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Category Archives: Ron Paul

‘It’s always raining’: Wet weather causing some problems for outdoor businesses – CTV News Winnipeg

Posted: June 20, 2024 at 3:57 am

'It's always raining': Wet weather causing some problems for outdoor businesses  CTV News Winnipeg

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‘Shrinkflation’? Blame the Fed – Newsmax

Posted: March 22, 2024 at 9:14 am

'Shrinkflation'? Blame the Fed  Newsmax

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Ron Paul Tells Tucker Carlson the Exact Date There Was a Coup and We Lost Our Government – Mediaite

Posted: March 20, 2024 at 2:56 pm

Ron Paul Tells Tucker Carlson the Exact Date There Was a Coup and We Lost Our Government  Mediaite

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Ron Paul: It Dawned On Me That The Republic Was Gone When Allen Dulles Was Appointed To The Warren … – RealClearPolitics

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The rise and – possible – fall of David Shafer – The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Posted: June 2, 2023 at 8:20 pm

On the day he steps down as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, David Shafer will likely take the stage one more time with Donald Trump.

For Shafer, it marks a fitting conclusion to a tumultuous -year tenure that has largely been defined by the former president. Perhaps no single figure in the state has done more for Trump than Shafer, from supporting his handpicked candidates to running point on a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election outcome.

Shafer will soon learn whether that loyalty will have consequences. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has named Shafer a target in her wide-ranging criminal probe into election meddling. She could indict him this summer for overseeing a meeting of alternate Trump electors despite Joe Bidens win in the state.

Its a spectacular turnabout for a onetime prodigy of the Georgia GOP who helped to build the moribund party into a powerhouse that wrested control of state government from ruling Democrats.

Shafers critics said he has played a key role in sowing a deep rift in Georgias GOP. Under his watch, they said, the state handed control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats, electing Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in 2021. The state Republican party has been overrun by the far-right conspiracy theorists, such as Kandiss Taylor, who has said that state GOP leaders were secret Communists and Democrats were satanic pedophiles. The party has become so extreme that Gov. Brian Kemp is steering clear of the convention which begins on Friday and has assembled his own sophisticated election apparatus rather than rely on party resources.

I think he leaves the Republican Party weak and divided to the point that many of us dont see it coming back together for many years, said Jason Shepherd, the former chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party who ran against Shafer unsuccessfully in 2021.

But supporters contend that Shafer respects grassroots party loyalists, many of whom still ardently support Trump and embrace his false claims, including that the 2020 election was rigged. They point to Shafers success in pulling the party out of debt and securing Republican wins up and down the ballot in 2022.

The state party has always been controlled by the grassroots, the worker bees who volunteer for campaigns and knock on doors, said Debbie Dooley, state coordinator of the Georgia Tea Party Patriots. And David Shafer has always been a champion of the grassroots.

Shafer downplays the idea that he leaves behind a party at war with itself.

I think people are mistaking growth for division, he said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He evoked party tensions surrounding the influx of Pat Robertson supporters in the 1980s and Ron Paul supporters in the early 2000s.

You are seeing the same thing now with the influx of Trump supporters - there is pain, but the pain will make us stronger, he said.

Shafers decades-long journey in state Republican politics began soon after he graduated in 1988 from the University of Georgia with a degree in political science. He was still in his 20s when he was hired as executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. There, Shafer worked to raise money and recruit candidates, trying to gain the GOP a foothold in a state dominated by Democrats.

In 1994, Shafer became campaign manager for GOP millionaire businessman Guy Millner, who narrowly lost to Gov. Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat. When Republican John Oxendine was elected state insurance commissioner, he tapped Shafer to be one of his deputies.

In 1996, Shafer made his own bid for elected office, running a campaign for secretary of state that focused heavily on policing voter fraud. Shafer lost to Democrat Lewis Massey, who attacked Shafer throughout the race for taking large contributions from the insurance industry he oversaw.

In an interview with the AJC, Massey recalled Shafer as a smart opponent who hewed to mainstream GOP ideals.

He was a traditional Chamber of Commerce Republican, Massey said.

Shafer suffered another loss in 2001, when Ralph Reed, the telegenic founder of the Christian Coalition, defeated him in the race for state Republican Party Chairman.

But in 2002, Shafer finally pulled out a win, nabbing 55% of the vote in a four-way race to represent a state Senate district covering north-central Gwinnett and portions of Forsyth and Fulton counties.

It was a heady time for Georgia Republicans, who had just seized control of the state Senate. And Shafer made the most of it. He sponsored bills opposing abortion, supporting religious liberties and calling for fiscal restraint. He backed eliminating or scaling back the states income tax and worked to ease congestion in his fast-growing suburban district.

Shafer became known for his ambition, savvy behind-the scenes maneuvering and bare knuckles style.

He earned the nicknames Darth Shafer and Shady Shafer. Colleagues recall how he would help freshmen lawmakers pass their first bill only to kill another of theirs soon afterward as a show of power.

He was always strategizing, always scheming, Shepherd said.

Added former state Sen. Don Balfour, a fellow Gwinnett County Republican, Shafer would have been happy to see his picture on the wall next to Machiavelli and was known for stretching the truth.

Let me put it this way, if he told me the Earth was round I would question why I hadnt joined the flat Earth society, Balfour said

But it paid off. In 2013 his GOP colleagues elected him president pro tem of the Senate, which made him the second most powerful Republican in the chamber behind the lieutenant governor.

He co-sponsored a bipartisan bill in 2016 that would have selected the U.S. president by the national popular vote instead of the electoral college.

Georgians deserve to have all of their votes count in every presidential election, Shafer wrote in a guest column about the measure for The AJC.

He said he later changed his mind on the plan after learning it would not benefit Georgia as he had expected. If it had been in place, Democrat Hillary Clinton, who led the popular vote, would have defeated Trump.

In 2018, Shafer ran for lieutenant governor. That same year he was hit with an ethics complaint from a veteran lobbyist at the state Capitol who said he repeatedly sexually harassed her. She alleged he demanded that she show him her breasts in exchange for his help passing legislation and that he suggested they spoon naked. He denied the claim and brought forward members of his staff to say he had a policy of not meeting with the woman alone. He was ultimately cleared by a panel of his Senate peers.

