Gov. Newsom says he's ending the state's effort to build a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Newsom says he wants to continue construction of the high-speed link from Merced to Bakersfield.
Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/AxiosIt's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found. Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.By the numbers: Not only are there more votes cast against presidential Cabinet nominees than in the past, but President Trump received no unanimous consent votes or voice votes for his nominees, which tend to indicate broad bipartisan support.President Obama had 19 such votes and President Bush had 23. This year, the process is also taking longer. President Biden's nominees have been confirmed at a much slower pace than past presidents: There are now seven confirmed Cabinet members in addition to the director of national intelligence and U.N. ambassador.By Feb. 24, 2017, Trump had nine Cabinet nominees confirmed. At the same time in 2009, Obama had 12. More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
- Associated Press
A Turkish court convicted an official from a private airline and two pilots Wednesday for involvement in former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn’s dramatic escape out of Japan in 2019, and sentenced them each to four years and two months in prison. The court in Istanbul acquitted two other pilots of the charge of “illegally smuggling a migrant.” A flight attendant was acquitted of the charge of failing to report a crime, while the case against a second flight attendant was dismissed.
- Reuters Videos
The Martin County Sheriff's Office said officials received calls on Sunday (February 21) of a "distressed vessel" trying to reach the shore in St. Lucie County.While on their way to the scene, a wave hit the vessel causing it to capsize.Authorities and civilians helped rescued the six men and two pregnant women, the sheriff's office said, adding they were taken to the hospital and are in stable condition."Federal authorities will now determine if any further immigration action will be taken," the office wrote on their Facebook page.
- LA Times
After Tiger Woods' car crash Tuesday, celebs and sports figures such as Alex Rodriguez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cher and Magic Johnson tweeted their well wishes.
- Associated Press
Englishman Tom Kohler-Cadmore struck a half century on his debut in the Pakistan Super League and led Peshawar Zalmi to a six-wicket win over Multan Sultans on Tuesday. Kohler-Cadmore’s 53 off 32 balls led Peshawar to its highest-ever chase in the PSL — 197-4 — with an over to spare. Young Haider Ali finished off the game quickly by smashing a quickfire unbeaten 25 off only eight deliveries.
- Associated Press
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks demonstrated the magnitude of the challenge facing new Minnesota Timberwolves coach Chris Finch. Antetokoumpo had 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Bucks won 139-112 on Tuesday to spoil Finch’s debut. The Timberwolves lost their fifth straight and ninth in their last 10 games as their record fell to an NBA-worst 7-25.
- Associated Press
There were only about 2,000 fans in Madison Square Garden, far fewer than would normally pack the place when Stephen Curry and the Warriors come to town. Curry scored 37 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 114-106 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night in the first game this season with fans at the arena.
- Associated Press
Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and the Los Angeles Clippers routed Washington 135-116 on Tuesday night, snapping the Wizards’ season-high five-game winning streak. Paul George had 30 points before exiting with 7:19 remaining because of a minutes restriction after a toe injury. The Clippers had four bench players in double figures as their reserves outscored the Wizards’ subs 58-29.
Britons rushed to book foreign holidays after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue. Bookings flooded in on Monday evening and Tuesday following the government's announcement on Monday that travel could restart from mid-May, with Spain and Greece the most popular destinations, airlines and holiday companies said. EasyJet said that bookings on its flights from Britain for this summer had jumped by more than 300% compared to a week ago and bookings for its summer holiday packages had increased by more than 600% compared to a week earlier.
- Business Insider
NASA just unveiled a high-def, 360-degree panorama of Mars from the Perseverance rover. It's made from 142 photos.
The Perseverance rover wasted no time snapping photos on Mars. NASA scientists stitched together 142 of them to create a high-definition panorama.
- Business Insider
An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a 'moron'
Richard Michetti was arraigned Tuesday in Philadelphia over his alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection.
Jill Biden assures Kelly Clarkson things will get better after her divorce: 'If I hadn't gotten divorced, I never would have met Joe'
In a new interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," first lady Jill Biden offered the singer advice about healing after divorce and finding love again.
