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Sense of urgency grips the White House with Biden facing crises on many fronts



The coronavirus pandemic Biden thought he had tamed this spring continues to deny Americans a return to normal life and is disrupting the economic recovery by crimping job growth, even as it fuels higher-than-expected inflation. The harrowing withdrawal from Afghanistan has also raised doubts about his international leadership at a time of rising tensions with China.
All of it has eroded the President’s public standing, slowed momentum for his domestic agenda in Congress and made the 78-year-old president appear ineffective. Leaders on Capitol Hill insist they can unite the party behind his infrastructure, social policy and climate change objectives by the end of the month, but anxious Biden aides want a faster result.

«We are going to wrap it this week, or deploy a new approach» to getting something done, a senior administration official told CNN.

The White House’s impatience is fueled by the specter of losing the ability to achieve its goals for the balance of Biden’s term. Democratic political strategists warn the collapse of his legislative agenda would quash the party’s uphill fight to protect its razor-thin House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections. The President’s top aides know that time is not on their side.
Two months of travails have pulled Biden’s public approval ratings back to the 50% mark he had consistently exceeded during his early months in office, according to a CNN poll released Wednesday afternoon. By historical standards, the decline is not dramatic.

But the partisan polarization of contemporary politics almost never produces wide polling swings. Biden’s drop so far — from the low 50s to the mid 40s — could make the difference between a presidential tailwind and anchor for Democratic candidates under fierce Republican attack if it persists into next year.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplayed concerns inside the White House when pressed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on how Biden views the array of challenges facing his administration.

«We don’t get too glum around here even if things get challenging. Our view and his view is to continue to press forward and address the challenges the American people are facing,» Psaki said.

Neither a short-term decline in approval nor even the loss of Congress dooms a presidency. Bill Clinton won reelection in 1996 after Republican put him on the ropes by sweeping both chambers of Congress two years earlier. Barack Obama, whom Biden served as vice president, secured a second term after the Tea Party-fueled Republican landslide in 2010.

But regaining his footing depends on Biden restoring public confidence that he’s up to the job. Even more than passing his economic agenda, that means shoring up what had been his bedrock asset: The belief that his steady focus on economic relief and Covid-19 vaccinations was restoring calm, stability and normalcy after turbulence and rancor of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Erosion of that strength underscores the significance of a judgment call that may prove more politically consequential than any other he has made this year, from legislative strategy to the Afghanistan withdrawal: The decision to go slow on vaccination requirements to avoid inflaming Republican adversaries.

By the time lingering resistance to voluntary vaccinations pushed the White House toward mandates in mid-summer, the Delta variant had begun blotting out the light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel.

«The Biden administration should have adopted proof of vaccination from the very start,» said Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore public health chief who is now a CNN health analyst. «We would be in a very different place right now.»

The hope for Biden and his party now is that the possibility of inflection points on both his principal challenges.

In recent weeks, Biden’s sterner approach toward vaccinations for both the government and private business has begun paying dividends. Declining infections, hospitalizations and deaths suggest the Delta variant may be following the same cycle of decline that earlier Covid surges.

Former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has even speculated that the «pandemic phase» will draw to a close by year’s end.

At the same time, recognition that Democrats will sink or swim in unison has produced movement in behind-the-scenes legislative negotiations, even as Congress has been away on recess. Discussions now center around a $2 trillion price tag for the Democrats-only economic package that Biden has paired with the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate over the summer.

A letter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi circulated publicly on Monday hinted at resolution of one critical decision — to focus, as ambitions for the Democrats-only package shrink, on amply funding fewer objectives rather than scattering money on more of them.

Negotiators are touting positive signals from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the two recalcitrant Democratic senators who remain the biggest headache for Biden and party leaders.

«People working on this are optimistic,» a House Democratic leadership aide told CNN. «Both say privately they want to support the second bill.»

«We will have a bill,» added a Democratic senator, though reaching a compromise may not come as fast as the White House wants. «I don’t think end of the week is likely, or necessary.»

The Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, shares the Biden team’s urgency for a display of governing competence. His closely fought off-year battle against Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin concludes in three weeks.

«Here’s my message to everybody in Washington: Pass this infrastructure bill. We are desperate in the states,» McAuliffe said on Sunday to CNN’s Dana Bash on «State of the Union.»

«We need these roads and bridges fixed. … Get in a room, here’s what we need and here’s what it’s going to cost. This should not be so difficult.»

Democratic political strategists don’t consider this week a critical milestone for 2022. What matters, they say, is success by the time midterm campaigns get underway in earnest.

«Things don’t look great right now,» acknowledged Mark Mellman, a leading Democratic strategist. «But things change. If by next year the pandemic is fading, Democrats look like legislative geniuses for passing two transformative bills with narrow majorities, and money is coursing through the economy, the picture will be much brighter.»

Yet change can’t come fast enough for a White House under mounting pressure. That’s driving the search by Biden aides for a potential Plan B.

When asked what happens if Democrats can’t come to a compromise deal this week, the senior administration official said only: «Let’s see what’s next.»

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DJI announces compact, modular, and magnetic Action 2 camera



DJI has announced a follow-up to its Osmo Action camera, and it’s got a completely new design — the Action 2 drops the Osmo name and focuses on modularity with a suite of additional parts and accessories that attach to the camera magnetically.

