Update: Great news! The DC Statehood bill has passed out of committee with a vote of 25-19! On to the House floor next week!

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Good Day, Gnusies!

I had a plan to write a long and probably boring terrific and energizing introduction this morning, but LUCKY FOR YOU! 😃 here’s something much better!

In honor of Poetry Month, I would like to gift you with this delightful haiku written yesterday by our own gnusie sweetthesound! Thank you for allowing me to share this today, sweet! 💙

Damp almond petals
Fly from my car as I drive
Springtime confetti!

(Composed by sweetthesound)

NOTE:  Gnusie Tampaedski enlightened me with the following comment. (the general consensus was keep the music, but clarify the provenance): 

It isn’t Chopin (still a very nice piece).  I was tipped off that it started in 4/4 time, odd for a “waltz”.  Chopin was VERY rigorous in his naming of pieces.  It was not a waltz unless it was in ¾ time entirely.

en.wikipedia.org/…

Democrats In Array (You love to see it)

Politics

Joe Biden is really good at politics: 

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Biden Accepts Pelosi Invitation To Address Joint Session Of Congress On April 28, Andrew Solender, Forbes, April 13, 2021.

“The President has accepted the invitation of the Speaker of the House to address a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, the night before his 100th day in office,” the White House said in a statement.

Pelosi, in a letter, asked Biden to share his “vision” for “addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”

LOL Sauce for the goose, etc

Joe Biden has got the Rs number…and he is calling it!

Biden administration using Trump playbook on the GOP and there is nothing they can do about it: report, Tom Boggioni, Raw Story, April 13, 2021.

According to a report from Punchbowl News, President Joe Biden’s administration is taking a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook and filling high-ranking spots in the government with officials who have a history of opposing positions taken by his predecessor in much the same way Trump appointed critics of former President Barack Obama.

Seeking to undo the damage done during the Trump years, the report notes that Democrats now hold the upper hand with control of the Senate, making it difficult if not impossible for Republicans to block the nominees.

As Punchbowl reports, “If you want to be nominated by President Joe Biden, it doesn’t hurt to have been a vocal critic of Donald Trump or his policies. And even better if you wrote an op-ed in the New York Times bashing Trump,” before adding, “…. the overall point here is that Biden is truly pushing the envelope when it comes to his sub-Cabinet picks. The Biden White House has made very clear it’ll be aggressive in its personnel choices, and in fact may be looking for a partisan fight on some of these picks as a way to put pressure on Senate GOP moderates. As long as the White House can keep Senate Democrats in line, it doesn’t matter what Republicans say or do.”

Biden Administration working hard on that infrastructure plan

From Punchbowl News (which, btw, is odd/difficult to use as a source but they seem to really get the inside scoop). This is from their morning newsletter:

Here are some numbers we got from the administration:

 Leg affairs has made 139 calls to lawmakers, chiefs of staff and staff directors. Of those calls, 99 went to House offices, including 35 GOP offices. They’ve made 40 calls to Senate offices, 25 Democratic and 15 GOP.

 Cabinet secretaries have made 27 calls to lawmakers — including 7 Republicans.

 There have been 26 committee staff briefings, and nine lawmaker briefings. Committees that have been briefed include: House Transportation, Senate Commerce, Senate Ag, House Financial Services, Senate ENR, HELP, House Ed and Labor, Senate EPW, Senate Approps, House Science, House Energy and Commerce, House Approps and House Veterans Affairs.

 Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, officials from USDA, Commerce, DPC and NEC have all held meetings.

Here’s what the administration told us: “The President has laid out his vision for rebuilding our infrastructure and creating jobs, and is sitting down with leaders from both parties to chart a way forward because inaction isn’t an option. President Biden, the jobs cabinet, and his team are making a good faith effort to work with Republicans — including with continuous engagement at the Member and staff level — and it’s our sincere hope that our outreach will be reciprocated.”

