It’s a miracle. President Donald Trump says he’s ready to campaign in person, starting today on the White House South Lawn, after hospitalization last weekend for COVID-19. Yet he coughed on a Thursday Fox News phone interview and dodged questions about testing to show he’s virus-free — something doctors are skeptical of, while an unprecedented New England Journal of Medicine editorial called the president’s pandemic response “dangerously incompetent.” Trump meanwhile claims he was cured by an antibody treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, whose top executives recently sold $1 million in company stock, which Trump family trusts also owned as of 2017.
It’s about health. Are coronavirus-infected Republican senators going to come out of isolation Monday to begin the process of confirming Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court justice? And Democrats are putting the Affordable Care Act front and center in their argument against the U.S. Senate confirming a sixth conservative. She’s likely, they say, to help invalidate the law that’s assuring health coverage for millions of Americans and is hanging by a one-vote margin on the high court. That “looming threat,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, is why he lobbied Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey to reject Barrett — likely to no avail.
It’s back. Infections surged this week across Europe with Italy, Germany and France recording their highest-ever new daily cases. Parts of Italy were locked down and new mask mandates — even outdoors — have been imposed. With Paris a “maximum alert zone,” bars are closed and musical performances banned. The German capital, previously spared high infection rates, is now a national hot spot and stricter controls are being considered. But Europeans have gotten used to recent freedoms, so leaders have been reluctant to act, especially as death rates are lower than during the first wave of infections in the spring.
Has Wall Street lost its mind? First it was stocks rising during a pandemic quasi-depression. And after markets’ best week in three months, investors seem buoyed by news that Democrat Joe Biden’s Oval Office odds are improving. Isn’t President Trump, slashing corporate taxes as he did, celebrated in New York’s corner offices? Yes, argues business columnist Josh Barro. But big business has gotten what it wants, and a Democratic administration is expected to shovel more economic stimulus cash at the economy and is unlikely to restore pre-Trump tax levels, so corporate America is ready to meet the new boss.
Armenia and Azerbaijan begin a cease-fire today in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where at least 300 people have been killed in two weeks of fighting. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is out campaigning again after authorities foiled a plot to kidnap her and attack other state government targets. And Tropical Storm Delta is bringing a danger of flooding to the Tennessee Valley after hitting the Gulf Coast.
What does TED's most popular speaker think of our current state of leadership? Author Simon Sinek joins Carlos to discuss his meteoric rise to fame and the difference between believing and doing. What's the surprising commonality he points out about the world leaders who handled COVID-19 the best? Watch now on YouTube.
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“We’re not a democracy.” With that, COVID-19-infected Utah Sen. Mike Lee set off a tweetstorm about America’s founding ideals. Meanwhile, in the ancient cradle of democracy, Greece, those who unequivocally rejected elected government — to the point of idolizing Nazism — were rendered powerless. A Greek court convicted leaders of Golden Dawn, which until last year had seats in Parliament, of running a criminal organization and dispatching hit men to kill immigrants and political enemies. It’s an effort, writes journalist Yiannis Baboulias, that could light a democratic path for the rest of Europe.
Settling her divorce from Jeff Bezos for 25 percent of the CEO’s skyrocketing Amazon stock, MacKenzie Scott is now Earth’s richest woman. While little is known of Bezos’ first employee, many charities would like to know her better. In July, Scott rocked philanthropy by giving $1.7 billion to 116 organizations with few strings attached. Those included women- and Black-led equality groups and totaled more than Bezos’ largesse. But it’s not just the amount: Scott’s giving to organizations she trusts is a departure from those billionaires who have created foundations that leave them the ultimate arbiters of which causes are “worthy.”
The now-notorious Sep. 26 Supreme Court nomination event at the White House was attended by approximately a dozen guests, including the president and two U.S. senators, who have since tested positive for COVID-19. But the Trump administration isn’t deploying CDC tracers to track perhaps hundreds of individuals who may have been exposed as a result. So USA Today is filling that void, “attempting to identify every person at the event using publicly available photographs of that day” and providing an online form for the public to help out.
It’s never easy. But trying to subsist on music is even more daunting in India, especially when the genre is traditional. Abhinav Agrawal is giving those artists a leg up, one battery-powered recording session at a time, OZY reports. Agrawal’s Anahad Foundation has deployed its unique BackPack Studio across the country, making high-quality recordings in the most rustic of settings. And there’s more: The foundation educates musicians where they live in dealing with publishers and even the legal realities of artist vs. studios, giving the remotest talents a fighting chance of survival.
5. Heat Don’t Go Quietly, Beating Lakers in Game 5
The GOAT was there. LeBron James scored 40 points for the L.A. Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, but that wasn’t enough to win the championship Friday night. The Miami Heat had its own great player in Jimmy Butler, whose 35-point triple double combined with Duncan Robinson’s 26 points to anchor a 111-108 victory in Orlando’s pandemic bubble. The Lakers are still one away with three wins to the Heat’s two going into Sunday’s Game 6, but it’s unclear if Anthony Davis, who normally keeps up with teammate James, might again be slowed by a bruised heel.