‘Inequality and the American Child’

Joseph E. Stiglitz, in a piece reprinted on BillMoyers.com:

Though an average American childhood may not be the worst in the world, the disparity between the country’s wealth and the condition of its children is unparalleled. About 14.5 percent of the American population as a whole is poor, but 19.9 percent of children – some 15 million individuals – live in poverty. Among developed countries, only Romania has a higher rate of child poverty. The US rate is two-thirds higher than that in the United Kingdom, and up to four times the rate in the Nordic countries. For some groups, the situation is much worse: more than 38 percent of black children and 30 percent of Hispanic children, are poor.

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‘I’m Pretty Thankful This Year’

Kevin Drum for Mother Jones, on his cancer diagnosis and health care:

[H]ealth care is suddenly a lot more real to me than ever before. Sure, I’ve always favored universal health care as a policy position. But now? It’s all I can do to wonder why anyone, no matter how principled their beliefs, would want to deny the kind of care I’ve gotten to even a single person. Not grudging, bare-bones care that’s an endless nightmare of stress and bill collectors. Decent, generous care that the richest country in the richest era in human history can easily afford.

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On the FCC and Net Neutrality

MG Siegler, on the FCC and net neutrality:

The reality is that the President should have made this statement years ago. Instead, he made the statement as a lame duck with nothing left to lose, having just seen his party served a big slice of ‘fuck you’ pie by the voting public in the elections last week. The President needed an easy win to try to secure some sort of legacy before he rides off into the sunset of million dollar speaking gigs. He grabbed the lowest hanging fruit.

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‘Mr. Miller Doesn’t Go to Washington’

Matt Miller, writing for Politico magazine, shares his experiences running for Congress:

Campaign fundraising is a bizarre, soul-warping endeavor. You spend your time endlessly adding to lists of people who might be in a position to help. You enter them on a spreadsheet (dubbed “The Tracker”) and sort the names from high to low in terms of their giving potential. You start to think of every human being in your orbit as having a number attached to them. You book breakfasts, lunches, coffees and drinks at which you make the case for your candidacy … and ask for money. Always money. You call dozens of people a day … and ask for money. When people ask how they can help, you mostly ask them for the names of folks you can … ask for money.

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President Obama Endorses Net Neutrality

In a statement, Obama calls on the FCC to view broadband Internet as a public utility:

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

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Saira Blair, the Nation’s Youngest Lawmaker

Sam Brodey, writing for Mother Jones:

The Republican wave lifted many boats last night, including that of 18-year-old Saira Blair. The college freshman was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in a landslide—she earned 63 percent of the vote to her 44-year-old Democratic opponent’s 30 percent—and officially became the youngest lawmaker in the country. She’ll represent a district of about 18,000 people in the eastern part of the state, near the Maryland border.

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‘Elizabeth Warren Should Run for President’

Ezra Klein, writing for Vox, gives six reasons the senator should make a run in 2016:

The best argument against Elizabeth Warren running for president is that she’ll almost certainly lose — at least as long as Hillary Clinton is also running. I agree with that. It’s just not a very good argument against Warren running for president.

There are a lot of reasons to run for president. One of them, of course, is that you just may win. But with the exception of the presidency itself, there’s no better platform for forcing your ideas to the top of the political agenda. This is true even if you lose.

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FBI Chief Asks Congress to Mandate Smartphone Backdoors

Colin Lecher, reporting for The Verge:

FBI Director James Comey has been on a media tour lately, making an anti-encryption pitch to the public. Apple’s new encryption standards, Comey has argued, are an unnecessary hurdle to law enforcement — and the FBI needs an easy way to bypass them. Now Comey is bringing the argument straight to Congress, asking them to update a law to allow backdoors in smartphones.

What the FBI (and the NSA) don’t get is these encryption methods actually make people safer.

(via 512 Pixels)

‘At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert’

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, writing for The Washington Post:

This coffee shop looks pretty much like any other Starbucks, with blond wooden chairs and tables, blueberry and raspberry scones lining the bakery cases, and progressive folk rock floating from the speakers. (There are plans to redecorate, possibly including spy paraphernalia from over the decades.)

But the manager said this shop “has a special mission,” to help humanize the environment for employees, who work under high pressure often in windowless offices and can’t fiddle with their smartphones during downtime. For security, they have to leave them in their cars.

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‘Happy Days Are Here Again — for the Superwealthy’

Dave Gibson, writing for Mother Jones:

The Great Recession officially ended five years ago, but that’s news for millions of Americans: A stunning 95 percent of income growth since the recovery started has gone to the superwealthy. The top 1 percent has captured almost all post-recession income growth.

Capitalism! U-S-A! U-S-A! (That was sarcasm.)

Be sure to read the comments; good stuff. My favorite:

Economies don’t DO anything. Policies, wealth distribution, education and health care direct the economy. When policies keep the masses stupid, sick and poor the wealthy make billions.