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12:30 PM ET, February 26, 2021

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 Top Items: 
RELATED:
Politico:
House set to pass Biden's $1.9T pandemic relief package  —  Democrats are on track to pass President Joe Biden's coronavirus relief plan in the House by Friday night, a major milestone on the way to hitting their mid-March target for turning the $1.9 trillion package into law — and fulfilling a key priority for the White House.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
Pelosi Statement on Senate Parliamentarian Ruling on Minimum Wage  —  Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Senate parliamentarian ruling on the minimum wage:  —  “The ruling from the Senate parliamentarian is disappointing, because raising the minimum wage …
Jacqueline Alemany / Washington Post:
Power Up: Liberals mount pressure campaign to overrule Senate parliamentarian on minimum wage  —  It's Friday.  You've just about made it.  We stand with SMK and this is the Power Up newsletter.  —  On the Hill  —  CUE THE DRAMA: The Democratic Party's liberal wing is mounting …
Politico:
Biden's minimum wage increase runs afoul of budget rules
Niv Elis / The Hill:
Hawley, Sanders both backing corporate tax to get $15 minimum wage
CNN:
Senate parliamentarian rules against including minimum wage in Covid relief bill
Mike Memoli / NBC News:
Past marijuana use won't automatically disqualify Biden White House staff  —  WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is issuing new guidelines Friday meant to address an unexpected hurdle it faced as it aimed to quickly fill key White House positions: recreational marijuana use.
Discussion: The Hill and HotAir
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear’  —  Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) argued in a pre-taped interview that ran Friday that the Republican Party has lost its way and become “engulfed in lies in fear.”  —  Curbelo and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) …
RELATED:
Reed Richardson / Mediaite:   Donald Trump Jr. Blasts Republicans Who ‘Lose Gracefully,’ Praises His Father for Showing ‘You Can Actually Push Back’
NBC News:
He's back: Trump set to address CPAC in bid to extend his lease on the GOP
Carol E. Lee / NBC News:
Cruz received a special ‘welcome back’ message in Senate gym  —  Sen. Ted Cruz's colleagues had a little fun at the Texas Republican's expense when he returned to Washington this week following his infamous trip to Cancun.  —  When senators arrived at the Senate gym on Wednesday morning …
RELATED:
Jake Lahut / Insider:
Ted Cruz's colleagues mocked him by putting memes of his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room: ‘Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!’
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Axios:
Boehner goes off script, tells Cruz to “go f**k yourself”  —  John Boehner has been going off script while recording the audio version of his new memoir, using expletives and asides not in the book — such as the former Republican House speaker saying, “Oh, and Ted Cruz, go f**k yourself.”
CNN:
US carries out air strikes in Syria targeting Iranian backed militia structures  —  (CNN)The US military struck a site in Syria on Thursday used by two Iranian-backed militia groups following rocket attacks on American forces in the region in the past two weeks, according to a US official.
RELATED:
Michael Kruse / Politico:
‘Nobody Listened To Me’: The Quest to Be MTG  —  ALPHARETTA, Ga.—Marjorie Taylor Greene smacked her gum as she pretended to listen to a man in a dress read a book about a unicorn.  —  It was late April of 2019.  She sat in the rear of a room at the public library here near her home in this suburb north of Atlanta.
Associated Press:
Some local GOP leaders fire up base with conspiracies, lies  —  A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories that echo those that helped inspire the violent U.S. Capitol siege, online messaging that is spreading quickly …
Jeannie Suk Gersen / New Yorker:
Seeking the True Story of the Comfort Women  —  How a Harvard professor's dubious scholarship reignited a history of mistrust between South Korea and Japan.  —  In January, I was outlining an article I hoped to write about a recent judgment by a South Korean court ordering Japan to pay compensation …
American Greatness:
Kavanaugh and Barrett's Share of the Shame  —  The Trump-appointed justices' alliance with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court is not a betrayal of Republicans or the president who appointed them.  It's a betrayal of the Constitution.  —  With Election Day looming and early voting underway …
Michelle Goldberg / New York Times:
The Campaign to Cancel Wokeness  —  How the right is trying to censor critical race theory.  —  It's something of a truism, particularly on the right, that conservatives have claimed the mantle of free speech from an intolerant left that is afraid to engage with uncomfortable ideas.
Discussion: Althouse
Apoorva Mandavilli / New York Times:
The Coronavirus Is Plotting a Comeback.  Here's Our Chance to Stop It for Good.  —  Many scientists are expecting another rise in infections.  But this time the surge will be blunted by vaccines and, hopefully, widespread caution.  By summer, Americans may be looking at a return to normal life.
