Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Unfounding of America! Todney Harris

I have written this response to an article written by Joseph Stiglitz. Mr. Stiglitz posted this article in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.  He is one of the lone voices in America who is actually speaking about the issue of class and labor in America.

 In order for Americans to understand the importance of Mr. Stiglitz message, it is important to understand the American economic philosophy of Capitalism. First, the government does not regulate business in America. The corporations in America are privately owned and operated. The term is known as "Laissez Faire". Second, there are two classes in America, the owner class and the laboring class. The owner class has been forced to share resources in America with the laboring class due to the influence of organized labor which resulted in the formation of labor unions. The owner class wishes to amass profits at the expense of the laboring class. There is no social welfare in Capitalism. The owner class does not care about redistributing wealth and resources in this country. They just care about getting rich at the expense of the worker. For a time, labor and capitalists coexisted together. Now, with the corporations outsourcing labor in order to circumvent labor unions and a living wage, America is at the point where the owner class cannot coexist peacefully with organized labor.

Furthermore, Capitalism and education are intertwined. Most people expect to rise to the middle class or better with an advanced education. One system cannot be reformed without reforming the other. Education was created due to the growth of industry in America. The immigration that occurred was the impetus for the creation of public education in America. At this point in our nation’s history, both institutions are being undermined by the Capitalists or owner class. College tuition is at the point where most American families cannot afford to send their children to an American university. In addition, completing a degree program does not guarantee a job to any college graduate. Why? Outsourcing! Listen, the country cannot spend its way out of this economic depression. We can't sell guns and weapons to allies. The world is not at war. We have made weapons that we cannot use.  What has to occur is corporate responsibility. American corporations need to stop outsourcing jobs.  Corporations need to create new business and industry right here in America!  Certainly last but not least; hire American people for these jobs.  American corporations need to stop outsourcing our jobs to poor countries. American people need to be paid a living wage.  
What baffles me is that American corporations still expect America to have the number one consumer economy in America.  People have been buying products in since Henry Ford invented the idea of paying his workers a decent and living wage in order for his workers to purchase the Model T’s that his company was making on the assembly lines.  The commercials on television are more influential and persuasive than ever.  How can companies expect us to purchase their goods if they aren’t hiring us and paying a decent wage?  They surely don’t have a problem charging for their products in light of the fact that some poor worker in India, China or Indonesia is responsible for making the product at a less than satisfactory wage.  The end result is that the corporate profits are soaring.  Taxes aren’t being paid and workers aren’t being hired.  I consider this the “unfounding” of America due to the fact that this goes against all of the principals in which this country was founded upon.

Joseph Stiglitz: We Won’t Fix America Until We Fix Income Inequality

“We used to think of ourselves as a land of opportunity, but if you look at the numbers, the statistics … the chances of someone from the bottom making it to the top or even the middle are very limited. In fact – mobility, opportunity in the United States today is lower than it is in any of the advanced industrial countries.”
~Joseph Stiglitz

Stiglitz writes in Vanity Fair bout the issue of income inequality

So, no: there’s little debate over the basic fact of widening inequality. The debate is over its meaning. From the right, you sometimes hear the argument made that inequality is basically a good thing: as the rich increasingly benefit, so does everyone else. This argument is false: while the rich have been growing richer, most Americans (and not just those at the bottom) have been unable to maintain their standard of living, let alone to keep pace. A typical full-time male worker receives the same income today he did a third of a century ago.

From the left, meanwhile, the widening inequality often elicits an appeal for simple justice: why should so few have so much when so many have so little? It’s not hard to see why, in a market-driven age where justice itself is a commodity to be bought and sold, some would dismiss that argument as the stuff of pious sentiment.

I have a question for all of the advocates for “trickle down economics” or “Horse and Sparrow” as it was known in the late 1800′s. They espouse this belief that lower tax rates on the wealthiest and cash rich corporations will lead to prosperity for the middle class because the money will just trickle down. The wealthy have not had tax rates this low in 60 years; yes – taxes under Obama are lower for every single income bracket than any other President in modern history (source) . Fact. For large corporations – EFFECTIVE tax rates are at all time lows and profits are at all time highs (source). So – the question that I have and the question that you should ask is this:

If trickle down economics works so well – shouldn’t we be swimming in low unemployment, higher wages and better quality of life?

