The Monday Politics Thread is Brought to You By Labor Day and Back to School Sales

History of Labor Day

Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

US Department of Labor

They Came To The U.S. As Afghan Refugees. Now They Hope Their Story Will Help Others

Scenes of violence in Afghanistan triggered painful memories for Hossein Mahrammi and his wife, Razia Mahrami, refugees living in the U.S. He sees the hope of a democratic, peaceful Afghanistan vanishing as the Taliban take over the country and the future of family and friends there uncertain. The couple know all too well the hardships that await the thousands of refugees fleeing.


The days of ‘let’s see what happens’ are over

Trust me, I’m not one for dire warnings. Like most scientists, I’m not an alarmist and I don’t jump to conclusions. If anything I am a “wait and see” kind of guy. But there is an undeniable pattern here: more extreme weather is happening more often, and we are its cause.


US officials optimistic Covid booster rollout will start on 20 September

US officials have expressed optimism that Covid-19 booster shot delivery can start for all adults on 20 September, the goal set by President Joe Biden, as cases continue to rage across the country fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The officials insist, however, that boosters will not be rolled out without US health agencies’ authorization, leaving open the possibility of delays.

The Guardian

Japan’s COVID vaccine minister favoured for PM; woman wins backing – media

Japan’s minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccinations is seen as the most suitable candidate to become the next prime minister, while a female former internal affairs minister has secured backing for her bid for the top job, media reported on Sunday.


Suicide attack targets soldiers in Pakistani city of Quetta

Three people have died and 15 were injured in an attack on paramilitary troops in the city of Quetta in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province near the Afghan border. The province has seen a decades-long insurgency by separatists who demand independence from Pakistan, citing what they say is the state’s monopoly and exploitation of the province’s mineral resources.


Two anchors of COVID safety net ending, affecting millions

Mary Taboniar went 15 months without a paycheck, thanks to the COVID pandemic. A housekeeper at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort in Honolulu, the single mother of two saw her income completely vanish as the virus devastated the hospitality industry.

For more than a year, Taboniar depended entirely on boosted unemployment benefits and a network of local foodbanks to feed her family. Even this summer as the vaccine rollout took hold and tourists began to travel again, her work was slow to return, peaking at 11 days in August — about half her pre-pandemic workload.

Taboniar is one of millions of Americans for whom Labor Day 2021 represents a perilous crossroads. Two primary anchors of the government’s COVID protection package are ending or have recently ended. Starting Monday, an estimated 8.9 million people will lose all unemployment benefits. A federal eviction moratorium already has expired.

AP News

Satanic Temple Cites Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Request Access to Abortion Drugs in Aftermath of Texas Ban

Citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a group of Satanists are asking the Food and Drug Administration for access to “abortion pills without having to jump through regulatory hoops,” the group announced Friday.

The Salem, Mass.-based The Satanic Temple indicated that the request was designed to take aim at a Texas abortion ban that took effect this week. The Texas law prohibits abortions starting approximately six weeks after conception, and it relies on private parties for enforcement — thus making it difficult for federal courts to intervene.

“While legal scholars wring their hands over Texas lawmakers[‘] attack on Roe v. Wade, Satanists are using creative approach to allow women in Texas access to abortions:  religious freedom,” the Temple said in a news release. “For a few years now the Satanic Temple has been using its status as a religion to argue that access to abortion is a faith-based right.”

Law and Crime

Covid vaccination status is the new social dividing line in America. It demands its own etiquette.

We need to create a culture in which it is not only acceptable but also admirable to ask whether others have been vaccinated before making plans.

NBC News

Like Washington and Jefferson, he championed liberty. Unlike the founders, he freed his slaves

It was 230 years ago Sunday that Robert Carter III, the patriarch of one of the wealthiest families in Virginia, quietly walked into a Northumberland County courthouse and delivered an airtight legal document announcing his intention to free, or manumit, more than 500 slaves.

He titled it the “deed of gift.” It was, by far, experts say, the largest liberation of Black people before the Emancipation Proclamation more than seven decades later.


