I Want My Paperback, Paperback, Paperback
September 1, 2022
Some Good News
- Labor unions reach highest level of approval in US since 1965: Gallup (ABC)
- Saint Kitts ban on gay sex struck down by Caribbean regional court (Reuters)
“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 resulted in the removal of several Confederate monuments. When Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 (NDAA), the legislation included the creation of the Naming Commission, an eight-person panel tasked with identifying U.S. military assets with names associated in any way with the Confederacy and recommending new names. Trump vetoed the NDAA, resulting in the only veto override of his presidency, and the law was enacted January 1, 2021. In May 2022, the panel revealed Part 1 of a final report due October 1. It recommended name replacements for nine military bases, which the commission said should recognize people who “embody the best of the United States Army and America.”
On Monday, the commission published Part 2 of its report, which looked closely at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Of particular concern was a huge bronze plaque at the entrance to Bartlett Hall, West Point’s science center. The plaque was engraved with the words “KU KLUX KLAN” underneath a depiction of a person in a hood, holding a rifle. The panel said it doesn’t have the authority to recommend removing the plaque because it isn’t specifically a Confederate monument. “However, there are clearly ties in the KKK to the Confederacy,” the report said. “The Commission encourages the Secretary of Defense to address DoD assets that highlight the KKK in Defense Memorialization processes and create a standard disposition requirement for such assets.” West Point also has several monuments and buildings commemorating Confederate soldiers, which the commission recommended be removed or renamed.
A spokeswoman for West Point said Tuesday that the academy was reviewing the recommendations made by the panel and would collaborate with the Defense Department and the U.S. Army to implement the approved changes. “As a values-based institution, we are fully committed to creating a climate where everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” she said in an email. Last year, the Associated Press investigated and reported on the deep-rooted racism and discrimination present at all five elite U.S. military academies. Change has been a long time coming, and it needs to happen. (The Naming Commission, NBC, NYT ($), AP)
Behind The Queens
- For the first time in her 70-year reign, 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II won’t be receiving the U.K.’s next prime minister at Buckingham Palace. Instead, on September 6, the outgoing PM Boris Johnson will be making the 1,000-mile round trip from London to Balmoral Castle in Scotland, followed by an audience with his successor.
- Johnson was forced to step down as Conservative Party leader in early July after months of scandals that rocked his government and led to dozens of ministerial resignations. His announcement triggered a leadership contest with a broad field of contenders whittled down to two: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
- The two spent the summer trying to curry favor with 160,000 rank-and-file members of the party, and the result of that vote will be announced Monday. Then, as the leader of the largest party in Parliament, the winner will be invited by the Queen to form the next government and become her 15th prime minister. (CNN)
Volunteer Searcher Murdered In Mexico
- The volunteer search teams in Mexico looking for over 100,000 missing people are usually made up of mothers who say they only want to find the bodies of their loved ones, to mourn and properly bury them. Most victims are thought to have been murdered by drug cartels, their bodies dumped into shallow graves, dissolved, or burned.
- Drug and kidnapping gangs often use the same locations over and over, creating grisly killing fields. Searchers focus on finding graves and identifying remains, not collecting evidence of how they died or who killed them. Rosario Rodriquez Barraza, like many other women in the northern state of Sinaloa, fought tirelessly to find her son, who was 20 when snatched in October 2019 by armed men in the town of La Cruz, Sinaloa.
- On Tuesday, the International Day of the Disappeared, Rodriquez Barraza was abducted near her home and killed, the third volunteer search activist to be murdered since 2021. Sinaloa, on the Pacific coast between the port of Mazatlan and the state capital Culiacan, is home to the drug cartel of the same name. (ABC)
Additional World News
- Russia Halts Natural Gas Flows to Germany Again (NYT, $)
- U.S. Army grounds Boeing-made Chinook helicopters fleet (Reuters)
- At least 1 dead, many feared trapped, after multi-story building collapses in Nigeria’s Kano State (CNN)
- Putin, world react to death of Gorbachev, who helped end the Cold War (Politico)
- China’s Xi pushes forward to third term despite mounting crises (CNN)
- In Canada fears of ‘dangerous’ politics mounting (BBC)
- Taiwan forces fire at drones flying over island near China (AP)
I Want My Paperback, Paperback, Paperback
- Virginia House of Delegates member Timothy Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) and congressional candidate Tommy Altman filed a lawsuit hoping to prevent the Virginia Beach school system and private bookseller Barnes & Noble from distributing or selling two particular books to children without first obtaining parental consent. The books are Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” a memoir about identifying as nonbinary, and Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Mist and Fury,” a fantasy novel depicting a dark fairy romance, both objected to for their sexual material.
