National News Roundup: Year 5, Week 44 (November 14–20)
This past week looks an awful lot like the previous week–a lot of back-and-forth; a lot of doubling down; a lot of mess. We did see progress in a few areas, but there was an awful lot of rough news to swallow as well. I recommend washing it down with ice cream.
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 guilty plea!–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:
There’s more Election Rejection to report this week, and it’s still all over the map. Here’s what happened this week:
- Insurrection Updates. This week was just… more of everything. Trump aide Steve Bannon, who was officially indicted for contempt of Congress and turned himself in on Monday, has pleaded not guilty to illegal Congressional dickitude. And speaking of pleading, more people accepted plea bargains for their role on January 6. The media remains particularly focused on that one guy they keep calling ‘the QAnon Shaman’ like that’s a thing–he got 41 months, by the way. Trump is still trying to block a bunch of his records from reaching Congressional committee hands. And said committee is still making it rain subpoenas.
This was also a strange week for Biden Rebuilding news, as the reconciliation and infrastructure situation has had several twists and turns. Here’s what I have for you:
- Biden Bill Updates. As I mentioned last week, a deal was brokered for potentially voting on the Building Back Better Act sometime in the next few weeks, but after the initial procedural vote there wasn’t been much movement–the party experienced a lot of gridlock, and Manchin began citing our massive and unprecedented pandemic inflation problem as his new reason he won’t vote for it. But that changed on Friday, when the House passed the Build Back Better Act in a 220 to 213 vote despite eight straight hours of overnight GOP nonsense. This complements the final version of the infrastructure bill, which Biden signed into law on Monday. Of course, implementation of the bill will be its own process, especially with Biden struggling to address related supply chain issues and several provisions of the bill potentially tied to the reconciliation package, which still needs to pass in the Senate. And speaking of the Senate, somewhere in there, Senate Republicans yet again blocked debate on passing voter protection laws, which makes the third or fourth time in the past month.
Your New Normal:
- The Political Role of Violence (cont). After Rep Paul Gosar took it upon himself to tweet a video that depicted him murdering fellow congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last week, the House formally issued a censure in a 222–208 vote and removed him from his committees. (Notably, two members of the GOP did vote to censure him, though no Democrats voted against.) Predictably, and highlighting the role that menace plays in the current Republican party, Trump endorsed Gosar because of the whole thing. Meanwhile, in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, after nearly thirty hours of deliberation Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. Many people, including myself, believe this to be a reflection of our system’s inherent bias against accountability for white supremacist action, and protests occurred in several cities following the acquittal. With the conclusion of the Rittenhouse case, eyes now turn to the Ahmaud Arbery case, another high-profile murder case with obvious racial underpinnings.
- State of the COVID-19. As of this week, boosters are now available and recommended for all adults over 18. This is unfortunately timely, as infection rates are rising again and several states are identifying a new substrain of Delta. But on the plus side, both Merck and Pfizer have made strides towards a form of effective pill-based treatment for COVID, and there wasa lotof news this week about Pfizer seeking emergency authorization for its pill. So our ability to respond to the virus is increasing at least a bit as well.
- Trans Progress. It was modest progress, but there were some positive stories about trans-affirming policies this week. The Olympics are beginning to revise their guidelines with an eye towards encouraging fairer practices for trans and intersex athletes. Meanwhile, in France, the descriptive French dictionary Le Robert has added a nonbinary personal subject pronoun, ‘iel‘ (a combination of ‘il’ and ‘elle’), to its online dictionary.
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 baby bear’s trip to Prague as well as 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 more hours in the day!