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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 27,659

About Me

You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one

Journal Archives

As Cuba Shifts Toward Capitalism, Inequality Grows More Visible


HAVANA — The river where Jonas Echevarria fishes cuts through neighborhoods brimming with new fine restaurants, spas and boutiques, springing up in Cuba’s accelerating push toward private enterprise. Tattered mansions and luxury apartment blocks speak of old wealth and new. A bounty of private restaurants known as paladares serve pork tenderloin, filet mignon and orange duck to tourists, Cuban-Americans visiting relatives and a growing pool of Cuban entrepreneurs with cash to spend.

These were things Mr. Echevarria, with only a few eggs, some plantains and a handful of rolls in his pantry, would not be having for dinner. In his neighborhood, a shantytown called Little Swamp on the fringe of the Rio Almendares and the margins of society, few people have relatives sending money from abroad, food rations barely last the month, and homes made of corrugated tin, wood scraps and crumbling concrete fail to keep out floodwaters. Nobody goes to paladares, much less has the money to start one.

As Cuba opens the door wider to private enterprise, the gap between the haves and have-nots — and between whites and blacks — that the revolution sought to diminish is growing more evident ...

More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/world/americas/as-cuba-shifts-toward-capitalism-inequality-grows-more-visible.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=photo-spot-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Even Better Than a Tax Cut

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor
Even Better Than a Tax Cut


WASHINGTON — WITH the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign underway and millions of Americans still hurting financially, both parties are looking for ways to address wage stagnation. That’s the good news. The bad news is that both parties are offering tax cuts as a solution. What has hurt workers’ paychecks is not what the government takes out, but what their employers no longer put in — a dynamic that tax cuts cannot eliminate.

Wage stagnation is a decades-long phenomenon. Between 1979 and 2014, while the gross domestic product grew 150 percent and productivity grew 75 percent, the inflation-adjusted hourly wage of the median worker rose just 5.6 percent — less than 0.2 percent a year. And since 2002, the bottom 80 percent of wage earners, including both male and female college graduates, have actually seen their wages stagnate or fall.

At the same time, taxation does not explain why middle-income families are having a harder time making ends meet, even as they increase their education and become ever more productive. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office data, the middle 60 percent of families paid just 3.2 percent of their income in federal income taxes in 2011, less than half what they paid in 1979.

Yes, a one-time reduction in taxes through, say, expanded child care credits or a secondary earner tax break, as Democrats propose, could help families. But as wages continue to stagnate, it is impossible to continuously cut taxes and still pay for things like education and social programs for the growing population of older Americans ...

More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/23/opinion/even-better-than-a-tax-cut.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region®ion=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0

World Hunger (facebook meme)

The numbers tell the story -

The Shrinking American Labor Union
FEB. 7, 2015

24.2%: private sector union membership rate, 1973

6.6%: private sector union membership rate, 2014

Source: Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson

A generation ago labor unions were often a familiar feature of the American workplace, but in private businesses across the country, unions have been shrinking. Today fewer than one in 15 private sector workers belongs to a union, compared with almost one in four back in 1973.

But dwindling union participation in the private sector stands in stark contrast with union membership among public sector workers, which rose sharply in the 1970s and has been relatively steady since 1980 at around 35 percent. Overall union membership has fallen by about a half since 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, driven entirely by the decline in the private sector.

The causes of falling union participation are hard to pinpoint but may be attributed to several factors, including the pressures of global trade, technological change, the shift away from domestic manufacturing and a tougher stance against unions from government and corporate leaders ...

more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/business/the-shrinking-american-labor-union.html?mabReward=R4&action=click&contentCollection=Books®ion=Footer&module=Recommendation&src=recg&pgtype=article

Update re Brownsville: Vidal meets the President

I first wrote about Brandon (Humans of New York), Vidal, and Ms. Lopez here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026129259

Recently they were all on Ellen's show and now this. It has been an amazing story.

Ford Raises Pay for 500 Workers

Ford Raises Pay for 500 Workers as Demand Grows for F-150 Pickup

DETROIT — Growing demand for Ford Motor’s new pickup truck will prompt a transition to higher wages for up to 500 of the company’s entry-level union workers.

