Is What Biden Wants "Irrelevant"? - The Tuesday AM Quickie 6/7/22

I was really hoping to write Boris Johnson's political obit, but alas, the world isn't ready. - Corey

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Taser Drones in Schools: Hey, Why Not Terminators, Too?

It was kind of a slow news day. The Summit of the Americas is a dud. The televised Jan. 6 committee hearings don't start until Thursday. And the gun control talks... well, we'll get to that. New shootings and scares happen every day, but the journalistic urgency around the problem seems to have faded and it's fallen off the front pages. America's news editors apparently decided people would stop checking the news if it was all mass murder all the time. And maybe people do need a break! But I do wonder, is part of the reason that nothing gets done on this issue the fact that we turn our attention to other things at the earliest opportunity?

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the Democrats' point person on gun control, continues to project optimism about the hopes for some kind of bipartisan legislation actually passing soon. Contrary to our headline yesterday, there is currently no "gun control bill" under consideration; rather, negotiators are looking at a package of separate small bills, none of which go as far as President Joe Biden called for in his prime-time speech last Thursday. Republicans are now using that speech to blame Biden for spoiling their appetite for approving even the most tame compromise measures. Still, per the Washington Post:

Biden's sharp speech does not appear to have derailed the talks, which never included many of the provisions he called for. "It was unhelpful," said the Republican aide briefed on the talks. "But, also, he's irrelevant."

Ouch. However, a Congressional aide calling the president irrelevant on this issue is a very pot-meet-kettle comment. If any progress is made, it will likely be at the state level, at least until the far-right Supreme Court interferes. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul yesterday signed 10 gun-related bills into law, including one that raised the minimum age for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle to 21, which is an example of something this Congress almost certainly won't pass. But that kind of action is not possible in every state, which was a big topic of conversation at the U.S. Conference of Mayors this past weekend in Reno, Nevada. "We're pissed off," Louisville's Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer told the New York Times. "We're working so hard every day to make our cities safe. And there's actions that could be taken at the federal level, or state level in many of our cases. But for those of us in red states, we've almost given up on state action."

If government leaders say there's no hope for government action, I guess that leaves the private sector to search for solutions. And there was some good news, of a sort, from our corporate friends yesterday: The company that makes Tasers abandoned its plans to market zapper-equipped drones to schools concerned about mass shootings. The drones don't actually exist yet, and are obviously a terrible idea, but that didn't stop the company's chief executive from trying to kick-start a "robust public discussion around how to ethically introduce nonlethal drones into schools." Following the Taser drones announcement, 9 of 12 members of the company's internal ethics board resigned, prompting the CEO, Rick Scott, to concede his sales pitch was premature. How about that? The system worked!


BoJo Blunders His Way Into Another Victory

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after surviving a no-confidence vote yesterday by conservative members of parliament. Forty percent of Tory MPs voted against Johnson, which was enough to keep his job, but maybe not for long. Per the Guardian, the vote means Johnson "has lost the support of a larger proportion of the parliamentary party than Theresa May did when she faced a no-confidence vote in 2018. Within eight months of that result, May was out." Johnson could call an election to seek a mandate from the public to save himself, but there's no guarantee such a gambit would work. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer wrote in response to the news: "The choice is clearer than ever before: Divided Tories propping up Boris Johnson with no plan to tackle the issues you are facing. Or a united Labour Party with a plan to fix the cost of living crisis and restore trust in politics."

Milo and MTG: Match Made in Hell

Well this was unexpected. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia confirmed yesterday that she'd hired 37-year-old British fascist troll Milo Yiannopoulos to work as an unpaid intern in her Congressional office. Those with long memories for petty right-wing scandals may recall that Yiannopoulos resigned from his editing job at Breitbart News and was effectively banished from MAGA-land in 2017 after endorsing pederasty in a dicsussion posted to YouTube -- and that Greene, much more recently, has been calling anyone she disagrees with a pedo. But Yiannopoulos is OK in her book because, in addition to sharing her noxious politics, he's rebranded as an "ex-gay," claimed to become a Christian, and endorsed conversion therapy. "So I have an intern that...turned his life back to Jesus and Church, and changed his life," Greene told The Daily Beast through a spokesperson. "Great story!" I mean, yeah. If you want to find the GOP cocaine orgies lame duck Rep. Madison Cawthorn was talking about, I have one suggestion where to look.

Quickest Quickies

  • New Seditious Conspiracy Charges for Proud Boys Leader The Justice Department charged Henry "Enrique" Tarrio and four of his top goons yesterday for their role in Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt. via the Washington Post
  • Early Turnout 'Dismal' in California Primary Thirteen percent of registered voters have cast a ballot so far, compared to 34 percent at the same point before last year's gubernatorial recall. via the Los Angeles Times.
  • Situation Changing Hourly in Last Luhansk City Outside Russian Control The fighting in Severodonetsk is reportedly intense; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the eastern front on Sunday. via the BBC.
  • Supreme Court May Hear Case on Trumpian Election Doctrine If justices take the case and endorse "independent state legislature theory," the consequences could be profound. via the New York Times.
  • Myanmar Resistance Entering Long Stalemate with Military Junta The pro-democracy guerillas are employing targeted assassinations, the coup government is responding with indiscriminate mass reprisals. via the NYT.
  • Elon Musk Tries to Wriggle Out of Twitter Deal The billionaire buffoon already waived his due diligence rights but now claims Twitter is withholding information; like I said, he's a buffoon. via Ars Technica.


82.1 million

That's how many coronavirus vaccine doses were wasted in the U.S. over the six months ending in mid-May, a significant increase from the last wastage report, which one expert attributes to "a demand problem."


6/6: Sam and Emma host Matt Ford, staff writer for The New Republic, to discuss the most important cases coming before the Supreme Court this month. Then Sam and Emma are joined by Akela Lacy, politics reporter at the Intercept, to discuss her recent piece "What's Stopping Chesa Boudin?" ahead of his recall election.


Uvalde Police Threaten Mother For Speaking To Reporters Angeli Gomez is the woman who rescued her own kids from Robb Elementary after being detained at the scene.

Never Forget How Demented Thomas Friedman Really Is "Suck on this" was merely a crude flourish on his imperialist crackpottery.


"You're not helping."

-- One of three Tempe, Arizona cops who stood around and watched a man drown, speaking to the man's partner, who was pleading with them to dive in the water and save him. The officers were placed on non-disciplinary paid leave.

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