Every morning, Glenn’s producers put together stories and research for Glenn to review before he discusses the plan for the radio and television shows. Below, you can see the stories that the producers put together for him this morning. Some of these stories will end up on radio and television, some will not – but now you can get more insight into what shapes Glenn’s show each and every day:
From the Mercury One Soapbox:
Former NSA Code Breaker Says Everyone in the U.S. is Under Surveillance. It’s probably too late to tell you not to send those embarrassing emails now, but from here on out you might want to think about what you send in your emails. At least, that’s if we’re to believe what one former NSA (National Security Agency) employee has to say about it. Hopefully this won’t make you too paranoid or anything, but in an interview with Russia Today, former NSA code breaker William Binney warns that everyone in the United States is under constant virtual surveillance by the NSA, and not even members of Congress are exempt. We would encourage you to forward this to a friend, but if what Binney says is true, maybe that’s not the best advice.
Once Again, Government Saves the Day – With Citations for Sandy Victims with Downed Trees. Nobody likes cleaning up somebody else’s mess. And we’re not aware of anyone who’s particularly fond of being given a legal citation for not cleaning up a mess that wasn’t theirs, either. Yet New York residents are being asked to put up with precisely that. After superstorm Sandy left downed trees littering their lawns, Queens, New York residents have received citations from the city for “failure to maintain” their properties. The only problem: the trees in question are from city property (not private property), so the residents expected the city to clean up its own trees. Of course, the city insists there are no fines or fees associated with the citations, but angry residents are being rebuffed as they make requests to have the citations removed. One frustrated resident’s terse comment seemed to sum up the situation rather succinctly: “It makes me angry, but it’s also ridiculous!”
Wait a Second: Have We Already Gone Over the Fiscal Cliff and Nobody Told Us? Well, sort of. One analyst yesterday said “We’re already over the fiscal cliff plan cliff.” Yes, you read that right. But to put the matter in the simplest of terms: It doesn’t look like either side of this debate has a feasible plan to solve the fiscal problem that is going to be passing either house of Congress anytime soon. No wonder both sides seem so nonchalant about going over the cliff. We’ve already gone over the fiscal cliff plan cliff and nobody told us. Nice.
Are Gold’s Days as a Reliable Investment Numbered? Goldman commodity analysts certainly seem to think so. Writing in a company report, Goldman’s Jan Hatzius says he believes the long economic doldrums may come to an end during the second half of 2013, allowing gold prices to stay strong through at least the first half of next year before dropping significantly as higher interest rates, more easing from the Fed and stronger economic growth resume. “Our expanded modeling suggests that the improving U.S. growth outlook will outweigh further Fed balance sheet expansion and that the cycle in gold prices will likely turn in 2013,” he said. Hatzius cautioned, however, that the results of the looming “fiscal cliff” negotiations complicate the forecasted downward trend for gold. Of course, expecting significantly positive economic growth in the face of the growing government behemoth’s regulations seems to require some rather complicated mental gymnastics, so there’s at least a decent chance that Hatzius is wrong.
House Approves Resolution Aimed at Preventing U.N. Control of the Internet. Amid concerns that this week’s U.N. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference could lead to U.N. regulations of the internet, the House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously approved a Senate resolution calling on the U.S. to oppose the regulations. In a rare show of bipartisan unity, members of both political parties and the White House all agreed on the need to stop potential U.N. aggression aimed at regulating the internet. Democratic California Representative Anna Eshoo said that “the United States of America is totally unified on this issue of an open structure, a multi-stakeholder approach that has guided the Internet over the last two decades." And for once that’s not just political windbaggery. Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, added, “We need to send a strong message to the world that the Internet has thrived under a decentralized, bottom-up, multi-stakeholder governance model.” Admittedly, it sure seems weird to see so many politically-polarized people agreeing on the importance of deregulating a major driver of economic growth.
Well, it Turns Out That Maybe Those Muslim Brotherhood Guys Are Actually Bad After All. President Obama seems to think that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi – he of the anti-semitic, violent rhetoric Muslim Brotherhood – is a significant force for peace in the Middle East. But it appears that Egyptian residents are essentially urging the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner to rethink what it means to be a force for peace. After the Arab Spring, which brought Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt, the country’s citizens complain that an “extremist” interpretation of Islam is being “forced down their throats.” In the wake of Morsi’s attempt to quash protests by gaining sweeping powers that would essentially make him a king, Egyptians are complaining that he has become a tyrant and “a terrorist.” Sounds like that much-lauded Arab Spring is working out nicely.
Atheist Opposition Prompts Cancellation of Field Trip to see “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.” If you think a school field trip to see a rendition of “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown” sounds innocuous enough, you probably ought to hear this story. A Little Rock, Arkansas church has been forced to cancel a matinee production of its play after opposition from atheist parents convinced school officials the trip violated the church-state separation principle. The elementary school claims they had consulted their legal team before scheduling the trip and believed it was appropriate, but when letters were sent to parents advising of the trip, at least one of them disagreed. The church says that interested students can still attend a weekend production of the show. Good grief! Is no one unoffended by Christmas anymore?
Thanks to Family Walks, Obese Girl Drops a Stunning 65 Pounds. Sure, everyone is tired of hearing all about the First Lady’s plans to get rid of child obesity, but how often do you hear good stories about parents helping their children tackle the problem? One California girl’s family is an inspiring example of just such a story. The girl, who at age 9 weighed a shocking 186 pounds, left doctors and family fretting with worry about her health. Before too long, her parents took action and involved the entire family in changing their diet and participating in regular family exercise, like family walks. As a result, the girl lost 65 pounds and appears to be well on her way to a healthier lifestyle, but her mother says those family walks were a key to success. No government mandate necessary.