What’s it called when only rich(er) people run for office?


From Juhem Navarro-Rivera at Demos:

…analyses looking at the type of people who are elected to office at the federal and state levels often find that most elected officials come from the upper economic stratum of American society. The reason for the socioeconomic biases among those elected to office is related to the barriers that people of modest means have to run for office.

The most obvious of these representation biases is in education. Ninety-five percent ofmembers of Congress have a college degree. In a country where only one-third of the adult population have a college diploma, having a 4-year degree becomes an invisible marker of electability and drastically reduces the pool of who can think of themselves as a candidate. This affects Latino/as in particular since as one-in-six (16 percent) have earned a college diploma.

In the case of Congress the educational barriers are not limited to four-year degrees. About two-thirds of House members and three-quarters of Senators also possess graduate degrees or professional degrees, particularly in law. Forty percent of members of Congress have a law degree, the most overrepresented profession by far.

Aside from coming from an educational elite, the median worth of members of Congress is over $1 million, 18 times the worth of the average American household.


So I was on WNHH with some awesome guys

13612-flowers-branch-tree-nature-green.1200w.tnAnd you can listen here. Don’t feel obligated. My computer skillz aren’t awesome enough to give you a direct link, but this show was instructive to me.

Chris Stedman of the Yale Humanist Community, and Onyeka Obiocha, of the Happiness Lab, are the hosts, and all I was told beforehand was that the two men get goofy and so maybe I should play along.

So I show up ready to play (or so I think) and once again, I find myself sitting in a studio thinking, “I’m a pair of brown shoes in a room full of tuxedos,” especially when these guys started talking about music. Uh…I like music, but my latest favorite group, Damion Suomi and The Minor Prophets, has a name that’s too hard for me to remember, especially sitting in a tiny radio studio where I’m trying to sound smart. You can hear the men talk about really obscure and probably awesome music, and then there’s me with “Uh…Pandora?”

It was humbling, is what. And it was fun, in the end, because I got to talk about journalism and justice, but this has happened to me so many times, I can’t even count them, where I am sitting in a studio thinking, “Lord, I’m such a grind. How did that happen?”


Check out how one man helps panhandlers

Chris-Leamy-FacebookChris Leamy plays his guitar near people who ask for money in New York City, and that helps them, a lot.

This — THIS! — is a creative way to work with people who ask for money on the streets, yes?

Traumatized Syrians go online for mental health care

This ABC story lifts the curtain just a little on the effect of war on Syrians.

Here’s a timeline of the Syrian civil war, up through May.


The lottery of indecency


Did democracy die the week of July 16?

Nice-Tributes-after-Terror-AttackThis Slate article says yes. Yascha Mounk writes:

The week of July 11, 2016, has every chance of being remembered as one of those rare flurries of jumbled, inchoate, concentrated significance. The centrifugal forces that are threatening to break political systems across the world may have started to register a decade ago; they may have picked up speed over the last 12 months; but never since the fall of the Berlin Wall have they wreaked havoc in so many places in so short a span of time—showcasing the failures of technocratic rule, the terrifying rise of populist strongmen, and the existential threat posed by Islamist terrorism, all in the span of seven short days.

Think about it. The week of July 16 included:

  • The Brexit aftermath in Great Britain
  • A terrorist attack in France
  • An attempted coup in Turkey
  • And we all got to meet Trump’s vice presidential pick — though we didn’t get to hear much from the man over Trump’s talking

The list goes on. And thanks, Leftover, for the link.

Cocks not Glocks

cocksnotglocks3 (1)Some savvy students at University of Texas, a state that allows concealed-carry weapons on college campuses, have started carrying dildos on campus as a protest.

Here’s their website, which is “fighting absurdity with absurdity.”

And thanks, Criselda, for the link.