7 Things: Vaccine skepticism grips nation, UA hunts silent outbreaks, Alabama’s initial unemployment claims are steady and more …
7. Alabama’s richest man kidnapped
- The retired CEO of EBSCO Industries, Elton B. Stephens, Jr,, with a family net worth of $4 billion dollars was kidnapped and held for ransom one week ago, but he is now back home after the arrest of two people involved in the caper.
- Matthew Amos Burke, 34, and Tabatha Nicole Hodges, 33, broke into Stephen’s house allegedly stealing jewelry and three firearms before waking the home’s occupant. They took him to a trailer in St. Clair County and forced him to wire $250,000 into their account before releasing him.
6. Antifa is real
- FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee and said, “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement, or an ideology may be one way of thinking of it.” He went on to say that some of their investigations have been into situations with people who identify as Antifa.
- During his testimony, he also confirmed where domestic terrorism threats are concerned. He outlined, “[R]acially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group. And within the racially motivated violent extremist bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that.”
5. A child abuser was released through bail program promoted by Harris and Biden
- The Minnesota Freedom Fund was promoted by staffers for former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), and one of the men released by the bail fund was a child abuser.
- The man in question, Timothy Wayne Columbus, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for a sexual assault on an eight-year-old in 2015, and when he was bailed out of jail, he filed it through the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
4. Dems think they can push Biden to be more progressive
- While in an interview with “Just the News,” U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about the difference between U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden, mostly noting the difference in how “progressive” they are.
- Ocasio-Cortez honestly stated that she believes more progressive members “can likely push Vice President Biden to a more progressive direction across policy issues,” specifically mentioning foreign policy and immigration.
3. Unemployment remains steady
- For the last couple of weeks, initial unemployment claims in Alabama have remained mostly unchanged, according to a new report by the Alabama Labor Department. There has only been a decrease of 54 claims week-to-week.
- From this past week, there were 8,848 initial claims, but in the week previous there were 8,902 initial claims, which is only a 0.6% decrease. However, 4,485 of the most recent claims were due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2. Alabama tweaks its testing strategy
- The University of Alabama continues to be bullish on the school’s response to the coronavirus, so much so that Chancellor Finis St. John says the school is testing a sampling of asymptomatic students, teachers and staffers to seek out silent outbreaks and have only found three positive tests out of 400+ tests of that sample.
- Echoing the situation with Big Ten football and the SEC, St. John was happy that Alabama stayed the course, saying they “trusted our plan and our people and had the courage to see it through.” He pointed out that schools that canceled or delayed in-person learning before the semester started or soon after returning may have jumped the gun.
1. Majority of people won’t trust a vaccine released before the election
- A new Economist/YouGov poll shows that 59% of people wouldn’t trust a coronavirus vaccine released before the general election on November 3, due to safety and efficacy concerns.
- Even 50% of Republicans say they wouldn’t trust a vaccine released before the election, and only 39% of people plan to get vaccinated when it’s available. According to the poll, 72% of participants said they’re concerned about the safety of the vaccine.