Friday, October 12, 2012 2:16 PM
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about what would happen if we reach the fiscal cliff (or slope or obstacle course) later this year. Unless Congress acts before January 2, the argument goes, large-scale automatic cuts in government spending will likely trigger a new recession, whether or not Obama is reelected. A handful of programs like Medicaid, Social Security, and SNAP, are exempt from cuts, though Medicare will take a hit. Some of the bigger cuts will be in defense, farm subsidies, and student loan assistance. If all this happens, says the CBO, look for unemployment to rise above 9 percent, and the economy to plunge into deep recession next year.
How would sequestration affect state budgets? Check out this infographic from the Pew Research Center to find out. States are where some of the worst pain will be, says Pew’s Jake Grovum, especially in education. Oddly, while big-ticket safety net programs like Social Security and Medicaid are off-limits at the federal level, automatic cuts will slash state services like WIC, and some may cease to exist. Special education will see a $1 billion cut nationwide.
So why aren’t we more worried? Because it’s probably not gonna happen, says Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum. At least not all once. Whether or not Congress can ultimately reach a deal, the problem won’t come to a head in January. This is a “fiscal slope,” not a cliff, Drum says, and big changes like these take a lot of time. Congresspeople are great at procrastinating, but thankfully, they probably have until sometime in spring to avert disaster.
Economist Dean Baker agrees. “Contrary to the image conveyed by the metaphor, pretty much nothing happens on January 1, 2013 if there is no budget deal in place,” he writes in Beat the Press. In fact, concern over impending (but completely avoidable) doom makes the deep cuts Republicans are pushing that much more palatable. Waiting until the Bush tax cuts expire (also January 1) would put the Democrats in a far better negotiating position, says Baker, and would not lead to immediate recession.
And sequestration is by no means the only economic disaster we need to avert this year, says Josh Bivens and Andrew Fieldhouse at the Economic Policy Institute. A handful of big stimulus measures are also set to expire at the end of 2012, and that loss would be even greater than a sequestered budget. On January 1, emergency unemployment benefits, along with tax credits for students, parents, and low and middle income workers (all powerful fiscal multipliers) are set to expire. If Congress averts sequestration but lets these programs go, about 1.6 million Americans would lose their jobs by 2014. What we’re dealing with, says Bivens and Fieldhouse, is not so much a fiscal cliff as a series of potential—but not inevitable—pitfalls. Hence, the “fiscal obstacle course” metaphor.
And whether or not sequestration actually kicks in, there’s a more immediate reason to be concerned about the automatic cuts, says Policy Shop’s Katherine Stone. With sectors like defense on the chopping block, private contractors are already planning to make cuts of their own. Lockheed Martin has floated the idea of laying off more than 100,000 workers by the January deadline, and other contractors are not far behind. If that happens, the companies are required by law to issue notices to their workers 60 days in advance—and that just happens to be November 2, the Friday before the election.
That hundreds of thousands of workers could get a pink slip four days before we go to the polls could be a disaster for the Democrats, says Stone, and they know it. Already, leading Dems have urged companies not to issue lay off notices on November 2, and the Office of Management and Budget has even offered to pay employers’ legal fees, should they be penalized for doing so (arguing that sequestration still may not happen). Not long after, Republicans including John McCain and Lindsey Graham fired back that the government had no right to condone violating the law, and threatened legal action against recalcitrant firms. “All this is ironic given that sequestration was a bipartisan compromise,” says Stone. Whether or not the lay-off notices turn into an October, or November, Surprise, we’ll have to wait and see.
Image by Powerruns, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, September 21, 2012 3:48 PM
Last Saturday, Hispanic
Heritage Month officially began. For 25 years, the Library of Congress, the
Smithsonian, and a host of other museums and groups have celebrated Hispanic and
Latino contributions to American history and culture. But this year’s
celebrations are especially bittersweet, says Jose Miguel Leyva in the Progressive, when we consider the realities
immigrants continue to face. After years of soaring rhetoric and patient
activism, Latinos are “still being
taken for granted by politicians of both parties.” The Obama administration
in particular, despite inclusive language and a recent much-touted executive
order, has pursued some of the most draconian immigration policies in decades,
Leyva says. Most young immigrants lacking papers will be ineligible for
“deferred action,” as well as Obamacare. “Latinos deserve substantive actions,”
says Leyva, “not the hollow promises of politicians trying to curry favor with
us at election time.”
