Today there is more inter-generational social mobility in Europe than in the United States, contrary to the American myth that the United States is still the world’s No. 1 land of opportunity. The Economic Mobility Project of Pew Charitable Trusts has shown that children are far less likely to rise above the socio-economic levels of their parents in the U.S. than are those in Britain, Canada and Australia, as well as Germany, France and the Nordic nations. The American South, with the lowest rates of intergenerational social mobility in the U.S., clearly skews the national statistics, creating an embarrassing and depressing version of American exceptionalism.
Economic inequality? Apart from California and New York, where statistics reflect the wealth of Wall Street, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the South is the region with the greatest income inequality. Southern exceptionalism has helped to ensure that the American Dream is more likely to be realized in the Old World than in the New.
The mythology of American exceptionalism holds that ever since 1776 the United States has led the rest of the world in expanding individual liberty and the growth of the middle class. This makes for inspiring Fourth of July rhetoric, but it has never been true. In reality, the United States has frequently lagged behind Britain and her other offspring in these areas. Britain peacefully abolished slavery within its empire in the 1830s; thanks to Southern opposition, the U.S. did so only as the result of the catastrophic Civil War. And thanks to mid-century Southern members of Congress, welfare-state policies from home ownership to Social Security were designed to reinforce segregation or exclude the disproportionately-Southern black and white poor. Not until the 1960s, with the help of federal military intervention in Southern states, was the right of African-Americans to vote secured. And today white Southern Republicans are at the forefront of efforts to roll back the voting rights revolution by making voter registration more difficult.
The most sensible points of view come from the most unlikely to win candidates far too often.
>”If somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer and the murderer kills somebody with a gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not any more than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beats somebody over the head with a hammer. That is not what a lawsuit should be about,” Sanders said Sunday.
But he touted several other votes, pointing to his support for banning semi-automatic weapons, for instant background checks for gun owners and for doing away with loopholes that allow buyers at gun shows to skirt some regulations.
He said there’s a major difference between Vermont, a rural state with little gun control where hunting is a way of life, and cities like Chicago, where guns are used by gangs.
“Folks who do not like guns is fine. But we have millions of people who are gun owners in this country — 99.9% of those people obey the law,” Sanders said. “I want to see real, serious debate and action on guns, but it is not going to take place if we simply have extreme positions on both sides. I think I can bring us to the middle.”
The most sensible points of view come from the most unlikely to win candidates far too often.
This is actually an excerpt from an upcoming book by Mr. Coates.
I write you in your fifteenth year. I am writing you because this was the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes; because you know now that Renisha McBride was shot for seeking help, that John Crawford was shot down for browsing in a department store. And you have seen men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, an eleven-year-old child whom they were oath-bound to protect. And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction. It does not matter if it originates in a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction springs from a foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without the proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Turn into a dark stairwell and your body can be destroyed. The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions.
There is nothing uniquely evil in these destroyers or even in this moment. The destroyers are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy. This legacy aspires to the shackling of black bodies. It is hard to face this. But all our phrasing— race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body. And should one live in such a body? What should be our aim beyond meager survival of constant, generational, ongoing battery and assault? I have asked this question all my life. I have sought the answer through my reading and writings, through the music of my youth, through arguments with your grandfather, with your mother. I have searched for answers in nationalist myth, in classrooms, out on the streets, and on other continents. The question is unanswerable, which is not to say futile. The greatest reward of this constant interrogation, of confrontation with the brutality of my country, is that it has freed me from ghosts and myths.
At the onset of the Civil War, our stolen bodies were worth four billion dollars, more than all of American industry, all of American railroads, workshops, and factories combined, and the prime product rendered by our stolen bodies—-cotton—-was America’s primary export. The richest men in America lived in the Mississippi River Valley, and they made their riches off our stolen bodies. Our bodies were held in bondage by the early presidents. Our bodies were traded from the White House by James K. Polk. Our bodies built the Capitol and the National Mall. The first shot of the Civil War was fired in South Carolina, where our bodies constituted the majority of human bodies in the state. Here is the motive for the great war. It’s not a secret. But we can do better and find the bandit confessing his crime. “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery,” declared Mississippi as it left the Union, “the greatest material interest of the world.”
