There are items which don’t lend themselves to a full blog post, but are of immediate interest. Here’s a sampling:
#1. ALEC may be down to nine big corporate sponsors, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a full agenda for its 2015 legislative season. Watch for bills, often crafted from ALEC ‘models,’ on pre-empting efforts to increase the minimum wage. depriving low wage workers of health insurance, deregulating electronic cigarettes, protesting global taxes on tobacco, regulating ride share companies, lowering certification standards for dental practitioners, limiting the ability of individuals or businesses to dispute a denied property insurance claim, and school privatization.
#2. We’d probably ought to be watching the state of pipeline infrastructure in this country. The current pipelines are aging, and some were constructed during the 1950s when low frequency electric resistance welds were popular – these welds are failing. There’s more information from Inside Climate News, and from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports.
#3. There are inklings that the Republicans in Congress are planning to turn discussions of Social Security into an Annual Crisis – such as they’ve done with debates about the budget deficit and the national debt. The process is almost an art form: Declare a CRISIS; mount a full-on publicity campaign complete with constant press releases, comments from members of Congress, and pundits on television; ignore factual refutation and information; then use the CRISIS to leverage concessions from the Democrats.
#4. Expect the Republicans in Congress to step up their attacks on the financial reform regulations enacted in the Dodd-Frank Act. For some excellent background information see the conversation between Bill Moyers and Simon Johnson. Salon also has a piece on the same subject, and the New York Times weighs in as well. If you missed these, it might be a good idea to have a click and read.