Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.26.21

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Who's up, down, in and out — your morning tipsheet on Florida politics.

Good Thursday morning.

Florida has been the U.S.’s pandemic epicenter for weeks, but more voters than not approve of Gov. Ron DeSantis and say he deserves a second term, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday.

Voters aren’t sold on his overall pandemic strategy, disapproving 51%-46%, and they are even less enthused about how he’s handled public schools, which was disliked 51%-44%. Yet the Q Poll found 47% of voters approved of the DeSantis overall, compared to 45% who disapproved.

Ron DeSantis deserves a second term, most voters say, although he is on shaky ground with COVID-19.

The measure was markedly improved from a year ago when the same pollster said he was double digits in the negative.

“Amid a frightening surge in cases, DeSantis weathers withering criticism from critics on his handling of COVID-19. His numbers have actually improved from a year ago. But he’s still not as popular as he was before the pandemic,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said.

Asked straight up whether the Republican incumbent deserved another term, voters said yes by a 3-point margin, 48%-45%.

While the numbers are welcome news for DeSantis’ 2022 team, Quinnipiac University poured water on the Governor’s 2024 aspirations. They asked their sample of 889 self-identified registered voters whether they think DeSantis should run for President in 2024, and the answer was a resounding “no.” Just 35% of Florida voters back the concept.

Not even all Republicans want to see it. While 67% are open to a President DeSantis, a full 24% aren’t in. A full 61% of independent voters are opposed, also, with just 35% backing a DeSantis 2024 run.

As one would expect, Democrats almost uniformly don’t want him to run for President, though 2% of those surveyed from the opposing party support the idea.

The Q Poll also that, as of now, Floridians think U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio should be reelected, 47%-41%. President Joe Biden’s flagging approval rating — he was in the negative 40%-53% — only helps his and DeSantis’ reelection odds.

The poll was conducted Aug. 17-21 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@MarcoRubio: A President that abandons Americans in order to meet a deadline set by a medieval band of terrorists will forever be disgraced

@DonaldJTrumpJr: The new Governor of New York just announced that an additional 12,000 previously undisclosed COVID-19 deaths occurred under Gov (Andrew) Cuomo. That’s almost four 9/11s under the Dem’s units of measurement. Will there be criminal charges brought now for Cuomo’s deadly nursing home cover-up?

@GwenGraham: I am in an emergency room in Gainesville for a non-COVID-19-related matter. We are the rare exception. Everyone else appears to have #COVID. So sick. Pleading for care. Pleading to get vaccinated. For God’s sake #GetVaccinated, you don’t want to be here.

Tweet, tweet:

@AndyMarlette: Former Mayor, @FloridaGOP fundraiser, and @mattgaetz supporter sentenced to 5 years in prison for secretly filming porn of teenage boys in shower … More investigation needed into the Panhandle’s small, incestuous, Gaetz-dominated political class

— DAYS UNTIL —

Boise vs. UCF — 7; Disney’s ‘Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings’ premieres — 8; Notre Dame at FSU — 10; NFL regular season begins — 14; Bucs home opener — 14; California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election — 19; Broadway’s full-capacity reopening — 19; Alabama at UF — 23; Dolphins home opener — 24; Jaguars home opener — 24; 2022 Legislative Session interim committee meetings begin — 25; ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ premieres (rescheduled) — 36; Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary party starts — 36; MLB regular season ends — 37; ‘No Time to Die’ premieres (rescheduled) — 41; World Series Game 1 — 54; ‘Dune’ premieres — 57; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 62; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 62; Georgia at UF — 65; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 68; Florida’s 20th Congressional District Primary — 68; Disney’s ‘Eternals’ premieres — 71; ‘Yellowstone’ Season 4 begins — 73; ‘Disney Very Merriest After Hours’ will debut — 74; Miami at FSU — 79; ExcelinEd’s National Summit on Education begins — 84; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ rescheduled premiere — 85; FSU vs. UF — 93; Florida Chamber 2021 Annual Insurance Summit begins — 97; Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ premieres — 106; ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ premieres — 113; NFL season ends — 136; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 138; Florida’s 20th Congressional District election — 138; NFL playoffs begin — 142; Super Bowl LVI — 171; ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 211; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 255; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 280; “Black Panther 2” premieres — 316; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 328; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 407; “Captain Marvel 2” premieres — 442.

— TOP STORY —

In Florida, the pandemic is worse now than it has ever been before.” via Dan Levin of The New York Times — More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of COVID-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic, underscoring the perils of limiting public health measures as the delta variant rips through the state. This week, 227 virus deaths were being reported each day in Florida, on average, as of Tuesday, a record for the state and by far the most in the United States right now. The average for new known cases reached 23,314 a day on the weekend, 30% higher than the state’s previous peak in January. Across the country, new deaths have climbed to more than 1,000 a day, on average.

In Florida, COVID-19 is bad — and could get worse. Image via Reuters.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Coronavirus cases increase by 26,203; hospitalizations grow by 76” via Daylina Miller of WUSF — The number of coronavirus cases in Florida rose by 26,203 on Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency also reported that the state’s deaths from COVID-19 increased by nine to 42,731. Florida’s coronavirus case total now stands at 3,130,144. There were 17,164 people with the coronavirus being treated in the state’s hospitals, an increase of 76 over Tuesday. Of those in the hospital, 3,682 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care, which was almost 54% of the state’s staffed ICU beds. While the cases and deaths were recorded Wednesday, they may have occurred in previous weeks or months.

Ron DeSantis: Consequences coming for school districts bucking his anti-mask mandate order” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — DeSantis says there could be more consequences to come for districts that flout the state’s rules against mask mandates in public schools. A growing number of school districts have been adopting mask mandates for students despite the administration’s threats to punish district administrators. Those that already had mandates have stood their ground or returned to them after initially backing off. When asked by a reporter whether he would reverse his ban on school mask mandates, DeSantis returned the question, “How about keeping the power with the parents?”

Ron DeSantis warns of more consequences coming from imposing mask mandates in schools. Image via Bloomberg.

