The Monday Politics Thread Saw Some Shooting Stars

Death toll of powerful earthquake in Haiti soars to 1,297

The death toll from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti climbed to 1,297 on Sunday, a day after the powerful temblor turned thousands of structures into rubble and set off franctic rescue efforts ahead of a potential deluge from an approaching storm.

Saturday’s earthquake also left at least 5,700 people injured in the Caribbean nation, with thousands more displaced from their destroyed or damaged homes. Survivors in some areas were forced to wait out in the open amid oppressive heat for help from overloaded hospitals.

AP News

More than a year later, America grapples with long Covid

“I was told to go home and rest, that everything would be fine in two weeks. Sadly, those two weeks for me have never come,” said Chimére Smith, 39, one of many Americans fighting long Covid.

According to multiple studies, long Covid may affect up to a third of Covid-19 patients. Smith is one of them, and people like her continue to feel the effects of the disease months, weeks, or, in Smith’s case, more than a year after an acute infection.

A study out of Stanford University reported that the most common persistent symptoms after Covid-19 were fatigue and trouble breathing, which impacted people’s ability to work and do other activities. Participants in that study also reported memory problems, loss of taste and smell, and even hair loss.


Main Cuban oxygen plant fails amid COVID-19 surge

Cuba’s public health minister said on Sunday efforts were underway to restart the country’s main oxygen factory which had broken down even as the death toll from COVID-19 on Saturday reached 98, equal to the pandemic record.


Serbian cave hermit gets Covid-19 jab, urges others to follow

Almost twenty years ago, Panta Petrovic made social distancing a lifestyle choice when he moved into a tiny Serbian mountain cave to avoid society.

Last year, on one of his visits to town, the dreadlocked man with a long beard found out there was a pandemic raging. After vaccines against Covid-19 became available, he got jabbed and urges everyone to do the same.

“It (the virus) does not pick. It will come here, to my cave, too”, the 70-year-old told AFP in his cave on the forested Stara Planina mountain in southern Serbia.


AOC Responds to Tucker Carlson After He Mocks Her Capitol Attack Fears

In his August 12 episode, Carlson aired a clip of AOC’s conversation with Bash, commenting that the congresswoman should “get a therapist,” adding “this is crazy.”

AOC responded on social media the following day, directing her commentary to the common fears that many survivors hold of not being believed about their traumas. “I couldn’t care less about what this talking inferiority complex has to say, but I do feel for the women and survivors in his life who now see they wouldn’t be believed or safe with him,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “Many survivors of assault don’t tell family, friends, etc bc of how they see others treated.”

Teen Vogue

As U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Top the Civil War’s Toll, We’re Repeating Disease History

On Saturday, the United States passed a new landmark in the fight against the novel coronavirus, when the death toll surpassed 620,000 people, the classic estimate for the number of deaths from the American Civil War. The grim comparison is telling, not only because of the sheer size of the death toll, but also because it carries a bleak secondary meaning.

The Civil War, infamous for having the highest American death toll of any war in history, was the last major American conflict before the greater public understood how diseases spread. It was therefore the last war where the bulk of the deathstwo-thirds, in fact—were not from bullets and bombs, but from viruses, parasites and bacteria. Unfortunately, today’s COVID-19 death toll shows that many have approached the virus with a medical attitude hardly updated from 160 years ago.


The new IPCC report is dire. Does anyone care?

Buried beneath news of COVID, a past President, and a soon-to-be ex-governor, America barely seems aware of the dire new climate report.

Environmental Health News

US Embassy in Kabul instructs Americans to ‘shelter in place’ amid reports of gunfire at airport

The status of American diplomats in Afghanistan remained in flux late Sunday as U.S. troops scrambled to secure the airport in Kabul and Taliban fighters entered the capital city.

The State Department said it had evacuated “almost all” embassy staff to the airport, hours after an earlier security alert urged U.S. citizens  to “shelter in place” amid reports of gunfire at the facility on the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital city. 

The embassy’s security alert came as U.S. troops were evacuating diplomatic staff from the embassy to the airport and as the Taliban entered Kabul, seemingly poised to take over the government.

“The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly,” the U.S. Embassy notice said. “There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place.”

USA Today

After Sunday It’s Even More Clear Biden Was Right

Americans, or at least the commentating classes, are watching aghast as events unfold in Afghanistan. Some are second-guessing the wisdom of withdrawal – after all, how hard is it to maintain a few thousand soldiers there permanently? Others are taking the more comfortable position of saying yes, we had to leave but this just wasn’t the right way. I must be the only person in America who is having exactly the opposite reaction. The more I see the more I’m convinced this was the right decision – both what I see on the ground in Afghanistan and perhaps even more the reaction here in the United States.

It is crystal clear that the Afghan national army and really the Afghan state was an illusion. It could not survive first contact with a post-US military reality. As is so often the case in life – with bad investments, bad relationships – what we were doing there was staying to delay our reckoning with the consequences of the reality of the situation.

Talking Points Memo

Biden administration makes record increase to food stamp benefits

The average monthly benefits for SNAP will be roughly 27 percent higher than they were before the pandemic, starting Oct. 1.


The Taliban destroyed Afghanistan’s ancient treasures. Will history repeat itself?

As major Afghan cities fall, the insurgents now oversee tens of thousands of artifacts and ancient sites.

National Geographic

Zambian opposition leader Hichilema wins 2021 presidential election

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has defeated incumbent Edgar Lungu in Zambia’s presidential election, the electoral commission said on Monday when releasing the final results from 156 constituencies, barring one.

In the final tally, Hichilema secured 2,810,777 votes while Lungu was in second place with 1,814,201 votes, out of 7 million registered voters.

“I therefore declare that the said Hichilema to be president of Zambia,” said electoral commission chairman, Esau Chulu, to a packed results centre in the capital Lusaka.


Census data shows LGBT Americans hit harder by economic, food insecurity amid pandemic

U.S. Census Bureau data released this week revealed that LGBT Americans have reported larger rates of economic and food insecurity amid the coronavirus pandemic than Americans who do not identify as members of the community. 

The findings came in the latest Household Pulse Survey, which the Census Bureau first launched in April 2020 to measure U.S. household experiences during the pandemic.

This week’s report is the first to include data on gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The Hill

500 years after Aztec rule, Mexico confronts a complicated anniversary

Was the 1521 surrender of the great Indigenous empire to the Spanish crown a triumphant conquest, an existential tragedy—or even a genocide?

National Geographic