Visual source: Newseum
You know I'm a sucker for obscure history, especially when that history is tied into current events, so there's no way I could pass up Jill Lepore's reflection on Ben Franklin's sister, Jane Mecom.
She struggled, and failed, to keep them out of debtors’ prison, the almshouse, asylums. She took in boarders; she sewed bonnets. She had not a moment’s rest.
And still, she thirsted for knowledge.
They left very different paper trails. He wrote the story of his life, stirring and wry — the most important autobiography ever written. She wrote 14 pages of what she called her “Book of Ages.” It isn’t an autobiography; it is, instead, a litany of grief, a history, in brief, of a life lived rags to rags.
Professor Lepore doesn't think much of the Ryan plan that riffs on Franklin's tome, and neither does the NYT.
We know it is not how most people want to spend their time, but Americans need to give a close reading to the Democrats’ and Republicans’ plans for Medicare reform. There are stark differences that will profoundly affect all of our lives — and clear political choices to come.
We were skeptical when the Republicans suddenly claimed to be Medicare’s great defenders. We are even more skeptical now that we have read their plan.
When David Stockman tells you that cutting taxes is the problem, not the solution, maybe it's time to rethink.
Trapped between the religion of low taxes and the reality of huge deficits, the Ryan plan appears to be an attack on the poor in order to coddle the rich.
David Sehat has an well timed look at issues of church and state that don't exactly fit expectations.
The American Revolution was actually a low point in American religious adherence. Sociologists have shown that no more than 20 percent of the population in 1776 belonged to a church. Then, under the influence of evangelical expansion during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century, church membership grew rapidly until, by 1850, more than one-third of Americans belonged to a church. ... in 2000, 62 percent of the populace belonged to religious institutions, if not specifically Christian churches.
Steve Hallett and John Wright describe what would happen if we suddenly faced a world without oil. Not as a horror story to encourage drill, baby, drill, but as a stark warning to prepare for something that is inevitably in our future.
Even if it will happen more gradually than laid out here, we will indeed run out of oil. Output has already peaked in the majority of countries and has been declining in the United States since 1971. A handful of countries are still increasing production, but not enough to offset even bigger declines elsewhere. There is lots of oil still in the ground (we’ve used about half of the planet’s generous endowment), but while the end of oil may be many decades away, the beginning of the end is now.
Harold Meyerson shows that taxing America's workers is like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip -- it's just not where the money is any more.
The big money, in other words, was in big investments, and it went overwhelmingly to the rich. In 1962, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households had 125 times the wealth of the median household. By 2009, that had increased to 225 times the median.
And yet, we tax income derived from long-term capital gains and dividends at a rate of 15 percent, while we tax income from Americans' labor at a rate that goes up to 35 percent.
Maybe, just maybe, the elusive Higgs-boson has finally wandered out of theoryland. That is, if the rumors are true.