Thursday in Whitewater will be clear with a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:54 PM, for 9h 36m 46s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 56% of its visible disk illuminated.
Good begins with normal: Today is a good day, in the District of Columbia, and across the nation.
On this day in 1954, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Connecticut.
Recommended for reading in full —
Michael Gerson writes In his speech, Biden helps us believe he can make our rusty system work:
At a moment of historic firsts — the first female, Black and South Asian vice president, the first inaugural address given at a recent crime scene, the first passing of presidential power from a classless, unhinged narcissist who tried to destroy the constitutional order — the most compelling attribute of President Biden’s inaugural address was its moral normalcy. I had a cascading sense of relief at hearing a president take the “pro” side of empathy, compassion and inclusion.
After Donald Trump’s “American carnage” inaugural address — essentially declaring war on the whole congressional “establishment” that sat in uncomfortable attendance — former president George W. Bush reportedly commented, “That was some weird s–t.” Biden’s speech was neither. Behind the new president’s words you could almost hear the work crews rebuilding America’s moral and political guardrails. That infrastructure project is a precondition for the return of a politics that is normal and noble.
The address was more authentic to Biden than rhetorically ambitious, objectives that typically diverge. It was clearly intended to give a sense of the president as a man — upbeat, forthright, practical, welcoming. The speech was a rhetorical X-ray. It showed that Biden’s heart is in the right place — something that could not be assumed in Trump’s alien anatomy. It is usually not high praise to say that an inaugural address puts you to sleep. But I will sleep better at night knowing that a man of admirable character holds the presidency.
The Guardian reports Avril Haines confirmed by US Senate as first female national intelligence chief:
Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She succeeds John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican and Trump loyalist who was widely regarded as having too little experience for the position.
Praising Haines, Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who will chair the intelligence committee in the new Senate, said: “After being deliberately undermined for four years, the intelligence community deserves a strong, Senate-confirmed leader to lead and reinvigorate it.”
Marco Rubio, the acting outgoing Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement: “Our adversaries will not stand by and wait for the new administration to staff critical positions, and I am pleased my Senate colleagues joined me in swiftly confirming director Haines to this important post.”
Ron Wyden, a committee Democrat who has regularly criticised spy agency activities, said he voted for Haines after her response to questions, including how spy agencies treat whistleblowers and concerns he raised about how the CIA had spied on committee officials when they were working on a report detailing the agency’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, which critics described as torture.
During an intelligence committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Haines said the United States should take an “aggressive stance” toward the threat posed by an aggressive and assertive China.