Good Day, Gnuville!
🌎🇺🇸 Biden’s historic leadership 🇺🇸🌍
Russian Media Having Wee Tiny Conniption Over Biden Ukraine Visit, Bless Their Hearts, Evan Hurst, Wonkette, February 21, 2023.
It's probably good they have Tucker to distract them, because Russian media watcher Julia Davis reports at the Daily Beast that Russian media is furious about Joe Biden's badass trip to Ukraine to see fellow badass Volodymyr Zelenskyy. They apparently spent days saying Biden would definitely not go to Ukraine, and would instead just go to Poland as planned. (The Biden administration notified the Russian government in advance, presumably because had there been any "accidents" we would have had to have nuked them off the face of the fucking earth, as per the diplomatic protocol.)
Then Biden just ... showed up.
Visibly unsettled, 60 Minutes host Olga Skabeeva announced, “The White House has confirmed that Biden really is in the Ukrainian capital. He really came to the Ukrainian capital. Zelensky just published the pictures... There he is, Biden, in the flesh.”
He was just right fuckin' there, Jesus. With Zelenskyy. Together.
The program then played footage of the smiling American president walking alongside Zelensky and shaking hands with Ukrainian officials. The clip was set to dramatic music more suitable for a horror movie.
Biden Just Destroyed Putin’s Last Hope, Eliot A. Cohen, the Atlantic, February 21, 2023.
Symbols matter: a Kennedy or a Reagan at the Berlin Wall, a Churchill with a cigar and a bowler, for that matter a green-clad Zelensky growling, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” Simply by taking the hazardous trip to Kyiv, Biden made a strategic move of cardinal importance.
While the president clearly intended to bolster the confidence of Ukraine, and the commitment of ambivalent Europeans and neo-isolationist Americans, his real audiences lay elsewhere, as his remarks about Western strength indicated. Russia has cycled through a series of theories of victory in Ukraine—that Kyiv’s leaders would flee, that Ukraine’s population would not fight, that its army would be crumpled up by a sudden blitz or by grinding assaults. It has been reduced to one last hope: that Vladimir Putin’s will is stronger than Joe Biden’s. And Biden just said, by deed as well as word, “Oh no it’s not.”
This is a gut punch to Russia’s leader. The Russians received word of the trip, we are informed—and presumably the threat, stated or implied, that they would get a violent and overwhelming response if they attempted to interfere with it. For a leader obsessed with strength, like Putin, that is a blow. His own people will quietly or openly ask, “Why could we not prevent this?” And the answer, unstated, will have to be, “Because we were afraid.”
Biden in Poland says US and allies ‘have Ukraine’s back’, AAMER MADHANI, ZEKE MILLER and CHRIS MEGERIAN, AP, February 21, 2023.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned of “hard and bitter days ahead” as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears the one-year mark, but vowed that no matter what, the United States and allies “will not waver” in supporting the Ukrainians.
A day after his surprise visit to Kyiv, Biden used a strongly worded address in neighboring Poland to praise allies in Europe for stepping up over the past year and to send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire.”✂️
“When President Putin ordered his tanks to roll into Ukraine, he thought we would roll over. He was wrong,” Biden said.
The president also declared “the democracies of the world have grown stronger” while the world’s autocrats — including Putin — have become weaker.✂️
He described NATO as “maybe the most consequential alliance in history,” and he said it’s “stronger than it’s ever been” despite the Russian leader’s hopes that it would fracture over the war in Ukraine.
Duda praised the American president’s visit to Kyiv as “spectacular,” saying it “boosted morale of Ukraine’s defenders.”
😎💙 Democrats Deliver 💙😎
Democratic governors form alliance on abortion rights, Bill Barrow and Geoff Mulvihill, ABC, February 21, 2023.
Democratic governors in 20 states are launching a network intended to strengthen abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision nixing a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy and instead shifting regulatory powers over the procedure to state governments.
