Year 5, Week 39 (October 10-16)


As is fitting for late October, we’re starting to see the specter of elections really shift the news, especially on Capitol Hill. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at least for this week, it sure is insufferable. Here’s hoping things get a bit less dysfunctional in DC in coming weeks.

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 debt ceiling!–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:

We’re seeing an exponential increase of nonsense on the Election Rejection front, and it does feel like this will get worse before it gets better.  Here’s what happened this week:


We also saw some Biden Rebuilding news, particularly regarding immigration.  Here’s what I have for you:


Your New Normal:


The Bad:


The Good:


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 how-to cat sushi video 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 more things to put under the Good section!

Year 4, Week 28 (July 26–August 1)


We have a number of unpleasant stories swirling around this week, and it feels like we’re somehow getting worse but staying stagnant at the same time. It’s a bit of a neat trick, and I would find it impressive, if I weren’t so busy being frustrated.

Standard standing reminders 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 post office!–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corner:

On the Disregard of Governing Norms front, we have yet another week of Operation Terrible and overall administrative mishandling. Here are the things to know:


Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:


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 talking seal breakthrough and an eventual better government.  I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully more tolerable) 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 favorite animal videos!

Year 4, Week 24 (June 28–July 4)


We’re back to the combination COVID crisis/civil unrest this week, assuming we ever left, and I would way rather be at a Taco Bell. Parts of the country are starting to close back up, but racial tensions are still very much 45’s bread and butter, and let me tell you, I am not proud to be an American this week.

Standard standing reminders 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 rally–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corners:

Another week of different forms of constitutional crisis, this time mostly under the “COVID” and “Not COVID” categories.  First up, we have more lingering stories from the Russia Investigation, though none of them are what I’d call a fun read.  Here’s what has happened: 

  • Minor Mueller Updates. Speaking of improbable news involving Russia, the Supreme Court decided this week to block the release of select Mueller investigation documents until a hearing in the fall–an unprecedented move when we’ve never even had this kind of fight about subpoenaed documents before.  This means we will likely get a decision about the documents’ release, ultimately, but not until after the election, so that’s fun.  Also, Pence was in the news this week for raising almost $500K from donors to pay his legal fees for defense during the Mueller investigation.

On the Disregard of Governing Norms front, we have another week of growing COVID crisis and shrinking leadership.  Here are the stories to know:


Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:


So that’s what I have for this week, and I think we can all agree that it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this baby shark rescue and an eventual better government.  I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully more tolerable) 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 photos of your pets because I could frankly use the pick-me-up!

Year 4, Week 5 (February 16-22)


It has been three weeks since the death knell of impeachment articles, and the news cycle is settling into new routines. Unfortunately, the routines kind of stink. But nevertheless we persist, yes?

Standard standing reminders 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 acting Director of National Intelligence!–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corners:

We saw yet another active week for Attorney General Overreach, and Trump’s insinuation that he’s actually in charge of law enforcement was a whole new form of looking glass logic.  Here’s what I have for you this week:    


We also saw some interrelated Disregard of Governing Norms, which will likely continue to ramp up in the coming weeks.  Here’s what has happened so far:

  • Wikileaks Witness Lines. Wikileaks founder and real piece of work Julian Assange claimed this week that a Trump representative offered him a pardon back in 2017–all he had to do was say that Russia wasn’t involved in the hack job that leaked countless DNC emails. Naturally, 45’s spokeswoman denied this allegation and claimed that Trump hardly knows the person who allegedly made the offer, Representative Dana Rohrabacher. I’m gonna level with you, both Assange and Trump are sufficiently sketchy that it’s pretty hard to say who is more credible, but we may see more about this in the coming weeks.

Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:


So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve bumblebees falling asleep face-first in flowers 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 better Attorney General!

Year 4, Week 4 (February 9-15)


Welp, the impeachment process has been over for about a week and a half, and I definitely think it’s fair to say we have a new constitutional crisis corner. Funny how Trump never closes one investigation door without opening a new crimetimes window, amirite?

