News and views noted along the way.
- Pope Francis Rebukes "Marxist" Attack From Rush Limbaugh & Conservative Media - " 'Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended." He added, "There is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church.' The Pope expanded on his critique of 'trickle-down' economics, noting that 'The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor'."
- World Bank president calls corruption 'Public Enemy No. 1' - "The development institution, which long shied away from tackling corruption because it wanted to steer clear of politics, on Thursday said it plans to hire more experts in the rule of law and other governance issues."
- Is ‘Master Kang’s’ Noodle Cooked? - "He’s been compared to a favorite Chinese snack, has been called a “great tiger,” and has been referred to by the vague-sounding appellation Mister Kang. What he isn’t called, at least on the censored Chinese social web, is his name, Zhou Yongkang. The hated former head of his country’s massive state security apparatus, and formerly one of the most powerful men in China, Zhou may now be in a lot of trouble: On Dec. 11, Reuters reported that he had been placed under virtual house arrest; in early December they reported his son Zhou Bin had been helping with a corruption investigation, possibly against his father. While the story hasn’t been officially confirmed, it does seem very likely that Zhou, who hasn’t been seen in public since October, is under suspicion. If Zhou falls, it will be one of the biggest purges since the Communist Party took power in 1949, with farther reaching consequences than the 2012 unraveling of former Chongqing Party Boss Bo Xilai."
- The politics of science fiction - "If historians or critics fifty years from now were to read most of our contemporary literary fiction, they might well infer that our main societal problems were issues with our parents, bad relationships, and death."
- Not Fit for the Next Crisis - Europe's Brittle Banking Union
- Months After Banning Fracking, France Now Has A Carbon Tax - "The French Parliament on Thursday adopted a budget for 2014 which includes a tax on carbon emissions from gas, heating oil and coal, according to a report in Platts... France’s adoption of a carbon tax is not the first environmentally friendly policy change the country has made recently. In October, France completed its ban on fracking, after a constitutional court upheld a 2011 law prohibiting the practice and canceling all exploration permits."