🇺🇸 Here We Go Again
January 5, 2022

Good morning and happy Wednesday. America is a very generous country, often ranking near or at the top with respect to annual charitable donations. As a prime example of this collective generosity, basketball star Shaquille O'Neal says despite facing challenges growing up, his parents taught him the importance of giving back. He just gifted 1,000 video game systems to underprivileged kids on Christmas.

Plus, Christians are often forced to decide between the creationist story of Adam and Eve or the scientific theory of evolution. Now, some scientists and theologians say recent genetic breakthroughs are changing their thinking. Are a historical Adam and Eve in fact compatible with evolution?

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 1/4: Biden Job Approval, USA Today/Suffolk Approve 40, Disapprove 54
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 1/4: Biden Job Approval, CNBC/Change Research Approve 44, Disapprove 56
D 1/4: Gen. Congress Vote, CNBC/Change Research Republicans 44,
Democrats 45
D 1/4: Gen. Congress Vote, USA Today/Suffolk Republicans 37,
Democrats 39

Trending On The Left


WaPoRon Johnson somehow isn’t clear on why post-illness immunity is worse than no-illness immunity

NY Times: In the Capitol’s Shadow, the January 6 Panel Quietly Ramps Up Its Inquiry

NPR: Here's where election-denying candidates are running to control voting

Huff Post: Violent Conflict Expert Envisions Right-Wing Dictatorship 'By 2030, If Not Sooner'

Trending On The Right


Breitbart: Establishment Media Ignore Joe Biden’s Involvement with Elizabeth Holmes's Theranos

Fox News: WH ripped for doomsday message of 'severe illness and death' for unvaccinated

The Blaze: RI allows COVID-positive health care staff to work after firing unvaccinated workers

Washington ExaminerDNC workers unionize in move that could cost Dems candidates

FILIBUSTER

Here We Go Again

Reporting from The Left: “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday that the chamber will take a vote on whether to change the Senate's legislative filibuster rules by Martin Luther King Jr Day on January 17. In a new letter to his colleagues, Schumer said the Senate will 'debate and consider changes to Senate rules' if Republicans block Democrats' latest effort to advance a voting, elections overhaul bill in the coming days.” (CNN)

Reporting from The Right: "Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is using the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill to stress the importance of passing what he described as ‘urgently-needed’ federal voting rights legislation. ... Schumer has repeatedly threatened that Democrats would explore ways to get rid of the filibuster, should Republicans continue to use the tool to block debate on the voting rights bill." (Fox News) A separate Fox News piece argues Schumer supported the filibuster in 2017.

From The Flag: Here’s what both sides are saying about federal voting rights and the filibuster.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

It’s About Protecting Democracy


Left-leaning commentators express concerns regarding voting rights and their belief the GOP is a threat to democracy. They argue new legislation is needed to keep elections fair and open but passing those bills will require the elimination of the filibuster—which could prove difficult. In the minds of those quoted below, it’s a drastic but necessary step.

“Fix the filibuster to rescue the Republic” Norm Ornstein, New York Daily News op-ed: "Our country is at a turning point. The Jan. 6 House Select Committee is daily uncovering deeply disturbing evidence of a broad and deep attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The threat is not over; Republican legislatures around the country are enacting, on a partisan basis, four varieties of laws, all designed to undermine the democratic process and lock in Republican majorities (and likely a Republican president in 2024) regardless of the will of the voters or the actions of honest election administrators. ... This is a frontal assault on democracy itself. If it succeeds, it will be almost impossible to reverse, no matter what a majority of voters want. The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would put a check on these efforts."

“Democracy in the balance: Revise Senate filibuster to protect elections and voting rights” USA Today Editorial Board: “It is not that the parliamentary rule requiring 60 votes to advance legislation is somehow sacrosanct. After all, it's not in the Constitution. But it engenders the kind of consensus Americans yearn for in republican government and, as a result, can restore a measure of sorely lacking trust. ... Our nation now faces such a circumstance with democracy itself in the balance and a law to protect it possible only if something is done about the filibuster. How did it come to this? It began with historically unprecedented and desperate efforts by Donald Trump in the final weeks of his presidency to reverse an election he claimed, with his Big Lie, had been stolen. He failed. But Republican lawmakers in key swing states across the country are now working to dismantle some of the institutional guardrails that stopped Trump."

“A Post-Filibuster World Would Be a Nightmare for Progressives” Ronald Weich, POLITICO op-ed: “Democrats eager to gut the Senate's 60-vote threshold should remember how it saved them in the past.” Keep reading.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Playing a Dangerous Game


Right-leaning commentators generally push back against the left’s arguments concerning voter rights while also defending the principle behind the filibuster. Many point out how Democrats favored the filibuster in the past as the Congressional minority, while others discuss long-lasting ramifications of such a move. Highlighted below are reminders that a Republican majority would be similarly free to act without restraint in the absence of the filibuster.

