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A car sits in mud and debris on Highway 101. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

With at least 17 dead and hundreds trapped in California mudslides, crews search from the air and dig through a deluge of debris, per L.A. Times.

What happened: "Santa Barbara County officials chose not to send an emergency alert to cellphones warning of mudslides until destructive flooding had already begun in Montecito ... [T]he downpour was much worse than anticipated."

  • "The message, similar to an Amber Alert for abducted children, was sent about 3:50 a.m. Tuesday to all registered cellphones in areas that were under voluntary and mandatory evacuations."
  • Why it matters: "Deadly natural disasters in California over the last few months have sparked debate over how best to warn the public about an impending safety threat."
  • "More than 40 people died in October when fires swept through wine country. Some residents said they got little or no warning, in part because Sonoma County decided not to use the cellphone bulletins."

Go deeper: The Wall Street Journal has a more sympathetic take for government: "Many Ignored Evacuation Orders Before Mudslides."

Go deeper

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.