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1:00 PM ET, February 18, 2021


 Top Items: 
Fox News:
Ted Cruz flew to Cancun with his family amid power crisis in Texas: source  —  Millions in Texas without power, at least 20 dead  —  Texas outages is proof we need to expand energy options: Wesley Hunt  —  Sen. Ted Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico, with his family this week as Texas dealt …
Associated Press:
AP source: Sen. Cruz went to Mexico on vacation amid storm  —  DALLAS (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has traveled to Mexico for a family vacation as his home state struggles with a weather crisis that has left much of Texas without power.  —  The high-profile Republican lawmaker went with his family …
Todd J. Gillman / Dallas Morning News:
Barbs fly at Ted Cruz for heading to Cancun as millions in Texas freeze without power  —  Fellow vacationers spotted the well-known Texas Republican and his family on flight from Houston  —  WASHINGTON — With 3 million Texans shivering in the dark, Sen. Ted Cruz jetted off to Cancun with his family …
Cruz travels to Cancun, Mexico, as millions of Texans remain without power amid historic winter storm  —  (CNN)Sen. Ted Cruz and his family flew to Cancun, Mexico, as a winter disaster in his home state left millions without power or water, according to photos posted on social media and confirmed …
Joseph Guzman / The Hill:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Gov Abbott fire at each other over deadly winter storm, Green New Deal  —  More than 3 million Texans were without power as of Wednesday afternoon.  —  Story at a glance  — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) criticized the Green New Deal Tuesday as his state …
Discussion: NBC News, CNN and IJR
Did Ted Cruz fly to Cancun during Texas' winter disaster?  —  Cruz hasn't commented but some Twitter sleuths believe they have proof  —  Kolten Parker, Digital Executive Producer  —  Photos circulating on Twitter late Wednesday purport to show Texas Senator Ted Cruz on a flight to Cancun …
The Texas Tribune:
Texas leaders failed to heed warnings that left state's power grid vulnerable to winter extremes, experts say  —  Texas officials knew winter storms could leave the state's power grid vulnerable, but they left the choice to prepare for harsh weather up to the power companies — many of which opted against the costly upgrades.
United States Senator John Cornyn, Texas:   Information on Texas Winter Weather
Brendan J. Lyons / Albany Times Union:
FBI, U.S. attorney in Brooklyn probing Cuomo administration on nursing homes  —  Investigation is in its early stages; no allegations of wrongdoing have been made  —  ALBANY — The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn have launched an investigation that is examining, at least in part …
Jesse McKinley / New York Times:
Cuomo Faces Revolt After Handling of Nursing Home Deaths
White House announces sweeping immigration bill  —  What Biden has said he'll do about immigration  —  (CNN)The White House announced a sweeping immigration bill Thursday that would create an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of immigrants already in the country and provide …
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Live Updates: Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Biden's Immigration Plan  —  The proposal offers an eight-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, eliminates restrictions on family-based immigration and expands worker visas.
New York Times:
A Grim Measure of Covid's Toll: Life Expectancy Drops Sharply in U.S.  —  American life expectancy fell by one year, to 77.8 years, in the first half of 2020.  It may rebound as the pandemic's end approaches.  —  Life expectancy in the United States fell by a full year in the first six months of 2020 …
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
POLITICO Playbook: Biden-blessed immigration bill drops today — but even he's not sold  —  DRIVING THE DAY  —  SCOOP: House Minority Whip STEVE SCALISE (R-La.) made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday to meet with the King of the GOP while fundraising in the area.
Rich Lowry / Politico:
What Trump Gets Wrong About McConnell
John Nichols / The Nation:
While Texans Freeze, Governor Greg Abbott Lies About the Green New Deal  —  Republican politicians try—and fail—to deflect blame with outrageous spin.  —  Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been presiding over a waking nightmare, as millions of Texans have been freezing because of massive power outages caused …
Wall Street Journal:
Texas Spins Into the Wind
Karen Attiah / Washington Post:
It's time to bury the myth of Texas exceptionalism
The Supreme Court is still sitting on Trump's tax returns, and justices aren't saying why  —  (CNN)Lawsuits involving Donald Trump tore apart the Supreme Court while he was president, and the justices apparently remain riven by him.  —  For nearly four months, the court has refused to act …
Discussion: HotAir and Raw Story
Nicholas Quah / Vulture:
Reply All Is Having Its Own Reckoning Now  —  Oh, you like podcasts?  Sign up for Vulture's new recommendation newsletter 1.5x Speed here.  —  Earlier this month, Reply All kicked off an ambitious miniseries, “The Test Kitchen,” which sought to take on one of the bigger stories …
Adam Edelman / NBC News:
Bob Dole diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer  —  Bob Dole, the former longtime Kansas senator and 1996 Republican presidential nominee, said Thursday that he has stage 4 lung cancer.  —  “Recently, I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.  My first treatment will begin on Monday,” Dole, 97, said in a statement.
