Trump appears to be on the fence about Kevin McCarthy endorsement, says ‘we’ll see what happens’ after 3 failed rounds of votes for House speaker

Business Insider 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) receives applause from fellow Representatives at the start of the 118th Congress on January 3, 2023.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy failed to gain the votes to become House majority speaker on Tuesday.
McCarthy failed to gain the necessary 218 votes three times at the outset of the 118th Congress.
Later, key ally Donald Trump declined to say whether he stood by his endorsement of McCarthy. 

Donald Trump’s support of longtime GOP ally Kevin McCarthy may be fading after California Republican failed to win the House speaker bid three times in a row on Tuesday.

McCarthy did not amass enough votes from his Republican colleagues at the outset of the 118th Congress, with 19 GOP members voting against his effort to become speaker of the GOP-led House. Trump, for his part, has now tamped down on his support for his longtime confidant, according to NBC News.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told NBC News on Tuesday. “I got everybody calling me wanting my support. We’ll see how it all works out.”

McCarthy could not immediately be reached for comment.

In December, Trump encouraged GOP holdouts to rally around McCarthy, accusing them of playing a “very dangerous game.”

McCarthy needs 218 votes to secure the leadership bid, and by the third round of voting, the number of Republicans voting against him had increased to 20 members. Many of the members of the America First caucus, including Reps. Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy, and Lauren Boebert, voted against McCarthy.

“I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few individuals who want something for themselves,” McCarthy told reporters after the first vote. “I’m not going anywhere.”

By the end of Tuesday’s session, Rep. Jim Jordan had emerged as a frontrunner, but declined that he would seek the post when asked by NBC News.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Five takeaways from Tuesday’s McCarthy drama at the Capitol  

Just In | The Hill 

Dramatic, chaotic events in the House transfixed the political world Tuesday, as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to secure the role of Speaker over three rounds of voting. 

The House adjourned, without a Speaker, in late afternoon. Nothing else of consequence can be done until someone wins the gavel. 

In the immediate aftermath of the midterm elections, McCarthy was seen as a strong favorite to become Speaker despite a slim GOP majority. The Californian has served as House minority leader for the past four years. 

Instead, opposition to McCarthy seemed to harden as the weeks went by. His inability to win the Speakership on the first round of voting is the only failure of its kind in 100 years. 

It is possible that McCarthy could win the post. But he is struggling badly and lacks momentum. 

Here are the key takeaways from Tuesday’s events

McCarthy didn’t come anywhere close to minimizing GOP opposition

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is seen following the third ballot for Speaker during the first day of the 118th session of Congress on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. (Greg Nash)

Before the voting began, the focus was whether McCarthy had any chance of keeping GOP opposition to him to four votes or fewer — the level at which he would have a clear path to the Speakership. 

It was always going to be an uphill battle in the first round, since it relied upon the idea that McCarthy could win over at least one of his five most committed GOP opponents — Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), Ralph Norman (S.C.) and Matt Rosendale (Mont.).

He didn’t come anywhere close.

Nineteen Republicans voted for candidates other than McCarthy in the first round, and did so again, coalescing around Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in round two.

By the third round of voting, the anti-McCarthy Republicans actually increased their ranks by one, as Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) switched his vote to Jordan after backing McCarthy during the first two procedures. 

Jordan is not officially a nominee for Speaker, and he himself is backing McCarthy. 

There had been signs that the tide was going out on McCarthy in the days before the vote – notably when 14 Republicans, in addition to the five “Never Kevin” members, released a letter branding last-minute concessions from McCarthy “insufficient.” 

Still, the final numbers were startling — and bleak for McCarthy. 

Democrats stood together amid GOP drama

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) is seen during the first day of the 118th session of Congress on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. (Greg Nash)

Democrats had about as good a day as it’s possible to have for a party newly relegated to the minority. 

Democrats stood smoothly and firm behind their nominee for Speaker, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). The unanimous Democratic support for Jeffries gave him the plurality of the votes in all three rounds of voting. 

There is no realistic chance of Jeffries becoming Speaker in a Republican-majority House. 

But Democrats were gleeful at the disarray in Republican ranks. At one point, progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) tweeted a photo of a bucket of popcorn. 