Bodies stacked to the ceiling as COVID-19 surge creates backlog at Florida funeral homes, crematories” via Michelle Meredith of WFLA — At West Side Crematory in Winter Garden, they’re overwhelmed with the remains of people that need to be cremated. There’s an influx of bodies like they’ve never seen, worse than the first wave of COVID-19. The area where bodies are stored before being cremated is stacked to the ceiling. The staff is working day and night to honor the dead. One funeral director said that in a 30-minute period where he talked to his partner, four new cases came in. Mike Marchetti, the area manager for Newcomer Funeral Homes, says as much as they don’t want to, sometimes they have to delay meetings with families and delay funerals because they only have so much staff.

DeSantis administration to address Orlando monoclonal antibody booking problems” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Florida’s monoclonal antibody treatment sites aren’t yet operating at capacity amid hiccups at some sites, including one in Orlando. Speaking from the latest treatment site opening in The Villages on Wednesday, DeSantis raised public awareness for Regeneron’s antibody cocktail. The FDA has approved that therapeutic for people at high risk for severe infection who test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus. The drug has been shown to reduce the risk for hospitalizations and death by 70%. Officials say more than 10,000 people have been treated with Regeneron’s cocktail in Florida.

DeSantis administration continues damage control on infamous library picture” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Florida Division of Emergency Management Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth Scheppke offered an update on the patient in that disturbing image, Toma Dean. “We’re hearing great stories from around the state, success stories. One person that has been in the news quite a lot, when we first opened our site in Jacksonville, we had a woman that was so sick, she was laying on the floor,” Scheppke said. He added he had the “honor and the privilege of speaking to her.” “She really credits this medication with saving her life. She told me that the folks at the Jacksonville center were wonderful, and they treated her gently and got her the treatment, and she is convinced,” he said.

Palm Beach Schools to seek legal challenge of DeSantis’ mask mandate ban” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The Palm Beach School Board voted unanimously at an emergency meeting to go ahead with engaging outside legal counsel to challenge DeSantis’ order that prohibits mask mandates. The board is the second district to announce legal steps to defy the Governor after Broward County. Broward, home to Florida’s second-largest school district, voted on Aug. 10 to challenge DeSantis’ order. Palm Beach County School District is the state’s fifth-largest school district. Palm Beach School Board Member Alexandria Ayala said she believes that mandatory masking for students is the best way to keep kids in school — and healthy.

In the mask debate, docking pay for school board members hurt women politicians most” via Danielle J. Brown of Florida Phoenix — The fight over who controls schools during the COVID-19 pandemic could result in docking the pay of constitutionally elected officials on local school boards, most of whom are women. For example, all nine members of the Broward County School Board are female, and eight of the nine voted recently to mandate masks at public schools, moving against the DeSantis administration and facing loss in pay for board duties. In Alachua County, based in Gainesville, the school board has a female majority, three women and two men. That district also faces a loss of pay after voting for a mask mandate. Families could opt out of masking for medical reasons.

The mask debate comes with a political cost, mostly for female politicians. Image via AP.

More families look to leave their current public schools due to ‘COVID-19 harassment’; 10 districts now use strict mask mandates” via Danielle Brown of the Florida Phoenix — Step Up for Students, the organization overseeing Florida’s scholarships, has received 68 applications for the so-called Hope Scholarship under the “COVID-19 harassment,” category, according to Scott Kent, a communications staffer. There are about 2.8 million students in Florida’s public education system, according to the Florida Department of Education, so the number of new scholarships related to COVID-19 harassment so far is considered small. That said, there could be more applications on the way, with the school year so young. And more school districts are adopting mask policies that some parents vehemently oppose.

Florida doctors did not walk off the job” via Jude Joffe-Block and Ali Swenson of The Associated Press — A news conference held by doctors in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to urge the public to get vaccinated amid a statewide surge of COVID-19 was undermined online as false reports claimed the physicians had walked off the job. Doctors who participated in Monday’s event said they did not walk off the job or refuse to treat patients. The false claims, they said, have led to threats and harassment toward their colleagues and hospitals. Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist who organized the news conference, said she was frustrated by the false assertion. “This was a physician-driven news conference to encourage our community to get vaccinated and talk about the impact this has had on our community,” Buczyner said.

DeSantis blames pro-Andrew Cuomo press for New York nursing home deaths” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis regaled the Fox News Primetime audience with theories as to why Cuomo got favorable treatment from the press. “I think a lot of it was corporate media. Politicians are going to do what they want,” DeSantis said. “But you go back to when he was being lionized, at the beginning of this.” “We all had to make a decision on how to handle nursing homes. Florida, we prevented, prohibited hospitals from discharging a sick nursing home patient back into nursing homes because we understood the hazard that would have,” DeSantis said. “The corporate media never talked about that or cared about that, even though that’s a decision that had a direct impact on the lives of very elderly people.”

— CORONA LOCAL —

Tampa requires COVID-19 vaccinations for city employees” via Henry Queen of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — The city of Tampa will require its employees to have the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 30, Mayor Jane Castor announced. Exceptions are still in place. Employees can show proof of having COVID-19 antibodies instead of getting the vaccine. Individuals who are not vaccinated must wear an N95 mask and have a weekly COVID-19 test, Castor said. Castor’s mandate comes days after the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the FDA. The vaccine was previously administered under a federal emergency use authorization.

Jane Castor makes Tampa the first Bay Area city to mandate vaccinations.

—“Parent of 12-year-old in ICU urges Polk County to take up mask mandates” via Jordan Bowen of Fox 13

—“For days, a Winter Haven woman battled COVID-19 in the hospital. A nightmare awaited her at home” via Kimberly C. Moore of The Lakeland Ledger

Sarasota teacher dies of COVID-19 after falling ill before school year began” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Sarasota teacher Michelle Cook had a passion for helping struggling children and didn’t let the pandemic stop her, taking time to deliver books and food to students last year while she was doing virtual instruction. Cook tutored an autistic child who was nonverbal this summer, taught summer classes at a school for children with disabilities, and previously spent time teaching at the Triad Alternative School, a place for children who have struggled elsewhere. “The thing that made her so good at that is she’s nonjudgmental; she’s the most forgiving person and just had the ability to accept people and students where they were,” said Cook’s sister, Bethanne Bearden.

