This was a very eventful week, and a lot of it was even promising! (I suggest you don’t think too hard about the fact that people bringing lawsuits about illegal things and requiring humans to get basic vaccines is promising. Just take the endorphins and call it a day.)
Events to Know
Election Rejection Collection. We have a random collection of bits and bobs regarding election rejection this week, and they pretty much run the gamut. On the scary end of things, we have that one dude who was picked up outside DNC headquarters in D.C. with a bunch of knives and swastikas, although apparently he didn’t have any ranged weapons on him. Additionally, after a protracted and dramatic legislative battle that involved, among other things, Texas Democrats going awol for months, the Texas legislature managed to pass its godawful voting suppression bill. But on the plus side, several advocacy organizations have already filed lawsuits intending to challenge Texas’s new voter suppression law, and I’ll definitely keep folks posted on that one.
- CNN – Capitol Police Arrest Man With Bayonet And Machete In Truck Near DNC Headquarters
- Washington Post – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Law Creating New Voting Restrictions As Opponents Sue
Modest Vaccine Mandates. This week, Biden took some very decisive action on the current pandemic. The main headline is that he issued a federal vaccine mandate that requires all federal workers, as well as many healthcare providers, to get the vaccine within the next 75 days. He also passed a separate mandate requiring all businesses with 100+ staff to require either testing or vaccination for their workers and grant paid time off during vaccination. Additionally, he provided incentives for schools to require masks, and though Biden’s provisions stopped short of requiring vaccination to fly, his top infectious disease expert implied that might be on the table as a future order. When asked about the fact that Republicans are already threatening to sue him over this (because of course they are), Biden apparently simply replied, “Have at it.”
- CNN – White House Releases Biden’s Updated Covid Response Plan
- Associated Press – Sweeping New Vaccine Mandates For 100 Million Americans
- NPR – Biden Dangles New Federal Funds For Schools That Defy Mask Mandate Bans
- Washington Post – Fauci Says He Supports Vaccine Mandates For Air Travel. Will It Actually Fly?
- Business Insider – Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Sparks Furious Reaction Among Republican Leaders, Who Are Threatening To Sue Him Over The ‘Cynical’ Decision
Climate Change Crises. Natural disasters continue to be a rough and constant presence. As I mentioned earlier, Hurricane Ida, a category 4 hurricane, touched down in New Orleans last Sunday, leaving nearly 1 million people without power for the foreseeable future. True to that prediction, the power remained off in many places, and some parts of New Orleans have begun evacuating due to heat-related concerns. But after Ida left Louisiana, it went on to wreak major climate change devastation in the American Northeast, creating tornadoes and floods and killing at least 41 people. Meanwhile, fires raged in California and near Lake Tahoe again, highlighting the fact that climate-related disasters are happening all over the country with alarming frequency. A new study also suggests that people of color are disproportionately impacted by this phenomenon.
- Washington Post – New Orleans Begins Evacuating Residents Amid Outages As Power Could Come Back On In Coming Days
- New York Times – 43 Die As Deadliest Storm Since Sandy Devastates The Northeast
- New York Times – Overlapping Disasters Expose Harsh Climate Reality: The U.S. Is Not Ready
- Washington Post – Epa Just Detailed All The Ways Climate Change Will Hit U.S. Racial Minorities The Hardest. It’s A Long List.
Roe v. Why Are You Like This Reprise. It’s a silver lining, but we saw relatively quick actual response to last week’s SCOTUS nighttime nightmare adventure, which allowed a blatantly unconstitutional law to take effect in Texas. More specifically, Attorney General Merrick Garland filed a lawsuit against the bill on the grounds that it illegally infringes on constitutional rights, and it’s my hope that he’ll get a stay in place on the new law relatively quickly. In the meantime, Indivisible has advocacy suggestions for this issue if you’re looking for things you can do as well.
