House Passes Parental Rights Bill

Happy Monday! We’d like to apologize for the panic we sparked on Friday with our joke about ceasing publication of The Morning Dispatch—and thank those of you who believe in us enough to think we could actually be leaving TMD to join the New York Jets’ offensive line.

The outpouring of shocked and anguished notes we received—in the comments, via email, on Twitter—made us feel like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn attending their own funeral service. We’re not going anywhere!

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday the country is planning to move tactical nuclear weapons into Belarus. Aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons are already in the country and facilities for holding the weapons will be completed this summer, Putin said, but he provided no timeline for the actual transfer of the weapons. “We have not seen any indication that he’s made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around,” said John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesperson. “We’ve seen nothing that would cause us to change our deterrent posture.”
  • Honduras established diplomatic relations with China over the weekend, forcing it to embrace the Chinese Communist Party’s One-China policy and sever its ties with Taiwan. “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory and as of this date, the Honduran Government has informed Taiwan about the severance of diplomatic relations,” the Honduran Foreign Ministry said in a statement, while Taiwan’s foreign minister claimed Honduras had recently sought billions in foreign aid from the island. Following the move, just 13 countries now formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.
  • Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark announced plans last week to jointly operate their air forces—approximately 250 fighter jets—as one fleet. “The ultimate goal is to be able to operate seamlessly together as one force by developing a Nordic concept for joint air operations based on already known NATO methodology,” Denmark’s Defense Command said in a statement. Norway and Denmark are both NATO members and Finland is expected to officially join the alliance in the coming weeks, while Sweden’s bid to join is still being held up by resistance from Turkey and Hungary.
  • Large-scale protests broke out across Israel on Sunday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired the country’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, for opposing his government’s judicial overhaul plan. Citing the national security threat posed by the “growing rift in our society,” Gallant on Saturday had called on the government to “halt” the reforms for several weeks. Netanyahu was reportedly poised to suspend the overhaul on Monday amid the demonstrations and a planned general strike, but faced resistance from far-right members of the Israeli parliament’s governing coalition.
  • President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on Sunday in the aftermath of deadly tornadoes in Mississippi overnight Friday that killed at least 26 people and injured dozens more. The towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork sustained significant damage, with the long path of the tornadoes—collectively 170 miles—making them particularly destructive.
  • At least 29 African migrants died this weekend after two boats sank while attempting to make the journey from Tunisia to Italy. Tunisia has become a hub for migrants trying to reach Europe in recent years, but it’s a perilous journey: Five additional boats carrying migrants have sunk over the last week, killing at least seven people—including children—and leaving 67 missing.
  • An envelope containing a suspicious white powder arrived  on Friday at the office of Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney investigating Donald Trump over alleged hush-money payments to an adult film star. Although the material was later deemed non-hazardous, a law enforcement source told Fox News the envelope contained a note that read “Alvin – I’ll kill you.” On Friday afternoon, Trump deleted a Truth Social post that included a split-screen image: him holding a baseball bat on one side, and Bragg’s face on the other. Pressed by NBC News on Sunday, Trump lawyer Joseph Tacopina said he was not the former president’s “social media consultant” and admitted the post was “ill-advised.”
  • Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois on Sunday endorsed Paul Vallas in Chicago’s mayoral race, citing his “focus on safer neighborhoods, improved schools, and economic growth.” Vallas, a former chief executive of Chicago Public Schools, will face off against Brandon Johnson, a Cook County Board member, in a runoff election on April 4.
  • DirecTV and Newsmax reached an agreement last week for the satellite television company to carry Newsmax in its content packages, resolving a months-long dispute that Newsmax previously characterized as “political discrimination” but the company’s CEO Chris Ruddy admitted Friday was “always based on financial considerations.” 

Republicans Bring ‘Parental Rights’ Front and Center

Students in a classroom. (Via Getty Images)
Students in a classroom. (Via Getty Images)

In 2022, legislators in Utah passed a law banning “pornographic or indecent” content in schools. Parents have since used it to challenge books they consider inappropriate, including ones touching on controversial racial, sexual, and gendered themes. Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir, Gender Queer, is a frequent target.

But late last year, one Utah parent proposed a new candidate for removal. “Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation,” the parent wrote, listing the book’s supposed content. “It’s pornographic by our new definition.”

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