- The Generation Gap Is Back – NYTimes.com –
"The wealth gap between households headed by someone over 65 and those headed by someone under 35 is wider than at any point since the Federal Reserve Board began keeping consistent data in 1989. The gap in homeownership is the largest since Census Bureau data began in 1982. The income gap is also at a recorded high; median inflation-adjusted income for households headed by people between 25 and 34 has dropped 11 percent in the last decade while remaining essentially unchanged for the 55-to-64 age group.
If there is a theme unifying these economic and political trends, in fact, it is that the young are generally losing out to the old. On a different subject, Warren E. Buffett, 81, has joked that there really is a class war in this country — and that his class is winning it. He could say the same about a generational war.
Younger adults are faring worse in the private sector and, in large part because they have less political power, have a less generous safety net beneath them. Older Americans vote at higher rates and are better organized. There is no American Association of Non-Retired Persons. “Pell grants,” notes the political scientist Kay Lehman Schlozman, “have never been called the third rail of American politics.” "
- Chana Wilson: Gay Conversion Therapy Devastated My Family –
"So-called reparative therapy, which attempts to make gay people straight, is not just futile — it often causes serious harm, including increased depression, self-hatred, and even suicide. It can devastate not just a gay individual, but entire families. Like mine.
In 1958, just after my seventh birthday, my mother went in our bathroom, held my father's rifle to her head, and pulled the trigger. By some miraculous fluke, the rifle jammed. But my childhood was shattered. My mother was committed to a mental hospital for a series of electroshock treatments, severely impairing her memory while leaving her more depressed than ever.
I didn't know the secret of my mother's anguish. She had fallen in love with another married woman when I was a baby. They had a clandestine affair for two years, until her lover broke down from cultural pressure, and went off to a mental hospital. When she returned, she broke off the relationship.
Grief-struck, my mother started seeing a psychiatrist whose goal was to help her adjust to her marriage. Mom went along with it, because she'd absorbed the culture's homophobia, and believed that something was wrong with her. But she didn't adjust. Her depression deepened until she wanted to die."
- Prison rape isn’t funny – Salon.com –
"There are any number of reasons to cross “Hit & Run” off your summer must-see list. I could tell you that Tom Arnold has a prominent role in it, and we could wrap it up right there. I could say that while Dax Shepard is appealing enough on “Parenthood,” he may not be Renaissance-man enough to direct, write, co-produce, co-edit and star in a major motion picture. But there’s another reason for the stench emanating from this wacky caper.
The plot takes its cues from the barrage of road trips-run-amok comedies of recent years, notably “The Hangover” and “Due Date.” Shepard, the poor man’s Zach Galifianakis, is an ex-getaway driver in the Witness Protection Program who runs afoul of both the feds and his old gang. Late in the film’s trailer, Shepard is confronted by his nemesis, played by a dreadlocked Bradley Cooper, who tells him the source of his quest for vengeance. “I got [bleeped] in prison.” But wait! The joke doesn’t end there! Shepard, whose character is wittily named “Charlie Bronson,” asks, “Was it a black guy?”
Are your sides splitting yet? How about when he presses on: “Was it a Mexican guy? Was it one of those white guys?” Finally, Cooper relents: “It was Filipino. Solve your dilemma of what part of the world my ass traveled to?” This, ladies and gentlemen, is what serves for the kicker of the trailer; the big finish that the film’s creators hope will stick in your mind. Well, it’s memorable, all right. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t laughed so much about prison rape since all those Sandusky jokes on Friday. Which is to say, not at all."
- Antonin Scalia, ranting old man – Salon.com –
"Newt Gingrich has been described as a dumb person’s idea of a smart person. I’ve heard the same remark made about Antonin Scalia, and until today I would have said that was unfair. Scalia has always had a taste for over-the-top rhetorical flourishes, as well as an unnecessarily high opinion of his own intellect, but these weaknesses had to be balanced against … oh never mind, I can’t do this any longer.
Scalia, who 25 years ago had a certain gift for pointing out the blindness and hypocrisy of certain versions of limousine liberalism, has in his old age become an increasingly intolerant and intolerable blowhard: a pompous celebrant of his own virtue and rectitude, a purveyor of intemperate jeremiads against the degeneracy of the age, and now an author of hysterical diatribes against foreign invaders, who threaten all that is holy."
- Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Subprime Education in a Subprime World | TomDispatch –
"Class of 2012, greetings! It’s a deceptively glorious day, even under this tent in the broiling heat of an August-style afternoon in mid-June on this northeastern campus. Another local temperature record is being set: 98 degrees. And yes, let’s admit it, the heat, the sun, the clearness of the azure blue sky stretching without a cloud to the horizon, the sense of summer descending with a passion, it’s not quite as reassuring as it might once have been, is it? I suspect that few of you, readying yourselves to leave this campus, many mortgaged to your eyeballs (some for life no matter what you do), and heading into a country on edge, imagine personal clear skies to the horizon.
And while we’re admitting things, let’s admit something else about the heat today, as you bake under your graduation gowns: whether or not you have the figures at your fingertips, whether or not you know the details, who doesn’t sense that this planet is on edge, too? I mean, here you are, the class of 2012, and like the classes of 2011, 2010, and so on, you are surely going to spend your first months out of college enduring one of history's top ten heat years.
