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January 1, Coronavirus: Americans Losing Confidence with White House



This Day in History | 1860 

Presidential Candidate Abraham Lincoln sits for a photograph, a new art form at the time. The portraits by Mathew Brady are credited as a media breakthrough that helped him win the White House. 

Good morning Middle Americans. 

President Trump delivered what we thought was a very steady and strong news conference last light, updating the nation on the Trump Administration’s response to the still-spreading coronavirus.  But like with everything else these days – about half of the country refuses to take this president seriously.  So what will the long term impact of this sickness be? That is what everyone is wondering. And as for the panic that could ensue – is that the bigger threat than the virus itself? 

Law enforcement officials say the shooter responsible for killing five employees at the MillerCoors brewery was a fired employee. All five of the dead were current employees.  The shooter then took is own life.  In very predictable fashion, gun control groups and 2020 candidate Mike Bloomberg are using the shooting for campaign purposes. As democrats love to say – “never let a crisis go to waste.”

Also today and elementary school art teacher in Texas, who was placed on administrative leave after showing her students a picture of her same-sex fiancée, has reached a $100,000 settlement with the school district. This, after a judge ruled that her suspension was unconstitutional.

The Marine Corps’ top general has ordered the removal of all Confederate paraphernalia from all Marine installations around the world.

And finally today  – Earth has a tiny new moon apparently captured into Earth orbit three years ago. 

Read all about it

– Fraser Dixon

Voter Approval of Trump’s Handling of Coronavirus Dips, President Accused of Downplaying Virus

(Newsweek) – Voter approval of Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has dipped in recent days as the president’s administration continues to face bipartisan backlash over allegations they are downplaying the severity of the new virus.

A new Morning Consult poll, conducted between February 24-26 and released Wednesday, found that 56 percent of registered voters surveyed approved of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, a figure down 5 percentage points from a previous survey conducted between February 7 and 9. The net approval figure—those who approve minus those who disapprove—of the president’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has also dropped by 11 points over the past two weeks.

Trump has continued to urge calm amid the outbreak, a response that has drawn bipartisan criticism from lawmakers that have accused his administration of releasing contradictory statements about the severity of the virus’ outbreak.

Learn more here

Law Enforcement: Fired employee responsible for shooting at MillerCoors

(ABC News) – An employee allegedly killed five people when he opened fire at the MillerCoors building in Milwaukee, the company said in a statement. The suspect then took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a press conference.

Five people, all employees of the company, were found dead in the building, police said. No one else was injured.

The company CEO expressed “deep sadness” about the shooting.

“The most important thing is that we support and care for each other,” Gavin Hattersley, the CEO said.

The suspect is a 51-year-old man from Milwaukee, according to officials.

“This is a tragic day for our city, a tragic day for our state,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said at a press conference Wednesday night. “Five families, six families actually, are grieving. … This is a time for us to think about these families.”

Officials said they would not identify the victims until families were notified.

Read more here

Lesbian Teacher Suspended for Showing Photo of ‘Future Wife’ Gets $100,000 Settlement

(NBC News) – A Texas elementary school art teacher who was placed on administrative leave after showing her students a picture of her fiancée has reached a $100,000 settlement after a judge ruled that her suspension was unconstitutional.

“The agreements the district and I made in this settlement are a positive first step in making things better for gay employees, gay students and gay families in Mansfield,” the teacher, Stacy Bailey, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Mansfield Independent School District said that the two parties agreed to settle in an “amicable” manner and that it denied “any wrongdoing or liability,” telling NBC News in an email that the district wanted to “avoid the time, expense, stress and other impacts of continuing litigation, which would interfere with the mission of educating the students.”

Bailey, who began working at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in the Dallas suburb of Arlington over a decade ago, sued the district and two school administrators in May 2018, claiming that the defendants wrongly discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation.

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Top General Orders Removal of All Confederate Paraphernalia From Marine Bases

(Slate) – The Marine Corps top general ordered the removal of all Confederate paraphernalia from all Marine installations around the world. 

The directive from Commandant Gen. David Berger came last week shortly after a congressional hearing on the rise of the racist ideology white nationalism in the military. The directive did not specify what exact forms of paraphernalia would now be prohibited beyond, presumably, the Confederate flag. The move was a long time in coming and could draw the Marines further into what has been a divisive societal issue that has morphed into political issue in the Trump years: the push for the removal of Confederate statues and iconography across American life.

Find out more here

Astronomers: Earth has a new Mini-Moon

(EarthSky) – The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (MPC) announced late yesterday that Earth has a new “temporary captured object”: a tiny new moon apparently captured into Earth orbit three years ago. This object has been designated 2020 CD3. In a Minor Planet Electronic Circular (MPEC) for February 25, 2020, astronomers wrote that multiple observations confirmed:

… this object is temporarily bound to the Earth. No evidence of perturbations due to solar radiation pressure is seen, and no link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged.

2020 CD3 was discovered on February 15 by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey, based in Tucson, Arizona. More than 30 observations were made of the object by February 17, according to asteroid- and comet-hunter Kacper Wierzchos, one of its discoverers along with astronomer Theodore Pruyne. Those observations were needed to refine an orbit for the object, and to confirm it does appear to be orbiting Earth.

The object is very small and faint. Sunlight reflected from it helps provide an estimate of its diameter. The estimate is about 6 to 12 feet (1.9-3.5 meters) at this time, but that could easily change. Still … it’s small! It’s amazing astronomers can identify something so small orbiting Earth. Much of the information we have at this time about the object comes from Wierzchos, who is actively tweeting about it; you’ll find him at @WierzchosKacper. The following tweets are from yesterday. Apparently, these astronomers were holding off a bit in speaking openly about the object until the MPEC was published, but now they are. Expect more info as the days pass!

Find out more here

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