‘The Energy Is Unbelievable.’ Democrats Say the Supreme Court Vacancy Is a Motivating Force

Laveta Brigham

APTOPIX Supreme Court Ginsburg
APTOPIX Supreme Court Ginsburg

People gather at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 in Washington. Credit – J. Scott Applewhite–AP

Lauren Acker stands near the Supreme Court on a crisp September night as thousands of people gather around in tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The perimeter of the Supreme Court lawn is starting to fill up with flowers and signs left by the people who streamed to the vigil the evening after Ginsburg’s death.

“It seems bizarre that the loss of one figure has kind of been the trigger for a lot of people to start freaking out,” says Acker, a 29-year-old resident of Washington, DC, and a Democrat. “It’s like the emergency light, right? This is it. … Anybody who believes that what we’re currently working with is not a functioning system of government, it

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China Throws a Wrench Into Trump’s Plan to Force TikTok Sale

Laveta Brigham

(Bloomberg) — Zhang Yiming’s plan to sell the U.S. operations of his short-video app TikTok to avoid a shutdown was thrown into jeopardy after China asserted its authority over a deal already under scrutiny by the Trump administration.

Beijing on Friday injected more uncertainty into already thorny negotiations over the sale of ByteDance Ltd.’s prized asset, claiming the ability to block a sale to foreign suitors Microsoft Corp. or Oracle Corp. with tighter restrictions on artificial intelligence exports. The commerce ministry added speech and text recognition and personalized recommendations to a list of products that require approval before they’re sold abroad.

These new areas cover the very technologies ByteDance employed to make TikTok a viral teen sensation from America to India. ByteDance is now required to seek the government’s sign-off on any deal, though it doesn’t mean an outright ban, according to a person familiar with the matter. TikTok is

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Coronavirus worries force election officials to get creative

Laveta Brigham

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.

Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.

Here are virus-related obstacles voters could face during this unprecedented presidential election year along with some of the solutions being tried:


What if you need a voter registration form or absentee ballot application and all the normal go-to places are closed or open by appointment only? It’s a problem nationwide.

The most recent American Library Association survey found that 62% of U.S. libraries, which are

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The coronavirus pandemic should force a rethink of higher education

Laveta Brigham

Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Sociology and Medicine and Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University. Christine Baker-Smith is Managing Director and Director of Research at the Hope Center.

As the fall season approaches, students and higher education administrators are preparing for a difficult return to college.

With both the coronavirus pandemic and overdue attention to systemic racism confronting the sector, one thing is clear: For many, a new mindset is required to produce positive results for students. 

The American public and a preponderance of legislators think college is still 20 or even 30 years ago. Say “undergraduate” and their minds conjure a rose-colored, movie-constructed utopian scene: Mom and Dad dropping off their son at his new dorm, setting him up to study for a bachelor’s degree fueled by sushi from the dining hall, parties with his friends, perhaps a part-time job at

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The Spin: Lightfoot says threat of teachers strike didn’t force CPS remote learning plan | Is Duckworth still in veep race?

Laveta Brigham

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the Chicago Teachers Union didn’t force her or her Chicago Public Schools’ team into starting the school year online amid the pandemic. But in the ongoing battle of wills, the Chicago Teachers Union is saying the opposite.

This morning, Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson stood before the cameras and confirmed what my Tribune colleagues and other news outlets reported late yesterday afternoon: The first semester of CPS classes this academic year will be conducted online. The CTU was starting to take the first steps toward a possible strike.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s comments about the killing of a Chicago rapper in Chicago’s tony Oak Street shopping district is raising some eyebrows.

And, an association representing Illinois marijuana companies penned a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker urging the state to use marijuana tax revenue to aid social equity applicants who’ve been hurt by delays in the licensing

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Virus fears force animal sellers online for Muslim festival

Laveta Brigham

Prancing in front of a camera with its blond mane blowing in the wind, “007” is one of thousands of goats being sold online as Muslims prepare for a key religious festival shaken this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions of goats, sheep and cattle are slaughtered annually at Eid al-Adha — the festival of sacrifice — one of two major holy days observed by Muslims across the world, including some 600 million in South Asia.

The pandemic has, however, badly hit India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have shut or heavily restricted major markets, while fears about catching the virus are keeping customers away ahead of the main festival on Saturday.

“We were traumatised by the loss of two of my uncles to COVID-19 and didn’t want to sacrifice an animal,” Saddid Hossain told AFP in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.

“But we have to stay within our religious tradition, so we’d

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Maryland international students grapple with new rule that could force them out of the U.S.

Laveta Brigham

Shrey Aggarwal boarded a crowded flight June 23 to India. For weeks, he’d been exchanging emails with the Indian embassy in hopes of returning home to New Delhi for the summer, and he finally succeeded.

But now the University of Maryland student worries he won’t be able to return to College Park for his fall semester.

The physics undergraduate is among thousands of international students whose future plans were in jeopardy this week after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they would not be able to remain in the country if they took online classes this fall.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal agency had waived requirements dictating that international students could only take one online class per semester. But, on Monday, it reversed course.

The decision, which has since been challenged in federal court, has left international students attending Maryland universities scrambling to make sure their

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Will the Facebook advertising boycott force the social media giant to change? Not likely

Laveta Brigham

Hundreds of advertisers say they won’t spend money on Facebook in July or beyond over concerns the social media company isn’t doing enough to stop hate speech.  But the exodus of spenders may not be enough to push CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make the level of change that critics are demanding. 

Critics have an initial list of 10 recommendations that they say would help Facebook corral hate speech and make civil rights a priority when moderating content.

Zuckerberg and top executives, who have agreed to meet with the civil rights groups behind the Stop Hate for Profit boycott this week, plan to release the company’s third civil rights audit, which Facebook says will address many of the activists’ concerns, as well as other policy changes that were already under consideration.

The pressure on Facebook seems intense, but it may not be as powerful as the headlines make it appear.


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