[guest post by Dana]
While Kevin McCarthy’s desperate efforts to obtain enough votes for the speakership is wholly captivating, other events continue to happen throughout the world. So, here we go.
First news item
At the time of writing this post, here’s where Kevin McCarthy says he’s at with negotiations with House Republicans:
During a conference call this morning with the Republican conference, McCarthy told members that there’s not officially a deal to vote him speaker, but said he believes they’re “in a good position” and working in “good faith.”
“I’m not telling you we have an agreement,” McCarthy said on the call, according to multiple sources. “We’re in a good position and having meetings.”
So basically, he’s nowhere. He reportedly again offered the concession to make it easier to remove him as speaker if he is elected. The house is set to reconvene at noon (ET) today.
And there is this interesting tidbit:
The vast majority of the Republicans blocking McCarthy’s speaker bid have given life to the so-called ‘big lie’ in the two years since the Capitol attack.
Of the 15 incumbents…rejecting McCarthy, 14 challenged the results of the 2020 election two years ago.
Just two of the 20…acknowledge the legitimacy of the 2020 election…
The small but significant group appears on the verge now of taking the reins of power in Washington by using their leverage against McCarthy, who himself has a tortured relationship with Jan. 6 and the 2020 election.
McCarthy was one of 147 House Republicans to reject its certification ahead of a floor speech deeming Trump “bears responsibility” for the “mob attack.”
Second news item
The Charlie Hebdo publication is in trouble with Iran after the cover of the latest edition had a cartoon showing (explicit description warning ahead) “a line of clerics walking into a naked woman’s vagina with the message: “Mullahs, go back to where you came from.”
Iran says it has closed a Tehran-based French institute over “sacrilegious” cartoons of its supreme leader in a French satirical magazine. Charlie Hebdo’s latest edition features caricatures mocking Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and fellow Shia Muslim clerics sent in by readers in support of the anti-government protests in Iran…It threatened further action if France did not “hold to account the perpetrators and sponsors of such instances of spreading hatred”.
France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna had told LCI TV before the announcement that “freedom of the press exists [in France], contrary to what is happening in Iran” and blasphemy was not an offence under French law.
The special edition marks the eighth anniversary of an attack on its Paris office by French Muslim terrorists outraged by the magazine’s publication of caricatures of Mohammed. The attack left 12 people dead, five of which were cartoonists for the magazine.
Third news item
Of course they are: Republican House members gumming up the McCarthy vote are cashing in off the chaos:
Multiple McCarthy holdouts have used the fight to raise campaign cash this week.
Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) campaign asked potential donors to “support our fight with critical reinforcements” and in one email dubbed McCarthy “Kiev Kevin.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) asked donors “to turbocharge our emergency efforts to break the Establishment.” His campaign emails link to a payment processing page that claims “every dollar helps secure the Speaker position.”
An email from Rep. Bob Good’s (R-Va.) campaign Thursday claimed that McCarthy “spent millions of dollars trying to defeat conservatives in Republican primaries” and closed with a donation plea.
House Freedom Caucus member Mick Mulvaney also said that he received a fundraising letter from Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert. Additionally, Ultra MAGA PAC, a group run by ex-Trump aide Corey Lewandowski, is also fundraising by calling for McCarthy, Mitch McConnell and RNC chair Ronna McDaniel to be replaced.
Democrats are fundraising as well. They are pointing to the chaos on the other side of the aisle, saying: “Republicans have fallen into complete chaos. Will you help me prove that grassroots Democrats can get more support than Republicans in these first hours of the new Republican House?”
Fourth news item
President Joe Biden said Thursday the U.S. would immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico illegally…
The new rules expand on an existing effort to stop Venezuelans attempting to enter the U.S., which began in October and led to a dramatic drop in Venezuelans coming to the southern border. Together, they represent a major change to immigration rules that will stand even if the Supreme Court ends a Trump-era public health law that allows U.S. authorities to turn away asylum-seekers.
“Do not, do not just show up at the border,” Biden said as he announced the changes, even as he acknowledged the hardships that lead many families to make the dangerous journey north.
“Stay where you are and apply legally from there,” he advised.
Ah, and then there is this:
…the U.S. will accept 30,000 people per month from the four nations for two years and offer the ability to work legally, as long as they come legally, have eligible sponsors and pass vetting and background checks.
President Biden’s announcements comes as a decision regarding Title 42 is pending (and if it ends, would bring untold numbers of migrants across the border), and just days after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that he would be sending migrants to New York City, Chicago and elsewhere because, as he claimed, Colorado was not really their destination state:
Polis’ office said about 70% of the migrants who arrived in Denver aren’t seeking to make Colorado their final destination. But “due to weather and workforce shortage, they have been experiencing transportation cancellations,” hence a large number of people suddenly making their way to other places…
Because of the very high number of immigrants arriving in Denver, the mayor declared a state of emergency for both the county and city of Denver.
