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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
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Journal Archives

Lumber Prices Are Finally Dropping After They Soared During The Pandemic

Lumber Prices Are Finally Dropping After They Soared During The Pandemic
June 21, 20214:49 PM ET

They say money doesn't grow on trees, but over the last year it did.

Lumber prices skyrocketed to historic highs during the coronavirus pandemic, fueled by a demand for new homes and a surge in renovations and DIY hobbyist projects by those of us on lockdown.


How wood got so expensive

The construction-grade softwood-lumber market saw wild price swings over the past year, driven in part by the pandemic.

Demand for new homes and thus framing lumber like pine two-by-fours have surged. Some homeowners on lockdown indulged in their woodworking hobby or finally got around to renovation projects that had been on hold.

Meanwhile, sawmills struggled to keep up with the increased demand, especially as their workers were forced to stay home during infection spikes or actually caught the coronavirus.

The greater demand for lumber coupled with the dearth of supply meant only one thing: higher prices.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Jun 21, 2021, 07:50 PM (3 replies)

Eric Alterman: Not Now, Not Ever, Has Fox News Been Journalism

The American Prospect
Home Politics
Altercation: Not Now, Not Ever, Has Fox News Been Journalism
And it’s a dangerous delusion to misclassify it as such.
by Eric Alterman
June 18, 2021


Fox News Channel is often described as a cable news station. On occasion, the words “conservative” or “biased” are attached to that description. But few dispute the journalistic orientation of the overall enterprise.

This is a mistake. Fox is something new—something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead, it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And it does so at a hefty profit, thereby turning itself into the political equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

Recall that last spring, David Frum lost his appointment at the conservative American Enterprise Institute before observing, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”


The implied threat of unfavorable Fox coverage works even better with Republicans. During the period of 2010 when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) [Remember that Lindsey Graham?] was negotiating to join Democrat John Kerry and conservative independent Joe Lieberman in their attempt to craft an energy bill, the Republican warned Lieberman and Kerry that they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill “before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process,” one of the people involved in the negotiations said to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza.

“He would say, ‘The second they focus on us, it’s gonna be all cap-and-tax all the time, and it’s gonna become just a disaster for me on the airwaves. We have to move this along as quickly as possible.’”

The upshot was that, even way back then, Democratic Cabinet officials and Republican senators were afraid to do whatever they truly believed to be the right thing lest Fox twist it into some nefarious plot against “real” Americans. It did not matter that Fox anchors were nakedly lying (or in the case of Beck, were obviously nuts). With Breitbart, they were playing a deliberately doctored videotape, purposely out of context, in order to slander Sherrod and intimidate Vilsack. And the last thing in the world that mattered to the Fox executives who so frightened Lindsey Graham was the fact that the United States desperately needed some sort of response to the climate catastrophe whose reality the network continues to deny to the detriment of literally everyone on the planet who does not make money from it.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Jun 21, 2021, 02:43 PM (7 replies)

How Merrick Garland Acts Like Donald Trump's Lawyer


How Merrick Garland Acts Like Donald Trump’s Lawyer
The Justice Department wants to defend the executive branch. That means defending Trump.
Dan Friedman

Under President Joe Biden, the Justice Department is defending many of the polices and prerogatives of former President Donald Trump. Six months after Trump left office, lawsuits on matters ranging from the Trump-Russia scandal to a rape allegation against the former president are still winding through courts, and DOJ is siding with the former president in some cases, and fighting Congress to keep Trump-era records secret in others.

The Justice Department appears to be doing this because it is run by lawyers eager to preserve executive branch power against legislators, and because Attorney General Merrick Garland wants to avoid “re-litigating” Trump-era controversies, according to aides.

DOJ, in other words, has decided to defend Trump to help Biden. But to Trump’s critics, this stance amounts to a feckless stymying of accountability for a president and aides whose conduct was unprecedented in its lawlessness.

Here is a run-down of matters where the Justice Department is, at least in part, siding with or protecting Trump.



