TOM COTTON. Arkansas GOP senator lied about being an Army Ranger: “In his first run for Congress, Cotton leaned heavily on his military service, claiming to have been ‘a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ and, in a campaign ad, to have ‘volunteered to be an Army Ranger.’ In reality, Cotton was never part of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the elite unit that plans and conducts joint special military operations as part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.”
PETTY. Trump dismissed White House ushers before Bidens’ arrival so there would be nobody to greet them. “The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived,” a well-placed official not associated with the incoming Biden team told National Journal. “So petty.”
BACKTRACKING. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy now says Trump did not incite Capitol insurrectionists: “‘I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally,’ McCarthy, a Republican who represents Bakersfield, said during a news conference. Eight days earlier, during a Jan. 13 House debate on whether to impeach Trump, McCarthy said the president was to blame for the violence, though he voted against impeachment.”
RUDY GIULIANI. $20K per day ask to work for Trump: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, conceded on Friday night that an associate had sent an email to campaign officials asking that Mr. Giuliani be paid $20,000 a day for his work after the Nov. 3 election, but he insisted he was unaware of it at the time.”
WE ARE THE STORM. Texas Republican Party adopts QAnon slogan: “West, a former Florida congressman, indicated he drew inspiration for the slogan from an unattributed quote that he likes: ‘The devil whispers to the warrior slyly can it withstand the coming storm. The warrior responds, ‘I am the storm.” Others, however, saw something more nefarious: a dog whistle to the QAnon conspiracy movement — the one that President Donald Trump notably declined to denounce Wednesday, saying he did not know much about it while also speaking favorably of its followers. … The concept of ‘the storm’ is a significant part of QAnon vernacular, said Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida who studies conspiracy theories.”
TIGER KING. Frustrated by Trump pardon snub, Joe Exotic pivots to Biden: “Exotic feels disdain for Trump, he says partly because 45 ended up just hiding out in the White House after the riot … never saying a word about the people who died. Long story short … it seems Joe is all pro-Joe now, and even claims in his emails to have new evidence in his case that he hopes the Biden administration will consider.”
DR. BIRX. She always considered quitting: “Dr. Deborah Birx, the former coordinator of the Trump White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, says nothing in her four decades of public service prepared her for the chaotic Trump White House or the politically charged handling of the pandemic, telling ‘Face the Nation”‘ she ‘always’ considered quitting her post.In an interview to air on Sunday’s ‘Face the Nation,’ Birx told moderator Margaret Brennan that even close colleagues who she had worked with during decades of research into the AIDS virus questioned her political allegiance amid a flurry of criticism against the Trump White House’s response to the virus.”
UK. Gay couple from Somerset now afraid to hold hands in public after chase by homophobic thugs. “My partner is terrified, we both thought we were going to get beaten.”
LOUISIANA. Wrestling tournament was super spreader event: “The state Department of Health announced a coronavirus outbreak connected to last week’s 48th Louisiana Classic wrestling tournament in Gonzales, saying the department has received more than 20 reports of athletes, staff and attendees testing positive for COVID-19.”
RUSSIA. Police arrest over 1,300 at pro-Navalny protests: “Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was jailed for at least 30 days upon his return to Moscow from Germany, where he was recovering after being poisoned with a deadly nerve agent. He is being held in the notorious Matrosskaya Tishina prison.”
TALK TO THE DEAD. Microsoft patents chatbots using the personal information of dead people: “The idea that you would be able, in the future, to speak to a simulation of someone who has passed on is not new. It is famously the plot of the Black Mirror episode ‘Be Right Back’, where a young woman uses a service to scrape data from her deceased partner to create a chatbot – and eventually a robot.”
NEW RULE OF THE DAY. Hello, Douchebags.
SUNDAY BLONDE. Ricky Martin.