National News Roundup: Year 2, Week 3 (February 4–10)

Ernest Blaikley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The news this week is an exercise in information overload, and most of it is utterly inane and/or terrible. There’s so much information, in fact, that I’m bending my rules slightly and kicking some of the more minor stories out a week in an effort to make this a more manageable maze. I’ll do my best to guide you through it, but bear with me folks; this will be a long one.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a color guard! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

This was another week with a metric ton of news on All Things Russia, and most of it is absolutely wild in one way or another. Here’s a nuts-and-bolts summary:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Nancy Pelosi Podium Adventures.* House minority leader Nancy Pelosi spoke for over eight hours on the House floor this week, using her position to create a makeshift filibuster over the lack of DACA progress. In the end, she ran out of things to say, but she did apparently set a new record for time on the House floor — and more importantly, she signaled to all of us that she was keeping Dreamers on her radar. Here’s hoping that translates to some kind of action in the next few weeks.
  • New Obama Portraits.* Continuing a contemporary tradition, the National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama this week. Both of the Obamas picked their own artist for their respective works, resulting in striking and complementary but distinct styles for each portrait. Kehinde Wiley, who created Barack Obama’s portrait, set him in a garden scene full of flowers symbolizing his birthplace, his ancestry, and his political home. Amy Sherald, who created Michelle Obama’s portrait, painted her in abstracted form on linen instead of canvas. Both portraits are beautiful examples of African-American artistry.
  • Teamster Sanctuary. About 120,000 Teamsters in New York are organizing to become a “sanctuary union,” giving its members complex training designed to make them certified immigration badasses who know both their rights and everybody else’s. The decision follows an earlier resolution not to assist ICE in rounding up their members, but reflects a decision to escalate after one of their members was deported with no criminal history and green card applications pending.

For once, that isn’t all the news I have for now, but there was just too much of it for me to dump over your heads, Dear Readers. Here’s hoping next week is better, or at least quieter, though with this administration it’s anybody’s guess. At any rate, I’ll see you all soon!

Boots on the ground for social change, one step at a time.