January 21st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News


Wake up. Panic. Reach for phone. Nervously start to check news. Remember. Exhale. Put down phone. Go back to sleep… In his first hours in office, Joe Biden signed a collection of executive orders that included: Rejoining WHO, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, and rejoining Western Democracies. “Biden wore a mask as he signed the orders in the Oval Office — a marked departure from Trump, who rarely wore a face covering in public and never during events in the Oval Office. But virus precautions are now required in the building. Among the executive actions signed Wednesday was one requiring masks and physical distancing on federal property and by federal employees.” Wearing a mask was key. It sends a message to the world that America now takes the hoax, err virus, seriously. AP: On Day One, Biden targets Trump policies on climate, virus. This isn’t just the first full day of the Biden era. It’s also the one year anniversary of the first Covid-19 case in America.

+ NYT: Biden’s 17 Executive Orders and Other Directives in Detail.

+ Day two is all about the nation’s most pressing issue: Covid-19. We have surging cases and a greatly accelerated death rate that has pushed us over the 400,000 mark this week. We also have a vaccine. We just need more of it and a better way to get it to more people. Reuters: “President Joe Biden will sign 10 executive orders on Thursday to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including directing that disaster funds be used to help reopen schools and requiring that people wear masks on planes and buses.”

+ Fauci to WHO: “Given that a considerable amount of effort will be required by all of us, the United States stands ready to work in partnership and solidarity to support the international Covid-19 response, mitigate its impact on the world, strengthen our institutions, advance epidemic preparedness for the future, and improve the health and well-being of all people throughout the world.” (Consider that this is a change in policy.) Here’s the latest on the Covid-19 moves from the NYT.

+ Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start ‘from scratch,’ sources say.

+ “Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort.” Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine distribution. (One assumes Prime Members will get early access. Just don’t break the vials when you hurl the package over my front gate…)


Migration Patterns

“The U.S. Citizenship Act, which Biden sent to Capitol Hill on Inauguration Day, offers an eight-year road map to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status. If approved, it would prioritize three categories of people to immediately receive green cards: farm workers, those with temporary protected status and beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. as children.” Biden to offer legal status to 11 million immigrants, plans to stop border wall construction.

+ “The human cost of the travel ban has been devastating. Not only has the policy torn families apart, but it has also contributed to crises including doctor shortages in rural America and a dramatic drop in enrollment among foreign students from affected countries.” Biden is ending Trump’s travel ban.

+ Biden Has Ordered a 100-Day Pause On Many Deportations.


Standy Down, Stand By … Stand Trial

“Not only have there been no incidents of violence at state capitols … but at many of them, the number of MAGA protesters could be counted on one hand.” Vox: The pro-Trump inauguration protests at state capitols were complete duds. Of course, this doesn’t minimize the risk posed by such groups in the future, but it was remarkably good news that the entire inauguration was a peaceful, if not normal, transition of power.

+ A Proud Boys organizer has been charged for his role in the Capitol riot.


For Whom Ruble Tolls

“Even locked up in a detention center on the outskirts of Moscow, Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny continues to be a thorn in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s side. Late Tuesday, which marked the opposition leader’s first day at the infamous Matrosskaya Tishina facility, his team dropped a colossal investigation into the President’s wealth, offering Russians to take look into what they allege is ‘Putin’s palace’ on the Black Sea.”

+ The video Navalny’s group released has nearly 50 million views. There are photos of the palace on Navalny’s site (all of this is in Russian, but when money talks, there’s no need for translations).


Look at the Bright Side

“Before COVID-19, the record for the fastest time to bring a new vaccine to market was four years. That changed in 2020. On Jan. 10, a team of researchers published the genome of the novel coronavirus. Only three days later, scientists at Moderna and the NIH had finalized a new messenger RNA vaccine based on that genetic data. By March it was in trials, and by December it was approved for emergency use. New vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and others also moved at a record-breaking pace, far exceeding predictions. They’re critical to ending the pandemic—and give new hope for curing other diseases.” FastCo: 21 Reasons for Hope in 2021.



There was no talk of Hydroxychloroquine. No one was personally attacked. No rolls of paper towels were thrown. No one lied. The were no questions or answers related to the size of the inaugural crowd. No news was made. The backdrop was not Four Seasons Total Landscaping. No one leaked black sludge from their temples. And it was, well, boring. The First White House Press Briefing Of The Biden Presidency Was Extremely Mild.


The Nostril is Gone

“Vegan baker Filitsa Gray was eating dairy-free buttercream when it happened. One afternoon in March, her sense of taste and smell vanished. At first she thought it was strange; by her own admission her nose had been so sensitive she could smell things through walls, but then, when fatigue set in, it dawned on her that there might be a bigger problem.” WiredUK: As many as half of Covid-19 sufferers lose their sense or smell or taste. For master sommeliers and professional bakers, it could spell the end of their careers.


A Star is Born

In the matter of a few minutes, America fell in love with Amanda Gorman as she read her inaugural poem. Anderson Cooper interviewed her last night. (I have to search my back issues, but I’m pretty sure I predicted poets would be huge in 2021.)


Mock Trial

Three former presidents got together to wish Joe Biden well and share a few thoughts on the importance of peaceful transitions of power. Trump may not have believed in climate change, but I’m pretty sure he knows he got burned.


Bottom of the News

Life has returned to normal. More importantly, so has the internet as witnessed by the never-ending array of Bernie Sanders mitten memes. Here are some more. And trust me, you want more. And this was my personal fave.

+ If you missed Celebrating America last night, definitely watch it now. There were some great performances, kicking off with The Boss. (Though, when I saw those fireworks around the Monument, I was a bit worried it was Capitol Insurrection 2.)

+ A classic moment from the inauguration you may have missed.

+ And, yes, those were Dior Air Jordans at the Inauguration.

Copied to Clipboard