👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~10,781,000; deaths: ~519,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~2,725,000; deaths: ~129,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
1/ The United States set a single-day coronavirus case record for the fifth time in eight days after reporting more than 50,000 new cases on Wednesday – the largest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. “We are not flattening the curve right now,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, the government’s coronavirus testing coordinator. “The curve is still going up.” Dr. Anthony Fauci added: “I think it’s pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction.” At least 23 states have paused reopening plans ahead of the holiday weekend. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose by nearly 50% in June, led by states that tried to reopen their economies first. (Washington Post)
Herman Cain was hospitalized with COVID-19. The former 2012 Republican presidential candidate was at Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month, and was photographed sitting in close proximity with other attendees, none of whom appeared to be wearing masks. At least eight Trump advance team staffers at the Tulsa rally also tested positive for coronavirus. (CNN / CNBC)
More than 40 Bay Area school principals were exposed to coronavirus during in-person school reopening planning meeting. The superintendent insisted the meeting was necessary. (San Francisco Chronicle)
2/ Texas issued a statewide mandate requiring face masks in public in any county with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases. Gov. Greg Abbott previously opposed attempts by mayors and local officials requiring people wear face masks while in public, but reversed course after the state reported a record of more than 8,000 new cases on Wednesday. Florida, meanwhile, reported 10,109 new cases on Thursday, marking a new single-day record for the state and the 25th consecutive day that Florida has set a record high in its seven-day rolling average. And in California, where hospitalizations are up more than 40% from two weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the mandatory closure of bars, indoor restaurants, movie theaters, zoos, and museums in 19 counties where 70% of the state’s population lives. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Another 1.427 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week. The U.S. economy gained 4.8 million jobs in the month of June to bring the unemployment rate to 11.1%, down from a peak of 14.7% in April – higher than in any previous period since World War II. It was the second month of gains after a loss of more than 20 million in April. (New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)
The Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year forecast expects the U.S. unemployment rate to stay above its pre-pandemic levels through the end of 2030. The agency said the country’s economic outlook over the coming decade has “deteriorated significantly” since the CBO published its economic projections in January. This recession could also nearly quadruple the federal budget deficit this year, pushing it to $3.7 trillion. (Washington Post / CNN)
U.S. ambassadors to Uruguay, France, Morocco, and Italy sold stock as Trump tried to downplay the coronavirus outbreak in its early stages. Records show that the transactions occured in January and continued throughout February. (CNBC)
4/ A New York appellate court judge ruled that Simon & Schuster can publish Mary Trump’s tell-all book about her uncle, Donald Trump. The decision from Judge Alan Scheinkman reverses a lower court decision that temporarily halted publication of the book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” which is scheduled for release at the end of July. In his decision, Judge Scheinkman declined to address the central claim from the Trump administration: that Mary Trump violated a 20-year-old non-disclosure agreement by writing the book. Instead, the judge ruled that Simon & Schuster was not a party to the agreement and therefore could not be bound by it. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)
- The Republican National Convention is paying a former “Celebrity Apprentice” producer who was accused of having “all the dirt” on Trump. From August 2019 through May 2020, the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Convention paid more than $66,000 to the firm run by Chuck Labella for “production consulting services.” (Daily Beast)
5/ The Commerce Department is blocking the release of an investigation’s findings into whether it pressured the head of the NOAA into supporting Trump’s false claim in 2019 that Hurricane Dorian was going to hit Alabama, according to the department’s inspector general. Peggy E. Gustafson sent a memo to Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross claiming that staff in his department had “thwarted” the publication of her report. Gustafson says the department claims portions of her report contain information that cannot be made public, but refuses to indicate which sections. She says the department’s refusal to allow the release of the report “appears to be directly linked to the content of our report and the findings of responsibility of the high-level individuals involved.” (New York Times)
📌 Day 1244: NOAA’s acting administrator “engaged in the misconduct intentionally, knowingly, or in reckless disregard” for the agency’s scientific integrity policy when he released a statement that backed Trump’s false statement about the path of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Neil Jacobs criticized the National Weather Service forecast office in Birmingham for a tweet that contradicted Trump’s inaccurate tweet that Hurricane Dorian, which was then approaching the East Coast of the U.S., would hit Alabama “harder than anticipated.” No punishments have been proposed, despite the violations. (Washington Post / New York Times)
📌 Day 1110: Officials at NOAA were “sick” and “flabbergasted” about Trump’s inaccurate statements, altered forecast map, and tweets about Hurricane Dorian in September, according to emails released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. The emails also show that the No. 2 official at the agency claimed that neither he nor the acting administrator approved the unsigned statement that a NOAA spokesperson issued on Sept. 6, which criticized the Birmingham National Weather Service forecast office for a tweet that contradicted Trump’s inaccurate assertion that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” from the Category 5 storm. (BuzzFeed News / Washington Post / NBC News)
poll/ 50% of voters have ruled out voting for Trump, while 39% say the same about Biden. (Monmouth University Polling Institute)
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