Pelosi says White House proposal on COVID-19 relief is “one step forward, two steps back”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled that there has been limited progress in negotiations with the White House over a coronavirus relief package, saying in a letter to her Democratic colleagues that a proposal presented by the Trump administration on Friday amounted to “one step forward, two steps back.”

“When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold, rather than agreeing on language prescribing how we honor our workers, crush the virus and put money in the pockets of workers,” Pelosi wrote. “At this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities, and Democrats are awaiting language from the Administration on several provisions as the negotiations on the overall funding amount continue.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Friday that President Trump had “approved” a “revised” coronavirus relief package, although he did not offer specifics. 

Earlier, on Tuesday, Mr. Trump slammed the door shut on a deal before the election, but then appeared to change his mind, first calling on the House to pass standalone relief bills and then indicating that he would support a large relief package. In a tweet on Friday morning, the president said, “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

In her letter to colleagues on Saturday, Pelosi said the plan produced by the administration does not include “a strategic plan to crush the virus.” She compared it to the HEROES Act which the House passed last month, which provides a national regimen on testing and tracing.

The $2.4 trillion relief bill would also restore a popular benefit providing an additional $600 per week on top of unemployment benefits, deliver another round of direct payments and provide funding for schools and state and local jurisdiction. The legislation was a slimmed-down version of a $3.4 trillion bill the House initially passed in May.

“At this point, the Trump proposal is insufficient in meeting families’ needs, in stark contrast to the Heroes Act, which secured tens of billions for direct relief and refundable credits,” Pelosi said in her letter. She said the Trump administration proposal would differ from the HEROES Act by eliminating the earned income tax credit, child tax credit and child dependent care tax credit. The Democratic proposal would also include $57 billion for child care, while the White House plan only offers $25 billion.

Pelosi also slammed the administration for including a tax benefit that she said would benefit the wealthy, and offering $200 billion less than the Democratic proposal in unemployment benefits.

Nonetheless, Pelosi indicated she would like negotiations to continue.

“Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday’s developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” Pelosi said.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cast doubt on a potential deal, saying Friday he believed “the situation is kind of murky.”

“I’d like to see us rise above that like

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Pentagon scrambles to retrace steps after White House COVID-19 outbreak

The Pentagon is retracing the steps of its top brass after a positive coronavirus case among senior officials forced Defense Department heads into quarantine.



Pentagon scrambles to retrace steps after White House COVID-19 outbreak


© Greg Nash
Pentagon scrambles to retrace steps after White House COVID-19 outbreak

News of Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray testing positive, which came after he attended a Sept. 27 White House event, broke after Ray had met with several other senior leaders at the Pentagon last week.

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The Defense Department has since raced to conduct contact tracing, highlighting the stark difference between the Pentagon and White House, where administration officials have been reluctant to reveal key timeline details after President Trump and top aides tested positive.

“Simply because it is such a threat to readiness and can disable a ship, a building, a base, they take this very seriously,” Steve Morrison, a public health expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of the Pentagon’s response.

“It didn’t seem they were looking to be micromanaged by anyone, they sort of kicked in to gear,” he added.

Top Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Tuesday that the Pentagon is “conducting additional contact tracing and taking appropriate precautions to protect the force and the mission.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for specifics regarding its contact tracing and what additional precautions are being taken.

Hoffman said Tuesday that all potential close contacts from the meetings involving Ray “are self-quarantining and have been tested.”

One of those close contacts, Gen. Gary Thomas, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, has since tested positive. He was quarantining when his results were announced by the Defense Department.

“We are aware of General Thomas’ positive test for COVID-19. At this time we have no additional senior leader positive test results to report. We will continue to follow CDC guidance for self-quarantining and contact tracing,” the Pentagon said in a statement Wednesday night.

Most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, are self-quarantining following Ray’s positive test.

Others who are quarantining include Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday; Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville; Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown; Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond; National Guard Bureau chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson; and Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency.

The officials were possibly exposed during several meetings that Ray attended last week.

Ray tested positive on Monday after experiencing mild symptoms over the weekend. He had been indoors at the White House on Sept. 27 for a Gold Star family event in which several other top defense officials, including Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, were in attendance.

