Originally posted on Under the Mountain Bunker:
Organizers and protesters around the world will come together to commemorate International Workers Day tomorrow, and they are taking on familiar targets. Large protest actions are planned in more than 115 American cities, where activists will continue the anti-Wall Street message started by the 99 Percent Movement last fall. The action will again center in New York, where protesters have identified 99 targets in Manhattan, including large Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.
[...] Though the New York-based banks offered no specifics on how they plan to deal with the protests, one security adviser made the laughable comparison that Wall Street banks — the same ones whose errors include triggering the financial crisis and wrongfully foreclosing on thousands of Americans — were innocent elk defending themselves against attacking wolves, Bloomberg reports.
[...] It’s no secret why the banks view the 99 Percent Movement so negatively — the movement took Wall Street’s excesses and abuses to the mainstream, refocusing the national discussion on rising income inequality, exploding student debt, and fraudulent banking practices.
Right. These guys are victims.
Originally posted on Fabius Maximus:
Summary: Three of the most significant changes in America’s social and economic structure since the Reagan Revolution in 1980 are slowing GDP growth, the rising federal deficits and the great increase of inequality in wealth and income. Increasing taxes on the wealth might help reverse two or even all three of these trends. Today’s post examines the costs of rising taxes on the rich.
Originally posted on Populareconomicsblog:
Popular Economics Weekly
Economists Lawrence Mishel and Heidi Shierholz of the labor think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have been asking a question in their latest work that is at the root of our various economic crises, “Why did the richest 1 percent of Americans receive 56 percent of all the income growth between 1989 and 2007, before the recession began (compared with 16 percent going to the bottom 90 percent of households)? Why are corporate profits 22 percent above their pre-recession level while total corporate sector employees’ compensation (reflecting lower employment and meager pay increases) is 3 percent below pre-recession levels?”
The answers have become becoming blindingly obvious in the glare of the Great Recession. A concerted effort by business interests in general, and Republicans in particular, instigated a massive transfer of newly created wealth from wage earners to the owners of capital via various measures, including lowering upper income tax rates, restricting employees collective bargaining, rolling back regulations on financial institutions, and the like.
Here’s a telling quote from an article by Gail Collins:
An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would be the taxpayer.
You have to wonder about the dangers of the growing control of corporations when you read stuff like this.
May Day, when the weather cooperates, celebrates a time of year when the intoxicating beauty of Spring reaches even the most frozen, internet-addicted soul. Known as Beltane in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, it is a worker’s holiday in much of the world. May Day stands across the Wheel from another disreputable holiday the Celts bequeathed us–Halloween. It’s a time to test boundaries. May Day will be Occupied this year.
At this latitude, we usually don’t get into our groove during Earth Month. Most years, May is when the world blooms– this warm April being an exception. America celebrates Labor Day at the end of Summer, and the change of the seasons not at all, officially. That’s okay, nature celebrations don’t take to official sanctions.
In this week’s New York Times the Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood mentioned New England’s own Nathaniel Hawthorne as a writer worth re-visiting. I checked it out and darned if his writing isn’t subversive, Pagan and kind of gay (if a rainbow scarf counts). Here is what happens when the Puritans meet the May Pole dancers…
Here might be seen the Savage Man, well known in heraldry, hairy as a baboon, and girdled with green leaves. By his side, a noble figure, but still a counterfeit, appeared an Indian hunter, with feathery crest and wampum belt. Many of this strange company wore foolscaps, and had little bells appended to their garments, tinkling with a silvery sound, responsive to the inaudible music of their gleesome spirits. Some youths and maidens were of soberer garb, yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng by the expression of wild revelry upon their features. Such were the colonists of Merry Mount, as they stood in the broad smile of sunset round their venerated Maypole.
Had a wanderer, bewildered in the melancholy forest, heard their mirth, and stolen a half-affrighted glance, he might have fancied them the crew of Comus, some already transformed to brutes, some midway between man and beast, and the others rioting in the flow of tipsy jollity that foreran the change. But a band of Puritans, who watched the scene, invisible themselves, compared the masques to those devils and ruined souls with whom their superstition peopled the black wilderness.
Within the ring of monsters appeared the two airiest forms that had ever trodden on any more solid footing than a purple and golden cloud. One was a youth in glistening apparel, with a scarf of the rainbow pattern crosswise on his breast. His right hand held a gilded staff, the ensign of high dignity among the revelers, and his left grasped the slender fingers of a fair maiden, not less gayly decorated than himself. Bright roses glowed in contrast with the dark and glossy curls of each, and were scattered round their feet, or had sprung up spontaneously there. Behind this lightsome couple, so close to the Maypole that its boughs shaded his jovial face, stood the figure of an English priest, canonically dressed, yet decked with flowers, in heathen fashion, and wearing a chaplet of the native vine leaves. By the riot of his rolling eye, and the pagan decorations of his holy garb, he seemed the wildest monster there, and the very Comus of the crew.
