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Tuesday, January 11, 2022
BY SARAH LAZARUS & CROOKED MEDIA

 -Tommy Tuberville making sense of a pandemic the way he knows how

President Biden endorsed a Senate filibuster carveout to pass voting-rights legislation during his speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, ramping up the pressure on Smanchinema to lay down their bullshit and let the party protect democracy.
 

  • After forcefully denouncing disgraced former president Donald Trump on the anniversary of January 6, Biden brought his sharp new rhetoric to Georgia, framing the voting-rights fight as the emergency that it is. “The next few days, when these bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation. Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand. I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic. And so the question is where will the institution of the United States Senate stand?”
     
  • While Biden has expressed his support for a filibuster carveout before, Tuesday’s address marked his most passionate and high-profile comments on the subject. Republicans’ obstruction of the legislation, Biden said, left Democrats with “no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.” Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking ahead of Biden, warned about the consequences of failing to act, and noted that “nowhere does the Constitution give the minority the ability to unilaterally block legislation.”
     
  • A number of leading voting-rights and civil-rights groups were pointedly absent from the audience, in protest of what they view as the White House’s inaction on democracy protections over the last several months. “We do not need any more speeches, we don’t need any more platitudes,” James Woodall, former president of the NAACP of Georgia, told the New York Times. “We don’t need any more photo ops. We need action, and that actually is in the form of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, as well as the Freedom to Vote Act—and we need that immediately.”

The big unknown is whether Biden’s public pressure on Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will help put those bills within reach. 
 

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to hold another vote on election legislation as soon as Wednesday. When Republicans block it for the 93785th time, Schumer is expected to call a vote on filibuster reform by January 17, forcing Manchin and Sinema to pick a side. Schumer invited the authors of How Democracies Die to a Tuesday caucus lunch because the cast of Hamilton was not available to explain the urgency of the legislation to (two particular) Senate Democrats, though it’s unclear whether his desired audience was in attendance. 
     
  • Either way, the fact that Manchin was confidently bullshitting about the history of the filibuster as recently as Monday doesn’t exactly bode well for his receptivity. Manchin suggested on Tuesday that while he’s still opposed to a voting-rights carveout, he’d be open to other changes like bringing back the talking filibuster and getting rid of the 60-vote threshold to open debate—but only if 17 Republicans are willing to help Democrats change the rules. (There will never be 17 Republicans willing to help Democrats change the rules.)
 

Voting-rights advocates have a point that Biden and top Democrats have taken their sweet time in publicly treating the GOP assault on democracy like a five-alarm fire, and there’s no guarantee that Biden finally using his bully pulpit will make a difference. But with so much at stake, it’s certainly necessary to try. 

Check out the latest episode of Takeline! This week, Jason and Renee talk to Guardian journalist Tumaini Carayol to discuss Novak Djokovic’s immigration hearing ahead of the Australian Open. Plus, they recap #KlayDay at the Chase Center and check in on the Knicks and Hawks. New episodes of Takeline drop every Tuesday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations hit a record high this week, with 145,982 patients hospitalized. COVID patients now fill about 30 percent of the nation’s ICU beds, and governors across the country have mobilized more National Guard members to help staff overwhelmed hospitals. Against that alarming backdrop, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday announced a deal with the city’s teachers union to reopen schools, with provisions for additional testing and metrics that would close schools with major outbreaks. (Lightfoot also announced that she herself has tested positive and will be working from home.)

Meanwhile, the details of the Biden administration’s rapid testing plan are coming into view: Private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight at-home rapid tests per person, per month starting Saturday, and the White House has encouraged large insurance companies to partner with pharmacies so that people don’t have to pay for tests and later apply for reimbursements. Uninsured Americans will be able to request free tests from a federal website set to launch later this month. 

Afghanistan is on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe this winter. Aid groups have estimated that nearly 23 million Afghans, out of a total population of 39 million, already don’t have enough to eat. Many also don’t have enough money to heat their homes at night, forcing people to choose between food and fuel. The country’s economy had been in rough shape before, but completely collapsed after the Taliban’s takeover: Nearly 80 percent of the previous government’s budget came from foreign aid, which has since been cut off. The international community is now scrambling to deliver emergency aid and supplies without giving the Taliban money and legitimacy. On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced $308 million in additional humanitarian assistance, to be distributed through independent humanitarian organizations.

In 2021 mental health is finally a thing, especially as people are not feeling like their normal selves. Let’s support one another and talk openly. Whether or not therapy is your thing, knowing it’s available and affordable is important, for you or perhaps a loved one.  

Millions of people are trying and loving online therapy. It doesn’t have to be sitting around just talking about your feelings.

So, what is therapy, exactly? It’s whatever you want it to be.

You can privately talk to someone if your stress is too much to manage, you’re battling a temper, having relationship issues, anxiety, depression, etc… Whatever you need, there’s no more shame in these normal human struggles. We take care of our bodies, why not our minds, too? Without a healthy mind, being truly happy and at peace is HARD.

BetterHelp is customized online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist, so you don’t have to see anyone on camera if you don’t want to. It’s much more affordable than in-person therapy and you can start communicating with your therapist in under 48 hours.

It’s always a good time to invest in yourself, because you are your greatest asset. See if online therapy is for you by heading to BetterHelp.com/crooked for 10% off your first month.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) announced that California will take steps to produce its own low-cost insulin. 

Andrea Jenkins, a Minneapolis Democrat, has become the first openly transgender city-council president.

Amazon workers in Bessemer, AL, will begin voting in a re-do unionization election next month.

Maya Angelou has become the first Black woman to appear on a U.S. quarter. The new coin went into circulation on Monday.

. . . . . .


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