Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Michael White started off the show with a story on UGA’s long awaited graduation ceremony. After five months, 2020 spring graduates were finally able to attend their graduation.
Held on Friday, 6,027 tickets were scanned while 8,385 tickets were distributed. Although original speaker Maria Taylor was unable to attend the ceremony, Vice President of Student Affairs Victor Wilson spoke in her place. Wilson commented on the full-circle journey that his speech brought to graduates, as Wilson speaks at orientation every year.
Also speaking were President Jere Morehead, Provost Jack Hu, UGA Alumni President Brian Dill and graduate Jack Bush, who told fellow classmates to “be where your feet are.” The graduation was not without controversy as the finale fireworks potentially caused the roof of the Tate student to catch fire. ACC Fire Department put out the fire and UGA reported that damage was limited.
Cason Smith followed with coverage of Georgia’s unique approach to subsidized insurance. Georgia will become the first state to offer federally subsidized health insurance to its residents only through private brokers under a plan being approved by President Donald Trump’s administration.
A separate part of the plan would offer Medicaid to some of the state’s poorest able-bodied adults, but only on the condition that they work, volunteer, receive job training or attend school.
“This opportunity will help hardworking Georgians climb the ladder, while having a health care safety net below them. We are making insurance accessible for those who need the most,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in an announcement Thursday at the state Capitol.
Under Kemp’s proposal, uninsured adults in Georgia who make no more than the federal poverty level would qualify for Medicaid assistance if they spent at least 80 hours a month working, volunteering, training or studying. They would also have to pay monthly premiums. The federal poverty level is just under $12,500 for an individual.
Exiting the federal marketplace and not setting up a state marketplace is the main innovation Georgia is offering. Kemp’s administration says private brokers or websites will provide better service and offer more options. Georgia says it won’t subsidize plans that don’t meet federal benefit levels. But brokers could sell noncompliant plans to customers in search of cheaper premiums.
Michael White also reported on finance. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to be at odds over a potential stimulus package for the US economy.
On Saturday, Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline for the White House to “reconcile differences” in each party’s proposed stimulus packages. Pelosi set the deadline to “demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement.”
Pelosi remained optimistic about reaching a stimulus deal, but stood by her opinion that any deal is reliant upon the Trump administration. Investors seem bearish on stimulus plans, with stocks taking a major hit in the later trading hours, on track to lose 1.5% across the three major indices.
Wood Smith had the latest in litigation against big tech companies on an international scale. Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog said on Monday, a sign Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators.
Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission, or FTC, also said Tokyo could open a probe into any merger or business tie-up involving fitness tracker maker Fitbit if the size of such deals are big enough.
“If the size of any merger or business tie-up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer’s process of acquiring a start-up,” Furuya told Reuters. “We’re closely watching developments including in Europe.”
EU antitrust regulators in August launched an investigation into Google’s $2.1 billion bid to buy Fitbit that aimed to take on Apple and Samsung in the wearable technology market.
Japan is laying the groundwork to regulate platform operators, including big tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook, all of whom are facing various antitrust probes in western nations.
Furuya said multi-national companies have similar business practices across the globe, which makes global coordination crucial.
“We’ll work closely with our U.S. and European counterparts, and respond to any moves that hamper competition,” he said. “This is an area I will push through aggressively.”
Wood Smith then followed with some Georgia COVID-19 updates. On Friday, Georgia health officials reported 1,701 new COVID-19 cases bringing the state’s total case count to over 330,000. The additional new cases marked the state’s largest single-day increase in new confirmed infections since mid-September, according to data compiled by the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Local public health experts warned last month that though the state’s pandemic outlook was improving at the time, they had concerns about the possibility of a new surge. Public health expert Amber Schmidtke told WXIA-TV earlier this week that there is “already enough momentum for the disease in our community to change very quickly back upwards.”
According to John Hopkins University researchers, the state had a 6.2% seven-day average of positive tests by Saturday, meaning it does not meet the World Health Organization’s recommended testing rate for reopening of 5% or lower.
Cason Smith also detailed the story on a major news publication being locked out of its Twitter account. The New York Post’s Twitter account remains locked, two days after it was censored by the platform over its publication of a story revealing more alleged links between the Biden family and the Ukrainian energy giant Burisma.
The New York Post released emails in the story alleging that at the time he was vice president, Joe Biden met with an executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where his son Hunter Biden was employed.
Following the release of the story, Facebook artificially suppressed the distribution of the Post’s article, taking the rare step of acting before their “third party fact checkers” weighed in. Nick Clegg, the former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrat party — now a VP at Facebook — was reportedly involved in the platform’s decision to censor the post. Twitter quickly followed suit, censoring links to the story as “unsafe.”
Links to the Post’s follow up story about Hunter Biden’s alleged attempts to leverage his family name to secure major payouts from Chinese companies are still marked as “unsafe” by Twitter.
Mariah Rose gave listeners the Sports Power Minute. In baseball news, the Los Angeles Dodgers will advance to the World Series after beating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in game seven last night. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit and will face the Tampa Bay Rays in their third world series in four years. Corey Seager is the 2020 NLCS MVP, and Cody Bellinger is the only player in NLCS history to have hit a homerun in a game seven – twice.
Moving on to college football, no. 1 Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence threw 404 yards this weekend in their dominant blowout of Georgia Tech. The 73-7 victory is the largest win in a conference game in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Meanwhile the Georgia Bulldogs move down to no. 4 in the AP & Coaches Poll after being beaten by Alabama. Tonight on Monday Night Football, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs will both be coming off of their first losses in Week 5, and face each other at 5 p.m. The Cardinals will also be facing the Cowboys this evening at 8:15.