Thursday, January 30, 2014

The New Republic's Lane Florsheim: The Decline of Self-Identified Members of the American Middle Class

Lane Florsheim's article at The New Republic is linked below.

The New Republic: Fewer Americans Consider Themselves to be Middle Class

"However, the Pew survey released last week indicates a rapid increase in the number of people who identify themselves as lower class, as well as a smaller rise in those identifying themselves as lower-middle class. As Paul Krugman points out, the two “lower” categories now make up almost a plurality of the population (indeed, approaching the 47 percent mark)."
---Lane Florsheim, The New Republic 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Nation's Dave Zirin: All Hail the Attempt by Northwestern Wildcats Football Players to Form a Union

Dave Zirin's column at The Nation is linked below.

Dave Zirin: The Northwestern Wildcats vs. the NCAA

"Whether or not the Northwestern players succeed in their efforts to unionize—and the NCAA will spend however many billions it takes to make sure this does not happen—their efforts today will long be remembered as the opening shot that cracked the NCAA Cartel. They deserve our support. They deserve our respect. Most of all, they deserve our solidarity. In 1922, that author of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair wrote, 'College athletics, under the spur of commercialism, has become a monstrous cancer.' I do not know what Sinclair would make of a twenty-first-century world where coaches make 100 times the salaries of professors. I think we can say safely, however, that the actions of the Northwestern football team would have made Mr. Sinclair very proud indeed."
---Dave Zirin, The Nation 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NBC News: A Majority of the American Public Supports Marijuana Legalization

Michael O'Brien's article at NBC News is linked below.

NBC News: Strong Majority Support for Marijuana Legalization

"Fifty-five percent of Americans support legislative efforts to legalize marijuana, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Those respondents would back similar laws to the ones on the books in Colorado and Washington state, where adults over the age of 21 are permitted to possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use."

---Michael O'Brien, NBC News

NBC News: Chris Christie Collapsing

The NBC News article is linked below.

NBC News: Chris Christie Crashing

"Chris Christie’s political future looks to be in serious danger with more Americans believing the embattled New Jersey governor is lying about the bridge closure scandal than telling the truth, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.  Christie’s overall standing has taken a major hit in the survey, with just 22 percent of Americans viewing the Republican New Jersey governor favorably -- down from 33 percent in October."

---Domenico Montanaro, NBC News

NBC News: Americans are Deeply Pessimistic Regarding the State of the Nation

The NBC News article by Mark Murray is linked below.

NBC News: A Pessimistic America

"As President Barack Obama enters his sixth year in the White House, 68 percent of Americans say the country is either stagnant or worse off since he took office, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Just 31 percent say the country is better off, and a deep pessimism continues to fuel the public's mood. Most respondents used words like 'divided,' 'troubled,' and 'deteriorating' to describe the current state of the nation."
---Mark Murray, NBC News

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Auburn Ranked as the Best City in Alabama's article is listed below. Auburn is Alabama's Best City

"This charm, this Southern something that residents have known about for years—and in today’s post, we are going to explore just which Alabama places are the best, and what that something is that makes them so special. Without further ado, here are the 10 best places in Alabama, starting with our winner, Auburn:"

---Natalie Grigson,

Auburn Ranked #1 Among Alabama's Cities

Politico: Rankings of the Best and Worst States in America

Politico's report is linked below.

Politico: New Hampshire the Best, Mississippi the Worst

"With this in mind, Politico Magazine rounded up 14 different state rankings from reputable sources like the Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI, and on important factors such as high school graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rate. Then we averaged out each state’s 14 rankings to come up with a master list—atop which sits none other than New Hampshire."

---Margaret Slattery, Politico 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Huffington Post: More Than 3 Million Have Registered for Private Insurance Under Obamacare

President Barack Obama

Sam Stein's article at Huffington Post is linked below.

Over 3 Million Registered for Private Insurance Under Obamacare

"Hundreds of thousands of people have chosen private health coverage under Obamacare so far in 2014, continuing the accelerated pace of enrollments from the end of last year.
The Obama administration said Friday that more than 3 million people have now signed up for private plans through the federal and state health insurance exchanges, including more than 800,000 in January."
---Sam Stein, Huffington Post 

CDC: Final U.S. Birth Data for 2012

Access to the CDC's final birth data for 2012 is linked below.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recent Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Conservative Republican, Indicted in Gift Scandal; McDonnell's Wife Indicted as Well

The Washington Post article is linked below.

