt funding and COVID relief by passing a 1-wk CR last week. Senate Majority Whip Thune said Friday he thinks the omnibus appropriations negotiations are looking good, but COVID relief negotiations are still a mess. The bipartisan $908bil package negotiations are hung up on liability protections. Majority Ldr McConnell suggests sidelining state/local and liability until later. Speaker Pelosi and Sen Schumer disagree with that proposal. So as Sen. Kennedy said last wk: we seem to be stuck right where we were 4 months ago.

TO-DO LIST PILES UP AS RELIEF WINDS DOWN

With the end of the year fast approaching and Congress still log jammed on COVID relief stimulus, several legislative and executive benefits are set to expire, pressuring Americans who are already hurting. Among the aid programs set to expire: extended unemployment benefits, leaving 4.6mil in the lurch, according to the Century Foundation; freelancers and contract workers who got special eligibility for unemployment benefits will also lose access to aid; $150bil in aid to state & local govts approved in March can be applied only to costs incurred in 2020; and the Trump Admin's actions halting evictions and suspending payments on federal student loans both end. As the end of year approaches and the pain for Americans draws closer, will it pressure Congress to agree to further relief? 

ELECTORAL COLLEGE / BROOKLYN

Members of the Electoral College gather in their respective states to cast their official ballots for president. Normally, this is a simple formality. That's not the case in 2020 with legal challenges and covid concerns. Will there be any challenges?  The electors don't meet in one place or at onetime; some start at 10am ET. Most will vote in the afternoon. CA, the crucial state for Mr. Biden to achieve 270 Electoral College votes, meets at 5pm ET. Some states' electors are meeting at their capitols.  In DE, they're meeting in a gym.  NV will be virtual.  Congress will then count the votes in a joint session on Jan 6.  

FLASHBACK: THE BIDENS & BANKS / WILMINGTON

Before Hunter Biden faced questions over his high-dollar job at Burisma, he faced questions over taking a top job & paycheck from the banking industry while his father, then Sen Biden, broke with Democrats to vote 4 times for a bill to that bailed out the banking industry. As Biden helped the credit card industry win passage of a law making it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection, his son had a consulting agreement that lasted 5 yrs with one of the largest companies pushing for the changes. Hunter received consulting fees from the MBNA Corp from 2001-2005 for work on online banking issues. Consumer advocates say Biden broke with Democrats to vote for the bankruptcy bill in 1998, 2000, 2001, & March 2005, when its final version passed the Senate 74-25.

VACCINE: PFIZER ROLLOUT / KALAMAZOO

Another 400 boxes of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine will ship out of the pharmaceutical company's giant Kalamazoo facility on Monday - equaling 1.9 million doses of the life-saving medicine. This comes a day after the first shipment of 189 boxes made history as it was distributed across the United States. Health officials say that every nursing home patient in the US will be vaccinated by Christmas, but they're worried about public opinion against taking the vaccine, as they've seen "a level of hesitancy that is not anchored in any facts or data." Clinical trials found the Pfizer vaccine to be 95% effective in preventing covid-19.

NY INDOOR DINING & COMMAND CENTER / NEW YORK

Indoor dining is once again off the table in NYC starting today. NY Gov Cuomo says he regrets the financial bite it's taking from bar and restaurant owners, and is urging the federal govt to bail them out. Meanwhile, NYC is launching a COVID-19 vaccine command center across from city hall to make sure the distribution of shots is fair and even across the city. Mayor de Blasio says the vaccine must be shared equally to be effective.

The newly approved Pfizer vaccine is arriving in states across the country. Strategic transportation partners like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and select commercial airlines are transporting the doses to major hubs for distribution.  Pfizer's vaccine must be consistently stored at arctic temps making the shipment and distribution even more challenging

UK / VACCINE ROLLOUT

The UK is in the next stage of the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. After last week's history-making introduction in large hospitals, this week it's going local. Beginning today, the injections will be administered at 100 family  doctors' ‎offices in England. Some 1000 jabs are being delivered  Monday morning for rapid distribution. Another 200 physicians' offices join in on Tuesday. And injections in old-aged homes will begin later this week.     

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: HOSPITALS SET TO DISTRIBUTE / TAMPA

The first vaccination shots for COVID-19 could come as early as today, after the FDA was expected to approve Pfizer's vaccine for emergency use over the weekend. We are at Tampa General Hospital, one of the first 5 hospitals selected to get the vaccine shot first. With freezers that will be kept at -70 degrees in place, the hospital has the capacity to take in 30,000 vials. We will witness some of the first vaccination shots given in the country while talking with medical frontline workers getting the shots about what it means.

