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2nd human case of bird flu confirmed in Michigan: Health officials
  • It’s the second cattle to human case in the United States. As I understand it, H5N1 isn’t a threat to us until it mutates to become transmissible from human to human. As for all the other things, I suggest you immerse yourself like I did until it completely breaks you, so that you can join me in laughing maniacally at all of it.

  • China relied on extrajudicial means to force thousands of fugitives to repatriate, human rights activists say - ICIJ
  • One of my dad’s closest friends, who was from China, ran a small business in the United States. Around 2010 he began hearing from relatives still in China that they were being threatened by the government if he didn’t go back to “check in”.

    He was terrified that, if he obliged, he’d never get out of China - but he couldn’t take the chance that family might be harmed if he refused. He arranged to close his business for a month and went back to China for a brief visit. Of course, nobody ever heard from him again.

  • Reuters: US preparing $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine
  • Nice start. We should see an average of ~$2,700,000,000 in aid and weaponry going to Ukraine every week during the next 22 weeks, which would account for the nearly $61 billion package during this fiscal year. No more delays, no more excuses.

  • Ukraine warns of WW3 ahead of long-stalled Congress aid vote
  • Russia plans to take first Ukraine, then Balkans, then Poland, then Germany, and collapse the EU, which is a threat even to you in whatever miserable little coal-rolling corner of the United States you happen to be griping from.

    You want your share of “those wasted taxes” back? Send me your info and I’ll Venmo your fucking $50, big guy.

  • Mike Johnson sacrifices Ukraine for his own career Latest Newsletter

    Read the latest newsletter from Punchbowl News, bringing you the politics and policy news you need straight from the Capitol.

    Latest Newsletter

    If you’re looking for the House Republicans’ foreign aid bill, you’re not alone.

    The GOP leadership hasn’t yet released the package to send tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. As of late Tuesday evening, the House Appropriations Committee was still working on finishing the text.

    But more importantly, Speaker Mike Johnson still doesn’t have a deal on the rule to bring the legislation to the floor, according to senior aides.

    If Republicans release the bill at some point today and want to stay true to their 72-hour rule, the GOP leadership won’t be able to hold a floor vote until Saturday. Then the Senate would have to act.

    This is a problem. There are congressional delegations scheduled to leave town this weekend for the scheduled congressional recess. Lawmakers also want to head back home to campaign. House leadership aides say they worry about attendance beginning to drop as the days go by.

    Yet what’s going on behind the scenes is even more problematic.

    What’s taking so long: As we’ve been warning for a while, hardline Republicans may attempt to strip the gavel from Johnson if he tries to pass Ukraine aid. Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have now both said they want Johnson to resign or they’ll seek to remove him from the job. Other hardliners are grumbling about the speaker but haven’t signed onto a motion to vacate yet.

    When Johnson first floated his plan for a GOP foreign aid bill on Monday, the Louisiana Republican’s aides understood that they’d need votes from Democrats to get it across the finish line. Republican leaders presented Johnson’s decision as the responsible move to get much-needed funding to embattled U.S. allies at a critical moment.

    The theory of the case in both parties’ leadership was that Johnson would be able to remain speaker after Republicans and Democrats joined together to table a motion to vacate. It’s not terribly sustainable politically, but GOP leadership aides appeared comfortable with the odd arrangement.

    Yet Johnson now finds himself slipping into an old habit that infuriates his leadership colleagues and senior Republicans. He’s taking meetings with all comers in the GOP conference, mulling different pathways to change his proposed plan in order to mollify the hardliners. To some inside the Republican leadership, Johnson started with a solid offer and now is undermining his own position by negotiating with conservatives who’ll never vote for the proposal no matter what’s in it.

    The House Freedom Caucus has floated adding H.R. 2, the hardline GOP border security bill, to the aid package. They also want Israel or Ukraine funding offset with spending cuts or some other budgetary gimmicks. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has told lawmakers that Johnson should simply put a clean Israel bill on the House floor — no Ukraine funding — and send it to the Senate.

    Of course, none of this will work. Democratic leaders and the White House won’t support it, making it very unlikely Johnson can pass a rule or the bill. If a Republican is pressing to add H.R. 2 to the measure, they’re trying to kill it.

    The question for Johnson is whether he’ll mirror his strategy from the government funding fight. In that squabble, he listened to hardliners about cutting spending and then reverted to the obvious solution of relying on a bipartisan coalition to pass the bills. Or will Johnson cave here in order to save his speakership?

    Top Democrats want Johnson to release the bill, not worry about the 72-hour rule and move as quickly as possible to a floor vote.