Washington Post: Bob McDonnell and Wife Indicted

"Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.
Authorities alleged that for nearly two years, the McDonnells hit up executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. again and again, lodging near constant requests for large loans, clothes, trips, golf accessories and private plane rides."
---Rosalind S. Helderman, et al, Washington Post
Politico: The Indictment of Bob McDonnell and Wife

Monday, January 20, 2014

Associated Press: Per a New Study, 49% of Black Males, 44% of Hispanic Males, and 38% of White Males in the U.S. Have Been Arrested by Age 23

The Associated Press article posted at is linked below.

Associated Press: Almost half of U.S. Black Males Arrested by Age 23

"The authors found that by age 18, 30 percent of black men, 26 percent of Hispanic men and 22 percent of white men have been arrested. By 23, those numbers climb to 49 percent for black men, 44 percent for Hispanic men and 38 percent for white men."
---Jake Pearson, Associated Press 

Reuters: Bomb Blasts Kill Over 20 in Baghdad, Iraq


The Reuters story is linked below.

Reuters: More deadly violence in Iraq

"Seven bomb explosions killed 26 people and wounded 67 in the Iraqi capital on Monday, police and medics said, as security forces battled Sunni Muslim militants around the western cities of Falluja and Ramadi."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

San Francisco Chronicle: California's Hispanic Population Set to Exceed California Whites

The San Francisco Chronicle article is linked below.

San Francisco Chronicle: Hispanics on the Verge of Becoming the Largest Racial-Ethnic Group in California

Emily DeRuy: Glaring Lack of Diversity Among Computer Science Advanced-Placement Test-Takers


Emily DeRuy's article at National Journal is linked below.

National Journal: Whites Are Disproportionately the AP Computer Science Test-Takers

"The pipeline of students who will be tomorrow's tech leaders is alarmingly vanilla.
According to a new analysis of test-takers, not a single girl, African-American or Hispanic student took the computer science Advanced Placement test in Mississippi or Montana last year. More than a third of the population in Mississippi is black.
In other words, a hugely disproportionate bunch of white guys took the test."
---Emily DeRuy, National Journal, Fusion

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Barry Lando: The U.S. Role in the Destruction of Iraq


Barry Lando's column at (original post at is linked below.

Barry Lando: How the U.S. Played a Pivotal Role in Destroying Iraq

"The military onslaught and the American rule that immediately followed, destroyed not just the people and infrastructure of Iraq, but the very fiber of the nation. Though Saddam’s tyranny was ruthless, over the years the country’s disparate peoples had begun living together as Iraqis, in the same towns and neighborhoods, attending the same schools, intermarrying—slowly developing a sense of nationhood.
That process was shattered by the American proconsuls who took charge after the invasion. They oversaw a massive political purge, a witch hunt, that led to the gutting of key ministries, the collapse of the police and military and other key government institutions, without creating any viable new structures in their place. The Shiites who the U.S. helped bring to power took revenge on the Sunnis, many of whom had backed Saddam."
---Barry Lando,, January 10, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation Ranks Alabama as Having the 15th Worst State Poverty Rate in the United States


The article is linked below. Alabama Has the 15th Worst Poverty Rate, Per the Kaiser Family Foundation

"An estimated 22 percent of Alabama residents are living below the federal poverty line, representing roughly 1 million people, according to an analysis conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Across the United States, about 20 percent of residents -- one in five -- lives in poverty, putting Alabama's rate slightly above the national figure. Alabama ranks 15th in overall poverty.

All 10 southeastern states have poverty rates above the national figure."

---Alex Walsh,

Sunday, January 12, 2014 Declines in the Numbers of Graduating High School Seniors Making College Admission Easier?

The article is linked below. High School Graduates Declining in Numbers for the Next Several Years

"After growing for 15 years and peaking at 3.4 million, the number of high school graduates is expected to decline by 100,000 to 200,000 this year, according to the report. Because of a decline in the number of births, the number of high school graduates is not projected to start rising again until 2020."

