Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Sam Perez began the show with breaking news concerning President Trump’s acquittal of Impeachment by the Senate. Senators voted 52-48 in favor of acquittal for abuse of power and 53-47 also in favor of acquittal for obstruction of Congress, according to MSNBC. To remove him from office, the Senate would have needed two thirds vote against Trump.
Mary Lou Masters then update the listeners on some local news about a restaurant closing in Athens. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the Earth Fare supermarket is closing. The popular store, based in Asheville, North Carolina, announced their closing on Monday.. This organic food market has operated its same location in Five Points since 1999, providing natural, organic food.
The company announced their closing due to debt and challenges within the retail industry. Earth Fare had to compete with larger similar stores like Whole Foods. Especially here in Athens, Earth Fare had to compete with The Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s.
There are also other Earth Fares closing in 10 different states. This change reportedly affects around 50 employees from the Athens branch. According to The Red & Black, these employees are worried about finding another job, claiming that Athens is a hard city to find one. Apparently, some have already left in search of a new job.
The Athens Earth Fare is set to close within two weeks but might take up to four. Since the announcement of their closure, they’re beginning to liquidate their inventories. This will result in significant price decrease. Because of this, shoppers are encouraged to visit the Athens store to take advantage of these savings.
Michael Doti delivered a warning about water safety. For now, it is time for all Summerville residents to stop using filtered water for drinking and cooking purposes. Officials are urging everyone in the northwest Georgia city to replace filtered water with bottled water, after recent discoveries of dangerous organic chemicals leaking through.
Last Thursday, the Summerville city officials found unsafe levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA for short, as well as perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS for short, in the water from the Raccoon Creek treatment plant. These two chemicals are most dangerous to pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants. They can cause problems in development for fetuses and breastfeeding infants. In order to counteract this potential risk, it is required to use bottled water for drinking, as well as cooking foods that absorb water.
For new mothers, or mothers of an infant, it is required to use a formula for breastfeeding. Using one that does not require adding water is the safest bet, but if that is not possible, mix the formula with bottled water. Using filtered water for everything other than drinking or cooking, for example bathing, is still safe.
Jamie Baker reported on the Iowa Caucus. The Iowa Democratic Party is still releasing results from Monday’s presidential caucuses following a delay in reporting the results. As of Wednesday candidate Pete Buttigieg narrowly leads the race with 26.7 percent of votes. Bernie Sanders remains closely behind Buttigieg with 25.4 percent. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden follow behind with 18.3 and 15.9 percent votes respectively, and Amy Klobuchar trails behind all four candidates with 12.1 percent. Results currently reflect 86 percent of votes in Iowa.
Although it is still too early to definitively decide, The New York Times approximates a 95 percent chance that Buttigieg wins the Iowa Caucuses. Attention has since shifted over to New Hampshire, where the top five democratic presidential candidates are continuing to campaign despite uncertainty in Iowa results.
On Tuesday afternoon Shadow Inc. tweeted an apology for the delay in the Iowa Caucus results. Shadow Inc. was responsible for building the vote counting app used in the Iowa Caucuses. The app was designed to deliver quicker results, however it had the exact opposite outcome. NBC news reported that while some caucus leaders had trouble downloading the app in the first place, others “missed the window to download the app altogether.” Election officials have not yet indicated when results will be finalized.
Perez then discussed a South African court that issued an arrest warrant yesterday for Jacob Zuma, the former president. This warrant comes after Zuma failed to appear in court after faced with charges of corruption. Zuma has been trying to avoid this trial for months after he was initially supposed to appear in October.
According to the New York Times, Zuma is said to be in Cuba right now seeking medical treatment. The prosecutor asked that his health records be used to verify that he is ill. Billy Downer, a prosecutor, told the court that Zuma will be out of the country for said treatment until the middle of March.
The African National Congress issued a statement, which reads, “Former president Jacob Zuma is a law-abiding citizen who has consistently respected the courts and submitted himself to judicial processes regardless of his stature. He has always cooperated with law-enforcement agencies whenever asked to do so. The ANC appeals to members of the public to exercise patience and allow former president Jacob Zuma and the courts to deal with the matter when it resumes again on the 6th of May 2020.”
Michael White brought us financial news about Tesla and the Coronavirus. Tesla has finally had a bad day on the stock market following a nearly 6 month bull rally that saw Tesla’s stock price soar nearly 300% from $228 to $887 a share as of yesterday. That break-neck pace ended today, with Tesla having its second worst day on the stock market ever, falling over 17% down to $730 a share, losing over $30 billion dollars of market capitalization.
Earlier today, company executives reported that they will not be able to deliver cars from their new Shanghai Gigafactory to Chinese customers due to the coronavirus outbreak, which is the reason for this sharp decline. Tesla has kept their Shanghai factory closed since the Chinese New Year following guidelines from the Chinese government. Tesla stated, “the proposed delivery of cars in early February will be delayed,” and that Tesla, “will catch up on the production line once the outbreak situation gets better.”
