All of the dumb things I predicted yesterday came true, except even dumber. So maybe they didn't come true? Who knows. Congress is dumb. - Jack
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THE BIG NEWS
Kevin McCarthy Had a Very Bad Day
Has anyone in politics ever lost three elections in one day? Probably, but I'd imagine it's a very short list. One name we know for sure is on there: Kevin McCarthy, prospective Republican Speaker of the House, but now just Republican guy trying really hard to be Speaker of the House despite the fact that a decent swathe of his party doesn't want him to be.
Let's back up. Yesterday we talked about the impending SNAFU in the Speaker of the House election. Kevin McCarthy was up for the job, but he was being held back by a small but very vocal contingent of his own party that was asking for concessions in exchange for their support. Nevertheless, McCarthy persisted – heading into the vote today with the blithe confidence of someone who is rumored to be very very stupid behind the scenes. And then: catastrophe. McCarthy lost the first vote for Speaker for the first time since 1923.
What happened is that the insurgent GOP fringe voted for Jim Jordan out of protest, saying that McCarthy wasn't right wing enough (generally). Jim Jordan, meanwhile, voted (and once nominated) McCarthy, for sophisticated political reasons hahahaha just kidding he was trolling. This continued for not one vote but three, until Congress eventually adjourned without a speaker. What's probably happening now is a bunch of aides having an utterly terrible time and sleepless nights trying to get some kind of deal worked out on behalf of their bosses (who, you never know, might be doing the work as well).
“I’m staying until we win,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters between the second and third votes. “I know the path.”
Sure you do, bud. We'll see.
The Democrats, meanwhile, performed a bit better than I personally expected, voting as a block for Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker in each tally. The House will reconvene today at noon to resume what will certainly be a very professional and rational decision on who will lead them.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
NFL Suspends Game Stopped After Damar Hamlin's Near-Death
Finally, the correct decision from the NFL. After waffling and almost certainly pressing players to continue playing even as one of their own lay unresponsive on the field, the NFL has announced that the Buffalo Bills - Cincinnati Bengals game would not be played this week. Hamlin is still in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest, and family members said he had to be resuscitated twice. Doctors are still trying to get him to breathe on his own. The NFL, of course, is most concerned about its bottom line, and you'd be a fool if you thought they wouldn't push ahead with the game if they though they could withstand the PR hit they would take for shrugging off the death of one of their employees.
FDA Says Abortion Pills Can Be Offered At Retail Pharmacies
Huge news for abortion advocates and anyone seeking care: the FDA has ruled that Mifepristone, the first of two drugs in a medicated abortion procedure, can be provided by local drugstores or major chains like Walgreens if they agree to certain rules. While this isn't a perfect fix for the rampant problems plaguing abortion access throughout the country, it goes a long way to getting care where its needed with fewer hurdles. Health providers still have to be certified to show they have the knowledge and ability to treat abortion patients, and patients still need to sign a consent form, but crucially there also isn't a requirement that patients get the drugs in person, which opens the door for telemedicine to provide that care as well.
- Twitter Going Back on Political Ad Ban Say one thing about Elon Musk: he's desperate for money! via NYT.
- US Training Ukrainian Troops in Romania They're deliberately sending a message to Moscow, but hopefully this brinksmanship won't blow back. via NYT.
- Special Counsel Jack Smith is Back in the U.S. Well that's nice for him. But will it be nice for the Trump trial? via WaPo.
- UFC President Dana White Filmed Striking His Wife This might read as niche sports drama, but White has been at the forefront of some of the most noxious trends in toxic right wing culture wars in recent years – makes sense that he's also an abuser. via HuffPo.
- Two Men Charged in Bizarre Power Station Attacks Remember the strange gun attacks on power stations? The DOJ has some suspects. via DOJ.
Cost of a surface-to-air missile from the American-made NSAMS system, often used to shoot down $20,000 self-destructing drones sent by Russia to attack Ukraine.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
1/4: Sam hosts Sarah Lamdan, Professor of Law at the City University of New York (CUNY), to discuss her recent book Data Cartels: The Companies that Control and Monopolize Our Information.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
This woman is very, very unwell.
Oh my god, they admit it!
“I got on a call with the Pentagon and pleaded for the National Guard. There was delay after delay after delay. I now believe they knew it was coming."
– Ex-Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund, on the military's response to January 6.
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