Chemical spill in West Virginia turns water blue-green and "smelling like licorice," making it unsafe for drinking, bathing, or doing laundry. Die-hard don't-tread-on-me types, take note: a calamity caused by the negligence of a private corporation has left the citizens of Charleston, WV dependent on their government for bottled water for the time being. Sane people, take note: this calamity will cause us to equate the phrase "bottled water" with "safety" even more than we already do.
Howard County, MD will supply the NSA with treated wastewater to cool the NSA's yet-to-be-built Fort Meade computer center, where, we presume, a lot of our government's surveillance magic will happen. Dig how they call it an "environmentally friendly" solution (because Howard County won't be dumping the wastewater into a river), without mentioning what the NSA will do when they're done with the wastewater. Also dig this sentence: "Ulman and NSA officials say they have heard no criticism of their agreement, which has been in the works for a couple of years but has received little publicity." Golly, I wonder why they've "heard no criticism," or why their initiative has "received little publicity"!
Roosevelt Institute fellow Mike Konczal tells us why moving the unemployed to places where unemployment is low might not be such a hot idea. Long story short: the unemployment rate doesn't exactly tell us how many jobs are available -- you'd have to hope a President Marco Rubio wouldn't send a thousand folks to a place with 4% unemployment that has only a hundred total jobs to begin with. Also, places with low unemployment tend not to experience a lot of turnover.
David Callahan at Demos explains why civil fines don't necessarily keep corporations from doing more wrong. Basically, the fines typically don't represent a big chunk of a big corporation's profits; shareholders pay the fines, not the people who actually did wrong; corporations can pay fines over a number of years, making them less painful; corporations can deduct fines (as "expenses") from their taxes; fines tend to be one-day news stories that don't damage a corporation's reputation; and, well, our government doesn't always collect the fines. Hence Mr. Callahan suggests prison time might be a better deterrent, as (you'd think!) any law-and-order believer would.
Daily Kos diarist touts a New York Daily News editorial calling the GW Bridge scandal "Christie's Waterloo," suggesting the New Jersey Governor could be a "lying thug," a "man of low character," and a "monster," all if he's not stupid. I wish we wouldn't celebrate this reversal so much, because it makes a Scott Walker Presidency all that much more likely, and Mr. Walker is the worst kind of monster: one who can con everyone into thinking he's a nice guy.
Justice Department says federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages that occurred in Utah between the point the state Supreme Court ruled Utah's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court's stay of that ruling. Which is entirely proper -- the Obama Administration recognizes the marriages for the purpose of providing federal benefits. If Gov. Herbert of Utah wants to deny those couples state benefits, that's his purview. But then, most rageheads squealing AMERICAN CAESAR!!!!! only believe in states' rights when it gives them the answers they want.
Robert Reich claims the Republicans' "divide-and-conquer" strategy, pitting the working class against the poor, is "starting to backfire." Now, I'm the optimistic sort, but I hope folks don't start doing victory laps, because paradigms are pretty hard to kill -- as long as large swaths of the working class imagine that poor folk are somehow different from them, they likely won't notice that they're actually not.
Finally, Illinois Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner flip-flops at least twice on raising the state minimum wage. And you won't believe his claim that he was "flippant" and "short" when he proposed cutting Illinois's minimum wage a month ago after you read his original remarks. It's like a fresh breath of Mitt Romney!