National News Roundup: Year 6, Week 5 (February 13–19)
For most of the week, the news felt like it was holding its breath, which is never a comfortable feeling. Then this evening, one of the things we were waiting for happened when Putin invaded Ukraine via Donetsk and Luhansk. I can’t really say it’s better to have the shoe drop, but I’ll definitely keep everybody updated from here.
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 text message!–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 was a whole flood of Election Rejection stories this week, and we saw some related bits and bobs that might as well go in this section as well. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Updates. On the January 6 front, the head of the Oathkeepers was denied bail by a second judge this week, meaning he’ll continue to be held in jail pending his July trial. Additionally, the Washington Post published a cache of text messages to then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that were subpoenaed by the panel, and though they’re hardly a smoking gun, they’re definitely worth reading. An attempt by Trump to claim immunity against civil lawsuits regarding January 6 was rejected by a district court judge on Friday. Meanwhile, a Trump appointee district court judge issued an absolutely bananas opinion holding that only the Department of Justice can sue under the Voting Rights Act–which will probably get overturned on appeal, but good gravy. And speaking of Trump news, a judge in New York also ordered Trump and his children to testify in the NY AG’s civil suit–which technically is about his business practices, not election fraud, but you know what, same difference at this point.
As I mentioned above, the big news on the Biden Rebuilding front is aggression with Russia. Here’s what has happened:
- Land War Landmine.* As we entered the week, despite the stalemate over the weekend, the Biden administration cautioned that threat of Russia invading Ukraine remained very high. Media began running more stories on Donetsk and Luhansk, regions of Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists had strongholds. Then yesterday, the U.S. told the U.N. that Russia had a list of Ukranians to put in camps, and continued urging diplomats and affiliates to move to safer locations. Just this evening, Russia “recognized Donetsk and Luhansk’s independence” and began ordering Russian troops into both regions. Needless to say, this is a volatile situation with a lot of implications, and it looks seriously likely that we’re seeing the beginning of a land war in Ukraine.
Your New Normal:
- The Great Avocado Embargo. It feels kind of fitting that I honestly don’t have any normal news for you this week, but I do have one throwback to the Weird section. After a U.S. inspector who oversees the import of Mexican avocados received a death threat, we canceled avocado imports last Saturday, and the ban lasted for the whole week. But avocados are back on by the time I’m typing this, because the ban was lifted on Friday. So uh, welcome back to your new normal I guess?
- State of the COVID-19. State of the COVID-19. For another week, COVID news is startling in its disconnect. We’re still learning about the BA.2 subvariant, and we’ve reached a million excess deaths total during the pandemic (though not all are directly from COVID). Experts are concerned that people are losing the thread about practices. And with California officially transitioning to “endemic” status and most states removing mask mandates, while high-risk people are… well, still high-risk, it’s easy to see why experts are saying that. Meanwhile, the “Freedom Convoy” in Canada is also ending, mostly with arrests and towed vehicles, and as Canadian truckers try to distance themselves, U.S. Congress reps are looking into who started it.
- Recent Medical Resilience. Recent Medical Resilience. This week, a third person was cured of HIV using a novel medical procedure called a haplo-cord transplant. Notably, this patient was the first woman cured using this method, and she’s also the first mixed-race patient. It’s an awesome advancement during a very strange time.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve stories about Hank the Tank 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!