Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Rundown: RNC Opens With Praise For Trump, Dark Warnings

The Republican National Convention opened Monday with praise for President Trump's leadership in his first term and dark warnings about what would happen if Joe Biden were to win the election. That tone began with Trump himself, who made a surprise appearance earlier in the day in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the convention was originally supposed to be before plans changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the states awarded their delegates, officially making Trump the nominee, he addressed the much reduced number of people there, baselessly charging that Democrats are using the coronavirus to try to "steal" the election, and declaring, "The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election."

Tim Scott, Donald Trump Jr., Nikki Haley
As with the Democrats' convention the week before, the majority of the evening's convention was taped. But unlike last week, most of the night's speakers stood at a podium, speaking in an empty Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The night's main speakers were Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, and Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr. One of the night's early themes was praising Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including in a segment in which the president spoke with health care workers and first responders in the White House East Room. Touting the pre-pandemic economy under Trump was also a major theme.

But a large focus was on ominous warnings that electing Biden would lead to, among other things, violence in cities that would expand into the suburbs. It was also accused that Biden is being used as a tool by socialists and leftists, with accusations that he will bring a "socialist utopia."

➤DEJOY DEFENDS POSTAL SERVICE CHANGES IN HOUSE TESTIMONY: Three days after testifying before the Senate, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appeared before a House committee yesterday, where he again defended recent changes at the Postal Service and denied attempts to sabotage mail-in voting for the November election, which is expected to be much higher than normal because of the pandemic. He also said he'd told allies of President Trump that his repeated attacks on the legitimacy of mail-in voting is, quote, "not helpful." There have been complaints in many parts of the country about mail delays since operational changes began being made after DeJoy took over in June, as well as concerns about whether it will affect voting. While Democrats questioned DeJoy about delays, Republicans dismissed the issue as part of a Democratic conspiracy against Trump. DeJoy has said last week that he was stopping some operational changes to avoid the appearance of trying to impact the election, but refused yesterday to restore high-speed mail sorting machines and blue street mailboxes that have been removed. He also said he would continue other policies, including limiting when mail can go out and ending late deliveries, which postal workers say are contributing to delays.

➤SECOND NIGHT OF PROTESTER CLASHES WITH POLICE IN KENOSHA AFTER BLACK MAN'S SHOOTING: There were clashes between protesters and police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for a second night Monday after the police shooting of a Black man Sunday. Hundreds of protesters threw bottles and shot fireworks at officers guarding the courthouse, and the police fired tear gas at them. Cellphone footage showed police shooting 29-year-old Jacob Blake in the back as he leaned into an SUV with his three children inside. He was hospitalized in serious condition. Police said they were responding to a domestic dispute call, but didn't say why police opened fire on Blake or if he was armed, and didn't release details about the dispute.

The case is being investigated by the state Justice Department. Democratic Governor Tony Evers condemned the shooting, but the president of the Kenosha police union called Evers' statement "wholly irresponsible," saying the video, quote, "does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident." Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Blake’s family, said Blake was, quote, "simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident." In the video, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns pointed and shout at him. As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire while Blake has his back turned.

➤LAURA, AIMING FOR GULF COAST, COULD BECOME CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE: A collapsing Tropical Storm Marco made landfall yesterday evening near the mouth of the Mississippi River, but attention was being turned to Laura, swirling in the Caribbean and aiming for the Gulf Coast, which could grow into a Category 3 hurricane. Laura, still a tropical storm, killed at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It's expected to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday, possibly on the Louisiana or Texas coast.

➤HONG KONG SCIENTISTS: MAN GOT CORONAVIRUS FOR SECOND TIME: Hong Kong scientists say that they have the first evidence of someone being infected for a second time with the coronavirus. Genetic tests showed that a 33-year-old man returning to Hong Kong from a trip to Spain earlier this month had a different strain of the coronavirus than the one he’d previously been infected with in March. The man had mild symptoms the first time and none the second time, with his new infected found through screening at the Hong Kong airport. Even if this does show someone can be infected a second time, it's not known if they have some protection against serious illness, because the immune system generally remembers how to make antibodies against a virus it’s seen before.

➤GERMAN HOSPITAL SAYS TESTS INDICATE TOP RUSSIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE POISONED: A hospital in Germany that's treating top Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny said Monday that tests indicted he was poisoned. Doctors at the Charite hospital said Navalny was being treated with an antidote and was in a medically-induced coma, but his life wasn't in immediate danger. The testing indicated poisoning with a type of substance found in pesticides and nerve agents. The 44-year-old Navalny became ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Thursday and was taken to a hospital in the city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing. He was flown to Germany on Saturday. His supporters believed he was poisoned via tea he drank before getting on the plane and blame Russian President Vladimir Putin's government.