As so many Americans have noticed, this was a spring for the record books just about everywhere in the continental United States. And keep in mind that at the moment we also seem to be making a beeline for a potentially record-setting summer, the months of your job hunt for a future, and maybe the hottest year in American history as well.
And records or no, this year is no anomaly. Look at a temperature map of the United States, 1970-2011, and every state — every single state — is, on average, hotter now than it was four decades ago. Imagine that."
- The People of Arizona Won’t Comply With Hate – COLORLINES –
"Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling to uphold the “show me your papers” provision in the case of Arizona v. the United States leaves Latinos and people of color in the state — and any other state where a similar law might spring up — open to racial profiling as law enforcement officers have been given the go-ahead to stop and question anyone. In Arizona, where the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs internment-style detention camps and where he forced a woman to give birth in shackles, activists say the human rights crisis in the state has been serious long before the fight over SB 1070 began.
What SB 1070 did do, they say, was encourage people to reach the next level in their human rights struggle. While people of color in Arizona face dehumanizing language, laws, and moneyed anti-immigrant groups, they remain strong in confronting injustice head on and rejecting the dehumanizing, racist law. The Alto Arizona campaign just released this video highlighting strong voices that challenge every single one of us to join them in standing up and calling on President Obama to intervene by cutting off SB 1070’s access to ICE.
“For now racial profiling is law in Arizona,” said Carlos Garcia, an organizer with the Phoenix-based immigrant rights group Puente Arizona. “Slavery and segregation were too once legal. Legal does not mean moral or ethical.” "
- Robert Reich (Excluding Outsiders or Coming Together for the Common Good: What’s the True Meaning of Patriotism?) –
"Recently I publicly debated a regressive Republican who said Arizona and every other state should use whatever means necessary to keep out illegal immigrants. He also wants English to be spoken in every classroom in the nation, and the pledge of allegiance recited every morning. “We have to preserve and protect America,” he said. “That’s the meaning of patriotism.”
To my debating partner and other regressives, patriotism is about securing the nation from outsiders eager to overrun us. That’s why they also want to restore every dollar of the $500 billion in defense cuts scheduled to start in January.
Yet many of these same regressives have no interest in preserving or protecting our system of government. To the contrary, they show every sign of wanting to be rid of it.
In fact, regressives in Congress have substituted partisanship for patriotism, placing party loyalty above loyalty to America."
- The Price of Inequality: Interview With Joseph E. Stiglitz | Jared Bernstein | Politics News | Rolling Stone –
"High levels of economic inequality lead to imbalances in political power as those at the top use their economic weight to shape our politics in ways that give them more economic power. If you look at so many of the outcomes in our political process, no one can say that they reflect the interests of most Americans. Most Americans don’t think speculators should be taxed at a fraction of people that work for a living; or that banks should be allowed to engage in predatory lending or abusive credit card practices; or that drug companies be allowed to get special benefits out of the government in the form of overpayments; or that mining companies should be able to get natural resources at below competitive prices.
At the top [of the income scale], a lot of the inequality arises out of efforts that people take to get a larger share of the pie rather than to increase the size of the pie. As you know, economists call it “rent seeking.” What they’re doing is moving money from the bottom to the top. But they’re not creating wealth; they’re just shifting wealth around. And the people who have been exploited are not better off; in fact, they’re worse off."
- Dissecting The Right’s Fast And Furious Gun Control Conspiracy Theory | TPMMuckraker –
Ryan J. Reilly June 26, 2012, 5:42 AM 10908
As the House prepares to vote this week on a resolution finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has once again publicly subscribed to a conspiracy theory stating that ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious was an Obama administration effort to create the political will to enact stricter gun control.
The theory holds that the Obama administration gave weapons to Mexican drug cartels in the hopes that they would commit acts of violence, that the guns would be traced back to the United States and that the public would be scared into accepting tougher restrictions on firearms.
Born on right-wing blogs, boosted by the NRA and subscribed to by members of Congress, it has Democrats banging their heads against the wall.
“By pushing the hallucinatory theory that the Administration cooked this whole thing up as a means to push for gun control, Issa has entered crazytown and has officially become the Dan Burton of our time,” a Democratic official told TPM.
As far fetched as it sounds, Issa’s support for it makes the whole matter worth examining. (For what it’s worth, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner did not respond to a request for comment on whether he believed the conspiracy theory.)
So, let’s say you want to think the Obama administration sent thousands of guns across the border in a mad plan to keep Americans from owning them at home. Here are five things you’d have to to believe in order to fully subscribe to the theory. "
- Sick culture cheers Sandusky verdict – Salon.com –
"Late Friday night, the news started to spread that something was happening at a courthouse in Centre County, Penn. The Jerry Sandusky verdict was about to be delivered. Inside the courthouse, the courtroom was silent as Juror No. 4 read 45 guilty verdicts. It was a silent spectacle after an efficient, effective trial. The former Penn State coach, once seen as the heir to Joe Paterno, would likely spend the rest of his life behind bars for sexually abusing young men.
Outside the courthouse, however, there was a different kind of spectacle. A crowd had gathered. News crews and well-groomed newscasters stood at the ready beneath bright, shining Friday Night Lights. The proceedings had the air of a football game, a carnival, a celebration of … well, something. If the courtroom was quiet and respectful as the verdict was read, outside it was bedlam. An outsize cheer went up; the crowd roared. The Washington Post described it as an unmistakable sound: “It was the cheer you hear at a football game when a team scores the winning touchdown.”"