Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Sam Perez opened the show with the latest on the coronavirus. In breaking news, she announced the House passed a nearly $8 billion emergency funding deal to fight the spread of the coronavirus. According to MSN, the legislation passed with an “overwhelming majority.” $7.8 billion would go to fighting the coronavirus and it includes a mandatory funding authorization of $500 million over a 10 year period, which would be used toward a remote health care program.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said, “This should not be about politics; this is about doing our job to protect the American people from a potential pandemic…We worked together to craft an aggressive and comprehensive response that provides the resources the experts say they need to combat this crisis.”
Mary Lou Masters reported on a new Clarke-County diversion program discussed at the most recent Mayor and Commission meeting. According to The Red and Black, the program is set to “decrease recidivism” by offering alternative consequences to misdemeanors instead of arrest.
To qualify for this diversion program, one must be 17 years of age or older. The misdemeanors eligible for this alternative include: underage drinking, possession of marijuana, shoplifting, and criminal trespassing. In addition to this, “they are ineligible for the program if they have an active arrest warrant or a prior conviction for most felonies, and cannot be on probation or parole.”
There are various ways of which one can complete this program determined by the prosecuting attorney, such as through community service, getting a high school diploma, finding a full-time job and so on.
The University of Georgia Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Police Department and Clarke County School District Police Department will all participate in this program, which is said to begin in March.
Michael Doti brought additional coronavirus news. Since the disease has spread beyond the borders of its Chinese origin, it has made its way to the United States. So far, 16 different states have confirmed coronavirus cases, and all nine coronavirus deaths have occurred in the state of Washington. As of March 4, there are two confirmed coronavirus victims in the state of Georgia.
According to statnews.com, 87% of coronavirus victims were aged 30-79 in China, and those numbers are similar across the rest of the world. A combined 10.2 % of victims are aged 29 or younger. As of the fatal cases, less than 2% of all were from people under the age of 60. Even those 85 years old have an 85% chance of surviving the virus.
Jamie Baker discussed all things Super Tuesday. Joe Biden emerged as the day’s resurgent victor, bouncing back after a slow start to his campaign. Biden won 10 out of 14 of the states that held primaries. Bernie Sanders won the remaining four states including California, the big prize of the night. Biden’s Super Tuesday victories follow his campaign’s turning point in the South Carolina primary last Saturday. Biden now totals 566 delegates, putting him in the lead to win the 1,991 delegates required to win the primary nomination.
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg suspended his presidential campaign this afternoon after a lackluster Super Tuesday. Bloomberg totals 53 delegates and only won the territory of American Samoa on Tuesday. He reportedly spent approximately 500 million on his campaign, which lasted only 101 days. Bloomberg has since endorsed candidate Joe Biden.
Sam reported on some interesting news from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a ban on gay marriage yesterday. Putin has been in charge for the past twenty years. It seems that this constitutional change, along with others, would keep him in office beyond 2024, which is when he’s required to step down following his second term, according to The New York Times.
Putin submitted several amendments to the constitution on Monday. One of them defined marriage as a “union of a man and a woman.” A committee in Parliament approved the set of new amendments, which is set to be voted on by full Parliament. If it passes, it will be presented to the referendum on April 22.
Michael White discussed the latest financial news. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve cut the benchmark rate target by half of a percentage point amidst continued uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus. This sharp decrease is saved for “when the economic outlook has quickly darkened,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The benchmark rate is the interest rate that banks charge to one another for overnight loans. Overnight loans are a fundamental basis of bank lending, as banks will loan the money to other financial institutes in order to reach the minimum required cash based off of deposits in the bank. The Federal Reserve serves as the central bank of the United States and is tasked with promoting economic stability. The Fed stated that while the U.S. economy is still strong, the coronavirus “poses evolving risks to economic activity.” The rate cut did not have its intended effect on Tuesday, with all indices falling around 3%.
That being said, markets turned positive today behind an increasingly positive outlook in the global response to COVID-19 and presidential candidate Joe Biden’s surprisingly strong showing during Super Tuesday. The markets are certainly throwing their support behind Joe Biden’s economic approaches over Vermont Senator and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.
The DOW was up 1173 points to 27,091, with UnitedHealth and American Express leading the way, up 10.72% and 7.69%, respectively. The S&P 500 was up 127 points to 3130, behind sharp gains by health insurance providers Anthem and Centene, up 15.62% and 15.60% each, the day’s largest gainers. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, was also up 334 points to 9018, with Vertex Pharmaceuticals climbing 7.47% and gaming software company Take-Two rising 7.37%.
