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Hey, hey, Joe! How ya doin, kid? Hows the family?
"Hey, hey, Joe! How ya doin', kid? How's the family?" Lauren DeCicca/Getty

Unemployment claims hit 709,000 last week: A drop from the week previous and under the expected forecast. Continuing claims also fell 436,000 to 6.79 million. Again, I should note that while this number is a pandemic era low, last week's first-time unemployment number is still above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 claims in 1982.

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The Pope and President-elect Joe Biden spoke on the phone: The Pope congratulated Biden on his win this morning, becoming another world leader to acknowledge the President-elect as Trump refuses to concede. Once sworn in, Biden will become the second Roman Catholic president after John F. Kennedy. Do you think Trump is going to @ His Holiness on Twitter? Honestly, though, do you?

Do you feel like art walking right now? Galleries across The Hill are trying to get the gang back together for Capitol Hill Art Walk this evening. Roq la Rue, Ghost Gallery, FoodArt Collection, Museum of Museums and other venues will open their doors tonight for a spot of socially-distant art gawking. Wear a mask.

Another Trump adviser tests positive for COVID: This time, it's Corey Lewandowski, the man helping Trump's baseless legal campaign against the election results. He "downplayed" the possibility of getting the virus at an election night party where several of his colleagues who are also COVID-positive attended last week. I smell bullshit!

Trump signed an executive order banning American investments in companies he believes are owned by the Chinese military: Set to go into effect in January, this order affects 31 Chinese companies—including Huawei and Hikvision—that it claims "enable the development and modernization" of China's military and are a direct threat to U.S. security, reports CNN.

The Department of Homeland Security says the 2020 Election was "the most secure in American history": The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and its election officials have said there is "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised." Axios notes that this statement should be "unremarkable," but it's set against the backdrop of a president refusing to concede. It opens every person who signed the document up to "the wrath of Trump and his inner circle in the White House."

Welp: "Top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs, who worked on protecting the election from hackers but drew the ire of the Trump White House over efforts to debunk disinformation, has told associates he expects to be fired, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters."

November will probably be the worst month of the pandemic so far: On Wednesday, there were 143,231 new cases of COVID-19 and 2,005 deaths. It was also the ninth consecutive day that case numbers topped 100,000 and set a new record for daily cases, says The Guardian.

This is how the U.S. and coronavirus look in graph form. NOT GOOD.

OK, let's see how mayors and governors across the country are dealing with this PRESSING INFORMATION: Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago announced a 30-day stay-at-home advisory, asking Chicagoans to stay at home, avoid unnecessary travel, and avoid gatherings of more than ten people. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has issued a 9 pm curfew, banned visits to long-term care facilities, and limited indoor gatherings to no more than ten people. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is now requiring bars, restaurants, and gyms to close at 10 pm, also limiting private gatherings to 10 people. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued a strict mask mandate in his Trump lovin'-mask hatin' state.

And Governor Jay Inslee? In an address to the state this evening, Inslee declined to announce new restrictions but signaled that he could announce new restrictions next week. Why wait, Jay? COVID numbers are only continuing to surge. Something must be done. "Reaching out to stakeholders in various sectors and industries" and encouraging people to stay home during the holidays isn't enough to contain the virus's exponential growth in the state. We need another stay-at-home order, an extension and boost to unemployment, and a prolonged eviction moratorium for everyone. Stop EDGING us and get it done Governor! You have a freaking mandate!

We expected this to happen: Five people aboard SeaDream 1, the first cruise ship to resume sailing the Caribbean, have contracted COVID-19. Currently docked in Barbados, all guests and non-essential crew are quarantining in their rooms until all other passengers test negative.

The Super Bowl LV is about to get a whole lot sadder: The Weeknd will headline the festivities next year in Tampa, Florida. Can't wait to see The Weeknd perform to the VIP box and the VIP box only.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will drop an additional $70 million for coronavirus vaccine distribution in "low-income countries": Around $50 million is going to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment fund while the other $20 million will go to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovation fund.

UPS gets rid of a racist-ass policy: Now the delivery company will allow workers to have facial hair and natural Black hairstyles like Afros and braids. They are also eliminating gender-specific rules as part of an effort to overhaul discriminatory policies.

Whidbey Island plane crash victims identified: 78-year-old Carl Dahlman of Seattle and 25-year-old Joshua McCormick were pilot and co-pilot of a Cessna 177 that lost an engine near Langley Airport on Wednesday. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

I can't get this clip off my mind: Leta Powell Drake, how do you do it? I aim to be as disarming and weird in my interviews. Less kissing, though!