Even though the grand opening was delayed by the weather, hundreds of vaccines were still delivered on Tuesday.
- Miami Herald
Florida’s two top Democratic officials on Thursday called on the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into Gov. Ron DeSantis for what they say appears to be a “pay to play” scheme in which the governor directed vaccine doses to communities in the state’s wealthiest ZIP codes in exchange for campaign contributions.
- The Week
Trump inadvertently boosts Biden's stimulus messaging with another statement raging against McConnell
Former President Donald Trump has released a new post-presidency statement, and Democrats might just be glad he did. The former president, who remains permanently banned from Twitter, released a statement Thursday once again raging against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blasting him as the "most unpopular politician in the country" while blaming him for Republicans' Senate losses in Georgia — losses for which Trump himself has been blamed by other Republicans. One of the reasons Republicans lost the two Georgia Senate runoffs in January, Trump argues, was "Mitch McConnell's refusal to go above $600 per person on the stimulus check payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2,000 per person in ad after ad." The statement offered "quite the pre-stimulus political gift to Democrats," wrote National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, while The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted that Trump "remarkably" used this opportunity to "validate Biden's messaging on the $1,400 checks instead of whacking him and Democrats for curtailing them." Remarkably, Trump also uses this statement to validate Biden's messaging on the $1400 checks instead of whacking him and Democrats for curtailing them. "The $2000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats." https://t.co/M9dXoX13VS — Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 4, 2021 Indeed, Trump writes that "the $2,000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats," while offering no comment on the fact that the new checks are actually for $1,400, nor on Biden's recent compromise that narrows the eligibility. Politico's Gabby Orr observed that Trump "could have put out a statement saying the income phase-outs in the Biden stimulus bill are going to mean he gave checks to more Americans," but "instead he's still targeting his own party with stuff like this." This was just Trump's latest statement in this vein after he released another one last month describing McConnell as an "unsmiling political hack." He also mentioned McConnell in a recent Conservative Political Action Conference speech, in which he took credit for McConnell's recent re-election. McConnell told Fox News he "didn't watch" the speech and that "we're dealing with the present and the future, not looking back to the past." More stories from theweek.comThe Republican grievance perpetual motion machineWhich states best handled the pandemic? There's no clear answer. 7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearance
- Associated Press
As the trial approaches for a white Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, prosecutors are putting the time Derek Chauvin’s knee was on the Black man's neck at about nine minutes. The fact that the figure has evolved probably won't matter at Chauvin’s trial, which begins Monday with jury selection. One former prosecutor says it’s common for such details to be fine-tuned as prosecutors build a case.
It is hard to overstate just how unusual Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's media war with Buckingham Palace is
A series of extraordinary confrontations have seen the Queen's household accused of a smear capaign and Markle accused of bullying.
- Associated Press
Bay Hill was bustling Thursday morning, just like golf before the pandemic. The fans were limited in numbers but they all wanted the same dose of entertainment provided by Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau. First it was McIlroy, slowly feeling better about his game, and with good reason.
- Associated Press
China's ceremonial legislature will deliberate changes to Hong Kong's electoral system during its annual session, a spokesperson said Thursday, adding to concerns that Beijing intends to shut opposition voices out of the city's political process entirely. National People's Congress spokesperson Zhang Yesui said the changes are aimed at ensuring that Hong Kong's political system will “keep abreast of the times” under the principle of “patriots" administering the city. Zhang gave no details about the changes, although speculation has focused on the possibility of reassigning votes in the 1,200-member committee that selects the city’s leader to deprive a small number of elected local district counselors from taking part.
Alicia Vikander followed the keto diet because she was traveling so was unable to track her meals, and ate 1,900 calories a day to lose fat.
- Associated Press
Security is high outside the U.S. Capitol, with National Guard troops and Capitol Police officers on alert inside a massive black fence that surrounds the Capitol grounds and several neighboring buildings. On one of the warmest days in weeks, the National Mall was almost totally deserted Thursday, save for joggers, journalists and a handful of tourists trying to take photos of the Capitol dome through the fence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Guard troops protecting the Capitol should stay as long as they are needed amid a new threat of another mob attack.
