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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.
Via The New York Times’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Sheila Kaplan, “President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE announced on Friday that he would nominate Dr. Robert M. Califf, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to lead the agency again.” https://nyti.ms/3Hgj8n8
Why this is noteworthy: “His decision ends nearly a year of political wrangling as the White House vetted then dropped several candidates after complaints that some were too close to the pharmaceutical industry. In the end, White House officials might have concluded that they could not find a suitable candidate with no industry ties.”
BIDEN WAS ON THE CLOCK:
Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Peter Sullivan, “Under federal law, Biden faced a Monday deadline to pick a leader for the agency or nominate the current acting commissioner, Janet Woodcock.” https://bit.ly/3Cad8J0
The company Johnson & Johnson announced this morning that it will split into two companies. https://cnb.cx/3wH9tkA
The two companies: One will focus on consumer products. The other will focus on medical and pharmaceutical products.
Reasoning: “The separation will sheer off its household products unit, maker of Band-Aid bandages, Aveeno and Neutrogena skin care products, and Listerine, from its riskier, but faster-growing division that makes and sells prescription drugs and medical devices, including its Covid-19 vaccine.”
^ I was joking about the name, but real talk: The pharmaceutical company will keep the J&J name. The consumer products company does not have a name yet.
What this means for the company and its shareholders: https://cnb.cx/3wH9tkA
Happy Friday! 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 email@example.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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TALK OF THE MORNING
Amazing. I love every part of this:
Via CNN’s Taylor Owoseje, singer Taylor SwiftTaylor Alison SwiftThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Pelosi takes victory lap after breaking months-long standoff The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens MORE released a rerecording of her 2012 album “Red.” https://cnn.it/3na1z0g
The new album’s name: “Red (Taylor’s Version)
Why: “as part of her ongoing mission to regain ownership of her early music”
LISTEN TO THE NEW ALBUM — YOU WILL LIKELY BE HEARING ABOUT IT FOR WEEKS:
Here’s the YouTube playlist: https://bit.ly/30g1Plo
LATEST WITH THE JAN. 6 INVESTIGATION
Hey, what are a few ~murderous threats during a riot~ between friends?!:
Via Axios’s Mike Allen, during a taped interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE defended his supporters on Jan. 6 calling for former Vice President Pence to be hanged. https://bit.ly/3D9UdPK
Karl: "Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?"
Trump: "No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape.
In Trump’s words: "Because it's common sense, Jon. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?”
The full back and forth: https://bit.ly/3D9UdPK
‘GIVE US MEADOWS’:
“The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is demanding former Trump White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsKevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Holding defiant Trump witnesses to account, Jan. 6 committee carries out Congress's constitutional role MORE testify before the panel on Friday or risk potential contempt charges.” https://bit.ly/3n8agrK
Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “Opponents of former President Trump celebrated earlier this week after a federal judge rejected his attempt to withhold documents from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. But that could end up becoming a case of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ ” https://bit.ly/3F8YEuF
How so — future presidents could do the same: “The ruling — and the case in general — could easily weaken the ability of a past president to protect confidential discussions. This, in turn, could have big real-world effects.”
Keep in mind: This case hasn’t been settled. It’s still working its way through the legal system. So, stay tuned.
How this saga could play out: https://bit.ly/3F8YEuF
That was fun. Let’s do it again sometime.:
Moderate Senate Republican Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill Congress should reject H.R. 1619's dangerous anywhere, any place casino precedent Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills MORE (Alaska) announced this morning that she is running for reelection in 2022. https://bit.ly/3n9c0Bb
Why this will be a wild ride: Former President Trump has vowed to unseat her
Why Trump doesn’t like her — where to begin!!: “[Murkowski voted] against a Republican repeal plan to repeal ObamaCare in 2017. She was the first Republican senator to say Trump should resign after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and was one of the seven GOP senators who voted to convict him.”
Watch her announcement video this morning: https://bit.ly/2YEozuI
TIDBIT FROM Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of Murkowski: “She's a remarkable politician. Other than Strom Thurmond, she's the only person in American history to win write-in [to the Senate.]” (Via Politico’s Burgess Everettand Quint Forgey) https://politi.co/3CmBC1X
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is crunching through the numbers of Democrats’ social spending plan, trying to quickly give it a score before moderate Dems agree to vote for it. https://bit.ly/3nagIi1
The estimation before CBO got involved: $1.75 trillion
^ Keep in mind: If their assessment comes in higher than $1.75 trillion, it could give centrist Democrats a reason to say ‘nope.’
What’s the time frame for the CBO to complete its assessment?: “With lawmakers on recess this week, the CBO has begun releasing cost estimates of certain sections of the bill as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report Pressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' MORE (D-Calif.) tries to set up a vote next week. Those estimates only account for a fraction of the overall ‘score’ the CBO is expected to produce on the bill in the coming weeks.”
Why this is so interesting: “It’s all put a spotlight on the wonky work of an office Congress relies on for math on the potential economic effects of government policy.”
What to expect, via The Hill’s Aris Folley: https://bit.ly/3nagIi1
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
COVID cases are rising again — greaaat, just in time for the holidays:
Via USA Today’s John Bacon and Jorge L. Ortiz, “New coronavirus infections are rising again in most states for the first time in two months, and deaths are increasing in about half of the states, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data reveals.” https://bit.ly/3kx2aal
The numbers: “The states now reporting increased infections are primarily in the North, which had fared far better in the late summer as the delta variant clobbered the South. Vermont, an early leader in vaccinations, is now seeing record case numbers. Florida, which has suffered the most deaths of any state since July 1 – 22,600 – now reports the lowest daily per-capita case count of any state.”
The full analysis: https://bit.ly/3kx2aal
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 46,868,744
U.S. death toll: 759,791
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 434 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.31 doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
LOL — it’s the name ‘woggets and mudge’ for me:
This tweet has more than 55,000 likes so far.
The House and Senate are out. President Biden is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Harris is in Paris, France.
8:30 a.m. EST: President Biden discussed the COVID-19 pandemic during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ meeting.
9:30 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.
2:30 p.m. EST: President Biden holds a Cabinet meeting to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
5:40 p.m. EST: President Biden leaves for Camp David.
WHAT TO WATCH:
7:30 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris held a press conference in Paris, France. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3c3U6JF
This morning: Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden administration prepared to use 'other tools' on Iran amid troubled nuclear talks US intelligence says Russia planning Ukraine offensive involving 175K troops: reports MORE met with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3Dd1cYa
1 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report Joe Biden: The Brian Williams presidency Biden plan for free at-home tests faces hurdles MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3Das0sh
IN LIGHTER NEWS:
Today is National French Dip Day!
Via Boston.com’s Mia McCarthy, a rare “cotton candy lobster” was found in Casco Bay, Maine. https://bit.ly/3Deq0Pu
What do you mean “cotton candy lobster?”: It’s light blue and pink pigmented
Wow, cool!: “National Geographic estimates only 1 in 100 million lobsters are cotton candy-colored.”
Photo of the beautiful creature: https://bit.ly/3Deq0Pu
The cotton candy lobster next to a regular lobster: https://bit.ly/3n91NER
And to get your weekend off to a good start, here’s a dog who is simply *putting up with* the baby: https://bit.ly/3wHyJaL