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tv   Smerconish  CNN  January 8, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PST

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the covid kids are not all right. i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. and i'm worried about covid kids. that's my label for those coming of age in the midst of a pandemic. they're bearing the brunt of covid even though most infected children are at much less risk of becoming severely ill. it's a tough time to be young and on the verge of a personal and professional launch. rises in depression, anxiety and suicide attempts all facing today's youth, aaccelerated by the impact of remote learning. kids are back in school in
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new york city and in d.c. where students were required to produce a negative test result. but this week in chicago, the third largest school district in the country, the teachers' union voted to refused to show up for in-person work, upending school altogether. tuesday, the second day back from winter break, chicago public schools reported 422 new cases among students. while that's reportedly the highest in the school year, the district has more than 340,000 students. this translates to roughly 0.1% of the student body. that shouldn't bring everything to a halt. thousands of other schools around the country have delayed a return to in-person learning cincinnatis including atlanta, milwaukee, cleveland and detroit have switched to online learning or postponed reopening. what happened to the funding that was supposed to alleviate all of this? $130 billion of funds were earmarked for ventilation in
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classrooms. 10 million more set aside for testing in schools. so, what have we done to our kids? as "the new york times" head line puts it, no way to grow up. for the past two years americans have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults. including to statistics cited by its author, among third to eighth graders math and reading levels were all lower, according to nwea, a research group. the shortfalls were largest for black and hispanic students as well as with students in schools with my poverty rates. the nonacademy parts of school, lunch periods, extracurriculars, sports, emsemblys, or trips have all been curtailed. i'm worried about students missing out on social dynamics. what you can't get in the
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remote, it the interactions, the forging of relationships. and there's slightly different older members of what is called igen. the ones that graduated without the pomp and circumstance of a traditional ceremony. the ones that have missed out on those things i mentioned. riding the school bus. playing afternoon sports. many are now enjoying their first jobs but without the close contact of a colleague on onsite supervision of a boss. they're losing out. losing the nuance that no zoom or text can provide. having participated in countless online meetings in the past two years i know i'm a different person when things are being recorded. more stilted, less natural, and yes, sometimes, that's a good thing but it's not a fair reflection of a real back and forth. they're deprived of on-the-job
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collaborative efforts not to mention the camaraderie of social time with co-workers. when i first started practicing law i learned more from watching others try cases than three years in law school. work habits are not being fully formed remotely. somebody needs to tell them what it means to be on the clock. and bro and dude are inappropriate ways to communicate with a superior. and sometimes, you just have to say, yes, suck it up and get the job done. these elementary students in chicago who missed the past week of school, the high school and college students who have missed social and sports and academy milestones. the new hires not picking up normal work practices while remote in their living rooms, they are all covid kids. and they are not all right. and anytime that society is contemplating a response to covid, their needs need to be prioritized. joining me now is carrie
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rodriguez, faux founder and president of the national parents union. carrie, nice to see you here, you're a former union organizer who then became a parenting activist. you have a presence in all 50 states. react to what i just said. >> oh, i think you said it beautifully, michael. and frankly, unfortunately, what we're looking at right now is no end in sight, because we have been in chaos for the past 20 months. and i was actually looking back on our notes last night, it was back in december of 2020 where we were talking to the biden transition team, asking, calling for help that we need contingency plans. our kids are not all right. and 86% of american families have told us in national polling that mental health earnses and crises unfolding in our living rooms is number one. i don't know how much long this can continue.
