Today’s Buzz features the time-honored tradition of holding up a clueless groundhog to predict whether spring will come early or if we’ll get six more weeks of winter and today’s most important news. 

Right Now w/ Ian Davidson

What I’m reading: I, Robot

What I’m watching: Community

What I’m listening to: The Ezra Klein Show


Groundhog Day: Phil says ‘long winter,’ but he was wrong before he even woke up: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. If groundhogs could predict the weather, that would mean six more weeks of winter. But for some of us, it might as well be spring for all of the warm weather we had in January.

Trump on combative calls with foreign leaders: ‘Don’t worry about it’ President Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed reports of contentious phone calls he’s had with foreign leaders, telling Americans not to fret over his tough talk. “The world is in trouble, but we’re gonna straighten it out, OK? That’s what I do, I fix things,” Trump said Thursday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast. “We’re gonna straighten it out. Believe me. When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it.”

Flint Residents Filed a Lawsuit Against the EPA for More Than $700 Million: The class-action lawsuit was filed in US District Court on Monday on behalf of 1,700 residents who are seeking $722 million from the federal government agency. It claims that the EPA knew about the issues with Flint’s water in 2014 and failed to make sure city and state officials weren’t violating the Safe Water Drinking Act.



50 Nifty

  • The Swedish-Inspired Way American Cities Are Trying to End Pedestrian Deaths: Vision Zero began as an initiative of the Swedish government in 1997. The first big push under the program was to address vehicle deaths on rural roads. The government started building three-lane, rather than two-lane, roads for those areas, with the center lane used for passing. Later, Sweden began focusing on urban areas, building separated bike lanes, lowering speed limits and creating pedestrian-only zones. The years of effort paid off: Sweden now has one of the lowest traffic fatality rates in the world.
  • Cities in Midwest, Rust Belt Say They Need Immigrants: Large Democratically-controlled “sanctuary cities” including Chicago, San Francisco and New York have been outspoken in resisting the administration’s ban on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, citing political and moral reasons. But officials from a second tier of smaller cities, from Columbus, Ohio, to Troy, Mich., to Garden City, Kan., are highlighting the economic importance of welcoming refugees and immigrants to bolster declining populations and add manpower, skills and entrepreneurial know-how.
  • How Trump’s Supreme Court Could Overturn Roe v. Wade Without Overturning It:
    An outright reversal of Roe would be a dramatic move for the nation’s highest court, in no small part because the decision has been the foundation of abortion law and policy for four decades. But by sanctioning abortion restrictions that the court might have struck down in the past a strongly conservative court could gradually narrow Roe’s scope, thereby limiting access to abortion while leaving the decision technically intact.

LocalGov Confidential

Red State, Blue City: The United States now has its most metropolitan president in recent memory: a Queens-bred, skyscraper-building, apartment-dwelling Manhattanite. Yet it was rural America that carried Donald Trump to victory; the president got trounced in cities. Republican reliance on suburbs and the countryside isn’t new, of course, but in the presidential election, the gulf between urban and nonurban voters was wider than it had been in nearly a century. Hillary Clinton won 88 of the country’s 100 biggest counties, but still went down to defeat. American cities seem to be cleaving from the rest of the country, and the temptation for liberals is to try to embrace that trend.

From Google Fiber to AT&T to Frontier: Competition is making Triangle internet speeds faster: “Kansas City who?” It’s a phrase used more than two years ago by Dennis Bloss, then-Frontier Communications general manager, when his company first started connecting residential customers in Durham to ultra high-speed fiber internet. He was referencing the metro where Google Fiber debuted its high-speed service in 2012. For Frontier, that “Kansas City” would be Bull City. Despite announcements dating back to 2014, Google Fiber didn’t connect local residents to its high-speed service until 2016. But its competitors, from Frontier to AT&T to Ting, have been intensifying their own plans for the Triangle.

Many Arizona police agencies show little appetite for new executive order on immigration enforcement:

Police departments said it would be business as usual for now, because they have not received specific direction.