Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

December 7, 2014

Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

“Congress is rich. The average net worth in Congress is a bit more than $6 million, while the median net worth is $1 million. To put that in context, $4 million in net worth is enough to put someone in the top 1 percent, and $660,000 is enough to put an individual in the top 10 percent. Meanwhile, the median family wealth for whites is $134,000 and for blacks is $11,000. Emerging political science research suggests that the implications of this class bias are profound and important.”

– “The death of working-class politics: How the wealthy conquered Congress and abandoned blue-collar America,” Sean McElwee, Salon

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Umbrella Revolution: Folded

December 6, 2014

Umbrella Revolution: Folded

When Hong Kong’s protest for self-rule began in September, police responded with pepper spray and tear gas, and demonstrators sheltered behind umbrellas. The “Umbrella Revolution” ended this week as protest leaders surrendered to police and told their comrades to go home. Hong Kong police cleared protest barricades and tent sites, some protesters are in jail, and movement spokesman Joshua Wong is on a hunger strike. Everyone in HK is asking “What’s next?” and they don’t mean the winter monsoon cold snap.

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Eric Garner, July 17, 2014.

December 4, 2014

Eric Garner, July 17, 2014.

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The Chemistry of Pizza

December 4, 2014

The Chemistry of Pizza
All baking is chemistry, but pizza is … pizza! Okay, baking pizza is chemistry, too …

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‘Tis the Season … to Gun Down Deer in Rock Creek Park

December 2, 2014

'Tis the Season ... to Gun Down Deer in Rock Creek Park

The National Park Service resumed its “Deer Reduction Program” last night, deploying sharpshooters in Rock Creek Park to shoot whitetail deer in the middle of the Nation’s capital. The seasonal slaughter will continue every night until March 15th, and recommence next winter. Last winter’s cull cut deer density in half, from 80 to 40 deer per square mile. The Park Service is shooting for a goal of 15 to 20 deer per square mile.

Venison harvested by the program is donated to food programs for the homeless.

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-kjA

Image (“Rock Creek Deer Hunt, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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America is Getting Inked

December 2, 2014

America is Getting Inked

“Although tattoos have been around for millennia, they’re more popular now than ever. In 1960, there were approximately 500 professional tattoo artists operating in the United States. By 1995, that number had risen to over 10,000. Nearly 20 years later, demand continues to surge, and by the latest estimates, roughly 20 percent of Americans have a tattoo. What’s more, 40 percent of the people in that group are Millennials, which some academics argue isn’t a coincidence.”

– “The Identity Crisis Under the Ink,” Chris Weller, The Atlantic

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Photo by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Sabah, 1927 — 2014

December 1, 2014

Sabah, 1927 -- 2014
Lebanese singer and film star Sabah (صباح) (née Jeanette Feghali) died Wednesday at the age of 87. She appeared in more than  90 movies and recorded over 3,000 songs during her long career, inspiring audiences throughout the Arabic-speaking world and composers such as Lebanon’s Rahbani Brothers and Egyptians Baligh Hamdi and Mohamed Abdel Wahab. She specialized in the expressive mawwal popular song genre, and was able to sustain a single note for up to 50 seconds. Her stage name means “Morning” but she was also known as al-Shahroura, “Song Bird,” and al-Ustura, “The Legend.”

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Park Avenue Food Drive for Walmart Workers

November 29, 2014

Park Avenue Food Drive for Walmart Workers
On this Thankgiving holiday, many low-paid Walmart employees held food drives — for each other. They typically make under $25,000 a year, have no medical benefits, and many must use food stamps. Activists thought Walmart owner Alice Walton might want to pitch in, so they put a giant food drive bin outside her $25 million Park Avenue condo.

Robert Reich has some background:

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Small Business Saturday. Shop Local.

November 29, 2014

Small Business Saturday. Shop Local.

Yesterday, on “Black Friday,” millions of Americans spent billions of dollars with the multi-national corporations that sell imported products in U.S. shopping malls. Some of us resisted this retail feeding frenzy and bought nothing. Today people from both camps will buy local, shopping with neighborhood shops on Small Business Saturday.

$100 spent with local businesses returns $68 to the community vs. $43 spent at big box stores. So think outside the big box and shop local. The Small Business Saturday campaign was started by American Express, but your local shopkeepers will really thank you if you pay cash and leave your Amex card at home (they have to pay Amex swipe fees).

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Short Link:  http://wp.me/p6sb6-ki7

Image (“Small Business Saturday, after Edward Hopper”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Big Savings!

November 28, 2014

Big Savings!

The Friday after Thanksgiving or ”Black Friday“ is reserved by global corporations for whipping Americans into a frenzy of over-consumption.  Millions camp out and line up for hours hoping for bargains. Most end up buying things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford.

Save big today. Don’t buy a single thing. If you want to spend something, spend the day with friends and family. Spend time at the library; borrow a book and spend time reading it. Spend time making something. You’re not what you buy. You’re not a “consumer.” You’re a human being.

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