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Night Owls
Lynn Stuart Parramore writes The British class system looks frighteningly rigid in "56 Up." But is America any better?

The American Dream is woven with promises of mobility: if you roll up your sleeves and work hard, you can succeed against any odds. A 2009 poll found that even after the body blow of the Great Recession, nearly two-thirds of Americans continued to believe that you can start out poor and still achieve wealth through individual effort. As Americans, we look at figures like Oprah Winfrey, a child of poverty in the rural South, as evidence that anyone can reach the top of the class pyramid with enough hard work and persistence. If she had children, Winfrey could send them to most any posh boarding school in the country. We look at the hierarchies and snobberies that still exist in the UK and consider our system superior.

We feel this way partly because of our history. Our founders made much of having left behind the rigid hierarchies of Europe. Property is certainly a decisive factor in determining class, and in America, a land-based aristocracy only really existed in the South -- and that was pretty well smashed during and after the Civil War. But money is also a form of property, and having access to cash is what determines the hierarchical structure in capitalist systems like the one we find ourselves in today. If you can collect enough money, you can belong to the upper class in America.

But who has a chance to get the cash? Americans are aware of class, but they overestimate mobility, which, according to numerous studies, is going the way of the wooly mammoth. In fact, mobility in America is among the lowest in developed countries – just about on par with the UK. In the "land of opportunity," children from low-income families have only a 1 percent chance of reaching the top 5 percent of the income distribution. Children born in France, Germany, Canada, and the Scandinavian countries have a better chance of moving upward.

America’s children are facing a system that’s hardening with every budget cut and tax exemption for the rich. Forty-two percent of children born to parents in the bottom fifth of the economic distribution are stuck there as adults, while 39 percent of children born at the top remain there. The U.S. Census Bureau found in 2010 that 22 percent of American children were living in poverty, a number that has been steadily rising since the 1980s. The growth of the financial sector and the destruction of New Deal programs pushed by conservatives and now embraced even by many liberals has increased economic equality dramatically. More poor children means more poor adults.

Americans have long believed that economic inequality is OK as long as everybody has a chance to move from one rung of the ladder to the next. But the accelerating rise in inequality hasn’t meant more mobility, but less. What Americans are just beginning to grok is that we are pioneering a system that may be just as inflexible as the old system of landed classes. Our new system is based on access to mobile money, and it is spawning dynasties, creating closed social circles and birthing more devices for social exclusions that separate the well to do from the rest.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2005FBI Still Stuck in the Tron Age:

Three years after the attacks of September 11th, I was pretty disturbed to read this story in today's NYT:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the verge of scrapping a $170 million computer overhaul that is considered critical to the campaign against terrorism but has been riddled with technical and planning problems, F.B.I. officials said on Thursday.
...
The development is a major setback for the F.B.I. in a decade-long struggle to escape a paper-driven culture and replace antiquated computer systems that have hobbled counterterrorism and criminal investigations. Robert S. Mueller III, the bureau's director, along with members of the Sept. 11 commission and other national security experts, have said the success of that effort is critical to domestic security. (Emphasis added.)
Are they KIDDING me? Why can't they get this right, especially since these are long-standing problems, problems which the FBI was made aware of well before 9/11 - hell, a really, really long time before 9/11

Tweet of the Day:

Justice Thomas spoke at oral arguments after nearly 7years of #scotus silence. It was a lawyer joke, not captured on transcript
@scotusreporter via web




On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin returns! The reality story of guns continues, with more of the most regularly predictable "unexpected" flukes, mishaps, and unimaginable coincidences ending in accidental shootings. We also broke our all-time record for mentions of the word "penis," but you knew that'd happen eventually. Plus, two other multi-layered gun-related stories: the lack of data about guns and the political machinations behind it, and; what it means that you can't have an "educational" discussion with a gun ultra.


High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest.

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Comment Preferences

  •  648,376 registered users on dKos now. (14+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not all spammers.)

    ema1taylor
    selftitle9 (user #648,368: spammer)
    reyesjan51
    greenbitsch922
    portia6sot
    IHAVEBADBOANDISTINK
    KLGRETRT
    14jan13 (user #648,374: spammer)
    LukyHacked
    potatopaper


    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to user #648,300: VannessaE (spammer).

    We've added 101 more users in the last 24 hours.  This is a continuation going back to May where we've been absolutely flooded with new users.  I'm pretty sure almost all of these new users are spammers or bots.  While the rate had been getting faster, it seems they suddenly started slowing down right when Hurricane Sandy hit.  It slowed down to under 1,000 new users in a 24-hour period, and now we're back down to somewhat over 100 new users every 24 hours or so.  What were they planning?


    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, here's The Lumineers' "Ho Hey".

    BTW, the Key of Awesome and Hannah Hart got together to do a parody of the song as well.  :-)

  •  Have you ever heard of Joe Two Trees? (12+ / 0-)

    This is a photo of a Bronx island that holds a fascinating story of a Native New Yorker. Just a few steps from Orchard Beach in the Bronx and at the southernmost point of the New England rocky coastline, this island that actually has many trees is named “Two Trees Island.” It was named for “The Last Algonquin.”

    Have you ever heard of Joe Two Trees?

    Two Trees Island and a few more islands at this southernmost outcropping of Hartland Schist along with the surrounding forest on the shores of the Long Island Sound and Pelham Bay is the place where in 1924 a 12-year-old Boy Scout named Theodore L. Kazimiroff was exploring the woods and encountered Joe Two Trees. They would become friends and the young man would later record what he could about the hidden lifestyle of Joe Two Trees in a book.

