The Monday Politics Thread is Not a UFO, It’s Totally Identifiable

Scientists fear a Great Toxic Dustbowl could soon emerge from the Great Salt Lake

Like the rest of the West, Utah has a water problem. But megadrought and overconsumption aren’t just threats to wildlife, agriculture and industry here. A disappearing Great Salt Lake could poison the lungs of more than 2.5 million people.


Exclusive: U.S. lawmakers press Labor Department to probe child labor in Hyundai supply chain

Thirty-three members of Congress are urging the U.S. Labor Secretary to seek strong and swift penalties against those responsible for child labor in automotive plants after a Reuters investigation found kids as young as 12 working in Alabama factories that make parts for Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Corp.


Flint residents under citywide boil water advisory after water main break

Residents of Flint, Michigan, are facing yet another issue with the city’s embattled water system.

Flint announced a citywide boil water advisory after a water main broke Friday morning, causing the pressure of the entire city’s system to drop below safe levels.

ABC News

Nevada governor declares state of emergency following fuel pipeline leak in California

The leak was detected Thursday at a pumping station in Long Beach, California. The pipeline supplies fuel to Las Vegas.

NBC News

Mississippi Republicans Want to Create A Separate Court For The Black City of Jackson

The Republican-led state House passed a bill on Wednesday creating a separate unelected lower court system to oversee Jackson, Mississippi. It doesn’t take a whole lot of guessing to figure out that Republicans won’t be allowing Jackson residents or, frankly, anyone Black to determine who will sit on this court overseeing a majority-Black city.

The Root

Utah Moves to Ban Conversion Therapy 

Utah’s House just unanimously passed a conversion therapy ban, in a rare win for LGBTQ+ Utah residents. 

House Bill 228 would enshrine into law already-existing protections that were established under an executive order in 2020. While it bans a wide range of activities when it comes to defining what exactly conversion therapy entails, it also includes an exception for individuals who are “both a health care professional and a religious advisor,” and are “acting substantially in the capacity of a religious advisor and not in the capacity of a health care professional.” That same exception is also provided for those who are both health care professionals and parents/grandparents, and who would be acting more in the capacity of a parent/grandparent.


A Federal Judge Could Soon Block Access to an Abortion Pill. Here’s What That Means

A federal court in Texas could this week block access to mifepristone, a major drug used for managing abortions. The ramifications of this decision — including blocking future distribution of the drug — would be felt across the country.

Teen Vogue

‘A collective effort’: Asian Americans work to improve mental health care

In the wake of the Monterey Park shooting and another, two days later, on a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay – both of which were committed by gunmen of Asian descent, against mostly victims of Asian descent – many Asian Americans are now working to increase access to mental health care in their own communities.

The Guardian

Conspiracy Theorists Think Walkable Cities Are Really Open-Air Prison Dystopias Now

To many city-dwellers, a “15-minute city” with everything you need within walking distance is a dream. Conspiracy theorists are seeing it differently.


Fourth court order blocks enforcement of Illinois gun ban as taxpayers’ legal bill grows

Illinois’ ban on certain semi-automatic guns and magazine capacities has been in effect since Jan. 10. Since then, four temporary restraining orders have been put in place, including a new TRO being issued Friday, the second one for Effingham County.

Attorney Thomas DeVore, who secured the latest restraining order in state court, says of the three cases he’s filed, two in Effingham County and one in White County, 4,713 individual plaintiffs and 148 Federal Firearms Licensees from across the state are protected against enforcement.

Just The News

Sigh … my only thoughts on the Wizard Discourse

I’m gonna say it and then move on but I just needed to get this off my chest.

Princess Weekes

A horrific environmental disaster is happening in Ohio, and you may not even have heard about it

The EPA says it’s safe to return to East Palestine after a train derailment sparked a toxic chemical fire, but locals are worried about ongoing health impacts.

Fast Company

Missouri decides not to ban unsupervised minors from carrying guns on public property

A proposal to ban minors from carrying some guns on public property without a 21-year-old present failed to advance this week, as Republican lawmakers decided not to include the proposed amendment in a broader crime bill.


Federal class action lawsuit alleges Foxconn not fully paying Wisconsin employees

Foxconn employees working at the company’s Mount Pleasant facility filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging the company regularly shaved time off from their weekly timesheets and failed to pay them earned overtime.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

How Angry Parents Forced Florida to Back Down From Forcing Student Athletes to Reveal Menstrual History

In January, FHSAA released a draft update to the current physical evaluation form—which all athletes are required to fill out. The draft proposed making it mandatory for all athletes to answer if they’ve had a menstrual period, and if so, how old they were when they first had it, when their most recent period was and how many periods they had in the past year.

In early February, the association’s executive director released a counter proposal that won Thursday’s vote: removing all personal health questions and only requiring that a medical professional verifies that an athlete has a clean bill of health. The new form will be used during the 2023-24 school year.


