Good news if you’re one of the millions of Americans who is still waiting for an Economic Impact Payment more than a month after the American Rescue Plan Act was passed. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said yesterday it has distributed another 2 million payments, totaling about $3.4 billion.
This is the fifth large batch of stimulus checks to be distributed since they were authorized in early March. Here’s who is due to receive them:
Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries: About 320,000 VA recipients who don’t normally file a tax return are in this batch.
Recent filers: If the IRS didn’t have enough information about you, but you recently filed a tax return, you could be in this new batch.
People whose economic situation changed in 2020: The batch includes new supplemental payments for taxpayers who got a smaller stimulus check based on 2019 tax information but now qualify for a larger one based on 2020 tax information. The IRS calls these “plus-up” payments. It sent out an additional 700,000 with this batch.
Social Security (SS) beneficiaries: People who receive SS benefits but didn’t file a tax return in 2020 or 2019 may be in this new batch
The IRS says most of the payments in this new batch were distributed via direct deposit, with a processing date of April 9 and a payment date of April 14. So if you’re still waiting for a stimulus check to show up, and you have direct deposit, check your bank account.
Another 800,000 payments went out as paper checks, the IRS says. If you’re expecting yours by mail, it could take another few weeks to arrive. However, you can check the IRS Get My Payment tool, which should tell you when your mailed payment was sent out.
The IRS says it will continue to send out new batches of payments each week.
The cryptocurrency economy is hitting record highs this week amid Coinbase’s blockbuster public listing on the Nasdaq.
This most recent rally comes amid an already game-changing year for the crypto market. The bitcoin—which more than tripled in value from November to April—added another $3,000 since Monday, bringing its price per coin to $63,145 midday Wednesday. Ether coins are up 19% in the last week. And the binance coin, engineered by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange (and Coinbase competitor), Binance, surged more than 50% in the past two weeks. With its latest rise, the binance coin’s price has now increased 14-fold during the year to date, bringing its total market value to $86 billion.
Coinbase stock opened at $381 per share, above its earlier reference of $250 per share, for a valuation of $102 billion, beating that of the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq combined.
“Everything is rallying,” Joel Kruger, a strategist at cryptocurrency exchange LMAX Digital, told The Wall Street Journal, noting a “swirl around the Coinbase news . . . that is giving the crypto market some added boost and added exposure.” That’s as the Coinbase listing offers “one more layer of validation, after the moves into cryptos by large investment banks and companies,” Anthony Denier, CEO of e-trader Webull, told MarketWatch.
As the market rallies, the dogecoin—which was originally created as a joke in digital currency’s nascent years but stuck around as the asset class gained traction—is also along for the ride. Although the dogecoin is not offered on Coinbase’s platform, the token, which bears the face of a meme-ified Shiba Inu dog called “Doge,” has climbed more than 80% in the past 24 hours and 120% in the past seven days, marking some of the greatest gains this week. It was sitting at 13 cents per coin as of midday Wednesday.
While notorious in the cryptocurrency community, the dogecoin has won prominent celebrity followers in recent years, including musician Gene Simmons, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (who tweeted Wednesday that the NBA team had already “sold more than 122K Doge in merchandise”), and Tesla founder Elon Musk, whose pro-doge tweets were so conspicuous that they prompted rumors of a possible SEC probe into his influence on the coin’s value.
Its latest rise brought the coin into digital currency’s top 10 territory. It also illustrates that the dogecoin is, perhaps, inextricable from the cryptocurrency fervor—its existence in itself is a manifestation of such hype, and its remarkable longevity suggests a unique, playful edge to the cryptocurrency market, as if its buyers are all part of a magnificent inside joke. Whether it cuts like a double-edged sword when the hype dies down, however, remains to be seen.
They’re antifa, the radical leftist collective, and according to most conservative politicians and pundits, the chief antagonists of polite society today. Despite all known evidence contradicting such claims and revealing antifa as merely the latest all-purpose right-wing scapegoat, the myth of their supervillainy still persists. In a clever subversion, however, political cartoonist Matt Lubchansky‘s new graphic novel, The Antifa Super-Soldier Cookbook, vividly depicts a world in which not only is all the scaremongering about antifa super-soldiers completely accurate, but so is every other dubious aspect of the Fox News mindset reinforcing it.
“I spend a lot of time in real-life, left organizing spaces,” says Lubchansky, “and it’s just so funny to think about antifa as a paramilitary organization when actual anarchists or anarcho-communists or whoever spend a lot more time voting on motions to form committees to deliver free lettuce to people in your community.”
In an incredible coincidence, somehow an activist movement committed to fighting fascism became increasingly demonized during an administration oft accused of perpetuating fascism. The Trump years saw antifa go from scourge of sparsely attended local Nazi marches to nearly being designated an official terrorist organization. Why, it’s almost as if certain people felt the surging threat of far-right extremism needed an equivalent, looming evil on the other side!
“This is one of the longer periods of sustained left protest in America since maybe the sixties,” Lubchanksy says. “The Black Panthers were the bogeyman then, and [the FBI] ruined their lives and murdered them until they disbanded basically. So I think they had to come up with a new bogeyman for a new generation of sustained left pressure on things like the police and entrenched cruelty in American politics.”
The political discourse, which is a rather generous way of describing a Twitter cacophony of galaxy brain farts, is always rife with misinformation about what antifa is and what it does—but perhaps never more so than during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. It was during this tumultuous time that the inspiration for Lubchansky’s book struck.
In early June, two Buffalo police officers shoved an elderly protester, who then stumbled a few steps before falling to the ground and cracking his head open. Afterward, there was only one way conservatives could spin what had happened: Clearly, the 75-year old victim was an antifa plant who intentionally took one for the team in order to make the police look bad. Within days, this ridiculous conspiracy theory reached the president, who then amplified it through his since-rescinded megaphone to many millions more.
