First, some good news: Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, sentenced by the Sudanese government to hang for "apostasy," is finally free and has traveled to Italy. And she just got to meet the Pope! If you were one of the millions who put international pressure on Sudan, then this victory is yours, too. Ms. Ibrahim, who famously gave birth to a daughter while in prison, is sad to leave her native country, which you would be, too, even if its government tried to kill you for being a Christian and not practicing Islam.
McGill University researchers conduct an interesting experiment, to see if "moral" stories promote honesty in children. Their finding: children seem to be more honest if the George Washington I-cannot-tell-a-lie story -- which rewards honesty instead of punishing dishonesty -- is fresh in their minds. That story was always a bit beyond me as a youth (I mean, why did he cut down the cherry tree if he knew it was wrong?), but I can also tell you that I responded better when I understood the benefits of an action rather than the hardships of its opposite.
The Consumerist tells us about a new frontier in bankster bubbling: subprime car loans, which have more than doubled since 2008. And the corporations giving out the loans are breaking the law by, ah, entering incorrect information on loan applications, and then banksters chop these loans up and repackage them as securities, just like they were doing when they crashed the economy in 2008. If the car loan bubble doesn't lay waste to the economy like the housing bubble did, it will still lay waste to the lives of the borrowers. Personal to folks who get all pull-up-your-bootstraps at borrowers: do you think it's OK for those with power to abuse those without?
ProPublica describes how one no-credit-no-problem loan providing corporation, USA Discounters, puts our soldiers in a spiral of debt. Long story short: they freely give out credit, enroll soldiers in costly "optional" programs, sell plenty of overpriced stuff -- seriously, when your price is higher than Apple's, you're a bandit -- and then sue soldiers who don't/can't pay in Virginia courts, regardless of where the defenders are actually stationed, meaning they win almost all of the time. There's even more to their game, but sadly, most of the commenters on this article blame the debtors for being dumb, rather than blaming the creditors for preying on them.
The incomparable David Sirota reminds us that cities that are slashing public services and employee pension funds are also funding massive new sports stadiums or other forms of corporate welfare. The city of Detroit just so happens to be cutting employee pensions at the same time as the Red Wings' owners are getting massive welfare handouts to build a new stadium. Maybe its owners are just trying to get out from under their $50,000-plus outstanding water bill, though that debt seems to have escaped the city's "Emergency Manager," who for some reason seems more concerned with the $150 outstanding water bills.
Finally, Andrew Sullivan wonders what, exactly, a possible Hillary Clinton Presidency would contribute to America and the world. I have often wondered the same thing! Mr. Sullivan can take heart, I suppose, that she seemed inevitable in 2007 and 2008, too, and we all know how that worked out. But anyone who watched her struggle through that first Democratic debate in 2007 knew her support was a mile wide and an inch deep, and even now, people seem to support her mainly because they think she'll win, when Scott Walker might have something to say about that.