If you find yourself inundated with TEH CRIMEZ IZ TEH RISINGZ!!!!! media reports, Amanda Mull's December reporting on "The Great Shoplifting Freak-Out" provides a much-needed corrective. Why should we suspect stories alleging that organized shoplifting is on the rise? Partly because we don't categorize them correctly (i.e., we lump in armed robberies with shoplifting when they're really two different things, and our media too often links the two), but mainly because if crime rates really are up for 2021, that's most likely because we had a pandemic-related lockdown in 2020, and thus didn't get out to commit many crimes. Think Republicans didn't talk about that at Legion of Doom Headquarters? Of course they did.
I guess we should not be surprised to learn corporations pledging to get to "net zero carbon emissions" are mostly BSing us, as a NewClimate Institue/Climate Market Watch study finds they'll only get their emissions down 40% by 2030 and less thereafter. It gets worse: corporations seem to think they'll be able to plant enough trees so they don't actually have to change their dirtyass habits. It gets even worse: corporations are cherry-picking their worst climate-emissions year (in the case of CVS, 2019) to make their carbon reductions look more impressive than they really are. It gets even worse than that, but this should serve as a reminder that promising to do better ain't the same as actually doing better. Right, Joe Rogan?
Jesus Mary and Joseph no, banning Donald Trump from Twitter is not a slippery slope toward Nazism, or else we could claim that every unpublished novel in America is a slippery slope toward Nazism. What is a "free voice"? A voice free to redress grievances with our government without being put in jail, and that's it. It's not "a voice free to bloviate endlessly on Twitter." And of course right-wingers don't want you to remember why Twitter finally banned him -- because he incited an attempted coup on January 6. And you also know David Perdue doesn't fear a "one-party state" in America -- he wants his party to be the one party.
Here's a provocative statement from Hamilton Nolan at In These Times: "Legalized Sports Betting is a Class War Against You." Money quote: "States like to think of the tax revenue they bring in from legal gambling as free money from heaven, but it amounts to a regressive tax on citizens, aimed most intensely at those who are so desperate for financial salvation that the vanishing hope provided by the idea of hitting the lottery is worth the certainty that you will, in fact, not hit the lottery." Remember that gambling websites aren't in it to lose money to you. And now pretty much anyone with a smartphone (i.e., pretty much everyone) can gamble easily, which won't result in addiction for everyone, but will result in a little less money every month, and more decisions about which bill you can get away with not paying this month. And that money is going to rich gambling corporations, which makes it what, class? An income redistribution upward scheme.
When I hear that Rand Paul hopes the Canada trucker protest comes down to every city in America, I feel compelled to note, again, that I don't oppose the tactic, but I think the people employing the tactic in this particular instance are a bunch of diaper-loaded brats. Maybe he should be careful about what he wishes for, though, because COVID cases are way down from that mid-January peak, most American states are about ready to get rid of mask mandates, and our Supreme Court struck down President Biden's vaccine mandate (except in health care). So if truckers start blocking highways in mid-March, most Americans are going to see them as a bunch of whiners, just like I do now.
Finally, this New Yorker interview with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has a clickbait title, and foregrounds her description of Congress as a "shit show" although there's really no better word or phrase for it, but the article reveals her as a thinker of considerable power and clarity, and if you don't like what she's saying, the first thing I'm going to ask you is to repeat something, anything, she's actually said. But talking about the difference between being "reactive" and "responsive" on important public issues? Confessing that she wonders whether she's "poking the bear" too much? Saying depression is a natural response to your politicians constantly failing you? These are all examples of deep thinking, unlike, you know, what you get from Kyrsten Sinema, who obviously thinks of herself as a galaxy brain.