National News Roundup: Year 2, Week 38 (October 7–13)

The news was a peanut butter and tuna fish sandwich this week — definitely strange and kind of gross, but minimal toxic waste involved. After the rough few weeks we’ve just had, it’s nice to catch our collective breath for a moment! But that doesn’t mean anybody likes eating tuna fish with peanut butter.

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 Federal Reserve! — 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:

We saw a couple of instances of Casual Disregard of Governing Norms this week, and both of them were pretty weird. Here are the main things to know:

This week’s news about the Russia Investigation was more about things that might impact it than the Russia investigation itself, for the simple reason that not much happened on the actual investigation. But here are a couple of tangentially related things to know:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

  • Census Citizenship Suspicions Confirmed. The guy who wants to add a citizenship question to the census — and is currently being sued over it — suddenly remembers speaking with Steve Bannon as well as Kris Kobach on the topic as of this week. Unsurprisingly, the thing that jogged his memory was evidence in that same lawsuit, which of course contradicts the story he told Congress (because lying to Congress is all the rage these days). Obviously, the evidence produced helps the plaintiffs’ prove that he was trying to chill immigrant participation, particularly when the content of the email from Kris Kobach is reviewed — so I suppose that’s a silver lining of sorts in this otherwise gross story.
  • Immigration Updates. Since we pretty much never have immigration updates that are anything good, all I’ve got for you is varying degrees of garbage on the immigration front. The worst is yet another Groundhog’s Day attempt to reinstate family separation at the border, this time specifically for asylum seekers who have literally broken no laws, because the sequel is always worse than the first one. But we also saw the official publication of rules punishing immigrant access to public benefits, kicking off a sixty-day comment period (which you may recall I said a few weeks ago is my cue to start yelling everywhere about it). For more information on what you can do and why this is a cruel policy designed to hurt people, Protecting Immigrant Families has you covered; I strongly suggest reading what they have to say and leaving a comment before December 10 if you can!
  • Trans Student Discrimination. A Virginia school decided this week that a trans student wasn’t allowed in either bathroom during an active shooter drill this week, leaving her outside while everyone else participated. This raises all kinds of questions — is this student is allowed to pee at school? — but it’s particularly galling when you note that the lockdown was in the bathrooms. So I guess this school’s plan in the event of an actual shooting was to let this student be the bait? (For Pete’s sake, during deadly shootings people hide in closets. It’s not like schools only let students seek shelter there if the kids can prove they’re coats.)

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, in all its weird and mostly gross glory. For making it through the news, you deserve this video of two guys letting bear cubs out of a dumpster and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more 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 peanut butter treats for Megabit! (He’s a dog. He likes peanut butter, probably even with tuna fish.)

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