But the allegations were amplified by a barrage of negative ads and mailers funded by a Washington-based political action committee. Shafer fell just short of 50% of the vote needed to win in the primary election and then lost to Geoff Duncan in the ensuing runoff.

The next year Shafer was elected chairman of the state Republican Party, a perch that would put him at the center of the tumult in the 2020 election.

Shafer spent Nov. 3, 2020 - Election Day - monitoring reports from GOP poll watchers who had fanned out across the state. When Georgians went to sleep that night, Trump led the vote tally, but reams of absentee ballots had not yet been tallied.

As the vote counting continued and Trumps lead dwindled, claims of fraud began to pick up steam. Under Shafers leadership, the state party was quick to join the president in his election challenges.

Two days after the election, Shafer and other Republicans cobbled together a defiant rally in a Buckhead parking lot headlined by Donald Trump Jr. Wearing a tan sweater vest and an American flag mask, which drooped beneath his nose, Shafer applauded as the crowd chanted stop the steal.

The next day Biden pulled ahead in the state and stayed there. Two recounts and an audit confirmed the results. But in testimony before the Jan. 6 congressional committee, Shafer said he was frustrated because, among other things, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was not giving poll watchers enough access. Trumps team and the state party filed a lawsuit challenging the Georgia results, citing irregularities with the vote.

That lawsuit was still pending when Democrats gathered at the state Capitol on Dec. 14 to certify Biden, who led by more than 11,000 votes, as the winner. In a room downstairs, Shafer presided over a meeting of Trump alternate electors, and he signed paperwork declaring Trump the winner.

Crazy times, Shafer said in an email at the time to another GOP elector. But in the unlikely event he wins the contest, we will be screwed if we did not meet and vote.

It would be a fateful decision. Fulton prosecutors initially said that all 16 of those alternate electors were targets of the their criminal probe. Since then, court documents show that at least half of them have struck immunity deals. Shafer is not one of them.

Credit: Richard Elliott, WSB-TV

Credit: Richard Elliott, WSB-TV

In a letter to Willis, Shafers lawyers said that he broke no laws when he convened the meeting. Shafer, they said, was following legal advice in order to preserve the former presidents electoral options in the state with the lawsuit still pending. Whether Willis agrees remains to be seen.

While some believe Shafer is reaping what he sowed, others said the grassroots remains solidly behind him.

If he ran for a third term (as party chairman) today, he would win, Dooley predicted.

With possible charges looming, he said he will spend his time with family and on his business, which owns industrial warehouses that are leased to the mining industry.

My family and business have been supportive and tolerant of my volunteer service, he said. My immediate plans are to spend a little more time with them.


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Yes, that was Paul Hornung on Packers’ sideline in Ice Bowl –

Posted: at 8:20 pm

In the Ice Bowl photos published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and Green Bay Press-Gazette), I noticed a shot of someone who looks a lot like Paul Hornung in street clothes in a makeshift dugout next to several players. Then that same person appears in another photo standing on the field with some coaches talking to Bart Starr. First, was this really Hornung? And if so, what's the story behind him being there? As far as I know, he had retired from the New Orleans Saints before the season.

Yes, that was Hornung you saw in the Packers' bench area during the Ice Bowl. In fact, there's a video where he's standing with Vince Lombardi and Starr during the Packers' final timeout before the game-winning sneak. It also looked to me like Starr handed Hornung his gloves before he headed back to the huddle. And, yes, Hornung had retired as a player the previous July after New Orleans had selected him in its expansion draft. Doctors at three different clinics had advised him that he was at risk of suffering irreparable damage to his spinal cord if he continued playing.

Why was Hornung on the Packers' sideline for the Ice Bowl after serving as a sportscaster in New Orleans that fall, while also working with the Saints' running backs as a de facto assistant coach? From what Hornung said, Lombardi ordered him to be there and then to spend the afternoon watching from the sideline, despite the minus-46 wind chill.

I think Lombardi answered that question six weeks into the season when the Packers were 3-1-1, coming off a 10-7 loss to Minnesota where his offense was sputtering. Lombardi told The Milwaukee Journal that week the biggest problem with the 1967 Packers was the absence of Hornung's leadership.

"We've lacked the people to carry us," said Lombardi. "I don't mean we lack talent. It's not that. It's the spirit that Paul Hornung used to supply. That's where we miss him most because he somehow had the knack of lifting the whole ball club."

You once expertly debunked a current cyber metrics analyst's evaluation of Hornung's Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials using both basic playing statistics and perceived team intangibles backed with solid references by top NFL executives, coaches and Hornung's teammates and peers. In Ron Wolf's book, "The Packer Way," on page 105, he states, "On another wall I have (a picture of) Paul Hornung, who according to the guys who coached here was 'Lombardi's best player.'" In reference to Mark Murphy's requirements, Hornung's number was retired soon after he retired by the man whose name is on the NFL Super Bowl Trophy. Rightfully so. Your thoughts?

I grasp that in today's world there are stat geeks and basement bloggers who post online screeds debunking Hornung's place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame without having any clue about his role on Lombardi's teams.

That as the halfback, Hornung was what Lombardi called "the key operative" in his offense. That Hornung was the ball carrier on the power sweep and the lone threat to throw the option pass, the two plays Lombardi built the rest of his playbook around. That one of the reasons for Jim Taylor's success was that Hornung was widely viewed as the best blocking back in the league on a team that dominated like no other in NFL history thanks to an infrastructure built on power football.

Beyond that, Hornung also was the heart-and-soul of the 1960s Packers and their unquestioned team leader. And perhaps most importantly, he was the player who consistently rose to the occasion and made the big plays in big games on Lombardi's first three championship teams. It wasn't until the last two that Starr assumed that role.

That, in sum, was why Lombardi called Hornung "the greatest player I ever coached," and most of his assistants and probably a majority of key players from the 1960s agreed with him.

