acathal
assangistan:

via america-wakiewakie:

Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy | PolicyMic 
The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
(Read Full Text)

assangistan:

via america-wakiewakie:

Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy | PolicyMic 

The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.

For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.

It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.

That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.

This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…

(Read Full Text)

The Manifesto will remain a classic, if only because of its brief but still quite unsurpassed depiction of modern capitalism. Marx was the first to evoke the seemingly limitless powers of the modern economy and its truly global reach. He was the first to chart the staggering transformation produced in less than a century by the emergence of a world market and the unleashing of the unparalleled productive powers of modern industry. He also delineated the endlessly inchoate, incessantly restless and unfinished character of modern capitalism as a phenomenon. He emphasized its inherent tendency to invent new needs and the means to satisfy them, its subversion of all inherited cultural practices and beliefs, its disregard of all boundaries, whether sacred or secular, its destabilization of every hallowed hierarchy, whether of ruler and ruled, man and woman or parent and child, its turning of everything into an object for sale.
Gareth Stedman Jones, The Communist Manifesto
Urban design effects almost everything I passionately care about. And it’s so fucked, I could totally fix it—at least, I could enact a plan that saves America after my lifetime. That’d be good enough for me. A lot of people are in a box. I think that everyone who wants to should be afforded the right to walk to a grocery store, work, park, bar, community… Instead, it’s only rich tech people who move to places like SF or NYC! I just don’t feel that anyone should have to be ambitious to live a simple, happy life.
why I’m thinking about going back to school to study urban design and planning
kateoplis
kateoplis:

“Say Anything is 25 years old, as are all the unfulfilled hopes and aspirations of your youth, including but not limited to the dream you had of making a difference in the lives of people other than your friends and family and the vague ideas that at some point in your life the work you would be doing would have meaning in and of itself and not merely be the thing you dragged yourself into each morning because you became a prisoner to status and possessions and the ever-increasing series of compromises and “temporary” positions you took with the delusion that you would only do those things until you got yourself to a place where you were able to follow your bliss, and now when you look back on that idealistic kid from 1989 you are stricken with a mixture of disgust for the ignorance of youth and sadness about the hard realities of life. But of course this is only true for people of a certain age; if you are much younger, don’t worry, I’m sure everything will work out exactly the way you expect it to.”
Movie Old

… When Corey warns him he’ll get hurt, he pauses, then declares, like a battle cry, “I want to get hurt!”
This is what makes Lloyd wonderful, the best of Crowe’s rash, restless dreamers: He has all that doubt, but no fear. He knows what could happen, what almost has to happen; he charges ahead anyway. He’s not naïve. He’s simply determined in the arena of happiness and love the way other movie heroes are determined in the arenas of sports and competition. He wants to be a real person, and tells a dinner party worth of people that the only thing he knows for sure is that he doesn’t want to buy anything, sell anything or process anything.
'Say Anything' At 25: Nothing Bought, Sold Or Processed

kateoplis:

Say Anything is 25 years old, as are all the unfulfilled hopes and aspirations of your youth, including but not limited to the dream you had of making a difference in the lives of people other than your friends and family and the vague ideas that at some point in your life the work you would be doing would have meaning in and of itself and not merely be the thing you dragged yourself into each morning because you became a prisoner to status and possessions and the ever-increasing series of compromises and “temporary” positions you took with the delusion that you would only do those things until you got yourself to a place where you were able to follow your bliss, and now when you look back on that idealistic kid from 1989 you are stricken with a mixture of disgust for the ignorance of youth and sadness about the hard realities of life. But of course this is only true for people of a certain age; if you are much younger, don’t worry, I’m sure everything will work out exactly the way you expect it to.

Movie Old

… When Corey warns him he’ll get hurt, he pauses, then declares, like a battle cry, “I want to get hurt!”

This is what makes Lloyd wonderful, the best of Crowe’s rash, restless dreamers: He has all that doubt, but no fear. He knows what could happen, what almost has to happen; he charges ahead anyway. He’s not naïve. He’s simply determined in the arena of happiness and love the way other movie heroes are determined in the arenas of sports and competition. He wants to be a real person, and tells a dinner party worth of people that the only thing he knows for sure is that he doesn’t want to buy anything, sell anything or process anything.

'Say Anything' At 25: Nothing Bought, Sold Or Processed

Portland is reputed to have the most independent bookstores per capita and the most roof racks per capita. The city is also said to have the most strip clubs per capita. These claims are all exaggerations, but they reflect a documented above-average consumption of recreation of all kinds. Portland has more restaurants per capita than all other large cities except Seattle and San Francisco. Oregonians also spend considerably more than most Americans on alcohol, which could be a good or a bad thing, but in any case makes you glad they are driving less.
Walkable City by Jeff Speck
patoisdujour
You don’t know anyone at the party, so you don’t want to go. You don’t like cottage cheese, so you haven’t eaten it in years. This is your choice, of course, but don’t kid yourself: it’s also the flinch. Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy.
You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like.
If it is useful to do so, you must abandon your identity and start again. Sometimes, it’s the only way.
Set fire to your old self. It’s not needed here. It’s too busy shopping, gossiping about others, and watching days go by and asking why you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. This old self will die and be forgotten by all but family, and replaced by someone who makes a difference.
Your new self is not like that. Your new self is the Great Chicago Fire—overwhelming, overpowering, and destroying everything that isn’t necessary.
Julien Smith, The Flinch (via exoticwild)