- The Daily Beast
John Lamparski/GettyFox News’ resident macho man Jesse Watters—who built his professional reputation, such as it is, by stalking liberals on camera, many of them women, on behalf of his predatory boss Bill O’Reilly—received a rhetorical slap in the face Thursday for his recommendation that women solve the problem of workplace sexual harassment simply by slapping their male harassers.“I would suggest that women—and I’ve gotten in trouble for saying this before—you slap the man in the face. And you do it immediately,” Watters opined on Wednesday’s episode of The Five during a discussion of the sexual harassment and unwanted touching allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Because if you wait too long, the politician feels like he can keep doing this, and it doesn’t matter if it comes out a year or three years later. Do it immediately. When he’s fresh.”Several former Fox News women, who received monetary settlements and left the company after being targeted by harassers at the Donald Trump-friendly channel, reacted to Watters’ prescription with withering disgust.“Women all across America are very pleased to have Jesse Watters mansplain to them,” former Fox News political analyst Julie Roginsky told The Daily Beast, “but Jesse Watters might have observed while working for two harassers [late Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and O’Reilly] that women are already facing the risk of professional retaliation by not going along with the harasser’s wishes.”Roginsky—who left Fox News in 2017 after settling a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against the company, Ailes and his deputy Bill Shine—added: “If the women got violent with the harasser their career would be over. Many are bound by forced arbitrations and NDAs at the start of their jobs. They couldn’t tell their stories. The better suggestion from Jesse is to put the onus on his fellow men to not harass women.”Ed Henry’s Accusers Say His Behavior Was an Open Secret at Fox NewsFormer Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose July 2016 sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes resulted in his being ousted in disgrace, agreed.“Suggesting that women should slap their perpetrator is re-victimizing the victim in the sense they should fix the problem they have nothing to do with,” Carlson told The Daily Beast. “The responsibility to stop harassment, primarily a man’s issue, should not fall on a woman to fix it. It’s similar to other excuses that women should leave their jobs or move to another department rather than looking at the real problem. It’s another cover-your-ass reaction rather than working to fix the problem.”In a tweet, she added: “Not to mention how idiotic it is to assume slapping a predator would somehow change them. And that it should be up to the woman to slap instead of predatory to just not harass.”In an emailed response to The Daily Beast, Watters said he had been misunderstood: “This kind of predatory behavior needs to stop immediately and it’s 100% the harasser’s responsibility to stop it. My intention was to defend victims and hold inappropriate politicians accountable—any suggestion otherwise is a misinterpretation of what I said.”Other women who spoke to The Daily Beast about Watters’s remark—several of whom signed non-disclosure agreements as part of cash settlements of lawsuits—asked to remain anonymous in order to avoid potential retaliation by Fox News Media or its parent company Fox Corp.“It is simple to say ‘just slap him in the face,’ and while that might garner the woman short-term cheers, it would almost inevitably condemn her professional career, especially in broadcasting,” said one former Fox on-air personality. “If every man at Fox who made inappropriate comments was slapped at that moment, you would have a lot of red-faced men walking around the network. And, sadly, the women would never be allowed past security again to see.”This woman added: “It is odd to see Fox take such an aggressive position regarding Gov. Cuomo, rallying for him to resign. This, as Fox continues to put multiple hosts and contributors on air who have been proven to do the same if not worse than the accusations against Cuomo.”A second woman cited the 42-year-old Watters’ reported history of divorcing his then-wife Noelle in March 2019 after engaging in an extramarital affair with his 26-year-old associate producer, now-wife Emma DiGiovine. The officiant at their December 2019 wedding was then-Fox News anchor Ed Henry, who was fired last year as a Fox Business producer filed a graphic lawsuit accusing Henry of sexual abuse.“A man [Jesse Watters] who had an affair with a much younger woman at work really has no place to tell women how they should react professionally when abused at work,” this person said. “Violence is not an answer. It's usually the one thing women fear the most when their abusers are much larger, heavier and stronger than they are.”Fox News Airs Openly Racist Segment on Asian PeopleAttorney Douglas Wigdor, who has represented several Fox News accusers, told The Daily Beast: “It’s a classic rape myth that women should somehow use their physical power to ward off men who attack them, when the reality is that most women panic and freeze when sexually assaulted.”Wednesday evening was not the first time Watters has drawn widespread criticism for piggish comments about women. In April 2017, the Fox host delivered some not-so-subtle sexual innuendo about Ivanka Trump, remarking upon video of her speaking at a women’s rights conference, “I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone,” while gesturing towards his mouth and smirking. The next day, Watters denied the sexual undertones before announcing an abrupt “family vacation.”Meanwhile, a former Fox News staffer said: “I’d buy tickets to watch Jesse Watters slap his former boss Bill O’Reilly. What say you anchorman? Are you hiding under your desk? Bill used to always say ‘what say you?’ and ‘are you hiding under your desk’ when guests wouldn’t come on after his on-air challenge to duke it out with him. Jesse Watters has lacked the moral fortitude to stand with any of the courageous women of Fox News, all who lost their jobs after being sexually harassed where he is currently employed.”This woman added: “Now, in an incredible twist, he fancies himself the arbiter of sexual harassment. Only at Fox News could it get this perverse. But what else can we expect when the founder of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, diminished decades-long sexual harassment coverup as nothing more than a 'little bit of flirting.’”—Diana Falzone was an on-camera and digital reporter for FoxNews.com from 2012 to 2018. In May 2017, she filed a gender discrimination and disability lawsuit against the network and settled, and left the company in March 2018. Along with Roginsky and Carlson, she co-founded Lift Our Voices, a nonprofit seeking to eradicate NDAs in the workplace used to conceal toxic workplace behavior.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.
