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: DeSantis Campaigns On Ensuring White Floridians Don’t Feel ‘Discomfort’ About Systemic Racism
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It is hard to accept when you might actually be the real snowflake.

But that’s the bitter pill Florida Republicans find themselves having to swallow.

The latest news: Florida state Republicans just passed a bill — pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — that piles on an already-cemented state policy that bans the teaching of Critical Race Theory, and systemic racism-related issues, in Florida public schools.

This latest bill goes even further. It passed out of the Florida state legislature’s Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee this week by a 6-3 vote, per Orlando Weekly.

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Where Things Stand: The Most Trumpy Details In The New York AG’s Filing On Trump Org Tax Lies
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New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion last night notifying the court it has found substantial evidence that the Trump Organization, helped along by the Trump children, used “fraudulent or misleading” information to secure financial loans and tax breaks for the company.

You’ve likely caught up on the basics of the news since it broke last night. Essentially James’ court filing details allegations about the ways in which her office believes members of the organization and the Trump family lied to tax officials and banks about the values of certain property assets for financial gain and tax benefits. The New York AG’s filing revealed the office is seeking subpoenas for testimony from the Donald himself, as well as his two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. She alleges that the two elder children had a hand in the valuation fudging.

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Where Things Stand: Hundreds Of Schools Defy Virginia’s New GOP Guv
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School district officials who oversee hundreds of schools in Virginia are actively defying their new Republican governor’s efforts to tamp down COVID-19 mitigation measures in the state.

The backlash is similar to what we saw play out in Texas and Florida when Republican Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis enacted similar executive orders late last year, attempting to block individual schools and municipalities from creating their own policies for combatting the pandemic.

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The Weekender: Playing Pretend For 2024
Where Things Stand: Biden Deploys The Military To Fight COVID As SCOTUS Helps Pandemic Linger
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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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Where Things Stand: Greene Tiptoes Up To The Line Of Arguing That Guns Should Be Used Against Dems
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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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Where Things Stand: ‘Grim Reaper’ Won’t Retire, Yet
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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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Where Things Stand: It’s Long-Time Giuliani Bud Bernie Kerik’s Turn Before The Jan 6 Committee
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Longtime Rudy Giuliani ally Bernie Kerik plans to show up for a deposition in front of the Jan. 6 select committee this week. But he might not answer every question that is asked of him.

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Where Things Stand: Some News Amid The Commemorations And Noise
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A decent chunk of what would’ve been the right’s blusteringly distasteful counter-programming to Congress’ introspective coup-versary commemorations today were canceled last minute.

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Where Things Stand: J.D. Vance’s ‘Last Straw’ Was As Shallow As Any Trump Grievance
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J.D. Vance’s initially-praised memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” was celebrated as a pioneering work when it was first published in 2016. Pundits and conservative intellectuals lionized Vance for his supposed ability to explain a certain type of blue-collar Republican to confused Ivy Leaguers and “establishment” elites who had never met one.

But the once anti-Trump venture capitalist-turned-social commentator has since turned over yet another new leaf, and can be found embracing some of the most bombastic styles of Trumpism as he seeks to elevate his primary race for a Senate seat in Ohio’s crowded primary. As Washington Post writer Simon van Zuylen-Wood outlines in this new in-depth profile on Vance, the author’s descent into MAGAland was complex, and years in the making.

But, per WaPo, the “last straw” that finally thrust Vance into the raging faux-populist arms of Trumpism was about as shallow as some of the former president’s pettiest grievances: the mainstream masses made fun of him.

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