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: 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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Where Things Stand: Hate When One Coup Gets In The Way Of My Other Coup
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Thanks to Peter Navarro’s new memoir, we now have a first-person account of just how President Trump and his closest friends planned to do a coup on Jan. 6.

But it’s not, Navarro claims, the one we saw violently come into fruition.

TPM detailed some of the latest reports on Navarro’s new book as well as recent interviews with the former White House trade adviser here. But a reasonable conclusion to draw about the purpose of Navarro’s latest press tour is a relatively simple one: He’s attempting to signal that Trump and his team couldn’t possibly be blamed for the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection because that attack actually scuttled their plans for a different, friendlier coup.

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Where Things Stand: Rand Paul Has A New Years Resolution, Too
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It probably doesn’t look like yours, though.

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) home state was devastated by natural disaster in the waning days of 2021. But his primary focus heading into the New Year is not on federal disaster relief or combatting climate change (he’s never really believed in that hoax to begin with), but rather the most important news of the hour: dismantling Big Tech’s Big Bias against conservatives.

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Where Things Stand: Looking Back On The Dumb Prime Badge
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We’re ending the year in a befuddling place. The past week I’ve been having déjà vu, rocketing myself back to a simpler, but overall more confusing time — once again rounding out each evening with stupid little Victorian-era strolls around the neighborhood as my one activity for the day, all to maintain my stupid sanity.

The last few weeks have not been promising for the sweetly naive among us who were still holding on to hope for a brighter 2022. And the year as a whole has been a hard one. Kicking off the year with a literal insurrection didn’t do much to forecast optimism. Some of you, understandably, had to step away from the news at points throughout the year. And we don’t blame you! Between the Capitol attack and another impeachment and the GOP embrace of anti-vaxxers and extremists continuing their gradual takeover of Congress and the lingering Big Lie and this deadly COVID spike — it’s all been a lot. (Though, we did have a few bright spots this week!)

But our gallows humor got us through. And if we can’t, at least, release a few dark cackles into the void while the world burns, then we’ve lost our humanity.

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