Sunday September 21, 2014
Archive - Jan 2014
The reality of rising American inequality is stark. Since the late 1970s real wages for the bottom half of the workforce have stagnated or fallen, while the incomes of the top 1 percent have nearly quadrupled (and the incomes of the top 0.1 percent have risen even more). While we can and should have a serious debate about what to do about this situation, the simple fact - American capitalism as currently constituted is undermining the foundations of middle-class society - shouldn't be up for argument.
The drinking water in nine West Virginia counties has finally been declared safe, or mostly safe. But many people say they can still smell the licorice-like odor of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol -- in the sink, in the shower, in the air, especially in neighborhoods close to the Elk River.
In the 1970s, I got both my bachelor's and master's degrees in modern Middle East studies, and I can assure you that at no time did environmental or climate issues appear anywhere in the syllabi of my courses. Today, you can't understand the Arab awakenings - or their solutions - without considering climate, environment and population stresses.
“There’s a folksy saying my grandma taught me: ‘If it smells like licorice and tastes like licorice, it must be licorice.’ Now it has a corollary: ‘Or it could also be a 4-methylcyclohexane methanol spill into your water supply, so grab the children and run for your lives.’ It’s not quite as folksy anymore.”
President Barack Obama is going to visit the pope! He's been to the Vatican before, but not with this pope, who is perhaps the only person in the world almost everybody likes.
Except Rush Limbaugh, which sort of makes it even better.
Some people find weird ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
While watching TV, for example, I was jerked alert by an ad touting deep discounts during Honda's "Martin Luther King Day Sale."
Really? Somewhere during my upbringing, I must have missed King's "I Have a Dream of a New Honda Accord" speech.
Does getting tipsy make it easier for you to bear President Barack Obama ‘s State of the Union addresses?
Try taking a sip of beer, wine, or a mixed drink every time he says the words “tax” or “taxpayer” this time around. It’s not as extreme as doing it when Obama utters “America,” “jobs,” or “people.” But that’s a game for drunks, not disappointed voters.
When I asked readers for "neglected topics" that journalists should cover more in 2014, one of the suggestions was a delicate but vital topic: family breakdown and the rise of single-parent households.
This is an issue that, frustratingly, the right has hijacked and the left has been reluctant to confront. Yet it's intimately related to poverty in our country.