Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Last Call For Chappelle Shows You Out Of Town

Ohio native comedian and problematic quasi-incel Dave Chappelle decided to use his power of influence to help a small town in the state get rid of that nasty affordable housing stuff, because who needs affordable housing, right?

Oberer Homes can move forward with a new development in Yellow Springs, but without an affordable housing component initially promised to the village, after council voted against the village’s own plan Monday night.

The village and Oberer had worked together to produce a plan that would include duplexes and affordable housing along with single-family homes in a 53-acre area along Spillan Road at the south edge of town.

The village initially asked for the development to advance affordable housing in the village, including an area that the village would later be able to develop into affordable housing, as well as more duplexes and townhomes.

But Monday night, after complaints from numerous residents, village council voted 2-2 with one abstention on the revised “planned unit development” zoning.

That means the zoning reverts to what was previously approved, with 143 single-family homes on the lot, with the homes starting at about $300,000, according to village documents. The village annexed about 34 acres of the land into the village last summer.

The development that council voted on Monday night would have included 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes and 24 townhomes with an additional 1.75 acres to be donated to the community for affordable housing to be built later.

Multiple Yellow Springs villagers, including entertainer Dave Chappelle, got involved against the project. Chappelle even threatened to pull his business interests from the village, which include a plan for a restaurant called “Firehouse Eatery” and comedy club called “Live from YS.” Chappelle’s company, Iron Table Holdings LLC, bought the former Miami Twp. fire station at 225 Corry St. in December.

Chappelle repeated his threat again on Monday night in the city council meeting.

“I am not bluffing,” he said. “I will take it all off the table.”
And so he won, killing the village's own plan and pricing out the people who live there, who will not be able to afford to do so.

Maybe it's unfair to pick on Chappelle, he's a rich millionaire, and destroying affordable housing is exactly what rich millionaires do. Nobody wants their property values to decrease in America because it keeps out those people.

But to see arguably one of the most famous Black comedians of our era do this to his own hometown, and threaten to pull his business from the village is a dick move, and frankly I'm sick of him.

Understand though that this battle is being won by the rich in basically every city and state in America.

It's A Gas, Gas Gas, Con't

Senate Dems want to suspend the federal gasoline tax for the rest of 2022 in order to lower prices at the pump expected to top $4 a gallon this summer.

Two Senate Democrats up for reelection proposed a bill on Wednesday to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax through the end of 2022, as millions of Americans grapple with the economic impacts of surging oil prices.

The Gas Prices Relief Act from Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., would suspend the $18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax through Jan. 1, 2023, according to a summary of the proposal shared with ABC News.

The senators, who are both on the ballot in November, released the proposal at a time when gas is roughly $3.45 a gallon nationwide, about $1 more expensive than a year ago, according to AAA.

"Arizonans are paying some of the highest prices for gas we have seen in years and it's putting a strain on families who need to fill up the tank to get to work and school," Kelly said in a statement. "This bill will lower gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax through the end of the year to help Arizona families struggling with high costs for everything from gas to groceries."

"We need to continue to think creatively about how we can find new ways to bring down costs, and this bill would do exactly that, making a tangible difference for workers and families," Hassan said in a statement.

At least four other Democrats, Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen of Nevada, and Raphael Warnock of Georgia have already signed on as co-sponsors of the measure. (Cortez Masto and Warnock, like Hassan and Kelly, are up for reelection in the fall.)

With inflation at a nearly 40-year high and Americans frustrated about the rising cost of many staples, Republicans have seized on the issue of gas prices as they try to retake the House and Senate in the midterms, pointing to the Biden administration's economic agenda.

According to Gallup, just 33% of Americans are satisfied with the state of the economy -- a 10-point drop from 2021 -- and just 27% are satisfied with the nation's energy policies.

