Saturday, November 27, 2021

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up in the US | GMA

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Flashback: Biden suggested Trump's coronavirus travel ban was 'xenophobic'

President Joe Biden has imposed  travel restrictions into the United States due to coronavirus fears despite previously slamming former President Trump as xenophobic for doing the same thing in 2020.

"We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus," Biden tweeted as a presidential candidate last year the day after Trump imposed travel restrictions from China into the United States in response to the spread of the coronavirus. "We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency."

Medical doctor giving injection to make antibody for coronavirus

Medical doctor giving injection to make antibody for coronavirus

The day before, in addition to the travel restriction from China, Trump issued a proclamation extending his "travel ban" to six additional countries that included Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Trump's initial travel ban, issued in 2017, set new criteria for visa applicants and refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries over concerns that individuals coming from those countries could not be properly vetted. 

Biden later attempted to walk back the xenophobic comment and claimed during a debate that he was making a broad point about xenophobia and not directly referring to the travel ban.

"A wall will not stop the coronavirus," Biden tweeted in March of 2020. "Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it."

President Joe Biden points to the Oval Office of the White House as he arrives on Marine One on the South Lawn in Washington, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, as he returns from Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Joe Biden points to the Oval Office of the White House as he arrives on Marine One on the South Lawn in Washington, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, as he returns from Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Biden also referred to Trump's temporary immigration ban from certain African countries as a "disgrace."

Vice-President Kamala Harris also criticized Trump on that issue calling the move "Un-American."

On Friday, the Biden administration announced it is restricting travel into the United States from several African countries in response to a new strain of the coronavirus known as the Omicron variant.

The travel restrictions will apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2021, file photo, Jack Kingsley R.N. attends to a COVID-19 patient in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. The summer that was supposed to mark America’s independence from COVID-19 is instead drawing to a close with the U.S. more firmly under the tyranny of the virus, with deaths per day back up to where they were in March 2021. 

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2021, file photo, Jack Kingsley R.N. attends to a COVID-19 patient in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. The summer that was supposed to mark America’s independence from COVID-19 is instead drawing to a close with the U.S. more firmly under the tyranny of the virus, with deaths per day back up to where they were in March 2021.  (AP Photo/Kyle Green, File)

The European Union, United Kingdom, and Israel have halted air travel to southern Africa in response to the new variant.


Your travel ban was xenophobic, mine isn't.  Let's go Brandon!

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A COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa was dubbed "omicron" and classified a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization on Friday, as the U.S. and other nations reacted to the newly discovered variant with travel restrictions.

Experts with the World Health Organization met Friday to assess the variant, which appears to have a high number of mutations in the virus’ spike protein, prompting worries about how easily it will spread. While good data on the risks of omicron is likely weeks away, the organization cited early evidence suggesting an increased risk of reinfection.

The U.S. said it will restrict travel from South Africa, as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, according to a statement from senior officials from the Biden administration.

The policy will take effect Monday, and President Joe Biden said the new rules mean “no travel” to or from the designated countries, except for returning U.S. citizens and permanent residents who test negative. 

Travel restrictions:US to restrict travel from South Africa, seven other countries due to new COVID-19 variant omicron

Infection rates in South Africa have "increased steeply," coinciding with the detection of the variant, according to a Friday statement from the WHO. The first omicron case was reported to the agency from South Africa on Nov. 24, and the number of cases of the variant are increasing in almost all South African provinces, the WHO said.

While omicron is now in the same category as the delta variant, the extent of the public health threat the new variant will pose is unclear. The beta variant was classified a variant of concern but did not spread as far as initially expected.

The WHO urged countries to increase surveillance of omicron cases and genome sequencing efforts to better understand its potential impact.

Biden said the emergence of omicron emphasizes the importance of vaccinations and urged Americans to get their booster shots as soon as possible.

The new variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong in travelers from South Africa, according to Joe Phaahla, the nation's health minister. Phaahla said the variant has seen rapid spread in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.

Read more:

Packers QB Rodgers will play Sunday despite not practicing all week

From Fox6Now:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 21: Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to throw during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers on November 21, 2021, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hasn’t practiced all week due to a toe injury but is expected to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Rodgers said Wednesday he has a toe fracture and that the injury occurred while he was working out at home during his quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

"Yeah, he’ll play," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Friday.