But American reunion was built on a comfortable narrative that made enslavement into benevolence, white knights of body snatchers, and the mass slaughter of the war into a kind of sport in which one could conclude that both sides conducted their affairs with courage, honor, and élan. This lie of the Civil War is the lie of innocence, is the Dream. Historians conjured the Dream. Hollywood fortified the Dream. The Dream was gilded by novels and adventure stories. John Carter flees the broken Confederacy for Mars. We are not supposed to ask what, precisely, he was running from. I, like every kid I knew, loved The Dukes of Hazzard. But I would have done well to think more about why two outlaws, driving a car named the General Lee, must necessarily be portrayed as “just some good ole boys, never meanin’ no harm”—-a mantra for the Dreamers if there ever was one. But what one “means” is neither important nor relevant. It is not necessary that you believe that the officer who choked Eric Garner set out that day to destroy a body. All you need to understand is that the officer carries with him the power of the American state and the weight of an American legacy, and they necessitate that of the bodies destroyed every year, some wild and disproportionate number of them will be black.
But you are human and you will make mistakes. You will misjudge. You will yell. You will drink too much. You will hang out with people whom you shouldn’t. Not all of us can always be Jackie Robinson—not even Jackie Robinson was always Jackie Robinson. But the price of error is higher for you than it is for your countrymen, and so that America might justify itself, the story of a black body’s destruction must always begin with a his or her error, real or imagined—with Eric Garner’s anger, with Trayvon Martin’s mythical words (“You are gonna die tonight”), with Sean Bell’s mistake of running with the wrong crowd,…
Unfortunately, even these long quotes aren’t enough to do justice to this piece. I can only urge everyone to take the time to read the entire thing.
A person going by the name of Judson Phillips recently wrote a piece called “America in the era after liberty” for the blog “Tea Party Nation.” As you can imagine its just chock full of stupid.
America has entered the era after liberty. There is simply no other way to describe what transpired in the last week.
Let me guess, does this have something to do with the recent Obergefell v. Hodges supreme court ruling that struck down laws banning gay marriage across the land? You guys just hate gays don’t you? How about Obamacare? Does your anger have anything to do with that? You really can’t stand poor people being able to afford health care, can you? You can’t stand the fact that our new “socialized” healthcare is actually working? can you?
In the space of a week, the Supreme Court for the second time in three years completely ignored precedent and the law to rewrite Obamacare and save it. The same week, the Supreme Court set aside two hundred years of precedent to decide the Constitution really did have a right to homosexual marriage. For well over two hundred years, the Federal Courts have always regarded marriage as an issue for the states. Yet in one horribly written decision, suddenly marriage now is taken away from the states to be resolved in Federal Courts.
I knew it! I guessed right on both accounts! Do I win a prize?
In that decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the discoverer of this heretofore-unknown right made a point of telling everyone that this new constitutional right would not interfere with the right to believe.
And Kennedy is absolutely correct, it won’t interfere with anyone’s right to believe anything. The federal government isn’t going to take away your first amendment rights to say homophobic things, or believe that God disapproves of homosexuality.
The problem is, this newly discovered right conflicts with a right that is specifically guaranteed in the Constitution.
And what “right” would that be exactly? Your right to treat people who live their lives in manner that you don’t like as scum? Sorry that isn’t mentioned in the constitution, unless of course the constitution you’re talking about isn’t the American constitution. Maybe that’s a major part of Wingnut Land’s constitution, Mr. Phillips but its nowhere to be found in any of our founding documents.
It is not the right to believe, but the right to the free exercise of religion.
No anti gay pastors can still refuse to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples. We still don’t force racist pastors to perform mixed race weddings, why should we think that the federal government is going to make homophobic churches carry out gay weddings? Its probate judges who won’t be able to refuse without losing their jobs. That’s hardly a violation of “religious liberty.” Government officials can’t pick and choose which parts of their job they will and will not do, regardless of their religion. Besides that court has ruled that the fourteenth amendment protects the rights of gay people to marry, every bit as much as it protects the rights of interracial couples to marry, regardless of how bigoted people like you feel about it. The fact that government officials won’t be able to discriminate against gay couples wanting to marry hardly represents tyranny.
Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the majority in his dissent warning that a nation that trusted its fate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers was not worth being called a democracy.
Sorry Justice Antonin Scalia’s argument for the constitutionality of same sex marriage bans is a joke. The same is true for every other argument homophobes put forth to justify them.
In the same session that produced those well known legal abominations, there were other, lesser known attacks on the Constitution. In City of Los Angeles v. Patel, Justice Sonia Sotomayor again discovered the Constitution was a problem and her job was to suggest ways around it. In this case, the Court rightly declared unconstitutional a statute that allowed police officers in the city of Los Angeles to inspect the guest register of any hotel, at any time, without any probable cause. While Sotomayor noted the necessity for a search warrant to obtain this information, she helpfully suggested that instead of requiring a judge to sign such search warrants, instead that task could be relegated to bureaucrats who would simply rubber stamp those applications.
I had to look this one up, since it apparently wasn’t covered that much. Los Angeles v. Patel wasn’t all over the news, unlike the recent gay marriage ruling. Although I’m not sure if I agree with their decision, rest assured, it isn’t anywhere near the threat to our liberty that Phillips makes it out to be. Off course this is a guy that thinks that not allowing states to keep people of the same gender from marrying is “a threat to our liberty”
The decisions and more prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the era of liberty in America is over. The Constitution no longer means anything other than what a majority of a committee of nine unelected lawyers says it means.
Yes the era of liberty is over because we can’t stop marriage equality. Why that’s such a threat to our liberty, even through the amount of freedom people now have in America, has actually increased.
For America it is a tragic day. What does the future hold for this nation?
I would say it looks like America could have a very bright future ahead of it, especially since marriage equality isn’t going to bring about the persecution of Christians so many wingnuts like you are terrified of. This is hardly a sign of the end times. Its a good thing, that same sex marriages will have equal status to heterosexual marriages under the law now. The only things Obergefell v. Hodges are a sign of, is how America is getting more tolerant and enlightened and how people like you are losing their power to force their “morality” on everyone else.
The Supreme Court has federalized marriage. Marriage is one of the powers that has exclusively been reserved for the states.
Wait, by your logic, didn’t Loving V Virginia already “federalize marriage?” Didn’t ruling that states can’t stop the “race mixers” from getting wed already do that? I mean the courts have already taken away the “rights” of the states to regulate marriage anyway they see fit long before this.
In an era that features the collection of excessive power in Washington, the future does not look good for freedom.
Well it doesn’t look good at the moment for your freedom to treat gay people as scum.
The federal government is a creation of the states. America’s founding fathers wanted the real power in government to be as close to the people as possible. They wanted that power to reside in the states.
The founding fathers never wanted states to be able to defy the constitution, and the supreme court has been striking down federal and state laws since Marbury v. Madison, over two hundred years ago.
Today the states are but empty shells of their former selves.
They have ceded their power to the federal government in Washington
The states did that long ago when they replaced the Articles of Confederation with our current constitution.
For the states the future only brings two real options. First, the states do nothing
Which would be fine by me.
If that happens, the United States will become the United State. America will simply be one giant federal nation with state borders being an anachronistic reminder of days gone by and state governments having about as much relevance and power as the Rotary Club.
Oh my God, the states can do nothing! California, New York and Mississippi are all exactly the same now, that none of them can stop gay people from getting married. All of their cultural and political differences are gone now that we can’t stop the gays! Resistance is futile, the former states of the United States, have all been assimilated into the borg collective known as the United State!
The other alternative is radical federalism. That means the states actually fight back against the Federal government. Fighting back means asserting the power of the states. It means nullifying federal laws and even disobeying the federal government.
Sorry nullification is unconstitutional. Federal law supersedes state law. For someone who claims to “love the constitution” so much, you sure don’t understand it, or its history that well. If states could just refuse to obey supreme court rulings, that they didn’t like, the the judges would be powerless to do their job. How would you have liked school segregation to continue indefinitely after Brown Vs Board of Education, just because a lot of racist white southerners didn’t like the ruling? Or do you actually believe that “separate but equal” really was equal?
It means refusing the money the federal government sends to the states and the strings that are attached to that money.
Oh convince the states to refuse federal money so they can discriminate against the gays? Good luck with that. The people in even the most homophobic of red states won’t be very happy for very long without their welfare payments, not to mention the money that the feds spend on everything else there.
Even so, even if you could convince state governments to refuse federal money, they would still be bound by federal law, including the constitution, thus they still wouldn’t be able to refuse to allow gays to get married. I know, such “tyranny”
It means the states demand that the Congressmen and Senators we elect protect the states and their rights. It means that the states demand Congressmen and Senators start moving power out of Washington and back to the states.
Even if they actually do start moving power back to the states, it won’t change the constitution. States will still have to recognize things like same sex marriages, and public officials will still have to perform them, no matter how much they may despise it.
The first option leads to nothing but a big, all-powerful, tyrannical central government.
No it doesn’t. Doing nothing right now allows the constitution to remain in place, and the federal government isn’t turning into a dictatorship because the supreme court ruled that the fourteenth amendment prohibits states from defining marriage only as a union of one man and one woman.
The other, while not perfect, offers the only alternative.
States refusing to obey federal laws, and keeping laws on the books that violate the constitution isn’t an option. Your only option now is to either pass another same sex marriage ban and try to convince the court to change its mind, or pass a constitutional amendment. Neither of those are likely to work for you. More and more Americans support marriage equality, and by the time that most of the judges who ruled with the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges, are no longer on the bench, the court is likely to be by far even more pro gay rights than it is now. Plus, by than same sex marriage bans will probably be practically impossible to pass anywhere in the country. You could try for a constitutional amendment to “restore the sanctity of marriage” and ban same sex marriage, but thankfully that’s unlikely to even get passed congress.
Why don’t you do yourself a favor Mr. Phillips, and just give up on this? You’ve lost.
America truly is living in the post-liberty era. The only question now is can we restore liberty or do we watch the tyranny of an era where liberty is only a punch line for politicians.
What a pathetic joke. Its clear to me that just about the only “liberty” you really care about here, is your ability to impose your bigoted religious views on other people. You have no idea what a real tyranny would be like. Ironically attitudes like yours have been used to justify such tyrannies in the past.
Six hunters in the Democratic Republic of Congo who fell sick and were suspected to have Ebola have tested negative for the virus, the health minister said on Saturday.
The government and World Health Organization investigated a possible outbreak about 270 km (170 miles) northeast of the capital when the hunters developed Ebola-like symptoms after eating an antelope that appeared to be sick when they killed it.
The symptoms included diarrhoea, vomiting and bloody urine. Four of the hunters have died.
“All of the samples are negative … There is not an Ebola epidemic,” Health Minister Felix Kabange said in an interview on state-run television.
One of the things that inspired me to finally pick up the guitar was seeing X in concert again. I have always loved their sound, and this song was a special favorite that I work on most practice sessions. Perhaps a year from now I’ll play this well enough to record my own version. In the meantime, here’s two versions of my favorite song of the day.
Next, Dave Alvin, the songwriter from back in the 80’s:
It’s actually easier than you think. We always need location, our gear, our skills, and The Moment. I’m blessed with some decades of photography experience and the fireworks show guarantees the moment, that critical aspect you can’t often guarantee. To me the hard part on July 4th in camera pro infested Los Angeles is location where I can use my gear like a tri pod.
Long exposures are a must so hand held is pretty much useless for anything nicer than a quick selfie. If you have a nice camera and run it in manual mode, this should inspire you to take that next step and learn some settings. Like turning off the flash. Using 5 or ten second exposures. Aperture priority or setting the F stop. Go for it, its digital. No film wasted. We all have plenty to delete when we so even the uber high salary pros. But those good ones~!
My reason for this advice is that back when I bought my first ever SLR (a film one) one of the first things I photographed was fireworks and I was amazed by how easy it was and how spectacular the results were. I think it’s even easier with a digital camera as you can get immediate feedback as to whether the shots you’ve taken are good or not and then make adjustments.
Of course it’s not just a matter of going out finding a fireworks display - there are, as usual, things you can do to improve your results. With 4 July just around the corner I thought I’d share a few fireworks digital photography tips:
There’s no surprises here, but it’s important to remind yourself of the coming problem, and some of the solutions. 2040 is only 25 years away.
By 2040, the world’s population is predicted to rise to nine billion. That means two billion more mouths to feed. Even now, the earth groans under the weight of those numbers. More than 800 million people are malnourished. Another two billion are short of essential micronutrients, which affect health. A billion more consume too many calories and are obese.
What can be done? In his new book, The End of Plenty: The Race To Feed A Crowded World, Joel K. Bourne Jr., a former senior editor for National Geographic, travels from India to China and Africa to find answers.
Speaking from his home in North Carolina, he explains how biofuels distort food prices; how Iran offers an unlikely model for reducing population; and why the world needs a Pink Revolution. (Read more about how to feed our growing planet.)
The latest and perhaps final frontier in the legal battle over gay marriage in America is a clerk’s office in rural Kentucky.
Kim Davis, a county clerk, is one of a handful of officials across the South who have defied the US Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Mrs Davis, who says her Christian beliefs preclude her from facilitating gay marriages, has also stopped issuing licenses to heterosexual couples.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has now filed suit against Mrs Davis on behalf of four couples - two homosexual and two heterosexual - who were turned away when they sought licenses this week.
Mrs Davis has pledged she will not give in.