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Update: Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday that restaurants in New York City would be allowed to open for indoor dining at 25% capacity beginning on Sept. 30. Customers will be subject to temperature checks at the door and will have to leave contact information for the purpose of contact tracing. There will be no bar service and no service after midnight. The original story is below.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he doesn’t want to allow New York City restaurants to have indoor dining services until Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) establishes a social distancing enforcement task force, according to WNBC-TV.

Restaurant owners are suing Cuomo and de Blasio over the continued restrictions, which remain in place despite the number of daily COVID-19 deaths sitting in the single digits and the infection rate staying below 1%. Even though restaurants in other parts of New York and New Jersey can serve customers indoors, Cuomo isn’t budging on New York City.

“If we have the enforcement mechanism in place, then we can talk about opening restaurants,” Cuomo said Tuesday, WNBC reported. “It would be negligent and reckless to open indoor dining, knowing that you have issues in Upstate New York, knowing that compliance is going to be a problem, and knowing that you have no enforcement mechanism. And we’re still working through that because I believe local governments could help us accomplish this goal if they wanted to.”

The State Liquor Authority and a State Police Task Force monitor restaurants for compliance with COVID-19 regulations in areas outside New York City.

De Blasio, meanwhile, said he doesn’t even plan to have a timeline for indoor dining until the end of September, which means there is no relief in sight for restaurant owners even as the impact of COVID-19 is nearly nonexistent relative to the number of people in the city.

“We’ve been patient, the numbers are fantastic, the COVID statistics, we don’t know what more we could do,” said Robert Hanley, general manager of NYC restaurant Bocelli. “This is a lawsuit. We don’t wanna do this. This is not us, we are workers. We work 100 hours a week. It’s not a luxurious lifestyle. I have waiters; none of them drove here in a Ferrari today.”

Malls in New York City are open with 50% capacity and casinos are open with 25% capacity, although food and beverage service is unavailable to people who go to those places.

New York has travel restrictions on people from 35 states that require them to quarantine for 14 days if they travel to New York. The COVID-19 statistics can’t get much better than they are right now for the state that in April was experiencing nearly 1,000 deaths per day. From WNBC:

Meanwhile, New York went from the epicenter of the national crisis to celebrating a full month of daily COVID positivity test rates below 1 percent, which is what allowed establishments like malls, gyms and museums to reopen in the first place. Total hospitalizations are also at six-month lows and daily deaths are in the single digits.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: UPDATE: Cuomo changes stance, announces indoor dining in NYC for end of September

‘The whole world is being controlled’

Denver Nuggets player Michael Porter Jr. is being criticized for saying COVID-19 is “overblown” and being used as part of a bigger agenda to control people, USA Today reported.

Porter, 22, acknowledged the seriousness of the virus, but said he believed there is more to the pandemic than just public health concerns. Here’s what Porter said during a social media Q&A session with fans:

Personally, I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda. It’s being used for population control just in terms of being able to control the masses of people. Because this virus, the whole world is being controlled. You’re required to wear masks and who knows what will happen when this vaccine comes out. You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel, that’d be crazy. I’ve never been vaccinated in my life, I’ve never had any shots or anything like that. It could get crazy, but it’s definitely an agenda behind everything that’s going on right now, and all you can do is sit back and watch what’s going on and not get too emotionally involved. But it is a serious thing, it’s a real thing, but yeah, this is being overblown.
USA Today noted that the University of Missouri, where Porter attended school and played basketball for one year, requires vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella.

The comments sparked criticism from some members of the NBA media for downplaying COVID-19. Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother died due to complications from the virus earlier this year.

The NBA announced Wednesday that none of the 344 players tested since July 20 tested positive for COVID-19. The entire league is living and playing in Orlando at the Disney World campus to avoid risking outside exposure to the virus.

Porter has been criticized for his social media behavior in the past. After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police Department officers in May, Porter expressed his sorrow for Floyd’s death, but also called for people to pray for the police officers instead of hating them.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: NBA player under fire for saying COVID-19 is ‘overblown’ and being used for a ‘bigger agenda’

Many victims might disagree

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said it would be better to not have police officers responding to rape calls in situations when the rapist has already fled, according to The Federalist.

Instead, Ellison suggests, it is preferable to have a social worker trained in interacting with rape victims respond to such a call. In making his point, Ellison dismisses police officers as people who are simply trained in how to use guns.

“If you’re a woman who’s been a victim of a sexual assault, and the assailant ran away, wouldn’t you rather talk to somebody who is trained in helping you deal with what you’re dealing with, as opposed to somebody whose main training is that they know how to use a firearm? Right?” Ellison said on a virtual panel with PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor and California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass.

