Gabrielle Glaser writing for The Atlantic delves into issues surrounding Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous is the most well known accepted, treatment / support group / 12 step program for alcohol overuse, abuse, and many of the issues which come with excessive alcohol consumption in the United States. Courts assign A.A. attendance as one of the conditions of probation rather than jail time for some traffic accidents or traffic violations or in lieu of possible criminal penalties which could involve jail time.
Higher taxes for millions of Americans is the unmentioned part of the Republican U.S. House and U.S. Senate budgets. The Associated Press's, "Fact Check," written by Stephen Ohlemacher points to the, "Short cuts with the facts."
I listen to Fox News when someone else has it on or check them out on my own television every now and then. That's plenty. Stories are recycled, reassembled, and promoted. They are washed rinsed and repeated. Now that Hillary Clinton is rumored to announce her Presidential bid in early April, I'm predicting canned and generated anti Clinton stories on steroids to be their focus next month.
Republican budgets continue, yes, again this year, to simply be wealth transfer plans. It's likely you can guess which groups get poorer and which would get more wealthy if one like this year's Republican, U.S. House and Senate budgets were ever adopted. Paul Krugman explains in this piece from the New York Times.
From The Texas Tribune, here's a Jeb Bush story about mostly his Texas years. Jeb is being introduced / reintroduced to the nation for his run for the Presidency. I didn't realize he was a class or two behind me at U.T. at Austin however there were around 40,000 full time students enrolled there even in those days. I remember when Dobie Center opened. I had a couple of large lecture classes there. At the time it was the headquarters for lots of new underclassmen and women. Dobie had large lecture halls, places to shop and of course new dormitories.
The news from Texas on March 16, 2015 from The Texas Tribune. Open carry of handguns by permit holders is likely going to be approved by the Texas legislature. The current governor Gregg Abbott is on board.
Property taxes in Texas are a major source of state funds. Increasing values of property in some places and decreasing values in others though, makes the property tax issue fairly complicated. R.G. Ratliffe does an excellent job of explaining the issues involved.
This is an excellent read from Josh Marshall. My summary is ordered differently than his post but here are a few points he makes. He notes, we as a country can only fight so many wars alone. Allies are needed. Some of our allies in the struggles in the Middle East maybe aren't anywhere near admirable but simply put, the enemies of our enemy are basically allies and there is a precedent for this. The U.S and Soviet Union were both needed to win W.W. II. Though they haven't cooperated on a lot since they worked together then to defeat Nazi Germany. He sheds light on the hysteria and excessive emphasis the 24 hour news cycle / cable news places on minor differences in word choice and language. He notes that some politicians say obviously false things to discredit President Obama and for the rest go to the link below.
There are over 50 posts on this site with links to stories about Canadian tar sands, the Keystone XL Pipeline and related topics. If a picture is worth a thousand words though, Robert Johnson's 2012 pictures speak volumes. Bitumen is a heavy hydrocarbon. The processes involved in processing and transporting it, whether by pipeline or rail pose serious environmental risks. The argument that bitumen transportation by a pipeline will be a job creator is only true in that pipeline workers will have temporary jobs. As this product is so corrosive, spills and leaks are not just likely but will happen. The cleanup of a bitumen leak or spill is much more difficult and complex than an oil spill and the risk to our environment is serious.
Canadian tar sands will be harvested with or without another American pipeline to the Texas Coast. The issue is:
Will the United States be a 21th century leader in preserving, protecting and possibly slowing climate change by moving toward cleaner energy sources or continue to contribute to climate degradation by facilitating the use of a heavy hydrocarbon, bitumen, tar sand, oil sand, also called bituminous sand?
At least 14 tankers ignite after West Virginia derailment. Another derailment, which could have been much worse had it happened in a heavily populated area. The link, "Trains Plus Crude Equals Trouble Down the Track," is an excellent background article on the subject.
Justice Ginsburg a pioneer as a lawyer was one of less than ten in her law school program. In those days mostly men went into professions in law and medicine. Still today as a member of The Supreme Court, she is an inspiration to many women and men in the United States.
Texas is an oil state. Many Texans employed in the industry are facing at the very least, fewer hours, or layoffs, and more oil job loses are likely follow with continued cheap oil. The good news is most consumers will save hundreds at the pump this year.
Republicans have been pushing for privatization of public functions for decades. As long there are public functions, some Republicans or a majority of Republicans will be trying to privatize them.
"In the last couple of decades, as Republicans became the dominate political party in Texas, there has been a huge wave of privatization of essential services and functions of state government to private contractors. There have been more failures than successes and it has cost taxpayers untold millions and likely billions of dollars." (K.D.F)
This article in The Texas Tribune article, "In State contracting, Failure is an Option,"
Aman Batheja writes about some of the failures. In State Contracting, Failure is an Option, by Aman Batheja
Having that coveted majority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives means Republicans must do more than complain. The divisions in the party have become more evident. Not much has been accomplished.