    There the man who had once tried to live “the civilized life” but been rejected and abused by the Manhattan population was living off the land in seclusion and believed he was the last living Native American. “Like E.T. the last Algonquin was a being stranded in an alien culture.”

  •  I need to get out more, so much stuff I (13+ / 0-)

    don't know about:

    A civil trial began Monday in a case by an Arizona salon owner who is challenging an order from cosmetology regulators that forced her to stop offering pedicures that use fish to nibble the dead skin off people's feet. East Valley Tribune

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:33:07 PM PST

  •  Scalia finally lets Thomas speak, (10+ / 0-)

    and he uses that time to tell a stupid joke?

    Sheese....

    "I pooped my pants. Not horribly, but enough that I knew." - Al Roker

    by Jeff Y on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:33:11 PM PST

  •  Live Action "Toy Story" - the whole movie (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Lily O Lady, Aunt Pat, Siri, basquebob

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:33:30 PM PST

  •  Dear Justice Thomas, (6+ / 0-)

    shut the fuck up already.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:37:18 PM PST

  •  So here's how Taiwan... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y, JML9999, Aunt Pat, Siri, Says Who, antirove

    viewed the fiscal cliff.  Yes, this is the same media company that made those hilarious Tiger Woods cheating scandal animated recreations.

  •  I haven't downloaded the transcipts yet (6+ / 0-)

    as is my normal practice after each day of SCOTUS oral argument. I got behind, and have last Wednesday's still to read.

    I don't know why the joke wouldn't have been captured on the transcript...everything else seems to be.

    Maybe when the actual audio is released next week, it will show up on the recording.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:39:44 PM PST

    •  I predict (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y, Aunt Pat, too many people

      it will be something about pubic hair and a coke.

    •  The court reporter probably couldn't believe (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Aunt Pat, DeadHead, OLinda, Eric Nelson

      her ears.

      "I pooped my pants. Not horribly, but enough that I knew." - Al Roker

      by Jeff Y on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:56:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  almost nothing in transcript (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, DeadHead, Jeff Y, Eric Nelson

      This diary earlier led me to this page with the transcription, and to what I think must be the official transcript (PDF) because it is the supremecourt.gov site.

      It has Thomas saying:
       

      JUSTICE THOMAS: Well -- he did not -­
      In context it sounds like he might be saying someone referred to did not graduate from Harvard. People are saying he made a joke about Yale. It's not there.
      •  Yeah, that's were I get all the transcripts... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff Y, OLinda, Shippo1776, Eric Nelson

        in PDF format. They usually specify something along the lines of "subject to revision," though I've never gone back to check a transcript to see if they have indeed been revised. By the time I get to downloading it, it will be interesting to see if it was revised, or whether it was a purposeful omission.

        Usually there's no need for me to do it. I just ignore any typos or grammatical transcription errors normally, since I read them as a layperson, just for the heck of it.

        What they do is make the actual audio recordings available the week after the arguments. For the health care case oral argument, they made an exception and released them the same day. The audio for this week will likely be available early next week, and it might be audible in its entirety on the recording itself.

        Not like he said anything profound, its just the novelty of it, I suppose.




        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:30:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope there is more to come. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DeadHead

          Everyone has made such a big deal of it, and it looks like he started to say something, changed his mind and didn't.

          I'll be watching this space for your updates. :)

        •  revision (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DeadHead

          I took a look since I still had the tab open from getting the link.  At the top of each page is says "Official - Subject to Final Review." Who reviews it? The justices? Maybe they know what he said, or Thomas himself will be asked to clarify. Will be interesting to see how they handle this, or if they do anything at all.

          •  That's the sentence (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OLinda

            I was referring to.

            I'm not sure what that final review process entails. My guess is that it relates to the company who does the Court reporting possibly going back and correcting any transcription errors once they have access to the audio recordings.

            I hardly think the Justices themselves have time to read and correct errors in transcription. There's just no way they would do something that mundane. Their clerks, on the other hand, would be more likely to engage in that process.




            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
            ~ Jerry Garcia

            by DeadHead on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:06:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  oh (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JeffW, DeadHead

              I hardly think the Justices themselves have time to read and correct errors in transcription.

              ha, I suppose not.

              I hope it doesn't come back with a [unintelligible].

              •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OLinda

                I understand why you might wonder... I do too.

                This is guesswork on my part as well. The Court is a rather mysterious place, especially for regular people who aren't professionally involved with it.

                Yer guess is as good as mine, in other words. :)




                Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
                ~ Jerry Garcia

                by DeadHead on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:19:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  So important to debunk the myth of opportunity (8+ / 0-)

    in the U.S. since the chance to rise is significantly lower here now than in most other industrialized nations. Yet another blow to "American Exceptionalism" (soon may it be killed off completely).

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:41:04 PM PST

    •  "Opportunity for all" depends on public education, (10+ / 0-)

      public nutrition, public health, and public safety... and the US is far behind Europe in all those areas.

      We are exceptional only in quantities of weapons and prisons.

      •  I was going to say... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW

        access to education = mobility potential

        •  Sort of. It also depends on the kind of education. (0+ / 0-)

          A few years ago, when I was still teaching at a prestigious public Research I university, I asked my students what they thought was the most important element of their college education.
          Hands down, they said the potential for networking.
          I was dismayed then, but now I think they're more honest than I was willing to be.

          Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:31:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  it also depends on the availability of employment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, peregrine kate, JeffW

        which is decidely NOT available at this point in time.

        it's very nice if you have an education, but if there are no jobs available what are you going to do ?

        work harder of course !