“Good faith effort” says a lot here. The administration is trying to show that it is indeed interested in talking to Republicans. But, in addition, it’s a tried and true move for the White House to want to try to lay any failure to build consensus at their opponent’s feet. More broadly, this outreach with some constituencies could be key down the line. If lawmakers and aides feel bought into the process, it could pay dividends for the administration later on.

Also from the Punchbowl newsletter: A number of Biden’s picks have been “firsts” — the first Native American to serve in the Cabinet, the first woman Treasury secretary, the first Black Defense secretary, the first openly gay Senate confirmed Cabinet officer, the first Latino and immigrant to head Homeland Security, the first woman to head the U.S. intelligence services and the first transgender nominee confirmed by the Senate. And just yesterday, Biden nominated the first woman to be secretary of the Army.”

😃 Add another first to that list:

Biden To Make Historic Census Director Pick With Latinx Statistician Rob Santos, Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News, April 13, 2021.

If confirmed by the Senate, Santos, who is Latinx, would be the first permanent director of color for the federal government’s largest statistical agency, which is in charge of major surveys and the once-a-decade head count used for distributing political representation and funding around the United States.

The White House announced Santos as Biden’s intended nominee in a statement released on Tuesday. Depending on the timing of a confirmation, Santos could finish the term left open by former Director Steven Dillingham that is ending this year. Dillingham was the Trump-appointed director who quit in January after whistleblowers filed complaints about Dillingham’s role in trying to rush out an incomplete data report on noncitizens. Santos could be reappointed after the end of a first term, according to federal law.

“If confirmed, I will support the Bureau and its staff in its mission to provide quality population and economic data to the nation,” Santos said. “The principles of transparency, scientific independence, and integrity will be key in allowing the Census Bureau to thrive and innovate over the coming decade.”

Congressional Democrats

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With Democratic majority in the Senate, House Dems will send them back the PFAS Act for clean water:

Bill Targeting Toxic Chemicals Reintroduced in House, Jack Rodgers, Courthouse News, April 13, 2021.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) speaks at a news conference held by Save the US EPA September 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. Activists are speaking out against cutbacks at the EPA instituted by the Trump administration.(Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)

Last January, amid the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, the House passed the PFAS Act of 2019, which directed federal agencies to work at reducing groundwater levels of those chemicals after studying them for a year. At a hearing the previous fall, Michael Hickney of Hoosick Falls, New York, told congressional lawmakers the chemicals had contributed to the illnesses and eventual deaths of several members of his community, including his own father.

The bill didn’t make it through the Senate, which was then controlled by Republicans, and had to be reintroduced in the new Congress.

The 2019 bill’s sponsor, Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell, said during a virtual news conference Tuesday the new bill being introduced was identical to the one the House passed last year, with lawmakers wanting to build on strong bipartisan support they received for the last package. Now dubbed the PFAS Action Act, the bill would call on the EPA to set enforceable standards for maximum PFAS contaminant levels for drinking water.

I’m thankful every single day that Georgia voted Democratic on January 5!

Georgia Dems are trying to reverse a radical Republican health care policy, Sarah Okeson, DCReport@RawStory, April 13, 2021.

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15:  Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia hold a rally on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Ossoff and Warnock face incumbent U.S. Sens. David Purdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) respectively in a January 5 runoff election.  (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
They’ve got your back, Georgia!

Democrats in Georgia’s congressional delegation are asking the Biden administration to undo a Team Trump move to make it more difficult for Georgians to buy health insurance during the Covid pandemic.

Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and six of the state’s 14 House members asked health Secretary Xavier Becerra to cancel the federal approval of a plan pushed by Radical Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to cut off access in 2023 to HealthCare.gov. The Georgia plan also imposes work or other requirements to get Medicaid coverage.

“Withdrawing approval for this demonstration is essential to ending the far-reaching efforts your predecessors made to block hundreds of thousands of low-income Georgians from accessing health insurance,” the senators wrote in a letter also signed by Georgia’s Democratic representatives.

