Skip to toolbar
 
HomeOpen Thread1/1/21 Open Thread

83
Leave a Reply

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
32 Comment threads
51 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
jcitybonepolarbear4BennyphatkhatNYCVG Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Benny

Tip jar for wi62!

Tip Jar.jpg
Benny

Senate Democrats Could Have Defied Mitch McConnell on $2,000 Checks. They Chose Not to.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/12/senate-democrats-mitch-mcconnell-relief-checks-covid-19

t was always a possibility that Democrats would get too scared to halt a major Pentagon bill in order to help millions of Americans get $2,000 survival checks — in fact, as we wrote earlier this week, it was very likely that they would back down the moment any bad-faith critic so much as waved a flag and said “support the troops.”

And capitulation became even more likely when Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, corporate Democratic pundits, and billionaire-owned elite media outlets began parroting a series of eerily similar let-them-eat-cake talking points against the survival checks — which McConnell promptly used to bludgeon proponents of the bipartisan initiative.

But even appreciating all of this — and also knowing that many Democratic leaders still cling to an outdated austerity ideology — the sheer scale of Wednesday’s Democratic surrender was truly a sight to behold. And it probably ended the chance for more immediate aid to millions of Americans facing eviction, starvation, and bankruptcy.

The day began with Sen. Bernie Sanders following through on his promise to deny unanimous consent for the Senate to advance a $740 billion defense authorization bill, until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allows an up-or-down vote on legislation that would send $2,000 survival checks to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000.

Sanders’s move forced McConnell to ask the Senate to pass a formal motion to proceed on the defense bill, which would let Republicans move forward on the Pentagon priority without a vote on the $2,000 checks. The motion created the moment in which Democrats could have stood their ground and cornered the GOP leader.

Instead, as Republicans saber rattled about the need to pass the defense bill, forty-one Democrats obediently voted with McConnell, allowing him to move the defense bill forward without a vote on the checks. That included “yes” votes from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris, the lead sponsor on a bill to give Americans monthly $2,000 checks during the pandemic. One day before her vote to help McConnell, Harris had called on the Republican leader to hold a vote on her legislation.

Only six members of the Senate Democratic Caucus mustered the courage to vote against McConnell’s maneuver — Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, and Ron Wyden. Democratic senators in fact provided the majority of the votes for the measure that lets the defense bill proceed without a vote on the $2,000 checks.

It was called a motion to proceed, but it really was a motion demanding Democrats concede — and they instantly obliged.

It Didn’t Have to Go This Way
Had most Senate Democrats voted against that motion, they might have had a chance to deny McConnell and stall the process — after all, five Republicans also voted against the measure, including Missouri’s Josh Hawley, who has pushed the survival checks with Sanders.

Republican president Donald Trump has called for Congress to pass the $2,000 checks, but Georgia’s Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — who only this week started pretending they support the direct aid — were nowhere to be found. They skipped the vote, effectively refusing to use their power to deliver relief to the roughly two-thirds of Georgia households who would benefit from the checks.

To be sure, there may still be some opportunities for procedural delays in the final days of the Senate session.

It is also theoretically possible that the fluid dynamics of the closely contested Georgia Senate races — where the Democratic candidates are campaigning for the $2,000 checks — may compel McConnell to relent and allow a vote on the direct aid, if he suddenly feels it is necessary to hold onto his job as majority leader.

So yes, Sanders’s pledge to lock the gates and prevent the Senate from going home for the New Year’s holiday is valuable, in the sense that playing for time holds out the chance for unforeseen events to shift the dynamics.

But unless there is some game-changing event after Wednesday, McConnell was almost certainly correct when he said the $2,000 checks initiative now has “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.”

And McConnell may feel even less pressure to approve bigger direct payments in the future without a Republican president publicly demanding them.

Liberal Economists and Pundits Gave McConnell His Talking Points
McConnell’s crusade to stop direct aid was abetted not only by Senate Democrats’ surrender, but also by media elites who loyally represent the party’s corporate wing and who began promoting canned talking points to undermine the direct aid.

First came a barrage of attacks on the $2,000 checks initiative from Summers, a former hedge fund executive who as President Barack Obama’s national economic director stymied the push for more stimulus after the 2008 financial crisis.

