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Journal Archives

Friday Toon Roundup 4: The Rest


Old vs. Young




Friday Toon Roundup 3: For a few cents more

Friday Toon Roundup 2: Ft. Hood

Friday Toon Roundup 1: Money for votes

Another Rant About American Conservatives

by NineOneFour


The Apostle Paul (not exactly the most enlightened human being who ever lived, but anyway) wrote: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became an adult, I put away childish things."It is past time that a large percentage of Americans grew up, stopped speaking as children, understanding as children, and thinking as children.

Adults who have accepted the responsibility of adulthood do not view the world as they wish it to be; they view the world as it is, and then empowered with this knowledge, they try to make it better. They also view people they know as they are and accept them for who they are, and not as how they want them to be.

It's time to grow up and stop having tantrums. Yes, I'm looking at you, conservatives.

This might be a news for you, so let me be the one to break it to you: the sanitized 1950s are over. Hell, the 1960s are over, so stop viewing everything through a lens of 'real Americans' and 'dirty hippies'. This viewpoint wasn't even valid then, and that was FIFTY YEARS AGO. The 1970s are over. The 1980s are over. When you talk about how awesome Reagan was, you need to understand that you sound just as stupid as when in the 1980s old people talked about how awesome FDR was. I think FDR was awesome and you might think Reagan was awesome, but people today don't care. In 1980, FDR hadn't been elected for 36 years. By 2016, the last time Reagan appeared on a ballot will be 32 years ago. When you try to compare Obama to Carter, trust me, no one under 40 cares or even understands what you're think you're saying.

Grow the hell up and start living your life in the present.

Your childhood might have been awesome for you, whatever time you grew up in. Maybe you think it was like "Leave it to Beaver" and you didn't have to deal with black Presidents, filthy Mexicans, flaming gays, or obnoxious youths with piercings, tattoos, and weird hair, but I have more news for you: your sanitized childhood sucked royally for a huge percentage of the population. And like the guy who was the popular kid in high school who longs for his 'glory days' because he now lives in the single-wide mobile home and who's main recreational activity involves the consumption of crystal meth, you look really, really pathetic, longing for 'the good old days'. The 'good old days', depending on which decade you are referring to, involved lynchings, gay-bashing, Christian dominionism, widespread misogyny, and women dying in alleys from botched abortions. And you want to bring that back so you can feel better about yourself? Selfish, much?

Oh, and just because none of this stuff happened to you, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Adults are aware of the existence of and have empathy for other human beings. It is young children who are still narcissistic and unsympathetic to others.

So grow up.

much more


Note, I'm not the Author, just posting it.

How the Rich and Poor Spend Money Today—and 30 Years Ago

Since 1984, education spending has nearly doubled as a share of a richer family's budget. And rent has nearly doubled as a share of a poorer family's spending.

Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us what the typical American spends on everything from his rent to his reading material. There's just one problem. In a country with growing income inequality, the typical American leaves out a lot of Americans.

For example, the poorest quintile of Americans spends about $22,000 each year. The richest spends about $100,000 each year. (The richest 1 percent spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.) So to understand how Americans really spend our money, it helps to break us down into groups. And, since the BLS has been producing this spending survey for nearly 30 years, it's even more helpful to track those groups over time to see how the American budget is changing.

So let's do that. If you want to play along: 1984 survey is here and 2012 survey (the latest available) is here.

The biggest difference between the lowest- and highest-earning Americans is what they spend on housing. Less than 40 percent of the bottom quintile owns a home, compared with 90 percent of Americans at the top. As a result, the top quintile outspends the bottom on housing by $21,000 a year (remember: that gap alone is basically the entire budget of a lower-income family) and $13,000 more on transportation. At just about every income level, we spend about half our income on living and getting around.



