April 24th, 2009

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The Permanent Recession

This article raises an interesting point: America doesn't educate all its people effectively. This creates a permanent drag on their earning capacity, which lowers the amount the country makes too.

Report Says Education Gaps Create "Permanent Recession"
Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, The Christian Science Monitor: "Educational achievement gaps are typically measured in terms of test scores - across lines of race and income, or even across state and national borders. But what if they were measured in dollars?"


One way to improve matters would be to narrow or close the gaps in education. Another would be to put some serious effort into matching people's interests and abilities to suitable careers. Right now, we are wasting a tremendous amount of human potential; we should not be doing that.
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The End of the Water People

Imagine having your whole culture obliterated because of other people's stupid mistakes. That's happening in the Andes right now:

Bolivia: Water People of Andes Face Extinction
Santa Ana de Chipaya - Its members belong to what is thought to be the oldest surviving culture in the Andes, a tribe that has survived for 4,000 years on the barren plains of the Bolivian interior. But the Uru Chipaya, who outlasted the Inca empire and survived the Spanish conquest, are warning that they now face extinction through climate change.


If they have to move, I think they'd be better off moving to a place that resembles what their home used to be like, rather than moving to a city. This is an important issue because it's going to come up repeatedly in the future as environmental refugees become more common. If a compatible destination can be found, people can continue to be productive and if not happy at least not miserable; but if they're dumped into incompatible locations that don't match their skills, then they become a burden and they suffer, which is neither practical nor moral.
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Indigo Bunting!

I just saw an indigo bunting on my birdfeeder! Squee, squee!

We've had several pairs in our yard for years; they're not as rare as they used to be. But this is the first time I've seen one on a regular feeder. Usually they only come to a thistle feeder, and I couldn't afford to put that out this year. It's uncommon to get a really close look at indigo buntings; they're kind of shy. So pretty, so bright blue. I am happy to have them.
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An Inconvenient History

Here is a pointed reminder as to what the original Boston Tea Party was all about. It was an illegal act of vandalism against a transnational megacorporation that was abusing people who finally had enough of the oppression and responded by destroying a large amount of the company's property. And it started a chain of events that led to the founding of America. People who pull this kind of stunt today tend to get branded as terrorists and disappeared into prisons where they are tortured.

The Real Boston Tea Party was Against the Wal-Mart of the 1770s

 

CNBC Correspondent Rick Santelli called for a “Chicago Tea Party” on Feb 19th in protesting President Obama’s plan to help homeowners in trouble. Santelli’s call was answered by the right-wing group Freedomworks, which funds campaigns promoting big business interests, and is the opposite of what the real Boston Tea Party was. FreedomWorks was funded in 2004 by Dick Army (former Republican House Majority leader & lobbyist); consolidated Citizens for a Sound Economy, funded by the Koch family; and Empower America, a lobbying firm, that had fought against healthcare and minimum-wage efforts while hailing deregulation.

Anti-tax “tea party” organizers are delivering one million tea bags to a Washington, D.C., park Wednesday morning – to promote protests across the country by people they say are fed up with high taxes and excess spending.

The real Boston Tea Party was a protest against huge corporate tax cuts for the British East India Company, the largest trans-national corporation then in existence. This corporate tax cut threatened to decimate small Colonial businesses by helping the BEIC pull a Wal-Mart against small entrepreneurial tea shops, and individuals began a revolt that kicked-off a series of events that ended in the creation of The United States of America.

They covered their faces, massed in the streets, and destroyed the property of a giant global corporation. Declaring an end to global trade run by the East India Company that was destroying local economies, this small, masked minority started a revolution with an act of rebellion later called the Boston Tea Party.