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>> with regard to schools reopening and obviously with chicago top of mind. the red states, the blue states, they seem to have different responses and i would argue neither of them is getting it just right. what do you see? >> well, the problem is a lack of leadership, coming from the federal government. again, as you mentioned beautifully, $130 million -- billion dollars, excuse me, has been sent down to the states to literally deal with this situation, covid-19 mitigation strategy. making sure we have the testing, making sure that we have the technology needed. so if the worst case scenario occ occurred we are preparethey're essential and must have. we're going to lose a generation of kids if we don't hold this
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line. >> it may be a gross simplification, i look at states open with regard for testing a look at blue states shut down without regard for mental health. some in between, at least the way i look at the world is the truth and the way they ought to be approaching it. >> well, the problem is, michael, we're just being told to figure it out and we're asking educators who are not epidemiologists to make these calls. they're not qualified. in red states folks are staying go back to the classroom, we'll figure this out if people get covid. not going to keep classrooms open because you're going to see catastrophic numbers and you're going to shut the classrooms down when half the kids have covid. it doesn't make sense monday morning after a winter break to make sure who has covid and who doesn't. that's just common sense. but in colder states, it does make sense that we're going to
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shut down schools, again, as if you had no idea that we were having winter break. every kid in america should have been going home, the friday of winter break, with a covid rapid test. a couple of them, so that we knew when we were going back to school on monday morning, you take your test, you're negative, you're good to go on the school bus. that's just common sense. it's as if we had no idea that winter break was going to happen and that we were going to have a covid surge. i'm not an epidemiologist, i'm a mom of five little boys and i had a pretty good idea we were going to have a covid surge whether or not we have a variant for not because we've learned lessons about how this pandemic works. >> mine are older than yours, we have four, three of them boys, our daughter is launched, married and mom of her own. what concerns me, not only those still in school, but those on the verge of or should have launched by now. they, too, are getting screwed in this process because in the
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past ten years, they haven't been given the benefit of those articulated. you get the final word. go ahead. >> i've got to tell you, michael, last night, i was talking to a family in north philadelphia. we've got a father with masters degree. a mom, educated, has covid. cannot work now. he's trying to drive uber. they've got kindergarten kids and college kids. a giant family. the father said something has to give. i don't have enough in me to search for logins to get the kindergartners on wi-fi. when is this going to give? we're expected to hold up the american economy, still show up for work, still make sure we show up to run our hospitals. at the same time, we've got decisions being made isn't the american education system in a vacuum saying well, just take two days off. that's not how the american society works. that's not how our families work and we need to be seen because
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our families are in crisis right now, our children are in crisis. unfortunately, it doesn't seem to me that we're using even the resources -- we have $130 billion in funding wisely, to make sure we're navigating the situation so we're going to be okay at the end of this pandemic. we've got to start it. >> keri rodrigues, thank you so much. i appreciate you having been here. >> thank you. >> what are your thoughts? tweet me @smerconish. on the facebook, on youtube. what do we have, the kids of 1918 fought and won world war ii. every generation has their issue, these will make it, too. jim simpson, i have no doubt in the long term they will make it, but it's going to take years to get there for a whole variety of factors. as scott galloway often says to me, remember, this pandemic was
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an abccelerantaccelerant. one official thought on this. i should have said this to keri, that which we're describing, the problem, i'll describe it as american youth, my focus. applies around the globe. whoever harnesses this concern is going to have a winning hand in the midterm elections. if we start speculating about who is going to control the house et cetera, et cetera. it's whom addresses the concerns of parents on the issue i just set forth. all right, up ahead, are the supreme court heard argued yesterday, friday, to block the biden administration's covid mandates that were supposed to begin on monday. ohio's attorney general, the lead of the 27 states who signed on to that complaint is here to discuss. and the day before the anniversary of january 6th, an administrator in a pennsylvania school district urged leaders not to, quote, wade into
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discussions of the capitol riot, citing, quote, the current polarization and strong emotions. well, i've got a question, what should school kids be taught about january 6th? plus, if texas were a country it would have the tentth largest gdp in the world. california would be number five. given the fraught political climate might be states and others some days secede to become their own splinter nations. i want know what you think. i love today's survey question go there and answer this question. 50 years from now, will the u.s. map be the same as it is today? . over time, i've come to add a fourth: be curious. be curious about the world around us, and then go. go with an open heart, and you will find inspiration anew.