Want to protect voting
an app for that, says Maegan E. Ortiz in Colorlines. Pennsylvania’s
voter ID law might
well be toast, but laws in other states could still disenfranchise millions
of voters. That’s why minority communities across the country are using
social media to register, inform, and support as many voters as possible
between now and November, says Ortiz. Campaigns like Native Vote use Facebook
and webinars to boost Native Americans’ typically low turnout, while Nuestra
Elección! aims to target eligible Spanish-speakers and
curb voter suppression.
Despite the unprecedented
drop in immigration from Mexico
since 2000, deportations have reached an all-time high. A new report from the
Department Homeland Security shows that last year, the government deported nearly
400,000 undocumented immigrants, says Common
Dreams. According to ICE records, that number has been growing
quickly in recent years, up from 291,000 in 2007.
Video: author Junot
Diaz on immigrant rights and why Americans are still in a state of denial
about the contributions of undocumented immigrants. “We should be able to
recognize as a community the people who do the heavy lifting, and stop
afflicting them,” Diaz says. “Our contributions have to be honored.”
On May Day 2006, millions
of undocumented protesters breathed new life into an old, largely forgotten
holiday. That day, the Day Without
Immigrants, the streets of dozens of U.S. cities erupted with marches
and actions as immigrants called for humane laws and treatment and raised
awareness of their importance to American society. The 2006 actions, which
marked a turning point in the immigrant rights movement, also signaled a new
chapter in labor history. Since then, May Day has begun to approach its
historical significance among American workers, from the 2008 West
Coast port shutdown to this year’s mass
demonstrations in support of Occupy and workers’ rights. Not to mention the
one million immigrant rights activists who took to the streets on May Day
Immigrants and workers are
natural allies, say Ana Avendaño and Charlie Fanning in Dissent, and they’re now coming together in a big way.
While some of the most high profile immigration activism in recent years has
centered on the DREAM Act, many activists are now embracing a broader set of
goals, and using organized labor to make them a reality. From the CLEAN Carwash
Campaign in Los Angeles
Papers No Fear, immigration activists are increasingly seeing workplaces as
battlegrounds and unions as natural partners. What’s more, these alliances have
expanded their scope to questions of community organizing and social justice, and
in some ways resemble a burgeoning social movement, say Avendaño and Fanning. “This kind of grassroots mobilization holds much promise for those who dream
of a more democratic future,” they say.
Bertron, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, August 24, 2012 4:50 PM
Our weekly guide to what you may have missed.
It’s an unfortunate fact
that many Global South countries depend on fossil fuels for economic survival.
has found an innovative
solution, says Audubon. The Quito government knows full well that its Ishpingo,
Tambococha, and Tiputini oilfields are worth billions, but the fields are also sitting
National Park. And the
Amazonian park has treasures of its own, including a full 20 percent of world
bird species and more tree varieties than all of North
America. So, President Correa has proposed a bargain: if the rest
of the world can pony up a (small) percentage of the oilfields’ lost revenue by
2024, they won’t drill. The proposal may add up to blackmail, but major players
are already heavily involved, including the German government and the UN. The
upshot could be a protected forest and an empowered Third
architecture: from the “setback” New York office building to the
“crumbling” Bangkok high-rise, Koolhaas’ largely unbuilt designs disrupt
expectations and lend common forms a shade of irony, says Smithsonian Magazine. There’s even an occasional anti-corporate
message. One proposal for
a Paris office block includes a single floor jutting away from rest of the
tower, complete with subversive billboard signs such as ne jamais travailler, or “never work.”
It’s not easy to catch
some civil discourse these days, but it’s still out there. Check out Treehugger’s list of “26 Things
We Can All Agree On” (with pictures!), mostly having to do with the
environmental crisis. It’s a lot of no-brainers—“Every kid should have the
opportunity to climb a tree,” “Tap water shouldn’t catch on fire”—but that’s
the point. The sooner we realize most of us see eye to eye on things like,
“Kids need healthy food,” the better.
