Tex And Balances
February 11, 2022
It’s time to play… Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader (if that 5th grader read a TON of news). Test your knowledge of recent world news with this short quiz. Submissions must be made by 12pm EST Monday, 2/14. The winner, announced Wednesday, will win bragging rights for the week as well as a free Daily Pnut t-shirt.
“It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” – Douglas Adams
Doc It To Me
New York Times’ White House correspondent Maggie Haberman has penned a new book about former President Trump called “Confidence Man.” Haberman says White House residence staffers she interviewed sometimes found toilets clogged with printed paper that had been “ripped into pieces.” The staffers believed Trump was responsible.
In a statement released Thursday, Trump called Haberman’s reporting “fake,” “categorically untrue,” and “simply made up … to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book.” Besides denying he’d flushed any papers, Trump said: “In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years.” He didn’t say who might have told him that, and of course it isn’t true. Each incoming president and new administration is informed about the Presidential Records Act (PRA) — federal law that requires every White House to preserve memos, documents, and other memorabilia considered the property of the American people.
When the National Archives and Records Administration turned over documents — given to it at the end of the Trump administration — to the January 6 Select Committee, numerous records had been torn up and taped back together. That confirmed Trump’s habit of ripping up documents, forcing aides to try piecing them back together to comply with the PRA. Some torn-up records could not be reconstructed. On Monday, it was reported that Archives officials recovered an additional 15 boxes of presidential records from Mar-a-Lago. On Thursday, the public learned that some of the White House documents Trump improperly took to his Florida residence were clearly marked as classified, even “top secret.”
Throughout his 2016 presidential race, candidate Trump repeatedly railed against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified material, insisting she should be in jail. The FBI investigated Clinton for possibly mishandling classified information in connection with her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. In the group of 30,000 emails Clinton turned over for review, investigators found 110 that contained classified information at the time they were sent or received, including eight email chains with information marked “top secret.” But there was no proof Clinton had intended to mishandle sensitive material. For the first two years Ivanka Trump worked in her father’s White House, she used a personal email account to send hundreds of messages discussing official White House business.
To summarize, there are now at least four ways in which Trump is accused of trying to destroy documents while in the White House: 1. He ripped them up. 2. He ate them. 3. He dropped them on the floor. 4. He flushed them down the toilet. (Business Insider, Archives, CNN, WaPo, BBC, Politico, CBS News)
Australian Lawmakers Apologize For Workplace Culture
- (TW: sexual assault) Last year, a sweeping review of the workplace culture in Australia’s Parliament painted a damning picture of widespread sexual harassment, with employees sharing harrowing stories of an alcohol-soaked atmosphere in which powerful men blurred lines and crossed boundaries with impunity. The report came nine months after Brittany Higgins, a young former staff member for the center-right Liberal Party, said she had been raped in the defense minister’s office by a colleague in 2019.
- The allegation rocked the country’s center of power, spurred other women to come forward with their own allegations, and prompted outraged protests across Australia. A long-overdue apology finally came on Tuesday.
- Top lawmakers, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, formally apologized for enabling a toxic culture of pervasive sexual harassment and assault in the nation’s halls of power. The acknowledgment that parliamentary leaders had failed to ensure a safe workplace was the first in a series of measures suggested by the review, which was compiled by Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins. (NYT, humanrights.gov.au)
Teach For The Stars
- The base salary for public school teachers in Puerto Rico is $1,750 a month; it has not changed for the past 13 years. Last week, 70% of the Caribbean island’s teachers left their classrooms amid an economic crisis and joined a protest to demand higher wages, improved working conditions, and better pensions. fOn Monday, Governor Pedro Pierluisi announced a temporary $1,000 monthly salary increase starting in July, and then promised to make it permanent.
- While some teachers praised Monday’s announcement, union leaders with the Puerto Rico Teachers’ Association, which represents some 25,000 teachers, said they are still seeking a base salary of $3,500 a month. An economist noted that Puerto Rico’s utilities are nearly 60% more expensive, and groceries 18% more expensive, than the U.S. average, although healthcare and housing costs are lower. (US News, NBC News)
Additional World News
- US general says Russia turmoil could spill to Middle East (ABC)
- ‘Sobering and shocking’: Lawmakers pessimistic about new Iran nuke deal (Politico)
- ‘Targeted harassment’: Muslim girls in India denounce hijab ban (Al Jazeera)
- UN court orders Uganda to pay $325m in reparations to DR Congo (Al Jazeera)
- Somaliland pitches ‘huge’ oil and gas potential during Taiwan trip (Reuters)
- Palestine urges African Union to revoke Israel’s observer status (Al Jazeera)
Tex And Balances
- Texas teachers say billions in federal dollars allocated to make schools safe during Covid are not being used to prioritize safety. Texas received $2.4 billion in the first two federal emergency Covid relief installments that was “intended to help states and school districts safely reopen schools … and take other actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.”