His diagnosis came amid a growing coronavirus outbreak centered on the White House, where Trump held an event in the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.

Milley and Esper have so

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Trump campaign’s next steps unclear after White House return

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s return to the White House is poised to reshape the campaign’s final four weeks as aides debated Tuesday how to move past an extraordinary setback while grappling with how to send an infected president back on the road.



President Donald Trump removes his mask as he stands on the balcony outside of the Blue Room as returns to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Provided by Associated Press
President Donald Trump removes his mask as he stands on the balcony outside of the Blue Room as returns to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A race that had remained steady throughout the tumult of 2020 now threatens to slip away from the president after he spent 72 hours hospitalized with COVID-19, the very disease that has fundamentally altered the country he leads and the campaign he wanted to run. And as Democrat Joe Biden stood on one of the nation’s most hallowed grounds to call for national unity, the president, in his first full day back in the executive mansion, plunged Washington into further chaos by abruptly ending coronavirus relief talks.



Supporters of President Donald Trump line the road as the motorcade with Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


© Provided by Associated Press
Supporters of President Donald Trump line the road as the motorcade with Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump had stage-managed his dramatic, if reckless, reentry to the White House — tearing off his mask before stepping back inside Monday — and was pushing aides to return to the campaign trail as soon as possible, including to next week’s second debate against Biden. But as the president remained contagious, his health under careful watch, a division emerged between aides over how to manage the fallout.



Members of the U.S. Secret Service stand guard as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


© Provided by Associated Press
Members of the U.S. Secret Service stand guard as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Some believed the moment could act as a late reset, allowing the president to draw from his own experiences to at last show empathy for those affected by a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans, left millions unemployed and sent his poll numbers tumbling.

But others believed that abruptly changing course after seven months of projecting strength over the virus wouldn’t work and instead advocated for intensifying the message as a means to further fire up the president’s supporters to turn out.

Trump made clear want he wanted.

“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!” he tweeted Tuesday, after previously posting an erroneous comparison between the dangers posed by COVID-19 and the flu.



As U.S. Secret Service agents watch, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


© Provided by Associated Press
As U.S. Secret Service agents watch, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Will be

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Home Improvement: Steps for hanging holiday lights outdoors – Salisbury Post

Metro Creative

It begins to look a lot like Christmas when twinkling lights brighten up homes inside and out. Few things liven up the season more than holiday decorations, particularly clear and colored lights. Prior to taking out the lights, ladder and thermos of coffee to get you through the job, it’s important to note that there are right and wrong ways to hang holiday lights.

• Sketch out your plan. Start by taking a few photos of your home from various vantage points. Print out the photos on regular paper so that you can draw your lighting arrangement and decoration placement right on the photos to see how things will look.

• Measure the area. Use a measuring tape to roughly measure the width and height of eaves or other areas of the home where you plan to hang light strands. Calculate how much overall footage you will need so you can purchase all of the lights in one shopping trip.

• Test the lights first. Plug in the lights to be sure all strands are operational.

• Begin where the lights will be plugged in. Start where the lights will be plugged in and then work your way around the house.

• Add to shrubs and trees. Lights also can adorn shrubs and trees. Lowes Home Improvement says a good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 1 1/2-feet of tree or shrub to cover. A 6-foot evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting.

• Exercise extreme caution. Accidents can happen when stringing lights. While many professionals use harnesses, homeowners are not always so cautious. Utilize a spotter to hold the ladder and make sure things are safe. Never set foot on a wet or icy roof. Do not attempt to string lights in inclement weather.

• Know the wattage. Each outlet can generally hold about 17 amps or 1,870 watts if the lights are not sharing a circuit with another outlet. Plan accordingly to ensure you have enough power to handle your lights.

• Use plastic clips. Plastic light clips hang strands along eaves and gables. They’re specially designed for hanging lights over the gutters. Some slip under the edges of roof shingles. Lights can be hung without staples or nails, which can damage exterior surfaces. Plastic zip-ties or deck clips also can attach lights along a handrail.