---Kelly Heyboer,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Democrat Terry McAuliffe Inaugurated as Governor of Virginia

The Democratic Party

Washington Post: McAuliffe Becomes Governor of Virginia

Time: Coverage of the Swearing in of Terry McAuliffe as Governor of Virginia

Washington Post: In Bridgegate, there Was an "Extensive Coverup" by Christie Administration Officials

Governor Chris Christie

The Washington Post article is linked below.

Washington Post: Newly-Released Documents Show a Coverup

"The hundreds of pages of e-mails and internal documents released Friday afternoon show for the first time how Christie loyalists inside the Port Authority worked to orchestrate a coverup after traffic mayhem swiftly arrived in Fort Lee on Sept. 9.
The e-mails also reveal the extent to which Christie’s appointees kept their Port Authority colleagues and Fort Lee officials in the dark about their plans."
---Philip Rucker and Aaron Blake, Washington Post  

Friday, January 10, 2014

CNN: In 2013, the U.S. Economy Only Added 74,000 Jobs in December 2013 as the Unemployment Rate Fell to 6.7%

The CNN article is linked below.

CNN: Unemployment Rate is 6.7%, and the Economy Added 74K Jobs in December 2013

"Hiring slumped sharply in December, as the economy added only 74,000 jobs, according to the government. This was the weakest month for job growth since January 2011 and came as a huge surprise to economists, who were expecting an addition of 193,000 jobs."

---Annalyn Kurtz, CNN

Salon's Joan Walsh: Put a Fork in Chris Christie; He's Done in Terms of 2016

Gov. Chris Christie

Joan Walsh's column at Salon is linked below.

Joan Walsh: Chris Christie is Roadkill

"Now he’s in big trouble already, and you can bet GOP operatives are combing the record along with Rachel Maddow’s staff and dozens if not hundreds of local and national reporters, to tell the story of the real Chris Christie. That’s in addition to the state and federal investigators who will be looking for evidence that Christie knew more about the Fort Lee plot than he’s shared. Christie will be spending more time with lawyers than with GOP donors in the months to come, and he may have to focus on keeping his job rather than winning the White House. His path to the White House is all but closed, even if some national pundits can’t bear to admit it yet."

---Joan Walsh, Salon 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New York Daily News: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is "Pathetic"

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

The New York Daily News editorial is linked below.

New York Daily News: A "Pathetic" Chris Christie

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s one-hour-and-forty-seven-minute self-serving, self-pitying display of contrition on Thursday was a climactic act in a brazen cover-up that threatens to further unravel his political career.

Ever so thoroughly the governor scoured the thesaurus for words of apology, regret and painless self-flagellation while nervily playing the victim and mercilessly destroying the aide who played only a supporting role for the George Washington Bridge political revenge plot."

---New York Daily News 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

National Journal Interviews Brookings Institution Demographer William Frey

The National Journal interview of William Frey is linked below.

National Journal: Brookings Institution Demographer William Frey Discusses 2013 Demographic

"For the first time in more than a century, it was reported there were more white deaths than births, leading to a natural decrease of the white population."

---Brookings Institution Demographer William Frey, Interview in National Journal 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bigger, Faster, Dumber! CNN Takes a Look at Major College Athletes and the Frequency of Low Reading Skills

The CNN investigation is linked below.

CNN: Major College Athletes and Illiteracy

"A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution.
This is not an exhaustive survey of all universities with major sports programs; CNN chose a sampling of public universities where open records laws apply. We sought data from a total of 37 institutions, of which 21 schools responded."

Allison Linn of NBC News: The Perceived Benefits of Single Mothers Getting Married Might be Overstated

Allison Linn's article at NBC News is linked below.

NBC News: Marriage for a Single Mother Might not be as Beneficial as Previously Thought

"A new briefing paper, written by Williams and released Monday by the Council on Contemporary Families, argues that even when single mothers do later marry, those marriages are not necessarily beneficial to the women and their children.

Williams points to a study finding that more than half of single moms who married were divorced by the time they reached ages 35 to 44. In many cases, she notes, women who marry and later divorce are worse off financially."

---Allison Linn, NBC News

U.S. Census Bureau: Almost One-Third of Americans Experienced at Least Two Months of Poverty in 2009-2011

The U.S. Census Bureau news release is linked below.

