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Navy charges sailor in connection with 2020 fire on USS Bonhomme Richard

The charges are based on evidence found during the criminal investigation into the fire, Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson said in a statement, which is “sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system.” The sailor, whom the Navy has not publicly identified, was a member of the Bonhomme Richard’s crew at the time, Robertson added. Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, commander of the 3rd Fleet, is considering court-martial charges and ordered a preliminary hearing that will make recommendations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for further proceedings “including whether or not there is probable cause to believe an offense has been committed and to offer a recommendation as to the disposition of the case,” Thursday’s statement said. CNN previously reported that a sailor was being questioned over the possibility that they may have intentionally set a fire.The blaze aboard the billion-dollar Navy warship was extinguished after raging for four days. The ship had been docked in San Diego for maintenance when the fire broke out. Sailors were beginning to fight the fire when a subsequent explosion caused the vessel to be evacuated.The Bonhomme Richard was designed to support Marine Corps operations, but it was de-commissioned and scrapped after a damage assessment found that restoring the ship would cost billions of dollars.Navy officials said that restoring the ship would cost $2.5 billion to $3.2 billion and take five to seven years, saying that some 60% of the vessel would need to be replaced.”Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her,” then-Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite said in a statement last year. The Navy also looked at how much it would cost to convert what remains of the Bonhomme Richard into another type of vessel, such as a hospital ship, but such a conversion could cost more than $1 billion — more than building a brand-new similar ship.

Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction moratorium set to expire Saturday

CNN
—  

President Joe Biden on Thursday called on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium set to expire on Saturday that prohibits landlords nationwide from evicting certain tenants who fail to pay rent amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court last month allowed the order issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay in place until July 31, but said congressional action would be needed to extend it past that date.

“Given the recent spread of the Delta variant, including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations, President Biden would have strongly supported a decision by the CDC to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect renters at this moment of heightened vulnerability. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Thursday.

Psaki said: “In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the President calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.”

The moratorium aims to keep people in their homes and out of crowded settings, including homeless shelters, as a way to help stop the spread of Covid-19. It comes as cases rise across the country, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant spreading in areas with low vaccination rates.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to her Democratic colleagues late Thursday, urging them to extend the moratorium until the end of the year, calling it a “moral imperative.”

The bill is expected on the House floor Friday. It has an uncertain fate in the Senate, where all 100 senators would have to agree for quick passage. If not, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would have to take multiple procedural steps to push the bill through – something that would eat up precious floor time just as they are considering the infrastructure bill.

Biden has also asked the US Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs to extend their respective eviction moratoria through the end of September, Psaki said.

The President is urging states and localities to “urgently accelerate” their efforts to disburse emergency rental assistance funds given the CDC eviction moratorium is ending this weekend.

A coalition of Realtor groups had asked the Supreme Court to block the CDC order, arguing that “Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims.” They argued the moratorium has resulted in “over $13 billion in unpaid rent per month.”

The CDC’s order first went into effect in September and initially was set to expire at the end of 2020, but was later extended several times. As one of his first acts in office, Biden called on the CDC to extend the ban until March 31.

The original eviction ban was approved by lawmakers as part of a massive Covid-19 relief bill in March 2020.

The $1.9 trillion stimulus package that Biden signed into law in March includes close to $50 billion in housing assistance for struggling renters, homeowners and people experiencing homelessness. The plan includes $27 billion in rent relief, $10 billion in mortgage payment relief and $5 billion to address homelessness.

Nearly $50 billion in federal rent relief money has been earmarked for renters through federal stimulus, including $25 billion from the December stimulus and $22 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act in March.

This story has been updated with further developments.

Annie Grayer, Kristin Wilson, Ali Zaslav and Manu Raju contributed to this report.

CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox and cause more severe infection

The document — a slide presentation — outlines unpublished data that shows fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people.CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed the authenticity of the document, which was first reported by The Washington Post.”I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious,” she told CNN.”It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there.”The CDC is scheduled to publish data Friday that will back Walensky’s controversial decision to change guidance for fully vaccinated people. She said Tuesday the CDC was recommending that even fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in places where transmission of the virus is sustained or high.And she said everyone in schools — students, staff and visitors — should wear masks at all times.”The measures we need to get this under control — they’re extreme. The measures you need are extreme,” Walensky told CNN.She said the data in the report did not surprise her. “It was the synthesis of the data all in one place that was sobering,” she said.The CDC presentation says the Delta variant is about as transmissible as chickenpox, with each infected person, on average, infecting eight or nine others. The original lineage was about as transmissible as the common cold, with each infected person passing the virus to about two other people on average.That infectivity is known as R0. “When you think about diseases that have an R0 of eight or nine — there aren’t that many,” Walensky told CNN.And if vaccinated people get infected anyway, they have as much virus in their bodies as unvaccinated people. That means they’re as likely to infect someone else as unvaccinated people who get infected.”The bottom line was that, in contrast to the other variants, vaccinated people, even if they didn’t get sick, got infected and shed virus at similar levels as unvaccinated people who got infected,” Dr. Walter Orenstein, who heads the Emory Vaccine Center and who viewed the documents, told CNN.But vaccinated people are safer, the document indicates.”Vaccines prevent more than 90% of severe disease, but may be less effective at preventing infection or transmission,” it reads. “Therefore, more breakthrough and more community spread despite vaccination.”It says vaccines reduce the risk of severe disease or death 10-fold and reduce the risk of infection three-fold.The presentation also cites three reports that indicate the Delta variant — originally known as B.1.617.2 — might cause more severe disease.The CDC, the document advises, should “acknowledge the war has changed.” It recommends vaccine mandates and universal mask requirements.The virus is once against surging across the US — especially in areas where fewer people are vaccinated.The US averaged more than 61,300 new daily cases over the last week — an average that’s generally risen since the country hit a 2021 low of 11,299 daily cases on June 22, according to Johns Hopkins University data.”The number of cases we have now is higher than any number we had on any given day last summer,” Walensky told CNN.As of Wednesday, cases have risen in all but one state in the past seven days compared with the week before, according to Johns Hopkins.”The one thing I will say is I’ve been heartened in the past couple of days to see more people taking action in response to the fact that it’s bad — more organizations, businesses, states, localities taking the action that’s needed to get us out of this,” Walensky said.The CDC document walks through new “communication challenges” as a result of breakthrough infections, along with the need to retool public health messaging to highlight vaccination as the best defense against the Delta variant.The agency should “improve (the) public’s understanding of breakthrough infections” and “improve communications around individual risk among vaccinated,” it says.Earlier Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a number of new steps his administration will take to try to get more Americans vaccinated, including requiring that all federal employees must attest to being vaccinated against Covid-19 or face strict protocols.”This is an American tragedy. People are dying — and will die — who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said during remarks at the White House. “Read the news. You’ll see stories of unvaccinated patients in hospitals, as they’re lying in bed dying from Covid-19, they’re asking, ‘Doc, can I get the vaccine?’ The doctors have to say, ‘Sorry, it’s too late.’ “This story has been updated with additional reporting.CNN’s John Bonifield contributed to this report.

Can We Drop a Dog Walker for Her Political Opinions?

