Tiger Woods unable to remember driving on day of crash, police say

Tiger Woods told responding deputies to his single-vehicle crash last week that he did not know how the accident happened and didn’t remember driving, USA Today reported Thursday.

USA Today cited a copy of the search warrant affidavit that was used by the Los Angeles county sheriff’s department to obtain the black box in the SUV Woods was driving.

“The deputies asked him how the collision occurred,” according to the affidavit. “Driver said he did not know and did not even remember driving … Driver was treated for his injuries at the hospital and was asked there again how the collision occurred. He repeated that he did not know and did not remember driving.”

The black box houses data related to speed and acceleration, braking sequence, steering angle changes and other instrument activity.

A sheriff’s deputy said Wednesday the warrant is a matter of course in LA County and considered part of the department’s due diligence.

“We’re trying to determine if a crime was committed,” sheriff’s deputy John Schloegl said. “If somebody is involved in a traffic collision, we’ve got to reconstruct the traffic collision, if there was any reckless driving, if somebody was on their cell phone or something like that. We determine if there was a crime. If there was no crime, we close out the case, and it was a regular traffic collision.”

Woods, 45, was hurt last week in an early-morning, single-car crash near the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Emergency personnel extracted him from his car and transported him to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The Los Angeles County sheriff characterized the crash as “purely an accident” and appeared to rule out any potential criminal charges even as authorities were still investigating. Deputies saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after the rollover wreck on a downhill stretch of road known for crashes, sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

“He was not drunk,” Villanueva said during a livestreamed social media event. “We can throw that one out.”

Woods underwent surgery Tuesday to treat multiple injuries to his right lower leg, including the insertion of a rod into the tibia. Additional screws and pins were needed in the leg, and he was treated for muscle and soft-tissue injuries. He underwent another procedure last Friday, before being moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

McIlroy’s fast start at Bay Hill inspired by Woods

Rory McIlroy has revealed he tackles Bay Hill in a similar way to course specialist Tiger Woods after making a superb start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

McIlroy fired seven birdies, including five in a row on his back nine, and one bogey in an opening 66 to set the early clubhouse target. At six under par, McIlroy led by one from US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

“I feel like you don’t have to do anything special to shoot a good score here,” McIlroy said after his round. “You can be really conservative off the tees if you want to be. I’ve watched Tiger enough here over the years. He played [Bay Hill] very conservatively, took care of the par fives and that was usually good enough to get the job done – so [I took] a leaf out of his book.”

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Alabama Governor Extends Statewide Mask Order Until April

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Alabama Governor Extends Statewide Mask Order Until April

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama on Thursday said she would keep a statewide mask order in place until April 9, breaking with Republican governors who planned to end mask mandates against the advice of health officials.

We need to get past Easter, and hopefully allow more Alabamians to get their first shot before we take a step that some of the states have taken to remove the mask order altogether and lift other restrictions. Folks, we’re not there yet, but goodness knows we’re getting closer. Our new modified order will include several changes that will ease up some of our current restrictions while keeping our mask order in place for another five weeks through April 9. But let me be abundantly clear, after April the 9th, I will not keep the mask order in effect. Now, there’s no question that wearing masks has been one of our greatest tools in combating the spread of the virus. That, along with practicing good hygiene and social distancing, has helped us keep more people from getting sick or worse, dying. And when we — even when we lift the mask order, I will continue to wear my mask while I’m around others and strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and do the same thing. But at the — but at that time, it will become a matter of personal responsibility and not a government mandate.

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Treasury to Invest $9 Billion in Minority Communities

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration unveiled a plan on Thursday to invest $9 billion in minority communities, taking an initial step in fulfilling its promise to ensure that those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic have access to loans as the economy recovers.

The Treasury Department said it was opening the application process for its Emergency Capital Investment Program, which will provide a major infusion of funds to Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions as they look to step up lending.

The effort is a priority of Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who has warned that the fallout from the pandemic is exacerbating inequality in the United States.

“America has always had financial services deserts, places where it’s very difficult for people to get their hands on capital so they can, for example, start a business,” Ms. Yellen said in a statement. “But the pandemic has made these deserts even more inhospitable.”

businesses were at a disadvantage in applying for a limited pool of funds because many had weaker banking relationships than their white-owned counterparts. A Federal Reserve Bank of New York study last year found that Black-owned businesses suffered the sharpest rate of closures in the first part of 2020.

The Treasury Department is using funds that were approved in the $900 billion stimulus package that was passed in December and signed by former President Donald J. Trump.

