A spokeswoman for the CDC, Caitlin Shockey, called the current legislation “not a mandatory quarantine, just a recommendation,” in an email to The Washington Post. The agency agreed that it will not be mobilizing in any way to enforce its guidance as a rule, and stated “there is not a mandatory, federal quarantine.”
Ask any veteran of off-road racing and they’ll tell you, it’s not so much beating your direct competitors to the finish line as it is battling the environment itself. Sure, in races like the Baja 500, Baja 1000, the Mint 400 there are hundreds of racers all battling it out, but as Wayne Matlock puts it, “ if you’re good, and running a good pace, it’s you versus the terrain.” It’s about survival, and Wayne Matlock and his wife Kristen have made a family business out of it.
As a six-times SCORE International champion, Wayne has won both the Baja 1000 and 500 seven times each. Kristen, also a SCORE International champion, has won her class in the Baja 1000 and the Baja 500, once and twice respectively. So this year’s running isn’t the married couple’s first rodeo. To top it off, both of them “Iron Man” and Iron Woman” their races. Meaning, while they have co-drivers they don’t swap out for a breather. They drive the full race distance themselves.
This past June, I made my way down to Ensenada, Baja California in Mexico to tag along with the Matlock Racing team. I sat in on the team meeting and rode in one of the team chase trucks to see firsthand the physical and logistical challenges that a race like the Baja 500 entails. Since Wayne and Kristen drive their own race-prepped Polaris RZR UTVs, it means they double the team’s chances for good results but simultaneously multiply the odds of something going wrong.
I arrived in Ensenada the day before race day to meet the Matlocks and the team. The hotel parking lot was filled with other teams’ trailers and race trucks, all performing last-minute checks and adjustments. The Matlocks set up shop in a space conveniently right in front of their hotel room, making their own final adjustments. According to Wayne Matlock, what I saw was just the tip of the iceberg. “Preparation starts months in advance. The week leading up to the race is all truck preparation, pit plans, making sure the team is up to speed, hotel reservations.”
The Polaris RZR Pro XPs that the Matlocks race comes straight from the factory, but undergo a significant amount of modification at their shop to make the RZRs race-ready. “We use a lot of their factory parts, but for the most part, the whole chassis has been modified. We keep the factory frame rails and all the factory mounting positions,” said Wayne. The powertrains and drivetrain remain untouched, the bulk of the changes are race-regulated safety equipment like seats, belts, reinforced roll cages, fuel and suspension. The suspension gets the most noticeable overhaul and is reinforced for the type of punishment only desert racing can dish out.
From the outside looking in, off-road racing can seem crude and simple. It’s anything but. It’s certainly not as polished as road racing, but under all of the dirt, mud and plastic body panels sometimes barely hanging on with zip ties and duct tape, there’s an incredible amount of precise engineering.
The night before the race, the mechanics went over the diagnostics of the car, talking with Matt and Kristen. Deep detail numbers like suspension travel down to the millimeter, particular engine RPMs at certain speeds, brake pressure, air-fuel ratios, all can be adjusted with laboratory-like efficiency and computer programs. It was a discussion that seemed almost out of place, too delicate for desert racing, but it’s integral in gaining any advantage necessary.
It doesn’t stop with just the race cars either. Both Wayne and Kristen have their own chase trucks which are essentially pickup truck-rolling garage tool chest hybrids. According to Wayne, there’s “pretty much one if not two of everything. If you gave us a blank chassis, we could effectively build another RZR from the parts on the chase truck.” That level of preparation isn’t overkill, it’s par for course.
Kristen recited an old off-road racing adage, “If you have it, you won’t need it. If you need it, you probably won’t have it.” In Baja, Murphy’s Law seems to be as ever-present as the dirt on course, so ultimate preparation is critical. But how do you plan for race-stopping damage? “It’s difficult,” said Kristen. “If something breaks, you don’t know where it’s going to break. Depending on where and when it breaks, that’s when you come up with a plan. It comes down to experience and how many times and how many things you’ve broken.” That “experience” came in handy for both the Matlocks during this year’s Baja 500.
