November 11, 2020

Oregon highway workers had to find a way to dispose of the rotting carcass of a 45-foot-long, eight ton whale in Florence, the closest beach town to Eugene, on Nov. 12, 1970. They decided to obliterate it using 20 cases — half a ton — of dynamite. "The hope was that the long-dead Pacific gray whale would be almost disintegrated by the blast, and that any small pieces still around after the explosion would be taken care of by seagulls and other scavengers," explained KATU's Paul Linnman, in what New York Times reporter Mike Baker calls "surely one of the greatest local TV news segments of the century." And not because things went as planned. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:41 a.m.

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) as Georgia voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams if she could list the specific things she objects to in Georgia's restrictive new voting law. She could. "It's a long list," the Senate Democrats' Twitter account said, helping the exchange go viral on Wednesday. Kennedy and Abrams are both very smart lawyers who graduated at the top of their class at elite universities, MSNBC's Brian Williams noted Wednesday night, setting up the clip.

"Is that everything?" Kennedy asked about 90 seconds into Abrams' recitation. "No it is not, no sir," she replied, laughing. We never find out where her list ended, though, because Kennedy finally threw in the towel. "Okay, I get the idea," he said "I get the idea." Peter Weber

5:39 a.m.

"Tomorrow, President Biden and 40 other world leaders are kicking off a big virtual climate summit," Jimmy Fallon said on Wednesday's Tonight Show. "They're meeting virtually because of the pandemic, otherwise they would have flown 40 different private jets to a meeting about the climate. The guest list includes Vladimir Putin, Bill Gates, Pope Francis, and one very stressed-out IT guy."

The Late Late Show's James Corden, after wishing the queen a happy birthday, tried to make a joke about Biden cutting hot air emissions, and it mostly went nowhere.

Los Angeles once again has the dirtiest air in the country, Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "All the benefits of us not driving during the pandemic were wiped out by the wildfires caused by climate change, which was caused by all the driving we did before the pandemic. It's what you call a Catch 2022."

Lots of people spoke out after a Minneapolis jury convicted Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd, Kimmel said, "but none spoke less eloquently than Tucker Carlson of Fox News," who "had a little explosion in his head" when a guest unexpectedly criticized Chauvin. MyPillow guy Mike Lindell, a Kimmel Live guest next week, "he's bananas all the time, he's consistent," Kimmel said. "Tucker Carlson just lets little bursts of it slip out, like the Joker or something. Meanwhile, the Penguin, Chris Christie, may be throwing his top hat in the ring."

Christie "thinks he might do well in the polls, as long as None of the Above doesn't run again," Seth Meyers joked at Late Night. After the Chavuin denouement, "Tucker Carlson claimed the jury was intimidated into the guilty verdict by the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement — which is frustrating for Carlson, because he put a lot of work into intimidating that jury."

Meanwhile, "there's big science news out of Texas, where a Republican state legislator wants to legalize deer closing," so ranchers can breed bigger hunting prey, Stephen Colbert noted at The Late Show. "One Texas rancher says he's cloned somewhere between 35 and 40 deer over the past decade. So, there are a bunch of deer clones out there already? You know what this means? Texas is about to open Deerasic Park. 'Don't move, or they'll nibble your hydrangeas!'"

The Late Show also turned that story into an animated Bambi Returns: The Clone Wars. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:25 a.m.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced Wednesday that his office will no longer prosecute prostitution and unlicensed massage, and moved to dismiss nearly 6,000 cases dating back to the 1970s. Along with seeking to vacate 878 open prostitution cases and 36 unlicensed massage cases, Vance asked the Manhattan Criminal Court to discharge 5,080 cases where the main offense was "loitering for the purpose of prostitution." New York State scrapped that "loitering" crime, known as "walking while trans," in February.

Many of the cases Vance requested dismissed "dated to the 1970s and 1980s, when New York waged a war against prostitution in an effort to clean up its image as a center of iniquity and vice," The New York Times notes. The cases "are both a relic of a different New York, and a very real burden for the person who carries the conviction or bench warrant," Vance said in a statement. "Over the last decade we've learned from those with lived experience, and from our own experience on the ground: Criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers."

While sex workers won't face charges, Vance's office confirmed "it will not change the office's existing approach to arresting patrons of prostitution," NPR News reports. The Manhattan D.A. will also "prosecute other crimes related to prostitution," including "promoting prostitution and sex trafficking," the Times adds. "That means, in effect, that the office will continue to prosecute pimps and sex traffickers, as well as people who pay for sex, continuing to fight those who exploit or otherwise profit from prostitution."

