Well readers, I’m back, and just in time for yet another clearance sale here at Bargain Basement Dystopiaville. The writers have really jumped the shark this week, so I recommend reading this with your comfort food of choice.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m mostly summarizing the news within my area of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a procedural hurdle!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
Weirdly, and a bit concerningly, there isn’t really any Election Rejection news from the last couple of weeks. That said, there has still been plenty of Biden Rebuilding news amid the rest of this week’s cacophony. Here’s what has happened:
- Administration Updates. This was a busy couple of weeks for the House. On the Biden package front, they managed to advance both the infrastructure and budget bill, and passed the budget bill on Tuesday. The infrastructure bill is expected to pass in late September, though whether we hit more roadblocks before then is anybody’s guess. The John Lewis Act, which restores and preserves a number of federal voting rights, passed this past week in the House as well. Unfortunately, that last one is expected to languish in the Senate, which is kind of its own commentary.
Your New Normal:
- Climate Change Crises.* Natural disasters continue to arise at a very unnatural clip as climate change, well, changes our baseline for weather. In Tennessee, flash flooding caused major devastation outside of Nashville on Saturday. This was immediately followed by a cat 4 hurricane touching down in New Orleans on Sunday, leaving nearly 1 million people without power for the foreseeable future. The storm made landfall on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, because irony is dead, and almost certainly was exacerbated by climate change.
- Supreme Court Screwup. Unfortunately, the other new mainstay to pop up in the news this week sucks too. The Supreme Court, illustrating why appointments matter, temporarily blocked reinstatement of a terrible and probably illegal Trump era asylum policy known as Remain-in-Mexico, only to pull a 180 and order the policy reinstated in its final opinion. I would need to do a deeper immigration law dive than I’m prepared to do to really unpack just how kangaroo this court ruling is, but it has serious consequences for families exercising their lawful right to seek asylum. It’s sort of like if you had a stint with an awful boss who prohibited using the elevator and forced your whole team to climb seven flights of stairs every day. Then when you got a new boss, they immediately said “that’s ridiculous, this building has elevators” and rescinded the policy. But then your boss’s boss, who got hired by the first guy, declares it against company policy to go back to using the elevators, even though your office always used the elevators before your jerk boss banned them for no reason. That’s kind of like what happened, except the elevators in this scenario are living in relative safety in the U.S., and the seven sets of stairs are living in a whole other country that doesn’t want you there and can’t necessarily guarantee your safety while you’re, y’know, definitionally fleeing for your life.
- State of the COVID-19. COVID news is… well it’s not great on the whole, to be honest (though I do have some positive updates below). The Supreme Court, keeping with the theme above, threw out the CDC eviction moratorium because, I don’t know, Reasons, which will leave a lot of people in rough spots when unemployment aid also ends this week. Meanwhile, the EU is again restricting American travel to those who can show vaccination. And I can’t say I blame them, given that we’re a country full of jackasses who refuse to take perfectly good vaccines even after they’re fully approved by the FDA, opting instead to ingest horse medication that’s not even an anti-viral drug. .
- Updates on Afghanistan. The other terrible news of the week, of course, is the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which has resulted in a surge of violence as U.S. and Afghan nationals attempt to flee. On Thursday, a suicide bomber attacked Kabul airport, killing 170 people (including 13 American service members). A subsequent attack was threatened on Saturday, prompting the U.S. embassy to encourage people to clear the area. Today was the last day of U.S. evacuation due to a deadline set by the Taliban, according to the deadline the Taliban set, and 98 countries have agreed to take in Afghan refugees after the evacuation is complete.
- COVID Legal News. For all that this was a bad week for both COVID and court news, we did have some promising COVID legal developments. As I insinuated above, the Pfizer vaccine is officially fully approved, which opened the legal doors for vaccine mandates from all kinds of entities. Meanwhile, a Florida court ruled that schools may impose mask mandates, and the Biden administration is investigating states that prevent mask wearing in schools on the basis of disability rights. The action might end up being the basis of several other lawsuits around the country, so it’s an encouraging development.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I think we can agree that it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve lesser kudu scritches and a more consistently improved government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me a time turner and some Icy Hot!