The Wider World

Trump will not testify in his trial


As was widely expected, former president Donald Trump on Thursday rejected a request to testify under oath in his second impeachment trial.

Democrats in the House of Representatives asked Trump to testify under oath before or during the Senate trial, at which he faces a single charge of “incitement to insurrection” in connection with the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S Capitol by far-right extremists.

Republicans have claimed the trial – with the power of removal from office – was unconstitutional because Trump was already back to being a private citizen.  According to the Associated Press, lawyers for the former president termed the request to testify to be “a public relations stunt.”

Trump was acquitted in his first impeachment trial. Another acquittal is considered likely because conviction in the Senate would require a two-thirds majority, meaning all 50 Democrats and 17 Republicans would have to find him guilty.

The News: Greene stripped of committee posts

SENATE wing of the U.S Capitol building (Wikipedia).

On a mostly party line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to strip controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) of all committee assignments. According to USA Today, the vote was 239-199 with all the Democrats joined by 11 Republicans to limit her influence.

She came under wide criticism for comments and online posts that embraced unsupported conspiracy theories and arguably racist and anti-Semitic allegations.

Greene apologized for some of her remarks, saying, “These were words of the past and these things do not represent me, they do not represent my district and they do not represent my values.”

More refugees to be admitted:  President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday to raise the admission of refugees next year to 125,000, up from the 15,000 allowed under the Trump administration. The order was signed on Thursday, according to United Press International.

Coronavirus cases pass 100k: The count of confirmed worldwide cases of COVID-19 infections is now at 104,832,983, according to Johns Hopkins University. Of that number, 26,832,780 are in the United States. Global deaths are at 2,281,731, of which 355,735 are Americans.

The Business: Ford’s profits hit a speed bump

A quarterly loss of $2.8 billion was reported Thursday by Ford Motor Co. for the fourth quarter of 2020.  Sales were down from $39.7 billion for the same quarter of 2019 to $36 billion this year.

The losses were blamed on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which snarled the supply chain and forced a 60-day shutdown. However, Ford’s stock rose 1.52 percent in response – according to – to investors’ confidence in the company’s push toward electric and autonomous vehicles.

A Better Tuesday:  Wall Street showed solid gains across the board today with all three major stock indexes on the rise. The Dow Jones Average was up 332.26 points (to 31,055.86) and the S&P 500 climbed 41.57 to 3,871.74. The Nasdaq rose 167.20 points to 13,777.74.

The Sports: Wentz on trading block, too?


Back in 2016, the two most attractive quarterbacks in the NFL Draft were Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Each had their day; Goff led the Los Angeles Rams to the 2019 Super Bowl and Wentz was so popular in his 2017 season for the Philadelphia Eagles (they were 11-2 with him behind center) that the state was said to be also referred to as “Wentz-ylvania.”

The euphoria didn’t last. Goff has been traded to the Detroit Lions and – according to Sports Illustrated – Wentz is also being shopped for a trade. He had a miserable 2020 season, throwing 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions as the Eagles slumped to last place in the NFC East.

Who’s the Favorite?: Sunday’s Super Bowl is bringing in a lot of bets, and so far the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite by between 3 and 5 points over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But remember, betting odds are not determined solely by who the bookmakers believe will win (and by how much) but also how much money is bet on each team.

The Weather:  Sunny … temporarily

SUNNY through Saturday.

In the West Orange County area, the weekend will start out sunny, but then resume the cloudy patterns of earlier in the week. Friday will be sunny with a daytime high of 69 (overnight low of 45), followed by a slightly warmer Saturday with a high of 73 and a low of 43. But on Sunday, it will be partly cloudy with a high of 68 and a low of 47. Monday will be similar with a high of 67 and a low of 49. Sunny skies should return on Tuesday afternoon. As for coastal areas – Huntington Beach – conditions will be pretty much the same, except that daytime highs will be about five degrees cooler than inland.

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