The Rock of Talk 'Daily Blast' for Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
The Top 10 links of the day, New Mexico News Snapshot and Global and US Daily News Snapshot
”I know what to do. I’m going to steal their Christmas.” - The Grinch
Here are today’s Top 10 articles you need to read, New Mexico News Snapshot and Global and US Daily News Snapshot from ‘The Rock of Talk‘
New Mexico News Snapshot
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico lawmakers considering a virus relief bill during a one-day legislative session called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The bill aims to inject about $350 million in direct economic aid for the unemployed, small businesses and emergency housing subsidies. For workers laid off during the pandemic, it would provide a $1,200 one-time payment to help hurting households. Money may also be allocated for increased COVID-19 testing capacity to speed up results. Lawmakers say the proposed spending will be made possible by federal relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Health Department hopes to expand capacity for COVD-19 testing by offering saliva testing. Starting Monday, officials said the FDA approved test is being offered at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. The method involves swabbing the mouth to collect a saliva sample. The tests will be self-collected, but trained personnel will be present when and where these tests are available to ensure samples are properly collected. New Mexico has seen cases skyrocket in recent weeks and officials have been looking for ways to expand testing options. Hospital officials on Monday also renewed their pleas for people to stay home and refrain from holiday gatherings.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico lawmakers are drafting a virus relief bill that will be considered Tuesday during a one-day legislative session called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The bill aims to inject about $300 million in direct economic aid for the unemployed, small businesses and emergency housing subsidies. Money may also be allocated for increased COVID-19 testing capacity to speed up results. Lawmakers say the proposed spending will be made possible by federal relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico. But the spending may mean the state will need to tap reserve funds later to prop up next year's budget.
Global and US Daily News Snapshot
TRUMP CALLS FOR RECOUNT IN GEORGIA IN LATEST ELECTION MOVE
After Georgia’s ballot hand-recount concluded last week, resulting President-elect keeping his title as the winner of the state, President Trump’s legal team called for another recount. Senators. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the Republicans in the critical Jan. 5 Senate runoff races in the state, backed the recount effort as they continue to slam the handling of Georgia's vote tallies in the presidential election. This is just the latest effort from the Trump team to overturn the results of the election. Over the weekend, Trump’s campaign on Sunday distanced itself from Sidney Powell, saying that the lawyer who has been alleging voter fraud in the November election is “not a member of the Trump Legal Team.”
GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFFS / STONECREST & ATLANTA
Georgia will begin a machine recount requested by the Trump campaign today. It comes after the state certified its election results following a hand recount of votes. This, as Iowa Senator Ernst is in Georgia to campaign on behalf of her GOP colleagues Senators Perdue & Loeffler. She joins a list of other high profile Republicans who have visited the state as the party tries to keep its majority in the Senate.
NEVADA / RENO
The Nevada Supreme Court is set to certify the Silver State's election results at noon eastern today. This final step of the voting process comes after a judge blocked a conservative activist's effort to stop the certification, and before a Trump lawsuit seeking to have the Nevada result overturned gets heard.
HOUSE BALANCE OF POWER
Democrats have clinched a majority, and own 222 seats right now. Republicans have 204. Nine races are yet to be called and all are currently led by Republicans. In one of those races, the Democrat has already conceded. The closest margin is in IA's second district, where the Republican is leading by just 47 votes.
The US is now averaging more than 1,500 new deaths per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There have been close to 1.4 million confirmed deaths globally, and the US has seen the most by far: almost 257,000. In New York, Governor Cuomo announced new restrictions in parts of the state where virus cases are rising, including NYC. He warns the state is on track for a further resurgence of the virus as the number of people hospitalized with the virus in the state has more than doubled in the last 3 weeks.
HOLIDAY TRAVELERS IGNORE CDC WARNINGS / DFW AIRPORT
Americans are still flocking to airports ahead of Thanksgiving, despite COVID-19 cases surging in nearly every state and the CDC pleading with them not to travel. The TSA reports that more than 3 million people passed through security checkpoints at US airports from Friday to Sunday, with several days topping 1 million passengers for only the second time since the pandemic began. Sunday was the single-busiest day for all airport checkpoints since March, and the crowds are expected to grow, with next Sunday likely to be the busiest day of the holiday period. The CDC says the concern isn't just with travel but with large groups of family members getting together and potentially resulting in super spreader events.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VS COVID RESTRICTIONS
Houses of Worship in at least 25 states and DC have filed lawsuits claiming local shutdowns and limits on gatherings to combat the Coronavirus pandemic infringe on freedom of religion. Two of the cases filed with the Supreme Court come from NY. The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and a group of Jewish orgs are arguing NY Governor Cuomo's restrictions should be lifted. Cuomo says this is about saving lives and places of worship are known "super spreaders." The court is likely to rule soon.
