Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Poverty Gap in US Has Widened under Bush

People wonder why I get so angry about BushCo and its policies. These are real people living in real pain. Having grown up in circumstances similar to those described here, I can assure you that it wasn't because my Dad was lazy or didn't try' or that we were expendable. Neither are these folks.

Poverty deepens when the wealthy don't care. Poverty deepens when the super wealthy simply get greedy. No other explanation is possible.

Published on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 by the Independent / UK
by Andrew Gumbel

The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data.

The analysis, by the McClatchy group of newspapers, showed that the number of people living in extreme poverty had grown by 26 per cent since 2000. Poverty as a whole has worsened, too, but the number of severe poor is growing 56 per cent faster than the overall segment of the population characterised as poor - about 37 million people in all according to the census data. That represents more than 10 per cent of the US population, which recently surpassed the 300 million mark.

The widening of the income gap between haves and have-nots is nothing new in America - it has been going on steadily since the late 1970s. What is new, though, is the rapid increase in numbers at the bottom of the socio-economic pile. The numbers of severely poor have increased faster than any other segment of the population.

"That was the exact opposite of what we anticipated when we began," one of the McClatchy study's co-authors, Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said. "We're not seeing as much moderate poverty as a proportion of the population. What we're seeing is a dramatic growth of severe poverty."

The causes of the problem are no mystery to sociologists and political scientists. The share of national income going to corporate profits has far outstripped the share going to wages and salaries. Manufacturing jobs with benefits and union protection have vanished and been supplanted by low-wage, low-security service-sector work. The richest fifth of US households enjoys more than 50 per cent of the national income, while the poorest fifth gets by on an estimated 3.5 per cent.

The average after-tax income of the top 1 per cent is 63 times larger than the average for the bottom 20 per cent - both because the rich have grown richer and also because the poor have grown poorer; about 19 per cent poorer since the late 1970s. The middle class, too, has been squeezed ever tighter. Every income group except for the top 20 per cent has lost ground in the past 30 years, regardless of whether the economy has boomed or tanked.

These figures are rarely discussed in political forums in America in part because the economy has, in large part, ceased to be regarded as a political issue - John Edwards' "two Americas" theme in his presidential campaign being a rare exception - and because the right-wing think-tanks that have sprouted and thrived since the Reagan administration have done a good job of minimising the importance of the trends.

They have argued, in fact, that the poverty statistics are misleading because of the mobility of US society. A small number of left-wing think-tanks, such as the Economic Policy Institute, meanwhile, argue that the census figures are almost certainly lower than the real picture because many people living in extreme poverty do not answer census questionnaires.

United States poverty league: States with the most people in severe poverty

California 1.9m

Texas 1.6m

New York 1.2m

Florida 943,670

Illinois 681,786

Ohio 657,415

Pennsylvania 618,229

Michigan 576,428

Georgia 562,014

North Carolina 523,511

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Today's Spam Poem

Good day, MacAdams

That doctor offers her a bribe.
That farmer leaves her a couple of books.
That farmer rows a boat.
That farmer strikes him a heavy blow.
That flight attendant calls him a taxi.
That flight attendant finds the box empty.

That flight attendant kept the milk cold.
That flight attendant leaves the door open.
That flight attendant orders her a new hat.
That garbage man keeps the milk cold.
That garbage man lifts weights.

Your past records aren't a problem.
Furthermore, if you have owned your house
For at least 5 months,
You've already been approved.


Saturnia antifermentative

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Make my day.


Happy Anniversary!


For all my friends from the Penn State Science Fiction Society
38 years ago today we all met, and the universe (for this blogger anyway)
got a lot bigger and a lot brighter.

Thank you.

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Pour a cheerful toast and fill it
Happy Anniversary
But be careful you don't spill it
Happy Anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Medieval Moment

 Who would I be in MCD AD?
Seems about right....

The Monk

You scored 21% Cardinal, 69% Monk, 47% Lady, and 27% Knight!
You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes your way and you live a long time. You are wise and modest. You have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with a good book makes you perfectly content.

The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave

Poem of the Day

Sympathy by  Paul Laurence Dunbar 

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
     When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
     When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
     Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
     And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
     When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
     But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Poem of the Day

 Now Winter Nights Enlarge by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge
     The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
     Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
     And cups o'erflow with wine,
Let well-tuned words amaze
     With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
     Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
     Sleep's leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
     With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
     Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
     Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
     Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
     And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
     They shorten tedious nights.

Another day that will live in infamy.

 from Axis of Evel Knievel:

On 5 February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the United Nations Security Council to present the United States’ case for disarming Saddam Hussein. Among the many fabulous details conveyed by the general that day, Powell warned that

our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.

Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 square miles of territory, an area nearly 5 times the size of Manhattan.

Let me remind you that, of the 122 millimeter chemical warheads that the U.N. inspectors found recently, this discovery could very well be, as has been noted, the tip of the submerged iceberg.
The question before us, all my friends, is when will we see the rest of the submerged iceberg?

Powell has since described the speech as a "blot" on his record and the "lowest point in my life."

Jesus Christ on a raft!

from Lawyers, Guns & Money:

Answering questions from students at Moscow University in late May 1988, Ronald Reagan offered these observations:
Let me tell you just a little something about the American Indian in our land. We have provided millions of acres of land for what are called preservations—or reservations, I should say. They, from the beginning, announced that they wanted to maintain their way of life, as they had always lived there in the desert and the plains and so forth. And we set up these reservations so they could, and have a Bureau of Indian Affairs to help take care of them. At the same time, we provide education for them—schools on the reservations. And they're free also to leave the reservations and be American citizens among the rest of us, and many do. Some still prefer, however, that way—that early way of life. And we've done everything we can to meet their demands as to how they want to live. Maybe we made a mistake. Maybe we should not have humored them in . . . wanting to stay in that kind of primitive lifestyle. Maybe we should have said, no, come join us; be citizens along with the rest of us. As I say, many have; many have been very successful.