The House Republican tax overhaul ... would eliminate the 20 percent federal investment tax credit for historic preservation projects, a tax break Congress approved about 40 years ago to spur investment in historic properties that has helped revitalize many of the nation's downtowns. "With that one initiative, we hope to send your tax dollars back to your communities," said former President Ronald Reagan, who championed the tax break. "Our tax credits have made the renovation of our older buildings not only a matter of respect for beauty and history, but of economic good sense." The nation's historians, and developers, have been lobbying frantically for the GOP to restore the credit. But as of now, it is gone in the House bill and cut in half -- to 10 percent -- in the Senate bill. read more
Michael Grothaus, Fast Company: One of the worst feelings I can think of is knowing that you've let someone --- you. ... We've all been there: talking to a boss or client or salesperson who is espousing information that you know is patently false, but you keep your mouth shut. I asked Carl Bergstrom, professor of biology at the University of Washington and owner of the website Calling---.org, why this is. "This varies tremendously across cultural settings, but in many settings, it is hard to call someone out on their B.S. Calling someone out on B.S. is a forceful act and is often seen as disrespectful," Bergstrom says. In other words, calling --- when you see it can make you more productive. So that's exactly what I decided to do for a week: Call out anyone and everyone as soon as I realized they were --- me. read more
Mike Pence, the corporate right's inside man, poses his own risks. Pence's odds of becoming President are long but not prohibitive.
Of his forty-seven predecessors, nine eventually assumed the Presidency, because of a death or a resignation... Pence has taken care to appear extraordinarily loyal to Trump, so much so that Joel K. Goldstein, a historian and an expert on Vice-Presidents who teaches law at St. Louis University, refers to him as the "Sycophant-in-Chief."
But Pence has the political experience, the connections, the discipline, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party's agenda in recent years.
Pence served twelve years in Congress, but never authored a single successful bill... Pence has lunches with the President. He's in the national-security briefings." Moreover, and crucially, Pence is the only official in the White House who can't be fired. read more
Opponents outnumbered white nationalists Saturday in peaceful "White Lives Matter" rallies in Tennessee that were punctuated by taunts and chants from both sides. In Shelbyville, the site of the first rally, some 200 white nationalists -- met by nearly twice as many counter protesters -- carried a Confederate flag and chanted for closed borders and deportations at a mid-morning gathering. At one point, counter protesters' shouts of "Black Lives Matter" were met by white nationalist chants of "blood and soil." The two sides, however, were kept well apart as law enforcement officers funneled them onto sidewalks on opposite sides of a four-lane road. In Murfreesboro, a town of 130,000 people, wary business owners had boarded up windows downtown and residents held a prayer vigil Friday night near the rally site. read more
The New Yorker: The Sackler dynasty's ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars -- and millions of addicts. According to Forbes, the Sacklers are now one of America's richest families, with a collective net worth of thirteen billion dollars -- more than the Rockefellers or the Mellons. The bulk of the Sacklers' fortune has been accumulated only in recent decades, yet the source of their wealth is to most people as obscure as that of the robber barons. While the Sacklers are interviewed regularly on the subject of their generosity, they almost never speak publicly about the family business, Purdue Pharma -- a privately held company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, that developed the prescription painkiller OxyContin. Upon its release, in 1995, OxyContin was hailed as a medical breakthrough, a long-lasting narcotic that could help patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. read more