The Week Ahead
January 28, 2023
Tuesday, January 31: The House Oversight Committee has scheduled a transcribed interview with the National Archives general counsel, Gary Stern. The committee, led by Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), has demanded information from Archives, as well as from the Secret Service and the White House, about classified documents that were recently recovered from the President. Obviously, a full review of the issues requires a look at more than just Joe Biden’s situation, but DOJ will not want to see any information that could interfere with the investigations it’s conducting released prematurely. This is one of those situations where the House has legitimate oversight work to do, but DOJ has legitimate investigative concerns. Historically, compromises are struck that permit both branches to do their work.
Wednesday, February 1, is the first day of Black History Month. So, predictably, I saw this story in my local paper on Friday.
My lifelong approach, starting as a kid, has been to read everything that anyone told me I couldn’t. It’s a good approach. I think it works here.
It’s hard to find anything to be optimistic about when we look at more evidence, in the form of another dead Black man who should still be alive and eating at his mother’s dinner table, that there has been a persistent failure to reform policing despite abundant evidence that it’s necessary. I’ve found it with the author whose school visits Hoover, Alabama, canceled. His book is a lovely one, the kind of book that makes kids realize how much they have in common and want to be friends with kids who don’t look like them or talk like them or live like them. It’s the kind of book that makes kids feel good about themselves. So I’ve picked up several copies to pass out to friends’ kids, and I’ll start in Hoover. It’s a small, quiet protest, but if you love books—and kids—like I do, it might feel right for you too.
Apropos of absolutely nothing we do here at Civil Discourse, Thursday is Groundhog Day, which means it’s a wonderful day to indulge in the sublimely ridiculous. I never get tired of the movie, but is there a traditional meal for the holiday? If so, I’ve never stumbled across it. I welcome any suggestions!
Florida watch: From the sublime to the serious—in late January, the Florida High School Athletics Association’s sports medicine advisory committee renewed its previous consideration of a recommendation that, if adopted as a mandatory measure, would require student athletes to submit shockingly intrusive and personal information about their menstrual periods to school officials. This is far from an innocent inquiry, in light of efforts in Florida, as in other red states, to make abortion inaccessible.
Despite earlier reports that the questions had been made mandatory, that hasn’t happened yet. There is likely to be more discussion of the matter this week, although a formal vote isn’t expected until the committee meets in late February. Florida’s female student athletes have been asked to answer a number of questions about their periods for almost two decades, but until now, a response was optional and a doctor’s sign-off on the forms themselves, without any disclosure to officials at the girl’s school, was all that was required to be approved to play.
Questions like when your last period was and how long you go between periods seem far more relevant to tracking pregnancies than determining fitness to play sports. It’s hard to believe these developments are unrelated to the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Florida girls and the people who love them would do well to read Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale as a caution about where they’re headed before Governor DeSantis bans it.
Finally: The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government’s online presence is still minimal, with no upcoming events calendared. But from what is there, it seems likely there’s a fight coming this week. So far, Jim Jordan’s venture into McCarthyism (the historical kind, not the current Speaker, although that may well end up being a distinction without a difference) includes only Republican members. Democrats have said they intend to participate, but names haven’t surfaced yet. McCarthy has already rejected three Democratic nominees to serve on other committees, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell to Intelligence and Ilhan Omar on Foreign Affairs.
According to what we’ve seen so far, Jordan’s panel will focus on the Justice Department, the FBI, and other agencies that he believes are biased against conservatives. It will have wide-ranging authority, with Jordan listing an otherwise disconnected variety of topics within its remit: “the treatment of parents by school boards, social media censorship, and investigations into former President Donald Trump.”
Trump, of course, seems to be at the core of it. “We don’t want a political Justice Department. If you have a political Justice Department, this great country, the greatest country ever... America is not America if you have a Justice Department that is political,” Jordan said. “And that’s scary, and so many Americans think it is. You’ve seen the different treatment of Trump compared to how Clinton and Biden were treated. You see it time and time again.”
In other words, it’s likely Jordan’s plans for the subcommittee involve interfering with investigation into those who actually tried to weaponize the government and the Justice Department. That means the Democrats who sit on the committee, sure to be a thankless task, will need to be skilled communicators with a deep understanding of how the criminal justice system works and the importance of letting it go about it unhindered. I’ll be looking for those names this week.
There is obviously a lot in play. We could hear from prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, at any time, although I think it’s premature to be on alert for that this week. But news on release of the grand jury report could come soon.
We’re in this together,
It is time for every young girl and boy, every mother and father, every man and woman to yell STOP, you have gone too far with the vile intrusion on a young girl's most personal and monumental change of life, period. I tremble that a state would condone such madness. Even though I had been told what to expect, I remember how difficult it was for me to let my mother know "what was happening to me." She, of course, was reassuring and helpful in the technicalities required for this transition. I cannot imagine, at all, that I would have been willing to share such natural occurrences of life with busybody people who had no concern for me. Whose only objective was to put girls under the thumbs of masculine misogyny. Yi yi yi yi. What are we to do? Can life for girls and women be any more vile and despicable? And to think that maybe even some women in Florida are following in lock step with the cretons. Fathers and Mothers, please rise up. Protest this madness.
I commented earlier that Hoover has the most diverse student body in the state. This move is so obviously racist and uncalled for that it sicken me🤢