Feb. 23—Through the power of devoted customers and staff, curbside sales and a vast selection of wine, Cork It has nearly made it through its first year of business and is already preparing to open a second location in Buford this spring.
- USA TODAY
At least 13 people died after an SUV with 25 passengers collided with a semitruck full of gravel near the U.S.-Mexican border in California.
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
For the first time ever, the celebrity dermatologist let a patient take a smoke break halfway through the procedure to calm down.
- The Independent
Marjorie Taylor Greene claims ‘real’ voter suppression is her having to wait to go through metal detectors at Congress
The For the People Act – also known as HR1 – aims to make voting in federal elections easier
- The Daily Beast
GettyWhen Sen. Josh Hawley voiced his support late last year for giving millions of Americans $2,000 checks, he said he got a call from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ camp. What happened next was the formation of one of Capitol Hill’s stranger political odd couples, as the Trumpist Republican from Missouri and the Democratic Socialist from Vermont joined together to make a very public push for a shared priority.That partnership might have continued last week, with another Hawley announcement that put him in league with Sanders and other progressives: his support for requiring companies with revenues of $1 billion or more to pay their workers a $15 hourly minimum wage.But of course, something rather important happened since Hawley and Sanders first joined forces. The Missouri Republican was a lead endorser and amplifier of former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories that he unfairly lost the 2020 election—theories that fueled the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6. In a now-infamous photograph, Hawley was pictured raising his fist in solidarity with those gathered outside the Capitol that morning. When the Senate convened after the mob was cleared, Hawley was the only senator to speak in favor of objecting to the Electoral College certification.So when Hawley floated his minimum wage plan on Friday, no apparent public or private efforts to collaborate with progressives followed. There was no sequel to the fight for $2,000 checks. Hawley told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he had not gotten a call from Sanders or any Democratic colleague about the proposal or spoken with any of them about it. Sanders, meanwhile, declined to say if he had even talked to Hawley, only saying in response to questions that Democrats had moved on from an effort to force companies to pay a $15 wage in their COVID bill. A source close to Sanders confirmed that the two men did not speak about the proposed amendment to require companies to pay a $15 minimum wage.Asked if Democrats wanted to work with him right now, Hawley said, “I don’t think they particularly want to work with anybody.”But that doesn’t appear to be so.Sen. Jon Ossoff—the Democrat from Georgia who won his race for Senate the same day Hawley encouraged the mob that attacked it—told The Daily Beast on Tuesday, “I’m not going to rule out working with any colleagues.” He said he’d be open to considering Hawley’s proposal, adding, “I’m encouraged that there is interest among Republican senators in taking action to increase wages.”Ever since Jan. 6, Democrats have contemplated how they could work again as normal with the over 150 congressional Republicans who voted to object to the 2020 election results and who spread conspiracies that President Joe Biden somehow did not win fairly. Relationships on typically chummy Capitol Hill have been strained, with flare-ups and personal attacks boiling over in committee hearings. Some Democratic lawmakers now keep lists of who they can work with and who they cannot, based on the votes that took place after the attack on Jan. 6.But Hawley’s case might be a unique test of the strained new atmosphere on Capitol Hill. To some Democrats, no other high-profile GOP lawmaker is more associated with the events of Jan. 6. Among many, particularly activists, Hawley is now firmly persona non grata—a contemptible figure who has fully earned himself a career as a pariah. “Josh Hawley has a lot to answer to,” said Joe Sanberg, a California businessman and advocate for raising the wage. “I don’t think he’s a relevant part of the conversation about the righteous fight for the minimum wage for 22 million people who earn less than $15 an hour.”But few, if any, occupy the space on the political spectrum that the freshman Republican has staked out—space that has situated Hawley to find, on occasion, common ground with progressives.In addition to the splashier $2,000 check campaign and the minimum wage proposal, Hawley has introduced legislation to require some colleges to pay off the debts of students who default on their loans and bills to rein in pharmaceutical prices. He has been an outspoken critic of Wall Street and corporate America, albeit from a conservative perspective, but in ways that found him occasionally hitting similar notes as some on the left.For many progressives who might be inclined to agree with some of Hawley’s proposals, wariness and skepticism about the ambitious senator’s populist