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9:05 PM ET, August 31, 2021

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 Top Items: 
Reuters:
Exclusive: Before Afghan collapse, Biden pressed Ghani to ‘change perception’  —  In the last call between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Afghanistan counterpart before the Taliban seized control of the country, the leaders discussed military aid, political strategy and messaging tactics …
RELATED:
Jeff Greenfield / Politico:
The Hidden Message In Joe Biden's Afghanistan Speech
Discussion: Washington Examiner
U.S. Department of Justice:
Fort Walton Beach Man Faces Federal Indictment For $25 Million Scheme To Defraud  —  PENSACOLA, FLORIDA - Stephen M. Alford, 62, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was indicted by a federal grand jury on counts of wire fraud and the attempted prevention of seizure of an electronic device …
RELATED:
Politico:
Man charged with $25M extortion scheme promising pardon for Rep. Matt Gaetz  —  A Florida developer and fraud convict was arrested Tuesday on a charge that he tried to extort $25 million from the father of Rep. Matt Gaetz in exchange for a presidential pardon that would shut down a high-profile …
Washington Post:
Oklahoma congressman threatened embassy staff as he tried to enter Afghanistan, U.S. officials say  —  The call to the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan came in Monday.  On the line, two U.S. officials said, was Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) with an unusual and urgent request …
Discussion: Politico
RELATED:
Dion Nissenbaum / Wall Street Journal:
Afghan Interpreter Who Helped Rescue Biden in 2008 Left Behind After U.S. Exit  —  Interpreter stranded in Afghanistan makes a White House appeal: 'Don't forget me here.'  —  Thirteen years ago, Afghan interpreter Mohammed helped rescue then- Sen. Joe Biden and two other senators stranded …
Kent Wainscott / WISN:
Paul Ryan says former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election  —  The former speaker says he doesn't see himself on a ballot anytime soon  —  Hide Transcript Show Transcript  —  The latest breaking updates, delivered straight to your email inbox.  —  Your Email Address  —  Submit
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Dan Mangan / CNBC:
Capitol riot lawyer John Pierce goes missing with Covid excuse and 17 pending cases, prosecutors say
Discussion: Insider and Washington Examiner
Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento area students confirmed trapped in Afghanistan |  The Sacramento Bee  —  At least 24 Sacramento-area students are confirmed to be stranded in Afghanistan as turmoil continues in Kabul, according to school officials.  —  San Juan Unified school district staff said 24 students …
Allahpundit / HotAir:
Texas election bill passes legislature, heads to Abbott for signature  —  Three months after House Democrats first broke quorum to stymie a previous iteration of the legislation, Republicans in the House and Senate Tuesday signed off on the final version of Senate Bill 1 to further tighten …
RELATED:
New York Times:
Texas G.O.P. Passes Election Bill, Raising Voting Barriers Even Higher
Barbara Starr / CNN:
Taliban members escorted Americans to gates at Kabul airport in secret arrangement with US  —  (CNN)The US military negotiated a secret arrangement with the Taliban that resulted in Taliban members escorting groups of Americans to the gates of the Kabul airport as they sought to escape Afghanistan, according to two defense officials.
Matt Taibbi / TK News:
NPR Trashes Free Speech.  A Brief Response  —  In an irony only public radio could miss, “On the Media” hosts an hour on the perils of “free speech absolutism” without interviewing a defender of free speech.  —  The guests for NPR's just-released On The Media episode about the dangers …
Robbie Gramer / Foreign Policy:
‘We Feel His Presence in the Department Is Threatening’  —  State employees protest the continued employment of an “antisemitic” blogger in their ranks.  —  A group of more than 70 State Department officials sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken voicing alarm about …
Discussion: New York Times
RELATED:
Joel Gehrke / Washington Examiner:
Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan in line for GOP backlash over Afghanistan crisis
Discussion: National Review
Patricia Murphy / Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The Jolt: Anti-vaxxers shut down vaccination event, harass state health workers  —  News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  —  The headlines out of Gov. Brian Kemp's latest press conference focused on the thousands of Georgia National Guard troops he's preparing …
Anne Applebaum / The Atlantic:
The New Puritans  —  “It was no great distance, in those days, from the prison-door to the market-place.  Measured by the prisoner's experience, however, it might be reckoned a journey of some length.”  —  So begins the tale of Hester Prynne, as recounted in Nathaniel Hawthorne's most famous novel, The Scarlet Letter.
New York Times:
Social Security is projected to be insolvent a year earlier than previously forecast.  —  The financial outlook for Social Security is eroding more quickly than previously expected, as the coronavirus pandemic has drained government revenues and put additional strain on one of the nation's most important social safety net programs.
