Civil rights leaders lose patience with Sinema
The Arizona senator is seen by organizers as the reason why voting rights legislation is unlikely to pass this year, as a grassroots movement continues to lay groundwork to unseat her in two years.
BREAKING • The hostages are safe: The remaining three of four hostages held captive for 10 hours on Saturday in a North Texas synagogue were released after 9:30 PM local time. One hostage had already been released uninjured at about 5 PM local time. The hostage-taker is dead.
Reports indicate the suspect demanded the release of a convicted terrorist. Officials said there is no evidence this was part of a larger plot.
“We are sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville and the Jewish community,” President Joe Biden said last night in a statement. “There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate — we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country.”
“This morning, we are grateful that four people held hostage in a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas are safe and going home to their families,” Vice President Kamala Harris said. “What happened yesterday at Congregation Beth Israel is a reminder that we must speak up and combat antisemitism and hate wherever it exists. Everyone has a right to pray, work, study, and spend time with loved ones not as the other – but as us.”
Arizona is a current hot spot in national politics. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is up for re-election this year in a race that could determine if his party keeps their one-vote majority, expands it or surrenders it to Republicans and their ruthless leader Mitch McConnell.
But it’s The Grand Canyon State’s other senator — Democrat Kyrsten Sinema — that has Arizona in the headlines.
She’s been in a thorn in President Biden’s side, nixing provisions in his signature economic plan that would require corporations to pay higher taxes while taking credit as a chief negotiator for the bipartisan infrastructure deal, the president’s most recent legislative accomplishment.
And now that it’s clear Sinema is uninterested in passing voting rights, after her moralizing floor speech last week against changing the Senate rules despite voting to do so a month ago to increase the government’s borrowing limit, civil rights leaders and activists on the issue seem to be out of patience.
“To Senator Sinema, the filibuster is sacred — except for when it’s not,” Martin Luther King III said on Saturday during a rally for voting rights in Arizona before recounting the instances Sinema endorsed the exception she now opposes. “History will not remember her kindly.”
Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said this morning to CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union that he disagrees with Sen. Sinema’s position on changing the rules to pass two voting rights bills. “If we do not protect the vote with everything that we have got, we will not have a country to protect going forward,” Clyburn said. “I don't know where we got the notion from that this democracy is here to stay no matter how we conduct ourselves.”
Eugene Daniels at Politico reported on Saturday Sinema met with major civil rights leaders last Wednesday on Zoom — the day before the speech that turned into the death knell for passing voting rights legislation this year — who told the senator that her position on the Senate rules was disconnected from reality. “You cannot say you ‘fought’ [for the bills], and not change the rules to make it happen,” one person who attended the meeting said to Daniels.
Some people on the call questioned if Sinema was even conversing in good faith: “It was almost like she said that she wanted to be able to tick off the box that she ‘talked to major civil rights leaders’ before she did what she did”.
Rev. Al Sharpton told Daniels, “The timing of her speech … showed an insensitivity, at best, and contempt, at worst, of our efforts and the efforts of the president.”
I wouldn’t expect to hear this tone from the White House though.
It’s not this administration’s style, save for a fierce statement after Sen. Joe Manchin killed Biden’s Build Back Better plan last month.
In fact, the evening after Sinema gave her speech and Manchin cheered it on in the press, the president invited them to the White House for a meeting.
Biden is the ultimate catch-more-flies-with-honey-than-vinegar president.
But in another interview this morning on ABC’s This Week, Rep. Clyburn didn’t hold his tongue against Sinema and Manchin. “I know that these two Democrats have decided that it is much more important to them to protect the voting rights of the minority on the Senate floor than to protect the voting rights of minorities in this great country of ours, this great country, the minorities that made it possible for them to be in the position that they're currently in,” he said. “So, I hope, but I don't think that we will change their mind. But we will see.”
Sinema is not up for reelection until 2024. (The same for Manchin, if you’re curious.)
So she’s a while away from having to campaign on her unpopular decisions — if she even decides to run for reelection.
But if the does, grassroots organizers are investing millions of dollars to replace Sinema with a progressive challenger, although Arizona is a purplish state that voted for the Republican ticket in three out of the last four presidential elections.
The top contender is Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents Arizona’s Seventh District and has been a vocal critic of Sinema for a while now.
“Today the House showed where it stands. We won’t shrink from protecting our democracy and the voting rights of all Americans. It’s past time for the US Senate and Sen. Sinema to do the same,” Gallego said in a floor speech after Sinema delivered hers on the other side of the Capitol.
“A lot of Arizonans … are very unhappy with the fact that she is blocking voting rights legislation, so I’ll keep my ears open, I’ll continue to have my public meetings, something that she should try to do once and a while and then I’ll make a determination after 2022,” Gallego said on CNN when asked if he’ll mount a Senate challenge.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Good Sunday morning. Welcome to Supercreator, your daily guide to the politicians and power brokers shaping how you work and live in the new economy. Programming note: I’m off tomorrow for Martin Luther King Jr. Day but will be back in your inboxes on Tuesday morning. Send me tips, comments, questions — or just say hi: email@example.com.
Today in Politics
The president and First Lady Jill Biden are in Wilmington, Delaware. He has no public events on his schedule. Vice President Harris is in DC. She has no public events on her schedule.