President Obama may be ahead
in national polls, but that doesn’t change the Democrats’ deeper
demography problems, says Jack Metzger in Working Class Perspectives. Like most Democrats, Obama did very
well among minorities and women in 2008, winning the nonwhite vote by a full 60
percentage points. But also like previous elections, 2012 will likely come down
to working class whites—and probably males. In that group, the Dems have a
lousy record. Such a crude classification of American society is unfortunate,
says Metzger, but the fact is that if the Republicans can edge out just 5
percent of the white working class from 2008, Romney’s headed for the White
House. And in 2008, those white working class voters made up a majority in
battleground states like Ohio and Iowa. The solution? The
Democrats need to stop thinking in stereotypes, Metzger argues, and maybe—just
maybe—stop calling everyone “middle class.”
Not to mention the fact
that the middle class itself is changing faster than pollsters seem to realize.
Should the Democrats venture far beyond Charlotte’s
Bank of America Stadium during the DNC next month, they might catch a glimpse
of what local photographer Nancy Pierce has recently documented. There, once-booming
exurbs have been transformed
into ghost towns, says Streetsblog’s
Angie Smith. We’ve known about exurban decline for a while now, Smith adds, but
Pierce’s photography is still a powerful and surreal portrait of decay—and
naturally poignant as the city plans to soon host the biggest political shindig
of the year.
And don’t miss Democracy Now’s moving
remembrance of Howard Zinn, who died two years ago at the age of 87. Zinn
would have been 90 today, and to celebrate his birthday Democracy Now has posted a 2009 interview in which Zinn discussed
honesty, history, and the power of ordinary people. And of course his message of
standing up to injustice and falsehood is resonant as ever.
A periander metalmark butterfly in Ecuador’s Yasuní National
Park. Image by Geoff Gallice,
licensed under Creative
Friday, August 17, 2012 4:42 PM
Our weekly guide to what you may have missed.
“A science fiction fantasy from
the sixties with a view to the sea.” We tend to forget about the Olympics once
they’re over, but the games often leave behind quite a lot. In a series of
vignettes in Granta, writers living
in Beijing, Athens, and elsewhere recall the changes the
Olympics brought to their
communities, and what remains of the spectacle. “I happen to live in the
Olympic neighborhood, built twenty years ago for the games,” says Santiago
Roncagliolo, from Barcelona.
“This is the point where past meets present, and you wonder which is the real
one. I still have no answer.”
And check out this Sociological
Images post on “the
life of Olympic infrastructure once all the spectators pack up and go home,”
from John Pack and Gary Hustwit’s Olympic City Project.
One thing that’s clear about post-Olympic London, however: “the gloves come
off,” says Dave Zirin in Edge of
Sports (thanks, ZNet). International
spectacle could hardly distract many Londoners from a crumbling economy, harsh
austerity, and a blossoming national security state, and London politics are
about to get messy. What will the city remember 20 years from now?
Video: The Center for Investigative
Journalism takes on industrial ag in The
Hidden Cost of Hamburgers, a new animated short (reposted by Civil Eats). Bottom line: beef
is a big rip-off. For every ounce of beef that’s made, a pound of
greenhouse gases are also produced. And that says nothing for other
externalized costs, like health risks, water pollution, and mistreatment of
workers, to name a few. Oh, and we’re addicted to it.
From Colossal: Recreating Van
Gogh masterpieces with colored newsprint and pieces of wood.
Climate change has been the forefront of a lot of people’s minds this
summer, along with a lot of very difficult questions about our role in
confronting crisis and adapting to change. But for Sarah Gilman, one of the
biggest questions is how to deal with a loss of this magnitude. Writing in High Country News, she wonders how we
“grasp the obliteration of so much we have
known and loved,” as we move very quickly from world to another entirely
different one. Reflecting on creative responses like Maya Lin’s “What
is missing” project, Gilman’s own answer points toward the future. “Looking forward, grieving for
what has been,” she says, “we must remember that loss is not new to the world,
and that loss is also possibility.”
President Obama may have put the kibosh on Keystone XL, but that didn’t
stop TransCanada from trying to make it happen in smaller pieces, especially in
the southern plains. But activists in Texas
have no intention of letting that happen, says Forrest Wilder in The Texas Observer. Construction on the
pipeline could begin very soon, which is why Tar
Sands Blockade got into gear on Thursday with “a sustained campaign of
civil disobedience” to block the project in East Texas.
Dozens of people have signed on, marking a new chapter in what Wilder calls “one of the biggest environmental fights of
The blockade in Texas makes a powerful
statement, says Bill McKibben in Think
Progress (via Grist), and
invokes the civil disobedience last year that eventually spurred action from Washington. What’s more,
the actions come at an appropriate time, as similar protests have erupted in
places like West Virginia, Montana,
and the Pacific Northwest over coal exports
and mining. The fight over Keystone XL united a lot of disparate groups of
people last year, says McKibben, and that can happen again.