PANDEMIC RESHAPES HEALTH CHECKUPS / NEW YORK
While concerns over COVID-19 may have you hesitant to go to the doctor, there are plenty of ways to be proactive and stay on top of your health in the privacy of your own home. Telemedicine enables health care professionals and patients to stay on top of any potential health issues. Virtual consultations are now covered by most health plans and can help patients stay on top of both their physical and mental health. But that's not all; home monitoring & testing devices can help screen potential problems like cancer and manage chronic conditions.
TAKE OUT TAKING OFF / NORTHBROOK
Curbside pick up and ghost kitchens may be part of the new normal, even after in-person dining comes back. We get the future take from Justin Seamonds, CEO of nationwide fast casual chain Roti. They have expanded curbside pickup, which is seeing a huge run up as cold weather precludes outdoor dining, and they are opening new locations.
DEBATE OVER VACCINATING TEACHERS
If vaccine timelines remain on track, there should be 40 million doses available by the end of 2020; since the vaccine requires 2 doses, that would be enough to vaccinate 20 million people. Who gets the vaccine first will depend on their status and distribution by states: healthcare workers, first responders, essential personnel, & vulnerable people are first in line. This could include some teachers, but probably not all. Many teachers unions have been fighting to keep schools closed during the pandemic, but with a vaccine on the horizon, unions are pushing to have teachers vaccinated first. Unions say the teachers keep the schools open, open schools mean parents can go back to work, and that vaccinating them first has much larger implications for the country and its economy. But it's a numbers game and there just might not be enough.
NYC RESTAURANT DEMANDS MANDATORY COVID TESTING / NEW YORK
As NYC rolls back its reopening, restaurants know that they will be in the crosshairs of lawmakers. One Manhattan restaurant is testing a new system where they will charge customers $50 for a rapid coronavirus test prior to entry. The "pilot testing program" launches today and, for 2 days a week, customers won't be allowed to dine without the mandatory health screening.
HOLIDAY HEART SYNDROME: PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CARDIAC ILLNESSES THIS SEASON
Around this time each year, deaths from cardiac arrests and other illnesses increase significantly around this time of year for a variety of reasons like changes in diet, increased alcohol intake, heavier obligations and more, according to experts. And with the pandemic ravaging the country this year, the amount of stress in our lives is even more heightened.
"DOUBLE DIP" RECESSION WARNINGS / WASHINGTON
Biden is expected to pick former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, we're getting a clearer picture of the rocky economy the incoming admin is set to face in its first 100 days. Without action from Congress in the next month, several of the government’s biggest rescue plans are set to expire, including unemployment benefits & eviction moratoriums. All this while state & local governments are reimposing strict lockdowns. In an analysis reportedly circulating among Biden's aides, the research firm Moody's Analytics predicted that the economy would shrink during both the first & second quarters while the unemployment rate would approach 10% next summer.
MIDEAST / NETANYAHU SAUDI ARABIA VISIT
-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Saudi Arabia on Sunday night for a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
-The meeting, in the seaside town of Neom, appears to have been brokered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in attendance.
-Today Netanyahu spoke with the Crown Prince of Bahrain, announcing shortly after that he will travel to the Gulf soon. Bahrain, the UAE and Sudan have all signed normalization deals with Israel this year, with the help of the Trump administration.
-In a Foreign Affairs op-ed on Monday, Former secretary of Defense General James Mattis urged Biden to end the ‘America first’ policies enacted by President Trump. There are new questions about what US policy towards Israel will look like under a Biden administration.
CYBERCRIMINALS GET BUSY DURING HOLIDAY SEASON
With lockdowns looming across the nation, retailers expect a lot of people to do their holiday shopping online this year. According to the National Retail Federation's holiday forecast, online sale will increase as much as 30% this year to $218.4 billion. But an increase in online sales also means an increase in cybercriminals.
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