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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.* 

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.


Whoops, Joe Biden got the Elf quote wrong!:

President BidenJoe BidenFox News reporter says Biden called him after ‘son of a b—-‘ remarkPeloton responds after another TV character has a heart attack on one of its bikesDefense & National Security Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alertMORE was overheard on his microphone yesterday calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch.”  

Doocy yelled at Biden: “Will you take a question on inflation? Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”  

Biden was then heard mumbling to himself: “No, its a great asset, he mumbled sarcastically. More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” 

Watch the hot mic moment: Video from C-SPANs Jeremy Art:


The White House didnt pretend it never happened: The hot mic moment was included in the White House transcript. Screenshot from Bloombergs Jennifer Epstein):  

Lol: CBS Newss Kathryn Watson tweeted, My colleagues and I spent all this money on journalism school so we can debate whether “son of a b****” is one word or four  

CNNs Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperMcCaul says US withdrawal from Afghanistan has emboldened Russia on UkraineSunday shows – Voting rights legislation dominatesTexas Republican: FBI probe into synagogue hostage taker spreads to London, Tel AvivMORE defends Doocy: In an interview on ABCs Jimmy KimmelJames (Jimmy) Christian KimmelBiden to appear on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on FridayConnor Roy may never be president, but Alan Ruck did drive in the motorcadeJimmy Kimmel responds to Lauren Boebert calling him a ‘sexist pig’MORE Live! last night, Tapper said he doesnt think any president should be calling any journalist a dumb son of a bitch And to be fair to Peter Doocy, the question was fairly anodyne. More from Mediaite: 


In an interview on Fox Newss Hannity, Peter Doocy said President Biden called him after the incident. 

How that conversation went from Doocys perspective: “He said Its nothing personal, pal. And we went back and forth, and we were talking about just kind of moving forward, and I made sure to tell him that I’m always gonna try to ask something different than what everybody else is asking. And he said, You got to. And that’s a quote from the president, so I’ll keep doing it.”  

More from the conversation Hannity pushed Doocy to answer whether or not Biden apologized:

Its the last Tuesday of the month! Im Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and whats coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook. 

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Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations, including Section 230

Aaron is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook.

Hear more from Aaron on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internets most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.


A group of lawmakers is going to Ukraine today:

Via The Hills Laura Kelly, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalateSouthern California Democrats throw their weight behind Young Kim challengerEx-special envoy: Biden’s approach to Haiti a ‘recipe for disaster’MORE (D-N.Y.), is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine today, according to a congressional source.  

Is this the first trip like this?: No. The visit by members of Congress marks a third trip by lawmakers, including a bipartisan Senate delegation that traveled to Kyiv early last week, and a bipartisan House delegation in December. 

Keep in mind: Details of these trips are kept secret for security reasons. 


Via Military Timess Meghann Myers, Leo Shane III and Philip Athey: 

Oh, good, Russia is blaming the US for the tension. That makes sense :

Via The Washington Posts Robyn Dixon, Rachel Pannett and David L. Stern, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the United States on Tuesday of building up tension over Ukraine, as Russia launched simultaneous military exercises across the country involving thousands of troops, warplanes, naval ships, tanks and short-range ballistic missiles.


If Russia does invade Ukraine, heres what to expect:

Russia is estimated to have more than 100,000 troops near the border of Ukraine,  

Via The New York Timess Andrew E. Kramer in Svitlodarsk, Ukraine, heres what could happen:  

How it would likely start: If an incursion does come, most military analysts agree it wont begin with a massive show of force tanks rolling over the border or a sudden and devastating strike from the air. Rather, it would start with a more ambiguous, limited action that Moscow would use as justification for a wider intervention.  

For example: Such an action, American and Ukrainian officials say, could come in many different forms the seizure by Russian-backed separatists of a disputed piece of infrastructure, like an electrical plant, for instance.  

Another possible scenario: It could even start invisibly, with gas wafting through the air, if Russia decided to stage an accident at an ammonia plant in this area, and then send in troops under the guise of bringing it under control. That possibility was raised this month by Ukraines military intelligence agency.   

More from the perspective of Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines:


The question is whether there is real potential for compromise in three distinct areas: Russias demand for ironclad assurances that Ukraine wont enter NATO; that NATO wont further expand; and that Russia can somehow restore some approximation of its sphere of influence in the region to before the strategic map of Europe was redrawn in the mid-1990s. More from The New York Timess David E. Sanger:


He alone can make the choice to bring Europe back from the brink of a major war. Read the full take from The Atlantics Tom Nichols:


In Democrats minds, its a when more than an if:

Via The Hills Alexander Bolton, Democratic lawmakers, aides and strategists believe its just a matter of time before the Senate filibuster is substantially changed to limit the minoritys ability to stop legislation, despite a defeat on the matter last week. 