Image by Kiko Alario Salom,
licensed under Creative
Friday, August 10, 2012 4:52 PM
Remember back in 2009 when
Texas Gov. Rick Perry almost-but-not-quite
said his state should secede from the union? The small media blitz that
followed dramatically illustrated that even in the 21st century, the
South retains a good deal of its separateness, and its bad rap among
Northerners. After all, America’s
most populous region was the last holdout for slavery and segregation. And among many Northern liberals, the South’s
recent recasting as the low-wage, anti-union Sunbelt
hasn’t helped its standing. The solution? Let them
go, says writer Chuck Thompson, who’s written a tongue-in-cheek book
arguing for southern secession. The upshot, says Thompson in an interview with AlterNet, would be a mutual breakup,
hopefully without all the fuss of a civil war. Oh, and they can take Utah.
And speaking of culture
wars, what kind of sandwich defines you as a voter? In the wake of the
Chick-fil-A firestorm, it may come as no shock that restaurant preferences can
say quite a lot about a person’s politics. That’s the idea behind a graphic
posted on Sociological Images by
Gwen Sharp that charts customers at a handful of restaurants against their voting
behavior and political outlook. As with almost everything else in 21st
century, there’s a pretty clear partisan divide here. But what’s really interesting,
says Sharp, is what the results say about the class dimensions of voter
turnout: patrons at sit-down restaurants, whether liberal or conservative, were
in general much more likely to vote than fast food customers. It also points
out an irony of the Chick-fil-A controversy: while Chick-fil-A customers are in
general very conservative, they’re not among those most likely to vote. Whether
the restaurant’s recent politicization changes this, is hard to say.
“Quick, Henry, the Flit!” Long
before Horton the Elephant and Yertle the Turtle, Theodore Seuss Geisel made a
name for himself in advertising
and political cartoons, says Josh Jones at Open Culture. One of his most famous ads for Standard Oil’s Flit
insect repellant went about as viral as anything could in the 1930s, and Geisel
was soon called on to devote his artistic skill to the Allied war effort. Following
the war, and after recasting himself as Dr. Seuss, Geisel devoted himself to
somewhat more high minded themes and ideas. But these early works still retain
a kind of surreal Seuss magic, especially when you consider the context. Here’s a link
to some more.
Turns out dirty elections
go back a long way. In 1758, while running for the Virginia House of Burgesses,
George Washington buttered his voters up with free beer on election day. That’s
the first milestone on Mother Jones’
money timeline, beginning with the American colonies. But of course, it
only gets worse from there.
With or without a heat
wave, most Americans are probably not taking to the beach this summer. That
Americans have less vacation days than workers in most other rich countries is
no surprise, but it turns out most of us don’t even use the time we get. A
recent survey by Right Management found that American workers leave an average
vacation days unused each year, out of fear of being fired, says Kathy M.
Newman in Working Class Perspectives.
The survey also found that two thirds of American workers avoid taking lunch
breaks and many avoid taking sick days.
And many companies are
starting to take notice. But rather than provide better working conditions,
firms like McDonald’s and Applebee’s are tapping into worker fatigue in
advertisements, Newman says. In one recent ad for VisitLasVegas.com, a Norma
Rae-looking scene unfolds in which a woman in an office attempts to organize her
fellow office workers to, well, visit Las
Vegas. Whether the woman is later fired for taking her
vacation time is hard to say.
Image by eyeliam, licensed
Friday, August 03, 2012 4:36 PM
Our online guide to what you may have missed this
The new transpo bill may be disappointing for
cyclists, but that doesn’t stop more and more people from getting interested in
biking. And increasingly, that
means universities and think tanks, says Pacific Standard. Ideas like bikeability and how cycling figures
into class distinctions are gaining a big following on campuses throughout the
country. North Carolina’s Lees-McGrae College
even offers a cycling minor.
And Congress also looks pretty
powerless to stop a new push for national bike routes led by nonprofits like
the Adventure Cycling Association. Currently, six
national routes are in the works across the lower 48, including—get
this—Route 66, all the way from Chicago
to LA, says Grist. The Great
American Bike Trip, as its known, is still very much in the planning stage, but
a nod last year from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials—comprised mostly of state DOT big wigs—was a big step forward. If all
goes according to plan, the road trip of the 21st century could look
The Baffler’s Thomas Frank asks, how vibrant is your
city? And, more to the point, who cares?