Community Development Financial Institutions, which provide affordable lending options to low-income consumers and businesses, were largely neglected under Mr. Trump and his Treasury Department. President Biden and Ms. Yellen have signaled that they will be critical for improving racial equity in the United States.

The new program will make direct investments in local lenders that support small businesses and consumers in low-income communities. The investments will have low interest rates and provide lenders with greater incentives to offer small loans to those who are most in need, both in rural areas and in places where poverty is persistent.

Treasury officials said they wanted the new program to reinforce the health of Community Development Financial Institutions. The department is also putting in place two separate programs to that will provide an additional $3 billion in grants and other support to the lenders.

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Whisky a go go: US suspends tariffs on UK exports including scotch

The White House has agreed to suspend retaliatory US tariffs on UK exports including scotch whisky, raising hopes of improved relations as talks continue about a post-Brexit transatlantic trade deal.

In 2019, then US president Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on a range of EU exports, as part of a 16-year trade dispute over state support for aerospace rivals Boeing and Airbus.

Estimates released last month suggested the duty had led to a £500m dropoff in sales of Scottish single malt alone.

But the Department for International Trade (DIT) said on Thursday the Biden administration had suspended the tariff. The move followed the UK scrapping punitive measures against Boeing in January.

“The easier it is for Americans to buy a bottle of Macallan, Talisker or Glenfiddich, the more money those producers will have to invest in their businesses, their staff and futures,” said the trade minister Liz Truss. “Today’s agreement shows that both the UK and the US are determined to work together to build back better and take our trading relationship to new heights.”

The rapprochement, which was first reported by the Spectator, will also result in tariffs being lifted on a range of goods, including £11m of cashmere, £38m of pork products and £45m of cheese, the DIT said.

“From scotch whisky distillers to stilton-makers, businesses across the UK will benefit from the US decision today to suspend tariffs in this dispute,” said Boris Johnson.

The government said it would continue to seek a “fair settlement” with the White House that removed all remaining punitive tariffs related to the dispute to boost the UK’s aerospace industry.

It added that officials on both sides of the Atlantic were working on an ambitious trade deal that could remove £500m of tariffs.

Business lobby group the Confederation of British Industry said it hoped the decision would pave the way for more cordial trade relations between the US and the post-Brexit UK.

“The duties on these goods were harming business and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” said director general Tony Danker.

“This positive step must now lay the foundations for talks at pace to resolve the dispute once and for all. This dispute is lose-lose for all involved at a time when business is suffering from the pandemic, global trade and investment is crucial for economic recovery.”

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The move puts the UK at odds with the EU, which imposed retaliatory tariffs on US imports worth $4bn (£3bn) after the World Trade Organization ruled the US had given illegal state aid to Boeing. The dispute stretches back to 2006, when the US complained that Airbus was receiving subsidies that put Boeing at a competitive disadvantage.

Drinks industry figures welcomed an end to tariffs that have proved a drag on sales.

“Today is a very good day for Scotch and Scotland,” said Ivan Menezes, the chief executive of Diageo, which owns brands including Johnnie Walker and Talisker. “Final resolution of the aerospace dispute, combined with the announcement of a continued freeze on spirits duty in yesterday’s budget, will safeguard thousands of jobs across Scotland and the UK.”

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said tariffs had done “severe damage” to distillers over the 16 months they were in place.

“Today, everyone in our industry – from small companies to large – is breathing a sigh of relief,” said the SWA chief executive, Karen Betts.

But while British drinks firms celebrated, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US said American whiskey distillers were still losing out and called for further action to prevent lost sales.

“While we welcome the US decision to suspend the retaliatory tariffs on UK distilled spirits for four months, we are greatly disappointed that the UK’s debilitating tariff on American whiskey remains in place,” said a spokesperson.

“American whiskey exports to the UK, our fourth largest market, have declined by 53%, from $150m to $71m, since the imposition of tariffs.”

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The Great Art Behind Hunter S. Thompson’s Run for Sheriff

If you’re going to curate an exhibition of vintage artwork related to the unorthodox and self-described gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, prepare for the process itself to become a bit, well, gonzo.

Daniel Joseph Watkins learned this lesson the hard way. He had to figure out how to move “Freak Power,” an exhibition featuring the visually striking campaign posters designed for Thompson’s 1970 run for county sheriff in Colorado, from his Aspen-based gallery to Poster House in Manhattan, where it’s open through Aug. 15.