Then the New York Times’ Paul Krugman pretended the wildly popular initiative is “divisive” and said “the economics aren’t very good.” Timesman Tom Friedman, who married into a real estate empire, called the idea “crazy” and fretted that checks might go to “people who don’t need the help.” The minions of billionaire Michael Bloomberg joined in with a house editorial demanding Congress block the checks.

Meanwhile, only weeks after the Washington Post news page told the harrowing tales of rising poverty and starvation in America, the paper’s editorial board argued against stimulus by insisting that “the economy has healed significantly.”

The Post — which is owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos — argued against the $2,000 checks by saying it is unjust that some rich people might in theory end up benefiting from the proposal (this, from the editorial board that still vociferously defends the 2008 Wall Street bailout that financed bonuses for wealthy bank executives who destroyed the global economy). The Post also borrowed spin from Summers, arguing that people probably won’t use the money because “restaurants are closed and air travel limited.”

This isn’t even close to true: Indoor dining was recently shut down in New York City and DC, but restaurants are fully open in most states, and an unfortunate number of people are still flying.

All of this noise was quickly weaponized by McConnell, who in a Senate floor speech directly cited Summers and the Post as justification to stop the $2,000 checks to the two-thirds of households in his own state who would benefit.

“The liberal economist Larry Summers, President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary and President Obama’s NEC director says, ‘There’s no good economic argument for universal $2,000 checks at this moment.’” McConnell said, adding: “Even the liberal Washington Post today is laughing at the political left demanding more huge giveaways with no relationship to actual need.”

Then he concluded by parroting the pundits, declaring: “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help.” McConnell is worth an estimated $34 million.

McConnell’s absurd attempt to pretend he doesn’t want to help the rich was boosted by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who also cited the Post editorial and then insisted the legislation to give $2,000 checks to individuals making less than $75,000 “is about helping millionaires and billionaires.”

Neither McConnell nor Cornyn even attempted to substantiate their allegations — but they didn’t have to. Democrats were already in the process of folding, and corporate media was more than happy to run interference.

In the end, millions of Americans struggling to survive will likely be left with just a one-time $600 check, as eighty US senators rubber stamp a bloated defense bill to show they support the troops — and then tell the poor to eat a roll call vote.

Scared is a polite term. I would call it chickenshite.

NYCVG

No filibuster. No generous relief checks.

Nothing but noise.

It is no longer possible to believe any intention mouthed by a democrat. Or an independent for that matter.

orlbucfan

This bought-and-paid-for corrupt dog and pony show has been going on for decades. That craporate corruption is solidly entrenched. The optimist in me hopes the young folks will rise up and fix it. The realist shakes my head.😔

jcitybone

Thanks wi62! Let’s get 2021 rolling.

Charles Pierce

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a35104471/senate-democrats-fold-2000-stimulus-checks/

The United States Senate saw out the final hours of this plague-ridden alley-rat of a year by doing what it does best: capping off a week of posturing by folding like a cheap suit. This is particularly true of the Democratic caucus, which talked bravely for almost a month about delaying a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act until Mitch McConnell brought an increase from $600 to $2,000 in survival checks to the floor for a clean vote. Whereupon all but six Democratic senators went over the side and voted with McConnell to move to begin debate on overriding the president*’s veto of the NDAA with no strings—and, more important, no additional cash—attached. It is important to note that, by the logic of the Senate, the country can afford $15.4 billion for the president*’s idiot Space Force next year, but it simply cannot afford the cost of keeping sick people from starving or being evicted. Dickens died too goddamn soon for these people.

(Before moving on, we should call out by name the five Democrats who joined Bernie Sanders—and, it should be said, six Republicans—in sticking to their word on the survival checks: Jeff Merkley, Chris Van Hollen, Ron Wyden and both senators from the Commonwealth—God save it! Interestingly, both incumbent Republicans from Georgia declined to vote at all.)

I am as big a fan of conservative Republican chaos as anyone is, so watching McConnell continue to go upside the president*’s head on the NDAA ordinarily would bring me great joy, especially since the president*’s veto was based on a) wanting to preserve the names of Confederate traitors on U.S. military posts and, b) wanting to arrange for Twitter to stop being mean to him. But the country is suffering now, immediately, and the unseemly scramble to pass this hog farm of a bill while essentially stiffing the rest of the country is an embarrassment to the idea of a civil society. But, as has been the case since forever, all you have to do to scare Democrats into line is infer that they are leaving the country open to its enemies, as McConnell more than well knows. It’s Red-baiting without actual Reds.

jcitybone

🤣🤣🤣

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/532272-hawley-jams-gop-with-electoral-college-fight

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s (Mo.) decision to object to the Electoral College result is putting his fellow Republican senators in a tough political bind, fueling frustration within the caucus.

