Sep 11, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 423 words, a 2-minute read.

🚨Situational awareness: Bahrain is joining the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel.

  • Why it matters: The deal is a win for the Trump administration and a major breakthrough for Israel, which lacks diplomatic recognition in many Middle Eastern countries.
1 big thing: Northwest nightmare

In Talent, Ore., Rob Price helps his mother, Yvonne Webber, find personal items in her destroyed home. Photo: Paula Bronstein/AP

Portland and Seattle currently have the worst air quality in the world, thanks to wildfires raging along the length of the West Coast.

  • Residents were advised to stay indoors, particularly those with medical conditions.

The big picture: Wildfires are raging near population centers at the same time as they threaten cherished state landmarks.

  • Huge chunks of Oregon are under evacuation orders, and some towns are already razed.
  • A police car rolled through the streets of Molalla (pop. 9,000) with a loudspeaker blaring “evacuate now," AP reports.

Between the lines: Firefighters are also dealing with a second threat — misinformation.

  • “I am physically and emotionally exhausted,” firefighter Matt Lowery wrote Thursday night on Facebook, AP reports.
  • “I also want to address an issue that keeps coming up, even from some of the public that we are talking to while working. It is hot, dry, and fire spreads quickly in those conditions. There is nothing to show it's Antifa or Proud Boys setting fires. Wait for information.”

The bottom line: This is the bad cycle in action. Climate change makes devastating wildfires more likely, and those wildfires worsen climate change.

Go deeper 🎧: Tech's role in fighting California wildfires

2. Scenes from 9/11 remembrance
Photo: Amr Alfiky/The New York Times via AP

Above: Joe Biden greets Vice President Mike Pence at the 19th anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero in observance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Below: Alice Amsterdam holds a tribute card of fallen FDNY firefighter Joseph Patrick Henry at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Photo: John Minchillo/AP
3. Catch up quick
  1. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Florida can order ex-felons to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote. Go deeper.
  2. Exclusive: All Facebook employees will be able to take extra paid time off to help staff polls on Election Day and participate in any training ahead of time. Go deeper.
  3. Lawmakers are probing the Department of Homeland Security based on a former senior official's whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop giving assessments on threats of Russian interference in the U.S. because it "made the president look bad." Go deeper.
  4. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is backtracking on his decision to fly with his family on a private jet to D.C. for the signing ceremony of the Israel-UAE normalization agreement. Go deeper.
4. #Classhacks via TikTok
Via TikTok

Now viral on TikTok: Videos that help kids dodge teachers when they're stumped by a question.

  • How it works: Someone created a video that sounds like a Zoom call with a bad connection, so teachers think the student is trying to answer.
  • "The videos sound like the voices of the parents on the old Peanuts cartoons. They even come with garbled voices that sound low and high to accommodate both male and female voices," USA Today reports.

The bottom line: "One such video has been seen by more than 7 million users and shared almost 100,000 times."

Hear a video.

Mike Allen