And that’s the way it is … for now.
Since today is the last day of Black History Month, let’s have a black history quiz:
What do the following people have in common? (Chart from the Washington Post)
Yes, they are black. (Why else would they be in this quiz?) But they also represent a significant minority.
Of the 1,950 people who have served in the U.S. Senate, these nine are the only African Americans to hold a seat in the upper chamber of Congress.
Hyram Revels and Blanche Bruce were both senators from Mississippi who served during the post Civil War Reconstruction of the South from 1870-71 and 1875-1881, respectively. Both were appointed by the Mississippi State Legislature, but Bruce was the first black person for serve a full Senate term.
Edward Brooke (1967-1979) of Massachusetts was the first African American to win a Senate seat in a popular vote. The Bay State also was represented by Mo Cowan, who was appointed to the seat in 2013 to fill out the vacancy created by the appointment of John F. Kerry to the post of Secretary of State. Ed Markey now holds that seat.
Illinois has had three black senators, Carol Moseley Braun (1993-1999)), Barack Obama (2005-2008) and Roland Burris (2009-2010). Moseley Braun is the only African American to serve a full term as an Illinois senator. Obama … well, you know what happened to him. Burris was appointed to finish Obama’s term.
Tim Scott of South Carolina was appointed to the Senate in 2013 when Jim DeMint decided he was going to go to the Heritage Foundation to make a lot of money. It will be interesting to see what happens this year, when Scott faces a special election to complete the term. He’s only the third black person to represent a Southern state.
And Cory Booker of New Jersey was elected last year in a special election, but he runs again this year for a full term.
So, by the numbers, There have been five black Democrats and four black Republicans in the Senate. Three have been appointed. Two are up for re-election this year. And one became president.
An interesting countdown for such a tiny group.
It’s pretty sad to hear a convincing argument on why Richard Nixon was a better president for the poor than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But when he explains that Nixon’s social programs were the result of a powerful liberal coalition that fought for those causes, it’s clear the results were inevitable.
The next time your crazy, Tea Bagging Uncle Muggs bloviates on how that Kenyan, socialist usurper in the White House and every pinko commie Democrat president (and he will say “Democrat” instead of “Democratic” because that’s the way Tea Baggers speak) are giving away the hard-earned cash of America’s job creators to the moocher class, pull out this chart (via Bloomberg):
1) The “job creators” put their money in the stock market because they have so much of it. There’s no where else to put it. The “moocher class” doesn’t put money in the stock market, because, hey, ya gotta eat. So, really, who do you think is suffering when a president actually talks about raising a minimum wage? That guy with the top hat and the monocle on the Monopoly board?
2) The premise of this chart is flawed, because anyone who knows anything about investing in the stock market will say you don’t pull all your money out of it when there’s a president of a different party in office. Surely, you can’t believe that the minute Bill Clinton and Barack Obama walked in the White House, the billionaires funding the Tea Party called their stock brokers and said “Sell everything. We’ve got to get out of this commie market!” They left their cash where it was, and the billions flowed in.
On the other hand, your crazy, Tea Bagging Uncle Muggs is the kind of guy who did sell all of his stocks and buried his cash in his backyard bomb shelter when the hated Democrats took power.
That might explain why he’s so pissed off that his retirement fund that “hasn’t done Jack” since he built his portfolio when Dick Nixon took office. (I would have said “began his 401(k),” but those didn’t exist until Jimmy Carter’s administration, and Uncle Muggs would never put his money in anything that was created when that peanut farmer was president.)
Yeah, that chart proves the Democrats hate capitalism. After all, it grows like weeds when they’re in office.
Given that Bill Nye the science guy went to the Creation Museum last week and had a “debate” on whether evolution was real, why not just give up and let the God folks determine science and math and history and geology and all that other good stuff that moved us into the 21st century?
Why did Nye not just say, “Are you out of your mind?” When your argument is, “Because God says so,” that immediately means that there is no scientific basis for anything the creationists say. When you pit the peer-reviewed findings of Nobel Prize winning scientists against first century illiteracy (the guys who the books of the Bible were named after were shepherds and fishermen, for God’s sake), why (oh, why?) was the thing they had at the Creation Museum (right here in Kentucky) even thought of as a “debate.” Debate means both sides have strong foundations for their arguments.
