Start your Monday smart: Labor Day, Brett Kavanaugh, tech execs, Yemen, Syria, NFL
(CNN)If you’re still nursing a butterbeer hangover, you’re not alone. The whole wizarding world is over the moon as it celebrates 20 years since Harry Potter landed his Nimbus 2000 in the United States.
• Happy Labor Day! It’s the unofficial end of summer and the day we set aside to honor hard-working people across the United States. In Chicago, anti-violence protesters plan to use the day to block a major thoroughfare: the Kennedy Expressway, the interstate that links downtown to O’Hare International Airport.
• She overcame rejection to become a Supreme Court superstar. CNN Films’ “RBG” (that’s what the kids are calling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg these days) premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.
• The holiday weekend comes to an abrupt halt for the US Senate, where confirmation hearings start for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Brett Kavanaugh will be introduced by GOP Sen. Rob Portman, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and liberal lawyer Lisa Blatt, a former clerk to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who wrote an op-ed supporting Kavanaugh. The hearings follow a partisan fight that’s raged over access to the conservative judge’s records.
• With nine weeks to go until the midterm elections, primary voters head to the polls in Massachusetts, where Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is trying to quiet Trump’s slam of her as “Pocahontas” (a nod to family accounts of her Native American heritage) as she works to retain her seat — and, perhaps, campaign for president in 2020. Top state jobs also are up for grabs.
• John Kerry hasn’t been shy about defending his Obama-era foreign policy achievements since Trump took office. But has he been holding back? We’ll see when his memoir publishes.
• Some of tech’s biggest names head to Capitol Hill to testify about their companies’ responses to foreign attempts to influence US political campaigns. Due before the Senate Intelligence Committee are Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. Google CEO Larry Page was invited, but his firm (which turns 20 on Tuesday) offered a senior VP instead, so senators are threatening to leave a witness chair empty. Dorsey then heads to the House for a panel hearing on accountability.
• The war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Representatives of Saudi-backed forces and Houthi rebels reportedly will meetin Geneva, Switzerland, for talks sponsored by the United Nations. The meeting comes just weeks after a Saudi-led airstrike killed dozens of Yemeni schoolchildren. The United States, which backs Saudi Arabia, warned last week that American support for its coalition is “not unconditional.” It’s been two years since the sides tried to talk their way to peace.
• In more midterm drama, longtime Democratic US Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware faces a primary challenge from community activist Kerri Evelyn Harris, who’s backed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive newcomer running for a US House seat in New York. Carper reportedly has ex-Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement.
• The Falcons take flight from Atlanta (home to your 5 Things family) to face the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL’s regular season opener. Beyond Philly quarterback Nick Foles’ health, all eyes will be on what players do during the National Anthem.
• Turkey’s President reportedly travels to Iran for a three-way meeting with leaders of that nation and Russia. Topping the agenda would be the conflict in Syria, where the regime has been planning for a final assault on rebels’ last stronghold. The United States has been worried that chemical weapons are part of the regime’s plans after Syria in recent weeks moved armed helicopters closer to Idlib. Turkey, Iran and Russia are key players in Syria’s civil war, which has claimed some 400,000 lives over seven years.
• The Mother of all Rallies is planned in Washington. Organizers call it a moment to “come together to send a direct message to Congress, the media, and the world, that we stand united to preserve and protect American culture.” The event was first held last year and, while not billed as conservative or liberal, featured familiar pro-Trump talking points.
• Scorching temps have prompted the US Open to take the unprecedented step of letting players take a break to cool down. We’ll see who makes their own history in the women’s singles and mixed doubles finals.