Hawley is the first senator to announce support for a long-shot effort to challenge results in key states when Congress convenes a joint session on Wednesday, giving a band of House conservatives the backing they need to force a debate and vote challenging President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

It’s exactly the scenario GOP leaders hoped to avoid. Though conservatives can only delay — not change — the outcome of the election, the votes will provide potential primary fodder against 2022 incumbents and squeeze 2024 White House hopefuls.

Hawley is unapologetic about forcing his colleagues into a political box canyon.

“I imagine that voters are going to want to know. Did you express their concerns? Did you take a stand when you could or not,” Hawley said, asked about his Senate GOP colleagues who are up for reelection in 2022.

Hawley joined the Senate in 2019 and is already viewed as a potential 2024 White House contender. He says political ambitions are not driving his Jan. 6 strategy, but he is fundraising off his decision.

Asked about the likelihood that his Electoral College decision will make him unpopular with his Republican colleagues, Hawley joked: “More than I already am?”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) didn’t directly mention Hawley or any other GOP senator, but described any Republican supporting the effort to challenge the election results as an “institutional arsonist.”

1C5EE10F-4483-4A76-9B1B-AEC91D025C9F.gif
orlbucfan

What precisely is Hawley’s game? I wanted a bunch of fresh, warm, melted, salted butter drowning my popcorn. Yummy! 😋

jcitybone

Get Trump voters behind him for his 2024 run (If Trump himself doesn’t run)

jcitybone

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/12/queer-organizers-georgia-working-overtime-flip-senate-blue/

For the past five years, Mary Hooks has held the role of Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), an Atlanta-based organization fighting for “LGBTQ liberation” throughout the South.

Hooks has made a name for herself for her deep and impactful organizing work. Among other work, she helped found the Atlanta chapter of Black Lives Matter and also created Black Mama’s Bailout, an initiative to bail Black mothers and caregivers out of jail.

In January, Hooks’s tenure at SONG will come to an end and she will take some time off from organizing. She is not leaving, however, without one more fight.

Through SONG’s new political and advocacy arm, SONG Power, Hooks is helping lead the organization’s efforts to get out the vote for Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on January 5th.

The eyes of the entire nation are on these Georgia races — one between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue, the other between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Kelly Loeffler. The winners will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. Senate.

SONG Power, whose work is considered key to flipping Georgia blue in the 2020 presidential election, is working to again make history by helping to flip the Senate blue as well.

Comprised of 11,000 members and with chapters in all thirteen Southern States, SONG has been a staple of Southern organizing for decades. As such, Hooks and her team are relying on the deep connections the organization has built in Georgia.

“We’ve always believed in relational organizing,” Hooks told LGBTQ Nation. “We’re trying to put boots on the ground and at the same time be able to make sure our folks know about long-term issues we’re organizing around.”

In addition to phone banking, text banking, and fundraising, the SONG Power team has set a goal to knock on 100,000 doors by January 5th.

“We have to be highly impactful in a short amount of time,” said Jill Cartwright, SONG Power’s Georgia Statewide Campaign Organizer. “We’re trying to do something that a lot of people try to do in a year and half’s worth of campaigning.”

jcitybone

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/1/1/dr_paul_farmer_centuries_of_inequality

As the United States sets records for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, we speak with one of the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases, Dr. Paul Farmer, who says the devastating death toll in the U.S. reflects decades of underinvestment in public health and centuries of social inequality. “All the social pathologies of our nation come to the fore during epidemics,” says Dr. Farmer, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, chair of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder and chief strategist of Partners in Health.

jcitybone

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/12/31/austin-texas-new-year-restaurants-bars/

Gov. Greg Abbott directed restaurants to ignore local curfews — specifically in Travis County — that were implemented to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus on New Year’s Eve.

“To Texas restaurants. A formal statement. ‘The Governor’s statewide executive order allows food establishments to be open for in-person dining on New Years Eve as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. They should remain open. Happy New Year!’ Cheers!” Abbott wrote on Twitter at 7:39 p.m., within three hours before the Austin-area curfew was to go into effect.

