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Justice Dept. Weighs in on 2020 Election Robocall Suit (Maria)

The author writes, “The US Justice Department has weighed in on a civil lawsuit against two conservative political operatives accused of using robocalls to dissuade Black voters from taking part in the 2020 election. The department said Friday that defense lawyers for the two men were misinterpreting the Voting Rights Act, although the department emphasized that it was not taking sides in the civil litigation and is not a party to the suit. The robocalls falsely told voters that if they voted by mail, their information would be used by law enforcement to track old warrants and by credit card companies to collect debts — even by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track people for mandatory vaccinations.”

The Practice of American Law Is Old, Brittle and Going to Break (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “After reading Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the landmark Supreme Court decision that upended the abortion protections afforded under Roe v. Wade and subsequent cases, it’s hard not to think that the practice of law is inherently, intentionally and necessarily backward looking. The majority opinion in Dobbs authored by Justice Samuel Alito referred to ‘history’ 67 times. Justice Alito’s reliance on irrelevant and, according to the American Historical Association, wrongly interpreted historical information is indicative of an entire profession that has careened off the road of modernity and zeroed in on whatever is necessary to protect the individual and ideological interests of current lawyers.”

The DARE Program Is Back in Some School Districts — Here’s What to Know (Dana)

From Teen Vogue: “Police departments are entrenching themselves in U.S. schools in a way that has largely gone unnoticed and unreported by national media. In some parts of the country, the DARE program is back. Anyone who grew up in the 1980s or ’90s is probably very familiar with DARE, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. DARE was part of the War on Drugs and prescribed Nancy Reagan’s infamous ‘Just Say No’ philosophy. The program was taught in elementary through high schools. The stated goal was to educate children about drugs, but it relied on harsh rhetoric and fearmongering, and made disprovable claims about drugs with little basis in science or psychology.”

A Mistrial Is Declared Over Engineers’ Role in the Flint Water Crisis (Mili)

The author writes, “A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors said they couldn’t reach a verdict in a dispute over whether two engineering firms should bear some responsibility for Flint’s lead-contaminated water. Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, known as LAN, were accused of not doing enough to get Flint to treat the highly corrosive water or to urge a return to a regional water supplier. … The trial centered on the engineering firms and the effects of lead on four children, not all Flint residents. But the result was being closely watched because it would likely influence possible settlements or trials in other cases.”

Antarctica’s ‘Sleeping Giant’ Might Flood the World. Here’s How to Stop It (Sean)

From The Daily Beast: “Are you a fan of the 1995 film Waterworld starring Kevin Costner? Great news: There’s a distinct possibility that it’ll become a reality in the future if humanity can’t get its act together to prevent climate catastrophe! In a new paper published August 10 in the journal Nature, a team of Australian scientists found that sea levels could rise a staggering five meters by the year 2500 if we fail to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Specifically, the ice melt would come from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), one of two massive ice sheets on the southernmost continent that scientists have ominously dubbed a ‘sleeping giant’ due to its potential to wreak havoc on sea level rise.”

Humanized Yeast: Scientists Create Yeast With Important Human Genes (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Human muscle genes were successfully inserted into the DNA of baker’s yeast by biotechnologist Pascale Daran-Lapujade and her team at Delft University of Technology. For the first time, scientists have effectively inserted a crucial human characteristic into a yeast cell.” 

The Outdoor Cat: Neighborhood Mascot or Menace? (Russ)

From The New York Times: “How you feel about outdoor cats may also depend on where you are in the world. In the United States, about 81 percent of domestic cats are kept inside, according to a 2021 demographic study of pet cats. But elsewhere, it can be far more common to let them roam. In Denmark, only 17 percent of cats are strictly indoor pets, according to the same study. In Turkey, it is so common for feral cats to walk freely in and out of cafes, restaurants and markets that a documentary was made about the phenomenon. In Poland, they’ve recently been called an ‘invasive alien species.’”