In advance of Election Day, we learn from Mary Hansen at Yes! magazine that a ballot initiative threatens North Dakota's law mandating that only pharmacists (or groups thereof) can own pharmacies. What's the big deal? To find out, answer one question: who doesn't own Walgreens or Rite-Aid or CVS or WalMart? If you answered "a pharmacist," you win -- and when you note that the small neighborhood pharmacy is the norm in North Dakota, rather than the exception like everywhere else, you see the problem. The anti-local pharmacy cause is, of course, led by an almost-entirely-funded-by-WalMart group called North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices -- because, as we know, "lower prices" isalways worth whatever it takes to get there! Seriously, no right-wingers get to call themselves "pro-small business" if they vote to destroy local pharmacies.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen dares to speak at length -- in careful, measured tones, and without expressing an opinion one way or the other -- about the gulf between the very rich and the very poor in America, and punditoids get mad about it. One think tank hack said by merely bringing it up, she "has waded into politically choppy waters." It's a good thing we don't expect courage from our leaders or anything! The author notes duly that nobody complained when former Fed chair Alan Greenspan went on and on about his pet right-wing causes, but I can't help but think she's getting some of this flak because she's a woman, too. I'd be happy to be wrong about that.
Citizens for Tax Justice finds Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) heaping dungpile after dungpile in arguing for more corporate-friendly tax policy. No, corporations do not actually physically move overseas when they "invert"; no, we don't have the highest corporate taxes in the world, or else we wouldn't have so many big corporations paying nothing or less than nothing; no, a "territorial" tax system would make all our problems worse; and no, corporations generally pass their higher taxes on to their shareholders, not to customers. Remember this when Mr. Portman runs for President: he's no "wonk," and even considering his reversal of his stand on same-sex marriage, he's no "moderate," either.
Kyle Stock at Business Week looks at the Swash (a collaboration between Whirlpool and Procter & Gamble), a slim clothing "deodorizer" that doesn't actually clean your clothes for a mere $499. Mr. Stock has justifiable trouble imagining this product's target consumer, since the Swash isn't a dry cleaner (or any kind of cleaner!) and it's not even as compact as it seems. Here's another possibility: some bankster hedge fund manager stands to make a mint from this product's failure.
Bryce Covert at Think Progress finds even more big corporations giving their workers Thanksgiving off. Some really big ones, too, like Costco (which treats its workers about as well as we can expect in These Interesting Times) and all the TJX stores, which include Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. I keep telling everyone there is-so such a thing as bad PR -- and there is also such a thing as the Power of Good PR. Now let's see if some of these corporations will support paid sick leave bills.
Finally, former John McCain spiritual advisor John Hagee claims that ebola is God's judgment for President Obama "has been fighting to divide Jerusalem for years now." Perhaps sensing that one death and a handful of illnesses isn't much of a "judgment," he then piles other judgments we're currently experiencing. And every American President at least since Carter has wished they could wriggle free of Israel, but Mr. Obama has done no better at it than any of his predecessors. Let's at least agree never to speak of John Hagee again.