        I wonder how many unemployed in Spain have good educations ?
        or Greece for that matter...

        big badda boom : GRB 090423

        by squarewheel on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:15:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I knew someone with 2 Ph.Ds who was homeless (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peregrine kate, JeffW

          of course, she was also 60 years old and transsexual. Transitioning gender is probably the fastest way to become unemployed and homeless no matter how much education you have -- unless you are an academic with tenure.

      •  I think NZ is the best country in the world (0+ / 0-)

        to be a citizen of.  The US comes in a tie for seventh if I remember the report correctly

    •  need to debunk the myth of job creators as well (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, peregrine kate, JeffW

      fewer than 3% of 1% are entrepreneurs; the only jobs created by legacy babies are those jobs as their servants  

    •  oh yes, the little things Americans don't want (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, JeffW

      to admit.

      As a "white-with-a-very-small-inheritance-blessed-woman" immigrant to the US and as a former wife of a "black-non- -privileged-with-no-inheritance-pennyless-blessed" African man and a "how-black-you-want-to-see-me-mixed child", who had somehow gotten to know two European educational systems and the American one, we all are only too aware, how inheritance and a free-public-higher-university-level-educational system (like France and Germany have) determines the mobility of poor children into the middle class. If you are poor, don't follow the American advice, don't dream -  

      Other factors are public healthcare system for all and immigration laws concerning the permission to work in the country of residence.

      But heh...don't wake up those who want to believe and hope.

  •  Hey Nite Owls! (8+ / 0-)

    Have a meta problem? Click on the link in my signature and Courtesy Kos will help provide a safe neutral place in which you can talk about your problems, and provide helpful tips on how to express yourself in a productive and civil fashion!

  •  the false consciousness of status equity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Jeff Y, Eric Nelson

    sure we can all be members of the ruling class if we

    - win the lottery from a pool of "mobile money"
    - mortgage our futures with "mobile money"
    - inherit multigenerational wealth to generate more "mobile money"

    Americans have long believed that economic inequality is OK as long as everybody has a chance to move from one rung of the ladder to the next. But the accelerating rise in inequality hasn’t meant more mobility, but less. What Americans are just beginning to grok is that we are pioneering a system that may be just as inflexible as the old system of landed classes. Our new system is based on access to mobile money, and it is spawning dynasties, creating closed social circles and birthing more devices for social exclusions that separate the well to do from the rest.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ “If someone has a tool and is trying to negate your existence it would be reasonable to reciprocate in kind with your own tool.” - Dalai Lama XIV (sic)

    by annieli on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:43:46 PM PST

  •  I can't say I'm surprised but it was still surreal (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, Jeff Y, Aunt Pat, tardis10, wsexson

    reading in the Oregonian their response to their interview with my father, who is the director of AFSCME Council 75, on public employee pension reforms.  Having my father publicly criticized is kind of shocking to my system, which is how it has affected me.  They are particularly obsessed with the issue, though.  My father is not one of the people pictured in the article, fwiw.  Those are Governor Kitzhaber on the left, John Mohlis, head of the building trades on the right, and someone I don't know in the middle.  It is interesting, though, that my father, who was involved in getting Kitzhaber to be governor all the way back in 1994, and was his campaign's adviser on the Public Employee Retirement System in the 2010 campaign, is now having to publicly disagree with him over the issue.  And not just because it is his job to represent his union members, but because he believes in it.

    I doubt he'll have the same falling out with Kitzhaber that he did with former Governor Kulongoski when Kulongoski went after their benefits, though.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:44:55 PM PST

  •  Good to hear Nina Totenberg's (16+ / 0-)

    interview with Sonia Sotomayor re: her new autobiography.  Everything against that woman becoming who she is.  Drunk father (died of alcoholism); depressed, cold mother with whom there was reconciliation after decades.  Raised in the projects, diabetic since childhood, etc. etc. etc.  Stunning woman.  

    Not everyone can beat those odds.  We are lucky she did.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:47:31 PM PST

  •  Aristocracy (8+ / 0-)

    I often say that the tea party is one of the most ironic organizations in history as the US revolution was much about destroying the aristocracy that prevent entry into the upper class by persons in the New World, yet the modern Tea Party is all about maintaining the aristocracy that has been built up over the past 200 years or so.  For instance, by being born in the US you are an aristocrat that has rights granted by god in excess of others not so fortunate.

    In any case, I don't really know how much mobility is genuinely hindered.  I still see schools in low income area that provides a kid an education.  To me this is what is important.  Provide a sufficient education, so that a kid, no matter where, can succeed.

    What is not funded is alternative activities.  In the 70's, the museums and zoos were free.  There were ample free green spaces.  The cultural opportunities, symphony, ballet, opera, were all free or very cheap.  Today most of these thing cost money, and due to wage stagnation, as well as the promotion of processed over fresh food, there just is not a lot of money available.

  •  Aaron Swartz vs James O'Keefe (7+ / 0-)

    One, in a conspiracy of four, attempts to secretly wiretap a US Senators office and it's written off as a misguided school boy prank and O'Keefe is allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and sentenced to 3 years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1500 fine.  

    Aaron Swartz faced million dollar fine and 30 years in prison for "stealing" something where there was no profit motive, where the victim didn't want to continue with the case and yet the attorney's office of Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann would not accept any plea unless it's to a felony and jail time is served.  

    Obama's Justice Department for you.  Wire tapping a US senator is hijinks, a victimless attempt to make available scholarly papers is a felony with jail time.    

