[guest post by Dana]
Hello. Getting a jump start on the weekend. Here are a few items to get the conversation started. Feel free to add your own items. Make sure to include links.
First news item
 attorneys general sent a seven-page letter to the president Thursday warning that a lawsuit will follow the implementation of the proposed requirement on private-sector employees to either get a COVID-19 shot, submit to weekly testing, or be fired…The attorneys general say some workers will quit their jobs rather than comply, further straining an already tight labor market…“Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” they wrote. “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds — it will simply drive further skepticism.”
Second news item
Three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess on Thursday after she asked a group of diners visiting from Texas to show proof they had been vaccinated before seating them.
Cellphone footage obtained by NBC New York shows a brawl involving several people outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. Staff and bystanders intervened to break up the melee after it broke out around 5 p.m. ET, the station added.
Third news item
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said France remained a “vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific region in an attempt to calm the fury in Paris over America’s new naval security pact with Australia and the UK.
The agreement announced this week by Joe Biden, the US president, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, and Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, is seen as a landmark initiative to strengthen their defence co-operation in the face of a rising China.
But the deal faced a stinging backlash from France, whose own lucrative submarine contract and partnership with Australia was scrapped as a result of the new trilateral initiative.
Senior French officials have lashed out at the US for a “lack of coherence” in excluding France from the pact, bringing diplomatic relations between Washington and Paris to their lowest point of Biden’s presidency. US officials only discussed the pact with their French counterparts this week, on the day it was announced.
Now France has recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.
Fourth news item
Thousands of Haitian migrants have assembled under and around a bridge in a small Texas border town, presenting the Biden administration with a new and chaotic challenge Friday as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.
Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.
The vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian…Some families have been under the bridge for as long as six days.
Some migrants built cave-like shelters within the reeds along the river, Owens said. Trash piles were 10 feet wide and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, he said.
Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday that he directed state troopers and the Texas National Guard “to shut down six points of entry along the southern border” at the request of U.S. Customs and Border Protection — then reversed himself shortly after, blaming the Biden administration for flip-flopping in its request for state help.
But a CBP spokesperson said the federal government — which operates ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border — had no plans to shut down any ports of entry.
“I have directed the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to surge personnel and vehicles to shut down six points of entry along the southern border to stop these [migrant] caravans from overrunning our state,” Abbott said in an emailed statement. “The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos.”
Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokesperson, added that the state “is shutting down the ports of entry at the request of and in collaboration with CBP.”
A few hours later, Abbott sent out a new statement saying that the Biden administration “has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border … I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”
Fifth news item
The suicide bombings that ripped through Kabul’s airport in late August and killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans upped the ante for the U.S. to thwart more terrorist attacks in the final days of its withdrawal.
The Biden administration said it prevented another suicide bombing a few days later with a drone strike that officials said killed a suspected Islamic State group driver and an associate near the airport. U.S. officials told reporters that the target had been under surveillance for hours and that people were seen loading explosives into the trunk of his car.
But two separate investigations by The New York Times and The Washington Post cast doubt on that narrative. These news reports must elicit a fuller explanation than what the Biden administration has offered so far.
Ahmadi’s family members said 10 people were killed, including seven children. The relatives showed reporters photos of burned bodies belonging to children, and neighbors confirmed that children’s bodies were removed from the site.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Monday that the administration is looking at the matter “very, very, very carefully.” However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that while officials are investigating, he’s not aware of a plan to put investigators on the ground in Kabul. If two American newspapers can check out information on the ground, why can’t the U.S. government?
BREAKING: Gen. McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, to announce no ISIS-K fighters killed in U.S. drone strike in Kabul Aug 29. 10 civilians killed, including 7 children in Toyota. No disciplinary action expected, officials say. US military stands by intel leading to strike.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) September 17, 2021
"I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed," Gen. McKenzie, @CENTCOM commander says in Pentagon briefing. "I offer my sincere apology," he adds, then says later: "I am fully responsible."
