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JK Rowling Is Up to Her Transphobic Nonsense Once Again

Author JK Rowling has a net worth of over $1 billion—she’s richer than the Queen of England—and yet she seems to derive the most pleasure these days as a transphobic troll on Twitter. Go figure.

The Mary Sue

Illinois Becomes the First State to Block Cops From Lying to Kids

This week, Illinois became the first state in the nation to make it illegal for police officers to lie to children during interrogations. The new law signed this week by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker aims to prevent interrogators from using fake information to obtain confessions from minors.

The bill would block police officers from making up evidence to entice a confession when interviewing minors, or from providing them false promises about leniency. The bill passed the state legislature with near unanimous support in votes held in April and May. Oregon and New York are considering similar bills.

Mother Jones

Politics

Postponed Weddings, Stockpiled Insulin and Covid: The Bizarre Life of Texas Democrats in Exile

Celia Israel was putting finishing touches on her wedding last week when she learned that, instead, she had to drop everything and leave.

The Democratic state representative from Texas had driven with her partner of 26 years, Celinda, to see a family friend who was making her outfit. They were set to get married on the floor of the Texas state House early in the morning on Thursday. But before Israel’s partner got fitted last Sunday, her phone buzzed with a text from fellow state legislator Gina Hinojosa.

“She said, ‘I need to talk to you.’ And I could just sense, like, ‘Oh no,’” Israel said. “So I called her and I said, ‘Are you in jail?’ She said, ‘No, I’m going to have some news. I hate to tell you this, but your wedding isn’t going happen on Thursday.’”

Israel is one of the over 50 state House Democrats who fled Texas on Monday to deny Republicans a quorum for a major new elections bill that has stirred backlash: axing pandemic-era practices to expand voting access adopted in a large Democratic-leaning county, further restricting mail voting in the state and making election workers liable for new potential civil or criminal penalties. Democrats are in the minority in Texas, but Republicans can’t pass the legislation without them there — so they left for Washington, D.C.

Politico

Dr. Fauci Makes Heartbreaking Link Between Polio And The Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci directed his ire at those who sought to spread misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine, saying, “If we had the kind of false information decades ago, I would be certain that we would still have polio in this country” (via CNN).

The List

The next voting rights battleground is Michigan

Until recently, Michigan seemed safe from the kind of anti-voting legislation that has proliferated in GOP-controlled states like Georgia and Texas. The state has a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who could veto bills that seek to skew future elections toward the Republican Party, and the GOP’s majorities in the state legislature are too small to override a veto.

But, early this month, the state’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) announced that Republicans plan to invoke a process that could allow them to bypass the governor’s veto and pass a package of “half a dozen” election-related bills. Under the state constitution, a relatively small group of voters can propose legislation through a petition and then this legislation can be enacted by the state legislature. Using this process, the GOP-controlled legislature could enact this package by a simple majority vote in both houses, and Whitmer would be powerless to veto it — although Democrats could potentially force a voter referendum on the GOP package.

Vox

‘She Was Born a Leader’: Civil Rights Pioneer Gloria Richardson Dies at 99

Civil rights activist Gloria Richardson, whose fearlessness was famously immortalized in a photo of her pushing away a National Guardsman’s bayonet during a 1963 protest, has died at age 99.

Tya Young, her granddaughter, told the Associated Press that Richardson died in her sleep Thursday. She was one of the few women with leadership roles during the civil rights movement, and as The Root reported back in 2015, her actions continue to inspire various Black activists to this day.

The Root

It’s about ‘freedom’: Cuban Americans say shortages don’t explain protests

As Cubans took to the streets to protest in numbers not seen since before the 1959 Revolution, Cuban Americans are challenging the view that the demonstrations are just about economic frustration.

While Cubans expressed anger over shortages in food and medicine, rising inflation and power outages — amid the challenges of Covid-19 — many of the chants throughout the island called for political change and included expressions such as “libertad” (liberty), “We want change” and “Down with the dictatorship.”

Many Cuban Americans say that should not be glossed over.

NBC News

A mother sent her daughter across the border. One died.

They guessed the woman had died of exhaustion or dehydration.

“They wait over there and move at night,” said the rancher, pointing to a nearby stand of mesquite, where he and his wife sometimes spy the passing shadows of those heading north.

The deputy wrapped the body in a white sheet. He then lifted it into a gray bag and helped the funeral director load it into the back of his Ford Explorer for transport to the sheriff’s morgue. It would be fingerprinted and tested for the coronavirus. The men found no trace of a name. It would be days before fingerprints told investigators that the woman was Rosario Yanira Girón de Orellana, a 41-year-old single mother who had traveled more than 1,500 miles from El Salvador.

LA Times

Texas Senate Passes Bill to Remove Required Lessons on Civil Rights Movements from Public School Curriculums

Public schools in Texas are one step closer to no longer being required to teach about various American civil rights movements in social studies classes.

