"Surprise! 'Pro-Business' Policies Hurt States' Economic Growth," says the headline of this Michael Hiltzik article at the Los Angeles Times. Long story short: states more likely to have low top tax rates, low/no estate taxes, fewer public employees, and "right-to-work" laws actually lag behind other states in job growth. Nice to see a major newspaper refer to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a "radical," too, since that's what he actually is, no matter how soft-spoken he might be on the TV.
Good news, then bad news: Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signs legislature's genetically-modified food labeling bill into law, and big food corporations promptly threaten lawsuits. The Grocery Manufacturers Association says that "government has no compelling interest in warning consumers about GMO foods." Why not? Apparently, because they think they're completely safe -- and why wouldn't you trust what food corporations say about the foods that make them their money?
A report from Integrity in Education and the Center for Popular Democracy tells us that charter schools have wasted at least $136 million over the last two decades in just 15 states, largely thanks to lax state oversight. And when I say "wasted," I mostly mean "stolen" -- the charter school isn't just a way to bust teachers' unions and make public schools poorer, it's also a way for certain charter school officials to buy goodies for themselves. The report echoes concerns expressed by the federal Department of Education's Inspector General in 2010. Is Congress listening? Not unless we put the word "Benghazi" in the report, I suspect.
ABC reports on a Massachusetts couple who claim not only that a wind turbine operating a quarter-mile from their house made them sicker, but that it caused them to take a loss when they sold their home. But not only did Mrs. Hobart later admit that she'd had the ringing in her ears before the turbine went in, ABC also missed the Falmouth Zoning Board's determination that the loss the Hobarts took on their home was also due to mold and radon found on the property, which -- as anyone who's ever bought or sold a house will tell you -- is a big deal. And personal to people who think wind turbines are too loud: try living in New Jersey. Then you'll know what noise is.
Finally, Rand Paul says the Republican party should "lay off" voter ID laws because they're "offending people." Which stance should please none of his die-hard supporters ("you're going to stop supporting something just because it offends people?") nor earn him new ones in minority communities (since he still hasn't come out against photo IDs, nor has he come around to the idea that voter fraud really doesn't happen in noticeable numbers). As a Gourdian-knot slicer, Rand Paul is no Alexander the Great. And it's nice that he wants to restore voting rights to felons, but let's see action.