- The Independent
The Democratic operative criticised the Senator’s daughter for receiving a pay increase as a CEO
- The Daily Beast
Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had a defiant message on Wednesday for those craving to see him ousted as U.S. Postmaster General: “Get used to me.”The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked the embattled U.S. Postal Service chief how long he would remain as Postmaster General—“long time,” DeJoy spat back—during a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight Committee.That exchange was indicative of the entire proceeding, which was frequently chippy, combative, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the service’s long-term viability.DeJoy’s crack to Cooper made Democrats’ blood boil even more. But he may have a point, at least for now: because the postmaster general is installed by the service’s board of governors—and not by the president—it means that President Joe Biden, or Congress, cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to.His removal would only be possible when Biden fills Democratic vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to hire and fire postmasters general. Confirming those spots in the Senate will take time, though the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Biden has identified three nominees to move forward.In the meantime, though, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent legislation to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension burden, even while many publicly call for his resignation.To many Democrats, DeJoy’s performance on Wednesday on Capitol Hill may make that balancing act harder: they found much to dislike not only in what the postmaster general said, but how he said it.“I gotta say—I just don’t think the postmaster gets it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the Oversight Committee who questioned DeJoy on Wednesday about the agency’s delivery standards. “I think it’s time for him to go.”“I thought he approached a lot of our questions with that exact same attitude, which was one of sneering condescension,” Krishnamoorthi told The Daily Beast after the hearing, invoking DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “That’s not gonna fly, man. Not gonna fly.”Wednesday’s hearing was the second time in DeJoy’s short tenure that he has been subjected to a high-profile grilling in the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the USPS’ top job in June 2020, delays and irregularities quickly began to mount—a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election in which more voters than ever planned to vote by mail.Biden to Nominate 3 New USPS Board Members, Opening Path to Oust DeJoyIn a contentious August 2020 hearing, Democrats interrogated the former logistics executive and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime hours to the price of a stamp. Questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) produced a memorable DeJoy response: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and stamps.”By the time House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears about the USPS delays’ impact on the voting system had failed to materialize. But they still had plenty of questions about DeJoy’s stewardship of the USPS: in October, the USPS inspector general issued a report finding that the changes DeJoy made to delivery schedules and protocol led to the worsening delays. Already battered by the pandemic, the USPS limped into a busy holiday season, and is now providing the poorest service that many longtime observers of the agency have ever seen.Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a member of the Oversight panel, was a 29-year veteran of the USPS before she came to Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she has never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we’ve ever confronted this,” she said.The unprecedented delays are happening around the country. In Washington, D.C., just 40 percent of all first-class mail arrived on time by the end of December 2020—compared to nearly 90 percent the same time the year before. Chicago residents are receiving holiday packages a month-and-a-half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituents looking for answers; this week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays.DeJoy apologized for those delays at the top of Wednesday’s hearing. “We must acknowledge that during this peak season we fell far short of meeting our service goals,” he said. “I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays"But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s forthcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Though the postmaster general has not revealed specifics, he testified on Wednesday that he will propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail be delivered within two days. Democrats believe that would be a disastrous move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private-sector competitors, particularly if it is coupled with consumer cost increases, which DeJoy has suggested.“To say that’s what’s bold and needed… that’s not leadership,” said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear, that he needs to prove himself.”The Michigan Democrat stopped short of saying that DeJoy deserved removal, and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was supportive of working with DeJoy to pass reforms.In the wake of the new political reality in Washington, the postmaster general has begun to attempt outreach to Democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that during the last administration, DeJoy did not take her calls or respond to her—but after the 2020 election, they had a “cordial” call.Other Democrats see any charm offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he is supportive of working with whatever USPS leadership is in office in order to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should go as soon as is possible.Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the Oversight Committee, issued a statement after DeJoy’s hearing hailing Biden’s nomination of three appointees to the USPS Board of Governors—and explicitly stated his hope they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service,” said Connolly. “My hope is the newly constituted Board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified Postmaster General.”A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. Currently, there are four Republican appointees, and two Democratic appointees. If all Biden’s choices are confirmed, Democrats would hold a majority on the board.The Republicans on the Oversight Committee had questions for DeJoy about mail delays, but largely cast him as a victim in an anti-Trump Democratic crusade. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays—and Trump’s potential role in those delays—to the Trump impeachment investigation he said was predicated on “baseless conspiracies.”Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the root cause of USPS delays was actually the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the summer, and read articles from fringe outlets like the Gateway Pundit to prove his point. And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) raised the unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies about election fraud while saying it was not time to get into “specifics.”At one point, tempers flared when Connolly said that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6 had “no right to lecture” anyone on the dangers of partisanship.Democrats left more concerned about the fate of the USPS, however, than the state of things in Congress. “It’s not some theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not some abstract issue, it’s real for every single one of us… I’ve gotta tell you, people are starting to work around the mail, which is a scary concept.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.
