The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration


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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.



Why you keep seeing political headlines about Nicki Minaj:

Earlier this week, rapper Nicki Minaj expressed her concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, tweeting that her cousin’s friend experienced testicular swelling and impotence after receiving the vaccine.

She tweeted the anecdote: “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied” 

^ She was mocked by many Twitter users. 

And Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Fauci says it's recommended to get same vaccine for COVID-19 boosters The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat MORE was even asked about the claim by CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperJon Stewart: It's a 'mistake' to focus all on Trump Buttigieg says delay in climate action will cost lives amid reports of Manchin roadblock Buttigieg says supply chain troubles could last into next year MORE“The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no. There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen … She should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis except a one-off anecdote, and that’s not what science is all about.” Watch Fauci’s full response: 

Then Minaj tweeted that the White House invited her for a visit: “The White House has invited me & I think it’s a step in the right direction. Yes, I’m going. I’ll be dressed in all pink like Legally Blonde so they know I mean business. I’ll ask questions on behalf of the ppl who have been made fun of for simply being human. #BallGate day 3” 

^ Weeell, that wasn’t entirely right, either: According to CBS News’s Fin Gómez, the White House offered to set up a call with Minaj and a doctor to discuss the claim. From the White House: “As we have with others, we offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she has about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.“ 

My colleague Zack had my favorite reaction


Nicki Minaj tweet


It’s Thursday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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Internet regulations are as outdated as dial-up



Facebook supports updated regulations, including four areas where lawmakers can make quick progress:

– Reforming Section 230
– Preventing foreign interference of our elections
– Passing federal privacy law
– Setting rules that allow people to safely transfer data between services



DC-area police have a lot on their plate this weekend:

Washington, D.C., is bracing for Saturday’s seemingly small far-right protest in support of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

Who is organizing it: Former Trump aide Matt Braynard 

Is it expected to be a big event?: So far, it appears to be a pretty small event. 

Something to watch — will attendees wear pro-Trump clothing?: Braynard has asked attendees not to wear Trump swag — and has even threatened any attendees who ignore the request. 

Will officials be better prepared this time?: We hope so. U.S. Capitol Police says they are ready for whatever happens. NPR on how this will be a huge test of security 

Will roads be closed?: Yes, Fox 5 D.C. has a list of road closures for the rally:

^ Why officials are bracing — It’s not just the protest happening on Saturday:

Via The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer Weil, here’s a list of the big events happening in Washington, D.C., on Saturday:

  • “The annual H Street festival in Northeast that typically attracts thousands.”
  • “A Howard University football game at Audi Field in Southwest.”
  • “A baseball game at Nationals Park.”
  • “A Harry Styles concert at Capital One Arena downtown.” 

The worry: “City leaders are worried that those who do attend [the far-right gathering supporting those who stormed the U.S. Capitol in Jan.] may bring firearms illegally, setting up the potential for clashes in an area expected to be bustling on Saturday with crowds at multiple events.”  

How D.C. public safety officials are preparing for these weekend events


The New York Times’s Emily Cochrane, Luke Broadwater and Ellen Barry interviewed those who were in the U.S. Capitol during the siege.   

Excerpt from Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse passes bill to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers Democrats look for plan B on filibuster Senate will vote on John Lewis voting bill as soon as next week MORE (R-Alaska): “I hear somebody literally tumbling down these five carpeted steps going into the bathroom, and then just this retching, heaving — this gut-wrenching sound … I could see the frame of a police officer right in front of the sink. He was washing his face out. And I said, ‘Can I help you? Are you OK?’ And he looks up at me, his face is red, his eyes are swollen shut. And he said, ‘No, I’m OK.’ He raced by me, he says, ‘No, I got to get out there. They need my help.’ ”  

More firsthand accounts

Republicans subtly motion: *Please go home, guys. It’s really not a good time*:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “Saturday’s planned rally in support of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists comes at just the wrong time for the Republican Party — or at least for those within the GOP who want to move on from former President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE.”

Timing: “Trump’s tumultuous final days in office are back in the headlines because of revelations from a forthcoming book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post. The House select committee on the riot at the Capitol is ramping up its work. And now Saturday’s rally will be one more reminder of the darkest day in recent political history.”


Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester


If you’ve seen tweets about smoke in DC:

Like this:


Fire in D.C.


Here’s what’s going on: CNN’s Pete Muntean tweeted, “#WMATA confirms Metro’s future DC Headquarters— still under construction— is on fire. ‘The fire appears to be contained to the roof of the building. There are no known injuries at this time.’ ”


Here’s an up-close video from DC Fire and EMS 

You could see it from Reagan National Airport 

From the highway 

Yikes, this photo


We are all waiting with bated breath:



Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “The fight over Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending bill is reviving one of Washington’s most perennial questions: What does Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal Sunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters MORE (D-W.Va.) want?” 

The issue: Manchin is uncomfortable with the $3.5 trillion price tag of the bill. 

FWIW: “Manchin, for his part, says he’s being clear in an effort to not catch anyone off-guard. ‘Everybody knows my position,’ Manchin told reporters in one of several gaggles packed into the Senate’s two-day work week. ‘I’ve been very clear, very open. I didn’t want anybody to say it was a surprise.’ ”  

How this is playing out

Stepping back for a min. — why we’re always talking about Joe Manchin: The Senate is 50-50 with Democrats in the majority because Vice President Harris breaks the tie. But that means just one Democrat can block Democrats’ bills. Manchin is the most centrist — and often the most uncomfortable with progressive priorities.


Via Politico’s Burgess Everett and Laura Barrón-López



Why Facebook supports reforming Section 230



The internet has changed a lot in the last 25 years — the last time comprehensive internet regulations were passed. 

Facebook supports updated regulations — like reforming Section 230, to set standards for the way larger tech companies enforce rules about content.




Via The Hill’s Justine Coleman, “The growing frustration with the ongoing pandemic is boiling over, with all eyes turned to the unvaccinated as the key to getting through the COVID-19 crisis.” 

A questionable strategy: “Some have resorted to mocking and joking about the unvaccinated, an approach public health and psychology experts say is unlikely to change the minds of both hard-line activists or the vaccine hesitant.” 

Another approach: “Experts support stricter actions like mandates to boost the vaccination rate and protect the public, although several also encourage patience while acknowledging the increased irritation. President BidenJoe BidenGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE and others, however, have indicated their ‘patience is wearing thin.’ ”

How this could play out


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 41,657,842 

U.S. death toll: 666,969 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 382 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 787,751 doses 

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million. 

Breakdown of the numbers:


Lol, this is pretty funny:


Coffee and Bagels tweet


The full-sized screenshots

TBH, I’d watch a whole show about this:


Zebras on the loose




The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. 

10 a.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.


1:45 p.m. EDT: President Biden delivers remarks on the economy and the middle class. Livestream 

2:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden remarks on Taiwan leave administration scrambling Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Biden injects new momentum into filibuster fight MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream

7 p.m. EDT: The Virginia gubernatorial debate. Livestream


Today is National Guacamole Day!


Via NBC’s “Today,” Here’s a list of where to get free guac today:

And to brighten your afternoon, here’s a dog who simply does not enjoy wearing its harness:

^ Make sure your sound is on.