ByKevin Sheekey

A Hopeful New Era Begins.

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next President of the United States in a matter of hours. 

Today is exactly two weeks since insurrectionists inspired by President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building intent on overturning a free and fair election and aiming to kill and take hostages. And yesterday, the U.S. crossed the grim milestone of 400,000 Covid-19 deaths, the worst pandemic death toll in the world thus far.  

We have reasons for hope: In his inaugural address, Joe Biden will emphasize unity and recovery.

He will speak about the need to bring the country together during an unprecedented moment of crisis.

With high security, no crowds and social distancing for guests, the swearing-in will be a far quieter affair than previous inaugurations.

A 200,000-strong “Field of Flags” was created Monday on the National Mall, and will take the place of the normally large crowds welcoming the new Commander in Chief.

Last night, the inauguration committee held a memorial for the 400,000 who have lost their lives to Covid-19, held at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris attended, alongside their spouses. 

“It’s important to [remember those we’ve lost] as a nation,” Biden said at the memorial. “That’s why we’re here today, between sundown and dusk, to shine lights in the darkness, along the sacred pool of reflection, to remember all whom we lost.”

Be inspired: Watch the moving Covid memorial ceremony performances of ‘Hallelujah’ by gospel singer Yolanda Adams and ‘Amazing Grace’ by nurse Lori Marie Key, who treated Covid patients in Michigan.

Brexit Commentary.

Sadiq KhanFinancial Services Have Been Badly Let Down By Brexit

People who work in the UK’s financial services once believed that they could bank on a Conservative government. But they have been well and truly abandoned by the current one at the worst possible time.

With great fanfare, Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated the Brexit deal agreed before Christmas.

But, incredibly, financial services — a sector worth £132bn a year to the UK and employing more than 1m people — has been neglected by a deal that is better for European exporters of goods to the UK than it is for its world-leading service sector. Exports of UK financial services are worth around £60bn, compared with £15bn worth of EU imports.

There is no getting around the fact that it was effectively a no-deal Brexit for finance, with the needs of the sector at the heart of UK global competitiveness not only being overlooked, but barely being paid lip-service by this government.

America’s Top Givers.

In naming the 25 most generous philanthropists, Forbes highlights Mike Bloomberg and the $11 billion-plus he has invested in charitable causes, including climate change, gun safety and public health.

He’s spent more than $1 billion to curb tobacco use over the last decade, and in 2018 announced a $1.8 billion pledge to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has also donated more than $330 million to Covid-19 related programs ranging from medical research to paying for meals for frontline healthcare workers.

In September, Bloomberg also announced a $100 million pledge over the next four years to fund scholarships at four historically Black medical schools.

Trump Attempted to Exploit the ‘Red Mirage’.

Axios’ multi-part series, Off the Rails, takes you inside the collapse of Donald Trump.

Episode 1 explores the “Red Mirage,” the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies, and Trump’s decision to exploit it:

Episode 1: Trump’s Premeditated Election Lie Lit the Fire

Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn first warned of the Red Mirage in an interview with Axios on September 1.

As Trump prepared for Election Day, he was focused on the idea of the so-called Red Mirage: He knew early vote counts would look better for Republicans than the final tallies, because Democrats feared Covid-19 more and would disproportionately cast absentee votes that would take longer to count.

Trump intended to weaponize it for his vast base of followers.

Read more from the Axios series, including: 

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. 

Episode 3: Descent Into Madness … Trump: ‘Sometimes You Need a Little Crazy’

The conspiracy goes too far. Trump’s outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

A New Day.

The Late Late Show’s James Corden celebrated Donald Trump’s final day in the White House with a revamped version of the Les Misérables song One Day More. Brilliant. Watch, repeat.

How Tech Helps Slow the Spread.

New York state’s Covid Alert NY app has just crossed 1,275,000 downloads as Exposure Notification (EN) technology rapidly progresses as a public health tool.

Plus: Read my recent Daily News Op-Ed about why you, your family, colleagues and friends should download and activate your state’s app now. The more people who use it, the more effective it is.

New Yorkers, download your app here.

Not in New York? Find your local app or alerts here

Best of Late Night.

“Trump is leaving office with his lowest approval rating yet — it’s down to 29 percent. Which, for someone who incited a violent insurrection to overthrow the government isn’t bad. I mean, honestly, what would he have to do to get below 20 percent — eat the Constitution?”
— Jimmy Kimmel

“Sources say that President Trump is prepared to issue around 100 pardons and commutations. Why so many? Well, there’s reportedly a lucrative market for pardons. Finally, POTUS is running a business that makes money.”
— Stephen Colbert

“There are reports Biden may have to leave his Peloton bike behind when he moves into the White House because it has a camera and microphone that could be hacked. Even hackers were like, ‘If you think we want to watch an old man sweat and grunt to REO Speedwagon, you are very mistaken.’”
— Jimmy Fallon

“Melania is leaving Jill Biden the same note that Michelle Obama left for her. Isn’t that sweet?”
— Jimmy Fallon

“First of all, before anything else, Happy Martin Luther King Day, everybody, when we celebrate a great leader who led a march on Washington that didn’t end with me having to learn about someone named Q Shaman.”
— Stephen Colbert

“According to a new poll, fourth-fifths of Americans say that America is falling apart, while one fifth is how they’re dealing with it.”
— Seth Meyers

“Normally, after a president’s term, they show before and after photos to prove how much the job aged him. This time, they’re showing before and after photos of all of us!”
— Jimmy Fallon

Sheekey Daily Read Archive.

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About the Sheekey Daily Read

I’m always searching for the stories that shine a light on – and offer solutions to – some of the most pressing issues of our time. I started my daily email to capture and share the stories I think are important. Subscribe here to get the Sheekey Daily Read in your inbox each day.
– Kevin Sheekey