  • If “trickle down” works- why are we still at 8% unemployment?
  • If it works so well – why was the economy in recession for 13 months before Obama came into office.
  • If it works so well – why did we go from record surpluses and a projection of no federal debt by 2010 to Bush handing off a $1 trillion deficit to Obama?
  • If it works so well – why do we have the highest poverty levels since the 1960′s? (source)
  • If it works so well – how are the 6 heirs to the Sam Walton fortune worth more than the bottom 48 million families combined (source)

The answer is simple – trickle down economics is a farce and anyone who buys into the idea is no different than the proverbial “useful idiot” who are manipulated by some hate or fear of the other or lack of understanding as to why we are where we are.

We now live in a country where who we become is now mostly defined by the parents whom we were born to. If you’re poor – you’re very unlikely to move out of that class. If you’re wealthy – you’re very unlikely to move out of that class.

Pew Research has shown that this trickle down economics that we’ve lived under for the last 30+ years has led to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer (source).

We live in a country where the average worker is paying 50% more in taxes than a person making $200 million a year (source).

We live in a country where unintelligent children of privilege are more likely to graduate college than intelligent poor children (source).

We live in a country that is the ONLY advanced industrialized country in the world that doesn’t give mandated sick leave and holidays to its workers (source).

We live in a country where 25% of all private sector jobs pay less than $10 an hour (source).

Finally – social mobility in the U.S. is not what they think it is. If Americans really lived in a country that had the kind of social mobility and equality of opportunity that we seem to think we have … we’d be in Denmark (source).

It’s all messed up – and the solution that the Republican party brings to the table is give MORE tax cuts to the wealthy who already pay lower rates than either you or I. It’s offensive.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

America's Current Racial Caste System - We Need to Ensure That It Is Our Last

This is an extremely lenghty article.  It is a must READ!  Download it and please spread the message, especially to you local legislators and politicians!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Through Angel’s Eyes by Steve Theunissen

Visit   http://sbpra.com/stevetheunissen to learn more about Through Angel’s Eyes by Steve Theunissen

Posted by Todney Harris

Review # 2: Through Angel’s Eyes by Steve Theunissen

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s was a tumultuous time in American history.  During the sixties, the fabric of America was inexplicably burning with the embers of social change.  The spark that lit the fuse was the courage of African American youth throughout the south.  Once the movement had found leadership in Dr. King and the Black churches, the African American youth grabbed the reins of the movement in the hopes for racial equality in America.  The book focuses on the Angel Dunbar as she finds the courage to participate in the process of racial change in Birmingham Alabama at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the racially segregated southern half of the union.


First, let me state for the record that I am an African American male.  Also, I have been teaching in an urban setting for seventeen years.  I appreciate the fact that this piece of writing reflects a period of time in American history that is culturally sensitive yet highly impactful due to its long term effects on racial relations in America from slavery to modern times.  I think that Steve has done a masterful job with intertwining the life of Angel Dunbar with the prolific events that were occurring within the city of Birmingham and the rest of the south throughout the Civil Rights Movement.  In addition, I especially like how he involved the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and primary source writings as the events were unfolding.  It is almost as if Angel and her family actually existed and were a part of the movement of change in the city of Birmingham. 

I must say that the book is properly researched.  The effort of actual events, leaders, geography and racial tensions are an actual depiction of what occurred during this time period.  However, I do have a reservation regarding the book.  I understand that he wrote in the language of the times.  I just think that the story would have been better served if it were written in regular language.  I say this because the students have trouble enough reading without having to decipher language from the 1960’s. 

All in all, I think the book is an excellent piece of fiction for young minds to read who are studying the Civil Rights Movement in America.  The book offers a personal insight to the struggles that young people encountered during the early stages of the movement.  The African American youth recognized the fact that they had to get involved and take over the reins of the movement.  They knew that their parents could not due to the fact that they were employed by the people who were resistant to change.  

Rating on the run (4.5/5) I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

GNC Pro Performance® AMP Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60

Up until this point, I have mostly written and posted material that reflect upon cultural issues in America.  The main focus of my posts and personal writings reflect upon the state of education in America.  As of now, I am breaking this trend.  I will continue to write and post articles that are important to our culture but I am going to include more personal items on my blog.  What the hell right? 

