The Washington Post describes the change in President Obama's rhetoric on "free" trade. Long story short: he's gone from raising booga-booga about China to insulting the intelligence and honesty of his liberal opponents, though that will surprise no one who remembers him calling critics of his 2010 tax-cut giveaway "sanctimonious purists." And he's still playing a shell game -- the first question in your mind, after hearing of his desire to "make sure this is the strongest agreement possible," should be and in what universe would fast-tracking the agreement accomplish that?
David Sirota informs us that cities and states investing their pension funds in private equity firms may be paying as much as $10 billion annually in "management fees." And though the banksters managing these funds say they're doing just fine, we don't actually know that for sure. Remember this the next time your Tea Party uncle complains about how underfunded pensions are -- after you remind him that the scare numbers he got from right-wing think tanks are numbers compiled over decades and are actually quite small compared to the number of state and local pensions that exist.
The Washington Post's Robert Sameulson, not normally mistaken for a liberal, bashes Congressional Republicans for passing legislation aiming to repeal the Estate Tax. Mr. Samuelson's refutations of pro-Estate Tax arguments may not be as vigorous as I would have made them, but they're successful, and the fact that he's even taking the trouble makes me think we really have moved the discourse in our direction, not that we should get complacent.
Oregon legislators mull limiting antibiotic abuse in farm animals. Memo to the veterinarian who says you have to treat the herd at the first sign of disease: maybe if your employer didn't all but stack animals on top of each other, or make them live in tiny and disgusting pens, disease wouldn't be the problem you describe. And if we keep going on this track, disease is going to be a much worse problem for all of us.
Finally, the formerly charismatic Mike Huckabee -- who may or may not run for President, but it won't matter -- instructs us that "we are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity." Remember when Fox News punditoids called the Valerie Plame investigation the "criminalization of politics"? You don't? Well, this should be about equally effective. And his claim is only true if Christianity equals discriminating against gays and nothing else. I can tell you from personal experience Christianity is much, much more than that.