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demmiblue's Journal
demmiblue's Journal
February 12, 2021

""I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the Senate's work," Senator Sinema..."

The most influential Democrat you never hear from

Kyrsten Sinema's defense of the Senate’s age-old rules is likely to frustrate progressives eager to use every tool at their disposal to advance their priorities.

Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t often make big policy pronouncements. But when she does, Democrats had better listen.

Take the $15 hourly minimum wage that Democratic leaders want to add to a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Sinema, who became the first Democrat to win a Senate race in once deep-red Arizona in 30 years, is crystal clear: She’s against including it.

“What’s important is whether or not it’s directly related to short-term Covid relief. And if it’s not, then I am not going to support it in this legislation,” Sinema said in a telephone interview this week. “The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process. It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there.”

Sinema’s opposition is a blow to Democrats’ hopes of bumping up the federal minimum wage through budget reconciliation to avoid a GOP filibuster, complicating follow-through on a campaign promise from Democrats and President Joe Biden. And her defense of the Senate’s age-old rules is likely to frustrate progressives eager to use every tool at their disposal to advance their priorities in a Senate where one wayward Democrat can mean the difference between a policy breakthrough and utter failure.

February 12, 2021

Melania Trump disengaged from her husband's second impeachment trial and bitter over Jill Biden's pu

Melania Trump disengaged from her husband's second impeachment trial and bitter over Jill Biden's publicity

(CNN)While former President Donald Trump watches his second impeachment trial unfold, Melania Trump spends most of her time post-White House relaxing at the spa and staying out of the fray.

Though she has been checking in on the trial, says one source familiar with her interest level, the former first lady has mentally all but left Washington behind, unlike her husband.

According to multiple people who spoke to CNN about Trump's life in the weeks since she departed the nation's capital, her daily schedule has nothing to do with politics, Congress, trials or stymied social media accounts.

"She goes to the spa, has lunch, goes to the spa (again) and has dinner with Donald on the patio," said one person familiar with Melania Trump's schedule at Mar-a-Lago, her home in Palm Beach, Florida. "Rinse and repeat. Every day."


But Trump's most fervent ire has come from watching Jill Biden kick off her East Wing tenure on nearly the antithesis of the path Trump took. Biden moved into the White House right away, for starters, and had a staff hired and fleshed out within two weeks of the inauguration. Trump, meanwhile, remained in New York for the first five months of the administration, ostensibly to let son Barron finish up the school year; she never had more than 12 people on her White House staff, at times there were as few as seven. (Jill Biden already has nearly a dozen full-time staff members and is expected to add more.)

Though Melania Trump reportedly left a note of welcome for Biden in the Executive Residence, she has still not spoken to her, eschewing a long-held tradition of first ladies.

Trump has also taken note of the publicity her successor has garnered.

Within weeks of becoming first lady, Biden has done an interview with People magazine, gracing the cover with her husband, the new President, and was featured in Parents magazine, where she discussed her empathy for families dealing with homeschooling their children during the pandemic. The Bidens also appeared in a televised message that aired prior to last Sunday's Super Bowl.

Jill Biden has held at least seven events or speaking engagements since becoming first lady, on topics including military families, cancer prevention, health care, community college education and support for teachers. Prior to leaving Washington on January 20, Melania Trump had not been seen publicly for three weeks and had not held a solo public event for six weeks -- a schedule not entirely uncommon for the former first lady, who opted to maintain a less robust calendar, her staff said, to provide more focus on being a wife and mother.

February 12, 2021

Valentine ... Biden ... dog

Biden took an impromptu trip to the White House lawn to see @FLOTUS
Valentine’s Day decorations. Reporters asked him about impeachment
“I’m anxious to see what my republicans friends do. Will they stand up,” Biden said.

February 12, 2021

Lincoln Project Sinks Deeper Into Turmoil as Ex-Staffers Demand to Speak Freely

The Lincoln Project was plunged into even deeper turmoil Thursday, with the anti-Trump group tapping an outsider to investigate its handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a co-founder, and former employees demanding to be released from non-disclosure agreements.

The organization fanned the flames by tweeting out what appeared to be private messages between a co-founder who left in a rancorous split and a journalist who was hoping to interview her. The Lincoln Project later deleted the tweet—which was cited by the ex-staffers as an example of retaliation.

The controversy boiled over hours after reports that leaders of the Lincoln Project knew about sexual harassment allegations against co-founder John Weaver last summer, before they became public in January. (Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson is a Daily Beast columnist and co-hosts the podcast The New Abnormal.)

More than 20 men have accused Weaver of sending unsolicited sexual messages, with some saying he tried to barter his connections for sex; one was underage when Weaver began communicating. Weaver, who is married with two children, admitted his behavior was “inappropriate” but said he thought all the interactions were consensual.


February 12, 2021

Britney Spears' father loses bid to retain control of delegating her investments

The joint conservatorship powers were debated in court Thursday amid intensified scrutiny over James Spears' control of his daughter's estate.