I have been working out in the gym for a few years now.  Protein powder is a must have supplement for amateur and professional body builders and athletes.  I just want to give a review to the GNC brand of protein powder.  Over the years, I have tried different brands, most recently Carnivore Beefsteak Protein Powder.  I just feel that the GNC brand has more long term effects than the other brands.  Here is some data concerning the product:

  • 30% Increase in Muscle Strength**
  • Rapid Absorbing Whey Isolates & Hydrolysates
  • 7.7g of Leucine Plus 8.5g of Micronized Aminos
  • Increase Strength & Stamina with Half the Sets

  • Who can benefit from taking Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60™?Those who are participating in resistance training regimens seeking improvements in muscle strength, size and stamina.
    Just for the record I am not being paid to write this. I just thought that I would share my opinions of a product that I feel has given me good results. 

    Product Update:
    I currently use this protein as a post workout supplement.  I am also very satisfied with this product as well.  I use it after every intense workout.  I always feel better after I take the product.  Working out is a job and your only going to get out of it what you put into it.  This stuff helps me to get back in the gym and give it another go.

    June 16, 2013

    I mainly use this as a post workout supplement.  I find that when I use it after the workout, my recovery is must faster in conjunction with reduced muscle fatigue as well.  I use two scoops of the product and it mixes well with a variety of substances.

    July 14, 2016
    I am using this product once again.  I had a very short stint using the Isopure zero carbohydrate protein mix. I stopped using it due to the fact that Isopure changed the formula.  I was not satisfied with the results I was receiving post workout.  Therefore, I am using this product once again and at this juncture, that isn't likely to change.
    Yours in training. T

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Editorial Board: Colorado shootings show that U.S. gun laws make no sense

    AS PRESIDENT OBAMA said in brief but eloquent remarks Friday, there is no rational explanation for the massacre that occurred in a Colorado movie theater early Friday.

    Such violence, such evil, is senseless. It’s beyond reason,” Mr. Obama said. “And if there’s anything to take away from this tragedy it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited, and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.”

    There’s something else that is senseless, though, and that is America’s gun laws. The temptation is not to mention this fact. That’s true partly because, as E.J. Dionne Jr. points out on the opposite page today, any mention of gun control is dismissed by gun-control opponents as an “exploitation” of tragedy.

    But it’s true also because we’ve all been worn down by the futility and repetitiveness of the debate. A massacre occurs; advocates of gun control point out the folly of total permissiveness; the laws do not change; the issue disappears until the next massacre.

    Well, we plead guilty to repeating ourselves. There is no rational basis for allowing ordinary Americans to purchase assault rifles. They’re not necessary for hunting, and they’re not needed for self-defense.

    The alleged shooter in Friday’s crime, which claimed at least 12 lives, came to the theater with two .40-caliber Glock handguns, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and a Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault-style rifle. According to NBC News, “the weapons were legally bought from local stores of two national chains — Gander Mountain Guns and Bass Pro Shop — beginning in May.”

    Yes, the Second Amendment protects a citizen’s right to own a gun, but it does not preclude reasonable regulation for public safety. Yes, mass killings occur in societies with stronger gun laws, but not with such regularity — and not against the backdrop of daily gun violence, both criminal and accidental, that distinguishes the United States.

    We don’t expect this massacre to lead to more sensible laws. We understand the politics. Still, it’s disappointing that the president doesn’t couple his words of comfort with some reminder of the common-sense regulation that could make such tragedies less common. The politics of guns will never shift if people are too cowed or dispirited even to join the argument.

    U.S. gun laws make no sense.

    True or False?

    Well America, what do you think about this?

    Book Review The Magic Window

    Visit http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/JohnMHPratt  to learn more about Mr. Pratt and his book The Magic Window

    Posted by Todney Harris

    Review #1 The Magic Window by John M.H. Pratt

     John M.H Pratt’s paperback The Magic Window is an insightful children’s book that teaches children about the wonders of nature via the birth of young Robins in a nest.  The story talks about the journey of the young birds to maturation up until they leave the nest.  I especially liked the variety of colorful pictures that are included in the paperback. 