Discussion: Raw Story
RELATED:
Liliana Frankel / Oregonian:
Rural Oregon school superintendent fired after enforcing state mask mandate  —  ADRIAN - Kevin Purnell was fired Monday as superintendent of the Adrian School District just one week after students returned to school.  —  The Adrian School Board, convening in an emotionally charged special meeting …
Discussion: Raw Story
RELATED:
Zoe Richards / The Daily Beast:
Beloved Teacher Dies of COVID in School District That Chose Jeans Over Masks
Discussion: WTOC, Raw Story and WJCL
Josh Rogin / Washington Post:
The U.S. government left its own journalists behind in Afghanistan  —  Now that the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete, many stories of heroic efforts to save Americans and Afghan allies are pouring out, each describing one facet of the chaos and dysfunction that plagued …
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
Joe Biden's Critics Lost Afghanistan  —  A month ago I thought I was a cynic about our 20-year war in Afghanistan.  Today, after watching our stumbling withdrawal and the swift collapse of practically everything we fought for, my main feeling is that I wasn't cynical enough.
Craig Harris / Arizona Republic:
FBI examining $100M tax refund push by Gov. Ducey staffers after Arizona Republic investigation  —  The FBI's Public Corruption unit is investigating efforts by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's past and current staffers - including one who is now a federal judge - to push for a closed-door deal …
Discussion: Raw Story
Ross Barkan / Political Currents:
The Problem With Media  —  Groupthink and economic precarity go together  —  Though portrayed as an existential threat to the free press for all four years of his exhausting and excruciating presidency, Donald Trump was nothing of the sort.  This was obvious to anyone who paid attention …
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
‘They have better things to do’ - Major Republican donors are staying away from Trump  — Several of the Republican Party's biggest and most influential donors are signaling that they don't plan on helping fund former President Trump's political operation, at least for now.
Discussion: Raw Story and Mediaite
Associated Press:
Ida's sweltering aftermath: No power, no water, no gasoline  —  NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Louisianans sweltered in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on Tuesday with no electricity, no tap water, precious little gasoline and no clear idea of when things might improve.
Pew Research Center:
Majority of U.S. public favors Afghanistan troop withdrawal; Biden criticized for his handling of situation  —  With the U.S. military evacuation of Afghanistan completed - bringing America's longest war to an end - 54% of U.S. adults say the decision to withdraw troops from the country was the right one …
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Madison Cawthorn's vile lies about Jan. 6 reveal a big truth about the right  —  Rep. Madison Cawthorn is under fire for predicting “bloodshed” if our elections “continue to be rigged” and “continue to be stolen.”  The North Carolina Republican, speaking at a political event …
New York Times:
Mike Richards Is Out as ‘Jeopardy!’  Executive Producer  —  Three weeks after naming him as Alex Trebek's replacement to host the show, Sony cited “disruption and internal difficulties” in its announcement that he will leave the program entirely.  —  Sony said on Tuesday that Mike Richards …
The White House:
Remarks by President Biden on the End of the War in Afghanistan  —  THE PRESIDENT: Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan — the longest war in American history.  —  We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety.
Zachary Brennan / ENDPOINTS NEWS:
BREAKING: In a major blow to vaccine efforts, senior FDA leaders stepping down  —  Two of the FDA's most senior vaccine leaders are exiting from their positions, raising fresh questions about the Biden administration and the way that it's sidelined the FDA.  —  Marion Gruber …
Mark Scott / Politico:
Thousands of posts around January 6 riots go missing from Facebook transparency tool  —  Scores of Facebook posts from the days before and after the January 6 Capitol Hill riots in Washington are missing.  —  The posts disappeared from Crowdtangle, a tool owned by Facebook that allows researchers …
Tara Haelle / New York Times:
This Is the Moment the Anti-Vaccine Movement Has Been Waiting For  —  Ms. Haelle is a science journalist who covers vaccine hesitancy and the anti-vaccine movement.  She is the author of “Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines.”  —  As the coronavirus began pushing …
Elizabeth Nolan Brown / Reason:
40 Ways Things Are Getting Better  —  “What has gotten materially better in America in, say, the last twenty years?”  David Walsh, a University of Virginia postdoctoral fellow, casually asked on Twitter yesterday.  —  Hundreds of responses poured in, citing everything from consumer goods …
Discussion: Twitchy and Discourse.net
Monmouth University Polling Institute:
McAuliffe Holds Issue Edge in Guv Race  —  Biden and Trump factor into vote choice for some  —  West Long Branch, NJ - Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a lead in his bid to return to the Virginia governor's mansion after a four-year absence according to Monmouth ("Mon-muth") University Poll.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Maeve Reston / ABC7:
CA recall contender Larry Elder makes misleading claim that young people don't need COVID vaccines
Discussion: CNN
Roxanne Roberts / Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton's ‘deplorables’ speech shocked voters five years ago — but some feel it was prescient
BBC:
We've updated our Privacy and Cookies Policy
Discussion: National Review
 Earlier Items: 
Shane Goldmacher / New York Times:
G.O.P. Governors Fight Mandates as the Party's Covid Politics Harden
Dan Pfeiffer / The Message Box:
The Coming Republican Demonization of Afghan Refugees
Discussion: CNN and HuffPost
Jennifer Medina / New York Times:
What Voters in a California Swing District Say About Afghanistan
Discussion: HotAir
Glenn Kessler / Washington Post:
No, the Taliban did not seize $83 billion of U.S. weapons