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Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville is covered to symbolize mourning for Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally (AP's Steve Helber)

"Violence in Charlottesville leads to soul-searching at ACLU," by AP's Tom Hays and Larry Neumeister:

  • "Faced with an angry backlash for defending white supremacists' right to march in Charlottesville, the American Civil Liberties Union is confronting a feeling among some of its members that was once considered heresy: Maybe some speech isn't worth defending."
  • "Cracks in the ACLU's strict defense of the First Amendment no matter how offensive the speech opened from the moment a counter-protester was killed during the rally in Virginia."
  • "Some critics said the ACLU has blood on its hands for persuading a judge to let the Aug. 12 march go forward. An ACLU leader in Virginia resigned, tweeting, 'What's legal and what's right are sometimes different.'"
  • Why it matters: "The backlash [is] reminiscent of one that followed the ACLU's 1978 defense of a neo-Nazi group that wanted to march through Skokie, Illinois, a Chicago suburb with a large number of Holocaust survivors."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
45 mins ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

52 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Wall Street bets it all on a vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's the time of year when Wall Street shops are rolling out predictions for where they see the stock market headed in the coming year. There's one common theme: Widespread distribution of a vaccine is the reason to be bullish.

Why it matters: Analysts say vaccines will help the economy heal, corporate profits rebound and stock market continue its upward trajectory.

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