During a recent NBA playoff game, TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy made the point that one can't just judge a player from a stat sheet. What's more important is examining how the team functions when that player is in the game.

Those who followed Lombardi's Packers, as you did, and paid close attention to what he said about his players may remember that injuries never seemed to faze him other than when Hornung's availability was in doubt, despite having more depth at halfback than probably any other position.

Let's not forget that Lombardi reached out to the president of the United States to make sure Hornung would be available for a full week of practice before the 1961 NFL Championship.

A year later when Hornung missed five games and most of two others with a knee injury, and his status was up in the air before the 1962 title game, Lombardi reminded people about this Henry Jordan quote: "Before our 1961 championship game I was under the impression that (Tom) Moore could run as well as Hornung and that Ben Agajanian could kick as well or better, but the week before the game, when Paul got that leave from the Army and walked into that locker room, you could just feel the confidence grow in that room."

In 1965, when the Packers faced Baltimore the second-to-last week of the regular season and needed to win to keep their postseason hopes alive, Lombardi considered it essential to get Hornung back on the field after he had missed two of the previous three games with a pulled groin muscle. In fact, with Hornung having seen limited action since the season opener, the Packers had the third worst offense in the league and were in what Lombardi called "the longest offensive slump a team of mine's ever been in." Then, after Hornung scored five touchdowns in a 42-27 victory and the Packers took back the Western Conference lead, Lombardi gushed over his decision to play him. "He was my choice all week," said Lombardi. "It was a pressure game, and he's always been good under pressure. A great pressure player."

Even in the days before Super Bowl I, despite the fact Hornung hadn't carried the ball in eight of the previous nine games due to a recurrence of his neck injury, Kansas City coach Hank Stram said he anticipated Hornung playing a significant role because of the stakes and his history of playing well in big games. Lombardi, in turn, also hinted that Hornung could be his ace in the hole, if it turned into a passing game. "Hornung may be the best pass receiver we have as far as running patterns," said Lombardi. "He knows when to stay on 'em and when to break them off. He reads defenses better than anyone else I know."

Based on my interviews with more than 25 of Lombardi's key starters over his nine years as Packers coach, Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley spoke for many, if not most, of his teammates when he said of Hornung: "Vince called him our money player and he was just that. He should have been the first player from our team in the Hall of Fame."

As to your question, the fact is Hornung's number was retired by Lombardi. And when Lombardi made his official pronouncement in the summer of 1967, following Hornung's final season, he might have ranked beneath the team president and executive committee on the Packers' flow chart, but nobody in the organization since World War II has wielded as much authority as he did at that time. But for whatever reason, the Packers waited until 1990 to list their retired numbers in the media guide and didn't include Hornung. Thirteen years later, the numbers were displayed on the Lambeau faade for the first time and again Hornung's was missing.

That's when it should have been done.

But, thankfully, the Packers have had a string of general managers from Ron Wolf through Brian Gutekunst who out of respect for tradition and to uphold Lombardi's wishes have not issued No. 5 to any player for a regular-season or postseason game.

As we know, our team was the team of the 1960s. No need to go into detail. However, I also believe that there could have been an undefeated season in 1962, and at the least a Western Conference championship in 1963 and '64. I know I'm biased but hear me out. From 1959-61, Hornung played in 36 regular-season games, scoring a total of 416 points, or an average of 11.6 per game. The Packers lost only one game in '62, being dominated by the Lions, 26-14. Hornung did not play. But what if he did and met his average production? The outcome might have been different. In 1963, the Packers lost two games and tied one when Hornung was suspended. With Hornung performing at his prior three-year average, the Packers might have gone 13-1 rather than 11-2-1. Hornung came back to play in 1964, but the Packers fell short several times due to Paul missing either an extra point or field goal. I know we can't change history, but I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

Like so many running backs, the one blemish on Hornung's Hall of Fame resume is his short career. He was clearly the star of Lombardi's first three teams, then lost a full season when he was suspended and thereafter dealt with injuries over much of his last four seasons. And his injuries were anything but minor: The first was a neck injury that sidelined him in the third quarter of the 1960 NFL title game and troubled him for the rest of his career. His other major injury occurred in 1962 and was to the ligaments in his right knee that affected his kicking even two years later.

Just as a reminder, we're not talking about Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys, who won two NFL championships in 29 years, or even Bill Belichick's New England Patriots, who won six over a span of 17 seasons. Lombardi's Packers won a still unmatched five in seven years and arguably no player was more vital than Hornung to them winning the first three.

In 1961, he was named the NFL's MVP by the Associated Press, despite reporting on Nov. 14 for active Army duty. As a result, he missed two games and almost every practice for a week in early November while undergoing a thorough physical exam at Great Lakes Naval Training Center and then again over the last five weeks of the season. Yet, as a weekend warrior for almost half the season, Hornung still tied Jim Brown for the second most touchdowns by a running back with 10, behind Taylor's 16. In the NFL Championship, the Packers beat the New York Giants, 37-0, and Hornung was named MVP, scoring a championship game record 19 points and rushing for a game-high 89 yards.

In 1962, despite injuring his knee in the fifth game and missing five of the next seven, his 21-yard option pass set up the Packers' only TD and was their biggest play in their 16-7 victory over the Giants in the NFL title game. Before his injury, he also kicked three field goals, including the game-winner with 33 seconds remaining for the Packers' only points in their 9-7 victory over Detroit in what was arguably the biggest regular-season game of the Lombardi era.

In 1965, the Packers won their first five games, averaging better than 28 points a game. Then, over the next six, they went 3-3 and scored more than 13 points only once as Hornung dealt with assorted leg injuries. But against the Colts, with the Packers' season hanging in the balance, his five TDs included pass receptions of 50 and 65 yards, while he also rushed for 61 yards on 15 attempts for a 4.1 average.

The next week, Hornung reinjured his neck after three carries and left the game as the Packers settled for 24-24 tie against San Francisco, forcing a playoff with the Colts. Although Hornung scored the Packers' only touchdown in that game, he was again sidelined off and on with neck and leg injuries as they escaped with a 13-10 overtime victory.

