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National News, Monday, 9/28 – Trump Selects Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice Nominee

National news stories from across America, from RogueValleyMagazine.com and Wynne Broadcasting.

Monday, September 28, 2020

On Saturday afternoon from the White House, President Trump presented to America his pick for the Supreme Court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett.    Now the battle begins in Congress for her confirmation hearing in two weeks, as GOP leaders moved ahead with plans to have President Trump’s pick on the bench by Election Day.

Democrats have continued to emphasize that adding another Trump-nominated justice to the court could put the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights in jeopardy, while Republicans have highlighted Judge Barrett’s qualifications and pre-emptively warned Democrats against making her Catholic faith an issue in the hearings.

Her first round of meetings with senators are scheduled for Tuesday, with sit-downs planned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and at least three Republicans who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee: Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Sens. Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), aides said. Meetings with Sens. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) and Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), two other members of the committee that will hold hearings, were set for Thursday, aides said. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), one of only two Republican women on the panel, is set to meet with her on Friday, an aide said.

Democrats are divided over how to proceed with a nomination that they consider to be improper.  Some are weighing meeting with the nominee, while others are declining.  Democrats have conceded they can do little to stop the nomination from proceeding on the fast timeline Republicans have laid out.

Those opting out of meetings in protest include Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and at least two members of the Judiciary Committee, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii)

Democrats say Republicans should have held off on a nominee, given how close the country is to the election, and leave the pick to the winner of the November presidential race.   Stay tuned.

The first presidential debate between President Trump and Democrat challenger Joe Biden is Tuesday night, and will be shown on most major television networks.

Ohio has long played a crucial role in presidential elections and that’s one of the battlegrounds both have been playing the last few days. 

It was famously the state that put President George W. Bush over the top in 2004, as he won a second term in the White House.  President Barack Obama narrowly carried the state in 2008 and 2012. Four years ago, it appeared it would be another close contest.  

An average of the polls on the eve of the 2016 election indicated Trump with a 2.2 point edge over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But Trump ended up swamping Clinton by 8 points, flipping the state from blue to red and winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.

Trump’s margin of victory was the largest by any presidential candidate in nearly three decades. Contributing to Trump’s success was his targeting of free trade deals supported by Democrats. He specifically blasted the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing that it had allowed auto and steel factories to flee Ohio, destroying part of the state’s economy.

Currently Joe Biden leads Trump in the latest poll by Real Clear Politics, with a 3.3 point edge over the president.  That includes a Fox News poll conducted Sept. 20-23 and released Thursday that had the former vice president topping Trump 50% to 45% among likely voters in Ohio.

Already a big day on Wall Street as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 400 points Monday, getting back some lost ground after four consecutive weeks of declines, as investors piled into economically sensitive stocks including those of banks and energy companies.

Monday’s gains were broad, with 27 of the 30 stocks in the blue-chip index rising, along with all 11 sectors of the S&P 500. The rally was a welcome relief for investors, who said last week’s selloff was overdone.

September has been a turbulent month for stocks, with declines in tech stocks pulling down major indexes. Apple has dropped 11% since the start of the month, while Amazon.com has slumped 8.3% and electric-car maker Tesla has slid 16%.

Even so, such stocks have enjoyed an extraordinary run-up this year, thanks to profits that have remained resilient during the coronavirus pandemic and a sense that Big Tech will benefit as more Americans continue working from home. Apple is up 56% for the year, while Amazon is up 71%. Tesla’s stocks has roughly quintupled in 2020.

Traders are betting on one of the most volatile U.S. election seasons on record, wagering on unusually large swings in everything from stocks to currencies.

California’s wine country is now threatened by wildfires in what’s called The Glass Fire.   Thick clouds of brown smoke billowed in the sky, and chunks of ash bigger than a hand fell to the ground Monday as Santa Rosa is under watch for the second time in three years.

The latest blaze in a record-setting year for wildfires in California grew fast in Napa and Sonoma Counties late Sunday night, fueled by winds carrying flammable embers, officials said.  By Monday, homes and buildings on the east side of Santa Rosa, with a population of about 180,000, were damaged or destroyed. Nearly 50,000 people were ordered to evacuate Monday in surrounding Sonoma County, according to director of emergency management Chris Godley.

The 11,000-acre Glass Fire began early Sunday in Napa County, spreading through vineyards and state parks in the same area that was struck by two deadly wildfires in October 2017.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said just over 8,500 structures were threatened and more than 1,000 personnel had been deployed.

NFL HALL OF FAMER RESCUES GRANDBABY FROM KIDNAPPER 
According to a bizarre story from TMZ, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Joe Montana fought off a kidnapper that tried to snatch his grandbaby right out somebody’s arms over the weekend. A 39-year-old woman walked through an unlocked door of Joe’s Malibu, California, home, and grabbed the baby from another woman. She was confronted by Joe and his wife in another room of the house, where the baby was eventually wrestled away from her.

Police caught up with the woman a few blocks down the street. She was charged with kidnapping and burglary.

THE 4.6 SECONDS THAT COULD KILL YOU 
Before you pick up the phone to glance at that text message you just got while you’re driving, consider this: researchers say the average time a driver’s eyes are off the road when focused on sending or receiving a text is 4.6 seconds.

