America’s overdose rate is 140 per 1 million people. Portugal’s is 3 per 1 million. Figure it out, America. #EndTheDrugWar
Portugal at all time low: http://bit.ly/1IxbPAR
America at all time high: http://ti.me/1vQc33R
But very rich politicians, CEOs, very rich people are making money.
If you make drugs legal you will cut into their profits.
LYNN PARRAMORE, ALTERNET 02 MAR 2015
ith fire-breathing religion figuring anew in global conflicts, and political discussions at home often dominated by the nuttery of the Christian right, you might get the sense that somebody’s god is ready to mug you around every street corner. But if you’re the type who doesn’t like to hang your hat on organized religion, here’s a bit of good news: in America, your numbers are growing.
There are more religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. today than ever before. Starting in the 1980s, a variety of polls using different methodologies have come to the same conclusion: people who do not identify with religious labels are on the rise, perhaps even doubling in that time frame.
Some call them “nones”: agnostics, atheists, deists, secular humanists, general humanists, and people who just don’t care to identify with any religious group. It’s not exactly correct to call them nonbelievers, because some still have faith and spirituality in some sense or another. A 2012 Pew study noted that 30 percent of these people believe in “God or universal spirit” and around 20 percent even pray every day. But according to the latest research, Americans checking the “none of the above” box will make up an increasingly important force in the country. Other groups, like born-again evangelicals, have grown more percentage-wise, but the nones have them beat in absolute numbers.
The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute has documented this sea change in its American Values Atlas, which it released last Wednesday. The fascinating study provides demographic, religious and political data based on surveys conducted throughout 2014. According to PRRI director of research Dan Cox, “The U.S. religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is fundamentally reshaping American politics and culture.”
Last year, for the very first time, Protestants lost their majority status in the Institute’s annual report, making up only 47 percent of those surveyed. The religiously unaffiliated, who come in at 22 percent, boast numbers on par with major religious groups like American Catholics. All told, the unaffiliated is the second-largest group in the country. It was also the most common group chosen by residents in 13 states, with the largest share (a third or more) in Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire. In Ohio and Virginia, this group was tied for first place. The unaffiliated don’t find too many like-minded folks down in Mississippi, however, where they make up only 10 percent of the population.
The study also found that there are 15 states where the unaffiliated constitute the second-largest group.
So what do we know about these people? Nones tend to be more politically liberal — three-quarters favor same-sex marriage and legal abortion. They also have higher levels of education and income than other groups. While about one out of five Americans is unaffiliated, the number is much higher among young people: Pew research shows that a third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation. Harvard professor Robert Putnam, who studies religion, thinks the trend among younger people is part of their general lack of interest in community institutions and institutions in general.
Last year, the Washington Post ran an article citing research by Allen Downey, a professor of computer science at Massachusetts’ Olin College of Engineering, who claims that people become nones mainly for two reasons: lack of religious upbringing (OMG those hippie parents!) and… the Internet. According to Downey, as much as 20 percent of unaffiliation is attributable to Internet use. He found that between 1990 and 2010, the share of Americans claiming no religious affiliation grew from 8 percent to 18 percent while the number of Americans surfing the Web jumped from almost nothing to 80 percent. But he acknowledges, as his critics are quick to point out, that correlation does not causation make.
One thing is certain: voting nones are making their presence felt in politics. They are thought to have helped Obama win a second term.
But the GOP doesn’t seem to show many signs of reducing the outsized influence of white evangelicals, who represent only 18 percent of the population, at least publicly. Just a couple of weeks ago, presidential hopeful Scott Walker could be seen refusing to answer a question about evolution, as if embracing widely accepted science would make him an apostate. Ordained Southern Baptist Mike Huckabee, also making noises of running, just released a book titled God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy, which kind of makes the Lord sound like the Great Bubba in the sky. But on the secretive big money donor trail, which all serious candidates must follow, the only religion they’ll be talking about much is free market fundamentalism. Your libertarians, your supply siders, and your various fatcats care a whole lot more about their bank accounts than any spiritual reckonings. Getting the government out of their way to leave them to their plundering is their holy scripture.
But when talking to voters, the GOP really can’t afford to tone it down, because while monied elites tend to be secular, selling free-market pillage to the people getting robbed is not a very effective strategy. So they still have to mask their agenda behind appeals to popular religion so the non-rich will vote against their economic interests in places like Tennessee, which has the highest share of white evangelicals, at 43 percent. (White mainline Protestants account for 14 percent of the population nationally.)
