OKALOOSA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE via the Miami Herald
Your Summit Weekly Briefing
By Alex Tananbaum and Ashwath Vimal
1. General News: Tornado hits Florida, Lawmakers trying to implement anti-LGBTQ+ laws
The Florida Panhandle (a strip of land in the northwestern part of Florida) was hit by a tornado on Wednesday, January 27. The Tallahassee International Airport was also affected, with part of one of their hangars being ripped apart and one of their planes being flipped over. They were temporarily closed to assess the damage done, with no injuries being reported so far. They reopened at 1:47 p.m. on Wednesday. The tornado has moved to the Jacksonville area of Florida, with forecasters saying that the tornado threat should be over by 5 p.m. today.
Lawmakers in 14 states have put forth a number of bills that are aimed towards the LGBTQ+ community in those states in a negative manner. Most of these bills are supposed to restrict freedoms of the young trransgender people in these states. For example, lawmakers in Alabama want to ban physicians from giving medication to transgender children that would help cement their gender physically. Oklahoma and Montanna lawmakers have also proposed similar freedom-restricting bills. Even though most of those bills will not pass, it still negatively affects the LGBTQ+ community, as just knowing that lawmakers are denouncing you in this manner can heavily affect your mental state.
It is possible that these bills are all a response to the Biden administration lifting the trans military ban and have increased protection for the transgender community, Pfizer reports.
LGBTQ+ rights activists are most worried about two bills proposed in Montana. One which makes it so that trans students have to play school sports for the team that represnets their biological sex, and one which bans children from getting gender-affriming health care. Both bills are on track to reach the Senate. Montana Rep. John Fuller has said that he proposed these bills so children can have a “natural childhood”. Many LGBTQ+ activists have stated they strongly oppose the bill and the negative effects it will have on trans children. The strong opposition to these kinds of bills is a big reason why anti-LGTBQ+ bills generally do not pass, showing that the LGBTQ+ community does have a strong presence across the country and will fight against all discriminatory bills against them.
2. Covid-19: At school learning may be possible
Is it safe to go back to in-person school? This is a question many parents ask themselves each day, with worry about the security of their children at the top of their minds. While in person-schooling is important, COVID-19 is still keeping up a dangerous presence around the U.S. Some schools have opted to utilize hybrid learning, where some of the week is spent in school and some is spent at home doing online school.
However, many schools may be able to go back to full time in-person education, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports, saying that COVID-19 has not spread in schools as much as it has in offices and care facilities.
Researchers tested schools in Wood County, Wisconsin, and found COVID-19 cases rates were 37% lower than rates in the community. To achieve these lower rates, schools implemented many safety measures. For example, students wear triple-layered masks, and have extra masks on their person. Furthemore, groups of students from the same grade level ahd the same class and lunch times, and were required to sit next to the same person everyday. If someone contracted COVD-19 in the school, interviews were done to fish out anyone who was in close contact with that someone for a specific period of time.
While it may be possible for schools to return to in-person learning, sports are another matter. Two Florida high schools held a wrestling match, where 38 of the 54 people (130 people were at the event) tested positive for COVID-19, and 43% who were in close contact with the 38 people also contracted the virus. For now, sports are most likely one part of school that is not safe nor bring back just yet.
Stay Informed: CNN reports live, bite-sized updates on Coronavirus here.
3. Politics: Impeachment trial, dismissed emoluments
With the House’s Article of Impeachment sent over, the Senate is set to try Trump in early Feb 9th, 2021. Though the House formally gave the single article to the Senate Monday evening, the delayed trial is due to a compromise between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell so that Biden’s secretarial nominees would be confirmed in a timely manner (remember, the Senate is currently split 50-50. Such compromises will likely become the norm in the coming months). Senate Republicans have expressed hope for a “full and fair process.”
Unusually, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts will not preside over the hearings, as he is not constitutionally required to now that Trump has been removed from office. Instead, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will conduct the trial. Sen. Leahy is president pro tempore, meaning he is third in line for the presidency, should something happen to both the president and vice president. However, with Trump officially out of office, it is unlikely that this line of succession will influence his decision. As Sen. Leahy notes, “I have presided over hundreds of hours in my time in the Senate. I don’t think anybody has ever suggested I was anything but impartial in those hundreds of hours.” Sen. Leahy will not be presenting evidence or engaging in the trial in any way except for making sure procedures are followed.
