Cassidy Hutchinson just changed everything

“In one fell swoop, former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson transformed the story of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Hutchinson, who was a top deputy to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, revealed a series of stunning details about the events of the Capitol riot during her testimony to the January 6 committee. Hutchinson’s testimony suggests that the president knew in advance that violence was a possibility that day, and may very well have approved of it. He instructed his supporters to go to the Capitol, knowing that they were armed, and planned to join them personally once they arrived. After he was prevented from going personally, he told top aides that his vice president deserved the “hang Mike Pence” chants and that the rioters weren’t doing anything wrong.”

“Hutchinson is not the first committee source to describe Trump as approving the idea of Pence’s execution. But hearing more confirmation, together with testimony that he believed that the crowd assaulting police officers and ransacking the Capitol was doing nothing wrong, paints an even clearer picture of a president who not only condoned the violence, but actively approved of it.

Put together and, assuming the details are true, we now have good reason to believe that the violence of the day was not accidental but intentional: that Trump wanted a violent mob to attack the Capitol on his behalf, to use force to disrupt Congress’s certification of the election results and thus give him a chance at illegally holding on to the presidency.

It appears, in short, to be a kind of attempted regime change: a coup that we would have no problem describing as such in any other country but our own.”

The Supreme Court just handed down very bad news for Black voters

“The Supreme Court handed down a brief order Tuesday evening that effectively reinstates racially gerrymandered congressional maps in the state of Louisiana, at least for the 2022 election.

Under these maps, Black voters will control just one of Louisiana’s six congressional seats, despite the fact that African Americans make up nearly a third of the state’s population. Thus, the Court’s decision in Ardoin v. Robinson means that Black people will have half as much congressional representation as they would enjoy under maps where Black voters have as much opportunity to elect their own preferred candidate as white people in Louisiana.

A federal trial court, applying longstanding Supreme Court precedents holding that the Voting Rights Act does not permit such racial gerrymanders, issued a preliminary injunction temporarily striking down the Louisiana maps and ordering the state legislature to draw new ones that include two Black-majority districts. Notably, a very conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the state’s request to stay the trial court’s decision — a sign that Louisiana’s maps were such a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act that even one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country could not find a good reason to disturb the trial court’s decision.

As the Fifth Circuit explained, current law typically forbids maps that dilute a particular racial group’s voting power, at least when that group is “sufficiently large and compact to form a majority” in additional congressional districts, when it “votes cohesively” and when “whites tend to vote as a bloc” to defeat the minority group’s preferred candidates.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 along party lines to stay the trial court’s injunction, effectively reinstating the gerrymandered maps. The Court’s order is only one page, and it provides no substantive explanation of why the Court’s Republican appointees voted to effectively strip Black Louisianans of half of their representation in the US House of Representatives.”

“Taken together, the Court’s orders in Merrill, Ardoin, and the Wisconsin case suggest that the justices are skeptical of current rules, which provide fairly robust protections against racial gerrymandering, and plan to replace those rules with a new regime that is likely less friendly to Black voters — and most likely to minority voters generally. None of these three orders was particularly well explained, but the pattern is that, in each case, the Court ruled against efforts to draw maps that expand Black political power.”

What Puts Someone at Risk of Catching Monkeypox?

“As monkeypox spreads across the United States, it may be giving people flashbacks to the days of wiping down counters and groceries to get rid of the coronavirus. But for most people, the risk of getting monkeypox remains low. Almost all cases in the current outbreak — 98% — have been in adult men who have sex with men.

So how is the virus spreading? Studies of previous outbreaks suggest that the monkeypox virus is transmitted in three main ways: through direct contact with an infected person’s rash, by touching contaminated objects and fabrics or by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is also evidence that a pregnant woman can spread the virus to her fetus through the placenta.

Scientists are still trying to understand if the virus can spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine or feces and if people can be contagious before they develop visible symptoms.”

“The activities that put a person at highest risk of catching the virus involve close, intimate contact with another infected individual. This includes the kind of skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sex as well as when cuddling, hugging, massaging or kissing another person. Condoms probably add a layer of protection during sex, but they are unlikely to prevent contact with lesions on an infected person’s groin, thighs, buttocks or on other parts of their body.

Roommates and family members in the same house are also at significantly higher risk of getting monkeypox compared to any other individuals a patient may come into close contact with, said Dr. Bernard Camins, the medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System.

Household contacts can catch monkeypox through contaminated clothes, towels and bedding. Shared utensils that may carry an infected person’s saliva should also be considered high risk, said Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist at George Mason University.”

Black women will suffer the most without Roe

“Black women are more likely to live in areas where it’s harder to access contraception. They get abortions at the highest rates compared to women of other races, due to high rates of unintended pregnancy.

The factors that lead some Black women to seek abortions are present from the day they are born, passed down from mothers who faced similar plights. Those born into poverty are less likely to have access to health care, let alone reproductive or maternal health care; when some Black women are able to seek care, they face medical racism. For centuries, Black women have fought for autonomy over their bodies, against government-sanctioned abuse and abuse from intimate partners. The end of a constitutional right to legal abortion makes the fight harder.

State-level abortion restrictions have already taken effect in at least eight states, and in total, 22 states have laws that impose very strict restrictions on abortions. Those states are home to 39 percent of the total US population, but 45 percent of Black women and girls under age 55.

The consequences will be dire. The end of legal abortion will trap Black women in cycles of poverty. The consequences will also be deadly. Black women have the highest rates of maternal mortality and pregnancy complications, and those risks will only increase if more Black women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Here are the numbers that show how alarming the situation is.”

The Supreme Court’s EPA ruling isn’t the only legal attack on the environment

“the decision means that agencies like the EPA can’t create regulations that have expansive social and economic impacts on their own, despite decades of precedent doing exactly that. Such rules would now require Congress to specifically create laws to implement them, and given the difficulty of passing any federal legislation, it would drastically impair the EPA’s ability to regulate the pollution that’s heating up the planet.”

“Many of these other cases are still underway, but depending on how they’re decided, they could further erode the government’s tools for addressing the most urgent environmental problems.”