    Even before I read this book, I was very interested in books that cater to children.  As the parent of a five year old, I am always on the hunt for books that are interesting and colorful.  In addition, I look for books that incorporate lessons that revolve around the world in which we live.  Young minds are curious about nature and I am very glad to see that Mr. Pratt used nature as the theme for his writing.   I must say that Mr. Pratt’s book The Magic Window was very successful in keeping my son’s attention.  I also appreciated the fact that Mr. Pratt included mathematics within his writing.  The counting of the eggs was a pleasant surprise.  I am so impressed by the book that I am going to recommend the book to every parent of a child who is learning to read and is curious about nature. 

    Rating on the run (4.5/5) I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Black Woman!

    A question for my Brotha's... Sista's suffered right alongside ya'll on the slaveship... We were beaten, raped, tortured and sold just as you were beaten, castrated and tarred and feathered... They hate us, too... So why do Brotha's abandon us and turn to the oppressor for love? I don't care WHAT anyone says, full Black kids are just as cute as any others! Time to stop the self-hatred and regain control of our minds AND destiny!

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Outside political donors still shrouded in smoke

    Washington (CNN) -- Depending on whom you ask, either Democratic efforts to force big-dollar donors out of the shadows are a smokescreen that hides union clout, or Republicans opposing the efforts are just blowing smoke in an attempt to ensure well-heeled donors stay anonymous.

    "Right around an election, when the campaigns start rolling in the money, we're going to hear about disclosure from whichever side is getting less," said Lisa Rosenberg, a government affairs consultant who lobbies for financial transparency for the Sunlight Foundation. "Whichever party is feeling beaten up is going to say, 'We need to fix it.'"

    Keenly aware that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has out-raised President Barack Obama in direct contributions for the past two months, Democrats twice brought a Senate bill to the floor aimed at unmasking wealthy, secret donors to outside groups -- the kind that have thrown their weight behind Republican candidates this election cycle.

    Nearly 700 independent political groups have poured more than $187 million into 2012 campaigns nationwide so far, according to FEC records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. More than $41 million of that has come from groups that disclose only a limited amount of information about their donors, or none at all.

    About $140 million of the total has been spent by conservative groups, with most of that laid out during the Republican presidential primary battles, according to the group, which runs the campaign-finance website OpenSecrets.org.

    It's Democratic concerns about that kind of money that led to two votes this week on a bill called the Disclose Act, which would have required organizations that spend money on politics to name donors who give more than $10,000. Republicans successfully filibustered the measure both times, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accusing Democrats of seeking to cow President Barack Obama's opponents into submission by making activist groups name their high-dollar donors.

    "Democrats can call this bill whatever they want, but they cannot conceal its true intent, which is to encourage their allies and discourage their critics from exercising their first amendment right to speak their mind," McConnell said.

    Republicans also complained that the measure gave an unfair break to labor unions, which typically contribute to Democrats. Unions have to disclose their expenditures, but individual members' dues would most likely fall below the $10,000 threshold for disclosure.

    "What is the final difference between one $10,000 check and 1,000 $10 checks?," asked Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, co-author of a bipartisan 2002 campaign finance law. "Other than the impact on trees, very little. So why should one be free from having to disclose its origin?"

    Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, says the power of unions is "incontrovertible." But unions already disclose the amount they spend, and its source -- members' dues -- is a known quantity, she said.

    "What we don't know is who is bankrolling these patriotic-sounding but vague and unfamiliar groups which are funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by individuals, by corporations and trade associations," she said. "... We don't have good enough and routine enough information about union spending to these outside groups, but we have no information from the other side."

    Labor groups now have to report political expenditures of more than $5,000, though they don't have to disclose individual members whose dues are pooled to provide that money. Philadelphia labor lawyer Richard Poulson told CNN that's not a break for the unions, just a reflection of the comparative wealth involved.

    "The Republicans are essentially crying foul because individual union members are not wealthy enough," said Poulson, whose firm of Willig, Williams and Davidson has represented several public- and private-sector unions.

    "If we were to go back to square one, I don't think anyone on labor's side of the fence is particularly happy the floodgates have been opened with respect to political spending," Poulson said. But he added, "Workers are never going to have as much money as the bosses, and that's just a fact. And you shouldn't punish workers for banding together to get some sort of a voice in the process."

    Democrats say legislation is necessary to stanch the tide of money that has been pouring into American politics since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Citizen United case. That ruling struck down some long-standing limits on campaign spending by corporations, unions and other groups. A previous version passed the House of Representatives in 2010, but also fell to a GOP filibuster.

