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I remember the thrill of the early days of Trump’s first impeachment, watching history unfold in an overflowing U.S. Senate chamber. By the end of those marathon sessions? Let’s just say there wasn’t enough espresso. Ditto that now, as Democrats and Republicans sleepwalk through what will almost certainly be another not guilty verdict (sorry to burst your bubble, impeachment fanatics). Still, the actors have their parts to play, from a grieving father to Trump’s Bill Cosby-apologist lawyer. Just to cool off, I’ll also take you for a dip through the crypto wave and the wild world of hippos before ending with some sweet treats for your upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Lawyers for former President Donald Trump argued in a pretrial brief Monday that his supporters rioted “of their own accord,” pointing to plans made in advance of the then-president’s speech shortly before the attack. Multiple Republican senators cast doubt on the likelihood of Trump actually being convicted in the trial that begins today even as Democrats accused him of committing the “most grievous constitutional crime ever.” (Sources: NYT, Fox News)
2. Going Viral No More
Facebook announced Monday that it was banning all vaccine-related misinformation after letting “anti-vaxxers” build networks of followers on the platform for years. The policy applies to Instagram as well, but it will need other social media sites to follow suit to provide herd immunity against online vaccination conspiracies. (Sources: Guardian, NPR)
3. Alternative Energy
Bitcoin saw its price spike to a record high above $48,000 after electric car company Tesla bought $1.5 billion of the digital currency. Other cryptocurrencies ballooned in spectacular fashion. With famous first-mover Elon Musk goosing markets once more, could other major companies plug in too? (Sources: Bloomberg, MarketWatch)
4. Digital Payload
North Korean hackers stole more than $300 million from an unnamed country through cyber attacks on virtual currency exchanges and financial institutions to fund the Hermit Kingdom’s nuclear missile programs, according to a leaked draft of a United Nations report, actions that violated international sanctions. (Sources: CNN, Reuters)
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Carlos is joined by the youngest member of Congress, Madison Cawthorn. The 25-year-old firebrand gives his take on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the car accident that opened his eyes to feeling invisible and his Moneyball approach to winning his campaign. What does the North Carolina Republican hope to work on with Biden? Watch now to find out.
When I first met Sasse, he was looking for the bathroom in an Iowa bar — and I must confess, I didn’t recognize the Republican senator in his red Nebraska tracksuit. Sasse, 48, was there to latch onto a Ted Cruz 2016 campaign event and speak out against Trump, who he argued would wreak havoc on the U.S. Constitution. After five years of alternating between playing ball with the president and bashing him, Sasse has settled on bashing — even calling out his state party for their “weird worship of one dude.” Sasse now has a chance to banish Trump from politics for good.
2. Jamie Raskin
It’s rare for a congressman with just four years in office to take on a role as heavy as lead impeachment manager. But Raskin has unfortunately done a lot of heavy lifting lately. In January, the 58-year-old found himself locked in his Capitol office fending off rioters … just a day after burying his son, Tommy, who had died by suicide on New Year’s Eve. Democrats are hoping Raskin’s background as a constitutional lawyer gives him a distinct platform from which to prosecute the case for impeaching Trump.
3. Bruce Castor
The former suburban Philadelphia district attorney was once a prosecutor himself, a nightly news mainstay for his legal exploits, including five first-degree murder convictions in one year alone. He also made headlines for less flattering reasons, such as choosing not to pursue charges against Bill Cosby … while suing one of the comedian’s sexual assault victims instead. Now Castor, 59, will be leading Trump’s impeachment defense, claiming that impeaching a former president is unconstitutional while also arguing the president’s words were protected by the First Amendment.
4. Stacey Plaskett
While representing a U.S. territory means this congresswoman won’t get an impeachment vote, that won’t stop her from getting a major say on the biggest stage. The daughter of Virgin Islanders who moved to Brooklyn in the 1950s, Plaskett, 54, served as a prosecutor in the Bronx before being elected to represent the tiny Caribbean archipelago in 2014. The mother of five is the only African American woman among the nine impeachment managers, and risked facing rioters rather than shelter with her maskless conservative colleagues during the Capitol siege.
If impeachment sounds tumultuous, consider the stock market. JPMorgan Chase calls Bitcoin the “new gold.” After dramatic gains in late 2020 — including that post-Tesla sugar high — what’s the future for cryptocurrencies?
1. Socialist Kryptonite
Cryptocurrencies have long been associated with the agenda of the libertarian right. But a growing number of left-leaning crypto-currency enthusiasts are shaking things up. They see the potential for crypto-currencies in a socialist society for anything from housing assignments to toppling autocrats. Socialist governments like Venezuela’s see cryptocurrencies as a means to avoid traditional capitalist financial institutions and sanctions from the West. Read more on OZY.
2. Reddit Boom
Dogecoin was founded in 2013 as a joke cryptocurrency based on the infamous “doge” meme. But that hasn't stopped Redditors from crusading for Dogecoin to become the new GameStop. They’ve been pushing Musk's favorite “coin” to get to a value of 1$. Could Reddit traders be turning to cryptocurrency investing next?
3. Coins for Change
Cryptocurrency mining consumes giant volumes of energy, which can contribute to climate change. Now crypto pioneers are trying to recraft the image of their industry, looking for ways to harness blockchain to fight global warming. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently started Efforce, a marketplace where people can use blockchain to fund environmental projects. New currency CO2Bitcoin, which launched Jan. 28, is the first currency designed to help countries finance climate-friendly initiatives.
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Lawmakers may be sleepwalking through impeachment, but did you know that hippos can sleep swim? And if you thought politicos could be vicious, consider that hippos kill more humans than sharks do … with many other surprises behind those sleepy faces.
When they want to talk, they make sure the world knows about it. Hippos grumble, wheeze and snort at a deafening 115 decibels — on par for speakers at a rock concert. That’s their way of communicating. Got it or do you want them to repeat?
2. Sweating Oil
They’re from hot, sub-Saharan Africa, so — as you likely know — they spend much of their lives immersed in water to stay cool. But they also sweat an oily red liquid that serves almost like a sunblock and helps protect their skin from drying.
3. Swimming While Sleeping
The word hippo translates to “water horse” in Greek. But while horses don’t typically sleep-run, hippos can swim while asleep. Adult hippos must resurface every few minutes to breathe. This is programmed in their brains, allowing them to automatically rise to breathe without waking up.
Show Me Your Love
As you can see, there is no love lost, between hippos or politicos. But Valentine’s Day is around the corner. How about some novel ways to celebrate?
Don’tgo by the name. The so-called Sisters’ Meals Festival, celebrated by China’s Miao ethnic community in April, is about finding love in the most delicious way. Women dress in traditional costumes and prepare colorful rice dishes, sing, dance and then present men with cloth-wrapped bundles of steamed rice that carry messages. If there’s parsley inside, she’s proposing marriage. But garlic? She wants nothing to do with him.
2. Chocolates Are Forever
When you’re one of the world’s biggest producers of cocoa, it makes sense to celebrate with chocolate. Ghana marks Feb. 14 as National Chocolate Day, holding cocoa-themed events across the country so you can binge with your partner while boosting the local industry.
3. Saint of a Different Sort
There’s nothing like love to give you a high. Or maybe there is. How about wine? Bulgarians celebrate Feb. 14 by drinking local wine, in honor of St. Trifon Zarezan, the country’s patron saint of vineyards. Cheers to that.
What’s the most creative way in which you’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day?