The posters, designed and silk-screened by the artist Thomas W. Benton, a close friend of Thompson’s and a fellow Californian turned Aspen activist, fused gut-punch electioneering (“Sell Aspen or Save It”) with visceral imagery (a clenched fist set against a sheriff’s badge). Surviving samples in pristine condition now sell for upward of $25,000. But that price tag pales in comparison to owners’ intense emotional attachment. “It would have been much easier to borrow a Warhol or a Rothko from some of these people,” laughed Watkins.

opened in Chelsea in 2019, and the exhibition, co-curated with the artist Yuri Zupancic, is one of three on view in its gallery spaces. In addition to three dozen Benton posters, this show includes kinetic ink-splattered drawings by Ralph Steadman, whose illustrations accompanied many of Thompson’s articles; campaign trail photographs by the Aspen photojournalists David Hiser and Bob Krueger; and issues of The Aspen Wall Poster, a broadsheet newspaper designed by Benton and written by Thompson.

the 1998 film with Johnny Depp portraying an unhinged Thompson. Steadman’s frenetic drawings echo that pinwheeling personality. Yet, “all of Benton’s posters are so reserved, quiet and direct in comparison,” Lippert went on. “It makes an incredible contrast to see these two guys expressing the same ideas in such powerfully different ways.”

To be fair, Thompson as a candidate couldn’t have been more different from Depp’s onscreen caricature. Instead, as seen in candid footage from Watkins’s own “Freak Power” documentary (2020), running daily as part of the Poster House show, Thompson was thoughtful and articulate — though his attitude toward politicking could be playfully wry. (Prepping for a public debate with the incumbent sheriff, Thompson secretly shaved his head so he could walk out onstage and — in the conservative parlance of the era — snidely refer to “my longhaired opponent.”) Most importantly, he was uninterested in mere symbolism, dismissing Norman Mailer’s 1969 New York City mayoral bid as “more a form of vengeance than electoral politics.” Thompson was running to win.

His “Freak Power” ticket signaled a pivot point for many Aspenites’ self-identity — catalyzing a movement to preserve the local environment with strict limits on real estate development; overhaul a police department, seen as wildly out of control; and legalize marijuana use. Once derided as merely “freak” concerns, they’ve since been embraced by local law enforcement or moved to the statute books.

sheriff was a former Thompson campaign worker. Implementing Thompson’s ideas brought its own fallout, though.

“There were unintended consequences of some of the limiting of development, in that it limited the supply so much that demand went off the charts,” Watkins said of a resulting housing crunch. “It led to the transition of Aspen being more of a wealthy place. People come to Aspen now and ask, ‘Where did all the hippies go?’ There’s definitely some bitterness and disappointment about that.”

If nothing else, Watkins hopes “Freak Power” rescues Thompson’s legacy from the cartoonlike mythology that has built up around him. “When I bring up his name, sometimes people say, ‘You mean Hunter Thompson, the guy with the drugs and the guns and the craziness?’ No, I mean Hunter Thompson, the prescient political thinker who transformed a community with a radical campaign.”

Freak Power

Through Aug. 15, Poster House, 119 W. 23rd Street. 917-722-2439; posterhouse.org; timed tickets required.

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House Passes Policing Overhaul Bill Named for George Floyd

House Democrats passed a sweeping federal policing overhaul on Wednesday that would combat racial discrimination and excessive use of force in law enforcement, as lawmakers seek to rekindle bipartisan negotiations on the issue.

The House first passed the legislation last summer, in an effort to respond to an outpouring of demands for racial justice after the killings of Black Americans across the country, including George Floyd, for whom the bill was named. But in the months since, Republican opposition in the House and Senate has only hardened, making its passage through the Senate exceedingly unlikely for now.

The House vote was 220 to 212, with two Democrats joining Republicans to vote no. One Republican voted to pass the overhaul, but quickly said it had been a mistake.

Progressives are plotting to use the opposition as an example of Republican obstruction as they build their case for Senate Democrats to jettison the legislative filibuster, to lower the threshold for Senate passage from 60 to just a simple majority. But Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California and the bill’s principal author, said in an interview this week that she held out hope she could reach common ground with a cadre of Senate Republicans, led by Tim Scott of South Carolina, who had put together their own more modest proposal last summer.

wrote on Twitter.

The House bill would amount to the most significant federal intervention into law enforcement in years. It would change legal protections that shield police officers from lawsuits, known as qualified immunity, and make it easier to prosecute them for wrongdoing. It would also impose a new set of restrictions on the use of deadly force, and effectively ban the use of chokeholds.

Law enforcement organizations and police unions have forcefully opposed the measure, and the Trump administration had threatened a veto, arguing it would weaken law enforcement agencies. President Biden supports the bill.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of a white police officer for more than nine minutes as he protested, “I can’t breathe.” The county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Jury selection is set to begin on Monday for the trial of the officer, Derek Chauvin, who was fired and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other former officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death will be tried separately.