Organizers, led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, described the Reproductive Freedom Alliance as a way for governors and their staffs to share best practices and affirm abortion rights for the approximately 170 million Americans who live in the consortium’s footprint — and even ensuring services for the remainder of U.S. residents who live in states with more restrictive laws.
“We can all coalesce,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in an interview ahead of a Tuesday announcement. She added that the court’s Dobbs decision that ended a national right to abortion “horrified” and put pressure on governors to act. “This is leveraging our strengths ... to have more of a national voice.”
That includes, organizers said, sharing model statutory language and executive orders protecting abortion access, ways to protect abortion providers from prosecution, strategies to maximize federal financing for reproductive health care such as birth control, and support for manufacturers of abortion medication and contraceptives that face potential new restrictions from conservatives.
In the first month since President Biden took Executive action (using the humanitarian parole power of 1952), the number of illegal border crossings via Mexico dropped 42% overall (86% for the 4 countries covered by humanitarian parole 84,176 → 11,909) compared to the last month before the action was announced (December 2022). The difference has been that dramatic.
Biden’s Plan to End the Border Crisis Is Already Working, David J Bier and Alex Nowrasteh, Daily Beast, February 19, 2023.
The migrants must have a U.S. sponsor and meet health and security standards. Once here, they receive a two-year residency permit—which could be extended—and they can apply for a work permit. They have almost no access to public benefits. If the numbers admitted under humanitarian parole are anything close to 30,000 people per month and the program lasts for the rest of his administration, this will be the single biggest immigration liberalization since the Immigration Act of 1965.
From a border security perspective, the goal of humanitarian parole is to incentivize migrants to apply from their home countries (or neighboring countries), get prior approval to enter, and then fly to the United States instead of paying smugglers to come to the border.✂️
The Biden administration has turned a massive flow of illegal immigrants into a smaller flow of legal immigrants using a 71-year-old legal power granted to him by Congress. Migrants on humanitarian parole are legal migrants, lawfully allowed to live and work in the United States.
By extending humanitarian parole to other countries, increasing the numbers, attaching work authorization to parole, and reinstituting normal immigration fees, President Biden can be the first president to gain control of the border in generations.
Holding polluters accountable
Biden appointee, Michael Regan means business: Norfolk Southern has a choice: it can pay for the damage it caused or the EPA will clean up (so the people affected don’t have to wait) and then take steps to make them to pay it back... triple:
EPA orders Norfolk Southern to clean up Ohio train derailment site and pay all costs, Sarah Fitzpatrick, NBC, February 21, 2023.
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in remarks prepared for a news conference in East Palestine. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
If the company fails to complete any of the actions ordered by the EPA, the agency will “immediately” conduct the necessary work and then seek to compel Norfolk Southern to pay triple the cost. The order will require the company to identify and clean contaminated soil and water; pay any EPA costs, including reimbursing the agency for cleaning services that it will offer to residents and businesses; and participate in public meetings at EPA’s request and post information on-line.✂️
The EPA says it began testing air quality in the East Palestine area within 24 hours of the derailment, including the use of a mobile analytical laboratory. The agency said Tuesday that it has assisted with indoor air monitoring of more than 550 homes under a voluntary screening program offered to residents, and that “no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were identified above levels of concern.”
Regan expressed gratitude to first responders and EPA personnel on the ground in Ohio, and said that the EPA will “continue to coordinate closely with our local, state, and federal partners through a whole-of-government approach to support the East Palestine community during the remediation phase. To the people of East Palestine, EPA stands with you now and for as long as it may take.”
Buttigieg Launches Rail Safety Blitz, Slams Industry And GOP Critics, Kevin Robillard, HuffPost, February 21, 2023.
“Freight rail companies like Norfolk Southern can remain profitable while maintaining a higher standard of safety and taking better care of their workers,” Buttigieg said on the call with reporters, referring to the railroad whose train derailed in East Palestine, sending chemicals into the air and terrifying locals.
On Sunday night, Buttigieg sent a letter to Norfolk Southern’s CEO demanding the railroad drop its opposition to a host of federal safety proposals.
