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Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Hurricanes and Leadership

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Hurricanes and Leadership

We begin today with an interesting piece by Aaron Blake of The Washington Post about how hurricanes have a way of defining the careers of municipal, state, and national leaders. Two prominent examples will always spring to mind. One is Katrina, in which a slow and botched response was among the reasons George W. Bush left office in 2009 as one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history. By contrast, then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) hands-on approach and bipartisan work…

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Black Music Sunday: Much ado about Lizzo and James Madison’s flute

Black Music Sunday: Much ado about Lizzo and James Madison’s flute

The flute is an instrument that dates back to ancient times. The United States Library of Congress has quite a collection of almost 1,700 of them, western and non-western, and until last week, I doubt very much that it was of interest to the general public. That changed when singer, rapper, and classically trained flutist Melissa Viviane Jefferson, who goes by Lizzo and happens to be a Black woman, was invited by our current Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, to visit the…

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Finally, a BP subsidiary will finish cleaning up the former smelting site it acquired in 1977

Finally, a BP subsidiary will finish cleaning up the former smelting site it acquired in 1977

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced on Friday that the Atlantic Richfield Company (AR) agreed to finish cleaning up the site of a former copper smelting site that the BP subsidiary had assumed control over all the way back in 1977. The Anaconda Co. Smelter was in operation for nearly a century. It closed in 1980; three years later it was deemed a superfund site by the EPA. According to a press release, the operation polluted soil…

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Fighting California’s fires requires carceral reform and a just transition

Fighting California’s fires requires carceral reform and a just transition

by Ray Levy Uyeda This article was originally published at Prism Fall is a tough season for Da’Ton Harris, a wildland firefighter who spends multiple weeks at a time attempting to tamp down fires without hoses. Harris and his crew of 20 other firefighters with the Urban Association of Forestry and Fire Professionals, where he’s a superintendent, are responsible for cutting down a forest to its soil so that, theoretically, there’s less fuel to burn. It’s a critical job, especially…

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Even a pandemic didn’t get paid sick days for most low-wage workers, this week in the war on workers

Even a pandemic didn’t get paid sick days for most low-wage workers, this week in the war on workers

More than two years into the pandemic (still not over, President Biden!), there have been nearly 100 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States. In the early part of the pandemic, some workers benefited from a first-ever federal paid sick leave law, and a growing number of states require paid sick leave for many workers. But many workers have had to face COVID-19 with no paid sick time, and as usual, the burden falls most heavily on the workers who…

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Way too many Republican secretary of state candidates are getting ready for the next coup attempt

Way too many Republican secretary of state candidates are getting ready for the next coup attempt

Secretaries of state are almost always the top elections administrators in their states, giving them a crucial role in upholding the basic tenets of democracy across the United States. That hasn’t exactly been a secret before this year, and Republicans in those roles have repeatedly made it more difficult to vote or purged voter registrations. Abuse of power has been frequent. But 2022, building on two years of Donald Trump spreading his Big Lie, threatens to take that to a whole new…

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Ukraine update: Now that Lyman is liberated, Ukraine selects its next target

Ukraine update: Now that Lyman is liberated, Ukraine selects its next target

On Saturday evening in Ukraine, Ukrainian forces are moving block by block through the city of Lyman, looking into houses, checking IDs of any residents still there, and accepting the surrender of any Russian forces willing to lay down arms. Russian casualties north of the city, and along the highway to the east, are reported to be horrendous, and it’s probably going to be some time before any since of the true scale of the carnage becomes clear. But with…

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‘Conservative’ now just means ‘hates America’ and CPAC made that brutally clear

‘Conservative’ now just means ‘hates America’ and CPAC made that brutally clear

On Friday, in a widely condemned speech in which he laid claim to territory of a neighboring country, Vladimir Putin only spent about 15 minutes talking about Ukraine. In the rest of his speech, Putin spent his time attacking the West for “perversions” that have  “completely moved to a radical denial of moral norms, religion, and family.” “Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed on children in our schools from the primary grades?”…

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Ukraine update: Russia prepares for defense of Svatove as U.S. provides powerful new rockets

Ukraine update: Russia prepares for defense of Svatove as U.S. provides powerful new rockets

Right now, Russian sources on Telegraph are evenly divided. Half of them are convinced that Russia is sending, or has already sent, massive reinforcements that will keep Lyman in Russian hands forever. You can take your pick on whether these are Wagner forces rushing in from Kreminna, or “tactical rescue teams” that have swooped down from Svatove, or four units of the “58th army” cruising down from the north to save the day; these folks are convinced that these forces already…

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The rot in the Supreme Court goes beyond Clarence and Ginni Thomas

The rot in the Supreme Court goes beyond Clarence and Ginni Thomas

More than a decade ago, Ginni Thomas’s political activities drew scrutiny to her more public husband. More to the point, the failure of that husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to declare decades of his wife’s income from that political activity drew attention, resulting in him revising 20 years’ worth of financial disclosure forms. That included $686,589 she earned between 2003 and 2007 from the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. It also included her work at Liberty Central, a conservative “political education” group she co-founded…

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