Robert Reich: Today General Motors announced that it has fired 15 employees and disciplined five others in the wake of an internal investigation into the company's handling of defective ignition switches, which lead to at least 13 fatalities. But who's legally responsible when a big corporation breaks the law? The government thinks it's the corporation itself. Wrong.
Eben Moglen: In the third chapter of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave two reasons why the slavery into which the Romans had tumbled under Augustus and his successors left them more wretched than any previous human slavery. In the first place, Gibbon said, the Romans had carried with them into slavery the culture of a free people: their language and their conception of themselves as human beings presupposed freedom. And thus, says Gibbon, for a long time the Romans preserved the sentiments -- or at least the ideas -- of a freeborn people. In the second place, the empire of the Romans filled all the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world was a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. As Gibbon wrote, to resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly.
Until the 1980s, corporate CEOs were paid, on average, 30 times what their typical worker was paid. Since then, CEO pay has skyrocketed to 280 times the pay of a typical worker; in big companies, to 354 times. Meanwhile, over the same 30-year time span the median American worker has seen no pay increase at all, adjusted for inflation. Even though the pay of male workers continues to outpace that of females, the typical male worker between the ages of 25 and 44 peaked in 1973 and has been dropping ever since. Since 2000, wages of the median male worker across all age brackets has dropped 10 percent, after inflation. This growing divergence between CEO pay and that of the typical American worker isn't just wildly unfair. It's also bad for the economy.
Despite the worst roll-out conceivable, the Affordable Care Act seems to be working. With less than two weeks remaining before the March 31 deadline for coverage this year, five million people have already signed up. After decades of rising percentages of Americans' lacking health insurance, the uninsured rate has dropped to its lowest levels since 2008.
In the lead-up to the Iraq War, I researched, wrote and circulated a document to members of Congress which explored unanswered questions and refuted President Bush's claim for a cause for war. The document detailed how there was no proof Iraq was connected to 9/11 or tied to al Qaeda's role in 9/11, that Iraq neither had WMDs nor was it a threat to the U.S., lacking intention and capability to attack. Unfortunately, not enough members of Congress performed due diligence before they approved the war.
Even if the President musters enough votes to strike Syria, at what political cost? Any president has a limited amount of political capital to mobilize support for his agenda, in Congress and, more fundamentally, with the American people. This is especially true of a president in his second term of office. Which makes President Obama's campaign to strike Syria all the more mystifying.
President Obama announced this weekend that he has decided to use military force against Syria and would seek authorization from Congress when it returned from its August break. Every member ought to vote against this reckless and immoral use of the U.S. military. But even if every single member and senator votes for another war, it will not make this terrible idea any better because some sort of nod is given to the Constitution along the way.
Once a role model for children across America, pro wrestling star Lex Luger nearly destroyed his career and himself in a cesspool of drugs, alcohol, narcissism and women. He was Wrestling With the Devil. Born Lawrence "Larry" Pfohl, Luger starts his autobiography off explaining his childhood. In the fourth grade he was the fastest kid in school and the best all-around athlete. He came from a strict family, although he got into a lot of trouble. One day when he was caught stealing, his father wanted him locked up in a cell and for the key to be thrown away.
Conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart died March 1 of "heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with focal coronary atherosclerosis," the Los Angeles Coroner's Office announced Friday afternoon. "No prescription or illicit drugs were detected," the office announced in a press release.
An epic battle is underway over one of the oldest super-hero roleplaying games, but sadly it won't be settled by muscle-bound men in tights. The creators of the game Villains & Vigilantes, Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Scott Bizar, the longtime publisher of the game. The suit, filed July 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, claims that Bizar has no right to publish the game or any related products and illegally profits from their sale.