Crunch Time for Kevin McCarthy

Happy Tuesday! And happy 2023! Are you one of the 48 percent of Americans hoping to shed some pounds this year? Science may have found an answer.

According to a recently published study in the British Medical Journal, adults could hit their weekly targets for vigorous intensity physical activity simply by adopting Mr. Teabag’s gait from the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks sketch for 11 minutes a day.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • A statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday accused Ukrainian forces of using a U.S.-supplied HIMARS system to strike a Russian military facility in the Donbas region over the weekend, killing at least 63 Russian troops. The attack is one of the deadliest publicly acknowledged by the Kremlin, though Russian military bloggers and Ukrainian officials both estimate the true casualty count to be in the hundreds. The strikes have led several Russian lawmakers to question the country’s military strategy, including the decision to house large numbers of troops near an ammunition depot and within range of Ukrainian artillery.
  • The Chinese Communist Party has promoted its ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, to serve as the country’s new foreign minister, replacing Wang Yi. Qin has proven an exception to the CCP’s increasing hostility to the United States during his time in Washington, leading analysts to wonder if his elevation could signal a softening of relations between the two countries.
  • Leftist Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva was sworn in as president of Brazil on Sunday, succeeding right-wing Jair Bolsonaro and reclaiming the position he held from 2003 to 2010. Lula has already reversed some of Bolsonaro’s firearms and environmental policies, and claimed in his inaugural address that his predecessor left the federal government in an “appalling” condition after dismantling certain welfare, education, public health, and forest protection programs.
  • Members of Venezuela’s opposition parties voted Friday to remove Juan Guaidó as the leader of their movement and dissolve the U.S.-backed “interim government” set up in 2019 as an alternative to Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime. The 39-year-old Guaidó was at one point recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate president by dozens of countries, but opposition leaders hope a reorganization of their efforts will be more successful at ensuring free and fair elections in 2024.
  • The stock market closed out one of its worst years on record last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 8.8 percent over the course of 2022, the S&P 500 falling 19.4 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite down 33.1 percent. While bonds typically offer stability in times of stock market volatility, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate—a measure of the U.S. bond market—fell nearly 13 percent last year.
  • The White House announced Friday President Joe Biden had granted full pardons to six individuals—ranging from 37- to 80-years-old—who had already served out sentences for their various offenses, which ranged from drug- and alcohol-related crimes to second-degree murder. The White House said those receiving clemency had “demonstrated a commitment to improving their communities and the lives of those around them.”
  • The House Ways and Means Committee on Friday released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, ending a years-long saga and revealing that Trump reported a negative adjusted gross income in a majority of the years covered. Still, the former president had a positive tax liability—sometimes in the millions—on every year’s return released by the committee. Trump claimed the returns showed he was able to “use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises.”
  • The NFL postponed Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals after 24-year-old Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed following a blow to his chest. Hamlin was administered nearly ten minutes of CPR on the field before being transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where the Bills say he remains in critical condition.
  • The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—born Joseph Ratzinger—had died earlier in the day at age 95. A prominent theologian well before he reached the papacy, Benedict made history in 2013 by becoming the first pope in nearly 600 years to retire from his post.
  • Longtime broadcast journalist and TV personality Barbara Walters died on Friday at the age of 93. 

McCarthy’s Moment? 

U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If we’ve learned anything over the past few weeks, it’s that when GOP Representative-elect George Santos says something, you can be confident it’s the truth. There’s not a dishonest bone in that guy’s body.

So just imagine the sense of relief that overcame Republican lawmakers in late November when their incoming colleague from New York told NewsMax he could personally guarantee Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be the next Speaker of the House. “Write that down on a piece of stone and you can cash it in on January 4,” he said. “I’ll pay you for it.” That’s his word as a Santos—or a … Zabrovsky.

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