We've been hearing that dark money from the Koch brothers and other right-wing groups influenced the school safety debate these past few years, but now CMD tells us how. First the Koch brothers promoted virtual charter schools as the ticket to surviving COVID, and then when the economy tanked, they promoted "getting kids back to school right now" so they could get their parents back to work, a strategy that has informed just about every subsequent CDC guidance change that's gone in the wrong direction. Then, when schools began to reopen, you saw all those idiots complaining about kids wearing "diapers" on their faces, but they were getting their info from organizations like the Independent Women's Forum, which alleged that masks promote such disparate maladies as anxiety and tooth decay. Some of those folks, you remember, got violent. The sheer number of bad actors described by the article should impress you, if not also depress you.
Better sit down for the story of how Mesa, AZ Starbucks workers organized, since it involves (among other horrors!) a store manager with leukemia getting forced to work while sick (after blowing the whistle on Starbucks's anti-union practices) and then fired, and a district manager telling that same store manager she should try to "understand" where the person who painted a swastika on her house was "coming from." Starbucks also tried to add two dozen employees to the Mesa store (to counter the pro-union workers, naturally!) and argued before our National Labor Relations Board that workers should organize by the district, not the store, like that argument would convince anyone (seriously, when you buy coffee, do you shop at a store, or do you shop at a district?).
When I hear that our IRS audits households with incomes under $25,000 five times as much as everyone else, my first thought is thanks, Republicans, for defunding the IRS police so they don't go after the big tax evaders and go after low-hanging fruit! My second thought is that the poorest among us are the worst at getting away with not paying taxes, because everyone should know that the more economic power you have, the easier you'll get away with stuff. But turns out the Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC) is the main magnet that pulls an IRS investigation; we could assume, cynically, that giving out such tax credits makes people corrupt, or we could assume, far more constructively, that we should help people understand the EITC better. And still go after people who abuse it! But we need to go after the big thieves, too.
Let's see if I can explain this clearly: our government is hiding how much taxpayer money they're blowing on the notorious F-35 plane. OK, that wasn't as hard as I thought! The way they're hiding it is a bit confusing -- our Defense Department's Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (or DOT&E) has, in an apparently unprecedented maneuver, released two reports, labeling one of them "controlled classified," hoping you'll think it's an actual classified report. But it's not! Here's another headline you could write about the F-35: "almost $63 billion wasted on this boondoggle over the last two decades." The Biden Administration seems to have actually tried harder to get the F-35 to work, but you can't turn chicken shit into chicken salad.
Larry Nocella at Medium reminds us that the big energy corporations raise gas prices every spring! This year they must be thankful that Russia invaded Ukraine, because more Americans are wise to the "because inflation" excuse. It's stunning to go back over media reports from previous years to find that, yes, big energy corporations hike gas prices about this time every year (except 2020, when that pandemic kept everyone home), and they even write about "why" it happens. Not for nothing, but we should (as Mr. Nocella suggests) teach all teach people to use active verbs, not least because we'll better learn not to confuse human-made phenomena with laws of physics. If doing so collapses economics as a "science," well, we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good.
Finally, in case you were wondering how the QAnon folks were "adapting" to the new political reality after Russia's invasion of Ukraine: they're saying Vlad the Bad is actually bombing American biolabs so he can stop Dr. Fauci from creating the next pandemic! That's some pretty special reasoning, there, the more they try to prove their conspiracy theory, the more difficulties they trip over. Even Donald Trump is desperately trying to convince everyone that he hasn't been Mr. Putin's lapdog all this time, so QAnon will surely see some of their most devoted adherents flee -- though probably not many, since, ah, doctrinal flexibility remains their calling card.