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YoungDemCA

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Gender: Male
Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
Number of posts: 4,418

Journal Archives

Regarding the Republican Right's demonization of and assault on public sector unions:

I honestly think (in addition to the pathological, ideological hatred for unions among the Right) that a lot of the Republican Party's ulterior motives for demonizing public sector unions have to do with destroying a reliable source of votes (and campaign contributions) for Democrats.

For the GOP base though, a lot of it is resentment that government workers are more secure in employment and have more benefits than many private sector workers (which includes much of the GOP base). In times of growing economic inequality and declining mobility, no one wants to pay taxes to government bureaucrats who are seen as "living off the trough" at the expense of "the taxpayers."

Also, note that women and minorities are disproportionately represented among members of public sector unions in the U.S.

These are just some thoughts of mine - curious to read what others think...

Reading Rick Perlstein's "Invisible Bridge", it occurred to me re: refugees...

...that the current controversy over resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. is eerily similar (in many respects) to the controversy over resettling refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s.

Here's an excerpt:

Some of the South Vietnamese who made it to the United States were preliminarily resettled at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle - in defiance of a hastily assembled petition got up by residents of the base's host city, which was called Niceville. A radio poll that found 80 percent of Niceville's residents didn't want them. The Associated Press reported, "Children in one school joked about shooting a few." High school kids spoke in class of plans to organize a "Gook Klux Klan." Students in a twelfth-grade psychology class told their teacher they were worried the refugees would try to convert them to Communism.

"Disease, disease, disease, that's all I've heard," complained a congressman representing another relocation site, the San Diego County Marine base, Camp Pendleton, of the phone calls he was getting. "They think of the Vietnamese as nothing but diseased job seekers." In Arkansas, at Fort Chaffee, which admitted twenty-five thousand refugees, the compound was so well guarded that a radical journalist compared it to the "strategic hamlets" the U.S. used to build in South Vietnam. A recently returned veteran told him, "I don't like the people personally. I didn't see anything worth saving and I don't now." The protest placards real "GOOKS GO HOME."

In Detroit, a black autoworker told the New York Times, "People are losing their cars, houses, jobs. Let them stay there until we do something for people here." In Valparaiso, Indiana, a salesman asked, "How do you know we're not getting the bad guys? You can't say for sure. Nobody can, and Lord knows we've got enough Communist infiltration now." President Ford implored, "We can afford to be generous to refugees" as "a matter of principle." Mayor Daley responded, "Charity begins at home." The Seattle City Council voted seven to one against a pro-settlement resolution. California governor Jerry Brown said Congress's refugee bill should be amended with a "jobs for Americans first" pledge. Explained Harvard sociologist David Riesman, "The national mood is poisonous and dangerous and this is one symptom - striking out at helpless refugees whose number is infinitesimal."


- Rick Perlstein, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and The Rise of Reagan, p. 431-432.

Just swap out "Vietnamese" for "Syrians", change the racial slurs, and swap out "Communism" for "terrorism", and you have the same damn controversy. History repeats itself.

*HOF POST* My take on why girls tend to perform better than boys in school

Basically, I think that the different ways in which boys and girls are socialized (from a very early age) has something to do with this phenomenon - which really exists primarily among children from poorer backgrounds and from families of color (i.e. black, Latino, Native American, certain Asian communities...)

Generally, women/girls tend to have (or at the very least, they display) more social awareness (i.e. social skills) than men/boys - across different social backgrounds. What that means for children - specifically, from already socially marginalized groups is that boys are more likely to overtly display stereotypically "male" traits in ways that are punished by authority figures (and not just in the classroom....). By contrast, girls/women from all backgrounds are taught to be excessively polite and deferential (traits which generally serve them well in school, but tend to hold them back in the workplace...)

This gap, FWW, isn't as prominent in wealthier households (particularly those with highly educated parents), and I suspect that has something to do with the fact that middle and upper class children in general have so many more advantages - socially, economically, etc. - than poorer children that people don't notice/care as much.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

"Was he even running?"

- My dad, in response to me telling him that Rick Santorum was dropping out of the presidential race.

Wisconsin Republicans intensify assault on Planned Parenthood.

The fuckers.


On January 20, Wisconsin Republicans made another big move against Planned Parenthood. The Senate voted to strip the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics of an estimated $7.5 million in federal funding by approving two bills. One would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal Title X family planning funds, diverting the money to other groups at the discretion of the state Department of Health Services. The second would restrict Planned Parenthood from being reimbursed for prescription drugs acquired through a Medicaid program.