New York City Mayor Adams balked at having yet more migrants, yet “local laws compel the state to shelter the new arrivals…
The president is scheduled to visit El Paso, Texas this Sunday.
Fifth news item
She lost her election by 17,000 votes but that won’t hold her back in Arizona:
A number of Republican names have been floated as possible Senate candidates in 2024, including unsuccessful 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, failed 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters, Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Rep. Andy Biggs (R), Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, and former Rep. Matt Salmon.
Lake has recently fielded calls from supporters encouraging her to run for Senate, according to a person familiar with those calls.
“On the Republican side, I think this has all the makings of a total jungle primary with several candidates running,” said Brady Smith, an Arizona-based GOP strategist. “Republicans in Arizona looking at this race are cautiously licking their chops.”
Sixth news item
On Thursday, his doctors announced Hamlin had started to awaken. Though he remains critically ill and on a ventilator, his medical team said the player is showing signs of “good neurologic recovery” and is making significant improvement.
The immediate response of Kellington and other medical personnel was vital to “not just saving his life, but his neurological function,” Dr. Timothy Pritts, one of Hamlin’s doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said Thursday.
First question upon waking up, according to Hamlin’s doctor:
Damar Hamlin is awake and able to communicate with written messages, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday.
The first question the 24-year-old asked from his ICU bed was “who won the game?”
The answer was simple, “yes, Damar, you won the game of life,” said Dr. Timothy Pritts, who specializes in general surgery, trauma, surgical critical care and more at UC Health.
I’m reading here and there that some people are appalled that this was what Hamlin asked. What’s the problem? He’s a grown man who nearly died from a harrowing experience, he can ask whatever the hell he wants. It’s nobody’s business.
Here is what a cardiologist and one of the world’s top researchers in the field had to say about commotio cordis.
Seventh news item
The brave men and women of Iran continue to protest against the regime. Here is a summary of where things stand:
Iranian authorities have tried to stamp out the protests with mass arrests, the use of live fire and intimidating those they perceive to be linked to protesters or in some way support them. They have also accused foreign forces of fuelling the unrest.
So far, at least 516 protesters have been killed, including 70 children, and 19,262 others arrested, according to the foreign-based Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA). It has also reported the deaths of 68 security personnel.
Two protesters have been executed and some 12 others sentenced to death, according to AFP news agency. Half are awaiting retrial, it says.
Eighth news item
Today is the second anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. President Biden will be honoring 12 Americans with the Presidential Citizens Medal:
The individuals include law enforcement officers who were injured defending the Capitol, a Capitol Police officer who died the day after rioters stormed the building and election workers who rejected efforts by former President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Biden is set to deliver remarks and host a ceremony at the White House honoring the dozen individuals chosen for having made “exemplary contributions to our democracy” and shown “courage and selflessness” around the events of January 6, a White House official familiar with the details told CNN.
About the award:
The Presidential Citizens Medal is one of the country’s highest civilian honors, given to American citizens deemed to have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”
Honorees include: “Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, Capitol Police Officer Carolyn Edwards, retired Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, and retired Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, mother-daughter election workers who were targeted by MAGA election conspirasists after the 2020 election, and Several state and local officials who stood up to pressure to overturn the 2020 election results will also receive the honor, including Rusty Bowers, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt…Biden will also bestow the honor posthumously to Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who officials said died of natural causes a day after being assaulted with bear spray while defending the Capitol.”
JVW sends our ninth news item which concerns Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton will join Columbia University as a professor and presidential fellow in global affairs, the university announced Thursday.
Clinton will become a professor of practice at the School of International and Public Affairs and a presidential fellow at Columbia World Projects next month, Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger said in a statement.
“Given her extraordinary talents and capacities together with her singular life experiences, Hillary Clinton is unique, and, most importantly, exceptional in what she can bring to the University’s missions of research and teaching, along with public service and engagement for the public good,” Bollinger said.
Never short of a deliciously to-the-point insight, JVW opines:
I’m sure Columbia will use Hillary to raise oodles of money from high-strung wealthy progressive alums, just as Hillary will use Columbia to burnish her credentials as a deep-thinking intellectual, but this is the kind of rot in academia that is hollowing out public respect for higher education. How would you like to be an adjunct professor at Columbia, teaching three classes a term at wages that barely allow you to live in NYC, hoping against hope that a tenure-track position opens up and that you have a shot at it, and then see Hillary waltz in and teach one graduate seminar per term for $250,000 annually (or, knowing the Clintons, much more than that)? What a racket.
Have a great weekend.