Pressed to reveal the lighter side of Mitt Romney, his advisers on Saturday recalled the time when the former Massachusetts governor had a laugh over a prank involving the purported firing of a chambermaid.
“We’ve always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”—Mitt Romney on how to start a business. (via think-progress)
“How could my experience and that of so many other black women be so different from the official statistics? I wanted to find out — so I started digging. Because so many news reports repeat the 70 percent figure without citing a source, I went straight to the mother lode of demographic data: the U.S. Census. And what I found was shocking: While, according to 2009 data, it’s true that 70.5 percent of black women were never married compared with 45 percent of white women, look closer and you’ll see that the figure pertains only to women between the ages of 25 and 29. Not that surprising, right? Researching further, I found another U.S. Census statistic that may have sparked the frenzy. According to the 2009 data, only 30 percent of black women were married — but the data includes every female from 15 years old up to 90-somethings. So … my baby cousin and grandmother are single. Is that really a crisis?”—Race and Relationships - Interracial Relationships - Marie Claire (via npr)
“The Wire” casts a long shadow. Whether or not you consider it the greatest show ever made, there’s no denying that it’s one of the biggest and best shows ever created. (We ranked its second season as one of the best TV seasons of the past quarter century.) As such, a number of currently airing shows owe David Simon’s epic a debt of gratitude, from story ideas to character treatments.
Today, 400 individuals have as much wealth as an entire HALF of America.
Yet it’s still argued by some conservatives that in real life the two extremes are split by a substantial group of average Americans in the middle. The income of the middle quintile, we are told, grew by over 35% percent between 1979 and 2007. But, as Jared Bernstein points out, 35% over 28 years is 1.1% per year, over a period when productivity grew at twice that rate. Census data shows that the inflation-adjusted salary of a full-time male worker in 2010 was almost exactly the same as in 1979.
In real life just 2 percent of Americans own HALF of all wealth outside the home. The top quintile owns 93% of all wealth outside the home. The poor half of America owns nothing outside of their homes, because most of them owe more than they own. And their homes have lost much of their value.
Conservatives counter that the 1% hasn’t increased its share of wealth for many years, and that the “democratization of stock ownership” is beginning to spread the wealth around.
While it’s true that the share of wealth held by the 1% has remained at the same high level since the 1980s, the rest of the richest 5% increased their share by almost 20%. The percentages for the poorest 80% of the population DECREASED by almost 20%.
In other words, the share of wealth owned by the top 1% leveled off because the “democratization of stock ownership” spread the wealth among just 5% of the population, those earning an average of $500,000 per year. A few people — 5 out of 100 — got very rich, but everyone else lost ground.
How can there be a “middle class” with such a lopsided wealth distribution? Is the middle class part of the 65 million households who have virtually NONE of the non-home wealth? Is it part of the 117 million households who have received NONE of the productivity gains over 30 years?
The middle class is somewhere between two extremes, sliding toward the bottom
“I will give you an example of how race affects my life. I live in a place called Alpine, New Jersey. Live in Alpine, New Jersey, right? My house costs millions of dollars. In my neighborhood, there are four black people. Hundreds of houses, four black people. Who are these black people? Well, there’s me, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy. Only black people in the whole neighborhood. So let’s break it down, let’s break it down: me, I’m a decent comedian. I’m a’ight. Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the Earth. Jay-Z, one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Eddie Murphy, one of the funniest actors to ever, ever do it. Do you know what the white man who lives next door to me does for a living? He’s a fucking dentist! He ain’t the best dentist in the world…he ain’t going to the dental hall of fame…he don’t get plaques for getting rid of plaque. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist. See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to.”—
see, this is something that aforementioned idiot should listen to. if you think racial equality exists because we have the same purported opportunity to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, ask if we even started at the same point, when people of color didn’t even have the same opportunities to set up a foundation for the life of this generation. you think your white grandparents got the same jobs as a person of color’s grandparents, so that they could retire and you would know they’d have access to healthcare? you think your white family was offered the same rates (or even chances) for home loans as a family of color’s so that you didn’t have to work a job through high school to meet rent? you think that your mother worrying if you’re going to get into a good college is hard enough? what if on top of that, your mother also had to worry that you might get gunned down in the street because of the color of your skin?
i’m sorry buddy, but you are wrong, and chris rock is so, so right.
Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class.
The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.
One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.
”—President Obama in a statement on today’s vote (via barackobama)
“For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands. An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes.”—Nicholas Kristof (via think-progress)