George Santos was charged in $15K case of alleged puppy-theft

He allegedly claimed he worked for the federal government to get the charge dropped.

LGBTQ Nation

Minnesota House passes “universal” school meals, providing free breakfast, lunch to students

The Minnesota House passed a bill on Thursday guaranteeing free lunch and breakfast to all Minnesota students, regardless of income requirements set by a federal program. It’s a move advocates say will reduce child hunger and ensure no kid falls through the cracks.

The vote was 70-58. 

CBS News

GOP lawmakers escalate fight against gender-affirming care with bills seeking to expand the scope of bans

A flurry of bills seeking to restrict access to gender-affirming care for trans youth have been introduced by Republican state lawmakers this year, with debates around the issue reaching new heights thanks to proposals that would dramatically expand the scope of bans on such care.

More than 80 bills seeking to restrict access to gender-affirming care have been introduced around the country through February 9, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union and shared with CNN.


Out, Black, and Proud, Ernestine Eckstein Fought For Us Before Stonewall

Ernestine Delois Eppenger, who used the pen name Ernestine Eckstein, began her activism as a Black student attending the mostly white Indiana University. She was a member, and then an officer in her senior year, of the NAACP. At that point, Eckstein didn’t even consider herself a lesbian, mostly because she didn’t encounter another openly queer person at the time.


Celia Cruz Coins For Everyone: Iconic Salsa Singer To Appear On U.S. Quarter

History will be made as Cuban American songstress Celia Cruz, who is iconic in the world of Salsa music, will be the first Afro Latina to be on the U.S. quarter. The late singer recorded over 80 albums during the course of her career. Twenty-three of those albums went gold.

The Root

Ben LaBolt to become first gay White House communications director

Ben LaBolt will become the first openly gay White House communications director, succeeding Kate Bedingfield, who is expected to leave at the end of February, advisors to President Joe Biden announced on Friday.

Washington Blade

South Dakota is about to pass a trans healthcare ban

South Dakota’s Republican-led state senate has approved a bill to ban gender-affirming healthcare. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kristi Noem (R) who is expected to sign it into law.

LGBTQ Nation

Turkey and Syria Earthquake: How to Help, Where to Donate

You can help the victims of these earthquakes, and those affected by the damaging 100-plus aftershocks, by supporting the efforts of these charities through much-needed financial donations for emergency supplies — and by sharing this article with anyone you think might want to help fund these relief endeavors.

Teen Vogue

Warning violence hampering earthquake rescue efforts in Turkey

Rescuers in southern Turkey have warned that efforts to find survivors after the earthquake have been hampered by outbreaks of violence, as the death toll in Syria and Turkey passed 28,000.

The Guardian

Finnish president wants Finland, Sweden in NATO by summer

The Finnish president said in an interview published Saturday that he trusts that Finland and Sweden will be admitted into NATO by July, and hinted that he wants the United States to put pressure on Turkiye to approve their membership bids.

CTV News

Unknown object in Canadian airspace shot down, says Trudeau

An unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace was shot down by the US military over northern Canada on Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

“Canadian and US aircraft were scrambled, and a US F-22 successfully fired at the object,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

Deutsche Welle

The Church of England Is Considering Using Gender Neutral Pronouns to Refer to God

A spokesperson for the church said that people have known since Ancient times that “God is neither male nor female.”


Last East German communist leader Hans Modrow dead at 95

Hans Modrow, the final communist leader of East Germany before the country’s postwar reunification, died this week at 95. 

The German left party Die Linke tweeted the news on Saturday. “We mourn Hans Modrow, who passed away at the age of 95. Our party loses an important personality,” the party wrote. 

“Without Hans, the peaceful course of 1989 would not have been possible,” they wrote further.

Just The News

Opposition supporters attacked in Nigeria ahead of rally

Nigerian presidential contender Peter Obi of the opposition Labour Party said his supporters were on Saturday attacked and injured ahead of a rally in the commercial capital Lagos, a stronghold of the ruling party.


Argentina’s Dominant Political Force Looks Into the Electoral Abyss

Two-times former president, Cristina Kirchner, is the architect of the Peronist coalition. She may be about to take it down with her.


The Yanomami people lived in harmony with nature. Invaders turned their lives into a fight for survival.

Shaman Davi Kopenawa Yanomami furrowed his brow as he stared out at the skyscrapers and buildings looming through the window of his oak-panelled hotel room in New York City. “I’m here, in the city of stone, and mirrors and glass… but in my heart, I’m in mourning,” he told CNN.


UN rights chief urges special forces deployment to Haiti

Volker Türk said he feared that the turmoil in Haiti was not getting “the urgent spotlight” it needed. The Caribbean nation has been mired in turmoil, with armed gangs controlling large parts of the capital.

Deutsche Welle