mountain train wallpaper, the sequester has consequences, marriage is something the working class can no longer afford

mountain train wallpaper

mountain train wallpaper


Apparently Rupert Murdoch only believes in hiring editorial board members who have no use for math, WSJ’s Stephen Moore: Devastating Sequestration Cuts Are A “Success” Free Of “Negative Consequences”. There are people in the world who do not have to take off their shoes to do simple math, and even more math wizards here.

Train concourse, Union Station, Washington, D.C. Between 1905 and 1910

Train concourse, Union Station, Washington, D.C. Between 1905 and 1910.

Love And Work Don’t Always Work for Working Class in America, Study Shows

The decline and disappearance of stable, unionized full-time jobs with health insurance and pensions for people who lack a college degree has had profound effects on working-class Americans who now are less likely to get married, stay married, and have their children within marriage than those with college degrees, a new University of Virginia and Harvard University study has found.

The research, “Intimate Inequalities: Love and Work in a Post-Industrial Landscape,” will be presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Working-class people with insecure work and few resources, little stability, and no ability to plan for a foreseeable future become concerned with their own survival and often become unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others,” said Sarah Corse, an associate professor of sociology in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences and the study’s lead author. “Insecure work changes peoples’ non-work lives.”

The study was conducted through direct interviews and surveys with more than 300 working- and middle-class men and women in the U.S. The study participants were white, African-American, Asian, and Latino, between the ages of 18 and 70, and with a range of educational histories. They were married, single, divorced, cohabitating, and widowed, as well as non-parents and biological and adoptive parents.

The researchers found, generally, that educated middle-class workers are better able to recover from the destabilizing effects of insecure work than the working class, and therefore can seek and find stability in relationships.

“Marriage is becoming a distinctive social institution marking middle-class status,” Corse said.

People who are living in an unsecure and unstable situation have difficulty being trustful of possible partners because of the risk of betrayal, noted Harvard sociologist Jennifer Silva, Corse’s co-investigator, who earned her sociology Ph.D. at U.Va. They also find it difficult to meet material or financial obligations and may feel that the emotional and psychological commitment required by marriage is too great a demand on top of other challenges.

“Marriage has lost its relevance as a marker of adulthood,” said Silva, author of the book, Coming Up Short: Working Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty, to be published in August by Oxford University Press.

People with college degrees, however, tend to work in stable jobs with better incomes allowing for the emotional and material commitment of marriage and having children within marriage. Middle- and upper-middle class people, as a result, express high expectations for their marriages, centering on self-fulfillment, deeply engaged parenting by both parents, and psycho-emotional awareness. They also “insure” themselves against marital complacency, conflict, and dissolution through private material and emotional “investments,” such as therapy and special “date nights,” Corse said.

According to Corse and Silva, wages for the non-college-educated have fallen dramatically in the United States as manufacturing work has been outsourced to other countries, greatly reducing the number of high-paying union jobs with good benefits.

Increasingly, the jobs available to those without a college degree are service-sector jobs, many of which are short-term and/or part-time and lack benefits, they said.

“These are foundational changes in the labor market for the working class and they broadly affect people’s lives,” they said. “Our interviewees without college degrees expressed feelings of distrust and even fear about intimate relationships, and had difficulty imagining being able to provide for others.”

College-educated middle-class workers, with material, cultural, and intellectual resources, are more resilient, however, when faced with the effects of possible insecure work in tough times, and therefore are more able to commit to marriage and to planning families.

In the U.S. almost everyone from people living in exclusive gated communities to people trying to get by on minimum wage and living with two roommates, describes themselves as middle-class. All these people might be middle-class culturally, but economically they are very far apart.


attorney general calls for crimnal justice reform, some herbs are definitely not good for you

Charlotte du Val d'Ognes

Charlotte du Val d’Ognes, 1801. Oil on canvas. By Marie-Denise Villers  (French 1774–1821)

I wonder if Attorney General Holder has been watching Snitch (2013), Eric Holder calls for major prison reforms aimed at easing drug sentences

Attorney general Eric Holder is calling for major changes to the nation’s criminal justice system that would scale back the use of harsh prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes, divert people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs and expand a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.

