California state legislature passes plastic bag ban. I've opposed plastic bag taxes in the past, on the grounds that it would hurt lower-income folks harder, but a ban is easier to support: though I don't know anyone who doesn't reuse their plastic bags, I see where the trash problem could become (or perhaps already is) intractable. The bill now goes to Governor Brown's desk; I have no idea whether he'll sign it or not, because when you look up the word "enigma" in the dictionary, it has a picture of Jerry Brown.
The Center for Public Integrity looks at "How Big Telecom Smothers City-Run Broadband." Long story short: it's the money -- from those same big telecoms that won't build out into cities that want the city-run broadband! Don't get discouraged when you read all of the flatugasms coming from the mouth of AT&T's CEO (including his extremely unlikely claim that he "just" didn't know his corporation spent millions lobbying for bills that would strangle community broadband) -- at the end, we learn that there may be judicial precedent for pre-emption of state anti-broadband laws (from a Reagan-appointed judge, no less!) and that plenty of Republican-led legislatures have tried to pass similar bills in recent years and failed.
Wired! profiles Biomeme, a startup that aims to mass-produce a diagnostic tool that would be easy to use and snap on to your smartphone. Biomeme faces a number of challenges -- some related to regulatory hurdles, some related to the enormity of the task, as other companies have found success in this field rather more elusive than expected -- but if you could have a relatively-inexpensive device that could tell you if you've got the flu or not, why wouldn't you want it? I hope they succeed -- and I also hope the FDA applies the proper amount of skepticism.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), whose term in Congress is over in just a few months, apparently is looking for unpaid interns who are not "vapid granolas who fear guns, hate babies, are ashamed of America, and think Islamic terrorists and illegal aliens are just misunderstood." I'm as liberal as they come, and I've never actually met anyone like that; certainly I can't understand why such a person would try to get a job with Steve Stockman. Click through (twice) to see the job listing itself, and learn with a shudder that if you get hired, "you will have extraordinary access to the Member."
Uh oh: Wisconsin's tax collection revenues fell $281 million short of the Walker Administration's projections last year. This could actually be a big deal in Scott Walker's impending re-election fight -- right-wingers like Gov. Walker insist that letting corporations do their thing actually increases tax revenue, when clearly the opposite is happening -- and his Democratic opponent, Mary Burke, seems willing to pound him for it. But when will Ms. Burke hammer Mr. Walker's infamous "budget repair" law essentially outlawing public unions in Wisconsin -- which, as you may recall, Mr. Walker "had" to do because the state was "broke"?
Finally, another day, another Barack Obama quotation alleging that Republicans are held "captive" by their far right wing, and I wish he'd just stop saying that stuff. Perhaps he aims to intimate that the Republican leadership isn't worthy of the people's support if they can't tell the Tea Party to go scratch, but most people will think Mr. Obama is saying the Republican leadership is reasonable and moderate, when they're not -- Newt Gingrich was reasonable and moderate compared to Messrs. Boehner, Ryan, and McConnell, and back in the day Gerald Ford and Bob Dole were reasonable and moderate compared to Newt Gingrich. Seeing a trend? Of course you are -- you're seeing the "center" move ever further right, and Barack Obama is making it worse.