Weekend Update 11-26-2011

As usual, Ryan makes me think of Ezra Klein’s old line about Dick Armey: he’s a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like. That quote captures the essence of Paul Ryan, I think, at least if he actually believes the BS he spouts. Over the course of my life, I’ve managed to move across multiple quintiles, but a lot of that has just been luck. I’ve also seen how few manage to do it. Nor was I without advantages. It doesn’t suck, after all, to be a white male in this country. That alone carries some privilege. And I came from a highly educated family, which is another sort of privilege, and a family that may not have had a lot of resources, but was and is supportive. And even though intelligence doesn’t really correlate with wealth, it’s another unearned privilege that helped me take advantage of opportunities along the way. The recent movie, In Time, does a good job of capturing the way the poor tend to be trapped by the forces around them, however intelligent and willing to work hard they might be. The cycle of simple survival leaves no time or energy for anything else. Those like Ryan want to make our country increasingly divided between the haves and the have nots. That’s a destructive societal cycle. I’ll note it’s even self-destructive for those like Ryan who are trapped within their own delusion. His way seems to be the way of the passions, which Jesus, the Didache, and many others call the way of death.

The responses by “evangelical pastors” on this survey about age of earth and evolution are both unsurprising and disheartening. Sigh.

The near poor are expanding and the group just below the top 5% or so is shrinking. We really do have two economies now. There’s the booming economy of the rich and the one the rest of us have to live in. I don’t think that’s sustainable.

The middle skill area is being hollowed out. This post has a good summary. To see the occupational breakdown, read the linked full report. I find it intriguing. I’m in a high skill area (computers). And one son is in a high skill area (lawyer). I have a daughter who’s a nurse. Health practitioners are considered middle skill (which seems odd to me). My son in college is majoring in physics with a minor or double major in math. (Do you emphasize the math side to make it a high skill or the science aspect to make it a middle skill? Given that my father is a geneticist, I also find the classification of science as middle skill odd.) Another son works more in the high low skill or low middle skill occupations. (He likes working with his hands and has never been able to stand the thought of being cooped up in an office.) In other words, my children fit all across the spectrum and this can’t fail to impact them. It concerns me.

Faux News viewers are significantly less informed than those who watch no news at all. Big surprise, I know.

Here’s one good example of the Faux News effect — describing pepper spray as a ‘food’ product. Lord have mercy.

Over It. Indeed.

The courts found Texas redistricting maps were deliberately designed to reduce minority voting impact (imagine that!) and wrote their own for the election next year. Likely they’ll change again after that.

Gingrich — the slimy Republican front-runner (in some polls) who wants to repeal child labor laws and save money in public schools by putting poor kids to work as janitors. I was surprised, but repealing child labor laws seems to be a theme with the current, openly evil GOP crowd. They’re pining for the lost world of Oliver Twist. I didn’t realize they were running out of groups to exploit and needed to create new ones.

Anne McCaffrey passed away. I have her Pern books on my shelf. My eldest daughter loved Harper Hall when she was young. I’m just now introducing youngest daughter to the books.

AT&T/T-Mobile deal collapses under regulatory scrutiny. As a Sprint customer, that looks like a good thing to me. The last thing we need is even less competition in the US market. Well, I guess I could live with less competition if it came with serious, ongoing, and aggressive regulatory oversight. But there’s little chance of that in the US.

Robert Reich’s Thanksgiving reflection is a good one. Take a minute to read.

We are the 99%.

I will believe corporations are people when Georgia and Texas execute them. That’s a great line!

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2 Comments

  1. Dana Ames
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago I went to hear EE on my birthday (fairly close to 14 Feb) and she was definitely inspiring.

    Newt is the one of the few Repub’s with actual experience in DC. There’s no way I’d vote for any of them. It’s going to be quite an entertaining year for Jon Stewart…

    Son in North Carolina reports that a body there can’t get any eggnog *without* the liquor already in it. “Without” is the only way one can get eggnog in CA. Is that a Southern thing?

    Dana

  2. Posted November 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Never heard her in person, but I can see why it would be inspiring. Quite an article.

    Hmmm. Texas has a strange set of laws designed to protect each of the three tiers of those involved in alcohol production, distribution, and sales, but except in liquor stores, all nog here is alcohol free. (Well, it’s alcohol free until you add your own of course.) And the pre-mixed stuff in liquor stores is more a novelty item. People here like to mix their own nog to the strength they prefer and top it with freshly grated nutmeg.

    Of course, I can’t tolerate milk anymore, but Silk’s nog is a pretty decent substitute.

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