Pericrocotus flammeus

Pericrocotus flammeus ( Scarlet Minivet- male in red, female in yellow) .  Birds of Asia v 2. London : Printed by Taylor and Francis, pub. by the author,1850-1883.

Scientists unravel cancers caused by herbal remedies

A team of scientists from the National Cancer Centre Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, and Taiwan’s Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, LinKou, have made a breakthrough in understanding the cancer-promoting action of Aristolochic Acid (AA), a natural product of Aristolochia plants traditionally used in some Asian herbal remedies for weight loss and slimming. Using advanced DNA sequencing technologies, the team, led by Professors Teh Bin Tean, See-Tong Pang, Patrick Tan and Steve Rozen discovered that AA is the most potent carcinogen identified to date, causing more DNA mutations than cigarette smoke or ultraviolent light. The team also discovered that besides its previously known contribution to kidney failure and a form of kidney cancer, AA may also contribute to liver cancer.

Science has discovered medicine derived from plants, aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) – a very good anti-inflammatory and fever reducer, was first made from tree bark. Generally a good idea though to wait for testing a compound before thinking it is some kind of easy miracle cure.

ye old scientific theories, oklahoma conservative is a con-man

flowering pear tree wallpaper

flowering pear tree wallpaper


The Most Bonkers Scientific Theories (Almost) Nobody Believes Anymore

The ancient Greeks were the first to have the crazy idea that a lamb could grow right out of the ground, with a stem attached to its navel. Pliny the Elder later mentioned it, and Europeans picked up the idea again in the 14th century.

This is the exceedingly strange legend of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.

Now, these folks were well aware of where lambs came from. They were baby sheep that came out of mommy sheep. Or a stork drops it off. Or whatever. But their story may have arisen out of the first Western accounts of cotton plants, which an ancient Greek by the name of Megasthenes found in India, referring to them as “trees on which wool grows.”

I had not heard the lamb and cotton plant legend before. There is more at the link. It is fascinating how word of mouth becomes highly distorted gossip, which became a conventional wisdom. Matt also includes Phrenology: Like Reading a Crystal Ball, But With People’s Heads. I’ve seen and heard people in real life and the movies play around with phrenology, but I’m not sure they’re serious. It has some ethnocentric origins. It was not enough for old European powers like Spain, France and England to invade, seize countries for profit and subjugate the local population, they had to have some “scientific” rationale like phrenology that showed for a fact these people were inferior.

Pratiqve de la Guerre. Contenant l'usage de

A roughish translation of the title of this book, Pratiqve of War. Containing the use of Artillery, Bombs & Mortars, Artificial Lights & Petards, Sappes & Mines, Bridges & Pontoons, Trenches & Works, With Assault order to Breches. All vn trafficking lights Ioye / by  Francis Malthus. 1650. Malthus was a French engineer and expert in assaulting fortresses.  While very scientific for it’s time, I am fairly certain they did not have guys that rode geese and threw lightning bolts.

Congressman Claims Widespread Fraud Because He Saw ‘Physically Fit’ Couple Use Food Stamps

At a town hall in Welch, OK on Thursday, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) called for the outright elimination of aid programs for low-income Americans, claiming that he has witnessed food stamp fraud firsthand. Mullin said he would like to “do away with a lot of these programs” because they allow people to slack off.

“The food programs are designed to take care of people who can’t work, not won’t work. And we all know those people that won’t work, right?” he asked the audience. “They’re abusing the program, and we’ve got to get them off of it.”

[  ]…Despite Mullin’s conviction that these people cannot be legitimately needy, solely on the basis that they look “physically fit,” food stamp fraud is down to just 1 percent. If the Congressman has noticed an increase in food stamp users in his local grocery store, evidence points to the nation’s dismal employment rate as the true culprit.

