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Anti-Vax Christian TV Mogul Laid to Rest as His Daystar Network Airs COVID Lies

Daystar Television

We are taught not to speak ill of the dead, these now including 64-year-old Marcus Lamb, the anti-vax, pro-ivermectin televangelist who died of COVID-19 last week.

But what of the still living who may join the dead if they listen to the falsehoods about the virus and the vaccines that were being aired by Lamb’s television network even as his funeral was held at a Texas megachurch on Monday?

Among the shows available for streaming on the Daystar Christian TV network valued at more than $1 billion and capable of reaching 2 billion viewers is one from last Mother’s Day, in which Lamb actually insisted that his opposition to the vaccine was an effort to save lives. That, and to thwart the Devil.

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The Filibuster Is Still Doomed
To hear Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema tell it, they hoped to defend voting rights. They also hoped, even more fervently, to defend the Senate filibuster.In the end, they did neither.It’s true that by joining their Republican colleagues this week to reject a rules change and block a pair of voting-rights bills, the two Democrats ensured that the filibuster remains temporarily intact. But Manchin and Sinema’s goal was not merely to block a piece of legislation or preserve a procedural rule in the short term. As Manchin himself put it, “We must never, ever, ever, ever tear down the only wall, the necessary fence, that this nation has against the excesses of the executive branch and the resultant haste and tyranny of the majority.”[Read: Democrats moved the filibuster overton window]Yet as Manchin also acknowledged, his arguments in favor of the filibuster have failed to persuade. Forty-eight of his Democratic colleagues—including many who supported the 60-vote threshold in the past—decided that voting rights were more important than the filibuster. So did past presidents. So did the current president. So did Stevie Wonder. So did Oprah.In other words, although the most recent attempt to thwart the filibuster did not succeed, neither did the most recent attempt to defend it for future generations. The filibuster now has three paths forward—and all of them end, one way or another, in its demise.The first and most obvious possibility is that Democrats will one day win a Senate majority that doesn’t depend on Manchin and Sinema. Because so many states are bright red, and because so many state-level anti-voting laws are now likely to go unchecked, there’s no guarantee that such a majority will materialize soon, but at some point one may. Ninety-six percent of sitting Democratic senators have already voted to change the rules. Unless Republicans can maintain power indefinitely, the days of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold are numbered. The second way the filibuster could fall is far worse for Democrats: Republicans could regain full control of Washington and decide that the 60-vote threshold has outlived its usefulness. The last time the GOP held the House, White House, and Senate, in 2017, Republicans ignored President Donald Trump’s repeated calls to end the legislative filibuster. But if they regain control of Washington in 2024, the situation will be very different. Any newly elected Republican senators will belong to a party in which fealty to Trump—a filibuster opponent—is the most important plank. And even their long-serving colleagues may decide that, in a body governed mostly by precedent, Democrats have set a new one. Mitch McConnell or his successor can point to dozens of recent statements and speeches by their colleagues across the aisle arguing that the filibuster either should be ended entirely or ignored when a sufficiently crucial bill demands it.This is especially true if Trump, or a Trumplike president, wants to rig elections nationwide. The overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats are now on the record articulating a principle: Protecting voting is an important enough priority that it is worth going around the filibuster in order to advance it. The same principle, repurposed under Donald Trump’s misleading definition of “election integrity,” could be used by Republicans to justify nationwide anti-voting laws as well. (Such arguments would be, of course, in bad faith. But that won’t prevent anyone from making them.)Then there’s a third possibility: Someday we look back on this moment and realize that the filibuster that Manchin and Sinema were extolling, the guardrail against tyranny of the majority, was already dead—at least to Republicans. After all, during the Trump era, Republicans didn’t just pass massive upper-income tax cuts via budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote. They also ended the filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations, installing the most conservative high-court majority in generations. That Court is now poised to accomplish a wish list of Republican legislative priorities—overturning Roe v. Wade, expanding gun rights, and hamstringing the government’s ability to issue regulations, among others—without having to find 60 votes for a single piece of legislation.If Republicans regain the Senate, Democrats can filibuster conservative legislation. But that won’t matter much if filibuster-proof judges issue conservative rulings that have essentially the same effect. The full impact of the Court’s rightward turn has yet to be felt, but it’s possible that, thanks to these judges, the Senate’s rules are less a wall than a valve, facilitating conservative policies while blocking progressive ones. A real campaign to defend the filibuster would include restoring the 60-vote threshold for confirmations, and to her credit Sinema has suggested that she would be in favor of doing just that. But so far, just as she has failed to persuade many Democrats to join her in preserving the current 60-vote threshold, she has failed to persuade many Republicans to join her in trying to strengthen it.[David Litt: The Senate filibuster is another monument to white supremacy]Over the past year, reformers fought an uphill battle to convince senators that the chamber’s rules should be changed. But over that same time period, two of those senators set out on a no-less-quixotic quest: convincing their skeptical colleagues that the Senate rules should remain unchanged. They came up short. The filibuster is doomed.The shame, and quite possibly the tragedy, is that Manchin and Sinema doomed voting rights along with it.
