January 23, 2016

Had enough of watching Twitter and the news to see how long you're going to be snowed in? Even here on the West Coast it's pretty gray and dreary -- not a day to go out and play if you can help it.

But we're here to help. In anticipation of the storm, Fran and I gathered up some really good long articles for you to settle in and read while the weather rages around you outside.

Here we go!

The scary guy financing Ted Cruz primary run

From Bloomberg News, this excellent and very scary in-depth look at Robert Mercer, the billionaire financing Ted Cruz' campaign.

Mercer is one of the most enigmatic and powerful forces in U.S. politics. Beginning around the time of Robinson’s race, Mercer has put at least $32 million behind conservative candidates for office, including $11 million for a group supporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. So far, Mercer is the biggest single donor in the race. Working with his daughter Rebekah, he’s spent tens of millions more to advance a conservative agenda, investing in think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, the media outlet Breitbart.com, and Cambridge Analytica, a data company that builds psychological profiles of voters. Groups he funds have attacked the science of global warming, published a book critical of Hillary Clinton, and bankrolled a documentary celebrating Ayn Rand.

If you don't read any of the others, please do read this one. It's always helpful to know the enemy by name.

Woody Guthrie and Fred Trump

Woody Guthrie's own experiences with the Trump family and their racist approach to housing inspired some of his most bitter writings.

In December 1950, Woody Guthrie signed his name to the lease of a new apartment in Brooklyn. Even now, over half a century later, that uninspiring document prompts a double-take.

Below all the legal jargon is the signature of the man who had composed “This Land Is Your Land,” the most resounding appeal to an equal share for all in America. Below that is the signature of Donald Trump’s father, Fred. No pairing could appear more unlikely.

Guthrie’s two-year tenancy in one of Fred Trump’s buildings and his relationship with the real estate mogul of New York’s outer boroughs produced some of Guthrie’s most bitter writings, which I discovered on a recent trip to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa. These writings have never before been published; they should be, for they clearly pit America’s national balladeer against the racist foundations of the Trump real estate empire.

Interlude: Snowy Cuteness!

Flint's Water Crisis

There are a ton of excellent articles about this, but the New York Times exposé of how officials belittled the complaints coming from Flint is excellent. And infuriating.

A top aide to Michigan’s governor referred to people raising questions about the quality of Flint’s water as an “anti-everything group.” Other critics were accused of turning complaints about water into a “political football.” And worrisome findings about lead by a concerned pediatrician were dismissed as “data,” in quotes.

That view of how the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder initially dealt with the water crisis in the poverty-stricken, black-majority city of Flint emerged from 274 pages of emails, made public by the governor on Wednesday.

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

Kevin Drum, for Mother Jones magazine, writes about the direct relationship between lead particles in the air and crime.

Put all this together and you have an astonishing body of evidence. We now have studies at the international level, the national level, the state level, the city level, and even the individual level. Groups of children have been followed from the womb to adulthood, and higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes. All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century.

The Radioactive Base Is Heading For A Meltdown

Via driftglass, a look at the nuclear buildup on the right side of the aisle.

The tricky part about this arrangement was never getting the nutjobs heated up: they come out of the ground bitter and paranoid and looking to take it out on somebody. The tricky bit has always been modulating their rage and directing it where the Party Elites wanted it to go while at the same time continuously lying to the rest of the world about the existence of the party's Radioactive Base or their means by which they contain and target the crazies:

Let us know which article you liked best, or tip us off to others we should have included, in the comments below. Or just send us some snowy love.

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