I had to be out of town unexpectedly last week, and as a result, things were pretty quiet around TD.com. But, I’m back now, and I brought you a few of the most interesting pieces of political writing from around the internet to enjoy over a cup of tea on your Sunday morning. Read on for news about the State budget passing the House, our closer-in-chief’s bad week, a case being referred to as the “Citizens United of Products”, and a look at the best arguments that climate skeptics can come up with!
First up, we have big budget news from Rep. Parish – the House passed a budget!
On Monday, the House finally passed the operating budget bills after two weeks of hearing amendments in the House Finance Committee and on the House Floor. The House Majority Coalition voted in favor of the budget, which makes some surgical cuts but preserves education and vital services. We now must ensure we will receive our fair share from the sale of our oil as we explore other ways of addressing the fiscal crisis. The Minority Leader asked to reconsider the vote on the budget and then left town, delaying the process. The final passage should be Monday. [Emphasis mine. – Mary]
Do you know about the Alaska Senate Democrats Facebook page? It’s where I go to get tidbits like this March 24th blurb about ride sharing legislation:
Yesterday SB14 passed the Senate. The Alaska Senate Democrats and one Republican voted against it. Wondering why? [snip – Mary] … there is no minimum age or experience level required to be a driver? Did you know that the state of Alaska has just agreed to have disputes handled according to the laws of … California?
Here’s another good one from the Senate Dems on March 20th:
One of the problems with SB26, the Senate Republican bill to cut the Permanent Fund Dividend is that it completely removes the requirement that a dividend actually gets paid at all.
There’s lots more at their Facebook page, and while you’re Facebooking, take a look at the Alaska House Majority Coalition’s Facebook as well.
Turns out that there’s only a one letter difference between Closer-in-Chief and Loser-in-Chief, and only one of those guys showed up at the AHCA negotiations last week. From Charles Pierce at the Esquire:
“Obamacare is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.”
That statement should have come with a sword for Ryan to hand over to Nancy Pelosi who, let it be said, is one legislative badass. She somehow kept her caucus united. There wasn’t even a hint of blue-doggery from her caucus as it sat back and let the Republicans rip each other to shreds, let the president* get exposed as a rookie who should be sent back to A-ball, and let the conservative movement expose itself as graphically as it ever has as the soulless creature of the money power that it’s been for 40 years.
… It is a remarkable political defeat suffered by a Republican president at the hands of a Congress controlled by his own party.
Savor that for a moment …
OK, moment’s over. Next on our to do list: preventing the “zombie-eyed-granny-starver” (Pierce’s nickname for Rep. Ryan) and President Trump from breaking the Affordable Care Act so that they can claim it was never going to work. Jerks.
Digby’s blog, Hullabaloo, is so consistently good that it’s hard to pick just one piece for you. I mean, there’s a good one here on the role that citizen activism had in protecting Obamacare (which includes a tip about getting through to Congresspeople on weekends), and this one with a tidbit about how the Secret Service had to spend over $12,000 just on ski rentals to protect the Trump children during their vacation at Aspen this month.
But the winner is this sad and infuriating piece, The Company Store:
Truth may be dead, but it occasionally intrudes nonetheless on cult catechism. A study by Anne Case and Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton of Princeton University finds that in America the problem is not just people working themselves to death, but people not working themselves to death. The reprobation the Midas cult heaps on the long-term unemployed is such that excommunicates are treating their guilt and hopelessness with opioids or a bullet to the head. The Princeton researchers call them “deaths of despair.”
And, right after I read that piece, I ran across another that also had to do with injustice and drugs: Chronic Pain, and the Denial of Care for Black Women:
I never had any problem with pharmacists or doctors during the six years I lived in Chicago, but after I moved to Virginia to finish my dissertation in 2012 I was frequently accused of being a drug seeker, doctors refused to treat me, and pharmacists regularly interrogated me. My not uncommon story—stories of being profiled when attempting to get pain management, are common in my lupus support group—is a kind of discrimination that is not only painful, but life-threatening. As long as stereotypes and racism get in the way of diagnosis and treatment, young women and women of color will continue to receive substandard care.
Corporations do the Darndest Things
Periodically, a court case comes up that calls into question the concept of who owns the stuff you buy. Now, it’s Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. From Gizmodo:
You can read the full, technical details of the case here but the simple version goes like this: Since the ‘90s Lexmark has used what’s called a “shrink-wrap license” with its cartridges. It offers a “prebate” to consumers by knocking off 20% of the price in exchange for their agreement to never resell or reuse the cartridge. The consumer agrees to this the second they open the package. Essentially, Lexmark believes that those cartridges belong to them, not the consumer reselling them because the consumer didn’t have the right to sell them in the first place.
(Old) Climate News (That’s Highly Relevant)
I ran across two 2016 pieces about climate science this week that I thought I’d share, both from the The Guardian. The titles pretty much speak for themselves:
- Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice – Robin McKie
- These are the best arguments from the 3% of climate scientist ‘skeptics.’ Really. – Dana Nuccitelli
What kind of nerd are you?
Every week, I include a few links to non-political things as a way of honoring all of us as complete human beings. This week, I was super-nerdy:
- Star Wars nerds already saw these two blurbs, but maybe you needed some news about Leia and Luke! If this story about Carrie Fischer’s reaction is any indicator, CGI has gotten much closer to overcoming the uncanny valley problem. Mark Hamill tweeted out an old pic of himself only wearing half of his costume. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)
- But maybe you are a different kind of nerd? I run the Roth vs. Traditional analysis every year, and every year the Roth wins. Here’s a piece from NerdWallet claiming that Roth wins pretty much any time you fully fund your IRA: For Savers Who Maximize IRA Contributions, the Roth Pays Off.
I hope you have a wonderful week,