Heather Cox Richardson, December 20, 2021

… about the betrayal of Joe Manchin… makes a compelling case for an economy centered around ordinary people and how BBB would have helped create that… it notes that Goldman Sachs downgraded economic growth projections by 1% upon news of Manchin’s betrayal… there is more to this than meets the eye though… it sounds like someone in the administration really pissed him off and he is having a temper tantrum… he has also, from what i see, left the door open for a reformulation of the bill into something more to his liking… i suspect we haven’t seen the end of BBB… politics is complicated, there are always steps back and steps forward…

What i read…

Heather Cox Richardson, December 15, 2021… about the January 6 commission and the noose tightening around the administration of 45… about the build back better spending bill and Manchin’s insistence that the price tag come in under 1.75 trillion over ten years… about a defense budget with 25 billion more than 46 asked for for a single year… there is money for new technologies while preserving money for old technologies that provide jobs to constituents…

Senator Manchin, Keep Holding Out on Build Back Better, the Editors, National Review… Manchin is the lynchpin of Build Back Better… Heather Cox Richardson reports above that he will accept a bill with a 1.75 trillion price tag over ten years… this article tries to hold him to a statement early on that said 1.5 trillion was his limit… i suspect something will get passed in the end…

Sinema Doubles Down on Filibuster Defense amid Democrats’ Pivot to Voting Bill, Caroline Downey, National Review… apparently Sinema remains a know on filibuster busting… a spokesman for Sineam:

“Senator Sinema has asked those who want to weaken or eliminate the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation which she supports if it would be good for our country to do so,” LaBombard told Politico. He said that there’s a risk that the measure gets “rescinded in a few years and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law, nationwide restrictions on vote-by-mail, or other voting restrictions currently passing in some states extended nationwide.”

DeSantis Introduces Bill Banning Critical Race Theory in Public Schools, Private Company Staff Trainings… Caroline Downey, National Review… my understanding is that Critical Race Theory is not taught in any K-12 school anywhere… that it is taught at the college level only and mostly in law schools… this article suggests that DeSantis’ bill would not only ban something that isn’t happening from K-12 programs, but reaches up to the college level and into the training programs of private companies… that would be a huge overreach that is suspect would not hold up in the courts… so, is he proposing it without expectation of it passing just to check off a box on his expected run for President?…

Are the Parents of the Michigan School Shooter Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter? Jacob Sullum, Reason.com… this article argues that they may have been negligent, but that their actions, or lack thereof, do not rise to Involuntary Manslaughter… i suspect the author is correct on this point and so, this case becomes an argument for tighter gun control laws…

The Attempted Republican Coup Should Be the Democrats’ Leading Message. A. B. Stoddard, The Bulwark.… i agree wholeheartedly with the opinion expressed in this article and have for some time… the threat to Democracy is the number one issue that needs to be dealt with…

The events of January 6 were clearly planned and coordinated to some extent—to what extent we have yet to learn. And the same is true of the post-coup cover-up.

Republicans must be made to answer for these facts at the next election. For two reasons: If they are not made to answer for it in 2022, then they never will be. And if aiding and abetting a coup doesn’t prove to be a political liability, then such attacks will be incentivized in the future.

‘West Side Story’ and the American Melting Pot. Christian Thrailkill, The Bulwark… a glowing review of the new movie by Spielberg, though i already knew i wanted to see it… this was one of my favorite films growing up as i have always beens a sucker for stories of romance against the odds… accomplishments of any kind against the odds really…

Aleksei Navalny: The Man vs. The Symbol. Benjamin Parker, The Bulwark… this article is interesting… heroes are rarely pure as the driven snow, often, far from it… we work with the heroes we have is the point of the article… it also gets me thinking about any kind of accomplished individual that has broken ground in new or courageous or new and courageous territory… humans are imperfect creatures, to say the least, and society moves forward none the less, often carried by heroes with major flaws…

Does it degrade the thoughts of Navalny’s fans, employees, and followers to support such a man? It’s tempting, especially for Americans, to argue that racism and xenophobia ruin even the most vigorous advocacy for human and civil rights. But Russia has no equivalent of the 1619 Project. They went through a period of iconoclasm in the 1990s, tearing down Lenins and Stalins all over—and then they stopped.

Perhaps one day, Russians will have the luxury of arguing over whether to dismantle statues of Navalny for his manifestations of bigotry. But that luxury is, at this point, so far in the future that it is hard to even imagine. It would mean that democracy in Russia is so entrenched, so stable, so unthreatened that it would no longer need reminders of his sacrifice. Perhaps before we worry about whether or not a man such as Nalvany deserves statues, we ought to get to a place where erecting a statue to him is an option.

Where’s the beef? Brent Orrell, The Bulwark… it strikes me as significant that this article is published in The Bulwark, a conservative leaning publication created at the beginning of the Trump Administration by conservative journalists who could not abide Trumpism and still can’t… there are some particularly interesting acknowledgements in the article:

Over many decades, the American economy has depended on a seemingly endless supply of workers (documented and not) willing to work for the sometimes parsimonious wages on offer in our advanced, globally-integrated, highly competitive, and skills-biased economy. If employees didn’t like conditions, well, there was always someone else anxious to take the work. Just five years ago, McDonalds had 50,000 applications lined up for 13,000 jobs.

