I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I needed a nap even before I caught up on this week’s news. Then I read about the past week, and I needed a nap that lasted all season. Tragically, bears only hibernate in winter–but hey, at least we have the NNR!
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 voting law!–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:
This week’s Election Rejection news feels… listless, if I had to characterize it. Here’s what I have for you this week:
- Insurrection Updates. The first Capitol rioter convicted of a felony was sentenced this week, though he received eight months’ incarceration rather than the eighteen months the prosecutor was seeking. In other Trump election court news, apparently I was pretty prescient with the Laugh Test comment, last week because attorneys who filed spurious election cases are now getting dragged through a sanctions hearing. Apparently, at least one is also refusing to follow rules for said proceeding, so we’ll see if any consequences happen. Of course, at least one election challenge is somehow still going, and Maricopa County just approved $3M to replace the voting machines that Cyber Ninja probably tampered with during the recount.
- Democrats Inaction. Moving from old election rejection to new, there were a number of different responses from Democrats to, y’know, everything this week. The Texas Democrats are still in DC as I type this, and though Biden gave a speech about voting rights he hasn’t really done much else. Vice President Harris has insinuated that something may be coming down the pike, but for now, it’s not really clear what organized action may be forthcoming.
As always, there were also a few updates for Biden Rebuilding. Here’s what has happened:
- Biden Administration Updates. Though there wasn’t much action on voting rights, the Biden administration did start delivering child tax credits this week.They also released a $3.5T budget plan to go with the infrastructure package, which would tackle climate change and healthcare as well as raising taxes for the wealthy. (Unsurprisingly, Republicans are already fighting about that last part.) Meanwhile, Attorney General Garland has formally banned prosecutors from seizing journalists’ records unless they have, y’know, some kind of reason to investigate said journalist. It’s depressing that this is news, but here we are.
Your New Normal:
- Climate Change Crisis.* Unsurprisingly, climate change news remains bad for another week, because this is in fact our new normal. Unprecedented heat waves continue in the Pacific northwest and California, resulting in severe fires and an extreme drought. Meanwhile, Europe has the opposite problem, with unprecedented floods in Germany and Belgium killing at least 180 people. As I mentioned above, there is some legislation on the table in Congress right now, but it’s unclear whether that will go through or how much it will ultimately help.
- Crap Court Decisions. This was also a bad week for federal court decisions, though those are rapidly emerging as a new normal as well. The Fourth Circuit concluded that a gun law imposing age restrictions was unconstitutional, willfully concluding that “virtually every Amendment” applies to 18-year-olds even though we literally have an amendment about alcohol consumption. And a federal judge in Texas concluded that DACA has always been unconstitutional because… I don’t know, reasons? I’m gonna be honest with you, we’ve litigated this exact issue multiple times already so it’s pretty broken that this judge is even opining about it.
- State of the COVID-19. Speaking of immigration, Ted Cruz was in the news this week for blaming COVID numbers on immigrants, because of course he freaking was, but it seems infinitely more likely that the zillion GOP antivaxxers are playing a role. That situation is getting worse, by the way, with Tennessee firing an official for vaccine outreach to teens and Florida selling ‘Don’t Fauci My Florida’ merch. Abroad, however, vaccination is being mandated for health workers, and there’s an in-field push to require the same here in the U.S. This may be in part because cases are unquestionably rising here due to Delta variant contagion, which also caused a massive Dow drop today. The CDC also released a report outlining the massive uptick in overdoses that have occurred since the pandemic began, which really should be getting more national attention. And Canada announced it would reopen the U.S. border in early August, but with everything else going on we may see that walked back before it happens.
- Frito Lay Strike. I’m sure many folks reading this have heard about the ongoing 500-person Frito Lay strike by now, since it just finished its second week–but I think the horrific circumstances that prompted it deserve more attention. In addition to regular 84-hour work weeks, which workers say are accomplished by forcing them to work double- and sometimes triple-shifts, a published letter regarding the strike cited the experience of “having us move the body” and return to work when a staffer dropped dead on the factory floor from exhaustion. Other outlets document high rates of suicide and heart attacks, particularly during heat waves. Workers also note that their wages have only increased about $0.77 in the past twelve years, despite the constant overtime requirement and heavy demands of the job. It’s a striking story that really highlights just how much we are living through a second Gilded Age.
- Awesome Medical Advances. A neurosurgeon was in the news this week for creating a machine that successfully taps into brain waves to aid in verbal communication. Though the technology is still being refined, it has incredible implications for speech therapy, and it’s also just really cool to see this kind of scientific breakthrough. It’s a great piece of news from the health sector!
So that’s what I have for this week, and I think we can agree it was more than enough. For making it through, you deserve sealions sealioning into an interview and 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 sealions to crash my meetings!