EDITORS' BLOG
BREAKING

Multiple news organizations report that Justice Breyer plans to retire at the end of this term.

It’s important to note that this is good news. Or at least, as is often the case these days, it forestalls worse news, which in this case would be Breyer leaving the bench with the Senate in Republicans hands. It is a given today that a Republican senate would simply refuse to seat any Supreme Court nominee from a Democratic President. This sets up a high stakes nomination process which is likely to come down to how much game-playing we can expect from Senators Manchin and Sinema.

Ukraine Notes #1
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ACCORDING TO AXIOS, THE Emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden Monday at the White House in part to discuss contingency plans to supply natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia provides 40% of Europe’s natural gas needs. In addition to whatever possible interruption of supply might be caused by actual hostilities, gas supplies are a key lever Russia could use in any tit for tat of sanctions or economic hostilities that could follow a land invasion. The global economy is already struggling with pandemic driven supply chain woes and inflation which is driven in significant part by high energy prices. A cut off of fuel supply to Europe or more likely just a major price shock could wreak havoc on the global economy when it is already highly strained and vulnerable. Qatar is one of the world’s top producers of natural gas. So it’s uniquely positioned to ramp up supply to ward off or cushion any supply shocks.

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Where Things Stand: FDA Halting Use Of Some Monoclonal Antibodies Treatments Bursts GOP’s Anti-Vax Bubble

But some Republicans are already using the Biden administration’s new, common sense decision to pour gasoline on their baseless federal overreach fights.

The Food and Drug Administration removed two monoclonal antibody therapies from its list of approved treatments for COVID-19 this week, at least temporarily. Citing clinical data, the FDA said in a statement that it has found two of the treatments “are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant, which is circulating at a very high frequency throughout the United States.” HHS sent out a letter to state officials this week, alerting them that the federal government would stop handing out the treatments made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly to states for now, according to the Washington Post which obtained a copy of the letter.

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Some Early Indications Of What Texas’ Restrictive Voting Law Will Mean

Matt Shuham’s article on the chaos unfolding in Texas right now is worth a read from beginning to end.

In short, in the wake of the state’s new voter restriction law, voters are confused and election administrators are overwhelmed. March primaries are approaching, and the Texas secretary of state’s office seems to be providing little in way of guidance.

For example: Houston’s elections administrators only learned of a key state database for voter information after an Austin official held a press conference to speak out in frustration. Another example: the secretary of state’s online instructions for absentee voters remained out of date until shortly after TPM contacted the office, asking about them.

Read the full piece here.

Addendum
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I don’t want to get myself tagged as the guy who thinks Trump’s done. Far from it. I’m just pointing out what may be some fissures in the edifice. There’s one dimension I wanted to add. Everything Trump talks about now is in the past and about him: The Big Lie, Russia, Tony Fauci. When was the last time you heard him talk about the wall or crime or whatever other rightist nationalist applause lines? There are some. But not much. In a way this started in the earliest days of his Presidency when he became obsessed with how his 2016 victory wasn’t sufficiently appreciated, how the Russia probe was trying to steal it from him, etc.

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COVID Notes #10
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THIS IS ONE OF the most interesting Twitter threads I’ve read in some time. I’m sure it’s gotten lots of discussion in specialist circles. But it hasn’t been much a part of the general news coverage of COVID. Basically new strains of the flu tend to evolve from recent dominant strains. So people build up an immunity to the Flu A that was big last year and Flu A evolves into Flu B that might get a lot of people sick two or three years in the future. But COVID isn’t working that way, at least not so far. Omicron didn’t evolve from Delta. And Delta didn’t evolve from the Alpha, Beta or Gamma lineages, says Adam Kucharski.

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Is Trump’s Grip Loosening?
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Our most consistent failure of perception is the tendency to project the realities or trends of the present indefinitely out into the future — like with ex-President Trump. Most of us assume that the 2024 GOP nomination is Trump’s for the taking if he decides to run and that he will run. That’s still the best assumption and it’s my assumption. But over recent weeks and with a burst of commentary in recent days it’s no longer the only assumption. There are at least some cracks — seeming cracks? — in Trump’s hold and they center for now on Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

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Where Things Stand: Cheney Isn’t Entertaining Newt’s Call For Her (And Others) To Be Jailed

The only two Republicans on the Jan. 6 Committee have responded to calls made by a member of their own party — Newt Gingrich — suggesting that they, and the rest of the panel, should be jailed for the committee’s investigative work.

At this point, it’s par for the course for Gingrich to traffic in Trumpian outrage, as Josh Marshall outlined here. But it’s also an illustration of the Republican Party’s ongoing divide and the ways in which the party as a whole has responded to the bombastic individual who commandeered it for his own ends.

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Newt Threatens Jail for Jan 6th Investigators
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Newt Gingrich, who is advising the House GOP leadership, is now threatening jail time for the members running the select committee investigation of the January 6th insurrection. “I think when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down,” Gingrich told Maria Bartiromo. “The wolves are gonna find out they’re now sheep, and they’re the ones who are, in fact, I think, going to face a real risk of going to jail for the kind of laws that they’re breaking.”

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Rejoice—Kyrsten Sinema’s Political Career is Already Over

Amidst all the disappointment and tribulation of recent days please join me in taking a moment to step back, in a posture of mindful gratitude, to contemplate the fact that Kyrsten Sinema’s career in electoral politics is already over. Yes, the damage she’s already done will be difficult to remedy. She still has three solid years to do yet more damage. And she probably will. But none of that damage, none of the hijinks and characteristic game-playing to come, will or can change her electoral fate. In political terms, she’s already dead senator walking. And the most perplexing but paradoxically delightful part of it is that she doesn’t even seem to realize it yet.

How can I be so sure she’s a goner in such an uncertain time and in a reelection campaign almost three years away? It’s not just the increasingly likely primary challenge, which could end her Senate career on its own. Her problem runs much deeper. She has already made herself essentially unelectable, whether her quest for reelection ends in a primary or the general election.

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| News

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the state’s big new election bill, SB 1, into law in September — part of a Trumpian wave of new election restrictions across the country — the governor said the bill would help rebuild “trust” in the state’s elections. 

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| News

One week before Jan. 6, Fox News host Sean Hannity was trying to make the White House see reason.

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| Muckraker

The same people who organized Trump’s fateful rally on the Ellipse had something else in store on Jan. 6: a separate, previously unreported rally planned in front of the Supreme Court.

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| Muckraker

Days after the November 2020 election, the Oath Keepers were preparing.

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| News

News outlets trot out the term every time Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) make headlines: “moderates.” 

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Ep. 207: The Voting Rights Crescendo
Ep. 207: The Voting Rights Crescendo

Josh and Kate discuss the seeming end of (most) Democrats' push to reform the filibuster and pass

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