Monthly Archives: January, 2014

America’s disappearing middle class

Originally posted on Economy:

Fewer and fewer people are feeling middle class these days.

The share of Americans who describe themselves as middle class has taken a tumble, while the percentage who identify as lower class has soared over the past six years, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center/USA Today. The share of Americans who consider themselves upper class has also shrunk.

This downward shift is likely due to falling wages and the weak job market, said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project. The survey notes that median household income fell from $55,627 in 2007 to $51,017 in 2012, the most recent Census data available. And employment in middle-skill jobs increased only 46% between 1980 and 2009, compared to 110% for low-skill jobs, according to a New York Federal Reserve Bank analysis.

“Despite the economic recovery, the economic mood continues to head…

View original 143 more words

Pete Seeger’s 1966 Documentary Film About Texas Prison Work Songs

Originally posted on Prison Photography:

 

REST IN PEACE, PETE

Musician, folklorist and champion of the vernacular Pete Seeger died Monday. His legacy is formidable. The New York Times wrote:

His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.

Part of Seeger’s widespread collection of folk songs took him, in March 1966, to the Ellis Unit of Huntsville Prison in Texas.

He traveled south with his wife and constant ally Toshi and their son Daniel. Bruce Jackson also joined them.

Afro-American Work Songs In a Texas Prison (30 mins.) documents the music African American prisoners used to survive the grueling work demanded of them. The prison work…

View original 453 more words

Rhode Island Town Says No to Common Core Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The school committee of Tobrtton, Rhode Island, voted 4-1 to delay Common Core testing.

The state education department insisted that Rhode Island educators were deeply involved in the creation of the standards.

“In its resolution, the committee states that that local school committees, teachers and parents were not involved in the development of the Common Core, a set of education standards developed the National Governors Association and the most of the nation’s state school commissioners.
The state Department of Education, however, says that several Rhode Island educators served on the national committees that reviewed the standards. RIDE also said that public meetings were held in 2009 and 2010, before the standards were adopted.”

Does RIDE mean it is too late to step back as citizens learn more?

Whatever happened to critical thinking?

View original

Change in Health Care Jeopardizes 2000 Low Income Rhode Islanders

While we are making so many changes to health care, it is important that people do not fall through the cracks. What about a family of 4 with income in the mid-30’s — how much can they really afford to pay out of pocket for health care? What other needs/wants will be sacrificed to pay for health care? http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140129-2000-in-danger-of-losing-health-care-coverage-because-of-rite-care-cutbacks.ece

Gluten Free Girl Scout Cookies??? Don’t Mind If I Do!

Kiersten Marek:

Awesomeness from the girl scouts — I’ll be trying these out!

Originally posted on ListenUpEnt... Are you listening?:

girl scout cookies

YES!!!

Girl Scout Cookies have finally made a gluten-free cookie!

The Chocolate Chip Shortbread is made with a blend of rice and tapioca flours, cornstarch and potato starch. The recipe also contains real butter, real chocolate chips and pure cane sugar.

No artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, like most of the cookies in the Girl Scouts’ collection.

There will only be 20 places you can find these cookies, find out where here.

Girl Scouts are also making a new Cranberry Citrus Crisp cookie which has 9 grams of whole grain, real cranberries, and no high-fructose corn syrup.

This brings big news to those that eat gluten free or are on a diet but have a hard time shaking the sweets.  Eat up!!!

Story Credit: People Mag

View original

Providence Student Union: The Guinea Pigs Protest!

Kiersten Marek:

Providence Student Union demonstrates against high-stakes testing by dressing up as guinea pigs and lab rats.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The creative Providence Student Union is staging another brilliant protest against high-stakes testing. It’s their lives!

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT: Aaron Regunberg | Aaron@ProvidenceStudentUnion.org | (847) 809-6039

“GUINEA PIGS” PROTEST EXPERIMENTATION AT STATE HOUSE –

STUDENTS, DRESSED AS LAB ANIMALS, DEMONSTRATE AGAINST HIGH-STAKES TESTING

Providence, Rhode Island – January 29, 2014 – High school students, joined by parents, community members and legislators, held a demonstration today at the Rhode Island State House to protest what participants called “the ill-conceived experiment” of Rhode Island’s new high-stakes testing graduation requirement. To illustrate this message, students showed up dressed as guinea pigs and lab rats, complete with whiskers, animal ears and more.

“The reason we are dressed like guinea pigs and lab rats is simple – that is how we are being treated,” said Jose Serrano, a member of the Providence Student Union (PSU), the youth organization holding the event. “The Department of Education…

View original 684 more words

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” -Ghandi

Kiersten Marek:

Interesting take on how hospice can inform a stronger spirituality and dedication to mindful living.

Originally posted on soulshinemoments:

My hospice internship has been good for me in a lot of intrinsic ways.  Because I have had to confront my own death and dying beliefs and fears through helping others, I have sought my spirituality in much deeper ways than I have in the past.  No better way to celebrate and appreciate life than to be reminded how temporary it is! I also feel and think about God in a much more real way than I have in years.  I feel that He is omnipresent. I feel that life is valuable and meaningful more than my pre-hospice days. 

Another thing I have learned about hospice is the amazingly beautiful mind-body connection which gets easily over-looked in our society.  Many patients actually improve with hospice care because they get that extra attention and TLC and human touch that perhaps their life was lacking.  I believe this attests to the fact…

View original 274 more words

RI rings in $8 minimum wage, paid family leave – News Local Rhode Island – Boston.com

Woot! Woot!

RI rings in $8 minimum wage, paid family leave – News Local Rhode Island – Boston.com.

Daily Kos: Social Workers Deserve More

Social Work as a profession is now in higher demand than ever. Now is the time to advocate for equitable salaries in the medical and psychiatric fields.

Daily Kos: Social Workers Deserve More.

Strong winds cause energy prices to fall in Europe

Kiersten Marek:

Wish we had enough wind energy in the US to influence electricity prices…

Originally posted on GES-Blog:

Electricity prices in Europe dipped in December as mild temperatures, strong winds and stormy weather produced wind power records in Germany, France and the U.K.

According to Platts, a global energy information provider, energy prices across Continental Europe fell by 0.4 per cent in December 2013 compared to November 2013, when calmer winds and colder temperatures supressed wind power and boosted electricity prices.

The price decline was even more marked in Germany, where the average baseload price in December fell 10 per cent month over month.

“Last month’s European power prices demonstrate growing price volatility observed in the winter months due to the capricious nature of the wind,” said Henry Edwardes-Evans from Platts in Europe. “When wind power generation drops, Europe’s power system often falls back on expensive natural gas-fired generators, and prices rally. When the wind blows, prices can actually turn negative as wind operators continue to feed subsidised…

View original 67 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 998 other followers