“We are breaking the popcorn out in the Dem Caucus till the Republicans get their act together,” Gallego wrote. 

Each time the clerk of the House announced the official vote tallies, there were whoops of delight from the Democratic seats and Republican consternation. 

Meanwhile, Sen Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted that “this is going to be every day in the House Republican majority…they are going to be an embarrassing public train wreck while they refuse to govern.” 

It’s a mystery how the stalemate gets broken 

The GOP is in a real bind. 

There is no sign at all of opposition to McCarthy weakening. But supporters of the Californian had been adamant before the voting began that they would stick with him until the end. 

Unless that dynamic changes, no one can be elected Speaker. Each faction has enough votes to thwart the other. 

Attention is inevitably turning to possible other options. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who served as GOP whip in recent years, is one possibility. Another is Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). But neither man has expressed any public willingness to take the role. 

Jordan is likely just too fiery and divisive to win, even if he were willing to seriously go forward. 

That leaves some even wilder ideas out there. One possibility that had been floated in recent days is former Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who retired at the last election. The theory is that some Democrats might be prepared to join with Republicans to elect Upton, a GOP moderate, as Speaker, in return for some kind of concessions. 

But while there is no requirement that the Speaker be a sitting member of the House, such a move would be unprecedented and highly controversial. 

For the moment, stalemate reigns. 

A dismal start for House Republicans  

Members are seen following the third ballot for Speaker on the first day of the 118th session of Congress on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. (Greg Nash)

The failure to elect a Speaker was a debacle for House Republicans — and one that taints their new majority from its first day. 

The GOP won its narrow majority — 222-213 seats — on the promise to do something about inflation, the economy, immigration and what conservatives see as the excesses of the Biden administration. 

But one reason their majority was not bigger was because Democrats painted the GOP as extreme and dysfunctional. 

The chaotic opening of the new Congress has only fed that narrative, as even some Republicans seemed to acknowledge. 

“Every day we are delaying, we are letting down those voters,” a plaintive Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, told Fox News as the voting was still going on. 

House adjournment before 6 p.m. paints trouble for McCarthy

The House adjourned shortly before 5:30 p.m. ET — and that is likely bad news for McCarthy. 

His best, if perilous, route forward was to keep the House in session and hope fatigue and frustration would be his friends, increasing the pressure on his opponents. 

Instead, Republicans have all night to ponder whether McCarthy really has a realistic shot at getting to the magic number of 218 votes. 

If the answer to that is “no,” there is now time to try to plot out the road ahead and perhaps persuade someone, such as Scalise, to go forward as a compromise candidate.

​House, News, Andy Biggs, House Speakership vote, Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz Read More 

Jordan says no chance he’ll be Speaker despite peeling off McCarthy’s support

Just In | The Hill 

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said there was no chance that he would become House Speaker after lawmakers adjourned without electing a new leader, despite garnering the support of a group of Republicans that has refused to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

Twenty GOP lawmakers voted for Jordan to lead the chamber in the historic third round of voting for Speaker. But the Ohio Republican, who offered the nominating speech for McCarthy before the second round of voting, continued to support McCarthy. He told reporters after the third vote that he had no intention of becoming Speaker.

“I’m being clear, I want to chair the Judiciary Committee,” Jordan said. “I like this ability to cross examine witnesses and get the truth for the country.”

After the first round of voting, the opposition support for McCarthy was divided among Jordan, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and a few other lawmakers. But 19 of the McCarthy detractors switched their support to Jordan in the second ballot and even picked up a 20th vote in the third round for Jordan.

The split among Republicans pushed the chamber to adjourn until Wednesday afternoon, when a fourth round of voting is expected.

McCarthy and the group of his defectors had spent the week negotiating a deal to secure him the gavel. Hard-line conservatives that chose to withhold support for the Republican leader wanted to secure changes to the House rules package, including a “motion to vacate,” which would allow lawmakers to unseat a Speaker.

But unable to come to an agreement, McCarthy’s opponents had teased that they had a candidate waiting in the wings to throw their support behind. The idea was met with skepticism by other Republicans.

