Chicago Sun-Times: Lightfoot savors hard-fought budget victory despite narrowest winning margin in decades by Fran Spielman
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday savored her hard-fought budget victory, even though her winning margin was the narrowest in decades and could spell trouble when it comes to making the tough decisions ahead.
The mayor’s plan to raise property taxes by $94 million, followed by annual increases tied to the consumer price index, passed with only two votes to spare. The roll call was 28 to 22.
The “No” votes were cast by 11 white aldermen, including some of the mayor’s closest allies, along with seven Hispanic and four Black aldermen. They were concentrated in wards that comprised Lightfoot’s political base.
The vote on the $12.8 billion “pandemic budget” itself was 29 to 21, a roll call made famous decades ago during the Council Wars power struggle that saw 29 mostly-white aldermen thwart then-Mayor Harold Washington’s every move.
Still, Lightfoot said she is “not at all” concerned about the close shave. She plans to celebrate with a steak, a Scotch and a cigar, just as she did last year.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: As recount continues, group sues to stop Wisconsin from certifying its results and 386 unopened absentee ballots are found by Mary Spicuzza, Alison Durr, Patrick Marley, and Bill Glauber
Nearly 400 uncounted absentee ballots from Milwaukee were found in the recount Tuesday as a conservative group asked the state Supreme Court to let Republicans who control the Legislature decide how to cast Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes.
The last-minute lawsuit was filed by the Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a group that got no traction with litigation in federal court before the election. The state's high court asked for additional briefing as it decides whether to take up the new case.
The 386 absentee ballot envelopes from a ward on Milwaukee's south side were not opened — and the ballots were not counted — on Election Day due to "human error" at Milwaukee's central count operation, said Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission.
El Paso Times: First patient receiving treatment in pilot program to help El Paso combat COVID-19 by Aaron Martinez
A medical pilot treatment will be used in El Paso to help combat the high number of patients being treated at local hospitals because of COVID-19 and a patient is already receiving the medication.
El Paso was selected for the treatment pilot which will use Bamlanivimab, a medication used for COVID-19 in patients, city officials said Tuesday.
The first patient. a male younger than 65, has already been sent from University Medical Center to the El Paso Convention Center to receive the treatment, Edward Michelson, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, said.
The medication is not a vaccine, but another way to help combat COVID-19.
“It is a tool,” Michelson said. “It is not a perfect tool, but is one new tool we have for treating COVID-19.”
San Jose Mercury News: Coronavirus: California sees record case spike, more counties restricted. Are we behaving ‘selfishly’? By john Woolfolk and Evan Webeck
California moved more counties to tighter restrictions on business and activities Tuesday after the state set new records of daily infections amid a relentless autumn surge that has left health officials pleading with people to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings outside their households this week.
One local health chief even went so far as to admonish the public for behaving “selfishly.”
Health departments around the state reported 20,513 new coronavirus cases Monday, shattering the previous single-day record of 16,521 that followed the July 4 weekend. On Tuesday, the state topped the summer peak again, recording more than 16,700 new cases. That brought the state’s daily average of new cases to a record 13,336 over the past week, doubling in the span of 12 days.
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday the new infections generally are linked to social gatherings in which people remove face masks and are close to others outside their households. All counties report that private gatherings are significant drivers of infections, though not necessarily the biggest, he said, while others point to restaurants.
Philadelphia Inquirer: An urban farm feeding the poorest part of Philly fights to stay alive and growing by Alfred Lubiano
The Life Do Grow Farm on North 11th and Dauphin Streets in North Philadelphia was carved out of the poorest part of the poorest big city in America.
Once an illegal dump, set beside a SEPTA Regional Rail line, the two-acre plot is studded by trees — some in planters made of painted tires — and lined with beds normally thick with flowers and vegetables in the growing season. Run by a grassroots nonprofit called Urban Creators, it yields needed food in a supermarket desert where hunger proliferated long before the pandemic.
The farm also serves as a community commons — a nexus of artistic and entrepreneurial incubation in what neighbors call a “magical” space dotted by sheds and a pavilion used for public events. It offers safety, its organizers say, and a respite from “the ravages of systemic racism.”
Founded by Temple University students and local activists in 2010, Urban Creators is run in large part these days by young friends in their 20s who started out at the farm doing odd jobs when they were teenagers.
Reuters: ‘We’re drowning’: COVID cases flood hospitals in America’s heartland by Nick Brown
(Reuters) - Dr. Drew Miller knew his patient had to be moved.
The vital signs of the 30-year-old COVID-19 victim were crashing, and Kearny County Hospital in rural Lakin, Kansas, just wasn’t equipped to handle the case. Miller, Kearny’s chief medical officer - who doubles as the county health officer - called around to larger hospitals in search of an ICU bed. With coronavirus cases soaring throughout Kansas, he said, he couldn’t find a single one.
By the time a bed opened elsewhere the following day, the young man was near death. For a full 45 minutes, Miller and his staff performed chest compressions in a desperate attempt to save him.
Somehow, Miller said, the patient regained a pulse, and was dispatched in an ambulance to the larger facility about 25 miles away. Miller then prayed with the family, whom he knew “very well” from Lakin, a town of just a few thousand people.
“It’s truly a miracle he has survived,” Miller said.
