Gyms have been shut down since mid-November, but with Gov. Tim Walz’s new restrictions, they are allowed to open at 25% capacity. John Lauritsen speaks to the owner of Body Sense Pilates And Wellness in Blaine about her plans to reopen safely (1:48) WCCO 4 News At Noon - Dec. 18, 2020
- Yahoo News
For weeks the news about America’s slow, sloppy COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been dispiriting. There’s been too much demand and too little supply. At the same time, roughly half of the distributed doses haven’t even been administered.
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
- 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."
President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Keenan spent 14 years writing for Obama, including working alongside Biden for eight of those years. He acknowledged being embittered by his own experience, especially after Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make his former boss a one-term president. * "Until the Republican Party steps up and tells their own voters what's really happening with the truth, it's going to be elusive," Keenan said. "It's not up to (President Biden) alone to deliver. He can't."Keenan helped Obama with the first volume of his memoir, "A Promised Land." He stopped working with the former president on New Year's Eve and has taken a full-time role at Fenway Strategies. The firm is run by another ex-Obama speechwriter — Jon Favreau — and presidential aide, Tommy Vietor. * "It just seemed like a natural spot after the book and the elections and, you know, [Obama] is not going to do a ton, especially with Biden in office," Keenan said.Keenan is also writing a book, titled "Grace," about the 10 days from the 2015 shooting at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the eulogy Obama delivered for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. * Obama ended by singing "Amazing Grace." * The title also nods to Keenan's newborn daughter, named Grace.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Europe's fight to secure COVID-19 vaccine supplies sharpened on Thursday when Britain demanded that it receive all the shots it paid for after the European Union asked AstraZeneca to divert supplies from the UK. The EU, whose member states are far behind Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States in rolling out vaccines, is scrambling to get supplies just as the West's biggest drugmakers slow deliveries to the bloc due to production problems.
- The Week
"Republicans have a Marjorie Taylor Greene problem. Again," The Associated Press reports. House GOP leaders urged voters in Georgia's 14th Congressional District to pick someone else in the primary, wary of Greene's QAnon allegiance and documented history of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim comments. After she prevailed in the primary, they pushed for her victory in the general election. She won. Calls for Greene's ouster from the House started days after she was seated. And Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) said Wednesday he will introduce a measure to expel her, following new scrutiny of her social media history. CNN's KFILE got that ball rolling Tuesday. Then the floodgates opened. Greene has called various deadly school shootings and the Las Vegas music festival massacre "false flag" events, questioned 9/11, and endorsed some foul QAnon-adjacent conspiracy theories. Marjorie Taylor Greene is into some seriously disturbed stuff here. The conspiracy theory she's promoting, "Frazzledrip," is about Hillary Clinton torturing a baby and wearing its face as a mask. https://t.co/TpW382v9Bg — Will Sommer (@willsommer) January 26, 2021 Republican leaders are, once again, appalled. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Greene's posts are "disgusting," have "no place in our party" and "should be looked into," adding that "QAnon is beyond fringe. I think it's dangerous." Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called Greene "a RINO," or Republican in Name Only. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said through a spokesman that her comments are "deeply disturbing" and he "plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them." In 2019, McCarthy stripped former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of all his committee assignments after he expressed support for white supremacists, AP reports. "Greene was named this week to the House Education and Labor Committee." CNN's Erin Burnett called that assignment doubly disturbing, given Greene's dismissal of school shootings, but said McCarthy knows some of the money Greene is raising off her outrages will go to the House GOP campaign committee. Greene issued a weak and incredible non-denial denial of her social media activity, but the "steady stream of revelations" plus "Greene's puzzling defense of herself should make Republicans wonder how long they can put up with this," Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post. "We tend to overestimate how much a politician like that can drag down their national party, but Greene's lack of remorse and candor reinforces how much of a loose cannon she could be moving forward." More stories from theweek.com5 brutally funny cartoons about the GOP's Trump problemBiden is not going to get his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. And that's okay.With Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censures
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
A Florida fire captain accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccines meant for first responders turned himself in Wednesday afternoon, sheriff's officials said. Polk County Fire Rescue Capt. Anthony Damiano, 55, faces a felony charge of falsifying an official record as a public servant and misdemeanor petit theft, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference Tuesday that paramedic Joshua Colon, 31, was arrested Monday for covering up Damiano’s theft.
- Yahoo News Video
China toughened its language toward Taiwan on Thursday, warning after recent stepped-up military activities near the island that "independence means war" and that its armed forces were taking action to respond to provocation and foreign interference.
