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The News Not Noise Letter: Can A Temporary Gun Ban Help New Mexico?
A bold executive action by NM’s governor sparks controversy on all sides. Plus: Elon Musk vs. the Anti-Defamation League, and why is the DOJ suing Google?
Happy Monday and welcome to what a friend calls “the start of cultural fall.” Technically, fall doesn’t start until September 23, 2023. I was off last week and spent some time looking at art which has inspired me to think about ways to include more art and culture in the news. If you have ideas, please share!
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Here are the headlines:
NM Gov + Guns: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an emergency order on Friday that bans people from carrying a gun in public in Albuquerque for 30 days. She issued the rule as a “public health order” citing a spate of recent shootings that claimed the lives of three young children. The response has been rapid and fierce. The Bernalillo County Sheriff, the District Attorney, the Albuquerque Mayor and Police Chief have all said they will not enforce the order. The National Association for Gun Rights, a group to the right of the NRA, filed a lawsuit arguing that this 30-day ban violates the Second Amendment. The National Review published an article headlined, “Why not arrest Governor Lujan Grisham?” And several state reps are calling to impeach the “rogue” governor. The attacks are coming from the left as well. California Rep. Ted Lieu and gun safety activist David Hogg both denounced the executive move saying “no state in the union can suspend the federal constitution.” Grisham, who is a lawyer, says she expected lawsuits but made the decision because “enough is enough.” In a statement she said, “The time for standard measures has passed. When New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game — when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn — something is very wrong.” Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, took office in 2019 after previously serving as a US Representative for New Mexico’s 1st District. A fun though not especially relevant fact: VP Kamala Harris officiated her wedding in 2022. Lujan Grisham’s order also increased funding for law enforcement.
Antisemitism, Musk and Hitler: Elon Musk has a new explanation for X’s ad revenue loss since he acquired the social media giant formerly known as Twitter. He blames the Anti-Defamation League, which he claimed is "trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic." The ADL is an organization founded to combat hate speech and bias against Jewish people. They actively monitor extremist activity on social networks and make their reports public. It seems Musk takes issue with reports like this one, which says hate speech has mushroomed on Twitter (now X) since Musk reinstated “previously banned influential accounts with a history of hate.” Now Musk is threatening to sue the group, accusing it of “destroying half the value of the company so $22 billion.” (Someone get this man a mirror!) He has also promoted the hashtag #BanTheADL on the site. Keep in mind, the ADL co-chaired the anniversary March on Washington along with civil rights leaders; works with AAPI groups to combat anti-Asian hate; fights for hate crime legislation to protect LGBTQ+ populations; and shares its research on extremist activity with federal law enforcement. Facing obvious claims of anti-Jewish bias, Musk insists he is “against anti-Semitism of any kind,” but he has also engaged with and amplified posts by accounts that are undeniably antisemitic, growing their reach and spreading their message. You can see some of those accounts here, but be warned: many are brazen and vile.
ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt said Musk’s allegations are “entirely false, demonstrably untrue, and we will never back down in calling out antisemitism and hate.” I spoke with Greenblatt on the News Not Noise podcast last year about the mainstreaming of hate. The episode feels especially relevant right now.
It’s worth noting that incidents of brazen antisemitism and white nationalism are increasing across the country: an NNN’r sent me this story about an Alabama group called “Clean Up Alabama” which claims to “safeguard” children’s sections of libraries. They recently quoted Hitler by name in their newsletter. An Indiana chapter of “Moms for Liberty” recently shared the same quote openly – proudly? – attributing it to Adolf Hitler, and has issued an apology since.
Earthquake in Morocco: A deadly magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook Morocco Friday night, and the confirmed death toll is currently above 2,800, and nearly as many people are injured. Aftershocks persisted through the weekend. Rescuers continue to dig through rubble to locate survivors and bodies, but slow and chaotic rescue operations have drawn international criticism.
FDA Approved New COVID Booster: The FDA approved a new booster for COVID targeting different variants than the previous vaccine. At time of publication, the CDC has not yet issued guidance on who should get the vaccine.
Previewing the Google Trial: In a landmark antitrust case, the DOJ is suing Google, accusing them of monopolizing online searches. They allege that Google unlawfully uses its market power to make contracts with other tech companies to make Google the default search engine on their devices and browsers, illegally locking out rivals. Google says this is legal and how business is done. You can read more about the case here. Similarweb says Google gets more than 90% of search traffic.
Spanish Soccer Chief Resigns! Luis Rubiales resigned as president of Spain’s soccer association three weeks after kissing Women’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso against her will. Hermoso has filed a criminal complaint and Rubiales faces charges of sexual assault and coercion.
9/11, 22 Years Later: It’s September 11th, and we want to end by remembering the nearly 3000 people who died in the 2001 terror attacks. We take this time to acknowledge those who died in the Twin Towers, the first responders who ran into the buildings and died trying to save lives; the passengers on flight 93 who died in Shanksville, and those who perished when flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon. According to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York another 341 first responders have died in the 22 years since 2001 from exposure to toxins. The Costs of War Project estimates that nearly 500,000 people have been killed or died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which the US government launched after the attacks. We also want to acknowledge the many Muslims who have fought for democracy, peace and liberalism and have faced Islamophobia in the wake of 9/11. In remarks today on the anniversary of 9/11 President Biden quoted Maya Angelou and we’ll end with her words: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived. But if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Here’s a photo taken last night by a member of the NNN audience. It shows a light beaming from the site of the fallen Twin Towers.
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