NEWS DAY | Extending unemployment compensation / Who’s middle class in MN? / Monkeys, more

Extending unemployment compensation – is the Senate finally ready to do the right thing? As you probably remember, before the July 4 recess, the Senate repeatedly voted down an extension, which Paul Krugman explained as the action of “a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused.” Now, with one more Democrat seated, the Senate may vote to extend unemployment compensation, which would at least help some of the five or six or seven people looking for every open job in the country.

Unfortunately, Congress, stupidly intimidated by the above-mentioned coalition, is not moving forward with other significant stimulus measures, and seems poised to renew tax breaks for the wealthiest among us.

If you want to understand what’s going on with the recession, unemployment, deficit, economy – read Paul Krugman. And reread him. And click on the links and read them.

Who’s middle class in Minnesota? MPR has the DFL gubernatorial candidates arguing over whose taxes should be raised, and where the middle class starts. Does the middle class include some of the top ten percent of earners in Minnesota? Where is the middle? Listen to the whole debate, or read the summary.

For what it’s worth, the median family income in Minnesota in 2008 was $57,318, and the median per capita income was $23,198.

Favorite headline: “Nervous” man at Mexico airport has hidden monkeys

Commenting on WaPo’s Top Secret series: Robert Dreyfuss sees Huge Fly Swatter, No Flies: Top Secret America’s Vast Counterterrorism Machine, noting:

The core problem, which the Post doesn’t address, is that Al Qaeda and its affiliates, its sympathizers, and even self-starting terrorist actors who aren’t part of Al Qaeda itself, are a tiny and manageable problem. Yet the apparatus that has been created is designed to meet nothing less than an existential threat.

Jeremy Scahill critiques WaPo in Corporate Media Discover Private Spies. In Other News, No WMD in Iraq, asking:

Also, what about the contractors who have tortured prisoners, flown rendition flights and participated in lethal “direct actions” ie assassination operations?

Yes – Shorrock and others told the story earlier and with crucial angles omitted by WaPo, but lots of people still haven’t heard/haven’t believed it, so I’m still recommending that everybody read Top Secret.

The op-ed page doesn’t come with a banner saying “WARNING: THIS IS THE OPINION SECTION WHERE WE LET CONSERVATIVES MAKE THINGS UP.” But the policy of the paper is, in fact, that if conservatives want to make things up in the op-ed pages they are free to do so.

BBC: Afghan Shootings of Foreign Troops and Civilians (full story)

  • 20 July – 2 US civilian trainers killed
  • 13 July – 3 UK troops killed by Afghan soldier
  • 4 Nov 2009 – Afghan policeman kills 5 UK soldiers
  • Sept-Oct 2008 – 2 US soldiers killed by Afghan police in separate attacks

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