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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 80,057

Journal Archives

Turnout 2020: Reaching America's Hard-to-Reach Voters in a Pandemic (The Brennan Center)

Listen to the full livestream recording here and continue learning about saving the vote this year with Brennan Center resources:

How to Protect the 2020 Vote from the Coronavirus, the Brennan Centerís comprehensive plan to ensure that the 2020 election is free, fair, accessible, and secure.

Ensuring Safe Elections, an in-depth five-state analysis of the funding required to ensure safe elections in 2020, coauthored with R Street Institute, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, and Pitt Cyber, and Estimated Costs of Covid-19 Election Resiliency Measures, which gives a preliminary breakdown of the funding needed nationwide.

Preparing Your State for an Election Under Pandemic Conditions, a 50-state breakdown of the policies states already have and still need in order to protect the 2020 election.

Additional resources from our speakers:

The Knight Foundationís The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-Voters

The Knight Foundationís "Election Disrupted," a webinar series addressing issues around the 2020 election.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagementís work on voting: "Engaging a Broader Youth Electorate: 10 Recommendations for Election Administrators and Others for Increasing Voter Engagement" and "Growing Voters: Engaging Youth Before they Reach Voting Age to Strengthen Democracy."

Republicans try to placate Cory Gardner's opposition to Senate recess

Source: Politico

Republican leaders are trying to work out an agreement with Sen. Cory Gardner that would allow the Senate to go on recess for the Memorial Day holiday while accommodating his concerns about leaving while the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

The Senate is expected to go on recess Thursday afternoon. But Gardner (R-Colo.), who is in a difficult reelection race, said Wednesday he may try to block the chamber from doing so. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) also said she aligns herself with Gardner's view.

Republicans could use Senate procedure to overrule Gardner, but such an intraparty feud on the Senate floor would amount to an airing of the deep divisions in the GOP about what to do next on the virus. Or the Senate could stay in session next week without doing much business.

Neither is optimal, so Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is talking to Gardner about how to move forward to avoid such a battle on the floor.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/21/cory-gardner-senate-recess-273081

Boston restaurants can get emergency approval to add outdoor seating once they're allowed to re-open

Source: Universal Hub

The Boston Licensing Board this morning approved an emergency measure under which restaurants can put seating outside once the city lifts the ban on in-restaurant dining, to deal with new Covid-19 restrictions that will shrink their indoor seating capacity.

The board unanimously approved a pandemic-related regulation under which restaurants can apply for new outdoor seating once the city lifts the ban on in-restaurant dining. Unlike with other major seating modifications, the owners will not have to first meet with neighborhood groups and schedule a public hearing, a process which can often take weeks to arrange, but instead simply file an application that the board will act on at its regular weekly meetings.


The approvals for the new outdoor seating will last as long as the current public-health emergency, which Walsh has yet to give any indication will end anytime soon.

The board also voted to rescind a regulation that requires restaurants with alcohol licenses and patios to only serve alcohol outdoors to patrons who also order food. Joyce said that's a relic of past administrations that the current board has never enforced, and will also further help suffering restaurant owners.

Read more: https://www.universalhub.com/2020/boston-restaurants-can-now-get-emergency-approval

Live now: The UVA Center for Politics (Larry Sabato) has an expert panel on Biden's VP selection


I have an interagency meeting I'm managing in an hour. Should I put on a tie?

Or pants?

Authorities announce forfeiture of ancient Gilgamesh tablet from Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible

NBC News

Federal authorities announced the forfeiture Monday of an ancient tablet inscribed with part of the Epic of Gilgamesh from a museum backed by the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby.

The piece, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, bearing a version of what's considered perhaps the world's oldest work of literature, was featured at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. Hobby Lobby bought it in 2014 for $1.6 million from an auction house that was later found to have lied about its origins, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York said.

Hobby Lobby, based in Oklahoma, was fined $3 million in 2017 after federal authorities said it bought thousands of artifacts that had been smuggled out of Iraq for the museum. The company opened the $500 million museum in November 2017.

The museum's chairman, Steve Green, is the president of Hobby Lobby, which won a Supreme Court case in 2014 over the Affordable Care Act's birth control requirements.

Scalpel, stat!


Lather - rinse - repeat


Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli agree to plead guilty in college admissions scam

Source: CNN

Actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with their role in the college admissions scam, the US Attorney's Office in the District of Massachusetts said.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, had been accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake crew team recruits. They had pleaded not guilty and moved to dismiss charges as recently as two weeks ago.

As part of the plea agreement, Loughlin will be sentenced to two months in prison and Giannulli will be sentenced to five months in prison, subject to the court's approval, according to authorities.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/21/us/lori-loughlin-guilty/index.html

I thought this had all been resolved last year.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise across the South

Source: Axios

Several Southern states are seeing a rise in new coronavirus cases, moving them further away from an important target for safely reopening parts of their economies.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's reopening guidelines call for a consistent decline in new cases before proceeding with the process ó and some states are proceeding even without clearing that threshold.

Between the lines: The total number of cases is an important piece of the puzzle ó but it's only one piece.

The number of new cases will rise as a state performs more testing, so looking at this metric in isolation can give the false impression of a worsening outbreak.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/new-coronavirus-cases-south-68f29ae8-2120-4edd-b336-02eb80bbbecf.html
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