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News Blog

Alternate Realities Roundup 2/7

by Eric S. Peterson
- Posted // 2014-02-07 -

The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to decide if buffer zones outside of abortion clinics are constitutional or not.

Top of the Alty World

“Behind the White Lines”--Worcester Magazine

Residents of Santa Ana in Orange County, California are waging a hidden war against a Mexican drug cartel dubbed the “Knights Templar”--and winning.--OC Weekly

Witnesses say untested drug cocktails are leading to botched executions like the one that happened recently to a death-row inmate in Ohio.--Democracy Now!

ProPublica takes a look at the epic failure of four state run healthcare exchanges.--ProPublica

Top of Alty Utah

A bill to allow local agencies to enact environmental regulations stricter than federal regulations died in committee.--Utah Political Capitol

Governor Herbert has asked legislative leaders to ban wood burning stoves and fireplaces from December to March in counties that suffer the most from poor air quality during the winter.--Utah Policy

A bill to fund preschool for at-risk students passes favorably out of committee.--Salt Lake City Weekly

A bill to criminalize “revenge porn” clear its first legislative hurdle.--Salt Lake City Weekly

Rantosphere Matt Taibi at Rolling Stone breaks down the tedium of how partisan media reported a recent Congressional Budget Office report about Obamacare.

“There's a reason why people hate politics in this country. Or, at least, a reason they hate reading about it: It's boring. It's the same kind of boring that prevents all but the most desperate from getting off with bots in chat rooms. When you want to interact with a human being, and get a machine instead, it's pretty much always a disappointment. Every new news item goes through a mechanized process, traveling through a flow chart designed to break down all information into one of just two types of product: meat for Republican readers, and meat for Democrat readers. Nobody else gets to eat. And even if you don't mind one or the other, nobody can stand the same meal a million days in a row. It's the numbing sameness and predictability that makes you crazy, as the latest flap over Obamacare proves once again.”--Rolling Stone

The Long View

Despite crushing almost all dissent Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may be more vulnerable than ever with a cultural resistance taking many different forms including a popular satirical Twitter account called @KermlinRussia.

“I met up with the “Kermlins” at a hole-in-the-wall Georgian restaurant hidden among the clubs and hipster hangouts that now occupy the red-brick carcass of the old Red October chocolate factory. When I’d first interviewed the duo back in December 2010, they had refused to tell me their real names or show me their faces, not even off the record. At that point, they were just beginning to generate excitement with their Twitter account @KermlinRussia, the handle of a Stephen Colbert–like entity called the “Persident of Ruissia,” who savagely mocked the government for its many lies, thefts, and absurdities. “The Russian state doesn’t have to beat you with a stick,” they tweeted once, adopting the tone of a benevolent ruler addressing his subjects. “We can fuck you up with a carrot, too.”--New Republic

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