The rail safety proposals — ranging from increasing the size of fines the Department of Transportation can levy against a railroad to pressing the railroads to provide paid sick leave — aim to both push back against a narrative Buttigieg has been MIA from the disaster’s aftermath and to potentially kick-start a push for rail safety legislation in Congress. Any successful push in a divided Congress would likely meet fierce resistance from the rail lobby, a low-key but powerful force.
“Some of [these proposals] have been met with resistance from industry, but I think now’s a moment of potential bipartisan cooperation,” he said, emphasizing the word “potential.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro says his office made a criminal referral in Ohio train derailment, Rebecca Shabad, NBC, February 21, 2023.
WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said Tuesday that his office has made a criminal referral in response to the recent train derailment over the border in East Palestine, Ohio, and the aftereffects on the environment and nearby communities.✂️
DeWine signaled at the news conference that Ohio is also preparing to take legal action. ✂️
The rail company faces multiple class-action suits from members of the East Palestine community over the incident, which forced residents within roughly a mile’s radius to evacuate their homes.
Good News about Work
Corporations raising wages thanks to Biden boom
The best employment market for workers in over 50 years has led to higher wages and better opportunities for mainly hourly wage-earners. Yesterday, Home Depot announced it was raising wages in its stores, following other recent corporate wage hikes. Their decision was partly to head off a union drive — which goes to show that unions anywhere help workers everywhere:
Home Depot says it will raise pay for US, Canadian workers, Dee-Ann Durbin, AP via Chicago Tribune, February 21, 2023.
Home Depot said Tuesday it’s investing $1 billion in wage increases for its U.S. and Canadian hourly workers.
The Atlanta-based home improvement chain said every hourly employee will get a raise starting this month. Starting pay will be at least $15 per hour in all markets.
Home Depot is one of many big retailers who have raised pay to attract workers in a strong U.S. job market, where unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969. Walmart announced in January that it would be raising its hourly wage to an average of $17.50, while Target invested $300 million in hourly wage increases last year.
The future work “week”?
A pilot project was conducted in the UK wherein about 60 companies (“firms”) reduced employees’ work week from 5 days to 4 days (or, in the case of less structured ‘weeks’, from 40 hours to 32 hours). It was such a success — measured by nearly every metric, from personal well-being to productivity to profits — that most of the participating companies have decided to make the changes permanent! Here’s hoping we see something similar here in North America in the near future — and of course a Democrat has already introduced a bill to do just that:
A four-day workweek pilot was so successful most firms say they won’t go back, Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, February 21, 2023.
Companies that participated could adopt different methods to “meaningfully” shorten their employees’ workweeks — from giving them one day a week off to reducing their working days in a year to average out to 32 hours per week — but had to ensure the employees still received 100 percent of their pay.
At the end of the experiment, employees reported a variety of benefits related to their sleep, stress levels, personal lives and mental health, according to results published Tuesday. Companies’ revenue “stayed broadly the same” during the six-month trial, but rose 35 percent on average when compared with a similar period from previous years. Resignations decreased.✂️
The results are likely to put the spotlight back on shorter workweeks as a possible solution to the high levels of employee burnout and the “Great Resignation” phenomenon exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, amid a global movement calling for businesses to ditch the in-office, 9-to-5, five-day workweek and adopt more flexible working practicesinstead.✂️
Proponents of the policy emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all and that the benefits of a shorter workweek could reverberate throughout society, lowering health-care costs and reducing emissions from daily commutes. Their ideas are becoming more mainstream. Several large-scale trials of shorter workweeks are underway globally. In 2021, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would reduce the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours and mandate overtime pay for work done beyond that limit.
More here (no paywall, it’s NPR!): Dozens of U.K. companies will keep the 4-day workweek after a pilot program ends, Joe Hernandez, NPR, February 21, 2023.