Fletcher Middle goes virtual marking second schoolwide closure in Duval County in two days” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Another secondary school is closing in Duval County during only the third week of school. On Wednesday, Duncan U. Fletcher Middle School announced switching to online instruction starting Thursday until Sept. 1. The school will reopen on Sept. 2. This marks the second Jacksonville campus to fully close in two days. On Tuesday, Baldwin Middle-Senior High announced a closure. To date, the school listed 33 cases among students and staff. Thirty-two of the cases are among students. That number is expected to increase when the school’s public-facing dashboard recording COVID-19 cases on campus is updated Wednesday evening.

Lee Health praises antibody therapy, says it’s no substitute for vaccination” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lee Health officials on Wednesday praised monoclonal antibody treatment as a “potentially lifesaving early intervention” for COVID-19 patients. But hospital officials stressed that’s no reason to skip vaccinations. “Prevention through vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, and MAB treatment is not a substitute for getting vaccinated,” reads an email from spokesman Jonathan Little. The hospital system was the first in Florida to report a known patient death from COVID-19. More than 17 months later, 859 have died while in Lee Health care. That includes 12 who died Tuesday and six who died Monday. The hospital system reports it currently has 646 COVID-19 patients in isolation, with 116 in intensive care and 88 on ventilators.

Anti-mask protester arrested after shoving high school student” via Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The debate over school masks boiled over Wednesday morning when a mask opponent was arrested for shoving a masked high school student in Fort Lauderdale and twisting her arm. Dan Bauman, a Fort Lauderdale man with a history of confrontations over masks, was charged with aggravated child abuse. He had been trying to video record the student at Fort Lauderdale High School. The student responded, “I’ve had enough for four days,” and tried to grab Bauman’s phone. Bauman then pushed the student’s shoulder and grabbed her hand, twisting her arm. A police officer and a security guard grabbed Bauman and placed him under arrest. He was taken to the Broward County Jail.

— STATEWIDE —

Increasing threat of tropical development in western Caribbean, southern Gulf this weekend” via Ray Hawthorne of WUSF — A new tropical depression is likely to form late this week or weekend over the western Caribbean. Atmospheric conditions favor strengthening once it enters the southern or western Gulf of Mexico by Sunday. Showers and thunderstorms associated with the tropical wave near the coast of northern Columbia are more concentrated Wednesday morning. Most of the reliable global models are forecasting the wave to become a tropical cyclone Friday or Saturday in the western Caribbean. It is likely to pass close to the Yucatán Peninsula or western Cuba during the time before entering the Gulf of Mexico later this weekend. There are still plenty of questions regarding exactly where this storm will form and just how strong the high-pressure ridge will be.

Hurricane season keeps chugging along.

Judge to decide whether to reinstate federal unemployment benefits suspended in June” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Tallahassee Circuit Judge Layne Smith began the hearing telling attorneys representing the workers what he thinks the case is about — whether Florida law bound DeSantis to accept the money and distribute it to the unemployed. Lawyers for both sides have until 5 p.m. Thursday to file proposed orders on how and why Smith should rule: Either to secure more than $400 million in federal unemployment benefits for jobless Floridians or dismiss the suit. “The focus of this case,” he added, “is whether the defendants (DeSantis and Department of Economic Opportunity Director Dane Eagle) had the authority to do what they did. If they did, there you go, and it’s a political issue … that’s really the battle lines on it.”

Citrus consultant Elizabeth Steger forecasts Florida orange crop to fall by 1.5%” via Paul Nutcher of The Lakeland Ledger — Private citrus consultant Steger called for a public-private effort to assist growers with issues facing the industry in her latest report, which predicted another decline in the citrus harvest this season. Steger forecast a 1.5% decline in boxes of oranges that will be picked in Florida groves during the 2021-22 growing season. Her prediction is a smaller decline than was predicted last year but continues the trend of an overall smaller citrus crop in Florida. Last year, Steger predicted an 8.4% decrease in the crop. She said the drop rate, the percentage of oranges falling from trees before the harvest, was very high at 43%.

— DATELINE TALLY —

Mike Grieco files bill to make forging, possessing fake vaccine cards a felony” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — On Wednesday, Rep. Grieco of Miami Beach filed HB 47, which, if enacted, would impose on forgers and possessors of fake vaccine proof the same penalties levied against people who counterfeit or own fake government-issued IDs. Starting Oct. 1, 2022, first-time offenders would be charged with a third-degree felony and risk fines of up to $5,000. Repeat offenders and felons could receive prison time. While the law would apply to all cases of vaccine fraud, including if parents provide fake vaccine paperwork for children entering public school, Grieco told Florida Politics his reason for filing it now is “obviously” because of issues related to COVID-19.

Fake vaccination cards are becoming a problem, one that Mike Grieco wants to solve. Image via AP.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Joshua Aubuchon, Delegal Aubuchon Consulting: Florida Craft Spirits Association

Erica Chanti, Rubin Turnbull & Associates: Independent Living Systems

Donn Scott Jr.: SPLC Action Fund

Corey Staniscia, CS Consulting Group: Habitat for Humanity of Broward

Crystal Stickle: Adelanto HealthCare Ventures, Bayada Home Health Care, Florida Medical Association, Seniorlink

— 2022 —

Florida poll: 53% disapprove of Joe Biden’s job performance” via Nick Niedzwiadek of POLITICO — A majority of Florida voters disapprove of Biden’s job performance. Roughly 53% of respondents gave Biden negative marks, compared with 40% who approved of the President’s performance seven months into his tenure. Another 7% said they were unsure, with the poll carrying a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. Unsurprisingly, 87% of self-identified Democrats said they were supportive of Biden, whereas 91% of Republicans expressed disapproval. However, Biden also fared poorly with independents, who landed 56-36 against the President.

