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Tonight

My guest on Virtually Speaking Susie tonight is Philadelphia Magazine investigative journalist Steve Volk, who will be talking about his new book “Fringeology.” This will be a fascinating show and I’m really looking forward to it. Here’s what I wrote about Steve’s book on Amazon:

It’s not just that Steve Volk brings a thoughtful and intelligent eye to the puzzle of the paranormal, a topic too often subject to knee-jerk ridicule. It’s that the book evolves into a wonderful and fascinating look at the way humans perceive and integrate information through their own filters, with useful implications for our everyday interactions — and our national political conversation. This tangent was completely unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyed.

You can listen here and, as always, can dial 646-200-3440 with questions or comments.

Sorry

Link:

Two new studies found that diet drinks and artificial sweeteners increase people’s waistlines and increase their risk of diabetes.

Quote of the day

Krugman on deficit hawks and their enablers:

So what’s it all about? The answer, of course, is that the GOP never cared about the deficit — not a bit. It has always been nothing but a club with which to beat down opposition to an ideological goal, namely the dissolution of the welfare state. They’re not interested, at all, in a genuine deficit-reduction deal if it does not serve that goal.

And everyone who has preached bipartisanship, who has called for a meeting of minds on the subject, is either a fraud or a chump.

Oh no he didn’t. Did he just call the president a chump? I think he did.

Heh

Michele Bachmann got a cease and desist letter from Tom Petty for using this song as her theme music. As Steve Simels points out, it’s not our fault if the only “musician” Republicans have is Ted Nugent:

Why oh why

Can’t we have a better media?

Mountaintop mining

I’ve written several times about the toxic coal ash generated by mountaintop mining and how it poisons the air and water around it. It’s really quite a monumental thing, but as you know, anything to do with the energy industry in America is played down by most of the media. Now there’s this:

Researchers found “significantly higher” rates of birth defects in babies born near mountaintop removal mining sites than those in non-mining areas, according to a new study released last week.

Mountaintop removal mining is a particularly environmentally destructive type of resource extraction that involves using explosives to blow the tops off of mountains to expose coal underneath the soil and rock. The unusable dirt and gravel are then disposed of in adjacent valleys and streams. MTR is used prominently in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States.

The mining study, published in the journal Environmental Research, examined over 1.8 million live birth records from 1996 to 2003 using National Center for Health Statistics data from the central Appalachian states of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Continue Reading »

The hedge

Go read Matt Stoller.

Rain

Oh, God, FINALLY. I think this is the first daytime rain in a couple of months.

Interesting

An idea to generate wind power without blades.

States that cut the most lost the most jobs

You’d almost think it was it was on purpose, wouldn’t you?

Republican governors have touted spending cuts as both fiscally responsible, and economically prudent. But a new analysis casts doubt on that narrative.

In recent months, Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) andGov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) both claimed their budgets, heavy on the spending cuts, would pave the way for job growth in their states, as Think Progress notes.

Yet according to research performed by Think Progress, it seems states that cut the most funding lost the most jobs. And according to the site, in fact, the country is split pretty evenly between the 24 states that cut spending between 2007 and 2010, and the 25 that expanded government outlays.

On average, states that increased spending performed significantly better than cost-cutting states, with their unemployment rates actually dropping by 0.2 percent (as opposed to 1 percent increase in cost-cutting states), private-sector employment increasing by 1.4 percent (as opposed to a 2.1 percent loss) and 0.5 percent “real economic growth” since the start of the recession (as compared to a 2.9 percent economic contraction relative to the national economic trend).

Says Think Progress:

This graph shows that state spending is not just about jobs for public service workers, but also has far reaching consequences for private businesses and their workers… States that cut spending are seeing significantly more job losses in the private sector than states maintaining or increasing spending levels. For every 10 percent cut in state spending, state economies lost 1.6 percent of their private-sector jobs.

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