Tea Cup Reads: watch the budget bills edition

What a week – the State Legislature has dueling budget bills (both of which include a PFD draw as one revenue feature), we found out who the new DNC Chair is (welcome aboard, Mr. Perez!), and we had our regular monthly Tongass Democrats meeting! Read on, and you’ll get bill numbers for those proposed budgets, a link to a report on the oil tax subsidies, and a chance to catch up with some of the best political writing of the week.

State politics
This next budget is pivotal for Alaska’s future, and both houses of the Legislature have their own take on it. With Republicans in charge of the Senate and a bipartisan majority in the House, you can probably imagine that the two bills are pretty different. You can keep up with the Senate and House budget versions in BASIS:

  • Senate Bill 70 looks like it has hearings tomorrow morning at 9:00 (but look at the link to be sure, as things can change). I personally am concerned about the level of the PFD draw in this one; 5.25% looks high to me. [UPDATE: This sentence was updated to correct this from 5.75% to 5.25%. Apologies for the mistake. Mary]
  • House Bill 115 has a lower PFD draw and reworks oil taxes.

Newsletters are hot off the presses from Senator Egan and Rep. Parish. Rep. Parish in particular does a nice job of explaining current legislation in the House. UPDATE: Rep. Kito published a new newsletter that includes information on current legislation.

Speaking of the House, I read in one of their press releases that oil production is losing the State money:

This week, economists with the Alaska Department of Revenue produced a report analyzing how much Alaska generates in oil production taxes after the state pays out subsidies in the form of oil tax credits.  The report shows that in the next fiscal year, FY 2018, the state of Alaska is slated to pay out roughly $20 million more in tax credits than it is estimated to receive in production tax payments.

Note that they have a link up there in that paragraph to the Revenue report itself.

National politics
You’ll be relieved to know that authors of books for children are getting rigorously screened by TSA. By which I mean, you will be embarrassed to be American because America treats people like this.

Everything was yelled, and everything was public, and this was the most awful thing, I heard things happening in that room happening to other people that made me ashamed to be human.

The inestimable Charles Pierce (at Esquire) covered the DNC last week, and he writes the Democratic Party’s Future not Determined by the DNC Chair Race:

If there is an actual serious political event at this meeting it is not about who’s going to be the next chairman of the party. Despite the great desire of people to continue litigating the 2016 primary campaign, you can’t shine a flashlight between Keith Ellison, Pete Buttigieg, and Tom Perez on any of the major issues of the day. … The real story lies in the relationship between [grassroots] groups like Bosworth’s and the established framework of the national party. Right now, there is a great creative turbulence outside the party establishment, primarily on the left.

[As a quick aside, here is the grassroots group he was mentioning above: Sister District Project, which wants to “help you find a place to channel your blue energy where it will actually make a difference.” They want to match Democrats in “safe” districts up with winnable contests in other locations. Take a look: I thought that there were some good ideas there.]

Just in case you missed it, here’s a summary of the “was Steve Pruitt (Trump’s EPA Administrator) lying-in-his-Senate-confirmation-hearings” scandal. If you’re having trouble keeping track, this was the scandal before the “was Jeff Sessions’ lying-in-his-Senate-confirmation-hearings” scandal. I know, it’s getting hard to keep track.

Big picture news
Whenever a subreddit makes it into mainstream news, you know it’s about something awful, and this article from the New Statesman is no exception: Spitting out the Red Pill: Former misogynists reveal how they were radicalized online.

In r/TheRedPill’s instance, the “dark truths” that the subreddit’s subscribers have swallowed are these: feminism is toxic, sexism is fake, men have it harder than women, and everything the media teaches about relationships is a lie. In reality (the argument goes) women don’t want soft-centred men/chocolates; they want to be dominated, controlled, and manipulated. The most extreme Red Pillers even believe that women want to be raped.

Violent misogyny (which is probably redundant wording) is nothing new: I’m including this one because of the issue of online radicalization. This article is one of many that shows that radicalization is not just happening in America, and it’s not just happening around religion.

The State Department is one of our important tools for dealing with international problems. Take a look at The State of Trump’s State Department, in which the Atlantic characterizes our diplomatic cadre as disheartened and ignored by the new administration.

Nothing super-exciting today! I’ve been doing WordPress tutorials at every opportunity this week. So, I’m just going to give you three generally terrific sites today:

  1. Before I had goodreads, I had a 3″ high stack of book recommendations – no, that’s literal – it was probably a whole danged tree worth of paper. Now, whenever I run across something that looks interesting, I just add it to my virtual list.
  2. If you work with diverse constituencies, you might want to check out Vu Le’s blog Nonprofit With Balls, especially the Cultural Competency Points section (which is not exactly what you are probably expecting from the title).
  3. I have moments when I wonder whether anything good ever happens, anywhere. That’s my cue to head over to the Good News Network, which features stories about people doing nice things.

Well, I have to get back to WordPressing, so have a great week and keep your chin up!

– Mary


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