Despite last-ditch efforts by President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani to convince Republican state legislators to replace voters’ choices with their own, Arizona and Wisconsin certified their election results Monday. Both states gave President-elect Joe Biden narrow victories which, along with four other certified states Trump has unsuccessfully challenged, cements Biden’s win when the Electoral College votes Dec. 14. But just two members of Congress could force a lengthy state-by-state debate by challenging the certification by both the Senate and House sitting jointly on Jan 6.
“Long-standing practice really cuts against your position.” That was one of several skeptical comments from Supreme Court justices about the Trump administration’s plans to exclude undocumented immigrants from U.S. census counts Monday. Significantly, it came from the outgoing president’s recent appointee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The court isn’t expected to immediately dismiss challenges to the policy, which seeks to strip congressional seats from populous states and disadvantage immigrant-heavy Texas and California. Justices are more likely to wait for complete census data — which may not be available until next year — and a presidential decision on what types of immigrants might be excluded from population counts.
3. Amnesty Says Web Giants Aid Vietnamese Rights Abuse
Insert barbed wire and candle emoji here. Amnesty International reported today that Facebook and Google are complicit in an unprecedented Vietnamese human rights crackdown. While citizens have enjoyed freedom of expression online during the past decade, “today these platforms have become hunting grounds” for authorities, the group said. Google hasn’t commented, but Facebook said it defends freedom of expression worldwide, while admitting it’s received “additional pressure” from Hanoi to limit content. The Vietnamese government has said both Facebook and Google’s YouTube heed its calls to delete “bad news,” including “propaganda against the party and the state,” at least 90 percent of the time.
4. Federal Watchdog: Unemployment Stats Inaccurate
It’s not working. The Government Accounting Office yesterday released a report saying that the Labor Department has issued incorrect jobless figures on a regular basis since the start of the pandemic, peaking at 23 million people in April. The report, which blames an overload of benefit claims, also found that many unemployed Americans, such as independent contractors, got paid less than they were eligible for under expanded pandemic-era benefits. Meanwhile, the new administration’s pick to run the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, is already facing GOP opposition for being “partisan.”
Election Update: Joseph diGenova, a lawyer for President Trump trying to discredit Nov. 3 election results, said that fired U.S. cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs should be “taken out at dawn and shot” for declaring the election secure.
She’s hilarious. She’s inappropriate. She’s comedy legend Kathy Griffin. Find out why the Guinness World Record-holder for most stand-up comedy specials calls herself the “comedy zombie.” And get the inside story of her recent marriage and what it was really like being interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service over that infamous Trump photo. Watch now
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Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report evidence that the coronavirus had hit the West Coast before China even announced its outbreak. A study published yesterday reported finding antibodies for the virus in 39 Red Cross blood donations made between Dec. 13 and Dec. 16 in California, Washington and Oregon. Blood given weeks later as far east as Massachusetts also contained antibodies, showing that the spread started much earlier than originally thought. Meanwhile, Moderna became the second vaccine-maker to submit its inoculation — none of whose trial recipients developed severe COVID-19— to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.
It’s far from chill. But there is hope that goals set by the Paris climate accords could be met, according to monitoring group Climate Action Tracker. While the U.S. withdrew from the accords, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin. When that’s added to carbon-neutral commitments from China and other big polluters, that gives the planet a fighting chance of limiting its average temperature increase to 2.1 degrees Celsius by the century’s end. Climate skeptic Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro isn’t going anywhere, though, and Amazon deforestation stoked by his policies is the worst in 12 years.
It’s the shape of things to come. Current aircraft shape hasn’t changed since the middle of the last century, but with air travel responsible for 2.4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, something’s gotta give, OZY reports. That’s why people like Bill Otto Sr. and his son have built the bullet-shaped Celera 500L, additionally motivated by the dream of affordable air charters. A Dutch team is working on a “Flying-V” with no fuselage that would be 20 percent more fuel-efficient than a similar sized jet. But like today’s aircraft, it’ll take a while: 2040 is when it’s slated for christening.
She couldn’t turn back time, but she could take him home. To a new Cambodian home, that is, for Kaavan, the “world’s loneliest elephant.” The 74-year-old pop star arrived with the 36-year-old elephant Monday at a wildlife sanctuary in Siem Reap after paying to fly the 5.5 ton beast from Islamabad, Pakistan. That’s where he’d been kept in conditions so miserable that authorities recently closed his zoo around him. The singer, who flew with Kaavan aboard a Russian cargo plane to Cambodia, is working with the Smithsonian Channel on a documentary about the rescue that’ll air in 2021.
In Santa Clara, California, you can’t play contact sports because of a surge in COVID-19 cases. That’s a problem for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, as the county is host to Levi’s Stadium, where the football team plays its home games. So players will travel 700 miles to the Phoenix area, where they’ll use the Cardinals’ stadium to host the Buffalo Bills Monday and Washington on Dec. 13. If that’s not weird enough, talk to Kendall Hinton, the Denver Broncos’ wide receiver who had 24 hours to prepare for Sunday’s debut as quarterback after the team’s actual signal-callers were infected with the virus.
The leaves have changed and pumpkin spice lattes are back — so fall is definitely here. Luckily, we found the perfect men’s pullover for the 2020 sweater weather season. Don’t look any further: Outerknown’s Nostalgic Sweater puts a modern twist on the iconic 70s style and perfectly combines comfort, style and warmth. The Nostalgic Sweater sold out fast last year, so don’t miss out — and use code OKOZY for 20 percent off!