Around race-mile 180, one of the aftermarket brake calipers on Kristen’s car failed. The caliper then spun around and destroyed the suspension arm. Wayne, having begun the race further back in the starting order, was behind Kristen by a few miles, but happened to recognize her jack on the side of the course further back. As soon as he came across the stricken car, stopped and gave them his jack, then set off down the trail. Kristen, unfortunately, didn’t have the parts to make the fixes and was in a spot on the course too remote for the chase truck to bring her what she needed.
Earlier in the race, Wayne had his own problems to deal with on the fly. “I smelled something hot and electrical while trying to pass another car, I thought it was the car in front so I ignored it.” What Wayne didn’t realize, at least not at that exact moment, was that the wiring going through the top of the dash started to chafe from all the knocks, bumps and vibrations.
“Then, all of a sudden there were flames.” Being strapped into a race seat, there wasn’t much he could do, but he had to think fast. “I was able to reach some of the wires, so I just grabbed them and pulled them out. At that point, one of our radiator fans went down and we lost the fresh air pump to our helmets.” Not ideal when racing through the Desert in the middle of the summer.
If an inboard fire wasn’t enough, after Wayne lent Kristen his jack, three miles up the road, in an attempt to avoid another broken down car on track, he hit a massive ditch, obliterating his RZR and any chance of finishing the race. Luckily, Wayne and his co-driver Daniel Felix were unscathed, got out, and began to assess the damage.
Wayne’s car was in no condition to finish the race, even if he had the parts to somewhat fix the car. Fortunately, the parts on his car that Kristen needed were relatively unscathed. So, while Wayne got busy removing the damaged parts, his co-driver took off the parts Kristen needed (a hub rotor, suspension knuckle, brake caliper, as well as nuts and bolts) loaded up a backpack and ran back the three miles down the racecourse.
Four hours later, around 8:00 PM, Kristen and her co-driver Adrian (Daniel’s brother) gave Daniel a ride back to the scene of his and Wayne’s accident and then continued off down the racecourse. Due to the remoteness of where Wayne crashed, it took some time to get a hold of his support truck, the one I was in, via radio. Once we located him, we found the nearest entry point to the course, loaded up the spare RZR that we were trailering around all day with the parts he needed. John Bahl, the team mechanic then set out into the darkness in the loaded spare RZR.
We didn’t see Wayne, Danny and Bahl until 2:00 AM. When we did, we got Wayne’s RZR onto the flatbed and made our way back to the hotel. Kristen eventually finished her race, albeit around 4:00 AM and with only three working brakes, but, she was in one piece and thankful to be done.
No matter the final race place, just getting out of Baja alive is a remarkable achievement. The races in Baja are relentless because the terrain itself is so damn unforgiving. Whether it’s the Baja 500 or the longer Baja 1000, just surviving the race takes years of experience, months of planning, weeks of preparation, and also a heaping dose of bravery. Off-road racing isn’t for the faint of heart nor for the noncommittal, especially when it comes to Baja. It’s a full-time job and the Matlock’s have made a very successful family business out of it.
The vast majority of travel for the holiday will be by car — more than 90% of trips nationally and locally. Some of those people opting for road trips instead of flying are trying to avoid crowded planes and airports as coronavirus variants continue to spread.
“Road trips provide a sense of freedom and more control over the duration of your trip,” AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend said in a written statement.
But that freedom will be tempered with the hassles of highway congestion. The worst traffic delays are forecast for the Thursday and Friday afternoons before the holiday weekend, along with mid-day July 5, according to AAA.
More than 99,000 people in Georgia are expected to take flights over the July holiday period, up from fewer than 40,000 last year and reaching about 89% of 2019 levels. About 3.5 million people nationally are expected to travel by air, up from 1.3 million in 2020 and nearing 90% of 2019 levels.
