• Meanwhile...

    - Abagond recently posted a profile of LaVena Johnson, a U.S. Army soldier whose death was ruled as a suicide by Army officials, despite indisputable signs of her rape and murder and the perpetrator(s) attempts to destroy evidence. There's currently a MoveOn.org petition in place to bring her death and the refusal of the Army to conduct a proper investigation to the president's attention. To say this is some shameful shit would be a hell of an understatement.

    - There's also the ongoing saga of Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler. Exposing the rampant corruption that goes on in the Great State of Alabama has its costs. It's something that definitely deserves a more thorough post here at DDSS.

    - It's not just Bridgegate that Chris Christie's worrying about. He's also facing a federal probe into the possible misuse of funds for the Superstorm Sandy relief effort:

    Already enmeshed in a scandal over snarled traffic at the George Washington Bridge, Christie, a rising star in the Republican party, is now being audited by the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat.(...)

    (...)The inspector is focusing on a federally financed $25 million Jersey Shore marketing campaign that included a television commercial featuring Christie and his family, which cost $2 million more than a competing bid without them.

    The winning ad, with the tag line that New Jersey was "Stronger than the Storm," aired in the spring as Christie headed into a re-election campaign to win a second term(...)

    (...)"Had Governor Christie chosen the less expensive firm, $2.2 million in federal disaster aid could have potentially been directed elsewhere, for example, to provide 44 Sandy-impacted homeowners $50,000 grants to raise their homes," Pallone said in a press release.

    Tom Degan sums up Chris Christie's distant hopes for a nod as the GOP's top candidate for the 2016 presidential election thusly:

    What amuses me more than anything about this entire affair is how the talking heads are speculating that this incident might very well mean the end of his alleged quest for the White House. Are these people paying any attention? Chris Christie's chances at winning the GOP nomination in two years are about as good as mine. There is no chance that the halfwits in the South and Midwest who now control that party are ever going to give the nod to a Northeastern Catholic/moderate with a vowel at the end of his name. Just put it out of your mind.

    He'd have a better time bullying Eskimos into buying ice at this point.

    - With lost pensions, crippling student loan debts and a two-tier economy geared to benefit only the comfortably moneyed, lots of older (and young) adults are wondering whether they'll ever manage to retire. According to Nina Ippolito over at PolicyMic, the Social Security Administration never expected you to make retirement age in the first place. Not the most polished article in the world, but interesting nonetheless.

    - "States Rights" and "War on Poverty" are two phrases you thought you'd never see together in one sentence. At least until Marco Rubio came up with this whopper:

    I am proposing that we turn over Washington’s anti-poverty programs and the trillions that are spent on them to the states. Our anti-poverty program should be replaced with a revenue-neutral flex fund. We would streamline most of our existing federal anti-poverty funding into a single agency. Then, each year, these flex funds would be transferred to the states so they can design and fund creative initiatives that address the factors behind inequality of opportunity. This worked in the 1990s with welfare reform.

    Rubes, I don't think you've thought this through. Seeing the likes of Alabama getting its hands on federal monies for anti-poverty measures and doing with it as its legislature pleases fills me with a noisome dread that shakes the very core of my southern soul. It won't take long for the money to somehow disappear into pork barrels and politicians' pocketbooks.

    As Randle Aubrey explains, the Clinton-era welfare reforms were a sop to conservatives and an abject failure in the long run. Giving the states card blanche to run their own anti-poverty programs with federal funds in their direct control is a terrible idea and Rubio deserves a swift boot to the head for it.

    - Abiding by the maxim "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," the DEA colludes with the Sinaloa cartel to gain intel on rival cartel members. The DEA gets the busts, seizures and accolades it wants, the Calderon administration mop the floor with the Zetas and other rival cartels and the Sinaloas finally reestablish themselves as the premiere power in the drug trafficking business. Everyone wins. Except the millions of people on both sides of the border who are walking casualties of the seemingly neverending War on Drugs.

    - A heated argument over texting in a theater ends in a shooting and subsequent homicide. Even though there was a fatality, let's be thankful our retired cop perpetrator didn't go all out James Eagan Holmes-style.

    It's been a while since I've done one of these. I had a lot of apprehension in doing these "Meanwhile" posts again, considering the original intent of starting DDSS Abridged was to post those stories over there while keeping longer blog posts over here. That hasn't worked out as I planned. This doesn't mean the abridged blog is going anywhere.