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BeckyDem

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Feb 9, 2017, 01:31 PM
Number of posts: 4,809

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The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

The Aristocracy Is Dead …

For about a week every year in my childhood, I was a member of one of America’s fading aristocracies. Sometimes around Christmas, more often on the Fourth of July, my family would take up residence at one of my grandparents’ country clubs in Chicago, Palm Beach, or Asheville, North Carolina. The breakfast buffets were magnificent, and Grandfather was a jovial host, always ready with a familiar story, rarely missing an opportunity for gentle instruction on proper club etiquette. At the age of 11 or 12, I gathered from him, between his puffs of cigar smoke, that we owed our weeks of plenty to Great-Grandfather, Colonel Robert W. Stewart, a Rough Rider with Teddy Roosevelt who made his fortune as the chairman of Standard Oil of Indiana in the 1920s. I was also given to understand that, for reasons traceable to some ancient and incomprehensible dispute, the Rockefellers were the mortal enemies of our clan. Only much later in life did I learn that the stories about the Colonel and his tangles with titans fell far short of the truth.

At the end of each week, we would return to our place. My reality was the aggressively middle-class world of 1960s and ’70s U.S. military bases and the communities around them. Life was good there, too, but the pizza came from a box, and it was Lucky Charms for breakfast. Our glory peaked on the day my parents came home with a new Volkswagen camper bus. As I got older, the holiday pomp of patriotic luncheons and bridge-playing rituals came to seem faintly ridiculous and even offensive, like an endless birthday party for people whose chief accomplishment in life was just showing up. I belonged to a new generation that believed in getting ahead through merit, and we defined merit in a straightforward way: test scores, grades, competitive résumé-stuffing, supremacy in board games and pickup basketball, and, of course, working for our keep. For me that meant taking on chores for the neighbors, punching the clock at a local fast-food restaurant, and collecting scholarships to get through college and graduate school. I came into many advantages by birth, but money was not among them.

I’ve joined a new aristocracy now, even if we still call ourselves meritocratic winners. If you are a typical reader of The Atlantic, you may well be a member too. (And if you’re not a member, my hope is that you will find the story of this new class even more interesting—if also more alarming.) To be sure, there is a lot to admire about my new group, which I’ll call—for reasons you’ll soon see—the 9.9 percent. We’ve dropped the old dress codes, put our faith in facts, and are (somewhat) more varied in skin tone and ethnicity. People like me, who have waning memories of life in an earlier ruling caste, are the exception, not the rule.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/the-birth-of-a-new-american-aristocracy/559130/

James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness

Posted on Feb 19, 2017


The work of James Baldwin, pictured here in 1969, is as relevant today as in his time. The essayist, novelist, poet and social critic died in 1987. (Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons)(CC-BY-SA)

By Chris Hedges

Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro” is one of the finest documentaries I have ever seen—I would have stayed in the theater in New York to see the film again if the next showing had not been sold out. The newly released film powerfully illustrates, through James Baldwin’s prophetic work, that the insanity now gripping the United States is an inevitable consequence of white Americans’ steadfast failure to confront where they came from, who they are and the lies and myths they use to mask past and present crimes. Baldwin’s only equal as a 20th century essayist is George Orwell. If you have not read Baldwin you probably do not fully understand America. Especially now.

History “is not the past,” the film quotes Baldwin as saying. “History is the present. We carry our history with us. To think otherwise is criminal.”
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/james_baldwin_and_the_meaning_of_whiteness_20170219

'Hidden Figures' and the true NASA stories behind the movie

I love this movie and hope it wins Best Picture on Oscar night!

Spoiler alert, please take notice.

NASA's chief historian explains the real events that inspired the inspirational Oscar-nominated film.
https://www.cnet.com/news/hidden-figures-nasa-true-stories-octavia-spencer-janelle-monae-taraji-henson-kevin-costner/

Texas Senator Shatters Table Trying to Silence Woman Testifying Against Anti-Abortion Bill

Please try and help your sisters wherever they may live, these conservatives are unrelenting .


Posted By Alex Zielinski on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 12:30 PM

It only took state Sen. Charles Schwertner ten minutes of listening to testimony against anti-abortion bills before he broke a table.

Schwertner, the Republican chair of the Texas Senate's Committee on Health and Human Services, spent Wednesday morning introducing and defending a bill that would ban most women from donating fetal tissue from their abortions to science. His legislation was bundled with two other anti-abortion bills — one to throw out the safest abortion procedure for second-trimester pregnancies, the other to mandate all abortion remains are buried and cremated — penned by two other GOP senators, Charles Perry and Don Huffines.

After discussing the bills amongst themselves, the committee opened the floor to three hours of public testimony — which started with a bang.

"I'm here on behalf of all absent women, families and doctors across the state whose lives will be negatively impacted by this bill," began the testimony of Maggie Hennessy, a UT student and intern with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. She was the fourth person to speak (of more than 50).

http://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2017/02/16/texas-senator-shatters-table-trying-to-silence-woman-testifying-against-anti-abortion-bill
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