Republican ad ‘Back to School’ dings Stephanie Murphy on inflation” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republicans continue to hammer swing-district Democratic Rep. Murphy on inflation, with a new ad charging she’s a reason parents are spending more money this year on school supplies for their children. The 30-second social media ad “Back to School” from the National Republican Congressional Committee begins looking like a back-to-school TV commercial a retail store might run, encouraging parents to buy school supplies and clothes. But the message is a downer, noting that inflation has pushed up electronics prices by 9%, shoes by 8%, and dresses by 19%. “It’s that time of year,” a narrator says as children rush down a school corridor. “Unfortunately, Democrats created an inflation crisis. And now you’re spending more.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Anna Paulina Luna calls for federal red tide aid in latest campaign push” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Luna released a new campaign video Tuesday calling on the federal government to step up in response to the red tide crisis. In the one-and-a-half-minute clip, Luna rides along via boat with charter fishing guide Cpt. Ray Markham to discuss the red tide problem afflicting the Pinellas County coast this summer. The algae bloom led the county to collect more than 1,712 tons of dead fish and caused an uptick in respiratory problems. “Water’s actually one of the bloodlines here in Florida,” Luna, who is running for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, said in the video. In the video, Luna also applauded DeSantis’ measures addressing red tide and urged the federal government to match the state’s efforts.

To watch the video, click on the image below:

Happening tonight:

Camille Evans, Tico Perez to lead Orange County redistricting” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Retired lobbyist Perez and banking lawyer Evans will co-chair Orange County’s advisory council on redistricting based on the 2020 census. On Tuesday, the Orange County Commission confirmed Perez, Evans, and 13 others to the panel that will oversee efforts to redraw the commission’s boundaries in time for the 2022 county elections. Perez, a Republican, is mostly retired from a long career in Central Florida political and civic scenes as a lobbyist, lawyer, and political commentator on local TV and radio shows. Evans, a Democrat, is managing partner of the Virtus law firm in Windermere.

— CORONA NATION —

NIH director: ‘It’s almost like we have a new pandemic’” via Rachel Roubein of The Washington Post — Both privately and publicly, federal officials are admitting a hard truth: they don’t know exactly when — and how — this wave will end. The delta variant, which is more than twice as contagious as previous strains, has fundamentally altered the course of the coronavirus in the United States. “Delta came along, and it’s almost like we have a new pandemic now,” Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, said. “Everything we thought we knew about COVID-19 has to be revised.” “I think we’re in a world of trouble for at least the next couple of months, but exactly what the shape of that trouble looks like, I can’t tell you,” he added.

Francis Collins says delta is like a brand-new COVID-19 pandemic. Image via ABC News.

Pentagon: U.S. troops must get their COVID-19 vaccines ASAP” via The Associated Press — Military troops must immediately begin to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo Wednesday, ordering service leaders to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.” More than 800,000 service members have yet to get their shots. And now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the FDA, the Defense Department is adding it to the list of required shots troops must get as part of their military service. The memo does not dictate a specific timeline for completing the vaccinations. But it says the military services will have to report regularly on their progress. A senior defense official said that Austin has made it clear to the services that he expects them to move quickly and that this will be completed in weeks, not months.

Vaccine efficacy diminished as delta arose, CDC report shows” via John Tozzi of Bloomberg — The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among front-line workers declined to 66% after the delta variant became dominant, compared with 91% before it arose, according to a report from the CDC. The vaccines are still protective, the CDC said, and the finding must be interpreted with caution, as vaccine effectiveness might wane over time and the estimates of efficacy were imprecise. “Although these interim findings suggest a moderate reduction in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing infection, the sustained two-thirds reduction in infection risk underscores the continued importance and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination,” researchers wrote in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts” via Dan Diamond of The Washington Post — For five months, Chris Brummett has ignored his wife’s pleas that he get a coronavirus vaccine. He cares even less that federal regulators finally issued a long-awaited approval for one of them. “My wife is on me all the time to do it,” said Brummett. Brummett, a libertarian critical of both the Biden and Donald Trump administrations, said he’s struggling to trust any government messages about the virus. Hopes that many of those skeptics would be swayed by vaccine approval appear to have been unrealistic, according to interviews with 16 unvaccinated Americans, including six who said earlier this year that they would be more likely to get vaccinated if the FDA approved the shots.

There are still some holdouts. Image via AP.

Holes in reporting of breakthrough COVID-19 cases hamper CDC response” via Erin Banco of POLITICO — The CDC is using outdated and unreliable data on coronavirus breakthrough infections to help make major decisions such as who gets booster shots, according to three officials with direct knowledge of the situation. The agency originally tried to track all infections in vaccinated people, from mild to severe. But in May, it decided to focus on the most severe cases, saying that would allow it to better monitor overall conditions and make more informed, targeted policy decisions. More than a dozen states rely on hospital administrators to report breakthrough infections. The resulting data is often aggregated, inaccurate, and omits critical details for teasing out trends.

— CORONA ECONOMICS —

Only a fraction of COVID-19 rental assistance has been distributed” via Andrew Ackerman and Will Parker of The Wall Street Journal — The U.S. program to help tenants and landlords struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still moving at a slow pace and has delivered a fraction of the promised aid, data released by the Treasury Department on Wednesday show. Since December, Congress has appropriated a total of $46.6 billion to help tenants who were behind on their rent. As of July 31, just $4.7 billion had been distributed to landlords and tenants, the Treasury said. Wednesday’s data show that rental aid has begun to move faster in some states, though July’s $1.7 billion reflected only a modest overall increase from the $1.5 billion distributed in June.

The flood of rental relief was only a trickle. Image via the Tennessean.

Delta Air Lines is raising health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $200 a month to cover higher COVID-19 costs” via Leslie Josephs of CNBC — Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian notified employees Wednesday that they will face $200 monthly increases on their health insurance premiums starting Nov. 1 if they aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, citing steep costs to cover employees who are hospitalized with the virus. Unvaccinated employees will face other restrictions, including indoor masking effective immediately and weekly COVID-19 tests starting Sept. 12. Delta, which self-insures its employees, stands out in its plans to raise premiums for unvaccinated workers to cover the higher costs of insuring employees who get COVID-19.

