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March 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

An evangelical Christian explains why she fights climate change — and how her religion merged with the right

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Source: ALTERNET

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An evangelical Christian explains why she fights climate change — and how her religion merged with the right

March 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Texas-based Katharine Hayhoe is a rarity: a scientist who is heavily focused on climate change but is also an evangelical Christian. Scientists who go to church and believe in climate change are not unusual, but it’s less common in her denomination. Climate change is actually Hayhoe’s area of expertise, and journalist KK Ottesen discusses the politicization of climate change in a Q&A interview with Hayhoe published by the Washington Post this week.

Hayhoe, who serves as director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University, told the Post, “Climate change is a casualty to the political polarization that has been emerging in the United States over the last few decades. And why are we becoming so politically polarized? There’s a number of factors — the fact that we all have access to customized media today. So, we’re all living in these echo chambers, or bubbles, where we just have our beliefs reinforced constantly. But it’s my opinion, at least, that it stems from fear. The world is changing so fast.”

Hayhoe, however, believes that those she describes as “really hardcore” climate change deniers comprise only 7% of the population in the United States.

“When I run into people who are very adamant about rejecting climate change,” Hayhoe told the Post, “they’re not that many. Only 7% of people are dismissive, but they’re very loud about it…. And easily 90% of the time — probably more than that — climate change is just one of a package of issues: extreme nationalism, anti-immigration, right-wing politics. You know, whatever the current issue of the day is — COVID, school shooting — you can guarantee that whoever rejects climate change will also be adamantly defending the right of people to bear weapons and supporting COVID myths and disinformation. It all goes together.”

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'It's truly disgusting': Fox News is under fire for hiring Kayleigh McEnany — even from other employees

March 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Before Kayleigh McEnany became President Donald Trump’s fourth White House press secretary, she was a far-right pundit at Fox News — and now that Joe Biden is president and she is no longer in the White House, Fox News has rehired her. But according to Daily Beast reporters Diana Falzone and Justin Baragona, not everyone at the right wing cable news channel is happy about her return.

In a Beast article published this week, Falzone and Baragona explain, “The addition of a known and frequent liar to the Fox News roster set off some alarms within a newsroom that has been ‘purged’ in recent months in favor of right-wing opinion programming and content geared towards keeping a diehard MAGA audience satisfied.”

One of the reporters Fox News fired earlier this year was Political Editor Chris Stirewalt, whose cardinal sin — in the minds of many Trump sycophants — was calling Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Stirewalt called Arizona for Biden even before the Associated Press, and his reporting was vindicated: Biden won Arizona.

A source described by Falzone and Baragona as a “Fox News insider” didn’t mention Stirewalt but was highly critical of Fox News’ decision to rehire McEnany and expressed great dissatisfaction with the cable outlet’s current direction.

The insider told the Beast, “It’s truly disgusting they fired hard-working journalists who did care about facts and news reporting only to turn around and hire a mini-Goebbels whose incessant lies from the White House helped incite an insurrection on our democracy that got five people killed, including a police officer. Post-Trump Fox is quickly becoming a very scary place and quite dangerous for our democracy. It’s not even conservative news anymore. They’ve plunged into an alternate reality where extremist propaganda is the only course on the menu.”

At Fox News, there has been a separation between far-right opinion hosts like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson and a conservative-leaning hard news division. An anonymously quoted source described by Falzone and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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There's a right-wing smear campaign underway against one of Biden's top DOJ nominees

March 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Vanita Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, is among the Obama-era officials he has picked for his administration — and she has come under attack from the far-right Judicial Crisis Network. Washington Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart defends Gupta in a column published this week, arguing that she should be confirmed regardless of what the JCN thinks.

“For a couple of weeks now, my morning newspaper-reading over coffee and yogurt has been interrupted by the aural pollution that is the attack ad against Gupta from the Judicial Crisis Network,” Capehart explains. “As the Post’s editorial board pointed out over the weekend, the Network’s television ad ‘is a doozy, mainly notable for the magnitude of the lies and distortions it crams into 30 seconds.’”

