The news this week feels sort of odd and unmoored–there are a lot of stories that feel contradictory or confused. That said, there’s also a lot that’s very concerning, and we definitely need to keep on top of it all. I’ll do my best to demystify where I can.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a plane ride!–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:
For yet another week, the Election Rejection flying circuses have multiplied, and we’ll likely see more of this before it starts to get better. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Update: FBI Tour of Mar-A-Lago. In a less-than-shocking turn of events, Special Master judge Eileen Cannon did not stay her own injunction of records review, as the DOJ requested last week. Instead, she named a New York judge, Raymond Dearie, to be Special Master and gave him until November 30th to go through everything. For their part, also unsurprisingly, the DOJ is appealing the decision just like they said they would. Meanwhile, Trump is issuing vague threats again about what will happen if he’s indicted, and Archives isn’t even sure if all of the purloined documents have been returned.
- Insurrection Update: January 6 and Other Trump Charges. While all of the above is happening, the DOJ probe into January 6 is still going strong as well, and increasingly circling closer to Trump. Meanwhile, the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, has rejected a settlement offer on her civil suit against him, which may signal a plan for further lawsuits. And if you’re having trouble keeping track of the six different investigations into Trump currently happening, the New York Times has drafted a helpful recap.
- Election Rejection: Candidate Edition. Perhaps the most concerning story thread this week was the news that twelve major GOP candidates in various 2022 gubernatorial and senate elections refused to confirm they would honor election results. This number underscores just how much democracy itself appears up for vote in the 2022 elections, which isn’t exactly news but it’s still really disturbing and worth revisiting every so often.
This was also a relatively active week on the Biden Rebuilding front. Here’s what has happened:
- Striking A Deal. Biden managed to diffuse a major labor dispute this week, stepping in as freight railroad workers threatened to strike over untenable and unsafe working conditions such as excessively long hours and absolutely no sick leave, even unpaid. Unions and management have tentatively reached a deal after over 20 straight hours of negotiations, and though it’s still subject to union ratification, it has forestalled a strike. (Notably, the deal does involve more paid time off.)
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. The big news in Contagion Corner is definitely that Biden went on 60 Minutes on Sunday and opined that the pandemic was over. (He also noted that “no one’s wearing masks” anymore and thanks Mr. President, I hate it.) His blithe announcement sure was a choice, given that we’re still seeing 400 deaths per day, we’re still in a public health emergency his administration hasn’t ended, and he literally just asked Congress for COVID money. The comment was almost certainly an attempt to contain the damage ahead of 2020 elections. But just in case you needed the confirmation, public health officials and experts all over the country will gladly tell you that the pandemic’s not over. (And so will I, loudly and often.)
- Climate Change Crisis in Puerto Rico. While discussing bad news, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Hurricane Fiona has left the entire island of Puerto Rico without power. Adding insult to injury, the storm landed within a day of the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, though thankfully so far the death rate has been much, much lower. The island was still recovering from Maria’s devastation when Fiona hit, which will likely make needed repairs even more difficult.
- Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Speaking of news from five years ago, the esteemed governors of Texas and Florida took a page straight from the Trump DHS playbook this week, sending asylum-seeking migrants to specific blue-controlled locations as a publicity stunt. The “resettlement” efforts seem to frequently involve misleading migrants, fabricating information, and refusing to tell authorities they are coming, all of which are pretty counter to proper protocol as well as human decency. Both Desantis and Abbott have also been very clear that they’re doing this to punish Democrats. Incredibly, the Washington Post reports that many of these people appear to be legally paroled, meaning that they are legally within the United States, and it’s likely many have viable asylum claims as well.
- Recent Corporate (?) Resilience. The founder of the $3 billion company Patagonia made the interesting decision this week to transfer his entire company to nonprofit trust, setting up the annual profits to go towards efforts to combat climate change. He’s also not getting a tax break from the donation because the controlling entity will be a 501(c)(4), and in fact he will need to pay a $17.5 million gift tax as part of the transfer. Apparently Yvon Chouinard, the company founder, is considered kind of a corporate weirdo because he’s known for this kind of thing, but it’s still really awesome.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. Nonetheless, for making it through, you deserve this dancing doggo and a more functional 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 tiktok videos involving cats!