WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller looks at the year ahead in Massachusetts politics with State House News reporters Katie Lannan and Matt Murphy.
- The Week
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.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Surging global ice melt suggests sea level rise predictions are far too conservative Trump must be prosecuted
The death toll from storm Eloise rose to at least 13 on Monday after heavy winds, rain and flooding destroyed buildings, drowned crops and displaced thousands in parts of southern Africa. Eloise weakened from a cyclone to a tropical storm after making landfall in central Mozambique on Saturday, but continued to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini - formerly known as Swaziland - South Africa and Botswana. Six people were killed in Mozambique, the country's National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) reported, while the number of displaced people rose to more than 8,000, with thousands of homes wrecked or flooded.
- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him."Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do."> No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly."The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out."> "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. > "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Surging global ice melt suggests sea level rise predictions are far too conservative
- National Review
President Biden will sign a fresh round of executive orders during his first full week in office, including actions loosening restrictions around abortion and immigration. Biden will issue and order to rescind the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. funding for foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions. The administration also dodged last week on whether Biden plans to scrap the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of elective abortions under Medicaid. On immigration, Biden plans to establish a task force focused on reuniting migrant families who were separated as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to a memo outlining the upcoming executive actions obtained by The Hill. Biden will order an immediate review of the public-charge rule, which denies U.S. entry to migrants considered likely to become dependent on the government. The president also plans to roll back Trump administration policies on asylum and take “other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including improving the naturalization process.” At the same time, Biden will take a page from the Trump administration’s playbook and sign an order directing federal agencies to tighten requirements on buying goods and services made in America from American businesses. Trump signed a similar directive during his first months in office. The president will also sign orders related to racial equity, including establishing a commission on police and bringing back Obama-era rules on transferring military-style equipment to local law enforcement. Another order will direct the Justice Department to improve prison conditions and begin the process of eliminating private prisons. Biden may also sign an order reversing a ban on transgender troops serving in the military. On climate change, Biden is expected to sign an order installing regulations to “combat climate change domestically and elevate climate change as a national security priority.”
- The Independent
Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
- NBC News
Brittney Gilliam had taken her family for a "Sunday funday" when officers with guns drawn ordered her and the four underage girls with her to exit the car.
- The Week
What the Biden administration's first call with South Korea's defense secretary says about the countries' relationship
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had his first call with his South Korean counterpart, Minister of National Defense Suh Wook, this weekend. It sounded like things went pretty well, with the United States government's readout explaining the conversation "underscored the U.S. commitment to defend" South Korea. But Duyeon Kim, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security noticed South Korea's description of the exchange differed slightly.In a Twitter thread on Monday, Kim explained that she wasn't surprised by what South Korea left out in its own readout. For example, there was no mention of two of the Pentagon's key takeaways, including the promise of "U.S. extended deterrent" and the necessity of maintaining a "rules-based international order." Kim's hunch is that South Korean President Moon Jae-in likely expects extended deterrence would upset North Korea and jeopardize his vision of a peace process with his neighbor. The international order detail, meanwhile, could interfere with Seoul's "strategic ambiguity" approach toward China.> DOD's press release: https://t.co/vZrmCQdX2F > MND's press release (in Korean): https://t.co/8yUcdg4bgT> > The alliance isn't doomed, but coordination will require a delicate dance. This time (vs w/Trump), Moon carries the burden of proof to meet alliance expectations../end> > -- Duyeon Kim (@duyeonkim) January 25, 2021Kim thinks there's time and room for the U.S. and South Korea to find their footing as the Biden administration settles in, but it may not be as easy as either side anticipated, as she explained in a separate thread last week. > SKorean prez Moon, in new year's presser just now, seems to have very high expectations about Biden's Korea policy & may be in for some surprises. My upcoming Foreign Affairs article (stuck in their editing queue since before Christmas) goes into detail, but here's a teaser..1/> > -- Duyeon Kim (@duyeonkim) January 18, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Surging global ice melt suggests sea level rise predictions are far too conservative
- Associated Press
The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says the U.S. Embassy’s statements about the nationwide protests, in which more than 3,500 people reportedly were arrested, interfere in the country’s domestic affairs and encourage Russians to break the law. Dmitry Peskov made the criticism on Sunday, a day after protests took place across the country demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist who is Putin's most well-known critic.
- The Independent
First family orders sesame bagels with cream cheese
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment. Underlining Mr Trump’s grip on the Republican grassroots, the Arizona party also voted to censure John McCain’s widow, Cindy, former senator Jeff Flake and governor Doug Ducey, who refused to back the former president’s claims of election fraud. Mr Trump’s intervention came amid reports that he is considering setting up a “Patriot Party” which would spearhead primary challenges to his opponents in the 2022 mid-term elections. The former president has already amassed a massive war chest with his Save America political action committee declaring last month that it had raked in $207.5 million in donations.
- Yahoo News Video
Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a former teacher accused of sexually abusing her former students in Australia, capping a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments and antagonized Australia's Jewish community.
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
South Korean reports say that Run Hyun-woo - an acting ambassador - fled to South Korea in September.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
- The Telegraph
Italy’s interior minister has intervened in a row in Naples over the painting of giant murals that pay tribute to the blighted lives and violent exploits of teenage criminals. Italians have adopted a curious English phrase, “baby bosses”, to describe the young gangsters, who frequently lose their lives in confrontations with police on the streets of the southern city. Such “bosses” are said to be members of “baby gangs” – another curious Italo-English invention that denotes groups of delinquents and drifters. Authorities in Naples want to scrub out or paint over two large murals which adorn the sides of buildings. They depict two young men, Ugo Russo and Luigi Caiafa, who were shot dead in separate incidents last year by police officers during robbery attempts. A mural dedicated to Russo depicts his face and the words Verità e Giustizia – Truth and Justice. He was killed when he tried to rob an off-duty police officer last year.
- The Week
The possibility of conflict with Iran prompted the U.S. military to begin using several extra ports and bases in Saudi Arabia for the first time over the course of the last year, The Wall Street Journal reports.The decision appears geared toward expanding the ability to operate militarily and complicating Iran's options in Saudi Arabia should tensions with Tehran, which is at odds with both Washington and Riyadh, boil over in the future. "What it does is to give us options, and options are always a good thing for a commander to have," Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, told the Journal.McKenzie explained that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are negotiating infrastructure plans for the coastal port of Yanbu as well as two air bases to make them more usable for the U.S. military. He said additional sites that have not been revealed are under consideration.As the Journal notes, the Biden administration has promised to take a tougher stance on human rights issues within Saudi Arabia, but the military base expansion effort — which began under the Trump administration — suggests Washington will continue to count Saudi Arabia as a key ally. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.More stories from theweek.com Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Surging global ice melt suggests sea level rise predictions are far too conservative
- Associated Press
Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper-sprayed a man who confronted him and a former mayor as they left a restaurant Sunday evening, according to a police report. Wheeler and and Sam Adams, who served one term as Portland mayor from 2009 to 2013, had been eating in a tented area at Hillsdale McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery and Public House in Southwest Portland. When the two left, Wheeler said a man, who he did not recognize, approached him — videotaping the mayor and accusing him of dining without wearing a mask.
- Yahoo News Video
Ailing Pope Francis, who this week is making limited public appearances due to persistent pain, has drawn attention to the struggles of homeless people in winter, including a Nigerian man who froze to death near the Vatican.