… note the in parenthesis part about workers, documented and not… i have long thought there was conservative hypocrisy on the issue of immigration and that their protestations of loose border policies had more to do with ensuring an undocumented (and therefore cheap) flow of workers into the country… that is how it looks to me anyway… sure, we need well controlled borders and immigration policy is a mess… but part of the reason for the mess is our unacknowledged dependence on undocumented labor… again, my opinion…

But it goes beyond just working conditions and into less tangible, but no less real, issues with how the people who do this work are viewed and treated. Meatpacking jobs were (and are) disproportionately held by undocumented, refugee, and other immigrant workers in mainly conservative, rural states that left workers exposed to employer and government pressures and community indifference during the opening chapters of the COVID crisis. (emphasis added) The status of these workers as essential “outsiders” aggravated long-standing problems in an industry that had come to take access to a continuous flow of cheap labor as part of its business model.

… and then there is this:

We didn’t get here overnight. As one meat processing plant manager commented to NPR a few years ago, “Workers are really cheaper than machines. Machines have to be maintained. They have to be taken good care of. And that’s not really true of workers. As long as there is a steady supply, workers are relatively inexpensive (emphasis added)”, a quote that summarizes the situation better than anything else could. No doubt the market will eventually bring wages and working conditions into balance with supply and demand. For now, we know the answer to the age-old question, “Where’s the beef?”

… inflation has become a big worry… as we are mostly on fixed income at this point, i am certainly not a fan of it… but to the extent it is about better wages, working conditions for workers, and a rational immigration policy, i am happy to learn to live with higher prices for the goods i purchase…

First Thoughts

… HCR meter… do or die… the moment has arrived when voting rights legislation must be passed or the current gerrymandered redistricting will be locked in and the Dems are likely to loose control of house and Senate in 2022 and likely as well to loose control of the Presidency in 2024… according to most liberal pundits, this would be a disaster for democracy… all eyes on Washington and the Dems this week… in particular, Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema…

… my weight has been steadily climbing… two factors… not enough exercise, too many carbs… must reverse the trend…

… my left foot seems to have rounded a corner… standing on it while working in the kitchen did not cause pain yesterday… i can still feel some residual discomfort, but i think it is nearly healed… i will try a longer beach walk this AM… M and i continue to have micro text exchanges… they seem to be settling in to life on their own nicely…

… much hand ringing over H’s M… trying to figure out how to be sure she gets to the doctor for x-ray and consultation… H will not be easy to live with if this is not well set up on our departure… the current plan is to get them off the island to P’s house on Sunday… L will then pick them up and get them to the doctor on Wednesday… how they get back to BI will be up to them… we haven’t told M yet that we were unable to postpone our car reservation on the ferry so it will be Sunday… hopefully that won’t be a problem…

… looked up the recipe for rose hip jam… had forgotten how involved it is… well, gonna do it anyway… will gather the supplies today…

… looking forward to getting home… lots of house and yard maintenance work awaits and it is a bit of a drag living in a house that needs so much attention, but it is home and i look forward to being home which i have barely been for the past month…

… checked the weather and tide level… today will be the day to walk the length of the beach at Mohegan bluffs… haven’t done that yet… looking forward to it…

… feeling good today, in spite of two beers and a couple glasses of wine… made swordfish last night, my best iteration of the pan roasted swordfish recipe that is always so successful…

Fish, Seafood

Prep Time: 1 hour (mostly waiting)

Cook Time: 25 minutes | Servings: Yield 4 servings

Ingredients:

1/8 cup butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

½ garlic clove, grated

¼ teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for sprinkling

¼ teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel

½ tablespoon olive oil

2 1-inch-thick swordfish steaks (about 6 ounces each)

Directions:

An hour before cooking:

Salt swordfish steaks on both sides. Cover and refridgerate.

Soften/melt butter in microwave. Add parsley, garlic, ½ teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, and lemon peel in small bowl. Stir together and let sit. Butter should begin to re-solidify.

15 minutes prior to cooking:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pull swordfish steaks out of refridgerator to allow to warm up.

To cook:

Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle swordfish with ground mixed peppercorns. Add swordfish to skillet. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn swordfish over and transfer to oven. Roast until just cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer swordfish to plates. Add seasoned butter to same skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping up browned bits, until melted and bubbling. Pour butter sauce over swordfish and serve. Source

04 For The People

… today the Senate will vote on whether to begin debate on the For The People Act or S1… it is widely expected that Republicans will prevent that from happening… what happens next will be interesting… will Manchin and Sinema begin reconsidering their position on the filibuster as at least Manchin has indicated he might?… all eyes on Washington this week…

03 For The People

this morning’s Heather Cox Richardson post suggests there is movement on the voting rights front… Senator Joe Manchin has made some proposals on voting rights, which were backed by Stacey Abrams… he has also indicated a willingness to modify the rules of the filibuster, only 55 senators would be needed to pass legislation and 60 senators would be required to keep a filibuster going… meanwhile, a Republican running for office in Florida appears to have threatened to hire a Russian hit squad to eliminate his opponent in the primary… hmmm…