The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Monday, November 30th, 2020
The Top 10 Links of the Day, NM Morning Local News Briefing and the Global and US News Snapshot
“You know, I have to say, I think the Biden/Harris team is doing this right. And I know we're all frustrated, and the fact that the current occupant in the White House is behaving in this untenable way, which will result in more deaths from the pandemic, and, frankly, more economic harm, which means it'll take us longer to address all of that.
I think that what Biden and Harris are trying to do — and I agree with them — is build support from the ground up at the state level. We're making all the decisions. We're doing all the execution of efforts, because we're not getting any help from the federal government.” -Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
Top 10 Stories of the Day
New Mexico News Snapshot
SANTA FE, N.M. - A rolling average of statewide deaths from the coronavirus has surpassed 25 as New Mexico nears the end of a two-week period of heightened restrictions. Virus-related deaths on Sunday included 60-year-old middle school teacher Sylvia Garcia of the Las Cruces area. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in New Mexico has risen over the past two weeks from 14.9 deaths per day on Nov. 14 to 25.3 deaths per day on Saturday. That's according to an analysis by The Associated Press of data collected by Johns Hopkins. State health officials on Sunday announced 1,443 newly confirmed virus cases and 13 related deaths.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Officials say New Mexico oil and gas operators will be required to report the amount and quality of water used to drill wells. The Albuquerque Journal reported the data collection is an attempt by state agencies to scrutinize water use across New Mexico's economic sectors. Adrienne Sandoval of the state Oil Conservation Division says the reports will help fill a data gap for industry water use. Operators previously reported the amount of produced water injected into storage wells but were not required to disclose water data for well completions. Companies must now submit water use data within 45 days of completion.
PHOENIX - The executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Health has been named a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory board. KPHO-TV reported Dr. Jill Jim was among the board members announced as part of Biden's transition team preparing to implement the president-elect's coronavirus containment plans. The Navajo Nation member's work has focused on preventing chronic diseases and addressing healthcare and health disparities involving Native Americans and Alaska Natives. She most recently served as a cabinet member in the administration of Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The U.S. Air Force has selected a base in New Mexico as the future home for its AC-130J aircraft and training force. Officials say Kirtland Air Force Base is their preferred site for the relocation of the Ghostrider Formal Training Unit. The relocation from Hurlburt Field in Florida's Panhandle to Kirtland is expected to start in 2022 and will involve seven of the gunships and 372 positions. Officials say as with all such relocations, the move is subject to the results of an assessment of the environmental impact of moving the training unit to New Mexico.
Global and US Daily News Snapshot
GOP, POTUS TO FOCUS ON GEORGIA SENATE RUN-OFF RACE
President Trump announced that he plans to visit Georgia to campaign for incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue ahead of their Jan. 5 runoff elections. Republicans view winning this race as a "firewall" against Democrats' agenda after President Trump lost his reelection bid. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Todd Young are telling their GOP colleagues that each needs to help Perdue and Loeffler keep their seats, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited GOP aides. The Georgia Battleground Fund -- the joint fundraising venture between Loeffler, Perdue and the NRSC -- is a 50-state operation. Both parties are expected to spend an exorbitant amount in the coming weeks. Other top Republican leaders like Ted Cruz Vice President Mike Pence plan on raising money and campaigning for the race.
APP TELLS YOU WHO IS INFECTED WITH COVID NEAR YOU.
Some Apple and Google phones will send out an alert if you are physically near someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. The app is created with the help of state health department apps that use Bluetooth technology that can tell you if someone near your phone has recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. The app is only available in some states. In order to get the alerts on Android phones, you must turn on your Bluetooth and download the app. On iPhones, the app is already on the phone, just opt to allow your phone to send you the notifications.
HERE’S HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD BE EXERCISING, ACCORDING TO WHO GUIDELINES
Though quarantine has kept us all indoors, the World Health Organization says exercising is still crucial at this time. The organization suggests you should be exercising for 2.5 hours weekly for people between the ages of 18 to 64, and about sixty minutes of exercise for children and teens. The new guidelines also suggest the people with chronic illnesses should also follow these guidelines if possible.
TRUMP LEGAL TEAM HEARING / PHOENIX
President Trump's legal team is holding a public meeting in Phoenix with members of the AZ House and Senate on the election. An invitation for the event says members of the president's legal team will be "present from DC," and Jenna Ellis tweeted that she and Rudy Giuliani "will be present on behalf of" President Trump.