😩🥵 Republicans in Disarray 😡😫
They didn’t think the leopards would eat their faces
Republican lawmakers in Tennessee, who passed a radically dangerous abortion ban last summer, are now scrambling to “clarify” the law so that it will no longer criminalize doctors who perform abortions to save women’s lives. With the support of the Tennessee Medical Association, the legislators are trying to pass a bill that will allow exceptions to save the life of a pregnant person, but this just won’t do for the various Right to Life” groups — who insist that Tennessee must continue to murder women in the name of “pro-life”. Good news: it looks like the bill does have enough support to pass, which would make the horrible law slightly less horrible.
Lawmakers find themselves in cross-hairs of anti-abortion groups, Sam Stockard, Tennessee Lookout, February 21, 2023.
Tennessee Right to Life and Tennessee Stands are targeting members of the Population Health Subcommittee, mainly Republicans, and urging people to call and email them after they approved legislation designed to change the “affirmative defense” provision in state law in an effort to stop the “criminalization” of physicians who save the lives of women involved in deadly pregnancies.
Under current law, a doctor could be charged with a felony and forced to prove in court that an abortion was necessary to save a woman’s life. The law prohibiting abortions in Tennessee, without clear protection for physicians and exceptions for rape and incest, took effect in August 2022 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The subcommittee voted in favor of the bill last week after House Speaker Cameron Sexton joined the fray and criticized Right to Life counsel Will Brewer for threatening negative scores against legislators who supported the bill.
Cochise County residents aim to recall supervisor who failed to certify election results, Sarah Lapidus, Arizona Republic, February 21, 2023.
The Recall Tom Crosby Campaign, a non-partisan effort of Cochise County voters, has fewer than 90 days to gather 4,865 signatures for a recall to move forward. A campaign representative said it hopes to gather more than the minimum number required.✂️
“He interfered with election officials, ignored legal advice of our county attorney, and promoted an illegal hand count of 100% of ballots,” stated the recall campaign, adding that these actions resulted in increased expenses to taxpayers and make Crosby “unfit” to hold his position.✂️
Suchodolski said the recall campaign has at least 50 or 60 volunteers working to pass out the petition. Voters who want to sign the petition must do so in person, he said. Campaign volunteers have been going door-to-door and to farmers' markets for signatures.✂️
If enough signatures are collected then a recall election can be scheduled at least 90 days later.
Republican presidential primary shaping up to be a sh*tshow
Et tu, Sununu?
Republican Governor Tells Trump, ‘Thank You for Your Service… But We’re Moving On’ in 2024, Michael Luciano, Mediaite, February 21, 2023.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said the Republican Party is “moving on” from former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primary.✂️
“And look my message to, about President Trump is we thank you for your service. Great. But we’re moving on. Americans are not in the mode of just settling. Right? We’re never gonna say, The best opportunity for tomorrow’s leadership is yesterday’s leadership.’ We want the next generation”
The governor added, “I don’t think anything’s gonna get his poll numbers up. And as this race actually heats up and people start paying attention, there’s just gonna be a lot of other options on the table.”
DeSatan was supposed to be a fresh alternative to TFG, but it turns out he uses the exact same tactics, steeped in racism and sexism, only dialed up to 11. Not everyone is pleased, which is good news!
GOP grumbling that DeSantis has 'overstepped' in his 'anti-woke' crusade: report, Matthew Chapman, Raw Story, February 20, 2023.
"There's growing concern from Republican supporters of DeSantis that he's overstepped in some ways in this fight," said anchor John Berman, cutting over to Contorno in St. Petersburg, Florida. "What are you hearing from Republicans about this?"
"John, there are basically two camps of Republicans we've talked to," said Contorno. "There's sort of the free-market conservatives who are looking to turn the page from Trump, and they're finding they are troubled with DeSantis having some of the same tendencies as Trump and using his government power to push his ideology on public institutions, on higher education and even on businesses. That has given them some reason to pause about DeSantis being an alternative to Trump."