Census Bureau: Almost One-Third of U.S. Experienced Poverty a Minimum of Two Months of Poverty in 2009-2001

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31.6 percent of Americans were in poverty for at least two months from 2009 to 2011, a 4.5 percentage point increase over the prerecession period of 2005 to 2007. Poverty was a temporary state for most people; however, 3.5 percent of Americans were in poverty for the entire three-year period."

---U.S. Census Bureau News Release, January 7, 2014

CNN Poll: Majority Support for U.S. Marijuana Legalization, Along With a Large Majority Being Tolerant of Marijuana Use

The CNN/ORC Poll is linked below.

CNN/ORC Poll: America's Changing Views on Marijuana

"The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicated that the number of people who say smoking pot is morally wrong has plunged.

Fifty-five percent of those questioned nationally said marijuana should be made legal, with 44% disagreeing."

Monday, January 6, 2014

The New York Times: Liz Cheney Drops Out!

The article in The New York Times is linked below.

NYT: Liz Cheney Gives Up

"Liz Cheney announced early Monday morning that she was withdrawing from the Wyoming Republican Senate primary, bringing an abrupt end to her unsteady challenge to the incumbent, Michael B. Enzi."

---Jonathan Martin, The New York Times 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fareed Zakaria at Time: 2014 is a Pivotal Year for China

The People's Republic of China

Fareed Zakaria's column at Time is linked below.

Fareed Zakaria: China at an Economic Fork in the Road

"2014 is the year of the horse in China. But for the rest of us, it might prove to be the year of China. The country faces a historic turning point: either it will revamp its economic system, deal with some of its growing environmental and social problems and set itself up for another decade of growth and stability that will ensure it becomes the world's largest economy, or 2014 will be the year that the great Chinese miracle hits a serious road bump--with seismic consequences."
---Fareed Zakaria, Time 

Annie Lowrey of The New York Times: The 50th Anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty

President Lyndon B. Johnson

Annie Lowrey's article at The New York Times is linked below.

Annie Lowrey: The Legacy of LBJ's War on Poverty

"To many Americans, the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed. The poverty rate has fallen only to 15 percent from 19 percent in two generations, and 46 million Americans live in households where the government considers their income scarcely adequate.

But looked at a different way, the federal government has succeeded in preventing the poverty rate from climbing far higher. There is broad consensus that the social welfare programs created since the New Deal have hugely improved living conditions for low-income Americans."

---Annie Lowrey, The New York Times 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Associated Press: Fallujah Has Fallen to an Al Qaeda-Affliliated Group, Islamic State in Iraq and Levant


The Associated Press article at ABC News is linked below.

The Fall of Fallujah

"The city center of Iraq's Fallujah has fallen completely into the hands of fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, police said Saturday, yet another victory for the hardline group that has made waves across the region in recent days."
---Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Associated Press, Posted at

NBC News: Are Video Games, Unleaded Gasoline, and Abortion Significant Contributors to the 20-Year Decline in Violent Crime in America?

Andrew Blankstein's article at NBC News is linked below.

NBC News: Possible Explanations to a 20-Year Decline in American Crime

"But experts say the real reasons behind the downturn -- which included double-digit decreases in homicide rates last year in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles -- are more complicated and may involve factors as mundane as that X-Box sitting in the living room, Americans’ changing work habits and what comes out of your gas pump."

---Andrew Blankstein, NBC News 

In Iraq, Fallujah Falls to Al Qaeda-Affiliated Militants

In Iraq, Militants Take the City of Fallujah

January 3, 2014: In Iraq, forces affiliated with Al-Qaeda established control of the city of Fallujah, a city that U.S. forces struggled to control in 2004, and a scene of bloody fighting during that period.

In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, a high degree of sectarian violence (Sunni versus Shiite) returned in 2013. By the start of 2014, it was unclear if the sectarian struggle constituted a full-blown civil war.

"In Fallujah, where Marines fought the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war in 2004, the militants appeared to have the upper hand, underscoring the extent to which the Iraqi security forces have struggled to sustain the gains made by U.S. troops before they withdrew in December 2011."

