It’s the Monday Politics Thread, Garfy Baby

Trump’s revenge: tilting of supreme court to the right poised to bear fruit

Donald Trump’s presidency was capricious and chaotic, but there was one issue on which he focused with laser-like discipline: tilting the judiciary to the right.

Now America is about to reap that harvest. In the next year the supreme court is set to consider healthcare, voting, LGBTQ rights, guns and, most explosively, abortion. The cases provide a vivid demonstration of how, after being rejected at the ballot box, conservative partisans could push their agenda through the courts instead.

“Next year’s supreme court term is shaping up to be the revenge of Donald Trump,” said Edward Fallone, an associate professor at Marquette University Law School.

The Guardian

The U.S. military had a COVID vaccine skepticism problem. But now it’s seeing a massive jump in shots

The U.S. military has a somewhat complicated relationship with the COVID vaccination effort. On one hand, servicemembers are critical to this immunization campaign, with more than 6,000 deployed by the Department of Defense (DOD) to facilitate the rollout. On the other hand, there’s been striking discrepancies when it comes to servicemembers’ enthusiasm for COVID vaccines. The good news? It seems like the pendulum is swinging with a massive uptick among U.S. military vaccinations in the past month.

There are about 1.4 million active duty military servicemembers in America. One month ago, some 500,000 of them had received a single dose of a COVID vaccine. Fast-forward to today and the number stands at 775,500.


Faced with anti-vaccination parents, teens are helping each other get Covid shots

The dilemma for some teenagers is “I know vaccines are lifesaving, but I don’t want to become homeless” by defying their parents’ wishes.

NBC News

Latin America surpasses 1 million COVID-19 deaths

More than 1 million total COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Latin America and the Caribbean as of Saturday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The region — which accounts for 8% of the world population — has reported approximately 29% of all global COVID fatalities. 

“This is a tragic milestone for everyone in the region,” Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne said Friday in a statement. “This pandemic is far from over, and it is hitting Latin America and the Caribbean severely, affecting our health, our economies, and entire societies.”

With more than 446,000 deaths, Brazil has the highest death toll in the region and accounts for 44.5% of Latin America’s deaths. The country has reported the second-highest number of deaths globally, behind only the United States.

CBS News

CNN Parts Ways With Contributor Rick Santorum After Furor Over Comments About Native Americans

CNN has parted ways with Rick Santorum as a commentator, after a furor over comments he made about Native Americans and the founding of the United States.

CNN confirmed that Santorum is no longer a contributor. The HuffPost first reported the departure. A spokesperson for Santorum did not immediately return a request for comment.

At the Young America’s Foundation conference last month, Santorum said,  “We birthed a nation. From nothing. There was nothing here. Yes, we have Native Americans, but there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here, pursuing religious liberty, to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious liberty.”


The Backstory: Vaccinated readers tell us they still plan on wearing masks. Why? They don’t trust others.

Currently, 37.8% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated. That rises to 47.9% of people 18 and older, and 73% of those 65 and older. 

The CDC recommends unvaccinated people continue to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t trust other people with being honest about their health,” wrote a reader from Santa Clara, California. “And I don’t want COVID under any circumstance.”

USA Today

Navajo Nation becomes largest tribe in US after pandemic saw climb in enrollment

The Navajo Nation has become the largest tribe in the U.S., as its enrollment climbed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The tribe’s enrollment jumped from 306,268 to 399,494 in 2020, according to the Navajo Office of Vital Records and Identification, The New York Times reported.

The Navajo Nation, whose reservation is in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, has surpassed the Cherokee Nation to become the biggest tribe in the U.S. The Cherokee Nation has an enrollment of around 392,000.

The Navajo Nation has some of the strictest requirements among tribes for joining, with official documentation showing a person is one-quarter Diné, the term many from the Navajo Nation prefer to call themselves, needed, NYT noted.

The Hill

Congress could spend big on broadband. Tribal nations say it can’t come soon enough.

Affordable high-speed, broadband internet is rare across Navajo Nation, the reservation that stretches across three southwestern U.S. states and is larger than state of West Virginia. And its absence for many families, especially over the past 15 months, has further exposed how critical access to it is for residents to participate in basic elements of society.

It’s a problem the Biden administration is looking to tackle as part of its infrastructure push. Despite initially diverging views on how much to spend, expanding broadband access is one of the few areas on which Democrats and Republicans agree.

NBC News

Campus Cancel Culture Freakouts Obscure the Power of University Boards

Do American universities lack ideological diversity? Are they bastions of left-wing thought and hostile to conservatives? In early April, the Crimson, the student newspaper of Harvard University, published an article asserting that the university’s conservative faculty are “an endangered species,” which quickly animated establishment concerns about the alleged lack of ideological diversity on American college campuses. But the right is not underrepresented in higher education; in fact, the opposite is true: The modern American university is a right-wing institution. The right’s dominance of academia and its reign over universities is destroying higher education, and the only way to save the American university is for students and professors to take back control of campuses.

