National News, Tuesday, March 3 – It’s Super Tuesday; Voting in 14 States Today

News from across the nation and stories of interest for our readers of

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

It’s Super Tuesday.  Fourteen states will today pave a new view of what voters are feeling about the Democrat candidate choices. 

Hold on to your seat as history is in the making the past few days.  After Saturday’s South Carolina primary, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race as did billionaire Tom Steyer, and Monday Amy Klobuchar announced her campaign was suspending and before the day was over, she was on stage with Joe Biden at a rally in Texas.  Things are getting interesting as Democrats begin to consolidate in order to blunt the rise of progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders, delegate lead is only 8, as the front-runner looks at Super Tuesday to fend off the resurgent Joe Biden.  And where is Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren?  Good question.

Joe Biden’s strength with African-American voters in South Carolina helped resurrect his campaign after three straight losses, and the Democratic establishment is quickly consolidating around him with endorsements of Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Mr. Biden described the endorsements of his former rivals in personal terms, saying that Mr. Buttigieg reminded him of his late son, Beau Biden. He also praised Ms. Klobuchar as a senator who “knows how to get things done—she really does. That’s why Amy has never lost and she’s not losing now. You’re going to hear a lot from Amy Klobuchar.”

Those endorsements Monday also put pressure on Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to prove they have viable paths to the nomination in the narrowing field.

Who’s Voting in the Super Tuesday Primaries

Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Fourteen states will cast votes today to pick who they think should square off this fall against President Trump.

There are 1,357 delegates at stake, about a third of all delegates.  So far, fewer than 4% of the delegates have been allocated.   The states and voters are diverse. Almost half have significant black populations, and Latinos figure to be an important factor in the two states with the biggest delegate hauls, California and Texas.

Delegates at stake: 415

Delegates at stake: 228

North Carolina
Delegates at stake: 110

Delegates at stake: 99

Delegates at stake: 91

Delegates at stake: 75

Delegates at stake: 67

Delegates: 64

Delegates at stake: 52

Delegates at stake: 37

Delegates at stake: 31

Delegates at stake: 29

Delegates at stake: 24

Delegates at stake: 16

Nineteen Firefighters in Washington state are in quarantine today after entered the Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. The Life Care Center, health authorities later discovered, was harboring the new coronavirus.

Eight of its elderly residents there have tested positive, the Seattle and King County public-health department said.  Four have now died.

Officials at the nursing home have said 27 residents and 25 staff were experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms.

Authorities in Seattle and surrounding King County are now scrambling to catch up with the fast-moving virus, which they had been anxiously anticipating without knowing it already was in their midst.

In addition to quarantining people who set foot in the nursing home, the city and county announced plans Monday to buy a motel where coronavirus patients could safely recover in isolation and redeploy 14 modular homes meant for the homeless.

Meantime, schools around Seattle closed for a deep cleaning Monday. At Frank Love Elementary School in Bothell, Wash., officials said they learned Sunday evening a staffer had come down with flulike symptoms and was being tested for the virus.

“I want to acknowledge that we are currently problem-solving a situation that is new to us here in Northshore,” Superintendent Michelle Reid said in a letter to families.

Renton, Wash.-based Providence, a hospital system with Seattle-area facilities, is racing to begin testing for the virus in its own laboratories. “Coronavirus is here,” said Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, Providence’s chief clinical officer.

Under a protocol provided by the local health department to deal with the coronavirus, firefighters were supposed to be told to wear a mask by dispatchers if sent to treat people who had a fever and respiratory symptom and traveled to China, or came into contact with someone potentially infected.

Yet residents at the facility didn’t appear to fit the criteria in recent weeks, and firefighters said they weren’t given the special instructions.

If the coronavirus continues to spread fast across the U.S., the 33.6 million U.S. workers with no access to sick leave would face a dilemma should they get sick during the coronavirus epidemic: stay at home and see paychecks shrink, or go to work and create health risks.

Unlike many industrialized countries, U.S. workers aren’t guaranteed pay when they take off from work due to an illness.  Economists and labor experts say that poses challenges for workers and employers in situations where sick pay isn’t offered, or when workers are penalized for extended work absences.

“For many individuals, they can’t afford not to go to work,” said Christopher Ruhm, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia.

The jobs they hold—including food preparation, housekeeping, cleaning, driving and running cash registers—also have a high level of contact with the public, meaning their risk of exposure to the virus is higher.

About 86% of U.S. workers are employed in service industries.  Industries with workers in those categories said they are working to ensure sick workers feel comfortable staying at home.

The National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, is communicating with the Centers for Disease Control and passing along updates to members. Last week the federation told members that “sick leave policies need to be flexible.  It may be necessary to develop an emergency sick leave policy.”

“The coronavirus has a unique quarantine and recovery period that transcends the traditional policy debates surrounding paid sick leave,” said Jeff Solsby, spokesman National Restaurant Association.

Access to paid sick leave is strongly correlated to income. While 73% of workers in the private sector in 2019 had paid sick leave, according to the Labor Department, fewer than half in the bottom 25% of wages had access to it. That compares with 90% who have paid sick leave among the highest quarter of earners.   Moreover, working from home might be feasible for many white-collar workers but isn’t possible for many blue-collar, service-industry jobs.

Missing a paycheck due to illness could drive many households deep into the red. The Federal Reserve estimates that roughly a quarter of adults skipped medical care in 2018 because they were unable to pay, and almost 40% of Americans said they didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover an unexpected $400 expense.