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: BIG BOX STORES AND VACCINES / CHICAGO

For some, getting a coronavirus vaccine could be as easy as going to the nearest big box store or pharmacy chain. Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and other chains are preparing to be part of the rollout of the long-awaited shots. Walmart says it's spent several months getting 5,000+ pharmacies ready with dry ice & freezers for storage, entering into agreements with states, and educating employees. While distribution plans vary, Walmart says it won't have any say in who gets the vaccine, "but is ready to support states once they do." CVS says they'll start by administering vaccines at long-term care facilities by Dec 21, at the earliest, then plan to offer them at all CVS pharmacies once available, with goals of administering 20-25mil vaccines each month.

INDOOR DINING DENIED: WHAT NEXT? / NEW YORK

NY Gov Cuomo is shutting down indoor dining again in NYC, effective today, as restaurants in the financial capital are expecting a brutal winter. With temps dropping, there are questions over whether outdoor demand will be enough to keep restaurants in business through the winter. This comes as gym owners, barbers, and retailers are worrying they'll be next. With cases still ticking up despite the closures, business owners are telling FOX Business the economic damage of the lockdowns aren't worth the cost.

WV-JUVENILE IN CUSTODY OVER DEATHS OF FOUR MEMBER OF FAMILY

A juvenile has been charged with four murders in connection to individuals found dead in a southern West Virginia home Sunday morning. According to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, police responded to a 911 call placed at around 10:40 a.m. Sunday morning from the 1300 block of Cemetery Hill Drive in Elkview. The caller had gone to a residence on the street to check on some family after not making contact with relatives for days. When the caller arrived, he found the door unlocked and entered. Once inside, he discovered three of the residents dead from an apparent act of violence. He immediately went to a nearby house and called 911.   After arriving on scene, responding deputies found a fourth victim inside the house. In addition, a fifth resident of the house, a juvenile, has been safely relocated. The deceased are a family, including an adult man, an adult female, a 12 year old boy, and a 3 year old boy. Deputies have been investigating the matter since it was reported, which does not appear to be a random crime.

NY CATHEDRAL SHOOTING

Police fatally shot a man on the steps of New York's St John of the Divine Cathedral yesterday after he began firing two semiautomatic handguns into the air. It happened around 4pm, right at the end of a Christmas caroling concert taking place on the front steps. About 200 people were there. Police say the gunman also had on him a bag with a can of gas, some rope, wire, knives and a Bible. St John of the Divine is the mother church for the Episcopal Diocese of NY.

CA-COVID RECORD BREAKING NUMBERS

 Los Angeles County again broke a record for coronavirus hospitalizations this weekend as San Francisco County reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Statewide, more than 30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases were reported Sunday, making California’s total at 1,551,766. Millions of Californians in the majority of the state are under stay-at-home orders. In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, more than 4,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, according to figures released Sunday afternoon. More than one-fifth of hospitalized patients are in intensive care units. The county’s new figures break the previous record set only the day before, with 3,850 patients in a hospital, and follows the trend of hospitalizations increasing nearly every day since Nov. 1. LA County Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned on Monday — when hospitalizations were 2,988 — that the county could see the statistic to climb to 4,000 within two weeks. It happened in six days. In San Francisco County, health officials reported 323 new cases on Saturday, the highest number of new coronavirus infections there yet. San Francisco emerged as a leader in the state’s response to the pandemic early on but has since moved to battling its own cases. The record-breaking figures in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties come as more than 325,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are on the way to California.

MI-STATE BUILDNGS IN DOWNTOWN LANSING SHUTDOWN OVER CREDIBLE THREAT OF VIOLENCE

Citing "safety and security concerns," the Michigan House and Senate will close their offices in downtown Lansing on Monday as presidential electors meet in the state Capitol. 

On Sunday night, House and Senate officials sent notifications about the closures to members and staff. At 2 p.m. Monday, the state's 16 presidential electors will convene in the Senate chamber to cast their votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Some are expecting protesters in support of Republican President Donald Trump to gather outside the building, which will be closed to the public.  

DC PROTEST WRAP

Violence erupted in DC this weekend, after a pro-Trump demonstration Saturday calling for the November presidential election result to be overturned.  Counter protestors, including Antifa, and pro-Trump supporters, including the Proud Boys, sparred through the evening, leading to at least nine injuries, including four people being stabbed, and at least 30 arrests.  Mark Meredith updates us with the latest on the tensions from this past weekend as the Electoral College meets to cast their vote for President and Vice President.