As you might expect, the fact that religion is losing its grip on the daily lives of Americans is freaking a lot of people out. The New York Times’ David Brooks is quite alarmed, admonishing nones that “secularism has to do for nonbelievers what religion does for believers — arouse the higher emotions, exalt the passions in pursuit of moral action.” Of course, secularists only form one portion of the unaffiliated group, but considering that Mr. Brooks likes to wax on about the moral probity of America’s founders — your George Washingtons and so on — he might ask himself which box they might have checked.
via 99% chimpanzee.
Why wasn’t this the first one I saw!? This is so much more interesting!!
I LOVE THIS I LOVE THIS WOW
This is ten times better than the initial one. I love it.
I buy that, I’ve known tons and tons of Korean folks growing up in Northern Virginia.
Here’s to all ignorant people who say “this is America, speak English”
I love this so much, languages are so cool though, languages, maps, facts, america
(Source: karijote, via kedasederragar)
To begin his column, Krugman writes that while inequality is nothing new — it’s been a topic of conversation in pop culture ever since Oliver Stone’s 1987 film, “Wall Street,” he notes — the willingness to address it being shown by some major politicians (including the president) is. In fact, according to Krugman, concern over inequality has become so widespread that it’s produced “a backlash from pundits arguing that inequality isn’t that big a deal.”
But the truth, according to Krugman, is that inequality is a big deal — both economically and politically. Regarding inequality’s economic impact, Krugman writes, “inequality is rising so fast that over the past six years it has been as big a drag on ordinary American incomes as poor economic performance, even though those years include the worst economic slump since the 1930s.” He also argues that inequality’s influence is partially to blame for the weak post-recession economy, because having so much wealth tied up with so few people reduces consumer demand in the economy as a whole.
The heart of Krugman’s argument for inequality’s primacy as a public policy concern, however, is political, not economic. Noting that the concerns of the very wealthy tend to outweigh those of the remaining 99 percent, Krugman argues that inequality results in a political system that’s almost entirely hijacked by the extremely rich. “Surveys of the very wealthy have, however, shown that [the 1 percent] — unlike the general public — consider budget deficits a crucial issue and favor big cuts in safety-net programs,” Krugman writes. “And sure enough, those elite priorities took over our policy discourse.”
Which brings me to my final point. Underlying some of the backlash against inequality talk, I believe, is the desire of some pundits to depoliticize our economic discourse, to make it technocratic and nonpartisan. But that’s a pipe dream. Even on what may look like purely technocratic issues, class and inequality end up shaping — and distorting — the debate.
So the president was right. Inequality is, indeed, the defining challenge of our time. Will we do anything to meet that challenge?
Great fact-filled article by Sam Pizzigati:
In 1980, 89 percent of Fortune 100 companies guaranteed workers a “defined benefit” at retirement. The rate last year: only 12 percent. Companies have replaced traditional pensions with 401(k)s, and many firms don’t even match employee 401(k) contributions. The predictable result? The nation’s “retirement deficit” — the difference between what Americans have saved up for retirement and what they need to maintain their standard of living once retired — now totals $6.6 trillion, says Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.
So, amid all this retirement insecurity, who actually thinks that cutting Social Security would be a good idea? The big push for cutting Social Security is coming from America’s “corporate statesmen.” These corporate leaders — the nearly 200 CEOs who run the influential Business Roundtable and the over 135 chief execs who bankroll the lobby group known as “Fix the Debt” — seldom ever mention “Social Security benefits” and “cuts” in the same sentence. They speak instead in euphemisms. The nation, they intone, cannot afford the current level of “entitlement” spending.
In the name of “saving” Social Security for future generations, these CEOs are urging Congress to enact “reforms” that range from lowering the annual Social Security inflation adjustment to raising the Social Security retirement age to 70. These two changes, point out Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies and Scott Klinger of the Center for Effective Government, would slice the average Social Security beneficiary’s lifetime benefits by about 20 percent.
America’s CEOs, Anderson and Klinger note in a new report, don’t need Social Security. They already have ample retirement security without it. In fact, these CEOs are sitting on the biggest retirement bonanza in modern human history. The retirement accounts of Business Roundtable CEOs currently average $14.6 million, enough to pay out a $86,043 monthly benefit once they retire.
The typical American worker within 10 years of retirement, by contrast, now has only enough in saved-up personal retirement assets to generate a monthly retirement payout of just $71.
The US criminal justice system is a broken machine that wrongfully convicts innocent people, sentencing thousands of people to prison or to death for the crimes of others, as a new study reveals. The University of Michigan law school and Northwestern University have compiled a new National Registry of Exonerations – a database of over 2,000 prisoners exonerated between 1989 and the present day, when DNA evidence has been widely used to clear the names of innocent people convicted of rape and murder. Of these, 885 have profiles developed for the registry’s website, exonerationregistry.org.
The details are shocking. Death row inmates were exonerated nine times more frequently than others convicted of murder. One-fourth of those exonerated of murder had received a death sentence, while half of those who had been wrongfully convicted of rape or murder faced death or a life behind bars. Ten of the inmates went to their grave before their names were cleared.