Mike Brest / Washington Examiner:
Bob Dole announces stage four lung cancer diagnosis
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
Why We're Taught to Not Speak Ill of the Dead  —  We used to widely honor the instruction to not speak ill of the dead, at least in media and public communications.  But in our modern era of social media, the instinct is largely the opposite.  When a prominent political figure passes away …
Trump snubs Haley  —  SCOOP: NIKKI HALEY reached out to former President DONALD TRUMP on Wednesday to request a sit-down at Mar-a-Lago, but a source familiar tells Playbook that he turned her down.  The two haven't spoken since the insurrection on Jan. 6, when Haley blasted Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol.
Discussion: Vox, Washington Post and Bloomberg
Joe Concha / The Hill:
Simply the best: Why Rush Limbaugh was the GOAT of talk radio  —  Legendary.  Unique.  The GOAT (greatest of all time) of political talk radio.  And it ain't even close.  —  Rush Limbaugh passed away Wednesday at the age of 70.  He had battled Stage 4 lung cancer for more than a year …
The Daily Beast:
Trump Frets Foes Will Be ‘Suing Me for the Rest of My Life’  —  Though the riot was the culmination of Trump's months of attempts to overturn the election, it's hardly the only incident that may have left the ex-president legally exposed.  —  A criminal investigation in the state of Georgia.
It might just be game over for the Iowa caucuses  —  The siege of Iowa and New Hampshire has begun.  —  The two states with privileged places on the presidential primary calendar are finding their roles more threatened than ever before — most recently in the form of a bill introduced …
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Chicago Tribune:
Michael Madigan resigns from Illinois House after being ousted as speaker, defends his legacy in face of ‘vicious attacks’  —  By E. JASON WAMBSGANS / CHICAGO TRIBUNE “,sourceId: “119780616”,shareUrl: “ Fnews%2Fchi- illinois-politician-michael-madigan …
Discussion: Human Events
Julia Duin / Politico:
The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again  —  Perched on a cream-colored armchair, Johnny Enlow, a 61-year-old, California-based Pentecostal pastor with short-cropped gray hair, a trim beard and Tom Selleck-style mustache, looked into the camera and prophesied that Donald Trump would become president again.
Discussion: Raw Story
Benjamin Wermund / Houston Chronicle:
FEMA sending generators, water and blankets to Texas  —  WASHINGTON — The federal government is sending generators, water and blankets to Texas and is preparing to ship in diesel, as well, to help with backup power amid the massive outages that accompanied the recent cold snap, the White House announced on Wednesday.
Zack Budryk / The Hill:
Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops to stay in DC over concerns of potential violence in March  —  Thousands of National Guard troops will remain in Washington, D.C., in early March amid concerns over followers of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, some of whom hold out hope former President Trump will be returned to office March 4.
Discussion: CNN
Mara Hvistendahl / The Intercept:
How Oracle Sells Repression in China … Police in China's Liaoning province were sitting on mounds of data collected through invasive means: financial records, travel information, vehicle registrations, social media, and surveillance camera footage.  To make sense of it all, they needed sophisticated analytic software.
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 More Items: 
Nick Reynolds / Casper Star-Tribune:
Rep. Cheney discusses impeachment decision, future of Republican Party
Discussion: The Hill and IJR
Daniel Dale / CNN:
Fact check: Biden makes at least four false statistical claims at CNN town hall
Farnaz Fassihi / New York Times:
They Thought, Why Not Iran? The Decision Upended Their Lives.
Seema Mehta / Los Angeles Times:
California GOP delegates seek to censure David Valadao for voting to impeach Trump
New York Times:
How a Liberal Lawyer in Georgia Took an Extreme Right Turn
Vince Bielski / RealClearInvestigations:
Why Biden's New Dawn of Net-Zero Is Looking Like a Dark Day for Labor
Discussion: Associated Press
 Earlier Items: 
Ezra Klein / New York Times:
'There's No Natural Dignity in Work'
Discussion: Joanne Jacobs and Foreign Policy
Matt Fuller / HuffPost:
Capitol Police Investigate 2 GOP Lawmakers Over House Metal Detector Incidents
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Rick Moran /
Study: Biden's $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill Will Devastate the Economy
Discussion: Liberty Unyielding
Bronson Stocking / Townhall:
Here's What Trump Said When Asked If He's Running for President
Sara Randazzo / Wall Street Journal:
Theranos Lab Chief Says He Found Blood-Testing Technology Didn't Work
Fran Spielman / Chicago Sun-Times:
Statues of four U.S. presidents among 41 under the microscope by Chicago committee