The Monday Politics Thread Is a New Plant-Based Beer

And now, for something completely different: a murder of Joshuas.

Hundreds of people named Josh met up in Lincoln, Nebraska, to battle with pool noodles over their shared name, videos show

What started as an early pandemic joke evolved into a full-fledged spectacle on Saturday as hundreds of people named Josh gathered in Lincoln, Nebraska, to duke it out over their shared name.


And now, back to our regularly scheduled pit of despair.

Not rich? Good news: You’re probably getting a tax cut.

Everyone knows that Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich, but what hasn’t gotten nearly as much notice is how much they’ve cut them for most everyone else — substantially more than Republicans did in the first year of their 2017 tax overhaul.

New estimates by Congress’s official forecasters show Democrats’ tax cuts — included in their March stimulus package — will drive down tax rates on low- and middle-income people so much this year that those earning less than $75,000, on average, will owe nothing in federal income taxes.

Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 will pay a scant 1.8 percent average tax rate this year, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation predicts.

That will shift the relative burden to the wealthy, at least temporarily,with those earning more than $500,000 expected to pay more than two-thirds of all income taxes this year.


Turkey summons US ambassador over Biden’s genocide recognition

Turkey on Saturday accused the United States of trying to rewrite history, resoundingly rejecting US President Joe Biden’s decision to formally recognise the Armenian genocide.

From the streets of Istanbul to the halls of power, Turks were united in anger at Biden‘s decision to side with Armenia, France, Germany, Russia and numerous other countries in their interpretation of the horrific World War I events.

“Words cannot change or rewrite history,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted moments after Biden announced his decision.

“We will not take lessons from anyone on our history.”


India orders Twitter and Facebook to take down posts critical of its coronavirus handling

Twitter and Facebook have taken down about 100 posts in India, some of which were critical of New Delhi’s handling of the coronavirus, to comply with an emergency order from the Indian government at a time when South Asian nation is grappling with a globally unprecedented surge in Covid cases.

New Delhi made an emergency order to Twitter and Facebook to censor over 100 posts in the country. Twitter disclosed the government order on Lumen database, a Harvard University project. The microblogging network and Facebook complied with the request, and withheld those posts from users in India.

TechCrunch reported on Saturday that Twitter was not the only platform affected by the new order. Facebook, which identifies India as its largest market by users, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.


Millions Appear to Be Skipping Second COVID-19 Vaccine Shot in the U.S.

Millions of Americans appear to think that one was enough. More than five million people, accounting for almost 8 percent of those who got a Pfizer or Moderna shot in the United States, have not gone in for their second dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, reports the New York Times. That is almost double the rate of of people who appeared to miss the second dose through mid-February. The number shows how health authorities don’t just have to work to convince those who refuse to get vaccinated in the first place, they also need to work to make sure people go in for their second shot.


Even after being fully vaccinated, many still wrestle with a fear of catching Covid

Since the start of the pandemic, Kit Breshears has been terrified of catching the coronavirus. Getting vaccinated did not magically change that.

For the past 13 months, Breshears, 44, of Buffalo, Minnesota, has not stepped foot inside a store or restaurant, not even to pick up a takeout meal. Any visits with family and friends have been over Zoom.

When he received his second Covid-19 shot earlier this month, he felt relief, he said — but with the pandemic still ongoing, he has found it impossible to turn off his anxiety.

“My fear is that enough people are not going to get vaccinated, or they’re not going to get vaccinated in a timely fashion, and we end up getting a horrible variant that puts us right back to where we are,” Breshears, a communications director at a local university, said. “I don’t want to be sitting in a movie theater with ‘patient zero’ of a variant that bucks the vaccine.”

NBC News

U.S. racing to send aid to India as COVID-19 cases soar

The United States is deeply concerned by a massive surge in coronavirus cases in India and will race additional support to the Indian government and health care workers, a White House spokeswoman said on Saturday.

“We are in active conversations at high levels and plan to quickly deploy additional support to the Government of India and Indian health care workers as they battle this latest severe outbreak. We will have more to share very soon,” the spokeswoman told Reuters via email.


We Need to Talk About the ‘Conservative Republican’ Who Wrote a Whole Essay About How he Misses White Privilege Disney World

It’s not very often that I am astonished by the sheer caucasity of white people. I’ve written stories about a white woman claiming to have been called the n-word in school because she has bigger lips than like six other white people; a story about a Republican declaring that the three-fifths compromise wasn’t racist; one about a guy who argued with his entire chest that a Robert E. Lee High School shouldn’t be renamed because “Jesus never condemned slavery;” and I’ve written several articles about white people’s bootleg Braveheart anti-mask revolution that they have insisted is comparable to America’s civil rights movements.

So white people can no longer whitey-shock me easily.