In the NFL Championship against Cleveland at Lambeau Field, Hornung arguably should have been named the MVP over Taylor in the Packers' 23-12 victory. Hornung rushed for 105 yards on 18 carries compared to Taylor's 96 on 27 attempts, and delivered three of the game's biggest plays. The first was a 34-yard run that set up the go-ahead field goal early in the second quarter. The others were the game-clinching touchdown on a 13-yard run in the third quarter, which was set up by his own 20-yard run. Taylor's longest run was eight yards, while Starr completed only two passes longer than any of Hornung's three long runs.

Might the Packers have won other titles with a healthy and available Hornung?

Certainly, his loss in the third quarter of the 1960 title game was a blow. And when the Packers finished 11-2-1 but finished second to the 11-1-2 Bears in 1963, the topic of conversation at the so-called Runner-up Bowl in Miami was whether Hornung's suspension had cost them a third straight title.

"The difference between the Packers with Hornung and without him is the difference between first and second place," Minnesota coach Norm Van Brocklin said that week. Bill Glass, defensive end for Cleveland, the Packers' opponent, agreed. "It wasn't just that (Hornung) was such a terrific runner," said Glass. "The thing was when he came at you wide with the ball you never knew whether he was going to keep running or throw the ball. He really tied the defense into knots."

Lombardi, too, blamed the Packers' second-place finish on the loss of Hornung. "Injuries hurt us, as they will anybody," he said at the end of the season. "But our most significant loss and I've never said this before we were injured in not having Hornung."

As for the 1964 season, the Packers finished 8-5-1, including three losses by a total of five points. Not only did Hornung have a sub-par year on offense, but his missed field goals and extra points were a factor in all five losses, as well as the tie. Overall, he was a dismal 12 of 38 on field goal attempts and 41 of 43 on extra point tries with both misses proving to be costly.

But in the end, the Packers finished three-and-a-half games behind the 12-2 Colts. Even if they would have had a reliable kicker, they had other problems on offense that probably would have prohibited them from winning a title that year.

That said, Hornung's career as a kicker is also misunderstood due to his one dismal season.

When Don Chandler was acquired in January 1965, Lombardi planned on him being the punter and Hornung's backup as kicker. "I still believe Hornung is one of the best placekickers in the league," Lombardi said after the trade. "All Paul needed last year when he went into that slump was a backup man."

From 1960-62, Hornung made 60 percent of his field goal tries when 51 percent was the league average. His .681 conversion rate was second to Lou Groza's .696 in 1961; and in 1962, the Packers led the league in field goal percentage with Hornung making 6 of 9 before his knee injury and Jerry Kramer converting 9 of 11 as his replacement. Hornung also had made 96 consecutive extra points when they were no-sure thing, earning him the nickname, "The Golden Toe." When Hornung went without a miss from 1960-62, the league's other kickers missed a combined 45 extra points.

In 1961, when Hornung was 15 of 22 on field goals, the Giants' Pat Summerall, considered one of the better kickers in the game, was 14 of 34. In Chandler's last season with the Giants before he was traded, he had converted only 9 of 20 field goals, with six from inside the 25 and a long of 42.

Here again, when Hornung's naysayers write that he missed 26 of his 38 field goal tries in 1964, it looks abysmal on paper. But do they take the time to research Hornung's overall numbers with other kickers of his day or take into account that he was playing nearly every down on offense leading up to his kicks? That's why his scoring stats were much more meaningful in his day than they would be today.

I'm in a dispute regarding Hornung's diverse talents. I have a grainy recollection that Hornung on rare occasion would line up under center, take the snap and then have the option to run or pass, similar to the wildcat formation today. This was during the early Lombardi years. I have a compatriot who doesn't believe Hornung ever lined up under center during Lombardi's tenure. Can you help resolve the dispute?

I must side with your friend, although we're talking thousands of plays, which means I can't be certain it never happened. But I don't recall ever seeing Hornung line up under center when Lombardi was coach or ever reading in a game story that he did. He did play some quarterback under Lisle Blackbourn in 1957.

I've often wondered if the Packers chose Hornung with the bonus choice because they were looking for another Tobin Rote, a big guy who could run and pass.

Certainly a logical question. There were striking similarities between the two, including their size and skill set. And guess what? Blackbourn actually answered your question on draft day. "Hornung is the Tobin Rote type of back, and he'll fit into the Green Bay pattern nicely," Blackbourn said after making the pick.

At the same time, Rote was still the Packers' quarterback and so Blackbourn didn't reveal any specific plans for Hornung. He predicted "he will become an excellent passer," but left open the possibility of him playing fullback, halfback or quarterback. In fact, Blackbourn said Hornung was such a special athlete that he could be an outstanding defensive back.

When Hornung reported to camp the next summer, after playing quarterback for the College All-Stars and the Rote trade, Blackbourn said he had planned to look at Hornung first as a fullback or halfback but because of a camp injury to Starr, he would start him out at quarterback.

Could Hornung's suspension for gambling in 1963 be a reason for his No. 5 not being on the Lambeau Field faade?

If it was, I'm not aware of it.

I grew up in Green Bay idolizing Paul Hornung for both his graceful athleticism and consistent ability to turn a critical play. My family knows my fondness for his playing days and many years ago gave me a No. 5 Hornung jersey that I wear to home games. A couple of years ago I was headed down to our seats and the man behind me, in a well-worn Rodgers jersey, tapped me on the shoulder and asked; "Who's Hornung?" I was a bit surprised, but happy to point up to Paul's name in the stadium's Ring of Honor. It's well known the Packers have had a policy limiting the use of the "5" jersey since Lombardi stated that he wanted to retire Hornung's number. Given how long his number's use has been in limbo and Paul's recent passing, is it possible Packers will now make a move to honor Lombardi's directive and formally retire Hornung's "5"?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get, and I'm assuming it comes mostly from people now over the age of 70 who remember the early Lombardi teams as well as the two Super Bowl champions.

But it has been 57 years since Hornung retired and even the former coaches and general managers who participated in the voting for the NFL's All-Centennial Team seem to have a hard time grasping that what Lombardi said about him "Paul may have been the best all-around back ever to play football" might still hold true today.