In May, 87 former federal prosecutors asked Garland to abandon a Trump administration policy of charging gun crimes that occur in the District of Columbia in federal court. The prosecutors say that due to stiff mandatory federal penalties for gun arrests, the policy disproportionately affected Black residents. Average sentences for gun crimes are about twice as high in the federal court system, the Washington Post has reported. But DOJ has so far indicated no plan to change course.

Immigration policies

While Biden has broken with many of Trump’s draconian immigration policies, the Justice Department is quietly defending some Trump-era rules and their architects in court, the New York Times recently reported. DOJ lawyers have argued to keep in place a policy that bars immigrants with temporary protected status from gaining green cards with the support of their employer. They have also agreed to defend former members of the Trump administration, including Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller, in lawsuits seeking damages for harm caused by the family-separation policy they advocated. This is a traditional step for DOJ to take. But Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the Times that the department should reconsider due to the historically heinous conduct it is now defending. “For the Biden DOJ to choose to represent the people who did the family-separation practice is deeply troubling,” he said.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Jun 21, 2021, 11:19 AM (7 replies)

Eric Boehlert: CNN's valentine to a Trump insurrectionist

CNN’s valentine to a Trump insurrectionist
January 6 whitewash
Eric Boehlert
1 hr ago

Five months after they smashed windows, hung nooses, brawled with cops, and desecrated the U.S. Capitol, CNN decided to portray a killed Trump insurrectionist from January 6 in a positive light. Leaning into interviews with the family of Ashli Babbitt, CNN did its best to present a pleasing picture of the mob member who was shot and killed by U.S. Capitol police as she and a lawbreaking Trump gang tried to force themselves into the Speaker’s Lobby as all hell broke loose that dreadful day.

It was a bewildering and misguided profile that whitewashed a deadly serious topic —radicals who wanted to invalidate an American election and use overwhelming physical force to make it happen. The lawless, violent mob rampaged inside the Capitol for hours, knocking officers unconscious and destroying offices of Democratic members.

CNN framed the report as a Both Sides one: Supporters see Babbitt as a patriot, while liberals see her as a terrorist. CNN then proceeded to completely ignore the liberal perspective for the entire Babbitt report. Readers were repeatedly told what a kind and conscientious person she was. But they were never given the other side of that Both Sides equation.

The CNN misfire was a classic example of what happens when journalists land sought-after interviews, in this case with members of Babbitt’s family, and then spin the story in their favor. They tell the tale just as the interview subjects would want it to be told.


In terms of CNN’s Babbitt profile, there’s nothing wrong with providing context and detail about her life, particularly since she seems to be a textbook example of someone whose life, even before January 6, was swallowed whole by the cultist, far-right movement to worship Trump like an idol. Since her death, friends have expressed shock at the fanatical and anger-filled turn her politics took, as well as the rabid and often incoherent screeds she began posting online. (“They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours.”) If Babbitt wasn’t a full-on QAnon devotee at the time of her death, she was awfully close.

But that’s not the type of context CNN provided. Instead, the network worked overtime to play down Babbitt’s actions on January 6, as well as the actions of thousands of insurrectionists who did their best to overthrow democracy by pummeling police officers for hours on end. Not once in the 2,000-word piece did CNN mention the raging violence that Trump’s mob unleashed, as members of the Capitol police force battled in hand-to-hand combat with the remorseless, bloodthirsty gang.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Jun 21, 2021, 07:29 AM (20 replies)

The Republican Party Is Totally Collapsing In The Suburbs


Posted on Fri, Jun 18th, 2021 by Jason Easley
The Republican Party Is Totally Collapsing In The Suburbs

Affluent suburban neighborhoods that used to be solidly Republicans have now flipped to voting for and electing Democrats.