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:49:23 PM PST

  •  Scalia, Thomas and Mom's pork chops. (7+ / 0-)

    It reminds me of the story of the kid that would never speak. Went on for years.
    They took him to doctors; specialists. Nobody could figure it out.
    One night the familiy is having dinner, and the kid says, "Pork chops are kinda overdone tonight, aren't they, Pop?"
    Everybody went nuts.
    "Why didn't you ever say anything before?!" his father gasped.
    To which the kid replied, "Well, up until this, everything was alright."

    Thanks a lot Tony. You may have created a monster.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:52:01 PM PST

  •  I generally agree that your parent's income (20+ / 0-)

    has a strong impact on your economic success in life, but it's deeper than just income.

    I have one sibling and his taxes just went up, no doubt. He's literally never been unemployed and has a degree from a very prestigious college. He owns property in Manhattan and a place the richest town in CT for the weekends.

    Me? My parents told me no, you can't go to the ivy league school you worked your ass off to get accepted to -- you? You may go to state school and become a teacher. Why? Girls have babies, and college is expensive. They called me "a flake" because I wanted to major in art or journalism. I waited tables to pay tuition, but dropped out at 22 when I couldn't afford to finish. I finally got my degree many years later.

    And no, it wasn't the 50's. It was the 80's/90's. I never had a baby - never wanted one. I never made it out of poverty, either.

    My parents were never rich -- but they took out a second mortgage to send my bother to college...and he still tells people he "took on no student loans" as if he bootstrapped his way to his riches. Pfft.

    It's not just the resources your parents have, it's their attitude about investing in your dreams and potential. Not all parents will "do anything" for all their kids.

    •  My great grandparents were atypical. They (10+ / 0-)

      had two children, my maternal grandfather and my great-aunt. They sent my great-aunt to college because she would have fewer opportunities as a woman. My grandfather only went to school through high school. Both were successful.

      This was a very long time ago. I'm nearly 61.

      You got a raw deal, EB. It's sad that your brother doesn't realize the advantages he's had. Does he vote Republican?

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:19:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, hell yes, he votes Republican. (7+ / 0-)

        My grandmother had an atypical experience, too. Her parents refused to pay for her to go to college to become a teacher, so her older brother paid her tuition. Kinda awesome, if you ask me - and she started college in 1935!

        You know what's even weirder? She "dated" my grandfather for four+ years before she "finally" agreed to marry him. Why? Once she was married, she'd automatically lose her teaching job. Married women were not allowed to teach.

        Amazing, huh?

        After her kids were grown, times had changed enough, so she was "allowed" to go back to work.

        •  Ah, the old days which weren't so good. Only (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Mike Taylor, Eileen B, basquebob, zaka1

          "spinsters" could teach! Of course it meant a job for a woman who needed to support herself in a time when there were many fewer jobs for women. I'm glad times changed.

          It kinda sounded like your brother voted Republican since he never got any help ;).

          "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

          by Lily O Lady on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:53:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, yeah, and he was against Obamacare (6+ / 0-)

            because the $100 fine was too low for people who didn't get insurance. He said that meant "poor people" would never get insurance, they'd just take the fine and expect free care when they got sick.

            You see, to his mind, poor people (like me, who hasn't had health insurance since 1997!) don't have any "reasons" to have health insurance -- you know, 'cause why on earth would I want my own doctor, right?

            As if we like that feeling?!

            You know the one -- when you know something is terribly wrong and your only resource is WebMD? Like that time when I spent two days doing research to see if it was safe to take antibiotics sold at a feed store for livestock? (It is, BTW. I got better.)

            My brother just doesn't get it. And he gets all indignant and steely-eyed when I tell him how truly, fucking terrifying it is not to have access to a doctor. He can't fathom it. He's never lived it, therefore I'm "being dramatic" when I try to change his mind about it.

            We don't talk much. I don't feel like I'm missing much.

            •  Wow! He sounds positively Dickensian. It sounds (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zaka1, Eileen B

              like you've managed pretty well and have been extremely lucky so far. Too bad your brother can't appreciate what a resourceful sister he has, because he is missing a lot.

              I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Will Obamacare allow you to get insurance, or is it still too expensive? So many people just don't realize how expensive it is to be poor.

              "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

              by Lily O Lady on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:58:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  give him this bit of headstone wisdom (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eileen B, Lily O Lady, JeffW

              from a tombstone:
              As you are, I was
              As I am, you will be

              It only takes one CVA to take you from a six or seven figure income to the public dole.

          •  they also lived with students' families (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lily O Lady, JeffW

            so they would have a male influence in their lives

    •  I remember in the 1970's the chair of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eileen B, JeffW

      admissions committee at a prestigious medical school told an applicant: "women are a waste of space at medical school.  If you are married, you will become pregnant and drop out, taking a profession away from a deserving male.  If you are not married, you are coming to school to snare a doctor as a mate.  Go to nursing school so we won't waste a space on you"

      another friend had a fellow student accuse her of taking his buddy's place in med school.  She replied she had a strong undergrad major from a better university with a better GPA and better MCAT scores.  If anyone had taken his buddy's place, it was he and not she who took the slot

  •  The twitter is going nuts about NY state (7+ / 0-)

    passing gun control. http://www.pressconnects.com/...

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:57:52 PM PST

  •  I wasn't born into poverty (7+ / 0-)

    but we were certainly in the lower 25th percentile. I'm the first person in my family to get an undergraduate degree.

