Jack's still under the weather so I'm filling in today. Get well soon bud! - Corey
THE BIG NEWS
More Questions, Calls for Justice Follow Tyre Nichols Killing
Tyre Nichols' funeral will be held today in Memphis. Vice President Kamala Harris will attend, as will Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, and George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd. Tomorrow, President Joe Biden will discuss police reform with a small group of Congressional Black Caucus members, NBC News reports. Caucus chair Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada requested the meeting earlier this week, calling Nichols' "murder...a grim reminder that we still have a long way to go in solving systemic police violence in America."
A long way to go indeed. As the Associated Press reports, cities across the country have deployed "elite" plainclothes units like the just-disbanded SCORPION squad in Memphis, whose members beat Nichols to death earlier this month during a traffic stop, with similarly brutal results. "These jump-out boys are a slap in the face to real police officers that did the job the right way without having to abuse authority, plant evidence or use excessive force," says former Philly cop Terence Jones. "But that lack of accountability starts at the top." The call for accountability is welcome, but there's something unconvincing to that quote. If the "real police" have such higher standards than these plainclothes gangs, why do cops wait until they've retired (if ever) to speak out about their colleagues' bad behavior?
And why does it take someone getting killed for police accountability to even become a possibility? Two Memphis residents tell NBC that one of the cops who killed Nichols, Emmitt Martin III, held a gun to their head, called them the N-word, and threatened to blow their faces off during a small-time marijuana bust outside a gas station. Shouldn't that be enough to get a cop fired? The Nichols follow-up investigation is also raising questions about the conduct of emergency medical technicians and backup police officers called to the scene, the Guardian reports. For instance, the Nichols family lawyer is asking the city of Memphis to explain why a white officer, Preston Hemphill, who used a stun gun on Nichols, was not immediately fired like the five Black cops charged with Nichols' murder. Theories, anyone?
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Republicans Applaud George Santos' Courage
Fabulist and formerly fabulous New York Republican Rep. George Santos yesterday told House colleagues he would temporarily step down from the two congressional working groups he'd been assigned to: the small business committee and the science, space, and technology committee. The Republican reaction was hilarious. "I was proud of him for getting up and doing this," said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole. You were proud of him for this? Should he get a trophy, you think? Hey, forget trophies: put him in for a medal! Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called Santos' decision "pretty bold," explaining "he just felt like there was so much drama, really, over the situation." You mean the situation he created by lying time and again about who he was and where his money came from? Texas Rep. Roger Williams, who chairs the small business committee, also applauded Santos for abandoning committee work "until his situation gets handled at a level that he's comfortable with." Again with "the situation"! But yes, we wouldn't want the career con artist to feel uncomfortable. For his part, Santos was firm that the decision to deal with the situation was his and his alone. "Nobody tells me to do anything," he told reporters yesterday. A poll released yesterday shows that 78 percent of voters in Santos' district want him to resign.
Academics Advise Company Against Jurassic Park Idea
A Dallas biotech startup called Colossal Biosciences -- which boasts funding from the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel -- made headlines yesterday with the announcement that it wants to resurrect the famously extinct dodo bird. The plan is to edit the genes of the dodo's closest living relative, the Nicobar pigeon, until they look like dodo cells, then implant those cells into other birds' eggs and hope dodos come out. Although a company scientist concedes "it's not possible to recreate a 100% identical copy of something that's gone," conservation biologists remain skeptical about the idea. "There's a real hazard in saying that if we destroy nature, we can just put it back together again -- because we can't," Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm tells the Associated Press. To which I'd add: this kind of thing ends badly in every single movie.
- Report: FBI Searched Biden Think Tank Last Year Agents searched the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in November; they were looking for additional classified documents after the president's lawyers reported finding some in that office. via CBS News.
- California Declines to Join Plan to Save Colorado River The failure of Colorado River basin states to reach agreement on voluntary water usage cuts, for the second time in six months, could force the federal government to impose cuts later this year. via the Washington Post.
- Matt Schlapp Accuser Files Second Lawsuit The plaintiff, a former staffer for Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker's campaign, alleges GOP operative Caroline Wren defamed him in response to his allegations of sexual assault against Schlapp, who chairs the group that hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. via Politico.
- Massive Strikes in France, U.K. Up to half a million British rail workers go on strike today; yesterday 1.27 million French workers protested plans to raise the retirement age. via the Guardian and the Associated Press.
That's how much sad MAGA rapper Kanye West paid the vile neo-Nazi influencer Nick Fuentes as a "travel reimbursement" to meet Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago last November, according to Ye's latest presidential campaign finance report. The sham campaign, which reported $0 in donations through all of last year, paid another $50,000 to creepy fascist Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as hunrdeds of thousands in compliance fees to a firm controlled by veteran GOP operatives.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
2/1: Sam and Emma host Raymond Jackson, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689, to discuss the recent strike by Loudoun County Transit workers in Virginia. Then, they are joined by Helena Bottemiller Evich, founder of the publication Food Fix, to discuss the recent developments within the FDA and the the issues surrounding Abbott's baby formula.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
We sure called that one (not that it was terribly hard to see this take coming).
Listen to this miserable old man talk about how tall, handsome, and brave he was in high school, it's extremely convincing.
"What Nixon did was just an ordinary crime. What Trump has done is quite arguably the worst crime against the United States that a president could commit."
-- J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge and staffer in the Ford, Reagan, and Bush I administrations, speaking to the Washington Post about why he thinks the law needs to stop Trump before Trump gets another chance to end democracy in America. In the days before Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt, Luttig helped persuade Mike Pence not to play his assigned role.
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