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workers and health care providers that participate in medicare and medicaid programs but it seems poised to reject the other. that would be president biden's vaccine or test mandate for large employers. the policy pertaining to businesses of more than 100 employees was issued november 5th. and the administration had hoped to implement it this coming monday. the measure would affect 84 million workers and the government says that it would lead to millions more getting vaccinated and fewer hospitalizations. the administration says the policy falls and you the legal authority of osha. that's the occupational safety and health administration which can take temporary emergency steps to protect employees who are, quote, exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards. justice elena kagan asked this -- >> why isn't this necessary to abate a grave risk? this is a pandemic in which
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nearly 1 million people have died. it is, by far, the greatest public health danger that this country has faced in the last century. and this is the policy that is most geared to stopping all this. >> chief justice john roberts weighed in and asked the following -- >> why wouldn't osha have the authority to do the best approach possible, to address what i guess you agree is a special workplace problem? >> but justices samuelal lito, clarence thomas and amy coney barrett suggested the rule was too broad. barrett asked with a higher transmission, would it be more likely to fast legal muster. and thomas argued that factory workers should not be submitted
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to the same rules as older workers. and whether a federal agency could release such a sweeping authorization without the clear authorization of congress. joining me republican attorney general dave yost of ohio, his state leading a group of 27 states challenging oshia's vaccination rule. i should say we also invited attorneys from the justice department. they did not respond. mr. a.g., thank you for being here. a i mentioned, osha has the authority to issue emergency rules for workplace safety, as long as workers are exposed to grave danger. isn't that what we have here? >> well, osha has only used this power a few times. it's regularly been struck down. furthermore, covid is not a -- simply a workplace danger. it's everywhere. and osha is designed to address workplace dangers. this is a different kind of thing, given the fact it's going
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to impact two-thirds of the american workforce have significant disruptions in individual lives, and in the economy. this falls under what we call the major questions doctrine which means you can't go out and do rulemaking, unless congress has spexplicited ly said, yes, this very large thing. >> in paying attention to arguments from yesterday, i thought how much of this is really the law and how much is red state/blue state idea billion differences? you're the leader, ohio, the leader of the 27 states opposing this, but all the republican. i can imagine members of the public watching this whole debate unfold and think, my god, is everything partisan? shouldn't be be a matter of real
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interpretation? you'd say what to them? >> i'd say it is an interpretation. the chief of staff, white house chief of staff, ron klain said this is the ultimate work around, the osha rule. what does that mean, work around, what's the direct object to that sentence? they're working around congress, because congress is not represented our elected representatives to wade in here and require this vaccine mandate. look, osha put some -- regulation says, okay, this is a dangerous work site. you have to wear a hard hat. you get to take the hard hat off after you go home from work. as justice alito said yesterday during arguments, you don't get to take that vaccine off. >> i guess the impression, though, if the mandate had come
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from the democratically control house and senate, plus one and the white house, put ago side any phil bust every issue that you and your republican attorneys general cohorts would nevertheless have been on the opposite side of the fence. am i wrong? i mean, it if really had come from congress, if it had come from the states because i get the legal nuance, wouldn't you still be find something other legal justification to oppose it? >> and i know you're a lawyer and you do get the legal nuance. but the fact of the matter is the growth of the administrative state and the congress as ruled by congress and the use by the president is something that's gone over by both republican and democratic administrations. those that actually believe in constitutional rule of law, ought to be appalled whether we're talking about this vaccine mandate. or in the last administration,
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for example, the heavy-handed attempt to try to interfere with sanctuary cities. now, i'm not for sanctuary cities, i think it's a poor policy choice. but it's a policy choice that belongs to those communities. we need to dial back the executive overreach. the imperial presidency, because it's strangling our democracy. our representative republic. >> the solicitor general elizabeth prilinger, in her argument said this is the biggest threat to employees in osha's history. i understand your point, that it transcends the workplace, but a lot of the human interaction that is spreading the virus does come from being in close proximity to others, including your co-workers. you'd say what to that? >> i'd say this is an old argument. it's an argument raised multiple times in history, it was raised
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by harry truman when he tried to take over the steel meals, the supreme court and youngstown sheet and tube, as you well know that case, said, no, in which, doesn't give you right to do that. look, if an emergency or a crisis is sufficient to ignore the constitution and the statutory authority that congress grants the executive branch, pretty shon, we will ha a permanent crisis and no constitution and no rule of law. >> elections -- here's something we can agree on. elections have consequences. and, you know, the fact of the matter is that the former president of the united states had three picks on the supreme court. and that's probably the way this thing is going to break, at least with regard to one of the two issues that they were addressing yesterday. mr. attorney general, thank you so much for being here, i appreciate it. >> thank you. let's see what you're saying via social media. what has come in, katherine. from the world of twitter, pass
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on your comphicommunist mandate. is that -- it's communism now? it's communism to say whether osha dictates what's going on? that is somehow communism? let me tell you something, the dean of uc berkeley, he's a brilliant guy, a smart guy, he was on my radio show yesterday. i buy into what he says, he said it's a pretty straightforward matter. osha has the power to do what the biden administration is seeking to do, but it's all political. i appreciate the attorney general coming on the program and i respect him. but i can't overlook the fact that 27 attorneys generals lined up against it are from red states. and the argument, you don't have