    I'm now in the top 5% of income earners. I met a handful of people from similar backgrounds when I was an undergraduate and many, many fewer in my post-grad studies. In both my undergrad and grad cohort, the vast majority were upper middle class and a few were wealthy. I felt/was alienated from most. That's not a recipe for equality/upward mobility.

    •  Stats still show you are not an exception, BUT, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      those born into poverty and those born into the upper strata stay "stuck" in those categories far more so than 30 years ago.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:46:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  article (9+ / 0-)

    4th paragraph

    The growth of the financial sector and the destruction of New Deal programs pushed by conservatives and now embraced even by many liberals has increased economic equality dramatically. More poor children means more poor adults.
    Should read increased economic inequality.
  •  Twilight of the Elites (8+ / 0-)

    Chris Hayes talks about this in his recent book. Tells of a particular school that tried so hard to be based on merit only. They devised a test and if you pass you're in, if you fail, you don't get into the school. Income, class, connections were not suppose to matter.

    Rolling Stone

    ...
    The mechanisms of mobility and of equal opportunity are inevitably subverted by unequal power and wealth. We want to make a neat division between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome, but in practice, we can't. I use my high school, Hunter College in New York City, as an example. It's a public school, free, open to students from all five boroughs, but it's highly selective. When I went there, in the 1990s, you took one test to get in, in sixth grade. If you scored high enough you got in, if not, not. And if you were the mayor’s kid and you didn't score high enough, you didn't get in. That's the kind of democratizing promise of the meritocracy.

    But that was then ...

    Right. What's happened over time is you've seen a decline in black and Latino students in the school -- who were always underrepresented, but are even more so now -- at the same time as there's been this growth of a test prep industry. Parents are paying thousands of dollars for cram schools to prepare their kids for the test, and now the majority of kids getting in are products of the test-prep regime. So the test prep industry has been this perfect parable: You have this scarce resource -- a spot at an elite school -- and people with money in a very unequal city have a clear advantage over those who don't.
    ...

    •  Hayes (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      begone, squarewheel, antirove, 88kathy, JeffW

      I was looking back over that Rolling Stone link and thought I'd post another comment by Chris Hayes.

      RS: Toward the end of the book, you write that "if you want meritocracy, work for equality" -- because inequality of wealth is at the root of inequality of power and opportunity. How different would American society look if we did that?

      CH: The underlying premise in all of this is the idea that there's this scarce, small set of good jobs and fulfilling lives to be had, and everyone is going to compete for those. One alternative is a vision of society where everyone who's willing to work can have a good job and a fulfilling life, which is what it should be. That's a far superior social model. And it's also in stark contrast to the one we have now.

  •  Rand Paul visits Dead Sea Aqua Buddha (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:22:14 PM PST

  •  Gun Control legislation passes 43-18 in NY senate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, OLinda, 88kathy

    Where is the mention of this? How is Kos not reporting on it? So much for that "GOP-controlled coalition" having their way. What Cuomo wants, Cuomo seems to get.

  •  As long as we keep rewarding (0+ / 0-)

    the same people who created the problems we’re trying to fix (i.e. Wall-Street, private insurers etc.) with our continued political support for that kind of action, the most corrupt people (the kind who will pull up the ladder behind them) will continue to get all the political/economic favors (because they've already been/continue to be rewarded for creating the problems) while good, honest people continue to get thrown under the bus.
    We are not blameless in this.
    What is it they say about karma again?

  •  After the economy tanked ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, squarewheel

    ...the children who needed the most help during the recovery were prescribed......standardized testing!!!!

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:12:49 PM PST

  •  I would add to this post.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, Lily O Lady, zaka1, JeffW

    Disadvantages in life aren't just financial-based. I've read that psychologists will tell you the first five years of a child's life are the five years that impact them the most of any time in their life. It is also obvious that, aside from economic opportunities, one's birth determines items such as raw intelligence, and health conditions (that then go on to impact economic and social opportunities). If you add all these factors together, I think a convincing argument could be made that most of one's life has been determined by factors in the early part of a person's life that they have no control over, and if that is the case, the capitalist system of, "you're on your own, just work hard and everything will be okay," really needs to be re-evaluated.

  •  "Landed classes" kind of makes the picture.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zaka1, JeffW

    .. in words for me. Just that phrase.

    Its use is so not unusual; that it is even a part of our language to sort out people is weird. On second thought it's kind of sick actually how it is an accepted way of defining or ranking people

    Note: Not aimed at the author's use of it at all - but macro view point

    What Americans are just beginning to grok is that we are pioneering a system that may be just as inflexible as the old system of landed classes. Our new system is based on access to mobile money, and it is spawning dynasties, creating closed social circles and birthing more devices for social exclusions that separate the well to do from the rest.
    Ownership, mobile money access, prohibitively high priced private schools,
    ..private clubs,
    ..years along.. welfare for the too big to fail.
    Private privilege on f*cking steroids from birth til the end

    Yes we're learning, OWS started something important and it's seeds aren't privatized yet

  •  T-shirts needed for friend with cancer! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, DeadHead, eeff

    Trying one more open thread today, in case somebody reading this still has not seen my diary of this morning.

    We're collecting t-shirts, especially Grateful Dead tees, for a friend who has esophageal and lung cancer. The plan is to make the shirts into a healing quilt.

    So, if you've got some old tour t-shirts sitting unused and outgrown in a drawer, please consider a surprise donation to my old buddy Brian. He'd sure appreciate it, as would I.

    For details, and an address to send shirts, please see my diary here.

    Thanks!