- The Republicans based their lawsuit on a decades-old, little-known, little-used section of the state code that says any Virginia citizen can sue to have a book ruled obscene, and if a judge concurs, anyone distributing the book thereafter “is presumed to have knowledge that the book is obscene” and can be held criminally liable. On Tuesday Judge Pamela Baskervill dismissed the suit after concluding that part of state law dealing with obscenity is unconstitutional. The judge said the law violates the First Amendment by enabling governmental censorship and by assuming that anyone distributing an obscene book must be consciously deciding to break the law. (WaPo, $)
Stuck In The Flood
- After devastating floodwaters swept through eastern Kentucky last month, at least 1,100 students in one school district alone remain displaced from their homes. Overall, more than 7,600 Kentucky students are still affected, and school districts in that part of the state are still figuring out where kids will attend classes or when they’ll be able to start.
- The Buckhorn School, which teaches almost 350 K-12 students in the small community, took on eight feet of water and was so damaged that it will be at least a year until classes can return there. Meanwhile, students will have to travel on buses for up to an hour to get to class elsewhere.
- Numerous other Kentucky school districts have pushed back their start dates to figure out where to have students attend class and how to get them there. Many roads and bridges are so damaged it’s feared driving a heavy school bus on them could be too dangerous, leading some districts to consider using fleets of vans or large SUVs to pick up students. (CNN, NBC)
Additional USA News
- South Carolina House passes near-total ban on abortion with new limited exceptions for rape and incest (CNN)
- Yeshiva University petitions Supreme Court in bid to prohibit official LGBTQ club (NBC)
- Newsom will decide if California employers can fire workers for off-hours cannabis use (SF Chronicle)
- More than 40% of Americans think civil war likely within a decade (Guardian)
- DEA warns “emerging trend” of brightly-colored fentanyl being used to lure youth (CBS)
- GOP candidates scrub their campaign websites of abortion, Trump (Axios)
- Elon Musk thinks the population will collapse. Demographers say it’s not happening (CNN)
X Marks The Spot, Which Should Be…Right Around…Here?
- Well, this is embarrassing. Folks in the small Iowa town of Sheldon, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines, buried a time capsule 50 years ago to celebrate the town’s 100th birthday. This year the town is 150 years old, and opening the time capsule is supposed to be part of this weekend’s celebrations. Event planners thought it’d be cool to have birthday cake and coffee Friday morning, open the time capsule, add some new stuff, and rebury it. Only one problem – they have to locate it first. “We’re trying to find instructions on exactly where it’s at before we just start digging,” said Sheldon Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Nordahl.
- Other events will go on as planned, but the time capsule unveiling will have to be postponed until workers can find it. The plan is to hire a company with an underground radar system – like the one that nearby Sibley had to hire to find its time capsule earlier this year. “We still have every intention of finding it and digging it up,” Nordahl said. “It’s just a little more involved than what we originally had planned.” Here’s a suggestion: Don’t bury the location map inside the capsule. (AP)
- U.S. life expectancy down for second-straight year, fueled by covid-19 (WaPo, $)
- Last member of Brazilian Indigenous community found dead (Al Jazeera)
- Whatever happened to the Kenyan farmer who turned a dump into a garden of giveaways? (NPR)
- Lakes are disappearing in the Arctic as the region warms nearly four times faster as the rest of the planet (CBS)
- New study could unearth the secret to how ‘immortal jellyfish’ reverses aging (CNN)
- DNA analysis solves mystery of bodies found at bottom of medieval well (CNN)
- Timber cities ‘could cut 100bn tons of CO2 emissions by 2100’ (Guardian)
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