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NY Gov Cuomo Wins An Emmy Award For “Masterful” Pandemic Press Briefings

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Many of our favorite television shows were put on hold this year, as taping stopped for the COVID pandemic.

For many people, the most interesting thing on television has been the regular press briefings related to the virus. New York City was one of the worst-hit areas of the country, and New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo took center stage in the crisis, hosting regular news briefings about the situation in the city.

 

For his press briefings, Cuomo has received an International Emmy award.

International Academy President & CEO, Bruce L. Paisner explained the decision, saying that, “The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure. People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”

In a conference call with reporters on Friday after the award was announced, Cuomo said that he was flattered by the gesture. He said he’s already taped his acceptance speech for the virtual ceremony, which will be held at 11 am on Monday and streamed on the International Emmy’s webpage.

“It’s flattering. I accept it on behalf of the people of the state of New York,” Cuomo said.

(John Roca/New York Post via AP, Pool)

The Academy commended the governor for “his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.”

The daily briefings began on March 2nd and ended on June 19th. They typically featured PowerPoint presentations and other images to illustrate what was happening. According to the Academy, about 60 million people tuned into Cuomo’s briefings, through TV networks and social media platforms.

As expected, the decision drew criticism from conspiracy theorists and Republicans who either don’t believe the virus is a threat, or are generally unhappy with Cuomo’s actions during the crisis.

The New York Republican Party mocked Cuomo’s nomination, saying that he should win “best actor in the fictional story lines he’s created declaring himself a great leader.”

The party suggested that the governor really deserves an award for “Most Power Hungry Dictator.”

Cuomo won the 2010 New York gubernatorial election to become Governor of New York and has been reelected twice after winning primaries against liberal challengers Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon.

During his governorship, Cuomo oversaw the passage of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act, introducing same-sex marriage in New York, and the 2014 Compassionate Care Act, legalizing medical marijuana.

In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the 2012 Webster shooting, Cuomo signed the NY SAFE Act of 2013, the strictest gun control law in the United States. He co-founded the United States Climate Alliance, a group of states committed to fighting climate change by following the terms of the Paris Climate Accords.

He also delivered Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a 2011 tax code that raised taxes for the wealthy and lowered taxes for the middle class, along with 12-week paid family leave along with a gradual increase of the state’s minimum wage to $15.

Mark Horowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in political science. Horowitz could have had a job at one of the top media organizations in the United States, but when working as an intern, he found that the journalists in the newsroom were confined by the anxieties and sensibilities of their bosses. Horowitz loved journalism, but wanted more freedom to pursue more complex topics than you would find on the evening news. Around the same time, he began to notice that there was a growing number of independent journalists developing followings online by sharing their in-depth analysis of advanced or off-beat topics. It wasn't long before Horowitz quit his internship with a large New York network to begin publishing his own material online.

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Trump Says Supreme Court Probably Won’t Take His Election Case

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In a phone interview with Fox News on Sunday, US President Donald Trump acknowledged that his legal battle “probably” won’t reach the Supreme Court, which had been the primary goal of his legal team for the past few weeks.

“It’s very hard to get a case to the Supreme Court. I probably can’t get a case,” Trump said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

 

However, he continued to insist that widespread fraud took place during this year’s elections, claiming that millions of votes across several battleground states were illegitimate. He also refused to give any type of “drop-dead” date for when his team will give up their legal battle.

“I’ve got the best Supreme Court advocates, lawyers, that want to argue the case if it gets there, but they said it’s very hard to get a case up there,” Trump said.

This admission from Trump is a major blow to those who were trying to maintain hope for legal victories.

With each legal defeat that the team has suffered, they have claimed that it won’t matter when they bring the case to the Supreme Court. Now, with chances of a Supreme Court hearing looking bleak, the Trump team is running out of legal options to keep the White House.

At one point during the interview, Trump even suggested that the FBI and Department of Justice could somehow be involved in helping to rig the election.

“This is total fraud. And how the FBI, and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they’re involved — but how people are allowed to get away with this is stuff is unbelievable. This election was rigged. This election was a total fraud,” Trump said.

Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo was criticized for not challenging Trump on many of his assertions about the election, which have previously seen push back from other employees of the network.

In the week after the election, Fox News host Neil Cavuto abruptly cut off White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, over claims about the election being stolen, saying that he could not air “false claims” in “good conscience.”

In his first public appearance after the election, Trump gave a controversial speech from the White House, which caused many networks to cut their coverage prematurely after he claimed that he would win the election if the “legal” votes were counted. MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, and NPR, decided to cut their coverage of the speech prematurely.

Fox continued to air the speech, but in the following days began to challenge Trump’s claims, causing the network’s relationship with the president to deteriorate. There have even been rumors that Trump is planning to launch his own media network when he leaves office, and that he wants to compete directly with Fox.

