November 16, 2016

Sweden's largest union, Unionen, has launched a hotline for women who are fed up with having men offer unsolicited explanations of things they already know, The Independent reports. "It is obviously not the case that all men expose women to 'mansplaining' all the time," Unionen's gender expert Peter Tai Christensen said. "It would be an absurd assertion that lacks reality. But enough women are exposed to enough mansplaining for it to be a problem that needs to be highlighted, discussed, and solved."

The hotline is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday and is staffed by a gender expert as well as feminist politicians, comedians, and scientists. It will offer advice and a sympathetic ear to callers as well as help them move on. "But there are no set answers," The Independent adds. "Instead, the people staffing the line will have the freedom to say what they want, based on their own experiences."

Unionen represents 600,000 private sector workers and says that mansplaining diminishes women by making them seem less capable than they are. "There is a structural problem built into the concept [of] mansplaining that can not be ignored. The Union shares the analysis that mansplaining is more often performed by men and we believe it is important to talk about the problem on the basis of the analysis for us to bring about change," Unionen said in a statement.

Not everyone is on board; some men expressed frustration with the hotline on Unionen's Facebook page. "How would women react if you used words like 'old biddy chat' or 'female whining'? Equality can't be won using negative invective, but should be built using mutual respect and partnership. But maybe I'm the only one who thinks so," Daniel Bergman of Sundsvall wrote. Jeva Lange

11:36 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived at President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration— while President Trump, at almost the same time, landed in Florida.

Pence was introduced at Biden's inauguration on Wednesday alongside second lady Karen Pence, and they received "hearty, bipartisan applause," CNN's Jeremy Diamond writes. The vice president's arrival was more notable than usual considering Trump refused to attend the ceremony, leaving Washington, D.C., beforehand despite the tradition of presidents being in attendance for their successor's swearing-in.

Trump had departed on Air Force One for Florida earlier after delivering farewell remarks, and the plane landed within minutes of Pence being introduced.

Among those who were previously introduced at the inauguration include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and according to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Clinton went "out of her way to greet" Pence, and "they exchanged a few words." Despite his refusal to attend the inauguration, Trump left a note in the White House for Biden, as is tradition, and The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports Pence also left a note for his successor, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Brendan Morrow

11:24 a.m.

It's a little known fact that the presidential inauguration actually doubles as a fashion show of preppy winter 'fits, and President-elect Joe Biden's was no different. But the winner of the Capitol steps on Wednesday wasn't Michelle Obama, in her plum Sergio Hudson, or Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' step-daughter, Ella Emhoff, in her embellished coat, or Jill Biden, in her custom blue Markarian.

No, it was the grumpy chic outfit of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Sanders, naturally, wears mittens made by a teacher from Essex Junction, Vermont, and knit from "repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles," BuzzFeed News' Ruby Cramer reports. Jeva Lange

11:10 a.m.

President Trump departed Washington, D.C., before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, but three of the other four living presidents and first ladies have gathered on stage to support their latest successor. Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. and Laura Bush, and Barack and Michelle Obama were all introduced ahead of the ceremony.

It's customary for former presidents to attend the inauguration — the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas were all at Trump's ceremony in 2017 — though Biden's event comes amid a pandemic and security concerns following the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Still, they were all on board.

Former President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, decided not to attend, marking the first time he's missed a ceremony since he was sworn in in 1977. Of course, it's quite safe to assume the 96-year-old Carter is not snubbing Biden, but rather staying home for health and safety reasons, as he has through much of the pandemic, per ABC News. Tim O'Donnell

10:58 a.m.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had a fitting escort to walk her up the stairs of the Capitol on Wednesday: Eugene Goodman, the lone, Black police officer who bravely lured rioters away from the Senate chamber during the invasion of the Capitol building earlier this month.

Goodman is the new acting deputy House Sergeant at Arms, and a candidate for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. "I've always said, if bullets start ripping through, I'm finding Goodman," a friend of Goodman's told The Washington Post. "He's been in hostile firefights [in Iraq], so he knows how to keep his head."

Goodman will also accompany Harris on the presidential platform on Wednesday, where she will be sworn in as vice president of the United States. Jeva Lange

10:44 a.m.

President-elect Joe Biden is revamping outgoing President Trump's coronavirus approach before he even takes office.

On Wednesday morning, Biden asked Surgeon General Jerome Adams, whom Trump nominated for a four-year term back in 2017, to step down from his post. Biden has already announced his intention to nominate former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to the post, but will install an acting surgeon general in the meantime, The Washington Post reports.

The nation's top doctor is appointed for four-year terms; Adams took office in Sept. 2017, allowing him to stay on through this September. But amid the Trump administration's bungling of the COVID-19 crisis, it seems Biden wants a fresh start. He'll even bypass Deputy Surgeon General Erica Schwartz, a career civil servant, in naming an acting top doctor to take Adams' spot, the Post reports.

Adams acknowledged his forced resignation in a statement, which focused more on smoking cessation and other health crises than on COVID-19. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:03 a.m.

Ivermectin, a cheap and "generic" antiparasitic drug "used all over the world," may significantly reduce the risk of death in patients suffering from moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, researchers have found.

The University of Liverpool's Andrew Hill and others carried out a meta-analytical breakdown of 18 studies that showed the drug — which is off-patent and commonly used to treat lice and scabies, as well as some more serious parasites — appears to reduce inflammation and eliminate the coronavirus swiftly, the Financial Times reports. In six of those trials, the mortality risk was cut by 75 percent in patients with more serious COVID-19 infections. The research team has also theorized the drug could also make it harder for infected people to transmit the virus.

Hill said he's encouraged by the findings, but further studies are needed, especially since several of those in the analysis were not peer-reviewed. FT also notes that meta-analyses, which look at many studies at once, can be prone to errors. Read more at the Financial Times. Tim O'Donnell

10:00 a.m.

Melania Trump was reportedly "emotionally checked out" long before boarding Air Force One to leave D.C. on Wednesday, going as far as to outsource writing her "thank you" notes to the White House residence staff, The New York Times and CNN report.

Traditionally, the first family of the United States will write short cards to their household staff, thanking them for taking care of them over the past four to eight years. The cards tend to be intimate and "much of the correspondence includes personal anecdotes and the letters become 'cherished keepsakes' for the residence staff," such as the butlers, cooks, and housekeepers, who do not tend to turn-over between administrations, CNN writes.

Melania Trump, however, reportedly did not personally write the cards for the approximately 80 staff members charged with caring for her, her husband, and her teenage son, Barron, while they lived in the White House. Instead, she is said to have instructed a "lower-level East Wing staffer" to write the type-written notes "in her voice," and then signed her name.

"I think she was a reluctant first lady and she did it for her husband," society publicist R. Couri Hay, who knows Trump from New York, told The New York Times. He added that after she departs Washington, "I think that you will find that she will be even less visible, and less available." Jeva Lange

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