🎵 Music For Democrats 🎵

💰 We Have Powerful Allies 💰

Democracy is Better For Business

As Arhpdx pointed out yesterday, corporations are backing away from Republicans out of self-interest — which is really good news for social justice. When underwriting racist and oligarchist agendas is no longer seen by corporations as in their best interest, that tells us that the winds of change have indeed blown away outdated notions of a “silent (white, racist) majority” as a customer base that must be appeased and catered to for a business to survive. 

Opinion: Why corporate America is declaring independence from the GOP, Michelle Norris, Washington Post, April 11, 2021.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 31: A general view of signage from the MLB to support the Black Lives Matter movement during an Opening Day game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on July 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

After Georgia lawmakers passed a law that disproportionately limits ballot access for people of color based on false claims of voter fraud, Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola at first tried to skirt the issue and then finally cried foul. Major League Baseball moved the summer All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest. And almost 200 companies — including HP, Salesforce and Under Armour — signed a statement that denounced similar efforts underway to limit ballot access in other states.

These steps hit the GOP where it must have caused some pain. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned corporate America to stay out of politics but quickly backtracked to clarify that he was “not talking about political contributions.” That was a reminder that Republicans who accuse corporations of trying to stay on the right side of the woke police fail to understand that there are much larger forces at work.

Part of what is going on here is that corporations are protecting their bottom lines as America steams toward the majority-minority tipping point sometime around 2047. The Census Bureau projects that the U.S. population will increase by about 24 percent by 2060; adults and their children who are not White will likely account for most of that growth. That multiculti future has already arrived for America’s youngest citizens; White children are now a minority of Americans under the age of 17.

Any company interested in cultivating the multihued, multiethnic, cross-marrying, immigrant consumer of the future would have to think hard about continuing to move in lockstep with a Republican Party that is determined to time-travel back to the 1950s, when white supremacy was thought to be permanent.

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Big Law Firms Are On the side of Democracy, too

Defying Republicans, Big Companies Keep the Focus on Voting Rights, David Gelles and Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times, April 12, 2021.

Also on the call was Brad Karp, the chairman of the law firm Paul Weiss. On Monday, Mr. Karp said he had organized the coalition of law firms, which also include Skadden; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; and Wachtell Lipton.

“It puts legislators on notice that if there are laws that are unconstitutional or illegal they will face pushback from the legal community,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York think tank that is working with the coalition. “This is beyond the pale. You’re hearing that from the business community, and you’re hearing it from the legal community.” ✄

“All these C.E.O.s came together days after McConnell admonished corporations to stay out of politics,” said Tom Rogers, founder of CNBC, who attended the Zoom meeting. “In convening, they were saying as a group that they were not going to be intimidated into not voicing their views on their issues.”

It’s possible that Moscow Mitch and his merry band of thieves Republicans have finally overplayed their hand. Just as the Republican refusal to combat the pandemic made it plain last year to doctors and other well-heeled citizens that even their relative wealth will not insulate them from Republican treachery, so now the captains of industry and hedge funds are discovering that they, too, were living with an illusory sense of protection from the fallout of the Republican misgovernance that they have enabled for decades. Maybe it was the pandemic, or perhaps it was the insurrection, but it appears that the scales are finally falling from the eyes of the corporate class, and they have begun to realise that their fortunes rise and fall with the country’s, and even relative wealth will be of little use to them if there isn’t a strong, healthy, safe USA in which to enjoy their good fortune.

💉 Health News 💉

U.K. Coronavirus Strain Does Not Lead To More Severe Illness And Death, Study Finds, Jaclyn Diaz, NPR News, April 13, 2021.

People infected with the U.K. variant of the coronavirus didn’t experience more severe symptoms and weren’t more likely to die from this particular strain, according to a new study of hospitalized patients published Monday.

The strain, called the B.1.1.7 variant, remains more contagious than original strains of the virus however, according to the study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. ✄

Scientists sequenced samples from 341 patients and found 58 percent were positive for the B.1.1.7 variant. The other 42 percent were infected with a different strain, according to the study. Researchers compared the severity of symptoms between the two groups and found those with the B.1.1.7 strain were not particularly worse off than those with other virus variants.

