- Today's comic by Tom Tomorrow is Year in crazy, part two:
- What you missed on Sunday Kos ...
- 2013: Racism retrospective and 'Racist of the Year' nominees, by Denise Oliver Velez
- Parking meters and prisons: Top six privatization horror stories, by Laura Clawson
- How Rocky made me feel OK about being a Jew in America, by Ian Reifowitz
- NYC to lead on food and climate policy? Bill de Blasio and the "foodprint" resolution, by VL Baker
- Millions of minimum wage workers are getting a raise—no thanks to Congress, by Laura Clawson
- The best books I listened to in 2013, by Mark Sumner
- Young Liberals Opting Out Of ACA Because It’s Not Single Payer Dangerous, by Egberto Willies
- Billionaire backer of Swift Boat smear team dead at 82.
- Poll: 17% support Afghan war, majority wants out before December 2014 deadline:
Just 17% of those questioned say they support the 12-year-long war, down from 52% in December 2008. Opposition to the conflict now stands at 82%, up from 46% five years ago. [...]
The U.S. timetable for Afghanistan calls for the removal of nearly all troops by roughly this time next year, and that can't come fast enough for the vast majority of Americans. Just over half would rather see U.S. troops withdrawn earlier than December 2014. Only a quarter say that America should still have boots on the ground in Afghanistan after that deadline.
- One-third of Americans reject evolution:
There's at least one major reconfiguring along the landscape of American belief in evolution however, and it falls not on religious but political lines. Belief in evolution amongst Republicans plummeted 11 percent over the last four years. The Pew Research Center explains:
"In 2009, 54 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats said humans have evolved over time, a difference of 10 percentage points. Today, 43 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats say humans have evolved, a 24-point gap."
- Crime syndicates recruit the homeless for Fukushima clean-up, then scammed out of wages:
Police and media in Japan have discovered that homeless people near Fukushima have been recruited to help clean up the three-year-old nuclear devastation for minimum wages, but haven’t seen most of their money. [...]
According to Reuters, recruiters like Seiji Sasa have been trolling Sendai Station another locations for homeless people to aid in the behind-schedule, taxpayer-funded radioactive cleanup throughout northern Japan. Police arrested members of Japanese crime syndicates several times this year for infiltrating Obayashi Corp.’s subcontractors and illegally sending workers to disaster sites. Those workers were often brought in for less than minimum wage, but essentially scammed out of their earnings because they were given a place to stay during the hours they weren’t attempting to clean up radioactive soil and debris.
- Cut off of unemployment compensation "morally scandalous":
People who’ve been out of work for a long time obviously really need some money to get by, and they’re going to lose their money. And they’re not going to make up for it by getting jobs.
One way we know they won’t is from the experience of North Carolina, which for reasons of state politics did a UI cutoff for the long-term unemployed this year. Evan Soltas summarized the results and you can read Reihan Salam on the same thing if you want more right-wing street cred, but suffice it to say there was no “jobs boom” where lazy bums suddenly got off their asses and found readily available work. It turns out that being unemployed is really humiliating and depressing, and people who’ve been unemployed for a long time are people who genuinely can’t find any jobs. Cut them off from their benefits, and they end up scrounging at soup kitchens – they just can’t get work.
- Streetcars are back, whether you like it or not:
Ten U.S. cities have streetcar projects in various stages of construction, while five more — San Antonio, Kansas City, Fort Lauderdale, St. Louis and Detroit — have secured funding but not yet broken ground. Still other cities, such as Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, have streetcar plans in various stages of development. Barring a series of Cincinnati-style meltdowns, by 2015 the U.S. will have about 30 cities with streetcars, more than twice as many as at the millennium.
This sudden expansion owes much to the revival of transit-friendly urbanism, where population and property values have risen dramatically since the turn of the century. But the streetcar boom may be more directly traced to the provisions of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and particularly to the TIGER grant program, which has since doled out some $3.5 billion to several hundred transit and infrastructure projects.
- On today's Kagro in the Morning show, the morning wingnut outrage: Someone said "spooning" on CNN, and that's Teh Sex! Greg Dworkin brings us a round of ACA stories. Charles Gaba (aka Brainwrap) gets a front page WaPo nod. Greg's next story becomes the 1st hour obsession, NBC's coverage of the ACA's impact on a Michigan car dealership. But not before distracting us with the very wonkish notion of carving time up into infinitely small slices, to see if we can defeat federal health care policy. The NSA is in the news again, and we read Cory Doctorow's treatment of the big Der Spiegel story. Also: Bloomberg reveals the new American Caymans, in S. Dakota.
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