1. Story of the Week: Trump Picks Supreme Court Justice
President Donald Trump will reportedly nominate conservative federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett today to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thus begins a race for an anticipated party-line confirmation in the Senate, where Republican leaders refused to consider a 2016 Democratic appointee, citing an upcoming election. Trump says he hopes the court will invalidate widespread mail-in voting he baselessly considers fraud-prone, thus assuring his reelection. Barrett, 48, is a Roman Catholic Louisiana native who opposes abortion, but OZY reported in 2018 that she believed it wasn’t “lawful for a judge to impose personal opinions … upon the law.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Ohio’s National Guard will be there. In America’s volatile political climate, anything is possible. What’s unlikely, though, is a boring first debate in Cleveland Tuesday between gaffe-prone 77-year-old Democratic challenger Joe Biden and bomb-throwing 74-year-old Republican President Donald Trump. The former vice president’s aides are reportedly cautioning him to avoid taking the bait when Trump attacks him and his family. At the same time, the president’s people worry that portraying Biden as incompetent may lower expectations before the nominee comes out swinging, so they’ve lately extolled Biden’s virtues as a debater, trying to raise the bar.
Vaccines can’t come fast enough. The World Health Organization on Friday warned that before immunizations become widely available, two million people could die from COVID-19. The current toll is 989,000. In Britain, meanwhile, government science advisers say Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t tell them he planned to impose a 10 p.m. curfew on pubs — widely questioned after drinkers thronged streets outside of the establishments. In the U.S., a new study has found that fewer than 10 percent of Americans have coronavirus antibodies, which means the country is much further from “herd immunity” than previously thought.
“There was one red flag after another.” That’s how an illicit-money tracker sees Deutsche Bank’s handling of thousands of transactions for oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, documented in the FinCEN suspicious banking transaction reports leaked to BuzzFeed News. He co-owned PrivatBank, Ukraine’s biggest bank — confiscated by the government after its funds were looted. The money was parked in the U.S. Midwest, from a Cleveland skyscraper to a West Virginia steel mill. And far from these being “victimless” crimes, neglect reportedly resulted in gruesome factory injuries and blight on small communities hard-pressed to recover.
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Fall in love with Cory Booker. The New Jersey Senator sits down with Carlos to discuss everything from the major political issues facing America to the ups and downs of his relationship with Rosario Dawson. It's one of the senator's most intimate interviews ever — one you simply can't miss. Be sure to subscribe to the OZY YouTube channel to be notified when it's live, and remember — new subscribers will be entered for a chance to win an invitation to a Zoom taping with a celebrity guest!
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Feel like a second-class citizen? Try the Second Amendment. More Black Americans are keeping and bearing arms after facing armed groups countering social justice demonstrations, OZY reports. In the first half of 2020, African Americans bought 58 percent more guns than they did in the same period in 2019, an industry association has found. And more people are joining the National African American Gun Association, while a new group, the Not F**king Around Coalition, has surfaced, outnumbering armed right-wing Three Percenters at a July Breonna Taylor march. Empowering? Perhaps. But such trends have also preceded upticks in deadly domestic violence.
Getting free office snacks while telecommuting is one of many worker concerns that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hears in recordings of company Q&A’s obtained by the Verge. But amid their cravings, employees also worry about how the social network may be aiding the breakdown of democracy, such as allowing President Trump to post that looters might be shot. Zuckerberg preaches neutrality in response, but following public staff protests, he announced new policies excluding such violence-inciting statements. The overarching takeaway, though, is that Zuckerberg is walking the line between liberal employees and a user base that tilts to the right.
They’re the ships of the desert. That’s how journalist Shanna Baker thought of camels until she saw a flotilla of them swimming off India’s Gujarat state. These kharai “salty” camels eat island mangrove leaves before being herded back to the mainland to drink fresh water. Many herders have given them up, though, as they’re obsolete as transportation. Conservation efforts have been complicated by industrial development damaging the camels’ coastal habitat, but with climate change creating more arid areas, locals are recognizing that these seeming vestiges of the past may be the future of livestock.
The videos may only be mildly provocative, if not the lyrics to accompanying tracks like “WAP.” Repackaged with suggestive titles, though, the videos can quickly become a criminal matter when clips of underage dancers land on Pornhub — likely without the young TikTokers’ consent. The websites involved say they have robust safeguards against any content that’s illegal or violates their guidelines. With more than 100 million monthly users in the U.S. alone, TikTok users tend to be young and are rewarded with followers and likes for posting suggestive material. The only way to curb it may be with more-aggressive human intervention.
Accident policy, anyone? MetLife Stadium in New Jersey’s Meadowlands is still breaking in “sticky” new artificial turf, as San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan put it, upon which four of his players suffered nasty injuries last week. The 49ers beat the New York Jets, but lost defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the season with torn knee ligaments. Now teammates are worried about playing the New York Giants on the same surface tomorrow. But the NFL and players' association have checked and approved the surface, so the visitors will have to focus on what they can control.