overtures have prevailed. Many have noted that his brand of populism is animated by a nationalist, anti-immigration sentiment they find xenophobic or even racist; others simply don’t take his stances all too seriously.Show-Me State Tells Hawley to Show Himself Out, Poll Finds“I have always been immensely skeptical of it,” said Marshall Steinbaum, an economics professor at the University of Utah who focuses on inequality, labor, and antitrust issues. “It’s not a matter of making common cause with strange political bedfellows… I definitely take the view that having Hawley in some putative coalition discredits that coalition.”But other Democrats have welcomed the emergence of Republicans who could, potentially, help them advance the pro-worker economic policies they’ve been campaigning on for years. Clearly, Sanders previously believed that working with Hawley could help deliver direct relief to people hit hard by the pandemic. "We are working on bipartisan legislation," Sanders said in a speech from the Senate floor in December. "And Senator Hawley has done a very, very good job on this."Hawley, meanwhile, has been a vocal critic of the “radical left.” But when the partnership with Sanders emerged last year, he told reporters, “Hey, as I’ve said, I’ll work with anybody.”The senators’ efforts on stimulus checks prompted commentators to raise their eyebrows—at a “budding left-right populist alliance,” as The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent put it. Ultimately, the bill that passed on Dec. 26 fell far short of what the duo asked for, with direct checks of only $600, and a standalone floor vote on $2,000 checks they pushed for later was blocked by Senate GOP leadership. But that full amount will almost certainly come eventually, with the Democratic-controlled Congress slated to send out $1,400 direct payments as part of a new relief plan this month.The new round of relief was still an abstraction when Capitol Hill was ruptured on Jan. 6, the very day Democrats sealed the Senate majority. In the aftermath, seven Senate Democrats requested that the Senate Ethics Committee open an investigation to obtain a “complete account” of Hawley’s role, and that of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX), in the events of the day. Arguing that they had “lent legitimacy to the mob’s cause and made future violence more likely,” the senators said the body to determine whether the Republicans violated the rules and therefore merited punishment—including expulsion. Sanders was not on the letter.In response, Hawley accused the Democrats of trying to “cancel” him and filed his own complaint to the Ethics panel about their letter.The Missouri senator proceeded to play virtually no role in the shaping of the COVID relief plan that developed after Biden took office. Most Senate Democrats have avoided declaring they will never work with him again, but no one is rushing to work with him.Hawley has nevertheless tried to get a piece of the ongoing stimulus action, especially on the minimum wage, which has become a key focus of the current relief plan. In addition to proposing a requirement for “billion-dollar” companies to pay a $15 hourly wage, Hawley rolled out what he called the “Blue-Collar Bonus,” a tax credit intended to give employees of smaller companies a way to reach the $15 threshold, at government expense. Critics responded that the structure of his plan would give companies huge loopholes to avoid paying a fair wage.It also explicitly excludes non-citizens and undocumented workers—a nonstarter for Democrats, and a sign to progressives like Sanberg that it’s impossible to take any good in Hawley’s proposals without also taking on the bad. “He has terrible judgment. He’s always trying to move to where he thinks political winds are—when you’re moving with political winds without any moral center, it takes you right into hurricanes,” he said.But Pete d’Alessandro, a former top Sanders political adviser in Iowa, said sometimes there isn’t a choice. “Are you not gonna work with every single senator who thinks we still need to look into the election?” he told The Daily Beast. “Because there’s more than Hawley on that. If you buy into what Congress is supposed to do, if you draw these buckets, there’s not gonna be a lot of people to work with, at some point.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Carey Price made 26 saves in a bounce-back performance and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Tuesday night to give rookie coach Dominique Ducharme his first NHL victory. Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal and an assist. Tyler Toffoli scored into an empty net for Montreal (10-6-5), which snapped a five-game losing streak in Ducharme's first home game in charge of the Canadiens.
CrossFit has publicly disavowed Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene over the Republican's previous support for QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
- Associated Press
A Polish court on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for producing and distributing images of a revered Roman Catholic icon altered to include the LGBT rainbow. The posters, which they distributed in the city of Plock in 2019, used rainbows as halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus.
