unemployment benefits, enhanced federal aid, labor force, cuts, data
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‘No Evidence’: State Cuts in Jobless Aid Have Little Effect on Unemployment (Maria)

The author writes, “Only eight of the 26 states that cut off federal jobless benefits early saw a statistically significant drop in unemployment in July, government data released Friday shows, undermining a key Republican argument for ending the enhanced aid. Nine states and the District of Columbia that did not end the benefits also saw statistically significant declines in unemployment, muddying the waters as economists and policymakers search for any indication that … discontinuing emergency unemployment insurance before its Sept. 6 expiration date might have had ramifications for the labor market. ‘There’s no sign of the end of supplemental UI’ affecting employment, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. ‘There’s just no evidence.’”

I Fought and Bled in Afghanistan. I Still Think America Is Right to Accept Defeat. (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “When the twin towers fell, I was a high school senior deep in college applications. The United States Military Academy topped my list. Watching the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, unfold, I knew the Army would be part of the response, though I figured that response would be over by the time I graduated from West Point. Never did I imagine that, eight years later, I would be leading soldiers in a war provoked by that one terrible day. Yet lead them I did, across Afghanistan, witnessing horrors and enduring losses I still struggle to describe. What I saw there convinced me that the awful scenes we are now witnessing were inevitable — and that President Biden deserves credit for nonetheless braving the fallout to do the right thing by our troops.”

White Feminists Wanted to Invade (Dan)

From The Nation: “On a March evening in 1999, a wealthy Hollywood socialite named Mavis Leno, the wife of late-night superstar Jay Leno, held a fundraiser to which she invited her rich and/or famous friends. The event was to benefit the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campaign to ‘End Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan,’ which highlighted the barbaric conditions of women living under Taliban rule. … The brand of feminism those women collectively championed is what I call ‘white feminism,’ meaning that it refuses to consider the role that whiteness and racial privilege play in universalizing white feminist concerns, agendas, and beliefs as those of all feminism and all feminists.”

There’s a Psychological Reason Anti-Vaccine Misinformation Is So Hard to Fight (Russ)

From Salon: “As a clinical psychologist who studies the impact of technology on our health, I’ve seen how life lived in social media spaces drives a desire to appear powerful. This desire is met by drawing attention to ourselves and having our input recognized. In these spaces, we crave the emotional and physiological reactions that are triggered by likes and follows, comments and shares. When we stir up controversy or emotion, we feel important. When we can control the narrative, elevating our opinions and gathering support for them, we feel justified and right. We take the commotion of applause, disagreements, dissension, and praise and translate them into evidence that our opinions and decisions are valid. We watch the multiplying likes and replies and conclude that our voice is important.”

Multibillion-Dollar Louisiana Plastics Plant Put on Pause in a Win for Activists (Inez)

The author writes, “The US government has placed further delays on a proposed multibillion dollar plastics plant in south Louisiana, marking a major victory for environmental activists and members of the majority Black community who have campaigned for years against construction. The planned $9.4bn petrochemical facility, owned by Formosa Plastics, would roughly double toxic emissions in its local area and, according to environmentalists, release up to 13m tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, the equivalent of three coal-fired power plants, to become one of the largest pollution-causing plastics facilities in the world.”

How Two Women Helped 94 Percent of an Alabama Town Get COVID Vaccines (Dana)

The author writes, “The story of two Alabama women’s efforts to get COVID shots in arms is detailed in a new short documentary. ‘The Panola Project’ is a short documentary by Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine. It tells the story of Dorothy Oliver and Drucilla Russ Jackson and their efforts to bring vaccines to Panola, a small rural town of about 400 people in Sumter County. Those efforts have led to 94% of the town’s almost 400 residents being vaccinated, despite having no dedicated vaccination center.”

Trained Viruses Prove More Effective at Fighting Antibiotic Resistance (Mili)

The author writes, “Research reveals that viruses known as bacteriophages that undergo special evolutionary training increase their capacity to subdue bacteria. The results provide hope in the ongoing battle against antibiotic resistance, a rising threat as deadly bacteria continue to evolve to render many modern drugs ineffective.”

How the Head of the NRA and His Wife Secretly Shipped Their Elephant Trophies Home (DonkeyHotey)

From The New Yorker: “In the early fall of 2013, an export company in Botswana prepared a shipment of animal parts for Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, and his wife, Susan. One of the business’s managers e-mailed the couple a list of trophies from their recent hunt and asked them to confirm its accuracy: one cape-buffalo skull, two sheets of elephant skin, two elephant ears, four elephant tusks, and four front elephant feet. Once the inventory was confirmed, the e-mail stated, ‘we will be able to start the dipping and packing process.’ Ten days later, Susan wrote back with a request: the shipment should have no clear links to the LaPierres.”

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