May 10, 2021

A New Generation of American Doctors:

Mike Bloomberg gave the commencement address at the Howard University College of Medicine graduation ceremony on Friday, urging the students to "start helping to heal a country that urgently needs you," saying, "I know you’ll answer the call."

The class president, Justin Morales, thanked Mike for his "generous gift of over $30 million to Howard University College of Medicine, allowing African-Americans students to be relieved of up to $100,000 of debt." He added, "My name is Justin Eduardo Morales and I am one of those fortunate students."

"The money you donated will allow students who may have been overlooked a chance to achieve a goal they set a long time ago. And I think that's priceless," Dr. Morales said.

In September 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced it would give $100 million to America's four historically Black medical schools, including Howard University's College of Medicine, with the goal of reducing Black medical students’ financial burdens.

This was the first major investment of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Greenwood Initiative, which works to accelerate the pace of wealth accumulation for Black individuals and families and address decades of underinvestment in Black communities.

Dr. Morales said: "I want you to know that while this money will surely alleviate financial burdens of our medical school loans, your investment will go a lot further than that. With the average medical school debt just over $200,000 in 2019 and the average interest rate of 6% paid over an average of 13 years, you will save each individual student over double the amount you provided."

"You have invested into an institution that allows students to thrive. This university not only produces students and an opportunity to follow and fulfill their dreams, but also gives them the resources to grow," he said.

Dr. Morales closed his remarks by saying, "From my classmates and the countless classes coming after us that will benefit from your generosity, we would like to thank you Mr. Bloomberg."

Read Mike's remarks here and watch the whole ceremony here (watch Dr. Justin Morales' remarks starting at 2:03:30). 

Read more on the historic $100 million gift here and about the Greenwood Initiative here.


UK Election Update.

Re-electedSadiq Khan Wins Second Term as London Mayor After Close Race (Bloomberg)

“I’m proud to have won an overwhelming mandate today,” Khan said after the result was announced. But London is “deeply divided,” he said, with the scars of Brexit “yet to heal” and “economic inequality” getting worse.

Will Scotland Leave UK? Polls Spark Renewed Scottish Debate (Bloomberg)

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon and her party, pushing to split away from the UK, won a historic majority in Thursday's elections.

Boris Johnson went into the elections on the back foot, fending off allegations of misdemeanors and incompetence in office, and he emerged from it stronger.

Strong wins for both could foreshadow a vicious and lengthy showdown over whether a new referendum should be held on Scottish independence, pitting the UK’s two most formidable political campaigners against each other.

Read more here.


America Rocked by Gun Violence.

Four Mass Shootings Across America in One Weekend (Axios)

Over the weekend, more than 4 mass shooting occurred from Colorado to Miami to Baltimore to New York City's Times Square.

This comes after the most recent school shooting, just last Thursday, when a sixth-grader in Idaho brought a gun to school and injured two classmates and a custodian before being disarmed. 

Weekend incidents included:

Since President Biden took office in Januaryover 700 people have been injured or killed in 139 mass shootings as of late last month.

And in New York City, "463 people have been shot this year, up from 239 over the same period in 2019 and 259 in 2020," the New York Times reports.

What I'm Reading.

Hope Against VariantsPfizer Vaccine Protects Against Worrying Coronavirus Variants (Nature)

People who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 75% less likely to develop a case of COVID-19 caused by the South African variant than were unvaccinated people, and had near-total protection from severe disease caused by that strain.

Vaccinations Help U.S. Cases Slow: Hospitalizations at Seven-Month Low as Cases Reach Lowest Level Since September (Bloomberg)

Milestone: UK Records Just Two Deaths Sunday As More than One Third of Adult Population Fully Vaccinated (Bloomberg)

Spain: Spaniards Celebrate at Midnight, the Moment Restrictions Ease on Restaurants, Travel and Gatherings (Bloomberg)

Suppressing the VoteElection Officials Face Fines, Charges in GOP Voting Laws that Restrict Voting (Associated Press)

GOP Civil WarMarooned at Mar-a-Lago, Trump Still Has Iron Grip on Republicans (New York Times)

“To declare Trump the winner of a shrinking minority, that’s not a territory you want to head up,” longtime Republican official Barbara Comstock said. “The future of the party is not going to be some 70-year-old man talking in the mirror at Mar-a-Lago and having all these sycophants come down and do the limbo to get his approval.”

Kabul Bombing Kills 50 Schoolgirls: Grief and Despair as Hazaras Bury Dead (NBC News)

Gas Hack LatestCyberattack on Key Oil Supply Pipeline a Wake-Up Call on Infrastructure (Bloomberg)

The cyberattack on the nation’s biggest fuel pipeline system threatens to disrupt the supply of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel from Atlanta to New York. 

Prices SpikingGas Prices Near 7-Year High After Pipeline Still Offline After Cyberattack (Bloomberg)

Future of Events: Fully Vaccinated Crowd of 27,000 Gathered in California for 'Vax Live' to Address Vaccine Access and Hesitancy (Variety)

Prince Harry, Oprah, Pope Francis, President Joe Biden, Selena Gomez, Chrissy Teigen, and Olivia Munn were among those who made appearances either in-person or via video and Jennifer Lopez, the Foo Fighters and J Balvin performed. Watch a replay of the event here.


My Take: New York Needs to Get Voting Right.

With primary elections in New York state happening next month, voting rights advocates are wondering: will no-excuse absentee voting stick around after COVID?

After all, absentee voting led to record-setting vote totals in 2020, and advocates rightly argue that it improves voting accessibility by allowing people to cast ballots by mail without needing to give a reason.
But in New York, no-excuse absentee voting still isn’t permanent, a humiliating distinction given that only 30% of states haven’t institutionalized this form of voting.

In the face of a surge in vote-suppressing laws across the U.S., it is absurd that New York hasn’t made more progress.
Although the state is working on it, it has a ways to go. After the State Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment earlier this year, the State Assembly still has to pass it – and then it goes to voters in a referendum.
For now, if you’re planning to vote absentee in the June 22 NYC primary, you can still cite the pandemic as a reason for not going to the polls in person – just be sure to request your ballot here by June 15. Early voting begins June 12.

New York state needs to gets its act together and make no-excuse absentee voting permanent.


One Year Ago in Covid History.

May 10, 2020: Trump Admin Races to Contain Coronavirus Outbreak at White House (New York Times)

May 11, 2020GOP Senators Worry COVID-19 and Trump's Response Could Cost Them Majority (The Hill)

May 10, 2020: UK's Boris Johnson Tells People to 'Cover Your Face' and 'Adapt for the Long Haul' (Bloomberg)

May 10, 2020: Shanghai Disneyland Reopens to New World of Masks, Distance (Bloomberg)

Plus one year ago today, the partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and Jose Andrés' World Central Kitchen had served more than 450,000 fresh meals to frontline public health workers at New York City Health + Hospitals facilities across NYC's five boroughs.

Take a look at some of the meal distribution sites in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx for these courageous frontline workers:


Best of 'SNL.'

"Police say a woman who went missing nearly six months ago was found in a tent in a forest in Utah living off grass and moss. Authorities believe the woman either had mental health issues or had read an article on Goop."
-- Colin Jost

"Researchers have determined that the most Instagrammable bird is an Australian species called the Tawny Frogmouth. While the least Instagrammable 'Bird' is, once again, Larry."
-- Colin Jost

"A space rocket that was spinning out of control just crashed into the ocean. And for once, we know it's not Elon's fault."
-- Colin Jost

"A lot of people have been wondering why he's hosting our show, and now we know it's because he needed an alibi."
-- Colin Jost

"Disgraced former fast food spokesman Donald Trump has launched a website called 'From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.' Though a more accurate name would be, 'From the Brain Fog of Long-Haul Covid.'"
-- Colin Jost

"Experts say that one of the biggest obstacles to herd immunity is that many white, evangelical Christians are refusing the vaccine. And look, evangelical Christians, I know you guys want to get into heaven but it's not a race."
-- Colin Jost

And don't miss Elon Musk's monologue from 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend where he talks about Dogecoin and says that the name of his youngest child, spelled X Æ A-12, is “pronounced ‘cat running across keyboard.’”

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