Buried ocean on Enceladus

Enceladus, a small moon orbiting Saturn, has a watery ocean beneath its frozen surface, according to an analysis of data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

By Amina Khan

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus has earned a certain amount of attention for its waterworks show — it was caught squirting plumes of mineral-rich water out of “tiger stripe” cracks near its south pole in 2005. Scientists thought that could be a sign of a liquid ocean beneath its frozen shell, but couldn’t be sure. Now, using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, they have found gravitational evidence that a vast sea the size of Lake Superior could extend out from around the southern pole.

The discovery, described in the journal Science, lends support to the idea that this tiny world is one of the few places in our own solar system that could be potentially friendly to life.

At just 313 miles across, Enceladus is a frozen dirtball that’s too small to stay warm, so how could it have liquid water beneath the surface? The answer lies in its strange gravitational love triangle with ringed gas giant Saturn and Dione, another moon. Dione also tugs on Enceladus’s orbit, stretching its path around Saturn from a circle to an ellipse. The gravitational pull from these two bodies also squeezes and stretches the moon itself, and all that kneading from this tidal distortion heats Enceladus, melting some of the water ice under the surface.

Anyway, that’s the theory. The search for this subsurface ocean warmed up after scientists discovered plumes of mineral-rich water vapor squirting out of cracks near the south pole. But they couldn’t be sure it was coming from liquid water below, rather than from the ice at the surface.



Toon: What's Your Bid?

Has Teach For America reached its Waterloo?

by Amy B. Dean

In December, Pittsburgh became the first school district to reject an active Teach for America (TFA) contract. Like many urban school districts, Pittsburgh is struggling with budget problems—the school district is projected to run out of money by 2017—and overwhelmingly serves families that struggle with poverty: 73 percent of students in the Pittsburgh School District are enrolled in free or reduced-price school lunch programs. But unlike cities such as Chicago or Philadelphia, where the mayor or governor appoints school board members, Pittsburgh’s Board of Education is democratically-elected, allowing local communities a far more direct influence over decision-making. Indeed, three of the six members of Pittsburgh’s Board of Education were just put in place, and it was these newly elected officials who have rejected the easy answers offered by pro-privatization education "reformers."

The decision to can TFA shows that democratically elected school boards—like Pittsburgh's—are vital tools for defending public education and the public interest. In this case, the elected school board rebuffed the organization’s agenda and tactics.

Undermining teachers

TFA famously trains recent college graduates, who have usually had no other training in education, for a mere five weeks before placing them in a struggling urban or rural school. This model has brought much criticism. Many of these new recruits have little to no actual teaching experience, and they often have few connections with the communities they are thrown into. They are expected to be instantly capable; “microwave teachers,” in Pittsburgh School Board member Regina Holley’s memorable turn of phrase. The attrition rate is astonishingly high: 72 percent of TFA recruits drop out of the teaching workforce within five years.

But if TFA were merely a program designed to train and recruit new temporary teachers, it might be defensible—even if it hardly represents a comprehensive solution to the problems in our schools. The real problem is that TFA has fed into a larger, corporate-driven education movement that has worked to privatize education, pulling resources out of neighborhood schools and abandoning the kids most in need of quality public instruction.



America is Wealthier, but Americans are Poorer

April 3, 2014 10:30AM ET
by David Cay Johnston

How government policies worsen the nation’s income and wealth disparities comes into sharp focus in a new government report on capital gains. The short story: Investing is gaining and work declining as sources of income.

Capital gains come from selling assets such as stocks, real estate and businesses. Property owned for more than a year is taxed at lower rates than wages and in some cases is tax-free.

Although capital gains are growing — an indication that national wealth is growing — far fewer capital gains are going to the vast majority, while those at the absolute top of the economy are enjoying vastly more. This trend, as well as other official data, suggests that wealth is piling up at the top and that a narrowing number of Americans are wealth holders.

Larger pie, smaller slice

These findings emerge from a new report by the Statistics of Income branch of the IRS that examined a large set of taxpayers over nine years. I have reanalyzed the data, adjusted for inflation, and then compared similar, but not identical, data for 2012, the year with the latest available numbers.


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