CUOMO HARASSMENT & FUNDRAISER

A former aide to NY Gov Cuomo who is now running for Manhattan borough president accused him of sexual harassment in a series of tweets, saying he made inappropriate comments about her appearance. Lindsey Boylan tweeted that the Democratic governor "sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched." Asked for comment, Cuomo's press secretary Caitlin Girouard said, "There is simply no truth to these claims."  Meanwhile, Cuomo is holding a fundraiser to fatten his campaign coffers with an online birthday shindig that will cost supporters up to $10,000 to - virtually - rub shoulders with him and a few of his favorite celebs. The Thursday evening event, billed as a "Virtual Birthday and Holiday Reception," will feature appearances by Robert De Niro, Rosie Perez, Whoopi Goldberg, Henry Winkler and Ben Stiller, according to an invite obtained by The Post.

UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN AT THE BORDER

After a judge recently ruled the US can no longer return unaccompanied minors to Mexico, the Border Patrol has seen a surge of children being abandoned along the border. From TX to CA, the agency has set up nursing stations and deployed search and rescue teams to find kids left by smugglers. Agents are apprehending 153 children a day, up from 80 earlier this year, and 35% are testing positive for COVID. The children often have a note pinned to their shirt or phone number of a relative written on their skin. Agents believe the parents are hoping they will be allowed to reunite with the children under a Biden Admin.

BOTS INVADE SHOPPING SEASON

Online shoppers may need a fast finger to get what's on their kids' shopping list. Fast-buying bots are snatching up hot holiday items, like the Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox consoles. The so-called "scalper bots" are being used by resellers hoping to get their hands on products and relist them at significant markups. It's turned into a lucrative business during the pandemic, as bots are targeting pandemic essentials like toilet paper, cleaning products, and even delivery slots reserved for the elderly.

SILICON VALLEY MOVING OUT

Tech companies are leaving CA in droves as Oracle joins Hewlett-Packard in leaving the Golden State to move to TX. Oracle says the decision was to allow their employees more flexibility on where to do their jobs, as a rise in remote work since the start of the pandemic will no longer require everyone to contend with expensive Bay Area real estate. Other companies and tech executives, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, blame CA's personal income tax, the highest in the nation, as being the big push to states with lower or no income tax.

SUPREME COURT

- The Supreme Court issues orders. On the FNC Watch list:

- Pending Election Dispute: Republican Party of PA vs. Boockvar and Scarnati vs. PA Democratic Party (Challenge to a three-day mail ballot extension).

- Pending appeals over houses of worship COVID restrictions: High Plains Harvest Church and Mark Hotaling vs. Polis (CO), Danville Christian Academy vs. Beshear (KY), Robinson vs. Murphy (NJ), and South Bay United Pentecostal Church vs. Newsom (CA).

- Other cases: Trump vs. Knight First Amendment Institute (viewpoint discrimination), Schwab vs. Fish (citizenship to vote), American Athletic Conference vs. Alston & NCAA vs. Alston (NCAA antitrust and amateurism), Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Org (abortion & pre-viability prohibitions), and Box vs. Henderson (biology-based birth certificates). DC BUREAU monitors

‘ROCK OF TALK’ DEBATE OF THE DAY

There was a backlash flying around the internet this past weekend over an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Friday evening (December 11th) that urged incoming first lady Jill Biden, an educator who has two master's degrees and a doctorate in education, to stop using the title "Dr." before her name. Writer and former editor of The American Scholar Joseph Epstein began his op-ed by writing, "Madame First Lady -- Mrs. Biden -- Jill -- kiddo. Any chance you might drop the 'Dr.' before your name? 'Dr. Jill Biden' sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic." Epstein also belittled the subject of Biden's dissertation for her doctorate, "maximizing student retention in community colleges," calling it "unpromising." He went on to say, "A wise man once said that no one should call himself 'Dr.' unless he has delivered a child," and to argue that the prestige of Ph.D.s had been diminished by political correctness and the relaxation of academic standards. The piece was quickly blasted as being misogynistic, both what he wrote and the tone of how he wrote it. Biden's spokesperson called it a "disgusting and sexist attack," and tweeted at the Journal's editors, "If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her." The incoming second gentleman, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' husband Douglas Emhoff, tweeted, "This story would have never been written about a man."

  • Do you think the criticism of the op-ed is justified, or do you think instead he made valid points?

  • Is Emhoff right in saying, "This story would have never been written about a man"?

  • Do you find it off-putting when Ph.D. professors or others prefer to be called Dr.?

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