Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The AM Confidential: Democrat Wins Georgia Senate Runoff

Rev. Raphael Warnock

➤WARNOCK WINS ONE GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFF, FELLOW DEMOCRAT OSSOFF LEADS IN THE OTHER: Democratic challenger Reverend Raphael Warnock won one of two U.S. Senate runoffs held in Georgia yesterday according to calls by the Associated Press and other media organizations including CNN and NBC News, beating Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler to become the first Black senator in Georgia history. With 98 percent of precincts in, Warnock was ahead 50.6 percent to 49.4. 
Washington Post 1/6/21

Warnock gave a virtual victory message, saying, "Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible." But Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters. In the state's other Senate runoff, Democrat Jon Ossoff was narrowly leading GOP Senator David Purdue as of 4 a.m., 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent, also with 98 percent in. If the final count margin is 0.5 percentage points or less, the candidate who's behind can request a recount. If Ossoff holds on to his lead, the two wins will tie the Senate at 50-50, which will give control of the chamber to the Democrats with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. If Purdue pulls out the win, the Republicans will maintain control, 51-49.

➤CONGRESS SET TO CONFIRM BIDEN'S VICTORY TODAY, MANY REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS PLAN TO OBJECT: Congress is set to today to confirm the 306-232 Electoral College vote won by President-elect Joe Biden that has been certified by the states. It's usually a routine, low-key proceeding, but won't be this time, as many Republican lawmakers plan to object amid President Trump's ongoing, extraordinary efforts to try to overturn the results. 

At least 12 Republican senators and up to 100 GOP House members are expected to object, but chances of success are virtually nil, as bipartisan majorities are set to accept the results. However, each objection will force two hours of deliberations, leading to an expected long day. Trump, meanwhile, will be taking part in a rally of his supporters in Washington, D.C. 

➤HIGHEST ONE-DAY COVID DEATH TOTAL IN U.S. YESTERDAY: The U.S. had its highest one-day number of deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday since the pandemic began, with at least 3,775 deaths reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 357,200 people have died in total so far. There were also more than 229,000 new confirmed cases yesterday, and the COVID Tracking Project reported a record 131,195 hospitalizations.

➤NO CHARGES AGAINST KENOSHA POLICE OFFICER WHO SHOT JACOB BLAKE: Kenosha County, Wisconsin, District Attorney Michael Graveley said yesterday that no charges will be brought against the white police officer who shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, multiple times in the back, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down. The August incident led to protests in Kenosha that at times turned violent. Graveley said he concluded he couldn't disprove Officer Rusten Sheskey's claim that he acted in self-defense because he was afraid Blake would stab him, saying investigators concluded Blake was carrying a knife. Blake's family, civil rights advocates and some public officials, including Democratic Governor Tony Evers, criticized the decision.

➤AGENCIES SAY RUSSIA LIKELY BEHIND MASSIVE HACK OF GOV'T., CORPORATIONS: Top U.S. national security agencies said in a rare joint statement yesterday (January 5th) that Russia is "likely" behind a recently-discovered large-scale hack of federal government departments and of corporations. It was the first time the government had suggested who is likely responsible for the hack, although it had been reported that Russia was suspected. The statement further said that the infiltration appeared to be done for "intelligence gathering," rather than to damage or disrupt the government's operations, but made clear the spying operation is still going on. It said, "This is a serious compromise that will require a sustained and dedicated effort to remediate."

➤SHAKE SHACK RELEASES KOREAN-STYLE FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH: Shake Shack has followed up McDonald’s announcement of three new crispy chicken sandwiches with their own news. Shake Shack says it’s adding a Korean-style Fried Chick’n sandwich made with a crispy chicken breast glazed with a spicy-sweet gochujang fermented chili paste that is then topped with a white kimchi slaw and toasted sesame seeds. Customers can also opt to order a nugget version that comes with six pieces of Korean-style Gochujang Chick’n Bites, or even Korean-style gochujang fries (the brand’s signature fries served with gochujang mayonnaise sauce). Another new offering: a Black Sugar Vanilla Shake made with vanilla frozen custard and black sugar syrup that is then topped with whipped cream. The new menu items are available now through April 5th at all U.S. Shake Shack locations.

