Monday Musings: Illinois and the Death Penalty; Realistic Talk About Deficits; Alternate Weather Universe

Illinois is on the verge of abolishing the death penalty, which would make it the 16th state (plus D.C.) without the death penalty. Only 34 more to go (plus the federal government) and we’ll no longer be included on the list of such human rights luminaries as China and Iran…
Kudos to a number of politicians (current and former) who are starting to raise the issues that no one wants to talk about, namely that there’s no way we’ll ever balance the budget without touching defense spending and entitlements. John McCain (in a bit of a return to his former maverick form) actually took on the sacred cow of agricultural subsidies, specifically saying “Ethanol is a joke.” Colin Powell has chimed in. Even the Tea Party (many of whose leaders seem to operate in some sort of alternate universe) has had one of its most prominent groups, the Tea Party Patriots, come and say that defense spending should be on the block.
Speaking of “alternate universes,” take a look at the Northeast snow depth map. For those not from the Northeast, normally you’d see streaks of deep snow at the ends of Lakes Erie and Ontario (from lake effect storms) and then greater depth around northern Vermont, and the White Mountains of NH. Having the deeper snow concentrated in central New England and on the Maine coast is just plain strange.

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