Flood and tornado watches in effect in North Mississippi until 7pm tonight. Senators grill Biden’s Supreme Court pick. Zelensky bans opposition parties accused of ties to Russia.
Severe weather heads for MS, LA, AL after tornados wreak havoc in TX
Much of north and central Mississippi is under a tornado and flood watch until 7pm this evening, according to the National Weather Service. A severe weather system is moving across Mississippi, Louisiana, and parts of Arkansas and Louisiana after spawning tornados in Texas. So far, one fatality has been reported in Texas.
In addition to tornados and thunderstorms, there is a high risk of flooding throughout the affected area. In Louisiana, FEMA issued warnings that government-issued mobile homes and RV trailers were unlikely to withstand the storm. At least 8,000 families in Louisiana are still living in such structures after the destructive hurricanes last year.
In Texas, over 40,000 people are without power after tornados and other severe weather swept through the area. In some areas of the state, the storm generated egg-sized hail. Many homes have been damaged or destroyed
Senators grill Biden’s Supreme Court pick
On the second day of her confirmation hearings, federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee must advance Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court before a full vote can take place.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has accused Jackson of being too lenient in sentencing possessors of child pornography, and of deviating from federal sentencing guidelines in such cases. This claim has been debunked as misleading. Jackson’s sentencing decisions in such cases are not outside the mainstream. Also, Hawley himself has voted to confirm other judges who have deviated from federal guidelines to give lighter sentences. Responding personally to the accusation that she was too soft on these defendants, Jackson said, “As a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, nothing could be further from the truth”. She also said those trials were some of the most difficult for her, describing child pornography distribution and consumption as a “sickening and egregious crime”.
Senator Lindsey Graham also took Jackson to task on her past work as a public defender for Guantanamo detainees. At the time, Jackson had stated that people detained indefinitely as enemy combatants should either be tried or released. Graham said that if the court had accepted her arguments, it would have damaged the US war on terror and added “This is not how you run a war”. Jackson countered that US jurisprudence demanded due process for all offenders. “That’s what makes our system the best in the world; that’s what makes us exemplars”, Jackson said. To date, there have been no prosecutions of the Guantanamo detainees, including those accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
Zelensky bans 11 political parties, accused of having ties to Russia
On Sunday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced a ban on 11 political parties he accused of having ties to Russia. They are: Opposition Party — For Life, Shariy Party, Nashi, Opposition Bloc, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists Party and Volodymyr Saldo Bloc. The Opposition Party — For Life has about 10% of seats in Ukraine’s parliament. He did not ban the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party, which is widely accused of advancing neo-fascist and neo-Nazi ideologies.
Zelensky alleges that banning the activities of these mostly left-of-center parties is necessary, as they might seek to undermine Ukraine’s government. Some have tangible ties to Russia, but many do not. However, banning his opposition doesn’t strengthen his argument that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a fight between fascism and democracy.
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