Mother Jones: The Biden Administration Must Beat Viral Misinformation Influencers at Their Own Game by Kiera Butler
Jessica Malaty Rivera is a microbiologist and an infectious disease expert who specializes in explaining complex scientific concepts to the general public. Since the beginning of the pandemic, her particular mix of expertise has put her at the center of the conversation around coronavirus messaging. As the lead science communicator at the COVID Tracking Project, she works closely with data scientists and epidemiologists to present up-to-the-minute, comprehensive public health information on coronavirus trends in the United States. It’s the kind of thing, she says, that would ideally be done by the federal government—but the Trump administration has left Americans with few reliable resources to track the spread of the pandemic. In her spare time, Rivera runs an Instagram account where she explains COVID science to her 139,000 followers in friendly, fun-to-watch videos and stories. Recent posts have included advice on holiday gatherings, an explanation of the science behind flu shots, and a live mythbusting Q&A session where she answers her followers’ questions. Rivera talked with Mother Jones about how the Biden Administration can clean up the COVID messaging mess that the Trump administration made—and why the key to great science communication is empathy.
Washington Post: After long, bitter delay, Biden transition kicks into gear by Matt Viser
After weeks of delay, uncertainty and lawsuits, President-elect Joe Biden’s team plunged Tuesday into a formal transition, with Biden aides beginning to meet with agency officials in preparation for a head-snapping Trump-to-Biden shift throughout the vast federal bureaucracy.
Uncertainty remains over how much cooperation the Biden team will get from Trump’s political appointees — some of whom are embracing the false notion that the president could somehow still win reelection — as Biden hopes to rebuild a demoralized federal workforce and prepare it to implement his drastically different agenda.
But Tuesday marked a clear shift from delay to action. Following Monday night’s long-postponed decision by a key administration official to approve the transition, Biden aides held at least 20 meetings with Trump officials and were in active discussions with every federal agency, as well as the White House, preparing for the daunting task of taking over a crumbling economy and overseeing the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. They have been in touch with Anthony S. Fauci, whom Biden has said he would keep as the nation’s top infectious-disease expert.
New York Times: Biden’s National Security Team Offers a Sharp Turn. But in Which Direction? By Annie Karni and David E. Sanger
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. formally introduced a national security team on Tuesday custom designed to repudiate President Trump’s nationalistic isolationism.
His nominee for secretary of state said in his remarks that Americans needed the “humility and confidence” to depend on allies. His choice to execute the nation’s immigration policy is a Cuban-American whose parents were refugees from Fidel Castro. And his new intelligence chief warned Mr. Biden when she spoke that she would bring him news that would be politically “inconvenient or difficult.”
They were joined by a career Foreign Service officer who will serve as ambassador to the United Nations and John Kerry, who ran for president unsuccessfully 16 years ago and then became President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Mr. Biden appointed him to a new role inside the National Security Council to put “climate change on the agenda in the Situation Room,” after four years in which the Trump administration tried to have the words struck from summit communiqués and international agreements.
Euronews: French lawmakers give the green light to controversial global security bill by Alice Tidey
Brussels reminded France on Monday that journalists must be able to "work freely and in full security", warning that it will examine the country's controversial security bill to ensure it complies with EU law.
French lawmakers in the Assemblée Nationale's lower chamber gave the global security bill the green light on Tuesday.
The bill is expected to go before the country's senate in January, and must also receive a referral from the Constitutional Council before it comes into effect.
The proposed legislation would make it illegal to share images of law enforcement officers for "malicious purposes" with anyone falling foul of it facing up to one year in prison and a €45,000 fine.
The bill, introduced by President Emmanuel Macron's centrist majority, has been sharply criticised by journalists and rights groups who argue that it would curtail press freedom and lead to less police accountability.
Thousands of people also took to the streets across the country over the weekend to denounce it, despite a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AlJazeera: At least 600 killed in Mai Kadra massacre: Ethiopian rights body
At least 600 civilians were killed in an ethnically-driven massacre earlier this month in the town of Mai Kadra in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the country’s human rights body has said following an investigation.
Tigray has witnessed heavy fighting since November 4, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an assault against the regional government after alleged attacks by Tigrayan security forces against the central government’s military posts in the northern region.
Since then, information has been hard to obtain and verify, with communications cut and access to Tigray tightly controlled. Both sides have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians, with thousands of people believed to have been killed so far and tens of thousands displaced.
The killings in Mai Kadra on November 9 were first reported by rights watchdog Amnesty International three days later, sparking fears of war crimes being committed as fighting intensified. On November 14, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) dispatched a team of experts to the region for an investigation that ran until November 19.
BBC News: Thailand revives law banning criticism of king in bid to curb protests
Thailand has revived a controversial law against criticising the royal family in an attempt to curb months of anti-government protests.
Several activists have been summoned to face charges under the lèse-majesté law, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for each count.
It is the first time in over two years that such charges have been filed.
Thailand has been rocked by student-led protests for months, with demonstrators demanding changes to the monarchy.
Protesters are also calling for constitutional reforms and the removal of the country's prime minister.
Guardian: UK facing risk of 'systemic economic crisis', official paper says by Emma Graham-Harrison and Carole Cadwalladr
The government has privately admitted the UK faces an increased likelihood of “systemic economic crisis” as it completes its exit from the European Union in the middle of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
A confidential Cabinet Office briefing seen by the Guardian also warns of a “notable risk” that in coming months the country could face a perfect storm of simultaneous disasters, including the prospect of a bad flu season on top of the medical strains caused by Covid.
“Winter 2020 could see a combination of severe flooding, pandemic influenza, a novel emerging infectious disease and coordinated industrial action, against a backdrop of the end of the [Brexit] transition period,” it warns.
The briefing, marked “official sensitive” and dated September, lays out for government planners the possible impacts of the last stage of Brexit, detailing “reasonable worst case scenarios” across 20 different areas of national life from oil and healthcare to travel and policing.
Everyone have a good evening!