Yes, Virginia, Mitch McConnell has written a letter to every state Governor telling them to ignore their responsibility to craft a carbon emissions plan as mandated by the EPA, because the EPA's plan is "probably illegal." Everybody who wanted to jail Rosa Parks for breaking the law back in the day now thinks they're Rosa Parks! But Rosa Parks did eventually help change unjust and unconstitutional laws, while Mr. McConnell defends the right of corporations to hike your prices when they're told to pollute less. You wouldn't tolerate such behavior from your children, so why tolerate it from corporations?
E.J. Dionne notes that the House Republican budgets prove that Republicans are completely dedicated to making the income gap between rich and poor worse. You already knew that, but it's still good to hear it from the "liberal" media -- it increases the possibility that we might actually hear it again, and perhaps even again. And though the rich have gotten richer under President Obama, Republicans who fight tooth-and-nail even his modest efforts against that trend also deserve much of the blame -- and when they call the Affordable Care Act "socialism," no one should take them seriously when they suddenly say they care about the poor.
Paul Buchheit describes "How Privatization Degrades Our Daily Lives." Long story short: privatizing public services doesn't save money, it costs money. Long story somewhat longer: privatizing health care makes us captive to whatever health care corporations want, privatizing public housing gives that over to hifalutin bankster schemes, privatizing the internet gives us slower, more costly service, and the U.S. Post Office is so "terrible" that FedEx (a.k.a. Newt Gingrich's favorite corporation) uses it for three out of every 10 ground shipments. If you think privatization is a scam designed to enrich some politician's cronies, you're not alone. Ironic, since privatizers long argued that public corruption could be avoided by privatization.
Paul Krugman says pro-austerity arguments still hold sway in British media a mere six weeks ahead of its national elections. He's right about that, but I think he's a little too sanguine about how far we've come. I admit it feels like we've moved past reflexive pro-austerity arguments, but listening to Republicans try to rebrand their pro-austerity policies as "policies that help the poor" isn't very far from yesterday, and it only takes one more economic meltdown electing one more Republican President for it all to come back hard.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates fears the spread of artificial intelligence. But he sounds like he's simply been asleep during every one of Windows's multitudinous updates and patches. Duplicating or surpassing the human brain is a lot harder than folks realize, and software needs fairly constant maintenance -- especially with regards to security -- and I think the latter task, especially, is big enough that humans will need to do it for quite some time, even if arrogant CEOs disagree. We don't live in the future with jetpacks and men on Mars and Second Variety-style war machines -- we live in the future where a Space: 1999 reboot would have to be retitled.
Finally, Maine somehow-still-Governor Paul LePage really steps in it by claiming that author/Maine resident Stephen King moved to Florida to avoid Maine's taxes -- when Mr. King actually still lives in Maine most of the year and pays those Maine taxes. Democrats who actually want to win elections should listen to Mr. King's words here, because they're that good. And Democrats who want to continue losing to people like Paul LePage -- who himself has apparently forgotten that he grew up dirt-poor and needed the help of Olympia Snowe's late husband to get into college -- can go on paying their million-dollar consultants to help them craft a "message" that inspires nobody.