In today's On the News segment: As many Americans were occupied putting the final touches on their taxes, Congress repealed the legislation that required our leaders to disclose information about their stock trades online; new home construction rose 7% in March, which is the fastest growth rate since June of 2008; the most infamous phrase uttered during the 2012 election was Mitt Romney's "47%" comment; and More.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Yesterday's horrific Boston Marathon bombing left three people dead and at least 154 injured. Eight-year-old Martin Richard was one of the fatalities. CNN reports that of the 154 people hospitalized yesterday, 41 were listed in serious condition and 17 were critical. President Obama spoke just hours after the attack, and said, "make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice." The hunt for clues of a motive and suspect are still on-going, and the FBI Boston Division is asking the public to check their cell phone cameras for any information or images that could provide clues. Conflicting news reports circulated quickly after yesterday's attack, and authorities say they are still speaking with witnesses, and reviewing evidence collected at the scene. The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, dating back to 1897, and it's historically been a celebratory event for Massachusetts. Organizers say the marathon will take place again next year, but it will be forever changed after yesterday's tragedy. One thing is for sure...we must find the person responsible, and bring them to justice. Until then, let's come together as a nation and support those who need us now. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by yesterday's horrible events.
In screwed news... The STOCK act was enacted last year to expose elected leaders who use insider information for their own financial gain. During the past week, as many Americans were occupied putting the final touches on their taxes, Congress repealed the legislation that required our leaders to disclose information about their stock trades online. Although Congress can't seem to agree on anything, the repeal of the STOCK Act cleared the each chamber unanimously in less than 30 seconds. If you blinked, you could have missed it. So, what excuse did our elected leaders use to undermine the original bill, which was meant to ensure government officials weren't profiting off of their powerful positions? National security. That's right... Congress says their right to place bets using privileged information is a matter of national security. But, don't expect that same level of cooperation when it comes to protecting our privacy. This is appalling. If you or I were found guilty of insider trading, we would go to jail, and Congress members shouldn't be above the law. Call your elected leaders and tell them to restore the STOCK act now.
In the best of the rest of the news...
New home construction rose 7% in March, which is the fastest growth rate since June of 2008. Much of the gain was fueled by an increase in apartment construction, and the increase shows that the housing market is finally gaining strength after nearly five stagnant years. This economic measure is important, as new construction means new jobs, which means more people have money to buy other products. Normally, this news would be evidence of a strengthening economy. However, when Republican austerity imposed on our nation last month is factored in, the future looks more uncertain. Economic indicators like a declining unemployment rate, and this increase in home construction, show that our economy was finally starting to rebound from the 2008 economic crash. Imposing spending cuts now will slow economic growth, and probably even reverse it. Instead of imposing austerity, we should be investing money to stimulate the economy, not taking cash from the pockets of those who can least afford it. No nation, in the history of the world, has ever cut it's way to prosperity, and we won't be the first to pull it off. Congress should act fast to protect these modest gains, and reverse the sequester budget cuts. Stand with your fellow Americans against the Republican austerity. Join the fight at No-Cuts.com.
The most infamous phrase uttered during the 2012 election was Mitt Romney's "47%" comment. And according to the Think Progress Blog, Representative Rob Woodall apparently didn't get the message that half of our nation doesn't appreciate being called lazy, greedy, moochers. At a town hall meeting last month, Rep. Woodall doubled down on Romney's 47% remark, saying, "You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he's right." He even went on to say that low income people "need to have skin in the game." As if people struggling to make ends meet don't care about politics because they aren't invested enough. This is all part of the GOP ploy to keep the rich rich, at the cost of the poor, who are struggling to survive. When you're busy figuring out how to pay rent and put food on the table, it's hard to find time to fight back against these tactics. Perhaps Congressman Woodall doesn't remember how Americans reacted to being called lazy by Mitt Romney, but hopefully voters in his district will soon remind him.
And finally... They say that men are from Mars and woman are from Venus. Well, perhaps that would explain the results of a recent study. According to research published in the journal PLOS ONE, men really do have trouble interpreting women's emotions. Scientists at University Hospital in Bochum, Germany had men look at images of 36 pairs of eyes, half from men and half from women, and asked them to determine what emotion the eyes portrayed. The men had a much more difficult time correctly guessing the emotion from women's eyes, and actually took longer to interpret female expressions. Scientists also found the region in men's brain tied to emotion was more responsive when reacting to the eyes of other men. So, it may be a cliché to say that men just don't understand women, but it turns out that it's a cliché that's supported by science.
And that's the way it is today – Tuesday, April 16, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.