Joe is working towards vaccinated herd immunity

I think I mentioned this story a couple of weeks ago (definitely linked Willie’s recording of I’ll Be Seeing You), but it bears repeating due to persistent concern about the numbers of vaccine refusers:

White House Teams With Groups on Vaccine-Hesitancy Campaign to Sway Conservatives, Stephanie Armour and Sabrina Siddiqui, Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2021.

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration is enlisting the help of groups including the Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. and Nascar to encourage more people to get the Covid-19 vaccine, particularly members of communities that have been the most skeptical.

The administration aims to use such organizations to help persuade conservatives, one of the demographic groups that polls show have significant reluctance to get the coronavirus vaccine.

The Ad Council, a nonprofit that produces public-service announcements, and the Covid Collaborative, a coalition of leaders in education, health and economics, announced a campaign Tuesday that will run during time donated by media across TV and digital media platforms.

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SPeaking of the vaccines

Moderna says protection from its COVID-19 vaccine still strong six months on, Michael Erman, Reuters, April 13, 2021.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Moderna Inc said on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine still showed strong protection against the illness six months after people received their second shot, with efficacy of more than 90 percent against all cases of COVID-19 and more than 95 percent against severe COVID-19.

The vaccine maker, which will be updating investors on the progress of its vaccines at an event on Wednesday, said the six-month follow-up of its original late-stage study of the vaccine showed that vaccine efficacy remained consistent with its previous updates.

The company has also started testing new versions of the vaccine that target a concerning new variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in South Africa and is known as B.1.351.

Update on the blood clot issue with J&J vaccine

This New York Times article has a lot of information about this rare blood clot problem that has caused some concern about the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines. I’m quoting a little of it here, and the bottom line from the reporting is that there will be a pause on use of the J&J vaccine in many places (including CVS and Walgreens) while the possibility of a link between the vaccine and this rare clotting/platelet disorder is scrutinized, but most people are quite safe and the benefit of the vaccine still outweighs the risk:

How Worried Should You Be About the J&J Vaccine and Blood Clots? Denise Grady and Carl Zimmer, New York Times, April 13, 2021.

Fewer than one in a million J&J vaccinations are now under investigation. If there is indeed a risk of blood clots from the vaccine — which has yet to be determined — that risk is extremely low. The risk of getting Covid-19 in the United States is far higher.

The F.D.A. recommends that people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past three weeks should contact their doctors if they experience severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath. People should not be concerned about mild headaches and flu-like symptoms in the first few days after vaccination. Those are common, harmless side effects brought on by the immune system’s production of a defense against the coronavirus. ✄

The F.D.A. has not found any similar cases in people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Keep it in Perspective

This article discusses (and puts into perspective) the current concerns that have been hyped in the media, so please do read it. I’ll just quote the important conclusions here:

Be Very, Very Skeptical of These ‘Bad News’ Vaccine Reports, David Axe, Daily Beast, April 13, 2021.

Historically, a vaccine is considered highly effective if it blocks infection in 60 or 70 percent of people. The three COVID vaccines that have emergency approval from the FDA are all around 90 percent effective, making them way better than normal. ✄

The science is clear. After a certain critical mass of inoculations—70 or 80 percent or so— Americans can safely get back to normal, confident that the majority of people are protected most of the time and the virus has no easy paths for rapidly spreading and mutating. “Herd immunity,” we call it. ✄

What’s more, the vaccines offer layers of protection. The jabs are even better at preventing serious illness and death than they are at preventing infection. Even if the novel-coronavirus gets lucky and punches through your vaccine-induced antibodies, those same antibodies mean that the resulting infection is likely to be way less severe than it would be if you’re unvaccinated.

🎵 Musical Break 🎵

International News

Biden will withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, Missy Ryan and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, April 13, 2021.

