Here's some good news from Election Day: Maine voters approved a ballot initiative to expand their state's Clean Election Law. This was the ballot question Gov. LePage likened to "giving your wife your checkbook," a phrase he repeated in case you didn't laugh the first time. While it's good to expand public campaign financing programs, it's also good to stick it to Paul LePage.
Matt Taibbi makes "The Case for Bernie Sanders," and it's also a case against "liberal" media coverage of politics, which he likens to "high school" in that it's "a brutish, interminable exercise in policing mindless social rules." "Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant," he writes, and if he's "grumpy," it's because there's a lot to be grumpy about. I apologize that my paraphrasing and quoting doesn't do justice to Mr. Taibbi's piece.
Hot on the heels of the charter school foundation-funded study that basically declared online charter schools worthless is we learn that actual corporations exist to help students cheat in online charter schools. And this isn't like reading Cliffs Notes instead of Great Expectations -- No Need to Study provides someone who'll assume your identity and take the class and tests for you. The good news? If we can get corporations like No Need to Study some bad PR, online colleges will either embrace online, real-time video and other tools to fight cheaters, or they'll never earn the prestige they need to earn to survive.
Had you been wondering how Charter was going to sell its plan to buy Time-Warner to the people? Me neither, but Kate Cox at The Consumerist went through the trouble of reading Charter's response to public commenters opposing the merger, so we didn't have to. Spoiler alert: Charter raises exactly zero points we haven't refuted to death in this space, and a few of these are, in addition to being easily refutable, mind-bogglingly stupid as well.
Ireland plans to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs and shift from a punishment model to a treatment model for drug addicts, though it will remain illegal to sell or distribute illicit drugs. When your Tea Party uncle decries Old Europe letting people get high in "supervised injecting rooms," remind him that they're also getting treatment so they shoot up less, and they're actually saving taxpayer money wasted on the "war on drugs."
Finally, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) embarks on a rambling "thought experiment" asking "would anything be lost if the Senate didn’t exist?" Such an "experiment" likely does not impress those of us who think it's actually a good idea to have two legislative bodies review a bill to lessen our chances of passing something harmful. Why, such a notion may even sound conservative, but of course teabaggers like Mr. Sasse aren't actual conservatives -- they're reactionaries looking to pass reactionary bills more easily.