The magazine’s Ethicist columnist on considering someone’s point of view when paying for their services.My husband and I employ a local dog walker. During the pandemic we have not contracted her because we are working from home and have not needed her services. She is an excellent dog walker: reliable, responsible and kind. A friend told me that throughout the fall and after the presidential election, she frequently posted rants on Facebook about liberals and immigrants, pro-Trump messages and falsehoods about how the election was stolen. We are disgusted by the postings and now wonder if we should use her again. On the one hand, we respect people’s right to their opinions and appreciate the good service she provided. On the other, we do not want our money to go to someone who supports viewpoints that we believe are hurtful and detrimental to our democracy. E.K.Your relationship with this woman is instrumental: She gets money, and you get dog care. Nor do her misguided views seem to be affecting your pet; you do not report that Rover, formerly content with plant-based kibble, has started howling for red meat. In fact, you think you’re getting good value for your money. And your patronage doesn’t make it more likely that she’d vote for deplorable candidates. So — while you don’t owe her the gig — it’s worth taking up the question of why you want to drop her.True, we reasonably don’t want to fund organizations dedicated to causes we find objectionable; we’d rather such organizations not exist. But she’s a person, with good traits and bad ones, and your thought surely isn’t that you’d rather she not earn a livelihood. (Or perhaps that’s presumptuous: In a 2017 survey of 1,000 American adults, 20 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans agreed that the country would be better off if large numbers of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, simply died.) Maybe you just want her to earn a diminished livelihood, taking satisfaction in making a bad person poorer.We reasonably don’t want to fund organizations dedicated to causes we find objectionable; we’d rather such organizations not exist.Many people, after all, think that the righteous should prosper and the unrighteous not. Yet I doubt the loss of your business would accomplish this, and you don’t seem eager to organize a boycott. Given that you’ve never discussed politics with her, not hiring her again isn’t even going to send her a disapproving signal.Now, you could certainly try to have a citizen-to-citizen discussion, assuming you thought doing so would advance your values. If you then didn’t rehire her, it would be plain why. Whether or not we can persuade our fellow citizens to accept our point of view, it’s often good to let them know where we stand, especially if we can communicate our reasons. But given the transactional nature of this relationship, you would be justified in letting this bone stay buried.I should be clear on one point. A manager who penalizes a regular employee for her political views is exercising workplace tyranny, of the kind the philosopher Elizabeth Anderson has explored in her book “Private Government.” Stability of employment and freedom of political opinion are both important interests and should be protected from abuse not just by the government but also by private employers. So it’s ethically significant that you face this person as an equal citizen, with little power over her beyond the capacity to decline to use her services. She in turn would be perfectly free, if she discovered your appalling liberal views, to decline your business. Rover, of course, may regret having no say, or bark, in the matter.I am a 46-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis. The moment I was eligible for a Covid vaccine, I jumped at the chance. As an immunosuppressed mom with an active family, I wanted to protect myself and others. I also agreed to participate in a study on vaccine efficacy because of a medication I take for my M.S. After receiving both doses of Moderna, I was tested and informed that I produced no antibodies but should have “some” protection from my T-cell reaction to the vaccine.I have been advised to continue to mask and social distance no matter the C.D.C. guidance, but I can go unmasked around small groups of fully vaccinated people in my friend group. As the world opens up, some events and places are asking for proof of vaccination. I know my vaccination didn’t work fully, but can I ethically show my vaccination card so I can attend? And of course I’d wear a mask if I went. H.S.Vaccination isn’t some impenetrable armor. Although most people are receiving excellent protection from the vaccine, even against the Delta variant, a fair number of people are, effectively, in your shoes and just don’t know it. For one thing, millions of Americans are — for a variety of reasons — immunocompromised. Whether they’re in a vaccinated or an unvaccinated cohort, they have a higher-than-average probability of contracting Covid-19, and because presymptomatic and asymptomatic Covid patients can be infectious, they may have a higher-than-average probability of transmitting the coronavirus.But the main person at risk from your attendance at events for vaccinated people will be you. And you’ll be taking precautions that reduce your odds of contracting or transmitting infection. In the highly unlikely event that you did transmit the virus at such an event, vaccinated attendees with normal immune systems would be very unlikely to get seriously ill. (The C.D.C. suggests that fully vaccinated people, even if they get Covid, may be less likely to pass along the virus.) And if attendees do have immune impairments, they should be following the advice you’ve been given. So yes, you can avail yourself of that vaccination card: You represent a lower risk than those vaccinated people who have similar vulnerabilities but don’t know it.Among my group of friends is a woman whose child has developmental delays with respect to speech and needs intervention. Some of us have had similar experiences with our own children. We have raised this issue with the mother, to no avail — she is in complete denial, blames Covid, says that the child will be fine once things are back to normal and can see other kids. Generally discussions about it end in a fight.The child has now been interacting with other children for a while and still has no more than a handful of basic words. Everyone has just given up; they say it’s the pediatrician’s place to say something, that she’s the mother and it’s ultimately her choice.I feel strongly that we have an ethical obligation to try to do something, even if it results in a conflict with our friend — this is an area where early intervention is key. What are my ethical obligations here? Name WithheldIn America, people tend to think that parenting is something done solely by the parents; others are invited to stand well back. Things are different elsewhere. As a child in Ghana, I recall only a small part of the love and assistance I received from the people my sisters and I called Auntie and Uncle, whether or not they were actually related to us. They were helping my parents to raise us.I think we can agree that, while children in our community may be in the care of their parents, we all have responsibilities to them. Understandably, parents are defensive when others raise questions about their children. That doesn’t mean that friends shouldn’t try to be helpful when they have something helpful to say. Even unwelcome advice often sinks in.So why isn’t this mother listening? However discouraged those other friends have become, see if you can get the proverbial village together to think about that question. It could be that there’s one person in your group who’s most likely to get through to her. Above all — and I know this is easy to say and hard to do — you’ll want to communicate that you respect her and understand that the decisions are hers.You might even identify local experts in developmental disabilities and offer to put her in touch with them. And perhaps someone in the group who has had a child with a developmental disability might offer to keep her company when she visits with experts. Just remember: If this becomes a fight, you’ve already lost.Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. His books include “Cosmopolitanism,” “The Honor Code” and “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.” To submit a query: Send an email to ethicist@nytimes.com; or send mail to The Ethicist, The New York Times Magazine, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018. (Include a daytime phone number.)

