Wednesday News: Occam's Razor

STANLY COUNTY SCHOOLS CLAIMS DECEASED TEACHER GOT COVID ELSEWHERE, FAMILY DISAGREES: The school district and the county health department are adamant that Davis didn’t get it from work, and have left no room for speculation. So why is it that her brother doesn’t believe them? “She was nervous,” says her brother, Stan Andrews. “But it was her job, and she was gonna do it.” “I said to her, ‘Julie, where did you get it?’” he says. “She said, ‘I got it at school. There was a student that had it.’ ...” He says she told him the student was not in her class, but he doesn’t think that matters. “The children are around each other, they spread it. ... I mean third-graders, you can imagine how touchy and everything they are.” Andrews says he firmly believes his sister would still be alive if her school hadn’t opened, and that “she died in vain.”

GOVERNOR CHOOSES TOMMY TUCKER AND CARR MCLAMB FOR ELECTION BOARD REPLACEMENTS: Gov. Roy Cooper appointed two Republicans to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday, replacing a pair of members who resigned last month to protest a planned shift in absentee ballot rules. Former state Sen. Tommy Tucker, who retired from the General Assembly last year, and Carr McLamb, an attorney who's held several jobs in state government, will join the board. That brings the board up to a full complement of five members: three Democrats and two Republicans. Former Republican members David Black and Ken Raymond resigned Sept. 23 after Republican leaders in the state expressed outrage over a proposed lawsuit settlement both men had voted for. That settlement would have changed the state's absentee ballot rules, allowing people in some cases to vote by mail without getting the witness signature required by law. Raymond said in his resignation that the state Attorney General's Office misled him about the settlement, something Attorney General Josh Stein denies. Black was less pointed in his critique but said he misunderstood key elements of the settlement.

FACEBOOK IS (FINALLY) CRACKING DOWN ON QANON: The company said Tuesday that it will remove Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts for “representing QAnon” — even if they don’t promote violence. The social network said it will consider a variety of factors to decide if a group meets its criteria for a ban, including its name, the biography or “about” section of the page, and discussions within the page, group or Instagram account. Critics called it a much-needed, though belated, move by Facebook. “Now that they have announced that they will treat the QAnon ideology like the very real threat that it is, we hope that they will follow up with some modicum of evidence showing how the ban is being enforced and whether it is fully effective,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and one of the founders of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which organized a Facebook boycott by advertisers. But the conspiracy theory has already seeped into mainstream politics. Several Republican running for Congress this year are QAnon-friendly. Also on Tuesday, Citigroup Inc. reportedly fired a manager in its technology department after an investigation found that he operated a prominent website dedicated to QAnon. According to Bloomberg, Jason Gelinas had been placed on paid leave after he was identified on Sept. 10 by a fact-checking site as the operator of the website and its associated mobile apps.

U.S. MILITARY LEADERS IN QUARANTINE AFTER COAST GUARD ADMIRAL TESTS POSITIVE: Adm. Charles W. Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the service said in a statement on Tuesday. He had begun experiencing mild symptoms over the weekend, a week after attending the Gold Star event, but “is in good spirits,” Rear Adm. Jon Hickey, a senior Coast Guard spokesman, said in the statement. Other senior defense officials who attended the White House event include Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chief of staff of the Air Force; Gen. David H. Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps; Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army; and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. Attendees received a coronavirus test the same afternoon of the 5 p.m. event, said Ann Lewis Hampton, whose daughter, Army Capt. Kimberly Hampton, was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2004 and was among those recognized at the White House. The ceremony was held one day after the president welcomed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the White House as his next Supreme Court nominee. Numerous senior administration officials who attended that event, including Trump, have since tested positive for the virus. Trump’s positive test was announced early Friday. Hampton said White House officials did not inform her of the outbreak. Two other people familiar with planning for the event, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the White House did not contact most of the families, if any. Hampton, who lives in a South Carolina retirement community, said she has voluntarily quarantined herself since returning home.

TRUMP REFUSES TO NEGOTIATE FOR ANOTHER STIMULUS PACKAGE UNTIL AFTER (HE WINS) ELECTION: Hours after the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, warned that the economy could see “tragic” results without robust government support, President Trump abruptly cut off stimulus talks, sending the stock market sliding and delivering a final blow to any chance of getting additional pandemic aid to struggling Americans before the election. Mr. Trump, in his first full day back at the White House after being hospitalized with Covid-19, said in a series of conflicting messages on Twitter that the economy was “doing very well” and “coming back in record numbers,” suggesting that no additional help was needed. But he also tweeted that “immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.” The prospects for enacting another trillion-dollar package before the election had already been dim. But Mr. Trump’s directive carried heavy stakes both for himself and for members of his party, making clear that it was the president himself who was unwilling to continue seeking an agreement. Some Republicans rushed to condemn the move, as they prepared to face voters in less than a month. Markets fell as the reality sank in that the economic recovery, which is slowing, would not get another jolt anytime soon. The S&P 500, which had begun to climb before Mr. Trump’s announcement, slid more than 1 percent soon afterward, and ended the day 1.4 percent lower. “Today, once again, President Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the G.O.P. members of Congress,” Ms. Pelosi wrote.



Geremy is cranky this morning...

But seriously, toss your local paper? WTAF...

That's because local papers...

actually dare to report the news which, as we know, has a strong anti-Republican bias (just like reality.)

By nixing the simulus bill negotiation...

Trump is basically falling back on the tactics he learned from his Mafia friends: "Nice country you've got there, be a shame if something happened to it." He's holding the relief that a great many people (including a fairly large number of his own voters) needs in an attempt to get them to turn out and vote for him to keep themselves from being bankrupted. He did this kind of thing in business deals for decades, when he'd renege on a contract and force the other parties to take a haircut if they wanted to keep him from trashing the whole thing. Classic strong-arming. But this time, given how the polls are currently shaping up, it looks like the only ones taking a haircut will be Trump and his Republican enablers.