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THE BIG NEWS
'Pudding' Ron DeSantis Rules A Clockwork Orange Dystopia
The big story yesterday was the Daily Beast's report that Guantanamo Bay torture enabler-turned-Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is awkward and unnerving to be around. He apparently eats "like a starving animal… getting shit everywhere."
Enshrined in DeSantis lore is an episode from four years ago: During a private plane trip from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C., in March of 2019, DeSantis enjoyed a chocolate pudding dessert—by eating it with three of his fingers, according to two sources familiar with the incident.
Now, there's nothing wrong with eating with your fingers, many millions of people around the world do it every day. And I certainly know what it's like to get hangry. I'm not saying I want to spend any time in the same room as DeSantis, however, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt about the 2019 pudding incident.
Speaking of Florida and mental health, the Washington Post reports that more than 100 times a day in that state, "children and adolescents are involuntarily committed for psychiatric assessments under the Baker Act, a 1971 law.
In fiscal year 2020-21, involuntary exams happened more than 38,000 times to children under 18... a nearly 80 percent increase in the past decade, according to the most recent data. The law is so deeply enmeshed into the state's culture that it is widely used as a verb, as in: The 6-year-old was 'Baker Acted.'
Some children have been taken away in handcuffs. ...
This school year, a 16-year-old who made a joke about running into traffic, a 6-year-old who made an unspecified threat in class and a 15-year-old who spoke of self-harm when the school declined to recognize their gender identity all found themselves Baker Acted.
Florida is an "outlier" among states when it comes to subjecting children to involuntary commitment, the Post says. It's a disturbing story that's all the more bleak when you think about the man who oversees this increasingly oppressive system laughing in the faces of torture victims and licking pudding off his fingers.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Dept. of the Obvious: Yellen Says Banking Rules Need Update
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen yesterday told the Senate Finance Committee that the U.S. banking system "remains sound" despite the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. She also said in response to questions from Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren that the government ought to "reexamine our rules and supervision and make sure that they're appropriate to address the risks that banks face." (Doesn't she mean the risks they create for themselves?) Bloomberg News reports that U.S. regulators are preparing a rescue plan for another floundering regional lender catering to wealthy clients, First Republic Bank, that involves a larger bank buying it out. Finally, the stock markets swung back up after the Swiss central bank announced a bailout for scandal-plagued Credit Suisse.
Senate Votes to Repeal Iraq War Authorizations
It's been 20 years since the U.S., under the leadership of world-champion failson George W. Bush, launched an illegal and wholly unnecessary invasion of Iraq, followed by a prolonged military occupation that left hundreds of thousands dead, displaced millions of people, and guaranteed ongoing war in the Middle East. Yesterday, the Senate voted 68-27 to repeal two key Congressional authorizations that enabled the war, one passed in 2002 and another passed way back in 1991. As Roll Call reports, the successful repeal effort, which had the backing of President Joe Biden, "represented years of painstaking work on the part of sponsor Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and co-sponsor Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind. to convince enough colleagues, particularly Republicans, that U.S. national security wouldn't be harmed by ending the authorities." The Associated Press says it's unclear if House Republicans will call a vote; House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opposed the repeal bill when it came up two years ago.
- 7 Virginia Cops Charged with Murdering Man in Hospital Irvo Otieno, 28, was handcuffed and in a mental health crisis when deputies smothered him to death. via NBC News.
- Another 1,200 People Could Face Jan. 6 Charges A previously unreported October letter from a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. to a federal judge contains an estimate regarding future defedants that "could roughly double the number of cases filed so far" in connection to Donald Trump's 2021 coup attempt. via Bloomberg News.
- Nebraska Democrat Ends Trans Rights Filibuster After 3 Weeks State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh reached an agreement with legislative leaders that will end her filibuster to block a GOP bill banning gender-affirming care, but details were not immediately available. via KETV 7 Omaha.
- Macron Bypasses Parliament, Forces Through Unpopular Austerity Bill French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday invoked a constitutional power to bypass the lower chamber of parliament and raise the retirement age by two years, a step that union leaders warned would pave the way for a far-right victory in the next general election. via Le Monde and the Guardian.
- China Rejects Biden Demand to Sell TikTok or Face Ban "The U.S. has yet to present evidence that TikTok threatens its national security and was using the excuse of data security to abuse its power to suppress foreign companies," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said. via the Associated Press.
- Michigan Democrats Are Ready to Revoke 'Right-to-Work' Law Such "laws have been credited with the dramatic decline in union membership and growing income inequality in the United States over the past several decades." via the Washington Post.
That's how much yellowcake uranium concentrate is missing from an unspecified site in Libya inspected this week by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. The ten missing drums "may present 'a radiological risk as well as nuclear security concerns,'" the New York Times reports.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
3/17: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect to round up the week in news. Then, they're joined by Matt Strackbein, also know as The Letterhack, and filmmaker Janek Ambros to discuss Matt's comic book adaptation of Janek's 2019 film "Mondo Hollywoodland."
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
I'm looking forward to reading Will Sommer's new book on QAnon.
Why does he think her kid won't be well-adjusted? What's going on in his head?
"It would be foaming, spitting, uncontrollable rage. It was traumatic. And the experience, in the end, was terrifying."
-- A former staffer to Marianne Williamson's 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, speaking to Politico about what they and 11 others called her abusive management style. Williamson calls the allegations "slanderous" and writes that "Former staffers trying to score points with the political establishment by smearing me might be good for their careers, but the intention is to deflect attention from the important issues facing the American people."
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