A lot of news broke yesterday touching many different topics. Here’s what you need to know:
1) Harvey Weinstein was convicted on two felony counts yesterday; third-degree rape and a criminal sex act. He was taken to the hospital for observation after the verdict as a result of chest pains, but was later taken to the medical wing of the Rikers Island jail where he will stay pending sentencing. Weinstein faces a sentence of 5 to 25 years, and he is also awaiting extradition to California to face additional charges. The verdict was hailed as landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, and while he wasn’t convicted of the most serious charges, he is still likely to spend many years in jail. Great coverage in Wapo:
2) The stock market plunged 1,000 points yesterday on fears that the spread of coronavirus will hurt the global economy. The travel sector is already feeling pain, as many flights to Asia have been cancelled, tourism there has ground to a halt, and several governments have recently urged their citizens to avoid cruise ships for the time being. Some conservatives have suggested that part of the plunge was due to the success of Bernie Sanders in the Nevada primary, but this claim is ludicrous. Markets only focus when there’s an actual nominee. If anything, domestic stock markets were spooked that the Trump administration had long-ago cut the White House pandemic chain of command, as well as gutting the CDC and the NIH while drastically reducing their funding. Between slashing all government programs and slashing programs specifically to do with science, Trump planted potential seeds of disaster if a global pandemic takes hold in America. The mortality rate of the coronavirus is between 2-and-3% so the greater New York City area with 20-million residents could potentially suffer 400,000 to 600,000 fatalities if all citizens became infected. That won’t happen, of course, but it illustrates the scale of the problem large metropolitan areas confront in combating a virus that spreads easily and before symptoms appear.
3) It was reported over the weekend that Trump loyalists in the administration have been drawing up “enemies lists” for all federal agencies of staff who dislike or simply don’t support Trump, and that these people will be purged from their jobs. This alone is a horrifying and unAmerican scandal, especially in departments with large non-political tasks like Intel, State, Security and Justice. But it was also reported yesterday that one of the leaders of this purge is none other than Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Anyone who pretends that the SCOTUS is impartial is smoking crack. Here’s coverage in Salon:
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”