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As impeachment trial starts, Marjorie Taylor Greene rips Capitol rioters who ‘ruined’ objection plans

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As impeachment trial starts, Marjorie Taylor Greene rips Capitol rioters who ‘ruined’ objection plans

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene denounced the Capitol rioters Tuesday and said they were attacking all lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — when they stormed the Capitol during the Jan. 6 joint session to count electoral votes.

“The attack RUINED our objection that we spent weeks preparing for, which devastated our efforts on behalf of Trump and his voters,” Greene, R-Ga., said in a tweet. 

She continued: “They placed pipe bombs at the RNC and the DNC the night before. They did NOT just target one party. They targeted Republicans and Democrats. They were against the government ALL together.”

Greene also said she was “very upset, scared, and terrified for ALL of us” during the riot and said she “made a video telling people to stop and they should protest peacefully.”

“I will be forever grateful to my Republican colleagues who bravely helped the police protect us and blocked the door,” Greene continued. “They courageously risked their lives against the attackers trying to get in.”

She added that the former president is “the victim of the never ending hate fueled witch hunt.”

But some of the actions of the rioters indicate that they were not in fact targeting lawmakers they viewed as allies, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Video published by the New Yorker showed rioters rifling through Cruz’s papers before concluding, “This is a good one. I think Cruz would want us to do this, so I think we’re good.” They also said, “he’s with us.”

Cruz in many statements, however, has condemned the rioters. 

Greene also gave credence Tuesday to the false claims that the rioters in the Capitol were not Trump supporters — they’ve been broadly shown to be right-wing Trump supporters in nearly every case as law enforcement has tracked down the rioters.

The pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol about one hour after the conclusion of Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 during which he repeated false claims that he won the election and told his followers to go to the Capitol “peacefully and patriotically.” Those who believe Trump’s rally that day constituted impeachable conduct, however, say that one comment does not outweigh the balance of his remarks, in which he also told followers that if they don’t “fight back,” they won’t “have a country anymore.”

Trump’s legal team claims that the use of the word “fight” was figurative and meant to mean political action on election security.

Greene has been a lightning rod for controversy as she’s maintained her reputation as a bomb-thrower while also distancing herself from some of her most radical past statements. She repudiated QAnon after previously flirting with the conspiracy theory; reaffirmed that 9/11 happened after previously expressing doubt about it; and apologized to her House Republican colleagues last week for those comments and others, including some apparently supporting violence against Democrats, from before she was elected.

The Republican Party has experienced a handful of internal skirmishes, which played out last week. There was a full House vote stripping Greene — one of the faces of the pro-Trump wing of the GOP — of her committee assignments. Eleven Republicans joined all Democrats on that vote. Meanwhile, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., survived a 145-61 vote to remove her as the GOP conference chair after she voted to impeach Trump. 

Similar divides in the Senate will be closely watched during Trump’s impeachment trial, with a handful of Republicans considered potential votes to convict the former president while the vast majority of the GOP is expected to side with Trump’s lawyers, who called the trial “political theater.”

“This impeachment trial a circus for the Democrat media mob to entertain the masses that they have brainwashed and addicted to hate, so they don’t see the Dem policies being rapidly forced into place that are destroying our lives, stealing our freedoms, and putting America last,” Greene tweeted Tuesday. 

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Tensions over vaccine equity pit rural against urban America

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Tensions over vaccine equity pit rural against urban America

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rita Fentress was worried she might get lost as she traveled down the unfamiliar forested, one-lane road in rural Tennessee in search of a coronavirus vaccine. Then the trees cleared and the Hickman County Agricultural Pavilion appeared.

The 74-year-old woman wasn’t eligible to be vaccinated in Nashville, where she lives, because there were so many health care workers to vaccinate there. But a neighbor told her the state’s rural counties had already moved to younger age groups and she found an appointment 60 miles away.

“I felt kind of guilty about it,” she said. “I thought maybe I was taking it from someone else.” But late that February day, she said there were still five openings for the next morning.

The U.S. vaccine campaign has heightened tensions between rural and urban America, where from Oregon to Tennessee to upstate New York complaints are surfacing of a real — or perceived — inequity in vaccine allocation.

In some cases, recriminations over how scarce vaccines are distributed have taken on partisan tones, with rural Republican lawmakers in Democrat-led states complaining of “picking winners and losers,” and urbanites traveling hours to rural GOP-leaning communities to score COVID-19 shots when there are none in their city.

In Oregon, state GOP lawmakers walked out of a Legislative session last week over the Democratic governor’s vaccine plans, citing rural vaccine distribution among their concerns. In upstate New York, public health officials in rural counties have complained of disparities in vaccine allocation and in North Carolina, rural lawmakers say too many doses were going to mass vaccine centers in big cities.

In Tennessee, Missouri and Alabama, a dearth of shots in urban areas with the greatest number of health care workers has led senior citizens to snap up appointments hours from their homes. The result is a hodgepodge of approaches that can look like the exact opposite of equity, where those most likely to be vaccinated are people with the savvy and means to search out a shot and travel to wherever it is.

“It’s really, really flawed,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who noted there are even vaccine hunters who will find a dose for money. “Ideally, allocations would meet the population’s needs.”

With little more than general guidance from the federal government, states have taken it upon themselves to decide what it means to distribute the vaccine fairly and reach vulnerable populations.

Tennessee, like many states, has divvied up doses based primarily on county population, not on how many residents belong to eligible groups — such as health care workers. The Tennessee health commissioner has defended the allocation as the “most equitable,” but the approach has also exposed yet another layer of haves and have-nots as the vaccine rollout accelerates.

In Oregon, the issue led state officials to pause dose deliveries in some rural areas that had finished inoculating their health care workers while clinics elsewhere, including the Portland metro area, caught up. The dust-up last month prompted an angry response, with some state GOP lawmakers accusing the Democratic governor of playing favorites with the urban dwellers who elected her.

Public health leaders in Morrow County, a farming region in northeastern Oregon with one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates, said they had to delay two vaccine clinics because of the state’s decision. Other rural counties delayed vaccines for seniors.

States face plenty of challenges. Rural counties are less likely to have the deep-freeze equipment necessary to store Pfizer vaccines. Health care workers are often concentrated in big cities. And rural counties were particularly hard hit by COVID-19 in many states, but their residents are among the most likely to say they’re “definitely not” going to get vaccinated, according to recent Kaiser Family Foundation polling.

Adalja said most of these complications were foreseeable and could have been avoided with proper planning and funding.

“There are people who know how to do this,” he said. “They’re just not in charge of it.”

In Missouri, where Facebook groups have emerged with postings about appointment availabilities in rural areas, state Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, a Democrat from the Kansas City suburb of Independence, cited a need to direct more vaccine to urban areas.

The criticism drew an angry rebuke from Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who said vaccine distribution has been proportional to the population and critics are using “cherry-picked” data.

“There is no division between rural and urban Missouri,” Parson said during his weekly COVID-19 update last week.

In Republican-led Tennessee, Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey notes that the Trump administration deemed the state’s plan among the nation’s most equitable. Extra doses go to 35 counties with a high social vulnerability index score — many small and rural, but also Shelby County, which includes Memphis, with a large Black population.

Last week, state officials revealed some 2,400 doses had been wasted in Shelby County over the past month due to miscommunication and insufficient record-keeping. The county also built up nearly 30,000 excessive doses in its inventory. The situation caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate and the county health director to resign.

In Nashville, Democratic Mayor John Cooper says the fact that city residents can get shots elsewhere is a positive, even if the road trips are “a little bit of a pain.”

“I’m grateful that other counties have not said, ‘Oh my gosh, you have to be a resident of this county always to get the vaccine,’” Cooper said.

Nashville educators Jennifer Simon and Jessica Morris took sick days last week to make the four-hour round-trip to tiny Van Buren County, population less than 6,000.

They got their first shots there in January, when Republican Gov. Bill Lee was pushing Nashville and Memphis area schools to return to in-person classes. Republican lawmakers even threatened to pull funding from districts that remained online.

In-person classes started a couple weeks ago, but the city only began vaccinating teachers last week.

“It was scary, frustrating, and feeling really betrayed,” Simon said.

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Reese’s announces new chocolate-free peanut butter cups

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Taylor Swift’s re-recorded albums eligible for Grammys, prompting ‘greed’ criticism

Go away, chocolate.

The Hershey Company recently announced a new addition to the Reese’s line-up that’s very peanut-buttery. What is surprising, however, is how little chocolate these new cups have.

In fact, these Reese’s cups will be chocolate-free.

Hershey’s announced that it will be celebrating National Peanut Butter Day with the release of a new, all peanut butter cup. According to a press release, the new product will be called the Reese’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cup and will only be available for a limited time only.

The new candy is similar to an item Reese’s released for limited runs in 2019 and 2020, the Peanut Butter Lovers Cup, which had an extra layer of peanut butter on top of the cup’s candy shell. This time, however, the cup’s entire candy shell is made out of peanut butter and also filled with peanut butter.

It’s a lot of peanut butter. If you don’t like peanut butter, you’re not going to like this candy.

“While launching a Reese’s Cup with absolutely no chocolate might come as a shock, we’re giving the truest peanut butter fans something to go wild about,” said Margo McIlvaine, Reese’s Brand Manager. “The frenzy that comes with changing an icon like the Reese’s Cup is real – but you can still enjoy the classic plus get more peanut butter flavor with a new option that’s every peanut butter lover’s dream!”

Reese’s also announced that the Peanut Butter Lover’s Cup will also be returning. The Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups will be available starting in April of 2021.

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Family with a death wish sets up camp on cliff edge

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Family with a death wish sets up camp on cliff edge

A family in the UK has been rescued from a near-certain disaster after inexplicably deciding to camp out on a cliff’s edge in North Yorkshire.

The family — two adults and a child — were reportedly “unaware of the dangers” when they pitched their tent hardly 2-feet away from a 280-foot drop, according to the country’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

An unnamed “member of the public who was concerned” made the call to British emergency services (999) on Saturday to report the precariously-placed tent, in an area that’s known for “landslips,” they wrote in a statement on Facebook. Police were also sent to the scene to investigate any potential breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

“The family were in an extremely perilous position with no idea of the extreme danger they were in,” said Adam Turner, a senior coastal operations officer for one of the local coast guards involved in the matter. “Cliff edges are really unstable and can easily collapse as recent landslips in the area have shown.”

Details of the fearless family who set camp remain anonymous. Nevertheless, the coast guards’ followers on Facebook were expectedly appalled by the stunt, calling the campers “absolutely clueless” and accusing the adults of “endangering the child.”

However, hiker and alleged witness Barbara Knaggs delivered a measured statement in the replies in an effort to endear compassion toward the family, who may have fallen on hard times, she suggested.

“I saw this couple and child yesterday on the Cleveland Way carrying all [their] gear and did wonder about their situation. As none of us know what this is I really feel it is not right to be horrible towards them,” she wrote.

Turner continued his statement with advice to “keep to paths and stay well back from the cliff edge” as well as to “check the weather and tides” and wear appropriate footwear for slippery, uneven terrain.

“And take a fully charged mobile phone, so if the worst should happen you can call 999 and ask for the Coastguard,” he reminded.

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