high-speed internet, FCC subsidy, digital divide, pandemic aid
The author writes, “The Federal Communications Commission [last week] approved an emergency subsidy for low-income households to get high-speed internet, an effort to bridge the digital divide that has cut off many Americans from online communication during the pandemic. The four-member commission unanimously agreed to offer up to $50 a month to low-income households and up to $75 a month to households on Native American land for broadband service.” Photo credit: / Pxhere

How Wall Street Kills Grandma ; Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Under Deregulation ; and More Picks 3/1

How Wall Street Kills Grandma (Bethany)

From the Daily Poster: “As governors in New York and Florida face political crises over their handling of the pandemic, the scandals have spotlighted how a disproportionate amount of COVID casualties have occurred in the nation’s nursing homes. The situation is a cautionary tale not only about political corruption, but about the consequences of a nursing home infrastructure being run by for-profit corporations — and now a study documents some of the body count. The analysis found that between 2004 and 2016, more than 20,000 Americans perished as a consequence of living in nursing homes run by private equity firms. The data showed that going to a private-equity-owned nursing home significantly ‘increases the probability of death during the stay and the following 90 days’ as compared to nursing homes with a different ownership structure.”

Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Under Deregulation (Dana)

The authors write, “Texas’s deregulated electricity market, which was supposed to provide reliable power at a lower price, left millions in the dark last week. For two decades, its customers have paid more for electricity than state residents who are served by traditional utilities, a Wall Street Journal analysis has found. Nearly 20 years ago, Texas shifted from using full-service regulated utilities to generate power and deliver it to consumers. The state deregulated power generation, creating the system that failed. … And it required nearly 60% of consumers to buy their electricity from one of many retail power companies, rather than a local utility.”

President Biden Revokes Trump’s Controversial Classical Architecture Order (Dan)

The author writes, “Late Wednesday, President Biden revoked a controversial executive order that then-President Donald Trump signed in December called ‘Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture.’ … When Trump first proposed his executive order, it was clearly an out-with-the-new, in-with-the-old approach to architecture. He called modern federal buildings constructed over the last five decades (think boxy, concrete-heavy Brutalism) ‘undistinguished,’ ‘uninspiring’ and ‘just plain ugly.’ While the specifics are not yet clear, Biden’s executive order instructs the director of the Office of Management and Budget and any related departments and agencies to ‘promptly consider taking steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, or portions thereof’ that would’ve implemented Trump’s actions.” 

Briahna Joy Gray Wants To Upend Democrats’ Political Strategy (Russ)

From Vanity Fair: “As she tries to drag the Democratic Party to the left, Briahna Joy Gray is taking some cues from the right. Gray, the former Bernie Sanders spokeswoman, even admits to some admiration for Republicans. Not their policies, of course, but their willingness to battle. Even if they lose, she says, ‘they gain points for fighting.’ Democrats, meanwhile ‘feel like, if they fight for something and lose, it will confirm their status as losers, and so they’re not willing to try.’ ‘I don’t have a better way to put this,’ Gray says, ‘but Democrats have what feels like “big loser energy.”’ Such critiques have become a calling card for Gray, who has enjoyed a remarkable rise to political prominence in becoming one of the leading voices on the left.” 

The IRS Cashed Her Check. Then the Late Notices Started Coming. (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “[Kathy] Brenneman is among millions of taxpayers whose paperwork has been snarled in the IRS backlog that began with last spring’s stimulus checks. The unprecedented burdens placed on the IRS in the past year, combined with a decade of declining funding and a paralyzing pandemic, have given rise to a cascading set of taxpayer headaches. Tax professionals say that for many functions, the IRS has gotten so sclerotic that all they can do is tell their clients to wait and hope their situations get straightened out eventually.”

Fathoming Fossilized Feces Takes a Multipronged Approach (Mili)

The author writes, “Coprolites, or fossilized dog feces, are often used to understand the dietary preferences of ancient civilizations. However, the samples are often contaminated, making the analysis difficult. A new study, published in Scientific Reports, uses different techniques to improve the investigation of coprolites. ‘We have been interested in analyzing coprolites for many years. We have attempted to extract DNA and look at the microbiome before, but the tools were not as robust,’ said Ripan Malhi (GNDP/GSP/IGOH), a professor of anthropology. ‘As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has used multiple approaches to provide a snapshot of the daily diet, health, and the long-term trends in ancient dogs of the Americas, all in one study.’” 

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