In The Know
— Child hospitalizations in the US and UK are close to record highs during the Omicron wave. Public health officials are unclear on the exact role the virus is playing in the surge. [Denise Rowland and Joanna Sugden / WSJ]
— Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are all under states of emergency as a major winter snowstorm threatens the south. Some areas could see more than six inches of accumulation during the long weekend with the greatest snowfall could fall over west Tennessee and northern Mississippi. [Matthew S. Schwartz / NPR]
— California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the Canadian province of British Columbia are under a tsunami advisory after an undersea volcanic eruption near the Polynesian country of Tonga. Residents living near beaches, harbors, marinas and other coastal areas were advised to move away from the shore and make their way inland or uphill, according to a bulletin from the National Tsunami Warning Center. [Rhoda Kwan, Nicole Acevedo and The Associated Press / NBC News]
— A male suspect is in custody after he allegedly pushed an Asian woman into an oncoming train at the Times Square subway station in New York City. The attack, which killed the woman, appeared to be random and was committed by a man with a history of mental illness and who may have been homeless — two issues the city has struggled to address in recent years. [Troy Closson and Andy Newman / NYT]
— New York City will now require employers to include specific salary ranges on job postings beginning in April to address wage inequality. The Big Apple joins Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada and Rhode Island as states that enacted similar legislation. [Kaanita Iyer / CNN]
— Abdullah Hammoud was sworn in as the first Muslim mayor of Dearborn, a city in southeastern Michigan. The city is long known for its sizable population with roots in the Middle East. [Tanya Wildt / Detroit Free Press]
— A California Superior Court judge ruled that Google’s nondisclosure agreements effectively serve as illegal non-compete clauses because they compel workers to stay quiet about every aspect of their jobs even after they quit. Google did not say if it would appeal the ruling. [Nitasha Tiku, Reed Albergotti and Gerrit De Vynck / WaPo]
Read All About It
Jacob Rosenberg in conversation with Betsey Stevenson on why the pandemic has been hard on women workers:
I think the real challenge is that we've seen a lot of people who are trying to work while they balance that care. The reason why you keep hearing people talk about this as if it's a crisis is because for moms who've been trying to work remotely—or even get back into the office at this point, at least a few days a week—the child care situation is still really, really difficult. You may have your kid in school, but someone in their class might test positive for Covid. And they send everybody home for 10 days with no notice. Or your own kid wakes up with a fever.
Leaving your job is only one way in which parents deal with the struggle of balancing work with care. There are other sacrifices being made that don't show up in the data as somebody not being at work.
When I surveyed parents about their working experiences during the pandemic—and how they were impacted by the lack of reliable, consistent child care—only a little more than a third of parents said, Oh, it was fine, I was able to work as usual. Some of them did reduce work or quit their jobs; that was more likely to be what women did than men. But parents also declined promotions, turned down training opportunities, changed to more flexible work. Those are career sacrifices. They come in missed opportunities for wage increases, for taking on more responsibility, for getting higher pay, but they don't show up as being in or out of the labor force.
Gabriella Paiella on dreams:
For as long as humans have been on earth, we’ve dreamed. And for about as long as we’ve dreamed, we’ve assigned meaning to our dreams.
In ancient Egypt, dreams were seen as a means of communication with the divine. Oracles in ancient Greece would receive prophecies in their sleep. A Sumerian tablet from 2,500 B.C.E. includes the first recorded dream analysis, commissioned by King Dumuzi of Uruk after he had a freaky and unsettling nightmare. The Bible? Now that’s a book that’s just lousy with dreams.
Dreams are so commonplace that we forget that they’re a wonder. Whatever you believe about them, they’re objectively fascinating: a self-generated movie your mind will play at night, a story that blooms with rich symbolism and narrative tension and surprise. No wonder, then, they have become something worth exploring by people involved in telling stories in their waking life.
Amy McCarthy on the viral TikTok trend of shaming fast-food workers:
While TikTok trends may come and go, annoying customers and terrible working conditions can last forever. What if, instead of standing back and filming the deranged “Karen” rants and physical assaults that are perpetrated against these workers, people actually started to intervene while workers are being attacked? Or, even more importantly, perhaps it’s time that we all admit that what is going on with restaurants right now is the result of massive systemic problems like a global supply chain crisis and all the other consequences of late-stage capitalism? Considering that we do not live in a world poised to actually address these issues, we could, at the very least, stop litigating the behavior of a bunch of underpaid 19-year-olds that have been left in charge of a Chipotle.
Kyle Chayka on how Tumblr became popular by being obsolete:
The Tumblr users I spoke to, both new and returning, cited a few unfashionable aspects that keep them using the platform. Tumblr’s main feed doesn’t shuffle posts algorithmically based on what it determines might appeal to a user. It’s “a good, old chronological river,” Maryellen Stewart, a social-media consultant who has kept a running diary on Tumblr since 2014, said. (Despite the anodyne nature of her posts, Stewart sometimes gets caught in the overaggressive content filter.) Posts appearing in the feed are undated, and many accounts are pseudonymous, creating a respite from the frenetic exposure of other social media. Users spoke of the platform feeling disconnected from the “real world”—no President would ever try to shape world events with a Tumblr post. “It’s harder to be a brand” there, Karina Tipismana, a twenty-year-old student who uses the service primarily for its text-based jokes and “Succession” GIFs, said. “It’s the periphery of the internet; nothing important is happening there.” There aren’t influencers on Tumblr the way there are on Instagram and TikTok, and the experience for all users might be more pleasant as a result. Chris Black, the co-host of the podcast “How Long Gone,” has kept a Tumblr account since 2010 and updates it daily. Titled Words for Young Men, it is a preppy-punk mood board of starlets smoking cigarettes, fashion-shoot outtakes, and design objects, interspersed with Black’s own photos from daily life—a life-style magazine for one. Compared to the public-facing mode that is dominant on Instagram, Black’s Tumblr “is almost more personal, in a way, even though it’s not always images that I took,” he said.
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