A terror plot to kidnap a governor? A hurricane barreling toward the Gulf Coast? The fate of the next presidential debate in question?
It's Ashley, with a reminder that 2020 is a year that just won't quit. Let's get to it.
But first, treat yourself: This week has been a lot, so why not make some festive fall pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? While you're at it, email me your favorite cookie recipe at email@example.com. I've got something cooking up.
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Six people charged in plot against Michigan governor
A team of militia operatives has been charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a domestic terror plot in which they considered storming the state Capitol in a commando raid that would use Molotov cocktails to keep police cars at bay, according to newly unsealed court records. (Yes, really.) The FBI became aware early in 2020, through social media, that a militia group was "discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components," and "agreed to take violent action," according to a sworn affidavit. Members of the group bought weapons, conducted surveillance and held training meetings, but they were foiled in part because the FBI infiltrated the group with informants. Six were charged with federal kidnapping offenses and at least seven others face state charges.
Gulf Coast, time to prepare for Hurricane Delta
Hurricane Delta roared across the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, a havoc-wreaking storm that strengthened to a 115-mph Category 3 "major" hurricane as it set its sights on the beleaguered Louisiana coast. Delta's latest path presents a "worst-case scenario" for Lake Charles and southwestern Louisiana, though its effects will be felt all the way into Mississippi. Speaking about its potential landfall along the southwestern Louisiana coast, National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott said "it's the worst-case scenario." AccuWeather said Delta was expected to grow in size and strength over the Gulf before slamming into the Louisiana coast late Friday. A Category 3 hurricane has sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph and is considered to be a "major" hurricane.
Tracking Delta: Want to see the latest on the storm's projected path? Follow along using this live tracker.
There's still time to grab some essentials: Here's a full list of hurricane preparation tips and items to have on hand before, during and after the storm.
Pet owners: There can be a lot to consider when preparing for a hurricane, especially with animals. Here are a few tips.
What everyone’s talking about
Pro surfer Matt Wilkinson had a VERY close encounter with a shark in Australia.
JP Morgan Chase says it will dedicate $30 billion to closing the racial wealth gap.
The "Masked Singer' reveal of Giraffe shocked Robin Thicke.
A postal worker was charged after nearly 2,000 pieces of mail, including ballots, were found in trash.
Kansas football coach Les Miles tested positive for COVID-19.
Is the next presidential debate happening? TBD
The fate of the next presidential debate is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. President Donald Trump said this morning that he would not take part in the next scheduled debate with former Vice President Joe Biden after it was moved to a virtual format over COVID-19 safety concerns, calling it a "joke" and an effort "to protect Biden." Trump asked that the next two debates be delayed a week instead. Meanwhile, the debate commission said it would not host a solo debate. While they work that out, let's talk about last night's veep debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris. There were moments of civility: Pence congratulated Harris on making history. But there were also plenty of skirmishes:
Pence defended the administration's refusal to follow CDC guidelines, like mask wearing, at the White House event with Trump's Supreme Court pick.
Harris dodged questions about expanding the Supreme Court.
Harris and Pence had a sharp exchange over climate change. Pence said Biden would ban fracking, which Harris denied.
While there's no "winner" of the debate, we asked our election text group which candidate they thought reigned supreme. A total of 53.9% chose Harris. But many also tossed their vote to the unexpected guest of the evening: a fly. Here's what some readers texted us:
"There’s a fly on Mike Pence’s head. There’s a fly on Mike Pence’s head. There’s a fly on Mike Pence’s head ... " (this went on for quite awhile)
"Let the fly talk."
"Do you think the fly was a Democrat or Republican?"
VP debate fact check: Where Harris, Pence landed on COVID-19, taxes, economy.
Following backlash, Karen Pence's team says "both sides agreed' spouses would remove masks.
Moderator Susan Page hopes the Pence-Harris was helpful for voters: "That was the point."
"Truth Over Flies" fly swatters: Joe Biden campaign, Etsy sellers capitalize on VP debate.
'Debate instead of a debacle': Savannah Guthrie, Katie Couric and celebs react to the VP debate.
Top White House security official hospitalized with COVID-19
The head of the White House security office is gravely ill with COVID-19 and has been hospitalized since September, a White House official has confirmed. Crede Bailey leads the office in charge of credentialing people for access to the White House and works closely with the Secret Service, according to Bloomberg. Bailey got sick before the now-infamous Sept. 26 Rose Garden event, where Trump announced his pick of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, according to Bloomberg. Several people who attended that event, including Trump and first lady Melania Trump, have tested positive for COVID-19. Trump returned to the White House Monday after spending three days in the hospital to receive treatments for COVID-19.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hasn't visited the White House in two months because of what he saw as lax coronavirus practices.
A break from the news
Another kind of Space Force: Here are 11 astronaut-themed TV shows to stream.
Happy birthday, Matt Damon! The award-winning actor's life and career in pictures.
This dude in hot dog costume is dancing his buns off.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gretchen Whitmer, Trump, Hurricane Delta, Pence, Harris: Thursday's news