Redlining and blockbusting
may be long gone, but segregation
isn’t going anywhere, says the Pew Research
Center. A new study
finds that segregation based on income level has increased dramatically since
1980, especially in the Sunbelt and the
Adrien Brody does a mean
Salvador Dali in Woody Allen’s recent Midnight
in Paris, but Dali himself is no stranger to the big screen. In the late
1960s, the surrealist master appeared on not one, but three
French TV commercials for chocolate, wine, and yes, even Alka-Seltzer. Open Culture posted this video medley,
along with some fascinating background.
Oh, and here’s an equally bizarre
Dali appearance on What’s My Line in
A little good news on
climate from Treehugger: despite the
heat wave, US
energy production is generating its lowest
carbon emission levels since 1992. Reportedly, this year’s first quarter saw
an 8 percent drop from 2011.
Finally, how much do you
spend on entertainment? Sociological
Images reposted an interesting graphic comparing household
budgets between classes. Among the biggest differences between rich and
poor are how much goes to health insurance, food, and especially retirement.
More surprising were the constants: most people tend to put about the same
share of their income toward things like clothes, going out to eat, and even
education, regardless of how much they make. And as a general rule, working
class families tend to spend a much bigger pie slice on immediate necessities
like utilities and groceries.
And those differences are
growing. A new interactive feature from Demos
charts the demographics of
poverty in America,
and how they’ve changed since 1970. Nearly 50 million Americans today are below
the poverty line, and people of color, women, and young people disproportionately
Image by Prayitno,
licensed under Creative
Friday, July 27, 2012 4:59 PM
Utne's Guide to What You May Have Missed This Week
On Tuesday, four
undocumented immigrants revealed
their status in front of Maricopa County Courthouse in Phoenix, and were promptly arrested, says In These Times. Inside
the courthouse, county sheriff Joe Arpaio, an infamous supporter of Arizona’s controversial
immigration law, SB 1070, faced charges of discrimination against Latino
communities. The arrested activists released a statement condemning federal and
state immigration laws, and the culture of fear they produced, beginning with
“We are no longer afraid.” The action kicks off a six-week No Papers, No Fear bus tour from Arizona to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Along the way,
activists hope to persuade other immigrants to reveal their status, and to
raise awareness about immigration issues.
Twenty-four year old
Natally Cruz was one of the four activists to be arrested on Tuesday. Read her inspiring
blog post on why she decided to risk deportation.
social equality have never been stronger in Latin America.
So why has the U.S.
has been quietly
building up its military presence in heart of the continent?
Graphic: the gorgeous new Internet Map charts the 350,000
largest websites, their country of origin, and their traffic.
Keith Ellison and Michelle
Bachman are on opposite political poles. But their side-by-side Minnesota congressional
all that different.
State surveillance? A government obsession with social order? Sound like
fascism? Maybe, but maybe
Batman as well.
Video: Rudyard Kipling on truth
Why we’re heading straight
for a food
crisis, with or without a new farm bill.
Women are outperforming
men on a number of fronts. Where have all
the male role models gone?
What Occupy means for street
art, and why we should remember its history.
Why there’s (finally) reason
for hope in Caribbean drug politics.
Image by Bansby, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, July 06, 2012 4:46 PM
Environmentalism has a very
different meaning for indigenous farmers in Guatemala. Last year, hundreds of
Maya Q’eqchi families were evicted from their farms in Guatemala’s Polochic Valley
to make way for corn fields, says Treehugger’s
Brian Merchant. But instead of hungry people, that corn is destined to feed the
growing demand for ethanol and other biofuels, especially in Europe.
Evictions like this one have increased
dramatically since the EU announced a plan to get 10 percent of its transportation
energy from biofuels, reports John Vidal of The Guardian. The farmers’ struggle to reclaim land continues, but
the affair raises deeper questions about the direction we’re taking toward
sustainability, says Vidal.
And don’t miss…
Why a Filipino
freelancer may be behind your local news.
Forget Romney—why aren’t
more people talking about John
Roberts’ flip-flop on health care?
The people Obamacare won’t
cover, and why Bobby Jindal isn’t helping.
Why community-owned solar
gardens solve like 10 problems at once.
