September 8th, 2011

normal

Missouri GOP to Finally Help the Unfortunate: The Rich and Business Owners.

Seniors and Disabled to Join in Shared Sacrifice. Pray That This Money Will Help the Rich to Get Back on Their Feet.

Missouri GOP Wants To Raise Taxes On 100,000 Seniors And Disabled Citizens To Pay For Corporate Tax Break

Yesterday, Missouri lawmakers began a special session during which Republicans will try to pay for a business tax cut by eliminating a tax credit that benefits more than 100,000 senior citizens and disabled people.

Missouri Republicans are just the latest in a long list of state legislatures that are funding more corporate tax breaks on the backs of low- and middle-income residents. In this case, Republicans are targeting a property tax credit that helps offset higher rent for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens:


At stake is a tax credit that provides up to$750 for lower-income elderly and disabled people. Called the “Circuit Breaker,” it is designed to be an offset for the property taxes included in the rent paid by people with incomes of $27,500 or less.

The tax credit costs $53 million annually. Repeal is part of a package that also would impose limits and sunset dates on credits targeted to developers. The Circuit Breaker tax credit is the only credit slated for repeal.

The real issue is that many people with disabilities simply can’t own their own homes because they live on a subsistence income,” said Edward Duff of Joplin, a member of the Governor’s Council on Disability. “It really is a sort of parity to offer these renters this shelter.”

Once again, Republicans have shown they are not averse to raising taxes, as long as they are on the poor. The “circuit-breaker” tax credit is such an important aid for low-income residents that 29 other states offer property tax circuit-breakers or similar programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Killing the credit would raise taxes on groups including disabed vets and senior citizens by up to $750 a year.

The proposal has drawn criticism from a diverse range of groups, from conservative anti-tax crusaders to liberal groups. Opponents include the AARP, the Association of Retired Missouri State Employees, the liberal-leaning Missouri Budget Project and the conservative United for Missouri, as well as agencies that work with the disabled on the local level.

The Post-Dispatch reports that Republicans have faced such a backlash for trying to repeal the tax credit that the tax-credit package they crafted may be unraveling. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Chuck Purgason (R), has prepared an alternative plan aimed at spreading tax credit cutbacks more equally among low-income residents and developers.

“Republicans are always portrayed as taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and we didn’t want to do that,” Purgason said. However, it’s unclear if there’s enough of a consensus to pass the alternative bill.

[actor: sebastian] rebel sound

Newly Published Audio Provides Real-Time View of 9/11 Attacks

For one instant on the morning of Sept. 11, an airliner that had vanished from all the tracking tools of modern aviation suddenly became visible in its final seconds to the people who had been trying to find it.

It was just after 9 a.m., 16 minutes after a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, when a radio transmission came into the New York air traffic control radar center. “Hey, can you look out your window right now?” the caller said.

“Yeah,” the radar control manager said.

“Can you, can you see a guy at about 4,000 feet, about 5 east of the airport right now, looks like he’s —”

“Yeah, I see him,” the manager said.

“Do you see that guy, look, is he descending into the building also?” the caller asked.

“He’s descending really quick too, yeah,” the manager said. “Forty-five hundred right now, he just dropped 800 feet in like, like one, one sweep.”

“What kind of airplane is that, can you guys tell?”

“I don’t know, I’ll read it out in a minute,” the manager said.

There was no time to read it out.


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Reporting
  • acmeeoy

Which side is Warren Buffett on?

THE THIRD-richest man in the world is being called a socialist again.

Conservative ideologues are fuming about a New York Times op-ed article written by Warren Buffett called "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," which makes the case that the super-rich get huge tax advantages and "other blessings...showered upon us by legislators in Washington." Buffett proposes that the federal government help close its deficit by raising taxes on the richest 0.3 percent of U.S. households with incomes over $1 million a year.

The verdict from Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto: "More class warfare from an affable billionaire." Fellow Fox host Eric Bolling wondered: "Is he completely a socialist and playing into Mr. Obama's hands of tax anybody who makes money and give it to people who don't work?"

Most commentators had to admit that the premise of Buffett's article was far from radical. "While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet," Buffett wrote, "we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks."

Buffett uses himself as an example. Last year, he paid $6,938,744 in federal taxes--income tax plus payroll taxes--according to the article. "That sounds like a lot of money," he writes--and indeed, this is many times what most people will earn in a lifetime of work-- "[b]ut what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income." As Buffett continues, "If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine--most likely by a lot."

Buffett is right about this. This year, individuals will pay 25 percent on taxable income between $34,501 and $83,600.