“I’m not a lawyer, but… This appears to me to be a response to @KenPaxtonTX’s latest court defeat and it appears our Governor, who is a former AG and Supreme Court Justice, is telling the public to defy the ruling of a Texas District Judge. *Please* tell me I’m wrong,” wrote Democratic state Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie on Twitter.

In a statement issued within an hour of Abbott’s tweet, Austin Mayor Steve Adler noted the city was “experiencing uncontrolled spread of the virus” and that individuals should “celebrate at home, order out and tip generously.”

jcitybone

https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/investigation-trump-s-pardons-would-be-great-move-n1252518

Given reports that Trump’s team dangled pardons like candy in front of witnesses who had drawn the scrutiny of the Mueller investigation, it’s impossible to avoid questioning whether Trump is delivering pardons as recompense for continued loyalty.

Paul Manafort and Roger Stone received pardons, as did lower-level figures in the investigation into whether Trump’s campaign illegally accepted help from Russia during the 2016 election. George Papadopoulos, whom Trump once characterized as a “coffee boy,” and Alex van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of a Russian billionaire, now have pardons. Only Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy, both of whom cooperated with investigators, remain pardonless.

While the pardons can’t be undone, there are other possibilities if they resulted from conduct that crosses the line from poor judgment to abuse of presidential authority. Granting a pardon as part of a corrupt deal could implicate the federal bribery statute, 18 USC 201.

Our criminal justice system isn’t a system of mob rule. We don’t lock people up just because they’re unpopular or because they’ve done things we don’t like — even really bad things. The point of having a rule-of-law system is that criminal prosecutions are based upon statutes that establish crimes. Every crime has a set of elements that the government must prove to establish that the crime has been committed. Those elements include specific acts a defendant must engage in to commit the crime, a state of mind or intent and surrounding circumstances (for instance, that a defendant occupied a certain elected position or tried to bribe someone who was in one).

polarbear4

deleted.

Benny

I hope Julian Assange gets pardoned but we’ll see.

polarbear4

those were my thoughts. Assange, Snowden, Winner, and prolly others. his rule of law hasn’t really been for a while now. kinda scary when educated, well meaning people are completely indoctrinated with the neoliberal all-is-well-at-heart view.

polarbear4

ty wi and happiest of new years to all.:O)

Butterfly Boat live your life.jpg
jcitybone

He’s definitely a long shot, but good luck to him.

orlbucfan

He’s gaining statewide recognition. It is a smart, shrewd move on his part. Reminds me what PA’s John Fetterman may do if he tosses his hat in the Senate race.😊👍

magsview

Wow, I just looked this race up a bit. Yah, sounds like a longshot to me for sure between McAuliffe and the other candidates, but I love Lee, and it would be amazing to see his stature rise.

Mr. McAuliffe, 63, formally began his campaign surrounded by four senior elected officials, all of whom are Black. The setup was a nod both to the relationships he nurtured during his governorship from 2014 to 2018 and the complex nature of the state’s 2021 primary, in which three Black candidates have already announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination.

Mr. McAuliffe’s 2021 campaign has for months been an open secret in Virginia — at a March campaign rally, Joseph R. Biden Jr. called him “the once and future governor” — and Mr. McAuliffe’s allies have made the case that his coalition would look a lot like Mr. Biden’s, with core support from Black voters and suburbanites who sent Mr. Biden to the White House.

(McAuliffe) is close enough to former President Bill Clinton that the two men speak daily, and he claims to make more than 100 phone calls every day. A former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. McAuliffe has run for Virginia governor twice, losing a bitter 2009 primary before winning in 2013. He also weighed a 2020 presidential campaign but bowed out in April 2019 once it became clear that Mr. Biden would seek the Democratic Party’s nomination.

That would be quite a debate stage if they do one.

phatkhat
phatkhat

Gawd. Not McAuliffe again. Ugh.

Benny

He’s already got the DLCC backing.

phatkhat
phatkhat

Well, of course he does. Neolibcon.

polarbear4

knee deep in the dem mob, too.

magsview

I know, eh? UGH

Did you see that part that he supposedly decided not to run for Prez because Biden did?? omg

la58

https://www.howtogeek.com/700229/adobe-flash-is-dead%C2%A0heres-what-that-means/

Support for Adobe Flash officially ended on December 31, 2020, effectively killing off the platform. The now-discontinued web plugin will be remembered for its golden era of animated internet memes and the endless security problems that eventually led to its demise.

