Congress actually does something on behalf of whistleblowers in the Defend Trade Secrets Act, signed by President Obama today. Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Grassley (R-IA) successfully attached an amendment to the bill (which, for once, enjoyed actual bipartisan support) granting immunity to folks who reveal trade secrets to our government as part of a criminal investigation. They needed that, and they got it -- I wonder how often I'll ever say that again about something Congress does, although I try to remain hopeful.
Hillary Clinton says folks over "55 or 50" should be able to buy into Medicare if they want, which, while it wouldn't amount to "support for a public option," would expand public health insurance in America. But why not let any adult buy into Medicare, since the more folks join a pool (particularly younger, healthier folks), the lower the price is for everyone in that pool? (Oh, wait -- I think the answer to that question is "precisely"!) They say Bernie Sanders is dragging Hillary Clinton to the left by winning all these primaries, and I guess this is more proof of that -- though, of course, Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the first Democrat to make a good promise and then dash it on the rocks of "bipartisanship" or "the art of the possible."
Ari Berman, writing in The Nation, tells us that Donald Trump's only path to victory involves voter suppression. I've been arguing for a long time that Voter ID laws will suppress the vote of many of the folks who hate Mr. Trump the most (i.e., blacks and Hispanics), almost as if that were the whole idea. Mr. Berman suggests two other ways Mr. Trump could "suppress the vote" -- creating literal havoc at voting places and running a campaign so negative that large numbers of voters stay home -- but I don't think the second item qualifies as "suppression," because negative campaigning does not equal a gun to your head. And we shouldn't let the possibility of violence at the voting booth cow us, either -- not if we want to keep calling ourselves Americans. (As an aside, is Jim DeMint really that clueless about how nakedly-self-serving his pro-Voter ID claim sounds?)
Legal scholars pressure the Obama Administration to drop support for a Bush Mobb legal memo from 2007 that allows faith-based charities to take federal money and still discriminate in hiring. I'll say it one more time: you take the people's money, you follow the people's rules, and the people's rules say don't discriminate. And the scholars make an important point not emphasized often enough: that no one is putting a gun to any religious charity's head and making them apply for federal grants. The only way to counter that argument would be to prove that the charity would go completely under without federal grants, and boy is that a long way to go just to avoid hiring gays.
Rulings by Pennsylvania and New Jersey judges suggest that folks could get sued not just for texting while driving, but for texting someone who's driving (who then causes an accident and kills someone). At least both judges have said you'd have to know the recipient was driving to even be considered as a defendant in a lawsuit (and the burden of proof would remain on the plaintiff, as it should). Thing is, no law of physics compels you to respond to a text immediately. We understand that we should pick up a phone call immediately, but we also understand that a text, like an email, can sit there until we're ready to respond -- unless, you know, you're just completely unable to look up from your phone for a minute, a habit that can get you killed.
Finally, Kate Aronoff, writing at Waging Nonviolence, describes the "liberal" media's tendency to cast young voters as shallow fools who believe in all the right things but don't vote. Worse than their stereotyping, worse than their ongoing blindness about Bernie Sanders's effect on young folks, and worse than their tendency to wish for a "savior" who can harness all that millennial energy to a more "useful" purpose is their subtle insistence that the only way to express yourself in a democracy is to vote -- for someone who will sell you out to their real paymasters, if recent experience is any guide. You vote one day out of the year; what do you do the other 364 days? You do what millennials are already doing -- organizing, protesting, and influencing the debate.