- Republican Governor Greg Abbott has steadfastly opposed mask requirements. A new survey included responses from teachers, bus drivers, and nurses who received no PPE even during the January Omicron surge. One special education teacher spent $100 of her own money to buy N95 masks to keep herself safe at work. Overall, 66% of Texas educators say they’d recently considered quitting over concerns about Covid-19 safety and health.
- The McAllen ISD in South Texas received $50 million in federal funds dedicated explicitly to helping children and teachers safely return to school, including providing protective gear. But the bulk of the grant was earmarked for other projects, and no masks were ordered until January. (NBC, CBS Austin, texasaft.org)
Seeing The Resigns
- Former deputy attorney general Monique Miles, who was overseeing election issues for Virginia’s new Republican attorney general Jason Miyares, resigned Thursday after being questioned about Facebook posts she made praising rioters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and falsely claiming Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Miles also espoused unfounded conspiracy theories about voter fraud and election interference in more than a dozen Facebook comments that spanned months.
- A spokeswoman for Miyares said the office had been unaware of the Facebook posts before The Washington Post showed them screenshots on Thursday morning. The spokeswoman said, “The Attorney General has been very clear — Joe Biden won the election and he has condemned the January 6th attacks.” Miles called the Post’s revelation of her Facebook posts a “character assassination to stir up controversy” and said “some liberals have their daggers out for black conservative females.” (WaPo, $)
Additional USA News
- Florida man connected to Gaetz probe formally enters guilty plea (Politico)
- ‘Malicious poison’: GOP senator slams Biden’s antisemitism envoy pick for criticizing his Jan. 6 rhetoric (Politico)
- Joyce Beatty says Hal Rogers poked her and said ‘kiss my a**’ after she asked him to put on a mask (CNN)
- Jan. 6 panel subpoenas former Trump White House trade advisor Peter Navarro (NPR)
- This man marched on the US Capitol on January 6. Now he says ‘Stop the Steal’ is a ‘cult’ (CNN)
- Under pressure to ease up, Biden weighs new virus response (AP)
- Super Bowl LVI could be the hottest ever played. Here’s why (LAT, $)
Ad-ing To The Experience
- Excitement is building for Sunday’s Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams. About 70,000 fans will watch Super Bowl LVI live while in the pleasant confines of SoFi Stadium in suburban Los Angeles. The rest of us 100 million or so domestic watchers will be glued to the NBC broadcast on television, or via streaming. No matter who is in the matchup, the occasion itself is almost an American holiday – a cultural event extending beyond mere fans of football.
- Yes, there’s the team competition, but there’s also the legendary half-time show, and those commercials, highly anticipated and watched by millions more around the world. And that’s why Super Bowl commercials are so important. The game is the biggest U.S. television audience of the year, and advertisers crave that kind of attention. For a 30-second commercial during the broadcast this year, advertisers had to pay an average of $6.5 million. It was only about $5 million five years ago. Super Bowl commercials are a phenomenon in their own right, with social media buzzing with speculation about the innovative ways in which big corporations will sell their products.
- A 2020 survey revealed that 79% of viewers see the commercials as entertainment, while almost 71% said they enjoyed watching the commercials. The best commercials are viewed over and over again on YouTube. Back in the day, fans had to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to see the commercials, but now sneak peeks of many ads are available. There’s a Budweiser one with its ever-popular Clydesdales, Lays Potato Chips, of course, and a pretty good Planet Fitness one with Lindsay Lohan. Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart are together again, and Trevor Noah and Zendaya also show up. And we know Ellen DeGeneres will really love the Flaming Hot Doritos ad, where all the forest animals Push It. Your Super Bowl Party chicken wings will cost an arm and a leg this year, as will your guacamole and beer. Like that’s going to matter much. Enjoy! (CBS Sports, Statista, USA Today)
- Grisly Killing of North Carolina Family Was Work of ‘Dixie Mafia,’ Sheriff Says (NYT, $)
- Eating a more plant-based diet can add years to your life, study finds (ABC)
- Maine cat that ended up in Florida is headed home (AP)
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX Seeks to Reconnect Tonga to Internet (WSJ)
- Welsh company treats entire staff to island vacation as thanks for pandemic work (NPR)
- SpaceX will lose up to 40 satellites it just launched due to a solar storm (CNN)
Please consider making a donation to Daily Pnut, an independently operated and bootstrapped publication. Many thanks to everyone who already supports us!
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU