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Monday, March 30, 2020

'He's Going To Do Whatever He Wants'

Jerry Falwell Jr.’s decision to reopen Liberty University’s campus amid the coronavirus pandemic has sparked anger and confusion—even among those usually sympathetic to him.

Lynchburg, Virginia, isn’t a stereotypical college town. It isn’t politically liberal. It doesn’t have the crunchy effect of an Ann Arbor or even a Charlottesville.

But even here, where Liberty University drives a large part of the economy—and where school president and chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. strides across the landscape as a local grandee—anger over Falwell’s decision to bring university students back amid a coronavirus pandemic is boiling over.

“Remember when people wanted to tar and feather folks? That’s about the level it’s at in the Lynchburg community right now,” a former longtime Falwell associate told me over the phone. “You have … 16,000 Petri dishes he’s inviting back to Lynchburg, who have gone out all over the country for spring break—he’s inviting them back into our city, our community, knowing that at some point they’re gonna have to interact with the public.”

Throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus have led colleges to upend their plans for the semester by moving classes online, canceling commencement ceremonies and—critically, from a public-health perspective—moving students out of dorms. Virginia Tech is practically begging students to stay away, enticing them with cash rebates. The University of Virginia has shut down its dorm system, save for those few students “who have no other option.”

Charles Koch Network Pushed 1$ Billion Cut to CDC, Now Attacks Shelter-In-Place Policies for Harming Business

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY, the pro-corporate pressure group founded and funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, want employees to return to work despite desperate pleas from public health officials that people should stay home as much as possible to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

As states began to order nonessential businesses to shut down last week, AFP released a statement calling for all businesses to remain open.

“Rather than blanket shutdowns, the government should allow businesses to continue to adapt and innovate to produce the goods and services Americans need while continuing to do everything they can to protect the public health,” said Emily Seidel, chief executive of AFP, in a press release.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Makes The Case for Criminal Justice Reform

THE RAPID SPREAD of the novel coronavirus in the United States is expediting criminal justice reforms that advocates have pushed for decades. At least nine prosecutors are now fast-tracking reforms to reduce the number of incarcerated people kept in conditions that can speed the rate of infection and to stop new prosecutions of low-level nonviolent offenses.

For reformers, scholars, and elected officials alike, swift changes from prosecutorial offices across the country raise the question: Why not earlier? And with those changes in place, can things go back to the way they were?

The Commissary Is Installing Plexiglass 'Sneeze Shields' Amid Pandemic

Military commissaries worldwide will soon have plexiglass "sneeze shields" installed in checkout lanes as a barrier between commissary employees and shoppers, officials announced today.

The 24-30 inch wide, 36 inch-high barriers, which will be installed in all commissary stores over the next several days, are designed to "add extra protection for customers and cashiers during the COVID-19 outbreak," the release said.

The plexiglass barriers are the latest in ongoing efforts to keep commissaries open while reducing virus spread. March 18, stores stopped offering Early Bird shopping hours to give workers more time to stock shelves and clean. Officials also started 100% ID checks at commissary doors, restricting all non-authorized shoppers from entering.

Stores have also stepped up their cleaning routine, officials said in today's release.

VA Opening Hospital Beds to Non-Veterans In Hard-Hit New York City

The VA will open up a total of 50 beds to seriously ill non-veterans who don't have coronavirus to help in New York City's COVID-19 health care crisis, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Sunday.

The transfer of at least five non-veteran patients to either the Brooklyn or Manhattan VA facilities was already underway Sunday, the VA said in a statement.

The 50 VA beds -- 35 for acute care and 15 for intensive care units -- are part of the increasing responsibility of the federal government and the military to the crisis in New York City. City and state officials have described local hospitals at a breaking point for lack of capacity and equipment.

On Monday, the 1,000-bed hospital ship USNS Comfort is expected to arrive from Norfolk, Virginia, at Pier 90 on Manhattan's West Side to take in non-coronavirus patients.

Also on Monday, the converted Javits Convention Center on the West Side is expected to open to nearly 3,000 non-coronavirus patients, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, said at a Pentagon briefing last Friday.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
Founded in 1962, The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children. For 54 years, we’ve been providing access to affordable education for the children of Marine and Navy Corpsman attending post-high school, under-graduate and career technical education programs. In that time, we have provided more than 37,000 scholarships worth nearly $110 million.