“Votaries of the Maypole,” cried the flower-decked priest, “merrily, all day long, have the woods echoed to your mirth. But be this your merriest hour, my hearts! Lo, here stand the Lord and Lady of the May, whom I, a clerk of Oxford, and high priest of Merry Mount, am presently to join in holy matrimony. Up with your nimble spirits, ye morris-dancers, green men, and glee maidens, bears and wolves, and horned gentlemen! Come; a chorus now, rich with the old mirth of Merry England, and the wilder glee of this fresh forest; and then a dance, to show the youthful pair what life is made of, and how airily they should go through it! All ye that love the Maypole, lend your voices to the nuptial song of the Lord and Lady of the May!”
As history tells, the Puritans won. Still, they never quite succeed in pulling all the dandelions out of the lawn. Hawthorne has a lot to say to us today, in this short story. Read it all here,–The May Pole of Merry Mount, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
And as history is stranger than fiction, here’s one link to that renegade ‘English priest’, Thomas Morton, founder of New Caanan. If the Puritans had followed Morton’s lead and made peace with the Native people, what new path might our country have taken?
A great little primer on mushrooms and fighting cancer.
Originally posted on Blue Sage Wellness Blog:
Mushrooms - Although we’ve heard much about medicinal mushrooms (reishi, shiitake, maitake, chaga) in recent years, even the common white button mushroom (the kind you find on pizzas) removes bad estrogens from the body, so is protective against breast and ovarian cancer. For those who live in areas where medicinal mushrooms aren’t easily available (no, not that kind), you can also take these in the form of an herbal supplement, which would have a higher concentration (powder capsule form is best for absorption).
Many of us have cancer cells in us over the years that we don’t even know about, and are obliterated by our immune systems, way before we have ever tangibly “caught” cancer.
‘Tis the season to get all political. So I’ve decided to devote what little optimism I have for US politics to helping Elizabeth Warren get elected. I am running a fan fundraiser page for Elizabeth Warren for all the obvious reasons: she is a class act with tons of great experience, she is a progressive whose opinions I share on most issues, and her presence will not only raise the IQ in the US Senate, but will also raise the GQ (Gender-equality quotient). On top of that, if I can bring in enough supporters through Rally.org, I might win a free pass to Netroots Nation, taking place here in Providence in June. Size of donation does not matter, only number of supporters I am able to rally to support her. So please, support Elizabeth Warren and perhaps we will all win. Kiersten Marek’s Rally Page for Elizabeth Warren.
A great post on what stand-up comedy is all about (and it’s funny, too!)
Originally posted on Harley May:
I did standup again and friends, it wasn’t pretty. It stunk. Bottom line – I just didn’t prepare enough. Got through my first little joke just fine, then I fumbled over a few words, and couldn’t remember what came next right away. Doing that in front of a full room scared me and knocked me back. I stood there a good ten seconds. What comes next? Should I walk off stage before I start crying? Don’t throw up. This is very unprofessional.
I finally started back up, but didn’t recover my former confidence and delivered a scared performance. I am a funny person and am confident in that. I’m just not a great performer. Not yet. I cannot end on this note and will absolutely do it again to redeem myself. Fear and failure won’t make me quit.
In hindsight, I don’t have the head space to do one gig a month. While I did my first one a month ago, I thought about the material for the better part of three months, letting the jokes roll around and cultivate in my mind. I knew them intimately. This month felt so rushed. My mind is constantly occupied with the needs to do, wants to do, and things that are somewhere in between. Juggling all this makes day-to-day life hazardous and my family thinks I’m crazy.
Some good news for a Friday morning — we rank! We’ve been ranked in the top 10 and here’s the rater’s comment:
“With the aim of bringing overlooked and neglected news and views to their readers, social worker Kiersten and nurse Ninjanurse, blog on “Kmareka” with wit, wisdom, and a dash of humor and lightheartedness. Together, Kiersten and Ninjanurse bring together news and stories on health, the environment, the economy, and social issues as well as their thoughts and opinions based on years of professional experiences.”
Nice, huh? It’s always good to get a little positive feedback. Here’s our badge:
Originally posted on Economy:
The poor are finding it even tougher to escape from the lowest income ranks these days.
Most of those in the poorest income quintile spent all or nearly all of the period between 1996 and 2006 stuck in place, according to a new report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Those who did advance didn’t move far.