That time Indiana tried to legally change Pi to
The surprising community
potential of vacant
Video: a flash mob in Spain goes
philharmonic (and check out the
What a local
grain economy would look like, and why we need it.
Election graphic: why a
person from Wyoming is three times as powerful as
a person from California.
And why this probably isn’t gonna
The Midwestern heat wave
is bad, but is
it global warming?
Cyclists in Delaware score
big on project funding, but Congress lags
Video: some gorgeous
and diverse Algerian music, in honor of 50 years of independence.
Islamophobia in the U.S. has
ignited controversy recently, but its
roots go deeper than you might think. Washington has a long history of suspicion
toward Islam, especially political Islam, says Edward E. Curtis IV in Religion & Politics. That suspicion
reached a new level in the 1960s, when COINTELPRO mobilized the FBI against groups
like the Nation of Islam that sought to connect the civil rights struggle to a
larger Muslim identity. The pervasive fear of Arab Islamism is much more
recent, and demonstrates just how absent Muslims remain from the public arena. Recognizing
this, says Curtis, means recognizing that Islam—even political Islam—is a lot
less foreign to the U.S. than many people think.
Image by Jack Liefer,
licensed under Creative
Commons. Editor’s note: this image is of a Guatemalan farm, though not in the Polochic Valley.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 4:51 PM
Mark Twain to censors: “I wrote
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn for
adults exclusively.” After hearing that his books had been censored by the
Brooklyn Public Library’s Children’s Department in 1905, Twain got his sarcasm
on in this one-of-a-kind letter to a librarian there. “The mind that becomes
soiled in youth can never again be washed clean,” he snidely continues. “I know
this by experience.” Read the rest of his delightful scorn, here.
And don't miss:
An argument for a community-based
approach to mental illness.
pictures of tar-sand mining in Alberta.
The latest breakthrough in
Why Warren Buffett is buying
up every last local newspaper he can find.
Colorado’s amazing, frozen, (and almost) exploding
Why Elvis refused to dance at
his senior prom in 1953.
Tokyo’s gorgeous, haunting LED-illuminated
It turns out that college
students’ internal gaydar is surprisingly
Why LSD is more likely to block
brain activity than expand it.
Solitary confinement is more and more common
in American prisons, even though it defies common sense.
Why we should really be taking the
Unabomber more seriously. Ted Kaczynski, the
math-genius-turned-domestic-terrorist probably has every reason to stay in
prison. But his manifesto on the dangers of technology dependence is gaining
more ground among academics and philosophers. Find out why, here.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012 3:02 PM
The Crockpot: Utne’s Weekly Guide to What You May
It turns out that only about
a tenth of Americans believe climate change isn’t real, and more than two
thirds think it should be a bigger political issue. The findings, by Yale and George Mason
University, fly in the
face of what’s passing for an environmental debate in this country, says Ecopolitology. Most Americans also
believe the environmentalism/economic growth conflict is a false one and that
sustainability can help create jobs. The really weird part? Another George
Mason study back in 2010 found that about
a quarter of weathercasters thought global warming was a hoax. But
honestly, who believes what the weatherman says?
And don’t miss…
Why the pope controls our traffic
laws—and how Samoa learned to fight back.
Why Arizona could be a
battleground in this election—no, really.
Check out the new,
brilliant, extremely Russian mobile sauna.
Iran to Google Maps: It’s the Persian Gulf, OK?
Why sex robots will soon take over
the world without us really noticing.
Explore Tokyo’s exquisite, real-life glass
Researchers at Emory University
complete the first-ever
MRI scan of a dog’s brain.
What a therapeutic
playground for autism sufferers might look like.
Why Cap’n Crunch is a total
Why it took the Queen of
England 169 years to get
real on freedom of speech.
ancient Roman garbage heap can teach us about designing modern parks.
Knowing more than one
language has a profound
effect on brain development in children, and not just in language skills,
says New Scientist. New studies have
found that bilingual kids are better at concentrating, multitasking, and are
faster to empathize with others. And in adults, bilingualism may even stave off
the effects of aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s as it keeps the brain active
and vital. The best part? It’s never too late to learn. Read
Tuesday, May 01, 2012 11:23 AM
Today may be the biggest
event on the Occupy calendar, with protests planned in over 100 cities across
the country—not to mention the massive
marches and actions in places as far flung as Moscow and Manila.
