Background Briefing: March 18, 2021


The Filibuster Wars and the Pros and Cons of Getting Rid of It

We begin with the filibuster wars in the U.S. Senate following Senator McConnell’s threat of a scorched earth retaliation if the Democrats were to get rid of or modify the filibuster, promising a 100 car pile up of obstruction and gridlock. Then on Tuesday President Biden weighed in seeming to call McConnell’s bluff by calling for a return to the old practice of a talking filibuster which was in place when Biden first joined the senate in the 1970’s. Joining us is Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and 21 year veteran of the U.S. Senate where he served as senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the last six of those years and before that, served 12 years as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. We will discuss the pros and cons of returning to the talking filibuster which could at least force Senators to take responsibility for obstruction of popular bills but given the nastiness of gleeful saboteurs like Senators Hawley, Cruz and Rand Paul, they could tag team to hold up the senate unless as Senator Merkley proposes, it would take a simple majority vote to shut them down.


Comparing Successful Handling of the Pandemic to the Bungling Leaders in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil

Then we speak with David Wallace-Wells about his article at New York Magazine, “How the West Lost COVID. How did so many rich countries get it so wrong? How did others get it so right?” The author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, he joins us to discuss the vastly different successful approaches to the pandemic that Asian countries and Australia and New Zealand took compared to the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil which have populist leaders who grandstand and grab headlines but are bunglers who have yet to pay a sufficient price, given how many deaths they are responsible for.


The Murders of Six Asian Women and the Ignorant Insensitive Remarks by the Cherokee County Sheriff and Congressman Chip Roy

Then finally we look into the murders of six Asian women in the Atlanta area and the racist insensitivity of the Cherokee County Sheriff in excusing the killer who he said was “having a bad day” along with the ignorant rambling of Congressman Chip Roy who praised lynching while claiming in today’s hearing on violence against Asian/Americans that Democrats were policing free speech. Katie Kalvoda, the Founder and President of Asian Americans Rising who was moved to action after the 2016 election as she witnessed the increasingly dangerous rhetoric against immigrant communities, joins us to discuss the stigmatizing of spa workers as “temptations” rather than women trying to make a living.