Meanwhile, many of those who receive SNAP benefits (from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps) work: More than 40 percent of recipients live in a household with earnings. Those who don’t work are likely to be under 18 or over 60. In fact, strict eligibility requirements for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program have disqualified one in four food insecure households for being too high-income, and are allowing at least 50 million people to go hungry. Regardless, House Republicans are gunning for more cuts that would kick millions more families off the vital program.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)  is another amateur magician – look over here at this hand where he claims people are stealing pennies ( if you pay federal income taxes, less than 1penny of every dollar you pay goes to food assistance). Do not look at this hand where corporations, places where people reportedly work, are ripping the American public off for billions, and keeping trillions in offshore  banks. Listen to yet another freaky anecdotal story about people who are discouraged from working so they can cash in on that $4 a day in food. Pay no attention to the Walton family who has the net worth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans, yet tax payers subsidize every employee because they do not pay a living wage – neither do most restaurants, fast food joints or large retailers like Target, Sears, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby or Best Buy. Do not look at the pay of the top executives at those companies or how easy their average work day is compared to a minimum wage employee. Conservatives economic policies since the 1980s have made it a priority to shift to an economy that rewards wealth and punishes work.

Conservative economic punishes working class Americans

the dawning

The Dawning

The Dawning, 1915. Arthur B. Davies, American, 1862-1928. Oil on canvas. An important work demonstrating an American artist’s experiment with Cubism.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Why I changed my mind on weed

I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.

I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.

While I was amazed at Dr. Gupta’s naivete at believing what the DEA had to say about marijuana, the more important point is that he is a generally highly respected media medical authority who had the courage and humility to admit he was mistaken.


Proserpine, 1874.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English – 1828-1882). Oil on canvas.  Rossetti was the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, along with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.


A New Look at Walker Evans’s ‘American Photographs’. I’m a big fan of Evan’s work. For better or worse much of it is romanticized by many modern viewers – the vintage clothing, the old cars and what is now referred to as urban ruin porn – run down houses of poor farmers and factory workers.

Let’s say Erin Burnett had a job as a structural engineer. She would have been fired long along for incompetence and criminal negligence after one of her buildings collapsed. Yet, since she is a well connected “journalist” she just keeps on getting a check every week,  CNN Benghazi Special Pushes Debunked And Deceptive Claims.

privatization is a synonym for stealing

black and white city wallpaper

black and white city wallpaper

8 Ways Privatization Has Failed America. Paul Buchheit takes a look at the ways privatization fever has given working class Americans the shaft. Those who enjoy a good argument are welcome to try debating the congregation of true believers preaching the gospel of privatize everything. I find that like most zealots, their minds are not open to either facts or humanitarian based arguments.

Worse yet, corporations profit from the very water they pollute. Dioxin-dumping Dow Chemicals is investing in water purification. Monsanto has been accused of privatizing its own pollution sites in order to sell filtered water back to the public.

Internet, TV, and Phone

It seems the whole world is leaving us behind on the Internet. According to the OECD, South Korea has Internet speeds up to 200 times faster than the average speed in the U.S., at about half the cost. Customers are charged about $30 a month in Hong Kong or Korea or parts of Europe for much faster service than in the U.S., while triple-play packages in other countries go for about half of our Comcast or AT&T charges.

The scam where corporations poison your water and offer to clean it up for a profit is ingenious.

Your phone and ISP payments – they might be little cheaper if the CEO was not pretending to provide some absolutely essential management skills for which he must make $21 million in 2012. he did not do any like saving kidney surgery, find a way to improve solar cell energy efficiency by 10%. he did not rescue any elderly couples from a burning building, he did not take urine samples to the lab or clean up your sick uncle’s puke. he did not replace the trees clear-cut for that new strip mall. He did not invent any new telecommunications technology – scientists did that. He did not dig a little ditch to bury your cable line. he did not find a cure for arthritis or diabetes. he did not even program a cool video game or write a great song or paint an inspiring painting. The basic skills anyone needs to run a company can be learned at any local community college. Yet, as Will on The Newsroom would likely say, he and other CEOs are worth what they get because it is what the market will bear. Only that is based purely on the perception of subjective value. Like many CEOs, the CEO of AT&T is a magician whose best trick is making people believe he is worth more than $55k a year.