TikTokers are testing family and friends by playing PornHub's music, testing whether they recognize the sound
A TikTok audio called "hey lol" by user khaleel mashes up the PornHub intro music and "Redbone" by Childish Gambino, and it's become a prank.
- The Independent
Who is Heidi Cruz? The high-powered Goldman Sachs executive and wife to ‘disgraced’ Texas senator Ted Cruz
Heidi Cruz’s ‘high powered’ role on her husband’s campaign trail prompts comparisons with Hillary Clinton
- The Independent
Angry Democrat Gerry Connolly tells Trump ally he ‘will not be lectured’ by someone who tried to overturn election
Accusing Jim Jordan of ‘gaslighting,’ Gerry Connolly said ‘I didn’t vote to overturn an election and I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship’
Marvel Studios president hints 'we probably could' see characters like Jessica Jones again 'someday' in the MCU
"I'm not exactly sure...but perhaps someday," Kevin Feige said of the possibility that Netflix or ABC characters would enter the MCU.
- Business Insider
A preliminary study from Israel suggests people vaccinated against COVID-19 have lower viral loads, which are linked to less spread of the virus.
- The Daily Beast
Facebook/Lancaster County District AttorneyA Pennsylvania teenager is facing charges after allegedly fatally stabbing her wheelchair bound older sister—then hysterically calling 911 to confess to the crime.Claire Elaina Miller, 14, has been charged with homicide after calling authorities on Feb. 22 to admit she stabbed her older sister, 19-year-old Helen Miller, while her parents were asleep, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office. The elder Miller, who had cerebral palsy, died from a stab wound to her neck.“I stabbed my sister,” Miller repeatedly told police when they arrived at the house. Since Miller is being charged as an adult, she was denied bail during a Monday arraignment.According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast, the Manheim Township Police Department arrived at the home just after 1 a.m. to find Miller, a ninth-grader at a local private school, standing in front of the house close to “what appeared to be blood on the snow near the driveway.”“Miller appeared to be attempting to wash her hands in the snow,” the affidavit states, adding that the teenager also had blood on her pants.Police say Miller directed them into her older sister’s bedroom, where Helen was found with a “pillow with blood stains” over her face. One of the officers removed the pillow and “found a large knife in Helen’s neck, just above her chest.”“Helen was lying on her back with her hands up near her head,” the affidavit states, adding that there was a “large amount of blood” pooled near her chest and bed. Lifesaving measures were “unsuccessful” and she was pronounced dead at 4:13 a.m. On Wednesday, the coroner’s office released an autopsy report confirming Helen Miller died from multiple stab wounds. Authorities also confirmed to The Daily Beast that the 19-year-old had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair.Police say the girls’ parents were asleep during the incident that has sent shockwaves through the small Pennsylvania community about 75 miles west of Philadelphia.`“When I heard about this I was almost instantly upset about it myself over the details that had been related to me,” Manheim Township Police Chief Tom Rudzinski told WHTM. “I don’t know that I have ever been a part of something that is quite as sad as this.”Prosecutors and police, however, have not offered any details about a motive. An attorney for Miller did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.“The investigators are going to be asking those types of questions, conducting those interviews of everybody that was involved, and trying to determine a timeline [for what] would have led to this awful event,” Rudzinski said.Lancaster Country Day School officials confirmed to The Daily Beast that Miller was a ninth-grade student at the school of about 550 students. “As a tight-knit school community, we are of course shocked and saddened by this tragic event and are focused on supporting one another,” a school spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the Manheim Township School District confirmed that Helen Miller received educational services from a school within the district.“We were so saddened to learn of Helen’s tragic and unexpected passing,” the district said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the Miller family. This is a devastating tragedy.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.