National News Roundup: Year 5, Week 35 (September 12–18)
After a brief break, the news is back to being a bad parody of itself–seriously, folks, I couldn’t make half of this stuff up. But here we are, and I haven’t found an escape hatch from this timeline yet, so here we will remain. Which means you know where to find me, if anybody needs anything.
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 Joe Manchin!–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. Okay, this one kind of runs the gamut again. There was a rally for the January 6 rally in DC this weekend, which unsurprisingly had a lot more proactive policing this time, and equally unsurprisingly had fewer participants as a result. There were also some stories about Mike Pence and his sad, sidelong peer over the gates of Treasonville last fall– presumably as part of the news about Trump’s head general ahead of yet another tell-all book about the Trump administration. And California’s governor successfully survived yet another recall election, which marks his fifth in four years. (I would ask why California republicans have nothing better to do, but honestly, I don’t want them to have anything better to do, if Texas is any indication.)
I’m pretty disgusted by this week’s Biden Rebuilding news, and we should be demanding that this administration do better. Here’s what I have for you:
- Distressing Deportations. The Biden administration is showing a marked mismanagement of border policy yet again this week, this time regarding Haitian displaced persons. The administration began deporting people via plane back to Haiti on Sunday, ignoring the fact that Haiti cannot accommodate them–remember, the President was assassinated in July and they had a devastating hurricane in August–and many of these people haven’t been living in Haiti for over a decade. Then after this began, footage began surfacing of border patrol officers on horseback brandishing whips at Haitian migrants, and I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Haiti, the oldest black republic in the world, was founded by slave revolution.
Your New Normal:
- Spectacular Senate Dysfunction. Okay, this next bit is highly technical and also sucks, so bear with me. The budget reconciliation bill, which we’ve been talking about being dysfunctional and stalled for weeks, is technically not an ordinary bill; that’s among the reasons it can be passed without dealing with filibuster nonsense. But it literally has to pass on a particular deadline, or we have a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic. Nonetheless the Democrats still have to make it to fifty votes, and multiple moderates of their own party are refusing to vote for it, again. It’s further complicated by GOP threats regarding the debt ceiling, which as I understand it would be legitimately very dangerous for our current economy if carried out, and intersect with the budget process in a number of ways. And in less dire but still very frustrating news, the Senate parliamentarian semi-arbitrarily decided that the reconciliation bill can’t include a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and I seriously cannot overstate how wrong she is about whether immigration is “incidental” to the economy.
- State of the COVID-19. There were some highlights this week, which I suppose is something. In vaccine news, Pfizer is apparently ready to submit data for emergency approval of vaccines for folks ages 5–11; the FDA also endorsed booster shots for elderly and immunocompromised Americans. In social news, census data also shows that COVID relief impacted national poverty rates. But most of this week’s COVID news… well it’s bad, Jim. The U.S. hit the gruesome milestone of 1 in every 500 Americans dying from COVID, disproportionately in places with low vaccination rates and among people of color. Our hospitals are overwhelmed in many places, especially in the South. Yet a quarter of eligible adults refuse to vaccinate, and GOP officials increasingly are publicly fighting vaccine mandates, despite the fact that experts increasingly are saying that mandates are the only way out of this mess. It’s like we’re all trapped in a lifeboat with people who insist that they have a constitutional right to poke holes in the lifeboat. Thanks, GOP, I hate it.
- Roe v. Why Are You Like This Reprise (again). There are more updates on this front, and it’s kind of good and kind of “are you kidding me.” Attorney General Garland, following up on his lawsuit against the bill, has moved for an injunction while the case is pending. (This part is not surprising, although it is edifying.) A doctor in Texas, Dr. Alan Braid, also wrote a public op-ed about the fact that he violated the law, essentially writing “come at me, bro” in giant neon letters. And sure enough, he’s already being sued, but neither plaintiff even lives in Texas, because standing is more of a suggestion under the new law apparently, and both plaintiffs are disbarred attorneys. In fact, one of the two plaintiffs is still serving out a criminal incarceration for felony tax evasion and is seeking $100,000 in “damages,” spelling out all kinds of things in a brief that is one wild ride, let me tell you.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve sukkot made for people’s pets 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 plants I can use for Megabit’s sukkah!