Ellison’s comments are similar to rhetoric that has surrounded efforts to defund or dismantle police departments in liberal localities. The idea is that police officers shouldn’t be responding to things that could conceivably be handled more effectively by social workers or other unarmed officials, in order to minimize the potential for unnecessary violent conflicts that can lead to police killings.

Applying that to mental health crises or minor traffic stops carries its own problems, but applying it to the violent crime of rape is even more controversial and potentially dangerous.

Also, Ellison’s description of police as nothing more than people who know how to use guns is inaccurate and indicates a narrow way of viewing police that is potentially fueling anti-police rhetoric. Police officers are trained to respond capably to a variety of situations that don’t require the use of firearms, including sexual assaults.

For victims’ comfort, and for public safety, having police respond to not only take care of the victim but to work quickly toward catching the suspect is crucial, even and especially if that person has fled the scene.

Ellison faced accusations of sexual abuse in 2018.

Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by police officers on May 25, has been ground zero of the recent anti-police movements that followed Floyd’s death. Last month, the city council voted to start the process of replacing the police department with an alternative model.

From WCCO-TV:

The charter amendment calls instead for “a department of community safety and violence prevention.” It also includes a provision for licensed law enforcement officers.

“As a charter department, the director would be nominated by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. The director would have non-law enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches,” the council reported in a press release.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Police officers shouldn’t be responding to rape calls if the suspect runs away, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says

No limits on abortion

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke took the pro-abortion stance to its furthest extreme Monday when questioned on the issue during an event at the College of Charleston, according to the Washington Examiner.

O’Rourke, who has avoided specifics on abortion policy while choosing to stick to more general talking points about a woman’s right to choose, was forced into a corner by a very pointed question from an event attendee.

“My question is this: I was born Sept. 8, 1989, and I want to know if you think on Sept. 7, 1989, my life had no value,” the man asked.

“Of course I don’t think that,” O’Rourke replied. “And of course I’m glad that you’re here. But you referenced my answer in Ohio, and it remains the same. This is a decision that neither you, nor I, nor the United States government should be making. That’s a decision for the woman to make.”

O’Rourke’s answer contains a striking set of seemingly contradictory conclusions: Yes, an unborn life has value. And at the same time, yes, a woman should be able to choose to end that unborn life even the day before it is set to enter the world.

Even more notable, this question was not framed in the context of the mother’s health or the unborn child’s health. It was simply a question of the value of a life, and O’Rourke, in his answer, grants women unilateral authority to get an abortion at any point before birth, apparently for any reason.

O’Rourke has previously deferred to a woman’s choice regarding late-term abortion. In March, during an Ohio town hall event, he was asked if he supported third-trimester abortions for viable fetuses that could be removed by C-section.

“…that should be a decision that the woman makes about her body,” O’Rourke said. “I trust her.”

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: Beto O’Rourke says women should be able to choose abortion even the day before birth

To send a message?

David Hogg, one of the founders of the March For Our Lives gun control advocacy group, said if he is ever shot and killed he wants his dead body to lay outside the front door of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, according to The Daily Caller.

Hogg has been a gun control activist since surviving the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018. He said he wants his death to be used to advance the gun control cause.

“If I die from gun violence I want my photo published, there will be those that say you are politicizing tragedy — They are wrong, not doing anything to stop it this (sic) violence is politicizing tragedy. #MyLastShot,” Hogg wrote on Twitter. “In the event I am killed, organize, mobilize and get the Peace Plan passed and put my body on the NRA’s doorstep in Fairfax, VA.”

Hogg called for his followers to use the hashtag #MyLastShot to express their desire to have their photos published if they die from gun violence.

The Peace Plan Hogg references is the recent gun control agenda released by March For Our Lives that is essentially a compilation of the most ambitious gun control initiatives that have been proposed over recent years.

The Peace Plan for a Safer America calls for a national gun ownership registry, an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines “and other weapons of war,” red flag laws, and a national gun buyback program.

The plan proposes a minimum gun ownership age of 21 and a limit of one firearm purchase per month.

Another March For Our Lives co-founder, Jaclyn Corin, referred to the plan as a “Green New Deal, but for guns,” referencing the unrealistic climate change plan co-written by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that was so extreme that not a single Democratic senator voted for it.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: David Hogg wants his corpse laid outside NRA headquarters if he is shot and killed

So much for that media narrative

President Donald Trump was heavily criticized online and by some media outlets for a picture he and first lady Melania Trump took with the infant son of two parents who died in the El Paso, Texas, massacre, but the child’s uncle refuted those criticisms, according to the Washington Post.