Both bills now head to the state Assembly, where Republicans enjoy an even larger majority.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, took her Republican colleagues to task for throwing up more hurdles to women’s access to basic health care and for “caving in” yet again to anti-choice interests. “Thousands of families already lack health care services, especially in rural communities and now you are going to make it worse,” she said. “This is not what Wisconsin families are asking for.”


http://www.progressive.org/news/2016/02/188535/republicans-rev-assault-planned-parenthood-wisconsin#sthash.tGxjWqUx.dpuf

Black History Month is here, and more relevant than ever

For forty years, America has observed Black History Month as a time to reflect on the revolutionary work black people have contributed to this country's history. What first began in 1926 as Negro History Week thanks to noted scholar Carter G. Woodson has evolved into a month-long celebration of black progress and power. But as time passes and the country’s racial climate changes, the ways in which we recognize and honor Black History Month have since evolved too -- and we at HuffPost Black Voices are highlighting the significance of the annual tradition in our own special way.


snip:
“We can’t afford to solely commemorate the past. We must seize the opportunity to change the course of history by shaping our future,” Opal Tometi, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network & #BlackLivesMatter, wrote in a Black Voices blog post for the launch of our “Black Future” series last year.

Today, Tometi’s words seem more relevant than ever, which is why we’re bringing back the series and expanding it. The Black Lives Matter movement has made a hugely significant impact on the ways we discuss race: It has highlighted the inadequacies among America’s justice system and tackled the nation’s ongoing racial disparities. As a result, it has bred a new crop of civil rights fighters who are speaking up, fighting back and making history every day.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-history-month-is-here-and-were-honoring-it-in-a-special-way_us_56ab957be4b0010e80e9c976?7zj8aor&utm_hp_ref=black-voices

Here's to the legacy of all of the countless black men and women (whether they be prominent or just ordinary people) who have contributed so much to the shaping of America's collective character. And as we go forward, let us not allow the violence and injustices that have affected all black people (individually and collectively) to have the last word.

We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country. … We are here, and here we are likely to be. To imagine that we shall ever be eradicated is absurd and ridiculous. We can be remodified, changed, assimilated, but never extinguished. We repeat, therefore, that we are here; and that this is our country; and the question for the philosophers and statesmen of the land ought to be, What principles should dictate the policy of the action toward us? We shall neither die out, nor be driven out; but shall go with this people, either as a testimony against them, or as an evidence in their favor throughout their generations.


- Frederick Douglass

The racial divide on unemployment

Unemployment crisis? Unemployment didn't become a crisis until white people became unemployed.


-- Alonzo Bodden (comedian).

The black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for 50 years:



For the past 50 years, black unemployment has been well above recession levels:



Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/28/these-seven-charts-show-the-black-white-economic-gap-hasnt-budged-in-50-years/

It's all they know

And not only that, but they (white, middle class people) benefit from their privilege being invisible to them, psychologically as well as materially.

White people very rarely perceive themselves as being implicated in or responsible for racism, in practice. At best, racism is something that "racists" or "Southerners" or "uneducated" whites are responsible for - but never educated, middle class white people with "progressive" racial views. At worst, racism is projected by whites onto people of color ("Why are they always complaining? They're not enslaved or denied civil rights anymore! Maybe they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like I did!"). Either way, racism is externalized onto "those other people."

We have a long, long way to go, indeed.

At work as at home, men reap the benefits of women’s “invisible labor”

This is an issue that reveals the ugly truth about sexism as a norm that affects all women in adverse ways on a daily basis. One that men benefit from - even men like myself, who generally have good intentions and recognize that sexism is an urgent, systemic issue.

For these gendered patterns and norms are absolutely ingrained into us from the day we're born, by our parents, our peers, our relatives, our media, and our culture in general. And oftentimes, it's not even intentional. It's just the assumed, "default" position...which in many ways, is more pervasive and insidious than conscious misogyny.

Men today do a higher share of chores and household work than any generation of men before them. Yet working women, especially working mothers, continue to do significantly more.

On any given day, one fifth of men in the US, compared to almost half of all women do some form of housework. Each week, according to Pew, mothers spend nearly twice as long as fathers doing unpaid domestic work. But while it’s important to address inequality at home, it’s equally critical to acknowledge the way these problems extend into the workplace. Women’s emotional labor—which can involve everything from tending to others’ feelings to managing family dynamics to writing thank-you notes—is a big issue that’s rarely discussed.

In the early 1980s, University of California, Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild coined the term “emotional labor” in her book The Managed Heart. Hochschild observed that women make up the majority of service workers—flight attendants, food service workers, customer service reps—as well as the majority of of child-care and elder-care providers. All of these positions require emotional effort, from smiling on demand to prioritizing the happiness of the customer over one’s own feelings.


snip:
A 2005 study conducted by Madeline Heilman, a New York University psychologist, found that a woman who stayed at work late and offered help to a coworker was ranked 14% less favorably than a man doing the same thing. If she declined to help, she was rated 12% lower than a male peer who did the same. Additionally, Heilman found that women’s assistance usually happens in small, unseen ways, whereas male help tended to be more visible and public. Adding injury to insult, the study found that work performed by women wasn’t only less visible, it was more consuming.

This is an inherently sexist dynamic, and—for women of color—an implicitly racist one. Professional black and Hispanic women, subjected to a sort of double jeopardy in corporate situations, report being regularly mistaken for cleaning ladies and janitors.