​News, House, house, Jordan, McCarthy, republicans, Speaker Read More 

Feds launch FTX task force to recover victim assets, continue probes as Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty

US Top News and Analysis 

Sam Bankman-Fried trial set to start October 2nd

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday it had created an FTX Task Force to trace and recover assets of victims of the cryptocurrency exchange firm’s collapse and to handle investigations and prosecutions related to the company and other entities.

The announcement came as FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried appeared in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to plead not guilty in his criminal case, where he is charged with multiple counts of financial fraud and campaign finance crimes.

“The Southern District of New York is working around the clock to respond to the implosion of FTX,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

“It is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Williams added.

“We are launching the SDNY FTX Task Force to ensure that this urgent work continues, powered by all of SDNY’s resources and expertise, until justice is done,” he said.

Williams’ top deputy, Andrea Griswold, is leading the task force, which will draw prosecutors from the Securities and Commodities Fraud, Public Corruption, and Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises units.

Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried (C) arrives to enter a plea before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in the Manhattan federal court, New York, January 3, 2023. 
Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission has estimated that customers lost more than $8 billion as a result of fraud at FTX and Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research.

When FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November, it claimed to have more than 100,000 creditors, and liabilities of between $10 billion and $50 billion, compared with assets in an identical range.

The 30-year-old Bankman-Fried is free but under house arrest at his parents’ residence, on a $250 million personal recognizance bond, which was set after he was extradited from the Bahamas late last month.

Two of his lieutenants pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to multiple counts of fraud before he was extradited: Caroline Ellison, the 28-year-old former CEO of Alameda, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, 29.

Both Ellison and Wang are cooperating in the investigation of Bankman-Fried and related FTX matters.

Read More 

Equilibrium — France calls on energy firms to save baguettes

Just In | The Hill 

Major French utilities have agreed to save the country’s beleaguered bakeries by letting them out of pricey power contracts, Reuters reported.

The renegotiation — brokered by the French government — comes as many of France’s 33,000 bakeries face financial ruin amid spiking energy costs spurred in part by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Energy suppliers like TotalEnergies and EDF have agreed to allow the country’s bakeries to renegotiate their contracts if they struggle to pay their bills due to rising energy and crop prices, according to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

These companies have agreed in principle “to dissolve contracts when prices have risen prohibitively high and unsustainable for some bakeries,” Le Maire told reporters.

Bakery advocates have long railed against “rotten contracts,” as Reuters reported. 

“The French state is doing its share to help bakers, energy suppliers must do their share,” Le Maire told Reuters.

The minister had previously criticized the country’s power firms for not doing enough to protect small and medium-sized businesses from the impacts of rising energy costs.

Under the agreement, the energy companies will review contracts on a “case by case” basis depending on each bakery’s situation and provide “payment facilities” for businesses with cash flow problems, Reuters reported. 

The decision follows the U.N.’s November addition of the baguette to its “intangible cultural heritage” list.

Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. I’m Saul Elbein. Send tips and feedback. Subscribe here or in the box below.

Today we’ll visit Texas and see a legislature divided over whether the grid is fixed or needs more fossil fuels. Plus: Tesla’s lower-than-expected 2022 performance, and most California oil workers won’t need retraining to find non fossil-fuel jobs.

Texas legislature meets to confront grid

The Texas legislature began its biannual spring session on Tuesday during which Republican leaders intend to confront the state’s problematic electric grid, which experts say runs chronically short on power. 

The grid came under scrutiny last year when it almost crashed several times due to the extreme heat of the 2022 summer.  

Hundreds died from complications of cold and generator misuse during a previous 2021 winter storm. 

Intra-party dispute: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) has made fixing the state grid a high priority this session — an issue Gov. Greg Abbott (R) considers already resolved, The Texas Tribune reported.

Abbott was referring to past legislation that requires power plant operators to winterize their facilities, while also reforming the state power markets. 

Patrick, meanwhile, is calling for a new fleet of natural gas plants for the state.

The state Public Utility Commission also favors thermal plants powered by coal, natural gas and nuclear energy, E&E News reported last month.

“We have to level the playing field so that we attract investment in natural gas plants,” Patrick said in late November, according to the Tribune. “We can’t leave here next spring unless we have a plan for more natural gas power.”

Is the grid really fixed? That’s debatable. The state avoided widespread power outages during last month’s hard freeze — but had there been precipitation, the state wouldn’t have been so lucky, experts told Houston Public Media. 