    "Instead of standing up for the American people, Republicans stood with big banks and oil companies—special interests that certainly don't need more clout in Washington," President Obama said Monday in a statement released after Republicans successfully blocked the Disclose Act.

    And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the $10,000 limit was added at the request of the National Rifle Association, the GOP-leaning gun-rights lobby.

    "We thought that perhaps with the NRA having so much power on the Republicans, that we would raise that to $10,000, which we were told would make them happy," the Nevada Democrat said before Tuesday's vote on the legislation. "But it didn't make any difference to the Republicans."

    A longtime foe of any campaign finance legislation, McConnell has argued that full disclosure of campaign donations is "the best disinfectant," as he told NBC in 1997 -- but he's also qualified that call by saying it should be limited to groups directly involved in politics, not "issue advocacy" groups like those unleashed by the court's ruling in the Citizens United case.

    But the opposition had some high-profile opponents on the left as well. The American Civil Liberties Union opposed both the 2010 and 2012 versions, noting that some features it supported in the previous bill -- such as making corporations disclose their political spending to shareholders and requiring broadcaster to provide low-cost airtime -- weren't included this year.

    "Measures intended to root out corruption should not interfere with freedom of expression by those wishing to make their voices heard, and disclosure requirements should not have a chilling effect on the exercise of rights of expression and association, especially in the case of controversial political groups," several of the ACLU's top lawyers wrote in March.

    And Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who has supported earlier overhauls of campaign-finance law, dismissed the Disclose Act as an election-year stunt by Democrats.

    "I have long believed that Americans have the right to know who is contributing to political campaigns, and I share the serious concerns of so many who believe that outside, third party groups, should not be allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money without revealing the names of donors," Collins said in a statement to CNN. "That is why it is so frustrating that we find ourselves, once again, being asked to consider a partisan bill that would not fix the real problem."

    Meanwhile, Obama and Romney have benefited from the deluge of campaign cash pouring in from the "super PACs" spawned by the Citizens United decision.

    The pro-Romney Restore Our Future Fund has raised more than $61 million, according to OpenSecrets and spent $53 million of that. The Obama-allied Priorities USA Action has raised nearly $15 million and spent about $10 million, while during the GOP primaries, the super PAC that backed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's failed campaign raised nearly $24 million and spent all but a few hundred thousand.

    All unions combined have put about $52 million into the 2012 elections so far, according to OpenSecrets. About $30 million of that has gone to Democrats, roughly $4 million to Republicans and the rest to independent groups.

    Rarely do big-dollar donors to either candidate rush forward to give their names and declare how much they've contributed.

    "Money is never going to run short in our political system," the Sunlight Foundation's Rosenberg said. "Where it does run short is (what's fair) for the average voter and the average citizen ... if you are a voter and you're being bombarded with negative ads and you don't know whose behind them."

    Share My Lesson: The Imperative Of Our Profession

    How many new teachers can relate to this story?

    “You want me to teach this stuff, but I don’t have the stuff to teach.” So opens “Lost at Sea: New Teachers’ Experiences with Curriculum and Assessment,” a 2002 paper by Harvard University researchers about the plight of new teachers trying to learn the craft of teaching in the face of insubstantial curriculum frameworks and inadequate instructional materials.

    David Kauffman, Susan Moore Johnson and colleagues interviewed a diverse collection of first- and second-year teachers in Massachusetts who reported that, despite state academic standards widely acknowledged to be some of the best in the country, they received “little or no guidance about what to teach or how to teach it. Left to their own devices they struggled day to day to prepare content and materials. The standards and accountability environment created a sense of urgency for these teachers but did not provide them with the support they needed.”

    I found myself thinking about this recently when I realized that, with the advent of the Common Core State Standards, new teachers won’t be the only ones in this boat. Much of the country is on a fast-track toward implementation, but with little thought about how to provide teachers with the “stuff” – aligned professional development, curriculum frameworks, model lesson plans, quality student materials, formative assessments, and so on – that they will need to implement the standards well.

    Many veteran educators will make do by stitching together tried and true lessons in new and different ways. Others will be scrambling to find quality materials with which to plug holes, as well as rethinking approaches to old content in order to meet new learning objectives. And many, as the article says, will be “lost at sea.”

