Lawrence S. Wittner proposes a withering list of 10 questions "conservatives" should answer. (Quotes mine -- actual conservatives wouldn't find these questions tough; only the reactionaries who have stolen the name "conservative" would.) The questions won't surprise you -- how one be against Big Gummint yet still favor pervasive surveillance, endless war, torture, religious meddling in public policy, welfare handouts for big corporations, et cetera. Shame that the "conservative" answer to these questions will be ZOMG COMMUNISM SOCIALISM NAZISM KENYAN ANTI-COLONIALISM BENGHAZI!!!!!
Jonathan Chait thoroughly dissects the Republican effort to introduce "dynamic scoring" into CBO budgetary predictions. He helpfully reminds us that the CBO predicted the effects of the 39.6% tax bracket's return fairly conservatively -- the CBO thought unemployment would be 7.6% now, when it's actually 5.6% now. Of course "dynamic scoring," which will exaggerate the "positive" effects of tax cuts, won't make those predictions better -- our own lengthy experience with tax cuts tells us they'll be worse. I wonder why the "liberal" media doesn't often include that experience in their coverage.
FAIR catches USA Today doing one of its famous point-counterpoint editorials between, you guessed it, a centrist editorial and a right-wing "counterpoint." And the topic was income stagnation for everyone but the very rich! And the "center path" means a minimum wage increase, but it also means cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits (though they don't have the guts to come out and say so, and didn't "the retired, the unproductive and the unhealthy" spend four-plus decades paying into the system?). Plus, the original editorial suggests that "stagnant wages" are the cause of "(c)ompanies sitting on record amounts of cash...reluctant to invest in hiring or capital improvements," when a blind, deaf, and dumb infant would suppose it's the other way around.
Nine good government groups sue the EPA over a 2012 petition asking the EPA to add oil and gas drillers to the list of actors who must report to the Toxics Release Inventory. If you've been following hydrofracturing (or "fracking") at all, or if you've ever suggested to some gas drilling CEO that he drink the water in his facility's backyard, you see the necessity of this suit -- which only aims to get a response from the EPA; getting the right response might take another suit. Well, nobody said doing the right thing was easy -- except, now that I think of it, people who don't do the right thing very often.
Claudia Chaufan at Labor Notes analyzes the defeat of single-payer health care at the Swiss polls in September. The most likely explanation remains that, well, put a difficult question to people at the polls, even one they know would change their lives for the better, and they'll be a bit scared, and the question's opponents will spend tens of millions of dollars to exploit that fear. We've seen that with the failure of GMO-labeling initiatives at the state level these past few years. But mostly, what that means is we need to make fear beside the point.