OK, so the Senate votes today on Harry Reid's Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which would end Tha Bush Mobb tax cuts on income over $200,000 (or $250,000 for married couples filing jointly), extend increases in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, and hike the Estate Tax back up to 2001 levels. No, it's not everything I'd want, but you can use the tools in the upper left-hand corner of this page to find your Senators' phone number, or you can call 1.888.744.9958 -- or you can email your Senators, using True Majority's email contact tool. Remember to point out to your Senators that folks making over $200,000 will still get a tax cut -- they'll just get it only on their income up to $200,000. Remind them, also, that once the bill passes, businesses will have the "certainty" Republicans claim they want. And if you're willing to give up your own tax cuts so the rich won't have the cuts that continue to harm the economy and increase the deficit, tell them so. I'm perfectly willing to do that, because America is not all about me.
Meanwhile, the Aurora murderers have, as I expected, made the "liberal" media even more annoying than usual. Case in point: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, whom I generally respect more than a lot of other media talking heads, suggested that alleged murderer James Holmes was "somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale," then cravenly added, "I don't know if that's the case here, but it happens more often than not." Generally, in life, if you "don't know if that's the case here," you should shut your mouth about it possibly "being the case here." And "more often than not" is a big, big claim that requires, you know, evidence. And I know plenty of autistic folks, and, frankly, you'd be a fool to characterize autism as schizoid, antisocial, narcissistic, or avoidant (to name four actual disorders more likely plaguing Mr. Holmes). Change.org helps you tell Mr. Scarborough to retract his statement. To his discredit, he's gotten all defensive about it, suggesting the "link" he described fairly concretely is all in our minds, and even using his own son-with-Asperger's as a shield. Which only tells us he should know better.
Finally, the Senate's new cybersecurity bill, S. 3414, is actually better than the evil Internet blacklist twins, SOPA and PIPA. Specifically, the bill now gives civilian agencies (and not the NSA) oversight of personal data, restricts our government from using data in most cases that don't involve cybersecurity issues, and lets good American citizens sue our government for abusing their data. However, the bill still lets corporations monitor just about every piece of data that comes through their networks in the name of "cybersecurity" -- which could hamper folks trying to protect their privacy on the internet, through technologies like Tor. Just as avoiding social contact is not in and of itself evidence of autism, using Tor is not in and of itself evidence of maliciously subverting a network's security. More likely, it's evidence that you're trying to help good folks trapped in police states talk to each other as best they can. Anyway, the Electronic Freedom Foundation helps you tell your Congressfolk that S. 3414 should not sacrifice liberty at the altar of security.