In the wake of a thousand-point drop in the stock market early Monday morning, Dean Baker does us a great service by reminding us that "the stock market is not the economy." I'd go so far to say the stock market is an anti-economy, one that now has only to do with further enrichment of banksters and very little, if anything, to do with the work of a civilization. And if we were an economy that made stuff, sold stuff, and saved money -- versus an economy that routinely buys stocks with borrowed money -- we certainly wouldn't have to worry about Chinese stock bubbles.
USA Today reports that police officers in Baltimore now use an anti-terrorist surveillance tool called a "stingray" to catch petty criminals -- and officers in over four dozen other cities may be doing the same. I'd be more sanguine about this development if a) everyone got a warrant before using the device and b) everyone agreed to avoid searching all the irrelevant data they're vacuuming up and then destroy that irrelevant data at the first opportunity. But stingray users have been so closed-lipped about even using them that I doubt they'd adhere to such conditions, at least not without pressure.
Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee reminds us that, when contemplating Bernie Sanders's socialism, we should remember that America is "kind of a socialist nation" -- especially when we consider the massive corporate welfare handouts our government routinely gives. And also Social Security and Medicare, sure, but a quick answer to someone ranting about Bernie Sanders's socialism could also be "don't drive our roads" or "don't call the police" or "don't go to the library," since our government provides these services, and we pay for them (collectively!) with our taxes.
Any liberals still impressed with Ohio Gov. John Kasich? Here's another tonic: under his administration, the state's charter school system has become a "national joke." Remember that our taxes pay for charter schools just like they pay for public schools, and not only does money diverted toward charter schools deprive public schools of what they need, money diverted toward charter schools is more likely to get stolen than money used in public schools. All so politicians can reward cronies without having to raise taxes. Cowards.
The battle to extend minimum wage protections to home health care workers is now being fought in the courts, and the forces of good won the latest round, as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Fair Labor Standards Act does, in fact, give the Department of Labor the authority to get home health-care workers a minimum wage. Really? Home health-care corporations challenged that? They'd have been better off just paying their workers better.
Finally, toward the end of yesterday's Daily Kos "Morning Elections Digest," we learn that Google sponsored a study finding that three-quarters of all campaign finance spending on U.S. House races in 2014 was "wasted," because it wound up targeting viewers in media markets who couldn't actually vote in the relevant elections. (For example, ads in the Philadelphia market would have reached numerous viewers in southern New Jersey and suburban Philly who couldn't vote in Philadelphia's two House elections.) But the authors remind us that such ads do reach folks who don't spend much time online, which is presumably also the logic of organizations still raising money through junk mail in the email/Facebook era.