But even people who broadly support his agenda, noted Contorno, are beginning to feel uneasy because they worry his attacks on businesses and educators just won't play well with voters — even Ken Griffin, the hedge fund CEO who recently relocated his company, Citadel, from Illinois to Florida and has given $10 million to DeSantis. "Last year he was critical of DeSantis for penalizing Disney, saying, quote, 'I don't appreciate Governor DeSantis going after Disney's tax status. It can be portrayed or feel like retaliation. I believe the people who serve our nation need to rise above their moments in time, in their conduct and behavior,'" said Contorno. "He went on to say he thinks Governor DeSantis has a, quote, 'tremendous record.' He hasn't necessarily lost a lot of support yet."
Inside the collapse of the Trump-DeSantis ‘alliance of convenience’, Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, February 18, 2023.
GA election grand jury news
BREAKING: Grand Jury In Trump Georgia Probe Recommends Multiple Indictments — ‘It Is Not a Short List’, Zachary Leeman, Mediaite, February 21, 2023.
Multiple indictments were recommended by a special grand jury investigating alleged 2020 presidential election interference by Donald Trump in Georgia, the jury’s forewoman revealed in a Tuesday interview.
“It is not a short list,” Emily Kohrs, the forewoman of the jury, said as far as the indictment recommendations, but she would not reveal any specific names to the New York Times in an interview.
The big question is whether former President Donald Trump would face an indictment, and Kohrs’s words likely won’t inspire a ton of confidence in the Republican’s supporters.
“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” she said when asked if the former president would be indicted.
Inside the Trump grand jury that probed election meddling, Kate Brumback, AP, February 21, 2023.
During a lengthy recent interview, Kohrs complied with the judge’s instructions not to discuss details related to the jury’s deliberations. She also declined to talk about unpublished portions of the panel’s final report. But her general characterizations provided unusual insight into a process that is typically cloaked in secrecy.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was on the receiving end of Trump’s pressure campaign, was “a really geeky kind of funny,” she said. State House Speaker David Ralston, who died in November, was hilarious and had the room in stitches. And Gov. Brian Kemp, who succeeded in delaying his appearance until after his reelection in November, seemed unhappy to be there.✂️
When witnesses refused to answer almost every question, the lawyers would engage in what Kohrs came to think of as “show and tell.” The lawyers would show video of the person appearing on television or testifying before the U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, periodically asking the witness to confirm certain things. Then the scratching of pens on paper could be heard as jurors tallied how many times the person invoked the Fifth Amendment.
At least one person who resisted answering questions became much more cooperative when prosecutors offered him immunity in front of the jurors, Kohrs said. Other witnesses came in with immunity deals already in place.
🎶 Mister Music, Please! 🎶
🚫☭ Russians in Disarray Too ☭ 🚫
Funny how closely Republicans’ and Russians’ ups and downs mirror each other, isn’t it? Anyway, while the Rs over here are careening into an ever-increasing series of car crashes, the Rs over there also appear to be teetering on the brink of chaos
Furious Mercenary Boss Prigozhin Accuses Russian Military of Treason, Allison Quinn, Daily Beast, February 21, 2023.
Just as Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that the country was more united than ever in its war against Ukraine, the mercenary boss tasked with doing anything necessary to bring the Kremlin “victory” there released a scathing tirade hinting at mutiny on the battlefield.
Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin straight-up accused the Russian military of “betraying the motherland” with a nefarious plot to “destroy” the mercenary collective, the same group he says had direct orders from Putin to turn the tide of the war.
“The Chief of the General Staff [Valery Gerasimov] and the defense minister [Sergei Shoigu] are giving out commands left and right to not give Wagner not only ammunition, but also air transport. Now information has come in that they have removed the receipt of entrenching shovels for the guys to dig with... There is direct pushback, this is nothing but an attempt to destroy Wagner,” he said in an audio message released through his press service.
“This can be equated with a betrayal of the motherland, at a time when Wagner is battling for Bakhmut and losing hundreds of fighters every day,” he shouted.
Putin Rants About Gays and ‘Traitors’ in Bizarro Speech, Allison Quinn, Daily Beast, February 21, 2023.
