Preliminary results show Ebrahim Raisi, the hardliner close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has won Iran’s Friday presidential election, so far with 62% of the vote, but he’s unlikely to change policy. What’s clearer is his first task: a new international nuclear deal, one that’s likely to lift U.S. sanctions and boost oil revenue. Even so, Raisi may pose an embarrassing conundrum if he becomes president as expected: He’s under sanctions for deadly repression, so leaving Iran poses the risk of arrest. At the same time, the nuclear pact’s negotiators won’t be dealing with a figurehead, but a possible successor to Khamenei.
No one is going to fire them. That knowledge may help Americans understand what happened in the Supreme Court this week. Appointing Justice Amy Coney Barrett was former President Donald Trump’s crowning achievement, with Senate confirmation just days before the 2020 election. Despite conservative hopes, she voted with the 7-2 majority to save Obamacare, a Democratic creation Trump had vowed to dismantle. This session of the court has been full of similar surprises, built on Chief Justice John Roberts’ propensity for moderation and nonpartisan deliberation. Even so, there are 15 more decisions set to emerge from an unpredictable set of justices.
What a difference a year makes. Wall Street Journal White House Correspondent Michael Bender’s new book has former President Trump recounting his Juneteenth schooling by a Black Secret Service agent. Holding a political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — site of a racist massacre in 1921 — on June 19 was “very offensive” to the agent, and the president rescheduled. This week Congress overwhelmingly approved Juneteenth, a celebration of slavery’s abolition, as a national holiday, and even some of the 14 Republican House members who voted “no” gave staff Friday off in honor of the holiday, freshly signed into law by Trump’s successor.
Watch The Carlos Watson Show’s Juneteenth Live special, with a deep look at America’s violent past, racial injustice and how the nation can move forward.
4. Biden, Pence Face Shunning Within Own Faiths
It’s another way of rendering unto Caesar. Despite Vatican disapproval, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops yesterday voted 168-55 to draft a “teaching document” expected to discourage giving communion to politicians who support abortion rights. It’s clearly aimed at devout Catholic President Joe Biden, placing him at the center of a larger divide over the church’s priorities. Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence faced cries of “traitor” Friday from fellow conservative Christians at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Florida. Organizers reportedly ejected some hecklers, doubtless angered by Pence’s official affirmation of then-President Trump’s (and his own) November election loss.
What do you think? Should religion play a role in politics? Tell us here.
5. Also Important …
In a rare display of unity, the United Nations General Assembly on Friday passed a resolution condemning the military takeover of Myanmar and urging an arms embargo. Citing a short window of expiration on the immunizations, the Palestinian Authority has refused to take at least 1 million Pfizer vaccine doses from Israel. And a federal judge has barred U.S. health regulators from enforcing pandemic protocols on cruise ships in Florida.
In the Week Ahead: Richard Bland and Russell Henley are leading in the battle to win the U.S. Open golf trophy on Sunday. Monday is the summer solstice and longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, while the Southern Hemisphere marks the winter solstice and shortest day. And on Thursday and Friday, European Union leaders will hold a summit meeting where relations with Russia are high on the agenda.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show: Meet a rising star of the modeling world, Leyna Bloom. The first transgender Black and Asian model to appear in Sports Illustrated, she’s blazing a new path and not letting anything stand in her way. The star of Pose and new film Port Authority joins Carlos to share insights into the rise of Black Filipinas — a pedigree she shares with Saweetie and H.E.R. — and how her parents helped her thrive through her transition. Watch now.
Black stories are often portrayed in extremes — as struggles or triumphs — but these stories do not represent the full richness of the Black experience. What about the inside jokes, hard conversations, honest gestures, family struggles and celebrations? To understand the Black experience, we need to see the whole truth. By enabling Black creators, P&G aims to widen the screen to widen our view to combat systemic bias in advertising and media. Our “Widen the Screen” initiative is an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries.
As swaths of the U.S. endured record heat this week, there was some cool climate news, writes Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic. Barack Obama’s 2009 climate bill has met all of its goals — despite Congress rejecting it and the Trump administration trashing carbon-consciousness. A “green vortex” is to blame, with factors like the electric car craze and dirt-cheap solar panels creating an environmental feedback loop. The bill’s goals were 17% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2020, but instead they dropped by 21%. So it’s good business to go green, which is fortunate now that new climate goals will require doubling this pace.
With mountain locales ideal for remote work, Colorado’s got an employment problem in that significant numbers of employers aren’t hiring. You can be an operations manager for Johnson & Johnson, for example, “except that position may not be performed remotely from Colorado.” The reason’s clear to labor experts: They don’t want to disclose their positions’ pay and benefits as mandated by the state’s new Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. The pushback is expected, like a lawsuit by an in-state industry group that lost its initial court ruling, but one Denver software engineer has created ColoradoExcluded.com to name and shame the naysayers.
They’ve evolved. Bats not only became the rare mammal that can fly, but they’ve also uniquely adapted to fight off contagion. While human immune systems wage self-damaging battles against coronaviruses like COVID-19, scientists have found that bat cells have evolved to more calmly resist infection, Smithsonian Magazine reports. They also believe that when the high-metabolism critters take wing, they kill off viruses when their body temperature soars as high as 129 degrees Fahrenheit. The upshot? Viruses that can adapt to bats’ harsh defenses may make easy work of humans’ far less robust defensive capabilities.
Suddenly, they get it. Americans haven’t been much for non-English language programming but are now streaming it like crazy. This January’s Lupin, a series about a revenge-obsessed French grifter, got 76 million views in less than a month, within sight of the Bridgerton phenomenon. The Washington Post reports that locked-down viewers tried — and liked — all manner of foreign fare, from Korean North-South love stories to a German-Israeli ultraorthodox Jewish series. They boosted foreign-language Netflix viewing by 50% in 2020, and the trend’s spreading to rival streamers while Netflix expands production of shows that appeal to subscribers both at home and abroad.
NBA superstar LeBron James says it’s a “family decision.” New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson calls it a “personal question.” It would be easy to get pro sports back to normal if everyone got vaccinated, and the NFL has mandated shots for all coaches and staff — except players. Those who balk, like Washington defensive end Montez Sweat (“not a fan”), will have to follow 2020 masking and testing protocols. The repercussions of not vaccinating were driven home by the Phoenix Suns, which may falter in the NBA playoffs now that point guard Chris Paul might be isolated because of infection or exposure.