Friday, January 02, 2015

Bank (De)regulation, Income Disparity, & Bank Failure - A Cycle

Mikaela says:
Every time I hear about income disparity, I think about this article from NPR, which connects some key dots.  Right before big economic collapses and bank failures, the income gap yawns open to eat all but the 1%.  Then comes regulation on banks, income equality gets better, the economy improves, and the right decides it's time to deregulate again.  And then we start the cycle again.

Here's the graph from Harvard Business School Professor David Moss in 2010:


P.S. Check out these amazing graphs about income inequality in America over the last 40 years.  



Friday, January 31, 2014

Unequal pay for women planners

Mikaela says:

On the heals of President Obama's State of the Union speech, here's what I find an "embarrassment" not to mention demoralizing:

APA's Salary Survey for 2012 shows this pay discrepancy between men and women, which only GROWS with experience.


Friday, October 04, 2013

I'm speechless.  Infuriated and speechless.  Republicans have shut down the government over providing healthcare to Americans at price they can afford.  It's a Tea Party, a spilled wet dream.  You mean we can force the Democrats to negotiate about an adopted law AND we can stop the government?  Really?  Christmas!

I can't even imagine where we go from here.  No one seems to have a rational explanation for an end game.

I'm not feeling backlash yet.  What if we go on like this for weeks, and they start thinking maybe we should go without government at all?

And Darwin comes by and starts turning out lights? Hello, Great Depression.  Nice to see you again.  So nice of you to drop by. More on financial implications here.

John Boehner's Shut Down

With No New Plan, Boehner Makes Plea on Shutdown

This says what I want to say, in much the same exasperated tone:
Wrong Side of History

A Population Betrayed

Why Conservatives Should Reread Milton Friedman

Why the Right Fights

Why Boehner doesn't just ditch the hard right

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, October 22, 2012

Women, Work, & Family

Mikaela says:

Given the next installment about to hit our family, I had to archive this amazing article about women in the workplace trying to balance childrearing.

This article is unapologetically written from the perspective of a woman arguably at the top of pyramid, with lots of choices about where and how to work and when. Anne-Marie Slaughter worked in the State Departments for 2 years and stepped down to take a more active role in the life of her teenage son, who was struggling.  Umm... awesome.  I love her candid advice in this article, as well as her honesty. She mentions several times not knowing what to say when some women ask her how to proceed, how to strike the perfect balance.

Brace yourself; it's a long article, but I love that about it, too. There are no candy-coated aphorisms offered here.  Just some really brutal truths served up for our contemplation, as well as some well-deserved praise for strong women role-models who don't often get recognized for their mothering AND professional success.

Enjoy!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Class-based Hypocrisy from the Supreme Court


Mikaela says:

Had to archive this little gem from the Washington Post.  It's so surprising that the rule came in favor of the universal healthcare mandate, although a somewhat cynical friend speculated that right-leaning Chief Justice Roberts may have framed the ruling as constitutional only under the taxation clause as a short-term tactic toward the long-term strategy of wiping out taxation and anything hanging on it eventually. Sigh.  For the moment, though, hurray, America! You've joined other civilized nations in protecting the health of your own citizens.  Long time in coming...


But in the midst of diving around various analyses of the healthcare case, here was this about another recent ruling by this court:

Taken in context with the conservative majority’s other recent rulings, Alito’s majority opinion [in Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000] revealed the most class-based double standard the court has exhibited since before the New Deal. In the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission — rendered by the same five justices who signed onto Alito’s ruling inKnox — the court ruled that corporations could directly spend their resources on political campaigns. These two decisions mean that a person who goes to work for the unionized Acme Widget Company can refuse to pay for the union’s intervention in political campaigns but has no recourse to reclaim the value of his labor that Acme reaps and opts to spend on political campaigns. Citizens United created a legal parity between companies and unions — both are free to dip into their treasuries for political activities — but Knox creates a legal disparity between them: a worker’s free-speech right entitles him to withhold funds from union campaign and lobbying activities, but not the value of his work from the company’s similar endeavors.

Does that not just kill you?  With the good comes the bad, I guess.  Holding my nose as I party...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Living in the Sprawl...

Mikaela says:

Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight...

Ah the ironies of listening to Arcade Fire's brilliant The Suburbs as I labor to create the plan for a walkable, urban, transit-oriented development on Albuquerque's sprawling West Side.

Thanks, Mags for the kick in the donkey to get this gem of an album!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Accountability

Mikaela says:
Albuquerque's Mayor, as part of his "accountability measures" decided to post the name & salary of every City employee in an online database.

http://www.cabq.gov/abq-view
(See Graded and Ungraded Employees.)

