National News Roundup: Year 2, Week 8 (March 10–17)

This week’s theme is “What Is Even Happening at the White House Anymore,” which looks like the What Even Matters Anymore Game except it’s several orders of magnitude more confusing. I’ll try to break it down for y’all as best I can, but it’s a trip through the tea leaves for yours truly too. We’ll muddle through together! (Like what I did there?)

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 trade surplus! — 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:

The White House played a lot of shell games with the Russia Investigation this week, using it to obfuscate an impressive week of Casual Disregard of Legal Process. We’re going to start with what was hidden under the cups, because there was a lot happening on this front. I’ll do my best to boil it down, but bear with me folks, because a lot of this stuff is straight from Russia with love.

So now that you know what’s under the cups, let’s talk a bit about the Russia Investigation this week, which was being largely used as lovely decoration but still does merit its own summary:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

  • Are You Tired of Gun News Yet (Because I Sure Am). There was yet another accidental teacher-created shooting this week, this time in California, and unfortunately with one student sustaining minor injuries as a result. Meanwhile, students all around the nation walked out of school for seventeen minutes this past Tuesday in a nationally-organized walk out to protest gun violence in schools. Lest people think this was simply about cutting class, hundreds of students here in Boston braved a Nor’Easter when they didn’t even have school to participate, and students in Arkansas accepted corporeal punishment for the protest when told to choose between the option and simple suspension. (I wanna be cool like Generation Z when I grow up, because these kids are not messing around.) Meanwhile, a Parkland father urged students to ‘Walk Up Not Out,’ which the Internet wasted no time chronicling as both a bad plan and an inappropriate response to nonviolent protest. I’m choosing to view it as a grief-induced attempt to exert control over an uncaring universe, although I don’t know what the rest of the right wing’s excuse is.
  • Tragedies in Texas and Florida.* This week saw significant social tragedies in both Florida and Texas, with no obvious solutions for either. In Florida, a pedestrian bridge collapsed at a state university with no obvious known cause, killing at least six people (with numbers expected to rise as they search the remaining rubble). And in Austin, Texas, a serial bomber has killed multiple people in four different explosions, three of which appeared to target Hispanic and black residents specifically. (The fourth bomb used a tripwire, suggesting that the bomber no longer had specific targets in mind, which might explain why the victims of the fourth bombing happened to be white.) As I write this, police don’t appear to have any leads on who is causing these explosions, although they appear confident that the bomber is expanding both the radius of affected area in the city and the sophistication of explosion methods.
  • Immigration Updates. Trump visited a border wall prototype in California this week, where he wasted no opportunity to criticize the California government and its governor Jerry Brown personally on immigration policies. (If I were Jerry Brown, I would take Trump saying I “do a terrible job” as a sign I’m doing something right, but that’s just me.) You can see photos of each uninspiring prototype — some of which really do have see-through panels for when cartels “throw large stacks of drugs” over the top, because apparently ignorance is catching — but honestly, it’s a bunch of walls. None of them are likely to be funded, and none of them would be visually worth writing home about even if they were.

The Good:

And that’s what I have for you; I think we can all agree that it’s more than enough! Hopefully next week will be fewer than ten gallons in a two-gallon roundup. But either way, presumably you and I will be horrified together — and that’s the Magic of MAGA America.