It happened on Dec. 11.
- The Independent
Republicans in 43 states have introduced more than 250 bills restricting voting rights, underscoring urgency in Congress to pass sweeping elections legislation, Alex Woodward reports
- Business Insider
A succession of communication blunders about the vaccine has led some Europeans to see it as second rate.
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
- 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.
- The Independent
Analysis: US Capitol Police trying a measure of transparency for a change
- The Week
The House of Representatives has canceled its Thursday session, after the U.S. Capitol Police warned of a possible plot by an unidentified militia group to breach the Capitol. Right-wing extremists have been threatening violence on March 4, over their false belief that it is the "true Inauguration Day" and former President Donald Trump will be sworn in for a second term. This comes nearly two months after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress certified the results of the November presidential election. To keep lawmakers safe, Capitol Police said it has made "significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public, and our police officers." The Senate still plans on being in session on Thursday. More stories from theweek.comJoe Biden just yanked away stimulus checks from 17 million Americans7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceAfter 50 years, a long-lost family photo has made its way back where it belongs
- The Independent
5,000 National Guard troops remain in DC amid QAnon frenzy that Trump will be inaugurated again this week
QAnon followers believe that on 4 March, which was once the inauguration date of US presidents, Donald Trump will become president again
- CBS News
Jacob Chansley, the man seen wearing face paint and a fur helmet with horns during the January 6 insurrection, tells 60 Minutes+ he was trying "to bring God back to the Senate."
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Every time the quarterback has bet on himself and turned down a team offer, he has been rewarded by an increase in value. That’s not changing now.
- Business Insider
A wealthy Florida Keys community received vaccines before the rest of the state. A month later, one resident sent $250,000 to the governor.
The Miami Herald report came amid criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has been accused of playing favorites with vaccine distribution.
- The Daily Beast
WPA PoolMeghan Markle is expected to discuss racism in the U.K. in her sit-down with Oprah Winfrey that airs on Sunday.In a depressing illustration of the problem, which Prince Harry has previously described as “structural” in Britain, a prominent British journalist and frequent critic of Meghan Markle is under fire after launching an extraordinary and racist attack on her, in which he appeared to suggest the fact that he thinks she is “attractive” meant she could not be a victim of racism.Andrew Pierce, a senior editor at the Daily Mail who is a regular guest on British TV and radio shows, was hosting a talk radio show Wednesday when a caller suggested that Meghan had never been “fully accepted because of her skin color.”Pierce, who is white, responded, “Oh God, that one again! Do you look at her… and see a Black woman? Because I don’t. I see a very attractive, a very attractive woman. It’s never occurred to me. I never look at her and think, ‘Gosh she’s Black!’ in the way you look at Oprah Winfrey, you would be in no doubt. When they sit down and do that interview, you will see a Black woman called Oprah Winfrey and you will see a woman who describes [herself] as a woman of color. Her mother is Black, she’s from a mixed-race family of course. But I just don’t think people look at Meghan and think, ‘Oh I hate her, because of her skin color.’ I don’t see it. I don’t buy it.”Just a reminder of who Andrew Pierce is... (sound on) pic.twitter.com/wUKq6deFAY— Royal Suitor (@royal_suitor) March 3, 2021 Pierce, a frequent critic of Markle, had earlier in the day been a guest on British TV show Good Morning Britain. The segment in which he appeared was criticized for featuring five white men talking about Meghan. Pierce attacked Meghan as hypocritical on the show over allegations she bullied staff at Buckingham Palace and also attacked her later in the day on Twitter for wearing jewelry gifted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.#Meghan wore diamonds from Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia 3 weeks says @thetimes after he ordered murder of #JamalKhashoggi it's not just appalling timing, why is she taking diamonds from Saudi which treats women as 3rd class citizens. So much for her worldwide equality campaign— Andrew Pierce (@toryboypierce) March 3, 2021 The shocking comments by Pierce that appeared to question Meghan’s race based on her appearance echo a revealing article written for Elle magazine in 2015 by Markle in which she said her race made it difficult for her to break through in Hollywood: “I wasn’t Black enough for the Black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”She added: “Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.“While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.”On Martin Luther King Day 2016, Markle published a moving piece of writing on her now-shuttered blog The Tig that explored the overt and covert racism she and her family have experienced throughout their lives.Pierce’s remarks have generated outraged commentary on social media.This is what Meghan had to deal with. Listen to how Andrew Pierce defines the attractiveness and diversity of a black woman. Heartbreaking. @Oprah @GayleKing @meenaharris @RobinRoberts @MichelleObama @WhoopiGoldberg https://t.co/pDKD4tN6vH— Pam Ranberg (@PamRanberg) March 3, 2021 Nervousness at the palace about what Meghan might reveal in her interview with Oprah intensified today after a new promo clip of Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was released. It shows Meghan accuse the British royal family of “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and her husband. Winfrey asks, “How do you feel about the palace hearing you speak your truth today?” Markle responds, “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already.”Royals often use the term “The Firm” to refer to the monarchy.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.