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Issues Her First Majority Opinion

WASHINGTON — In her first opinion in an argued case, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the Supreme Court in October, rejected a Freedom of Information Act request from an environmental group for documents about harm to endangered species.

Writing for the majority in the 7-to-2 decision, Justice Barrett said the records were protected by an exemption to the act that shields documents that would disclose deliberations inside an agency before it makes a final decision. The exemption applied, she wrote, even to documents reflecting agencies’ last words on a given subject.

“A document is not final solely because nothing else follows it,” she wrote. “Sometimes a proposal dies on the vine.”

“That happens in deliberations — some ideas are discarded or simply languish,” she wrote. “Yet documents discussing such dead-end ideas can hardly be described as reflecting the agency’s chosen course. What matters, then, is not whether a document is last in line, but whether it communicates a policy on which the agency has settled.”

it won in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. A divided three-judge panel ruled that the draft opinions represented the services’ final conclusions and so had to be disclosed.

Reversing that ruling, Justice Barrett wrote that it was not enough that the drafts “proved to be the agencies’ last word about a proposal’s potential threat to endangered species.”

Officials at federal agencies must be free to deliberate out of public view, she wrote. Quoting an earlier decision, she said agencies must not be “forced to operate in a fishbowl.”

Justice Barrett’s first day on the bench. She expressed concern at the time that government officials might stamp documents as “drafts” to avoid having to disclose them.

She addressed that concern in her opinion. “If the evidence establishes that an agency has hidden a functionally final decision in draft form,” she wrote, “the deliberative process privilege will not apply. The services, however, did not engage in such a charade here.”

In dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, wrote that drafts must be subject to disclosure if they are effectively final.

“The mere possibility of a future change does not alter the finality, or the final effect, of the original document,” Justice Breyer wrote.

He added that the two drafts at issue in the case, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, No. 19-547, had different characteristics.

“The National Marine Fisheries Service’s documents contain highlighting and editing marks reflective of a work in progress,” Justice Breyer wrote. “But the Fish and Wildlife Service documents do not, and the record indicates they may have been complete but for a final signature.”

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After Riot, Capitol’s Police Board Faces Overhaul

WASHINGTON — The congressional inquiry into the security failures surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol assault has barely begun, but one outcome already seems certain: The Capitol Police Board, the secretive three-member panel that oversees protection of the complex where Congress meets, is headed for major changes, if not outright elimination.

Lawmakers of both parties in the House and Senate, some previously unfamiliar with the sweeping authority of the board, have expressed astonishment at its lack of accountability and its inability to rapidly respond to the riot at the Capitol.

“It seems nonfunctioning to me,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut and chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, which controls money for Capitol security. “Nobody is in charge. When something goes wrong, no one has the ultimate responsibility.”

Like many things on Capitol Hill, the board is a remnant of the past that has survived in large part because it suits those who hold power in Congress. A long line of House and Senate leaders in both parties have favored its existence because they handpick two of the three of its voting members, giving them tremendous influence over security operations with little public scrutiny.

disarray and inaction on Jan. 6 and in the days leading up to the riot.

Under the current system, the board has broad authority for Capitol security and the police force and consists of the sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate, who are chosen by the leader of each chamber, and the architect of the Capitol, the Senate-confirmed official responsible for buildings and other facilities on the grounds. The chief of the Capitol Police, who must be approved by the board, is a nonvoting member.

At House and Senate hearings in recent days, lawmakers have been struck by the fact that two days before the attack, members of the board dismissed a Capitol Police request for National Guard troops to be on hand on Jan. 6 based on a rising threat identified by intelligence. They acted with no vote, little discussion or consultation with other authorities and no involvement by the architect of the Capitol. Board members then struggled to connect during the riot to agree to declare an emergency so that troops who were standing by to assist could be summoned to the Capitol.

“If the police chief feels he doesn’t have the authority to even call in the National Guard in the middle of an insurrection and has to call two people in the middle of doing their jobs guarding members, we have a problem,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota and chairwoman of the Rules Committee, which is investigating the assault with the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “You need a different structure, or you at least need a very clear line of authority that allows the police chief to make these decisions.”

The Capitol Police force was formed in 1828 and the board was created in 1867, when the supervision of the police was shifted from the commissioner of public buildings to the sergeants-at-arms of the two chambers. The board’s role has remained fairly consistent since, with the Senate and House officials granted wide responsibility for overseeing the police, the Capitol grounds and the safety of lawmakers.

With Congress exempt from most public disclosure requirements, the board has operated mainly behind closed doors, slow to respond even to requests from the congressional committees that control security spending.