Most people would like to see an end to this--to borrow Buffett's phrase--"coddling of the super-rich" and their corporations. A poll in April showed 72 percent of Americans "support tax increases on people with incomes of more than $250,000, including 54 percent who strongly support them," according to the Politico website.

But this public sentiment hasn't yet had a discernable impact in Washington. The debt-ceiling agreement negotiated over the summer doesn't include a cent of new taxes on the rich, but does commit the federal government to reduce spending by $2.4 trillion, which will mean deep cuts to programs working people and the poor depend on.



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OMGWTFDINOSAUR
  • kangofu

America's #1 Threat...

BEARS!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Bear takes Prius for an early morning drive by Lake Tahoe cabin


Source - NY Daily News
BY BERENICE GARCIA
Wednesday, September 7th 2011, 5:34 PM


Brian McCarthy could only watch as a bear took a ride in his 2002 Toyota Prius Monday morning, the Contra Costa Times reported.

McCarthy and his family were awakened from their Lake Tahoe home at 3:30 in the morning by the bear's break-in.

"We were looking out of our window and from our view, you could look down and see the bear in the car, and its arms were just flailing all over the place, through the windows and everything,"said McCarthy, 61.

After managing to get inside the car, the bear got stuck. It then went on a rampage of kicking, scratching and damaging the gear box, which caused the vehicle to shift into neutral.

The driveway leading up to the cabin was slightly inclined, causing the Prius to start rolling downhill and pick up speed. The car rolled across the street, jumped a small rock wall and came to a stop at the steps of a neighbor's porch.

The bear was able to find its way out of the totaled vehicle and lumbered into the woods.

McCarthy couldn't understand why or how a bear could break into the car in the first place.

"The car was completely closed. There wasn't any food in there," he said. "The only things in there were a beach towel, some CDs and a few phone chargers."

The break-in was an unusual case for the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.

"Normally, you'll get reports of the Dumpster divers and trash divers, but bears breaking into cars is different," said Lt. Stevenson of the the South Lake Tahoe department. "It's not uncommon, but it's definitely not a normal thing to hear about."

Missouri Technical School Requires All First Year Students to Pass Drug Test

Linn State Technical College Begins Widespread Drug Tests

INN, Mo. — Textbooks? Check. School sweatshirt? Check. Urine specimen cup? Only if you want to stay in school.

A drug-free demand greeted new students Wednesday at Linn State Technical College, a two-year school in central Missouri that has enacted what may be the most far-reaching drug testing policy at a public college or university in the country.

Federal and state courts have consistently upheld more limited drug testing of public high schools students, such as those who play sports, as well as NCAA athletes and students at private colleges. But the move by Linn State to enact widespread drug tests of the general student body appears unprecedented – and no small point of pride for administrators at the state's only technical college.

"It does appear that our program is unique in its scope and breadth," said Kent Brown, a Jefferson City attorney who represents the 1,200-student school, which is located about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis. "But there aren't very many colleges as unique as ours."

School leaders say the tests, which they prefer to call drug screenings, are necessary to ensure student safety at a campus where the coursework includes aircraft maintenance, heavy engine repair, nuclear technology and other dangerous tasks. They surveyed hundreds of local employers, who overwhelmingly supported a requirement those same students will soon encounter in the job market, said Richard Pemberton, associate dean of student affairs.

"They're going to be faced with this as they go into the drug-free workplace," he said. "We want them to be prepared."

All first-year students – including those pursuing general education degrees while studying accounting, communications, math, and social sciences – must comply with the requirement, which began Wednesday, two weeks into the fall semester. So must returning students who took a semester or two off and are seeking a degree or academic certificate at the school's campuses in Linn, Jefferson City and Mexico, Mo. Physical therapy students enrolled in cooperative programs between Linn State and two community colleges in northern and southeastern Missouri also must participate.

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read more at the Source
:|a

(no subject)

Gay blood donor ban to be lifted

The lifetime ban on blood donations by homosexual and bisexual men will be lifted in England, Scotland and Wales.

Ministers have agreed to let men who have not had sex with another man in the past 12 months to donate from November.

The restrictions were put in place in the 1980s to prevent the risk of HIV contamination.

However, the latest medical evidence presented to a government panel argued the ban could no longer be justified.

Ministers in the three countries accepted the argument and said they would be relaxing the rules. Northern Ireland is expected to make a decision soon.

Several other countries have already come to similar verdicts.

The National Blood Service screens all donations for HIV and other infections. However, there is a "window period" after infection during which it is impossible to detect the virus.

In the UK, a lifetime ban was introduced in the early 1980s as a response to the Aids epidemic and the lack of adequate HIV tests.


