All three of this week’s major stories are exceptionally bleak, and the news has been a slog for months. That creates predictable struggles–we’re all running out of steam, but we’ve got swaths more to iron out. It’s okay if you need some time to regroup; the burnout struggle is very real. The NNR and I will be here when you get back.
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 House panel!–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’s more Election Rejection to report this week, and it’s still all over the map. Here’s what happened this week:
- Insurrection Updates. After being threatened with a bad time last week, Trump former chief of staff Mark Meadows did eventually start cooperating with Congress, and will appear before the Jan 6 House panel sometime soon. Meanwhile,his contemporary Jeffrey Clarke is pleading the fifth in response to threats of being held in contempt himself. (The panel has already interviewed 250 people and expects to be holding public hearings beginning next year.) And on a related tangent, news also broke this week that Trump’s first positive COVID test was before the first Presidential debate, which means he knowingly endangered Biden’s life by refusing to wear a mask during the debates before vaccines were available.
All things told, this was a pretty quiet week on the Biden Rebuilding front. Here’s all I have for you:
- Biden Administration Updates. The biggest news for the Biden administration this week is that GOP members threatened a government shutdown over his vaccine and testing mandates, though a stopgap measure was passed and signed into law by the week’s end. Meanwhile, the House GOP is wrangling with the latest blatant bigotry parade from Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebart, concerned that attempts to rein them in could muck with their midterm elections.
Your New Normal:
- Michigan School Shooting. A student in Michigan opened fire on his classmates on Tuesday, resulting in four fatalities and eight major injuries. As details slowly leaked out, more and more attention was drawn to the shooter’s parents, who had been called into the school that day to discuss concerns about their son’s behavior. Eventually, the parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter; the shooter himself was charged with a count of terrorism as well as murder. Both the shooter and his parents are in custody as I type this, the latter held with a $500,000 bond due to their attempt to evade arrest. Despite the unusual charges involved, I place this story under Your New Normal because it is the 29th school shooting this year and the 21st since August 1. Despite the prevalence of shooter drills in American schools, gun violence remains a major systemic educational problem.
- State of the COVID-19. The main COVID news this week is again the omicron variant, which was identified in the U.S. as of Wednesday. At the time that I type this, it has been found in seventeen states and it’s believed the mutation may have been here for weeks already. Early studies suggest that omicron may be three times more likely to cause reinfection than delta, possibly because it shares genetic material with the common cold. Needless to say, this may signal new restrictions in our future, which is disheartening given the mass tantrums about vaccine and mask mandates we were already seeing. Nonetheless, early research does not suggest that omicron is more dangerous than previous variants; it’s just more contagious.
- Forced Birth News. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday for a very high-profile forced birth case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, regarding a Mississippi law that makes abortion illegal at or after 15 weeks. The law, along with a Texas law that was heard earlier this season, are both intentionally and blatantly unconstitutional under current legal precedent, which is commonly referred to as “Roe v. Wade” precedent. Nonetheless, in oral arguments on Wednesday, the current Supreme Court appeared to signal that it was planning to overturn about sixty years of settled precedent. If that happened, it would substantially limit reproductive healthcare in about half the states in the country.
- Recent Election Resilience. We did have a couple of pockets of positive election news this week. Here in Massachusetts, a special election in the North Shore resulted in the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1848. And in Georgia, Atlanta elected Democrat Andre Dickens to be its next mayor.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve this wildlife social hour 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 warm socks because this apartment is cold!