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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 09:58 PM
Number of posts: 4,353

Journal Archives

NFL Offers Biden All 32 Football Stadiums as Mass COVID Vaccination Sites

By Jessica Golden, CNBC

The National Football League told President Joe Biden that it is making all of its 32 football stadiums available a mass coronavirus vaccinations sites for the general public.

Currently, seven NFL teams are hosting vaccinations for COVID-19 at or near their stadiums.

"The NFL and our 32 member clubs are committed to doing our part to ensure that vaccines are as widely available in our communities as possible," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter Thursday to Biden.

"We can expand our efforts to stadiums more effectively because many of our clubs have offered their facilities previously as COVID testing centers as well as election sites over the past several months," Goodell wrote.


Biden administration to deploy approximately 1,000 troops to assist with Covid vaccination effort

Source: CNN

The Biden administration announced Friday that it will deploy approximately 1,000 troops across the United States to assist with coronavirus vaccination efforts.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to boost vaccination efforts with active duty US troops, White House Covid-19 senior adviser Andy Slavitt said Friday.

CNN reported earlier Friday that the plan calls for the troops to form into five teams to travel to designated sites, according to two defense officials. The orders are expected to call for the troops to be ready to deploy within 96 hours.

Slavitt confirmed Friday that part of the group will begin to arrive in California within the next 10 days to start operations in the area around February 15, "with additional vaccination missions soon to follow."

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/05/politics/pentagon-covid-vaccines/index.html

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is back in court -- facing a criminal libel case he says is political

Source: Washington Post

By Robyn Dixon
Feb. 5, 2021

MOSCOW — Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny on Friday slammed the latest court action against him as one more trumped-up political case by the government of President Vladimir Putin.

The case — involving charges of criminal libel against an elderly war veteran — was a “PR trial” used to smear him, Navalny said. He was appearing in court for the second time this week after being sentenced Tuesday to two years and eight months for breaching parole.

“This is a PR trial,” said Navalny, according to local media present in the hearing. The Kremlin needs headlines, ‘Navalny slandered a war veteran.’”

Navalny, whose return to Russia and jailing triggered the toughest crackdown on peaceful opposition dissent since Soviet times, also faces a separate case in which he is accused of embezzlement, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russian-opposition-leader-navalny-back-in-court--this-time-facing-a-criminal-libel-case-that-he-says-is-political/2021/02/05/acc0d8d0-6703-11eb-bab8-707f8769d785_story.html

Nursing Homes Are Seeing COVID-19 Cases Drop Due To Vaccines, Federal Officials Say

Buzzfeed News
Dan Vergano

Vaccines are cutting down COVID-19 case numbers in US nursing homes, a federal health official reported on Thursday, a long-awaited break in the deadly grip of the pandemic on the most vulnerable older adults.

Nursing homes have been the deadliest place for people with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, killing more than 150,000 residents and staff, so far. Vaccination at long-term care facilities was a high priority in the nationwide rollout of coronavirus vaccines that started in December, as COVID-19 cases reached record levels nationwide, and nursing homes locked down over the holidays. Now the vaccines are starting to make a difference, newly released health data suggests, accelerating a 22% drop in nursing home COVID-19 case rates seen from Dec. 20 to Jan. 10.


Nursing home COVID-19 cases had been the “leading edge” of the US epidemic since last February, when an outbreak at a Washington state facility led to 46 deaths among residents, staff, and visitors, marking the start of deadly cases striking older adults nationwide. A sign of the turn of the tide of such cases due to vaccination would not be unexpected, as clinical trial data suggested a drop resulted among the immunized about two weeks after the first shot, said epidemiologist George Rutherford of the University of California, San Francisco, but is nonetheless heartening.

“These are really good vaccines, and we are seeing them take effect, which is wonderful,” said Rutherford. “The data showed that they had good efficacy even after one shot, which I suspect is what we are starting to see here.”


GM, Ford and other carmakers can't get enough chips. It's a huge problem

CNN Business
By Julia Horowitz

London (CNN Business)A semiconductor shortage is battering the global auto industry at a crucial moment, and the pressure shows no sign of easing soon.

What's happening: Ford (F) told investors Thursday that the chip crunch could shave up to 20% off first-quarter production.

Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said that if the problem drags on through the spring, the company's earnings could take a $1 billion to $2.5 billion hit.

It's not just an issue for Ford. GM (GM) is shutting some plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico next week due to the insufficient supplies, while Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Toyota (TM), Nissan (NSANF) and Honda (HMC) have also been affected.


Companies are charging hidden 'covid fees' to make up for lost profits. They may be illegal.

Washington Post
By Hannah Denham
Feb. 5, 2021 at 8:05 a.m. EST

Nearly a year into the pandemic’s gutting of the economy, businesses across the country are increasingly charging coronavirus-related fees, ranging from a $5 disinfection charge in a hair salon to $1,200 for extra food and cleaning in a senior living center, which are often undisclosed until the customer gets a bill.