Bad blood

Most new HIV infections acquired in the UK are from men who have sex with men.

Other at-risk groups, such as people who have been sexually active in high-risk countries, are banned from donating for a year.

The lifetime ban had been questioned both on equality and medical grounds, in the light of developments such as improved blood screening tests which have reduced the size of the "window period" and reduced the risk of contamination.

South Africa has introduced a six-month gap between sex and donation. It is a year in Australia, Sweden and Japan.

Research published at the end of last year suggested there was no significant increase in the risk of HIV infection after the change in the rules in Australia.

The UK government's Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs had been reviewing the policy.

During its meeting in January, it was argued that "the evidence does not support the continuation of the ban", and "the evidence supports a 12-month deferral period since last occurrence be introduced for men who have had oral or anal sex with another man, whether a condom or other protective was used or not".

Earlier in the year the Royal College of Nursing voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting the ban.


Source: BBC News

Shaun of the dismayed

Cops relent, will pay for woman's body cavity search

A New Mexico woman who refused to pay a $1,122 hospital bill for a court-appointed body cavity search won a victory Wednesday: Police will foot the bill, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

"We're pleased," the woman's lawyer, Michael Lilley, told the newspaper. "It's the right thing to do, and they did it and we're pleased."

Story: NM woman gets cavity search — and a hospital bill for it

The 19-year-old Las Cruces woman wanted Doña Ana County officials to pay the hospital bill she received after undergoing such a search on suspicion she was hiding heroin.

The woman's identity was not being released.

The Metro Narcotics Agency had "credible information from a reliable source" that the woman had concealed up to an ounce of heroin, which led to a search warrant on July 1, police said.

"The information was very specific, that she was involved in obtaining heroin from Mexico and was going to come back across the border and the method of bringing it into the country, secreting it into the country, was body-packing," Deputy District Attorney James Dickens told the Sun-News. "And so that's why, obviously, they focused on doing a body search."

The woman was searched at Memorial Medical Center, which then billed her for $1,122.

No heroin or any other narcotic was recovered from the exam. The woman was not arrested or charged.
Mug

NEWSFLASH: Republicans act like..... Republicans. What a concept.

Republicans Already Blasting Obama’s Jobs Speech

By Sunlen Miller
@sunlenmiller

Sep 7, 2011 1:43pm

Congressional Republicans are already attacking President Obama’s jobs proposal, even though he won’t reveal it until his speech to a joint session of Congress Thursday evening.

Reports that President Obama will propose $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending tomorrow night to create jobs for Americans drew Republican criticism today on the Senate floor. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said that Republicans will oppose any new spending plan not offset by spending cuts.Collapse )
Hermit

Stay classy, Orson

NOM Board Member Pens Homophobic 'Hamlet' Rewrite


A publishing house is getting a lot of attention for a new printing of a homophobic Hamlet rewrite called Hamlet's Father by science fiction author and NOM board member Orson Scott Card.



Card The Guardian notes:


The book is not a new release, having
been published twice before, for the first time in 2008, but an
explosive review at the Rain Taxi Review of Books has unleashed a wave
of criticism.


William Alexander at Rain Taxi book review writes:


Here's the punch line: Old King Hamlet
was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was
gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who
convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people.
The old king was actually murdered by Horatio, in revenge for molesting
him as a young boy—along with Laertes, and Rosencrantz, and
Guildenstern, thereby turning all of them gay. We learn that Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern are now "as fusty and peculiar as an old married
couple. I pity the woman who tries to wed her way into that house."

Hamlet
is damned for all the needless death he inflicts, and Dead Gay Dad will
now do gay things to him for the rest of eternity: "Welcome to Hell, my
beautiful son. At last we'll be together as I always longed for us to
be."

All of this is as horrifying as it is ridiculous. It is not,
however, surprising that Orson Scott Card's primary purpose is to
slander ten percent of the human race. He recently joined the board of
the National Organization for Marriage, an institution which exists
solely to crush gay civil rights wherever they emerge.


Check out a sample of Card's prior writings on gay people here.




Source
gayland

Gay man attacked at job in American Fork

Early Thursday morning, Cameron Nelson became the third gay Utahn in less than two weeks to report being attacked because of their sexual identity.

Nelson was on the job at an American Fork hair salon when he said two or three people began beating him up and yelling anti-gay slurs at him.

The 32-year-old was taking out the garbage at the salon near Center Street and 100 North at 12:45 a.m. when the assault began. Nelson said he is gay and that he believes that was why the attackers, whom he did not know, targeted him.

Sgt. Gregg Ludlow of the American Fork Police Department called the remarks made toward Nelson "disgusting" and said the actions of Nelson’s attackers were "quite repugnant."


