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MAIN TOPICS: TOPIC: Voting Info, July 15 Tax Deadline, House coronavirus oversight panel asks five companies to return loans meant for small businesses, Google and Facebook employees can work from home for the rest of the year , Armed activists escort black lawmaker to Michigan’s Capitol after coronavirus protest attended by white supremacists, Two people, including former deputy, to be charged in ‘terrorizing’ incident, 30 Years After Admitting WWII Massacre of Polish POWs, Katyn Memorial Plaques Removed in Russia, Humidity and heat extremes are on the verge of exceeding limits of human survivability, study finds, MORE.
Make sure you are registered to vote! (Voting and election info are items 1 thru 6. Show information begins after Item 4.)
This program was recorded on SUNDAY, MAY 10. You will NOT be able to get on the air, so please do not call the call-in number. We love our callers, but unfortunately live call-in is one of the casualties of COVID-19.
- Next Harris County election is a runoff, originally scheduled for May, and is now scheduled for July 14, 2020 – Primary Runoff Elections (at HarrisVotes.com)
- PRESS RELEASE (In Part): “(Houston, Texas) – The Harris County Clerk will close its main office and annexes to the public … to help contain and mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) … further notice … [We] will continue serving the public by email and phone… [R]esidents are reminded that they can access most services online [including] electronic filing in real property, electronic filing in the courts (county, civil and probate) and personal records. Electronic filing for campaign and personal finance is also available online. … The Harris County Clerk’s Office is currently working on a plan to continue to make voting accessible for the upcoming elections.”
- General business for county Clerk: https://www.cclerk.hctx.net/
- The city of Friendswood Updated at 12:34 p.m. March 27: At the board of trustees special meeting on March 23, the board voted to postpone the district bond election to November.
- Make sure you are registered to vote!
- For a personalized, nonpartisan voter guide visit vote411.org (DO NOT!! go to 411Vote!!
- If you are denied your right to vote any place at any time at any polling place for any reason, ask for (or demand) a provisional ballot rather than lose your vote.
- HarrisVotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- HarrisVotes.com – Countywide Voting Centers
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- (a) A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- You may vote early by-mail if
- you are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- you are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
- Outside Texas, try Vote.org.
- IRS Announces New July 15 Tax Deadline For Expats, Trusts, Estates And Corporations, Includes June 15 Estimated Payments Fix, By Ashlea Ebeling, Senior Contributor | FORBES.COM| Apr 9, 2020,06:54pm EDT
- … Notice 2020-23 confirms get … until July 15 to file and pay federal income taxes. …
- House coronavirus oversight panel asks five companies to return loans meant for small businesses, By Lauren Fox and Clare Foran | CNN | Updated 6:37 PM ET, Fri May 8, 2020
- The House Oversight Committee’s new select coronavirus oversight panel sent letters to five different companies on Friday asking them to return loans they received from the Paycheck Protection Program set up during the pandemic to aid struggling small businesses.
- The letters ask each of the companies to “immediately return” the loan given out under the program “so that these funds may be used to support truly small businesses that are struggling to survive during the coronavirus crisis.” …
- The companies that received letters are MiMedx Group, EVO Transportation & Energy Services, Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Quantum Corp. and Gulf Island Fabrication …
- … The panel has set a deadline of Monday for each company to notify it as to whether it will return the funding. If a company opts not to do so, the panel requests that the company produce documents and communications related to the loan. …
- Google and Facebook employees can work from home for the rest of the year – The pandemic could change the way we work forever. By Rachel England (@rachel_england) | ENGADGET.COM | May 8, 2020
- … Google and Facebook join Amazon and Microsoft in allowing their employees to work from home for the foreseeable [future] (where feasible). Last week Amazon announced its plans to let HQ staff work from home until “at least October 2nd,” while Microsoft said two days ago that staff had the option of working remotely until the end of October. Today, both Google and Facebook announced that remote work is likely to continue for the rest of 2020.
- Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, working from home has become the new normal for millions of people across the globe. Thanks to the prompt actions of remote work software companies, this transition has been fairly smooth for most, suggesting that when lockdowns end and the world returns to some semblance of normality, the concept of a nine to five workday in a central office could well be a thing of the past.
- Armed activists escort black lawmaker to Michigan’s Capitol after coronavirus protest attended by white supremacists, By Hunter Walker, White House Correspondent | Yahoo News | May 7, 2020
- A Michigan lawmaker returned to the state [Michigan State] Capitol on Wednesday [May 6th] with an armed security detail following a coronavirus lockdown protest at the building last week attended by white supremacists and militia groups.
- Sarah Anthony, a Democrat whose district is in the capital city, Lansing, told Yahoo News in an interview that her security detail, made up of local black and Latino activists, came together because the armed protesters bearing white supremacist symbols represented a “different level of terror.”
