A lot of things happened (including me catching COVID-19 and thus spending the past week binging Frasier). Here are some of the things (besides me still not being able to taste my Häagen-Dazs).
Gotta Stay Folksy, Folks
Even with multiple criminal charges hanging over his head, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) announced on Monday that he’s running for another term.
- The GOP lawmaker announced this while sitting in the same pickup truck where he had filmed himself in October announcing his impending indictment.
- Fortenberry’s charges include lying to the FBI about his alleged ties to a foreign campaign contribution scheme.
- He’s pleaded not guilty and is set to appear at a hearing today.
Biden To Urge Filibuster Changes For Voting Rights
The President will use his speech today in Atlanta, Georgia to press Democratic senators to tweak the rules of the notorious filibuster so that they can pass crucial voting rights bills without GOP obstruction. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), famously, remain holdouts, though they support the underlying voting rights legislation.
- This is the first time Biden will use his bully pulpit for a full-throated endorsement of filibuster reform. He signaled support for similar filibuster rule changes last October and again in December but declined to fully wade into the Senate Democrats’ debate over the issue.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who’s hellbent on bullying Democrats into keeping the filibuster exactly the way it is for obvious reasons, is holding a press conference of his own on the subject with Senate Rules Committee ranking member Roy Blunt (R-CO) today.
- McConnell’s presser comes a day after he put out a fire-and-brimstone memo warning Democrats against any filibuster reform.
Frustrated Voting Rights Groups Won’t Show Up At Biden Speech
Some of Georgia’s top voting and civil rights groups are too fed up with Biden’s approach to filibuster reform — and the voting rights legislation that might come with it — to attend the President’s speech today. The advocates want Biden to provide an actual plan to get bills like John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
- “We have been screaming, we have been yelling, we have been talking about this for over a year,” a co-founder of Black Voters Matter told NPR.
- Leading voting rights activist Stacey Abrams won’t be there either, though that’s because of a scheduling conflict, according to the New York Times. She tweeted a welcome to Biden last night.
RonJohn Weaponizes Christmas Parade Attack In New Ads
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who has broken his pledge to not run for reelection, put out a couple of new campaign ads yesterday pushing conservatives’ tried-and-true “soft on crime” talking point in which he pointed to the deadly Waukesha Christmas Parade to claim that “Democrat policies have been disastrous for America.”
We’re About To Shatter A Record For COVID-19 Hospitalizations — Again
Falling just shy of the record 142,273 COVID-19 hospitalization cases on Jan. 14, Monday saw a staggering 141,385 cases in total, setting up the U.S. to hit a grim new record as soon as Tuesday.
Red Cross Announces First-Ever Blood Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on blood supply in the U.S. by causing blood drive cancellations and issues with staffing, according to the Red Cross. New blood donors plummeted by 34 percent last year.
U.S. Strays Further From Climate Goals
Thanks to a 6.2 percent jump in greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 compared to last year, Biden’s plans to slash carbon pollution 50 percent by the end of decade has gotten even more challenging to realize.
“New research shows how news coverage influences countries’ emergency aid budgets” – Nieman Lab
“Yale, Georgetown, Other Top Schools Illegally Collude to Limit Student Financial Aid, Lawsuit Alleges” -The Wall Street Journal
Maya Angelou To Become First Black Woman On Quarter
The U.S. Mint announced on Monday that the agency has started rolling out new quarters featuring the famed late poet as part of its American Women Quarters program. Here’s what it looks like:
First Pig Heart Into Human Transplant
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center reached a huge medical milestone last week by transplanting a pig heart into a human patient, who survived the procedure and is breathing on his own.
Drink Your Pee, Anti-Vax Leader Tells Followers
Christopher Key, an outspoken opponent of the COVID-19 vaccine, recommended on Telegram what he called “urine therapy” instead of the shot because, he claimed, “God’s given us everything we need.”
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