    Please proceed, governor

    by Senor Unoball on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:36:05 PM PST

  •  rural Kentucky (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    My sister could read Latin, played oboe, excelled in  Physics and Calculus, at a rural high school in Kentucky.  She had no opportunity to advance, on my father's teacher salary and my mother's librarian salary.  She lived in a rural area.   Couldn't play basketball.  Nobody gave her a smell.

    Seven people from my graduating class went to the University of Kentucky.  At that time, a semester of classes cost $250.00.  Housing and food cost $2000.00 per year.  Went on my own two years in, making pizzas and delivering newspapers.   I got a college education for less than a million dollars.  What I can tell you about Chaucer, and gneiss.

    The American dream is just not a big deal.  We plug along, work in the City one day, attend museums, take care of our parents, stumble along like everyone else.  Work at electrical assembly plants, in restaurants, mumbling Milton to ourselves.

    de fin able 1: able to be defined

    by paperscissors on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:43:12 PM PST

  •  But... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, zaka1, DeadHead

    part of the explanation for why Americans accept these mobility myths ISN'T because they "don't believe in the class system", it's because they don't believe in systems at all; they have no understanding of basic sociology.  Thus do the examples of Oprah Winfrey and her ilk indicate evidence that no systematic anything could exist, rather than understanding them as the counterexamples that prove the rules.    

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:48:15 PM PST

    •  But + (0+ / 0-)

      Many people are shy about their origins.  They do not want to advertise themselves. As capable as they may be, lying low and expecting good results from sheer effort is a viable option.  Silly, I know.

      de fin able 1: able to be defined

      by paperscissors on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:21:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember Oprah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      and Robert Reich having a disagreement.  Oprah swore that anyone could get to the top if they just believed and Mr. Reich told her, no, that not everyone can't do it just because they want to.  I agreed with him, and it was the last time I watched Oprah.

      I grew up before they knew about dyslexia and in grade school they had already decided my future (this was the early sixties).  But, still despite being told how stupid I was all my life I went on to earn a Masters degree (mostly the class system in grade school drove me to show them they were wrong).  But I was forty by the time I finished school.  I think the schools are where the class system starts because they are always looking for the brightest and promoting those kids above all others.  But, average kids and kids like me should also have a place in this world and be able to climb the ladder like anyone else.  

      I wonder how all these kids getting labelled today are going to support themselves or if there is still that barrier to better jobs for them.  We really are not thinking clearly when only the smartest kids who learn easy are assured success.

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

      by zaka1 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:58:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oprah to me seems to exemplify how success (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zaka1, JeffW

        can be abject failure.  She is one of the richest people on earth and owns her own network for Chrissakes, yet what do we find on this bully pulpit?

        More of the same from her shows with the same tired experts and same cheerful faux intellectualism

        •  And Michelle Rhee. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entlord, zaka1, JeffW

          ugh.

          Oprah's out of touch.

          •  with money comes isolation as so many (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            people want a piece of you that you have to construct layers of employees and friends to make sure you are not disturbed.  Her launch of her own network has revealed so much more about herself than I think she anticipated

        •  Yes and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, JeffW

          no.  I guess to many people just having money is so much more important than the type of person you are.  Or perhaps money does change a person, I've seen that happen to people as well.  And money is security.  I've strugggled all my life and never could get caught up no matter what, so I don't believe that if you desire a certain outcome it will always happen.  The people I've always seen get ahead are the ones that never complaint no matter how badly they are treated and they never try to change things for the better, instead they become part of the system to survive and thrive.  Of course this is just my opinion and there are always exceptions, but I've seen so much back stabbing and kissing up to those with power and money they are blinded as to who the person really is.

          "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

          by zaka1 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:57:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, a lot depends on how you define mobility. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Not A Bot, DeadHead

    If you take it literally as the ability to move from place to place in physical space, then Americans are definitely mobile.
    They not only relocate their residence, on average, every two years, but much of their daily activity involves driving around, albeit in vehicles that keep them contained. The latter is a false mobility, to my way of thinking, but it seems to content a lot of people. Some probably find it safer than perambulating on their own two feet.
    The equation of the accumulation of money and property with wealth is also questionable. In a society in which individuals are assured the necessities of life and most assets are communal and shared, it isn't necessary or even an advantage to own a lot of things that require maintenance and repair. Single family houses, for example, are really inefficient, if the residents only use them to sleep an insufficient number of hours because much of the day is spent running around. Already in the early eighties, before it took two incomes to keep a roof over one's head, single family houses were "generating ten automobile trips a day." (I put that in quotes because that's urban planner talk for why streets and avenues needed to be widened and sidewalks are useless). That meant that even stay-at-home family members didn't stay for long.
    If there's to be class mobility, then there's got to be a social hierarchy, which U.S. culture has long abjured. So, the definition of the American Dream as climbing the hierarchic ladder is really a mistake. From where I sit, as an involuntary child immigrant, the accumulation of property (much of it disposable and disposed of at the dump) is a sop to compensate for the fact that individual properties and the rights that arise are pretty much ignored. The right to life ends at the moment of birth; liberty is conditioned on obedience and compliance with legal strictures; and "pursuit of happiness" is like a dog chasing its tail or a gerbil running on a wheel--false mobility.
    That some few people have accumulated very large quantities of money, as reflected in the books of their banks, is really not very different from the accumulation of books in libraries where they were hardly ever read. So, the information in them was, effectively, restricted to a few people who could read but, in many instances, were unable to make use of what they learned. So, they copied what they found impressive and important and became famous as scribes. Did that improve human welfare? Not hardly. And the reason for that? Because there wasn't even a universal measure for welfare. And even now that money is used almost everywhere as a measure we discover it's not reliable.
    Money can't buy happiness. Happiness is the result of not being deprived of our humanity -- of the right to eat, to sleep, to recreate, to procreate, to associate, to be whole, to be left alone, to perambulate, to be unconstrained. And the culture of obedience does not allow for that. Neither does human husbandry, the exploitation of the many by the few.
    It is the ex-men who need to be constrained, not the majority who care and share what they've got. Those who share don't accumulate. The nice thing about money is that there's never a problem getting rid of it.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:14:49 PM PST