Can We Drop a Dog Walker for Her Political Opinions?

The magazine’s Ethicist columnist on considering someone’s point of view when paying for their services.My husband and I employ a local dog walker. During the pandemic we have not contracted her because we are working from home and have not needed her services. She is an excellent dog walker: reliable, responsible and kind. A friend told me that throughout the fall and after the presidential election, she frequently posted rants on Facebook about liberals and immigrants, pro-Trump messages and falsehoods about how the election was stolen. We are disgusted by the postings and now wonder if we should use her again. On the one hand, we respect people’s right to their opinions and appreciate the good service she provided. On the other, we do not want our money to go to someone who supports viewpoints that we believe are hurtful and detrimental to our democracy. E.K.Your relationship with this woman is instrumental: She gets money, and you get dog care. Nor do her misguided views seem to be affecting your pet; you do not report that Rover, formerly content with plant-based kibble, has started howling for red meat. In fact, you think you’re getting good value for your money. And your patronage doesn’t make it more likely that she’d vote for deplorable candidates. So — while you don’t owe her the gig — it’s worth taking up the question of why you want to drop her.True, we reasonably don’t want to fund organizations dedicated to causes we find objectionable; we’d rather such organizations not exist. But she’s a person, with good traits and bad ones, and your thought surely isn’t that you’d rather she not earn a livelihood. (Or perhaps that’s presumptuous: In a 2017 survey of 1,000 American adults, 20 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans agreed that the country would be better off if large numbers of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, simply died.) Maybe you just want her to earn a diminished livelihood, taking satisfaction in making a bad person poorer.We reasonably don’t want to fund organizations dedicated to causes we find objectionable; we’d rather such organizations not exist.Many people, after all, think that the righteous should prosper and the unrighteous not. Yet I doubt the loss of your business would accomplish this, and you don’t seem eager to organize a boycott. Given that you’ve never discussed politics with her, not hiring her again isn’t even going to send her a disapproving signal.Now, you could certainly try to have a citizen-to-citizen discussion, assuming you thought doing so would advance your values. If you then didn’t rehire her, it would be plain why. Whether or not we can persuade our fellow citizens to accept our point of view, it’s often good to let them know where we stand, especially if we can communicate our reasons. But given the transactional nature of this relationship, you would be justified in letting this bone stay buried.I should be clear on one point. A manager who penalizes a regular employee for her political views is exercising workplace tyranny, of the kind the philosopher Elizabeth Anderson has explored in her book “Private Government.” Stability of employment and freedom of political opinion are both important interests and should be protected from abuse not just by the government but also by private employers. So it’s ethically significant that you face this person as an equal citizen, with little power over her beyond the capacity to decline to use her services. She in turn would be perfectly free, if she discovered your appalling liberal views, to decline your business. Rover, of course, may regret having no say, or bark, in the matter.I am a 46-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis. The moment I was eligible for a Covid vaccine, I jumped at the chance. As an immunosuppressed mom with an active family, I wanted to protect myself and others. I also agreed to participate in a study on vaccine efficacy because of a medication I take for my M.S. After receiving both doses of Moderna, I was tested and informed that I produced no antibodies but should have “some” protection from my T-cell reaction to the vaccine.I have been advised to continue to mask and social distance no matter the C.D.C. guidance, but I can go unmasked around small groups of fully