Pray tell, Spirit Airlines: how precisely is the new law—the one designed to keep airlines from falsely advertising fares sans the mandatory taxes so that the prices look lower—“not consumer-friendly or in [our] best interest?”
A change in policy: Twitter announced Thursday that it would begin restricting Tweets in certain countries, marking a policy shift for the social media platform that helped propel the popular uprisings recently sweeping across the Middle East.
“Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country while keeping it available in the rest of the world,” the Twitter blog said.
Okay, everybody needs to calm the fuck down about this. It’s just Twitter pretending to let countries censor things. The whole program has a built-in bypass: If you set your location to “Worldwide,” then they can’t censor you based on location, now can they? And you can be damned sure that Twitter realises this loophole and has left it there intentionally.
But political journalism—unlike war reporting—long ago stopped being about what is true or important. Sometime in the nineteen-eighties, reporters began covering politics like sports and entertainment. How many times and ways can you say that the Republican Party has descended into unreality and extremism before you lose your viewers and readers? On the other hand, there’s an endless appetite for stories about Santorum’s effort to reach out beyond his evangelical base, or Gingrich playing the expectations game in Iowa. This stuff is political candy.In today’s Daily Comment, George Packer writes about Republican politics, Iowa, and political journalism: http://nyr.kr/rX6XjU
Read this: it’s a good example of how political journalism has—along with most other forms of journalism—gone (for the most part) down the shitter.
EDIT: Case in Point
Berlin (CNN) — Life has come to a standstill in the western German city of Koblenz, where 45,000 people — nearly half of the city´s population — have been evacuated after the discovery of several dangerous World War II bombs.
“It´s the largest German evacuation since the end of the war,” fire brigade spokesman Ronald Eppelsheim said Sunday.
For 65 years, the Rhine River hid three bombs that were dropped by American and British warplanes in the last years of the war. When water levels dropped to record lows last week, the bombs were finally found.
“While time passed by, and Koblenz was rebuild(ing), the bombs got even more dangerous”, bomb-disposal squad member Jurgen Wagner said Sunday.
The largest of the explosives is a 1.8-ton British air bomb that has the potential to destroy the city´s center, according to the fire brigade.
But the focus of attention isn’t on the largest bomb — it’s on the much smaller, 125-kilogram (275-pound) American high-explosive bomb. “This one has been transformed on impact of the earth. We might have some serious problems deactivating the detonator,” Wagner said.
The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial — prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.
The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.
“I’m very, very, concerned about having U.S. citizens sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the Senate’s most conservative members.
Paul’s top complaint is that a terrorism suspect would get just one hearing where the military could assert that the person is a suspected terrorist — and then they could be locked up for life, without ever formally being charged. The only safety valve is a waiver from the secretary of defense.
“It’s not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist,” Paul said, echoing the views of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s part of what due process is — deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it’s important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken.”
New numbers prove the “Buffett Rule”: One quarter of U.S. millionaires pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do 10 million families with moderate incomes, according to nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
The report found that when all federal taxes are taken into account, households that earned more than $1 million in 2006 paid as little as 24 percent to the IRS. Families making less than $100,000 a year faced a tax rate exceeding 26.5 percent.
Bafflingly, America is taxed under a worse setup than a true flat tax. (Of course, we’re still better off than Steve Forbes’s “flat tax” that doesn’t count capital gains as income.)