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How to Get America Online (NYT)
They stopped mailing out all those CDs/complimentary coasters, so ... Wait, wrong AOL. Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford explains how the FCC could expand high-speed Internet access and let us all leave that little running man in the dust.
Here are all the budget deadlines we're facing in the next 3 months (WaPo)
If you're feeling blue now that the holidays and the fiscal cliff negotiations are over, Suzy Khimm notes that there are still plenty of red letter days ahead for the budget process, ranging from the symbolic to the stock-up-on-canned-beans-and-batteries serious.
Why Balance the Budget? (Prospect)
Jamelle Bouie writes that balancing the budget scores political points for the GOP, but in terms of what purpose the federal budget is supposed to serve, getting Republicans elected ranks pretty low on the list after, you know, paying for all the stuff we need.
No US peace dividend after Afghanistan (FT)
Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes write that the legacy costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed even their own estimates. But maybe it will all seem worth it once we figure out what we were doing there.
Dear President Obama: Want Equal Pay for Equal Work? Here's Where to Start. (Forbes)
President Obama gave a shout-out to equal pay in his second inaugural, but NND Editor Bryce Covert notes that if he wants to close the gender wage gap, there are some concrete policies he can pursue. Otherwise he's just taking Lilly Ledbetter's name in vain.
Obama to America: Work Harder (Jacobin)
Josh Eidelson points out that while Obama has been praised for giving a liberal speech focused on the struggle for equal rights, labor unions and their own struggles seem to have slipped his mind while he was calling for workers to really put their backs into it.
Share of the Work Force in a Union Falls to a 97-Year Low, 11.3% (NYT)
Steven Greenhouse reports that union membership fell sharply last year, reaching its lowest ebb in almost a century, due to job growth in nonunion states and sectors and the ongoing effort by brave leaders like Scott Walker to grind their opposition into dust.
Backing Obama but still hungry for change (MSNBC)
Trymaine Lee writes that the residents of impoverished urban communities turned out heavily for Barack Obama in the last election, but while he's made a lot of lofty promises to restore the middle class, the poor would still settle for some food and shelter.
Obama's First Term Was Shaped by Clashes With Big-Business Interests (The Nation)
Lee Fang argues that accounts of the hurdles President Obama has faced in the last four years pay too much attention to the antics of his congressional opponents and too little to the powerful interests dropping money in their hats with each new performance.
Explosive Charge: Morgan Stanley Peddled Security Its Own Employee Called 'Nuclear Holocaust' (ProPublica)
Jesse Eisinger highlights email exchanges exposed by a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley, which suggest that the bankers involved were fully aware they were selling hot garbage but couldn't unload it fast enough to avoid getting buried in their own landfill.