U.S. House Members Unsure Whether House Actually Exists - The Thursday AM Quickie 1/5/23

I usually don't like leading with the same story two days in a row but this is a special situation and, honestly, the news gears on the news machine still aren't running at full speed coming out of the holidays. - Corey

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McCarthy Loses House GOP Support After Trump Endorsement

Yesterday was another loooooong day in the House as the Republicans demonstrated the caliber of their leadership once again. Former GOP minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California has now lost six separate votes for the position of Speaker, and it's unclear what's going to happen when the chamber reconvenes today at noon. In lieu of analysis, I offer some of the funniest details to emerge from yesterday's proceedings:

  • Democratic candidate Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York continued to receive more votes for the position than any other candidate, but not enough, under current rules, to actually take the role. Zero LOLs, those are some bogus rules.
  • Politico reports that campaign groups affiliated with McCarthy spent over $1 million supporting GOP House candidates who have now voted against him for Speaker. One million LOLs, reap what ye hath sown.
  • "REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT" Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social, urging House voters to back McCarthy -- who actually lost support following Trump's intervention. Three LOLs, classic stuff.
  • South Carolina GOP Rep. Nancy Mace accused the Trumpist House Freedom Caucus of holding their fellow conservatives hostage. "This is not about policy... This is about ego and fundraising and a bunch of other bullsh*t," she said. Meanwhile, GOP Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw of Texas -- a man who owes his notoriety to Saturday Night Live -- called the Freedom Caucus holdouts "unbelievably unserious." Two LOLs for the irony.
  • Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, the latest Freedom Caucus pick, voted for himself as Speaker, then told reporters he didn't want the job. One LOL.
  • Creepy GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida wrote to Capitol architect to inquire about McCarthy's occupancy of the House Speaker's offices. "How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter?" Gaetz asked. Two LOLs.
  • International man of mystery and GOP Rep.-elect George Santos, whose eligibility is in doubt even as his swearing-in was delayed by the chaos in the chamber, appeared to not recognize his own name when it was called over the speakers on the House floor. Four LOLs.
  • At least three House Democrats posted pictures of freshly popped popcorn, a "wry commentary on the proceedings as a sign of the dysfunction that may dominate the chamber's next two years." Half a LOL, for pity's sake.
  • According to the New York Times, all House business is on hiatus until this situation is resolved:
Without a speaker [to swear in other members as required by law], the United States House of Representatives essentially becomes a useless entity. With no sworn members, there are no lawmakers to make an official response to an emergency or a crisis. With no rules adopted, the legislative process cannot move forward; no bills can be passed or resolutions adopted.
  • Indeed, per the Times and the Washington Post, "some lawmakers are now questioning whether the chamber even exists." Five LOLs (unless the insurrectionists manage to end democracy as we know it, which would mean that all previously awarded LOLs would be revoked).

Records Put Spotlight on Everyday Police Corruption

A Los Angeles Times investigation into the LA Police Foundation, which over the past 25 years has raised $45 million for the LA Police Department, confirms that wealthy individuals and corporations who donated to the foundation were granted special access to LAPD leadership, and able to influence deparment policies and priorities. Top donors revealed for the first time include Clippers owner and former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer; DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg; and real estate developer and failed mayoral candidate Rick Caruso. LAPD Chief Michel Moore says "we do not go and ask people for money," but 7,200 pages of records obtained by the Times shows that the LAPD does ask for money all the time, and Moore coordinates directly with the foundation. More than 250 similar police foundations are operating nationwide with little oversight.

Summery Weather in Europe as Bomb Cyclone Hits U.S.

It was over 61 degrees Farenheit on New Year's Day in London, England; 66 degrees in Warsaw, Poland; and 77 degrees in northern Spain. "The record-breaking heat across Europe over the new year was made more likely to happen by human-caused climate change, just as climate change is now making every heat wave more likely and hotter," climatologist Friederike Otto tells the New York Times. Meanwhile, forecasters are predicting heavy winds, landslides and flooding in California, and tornadoes in the Midwestern U.S., as powerful storms return to North America. Wildfires and prolonged drought have damaged the California soil so the "atmospheric river" now deluging the state is expected to cause exceptional damage.


  • NFL Teams Cancel Press Conferences After Damar Hamlin's Injury The 24-year-old player's family, who spoke to President Joe Biden yesterday, is "optimistic" about his recovery after his heart stopped on the field during a tackle. via the New York Times and the Associated Press.
  • University of Florida Gives Antivax Republican Surgeon General a Pass on Misconduct Joseph Ladapo's faculty peers found he violated academic integrity rules by advising against coronavirus vaccines, but administrators say those rules don't apply to his work as a state official. via the Washington Post.
  • FBI Raises Reward for Info in Jan. 2021 D.C. Pipe Bomb Case The reward is up to $500,000 from $100,000; the bombs were placed outside Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee headquarters the day before the Capitol insurrection. via Politico.
  • French Prosecutors Seek Trial for Former Domestic Spymaster Former French domestic intelligence chief Bernard Squarcini, known as "Le Squale" (the Shark), stands accused of using state security powers to aid private interests who employed him as a consultant. via the Guardian.


$414 million

That's how much European Union regulators are fining Meta (a.k.a. Facebook, the owner of Instagram) for illegal business practices, by forcing users to accept personalized, surveillance-based ads. According to the New York Times, the ruling threatens up to 7 percent of Meta's overall advertising value.


1/5: Sam hosts Clara Mattei, assistant professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, to discuss her recent book The Capital Order: How Economists Invented Austerity and Paved the Way to Fascism.


'Force The Vote' Morons Eager to Remind You How Dumb They Are

Sam making a rare appearance in a thumbnail here.

Even Ben Shapiro Thinks Republicans Are a Joke

Wherever did this "general perception that Republicans are incompetent and foolish" come from?


"They told me I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I said, 'What is Jefferson Parish?' I have never been to Louisiana a day in my life. Then they told me it was for theft. So not only have I not been to Louisiana, I also don't steal."

-- Randall Reid, a 28-year-old Black man in Georgia, recounting his arrest on theft charges in another state, based on facial recognition software known to make mistakes with non-white faces.

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