The Monday Politics Thread is Still Waiting For Bribes

Hasan Minhaj plays first show after controversy in Milwaukee. We can’t discuss his jokes.

I understand and respect comedians demanding phones get sealed up so videos of jokes don’t leak, as Minhaj did Friday. But for comics like Minhaj, who purport the value of free speech, to threaten legal action if, say, someone quotes one of his jokes about cryptocurrency on Instagram, is pretty rich.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

New Jersey wants to let midwives perform abortions to meet rising demand

New Jersey is mulling over a plan to allow midwives to perform abortions to meet the rising demand for abortion care. 

If successful, it would make New Jersey one of about ten states that allow certified midwives or nurse-midwives to perform abortions. Several states with stronger restrictions require the procedure to be performed by a physician, a policy that New Jersey did away with in 2021, according to the New Jersey Monitor.  


Washington National Cathedral reveals new racial justice stained glass windows to replace those that honored Confederate generals

Washington National Cathedral on Saturday revealed four new “racial-justice themed” stained-glass windows to replace others honoring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.


Deadly disasters are ravaging school communities in growing numbers. Is there hope ahead?

An influx of natural disasters from wildfires to floods to hurricanes to tornadoes – exacerbated by climate change – have ravaged America’s schools since students returned to in-person learning after the COVID-19 pandemic. And manmade disasters from lead in drinking water to asbestos in school buildings are playing a role.

USA Today

The Biden administration is poised to allow Israeli citizens to travel to the US without a US visa

The Biden administration is poised to admit Israel this week into an exclusive club that will allow its citizens to travel to the United States without a U.S. visa despite Washington’s ongoing concerns about the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinian Americans.

AP News

California workers who cut countertops are dying of an incurable disease

The disease dates back centuries, but researchers say the booming popularity of countertops made of engineered stone, which has much higher concentrations of silica than many kinds of natural stone, has driven a new epidemic of an accelerated form of the suffocating illness. As the dangerous dust builds up and scars the lungs, the disease can leave workers short of breath, weakened and ultimately suffering from lung failure.

Los Angeles Times

‘Repercussions’ are essential for slowing surge at border, Texas Democrat says

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the Texas Democrat said, “We need to have repercussions at the border. What does that mean? You’ve got to deport people, and you’ve got to show images of people being deported. When was the last time we saw people going the other way instead of just seeing people flow in?”


An Ohio elementary school ruined ‘Ice Cream Friday’ when it announced kids with school lunch debt wouldn’t get any

“If a student has a negative balance they will not be able to purchase an ice cream even if they bring their $1 for ice cream. Students are only allowed to purchase 1 ice cream and are not permitted to buy an ice cream for a friend,” the school, which serves third and fourth graders in Lebanon, wrote.

It closed with: “We hope to have a great first ice cream Friday.”


Sylvia Swayne Is Alabama’s First Openly Trans Candidate; She Also Hopes She’ll Be the First Elected

Sylvia Swayne, 26, is having a busy fall. The Alabaman has repeatedly told the press that she’s not a “career politician,” but after her State House representative resigned, prompting a special election, she suddenly — with less than two months — pulled together a campaign. “Having so little time is a blessing and a curse,” she says with a grin, seated for a Zoom call two weeks out from the special election.

Teen Vogue

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Here’s what that means

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is considered the holiest day of the year for people who practice Judaism.

The holiday technically spans two calendar days, because the Jewish calendar is lunar. Days are marked sunset to sunset. This year, it begins at sunset on September 24 and continues until the evening of September 25.


Historians race against time — and invasive species — to study Great Lakes shipwrecks

The Great Lakes’ frigid fresh water used to keep shipwrecks so well preserved that divers could see dishes in the cupboards. Downed planes that spent decades underwater were left so pristine they could practically fly again when archaeologists finally discovered them.

Now, an invasive mussel is destroying shipwrecks deep in the depths of the lakes, forcing archeologists and amateur historians into a race against time to find as many sites as they can before the region touching eight U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario loses any physical trace of its centuries-long maritime history.

CBS News

With temporary status for Venezuelans, the Biden administration turns to a familiar tool

From a White House podium in May, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlined new legal pathways to the United States for Venezuelans and others, along with a “very clear” message for those who come illegally.

AP News

‘Sickening’: Calls for NJ Sen. Bob Menendez to resign over sweeping corruption charges grow

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is facing heavy pressure from Democratic and Republican colleagues to resign following a sprawling indictment that alleges the New Jersey Democrat accepted bribes and leveraged his position to engage in corruption. 