• Use only outdoor extension cords. Be sure the extension cords you use are designed specifically for outdoor use.

• Use a timer. Timers can make sure the lights turn on and off even if homeowners forget. Once lights have been safely strung, sit back and enjoy the splendor of a well-decorated house.

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Tim Griffin, The Kitchen’s Director and Chief Curator, Steps Down

A search for Griffin’s successor is being conducted by Isaacson Miller.

Tim Griffin, The Kitchen's Director and Chief Curator, Steps Down

The Kitchen has announced that its director and chief curator, Tim Griffin, will be stepping down from the position at the end of this year.

During his tenure, Griffin organized with The Kitchen team significant projects by artists including Chantal Akerman, ANOHNI, Charles Atlas, Gretchen Bender, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Ralph Lemon, Aki Sasamoto, and Tyshawn Sorey, among many others, in addition to thematic exhibitions such as “From Minimalism into Algorithm.” The organization also developed new initiatives and programs including “The Kitchen L.A.B.,” an interdisciplinary discussion series which keyed thematic seasons since 2012; and the electronic music series “Synth Nights.” Following the spread of COVID-19, the organization also launched The Kitchen Broadcast and revised its residencies to operate with a TV studio model.

During the past two years, Griffin has focused on fundraising in anticipation of The Kitchen’s 50th anniversary in 2021 and the anticipated renovation of its building on 19th Street in Chelsea. The organization has raised approximately $11 million heading into a special benefit exhibition, “Ice and Fire,” which is curated by Kitchen board members Wade Guyton and Jacqueline Humphries and opens on October 1.

Griffin will continue as an advisor to ensure a smooth transition and on 50th anniversary initiatives, while taking a position as Visiting Associate Professor in the departments of Art History and English at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. His wife, Johanna Burton, is director of the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The Kitchen Chair of the Board Greg Feldman says: “All of us at The Kitchen express our gratitude to Tim for his remarkable leadership during the past decade as both a visionary curator and fundraiser, and at a key point in The Kitchen’s history.”

“I can’t imagine a more inspiring or humbling experience among artists than what The Kitchen, and its dedicated staff and board, has offered me over the years,” Griffin reflects. “Few places have such a history, decade after decade, of presenting the unexpected. Even fewer have people so deeply committed every day to supporting artists’ innovative work, and who, time and again, manage to pull it off whatever the challenges. It’s an honor to have been part of The Kitchen, and to have been part of an incredible effort to evolve and sustain the organization for the decades to come.”

A search for Griffin’s successor is being conducted by Isaacson Miller.

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Obama steps into The Shade Room to urge ‘roommates’ to vote, says White House ‘working to keep people from voting’

Former President Obama knocked the Trump administration in a video released by The Shade Room this week, accusing the White House of working to “keep people from voting,” particularly those of color.



Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Obama steps into The Shade Room to urge 'roommates' to vote, says White House 'working to keep people from voting'


© The Shade Room
Obama steps into The Shade Room to urge ‘roommates’ to vote, says White House ‘working to keep people from voting’

Obama made the comments in a short advertisement urging people to vote early in the election that was released by the Shade Room, a Black-owned media company with a large social media following that covers celebrity and entertainment news.

Obama started off the video by addressing the “roommates,” the media company’s nickname for its readers, saying: “As you know the election is coming up and I’ve got just one word for you: vote. Actually I’ve got two: vote early.”

“Right now, from the White House on down, folks are working to keep people from voting, especially communities of color. That’s because there’s a lot at stake in this election. Not just our pandemic response or racial justice, but our democracy itself,” he said.

“So, it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard. We can’t leave anything to chance,” he continued, before going on to urge viewers to visit a website that allows them to check their voter registration status and look up nearby voting locations.

The video marks Obama’s latest show of support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign in recent months and comes hours before his former vice president is set to face off in his first presidential debate against President Trump later on Tuesday.

In a Twitter video urging supporters to register to vote in the November race on National Voter Registration Day last week, Obama emphasized the stakes of the coming of election, saying: “What’s at stake in this election is much bigger than Joe or the man he’s running to replace.”