Under President Barack Obama, Gupta headed the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Gupta, according to Capehart, is “more than qualified to return as the agency’s third-highest-ranking official.” But that hasn’t stopped JCN from smearing her.

“The lies and distortions are your garden-variety right-wing hysteria seeking to paint an unabashed liberal woman of color as a danger to the rule of law and to police,” Capehart writes. “The lies don’t stand up to the facts. More than 50 current and retired chiefs of police and sheriffs who worked with Gupta during her last tour at the Justice Department sent a letter of support to the Senate Judiciary Committee. So did the National Fraternal Order of Police, whose president noted the organization’s working relationship with Gupta goes back to 2014.”

Capehart continues, “And before that, as a lawyer with the ACLU, Gupta worked on cash bail reform, fair sentencing and other criminal justice reform issues with Koch Industries. Mark Holden, the firm’s former general counsel and senior vice president, sent in a letter of support for her nomination.”

Koch Industries is headed by 85-year-old billionaire CEO Charles Koch, who has been a major supporter of right-wing causes and has been a registered Libertarian. The fact that Gupta was willing to work with Koch Industries, Capehart writes, underscores her ability to “reach across the ideological divide.”

If confirmed, Gupta will be working closely with Judge Merrick Garland, Biden’s pick for U.S. attorney general — and Capehart is hoping that despite the JCN smear, she will be confirmed.

“Gupta and Lisa Monaco, nominated to be deputy attorney general, will both appear for their …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Ron DeSantis bragged about Florida's election — exposing his real reason for new voting changes

March 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

In November 2020, Democrats were disappointed that now-President Joe Biden lost Florida’s 29 electoral votes to then-President Donald Trump but applauded its elections officials for their efficient vote-counting operation, commenting that they obviously learned their lessons from Bush v. Gore and 2000′s vote-counting debacle in the Sunshine State. But despite that efficiency, Florida Republicans haven’t abandoned voter suppression — and Miami-based Washington Post opinion writer Lizette Alvarez takes them to task for it in an op-ed published on March 2.

“Something remarkable happened in Florida this past Election Day: A state long lampooned for its ballot bumbling simply added up its votes and secured a winner, Donald Trump, not long after the polls closed,” Alvarez comments. “The election efficiency felt like a miracle.”

After the election, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a far-right Republican and Trump sycophant, tweeted, “Florida is a model for the rest of the nation to follow.”

“For DeSantis, the state’s 2020 performance was a double-barreled victory — a smooth election and a major swing-state win for Trump, even though the president ultimately lost the election,” Alvarez explains. “But that apparently wasn’t good enough for the governor and Florida’s Republican statehouse leadership. They now want to ‘reform’ the state’s electoral system, particularly mail-in balloting.”

Alvarez continues, “An election reform bill, which has already cleared its first committee, and a plan promoted by DeSantis would make it harder, not easier, for voters to obtain ballots and then drop off or mail them. Turns out, suppressing the vote in Florida is still more tantalizing to Republicans than facilitating the vote.”

Florida, of course, is hardly the only state where Republicans are pushing voter suppression bills. Everywhere from …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Velvet Revolution begins in Czechoslovakia

March 2, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On November 17, 1989, nine days after the fall of the Berlin Wall roughly 200 miles to the north, students gather en masse in Prague, Czechoslovakia to protest the communist regime. The demonstration sets off what will become known as the Velvet Revolution, the non-violent toppling of the Czechoslovak government and one of a series of anti-communist revolutions that marked the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Protestors chose November 17 because it was International Students Day, the 50 anniversary of a Nazi attack on the University of Prague that killed nine and saw 1,200 students sent to concentration camps. The Czechoslovak government, ruled by a single, Moscow-aligned communist party since the end of World War II, allowed almost no anti-government speech and harshly suppressed dissent, but it sanctioned the International Students Day march. Anti-government sentiment had become increasingly vocal in recent years, as the economy of the Soviet Bloc declined and democratic movements overthrew the communist regimes in Poland and Hungary.