According to a survey by The Washington Post of attorney general offices and financial departments in 52 states and territories, U.S. consumers in 29 states have filed 510 complaints of coronavirus-related surcharges at dentist offices, senior living facilities, hair salons and restaurants.

Hidden fees are a legitimate concern for consumers, especially for economically vulnerable Americans or senior citizens without income, but not every state protects consumers from them. While medical insurance law in some states requires health-care providers to offer refunds to patients who have been unfairly charged for personal protective equipment, other states allow for businesses to tack on extra fees, as long as they’re disclosed upfront.


For instance, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) sent a cease-and-desist letter to 11 senior living facilities in August after 45 residents reported being charged $900 each in “supplemental COVID-19 fees.”


Russia Expels Western Diplomats Over Navalny Rally

Source: NBCWashington

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday said it was expelling diplomats from Sweden, Poland and Germany for attending a rally in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The diplomats were being declared “persona non grata” after they were alleged to take part in the “unlawful” rallies in support of Navalny on Jan. 23, the ministry said. Mass protests in support of Navalny took place that day all across Russia.

Diplomats from Sweden and Poland in St. Petersburg and from Germany in Moscow took part in the rallies, it said, and their actions were “unacceptable and inappropriate for their diplomatic status.”
U.S. & World

They were required to leave Russia “in the nearest future,” a ministry statement said.

Read more: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/navalny-in-court-again-accused-of-defaming-a-wwii-veteran/2563532/

Maryland Opens Mass Vaccination Sites at Six Flags and Baltimore Convention Center

By NBC Washington Staff

Maryland's first two COVID-19 mass vaccination sites open Friday – one at Six Flags America in Prince George's County and the other at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Gov. Larry Hogan called the move, “another critical step forward in the plan that has taken us from 2,500 shots a day to 25,000 shots a day in a matter of weeks.”

Hogan and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks are set to visit the Six Flags site for its soft launch Friday morning. The press conference will be live streamed here at 11 a.m.

Although the site will be open to all Marylanders, the doses – at least for the next several days – are spoken for.


Congressional Democrats Are Pushing For The Biggest Labor Reform In Generations

Huffington Post
By Dave Jamieson

Senate and House Democrats renewed their effort to enact sweeping reform to U.S. labor laws on Thursday, reintroducing a broad bill that would expand collective bargaining rights and help rejuvenate labor unions.

The package of measures, known as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, is a priority for progressive Democrats and organized labor. If it becomes law, it would be the most significant labor legislation enacted in the post-war period, and the most beneficial to unions in nearly 90 years.

With Democrats controlling both chambers, the legislation now stands a realistic chance of becoming law, but perhaps only if Democrats prove willing to get rid of the legislative filibuster. The bill would almost certainly garner no GOP support, meaning it could not clear a 60-vote threshold. Several moderate Democrats may hesitate to back it as well due to opposition from virtually all major business groups.

President Joe Biden has signaled strong support for the PRO Act if it ever makes it to his desk, and many unions see it as a potential landmark victory of the Biden era. Union officials and top Democrats argue the package would go a long way in leveling a field that has tipped more and more toward corporations. Among other significant changes, the bill would:

- Create monetary penalties against employers who try to illegally bust unions

- Strengthen protections for workers who are wrongly fired during union organizing campaigns

- Allow workers to take employers to court when they’ve broken collective bargaining laws

- Make it easier for newly formed unions to secure their first contracts

- Bolster workers’ rights related to strikes and boycotts

- Override anti-union “right to work” laws that have now spread to a majority of states

- Make it harder for companies like Uber to avoid unions by using “independent contractors”


Jim Weatherly, whose song 'Midnight Train to Georgia' started with a plane to Houston, dies at 77

Washington Post
By Harrison Smith
Feb. 4, 2021 at 8:56 p.m. EST

One evening in 1970, Jim Weatherly picked up the phone and called his friend Lee Majors, the film and television actor who would soon became known as “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Mr. Weatherly, a struggling songwriter, had been a star quarterback at Ole Miss before moving to Los Angeles, where he bonded with Majors through a flag-football league, playing against the likes of James Caan.

Instead of Majors, the actor’s new girlfriend, Farrah Fawcett, answered the phone.

“Just during the course of the conversation, she mentioned she was packing her clothes and she was going to take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her family,” Mr. Weatherly later recalled. “ ‘Midnight plane to Houston’ got kind of stuck in my mind in bold letters. When I got off the phone, I wrote ‘Midnight Plane to Houston’ in about 30 to 45 minutes.”

Mr. Weatherly thought he had written a country love song, a potential hit for a guitar-picking crossover artist like Glen Campbell. He recorded it himself to attract attention — “L.A. proved too much for the girl,” he sang in the opening lines, “so she’s leaving the life we’ve come to know” — and his publisher soon got a call from Sonny Limbo, an Atlanta producer who wanted to record it with soul singer Cissy Houston, the mother of Whitney.

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