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1:50 AM ET, February 20, 2021

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 Top Items: 
Declan Walsh / New York Times:
Erik Prince, Trump Ally, Violated Libya Arms Embargo, U.N. Report Says  —  Mr. Prince offered to supply weapons, drones and mercenaries to a Libyan militia commander seeking to overthrow the government, according to U.N. investigators.  —  NAIROBI, Kenya — Erik Prince …
Amanda Carpenter / The Bulwark:
On Cancun and the Insurrection  —  What is the point of being a United States Senator anyway?  —  The year 2021 has not been kind to Ted Cruz.  We're only two months in and he's already attracted all sorts of attention—the wrong kind—for his role in inciting an insurrection and then for fleeing …
RELATED:
Elizabeth Elizalde / New York Post:
Ted Cruz's family seen soaking up the Cancun sun while Texas shivers  —  Here's what Ted Cruz is missing out on in Cancun.  —  The Texas senator's family was happily soaking up the Mexican sun Friday — without him — after leaving the Lone Star State, where millions experienced power outages …
Marc Caputo / Politico:
Cruz family's Cancun trip rattles their private school  —  Parents demand enforcement of quarantine rules that will keep the senator's children out of class.  —  In this image from video, Sen. Ted Cruz walks to check in for his flight back to the U.S., at Cancun International Airport in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday.
Reuters:
Exclusive: New York City tax agency subpoenaed in Trump criminal probe  —  (Reuters) - The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has subpoenaed a New York City property tax agency as part of a criminal investigation into Donald Trump's company, the agency confirmed on Friday …
Discussion: Bloomberg, Raw Story and Political Wire
RELATED:
Washington Post:
U.S. alleges wider Oath Keepers conspiracy, adds more defendants in Jan. 6 Capitol riot  —  U.S. authorities on Friday alleged a broader conspiracy by Oath Keepers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, charging six new individuals who appeared to be members or associates of the right-wing group.
Zoe Tillman / BuzzFeed News:
The Capitol Rioters Are Starting To Face Much More Serious Charges For The Insurrection
Discussion: Raw Story
NBC News:
Joe Manchin comes out against Neera Tanden as Biden's OMB chief, imperiling nomination … WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Friday he will oppose Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget, imperiling the prospects of a high-profile nominee of President Joe Biden.
RELATED:
Brittany Bernstein / National Review:
Manchin Comes Out against Neera Tanden's Confirmation as OMB Director
Politico:
Manchin to oppose Tanden for OMB, imperiling major Biden nomination
Jack Dutton / Newsweek:
Mitt Romney Tears Into Donald Trump Again Amid GOP Civil War  —  Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) launched another scathing attack on former President Donald Trump, accusing him of dividing the United States into a “dark and dangerous place” by continuously claiming the November election results were fraudulent.
Discussion: Bangor Daily News
RELATED:
Greg Olear / PREVAIL:
Lone Star Failed State  —  What's wrong with Texas?  Easy: Republicans.  —  10 hr ago  —  TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, no one lived in Texas.  The place was a dusty expanse of nothing.  There were no cowboys.  There were no oilers.  There were no rangers.  But there were longhorns.
Discussion: Politico and Washington Post
RELATED:
Jessica Sidman / Washingtonian:
Trump Hotel Employees Reveal What It Was Really Like Catering to the Right Wing Elite … Everyone knew Table 72 belonged to the President.  The round booth in the middle of the Trump Hotel's mezzanine was impossible to miss. It didn't matter how many Congress members were clamoring …
Kerry Flynn / CNN:
‘Thank God for The Texas Tribune’: Power crisis shines light on local news  —  New York (CNN Business)For nearly a year, newsrooms have mostly sat empty because of the pandemic.  Staffers have been working from home and not seeing many of their coworkers in person.
RELATED:
Johnny Diaz / New York Times:
Extreme Cold Killed Texans in Their Bedrooms, Vehicles and Backyards  —  At least 58 people died in storm-affected areas stretching to Ohio, victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, car crashes, drownings, house fires and hypothermia.  —  SAN ANTONIO — Carrol Anderson spent much of his life …