The day before his interview with Fox on Sunday, Trump slammed the network on Twitter and called its coverage “unwatchable.” He then directed his followers to watch OANN and Newsmax instead, which has given his efforts to contest the election much more favorable coverage than Fox.

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Justin Trudeau Pranked By Russians Posing As Greta Thunberg

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Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus managed to prank Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau with a phone call where they claimed to be climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, who call themselves Vovan and Lexus, are notorious for similar phone pranks.

 

They released the recording this week on YouTube with an animation. In the recording, they have a conversation with Trudeau in which he seemed convinced that he was talking to Greta for a moment.

However, he caught on when they asked about setting up a meeting with the fictional South Park characters Terrance and Phillip.

In the prank call, the “Greta” character said that she has fears of “growing international crisis and anticipation of the world war”.

“It already leads to disaster,” fake Greta said.“It’s very scary,” to which Trudeau replies: “Yes indeed.”

Also in the conversation, she said, “You are adults but you act like children. We can create a world where there is a place for everyone. For white and black. Christians and Muslims. Trump and Putin. for you and me. For Boris Johnson. For Corbyn. For Terrance and Phillip, who are also known in your country.”

“No, that is exactly, exactly the right perspective,” Trudeau responds.

At one point later she interrupts Trudeau and says, “But leave Nato. Drop your weapons. Pick flowers. Smile at nature.”

Trudeau responded, “I also dream of a world in which soldiers are not necessary, but we don’t live in that world yet, unfortunately.”

Next, she asked if he could set up a meeting with Terrance and Phillip.

That is when Trudeau started to catch on, but continued to play along a bit.

“I would be happy – I’ll ask my team to try and figure out how we can connect you. Because I don’t have their direct coordinates with me now. Wait, Terrance and Phillip, where they not in South Park? I don’t personally know them. I believe they are South Park parodies of Canadians,” he said.

He ended the call with the comedians shortly after.

Trudeau is the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history. He is also the first to be related to a previous holder of the post, as the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau.

In the short year that Greta has been involved in her activism, she has quickly been thrust into the heights of fame.

There is also some discussion of nominating the child for the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.

The call and animation can be viewed below.

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Thousands of Inmates Scammed Unemployment Fund For Millions

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Tens of thousands of inmates in the state of California, even serial killers, and high profile murderers like Scott Peterson, were able to defraud the government of roughly a billion dollars through pandemic unemployment benefits. In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said that this was possibly the largest fraud scheme in California history.

“The fraud is honestly staggering,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

 

Schubert said that between March and August, inmates across every California prison filed 35,000 claims totaling around $1 billion. $140 million in benefits had already been sent out.

Some of the payments were made to friends and families of the inmates, while others were paid directly to the inmates inside the prisons. 133 of the state’s 700 death row inmates also filed for benefits under their real names, including high profile murderers like Cary Stayner, who murdered four people near Yosemite National Park in 1999, Susan Eubanks, who murdered her four sons in 1996; and Peterson, who killed his wife and unborn son in 2002.

In Kern County, district attorney Cynthia Zimmer said investigators noticed that something was wrong when prisoners across the state began receiving money orders. The forms that were filled out to receive the benefits included fake social security numbers and fake names like John Doe, John Adams or, in one case, “poopy britches.”

“Quite frankly, the inmates are mocking us,” Schubert said.

She said inmates were able to pull this off because California lacks a system that “cross matches” prison and jail data with unemployment claims. Only 35 states in the US currently has one of these systems, which means that widespread fraud could have taken place in other states as well.

In a statement, Loree Levy, deputy director of the state’s Economic Development Department, said it was “pursuing how to integrate such cross-matches moving forward as part of enhanced prevention efforts during this unprecedented time of pandemic-related unemployment fraud across the country.”

Earlier this year, a man from Florida was arrested after he was caught scamming the COVID relief fund out of $3.9 million and spending the money on a variety of different personal items and expenses. 29-year-old David T. Hines fraudulently applied for over $13 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for a few different companies.

Due to the rushed nature of the PPP program and the urgency of the pandemic, the government was sending out funds to pretty much anyone who applied, without checking IRS records first. However, the agency is starting to catch up with many of these scammers as they go back and evaluate which recipients qualify for the loan forgiveness. Numerous cases of PPP scammers have been reported across the country.

52-year-old David Staveley was recently arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Alpharetta, Georgia, after he faked his own death to avoid fraud charges for the $500,000 he received from the government through fraudulent PPP loan applications.

Large corporations like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse received millions in PPP loans, but were later forced to return the money after a massive public outcry was sparked by their applications. Over 9,000 Catholic churches were approved for the loans as well, even though they are exempt from taxes.

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