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Get a weekly roundup of the best Substack posts, by hacker news affinity:

Letters from an American's top posts of the month

By hacker news affinity
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Letters from an American 4385 likes 18 Sep 23
Friday, September 15, was the fourth anniversary of these Letters from an American, although they did not then have a title. When I posted a roundup of what I thought was going on in the government on Facebook that day, I had no idea it was going to be anything other than a marker for the future.
Letters from an American 4253 likes 28 Aug 23
Buddy and I spent today visiting family on a nearby island. There is news, but I am quite happy to have left it behind for a day. I’ll be back at it tomorrow, but until then, here was the view coming in from the island in Buddys boat this evening. It has been a good day.
Letters from an American 4168 likes 17 Sep 23
The storm has left us safe and sound, and this is how it said goodbye. We are still without power and operating on a generator, so I’m going to leave it at that tonight, turn everything off, and sleep for a very long time. I'll see you tomorrow (assuming we get power back).
Letters from an American 3562 likes 03 Sep 23
On March 4, 1858, South Carolina senator James Henry Hammond rose to his feet to explain to the Senate how society worked. “In all social systems,” he said, “there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life.” That class, he said, needed little intellect and little skill, but it should be strong, docile, and loyal.
Letters from an American 3246 likes 25 Aug 23
[Note: There is a discussion of rape in paragraph 8.] Today a former U.S. president and the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination turned himself in to be arrested in Georgia. He had to because a grand jury of ordinary Americans indicted him, along with 18 other defendants, for conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Letters from an American 2812 likes 16 Sep 23
At 10:22 this morning, a Jewish temple in Birmingham, Alabama, blew the shofar, and churches rang their bells four times. It was at that moment, sixty years ago, that a bomb ripped through the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was Youth Day in the historic brick church on Sunday, September 15, 1963, and five young girls dressed in their Sunday best were in the ladies’ lounge getting ready for their part in the Sunday service that was about to start. As Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins were chatting and adjusting their dresses, a charge of dynamite stashed under the steps that led to the church sanctuary blasted into the ladies lounge, killing the four girls instantly. Standing at the sink in the back of the room, Addie’s sister Sarah survived with serious injuries.
Letters from an American 2787 likes 26 Aug 23
Tomorrow, civil rights activists will gather at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., both to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and to emphasize that the struggle for civil rights is ongoing. Monday, August 28, is the actual anniversary of the 1963 march, which is famous today primarily because it was the occasion when the final speaker, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered what became known as the “I Have a Dream” speech.
Letters from an American 2740 likes 30 Aug 23
“For far too long, Americans have paid more for prescription drugs than any major economy. And while the pharmaceutical industry makes record profits, millions of Americans are forced to choose between paying for medications they need to live or paying for food, rent, and other basic necessities. Those days are ending,” President Joe Biden declared today.
Letters from an American 2724 likes 15 Sep 23
Yesterday, Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced he would not run for reelection. That announcement came just as The Atlantic published an excerpt from a forthcoming biography of Romney by McKay Coppins in which Romney expressed disgust with his Republican colleagues for feeding Trump’s lies to their voters in exchange for power and acknowledged that “[a] very large portion of my party really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”
Letters from an American 2715 likes 02 Sep 23
New figures out today from the Labor Department show that employers added 187,000 jobs in August, up but at a slower rate than the red-hot job market has been adding since the pandemic. Unemployment ticked up to 3.8%, in part because of the 37,000 jobs lost when the trucking company Yellow declared bankruptcy. The economy appears to be steadying, with only 1.5 jobs for every person looking, down from the 2 openings in early 2022.
Letters from an American 2713 likes 31 Aug 23
Four days ago, on Saturday, August 26, in the early afternoon, a heavily armed, 21-year-old white supremacist in a tactical vest and mask, who had written a number of racist manifestos and had swastikas painted on his rifle, murdered three Black Americans at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida. He had apparently intended to attack Edward Waters University, a historically Black institution, but students who saw him put on tactical gear warned a security guard, who chased him off and alerted a sheriff’s deputy.
Letters from an American 2712 likes 08 Sep 23
Today, at the initiative of the George W. Bush Institute, U.S. presidential foundations and centers for thirteen presidents since Herbert Hoover released a statement expressing concern about the health of American democracy. The statement notes that while the diverse population of the United States means we have a range of backgrounds and beliefs, “democracy holds us together. We are a country rooted in the rule of law, where the protection of the rights of all people is paramount.”
Letters from an American 2710 likes 27 Aug 23
On this date in 1920, the U.S. Secretary of State received the official notification from the governor of Tennessee that his state had ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment, and the last one necessary to make the amendment the law of the land once the secretary of state certified it. He did that as soon as he received the notification, making this date the anniversary of the day the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.
