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Sympthsical's Journal
Sympthsical's Journal
July 12, 2022

Jill Biden's "breakfast taco" may have been an inside joke

Which the locals would have understood, but it didn't play well nationally when bereft of context.

I did some quick searchy searchy, because I wondered if breakfast tacos were an Americanized thing. Instead, I found this rather lengthy article about the origins - and epic War of the Roses level fight - over the origin of breakfast tacos.

Summarized: San Antonio (where Biden was) hates, hates, hates that Austin takes credit for popularizing breakfast tacos, when it was very much their own culinary convention for years.


So the speech writer may have been playing to the audience in the room, but on a national level it just looked like pure cringe.

The more you know.

(None of this story is important. I'm just bored).

July 12, 2022

News engagement plummets as Americans tune out


Cable viewership across the three major cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — is, on average, down 19% in prime time for the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2021. Those losses skew heavily toward CNN and MSNBC, which are down 47% and 33%, respectively. Fox's ratings are up 12% in that six-month span.

News app sessions for the top 12 mainstream most-trafficked publishers dropped 16% in the first half of 2022, according to data from Apptopia.

Website visits for the top 5 news websites in the U.S. by unique visits tracked by Similarweb dropped 18% in the first half of 2022.

Engagement on social media with news articles cratered over the past six months, dropping 50% since the first half of last year, despite more articles published, according to data from Newswhip. Engagement is measured by interactions with articles posted, which includes likes, comments and shares.

The best part of statistics like these, anyone can read anything into them according to personal politics and taste. Everybody's happy!

My current avoidance with news organizations is how dense and erratic the news cycle has become. One story dominates for a day or so. Forgotten. Dominates. Forgotten. "MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER!!!!" Forgotten perhaps by end of day. It's always been somewhat like this, but I think the clickbait nature of everything has rendered much of it exhausting and not worth the effort. "That story is eight hours ago. We need to re-engage eyeballs!"

For me, it's at the point of reading a highly embellished headline that looks like the internet equivalent of skywriting and thinking, "No. I'm not reading that. I know it won't be worth it."
July 10, 2022

Millennials are the largest workforce and the least wealthy -- why?


Some highlights:

In 1989, when Baby Boomers were roughly the same age as Millennials today, Boomers owned 21.3% of the national wealth. Millennials today own just 4.6%. This means that at their same stage of earnings development, Baby Boomers owned proportionally four times as much of the total wealth as Millennials. . .

As the economy continues to change, things are looking worse and worse for Millennials without a college degree. Race also plays a significant role in wealth statistics. At the end of 2019, Black Millennials had just $5,000 in household wealth on average, compared with their white counterparts, who had on average $88,000. The same study also showed that not only are Black millennials trailing white Millennials in terms of wealth, but are also trailing previous generations of Black families' average wealth by 52%. . .

One significant dampener of Millennial wealth is student loan debt. As shown in the chart below, Millennials hold roughly $500 billion in student loan debt. Between 1964 — when the youngest Boomers were born, and 2015 — the annual cost of a four-year public university grew by 3,700%, even after adjusting for inflation. This means that in 2019 dollars, when Boomers entered college in 1982 they paid an annual tuition of $1,031; Millennials had to pay $9,970 for yearly in-state tuition. (Average costs are more than double at out-of-state four-year universities are more than double and nearly quadruple at private universities). Again, both of those amounts are adjusted for inflation to 2019 dollars. . . .

Both of these causes of the dearth of Millennial wealth are the result of deliberate political and policy choices: States have cut support to higher education, shifting the cost on to students, who in turn borrowed money for college degrees they were told were essential to survive in today's economy. Once in the economy, Millennial workers were left to confront a political economy in which labor unions were crushed and employers given maximum leverage.

We're quite an entitled generation. Boot straps, people. Boot straps.

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