At least four people were killed in a violent riot as supporters of President Donald Trump, flying Confederate flags and breaking windows, stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s November victory. Lawmakers were forced to evacuate, but reconvened in the early morning hours to officially certify the electoral count and confirm that in two weeks, Biden will assume the presidency. According to some reports, Trump’s Cabinet is discussing invoking the 25th Amendment — removing a president unfit to serve — over his incitement of the violence.
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Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats will be held by Democrats in 2021 — meaning the party will control both houses of Congress and the White House — after both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were announced the winners of their special elections in the state. Democratic organizers like Stacey Abrams were credited with encouraging high turnout, especially among Black voters. Meanwhile, President-elect Biden has reportedly chosen his attorney general: Merrick Garland, whose 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court was stonewalled by Senate Republicans in defiance of longstanding norms.
3. Twitter, Facebook Block Trump Over Riot Incitement
As the violent mob attacked the Capitol, President Trump’s social media accounts were suspended as he encouraged the rioters with a video calling them “patriots” and saying “I love you” and repeating false claims of election fraud. YouTube removed it, while Facebook banned the president for 24 hours and Twitter initially blocked anyone from retweeting the video, then later suspended Trump’s account until he removed it. Some lawmakers are calling for a permanent ban, which Twitter says will be forthcoming if Trump violates their policies again. Meanwhile, the president had to use his deputy chief of staff’s Twitter account to release a late night statement supporting an “orderly transition” while rejecting the results of the election.
4. China Compares US Coup Attempt to Hong Kong Protests
With relations between Beijing and Washington at a low ebb, China’s foreign ministry drew parallels between the storming of the U.S. Capitol and the 2019 storming of Hong Kong’s legislature by protesters — but noted that in China, “not one demonstrator died.” Other Chinese officials mocked the U.S. chaos on social media, while allies around the world expressed distress over the situation and hope that American democratic institutions would withstand the insurrection.
A large U.S. flight attendant union has urged a ban on commercial air travel for the Trump-supporting protesters who violently stormed the Capitol, fearing for the safety of passengers and crew. Kim Jong Un said he would boost North Korea’s military capabilities. And the Trump administration’s plan to pay for tax cuts with oil revenue was stymied when oil companies declined to bid on drilling rights in an Arctic wildlife refuge, forcing Alaska to lease the land itself instead.
Yesterday was one of the most eventful days in recent history, one that forced us to think about what’s important, what needs to change and how we make that change happen. These unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response, so OZY went live last night with a town hall special of The Carlos Watson Show to discuss the state of American democracy.
If yesterday's events tell us anything, it’s that our existing forums for political discussion are broken: We need a new conversation. Watch now and join in for yourself. Let us know what you think by commenting on YouTube, tweeting with the hashtag #ResetAmerica or simply responding to this email.
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In case of emergency, break glass. After a group of wine thieves broke into the cellar of the Relais Château luxury hotel Tuesday and snatched $430,000 worth of Burgundy, they sped off in a van with the hotel’s owner in hot pursuit. Police soon joined the chase, but the thieves pelted their car with bottles of priceless wine and got away. Nobody was hurt, but police are still searching for three men. It’s unclear if they were the same thieves who broke in and stole $246,000 worth of wine from the same hotel on Monday.
Will this work? The Department of Labor’s new interpretation of federal rules will make it simpler for companies to classify workers as contractors rather than employees, offering fewer protections and rights for the workforce once the changes take effect March 8. Meanwhile, California’s recently passed Proposition 22 — which allows food delivery and ride-hailing apps to deny workers rights like benefits and unionization — has huge grocery store chains including Albertsons and Safeway reportedly preparing to fire unionized delivery drivers in favor of cheaper third-party gig workers.
Last year’s crisis of white supremacy in the upper echelons of food media saw institutions take a long hard look at themselves. And as they rebuild, it’s Indian American food writers who are rising to the top, OZY reports, with Sonia Chopra leading Bon Appétit and food critic Tejal Rao winning James Beard Awards. It’s a chance to reframe and diversify the way Americans think about food — but representation is only part of the equation, says Food & Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah, and food media still has a long way to go.
“Heart of Gold” — but emphasis on the gold. Though he’s long been vocally against commercialization in music, the Canadian singer-songwriter has now cashed in, selling a 50 percent stake in his musical oeuvre to U.K. investment firm Hipgnosis. The company’s CEO, calling himself a lifelong fan, promised to commercialize Young’s music tastefully. Other musicians, including Bob Dylan, Lindsey Buckingham and Debbie Harry, have recently made similar moves as the pandemic puts the squeeze on traditional performance-based income streams.
5. Olympic Committee Lobbies for Athletes to Get Vaccine Priority
Well, they’re not immune to criticism yet. The International Olympic Committee president had previously indicated that athletes wouldn’t have to be vaccinated to participate in July’s delayed Tokyo Games. But yesterday, longtime IOC member Dick Pound publicly said that vaccinating athletes is “the most realistic way” for the event to go ahead, noting that the public wouldn’t object to prioritizing a few hundred doses for the sake of the competition. The IOC has now confirmed that it’s working to have as many athletes vaccinated as possible, though they wouldn’t normally be considered a priority group.
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