Dozens of Russian lawmakers, military officials, and veterans assembled in Moscow on Tuesday to listen to President Vladimir Putin deliver his first speech to the country’s parliament since the start of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
But some members of the audience appeared to doze off as the Russian leader, having nothing new to say, resorted to mumbling the same claims about “Nazis” and the West that he has repeatedly used to try and justify his war.✂️
The Russian president’s speech didn’t go over well with some of the “patriotic” military bloggers the Kremlin has sought to use to bolster support.
“‘We will do everything for victory!’ - V.V. Putin. Great, give Wagner ammunition,” wrote one Telegram channel connected to the mercenary unit Rusich.✂️
“Blah blah blah, there’s no point listening further,” wrote Igor Strelkov, the former commander of Kremlin-backed troops in Donetsk.✂️
Russian state-run media, meanwhile, did its best to prop up the redundant speech, with RIA Novosti gushing that “the audience applauded 53 times” during Putin’s address and the “whole world” watched.
Putin’s Desperate Hours, Tom Nichols, the Atlantic, February 21, 2023.
Vladimir Putin gave his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly today, and it was a farrago of paranoia and lies; meanwhile President Joe Biden humiliated the Kremlin by walking the streets of Kyiv in broad daylight. The Russian president knows he is losing.✂️
Putin has put himself and his country in a desperate situation, and he has run out of options, including nuclear threats. This is not to say that the risk of nuclear conflict has evaporated; as I noted on the most recent episode of the Radio Atlantic podcast, there is still plenty of room for Putin to do something foolish and set a terrible chain of events in motion. But after a year, it seems that the Russian president’s plan—if it can even be called that—is to consign more of his young men to the Ukrainian abattoir while hoping that the West somehow tires of the whole business. As the Atlantic contributing writer Eliot Cohen pointed out yesterday, however, Biden’s visit to Kyiv and his pledge of “unwavering and unflagging commitment” had to be a “gut punch” to Putin, dashing any hopes that the Free World will give up on Ukraine.
The Russian president is still counting on Kyiv and its armies to collapse, or perhaps on an election to remove Biden, or for Europe to lose its nerve, or for China, perhaps, to come to Moscow’s rescue (which would be both a balm and a deep humiliation). But he also knows that time may be running out at home: After a year of war, there are only so many young men left to kill and only so many generals left to blame.
✓🗳 2023 Elections 🗳✓
Democrats romp in do-over of key New Hampshire race that Republicans tried to cancel, David Nir, Daily Kos, February 21, 2023.
Democrat Chuck Grassie secured re-election to the New Hampshire state House in resounding fashion on Tuesday, defeating Republican David Walker 56-44 three-and-a-half months after their initial faceoff in November ended in an exact tie. The victory shrinks the GOP’s margin in the chamber to just 201-198—the smallest in state history—and puts Democrats one step closer to flipping the House next year, if not sooner. (One safely blue seat is vacant.)
But this election almost didn’t take place at all. New Hampshire has traditionally held special elections to resolve tied legislative contests, and after November’s deadlock, Republicans signaled their intent to follow precedent. But on the day lawmakers convened in December to address the matter, the GOP’s official Twitter account shot off a tweet congratulating “Rep. David Walker,” revealing the party’s plan to use its majority to simply seat Walker as the winner of the race for Strafford County District 8.
The premature celebration and attepted power-grab may have backfired, as a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats to vote down a GOP proposal to dispense with the planned special. That set the stage for Tuesday’s election, which ensured Walker won’t be adding “Rep.” before his name any time soon. The result also represented a considerable overperformance for Democrats: While Joe Biden carried the district (known locally as Rochester Ward 4) by about 5 points, Grassie’s 12-point win means, with rounding, that he ran 7 points ahead of the president—a welcome sign for Democrats, especially since turnout was more than 50% of November’s.
McClellan Wins in Virginia and Will Be State’s First Black Woman in Congress, Maya King, New York Times, February 21, 2023.
