News Roundup, April 2nd

My apologies for any screwy formatting, WordPress likes to buck spacing easily.


National News:

Weekly Review — The Supreme Court considers skim-milk marriage, a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay expands, and Egyptian scuba divers sabotage SEA-ME-WE-4
Median Household Income Down 7.3% Since Start of

S&P 500 closes at record nominal high

  “The S&P 500, a bellwether for the US economy and professional investors, closed at a record high on Thursday, completing a strong recovery from the depths of the financial crisis….Since hitting an intraday low of 666.79 in March 2009, the S&P has rallied 135 per cent, boosted by aggressive monetary easing by the Federal Reserve and record US profits from the index’s 500 constituents.”


Help shrinks as poverty spikes in the U.S.

Wages stink at America’s most common jobs

There’s a reason your food server or retail salesperson seems disgruntled, and it’s not just because you’re asking about gluten-free options or return policies. New BLS data shows that seven of the 10 most common occupations pay less than $30,000 a year.


America is raising a generation of interns
“People my age expect to start at the bottom,” says one 25-year-old. “But in this economy the bottom keeps getting lower and lower.”


 More on Devolution and the Walmartization of Our Economy

 The Walmartization of the American food chain is making communities poor and poorly fed


 How Big Corporations are Unpatriotic


Recession Redux (TNR)

John Judis is pessimistic given that we’ve opted not to pursue the New Deal-era approach to reform and investment that built a stronger, more stable economy, but are instead repeating the mistakes that led to the recession to see if we can really nail it this time.


Thousands Protest the UK Government’s Brutal Austerity


The Labour party has failed us. We need a new party of the left,” by Ken Loach, Kate Hudson and Gilbert Achcar. The Guardian, March 25, 2013.

This week’s article complements the selection from last week on the defections from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a factional split that has resulted in productive efforts to form a new broad front social democratic party—or shall we say— a British Syriza.


 For Unionists, Iraq’s Oil War Rages On — The leader of Iraq’s oil union is being threatened with prison – again.


Why We Tax: A Timely Reminder for Tax Day



 Inside the NRA’s Koch-Funded Dark-Money Campaign — How the National Rifle Association sold its grassroots firepower to the Kochs, Karl Rove, and conservative donors.

 “Your Fight Has Become Our Fight”: A brief history of the NRA’s transformation from a gunowners’ group to the voice of the gun industry.


Connecticut lawmakers reach deal on tough gun law,0,4439221.story

Gun Control Moves to the States – For now, that’s where the momentum is.

Georgia Town Passes Mandatory Gun Bill

Firearms advocates target gun-control measures

“Gun-control measures that seemed destined to become law after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., are in jeopardy amid a fierce lobbying campaign by firearms advocates. Despite months of negotiations, key senators have been unable to find a workable plan for near-universal background checks on gun purchases — an idea that polls show nine in 10 Americans support.”


 Great Gun Gobbledygook: The Paradox of Second Amendment
Hardliners Conservatives say armed citizens are an essential guard against government tyranny. They also support massive military spending. How is that supposed to work?



 The White Supremacist Group That May Be Targeting Law Enforcement For Revenge


 “National School Shield” a Radical Proposal

“The proposal includes potentially radical elements, including getting the federal government in the business of supplying arms to teachers, without any evidence that doing so would make children safer.”


Tennessee Advances Legislation That Would Tie Welfare To Children’s Grades


A Good Old-Fashioned Education
As some districts experiment with charters, vouchers, and high-stakes testing, educators in Union City are finding that time-tested, traditional approaches to teaching students work best.


Ex-Schools Chief in Atlanta Is Indicted in Testing Scandal



 Creeping Privatization of Justice


How insurers flipped a Medicare pay cut into a pay raise


The confused debate over Obamacare and insurance premiums

White House Trial-Balloons Medicare Cost Increases



The Dark Side of DNA Evidence — Collecting DNA upon arrest can identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. But it also amounts to an expanding racial dragnet


  Fetal-Heartbeat Abortion Laws Are Dangerous Even If Judges Reject Them


North Dakota’s only abortion clinic isn’t going anywhere


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, an opponent of Obamacare, pushes controversial plan to expand Medicaid


Newly released data reveal extent of veterans’ backlog

 John Stanton talks to a soldier who’s going back to war because the 27 percent pay cut of sequestration ruined his finances.



 Sequestration Effects: Cuts Sting Communities Nationwide



Risk and reward at the dawn of civilian drone age
The dawn of the age of aerial civilian drones is rich with possibilities for people far from the war zones where they made their devastating mark as a weapon of choice against terrorists.

 Government Pain = Drone Makers’ Gain — “We are not darkening the skies yet,” says executive at SoCal civilian drones conference, “but we are poised.”

Have US drones actually produced more terrorists in Pakistan?  That’s important to assess, but so are other factors:  lack of balance in “hard and soft power”; the sharp decline in schools in tribal area regions saturated with drones; displacement of and deep fear among children.

 Cartels dispatch agents deep inside U.S.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws
     While Wall Street crooks walk, thousands sit in California prisons for life over crimes as trivial as stealing socks

Bank of America Finds Profit in Foreign Tax Credit Moves

Bank of America Corp. more than doubled its profits in 2012 — with some help from the tax code. What the bank calls “restructuring” of its non-U.S. operations yielded $1.7 billion in foreign tax credits, or 41 percent of the $4.2 billion the company reported in 2012 earnings

Counterparties: Hoard of directors

It’s still a lovefest between Wall Street and regulators (Guardian)

Heidi Moore notes that recent copouts in an SEC investigation and the Libor manipulation case show banks are still allowed to get away with “neither admitting nor denying” their crimes, introducing an element of quantum physics into financial regulation.

Who will be the next Fed chair? Here are Wonkblog’s odds.

 Could the Banksters Grab Your Bank Deposits?

 Wells Fargo’s “Reprehensible” Foreclosure Abuses Prove Incompetence and Collusion of OCC

 “The Violent Disorder of Our Public Mind,” by Richard Lichtman. Truthout, March 25, 2013.

The proliferation of random violence in American society is not simply a public health concern, a technocratic problem solvable by laws and regulations. Nor is the “insanity” driving such bloodshed an individual malady. As philosopher Richard Lichtman powerfully articulates, profound alienation is endemic to capitalism, particularly in this hyperactive and potentially terminal phase. Violence and hatred is a mode of “reconstruction.” “To destroy is to remake the universe, to eliminate from it something—not necessarily what confronts one—but what that fragile presence before us symbolizes,” Lichtman writes. “Violence contracts what cannot be embraced or even expanded; it minimizes what cannot be enlarged or shared: one’s powers, one’s love, one’s creative affirmation of the humanity of life in a world that bears the possibility of transcendence in beauty.”

Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA Teaching Science in NYC Schools



National Politics:

Playing around even in the slightest with the interactive chart shows how insane it is that Congress will ignore the Progressive Caucus’s budget:
   Six lessons from the Post’s awesome budget charts

 Obama’s new budget will reportedly include GOP’s beloved entitlement cuts. Why he’s overlooking the real solution’t_die/

Why Wouldn’t the President Cut Social Security and Medicare? That’s Up to You.

One day we may look back with regret on the Great Medicare and Social Security Cuts of 2013. And we won’t be asking ourselves why Obama did it. We’ll be asking ourselves why we didn’t stop it. It’s time to stop wondering about the president’s motives and take a good look at our own.

‘Consider the Source’ e-book tells story of how money dominated Election 2012

Lee Fang:   The Right Leans In
     Media-savvy conservative think tanks take aim and fire at progressive power bases in the states.

Flip-Flopping Federalists: On Obamacare, conservative judges were glad to limit Congress’ power. To uphold DOMA, they’ll need to do the opposite.

Arkansas’ GOP-led Legislature passes voter ID law

Supreme Court rejects call to change voting district head counts,0,4268573.story

Tennessee’s Colossally Bad Plan to Change Its Primary System

Obama picks Brian Deese as deputy budget director nominee

Obama Shouldn’t Buy The Lower-Corporate-Taxes Line

K Street Files: CEOs Lobby for Tax Reform

 In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees, the executives noted the United States’ 35 percent top statutory rate for corporate taxes puts it at the top of the industrialized world “as the country with the highest statutory corporate rate.”

This “Reforming America’s Taxes Equitably” coalition = AT&T, Altria, Boeing, FedEx, Ford, Disney, CVS…

The nihilism of David Stockman

“Stockman and I seem to be direct antagonists on this fundamental question: Should government, in particular central banks, endeavor to corral the ups and downs of capitalism to try to steer their nation toward prosperity? [P]ause for a minute to consider how fundamentally nihilistic Stockman’s view of the economy seems to be: that basically anything the state does to try to fix things is undermining some elegant capitalist order and will inevitably lead to chaos.”

 The anatomy of a misleading fundraising email — Democrats’ pitch rife with curious, questionable statements




 Coal miners call April 1 rally to protest pension, health cuts — Patriot Coal uses bankruptcy to tear up union contracts anyone who missed this two weeks ago, it really is an appalling scam by Peabody Energy & other coal giants:
Oooops.  EPA uses tactics similar to Wisconsin ALEC members:
   Lawsuit against EPA seeks evidence of hidden messages Hauter on Democracy Now! today:
   The Monsanto Protection Act? A Debate on Controversial New Measure Over Genetically Modified Crops

  Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America from Monsanto to Wal-Mart

Top Senator Apologizes for Monsanto Protection Act

Seven things you learn driving the length of the Keystone XL pipeline

 Keystone XL: The Science, Stakes, and Strategy Behind the Fight Over the Tar Sands Pipeline

Pipelines Can’t Handle North American Oil Boom

Everything You Need to Know About the Exxon Pegasus Tar Sands Spill

 Why Won’t Exxon Come Clean on the Arkansas Oil Spill Details?

Arkansas Is What Happens When Powers Behind Oil Spills Get Together Again

Everything’s Worked Fine Since The Last Catastrophe

Bill McKibben:  The Methane Beneath Our Feet

Dr. James Hansen:  Doubling Down on Our Faustian Bargain

Cooling on Warming

   Congressional stalwarts are working new carbon-tax legislation, but don’t hold your breath. This month, during a free-for-all of amendments in the Senate budget debate, Whitehouse actually did propose a nonbinding resolution establishing “a fee on carbon pollution.” The amendment failed, 41 to 58.

Multi-Toxin Biotech Crops Not Silver Bullets, Scientists Warn

 Private sector cannot ignore small-scale farmers

Halliburton worker testifies at Gulf spill trial

Oil industry complains that billions in Alaska tax cuts aren’t enough
(…two decades after Exxon’s 11-million gallon oil spill is still causing damage.)

Hands Off Yoko! Oil and Gas Drillers Complain About Anti-Fracking Campaign




The Koch brothers’ media investment  They are rumored to want the Tribune chain. A look at gives some clues about what that might mean.

The Issue Groups Taking to TV So Far in 2013

The Transformation of American Journalism Is Unavoidable

The real scam: Don’t let broadcasters shut down FCC political ad database over online ripoff

CISPA Explainer #1: What Information Can Be Shared?

Google and privacy: 6 E.U. countries take action

 Cruelest month for sequester-related cuts?  Layoffs and furloughs are going into effect—coverage needs to keep up

 National Magazine Awards 2013 Finalists Announced

Columbia & Steve Coll Look Ahead in an Age of Disruption

‘Connect with everyone, even the devil’

Listening Post? Assignment Desk? Explore Investigative Reporting on Reddit

Thomas Friedman Invented His Own Job, Why Shouldn’t You?

After the Newspaper Building: Struggling dailies are abandoning their grand old buildings.

Can Vice Save the Media from the Business Insider?

What False Equivalence Looked Like in the Civil War Era




   If you are in Wisconsin, or know anyone who lives here, please make sure they vote today!

Today is Election Day: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Low turnout predicted for Tuesday’s elections.

GOP senators on proposed budget deficit: No way!
   Owing to a projected shortfall of $664 million, Gov. Scott Walker’s budget is getting a cool reception among lawmakers, including Neenah’s Mike Ellis (pictured), in his own party.

Budget hearings get under way this week
Scott Walker:   Budget allocates money to help move Wisconsin forwardJob slump is Walker’s fault

Evangelical conservative confirms Ryan-esque GOP agenda is slashing social programs and giving the savings to billionaires

Kathleen Vinehout:  State budget decisions affect you

Sen. Shilling. Column: The state budget is no joke.


Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. Rising state debt concerns some lawmakers.
Lawmakers Might Reduce Cuts To Court Sytem In Walker Budget

Fallone campaign says Roggensack flip-flopped on recusals

We need to start somewhere in getting control of our election spending, the Appleton Post-Crescent writes on election eve. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen United that opened the floodgates to unlimited spending, at least let’s pass laws that require full disclosure of who’s doing the spending, the paper pleads.

Bill proposes to make it harder to launch local recall effort
   It would be harder to launch a local recall effort under a bill to allow it only against officials charged with criminal or ethics law violations.


    Frac Sand Companies Skirt Regulation Through Annexation

Coalition Aims To End Tar Sands Pipelines In Great Lakes Region

 Walker’s Act 10 leads to downfall of Milwaukee labor publication

Why Labor Press publishes final edition
There were some – still are — who tolerated Walker’s policies as an effort to cut the fat. He has now cut into the heart muscle. What used to be the lifeblood of democracy – the freedom to communicate and organize – has become a punctured artery.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee Labor Press publishes final issue.

Nine aldermen urge vote on same-day voter question

Wisconsin elections board hopes to fill vacancy

Which companies will offer plans on the state health care exchange?

In an in-depth post, Political Environment blogger James Rowen traces what he calls Scott Walker’s “fateful decision” to scuttle the passenger rail plan to connect Madison with Milwaukee and eventually the Twin Cities. Rowen recounts Walker’s actions and how they have left the Milwaukee-Madison corridor unconnected in a world of advancing technology. Just one of the reasons Wisconsin is lagging other states in job creation, he notes.

Governor Walker needs to get a grip

Madison School Board election media roundup.

On FightingBob, David Giffey today writes about “vouchering ourselves to death,” in which he uses comments by educator Barbara Miner who talks about the false facade that’s being created by the push for vouchers and charter schools. It’s all an effort to siphon public money for private purposes, he suggests.

Sen. Grothman, Rep. Kaufert. Unveil tax credit for private school tuition.
Beloit Daily News. Editorial: Don’t discourage options in school.
Report Paints Grim Picture Of Wisconsin’s, And Nation’s, Infrastructure

Appleton Post Crescent. State cashes in on selling voter rolls.
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. Creates Conservation Leadership Corps.
Green Bay Press Gazette. Let’s make it easier to sue over wind turbines, Lasee says.
Wisconsin Supreme Court. Accepts six new cases.
Madison-Kipp asked governor’s office to interfere in lawsuit, DNR official says

WFoIC:  Child-care, elder records easier to get

Rightwing Watch:

RW’s Key Reads

 Same Day Registration Referendum is Liberal Turnout Gimmick

Wisconsin tax climate among the worst in the country (Media Trackers)

Unemployment fraud in Wisconsin (MacIver Institute)

Records request: What’s going on with vacant Milwaukee school buildings?

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