Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Michael White opened up the show with a local news update. It is election day eve, and all precincts in Athens-Clarke County will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line by 7 p.m., stay in line as you will be allowed to cast your vote after 7.
Georgia has seen nearly four million ballots cast early this election cycle, with Athens-Clarke County seeing 41,139 ballots cast, nearly matching the 43,000 ballots cast in the 2016 election. With 76,800 registered voters, over half of all registered voters have already voted in this cycle.
Turning to COVID-19 news, Athens saw a slight increase in cases, with 166 cases reported in the past week. The seven-day moving average increased from 4.2% to 4.9%. Athens Clarke County also reported three deaths this week.
Cason Smith followed up with state news. One of Georgia’s largest counties has become only the second in the state to offer election materials in Spanish, and the first to do so in Korea, potentially making it easier for thousands to cast ballots on Tuesday. The announcement came Thursday, as Georgia eclipsed 3.6 million early votes, 70% higher turnout than 2016.
The efforts were a “landmark decision,” said Dekalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, who urged the county to take the initiative of translating sample ballots, frequently-asked questions and drop-box locations – drawing a sharp contrast with Gwinnett county, which only began providing election material in Spanish in early 2017 after the federal government notified officials of their obligation to do so.
Johnson said he was not aware of the importance of language access in voting, as his district is mostly English-speaking and African-American. But when an Asian American advocacy group approached him about the issue, he said he thought, “I can identify with and understand how barriers to voting can affect certain populations.”
At a press conference announcing Dekalb’s effort, Korean woman Soon Hyung Heo spoke about how she had voted for many years but with a “heaviness in my heart” because she was unsure of certain choices she made.
“That’s when it came to me,” Johnson said. “We’re gonna help generations. We’re gonna bring people together who were invisible – so now they can fully participate in the democratic process.”
Michael also covered financial news concerning Dunkin Brands being bought out by Inspire Brands, the owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic, a move into the breakfast space for the restaurant giant. Inspire Brands, which itself is owned by private equity firm Roark Capital, will pay $106.50 a share for Dunkin, representing a 6.8% premium on the stock, which closed at $99 on Friday. On Monday, shares were indicated up 16.1% and the deal values Dunkin at $11.3 billion.
In other financial news, Netflix has announced a price increase for two of its three plans. The standard plan will increase a dollar to $13.99 while the premium plan will increase $2 to $17.99. Netflix stated the price hike was to “continue to offer more variety of TV shows and films,” but the increase comes after Netflix’s slowest quarterly subscriber growth since 2016 with only 2.2 million new subscribers. Netflix is down 2.7% in the past week, while it is down 4.8% in the past month.
Looking at the market as a whole, all the Dow Jones is up nearly a percent today, while the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 saw smaller gains. The Nasdaq continues to struggle as tech stocks take a beating, with the Nasdaq being down slightly today.
Wood Smith also reported on international news concerning several European countries tightening restrictions this week, starting with a partial shutdown Monday in Germany as authorities across the continent scramble to slow a rapid rise in coronavirus infections that threatens to overwhelm their health care systems.
Britain and Austria will follow suit later in the week, closing restaurants, bars and many leisure activities. Italy, Greece and Kosovo also announced new measures.
Restrictions have been slowly ramping up for weeks in many European countries but virus cases have continued to rise.
Overall, Europe has seen more than 270,000 confirmed virus-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say case and death figures understate the true toll of the pandemic due to the missed cases and limited testing among other reasons.
Conner Hendricks covered the election. Tomorrow is election day, so he gave an idea of what to expect.
According to the Associated Press, “Unless we have a miracle, we are not going to find out by the end of election day who the next president of the United States is going to be.”
Most national polls say Joe Biden is leading.
“I don’t think that just because every poll does seem like it is favoring Vice President Biden, I think there is a lot of merit to the fact that we are seeing a lot of absentee and a lot of mail in balloting, which wasn’t as prevalent in 2016 as it is in 2020,” said Communications expert Jason Mollica of American University in Washington.