The Supreme Court declined to hear a case Monday concerning whether Former-President Donald Trump used his position as president to profit from foreign countries, which is unconstitutional. The first of two cases, brought before the court by lawyers from Maryland and Washington, D.C. argued that Trump accepting payments from both foreign and U.S. based governments through the Trump International Hotel encouraged officials to stay there as opposed to other venues so as to gain favor, thus violating the Constitution. The second case was argued by hospitality workers who own or are employed by restaurants and hotels in New York and Washington D.C.. The case was declined without comment or dissenting opinion, and the Supreme Court ordered that any previous low court opinions be wiped as Mr. Trump is no longer in office.
4. Sports: No baseball hall of fame inductees for 2021
The baseball hall of fame class of 2021 is non-existent, making it the first time to happen since 2013. All 25 candidates did not receive the minimum 75% of votes to induct them, with 11 new inductees and 14 returning ones.Three players on ballet include Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens, all one of the best players of their times, and all with only one year of eligibility for the hall of fame left. Schilling has stated that he will not participate in the ballot for his final year. While Bonds and Clemens, as of now, still are, it may be tough for them to get in, as they played in a time where steroids were often used in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Despite them being at the top of many lists and having outstanding statistics, these two players are being and most likely will be held back from the hall of fame because of the stigma surrounding the era they played in.
5. Summit: Barbie of Swan Lake: a problematic film
After seeing a headline that placed the words “Barbie of Swan Lake” and “problematic” together, I was intrigued. Surely, Barbie’s innocent escapades in Barbie of Swan Lake couldn’t have aged that badly.
I was wrong, on a fairly personal level.
In the article “‘Barbie of Swan Lake’ is More Problematic Than You May Think”, staff writer Alex Diaz notes the antisemitic tropes assigned to the movie’s villians, including large noses, greed, names and dark magic used on children. Diaz notes that the story Barbie of Swan Lake is based upon has anti-semitic roots but that the stereotypes are nevertheless harmful. As a Jewish person who grew up obsessed with Barbie (and in possession of a Barbie of Swan Lake storybook), learning about the problems in the film were both fascinating and a bit upsetting.
Atlas (West Seattle): Expect uniform highs this week with today-Thurs reaching up to 44℉ and Fri-Mon 46℉. The beginning of the week will also have uniform lows: today-Thurs’ will be 36℉, then up to 38-39℉ Fri-Mon with the exception of Sat, which could be 40℉. Finally, sun levels will bounce around a tiny bit more: today-Thurs will be rainy, Fri partially cloudy and Sat-Mon will experience showers. Stay warm, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Olympus (Tacoma): Highs this week will remain in the mid to low 40’s, with today-Thurs’ being 43-44℉ and Fri-Mon’s being 45℉. Lows will start cold at 33-34℉ today-Thurs and rise to 37℉ Fri-Mon with the exception of a comparatively balmy 39℉ Sun. This week will not be particularly sunny, with rain today, partial showers Thurs, partial clouds Fri and showers again Sat-Mon. Stay warm, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Sierra (Seattle): Highs this week will bounce around minutely, with today being up to 43-44℉, 42℉ Thurs and 44-45℉ Fri-Mon. Lows will change halfway through the week, with today-Thurs’ being 34℉ and 37-38℉ Fri-Mon. The week will not be particularly sunny, with today being partially cloudy, Thurs rainy, Fri partially cloudy again and partial showers Sat-Mon. Stay warm, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Denali (Sunnyvale): Highs this week will rise from the low to high 50’s with, today-Fri 56-57℉, 58-59℉ Sat-Sun and 56℉ Mon. Lows will range from the low to mid 40’s with today’s being 48℉, 44℉ Thurs, 45-46℉ Fri-Sat, 49℉ Sun and 43℉ Mon. The week will be a rainy one with showers today, rain Thurs and scattered showers Fri-Mon with the exception of partial clouds Sat. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Everest and Prep (Redwood City): Highs will rise from the low to high 50’s this week, with today’s being 57℉, 55-56℉ Thurs-Fri, 57-58℉ Sat-Sun and 55℉ Mon. Lows will range throughout the 40’s, with today’s being 49℉, Thurs 44℉ Fri-Sat 46-47℉, 50℉ Sun and down to 45℉ Mon. This week will be rainy, with showers today-Thurs, scattered showers Fri-Mon with the exception of Sat, which will be partially cloudy. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week.