Hopper estimates domestic airfare for the holiday weekend will average $302 round trip, and prices will spike the week leading up to the holiday.
High prices for gas, hotels and car rentals also could take a bite out of travelers’ budgets. Gas prices are at their highest levels since 2014, AAA reports. Mid-range hotel rates are up 32-35%. Car rental rates have skyrocketed amid a shortage of vehicles. Car rental rates are up 86% year-over-year, rising to a national average of $166 a day. In Atlanta, the average car rental rate has soared to $173 a day.
The top two Fourth of July destinations for travelers, based on AAA Travel bookings, are Disney theme park cities: Orlando and Anaheim. The most popular road trips include Nashville to Atlanta.
Atlanta’s usual Centennial Olympic Park Fourth of July fireworks celebration is canceled this year, but other big events are still planned for the holiday weekend, including the AJC Peachtree Road Race and Stone Mountain’s fireworks celebration.
While millions will take road trips and flights, the use of other forms of travel — buses, trains and ships — remains 82% below 2019 levels for the holiday. A limited number of cruises are starting up again this month after cruise lines were hit hard by the pandemic.
Nonetheless, we know that people are planning spring break travel. Mark Crossey, U.S. travel expert for Skyscanner, says the rollout of vaccinations in the United States has inspired confidence, which he expects to translate to leisure travel around the vacation period. Epidemiologists acknowledge we can’t rely on so-called abstinence-only pandemic advice alone, so they encourage travelers to take precautions to reduce their coronavirus risks.
Roughly 150 years ago, a priest led Americans to “vacate” cities and enjoy nature in the Adirondacks. Now, a brand-new trail connecting the US and Canada is hoping to do the same
A red-tailed hawk dived into the underbrush lining the guardrail. Then, a blue jay flitted across the road, missing my car’s windshield by a feather. There were no signs pointing the way to gas stations and fast-food drive-thrus. Towering trees blocked out most vestiges of civilisation. I was not yet off a major interstate, but I had already entered the Adirondack Park. I felt a hint of the wild that had drawn me from New York City, 200 miles away, that morning.
Lying entirely within the state of New York, the Adirondack Mountains are still largely mysterious to most, even those within easy driving distance like me. The Adirondack Park covers a staggering 6.1 million acres of land – making it bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and the Great Smoky Mountain national parks combined – and is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. But with no park fees, closing hours or entrance gates, it’s easy to meander in and out of the US’ largest National Historic Landmark and one of its oldest protected forests without ever knowing you’d entered in the first place.
The Adirondacks are bigger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier and the Great Smoky Mountain national parks combined (Credit: lightphoto/Getty Images)
I was following the footsteps of countless city-dwelling travellers before me, looking for fresh air, adventure and a break from the noise. Of those travellers, I was most interested in one: William Henry Harrison Murray, a charismatic clergyman from Boston who, 152 years ago, published the first how-to guide to camping in the Adirondacks – and set off a mad rush of city folk heading into these mountains to escape the pestilence and pollution of the big city.
Filled with tales of his own travels, as well as practical information on what to wear, when to go and how to get there, Murray’s Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks was a sensation when it was released in 1869. As city folk “vacated” their New York apartments and fled to the Adirondacks in the thousands, Murray’s guidebook in hand, journalists labelled it the “Murray Rush”. That term may not have stuck around, but another one became increasingly common after that summer’s mass migration into nature: “vacation“.
“The practical advice made this book something that was a useful tool for people who maybe otherwise wouldn’t have been likely to take a vacation at all,” said Ivy Gocker, library director of the Adirondack Experience, a museum in the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake. She summed up Murray’s argument: “If you’re someone who is slogging through a workday in the city, your life will improve if you give yourself time in the outdoors.”
