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The Nooner for Monday, July 6, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS
Well, it's Monday and there is not enough lipstick for the pig that is the news. Well, the positive thing about Mondays are the ease of the NYT crossword. I'm not partaking in the sourdough or jigsaw puzzle crazes, but I am having lots of evening excitement with that crossword grid.
The Chron reports that Sacramento added 232 cases yesterday, the highest single day for the county yet. Death totals from the weekend seem very low which is likely because of reporting issues over the holiday. Let's hope for the best.
A team at the Times reports:
The California coronavirus outlook worsened over the holiday weekend, as hospitalizations continued to rise and more counties were added Sunday to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 watch list, which is now at its highest level since the pandemic began.
The rate at which coronavirus tests in California are coming back positive has jumped 42% over the last two weeks, according to data published on the Los Angeles Times’ California coronavirus tracker. An increasing rate of positive test results is an indication that disease transmission is worsening.
The Fourth of July marked the 15th consecutive day that California tallied record hospitalization numbers of confirmed coronavirus patients. On Saturday, the state recorded 5,669 patients with confirmed coronavirus infections in California hospitals—an increase of 62% over the previous two weeks.
On June 27, just a week earlier, the state had reported 4,498 hospitalized patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19. On June 20, the number was 3,494.
In San Diego, the weekend beach crowds were reportedly consistent with previous July Fourth weekends. Beaches in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties were closed as is the Mexican border for leisure traffic.
And, health experts are fearing that the current trajectory of cases could cause the state to run out of available beds (staffing being as big of an issue as physical capacity) by the end of the month. There's no borrowing health care staff from neighboring states might take place in other disasters. Our neighbors are all impacted. Oregon, where I have family seemed to be way ahead (as did California), but things are surging there like here.
I've been sad. The news the last 48 hours has centered on hopes of new treatments of high-dose corticosteroids.
I've been there for asthma. If you know me, you know that my spine is akin to plexi-glas given the corticosteroids I had as a teenager for asthma. Now, steroids are considered a possible solution for COVID-19. Granted, it's better than death as was my family's choice in 1989. Let's just say that the choices are close to being the same.
COVID-19 AND LATINOS: In the Bee, a team reports on the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on the Latino community, which is being hit from multiple angles.
As California scrambles to respond, there’s the question of whether officials should have noticed the surge in cases among Latinos sooner and acted more assertively. But there’s a more pressing issue now.
Can the state and its disparate counties muster the data, strategies and community connections to take the fast and focused steps needed to identify and snuff out COVID-19 clusters in under-served communities?
SCOTUS WITH THE MOSTUS: For Supreme Court watchers, we're already in overtime. While the Court usually wraps its term by the end of June, the term continues on with several cases having late arguments in the May sitting. This morning brought only two decisions of the nine remaining.
In Chiafalo v. Washington, the Court held that presidential electors may be held bound to casting Electoral College votes following the presidential popular vote of their state. The case centered on three Washington State electors who were pledged to Hillary Clinton who carried the state but cast their votes for Colin Powell, in an effort to get others around the country to do the same to prevent Donald Trump from becoming President. They were fined $1,000 by the state for not following the will of the voters. This morning, SCOTUS upheld the state's fines.
In Barr v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, the Court held that the exception allowing robocalls to cell phones for government debt collection was unconstitutionally content discrimination. Basically, the ruling just keeps the robocall ban to cell phones intact without the government debt collection exception. It was really just a pissing match.
Of course, this is all humorous when in reality we get plenty of fake calls on our phones almost daily, with tricks like masking numbers to pretend its a cell call from our local prefix. With an all-mail election that could very well be under shelter-at-home orders and few people willing to answer unknown numbers, the work of political campaigns this November is more difficult than ever.
What's left? There are three cases about President Trump's financial records, two from U.S. House committees and one by the New York City district attorney. Also, a biggie is Our Lady of Guadalupe (not the one down the street that I buy my tacos at on Sundays), which asks the question of whether religious employers can avoid civil employment discrimination civil challenges under the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the Constitution.
Of course, the big thing that is always obsessed about by Court-watchers at this time of year is retirement. Retirements are often announced on the last day of the Court's sitting. Of course, the drama is much more strange this year since the justices and staff are not in the hallowed chamber. We don't know the final day and listening to the opinion readings over the phone is very different than the First Street NE environment.
Everyone wants to know whether either Alito and/or Thomas will announce their retirements. I don't think either is likely. Alito is 70 and Thomas is 72. While it is a presidential election year with the possibility of a party executive change (current polling, there are months ahead), we know after the 2016 experience, there won't be any confirmations in 2020. Mitch McConnell may be a brilliant and ruthless tactician, but I think he cares far more about his legacy than President Trump's at this point. That politically charged retirement game is pretty much over for awhile.
Anyway, we will wait for the next SCOTUS conference call. Who could have ever imagined that?
STATUES FALLING: The statue of Spanish missionary Junipero Serra in Capitol Park was brought down during a Saturday night during a protest for indigenous rights, reports Vincent Moleski in the Bee. It's not a surprise as it has been a focus of ire over the last couple of months.
Serra, a Roman Catholic priest born in Spain in 1713, was one of California’s earliest colonizers. According to the California State Capitol Museum, his statue in Capitol Park was erected in 1965 to honor his missionary work. Serra founded the first nine Spanish missions of the 21 that dot the California landscape. He was canonized as a saint in 2015 by Pope Francis, who characterized him at the time as “the evangelizer of the West in the United States.”
The Spanish priest has long been a subject of controversy over his treatment of Native Californians.
The Last Appeal statues of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus in the Capitol Rotunda was unceremoniosly removed last week, apparently to be returned to the donor's descendents. Now it will only be a memory of those of us who used to pitch pennies on the last night of session from the second floor, aiming to the Queen's crown. The CHP halted that practice as the Queen's crown was eroding.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: No birthdays I know about today!