Vance is the highest-profile prosecutor to shift away from prosecuting sex workers, but the movement is gaining steam. Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City's other boroughs have all stopped prosecuting prostitution to varying degrees. Peter Weber

2:25 a.m.

India on Thursday reported 314,835 new COVID-19 cases in the country over the previous 24 hours, the highest one-day case count of the coronavirus pandemic. Another 2,104 people died from the disease, the health ministry said, bringing India's official total to 184,657 deaths. India's second wave of COVID-19, fueled by new variants and loosened mitigation measures, has led to a shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients. The previous one-day record was from the U.S. on Jan. 8.

"As cases worldwide reach new weekly records, 40 percent of the infections are coming from India, a sobering reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations speed ahead in the United States and other wealthy parts of the world," The New York Times reports. India's new seven-day average of more than 1,300 COVID-19 deaths a day "is less than at the worst points of the pandemic in the United States or Brazil, but it is a steep increase from just two months ago, when fewer than 100 people in India were dying daily."

The oxygen shortage is so acute that the New Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the government to "beg, borrow, or steal" oxygen from industrial and other sources and give it to hospitals. There are so few hospital beds that India's government, criticized for holding mass rallies and allowing super-spreader Hindu festivals to take place, has turned 75 railroad coaches into mobile COVID-19 hospitals. Peter Weber

1:18 a.m.

At least four people were killed and 12 injured late Wednesday night when a car bomb exploded outside the luxury Serena Hotel in Quetta, Pakistan.

The hotel is where visiting diplomats and government officials typically stay while in Quetta, and Pakistan's interior minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, told ARY News TV that while Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong was a guest at the hotel, he was not there when the blast occurred.

Quetta is in the Balochistan province, near the Afghan border. There have been several recent attacks in the area by militants who want independence from Pakistan and an end to Chinese infrastructure projects in the province, BBC News reports. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Catherine Garcia

1:09 a.m.

Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson, in his 1991 Trinity College yearbook, identified himself as a member of the Christian Fellowship, the Jesse Helms Foundation, and something called the "Dan White Society," The Wrap confirmed Wednesday night. "Dan White" isn't a terribly uncommon name, but probably the most famous Dan White is the man who murdered San Francisco Mayor George Macone and city Supervisor Harvey Milk — California's first openly gay elected official — in 1978.

Trinity College said it has no records of a "Dan White Society" and there's no other mention in the 1991 yearbook, The Wrap reports, but the college did confirm that Carlson's yearbook entry is real. The Christian Fellowship and Jesse Helms Foundation are also real, the latter calling itself a "nonprofit, non-political foundation" that's "focused on the principles of our founding fathers, traditional American values, and the causes which United States Senator Jesse Helms championed throughout his 30-year career." Helms is best known for opposing civil rights, abortion, homosexuality, and AIDS funding.

Carlson appeared to get try to get ahead of the story on Tuesday night's show, warning of yearbook revelations "from the world of Big Tech" — evidently because The Washington Post is owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos. He also suggested his old yearbook might be politically damaging. "This is a news show," Carlson opined, "it's not a political campaign. No one here is running for anything or plans to." (Sorry, Tucker 2024 hopefuls.)

"It's not yet clear what exactly the Dan White Society was," The Wrap says, but clearly "Carlson believes inappropriate old yearbook content is fair game for criticism: In 2020, he called Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam 'Governor Klan Robes Blackface,' referring to a previously uncovered set of yearbook photos showing the then-student in a Ku Klux Klan costume and blackface." Peter Weber

12:31 a.m.

With uniforms made of bamboo and all the players turning down meat, the Forest Green Rovers are not your average soccer team.

In fact, the Rovers, a minor league club in England, are the world's first vegan, carbon-neutral professional sports team. Owner Dale Vince told CBS News when he bought the team, it wasn't because he was looking to make it green — he was stepping in because the team was losing money, not winning, and about to fold.

Vince is vegan, and when the team stopped eating meat, too, the players found that their games were improving. "Just faster recovery times, before games pre-match, you feel like you got way more energy," player Dan Sweeney told CBS News.

The team didn't stop there. Their stadium is now powered by solar panels and wind turbines and its field is organic, with seaweed used instead of chemical fertilizers. All of the sprinkler water is collected and used again, and when a new stadium is built, it will be made out of wood. The bamboo uniforms are working for now, but next year's kits will be made of used coffee grounds. All of these changes have worked — not only are the Rovers helping the planet, but they've also started winning, CBS News notes, and they are trying to move into a higher division in the English Premier League. Catherine Garcia

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