Craig McLean, the acting chief scientist of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that (among other things) helps track hurricanes, has been removed from his post because he asked Erik Noble, an agency appointee hand-selected by President Donald Trump to acknowledge the agency’s scientific integrity guidelines.
The New York Times reports that Noble responded by asking McLean, “Respectfully, by what authority are you sending this to me?”
McLean said that as acting chief scientist he’s responsible for ensuring that agency members follow its rules on scientific integrity.
Noble then responded, “You no longer serve as the acting chief scientist for NOAA,” stating that a new chief scientist had been appointed. “Thank you for your service.”
McLean was then replaced by, Ryan Maue, a former research meteorologist with Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that considers political attempts to stop global warming as both expensive and ineffective.
McLean has been replaced in the midst of one of the busiest hurricane seasons the U.S. has ever experienced, with 25 hurricanes having happened so far, just three short of the busiest season in 2005.
Vox.com notes that McLean was also the person who publicly called out Trump for using the NOAA in 2019 to lie about Hurricane Dorian endangering Alabama. After the Birmingham station of the National Weather Service said that the storm wasn’t predicted to hit Alabama shore, Trump “proved” they were wrong by showing a hurricane path map that used a black marker to extend the hurricane’s predicted path onto Alabama’s shores and later issuing an NOAA press release falsely calling the Birmingham station’s assertion incorrect.
“Altering an official weather forecast is actually illegal for a government employee,” Vox notes.
In the past, Trump has publicly stated that he doesn’t believe the NOAA’s National Climate Assessment which reports the impacts of climate change on the United States. The New York Times says Trump is expected to fill the agency with climate change skeptics if he wins a second term.
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Tennessee Officials Give COVID Vaccine to Family and Friends After Denying It to 75-Year-Olds
Officials in Hamilton County, Tennessee have been caught giving the COVID-19 vaccination to “close friends and family” after turning away elderly people by claiming they had run out of the vaccine.
When a journalist questioned a car of seven younger people who had been vaccinated, the people in the car laughed and said, “We got contacts,” as in, they’re connected to people who could give them the vaccination over older people who need it far more.
WRCB reports that on Thursday, the Hamilton County Health Department began offering vaccines to people 75 and older at 9 a.m., quickly causing a traffic jam and causing the department to start turning away cars by 1 p.m., including cars filled with old people who had been waiting over four hours.
Acting on a tip, WRCB reporters returned to the site after dark “to find cars leaving the property,” the news station reports. “The people in those vehicles told Channel 3 family members or friends who were helping to administer the vaccines called to tell them there were extra doses and they should come to receive a dose.”
VIDEO: We are choosing to blur the faces of those who spoke to us after receiving a vaccine, but this was one of the exchanges photojournalist @chrisbphotos had outside the Riverpark last night. pic.twitter.com/zI3OE71avT
— Callie Starnes (@calliestarnes) January 1, 2021
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger told the news station that the vaccination team mistakenly told the cars that had arrived earlier to leave, thinking they would run out of doses. When the team realized it had enough doses thawed that needed to be used quickly before going bad, they hen called others to come and get vaccinated.
“They wanted to make sure that none of it would go to waste,” Coppinger said, adding, “I understand the frustration of those who waited in line and did not get the vaccine (Thursday), and I can assure you we will learn from this experience. We will explore better ways to get the job done, and we appreciate the patience of the public as we move forward in performing this unprecedented service.”
The screw-up merely illustrates problems with the national vaccine roll-out. One commenter in Oklahoma said that the state has no vaccination roll-out plan, and is allowing people to sign up for vaccinations using an unverified SignUpGenius web page that requires no verification nor screening based on age or whether one is a frontline worker.
Jesus Christ. Oklahoma doesn't even have a *statewide* rollout plan and is leaving it up to the counties to organize their own individual vaccine rollouts.
My county is using a free SignUpGenuis page to sign people up for vaccines—which has no verification or data security. pic.twitter.com/bjI7kC9pLP
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) January 1, 2021
Trump Ignores Nashville Bombing to Tell Supporters to Rally Against “Election Fraud”
President Donald Trump has so far ignored the massive bombing in Nashville, Tennessee that damaged 41 buildings. Instead, he is asking his Twitter followers to rally in Washington D.C. on January 6 to support his overturning an election that he lost over 46 days ago.
“The “Justice” Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation’s history, despite overwhelming evidence,” Trump wrote in a Saturday morning tweet. “They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.”
January 6 is the day Congress meets to approve the Electoral College’s vote. Usually, it’s a mere formality before Inauguration Day, but because Trump has remained in complete denial about his loss — including the over 50 “election fraud” court cases he’s lost — he has encouraged Congressional Republicans to vote against approving the election results.
The Republican opposition will accomplish very little seeing as majorities in both chambers of Congress would have to vote against the Electoral College results in order to challenge it, something that won’t happen in the Democrat-led House. On the contrary, the vote will put Republicans in the awkward position of having to state on the record whether or not they support Trump’s baseless attempt to steal the election.
If they don’t vote in favor of Trump’s lies, Republicans could make themselves targets of supporters eager to end their political careers or target them for violent threats. If they do vote in favor of Trump’s lies, they mark themselves as supporting an unprecedented attempt to overturn democracy in the United States.
Some Twitter users suspect that Trump may be trying to foment violence in the nation’s capital over the election.
In a Saturday morning tweet, George Conway, Republican husband of former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, wrote, “It’s pretty clear now that @realDonaldTrump’s next desperate play is to encourage disruption, if not violence, in Washington on January 6, the day electoral votes are counted before a joint session of Congress.”
In a separate Saturday morning tweet, Trump wrote, “A young military man working in Afghanistan told me that elections in Afghanistan are far more secure and much better run than the USA’s 2020 Election. Ours, with its millions and millions of corrupt Mail-In Ballots, was the election of a third world country. Fake President!”
Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Yaroslav Trofimov commented on the tweet, stating, “Afghanistan’s last two presidential elections were so fraud-ridden that the loser and the winner ended up sharing power to avoid civil war…”
Authorities expect the Nashville bombing to be a potential act of terrorism, one that is apparently unimportant to the president.
Karen Pence’s Anti-LGBTQ School Got $725K in COVID Bailout Funds
The Immanuel Christian private school in Springfield, Virginia bans LGBTQ teachers and students because “homosexual acts and lifestyles are clearly perversions and reprehensible in the sight of God”, at least, according to its employment application.
Unfortunately, the school got $725,000 in bail-out funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a financial stimulus program designed to help keep businesses afloat during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence teaches at the school.
“It is shameful that an institution that discriminates against LGBT Americans received nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds,” Kyle Herrig, president of government watchdog group Accountable.US, said in a statement to The Washington Blade. “This money was meant to help mom and pop small businesses meet payroll and keep the lights on — instead the wealthy and well-connected cashed in.”
Current federal law doesn’t prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the distribution of PPP funds, the publication adds, even with federal laws likeTitle VII and Title IX requiring equal opportunities regardless of gender in schools.
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