This week, as the COVID-19 death toll tops 500,000, Congress continues to grapple over relief funding.

The virus has caused enormous damage to public health and the economy. One sector may have escaped notice: public transit. Transit is more vital than ever for seniors, low-income people, and essential workers, but America’s transit agencies have been badly battered by the pandemic funding crunch.

This week in OtherWords, Kayla Soren explains why transit isn’t just an issue for people who live cities, but also for people in small towns and rural communities — and how to fix it.

Also this week, we look at a pair of fascinating stories from the South.

Sarah Anderson reports on the unprecedented union drive at an Alabama Amazon warehouse, where actor Danny Glover recently appeared to show his support. Elsewhere, Tyler Lobdell reports on some truly astounding corporate greenwashing by factory farm giant Smithfield, which says it wants to harvest natural gas from its enormous pig manure lagoons in North Carolina. (Spoiler alert: it seems this is not a good idea.)

Meanwhile, PFAW president — and former NAACP leader — Ben Jealous explains what the For the People Act would do, and why Congress needs to pass it. And, as Bill Gates promotes his new book on climate, Jill Richardson explains the limits, biases, and absurdities of billionaire philanthropy.

Finally, as a congressional inquiry about the Capitol security failures on January 6 proceeds, Khalil Bendib illustrates the elephant in the room.

New This Week…

Danny Glover: ‘The Best Anti-Poverty’ Program Is a Union’ | Sarah Anderson
The actor is mobilizing support for the Alabama Amazon workers making their mark on the long history of Southern organizing.

Small Towns and Rural Communities Need Transit, Too | Kayla Soren
Millions of rural Americans don’t have a car. With the pandemic battering transit agencies, they’re being totally isolated.

Congress Must Pass the For the People Act | Ben Jealous
Republicans and Democratic voters agree: We need to make sure leaders actually represent “we the people.”

Smithfield’s Pork PR Scam | Tyler Lobdell
The factory farm giant can’t call itself “sustainable” while polluting water, spraying manure, and getting into the natural gas business.

We Need Democracy, Not Billionaire Philanthropy | Jill Richardson
Instead of funding only the projects that a single billionaire esteems worthy, democracy demands something different: input.

Elephant in the Room | Khalil Bendib
Counterterrorism agencies shouldn’t need a magnifying glass for this one.


In Case You Missed It…

Trump Should Be Indicted | Mitchell Zimmerman
GOP senators said Trump was culpable, but he’s a “private citizen” now. Fine — indict him like one.

Expose the Insurrection Financiers | Sarah Anderson
Trump’s trial is over, but there’s still much to learn about the deep pockets who financed the January 6 coup attempt.

America’s Future: Trillionaire Trust Fund Babies? | Bob Lord
Billionaire wealth is exploding. They’re passing that wealth to heirs and heiresses virtually tax-free.

End the Sub-minimum Tipped Wage | Rebekah Entralgo
This Black History Month, we have a chance to end this relic of slavery — and raise wages for workers of every color.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of OtherWords.org.