The decision highlights the trade-offs the Biden administration is willing to make to shift the U.S. global focus away from the counterinsurgency campaigns that dominated the post-9/11 world to current priorities, including increasing military competition with China.

In addition to major domestic challenges, “the reality is that the United States has big strategic interests in the world,” the person said, “like nonproliferation, like an increasingly aggressive and assertive Russia, like North Korea and Iran, whose nuclear programs pose a threat to the United States,” as well as China. “The main threats to the American homeland are actually from other places: from Africa, from parts of the Middle East — Syria and Yemen.” ✄

Biden administration officials say the United States intends to remain closely involved in the peace process and will continue to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to the Afghan government and security forces, which remains almost totally dependent on foreign support.

“What we won’t do is use our troops as a bargaining chip in that process,” the person familiar with the plans said.

Justice

Atlanta school named after Klan leader to be changed in honor of Hank Aaron, Rebecca Falconer, Axios, April 13, 2021.

An Atlanta, Georgia, high school bearing the name of the first Ku Klux Klan grand wizard will be renamed in honor of the late baseball great Hank Aaron, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Tuesday.

Details: The city’s school board voted unanimously Monday to rename Forrest Hill Academy the Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy after the Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, who broke racial barriers and in 1974 smashed Babe Ruth’s longstanding career home run record. ✄

The big picture: The renaming of the school is part of a wider push against slavery and Confederate symbols across the U.S., with dozens removed, relocated or renamed last year after anti-racism protests erupted over George Floyd’s death.

    There is little “good” in this news story that continues to develop in Minnesota, but I think it is worth noting that this resignation points to another tiny shift towards justice in policing. The usual power structures that protect killer cops was disrupted when Brooklyn Center’s city council removed the City Manager who talked about “due process” for the officer (ignoring the lack of same for Daunte) and gave jurisdiction over police personnel to the Mayor — who had called for the officer to be fired:

    Minnesota Officer Who Killed Daunte Wright Resigns, Sanjana Karanth, HuffPost, April 13, 2021.

    SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 12: A display of candles and flowers spells the name of Daunte Wright at a protest over his death on April 12, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. Wright, a Black man whose car was stopped in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday reportedly for an expired registration, and not far from where George Floyd was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis last May, was shot and killed by an officer who police say mistook her service revolver for a Taser.  (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

    Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter offered her resignation Tuesday in a letter to city officials, two days after pulling out her gun and fatally shooting Wright, who is Black, when she claims she meant to take out her Taser. Potter was immediately put on administrative leave after the incident, pending an investigation.

    Potter’s resignation comes after Brooklyn Center’s city council voted Monday to fire City Manager Curt Boganey — who was in charge of police personnel — and put Mayor Mike Elliott’s office in charge of the police department. ✄

    At a press conference on Monday, Boganey said that Potter, then unidentified, will get “due process with respect to discipline.” At that same press conference, Elliott said that he fully supports relieving the officer of her duties.

    The Police Chief also resigned

    Cop, police chief resign 2 days after Black motorist’s death, Mohamed Ibrahim and Mike Householder, AP via Chicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2021.

    Good News From Illinois

    Chicago extends workers’ pandemic protections to vaccination

    Aldermen move to protect workers who take time off for COVID-19 vaccination, Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2021.

    500px-Flag_of_Chicago_Illinois.svg.png
    City of Chicago flag — isn’t it pretty!

    Chicago employees who take time off to get the coronavirus vaccine would be shielded from all forms of retaliation and compensated for the time it takes, under a mayoral protection plan advanced Tuesday.

    During the early days of the pandemic, the City Council moved to protect employees from retaliation for absences tied to the coronavirus.

    The earlier anti-retaliation ordinance prevented employers from firing, suspending, transferring or reducing the pay of workers who stay home because they have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, or their business is deemed nonessential by statewide stay-at-home order.

    On Tuesday, the City Council’s Workforce Development Committee broadened the protective umbrella to include the vaccination process.