- The Week
Manhattan DA investigators are reportedly focusing on the Trump Organization's chief financial officer
Investigators with the Manhattan District Attorney's office are taking a closer look at Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, as they continue a probe into former President Donald Trump and his family business, people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times. They are investigating potential financial fraud, and whether Trump and the Trump Organization manipulated property values in order to receive loans and reduce property taxes, the Times reports. Weisselberg, 73, has worked for the Trump Organization for decades, starting at the company when it was helmed by Fred Trump, the former president's father. Two people familiar with the matter said prosecutors have been asking witnesses about Weisselberg, and spoke with one person about Weisselberg's sons — Barry, the property manager of Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park, and Jack, who works at Ladder Capital, one of Trump's lenders. None of the Weisselbergs have been accused of wrongdoing, and there is no indication Barry and Jack are a focus of the probe, the Times says. The investigation began more than two years ago, with the district attorney looking into hush money payments made to two women who said they had affairs with Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, arranged the payments, and pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance charges. He testified before Congress that Weisselberg came up with a strategy to hide the fact that the Trump Organization was reimbursing Cohen for making payments to one of the women, pornographic actress Stormy Daniels. Trump has called the investigation "a witch hunt." More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceReport: Some Fox News staffers are furious over Kayleigh McEnany joining the networkThe biggest jazz star you've never heard of
- Associated Press
An Israeli military court has sentenced a prominent Palestinian lawmaker to two years in prison in a plea bargain that convicted her of belonging to an outlawed group. Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been held without charge since October 2019. Israel, along with the U.S. and other Western allies, considers the PFLP a terror group.
- Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — “Trump needs you,” one fundraising email implored. “President Trump’s Legacy is in your hands," another pleaded. Others advertised “Miss Me Yet?” T-shirts featuring Donald Trump's smiling face.
- LA Times
When the 'Punky Brewster' star embarked on a new documentary, she found that confronting her past, including surviving sexual assault, was the only way forward.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Myanmar have charged Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years, a lawyer said Tuesday. The six were arrested while covering protests against the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The group includes journalists for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet online news and a freelancer.
- Yahoo News
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday addressed the multiple allegations of sexual harassment made against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying the Biden administration supports an investigation of him and believes the three women making the accusations should be heard.
- Business Insider
Far-right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are splintering and realigning after the Capitol riot, report says
In the wake of the Capitol riot, far-right groups are in disarray. But new organizations of violent extremists could emerge from the chaos.
Last September, in the arid hills of northern Nevada, a cluster of flowers found nowhere else on earth died mysteriously overnight. Conservationists were quick to suspect ioneer Ltd, an Australian firm that wants to mine the lithium that lies beneath the flowers for use in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. One conservation group alleged in a lawsuit that the flowers, known as Tiehm's buckwheat, were "dug up and destroyed."
- The Independent
Dr Reiner said, ‘without [Trump’s] very visible assent to vaccines, it has devastating result on acceptance of vaccines in people who doubt it right now’
Democrat Joe Biden has promised to undo the 'cruelty' of Donald Trump's immigration policies.
- Associated Press
The majority of California's 6.1 million public school students could be back in the classroom by April under new legislation announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. Most students in the nation's most populous state have been learning from home for the past year during the pandemic. If approved by the Legislature, the plan announced Monday would not order districts to return students to the classroom and no parents would be compelled to send their kids back to school in-person.
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — As the Interior Department awaits its new secretary, the agency is already moving to lock in key parts of President Joe Biden’s environmental agenda, particularly on oil and gas restrictions, laying the groundwork to fulfill some of the administration’s most consequential climate change promises. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Biden’s nominee to lead the department, faces a showdown vote in the Senate likely later this month, amid vocal Republican concern for her past positions against oil and gas drilling. But even without her, an agency that spent much of the past four years opening vast swaths of land to commercial exploitation has pulled an abrupt about-face. The department has suspended lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico under an early executive order imposing a temporary freeze on new drilling leases on all public lands and waters and requiring a review of the leasing program. It has frozen drilling activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, delayed Trump-era rollbacks on protections of migratory birds and the northern spotted owl, and taken the first steps in restoring two national monuments in Utah and one off the Atlantic coast that former President Donald Trump largely dismantled. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times As early as this week, one administration official said the Interior Department is poised to take the next steps in preparing a review of the federal oil and gas leasing program. Even critics of the administration’s agenda said they have been surprised by the pace of the agency’s actions. “They’re obviously moving forward quickly and aggressively,” said Nicolas Loris, an economist who focuses on environment policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation. That aggressiveness, along with Haaland’s history of pushing to shut down fossil fuel drilling and pipelines, has put the agency in the line of fire from Republicans and the oil and gas industry. “I almost feel like your nomination is sort of this proxy fight over the future of fossil fuels,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., told Haaland during her confirmation hearing last week. The Environmental Protection Agency will ultimately take center stage in the regulatory battles over climate change because it is the lead agency policing emissions from the electricity and transportation sectors — the two largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. But the Interior Department, which decides when and whether to sell publicly owned coal, oil and gas, is at the heart of the always contentious fight over keeping such resources “in the ground” — that is, whether the vast majority of America’s fossil fuels should remain untapped to avoid dangerous concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Biden already has appointed nearly 50 top Interior officials across the vast agency, many of them veterans of the Obama administration, adept at pulling the levers of policy. They include Kate Kelly, who spent six years at the Interior Department before going to the liberal Center for American Progress, where she focused on public lands policy; and Laura Daniel Davis, who served as chief of staff to former secretaries Sally Jewell and Ken Salazar. This time around, she is a principal deputy assistant secretary over land and minerals management. Perhaps the most significant driver of the agency’s most aggressive early action, supporters of the administration said, has been David Hayes, who served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations as deputy secretary of Interior. Hayes worked on Biden’s transition and ahead of Inauguration Day was tapped to be a special adviser to the president on climate change policy. “These are people who know how to get things done,” said Sarah Greenberger, interim chief conservation officer at the National Audubon Society. The appointments have had immediate effects. The day after Biden named a new offshore energy regulator at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for example, the office revived the review of an offshore wind farm near Martha’s Vineyard that the Trump administration had moved to cancel. Greenberger noted that actions like suspending the Trump-era rule that gutted protections for migratory birds required particularly fast planning since the Biden administration had only a short window to act before the rule was set to take effect, on Feb. 8. Similarly when an Alaska Native group missed a deadline to conduct a seismic survey in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the department moved to effectively kill the survey. “There was an enormous amount of thought put in during the transition, especially into understanding what needed to happen and what were the opportunities,” Greenberg said. Critics took a dimmer view. “Makes you wonder if they’re treating the new secretary as a figurehead and the deputies are going forward with what they had planned regardless,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a Denver-based oil and natural gas association. In a statement, Jennifer Van der Heide, chief of staff at Interior, said those already in place at the agency are working to implement Biden’s campaign promises until Haaland is confirmed. “There are some actions we can or must move quickly on, but when we have a secretary, she will provide the leadership, experience and vision to restore morale within the department, build a clean energy economy, strengthen the nation-to-nation relationships with tribes, and inspire a movement to better conserve our nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife,” Van der Heide said. The Interior Department manages about 500 million acres of public lands and vast coastal waters. Its agencies lease many of those acres for oil and gas drilling as well as wind and solar farms. It oversees the country’s national parks and wildlife refuges, protects threatened and endangered species, reclaims abandoned mine sites, oversees the government’s relationship with the nation’s 574 federally recognized tribes and provides scientific data about the effects of climate change. That sprawling range of authorities has allowed Interior to move more quickly than smaller agencies that rely more on the slow churn of regulations, experts noted. Interior has initiated consultations with tribal leaders to hear their suggestions on federal policies and reversed restrictions that Trump’s Interior secretary, David Bernhardt, had imposed on the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which prevented money from being used to buy public land. But some major actions — such as an expected revision of the Endangered Species Act, which Trump’s administration curtailed through regulation — must await a Senate-confirmed secretary. Biden’s Interior Department will ultimately be defined by its reversals on fossil fuels after four years in which the Trump administration aggressively pursued energy production on public lands. At Haaland’s confirmation hearing, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., noted that she has advocated for keeping fossil fuels “in the ground.” He pressed her on where oil and gas workers in his state and others that depend on drilling will work if Biden’s drilling pause becomes permanent. Haaland sought to reassure Republicans that she would enact Biden’s policies of pausing future fracking, not banning it. In fact, Biden’s position is not far from Haaland’s. He campaigned on a promise of “banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters,” and it remains unclear for now whether the Biden administration will move forward with a permanent moratorium. Sgamma, whose group has filed a lawsuit challenging Biden’s executive order, said she believes that the administration’s review of the leasing program is actually designed to drag on for the duration of Biden’s term. “In the meantime, we will expect no leasing and a slowdown in other permitted activity. That’s why this is not a ‘pause’ on leasing,” she said, adding, “Whether you call it a pause or a yearslong ban, it is unlawful and I like our chances in court.” Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation at EarthJustice, an environmental group, said he hopes the early pause will be a down payment on Biden’s campaign pledge. “The climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis isn’t standing still,” he said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company