SELFIE STICKS WERE BANNED FIVE YEARS AGO 
Selfie sticks are still around and still being used, but not like they were a few years ago. In fact, it got so bad that five years ago — in 2015 — all Disney theme parks, Six Flags parks, most U.S. landmarks, many museums, state fairs and most professional and college events said enough was enough and banned them.

NASA ASTRONAUT PLANS TO CAST HER BALLOT FROM SPACE STATION 
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will cast her next vote from space — more than 200 miles above Earth. Rubins is just outside Moscow in Star City, Russia, preparing with two cosmonauts for a mid-October launch and a six-month stay at the International Space Station. Most U.S. astronauts live in Houston. Texas law allows them to vote from space using a secure electronic ballot. Mission Control forwards the ballot to the space station and relays the completed ballot back to the county clerk.

MAN FINDS 9.07-CARAT DIAMOND IN ARKANSAS STATE PARK 
A bank manager discovered a 9.07-carat diamond at a state park in southwestern Arkansas after thinking the precious gem was a piece of glass. Kevin Kinard found the second-largest diamond in the 48-year history of Crater of Diamonds State Park on Labor Day. Kinard said he and his friends hauled sifting equipment to the state park. He’s been visiting Crater of Diamonds regularly since he was a kid but had never stumbled upon a diamond until September 7.

WE SPEND AN HOUR OF EACH DAY ON MUNDANE TASKS 
A new survey finds we spend an hour a day on mundane tasks — like making our bed, cleaning the toilet, mowing the lawn and cooking. You know, grown-up stuff.

THE ORIGINS OF TRICK OR TREAT 
One of the most popular Halloween traditions across the globe apparently originated in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. I’m referring to the infamous Halloween doorstep question: Trick or Treat? Lethbridge historian Belinda Crowson said research has confirmed the term “Trick or Treat” was first documented in the Lethbridge Herald newspaper on November 4, 1927. The sentence in the paper reads: “Youthful tormentors were at back door and front, demanding edible plunder with the words trick or treat.” The origins of the phrase were first documented in 2012 by the online research website Today I Found Out. A day after the research article was published, the Smithsonian Institution also shared Lethbridge’s first reference to the term in its online magazine.

FLORIDA MAN CLAIMS HE WAS INJURED BY A CHICKEN MCNUGGET 
According to a lawsuit he filed in federal court, Florida man Alexei Stolfat bit into a McNugget and felt “unbearable pain.” Then he pulled a nearly 1-inch bone out of his mouth. But the pain did not end there. The suit states that for three days he felt a toothache and had a headache. He went to his dentist, who found his tooth was cracked in two places. The dentist said he needed a tooth extraction, root canal and dental implant surgery. Stolfat is seeking $1.1 million and a recall of all McNuggets “to avoid massive consumer injuries.”

… McDonald’s issued this statement about the claim: “Providing safe, high quality food is always a top priority. We take these claims seriously but as this is pending litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

… Here’s the crazy part: Stolfat said he hasn’t had the broken tooth removed yet because while it’s still in his mouth, it’s proof of his injury.

MANY THINK IT’S OK TO DIGITALLY TRACK THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHER 
Using technology to track your partner might not be as taboo as some people think, especially for young people. According to a survey of 16- to 24-year-olds almost half think it’s okay to track their partner in some manner using mobile devices or computer software.

… A full 46 percent of people think tracking is acceptable to some degree, though 84 percent think electronically tracking a partner without their consent is serious. Men are more inclined to think tracking is OK — 52 percent of young men agree, compared to 40 percent of women.


THINK CHRISTMAS CREEP IS NEW? 
It’s almost October and already you’re seeing Christmas commercials. And some stores have Christmas merchandise set up right next to Halloween stuff. Why? Who wants Christmas this early? Apparently we do, or stores would realize they don’t benefit from running the ads and decorating the aisles in September and October.

… You can’t blame Target, Walmart and all the other retail stores — national or mom-and-pop. It turns out Christmas Creep has been around since the late 1800s. Even back then merchants realized they could boost sales by taking out newspaper ads promoting holiday gift-giving before their competitors thought of it. Customers berated them, but it didn’t seem to matter. The reality is consumers might complain, but when we buy decorations gifts now we’re feeding the retail beast.

WOMEN DIET A COUPLE OF TIMES A YEAR 
A recent survey found the typical woman will diet twice a year for about seven weeks each time. She’ll typically lose between 9 and 11 pounds each time, but most likely will gain it back.

AMERICA MEANS CHEAP BEER 
Think your local tavern charges too much for a pint of beer? Think again. Americans have the cheapest beer on Earth. International bank UBS gathered data about the median wages and average retail prices of a pint beer in 150 countries. That data was compiled to figure out how many minutes of work it takes the average worker of a country to earn enough money to buy a beer. India tops the least, with the median worker having to work nearly an hour to afford a pint thanks to extremely low wages. In the U.S. however, where wages are relatively high and the cost of the average beer is quite low, it takes the median worker about five minutes of labor to afford a retail pint. That’s the shortest amount of time in the world.

MEN FIND WOMEN MORE ATTRACTIVE IN FALL AND WINTER 
You may have broken your back trying to get in shape to squeeze (or not squeeze) into that summer bikini, but if you missed the boat in March, you may not be too late. A study (conducted by Poland’s University of Wroclaw) found that men seem to find women more attractive in fall and winter than in the months of maximum exposure, and they theorize that the scarcity of flesh may make what they do get to see that much more exciting.

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