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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Stories to Watch: 8/1/13

Ahead of a lawmaker meeting with the president on the subject, Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden introduces legislation that would create a sort of devil's advocate to the secret FISA court, to argue in favor of civil liberties and privacy, while rewriting the way judges are appointed to that court -- currently, they're appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts, creating a court with absolutely no ideological diversity. Both strike me as common sense ideas. Meanwhile, Diane Feinstein and others vehemently defend the life-under-a-microscope status quo.

Ed Kilgore offers a little wisdom for the 99th anniversary of the start of WWI, which is today. The abridged version: "One of the reasons the human race keeps engaging in avoidable warfare is that in our understandable desire to honor those who made terrible sacrifices on behalf of their nation, we tend to laud the glory associated with wars more than they actually merit, or forget what caused them and what they actually achieved or failed to achieve... And this is why alongside every war memorial and every self-congratulatory patriotic celebration of military might, there need to exist antiwar songs, tokens of protest, records of 'collateral damage,' and sheer horror at what we have done or worse yet, have asked others to do in our names." War remembered accurately -- what a novel concept.

Immigration reform advocates met in DC for day one of forty days of protest and civil disobedience. Steve King probably thinks the city's been taken over by pirates or something.

Today was also a black day for the religious right, as both Rhode Island and Minnesota fall to the Homosexual Menace and the dreaded marriage equality. Still waiting to see how this is going to destroy marriage and the American family, because I'm not really clear on how that's supposed to work.

A Georgia State student who started a local chapter of the White Student Union at that school is sad, because people don't like his racism. When will people learn that it's intolerant not to tolerate someone's intolerance?

In what came as a surprise to me at least, Mitch McConell ran a successful filibuster of a transportation and housing bill. What they want is impossible, so it seems a government shutdown is may be a result of a Republican tantrum against reality. After all, Republicans have rejected their own plan as unworkable -- do they expect Democrats to unpaint them from out of their corner?

Finally, the head of Medicare and Medicaid programs calls BS on claims that Obamacare hurts workers.

[cartoon via Truthdig]

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