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Willie Pep

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Member since: Sun Oct 16, 2016, 06:41 PM
Number of posts: 806

Journal Archives

Pope Francis Revives the Workers Church

I am not sure if this article has been posted here, but this is a good article about Pope Francis and his attempt to revive the pro-labor social justice element of the Catholic Church. The article discusses issues like the new generation of labor priests and the power of wealthy right-wing Catholic business owners. A good read.


Many older Americans are living a desperate, nomadic life

I thought this article was a sobering look at the lives of some older Americans and a good antidote to claims that the Baby Boomers are all living on easy street.

In her powerful new book, “Nomadland,” award-winning journalist Jessica Bruder reveals the dark, depressing and sometimes physically painful life of a tribe of men and women in their 50s and 60s who are — as the subtitle says — “surviving America in the twenty-first century.” Not quite homeless, they are “houseless,” living in secondhand RVs, trailers and vans and driving from one location to another to pick up seasonal low-wage jobs, if they can get them, with little or no benefits.

Full article: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/many-older-americans-are-living-a-desperate-nomadic-life-2017-11-06

Anti-hookworm drug that costs 4 cents in Tanzania costs up to $400 in the United States

Two pills to wipe out hookworm could cost you 4 cents. Or $400.

It just depends where you live.

The 4 cents is in Tanzania. That'll cover the two pills it takes to knock out the intestinal parasite. But in the United States, where hookworm has re-emerged, the price for two 200 mg tablets of albendazole can cost as much as $400.

The pill will put an end to the problems hookworm can cause, such as anemia and protein deficiency as well as stunting growth in children.

It's not just a problem with the anti-hookworm pill. Drugs for diseases of the developing world, in particular what are known as "neglected tropical diseases" like hookworm and leishmaniasis, are enormously more expensive in the United States than in the developing world.

Full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/12/11/567753423/why-a-pill-thats-4-cents-in-tanzania-costs-up-to-400-in-the-u-s

Will Christian conservatives dump the porno president?

I think we all know the answer to this question but I am finding the revelations about Trump's activities with porn stars hilarious considering that I know many Christian conservatives who think Trump is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I have seen people on Christian forums unironically sporting avatars showing Jesus guiding Trump's hand.

See: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/does-jesus-love-donald-trump-bizarre-vision-goes-viral-1602597

Now of course Jesus spent time with prostitutes but that is a far cry from what Trump was doing. I don't think Trump was trying to spread the Good Word to Stormy Daniels.

Does anyone here read Mark Shea's Patheos blog?

I wouldn't call Shea a liberal but he criticizes right-wingers and right-wing Christians a lot these days. I never knew him to do that in his earlier years but he has been on fire criticizing Trump, the Republicans and the Religious Right lately.

Even if he is not liberal on every issue I would recommend Shea to Catholics or other Christians who are looking for a Christian critic of the Right.


With Hidden Unemployed, 3.2 Million Older Workers Trapped in Unemployment

I thought this was an interesting article on the plight of older unemployed workers. It is not a long article so I will just post the link.


Any Newfoundland dog owners?

I have been thinking about getting a dog for a long time. I used to own Doberman Pinschers but I would rather get a more placid dog this time out. I have read a lot about the Newfoundland dog and I think it is the dog for me but I am wondering how others have felt about owning one.

I think my biggest worry is the lifespan issue. I would hate to get attached to a dog and not have much time with it. How often do Newfies live to be 10 years old? I see different estimates for age but most of them say 8-10 years.

Trying to convince Republicans that Medicare and Social Security are in danger

I have mentioned this in a few threads but I have been trying to convince the Republicans I know that Medicare and Social Security are in serious danger of being cut or "reformed" into oblivion. Republican tax cuts will increase the deficit and the GOP will then bring entitlement reform to the table using the exploding deficit as the rationale. They will scare people with claims that the government will go bankrupt and that we need to make "tough choices" or we will go broke.

The responses I have received so far are:

1. The Republicans will never touch Medicare and Social Security because these programs are too popular. Entitlement reforms will target programs for the poor and these people deserve to have their programs cut because they encourage laziness, fraud, etc.

2. The Republican tax cuts will produce so much economic growth that they will pay for themselves so there will be no need to cut Medicare and Social Security.

I am surprised by how much pushback I am getting. Honestly, none of the Republicans I know believe that Medicare or Social Security will be cut. Have any of you encountered similar opinions? How do you deal with them?

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

Pretty depressing but important article from The Guardian on extreme poverty in the United States.

The UN’s Philip Alston is an expert on deprivation – and he wants to know why 41m Americans are living in poverty. The Guardian joined him on a special two-week mission into the dark heart of the world’s richest nation

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/america-extreme-poverty-un-special-rapporteur

Alabama proves that turnout is everything

I saw this tidbit on a blog post regarding the special election in Alabama. The piece is entitled "10 Thoughts After the Alabama Senate Election."

Overall, a relatively small percentage of Americans vote. Even though turnout was higher than expected, about 35 percent of voting-age Alabamians chose to vote in the most highly-publicized election in the state in recent history.

Full article: https://www.insideelections.com/news/article/10-thoughts-after-the-alabama-senate-election

35 percent is still pretty abysmal but I think this shows that even somewhat higher turnout can really improve our chances of winning. Nonvoters are more likely to be poorer and non-white, the demographics that are likely to vote for Democrats if they vote. We can even win in red states if we put a lot of effort into voter registration and GOTV campaigns. The Republicans know this hence their constant attempts to suppress voting rights.
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