As Joe Manchin wields excuse after excuse for killing the Build Better Act, David Dayen reminds us that President Biden can write a lot of Executive Orders that would do a lot of good. (Indeed, The American Prospect has made a list!) I sure hope President Biden isn't afraid that right-wingers will call him a dictator, since a) our laws already give our President the authority to issue these orders, b) right-wingers will say anything, no matter how stupid, and c) uh, have they met their Personal Lord and Savior Donald Trump?
When I read that rural America faces an eviction crisis because American Rescue Plan Act funding for folks facing eviction has, ah, had a hard time getting to the good Americans who need it, I remind myself that this is why rural Americans vote for Republicans so much -- because Democrats don't do anything good for them when they have the power. I'm sure the information gap between what rural folks think they can get and what they can get is real, but again, shouldn't our federal government make damn sure everyone knows what they need to know?
Ho hum, a Gizmodo/Markup investigation finds that "predictive policing algorithms" tend to ignore white neighborhoods while "predicting" more crime in Black/Brown neighborhoods, meaning that "residents in over-policed areas are confronted, detained, or rung up on bullshit charges with alarming frequency" and then "this data gets fed back into the software to generate more of the same abuse." If you're still thinking but that's where more crime is har har har, all you need ask is whether every conceivable criminal gets punished. Difficulty: if you've ever committed a crime, no matter how small, and not served time for it, then the answer is "no." You did your crime out of sight, you say? Why do you suppose law enforcement didn't see you?
Noami S. Baron at The Conversation comes up with an unexpected answer to the age-old question of " Why We Remember More by Reading -- Especially Print -- Than From Audio or Video" -- that people approach audio, video, and social media with more of "an entertainment mindset," and thus don't devote their full attention to it. That's illuminating -- and mind-boggling, to me at least, since I try to devote my full attention to a TV program or an album just as I do to a book, but again, that's probably just me. All the other reasons you do better reading in print than any other thing -- because you touch paper, you remember the "physical geography" of a page, you remember what you read based on how far into the book you were, because you're more likely "multitasking" when you're on social media -- still operate, of course. Plus, I'd argue, you can re-read something in print far more easily and effectively than you can "re-read" a song or video (which occur in time and usually without accompanying written text) or even read a news article online (which could change when you read it again).
When I hear that the January 6 attempted coup has made the House of Representatives "a deeply unpleasant place to work," I'm tempted to call that a no-shit-Sherlock moment. After all, some of them helped plan the January 6 attack, while roughly a third of them enabled it by voting against certifying the 2020 election that same day for no damn good reason. When folks give you the impression they want you to die, it's hard to break bread with them. Or even drink martinis with them at D.C. watering holes. (The Wall Street Journal article referenced at the link sits behind a paywall, so I don't know how much it bought into all that both-sides-are-to-blame rubbish. Then again, maybe I do.)
Finally, as the year draws to a close, Kevin Drum's analysis of "The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage" is worth revisiting. Spoiler alert: basically, the "real source" of "our national temper tantrum" is the rise and primacy of Fox News over the last two decades -- yeah, talk radio and social media have done some damage, but not the damage Fox News has done. I feel compelled to mention, again, that what it offers its viewers -- rage -- is a very potent drug; it gives its users the illusion of control over chaos. And it's a damn shame that these very same people would never regard immigration or critical race theory as "chaos" unless some slick snake-oil salesfolk told them so, over and over again.