In the case of ice storms, “we would have been short maybe 20,000 megawatts, and we would have had to go into rolling blackouts across the grid,” University of Houston energy fellow Ed Hirs said. 

“As it turned out, we went to brownouts, in other words, voltage reductions across the grid. Where typically a homeowner gets 120 volts, it was reduced to 115, 110, maybe – a way to ration electricity across the ERCOT grid,” Hirs added.

Hirs said the state is chronically short on power — with actual demand during the December freeze 13 percent higher than state energy regulators had anticipated. 

Another issue: While Patrick tends to dismiss renewables in favor of natural gas plants, state energy prices are far too low to incentivize companies to build new gas plants, Hirs said. 

The plunging cost of renewables is also the principal factor holding back the surge in Texas’ electricity costs — which have been driven by 10-year highs in both coal and gas prices, UtilityDive reported.

California oil, gas workers need help to find new jobs

As California transitions away from fossil fuels, most oil and gas workers will be able to find work in other industries, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Gender Equity Policy Institute. 

However, more than a quarter of workers will face pay cuts in new industries, the study found. 

Supporting them at their current income in new fields could cost the state nearly $70 million per year — less than a fifth of previous estimates.

Matching money to mouths: “Our state has the resources to ensure that oil and gas workers land on their feet as we all say goodbye to fossil fuels,” Woody Hastings, energy program manager at The Climate Center, a California think tank, said in a statement.

By the numbers: Sixty-seven percent of workers are highly likely to find jobs in their current occupation but in a different sector, and they will not need retraining due to a high demand for their skills over the next decade.  

The remaining workers who are unlikely to find work within their occupation have skills that are transferable to similar roles without a need for retraining.

However, the report also found 27 percent of these workers are expected to earn less in their new occupations, while only 7 percent are expected to earn more.

How big is the industry? California’s oil and gas workforce includes 45,946 individuals — of whom 18 percent are employed in core oil and gas extraction and production jobs, according to the report. 

Investing in the transition: Spending money to help those workers transition needs to be as much of a priority as standing up new jobs, researchers said.  

“State and federal climate investments are set to create around four million new jobs in California in coming years,” Nancy Cohen, president of the Los Angeles-based Gender Equity Policy Institute, said in a statement. 

“But as the transition away from fossil fuels advances, oil and gas jobs will decline — and we must make sure the impacted workers are not left behind,” she added. 

What that looks like: The report authors suggest providing income subsidies of three years duration for each employee, plus relocation funds for those who might need to move.  

Such support could be funded by the state of California for an annual cost of between $27.3 million and $68.9 million.  

This is much smaller than previous studies that put the cost between $358 million and $424 million. 

It accounts for between one and three years of support for the approximately 8,100 workers who could face displacement into lower-paying jobs over the next 10 years. 

Almost there: The 2022 state budget has already allocated $40 million for a pilot oil and gas worker displacement fund, as well as $20 million to train workers to participate in well-capping of abandoned oil wells. 

Read the full story here.

Tesla misses 2022 production targets

Amid a broader boom in electric vehicle (EV) factory announcements, Tesla risks falling behind. 

The EV leader — while still the world’s most valuable car company — failed to meet its ambitious 2022 delivery goals. 

The company delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2022, falling short of analysts’ estimates of 431,117, according to Refinitiv.  

For the full year, Tesla’s deliveries rose by 40 percent, missing CEO Elon Musk’s standing target of a 50 percent yearly increase.  

The company’s shares fell 8.5 percent to $112 on Tuesday, and it has lost 65 percent of its market value in 2022.  

What’s going on? Tesla is facing “a significant demand problem” and many investors underestimate “the magnitude of the demand challenges Tesla is facing,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi told Reuters.

In other words: People are less inclined to buy Teslas than ever before.  

To boost demand, Tesla has offered discounts on its top-selling vehicles as competition increases from legacy automakers and startups. 

These discounts appear to have frightened investors, as we reported last month. 

Then there’s supply: The company also struggled with logistical issues, particularly with regard to its massive Shanghai plant, which is on reduced output through January. 


Tesla is not the only electric vehicle manufacturer experiencing production issues. Many other carmakers are racing to ramp up EV production — and building new factories to deliver a wide array of new vehicles. 