The leading causes of wrongful convictions include perjury, flawed eyewitness identification and prosecutorial misconduct. For those who have placed unequivocal faith in the US criminal justice system and believe that all condemned prisoners are guilty of the crime of which they were convicted, the data must make for a rude awakening.
“The most important thing we know about false convictions is that they happen and on a regular basis … Most false convictions never see the light of the day,” said University of Michigan law professors Samuel Gross and Michael Shaffer, who wrote the study.
“Nobody had an inkling of the serious problem of false confessions until we had this data,” said Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.
“The most important thing we know aboutfalse convictions is that they happen and on a regular basis … Most false convictions never see the light of the day,” said University of Michigan law professors Samuel Gross and Michael Shaffer, who wrote the study.
The unveiling of the exoneration registry comes days after a groundbreaking study from Columbia law school Professor James Liebman and 12 students. Published in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, the study describes how Texas executed an innocent man named Carlos DeLuna in 1989. DeLuna was put to death for the 1983 murder of Wanda Lopez, a young woman, at a gas station. Carlos Hernandez, who bragged about committing the murder and bore a striking resemblance to DeLuna, was named at trial by DeLuna’s defence team as the actual perpetrator of the crime. But DeLuna’s false conviction is merely the tip of the iceberg, as the database suggests.
Recently also, Charlie Baird, a Texas judge, was prepared to issue an order posthumously exonerating Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for the 1991 arson-related deaths of his three young daughters. Based upon “overwhelming, credible and reliable evidence”, Baird concluded Willingham had been wrongfully convicted; this in addition to a jailhouse witness who recanted his testimony, and scientists who challenged the evidence at trial that the fire that destroyed the Willingham home was caused by arson. Baird was blocked by a state appeals court from issuing the order before he left the bench to pursue private practice.
And again in Texas, lawyers for Kerry Max Cook, a former death row prisoner who was wrongfully convicted of a 1977 murder in East Texas, claim that the district attorney in the case withheld in his possession the murder weapon and biological evidence in the case.
In 2012, the American death penalty has reached a crossroads. Public support for executions has decreased over the years, with capital punishment critics citing its high cost, failure to deter crime, and the fact that the practice places the nation out of step with international human rights norms. Last year, the US ranked fifth in the world in executions, a member of a select club of nations that includes China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Further, in the US states that have repealed the death penalty in recent years – including New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois and, most recently, Connecticut – the killing of the innocent has been cited as a pivotal factor in favor of abolition.
Meanwhile, thanks to an EU embargo on lethal injection drugs to the US, states that practice capital punishment are faced with a shortage of poison to execute prisoners. Some have resorted to purchasing unapproved drug supplies on the black market, or using different chemicals altogether. For example, Ohio has abandoned its three-drug protocol for executions in favor of a single drug called pentobarbital, a barbiturate used to euthanize animals. And Missouri has decided to execute prisoners using propofol, a surgical anesthetic implicated in Michael Jackson’s death.
Apparently desperate and lacking in options to kill, these states would be better-served by joining the civilized world and devoting their efforts to end the death penalty, rather than find new methods to satisfy their bloodlust – which, as the new evidence makes abundantly clear, cannot but cause them to execute innocent citizens. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 140 men and women have been released from death row since 1973 due to innocence. That death row inmates are exonerated much more often than other categories of prisoner – even when a person’s life is at stake – should shatter anyone’s faith in the presumed infallibility of the court system.
It is now transparent to the public that, at best, the application of the death penalty is rife with human error and incompetence. At worst, we know there is prosecutorial misconduct: that the courts shelter and nurture officials who are rewarded for gaming the system by career advancement, rather than determining true guilt or innocence and ensuring that justice is done.
America Wakie Wakie
REBLOGGED FROM America Wakie Wakie
REBLOGGED FROM ArchitectureAtlas
The U.S. – Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country—a border culture. Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing live, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants. Los atravesados live here: the squint-eyed, the perverse, the queer, the troublesome, the mongrel, the mulatto, the half-breed, the half dead; in short, those who cross over, pass over, or go through the confines of the “normal.” Gringos in the U.S. Southwest consider the inhabitants of the borderlands transgressors, aliens—whether they possess documents or not, whether they’re Chicanos, Indians, or Blacks. Do not enter, trespassers will be raped, maimed, strangled, gassed, shot. The only “legitimate” inhabitants are those in power, the whites and those who align themselves with whites. Tension grips the inhabitants of the borderlands like a virus. Ambivalence and unrest reside there and death is no stranger.
Gloria Anzaldúa | Borderlands/La Frontera
(Source: sinidentidades, via sinidentidades)