"They have earned an F." The city of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against its own school district in an effort to reopen in-person instruction.
- The Week
Biden's team is reportedly surprised Republicans don't see the political upsides of backing a big COVID-19 bill
The politics of COVID-19 spending legislation is complicated. President Biden and former President Donald Trump, who don't agree on much, both pushed to get $2,000 direct payments to most Americans this winter, and the Republican governor of West Virginia is backing Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package while his state's Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, favors a smaller package. The White House is privately meeting with a group of Senate Republicans who proposed a $618 billion alternative package, The Associated Press reports, even as Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reject that amount as insufficient and urge Democrats to go big and go quickly. Biden and his advisers "publicly tout the virtues of bipartisan collaboration," but "they aren't pollyannaish about it," Sam Stein reports at Politico. "They know there is no recent history to suggest any such collaboration is coming.," but "inside the White House there is still some surprise that Republicans currently aren't more interested in working with them on COVID relief. Not because they believe Republicans philosophically support the bill, but because there are clear political incentives for them to do so." Biden and his aides have noted repeatedly that just because the budget reconciliation process would allow Democrats to pass much of the $1.9 trillion package without Republican support, Republicans can still vote for the package. If Democrats go the budget reconciliation route, the 10 Senate Republicans can either "oppose the measure without being able to stop it or work to shape it, pledge to vote for it, and get credit for the goodies inside it," Stein reports. "Put another way: Republicans could vote for a bill that includes billions of dollars of help for states, massive amounts of cash for vaccine distribution, and $1,400 stimulus check for most Americans. Or they could oppose it on grounds that the price tag is too steep, or the minimum wage hike is too high, or the process too rushed." And if they do that, a senior administration official told Stein, "they'll get no credit" for those $1,400 checks. Democrats only have the party-line option because they unexpectedly won both Senate seats in a Georgia runoff election, Stein notes, and one political "lesson from that episode is, quite bluntly: It's better to be on the side of giving people money." Trump understood that. Time will tell what Senate Republicans will decide. More stories from theweek.comMarjorie Taylor Greene is getting exactly what she wantsDemocrats may only have one chance to stop America from becoming a one-party stateStephen Bannon, pardoned by Trump, may now be charged over the same scheme in New York
- The Independent
CNN, CSpan, and MSNBC all carried rolling live coverage as respect was paid to Officer Brian Sicknick
A Minnesota man who was bailed out twice by the Minnesota Freedom Fund has been arrested again and is now facing charges for alleged possession of firearms and a controlled substance. New charges: Thomas Moseley, 29, was arrested for the third time on Jan. 27 and is facing three new felony counts of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office via Fox News. The basis of his arrest was related to the damage of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fifth Precinct in August 2020.
- National Review
Kerry Defended Taking Private Jet to Iceland for Environmental Award: ‘the Only Choice for Somebody Like Me’
White House climate czar John Kerry traveled to Iceland by private jet in 2019 to accept an environmental award and defended his transportation choice to a reporter at the time by calling it, “the only choice for somebody like me.” Kerry flew to Iceland in October, 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle award, an iceberg sculpture, for his leadership on climate issues and being “a consistent voice pressuring the American authorities to commit to tackle environmental matters,” according to Icelandic outlet RUV. During the trip, Kerry was confronted by Icelandic reporter Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson on whether his use of a private jet was an “environmental way to travel.” “If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me, who is traveling the world to win this battle,” Kerry responded. The former secretary of state went on to emphasize his climate accomplishments, including negotiating the Paris accord for the U.S. and bringing Chinese President Xi to the table. “I’ve been involved in this fight for years,” Kerry said. “I believe the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can’t sail across the ocean, I have to fly to meet with people and get things done,” he continued. “But what I’m doing almost full-time is working to win the battle of climate change. And in the end, if I offset and contribute my life to do this, I’m not going to be put on the defensive.” Last week, Kerry 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. Biden signed several executive orders on climate change last week aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. During his first week in office, 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.
Task Force One Navy was directed to identify and dismantle barriers of inequality.
- Associated Press
A military coup in Myanmar and a mass crackdown on dissidents in Russia are presenting early tests for the Biden administration as it tries to reestablish American primacy as a worldwide pro-democracy leader. Having taken office with a pledge to restore ironclad U.S. support for human rights, freedom of speech and political openness, President Joe Biden is being confronted with two serious challenges in two disparate parts of the world that had either been neglected or the subject of inconsistent messaging during the Trump era. After investing decades of time, energy and money into promoting democracy in both Myanmar and Russia, the U.S. now faces challenges in each that could affect the global balance of power, with the Myanmar turmoil potentially strengthening China's hand.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Officer Blake Shimanek was the officer-in-charge who told another officer to place Marco Puente in handcuffs and pepper-spray him as Puente filmed his son’s arrest.
- The Week
The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine seems promising. Here's why it's not yet approved in the U.S.
