Year 3, Week 31 (August 18–24)

This week has basically been ten pounds of chaos in a five-pound can — it’s a rough ride featuring everything from rainforest arson to Trump deciding he’s The Chosen One. I’m sorry, this is in fact reality, but your ice cream is here for you and so am I.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a Twitter tantrum! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

With the Mueller investigation over and the Senate and House both on a break, the Russia Investigation has been pretty quiet. But here’s what I have right now:

The name of the game this week was Disregard of Governing Norms, and oh, what a week it was. Here’s what I have for you:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and good gravy, what even is the news right now. For making it through, you deserve this monkey reunion video and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 ice cream, cause we’re gonna need it!

Year 3, Week 30 (August 11–17)

Well, I got back from vacation and the nation was somehow even more on fire than I left it. (I swear I didn’t leave the stove on.) We’ll get through this and out the other side; it’s just going to take all of us pitching in to support each other.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a trip to Israel! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

With the Mueller investigation over and the Senate and House both on a break, the Russia Investigation has been pretty quiet. But here’s what I have right now:

This week’s Disregard of Governing Norms news, on the other hand, sure had attributes. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and good gravy, what even is the news right now. For making it through, you deserve this primer on zero-proof beverages and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 kudos for surviving a nine-hour Ikea trip!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 27 (July 21–27)

This week has a lot happening, and much of it can feel like a shell game designed to hide the ball from view — because it is. I’ll try to keep folks posted on everything going on, though some days it’s hard for me to keep my eye on the ball as well — those cups move really fast! (But we all do our best.)

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a policy change! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

It’s another week of heavy movement on the Russia Investigation front, and some of the news has major implications. Here’s what’s going on right now:

This week’s Disregard of Governing Norms news is just repeated installments of the Trump Is Horrible Show, but we have to pay attention to it anyway because it has implications. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this excellent cover of Old Town Road and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 full night’s sleep so I can feel all fancy!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 26 (July 14–20)

You know, occasionally people will remark on how I’m able to stare into the news void so much without getting jaded, and I don’t know what they mean — but then I look at a dog and pony show like this past week’s media circus and I’m somehow still amazed by how Extra it is. So I guess y’all have a point. (That said, I’m not sure if that’s a comment on my resilience, on 45’s smoke and mirrors, or both. It’s probably both.)

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a Twitter tantrum! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

After a few weeks of quiet, we saw some significant movement on the Russia Investigation this week. Here’s what I have for you:

There was mostly just one gigantic story on the Disregard of Governing Norms front, but it’s quite a saga. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve these videos of Broadway performers singing in the streets during last week’s blackout and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 your completed bingo card to win a prize!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 25 (July 7–13)

My sense this week is that much like my car, we’re all out of gas right now. It’s okay to rest and refuel, folks — in fact, it’s important, because this dystopia is an ultra-marathon and we all get tired sometimes. Take the time you need and come back ready to fight. (In the meantime, sloth party at my place!)

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a Twitter tantrum! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

It was actually a pretty quiet week for the Russia Investigation, all things considered, but we did see a couple of things. Here’s what happened:

We did see a couple of bizarre actions on the Disregard of Governing Norms front, in contrast. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve these calves with knitted earmuffs and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 better news from our interior!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 24 (June 30 — July 6)

The immigration news section remains on fire, but the rest of this week was nowhere near the horrorshow of the previous few weeks. Of course, this is rather like walking into a house and saying, “well, only one of these rooms is ablaze” — we can’t just sit and enjoy the mesquite flavor in the next room; we still have to act.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a subpoena! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

It was actually a pretty quiet week for the Russia Investigation, with the closest news technically being about Trump’s finances. Here’s what happened:

In contrast, there was a lot of Disregard of Governing Norms stories this week, and they cover a fair amount of ground. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this close-up view of sand and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 better news from the border!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 23 (June 23–29)

Despite the conclusion of Pride, this week’s news isn’t exactly rainbows and sunshine — the thunderstorms yesterday felt like appropriate ambiance. Things are pretty grim but we’ll get through this, if we take action and just keep swimming. I’m here if anybody needs anything.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a subpoena! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

We have a bit more than average Russia Investigation news, and most of it is fascinating in one way or another. Here’s what I have for you:

We saw a couple of Disregard of Governing Norms stories this week, and they’re about what we’ve come to expect — which is its own problem. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Scoring Goals Under Pressure. Soccer midfielder and all-around rockstar Megan Rapinoe announced this week that she would definitely not be going to the White House when her team won their upcoming World Cup quarterfinal match, except her version maybe contained more expletives. She then proceeded to score two amazing goals in the quarterfinals and pose like a purple-haired god at the jeering French crowd, which is the kind of self-possessed big energy I’m here for in 2019. After the game, Rapinoe reiterated that she wouldn’t retract anything she said about Trump — except the expletive, because it made her mom sad. Then just for extra excellence, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez invited Rapinoe to tour the House on Twitter, which Rapinoe accepted. With a party emoji.
  • Recent Court Resilience. Despite the SCOTUS news above, there were some good federal cases this week as well. In addition to the immigration cases listed, a federal judge allowed the emoluments case against Trump to go forward again, thwarting yet another attempt by this administration to make the unjust enrichment suits go away. I’m sure they’ll try again, but it’s still good to see the courts remain firm on this.