Standard standing reminders 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 dubious budget proposal!–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corners:

Well folks, after a week and a half of this nonsense it is my sincere displeasure to introduce you to yet another form of Constitutional Crisis Corner, which I’m tentatively calling Attorney General Overreach.  Here’s what has been happening:    

  • Parnas Implications.It would already be hard to know what all of the above means for the ongoing investigation into Lev Parnas, who is a Rudy Giuliani associate–it’s being led by DOJ officials in New York while Barr accepts Giuliani info on potentially related matters in PA, and that’s kind of an inherent conflict. But news also broke that the NY branch is considering adding new charges that would impact Giuliani, and that just throws gasoline on a department already on fire.  The potential for misconduct here is really high, so we should keep an eye on this.

We also have a final few death rattles of Whistleblowing Ukraine Biden Bingo, which I think still deserve a separate section.  Here’s the mop-up of the old scandal:


Your “Normal” Weird


The Bad:


The Good:

  • Clearing the Playing Field. In the wake of the New Hampshire results, we have a new crop of 2020 hopefuls with low numbers who have decided to drop out. It’s bittersweet for the strongest of the contenders (you had a good run, Andrew Yang), but less so for candidates like Michael Bennet and Deval Patrick, who never broke 1% in the early primaries. And whatever your opinion, it furthers consolidation and coalition-building at a time when we really need it. So it’s certainly far from terrible to have a smaller playing field as we head into the Nevada caucuses on February 22.  

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 hedgehog being enticed by a snack 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 hot cocoa for bedtime!

Year 4, Week 3 (February 2-8)


This week, ho boy–we saw the end of impeachment, a mess in Iowa, and a whole bunch of other stressful, inconclusive stories. Somehow the week doesn’t feel as dire as some of the weeks immediately preceding it despite all of this, but that might just be the exhaustion talking.

Standard standing reminders 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 primary!–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!  


Constitutional Crisis Corners:

As the paragraph above suggests, it’s only a few days after the impeachment vote and we’re already seeing a smorgasbord of Disregard of Governing Norms.  Here’s what has been happening:  


As the paragraph above suggests, it’s only a few days after the impeachment vote and we’re already seeing a smorgasbord of Disregard of Governing Norms.  Here’s what has been happening:  

  • Emoluments Nightmare State.We saw some emoluments news this week too, and none of it was good. The Washington Post ran a story about the exorbitant rates the secret service is charged every time he travels to Mar-A-Lago and other Trump properties, which is pretty much literally just pouring taxpayer money into the Trump empire. They likely ran this story in response to an appeals court decision this week to reject the emoluments case brought by Congressional Democrats on the theory that they lack standing. This decision, and I cannot stress this enough, does not touch the merits of the case; it was made on a procedural technicality and is not a comment on whether Trump is violating the Emoluments clause of the Constitution (which, in my opinion, he super is).

Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:


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 Beluga whale returning a lady’s iPhone 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 impeachment articles!

Year 4, Week 2 (January 26–February 2)


Another week, another set of messed-up impeachment proceedings. On the plus side, the rest of this week’s news looks a bit less dire, so that’s something–but I recommend comfort food nonetheless.

Standard standing reminders 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 caucus!–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corner:

At the time that I type this, Whistleblowing Ukraine Biden Bingo is winding down in the Senate, which is not to anybody’s benefit except maybe Trump’s.  Here’s what has happened since last week:


Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:


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 day in the life of a baby bat 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 in the day!

Year 4, Week 1 (January 19-25)

Advocacy!

This week was mostly taken up by Senate trial proceedings, but there was some other pretty painful news as well. At this point, honestly, I’m starting to think we’d be better off being governed by the group of monkeys that accidentally wrote Hamlet. At least there would be less feces thrown everywhere.

Standard standing reminders 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 book promotion!–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!  