Duncan Agnew / The Texas Tribune:
As Texans endured days in the dark, the state failed to deliver vital emergency information  —  When the lights went out this week and Texans lost access to power and clean drinking water, the Texas Division of Emergency Management failed to provide accessible and life-saving updates on outages and inclement weather.
RELATED:
Jessica Lipscomb / Miami New Times:
Jack Daniel's-Swiggin' TikTok “Patriot” Arrested for Threatening FBI Agents  —  KEEP NEW TIMES FREE  —  I SUPPORT … SUPPORT THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF MIAMI AND HELP KEEP THE FUTURE OF NEW TIMES FREE.  —  Palming a bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, Palm Beach County resident Suzanne …
Discussion: TheBlaze and Political Flare
Jacqueline Thomsen / LAW.com:
Seeing ‘Political Grandstanding’ in Election Lawsuit, Judge Orders Attorney to Face Grievance Committee  —  “When any counsel seeks to target processes at the heart of our democracy, the committee may well conclude that they are required to act with far more diligence and good faith than existed here,” the judge said.
Joby Warrick / Washington Post:
Blueprint for a raid: Documents shed light on plan to buy U.S. helicopter gunships for assault on Tripoli  —  The commandos for hire who landed in Benghazi in June 2019 had arranged, at great expense, to procure every weapon and tool needed for an assault on Libya's government.
New York Times:
Republicans Struggle to Derail Increasingly Popular Stimulus Package  —  Polls show a $1.9 trillion rescue plan polls strongly across the country, including with many Republican voters, despite a scattershot series of attacks from congressional Republicans.  —  WASHINGTON — Republicans …
Lukas I. Alpert / Wall Street Journal:
Los Angeles Times Owner Exploring Sale of Company  —  Patrick Soon-Shiong seeks exit after less than three years at the helm, as losses mount  —  Billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong is exploring a sale of the Los Angeles Times less than three years after buying it for $500 million, people familiar with the matter said.
Patricia Mazzei / New York Times:
Two women ‘dressed up as grannies’ tried to get vaccinated in Florida.  —  Maybe it was the bonnets.  —  Or the gloves that the two women donned, though the temperatures in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday hovered in the 60s.  —  In a scene right out of a sitcom, the women went …
Eric Lach / New Yorker:
The Sound and the Fury of Andrew Cuomo  —  Assemblyman Ron Kim was bathing his children when he got an unexpected call from the governor.  —  Last week, Ron Kim, a Democratic State Assembly member from Queens, was preparing a bath for his three daughters—ages six, four, and two …
Discussion: Vanity Fair, New York Post and Fox News
Bari Weiss / Common Sense with Bari Weiss:
Whistleblower at Smith College Resigns Over Racism  —  Jodi Shaw made less in a year than the cost of tuition.  She was offered a settlement, but turned it down.  Here's why.  —  We all know that something morally grotesque is swallowing liberal America.  Almost no one wants to risk talking about it out loud.
James Hamblin / The Atlantic:
A Quite Possibly Wonderful Summer  —  Editor's Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers.  Find the collection here.  —  The summer of 2021 is shaping up to be historic.  —  After months of soaring deaths and infections …
Discussion: The Week and Political Wire
Lorraine Ali / Los Angeles Times:
Review: HBO's devastating ‘Allen v. Farrow’ is a nail in the coffin of Woody Allen's legacy  —  Is Woody Allen's career finally toast?  —  The question has been asked frequently in recent decades, both in response to a midcareer slump and, later, as the #MeToo movement brought new scrutiny …
Discussion: Deadline
Carter Sherman / VICE:
‘Leftist Scum’ Memer Raised $400K for Planned Parenthood as a Special Tribute to Rush Limbaugh  —  “You know how to stop abortion?”  Limbaugh once said.  “Require that each one occur with a gun.”  —  CS  —  When Tommy Marcus learned that Rush Limbaugh had died, he grieved …
Gino Spocchia / Yahoo Finance:
Trump supporters are planning to storm the Capitol again on 4 March, lawmaker warns  —  Donald Trump's supporters are allegedly planning a second attack on the  —  US Capitol on 4 March, a Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee has said.  —  QAnon conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters …
Discussion: RedState
Joshua Hochschild / The American Mind:
Once Upon a Presidency  —  From populist to dissident  —  Let's say you've long been disaffected with political parties.  You don't trust them.  You care about politics, but you don't see much promise in the standard candidates.  —  Let's even say you have suspicions the two parties …
Timothy Noah / New Republic:
The Rise and Fall of the L. Brent Bozells  —  In The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, a classic 1943 film that traces, in vaguely allegorical fashion, half a century's evolution in England's national character, the actress Deborah Kerr plays a series of roles that represent changing incarnations of the ideal British woman.
Discussion: Backbencher
TMZ.com:
Kim Kardashian Files for Divorce from Kanye West  —  Kim Kardashian has filed to divorce Kanye West after almost 7 years of marriage, but our sources say it's as amicable as a divorce can be.  —  Kim is asking for joint legal and physical custody of the couple's 4 kids.
Emily Singer / The American Independent:
2nd Amendment defender Lauren Boebert upset others might want to amend Constitution  —  Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) doesn't seem to understand how the Constitution works.  —  Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is trying to defend herself from backlash after she went on a tirade on Thursday to demand …
Discussion: Above the Law, The Hill and HuffPost
Michael Kaplan / New York Post:
Columbia professor: I do heroin regularly for ‘work-life balance’  —  Carl Hart is a Columbia University professor of psychology and neuroscience.  He chairs the psych department and has a fondness for heroin - not only as a subject of scholarly pursuit but also as a substance for personal use.
Discussion: The Daily Caller and Insider
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
Here's Biden's least bad option in Afghanistan  —  ISLAMABAD — As President Biden nears a decision about withdrawing the 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he doesn't have a “best” option — only the one that's least bad for the United States and its allies.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jana Winter / Yahoo News:
Feds now say right-wing extremists responsible for majority of deadly terrorist attacks last year
Ally Mutnick / Politico:
House takes first steps toward deciding contested Iowa election
Discussion: Breitbart
Alvin Major / USA Today:
My family couldn't survive on $7.25 minimum wage. But $15 gives us a fighting chance.
Your Side / WFLA-TV:
Flags in Florida will be lowered for Rush Limbaugh, Gov. Ron DeSantis says
New York Times:
These Groups Are Raising Millions to Sway the N.Y.C. Mayor's Race
Discussion: Gothamist
Peter Heck / Disrn:
Cartoon Network pushes “anti-racism,” lecturing kids to “see color” in new PSA
Jon Skolnik / Salon:
Josh Hawley dipped into campaign funds to help bankroll family trip to Universal Studios
 Earlier Items: 
Francesca Bacardi / Page Six:
Joe Biden's brother Frank parties maskless at Floyd Mayweather's birthday
Discussion: Twitchy
Kelsey Bolar / The Federalist:
Biden Administration Prepares Way For Banks To Refuse Service To Democrats' Enemies
Discussion: RedState and BizPac Review
James Kirchick / Tablet Magazine:
The Real Lincoln Project Scandal
Sarah Rumpf / Mediaite:
Fox News Anchor Bill Hemmer Warns Cancel Culture Could ‘Come After Bible Characters Next’
Discussion: UPROXX and The Hill
Karen Heller / Washington Post:
He was locked up at age 15. Almost seven decades later, he's reentering an unfamiliar world.
 

 
From Techmeme:

TechCrunch:
Meta says it is testing its Meta AI chatbot with WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger users in India and parts of Africa

Ken Yeung / VentureBeat:
Elon Musk's xAI previews Grok-1.5 Vision, its first multimodal model, and says the AI model will be available soon to “early testers and existing Grok users”

Wes Davis / The Verge:
Bluesky says it is now allowing heads of state to sign up, and adds features including hashtags in profile bios and the ability to long press a link to share

 
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