Paul Waldman finds that Republican voters tend to move far rightward on issues where elite Republicans virulently oppose President Obama. That's a sad finding, but a little more analysis would have been in order. Does Barack Obama's steadfast refusal to pursue more liberal policy objectives (like massive government spending on infrastructure, Medicare-for-all, and the 91% tax bracket on millionaire income) give Republican voters nothing to hang onto but the ravings of the far-right? In other words, does Democrat weakness spur Republicans rightward?
Hard to believe, Harry, but the IRS informs us that the richest 400 Americans paid roughly the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle-class families earning about $105,000 annually. How did this happen? You can blame Bush the Lesser for much of it -- mainly, for cutting dividend taxes and capital gains taxes to absurd lows, supposedly to "encourage investment and job creation" and tell me how well that worked out -- but Mr. Obama has only bumped up the capital gains rate to 20% (from 15%), and capital gains accounts for two-thirds of the top 400 richest Americans' income. Paging Jim Webb!
Alternet presents "11 Stupid Reasons White People Have Rioted." I don't assert that there's any good reason to riot, by the way, but I do concur that the "liberal" media makes all kinds of ooga-booga noises when black folks riot over injustice, but takes a boys-will-be-boys attitude when white folks riot over their local sports franchise winning or losing the big game. And also over disco and pumpkins.
ProPublica finds that public schools frequently underreport how often they're using restraints on schoolkids. Federal law mandates such reporting, but the city of New York reported precisely zero instances in 2012, despite settling a high-profile lawsuit over, well, tying a five-year-old autistic kid to a stretcher that very same year. Public schools should be able to handle their children without resorting to such punishment, but I also blame the media, where children learn that the most disgusting kinds of attention-seeking gain the biggest rewards.
Stephen Hawking warns that artificial intelligence could doom humankind, because "(h)umans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded." Seems a reasonable assumption, but the BBC spends no time analyzing it, instead spending three paragraphs subtly insulting Mr. Hawking for using AI in his own speaking apparatus. My own hope is that our lack of understanding of our own brain functions will prevent us from creating supercomputers that think better than us, though I suppose such ignorance doesn't preclude the possibility we'll create such computers by accident.
Finally, Arizona pastor suggests our world can be AIDS-free "by Christmas" if we just "execute() the homos like God recommends." Even more hilarious than Mr. Anderson's sense that God makes "recommendations" (clearly he's too much a coward to call it a "command"!) is his attempt to prove his point "with science" -- he says "homos" are responsible for 78% of new HIV infections "among males," thus inadvertently suggesting that bottom-of-the-barrel infection rates among lesbians makes them God's chosen people! Anyway, let us never mention the name of Steven Anderson again.