👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ The Justice Department asked a federal judge to block enforcement of a new Texas law that effectively bans almost all abortions. The Justice Department argued that the state adopted the law, which took effect this month after the Supreme Court refused to block its enforcement, “gravely and irreparably impaired women’s ability to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion across the State.” The 45-page emergency motion comes after the Biden administration sued Texas last week, asserting that the law – which allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a woman terminate her pregnancy – was passed in “open defiance of the Constitution.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Reuters)
2/ The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called China twice in the final months of the Trump administration to reassure them that Trump had no plans to attack China, according to “Peril,” a new book by the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. “Things may look unsteady,” Gen. Mark Milley told his counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of China, on Jan. 8 – two days after Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol to try to stop the certification of his election loss. “But that’s the nature of democracy, General Li. We are 100% steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.” Milley was also reportedly so concerned that Trump could “go rogue” that he convened a secret meeting later that day with senior military officials to remind them that “the strict procedures are explicitly designed to avoid inadvertent mistakes or accident or nefarious, unintentional, illegal, immoral, unethical launching of the world’s most dangerous weapons.” He added: “And I’m part of that procedure.” Following the revelations, Trump called for “Dumbass” Milley to be “arrested” for “treason.” The White House, meanwhile, said Biden has “complete confidence” in Milley. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)
3/ A federal judge denied Trump’s request to stop E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him from moving forward. The ruling allows for the case to proceed as an appeals court weighs whether Trump is immune from the suit. Carroll alleges Trump assaulted her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996 and then defamed her by calling her a liar when she went public with her claims in 2019. Trump and the Justice Department have argued Trump can’t be sued because the comments were made while he was president. (Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)
4/ The number of Americans living in poverty fell to a record low last year due to the pandemic relief aid Congress enacted. The U.S. Census Bureau reported poverty fell to 9.1% in 2020 – the lowest rate on record – from 11.8% in 2019. The Census Bureau estimated that the direct checks lifted 11.7 million people out of poverty last year, while unemployment benefits and food assistance prevented an additional 10.3 million people from falling into poverty. (Reuters / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)
5/ 1 in 500 Americans have died from Covid-19 in the 19 months since the nation’s first reported coronavirus infection. As of Tuesday night, 663,913 total people in the U.S. had died of Covid-19. The country averaged 1,805 new Covid-19 deaths each day over the past week. About 62% of Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – last among the world’s seven wealthiest democracies. (CNN / Washington Post)
6/ The FDA declined to endorse Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster shot, saying the vaccines currently approved provide sufficient protection against severe disease and death from Covid-19 without the need of additional doses. The FDA vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to review the report on Friday and recommend whether or not the agency should approve Pfizer’s application for a coronavirus booster shot. The Biden administration, meanwhile, wants to begin offering booster shots to the general public starting next week, pending authorization from the FDA. The U.S. has purchased a combined one billion doses from Pfizer and Moderna. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNBC)
poll/ 68% of Americans say the recent rise in Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. was preventable, while 24% say it was not preventable. 51% disapprove of Biden’s plan to mandate Covid-19 vaccines, while 48% approve. (Quinnipiac)
poll/ 56% of Americans feel that democracy in the U.S. is under attack, 37% say it’s being tested, and 6% American democracy is not in danger. 51% say it’s likely that elected officials will successfully overturn the results of a future election because their party didn’t win, while 49% say that is unlikely. (CNN)
poll/ 42% of Americans approve the job Biden is doing as president, while 50% disapprove. (Quinnipiac)
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