50 episodes

Your essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.

WTF Just Happened Today Matt Kiser

    • Politics
    • 4.9 • 406 Ratings

Your essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.

    Day 85: "We stand for democracy."

    Day 85: "We stand for democracy."

    1/ The U.S. Capitol Police inspector general found that the agency’s leaders failed to adequately prepare for the Jan. 6 attack despite being warned that “Congress itself is the target.” In a 104-page document, Michael Bolton criticized the way the Capitol Police prepared for and responded to the violence, finding that “heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership.” The IG report also found that some police equipment was at least 20 years old, including riot shields that shattered on impact. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Reuters / NPR)


    The Justice Department won’t file charges against the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot. Babbitt attempted to breach a set of doors deep in the Capitol during the siege. (NBC News / Washington Post)

    2/ Hundreds of U.S. corporations and executives signed on to a statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote. “We stand for democracy,” the statement reads. “We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot.” The statement comes as Republicans have tried to enact new, restrictive voting rules in almost every state. Senior Republicans, including Trump and Mitch McConnell, have also called for companies to stay out of politics. (Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)

    3/ The former Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. Kim Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department Tuesday. Under Minnesota law, a person convicted of second-degree manslaughter can face up to 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $20,000. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)

    4/ The Senate will take up the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. The bill intends to combat violence against Asian A...

    Day 84: "Abundance of caution."

    Day 84: "Abundance of caution."

    1/ The CDC and the FDA recommended a “pause” in the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine after six women developed an “extremely rare” disorder involving blood clots and one died. More than 6.8 million people in the U.S. have received the vaccine without any other serious adverse reactions. In a statement, the two health agencies said that the move to temporarily halt administration of the shots was out of an “abundance of caution.” Scientists will examine possible links between the vaccine and the blood clot disorder and determine whether the FDA should continue to authorize the use of the vaccine or modify the authorization. The White House said the pause would “not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan” to administer 200 million shots by the end of April. White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients added that the “Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5% of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.” (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

    2/ Biden nominated Robert Santos to head the U.S. Census Bureau. If confirmed by the Senate, Santos would be the first person of color to permanently lead the agency. Santos, a third-generation native Mexican American, currently serves as the vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and as the president of the American Statistical Association. (NPR / Washington Post)

    3/ Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 – the 20th anniversary of the attacks that first drew the country’s into its longest war. In an agreement with the Taliban, the withdrawal extends the U.S. troop presence past the May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration. The 2021 threat assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies reported that a peace deal was unlikely and that “the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.” Since October 2001, more than 2,200 U.S. troops have died and another 20,000 have been wounded. There are roughly 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan now, as well as an additional 7,000 foreign coalition forces. American troop levels reached a high of 100,000 troops in August 2010. (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

    4/ Biden called on Pu...

    • 4 min
    Day 83: "Accidental discharge."

    Day 83: "Accidental discharge."

    1/ The White House put the creation a national police oversight commission on hold, despite Biden’s campaign pledge to establish one within his first 100 days. Instead, the administration is moving forward with its efforts to pass the police reform bill named after George Floyd, who was killed after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee to Floyd’s neck for seven minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin’s murder trial is currently ongoing. The White House said national civil rights organizations and police unions counseled the administration that a commission was not necessary and redundant. (Politico / CNN)

    2/ Biden called for an investigation into the police officer who shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man in a Minneapolis suburb. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright shouted “Taser!” but then fired a handgun instead. “The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full blown investigation,” Biden said. Gannon, meanwhile, said it was his “belief” that the officer intended to use their Taser during a traffic stop, but instead shot Wright, saying “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge.” After the officer fired, she is heard on video saying, “Holy shit. I just shot him.” Wright was killed about 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin last year, and hours before the 11th day of Chauvin’s murder trial was set to begin. (New York Times / Associated Press / Star Tribune / ABC News / CNN / Axios /

    3/ The U.S. administered 4.6 million vaccine doses on Saturday – a single-day record. The country has now averaged 3.1 million doses per day over the past week. Meanwhile, the U.S. is reporting 70,000 new coronavirus infections per day on average over the past week, a figure that’s above July’s peak of 67,000 cases. (CNBC)


    38.9% of U.S. Marines have declined Covid-19 vaccinations.(CNN)

    4/ Michigan’s average daily case count jumped about seven times since February. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called on the state “to close things down,” rebuffing a request from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the federal government to send more vaccines. “If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work, to actually have the impact,” Walensky said. “The answer is not necessarily to give vaccine. The answer to that is […] to go back to our basics […] to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we have available to conta...

    Day 80: "Out of whack."

    Day 80: "Out of whack."

