Primus Gets National Recognition

It’s been 230 years ago since the chariot came and carried Primus home. For a man who’s been dead so long, he comes back around pretty regularly. He is always welcome in these pages. Most recently he appeared in The New Yorker. An article by Jill Lepore, headlined “When Black History Is Unearthed, Who Gets to Speak for the Dead?”, mentions Primus because he is known to be buried here, in Portsmouth’s African Burying Ground. Meanwhile, the grave of his enslaver Daniel Fowle remains unknown. We can almost hear Primus saying to Daniel, “Bottom rail on top now, boss.” Primus X—or, less formally, Primus—made another …

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Trump’s Pals Tried to Privatize the VA

by Isaac Arnsdorf, for ProPublica Sept. 27, 2021—Former President Donald Trump empowered associates from his private club to pursue a plan for the Department of Veterans Affairs to monetize patient data, according to documents newly released by congressional investigators. As ProPublica first reported in 2018, a trio based at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort weighed in on policy and personnel decisions for the federal government’s second-largest agency, despite lacking any experience in the U.S. government or military. While previous reporting showed the trio had a hand in budgeting and contracting, their interest in turning patient data into a revenue stream was not previously known. The VA provides …

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Horses, Whips, and Haitians

The week got off to an instructive start. Few Americans probably imagined that men on horseback in this country still use leather lashes to control defenseless Black people. Live and learn. Most Americans must have been deeply disturbed by the sight of Haitian refugees being subjected to this brutal treatment. At least, so one would hope. Extrapolating from polls showing continued support for a certain non-incumbent, though, about one in four may have said to themselves, “Yeah, give them a few licks for me.” Though the lesson may have been unwelcome, the sight was nevertheless instructive. It was even inspiring, in the saddest way imaginable. …

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Democratic Dereliction of Duty

by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams Worker justice advocates are growing increasingly furious over the national Democratic leadership’s refusal to act after more than nine million people across the U.S. were thrown off unemployment insurance earlier this week, an unprecedented aid cut that took effect in the middle of a surging pandemic and persistent economic crisis. The Biden administration and congressional Democrats had been aware of the massive benefit cliff for months, but there was hardly any push on Capitol Hill for an extension of the trio of federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs that lapsed on Labor Day—slashing benefits for roughly 9.5 million unemployed workers. In …

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DeJoy: “Run the Postal Service? I Thought You Said ‘Ruin the Postal Service.’”

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are facing more catastrophes than you can count. Where do you even begin? This disagreeable sensation, once confined to an unlucky few, is now widespread among those who read the news. Our policy for staving off catatonia: expect the worst, hope for the best, and deal with one thing at a time. At the moment, because it’s dear to our ink-stained heart, let’s consider the U.S. Postal Service [U.S.P.S.]. Because it certainly qualifies as a catastrophe. Incredibly, there’s good news on this front. The District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled August 17th that the U.S.P.S. must turn over …

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AMOC Amok, or, Species Bites Environment

This fortnight began with terrible news about the climate. It went downhill from there. The Guardian reported on July 27th—too late for us to deal with properly in our paper of July 30th, too important to leave out now—“many of the key indicators of the global climate crisis are getting worse and either approaching, or exceeding, key tipping points as the earth heats up.” “Overall, the study* found some 16 out of 31 tracked planetary vital signs, including greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content and ice mass, set worrying new records. “‘There is growing evidence we are getting close to or have already gone beyond …

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