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Where Things Stand: Mississippi Guv Blames Everything And Everyone But Himself For Deadly COVID Spike Prime Badge
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Back in April of this year, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) blamed the lackluster vaccination situation in the Magnolia State on “a very large African American population” and “a lot of rural people.”

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Where Things Stand: Giuliani Makes The Case That He’s ‘A Functioning’ Person Prime Badge
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UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: Rudolph Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee, on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not me, it’s you.

America’s former mayor gave a rather blunt interview to NBC New York this week, addressing head on the fact that everyone thinks he’s basically lost his mind.

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Where Things Stand: Bernie May Make A Few Pointed Pitstops On His Reconciliation Bill-Hyping Tour Prime Badge
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DEARBORN, MI - MARCH 07: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a campaign rally at Salina Intermediate School on March 7, 2020 in Dearborn, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

While Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) centrist colleagues in the House try to flex their muscles ahead of the party’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package reaching their chamber, Sanders is planning to spend the next few weeks selling the bold legislation to Americans — specifically, Republican voters in the Midwest.

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Where Things Stand: Abbott’s New Vax Mandate Ban Is Clearly Aimed At Big Schools Prime Badge
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We spent a good chunk of last week covering various school districts in Florida, Texas and elsewhere that are standing up to their governors’ bans on mask policies in schools. The defiance has been interesting to watch play out — most are maintaining their mask policies, despite ongoing threats from the state level.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott just issued an executive order that looks like another escalation of that battle.

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Where Things Stand: Another One Of Nunes’ Nutty Lawsuits Was Just Dismissed Prime Badge
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on March 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Throwback to simpler times, when I was given the greenlight to spend many a TPM workday covering which Twitter farm animal Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was suing next.

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Where Things Stand: The Little Guys Are Holding The Front Line Prime Badge
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The school districts fighting back against Republican governors’ efforts to prolong the life of the pandemic in their states have shown pretty remarkable strength this week.

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Where Things Stand: Washington State Finally Does It — All School Workers Must Be Vaccinated Prime Badge
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Being vaccinated is now a condition of employment in all Washington state schools. And that includes public, charter and private.

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Where Things Stand: Election Officials Are Searching For A Plan To Avoid The Next MAGA ‘Audit’ Disaster Prime Badge
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 23: Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon (L) speaks with city clerk Melissa Kennedy (C) and election specialist Robert Stokka (R) during a public accuracy testing of Election Day voting machines at the Municipal Services Center on October 23, 2018 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Each jurisdiction that operates electronic voting equipment must hold a public accuracy test within 14 days of the election (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The National Association of Secretaries of State is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

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Where Things Stand: Contender For Worst COVID Governor Gets COVID Prime Badge
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AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 08: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas on June 8, 2021. Abbott signed Senate bills 2 and 3 into law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and weatherize and improve the reliability of the state's power grid. The bill signing comes months after a disastrous February winter storm that created widespread power outages and left dozens of Texans dead. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has distinguished himself with his incredibly lax approach to handling the COVID-19 outbreak in his state, has tested positive for COVID-19.

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Where Things Stand: The GOP’s Dramatic Reversal Prime Badge
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The Republican Party wants you to forget that just a few months ago the GOP agreed that the move to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which Biden is now being criticized for, was sound foreign policy.

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Where Things Stand: Cruz Hops On The ‘Poor Insurrectionists!’ Train Prime Badge
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We expected folks like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to offer jailed insurrectionists the victim card. They staged a photo-op protest at the jail where some of them are being held last month to paint the rioters as mistreated political prisoners.

Now Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is joining the whitewashing movement.

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Where Things Stand: Greenberg Hands Over Sex-Arranging Texts That Include Pics Of Gaetz Prime Badge
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Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, speaks during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power” in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 29, 2020.  POOL

ABC News got its hands on some private messages that it says Matt Gaetz’s buddy Joel Greenberg allegedly sent. The messages, ABC reports, were turned over to federal investigators, and reportedly show Greenberg arranging a meet up between himself, Gaetz, and women who were allegedly paid for sex.

Things are looking increasingly bad — and gross — for the congressman.

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Where Things Stand: Biden Sends Ventilators To FL. DeSantis Wants Nothing To Do With It Prime Badge
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The Biden administration reportedly sent 200 ventilators and 100 nasal oxygen kits to the state of Florida this week as the state sees an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases. As we’ve reported, the number of people hospitalized with the virus increased by 1,173 just in the last two days — putting the total number of confirmed hospitalizations in the Sunshine state at 14,787.

But Gov. Ron DeSantis claims he didn’t ask the feds for the life-saving equipment.

