Whiskey Wednesday News & Notes
At 4:33 PM EST, SpaceX will send the first people into space since Elon Musk founded the company 18 years ago in a mission called Demo-2. If successful, this mission will allow NASA to launch its astronauts to the International Space Station. Watch the launch live beginning at 12 PM EST on Space X or NASA TV .
In case you were wondering, here's why this is historic. One, this will be the first time since 2011 that the US has launched its own astronauts into space, and two, the astronauts will be traveling in a private sector developed spacecraft. There is also the side benefit of not paying the Russians $86 million dollars per astronaut, per ride up to the space station.
SpaceX has been developing their space travel technology with NASA for years and today we will see that come to fruition. Over the last few months, our country has gone through so much and this launch is something exciting and unique that will bring Americans together.
Updates on coronavirus...
~ People are moving around again! More and more states continue to move into relaxing restrictions and reopening their economies. Beaches were open in states like Maryland and North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend. In Texas, restaurants and bars have reopened albeit at limited capacity and in Wisconsin the state supreme court ruled the Governor's lockdown order illegal. Here where I live in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, restrictions are set to expire on Friday. Washington, DC still has a stay-at-home order in place until June 8. How are things going where you live?
~ What are the two things weighing heavily on people's minds right now? Here's what I think most Americans want to know —will I still have a job (or can I get a job) and when the heck are my kids going back to school? School districts around the country are faced with big decisions over the summer about re-opening. Late last week CDC started issuing guidelines for schools, camps and daycare centers. I have to admit I had a little bit of a breakdown over these guidelines — it's hard to imagine kids going to school wearing masks all day, not being able to socialize at lunch in the cafeteria or play outside on the playground. Parents around the country are frustrated as it is by the last two and a half months of distance learning and there are hundreds of thousand of kids in rural and disadvantaged areas around the country who don't have access to internet or other resources are falling behind.
As we watch other countries around the world open back up their schools (Australia, Vietnam, Scotland, Belgium etc), we should take into account their best practices. Obviously this also needs to be weighed heavily with the safety and well-being of our teachers, administrators and students but I think we need to consider that keeping schools closed means more teachers lose jobs, kids inevitably fall behind academically, parents are forced to find ways to juggle work and homeschooling, and the kids suffer from the lack of peer-to-peer socialization and teacher mentoring that an in-school environment provides. There is no easy fix. Let's pray that we get back on our feet quickly.
~ After weeks of being stuck inside, Americans are encountering many changes as stores reopen and state and local authorities offer conflicting safety guidance. Mask-wearing seems to be one of the most controversial issues — sparking physical and verbal altercations between wearers and non-wearers and sometimes boycotts of establishments that require them. CDC has issued guidance that wearing a cloth face covering helps slow the spread of COVID-19. According to CDC, "Your cloth face covering protects them. Their cloth face covering protects you."
Some will argue that the requirements to wear a face mask are government overreach and others will counter that it is an effective public safety measure. Regardless of what side you fall on, mask-wearing seems to be in our immediate future. It will dominate retail shopping, all air and rail travel, and perhaps even back-to-school in the fall. So stock up on your cloth face coverings—you'll need them.
Some good news...
On Monday, Emily Domenech, went to Arlington Cemetery to visit the graves of her grandparents, while she was there she offered via Twitter to visit other graves for people who were not able to go to Arlington to pay their respects to their friends and family due to coronavirus lockdowns. Watch the interview she did on the Daily Briefing yesterday about the day she spent in Arlington. Or read her Twitter feed that accounts for her day of visiting and honoring those buried there. It is very hard to read through it without tearing up.
Preview of official B & P launch...
Next week, I will have an exclusive and very special "Whiskey is Freedom" profile up on the blog of Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-05). Last week, I sat down with the Congressman and you will not be disappointed. Not only does he represent the largest district in the state of Virginia, he is also decorated Air Force veteran, counterterrorism expert and proud owner of Silverback Distillery in Afton, VA. Stay tuned for more until next week!
Listen to Bourbon and Politics Vol.I on Spotify. Great afternoon, porch-relaxing, bourbon drinking tunes.