USA Today

Saltwater intrusion in Mississippi River could impact drinking water in Louisiana, officials say

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has signed an emergency declaration over an intrusion of saltwater into the Mississippi River that officials say could impact the water supply in the region.

ABC News

A Southern Rebellion in 1948 Almost Threw American Democracy into Disarray

In the second in a series of articles that we’ve named “The Closest Calls,” author and journalist Jeff Greenfield looks at some of the most narrowly decided presidential elections. In this piece, he explores how a change of a tiny handful of votes could have plunged the United States into a political deadlock that would have altered the course of American history.


Latest wave of migrants at US-Mexico border puts Biden under renewed pressure

Biden has been plagued by issues on the border since his first months in office when the US faced a surge of unaccompanied migrant children that caught officials flatfooted. Over the last two years, his administration has continued to face fierce pushback from Republicans – and at times, Democrats – over his immigration policies.


Black Professors Create Montgomery Riverboat Brawl Curriculum Guide

Two Black professors, Dr. Linda J.M. Holloway and Dr. April T. Berry, wanted to be creative in allowing students and others to have a meaningful conversation about the incident that took place on the Montgomery Riverboat in Montgomery, Alabama on August 5, 2023. This was an event that sparked many reactions, emotions, thoughts, and reflections across social media and within our broader society.


Buttigieg: Trump’s Disabled Veteran Bashing ‘Outrageous’

The former commander-in-chief hated the presence of Army captain Luis Avila, who had lost a leg in Afghanistan, at a 2019 military ceremony, The Atlantic reported

Rolling Stone

We Can’t Forget Sylvia Rivera, the Latina Trans Pioneer

From her perseverance to her trailblazing activism, Rivera deserves all the praise and recognition during Latinx Heritage Month and LGBTQ+ History Month — two coinciding months to honor and remember the people in our communities whose shoulders we stand on today. But, too often as we celebrate observances like these, extraordinary Latinx transgender pioneers like Rivera are left out.

Teen Vogue

Venezuelan migrants cheer Biden’s move to speed up permits so they can work

Among the outstanding questions: What will the enrollment period be, and how will the expansion include migrants that lived in other countries between leaving Venezuela and coming to the U.S.?

Chicago Sun Times

‘Loki’ and ‘Our Flag Means Death’ season 2 may share a release date, but the depth of their LGBTQ+ rep couldn’t be more different

What the industry giant fails to realize, though, is that LGBTQ+ audiences are broad. Queer viewers can love action and superheroes just as much as cisgender and heterosexual ones do, and by failing to commit to portraying those viewers on screen in all their glory and complexity, Marvel is sleeping on the opportunity to do right by them. There’s a reason why OFMD gets so much love and success. It’s because it doesn’t attempt to sideline its queer characters or subdue their identities.

We Got This Covered

The Open Plot to Dismantle the Federal Government

“I can’t overstate my level of concern about the damage this would do.”

The Atlantic

How a government shutdown could impact Americans

With the government on the brink of a shutdown this week as Congress remains at an impasse on a funding deal, federal departments and agencies have begun the mandatory process of planning to bring nonessential functions to a halt.


The Supreme Court will hear a case with a lot of ‘buts’ & ‘ifs’ over the meaning of ‘and’

It’s the kind of task the justices — and maybe their English teachers — love. The case requires the close parsing of a part of a federal statute, the First Step Act, which aimed in part to reduce mandatory minimum sentences and give judges more discretion.

AP News

Move over Dark Brandon, this group wants to make Joe Cool a new meme

A major liberal group has drawn up a multimillion dollar plan to make Joe Biden cooler online. And the initiative has the blessing of a top White House official.


How Cassandro Uses Lucha Libre to Tell a Coming Out Story

For decades, exóticos were mostly limited to playing villainous heels, confined by the assumption that no audience would ever root for a visibly queer person. The new film Cassandro — which arrives today on Prime Video — captures the singular life of a wrestler who changed all of that, and proved that exóticos could be heroes too. In a physically demanding performance, Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle, Station 11) plays the man born Saúl Armendáriz, who began his career as a timid — and closeted — young luchador working under a mask but became a legend.


