A Jan. 6 report should be just the beginning. Just like the riot was

The details are scary, but not surprising to some of us.

Capitol Police intelligence officers had warnings as early as Dec. 21 of what was going to happen on Jan. 6 at the Capitol: Pro-Trump protesters were planning to “bring guns” and other weapons to confront the police — the “blue” that conservatives swear they “back.” Lawmakers were in danger of being trapped and harmed while doing the job they were elected to do, certifying the election of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (though quite a few Republicans shamefully failed even that routine task post-insurrection). Conspirators giddily shared maps and discussed entry points.

And nothing.

A few Capitol Police command officers did get some information, which they failed to share widely. According to the department’s statement: “Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew thousands of rioters were planning to attack the U.S. Capitol. The known intelligence simply didn’t support that conclusion.”

Known intelligence? Anyone paying attention to the social media bragging of self-styled “militia” members, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, red-state secession groupies, white supremacists and their ilk could have figured it out. Those swept up in QAnon delusions and Donald Trump’s “big lie” of a stolen election excitedly posted travel plans and loving photos of weaponry, all shiny and ready for action. The dry run of a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was killed, happened in 2017 — and that was over a statue. And just last year, armed Michigan militia members swarmed a state capital and plotted to kidnap a governor.

In preparation for the insurrection, Trump himself issued a pretty vivid invitation, one of several: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” he tweeted on Dec. 19. “Be there, will be wild!”

Why do Black American women die having babies?

The United States has the highest — yes the highest — maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. That is in keeping with other sobering statistics of racial health inequities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary C. Curtis sits down with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, President Biden’s pick to lead the task force on health equity. They discuss why Black people suffer disproportionately and what is being done to change the equation.

USDA and Black farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sits down with Mary C. Curtis to discuss Black farmers and the USDA plan to provide debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers through the March COVID-19 relief law.

That means Black farmers who have lost 90 percent of their land in the last century, in large part because of USDA policies, may receive compensation. The administration says equity is overdue and this is just the beginning. But many white farmers and banks have objections.

When an insurrection is seen as just another day in America

Is America getting a thirst for blood?

It’s a question I ask after hearing too many Republicans dismiss the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob trying to halt the counting of American citizens’ votes as a “normal tourist visit,” in the words of Georgia Rep. Andrew S. Clyde, the same Clyde seen — mouth open and terrified — helping to barricade the besieged doors that day.

When I was a Baltimore schoolgirl, we often visited Washington, D.C., to tour the monuments. It was an easy and informative field trip, barely an hour away by bus. Now kids can occasionally be unruly, and the nuns had to raise their voices once or twice. But I don’t recall ever erecting gallows on the Capitol lawn, breaking windows or pummeling police officers with batons and their own shields. In fact, I’m sure it would have made the front pages if a bunch of Black grade schoolers from St. Pius V Elementary ventured a foot beyond the velvet ropes, let alone desecrated the beautiful marble floors of a government building by using them as a toilet.

Have things changed that much for Clyde and all the others asking Americans and the world not to believe their lying eyes?

‘I have to be an optimist’

This week marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, a time defined by a subsequent international reckoning on racial justice, a debate about overhauling police departments and an election that brought social and cultural issues violently into the foreground.

Mary C. Curtis, host of the Equal Time podcast and a CQ Roll Call columnist joins us on Political Theater to discuss where we are, where we’ve been and where we might be headed.

No true economic growth without true equality, Cecilia Rouse says

President Joe Biden tapped Cecilia Rouse to chair his Council of Economic Advisers and tasked her, the first Black woman to hold the job, with seeking to advance racial equity in his economic policies.

Rouse, previously the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a member of President Barack Obama’s economic council, recently joined CQ Roll Call’s Equal Time podcast to discuss her plans.

“We can’t give in to Jan. 6”

In a fiery and no-holds-barred conversation, Mary C. Curtis speaks with former RNC chair Michael Steele on the future of the GOP, why he cannot defend the current Republican party to Black voters and why he believes the country can and should do better.

When eminently qualified Black women get smeared (or every day that ends in ‘y’)

She has been endorsed by many law enforcement agencies, including the National Association of Police Organizations, yet she was accused of being anti-police. Baseless innuendo thrown her way has been refuted by support from the National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League and dozens of other local, state and national Jewish organizations. She’s been tagged as “extreme,” which only makes sense if being an advocate for an equitable society qualifies.

The nomination of Kristen Clarke, President Joe Biden’s choice to serve as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, barely made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Panelists split 11-11 along party lines, and then on Tuesday, the full Senate voted 50-48 to discharge the nomination from the committee, setting up a final floor vote.

Is anyone surprised at the roadblocks this nomination has faced?

Jaime Harrison says Democrats won’t cede South to GOP

Jaime Harrison, the former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, generated excitement among Democrats and shattered fundraising records in his 2020 campaign for Republican Lindsey Graham’s Senate seat.

In the end, Graham defeated Harrison by more than 10 points, but Democrats liked what they saw and in January elected Harrison to lead the Democratic National Committee. He’s now tasked with defending Democrats’ slim House and Senate majorities in 2022.

Harrison recently joined CQ Roll Call’s Equal Time podcast. An edited transcript follows.

Sorry, but ‘Gone With the Wind’ is not a history book

The White House issued a proclamation last week, of the sort that most presidents have issued about historical events that deserve commemorating, but that were missing, for the most part, during the Trump reign.

This one marked the 60th anniversary of the first Freedom Rides, on May 4, 1961, when traveling on a bus meant risking your life, if you were with an integrated group, sitting in a spot of your choice. Those southbound heroes were willing to face beatings and the unknown at the hands of fellow citizens intent on stopping progress by any means necessary. Angry and afraid, the violent white supremacist mobs refused to acknowledge the humanity of African Americans or the validity of any law that looked forward not back.

It’s the reality — and not the myth of uncomplicated greatness the country has told the world and itself for far too long.

And it’s not always pretty.

For that reason, many Republicans want to “cancel” it, to use a word today’s conservatives have been misusing with reckless abandon. They’d like to erase the history and the essential lessons that reveal so much about how and why America is so divided and its systems — of health care, housing, education and more — so inequitable in 2021.