K2 (El Cerrito): Highs this week will range from the low to high 50’s with today-Fri’s being, 56-57℉ and 57-58℉ Sat-Mon. Lows will jump throughout the 40’s and 50’s, with today’sbeing 48℉, 44℉ Thurs, 47℉ Fri-Sat, up to 50℉ Sun, and finally down to 45℉. This week will be rainy, with showers today, rain Thurs, partial sun Fri, rain Sat, showers Sun and rain again Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Tam (Richmond): Highs this week will start low then become uniform, with today’s being 52℉ and 56-57℉ Weds-Mon. Lows will have a bit more variance, with today’s being 47℉, Weds’ 49℉, Thurs 44℉, Fri-Sat up to 46℉, Sun 49℉ and Mon back down to 44℉. This week will be a rainy one, with today being rainy, showers Weds, rain again Thurs, partial clouds Fri, partial showers Sat, showers again Sun and rain Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Shasta (Daly City): Highs this week will start in the low 50’s then climb to the mids, with today’s being 51℉, and Weds-Mon’s 54-55℉ with the exception of 53℉ Fri. Lows will range throughout the 40’s, with today-Weds’ being 47-48℉, 45℉ Thurs, 47℉ Fri-Sat, up to 49℉ Sun and down to 45℉ Mon. This week will be rainy, with today experiencing rain, showers Weds-Thurs, partial sun Fri-Sat, showers again Sun and rain Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week.
Tahoma (San Jose): Highs this week will start low then climb, with today’s being 53℉, Weds-Fri 56℉, 58℉ Sat, up to 60℉ Sun and finally down to 56℉ Mon. Lows will range throughout the 40’s, with today-Weds’ being 48-49℉, Thurs 44℉, 45-46℉ Fri-Sat, up to 49℉ Sun and finally 43℉ Mon. This week will be rainy, with scattered showers today, rain Weds-Thurs, partial clouds Fri-Sat, partial showers Sun and rain again Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week.
7. Actions: $0 bail, BLM Demands
- Advocate for $0 bail. The bail system discriminates against those unable to pay, thereby perpetuating racist, ableist and classist systems. Find your California representative here and Washington here. Scripts to follow.
- Share Black Lives Matter’s six demands post-capitol invasion:
- Impeach, convict, and ban Trump from future political office.
- Expel Republican members of Congress who attempted to overturn the election and incited a white supremacist attack.
- Launch full investigation into the ties between Capitol Police and white supremacy.
- Permanently ban Trump from all digital media platforms.
- Defund the police.
- Pass the BREATHE Act.
Dear [Senator / Representative] _______,
I [voted against/have come to not support/did not support] Prop 25 because I believe in ending the harmful cycle of cash bail, reducing the power, scope, and funding of law enforcement, and preserving the presumption of innocence. Despite misleading information, California voters saw that Prop 25 and SB10 were not the path to end cash bail, and instead would empower the very systems that drive incarceration. The risk assessment algorithms proposed by Prop 25 were a thinly veiled attempt to hide automated racial profiling. The sweeping power this would have given judges and the probation department was not a trade we were willing to make to end cash bail.
Our resounding NO vote on Prop 25 is a call to action to address the urgent need for pretrial reform. Thousands of incarcerated Californians are in limbo, awaiting transfers that have been suspended due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, COVID is devastating our incarcerated population, with over 26,400 cases recorded to date and 96 deaths. We need pretrial reform, now more than ever, and to reinstate the $0 bail order to alleviate jail overcrowding and reduce the threat of COVID-19 in the jail system.
Dear [Senator/Representative] _______,
Per the Washington ACLU, cash bail perpetuates racist, classist and ableist systems. Jail leads to loss of employment, education, public benefits and harm to children, families and health. As such, I am writing to voice my support for the ACLU’s bail reform demands:
Decrease dependence on money bail. Detention or release should not be conditioned on an individual’s wealth or access to money.
Ensure all defendants have legal representation before the initial court hearing. Bail should not be determined without competent legal counsel providing the judge with sufficient information to make a fair decision on whether to release a person.
Create less restrictive alternatives to jailing people before trial.
Develop pretrial programs and court appearance reminder protocols. Courts should establish pretrial programs that provide services at the beginning of a case and allow for more effective monitoring of people who are released and awaiting trial. Court appearance reminder call systems can reduce failure to appear rates and unnecessary warrants.
Collect pretrial court data.Courts should collect pretrial data to analyze performance metrics and to track racial and other disparities.
Thank you for your time.
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