- According to Anthony, the April 30 protest was different from prior coronavirus protests that have occurred at the Capitol in recent weeks because many of the demonstrators stormed inside the building and were armed. Anthony also said some of the protesters “had Confederate flags and swastikas,” which she found “extraordinarily triggering for me as an African-American woman.”
- See Video, also embedded in article: https://youtu.be/2nWMJtNOkhw
- Two people, including former deputy, to be charged in ‘terrorizing’ incident, By WECT-TV Staff (NBC Affiliate) | May 8, 2020 at 2:48 PM EDT – Updated May 9 at 11:19 AM
- PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT-TV) – Two people, including a now-former New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy, will be charged with crimes in relation to an incident where a family says it was terrorized by a large group of people last weekend in Pender County, according to District Attorney Ben David.
- Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler and David announced the charges Friday, five days after the incident happened in the Avendale community.
- In a letter addressed to the district attorney’s office Thursday, attorney James Lea claimed that an armed group of people, all white, knocked on the door of the home of Monica Shepard late Sunday night. She was asleep, but her son, Dameon, a high school senior, was awake and playing video games and answered the door.
- Lea said the group demanded to know information about a young missing girl. The group was apparently looking for an individual named Josiah, who lived next door to the Shepards but left that neighborhood a month earlier.
- Lea said Dameon identified himself by name several times, but the group continued to press for information that he did not have.
- Among the people on the Shepard’s porch demanding answers was a person carrying an assault weapon and another with a shotgun, Lea wrote in the letter.
- Also part of the group was an off-duty member of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Jordan Kita, who was assigned to the detention division, was in uniform and armed, according to David.
- According to Anna Phillips of WECT-TV, the Sheriff issued a press release on May 8, as follows:
- From: James Rowel
Sent: Friday, May 8, 2020 6:17 PM
- Subject: Pender Sheriff Press Release – Update
- I wanted to provide an update for members of the media who were not at the 4pm Press Conference today;
- Sheriff Cutler and District Attorney Ben David announced that charges were being brought against Jordan Kita, a former New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer and [Robert] Austin Wood pursuant to an investigation in the Avendale neighborhood this past weekend.
- Kita is being charged with Failure to Discharge Duties of His Office, Forcible Trespass and Breaking and Entering.
- Wood is being charged with Going Armed to the Terror of the Public.(Mike Emphasis)
- From: James Rowel
- See also: High school senior, mother say large group of armed people, including off-duty deputy, terrorized them in their home
- Thanks to Andrew Ferguson and a post by HundOnDestiny on TUMBLER for bringing this story to our attention.
- Program Eligibility by Federal Poverty Level for 2020
- FROM HEALTHCARE.GOV: Federal Poverty Level (FPL): The 2020 federal poverty level (FPL) income numbers below are used to calculate eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 2019 numbers are slightly lower, and are used to calculate savings on Marketplace insurance plans for 2020.
- How federal poverty levels are used to determine eligibility for reduced-cost health coverage: Income between 100% and 400% FPL: If your income is in this range, in all states you qualify for premium tax credits that lower your monthly premium for a Marketplace health insurance plan.
- The Federal Poverty level in California for a family of four is $103,000, according to this chart from com.
- MIKE: Think about that, and the overall ramifications on health and opportunity. And what about other states?
- Minimum wage
- Executive pay disparity with workers
- Impact on public health, the economy, and more.
- Will empty middle seats help social distancing on planes?, By John Walton | COM | 22nd April 2020
- As more countries mull lifting Covid-19 lockdowns, airlines are examining what flying might look like as travel restrictions start to be relaxed. Carriers are haemorrhaging money and it’s very much in their interests to get planes back in the air. Passenger confidence will be one of many hurdles to overcome, however, with many worried about keeping a reasonable distance from their fellow travellers.
- Several airlines are exploring the idea of keeping middle seats empty, to avoid passengers sitting directly beside each other. …
- … Removing the unloved middle seat option would lead to a hearty hooray from the travelling public. Sit by the window and you get a view, plus a bulkhead to snooze against. In an aisle seat, you can pop to the toilet or stretch whenever you like. The middle seat has no such benefits, unless you’re one of those people who strikes up conversations with their seatmates.
- But would blocking middle seats actually help us maintain proper social distancing and if so, how long could airlines keep doing it? Is it a realistic option beyond the very short term? …
- …Planes are very much not set up for social … Billions of dollars have been spent in recent years in particular to fit as many people as possible into smaller spaces. For example, when the big wide-body, twin-aisle, twin-engine Boeing 777 started flying in the 1990s, most of them had nine seats per economy row on long-haul flights. Today, almost all airlines flying the plane – whether long-haul with the likes of Emirates or short-haul within Japan – have 10 seats, meaning narrower seats and narrower aisles. …
- …LIFT Aero Design’s Daniel Baron points out that there are a number of other measures that airlines can use to try and make travel safer. “Let’s not forget that cabin air circulation is on par with operating theatres,” he says. “A combination of pre-flight screening, thorough cabin sanitising, smart seat assignments and masks will likely be the way forward in the short to medium term.”
