Historic firsts in the 116th
The 116th Congress will be sworn in today, and as CNN’s Clare Foran and Phil Mattingly point out, no other Congress has ever looked like this (64,000+ shares), with record numbers of women and history-making “firsts” — including the return of Nancy Pelosi to leadership, “the first and still so far only female House speaker.” Tweets Lauren Fox, “Fun interactive video here on the diversity coming to the 116th Congress from @Phil_Mattingly. @ckmarie writes that this new class includes the first Native American women in Congress and the first Muslim women in Congress. Huge day!”
Sure, the midterms are barely over (in fact, a congressional race in North Carolina is still unresolved), but don’t get too comfortable because the 2020 presidential race is already taking over our news feeds.
Elizabeth Warren, who was just so darn popular in 2016, has thrown her hat in the ring and, just like magic, has become totally unlikeable. But don’t mistake that for misogyny. As Devorah Blachor explains over at McSweeney’s, I Don’t Hate Women Candidates — I Just Hated Hillary and Coincidentally I’m Starting to Hate Elizabeth Warren (104,000+ shares). Coincidence! As Ken Sands says, “Good, typical McSweeneys: funny and sharp and sad all at once.”
Blachor writes, “So bring it on, ladies! I’d love to see a female President. Just not Hillary Clinton. Or Elizabeth Warren. I am totally open to all other women leaders, but I have to admit that Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar are beginning to make me angry.”
Well of course – because Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she’s going to decide soon on a presidential bid, as Patrick Condon of the Star Tribune reports.
But what does Martin O'Malley think? Funny you should ask, because he’s just written a column for the Des Moines Register, and he tells us, Here’s who I’d like to see run for president. (Not him, by the way, but we won’t spoil the rest of it for you.)
Meanwhile, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (who has not officially counted himself out of the running) offers some advice in a new Washington Post op-ed, To beat Trump, Democrats must counter his lies with realistic solutions. As Edward-Isaac Dovere notes, “some people tease presidential runs by Instagramming from their kitchens, some still by writing op-eds in the Post.” Mark Murray’s take: “Terry McAuliffe -- don’t sleep on him as a potential 2020er -- fires a shot at the left of his party, and says Democrats need a ‘realistic, optimistic and focused’ message,” while Gideon Resnick calls it “McAuliffe doing an excellent job of alienating the left before a potential bid.”
Speaking of the left, Sydney Ember and Katie Benner of The New York Times write about Sexism Claims From Bernie Sanders’s 2016 Run: Paid Less, Treated Worse (26,000+ shares), in which “The Revolution eats its own,” tweets Josh Kraushaar. As Clara Jeffery says, “Who would have guessed that a campaign that did nothing to speak against the sexist attacks of some of its most ardent/high profile followers—except half-hearted DM apologies—had rampant internal sexual discrimination problems as well?”
Off to a productive start!
As for the current president, a defensive Trump calls a Cabinet meeting and uses it to boast, deflect and distract (14,000+ shares), writes Anne Gearan at The Washington Post. David Nakamura tweets, “Another in the long list of moments when Trump uses those around him as props in service of the reality show presidency, complete with a promotional poster of himself.” Highlighting Trump’s reimagining of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Gabriel Snyder points out, “This isn’t factual history, but it just may be a Rambo plot.”
Also at The Post, Damian Paletta and Erica Werner report, Trump falsely claims Mexico is paying for wall, demands taxpayer money for wall ahead of meeting with Democrats (28,000+ shares). “Off to a productive start!” as Michael Barbaro tweets. As for the piece itself, Daniel Dale notices, “Rather than amplifying Trump’s lies, the Post makes the lying itself the story.”
For the new cover of Bloomberg, Peter Coy asks, Trump Took Credit for Stock Market Records. Does He Deserve Blame for the Plunge? The lede: “Green means up and red means down in the stock market. Lately there have been many red days. But the true color of today’s market is golden orange—the hue of the pompadour atop the head of President Donald Trump.”
Meanwhile, Hiroko Tabuchi reports at The New York Times, A Trump County Confronts the Administration Amid a Rash of Child Cancers (27,000+ shares). “For those of you rightly upset about the possible childhood cancer cluster in Indiana, keep in mind that the carcinogenicity of #TCE, a ubiquitous solvent, has been well established for MORE THAN 25 YEARS. #TomsRiver,” tweets Dan Fagin.
