Remember the EARN IT Act, which we told our Congressfolk to oppose earlier this week? Joe Mullin at the Electronic Frontier Foundation tells us exactly how the EARN IT Act would destroy encryption, even though the bill cleverly doesn't mention encryption. Basically, it'd allow our Attorney General to dominate a commission that would mandate "best practices" for online service corporations to handle data, and one of those "best practices" would be that they are able to screen all messages and reveal their content to law enforcement, and guess what two things they couldn't do with an encrypted message? And not for nothing, but you'd think conservatives would be more up in arms about a bill that would create yet another bureaucracy to deal with matters our laws should deal with more directly.
As our government contemplates a trillion-dollar-plus program to weather the economic devastation we expect the coronavirus pandemic will wreak, Michael Grabell and Paul Kiel at ProPublica remind us that we tried a lot of this stuff in 2008 and a lot of it didn't work. Plus a lot of other things -- expanding food stamps, expanding unemployment insurance, implementing work-sharing programs -- do work. This "stimulus" bill threatens to be just another corporate welfare vehicle, though, even if we get checks from our government, which represent, of course, our government writing checks to us with the tax money we've already given them (or, more precisely, will give them in the future).
In a similar vein, Steve Wamhoff and Meg Wiehe at ITEP find that a Democratic proposal benefits lower- and middle-income Americans a crapload more than the Mitch McConnell plan. The McConnell plan, you may not know, leaves out nearly one-fifth of all Americans in the bottom 20% of income earners -- presumably because they're the same people who "don't pay taxes," though Jesus Mary and Joseph we've slain that zombie lie a thousand times -- while the Booker/Bennet/Brown plan would give more sizable checks to all income earners in the bottom 80% (and nearly all in the bottom 95%). Of course, since Republicans came up with the "let's write everyone a check!" idea first, the Booker/Bennet/Brown plan will get attacked as a Johnny-Come-Lately plan, which would be real high school, but what else would we expect?
"Copper Destroys Viruses and Bacteria," says Shayla Love at VICE. "Why Isn't It Everywhere?" Long story short: because we started using "stainless steel, plastic, and aluminum" in place of "copper beds, copper railings, and copper door knobs." And if you're worried that the problem is the cost of copper, you would be advised to measure that cost against the cost of hospital-acquired infections as well as (of course) pandemics; if you're thinking the problem is the environmental damage wrought by copper mining, that can be mitigated by copper recycling, and anyway what about all the plastic strangling our oceans?
Chris O'Leary explains -- better than I've seen anyone else explain -- why our President is full of soup to claim he's the greatest-ever jobs President for black folks. Long story short: our President is playing with statistics, like they all do -- in terms of real jobs created for black folks, Obama's last three years still outdo our President's first three. And no one can adequately explain how he's done it, either! I've heard people try -- they credit the GREATESTZ ECONOMEEZ EVAHZ!!!!, of course, and the 2017 tax "reform," and even (I'm not lying!) the Executive Order requiring two regulations get killed for every one enacted, which will never survive a court challenge the minute one of our agencies actually tries to execute that swap. How any of this has benefited black folks in particular they can't explain, either.
Finally, an NBC reporter asks our President "what do you say to Americans that are scared?" and our President retorts "I say you're a terrible reporter." I actually think using a reporter as a punching bag resonates with a lot of Americans who are sick of drama and sensationalism, but, ah, not if your "punch" doesn't land! Our President might have waited, at least, until a reporter actually asked a dumb question; instead he came off as someone who simply doesn't know or care that we Americans do occasionally look to our President for reassurance, particularly about a pandemic that threatens us all.