- … Delta Air Lines has changed the way it boards aircraft, and is now boarding them strictly from the rear to the front, so passengers sitting at the back don’t have to pass those sitting at the front. The airline is also boarding fewer people at a time to improve physical distancing of passengers.
- Many airlines are also cancelling or reducing inflight food and beverage service to reduce interactions on board: Southwest is serving individual cans of water rather than its usual full drinks round, for example. Some airlines are offering to-go bags in the gate area instead.
- What went wrong with the media’s coronavirus coverage? And can we do better?, By Peter Kafka | VOX.COM | Apr 13, 2020, 7:10am EDT
- … Much of the mainstream media amplified [the] slow and muddled reaction to the rapidly spreading virus. Since alarming reports about Covid-19 began to emerge from China in January, the media often provided information to Americans that later proved to be wrong, or at least inadequate.
- For instance: While President Trump has been correctly pilloried for describing the coronavirus as less dangerous than the flu, that message was commonplace in mainstream media outlets throughout February. And journalists — including my colleagues at Vox — were dutifully repeating exhortations from public health officials not to wear masks for much of 2020. …
- … [I]t’s worth looking back to ask how the media could have done better as the virus broke out of China and headed to the US.
- Why didn’t we see this coming sooner? And once we did, why didn’t we sound the alarm with more vigor?
- If you read the stories from that period … you’ll find that most of the information holding the pieces together comes from authoritative sources …: experts at institutions like the World Health Organization, the CDC, and academics with real domain knowledge.
- The problem, in many cases, was that that information was wrong, or at least incomplete. Which raises the hard question for journalists scrutinizing our performance in recent months: How do we cover a story where neither we nor the experts we turn to know what isn’t yet known? And how do we warn Americans about the full range of potential risks in the world without ringing alarm bells so constantly that they’ll tune us out? …
- … Journalists have been doing crucial reporting about what the US government got wrong as the pandemic advanced, and what US leaders could have done to prepare America. They provided analysis that put the news in context. And they have also provided important on-the-ground dispatches from places around the world that have been devastated by the disease — often at great personal risk — starting at its epicenter in Wuhan, China.
- But when it came to grappling with a new disease they knew nothing about, journalists most often turned to experts and institutions for information, and relayed what those experts and institutions told them to their audience.
- And given that the Covid-19 coronavirus is brand new, even the best-meaning experts and institutions gave conflicting information, some of which now has proven to be inaccurate or up for debate. That includes National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, who is now the most trusted official in the federal government when it comes to the Covid-19 response, but as late as February was calling the risk from coronavirus “minuscule” and warning people to worry instead about “influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave.” …
- … Laura Helmuth, who was the health and science editor at the Washington Post and recently left to become editor-in-chief of Scientific American, says acknowledging gaps in knowledge is crucial but not easy.
- “One thing that science journalists have been getting better at is not just saying what we do know, but what we don’t know,” she says. “But most journalists aren’t accustomed to doing that.”
- … Mainstream journalists who know how to read and understand academic research reports are a select group and have been for decades. Many midsize newspapers once employed dedicated science journalists, but those jobs have been dwindling for years. …
- … In some cases, the screaming was there, but you had to work to hear it. You wouldn’t find it in a headline or the top of a newscast, but if you absorbed the whole thing, you’d find news that would scare you into some kind of action.
- My sort-of come-to-Jesus moment started on February 27 when I listened to Times reporter Donald McNeil on the paper’s Daily He said the worst-case scenario was a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed 50 million people worldwide and at least 675,000 in the United States.
- In that version, McNeil said calmly: Everybody in the US would “know somebody who dies.”
- It’s most gripping in audio form, but I want to pull out a section here:
- Donald G. McNeil Jr. – Some big chunk of the country — 30, 40, 50 percent — are likely to get a new virus when it blows through. And if you don’t get it in the first wave, you might get it in the second wave.
- Michael Barbaro – And 2 percent lethality rate of 50 percent of the country. I don’t want to do that math. It’s really, really awful.
- McNeil – It’s a lot of people. It means, you know, you don’t die, 80 percent of people have mild cases. But you know somebody who dies.
- Barbaro – That’s pretty horrible … Okay. Now, the best-case scenario.
- McNeil – The best-case scenario is one of these drugs works, and basically everybody gets sick next year, but everybody who is hospitalized gets a drug that keeps them from dying and keeps them from going into deep, deep, deep respiratory distress. And we have the equivalent of a bad flu season. And then everybody says, ‘Oh, the media, they blew it out of proportion again.’ You know, it’s all ridiculous. And, you know, I get blamed.
- That was enough for me — sort of. I didn’t change my plans to travel to Los Angeles the following week, but I did start assuming that the rest of my spring plans were going to be up in the air. And I told my family that we should start buying food — not in panic, but slowly. And I wondered how The Daily’s millions of listeners would respond.