Murray’s vivid descriptions of the Adirondacks drew Americans to venture into its wilderness (Credit: Matt Champlin/Getty Images)
It was a novel concept. Of course, people had visited and lived in even the most impenetrable sections of the Adirondacks for a long time. For starters, at least half a dozen different Indigenous groups have called the region home for millennia. In the centuries leading up to the publication of Murray’s outdoor opus, the Adirondacks became a destination for “sportsmen”, as Murray called the fishermen, hunters and trappers who made a living during long stints in the wild. The difference was that Murray was saying that anyone could do this, including – gasp! – women. To this day, Murray is still known as the father of the US’ outdoor movement.
“Murray was very intentionally setting out to democratise access to the Adirondacks,” Gocker said. “He explicitly said ‘women should come up here too and these are the clothes they should pack.'”
Still, if the summer of 1869 saw the birth of the American vacation, it was a turbulent birth. Lured by Murray’s evocative prose but not fully prepared for heavy rain, blood-sucking black flies and overbooked inns, many people came back disappointed. Critics labelled them “Murray’s Fools”.
But the Boston priest doubled down, insisting that the naysayers were just trying to keep all the beauty for themselves. Tourism in the Adirondacks continued to grow. There were many factors pushing city slickers into the wilderness, but chief among them was health. In his book, Murray wrote of a young man miraculously cured of tuberculosis consumption after time spent in the Adirondacks, countering the prevailing wisdom that time outside would lead to a cold.
Murray believed that spending time in the Adirondacks was beneficial for people’s health (Credit: Sebastian Modak)
“I believe that, all things being considered, no portion of our country surpasses, if indeed any equals, in health-giving qualities, the Adirondack Wilderness,” he wrote in his guide. To anyone who over the course of a global pandemic has felt the urge to escape the city for somewhere where the air was clearer, this might all sound familiar.
As I left my car in the town of Westport on the shores of Lake Champlain, I felt a sense of anticipation, of venturing into the challenging and the unknown, that many of Murray’s Fools might have felt. In his book, Murray bragged that the trip into the Adirondacks – a combination of travel by rail, steamboat and carriage – was an “easy and quick” 33 hours from Boston or New York City. Once in the mountains, he recommended travelling by boat down a dense network of rivers, shooting loons for sport and fishing for trout along the way. Part of the appeal of the Adirondacks in the 19th Century was the accessibility afforded by rail lines and steamboat routes. In the spirit of that original rush, I had come looking for an even newer way through the park.
Completed in December 2020, the Empire State Trail is a 750-mile bicycle route that extends from the southern tip of Manhattan north to the Canadian border and, via a perpendicular arm, between Buffalo and Albany – making it the longest multi-use state trail in the US. After passing through the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, often in the form of designated, car-free trails, it skirts the eastern edge of Adirondack Park, becoming a slender shoulder of a rolling parkway.
The Empire State Trail is the longest multi-use state trail in the US (Credit: Sebastian Modak)
Murray emphasised the importance of a guide in the Adirondacks: “A good guide, like a good wife, is indispensable to one’s success, pleasure, and peace,” he wrote in one of the many eye-rollingly 19th-Century turns of phrase in his book. I had planned to ride into the Adirondacks for a night of camping alone – it’s a little easier to navigate road than river without a guide – but I did call on the expertise of a local. Doug Haney, owner and founder of BikeADK, a company in the town of Saranac Lake that organises bike tours and events in the region, took one look at my proposed route and made it better.
Just like Murray’s book did some 150 years ago, Haney hopes that the new Empire State Trail will lure more visitors to the region, but he pointed out that it’s not the best riding in the area.
“I think you’re a perfect example of what I think will happen in the Adirondacks,” he said, when we caught up on the phone after my journey. “People might build a ride around that north-to-south corridor of the Empire State Trail but may find that they want to jump off of it for a bit and really experience something that’s special, something you don’t get by going in a straight line.”
And those people are coming in unprecedented numbers. “With the pandemic, it was expected to be a down year, but it was the exact opposite,” Haney said. While BikeADK had to cancel public cycling events, the company pivoted to organising more private tours. It was precisely what people were looking for, including a whole host of new cyclists.
