The world is a little bit safer today. Joe Biden is back in the White House after four years of malarkey and madness, and ready with seventeen day one actions.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s flunkies began to face international sanction almost immediately upon the end of his tenure. And his most loyal followers are distraught – how sad.
And lastly, supply shortages are causing states to cancel thousands of appointments for people who hoped to get the coronavirus vaccine. Here’s hoping Biden can turn this situation around, and fast.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The Trump era is over. Joe Biden yesterday was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the forty-sixth president of the United States. In his inaugural speech, surrounded by thousands of National Guard troops who were mostly off-camera, Biden addressed the violence at the Capitol on January 6th. He vowed that white supremacy and domestic terrorism will never prevail. He said QUOTE Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, the cause of democracy... Democracy has prevailed ENDQUOTE. He also called for unity, calling it the path forward at a historic moment of crisis and challenge. Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president and the first VP of color, was sworn by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She was escorted to the platform by Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Police officer who faced down members of the mob two weeks ago. Lady Gaga belted out the national anthem, Jennifer Lopez sang “This Land Is Your Land,” and young poet Amanda Gorman recited a poem she completed only after the insurrection. Garth Brooks also performed.
Biden wasted no time attempting to undo some of the worst actions of Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House. He signed seventeen executive orders, memorandums and proclamations yesterday, according to the New York Times. He ended Trump’s efforts to leave the World Health Organization and enacted a mask mandate on federal property. He signed orders reversing Trump’s immigration crackdowns, and repealed Trump’s so-called Muslim
Ban. He signed a letter indicating that the US will rejoin the Paris climate accords, and an executive order overturning several of Trump’s destructive environmental policies. He also extended federal moratoriums on evictions and on federal student loan payments. Not bad for a first day.
China Sanctions Trump Cronies
Donald Trump took his last trip on Air Force One yesterday morning, landing in Florida, where with any luck he will endure a form of internal exile. Republican state representative Anthony Sabatini has proposed renaming US Route 27 after Trump, according to the Washington Post. But Democratic members of Congress Joaquin Castro of Texas and Linda Sanchez of California plan to introduce legislation banning federal property from ever being named in Trump’s honor. Sanchez went so far as to tell People magazine that QUOTE not even a bench [should] ever bear the name of this traitor ENDQUOTE.
Trump surrendered the White House after a late night of signing last-minute pardons and other clemency orders for one hundred and forty-three people, the New York Times reports. Beneficiaries included Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist; Elliott Broidy, one of his top fund-raisers in 2016; and a series of politicians convicted of corruption. The White House did not announce the pardons until after midnight. As Biden was being sworn in yesterday, China imposed sanctions on former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, trade adviser Peter Navarro, and other Trump administration officials, saying they had damaged the US-China relationship with QUOTE crazy moves ENDQUOTE. Tough break, fellas!
State capitols around the country were mostly calm but under heavy guard yesterday for fear of more violence by Trump supporters. Biden’s inauguaration also drove Trump’s most rabid supporters, the followers of the Q-Anon conspiracy theory, to despair. Some, however, are still urging their comrades to QUOTE trust the plan ENDQUOTE, and hold out hope for a miraculous Trump revival. Whatever. Finally, HuffPost reports that federal authorities yesterday arrested Joe Biggs, a prominent member of the Proud Boys who promoted the Capitol insurrection. It’s too late for a Trump pardon now. Harsh, bro.
US States Suffer Vaccine Shortages
The push to inoculate Americans against the coronavirus is hitting a roadblock, the Associated Press reports. A number of states are reporting they are running out of vaccine, and tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose are seeing them canceled. The full explanation was unclear, but last week the Health and Human Services Department suggested that states had unrealistic expectations for how much vaccine was on the way.
About half of the thirty-one million doses distributed to the states by the federal government have been administered so far, according to the AP. However, only about two million people have received the two doses needed for maximum protection against Covid-19. Countries across Europe are also having problems getting enough doses. In the US, some states have suggested they may run out of vaccine by today and are unclear when new doses will arrive.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday that the city had to cancel twenty-three thousand appointments for people awaiting their first dose this week, the AP reports. The reason? Inadequate supply. In Florida, local media reported a similar problem in the Miami area, where the Baptist Health care system canceled appointments that had been scheduled for first doses. San Francisco’s health department said it is likely to run out of vaccine today, in part because the state pulled back on administering a batch of Moderna shots after several health workers suffered what may have been a bad reaction. West Virginia, which has run one of the speediest vaccination drives in the country, in part by using small-town pharmacies, said it didn’t receive an expected increase in doses this week. This is where the feds need to step in and use the government’s vast resources to boost production. Capeesh?
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Kroger yesterday pulled the Indiana Oath Keepers from its community rewards initiative, which funneled an unknown amount of donations from customers to the right-wing extremist group. But according to the Washington Post, the Indiana Oath Keepers are still participants in a similar donation program called Amazon Smile – at least for now...
The AP reports that Italian police have recovered a five-hundred-year-old copy of a Leonardo da Vinci painting that was stolen from a Naples church during the pandemic. The man whose apartment police found the painting in claimed he’d bought it at a market. Sounds like a real bargain.
Police in the United Kingdom found eight hundred and twenty-six cannabis plants in an indoor farm in London’s financial district, Reuters reports. The plants were in a building near the Bank of England. But we thought banker types preferred cocaine?
In the final hours of the Trump presidency, immigration officials detained a nine year-old Haitian boy with a valid US visa, separated him from his elder brother and incarcerated him, the Guardian reports. Vladimir Fardin was sent to a refugee resettlement facility in southern California as an unaccompanied minor, and his older brother Christian Laporte was deported to Mexico. Advocates are worried about the boys and appalled at the cruelty of the Trump policy. May America be done with such inhumanity forever.
JAN 21, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn