1

Infrastructure Weak

We heard a lot about Texas and its power grid during the recent cold snap. But Mississippi had its own problems. And in Jackson, those problems still persist. The city has a boil water requirement more than two weeks after the storm. There are portable showers being deployed and the national guard has been called in to deliver drinking water to homes. As one local reporter tweeted: "How is it that the people of a state's capital city in the richest nation on earth have been without running water for two weeks now?" It's a fair question. CBS News: Jackson, Mississippi, residents remain without water for more than 2 weeks after storm.

+ NYT: After Stimulus, Biden to Tackle Another Politically Tricky Issue: Infrastructure. "As a candidate, Mr. Biden went further than either Mr. Trump or President Barack Obama by promising to pass a multitrillion-dollar package intended to create jobs and help the United States compete with China. And if anything, his first month in office, in which a power crisis in Texas left millions of people in need of water and electricity, has underscored the urgency of upgrading the nation's aging structural underpinnings. But while the goal of addressing the United States' infrastructure is bipartisan, the details are not." (How about we start with making sure people can actually survive in their homes...)

2

Wray of Wreckoning

"The FBI director told the panel that the problem of domestic terrorism 'has been metastasizing around the country for a long time now, and it's not going away anytime soon.' And Wray insisted that the FBI had been aggressively warning about the growing threat, saying, 'whenever we've had the chance, we've tried to emphasize that this is a top concern.'" WaPo: FBI director says domestic terrorism cases have soared to 2,000 in recent months. (Wray has been consistently warning about this threat. It's really amazing that he made through 2020 without getting fired.)

3

Open Ses Who?

On one hand, we seem to finally be making progress against this damn virus. On the other hand, the variants are starting to drive numbers back up in some areas. So why are we opening now when we're a few weeks away from finally getting on top of this nightmare? Apparently, Rochelle Walensky has the same question: CDC chief warns of 'potential fourth surge' and urges US to keep Covid rules.

+ AP: States easing virus restrictions despite experts' warnings. (After more than a half a million deaths, you'd think we'd be open to expert opinions...)

+ "It's a historic partnership," said one of the officials, adding that the companies "recognize this is a wartime effort." Merck will help make Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

4

Ordering Chinese

"With just four of China's many vaccine makers claiming they are able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world's population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China's humble, traditionally made shots." AP: China's vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success. (This is a huge geopolitical story. China is being looked to to help a huge portion of the world while, after the debacle that was 2020, America is being looked at as barely being able to help itself.)

5

Afghanistan By Me

"Afghanistan presents Joe Biden with one of the most immediate and vexing problems of his Presidency. If he completes the military withdrawal, he will end a seemingly interminable intervention and bring home thousands of troops. But, if he wants the war to be considered anything short of an abject failure, the Afghan state will have to be able to stand on its own." Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker: Last Exit from Afghanistan. (After all the destruction, are we really going to hand the country back to the Taliban madmen?)

+ "I even receive threats because of what I do, but I came back to Afghanistan to teach animation to other young girls and to one day open a university here." 'I'd like to join Pixar one day': meet Afghanistan's first female animator.

6

Wreck on the Highway

"There were 27 passengers in the SUV that struck a semitruck full of gravel." CNN: 15 killed in major vehicle crash in Imperial County, California. (27 passengers?)

7

Putin Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

"Russia's attempt to kill Mr. Navalny follows an alarming pattern of chemical weapons use by Russia." US imposes sanctions on Russians. Meanwhile, Navalny is in a Russian prison camp. So what's the big deal about this guy? Why Does Vladimir Putin Want Alexei Navalny Dead?

8

Vote For Those Who Want You to Vote

"Even as Republican-controlled states, drawing on former President Donald Trump's groundless claims of massive fraud in 2020, are advancing a wave of proposals making it tougher to vote, House Democrats this week will consider HR 1, sweeping legislation that would establish a nationwide baseline of voting rights." The biggest political battle of them all is being fought tooth and nail right now. At issue: voting. Ron Brownstein: Why millennials and Gen Z have the most to lose in the voting wars.

+ The sad, bizarre, and dangerous revolt against democracy, in 13 charts. (I miss the good old days when we revolted against charts...)

9

What Happens in Toronto Stays in Toronto

It's no secret that news organizations are struggling to make ends meet in the digital age. The parent company of the Toronto Star has come up with a pretty unique idea. They're launching an online casino. (This will really test the theory that the house always wins...)

10

Bottom of the News

History was made when you got your peanut butter in my chocolate. But what if that moment never happened? "The Hershey Company announced Tuesday it is rolling out a version of its popular Reese's peanut butter cups with no chocolate. Both the outer shell and inside of the cup are all peanut butter." (What I really want is a Reese's peanut butter cup with the inside made of peanut butter and the outer shell made of the Moderna vaccine.)

+ NYT: Want to Sanitize a Baseball Stadium? Send in the Drones. (When the pandemic is over, this would be a perfect way to deliver beer.)

+ Their hind paws fall inside the place of their forepaws — minimizing noise and visible tracks. Watch how cats walk. It's pretty amazing.