The Monday Politics Thread Is Reborn…For Lower Prices!

Let’s get this one out of the way first….

‘Antithetical to the gospel’: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s tweet slammed as racist in MLB backlash

Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee came under criticism Saturday for a tweet attacking Major League Baseball and several corporations that many found bigoted and insensitive.

Huckabee’s tweet was quickly condemned as racist, as many Asian Americans and anti-hate speech advocates have pointed to anti-Chinese rhetoric as a key driver in rising anti-Asian hate – and hate crimes – in the U.S.

USA Today

The tweet in question has been edited out of the quote; it is just pathetically racist and horrible, and it is right at the top of the article if you want to read it.

Vaccine Cheat Days Are Adding Up

A few weeks ago, my partially vaccinated partner and my wholly unvaccinated self got an invitation to a group dinner, held unmasked and indoors. There’d be Thai food for 10, we were promised, and two über-immunized hosts, more than two weeks out from their last Moderna doses. And what about everyone else? I asked. Would they be fully vaccinated, too?

Well, came the response. Not really. Some would be, some wouldn’t. But it had been so long—weren’t we close enough?

The answer was of course no, and my partner and I ended up staying home. But as the weeks wear on, I’m having more and more of these conversations with people who are struggling to navigate the new social calculus of a partly vaccinated world. Even as infection rates tick up again, people are bending, stretching, and breaking the rules governing how they should act around others: A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans’ vigilance about distancing and avoiding public places seems to be slackening, regardless of their immunization status. Slowly but surely, we’re losing our grip.

The Atlantic

A Mexican tragedy: country’s crippling Covid crisis comes into sharp focus

Mexico’s Covid crisis has made fewer international headlines than the catastrophes in the US and Brazil, where almost 900,000 people have died, accounting for about a third of the global total, and the reckless responses of rightwing populists Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have been condemned. Bolsonaro’s anti-scientific handling of a disease he calls a “bit of a cold” and the spread of a more infectious variant linked to the Amazon has earned his nation particular infamy on the world stage.

But the revelation this week that Mexico’s death toll was far higher than previously reported suggests a calamity of similar proportions has played out under its leader, the populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Last weekend Mexican officials discreetly acknowledged more than 294,000 Covid deaths – just shy of Brazil’s official death toll which was then 310,000. Brazil has a much larger population, with 212 million inhabitants compared with Mexico’s 126 million.

The Guardian

Schumer Says Congress ‘Will Move Forward’ to Legalize Weed Even as Biden Is Hesitant

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that even though President Joe Biden is resistant, he intends for Congress to make moves to federally legalize marijuana. In an interview with Politico’s Natalie Fertig, Schumer said work on just such a bill has already begun, and it is “headed in [the] direction” of legalization as opposed to just decriminalization.

“I am personally for legalization. And the bill that we’ll be introducing is headed in that direction,” Schumer said. Decriminalization would end carceral punishment for some possession of marijuana charges and treat it as a minor violation, whereas legalization would bring more broad-sweeping changes and would end criminal charges for marijuana possession.

Rolling Stone

Capitol Police union warns of potential exodus after latest attack, urges security increases

The head of the Capitol Police union pushed Congress on Sunday to bolster security after a second attack at the U.S. Capitol complex this year left another officer dead, warning of a possible thinning of the department’s ranks.

Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in a statement that the department is 233 officers below its authorized level of more than 2,000.

“We are struggling to meet existing mission requirements even with the officers working massive amounts of forced overtime,” he said. “In the next 3-5 years we have another 500 officers who will be eligible to retire. Many of these officers could put in their retirement papers tomorrow. I’ve had many younger officers confide in me that they’re actively looking at other agencies and departments right now.”

NBC News

On Transgender Day of Visibility, It’s Time to Finally Stop Policing Trans  Rage 

To be young and trans in 2021 is to be constantly told that you cannot know your own heart. A whole industry has sprung up of pundits who seem to insist that trans kids are incapable of making their own decisions, and states across the country have taken up legislation to deny treatment to trans teens and to keep them off sports teams. Just this week, Arkansas passed a bill that would ban transgender youth from getting gender-affirming health care. To make matters worse, trans kids face the same trap as other marginalized people: They are constantly on the receiving end of microaggressions and outright bigotry — but if they lose their cool, they’re the ones being unreasonable.

Teen Vogue

DOT halts Texas highway project in test of Biden’s promises on race

President Joe Biden’s Department of Transportation is invoking the Civil Rights Act to pause a highway project near Houston, a rare move that offers an early test of the administration’s willingness to wield federal power to address a long history of government-driven racial inequities.

DOT’s intervention follows complaints from local activists that the state’s proposed widening of Interstate 45 would displace an overwhelmingly Black and Hispanic community, including schools, places of worship and more than 1,000 homes and businesses.

It also comes as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has identified racial equity as a major priority for his department — after decades in which federal highway money has paid for projects that leveled minority and low-income communities.

Politico

MLB’s decision to move its All-Star Game out of Georgia will have a $100 million impact on the state, tourism official says

Major League Baseball’s decision to move its All-Star Game from Georgia in response to a new restrictive voting law is likely to cost the state tens of millions of dollars.The “estimated lost economic impact” from the relocation is more than $100 million, according to a statement from Holly Quinlan, president and CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism.This comes as the tourism industry, one of the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, is still struggling to rebound.

“In the initial stages of the pandemic, many Cobb [County] hotels saw single digit occupancy numbers,” Quinlan said. “The 8,000-plus MLB contracted hotel room nights that will not actualize as a result of the MLB All-Star Game relocation will have a negative impact on Cobb’s hospitality industry and other local businesses, further delaying recovery.”

CNN

Biden Should Ditch Bipartisanship and Focus on Pressuring Centrists Democrats

On March 25, during the first press conference of his presidential career, Joe Biden said efforts to prevent passage of the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that would expand voting rights and implement necessary campaign finance reform, were “un-American.”

“It’s sick,” he said. “It’s sick. And so I’m convinced that we’ll be able to stop this, because it is the most pernicious thing.”

But these days, pernicious politicking is as American as it gets.

Mere hours after Biden’s press conference concluded, Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp signed a 100-page bill into law that restricts voting rights across what was arguably the most consequential battleground state of the 2020 presidential election. Similar bills are quickly making their way through Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country, while the federal act that could render them all moot has only just begun its languid journey through the U.S. Senate.

And with the U.S. Senate’s current composition, we all know that success is far from guaranteed. If it feels like we just went through this cycle of disappointment, that’s because we did.

Teen Vogue

Will Biden cancel student loan debt? As college costs spiral, here’s what he’s considering

The Biden administration entered the White House with an eye toward relieving the strain of student loan debt, particularly amid the added financial burden of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Day One in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order extending a pause student federal loan payments enacted by the previous administration as part of COVID-19 relief. Liberal activists and lawmakers urged the president to go further and cancel student loan debt, but he has said firmly that he does not believe he has the authority to do so by executive order.

USA Today