Quick hits

Stuff I wanted to blog about this past week, but ran out of time.  All very much worth your time to read.

1) Kevin Drum on how the conservative media brilliantly “worked the refs” to get more mainstream media of the Kermit Gosnell (crazy abortion doctor) case

2)  Official non-partisan review catalogs the post 9/11 US torture regime:

WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.  [emphasis mine]

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”

3) Your level of motivation to exercise may actually be in your genes (I guess I’m lucky in that case, as I’m pretty motivated).

4) Now, NC Republicans are moving to make government less transparent.  How could that possibly be a good thing.  Damn these guys are evil:

Sen. Tommy Tucker of Waxhaw said a mouthful with just 13 words on Tuesday.

“I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”

It was no coincidence that Tucker’s silencing of an N.C. newspaper publisher – heard by at least three people who were there – came just after he railroaded a bill through his committee that would let government operate in more secrecy.

5) According to a recent Gallup poll, a solid majroity of Americans would like to see wealth distributed more evenly.

6) The fact that most Americans are clueless about how Medicare and Social Security actually work, makes it much harder to reform these programs.  Now, this is one thing I do a really good job of actually educating my students on (that is, judging by test performances, they actually do learn how these programs work):

For each dollar that Americans pay for Medicare, they ultimately draw about $3 in benefits. What’s more, he added, most people do not understand that.

By his point that evening, the president was referring to the widespread and incorrect view, especially among older Americans, that Medicare recipients get only what they have paid for through taxes, premiums and medical co-payments. Now that misperception is making it all the harder for politicians to consider trimming those benefits or raising out-of-pocket expenses as they seek to restrain Medicare spending that is rising unsustainably while baby boomers age and medical prices increase.

7) Great, great Jon Cohn piece about the state of daycare in America.  If you follow only one link, make it this one (a very harrowing and dramatic story is at the center of the account).

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Photo of the day

You know I cannot get enough of collections of old photos of NYC.  This set from the UK’s Daily Mail includes never before seen photos.  This is my favorite:

Brooklyn Bridge

A bridge too far? Painters hang from suspended wires on the Brooklyn Bridge October 7, 1914 — 31 years after it first opened

Map of the day

This is really, really cool.  A map of US divided into regions that “hang together” by virtue of how currency moves through them.   Was particularly intrigued to see the line just south of the NoVa suburbs thus linking the area with the northeast corridor.  I’ve always felt like the South did not start until Fredericksburg, VA or so, and this map certainly suggests as much.  Was also intrigued to see how much the Carolinas hang together.  Anyway, take a look and read more here:

Brockmann America

 

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