The camera module itself is small (it’s 39mm square and 22mm deep) and includes a 12MP sensor capable of 4K recording, a lens that provides a 155-degree field of view, and a 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen covered by Gorilla Glass. Using magnets, you can attach another touchscreen (which also boosts the battery life and adds an array of microphones), an extra battery, or a variety of mounts that let you attach it to tripods or GoPro mounts, or even wear the camera as a necklace.

Modules, like the one that adds extra battery power, attach with both magnets and physical clips.
Image: DJI

Speaking of GoPro, any action cam is going to face comparisons, and the Action 2’s specs fall short when put side by side with those of the recent Hero10 Black: it can do 4K at 120 frames per second like the Hero10 but lacks any higher-resolution options (the Hero10 can do 5.3K60), and its 240fps super slow-motion runs at 1080p instead of the GoPro’s 2.7K.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the Action 2 is tiny in comparison — it weighs just 53 grams, which is almost exactly a third the weight of the Hero10. DJI also includes 32GB of built-in storage (expandable with a microSD card), something the GoPro lacks.

There’s also the system of magnetic accessories DJI is working on, which lets you customize your camera in a way that’s not really possible with the GoPro. If you need a second screen or more battery, you can just snap them on — and then take them off when you want a compact or discreet camera. Other accessories, like a headband or magnetic ball-mount adapter that can be attached to tripods, are similar to GoPro accessories but will (in theory) be easier to attach to and detach from the camera.

The Action 2 has a touchscreen on the back, and the front screen module lets you add another one, as well as augmenting the camera’s single microphone with three others.
Image: DJI

The Action 2 also has action cam table-stakes features like electronic stabilization, horizon leveling, and the ability to livestream or be used as a webcam, as well as some neat tricks like a color temperature sensor that DJI says will help produce better colors in complicated lighting situations or underwater.

Comparing the Action 2’s price with GoPro’s isn’t straightforward, due to GoPro’s pricing model and the DJI’s modularity. You can get the Hero10 for $400, but that requires having a $50-a-year subscription — otherwise, the camera is $500. The Action 2 power bundle costs $399 and includes the camera, power module (which extends your record time to 180 minutes versus the camera’s 70 and adds an extra microSD card slot), a mount, and a lanyard. DJI tells me you can’t buy the camera by itself, which seems like a shame.

If you want to replicate the Hero10’s built-in front-facing screen, you’ll have to go for the $519 dual-screen bundle, which includes the same things as the power bundle (but swaps out the battery module with the screen one) and adds a ball-joint adapter as well. While that’s technically more than the GoPro’s non-subscriber asking price, the Hero10’s lack of built-in storage means that you’d probably make up the price difference buying a microSD card anyways.

DJI says that the dual-screen bundle will be coming on November 2nd, and the power combo, along with most other accessories, will be coming in “mid-November.”

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Nor’easter: 490,000 outages as Massachusetts hit by strong winds



Nearly 500,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts were without power early Wednesday as a powerful nor’easter continued to batter the East Coast.

The National Weather Service in Boston warned of a «dangerous situation» near and southeast of I-95, the East Coast’s main highway.

«Winds gusting over hurricane force across southeast Massachusetts. Numerous downed trees,» the service warned on Twitter. «TRAVEL IS NOT RECOMMENDED early this morning in southeast MA.»

The storm has already caused flooding in New York and New Jersey, where emergency services have carried out dozens of rescues.

The fire department in Duxbury said that «many roads are impassable» and that it was «handling a very high volume of emergency calls.»Duxbury Fire Department

Coastal areas of Massachusetts are now bearing the brunt of the storm, with reported wind gusts of up to 97 mph that have brought down trees and power lines.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said close to 490,000 customers were without power as of 8:30 a.m. ET

Most of these, almost 300,000, were in Barnstable and Plymouth counties, which cover Cape Cod and an area south of Boston.

All schools on the Cape have been closed, according to the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee. And images and video posted on social media showed downed trees and other debris littering roads. 

In Boston, downed trees disrupted parts of the Red Line and Mattapan Trolley service, according to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which deployed replacement shuttle buses.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned people to «avoid downed power lines, check on neighbors, and use generators outside away from buildings.»

The Massachusetts Steamship Authority, which runs ferries from the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, said it was canceling all services until further notice. It warned people not to attempt to get to its terminals and to stay off the “extremely dangerous” roads.

The harbormaster in Plymouth said some boats had broken free from their moorings.

On Tuesday, New York City saw almost 4 inches of rain in lower Manhattan and and Brooklyn in 24 hours — which are amounts approaching the rainfall typically seen in a month.

The weather service said the window for the strongest winds along the coast was between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time, «with somewhat lesser winds farther inland.»

It said early Wednesday that the wind would «slowly diminish today but it remains windy» as the storm pushes off the coast.

The Northeast won’t have much time to dry out, as there’s more rain in the forecast for the region on Friday.

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The DJI Action 2 is like a modern GoPro Session with magnets #Shorts



  1. The DJI Action 2 is like a modern GoPro Session with magnets #Shorts The Verge
  2. DJI’s Action 2 Is a Really Clever Twist on Portable Actions Cams Gizmodo
  3. DJI – Introducing DJI Action 2 DJI
  4. DJI Action 2 review: Is this new modular action cam the GoPro killer? [Video] 9to5Toys
  5. DJI Action 2 Review Camera Jabber
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

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