TGIF: Political Violence Edition
The attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The January 6th committee. And cockroaches.
Another week of headlines that catch our collective eye. Plus the roundup of what you might have missed on Common Sense. TGIF to one and all. See you in the comments.
→ January 6: Last night, the House select committee on January 6 held its first hearing on the infamous riot at the U.S. Capitol. The committee is chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democrat from Mississippi, and vice chaired by Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming.
No American in good conscience can abide the chaos of that day. The question is whether President Trump knew what was being planned, whether he egged it on, whether he bears responsibility.
It’s worth reading Cheney’s whole opening statement, but the short answer is that the committee thinks the answer is absolutely yes. Cheney had this to say to her Republican colleagues “who are defending the indefensible,” as she put it. “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
The next hearing will be held Monday. You can follow developments here. I want all this to be sorted out, but a confession: I have to force myself to follow this story still because I care more these days about other topics (the economy and rising crime). It seems like lots of Americans feel this way.
→ Attempted assasination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh: Pro-choice protestors (I won’t say pro-abortion even if that’s the new preferred term) have been targetting the private homes of Supreme Court justices. First Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then Chief Justice John Roberts, and now Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
The most serious incident by far took place this week. Nicholas John Roske, 26 years old, traveled from his home state of California and showed up near Kavanaugh’s Maryland home. He had a Glock 17 pistol, a knife, zip ties, pepper spray, duct tape and was planning to break into the Justice’s home and kill him. Thankfully, he turned himself in to police outside Kavanaugh’s house.
Meanwhile, pro-life pregnancy centers are reportedly being firebombed.
TGIF does a lot of backseat driving for the pro-choice movement, but, again, if you want to convince others to join your cause, firebombing and endangering families is not the way. The group behind a lot of the home protest stunts is called Ruth Sent Us. But RBG, who was famously friends with Antonin Scalia, certainly wouldn’t approve.
→ The Supreme Court is a mess: Trust is apparently breaking down within the Supreme Court, which continues to spiral into dysfunction after the Roe v. Wade draft leak.
→ Angeli Gomez, a hero: Remember the mother of two students in Uvalde who got into the school and got her kids out? Her name is Angeli Gomez. Law enforcement had handcuffed her. She’d talked her way out of the cuffs, sprinted into the school while the shooter was still active, got her kids and escaped. Gomez, a farm supervisor, says police had later threatened her with a probation violation if she went public with her story, but she did anyway. While more information about police cowardice comes out, including that Uvalde police knew there were injured people slowly dying in that classroom and yet still waited an hour, I keep focusing on Gomez and her bravery.
→ Gas breaks $5 a gallon: The national average price of gas has broken $5 a gallon. And it doesn’t look likely to slow down. President Biden meanwhile is softening his tone on Saudi Arabia since, well, they’ve got gas.
→ Our very shy president: Biden has avoided any real interviews with the press since taking office—shunning sit-downs with the Wall Street Journal, the Times, Reuters and AP. Here’s what the Times’ chief White House correspondent Peter Baker said to Politico: “I can’t think of a parallel situation—it’s the fifth president I’ve covered and the first one I haven’t interviewed.” He added: “They feel neither the obligation nor the opportunity.”
Biden’s own staff doesn’t seem to trust him much and reportedly likes to withhold information from him. (For example, that there was a baby formula shortage; interesting NBC story on that.)
Watching him this week on Jimmy Kimmel, you understand why: The late-night host appeared to cut the President off because he was rambling.
So my guess is that Biden’s staff worries—knows?—that in an interview with a legitimate journalist he’ll go off script. Meanwhile the president’s approval hit news lows. Only 39% of voters approve of him. And something really interesting: He’s now below 50% approval among black voters. That’s pretty remarkable for a Democrat.
→ A radical prosecutor gets recalled: Even San Francisco has limits. For the past year the city has had an almost allergic reaction to some of the more radical elements who came to power recently. First, the school board: Voters ousted three members in February. And it was an overwhelming rejection: More than 70 percent of voters supported the recall.
Now, in a second huge win for the moderate liberal faction of town, the voters have ousted progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin.
For his part, Boudin is responding with almost very little self-awareness—he’s blaming “right-wing billionaires.” Yes, Boudin is arguing now that the 60% of San Franciscans that voted to give him the boot are either Republican or were tricked by Republicans. All the problems are imaginary. My favorite take (mostly from the New York-based media) was that actually San Francisco is a conservative city and unworthy of progressive leadership. Gotta love it.
→ Doctor’s agree that children should be home playing video games: The American Academy of Pediatrics has put out new safety guidelines, which recommend that children shouldn’t cross the street alone before age 10. Maybe that’s true if you live on a very, very busy urban street, but generally? Come on. Jonathan Haidt calls it: “Among the worst examples of safetyism ever.” We agree. Here’s a great video essay on the topic.
→ We know nothing about TikTok: The China-based social platform that’s rewiring all American brains under the age of 25 remains largely a mystery. One small funny bit of transparency about the lack of transparency came this week. After the Financial Times investigated TikTok’s workplace culture, the paper found that in comments on live streams TikTok was censoring the words: “article,” “toxic,” and “culture” and, of course, “Financial Times.”