A page from The first six books of the Elements of Euclid in which coloured diagrams and symbols are used instead of letters, by Oliver Byrne; 1847; W. Pickering, London.

1938 peugeot, the benghazi betrayal, white rabbit

Peugeot 402 Darl'mat Pourtout Roadster'1938

Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Pourtout Roadster’1938. There is a some information about the 38′ Roadster at Wikipedia, but not much. It probably had a top speed in the high seventies. The styling is amazing. That, for me anyway, is the attraction of vintage cars. In reality, the ride would have been uncomfortable by the standards of today’s sport cars that can top a 100 mph without strain, and without spewing the nasty exhaust of the sports/race cars of that era.

Even as the story was unfolding anyone that was paying attention to the news knew that there were CIA personnel at the Benghazi compound. In the past week CNN’s Jake Tapper finds out and reports in breathless tones, oh my god there were CIA at Benghazi, maybe dozens or 21 or whatever. This may seem silly, but CIA stands for Central Intelligence Agency. As most Americans, if not most of the world knows, they are our secret intelligence service. They do things in secret. Which is probably the reason they did not come forward within the first minute of the news breaking from Benghazi. As other news sources have also reported, – in other words the secret operation under taken on behalf of America, and Syrian rebels national security interests, is that the CIA was doing two things at once. Recovering some portable rocket launchers that belonged to Muammar Gaddafi, while also directing said launchers to Syrian rebels who are fighting the totalitarian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Whatever factions that compose the rebels forces, it is a known fact that Bashar al-Assad is a sociopath who sponsors terrorism. So conservatives who have been obsessed with exposing the Bengahzi “conspiracy” have finally succeed in finding out that the CIA would rather everyone not know they had a full blown operation going on in Benghazi and look to have been using the diplomatic mission as cover. It seems that conservatives have done helped the enemies of America and freedom in Syria expose a CIA operation. This new round of Benghazi hysteria and betrayal is odd, or maybe not considering the strange workings of the conservative mindset, in that the first time round they were accusing President Obama of being the one who was not acting in the best interests of national security. I can imagine as Steve does that some people might not approve of giving weapons to anyone. But that is another issue entirely different from conservative Republican politicians, pundits and bloggers acting as proxies of  terrorists, against the secret operations of the CIA. Some may remember it was conservatives who outed a CIA NOC agent for political revenge. They seem to be racking up quite the record on undermining U.S. national security.

(Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead)

Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead concert poster, 1966, by Wes Wilson and Herb Greene.

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall

White Rabbit by – Jefferson Airplane

gladiolus, ethics and copyrighting new words

gladiolus summer wallpaper

gladiolus summer wallpaper


Democrats introduce Supreme Court Ethics Act to helpfully suggest the Supreme Court have some. Because conservatives in the Senate have a strangle hold on all legislation and the House has a tea stained majority, this bill will not go anywhere. It will be interesting to watch conservatives push rationales for why the SCOTUS, which has a conservative majority, does not need any stink’n ethical standards.

black and white boat

black and white boat

“Here, Among the Black Sand Beaches of Kupang”: A Century of the American Word Industry in Review

1: Beatrice Tesla (of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) for her invention of the adjective reproable, which she defined as a robotics term to be applied to any machine with the ability to duplicate itself in its entirety.

6: P. K. Buckman (of Cedar City, Utah) for his invention of the phrase Mormo metal, which he defined as a subgenre of heavy metal, characterized not as much by certain guitar techniques or styles of drumwork as by having overtly Mormon lyrics.

Fans of etymology, neologisms or just weird cultural news might enjoy the full essay.

Low minimum wage undermines economy. If workers are paid well they tend to buy stuff.