The Monday Polotixs Thread

‘Look at my family. Use my story’: Rep.-elect Julia Letlow urges Republicans to get Covid vaccine after husband’s death

Louisiana Rep.-elect Julia Letlow on Sunday urged Republicans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, citing her own tragic experience losing her husband to complications of Covid-19.

“Look at my family. Use my story,” the Louisiana Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked her message to Republicans, a group that recent polling shows is less likely to be willing to get inoculated against the virus.

“You know, I experienced a tragedy in my immediate family, and Covid can touch every family out there,” Letlow continued. “And so there is a vaccine that has life-saving capabilities, I want to encourage everyone to trust it and get the vaccine.”


When Texas ended its mask mandate, the event cancellations started — and the losses are adding up

At least four organizations canceled conferences or conventions in Austin, citing health concerns after Texas ended its statewide mask mandate earlier this month. The cancellations cost the Hilton Austin hotel $350,000 in revenue, according to Austin Convention Enterprises, a city-created corporation that owns and manages the hotel.

“These were rooms that were already on the books, and largely what we saw was fallout, ironically, from the governor opening the economy,” said Joe Bolash, Hilton Austin general manager, during a March 16 Austin Convention Enterprises board meeting. “It was groups that were not comfortable returning to a fully opened economy where there was no mask mandate in place.”

Texas Tribune

The complex debate over how to equitably distribute the different vaccines

As the first four million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine shipped in March throughout the United States, experts lauded qualities that make it more practical: Unlike its mRNA predecessors, this vaccine doesn’t require ultra-cold storage and needs only a single dose to protect people against serious COVID-19 outcomes—including, most importantly, death.

These attributes mean it could be more easily deployed to reach communities that have been left behind as an inequitable vaccine rollout has overly favored white people. But there’s a catch. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an overall efficacy lower than the other two vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the country. And that fact has raised concerns that marginalized communities—including Black, Latino, and indigenous people with the highest risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes and a history of medical mistreatment—would be steered toward the vaccine with the lowest level of protection against severe and mild disease.

National Geographic

Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” Music Video Resonates With Queer, Black Fans

Lil Nas X just dropped the video for his latest single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and fans — especially queer and Black fans — have a lot of feelings about the visionary project.

The video features Lil Nas X trying on a variety of alter egos, including aliens and a Marie Antoinette-esque character; it’s clearly influenced by sci-fi and fantasy — and it plays with religious imagery, as we see him dancing for the devil at one point. The video is also very queer, and a celebration of Lil Nas’s journey to coming out and celebrating himself. “In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see,” he says in the intro. “We lock them away. We tell them, ‘No.’ We banish them. But here, we don’t.”

Teen Vogue

Fear turns to fury in Myanmar as children shot by military

From soldiers randomly shooting passersby in the street to imminent economic collapse, anxieties have been plentiful in Myanmar since its military seized power on 1 February.

But unease was surging ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday when the military was expected to meet protesters with a brutal crackdown.

These expectations were more than realised. A one-year-old baby playing outside survived a rubber bullet to the eye, but other children, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed.

While the night sky in the purpose-built capital of Naypyidaw was momentarily aglow with a drone display of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, his troops burned alive a snacks vendor in Mandalay. A witness said the man screamed for his mother as the flames enveloped him.

At least 114 civilians were killed on the day, according to news portal Myanmar Now, taking the overall number of those reported killed since the coup to more than 440.

The Guardian

Hong Kong’s cultural revolution has arrived at the arts

It was always going to be a matter of time before the new Cultural Revolution surge sweeping through Hong Kong would focus on the arts. This is, after all, intrinsic to the idea of a revolution described as being cultural.

What was less expected was that this new attack on Hong Kong’s way of life should so closely echo the depths of the Mao era on the Mainland.

Hong Kong Free Press

Younger Brazilians Are Dying From Covid in an Alarming New Shift

Staggering under its worst period of the pandemic, with daily records of caseloads and deaths, Brazil is facing a daunting development: a rising number of deaths among the young.

So far this month, according to government data, about 2,030 Brazilians aged 30 to 39 have died from Covid, more than double the number recorded in January. Among those in their 40s, there have been 4,150 fatalities in March, up from 1,823 in January, and for those 20-29, deaths jumped to 505 from 242.

“Before, the risk factor to dying from Covid-19 was being older, having some co-morbidity,” said Domingos Alves, a professor of medicine who’s part of the national monitoring group. “Now, the risk is being Brazilian.”


Georgia Republicans made two big mistakes when they attacked voting rights

By passing one of the nation’s most restrictive voting bills, Republican lawmakers in Georgia have forgotten a lesson from the past and are setting themselves up for defeat in the future.

The sweeping bill, signed into law Thursday by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to hand them food and water.

Kemp said the law allows Georgia to “take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible, and fair.” Voting rights advocates, though, said it’s a thinly disguised and racist attempt to suppress the Black vote.

“No one but Pee Wee Herman believed them when they talked about the ‘integrity of the vote,'” says the Rev. Tim McDonald, an Atlanta-based pastor who founded the African American Ministers Leadership Council. His group created “Souls to the Polls,” a get-out-the-vote movement among Black churches nationwide. Earlier versions of the Georgia elections bill would have virtually eliminated early Sunday voting, which is popular with Black voters.

“Black folks are not stupid. We know their tricks. We know their motivation,” McDonald says. “They are the [Ku Klux] Klan in three-piece suits.”


The Fight For Trans Kids’ Rights Has Just Begun

Attacks on trans kids’ rights are nothing new, but they are on the rise. In past years, Republicans legislators have tried to ban trans kids from the locker rooms and bathrooms that match their true gender. Those attempts were largely unsuccessful. But now lawmakers in 28 states have introduced 90 bills that go a step further by attempting to ban trans kids from sports and block their access to gender-affirming care.

Many of the bills targeting trans youth make gender-affirming healthcare inaccessible, if not illegal. Alabama, for example, recently approved a bill that would make it a felony for doctors to give trans youth puberty-blockers, which delay the onset of puberty, essentially forcing trans kids to go through bodily changes that conflict with their gender identity. The bill also prohibits doctors from giving trans kids gender-affirming hormones or surgery, which they typically may receive in their late teenage years.

If the anti-trans bills are passed and hold up in court, trans kids in those states won’t be able to compete in athletics or will face legal action if they do. One of the main arguments behind these bills is that transgender girls have an unfair biological advantage over cisgender girls. But these claims don’t stand up to closer inspection — and they have the potential to take away meaningful childhood experiences from trans youth.


Black Immigrants Are Facing Rampant Racism In Mexico While Waiting For US Asylum: “We Have No Choice”

When Laure fled Cameroon in 2019, she never expected to be sleeping on the streets of Tijuana, eating from trash cans and, more than a year later, still fighting near-constant racism while trying to gain asylum in the US.

During those initial weeks, she said she came to understand her cold new reality when she was unable to find employment despite having a nursing certification.

“She asked for my papers, my diploma. I gave it to her. Maybe 30 minutes later, she called me and said, ‘We have no work for a stranger,’” Laure said. “If somebody lives in your country and has documents, how are they a stranger? I told her, ‘You want to say that I am Black, that I have a Black color.’”

President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders to start rolling back the Trump administration’s legacy of racist policies designed to stop immigration altogether. But so far, much of his focus has been on easing access for Mexican and Central American immigrants, leaving people like Laure stranded in Mexico. There, people like her typically face police violence, racism from locals, and a language barrier while they wait for their asylum cases to be processed.

Buzzfeed News