“What’s at stake is whether or not our democracy endures,” he continued in the clip, which doesn’t mention Trump by name. “And the folks in power are hoping that you will stay home. They’re hoping you get cynical.”

“They’re trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter. It’s how they win. Don’t let them,” he added.

Video: Trump: No one in politics ‘has done more to hurt Black Americans than Joe Biden’ (NBC News)

Trump: No one in politics ‘has done more to hurt Black Americans than Joe Biden’

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Restaurant review: Belfast’s Ginza Kitchen taking steps to ensure a creative taste of the Orient

New restaurants have been opening in Belfast in the face of appalling economic and social conditions imposed by the pandemic. Stove on the Ormeau Road, Yugo in Ballyhackamore and now Ginza Kitchen on the Lisburn Road are signs of defiance by the restaurant trade and a mark of confidence in the future. There is nothing more reassuring than to see sensible people invest in something perceived as risky at the best of times, never mind during Covid.

nd even more reassuring is the presence of Ben Tsang, one of the city’s most polished and able restaurant managers, who has popped up in Ginza a few doors down from French Village where he established it as one of the Lisburn Road’s best lunch houses.

Ben has form so for Ginza to appoint him to front of house and chef Chee Keong Lau formerly of Dublin’s Zakura in the kitchen shows they mean business.

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7 Steps To An Organized, Good-Looking Kitchen

Thanks to their role as gathering space and a source of meals, kitchens tend to be the unofficial drop spot for all things life. Think rogue mail, loose keys, discarded backpacks, stacks of schoolwork, you name it.

If all you see when you enter your kitchen are things that shouldn’t really be there, you might begin to wonder if all of those immaculately clean and well-designed versions on your social feeds are simply a figment of imagination. News flash: They aren’t! In fact, it’s totally possible for your space to be just as enviable.

Here are seven ways you can take your space from messy and drab to immaculate and well-styled.

Bust all that clutter

There’s nothing worse than trying to decorate around clutter, says Monique Valeris, senior home editor for Good Housekeeping. First, tackle any excess on the counters as you can, and employ space-saving ways to store the items you use on a regular basis. For instance, a hanging tiered fruit basket gets things up off counters and makes it easy to see exactly what fruit needs to be replenished every week, says Valeris.

You can also utilize the storage space under your sink more efficiently. Hang a tension rod typically reserved for blinds, then drape gloves and rags on it. You can even rest household cleaners on it by their nozzles. Other clever ideas: Add a lazy Susan to maximize space and consider attaching compact shelves to the insides of your cabinet doors.

Finally, make use of your wall space. Opt for a magnetic knife rack, or hang your everyday utensils, like spatulas and spoons, on a wall-mounted rod right where you can see them.

Clean like crazy

clean like crazy

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Disinfectant Granite & Stone Clean & Shine

Once you’ve organized, do a thorough clean to create the perfect blank canvas for weaving in stylish accessories and personality: Dust light fixtures with a microfiber cloth, scrub grout lines with the right brush, wash windows (again, a microfiber cloth is your best friend here), wipe down appliances with the appropriate cleaner (even their knobs!), spritz countertops with a quality disinfectant like Weiman Disinfectant Granite & Stone Clean & Shine, and vacuum and mop floors.

Here’s one way to avoid having to double-back on any work: Start at the highest point — dusting lights and wiping counters, for example — and work your way down to the floors. This way, any dust and debris that falls won’t recontaminate any clean areas, doubling your effort.

Stash countertop appliances away

What’s one thing all of the most well-styled kitchens have in common? Plenty of negative space. Why? Limiting what you have on display clears the line of vision, making the decor you spent so much time selecting really pop.

“Think about the appliances that you use regularly, and commit to only keeping those handy,” says Valeris. “For small appliances, like a waffle maker, that might not be

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2021 GMC Yukon Denali steps up interior luxury

DETROIT — The redesigned GMC Yukon boasts a new perk for Denali buyers — an exclusive interior for customers who want a luxury feel without the luxury badge, GMC says. The 2021 Yukon Denali interior features four color theme options, each with a unique authentic wood. Some are hand-treated. The large SUV also has an exclusive instrument panel, unique stitching and 14 Bose speakers.