That's the end of accountability, I guess, because the Mayor had no plans to address any issues with pay disparity, gender inequity, departmental inequity, etc.

I've done a very surface-level analysis of the Planning Department, for example, which headed by a woman might have the best chance for gender pay equity, one might expect. On average, men make $6,000 less more than women. Women are overwhelmingly assistants and support staff. Men are the engineers. Even with the same title, most men make at least 10% more money. Of the top 10 highest earners, 8 are men. Even the director makes less than 2 men that report to her.

Likewise, of the 25 top earners at the City, 20 are men (80%), and on average, these high-paid men make $6,000 more than high-paid women. Mayor Berry, if you care, is #25, making just over $100K per year.

Hurray. Such accountability, Mayor Berry! Way to go.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Silver Lining

Mikaela says:

This American Life did a brilliant show asking and answering a bunch of my questions surrounding mid-term elections, looking at liberal and conservative machinations (or lack thereof).

(Especially Act III: Jack Hitt Goes to Washington - interviewing Democratic Party insider Paul Begala about whether Democrats have a VERY secret messaging strategy or whether they're just incompetent.)


One story included an interview with a die-hard conservative adamantly opposed to tax increases who found himself traveling Colorado to stump AGAINST the tax-cutting ballot propositions 60, 61, and 101, which would have cause perpetual budget crises for the state and caused businesses to flee.

They were all roundly defeated. There you have it! Good news from an abysmal election...

Colorado voters reject tax-cutting measures 60, 61, 101


Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected three tax-cutting measures Tuesday, leading to a collective sigh of relief among government officials across the state who feared the passage of Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 could have meant financial doom.

"Every local government and state government would have been reeling from the passage of those" measures, Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam said. "It really would have been devastating to our community."

Proposition 101, a statutory change that would reduce vehicle taxes and fees and state income taxes, as well as eliminate telecommunication taxes, was failing statewide, with 68 percent of voters opposed.

Amendment 60, which would change the state constitution to require voters to approve all property-tax increases and would limit any new increases in property taxes to 10 years, was failing statewide, with 76 percent opposed.

Amendment 61 was another proposed constitutional amendment, which would prohibit the state from borrowing money and would place new restrictions on all types of borrowing for local governments. It was failing, with 73 percent opposed statewide.

"They just had to be stopped," Boulder City Councilman Matt Appelbaum said. "It would have destroyed us. It would have bankrupted the state."

Combined, the effects of the three measures on Boulder's budget were estimated to be between $26 million and $54 million within the next four years.

Mark Swanson, a Superior Democrat, said he voted against the measures and is glad so many others did, too.

"At some point, I think people have made a very common-sense judgment that some taxes are good taxes," he said.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Duende Poetry Series 2010 - Margaret Randall & Suzanne Lummis

Mikaela advocates:

A Poetry Reading
Sunday, September 12th at 3PM at the Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas, NM
free to the public

Margaret Randall
Author of more than 100 books, will read from her newest book: My Town: A memoir of Albuquerque in poems, prose and photos (Wings Press, San Antonio). Author John Nichols wrote the introduction to the book, which is about growing up in the Duke City in the 1940s and 50s against the backdrop of Cold War politics, the Bomb, the area's race relations and the power of the desert.

Other recent titles from Randall include: To change the world: My years in Cuba (a memoir); and, With their backs to the Sea (poems). Two forthcoming titles are: First Laugh (Essays) from the University of Nebraska Press; and, Ruins (Poems and photos) from UNM Press.


Suzanne Lummis
Founder-director of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, is part of the performance troupe Nearly Fatal Women and literary director of the Arroyo Arts Collective as well as editor of the online magazine "Speechless." Her class "The Poem Noir: Poetry goes to the movies" at UCLA Extension University has become famous over the years. Lummis' books of poetry include: Falling short of Heaven; Idiosyncracies; Spreading the Word; In Danger; and Open 24 Hours.

For all Duende poetry readings, wine, free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are available. The event is free, though we encourage donations for the poets. For more information, contact Jim Fish at the winery at (505) 867-3062, email anasazifieldswinery@att.net or online at http://www.anasazifieldswinery.com/events.htm.

The next Duende Poetry Series reading will be in January, 2011. The series presents four readings per year. The September 12 reading is supported by the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation of Santa Fe.

To reach the winery, turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos from Highway 165 in the Old Village of Placitas, across from the Presbyterian Church, follow the road through two stop signs, then turn left into the winery parking lot. From outside Placitas, take I-25 to exit 242, drive six miles to the old village and Camino de los Pueblitos, and continue on to the winery.