In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today!

President Obama is facing criticism over new corporate powers extended in a new trade deal: "The Obama administration appears to have almost no international support for controversial new trade standards that would grant radical new political powers to corporations, increase the cost of prescription medications, and restrict bank regulation." I'm so glad we elected a Democrat etc.

Big Internet isn't happy about being obliged to participate in governmental privacy intrusions, and have "united to demand sweeping changes to US surveillance laws" to restore public trust in the internet: "Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter, and AOL have published an open letter to President Barack Obama and Congress on Monday, throwing their weight behind radical reforms already proposed by Washington politicians. 'The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual—rights that are enshrined in our constitution,' urges the letter signed by the eight US-based internet giants. 'This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It's time for change.'"

Congress is scrambling to pass a budget bill before the end of the week, so they can all go on their holiday: "The deal expected to be sealed this week on Capitol Hill would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester, the negotiators' primary target. After more than two years of constant crisis, the emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease-fire. ...Congressional leaders hope to finish work quickly and leave town for the holidays as soon as Friday."

[Content Note: Class warfare.] The biggest barrier to fixing wealth inequality? The financially insecure top 2%. "In a country where poverty is at a record high, today's new rich are notable for their sense of economic fragility. They've reached the top 2 percent, only to fall below it, in many cases. That makes them much more fiscally conservative than other Americans, polling suggests, and less likely to support public programs, such as food stamps or early public education, to help the disadvantaged."

[CN: Worker exploitation] Eight employees at US Steel Gary Works have asked the Supreme Court to determine when their shifts start: "The workers argue that they should be paid from the time they don protective gear their jobs require. They say they can spend two hours taking a bus to a changing area and donning gear before they arrive on the work floor, and they want to be compensated for that time. The company says the clock should start when they reach the work floor because federal law says companies don't have to pay employees for changing into their clothes."

Republican Senator has a terrific new coloring book, and Amy McCarthy wants to get it for me for Christmas, because she is the devil.

Did you watch NBC's live broadcast of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood? I did, and it wasn't very good! And I've never even seen the classic movie starring Julie Andrews, so the only thing to which I was comparing it was my own expectations of what a good production would look and sound like! Anyway. Carrie Underwood is praying for me.

If you like Rebecca Black's ubiquitous track "Friday," then you are definitely going to love her new track "Saturday"!

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