Nick Miroff of The Washington Post explains how the shutdown is worsening the strain on the U.S. immigration system, with E-Verify knocked offline and immigration courts canceling hearings.
Also, No One Can Get A Marriage License In DC During The Government Shutdown, as Zoe Tillman reports for BuzzFeed News, since the Marriage Bureau wasn’t deemed “essential.” That’s right, “Love is dead,” as Miriam Elder tweets. (However, you can still file for a divorce.)
At The Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin tells us, In a Shutdown, IRS Will Take Your Money, but Give No Refunds (57,000+ shares). He tweets, “New from me: The IRS doesn't pay refunds during government shutdowns. That makes little difference now, but by mid-February, this could be messy.”
The Washington Post wants to know, How is the federal government shutdown affecting your day-to-day life? Fill out their tip form to share your shutdown stories.
The whole of the moon
Switching gears, China state media is reporting a ‘New Chapter’ in Space Exploration as China Reaches Far Side of the Moon (46,000+ shares). Steven Lee Myers and Zoe Mou have those details at The New York Times. Paul Owen points to the “Brilliant explorable map of the whole moon in this NYT piece.” For comparison’s sake, Liam Stack tweets, “As America spirals further and further into dysfunction (government shutdown: day 12) China just became the first country in history to land a vehicle on the dark side of the moon.” And from India, Divya Rajagopal tweets, “While we purify our temples and bicker on whether to let women inside a temple, China has landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon.” But for the record, “all the pink floyd jokes already taken,” Patrick LaForge says.
RIP Super Dave, Mean Gene, the Captain
They say these things come in threes, and yesterday proved them right, unfortunately.
Erik Pedersen of Deadline has the obituary for Bob Einstein, aka Super Dave: Bob Einstein Dies: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Actor Who Created Super Dave Osborne Character Was 76 (88,000+ shares). Tweets Dave Sharp, “I really hate to see this today. Super Dave Osborne was a big part of my childhood. His comedy - the absurd, physical gags and the dry wit - has stuck with me since the early 80s. And his family’s history in comedy is definitely worth a read.” Adds Benjamin Hochman, “Two of the funniest episodes in TV history were Curb Your Enthusiasm's chicken episode and carpool lane episode. Bob Einstein was key in both. RIP Marty Funkhouser.”
WWE reports that WWE Hall of Famer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, “the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history,” has died (662,000+ shares). He was also 76.
And yet another 76-year-old, Daryl Dragon, the “Captain” of Captain & Tennille, has died. Kory Grow has the Rolling Stone obituary for the Grammy-winning keyboardist.
A full-throated defense of Hootie
Well, it’s time for the reckoning, and as Stan Bush says, “This is the most important thing you'll read all day. God save us from our #Hootie hatred and deliver us a brighter tomorrow.” He’s referring to Hootie and the Blowfish Is Returning in 2019. Here’s Why We Need to Pay Attention, by Dave Holmes of Esquire, who tweets, “I love writing for @Esquire more than I can tell you, and that I got to write a full-throated defense of @hootietweets and their significance to the American soul is but one reason why.” “This is a perfect piece of writing. Thank you, @DaveHolmes,” tweets Austin L. Ray.
A few more
This one will totally surprise you and not surprise you at all: The Best Skin-Care Trick Is Being Rich, Amanda Mull reveals in her new piece for The Atlantic. So it’s not just hydration and a good night’s sleep? As Julie Beck tweets, “tell ‘em @amandamull.”
In a new analysis for The Wall Street Journal, Bradley Olson, Rebecca Elliott and Christopher M. Matthews write about Fracking’s Secret Problem — Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast.
Ken Klippenstein of TYT found out that the FBI Formed a New Media-Leaks Unit, According to Internal Documents. He tweets, “FBI has formed a new counterintelligence unit for rooting out leaks to news media, docs I obtained under FOIA confirm. This appears to be part of Trump admin’s crackdown on leaks. Last year, Jeff Sessions reported an 800% increase in leak investigations.”
Anna Schaverien says, “This story is absolutely crazy. @londonoe visited a notorious drug lord in prison in Paraguay. Hours later, the jail cell he was in became a murder scene.” For that, read Ernesto Londono’s piece in The New York Times, A Defiant Interview in a Jail Cell, Soon to Turn Into a Murder Scene.
Tim Carman of The Washington Post tells us, My column’s name does a disservice to the immigrants whose food I celebrate. So I’m dropping it.