Feed on


Just got up. I finally got to sleep around 4:30. I was sick all night with the same symptoms (only worse) that sent me to the hospital the last time, this time with the added feature of vomiting. (Sorry.) And the vomiting actually had nothing to do with the $20,000 bill I got from the hospital yesterday for that last little excursion.

I wish I knew what what I was doing wrong so I could stop doing it.

UPDATE: A friend points out that I’m describing symptoms of a classic gallbladder attack — which is much more common after weight loss. So I’m sick because I lost weight to be healthier? Yay.

More poor

Let’s be clear: It wasn’t the bank failures alone that caused this economic disaster. It was the administration’s continued support for economic policies that deepened and extended the economic fallout and widened the class divide in hundreds of ways, and a Republican House that not only refused to support stimulus spending, it actively obstructed any attempts by the White House or Democrats to push any policies or nominations at all. It was a Federal Reserve that ignored their mandate to lower unemployment, and a Democratic president who echoed and validated the “deficit emergency” mantra of the Republican party:

We have so many people out of work that it will be a very long time until we have a low unemployment rate again:

Reporting from Washington— In a grim portrait of a nation in economic turmoil, the government reported that the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million — the most in at least half a century — as 1 million more Americans went without health insurance and household incomes fell sharply.

The poverty rate for all Americans rose in 2010 for the third consecutive year, matching the 15.1% figure in 1993 and pushing many more young adults to double up or return to their parents’ home to avoid joining the ranks of the poor.

Taken together, the annual income and poverty snapshot released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau underscored how the recession is casting a long shadow well after its official end in June 2009.

And at the current sluggish pace of economic growth, analysts don’t expect many of these indicators of economic and social well-being to turn better soon.

Census officials wouldn’t say definitively what caused the surge in poverty, but it was evident that the root of the continuing misery was the nation’s inability to create jobs. The total number of Americans who fell below the official poverty line last year rose from 43.6 million in 2009. Of the 2.6-million increase, about two-thirds of the people said they did not work even one week last year.

Those with jobs were much less likely to be poor, but the recession and weak recovery have wiped out income gains of prior years for a broad spectrum of workers and their families. Inflation-adjusted median household income — the middle of the populace — fell 2.3% to $49,445 last year from a year ago and 7% from 2000.

“It’s a lost decade for the middle class,” said Sheldon Danziger, a poverty expert at the University of Michigan.

But don’t worry. The right-wing Heritage Foundation assures us that living in poverty isn’t all that bad:

“Poor children actually consume more meat than higher-income children consume, and their protein intake averages 100 percent above recommended levels,” wrote Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, authors of the study: “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?”

Occupy Wall St.

Legal information you should know if you’re taking part.

I’m not sure what it is about muppets and indie rock videos on youtube, but I think this one is just as good as the Cookie Monster/Tom Waits mashup.

Everything to everybody

This song reminds me of a few people. Everclear:

Listen to more Todd Rundgren at Wolfgang’s Vault.

This must be the place (naive melody)

Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view.

David Byrne:


Last minute change: Charlie Pierce had to reschedule, new guest is Alex Lawson of Social Security Works. Call 646-200-3440 with questions or comments about Obama’s new jobs plan and likely spending cuts!

Click here to listen.

Deep Thought

Taste and compare:

If you take the Tea Party at their word, people without insurance should be left to die, but the government should nonetheless be prevented from helping individuals access health insurance, because those people might be subjected to death panels, and left to die.

I have no doubt that in fact many Tea Partiers were the same people insisting that we “save Terri Schiavo!”

No one with any real platform will point this out, not at the NY Times, not at the Washington Post, and certainly not on TV. But these are deeply twisted, crazy people we are dealing with.

Redefining middle class

So we redefine “middle class” schools as those where 25-75 percent of the students are poor enough to receive reduced lunch subsidies from the federal government. Then we say how badly they’re going, even though if you read the Appendix of this report, when you “isolate the achievement of middle-class students” on tests of international achievement in math and science for 4th graders and 8th graders, “the U.S. ranking jumps.”

So you kind of have to wonder if they’re not just looking for some way to rationalize privatizing more schools, because the for-profit companies are burning through the poorest schools they’ve already fucked up:

Middle-class public schools educate the majority of U.S. students but pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes and spend less per pupil than low-income and wealthy schools, according to a report to be issued Monday.

The report, “Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren’t Making the Grade,” also found middle-class schools are underachieving. It pointed to their national and international test scores and noted that 28% of their graduates earn a college degree by age 26, compared to 17% for lower-income students and 47% for upper-income students.

Third Way, a neoliberal Democratic think tank that claims to “advocate for private sector economic growth,” based its report on data from the Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and national and international testing programs. The report doesn’t include parochial or private-school students.

Over the next decade, nearly two-thirds of job openings will require some post-secondary education, the report says, arguing that middle-class schools need to help better prepare their students to graduate from college.

“Middle-class schools produce students who are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and they are not performing as well as parents, policy makers and taxpayers think they are,” said Tess Stovall, deputy director of Third Way’s economic program and co-author of the report. “We need a second phase of education reform to ensure these schools get the attention they deserve.”

God should punish these people out of everything they have, but that still won’t begin to make up for the harm they’ve done, and the evil they’ve propogated.

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