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Daughter of writer Michael Lewis and Tabitha Soren killed in car crash | California

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Dixie Lewis, the 19-year-old daughter of the writer Michael Lewis and former MTV correspondent Tabitha Soren, has been killed in a highway crash in northern California.

Lewis was a passenger in a car driven by her friend and former Berkeley High School classmate, Ross Schultz, 20, who also died in accident on Tuesday afternoon, according to her family and authorities.

“We loved her so much and are in a kind of pain none of us has experienced,” Michael Lewis said in a statement to Berkeleyside, a community news site that first reported the deaths.

“She loved Ross, with whom she died. She loved to live and our hearts are so broken they can’t find the words to describe the feeling.”

The family, including siblings Walker and Quinn, will “find ways for her memory to live in her absence”, Michael Lewis said.

A statement from Schultz’s family said they would hold his memory “dear and present and find ways to remember him, and Dixie, forever”.

Schultz and Lewis were heading north on State Route 89 from Lake Tahoe toward the city of Truckee when their sedan crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a southbound truck, California highway patrol officer Jacob Williams told Berkeleyside.

Why the car veered across a double-yellow line was unclear and witnesses were being sought, Williams said. The truck driver suffered minor injuries, according to the website that identified him as a 45-year-old Nevada man.

Calls to the CHP seeking further information on the accident were not immediately returned.

Dixie Lewis graduated from high school last year and had completed her first year at Pomona college, where she played on the softball team, according to Berkeleyside.

Schultz, part of the high school’s championship soccer team, had finished his second year at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Several of Michael Lewis’ nonfiction books have been adapted for movies, including Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. His newly published book is The Premonition: A Pandemic Story.

Lewis and Soren, who was a political reporter for MTV and is a photographer, married in 1997.

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MasterChef Christmas special 2021 | Release date, celebrity line-up

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The BBC has announced a trio of MasterChef specials to entertain us through the festive season this year, including special episodes of Celebrity MasterChef.

BBC One’s Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off will feature 10 of the most memorable celebrities from former series returning to compete in two festive themed specials.

MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode will be back to critique celebrities including ex-EastEnders star Joe Swash, Strictly Come Dancing pro Oti Mabuse, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins, the Reverend Richard Coles, and Loose Women’s Judi Love. They’ll be competing in the kitchen for the prestigious title of Christmas champion and the glamorous all-new Celebrity MasterChef Golden Whisk trophy.

Meanwhile, the MasterChef Champions Special features five of the most memorable amateur champions returning to the MasterChef kitchen. They are: Tim Anderson (Champion 2011), Ping Coombes (Champion 2014), Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed  (Champion 2017), Kenny Tutt (Champion 2018), and Irini Tzortzoglou (Champion 2019).

The MasterChef: The Professionals Rematch Special will see four of the most memorable chefs from past MasterChef: The Professionals series returning to battle it out and complete challenges set by MasterChef judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace.

The line-up includes: Philli Armitage-Mattin (finalist 2020), Jamie Park (finalist 2017), Santosh Shah (finalist 2020) and Bart van der Lee (finalist 2020).

Here’s everything we know about the MasterChef Christmas specials so far…

MasterChef Christmas special release date

The exact air date for the Masterchef Christmas specials has yet to be confirmed by the BBC, but we do know that they will arrive in time for the festive season in December.

Who is in the MasterChef Christmas special line-up?

Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off will feature the welcome return of some of the most unforgettable celebrities from past series. The celebrity line-up includes actor Les Dennis, singer Mica Paris, former professional football player Neil Ruddock, national treasure Su Pollard, Loose Women’s Judi Love, former EastEnders star Joe Swash, reality TV star Joey Essex, Strictly Come Dancing pro Oti Mabuse, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins, and broadcaster the Reverend Richard Coles.

Last year’s Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off featured Janet Street-Porter winning the first edition of the series, and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood named the second winner.

Is there a trailer?

There isn’t a trailer yet for Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off, so we’ll keep you updated.

