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February 24, 2021 06:55 AM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.”

–Robert Frost


21 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Robert Reich did a little math this morning. Think about this equation as #PewPew is clutching her glock over the stimulus and reconciliation:

    The $1.3 trillion wealth gain by America’s 660 billionaires since the pandemic began could pay for a stimulus check of $3,900 for every one of the 331 million people in the US. And the billionaires would be as rich as they were before the pandemic.

    Meanwhile Republicans now pushing a “work requirement” for child tax credit for poor families.

    Funny, when they slashed the inheritance tax, I don’t remember talk of a “work requirement” for billionaires’ kids.

    1. I hope her side of the rift in the republican party eventually wins this battle, and Trumpism dies the horrible death that it so richly deserves. It's just nuts that anyone could still support Trump, but they want to keep right with his rabid, angry, idiotic, excitable base.

      There is a very good case to argue that Trump was the worst president in US history, but the cowards are still too afraid to cross him.  In the end Trump's legacy will be shit either way. Good on Liz Cheney.

      1. I'd rather the "Party of Trump" remain in perpetual division, ultimately splitting into two parties that fight with each other forever with each remaining in the minority forever. Am I asking too much?!!

          1. Ah, but someone will soon be writing the Gospel of Trump, the not-so-good book.

            I too would like to wipe him from our memories but there are millions who are not done worshipping him. 

    2. Aaron Blake, one of the WAPO writers for The Fix, described the 3 relationships of the leadership with Trump, in their answer about Trump speaking at CPAC.

      • A bear hug (Steve Scalise), "Scalise appeared on the Sunday shows and made big news by straining to avoid saying President Biden actually won the election, fair and square. He said Biden’s win was legitimate because that’s what the electoral college decided, but he also pointed to alleged problems with how states conducted their elections — allegations which courts have repeatedly rejected to hear. He also avoided saying Trump bore any blame for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as McCarthy has."
      • a middle ground (Kevin McCarthy,"While saying Trump should speak this weekend, he often faded into the background during Trump’s challenge to the 2020 election results, and he has rather clearly just been trying to hold on to control of his party." or
      • a full break (Liz Cheney). "“That’s up to CPAC,” Cheney said, offering the kind of diplomatic response one would expect. But then she went on: “I’ve been clear on my views about President Trump and the extent to which, following Jan. 6, I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”


  2. The legacy of our federal farm programs is land ownership concentration, rural communities ill-equipped to adapt to a 21st-century economy, and criminal amounts of topsoil lost to monoculture. 

    In Trump Farm Bailout, Top 1% Reaped Nearly One-Fourth of Aid

    The Trump administration’s farm bailouts steered an expanding share of subsidy payments to the nation’s biggest farms, according to an analysis by an environmental advocacy group that highlights issues of equity as the Biden administration designs potential new climate-related financial incentives for farmers.

    Just 1% of farm aid recipients collected 23% of subsidy payments in 2019, up from 17% in 2016, as former President Donald Trump’s trade bailout swelled payments to farmers. Their portion crept up to 24% in the first half of 2020, the most recent period covered in the data, as farm aid hit a record level with coronavirus relief payments, according to the Environmental Working Group analysis.

    New Evidence Shows Fertile Soil Gone From Midwestern Farms

    Farming has destroyed a lot of the rich soil of America's Midwestern prairie. A team of scientists just came up with a staggering new estimate for just how much has disappeared.

    The most fertile topsoil is entirely gone from a third of all the land devoted to growing crops across the upper Midwest, the scientists say.

    1. Further proof of why we need to plant millions of acres in soil fixing cover crops, preferably perennials.  Yes, I’ll pay to subsidize that!  Pur the carbon back in the soil where we need it.

    2. I remember watching the process in the couple of years I lived in central Minnesota. Come springtime, when snow lingered in the ditches and the plowing was happening (this was before no-till started to gain popularity) the often fierce winds blowing the dry dirt would sometimes almost turn the snow black. Of course , that all drains to the river or fills up the ditches which are dug out but never put back into production.

      It is a serious problem.

      1. Not only are the topsoils depleted but we've managed to nearly mine the Ogallala Aquifer, millions of years in the making,  to extinction in a period of 60-ish years. 

        Soil degradation costs U.S. corn farmers a half-billion dollars every year

        One-third of the fertilizer applied to grow corn in the U.S. each year simply compensates for the ongoing loss of soil fertility, leading to more than a half-billion dollars in extra costs to U.S. farmers every year, finds new research from CU Boulder published last month in Earth’s Future.

        Long-term soil fertility is on the decline in agricultural lands around the world due to salinization, acidification, erosion and the loss of important nutrients in the soil such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Corn farmers in the U.S. offset these losses with nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers also intended to boost yields, but scientists have never calculated how much of this fertilizer goes into just regaining baseline soil fertility—or how much that costs. 


        1. I remember a study where two plots of adjacent land were fertilized differently.

          One was fertilized with composted waste, the other with ammonium nitrate. I recall after 4 years they began to reduce the amount of composted fertilizer as it became less and less necessary to produce a good crop.

          The chemically fertilized field required repeated applications for the full ten years of the study, as yields dwindled. 

          The results were dramatic, as I recall.

          1. We're in a downward spiral.  It takes more and more nutrients just to maintain degraded soils.  That often causes run-off issues (or in the case of the Ogallala, tainted water).  

            In Iowa, they're trying to get the courts to step in to determine if agriculture has liability in the Racoon River Watershed under the Public Doctrine. 

            That, and increased fugitive emissions from O&G are reducing corn yields by a significant amount. 


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