Nicole Lafond

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Nicole Lafond is TPM’s associate editor, based in New York. She has also worked as the special projects editor and as a senior newswriter for TPM. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously covered education in central Illinois.
Where Things Stand: Sinema Is Fundraising For Dems In Europe Right Now Because What Could Be More Pressing Prime Badge
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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is spending her Senate recess in Europe, fundraising for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, her office confirmed to the New York Times this week.

It’s curious that Sinema has taken it upon herself to be a shining visage for the Democratic Party overseas when her mere existence as a senator is holding up the entire party agenda. But that, we are coming to learn, is par for the course for the Arizona senator.

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Where Things Stand: Airlines Buck Abbott’s Confusing Anti-Mandate Mandate Prime Badge
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Two Texas-based airlines plan to follow federal regulations about vaccination mandates, defying the state’s Republican governor’s recent mandate barring such mandates in the Lone Star State.

How many times can we say mandate?

Gov. Greg Abbott’s whole positioning on COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Texas would be amusing if it weren’t so dark. Abbott passed an executive order on Monday, banning “any entity” from adopting vaccine requirements in the state, even if private businesses want to implement them and/or follow federal requirements on vaccinations for employees. His order is hyper-focused on the badness of government mandates, while being a mandate in and of itself.

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Where Things Stand: Are Workers Getting Fed Up With COVID-Era Aggression? Prime Badge
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TPM has been covering the way in which the pandemic and the public health measures necessary to tamp it down have resulted in periodic eruptions of anger, often egged on by opportunistic, MAGA-aligned politicians. It’s become a theme for us: the specter of violence in politics that’s simmered for the last few years, predating the pandemic but inflamed by it.

But of course, the current level of public outrage is not limited to the political sphere of life. Anecdotal reporting — and, increasingly, data — suggest there might be an economic corollary to this trend as well.

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Where Things Stand: Facebook Whistleblower In Talks With Jan 6 Committee About Insurrection Prime Badge
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Frances Haugen

The Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen — who I wrote about earlier this week — is expected to meet with the Jan. 6 select committee investigating the insurrection, and might have already shared testimony with the committee.

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Where Things Stand: Grassley Congratulates Korean-American Nominee On ‘Work Ethic’ Of ‘Your People’ Prime Badge
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If confirmed, Lucy Koh, one of President Biden’s judicial nominees, would become the first Korean American to serve as a U.S. appeals court judge.

During the start of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, ranking Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — an 88-year-old who just announced he’s running for another six-year term — made a remark that could only be interpreted as wildly inappropriate, at best, and pretty racist, at worst.

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Where Things Stand: DOJ Will Probe Violent Threats Against Teachers, School Board Members Prime Badge
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The Justice Department announced this week that it will soon start investigating violent threats against school teachers and school board members around the country — a concerning trend that escalated in recent months as students returned to the classroom amid a lingering pandemic and GOP-instigated culture wars violently boiled over during school board meetings across the U.S.

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Where Things Stand: An Insider Account Of Facebook In The Days Before The Insurrection Prime Badge
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Facebook, Instagram and other applications owned by the social media giant are all down today. The company is describing the outage as “networking issues,” while tech sleuths and new reports suggest the problem might be bigger than that.

I won’t speculate on technology as I know nothing about technology. But the outage comes just one day after a previously anonymous former Facebook executive and whistleblower went on “60 Minutes” to make new allegations concerning the company’s apathy about the dangerous spread of far-right disinformation on the platform.

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Where Things Stand: Durham Issues More Subpoenas Prime Badge
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John Durham is still digging in deep to find proof of some sort of anti-Trump origin of the Russia probe. So far, his findings haven’t produced the kind of damning evidence Republicans and Trump allies were hoping for. But a new report suggests he may be trying to expand the case he’s been trying to build for two years.

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Where Things Stand: GOP Leaders Whipping Votes That Will … Help Progressives? Prime Badge
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It’s a bit of a bizarre calculation, but House GOP leadership is reportedly launching a relatively aggressive offensive against the bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of the potential House vote tomorrow.

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Where Things Stand: Petty To The Point Of Pain Prime Badge
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The former president did a lot of things to maintain control of his presidency — like the whole dismantling democracy thing or the time he encouraged a mob of his most loyal to violently try to do a coup.

But, according to one account, he also underwent a surgery without anesthesia just to maintain his hold on the office.

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