➤N.Y. ATTORNEY GENERAL ASK COURT TO FORCE TRUMP'S SON, ASSOCIATES TO TESTIFY, PROVIDE DOCUMENTS FOR PROBE: New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a court yesterday to force some of President Trump's business associates, including his son Eric Trump, to testify and provide documents as part of her probe of whether Trump's company lied about the value of its assets to get loans or tax breaks. James said her civil investigation of potential fraud in Trump's business operations, which began last year, is being stalled by lack of cooperation from Trump and his family. The court's intervention was sought after lawyers for Eric Trump canceled his planned interview with investigators last month.

➤CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS SCOTT PETERSON'S DEATH SENTENCE: The California Supreme Court yesterday overturned the 2005 death sentence for Scott Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife, 27-year-old Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant with their child, in a case that got nationwide attention. Investigators said Peterson dumped their bodies on Christmas Eve in 2002 into San Francisco Bay, where they resurfaced months later. The court let Peterson's conviction stand, but cited significant errors in jury selection in throwing out the death sentence. However, they said prosecutors could again seek the death penalty. If they don't, Peterson, who's now 47, will serve a sentence of life without parole.

NY Post 8/25/20
➤FALWELL JR. OFFERS TO RESIGN AS LIBERTY UNIV. PREZ AMID SEX SCANDAL, THEN REVERSES: Liberty University said last night that Jerry Falwell Jr. had yesterday offered to resign as president of the evangelical school amid a sex scandal, but then reversed, with the university saying he told his attorneys not to submit his resignation. One day earlier, Falwell has said that his wife had a brief affair and they reconciled, but the man involved had been threatening to reveal it. But Reuters reported Monday that Falwell knew about the affair with the much younger man, Giancarlo Granda, and participated in it by watching their encounters. Falwell has already been on a leave of absence since August 7th after he posted a photo on social media showing him with his pants unzipped, his stomach exposed, and his arm around the waist of his wife's pregnant assistant.

➤TIKTOK SUES ADMINISTRATION OVER BAN: TikTok filed suit against the Trump administration Monday over its efforts to ban the popular video app. The administration has cited national security concerns about it being Chinese-owned. TikTok insisted that it's not a national security threat and charged the government is acting without evidence or due process to, quote, "further the president’s anti-China political campaign." President Trump issued two executive orders earlier this month, one that bans any transaction by TikTok owner ByteDance, and the other ordering ByteDance to sell its U.S. assets within 90 days. TikTok's lawsuit only challenges the first.

NBA PLAYOFFS: Results from first-round playoff games yesterday:
  • Miami Heat 99, Indiana Pacers 87 -- Miami wins series 4 games to 0
  • Milwaukee Bucks 121, Orlando Magic 106 -- Milwaukee leads series 3 games to 1
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 117, Houston Rockets 114 -- Series tied at 2-2
  • L.A. Lakers 135, Portland Trail Blazers 115 -- Lakers lead series 3 games to 1
Newsday 8/25/20

Results from second-round playoff games yesterday:
  • New York Islanders 4, Philadelphia Flyers 0 -- New York leads series 1 game to 0
  • Dallas Stars 5, Colorado Avalanche 2 -- Dallas leads series 2 games to 0
➤76ERS FIRE HEAD COACH BROWN: The Philadelphia 76ers fired head coach Brett Brown on Monday, one day after the team was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. Brown was with Philadelphia for seven years,

➤CUBS BECOME SECOND MLB FRANCHISE WITH 11,000 WINS: The Chicago Cubs become only the second franchise in MLB history with 11,000 wins last night, when they beat the Detroit Tigers 9-3. The Cubs got their first victory in 1876. The Giants are the only franchise that has more than 11,000 wins, with 11,179, after beginning in New York in 1883 and later moving to San Francisco. However, the Dodgers, who started in Brooklyn and then moved to Los Angeles, are almost at the 11,000 wins threshold, currently at 10,996.

➤LAB SAYS CONTAMINATION CAUSED NFL 77 CORONAVIRUS FALSE-POSITIVES: BioReference Laboratories, the lab that the NFL is using for its coronavirus testing, said Monday that 77 apparently false-positive tests over the weekend were caused by an isolated contamination. When the tests were reexamined they were found to be false positives. The NFL's testing is being done by five BioReference labs across the country, with only the New Jersey lab having the false positives this weekend.

➤STREET OUTSIDE STAPLES CENTER TO BE RENAMED KOBE BRYANT BOULEVARD: Part of Figueroa Street outside L.A.'s Staples Center, home of the L.A. Lakers, is going to be renamed after Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr. announced Monday that part of the street will be renamed Kobe Bryant Boulevard. The news came on what's officially Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles and Orange County, named that because August 24th in numbers is 8/24, the two jersey numbers the late Lakers star wore.

➤GULF COAST BRACES: Tropical Storm Laura could strengthen quickly into a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico with a dangerous threat of storm surge along parts of the Louisiana and Texas coasts, and threats of flooding rain and strong winds will extend well inland later in the week. Laura has prompted hurricane and storm surge watches for the Gulf Coast.

Weather.com maps

A hurricane watch has been posted from Port Bolivar, Texas, to west of Morgan City, Louisiana. This means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours in the watch area.

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