Letters from an American 2709 likes 29 Aug 23
After making it clear that she would run her courtroom in the interests of justice without reference to the 2024 presidential election, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has set March 4, 2024, as the start date for former president Trump’s trial on four criminal counts for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Letters from an American 2603 likes 19 Sep 23
Headlines this morning said that “Congress” is in crisis. But that construction obscures the true story: the Republicans are in crisis, and they are taking the country down with them. The most immediate issue is that funding for the government ends on September 30. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, is moving forward on a strongly bipartisan basis with 12 appropriations bills that reflect the deal President Biden hammered out with Speaker Kevin McCarthy in May to get House Republicans to agree not to default on the United States debt. That deal, the
Letters from an American 2594 likes 13 Sep 23
Members of the House of Representatives returned to work today after their summer break. They came back to a fierce fight over funding the government before the September 30 deadline, with only 12 days of legislative work on the calendar. That fight is also tangled up with Republican extremists’ demands to impeach President Joe Biden—although even members of their own caucus admit there are no grounds for such an impeachment—and threats to the continued position of Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker of the House.
Letters from an American 2495 likes 21 Sep 23
The fight over how we conceive of our federal government was on full display today. The Biden administration announced the creation of the American Climate Corps. This will be a group of more than 20,000 young Americans who will learn to work in clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience while also earning good wages and addressing climate change.
Letters from an American 2485 likes 20 Sep 23
House Republicans appear to be barreling toward a government shutdown, unable to agree even to debate a bill to fund the military. That rejection made Republican leadership pull from the floor a continuing resolution to fund the government into October. Extremist members simply refuse to agree to any bill that doesn’t cave to their demands. And, as NBC News reporters note, “The House [Republican] chaos is worse than it may appear.” The bills over which they are currently fighting cannot possibly pass the Senate. Government funding ends on September 30.
Letters from an American 2419 likes 04 Sep 23
Almost one hundred and forty-one years ago, on September 5, 1882, workers in New York City celebrated the first Labor Day holiday with a parade. The parade almost didn’t happen: there was no band, and no one wanted to start marching without music. Once the Jewelers Union of Newark Two showed up with musicians, the rest of the marchers, eventually numbering between 10,000 and 20,000 men and women, fell in behind them to parade through lower Manhattan. At noon, when they reached the end of the route, the march broke up and the participants listened to speeches, drank beer, and had picnics. Other workers joined them.
Letters from an American 2407 likes 06 Sep 23
On Saturday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden went to Florida, where he surveyed the damage, praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and told the people of Florida: “Your nation has your back, and we’ll be with you until the job is done.”
Letters from an American 2386 likes 07 Sep 23
Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, to attend the U.S.–Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit. ASEAN is a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia whose combined population is more than 600 million (almost twice the size of the U.S.); the East Asia Summit expands ASEAN with several more nations. At meetings today, she emphasized the U.S. commitment to Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific. “We are a proud Pacific power, and the American people have a profound stake in the future of the Indo-Pacific,” she said.
Letters from an American 2374 likes 14 Sep 23
Russian president Vladimir Putin met with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un today in Russia’s far east. His need to turn to North Korea’s isolated leader is a dramatic fall for Putin, who just four years ago was hobnobbing with then-president Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Now, thanks to his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Putin, too, is isolated, charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court, and under an arrest warrant.
Letters from an American 2365 likes 01 Sep 23
The Biden administration emphasized today its whole-of-government response to addressing the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia—which hit Florida yesterday before moving north into Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina—and by the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, which broke out on August 8. Idalia, which made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, brought 125-mile-an-hour winds and intense flooding that have left at least three people dead. The Maui wildfires, at least one of which was apparently started by a downed electric line, have killed at least 115 people and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings.
Letters from an American 2351 likes 10 Sep 23
At the Group of 20 (G20) meeting today in New Delhi, leaders announced plans for a new rail and shipping corridor that will connect India and Europe through the Middle East. This ambitious plan is part of Biden’s larger vision of creating high-quality infrastructure projects and the development of economic corridors that together should promote sustainable growth in low- and middle-income countries. The theory is that enhanced global trade should reduce economic gaps among countries, expand access to electricity and telecommunication, and promote clean energy.
Letters from an American 2268 likes 09 Sep 23
It turns out the special purpose grand jury of Fulton County, Georgia, created in May 2022 to investigate the attempt to disrupt the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, recommended criminal charges against more people than the 19 the traditional grand jury indicted in August. Their report, published today, shows that a majority of the 23-person special grand jury also recommended the state bring charges against South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham and the two Georgia senators in early 2020: David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Letters from an American 2243 likes 24 Aug 23
Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with the ambassador from the People’s Republic of China, Xie Feng, in advance of her trip to Beijing and Shanghai next week. China’s economy has been slowing down alarmingly recently, with falling consumer prices, a deteriorating real estate sector and market, high youth unemployment, and slumping exports, and international leaders are concerned that China’s economic troubles could spread.
Letters from an American 2092 likes 12 Sep 23
Yesterday, President Joe Biden was in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong announced they were elevating U.S.-Vietnam relations from the comprehensive partnership agreement President Barack Obama signed in 2013 to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Vietnam’s highest tier of international partnership. The earlier measure called for cooperation in transnational crime and public health; the new measure will boost Vietnam's high-technology sector and security.
Letters from an American 2078 likes 22 Sep 23
The Senate has confirmed three top defense leaders. Last night it confirmed Air Force General Charles Q. Brown Jr. to replace Army General Mark A. Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he retires at the end of the month. Today, it confirmed General Randy A. George as Army chief of staff and General Eric M. Smith as Marine Corps commandant.