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SOURCE

I'm getting really scared now. All the attacks have been on gay men so far. I'm a lesbian and still rightfully scared.
Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

The end of the NHS as we know it?

What Wednesday's vote on the health and social care bill shows more clearly than anything is that many, if not most, of the political elite no longer care whether they are carrying out the wishes of the electorate, and barely pretend that we are any longer a democracy.

The prime minister promised before the 2010 election not to introduce any "top-down reorganisations" of the NHS; to say he, Andrew Lansley and Nick Clegg lack an electoral mandate for the bill is an understatement. It is also an understatement to say that they have not told the truth about the bill's intentions, and that they have reduced Department of Health statements, such as its latest so-called MythBuster document, to a level of brazen mendacity that demeans a once great office of state.

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Yes, tbqh.

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Calvin & Hobbes: Hug
  • calybe

Noam Chomsky: What we should have done after 9/11

We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of September 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world. On May 1st, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan by a team of elite US commandos, Navy SEALs, after he was captured, unarmed and undefended, in Operation Geronimo.


A number of analysts have observed that although bin Laden was finally killed, he won some major successes in his war against the U.S. "He repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them," Eric Margolis writes. "'Bleeding the U.S.,' in his words." The United States, first under George W. Bush and then Barack Obama, rushed right into bin Laden's trap... Grotesquely overblown military outlays and debt addiction... may be the most pernicious legacy of the man who thought he could defeat the United States" -- particularly when the debt is being cynically exploited by the far right, with the collusion of the Democrat establishment, to undermine what remains of social programs, public education, unions, and, in general, remaining barriers to corporate tyranny.


That Washington was bent on fulfilling bin Laden's fervent wishes was evident at once. As discussed in my book "9-11," written shortly after those attacks occurred, anyone with knowledge of the region could recognize "that a massive assault on a Muslim population would be the answer to the prayers of bin Laden and his associates, and would lead the U.S. and its allies into a 'diabolical trap,' as the French foreign minister put it."




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Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. The piece is adapted from a new essay included in the updated version of Noam Chomsky's book "9-11: Was There an Alternative?".

Source: Salon



OP: I'd also recommend Glenn Greenwalds article on Endless War and the culture of unrestrained power. Also, is anyone else having trouble posting things in livejournal? I've been trying to post this article since yesterday (both actually, but I finally gave up on two and decided to go for one). Either the format goes all wonky or it refuses to update. Blergh. :(

Lesbian kisses

"Significant, credible terror threat" for this weekend

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials said Thursday they were investigating a credible but unconfirmed threat that al-Qaida was planning to use a car bomb to target bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the first tip of an "active plot" around that date.

The Homeland Security Department said the threat is credible and specific, but unconfirmed. The nation's terror alert level has not changed, but raising it was under consideration Thursday night.

Law enforcement officials were investigating three people who recently entered the U.S. The threat was received by the U.S. intelligence community late Wednesday night, officials said.

"There is specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information," said Janice Fedarcyk, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York division. "As we always do before important dates like the anniversary of 9/11, we will undoubtedly get more reporting in the coming days."

Security has been enhanced around the country in the weeks leading up to the 10th anniversary. Law enforcement officials have been wary, particularly after information gleaned from Osama bin Laden's compound in May indicated that al-Qaida had considered attacking the U.S. on the anniversary and other important dates.

The threat came in a single piece of information and was so specific - and came at such a time of already heightened alert - that it could not be ignored. The officials described the threat to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

ABC News reported that the terror threat was detected through information developed by the CIA in the past 24 hours indicating that at least three individuals entered the U.S. in August by air with the intent to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington, D.C., or New York around the anniversary of 9/11, according to intelligence officials.

One of the intelligence and law enforcement officials that ABC News spoke to said that one of the individuals may be a U.S. citizen and a second official said that possibly two of the individuals may have had U.S. documentation - whether green cards or passports was unclear.

As news of the information became public, authorities began weighing whether to raise the national threat level.

The suspected terrorists are believed to have embarked on their journey to the U.S. from Afghanistan or Pakistan, according to two senior officials. One official said the route may have taken them through at least one other country, possibly Iran. Another news organization reported that they embarked from "the Pakistan area."

The information on the plot was "very specific " said one official, adding "It seems like the information has been worked for a while."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that police there were deploying additional resources around the city, but that New Yorkers should go about their business as usual.

