Midday open thread: Not the Yeti; not the bullet train; ‘pass-through’ tax cap benefits the rich

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is How do you plan to spend your middle class tax cuts?

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If Pr*@%!^#t Trump manages to hang onto his job for the entire term, he has 1,147 days remaining in the White House.

Trump’s plan to rescue coal plants with subsidies has an avid backer:

A plan that would leave consumers footing a potential multibillion-dollar bill is expected Dec. 11, and Trump couldn’t have chosen a more enthusiastic person to get it done: Neil Chatterjee, a Republican from coal country, who has spent years brokering seemingly impossible deals for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Now he’s cutting the biggest deal of his career — and he’s running out of time to do it.

His role as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that oversees U.S. power markets, is temporary, with a replacement waiting in the wings. With precious little time, he’s pushing a proposal to bail out failing coal plants, paid for by electricity customers. And he’s treating this latest negotiation as seriously as a last-minute fight for votes in Congress.

U.S. commander in Afghanistan says “We’re going to win.” Just like all the commanders before him.

Former Bosnian Croat general dies after drinking poison in court after being sentenced to 20 years for war crimes:

Seconds after his sentence was upheld at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Slobodan Praljak, shouted out angrily: “Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict.”

The 72-year-old then raised a small brown bottle to his lips, and drank it in full view of the cameras filming the hearing. “I just drank poison,” he said. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”

On this date in 1864, volunteer soldiers massacred 150 Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado.

Evidence supposed to come from Yetis—the abominable snowmen—turns out not to

Sightings have been reported for centuries. Footprints have been spotted. Stories have been passed down from generation to generation.

Now, a new DNA study of purported Yeti samples from museums and private collections is providing insight into the origins of this Himalayan legend.

The research, which will be published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analyzed nine “Yeti” specimens, including bone, tooth, skin, hair and fecal samples collected in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. Of those, one turned out to be from a dog. The other eight were from Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears or Tibetan brown bears.

Second estimate: Real gross domestic product grew by 3.3 percent in 3rd quarter.

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Republicans say capping taxes on “pass-through” income will be a big deal for “small business” owners. But Hunter Blair at the Economic Policy Institute says the real beneficiaries won’t be any business owner with a small income:

Eighty-six percent of households with pass-through income already pay income tax rates of 25 percent or less (the proposed cap in the House Republican plan—and the current Senate plan would have an even higher cap). These are the archetypal households that most Americans think of when they hear “small business owners.” None of these households in the bottom 86 percent would benefit from the House Republican plan.

On the other hand, the richest 1 percent of households claim 69 percent of pass-through income. 

5,500 U.S. schools—5% of total—now running on solar panels, saving millions of dollars:

The number of schools powered by solar is growing quickly. About 5 percent of all K-12 U.S. schools are now powered by the sun, and their solar capacity has almost doubled in the last three years, according to a new study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), The Solar Foundation, and Generation 180, a clean energy nonprofit.

The nearly 5,500 schools using solar power today have a total of 910 megawatts of solar capacity, enough to power 190,000 homes, according to the study.

“Father” of California’s high-speed rail complains that current plan won’t be high speed.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: What a morning! Fires broke out everywhere, and it was all Greg Dworkin & Joan McCarter could do to help keep track of… about half of them. Trump’s racist retweets. Lauer’s firing. Moore tightening the race. The tax bill. Net neutrality. Russia. CFPB. OMG!

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