stimulus checks, loss risk, vulnerable Americans
The author writes, “At least 8.7 million Americans could be at risk of losing out on $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks due to incomplete IRS and Treasury Department records, according to a Monday report from Congress’ auditing arm, which examined the unprecedented $2.6 trillion lawmakers passed in emergency support as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. ... $10,440,000,000: That’s how much money is being left on the table in unclaimed stimulus payments for non-tax filers, by Forbes’ calculation.” Photo credit: Daniel Lobo / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Adolescent Brain Immaturity Makes Pending Execution Inappropriate ; How a Really Big Check Unraveled a Well-Oiled Patronage System ; and More Picks 9/22

Adolescent Brain Immaturity Makes Pending Execution Inappropriate (Dana)

The author writes, “Christopher Vialva, who was 19 at the time of his offense, has a Sept. 24 execution date in federal prison in Indiana. More than two decades have passed since Vialva and four co-defendants, ages 15, 16, 16, and 18, committed their crimes. In an ill-planned effort to steal a car and money, they kidnapped and murdered Todd and Stacie Bagley. The crime they committed was abhorrent, and there is no question that they deserve to be held accountable. But to make a final judgment about a person’s life based on a crime he committed as a teenager is to ignore what the last 20-plus years of research has taught us about the developing brains of teenagers and adolescents.”

How a Really Big Check Unraveled a Well-Oiled Patronage System (Reader Steve)

From the Mercury News: “The meet-up went down in the parking lot of a San Jose Starbucks, as customers streamed through the front door and the faint hiss of an espresso machine offered a soundtrack. David Sanders, the CEO of a Santa Clara computer services firm and a campaign contributor to Sheriff Laurie Smith, opened the trunk of his car and pointed to his handgun. Smith’s close aide, Capt. James Jensen, took a glance. A short time later, the sheriff’s office gave Sanders a valuable privilege under California’s tough firearms laws: the right to carry it as a concealed weapon.” 

US Government-Linked PR Firm Ran Fake News Networks for Right-Wing Latin Regimes (Reader Pat)

From the Grayzone: “A major US PR firm located just a few blocks from the White House has been caught running an industrial grade propaganda operation on social media. The information warfare blitzkrieg relied on fake accounts and pages to spread disinformation on behalf of right-wing, US-backed governments in Latin America, while deploying covert propaganda to destabilize the leftist governments in Venezuela and Mexico.”

What Wildfire Archaeology Tells Us About the Burning American West (Dana)

The author writes, “The American West is ablaze with more than 100 devastating wildfires. Many of these are record-setting in both size and intensity. Several, including one in my home state of Colorado, have been so intense they’ve created their own thunderstorms. Science shows that wildfires have been getting more destructive over the last several decades. The question is: Why? Are they getting worse due to climate change? Or is it due to human encroachment on once-remote forests? Or, counterintuitive as it may seem, are federal wildfire suppression policies to blame?”

‘Awe Walks’ — for Just 15 Minutes Once a Week — Boost Emotional Well-Being (Peg)

The author writes, “A regular dose of awe is a simple way to boost healthy ‘prosocial’ emotions such as compassion and gratitude, according to a new study. … Older adults who took weekly 15-minute ‘awe walks’ for eight weeks reported increased positive emotions and less distress in their daily lives. This shift was reflected in ‘selfies’ participants took on their weekly walks, in which an increasing focus on their surroundings rather than themselves was paralleled by measurably broader smiles by the end of the study.”

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