Some of the most scenic stretches along the Empire State Trail are the backroads found just off the trail (Credit: Sebastian Modak)
“The cool thing has been that a lot of the people asking for our help are people that normally wouldn’t do a cycling trip; they aren’t your typical bicycling tourist,” Haney said. “I think the idea of being on your bike and being out and pedalling in a wilderness environment has been appealing to people trying to get away from the pandemic.”
Veering away from the straight line, my route snaked and dipped, curled and climbed. The northerly sections of the Empire State Trail, while beautiful, were the least fun stretches of my ride, preoccupied as I was by passing cars and trucks. On the best stretches, backroads that led me away from the sections of Route 22-designated part of the trail, I didn’t see a person for 30 minutes at a time.
After turning away from the lake and towards the mountains at Ausable Chasm, the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks”, the scenery alternated between the pastoral and the wild; roadside companions switched between nonplussed cows and hyper-alert deer. It smelled like a barnyard on one curve, and pine needles the next. Towns appeared and, a mile later, disappeared. Gruelling climbs were rewarded with views of emerald-green valleys and mountain slopes so dense with tree coverage they looked like giant heads of broccoli. When the road was straight, I could see it for miles as it dipped and then took off like a ramp into eternity. “What sports have we in house and city like those which the children of wood and stream enjoy?” Murray wrote. What sports, indeed.
Ausable Chasm is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks” (Credit: Sebastian Modak)
Bike travel is throwback travel. It slows the world down and allows you to drink it in, in a way that cars and planes don’t. Strangers wave when you pass. If you stop long enough to chat, they will notice the pannier bags hanging off the back of your bicycle and the tent strapped to its rack. They’ll ask where you’re headed.
They’ll give you warnings about the weather or tips about butcher shops, water pumps and farm stands along the way. They tell you about how things have changed over the past year (“busiest year I’ve seen”, “you should see the weekend crowds in Lake Placid”). They point the way to swimming holes and waterfalls where, dripping in sweat after pedalling across a mountain pass, you can dip your head in cold, clear water and feel reborn.
My legs ached and my lungs burned as I rolled into a campsite in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain at the end of my first day, 70 miles from where I started. After setting up my tent and peeling myself out of sweat-soaked clothes, there was nothing to do but watch the light fade. Tomorrow, there were many more miles to go.
Slowcomotion is a BBC Travel series that celebrates slow, self-propelled travel and invites readers to get outside and reconnect with the world in a safe and sustainable way.
The New York City gallery exhibiting HUNTER BIDEN’s work this fall has estimated his paintings are worth between $75,000 to $500,000.
We are not artists. We are pretty bad at it, actually, so we wanted to ask some experts if Biden’s work is actually worth that amount — and if it’s any good. West Wing Playbook spoke to four art critics and academics, some of whom said Hunter’s work, itself, isn’t half-bad. But as to our first question, it was a resounding, “no.”
Despite the Biden White House’s attempts to protect against undue influence, they say the reason for the five- to six-figure estimates is clearly Hunter Biden’s last name.
According to the George Bergès Gallery, Biden’s paintings “range from photographic to mixed-media to abstract works on canvas, yupo paper, wood, and metal. He incorporates oil, acrylic, ink, and the written word to create unique experiences that have become his signature.”
There are11 paintings online, including an untitled one on yupo paper — a type of recyclable tree-free synthetic paper — of what appears to be a dragon breathing fire.
“Way better than I thot [sic] they’d be! More particular. Some sustained attention clearly evident.” That’s how GEOFFREY YOUNG, a New York poet, art critic and curator described the younger Biden’s art to West Wing Playbook in an email.
As for the price range, Young said it is extremely high, especially for someone the New York Times recently called an “undiscovered artist.” The 2019 article described some 100 paintings Biden had created in his Hollywood Hills “poolhouse-turned-art studio.”
