The Forward Five – Wednesday, 12/16/20

Five Things to Know Today

10 mins read
A Tale of Two Cities

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! I’m struck by the competing news today, which prompted me to think of the “best of times, worst of times” quote.

  • On the one hand, we finally have a vaccine coming.
    • On the other hand, the CDC director says the next three months are going to be “very dark.”
  • On the one hand, the Electoral College met and formally certified Joe Biden as the next president.
    • On the other hand, we still have elected officials calling it a stolen election.

It seems to me that these times call for us to hold three different emotions, all at the same time:

  • Joy, for those times when we see or experience good news.
  • Hope, for those times when we don’t have joy, but can see the possibilities on the horizon.
  • Determination, for those times when we don’t even have hope, but keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless.

As we move through the holidays and into the new year, I expect all of us will deal with all three emotions. So, let me add a fourth: grace for yourself, no matter which emotion you are in.

We’re going to get through this — all of this — and one way we do is by caring for each other. And that includes caring for yourself.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

12/15 update — ‘Snot and spit … spread infection,’ health chief says as he advises us to ‘hunker down’ during the holidays

Coronavirus cases in Kentucky appear to have plateaued, but infection rates remain high, and the state’s top doctor said Tuesday it’s too dangerous to travel. And the CDC director says that even with the vaccine on the way, the next three months are going to be very difficult. (Forward Kentucky)

(related) Pandemic at ‘dangerous stage’ in Kentucky and nation, Birx says

Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, met with Gov. Beshear and legislative leaders to discuss the pandemic, the vaccine, and where things go from here. (Forward Kentucky)

Sen. Mitch McConnell acknowledges Joe Biden won the election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election in a speech he gave on the U.S. Senate floor Tuesday morning, the day after Biden formally won the Electoral College.

“Yesterday, electors met in all 50 states, so as of this morning our country has officially a president-elect and a vice president-elect,” the Kentucky Republican said just after the Senate convened at 10 a.m. “Many millions of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result, but our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on January the 20th. The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.” He also congratulated fellow senator Kamala Harris. (Courier-Journal)

McConnell warns Senate Republicans against challenging election results

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Republican senators Tuesday during a private caucus call not to object to the election results on Jan. 6, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

McConnell told his caucus that challenging the results would force Republicans to take a “terrible vote” because they would need to vote it down and appear against President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also echoed McConnell’s remarks. (Politico)

Ky. school superintendent suspended over blackface photo

A Kentucky school board has suspended a superintendent after a photo of him in blackface surfaced on social media. Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively must take 40 unpaid leave days for additional training, the school board decided last week after meeting for more than two hours on the issue, news outlets reported. The Paducah-McCracken County NAACP had called for Shively’s resignation over the photo, which was originally taken at a Halloween party almost 20 years ago. (Kentucky Today)

After years of protests, KY legislators prepare for another run at teacher pensions

Despite large protests at the state Capitol in recent years, Republican lawmakers are making another attempt at changing retirement benefits for Kentucky teachers — but only for new hires, starting in January 2022, according to the sponsor of one measure. State Rep. C. Ed Massey (R-Florence) said he is preparing to pre-file a bill for the 2021 legislative session that would shift more responsibility for retirement benefits from the state of Kentucky to educators. (Herald-Leader)

This Friday on “The State of Kentucky”

The Electoral College has voted, and it’s over, right? Then what’s up with Congress counting votes on January 6? Could Trump still steal it then? Join us as we talk with lawyer and analyst Teri Kanefield about that date, as well as why Republicans are still supporting Trump.

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Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

[new] No-knock warrants and the “Castle Doctrine” – If someone pounded on your door and kicked it open in the dark of night, what would you do? In Kentucky, it is legal to use lethal force to defend your home. What does this mean for no-knock warrants? (Commentary)

[new] Unemployment insurance is our most important economic stabilizer. It’s time to remove the roadblocks. – Unemployment benefits are our most important economic tool during a downturn or depression. And yet, Kentucky’s system faces numerous roadblocks. It’s time to remove them. (Policy)

Work on successful lawsuit against changes in Medicaid earns Rich Seckel a Kentucky Healthy Policy Champion award – The point man in a lawsuit that blocked changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program has been honored for his work by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. (News)

🔥 Fact Check: Fox News host Laura Ingraham falsely claims restrictions on eating out are not supported by science – TV host Laura Ingraham wrongly claimed restrictions on eating out are not supported by science. The claim is inaccurate. There is evidence that restaurants and bars are among the most common places for the virus spread. (Fact Check)

Should Louisville Metro keep secret the applicants for LMPD chief? – Two important questions: CAN Louisville Metro withhold the list of applicants currently being considered for the position of LMPD’s new chief? Even more important – SHOULD it? (News Analysis)

SCOTUS tosses ridiculous-but-dangerous Texas lawsuit – The Supreme Court shut down the Texas lawsuit that asked them to throw out election results, refusing to even hear the case, and saying Texas did not have standing to sue. (News)

🔥 Call it what is it – an attempted coup – The U.S. president is trying to steal the election, and, crucially, his party either tacitly approves or is pretending not to see it. This is a particularly dangerous combination, and makes it much more than just typical Trumpian bluster or norm shattering. (Analysis)

🔥 McConnell torpedoes emerging bipartisan deal for pandemic relief, leaving Congress where it’s been for months: stuck – A bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 aid package all but collapsed Thursday after McConnell said Republican senators won’t support aid to state and local governments. (News)

Featured image by Luke McKernan licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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