Four artists have filled six vacant downtown Clearwater store fronts with wearable art exhibits as a way to revitalize Cleveland Street.
- NBC News
Analysis: Biden had nothing to gain and everything to lose from fighting a quixotic war over the filibuster just days into his presidency.
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOATThe left's fake Senate majority
Word has it the former Second Family is staying at the Indiana governor’s cabin or crashing with kinfolk back in their home state. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, are reportedly looking for a new home after their free, taxpayer-funded housing officially ended just over a week ago. The story was originally shared by Business Insider but reposted to other outlets: Pence is reportedly staying at a cabin that Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb uses as a retreat, while two other Indiana Republican insiders say that the former second-in-command and ex-Second Lady are staying with family.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he’s saying: Putin said growing inequality and “systemic socio-economic problems” were “splitting the society,” adding: “This pressure shows through even in those countries which seem to possess well-established civic and democratic institutions.” * He said Big Tech firms had established monopolies, and questioned whether their services were serving “the public interest” or further contributing to the divide. * “We have seen all of this quite recently in the United States, and everybody understands quite well what I’m talking about," he said.Between the lines: This could also be read as a self-serving argument from Putin, who has sharply curtailed freedoms online and was only yesterday forced to respond to a viral YouTube video in which Navalny claimed he owned a “billion dollar palace."The other side: Putin’s style diverged sharply from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the conference on Monday. * Xi appeared polished and camera-ready, breaking his speech into four themes and speaking in sweeping terms about international cooperation. * Putin was late to start, sat in a slouched position and peppered his speech with economic statistics in a tone that alternated between combativeness and disinterest.Worth noting: Putin also contended that countries facing internal divisions were seizing on “external enemies,” particularly “countries that do not agree to become docile, easy to control satellites.” * He argued that the increasing the use of tools like sanctions would only increase the risk of future “military force.”Go deeper: Biden's Russia challengeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
A former pathologist at an Arkansas veterans’ hospital has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient that he misdiagnosed.
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, according to a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding obtained by Reuters. In the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling. Tarrio, in an interview with Reuters Tuesday, denied working undercover or cooperating in cases against others.
President Biden's plan to replace the government’s fleet of 650,000 cars and trucks with electric vehicles assembled in the U.S. by union workers is easier said than done. Why it matters: The populist "Buy American" message sounds good, but the vehicles Biden wants are still several years away and his purchase criteria would require an expensive overhaul of automakers' manufacturing strategies, not to mention a reversal of fortune for labor organizers long stymied by Tesla and other non-union companies.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Reality check: Right now, not a single model fits the president's criteria: battery-powered, made in America, by union workers. * Tesla produces the vast majority of EVs in the U.S., and all of its models contain at least 55% American-made parts, according to federal data. But Tesla doesn't have a union and CEO Elon Musk has run afoul of federal labor laws. * General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt is the only U.S.-built EV made by union labor. But it's made mostly with parts imported from Korea. Just 24% of the content is considered domestic. * The Nissan Leaf, another popular EV, is made in Tennessee. But the factory is non-union and only 35% of the parts are domestic. "Made in America" itself is confusing, because current rules governing "domestic" content include parts made in both the U.S. and Canada. * Under the American Automobile Labeling Act, passed in 1992, every car requires a label disclosing where the car was assembled, the percentage of equipment from the U.S. and Canada combined, and the country where the engine and transmission were built. * The newly passed US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement adds another layer of rules about the origin of parts.Biden wants to change the whole system of determining whether a federal vehicle is "American." * Today, the government requires federal vehicles to have at least 50 percent of their components made in America, but loopholes allow the most valuable parts like engines or steel to be manufactured elsewhere, Biden told reporters Monday. * He wants a higher threshold and tighter rules that would directly benefit American workers. Be smart: It's all doable, but definitely not within Biden's four-year term in office. * "It just doesn't add up," said Joe Langley, a forecasting analyst for IHS Markit. "The product is still a few years away." * And replacing 650,000 federal vehicles with EVs would require an increase in U.S. investment through the whole supply chain, including electric motors, batteries and vehicles — all of which will take time, Langley said. * Union leaders are glad Biden is focused on the industry's future. "He sees new technology as a way to grow our industry and our economy," a spokesperson for the United Auto Workers told Axios.Some of that investment is already happening. GM, for example, is overhauling several factories to produce electric vehicles in Tennessee and Michigan. Ford will make its upcoming e-Transit van in Missouri. * But GM, Ford and Stellantis (the newly merged FiatChrysler and Peugeot) just recently committed to build more EVs at union factories in Canada. * And Ford is ramping up production of its highly anticipated Mustang Mach-E in Mexico. What to watch: There could be some surprise winners from Biden's plan. * A handful of well-funded EV startups such as Lordstown Motors, Rivian and Workhorse are developing plug-in commercial vehicles like vans and trucks — things that are often needed in government fleets. * "This could put wind in the sails of a lot of new startups," said Langley.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
The U.S. Air Force is approaching its sunset date for the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU.