The GOP struggles with what to do on employer vaccine mandates” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Biden this week responded to the FDA’s full authorization of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine by calling on employers around the country to mandate it for their employees — which it seems many will. And Republicans as a party don’t seem to know what to do with that. In the days since the FDA’s authorization and Biden’s call, Republicans who have otherwise fought tooth and nail against vaccine mandates have been surprisingly quiet about the prospect. And the few who have spoken out have generally said employers should be allowed to implement them. But unlike the party’s posture toward school mask mandates, government vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, there is little cohesion on this subject. So far, only one state bans employer vaccine mandates: Montana.

— MORE CORONA —

Jail doctor prescribes livestock drug ivermectin to detainees with COVID-19 despite FDA warnings” via Kim Bellware of The Washington Post — An Arkansas jail and its health care provider are facing criticisms of “medical experimentation” because the jail’s medical staff has been treating COVID-19 patients with ivermectin, a drug commonly used for deworming livestock. Washington County Justice of the Peace Eva Madison said she heard reports of the practice Tuesday after a county employee visited a Karas Health Care coronavirus testing site at the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville and was prescribed ivermectin despite testing negative for the coronavirus. “When this employee told me that, I thought, ‘Our sheriff has common sense. He’ll know what’s going on,’” Madison said. Madison said she has a good rapport with Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder but was dismayed when he confirmed her suspicions — and defended the practice.

Horse dewormer ivermectin is not an approved treatment for COVID-19. But that’s not stopping some in Arkansas from using it.

—”Oklahoma nurses and doctors beg unvaccinated to help stressed ICUs: ‘I have zipped up too many body bags’” via Timothy Bella of The Washington Post

When your friend group has that one person who won’t get vaccinated” via Ashley Fetters of The Washington Post — Now that a pandemic that briefly looked to be ending has surged back instead, vaccination status remains depressingly relevant, especially when meeting up with the whole gang at a bar or in any other tight space. Some groups with a lone unvaccinated holdout are devising new ways to get together safely, while others are quietly wondering what it all means for the future of their friendships. How can we possibly keep hanging out with this person? But, literally: How? Irene S. Levine, a psychologist and author, suggests having an honest group conversation about boundaries and planning gatherings accordingly. “People that are vaccinated and only comfortable with vaccinated people can get together,” among themselves, she says.

That email asking for proof of vaccination might be a phishing scam” via Tatum Hunter of The Washington Post — As coronavirus cases rise because of the new delta variant, pandemic-related email scams are on the rise, too. Pandemic-related phishing attempts in June increased 33%, compared to a lull this spring and early summer when concerns about the virus temporarily waned, researchers at security firm Proofpoint found. The spike occurred right when Google searches for “delta variant” were peaking. Hackers know that communication from employers or health organizations about the coronavirus can compel people to click. Employers are asking for negative coronavirus test results, return-to-work feedback forms and, in some cases, proof of vaccination. That’s fertile ground for phishing and ransomware.

The U.S. is randomly rejecting travelers from Europe with valid visas” via Annalisa Merelli of Quartz — Travelers who aren’t citizens or green cardholders cannot travel to the U.S. unless they have been out of the Schengen Area for at least 14 days, irrespective of whether they live and pay taxes in the U.S., or are tourists. Despite holding valid visas and proof of being out of a restricted area for more than 14 days, some travelers are denied boarding at Dubrovnik’s airport. What is happening appears to be nothing more than a glitch, and travelers who have been denied visa clearance were eventually allowed on later flights, but not without inconveniences that include risking delayed returns to work or family separation.

Random European travelers are being denied entry to the U.S.

For NFL teams with unvaccinated quarterbacks, this could be a long, complicated season” via Mark Maske of The Washington Post — As the NFL season nears, the competitive implications of a team having an unvaccinated quarterback have been underscored. Minnesota Vikings starter Kirk Cousins was quarantined early in training camp as a high-risk close contact. Lamar Jackson was sidelined while in isolation after he tested positive for the virus for a second time. Cam Newton missed at least one joint practice with the New York Giants before he’s eligible to return to the Patriots’ facility. The NFL has fared far better than the country as a whole with its vaccination rate. The league said earlier this month that 91.7% of NFL players had received at least one vaccine dose. But some players remain unvaccinated, and there are competitive implications for that.

Krispy Kreme is sweetening its free doughnut promotion for vaccinated people” via Jordan Valinsky of CNN — Krispy Kreme is doubling down on its popular free doughnut promotion for customers vaccinated against COVID-19. Beginning August 30, the chain gives anyone with vaccination proof two free doughnuts every day until Sept. 5. In March, the chain began its promotion to encourage people to get vaccinated with a free doughnut a day for the rest of the year. So far, Krispy Kreme says it has given away more than 2.5 million doughnuts through the deal. The chain is also making a special heart-shaped doughnut to give away, in addition to a traditional glazed doughnut.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Biden says the U.S. is poised to meet the Afghan withdrawal deadline, at least for now.” via Michael D. Shear, Annie Karni and Eric Schmitt of The New York Times — But the President had spoken to military leaders so that they would be prepared to “adjust that timetable, should that become necessary.” “It is a tenuous situation,” Biden said. “We are currently on pace to finish by Aug. 31,” he said. “The sooner we can finish, the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.” Much of the success of that effort hinged on the Taliban’s continuing to cooperate. He said the legitimacy of the Taliban government in the eyes of the United States and its allies depended on the approach it now takes to uphold its international obligations, including ensuring that Afghanistan does not once again become a base for international terrorism.

Joe Biden says the Afghanistan pullout is on schedule. Image via AP.