Historically, May Day has been a European affair, despite its very American
origins. But Occupy plans to bring it all back home today with marches, dance-offs,
and of course the occasional bike cavalry ride.
So far today big outlets
like the New York Times have been
pretty silent on what’s happening, but that doesn’t mean things are quiet.
There are plenty of places to get the latest on happenings on Wall Street, Frank Ogawa
Plaza, and the dozens of
other flashpoints erupting today. Here are some of our favorites:
A lot of sources are
touting up-to-the-minute coverage of Occupy events, but Adbusters has taken it one step further. The site offers live streaming video
from Wall Street, London, Barcelona, and other international hotspots.
R88R, the creator of Utne
AltWire, has launched an aggregator site devoted
exclusively to Occupy. Here you can see the Occupy stories tweeted by
Influencers like Democracy Now! and @OccupyWallSt. The site also features
live feeds from groups like the Media
Consortium and pages featuring trending topics like pepper spray and
surveillance. But be warned: it’s addictive.
From Chicago, In
These Times has been all over today’s events. The magazine’s Uprising page
has had extensive coverage in the
lead-up to May 1, including articles on Occupy’s Spanish connection and a
growing student movement. A story published today by Rebecca Burns explores Occupy
Chicago’s Chicano roots and exactly what a general strike means nowadays.
And for those who haven’t yet
seen it, Occupy Wall Street’s official page has rapid-fire live updates
from around New York City.
The latest: Brooklyn Occupiers are crossing the Williamsburg
Bridge into Manhattan to begin a march to Wall Street. On
the West Coast, protesters and strikers have formed picket lines at LAX that
will likely delay travelers. Students in Portland
have gathered outside public schools. The site also has a number of links to
live sources like Occupied Wall Street
Journal and the Village Voice.
On Twitter, hashtags to follow are #M1GS and #GeneralStrike.
For a little context, ZNet has a number of new articles and essays
by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, and other scholars and thinkers. Amy Goodman’s
interview with historian David Harvey, published this morning, explores the
shifting meaning of public space, from Haymarket to Occupy. In another
essay, Rachel Leone reflects on mutual
aid possibilities in a corporate society.
And from our friends at
the Media Consortium, Media for the 99% features an
interactive map of stories, events, and arrests across the country and a live
OWS stream from Free Speech TV. The site also boasts its own live coverage of
Occupy happenings, from media partners nationwide.
Image above by RMajouji, licensed under Creative Commons.
Check out Free Speech's live feed right here, and check back at Utne.com for updates later on.
Friday, March 23, 2012 4:50 PM
The physics of fiction, or literature
as a moral vehicle.
Repress U and the homeland
security campus, updated for the Class of 2012.
Why thousands of Christians are giving
up carbon for Lent.
The Republican Party’s problems
with geography will only get more significant.
Absolute ultimate (Bonsai)
Yet another reason to stress
out about stressing out.
Something we should really start telling our
How to go from the Driver By Truckers to Of Montreal in three moves or less.
The insider story on the Easter Bunny’s checkered (and very
Evolution might be why we
can’t agree on anything—including evolution.
Would you let your school login
to your Facebook account? In an alarming new trend, universities and employers are asking to login to students' and employees' Facebook accounts.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 10:43 AM
Was Frankenstein actually about childbirth?
Buying this thing will make you happy.
Grope and Pillage: The woeful budget track record of the TSA.
Every year in Colombia there are hundreds of reported cases of the criminal use of burundanga, a mysterious drug that allegedly robs victims of their free will.
The Great New-York-to-Paris Automobile Race of 1908.
Life lessons learned in a French cemetery.
A historical manuscripts cataloger spends her days archiving old letters, novel drafts, diaries, and odds and ends like Dickens’ cigar case and a lottery ticket signed by George Washington.
Glorious day—new literary prizes for fiction and nonfiction writers!
Why most people get divorced in March.
Bored at work? Get started on one of these: A mural made from 450,000 staples.
Forget your thinking cap. Slip on a white lab coat to focus your brain on a tricky task.
The next time you cut your finger, you could save a life. A new project aims to include a bone-marrow donor sign-up kit in Band-Aid boxes. Dab some blood on the included card, put it in the provided envelope and mail it to a lab, and join the ranks of donors. “I wanted to make it as fucking simple as possible to do something good,” says Graham Douglas, the man behind the idea.
Image by D’mooN, licensed under Creative Commons.
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