    •  to procreate? (0+ / 0-)

      Really, that is one of our rights? I think that our rights are to eat, breathe, defecate, urinate, and sleep, all under the auspices of life.  And, to be eaten by predators, after a chase, but not with weapons (liberty).  And, to peer up into the sun, while scratching our balls (happiness).  Where's the procreate thing?

      de fin able 1: able to be defined

      by paperscissors on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:44:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  From the perspective of the species, (0+ / 0-)

        reproduction is critical. It's all the genes really care about.
        As for being devoured by predators, that's mostly myth. No large predators subsist primarily on human flesh. Parasites yes. Bacteria definitely. Even some worms thrive in the gut without obvious detriment to the host.
        Some humans have a problem in that they are almost entirely dependent on their sense of sight. So, what they see and what they imagine generates fright because, not being able to see in the dark and not having eyes in the back of the head, they are often surprised. That's why there is "safety in numbers." The more eyes the better. And married men live longer. Humans are naturally social creatures, but some are defective. Nevertheless, the defects aren't lethal and even get reproduced because the social ones look after the self-centered. Self-centered humans do not survive without help and generous humans are keen to provide it.
        The mistake is in letting the self-centered decide what's to be done. Because, strange as it seems, the self-centered tend not to be self-aware and do not know what they or anyone else needs to be done.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:12:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  One definition of happiness ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah

      "Who is rich?  One who is content with his portion."  -- Avot ch. 4

      I try to follow that principle.  Saves a lot of trouble worrying about what other people have, and what I don't.  I think you're saying the same thing, Hannah, but from a different vantage point.  

    •  Access to Medical Care (0+ / 0-)

      Is our society one

      in which individuals are assured the necessities of life and most assets are communal and shared, it isn't necessary or even an advantage to own a lot of things that require maintenance and repair.
       I would argue that many do not have their necessities taken care of, with inadequate medical care being one.  There is also substandard housing and inadequate nutrition.  You could also argue that people want to work, and too many people are today deprived of their ability to work (too many people are unemployed, not because they aren't looking for work, but because there aren't enough jobs).  We are far from a world where your amount of savings doesn't matter.  People without money are rarely the ones saying that it doesn't matter.
  •  In Aaron's Name, Change This Law (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck, winstongator

    I was upset by Aaron Swartz's death and then I got angry. The more I read about the prosecutors and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the angrier I got. Then I decide to do something. Write.

    Computer Fraud and Abuse Act


    "There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say." W.E.B. Dubois, 1956
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:32:46 PM PST

  •  Need some advice, quickly if possible. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead

    Today my brother got his updated Tdap vaccination along with a flu vaccination. He's 26 years old. He's in good health too. However, just before he went to bed tonight when I was visiting he said his lungs felt heavy.

     Should we be worried? He's also coming down with the cold, but he's my brother and I worry.

  •  years ago in grad school I did a quick and dirty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winstongator

    study on the variables which impacted upon the faculty's being the faculty.  I found that father's profession was the best indicator of the profession of the child and other students found the same for lawyers, engineers, doctors etc.  The best predicater of future profession for a child was his father's profession

    •  father's profession (0+ / 0-)

      Odd.  My father taught school for over 30 years.  He told me never to do it, that it was an unforgivable profession.  I have avoided it based upon his recommendation even though, at his funeral, there were lines of his former students who said he was the best teacher they ever had.  Algebra.  He taught algebra.  I used to help him grade his tests.  My algebra teacher was his student.  I got an A.

      "It's always the same," he said.  "It makes you realize that it's always the same, year after year. It never changes."

      de fin able 1: able to be defined

      by paperscissors on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:09:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  small caveat; school teachers and university (0+ / 0-)

        professors are two different beasties, at least in the profs' POV.  In an anthropology class, one of my profs spent 3 days explaining how teachers were not professionals while profs were.  There is a definite difference in social status between the two

        •  oops. I misinterpreted "father's profession." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW

          "I found that father's profession was the best indicator of the profession of the child and other students found the same for lawyers, engineers, doctors etc. "

          At what point does the profession of the father leave your study?  My grandfather was a postmaster during WWII, so he got gas rations when no one else did.  He had a pump full of gas when everyone else was clamoring for it.  Was he, as a father, the best indicator of the profession of my mother?  Nope.  He just kept his farm running.  Your small caveat is absurd.  

          My uncle ran a slaughter house, and my cousin is a nurse.  What is the best indicator there?  Show me your charts.

          de fin able 1: able to be defined

          by paperscissors on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:46:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  this was a research project for a grad stats class (0+ / 0-)

            back in 1979.  However anecdotes are not data and trying to apply class characteristics to a general population quickly leads to confusion.  However the class did find that professors tended to have professional educators or similar professions as parents
             Here is an NIH study
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...
            there are others out there

        •  two different beasties (0+ / 0-)

          POV: Profs are people who wish they had a better job.  Teachers work harder, for decades, for less money.  Pass this along.

          de fin able 1: able to be defined

          by paperscissors on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:05:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  teachers are not professionals (0+ / 0-)

          Dad was studying for his doctorate when I fell in the bathroom and split my chin open.  I had stitches when I saw him in his cap and gown, shaking the hand of that guy.

          de fin able 1: able to be defined

          by paperscissors on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:29:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Makes sense, and is a problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      entlord

      First, there is a degree of heritability of skills, so it makes sense that someone who has an inclination to engineering would be more likely to have a child who is an engineer.  Second, these are desirable professions where the parent would easily support the child, financially and emotionally, in the pursuit of the goal.  Third, the child would see the success of the parent and see that as a way  to succeed.  

