Juan Cole instructs us that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was "an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture." Whether al-Qaeda itself was behind it I couldn't say with certainty, but the results of the attack would certainly benefit their efforts. Note well that when "liberal" media personalities like Chuck Todd won't ask the rich and powerful tough questions on TV out of fear that they won't come on his show again, the end result is that folks who actually have something to say, like Juan Cole, still can't get on TV.
Another day, another hostage situation forced upon the American people by Republicans, as they attach yet another pro-bankster amendment to a must-pass terrorism insurance bill. Sooner or later, simply as a matter of their own survival, Democrats will have to stand up to these hostage situations, and force the "liberal" media to listen to them. I shudder to think that they'd actually prefer Republicans to screw up the country in this manner, under the not-a-sure-shot assumption that they'll benefit on Election Day 2016. They do remember which party the current President belongs to, don't they?
Michael Hiltzik describes why the McConnell/Boehner effort to raise the Affordable Care Act's definition of "full-time" from 30 hours weekly to 40 will actually hurt American workers. Long story short: corporations that were already cutting their workers' hours to 29 just so they wouldn't have to provide health insurance to those workers would now have a much larger pool of workers (including me, and maybe you, too) whose hours they could cut to 39, who would then also no longer have health insurance. Also, the alleged spike in part-time jobs supposedly caused by the ACA simply isn't happening.
As the battle over the Keystone XL comes to a possible end, the battle over a 550-mile natural gas pipeline running through three mid-Atlantic coast states is just beginning. On one side, some familiar players -- Duke Energy, Dominion Resources of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio frackers -- while on the other, we have all-too-unfamiliar players in the persons of the homeowners presently refusing to let pipeline developers even survey their land, on whose behalf one pro bono lawyer says, "(i)f this were for a hospital or some truly public purpose, we could turn the other cheek, but this is a Fortune 500 company trying to make a profit." Best of luck to the landowners, who would, in a sane and moral society, have plenty of conservative defenders.
Ford Motor Co. sues a third-party auto repair diagnostics corporation, alleging that it violated Ford's copyright on a list of car parts and specifications. I'm stunned that anyone thinks they can copyright a list, which in theory anyone can compile, with minimal creativity. Ford says it included some totally made-up parts and specs in its list, to which I can only say: how post-modern our corporations have become.
Finally, Daily Kos diarist SemDem lists some of the outrageous lies people seem to believe about President Obama -- like that he's "disbanded the Marine Corps," "banned donuts," and "personally funded a Muslim Museum." This, when a lot of the things Mr. Obama has done (invading Libya, Iraq, and Syria without Congressional authorization, continuing warrantless wiretapping, ramping up drone strikes, vacuuming up cell phone data, and that's just what comes to the mind immediately) are bad enough. Democrats pretending to be like Republicans may work for Democrats in the short term, but it doesn't work for us -- if they actually were the liberals Republicans always say they are anyway, the American people wouldn't be served these ever-higher plates of bullshit.