From Kassandra Frederique at TruthOut we learn that "Drug Decriminalization is Working in Oregon," and "Other States Should Follow." We should make clear that Oregon has decriminalized possession, not dealing, and in any case folks caught with small amounts of drugs still get fined ($100, and not everyone can pay that as the need arises!), just not arrested. Also, Oregon hasn't properly distributed allotted funding for drug treatment and housing. Folks may even quarrel with Oregon documenting addiction help to 16,000 out of over 4.2 million total residents, but we've been doing it the other way for 50 years to no positive effect, and if you're one of (for example) the 111 overdoses reversed at Max's Mission this past year, I wouldn't blame you for looking upon Oregon's decriminalization efforts more positively.
Heather Vogell at ProPublica describes what happens "When Private Equity Becomes Your Landlord," and I'll bet you can predict a lot of it: rents go way up, no one collects your trash, and no one fixes your hot water when it breaks, all because banksters don't know how to do a damn thing but suck money out of a property like the vampires they are. And this is why, if we must have landlords at all, we prefer landlords who live nearby (maybe on the top or bottom floor) and only have the one property to manage, because you can get them face-to-face more easily (and thus shame them more easily, if that becomes necessary) than some hedge fund bully who can't even hang curtains. That's the bad news. The worse news: our government, via our Federal Housing Finance Agency, enables this nefarious process.
When confronted with a list of eight things that would have to go right for Democrats to keep both houses of Congress in the 2022 midterms -- a list that includes COVID containment, inflation going down by summer, steady GDP and stock market growth, supply chain issues worked out, no global crisis, President Biden's approvals getting into the high 40s by summer, Republicans running Springer-cam candidates, and Republicans still talking about the "stolen" 2020 election -- I find myself saying things don't look so bad! You can't predict global crises, necessarily (that's item five), but items one and three will happen, items four, seven, and eight will likely happen, and item six will happen if the other five things happen. The only other thing I worry about is inflation (item two), and that's because I don't see monopolies ending the price-gouging that's their best shot at getting Republicans back into power in Congress. Unless we all get in our cars and block off streets and honk our horns all day about it! I am no more than half-joking about that.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) goes on Face the Nation, and faced with a mild question -- do you think Donald Trump is wrong to suggest the Vice President has the power to overturn elections? -- he responds like a damn broken robot, giving the exact same canned answer twice without answering the question. And thus Mike Pence outclasses him, which I can't imagine was Mr. Rubio's aim. This saying-the-same-thing-without-answering-the-question thing is what prompted Chris Christie to make fun of him in that 2015 Presidential debate. Val Demings had better wipe the floor with this guy in 2022.
When I hear that Joe "the Penguin" Manchin now says his "biggest opposition" to the Build Back Better Act was that it didn't go through "the process" of Senate committees, all I can do is shake my head. Set aside, for a moment, that the "process" went through him because it wasn't going to pass without his blessing; set aside that he demanded that all the bits Republicans could conceivably support get broken off into a separate bill; set aside, even, that he withdrew his own support for his own final counter-proposal. "All bills for raising revenue," which the Build Back Better Act certainly was, "shall originate in the House of Representatives," per Article I, Section 7 of our Constitution, and the bill most certainly did go through various House Committees, if "process" was what he was ever really worried about. Actually, he's only worried about one thing: how much drama he can create and how much damage it'll cause. "With great power comes great responsibility" is clearly a phrase he's never taken to heart.
Finally, some good news: our IRS has dropped its plan to use the ID.me facial recognition system, after much protest, possibly including yours. Go get yourself a Buffalo chicken cheese steak, or whatever reward you like, and consider that the only response facial-recognition proponents have in this article (and this is the New York Times, so every corporate hack gets more than enough say!) is "you'll lose your identity if you don't do what we want." Before even considering that facial recognition also could well misidentify you, particularly if you're Black, note well that the only argument they have in its favor is fear. Fear's a good reason to avoid assassin bugs, but it's not a good reason to give up what remains of your privacy.