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Where Things Stand: Mark Meadows, You’re Up Prime Badge
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Former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows was one of Trump’s top henchmen pushing the DOJ to buy into his conspiracy theory of a stolen election — that is, when Trump wasn’t doing the dirty work himself.

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Are We Thinking the Right Way About What Constitutes Infection? Prime Badge

One of the most interesting and clarifying discussions I’ve read in recent weeks is Dr. Monica Gandhi’s discussion of the difference between ‘colonization’ and ‘infection’ in thinking about what counts as a case of COVID. It’s conceptually interesting but also highly relevant both for the choices we make balancing risk as individuals as well as how we approach the vaccine phase of the pandemic in policy terms.

As Gandhi tells it, in many cases a vaccinated individual will be exposed to COVID and have the pathogen briefly colonize their nasal passages. But vaccine-induced immunity will fight and defeat the virus there. Is that an infection or a case? If you take a PCR test, you’ll test positive. But Gandhi says we’re confusing things by treating it as one.

Gandhi is an infectious disease specialist and we spoke with her this morning in an Inside Briefing about this and related topics.

If you’re a TPM member you can watch our full interview after the jump.
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Where Things Stand: On To The Main Course
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At TPM, we’ve been harping on the fact that the whole bipartisan back-and-forth that unfolded over the last two months — and that might conclude early tomorrow morning — doesn’t really matter that much. It’s the reconciliation package that matters. If it passes in a form similar to what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined this morning, it would be the most significant progressive legislation in at least a decade.

It might also be the last significant progressive legislation for at least a decade.

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Where Things Stand: The Bedding Mogul Is Confronted, Gets Mad Prime Badge
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MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has been on a destructive path for some time, buckling himself to the former president’s Big Lie crusade with near blind allegiance.

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Where Things Stand: QAnon Congresswoman Goes To Iowa Prime Badge
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DALTON, GA - MAY 27: U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks at an ‘America First’ Rally on May 27, 2021 in Dalton, Georgia. “America First’ Rallies are hyper conservative right-wing Trump loyalists who gather in support of continuing his message. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

The tour of terribleness is, apparently, just getting started.

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Where Things Stand: Florida And Texas Dig Their Heels In Prime Badge
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As at least one Republican governor expresses regret over a state law that bans mask mandates at the local level, Texas and Florida’s top officials are doing the opposite.

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Where Things Stand: Ex-GOP Rep On Trump’s Legal Team Won’t Try To Block Testimony From Some Former Officials Prime Badge
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Former Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who served on Trump’s impeachment defense team and who represented the former president in his legal bid to overturn election results in Georgia, signaled on Monday that Trump’s legal team will not block congressional requests for testimony from at least a handful of former Trump administration officials.

But there’s a caveat.

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Where Things Stand: DeSantis’ Balancing Act Prime Badge
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) rise to Trumpy stardom is largely tied to his defiant stance against public health measures during most of the pandemic last year.

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Where Things Stand: Mo Brooks Says He Wore Body Armor On Jan. 6. Because Of Antifa, Of Course Prime Badge
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UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., talks with reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, May 17, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was one of the first Republicans to point the finger at the amorphous “antifa” as the true culprits behind the Jan. 6 insurrection.

His tone hasn’t changed much since.

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Where Things Stand: Turning Point USA Is Targeting Teens With Anti-Vax Propaganda Prime Badge
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Turning Point USA is pushing anti-vaccine talking points as part of its fundraising efforts.

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Where Things Stand: It Was Hard To Spit Out, But Jim Jordan Confirmed He Spoke To Trump On Jan 6 Prime Badge
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Amid a stream of words delivered in his typical auctioneer fashion, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) confirmed Wednesday afternoon that he did, in fact, talk to Trump on Jan. 6.

When exactly that conversation happened — before the insurrection, during the attack, after the fact, when Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s win — couldn’t tell ya.

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Where Things Stand: McCarthy Hides From Jan. 6 Testimony Prime Badge
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The House minority leader says he didn’t even watch the hearing he was trying to distract you from.

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Where Things Stand: Sinister Counter-Programming Prime Badge
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The first hearing of the House’s Jan. 6 select committee starts bright and early Tuesday morning, focused on testimony from key law enforcement witnesses who were defending the Capitol during the mob attack. And we’re expecting varying degrees of hay-making and counter-programming from the GOP.

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Where Things Stand: Half Of House GOPers Are Fueling Vax Skepticism Prime Badge
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Some are staying silent. Others think it’s none of your business. A handful are shamelessly promoting anti-vax rhetoric.

Half of House Republicans will not share their vaccination status, or openly refuse to get the shot.

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