Regional shift: These new factories are pulling the center of gravity of U.S. auto manufacturing from the Great Lakes toward the U.S. Southeast, according to The Wall Street Journal.

$33 billion in new auto-factories — including for new battery plants — was pledged last year, running through November.

That’s an eightfold increase from two decades ago and a more than fourfold increase over 2017. 

Capitalizing on investments: About two-thirds of the new factories are in the U.S. South, according to the Journal. 

A particular beneficiary has been Georgia, which has invested heavily in technical colleges and potential sites for new factories. 

“There’s no question that some of the markets in the Southeast have figured out a great secret sauce, in terms of how to court those big projects,” Eric Stavriotis, who studies location incentives for CBRE Group, a Dallas-based real estate company, told the Journal.

A drawback: One major incentive — the South’s low energy costs — could turn out to be a drawback for future electric vehicle buyers.  

About 74 percent of the state’s electricity comes from fossil fuel-based sources, according to the Department of Energy. 

That risks raising the carbon cost of the new cars, even while lowering the dollar costs.

Solar energy from space

A new type of solar cell material could potentially revolutionize the way we generate energy in space — and on earth. 

Warwick University in the U.K. has received $2.6 million (2.2 million pounds) to spend five years studying metal halide perovskite — a possible future candidate for building orbital solar farms capable of beaming energy back to Earth, the university announced.

Meet the material: Perovskite is made up of a class of crystalline compounds that are able to convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently than traditional silicone cells. 

Perovskite compounds tend to degrade in humid, sunny conditions or at high temperatures.  

However, the material has proved to be stable outside the Earth’s atmosphere, raising the possibility of harvesting energy in space.  

Beating out silicone: Its stability in cold temperatures is just one of perovskite’s potential advantages over silicone, physicist and study lead Dominik Kubicki said in a statement. 

One of the key benefits of perovskite is that it is much lighter, cheaper and more flexible than silicon, making it easier to transport and install on satellites and other spacecraft.  

Silicone also “succumbs to cosmic radiation” more easily than perovskite. 

Low light: Perovskite also is far more efficient than silicone at trapping energy from low-light environments, a 2021 study found. 

Space power: The European Space Agency last year announced plans to invest in space-based solar power, in which orbital satellites capture solar energy and beam it down to earth, according to an agency statement. 

On average orbiting satellites can tap into 10 times as much solar energy as ground-based arrays. 

Unlike terrestrial solar farms, this energy is available 24 hours a day.

One big disadvantage: Warwick’s research is aimed at understanding — on an atomic level — why perovskite degrades so easily under intense light, heat or humidity. 

It has the potential to open up terrestrial applications like semi-transparent solar windows, according to the statement.

Monday Miscellanies

A curated selection of news from around the world. 

Biden’s wind energy plans requires convincing rural America 

Ambitious federal plans for an expansion of U.S. wind energy have a potential Achilles heel: They require thousands of conservative rural communities around the country to consent to large new wind developments, The New York Times reported. “Projects have been getting more contentious. The low hanging fruit places have been taken,” Sarah Banas Mills of University of Michigan told the Times.

Some in tourist industry oppose Europe’s shift to wind 

European industry is increasingly relying on renewable energy sources like wind to offset the rising costs of natural gas — which is pushing conflicts with the tourism sector, according to The Wall Street Journal. Wind projects in touristy regions like Galicia are facing opposition from local hotel owners concerned about damage to views, the Journal reported. 

Poisonous algae spreading in Cape Cod 

The waterways feeding Massachusetts’ Cape Cod are choking under spreading colonies of poisonous algae — fed by human waste leaking from the aging sewer systems of growing cities and incubated in waters warmed by climate change, The New York Times reported. The algae is leading to collapsing populations of eelgrass — which anchors the coastline — and shellfish, a staple of local economies, while making some ponds “too dangerous to touch,” the Times reported.

Please visit The Hill’s Sustainability section online for more and check out other newsletters here. We’ll see you tomorrow.

​Equilibrium & Sustainability, Policy, power grid, Renewable energy, Texas grid Read More 

Democrats spend day throwing shade at Republicans

Just In | The Hill 

House Democrats spent the day throwing shade at their GOP counterparts as the Speakership race went to multiple ballots for the first time in a century, with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failing to secure the gavel.