Bloomberg reports that on Friday, the state Senate voted 18-4 to pass Senate Bill 3, which drops requirements for teachers to include lessons on Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony, the history of Native Americans, the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other figures and documents in their curriculums.

This comes after Gov. Greg Abbott previously signed a bill that banned teachers from discussing critical race theory and the 1619 Project, while also dictating how they should teach about current events in their classrooms. The idea behind this new bill is to more explicitly define what can and can’t be taught.

According to Bloomberg, it would also prevent teachers from speaking about current events or controversial issues without “giving deference to any one perspective.”

The Root

U.S. Census Directors Were All White Until James F. Holmes Stepped In

More than two decades before the Biden administration announced its historic pick to lead the U.S. Census Bureau, James F. Holmes quietly blazed a trail at the federal government’s largest statistical agency.

President Biden’s nominee — Robert Santos, who is a leading statistician and Latinx — is on track to become the bureau’s first permanent, Senate-confirmed director of color. But Holmes — who is African American and served as acting director in 1998 — was the first-ever person of color to oversee the head count that forms the foundation of U.S. democracy.

NPR

Viktor Orbán using NSO spyware in assault on media, data suggests

Viktor Orbán’s government has deployed a new weapon in its war on the media in Hungary, according to forensic analysis of several mobile devices, using some of the world’s most invasive spyware against investigative journalists and the circle of one of the country’s last remaining independent media owners.

The Pegasus project, a collaborative investigation run by the French nonprofit journalism organisation Forbidden Stories, has reviewed leaked records that suggest a wide range of people in Hungary were selected as potential targets before a possible hacking attempt with the sophisticated Pegasus spyware, sold by the Israeli company NSO Group. In a number of cases, forensic analysis confirmed devices had been infected with Pegasus.

The leaked data includes the phone numbers of people who appear to be targets of legitimate national security or criminal investigations.

The Guardian

$15 Minimum Wage Isn’t Enough for Workers to Afford Rent in Any U.S. State

In Florida, someone working full-time would need to make $24.82 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental. In Colorado, you’d need to make $27.50 an hour. In Washington state you’d need to make $29.31 working full-time. The wage thresholds for a two-bedroom rental in New York and Washington, D.C., are even higher: $34.03 and 33.94, respectively.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), which just released its 2021 Out of Reach report looking at housing affordability in the U.S., puts California at the top of the unaffordable list, alongside five other states that also have a wage threshold calculated to be above $30 for a two-bedroom rental. According to the report, to afford this type of apartment, California-based workers would need to work full-time at $39.03 an hour — more than double the $15 federal living wage activists have spent years fighting to implement.

The Fight for $15 movement, which popularized increasing the current federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15, has been a steady engine for nearly a decade. While politicians have advocated for incremental increases at the state and local level — even Senator Joe Manchin has finally come around to $11 an hour — the movement has been unmistakably consistent: Today’s workers need a living wage and a living wage is $15 an hour. Despite President Biden’s vocal support for a $15 federal living wage during the campaign season, his administration has yet to make much headway on this, beyond raising wages for federal contractors.

Teen Vogue

Secrets of rebel slaves in Barbados will finally be revealed

Little is yet known of Bussa, the man behind the largest slave revolt on Barbados in 1816, but information about his life before this uprising could well lie in the columns of contemporary island newspapers. So too may further clues about what happened to Benebah, a pregnant black woman who stood up to a police officer on the island in 1834, after slavery had officially been abolished.

The missing history of these two rebels, along with many other enslaved peoples’ stories, are hiding in plain sight in vast, freshly digitised newspaper records from the island. And now the British Library is to lend its scholastic firepower and invite online volunteers to help to uncover it.

The Guardian

Enormous scale of destruction is revealed as water subsides after historic western Europe flooding

At least 189 people are dead and hundreds more remain missing after catastrophic flooding hit large swaths of western Europe, with tens of thousands unable to return to their homes and many still left without access to power and drinking water.

The flooding, caused by unprecedented rainfall, has hit parts of western Germany before shifting to neighboring Belgium and the Netherlands.Several areas across the southern Netherlands remain evacuated after the river Maas rose to levels not seen in over a century on Saturday. In Venlo, a city that sits right on the Maas, 10,000 people had to leave their homes.

CNN

Canada has now eclipsed U.S. in percentage of fully vaccinated residents

After lagging behind other developed countries in the early months of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Canada has officially eclipsed the United States when it comes to its percentage of fully vaccinated residents.

According to data from CTV News’ vaccine tracker, 48.8 per cent of Canada’s population has been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, compared to 48.1 per cent of Americans.

Despite this milestone, vaccination rates do appear to be slowing down, which has led to the launch of vaccine lotteries in several provinces.

CTV News