[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items you might find of interest. Please feel free to share what’s on your radar these days. Make sure to include links.
First news item
Sean Hannity: (35:55)
Let’s talk about a second term. If you hear in 131 days from now, at some point in the night or early morning, we can now project Donald J. Trump has been reelected the 45th president of the United States. Let’s talk. What’s at stake in this election as you compare and contrast, and what is one of your top priority items for a second term?
Donald Trump: (36:17)
Well, one of the things that will be really great… You know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that, but the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meeting. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, “This is great.”
Second news item
Gov. Greg Abbott…took his most drastic action yet to respond to the post-reopening coronavirus surge in Texas, shutting bars back down and scaling back restaurant capacity to 50%.
He also shut down river-rafting trips, which have been blamed for a swift rise in cases in Hays County, and banned outdoor gatherings of over 100 people unless local officials approve.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a news release. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”
Also, Harris County sent out an alert to residents Friday afternoon, warning that the Covid threat level was elevated to LEVEL 1 (RED) SEVERE.
Third news item
Alexandra Duncan has canceled her young adult novel Ember Days mere days after its cover reveal on BookPage. An hour after Duncan posted the cover reveal for the book, which was slated for a March 2021 release from Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, to her Twitter feed, an author questioned the representation within the novel, which was noted in the book’s description: “Naomi is the granddaughter of a powerful Gullah conjure woman, sent to Charleston to combat an evil force circling the city and hiding in plain sight as Deidre’s protégé.”
Duncan acknowledged the concern, responding, “I definitely struggled with whether it was okay for me to write about a culture outside my own and especially about the difficult topic of passing, which Naomi does for part of the book while going undercover in an all-white magical society,” further explaining that her decision to write from the perspective of a character with Gullah Geechee heritage stemmed from an interest in writing about folk magic traditions from “her area of the South.”
Fourth news item
GAZETTE: What about the slippery slope argument? Many of America’s founders — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson — owned slaves. Does removing statues of Columbus or Confederate officials pave the way for action against monuments honoring those who helped create the United States?
GORDON-REED: I suppose, if people want to, everything can pave the way to some other point. I’ve said it before: There is an important difference between helping to create the United States and trying to destroy it. Both Washington and Jefferson were critical to the formation of the country and to the shaping of it in its early years. They are both excellent candidates for the kind of contextualization you alluded to. The Confederate statues were put up when they were put up [not just after the war but largely during periods of Civil Rights tension in the 20th century], to send a message about white supremacy, and to sentimentalize people who had actively fought to preserve the system of slavery. No one puts a monument up to Washington or Jefferson to promote slavery. The monuments go up because, without Washington, there likely would not have been an American nation. They put up monuments to T.J. because of the Declaration of Independence, which every group has used to make their place in American society. Or they go up because of T.J.’s views on separation of church and state and other values that we hold dear. I think on these two, Washington and Jefferson, in particular, you take the bitter with sweet. The main duty is not to hide the bitter parts.
Fifth news item
The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state, though Republicans and the White House have voiced their opposition to the measure.
The bill, aptly named “H.R. 51,” passed on a mostly party-line vote of 232-180. One Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted against it.
Sixth news item
The mother of former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng, now facing charges of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd, told the New York Times that her son had joined the police force to bridge the gap between races. In a painfully sad interview, Kueng’s white mother Joni Kueng said she raised him alone after his father, who was from Nigeria, left. She said he was troubled after a Black sibling was harassed by police and decided to join the force. “He said, ‘Don’t you think that that needs to be done from the inside?’” his mother said, referring to increasing police brutality against Black offenders. “That’s part of the reason why he wanted to become a police officer—and a black police officer on top of it—is to bridge that gap in the community, change the narrative between the officers and the black community.” Floyd’s death occurred on Kueng’s third shift as a full officer with the Minneapolis Police Department.
At the same time President Donald Trump insists that it is OK to reopen America, he is privately scaling up anti-COVID-19 protection measures around him out of fear that contracting the virus would be a bad look, according to CNN. The White House has phased out mask wearing and temperature taking in the West Wing to show that the country is moving forward, but the relaxing of protective measures has not extended to the president’s inner circle. While he refuses to wear a mask in public, he reportedly has insisted that any room he will be in is scrubbed and sanitized and that his staff and those close to them are constantly tested.
Have a good weekend.