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this cat in a sailor suit and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 better news from the border!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 22 (June 16–22)


Folks, the news is never what I’d call great, but after several weeks of increasingly dispiriting nonsense, this may be the worst week we’ve had so far this year. I’ve restructured this week’s roundup under the Really Bad protocol, so you get your dessert good news first and we’re closing with things you can do to help. Try to hold on to the knowledge that it won’t stay this bad — we will come through the other side. I’m here if anyone needs anything.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a coal emission! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

The Good:

Constitutional Crisis Corner

The Russia Investigation was fairly quiet this week, all things considered. Here’s what happened:

We saw a couple of Disregard of Governing Norms stories this week, and for the first time in a while they’re just all about Trump being horrifying. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

  • Gag Rule Upheld in Appeals Court. The Ninth Circuit allowed enforcement of this administration’s Title X gag rule this week, which is pretty dispiriting news on several fronts at once. Just on its surface, the ruling’s not awesome because it set aside injunctions blocking enforcement, which means the administration to keep the rule in effect while the appeal is pending. But as the lower court injunctions suggest, the Ninth Circuit is a jurisdiction that’s not noted for its conservatism — the panel of three judges were all appointed by former Republican presidents. There’s another panel that will hear the case on the merits, and we’ll have to hope that the next luck of the draw is better.
  • Clean Power Setback.* The Trump administration is moving forward with its plan to roll back the Clean Power Plan, issuing a new rule on coal emissions ironically named the Affordable Clean Energy Rule even though the main goal is to save coal plants. The new rule relaxes emission rules considerably, giving states the option to punt on rolling back emissions entirely, so it’s not surprising that several clean-energy focused states already plan to sue.

The Very Bad:

What We Can Do:

  • Immigration Detention Conditions. I put together a list of suggestions for folks who want to help and have no professional or cultural ties to targeted populations. Tl; dr version: 1) Learn about major organizations’ efforts; 2) Talk to your government; 3) Donate time and money; 4) Disseminate information without contributing to panic. For attorneys and other folks with professional ties, there are already many organizing efforts underway, and I recommend checking them out. For impacted populations, many groups have suggestions as well. We’ll get through this, and action can help.
  • Iran Crisis. This one is down to mostly calling our reps, particularly given the encouraging Senate news from this week. You can find your House rep info here and your Senator info here, and as always, sites like ICalledMyReps and 5Calls have scripts for you.

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this ridiculous mashup and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 clone army so I can Do All the Things!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 21 (June 9–15)


Well, I said last week that the respite wouldn’t last, and sure enough, this week we were back to some truly fetid stuff. I recommend you grab a stuffed animal to cuddle before we begin, because some of this week is pretty nauseating.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a subpoena! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

We have a bit more than average Russia Investigation news, most of it mind-numbing. Here’s what I have for you:

We continue to see Disregard of Governing Norms each week, but this week, not all of them came from Trump. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

  • Flint Mulligan. The Internet felt its collective heart stop upon finding out that Michigan authorities have dropped all criminal charges relating to the Flint water crisis. But the full story is that while all charges were dropped and the investigation ended, the AG also plans to start another investigation, because the first one was botched pretty badly. Given the Michigan Attorney General’s record, perhaps people are right to be wary of another investigation from the same department.
  • Stewart: 9/11 Fund is No Joke. Though most of us think of former comedy news host Jon Stewart as his wisecracking and witty show persona, his response to the House Judiciary Committee’s poor attendance at a hearing for 9/11 first responders’ medical care funds was deadly serious. Referring to the empty seats as an “incredible metaphor” for the Committee’s disregard for the “sick and dying,” Stewart pulled no punches and called the hearing an “embarrassment to this country.” Whether or not Stewart’s impassioned pleas were the tipping point, the Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to extend the fund.

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this splashy flamingo chick and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) 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 of sleep!

National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 20 (June 2–8)


After weeks of nonstop raging dumpster fire, this week feels like a bit of a breather — it’s not full of especially great news, but nor is it especially fetid. I’ll keep watching for dropping shoes, but in the meantime we appear to have… caught a bit of a break? I know, I’m as shocked as you are (but I’ll take it).

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a subpoena! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

We do still have some Russia Investigation news, mostly about who is complying with what subpoena. Here’s what I have for you:

We continue to see Disregard of Governing Norms each week, but this week, not all of them came from Trump. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sure it won’t stay this manageable for long! For making it through, you deserve this story about superhero love and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and probably worse, sorry) 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 of sleep!