Janes Atlas says as above, so below.

The floor is strewn with candy-bar wrappers and broken headsets, crumpled napkins and cracked plastic glasses. There’s so little legroom that I have to push my knees against the seat in front of me as if I’m doing crunches. Welcome to economy.

Elsewhere in the plane — “on the other side of the curtain,” as the first-class and business cabins are referred to — dinners are being served on white linen tablecloths, with actual bone china. Everyone’s got their “amenities kit” — one of those little nylon bags containing slippers, an eyeshade and a toothbrush. And legroom? Tons. While our seat width contracts — on some airlines by nearly eight inches in recent years — the space up front continues to expand: Emirates Airlines now offers, as part of its “first-class private suite,” a private room with minibar, wide-screen TV and “lie-flat bed.”

This stark class division should come as no surprise: what’s happening in the clouds mirrors what’s happening on the ground. Statusization — to coin a useful term — is ubiquitous, no matter what your altitude. While you’re in your hospital bed spooning up red Jell-O, a patient in a private suite is enjoying strawberries and cream. On your way to a Chase A.T.M., you notice a silver plaque declaring the existence within of Private Client Services. This man has a box seat at a Yankees game; that man has a skybox. And the skybox isn’t the limit: high overhead, the 1 percent fly first class; the .1 percent fly Netjets; the .01 fly their own planes. Why should it be any different up above from down below? ...

I learned from a blogger just how close we are to class warfare in the sky. Disgusted by the grubby conditions on his flight, this Robespierre of the unfriendly skies invokes the French Revolution and warns: If you annoy “the salt of the earth enough, the rank and file and what have you, sometimes you wind up beheaded.” Let them eat Pringles.

The blogger wasn't me, but the misery of flying these days has made me more than willing to take a bus or train when I can. Few common situations go so far to make you feel so... common.

Come on in.  I've reserved a first class seat for you with hot and cold running opinions.

Leslie Gelb and Dimitri Simes are worried that we're facing, if not Cold War 2.0, at least a kind of Cold Shoulder.

...Chinese-Russian policies toward Syria have paralyzed the United Nations Security Council for two years, preventing joint international action. Chinese hacking of American companies and Russia’s cyberattacks against its neighbors have also caused concern in Washington. ...

Russia and China appear to have decided that, to better advance their own interests, they need to knock Washington down a peg or two. Neither probably wants to kick off a new cold war, let alone hot conflicts, and their actions in the case of Mr. Snowden show it. China allowed him into Hong Kong, but gently nudged his departure, while Russia, after some provocative rhetoric, seems to have now softened its tone.

Barry Blechmanbelieves we can afford to cut our nuclear arsenal, and warns against those already trying to distort the president's proposal.
The State Department repeatedly has said that the United States has no intention of moving alone to lower levels of nuclear weapons. The day before the president’s speech, Secretary of State John F. Kerry telephoned Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to assure him of that.

If any country’s security is threatened by nuclear inferiority, it is Russia. Russia already is below the level of forces specified in the 2010 New START treaty; the United States remains above it. The latest data exchange mandated by the treaty, and verified by on-site inspections, showed that as of March, the Russians had 1,480 operational warheads on 492 long-range missiles and bombers. Meanwhile, the United States maintained 1,654 operational warheads on 792 long-range missiles and bombers.

Those acting as if President Obama is i acting some kind of drastic, unilateral reduction are serving a cause other than that of national security.

Carl Hiaasen is one of several pundits who thinks that, in charging George Zimmerman with second-degree murder, the state set the bar too high.

Based on the trajectory of last week’s testimony, it’s almost inconceivable that Zimmerman will be convicted of second-degree murder – a charge that should never have been filed in the first place.

The facts in the killing of Trayvon Martin pointed to manslaughter from the beginning, and even then prosecutors would have had their hands full. They might yet persuade the jury to find Zimmerman guilty of that lesser charge, but it will require a deft change of strategy. ...

Typically in Florida, a second-degree murder case must have the elements of ill will or spite, a state of mind more easily proven in a fatal bar fight than a chance encounter. Zimmerman had never met Martin, so prosecutors were left to use Zimmerman’s words on the police call as evidence of a general antipathy, if not toward blacks then towards a class of what he perceived as neighborhood “punks.”

Jon Healey looks at efforts to turn Missouri into the state that loves, loves, loves guns.
What is it about guns, healthcare and marijuana that bring out the antebellum nuttiness in state lawmakers?

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill Friday that would have declared virtually every federal gun law invalid and subjected federal agents to state charges for enforcing them. Among other things, the measure would have invalidated federal rules banning the possession of machine guns and silencers, requiring gun dealers to be licensed and mandating a waiting period on gun sales.

But the Republican-dominated state legislature passed the measure, House Bill 436, by more than the two-thirds majority required to override the veto. So it may be just a matter of time before Nixon, a Democrat, finds himself leading the state of "Missuzi."

Only a few years ago, Missouri residents passed a state-wide mandate against concealed carry. Of course, the conservative legislature just put those concealed weapons right back, Ah, representative government.

Barack Obama shares an opinion of his own. Needless to say. This is your Read It All offering of the morning.

I recently unveiled a new national plan to confront climate change. It's a plan that will reduce carbon pollution to prevent the worst effects of climate change, prepare our country for the effects we can't stop and lead the world in combating the growing threat of a changing climate.

Many Americans who already feel the effects of climate change don't have time to deny it — they're busy dealing with it. Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons. Farmers are seeing crops wilt one year and wash away the next. Families in the West are worried about water that's drying up. And while we know no single weather event is caused solely by climate change, we also know that in an increasingly warmer world, all weather events are affected by it.

The costs of inaction can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses, higher food costs and insurance premiums, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. So the question is not whether we need to act, but whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world we leave to our children and to future generations.

Cyrus Farivar provides an obituary for a man who didn't just see the future, he created it.
If you’ve used a mouse to click this article, you can thank Douglas Engelbart. The longtime inventor passed away in the late hours of July 2, at his home in Atherton, California. He was 88 years old.

In addition to inventing the computer mouse, Engelbart helped develop other technologies that have become commonplace in the computing world, including pioneering hypertext, networking, and the early stages of graphical user interfaces. He will always be one of the giants of Silicon Valley.

Most famously, Engelbart gave a now-legendary presentation on December 8, 1968, in San Francisco later known as “The Mother of all Demos.” In it, he gave the world’s first demonstration of the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, and a collaborative real-time editor.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 11:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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