“Traditionally, young artists are a bargain, and if they begin to sustain a career, gallerists raise the prices incrementally, as they should,” Young said. “Paintings are only as valuable as what some customer will pay for ‘em…he’s complexly famous, but not yet for art. Guess people will pay for a known last name.”
“For an emerging artist doing his first show, this would put Hunter Biden in the top, top tier of what was thinkable,” Davis said. “These are prices for an already successful artist.”
Davis gave us some context. Artists like DANA SCHUTZ, ALICE NEEL and STANLEY WHITNEY, all well-known and successful artists, have recently sold their art for around $500,000.
“So that is the company that Hunter Biden’s art, which no one has seen, is keeping,” Davis said.
“There is a lot of bluff and bluster and marketing in art prices. Dealers lie about them all the time to inflate values, and George Bergès may be bluffing and talking up Biden’s prices,” Davis said. “There’s no science to such things. But it is absolutely, 100 percent certain that what is being sold is the Biden name and story.”
Others agreed the high price point correlates with the family name.
“You’re paying for the brush with fame,” JOHN PLOFF, an art professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said. “That’s like a campaign contribution, right?”
In an effort to protect against conflict of interest, the White House says there is an agreement in place with the gallery that will keep the art buyers’ identities a secret from Hunter, the president, the White House and the public. They did not have anything further to add for this piece.
“In the case of anyone who has a celebrity name outside of art, as with Hunter Biden, it’s clearly the name of the artist that’s driving the price and if it sells, then that’s probably also the motivating factor for the person who buys it,” said TABISH KHAN, a London art critic.
Khan said he wouldn’t critique work he hasn’t seen in person, with limited knowledge of the work, but, “an initial online glance suggests there’s nothing new or challenging about his work.”
“As to whether I think it’s worth the asking price, I don’t think I’ll ever spend that much money on a work of art nor be in a position where I have that amount of cash in hand,” Khan said. “And if I did, I wouldn’t spend it on a work by Hunter Biden.”
We also called some Washington area art appraisers and gallery owners. They did not want to touch this topic with a ten-foot pole.
Do you work in the Biden administration? Are you in touch with the White House? Are you COLIN MILLER?
We want to hear from you — and we’ll keep you anonymous: [email protected]. Or if you want to stay really anonymous send us a tip through SecureDrop, Signal, Telegram, or Whatsapp here.
Warning, this one is hard: President BARACK OBAMA did not attend the Olympics in 2010, 2012, 2014 or 2016. Who did he select to lead the U.S. delegation to the Opening Ceremonies in each of these four games? (it’s a different person each year).
(Answer at the bottom.)
MASKS ARE BACK —The White House is mandating masks for all staffers again, per an internal email someone helpfully leaked to us.
The email acknowledged that not everyone on the White House campus is vaccinated even as Biden himself is contemplating mandates. “The vast majority of those working on campus are fully vaccinated,” read the email signed by the White House’s Covid-19 Operations team.
(On July 23rd, Psaki declined to say in the briefing what percentage of White House staff were vaccinated.)
The White House’s operations team initially wrote that the policy would “become effective at the start of business tomorrow” only to write a follow-up email “to clarify our earlier message.”
“All individuals on campus should comply with this update immediately and no later thanstart of business tomorrow,” they wrote.
SO MUCH FOR SHOT GIRL SUMMER: At least two reporters wore masks in the briefing room today. Last week, we didn’t spot any masks. Expect to see a lot more: The White House Correspondents Association emailed reporters this afternoon that it is “reimposing its mask requirement for all indoor spaces at the White House.”
DOOCE ON THE LOOSE: Fox News’ White House reporter PETER DOOCY pushed press secretary JEN PSAKI on new masking guidance for the vaccinated. “If it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated still then why do vaccinated people need to put the masks back on?” he asked.