Students chanting anti-government slogans packed the streets of Bratislava as well as Prague, where they were met with violence from the police (officially, there were no deaths). Despite the police repression, protests spread to other cities and grew exponentially. Theater workers went on strike, converting their stages to forums for public discussion, and the protests grew to include citizens from all walks of life. On November 20, 500,000 protestors demonstrated in Prague’s Wenceslas Square.

Within a few days of the initial protest, the writing was on the wall for one-party rule in Czechoslovakia. The Communist Party’s leadership resigned on November 28 and an anti-communist government was in power by December 10. Václav Havel, a writer and the nation’s most famous dissident, was elected president on December 29, becoming the last president of Czechoslovakia. In the following years, the Czech and Slovak regions of the country separated peacefully in what was dubbed the Velvet Divorce, and in 1993 Havel was elected the first president of the newly-formed Czech Republic.

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Source: HISTORY

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Ruby Bridges desegregates her school

March 2, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On November 14, 1960, a court order mandating the desegregation of schools comes into effect in New Orleans, Louisiana. Six-year-old Ruby Bridges walks into William Frantz Elementary School, accompanied by federal marshals and taunted by angry crowds, instantly becoming a symbol of the civil rights movement, an icon for the cause of racial equality and a target for racial animosity.

The Supreme Court ordered the end of segregated public schools in Brown vs. Board of Education just a few months before Bridges was born, but it was not until after her kindergarten year that the City of New Orleans finally assented to desegregation. African American children in New Orleans were given a test, and only those who passed were allowed to enroll in all-white public schools. Bridges passed the test and became the only one of the six eligible students to go ahead with desegregating Frantz Elementary. Her father opposed the idea at first, but Bridges’ mother convinced him that sending Ruby to Frantz was both right for their daughter and an important moment for all African Americans. Bridges entered the school along with her mother and several marshals on November 14, and images of the small child and her escorts walking calmly through crowds of rabid segregationists spread across the country. Bridges later recalled that she had initially thought the crowds were there to celebrate Mardi Gras.

READ MORE: Brown v. Board of Education: The First Step in the Desegregation of America’s Schools

Bridges did not attend any classes on November 14 due to the chaos outside the school. No other students attended and all but one teacher, Barbara Henry, stayed home in protest of desegregation. It was several days until a white father finally broke the boycott and brought his son to school, and even when the white students returned, they were kept separate from the school’s lone Black student. Henry, whom Bridges said was the first white teacher and “the nicest teacher I ever had,” taught a class consisting of only Bridges for the entire school year. Federal marshaled continued to escort her to school for that time, and crowds chanting racial slurs and making death threats continued to greet Bridges for months.

Bridges’ family suffered enormously—her father lost his job, her sharecropper grandparents were kicked off of their land and her parents eventually separated—but they also received support in the form of gifts, …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Texas passes a bill becoming the first state in the nation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday

March 2, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

A celebration that has persisted for over a century receives its first official recognition on June 7, 1979, as the Texas Legislature passes a bill declaring Juneteenth a state holiday. The annual June 19 celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation—not the announcement itself, but the arrival of the news of the proclamation in Texas—is now officially observed in almost all 50 states.

President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation officially freed the enslaved peoples of the rebellious Southern states on New Year’s Day of 1863, but the order only applied to territories currently held by the Confederacy. Southerners did not recognize Lincoln’s authority, and in many cases slaveowners and whites simply withheld the news from enslaved people. The wait was especially long in Texas, where news of slavery’s demise did not arrive until two months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox ended the Civil War. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and proclaimed the news to the enslaved people there.

READ MORE: What Is Juneteenth?

