New Jersey state legislature passes bill allowing municipalities to privatize their water utilities without putting the matter to a public vote. You'd think there'd be a benefit to having huge Democratic majorities in the legislature to counter a vigorous Republican Governor, but in this case you'd be wrong. Folks who support privatization because WE NEEDZ TEH MONEYZ NOW!!!! would do well to imagine where else you might get the money -- like, from repealing tax cuts for millionaires, or repealing corporate tax breaks, the "stimulating" value of each being, for some reason, quite overrated.
Speaking of New Jersey, the state just bailed out two about-to-default tobacco bonds, resulting in $92 million for the state right away, but also resulting in the loss of $400 million in money coming in after 2017, and also resulting in a $100 million payout to a hedge fund involved in the bonds. Nice work if you can get it! And when state Treasurers claim (as New Jersey's did) they have to bail out banksters to "protect() the state's reputation with lenders," you might suspect that the "reputation" they're "protecting" is the state's reputation as a mark.
Starting now, eggs consumed in California will have to come from chickens getting more free space than they've previously had. The increase from 67 to 116 square inches of room isn't a lot, but it does represent progress in our effort to get away from factory-farm methods, though of course egg producers have sued multiple times to keep the law from going into effect. They claim treating chickens more humanely will cost their corporations money, though what it actually does is cost the CEOs money.
With nefarious lenders finding state and federal regulators cracking down on payday loans, lenders have found a new frontier in usury: car title loans. And banksters are packaging these loans into securities for pension funds to invest in! Again, nice work if you can get it! The way our financial class acts today would make even Henry Potter blush.
Republican House Whip Steve Scalise says that, now that he thinks about it, he does remember addressing white supremacists as a state legislator back in 2002. And look how far he's come since then! Seriously, if John Boehner doesn't make him resign, it'll be a bigger black eye than Trent Lott's unfortunate comments at Strom Thurmond's 500th birthday party, which they also did their damndest to ignore. And what is with these folks who bleat that "(t)here’s a different standard for whites than there are for other groups"? They've become the whiners they always accused liberals of being.
Finally, the Shawnee County District Court rules that Kansas isn't funding its school budget adequately. I guess Gov. Brownback could take a page from President Reagan's playbook, and raise taxes on working people to make up the difference. That'll be harder than it was in Mr. Reagan's day, but not impossible, especially with a vigorous Republican party and a weak Democratic one that couldn't even beat the most unpopular Governor in the nation. But if Mr. Brownback decides to follow Tha Bush Mobb's example and not raise anyone's taxes, well, you remember how that ended.