But booooooy, when I tell you I was not prepared for this grown-ass white man who wrote a whole ass white-tears-y-fied essay about how he misses pre-woke Disney World-for-Wypipo and how the changes being made to the theme park in the name of progressivism are fucking with his vibe. Now, Jonathan Vanboskerck is being dragged up and down Lil’ Naz X’s internet all because for reasons I will never understand, the Orlando Sentinel decided to publish his whiny-ass shit titled “I love Disney World, but wokeness is ruining the experience.”

The Root

Biden admin scraps Trump-era proposal to limit trans protections at shelters

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that transgender people would be protected from discrimination at federally funded homeless shelters.

The department said it would withdraw a rule proposed by the Trump administration in July that would’ve weakened the Obama-era Equal Access Rule, which ensures people have equal access to federally funded shelters and facilities regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

HUD will reaffirm the Equal Access Rule and require that transgender and gender-nonconforming people be housed in shelters in accordance with their gender identity.

NBC News

Apple sued for terminating account with $25,000 worth of apps and videos

Apple is facing two class-action lawsuits over the meaning of the words “rent” and “buy.”

In the first suit, lead plaintiff David Andino argues that Apple’s definition of the two words is deceptive since the company can terminate people’s Apple IDs and, along with them, access to content they purchased using the “buy” button. Thus, Andino is arguing that Apple allows consumers to rent content rather than purchase it outright. If he had known that his access could be cut off at any time, he says he would have not spent as much on iTunes content.

“Just like Best Buy cannot come into a person’s home to repossess the movie DVD that such person purchased from it, [Apple] should not be able to remove digital content from its customers’ Purchased folders,” the suit says.

Apple countered by arguing that “no reasonable consumer would believe” that content purchased through iTunes would be available on the platform indefinitely. But US District Court Judge John Mendez wasn’t buying it, as first noticed by the Hollywood Reporter. He rejected a motion filed by Apple that sought to dismiss the suit. That means the suit can move forward with its claims of false advertising and unfair competition, though it could still be settled before going to trial. 

Apple is also up against a second class-action suit related to terminating Apple IDs. In this one, lead plaintiff Matthew Price claims he lost $24,590.05 in iTunes, the App Store, and in-app purchases, along with $7.63 in account credit, which became inaccessible when Apple terminated his account. Price’s lawsuit was filed on Tuesday.

Price’s $25,000 worth of purchases is perhaps an extreme example of what many consumers may encounter when they buy content on digital platforms, only to find it unavailable when their accounts are suspended or terminated. At issue is whether digital content available through various platforms is truly owned by individuals if the platform owner can prevent them from accessing it in the future. 

Ars Technica

Biden to Nominate Trans, Lesbian Officials to Department of Defense

The Biden administration plans to nominate two LGBTQ+ officials to posts within the Department of Defense.

Shawn Skelly is the intended nominee for assistant secretary of defense for readiness. And Brenda Sue Fulton will be the nominee for assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, a White House press official informed The Advocate.

The Advocate

Absolutely No One Is Getting Behind Caitlyn Jenner’s Campaign Right Now

Caitlyn Jenner seems to have no one in her corner in her high profile run for governor of California.

The Olympian, who would be among a small handful of transgender office-holders if she were elected, can’t even bank on support from members of the LGBTQ community with several groups and activists slamming her campaign.

“Make no mistake: we can’t wait to elect a #trans governor of California,” the influential LGBTQ rights group Equality California tweeted on Friday. “But @Caitlyn_Jenner spent years telling the #LGBTQ+ community to trust Donald Trump. We saw how that turned out. Now she wants us to trust her? Hard pass.”

The Daily Beast

Are You Ready for a New Nut Milk?

A curious new carton has been spotted behind the bar at Ralph’s Coffee on the Upper East Side, on the tables of Maman in the West Village, and the shelves of Foxtrots (aka the Midwest Erewhon) in Chicago and Dallas. It’s mint and green, adorned with a playful graphic of four small men surrounding a giant nut that rests on a pillow. “Táche,” the label reads. “Plant-based original blend.”

In the beginning of the golden age of alternative milks, there was soy. Then, almond, followed swiftly by coconut. Which, frankly, didn’t taste very good in coffee, so then we all went back to almond, until we found out they were depleting our aquifers (not as much as livestock farming, but we digress!). So we switched allegiance to oat. Like really switched allegiance—Oatly’s sales were up 151 percent in 2020 and they just filed for an IPO. But the rumblings started: wait, with added oil and sugar, is oat milk actually good for you?

Enter pistachio milk. It’s vegan, lactose, and gluten-free. Its creamy consistency works well in coffee and smoothies. It uses far less water than almonds, and has less calories, sugar, and oil than oat. (Although we aren’t here to criticize your milk choices, whatever they may be. “In terms of nutrients, all plant milks are pretty similar, in that they are not a significant source of nutrients unless they are fortified with synthetic vitamins. Plant milks are mostly water, after all,” nutritionist Maria Marlowe tells Vogue.)