So, no, I don't see anything changing.

Then again, I don't believe in curses whether they're tied to Babe Ruth, the Billy Goat or Hornung and Lombardi, but occasionally I ask myself: Could the curse of No. 5 be the reason for only two Super Bowl titles since 1992?

Yes, that was Paul Hornung on Packers' sideline in Ice Bowl -

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Cap Times Idea Fest 2023 save the dates | Paul Fanlund … – The Capital Times

Posted: at 8:20 pm

The most important thing about todays column is to ask you to save the dates for our big annual thought festival Sunday through Saturday, Sept. 17-23.

The second thing is to start to share details about this years Cap Times Idea Fest, our seventh annual event in which we gather brilliant speakers national and local to explore issues of the day across politics, economics, racial justice, business, culture, sports and other topics.

Our past national speakers have included Eric Holder, Tom Perez, Tammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson, Amy Klobuchar, David Axelrod, Marty Baron, Jamie Raskin, Dan Balz, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, among many others.

The first of the major-stage sessions at this years festival will be Tuesday night, Sept. 19, in Shannon Hall, the largest theater in the University of Wisconsin-Madisons Memorial Union.

The session will focus on the history of free speech and expression on campus as well as issues around speech today and in the future. It would be impossible, I think, to find a moderator and three speakers who are more authoritative on the topic.

UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin will talk about current conversations around speech on campus and, importantly, where she thinks that discussion will be many years from now.

Paul Soglin, who was elected mayor of Madison six times and whose political career was born out of his student days protesting the Vietnam War, will talk about speech during those tense and tumultuous days and more.

Daniel Tokaji, dean of UW-Madisons Law School and a First Amendment scholar who teaches on the subject, will help describe the rich history of UWs devotion to academic freedom and free speech for more than 125 years, back to the days when sifting and winnowing became a thing on campus. The topic also aligns nicely with the universitys 175th anniversary celebration this year.

The moderator will be David Maraniss, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Madison native who has been a mainstay at Idea Fest from the start.

His expertise on UW campus speech was gained through writing They Marched Into Sunlight War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967. His brilliant narrative ties the fighting in Vietnam with the campus protest scene in Madison. Worth noting is that Soglin is mentioned about 80 times in the book.

Ticket information for the speech event and other sessions, including the marquee Friday night and Saturday sessions, will be announced later this month. To be the among the first to hear the news, sign up for theCap Times Idea Fest newsletter.

The other session we can reveal now is the second edition of the support local journalism fundraiser we debuted last fall with the appearance of legendary journalist Carl Bernstein. This years event will be on Thursday night, Sept. 21, in a venue to be determined soon.

This years fundraiser will feature the high-powered wife-and-husband journalism duo of Judy Woodruff, who stepped down as anchor of the PBS NewsHour at the end of 2022, and Albert Hunt, who wrote for The Wall Street Journal for nearly four decades.

The duo has covered politics for five decades, Woodruff for NBC, CNN and PBS. She co-anchored the PBS NewsHour for 10 years, and served as sole anchor after the death of co-host Gwen Ifill.

At the Journal, Hunt was a reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor. He also wrote the weekly column Politics & People. A frequent and prominent television commentator, Hunt retired as a columnist for Bloomberg in 2018.

Woodruff and Hunt first met at a softball game that pitted journalists against the staff of presidential candidate and later President Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Maraniss, a longtime acquaintance of the couple, will moderate, as he did with longtime friend Bernstein last fall.

The concept for this event is a more intimate conversation with a major speaker or speakers in a small, exclusive venue with provided drinks and appetizers. A separate, higher-price ticket is required.

There are many exciting but as yet tentative plans for other national speakers.

It is important to note that, as in the past, Idea Fest is also home to many conversations about local and statewide issues. Many of those sessions are virtual only and more will be announced about them in weeks to come.

Since its 2017 debut, Idea Fest has evolved from a fully in-person festival to todays post-pandemic hybrid of live and virtual sessions. We have also sprinkled our sessions with national speakers over weekday nights so as not to overwhelm the audience with too many consecutive or even simultaneous sessions on the weekend.

Look, we know the Madison calendar is jammed with interesting events of all kinds on-campus and off, serious or simply fun around food and music, and, of course, arts of every imaginable kind.

We too have food and music and fun, but Idea Fest is built on the idea that Madisonians love to hear provocative speakers on important topics. And where else could you see Bernstein and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin from the Jan. 6 committee and the authors of His Name is George Floyd on successive days?

At Idea Fest, you could do that last year.

Not coincidentally, supporting Idea Fest means you are supporting the cause of independently owned local journalism at a time when that is in increasingly short supply.

Again, the week of Sept. 17, culminating on Saturday, Sept. 23. You wont even have the conflict of a football game that Saturday because the Badgers game is on Friday night that week.

For now, all we ask is that you mark your fall calendar and stay tuned.

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Cap Times Idea Fest 2023 save the dates | Paul Fanlund ... - The Capital Times

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Folks tell Ron Keller his memories of growing up in Naperville could … – Positively Naperville

Posted: at 8:20 pm

Above / A colorful mural titled The Great Concerto by Barton Gunderson depicts images of Naperville Municipal Band leaders Elmer Koerner and Ron Keller as well as representatives of the City bands since 1859. See the full mural on the stage door in Central Park. (PN Photo)

In 1951, the Naperville Municipal Band was invited to play in the Mardi Gras Parade in Chicago at Riverview Park, a large fun amusement park with five rollercoasters that closed in 1967. After marching in the parade, all the rides were free to anyone wearing a band uniform.

While lining up for the parade, leader Elmer Koerner told the band that whatever number they were playing, they were to stop before going past the reviewing stand and flip back to No. 1 in the book.

Well, the front of the band heard him. The back of the band did not. So just before the reviewing stand, the band stopped, and the front of the band flipped back to No. 1 and the back half flipped forward to No. 3.

The band played two different numbers at the same time as they marched past the judges.

And they got second place! I guess the judges figured they were pretty good if they could play two different marches at the same time!