- National Review
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and 45 members of his caucus backed an effort to declare the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday. McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, introduced a point of order on Tuesday to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional on the grounds that a president can’t be impeached once he has left office. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then moved to table Paul’s point of order, blocking the effort to preemptively invalidate the impeachment trial. McConnell joined all but five Senate Republicans in opposing Schumer, signaling a willingness to entertain the argument that the impending trial is unconstitutional. The point of order resolution effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted in favor of Schumer’s move to table it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned. However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump. “I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.” Senator Collins said following the vote that there would be little chance of an impeachment conviction. “I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,” Collins told The New York Times. “Just do the math.” McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6, though the majority leader later said publicly that he hadn’t decided whether to vote to convict. The mob breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and five people died in the riots including a Capitol police officer. An impeachment conviction could allow the Senate to bar Trump from running for office again, however a number of Republican senators have come out against the impeachment push. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be “arrogant” for the Senate to prevent Trump from running again. “Voters get to decide that,” Rubio told Chis Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voiced skepticism regarding the impeachment trial. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton told the Associated Press on Monday. Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that McConnell voted to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional. In fact, the minority leader voted against a motion to table Senator Paul’s point of order, which deems the trial unconstitutional. We regret the error.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.Between the lines: A senior Israeli official who is well-informed of Netanyahu’s thinking draws a clear distinction between the two cases. Obama went behind Israel's back to hold secret talks with the Iranians, the official said, while Biden's team has earned goodwill by saying from day one that they intend to consult with Israel before making any decisions on Iran. * The senior official added that Netanyahu's warm personal history with Biden over four decades could be used as a shock absorber to help overcome difficulties and misunderstandings. * Two other Israeli officials said Netanyahu was hesitant to pick a fight with Biden from the start for another reason: Unlike Obama in 2015, he has Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, which will make it harder to exert pressure.What they're saying: A senior Israeli official close to Netanyahu said that while the prime minister wants to begin with a stance of cooperation and consultation toward the Biden administration, he intends to stand firm in his opposition to a U.S. return to the deal. * “He doesn’t want to tweak it. He thinks the agreement is flawed to its foundations and that the Iranians will agree to compromise only if pressure continues," the official said.Worth noting: On Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Aviv Kohavi aligned himself with Netanyahu, coming out publicly against any U.S. return to the previous deal or even “a deal with cosmetic changes." * Kohavi said he ordered the IDF to prepare several new plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities should Israeli leadership decide to use that option. * That's a major shift in the position of Israel’s most senior security official. In 2015, then-IDF leader Gadi Eizenkot didn't oppose the deal and Kohavi himself, then chief of military intelligence, thought it had strategic advantages for Israel. * The Obama administration used such arguments from the Israeli defense establishment to counter Netanyahu’s campaign. Now, Netanyahu has the head of the military on his side. * And while former IDF chiefs of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz were opposed when Netanyahu considered striking Iran between 2009 and 2012, Kohavi is now on the record in support.The other side: Now foreign minister, Ashkenazi called on Tuesday for a much more cautious approach. * He said Israel must hold quiet talks with the Biden administration on Iran and avoid the sort of confrontational media campaign it launched in 2015. * Ashkenazi has argued that the past approach only sidelined Israel and can't be repeated if Israel wants to remain relevant to the process.Driving the news: On Saturday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke for the first time with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat. * Israeli officials said the call was very good and were satisfied by the White House readout that stressed the U.S. would consult Israel and enter into a strategic dialogue.What’s next: Israeli officials told me they expect talks with the Biden administration on Iran to start in the very near future, most likely in secured video conferences due to COVID restrictions. * Yes, but: Netanyahu’s willingness to engage with Biden and avoid confrontation could change quickly if he thinks it’s ineffective — or if he decides confrontation could help him in the March 23 elections.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- The Telegraph