“Schumer’s Filibuster Stunt” Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal: "If you thought 2022 might see a return to the more ‘normal’ politics that Democrats promised in 2020 but failed to deliver in 2021, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to disabuse you. On Monday he announced that Democrats will revive their crusade to transform Congress by eliminating the Senate filibuster on the narrowest of partisan votes. ... That would need support from Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have resisted so far. They know that once the filibuster is tossed for one arbitrary category of legislation, it’s as good as gone for the rest. ... To persuade them, Mr. Schumer wants to instill a sense of panic. 'Much like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol nearly one year ago' he writes, GOP states have enacted ‘anti-democratic legislation’ that must be overridden by 50 Senate Democrats."

"Why do we need a filibuster rule? Just look at today's political divisions" Jonathan Turley, The Hill op-ed: "... both Manchin and Sinema support preserving the Senate’s filibuster rule, and they are portrayed in the press as fighting for what is being called a 'Jim Crow relic.' One reporter asked Sinema how she would respond to what critics are calling a 'choice between the filibuster and democracy.' ... While Democrats and the media have painted anyone supporting the filibuster as anti-democratic, even racist, they overwhelmingly supported the rule when Democrats were in the Senate minority. As a senator, Biden denounced any termination of the filibuster as 'disastrous.' ... Back then, the filibuster was the embodiment of 'democratic debate' — and those words were echoed in the same newspapers and on the same television programs that now denounce the rule."

“Dems would discredit democracy by using Capitol riot to nationalize elections” Rich Lowry, New York Post op-ed: “Schumer is pushing to eliminate the filibuster to pass the progressive wish list of electoral nonsequiturs. ... If the New York senator were to succeed, he will have blown a hole in the traditional practices of the Senate and set the precedent for Republicans — should they achieve unified control of Washington in 2024 — to impose all their favored electoral policies on the states." Keep reading.

FLAG THIS

Support For The Filibuster Divided By Party, Terminology


Public polling on the issue reveals some confusion concerning the filibuster process. Voters are less likely to say they support eliminating the filibuster (just 27%) unless the simple-majority alternative is explained in the question (in which case 45% support elimination), per Morning Consult/Politico polling. That same poll found 37% of Democrats say abolishing the filibuster should be a top priority for Congress.

Polling this past spring from Monmouth University found nearly 40% want to reform how the Senate uses the filibuster, while close to 20% would completely eliminate it.

Flag Polls: What’s your opinion of the filibuster? Is it a necessary or outdated practice? Click here to share your thoughts.

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US & WORLD

OPEC+ Raises Oil Output, Toyota Tops GM, Xi'an Lockdown

CNBC: OPEC and its non-OPEC allies, known collectively as OPEC+, decided to raise its output target by 400,000 barrels per day from next month. The move had been broadly expected given US pressure to boost supply and no major new Covid restrictions.

Fortune: For the first time since 1931, General Motors isn’t the top-selling automaker in the US. The Detroit-based manufacturer lost its crown to Japanese rival Toyota. With 2.3 million units sold in the U.S. in 2021, Toyota narrowly outpaced GM’s 2.2 million.

Newsweek: At least 28,300 migrants made the journey from France to the UK via the English Channel in 2021, three times higher than the 2020 number, new data found.

NYT: Federal aviation officials have agreed not to ask for further delays to Verizon and AT&T’s new 5G cellular service, clearing the way for the companies to start their service while avoiding a major clash with regulators who said it could endanger flights.

AP: Residents of the Chinese city of Xi’an are enduring a strict coronavirus lockdown, with business owners suffering yet more closures and some people complaining of difficulties finding food, despite assurances from authorities that they are able to provide necessities for the 13 million people largely confined to their homes.

WSJ: Adam Neumann, who built office co-working giant WeWork before resigning as chief executive when his fortunes soured, has a new business venture under way: apartment landlord. Entities tied to the entrepreneur have bought majority stakes valued at a total of more than $1 billion in buildings in Southern cities.

WATERCOOLER

Golden Gate Bridge, Left-Handedness, Ancient Americans

On January 5, 1933, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages. 

Inverse: The Unique Science of Left-Handedness

Mental Floss: 7 Things You Might Not Know About Calvin and Hobbes

Scott Young: The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You Happier, Healthier and More Productive

Today I Learned the oldest evidence of humans in the Americas was found less than four months ago, and was several thousands of years older than previously thought.

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