Constitutional Crisis Corners:

At the time that I type this, Whistleblowing Ukraine Biden Bingo has had a whole bombastic week of proceedings, and we’re nowhere near finished.  It’s going to be a long summary this week, because it’s hard to boil down this many hours, but here’s my best stab at it:


The lines are pretty blurry between Ukraine and Disregard of Governing Norms this week, because so many stories are both.  That said, these are the stories that I thought really highlighted our step back from recognizing norms on the Ukraine front:


Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:

  • Recent Court Resilience. This one is only borderline good, but it’s what I’ve got, so let’s roll with it: The Supreme Court declined to fast-track a challenge to the Affordable Care Act this week, meaning that the challenge will remain in place throughout the upcoming year until a decision is reached next term. This, of course, means that the question will still be unresolved during the 2020 election, but it also means the ACA won’t get immediately gutted by a Supreme Court that’s frankly not making awesome decisions of late, so I’ll take it.

So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve these two golden retrievers’ veggie test trials 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 in the day!

Year 3, Week 48 (December 15-21)

At the time that I type this, Trump has officially been impeached by the House. A lot of people have asked me what I think of that news, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t know what to think, because nobody knows what will happen next–we’re all off the rails here, folks. We’ve never had a situation like this before.

Standard standing reminders 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 Christian magazine!–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corners:

At the time that I type this, Whistleblowing Ukraine Biden Bingo has officially resulted in impeachment of President Trump, but it’s still chaos as usual and Congress has gone on break for the holiday.  Here’s a quick summary of the uncertainty:


We also saw a handful of miscellaneous Disregard of Governing Norms stories this week, though impeachment really had center stage.  Here’s what I have for you:    

  • Trump Christ Comparisons Abound.   As part of the impeachment circus above, Republicans who were displeased with the proceedings compared Trump’s treatment to, among other things, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  That last one apparently riled up some people over at Christianity Today, who wrote in an article shortly after: “The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. . . . None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.” Naturally, Trump’s camp responded by discrediting Christianity Today as “a far left magazine” and comparing Trump to Jesus again.  (I’ve tried turning reality off and back on again, but it didn’t seem to help here.)

Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:

  • Painful Immigration Updates.  This was another painful week for immigration.  The DHS inspector general found no CBP misconduct in the recent deaths of two Guatemalan migrant children in custody, even as news also broke that one of the children was on the floor for many hours after passing away before anyone found him.  Guatemala is expected to finalize an asylum deal with the U.S. in the near future, which will require people coming up from the northern triangle to first seek asylum there before they will be eligible for U.S. asylum.  (To remind folks who are less familiar with the topic, this is a very dangerous proposition for folks seeking asylum from the northern triangle, and will likely result in a lot of deaths.)  And in slightly gentler news, several states informed the administration that they would continue to accept refugees despite no longer being legally required, but it’s disturbing that they’re able to make that call in the first place.

The Good:


So that’s what I have for this week, and I think it was more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this mom yelling at her pundit sons on C-SPAN 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 photos of your pets!

Year 3, Week 43 (November 10-16)

Advocacy!

Impeachment public hearings began this week, and I could easily write ten pages of analysis just on those two hearings alone–increasingly, it looks like Democrats are playing Battleship while Republicans are playing Deuces Wild. We’re due for a lot more of the same this upcoming week, so we’ll have to see what kind of impact the hearings have over time. In the meantime, there’s already a lot to puzzle over.

Standard standing reminders 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 women’s soccer team!–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!   


Constitutional Crisis Corner:

Another week, another very full card of Whistleblowing Ukraine Biden Bingo, which continues to dominate the news cycle.  Since we had three days of testimony and six witnesses, it’s getting a bit crowded down there, so this week’s news is separated out by day:   


As in previous weeks, Disregard of Governing Norms somehow continues on despite the impeachment circus also happening.  Here’s what I have for you:    


Your “Normal” Weird:


The Bad:


The Good:


So that’s what I have for this week, and I think we can all agree that it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve these beautiful portraits of fruit 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 reprieve from the cruelty of linear time!