    Aldermen unanimously endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to prohibit employers from penalizing their employees in any way for taking time off to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

    Our fabulous Art Institute gets historic new leadership

    Denise Gardner named Art Institute board chair; believed to be 1st Black woman leader on major U.S. museum board, Mary Chappell, CHicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2021.

    Masked lion in front of the Art Institute of Chicago by photographer Brian Rich at the Chicago Sun Times
    Art Institute of Chicago

    Gardner, 66, will be the first Black person and first woman chairperson of the governing body for the museum and the School of the Art Institute. She’s thought to be the country’s first Black woman chairperson of a major museum board, though she said she wishes there was better evidence to confirm that. ✄

    An art collector, Gardner said she has many favorite pieces of art in the museum, but one of her favorites is the Two Disciples at the Tomb by Henry Ossawa Tanner, acquired by the Art Institute in 1906. She said she thinks about it each Easter.

    “I just think about what it must have been like — [Tanner] was the descendant of slaves — to paint this massive masterpiece that the museum purchased in 1906,” Gardner said. “They never take it down; it’s there every day.” ✄

    Coming out of the pandemic, Gardner said, “It’s a time for innovation, renewal and thinking intentionally about making progress.” She said it’s heartening that the museum has begun to liven again.

    Gardner said her other priorities in this role include working on diversity, inclusion, equity and access.

    🎵 Music from Chicago 🎵

    Meanwhile, from the Consequences File

    “I’m a representative, not a monk!” (Eww!)

    Indicted Gaetz Associate Is Said to Be Cooperating With Justice Dept., Michael S Schmidt and Katie Benner, New York Times, April 13, 2021.

    Chance_go_to_jail.jpg

    A former local official in Florida indicted in the Justice Department investigation that is also focused on Representative Matt Gaetz has been providing investigators with information since last year about an array of topics, including Mr. Gaetz’s activities, according to two people briefed on the matter. ✄

    Mr. Greenberg began speaking with investigators once he realized that the government had overwhelming evidence against him and that his only path to leniency lay in cooperation, the people said. He has met several times with investigators to try to establish his trustworthiness, though the range of criminal charges against him — including fraud — could undermine his credibility as a witness. ✄

    Cooperators are expected to be fully forthcoming about their own and others’ criminality. If prosecutors conclude that they have lied, cooperating witnesses are likely to receive no deal and could even increase their own culpability. Those who cooperate earlier in investigations typically receive the best deals from the government because their help is seen as more critical to developing leverage against other defendants.

    Mr. Greenberg faces a mandatory minimum of at least 12 years in prison: 10 years on the sex trafficking count and two on a charge of identity theft.

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    👀 Why so skittish, FLorida Rs? 👀

    Marco Rubio slammed by CNN’s Gloria Borger for dodging questions about Gaetz scandal, Matthew Chapman, Raw Story, April 13, 2021.

    Read the linked article below in full to compare and contrast the reactions of Florida Rs to more principled Rs elsewhere:

    Florida GOP senators: Too soon to weigh in on Gaetz’s future, Alan Fram, AP News, April 13, 2021.

    “Sure, and I don’t think anyone’s saying they’re not,” Rubio said Tuesday when a reporter suggested the allegations are serious. “And he’s pretty firm in his denial, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.” Rubio said he’s not spoken with Gaetz since news of the investigation emerged late last month.

    On Monday, Scott said Gaetz faces “pretty serious allegations” but didn’t say what should happen to him. “I think we’ve got to get all the facts,” Scott said. ✄

    Gaetz and other Florida Republicans and political allies are being examined as part of a broad public corruption inquiry by federal investigators that began months ago, people familiar with the probe have said.

    Did nazi this coming

    Former Trump official Sebastian Gorka banned from YouTube over election conspiracy theories, Zachary Petrizzo, Salon, April 13, 2021.

    BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 27: A young woman with a smartphone walks past a billboard advertisement for YouTube on September 27, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. YouTube has evolved as the world's largest platform for sharing video clips. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

    Former Trump White House senior adviser turned right-wing radio host Sebastian Gorka was permanently booted off of YouTube over the weekend after receiving his third strike on the platform in 90 days for touting unhinged election conspiracy theories.

    Gorka’s channel was suspended for misleading users on the platform by pushing the baseless claim that the 2020 election was plagued with widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Salon found the infamous Trump flack, formerly accused of wearing Hungarian pro-Nazi regalia, was pushing voter fraud claims as recently as last week in a video entitled: “Can We Stop the Next Steal?”

    YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi told Salon on Monday afternoon that Gorka’s channel, where he has live-streamed his “America First” Salem radio show, was terminated over “repeated violations” to the company’s “presidential election integrity policy”

    Gutfeld “Comedy” show yanked?

    Greg Gutfeld’s Fox News ‘comedy’ show mocked for being preempted after being on for ‘half a Scaramucci’, Sarah K Burris, Raw Story, April 13, 2021.

    Greg Gutfeld’s new Fox News show was expanded briefly to weeknights but according to reporter Aaron Rupar, it disappeared Tuesday night. In Anthony Scaramucci time, that’s just half a “Scaramucci,” he remarked. ✄

    “As for those late-night shows we’re supposed to compete against: Why bother? Who do they offend?” Gutfeld asked in the opening monologue of the first episode. Since then, reviews have come in from traditional media outlets questioning the hypocrisy at those it pokes fun.

    It’s unclear if Gutfeld’s show is on an unexpected hiatus or if Kudlow had some breaking economic news that needed to be addressed at 11 p.m. EST on Tuesday night. Either way, Gutfeld was nowhere to be found.

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    Watch what they do, not what they say

    John Boehner is doing the rounds trying to hawk his book trashing all the people who frankly deserve trashing. He’s a wily old fart, have to grant him that. He knows that saying stuff that people didn’t expect a former Republican speaker to say (and peppered with salty language for extra temptation) will sell books. He’s always been great at reading the room. Don’t fall for that glib wine-soaked, cigarette smoking “regular guy” charm — John Boehner is a (Trump-voting) Republican, through and through. 

    Nicolle Wallace Goes Off on Boehner: ‘The Republican Party Cannot Be Fixed’ With People Like Him Still Voting for Trump in 2020, Josh Feldman, Mediaite, April 13, 2021.

    boehner.jpg

    MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace said Tuesday she’s not really impressed by John Boehner going after Donald Trump, given the former Speaker’s admission that despite everything he voted for the Republican nominee in 2020.

    Boehner has been very outspoken in his book and in multiple interviews trashing Trump, especially over the Capitol riots, but he said that he voted for Trump for re-election, citing his policies and court appointments.

    Wallace also noted Nikki Haley’s comments saying she would support Trump in 2024, months after she condemned him over the Capitol riots.

    🎵 

    ⚡️ Lightning RoundUp ⚡️

    ⚡️ Yer Wonkette: Important True Update On MyPillow Guy’s New MyCompanies That Will DESTROY All YourCompanies! Evan Hurst, Wonkette, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ Excellent long(er) read: Eight in Ten Americans are Concerned About Partisanship. Here’s How ‘The Unum Test’ Can Reunite America,  John Avlon , Mickey Edwards , Maya Macguineas and Jonathan Haidt, Time, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ Some G&D, some solutions: Can Biden Fix the Courts That Trump Broke? Elie Mystal, The Nation, April 7, 2021.

    ⚡️ An excellent, concise breakdown of reactionary rw racism: Opinion: Tucker Carlson’s defense of his ‘replacement’ rant gives away the game, Greg Sargent, Washington Post, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ Please, proceed! Republicans Are Making 4 Key Mistakes, David Frum, The Atlantic, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ Progressive Charles Booker Takes First Step Toward Challenging Rand Paul Next Year, Travis Waldron, HuffPost, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ Important reminder: The Union Battle at Amazon Is Far from Over, Alec MacGillis, The New Yorker, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ 45’s mini-me right down to the concealer: “PEOPLE MISCHARACTERIZE MY PERSONAL LIFE”: MATT GAETZ’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE PUBLIC EYE COMES CRASHING DOWN, FOR NOW, Abigail Tracy, Vanity Fair, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ ‘Comfort Decorating’ Is All About Making Your Home A Sanctuary, Vanessa Romo and Audrey Nguyen, NPR, April 13, 2021.

