German Lopez, Vox
The couple was found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect, a confusing charge that resolved nothing and left the couple possibly more nervous and paranoid than ever.
In December, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv had let their 10-year-old son Rafi and his 6-year-old sister Dvorah walk one mile home through Silver Spring alone. The kids got picked up by the police, who then turned the case over to child protective services. The Meitivs, as it happens, are “free-range parents” who have a very coherent philosophy about giving children more independence. They had let their children walk home alone that day only after practicing, and felt the kids were ready.
What they learned from the latest CPS decision, Danielle Meitiv wrote me, is that “teaching independence clearly IS a crime.” As she understands it, the charge means “something happened but kids were not at substantial risk.” Why then, she reasonably asks, “find us responsible for neglect?”
When I was five years old, I walked to school and back with my four year old brother. We know that stranger abduction of children is extremely rare: most victims of molestation are victimized by a relative. This is a clear, real instance of bureaucratic over-reach interfering with a reasonable choice by parents.
Alec MacGillis, Slate: Scott Walker Compares Unions to ISIS.
Scott Walker can’t see Russia from his house, so how does he show he’s prepared to be the leader of the free world?
Walker sought to address this gap Thursday evening at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference when he was asked a question on stage about how he would take on the threat of Islamic State jihadists. Walker claimed he was prepared to confront this threat because of his experience confronting thousands of protesters who gathered in Madison in 2011 to decry his push to undo collective bargaining for public employees in the state. “We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,”
There is the GOP mindset in a nutshell: American workers are basically terrorists who need to be broken to make the world safe for corporations, who are the only people that matter to Republicans.
The January Jobs Report was issued today, and it was all good news. 257k new jobs were added in January, and the November and December Jobs Reports were revised upward to add 147k jobs. This brought the 2014 job total up to nearly 3.1 million, with one more revision of the December report to come. On top of that, average wages increased 12 cents an hour, the largest monthly increase since June 2007. The U-3 unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7%, for the good reason that job vacancies and higher wages are drawing people back into the workforce as the participation rate increased from 62.7% to 62.9%. This is all great for people who need jobs or whose wages have been stagnating since the nineties. As we know from the Clinton boom years, the trick to getting real wage increases is to get back to a full employment economy in which employers have to raise wages to get the workers they need in a tight labor market.
Matthew Yglesias, Vox: The Average American Household Was Poorer in 2013 Than It Was in 1983 - Vox
US net worth rose considerably over that period, which is what you would expect to see. Technology has improved and productivity increased, so society has a greater capacity for wealth building. America was also quite a bit older on average in 2013 than it was in 1983, so average wealth should have gone up.
But all of these gains went to the top 20 percent of the population. It’s worse than that, actually. Over 100 percent of the gains went to the top 20 percent, because the bottom 60 percent of the population got poorer.
Decades of union busting and outsourcing have made the 1% fabulously wealthy by screwing almost everyone else. Its far past time that some of that wealth be shared with the people working for it.
Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post: Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore Threatens to Defy ‘Tyranny’ of Federal Courts on Gay Marriage
The chief justice said [in a letter to the Governor] Alabama’s state constitution and morality “are under attack by a federal court decision that has no basis in the Constitution of the United States.” He said any Alabama judges who obey the federal court order and allow licenses to be issued would be in “defiance of the laws and Constitution of Alabama.”
“Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority,” Moore wrote.
This nutjob already got himself removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 over his refusal to remove a massive Ten Commandments monument from the State’s courthouse, but ‘Bama being ‘Bama, voters returned him to office in 2012. I can’t think of worse optics for an Alabama Governor than trying to bar citizens from exercising their civil rights in defiance of the Constitution.
Matthew Yglesias: Don’t Listen to the Haters, Mitt: Romney 2016 Is a Great Idea - Vox
When I heard that Mitt Romney delivered a speech in which he came out swinging against inequality, arguing that “under president Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality got worse, and the poor have gotten poorer,” I naturally fired up Google to try to understand the former Massachusetts governor’s previous remarks on the subject.
What I found was a story from three years ago headlined “Romney: Income inequality is just ‘envy’” which was about Romney’s response to questions that had been raised about a speech he delivered in which he accused President Obama of practicing “the bitter politics of envy.”
To launch his third presidential campaign with yet another egregious ideological makeover is typical of the basic ridiculousness of Romney as a political figure. He’s so ridiculous that the idea of Romney 2016 strikes me as obviously absurd. So absurd that I assigned myself the job of writing a column mocking it.
And yet, as I sat down to do it, I couldn’t shake the conclusion that as ridiculous as it seems, it really only seems ridiculous.
Yes, as unbelievable as it seems, the Romneybot may actually be the GOP’s best option to run against Hillary in 2016. Barring an economic collapse or massive foreign disaster, I’m having a hard time imagining how she loses. One scenario is the possibility that we are teetering on the verge of a global economic depression which could stop America’s economic recovery in its tracks. Otherwise, dirt cheap oil should power the US economy through 2015 to full employment, and Americans paychecks should finally start reflecting that strength as the labor market gets tight enough to force businesses to raise pay.
During the record breaking 49 consecutive months of steady job growth unemployment has been dropping slowly but steadily and wages have basically been stagnate. Nothing to get excited about. But November’s report was nothing but good news. 321k jobs added in November, with upward revisions of 44k for September and October. Average weekly hours increased as 177k part-time workers got full-time jobs. And an average wage increase of nine cents an hour, a 4.4% annual rate, as apparently the tightening labor market is finally forcing employers to give workers decent raises. Combined with the rapidly dropping price of gasoline, we may finally be in a virtuous cycle in which consumers’ growing purchasing power fuels further employment growth. The economy will add 3 million jobs this year, the most of this century. Merry Christmas, America, Santa thinks you have been very, very good this year!
Aaron Deslatte, Orlando Sentinel:
Bainter was at the center of the effort.
During a deposition, Bainter professed to only having a passing “interest” in the redistricting process, and had never submitted maps, claiming “it was an intriguing process” to watch.
“I never actually completed a map. I found it way too tedious,” Bainter said under oath.
But behind the scenes, email show he arranged for intermediaries to submit five maps drawn by GOP operatives. Bainter suggested he could round up “10 more people at least” to do the same.
G.O.P. Unveils Immigration Plan: ‘We Must Make America Somewhere No One Wants to Live’ - the New Yorker
Appearing with House Speaker John Boehner, McConnell said that, in contrast to President Obama’s “Band-Aid fixes,” the Republican plan would address “the root cause of immigration, which is that the United States is, for the most part, habitable.”
“For years, immigrants have looked to America as a place where their standard of living was bound to improve,” McConnell said. “We’re going to change that.”
Boehner said that the Republicans’ plan would reduce or eliminate “immigration magnets,” such as the social safety net, public education, clean air, and drinkable water.
The Speaker added that the plan would also include the repeal of Obamacare, calling healthcare “catnip for immigrants.”
Attempting, perhaps, to tamp down excitement about the plan, McConnell warned that turning America into a dystopian hellhole that repels immigrants “won’t happen overnight.”
“Our crumbling infrastructure and soaring gun violence are a good start, but much work still needs to be done,” he said. “When Americans start leaving the country, we’ll know that we’re on the right track.”