In a series of tweets from lawmakers, Democrats had a laugh at the way the House Speaker race was unfolding — and complained about the delays in House business.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) shared a photo of Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s (D-Calif.) son and said, “This baby was born on the first round of votes. He’s now 4 months old.”

This baby was born on the first round of votes. He’s now 4 months old 👶🏻

— Rep. Tony Cárdenas (@RepCardenas) January 3, 2023

Gomez also shared a photo of his son after what he said were “multiple diaper changes” on the Democratic cloakroom floor.

2 bottle feeds and multiple diaper changes on the Democratic cloak room floor. This speaker vote is taking forever!

— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) January 3, 2023

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) also took to Twitter on Tuesday to take a stab at the GOP over the delay in the swearing-in of new members. 

Proud to be sworn in today as the Central Coast’s proud Congr…

Wait what?

We adjourned?

But I’d been practicing my oath for weeks!

Well, see everyone at noon tomorrow…

— Rep. Salud Carbajal (@RepCarbajal) January 3, 2023

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) added, “All House Republicans proved today is that they are good at wasting time and arguing.”

.@GOPLeader doesn’t have the votes! We’re in a good mood.

— Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) January 3, 2023

Also quick to criticize the Republicans was Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). In a scathing tweet, she added, “One day in and Republicans are already making history — by proving they cannot govern.”

The last time a Speaker wasn’t elected on the first vote was 100 years ago.

One day in and Republicans are already making history — by proving they cannot govern.

— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 3, 2023

Democrats in array. Republicans in…

What do you call this?

— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) January 3, 2023

Other Democrats also claimed to be enjoying the GOP infighting, posting photos of themselves bringing popcorn for the occasion.

We are breaking the popcorn out in the Dem Caucus till the Republicans get their act together.

— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) January 3, 2023

About to go to the House Floor.

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 3, 2023

McCarthy, for his part, vowed to keep fighting for the gavel.

“Their whole plan was for me to fall 40 on the second ballot and put Jim Jordan — remember how they all said they have this secret candidate? Their secret candidate nominated me, so where do they go now? This can’t be about that you’re going to leverage somebody for your own personal gain. … I’m staying until we win.”

“I know the path,” he added.

​News, Blog Briefing Room, Democratic Party, democrats, Speaker of the House, Speakership vote Read More 

Best of CES 2023: Electric skates, pet tech and AI for birds

Top News: US & International Top News Stories Today | AP News 

Mohamed Soliman of Atmos Gear shows off the Atmos Gear inline electric skates during CES Unveiled before the start of the CES tech show, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tech companies of all sizes are showing off their latest products at CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics show.

The show is getting back to normal after going completely virtual in 2021 and seeing a significant drop in 2022 attendance because of the pandemic.

Exhibitors range from big names including Sony and LG to tiny startups. You might see the next big thing or something that will never make it past the prototype stage.

On Tuesday night, the show kicked off with media previews from just some of the 3,000 companies signed up to attend. CES officially opens Thursday.

Here are some highlights:


Bird Buddy showed off a smart bird feeder that takes snapshots of feathered friends as they fly in to eat some treats. The startup says its AI technology can recognize more than 1,000 species of birds, allowing users to share through a mobile app what kind of birds they’re feeding.

“We try to kind of gamify the collection so it’s a really fun game that you can play — almost like a real life Pokémon Go with real animals and wildlife in your backyard,” said Kyle Buzzard, the company’s co-founder and chief hardware officer.

The product has already sparked some interest from consumers who want to show the world what birds are coming into their backyards.

The company, which began as a Kickstarter project in 2020, says it started shipping its bird feeders in September and has already sold all 100,000 in its inventory. The price for the basic feeder is $199.


Journalists had fun zipping around the exhibit hall on remote-controlled, electric inline skates from French startup AtmosGear.

The battery lasts for 20 miles (32 kilometers), said founder Mohamed Soliman, who hopes people will see them as a viable way to commute, like electric bikes or scooters.

“My goal is for everyone to go skating again because it’s so much fun, every time you see people skating you see them with a big smile,” Soliman said.

A waist bag holds the battery and cables connected to the skates. They also can be used as regular skates when they need to be charged or skaters simply want to travel under their own power.

The $500 skates are available for pre-order. The company has taken orders for 150 pairs so far and is aiming for 200 orders to start production.


A handheld device displayed by South Korean company Prinker allows you to quickly and easily apply temporary tattoos.

The device uses cosmetic-grade ink with a library of thousands of designs or the option to make your own with the company’s app. After picking a tattoo, you just wave the device over wherever you want it applied. The tattoos are waterproof but wash off with soap.

The flagship model is $279 and a smaller model is $229. Ink cartridges good for 1,000 tattoos are $119.


Japan-based Loovic has created a device designed to solve the challenges of those who have difficulty navigating while they walk.

The device worn around the neck employs sounds and vibrations to guide users to destinations, enabling them to look at what’s around rather than focusing on a phone’s map app.

Loovic co-founder and CEO Toru Yamanaka said he was inspired to create the device for his son, who has a cognitive impairment making it difficult for him to navigate.

The prototype device is not yet available to the public.


If you wonder what your dog is doing while you’re not home, French startup Invoxia has a product for you. The company’s smart dog collar monitors your pet’s activity and sleep, sending the data to your phone.

The latest version unveiled at CES, which has a GPS tracker, includes more advanced heart health monitoring.

The collar is $149 in the U.S. while a monthly $8.25 subscription to the app monitors the data and shares it with your veterinarian.


The creators of Roybi, an educational AI robot that helps children learn about STEM topics and new languages, are venturing into the metaverse.

The RoybiVerse is expected to offer stations where K-12 and higher education students can learn about a wide range of educational topics.

Users walking around the RoybiVerse will be able to visit an area where they’ll learn about dinosaurs or walk over to the virtual library where they can pick a book and read it.

The RoybiVerse, which is expected to launch by mid-2023, will be available in virtual reality headsets and on a website. No robot needed.


For more on CES, visit:


Read More 

US Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Steal GE Secrets for China

USA – Voice of America 

A New York man was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison for conspiring to steal General Electric Co.’s trade secrets to benefit China, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Xiaoqing Zheng, 59, of Niskayuna, New York, was convicted of conspiracy to commit economic espionage following a four-week jury trial that ended in March last year, according to the Justice Department. U.S. District Judge Mae D’Agostino also sentenced Zheng to pay a $7,500 fine and serve one year of post-imprisonment supervised release.

U.S. officials have said the Chinese government poses the biggest long-term threat to U.S. economic and national security, and is carrying out unprecedented efforts to steal critical technology from U.S. businesses and researchers. China denies the allegations.

Zheng was employed at GE Power in Schenectady, New York, as an engineer specializing in turbine sealing technology. He worked at GE from 2008 until the summer of 2018, the Justice Department said.

The trial evidence showed Zheng and others in China conspired to steal GE’s trade secrets surrounding its ground-based and aviation-based turbine technologies to benefit China, including China-based companies and universities that research and manufacture parts for turbines, the Justice Department added.

“This is a case of textbook economic espionage. Zheng exploited his position of trust, betrayed his employer and conspired with the government of China to steal innovative American technology,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s national security division.

The United States had accused the former GE engineer and another Chinese businessman named Zhaoxi Zhang in 2019 of stealing secrets and spying on GE to aid China. Zheng had pleaded not guilty at the time.

A U.S. federal court in Cincinnati sentenced a Chinese national in November to 20 years in prison after he was convicted of plotting to steal trade secrets from several U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.

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Major New Jersey paper calls Second Amendment a ‘curse,’ claims America has ‘fetish with gun culture’

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The editorial board of a major New Jersey newspaper recently claimed that the Second Amendment “is a curse.”

The Star-Ledger published an editorial on Tuesday, titled “The Second Amendment is a curse,” which railed against Americans’ gun rights, claiming they’re making it difficult for state lawmakers to enact gun safety measures, like gun free zones. 

The piece argued that while the Supreme Court and pro-Second Amendment lawsuits make it harder to New Jersey to pass gun control, “300 people” are “shot every 24 hours” in the U.S.