Then theres the story about Frank Bable. Frank played trombone on the left end of the front row when they marched in parades. In 1948, the parade route was changed from marching Washington Street to Naperville Cemetery. Instead the route changed to turn on Jefferson, west to Main, then south to the cemetery. The band was playing, coming down Washington, and the drum major blew the whistle to turn right on Jefferson. All except Frank heard the whistle. And he walked half a block before he noticed he was marching all alone! The band had to stop because they were laughing so hard.

In 1998, I was honored to travel to Europe to direct 16 NMB members and 40 musicians from throughout the U.S. on behalf of the Association of Concert Bands, a group that put together the tour. We visited Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Slovakia. That concert tour reminds me of a wine festival with many fun stories that will fill this column in July. Stay tuned!

My thanks to all musicians who have played and supported me all these years! Ill leave the band knowing its one of the best community bands in the U.S. Over the years, the Naperville Municipal Band has won many awards and its been recognized by the John Philip Sousa Board of Directors as one of the best in the country.

Many thanks to all for a great career and enough fond memories to fill a book. Its been a blast!

Editors Note: Do you have a Ron Keller story or favorite Naperville Municipal Band concert theme or memory that we can add to the book Ron threatens to write?

Just for the fun of it, please send brief handwritten or typed remembrances with name, address and contact info to: Ron Keller Story, Naperville Municipal Band, P.O. Box 474, Naperville, IL 60566. And thanks for the memories!

7:30PM Thurs., June 1 / A Salute to the Armed Forces / Recognition of 2023 8th Grade Scholarship Recipients / Program directed by NMB Conductor Ron Keller and NMB Assistant Director Emily Binder

The Naperville Municipal Band will continue its tradition of awarding a $250 music scholarship to one 8th grade student at every middle or junior high school in Naperville District 203, Indian Prairie District 204, Ss. Peter & Paul, and St. Raphael schools in Naperville. Students were nominated by their directors based on musical ability and can use the monetary award to continue their pursuit of music in the form of private lessons, summer band camp, or a new instrument.

The Naperville Municipal Band congratulates the following 8th grade students:Elise Carter(Fischer Middle School),Ethan Chang(Kennedy Junior High School),Annabelle Cheng(Crone Middle School),Nicholas Chou(Jefferson Junior High School),Sophia Granholm(Washington Junior High School),Kevin Grobl(St. Raphael School),Elisabeth Mendoza(Granger Middle School),Carlos Olvera Toledo(Thayer J. Hill Middle School),Titus Park(Lincoln Junior High School),William Petty(Scullen Middle School),Ian Rottersman(Madison Junior High School),Jacob Salvacion(Ss. Peter and Paul School),Tyler Talaga(Still Middle School), andMaxwell Teets (Gregory Middle School).

Naperville Municipal Band members Rachel Israel (Concert Bake Sale Chair) and Allison Buettner (Scholarship Chair) contributed to this post about the June 1, 2023, concert. PN

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Folks tell Ron Keller his memories of growing up in Naperville could ... - Positively Naperville

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The Man Who Invented the Trillion-Dollar Coin – New York Magazine

Posted: at 8:20 pm

No, Joe Biden didnt invent the trillion dollar coin. Atlanta lawyer Carlos Mucha did. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos from Getty

About a dozen years ago, a pseudonymous commenter on a financial website, writing under the name Beowulf, presented an unusual solution for a debt-ceiling standoff: If the federal government was at risk of default, and Congress couldnt agree to either cut spending or raise the borrowing limit cleanly, couldnt it simply mint a trillion-dollar coin?

Beowulf had come across a 1997 law that, in response to requests from coin collectors, gave the Treasury the power to mint platinum coins of any denomination. (Collectors had complained that even coins available at the time with the smallest face values were still too expensive to afford.) The law started as a way to make collectible coins cheaper, but unlike every other law regulating new coins, this one did not establish a specific face value or limit the number of coins produced.

Congress screwed up, Beowulf wrote. By passing the law, it had given the president the authority to direct the secretary of the Treasury to mint a coin of any value say, $1 trillion and deposit it in the Federal Reserve, which would be legally obligated to accept it. Ultimately, the coins deposit would result in $1 trillion in government revenue or, with a coin of a different denomination, however much was needed to continue to pay its bills and avoid a default. The catch is, its gotta be made of platinum, Beowulf wrote. Ditto the balls of any president who tried this.

In the time since, the idea has gained an unexpected acceptance among policymakers and economists. In 2013, Representative Jerry Nadler said that the idea sounds silly, but its absolutely legal. Shortly after, Paul Krugman asked himself in the New York Times if the president should be willing to mint the coin to avoid default. His response? Yes, absolutely. Phillip Diehl, a former director of the Mint and Treasury chief of staff who co-wrote the 1997 law, allowed that a coin with a specific denomination of $1 trillion was an unintended consequence but maintained that the possibility was always conceivable. In principle, there is nothing new, he has said. Any court challenge is likely to be quickly dismissed. In 2020, Representative Rashida Tlaib sponsored a plan to mint two coins to fund pandemic aid, and this year both Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell have faced questions about using the coin to end the standoff. Each registered objections, but neither would rule it out.

As it turns out, Beowulf is not an economist or a professional policy wonk. Hes a Georgia lawyer named Carlos Mucha. Criminal defense, shareholder disputes, a little of everything, he told me recently. Hes a tinkerer Jack of all trades, master of none, he says and his frequent visits to the comments sections of a set of financial websites were a kind of hobby.

What got me thinking about it was that I was reading that people were using their credit cards to buy tens of thousands of U.S. dollar coins from the Mint just to get the credit-card points, he said. At the time, the Mint had free shipping and handling, and since its from the government, the coins are tax free. They would charge $10,000, get ten thousand one-dollar coins, and use the coins to pay off their card. This really happened one such dollar coiner told The Wall Street Journal that he took 15,000 coins straight from the delivery truck to the trunk of his car, to more easily drive them to the bank. You dont have to do that too many times to get a free first-class ticket, Mucha said.