Teen Vogue

Texas Senate Passes Anti-Critical Race Theory in Schools Bill That Waters American History Down With White Tears

America is a racist country, and the people working the hardest to prove that it isn’t are the same ones actively demonstrating that it is.

At this point, it couldn’t be more apparent that the Republican war against Critical Race Theory isn’t actually about CRT—because they don’t have the first clue what CRT even is. The popular narrative among GOPropagandists is that CRT teaches that white people are inherently racist and that some races are superior to others. Of course, anyone who has actually studied it knows that CRT—which is essentially a way of studying law and other political and social structures through the lens of race (because said structures have been around since racism was undeniably sanctioned through law)—doesn’t teach either of those things. So Republicans are prioritizing their feeling over facts and those feelings are becoming the basis for the bills they are pushing and signing into law.

Texas’ state Senate passed a bill Saturday that not only bans CRT from being taught in public schools and open-enrollment charter schools, it essentially limits how Black history can be taught to what doesn’t hurt the feelings of fragile white people.

The Root

The New York Times Doesn’t Know What Pride Is For

After the announcement that New York City’s Pride organizer, Heritage of Pride, had banned uniformed police and security from events from this June through at least 2025, the Times’ editorial board righteously declared the move a serious “misstep” that threated to rend the LGBTQ community asunder. The editorial lamented the hurt feelings of some cops (one of whom described the news as “devastating,” despite the fact that she can still participate as an individual, just without her uniform) and damage to Pride’s “inclusive spirit,” and worried if now wasn’t a “strange moment for the L.G.B.T.Q. community to be closing the door on some of its own and missing an opportunity to broaden its coalition.” No, the editorial board concluded—this foolish, mean-spirited ban won’t do. “Taking a pledge to protect and serve your city,” it wrote, “should not mean sacrificing the chance to be included in a community celebration of your identity.”

Whether uniformed police should be present in Pride parades and other events is a long-standing point of conflict among queers. Other cities, like Toronto, already have bans in place, while many campaigns and their attendant pushbacks are ongoing elsewhere. That Heritage of Pride (not known for being particularly progressive) made this move in New York at the behest of community members and activists (and with the guarantee of pro-police backlash) suggests that consensus may be moving in the no-cop direction.

But I am not here today to convince anyone of which side is right. I simply wish to take a moment to draw our attention to why the Times is so wrong in this editorial—about what Pride is even for.


A proposed California law could transform fast-food work

A new policy strategy emerging in California holds the potential to transform fast-food work from some of the lowest-paying jobs in the state into good jobs, with solid wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Workers, employers, and policymakers in the state and around the country should pay close attention to this model, because setting and enforcing high standards in the fast-food industry is notoriously challenging—due to the industry’s franchising model, its numerous small employers with little ability to profitably raise standards, and its largely non-union workforce.


“I Did Have Some Trouble Reporting the Truth”

Some journalists covering Israel and Palestine say an “illusive concept of impartiality” led them to face persistent doubts and skewed editing for years. Is that changing now?


Texas’ Near-Total Abortion Ban Will Have a Massive Effect on LGBTQ+ People

2021 has seen an onslaught of abortion restrictions across the country. At least 70 bills limiting access to reproductive health care have passed since January, and on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed one of the most extreme yet. The newly signed law bans the procedure at 6 weeks of pregnancy, a point at which many people still do not even know they are pregnant. As such, the bill has been described as a “near-total” ban on abortions and poses particular challenges for LGBTQ+ people who need to access sexual and reproductive care.

Also known as Texas’ “heartbeat law,” Senate Bill 8 outlaws abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It contains no exceptions for incest or rape, although there is an exception for medical emergencies.


The Black Power Movement: Understanding Its Origins, Leaders, and Legacy

Politicians love to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous line about the long arc of the moral universe slowly bending toward justice. But social justice movements have long been accelerated by radicals and activists who have tried to force that arc to bend faster. That was the case for the Black power movement, an outgrowth of the civil rights movement that emerged in the 1960s with calls to reject slow-moving integration efforts and embrace self-determination. The movement called for Black Americans to create their own cultural institutions, take pride in their heritage, and become economically independent. Its legacy is still felt today in the work of the movement for Black lives. Here’s what to know about how the Black power movement started and what it stood for.

Teen Vogue

Attacks make Vancouver ‘anti-Asian hate crime capital of North America’

Vancouver has experienced a 717% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, reflecting a legacy of discrimination in a country seen as welcoming of newcomers

The Guardian