“For the first time in 11 months, the daily average of new coronavirus infections in the United States has fallen below 30,000 amid continuing signs that most communities across the nation are emerging from the worst of the pandemic,” the Washington Post reports.
“The seven-day average dipped to 27,815 on Friday, the lowest since June 22 and less than a tenth of the infection rate during the winter surge.”
The Washington Post has a good video on what we know — and what we don’t — about two New York state investigations of the Trump Organization.
New York Times: “The shared dissatisfaction throughout the country signaled Israelis’ growing impatience with what they see as hastily arranged, unconditional cease-fires. Each successive, inconclusive round of conflict has only added to the sense of futility, with no decisive victory or conclusion in sight.”
“The feeling of a missed opportunity was shared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters and opponents.”
BBC: Aid arrives in Gaza as ceasefire holds.
President Biden’s advisers offered to reduce the price tag of their infrastructure proposal by about a quarter, from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion, in the latest counteroffer to Republicans, Bloomberg reports.
However, Republicans told the Washington Post the offer was “not an encouraging one.”
“Federal authorities investigating alleged sex trafficking by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz have secured the cooperation of the congressman’s ex-girlfriend,” CNN reports.
“The woman, a former Capitol Hill staffer, is seen as a critical witness, as she has been linked to Gaetz as far back as the summer of 2017, a period of time that has emerged as a key window of scrutiny for investigators. She can also help investigators understand the relevance of hundreds of transactions they have obtained records of, including those involving alleged payments for sex.”
“On the Internet, former president Donald Trump is sliding toward something he has fought his entire life: irrelevance,” the Washington Post reports.
“Online talk about him has plunged to a five-year low. He’s banned or ignored on pretty much every major social media venue. In the last week, Trump’s website — including his new blog, fundraising page and online storefront — attracted fewer estimated visitors than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish.”
“Social engagement around Trump — a measure of likes, reactions, comments or shares on content about him across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest — has nosedived 95 percent since January, to its lowest level since 2016.”
“Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), during an interview on a conservative podcast this week, compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to continue to require members of the House to wear masks on the chamber floor to steps the Nazis took to control the Jewish population during the Holocaust,” CNN reports.
Said Greene: “You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
USA Today: “Biden still speaks at times in the same tortured syntax that causes confused listeners to shake their heads and ask, ‘Huh?’ He still loses his train of thought mid-sentence or sometimes starts off on one topic and ends up on another.”
“But the phonetic flubs that in the past have sent headline writers and his communications team into a frenzy, albeit for different reasons, have been mostly missing during his nascent presidency.”
New York Times: “While they have been a tool of both parties in the past, Democrats have been particularly successful in recent years at using ballot initiatives to advance their agenda in conservative states where they have few other avenues.”
“But this year, Republican-led legislatures in Florida, Idaho, South Dakota and other states have passed laws limiting the use of the practice, one piece of a broader G.O.P. attempt to lock in political control for years to come, along with new laws to restrict voting access and the partisan redrawing of congressional districts that will take place in the coming months.”
“So far in 2021, Republicans have introduced 144 bills to restrict the ballot initiative processes in 32 states.”
CNN has terminated its contract with senior political commentator Rick Santorum after racist, inaccurate remarks he made about Native Americans, HuffPost reports.
A federal judge ordered a mental health evaluation for Jacob Anthony Chansley, often referred to as the “QAnon Shaman,” after his lawyer questioned whether one of the most visible participants in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol is competent to stand trial, the Washington Post reports.
Bloomberg Law: “The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced five of President Joe Biden’s first judicial nominees Thursday, including Ketanji Brown Jackson for the powerful D.C. Circuit, bringing them one step closer to confirmation.”
Washington Post: “As Americans hit up the dating scene again this summer after a year of social isolation, the White House has enlisted major dating apps to encourage their users to get vaccinated and increase their match potential.”
“The two Bureau of Prisons workers tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in a New York jail have admitted they falsified records, but they will skirt any time behind bars under a deal with federal prosecutors,” Politico reports.
Associated Press: “The push to remove Confederate names from Pentagon properties, including storied Army posts, could eventually affect hundreds of items and facilities, the chair of the congressionally chartered Naming Commission said Friday.”
In the last month, lawyers working to reunite migrant families separated at the southern border during the Trump administration were able to connect 54 more children with their parents, NBC News reports.
The Hill: “More than 70 officers have left the U.S. Capitol Police since the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to the department’s union.”
New York Times: “Hoping for a return to normal, more than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated for Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) got fined $500 for refusing to wear a mask in the U.S. House of Representatives’ chamber this week, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. Massie posted a photo of a letter in a trash can.
U.S. Army leaders rallied around a soldier featured in a recruitment video that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) mocked as representative of an “emasculated military,” reports Stars and Stripes.
Cruz retweeted a video that featured Cpl. Emma Malonelord, an air defense system operator stationed in South Korea.
Said Gen. Robert Abrams of Malonelord: “A superstar by any measure…exceptionally sharp, professional, technical expert, highly respected by her peers, superiors and subordinates.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a law that will withhold state grants and contracts from local governments or businesses that require customers to prove they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, the Des Moines Register reports.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) “has signed into law a bill allowing Alabama public schools to offer instruction in yoga,” AL.com reports. “The law ends a ban on yoga adopted by the State Board of Education in 1993 because of yoga’s connections to Hinduism.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged that some of the country’s foreign foes dream about biting off pieces of the country’s vast territory, warning that Moscow would “knock their teeth out” if they ever try,” the AP reports.