      I'd also say that if you separated to father-son, you would have a much stronger correlation.  I would think that the correlations to daughters would be more complicated, and perhaps mother's profession to daughters would be the better predictor.  Of course there are counter-examples to everything: this wouldn't work for my in-laws, my mother-in-law was stay-at-home, both daughters are physicians).

  •  now i understand why Republicans don't believe... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    ...in evolution.

    they don't believe in fair play.

    Sharing: Chimp study reveals origins of human fair play

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:00:02 AM PST

  •  Just looking at gerrymandering (0+ / 0-)

    We got the worst of it this go around, but the Republicans from northwest Maryland got royally screwed.  Its an obvious House district, but instead they get split between two reps who get their votes from Montgomery County.  I'd be pretty resentful if that were me.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:09:08 AM PST

  •  Changing Affirmative Action (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    Your quotes about childhood and success are very telling. It is far past time in this country that we change--and strengthen--affirmative action. A few decades ago the correlation between melanin in one's skin and poverty, lousy schools, unsafe communities was pretty high. Today it is in some areas, less in others.

    But the need for affirmative action is greater than ever. I'd sit with anyone and argue that the very rural kid in Northern Michigan whose school is falling apart, whose school board doesn't know %^&* from ^&IO (funding the football team but not the teachers), and who would have to ride a bus two hours a day to get to a school with advanced math or third year foreign language might be just as disadvantaged as the inner city child. And I real barrier is lack of broadband, creating "Rushland" ghettos of misinformation and bigotry. I know a couple districts there that give away free stuff to migrant kids on the state count day (end of September) just to collect the bucks for their attendance, then happily wave goodby to them as they go south again with their parents.

    If we could recognize the real socioeconomic barriers to learning and set a national standard for affirmative action and compensatory education, we'd increase the potential of our nation's "wealth"--those kids' minds--immensely.

  •  We are becoming a lottery society (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, JeffW

    win big or don't win at all.  Oprah has worked extremely hard, but her path and the path to her type success is not a recipe for the country.  It's not possible for everyone to attain uber-celebrity status.  That is like holding up professional athletes and saying, see we have an upward mobility path for everyone - just learn how to hit or throw a ball, tackle or dunk.

    My wife is a doctor, and I see few of her colleagues that grew up in lower economic circumstances.  Most are upper or upper-middle class (UMC is semantics, is the top 10% of incomes upper or upper-middle?*).

    I see two serious problems.  First there is too much moneymaking off money, and it is given preferential tax treatment.  Those that don't have any to start lose out on that, pay higher tax rates.  Second many high paying fields require either costly expensive schooling (medicine/law), or an extensive 'network' usually either family connections or connections started at the Ivies or other expensive colleges.  These options are not available to most poor kids.

    It's a complicated problem, but we need to have less income going to investors and money managers, and have greater access to the paths that will lead poor children to the highest paying jobs.

    *My parents for a few years (not anymore) were in the top 3% of earners, but still they felt 'middle-class'!

  •  We as a country are only just beginning to realize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    this.  Occupy Wall Street did everyone a favor by making us realize the scale of income inequality.  I was beginning to grasp it myself during my last few years in the workforce:  we were constantly urged to "work smarter, think outside the box, and bla bla bla," although we didn't see any rewards for these efforts.  Our raises were 3 percent or none at all, no matter how hard we worked.

    Poor children start out at a disadvantage because many of them grow up in homes in which the parents have to scramble so hard for a living there's no time for nursery rhymes, visits to the zoo, or any of the things middle-class people do with their children.  I've often wished there could be "homework clubs" for elementary students starting with kindergarten, in which children could be exposed to art, music, literature, and other such experiences to make up for their deprived backgrounds.

    And what the hell does "grok" mean?  Does it mean to"understand" or "grasp" a concept?  Why don't people write in English any more?

    What Americans are just beginning to grok is that we are pioneering a system that may be just as inflexible as the old system of landed classes.
    Stupid, I call it.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:15:32 AM PST

  •  Statsitics re mobility still show lots of room (0+ / 0-)

    in the low to upper middle income range, poverty and uberrich are becoming more entrenched than 30 years ago. I'll see if I can find the citation.

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:18:45 AM PST

  •  US sells arms to Bahrain anti-democracy crackdown (0+ / 0-)
    While the U.S. has maintained it is selling Bahrain arms only for external defense, human rights advocates say the documents raise questions about items that could be used against civilian protesters.

    “The U.S. government should not be providing additional military equipment that could make matters worse,” said Sunjeev Bery, Middle East advocacy director for Amnesty International USA.

    There have been reports that Bahrain used American-made helicopters to fire on protesters in the most intense period of the crackdown. Time magazine reported in mid-March 2011 that Cobra helicopters had conducted “live ammunition air strikes” on protesters.

    The new Defense Department list of arms sales has two entries related to “AH-1F Cobra Helicopters” in March and April 2011.

    http://www.rawstory.com/...

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:02:00 AM PST

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