- The Telegraph
Prince Philip health update: Duke of Edinburgh undergoes successful procedure for pre-existing heart condition
The Duke of Edinburgh has undergone surgery for a pre-existing heart condition and will remain in hospital for several more days, Buckingham Palace has announced. Prince Philip, 99, was transferred from the private King Edward VII hospital to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, a leading cardiac unit, on Monday. The palace said in a statement: “The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. “His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.” The Duke was admitted to the King Edward VII in central London on February 16 for "rest and observation" after feeling unwell. It was not an emergency admission and he walked in unaided, with aides revealing they expected him to be released within days and that doctors were simply acting with “an abundance of caution.” But the palace later revealed he was being treated for an infection and would remain in hospital for several more days than expected. The Duke, who in 2011 received treatment for a blocked coronary artery, was subsequently transferred to St Bartholomew’s by ambulance, pictured below.
- CBS News
The launch and landing were successful, but the prototype exploded a few minutes after touchdown.
- NBC News
All federal government agencies have until noon Friday to download the latest software update to block the perpetrator.
- National Review
By Warren Buffett’s criteria, current stock prices are their most overvalued at least since World War II. In the chart below, the ratio of stock-market value, represented by the Wilshire 5000 index of all public stocks, to GDP is over 25 percent above the previous all-time high, the peak of the NASDAQ stock market bubble in 2000, which is indexed as 100 in the chart. The seemingly relentless rise of the stock market coincides with central-bank balance sheets that have continued to balloon since the Great Financial Crisis. While the major central banks generally do not target stock-market levels directly, a goal of their policies has been to push financial markets towards riskier investments, which, of course, include stocks. Global financial markets are interlinked, so that the actions of international central banks can affect what goes on in the U.S. and vice versa. The following chart compares securities holdings of the major central banks to the level of the U.S. stock market. There is close correspondence between the stock market-level and central-bank securities holdings, but both would be expected to grow with GDP, so the next chart compares the ratio of stock-market valuation to GDP in the first chart with a similar GDP ratio for central-bank assets. As central-bank holdings of debt climb relative to GDP, stock valuations soar in line. Some analysts, including the Fed, cite low real (after inflation) interest rates as justification for high stock valuations. Interest rates certainly affect the market in the short-term, as recently experienced, but, over the long-term, the correlation between real rates and the stock valuation measure in the chart above is less than half that of the liquidity provided by central bank securities purchases. Stocks’ overvaluation is evident to experienced investors scouring markets for historically reasonable values. Meanwhile, the GameStop saga (and there are plenty of other examples to choose from) are uncomfortably reminiscent of some of the excesses of the dotcom bubble. Just because the stock market is overvalued doesn’t mean it can’t get further overvalued. The next chart compares the U.S. stock market for the last decade with the NASDAQ bubble of the 1990s and the Japanese stock market bubble that crashed in the 1990s. While U.S. stocks currently are at Buffett ratio all-time highs, the NASDAQ and Japanese bubbles rose even further from their starting points. The current bubble may do so as well if central banks keep pouring liquidity into the financial markets. What’s clear from the first chart is that the stock-market downturn from the NASDAQ bubble preceded and contributed to the 2000 recession, as has been acknowledged by Fed chair Jerome Powell. The Japanese bubble’s bursting was also linked to a recession. Stocks are an insignificant holding of the U.S. banking system, however, which was largely unaffected by