National News Roundup: Year 6, Week 3 (January 30 — February 5)
Well, another week has gone by, and the news really isn’t any better. I’m sorry to be the bearer of 2022, y’all. Hopefully we’ll get better luck next week.
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 pardon!–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:
As seems to be true every week, there are a lot of Election Rejection updates to report, and they’re full-blown bananas again. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Updates. Most of this week’s news is about the GOP being a) completely behind Trump and b) completely off the rails–and yes, I’m aware I basically just typed the same thing twice. First there was the part where the GOP censured two prominent Republicans who are participating in the House panel because, apparently, the January 6 insurrection–an event that, I remind you, killed ten people–was mere “legitimate political discourse.” Unsurprisingly, Trump immediately congratulated the RNC for their decision. Of course, he was already engaging in witness tampering by dangling pardons for January 6 participants and publicly threatening Pence because Pence defended his decision to refuse to overturn the 2020 elections. Trump was also in the news this week regarding his multiple attempts to seize voting machines during his last days in power. We also got to read more about his charming habits of ripping up official documents that he was legally required to preserve in office and hoarding documents at Mar-A-Lago.
This was a weirdly quiet week on the Biden Rebuilding front. Here’s what has happened:
- Blinking Biden. Other than news about Russia, which I’ll cover below, Biden stories were kind of an afterthought this week. There were, however, a couple of threads about how Biden is mad at his chief health officer, and about a COVID surge in ICE detention facilities. There were also a couple of stories about how Joe Manchin says that Build Back Better is dead, which I frankly feel is almost as much a statement about Biden as it is a statement about Manchin.
Your New Normal:
- Land War Landmine.* Okay, this is super not my lane, but it’s important so I want to attempt to touch upon it. The short version is that this is a tense time regarding Russia, as there are a lot of signals to suggest that Russia may invade Ukraine in the near future. Unsurprisingly, Russia is saying otherwise, and argues that the U.S. stationing troops in Eastern Europe is unnecessary. But the U.S. troops are actually there reinforcing NATO troops that were already deployed to respond to Russia’s military buildup, so obviously that’s an oversimplification. Needless to say, this is a tense time and we’ll want to keep an eye on this.
- Black Lives Still Matter. I am extremely disheartened to be writing about not one, but two police shootings in the last week. The lion’s share of media coverage is going to Minneapolis, where police fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke in his own home while serving a no-knock warrant for a completely different person. His parents are justifiably calling the act an ‘execution,’ and though no-knock warrants have been paused in the city, there are still no charges pending at the time that I write this. As the Washington Post notes, there was also a fatal police shooting in Tennessee, where nine police officers surrounded and shot a man holding a box cutter named Landon Eastep on I-65. And both of these stories are on top of the bomb threats being called into historically Black colleges and universities, which have been their own source of terror for Black communities over the last month.
- State of the COVID-19. COVID news this week is… a lot, y’all. The U.S. has now officially lost 900,000 lives to COVID, which, in case you were wondering, is way more than any other country with reliable access to vaccines. It’s an incredible indictment of our handling of the virus, especially because nearly half of those deaths occurred after vaccines became available. Meanwhile, our brand of ignorant nonsense is now also infecting Canada, where a week-long vaccine protest with bonus white supremacy flavoring has caused a state of emergency in its capital city of Ottawa. But in more positive news, Moderna was fully approved this week by the FDA, and Pfizer thinks it is nearing completion of a vaccine for children under 5.
- Recent Inmate Win. California was in the news this week because the state is closing down its death row, signaling that the state’s moratorium on executions is likely to be permanent. It’s a small step in the grand scheme of things, but honestly this week has been so awful that I’m glad I have anything good to report at all.
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 snow-loving mop 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 your hope for a functional water heater!