    Kara Moloney over at “pedagogical ruckus” put it like this: “Is it realistic to expect teachers – many of whom work second or third jobs to pay their bills – to adequately identify students’ needs; implement multiple assessment measures; plan instruction; reflect on their practice; provide intervention where needed; AND successfully move students toward career- or college-readiness without providing them the time and resources?”

    Good question.

    As is to be expected these days, several for-profit organizations are eager to fill the breach. Almost everything published since the McGuffey reader has been declared “aligned” with the common core standards, while expensive new material is being churned out at a furious pace. For example, Pearson, one of the nation’s largest textbook publishers, is preparing a soup-to-nuts array of services and materials it advertises as “aligned” to the Common Core. According to one article, “materials will be delivered completely online, through devices like the iPad. They will include projects for students to complete, texts and digital materials to support students in conducting projects, and assessments to check student understanding.”

    Not having seen these materials, I have no idea if they are any good or are worth the price, especially at a time of severe fiscal austerity. But Pearson’s production of the New York English Language Arts exam with its now-infamous “pineapples don’t have sleeves” question has left the educator in me deeply skeptical about the quality of their products – all the more so since we now know that before they became notorious in New York, Pearson used these questions again and again in the tests of other states, leaving a trail of complaints across the country. There is a moral to that escapade, on what happens when corporations focused on making profits are given control of vital pieces of our educational work.

    There is an alternative to turning over to for profit enterprises the production of the resources and supports teachers need to improve classroom instruction and to implement the Common Core. A new effort, launched by the AFT and the UK’s TES Connect, has the capacity to provide far more of the quality assistance teachers need than could ever be delivered by any state, district, or commercial publisher. It’s called “Share My Lesson” and is a free digital platform for U.S. educators to collaborate with each other and share teaching resources, with a significant emphasis on materials to guide teachers in implementing the new Common Core State Standards.

    TES already provides the world’s largest online teacher network, with more than two million members in nations around the world and access to over 400,000 resources. This new collaboration has the potential to be the go-to source for American teachers, and not just for a plethora of free materials, but also for honest feedback and ratings about what works and why.

    The power of Share My Lesson lies in its reliance upon the collective professional knowledge and expertise of American teachers. At a time when attacks on the professional autonomy and authority of teachers seem to come from every side, it provides us with a formidable tool to secure our craft and to advance the quality of our work. It taps into the deep wellspring of teacher creativity and skill, and draws upon our ethic of professional dialogue and collaboration. It allows us to take emerging technology, which the foes of our profession would use to replace teachers in a grim educational dystopia, and use it to establish an unprecedented network of professional communication and sharing among American teachers. It gives us an effective vehicle to demonstrate that the best work in education comes out of the dedication of teachers to the common good of our students and our schools, and not from the work of those that seek to make a private profit off of an essential public service.

    A cooperative venture on this immense scale ultimately depends upon the individual contributions of thousands: Share My Lesson will only be as good as we collectively make it. It will be important for us to not just upload lessons and other materials, but also to provide feedback and ratings on what has been published on the site, so that teacher authors can improve their published work and teacher users can quickly locate the highest quality materials. We will need, quite literally, to share our lessons. 

    Study: Income Inequality “is the result of various laissez-faire policies”

    Most Americans have heard the term “trickle-down” economics but few have heard of “horse and sparrow” economics. They’re the exact same thing only different names. They called it horse and sparrow for a very indelicate reason…the theory being – if you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. Seriously. Well – kids…you’re the sparrows; why do you think they changed the name to “trickle down”? ”Horse and sparrow” started in the late 1800′s…about 35 years before the Great Depression – sound familiar?

    The “trickle-down” theory: The principle that the poor, who must subsist on table scraps dropped by the rich, can best be served by giving the rich bigger meals.