The harsh criticism, which included a CNN analyst calling it “not a normal human response,” prompted Tito Anchondo, who lost his brother and sister-in-law in the attack, to defend the president.

It was not that President Trump had used the baby as an easy photo opportunity following the tragedy, Anchondo said. Rather, he wanted to meet the president and first lady and chose to take the baby to the hospital for that meeting.

“He was just there as a human being, consoling us and giving us condolences,” Anchondo said of Trump.

Also, he said he did not feel he and his family were being used to politicize the tragedy. In fact, Anchondo told the Post, his family is Republican and his late brother was a Trump supporter. Anchondo said the conversation was comforting, declining to divulge the details of the discussion.

“I want to see if he’s genuine and if my political views are right or wrong, and see if he feels maybe some kind of remorse for statements he’s made,” Anchondo said to NPR before the meeting. “I just want to have a human-to-human talk with him and see how he feels.”

The photograph, particularly the thumbs-up the president was giving in the photo, angered some observers, including a CNN panel that brushed past the context of the uncle’s desire for the meeting to criticize the optics and “tone-deafness” of the photo.

“What you have is a picture of a president who has an empathy deficit,” one panelist said. “He keeps acting like a malfunctioning automaton with these opportunities. … it’s not too much to expect that the president would act like a normal human being.”

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: The Blaze: President Trump criticized for picture with infant son of El Paso victims — but the family set the record straight

Seemed like a fair offer

Congressional Democrats, even before the Mueller report was released, have expressed outrage that portions of the report would be redacted by special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr. When the report was released, however, they turned down a chance to see more of the report than the general public, according to The Hill.

Barr offered certain congressional leaders the chance to view some of the redacted portions of the report pertaining to ongoing investigations and national security issues. Democrats rejected his offer.

Here’s what they said, in a letter authored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Democratic leaders in the congressional judiciary and intelligence committees:

“Unfortunately, your proposed accommodation — which among other things would prohibit discussion of the full report, even with other Committee Members — is not acceptable,” the letter to Barr read. “Given the comprehensive factual findings presented by the Special Counsel’s Report, some of which will only be fully understood with access to the redacted material, we cannot agree to the conditions you are placing on our access to the full report. Nor can we agree to an arrangement that does not include a mechanism for ensuring access to grand jury material.”

The Democrats reportedly rejected Barr’s offer because they wanted more people to be allowed to view the sensitive material, and they wanted access to everything, including grand jury material.

House Republicans criticized the Democrats for their rejection of Barr’s terms.

“Democrats demand answers but put their hands over their eyes every time those answers appear,” read a House Judiciary Committee Republicans statement. “Attorney General Barr has given unprecedented accommodations to Chairman Nadler, and it’s unconscionable the chairman refuses receipt of information he’s claimed for weeks Democrats are ‘entitled to.’ Who subpoenas a report and publicly refuses to read it in the same day?”

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: Theblaze: AG Barr gave Dems a chance to see some redacted portions of Mueller’s report. They said no.

She says he tried to obstruct justice

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) became the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment in the wake of the release of the Mueller report, according to CNN.

Dealing with the reality that special counsel Robert Mueller did not find cause to charge the president with any crimes, some Democrats are now hoping to use Mueller’s findings to gain some momentum toward impeachment.

“The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack. Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: ‘Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.’ The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment.”

A Warren aide cautioned that the senator did not want impeaching Pres. Trump to become the focus of her presidential campaign, according to CNN. The aide said Warren still wants to focus on her policy proposals.

This current Democratic talking point that Pres. Trump “tried” to obstruct justice is a notable pivot from previous accusations that the president had committed treason or was an agent of the Russian government.

There have long been some impeachment advocates in the House of Representatives, but some representatives shied away from impeachment due to the unlikelihood that a Republican-controlled Senate would vote to convict a Republican president. After the Mueller report, however, some are changing their minds about that.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been against impeachment, citing the political uphill battle an impeachment effort would face. Some believe Democrats would be better served allowing the American people to take the information from the Mueller investigation and make their voices heard in the 2020 election.

But, with a high-profile presidential candidate like Warren coming out in favor of impeachment, peer pressure could lead more prominent Democrats to follow her lead.

Author: Aaron Colen

Source: Theblaze: Elizabeth Warren joins other Democrats calling for Pres. Trump’s impeachment

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