PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

Why You Should Care About the Build Back Better Act (Maria)

The author writes, “The US government may give a tremendous Christmas gift to working families across America: by Christmas, the Senate intends to vote on HR 5376, better known as the Build Back Better Act. While many of the bill’s original features, like community college for all, have been gutted, what remains is still a bill full of provisions that can help increase family income and health care outcomes, and ensure increased tax revenue is available from the wealthy and corporations to help pay for it. Wall Street is confident that it will pass, but with 50 Republican Senators opposed and one Democrat on the fence … that’s not quite so clear.”

The Military-Intelligence Veterans Who Helped Lead Trump’s Campaign of Disinformation (Reader Pat)

From Reuters: “After Donald Trump lost the White House, ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and three other current and former U.S. Army officers challenged the vote’s legitimacy and pushed baseless conspiracy claims. Military ethicists say their actions threaten to weaken the public’s faith in democracy. For the past year, Flynn, Waldron and other intelligence veterans have helped propagate some of the outlandish theories undercutting Americans’ faith in democracy. They pitched false accusations to lawmakers and the public about how the election had been compromised, pushed spurious lawsuits to challenge its outcome, and bankrolled efforts to conduct partisan audits of the results. They provided briefings to members of Congress on methods for overturning the election, and worked aside some of the leading actors in Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ movement.”

Navy to Start Ejecting Unvaccinated Sailors (DonkeyHotey)

From Defense One: “The Navy will start processing unvaccinated active-duty sailors for separation under a new policy guidance released Wednesday. Thousands of sailors risk ending their career’s early and repaying bonuses and education fees for failing to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of November. ‘We want every sailor to receive the vaccine and stay Navy. And if a sailor gets their shot, we will honor that and make every effort to retain them,’ Rear Adm. James Waters, the Navy’s director of military personnel plans and policy, told reporters. ‘On the other hand, those who continue to refuse the vaccine will be required to leave the Navy.’”

As Climate ‘Net-Zero’ Plans Grow, so Do Concerns From Scientists (Laura)

The author writes, “Faced with the prospect that climate change will drive ever deadlier heat waves, rising seas and crop failures that will menace the global food system, countries, corporations and cities appear to have come up with a plan: net zero. The concept is simple: starting now, to ensure that by a certain date — usually 2050 — they absorb as much carbon dioxide as they emit, thereby achieving carbon neutrality. But scientists and monitoring groups are growing increasingly alarmed at the slew of vague net-zero pledges that appear to privilege offsets and future technological breakthroughs over short-term emissions cuts.”

FROM 2018: Returning to Her Rural Roots: bell hooks (Dan)

From Diverse: “‘I was discouraged because other Black women said to me, “You don’t need an Institute, you don’t know what you’re doing,”’ says hooks. ‘And I was really shocked, not to get the support but I think that’s the schizophrenia that we live within. People act like, “Well, your books will be around.” You can’t count on this White racist world to keep anything of ours with the care and the commitment that we would like for it to have.’”

80,000 Honey Bees Found in Shower Wall (Also, 100 Pounds of Honey) (Carina)

The author writes, “A Florida couple recently bade farewell to some uninvited house guests: a colony of as many as 80,000 honey bees that had invaded their shower wall. The colony’s size astounded even Elisha Bixler, the professional beekeeper whom the couple, Stefanie and Dan Graham of St. Petersburg, Florida, had enlisted to get them out of the sticky situation. ‘There was honey everywhere: walls, floor, on my shoes, doorknobs,’ Bixler recounted in an interview Wednesday. ‘I had to pull the wall down to the studs to get all of the comb out.’”