Jamie then discussed the new polling stations in Georgia after poll watchers raised concerns in January. The $104 million system uses large touch screen machines that print out paper ballots that a scanner then reads to tally votes. In January, poll watchers in Colquitt County reported poor voter privacy during a House special election due to the size of the touchscreens.
Now, Athens-Clarke county has decided to ditch the new system all together. Yesterday, the Athens-Clarke Board of Elections voted 3-2 to switch to paper ballots starting today. This decision comes after only two days of using the new machines in early voting for the democratic primary. Athens Board Chairman, Jesse Evans, explained that this switch was due to lack of voter privacy due to the size of voting machines and fonts. Evans stated he could “clearly see the screen for the ballot marking device that was closest to the window. Ballot secrecy is compromised.”
Georgia law requires that all counties in Georgia use the new machines for both early voting and the March 24 Georgia primary, unless the machines make voting “impossible or impracticable.”
The attorney for Athens-Clarke County, Judd Drake, warned that abandoning the new system could cause legal trouble for the county. Georgia already experienced legal trouble during elections in 2018 due to excessive waiting hours at polls, security breaches of voter information, and registration errors.
Mary Lou delivered entertainment news concerning Monday night’s episode of The Bachelor. During the drama-filled episode consisting of all of Peter Weber’s exes arguing back and forth all night, host Chris Harrison said even Weber doesn’t know how his season will end. Ever since, fans have been throwing out many theories about what Harrison may have been alluding to.
According to E! News, one theory is that Peter’s ending will mirror last year’s Bachelor, Colton Underwood. Underwood jumped the fence after front-runner and current girlfriend Cassie Randolph left the show. He then chased after her, won her over and they remain together to this day. After Madison’s reluctance to accept a rose in Monday’s episode, some think she might leave, giving Peter no other choice but to jump a fence as well.
Another theory is that Peter and Hannah Ann end up together. During last week’s fantasy suite episode, Peter spoke highly of Hannah Ann.
Another theory is that Hannah Brown comes back after Weber competed on Brown’s season of the Bachelorette last year. Brown has already made multiple appearances on his season, including an emotional conversation they had about her regret over letting him go.
Michael Doti finished off the show with sports. Tonight is the final home game of the season for the Georgia basketball team. Their opponents are the Florida Gators. The game begins at 7:00 eastern on ESPNU.
In all likelihood, this will be the final time that Anthony Edwards will suit up in front of the Athens faithful, as he looks to improve his draft stock any more than it can possibly be improved.
The Dawgs also have three seniors that will be honored tonight. All three have made big contributions to the team this year. Those three are Jordan Harris, Donnell Gresham Jr., and Tyree Crump. Their futures may not be as certain as Edwards’ but their time playing in Stegman will certainly not be forgotten.
As for the actual game though, the Dawgs as a team are looking to avenge their loss they suffered in Gainesville 4 Wednesdays ago, when they went from being up 22 points to down 10 points in a span of just over 10 minutes. Georgia is looking to close their home schedule with three wins in a row. Much more is on the line for Florida though, as they are currently the 4th seed in the SEC, which means they hold the final double bye spot in the conference tournament.
Just half a game behind them are both the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Gators did fall to Mississippi State earlier this season. A Florida loss means that all three teams will have a 10-7 conference record with one game left to play, so Georgia once again will be playing the role of spoiler tonight.
The Hawks don’t play again until Friday in Washington, and there are two teams to keep an eye out for that play tonight for two different reasons. The first team to watch is the Milwaukee Bucks, who play the Indiana Pacers tonight at 7:00 on ESPN. The team is currently 52-9 with 21 games left on the schedule. ESPN still gives them a 28% chance to become the third team in NBA history to win at least 70 regular season games. The previous two both made it to the NBA Finals. The other team with a big game tonight is the New York Knicks.
Their game against the Utah Jazz tonight is the first game at Madison Square Garden since their number one fan, Spike Lee decided that he will no longer be attending their games for the rest of the season. This is on the heels of his discovery that he could no longer use his normal entrance into the arena to get to his seat. Knicks fans were not appreciative a couple of years ago when they discovered Charles Oakley’s lifetime ban from the garden was initiated.