- Associated Press
A Trump may be on the ballot next year — but not Donald Trump. The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. While many in the state are skeptical she will move forward, an entrance into the race would set up a crucial test of whether Donald Trump's popularity among Republicans, which remains massive more than a month after leaving office, can translate to others.
- Business Insider
Luxury carmaker Aston Martin unveiled its first new Formula 1 car in more than 60 years with the help of Tom Brady and Daniel Craig. Take a look at the AMR21.
Aston Martin's AMR21 will be driven by Germany's Sebastian Vettel and Canada's Lance Stroll in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Kremlin on Thursday urged France and Germany to use their influence with the Ukrainian government to make sure that events in the part of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed rebels did not "cross a dangerous line". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow was seriously concerned by a rise in violence on the contact line between the rebels and Ukrainian government forces.
- The Independent
NAACP accuses Trump of disenfranchising Black voters and trying to ‘destroy democracy’
- Business Insider
The Trumps are trying to sell a Florida home for $49 million after buying it from the former president's sister for $18 million in 2018
Eric Trump tweeted a listing for a home that the family is trying to sell through a limited liability company for more than twice its 2018 value.
- The Daily Beast
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEVRussian state TV program 60 Minutes played the clip of former U.S. President Donald Trump asking CPAC: “Do you miss me yet?” The co-host Olga Skabeeva eagerly replied: “Yes, we do!”Other experts on the Rossiya-1 network nodded and concurred. Trump’s departure has sucked the joy out of pro-Kremlin propagandists, with a host of new problems looming on the horizon for Russia. Instead of jolly boasts about “owning” America’s president, Russian state TV shows are now filled with gloomy experts, and discussions about the impending flood of U.S. sanctions are so tense they leave the pundits on the verge of coming to blows.During the Trump years, state-media mouthpieces, tightly controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin, put on a happy face and followed his lead in exclaiming that they wanted Trump to be elected solely because he promised to improve the U.S.-Russian relations. Appearing on domestic talk shows and news programs, experts are now slipping up and admitting that they preferred Trump’s presidency mainly because he was so devastatingly bad for the United States and its allies. After President Joe Biden was elected—despite Russia’s efforts to the contrary—all pretense faded into oblivion.During his nightly program The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev this Tuesday, prominent state TV host Vladimir Soloviev exclaimed: “Why would America think that we’re interested in changing or improving our relations with them?” He added: “What makes them think we’re interested in a reset?” Soloviev predicted a “harsh and asymmetrical response” to Biden’s first round of sanctions that will include further hostilities in Ukraine, long seen in Moscow as one of the main battlegrounds in Russia’s fight against the collective West.The Biden administration announced sanctions against seven Russian officials on Tuesday in response to the attack on Navalny, which was ignored by Trump.Across Russian state-media platforms, hosts and experts concurred that Russia is in a new Cold War with the United States, with far-ranging consequences for Ukraine and other countries neighboring Russia. In February, Putin held a video conference meeting with heads of Russia’s largest media outlets, convened behind closed doors. Prior to the summit, the head of RT, Margarita Simonyan, traveled to east Ukraine and publicly argued that “Mother Russia must take Donbas home.” After the conference, Simonyan quoted Putin as saying to her: “We will never abandon Donbas. Ever.” She also admitted that America was a topic of discussion, but didn’t go into further detail.Experts and pundits across Russian state media outlets repeatedly asserted that the United States always was and will always remain Russia’s sworn enemy. Appearing on The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, Semyon Bagdasarov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies, exclaimed: “A war is being waged against us. Let’s call things for what they are. They are our enemies. They want to destroy us.” Some went even further. During the same show, Dmitry Kulikov, member of Zinoviev Club, instituted by the Kremlin-controlled media giant Russia Today, argued that Americans should be perceived as a whole other class of beings, “the others.” Anyone who aligns with the United States—from Russian dissidents to European allies—will undoubtedly be painted with the same brush.Russian propaganda operations are expanding, both internationally and domestically, with larger budgets being allotted for state-media outlets like RT and RIA Novosti. Internally, the state media will attempt to unite Russians against the collective West, headed by the United States. Internationally, Russian state media and aligned troll farms will continue their effort to inflame divisions and chip away at NATO alliances.One of the consequences of President Biden’s election was the renewed commitment to trans-Atlantic unity, an unwelcome side effect for the Kremlin. Skabeeva of Russia’s 60 Minutes bitterly described the coordination of the latest package of the U.S. and European sanctions