Friday, March 19, 2010

The poor work as hard as you

Good stuff:
Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short: New Findings on the Challenges Confronting America’s Working Families (2008) - The Working Poor Families Project

One highlight:
Myths and Facts about Low-Income Working Families
MYTH - Low-income families do not work.
FACT - 72% of low-income families work.
MYTH - Low-income families do not work hard.
FACT - The average annual work effort for low-
income working families is 2,552 hours,
roughly one and one-quarter full-time jobs.
MYTH - Low-income working families are headed
by single parents.
FACT - 52% of low-income working families are
headed by married couples.
MYTH - Low-income working families are headed
by immigrants.
FACT - 69% of low-income working families have
only American-born parents.
MYTH - Low-income working families have very
young parents.
FACT - 89% of low-income working families have parents between the ages of 25 and 54.
MYTH - Low-income working families are overwhelmingly minority.
FACT - 43% of low-income working families have
white, non-Hispanic parents.
MYTH - Low-income working families are dependent on public assistance.
FACT - 25% of low-income working families receive food stamp assistance.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Failure here will break us

The Cost of Doing Nothing on Health Care - The New York Times

The GOP: Working to boost the number of dead Americans

Access, Access, Access - The New York Times

Reasoning without knowledge

Why Do Conservatives Think They Own the Constitution? - AlterNet

This observation lies at the heart of the piece (and of the larger problem -- the seeming futility of trying to reason with so many on the right today):
[I]t is difficult to engage the Right and its populist wing [on any issue] because in keeping with the meme that all opinions are created equal (regardless of fact, documentation, or scholarly consensus), there is a deep hostility towards expertise and/or expert knowledge.
Consequently, the truth is what the Right wing populist “intellectual,” blogosphere, talking heads say it is on any given day because the know-nothing foot soldiers feel it to be true, and the phrases “I think,” “I believe,” or “I feel” are held as empirical realities. Thus, these “truths” are immune from rebuttal or critical engagement by conventional standards. Most pointedly in the rhetoric of the moment, those “experts” are cast out as “elitists” or “liberals” who dare to insert fact, history, or precedent into our political discourse. How arrogant those experts must appear with all their fancy book learning and reading when viewed through the lens of the Tea Party populists.

How Tea Partiers are tricked by the rich

Santelli on Predatory Lending: ‘You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man’ - True/Slant

The ugliest Americans

Disgusting: Tea Party Protesters Heckle Man With Parkinsons - AlterNet

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
– John Kenneth Galbraith

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When public knowledge is only skin deep

Seeking A Public Opinion of Substance - LA Times

One caveat: informational "fact presentations" as described by the author would seem hard to pull off given our present-day epistemic crisis, in which everyone lays claim to their own "facts," and in which there seems to be no agreed-upon rules to establish what counts as fact.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Bizarro party: more blather, less decency

Senator Bunning’s Universe - The New York Times

Who put the LSD in the tea?

Or, how a financial crisis caused largely by an anti-regulatory and pro-greed philosophy, combined with the poor evaluative skills, gullibility, and low information levels possessed by the unreflective, have been half-baked into a noxious mix of paranoia and misdirected anti-government rage. (Hint: what they really should oppose is the prevalence and effect of money in the political system -- proposals to limit which are usually birthed by Democrats and killed by conservative Supreme Court justices. A blind No-Government-At-All stance is a formula for chaos and the product of stupidity -- or at least a product of the "I haven't given the consequences of my position even a half-second's thought" approach, which is essentially the same.)

Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged - The New York Times

Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right - The New York Times

LATE ADDITION: An Irish Mirror - The New York Times