The Monday Politics Thread Celebrates Nixon’s Resignation

El Paso: how one Texas city is beating the coronavirus

In a matter of just six minutes, a factory worker from a Mexican border city stepped off a bus in Texas last week, received the Covid-19 vaccine and was heading back home across the international bridge to Mexico.

The vaccination took place near El Paso, the west Texas city where the coronavirus was raging so relentlessly nine months ago that jail inmates were being used to load bodies into mobile morgues because funeral homes were overflowing.

After a hard pandemic and with concerns over continued infections in Texas and northern Mexico, vaccination efforts are being stepped up.

El Paso now has one of the highest vaccination rates among US cities, according to government data – progress which prompted outreach across the border and an international initiative.

As of 2 August, 69.7% of El Paso’s population aged 12 and up were fully vaccinated and 81.4% were partially vaccinated.

The Guardian

COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Cases: Data from the States

Importantly, not all hospitalizations and deaths of those fully vaccinated and diagnosed with COVID-19 are due to COVID-19 or have a known cause at the time of reporting. The CDC reports that as of July 19, of 5,601 hospitalized breakthrough cases, 27% were asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19 and of 1,141 fatal cases, 26% were asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19. States differ in whether they provide this detail. DC, for example, reports that as of July 11, 50% of hospitalized breakthrough cases were due to COVID-19, 19% were not, and 31% were of unknown reason. However, few states made these distinctions. Where they did, we only included breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. In other cases, some of these breakthrough events may be due to causes other than COVID-19.

Kaiser Family Foundation

The Taliban fly their flag in Kunduz as exhausted Afghan troops regroup.

The Taliban seized a major strategic and propaganda prize early Sunday, capturing the crucial northern commercial hub of Kunduz and then breaking through in two other regional capitals later the same day.

The rapid fall of Afghan cities on Sunday — including Kunduz, Sar-i-Pul and Taliqan, all northern capitals — comes just weeks before U.S. forces were set to complete a total withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is a crucial challenge for President Biden, who in recent weeks has insisted the American pullout would continue despite the Taliban’s advances.

After sweeping through the country’s rural areas, the insurgents’ military campaign has shifted to brutal urban combat in recent weeks. They have pushed into the edges of major cities like Kandahar and Lashkar Gah in the south and Herat in the west.

New York Times

U.S. teachers’ union shifts stance to back vaccine mandate as COVID surges

COVID-19 vaccinations should be required for U.S. teachers to protect students who are too young to be inoculated, the head of the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union said on Sunday, shifting course to back mandated shots as more children fall ill.

“The circumstances have changed,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” program. “It weighs really heavily on me that kids under 12 can’t get vaccinated.”

“I felt the need … to stand up and say this as a matter of personal conscience,” she said.


The Delta Variant Has Warped Our Risk Perception

Gone are the easy, thoughtless choices of hot vax summer. Making decisions that balance safety and sanity just got a lot more complicated.


Compulsory workplace vaccination rules cannot apply to vegans

More than half a million vegans will be exempt if companies introduce compulsory vaccination rules in Britain because their beliefs are protected by employment law, legal experts have said. 

So-called ethical veganism was ruled to be a protected characteristic at a tribunal last year, meaning employers would risk legal action if they order staff to be vaccinated.

Other people in protected categories are also likely to be protected by human rights laws, including some religious groups as well as people with certain disabilities or medical conditions.


United States Barely Edges Out China For Most Gold Medals At Tokyo Olympics

After 17 days of competition at the Tokyo Olympics, the United States finished with the most medals won overall and the most gold medals, with its 39 golds just barely beating out China, which won 38.

On the last day of the Games, the U.S. women’s volleyball team secured the 39th gold medal, beating out Brazil to win the country’s first gold in the sport.

Team USA is taking home 113 medals. In addition to their gold medals, U.S. athletes won 41 silver and 33 bronze medals. China, which was also second in total medals won, is bringing home 88 medals, including 32 silver and 18 bronze.


Cori Bush Is the Real MVP

The congresswoman’s protest on the steps of the Capitol helped force the Biden administration to extend the eviction moratorium.