Biden, needing a win, enters a sprint for his economic agenda” via Jim Tankersley and Emily Cochrane of The New York Times — Biden, his aides, and his allies in Congress face a Sept. sprint to secure a legislative victory that could define his early presidency. Democrats are racing the clock after party leaders in the House struck a deal this week to advance the two-track approach that Biden hopes will deliver a $4 trillion overhaul of the federal government’s role in the economy. If the party’s factions can bridge their differences in time, they could deliver a signature legislative achievement for Biden, on par with the New Deal or Great Society. If they fail, Biden could find both halves of his economic agenda dashed, at a time when his popularity is slumping and few if any of his other top priorities have a chance to pass Congress.

Biden administration will continue challenging ‘Remain in Mexico’” via Caroline Simon of Roll Call — The Biden administration vowed to continue fighting to end a controversial Trump-era border policy that forces asylum-seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico, after the Supreme Court ruled against its attempt to rescind the program. Roberto Velasco Alvarez, a senior official in the Mexican foreign ministry, confirmed in a tweet that the U.S. government had been in touch over the ruling and that the two nations will “exchange information” to determine what action Mexico will take. Meanwhile, there are other steps the Biden administration can take to challenge MPP, which it moved to unwind as soon as Biden took office on the grounds that it was dangerous and inhumane, forcing vulnerable asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico for long periods of time.

Biden receives inconclusive intelligence report on COVID-19 origins” via Ellen Nakashima, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post — Biden on Tuesday received a classified report from the intelligence community that was inconclusive about the origins of the novel coronavirus, including whether the pathogen jumped from an animal to a human as part of a natural process, or escaped from a lab in central China. The intelligence community will seek within days to declassify elements of the report for potential public release, officials said. The assessment is the result of a 90-day sprint after Biden tasked his intelligence agencies in May to produce a report “that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion” on the origins of a virus that has killed more than 4 million people globally and wrecked national economies. But intelligence officials fell short of a consensus.

A new report does not clarify the true origin of COVID-19. Image via NBC News.

Biden administration to restart oil and gas leasing” via Jacob Fischler of the Florida Phoenix — The Interior Department will make significant steps toward restarting its leasing programs for onshore and offshore oil and gas development in the coming months, the Biden administration said in a court filing. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management anticipates holding a sale for offshore leases in October or November, the administration said. The Bureau of Land Management, which handles onshore leases, would need longer, according to the court filing. The agency will publish parcel lists for upcoming sales by the end of this month, with a notice of sale to be published in December. The sale itself would then occur 30 days later.

— EPILOGUE: TRUMP —

In latest bow to Donald Trump, GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania plan to launch hearings on 2020 vote” via Elise Viebeck of The Washington Post — Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania plan to formally launch hearings as part of an investigation into the 2020 vote in the state, the latest GOP-backed effort to revisit an election that Trump has falsely claimed was fraudulent. State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said this week that lawmakers are pursuing a “full forensic investigation” of the election to examine ballots and voter rolls. “I don’t necessarily have faith in the results,” he told conservative media personality Wendy Bell in an interview. Corman said the hearings could begin as soon as this week. A spokesman declined to offer specifics but said they would occur in “the very near future.”

Election shenanigans are alive and well in Pennsylvania. Image via The Washington Post.

Federal judge in Michigan orders pro-Trump lawyers disciplined over lawsuit seeking to overturn 2020 election” via Rosalind S. Helderman of The Washington Post — A federal judge ordered that Sidney Powell, L. Lin Wood, and seven other attorneys who filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election be disciplined, calling the suit “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.” In a scathing 110-page opinion, Judge Linda Parker wrote that the lawyers made assertions in court that were not backed by evidence and had failed to do the due diligence required by legal rules. “This case was never about fraud,” she wrote. “It was about undermining the People’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.” She ordered the lawyers to pay the attorney’s fees for their opponents — the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan.

— CRISIS —

Jan. 6 investigators include Trump White House in first document requests” via Nicholas Wu and Betsy Woodruff Swan of POLITICO — The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection sent a flurry of requests to federal agencies for records related to the attack, including communications from the Trump White House. It’s the panel’s first step to seek documents on how the U.S. government handled the chaos of the siege on the legislature. Set up by House Democrats with two anti-Trump GOP members, the select committee is escalating its investigation even as the chamber breaks for a monthlong recess. The committee, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, plans to seek executive branch records related to the attack and its run-up, including “communications within and among the White House and Executive Branch agencies” on and before Jan. 6.

Bennie Thompson is casting a wide net. Image via AP.

Secret Service warned Capitol Police about violent threats one day before Jan. 6” via Betsy Woodruff Swan and Nicholas Wu of POLITICO — Just a day before the Jan. 6 riot, the Secret Service warned the U.S. Capitol Police that their officers could face violence at the hands of Trump supporters. The Secret Service’s emails shed light on intelligence lapses by the Capitol Police previously highlighted by both the department’s inspector general and a bipartisan report by Senate committees. Since then, the Hill’s law enforcement agency has pledged reform and said it had made changes to ensure the effective sharing of intelligence. The Capitol Police argued that while many threats like the ones described in the Secret Service warnings circulated in the days before the attack, no intelligence suggested a large-scale assault on the level seen on Jan. 6.

Report details mishandling of police emergency system on Jan. 6” via Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo of The Associated Press — U.S. Capitol Police didn’t adequately respond to frantic calls for help from officers when they pressed panic buttons on their radios seeking immediate backup as scores of pro-Trump rioters beat officers with bats, poles and other weapons, an inspector general’s report found. The report offered new details about the shortcomings of law enforcement during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The report found that most emergency activations from individual officers’ radios were never simulcast on the police radio, a standard protocol designed to spread the word to other officers about emergencies and crises. The report said that the on-duty watch commander appears not to have been made aware of at least some of the system activations.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Marco Rubio slams ‘out of touch’ Biden as Afghanistan ‘catastrophe’ continues” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Rubio took to Fox News describing Biden as “oblivious” and saying the deadline to get people out of the “chaos” of the airport in Kabul was not the end of the month, but sooner. He also said the outcome could have been expected. “This is what you get when a President is completely out of touch with reality,” Rubio said, “(Aug. 31) … is the deadline of the last plane to take off — the real deadline is probably Friday or Saturday. August 31 is the last date there will be any American on the ground in terms of uniforms. The real deadline is actually this week; it’s not the 31st.”

