By Robert A. Vella
The weird keeps getting weirder. Here’s the news for today:
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate will vote on two bills aimed towards ending the worsening government shutdown which is now beginning to severely impact the lives of federal workers, the agencies they serve, as well as the people and businesses that depend on them. The first bill was written in haste by Republicans to facilitate a disingenuous move by President Trump offering a temporary halt to his administration’s assault on DACA recipients (i.e. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) – which the courts have so far deemed unconstitutional – in exchange for harsher rules against asylum seekers and of course funding for his border wall. This bill has no chance to achieve the filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold for passage. The second bill is similar to the one unanimously passed by the senate before the shutdown, and similar to the ones overwhelmingly passed by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives after the shutdown started. That bill has a better chance for passage, but it too probably can’t reach the 60-vote threshold. See:
President Trump has sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi informing her that he intends to give his State of the Union speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives despite her having rescinded the invitation based on complications resulting from the government shutdown. Capitol police and the House Sergeant-at-Arms are prepared to secure the premises if Trump attempts to follow through on his threat. Unless he is prepared to break into the Capitol with storm troopers, then the president won’t be able to give his speech there. See:
House Dems are preparing to grill interim Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on February 8th regarding his involvement with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel office, and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reported last night that they intend to question him about communications related to a statement released by Mueller last Friday which appeared to refute a BuzzFeed article asserting evidence that President Trump ordered his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations with Russians during the 2016 presidential election to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. See:
President Trump’s frustration with Rudy Giuliani is growing more intense after his legal mouthpiece said that negotiations with Russians for the Trump Tower Moscow project continued up to election day in 2016. Giuliani’s statements, especially those concerning the Mueller investigation, have been very curious and contradictory to the point where Rudy felt compelled to respond to allegations that he’s been lying to protect the president. From: Trump exasperated by gaffe-prone Giuliani
“I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump,’” he said. “Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter.” Giuliani added that the apostle “will be on my side.”
North Carolina seat
RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina’s investigation into election fraud by the Mark Harris campaign will continue, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Harris is the Republican candidate who appeared to narrowly win an election for North Carolina’s 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. But the state has not officially certified his victory, due to an ongoing investigation into alleged fraud related to mail-in absentee ballots.
Harris and his legal team had asked Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to order the state to certify the results of the election despite the investigation, which could then send Harris to Congress. Following two hours of arguments from Harris’ lawyers as well as lawyers for the state and his Democratic opponent Dan McCready, Ridgeway said he would deny Harris’ request.
Church and State
DES MOINES, Iowa — A state judge on Tuesday struck down Iowa’s restrictive “fetal heartbeat” abortion law, which would have been the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation.
Judge Michael Huppert found the law unconstitutional, concluding that the Iowa Supreme Court’s earlier decisions that affirm a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion would include the new law passed last year
He also cited several cases in federal court, including decisions in 2015 and 2016 in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that indicated such abortion laws were unconstitutional.
A wave of “Bible literacy” bills emerging in state legislatures would allow more students in public high schools to study the Old and New Testaments.
Proposals from lawmakers in at least six states would require or encourage public schools to offer elective classes on the Bible’s literary and historical significance. That’s a more narrow focus than what’s typically covered in courses on world religions.
Some of the lawmakers – and leaders of Christian groups supporting the bills – say they want to restore traditional values in schools and provide students with an opportunity to study the religious text deeply.
The massive teacher strike in Los Angeles has been favorably resolved, but a new one is erupting in Denver over concerns that low, stagnant wages are a disincentive for teacher recruitment and that the quality of education is suffering. See: