Tuesday News: Scot-free?

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ROBIN HAYES WILL SPEND ZERO TIME IN JAIL FOR HIS CRIMES: When recruited in 2018 to help funnel some $2 millions in bribes to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, Robin Hayes said he was “more than happy to help,” a new court document shows. While Hayes, as state Republican Party chairman, raised concerns about the size of an illegal $250,000 campaign donation he had been asked to direct through the GOP to Causey, he nevertheless told his co-conspirators, “I’ll get ‘er done.” On Monday, a filing by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte recommended to Hayes’ judge on how much prison time the former 11-term congressman should serve. That number would be zero. In explaining its recommendation of probation, prosecutors cited Hayes’ plea agreement and his lack of a previous criminal record. Hayes was also prepared to testify against his partners in the scheme, the filing indicates. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Hayes, who turns 75 this week, faced up to six months in prison. Both sides, however, recommended probation.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article244852887.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Until Congress gets its shit together, we need to do this. Most Federal grants come with a state or local government buy-in. And when this thing expires, NC needs to make that extra $100 (if not more) a permanent increase. p.s. This is not a complete reversal of my previous opinion, but I've seen several folks say that Governor Cooper should decline to participate, and that would be a mistake.

Coronavirus vaccine may be only 50% effective

Masks and social distancing will be with us for a while:

Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health. “The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner, said last month that the vaccine or vaccines that end up getting authorized will prove to be more than 50% effective, but it’s possible the U.S. could end up with a vaccine that, on average, reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by just 50%. “We really felt strongly that that had to be the floor,” Hahn said on July 30, adding that it’s “been batted around among medical groups.”

I know it's depressing as hell to see this on a Monday, but the sooner we get this through our heads the better. That 50% is about the same as influenza vaccines:

Monday News: Budget buster

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TRUMP'S $400 UNEMPLOYMENT BOOST REQUIRES 25% FROM STATE COFFERS: Trump announced an executive order Saturday that extends additional unemployment payments of up to $400 a week to help cushion the economic fallout of the pandemic. But under Trump's plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100. Many states are already facing budget crunches caused by the pandemic. Asked at a news conference how many governors had signed on to participate, Trump answered: “If they don't, they don't. That's up to them.” A clarifying statement from the White House said the “funds will be available for those who qualify by, among other things, receiving $100/week of existing assistance and certify that they have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.” Several advocacy groups that follow the issue, though, said it's clear the way the executive order is structured that the federal money will be contingent on states making a 25 percent contribution.
https://www.wral.com/states-on-hook-for-billions-under-trumps-unemployment-plan/19227571/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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MAIL SERVICE IS CRITICAL TO 2020 ELECTIONS, TRUMP NEEDS TO END IRRESPONSIBLE ATTACKS: In his short tenure DeJoy has taken action making mail delivery slower, less sure and inefficient. He ordered a halt to paying postal workers the overtime so mail carriers could complete their daily rounds. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, postal package volume has nearly doubled – exacerbating the opportunities for Trump to find ways to exploit his feud with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s top executive and owner of The Washington Post. It has caused significant delays in deliveries of letters and packages. In the midst of his actions that effectively are dismantling the postal service, that service has never been more critical to the nation and especially with the approach of the national election. Wendy Fields of the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of voting and civil rights organizations, said the president was “deliberately orchestrating suppression and using the post office as a tool to do it.” This is no political biased pot-shot. It is a very real worry that will have an impact on Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters alike.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/editorial-mail-service-critical-to-2020-elections-trump-needs-to-en...

Saturday News: Beware of false prophets

FALWELL JR OUT AT LIBERTY UNIVERSITY AFTER RACY PHOTO SURFACES: Jerry Falwell Jr. took an indefinite leave of absence Friday as the leader of Liberty University, one of the nation's top evangelical Christian colleges, days after apologizing for a social media post that caused an uproar even among fellow conservatives. The private university in Lynchburg, Virginia, gave no reason for Falwell's departure in a one-sentence announcement Friday afternoon. But it came after Falwell's apology earlier this week for a since-deleted photo he posted online showing him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and his arm around a young woman in a similar pose. The statement said the executive committee of Liberty's board of trustees, acting on behalf of the full board, met Friday and requested Falwell take leave as president and chancellor, “to which he has agreed, effective immediately.”
https://www.wral.com/liberty-universitys-falwell-taking-leave-of-absence/19225012/

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