National Park Service

Likely going to be a slow news day with the holiday today. Here’s a roundup to start the day.

* For the third year, MLK Day will stand alone in Arkansas. The General Assembly passed legislation in 2017 separating MLK Day and Robert E. Lee Day. Lee is now commemorated in October with a memorial day, not a state holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an activist who led massive peaceful protests for the civil rights of black people. A century earlier, Robert E. Lee led a treasonous army of men in a violent rebellion against the United States of America so that they might continue unfettered the enslavement of black people. For more than 30 years, Arkansas honored both men with a joint holiday. Here’s Kaya Herron writing in the Arkansas Times in 2015 about the shame of the joint holiday.

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* The New York Times editorial board issued a joint endorsement of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president. This seems pretty silly to me, in part because those two candidates stand more or less at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of both ideology and approach. But then, newspaper endorsements of presidential candidates are pretty silly in general. The New York Times rolled out the endorsements in a reality-television program on FX that seemed to model its style on “The Apprentice,” complete with the reveal at the end of the program. I watched the first half but found it too cringeworthy and went to bed. I don’t regret that decision.

* Opponents of abortion rights marched yesterday at the state Capitol to protest Roe v. Wade. It was the forty-second annual march, led by Arkansas Right to Life, with around 2,000 people reportedly in attendance. The Arkansas General Assembly last year passed a so-called “trigger law” that would ban abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned, with an exception to save the life of the mother. The state is currently attempting to enact a slate of new restrictions on abortions, currently blocked by a U.S. District Court judge, including an 18-week ban and a licensing requirement that appears designed to force the only surgical abortion provider in the state to close. Here’s the ACLU on the state of abortion rights in the age of Trump:

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Spurred on by the belief that a conservative majority on the Supreme Court represents an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, legislatures are passing unconstitutional laws that restrict access to abortion. In some cases, the laws, like Alabama’s, ban abortion outright in an effort to force the court to revisit Roe. In others, they’re meant to make it so hard for someone to access abortion that it won’t matter whether Roe stands or not. In six states, harsh restrictions have led to the closing of all but one abortion clinic.

* Impeachment drama is heating up as Democrats are seeking to introduce documentation and evidence; a few cracks are showing in the GOP caucus regarding Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan for a coverup and sham trial. The New York Times reports:

“Whether it’s because McConnell knows the trial is a cover-up and wants to whip through it as quickly as possible, or because he’s afraid even more evidence will come out, he’s trying to rush it through,” Mr. Schumer said [Sunday night]. “That is wrong. And it is so wrong that no one even knows what his plan is a day and a half before one of the most momentous decisions any senator will ever make.”

Mr. McConnell has so far refused to reveal details about the resolution he will seek to pass on Tuesday setting up the rules of the trial. But Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said on Sunday that Mr. McConnell was considering a plan that would give each side 24 hours to present arguments on the floor of the Senate, but with the requirement that they do so over the course of two days. …

In his news conference, Mr. Schumer said the president and his Republican allies were eager for a short trial because they did not want the president’s actions to be put on display for everyone to see.

“He’s afraid of what the American people might hear,” Mr. Schumer said of Mr. McConnell.

The Democrats are expected to force a vote on witnesses and documents tomorrow if McConnell does not include it in his resolution. They would need four Republicans to cross the aisle to override McConnell.

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