Morning Update: Dad, Why Is Kenny G In Our Living Room

Trump will declare a national emergency, Amazon pulls out of New York, your weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Feb. 15.

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Trump will declare a national emergency to build a wall

President Donald Trump will sign a bill to avoid another government shutdown, and when he does, he will also declare a national emergency in order to build a border wall without the approval of Congress.

We are in uncharted territory here — declaring a national emergency to fulfil a campaign promise is an unprecedented use of presidential powers, and a legally dicey move. Republicans have warned Trump that using emergency spending this way would be challenged in the courts.

Can he even do that? The move is being made under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, under a provision that the administration argues would allow Trump to redirect federal funds towards building a wall.

Are the numbers on Trump’s side? No. The number of people arrested at the border in between official border crossings have been on a decline since 2000's peak of 1.6 million.

What happens next? Congressional and legal challenges lie ahead. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support the emergency declaration. The Democrat-controlled House will not agree.

Amazon cancelled its plans to build a second headquarters in New York City

The city offered about $3 billion in incentives for the tech giant to build its new HQ in Queens. After a significant public outcry from lawmakers and residents alike, Amazon says it will not be moving forward with this plan.

Two opinion pieces: Losing Amazon was a mistake for New York; Losing Amazon was a good start to ending corporate welfare bidding wars.

We also asked New Yorkers for their messages to Jeff Bezos in the wake of this story.


The Trump administration has sent the first asylum-seeking families back to Mexico. Five families, including 10 children, were returned as part of the administration's new plans to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.

Bill Barr, who told senators he’d protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has been confirmed as attorney general. The new attorney general would run a very similar Justice Department to his predecessor Jeff Sessions. Here’s what you need to know.

A new tape allegedly shows R. Kelly assaulting an underage girl. The tape was sent to prosecutors by lawyer Michael Avenatti, who tweeted that the tape has never been previously seen or used in connection with prior criminal cases involving the R&B singer.

The trail runner who killed a mountain lion with his bare hands said being a cat dad helped him win the fight. Travis Kauffman said he used knowledge from having a pet cat to figure out how to fight. I have a pet cat, and I absolutely would’ve died.

Kanye West surprised Kim Kardashian West with THE Kenny G for Valentine’s Day. No big deal, just Kenny G, serenading Kim with his saxophone, trapped behind a million single-step roses.

Instacart workers’ revolt over tips reveals a big problem for the gig economy

Last week, Instacart scrapped a controversial policy that used tips to subsidize the minimum payments it promised its workers.

The episode generated outrage from Instacart workers who felt cheated and customers who felt misled. But more than that, it laid bare the ways that gig economy platforms rely on their workers to do unpaid labour troubleshooting the platforms.

Gig workers spend hours every week on the phone with customer service to report glitches on platforms, and they aren’t compensated for their time.

While these companies hurt from one scandal or lawsuit to the next, Caroline Donovan investigates what could become a huge problem for the gig industry.

Slow down the time with these weekend longreads

Russian Doll And The Good Place Want Us To Be Better. I adore The Good Place and I’ve cleared my schedule to watch Netflix’s Russian Doll, so I was excited to read Bim Adewunmi’s piece about what these shows ask of us. A taste: “Both shows are peddling a somewhat revolutionary idea...that we, the human race, may actually have some redeeming qualities; that our moral fiber might not yet have gone fully rancid...”

Ariana Grande And Dua Lipa Are Joining Pop Culture’s Lesbian Lookalike Party. The lesbian doppelgänger is a pop culture trope that has been around for a long time. Just this week, two prominent examples of it — Dua Lipa at the Grammys and Ariana Grande’s new video. Shannon Keating reflects on what the imagery represents: “The lesbian doppelgänger can be so frustrating because it can reduce queerness...into a symbol or a fetish. But... In the hands of LGBT creators, versions (or subversions) of the trope can become fascinating meditations on the link between queer identification and desire.”

Meet The Beauty Influencer Who Isn’t Afraid To Say What She Thinks. The makeup industry has had a long history of failing black women. Contributor Darian Symoné Harvin wrote an excellent profile of influencer Jackie Aina, who’s out to make sure the industry is accountable to the black women who buy its products. From the piece: “If Aina doesn’t like it, there’s a chance other women of color who have been consistently looked over in the beauty industry — despite their growing buying power — won’t like it either. And no one is excused from her reviews.”

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