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Opinion: The year that never ended

April 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 31.8%. 4 min read.

It was clearer than ever this week that we're still coming to terms with the trauma of 2020: a deadly pandemic, an economic plunge, a reckoning over race and a fraught election. In a Minneapolis courtroom, witnesses relived the pain of George Floyd's public death, as prosecutors revealed that Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, even longer than previously thought.

In a Minneapolis courtroom, witnesses relived the pain of George Floyd's public death, as prosecutors revealed that Derek Chauvin, then a police officer and now on trial for the events of last May, knelt on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, even longer than previously thought.

Calling it "one of the most important trials this country has ever seen," legal analyst Elie Honig said the defense will "argue that Chauvin did not cause Floyd's death" and "may claim that Chauvin's actions were necessary to physically restrain Floyd and take him into custody. " The prosecution's case is straightforward, "but the outcome is anything but certain, and the stakes -- for the entire country -- are enormous," Honig noted.

As Elliot Williams noted, many of the witnesses spoke to what they felt and saw without getting at the "central legal dispute at the heart of the case -- the technical cause of Floyd's death. " Some "highlighted the widespread guilt that so many felt over their failure to confront the gross inequalities baked into our daily lives that led to Floyd's death.

"My first conversation with Michael, who sounded terrified, began with, 'Mom, the hate in those people's eyes, they wanted to kill me, they kept screaming, 'kill him, kill him, get his gun and kill him. ' Michael, along with many other officers, had been holding the door to the West Tunnel of the Capitol (the door the President uses when he takes the oath of office) when he was pulled through the doorway by the mob, pushed down the stairs, kicked, beaten, maced, tased repeatedly on his neck, had his face shield ripped off and his badge and radio taken. "

On March 25, former President Donald Trump called into a Fox News show to say his supporters had posed "zero threat" that day in January and had been "hugging and kissing" police officers.

"In the past few days," he wrote, "we've seen the Michigan GOP state chair invoke the specter of violence against those not loyal to Trump and conservative Trump media allies saying on Newsmax that they wished the military would step in and take over from President Joe Biden.

The wave of anti-Asian American violence that grew after Trump repeatedly labeled Covid-19 the "Chinese virus" also hasn't gone away.

Yumi Hogan, the first lady of Maryland and the first Korean-American first lady in the US, wrote, "My fellow Asian Americans weep over the rising number of attacks against our people.

A year ago, Fiana Garza Tulip was sending videos of her seven-month-old daughter to her mother, who was "filled with such joy every time she received a clip of her only grandchild. " Tulip's mother, Isabelle Hilton Papadimitriou, was a respiratory therapist, and last June had a confrontation with a hospital visitor who refused to wear a mask, citing Trump's failure to wear one.

Tulip noted that former White House Covid-19 coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said on a CNN documentary that hundreds of thousands may have died needlessly from the disease.

"Accepting a job working for Donald Trump was her first and worst mistake," wrote Dr. Megan Ranney.

On the heels of his success with passage of the $1. 9 trillion Covid-relief act, President Joe Biden proposed an even bigger investment this week -- in America's infrastructure.

"His new American Jobs Plan is a comprehensive, well-targeted and timely approach to America's many long-term economic ills, responding powerfully to 40 years of federal neglect," observed economist Jeffrey D.

And it's all happening at a dizzying speed. " At 78, Biden is the oldest President in American history and he faces the possibility of seeing Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress in the November 2022 midterms.

As Susan Glasser noted in the New Yorker, Biden is being "hailed as an aspiring modern-day F. D. R. or L. B. J. who will lead the country out of crisis. " That may prove premature.

"The more important critique is the one that should be leveled at the substance of Biden's presidency -- the massive policy changes that he has already overseen and is proposing in the months and years to come.

Republicans in Congress and across the country should be focusing their fire on Biden's policies and, even more importantly, presenting their own plans for solving some of the problems he proposes to address. "

A loyal backer of President Donald Trump was drawn into controversy this week.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz "is under investigation by the Justice Department, which is reportedly looking into whether he paid for the travel expenses of a 17-year-old girl across state lines to entice her into sexual activity," wrote legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor.

"There is no basis at all to believe that the private citizens alleged to be behind extortion attempts beginning two weeks ago also caused the DOJ investigation into sex trafficking to begin months ago," she wrote.

The extremism of some GOP members of Congress has been blamed on Trump, but a new book by former House Speaker John Boehner says it began well before the 45th president took office.

Jeff Ryan wrote the book on the character's prominence in the video game world and this week addressed the false rumors that "Super Mario, the mustached video game plumber, was going to be dead the day after March 31. " In fact, Nintendo is scheduled to release another Super Mario game this year and was just making a few tweaks to its game lineup.

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