Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Biden moves swiftly to repair damage left by Trump

The New York Times reports: President Biden unleashed a full-scale assault on his predecessor’s legacy on Wednesday, acting hours after taking the oath of office to sweep aside President Donald J. Trump’s pandemic response, reverse his environmental agenda, tear down his anti-immigration policies, bolster the sluggish economic recovery and restore federal efforts aimed at promoting diversity. Moving with an urgency not seen from any other modern president, Mr. Biden signed

Biden returns U.S. to Paris climate accord hours after becoming president

The Guardian reports: Joe Biden has moved to reinstate the US to the Paris climate agreement just hours after being sworn in as president, as his administration rolls out a cavalcade of executive orders aimed at tackling the climate crisis. Biden’s executive action, signed in the White House on Wednesday, will see the US rejoin the international effort curb the dangerous heating of the planet, following a 30-day notice period.

Amanda Gorman: The Hill We Climb

  Mr President, Dr Biden, Madam Vice-President, Mr Emhoff, Americans and the world, When day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry asea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. In the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice. And yet, the dawn is ours before we

Emerging coronavirus variants may pose challenges to vaccines

The New York Times reports: The steady drumbeat of reports about new variants of the coronavirus — first in Britain, then in South Africa, Brazil and the United States — have brought a new worry: Will vaccines protect against these altered versions of the virus? The answer so far is yes, several experts said in interviews. But two small new studies, posted online Tuesday night, suggest that some variants may

Coexistence is the only option

Anne Applebaum writes: They could be realtors or police officers, bakers or firefighters, veterans of American wars or CEOs of American companies. They might live in Boise or Dallas, College Park or College Station, Sacramento or Delray Beach. Some are wealthy. Some are not. Relatively few of them were at the United States Capitol on January 6, determined to stop Congress from certifying a legitimate election. Millions more cheered the

QAnon believers grapple with doubt, spin new theories as Trump era ends

The Washington Post reports: Followers of the extremist ideology QAnon saw their hopes once again dashed Wednesday as President Trump left Washington on the final day of his presidency, without any of the climactic scenes of violence and salvation that the sprawling set of conspiracy theories had preached for years would come. As Trump boarded Air Force One for his last presidential flight to Florida, many QAnon adherents — some

‘A total failure’: The Proud Boys now mock Trump

The New York Times reports: After the presidential election last year, the Proud Boys, a far-right group, declared its undying loyalty to President Trump. In a Nov. 8 post in a private channel of the messaging app Telegram, the group urged its followers to attend protests against an election that it said had been fraudulently stolen from Mr. Trump. “Hail Emperor Trump,” the Proud Boys wrote. But by this week,

Music: Santana — ‘Carnaval / Let The Children Play / Jugando’


Trump is out. Are we ready to talk about how he got in?

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes: I’ve been thinking about Barbara Tuchman’s medieval history, A Distant Mirror, over the past couple of weeks. The book is a masterful work of anti-romance, a cold-eyed look at how generations of aristocrats and royalty waged one of the longest wars in recorded history, all while claiming the mantle of a benevolent God. The disabusing begins early. In the introduction, Tuchman examines the ideal of chivalry and

McConnell says attack on Capitol ‘provoked’ by Trump; Pence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump exit

Bloomberg reports: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the mob that stormed the Capitol Jan. 6 was “fed lies” and “provoked by the president” and others into a violent and deadly rampage. McConnell’s words on the Senate floor Tuesday were some of the strongest he’s used to tie President Donald Trump directly to the attack that disrupted the certification of the Electoral College votes that elected Joe Biden as the

Trump talked out of pardoning his kids and Republican lawmakers

CNN reports: President Donald Trump received an unsettling warning on his final Saturday night in the White House. Huddled for a lengthy meeting with his legal advisers, Trump was warned the pardons he once hoped to bestow upon his family and even himself would place him in a legally perilous position, convey the appearance of guilt and potentially make him more vulnerable to reprisals. So, too, was Trump warned that

Increasingly militant ‘Parler refugees’ and anxious QAnon adherents prep for imminent doomsday

NBC News reports: Liesa Norris got a panicked phone call Monday from her brother. He told her to buy a ham radio. The radio, he explained, would be one of the few ways they could communicate once President Donald Trump launched his plans to take permanent power. “We were dancing around the subject, and then he just brought up that on the 20th, you know, the truth is going to

Conspiracy charges filed against alleged militia members in Capitol riot

The Wall Street Journal reports: Prosecutors filed conspiracy charges related to the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, saying in a new complaint that three rioters had acted in an “organized and practiced fashion” and at one point appeared to suggest the possibility of gassing lawmakers in the tunnels below the building. A search of the home of one of the three people also turned up directions for

Trump’s ‘1776 report’ excuses slavery while likening progressivism to fascism

The New York Times reports: The Trump White House on Monday released the report of the presidential “1776 Commission,” a sweeping attack on liberal thought and activism that calls for a “patriotic education,” defends America’s founding on the basis of slavery and likens progressivism to fascism. President Trump formed the commission in September, saying that American heritage was under assault by revolutionary fanatics and that the nation’s schools required a

U.S. determines China’s repression of Uighurs is ‘genocide’

The New York Times reports: The State Department declared on Tuesday that the Chinese government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its wide-scale repression of Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in its northwestern region of Xinjiang, including in its use of internment camps and forced sterilization. The move is expected to be the Trump administration’s final action on China, made on its last full day, and

Federal court strikes down major Trump climate rollback

The Associated Press reports: In a last-minute slap at President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court struck down one of his administration’s most momentous climate rollbacks on Tuesday, saying officials acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants. The Trump administration rule was based on a “mistaken reading of the Clean Air Act,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District