NY's COVID-19 hospitalization rates drop to lowest level in months amid vaccination acceleration
NEW YORK — New York’s coronavirus hospitalization rate fell to its lowest level in more than two months Friday as the state’s vaccination pace continued to pick up, according to officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 5,626 New Yorkers were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon, the lowest level since Dec. 12. In the 24-hour period ending Friday, Cuomo said 179,038 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in New York, an all-time high, with more than 4 million shots administered so far in the state in total. “Defeating COVID-19 is front and center in New York state, and decl...
New York Daily News
Ted Cruz mocks Ocasio-Cortez, trip to Cancun at CPAC
Sen. Ted Cruz taunted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as he addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, making a joke out of the New York Democrat's fears of the deadly riot at the Capitol last month. In his remarks, Cruz, R-Texas, said the U.S. faces “dark times” with Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, adding dramatically that “Bernie is wearing mittens, and AOC is telling us she was murdered,” his voice reaching a high pitch. The reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ sartorial choices at President Joe Biden’s inauguration and Ocasio-Cortez’s account of the Capit...
New York Daily News
‘We are in an oasis of freedom.’ CPAC conference is a Florida-heavy, Trumpian affair
ORLANDO, Fla. – The country’s largest annual gathering of conservatives began in Orlando on Friday, and Florida was front and center. Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off the event and touted his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and Florida’s relatively lax social-distancing protocols that enabled this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference to be held indoors and in-person in former President Donald Trump’s home state. “We are in an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,’‘ DeSantis said during a speech that mostly mirrored a stump-style campaign ...
Tax refunds flow into economy far behind last year's pace
Tax refund checks are flowing into pocketbooks — and the overall economy — at a much slower pace so far in February. The Internal Revenue Service reported Thursday that the total dollar amount of tax refunds was down 59.2% through Feb. 19 — just one week after the IRS began processing tax returns on Feb. 12. That's the latest data available. Nearly $47.4 billion in tax refunds have been issued so far this year, but that's a far cry from more than $117 billion in federal income tax refunds issued through Feb. 21, 2020. The slowdown reflects the fact that the IRS was not dealing with coronavirus...
Detroit Free Press
Martin Schram: Can we reclaim lost decency and courage?
In these pandemic days, when social distancing is not just polite but public policy, you would think famous former government officials, whose titles alone could fill a place to capacity, would know better than to cluster enthusiastically just to help an old friend. But if you’d been in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing room Wednesday you’d have realized that you were watching and listening to decades of Washington’s most famous titled newsmakers who were so eager to help they were virtually speaking at once. You’d have recognized the famous Republican newsmakers: President Gerald Fo...
Tribune News Service
Commentary: Nuclear war was barely averted in 1983. Let that guide US-China relations now
Like many who have been locked down at home this past year, I’ve been passing the time by binge-watching TV, mainly foreign series. Among the best of these is the “Deutschland” series, about East German spies in the latter days of the Cold War, much of it based on real events. The first season, which takes place in 1983, at a time of heightened East-West tension, deals with the growing fears in Moscow and East Berlin that NATO might launch a surprise nuclear attack under the guise of one of its annual military exercises. We have long known about Soviet fears of war at the time, but newly decla...
Trudy Rubin: Chris Coons talks bipartisan foreign policy as strategic necessity, not political gamesmanship
It would be easy to dismiss President Joe Biden’s hopes for a return of bipartisanship as naive when one looks at the GOP record since he took office. Most GOP legislators still refuse to denounce their cult leader’s infamous Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, a lie he keeps promoting. They showed no serious interest in compromise on the critical COVID-19 relief bill, rightly Biden’s first priority. They are trying to curb voting rights in states across the country. So you might think Biden’s push for bipartisanship is an irrelevance in this viciously partisan era. You would be dead wr...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Will Bunch: Why Biden needs a prime-time, Oval Office speech to declare war on voter suppression
The Democratic president had won a strong victory in the November election, and now the nation's best-known civil-rights leaders were urging him to take strong federal action to override a number of states where conservative lawmakers and sheriffs were impeding Black and brown Americans from voting. The president agreed with them in private — but he also insisted that he had to go slow, because a voting rights showdown might cost him centrist votes he needed for his bold economic agenda to fight poverty, expand health care and overhaul immigration. But within weeks, something dramatic happened...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
SC Republican files bill to allow Donald Trump to be buried on State House grounds
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Republican state legislator wants to give former President Donald Trump the option of making the State House grounds his final resting place. A bill from GOP state Rep. R.J. May would require the South Carolina Department of Administration to offer any president acquitted of impeachment twice to be buried on State House grounds, according to a statement from May's political consulting firm, Ivory Tusk Consulting. The bill is a rebuttal to one introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would bar any president impeached twice from being buried at Arlington National...
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
Stacey Abrams backs federal protection as Georgia election bills draw more criticism
WASHINGTON — Stacey Abrams says new federal protections for voting rights are needed because too many states, including Georgia, are trying to hinder access. Legislation proposed this year by Republicans in the Georgia's General Assembly would eliminate or limit automatic voter registration, early in-person voting and mail-in voting, Abrams said. These changes are unnecessary and amount to voter suppression, she told the U.S. House Administration Committee on Thursday, urging members to move forward with a bill that could prevent those changes from becoming law. "Federal legislation and federa...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution