Whizy Kim at Vox reminds us that although Google oligarch Eric Schmidt's funding of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy raises ethical concerns, we should also ask why we're not funding that Office with taxpayer money in the first place. I mean, if it works, we should fund it, and be invested not just financially but emotionally in the results. And certainly we should not run to a tech billionaire for money to fund an office that might help make policy affecting him; that isn't just corrupt, it's stupid. Personal to those who say WHEREZ TEH MONEYZ COMINGZ FROMZ!!!!!: it'd come from cracking down on Medicare fraud and rich tax evaders, letting Medicare negotiate its own drug prices, and raising taxes on millionaire income, just off the top of my head.
I suspect you won't be surprised to hear that the largest-ever ivermectin study found that ivermectin didn't reduce hospitalization or help folks heal any faster from COVID. And thus we are again reminded that the unique American hatred of bullshit also makes Americans more vulnerable to bullshit than we would be if we didn't simply declare anything we didn't like hearing to be bullshit. You know what else would help? If we didn't aspire to be rich above all other things! Because the effort you put into being rich means you put that much less effort into being wise. And wisdom will nourish you through hard times better than riches will.
Brakeyshia Samms at ITEP informs us that racial discrimination in home appraisals is finally getting attention from both the Biden Administration and Congress. You've heard stories, perhaps, of folks who suddenly get better appraisals once they've taken down their Frederick Douglass portraits? The problem is much, much worse than that -- homes in Black or Brown neighborhoods get under-appraised when it's time to sell and over-appraised when it's time to pay taxes, meaning Black and Brown families get slammed coming and going. Remember this when they tell you racism is dead because Thomas Sowell graduated magna cum laude from Harvard all those years ago.
Li Zhou expresses some skepticism that Biden executive actions can rescue Democrats during the midterms, and while I'm similarly skeptical about "energizing the base," I also think Biden executive actions could help if they were about things everyone supports action on, not just the base, and if you look through the CPC's list of (many more than!) 55 actions Mr. Biden could take, you'll see quite a few in there -- particularly those pertaining to reining in insulin prices! I don't think independent voters will spend a lot of time fussing about, say, whether government should have stepped in to make cheaper insulin or force corporations to do same; they'll say Biden did something, and they'll look less unkindly on other Democrats as a result.
And the hits just keep on coming for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, as he appears to still own at least $100,000 of stock in the corporation that made all those COVID tests our Postal Service sent out. I know some folks will say c'mon, they got the tests out, didn't they? And they probably needed his connections! But America doesn't exactly have a shortage of "people with connections," and we have laws against conflicts of interest for good reason. And why isn't our government manufacturing COVID tests to begin with? I mean, right-wingers would throw tantrums about it, but we sure would have spent less money, and avoided the kinds of conflicts-of-interest that plague public-private "partnerships."
Finally, another day, another reminder that as inflation grips a nation, corporate profits reached yet another all-time high last year. They say the "free" market guarantees that if (hypothetically now!) supply chain issues happen, businesses will simply refuse to raise prices so they can keep their customers, but when you confront the fact that pre-tax corporate profits went up 25% while inflation went up 8%, you can clearly see that the "free" market ain't working. (If all corporations paid the full 21% tax rate, which, like, sure, that 25% number would only go down to 19.75%, which is still a lot higher than 8%.) Also, if you're ever at a street corner with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the "free" market, and the corporate-controlled market, you know which one to ask for directions, because the other three are figments of your imagination.