---Liz Sly, Washington Post 

In Iraq, Militants Take Control of the City of Fallujah

"U.S. intelligence officials said Friday the situation in western Iraq was 'extremely dire' after radical Sunni forces linked with al Qaeda raised their flag in the town of Fallujah - site of two of the bloodiest battles during the Iraq war - and gained control of the city."

---Andrea Mitchell and Courtney Kube, NBC News

NBC News: Fallujah Falls

Friday, January 3, 2014

Salon's Brian Beutler: Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, and the Core of the Republican Party

Brian Beutler's article at Salon is linked below.

Salon: Phil Robertson and the GOP

"Robertson’s comments don’t fly in most of America. If Robertson were, say, running for Senate in Missouri as a Republican, the GOP would have disowned him immediately. But Robertson isn’t a politician. He’s not a mouthpiece for a political party that needs to maintain a national brand identity. But his remarks reflect the views of a cultural subset the GOP depends on for its survival. His suspension made him a tribune of modern conservatism. Thus, conservative Republicans (not just opportunists like Sarah Palin, but party standard-bearers) felt impelled to rally to his side without actually echoing anything Robertson said."
---Brian Beutler, Salon 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Time: Study by University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economist Claims that a Minimum Wage Increase Would Bring Over 4 Million out of Poverty

Eliana Dockterman's article at Time is linked below.

Eliana Docterman: Study Maintains a Minimum Wage Increase Would Reduce U.S. Poverty

"If Congress were to go through with the plan backed by President Obama to raise the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $10.10, 4.6 million people would rise above the poverty line, a new study says."
---Eliana Docterman, Time 

The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn: Eight Forecasts for the State of Obamacare on January 1, 2015

Jonathan Cohn's article at The New Republic is linked below.

Jonathan Cohn: Obamacare and January 1, 2015

"The most notable change will be 12 million newly insured Americans.  In May, 2013 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected 9 million low-income adults would gain coverage in states opting to expand Medicaid during 2014, and another 7 million Americans would obtain private insurance through new federal and state health insurance exchanges. However, because of incomplete ACA awareness among eligible adults and early technical problems with the exchanges, I expect overall enrollment gains in 2014 will be 12 million instead of 16 million Americans."
---John Z. Ayanian, One of the eight forecasters featured in Jonathan Cohn's article in The New Republic 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NBC News: PTSD-Suffering Veteran of the Iraqi War Made Colorado's First Legal Purchase of Recreational Marijuana


The NBC News article is linked below.

NBC News: War Veteran Purchases $59 Worth of Legal Recreational Marijuana in Colorado

"Colorado's legal recreational marijuana industry kicked off Wednesday with an Iraq war veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder making the first pot purchase under the new law.
Sean Azzariti of Denver, who helped campaign for Amendment 64, bought an eighth of an ounce of a strain called Bubba Kush and a pot-infused edible truffle for $59 at the 3D Cannabis Center — one of about a dozen retailers that began selling up to an ounce of weed to adults starting at 8 a.m. mountain time."

Denver Post: Legal Sales of Recreational Marijuana are in Effect in Colorado


The article at the Denver Post is linked below.

Denver Post: Sales of Recreational Marijuana Now Legal in Colorado

"The customer was Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran from Denver who was featured in pro-legalization campaign ads in which he said he hoped to use marijuana to alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder. The cost of the ceremonial first sale was $59.74."

---John Ingold, Denver Post 

The New York Times: January 1, 2014 is a Landmark Day for Obamacare

The article in The New York Times is linked below.

The New York Times: New Year's Day a Pivotal Moment in the Implementation of Obamacare

"Millions of Americans will begin receiving health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday after years of contention and a rollout hobbled by delays and technical problems. The decisively new moment in the effort to overhaul the country’s health care system will test the law’s central premise: that extending coverage to far more Americans will improve the nation’s health and help many avoid crippling medical bills."

----Robert Pear and Abby Goodnough, The New York Times 

New York Daily News: Democrat Bill de Blasio Sworn In as the Mayor of New York City

New York City

As Americans in the eastern time zone rang in 2014, Democrat Bill de Blasio took the oath of office to become Mayor of New York City.  He was sworn in just a few minutes after midnight on January 1, 2014.

Jennifer Fermino's article in the New York Daily News is linked below.

New York Daily News: Bill de Blasio is New York City's 109th Mayor