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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a perfect reply to Marjorie Taylor Greene's fearmongering about a pro-LGBTQ bill

February 24, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-NY) just slammed “QAnon Congresswoman” Marjorie Taylor Greene over her opposition to the LGBTQ Equality Act. The House will vote on the legislation this week and is currently engaged in determining the rules for the vote.

Rep. Greene, Republican of Georgia, has been waging war against the bill, falsely claiming it “destroys women’s rights and religious freedom,” and is “evil.” Greene on Wednesday bragged on Twitter that she had just made a motion to adjourn, in a lame attempt to derail the legislation from moving forward.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez blasted and mocked her, saying, “You could just vote ‘no’ instead of trying to get out of work early.”

And she reminded Greene that trans women are women.

AOC did not stop there.

Last week AOC made headlines after raising over $5 million for the people of Texas harmed by the deadly storm and lack of power and running water.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Journalist pinpoints the 'uncomfortable truth' behind the GOP effort to sink Biden nominee Neera Tanden

February 24, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

With so many Republicans railing against Neera Tanden — President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget — and centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia having announced that he won’t vote to confirm her, Tanden’s chances of heading the OMB aren’t looking good. At issue, Republicans say, are tweets Tanden posted in the past that were highly critical of Republicans. Journalist Jill Filipovic slams Tanden’s opponents in an op-ed for the Washington Post, stressing that GOP senators are total hypocrites in light of all the inflammatory tweets that former President Donald Trump posted during his years in the White House.

“By wringing their hands over her supposedly mean tweets,” Filipovic argues, “congressional Republicans have attempted to don the mantle of civility while remaining stooges to Donald Trump, the most boorish president in history, on Twitter and off. Their disingenuousness, and their apparent belief that they are very special snowflakes who deserve special deference, is at the heart of the movement to prevent her confirmation. But tweets really aren’t what has put her nomination in peril — and it’s not just Republicans imperiling her. Tanden, a highly qualified candidate to be Biden’s budget director, is being swamped by a perfect storm of bipartisan hypocrisy.”

Tanden, Filipovic notes, is the “kind of bootstraps personal story that conservatives usually cheer.” She was born to immigrant parents and went on to attend Yale Law School before going on to head the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank — and Republicans, according to Filipovic, should admire Tanden’s drive and ambition despite their policy differences with her.

“Even a moderate Republican such as Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) says she won’t vote to confirm Tanden, based in part on her ‘temperament,’” Filipovic laments. “Manchin, the first Democrat to announce that he would withhold support, cited Tanden’s ‘public statements and tweets’ and ‘overtly partisan statements’…. Concern about Tanden’s tweets is rich, coming from Collins and other Republicans, whose party is in thrall to a former president who was banned from Twitter — and from Manchin, who voted to confirm several of Trump’s most acerbic nominees.”

Filipovic notes that “caustic tweets….. didn’t stop Richard Grenell from becoming Trump’s ambassador to Germany” or prevent most House Republicans from voting to let far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia keep her committee assignments.

“By her own admission,” Filipovic writes, “Tanden has let …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'I will not be lectured': Fireworks erupt in House hearing over embattled Postmaster General DeJoy

February 24, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) slammed his Republican colleagues for “gaslighting” during Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the USPS, which featured testimony by embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Connolly spoke following U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jody Hice (R-GA). Hice defended DeJoy to the hilt, falsely attacking Democrats for what he said was their “nonsensical, insane, rabid rhetoric.”

“We’ve got to get away from the attacks and the unfounded allegations and I’m pleased to hear that you, as an admitted Democrat, understand that the allegations against Mr. DeJoy were unwarranted,” Hice told a witness.

Hice also claimed that if DeJoy had tried to “alter” the election “he miserably failed.” He also falsely claimed the postal service succeeded “with almost perfect delivery” of mail-in ballots.

That was the tenor of the hearing.

Later, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (D-OH) was the one to engage in gaslighting, and Congressman Connolly had had enough:

“All the gaslighting that we just heard does not change the facts,” he said, scorching Jordan.

“I didn’t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship.”

Connolly later weighed in, re-tweeting the video and saying, “Sorry, you lose the right to complain about partisanship once you’ve fanned the flames of violent insurrection.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Paul Krugman explains how Texas exposed the dark side of 'free-market fundamentalism'

February 24, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

The deregulation of Texas’ energy market has been a badge of honor among Lone Star Republicans, but with millions of Texans having recently found themselves without electricity, heat and running water during freezing temperatures and blackouts, many liberals are aggressively questioning the wisdom of that deregulation. One of them is economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who slams the “Texas power debacle” as a tragic example of why deregulating the energy market in the way that Republicans did in Texas is a terrible idea.

