AOC and Cruz Back GameStoppers

1. GameStop Investors Curbed, Sparking Backlash

What do Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agree on? GameStop. They and many others are outraged that Wall Street seems to be trying to undercut the ability of individual investors to boost stock like GameStop’s. In recent weeks, investors have bought the video game store chain’s shares like crazy, forcing major hedge funds to cover their short-selling bets and lose billions. Several popular trading platforms stopped members from buying GameStop yesterday, causing the stock to drop, something Ocasio-Cortez, backed by Cruz, called “unacceptable.” But stock trading app Robinhood, which has become Apple’s most downloaded app of late, said cash problems caused the outage.

Sources: NYTYahoo

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2. Democrats Say They’ll Pass Stimulus Package Alone

Do the math. With Democrats controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, there’s no need to compromise with Republicans to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which includes $1,400 direct payments to many Americans, proposed by President Joe Biden. GOP leaders have suggested splitting the bill into vaccination distribution and financial assistance measures, but as long as Democrats unite, that won’t be necessary. However, that may not be automatic, as some centrist party members are reportedly arguing for sending direct checks only to low- and middle-income families.

Sources: NYTWSJ (sub)

3. China to Ignore Hongkongers’ UK Passports

In a major step away from Hong Kong’s autonomy, China said today that after Sunday, it would no longer recognize British National Overseas passports for which some 3 million territorial citizens are currently eligible. The move is seen as Beijing’s answer to Britain’s pledge to allow BNO-eligible Hongkongers to relocate to the U.K. That route is only available to people born before 1997, when the territory switched from being a British colony to part of China under an agreement in which Beijing promised semi-autonomy and democratic freedoms until 2047. Many consider that pact abrogated by June’s national security law subjecting Hongkongers to China’s legal system.

Sources: DWAl JazeeraReutersThe Guardian

4. Trump Reemerges as GOP Defiance Wanes

And he’s back. While Donald Trump may no longer have his old Twitter account to express his views, the former president, who faces a second impeachment trial, is again playing the Republican kingmaker. Yesterday House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort for a photo op and reportedly to atone for his declaration that the president was responsible for the deadly Capitol assault. But divisions remain, with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz visiting Wyoming to blast Rep. Liz Cheney for backing impeachment, five GOP senators voting similarly and the party’s chairperson declaring neutrality on future presidential nominations. And like others who defied Trump after the attack, McCarthy has backpedaled, saying all Americans share the blame.

Sources: Fox NewsAPVanity FairCNN

5. Also Important …

A liquid nitrogen leak at a Georgia food processing plant has killed six people. Trials of a new COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax, have shown it to be 89 percent effective against the new variant first detected in the United Kingdom. And overnight trading has reversed Wall Street’s Thursday gains amid concerns about day traders pumping up shorted stocks.

Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Test your knowledge with the OZY News Quiz.

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1. The Capitol Riot ‘Shaman’ Wants to Testify

He regrets being “duped.” So says the lawyer for Jacob Anthony Chansley, the most recognizable among the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6. Then sporting a horned bearskin headdress, facepaint and no shirt as he occupied the U.S. Senate dais, he now wants to return to the scene of the crime and testify during the upcoming impeachment trial about how Trump influenced him, according to attorney Albert Watkins. He added that while “horrendously smitten” by the outgoing president, the “QAnon Shaman” felt betrayed after last-minute presidential pardons didn’t include him or his comrades.

Sources: Fox NewsAP

2. GM to Go All-Electric by 2035

What a difference a president makes. In a move that would have been unthinkable a decade ago and perhaps even a month ago, automaker General Motors announced Thursday that it would phase out production of fossil-fueled vehicles in favor of electric vehicles within 14 years. In a turnaround for a corporation that seemed in sync with petroleum-touting former President Trump, GM also pledged to make its global operations carbon neutral by 2040. The move came a day after President Biden announced a raft of climate-oriented policies. It also came as other governments are moving to ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Sources: Ars TechnicaCNBC

3. What Brazil Could Teach US Senators

America is at a crossroads. An ex-president stands accused of inciting insurrection but it appears that a partisan Senate trial won’t resolve anything. Luckily, Americans have a roadmap to follow, argues OZY’s Butterfly Effect. Both South Korea and Brazil dealt with presidential malfeasance and got through it without too much damage by relying on their court systems. It doesn’t end the partisan finger-pointing, but it is a step above a bunch of senators circling their wagons. Guilty or not guilty, there’s something more credible and satisfying in a judicial resolution, which means the nation can move on and hopefully begin to heal.

Sources: OZY

4. Pioneering Actor Cicely Tyson Dies

“Struggle, pride and dignity” were things Cicely Tyson, who died Thursday at the age of 96, insisted on conveying in the roles of the Black women she played across her six-decade acting career. Those included the struggles of a jailed sharecropper’s wife in 1972’s Sounder and two years later in her Emmy-winning depiction of surviving slavery in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Among many other accolades were recent lifetime Oscar and Peabody awards, and yesterday, tributes poured in from stars, civil rights leaders and presidents. Michelle Obama, struck by Tyson’s humanity, tweeted: “Just by walking into a room, she had this way of elevating everyone around her.”

Sources: NYTPeopleTwitter

5. Ronaldo Bucks Travel Ban, Aussies Crowd Tennis Open

What are they doing? In Italy and Australia, two different pandemic sports pictures have emerged. Italian authorities are investigating Juventus superstar Ronaldo, who may face prosecution for violating pandemic rules after posting a video of himself snowmobiling in an Alpine ski resort, requiring travel between the Piedmont and Aosta regions, currently prohibited. Enforcing such restrictions stands in stark contrast with shocking images of the Australian Open, where maskless tennis fans legally crowded into an Adelaide stadium to see a pre-tournament exhibition match. It featured No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, among a first batch of players released from a 14-day quarantine into a nation with very low COVID-19 infection rates.

Sources: BBCYahoo9News Australia