Monday, May 22, 2023

5/22 WAKE-UP CALL: Biden.. 'Don't Blame Me'

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are set to meet at the White House at a pivotal moment as Washington works to strike a budget compromise and raise the nation’s borrowing limit in time to avert a devastating federal default. The meeting Monday afternoon between the Democratic president and the new Republican speaker will be critical as they race to prevent a looming debt crisis. After a weekend of start-stop talks, both men appeared upbeat as they face a deadline, as soon as June 1, when the government could run out of cash to pay its bills.

Biden, McCarthy
Biden and McCarthy spoke by phone Sunday while the president was returning home on Air Force One after the Group of Seven summit in Japan. “It went well, we’ll talk tomorrow,” Biden said in response to a shouted question upon his return late Sunday. The call revived talks and negotiators met for 2 1/2 hours at the Capitol late Sunday evening, saying little as they left. Financial markets turned down last week after talks stalled.

Biden held a news conference in Hiroshima, Japan as he wrapped up his trip to the G7 summit. As Biden spoke about his negotiations with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and others before the trip, Biden said Republicans will be responsible if a deal cannot be reached.

“I’ve done my part,” Biden said. “Now it’s time for the other side to move from its extreme positions because much of what they’ve proposed is simply, quite frankly, unacceptable.”

➤UKRAINE AIMS TO ENCIRCLE BAKHMUT: Ukraine said on Sunday that its forces were still advancing around the edges of Bakhmut, aiming to encircle the ruined eastern city after Moscow congratulated the Wagner private army and Russian troops for capturing it. Russia said on Saturday it had completely taken Bakhmut, which, if confirmed, would mark an end to the longest and bloodiest battle of the 15-month war. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his regular troops and the Wagner group.

On Sunday, however, a top Ukrainian general said Kyiv's forces still controlled what he accepted was an "insignificant" part of Bakhmut, although that would allow them to enter the city when the situation changed. General Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a Telegram post that Kyiv's troops were advancing on Russian forces in the suburbs and getting closer to a "tactical encirclement" of the city, formerly home to 70,000 people. Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine's ground forces, said on Sunday he had visited front-line positions near Bakhmut, where fighting has raged for more than nine months. Syrskyi's assertion that Ukrainian forces were continuing their advance along the flanks of the city was echoed by Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar.

Horrifying images have shown the scale of destruction wrought by Vladimir Putin's forces in Bakhmut as President Zelensky compared the scenes of devastation in the Ukrainian city to Hiroshima's levelling by an atomic bomb. Pictures out of Bakhmut reveal how the 400-year-old city has been razed to the ground during the longest and bloodiest battle of the war, with tens of thousands killed there and countless neighborhoods destroyed. Zelensky described Bakhmut and Hiroshima - which was destroyed in 1945 by the first weaponized nuclear bomb - as being 'just the same, nothing alive left, all of the buildings have been ruined.' 

The Ukrainian President made the comments as he visited Japan for a meeting of the G7, where he insisted that the Kremlin's forces had 'not occupied' Bakhmut, contrary to claims made by Moscow and the Wagner Mercenary group. Ukraine said on Sunday that its forces were still advancing around the edges of Bakhmut, aiming to encircle the ruined eastern city after Moscow congratulated the Wagner private army and Russian troops for capturing it.

➤McCARTHY EXPECTING FBI COOPERATION: Kevin McCarthy claims FBI director Christopher Wray will hand over a potentially damning document pertaining to President Joe Biden after the agency denied an initial request by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to make it public. McCarthy said he tore into the agency boss on a phone call on Friday and cited Congress' role in overseeing the FBI. 'I explained to the director that we will do everything in our power, and [that] we have jurisdiction over the FBI - that we have the right to see this document,' the Speaker recounted. GOP lawmakers claim the financial form lays out an 'alleged criminal scheme' involving Biden and an unnamed foreign national. 'I believe, after this call, we will get this document,' McCarthy said.