The NFL Puts Black Coaches in an Impossible Situation
Coaches such as David Culley, just fired from the Houston Texans, and Brian Flores, of the Miami Dolphins until very recently, face a major problem in the NFL. It’s not their pedigree. It’s not their experience. It’s not their ability to relate to players. It’s not their offensive or defensive schemes.It’s that they’re Black.That conclusion might seem harsh, but it’s been almost 20 years since the NFL adopted the Rooney Rule, which was intended to give candidates of color a better shot at head-coaching jobs and was eventually expanded to cover front-office openings as well. What the league has to show for its efforts in 2022 is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as the lone Black head coach in the league. The reason is painfully obvious: In a league where roughly 70 percent of players are Black, owners have no real interest in seeing Black coaches thrive.The league currently has eight head-coaching jobs open, and the names of a bevy of Black coaches have popped up as potential interviewees or even leading candidates. Yet most will be passed over, and the few who get hired are likely to inherit difficult situations—in which they won’t be extended the same patience that their white counterparts enjoy.This is just how the NFL operates. The firings of Colley and Flores highlight the double standards and unrealistic expectations that Black coaches routinely face.[Jemele Hill: NFL owners have a problem with coaches of color]Last year, the 66-year-old Culley was the only Black head coach to be hired, and now he’s gone after just one season. The Texans’ 4–13 record certainly looks bad, but keep in mind that the team released its three-time Defensive Player of the Year, J. J. Watt, a few weeks into Culley’s coaching tenure. The star quarterback, Deshaun Watson, sat on the bench all season because the Texans were hoping to trade him away. Watson is currently facing 22 civil lawsuits that allege he engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a number of female massage providers.Despite that turmoil, the Texans won the same number of games under Culley this season as they did under his predecessor, Bill O’Brien, last season—and O’Brien had Watson on the field. If anything, Culley outperformed any reasonable expectations based on what he had to work with. Last week, when reporters pressed the Texans’ general manager, Nick Caserio, about why Culley was fired, Caserio had nothing to offer: “It’s not necessarily one specific thing,” he vaguely explained. “In the end, there was some differences about next steps or how we move forward, not necessarily rearview mirror about what has happened.”The reason Caserio couldn’t provide much insight is because the Texans put Culley in a position where he had no chance to succeed. Culley came in with 27 years of NFL coaching experience but had never before had a real opportunity to be a head coach. The Texans handed him a thin roster lacking any high-impact players.Before hiring Culley for the top coaching job, the team also interviewed Josh McCown, a veteran NFL quarterback who has never coached professionally and hasn’t played in the league since 2019. In fact, McCown’s only coaching experience has been at a high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Texans are now considering him again, fueling speculation that McCown was their first choice and that they hired Culley last year only because they feared how rejecting the more experienced coach would look.Just the fact that McCown, who is white, has been able to interview twice for a head-coaching job with a practically nonexistent résumé speaks to what Black coaches are up against in the NFL. Maybe Culley wasn’t the right long-term fit for the Texans, but if the Texans used him as a shield to hire the coach they actually wanted, that would be beyond insulting.[Jemele Hill: Jon Gruden just put it in writing]Unfortunately, in the NFL Black coaches are expected to perform miracles quickly, and when they don’t, it usually costs them their job. In 2018, the Arizona Cardinals fired Steve Wilks after one season. Like Culley, Wilks took over a team with poor prospects, not least because the Cardinals general manager, Steve Keim, had made a series of questionable draft choices. But Wilks was the one who paid the price.Culley has been judged far more harshly than the Detroit Lions head coach, Dan Campbell, who is white. The Lions have been a woeful franchise for decades. This season, the team flirted with going winless for the second time in franchise history. Campbell won one fewer game than Culley, but despite the Lions’ 3–13–1 record, the mood around Campbell is optimistic and hopeful. Sports Illustrated recently published a listicle bearing the headline “4 Signs Dan Campbell Is Right Coach for Lions.” It praised him for being brought to tears early in the season when Detroit lost to Minnesota and slipped to 0–5. “It is so refreshing to see a head coach who gets emotional,” the author wrote.Some optimism is warranted: Under Campbell, the Lions, who lost many close games, have been more competitive than their record suggests. Campbell certainly deserves more time to see if he can turn the Lions around. But many Black coaches in similar positions don’t get the same benefit of the doubt when they can’t show immediate improvements. And sometimes, even when the results are impressive, that’s still not good enough.The Lions are the same franchise that fired Jim Caldwell in 2017 after he led the Lions to two playoff appearances in his four seasons as head