S.J.Res. 19, the Constitutional amendment that would enable our state and federal governments to regulate campaign finance again, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 10-8 vote yesterday. You'll note that's not two-thirds (that would have been 12-6) and you'll no doubt be disappointed, but no one said this would be easy. Surprise, surprise: exactly zero Republican Senators voted in favor, despite two-thirds of their rank-and-file voters disagreeing with the Court's ruling in Citizens United. Which kind of illustrates the problem S.J.Res. 19 would give us a shot at solving, doesn't it?
ProPublica discovers that the NSA may be paying special attention to folks who downloaded Tor during 2011 -- and, not incidentally, could have shared whatever information it collected with the FBI and the CIA. Tor, you may recall, is the privacy software that basically makes you anonymous when you surf the web. One of Tor's early developers says the NSA almost certainly didn't spy on Tor users while they were actually using Tor -- but nothing would prevent the NSA from spying on Tor users when they were not. The punch line? The Tor Project itself gets funding from the State Department.
Ho hum, New York's Authorities Budget Office finds that all the business tax breaks New York state tossed around between 2009 and 2013 might have been responsible for one percent of job growth in New York state during that time. Maybe that one percent included 100 percent of you, but when 99% of job growth doesn't come from handouts to corporations, then Republicans really need to stop with the histrionics about how we should create jobs by giving handouts to corporations.
Commonwealth Fund survey finds that about three-quarters of Americans who bought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges are actually pretty satisfied with it. Of course, I remember surveys telling us in 2009 that a similar percentage of folks were pretty satisfied with their pre-ACA health insurance, but if the Affordable Care Act were this "socialist" "monster" that pooped all over our freedoms and then made us eat it, you'd think those numbers would be a lot lower.
Finally, Cornell University researchers report that up to 40 percent of oil and gas wells in some areas of Pennsylvania will leak methane into the air you breathe and the water you drink. I almost hope somebody asks Gov. Corbett about this, so he can smile and say "well, what about the 60 percent that's safe, smartypants?" But the 60 percent that's "safe" won't be safe for long, what with air and water (and the people using them) moving around as they do -- and, of course, figures like "40 percent" mean much less when 100 percent of you has cancer.