The Monday Morning Teaser

The day after last week’s Sift, the jury convicted Derek Chauvin on all charges. This was both expected and surprising: People who watched the video of the murder couldn’t imagine how the jury could do anything else, but those who know the history of police acquittals had just as much difficulty picturing a conviction.

So the top of the weekly summary will discuss reactions to the verdict, which ranged from “See, I told you the system works” to “This changes nothing.” I come down somewhere in between, and link to discussions of police reforms that are still needed.

I’m sure Chauvin himself was disappointed, but probably not as much as Fox News, which clearly hoped to spend the next month focusing on whatever violent reactions a not-guilty or hung-jury verdict might lead to. Instead, their cameras saw Black people celebrating, which is a real downer for their ratings. But rather than return to the Mr. Potato Head crisis, Tucker Carlson et al have been pushing a conspiracy theory in which threats of Black violence intimidated the Chauvin jury, who otherwise would surely have ruled that kneeling on somebody’s neck for nearly ten minutes is normal police behavior.

Red-state legislatures anticipated the same (non-existent) wave of post-verdict violence by passing “anti-riot” laws that could put liberals at risk of committing a felony (or getting run over by right-wing vigilantes) any time they attend a protest. Those laws will stay on the books at least until a court can look at them, so they’re worth paying attention to. That’s why this week’s featured post is “Red States Crack Down on Protests”. I focus on the enormous gap between these laws and the conservative rhetoric about “freedom”, or right-wingers’ howls of rage when social media companies deny a platform to some fascist provocateur (like Trump). What is “freedom of speech” for conservatives becomes “rioting” when liberals do it.

That should come out shortly.

The rest of the summary will include Biden’s climate proposals, Republicans’ insubstantial counterproposal to Biden’s infrastructure plan (and why I don’t feel embarrassed about predicting they wouldn’t have a counterproposal), Biden’s popularity at the 100-day mark, why you should never brag about your crimes to women you want to date, a case that combines two of my very dissimilar fascinations (the Supreme Court and cheerleaders), and a few other things, before closing with an unusual approach to bird photography.

Let’s say that appears before noon.

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