Jennifer McClellan, a veteran Democratic state senator, won a special election for the state’s Fourth Congressional District on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, making her the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress.✂️
Ms. McClellan centered her campaign on legislation she spearheaded as a state senator — issues she championed, like voting rights, environmental protection and abortion access, often dovetailed with the national Democratic platform.
“I passed legislation to protect our right to vote and our right to a clean environment. I led the fight for our reproductive freedom,” Ms. McClellan said in a television ad. “I’ll take that same fight with me to Congress.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court primary yesterday appears to have delivered the results that Democrats were hoping for. Judge Janet Protasiewicz came first with more than 45% of the vote and the Republican who secured the second spot for the April general election is the one the party hoped she will face, Justice Daniel Kelly (of “election integrity” infamy). The conservative has big handicaps which puts the liberal judge in a strong position for April — potentially flipping the balance of power in the highest state court — which could have huge ramifications for everything from women’s rights, to collective bargaining to gerrymandering. 🤞
What to Watch For in a Consequential Court Election in Wisconsin, Reid J Epstein, New York Times, February 21, 2023.
Democrats say Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, controlled by conservatives since 2008, has enacted unfair legislative maps that have allowed Republicans to take near-supermajority control of the State Assembly and Senate in an evenly divided state — making nearly everything the State Legislature does unfair. The leading liberal candidate in the race, Janet Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County judge, calls the maps “rigged” and has said she would vote to throw them out.✂️
Democrats seem to prefer to face Justice Kelly and the Uihlein money rather than Judge Dorow’s shallower record.✂️
The near unanimity among Democrats combined with a fractured G.O.P. has Democrats planning and Republicans fearing a mountain of attack ads beginning as soon as Wednesday against whichever conservative candidate advances to a likely matchup with Judge Protasiewicz. A reverse dynamic in August damaged Mr. Barnes, while Mr. Johnson and his allies poured tens of millions into attack ads before the Democrat could recover.
“There is no world in which Janet is defined by the right in the first weeks of the race,” said Sachin Chheda, a top strategist on the Protasiewicz campaign. “We are prepared for whatever the results are on Tuesday and will be hitting the pedal to the floor on Wednesday.”
If you live in Colorado Springs, CO, there’s a municipal election coming up on April 4. Gnusie avoicefromthemiddle knows a candidate for city council personally and says Katherine Gayle would be a great choice for the city. I read her bio and her platform and I have to say I agree! Talk about an impressive resumé!
If you’re in a position to vote for or support her, check out Kat’s website at: katherinegaylecouncil.com
🐩💙 CG’s Picks 💙🐩
Hello Everybody, it’s me, Curlygirl! How are you all today? We are tired over here at Chéz Nifty — but in a good way! Mama says she is getting lots accomplished and I have been a really helpful dog! (I help her by making sure that we get outdoors every day at least 3 times for walks in the fresh air). Anyway, I’ve been productive too and I have a few picks for you!
Underwater pictures — wow!
I really like nice pictures and especially nice pictures of animals and nature. This next story isn’t exactly a story — it’s more of a picture thing about a contest for underwater photos that humans took of sea animals. I really liked most of the pictures and you might, too!
The winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Year contest were announced and they are incredible, Heather Wake, Upworthy, February 21, 2023.
Space might be considered the final frontier, but right here on planet Earth, entire universes remain unexplored beneath the water’s surface.
Every year, the prestigious Underwater Photographer of the Year contest highlights stunning images from all over the world that offer a small glimpse into this mysterious world, reminding us of its breathtaking beauty, fascinating wildlife and—perhaps most important of all—the need to respect and care for its resources.
Dogs with friends
🐶 Did you know that I would like to have a puppy? Or a kitten, even! I keep asking Mama to get us one, but she keeps saying No, it’s “me and you, you and me, that’s the way it’s meant to be!” but I think she is wrong! I think it’s me and you and a puppy, too!
