July 23, 2014
“Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them.” Abraham Lincoln
“Low voter turnout is a sign of a content democracy.” Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
“…in the end, look, this is the most consequential administration since Ronald Reagan…America emerges from the Obama years a different country. It emerges with something close to universal health care. It emerges with a reasonably useful financial reform. It emerges with some important changes in energy and environmental policy. Not many presidents leave that behind.” Paul Krugman
“Israel confronts an undeniable reality: it cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability. It will embolden extremists on both sides, tear at Israel’s democratic fabric, and feed mutual dehumanization. How can Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it’s unable to delineate a border, end the occupation, and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?” Phil Gordon, White House coordinator for the Middle East, speaking on July 8.
“The loss of life itself is devastating. The loss of life to research to helping end HIV and AIDS is profound.” Anthony Hayes, speaking about the loss of 298 passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Many of the passengers were prominent researchers and scientists heading to Melbourne, Australia for the 20th International AIDS Conference.
86 The percentage of American local TV news stations which do not assign a journalist to statehouse reporting. (Pew Research Center)
97 The percentage of Representative Jackie Walorski’s (R-Indiana-02) party line votes in 2013. The average for Republican members of the House is 92%. Walorski is currently being challenged for her House seat by Democrat Joe Bock. (Gannett; Indianapolis Star)
375,000 The number of cases currently pending in U.S. immigration courts. There are only 228 immigration judges in the country. (PBS NewsHour; National Association of Immigration Judges)
7.54 Million The number of American involuntary part-time workers in June of this year. These workers would prefer to work full-time jobs but are only being given part-time hours. The average U.S. workweek in June of 2014 was 34.5 hours. (Gannett/USA Today)
91.6 Million The number of acres of corn planted in the U.S. this year. This is the smallest number of corn acres planted since 2010 but still the 5th-largest corn crop planted since 1944. 84.8 million acres of soybeans have been planted this year, a record high. (Gannett/USA Today)
40 Billion The approximate dollar amount of yearly earnings by tipped employees in the U.S. The IRS estimates that $11 billion of these earnings go unreported every year. (Vox Media; KCRW To the Point)
Shorter Renee Ellmers, (R-North Carolina-02): Women are Flummoxed by Charts and Graphs.
The full Renee Ellmers? While advising Republicans on How to Talk to Women during a Conservative Women’s Panel Discussion, here is what Representative Ellmers said: ” Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level. You know, one of the things that has always been one of my frustrations, and I speak about this all the time — many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful, and you know, we all agree with that. But by starting the discussion that way, we’ve already turned people away. Because it’s like ‘that doesn’t affect my life; I don’t understand how that affects my life.’ So one of the things that we have worked with, with our male colleagues – and I have seen a difference, I will tell you I’ve seen a difference- is to, again, engaging individuals on their level. Talking about them on a personal level first…We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life – that’s the way to go.”
I should note: Even in my deplorable female condition, I need a pie chart, graph, or table to understand Ms. Ellmer’s exceedingly loose grip on syntax. And, needless to say, the bald statement that “men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level.” Additionally: This is an election year. North Carolina, please vote.
Gratuitous Garden Photo: a.k.a. When Cucumbers Ruled the World
Seriously, you can’t tell it in this picture but the cucumbers are taking over the planet, with a happy mix of tomatoes, nasturtiums, geraniums, and sweet potato vine just waiting to be strangled. Any day now.
Much of the current events in our world leave me feeling bleak. The garden doesn’t solve any of it but it does provide some minor relief to me when the world seems to have gone awry. I wish everyone had the luxury of something green to sustain them and, better yet, being far enough removed from the tragedy that relief is a possibility.
Sources and Disclaimer: Quotes do not necessarily imply endorsement of ideas or persons cited. Sources for this post include but are not limited to: CNN/Fareed Zakaria Global Public Square; Gannett; Indianapolis Star; KCRW To the Point; NPR; PBS NewsHour; USA Today; WBUR On Point with Tom Ashbrook; and Alexander Keyssar “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States.”