LeVar Burton Still Loves You
Best news of the week: LeVar Burton still loves us. 🏾
Tiresome news of the week: the people y'all elected to sit on Capitol Hill are no closer to avoiding a government shutdown than they were 7 days ago.
What the Health
Free COVID tests are for the streets again. You can order them at COVID.gov/tests starting today.
Almost 500K people, many of them children, recently had their Medicaid coverage reinstated after a computer error revoked their enrollment.
Black midwives could seriously help reduce Black maternal mortality rates. If you’re in the market for Black birth workers, there’s a directory here for midwives and another here for doulas. For those of you interested in becoming a midwife yourself, check out the Black Midwife Alliance for support and resources.
Keeping Up with Biden & Harris
5 US citizens imprisoned in Iran came home last week, thanks to a deal negotiated by Joe & Co.
Biden took aim–in a roundabout way–at Russia and China during his speech to the UN General Assembly.
The US & Saudi Arabia & Israel in a defense treaty love triangle? We love associating with countries that have questionable human rights practices. Oh wait…
Ukraine came up on another $325M in weapons aid after their president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the POTUS last week.
On Joe’s 2024 vision board: banning medical debt from our credit reports.
Rounding out the week, President Biden & VP Harris launched a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention with the intent of finding ways around Congress’ inaction on gun control.
Congress, What’s Good?
You know the House GOP’s spending deal that we said was supposed to be approved by all Republicans and help avoid a shutdown? Yeah…just kidding. Unsurprisingly, Kevin McCarthy still can’t get his crew in line and now he’s getting side eyes from inside and outside of the House. The lower chamber’s far right members are threatening to get him TF up out the top spot and Senate GOPers are concerned about his ability to lead. Bipartisanship might be the way we avoid a government shutdown in 5 days, but working with Democrats is never an option. Duh.
If it’s one thing House Republicans can do in unity, it’s go after Biden. The first impeachment hearing is coming soon. Soon, as in this week.
Things the Senate did:
The dress code was officially relaxed, allowing Senators to wear whatever they want moving forward. This, of course, upset Republicans who are worried about decorum.
3 military officials were finally appointed to new roles. This is literally just 1% out of 300 appointees who’ve been waiting to be confirmed for the past 6+ months. Don’t count on the rest being approved anytime soon.
Here’s a taste of what’s in committee meetings this week:
Recouping stolen pandemic funds (PPP scammers beware)
How colleges are responding to the end of affirmative action
Looking to 2024
In one of his 5011 criminal cases, Donnie’s Twitter fingers were placed under a gag order in an effort to minimize the threats and intimidation aimed at other parties involved. Is this move, done out of safety, infringing on this first amendment right?
North Carolina’s GOP is full of forward thinkers. Republican state legislators are already gunning for control of the state’s elections, which would ultimately remove power from their Democratic governor’s hands. Of course, Governor Roy Cooper will veto these bills once they reach his desk, but Republicans have the majorities needed to override vetoes. 2024 will be interesting in this battleground state.
In a complete 180º shift away from his party’s previous position, Virginia’s Republican governor is now encouraging voters to vote by mail.
Social Justice Round Up
There are laws that protect abortion clinics from violence. There are also pro-life advocates trying to repeal them.
Once an advocate for the people, always an advocate. LeVar Burton, is leading a coalition of prominent figures to bring an end to book bans.
Remember that Texas student who was suspended for his locs after the CROWN Act was enacted? He and his family are pursuing legal action against state officials, who they believe failed to enforce the law.
Around the Diaspora
Jamaica is officially in the midst of a dengue fever outbreak.
Is this the answer? Root vegetables are said to be the key to resolving food insecurity across the Motherland.
Getting to the Money
$37M in student debt was canceled for over a thousand University of Phoenix students. Those who qualify borrowed federal funds to attend the school anytime between September 12, 2012 and the end of 2014. Former U of Phoenix students should apply for Borrower Defense to confirm eligibility.
New to that freelancing life? Here are 7 approaches to help you set your rates.
Culture that Pops
Outkast’s iconic Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album came out 20 years ago. Instead of thinking about how old you’re getting, take some time to revisit the album and reflect on its influence on today’s music.
The first Black woman puppeteer on Sesame Street just released an album for kids with Bootsy Collins. Our inner child has already decided that we’re going to give it a listen, LOL.
“Lemme upgrade you.” That’s whatBeyoncé and the City of Houston said to the Knowles-Rowland House. The shelter for Houston’s unhoused population will be getting $8M in renovations, which will be completed at the end of next year.