Austin For America

The blunt, pathetic reality today is that a little old lady has died, who in the winter of her life had to water roses alone under police supervision. If you behave like there’s no such thing as society, in the end there isn’t. Her death must be sad for the handful of people she was nice to and the rich people who got richer under her stewardship. It isn’t sad for anyone else. There are pangs of nostalgia, yes, because for me she’s all tied up with Hi-De-Hi and Speak and Spell and Blockbusters and “follow the bear”. What is more troubling is my inability to ascertain where my own selfishness ends and her neo-liberal inculcation begins. All of us that grew up under Thatcher were taught that it is good to be selfish, that other people’s pain is not your problem, that pain is in fact a weakness and suffering is deserved and shameful. Perhaps there is resentment because the clemency and respect that are being mawkishly displayed now by some and haughtily demanded of the rest of us at the impending, solemn ceremonial funeral, are values that her government and policies sought to annihilate.

Russell Brand (via burningfp)

(via liberalsarecool)

How they must bleed for us. In 2012, the world’s 100 richest people became $241 billion richer. They are now worth $1.9 trillion: just a little less than the entire output of the United Kingdom.

This is not the result of chance. The rise in the fortunes of the super-rich is the direct result of policies. Here are a few: the reduction of tax rates and tax enforcement; governments’ refusal to recoup a decent share of revenues from minerals and land; the privatisation of public assets and the creation of a toll-booth economy; wage liberalisation and the destruction of collective bargaining.

The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else. This is not what the theory predicted. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples – in a thousand business schools, the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD and just about every modern government – have argued that the less governments tax the rich, defend workers and redistribute wealth, the more prosperous everyone will be. Any attempt to reduce inequality would damage the efficiency of the market, impeding the rising tide that lifts all boats. The apostles have conducted a 30-year global experiment, and the results are now in. Total failure.


As I say, I have no dog in this race, except a belief that no one, in this sea of riches, should have to be poor. But staring dumbfounded at the lessons unlearned in Britain, Europe and the US, it strikes me that the entire structure of neoliberal thought is a fraud. The demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of the outcome. The complete failure of this world-scale experiment is no impediment to its repetition. This has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with power.

If you think we’re done with neoliberalism, think again | The Guardian | George Monbiot (via america-wakiewakie)

(via liberalsarecool)


April 9, 1959: NASA Introduces the First Astronauts

On this day in 1959, NASA announced to the public the seven astronauts, also known as the Mercury 7, that would partake in Project Mercury, the first manned space program. The astronauts included: Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., John H. Glenn Jr., Virgil Grissom, Walter Schirra Jr., Alan Shepard Jr., and Donald Slayton.  

During this time period, the United States and the USSR were in a constant space race, where each country was aiming to explore outer space at a quicker pace than the other. Although the U.S. was restricted on time, they developed a thorough evaluation process to select their astronauts.

NASA placed its candidates under extreme pressure and temperature conditions in order to test their health, skills, and endurance. In addition, candidates were tested on how they managed psychological and physical stress.

Love their suits? Check out these classic images from Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo as well as space-suit prototypes that never made the cut.

Top Photo: The Project Mercury Astronauts, also known as the Mercury 7 Bottom Photo: The front wall of the Flight Control Area featured a large world map display with the path to be followed by the capsule (NASA)

The assumption that there is no real difference among black people is exactly what racism is. Our differences, our right to our individuality, is what makes us human. The point of racism is to rob black people of that right. It would be no different than me assuming that Rachel Weisz must necessarily have something to say about black-Jewish relations, or me assuming that Paisley must know something about barbecue because he’s Southern.

It is no different than the only black kid in class being asked to explain “race” to white people, or asking the same question of the sole black dude in your office. The entire fight is to get white people to respect the fact that Mos Def holding a microphone is not LL Cool J holding a microphone, that Trayvon Martin is not De’Marquise Elkins, that wearing a hoodie and being black does not make you the same as every other person wearing a hoodie and being black.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on why “Accidental Racism” is actually just racist. (via theatlantic)

(via theatlantic)