Headline of the year so far from Vox: "Robots Were Supposed to Take Our Jobs. Instead, They're Making Them Worse." After you read about all the Amazon warehouse workers getting fired for not moving fast enough and the gig workers who get offered $2 delivery jobs, you may come away thinking, as I did, that the "drive for efficiency" at work too often turns into a need for controlling workers and redistributing their hard-earned income upward. Plus delivery drivers no longer get incentives, like more pay, to work harder -- now they get disciplined if they don't work harder. The future, ladies and gentlemen! (As an aside, I am of course quite glad to read that someone else hates automated supermarket checkouts as much as I do.)
The Associated Press assures us, in an excellent report, that Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin's "private equity résumé draws scrutiny in Virginia," as it should -- putting seniors out on the street after your bankster firm buys their mobile home park is an ad that should write itself, and the Carlyle Group's rather intimate involvement in the Iraq war should finish Mr. Youngkin with independents. But, alas, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe also invested in the Carlyle Group! Literally, that is! To the tune of at least $690,000! Again, this is why Democrats lose -- you catch their fingers in the same cookie jar and people just throw up their hands. Not to say Mr. McAuliffe will lose, but I'd lay money the 2021 election will be as close as the 2013 election, when he barely beat Ken Cuccinelli, arguably the furthest-right individual holding statewide office at the time.
When I heard about the seven House Democrats in Trump-won districts "balking" at the upcoming reconciliation bill, I said to myself, so this is how it begins! But then I read Axios's actual report about the matter, and I think they're dramatically overstating the case. Your first clue is Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) saying that broadband and child care actually are infrastructure, and by the end, you may conclude, as I did, that five of these seven House Democrats will vote for the reconciliation bill, whether they can make it more to their liking or not. You may or may not conclude, as I have, that the other two (who didn't say) are probably toast in 2022 anyway.
Ho hum, ProPublica finds that too many corporations took Paycheck Protection Program (or PPP) money in 2020 but still laid off workers. Also, our government opened too many loopholes allowing big corporations and foreign corporations to pretend they were small businesses and get PPP money, and our government made it too easy to get the loans "forgiven," meaning they all essentially became corporate welfare. The lesson, once again: you don't give a corporation taxpayer money as an "incentive" not to fire people, you make them not fire people. The corollary lesson: never let Republicans manage a crisis, because they only take care of bosses.
Ho hum, Paul LePage will run for Governor again in Maine in 2022, despite having actually carried out his threat to move to Florida after Democrats recaptured the Governor's mansion in 2018. Were you just thinking "gosh, I've really missed all his whining about instant runoff voting"? Then you're in luck! Though he's not exactly in luck, not now -- 37% and 48% (his share of the vote in 2010 and 2014, you'd think these facts would have induced more humility) ain't gonna win it now. And hey, speaking of Florida, he's still a registered voter there, which means he'd be exactly the sort of fellow right-wingers whine about when they whine about voter fraud, except, of course, that he's one of them. Plus he may also have broken Florida law by failing to deregister himself when he moved back to Maine. Law and order!
Finally, Texas's Lieutenant Governor orders the cancellation of an event in an Austin history museum where the authors of Forget the Alamo -- a book critically reviewing the facts and myths of Texas's founding -- planned to give a talk. Once again, right-wingers indulge in literal "cancel culture" while decrying it! I don't mean to assert that the Bullock Texas State History Museum had a legal obligation to host the talk, but I do mean to assert that the people who cancelled it are cowards and hypocrites, and that our First Amendment doesn't protect them from me saying so.