National News Roundup: Year 5, Week 34 (September 5–11)
This was a very eventful week, and a lot of it was even promising! (I suggest you don’t think too hard about the fact that people bringing lawsuits about illegal things and requiring humans to get basic vaccines is promising. Just take the endorphins and call it a day.)
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 an indictment!–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:
We do have some Election Rejection news this week, but it’s a bit of a grab bag. Here’s what happened:
- Election Rejection Collection. We have a random collection of bits and bobs regarding election rejection this week, and they pretty much run the gamut. On the scary end of things, we have that one dude who was picked up outside DNC headquarters in D.C. with a bunch of knives and swastikas, although apparently he didn’t have any ranged weapons on him. Meanwhile, several advocacy organizations have filed lawsuits intending to challenge Texas’s new voter suppression law, and I’ll definitely keep folks posted on that one.
- Modest Vaccine Mandates. This week, Biden took some very decisive action on the current pandemic. The main headline is that he issued a federal vaccine mandate that requires all federal workers, as well as many healthcare providers, to get the vaccine within the next 75 days. He also passed a separate mandate requiring all businesses with 100+ staff to require either testing or vaccination for their workers and grant paid time off during vaccination. Additionally, he provided incentives for schools to require masks, and though Biden’s provisions stopped short of requiring vaccination to fly, his top infectious disease expert implied that might be on the table as a future order. When asked about the fact that Republicans are already threatening to sue him over this (because of course they are), Biden apparently simply replied, “Have at it.”
Your New Normal:
- Your Standard Senate Dysfunction. Biden’s decisive action does make the mess in the Senate look extra bad, but we’re pretty much just seeing the status quo there. The short version is that Joe Manchin is earning his title as Country’s Most Useless Democrat, announcing that he’s just gonna refuse to vote for his own party’s reconciliation bill because he doesn’t like the deadline and he doesn’t like the compromise reached. So now it’s an open question whether they’ll manage to pass anything by the internal deadlines, since reconciliation needs votes from all 50 Democrats in order to go through.
- State of the COVID-19. As was foretold by prophecy, pandemic unemployment benefits expired this week, but our workforce is still out of whack from the pandemic–which means the end of these benefits is likely to be rough for both individual workers and the whole economy. Meanwhile, cases in some places are so high that hospitals are reinstituting crisis standards of care. On one side of the country, Los Angeles became the first major district in the nation to mandate vaccination in schools for all students twelve and older. On the other, in Florida, an appeals court hearing the mask mandate court case decided to reinstitute the mandate ban on a temporary basis.
- Roe v. Why Are You Like This Reprise. It’s a silver lining, but we saw relatively quick actual response to last week’s SCOTUS nighttime nightmare adventure, which allowed a blatantly unconstitutional law to take effect in Texas. More specifically, Attorney General Merrick Garland filed a lawsuit against the bill on the grounds that it illegally infringes on constitutional rights, and it’s my hope that he’ll get a stay in place on the new law relatively quickly. In the meantime, as I mentioned last week, Indivisible has advocacy suggestions for this issue if you’re looking for things you can do as well.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve this opinionated duck 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 your thoughts on current events!