Dave Lindorff absolutely eviscerates a Katie Couric video purporting to explain Social Security, a video peddling even worse myths about Social Security than the "liberal" media normally peddles. Mr. Lindorff also provides actual solutions that would shore up Social Security, including two I hadn't heard before -- making employers pay a larger percentage of payroll taxes than workers (which workers will notice, and employers won't) or applying the payroll tax to capital gains (which should not be taxed as low as it is in America anyway).
Prison Education Reduces Recidivism by Over 40 Percent," Michelle Chen asks in The Nation, so "Why Aren’t We Funding More of It? Because recidivism makes more money for private prison corporations, that's why! The good news? People both left and right have been coming around to the idea that putting people in jail over and over again just isn't good for anybody. The bad news? President Obama's pilot plan to restore Pell Grants for incarcerated folks, though it "costs basically the equivalent of a budget rounding error," faces Republicans who hate him.
Robert Reich instructs us that we should take new paid-leave policies offered by corporations such as Netflix with "a grain of silicon." For two reasons: one, policies like that of Netflix only apply to "talent," i.e., well-paid and highly-placed employees (as if sorting through all those DVDs efficiently isn't a talent!), and two, folks who happen to be "talent" simply aren't taking the time off because it seems you can't afford to take time off if you want to get ahead. You might want to tell some of these "talented" folks to stand up to their bosses (since you'd think "talent" would have some leverage), but if you do, you also need to tell their bosses that work-life balance is a good thing.
Steve Singiser at Daily Kos Elections asks if Republicans have successfully gerrymandered themselves into a "semi-permanent majority." I'm tempted to respond that gerrymandering isn't something so big that a few courageous Democrats can't handle it. In other words, I'm tempted to answer "yes," and the main reason I don't is that I'm an optimist.
Hannah K. Gold asks "Why Did the FBI Spy on James Baldwin?" You might respond, well, because he was black, gay, and active in the civil rights movement, but then you have to ask why his FBI file is nearly seven times larger than Richard Wright's and nearly half as big as Malcolm X's. And naturally, confronting the FBI file -- which Ms. Gold says reads like "a long, poorly-written novel" "riddled with inaccuracies," including, at one point, a description of Mr. Baldwin as white -- doesn't by itself clear up that mystery.
Finally, Carly Fiorina suggests she'd oppose mandatory vaccination of children, saying "(w)hen in doubt, it's the parent's choice," particularly where "religious freedom" is involved. I guess we're supposed to applaud Ms. Fiorina when she says public schools should still get to keep unvaccinated kids out, but that's a barn-door-horses-out problem. It sure is a good thing the vast, vast majority of people are not in "doubt" about the massive good vaccinations do, or about the consequences of foregoing them.