COSTLY EFFECT OF "CANCELING STUDENT DEBT"
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and the likes of the far-progressive Democratic Party are calling on Pres-elect Biden to wield exec order privileges to forgive or cancel more than $1.6tril in student debt. The move has been hotly debated by education experts, who argue that wiping out student debt will leave taxpayers paying the cost. The Education Dept predicts that the taxpayer price tag could come at $435bil, a figure that excludes loans from private lenders accounting for an addl $150bil. Meanwhile, other education sources say that canceling debt or making college free does nothing to solve the underlying problem of higher education inflation.
More than 93 million Americans are hospitalized with the coronavirus as cases continue to spike all across the country. On Sunday, the US topped 100,000 new cases for the 27th consecutive day, along with 731 new deaths. The US Surgeon General warned Sunday about an increasing strain on medical care -- as a surge of new travel-related infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals already stretched to capacity. Many facilities say they have run out of beds and are having trouble treating patients who don't have the disease but still need care. The NFL has been hit hard too -- the Broncos found themselves without a QB Sunday as all 4 are out on the covid list, and the Ravens are dealing with one of the largest outbreaks in pro sports with 22 players on its covid reserve list.. their game vs the Steelers game was rescheduled for tues night.
RACE-BASED COVID RELIEF
OR is spending $62mil of US taxpayer money on 1 program for COVID relief, but only African-Americans can apply. Critics are suing, saying the Cares Fund is unconstitutional because it's wrong to give one race govt money over all others. Supporters argue African-American businesses face unique challenges and have been especially impacted.
COVID & NYC SCHOOLS / NEW YORK
New York City public schools will reopen on Dec. 7 for in-person learning for some students in preschool programs and first through fifth grades, but middle-school and high-school students will continue to receive fully remote instruction for now, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
The plan comes after the nation’s largest school district stopped in-person learning in mid-November when the share of positive Covid-19 tests in the city over a seven-day average hit 3%, a threshold the city had set before the academic year as a trigger for closures. The city’s testing of school staff and students has shown a low infection rate in classrooms, leading officials to rethink the 3% mark in recent days.
HURDLES FACING VACCINE ROLLOUT
Pres Trump is signaling a vaccine rollout could start as early as this week, but while the world pins its hopes on COVID-19 vaccines, there are scientific, regulatory, & market hurdles to overcome. The scientific community has truncated a 10-15 yr process into 12-18 months and, even after these vaccines clear all the medical & regulatory hurdles, additional challenges remain. 4 questions, including: 1. Durability: How long will the protection last? 2. Dangers remaining: We don't have data on long-term effects. 3. Distribution: Many parts of the world don't have the proper cold-chain infrastructure to distribute the vaccine. Also, which populations & demographics will get it first? 4. Denialism: The vaccine is as effective as the number of people who take it. We take a look at the unanswered questions on the horizon.
REMOTE LEARNING GETS A FAILING GRADE
Most schools around the country are reverting back to remote learning as coronavirus cases continue to spike. New reports show that online working is leading to a significant drop in students' academic performance, with evidence pointing to failing grades across the country. But it's not just students' grades that are taking a hit, remote learning is forcing parents to allocate more time & money to ensure the success of their children's futures. Some parents are reportedly spending upward of $100/hr for private tutors to help their kids who are still adjusting to a new type of schooling.
SUPREME COURT / CENSUS & NON-CITIZENS
The Supreme Court hears arguments today on whether Pres Trump can exclude people living in the US illegally from the census count that is used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives. Also at issue is whether a group of states & local govts have standing to bring the suit. Lower courts have said never before were immigrants excluded from the US population count, but the Trump Admin argues the President retains "discretion to exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment based on their immigration status." Several states and civil rights groups say the policy could leave several million people uncounted and likely cause CA, NJ, & TX to lose congressional seats.
BIG BOX BATTLE: TOP STORES GUNNING FOR AMAZON / CHICAGO
It was a Black Friday weekend unlike any other, with only some lines, not because of door-buster deals, but because of COVID-19 related capacity restrictions. As a result, many big box stores saw a huge increase in online sales, and they're giving Amazon a run for its money. Does this online push during the pandemic have staying power?