This week was pretty eventful as everyone gears up for the holidays, but there’s still a surprising dearth of horrorshow news. It’s a Hanukkah miracle, y’all. (Speaking of holidays, the NNR will take its customary end-of-year break after this roundup. Barring any unforeseen nightmare news, we will return in the new year on Tuesday, January 3.)
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 an indictment!–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 is a relatively big week on the Election Rejection front. Here’s what we are tracking:
- Election Rejection: Winding Down the House. The House January 6 committee confirmed today that they are referring Trump to the DOJ for 4 different crimes in connection with January 6, most notably incitement of an insurrection itself. They’ve also released an executive summary of their full report, which is already 160 pages long–the full report, which will be even longer, will be released on December 21. The referrals are not binding, and the DOJ already has an investigation open on this matter, but they are likely to review the House committee’s compiled testimony as part of that investigation. In related news, the House Ways and Means Committee will spend tomorrow discussing Trump’s tax returns, which will likely have interesting repercussions as well.
The Biden Rebuilding updates are once again mostly about other branches interacting with the Biden agenda, though we do have one story from the Fed. Here’s what I have for you:
- End-of-Year Updates. There are a lot of odds and ends to report this week as we head into the holiday break. On the legislative side of things, the Senate did indeed pass the military bill that made its way through the House last week, which will end mandated COVID vaccination for the armed services. Meanwhile, on the judicial side, Attorney General Garland is moving to end sentencing disparities in federal cases involving distribution of crack and powder cocaine. This is a long-overdue move for an issue of racial inequity that has been on the books for over thirty years and was originally crafted by Biden himself. The Supreme Court also issued an administrative stay on Title 42, which will preclude Biden from ending it and letting asylum seekers enter the country properly again. Finally, the Fed raised interest rates again, but at a lower increase than the previous several have been.
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. With COVID cases still on the rise, the Biden administration is reviving their free test campaign again–households can now order another four tests by U.S. mail. Meanwhile, yet more studies were published showing that Republican policies increase COVID fatalities, and as if to underscore this point Ron DeSantis announced he wants to indict people who implemented COVID vaccines. There was also a study finding that long COVID has killed about 3,500 people since the pandemic began. But in more positive tripledemic news, there were also a few stories suggesting that the flu season may be peaking early, which would hopefully ease things a bit if it recedes.
- Twitter Trash Fire. Twitter with Elon Musk at the helm continues to be a hot and concerning mess. This week, he banned a bunch of journalists from the platform because they covered a story about a bot that tracked his jet’s flights. Eventually the accounts were reinstated, only for Twitter to release a new policy stating that it will ban users who share links to other social media platforms. Then that policy was deleted without being officially rescinded. Finally, Musk capped off the week by taking a poll about whether he should step down as CEO, which resulted in users collectively voting him off the island (though he has not stepped down as I type this).
- Recent Environmental Advancement.* Scientists in California achieved a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion this week, when they successfully created ‘ignition’ using giant lasers–in other words, they created a reaction that generated energy at a rate exceeding the activation energy. This breakthrough reflects decades of work, and has a lot of potential applications for clean energy and safer nuclear use. It’s an exciting advancement!
So that’s all I have for this week, and for that, we can all be grateful. For making it through, you deserve this baby tortoise routine 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 more hours in the day!