So which monopoly is behind our chronic medical supply shortages, according to the incomparable Matt Stoller? The Group Purchasing Organization (or GPO), "a kind of Costco or Sam’s Club for all sorts of medical supplies and medicines, with hospitals as the members." Sounds like a good idea, right? Not when GPOs can collect fees (i.e., kickbacks) from medical supply producing corporations -- and, more recently, when hospital executies can collect the same kickbacks from the GPOs themselves. Mark Meadows, of all people, wrote a bill in 2017 that probably would have put a stop to all of that; if it had passed, Donald Trump might have gotten re-elected in spite of himself.
In case you were wondering, scientists tell us that the murder rate shot up in 2020 for three main reasons: "(m)ore guns, pandemic stress, and a police legitimacy crisis." I'd include financial stress in "pandemic stress," of course. Getting 2020 figures in 2021, unfortunately, allows right-wing assholes to blame Joe Biden for a phenomenon that happened the year before he became President, and right-wing news sources won't issue corrections about that in any case you might actually see it. I'm perfectly alright with blaming Joe Biden for his own mistakes, but I fucking hate stupidity.
Uh oh: When South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's daughter didn't qualify for a state real estate appraiser's license, the Governor apparently reamed out the state official in charge of such licenses -- and four months later, her daughter miraculously got the license! Also, the state labor secretary demanded the retirement of said state official a mere week after the meeting with the Governor. Naturally the Governor's spokeshack claims coverage of this matter is about "disparaging the Governor's daughter in order to attack the Governor politically," and if you didn't hear a denial in there, you're not the only one. If any spirited Democrats remained in South Dakota, I'd say that between this and her (likely deliberate) mismanagement of the pandemic, Ms. Noem's career might be over. (Billie Sutton only lost to Ms. Noem by about 3 1/2 points in 2018, but he doesn't strike me as someone who goes for the jugular.)
Of course people who whine about kids "suffocating" with "diapers" (i.e., the same masks surgeons wear for 8-12 hours every day without ill effect) on their faces are diaper-faces themselves, but that phrase "with their pockets full" is exactly why folks confuse right-wingers for populists! And Democrats never talk like this when they're trying to sell their policy prescriptions -- if Democrats would say "you can't let rich folks and corporations sit there with their pockets full while you don't have paid medical leave and pay a thousand dollars a month for insulin," our Reps and Senators' phone lines would crash. We keep telling Democrats how not to be weak, and they keep ignoring us. I guess we'll have to keep telling them.
Speaking of which, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D?-AZ) actually held a fundraiser a few days ago with the exact same corporate lobbying groups trying to kill the Build Back Better Act. Meeting people with their pockets full instead of her constituents -- see how easy that was? Again, that fuck-off ring is for us, and "us" includes, not incidentally, the 80% of good Arizonans who support Medicare drug price negotiation. (Also, New York Times, the word you're looking for to describe Sen. Sinema is not "inscrutable" but corrupt.)
Finally, FedEx driver loses his job -- whether he quit or got fired isn't clear -- after ranting on TikTok that he wouldn't deliver any packages to houses with Biden/Harris or Black Lives Matter signs. When Rosa Parks got arrested for refusing to sit in the back of the bus (I know this FedEx clown thinks he's just like Rosa Parks, so let's get ahead of him), she knew she was breaking the law, but she calculated that breaking the law in that instance would create more opportunities for real justice everywhere. In this, she was right, but all this clown did was spit into the wind. And too many of today's martyrs think they're entitled to all the notoriety of martyrdom but none of the accountability. (But I couldn't let this pass without noting that FedEx treats their drivers like trash, which makes them more likely to go off on these right-wing rants; why, it's almost like that's the whole idea.)