Four out of five Americans surveyed this week (by global market research firm Ipsos) said they think governments should quarantine entire cities if there is an outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19.

… Two in five Americans surveyed said that their concern over the outbreak has grown in the past week (42%), and about half of Americans (50%) believe it is likely that the coronavirus will become a full-blown crisis in the United States.

NASA is looking for more astronauts. NASA has started taking applications for its next round of astronauts, some of them likely to be part of future Moon and Mars expeditions. You’ll have until the very end of the month (March 31st at 11:59PM ET) to apply, although time isn’t the main constraint here — qualifying is.

… NASA says that you’ll need to be a US citizen with either a master’s degree in a STEM field or an equivalent, such as two years of work toward the doctorate in your field, a medical doctorate or the combination of a completed test pilot school program (finished by June 2021) with a STEM bachelor’s degree. You’ll also need real-world experience that includes either two years of “progressively responsible” work experience or 1,000 flight hours as a pilot in command. And you’ll have to pass a long-duration spaceflight physical.

Penn State University students and community members gathered at the site of a shuttered Taco Bell for a vigil mourning the loss of the fast food restaurant.

The Taco Bell location on E. College Avenue in State College unexpectedly closed its doors permanently last week, leading Penn State student Prajesh Patel to organize the Sunday night vigil. The vigil, which was advertised on Facebook, brought out dozens of attendees, including former employees.

Peeps — known for its yellow and pink marshmallow Easter-time treats — is offering up something completely different this year: sour watermelon flavor. • LINK

A 22-year-old from Canada made the purchase of a lifetime when he bought a winning lottery ticket netting him $70 million.

Gregory Mathieu, a now-former grocery store bagger from Québec City, says he’ll be giving $1 million each to seven members of his family.… Mathieu said he plans on traveling and buying a new car to replace the one that is giving him problems.

Birthday Silly Putty.  This year marks the 70th anniversary of Silly Putty, the bouncy, stretchy pink stuff that comes in a plastic egg. Note: It went on sale as Silly Putty in 1950, though it was invented years earlier for other reasons.

A new study says Facebook users are more likely to be middle-aged, female, married, or liberal-minded. The research (Lehigh University) also reveals that there are a host of economic and demographic factors behind people who use — and don’t use — Facebook. Previous research boiled down Facebook use to a binary formula: you either use Facebook or you don’t. But researchers identified four distinct types of Facebook users in his research:

  • Current user, or a person who has and uses a Facebook account.
  • Deactivated user, or one who has temporarily deactivated their account, but might reactivate it at any time.
  • Considered deactivating user, or one who has considered deactivating their account, but never did.
  • Never user — someone who has never had a Facebook account.

… Current Facebook use is more common among users who are between 40 and 60 years old, female, not seeking employment, have a higher income level, are of Asian descent, or are currently married. In fact, women were more than 2.6 times likelier than men to be a current Facebook user rather than one who’s never had an account.

… Conversely, those most likely to have never held an account were male, older, from a lower-income household, of African-American descent, are more socially conservative, or weigh less than others. Age seemed to play a particular role in the findings. Adults over 60 were less likely to have ever had a Facebook account — for every one year of age, the odds a person wasn’t ever a user rose by 4.6%.

Later school start times lead to fewer teen car crashes.  Getting teenagers out of bed for school in the morning is quite a struggle, but there may be a good reason to let them catch those extra zzz’s. A recent study finds that teens are involved in significantly fewer accidents if their schools start later.

… In 2015, the high schools of Fairfax County, Virginia, changed their start time from 7:20AM to 8:10AM. A Harvard-led research team analyzed the crash rate data of accidents involving teenagers for two school years before and after the change in start time. Over this period the crash rate in Fairfax County teens dropped from 31.63 to 29.59 accidents per 1,000 drivers. The crash rate stayed the same for teens in the rest of Virginia where school times did not change.

… Teenagers are more alert if they’re able to sleep in a little later. During the teen years, the body’s internal clock is adjusted, causing teens to go to sleep later and wake up later. If they’re forced to wake up early for school then they’ll end up driving to school when their body is telling them they should be in bed, the study suggests.

Why Daylight Savings Time begins at 2AM.  (NOTE: Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend.) If you happen to be awake and staring at your smartphone in the very early hours of the morning on Sunday, March 8, you’ll have the small pleasure of watching the time jump right from 1:59AM to 3AM — the start of Daylight Saving Time. But why that hour, specifically?

… The United States first adopted DST in 1918 as a way to conserve energy during World War I, following the lead of both England and Germany. When choosing exactly when to make the switch, officials were looking for an hour that could easily disappear without wreaking havoc on people’s schedules across the nation. Since no Amtrak trains departed New York City on Sundays at 2AM, losing that hour seemed a little less consequential than any other.

… According to the book Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving time, Sunday morning at 2AM was when “[a time change] would interrupt the least amount of train travel around the country.

… The United States didn’t stick with daylight saving time after 1918 — partially because so many farmers opposed it — but it did resurrect the tradition during World War II, and Congress formalized the practice in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act (which also created the time zones we use today).

… The reason DST’s 2AM start time has remained standard through the years isn’t just because it prevents confusion among late-night train passengers. Considering that most bars and restaurants are closed by then, and early shift-workers won’t be awake yet, it’s a pretty quiet hour across the board.

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