The toe injury caused Rodgers to practice one day last week, though the reigning MVP still threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-31 loss at Minnesota.

During the week leading up to the Vikings game, Rodgers only practiced on Friday. Rodgers didn’t practice this Friday, though he has no designation on the injury report that the Packers released later in the day.

"He didn’t participate in practice, but he was out there and relaying the calls to Jordan (Love, the backup quarterback), just getting that practice of saying the play calls," LaFleur said.

The Packers (8-3) announced Friday that assistant offensive line coach Luke Butkus won’t attend Sunday’s game due to COVID-19 protocols. Offensive quality control coach Tim Zetts will handle Butkus’ usual responsibilities.

Running back Aaron Jones (knee), outside linebacker Rashan Gary (elbow) and wide receiver Allen Lazard (shoulder) are questionable after all three missed the Vikings game. Gary fully participated in Friday’s practice, while Jones and Lazard practiced on a limited basis.

Cornerback Kevin King (hip/knee) didn’t practice all week and is listed as doubtful. WR/KR Malik Taylor (abdomen) and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) have been ruled out.


Rodgers doesn't own just the Bears; he owns the Packers, too.

Dead body found near Downtown Racine Thanksgiving morning

From The Journal

RACINE — A man’s body was found in the area of Main and State streets in Racine on Thanksgiving morning, police said.

Little information was immediately available, including whether there were any indications of foul play.

According to witnesses’ posts on social media, the police presence Thursday morning was seen around the Shoop Ramp parking garage at the southwest corner of Main and State streets.“We are conducted (sic) a death investigation reference an adult male who was found deceased in the area (of State and Main). I will have more on Monday,” Sgt. Chad Melby, the Racine Police Department’s public information officer, said in an email Thursday afternoon.


GoFundMe pulls fundraiser for Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks

From Fox6Now:

GoFundMe has removed a fundraiser for Darrell Brooks Jr., who has been charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide after Sunday's Christmas parade massacre in Waukesha.

A GoFundMe was created for Brooks in an effort to raise $5 million, the bail amount Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin M. Costello set for Brooks.

Brooks allegedly drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing at least six people and injuring dozens.

Darrell Brooks Jr.

A spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed to FOX Business that the fundraiser was removed from the platform because it violated the GoFundMe Terms of Service.

The spokesperson also said that the organizer attempting to raise money for Brooks has been banned from using the platform for future fundraisers.

"Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously. Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary," the spokesperson said.

Law Enforcement Today first reported on the fundraiser's creation.

GoFundMe has come under criticism recently after the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict. GoFundMe says that since Rittenhouse was acquitted of a "violent crime," money could now be raised for him using the platform. Previously, fundraisers for a Rittenhouse legal defense were prohibited on the site. 

"If someone is acquitted of those charges, as Rittenhouse was today, a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy," the statement said. "A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser."

Kyle Rittenhouse

Kyle Rittenhouse

However, GoFundMe allowed fundraisers for the defense of people accused of violent crimes around the same time as the Rittenhouse defense fundraisers were pulled from the site.

Marc Wilson, for example, had a fundraiser on GoFundMe set up by others to pay for his legal defense after he allegedly shot and killed a 17-year-old girl, claiming he did so in self-defense.

The fundraiser for Wilson was active as of Nov. 21 but has since been taken down. It was created on July 1, 2020.

"It is too early to tell if GoFundMe now will be consistent or whether this is simply a reaction to the negative fallout regarding Rittenhouse," William Jacobson, clinical professor and director of the securities law clinic at Cornell University Law School, told Fox News.

"The bigger question is why GoFundMe will not permit fundraising for legal defense of people accused but not convicted. It seems illogical to say that someone can raise money to defend themselves but only after they are acquitted, when they no longer need funds to defend themselves," Jacobson said.

Fox News' Michael Ruiz, Stephanie Pagones, and Breck Dumas contributed to this report.



