Enough With the Straws, OK?

Image Source/ZUMAPRESS

What’s the deal, Kevin? One stupid Yeezy post in the morning and then a crappy astronomy picture for lunch? Are you feeling well?

As it happens, no, I’m not. This whole evil dex thing is turning into a real pain in the ass. Really, I ought to be fine by today, but instead I wrote one stupid Yeezy post and then…fell asleep. I woke up around lunchtime. What’s up with that? Probably nothing: just like last time, the effects of the chemo get steadily more pronounced every month, and that goes for the dex too. I’m in my 13th week of dex, which is nearly the entire length of my first round of chemo (16 weeks), so it’s not surprising that it’s now hitting harder than it did back in June. And there’s 16 more weeks to go! Exciting!

On the bright side, sleepiness is the only really serious side effect so far, and that’s pretty far from the biggest deal in the world. What’s more, my M-protein level almost set a new record low last week, and I expect to plummet past my all-time record of 0.30 this week. So at least this regimen is having a vigorous effect on the cancer.

But that’s not all. Is it just me, or has the news been unusually tedious lately? The Catholic Church is corrupt. Donald Trump is corrupt. Trump’s lawyers are idiots. We still haven’t won the war in Afghanistan. Etc etc. Meh.

What to do? For the moment, I’ll highlight a trivial story that will nonetheless probably piss off a whole bunch of you:

The California Senate on Monday approved legislation barring dine-in restaurants from offering plastic straws to customers unless they are requested….The measure exempts fast-food restaurants and other businesses.

“This bill is the last straw,” Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said. “This is a first step to the total banning of plastic straws. To me it almost looks silly. I think the negative consequences [of straws] are a bit overstated.”…But Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) said the proposal will help educate the public about the environmental hazard of plastics that are not biodegradable. “Let the consumer request it if they want it,” he said.

Here’s what’s going to piss you off: I agree with the Republicans about this. California is too full of performative legislation that’s designed to make some point or other but is almost certain to have no actual effect. I’d prefer that folks pick a career and stick to it. If you want to be a performer, go to Hollywood. If you want to be a politician, propose legislation that actually accomplishes something. How about a plastic packaging tax, similar to what France is doing? If that’s not enough, go bigger. But whatever you do, make it something that delivers real results, not just a pat-on-the-back for getting on board with the fad of the week.

FOR THE RECORD: In case you’re curious, I don’t care one way or the other about straws. I’m perfectly content to drink my sugary swill with or without straws, so this legislation has no personal effect on me at all.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

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