Sunday, September 21, 2014

No Safety Net In Higher Ed

Professors on food stamps: The shocking true story of academia in 2014 - Salon.com:

You’ve probably heard the old stereotypes about professors in their ivory tower lecturing about Kafka while clad in a tweed jacket. But for many professors today, the reality is quite different: being so poorly paid and treated, that they’re more likely to be found bargain-hunting at day-old bread stores. This is academia in 2014.

“The most shocking thing is that many of us don’t even earn the federal minimum wage,” said Miranda Merklein, an adjunct professor from Santa Fe who started teaching in 2008. “Our students didn’t know that professors with PhDs aren’t even earning as much as an entry-level fast food worker. We’re not calling for the $15 minimum wage. We don’t even make minimum wage. And we have no benefits and no job security...”

Maddow Irked

Rachel Maddow Is Repulsed At Congress For Taking A Bajillion Days Off While New War Is Launched:

...“Sixteen-hundred US military families have gotten the call that they've had their loved ones deployed to Iraq, they’re flying those missions right now,” Maddow said. “But Congress? Heading home for another seven week break, because they can’t be bothered to think about that right now. They’ve got more important business to tend to they’ve gotta get re-elected. Because that's the most important thing they do, right?"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Crazy In NC: We Were Sane Edition

North Carolina Exceptionalism | PoliticsNC:

...While our GDP might not have been significantly better than our neighbors, our quality of life was. Until 2012, our median income was significantly higher than all of our southern neighbors. Our poverty rate is lower and our high school graduation rate is higher. We have lower infant mortality and we live longer. From 1979 to 2007, North Carolina’s average income grew by a far greater rate than other Southern states and the income was distributed more equitably. And between 2000 and 2010 we grew significantly faster than any other Southern state besides Georgia. People were coming here because North Carolina was an attractive place to work and live, not because of low wages and low taxes, though neither were too high.
Under Republican rule, we’re starting to lose some of those advantages. Our median income is down, our poverty rate is rising and, for two years in a row, our infant mortality is up...

Friday, September 19, 2014

On The Scottish Vote

Scotland could have been like Denmark, but decides to stay with UK - Opinion - The Boston Globe:

...If the vote had gone against England, the English would have had only themselves to blame. The “Better Together” relied too much on threat, and didn’t come to grips with the emotional pull of Scottish independence, concentrating only on economic matters and the punishment they would exact...
...Over the years I saw a class element sneak into the debate. The educated and middle-class Scots trended toward keeping the union, while the poorer, working-class Scots, who saw heavy industry collapse take their jobs away, tended to prefer a role of the dice to see if their condition might not be made better by going it alone. Indeed Scotland would like a Scandinavian-style socialism, while London and the southern counties are Tory and can’t do enough for the one percent, at least in Scottish eyes... 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dems Looking Up

Dems Now Have 51% Chance Of Holding Senate Control. What Changed? | Crooks and Liars:

What you want to watch is the momentum as we draw closer to the election, because the candidates who are gaining almost invariably win. Me, I lean heavily on one other historical electoral indicator: When ordinary people bring up politics, it's gonna be a change year -- and last week, my haircutter was talking about getting her entire family out to vote:...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No Debt Relief For Students

Sentenced to Debt: Republicans Block Student Loan Refinance Bill - MainStreet:

Yesterday the Senate blocked a vote on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinance Act, which would have let people with lingering student loans refinance them at the same rates offered to new borrowers in the past year—rates lower than on loans going back to the last decade.

“Life is about choices,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “Each of us have made a choice on education, like where we’re going to go to school and what we’re going to study. There was a choice made on the Senate Floor today, and it was a choice by Senate Republicans to ignore students across America who are struggling to make ends meet because of overwhelming amounts of student loan debt...”

Comment Of The Day: Iran Raygun Edition

Here's Some Stupid For Lunch - Esquire

Andy Koenigsberg · Top Commenter · Westborough, Massachusetts

Your assessment is spot on CP, but no one seems to remember that, or that Reagan's henchmen negotiated with the Iranians to not let the hostages go until Carter was actually out of office.

I am sure you are as flumoxed as I am that no one seems to remember that it was St. Ronnie who made the deal with the Ayatollahs and their minions. Why none of this is in the current narrative about Reagan presidency says a lot about us as a country and it's not flattering.

Crazy In NC:Tillis Riot Edition

This Republican Tried To Stop North Carolina From Apologizing For A Racist Massacre. He’d Like Your Vote, Please. | Mother Jones:

...But at the time, Tillis—who showed up in Wilmington on Tuesday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in tow—offered another explanation for opposing the measure: Not all whites had participated in the riots. So Tillis pushed for an amendment introduced by a fellow state representative that would have added language to the bill commemorating the heroic white Republican lawmakers who had opposed the violence. "The proposed amendment would have acknowledged the historical fact that the white Republican government joined with black citizens to oppose the rioters," he argued. The amendment failed, and Tillis ended up voting no on the final version...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Palin Pugilistics, Part 3

Stretch Hummers. A bloody brawl. And Sarah Palin? - The Washington Post:

...Meanwhile, because the drama never ceases, the next night, Bristol Palin returned to her home in Wasilla to find a stalker in her driveway, who was arrested and charged with felony stalking...

Crazy In NC: Fracking Dirty Tricks Edition

Asheville Citizen-Times-"Group Challenges Pro-Fracking Support"

Homeless men unfamiliar with fracking were bused from Winston-Salem to a state hearing Friday on the controversial technique for extracting natural gas, an effort to bolster a pro-fracking turnout, according to an environmental group and a published report.

“They were clueless,” said Bettie “Betsy” Ashby, a member of the Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking. “At least two of them I met definitely came from a homeless shelter. One of them even apologized to me and said, ‘I didn’t know they were trying to
do this to me.’ One said, ‘I did it for the ...’ and then he rubbed his fingers together like ‘for the money.’”

Several of the men were wearing turquoise shirts or hats that said “Shale Yes” on the front and “Energy Creates Jobs” and “N.C. Energy Coalition.com” on the back.

The hearing about hydraulic fracturing took place at Western Carolina University and attracted about 600 people. Opposition to fracking was overwhelming in comments made during the fourhour hearing, hosted by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission.
..

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ripping Fox

From Bernie Sanders To Miss Piggie - Top 20 Insults Directed At Fox News | Liberals Unite

Winning The War On Poverty

The Way to Beat Poverty - NYTimes.com:

...Jessica reminded us that the greatest inequality in America is not in wealth but the even greater gap of opportunity. We had been trying to help people in Zimbabwe and Cambodia, and now we found ourselves helpless to assist one of our daughter’s best friends.

One reason the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there’s one overarching lesson from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycles of poverty in the United States, it’s the power of parenting — and of intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born...