Politico wrote about Oakland County, Michigan, and other suburbs:

Between Barack Obama’s campaign in 2012 and Joe Biden’s in 2020, the margin of victory for Democratic presidential candidates in Oakland grew by roughly 55,000 votes. Few have noticed it, but Oakland’s share of the statewide Democratic vote now exceeds that of the city of Detroit. Oakland now accounts for roughly 1 in every 7 votes statewide. And those votes are being cast for Democrats at much higher rates than they used to be.


And there are Oakland Counties all around the nation—affluent, longtime Republican suburbs that have been trending Democratic for a long time, but where the Trump years marked a tipping point. “Look at why the Republicans are so obsessed with reversing Maricopa [County, Arizona]—but also Gwinnett [County, Georgia]—both key to Biden and Democrats winning the states and Senate,” says Greenberg.

These suburbs are described as white, but increasingly diversifying. They have shifted over the last decade from solidly Republican to increasingly Democratic. The Republican response to this potentially political landscape-altering change has been threefold.

Republicans have doubled down on Trump, denied that there is a problem, and tried to take away voting rights from as many people as possible.

The Republican Party’s response has been wrong in every area. Instead of changing their positions to appeal to the suburbs, the GOP has gone more extreme. There have been warnings from within the GOP that the voter suppression laws that are being passed may make it more difficult for Republicans to vote.
Republicans are pushing the suburbs away potentially for years to come.

Trump lost the affluent suburbs for the Republican Party, and they may never come back as long as Trumpism remains the dominant ideology.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jun 19, 2021, 05:15 AM (31 replies)

Eric Boehlert: The New York Times creates another Both Sides fiasco

The New York Times creates another Both Sides fiasco
Train wreck
Eric Boehlert
2 hr ago

Republicans want to make it harder for people to vote and easier for the GOP to invalidate election results. That’s the distressing, historic truth as the party fully embraces an anti-democratic agenda.

Hiding behind Both Sides journalism, which portrays all political skirmishes as being the product of each party, the D.C. press continues to struggle to be honest about the GOP’s radical turn. Recently the New York Times, as if trying to create a Both Sides archetype, including flawless examples of everything that’s wrong and dangerous about the faulty form of journalism, published a painfully bad piece about GOP voter suppression. “Museum quality,” was how New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen dubbed the Times’ pitch-perfect Both Sides entry.


The car wreck began with the headline: “In Congress, Republicans Shrug at Warnings of Democracy in Peril.” Making clear that the article would view the topic through the eyes of the GOP, the headline stressed that Republicans were unconcerned about the issue at hand, which is exactly the message Republicans want to portray — it’s no big deal.

Then the sub-headline: “As G.O.P. legislatures move to curtail voting rules, congressional Democrats say authoritarianism looms, but Republicans dismiss the concerns as politics as usual.”

First, Republicans across the country are passing an unprecedented collection of voter suppression laws. But the Times won’t use that clear language, instead opting for the watered down, “curtail voting rules.” The word choice is important because if the Times had framed the article as one about “voter suppression” laws, it would make it much harder for Republicans to “shrug off” the allegations about putting democracy in peril.

Second, the Times places alongside each other the claims that voter suppression is a function of Republican authoritarianism, and that the GOP’s dismissal that it’s all “politics as usual.” In the eyes of the Times those are equally valid and important points for readers to know. Democrats are saying our democracy is in clear danger and Republican says it’s “politics as usual,” which makes no sense. It’s not “usual” for one of the two major political parties in this country to warn that America’s nearly two-and-a-half centuries of democratic rule faces a looming internal and deliberate danger. In fact, that’s the opposite of “usual” — it’s unheard of.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 18, 2021, 08:48 AM (20 replies)

Donald Trump, Human Parasite, Is Now Telling People Not to Vaccinate Their Kids Against Coronavirus

Levin Report
Donald Trump, Human Parasite, Is Now Telling People Not to Vaccinate Their Kids Against Coronavirus
Helpful as always!
By Bess Levin
June 17, 2021

Given the opportunity to be of service to their country, most former U.S. presidents are happy to help. Then there’s Donald Trump. A stunted man-child who’s never done anything without first asking, “What’s in it for me?” the ex-president has actively hurt America since leaving office in January, largely by doing everything he can to undermine democracy, whether it’s his continued attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election or telling people he’s going to be “reinstated” as POTUS in a matter of months. Also unhelpful? His decision to prolong the pandemic by telling people not to have their children vaccinated for COVID-19.

