Today, we’ve got a lot of stories to catch up on, and they’re all basically either local or international. We’re covering topics like Chicago’s spending of COVID funds, Boris Johnson, updates on Texas’ power outage and leadership outage (Ted Cruz), as well as Mount Etna news.
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Friday, February19th. Today, we’ve got a lot of stories to catch up on, and they’re all pretty much local or international. We’re covering topics like Chicago’s spending of COVID funds, Boris Johnson, updates on Texas’ power outage and leadership outage (Ted Cruz), as well as Mount Etna news.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her administration have been catching some heat the past few days since the news broke that of the $1.2B that Chicago received from the federal government for COVID relief, they spent $281.5M of it on personnel costs for the Chicago Police Department. Obviously, with everything that happened last year, that’s not real popular with some folks.
Last summer, Ald. Daniel La Spata says he asked the mayor to put federal money toward housing relief or other programs to help struggling residents. He said he and other aldermen heard from residents that they didn’t want federal money targeted toward police payroll.
City Budget Director Susie Park said no relief money had yet been spent on police funding when she spoke to aldermen in June.
These personnel costs were for things like police performing wellness checks on residents, airport security when travelers had to be screened for COVID-19, security at the McCormick Place coronavirus field hospital and security at virus testing sites.
And there was still money that went to the city’s public health response to the disease, to homeless services, to O’Hare and Midway airports, and to senior citizen assistance.
The headlines were misleading because they wanted you to believe this was a big chunk of the money that Chicago got for COVID relief, but it was about 1/6. That’s a lot, but it’s better than the 1/3 number I was seeing floating around on Twitter (people were saying that the city only got $600M in funding).
If we’re actually about paying people for their work, then this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not like it was for additional task forces to hunt down BLM members or something.
The UK listeners might have a better idea about this than me, but Boris Johnson is such a strange figure. I cannot get a read on this guy. One second he sounds like a typical conservative xenophobe, and the next he’s got ideas like getting the G-7 countries to form ways to speed up the development of vaccines, treatments, and tests.
And this isn’t just a plan for COVID, this is a plan for all emerging diseases. Johnson is looking to prevent future pandemics. He said, “The development of viable coronavirus vaccines offers the tantalizing prospect of a return to normality, but we must not rest on our laurels. As leaders of the G-7 we must say today: never again.” He also went on to talk about the need for these countries to combine their resources and knowledge so that we can make sure “vaccines, treatments and tests to be battle-ready for future health threats.”
Considering that the COVID vaccine was developed in about 300 days, which is the fastest one yet, reducing it down to 100 days is really ambitious (it usually takes 4 years or more). But he makes a great point: we can’t do this again. All of these lockdowns, all the masking, all the social distancing, people are just not going to go for it again. And to do all that again for another year? Forget about it. Unless it’s some worst-case scenario where it’s a flu-like virus that’s as deadly as E