- New York Times – Texas Abortion Case Highlights Concern Over Supreme Court’s ‘Shadow Docket’
- Washington Post – Justice Department Sues Texas To Block Six-week Abortion Ban
Black Lives Still Matter. A grand jury indicted three police officers and two EMTs, concluding that their actions in 2019–namely, administering a chokehold and forcibly injecting ketamine–resulted in Elijah McClain’s death. There are thirty-two indictments total, and each defendant has been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide at minimum. It’s not ‘good’ news, per se, but it definitely needed to happen, and it’s what we’ve got on tap this week.
Things to Watch
State of the COVID-19. As was foretold by prophecy, pandemic unemployment benefits expired this week, but our workforce is still out of whack from the pandemic–which means the end of these benefits is likely to be rough for both individual workers and the whole economy. Meanwhile, cases in some places are so high that hospitals are reinstituting crisis standards of care. On one side of the country, Los Angeles became the first major district in the nation to mandate vaccination in schools for all students twelve and older. On the other, in Florida, an appeals court hearing the mask mandate court case decided to reinstitute the mandate ban on a temporary basis.
- Washington Post – Millions In U.S. Lose Jobless Benefits As Federal Aid Expires, Thrusting Families And Economy Onto Uncertain Path
- New York Times – The U.S. Surpasses 40 Million Known Coronavirus Cases.
- New York Times – Los Angeles Mandates Vaccines For Students 12 And Older
- Politico – Appeals Court Reinstates Florida Ban On School Mask Mandates, Delivering Win To Desantis
Your Standard Senate Dysfunction. Biden’s decisive action does make the mess in the Senate look extra bad, but we’re pretty much just seeing the status quo there. The short version is that Joe Manchin is earning his title as Country’s Most Useless Democrat, announcing that he’s just gonna refuse to vote for his own party’s reconciliation bill because he doesn’t like the deadline and he doesn’t like the compromise reached. So now it’s an open question whether they’ll manage to pass anything by the internal deadlines, since reconciliation needs votes from all 50 Democrats in order to go through.
- CNBC – Sen. Joe Manchin Says There’s No Way To Pass $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill By September 27
- Politico – Schumer Rejects Manchin’s ‘Strategic Pause’ On $3.5T Bill
Actions for Everyone
Does anyone else feel like we should all get a Summer break? A paid one. I’ve been out of college for awhile, but let me tell you, I feel the most nostalgic about that time in my life when we didn’t have class or homework for just a few weeks and could breathe before getting back into the workload.
Met Gala: Here’s the rub on the Met Gala – each ticket to the Met Gala costs $35,000. Not including the high fashion statement pieces on top of that which I can only assume could cost just as much. Protesters were arrested outside the Met Gala while the attention was one AOC’s dress – AOC, we still love you.
The real work here is that of anti displacement, so I want to link to the Association of Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) https://anhd.org/issue/ending-displacement. ANHD builds community power to win affordable housing and thriving, equitable neighborhoods for all New Yorkers. Please check out their training programs because gentrification is a nation-wide pandemic and is certainly happening near you. If you’re in NYC, share their events – https://anhd.org/trainings-and-events.
Hurricane Ida Relief: Climate Change is real. I know I don’t have to tell you that, but usually when hurricanes hit land they usually dissipate, at least a little bit, but Ida just ramped up and continued up the East Coast. Although this was several weeks ago, people still need our support. Here are a few groups you can and should donate to:
If you know of other resources we can share through the newsletter, send them to email@example.com
Pro-choice in Texas: TEXAS! Texas. Ok, there are a few things I’d like to discuss here. For starters, I wanted to make sure everyone knows that all genders are capable of birth because our bodies don’t define our gender. So, what that means for the sake of this write up is: the abortion laws in Texas do not effect only ciswomen, so don’t post information or discuss the topic under that harmful assumption.
Secondly, the Texas legislation is terrifying. It’s now illegal to get an abortion after six weeks – which about two weeks after a missed period. Abortion bans are scary at any stage, but six weeks is like, barely enough time to grow a Chia Pet let alone decide if you want to birth and raise a human being.
Here’s a link to groups you can learn from and support who are working on rectifying this legislative harm, https://nymag.com/strategist/2021/09/texas-abortion-ban-2021-where-to-donate.html