America’s Worst Judge Declares War on Drag

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs. It is therefore no surprise that Kacsmaryk, a Donald Trump appointee, handed down a decision on Thursday refusing to protect Texas college students’ right to host a drag show. In a break with other (conservative) courts, Kacsmaryk found that drag is likely not protected expression under the First Amendment, but rather “vulgar and lewd” “sexualized conduct” that may be outlawed to protect “the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.” In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.


One year later: Italy’s Meloni moves towards the middle

Over the past year, Meloni, 46, hasn’t repeated any of the more radical slogans she was so fond of while campaigning. At home in Italy, she is trying to shape domestic policy according to strict conservative family ideals while on the economic front she has more or less carried on with the relatively successful policies of her predecessor, Mario Draghi.

Meanwhile at the European level, she has been almost moderate. One doesn’t hear acerbic criticism of the EU from her these days and around the world, she seeks out friends and allies. In fact, she leaves the radical statements to her coalition partners: Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League (in Italian, Lega) party and Antonio Tajani, the country’s foreign minister and head of Forza Italia, which was previously led by the late Silvio Berlusconi. 

Deutsche Welle

Iran’s president defends uranium enrichment after Europeans ‘trampled on their commitments’

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has defended his country’s enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade levels, claiming it was a response to European states not living up to their end of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“In the beginning, we were not seeking 60% levels of enrichment. They (European states) trampled upon their commitments,” Raisi told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week. “What the Islamic Republic of Iran did was in response to a breaking of commitment of the signatories to the (2015) agreement.”


Germany Mulls Tightening Asylum Laws to Quell Migration

Germany may need to rethink its liberal migration policies in the face of rising numbers of undocumented arrivals, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said.


China sentences Uyghur scholar to life in jail

“The sentencing of Professor Rahile Dawut is a cruel tragedy, a great loss for the Uyghur people, and for all who treasure academic freedom,” said John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation.


Vilnius is celebrating its 700th anniversary. Lithuanian Jews are commemorating a darker one.

The city is marking the anniversary year throughout 2023 with various festivals, visual art exhibitions, lectures and more. The organizers of Vilnius 700 stress that they are including Jewish people and themes in the celebrations through a range of programming.

That’s because for a portion of the city’s existence, starting in the early 19th century, Vilnius was also one of the most important Jewish centers in the world, known as the Jerusalem of the North. Roughly half of the city was Jewish, and it was a Jewish cultural powerhouse, a deep well of Yiddish and Hebrew literature. In 1910, the city had over 100 synagogues, along with Jewish schools, publications, and charitable and political organizations.


Two Palestinian men killed during Israeli incursion in camp near Tulkarem

Two Palestinian men were killed in the early hours of Sunday during an incursion by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said.


Spain: 40,000 protest possible amnesty for Catalan leaders

Tens of thousands of Spaniards took to the streets in Madrid on Sunday to protest against reports that acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez could grant amnesty to Catalan separatists in return for political support.

Deutsche Welle

Indonesia hosts largest military drills with US, allies amid superpower tensions

Indonesia will host its largest annual joint military drills with the United States, Australia and other countries that are set to kick off Thursday amid Sino-U.S. tensions in Asia.

American Military News

Ukraine war: How Zelensky is grappling with Western war fatigue

Their relationships might be close, the handshakes might have been firm, but President Volodymyr Zelensky had to roll his sleeves up during his trip to the US and Canada.


South Korea, Japan and US vow ‘new era’

The leaders of South Korea, Japan and the United States will meet annually from now on and discuss all regional security issues on a threeway hotline before making decisions, President Joe Biden said after a high-profile trilateral summit at Camp David on Friday.

Radio Free Asia

Quest for new leader of Greek opposition Syriza intensifies as runoff begins

The unexpectedly electric quest to elect a new leader of Greece’s main opposition party, the leftwing Syriza, has intensified as a runoff poll gets under way.

The Guardian

Half of French Senate to be chosen in Sunday elections

Local French politicians will vote on Sunday in elections for about half of the seats in the Senate, the upper chamber of the country’s parliament.

French voters do not elect members of the Senate directly. Instead, about 77,000 local elected officials will cast ballots in the elections.


Spain’s Feijoo Faces Key Vote Without Support To Be PM

Lawmakers will on Tuesday begin debating Alberto Nunez-Feijoo’s bid to become Spain’s next prime minister a day before an inauguration vote the right-wing opposition leader is almost certain to lose.

International Business Times

Nagorno-Karabakh: Ethnic Armenians leave amid cleansing fear

Hundreds of ethnic Armenians have fled to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh, days after the enclave was seized by Azerbaijan.