May 14, 2019

Joe Biden has a pretty unrealistic vision for a post-President Trump world.

In a Tuesday visit to New Hampshire, the former vice president turned 2020 candidate launched an ambitious prediction at some unsuspecting cafe patrons. Once a Democrat beats Trump in 2020, Biden said Republicans will have "an epiphany" and start working with Democrats again, Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur reports.

Biden's lofty assertion was quickly slammed on Twitter as "detached from reality," and met with reminders of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) existence. Politico's Jake Sherman did concede that McConnell and Biden worked out some deals during former President Barack Obama's terms, but tweeted that there is "maybe less than zero" chance that will happen this time around.

McClatchy reporter Alex Roarty also pointed out that Biden's statement is not unlike Obama's 2012 prediction that when he won that year's presidential election, the Republicans' "fever may break" and they may move toward "cooperation." As is clear from the GOP's on-again, off-again attempts to first block and now remake ObamaCare, that didn't quite work out. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:35 a.m.

Ellis Marsalis Jr., the New Orleans jazz pianist and teacher whose sons have become jazz stars in their own rights, died Wednesday. He was 85, and the cause of death was pneumonia brought on by the new coronavirus, according to sons Branford and Ellis. "Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise," Ellis III told The Associated Press. "But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19." The senior Ellis was tested for COVID-19 but hadn't received the results before he died, a family member told WWL-TV.

Along with Branford, a prominent jazz saxophonists, and Ellis III, a photographer and poet, Marsalis is survived by sons Wynton, the jazz trumpeter and jazz spokesman who serves as artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center; Delfeayo, a trombonist, performer, and producer; Jason, a drummer; and Mboya. Marsalis' wife, Dolores, died in 2017.

Marsalis spent most of his life in his native New Orleans, skipping out on Los Angeles after a few months backing Ornette Coleman there in 1956. He started performing jazz in high school and began teaching jazz at Xavier University and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in the 1970. He moved to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1986, then returned home in 1989 to teach at the University of New Orleans until 2001. He performed until the end, officially retiring from his three-decade-long Friday night gig at the New Orleans club Snug Harbor in December, but continuing to sit in as a special guest.

"Ellis Marsalis was a legend" and "the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Wednesday night. "He was a teacher, a father, and an icon." Tulane folklorist and public radio host Nick Spitzer called Marsalis "the coach of jazz." His students included Harry Connick Jr., trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton, bassist Reginald Veal, and his own sons. Peter Weber

April 1, 2020

Stephen Colbert's Late Show knows what you — or at least some of you — have been doing while sheltering in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Other notable actors and comedians may try to cajole you into staying at home, but Colbert repurposed the theme song from the tippling-themed sitcom Cheers to persuade you — and if you watch to the end, one of the regulars makes a cameo to drive the point home, for better and worse. Drink responsibly, drink at home, and watch below. Peter Weber

April 1, 2020

A financial disclosure filed Tuesday shows that from mid-February to mid-March, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and her husband, New York Stock Exchange Chairman Jeff Sprecher, invested in DuPont, a company that makes personal protective equipment used by first responders fighting the COVID-19 coronavirus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Loeffler, worth an estimated $500 million, came under fire last month when it was discovered that she dumped millions in stock after receiving confidential briefings on the coronavirus pandemic and before she publicly downplayed the threat from the virus; 15 of the stocks had, on average, lost more than a third of their value by late March. Loeffler has denied using insider knowledge to influence her decisions to buy and sell stock, and her campaign says an investment firm manages her stocks and she does not have any control over day-to-day decisions.

The disclosure filed Tuesday shows that the largest transactions made between mid-February and mid-March involved $18.7 million in sales of Intercontinental Exchange stock. ICE owns the New York Stock Exchange, and Loeffler is a former company executive. Loeffler's campaign said the sales were prearranged as part of Loeffler's and Sprecher's compensation package. Read more about Loeffler's stock sales at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said the heartburn drug Zantac should immediately be pulled from shelves and consumers should dispose of any pills or liquid they have at home.

During safety tests last summer, extremely high levels of the contaminant NDMA, believed to be a carcinogen, were discovered in samples of the drug. The active ingredient in Zantac is ranitidine, and the FDA said that over time, NDMA appears as an impurity in ranitidine in levels exceeding federal standards, NPR reports.

The FDA issued a warning last September, and CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart removed the drug and its generic forms from stores. Since then, the agency has confirmed that the issue is how ranitidine naturally breaks down in normal storage conditions, and has nothing to do with the way it is manufactured.

"We didn't observe unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples that we tested," the FDA's Janet Woodcock said in a statement Wednesday. "However, since we don't know how or for how long the product might have been stored, we decided that it should not be available to consumers and patients unless its quality can be assured." Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard is telling foreign cruise ships with more than 50 people on board that they need to "increase their medical capabilities, personnel, and equipment" in order to care for sick individuals amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

This is "necessary as shore-side medical facilities may reach full capacity and lose the ability to accept and effectively treat additional critically-ill patients," Coast Guard Rear Admiral E.C. Jones wrote in a safety bulletin dated March 29. During normal circumstances, a ship can call the Coast Guard and ask to have people who are seriously ill medically evacuated.

The order is for ships in the district covering Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico. There are dozens of cruise ships lined up at Port Miami and Port Everglades, in addition to several that are waiting offshore, The Associated Press reports. Most of the ships just have crew members on board, but Carnival Corp. says it has more than 6,000 passengers still at sea.

The cruise line is trying to reach a deal with federal, state, and local officials that would let two of its Holland America ships, the Zaandam and Rotterdam, dock at Port Everglades this week. Two people on board the Zaandam have died of COVID-19, and nine have tested positive for the virus. The medical center on another Carnival Corp. ship headed to Florida, the Coral Princess, has reported a "higher-than-normal number of people with flu-like symptoms," AP reports. By law, ships bound for the United States have to give daily updates on the number of coronavirus cases on board. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2020

Musician Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of the rock band Fountains of Wayne and an award-winning songwriter for the television show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, died on Wednesday of coronavirus complications. He was 52.

On Tuesday, Schlesinger's family announced that he had been hospitalized and was on a ventilator, saying in a statement, "He is receiving excellent care, his condition is improving, and we are cautiously optimistic."

Schlesinger was a Grammy and Emmy Award winner, and over the course of his career was also nominated for Tony, Oscar, and Golden Globe Awards. He won two Emmys in 2018 for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and also served as the show's executive music director. Schlesinger wrote the theme song for Tom Hanks' 1997 film That Thing You Do! and recorded five albums with Fountains of Wayne. Their biggest hit, "Stacy's Mom," was released in 2003.

He is survived by two daughters. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence is asking Americans to heed the government's social distancing guidelines amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and not attend worship services with more than 10 people.

Pence told Nightline's Byron Pitts on Wednesday that the White House is "so grateful to churches and synagogues and places of worship around America" that are following the guidelines, which include avoiding large gatherings and staying at least six feet away from people.

There are some churches in the country that have flouted local social distancing orders; a Florida pastor was arrested on Monday and charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules after holding a packed service on Sunday. Pence said he and President Trump have been "enjoying worship services online," and "we really believe this is a time when people should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, and so, we continue to urge churches around America to heed that."

Earlier this week, the White House said even with people following the guidelines, 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could still die from COVID-19. Pence told Pitts the White House is holding out hope that the country will be "in a much better place by June the 1st. If every American will put these guidelines into practice, if we all continue to do our part, we really do believe that by Memorial Day weekend or by early summer ... we can be through the hardest part of this. We can save lives, and we can begin to put America back to work." Catherine Garcia

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