Our House passes H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (or MORE) Act, by a 228-164 margin on Friday, so congratulations to you if you told your Reps to pass this bill. I feel compelled to point out that House Democratic leadership delayed a vote on this bill in October at least partly out of a fear that it would hurt their members' prospects for re-election -- and then Democrats lost 12 incumbents (so far!) anyway, which suggests yet again that maybe avoiding "tough" votes doesn't help Democrats on Election Day. Certainly they'd have done better running on their passage of a real COVID stimulus bill in May.
Vijay Prashad and Carlos Ron provide a better primer on recent Venezuelan politics than you're likely to get from our "liberal" media, which did openly aid and abet a coup against its democratically-elected leader in 2019, after all. Messrs. Prashad and Ron document the right-wing reaction against the popular will in Venezuela since its people elevated Mr. Chavez in 1998; said reaction includes broad swaths of right-wing politicians boycotting elections because they're "rigged," in case you wonder where our soon-to-be-ex-President got that idea (and in case you wonder how our right-wingers would react if someone like Bernie Sanders ever became our President).
You've heard how unlikely it is that a COVID vaccine will get to poorer nations? Well, Olivia Goldhill and Nicholas St. Fleur at STAT describe how, even within a privileged nation such as ours, some folks -- including professional athletes, politicians, banksters, and other wealthy folks -- have more privilege than others. A lot of it turns on the definition of "essential worker"; be ready when the folks who declare banksters "essential workers" say it's really for the bank tellers who meet people face-to-face every day. Also be ready for the numbnuts who wonder WHY DOEZ TEH SMOKURZ GETZ TEH VACCINEZ BEFOREZ MEZ!!!!!, as if smokers don't have bad lungs or fight addiction, and (more importantly) as if reducing the number of people who get COVID doesn't help everyone generally.
Ryan Grim at The Intercept gives us the good news that President-elect Biden "has chosen someone more progressive and less entrenched in Wall Street than the same official under Obama" for nearly every Cabinet position he's announced so far. And you can attribute that directly to the agitation of liberals! Some moderates no doubt say appointing more liberal folks to Cabinet positions just opens us up to Republican attacks, but I must respond: have your eyes been open these last few decades? Republicans attack everyone to their left as a Socialist Communist Nazi Kenyan Anti-Colonialist; the best counterattack is to do good works for the people, advertise those good works, and call the attacks what they are: desperate.
Ho hum, Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin accepted over $300,000 in CARES Act corporate welfare handouts -- and then three months later slammed folks who support "socialized medicine" and other "handouts" for "foster(ing) dependency." Presumably she thinks that in a "truly free market devoid of government lockdowns and other mandates," businesses could stay open, and if (even) more people died, I guess that'd just be the "genius" of the "free" market. But, ah, who pays her salary as Lieutenant Governor? The taxpayers of Idaho, that's who, meaning she's just as much a "socialist" as anyone else.
Finally, Isabelle Morrison at Yes! posits an alternative to the music streaming corporation Spotify, where artists earn less than half a penny for every song streamed: a musician co-op called Resonate, where artists make 45% of profits. The exploitation of popular musicians is, sadly, a very old story, as Charles Shaar Murray's bio of John Lee Hooker has lately reminded me, and the big artists' response to that exploitation (like Jay-Z's Tidal or, really, the Eagles' 2007 label-free album) really only work for other big artists. You want to make music on your own and get paid like you should? Count less on getting Jay-Z's attention and more on Resonate's "stream-to-own" model, which pays artists in nine plays what they'd need at least 150 plays to collect on Spotify.