Sneaky sneakers Manchin and Schumer pull a fast one on Mitch McConnell

It’s about time someone gave ole Kentucky Mitch a bit of his own medicine in the pulling-a-fast-one dept.

There is no such thing as a genuine surprise in Washington—usually. This was a genuine surprise. I had been talking to people this week who would or should have known that talks between Manchin and Schumer, thought to be moribund, were taking place. The closest I got to foreknowledge was one source saying that they just didn’t believe it. An army of reporters, lobbyists, and hangers-on didn’t know this was happening.

The reveal was made a few hours after the Senate cleared the CHIPS and Science Act, a bill that offers semiconductor manufacturers subsidies for reshoring and boosts science programs. Mitch McConnell had threatened that bill, something highly cherished by Schumer, if Democrats persisted with a party-line bill that raised taxes and boosted clean energy. When Manchin walked away from negotiations with Schumer just two weeks ago over those two items, McConnell let his guard down and allowed a vote on CHIPS, which was popular with many of his Republican colleagues. Schumer and Manchin waited until that cleared the Senate before announcing a reconciliation deal with taxes and climate back in.

If you told me a cosmic ray hit Washington and flipped everyone’s brains, giving Schumer the Machiavellian cunning of a Republican and giving McConnell the guileless approach of a Democrat, that might be a more plausible explanation for this display than the truth. It’s a near-legendary turn of events that infuriated McConnell so much he took hostage a bill to give dying veterans exposed to toxic burn pits medical care, something Republicans passed overwhelmingly just a few weeks ago (it needed a technical fix). The combination of the revival of the Biden agenda and red-faced Republicans making terrible choices on highly popular legislation is one for the ages.

It’s enough of a shock that Schumer was able to pull this off without anyone being suspicious.

But if Manchin was in any way the architect of this, my dislike of him has been lessened just a little.

Of course, Manchin could still change his mind, although that seems less likely on this go-round.

Then there is Sen. Sinema, who is probably jonesing for some attention and power-flexing of her own.

So, no celebration yet.

You can read the rest of TAP’s excellent article by David Dayen at this link.

Bitcoin industry claims it is helping to prevent Texas power outages

Or so they say:

As a blistering heat wave smothered Texas this week and taxed the power grid with record-high demand, bitcoin mining operators in the state shut down their electricity-guzzling machines.

Complying with requests from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — the grid operator that asked businesses and residents to voluntarily conserve electricity during the heat wave — nearly all industrial-scale mining in the state reportedly powered down, according to the Texas Blockchain Council, an industry association.

Cryptocurrency mining requires huge amounts of electricity, prompting concerns not only around whether Texas’s beleaguered grid can keep up with skyrocketing demand as more miners are expected to flock to the state, but also over the industry’s broader potential environmental impact.

“There are over 1,000 megawatts worth of bitcoin mining load that responded to ERCOT’s conservation request by turning off their machines to conserve energy for the grid,” Lee Bratcher, president of Texas Blockchain Council, told Bloomberg News in an email.

Of course, an industry that is melting down before everyone’s eyes and taking millions of people’s life savings in those losses. has no reason at all right now to lie in ways that will take attention away from those facts.

Reporters today are often such shitheads. They “fact check” doctors who says a 10-year-old had to go to Indiana for an abortion, but take the word of an entire shady industry as gospel when they say they are helping the environment and energy loads.

And what’s even worse?

The WaPo reporter in question never once mentioned in her article that crypto was in a freefall. I think that might have something to do with the fact that those guys are willing to cut back.

Anyway, you can read the rest here.

Policing the water use of MAGA nuts will be one of the worst jobs in America

Plentiful handguns and military assault rifles. A childish lack of communitarian instincts. A conspiracy-fueled distrust of government. Lacking in enough basic science knowledge to harbor a disbelief in climate change. Plus, narcissism.

Add all of those together, and you could not pay me enough money to walk around unarmed and tell MAGA types they are using too much water on their lawns.

Yet that’s what increasingly is going to happen in states facing historic paradigm-shifting droughts:

Sweeping restrictions on outdoor water use go into effect on Wednesday for more than 6 million residents in Southern California as officials work to conserve water during a severe drought.

The conservation rules, among the strictest ever imposed in the state, were set by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, one of the largest water distributors in the country.

Households are now forbidden from watering their lawns more than once a week in many jurisdictions. The goal is to slash water use by 35% as the state enters its third straight year of drought.

The rules come after California officials in March announced they were cutting State Water Project allocations from 15% to 5% of normal amid declining reservoir levels and reduced snowpack. California’s two largest reservoirs have already dropped to critically low levels, and the state this year experienced its driest January, February and March on record.

The first “sovereign citizen” nut with a Glock, and some poor civil servant won’t stand a chance. All for a $19-an-hour seasonal job. (BTW, “experience in conflict management” as a job qualification pre-supposes that the citizens with whom you will have conflicts are not impervious to reason.)

If anyone I loved wanted to apply for a job as a governmental water-use monitor, driving around in a little car and handing out citations, I’d say, “Why don’t you go for something less dangerous? Are there any tow truck driver jobs available?”

A dried lake bed is increasingly common in the many parts of the U.S. (Photo: Kalman Kovats, PixaBay)