First Thing: Republicans think they have the votes to replace Ginsburg

First Thing: Republicans think they have the votes to replace Ginsburg
Good morning.

Hopes of keeping the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s supreme court seat open for a new president to fill are fading, after two key Republican senators signaled they would vote to confirm a Donald Trump nominee before November. But Democrats including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, are nonetheless urging liberals to mobilise for a battle to block such a confirmation.


Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer clash on supreme court nomination – video

The president, who on Monday sought to cast doubt on Ginsburg’s dying wish – that her replacement be chosen after the election – is expected to unveil either Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa as his pick later this week. Trump’s conservative takeover of the courts is “a true and a towering legacy”, writes Tom McCarthy, and it explains why his supporters now chant “fill that seat!” at his rallies.

  • The supreme court fight puts abortion centre-stage in the US presidential election, argues Zoe Williams. Pro-choice campaigners should seize the opportunity:


When the entire fertile population of the US has a question mark over its self-determination, nobody could say the issue lacks edge.

Trump spread more Covid misinformation at a maskless rally

With the US coronavirus death toll up to 200,000, Trump told a crowd of mostly maskless supporters in Ohio on Monday that the country’s fatality rate is “among the lowest in the world” and that the virus has “virtually” no effect on young people. Both claims are false.

A coalition of 156 countries, including 64 higher income economies – but not the US or China – has agreed a “landmark” deal to enable the rapid and equitable global distribution of coronavirus vaccines. The plan, known as Covax, is led by the World Health Organization.

  • Boris Johnson’s government is introducing a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants in England to combat the country’s concerning spike in cases.

  • Catching flu and Covid-19 at the same time significantly increases the risk of death, UK scientists have warned, ahead of the looming winter flu season.

Prince Charles called for a ‘Marshall-like plan’ for the climate

With wildfires scorching the US west coast and Arctic sea ice close to its lowest-ever extent, Prince Charles has told a virtual climate awareness gathering that the world must go on a “warlike footing” to tackle the “comprehensive catastrophe” of the climate crisis. In a video for Climate Week NYC, the Prince of Wales urged governments to emulate the US-led rebuilding efforts in postwar Europe and agree on “a Marshall-like plan for nature, people and the planet.”

A third of Bangladesh was flooded last month, putting the country on the frontline of the crisis. The world must act to prevent climate meltdown, writes its prime minister, Sheikh Hasina:



This is not a cry for help; it is a warning. For while other countries may be less exposed to the climate crisis, they will not be able to escape its destructive force for long.

  • Facebook suspended the accounts of several environmentalist groups after they were mistakenly swept up in a new initiative designed to counter climate misinformation on the social network.

The UN is hosting ‘the world’s worst Zoom meeting’

Like so many other major events, the 75th UN general assembly is being held virtually in 2020, with world leaders appearing to state their positions on global affairs in pre-recorded video segments. At a moment when many are questioning the relevance of the United Nations, writes Julian Borger, an event billed as “the world’s worst Zoom meeting” will consist mostly of empty speechifying, with none of the face-to-face meetings and impromptu conversations that normally make the general assembly so valuable.

In other news …

  • Bill Barr’s DoJ has labelled three US cities as ‘anarchist jurisdictions’, claiming – in a flagrantly political move – that Democratic elected officials in New York City, Portland and Seattle facilitated property destruction and violence during the recent protests over racism and police brutality.

  • Police shot an autistic 13-year-old boy 11 times in Salt Lake City, Utah, after the child’s mother asked for help getting him hospital mental health treatment. Video has been released of the 4 September incident, which left the boy hospitalised with broken bones and pierced organs.

  • Ellen Degeneres has apologised for the ‘toxic work environment’ at her chatshow, addressing the misconduct allegations in a monologue to kick off the show’s 18th series, and admitting: “Things happened here that should never have happened”.

Great reads

Ron Howard on Rebuilding Paradise

The director of Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon is also a prolific documentary-maker. His latest, about the 2018 California wildfires and their aftermath, comes out as the state is aflame again. “We wanted to see what it means to keep going when the direction of one’s life has been completely devastated,” he tells Hadley Freeman.

Anne Helen Petersen: why millennials are burned out

The factors behind millennials’ stress and overwork have long been building, but the pandemic has laid them bare. The author of a new book on millennial burnout tells Amil Niazi: “We’re gonna have to decide as a society and as a generation to figure this shit out.”

The fight for Florida’s Latino vote

Recent polls suggest Joe Biden is losing ground to Trump with Latino voters in Florida – a constituency that backed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Francisco Alvarado reports on the crucial contest for Cuban American and Puerto Rican votes in the sunshine state.

Opinion: LeBron James scares the establishment, just like Ali

UFC fighter and Trump supporter Colby Covington has called LeBron James a “spineless coward” for his “woke” political views, echoing criticisms that once dogged another Black athlete. But 40 years after he was attacked as a traitor, writes Etan Thomas, Muhammad Ali was awarded the presidential medal of freedom.



He abandoned the previously accepted role for Black athletes which was to entertain the white masses with their athletic prowess, be grateful for the benefits, and remain silent on anything outside of sports.

Last Thing: Michael Jordan has a Nascar team now

Michael Jordan has formed a new Nascar team with driver Bubba Wallace: a unique, high-profile collaboration between a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at the sport’s top level. “The timing seemed perfect,” said Jordan, “as Nascar is evolving and embracing social change more and more.”

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