Even before the assault, the board was the subject of criticism by lawmakers for its lack of transparency and responsiveness. But members of Congress tread carefully around the board because of a tendency to defer to security officials on Capitol Hill.

A 2017 Government Accountability Office report requested by lawmakers who oversaw funding for the police faulted the board for lack of openness and for not following widely accepted management practices. It said the unique structure of the board hindered the watchdog function of Congress and that lawmakers “saw the bicameral structure as a factor limiting accountability.”

“For example,” the report said, “a single committee cannot call all of the board members to a committee hearing because one of the two sergeants-at-arms is not under that chamber’s jurisdiction,” it said.

The report also noted that the board must declare an emergency before calling for help, a critical contributor to the problems on Jan. 6, since it was the board’s failure to agree on an emergency declaration on Jan. 4 that left the department without sufficient personnel and immediate backup during the riot.

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, the senior Republican on the Rules Committee, said the assault underscored longstanding problems with the police board that necessitate major changes.

“I don’t think it works well in the best of circumstances and I think it’s almost totally unworkable in crisis, and Jan. 6 was a great example of that,” Mr. Blunt said.

The two sergeants-at-arms on the board on Jan. 6 — Paul Irving from the House and Michael Stenger from the Senate — resigned immediately after the riot, along with Chief Steven Sund of the Capitol Police. They are participating in the review of what happened.

Mr. Stenger said he too saw a need for changes in the board to make it a “little more nimble.”

“There’s a lot of statutes out there in the Capitol Police Board that go back many, many years,” he told the two Senate committees investigating the Capitol assault. “It’s probably not a bad time or idea to take a look at what’s there.”

Ms. Klobuchar offered a tart response: “That’s probably an understatement with what happened,” she said. “But thank you.”

Without more research, Mr. Blunt said he was not yet ready to talk about how to reconfigure the management of Capitol security and the police department, which is now seeking a significant budget increase and hundreds of new officers.

“I think there are a number of options, and I haven’t settled on one yet,” he said.

But significant change is coming for the board, long a little-scrutinized Capitol Hill power center.

“It absolutely has to be restructured,” Ms. DeLauro said.

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Single, wealthier US women increasingly bought homes during the pandemic

The number of single women buying homes has grown during the pandemic, according to a report released yesterday, a surprising trend as Covid’s economic effects have disproportionately impacted the same group.

Compared with the same time last year, single women bought 8.7% more homes in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a report from real estate company Redfin. In comparison, single men saw an uptick of 4.6% in home buying during the same time period.

Despite the uptick, the percentage of home buyers who are single women has remained relatively stable at 15% and is still slightly lower than the percentage of homebuyers who are single men, which is 18%. New homeowners are most likely to be couples, who made up 49% of home buyers this year compared with 46% last year.

The real estate industry made an extraordinary comeback after dipping in March and April of last year at the beginning of the pandemic. From January 2020 to January 2021, 6.69m homes were purchased, a 23% increase compared with the same 12-month period the year before.

That single women are buying more homes may seem surprising given that Covid’s recession has dealt a blow to women, especially Black and Latina women, as industries where women are overrepresented – such as leisure, hospitality and education – were hit particularly hard. The pandemic has also pushed young working mothers out of the workforce, more so than young working fathers dealing with the same childcare issues, as women took on more household responsibilities during the pandemic.

But overall, the pandemic’s economic impacts have been kinder, and even beneficial, to wealthier Americans regardless of gender. With record-low mortgage rates, more savings from less traveling or eating out and a desire for more space to work from home, buying a home during the pandemic made sense for many Americans, including higher-income women.

Other trends in real estate affirm the continuation of the US’s K-shaped Covid recovery, where those with higher levels of education and income are getting richer, while those who are low-income are seeing the most job losses. Data from the National Association of Realtors found a 15% dip in 2020 in sales of homes that were priced below $100,000. Meanwhile, homes that cost between $500,000 and $750,000 saw an increase in sales of 65% and homes that cost more than a million an increase of 94%.

In its report, Redfin noted that the Boston metro area had the highest number of homes purchased by single women in 2020 of all major metro areas. In the city, nearly half of women hold college or advanced degrees, and many women are in well-paying jobs in industries that have high representation of women, such as higher education and healthcare.

“While millions of women have lost their jobs during the recession, the impact has largely been on lower-income women. Meanwhile, most women who were able to afford homes before the pandemic are likely still able to afford homes, and low mortgage rates – especially at the end of 2020 – have been incentivizing them to buy,” said Redfin’s chief economist Daryl Fairweather in a statement.

“This is another illustration of America’s uneven financial recovery.”

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