Matt Gaetz failed to properly disclose his abysmal book sales” via Roger Sollenberger of The Daily Beast — Amid a Justice Department investigation into alleged sex crimes and a related House Ethics probe, beleaguered Congressman Gaetz appears to have committed at least one much smaller but more straightforward federal violation: failure to disclose how much money he made from a book he published last September. When The Daily Beast inquired about the omission last week, a Gaetz spokesperson said the office needed “additional documentation” from the publisher and was “in the process of receiving that information and amending the Congressman’s financial disclosure.” Sure enough, an amended financial disclosure was filed three days after The Daily Beast reached out asking about the undisclosed book income.

Matt Gaetz’s book bombed.

Ted Deutch said U.S. cannot allow Afghanistan to become another Iran” via Antonio Fins of The Palm Beach Post — Congressman Deutch said fears a terrorist group could disrupt the Kabul airlift is all the more reason to ensure Afghanistan does not become another Iran. Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism, said he understands “our focus right now is getting people out.” Deutch added the pace of evacuations in the past week suggested there is time to fly out all U.S. citizens and Afghans who assisted the allied war effort, but that assertion was disputed by Republican U.S. Sen. Rubio in a speech in West Palm Beach on Wednesday.

Carlos Giménez says he knows why Democrats aren’t as vocal as Republicans about Cuba” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Giménez has a theory for why Biden and other Democrats aren’t talking more about human rights violations in Cuba that prompted citizens of the island nation and thousands in the United States to take to the streets in protest. It’s not for fear that intervening could prompt retaliation and destabilize the region, nor is it because the U.S. spent the last two decades entrenched in war overseas. No, the reason why toppling the communist regime in Cuban isn’t among Biden and his party’s most talked about subjects is simple, according to Giménez: Democrats agree with a lot of what communism is about.

Carlos Giménez has a theory on Democrats’ relative silence on Cuba. Image via Twitter.

Two U.S. Representatives try to explain unauthorized visit to Kabul” via Catie Edmondson of The New York Times — Reps. Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Peter Meijer, Republican of Michigan, stunned Washington when they secretly flew to Kabul on Tuesday on an unauthorized mission to witness the evacuation of Americans and Afghans. In an interview, Moulton and Meijer said the trip had changed their minds about Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline for a full withdrawal, which they had previously urged the administration to extend. Given that there is little chance that all Americans and Afghan allies can be evacuated in the next two weeks, they said, a swift departure is the only way for the United States to ensure that the Taliban will cooperate in eventually getting those left behind to safety.

Restaurants plead with Congress for more help” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The delta variant-driven summer surge of COVID-19 is starting again to discourage people from going out to eat, leaving restaurants very concerned and pleading for more help from Congress. “We concluded that a majority of consumers have changed their dining behavior in a manner that is beginning to put acute pressure back on the restaurant industry,” National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President Sean Kennedy wrote in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders. Dozens of state restaurant associations, including the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, co-signed the letter seeking another round of relief money.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Robert Blackmon spent least per vote among top mayoral candidates” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Blackmon proved to have the most bang for his buck Tuesday night after securing a spot on the Nov. 2 General Election ballot for St. Petersburg Mayor, spending about $3 less per vote as his General Election opponent Ken Welch. The two ousted six other candidates in Tuesday’s Primary Election. Blackmon spent about $15 per vote in his favor after dishing out a total of $229,467 between his campaign and political committee, Prosperous St. Pete. On the other hand, Welch spent about $18 per vote between his campaign and his affiliated political committee, Pelican PAC. Welch spent $402,173 leading up to the Primary Election.

Robert Blackmon was the value candidate. Image via Robert Blackmon.

Behind the Florida condo collapse: Rampant corner-cutting” via Konrad Putzier, Scott Calvert and Rachael Levy of The Wall Street Journal — A startling discovery awaited an engineer who drilled into the ground-level concrete slab at Champlain Towers South last year. He could find no waterproofing in two separate sections. Without that essential layer, rainwater and salty sea spray likely had seeped in for decades, slowly weakening the steel rebar and concrete holding up the condo building. Indeed, the engineer reported at the time seeing significant concrete deterioration. Less than a year later, in the early hours of June 24, part of that slab dropped into the parking garage below. Within minutes, the east wing of the 13-story tower collapsed.

Experts in Surfside condo collapse probe named, investigation likely to take years” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Leaders of a federal probe into what caused the Champlain Towers South condominium to collapse two months ago have announced key experts who will head up different parts of the complex project, which is likely to take years. The National Institute of Standards and Technology investigation is meant to provide a “third-party perspective focused on the science,” NIST Director James Olthoff said Wednesday. He told reporters his organization aims to get to the bottom of why the residential tower in Surfside fell June 24, killing 98, but it won’t assign blame.

Building owned by Surfside Mayor has needed fixes for years. He blames permit delays” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — While Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett manages building-safety issues in the town where the Champlain Towers South condo collapsed, an apartment building Burkett owns in neighboring Miami Beach has a lingering problem of its own. It’s been nearly four years since Miami Beach’s Building Department issued an “Unsafe Structures” violation for the Lois Apartments at 2001 Bay Dr. in Normandy Isle after a tree fell and damaged four of its balconies during Hurricane Irma in 2017. The balconies were never fixed and have been boarded up. From the outside, exposed rebar is visible in one balcony’s railings, tied together with rope. In the balcony one floor up, more than half the railing is gone.

Even Charles Burkett owns a troubled building in Surfside. Image via AP.

Flagler Sheriff’s general counsel resigns amid questions about her ‘White Noise’ videos” via Frank Fernandez of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — The general counsel for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office resigned Tuesday after The News-Journal asked about a series of “More Than White Noise” videos she had posted on the conservative online platform Rumble. In some of the videos, Theresa Pontieri, who is white, disparaged the Black Lives Matter movement. In one video, she referred to a Black girl who Ohio police fatally shot as “thuggy.” In another video, she said she did not condone but understood why those who stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 were angry that then-Vice President Mike Pence was not supporting Trump‘s assertion without evidence that the election was stolen from him.