coach. Caldwell, who is Black and went to a Super Bowl as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2010, had three winning seasons, including his final season, when Detroit was 9–7. The Lions thought they could do better than Caldwell. But they couldn’t. Matt Patricia, the Lions’ next coach, failed to have a winning season, never went to the playoffs, and finished his Lions tenure with a 13–29 record. Caldwell was 36–28.Meeting a fate similar to Caldwell’s was Flores, who was fired despite guiding the Dolphins to their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2002–03. Some reports ascribed the shocking move to Flores’s conflicts with the general manager, Chris Grier, and the starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. Testy relationships within a football team are nothing new. But plenty of other coaches with strong personalities keep their job, especially after showcasing the kind of promise that Flores exhibited.[Jemele Hill: ‘Some team has to want me’]Even if Flores lands at another team—he’s rumored to be the top candidate for the New York Giants’ opening—or other Black coaches are named head coaches in the current hiring cycle, his firing and Culley’s have left a unique stain on the NFL’s hiring process for head coaches.Since its inception, the NFL has twice expanded the reach of the Rooney Rule in an effort to force NFL owners to consider minority candidates more seriously. The rule was well-intentioned, and sometimes over the years it has appeared to have some impact. But no substantive change will occur as long as NFL owners continue to see Black coaches as expendable. These owners’ failure to value Black male leadership becomes obvious at this time every season—just as it did last year. Unfortunately, it’s a serious problem that the NFL doesn’t seem to have the motivation or will to solve.
The hidden lesson in the new free Covid-19 tests
A woman receives a package with a rapid Covid-19 test in Gentbrugge, Belgium. In the US, free tests by mail are starting to roll out. | Philippe Francois/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images It is possible to create programs that don’t burden the people who need them most. This is an excerpt from the newsletter for The Weeds. To sign up for a weekly dive into policy and its effects on people, click here. This week, the Biden administration rolled out a plan to send up to four free Covid-19 tests to every household in America. But you probably already knew that. At times, there were over 700,000 concurrent visitors to the page on the USPS site — more than every other .gov page combined. The enthusiastic response was remarkable because it was unusual. There are at least three different ways the Covid-19 test rollout succeeded where people expect government to fail: It highlighted the failures of industrial and regulatory policy that have led to widespread shortages in at-home Covid-19 tests, and delays in results coming back from test sites. It brought back memories of new government websites being unable to handle high traffic volume (e.g. It was quick and simple:The only information people needed to provide was their street address. The execution wasn’t perfect (a flaw affecting some apartment dwellers led the government to limit some buildings to a single four-test order) but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. Which tells us something about how difficult Americans expect it to be to interact with the government, especially when trying to get the assistance the government has promised them. Emotional labor, but for government There are a few ways to think about these bureaucratic struggles. One, coined by Annie Lowrey in a 2021 Atlantic feature, is the “time tax” — the amount of time and energy that people waste interacting with the government. But my preferred term, popularized by the academics Donald Moynihan, Pamela Herd, and Hope Harvey is “administrative burden” — which refers not only to the concrete loss of time and money, but to the cognitive and psychological burdens of having to learn and comply with government rules. It’s hard to say just how much administrative burden there is. There’s no attempt to synthesize information about it even at the federal level, let alone the state and local governments that are responsible for implementing most safety-net programs. The best way to understand it is to look at all the labor involved to access a specific program: unemployment benefits in North Carolina, for example. The one overarching truth is that administrative burdens particularly harm people already marginalized because they’re most in need of assistance and because they’re most likely to have difficulty jumping through all the hoops. Maybe they don’t have a computer, maybe they don’t speak English or understand legalese, or maybe they have to forgo shifts at work just to go to the right office to submit a form. By extension, any restriction on who is eligible for benefits increases administrative burden, not only for people who apply and are found ineligible but also those who have to do more work to prove eligibility in the first place. The Covid-19 test webpage could be easy because there were no restrictions; it didn’t need to ask about anything besides your address. There’s also a second-order way that making programs universal fights administrative burden: When politically empowered, privileged Americans are inconvenienced by something, they’re more likely to make noise and get it to change. But there is little if any political incentive to reduce the burden on people who politicians don’t typically listen to or need to court, such as noncitizens or people disenfranchised due to criminal records. If you work in government or as a service provider — or if you are or know someone who’s been further marginalized by the hassle of administrative burden — I’m really curious to learn more about what you’ve seen. You can email It’s always good when The Weeds can talk about policy not only from the perspective of its designers, but also its users.
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