Gov. Brian Kemp may not be able to vote in this election. This comes after the governor came into contact with a US representative who tested positive for the virus. Kemp has tested negative and is in quarantine. Kemp’s spokesman says he requested an absentee ballot, but it’s unlikely to arrive and be returned by 7 p.m. on election day the AJC reports.
Wood then detailed how the Trump administration approved Georgia’s proposal to eliminate the federal healthcare.gov website as a path to enroll in health insurance, instead directing people to private brokers and insurers on Sunday evening.
The Trump administration and Kemp argue the move will increase innovation from the private sector, but Democrats denounced the move as creating confusion for consumers that will result in some people losing coverage. The decision would make Georgia the first state to have no government-run website to enroll in ObamaCare coverage.
Under the waiver approved by the White House, consumers in Georgia will no longer be able to enroll in health care coverage through the healthcare.gov website starting in 2023. The waiver also includes a program called “reinsurance” which has been used in other states as a way to lower premiums with bipartisan support. The program reimburses insurers for some of their high-cost claims, helping bring down premiums by an estimated average of 10%.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma said the move is part of the Trump Administration’s effort to give states room to maneuver.
“President Trump continues to demonstrate the power of a policy approach that prioritizes state flexibility and competition over rigid micromanagement and Washington mandates,” Verma said in a statement.
Mariah Rose had the latest on a new line of footwear from Nike. Nike’s Air Jordan 1 ‘Mocha’ finally dropped this weekend on Nike’s SNKRS App and in stores. The classic Jordan 1 silhouette took on a fall inspired chocolate brown, black and white with the highly anticipated colorway and was released on Halloween morning at 9 a.m.
The sneaker took what Nike calls a “new twist on a familiar color scheme: Dark Mocha. Continuing its rich history with the Jordan Brand, the crisp Mocha color blocking on soft nubuck leather gives this OG a clean and subtle look.”
The shoe release was deemed the sneaker buff’s chance to get their hands on a shoe that is very similar to Nike’s coveted 2019 Travis Scott collaboration which has been known as one of the most beloved color combinations in Jordan 1’s long history. However, the release led to frustrations about Nike’s sneaker app.
The app selects people at random to be chosen for a pair of the shoes and no matter how quickly people hit purchase, there is a possibility of not being chosen. The SNKRS app trended on Twitter this weekend where frustrated sneaker fans collectively complained about being unable to purchase the new shoes.
Cason reported Amy Coney Barrett participated in her first case as a member of the US Supreme Court on Monday. President Donald Trump’s appointee was welcomed by Chief Justice John Roberts before questioning one of the lawyers in a dispute in which an environmental group is seeking governmental documents. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Barrett made her debut not in a public session in the courtroom where justices usually hear cases but rather in a teleconference format, with a live audio feed available to the public.
Although Barrett officially started work last Tuesday, she did not participate in Friday’s private conference in which the justices discussed what new cases to hear because she was preparing for this week’s arguments, a court spokeswoman said.
The Republican-led Senate confirmed Barrett one week ago, expanding the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to 6-3.
Next week, the court hears arguments in litigation in which Trump and Republican-governed states are seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 healthcare law also referred to as Obamacare.
Mariah closed out the show with the Sports Power Minute. Week eight of the NFL brought many surprises. The Packers lost to Minnesota at home, the Pittsburgh Steelers remained undefeated as they beat Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in Baltimore and the Dolphins and the Bengals pulled off upsets with rookie QBs. The only thing that was not surprising is the Jets taking another loss to Kansas City.
The Steelers took a close win against the Ravens, in which they forced reigning MVP Lamar Jackson to make several errors including two intercepted passes and two lost fumbles. In the final seconds of the game at Pittsburgh’s 23-yard line, four points behind, Jackson threw an incomplete pass as the game came to an end.
Russell Wilson added to his MVP case, as he has never received an MVP vote in his career. The Seahawks QB has 26 touchdown passes in only seven games, just below Peyton Manning in his 2008 MVP season. He had four touchdowns in their win against San Francisco, which kept him ahead of Patrick Mahomes this weekend, who has 21 himself.
Mahomes passed 400 passing yards for the third time in his career against the jets. One of his five touchdown passes was an underhand throw to Travis Kelce. Mahomes played so well, his backup got some playing time this game.