A few savvy points hounds found a way to create free flights out of thin air. But Mucha was more fascinated by the other side of the transaction. The more interesting point is that after all the expenses and the shipping and handling, the Mints profit on every dollar coin was 80 cents, he said. The path of a coin from the Mint to your pocket goes like this: The Mint creates a dollar coin, then sells it to the Federal Reserve at its face value, which, in turn, sells it to a bank, where it enters the broader economy. In these transactions, the bank and the Fed spend a dollar to get a dollar. But the Mint receives a dollar for a coin that cost only about 20 cents to make. The difference between the face value of the coin and the cost of producing it, known as seigniorage, is 80 cents revenue that would appear on the Mints books and could be sent to the Treasury to pay down the deficit.

This is sometimes called making money by making money. Muchas coin would work on the same principle. You dont think about it, but one of the powers of the government is to create money by the stroke of a pen, minting coins, he said.

Mucha felt especially vindicated by the responses from Yellen and Powell earlier this year when asked about the possibility of minting a trillion dollar coin. Yellen simply said it was up to the Federal Reserve. It truly is not by any means to be taken as a given that the Fed would do it, she said. Its up to them. A few days later, a reporter followed up with Powell to ask if the Fed would do whatever the Treasury directs to resolve a crisis, or if it would perform its own analysis first.

All he said about it was that we are Treasurys fiscal agent, and Ill leave it at that, Mucha said. Thats a very lawyerly answer. An agent works for a principal. So basically, he was saying, If they deposit money, we gotta take it. It was an extremely diplomatic game of passing the buck, but the subtext was clear: The chairman of the Federal Reserve, the most powerful monetary official in the world, had been asked to reject an idea hatched by a pseudonymous blogger in 2010, and his sense of professional duty wouldnt let him do it.

An idea like the coin gets momentum in Washington only when the people who really run the government from the inside start to take it seriously. Initially, people think in terms of norms, and they think the norms are actually the rules, said a former Treasury official who worked on the debt-ceiling standoff in 2013 and requested anonymity to speak candidly. The first time you hear of something new, youre like, No, you cant do it it wouldnt work. You start to go through the reasons, he said: Is there a legal constraint? Is there an operational one? Would it actually work the way its being described? The coin doesnt come to Washington unless Washington comes to the coin.

The former Treasury official began to see arguments about the coin in what he called a broad public forum on blogs, at think tanks, among reporters and cable-news pundits, on Twitter. Inevitably, current and former officials, they see that, he said. As a deeper dive takes place, you realize its mostly about norms as opposed to the actual operational rules. When you start seeing daylight between those two things, you begin to wonder when did a norm become a norm.

What he and some of his colleagues have come to realize, he continued, is that a lot of the norms came about during a very narrow time in history, and prior to that a lot of Treasury and Federal Reserve officials were rather creative and thoughtful and realized a lot of things they were attempting were being done for the first time anyway. So if theres no operational constraint and you have a pretty good sense that theres not a legal constraint, why are we flirting with this Armageddon of a default? As people become more comfortable with that, it becomes debated among policymakers.

Not publicly, but its debated, the former official said. Former officials with current officials, current officials with each other.

A former policy adviser at the Federal Reserve sees the coin as the obvious answer to an artificial crisis. The debt ceiling, theres kind of no reason for it except that it might serve as a bargaining chip, as its doing now, to elicit certain types of government spending cuts, he said. I think Carlos is an underappreciated genius, actually.

An economist at the University of Texas, James K. Galbraith, came across the idea of the coin around the time an endorsement by a professor at Yale Law appeared in the Washington Post in mid-2011. I really am very hesitant with direct communication with people who have policy responsibilities, he said. If Im going to say something, I generally try to write it, get it edited carefully, put it in the public sphere, and they can pick it up if they want. In 2011, though, he sent a note to a White House economist he knew:

Have you been briefed or alerted to the implications of section 5112(k) of the coinage statutes? If not, and if youre interested, I can brief you and an email would take no more than five minutes of your time.

The White House economist wrote back, Whats the gist?

Diehl, the former Mint director, has himself become an outspoken respondent to what he calls the myths that have been spun around the coin. I wrote the bill that created the trillion-dollar coin, he said flatly at a conference earlier this year. Sometimes the question is brought up: Well how did you do that? You werent a member of Congress. The fact of the matter is, members of Congress dont write bills. Bills are delivered to their office, sometimes by lobbyists, sometimes by agencies, sometimes by committee staff.

As the head of the U.S. Mint, he said, I had very specific objectives in mind. I was appointed by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, and I worked with bipartisan committee chairs. This was a bipartisan effort, and together we passed that bill. And the fact that it can have a trillion-dollar denomination on it was absolutely part of the intent.

The former Treasury official sees this statement of intent from the bills author as enormously important. It is completely crazy that Diehls comments are not dominating Congresss discussion, he said. This is a very serious man. Our predecessors at Treasury did this for a reason.

Lately, Mucha has been tinkering with other solutions to impossible problems: a few non-coin debt-ceiling alternatives; a small, technical change to appropriations language that he argues would make Social Security and Medicare indefinitely solvent; legal precedents that have ruled the housing market to be interstate commerce, which means that local housing shortages could be resolved federally.

Stephanie Kelton, a former chief economist to the Senate Budget Committee and an economic adviser to Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer, as well as the now-famous populizer of modern monetary theory, has begun following Muchas work, discussing it with him, and touting it to public officials.

I have DMed people in the Senate, Kelton says. Ill just say, I hope you are following this guy because he regularly puts out really smart content that could be useful to you.

Rohan Grey, a law professor at Willamette University, hadnt even begun law school when Carlos first posted about the coin. He has since become another high-profile advocate for MMT, which offers a more capacious framework for government spending than traditional economic theory and is popular mostly in progressive circles. He and Mucha are an unlikely pair. I know hes not as progressive as the MMT economists, Grey said. Carlos is a Republican lawyer from Georgia who voted for Ron Paul. And I like him, were friends. (Mucha declined to confirm or discuss his political affiliation.)