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to have it attuned to the ear to see it will come out 6-3. who appointed those six and who appointed those three? i mean, how froustrating it has to be for non-lawyers looking from the outside 92. and seeing it's almost like a vote in congress. predetermined by party registration. that is not the way any of this is supposed to function. up ahead, concerned about the fraught politics around the anniversary of january 6th. wait till you hear this story. a school district personnel in my back yard sent out an email asking not to weigh in on the discussions about capitol riots with student. how should we teach school kids about the events of january 6th . >> and with america hopelessly
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you patronize. there's a controversy around this hot button top nick my back yard of bucks county, pennsylvania, first reported by local npr station whyy. the day before, keith ver virk ka, in the penn ridge district sent an email to teachers and school principals. he directed them, not to quote, wade into discussions about the event due to the current polarization and strong emotions. and if students ask about january 6th, teachers should, quote, simply state that the investigation is ongoing and as historians we must wait until there is some distance from the event for us to accurately interpret it. he asked teachers to stick to business as usual. in a chain response, it was meant to have teachers, quote,
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not enough time on the outcomes and that ververka were not prepared to teach on the topic. and joan cullen, a local trump supporter who attended the d.c. rally while there's no evidence she did anything illegal while there she has been a controversial local figure. when we reached out to the school district it released a statement that reads in part, quote, as we approach the anniversary of january 6th, teachers expressed concerns because of the heightened emotions sur rounding the storming of our nation's capitol. we decided that staff could discuss that role, and views, penn ridge teachers remain able to address any topic of current events in a constructive and appropriate manner. at no time did we issue a director that teachers could not teach about january 6th, we have offered teachers to do what's
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best for their students and no interest in stifling that. joining me dr. albert bruisard a long term editor of textbooks for middle and high schoolers. doctor, thank you for being here. i believe the statement issued to we mere at cnn yesterday, totally belied by the email i sent out put on the screen. i don't know if you want a piece of that. i also note for 25 years you've been writing textbooks. you're the real deal, mcgraw-hill is your publisher, what do you make of this controversy? >> i believe they're both right and wrong, it does indeed take perspective before the events of january 6th came into play. we have a specific legislation in texas that does not allow teachers to teach what we call in academia difficult dialogues. i think it's clearly going to be, let's just say, a high
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probability between red states and blue states how the events of january 6th are going to being out to and more impo importantly interpreted. i don't think you can separate the events of january 6th from the trumble presidency, i think that therein lies the problem. even with the use of words was this a protest, for example? was this insurrection, or domestic terrorism as christopher wray of the fbi said, is this a coup attempt, all possible terms about january 6th. >> so, maybe i'm naive, but isn't there a way, very factually, based on the chronology of what transpired a year ago. i'll ask it this way, what if mcgraw-hill says to you, dr. bruisard, write something up in a textbook for next year. cow do do it? >> not only can we do it, we have done it, that is to say,
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we're going to have a review of the middle school and high school textbook out coming out in 2023, the editors decided to cover this event. absolutely. the problem is how it's indeed going to be interpreted. let me also say, most textbooks if they're lucky are going to devote one full page, if not less than that to this particular episode. but it's also changed the way, i think, particularly at the college level, perhaps not at the high school level, already teach this. i tell my students at texas a&m i will never teach this period, american history, that is to say, the first peaceful of power in the united states the same way. because for the first time in american history, we did not have a peaceful transfer of power. this is really a ruptured departure from american history. >> is there anything else, top of mind, where history is taught differentfully red versus blue states? >> well, i'm going back to that
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wonderful article that dana goldstein of "the new york times" wrote and published in january 2020 where she looked particularly at two largest states, texas and california, and she saw major differences in the way those two states, one blue state, california, one red state, texas, from slavery to the heart of ro renaissance ande how the language was interpreted in states so could say there are dozens of examples. i can cite the 1916 project that's become the boogieman, the constructive myth-making that was used to pass legislation, including my home state of texas to not teach particular subjects deemed with slavery or subjects they teamed too controversial.
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>> and if it were my in charge of the crick yum, i'd be teaching what nikole hannah-jones has prevented. and also introducing what george will in a syndicated column wrote about that in the last three weeks. dr. bruoussard, i appreciate yor time. >> thank you. >> checking in on facebook. this is a joke, right? there's nothing to teach. a bunch of people in costumes were allowed in the capital. end of this lesson, holy crap, landis, is that what you're teaching your kids? mine are too old to be taught. america's political divisions are running so deep and hostile. could it turn into a civil war? i want to remind you to go to my
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politics at the university of virginia asked voters if the situation in america makes them favor blue and red states seceding. 41% of biden voters, 52% of trump voters at least somewhat agree. if you think this is far-fetched know this, since 1945, the number of nations in the world has tripled. many of them as a result of secession. there are currently 60 secession movements worldwide. which leads me to the survey, 50 years from now, will the u.s. map be the same today? my next guest has written a book of nonfiction about it. the next civil war dispatches from the american future. steven marsh joins me now. steven, you write that the united states is once again headed for civil war. you say january 6th wasn't a
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wake-up call, but a rallying cry, and that we've never faced an institutional crisis quite like this. you then say the choice is basic, reinvention or fall? so is secession the likely outcome? >> well, i mean, the united states is a textbook case of a country headed for civil war. you know, a recent poll showed that only 20% of americans have faith in their electoral system. and another poll showed 33% of them think vial against the government can be justified. so in those kind of condition where is the threat of violence is so real, growing, threats against members of congress increased 107% last year, separation becomes a real option. and secession becomes something that, you know, the right has been talking about for years but it's probably time for the left to think about as well. >> well, i know that relatively to oregon and idaho, there's a organization of oregon that says, hey, we'll go join idaho.