Let’s take a look back at Flash, what’s next, and how to enjoy the old content in 2021 and beyond.

Flash is Going Away Forever

Flash is no longer available to download since December 31, 2020, and Adobe starts blocking Flash content from running altogether on January 12, 2021. The company recommends that you uninstall Flash entirely as a matter of security. There will be no more updates to Flash, nor will you be able to download old versions directly from Adobe.

This also means that versions of Flash bundled with browsers like Google Chrome will be retired. The change is unlikely to affect your daily browsing habits since the vast majority of websites have stopped using Flash in favor of modern browser technologies.

You should avoid installing any older versions of Flash Player on security grounds. If you still want to access Flash content, there are options, but none of them are officially supported by Adobe.

I got reed of Flash a long time a go

Benny

NYCVG

The vote to override the NDAA Veto is going on without any delay.

Filibuster? Hah!!! The useless party got me again. Let’s hope it’s the last time I pay attention to anybody promising Progressive action on the national level.

Mitch is the King. Only his word matters.

Until the day—if it ever arrives—when he is removed from power.

polarbear4

ikr. was warned on twitter. imma still donna quixote i guess. my heart is not AS broken as before. poor bernie. as someone said, it’s like the anti-Bernie clique had another group meeting.

orlbucfan

It’s not just ideology. They are bribed crooks and cowards. Bernie is not.

magsview

Handing Trump a defeat was more important than the majority of the people getting help they need.

phatkhat
phatkhat

Okay. In 2020, an E5* (Enlisted person – in the Army it would be sergeant) with 6 years in would be getting $3100/mo base pay, approximately. A 3.5% raise would give them an extra $108/mo. Which is about $1300 for a whole year. Which is less than the $2000 stimulus. Not to mention, if the servicemember is married, their spouse gets that, too. So saying they did it for the troops is absolute bullshit. (*I used a kind of average servicemember – lower enlisted get way less, and the stimulus is even better for them.)

polarbear4

and the Dems could have made a big deal of that and ended up being troop heroes for demanding the $2k.

phatkhat
phatkhat

She’s a traitor and a useless sack of shit.

Benny

Drugs Don’t Work If People Can’t Afford Them”: Big Pharma to Raise Prices of 300 Medications on Jan. 1

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitalizations skyrocketed in 2020, but routine visits to the doctor’s office and demand for new prescription medications fell sharply during the worldwide lockdown.

To make up for lost revenue, the pharmaceutical industry plans to ring in the New Year by raising prices on more than 300 drugs in the United States on January 1, according to an analysis by healthcare consulting firm 3 Axis Advisors, whose findings were summarized in an exclusive report published Thursday in Reuters.

As Reuters pointed out, “The increases come as pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer are playing hero by developing vaccines for Covid-19 in record time.”

While scientific advances made by pharmaceutical companies have contributed to defeating the pandemic, critics argue that it would be naive to assume the industry is simply motivated to improve people’s well-being.

“Big Pharma’s greed is a danger to public health,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said earlier this year, when Gilead announced that it would charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 per privately insured patient for a treatment course of remdesivir, a Covid-19 drug whose development was financed in large part by taxpayers.

Pfizer spokesperson Amy Rose pointed to the coronavirus vaccine the company developed with Germany’s BioNTech in an attempt to justify next year’s drug price hikes. “This modest increase,” Rose said in a statement, “is necessary to support investments that allow us to continue to discover new medicines and deliver those breakthroughs to the patients who need them.”

Nevertheless, as David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, said last month, “Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.”

To “get innovation we need at prices we can afford,” Mitchell added, “restore balance… [and] end unlimited drug corporation pricing power.”

Drug manufacturers, including Pfizer, Sanofi USA, and GlaxoSmithKline, “are also fighting new drug price cutting rules from the Trump administration, which would reduce the industry’s profitability,” Reuters reported.

President Donald Trump pledged in 2016 to reduce prescription drug prices in the U.S., which are among the highest in the world, but it wasn’t until late 2020 that he issued a handful of executive orders meant to slash prices. According to Reuters, “Their impact could be limited by legal challenges and other problems.”