On Wednesday, Ford said that it would add 1,550 new jobs at four plants in the United States to increase production of the latest version of its top-selling F-series pickup.

By adding the jobs, Ford said, it will exceed its nationwide cap on entry-level workers, who earn about $19 an hour. And as a result, 300 to 500 of the company’s entry-level employees will transition to the $28-an-hour wage earned by longtime factory workers.

The transition is the first time that any entry-level workers at the three domestic carmakers have moved up to the higher wage scale since the companies agreed to a two-tier system in their 2007 contract with the United Automobile Workers union ...

More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/business/demand-for-ford-truck-means-higher-wages-for-500-workers.html?hpw&rref=business&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

Connecting the dots re Measles (toon)

Daily Cartoon
February 2, 2015
the New Yorker
By Emily Flake

How One Person Can Make A Difference

I've talked about Brandon before (the blogger who does Humans of NY and has the very popular Facebook page). Today he accomplished something really special by highlighting a hard-working principle in one of the most crime-ridden areas of NYC.

‘Humans of New York’ blog raises over $350K to send inner-city kids to Harvard
By Nicole Bogart Tech Reporter Global News

TORONTO – The “Humans of New York” blog has been sharing stories of New York City residents for over four years. But now the blog is helping provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for inner-city youth.

An Indiegogo campaign started by Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton has raised over US$350,000 to fund a trip to Harvard University for sixth graders from Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

The initial goal of the campaign was US$100,000 – enough to fund one trip a year for three years.

That goal was met in less than an hour.

It all started when Stanton posted the portrait of a young boy on his blog. When asked who has influenced his life the most the boy responded, “My principal, Ms. Lopez.”

“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built,” the boy told Stanton.

“And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

Much more here: http://globalnews.ca/news/1789515/humans-of-new-york-blog-raises-over-350k-to-send-inner-city-kids-to-harvard/

HUNY website: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/

Net Neutrality

I don't have to explain to other activists how important it is for the Internet to remain open. Now, we have some support in the Obama administration ~ and I will take the good news and amplify it whenever I can:

Breaking news: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler signaled that he will move to protect Net Neutrality by reclassifying Internet-access service under Title II of the Communications Act.

This is huge — and it’s exactly what all of us have been asking for.

Wheeler delivered his remarks almost one year to the date that a federal court struck down the agency’s Open Internet Order. In the aftermath of that ruling, Wheeler released rules that would have allowed rampant discrimination online, setting off a year of backlash from innovators, artists, journalists, politicians and ordinary Internet users.

And Wheeler's move toward Title II wouldn’t have happened without all of this activism, advocacy and political pressure to protect the open Internet ...

More here: https://www.freepress.net/blog/2015/01/08/you-wont-believe

When Will They Shoot?

Lots of people are at risk on the job. But when it comes to cops, they’re mostly a danger to others.
by Peter Frase ~ Dec. 17, 2014

Defenders of the warrior cop in situations like the one in Ferguson, Missouri argue that all of these trappings of military occupation are necessary because of the oh-so-dangerous environment the police supposedly face. Policing is not the country’s safest job, to be sure. But as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows, it’s far from the most dangerous. The 2012 data reports that for “police and sheriff’s patrol officers,” the Fatal Injury Rate — that is, the “number of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers” — was 15.0. That includes all causes of death — of the 105 dead officers recorded in the 2012 data, only 51 died due to “violence and other injuries by persons or animals.” Nearly as many, 48, died in “transportation incidents,” i.e., crashing their cars.

Here are some occupations with higher fatality rates than being a cop:

Logging workers: 129.9
Fishers and related fishing workers: 120.8
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 54.3
Roofers: 42.2
Structural iron and steel workers: 37.0
Refuse and recyclable material collectors: 32.3
Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers: 24.3
Electrical power-line installers and repairers: 23.9
Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers: 22.8
Construction laborers: 17.8
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 16.2
Maintenance and repairs workers, general: 15.7

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/08/when-will-they-shoot/

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