Around the country, Democratic and Republican governors have proposed their own changes to state gas taxes ahead of the summer -- by either freezing state gas tax collection or stopping planned increases from taking effect.
This is such a slam dunk that you have to wonder why it wasn't done earlier, and the answer is "Because it's paying for the infrastructure bill."  The other reason is that Mitch McConnell will want his pound of flesh for allowing this to pass a filibuster, and we don't know what that is yet.

This will probably pass, especially since Republican will be more than happy to attack Democrats for not permanently repealing the gas tax later this year.

The Prince Of Darkness Strikes Back

America's favorite mercenary Bond villain, Erik Prince, has had his latest evil scheme exposed by the NY Times. Prince apparently was using his conservative connections to his sister Betsy DeVos, Trump's former Education Secretary, to raise money for a secret intel operation to spy on Trump's political enemies.

During the summer of 2018, as Richard Seddon, a former British spy, was trying to launch a new venture to use undercover agents to infiltrate progressive groups, Democratic campaigns and other opponents of President Donald J. Trump, he turned for help to a longtime friend and former colleague: Erik Prince, the private military contractor.

Mr. Prince took on the role of celebrity pitchman, according to interviews and documents, raising money for Mr. Seddon’s spying operation, which was aimed at gathering dirt that could discredit politicians and activists in several states. After Mr. Prince and Mr. Seddon met in August 2018 with Susan Gore, a Wyoming heiress to the Gore-Tex fortune, Ms. Gore became the project’s main benefactor.

Mr. Prince’s role in the effort, which has not been previously disclosed, sheds further light on how a group of ultraconservative Republicans employed spycraft to try to manipulate the American political landscape. Mr. Prince — a former C.I.A. contractor who is best known as the founder of the private military firm Blackwater and whose sister, Betsy DeVos, was Mr. Trump’s education secretary — has drawn scrutiny over the years for Blackwater’s record of violence around the world and his subsequent ventures training and arming foreign forces.

His willingness to support Mr. Seddon’s operation is fresh evidence of his engagement in political espionage projects at home during a period when he was an informal adviser to Trump administration officials.

Mr. Seddon’s recruitment of Mr. Prince to help him secure funding is just one of the new details about Mr. Seddon’s operation revealed in documents obtained by The Times and interviews with people familiar with his plans. They provide additional insight into the ambition of the operation to use undercover operatives to target Republicans seen as insufficiently conservative, as well as to, as one document describes it, “research, penetrate and infiltrate the radical left networks.”

The Times previously reported that, in 2016 and 2017, Mr. Prince recruited Mr. Seddon to join the conservative group Project Veritas to teach espionage skills to its operatives and manage its undercover operations. Mr. Prince also allowed Project Veritas to use his family’s Wyoming ranch for training. Mr. Seddon launched his privately funded spying effort after leaving Project Veritas in 2018.

It is unclear how many potential donors Mr. Prince might have approached for money for Mr. Seddon’s venture besides Ms. Gore. Separately, Ms. Gore unsuccessfully tried to raise money for the project from Foster Friess, a billionaire Wyoming businessman, during a January 2019 meeting, three people said.

During the 2018 meeting with Ms. Gore, according to one person familiar with it, Mr. Prince and Mr. Seddon said the goal of the private spying operation was to gather dirt both on Democrats and “RINOs” — slang in conservative circles for “Republicans in name only.” The plan was to begin in Wyoming, they said, and expand operations from there.

Over two years, Mr. Seddon’s undercover operatives also developed networks in Colorado and Arizona, and made thousands of dollars in campaign donations posing as Democrats, both to the Democratic National Committee and individual campaigns. Funneling money surreptitiously to campaigns through other donors — known as straw man donations — would violate federal campaign finance laws.

Mr. Prince is separately under investigation by the Justice Department on unrelated matters, according to people familiar with the case. The scope of that investigation is unclear
The DoJ has been a little busy investigating Prince's ties to Trump's illegal Saudi and UAE donors having already nabbed George Nader, the Lebanese fixer behind that little deal.  But this is yet more campaign finance felony level stuff, and Prince needs to be spending a couple of decades in a box somewhere looking forward to pudding night.
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