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i made reference at the outset to talking about texas and california. in fact, we'll put up what you wrote on the screen. i'll just cover the highlight that if texas were a country it would have a gdp that is tenth in the world, slightly ahead of canada. california even larger. they recently passed britain to become the fifth largest economy. did ted cruz also say that texas could take nasa, the military and the oil, to which my response is to say, okay, you can have nasa and the oil and so f far, but you need to take the debt, right? how would we whack the debt? >> ted cruz doesn't know what he's talk about, but negotiations around separations are incredibly complex and the constitution of the united states which basically makes any discussion secession moot. there's just no way to do it constitutionally.
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and it makes it much harder. and of course, all of this has to go through the u.n. there's this whole idea that texas is going to lift their rifles and say don't mess with texas and that's all well and good until no one will land a plane in your airports and you can't explainchange currency wi other countries. it's a hugely large democratic process. that's why before violence gets out of hand, it's probably sensible because there might be a with to negotiate it while there's still good feelings. >> look. i read the book, i appreciate the book. we're just spitballing here, this is kind of a barroom conversation. we don't really think this is going to come to pass, do we? >> well, i don't know, i think when violence becomes the main way that politics happen, then when your -- when you no longer feel you're living in a democracy, when the legitimacy of your institutions are really
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inspect. and when the divisions become so marked. just listening to your show, somebody calling you a communist for a basic act of administration. not even an agreement on whether january 6th was bad. not even that level of agreement, maybe when marriages get to this point, you sit the kids down and you say, you know, it's sad, but it's over. >> okay. what is stephen marche's answer to my survey question. you prompted, you put this thought in my ahead. 50 years from now, i won't be here to see it, god willing you will be, 50 years from now, will the map be the same? put climate change out of your head. that's not what i'm talking about, you know what i'm talking about. what's your answer? >> i don't think it can be the same. i think it will change in the next 50 years. i try to stay pretty close in the book to what i actually
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know, the actual plans about the civil war, the best available models i talked to 200 researchers and i like to stay close to what they say because it's tease get caught up in exaggeration. i don't know what it will look like 50 years from now, but it won't be the same. maybe multiple states but not the same. >> we're soon to find out with what the studio audience feels and whether they agree with stephen marche. thank you so much. >> my pleasure. still to come, more facebook, youtube comments and the final result of the first survey question of the year for us on this program. go to, tell me, 50 years from now, will the u.s. map p be the same as it is toda? . dove 0% aluminum deodorant lasting protection that's kinder on skin. ♪ my name is austin james.
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okay, time to see how you responded to the survey question of the week. 50 years from now, will the u.s. map be the same as it is today? survey says, no. pretty close though. with a healthy number of votes. 16,389. i think i'm in the no category but not a doomsdayer. i went to the philadelphia of art museum. i stood in front of the iconic flag. there's only 48 stars on the flag. hawaii and alaska. time for one social media, i think. what do we have? will the map of united states change? is hyperpartisanship tearing apart the fabric of our
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democracy? pretty much the same question. i'm asking whether the hyperpartisanship tear apart the nation. that's deniable. will it progress to the point some states choose to go their own way. i reference idaho and oregon or some portion of states go their own way. it gets complicated when you talk seriously ly about success. i'm trying to say i deliberately. you have issues pertaining to national defense. you have issues pertaining to currency. you have some states, like how would we decide. look at florida. who gets brady and who gets gizelle? i don'n't know. i'll see you next week. to get your money right. ♪ ♪ ♪
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happening now in the newsroom. the biden administration is working to give reassurance to people as coronavirus cases are soaring. >> across the country, hospitals and testing sites are overwover overwhelmed. >> please do not go to the emergency room to type of the resources of the individuals so you can get a test. >> i feel like i'm