National News Roundup: Year 2, Week 1 (January 21–27)

By gabriellah money (becca’s boots), via Wikimedia Commons

I described the news this week to someone as “chaotic petty” earlier today, which seems as good a descriptor as any — it’s shades of dirty surreality nearly all the way down, my friends. Still, that’s better than last week, so I suppose I’ll take it.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a Medusa, unless you ask Courtland Sykes! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

There was a metric ton of news on the Russia Collusion Investigation front this week, and some of it was pretty wild. Most of it can be boiled down to updates on the Mueller investigation, one way or another:

In addition to all of those gems, this week there was also some rare movement in both directions on the Emoluments Clause issue:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Net Neutrality Executive Orders.* Governors of Montana and New York both signed executive orders this week enforcing net neutrality in their states. Because the FCC’s decision preempts direct regulation of ISPs, both of the executive orders require state agencies to only do business with ISPs that offer neutral services. I’m genuinely really curious to see what happens to these orders legally, and I’m also excited to see states taking proactive steps to try to preserve an important process. So, thanks Montana and New York! We forgive you for Greg Gianforte and Donald Trump. For now.
  • Cleveland Indians Come Clean. The Cleveland Indians announced today that they are retiring their beloved racist caricature of a mascot from team uniforms, opting for a new depiction beginning in 2019. While it would be cool for them to stop calling themselves ‘the Cleveland Indians’ while they are at it, or possibly just fully retire the merchandise instead of continuing to sell it, I’ll take baby steps where I find them.
  • Nassar Nightmares End. Speaking of sports, this past week also concluded a notorious sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, the doctor convicted of sexually assaulting ten adolescent athletes who presented to him for medical care from 1995 through 2018. The sentencing hearing drew more and more accounts of abuse into the open, ultimately culminating in over 150 people disclosing sexual abuse in the guise of medical care (including multiple Olympic gymnasts). He was sentenced to 40 to 175 years of incarceration for the underlying ten sexual assault on a minor convictions; this is in addition to a 60 year sentence for child pornography already handed down and a separate sentencing hearing for Michigan charges that begins on January 31. There is also a separate lawsuit pending, with over 140 plaintiffs, alleging institutional complicity on the part of Nassar’s affiliates USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. All told, it’s truly staggering that this pattern continued for twenty years as uninterrupted as it did, and the closing of that chapter of sports practice can only be a good thing.

And that’s all the news that I have for now. If we’re following old patterns, next week will be a good news cycle. And I think we can all use some good news, so I’m gonna go ahead and hope for it. But either way, catch you next time!

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