vaccinated people in my friend group. As the world opens up, some events and places are asking for proof of vaccination. I know my vaccination didn’t work fully, but can I ethically show my vaccination card so I can attend? And of course I’d wear a mask if I went. H.S.Vaccination isn’t some impenetrable armor. Although most people are receiving excellent protection from the vaccine, even against the Delta variant, a fair number of people are, effectively, in your shoes and just don’t know it. For one thing, millions of Americans are — for a variety of reasons — immunocompromised. Whether they’re in a vaccinated or an unvaccinated cohort, they have a higher-than-average probability of contracting Covid-19, and because presymptomatic and asymptomatic Covid patients can be infectious, they may have a higher-than-average probability of transmitting the coronavirus.But the main person at risk from your attendance at events for vaccinated people will be you. And you’ll be taking precautions that reduce your odds of contracting or transmitting infection. In the highly unlikely event that you did transmit the virus at such an event, vaccinated attendees with normal immune systems would be very unlikely to get seriously ill. (The C.D.C. suggests that fully vaccinated people, even if they get Covid, may be less likely to pass along the virus.) And if attendees do have immune impairments, they should be following the advice you’ve been given. So yes, you can avail yourself of that vaccination card: You represent a lower risk than those vaccinated people who have similar vulnerabilities but don’t know it.Among my group of friends is a woman whose child has developmental delays with respect to speech and needs intervention. Some of us have had similar experiences with our own children. We have raised this issue with the mother, to no avail — she is in complete denial, blames Covid, says that the child will be fine once things are back to normal and can see other kids. Generally discussions about it end in a fight.The child has now been interacting with other children for a while and still has no more than a handful of basic words. Everyone has just given up; they say it’s the pediatrician’s place to say something, that she’s the mother and it’s ultimately her choice.I feel strongly that we have an ethical obligation to try to do something, even if it results in a conflict with our friend — this is an area where early intervention is key. What are my ethical obligations here? Name WithheldIn America, people tend to think that parenting is something done solely by the parents; others are invited to stand well back. Things are different elsewhere. As a child in Ghana, I recall only a small part of the love and assistance I received from the people my sisters and I called Auntie and Uncle, whether or not they were actually related to us. They were helping my parents to raise us.I think we can agree that, while children in our community may be in the care of their parents, we all have responsibilities to them. Understandably, parents are defensive when others raise questions about their children. That doesn’t mean that friends shouldn’t try to be helpful when they have something helpful to say. Even unwelcome advice often sinks in.So why isn’t this mother listening? However discouraged those other friends have become, see if you can get the proverbial village together to think about that question. It could be that there’s one person in your group who’s most likely to get through to her. Above all — and I know this is easy to say and hard to do — you’ll want to communicate that you respect her and understand that the decisions are hers.You might even identify local experts in developmental disabilities and offer to put her in touch with them. And perhaps someone in the group who has had a child with a developmental disability might offer to keep her company when she visits with experts. Just remember: If this becomes a fight, you’ve already lost.Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. His books include “Cosmopolitanism,” “The Honor Code” and “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.” To submit a query: Send an email to ethicist@nytimes.com; or send mail to The Ethicist, The New York Times Magazine, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018. (Include a daytime phone number.)