This week on Taste and See, Lauren and Ed head to Plowboys Barbeque.
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
- Yahoo News
Mitch McConnell: Nancy Pelosi's plan for investigating the Capitol attack is a 'bizarre partisan concept'
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s concerned Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to establish a commission to probe the assault on the U.S. Capitol would be overly “partisan.”
- The Daily Beast
Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had a defiant message on Wednesday for those craving to see him ousted as U.S. Postmaster General: “Get used to me.”The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked the embattled U.S. Postal Service chief how long he would remain as Postmaster General—“long time,” DeJoy spat back—during a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight Committee.That exchange was indicative of the entire proceeding, which was frequently chippy, combative, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the service’s long-term viability.DeJoy’s crack to Cooper made Democrats’ blood boil even more. But he may have a point, at least for now: because the postmaster general is installed by the service’s board of governors—and not by the president—it means that President Joe Biden, or Congress, cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to.His removal would only be possible when Biden fills Democratic vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to hire and fire postmasters general. Confirming those spots in the Senate will take time, though the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Biden has identified three nominees to move forward.In the meantime, though, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent legislation to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension burden, even while many publicly call for his resignation.To many Democrats, DeJoy’s performance on Wednesday on Capitol Hill may make that balancing act harder: they found much to dislike not only in what the postmaster general said, but how he said it.“I gotta say—I just don’t think the postmaster gets it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the Oversight Committee who questioned DeJoy on Wednesday about the agency’s delivery standards. “I think it’s time for him to go.”“I thought he approached a lot of our questions with that exact same attitude, which was one of sneering condescension,” Krishnamoorthi told The Daily Beast after the hearing, invoking DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “That’s not gonna fly, man. Not gonna fly.”Wednesday’s hearing was the second time in DeJoy’s short tenure that he has been subjected to a high-profile grilling in the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the USPS’ top job in June 2020, delays and irregularities quickly began to mount—a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election in which more voters than ever planned to vote by mail.Biden to Nominate 3 New USPS Board Members, Opening Path to Oust DeJoyIn a contentious August 2020 hearing, Democrats interrogated the former logistics executive and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime hours to the price of a stamp. Questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) produced a memorable DeJoy response: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and stamps.”By the time House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears about the USPS delays’ impact on the voting system had failed to materialize. But they still had plenty of questions about DeJoy’s stewardship of the USPS: in October, the USPS inspector general issued a report finding that the changes DeJoy made to delivery schedules and protocol led to the worsening delays. Already battered by the pandemic, the USPS limped into a busy holiday season, and is now providing the poorest service that many longtime observers of the agency have ever seen.Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a member of the Oversight panel, was a 29-year veteran of the USPS before she came to Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she has never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we’ve ever confronted this,” she said.The unprecedented delays are happening around the country. In Washington, D.C., just 40 percent of all first-class mail arrived on time by the end of December 2020—compared to nearly 90 percent the same time the year before. Chicago residents are receiving holiday packages a month-and-a-half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituents looking for answers; this week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays.DeJoy apologized for those delays at the top of Wednesday’s hearing. “We must acknowledge that during this peak season we fell far short of meeting our service goals,” he said. “I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays"But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s forthcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Though the postmaster general has not revealed specifics, he testified on Wednesday that he will propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail be delivered within two days. Democrats believe that would be a disastrous move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private-sector competitors, particularly if it is coupled with consumer cost increases, which DeJoy has suggested.“To say that’s what’s bold and needed… that’s not leadership,” said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear, that he needs to prove himself.”The Michigan Democrat stopped short of saying that DeJoy deserved removal, and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was supportive of working with DeJoy to pass reforms.In the wake of the new political reality in Washington, the postmaster general has begun to attempt outreach to Democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that during the last administration, DeJoy did not take her calls or respond to her—but after the 2020 election, they had a “cordial” call.Other Democrats see any charm offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he is supportive of working with whatever USPS leadership is in office in order to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should go as soon as is possible.Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the Oversight Committee, issued a statement after DeJoy’s hearing hailing Biden’s nomination of three appointees to the USPS Board of Governors—and explicitly stated his hope they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service,” said Connolly. “My hope is the newly constituted Board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified Postmaster General.”A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. Currently, there are four Republican appointees, and two Democratic appointees. If all Biden’s choices are confirmed, Democrats would hold a majority on the board.The Republicans on the Oversight Committee had questions for DeJoy about mail delays, but largely cast him as a victim in an anti-Trump Democratic crusade. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays—and Trump’s potential role in those delays—to the Trump impeachment investigation he said was predicated on “baseless conspiracies.”Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the root cause of USPS delays was actually the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the summer, and read articles from fringe outlets like the Gateway Pundit to prove his point. And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) raised the unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies about election fraud while saying it was not time to get into “specifics.”At one point, tempers flared when Connolly said that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6 had “no right to lecture” anyone on the dangers of partisanship.Democrats left more concerned about the fate of the USPS, however, than the state of things in Congress. “It’s not some theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not some abstract issue, it’s real for every single one of us… I’ve gotta tell you, people are starting to work around the mail, which is a scary concept.”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.
When young actors become famous early on in life, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy.
- Associated Press
Former Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told a Japanese court Wednesday he believed the compensation for his predecessor Carlos Ghosn was too low “by international standards,” and so he supported Ghosn’s retirement packages to prevent him from leaving. “Mr. Ghosn had outstanding abilities and achievements,” Saikawa said, testifying in Tokyo District Court in the criminal trial of Greg Kelly, a former senior executive at Nissan Motor Co.
