National News Roundup: Year 6, Week 8 (March 6–12)
This week seemed to get rougher and rougher as it went, and it also dragged like a butt-scooting dog. Then we got to the weekend, which wrapped with a little light temporal larceny. So, you know, it has Been A Week. (Our house is coping through copious application of hamantaschen, and we’re willing to share if you are.)
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 Senate bill!–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:
Things are a bit calmer again on the Election Rejection front, but that makes them no less strange. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Updates. There were a number of court case developments regarding January 6, between 1) the indictment of Enrique Tarrio, who leads the Proud Boys; 2) the criminal conviction on all counts of Guy Reffitt, who was the first January 6 defendant to go to trial; and 3) the lawsuit that the Republican National Convention is bringing against the entire January 6 House Panel, a piece of absolutely wild news that only gets wilder the longer you stare at it. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson was in the news because his embrace of Russian propaganda led to instructions from Putin to Russian media to give his segments as much air time as possible, according to a recent document leak. (I’ll talk more about the implications of said propaganda for the invasion of Ukraine below.)
As I mentioned above, the big news on the Biden Rebuilding front is invasion of Ukraine for another week. Here’s what has happened:
- Land War Landmine.* Invasion of Ukraine by Russia has escalated for another week, and attacks continue on both military targets and civilian targets alike. News outlets have also reported the intentional abduction of mayors of two different cities. U.S. and NATO officials think that recent Russian propaganda claiming that the U.S. has stockpiled chemical weapons in Ukraine–this would be the propaganda that Tucker Carlson is spreading–is likely a false-flag operation designed to create cover for Russia using chemical weapons in the region themselves. The ongoing aggression has been devastating for Ukraine, with mounting casualties and over 2.5 million people displaced. Countries all over the world are also still creating a vast array of consequences for Russian nationals in response, between 1) significant military losses; 2) massive economic sanctions; 3) a ban on Russian oil imports and other energy products by several countries, 4) the plummeting value of the ruble, and 5) removal of Russia’s trade status by the EU and several affiliated countries.
Your New Normal:
- Busy Week on the Congress Floor. There were a number of bills that saw major movement this week, and some of them were very surprising. Both the House and the Senate managed to pass a bill that dramatically overhauls the U.S. Postal Service, providing much-needed financial support as well as more transparency and data collection. Both houses also passed a government funding bill more generally, which included $14B in aid to Ukraine but did not end up keeping the $15B for COVID aid that was in the original version. The Senate GOP also managed to block debate on a federal abortion bill. The House did pass the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act, however, which will be the first federal anti-lynching legislation in the U.S. after it is reconciled with the Senate version. It is important to note, incidentally, that while lynching was most documented by the NAACP from 1882–1968, both recent high-profile cases such as the murder of Ahmed Arbery and documentation of lynching by hanging cases in the 21st century illustrate the modern need for this kind of legislation.
- State of the COVID-19. COVID news is a bit quiet this week, with cases on the decline in most of the country and no major changes to policy. There were a couple of drips and drabs, however. NIH reported findings of a recent study concluding that mandatory masking in schools reduced COVID rates during the delta surge. We also learned that mask mandates will continue on many forms of transportation, including air travel and public transit. And speaking of transportation, if you’re bored, you can always read more about the copycat Freedom Convoy that is doing loops on the Capitol Beltway, because nothing says freedom like sitting in traffic repeatedly on purpose.
- Recent Court Resilience. We did see some positive court cases this week, so I guess that’s something. In Texas, the hateful policy declaring gender-affirming care to be a form of child abuse has already been enjoined, with a court noting it likely violates the State Constitution. Meanwhile, SCOTUS decided to leave court-drawn voting maps in place in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I think we can agree that it’s more than enough. For making it through, you nonetheless deserve this brief fine cinema 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 back my 2AM!