MasterChef Christmas specials returns to BBC One in December. Visit our Entertainment hub for more news and features, or find something to watch with our TV Guide

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Minnesota Republicans take aim at President Joe Biden ahead of today’s visit to state

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In a set of news releases and a morning news conference, Minnesota GOP officials and lawmakers pointed to Biden’s lagging approval ratings and called on the president to address pressing issues affecting Minnesotans. Biden is set to speak at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota, about the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was recently signed into law.

The city is part of the politically split 2nd Congressional District, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig narrowly won reelection in 2020. Craig is set to join Biden for his visit, as will other Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor policymakers.

“The Democrats know Angie Craig is in serious jeopardy of losing her seat in 2022 and are using their deeply flawed infrastructure legislation as an excuse to bring Joe Biden in to save Craig’s floundering political career,” said Republican Tyler Kistner, who ran against Craig in 2020 and is set to again challenge the congresswoman in 2022.

GOP lawmakers said the visit would offer them an opportunity to contrast Republican priorities against those of the Biden administration and Democrats. And they said they supported projects that were included in the proposal but felt there were too many non-infrastructure pieces added to it.

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“We deserve better and we’re certainly going to push back on many of these failed policies,” said Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican representing the state’s 8th Congressional District.

White House officials have said Biden will tout the infrastructure plan and how it could improve the flow of supply chains around the country, reducing bottlenecks and resulting delays. Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chair Ken Martin on Tuesday said the passage of the massive plan was proof that Biden was able to break through partisan gridlock.

“Despite being in office for less than a year, President Biden has already delivered for Minnesotans everywhere,” Martin said.

Craig in a news release on Tuesday said the package will create jobs in Minnesota and show “that we’re working tirelessly to make good on our promises, and that we’re committed to working on a bipartisan basis to get it done.”

The federal boost is set to fund more than $4 billion in improvements to Minnesota highways, $818 million for public transportation investments and $302 million to help repair and replace bridges, according to the White House. The plan will also fund broadband expansion, port and airport improvements, water quality projects and electric car charging stations in the state.

State transportation officials have said the funds could allow Minnesota to move forward with projects earlier than they’d planned. More than 661 bridges and 4,986 miles of highway in Minnesota are considered to be in poor condition by the White House.

Minnesota’s congressional delegation split almost on party lines on the infrastructure proposal. All of the state’s Republicans, along with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, voted against the proposal, while the other Democrats voted in favor. Omar said she wanted the infrastructure package to come up for a vote alongside a larger spending plan.

Biden in 2020 won Minnesota with a 7-percentage point advantage over then-President Donald Trump. But Biden’s approval rating has declined during his first year in office.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates later in the day.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email [email protected]

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Would Pence Challenge Trump in 2024?

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Mike Pence spent much of his vice presidency quietly catering to the whims of President Donald Trump. But on January 6, he broke with Trump by refusing to overturn the 2020 election results. And now, Pence is eyeing a presidential run of his own, even though his old boss hasn’t ruled out a 2024 campaign. Pence wouldn’t necessarily stay out of the race even if Trump jumps in.

“If you know the Pences, you know they’ll always try to discern where they’re being called to serve,” Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, told me. “And I don’t think that is dependent on who else is in or not in the race.”

A 2024 Pence campaign looks futile no matter the scenario. If Trump runs, he’ll rally the same MAGA zealots who refuse to believe he lost the last election. And if Trump opts out, Pence isn’t his natural successor; he may have spoiled any hope of inheriting the Republican base when he defied Trump on January 6. Scanning the Republican universe, it’s hard to detect a glimmer of a Pence-for-president movement of any sort. Which leaves GOP operatives asking a version of the same question: What in the world is Mike Pence thinking?

Sarah Longwell is an anti-Trump Republican strategist who has led dozens of focus groups since the 2020 election with hard-core Trump voters, reluctant Trump voters, and 2016 Trump voters who switched to Joe Biden last year. “Pence doesn’t do well with anybody,” she told me. People make faces when she mentions Pence’s name, faces that convey a collective nah. Or maybe meh, she said, thinking it over. But the impression they leave is obvious enough, she added: “Not interested.”