Yes, despite regularly insisting that he doesn’t get enough credit for the coronavirus vaccines, Trump claimed during an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday that school-age children should not be inoculated against the deadly virus. “Now we have to get back and the schools have to get open—and frankly, we’re lucky we have the vaccine. But the vaccine on very young people is something that you gotta really stop,” Trump inexplicably said. “You have to get back to running your country—I mean, I don’t see reasons—and I am a big believer in what we did with the vaccine. It’s incredible what we did. You see the results. But to have every school child, where it’s 99.99%, they just don’t—you know, they’re just not affected or affected badly. Having to receive a vaccine I think is something that you should start thinking about, because I think it’s unnecessary.”

As usual, the majority of the words coming out of the 45th president’s mouth were a lie. The coronavirus does, in fact, affect children. As Politico notes, more than 2,000 children have been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome since the start of the pandemic; MIS-C damages the heart to such an extent that some kids who develop it will reportedly need “lifelong monitoring and interventions,” while more than 30 have died. According to neonatologist Dr. Alvaro Moreira, MIS-C can hit seemingly healthy kids nearly a month after asymptomatic infections. And while it’s true that children are less likely to become symptomatic than adults, more than 4 million have tested positive for COVID-19, which they can subsequently pass on to more vulnerable people, contributing to the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, NBC News reports that “virtually all hospitalized COVID patients” are unvaccinated, and it’s not just unvaccinated adults who are at risk for severe illness. “In our local hospitals the kids that are getting sick are the ones that are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in Overland Park, Kansas. Not surprisingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged children 12 and up to get vaccinated, citing the recent increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 18, 2021, 06:12 AM (76 replies)

13 Republicans Try to Create Crisis Over Biden's 'Cognitive Function' With Letter to WH Physician

Who the hell are these people? They take faux as gospel apparently. All they had to do was turn on the President while overseas to see how well his cognitive function is. And were they a-ok with mf45's mental faculties?


13 Republicans Try to Create Crisis Over Biden’s ‘Cognitive Function’ With Letter to White House Physician

Blake Montgomery, Reporter/Editor
Updated Jun. 17, 2021 9:31PM ET /
Published Jun. 17, 2021 9:28PM ET

More than a dozen House Republicans signed a letter from Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) demanding that President Joe Biden undergo a cognitive fitness test. Jackson, who was former President Donald Trump’s physician while he was in office, also addressed the letter to Physician to the President Kevin O’Connor and Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. The 13 House Republicans who signed the letter were Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Andy Harris (R-MD), Brian Babin (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Gregory Steube (R-FL), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Jerry Carl (R-AL), Pat Fallon (R-TX), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), and Beth Van Duyne (R-TX). Jackson wrote, “The American people deserve to have absolute confidence in their President. They deserve to know that he or she can perform the duties demanded of the office.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 18, 2021, 05:29 AM (31 replies)

Lawmaker Uses Campaign Funds to Defend Himself


Lawmaker Uses Campaign Funds to Defend Himself
June 17, 2021 at 12:00 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) “is using campaign money to pay lawyers defending him in an investigation into whether he misspent campaign funds,” the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 17, 2021, 11:16 AM (4 replies)

Millions Fear Evictions as Housing Crisis Worsens


Millions Fear Evictions as Housing Crisis Worsens
June 17, 2021 at 7:41 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

“More than 4 million people say they fear being evicted or foreclosed upon in the coming months just as two studies released Wednesday have found that the nation’s housing availability and affordability crisis is expected to worsen significantly following the pandemic,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The studies come as a federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 17, 2021, 07:16 AM (6 replies)
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