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Written by on May 14, 2021

Welcome to another edition of Ringside Politics with Jeff Crouere

Today’s Hot Topics:

1) Fully vaccinated Americans can discard masks and the need for social distancing outdoors and in most indoors settings, the CDC said Thursday in a dramatic announcement after months of mostly cautious measures.

The new guidelines announced by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, represent a major step toward a return to normalcy for a nation battered and at times divided by a pandemic that has lasted more than a year.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

2) Colonial Pipeline Co. paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday, contradicting reports earlier this week that the company had no intention of paying an extortion fee to help restore the country’s largest fuel pipeline, according to two people familiar with the transaction.

The company paid the hefty ransom in difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, underscoring the immense pressure faced by the Georgia-based operator to get gasoline and jet fuel flowing again to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, those people said. A third person familiar with the situation said U.S. government officials are aware that Colonial made the payment.

Once they received the payment, the hackers provided the operator with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network. The tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system, one of the people familiar with the company’s efforts said.

3) New Yorkers who get the coronavirus vaccine will be able to enjoy a good burger to go with it.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that, in exchange for getting vaccinated, New Yorkers would be eligible to receive free food from Shake Shack.

De Blasio said at a press conference that many people were ready to be vaccinated but needed an “extra incentive,” before introducing CEO of Shake Shack Randy Garutti, who joined via video call from the company’s first restaurant at Madison Square Park to outline more details of the scheme.

4) Escalating violence between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas has cast a spotlight on deepening Democratic divisions over the Jewish state.

The party split played out in full view on social media this week after Hamas launched indiscriminate rocket attacks at Israel, which responded with airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza, reportedly killing some civilians. Israel is also dealing with domestic unrest from Arab rioters.

International observers are concerned about the possibility of “full-scale war.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party — which controls the White House and both congressional chambers — is divided in its support for a key American ally.

Today’s Guests:

1) David Morgan, Chief Editor; The Morgan Report

2) Chris Holton, Vice President of Outreach, Center for Security Policy

3) “Renea”, Wife of Border Patrol Agent