Turkish state media accused former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea of "whitewashing terrorists" after they announced they were intending to produce a TV drama based on female Kurdish fighters in Syria. The series will be an adaptation of journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s 'The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice', a book based on interviews with members of Kurdish all-female brigades known as Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). Part of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), they gained international attention for fighting against the Islamic State Group in northern Syria. The series will be produced by the production company HiddenLight, which was founded by Mrs Clinton and her daughter. "We created HiddenLight to celebrate heroes - sung and unsung alike - whose courage is too often overlooked, and we could not be more thrilled to bring this inspiring story to viewers around the world," said Mrs Clinton. Turkey takes a very different view of the YPG, which is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed left-wing group that has fought a guerilla war with Turkey since 1984 over securing greater Kurdish rights. Turkey considers the entire YPG to be terrorists because of their links to the PKK, which was designated a terrorist organisation under Bill Clinton’s administration in 1997. The US designation does not apply to the YPG or YPJ, however. “In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including, women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said. The fighting between Turkey and the PKK has killed at least 40,000 across both sides of the conflict and both have repeatedly committed human rights violations.
U.S. President Joe Biden is expected on Friday to issue executive orders on asylum resettlement and reunification of migrant families, among other issues, according to a Biden transition team memo shared with lawmakers and interviews with two people familiar with the plans. Biden, a Democrat, has vowed to reverse many policies put in place by former Republican President Donald Trump, a process that could take months or years. Biden plans to rescind some Trump policies that made it harder to obtain asylum in the United States, according to the memo.
- NBC News
While the Democratic-controlled House could pass the bill again, its chances of clearing the Senate are nil.
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
The bureau reported that about 5,300 survivors of the World War II-era mass murder of European Jews and other groups by the Nazis were infected in 2020 with the coronavirus. About 17% of those Holocaust survivors died of the virus, similar to the percentage of others of the same age. All Holocaust survivors are at least 75 years old and COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, is especially lethal to seniors.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is joining the Conservative Partnership Institute, a group run by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that operates as a "networking hub" for conservative groups, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.Between the lines: Meadows, who is still in frequent contact with former President Trump and has been advising him ahead of his impeachment trial, will now operate behind the scenes to help create more members like Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley — conservative firebrands with strong networks and staffs.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The House Freedom Caucus founder will also play a key role in gathering grassroots support to oppose Biden nominees and policies in the first 100 days, the sources said. * His first day is on Wednesday.The backdrop: DeMint founded CPI because he felt the conservative movement did a lousy job at helping members of Congress be effective legislators once they get to D.C. * His team has since focused on placing conservatives in prime spots in the Trump administration and Capitol Hill, and has trained staff on strategy and congressional rules and procedure. * Other CPI staff include Wesley Denton, former chief of staff in Trump's Office of Management and Budget; Ed Corrigan, former executive director of the Senate Steering Committee under DeMint, Mike Lee and Jeff Sessions; and Rachel Bovard, former Rand Paul legislative director and a leading conservative voice on Big Tech battles.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Week
Career officials at the State Department "don't expect huge improvements" under the Biden administration, a U.S. diplomat told Politico. So far, people who stuck it out for four years under the Trump administration feel like they're being snubbed in favor of political appointees as higher-level positions get filled. On the one hand, Politico reports, the fact that not a single career official was named in the first wave of top appointments that require Senate confirmation is seen as "a slight to the hardworking rank-and-file officials," especially after they felt they were not treated well under the previous administration. "The diplomatic corps has been battered and bruised," the diplomat told Politico. "Why not come explain your thinking? I'm prepared for disappointment and under-delivering from this team." But the criticism may not all be personal. Brett Bruen, a consultant who previously served on the Obama National Security Council, suggested that passing over holdovers from the Trump years could hinder policy decisions. "None of the people who were there for the last four years, who understand how the world has changed, will be in the room when the big decisions were being made," he told Politico. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to ease the concerns, telling Politico "career experts will always be at the center of our diplomacy." Read more at Politico. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOATThe left's fake Senate majority