Psaki pointed to a chart showing how the Delta variant was hurting the unvaccinated. Doocy followed up, asking: “But if the vaccines work, which this sign says that they do, then why do people who have had the vaccine need to now wear masks the same as people who have not had any?”
Psaki’s response was unsatisfying to some on the right. “Because the public health leaders in our administration have made the determination based on data that that is a way to make sure they’re protected, their loved ones are protected, and that’s an extra step given the transmissibility of the virus.”
JILL’s CHIEF IS OUT — First lady JILL BIDEN’s chief of staff JULISSA REYNOSOPANTALEON is leaving the White House just six months in to be the ambassador to Spain and Andorra. That staffing shake up was revealed in Biden’s announcement today of nine nominations for ambassador and other senior administration posts at the Labor, Agriculture and Homeland Security Departments.
Asked why she is leaving so early in the administration, her press secretary MICHAEL LaROSA emailed that, “While the timing of this opportunity came up a little faster than they both expected, the First Lady was totally supportive of Reynoso being considered again as an Ambassador, and advocated on her behalf. She’s family and we’re going to miss her terribly.”
Any update on who her new chief will be? LaRosa said “nope.”
IN QUARANTINE —Homeland Security Secretary ALEJANDRO MAYORKASis working remotely because he was in contact with a department official who later tested positive for Covid-19, a DHS spokesperson told DANIEL LIPPMAN and BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN. “The Secretary is fully vaccinated, has no symptoms, and has tested negative twice,” a spokesperson said.
ANNIVERSARY PLANS —Biden is expected to attend the 9/11 memorial in New York City to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Lippman and CHRIS CADELAGO report, a visit that will be “particularly significant with our withdrawal from Afghanistan,” a White House official told them. At the ceremony, Biden is expected to strike a tone that is “in large measure a sort of arc of the last two decades,” the person said.
KIM TO DOJ —The Senate confirmed TODD KIM to be the assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources, 58 to 41. Republican Sens. ROY BLUNT (Mo.), SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (W.V.), SUSAN COLLINS (Maine), JOHN CORNYN (Texas), LINDSEY GRAHAM (S.C.), CHUCK GRASSLEY (Iowa) and LISA MURKOWSKI (Alaska) voted with Democrats to approve Kim’s nomination.
He met with Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.) at the White House to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations. Then he visited the office of the director of national intelligence in McLean, Virginia, where he toured the National Counterterrorism Center Watch Floor with Director of National Intelligence AVRIL HAINES and NCTC Director CHRISTY ABIZAID and delivered remarks to staff.
She gave virtual remarks to the National Bar Association. Later in the afternoon, she hosted a conversation about voting rights with Interior Secretary DEB HAALAND and native leaders from Alaska Native and American Indian communities.
Before White House deputy press secretary CHRIS MEAGHER spun reporters, he was one. From 2008 to 2013, Meagher wrote for the Santa Barbara Independent, where he covered crime, courts and local elections. He even moderated a 2012 congressional debate between Republican ABEL MALDONADO and Rep. LOIS CAPPS (D-Calif.), whom he went on to work for (his last name is pronounced “marr” so the paper dubbed him the “Meagher-derator”).
But it was one of his softer features that caught our eye. In 2011, Meagher elbowed his way into covering the royal visit by PRINCE WILLIAM and KATE MIDDLETON with a memorable newspaper lede: “What should I wear?”
The whole piece is worth reading, but we wanted to highlight his riff on his outfit deliberations, while crushing a little bit on Middleton:
“If it’s not plaid and button-down and doesn’t match with, well, jeans, it’s probably not in my wardrobe rotation. But this was the Royals! And I had heard that Kate would be dressing herself throughout the duration of the newlyweds’ weeklong trip to North America, so I put the pressure on myself to do the same.
For the trip to Santa Barbara, Kate settled on a fancy chinoiserie silk dress from the Spring 2011 collection of British designer Jenny Packham. I went with my boat shoes, non-jean pants, and a nice button-down from J. Crew’s 2006 collection. And I must say, we both looked marvelous, though I will give the edge to the beautiful Kate.”