the NASDAQ bubble, although Japanese banks with extensive crossholdings were crippled for years. Posing a greater financial risk than a stock downturn is that historically high valuations permeate the entire financial system. The U.S. stock market is a bellwether for risky assets globally. Differences between borrowing rates for the U.S. government and high-quality investment grade borrowers have fallen significantly and are quite low historically. Rates for the riskiest sub-investment grade “junk bond” borrowers are at all time lows. Future bond market turmoil from the inevitable reversal of maximally easy monetary conditions may pose a threat to financial stability, but the biggest risk to the financial system is a housing downturn, as happened in the Great Financial Crisis. Real estate is the single largest component of banking assets. Fortunately, as illustrated in the following chart, which compares housing prices to income, real-estate values are about 20 percent lower than the overextended levels from the GFC era. Unfortunately, a recent rapid appreciation of housing prices may alter this favorable balance. The chart below shows housing prices appreciating faster than personal incomes by an annualized 20 percent, the fastest such rate recorded. Of course, there is a large rebound following the pandemic, but, should this rate continue, it won’t be long before housing is flashing critical warning signs. The Fed’s December plan was to hold rates at rock bottom levels until unemployment is minimized and inflation surpasses 2 percent, which they expected to take 3 years. Should housing prices continue to appreciate at recent rates, three more years of maximum stimulus would put them well into the GFC danger zone. The pandemic recovery is moving faster than the Fed and many other forecasters expected. In March 2020, the Fed forecast a 6.5 percent decline for the year. Forecasters surveyed in May by the Philadelphia Fed expected a 5.6 percent decline. 2020’s downturn was 3.5 percent, and these same forecasters expect growth over 4 percent for 2021, so overall recovery is in sight. The financial markets are already beginning to bring forward their expectations of when the Fed will begin raising rates (about two years), and it would not surprise if this start anticipating an even closer date in due course. . More years of maximum stimulus would further inflate the stock market bubble and possibly create an even more lethal housing bubble as well. The Fed has been determined to see unemployment all the way down before any tightening, a worthy goal, but even a mild downturn in the wake of a bursting the stock market bubble would have grave consequences following so closely after the pandemic. Creation of another housing bubble would be catastrophic. Depressed business and labor sectors may not fully recover this year, but all the monetary stimulus in the world won’t convert airplanes, bars, and restaurants into homes, nor flight crew and serving staff into home builders, nor into other booming sectors. When the pandemic permits, cash savings are extremely high, and there is plenty of pent-up demand for these people and their services. Single-minded focus on just one goal ignores monetary policy’s significant time lags and complex effects throughout an economy. Now is the time for the Fed to plan to stabilize policy and the markets, and this must be carefully communicated and executed to minimize volatility such as 2013’s “taper tantrum.” While inflation may pop up in the short-term as recovery continues, long-term inflation has been in forty-year decline, so it is unlikely to pose a major problem. The biggest economic risk is financial instability, and, despite its great initial work stanching the pandemic panic, right now the biggest financial instability risk is. . . the Fed.
QAnon influencers are attacking their movement's hyped March 4 event, calling it a false flag conspiracy theory
QAnon planned for March 4 as its next big date. The movement's influencers are already looking forward to the next goal post.
- 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.
Alec Baldwin deletes Twitter again after being roasted for commenting on Gillian Anderson 'switching accents'
Earlier this year, Alec Baldwin's wife Hilaria was at the center of controversy after being accused of fabricating her Spanish heritage.
