National Counterterrorism Center develops smartypants questionnaire, to be used by law enforcement and community and religious leaders, to rate someone's ability to succumb to violent extremism and become a terrorist. Well, there's no way unscrupulous government officials could abuse that! Note to NCC: people who "talk of harming self or others" might be in severe pain or have legitimate mental health issues. Know what a better plan would be? Let's stop treating the world's citizens like they're mere obstacles to infinite wealth. We'll enable the creation of fewer terrorists as a result.
The Center for Effective Government highlights the presence of toxic chemicals in dollar stores. Why does this matter? Because big-box retailers have pledged to phase toxins like formaldehyde, phthalates, and heavy metals out of their products, but a lot of working families use dollar stores, and one study found over 80% of tested dollar store products violating either mandatory or voluntary health standards. Sadly, our forty-years-outdated chemical safety system is also to blame -- and you know Republicans aren't going to fix that, right?
Robert Creamer at the Huffington Post says new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is an awful hybrid of Mitt Romney and Scott Walker. I guess the Scott Walker in him is his drive to get rid of Illinois's public unions, which I expect he'll have a tougher time with than Mr. Walker did, but Mr. Creamer does a good job illuminating his Inner Romney, nowhere better than in this paragraph: "Rauner brazenly claims that state employees' average wage of $64,000 per year is simply too high. This from a man who makes $64,000 in two and a half hours."
On Wednesday, cell phone service provider corporations began allowing their customers to unlock their phones so they can use those phones with another provider, and the Consumerist describes some of the ins and outs of that process. Generally you need to be all paid up on your phone to move it (which, hopefully, you'd expect); T-Mobile adds some small requirements and AT&T adds a few more. Sprint customers, however, are pretty much trapped unless they've just bought their phone, and by "just bought" I mean today, yesterday or the day before. (Verizon 4G customers all have unlocked phones to begin with, and only a few 3G customers will need customer-service intervention to switch providers.)
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback reverses the executive order issued by his predecessor that extended anti-discrimination protections for state workers to gays. Mr. Brownback then said approximately the stupidest thing I've heard all week, that "(a)ny such expansion of 'protected classes' should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action," as if the legislature never granted the Executive branch the authority to do just that in hiring and maintaining Executive branch workers. He only wants you to think he's dumb, though.
Conservative economist provides potential Hillary Clinton campaign slogan: "The Republicans gave us a crappy economy twice, and we fixed it twice. Why would you ever trust them again?" While folks probably don't remember the Reagan revolution as well as they did 20 years ago, they probably do remember, quite vividly I think, that this particular "recovery" hasn't done very much for them. Hell, we shouldn't even credit the Clinton miracle to the Clintonoids -- the internet bubble had more to do with that than anything, and no similar bubble has emerged during the Obama years.