In 2011, the coin was the furthest edge of the furthest edge of crazy, Grey said. And then we had multiple debt-ceiling debates, and then we had Trump, and then we had January 6, and then we had Dobbs. What were talking about is not letting twenty people in the Freedom Caucus pull the entire economy to shreds. At a certain point, you just have to sound less ridiculous than the other thing thats on the table. The world has really met us halfway.

Halfway may not be far enough. As the debt-ceiling standoff continues, President Biden has gestured at executive action but dismissed the coin. I dont think anyone has studied the minting-of-the-coin issue, he said this month. Speaking at the G7 conference earlier this week, Biden reiterated that the only way to move forward is with a bipartisan agreement. Congressional Republicans opened the negotiation with proposals to trade a debt-ceiling increase for new work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps, a repeal of Bidens student-debt-relief plan, reduced IRS funding, rollbacks to investments in sustainable energy, and other cuts to domestic programs. They also pushed to increase the military budget an odd argument if the goal is to reduce spending.

The Treasury has been using so-called extraordinary measures to meet government debt obligations since January. A true default, Yellen has warned, may come no later than the first week of June. Minting the coin, in a strict sense, would cost a trillion dollars. What will be the cost, Mucha might argue, of not minting it?

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The Man Who Invented the Trillion-Dollar Coin - New York Magazine

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Opinion | Why Texas Republicans Are Targeting Renewable Energy – The New York Times

Posted: at 8:20 pm

The world is experiencing an energy revolution. Over the past 15 years or so, huge technological progress has, in many cases, made it cheaper to generate electricity from solar and wind power than by burning fossil fuels. The Inflation Reduction Act which is, despite its name, mainly a climate bill aims to accelerate the transition to renewables and also to electrify as much of the economy as possible; this effort, if it works quickly enough and is emulated by other countries, could help us avert climate catastrophe.

Even before the I.R.A. started to take effect, however, America was experiencing a renewable energy boom. And the boom has been led by a surprising place. Heres a map showing renewable electricity generation other than hydroelectric by state (darker means more generation):

Yes, Texas is in the lead. To be fair, California has more solar power, and a lot of geothermal electricity, too. But Texas dominates in wind power. And overall California is, even progressives have to admit, a state where NIMBYism sometimes seems to slide into BANANA territory as in build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone. Thats why housing is so scarce and expensive, and red tape has snarled green energy, too. Texas, whatever its flaws (which are many), is a place where things can get built, and that has included a lot of wind turbines.

You might think, then, that Texas politicians would be celebrating the renewables boom, which is both good for the states economy and an advertisement for the states laissez-faire policies.

But no. Republicans in the Texas legislature have turned hard against renewable energy, with a raft of proposed measures that would subsidize fossil fuels, impose restrictions that might block many renewable energy projects and maybe even shut down many existing facilities. The worst of these measures dont seem to have made it into the latest legislation, but even so, that legislation strongly favors fossil fuels over an industry that arguably reflects Texass energy future.

So whats going on here? Why do Texas Republicans now see the wind as an enemy? You might think that the answer is greed, and thats surely part of it. But the bigger picture, Id argue, is that renewable energy has become a victim of the anti-woke mind virus.

First, about greed. Yes, Texas is a state where what big business wants, big business gets. And the fossil fuel industry has a long history of doing what it can to block climate action, not just by lobbying against green energy policies but also by promoting climate denialism.

Yet there are several reasons to doubt whether Texass turn against renewables is a simple story of corporate greed. For one thing, renewable energy in Texas is already a big business itself, having attracted billions in investment and employing thousands of workers, which should act as a counterweight to fossil fuel interests.

Furthermore, a lot of Texas investment in green energy is actually coming from companies with roots in fossil fuels. So even some oil and gas companies have a financial stake in allowing the renewable boom to continue.

Finally, oil and gas are traded on world markets. The prices producers receive, and hence their profits, are determined more by global events like Russias invasion of Ukraine than by where Texas gets its electricity (although this obviously matters for the owners of power plants).

So I dont think Texass rejection of its own energy success is entirely, or even mainly, about greed. Instead, renewables have been caught up in the culture wars. In a way, its a lot like Ron DeSantiss confrontation with Disney, which looks just crazy from a policy point of view why undermine tourism, one of the pillars of Floridas economy? But these days its often important not to follow the money.

Right-wingers like Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis have become fond of citing the alleged power of the woke mind virus to explain why major corporations are tolerant of and even cater to social liberalism. They need to invoke this mysterious contagion to avoid accepting the obvious explanation: Most Americans have become relatively liberal on social matters look at the transformation of attitudes on same-sex marriage and corporations have been adjusting to their customer base.

But while talk of the woke mind virus manages to be both sinister and silly, Id argue that there really is what we might call an anti-woke mind virus a contagion that spreads not across people but across issues.

Heres how it works. A significant faction of Americans, which increasingly dominates the Republican Party, hates anything it considers woke which in this factions eyes means both any acknowledgment of social injustice and any suggestion that people should make sacrifices, or even accept mild inconvenience, in the name of the public good. So theres rage against the idea that racism was and still is an evil for which society should make some amends; theres also rage against the idea that people should, say, wear masks during a pandemic to protect others, or cut down on activities that harm the environment.

This rage is somewhat understandable, if not forgivable. But the weird thing is the way that it infects attitudes on issues that dont actually involve wokeism but are seen as woke-adjacent.

The now-classic example is the way hostility to mask mandates, which were mainly about protecting others, turned into highly partisan opposition to Covid vaccination, which is mainly about protecting yourself. Logically, this carry-over makes no sense; but it happened anyway.

The same thing, Id argue, applies to energy policy. At this point, investing in renewable energy is simply a good business proposition; Texas Republicans have had to abandon their own free-market, anti-regulation ideology in the effort to strangle wind and solar power. But renewable energy is something environmentalists favor; its being promoted by the Biden administration. So in the minds of Texas right-wingers the wind has become woke, and wind power has become something to be fought even if it hurts business and costs the state both money and jobs.

If all this sounds crazy, thats because it is. But thats Texas and, I fear, much of America in 2023.

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Opinion | Why Texas Republicans Are Targeting Renewable Energy - The New York Times

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