Anyway, I was looking at videos and looking for some ideas on how to convince Mama to get us a puppy, and I goggled “Bring home a friend” and this is what I found! It’s not really a puppy for me, but it is fun to watch!
Bear rescue with only one scary part
🐻Sometimes people think bears only eat berries and fruits and picnic baskets and stuff like that. Maybe some fish in a river, too I guess. I put a picture of a bear eating fish in a river one time, so we know that happens. Anyway, some people in Minnesota who saw a stuck bear seemed to believe that and they tried to feed him Pop Tarts, lettuce and 😱 fishy cat food! 😱. But, everybody PLEASE NO! Bears are actually omnivores and they do eat meat and to them, you and I are MEAT!. Lucky for those nice people who were just trying to help the bear, he was too sleepy to eat them. PHEW! 😅
Minnesota biologists rescue trapped black bear, Zoe Sottile, CNN, February 11, 2023.
But when the snow began to melt, the culvert started to flood, trapping the bear in deep snow and ice, according to the department.
Staff from the department quickly responded to the scene and helped remove the bear. The department's bear biologist, Andrew Tri, "examined the bear and pronounced him healthy but groggy -- obviously, because he'd been woken up from his winter sleep," according to the Facebook post.
The department then relocated the bear to a state sanctuary to resume his hibernation. The sleepy carnivore was estimated to be 6 years old and between 375 and 400 pounds.
That’s everything I have for you for this week. Except I am doing a poll at the bottom! Please help me get a puppy! Bye for now! Luv, CG 💙🐾
⚡️ Lightning RoundUp ⚡️
⚡️ Volodymyr Zelenskyy went from comedian to icon of democracy. This is how he did it, Frank Langfitt, NPR, February 20, 2023.
⚡️ Excellent profile with great photos: In unlikely wartime role, Zelenskyy gives Ukrainians hope, Lynn Berry, AP, February 21, 2023.
⚡️ With cool photos: How do you sneak a US president into a warzone without anyone noticing? EVAN VUCCI, JOHN LEICESTER and ZEKE MILLER, AP, February 21, 2023.
⚡️ Jimmy Carter (worth using one of your free Atlantic stories this month — they don’t allow gift articles or I would gift it!): An Unlucky President, and a Lucky Man, James Fallows, the Atlantic, February 21, 2023.
⚡️ Meet the Religious Crusaders Fighting for Abortion Rights, Abby Vesoulis, Mother Jones, February 17, 2023.
⚡️ SCOTUS looks likely to punt on Section 230/internet: Brett Kavanaugh Just Made the Best Argument for Saving the Internet, Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, February 21, 2023.
⚡️ For gnusies who experience SAD: Lessons in resilience from Chicago's winter grapes, Ashlie D Stevens, Salon, February 20, 2023.
⚡️ How (and why) to stop holding a grudge, Allie Volpe, Vox, February 18, 2023.
⚡️ 10 pieces of well-worn life advice you may need to hear right now, NPR, February 19, 2023.
⚡️ Studies show that there's science behind why certain things satisfy you, Erica Williams Simon, Upworthy, February 19, 2023.
💗 How Can You Help Build Our Democracy Back Better? 💗
Put your beautiful bleeding liberal 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!
🎩 Also, Goody posted a great list of links and I am going to borrow it because it’s great! 🎩
Fight voter suppression!
What can you do?
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:
Let them know what matters to you!
Contact your Representative
Contact your Senator
And remember, all politics is local and personal! Let’s work to flip state and local elected positions Democratic! ↓
Sister District Project — organization that is working to help Dems win state legislature races.
💙 RoundUp WindDown 💙
That’s it from me and CG for another Wednesday. I understand that gnusies in the Northwest, Rockies, Great Plains and Upper Midwest are experiencing a big winter storm today through tomorrow night — so stay safe out there!
I’ll leave you with a little relaxing music. It won’t put you to sleep, don’t worry! But it may just be the perfect accompaniment to your morning beverage as you gather yourself for this Wednesday.
Happy Wednesday, Gnuville!