Open Blog - Weekend


Friday, November 26, 2021

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From JSOnline:

Thousands fed at annual free Thanksgiving meal in Racine

From TMJ4:

Photo by: TMJ4 News
According to Johnson, volunteers served hundreds of meals within the first 35 minutes of opening. For many, the chance to be together is just as important as the foo


Posted at 7:10 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 7:10 PM, Nov 25, 2021

RACINE — Thousands had a free hot meal at Racine's Festival Hall on Thursday for the annual Dan & Ray's Rendering Thanks Thanksgiving dinner.

"I chose a little bit of everything because it's looking nice and juicy and plentiful," said Traneda Malott, who attended with colleagues from a local assisted living center. Residents of the center came along, too.

"It gives an opportunity for the community to get together as well as individuals that have come to the community," said Malott.

All walks of life from Racine and around southeast Wisconsin came for the dinner from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This was Dan Johnson and Ray Stibeck's 12th year organizing the meal, but last year, because of Covid-19, they offered only carry-out dinners.

According to Johnson, volunteers served hundreds of meals within the first 35 minutes of opening. For many, the chance to be together is just as important as the food.

"We'll have someone that’s a retired businessman, very well to do, or businesswoman, and they’ll sit together next to someone who’s no so well to do," said Johnson.

"And they develop a friendship. And they meet up around the same time every year and share stories. And sometimes they even get together outside of the event."

Other folks, like Tim and Jean Myers, came to be among others because their kids are out of town for the holiday.

"I think it's wonderful," said Jean. "Dan and Ray have done a fantastic job. We've come just about every year since they started. And of course it's delicious."

For $50, anyone can sponsor a table. Hundreds do just that, and all the money raised, more than $20,000, according to Johnson, pays for the meals.

And sometimes, there are other donors.

"Some guy who came in to pull apart turkeys gave us $1,000. And people like that are so happy to see something happening like this," said Johnson.

Especially during a very challenging year right here in southeast Wisconsin.

"I'm really grateful to be here. I want to say how sorry I am for people in Waukesha. And i hope everyone is doing well out there," said Will Shirley, a dinner guest.

And the meal wouldn't be possible without volunteers like Sally Madden, who waited to try the pumpkin pie until after everyone else had been served.

"To be able to reach out to people who may be alone; who may be sad; who knows what their stories are," said Madden. It’s so nice to be able to help.”


Open Blog - Friday

 If you go shopping today, you're nuts.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

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Pentagon creates new group to monitor and 'mitigate' threat from UFOs

The Department of Defense is creating a new investigative body to track and analyze "unidentified aerial phenomena," as concerns grow about national security risks posed by UFOs.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, in a memo released Tuesday, announced the creation of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, "to assess, and as appropriate, mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security."

The move comes after the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in June 2021 gave to Congress a report about unidentified aerial phenomena," or UAPs. The report identified just one of the 144 reported UAP cases as a large, deflating balloon; observers in 18 incidents described "unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics," which suggested advanced technology.

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That report was the result of interest after the Pentagon in April 2020 unclassified three videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAPs, not UFOs. The Defense Department in August established within the Navy, a "UAP Task Force." Then, in December, Congress approved funding in the coronavirus relief bill for a report about unidentified aircraft in restricted airspace.

When the report was released in June, Hicks said the Defense Department would "establish procedures to synchronize collection, reporting and analysis on the UAP problem set, and to establish recommendations for securing military test and training ranges."

The new group, which will succeed the Navy's UAP Task Force, will be established by Ronald Moultrie, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, the DoD said.Subscribe Now

But Luis Elizondo, the former director of the defense department's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, who discussed UFOs on "60 Minutes" earlier this year, questioned whether the public will be served by the Defense Department's plan. The undersecretary's office "has underplayed and tried to kill the UAP effort for years," he tweeted.

He suggested the move is an attempt to "circumvent" the U.S. Senate's interested in the topic. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would create an advisory committee with experts from NASA, the FAA and other scientific organizations, Politico reported.


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Gov. Evers launches "Shop Small Wisconsin" initiative

From TMJ4:

Photo by: Scott Bauer/AP
(AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
Posted at 8:01 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 8:08 PM, Nov 24, 2021

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is launching the “Shop Small Wisconsin” initiative to encourage state residents to shop at small businesses from Saturday to Dec. 31.

The Evers Administration also put out a video message regarding Shop Small Wisconsin, which can be found on the governor’s Youtube channel.

More information about small businesses in Wisconsin can be found on the Main Street Wi website.