The news outlet continued:

A federal judge earlier this month blocked a last-minute Trump administration rule aimed at lowering drug prices that was set to be implemented at the beginning of the year. It was challenged by drug industry groups including PhRMA, the nation’s leading pharmaceutical trade group.

President-elect [Joe] Biden has also vowed to reduce drug costs and to allow Medicare, a U.S. government health insurance program, to negotiate drug prices. He has support from congressional Democrats to pass such legislation, which the Congressional Budget Office has said could cost the industry more than $300 billion by 2029.

As Common Dreams reported last month, researchers have linked the failure to address the unaffordable costs of prescription medications to a rise in “cost-related nonadherence” to drug therapy, which increases preventable suffering, premature deaths, and healthcare spending.

magsview

Now that’s what I call a Bloody Mary! What’s in there?! Is that a chunk of cheese, a pickle, asparagus, and a shrimp to go with that celery stalk? That’s a meal, lol. Yummmmmm.

Happy New Year wi62!

And a Happy New Year to Everyone!

I imagine that pharmacist will be losing his license. What an odd and malicious thing to do.

phatkhat
phatkhat

You gotta wonder. Did he want to “prove” they don’t work, or does he just hate people, or is he an anti-vaxxer? Maybe a Trump cult person, or Q-Anon? Interested to see the ongoing story.

Benny

Last night was overall very quiet in the neighborhood. I had written to our local HOA board to request that fireworks be curtailed for NYE as there were too many shot off on July 4th and my pets were sensitive to the noise. Ruby still shudders going out after dark because the fireworks went off for 3 hours. Anyway, the HOA did send out a request via Nextdoor and e-mail not to shoot them, and no one did.

Mr. Benny and I did see 2020 drift out by watching When Harry Met Sally.

polarbear4

awwww. kinda romantic way to spend nye. <3

moana was also scared and i didn't realize why until she was demanding attention at 1ish. luckily i'd had a weird day and was pretty much still awake.

phatkhat
phatkhat

We had torrential rains last night, so I doubt there were any fireworks here. Didn’t go out to check, LOL. And never saw Maddie pee so fast, either!

We had salad and pizza at midnite, and a nice glass of wine. I bought a pizza baker years ago at Walmart, and it has been a lifesaver. A DiGiorno fits perfectly, and we haven’t been out for pizza in years. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Betty-Crocker-Pizza-Maker-Red/37222718 Mine was not Betty Crocker, but it is the exact same item, and if you like pizza at home, it is an essential. MUCH better than oven baked, unless, of course, you have a pizza oven.

Benny

Expand the Postal Service in 2021

In 2021, President-elect Biden and the Congress must not just save the postal service—by embracing Representative Mark Pocan’s push for new USPS leadership and by providing funding to sustain the service in this pandemic moment—but move to dramatically expand it.

To put the USPS on solid financial footing, Congress should ease the crushing burden created by a requirement that it prepay billions of dollars in retiree health care costs decades into the future. “This,” the APWU recalls, “is an expense not required of any other employer—public or private—and accounts for nearly 90 percent of the USPS’ structural deficit.”

Then Biden and the Congress should work to implement bold proposals from stalwart defenders of the USPS—such as Pocan and Senator Bernie Sanders—to let the Postal Service provide more service.

They can start with “postal banking” reforms that would allow the Postal Service to provide basic financial services—something the USPS did until 1967, and that postal services in other countries do to this day. A robust postal banking program would benefit underserved communities and the 14.1 million American adults who are “unbanked” because of poverty, isolation, and the systemic injustices that define this country’s private banking system.

Biden and the Democrats should also permit the USPS to develop new services. It is absurd, as Sanders notes, that “currently, it is against the law for workers in the post offices to make copies of documents, deliver wine or beer and wrap Christmas presents.” Sanders and Pocan would also reinstate overnight delivery and improve service standards as part of a smart and necessary modernization program.

Arguing that “the beauty of the Postal Service is that it provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or how remote,” Sanders says Congress should “save and strengthen the Postal Service, not dismantle it.”

The need to strengthen the USPS is not new. But after we all saw just how essential postal workers are to the health and safety, to the economy and the democracy, of the United States, there should be no debate about the vital importance of supercharging the Postal Service in 2021.

I think this is doable, but it will depend on how much FedEx and Amazon contribute to campaigns.