HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Scuba » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

Journal Archives

Fugelsang on interference

A couple thoughts on organization

When can we rest?

Why is Bernie Madoff the only Wall Street criminal to face jail time?


A Brief History of Consumption

NYT: One Nation Under Guard


Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980. And that’s just a small fraction of what we call “guard labor.” In addition to private security guards, that means police officers, members of the armed forces, prison and court officials, civilian employees of the military, and those producing weapons: a total of 5.2 million workers in 2011. That is a far larger number than we have of teachers at all levels.

What is happening in America today is both unprecedented in our history, and virtually unique among Western democratic nations. The share of our labor force devoted to guard labor has risen fivefold since 1890 — a year when, in case you were wondering, the homicide rate was much higher than today.


Does the graph show that inequality causes a country to devote more of its labor force to guard labor? It is hard to be sure. It could be that people with a strong commitment to economic justice are, for some unknown reason, also more law-abiding, explaining the difference between Denmark and the United States. But the correlation evident in the graph could be evidence that economic disparities push nations to devote more of their productive capacity to guarding people and property. Fear and distrust of one’s neighbors and fellow citizens fuel the demand for guard labor. Economic disparities can contribute to both. Among the countries shown, a common measure of distrust of strangers is strongly correlated with both the guard-labor fraction and inequality.

Social spending, also, is strongly and inversely correlated with guard labor across the nations shown in the graph. There is a simple economic lesson here: A nation whose policies result in substantial inequalities may end up spending more on guns and getting less butter as a result.

Why don't these dramatic cityscapes look familiar?

All photos of Tehran courtesy of TripAdvisor.

What is your local Democratic Party doing to develop candidates and drive voter turnout?

In Wisconsin, the Democratic Party is organized by County. Congressional districts, State Senate districts and State Assembly districts do not follow County lines.

As a result, I volunteer at two different County Party offices, and have observed them evolving over the past few years. Disclaimer: My knowlege of how things run in the offices is admittedly superficial. If I have mis-characterized anything here my apologies in advance, and a promise of a correction/update as I learn more.

But here's what I'm observing: Both offices are under new leadership in the last two years, and both seem to be getting stronger. Meeting agendas are provided in advance and well-written minutes are reliably emailed shortly following. Timely, interesting and informative speakers and forums are being regularly scheduled, and attandance is fair to good. There's energy and enthusiasm and a sense of quiet competency.

Both offices suffer from a lack of automated organizational tools. Email, snail mail and phone lists are not automated in ways that could make them more useful. There is little to no data sharing betwen offices, or between offices and the State Party.

Both offices are struggling to figure out how to take best advantage of social medial like Facebook and Twitter.

While there are some good candidate-development programs available to Democrats in the State, the local offices don't have anything resembling an effective candidate pipeline. There's no effective ongoing coaching of candidates regarding issues, nor help for them in developing the personal skills - effective public speaking, debate, presentation techniques.

Printed materials are put together by well-meaning volunteers, not skilled advertising professionals, and lack both the visual attraction and the subliminal psychology the other side uses so very well.

Finally, and so important, voter registration is underserved.

So, what does your local Party office do? What best practices can you share? What improvements would you like to see?

How can we make our local Party offices as effective as possible? How can we develop great candidates and provide them with great turnouts?

The Atlantic: On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn


Jordan Davis had a mother and a father. It did not save him. Trayvon Martin had a mother and a father. They could not save him. My son has a father and mother. We cannot protect him from our country, which is our aegis and our assailant. We cannot protect our children because racism in America is not merely a belief system but a heritage, and the inability of black parents to protect their children is an ancient tradition.

Henry "Box" Brown, whose family was destroyed and whose children were trafficked, knew:

I stationed myself by the side of the road, along which the slaves, amounting to three hundred and fifty, were to pass. The purchaser of my wife was a Methodist minister, who was about starting for North Carolina. Pretty soon five wagon-loads of little children passed, and looking at the foremost one, what should I see but a little child, pointing its tiny hand towards me, exclaiming, "There's my father; I knew he would come and bid me good-bye...”

Spare us the invocations of "black on black crime." I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought insane. The most mendacious phrase in the American language is "black on black crime," which is uttered as though the same hands that drew red lines around the ghettoes of Chicago are not the same hands that drew red lines around the life of Jordan Davis, as though black people authored North Lawndale and policy does not exist. That which mandates the murder of our Hadiya Pendletons necessarily mandates the murder of Jordan Davis. I will not respect any difference. I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought crazy.

I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson's genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings, that George Washington's abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge, that the G.I Bill's accolades are somehow inseparable from its racist heritage. I will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting to which, likely until the end of our days, we unerringly return.
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Next »