The day instantly became an important one to the African American citizens of Texas, who held annual celebrations and even made pilgrimages to Galveston each Juneteenth. In 1872, a group of Black ministers and businessmen purchased ten acres of land in Houston for the occasion, naming it Emancipation Park. Black communities across the nation continued to celebrate Juneteenth for the next century. The holiday received renewed interest with the rise of the civil rights Movement in the 1960s, particularly when Rev. Ralph Abernathy of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference proclaimed Juneteenth “Solidarity Day” as part of his 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Another civil rights leader, the recently-elected State Representative Al Edwards of Houston, introduced the bill making Juneteenth a paid holiday in the state of Texas. In the following decades, most of the country either made Juneteenth a holiday or declared it would officially observe the occasion, and parades and public celebrations have attracted larger and larger crowds.

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Source: HISTORY

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Chanel No. 5 perfume launches

March 2, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On May 5, 1921, a date of symbolic importance to its iconic creator, the perfume Chanel No. 5 officially debuts in Coco Chanel’s boutique on the Rue Cambon in Paris. The new fragrance immediately revolutionized the perfume industry and remained popular for a century.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was the daughter of a clothing peddler and a laundrywoman. She learned to sew in the convent where her father sent his three daughters after the death of their mother when Coco was only 11. From these humble beginnings, she quickly established herself on the fashion scene when her lover, a wealthy textile magnate named Étienne Balsan, helped her set up her first boutique. By 1921, Chanel was a celebrated clothing designer and socialite, known both for wildly popular, groundbreaking clothing designs and for her high-profile romances and larger-than-life public image.

It was one such romance that led to the creation of Chanel No. 5—while vacationing in the South of France with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, an exiled Russian nobleman who had taken part in the killing of Grigori Rasputin, Chanel met the perfumer Ernest Beaux. She began to work with him on a fragrance that would bear her name, allegedly challenging him to create a scent that would “smell like a woman, not like a rose.” According to legend, Beaux or his assistant accidentally added an “overdose” of aldehydes—chemicals that helped a scent last longer but which were used sparingly by perfumers of the time, who preferred natural ingredients and fruity scents—to one of the samples he prepared for Chanel. A number of reasons have been posited as to why Chanel settled on this scent: many argue that the aldehydes reminded her of soap, a scent that took her back to her mother’s laundry, while others hold that she picked the fifth sample of a batch that Beaux offered because of her lifelong obsession with the number five. Chanel later said the concoction “was what I was waiting for…a woman’s perfume, with the scent of a woman.” The fragrance would officially debut, along with her new collection, on the fifth day of the fifth month of 1921.

Even before it debuted, Chanel No. 5 caused a stir. Chanel hosted a party for some of her most fashionable friends, sprayed the perfume around the table, and, according to legend, was asked about the scent by every woman who passed by. The fragrance …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Kim Ng named first female MLB general manager

March 2, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On November 13, 2020, veteran front-office official Kim Ng breaks several glass ceilings simultaneously when she is named General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Ng is the first woman and first person of East Asian descent to lead a Major League Baseball front office, as well as the first female GM in the history of North American professional men’s sports.

Ng, the daughter of two Americans of Chinese descent, played softball at the University of Chicago and wrote her college thesis on the effects of Title IX. She has spent her entire career in Major League Baseball, beginning with an internship for the Chicago White Sox. After six years with the White Sox, she worked in the offices of the American League before the youngest assistant GM in the league in 1998, when she was hired by the New York Yankees. Her talent was widely discussed during her time with the Yankees, who won three World Series in her four years in New York. In 2000, Yankees superstar Derek Jeter presented her with a Women in Sports and Events Award. She soon moved on to become Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, where she spent nine years before moving to the MLB front office.

Between 2005 and 2020, Ng reportedly interviewed for at least five vacant GM positions and was often referred to as a “GM-in-waiting.” Nonetheless, she did not receive an offer, even as young and relatively unproven male executives like Theo Epstein received acclaim and lucrative jobs across the league. It was Jeter, now the chief executive and part-owner of the Marlins, who finally picked Ng to lead a team’s baseball operations. “There’s an adage, ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it,’” Ng said at a press conference announcing her appointment. “I suggest to them, ‘Now you can see it.’”

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Source: HISTORY