As of this point, Pence hasn’t decided whether to run, his advisers say. For now, he’s focused on helping Republicans win back congressional majorities in the 2022 midterm elections. But he’s also making the sorts of moves that typically precede a presidential bid. Since leaving office on January 20, he’s been showing up in states that hold early presidential contests: New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa. Next month he’s set to return to New Hampshire for a Republican fundraising event. He’s writing a book and has started a podcast, American Freedom, that is a platform to reintroduce himself to voters after four years as Trump’s mostly subservient No. 2. Speaking in a flat baritone, the erstwhile talk-radio host mixes treacly odes to public service with sharp critiques of Biden’s record. One episode devoted to the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks opens with Pence denouncing “the failed leadership of the Biden administration” and closes with a vignette of him and other lawmakers singing “God Bless America” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol after the attacks.

“I will tell you, on that day and in the weeks and months that followed, there were no Republicans in Washington, D.C.,” Pence tells his listeners. “There were no Democrats in Washington, D.C. It was just Americans. Everybody rolled up their sleeves and did what needed to be done.” (Left unsaid is that he later abetted a president who politicized virtually every random bit of human experience, including wearing a mask and watching a football game, and who stirred up the insurrectionists before what was perhaps the most unsettling day on U.S. soil since 9/11.)

Former Vice President Dan Quayle has told me that he advised Pence back in 2012 that if he wanted to run for president, the Indiana governor’s office would be a better springboard than Congress. (Pence campaigned for the statehouse office that year and won.) A cold-eyed political calculus suggests that 2024 would be Pence’s best and maybe last real shot. He’ll be 65 by the next inauguration, and fresher faces are emerging in Republican politics, notably Glenn Youngkin, the incoming Virginia governor who won a state that Biden had captured a year ago by 10 points. “Someone like Glenn Youngkin is the future,” Sarah Chamberlain, the president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group that promotes centrist policies, told me. “He would be a wonderful presidential candidate.”

Still, Pence has been mulling a presidential run for years, and such ambitions aren’t easily quashed. He remains in demand for GOP fundraising and campaign events, a means to cement alliances. Some Republicans see a rationale for Pence’s potential candidacy built on his conservative credentials.

Pence’s chances in the ’24 race brighten if Trump stays out. Right now, Trump is sounding like a candidate, though some people who have worked with him suspect he’ll ultimately stand down. “Trump won’t run,” John Kelly, who was Trump’s longest-serving chief of staff, told me. “He’ll continue talking about it; he may even declare, but he will not run. And the reason is he simply cannot be seen as a loser.” John Bolton, who was Trump’s former national security adviser, predicted much the same thing.

Whatever Trump’s future, for Pence to be competitive in a Republican presidential primary race, he’d need to assemble a coalition of fellow evangelical Christians, cultural conservatives, and a chunk of mainstream Republicans who appreciate that he upheld Biden’s victory. Pence’s apostasy on January 6 drew Trump’s ire, but his actions that day helped preserve the notion that voters pick the winners. Is anyone willing to give him credit? Perhaps, but it’s also a fair bet those who might do so still resent Pence for obliging Trump through years of chaos.

It’s hard not to see Pence as the author of his own misfortune. Listening to his podcast, one hears a politician who sounds like a throwback to a pre-Trump era. He criticizes the Biden administration for “one crisis after another” though the twice-impeached Trump presided over the lengthiest government shutdown in history and a pandemic. Pence tsktsks about graffiti scrawled on a federal building in Portland, Oregon, without mentioning that the insurrectionists spread feces through the halls of the U.S. Capitol.

Trump dismantled the Republican Party and remade it into a vehicle for his own promotion. Pence enabled that makeover. Yet he is now acting as if the old establishment party that gave rise to Bob Dole and Howard Baker is still intact and his to reclaim.

“He stood by while the party was actively changed by Trump, and now it’s not interested in politicians like him anymore,” Longwell said.

What, then, is Pence thinking? Maybe that if a former reality-TV star can upend the laws of politics and become president, so can he.

Pence is “one of the most likable people in either party,” Mick Mulvaney, another former Trump White House chief of staff, told me. And yet: “What is Mike Pence offering that 15 other people aren’t offering—other than having been vice president, which I’m not sure is very compelling these days.”

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