The Boston Globe interviews Tufts University professor Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, who argues that behind the government we elect is an unelected government that actually sets policy, particularly foreign policy. It certainly would explain a lot of things (like the expansion of government spying), but though Mr. Glennon isn't a doomsayer, his thesis explains the glacial pace of change more than it explains the futility of trying to change things, which latter item the headline seems to advertise. But if fighting for change is so futile, how did the New Deal ever come about?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he's "tired of hearing about the minimum wage," and to prove his point imagining a family conversation where everyone aspires to make a higher minimum wage. Of course no family has ever had that conversation, though they may have had conversations about their hopes that a minimum wage could help others start at a point where they're better-positioned to make their lives better, versus running to stand still like minimum-wage earners do now, if they're lucky. Strange that Mr. Christie (like Gov. Walker) hasn't heard that conversation.
American and French researchers say they've developed a way to figure out if water pollution comes from fracking. Essentially, the researchers track boron and lithium -- which occur naturally in gas shale formations -- in wastewater; if you find those two, you can be reasonably sure it's coming from fracking. You need not even know the chemicals the gas drilling corporations used, which you often don't anyway (since, as you know, gas drillers don't have to disclose those chemicals). The bad news? The researchers also found that disposing of fracking waste in non-drinking water rivers still puts people at risk.
Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo describes how Kansas Senator Pat Roberts "Dug Himself Out of the Grave" in his tough re-election fight. Long story short: the NRSC basically took over his campaign, he's gotten a big infusion of campaign millions, and he's run hard to the right to lock down those primary voters who opposed him. And though I think Republicans nationally have overplayed their hand by trying to link every damn one of their opponents to President Obama, the morphing of Mr. Orman's first initial into Mr. Obama's is admittedly quite clever.
Finally, the predominantly Black neighborhood of northeast Greensboro, NC, having endured some 15 years without a grocery store since Winn Dixie pulled out, have decided to pull together and start their own community-owned grocery. Workers' wages will start at $10/hour, roughly where the new minimum wage would be, if Senate Republicans hadn't blocked it. The co-op opens next year; I wish them luck.