➤TRUMP LOSES FINANCIAL SUPPORTER: A prominent Republican financier and onetime backer of former President Donald Trump is throwing his support behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 election. Hal Lambert, founder of Texas-based Point Bridge Capital — which manages an investment fund named after Trump’s “Make America Great Again” 2016 campaign slogan — said it’s time for Republicans to turn the page on the 76-year-old former president and go for DeSantis, 44. “I’m in for DeSantis this time. I plan to do a lot to help DeSantis win.” Lambert’s “MAGA ETF,” an exchange-traded fund, invests in companies whose employees and political action committees largely support Republican candidates. The GOP donor — who served on Trump’s inaugural committee in 2016 — said he decided to back DeSantis after dining with the governor and his wife, Casey, in Florida three weeks ago and coming away impressed.

➤DeSANTIS SAYS TRAVEL ADVISORY IS A STUNT: The NAACP issued a travel advisory discouraging tourists from visiting Florida to protest Gov. Ron DeSantis’ policies, which the civil rights group claim are “hostile to black Americans” — just days before he’s expected to announce his candidacy for president. “On a seeming quest to silence African-American voices, the Governor and the State of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the State of Florida,” the stunning travel advisory released Saturday said. “Due to this sustained, blatant, relentless and systemic attack on democracy and civil rights, the NAACP hereby issues a travel advisory to African Americans, and other people of color regarding the hostility towards African Americans in Florida,” the group added. 

➤FATHER DEAD AND TWO CHILDREN INJURED AFTER GRENADE DETONATES IN INDIANA HOME: A father is dead and his two children were injured when a grenade detonated in their Indiana home on Saturday, according to authorities. The family was looking through a grandfather's belongings at the northwestern Indiana home when they found a hand grenade. The device detonated when someone reportedly pulled its pin, the sheriff's department says. The father was found unresponsive on the scene and later pronounced dead. His two children, a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old woman, were taken to an area hospital with shrapnel wounds.

➤SAD ANNIVERSARY IN UVALDE: Even in an era of frequent mass shootings, the Robb Elementary attack in Uvalde shocked the world. Law enforcement waited to intervene for more than an hour, even as children within the classroom called 911 begging for help. When a Border Patrol tactical team finally entered and took down the killer, they saw he had written ‘LOL’ on a white board with the victims’ blood. Now, with the one-year mark approaching, this South Texas town of 15,400 is divided over how to move forward. Many families of those killed and their advocates continue to be vocal in their efforts to get information while officials say that investigation of the incident has to take priority over releasing information. Advocacy for new gun legislation has also led to conflict.

REPORT..EPSTEIN TRIED BLACKMAIL WITH BILL GATES: Jeffrey Epstein used his knowledge of Bill Gates'  2010 affair with a Russian bridge player Mila Antonovato to threaten the Microsoft billionaire, a bombshell new report claims. The pedophile, who killed himself in 2019, wanted Gates to participate in a multibillion-dollar charitable fund in 2017 and heavily implied that unless he did he would reveal his infidelity. 'Mr. Gates met with Epstein solely for philanthropic purposes. Having failed repeatedly to draw Mr. Gates beyond these matters, Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates,' a spokeswoman for Gates said. The Windows founder had 'more than a half dozen meetings scheduled', some of which were dinners at Epstein's townhouse, according to documents. When they met, Epstein had already spent a year in prison for soliciting child prostitution, but he was welcomed back into the upper echelons of New York society. 

➤NEELY KIN CALLOUT: Christopher Neely said ex-Marine Daniel Penny, who is accused of choking Jordan Neely to death on a NYC train does not deserve a plea deal. Penny faces a manslaughter charge in connection to Neely's death on May 1. 'He needs to be prosecuted or he will do it again,' Christopher said as he also called for the two men who helped Penny restrain Jordan to be charged. Penny earlier said that Neely's death had nothing to do with race, noting that he did what he believed was right.

