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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nick Hanauer: Three years ago, in these pages, I warned you that the pitchforks were coming. I argued that 30 years of rising and accelerating inequality would inevitably lead to some sort of populist revolt that would disrupt the fantastic lives we elites enjoy. I cautioned that any society which allows itself to become radically and indefensibly unequal eventually faces either an uprising or a police state -- or both. Don't say I didn't warn you. And don't console yourself for a minute that in electing a fellow plutocrat, our side won. President Trump isn't on any side but his own ... After his trickle-down policies -- like ripping away heath care from tens of millions of Americans so plutocrats like us can get giant tax cuts, or just enacting giant tax cuts for us, and calling it tax reform -- inevitably exacerbate the already extreme inequality that helped sweep him into office, those pitchforks will be angrier than ever. read more


The federal government Thursday lowered a year's worth of Medicare payments to 751 hospitals to penalize them for having the highest rates of patient injuries. More than half also were punished last year through the penalty, which was created by the Affordable Care Act and began four years ago. The program is designed as a financial incentive for hospitals to avoid infections and other mishaps, such as blood clots and bedsores. The penalties again fell heavily on teaching hospitals, although less than before. A third of them were punished this year, a Kaiser Health News analysis of the penalties found. Last year, the penalty was levied on nearly half of the nation's teaching hospitals. read more


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

In Chicago and other cities that depend on the glow of restored historic buildings to lure tourists and create jobs, there were mixed emotions over the $1.5 trillion tax package that Congress approved Wednesday -- relief that legislators did not kill a major economic incentive for preservation, but uncertainty over the incentive's future impact because it's been weakened. The existence of the decades-old incentive, the federal historic preservation tax credit, was thrown into doubt last month when the House voted to abolish it. The final bill keeps the credit, but instead of allowing developers to reap its full 20 percent benefit when a restored building opens, as they can now, the credit will be parceled out over five years. read more


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Mike Lofgren: When I was in elementary school in the early 1960s, Summit County, Ohio was ranked second among all the counties in the United States by median household income. All four of the major American tire manufacturers of the time -- Goodyear, Goodrich, Firestone, and General -- had enormous production facilities in Akron, the county seat. The money rolled in, and life was good. Twenty-three years later, on a dismally cold January morning, I left Akron, Ohio, and the Midwest, never to return except for the briefest of visits. What had happened? According to Jon K. Lauck, an adjunct professor of history and political science at the University of South Dakota, it's because the Midwest, like Rodney Dangerfield, just doesn't get any respect from anyone ... he argues that the Midwest at the beginning of the 20th century was perhaps the most dynamic and most "American" of all the country's regions, as well as a hub of American literary excellence. read more


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Men under the influence of alcohol are more likely to see women as sexual objects, a study has found. Researchers from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US went beyond the mere anecdotal evidence to investigate some of the circumstances and factors that influence why men objectify women. The study, published in journal Sex Roles, involved 49 men in their twenties and was conducted in the safe space of a college laboratory. Eye-tracking technology noted which part of the women's bodies men were looking at ... They spent less time looking at faces and focused far longer on chests and waists. This was particularly true when viewing women who had been rated high in attractiveness. The findings suggest that whether a man will sexually objectify a woman depends on the alcohol intoxication of the man ... read more


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