DC Memo: There is no happiness in life
Hello and welcome to the DC Memo. This week you can find me rejoicing that the District has officially met The White House’s goal of having 70 percent of America’s adult population partially immunized by July 4. I might not hesitate this year to go to the National Mall for its famous fireworks display on the fourth. This week in the Memo you’ll find more awkward moments, a fatalistic Russian leader and Minnesota’s youngest 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner.
It’s always awkward in Minnesota
Last week we spoke about Representative Ilhan Omar Tweeter mentioning the US and Israel in the same sentence as Hamas and the Taliban, and how things got awkward when a group of House lawmakers, including Rep. Dean Phillips, sent a letter berating Omar for his tweet .
Well, things are still a bit awkward. House Democrats are always trying to move past angry exchanges and accusations of bigotry. Republicans are looking for ways to exploit the division of the Democratic Party. The antagonism comes at a precarious time for House Democrats, who will have to unite in their slim majority to push through legislation, including a massive infrastructure package and an expansion of the social safety net.
The Congressional Black Caucus supported Omar on Wednesday, more than a week after his original tweet.
Still don’t know what it is? This clever piece by Elizabeth Bruenig The Atlantic breaks down what Omar said and how he’s interpreted – and deliberately misinterpreted – by Republicans and Democrats.
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Wednesday for the first time since Biden took office. Putin called the meeting “constructive”, while Biden said “I did what I came to do.” The three-hour Geneva summit meetings included discussions on cybersecurity and arms control, among other topics.
One of the main goals of Biden’s team in planning this summit was to avoid the Helsinki Show 2018, when former President Donald Trump met with Putin alone for two hours and stepped out to announce that he had spoken to the Russian leader about US intelligence on election interference.
Biden has made it clear that Russia has a responsibility to crack down on cybercrime originating in the country.
Yet when asked by reporters if he was convinced that Putin would change his behavior on cyber attacks, Biden said: “I am not sure of anything.”
Through his interpreter, Putin darkened for reporters: “There is no happiness in life, there is only a mirage on the horizon, so cherish that.” Looks like Putin took a page from my distressed teenage diary, but I digress.
Land grab or conservation effort?
On Tuesday, the Republican delegation from Minnesota (Representatives Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn and Michelle Fischbach) sent a letter to President Biden expressing concerns about his proposed “Conserve 30% of America’s Land and Water” initiative on Tuesday. here 2030 â, in other words 30 Ã 30.
Shortly after taking office, Biden issued an executive order in an attempt to tackle the climate crisis domestically and abroad. Part of that order is a national goal to conserve at least 30 percent of the land and freshwater of the United States and 30 percent of the ocean areas of the United States by 2030. Therefore, 30 Ã 30.
According to the Republican delegation from Minnesota, the 30 Ã 30 initiative would place an additional 681 million acres of land and water under government control, including private land. “Hundreds of millions of additional acres, whether privately owned or managed by federal, state or local governments, are threatened by this land grab,” they wrote in a press release.
Stauber, a native of Duluth whose district covers much of northern Minnesota, said that “The continued multiple uses of our lands, including recreation such as ATV riding, hunting, snowmobiling and fishing, as well as productive uses such as timber harvesting, mining and agriculture, are absolutely essential to our livelihoods and way of life. Sadly, the 30 Ã 30 land grab proposed by inside the Biden administration and other departments would hurt my constituents’ ability to go about their daily lives.
In their letter, representatives asked for responses from Biden on how he would respect on-going conservation efforts at the national and local level and his impact on the recreational use of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles.
Racial justice, but only figuratively
Observed on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when black Americans enslaved in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that they had been released two and a half years earlier, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation of ’emancipation.
Many states are officially observing June 19 in one way or another, but so far Juneteenth hasn’t gotten much federal recognition. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a bill that establishes June 19 as National Independence Day.
Although the bill was passed by the Senate without debate, 14 Republicans in the House voted against. All eight Minnesota House representatives voted to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
General interest in Juneteenth was revived last year following protests against the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and the countless others who have been killed by police officers or white supremacists.
There are criticisms around the bill, including that making Juneteenth a national holiday does not address material issues like the franchise and police brutality, which overwhelmingly affects blacks and people of color in general. Despite numerous attempts to criminalize lynching, the act is still not a federal crime.
Filmmaker Bree Newsome tweeted: âI find that insulting, actually. That the Senate passes this bill unanimously but refuses to unanimously support black suffrage is spitting in the face. This is [an] entirely condescending and hollow performance. They don’t deserve applause for that.
Teen Pulitzer Prize Winner
The Pulitzer Prize painting awarded a special mention Last Friday to Darnella Frazier, the teenager whose cellphone footage of George Floyd’s murder last summer sparked massive protests and sparked racial reckoning in the country. Frazier was also a key witness in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Frazier has written that âbehind that smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something that reminds me of every day.
What i read
- New Zealand houseplant sells for $ 19,200 in online auction war, CNN. I usually try to show you all the thought-provoking stories I’ve read, but this one isn’t necessarily as deep as it usually is. The title says it all, really: someone in New Zealand paid almost $ 20,000 for a nine-leaf houseplant. Even as a self-proclaimed houseplant enthusiast, I couldn’t imagine spending more than $ 100 on a plant.
- ‘People of Praise leaders failed me’: Christian group linked to judge Amy Coney Barrett faces charges of sexual misconduct, Washington Post. I was hooked as soon as I saw the date: Eden Prairie, Minn. This story delves into the controversy surrounding a religious group involved in a case of sexual misconduct. And it goes even further: Amy Coney Barrett, the most recent addition to the Supreme Court, was raised in a People of Praise community in Louisiana and has long been active in the church. This one is a mad rush.
- US marshals act like local police, but with more violence and less accountability, The Marshall Project and USA Today. If you’ve been following the case of Winston Smith, the man who was shot dead by officers of a US Marshals Task Force on June 3, you will have heard of the Marshals. I’ve written a few articles about this situation, and in my research I came across this excellent survey of some of the regulations – or the lack thereof – on some of America’s deadliest fugitive apprehension teams. If you are looking for more information on Commissioners, I highly recommend reading this.