Column: Crafty lawyering on Texas abortion bill withstood SCOTUS challenge: Greene

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion opponents have been trying to scale back or undo it. Texas state senator Bryan Hughes, a former personal injury lawyer and author of the “Heartbeat Act,” led a team in succeeding, at least for now, where so many others have failed.

As a social policy, the law, which imposes a near-total ban on abortions in Texas but leaves enforcement up to individual citizens, is deeply controversial. House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said it “delivers catastrophe to women in Texas.”


How Body Horror Movies Helped Me Process Gender Dysphoria

The gory subgenre makes fleshy fears real — and helps trans viewers work through them.


Pete Buttigieg and husband announce birth of their twins

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, announced on Saturday the arrival of their son and daughter.


“Crushingly Cruel”

A shocking new speech has plunged Mormons into another furious battle over gay rights and the church’s future.


Men are marched out of prison camps. Then corpses float down the river

Evidence indicates the dead are Tigrayans. Witnesses on the ground say the bodies tell a dark story of mass detentions and mass executions across the border in Humera, a town in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

CNN has spoken with dozens of witnesses collecting the bodies in Sudan, as well as international and local forensic experts and people trapped and hiding in Humera, to reveal what appears to be a new phase of ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia’s war.


How governments around the world are keeping up with shifting Covid-19 vaccination goals

Vaccination coverage of a population and, most recently, the number of shots to be given have turned into a moving goal post as governments around the world race against time to control the Covid-19 pandemic amid the emergence of more infectious variants such as Delta and Mu.

The fluidity of the situation, combined with vaccine shortages, vaccine hesitancy and difficulties in rolling out a wide-scale inoculation programme, has resulted in some governments missing their initial vaccination targets.

The Straits Times

Elite Guinea army unit says it has toppled president

Special forces soldiers appeared on Sunday to have ousted Guinea’s long-serving president, telling the nation they had dissolved its government and constitution and closed its land and air borders.

As the United Nations condemned any takeover by force and the West African region’s economic bloc threatened reprisals, the elite army unit’s head, Mamady Doumbouya, said “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove President Alpha Conde from office.


The psychology behind why people will take horse paste, but not COVID vaccines

“The reason for the double-standard is obvious: contrarianism. Treatments such as ivermectin (and hydroxychloroquine and Vitamin D) have never had mainstream approval, or the nod from U.K. or U.S. medical regulators for their use against COVID,” he wrote in a recent column for the NewStatesman. “The contrarians can get excited about the apparently dramatic effects of ivermectin without having to agree with people they regard as wildly wrong on case rates, death rates, the effects of lockdowns, and so on. They also get to feel the frisson of telling the world that they know better: they have secret knowledge about a super-important treatment, and the blinkered medical community just won’t listen.”


Abortion Bans Ignore the Heart of the Issue: The Need for Care

In this op-ed, 23-year-old Kat, from Texas, explores how the future of abortion should look, and why abortion bans ignore the need for care. Kat is part of Buckle Bunnies Fund, a queer and youth-led mutual aid abortion fund focused on connecting Texans with the resources they need.

Teen Vogue

Texas Abortion Ban: What to Know and How to Help

So, with a near-total ban on abortions effective in Texas and no help from the Supreme Court, what is there left to do? Well, plenty. Again, abortion is still technically legal in all 50 states, including Texas as long as it happens before six weeks of pregnancy. Clinics across Texas are still open and providing abortion in compliance with the restrictions of SB8. And, while paying for or bringing someone to get an abortion after six weeks in Texas might be seen as “aiding and abetting,” the law may not prohibit people in Texas for paying for or transporting someone to an abortion outside state lines, where the abortion would be legal, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights Marc Hearron told reporters on September 1.

That’s why abortion clinics, funds, and advocacy groups still need support. If you’re looking to donate some time or money to help people seeking abortion in Texas, here are a few organizations to check out.

Teen Vogue