Avi Ehrlich, head of the gonzo indie publisher Silver Sprocket, observed this galling incident and realized the treachery regularly ascribed to antifa was a ripe target for long-form mockery. He came up with the title The Antifa Super-Soldier Cookbook, a nod to a foundational counterculture text of the 1970s and a conspiracy theory of the late 2010s, and brought it to Lubchansky, a political cartoonist with whom he’d previously collaborated. Lubchansky then took the concept of antifa affiliates as Robocop/Inspector Gadget-type cyborg agents of chaos and ran with it, asking himself: If this were true, what else would be?
The resulting graphic novel is a bold, hilarious vision of the world we currently inhabit, nimbly straddling the line between political satire and speculative fiction. Although, in reality, the antifa movement has no actual structure, in Lubchansky’s Verhoevenian fever dream, the president of antifa is a real person, who holds court in underground chamber meetings with a George Soros-like billionaire, a Democratic Party surrogate who looks suspiciously like Ronald Reagan, a masked marauder called The Real Racist, and of course, Plucky, antifa’s Gritty-esque mascot. (The latter is an in-group nod to the late-2018 moment when Gritty was memed into having leftist bona fides.)
While Lubchansky lavishly aggrandizes the motivation, tactics and funding of antifa super-soldiers, who occasionally call for “full cancellation, 100% censorship,” they simultaneously ground in reality the dystopian strategy of the police. The cops in this Cookbook use military-grade equipment such as facial recognition software, sound cannons, and x-ray vans, which sound like embellishments on par with super-soldiers butarenot. Which is, obviously, a major part of the point. The only way the power imbalance between police and their protesters can be resolved is in the Koch-funded fantasia this book cheekily punctures.
But that’s not even what the right-wing talking points machine gets most wrong about the movement.
“The biggest misconception out there [about antifa] is probably the violent aims,” Lubchansky says. “Which is not to say there aren’t people with violent aims that are anti-fascist, but most anarchists I know spend all their time basically doing the job of the government in my community. You feed them and clothe them and keep them warm and safe, and it’s all mutual aid stuff like that. That’s what the anarchists and the antifa people are doing: Taking care of each other and hoping for a better world.”
Although the reality of antifa is largely left out of the book in order to fit Lubchansky’s conceit, the author concludes with a fact sheet outlining the verifiable reality behind their depiction of police. It’s a momentary crumbling of the facade of satire, an educational pill in the peanut butter of parody.
“People don’t change their minds after reading a comic,” Lubchansky says, “but maybe there’s a way you can make one where you can be a part of the process of somebody realigning their thinking.”
Coming soon to an ocean near you: Radioactive water.
Japan has announced plans to slowly release an estimated 1.3 million tons of treated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the site of the extensive 2011 accident that was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
The government will pour out the diluted radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean in about two years. The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., will run out of storage space for the water.
Opponents of the discharge plan include neighbors China and South Korea, as well as environmental groups and the fishing industry.
Expressing what it called “grave concern, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a written statement, “Japan has unilaterally decided to release the Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the sea before exhausting all safe ways of disposal and without fully consulting with neighboring countries and the international community. This is highly irresponsible and will severely affect human health and the immediate interests of people in neighboring countries. The oceans are mankind’s shared property.”
Also irate about the decision and preparing to fight against it is Greenpeace International, which accuses Japan of ignoring human rights and international maritime law.
“In the 21st century, when the planet and in particular the world’s oceans are facing so many challenges and threats, it is an outrage that the Japanese government and TEPCO think they can justify the deliberate dumping of nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean,” executive director Jennifer Morgan said in a written statement. “The decision is a violation of Japan’s legal obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and will be strongly resisted over the coming months.”
However, the International Atomic Energy Agency is giving Japan’s release plan a thumbs-up, which called it “both technically feasible and in line with international practice,” and described such a controlled release as routine. The organization has offered to help with technical support and a plan review.
The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, remained neutral, releasing a statement saying, “In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards. ”
In March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant melted down due to an earthquake and a tsunami, which killed an estimated 20,000 people.
The advent of remote work brought on a slew of new disruptions to our concept of work, from how employees think about workplace benefits to more enlightened definitions of work-life boundaries.
The pandemic has prompted workers to not only think about how they work, but where. As Fast Company previously reported, a 2021 report from Urban Land Institute and PwC demonstrated that workers’ interest in new homes and single-family real estate is on the rise (with most growth occurring in the suburbs and in the American south), and office properties will need time to adjust to evolving worker demands (hybrid offices, anyone?). As of yet, it’s still too soon to say what will become of commercial office buildings, with the sector showing signs of a comeback in some cities, while other locales continue to display high vacancy rates.
Regardless, workers across generations have packed up and moved since the beginning of the pandemic, but interest in migrating differs among age groups. According to a recent survey from software company Qualtrics, younger workers were much more likely to say they’ve moved away from their physical office locations than older workers, which the authors claim is due to fewer responsibilities and less job security:
25% of Gen-Zers reported moving away during the pandemic
16% of millennials reported changing locations
9% of Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) workers reported moving away
6% of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) reported moving
Also from the report: 8% of city dwellers confirmed that they had packed up for new living quarters during the pandemic.
The top three reasons given by those who had moved: “I want to be closer to family and friends,” “I felt ready for a change,” and “I want to be somewhere with more space.”
The Qualtrics survey gathered responses from 4,000 employed individuals across the United States, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand over two weeks in March 2021. Read more from the full survey here.