against Russia for the attempted poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny as an example of “unity that was unheard of under Trump.” Appearing on Russia-1, the deputy dean of world politics at Moscow's State University, Andrey Sidorov held out hope that the trans-Atlantic alliances were damaged to the point of no return. He pointed out: “Trump will forever remain in the minds of U.S. allies as an example of how they could be dealt with by the next administration. They will always remember that.”Without a hint of irony, Sidorov described the alleged intent of the United States to interfere in Russian elections as “the third phase” of the Cold War. By that token, Russia has been engaged in “the third phase” of the Cold War against the United States for years, having “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” as outlined in the findings of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.Pro-Kremlin experts anticipated the upcoming cybermeasures that would target Russia in retaliation for its malign activities against the U.S. Appearing on 60 Minutes, Alexei Naumov from the Russian International Affairs Council said: “We’ve been laughing at Americans about how easily all of their systems have been hacked, perhaps by our hackers. But Americans have very strong cyber forces, offensive cyber forces. They can represent a threat for us.” Co-host Skabeeva coldly chimed in: “At the same time, we elected their president and they weren’t able to elect ours, so it’s an open question whose cyber forces are stronger.”Russian cyberwarfare will undoubtedly continue to include influence operations targeting the United States. During his evening broadcast on Wednesday, host Soloviev chuckled: “Will there be an inauguration of Trump on March the 4th?” Other panelists laughed and acknowledged their familiarity with the bizarre conspiracy theory spawned by QAnon. During the broadcast of 60 Minutes, Deputy Speaker of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy said: “Here in Russia, we always have an asymmetrical response. It’s a scary one... and it’s classified.” Threatening retaliation for the latest set of U.S. sanctions, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova urged the United States “not to play with fire.” Co-host Olga Skabeeva asked Zakharova whether Russia was ready to respond to American sanctions. She smirked: “There will be a response. Don’t you even worry about that.”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.
- Business Insider
Biden cuts 16 million people off from stimulus checks after striking deal with moderate Senate Democrats, study says
Biden approved phasing out direct payments entirely for individuals making above $80,000 a year and married couples earning more than $160,000.
Drastic measures taken by North Korea to contain coronavirus have exacerbated human rights abuses and economic hardship for its citizens, including reports of starvation, a United Nations investigator says. North Korea, which has yet to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases despite sharing a border with China, has imposed border closings, banned most international travel and severely restricted movement domestically in the past year. "The further isolation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with the outside world during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to exacerbate entrenched human rights violations," Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the country, said in a report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Hungary announced new COVID-19 lockdown measures on Thursday to try to curb a "very strong" third wave of the pandemic, closing most shops and shifting to remote learning in primary schools. With new cases hitting a three-month daily high of 6,278 on Thursday, mainly because of the spreading coronavirus variant first found in Britain, Prime Minister Viktor Orban faces a growing political challenge. Orban, who faces an election battle early next year, had kept shops and industries open to try to limit the economic effects of the pandemic, which caused a 5% recession last year.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic apologised on Thursday after jokingly suggesting that Russia take a part of western Ukraine as payment for delivering doses of its Sputnik V vaccine to Slovakia. Matovic bypassed his cabinet partners to order the Russian vaccine even though it has not yet been approved for use in the European Union, of which Slovakia is a member. Asked in a radio interview what he had promised Russia in exchange for the vaccine, Matovic jokingly said he had offered "Transcarpathian Ukraine", referring to the western Ukrainian region bordering Slovakia.
- Associated Press
Iran has agreed to sit down with international technical experts investigating the discovery of uranium particles at three former undeclared sites in the country, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog said Thursday, after months of frustration at Tehran's lack of a credible explanation. The agreement came as three of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran — France, Germany and Britain — backed off the idea of a resolution criticizing Iran for its decision to start limiting access by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to current facilities. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told reporters in Vienna it was not up to him to say whether Iran's move to hold talks with his technical experts was linked to the decision of the so-called E3 group, but suggested it was difficult to separate the political side of Iran's nuclear program from the technical side.