The editorial began with the board slamming the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to strike “down a more-than-century-old state law that restricts the right to carry a concealed handgun in public.”

The board lamented how the Court’s decision has made it easier for lawsuits to dismantle any attempt by the New Jersey governor to “sharply limit where guns can be carried in New Jersey.” The board said, “Where you have fewer guns and stricter laws, you have fewer gun injuries and deaths, research has shown. Yet while most people are solidly on his side, the law may not withstand legal challenges.”

The piece then invited readers to imagine a society where establishing gun control wasn’t hard. It provided the example of Canada and its pro-gun control activist leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as the embodiment of this ideal place. 

It said, “Now imagine a world where we didn’t have to struggle with this. You don’t have to look far for inspiration: There it is, just north of our border, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is almost reaching the point of banning gun sales in Canada.”

The editorial added, “They have no Second Amendment, no constitutional right to gun ownership. Guns are treated the same as any other consumer good that the government can regulate.”


Meanwhile, the board pointed to America as a place where blood is shed thanks to its gun rights: “Meanwhile, in America, we continue to bleed daily, with an average of more than 300 people shot every 24 hours, including 22 children and teens.”

It then blasted the rationale behind the Second Amendment, stating, “The core rationale is that we need guns for self-defense, but what we have is a public policy in which nearly 49,000 people a year are killed by guns and nearly 400 million firearms flood our streets – more than one for every citizen.” 

The board further described this idea of guns for self-defense as a “fanatical interpretation of our Second Amendment” and claimed that the country has a “fetish with gun culture.”


The board then pined for a country in which “we could regulate guns as we do cars, based on a public health approach.”

It compared America to Canada one last time, stating, “Now even Canada finds its level of carnage unpalatable, and is embracing real change in 2023. If only we could summon the will do to the same. But no: On this side of the border, gun safety is just another broken resolution.”


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Toyota Boshoku Bringing Autonomous Pod Concepts To CES, Hint At Future Of Interior Design


CES has become a mini auto show and it’s not just big names taking part.

Quite the opposite as suppliers are fighting for the spotlight and Toyota Boshoku is among them.  A member of the Toyota Group, the company will display two Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concepts that provide a glimpse at the interior of the future.

The first concept is known as the MX221 and it’s envisioned as a ride-hailing vehicle with a Level 4 autonomous driving system.  The concept embraces the idea of “diversatility” and features a reconfigurable interior.

Also: Hyundai Mobis Unveils M.Vision TO And M.Vision HI Concepts For CES

The first configuration is known as MX Pass and it features four seats in a traditional two row configuration.  The MX Plus configuration also has two rows of seats, but they face each other.  MX Access sees the model outfitted with a wheelchair, while MX Prime focuses on luxury as the cabin can be equipped with up to two high-tech seats that feature power recline, a leg rest, and a deployable table with a digital keyboard. All four configurations also appear to have a front jump seat that can be folded away when not needed.

Since the concept was designed for ride-hailing, the seat upholstery can be easily replaced and so can the carpeting.  The concept also boasts a UV-C sanitizer, an in-cabin monitoring system, and a folding entertainment system.  Other highlights include illuminated door panels and a small infotainment system that shows vehicle and passenger information.

The exterior is relatively plain by comparison, but it features covered wheels as well as power sliding doors.  They’re joined by digital displays for the side windows as well as a rear LED panel that communicates with other road users by displaying messages such as “Caution Vehicle Stopping.”

The Moox concept is envisioned as a fully-autonomous Level 5 vehicle.  Essentially a mobile box, thus the name, the concept is envisioned to fit various applications ranging from business and dining to entertainment.

The Wellness Edition uses sensors in the seats and armrests to determine your fatigue and stress levels.  If you’re stressed, the Moox can try to calm you down by showing videos of a forest on its displays.  As this occurs, the lights and audio system change to mimic the forest feel, while a “relaxing aroma” is released.  If that’s a little too boring, occupants can play games using their hands and arms as controllers, thanks to gesture recognition technology.

The Tourism Entertainment Edition is similar, but it’s meant to promote attractions and entertainment.  The company also released a video showing the Moox envisioned as everything from a mobile store to a mobile office and even a doctor’s office.

Toyota Boshoku MX221 Concept

Toyota Boshoku Moox Concept

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