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.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom as he prepares to visit Scotland on Thursday to confront growing support for another independence referendum. The bonds holding together the United Kingdom have been severely strained over the last five years by Brexit, the government’s handling of the pandemic, and repeated calls by the Scottish National Party for a new referendum on independence. Ahead of his visit, Johnson said that Scotland as a part of the United Kingdom gained access to a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and they are being administered by their shared armed forces, who are creating 80 new vaccine centres in Scotland.
- The Independent
Grandmother ‘overjoyed’ to be outside after receiving Covid-19 vaccine killed in Portland vehicle attack
Police have not released a motive in the attack
- The Week
There's growing skepticism that 17 Senate Republicans will vote with Democrats to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection, meaning his second impeachment trial would also end in acquittal. The GOP's legally dubious off-ramp — declaring it unconstitutional to try a former president — failed Tuesday, but 45 of the 50 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the motion. So Democrats are now looking for a Plan B to ensure that Trump is not let off essentially scot-free for the deadly Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters. "Make no mistake — there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented, in living color, for the nation and every one of us to see," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday. At the same time, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he's talking with a "handful" of his GOP colleagues to see if they would support a censure resolution. Tuesday's 55-45 vote was "completely clarifying that we're not going to get near 67," Kaine said Wednesday, adding that his resolution is "more than just a censure, saying, 'Hey, you did wrong.'" The proposal would state that the Jan. 6 attack "was an insurrection and that President Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists," language intended to invoke the 14th Amendment and bar Trump from holding federal office again. Constitutional scholars are skeptical such a ban would be enforceable. "I worry about the cop-out of a condemnatory censure, which Senators shouldn't be led to think gets them off the hook of having to convict the former president under the Article of Impeachment," Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe told The Washington Post. Kaine and other Democrats are also floating the option of a quick trial, as short as a week, so the Senate can focus on passing President Biden's COVID-19 legislation and other priorities. Some moderate Democrats don't want to rush it, though. "We have an obligation to get the facts, it seems to me," especially concerning Trump's personal involvement in the insurrection, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told The Associated Press. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) agreed. "This is much, much more serious than anything we've ever seen in our lifetime and it's really the purpose of having articles of impeachment in the Constitution," he said. "We want to make sure that no one ever does this again, never thinks about doing this again — sedition and insurrection." More stories from theweek.com5 brutally funny cartoons about the GOP's Trump problemBiden is not going to get his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. And that's okay.Facebook seeks to scale back politics on the platform and 'turn down the temperature'
- Associated Press
Hundreds of Holocaust survivors in Austria and Slovakia got their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, an acknowledgement of past suffering and a tribute to resilience 76 years after Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. More than 400 Austrian survivors, most in their 80s or 90s, were expected to get shots at the convention center in Vienna. “We owe this to them,” said Erika Jakubovits, who organized the capital vaccination drive for the Jewish Community of Vienna.
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.
- National Review
White House climate czar John Kerry on Wednesday recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies. During a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Kerry, who is serving as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was asked what his message is to workers who are “seeing an end to their livelihoods” as a result of President Biden’s plan to move away from traditional fuels and towards renewable energy. “The president of the United States has expressed in every comment he has made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner,” Kerry responded, emphasizing that Biden intends to “do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis.” “What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels,” Kerry said. Kerry noted that jobs in clean energy, such solar power technician and wind turbine technician, were growing rapidly before the pandemic hit. “The same people can do those jobs,” the former secretary of state said, adding that, “coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years.” Kerry also lamented that workers in traditional fuel industries have been a “false narrative.” “They’ve been fed the notion that somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it’s not,” he said, adding that the tribulations of oil and gas workers are due to “other market forces already taking place.” Biden signed several executive orders on climate change on Wednesday aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Last week, the president reentered the Paris climate accord, from which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2017. Biden also canceled the permit on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers. “Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,” Biden said at a White House ceremony. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. It is time to act.” Also on Wednesday, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm testified at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and promised to focus on creating U.S. jobs in clean energy while moving away from fossil fuels. She cited her time as Michigan governor, saying that “when we focused on providing incentives for job providers to locate in Michigan in clean energy, they came.” However, she added, “I think it is important that as we develop fossil fuels that we also develop the technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The move could save the service millions of dollars and provide wearers with better protection in the field.
Three teenage boys were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of murder and arson stemming from a house fire last year that killed a family of five Senegalese immigrants, including two small children, police said. Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the three juveniles were being held for investigation on nearly two dozen charges, including five counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and eight counts of first-degree arson. The Aug. 5, 2020, fire deaths shook members of Denver's ethnic Senegalese community who feared the family whose house burned may have been targeted because they were Muslim immigrants from the West African nation.
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female paediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- 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.