Just before midnight, the Senate followed the House in passing a massive bill to provide long-delayed financial relief to COVID-19-ravaged Americans as well as fund the government through September. The 5,593-page, $2.3 trillion package included $900 billion in pandemic aid. With President Donald Trump likely to sign the largest funding measure of his term, it could mean millions of $600 direct payments landing next week in bank accounts of those who earned less than $75,000 in 2019, including children. The package also extends enhanced unemployment benefits and a federal moratorium on evictions.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Brexit. European Union members and other nations are imposing increasingly strict travel restrictions on Britons, already facing a Christmas lockdown, over a more easily spread version of the coronavirus (though it's not seen as more deadly). British Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored Brussels to at least allow freight to cross the English Channel, and it appears France will loosen those restrictions today. Some called it the shape of things to come as Britain’s EU membership benefits run out at the end of the year and negotiators still haven’t forged a new deal.
3. Republicans Trying to Avert Election Floor Fight
“It would go down like a shot dog.” That’s how GOP Sen. John Thune, the Senate majority whip, handicapped the chances of ardent Trumpist House members’ efforts to block certification of the Nov. 3 election. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks and several Republican colleagues met with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday to discuss challenging some states’ electoral vote certifications, which are normally pro-forma, on Jan. 6. Trump, who continues to baselessly insist he won reelection, faced new disappointments Monday from outgoing Attorney General William Barr, who said there’s “no basis” for major election efforts Trump allies have urged, such as appointing a special prosecutor or seizing voting machines.
4. Tape: Navalny Tricked Agent Into Detailing Poisoning
Always ask for the secret password. The investigative platform Bellingcat reports that it’s obtained a recording of a Russian security agent explaining how opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned. The thing is, Navalny himself was on the other end of the chat, in which the agent reportedly said the former presidential candidate would have died from Novichok poison soaked into his underpants had his plane not landed quickly to get him treatment. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently denied involvement, saying that if Russian operatives were behind it, Navalny wouldn’t have survived.
This holiday season, we’re getting into our pajamas, opening a bottle of wine and settling on the sofa for a girls’ night in with some of our favorite episodes of The Carlos Watson Show. Care to join us? Enjoy.
GM is adding fuel to racial justice efforts by designating $10 million for organizations that support inclusion and diversity, and appointing a new Inclusion Advisory Board that aims to boost diversity from within. This comes at a crucial time: 41 percent of Black-owned U.S. businesses were shuttered for good between February and April of this year owing to the pandemic, compared to 17 percent of white-owned companies, exacerbating long-running racial disparities. GM’s efforts are why OZY, with its editorial mission to help #ResetAmerica and stamp out racism, is excited to team with the auto and tech giant.
More than one heart was touched. Rescue worker Mana Srivate had seen a lot in a quarter-century of medical emergencies, but an injured baby elephant needing CPR was a first. When the animal was struck by a motorcycle in eastern Thailand late Sunday, Mana happened by, and remembering a video he’d seen once, he located the creature’s heart and started to give the elephant chest compressions, all the while worrying about upsetting its (much larger) mom. When it started to move, he said “I almost cried,” as did many who saw viral footage of the incident. After additional treatment, the baby cried out and its mother took it home.
The drug trade is a crime. Or at least it seems that way to some local pharmacists in Silicon Valley, where Mattieu Gamache-Asselin did his homework. Big drugstore chains and insurance companies made profit margins untenable for the little guys, so the child of Aboriginal Canadians decided to fix that, OZY reports. Gamache-Asselin, 30, co-founded Alto Pharmacy, a $1 billion e-commerce brand that brings drugs to your door without charging for delivery, disrupting the brick-and mortar pharmacy model. His business, which took off during the pandemic, is poised to grow from its current five-state foothold with $250 million from SoftBank.
“This doesn’t happen every day.” That’s what the local port authority said about two passengers who decided to jump out of a jetliner at New York’s LaGuardia Airport Monday. A man who reportedly said he had post-traumatic stress disorder and a woman accompanied by a large service dog managed to open one of the doors of Delta Flight 462 to Atlanta while it was taxiing toward its runway. That triggered the pilots to abruptly stop the plane as the trio deployed the inflatable escape slide and glided down to the tarmac. The jumpers are in custody, authorities are investigating and the airline has found alternate flights for the other passengers.
4. Trump Orders ‘Beautiful’ Classical Federal Architecture
It will definitely inspire some columns. Emulating ancient temples, not to mention architect-president Thomas Jefferson, Washington’s 18th century architects threw up a lot of colonnaded porticos. Now an executive order requires that “beautiful” classical style in all federal buildings — at least as the default. President Trump’s Monday decree also throws shade on midcentury and later styles like brutalism and deconstructivism, saying more contemporary designs impress the “architectural elite,” but not ordinary Americans. Some traditionalists cheered the move but other architectural groups and even the National Trust for Historic Preservation said localities need to decide what styles suit their communities best.
That had to hurt. Needing just one win to lock in the AFC north division title, the Pittsburgh Steelers instead fell 27-17 to the last-place Cincinnati Bengals last night. While the Steel Curtain defense restrained Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley’s passing attack, he was able to rush for 47 yards that included running in his own touchdown. With an 11-3 record, Pittsburgh is still guaranteed a playoff berth, but will now be competing with the Cinderella Cleveland Browns — going head-to-head Jan. 3 — to capture the division title, rather than settle for an inconvenient wild-card postseason berth.