Confidence in the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine seems to be growing. New analysis released this week suggests that not only does the vaccine protect against symptomatic COVID-19 infections, it could also significantly curb transmission, making it a potentially very effective tool for bringing the virus to heel. The vaccine is affordable, easy to produce and store, and has been approved by health regulators in the United Kingdom, India, and Europe, as well as several other countries. But it has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, where it's still undergoing late-stage trials. That's led to some harsh criticism. The Mayo Clinic's Vincent Rajkumar called the delay a "huge blunder," while The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf described it as "the most profound impingement on my liberty I've faced." Writer Matthew Yglesias lamented a lack of pressure from lawmakers and the U.S. media for speedy approval. For starters, AstraZeneca hasn't submitted any paperwork to the FDA, so, in short, it can't grant approval for what hasn't been requested, notes Axios' Sam Baker: AstraZeneca has not submitted this product for FDA authorization. The FDA cannot authorize products whose manufacturers aren’t asking for authorization. Political pressure on the FDA, in addition to being a thing that everyone rightly opposed when Trump did it, cannot change this https://t.co/LnsZPGz4ZG — Sam Baker (@sam_baker) February 3, 2021 But there are more complex reasons behind the holdup. In the U.K., Business Insider notes, health regulators "rely more heavily on a company's data to make conclusions," whereas in the U.S., an independent advisory committee takes a look at data sets from both the FDA and drug companies before the FDA can make its final decision. In this case, the FDA was concerned following a series of missteps by AstraZeneca, including the company's failure to alert the agency about a decision to halt trials after a U.K. participant fell ill in September, and a strange discrepancy and incomplete testing of promising — but mistakenly-administered — half-strength doses. There's speculation submission and approval will come in April, but until the U.S. gets clearer data, the vaccine will remain in regulatory limbo. More stories from theweek.comMarjorie Taylor Greene is getting exactly what she wantsDemocrats may only have one chance to stop America from becoming a one-party stateStephen Bannon, pardoned by Trump, may now be charged over the same scheme in New York
- Architectural Digest
Furniture made from waste materials just keeps getting better—and easier to buyOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- FOX News Videos
Former Arkansas governor joins FOX News contributor Marc Thiessen to discuss president's progressive agenda on 'The Story'
- The Telegraph
Police used a county lines drug dealer's phone to message "middle-class" cocaine “users” and warn them they risk being arrested for fuelling the abuse of children. Officers in the West Midlands seized the device during a crackdown on criminals supplying Class A drugs worth £3,000-a-day to people across Birmingham and Worcestershire in November last year. The phone contained the mobile numbers of more than 2,000 customers who received SMS marketing updates from drug gangs. Police said they believe many of the customers will be "middle-class professionals" with "social" cocaine habits. On Tuesday all the contacts on the phone received messages telling them their phone numbers had been identified in the investigation.
- The Independent
Julian Castro compares woman’s holiday to Trump-era deportations, decries ‘two systems of justice in America’
The Biden administration cannot release visitor logs from former President Donald Trump's White House, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a news briefing on Wednesday. The White House said on Tuesday it would look into whether it can make visitor logs from Trump's administration public, a move that would be in line with the Biden administration's vow to release its own records.
- National Review
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Senate Republicans to vote against President Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, blasting Alejandro Mayorkas as an “ethically-compromised partisan lawyer.” “Frankly, his record should foreclose confirmation, even to a lower post,” McConnell said Tuesday in a withering speech on the Senate floor, adding that it is “remarkable that someone with this record is even up for a Cabinet appointment. I’ll be voting against his confirmation and urge our colleagues to do the same.” The Kentucky Republican listed several aspects of Mayorkas’s career that he said make the DHS veteran unworthy of the Cabinet post. “As a high-ranking official in the Obama administration, Mr. Mayorkas did his best to turn U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services into an unethical favor factory for Democratic Party royalty,” McConnell continued. McConnell referenced an inspector general report that discovered Mayorkas had intervened to help several foreign investors connected to high-profile Democrats obtain green cards. Mayorkas previously headed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, where he promoted a “culture of fear and disrespect,” McConnell charged. The Senate GOP leader said he has supported Biden’s other Cabinet nominees up to this point because they are “mainstream” choices, but argued Mayorkas is “something else.” A handful of other Senate Republicans have also voiced concern about Mayorkas’s nomination as DHS chief. “There’s a number of problems with that nomination that we need to talk about,” Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said last week. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called Mayorkas’s qualifications “unassailable.” “He is a seven-year veteran of the DHS and has already been confirmed by this chamber three — three — times,” Schumer said. “Like most of President Biden’s Cabinet nominees, his nomination is also history-making: He will be the first Latino and first immigrant to hold the top job at DHS.” The Senate voted to confirm Mayorkas as DHS Secretary Tuesday afternoon in a 56-43 vote. So far, five of Biden’s Cabinet-level nominees have been confirmed: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Pentagon needs to think differently about investments, Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger said.
- The Telegraph
A teacher recording an aerobics class in front of Myanmar's parliament appears to have accidentally captured the country’s military coup in process. History was in the making as Khing Hnin Wai worked out on the Royal Lotus Roundabout in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's capital, seemingly oblivious to the armoured vehicles speeding past her. The military seized power in the early hours of Monday, detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top officials in her party.
- NBC News
Jeffrey Spaide shot and killed his neighbors in Plains Township, Pennsylvania, over a snow removal dispute, prosecutors said.
- Associated Press
Former Vice President Mike Pence has opened a transition office in northern Virginia. Pence announced Wednesday that the Office of the Former Vice President will handle correspondence, scheduling requests, public statements and official activities for him and his wife, Karen. The Pences are also living in northern Virginia.
- The Independent
Biden news - live: White House confirm $1,400 stimulus checks as GOP turn on Ilhan Omar amid Taylor Greene row
Live updates on Joe Biden from the White House and Trump news
In a show of solidarity, social media users have started changing their profile photos to an illustration of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man who died after being shoved in San Francisco last week. The attack, which was caught on surveillance video, occurred as Ratanapakdee was walking along Anza Vista and Fortuna Avenues at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 28. For no apparent reason, Antoine Watson, 19, darted from the right side of the camera frame to push Ratanapakdee to the ground, leaving him with life-threatening injuries.