— TOP OPINION —

Biden’s rush to the Afghan exits” via The Wall Street Journal editorial board — Some readers were upset by our editorial last week: “Biden to Afghanistan: Drop Dead.” But that headline looks more sadly accurate than ever after Biden’s decision Tuesday to stick to his arbitrary Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Unless you’re Nancy Pelosi or a media partisan, there’s no sugarcoating what this means. Biden is bowing to Taliban demands, reiterated on Tuesday, not to extend the deadline. He is rejecting the advice of such G-7 leaders as Britain’s Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron of France to stay longer to get more people out of the country safely. And he is abandoning thousands of Afghans who fought with the U.S. and NATO to the Taliban’s brand of retribution.

— OPINIONS —

How Florida’s massive COVID-19 spike got so bad” via Dylan Scott of Vox — Florida leads all states in the number of hospitalizations and deaths per capita. The Florida health department asked the federal government to send more ventilators as the number of hospitalized patients spiked, a request DeSantis claimed to know nothing about. Experts said the state’s policies, which have signaled to the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike that it’s OK to go about their normal lives, are making it easier for the virus to spread. The situation has led to a sort of theater of the absurd, with DeSantis fighting local mitigation measures while at the same time promoting new treatments for people who get so sick, they need to be hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Florida must maintain its right and responsibility to protect our water supply” via Sen. Ben Albritton for The Fort Myers News-Press — Last week, the federal government declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, cutting off water to residents and businesses in Arizona and Nevada. Florida could face a similar fate if we’re not thoughtful about caring for and protecting our water resources. And that includes maintaining the state’s fundamental right to allocate our water resources to meet the needs of our citizens, our businesses and our environment. Unfortunately, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a misguided plan that will surrender Florida’s right to control its water supply in Lake Okeechobee. This irreversible action would jeopardize the sustainability of the freshwater supply for a major part of our state.

Forget feeding needy kids. Florida is busy fighting over masks and transgender sports” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — By now, you probably know DeSantis is waging a lot of wars over kids these days. He doesn’t want them to have to wear masks in school. And he wants to stop transgender kids from playing on the sports teams they want. Well, now it appears the Governor also doesn’t want some of Florida’s poorest children to have access to food stamps that most other states have embraced. We’re talking about a one-time federal benefit of $375 — a piddly portion of the trillion-dollar pandemic relief plan meant to help feed needy Americans. It’s possible to be conservative and compassionate. To realize it makes no sense to dole out pandemic relief to struggling businesses while denying it to hungry children.

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

The trial over the Governor’s ban on mask mandates enters its fourth day. A group of parents is challenging DeSantis’ prohibition on mask mandates, and they’re asking the tough questions. They really didn’t have answers.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— A new poll from Quinnipiac shows 60% of Floridians support mask mandates, and two-thirds of them say masking up is about public health; only a third say is about individual freedom. But don’t tell that to the Governor … he’s still ticked off at the districts that opposed his emergency order

— They talk about mandatory masks, but there’s a loophole: All it takes is a note from the doctor. And a Tallahassee physician is banned from his hospital for offering notes for $50 apiece.

— DeSantis held another news conference to open a Regeneron treatment center, but his medical adviser says don’t forget to get vaccinated.

— And finally, a Florida Man got his job back after being fired for using the N-word.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Warner Bros. reveals new footage of ‘The Matrix 4’ and ‘The Batman’ at CinemaConvia Robert Marich of Variety — Taking a low-key approach, Warner Bros. presented new footage Tuesday for its theatrical slate over the next seven months at exhibitors’ confab CinemaCon in Las Vegas. The studio’s reel included new footage of “The Batman” starring Robert Pattinson and the opening sequence for “The Many Saints of Newark” that is a prequel to “The Sopranos.” A glimpse at the first trailer for “The Matrix 4” was also revealed, along with its title: “The Matrix: Resurrections.” Beyond the near-term theatrical slate, Warner Bros. teased that five movie adaptations of its DC Comics properties are expected down the road.

To the delight of fans, ‘Matrix 4’ is coming soon.

Target is adding Disney mini-shops to more stores, just in time for the holiday season” via Christopher Burch of NJ.com — The big-box retailer announced it will add the Disney Store at Target to at least 100 additional stores. The exact locations have yet to be announced. There are currently 53 Disney mini-shops inside Target stores, along with an online store. “As Target’s partnership with Disney continues to be a major hit, guests will find top toys from popular Disney properties,” a statement said. Target and Disney are not the only popular retailers to team up this year: An Ulta Beauty-Target partnership is on the horizon; Toys ‘R’ Us mini-shops are coming to Macy’s; the Sephora at Kohl’s concept launched earlier this month.

Director Barry Jenkins is the travel nerd’s travel nerd” via Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal — Jenkins, Oscar-winning writer, director and producer, is also a proud aviation geek with a strong Twitter following among travelers. He reposts turbulence maps, comments on strange routes that airplanes take around storms, and even gives advice on travel bags. His eye is far more discerning than the average road warrior’s. He’ll call out the perfect seat-height-to-window ratio on a plane and the worst layout of business-class cabins (seats angled with a passenger’s back to the window). Sometimes he becomes so fascinated with how light plays with clouds that he’ll make a short video, set it to the music he’s listening to, and share it on Twitter.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to Sen. George Gainer, our friend Joy Friedman, as well as Doug Adkins, Christian Camara, Jonathan Rees, Kayleigh Sagonowsky, and Jared Willis.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


One comment

  • Tom

    August 26, 2021 at 6:29 am

    What a crock of crap this is.
    So called “self identified voters” are surveyed for a hack poll. The Sentinel & Florida politics run it. What a joke and embarrassment from a partisan and hateful Quinnipiac Polling company. 899 “self” described voters. Really? Who polls like this. What a professional embarrassment. Are you serious? Disgraceful.
    I don’t know who’s worse. Quinnipiac or the media that run this crap. Embarrassing.

Comments are closed.


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