Investors did not like this news, and sold off the stock in large quantities following record-breaking days on Monday and Tuesday. Investors are taking this moment to step back and look at Tesla from afar, as Robert Luciano, portfolio manager at VGI Partners Global Investments, had to say, “When a market cap of that size can go hyperbolic in a short period of time for no real reason, it is certainly symptomatic of an environment that is not normal.”
Looking at the stock market as a whole, coronavirus worries have dampened leading to a rally for the three main stock market indicators. The DOW Jones closed at 29,290.85, up 1.68% on the day while the Nasdaq closed at 9,508.68, up .43%. The S&P 500 closed at a record high of 3,334.69, up 1.13% and erasing all losses from January.
Baker discussed President Trump’s third State of the Union address. On the eve of the Senate vote to acquit him of two articles of impeachment, President Trump made no mention of the trial. Instead he spoke about economic success and called on Congress to ban late-term abortion, improve infrastructure, and lower prescription drug prices, among other things. During the 78 minute speech he also emphasized a bright future for the country. He remarked, “the state of our union is stronger than ever before.”
President Trump also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, a conservative political radio host, who announced this week that he has advanced stage 4 lung cancer.
The speech was later interrupted by Fred Guttenberg, the father of a student killed in the 2018 Parkland School shooting. Guttenberg was escorted from the premises by security after he shouted at Trump about gun control. Guttenberg later apologized.
There was also visible tension throughout the night between President Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Before the address President Trump ignored Pelosi’s handshake offer, and following the address Pelosi ripped her copy of his speech in half. According to the New York Times, Pelosi felt that President Trump’s address has “mischaracterized his policies.”
The Democratic response to the State of Union Address was given by Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan who addressed infrastructure, health care, and education.
Masters reported on entertainment news concerning possible controversy between Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Demi Lovato. At the Super Bowl on Sunday, Jay-Z and Beyoncé remained seated during Demi Lovato’s performance of the National Anthem.
Jay-Z denies it was an act of political silent protesting. According to Entertainment Tonight, this was all a misunderstanding. Jay-Z reports that if they were trying to make a political statement, they would admit it! He claims that he and his wife immediately went into artist mode during Lovato’s performance. The couple says they were admiring her so much, the next thing they knew it was over. And they were still sitting.
According to E News, they were discussing the immense pressure that Demi must be feeling right now. Beyoncé is speaking from first-hand experience, since she has performed at the Super Bowl before. She was discussing with her husband how difficult it is to perform such a powerful song under such circumstances, thus admiring Lovato for her eloquent stage presence.
Viewing the performance from a professional standpoint, they didn’t feel the need to make a silent protest at all. This is because of the racial and cultural diversity of the Super bowl’s halftime entertainment: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
White finished up talking about UGA basketball. The Dawgs were back on the court Wednesday as they look to pick up their first conference road win of the season in the swamp, against the bitter rival Florida Gators. The game begins at 7:00 eastern on ESPNU. Florida has lost their last two home games against top seeded Baylor and Mississippi State. Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. has been a huge asset for the Gators this season, as he leads the team in points per game and rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, Georgia is looking for another threat on offense to compliment Anthony Edwards. Rayshuan Hammonds is the only other Bulldog who is averaging double digit points per game, and he has only scored 12 points in the last 3 games. Perhaps this rivalry game is just what they need to start a run.
Elsewhere around college basketball tonight: the SEC’s top seeded LSU Tigers take on the SEC’s lowest seed, the Vanderbilt Commodores. LSU is 8-0 in conference play, while Vanderbilt is 0-8. Also a big clash in the Big East. Number 10 Villanova visits number 19 Butler, in tonight’s only ranked on ranked matchup. Despite being 9 ranks apart, Butler has the same amount of wins and only one more loss than Villanova.
Also a big night in the NBA, which features 9 games. One of them is the Hawks visiting the Target Center to do battle with the Minnesota Timberwolves. These two teams were both a part of the four team trade that occurred yesterday. The Hawks got the biggest piece in the trade, Center Clint Capela from the Rockets. The Timberwolves received Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez from the Nuggets, and Evan Turner, along with a future Brooklyn Nets first round pick, from the Hawks.
For anyone who already misses the NFL, or football in general, be sure to tune in on Saturday, when version 2.0 of the XFL begins. It features two matchups. First the Seattle Dragons visit the DC Defenders at 2:00 on ABC. After that, Los Angeles Wildcats visit the Houston Roughnecks at 5:00 eastern on Fox. This league is hoping to do better than the original version back in 2001, as well as last year’s Alliance of American Football, which both could not last a full season.