“This is far and away the nicest interior we’ve ever put into a GMC, really giving [owners] that first-class experience,” said Stuart Pierce, senior marketing manager for GMC trucks and full-size SUVs. “The whole idea here is to go beyond what GMC has ever done before and provide an interior that’s exceptionally comfortable, exceptionally beautiful, something people will be comfortable spending a lot of time in.”

One out of every four GMC pickups and SUVs sold is a Denali, brand officials say. The average transaction price for the 2019 Yukon was $63,000, and 56 percent of Yukons sold were Denali, GMC said. GMC sold 41,697 Yukons last year and 32,976 Yukon XLs. Combined, they ranked No. 3 in the large-SUV segment, behind the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

The 2021 Yukon Denali with two-wheel drive starts at $69,695, including destination fees, $700 more than the 2020 model and nearly $18,000 more than the SLE base trim. The larger Yukon XL Denali starts at $72,395.

Denali customers can afford a luxury brand but instead choose Denali, which debuted on the Yukon about two decades ago, for the substance without the flashiness they perceive from luxury brands, Pierce said.

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Steps from the White House, murals calling for justice take the place of stained glass

Before the pandemic, 18-year-old Senia Cade had always thought of herself as “some kid who paints in her room when she’s bored.” But when COVID-19 cancelled the Fort Washington, Maryland, student’s prom and graduation dreams, painting helped her vent frustration.



Levi Robinson paints a mural of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the boarded-up windows of St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. Robinson was among a group of artists creating vibrant messages of peace, love, and unity while advocating for racial justice at the historic church one block from the White House.


© Photograph by Cheriss May, Reuters

Levi Robinson paints a mural of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the boarded-up windows of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. Robinson was among a group of artists creating vibrant messages of peace, love, and unity while advocating for racial justice at the historic church one block from the White House.


In a summer defined by the twin traumas of COVID-19 and racial reckoning, it was not long before Cade connected her artistic efforts with swelling protests over violent threats to Black Americans’ lives.

“I can use a paintbrush to send a powerful message,” said Cade, slathering a base coat of royal blue paint onto a four-by-four-foot plywood board covering a stained-glass window at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. She was laying the foundation for an image that would promote racial unity and harmony. Cade was also creating what would be only her second piece of public art at one of the nation’s most famous churches.

On September 5, Cade was the youngest of 16 artists who spent the day on ladders and scaffolding, creating vibrant messages of peace, love, and unity on the window boards of the historic church a block from the White House. The project was one in a series of public exhibitions produced by the PAINTS Institute, which its founder characterizes as a “mural march” of artistic activism. The artists say their work amplifies solutions to ongoing strife.



a person standing in a room: Senia Cade paints a mural in support of racial justice on the boarded-up windows of St. John's Episcopal Church on September 5, 2020. “We’re all shades of the same color,” Cade said. “I think it’s really important to remember that this movement is for Black lives, but it needs to be contributed to by everyone.”


© Photograph by Cheriss May, Reuters

Senia Cade paints a mural in support of racial justice on the boarded-up windows of St. John’s Episcopal Church on September 5, 2020. “We’re all shades of the same color,” Cade said. “I think it’s really important to remember that this movement is for Black lives, but it needs to be contributed to by everyone.”


The location of St. John’s Church—at the doorstep of the massive Black Lives Matter mural painted on 16th Street, N.W.—places it at the heart of ongoing protests that have occurred since the death of George Floyd on May 23; an African American man, Floyd died as killed by a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

When demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice flooded nearby Lafayette Square and the streets beside the 204-year-old church—and after a fire was set in the adjacent parish house—12-foot metal fences were erected around the church property to prevent access by demonstrators.

As the Reverend Rob Fisher, St. John’s Rector, juggles producing virtual worship services with monitoring demonstrations, he hopes the mural project will send a definitive message. “One of the blessings of coronavirus [is that] it’s helping people to concentrate on what really matters the most. I hope the messages of love and peace and unity

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