- Reuters Videos
This wild sheep had a much-needed shearingrelieving him of over 78 lbs of fleeceThat's nearly half the weight of an adult kangarooBaarackLocation: Lancefield, AustraliaRescuers say he used to have an ownerbut was found wandering in a forestBaarack is now settling in with other rescued sheep in a farm sanctuary
- Associated Press
With Stephen Curry struggling to make baskets, Draymond Green gave Golden State a boost of energy. The Warriors needed everything he could muster. Green scored on two late dunks to start the decisive final run, defended hard and found a way to corral loose balls in the closing minutes as Golden State scored six straight points to finally fend off the Indiana Pacers 111-107 on Wednesday night.
- Associated Press
Regional diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar's political crisis intensified Wednesday, while protests continued in Yangon and other cities calling for the country's coup makers to step down and return Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government to power. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited the Thai capital, Bangkok, and held three-way talks with her Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai and Myanmar’s new foreign minister, retired army colonel Wunna Maung Lwin, who also traveled to Thailand.
A declassified version of a U.S. intelligence report expected to be released on Thursday finds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, four U.S. officials familiar with the matter said. The officials said the report, for which the CIA was the main contributor, assessed that the crown prince approved and likely ordered the murder of Khashoggi, whose Washington Post column had criticized the crown prince’s policies. President Joe Biden, a Democrat who succeeded the Republican Donald Trump five weeks ago, told reporters on Wednesday he had read the report and expected to speak soon by phone with Saudi Arabian King Salman, 85, father of the crown prince, the country's 35-year-old de facto ruler.
- Associated Press
It’s been more than three years since the #MeToo movement launched a culture-shifting conversation about sexual violence. Now, Burke is part of a new initiative — called “We, As Ourselves” — in which three prominent groups are focusing on those survivors, who she says often feel that #MeToo has passed them by.
- The Independent
Republican senator defends pro-Trump protesters who stormed Capitol, falsely blaming insurrection on ‘fake supporters’
Of the 250 people who have been arrested for their roles in the riot, dozens have been connected to right-wing groups that support Donald Trump
- Reuters Videos
Hyundai has launched the first in a planned family of electric vehicles.The new Ioniq 5 midsize crossover is the linchpin of the company’s long-term goal –to rank 3rd among the world’s electric vehicle makers by 2025.The Ioniq 5 will have a maximum driving range of about 298 miles,up 20% from the Kona EV - which previously had the longest range among Hyundai’s EV lineup.The company says the model is based on a new electric vehicle-only platformthat uses its own battery module technology and requires fewer components than Hyundai’s existing electric cars, enabling faster production at lower cost.It will offer two battery pack options - 58-kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 72.6 kWh. Hyundai said in a statement that the Ioniq 5 will be available in selected regions starting in the first half of 2021.The company is targeting sales of 100,000 units globally in 2022 across Europe, North America and South Korea.The automaker did not disclose the price of the new model, but Hyundai Motor Europe President Michael Cole said in Europe it would start at about $51,000 before government incentives.The launch of Ioniq 5 is part of Hyundai’s long-term goal to capture 10% of global EV sales by 2025.Together with its sister company Kia Corp, Hyundai aims to sell 1 million EVs in 2025 alone.Hyundai Motor President Chang Jae-hoon said, “We expect this year’s global EV demand will increase more than 30% versus last year.”
- Associated Press
The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same Department of Agriculture for former President Barack Obama's entire administration. “We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans,” Vilsack said after the vote.
- Yahoo News
A deadly storm on top of a pandemic devastates vulnerable Texans: 'We've been living in a nightmare'
The most vulnerable Texans throughout the state have been hit with a double whammy of a rare and catastrophic storm on top of an ongoing pandemic.
Carlos Julio Rojas, 36, says he has been detained four times in the last five years for demanding that the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro improve basic services such as power and water in the capital. Rojas, who leads the non-profit group Front for Defense of Northern Caracas, last July spent 10 hours in a jail cell for joining a protest of retirees who were seeking better pensions. Maduro's government rejects accusations of widespread rights abuses, saying it is the victim of a foreign-led smear campaign.
- Reuters Videos
Myanmar's military chief has threatened to crack down on any media outlets if they continue to use the word 'coup' to describe what his armed forced have done.Thats according to reports by military-run broadcaster, Myawaddy News on Monday evening who quoted General Min Aung Hlaing saying they "will take action and withdraw licenses from the media if they use the word 'coup' government."Myanmar's security forces have shown more restraint since the coup compared to previous crackdowns in almost half a century of military rule in the country.Even still - three protesters have been killed, and nearly 700 people have been arrested.Monday also saw a nation-wide protest and general strike where both local shops and international brands like KFC and delivery service Foodpanda closed for the day.From the central plains in the ancient city of Bagan to the largest city Yangon tens of thousands gathered to protest against the coup.Some stomped on posters of an alleged Myanmar army sniper. Some waved posters supporting civil disobedience movement and raised a three finger salute of resistance, a symbol borrowed from the Hunger Games films.It's now been three weeks since the armed forces overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.Western leaders have stepped up pressure on military leaders with the U.S. adding two more generals to a sanctions list on Monday.The E.U said it is also considering targeted sanctions on businesses owned by the military.
Human rights groups have raised concerns about their safety in Myanmar after the military coup.
- The Independent
The Democratic operative criticised the Senator’s daughter for receiving a pay increase as a CEO
TikTokers are testing family and friends by playing PornHub's music, testing whether they recognize the sound
A TikTok audio called "hey lol" by user khaleel mashes up the PornHub intro music and "Redbone" by Childish Gambino, and it's become a prank.
Marvel Studios president hints 'we probably could' see characters like Jessica Jones again 'someday' in the MCU
"I'm not exactly sure...but perhaps someday," Kevin Feige said of the possibility that Netflix or ABC characters would enter the MCU.