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11:35 AM 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 …
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 …
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
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 …
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.
Wall Street Journal:
Texas Spins Into the Wind  —  An electricity grid that relies on renewables also needs nuclear or coal power.  —  By The Editorial Board  —  While millions of Texans remain without power for a third day, the wind industry and its advocates are spinning a fable that gas, coal and nuclear plants …
Karen Attiah / Washington Post:
It's time to bury the myth of Texas exceptionalism
United States Senator John Cornyn, Texas:   Information on Texas Winter Weather
Elizabeth Findell / Wall Street Journal:
In Frigid Texas, Desperate Families Take Risks to Stay Warm
Discussion: Insider and The Week
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  —  Democratic lawmakers have begun to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of virus-related nursing home deaths, and the governor also faces a federal inquiry.  —  ALBANY, N.Y. — The Democratic leaders of the New York State Senate …
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: Slate and Outside the Beltway
Lenny Bernstein / Washington Post:
Pandemic cut U.S. life expectancy by a year during the first half of 2020
Janet Adamy / Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Life Expectancy Fell in First Half of 2020 as Covid-19 Deaths Surged
Discussion: National Review
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 …
Dan Froomkin / Press Watch:
Limbaugh obituaries show the mainstream media still fawning over the people who poisoned politics  —  The leaders of our elite newsrooms had a whole year to figure out how they were going to frame Rush Limbaugh's life.  —  He announced he was dying of lung cancer last February …
Joe Concha / The Hill:   Simply the best: Why Rush Limbaugh was the GOAT of talk radio
Ben Domenech / New York Post:
Appreciation: Rush Limbaugh remade talk radio — and modern conservatism
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 …
Trump-McConnell rift threatens GOP's Senate hopes  —  Republicans are starting their life in the Senate minority mired in a civil war over the future of the GOP and former President Donald Trump's role in the party.  —  Trump's scathing attack on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday exposed rifts …
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
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.
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
Bronson Stocking / Townhall:
Here's What Trump Said When Asked If He's Running for President  —  On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump gave his first interviews since leaving the White House.  While the former president discussed the remarkable life of radio legend and conservative icon Rush Limbaugh …
New York Times:
How a Liberal Lawyer in Georgia Took an Extreme Right Turn  —  W. McCall Calhoun Jr., who ran for office in Georgia as a Democrat, is a walking embodiment of his state's political contradictions.  —  AMERICUS, Ga.— Over the past three decades, as the state around him turned ever more resolutely Republican …
It might just be game over for the Iowa caucus  —  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 in Nevada …
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.
Vince Bielski / RealClearInvestigations:
Why Biden's New Dawn of Net-Zero Is Looking Like a Dark Day for Labor  —  Last Labor Day, candidate Joe Biden made an impassioned pitch to leaders and members of the AFL-CIO, America's largest labor federation.  Stressing that “the great American middle class was built by unions,” …
Discussion: Associated Press
Fran Spielman / Chicago Sun-Times:
Statues of four U.S. presidents among 41 under the microscope by Chicago committee  —  Mayor Lori Lightfoot is confronting the “hard truths of Chicago's racial history,” launching a public process to review the fate of 41 statues and other monuments, including some of former presidents Abraham Lincoln …
Mike Brest / Washington Examiner:
Bob Dole announces stage four lung cancer diagnosis  —  Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  —  The 97-year-old Republican, a war hero who ran unsuccessfully as the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, announced he was “recently” …
Discussion: The Daily Beast, The Hill and Politico
Max Greenwood / The Hill:
Former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken launches Senate bid  —  Former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken is joining the race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).  —  Timken was widely expected to make a run for Portman's seat.  Prior to launching her campaign, she resigned from her role …
Yue Stella Yu / The Tennessean:
Tennessee bill would grant fathers veto power over abortion, allow establishment of paternity without a woman's consent  —  In an effort to further restrict abortion in Tennessee, two Tennessee lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow a father to deny an abortion without the pregnant woman's consent.
Discussion: POLITICUSUSA, The Daily Caller and CNN
Associated Press:
Thousands of service members saying no to Covid vaccine  —  WASHINGTON — By the thousands, U.S. service members are refusing or putting off the Covid-19 vaccine as frustrated commanders scramble to knock down internet rumors and find the right pitch that will persuade troops to get the shot.
Discussion: Instapundit
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 More Items: 
Washington Post:
Mostly united over covid relief, Democrats face divisions over Biden's massive second economic plan
Discussion: Vox
Daniel Dale / CNN:
Fact check: Biden makes at least four false statistical claims at CNN town hall
Discussion: Mother Jones, ABC News and RedState
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
Laura Rozen / Diplomatic,:
Source: Biden could tell Munich security forum plans to return to Iran deal
Discussion: Slate
Steve Milloy / Washington Examiner:
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's ‘dark money’ hypocrisy
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
 Earlier Items: 
Rick Moran /
Study: Biden's $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill Will Devastate the Economy
Discussion: Liberty Unyielding
Sara Randazzo / Wall Street Journal:
Theranos Lab Chief Says He Found Blood-Testing Technology Didn't Work
Katelyn Polantz / CNN:
Feds investigated Roger Stone ties to Proud Boys as part of possible threat to judge
Discussion: emptywheel and Raw Story
Filip Stojanovski / Global Voices:
Serbia expels US neo-Nazi after investigative website Bellingcat outed his location
Grant Stern / Washington Press:
Allegations of sexist cyberstalking by Trump's top advisor roils secretive paternity case