🍺BUD LIGHT LOSES LGBTQ ENDORSEMENT: Anheuser-Busch 'no longer has the right to use the 'Best Places to Work' distinction after Bud Light's poor handling of the backlash that followed its partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The Human Rights Campaign told Bud Light's last week that it had suspended its Corporate Equality Index score - a tool that rates companies' friendliness to LGBTQ employees. HRC's move comes as Senator Ted Cruz called for a federal investigation into whether Anheuser-Busch breached regulatory guidelines 'prohibiting marketing to individuals younger than the legal drinking age'. The brewer has ironically alienated much of the demographic it initially hoped to appeal to by collaborating with Mulvaney.

➤INSTAGRAM HICCUPS: Instagram crashed worldwide Sunday afternoon, with the app sending error messages that it could not refresh its feed. Meta spokesperson Dave Arnold acknowledged the outage, saying to The Verge, “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing Instagram. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

🏀HEAT WIN IN A BLOWOUT: Miami Heat blow out the Celtics with huge 126-102 win to take a 3-0 lead in Eastern Conference Finals... as Gabe Vincent's career-high 29 points leaves Boston needing a miracle to save their season. Erik Spoelstra had his team fully expecting that Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals would be extremely difficult, that the Miami Heat were going to have to take the best shot that a desperate bunch of Boston Celtics could muster. He was wrong. It was a Heat romp - and a team that had to pull off a frantic rally just to make the playoffs is now one win from the NBA Finals

🏒NHL HOCKEY..GOLDEN KNIGHTS LEAD SERIES: Vegas Golden Knights hand Dallas Stars 3-2 defeat to take 2-0 series lead in NHL Western Conference Finals - after winning two straight games in OT Stephenson, Jonathan, and Mark each recorded a goal and an assist for Vegas. The sides will face off again no Tuesday in Game 3 as Dallas looks for a home win.

⚾SEVY IS BACK WITH A WIN: Harrison Bader and Gleyber Torres homered to spark a comeback, leading the New York Yankees over the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep and their first four-game winning streak this season. Luis Severino returned from a strained lat muscle that had sidelined him since spring training and allowed one run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk. He threw 54 of 75 pitches for strikes and averaged 96.7 mph with 44 fastballs. 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the first inning and Reds manager David Bell in the eighth. New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was tossed from his team's game against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning after an overturned foul ball call. With the Reds' Jonathan India on first base, Cincinnati's Spencer Steer flared a ball down the first base line. Right fielder Jake Bauers ran over to try and make a play on the ball, only for it to pop out of his glove. His bobbling attempts to corral the ball were in vain as it dropped to his side.


  • Yankees 4 Reds 1
  • Phillies 2 Cubs 1
  • Brewers 6 Rays 4
  • Braves 3 Mariners 2
  • Nationals 6 Tigers 4
  • Diamondbacks 8 Pirates 3
  • Orioles 8  Blues Jays 3
  • Mets 5 Guardians 4
  • Mets 2 Guardians 1
  • White Sox 5 Royals 2
  • Astros 2 Athletics 0
  • Cardinals 10 Dodgers 5
  • Rangers 13 Rockies 3
  • Giants 7 Marlins 5
  • Angles 4 Twins 2
  • Padres 7 Red Sox 0
🏀GRINER WELCOMED IN RETURN TO PHOENIX: Mercury star Brittney Griner returned to make her home debut in Phoenix for the first time in 585 days following her well-publicized detainment in Russia that caused her to miss all of last season. Griner stood for a moment while clapping before making an X in the air as her name was announced, to the sounds of 'I'm coming home' blaring over the loudspeaker in the background. Fans in attendance gave her a standing ovation as the glares of countless phone lights could be seen lighting up the arena.

🌞HOW HOT WILL THIS SUMMER BE?: According to the Climate Prediction Center, we may see extreme heat this summer! Their outlook shows hotter-than-average temperatures across the continental United States through August. This is due to a heat dome that is also impacting Canada and contributing to the wildfires in Alberta. El Niño could also turn up the heat in the coming months. This climate cycle can push warm weather and water toward the Americas. The cycle is expected to last until the winter.

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