When one side’s “argument” over more than an hour has less of a scientific foundation than the theme song of “The Big Bang Theory,” which in its full version lasts about two minutes, calling that a debate is a travesty.
Let me emphasize this the best way I can. Here’s the debate:
The evolution side:
The creationist side:
The evolution side rests.
A reverse look at sexism and sexual violence. Contains nudity and rough language (in French):
This is an amazingly kind thing to do (from USA Today).
After hearing last week that dozens of Utah students had their school lunches taken because their accounts were delinquent, a Texas man decided to help students in similar situations near him.
Kenny Thompson, a 52-year-old mentor and tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, did some research and learned that children at the school where he works were receiving cold cheese sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of full trays of food because they had negative balances on their lunch accounts.
These were children whose parents couldn’t afford the 40 cents per day fee, so Thompson took $465 and paid off the delinquent accounts of 60 children, KPRC television reports.
Because the following were amazingly evil things to do:
Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.
“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.
A St. Louis County cafeteria worker is out of a job after giving away free meals to a child in need.
For two years, Dianne Brame worked as a cafeteria manager at Hudson Elementary in Webster Groves, keeping kids’ bellies full for their all-important task of learning.
The lunch lady loved her job: “I knew kids by their names, I knew their likes and dislikes, so it was just fun.”
But recently, she came across a fourth grader who consistently came without money. She says he used to be on the free lunch program, but language barriers got in the way of reapplying: “I sent them paperwork so that they could get back in contact with me, but it didn’t happen,” she says.
For days, Brame snuck the boy lunches. She explains, “I let his account get over $45 which I’m only supposed to let it get over $10, and I started letting him come through my lunch line without putting his number in, and they look at that as stealing. I thought it was just taking care of a kid.”
She was trying to protect him from the bullying: a cruel side dish to the default cheese sandwich given to kids without lunch money.
So, less than $500 will help ensure 60 American children have at least one decent meal a day. Otherwise, they go hungry, and people who attempt to feed them lose their jobs.
There are a lot of poor people in the U.S. and as the middle-class shrinks, it’s not because more middle-income workers are becoming rich. It’s because more of them are becoming poor. And those hardest hit by poverty are children.
So it’s always a good time to understand economic history. And since I haven’t referred to Paul Krugman in a while, maybe it’s time to look into the YouTube vault and hear him talk about income inequality and how we’ve gotten there:
Income inequality, poverty, hungry children. They’re all related. And as the generosity of one man in Texas shows, it really doesn’t take much to help children in need.
An art museum can be a cathedral to rapture and a chamber of horror. I’ve seen a lot of these paintings before, but if they came alive, some of them would scare me to death.
Is there a Wal-Mart in your town? (Stupid question. Of course there is.)
Well, here’s a gif that shows you the spread of the American retail behemoth.
That’s pretty impressive. It starts in the middle of nowhere (OK, maybe Arkansas is a suburb of nowhere) and has completely taken over the country.
Now the company will say the consumer has benefited the most from this, because Wal-Mart allows shoppers to buy more with fewer dollars, and given the economic trouble we’ve been through recently, that’s a fair point. But do you want to know who REALLY has benefited from all this?
These are the Waltons. No not Erin, John-Boy, Jim-Bob and Mary Ellen. It’s Christy, Jim, Rob and Alice. They are the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune. Christie is the widow of John Walton, the second son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. (OK. Maybe the kids were called John-Boy and Jim-Bob.) The other three are Sam’s kids. That “B” after the dollar figure stands for billion. And that number above the dollar figure is where they rank in Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest people. Christie is the richest woman in the world.
Now, year-to-date, their combined net worth shrank by about $1.2 billion. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they probably haven’t have to cut back much to make ends meet.
It’s fascinating to watch the growth of a company over the years. And it sure as hell is amazing to see the amount of wealth it generated for a handful of people.
Max Fischer over at the Washington Post’s Worldviews has a post up on 40 maps that explain the world.
This one is my favorite:
That was a scary spread of red.