The FBI and Homeland Security Department issued a joint intelligence bulletin Thursday night to law enforcement around the country urging them to maintain enhanced security and be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Some District of Columbia police officers received an internal memo from department management on Thursday saying that the city had received "credible threats" and that additional staffing would be required, according to a law enforcement source who had seen the memo. Police in both cities were increasing their already beefed-up staffing levels in light of the recent intelligence.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the threat information Thursday morning and directed the counterterrorism community to redouble its efforts in response to the information, a White House official said.

White House officials said there were no plans to change Obama's travel schedule on Sunday in light of the threat. The president is scheduled to mark the 9/11 anniversary with stops at New York's ground zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa. He will also deliver remarks Sunday night at a memorial concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

"As we always do before important dates like the anniversary of 9/11, we will undoubtedly get more reporting in the coming days," Homeland Security Department spokesman Matt Chandler said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials are checking out all of the details included in the threat, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

"No need to panic," King said. "They have not been able to confirm it yet."


Thursday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters that there was "a lot of chatter" around the anniversary of the attacks but that there was no information about a specific threat.

Source at KOMO News

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Well, this was surely not welcome news. Unfortunately, it's not that surprising, either. I know that it's not been verified yet, but please be safe this weekend.

Also, I think Rep. Peter King, R, is being an asshole, considering the panic his party has generated over the years about this very sort of thing.


also, mods -- no "terror/ism" tag?

Suspected DUI driver charged with murder for death of fetus

A man accused of driving drunk and fleeing a crash that injured a pregnant woman who lost her unborn baby was charged Wednesday with murder for the death of the fetus, authorities said.

Francisco Xavier Martinez-Amezcua, 34, of Moorpark was driving on Spring Road near Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark about 9:20 p.m. Aug. 24 when he struck a vehicle in front of him then left the scene, authorities said at the time. He was found after a search and arrested.

The victims, Agha and Khadija Mirza of Moorpark, were driving around with their 1-year-old boy to calm him when their vehicle was struck, said Capt. Ron Nelson of the Moorpark police. Khadija, 23, suffered internal injuries, while Agha, 32, had minor to moderate injuries, officials said.

The child Khadija was carrying was pronounced dead Aug. 28 at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office.

The Medical Examiner's Office examined the roughly 20-week-old fetus, but determinations about the cause and manner of her death were pending further studies, said Chief Deputy Ventura County Medical Examiner James Baroni.

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed an amended complaint charging Martinez with murder, DUI, inflicting great bodily injury, leaving the scene of an accident, resisting and driving without a license in connection with the Aug. 24 crash, court records show. He also faces enhancements for having prior drunk driving convictions, causing death or great bodily injury to more than one person and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .15 or more, court records show.

Martinez pleaded not guilty to all the charges and denied the enhancements, court records show. He is scheduled to return to court Oct. 19 for an Early Disposition Conference.

Martinez remained behind bars in Ventura County jail on Wednesday. He is ineligible for bail because of an immigration hold, jail records show.

He has five previous convictions in Ventura County, including three for misdemeanor driving under the influence, court records show. He also has a 1998 conviction for misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, court records show.

source

This seems so dangerous, to lable this murder..idk...

kashan

The US Economy: Lessons from the last caliphate

By Haroon Moghul, September 8, 2011

New York, NY


The U.S. Postal Service is a mess, drowning in debt and nearly done in like Hosni Mubarak by social media. One of its own plans to rescue itself calls for the elimination of 220,000 jobs, which is like shoving the entire population of Reno, Nevada, into a job market already overfull and desperate. Little wonder the country waits so eagerly for President Obama’s jobs plan.

Except that what ails us isn’t really the dearth of jobs.

Consider what else this postal rescue plan proposes: Eliminating Saturday service (a disaster for those on the Netflix DVD mailer plan). And shuttering post office branches in remoter areas; one North Dakotan town of only 64 could lose its only post office, its meeting-place and symbolic center. An invaluable community resource, a material sign of the strength, reliability—and relevance—of our government, would vanish. This notion of survival seems rather bleak.

Here’s how it goes: The economy strikes, and government recedes. The private sector fills in some of the gaps; religious institutions try to fill others. But ultimately, there is no real alternative. Civic society doesn’t have an opposite—it is society. We face fragmentation, inflicted on us by forces alternatingly hegemonic (corporate monoculture) and anarchic (like the Internet), producing a political and cultural anxiety we have trouble articulating.

Through history, only so many countries and empires leave their mark. Of course, the United States is one of them, for our influence on the world, our wealth and our reach, ranks us alongside the greatest powers: Rome, Britain, the Ottomans. It’s that latter power which our national listlessness has me thinking about. How an overextended empire turned to tax-farmers, yesterday’s private contractors, charter schools and out-sourcing—and still didn’t save itself.

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