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) September 17, 2021
No disciplinary action is expected but how about a resignation [by the one claiming full responsibility]?
Sixth news item
In early August, [San Francisco Mayor London Breed] emphasized the need for the city to bring back its indoor mask mandate.
“We don’t want to shut down this city or this country down any longer than we have to. Our economy and our livelihood, and our kids going back to school, and everything in between depends on it,” she said.
In a news release about the mandate, the mayor’s office clearly spelled out the rules, stating, “The orders require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions.”
Among those exceptions are actively eating or drinking in a club, bar or restaurant.
What she did:
A photo posted, and later taken down, from the Black Cat Nightclub’s Instagram page shows a smiling Breed celebrating with friends Wednesday night.
The problem is, she’s clearly not wearing a mask as stated by the city’s rules she put into place.
There are a few cocktails on the table, but nobody appears to be actively drinking them – which would be a moment when it’s OK to remove your mask.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Breed spent the night dancing, singing along and posing for pictures maskless.
Seventh news item
After the gala, the congresswoman’s office sent out a fundraising email, encouraging supporters to buy Ocasio-Cortez-branded T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the same “Tax the rich” slogan she promoted at the Met. The T-shirts cost $27 apiece, while the hoodies cost $58.
You better believe James is likewise benefiting from Ocasio-Cortez’s supposed attempt to “break the fourth wall” for “working-class women of color.”
Brother Vellies’s website now offers a “customized” version of the $995 handbag Ocasio-Cortez sported at the one percenter party. The product listing for the “Tax the rich” handbag includes the line, “As seen at the 2021 MET Gala .” The product listing also includes a photo of the congresswoman modeling the handbag at the gala.
Just so we’re all on the same page: Ocasio-Cortez, a supposed advocate for the working class, attended a gathering best known for its flagrant displays of extravagant wealth. She attended wearing a designer dress borrowed from the girlfriend of the billionaire Seagram heir. The congresswoman, whose admission was waived by the taxpayer-subsidized Met, also showed up to the event toting a customized $995 “Tax the rich” handbag, likewise provided by the Canadian-born designer.
I opted not to post about the Met Gala kerfuffle involving AOC and a dress cut to perfection with a silly message emblazoned on it. The more she tried to explain, the more I lost interest. Politicians are, at the end of the day, looking to a) raise money b) raise their profile, and c) convince the public of their righteousness. It’s baked into the job. And not even my delight in designer fashion could shake me from my boredom at the hysteria coming from both sides of the aisle, which in turn, ironically, reminded me of an unpopular fashion maven’s messaging that really encapsulates my feelings on this latest public kerfuffle:
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) June 21, 2018
Eighth news item
On Constitution Day, Donald Trump’s statement about Rep. Anthony Gonzalez reminds us all, once again, that Trump is at war with the Constitution.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 17, 2021
Ninth news item
The extremist forums that cheered on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have soured on the planned Saturday rally in Washington, insisting without evidence that the event is a secret government plot to arrest more people involved in the riot.
Users in extreme far-right Facebook groups and extremist forums such as TheDonald and 4chan, which previously hosted pictures of users streaming into Washington hotel rooms and even maps of the Capitol tunnel system in the days before the Jan. 6 riot, are largely steering users away from the upcoming event.
Those posting on these forums say they largely believe the event to be a setup for a “false flag” event or “honeypot,” in which they’ll be entrapped and coerced to commit violence by federal agents.
You know who else thinks this? That’s right:
“On Saturday, that’s a setup,” Trump said in an interview with the Federalist. “If people don’t show up they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up they’ll be harassed.”
Tenth news item
After hours of discussion and a request to revise the question they were being asked, a key federal advisory committee on Friday agreed to a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine six months after full vaccination for people aged 65 and older and those at high risk of severe COVID-19.
The initial question, posed by Pfizer, would have made the booster available to everyone aged 16 and up.
There isn’t yet sufficient evidence to show boosters for people under 65 are necessary, members of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee said.
Have a great weekend.