The Root

No More Non-Apologies

The celebrity mea culpa remains a standard practice in the Great Age of Cancellation — but it’s not enough. DaBaby should just give the queer community his damn money

Rolling Stone

Meet the indigenous people fighting to preserve the Amazon

To mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we visit the Amazon’s indigenous activists working to defend the rainforests against deforestation and land grabs

The Independent

Biden Administration Extends Student Loan Payment Pause Until January 2022

The Biden presidential administration has officially extended the payment pause on federal student loans until January 31, 2022.

NBC News reports that this new date will be the Department of Education’s “final extension” of the payment pause which began in March 2020 when the CARES Act was passed by Congress. The bill, which was written in response to the pandemic, initially allowed student loan borrowers to pause payments until September 2020, with interest rates set to 0%. The pause was extended three times over the past year; prior to the latest news, it was set to expire at the end of September 2021.

In a statement on Friday, August 6, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called the payment pause a “lifeline” for millions of families, adding, “As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment.”

Teen Vogue

Judge orders Oklahoma to resume supplemental $300 unemployment payments

An Oklahoma County district judge has ordered the state to resume paying $300 a week in additional unemployment benefits to thousands of Oklahomans who are out of work due to the pandemic.

In granting the preliminary injunction sought by those suing to restore the payments, District Judge Anthony L. Bonner Jr. on Friday directed the state to immediately notify the U.S. Labor Department to reinstate and administer the federal unemployment benefit programs.

The Oklahoman

Newt Gingrich Is Afraid ‘The Left’ Will Replace ‘Classic Americans’ With Immigrants, and I Struggle to See the Problem

For maybe a decade or so, right-wing pundits, politicians and working-class MAGA-Tea-Party advocates have been weirdly convinced the perceived monolith they call “the Left”—which is really just everyone who isn’t explicitly conservative—have an agenda to let enough brown people in the country that white people will be systematically squeezed out of our borders and out of American culture.

First of all, please don’t threaten us with a good time. Secondly, this is all white supremacist nonsense, and most conservative talking heads probably know it, but invoking race to fire up the base is as American as apple pie and bullets by the case. (I definitely got more bars than Dipset.)

So on Wednesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich—whose name is definitely a composite of every insect species from A Bug’s Life (Google won’t confirm this, but I know it’s true)—went on Republican Netflix-and-shrill network Fox News and complained of “the left” and our national white-out campaign.

The Root

Once lagging, Europe catches up to the US in vaccinations

Despite a sluggish start, the European Union’s COVID-19 vaccination drive has caught up to that of the United States, where the slowdown of the country’s once-vaunted campaign has contributed to the virus’s deadly comeback.

In mid-February, less than 4% of people living in the 27-nation EU were at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, compared with nearly 12% in the U.S, according to Our World in Data, an online science publication connected to the University of Oxford.

Now the EU has surpassed the U.S. by that same measure, with some 60% of the bloc’s residents receiving at least one dose, versus less than 58% of Americans.

In Italy, where roughly 63% of people 12 and older are fully protected, Premier Mario Draghi took a victory lap this past week.

“I said that I don’t want to celebrate successes, but it must be said that Italy has inoculated more doses per 100 inhabitants than France, Germany, the United States,” he said as the country’s vaccine verification program went into effect Friday.

AP News

The Democratic Socialists of America Can Mobilize Gen Z’ers Like Me

This op-ed argues that Gen Z has experienced the worst of late-stage American capitalism and needs to embrace an alternative.

Teen Vogue

Young evangelicals are leaving church. LGBTQ bias may be driving them away.

As white evangelical denominations double down on their opposition to equality, many younger evangelicals, gay and straight, are voting with their feet.

Religion News Service

Rwandan troops help Mozambique recapture key port held by jihadists

“The port city of Mocimboa da Praia, a major stronghold of the insurgency for more than two years has been captured by Rwandan and Mozambican security forces,” the Rwandan Defence Forces said in a tweet.

Force spokesman colonel Ronald Rwivanga confirmed this to AFP, saying “yes (Mocimboa da Praia) has fallen”.

The port town, from where the first Islamist attacks were staged in October 2017, has since last year become the de-facto headquarters of the Islamic State-linked extremists, locally referred to as Al-Shabab.