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PORTSIDE  March 2012, Week 1

PORTSIDE March 2012, Week 1

Subject:

Tidbits and Reader Responses - March 7, 2012

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Date:

Wed, 7 Mar 2012 22:02:14 -0500

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Tidbits and Reader Responses - March 7, 2012

 * Extreme Poverty In The U.S. Has Doubled In The Last 15
  Years (Pat Garofalo - Think Progress) 
 * Re: Vermont Town Meetings Model People-Driven Democracy 
  (R Zwarich) 
 * Re:  Treating Sick Rich Folks (Sharon Colbert) 
 * Re: Alan   Turing's 60-Year-Old Prediction About Patterns 
   in Nature Proven True (John Talbutt) 
 * Re: A Brief History of the   Education Culture Wars 
  (Deborah H.)

==========

 * Extreme Poverty In The U.S. Has Doubled In The Last 15
 Years

 By Pat Garofalo ThinkProgress.org March 6, 2012

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/06/438907/extreme-poverty-doubled-15-years/

 [Note: to view graphs and charts, go to original source
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/06/438907/extreme-poverty-doubled-15-years/ ]

 According to the latest Census Bureau data, nearly 50
 percent of Americans are either low-income or living in
 poverty in the wake of the Great Recession. And a new study
 from the National Poverty Center shows just how deep in
 poverty some of those people are, finding that the number of
 households living on less than $2 per day (before government
 benefits) has more than doubled in the last 15 years:

 The number of U.S. households living on less than $2 per
 person per day - which the study terms "extreme poverty" -
 more than doubled between 1996 and 2011, from 636,000 to
 1.46 million, the study finds. The number of children in
 extremely poor households also doubled, from 1.4 million to
 2.8 million.

 While extreme poverty doubled overall, it tripled amongst
 female headed households. Of course, there's always the tact
 taken North Carolina Republican State Representative George
 Cleveland last week, who simply denied that anyone in his
 state lives in extreme poverty. As we noted at the time,
 "the 728,842 North Carolinians who are classified as living
 in deep poverty might take issue with that assessment."

 [Pat Garofalo is Economic Policy Editor for
 ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action
 Fund. Pat's work has also appeared in The Nation, U.S. News
 & World Report, The Guardian, the Washington Examiner, and
 In These Times. He has been a guest on MSNBC and Al-Jazeera
 television, as well as many radio shows. Pat graduated from
 Brandeis University, where he was the editor-in-chief of The
 Brandeis Hoot, Brandeis' community newspaper, and worked for
 the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public
 Life.]

 ==========

 * Re: Vermont Town Meetings Model People-Driven Democracy

 In extolling the virtues of direct democracy as practiced in
 Vermont, I hope that we will note that the people of Vermont
 have not found it necessary to reinvent Democracy in order
 to practice it, (as has the American Left). The procedure
 that is used in Vermont Town Meetings is the tried and trued
 Robert's Rule of Order, a simple procedure that, if
 practiced assiduously, assures fairness to all sides of any
 issue of business, no matter how contentious.

 The American Left has for some inexplicable reason become
 enamored with the much vaunted 'consensus process', which
 only works well among small groups of people who share a
 mostly homogenous general point of view, (such as 'kitchen
 table' groups).

 The Occupy Movement is currently providing us a case-in-
 point illustration of the problems that the inherently
 unfair 'consensus process' introduces when it is practiced
 in larger and more diverse groups. When contentious matters
 of business are addressed, this 'consensus process' is so
 manipulative, inherently unfair to dissenting positions, and
 just generally stultifying, that mob-type angers inevitably
 arise, with shouting out of order, mob browbeating of people
 who will not 'consense', and general disorder becoming
 common in large groups.

 In NY, for example, among the original Occupy Wall Street
 group, the General Assemblies have become so contentious
 that interpersonal violence (actual fistfights, head-
 butting, and brandishing chairs as weapons), is not
 uncommon, with repeated incidences widely reported.
 Attendance has fallen to a couple of dozen people, as so
 many people feel that these GAs comprise an unsafe
 environment.

 I have no idea how this 'consensus process' took over the
 practice of Democracy on the American Left. It sure feels
 like it was somehow imposed on us 'from above'. Our cause
 would be well-served if we came to our senses and reverted
 to the inherently fair and impartial Robert's Rules of
 Order.

 R Zwarich

 ==========

 * Re: Treating Sick Rich Folks

 This article makes me so sad.  My oldest son died at the age
 of 39 from a treatable heart problem because he didn't have
 health insurance.  There were more than a dozen people who
 came up to me at his funeral and told me that he had
 literally saved their lives by holding their hands and
 talking them through their hard times.  Others told me how
 he had fixed their washers or cars for free.  There is
 something seriously wrong with a system that allows people
 like Lionel to die while the superrich are pampered as they
 recover from a backache.

 Sharon Colbert

 ==========

 * Re: Alan Turing's 60-Year-Old Prediction About Patterns in
 Nature Proven True

 Turing broke the enigma code:
http://www.historyarticles.com/enigma.htm

 Earlier this month the House of Lords denied a petition to
 pardon him for the conviction mentioned here.

 John Talbutt

 ==========

 * Re: A Brief History of the Education Culture Wars

 I think (though I haven't asked him yet) this is the context
 in which Van inveighs against charter schools, which he sees
 as an attack on our public schools and our teachers,
 generally from the left, at a time when the idea of public
 education is under threat.

 Deborah H.

 ==========

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