    1/ Biden created a bipartisan commission to study adding seats to the Supreme Court. Biden said the group has 180 days to produce a report on court expansion, term limits, and other “recommendations as to how to reform the court system, because it’s getting out of whack.” The executive order also mandates that the group holds public meetings and take input from a range of stakeholders. Biden previously said he’s “not a fan” of adding additional seats to the Supreme Court in order to alter its ideological balance, which currently has a 6 to 3 conservative tilt. Meanwhile, Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the court’s three liberals, recently warned against expanding the Supreme Court, saying its authority depends on “a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics.” (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / NPR)

    2/ The White House released Biden’s $1.52 trillion budget request for 2022, calling for significant increase in spending aimed at fighting poverty and climate change, while keeping defense spending relatively flat. The budget outline would increase overall spending on discretionary programs by $118 billion (about 8% above last year’s levels), while defense spending would see an increase of $12.3 billion (1.7%), and other domestic programs would get a 15.9% boost. Administration officials said the budget request was “complimentary” to Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. (Washington Post / NPR / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN)

    3/ Former Trump administration appointees privately celebrated successfully influencing the CDC’s scientific reports on the coronavirus. New documents show that former Health and Human Services senior adviser Paul Alexander shared two examples of the CDC bowing to his pressure and changing language in their scientific reports to more closely align with Trump’s political messages about the pandemic. “Small victory but a victory nonetheless and yippee!!!” Alexander wrote in one email to then-HHS public affairs chief Michael Caputo on Sept. 9, 2020. (Washington Post / CNN)

    4/ The CDC said the U.S. is seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases linked to youth sports. Between January and March, Michigan saw 291 cases stemming from youth sports teams, while in Minnesota at least 68 coronavirus cases were linked to participants in both school and club sports a...

    • 4 min
    Day 79: "International embarrassment."

    Day 79: "International embarrassment."

    1/ Biden announced executive actions to address what he called an “epidemic” of gun violence. Biden also pressed Congress to close background check loopholes, ban assault weapons, and strip gun manufacturers of liability protections, saying “much more needs to be done.” Biden said he asked the Justice Department to identify “immediate, concrete actions” he could take unilaterally. The Justice Department will also issue a proposed rule to curb so-called ghost guns and publish model “red flag” laws for states to use as guides. “We’ve got a long way to go, it seems like we always have a long way to go,” Biden said. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.” (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / New York Times)

    2/ More than 18,800 unaccompanied children crossed the southern border in March. The previous one-month high for unaccompanied minors arriving at the border was 11,861 – set in May 2019. U.S. authorities apprehended more than 172,000 migrants at the border in March – a 15-year high in monthly crossings. Of those, more than 100,000 were almost immediately expelled. (Politico / Washington Post)

    3/ The Biden administration is spending at least $60 million per week to care for unaccompanied migrant teenagers and children in shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The cost of emergency shelter sites is more than 2.5 times higher than permanent shelters “due to the need to develop facilities quickly and hire significant staff over a short period of time,” a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families said, adding that the average daily cost per child is “approximately $775 per day based on past experience.” (Washington Post)

    4/ Justice Department lawyers still cannot find the parents of 445 children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration. The parents of 61 separated migrant children have been located since February. (New York Times)

    5/ Joe Manchin will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster under any circumstances and suggested that he would also be opposed to using budget reconciliation process to push major aspects of Biden’s agenda through Congress. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed. As a result, 10 Republicans would be needed to join all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate to pass major pieces of legislation. (CNBC / New York Times / a href="https://www.washingtonpost.co...

    • 5 min
    Day 78: "Good faith negotiations."

    Day 78: "Good faith negotiations."

    1/ The CDC said the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. is now the dominant strain in the United States. The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is 50% more contagious than others and now accounts for about 27% of cases in the U.S. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that the newer strain is more transmissible among younger people and that new outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to youth sports and day care centers. (NPR / NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC)



    😷 Dept. of “We’re gonna get through this.”


    Global: Total confirmed cases: ~132,776,000; deaths: ~2,881,000



    U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~30,908,000; deaths: ~559,000; fully vaccinated: ~19.4%; partially vaccinated: ~33.1%



    Source: Johns Hopkins University / Washington Post



    2/ Biden signaled that he was open to “good faith negotiations” with Republicans on his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, but insisted he would “not be open to doing nothing. Inaction is simply not an option.” When asked if he would consider a lower corporate tax rate than 28%, as his plan currently calls for, Biden replied: “I’m willing to listen to that. We’ve got to pay for this,” noting that there are “many other ways we can do it.” The Treasury Department, meanwhile, outlined a proposed tax increase on businesses that, if enacted, would raise $2.5 trillion in revenue over 15 years, meant to offset the costs of the infrastructure package. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

    3/ Biden will announce new executive actions to curb gun violence on Thursday. While the extent of tomorrow’s announcement is unclear, Biden is expected to require background checks on buyers of so-called ghost guns – homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers. (Politico / CNN)

    4/ The U.S. and Iran agreed – through intermediaries – on a plan to try to get both countries back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. During a meeting with the current members of the deal, all parties agreed to establish a working group to focus on how to get the U.S. back to the deal by lifting economic sanctions imposed or reimposed after Trump pulled out of the accord in May 2018. Another working group would focus on how to get Iran back into compliance with the accord’s limitations on nuclear enrichment and stockpiles of enriched uranium. (a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/06/...

    • 3 min

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