Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

December 7, 2014

Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

“Congress is rich. The average net worth in Congress is a bit more than $6 million, while the median net worth is $1 million. To put that in context, $4 million in net worth is enough to put someone in the top 1 percent, and $660,000 is enough to put an individual in the top 10 percent. Meanwhile, the median family wealth for whites is $134,000 and for blacks is $11,000. Emerging political science research suggests that the implications of this class bias are profound and important.”

– “The death of working-class politics: How the wealthy conquered Congress and abandoned blue-collar America,” Sean McElwee, Salon

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GOP Health Insurance: Ryancare

November 17, 2014

GOP Health Insurance: Ryancare
Hey oldsters! You voted GOP? Congratulations, seniors, here’s what you get:

“. . . GOP congressional leaders are promising to act immediately on their budget-slashing ideas when 2015 begins. High on their list, according to the New York Times, is implementing Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to ‘overhaul’ Medicare by replacing it with ‘premium support’ vouchers designed to privatize the system over the coming decades. They will also form a commission to examine ‘options’ for Social Security, which Ryan has also long favored privatizing.”

 — “Get ready for Ryancare, America! Why GOP’s all set to end Medicare as we know it,” Joan Walsh, Salon

Related:

“Yes, the Republican Obamacare Strategy Will Kill People,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Photo by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com  Note: Product pictured is not made from hair.

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Cellphone Spies in the Sky

November 16, 2014

Cellphone Spies in the Sky

The Wall Street Journal reports that, for the last seven years, the U.S. Marshals Service has flown Cessna aircraft over America’s cities, collecting cellphone location data from thousands of people with “dirtbox” devices that mimic cellular towers. The Marshals Service, a unit of the Department of Justice, predominately searches for federal fugitives, but its Special Operations Group conducts “tactical operations for sensitive and classified missions involving homeland security, national emergencies, domestic crises and the intelligence community.” Flying spying and data harvesting on such a broad scale raises serious Fourth Amendment questions.

More:

“Report: Secret government program uses aircraft for mass cellphone surveillance,” Gail Sullivan, Washington Post

“WSJ: A Secret U.S. Spy Program Is Using Planes to Target Cell Phones,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

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Image (“Flying Phone Spy, after a 1964 comic book”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

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Billionaires Recapture the Senate

November 5, 2014

Billionaires Recapture the Senate
With Tuesday’s midterm elections, the Republican Party has seized control of the U.S. Senate. Disgruntled voters decided to empower the party that crashed the economy, entangled the country in long and bloody foreign conflicts, and enriched the few at the expense of most Americans. Winning GOP Senate candidates, largely from the “establishment” Republican Millionaires’ Club, are expected to faithfully do the bidding of their billionaire funders.

More:

“Big win for conservative big money,” Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico

“Election 2014: A new level of collaboration between candidates and big-money allies,” Matea Gold, Washington Post

“Congressional Seats Sell for Record Four Billion Dollars,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

“New Horizons for the GOP Money Machine,” Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly blog

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This Is Not a Test

November 4, 2014

This Is Not a Test

It’s Election Day. Vote. This is Not a Test.
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Election Day: Vote!

November 4, 2014

Election Day: Vote!
Vote now, or don’t complain in the next two years.

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Congress Is On Vacation. Like It Was All Year Long.

September 20, 2014

Congress Is On Vacation. Like It Was All Year Long.

After a grueling five-day schedule of naming post office buildings, Congress kicked the budget can down the road and sneaked out of DC in the dark of night last Thursday. Those who aren’t investigating NATO defenses at Munich’s Oktoberfest are in their home jurisdictions, shaking down constituents for votes and campaign cash. They’ll return after November’s election smoke clears and they know who’s a survivor and who has a few weeks to find a job as a lobbyist or investment banker.

 More:

“Peace Out! House Cancels Work Until After Election Day,” Sahil Kapur, TPM Livewire

 “Senate Approves Spending Bill and Syria Measure, Heads for Exits,” Michael Catalini and Sarah Mimms, National Journal

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Congress Is 0n Vacation. Like It Was All Year Long.

August 2, 2014

Congress Is On Vacation. Like It Was All Year Long.
The 113th Congress is taking a five-week recess after the exhausting labor of not passing hundreds of bills, and is among the least productive in history. Of course, Congress only spends three days a week in DC even when it is in session, spending the other four back home collecting campaign funds for the next election, a practice euphemistically called “meeting with constituents.” They’ll be back September 8th for a dozen workdays, then adjourn until after the election in November.

This Congress was so ineffective that even the protesters didn’t bother to show up.

 More:

“Congress jets to five-week recess,” Peter Sullivan, The Hill

“Congress Off for the Exits, but Few Cheer,” Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, New York Times

“Congress continues its streak of passing few significant laws,” Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center

“As Congress Breaks, Inaction Remains Most Notable Action,” David Welna, NPR

 “From Now Till Election, Congress to Make Itself Scarce,” Caitlin Huey-Burns, Real Clear Politics

“Jon Stewart blasts Congress for taking unearned vacation,” Joanna Rothkopf, Salon

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Better Health Care Through Astrology

July 26, 2014

Better Health Care Through Astrology

“A Conservative MP has spoken of his belief in astrology and his desire to incorporate it into medicine.

David Tredinnick said he had spent 20 years studying astrology and healthcare and was convinced it could work.

The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

‘There is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record,’ he told BBC News.

He said he had studied the Indian astrological system Iahiri and the way it was used by that country’s government and recalled how Chris Patten, Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong, had an official astrologer, whom Mr Tredinnick had consulted while on a parliamentary delegation there.”

– “Astrology-loving MP seeks health answers in the stars,” BBC News

More:

“Astrology-loving MP David Tredinnick ‘convinced’ practise can reduce strain on NHS,” Kashmira Gander, The Independent

“Combining astrology and healthcare: your medical horoscopes,” Dean Burnett, The Guardian

“Tory MP says astrology is good for the health,”  Laura Donnelly, The Telegraph

 Related:

“Tory MP David Tredinnick claimed £755 for astrology software,” Polly Curtis, The Guardian

Medical astrology,” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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July 2, 1964: The Civil Rights Act Becomes Law

July 2, 2014

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, 50 years ago. Bill Moyers reminisces above.

For a remarkable view of the legislation and a close look how it got that way, see NPR’s annotated Behind the Civil Rights Act.

Related:

“How the Civil Rights Act saved the South’s economy,” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

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