“The collapse of the Texas power grid didn’t just reveal a few shortcomings — it showed that the entire philosophy behind the state’s energy policy is wrong,” Krugman writes. “And it also showed that the state is run by people who will resort to blatant lies rather than admit their mistakes.”

Krugman adds that although Texas “isn’t the only state with a largely deregulated electricity market,” it has “pushed deregulation further than anyone else.”

“There is an upper limit on wholesale electricity prices, but it’s stratospherically high,” Krugman explains. “And there is essentially no prudential regulation — no requirements that utilities maintain reserve capacity or invest in things like insulation to limit the effects of extreme weather.”

To make matters worse, some Texans have been slammed with sky-high energy bills — which, Krugman stresses, shows that electricity should not be regulated the way avocados are regulated.

“Texas energy policy was based on the idea that you can treat electricity like avocados,” Krugman observes. “Do people remember the great avocado shortage of 2019? Surging demand and a bad crop in California led to spiking prices, (and) nobody called for a special inquest and new regulations on avocado producers….. But kilowatt-hours aren’t avocados…. Having to go without avocado toast won’t kill you; having to go without electricity, especially when your house relies on it for heat, can.”

Krugman notes how high some recent energy bills have been in Texas. For example, the New York Times reported that Scott Willoughby, who lives in a Dallas suburb, received an electric bill for $16,752.

“At first, those Texans who didn’t lose power in the big freeze considered themselves lucky,” Krugman notes. “But then the bills arrived — and some families found themselves being charged thousands of dollars for a few days of electricity. Many families probably can’t afford to pay those bills; …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Biden's two years to undo Trump's damage to democracy

February 24, 2021 in Blogs

By María Isabel Puerta Riera

A few days ago, President Joe Biden announced to western allies that America is back while the images of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol were still fresh in our memories. The ambitious damage-control operation that the Biden administration has embarked on has quite a few critical fronts: the COVID-19 pandemic management and vaccine roll-out; the much-needed economic relief bill negotiations; the broad social and racial discontent; and the most pressing of all the institutional challenges the country has been left to deal with: the distrust in American democracy.

The United States is in an extremely uncomfortable—and unusual—position where much of its political authority, historically based on the strength and stability of the American experiment, has been cast in doubt after the Capitol insurrection. The country, with Biden’s leadership, must not only work to recover public trust in democratic institutions, but also ease concerns among Western superpowers that the United States can be seen once again as an unfailing ally.

Historically, “democracy promotion,” as it’s called, had been an essential artifact of the American foreign policy agenda. Efforts around the world have oscillated from financial aid to institutional promotion, from containment to military intervention. The strategy would very much depend on which party was in office, but under Trump, the embrace of autocrats like Putin and Kim Jong-un contrasted with the aggressive rhetoric against Maduro in Venezuela, making it unclear if his administration was more interested in giving the impression of pushing for regime change to secure Venezuelan American votes in South Florida than democracy itself.

The investment in democracy building has been both a commitment to advance democracy development around the world and a preemptive measure against authoritarian regimes. This time around, the country is facing one of the most consequential tests to its own democratic system while the world is watching. How can Biden advocate for democracy overseas while in his own country is under attack?

The United States has to lead by example in breaking the authoritarian expansion started by Trump, his administration, and the Republican Party. The first weeks of the Biden administration have been essentially oriented by the complete undoing of some of Trump’s most far-reaching decisions: leaving the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran Nuclear Agreement, rescinding the Muslim Ban, among other immigration policies. The message is both a domestic compromise and a foreign policy pledge.

The Biden administration has probably two years to undo most …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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How the Aztec Empire Was Forged Through a Triple Alliance

February 24, 2021 in History

By Dave Roos

Three city-states joined in a fragile, but strategic alliance to wield tremendous power as the Aztec Empire.

The . “It wasn’t good for farming the corn, beans and squash that they all lived on.”

Soon, however, the Mexica learned an agricultural trick from the neighboring Xochimilca, who taught them to build productive raised bed gardens in the shallows using basket-like fences of woven reeds. In time, the previously unattractive island location transformed into a central trading hub with canoes filled with goods criss-crossing the lake to buy and sell in Tenochtitlán.