    ~William Blum

    Wage inequality at the bottom—called the “50/10 wage gap” because it reflects wage differences between the median and bottom 10 percent—has primarily been driven by periods of high unemployment and the erosion of the minimum wage. The continuing growth of the wage gap between high and middle earners is the result of various laissez-faire policies (acts of omission as well as commission) including globalization, deregulation, privatization, eroded unionization, and weakened labor standards. The gap between the very highest earners—the top 1 percent—and all other earners, including other high earners, reflects the escalation of CEO and other managers’ compensation and the growth of compensation in the financial sector.The Economic Policy Institute does the math:

    Reestablishing the link between productivity and pay of the typical worker is an essential component of any effort to provide shared prosperity and, in fact, may be necessary for obtaining robust growth without relying on asset bubbles and increased household debt. It is hard to see how reestablishing a link between productivity and pay can occur without restoring decent and improved labor standards, restoring the minimum wage to a level corresponding to half the average wage (as it was in the late 1960s), and making real the ability of workers to obtain and practice collective bargaining.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    NY Times Editorial Board: Republicans Are Keeping Unemployment High

    There is zero question in my mind that the conservative movement’s entire strategy is to make government unsuccessful thus shutting down the “hope and change” movement and convince the average voter that the President bears all responsibility. They’re only taking this path because people are stupid enough to believe it. Politics is a contact sport.
    The NY Times Editorial Board shares the truth HERE:
    Actually, it was the Republicans’ relentless opposition to constructive policies that has kept unemployment high, from their resistance to the 2009 stimulus to their blockage of Mr. Obama’s proposed $450 billion jobs billin late 2011. Federal aid to states was a mainstay of both of those efforts. As the stimulus ended and further aid was delayed and denied, the effect on state budgets — and on jobs — has been catastrophic.
    Worse, the public-sector gap of 1.1 million jobs has translated into some 750,000 lost jobs in the private sector, the result of contractors losing government business and less spending by laid-off government workers. In addition, another 400,000 or so jobs have been lost because of cutbacks in state aid to the poor and unemployed, which reduce consumer spending.
    The bottom line of the institute’s report is that if it weren’t for state and local budget austerity, the economy would have 2.3 million more jobs today, and the unemployment rate would be around 7 percent, not 8 percent. The lesson is that the best and easiest way to reverse job losses would be for Congress to provide fiscal aid to states. Thwarting such aid, as Republicans have done, is a way to keep unemployment elevated and their hopes to win the White House alive. Jobless Americans, struggling businesses and hard-pressed communities are hostages in the fray.
    I’ve already written a comprehensive article “The Republican Congress is Killing the Economic Recovery” in which I’ve shared the following information before … and I will continue to share it as long as we keep talking about the economy. Here is a list of bills the Republican party has blocked which would have created jobs … many of them multiple times:
    June 24th, 2010: GOP Blocks Unemployment Insurance Bill Once Again, Dems Giving Up (Open Congress)
    July 29th, 2010: Republicans block small business plan in Senate (Reuters)
    September 28th, 2010: GOP Blocks Bill to Punish Companies that Move Jobs Abroad (CBS News)
    November 18th, 2010: House GOP blocks bill to extend jobless benefits (USA TODAY)
    November 18th, 2010: Republicans vote unanimously against equal pay for women bill (Raw Story)
    December 9th, 2010: Senate Republicans block 9/11 health bill (Reuters)
    October 11th, 2011: Senate Republicans block Obama’s jobs package (CBS News)
    October 20th, 2011: Senate blocks money for teachers, firefighters (WaPost)
    November 3rd, 2011: Republicans block $60bn infrastructure bill (Financial Times)
    December 11th, 2011: Senate blocks payroll tax-cut extension (MSNBC)
    March 29th, 2012: Republicans Block Repeal of Oil-Company Tax Breaks Obama Sought (Business Week)
    April 17th, 2012: Senate GOP blocks Obama’s ‘Buffett rule’ for minimum tax rate on millionaires (Fox News)
    May 8th, 2012: GOP blocks Senate debate on Dem student loan bill (Associated Press)
    Even Mitt Romney’s former adviser admits the Republicans are “rooting against the economy”. (source)
    You can read “Decontructing the Lies of Conservatism” to understand how much of a horrendous failure the conservative economic philosophy really is. But specifically – relating to Republican obstruction … as a point of defense to those who claim the Obama administration had unchecked authority for two entire years … we wrote:
    During Obama’s term – the Republican minority abused a Senate rule called the filibuster that would require 60 votes in the Senate to beat. In fact – in Obama’s first year in office … Republicans in the Senate used it a record 112 times to block legislation from passing. That is 18% of all of the votes in the Senate according to McClatchy (source). Obama’s 2nd year in office was the 2nd highest number in history with 91 filibusters by the Republican party only exceeded by Obama’s first year in office. So – no … the administration wasn’t able to do everything it wanted … not even close.

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