The Wider World

Pence, Harris clash in VP debate

THE FIRST and only 2020 vice presidential debate is set for Wednesday night between Republican veep Mike Pence and Democratic pick Kamala Harris (Shutterstock).

The first and only vice presidential debate of the 2020 campaign held on Wednesday night reached one conclusion: it was a lot more civil than the presidential debate last week.

Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Sen. Kamala Harris clashed for 90 minutes in Salt Lake City on a wide variety of issues, ranging from COVID-19 to climate change to health care to the integrity of the election.

Unlike the unruly debate that seemed to overwhelm moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, this event – moderated by USA Today’s Susan Page – this encounter was calmer, even though she labored to cut off Mr. Pence when he spoke beyond his allotted time.

“Thank you, Mr. Vice President,” she said repeatedly trying to stop his comments. Harris sometimes ran over her time as well, but Pence ended up with more “over” time than her.

During the debate, each sought to advance their own ticket while criticizing the other: “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said about the Trump-Pence team’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Pence defended the administration’s record and accused the Democratic ticket of wanting to raise taxes, ban fracking [a controversial drilling technique] and supporting the Green New Deal advanced by some progressive Democrats during the primary season.

There were some low moments. At one point a fly landed on Pence’s white hair, remaining there for a minute or two, which may have distracted some viewers from focusing on what the vice president was saying.

Broadcast pundits generally agreed after the debate that both debaters had done fairly well, but “who won” depended on which party they were affiliated with.

Vice presidential debates historically have seldom seemed to affect the race for the top spot, but given the age of the presidential nominees – Donald Trump is 74 and Joe Biden is 77 – the possibility of succession suggests that one of the people on that stage might be the next, next president of the United States.

Trump wants negotiations on corona relief

In a reversal, President Donald Trump is now urging Congress to resume negotiations on a coronavirus relief bill. On Tuesday, the president halted the talks, urging the Senate – where the Republicans hold a majority – to concentrate instead on confirming his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

By Wednesday, the president had changed his mind. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has passed a $2.2 trillion bill, but the Administration prefers a $1.6 trillion package. Finding a compromise could mean a new wave of  “stimulus” checks to individuals and assistance to businesses.

The News: Stocks bounce up; Chauvin makes bail

After a swoon on Tuesday, Wall Street bounced back on Wednesday. The Dow was up 530.70 points, and the S&P 500 rose by 58.50 points. The Nasdaq showed a gain of 210 points. • Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd, has posted a $1 million bond and left prison, awaiting his trial, set to begin March 8. •  The Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain announced on Wednesday that it was filing for bankruptcy and will close all 185 eateries. •  A study conducted by researchers in the U.S. and Canada indicates that men, and young persons of both sexes, were less likely to practice social distancing  than older people and women of all ages. • The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded Wednesday to a French scientist – Emmanuelle Charpentier – and an American professor – Jennifer Doudna – for developing “genetic scissors” to combat disease.

Weather: Nice, just very nice

What a pleasant autumnal day it was on Wednesday with highs in West Orange County in the high 70s. The overnight low should be 63. Thursday’s high is forecast by the National Weather Service to be 76 (63 overnight) and Friday is predicted to have a high of 74 (60) overnight.  In the coastal areas, temps are expected to be lower. The NWS forecast for Thursday for Huntington Beach is expected to be 72 for a high. Friday looks like 69 and Saturday’s hottest temperature is forecast to dip to 66.

Sports Today: Dodgers edge Padres, 6-5

The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in their National League Division Series with a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres Wednesday night in Arlington, Texas.

Leading 6-3 going into the final inning, the Dodgers had to weather a two-run rally by the Padres. That was the pattern of the game, as the LA team raced out to a lead and the SD team rallied to almost close the gap.

Corey Seager was the hitting star for the Dodgers, going 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, two runs scored and two runs batted in. Cody Bellinger added a solo home run. The defensive play of the game came in the seventh when he robbed Fernando Tatis, Jr. of what would have been a two-run home run with a leaping grab at the fence in deep center field.

The win went to Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw, who worked six innings, giving up six hits and three earned runs. He struck out six and walked none. The save went to Joe Kelly, who recorded the final out despite walking two batters.

San Diego was sparked by home runs by Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado.

Game Three of the series will be played on Thursday.

In the other NLDS game the Atlanta Braves went ahead 2-0 with their 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins.


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