EDITORS' BLOG
COVID Notes #9 (Special Antigen Test Edition)
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So many people are getting COVID, trying to figure out whether they have COVID or trying to figure out how long to isolate whether they have COVID or suspect they might. So I wanted to share with you some examples of positive and negative antigen tests. There’s nothing surprising or groundbreaking about what I’m going to show you. But it can just help to see some examples if you’re trying to make sense of this stuff in your own home, workplace or family.

These are six tests from a COVID infection that was antigen positive for 9 days.

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Where Things Stand: Biden Deploys The Military To Fight COVID As SCOTUS Helps Pandemic Linger

The White House’s latest COVID-19 mitigation efforts are a contrast to the Supreme Court’s ruling today.

President Biden announced Thursday that his administration would double its previous promise to hand out free at-home COVID-19 tests, with plans to send out one billion to Americans’ homes. Along with that, the Biden administration will distribute N95 masks to the public as the country faces an unprecedented spike in COVID infections.

Biden is also deploying more military personnel to hospitals. Speaking from the White House the President said that next week he will send 1,000 military medics to hospitals across the country that have become overrun with patients dangerously sick with the coronavirus. The spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant has left the nation’s hospitals overburdened and short-staffed in recent weeks.

Biden didn’t mince his words in his address announcing the drastic moves.

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A Telling Sign
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Notwithstanding Sen. Sinema’s speechlet this afternoon I certainly hope they will still force a vote on the rules change itself. But another point occurs to me, one we’ve discussed before: there will never be another Democrat elected to the Senate who supports the current filibuster. This is obvious for a number of reasons. But I was reminded of it when I got a fundraising email from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) who’s running for the open Ohio Senate seat. Like you, I get a million of these. Ryan’s just one. But here’s how the email starts …

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Listen To This: Looking to the Court

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, with the Senate all but paralyzed, Josh and Kate discuss the Supreme Court’s posture on the Biden administration’s use of agency power.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.

This Is Why You Call the Vote
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Newsflash: perfidious silly person Kysten Sinema has now told a friendly reporter at Politico that she’s “weighing” or “considering” or some other chin-scratch-full but meaningless gerund that she may go to the floor of the Senate and give a speech denouncing any changes to Senate rules that will allow Democrats thin majority to do anything. This as President Biden goes to the Senate to press his case for a rule change that will allow democracy-protecting legislation to come to a vote.

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McCarthy Refuses to Testify About Trump’s Confession
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Kevin McCarthy has now refused to appear voluntarily before the select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. What’s important about this is that McCarthy is likely one of the few people with direct knowledge of Trump’s efforts to assist the insurrectionists as they were ransacking the Capitol building. According to numerous published reports, the ultimate source of which is almost certainly McCarthy himself, Trump told McCarthy in real time that he was barring the US military from stopping the insurrection in order to give his violent supporters time to ransack the Capitol and bring the official vote tabulation to a halt.

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Where Things Stand: Greene Tiptoes Up To The Line Of Arguing That Guns Should Be Used Against Dems

It may be the 21st century, but the QAnon congresswoman is urging folks to take up arms against their sea of troubles.

During a podcast interview with none other than the bombastic former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) loudly nodded at the “Second Amendment” as a solution to the far-right’s problems — in this case the “tyrannical government,” aka (for her) Democrats. Greene suggested Democratic lawmakers are currently doing exactly what the founders feared when James Madison proposed the inclusion of Second Amendment rights in the Constitution.

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The Administration’s Flawed COVID Messaging

One area of policy where I hoped the new Biden administration would excel was in its handling of the pandemic, but it has not done so. It wasn’t prepared for either the Delta or Omicron variants; it failed initially to acknowledge waning vaccine immunity and delayed access to boosters; it still doesn’t have an accurate count nationally of infections; and its public messaging on masks, tests, and vaccines has been confusing and sometimes misleading. That was epitomized by a statement from acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet L. Woodcock in the Senate hearings yesterday.

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Where Things Stand: ‘Grim Reaper’ Won’t Retire, Yet

Or so he says.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters today that he plans to run for majority leader again after the midterms, on the assumption that Republicans will be able to take back the upper chamber in November.

“I’m going to be running again for leader later this year,” he said, putting to rest rumors of his possible retirement, at least for the time being.

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Readers on Schools #7
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From TPM Reader JS

I’m sure you get a lot of people emailing you who don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m sure I have written on topics I’m in the Dunning-Krueger zone on, and many where I seem that way. I’m a strange guy. Right now, I’m a high school teacher. I am also a lawyer. I now only practice law for family and as a guardsman for the military. I was also involved in politics, have been elected to office, and was on California’s Democratic Central Committee.

I made the change because teaching was the first job I had that I really liked. I avoided it because everyone in my family is or was also an educator. I also have degrees in stuff unrelated to what I teach now, which is Calculus and Spanish, another weird combo. I’ve done peer-reviewed, published research on language acquisition. Most of this comes up if you Google me.

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| News

The Supreme Court will hear a case in February that could decide the future of the Biden presidency — and gut its ability to mitigate climate change in the face of congressional inaction

| News

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down new legislative maps from the state’s Republican-dominated redistricting commission, saying that the maps for state House and Senate favored the GOP to such an extent that they violated the state’s constitution. 

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| News

Republicans’ attacks on the democratic process didn’t end on Jan. 6 — they’ve just changed form. Throughout 2021 and now continuing into 2022, GOP leaders have pursued endless “audits,” “investigations” and “reviews” of the 2020 election results that stage hunts for non-existent evidence of widespread voter fraud and keep former president Trump’s lie of a stolen election alive. 

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| Muckraker

The same people who organized Trump’s fateful rally on the Ellipse had something else in store on Jan. 6: a separate, previously unreported rally planned in front of the Supreme Court.

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| News

While the stretch between late December and the beginning of January is usually marked by slow news days patched over with pre-written, reflective stories to fill the front pages, there’s been no such lull in the redistricting corner. 

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| News

Republican Senate leaders have suddenly expressed some openness to changing the law that Donald Trump tried to use to steal a second term in office, leading to two obvious questions: Huh? Why?

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| Muckraker

In the earliest days, Steve Bannon projected uncertainty.

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| News

News outlets trot out the term every time Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) make headlines: “moderates.” 

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After listening to every single episode of conservative election lawyer Cleta Mitchell’s podcast, “Who’s Counting?” a simple truth emerges: This isn’t about Donald Trump. 

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September 2021: A blonde white woman takes the podium at a school board meeting for Lake Travis Independent School District, west of Austin, Texas. She claims that instead of speaking about a need for a second high school — the subject of the meeting — she had been “sidetracked” by something she read in a young adult novel that’s available in middle schools in the area. She was here to talk about that instead.

The parent, named Kara Bell, begins to read.

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| News

Gutfeld! is Fox News’ weekday late night show hosted by Greg Gutfeld that promises to “look at the news of the day through a satiric lens fused with pop culture” and “feature refreshing, light-hearted takes on the day’s top headlines” from various guests. The show debuted in April, and it’s been an undeniable success since then, rising above almost all other late night comedy programs in the ratings, according to Nielsen. It was also among the ten top rated cable news shows in November (all the other programs with higher ratings were also Fox shows, reinforcing the right-wing outlet’s status as the country’s most-watched TV network).

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