Tuesday, July 13th, 2021


Austin Powers

A funny thing happened on the way to the quorum. There's a Texas-sized voting rights fight going on in Austin that extends all the way to Washington, DC. In a way, there's no bigger fight in America today than the one over voting rights, since how we vote fuels everything else. "In a last-ditch effort to block legislation making it harder to vote, Texas Democrats resorted to a tactic they haven't deployed since the George W. Bush administration — fleeing the state in order to prevent the legislature from passing laws ... much of the state House's Democratic minority fleed to Washington, DC, in order to deny Republicans a quorum." Vox: The GOP voting bill that literally caused Texas Democrats to flee the state, explained.

+ "After stepping off two chartered jets, they insisted they planned to stay until a highly unlikely scenario unfolds in which moderate Democratic senators kill filibuster rules used by the GOP to block voting rights reform."

+ Texas Tribune: "The Texas House voted Tuesday to send law enforcement to track down Democrats who left the state a day earlier in protest of Republicans' priority elections legislation 'under warrant of arrest if necessary.'" (This is turning out to be the biggest Texas cliffhanger since Who Shot JR?)


Shop Til They Drop

"The pickup in inflation, which has coincided with the economy's rapid recovery from the pandemic recession, will likely intensify a debate at the Federal Reserve and between the Biden administration and congressional Republicans about how persistent the accelerating price increases will prove to be." US consumer prices surge in June by the most since 2008.


Coffee Breakthrough

"Many French people got the message loud and clear. On Monday, 926,000 people booked their first dose through the online medical platform Doctolib — 'an absolute record,' the site says. Hundreds of thousands more have continued to book slots on Tuesday." The French Rush For Vaccines After They're Told They'll Need Them To Go To Cafés.

+ Maybe we need to make vaccines a requirement for caffeine. The numbers in the U.S. have slowed to a crawl. And Covid has taken notice. Cases In Parts Of Missouri And Arkansas Surge To Levels Not Seen Since Winter.

+ California went back and forth on school mask rules over the course a few hours. (The question was supposed to be multiple choice. Not the answer.)


Out of the Frying Pan Into the Pandemic

"Up a narrow hillside populated by thin, snarling dogs and the grief-stricken mourners of the coronavirus pandemic, another plague has befallen the slum where 5-year-old Milinka and 8-year-old Luis Miguel sleep in one room with their parents. Hunger." Anthony Faiola in WaPo: Pandemic-driven hunger is making the world more unequal. "Worsening inequality, as poorer people and nations lose years of gains in the battle against hunger and poverty, is likely to be one of the lasting legacies of the pandemic."


Patria y Vida

"The slogan is a spin on the communist regime's decades-old slogan of 'patria o muerte' — homeland or death. In strong terms, the song accuses the government of destroying the quality of life in Cuba, a message that quickly found traction with protesters who are demanding change." The Hip-Hop Song That's Driving Cuba's Unprecedented Protests.


Grandmaster Flash in the Pan

"For the three decades after the title was formally introduced in 1950, the grandmaster was a rare species ... To pursue its goal of having at least one grandmaster in each country, FIDE relaxed its requirements. That change made the label more accessible, but also less exclusive: Nearly 2,000 players have become grandmasters since 1950. Gradually, the label ceased being a ticket to a great future in chess. Young players — and their often obsessive parents — needed something to set them apart. The title of the youngest grandmaster turned into one such springboard." NYT (free gift article for NextDraft readers): The Dark Side of Chess: Payoffs, Points and 12-Year-Old Grandmasters.



"The recent decision by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to accept private funding from Willis Johnson, a major Republican donor, to send her state's National Guard to the Mexican border has been called unprecedented, a conflict of interest, an abuse of public power for personal political gain, an outsourcing and privatization of national security, an assault on the authority and legitimacy of the federal government, and a reflection of, as the journalist Paul Waldman put it in The Washington Post, 'some people's rejection of the idea that existing rules and structures have to be considered legitimate at all.' It is all of those things. And it may be one other thing too: the future." The Atlantic: Kristi Noem's National Guard Deployment Is America's Future.


Turn That Crown Upside Down

The Crown and The Mandalorian tied for most most Emmy nominations with 24 each. Two trends to note. There were a lot of good shows during a year when we needed them the most. And most of the shows have something in common. You have to pay to see them. Here's a look at this year's noms, and the snubs and surprises.



"The character was initially dreamed up to serve a very different purpose. Sudeikis first played him in 2013, in a promo for NBC, which had recently acquired the television rights to the Premier League and was trying to inspire American interest in English football." With Emmy nods and season 2 of Ted Lasso on the way, it's a good time to check in with the coach. Jason Sudeikis Is Having One Hell of a Year.


Bottom of the News

"A British paratrooper whose parachute failed to open correctly sustained only 'minor injuries' after a 15,000ft fall took him through the roof of a house in California, crashing into the kitchen in a burst of insulation and roofing material."

+ For some reason, Apple's weather app won't say it's 69 degrees. (No biggie, just wait until it's 96 and turn your phone upside down.)

+ A female arm wrestling champion destroyed the competition at Miami's Muscle Beach.