Britney Spears’ battle to remove her father’s conservatorship over her estate continued Thursday as a judge denied her father's objections to how her conservatorship will be delegated.

Britney Spears filed a petition with the court last year to remove her father and to place a financial institution as the sole conservator over her estate. Her attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, argued last year that the singer was afraid of James "Jamie" Spears and would rather a professional financial institution take over her estate.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny denied the singer’s petition last year but appointed Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator along with James Spears.

Objections raised by James Spears' attorney, Vivian Thoreen, on how the co-conservatorship would be delegated were rejected Thursday. One objection raised by Thoreen asked that James Spears have the power to delegate investment powers, an issue that was a point of debate between the two attorneys Thursday.

February 11, 2021

Trump Was Sicker Than Acknowledged With Covid-19

Source: NYT

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump was sicker with Covid-19 in October than publicly acknowledged at the time, with extremely depressed blood oxygen levels at one point and a lung problem associated with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, according to four people familiar with his condition.

His prognosis became so worrisome before he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that officials believed he would need to be put on a ventilator, two of the people familiar with his condition said.

The people familiar with Mr. Trump’s health said he was found to have lung infiltrates, which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria. Their presence, especially when a patient is exhibiting other symptoms, can be a sign of an acute case of the disease. They can be easily spotted on an X-ray or scan, when parts of the lungs appear opaque, or white.

Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level alone was cause for extreme concern, dipping into the 80s, according to the people familiar with his evaluation. The disease is considered severe when the blood oxygen level falls to the low 90s.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/politics/trump-coronavirus.html

February 11, 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Embattled QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene 'openly cheated' (Daily Mail, fwiw)

Controversial conspiracy congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene cheated on her husband with a polyamorous tantric sex guru, DailyMail.com has learned.

Then after ending her affair with him, the mom-of-three moved on to a gym manager behind her husband's back.

But despite the tawdry flings, Taylor Greene stuck with her husband Perry as she made her unlikely rise that has turned her into the most talked-about Republican in Washington, D.C.

Neither man denied the affairs when approached by DailyMail.com.

Craig Ivey, the tantric sex practitioner, said: 'I will not respond to anything about this,' while the other man, Justin Tway, said: 'I have no interest in talking about anything to do with that woman. Everything with her comes to no good.'

But others say the new representative from Georgia's 14th Congressional District was brazen about her affairs which she carried on a decade ago while working in gyms in Alpharetta, Georgia, some 35 miles north of Atlanta.

February 11, 2021

MacKenzie Scott's Remarkable Giveaway Is Transforming the Bezos Fortune

As MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos, the couple’s donations were mostly unremarkable. Then came a divorce and her $6 billion gift—a true feat—which upstaged her ex-husband, who has pledged big numbers but has been slower to spend.

Jeff Bezos’ decision on Feb. 2 to step down as chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc. could shake loose a lot of money. The second-richest person in the world—he’s worth almost $200 billion—says he plans to spend more of his time on philanthropy. If he does so, he’ll be following the model of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Bill Gates, all of whom got serious about their giving only after they stepped back from their businesses.

Bezos has been a billionaire since the late 1990s, and people have been asking for almost as long how he’d give some of that wealth away. “Long term, I have a responsibility to be a philanthropist,” he said on the Charlie Rose show in 2000. “Assuming we can make Amazon.com a lasting company, which we’re not done with yet.” He was in no hurry: His first public gift wasn’t until 2011, at which point he opened a trickle of philanthropy from what was starting to look like a bottomless fortune.

Now about $7.2 billion of the Amazon fortune has been given away, but the largest chunk of that has come from Bezos’ ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott. Since their divorce in 2019, she’s become one of the most consequential philanthropists of her generation. Scott, who now controls one-quarter of the former couple’s combined wealth of more than $250 billion, gave away almost $6 billion last year to working charities—organizations that do good on a daily basis, rather than just steward philanthropic money.

That’s probably a record annual distribution for a living person, says Melissa Berman of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. As notable as the size of that pile was where it went: to small charities and institutions such as historically Black colleges that are often passed over by big givers.

February 11, 2021

Pelosi: Officers who protected Capitol will get Congressional Gold Medal

Source: The Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that Democrats will soon grant the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers on duty guarding the Capitol when it was attacked on Jan. 6.

In a Dear Colleague letter, Pelosi praised those officers — members of the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metro Police and others — as heroes deserving Congress's highest civilian honor.

"That day, those men and women risked and gave their lives to save ours, becoming martyrs for our democracy," she wrote.

"The outstanding heroism and patriotism of our heroes and demand our deepest appreciation. ... We must never forget the sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, MDP Officer Jeffrey Smith and the more than 50 USCP who sustained serious injuries, or the courage of the heroes such as Officer Eugene Goodman."

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/538421-pelosi-officers-who-protected-capitol-will-get-congressional-gold-medal

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