This week, something in my laptop gave up the ghost and fried itself–my personal theory is that it saw this week’s COVID news and took matters into its own gears. I have promised to provide better working conditions if it accepts repairs; we’ll see if the motherboard finds that persuasive. In the meantime, the NNR continues on a loaner desktop! Please pardon any hiccups while we all adjust.
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 an RNC!–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 was a remarkably calm week on the Election Rejection front, likely because there are so many other places for right-wing wingnuts to put their attention right now. That said, we did get a few bits and bobs–here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Updates. Salesforce, the entity that handles the RNC’s emails which the RNC is also suing, made it clear this week that they plan to give the January 6 panel the goods despite said RNC lawsuit. (Given the overall quality of Trump-branded attorneys over the past few years, I can’t really say that I blame them.) Meanwhile, in the wake of evidence regarding a literal insurrection blueprint labeled “1776 Returns”, a judge decided this week that former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio will be held without bail pending trial.
For yet another week, the big news on the Biden Rebuilding front is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Here’s what has happened:
- Land War Landmines.* The Russian invasion of Ukraine has now been ongoing for 25 straight days. The port city of Mariupol is being hit particularly hard, with Russia targeting multiple civilian shelters in an attempt to force a surrender. Experts think the ongoing aggression could have global food supply implications, and obviously the humanitarian crisis remains very severe. Several EU officials visited Ukraine this week, potentially signaling support coming from that corner, and Biden is attending a European council summit on the topic later in the week. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Congress by video on Wednesday, asking for further aid and generally trying to move the U.S. to further action.
Your New Normal:
- SCOTUS Scuttlebutt. Today marked the beginning of the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s SCOTUS nomination, which is expected to run for about three days in the Senate. So far it appears to mostly be going well, though of course it already features exactly as many Republican dog whistles as you might expect. Meanwhile, current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized over the weekend, apparently due to a flu-like infection that the family is saying is not COVID. That said, Thomas’s wife has said a lot of things this week, and I give basically all of them the lack of credibility that they are due.
- State of the COVID-19. As I type this, parts of Europe and China are both showing strong signs of another variant COVID outbreak, this time an Omicron subvariant called BA2. The same variant is also already making up about a quarter of COVID infections here in the U.S. If this outbreak follows previous patterns, we’ll likely start to see a BA2 spike here within the next couple of weeks, which presumably also means a return of mask mandates and/or social distancing (one hopes). The timing sucks for a lot of reasons, but it’s particularly bad because the White House just ran out of funding for its testing and vaccine programs, and Congress declined to fund them further in the bills passed last week. This is forcing the programs to begin shutting down this week. Meanwhile, while Pfizer and Moderna are both seeking authorization for another round of boosters for adults over 65, only 44% of the population have even gotten the first set. Trust me, I too wish I were not typing any of this paragraph.
- Recent Court Resilience. For yet another week, the main good news comes out of the courts. This time, a federal judge found that civil liability can be imposed on the Kentucky former clerk who famously ignored the Supreme Court in 2015 by refusing to give people marriage licenses. To unpack that with less legalese: Essentially, said clerk, Kim Davis, looked at a civil suit brought by the people she wronged and said “you can’t sue me because First Amendment.” The judge essentially responded to her by saying, “The Fourteenth Amendment says yes they can.”
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 goat trying a banana 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 a functional motherboard!