Discussion: The Week and Insider
Vanity Fair:
“We're Not Opening the Dementia Thing”: Inside Team Biden's Freakout Over Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Trump Jokes  —  At the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Veep's showrunner clashed with organizers over the HBO star's act—an episode revealing how the Biden campaign tried to tamp down any drama on its road to the White House.
Politico:
Harris gets a crash course on foreign policy  —  After insisting for the last few months that she didn't need a clear-cut portfolio in the Biden administration, Vice President Kamala Harris is now trying to carve out a niche in foreign policy, with the president's encouragement.
Discussion: CBS News
Jodi Shaw / New York Post:
Toxic wokeness taints a campus and causes liberal staffer to resign  —  In 2018, Smith College student Oumou Kanoute accused the school of racial profiling, saying she was approached by a security officer for “eating while black.”  A subsequent investigation found that not only was Kanoute dining …
Michael Hendrix / City Journal:
On the Ground … Results, Not Headlines  —  Many heartland states have outperformed more prominent counterparts in the fight against Covid-19.  —  Covid-19  —  On the day that New York governor Andrew Cuomo won his Emmy, the governor of West Virginia announced a plan to vaccinate his state.
New York Times:
Attacks on Asian-Americans in New York Stoke Fear, Anxiety and Anger  —  Hate crimes involving Asian-American victims soared in New York City last year.  Officials are grappling with the problem even as new incidents occur.  —  Maggie Cheng could stand to watch the video only once.
Discussion: Washington Post and Hackwhackers
The Bulwark:
Navalny Walks in the Footsteps of the Great Russian Dissidents  —  His name should become as familiar in the free world as Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, and Sharansky.  —  RUSSIAN OPPOSITION ACTIVIST ALEXEI NAVALNY DURING A HEARING INTO AN APPLICATION BY THE RUSSIAN FEDERAL PENITENTIARY SERVICE …
Christopher Mathias / HuffPost:
CPAC Canceled An Anti-Semite.  Here Are The Extremists They Didn't Cancel.  —  Bigots, insurrectionists and conspiracy theorists are on the agenda at the annual gathering of American conservatives, including former President Donald Trump.  —  The theme of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference is “America Uncanceled.”
Discussion: The Daily Dot and Orlando Weekly
John Harwood / CNN:
Murkowski to meet with Tanden on Monday as confirmation remains on the rocks  —  (CNN)Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will meet on Monday with Neera Tanden, the Biden administration's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.
Discussion: The Daily Caller and KYMA-TV
Tom Nichols / The Atlantic:
The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages  —  We are living in a time of bad metaphors.  Everything is fascism, or socialism; Hitler's Germany, or Stalin's Soviet Union.  Republicans, especially, want their followers to believe that America is on the verge of a dramatic time …
U.S. Department of Justice:
Former Air Force Contractor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Taking 2,500 Pages of Classified Information  —  WASHINGTON - A former contractor with the U.S. Air Force pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio today to illegally taking approximately 2,500 pages of classified documents.
Ed Kilgore / New York Magazine:
Republican Senators Haven't Represented a Majority of Voters Since 1996  —  As we wait for the Senate parliamentarian to let us know if 41 senators will be able to block a minimum wage increase that a comfortable majority of Americans supports, it's as good a time as any to be reminded …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Paige Winfield Cunningham / Washington Post:
The Health 202: Pharmacies were expecting vaccine shipments. Manufacturing and winter weather delayed them.
Discussion: HotAir
Summer Harlow / Nieman Lab:
Journalists don't always cover anti-racism protests as fairly as they think they do
BBC:
Amazon rainforest plots sold via Facebook Marketplace ads
Josh Rogin / Washington Post:
The clock is ticking on North Korea. Biden should make the first move.
Washington Free Beacon:
Lincoln Project Staffer May Have Violated Campaign Finance Law, Ethics Watchdog Says
 Earlier Items: 
CNN:
This Ohio school reduced spacing measures and is open to all, 5 days a week
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
QAnon Believers Duped by Trump, Melania Impersonators on Telegram
Discussion: Raw Story
Brad Polumbo / Foundation for Economic Education:
Biden's Proposed Tax Hike Would Have 3 Huge Consequences, Study Finds
Discussion: Instapundit
Bloomberg:
Saudi Crown Prince Implicated in Khashoggi Murder, U.S. Finds
Jonathan Rauch / Washington Post:
The Equality Act can become law — if Democrats will add religious exemptions
Julian Brave NoiseCat / Washington Post:
Why Senate Republicans fear Deb Haaland
Discussion: The Nation, National Review and Grist