➤PIZZA HUT OFFERS FREE ‘NOTHING BUT STUFFED CRUST’ IN 2 CITIES FOR MENU ITEM’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY: Pizza Hut is celebrating its Stuffed Crust menu option’s 25th anniversary by offering people in Dallas and Los Angeles the option of order the stuffed crust all by itself. Those who go to the participating Pizza Hut locations (one in each city) between now and Thursday (January 7th) will have the option of “Nothing But Stuffed Crust” with any $10 purchase. The promotion is only being offered to the first 50 curbside carryout customers each day (per location).

➤VIENNETTA ICE CREAM CAKES ARE COMING BACK TO THE U.S. AFTER ALMOST 30 YEARS: Good Humor Viennetta ice cream cakes are coming back to the U.S. They first came into popularity in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and it's made with layers of ice cream and frozen chocolate. Now it’s coming back in classic Vanilla Viennetta which combines a "wavy" frozen vanilla base between crispy, decadent chocolate layers in a unique cake shape that is perfectly portioned for an entire family to share.” It should be on store shelves again soon.

Newsday 1/6/21

🏈ALABAMA WIDE RECEIVER SMITH WINS HEISMAN TROPHY: Alabama's DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy last night, the first wide receiver to win the award for being the best player in college football in 29 years and just the fourth receiver to ever win it. Smith beat out three quarterbacks for the award, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Alabama teammate Mac Jones and Florida's Kyle Trask. Alabama running back Najee Harris came in fifth place, making the Crimson Tide just the second time in the 85-year history of the Heisman to have three of the top five finishers, after Army in 1946. 

Smith was presented the Heisman in a virtual ceremony due to the pandemic, and the winner was announced later than it had ever been.

🏈BROWNS HEAD COACH, TWO PLAYERS OUT OF WILD CARD GAME DUE TO COVID: Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, guard Joel Bitonio, wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge and at least two assistant coaches will miss Cleveland's wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend after testing positive for Covid-19. The Browns -- who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 -- announced the news on Tuesday. Stefanski can only coach virtually from home this week, and will be replaced by special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

🏈REPORT: CFP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME MAY HAVE TO BE DELAYED DUE TO COVID: There's a possibility that the College Football Playoff national championship game may have to be postponed because of Covid-19 issues in Ohio State's program, according to a report. wrote Tuesday that third-ranked Ohio State, which is set to play top-ranked Alabama on January 11th for the title, had spoken with CFP officials about player availability problems due to positive Covid tests that could force the game to be delayed. But CFP executive director Bill Hancock said yesterday the title game is still on track to be played Monday night, and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement, "We plan to play January 11."

🏀BAYLOR-UCONN WOMEN'S GAME CANCELED AFTER BAYLOR COACH POSITIVE FOR COVID: The women's college basketball game scheduled for tomorrow between Number 6 Baylor and Number 3 UConn was canceled by Baylor Tuesday after head coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for the coronavirus. Mulkey had missed Baylor's game Saturday after being exposed on Christmas to a family member who tested positive.

➤LAMAR JACKSON ASKS TRUMP TO COMMUTE RAPPER KODAK BLACK'S SENTENCE: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson asked President Trump yesterday (January 5th) to commute rapper Kodak Black's jail sentence. Jackson tweeted at the president: "Hey @realDonaldTrump @potus my friend @KodakBlack1k deserves to be commuted. The system punished him way to hard for a paperwork crime #freekodak." Jackson is childhood friends with Black, who is serving a 46-month sentence after pleading guilty to federal weapons charges in Florida in 2019, admitting to twice falsifying information on background checks for gun purchases. Prosecutors said that two of the guns bought by Black were found at crime scenes.

⚾AARON GETS CORONAVIRUS VACCINE TO SEND MESSAGE TO BLACK AMERICANS IT'S SAFE: Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron joined former U.N. Ambassador and civil rights leader Andrew Young and former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan in publicly getting the coronavirus vaccine in Georgia yesterday (January 5th) with the goal of sending the message the Black Americans that the vaccine is safe. Polls have shown greater wariness about the vaccine among Black people, partly stemming from mistrust in medical research due to the infamous Tuskegee experiment, in which U.S. health workers left syphilis untreated in unsuspecting Black men over four decades from 1932 to 1972.

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