The thinking: Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinEven working piecemeal, Democrats need a full agenda for childrenPoll: 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doingBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election lawMORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPoll: 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doingBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election lawDemocrats ask for information on specialized Border Patrol teamsMORE (D-Ariz.) will possibly be the last two Democratic senators to oppose changing the filibuster.  

Democratic activists predict such a position will be unworkable soon for any Democrat, whether they are a liberal or centrist.  

Keep in mind  other centrist senators are on board with changing the filibuster: Centrists including Sens. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSmall ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezedSchumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Connected Commerce Council – Biden faces reporters as his agenda teetersMORE (D-Mont.), Angus KingAngus KingBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election lawEffort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentumManchin, Collins leading talks on overhauling election law, protecting election officialsMORE (I-Maine), Mark KellyMark KellyDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrativeThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022Filibuster becomes new litmus test for DemocratsMORE (D-Ariz.) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election lawUS maintains pressure on Russia amid concerns of potential Ukraine invasionSunday shows – Russia standoff over Ukraine dominatesMORE (D-Del.) have now gone on record as supporting a rule change that would require opponents to actively hold the floor with debate in order to block voting rights legislation.  

How this could play out in the next few years:


Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations, including Section 230

Aaron is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook. 

Hear more from Aaron on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internets most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.


An omicron-specific vaccine is in the works:

Via CNNs Amanda Sealy, Pfizer and BioNTech have begun a clinical trial for their Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine candidate, they announced in a news release on Tuesday.  

Timeline: Pfizers CEO said last month that if a new vaccine is needed for the Omicron coronavirus variant, the company will have one in March. However, a Pfizer spokesperson confirmed that the company has already begun to manufacture this vaccine.  

This is worth watching what a unique perspective:

CBS Newss David Begnaud tweeted, Meet Alan Hawes, the former photojournalist turned critical care nurse who has the unique ability to tell the intimate stories of the COVID patients he sees & treats. I cant count how many doctors & nurses have told me: if only the public could see what we see. Alan shows us. Watch:


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 71,720,055 

U.S. death toll: 869,250 

Breakdown of the numbers:


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 535 million shots have been given.  

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 522,580 doses  

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.  

Breakdown of the numbers:


The SATs we took are the SATs of the past:

Via The Washington Posts Nick Anderson, The SAT college admission exam will soon go fully digital, ditching paper test booklets and answer sheets, and get much shorter, shrinking from three hours to two.


Seems legit to me?:

The University of Washington School of Laws Ryan Calo tweeted a photo of a letter he received from his daughters school. His caption: I have concerns regarding the authenticity of this note. Photo of the school note in question:

The president-elect of Chile is a Taylor Swift fan and Im so here for it:

Gabriel Boric Font, the president-elect of Chile responded to a Taylor SwiftTaylor Alison SwiftHillicon Valley Progressives put pressure on GoogleThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Israel testing fourth COVID-19 vaccine doseThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Pelosi takes victory lap after breaking months-long standoffMORE tweet, in which Swift slammed a critic accusing her of not writing her own songs.   

Boric Fonts tweet: Here in Chile you have a huge group of supporters who knows that you write you own songs from the heart. Dont take seriously guys that need to insult or lie to get attention. Hugs from the south Taylor  

Here is Taylor Swifts tweet that Boric Font replied to:


The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.  

10:15 a.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the Presidents Daily Brief. 

Feb. 4: The opening ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. More info:


12:15 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSchumer requests Senate briefing on Ukraine amid Russia tensionsBiden rushes to pressure Russia as Ukraine fears intensifyPelosi requests all-member briefing on UkraineMORE holds a press briefing. Livestream:  

2 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris delivers remarks to the Presidents Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Livestream:  

3 p.m. EST: State Department spokesperson Ned Price holds a press briefing. Livestream: 


Today is National Irish Coffee Day. 

I PROMISE my intention was not to make this a bird-themed newsletter, but :

A rare eagle has been seen in Maine (!) Details from The Associated Presss Patrick Whittle:

And to keep you entertained this afternoon, heres a squirrel working on its Dancing with the Stars audition: 

^Make sure your sound is on.