Lawyers: The Obama administration, using the same arcane legal reasoning that justified torture and the Iraq invasion, says that “unconventional legal circumstances” will permit them to reinstate bulk telephone collection – using the law that outlawed such collection. But Obama claims he is only restarting the surveillance in order to end it.
Passing Fancy: Scott Walker (WI governor and a leading Republican Wannabe) promises to sign into law a bill that would ban all abortions after the 20th week, because “women are only concerned about rape and incest in the initial months of a pregnancy. Then they become too depressed to leave the house, or accept a life of poverty as unwed mothers with a kids they didn't want.
The Beat Doesn't Go On: The Atlanta school system is ending its music programs and laying off all of their music teachers. Where's the Music Man when you need him? In Colorado an elementary school cafeteria manager was fired for giving free lunches to students who had no money. What are they teaching 'em out there?
All For One and None For All: The EU is forcing its members to adopt rules that would protect government funds from being wasted on bank bailouts by forcing failing banks to confiscate their depositors' money... Ah, and bank runs will be a crime, too. That's why there's an effort underway to abolish actual currency – electronic accounts are easier to raid.
TPP Toeing Along: The newly revised 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will henceforth read: “Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to Corporations.”
Savings: The FCC wants to exempt cable companies from bothersome local regulation of their rates, so that larger bribes would be paid to politicians and regulators at the national level.
Overhead: The Red Cross raised a half billion dollars to aid survivors of the disaster in Haiti, and claims to have provided homes to more than 130,000 people – by building six, count 'em, six actual houses. The rest of the money went to overhead, outrageous salaries for the leadership, and more fund raising efforts.
Crime Spree: Now that Louisiana is going to stop charging victims for processing rape kits and medical exams, maybe a few more of the poor will be able to seek justice. Probably not find it, mind you, but seek it.
Pay As You Go: There is a pill that cures 90% of patients with liver destroying hepatitis C. In the US it costs $1,000 per pill - $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment. Pay up or die. Or move to India where it costs $83,100 less. The drug companies say they have to charge an arm and a leg (or in this case, a liver) in order to pay the costs of developing the drugs. But the median R&D cost for bringing a new drug to market is only $43 million – 5% of the fanciful $802 million figure the big pharma usually claims.
All Is Forgiven: House Republicans added an amendment to the Justice Department's annual spending bill that would permit convicted felons to own guns. But only for protecting their families. They'd still have to use illegal guns for robberies and such.