Good morning. Baseball is finally back, y’all. The MLB kicks off the season tonight with the Yankees @ Nationals at 7:08 p.m., followed by the Giants @ Dodgers at 10:08 p.m. (both games on ESPN).
“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly.”
A Closer Look At Federal Deployment
Earlier this month, the Trump administration sent federal law enforcement officers – hailing from several agencies within the Department of Homeland Security – to Portland to address protests near the federal courthouse, which have lasted for 55 days.
Federal Perspective According to the Department of Homeland Security, at least 200 members of “rapid deployment teams” were sent out to Washington, D.C., Portland, Seattle, and PA,.
In defending the deployments, the Trump administration cited a legal provision that allows the Department of Homeland Security to protect government property from being damaged.
According to the White House press secretary, federal law enforcement officers wear insignia, but don’t identify themselves to crowds as doing so could risk their safety.
The Department of Homeland Security has allegedly put ~2,000 officials from various agencies on standby to deploy to cities. The DHS acting secretary has announced that officers will withdraw should violence stop.
Local Response/Pushback State and local officials have called for federal officers to leave Portland after clashing with demonstrators.
Oregon’s Attorney General has sued multiple federal agencies for allegedly violating protesters’ civil rights. Another lawsuit – this one by plaintiffs including Oregon state representatives and an ACLU observer – argues that deploying federal agents violates the 10th amendment.
After the government pledged to tamp down on violence on the city, Chicago’s mayor expressed “great concerns” given Portland’s situation, advocating instead for gun control and investing in community programs.
What’s next? NYC Mayor de Blasio said he would go to court if necessary to stop the deployment of federal officers in NYC.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration unveiled an expansion of Operation Legend, a program designed to assist local police in addressing violent crime. The DOJ deployed federal agents to Kansas City earlier this month and plans to do so in the coming days in Chicago and Albuquerque.
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Fourteen states have an estimated ICU bed capacity above 70% according to HHS data, led by Rhode Island (85.2%), Alabama (84.0%), and Nevada (81.3%). Check out your state.
Major virus news: The U.S. announced a ~$2 billion contract with Pfizer and BioNTech yesterday for 600 million doses of its vaccine candidate, with 100 million to be delivered by December. The doses will be provided at no cost to U.S. citizens.
The U.S. ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, TX, within 72 hours on Wednesday, amid accusations of spying. The State Department issued a statement accusing China of conducting “massive illegal spying and influence operations throughout the United States against U.S. government officials and American citizens.”
More: The move comes after the DOJ filed an indictment Tuesday accusing China of sponsoring two hackers who had been targeting international labs developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
Even more: Federal prosecutors in a court filing on Monday accused San Francisco’s Chinese consulate of harboring a state-affiliated military researcher wanted for questioning by the FBI.
The FBI office in Newark, NJ, said that the primary suspect in the fatal shooting of an NJ judge’s son on Sunday is linked to another murder. Evidence connects the suspect, a men’s rights lawyer, to the shooting of California lawyer Marc Angelucci, which occurred eight days prior. The FBI has not yet released the evidence linking the two incidents.
More: A gunman shot and killed the son of Federal Judge Esther Salas in their home on Sunday night. The shooter also wounded her husband, while Salas herself was unharmed.
United Airlinesannounced it will require all customers to wear face masks throughout their entire time in the airport.
Chipotlepublished its Q2 earnings on Wednesday, slightly beating out analysts’ expectations. Likewise, Microsoftreported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations.
U.S. toy sales for the first six months of 2020 rose 16% compared to last year, largely attributed to the past four months.
Slack Pushes Back
Slack filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission accusing Microsoft of anticompetitive behavior. Slack is alleging that Microsoft abused its market dominance to eliminate competition for its Teams communication product by tying it to the Microsoft Office suite of products.
More: The “Big Four” tech CEOs – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, & Apple’s Tim Cook – will testify in an antitrust inquiry before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday. See what they’re (likely) going to say.
In The Driver’s Seat
Tesla released its Q2 earnings report Wednesday, beating analysts’ expectations in both earnings and revenue. The company also reported its first full year of profitability on a GAAP basis, which means that Tesla can now be considered for inclusion in the S&P 500.
More: On the earnings call, CEO Elon Musk revealed the company has chosen a location near Austin, TX, to build its second U.S. assembly plant (with the other in Fremont, CA).
Worth noting: The largest IPO ever carried out by a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) occurred yesterday, when hedge fund manager Bill Ackman raised ~$4B. Nearly 50 SPACs have gone public in 2020 thus far, raising more than $20B (compared to $13.3B in all of 2019).
Home Sweet Home
When Robert and Janice Beecham were married in 1974, they added a personal pledge to the traditional wedding vows, promising to live “happily ever after” together. Although Robert has worked hard to keep this oath throughout their union, it appeared to be in jeopardy this summer as the couple battled both cancer and the coronavirus.
Unable to see Janice while recovering from COVID-19 at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, Robert worked with his doctor to develop a safe way to heal at home so that he could celebrate his 46th wedding anniversary with his wife. Once home, Robert, who was hospitalized for three of the couple’s anniversaries, peeked at his bride from a safe distance, cheering her on as she recuperated from the virus and chemotherapy.
Haven’t Met You Yet
On May 31st, two weeks after returning to work and 31 weeks pregnant with her second child, dental hygienist Jessica Rowlett was diagnosed with COVID-19. After consulting with her OB-GYN, Jessica’s husband rushed her to the hospital, where doctors told the expectant mother that she would have to undergo an emergency C-section due to her rapidly deteriorating health.
On June 26th, Jessica, who was sedated in delivery, left the hospital and met her son, Rowdy, for the first time – a month after his birth. Although she has a challenging recovery ahead of her, Jessica is thankful to finally be allowed to hold her baby, who is healthy and COVID-free.
Delivering Love & Support
In March, just as the pandemic hit, Carlos Pagan of Charleston, SC, was diagnosed with blood cancer. When Carlos began undergoing chemotherapy treatment this spring, he and his wife, Denise, posted a sign on their front door explaining to Amazon drivers that Carlos’s weakened immune system would prevent the couple from answering the door for deliveries.
When Amazon delivery driver Antonio spotted the Pagan’s message this month during a package drop-off, he left and returned with flowers and a get-well card for Carlos. Although he did not have any orders in the area, Antonio returned a week later to check on Carlos, encouraging him with kind words through the window.
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Last year, British carmaker Lotus introduced the all-electric Evija model, which features a whopping 2,000 horsepower. Production of the Lotus Evija – which becomes available in 2021 – will be limited to 130 units.