    Johnson is also getting renewed pledges of support from more centrist and moderate members in his own party. Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio) — who chair the Appropriations, Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence panels respectively — joined with other senior GOP lawmakers in publicly urging Johnson to “pass the full national security supplemental.”

    “We don’t have time to spare when it comes to our national security. We need to pass this aid package this week,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

    There’s one other option worth watching — some Republicans, including conservatives, have told House GOP leaders that they should cut GOP members loose to join with Democrats in a discharge petition to force the $95 billion Senate foreign aid package to the floor.

    This is another risky move since Johnson would be ceding control of the floor to Democrats, at least on this vote. But it would also allow Johnson to say the majority of the House is working his will even if he personally is opposed to Ukraine funding.

    But it would also give some conservative Republicans what they really want — a chance to fight it out internally with moderates, even if that lands the House GOP in the minority. To some of these hardliners, they’d rather be pure than govern.

    — Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

    US Senator Schumer says congressional party leaders reach 'consensus' on aid to Israel, Ukraine
  • The April 14 conference call, which was in response to Iran’s drone retaliation on Israel, involved President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D), and House Majority Leader Mike Johnson(R).

    Everyone except Johnson has been in agreement since February that the $95 billion Senate package MUST be passed by the House. It included $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel. While Johnson states he supports Ukraine, his refusal to put the Senate package to a House vote speaks volumes. To be fair, Mike Johnson is under the sword of Damocles; Marjorie Taylor-Greene has threatened a motion to vacate if the package is brought to a vote, effectively removing the House Majority Leader from his position.

    This general consensus is still not unanimous because Mike Johnson values his power too much to risk it by allowing Ukraine to receive any assistance from the United States.

  • What is the stupidest school rule you've ever had to deal with?
  • Anyone who ate hot lunch had to eat everything on their tray, and we weren’t allowed to pass on any part of the meal because children in other countries were starving or something. Lunch ladies checked our trays before we were allowed to leave the cafeteria.

    On the days when sauerkraut was served, we’d take turns being the sauerkraut smuggler, cramming that dank crap from about a dozen 8 year old kids’ trays into an empty milk carton, so we could toss it all without the lunch lady catching it. One day when I was the kraut smuggler, lunch nazi grabbed my carton and marched me back to the table. She said I had to eat every strand of the milky garbage we’d all stowed before I could leave.

    I tried, but kept gagging and retching. I sat huddled with the collective slop at the table, crying for about 3 hours before my teacher found me and released me from lunch jail.

  • Trump’s weaknesses with GOP voters go beyond the suburbs
  • I think a significant percentage of eligible voters have lost ALL hope. We’re politically and socioeconomically disenfranchised, corporations are turbocharging the Anthropocene mass extinction event with impunity, reality is horrifying, and we’re just fucking exhausted.

  • Estonian freedom fighters goofing off, sometime between 1918-1920
  • This picture took me down a fascinating Estonian rabbit hole. I knew nothing about Estonia before today, and now I want to live there!

    Also, fuck Russia for centuries of attempted genocide and general assholery.

  • Senator Katie Britt's disgusting and bizarre rape lies exposed
  • This katzonearth guy just doesn’t understand poor Senator Katie Britt. I should tell him how President Biden is at fault for when I was raped in Idaho, which is practically Mexico, by a man with brown hair who could’ve totally been part Mexican and probably a cartel kingpin, in 2008 so it was recent to me.


  • Biden announces 'emergency' US military mission to build pier off Gaza coast to deliver aid
  • That’s just it! POTUS isn’t a dictator. It’s astonishing to see headlines ignore the fact that the powers of the office of the president are limited. No president has the authority to force Congress to pass any kind of foreign aid legislation or to impose peace on the Middle East.

    The horrors occurring in Gaza, Ukraine, and throughout the world elicit deep emotions in us, but they’re beyond the control of one elected official, which is what keeps us from living in true tyranny.

    It’s disturbing to see so many smart people lean toward a candidate who seeks chaos and destruction simply because they feel outrage at atrocities that can’t be solved by a POTUS, but could definitely be exacerbated by one.

  • Biden announces 'emergency' US military mission to build pier off Gaza coast to deliver aid
  • Considering the facts that everything in politics is stupidly transactional, and that:

    1. The POTUS doesn’t control foreign aid and must rely on congress to agree

    2. The deeply religious House Speaker Johnson, who controls which aid proposals will come to the floor, is fervently in support of Israel

    Is it possible that President Biden is throwing a bone to the hard right, in the form of support to Israel, in order to get desperately needed aid to Ukraine ASAP?

    I mean, we ALL understand that a US President doesn’t have the unilateral power of a king, and there’s a shit ton of finessing behind what we can see.