CHICAGO — A record number of Illinois nursing home residents with COVID-19 died in the past week, as people in long-term care try to hold out until they can get vaccinated against the virus. An unprecedented 605 resident deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in the past seven days, state figures showed Friday — far more than the previous high of 480 two weeks ago. The number of recorded new infections in the state’s long-term care facilities also set a record with 5,063 new cases, surpassing the previous high of 4,536 from two weeks earlier. This second surge of the virus again exceeds the worst ...
Weapons experts and prop masters have rushed to the internet to explain why the procedure and rules weren't followed on the set of the western "Rust," where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after a live round was left in a prop gun.
The Daily Beast reports that the gaffer who was on the set at the time of the accident blamed "profits" over people for Hutchins's death in a scathing Facebook post.
Specifically, Serge Svetnoy said that the entire focus around the creation for "Rust" has been on savings above safety while filming in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He wrote that he was "standing shoulder-to-shoulder" with Hutchins as Alec Baldwin fired what he was told was a "cold gun," which is when a gun doesn't have live ammunition. The scene was a tight shot of Baldwin pointing the gun at the camera to get film of the gun firing.
"I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands," he wrote. He noted that he's worked on a number of films with Hutchins and that they were friends. He went on to give "my opinion on why this has happened."
"It's the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism," he said. "The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it. And the DEATH OF THE HUMAN IS THE RESULT!"
Police identified the weapons person, known as the "armorer" as a "green and inexperienced" 24-year-old. But she wasn't the one who handed the gun to Baldwin. Dave Halls, the assistant director, handed the actor the gun, specifically calling it a "cold gun," court documents revealed.
There have been many complaints about Halls over the span of several different films, CNN reported, citing complaints dating back to 2019. In one, he ordered an actor to do a stunt, despite objections from the crew, BusinessInsider reported.
"The complaints against assistant director Dave Halls include a disregard for safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics use, blocked fire lanes and exits, and instances of inappropriately sexual behavior in the workplace," said CNN.
CNN also cited Maggie Goll, an IATSE Local 44 prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, who stated that when she worked on Hulu's "Into the Dark," Halls also neglected to hold safety meetings and frequently failed to follow protocol involving firearms on the set, which is heavily regulated.
On Monday, MyPillow CEO and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell discussed his plan with former Trump strategist Steve Bannon to file a lawsuit demanding the reinstatement of the former president immediately before Thanksgiving.
Bannon praised this as a brilliant maneuver — because it could lead to discord on the holidays.
"What I love about this — they said, hey, if you just get Trump out, Orange Man Bad, and you get Biden, you can start having holidays again without arguing at the table and at each other's throats," said Bannon. "But Mike Lindell comes in, and he's going to go the Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving, on a marathon, so you can go back and have fistfights. The family squabbles. Lindell, you're a genius!"
Lindell has repeatedly claimed, with no basis, that election fraud rigged the results of multiple states, and has promised Trump will be "reinstated" as president when he can get a lawsuit before the Supreme Court. He is currently facing a defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems for promoting conspiracy theories about their equipment.
Appointing a special prosecutor to probe Capitol rioters' congressional contacts is 'warranted': Ex-FBI agent
Former FBI agent and current Yale professor Asha Rangappa addressed online discussions about ways to investigate the members of Congress who have been accused of helping plan the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the attack on the United States Capitol.
One idea is for the DOJ to appoint a special prosecutor, so that if the House flips to Republicans after the 2022 midterm election, the investigations cannot be stopped by a new GOP speaker.
"It's warranted," Rangappa wrote on Twitter. "Contrary to what some have suggested, a conflict of interest is not a requisite for appointing a special counsel. Appropriate grounds include that an independent prosecutor would be in the 'public interest' or that there are 'extraordinary circumstances.'"
It would also show that the investigation was a priority for the Justice Department during a time when Attorney General Merrick Garland has been accused by some Democrats of not caring about the political corruption of the previous administration.
"Right now, it's possible that DOJ is investigating, but since by necessity this is under wraps it leaves the public speculating and increasingly cynical about the DOJ," she said. "It could [also] provide for a more efficient investigation. DOJ has a lot of things on its plate. A special counsel allows dedicated resources for a specified investigative scope. An SC would be able to have FBI agents and prosecutors detailed to focus on this one matter."
She doesn't think that the investigation would be a conflict of interest for Garland, but she noted that he would be right to be concerned about the "appearance" of being politically motivated.
"An SC provides an important buffer and even AG is required to give great deference to SC," she continued.
Rangappa went on to explain that there are rules outlining the way a special counsel reports prosecutorial decisions to Congress and to the public, which a regular investigation doesn't.
"This last point is incredibly important, especially in the event of *declinations to prosecute*, because it allows for the detailing of legal reasons for doing so in a report that can be made public at the AG's discretion. To do so in a 'regular' investigation can backfire," she explained.
The cons, she explained, are that anyone subject to investigation would essentially have a "heads up" on whether they'd be subject to the investigation. That could ultimately make an impact on whether or not the investigation is effective. Quiet investigations usually uncover more information, she said.
The other problem is that the right will relentlessly attack that special counsel the same as they did with Robert Mueller.
While those are the only two "cons" mentioned by Rangappa, she noted that they're pretty big ones. The excuse that the DOJ doesn't want to appear political is absurd, she explained, because if they find evidence and use it to prosecute, then it will be painted by the right as political.
"I think the downsides of internal DOJ investigation vs. SC are about the same, while upsides to SC are many," she concluded. "Of course, the downside to DOJ not investigating at all is a complete loss of faith in the idea that no one is above the law -- so I hope that is not an option."
In hindsight, she also said that Garland should have appointed a special prosecutor from his first day in office to simply remove the presumption of politics.
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