The time women spend on these necessary but unrecognized chores taxes their energy, undermines their workplace authority, and reduces the time they could be spending on more socially and professionally recognized and valued work.


http://qz.com/599999/at-work-as-at-home-men-reap-the-benefits-of-womens-invisible-labor/

Undocumented immigrants and their effect on the U.S. economy: debunking the conventional wisdom

"Illegal immigrants take American jobs."

"Illegal immigrants drive down wages for American workers."

"Illegal immigrants are a huge burden on the American economy."

These (and other, more nasty statements) amount to a constant refrain whenever the subject of immigration (specifically, illegal/undocumented immigration) is brought up. The Republican Party in general - and Donald Trump in particular - have taken this issue and run with it, in terms of demonizing undocumented immigrants (and often, sad to say, immigrants and ethnic minorities in general).

Yet curiously, there is very little credible evidence that "illegals" do any of those things. Quite to the contrary, the empirical evidence suggests that undocumented immigrants are a net positive to the American economy.

Here's an article in the New Yorker from a couple of years ago that argues just that:


...in a new work-trends survey released earlier this month, by the John Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, four in ten of those surveyed said that high unemployment is caused by “illegal immigrants taking jobs away from Americans.” Intuitive as this may seem (more workers means fewer job opportunities and lower wages), actual evidence that immigration drives down wages is hard to find. On the contrary, a host of studies have found that immigration has actually boosted wages for native-born American workers as a whole, and that while immigration has had a negative impact on the wages of one group—men without a high-school education—that impact has been surprisingly small. Taken as a whole, in fact, the numbers clearly suggest that immigration reform would be a genuine boon to the U.S. economy.


snip:

Of course, immigration isn’t only (or even mostly) about highly skilled workers. But even the immigration of unskilled workers seems to have been, on balance, beneficial to the economy as a whole. The biggest reason for this is that foreign-born workers turn out not to be perfect substitutes for American workers, which means that the two groups don’t often compete in the same job markets. Or, to put it differently, immigrants tend to concentrate in industries and job categories where native-born workers aren’t. As a result, the work they do tends to be complementary to the work Americans do rather than competing with it. And that, in turn, can make American workers more productive, which means that they can get paid more, and, in some cases, create jobs that would otherwise not exist. In the case of construction, for instance, immigrants tend to work as masons and bricklayers, which creates opportunities for crane operators and foremen, who are more likely to be native-born. More prosaically, and commonly, the fact that, in the restaurant industry, immigrants are willing to work, typically for low wages, as busboys, dishwashers, and deliverymen makes many restaurants viable businesses, which in turn allows them to employ native-born Americans to work as waiters and bartenders.


http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/immigration-reform-and-the-american-worker

Here's another source that argues essentially the same thing:


Neither Ottaviano and Peri’s nor even Borjas’s estimates of the wage effects of immigration are consistent with Trump’s claim that immigration is destroying the middle class. But what happens when we look at the wages of native-born workers by level of education? The Ottaviano-Peri study shows, in the long run, immigration is associated with an increase in wages across all education levels. Borjas’s study reports that immigration has negative effects on the wages of native-born college graduates and especially on workers with less than a high-school education (those at the “bottom” of the labor market, mostly in low-wage jobs), even in the long run. But again he concedes a positive effect for the 60% of U.S. workers with either a high school degree or some college (but no degree).These results are probably a head-scratcher for anyone who has taken introductory economics. After all doesn’t increasing the supply of labor, through immigration, drive down its price (the going wage)?

Well, no. Immigrant workers do add to the supply of labor. But the economic effects of immigration do not stop there. Immigrants largely spend their wages within the U.S. economy. Businesses produce more—and hire more workers—to meet the increased demand. The cost savings from hiring cheaper immigrant labor also frees up businesses to expand production and hire more workers overall. Both those effects increase the demand for labor, offsetting the effects of added labor supply.



snip:
Nor is there a credible case that undocumented immigrants are draining the public coffers by consuming more public services than they pay for. Immigrants migrate to jobs, not to welfare, and are disproportionately of working age. They are not major beneficiaries of the most generous U.S. welfare-state programs—Social Security and Medicare, which serve the elderly, not the young or the poor. And undocumented immigrants are already ineligible for most government benefits. (Even documented immigrants are ineligible for many federal programs, at least for some years after their arrival.)

On top of that, immigrants, both documented and undocumented, do pay taxes. They pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, and often income taxes. And they pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits. That puts Trump’s outrage over $4.2 billion in “free tax credits ... paid to illegal immigrants” in a different light. In 2009, the federal government did in fact pay $4.2 billion in child tax credits to low-income tax filers using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), the vast majority of them undocumented immigrants. But that same year, those ITIN filers paid an estimated $12 billion into a Social Security system from which they are not eligible to collect any benefits.


http://dollarsandsense.org/archives/2015/1115miller.html


Bottom line: The conventional wisdom about undocumented immigrants is wrong.
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