Good morning, happy Friday, and happy National Chocolate Chip & Pizza Party Day. It’s truly one for the ages.
“Reasoning will never make one correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning they never acquired”
– Johnathan Swift, 1721
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” orders in a 4-3 decision following a legal challenge from top State lawmakers. The court also mandated that the state’s legislature approve all future statewide restrictions.
Going Coast-To-Coast Several other states have seen challenges to government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions in recent days:
Pennsylvania State House candidate Danny DeVito last month filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, though the court declined to take up the case.
In California, Alameda County officials late Tuesday agreed to let Tesla reopen its factory under new safety guidelines after CEO Elon Musk on Monday said he was resuming operations at the factory in violation of the local ordinance.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faces a lawsuit from top State Republican legislators challenging her statewide stay-at-home order, which Whitmer has extended until May 28.
What’s Next? Some bars and restaurants in Eastern Wisconsin saw groups of patrons Wednesday night following the rollback of statewide restrictions, while other Wisconsin counties and cities chose to extend the “Safer at Home” orders.
Statewide stay-at-home orders across eight states & territories – AZ, DE, D.C., LA, NV, NM, NY & VT – will expire today, leaving 13 states still under some form of total lockdown.
So… what are people saying?
Wisconsin Lockdown Ruling Shows Right Wing’s Paranoia
Government immunologist Dr. Rick Bright testified in a House hearing on Thursday. Dr. Bright previously filed a whistleblower complaint after being removed from his position as a director within the HHS. (Left Center – USA Today | Right Center – Forbes)
Sen. Burr Steps Down As Chairman
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. The move comes after FBI agents seized Burr’s phone while executing a search warrant at his home on Wednesday night.
More: Burr is the subject of an FBI investigation into alleged insider trading after it was discovered he sold between $628K and $1.7 million in stock prior to the coronavirus-induced market downturn (Roll Call estimated Burr’s net worth was $1.7 million in 2018).
Over 5,000 acres in southwest Florida have been burned after wildfires started Wednesday afternoon and continued through Thursday. The brush fires – 10% contained as of Thursday afternoon – forced mandatory evacuations and temporarily shut down a 21-mile stretch of Interstate 75.
More: Fires spanning over 2,500 acres broke out in the Florida Panhandle last week after a prescribed burn by a private contractor took a wrong turn.
FedEx has limited the number of items that roughly two dozen retailers – including Kohl’s, Nordstroms, and Bed Bath & Beyond – are allowed to ship from specific locations, according to the WSJ.
Deltaannounced the retirement of its fleet of Boeing 777s and said it might be overstaffed by 7,000 pilots (half the company’s workforce) in the fall.
OpenTable, an online restaurant-reservation service, predicted that one in four U.S. restaurants would go out of business due to closures enforced by stay-at-home orders.
France At A Glance
France’s National Assembly passed a law mandating online platforms to delete hate speech content within 24 hours of notification or face fines for each infraction. Under the terms of the law – which takes effect July 1 – platforms must react within one hour for the most extreme categories of illicit content.
More: Germany in July 2019 issued a more than $2.1 million fine to Facebook under a similar law that had been implemented the year before.
Under The Sea
An $800+ million project to build a ~23,000 mile-long undersea cable around Africa received approval to move forward. The goal of the project – which is sponsored by Facebook, China Mobile, Vodafone, MTN, Orange, and others – is to provide the entire continent with better internet access.
More: Alphabet subsidiary Loon – which uses high-altitude balloons to provide internet coverage – signed a deal yesterday with South African telecommunications company Vodafone to expand their mobile network to Mozambique.
Walk This Way
Ernie Martel (85 years old), Harold Gosseen (99), and Don Varney (78) are Navy veterans and residents of Tiffany Springs Senior Living, near Kansas City, MO. The trio caught wind of a local nonprofit that was struggling to raise funds and decided to come up with a plan to save the day.
Known as the “Three Musketeers,” Ernie, Harold, and Don each pledged to walk one mile per day in exchange for community donations. In less than a week, the trio raised over $400 – and are showing no signs of slowing down.
Up And Running
Although he last taught an in-school class on March 16, Bill McAllister – a faculty member at Big Shanty Intermediate School in Georgia – has been able to offer face-to-face words of encouragement to each of his students almost every single day.
An avid jogger, Bill mapped out a route and started running six to eight miles per day to visit each of his students in person. For those who aren’t home when he stops by, Bill leaves a handwritten note in the mailbox.
The Masked Mayor
Earlier this week, Mayor Paul Brodeur of Melrose, MA acquired enough face masks to supply the entire city. There was only one problem: he had no way to distribute the tens of thousands of masks to each individual resident.
Mayor Paul made a plea for help, and dozens of local volunteers answered the call. By Tuesday, each of the city’s 28,000 residents had received a paper bag with 4-5 masks, along with a pamphlet listing available mental health resources.
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👕 The Invisible Man… a team of researchers from Northeastern, IBM, and MIT have created a t-shirt that renders the wearer invisible to deep neural networks in charge of analyzing video footage.
💰 Who Wants To Be A Trillionaire?… Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man, with a net worth currently north of $140 billion. Will he become the world’s first trillionaire? According to data firm Comparisun, it may happen sooner than you think.
😷 Mask With A Task… bioengineers from Harvard and MIT are developing face mask technology that lights up when it comes in contact with COVID-19.
🍳 Home Cooking… researchers at MIT have developed a system that uses data from in-home appliances to inform healthcare practitioners about the habits of their patients.
Large And In Charge
Which of the following has the most landmass?
A) Antarctica B) Brazil C) Canada D) Australia
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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