- The Week
During the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden repeatedly promised to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. After they did, the administration argued that $2,000 really meant $1,400 in addition to the $600 that had already gone out in the December rescue package. Whether that is true or not, now Biden is inarguably breaking his promise. Under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats, he has reportedly agreed to cut down the formula under which the checks will be sent out. In the previous packages, the amount started phasing out at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, and vanished entirely at $100,000 and $200,000 respectively (as of 2019). Now the phase-out will start start in the same place but end at $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples. The $1,400 promise clearly implied at least that the checks would go out according to the previous formula used under Trump. But now singles making between $80,000-100,000 and couples making between $160,000-200,000 will get nothing. The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reports that roughly 17 million people who previously got checks now will not. The supposed justification here is that moderates want the aid to be more "targeted." In fact this formula is horribly inaccurate, because the income data the IRS uses is from the year before the pandemic (unless people have already filed their taxes — and by the way, if your income decreased in 2020, you should do that immediately). This formula is therefore doubly wrong — there are no doubt millions of people who have lost jobs and should qualify but won't, and a smaller number that have gotten raises and shouldn't qualify but will. And this change will only save a pitiful $12 billion. The survival checks are one of the most popular government programs in American history. Polls have them at something like 4-1 approval. "Moderation," for Senate Democrats, apparently means breaking their party's promises in the service of unpopular, pointless actions that make their president seem less generous than Donald Trump. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceAfter 50 years, a long-lost family photo has made its way back where it belongsThe complicated quagmire of Dr. Seuss
- The Daily Beast
Seth Wenig/GettyAt his first press conference since three women accused him of unwanted sexual advances, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized while insisting he didn’t know his alleged actions—grabbing a woman’s face, bringing up an aide’s sexual assault, giving an aide a kiss on the cheek—made people uncomfortable.“I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable. And if I did, I apologize for it. But let’s let the attorney general’s office decide the facts,” he said Wednesday, adding that he has no plans to resign.Cuomo discussed the most recent allegation, from former Biden campaign worker Anna Ruch, who said that the governor had grabbed her face and asked to kiss her shortly after they met at a 2019 wedding. She provided a picture and texts to corroborate her story.My Cuomo ‘Crush’ Turned Out to Be Stockholm SyndromeHe said the face-grabbing and kissing-on-the-cheek was a greeting habit he picked up from his father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who served from 1983 to 1994.“You can find hundreds of pictures of me making this gesture,” Gov. Cuomo says. “It was my father’s way of greeting people. You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable.”“But it doesn’t matter,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter my intent. What matters is whether anybody was offended by it. I could intend no offense but if they were offended by it it was wrong."Beyond that, however, the governor was short on specifics. When asked by a reporter whom specifically he was apologizing to, Cuomo did not provide a name.“I am apologizing to the young woman who worked here who said I made her feel uncomfortable in the workplace,” Cuomo said. “I’m embarrassed that someone felt that way in my administration.”Two aides, Lindsay Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, both came forward in February describing repeated propositions from the governor. Boylan wrote in a Medium post that she resigned after Cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips; Bennett told The New York Times that Cuomo repeatedly brought up a past sexual assault of hers.Following news of Bennett and Ruch’s allegations, some Democratic lawmakers have called on Cuomo to resign, including one member of Congress, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY). Cuomo, however, said Wednesday he didn’t plan on resigning, with no mention of whether or not he would run for a fourth term in 2022, as he has previously said he would do. In a statement following Wednesday’s news conference, Bennett’s lawyer Debra Katz—who also represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—wrote that Cuomo lied.“My client... reported his sexually harassing behavior immediately to his Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel. We are confident that they made him aware of her complaint,” Katz wrote. “We fully expect that the Attorney General’s investigation will demonstrate that Cuomo administration officials failed to act on Ms. Bennett’s serious allegations.”She pointed to reporting from Politico on Wednesday, detailing how two Cuomo aides—senior adviser Gareth Rhodes and deputy press secretary Will Burns—had resigned in the wake of the scandal. “As reports are emerging of other staff resigning from the Governor’s office in the wake of his scandals, the people charged with helping him execute the duties of his office are once again bearing the consequences of his actions,” Katz wrote. “If they know anything or have experienced this themselves, we call on them to come forward and report this misconduct.”Boylan also expressed her frustration with Cuomo on Twitter, shortly after the conference. “How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you ‘don’t know’ when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?” she wrote. 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.