    ⚡️ 8 Simple Habits For Building Better Friendships, Hallie Bateman, BuzzFeed, April 13, 2021.

    💗Here’s How You Can Help Build Our Democracy Back Better 💗

    Put your beautiful bleeding heart into it!

    Democratic litigation hero, Marc Elias was the legal eagle behind the 60 Big Lie losses after the election. Here’s his website, Democracy Docket. You can find information about current cases he is fighting to defend voting rights around the country, as well as actions you can take to help fight voter suppression at the link!

    Write to voters around the country with Postcards to Voters. Progressive Muse usually posts an update on current campaigns in the comments and you can also check out the website. It’s easy, fun and it really works to GOTV!

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    🎩 Also, Goody posted a great list of links and I am going to borrow it because it’s great! 🎩

    The only way they can win is by keeping people from voting.  They are working like heck to make that happen and we need to do all we can to keep 2022 from being a year when they grab the Senate and House back from us.

    How do we do that?  Fight voter suppression!   

    What can you do?

    • Contact your local representative NOW to encourage them to pass the For the People Act.  This link makes it easy to do!
    • The ACLU plays a key role in filing lawsuits that often stop voter suppression.  Get involved with them at this link.  
    • The League of Women Voters work year-round to combat voter suppression through advocacy, grassroots organizing, legal action and public education.   You can get involved with them at this link
    • Volunteer with Black Votes Matter at this link.   They have on the ground work in 10 states and people from other states can write postcards, phone bank, fundraise, and text.
    • Spread The Vote works to get voters IDs before voting begins.  You can volunteer with them at this link.  
    • Finally, when it comes time to pass HR1 (the new voting rights act) the Democrats will have to end the filibuster to do it. It will not pass without that.  10 Republicans will not vote for it.  So, when the time comes, you will need to call, call, call and call your Senators to push them to do this. If you live in Arizona, Montana, or West Virginia, you may want to put in for some vacation time to really devote yourself to it.  It will be the only option.  Get ready!

    HERE’S HOW TO CONTACT CONGRESS:

    U.S. House of Representatives:* Telephone:  202-225-3121
    * Website:  http://www.house.gov/ 

    U.S. Senate:* Telephone:  202-224-3121
    * Website:  http://www.senate.gov/

    Find your member of Congress and contact him or her:
    Contact your Representative
    Contact your Senator

    💙 RoundUp WindDown 💙

    That’s it from me for another Wednesday. I know I haven’t put down all of the good news, so I’m counting on all of you to bring the rest into the comments!

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    Sooooooo tired! But still running in dreamland!

    The work of “keeping our republic” (🎩 Ben Franklin) is never-ending. We are emerging from a very dark period at long last, and we must keep working hard to defeat those who would gladly trade democracy for power and money. Remember that America is a majority liberal country even though our politics have not reflected that fact. We have begun the extremely difficult work of righting the wrongs of the past, and to bring our governance more in line with the will of the people. It will be challenging, because those who have held all the power for so long will not give it up willingly. They will fight tooth and nail, down and dirty, to retain control over this country, our government and our resources. 

    So, take good care of yourself and those you love. Eat nutritious food, get some rest and try to get outdoors every day if you can. You’ll need your strength for the work AND for the celebrating!

    The work continues, and we will make progress because we are the majority, we are wide awake now and we are determined. There will be setbacks, and there will be successes. We will ride it out together. Together, we will build a better world.

    Happy Wednesday, Gnusies! I sure am glad I get to share these exciting times with you!

    🎵 Music for April 🎵

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