WATCH: Greatest Ancient Metropolises on HISTORY Vault

Itzcoatl Leads a Bold Coup

While settlers around Lake Texcoco thrived agriculturally, they lived under volatile rulership. Power dynamics in 14th-century Mexico were complicated to say the least.

“Every city state was always on the edge of civil war,” says Townsend, the result of an energetically polygamous ruling class.

Kings, known as tlàtoani (meaning “speaker” or “mouthpiece”), took multiple wives as gifts and tributes from their political allies. The polygamous unions yielded dozens of potential heirs, each vying for the throne with the military backing of their mother’s home city.

In 1426, the tlàtoani of Azcapotzalco, still the most powerful city state, died suddenly. His heirs, each representing the interests of another city state, began killing each other off in a desperate grab for the throne. Chaos ensued.

The tlàtoani of Tenochtitlán at the time was a man named Itzoatl or “Obsidian Snake.” Itzcoatl himself was an unlikely heir to the Tenochtitlán throne, as the son of a former king and an enslaved woman. But he was a savvy schemer and knew an opportunity when he saw it.

Itzcoatl sought allies from towns that had been wronged by Azcapotzalco. But not only that, he looked for bands of brothers from second- and third-tier queens who had little chance of rising to power on their own. That’s how Itzcoatl forged an alliance between Tenochtitlán and aspiring families in the two smaller city states of Tlacopan and Texcoco.

Together, this unlikely coalition of the least-powerful bands of brothers waged war against chaotic Azcapotzalco and seized power in a coordinated coup. The Triple Alliance was born.

The Triple Alliance: An Ad Hoc Empire

Panoramic view of Tenochtitlán, the ancient capital of the Aztec empire, and the Valley of Mexico.

Once Azcapotzalco was subdued, the Triple Alliance combined its armies to intimidate city states and villages across the Valley of Mexico and …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Who Invented the TV Dinner?

February 24, 2021 in History

By Aaron Randle

It came. It thawed. It conquered. Along the way, the frozen meal in a box had multiple creators.

TV dinners—those frozen, pre-cooked and pre-portioned meals that can be reheated and ready to eat in minutes—became an American culinary staple in the mid 20th century. But the true origin of this quarter-trillion-dollar industry may never be fully unwrapped.

TV dinners may not have emerged from factory ovens until the 1950s, but the industry’s pre-heating stage began as early as 1925. That was when naturalist and entrepreneur Clarence Birdseye developed and commercialized a method for quickly freezing fish. His epiphany came after living among the indigenous Inuit people in Canada and learning their food preservation skills.

Americans had been eating commercially frozen meat for nearly half a century, but the food was unpopular with consumers. Predominant methods of slow-freezing meats, poultry and fish typically caused them to lose their flavor and texture while thawing. With Birdseye’s double-belt, flash-freezing technology however, fleshy foods retained their original freshness, texture and flavor.

By the late 1930s, Birdseye had applied his patented technology to vegetables as well, creating the foundation for the modern American frozen food industry. But the marketplace wasn’t ready. Few American consumers had iceboxes in their homes. And refrigeration advancements still lagged on the commercial side, with insulated vehicles and sufficiently refrigerated supermarkets still rare.

READ MORE: How the Modern Frozen Food Industry Took Inspiration from the Inuits

Precursors to the TV Dinner

Worker surveys boxes of Bird’s Eye frozen foods as they move along a conveyor belt, c. 1922.

World War II accelerated the use of frozen meals. In 1944, Maxson Food Systems Inc. used Birdseye’s flash-freezing technology to create frozen pre-packaged dinners to be sold exclusively to military and civilian air carriers. The meals, called “Strato-Plates” or “Sky Plates,” consisted of a partitioned serving of meat, a vegetable and a potato, reheated aboard the planes in Maxson “Whirlwind Electric Ovens,” a precursor to the convection oven. Founder W.L. Maxson planned to expand his company’s Strato-Plates to a wider consumer market, but died before the plan took off.

In 1947, entrepreneur Jack Fisher placed pre-frozen meals in aluminum trays and called them “Fridgi-Dinners.” Fisher marketed the meals exclusively to bars and taverns looking for a way to feed hungry patrons without hiring cooks. Though inching closer to the American consumer, the dinners remained outside the home.

WATCH: Full episodes of The …read more

Source: HISTORY