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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! The level of crazy in the post-election world is becoming more and more worrisome. Election officials all over the country have received death threats. A meeting of public health officials on Zoom was interrupted by people banging on the doors of the homes where the officials lived. A few persons on both sides seem to WANT to take up arms against the other side.
And through it all, our president continues to rile up his followers, and to cower elected Republicans into silence.
A week ago, a Georgia election official held a press conference to call out President Trump and Republican leaders who continue to attack Georgia’s election system. “Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed,” Gabriel Sterling, with the secretary of state’s office, said Tuesday afternoon in an emotional and forceful news conference. “It’s not right.”
Among other things, a Twitter thread accusing a young technician working on the recount of altering votes led to his identity being released and calls for him to be “hung for treason.” Meanwhile, caravans of horn-honking Trump supporters constantly parade past Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s private residence, and his wife has reportedly received sexually explicit threats.
It’s time for elected Republicans to grow a spine and call this out for what it is: domestic terrorism. It is an attempt to achieve a political end through violence. And when someone actually does get harmed (and they will), the blood will be on the hands of those who would not speak up.
Sorry for the downer opening this morning, but in my many, many years of civic involvement in this country, I have never seen such abandonment of both principle and common sense. When wearing masks is political, we have reached a new low as a state and as a nation.
Let us hope that a few “Profiles in Courage” arise to stop the madness.
Today’s Five Things to Know
12/8 update — New cases keep slacking, but ICUs in three hospital regions are in ‘a very precarious situation,’ Beshear says
As new cases of the novel coronavirus kept declining, Gov. Andy Beshear assured Kentucky hospitals not among the 11 slated for the first round of vaccines that they would get some in the second week of distribution. He also displayed a map of the state showing hospitals in three regions reaching dangerous capacity levels. (Map is in the story.) (Forward Kentucky)
Municipal Equality Index — How did your city do?
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign releases their Municipal Equality Index. It is a survey of municipalities that scores each one on various criteria. Eight cities in Kentucky were scored this year. How did they (we) do? Short answer: a few did very well, and others did very badly. (Forward Kentucky)
American Medical Association: Beshear’s in-person class ban based on ‘sound’ science
The American Medical Association and Louisville’s public health department submitted a brief Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court, backing Gov. Andy’s Beshear’s executive order to temporarily halt in-person classes at Kentucky’s K-12 schools. Their amicus brief says Beshear’s order was “based on sound scientific considerations.”
The brief from the AMA, which is the largest professional association of physicians, residents and medical students in the United States, and the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness supports Beshear in a legal challenge to his school-related order that the Supreme Court may rule on in the coming days or weeks. (Courier-Journal)
Youth vote up significantly in 2020; young people of color pivotal
Presidential election turnout among young people ages 18-29 reached 52-55%, significantly higher than the 45-48% turnout of 2016 – and in fact, may have helped make Biden competitive in a number of swing states. (Forward Kentucky)
National news roundup
- The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania. It was the first such lawsuit to make it to SCOTUS, and the court issued a one-sentence response: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”
- While cases normally cases have to reach the Supreme Court through an appeal from a lower court, disputes between states go directly to the court as the Constitutionally-appointed arbiter at that level. So, the state of Texas has gone to SCOTUS to sue the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to overturn the results in those states.
- The House approved the defense spending bill by a veto-proof majority, which means a number of Republicans voted with the Democrats on it. They split with the president, who has said he will veto the bill because of a provision in the bill creating a commission to consider renaming some military bases that are currently named for Confederate generals.
- There is continuing movement on another COVID relief package. The sticking points for McConnell have been liability protection for businesses (he wants it) and help for local and state governments (he doesn’t want it). Yesterday McConnell proposed dropping both items from the negotiations in order to get somethig passed now.
- There is also discussion of boosting the weekly unemployment benefits, but not sending out stimulus checks.
- Jenna Ellis, another of Trump’s lawyers working with Guiliani to overturn the election, has tested positive for COVID.
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This Friday on “The State of Kentucky”
Do you feel like we are swimming in conspiracy theories, on both sides of the aisle? Why are they happening? And, what impact can they have on the polarization in our country? Join Dr. Jan Hillard as we discuss his insights on conspiracy theories, the election, and our society.
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
*indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[new] Marshall Co. native Carmack to head up McConnell’s staff – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Louisville) announced on Tuesday that he has named Terry Carmack as the next chief of staff of his personal office in Washington, D.C., effective next month. (News)
[new] Despite voting restoration, many Kentuckians among thousands in Ohio Valley still disenfranchised – The Sentencing Project data shows Kentucky still has nearly 200,000 disenfranchised people, even after Beshear’s executive order: almost 6% of adults are ineligible to vote. (News)
[new] An open letter to Governor Beshear and the legislative leaders – Each side says the other is wrong. Perhaps there are actions all can take that would show leadership and not politics. (Commentary)
Kentuckians lost to ‘evil virus’ honored at the Capitol – A wreath-laying ceremony outside the state Capitol on Monday honored the 200,000 Kentuckians who have tested positive for COVID-19, and especially the more than 2,000 who have died. (News)
KDP staff unionized, but Exec Committee not part of process – Multiple sources have told Forward Kentucky that when the staff of the Kentucky Democratic Party joined a union, the State Central Executive Committee was not involved at all during the process. The SCEC did not learn of the decision until after it had happened. (News)
*Let’s talk about McConnell and fixing democracy … – Another solid video from Beau of the Fifth Column, on two ideas that would dramatically alter our democracy for the better. Takes about six minutes to watch. (Video)
Conspiracy and the 2020 presidential election — how do we end polarization? – The current wave of conspiracy theories about the presidential election reveal a deeper problem: the significant polarization in our country. How can we address this? (News)
*KY Repubs in Congress won’t admit Biden won – The fear that Republicans, including our Kentucky seven, have of both Donald Trump and his cult followers is both amazing and disheartening. If they continue to refuse to accept the results, they will do even more serious damage to our democracy. (News)
KY way behind in unemployment payments – but so is everyone else – The federal standard for UI payments is that 87% of recipients should start getting payments within three weeks. In contrast, Kentucky is hitting the payments-sent-within-three-weeks mark with only 27% of applicants – but the rest of the country isn’t doing much better. (News)
*As the pandemic rages, the US (and Kentucky) could use a little bit more ‘samfundssind’ – In recent years, the English-speaking world has found two Danish concepts, “pyt” and “hygge,” useful for dealing with anxiety and stress. Now another Danish word – “samfundssind” – might help countries grapple with the pandemic. (Commentary)
Image courtesy of CIRCLE, Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
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