Maybe he’ll do a follow-up story if the couple visits the White House.
Why it may be time to rethink a Florida theme park trip
Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Location: 72 miles north of Milwaukee and 142 miles north of Chicago
What it offers: Golf lovers near and far make the pilgrimage to teeny Kohler, Wisconsin (population: 2,146), home to the Kohler Co., for one reason primarily: to play the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, host of multiple PGA Championships and this September’s Ryder Cup. It’s one of four 18-hole Pete Dye courses in the Destination Kohler rota, and one of the country’s preeminent courses, ranked 23rd in America by Golf Digest.
Framed by 2 miles of Lake Michigan’s Caribbean-blue colored waters, the Straits Course (walking only) might be the best links-style routing this side of Ireland, punctuated by 1,000-some-odd bunkers and roaming sheep in its fairways. There, choosing your favorite hole is akin to choosing your favorite Beatle — they’re all prodigious, in particular, its family of par-3s, where each tee shot plays to a postcard-like green along the coastline. Few scorecards leave the Straits Course scot-free; the 17th hole (Pinched Nerve) and 18th hole (Dyeabolical) contend for the stiffest two-hole finish on the planet.
The destination’s three other 18-hole courses aren’t mere add-ons but championship tracks in their own right. On the same piece of property, but inland from Lake Michigan, is the Irish Course, Whistling Straits’ bluff-laden sibling, a less-punishing round of golf inspired by the prolific courses of southwestern Ireland.
Twenty minutes away, two parkland courses on the Sheboygan River at Blackwolf Run — the River and Meadow Valleys courses — introduce a different side of Wisconsin’s landscape. “There could not be a better natural setting for golf,” Pete Dye says of the River Course, bedecked with large undulating greens, strategic bunkering, and water or gorges on 14 of its 18 holes. At Meadow Valleys, generous fairways bisect idyllic rolling grasslands, though its rough will certainly punish the errant tee shot.
There’s also a new fifth option for golfers that has been met with wide applause: the Baths of Blackwolf Run, a casual, 10-hole, par-3 course next to Meadow Valleys that was more than five years in the making. The Baths, which can be played as an 18- or 27-hole routing, and the adjacent two-acre putting course make for the perfect spots to settle any remaining golf wagers.
Insider tip: Take full advantage of your caddie at the Straits Course ($70 fee plus gratuity), where wind, knee-deep fescue and other elements will challenge you. A caddie will read greens, provide target lines and, if you’re lucky, point out the resident bald eagles nesting in the trees along the 10th fairway.
What you’ll pay at the Straits Course: from $410 in low season
You’ll pay the least at: the Baths, $75; complimentary if on a golf package
Where to stay (splurge): Once a dormitory for immigrant workers in the early 20th century, the American Club Resort Hotel in Kohler is now a plush five-star property with multiple restaurants and bars and one of the country’s best spas. From $389
Where to stay (save): Settle into the Inn on Woodlake, on Wood Lake in Kohler, and you’ll have access to a beach and practice putting green. The famous Kohler Chocolates shop is a short stroll from the hotel. From $224
We love a country fair, that unique celebration of rural life, which might feature anything from giant marrow competitions to alpaca walks, with locally made cider on tap and the sound of folk bands filling the air. Tell us about a favourite country show of yours – whether it’s held in the heart of the countryside or in an urban park, we want to know why it’s special.
If you have a relevant photo, do send it in – but it’s your words that will be judgedfor the competition.
Keep your tip to about 100 words
The best tip of the week, chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, will win a £200 voucher to stay at a Sawday’s property – the company has more than 3,000 in the UK and Europe. The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website, and maybe in the paper, too.
We’re sorry, but for legal reasons you must be a UK resident to enter this competition.
The competition closes on Tuesday 3 August at 9am BST