Auctioning Off Our Public Lands: Congress’s Worst Idea by Margie Alt, huffingtonpost.com April 2015 l What author Wallace Stegner called America’s “best idea,” was simple, but unprecedented anywhere in the world: treasured landscapes should be preserved and protected from private interests for all the public to enjoy, in the form of national parks…. As congressional leaders wrestle with their budget over the next several weeks, they need to abandon their plans to allow states to sell off valued public lands to the highest bidder. They need to reject other efforts to erode protections for our parks, forests, and open lands. If protecting our prized landscapes forever for the benefit of all is America’s best idea, selling them off for the short-term economic gain of a few special interests is Congress’s worst.
America’s Billionaires Are Turning Public Parks Into Playgrounds for the Wealthy By Inga Saffron, New Republic, February 2, 2015
Older really can mean wiser Some elements of intelligence may peak later in life than previously thought. by: BENEDICT CAREY , New York Times, March 21, 2015
Study: More Homeless Children Now Than Any Point in US History By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, November 17, 2014
The Gradual Selling of America the Beautiful By VERLYN KLINKENBORG, New York Times, February 9, 2013 – Of the 2.27 billion acres that constitute the land area of the United States, a little less than 30 percent — about 640 million acres — belongs to you, the American citizen. It is land acquired over the years by treaty, conquest or purchase by the federal government acting on behalf of the people, and indisputably belongs to neither the states nor individuals. But in the last few decades no part of the American land mass has stirred greater controversy.…the real threat to the public lands is not from Congress, or the state legislatures, whose laws would almost certainly be struck down as unconstitutional. The real and constant threat is more subtle, and more piecemeal. Only about a third of the 640 million acres of public land — national parks, permanently protected wilderness where only backpackers are allowed, national wildlife refuges — enjoy complete or high levels of protection against commercial development. Nearly all the rest is multiuse land, for logging, grazing, hard-rock mining, oil and gas development. Especially vulnerable are the 248 million acres overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. It is to this threat that President Obama must pay more attention than he has.… Some presidents — like George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton — have done a good job protecting public lands; in contrast, President George W. Bush did his best to get the bureau into the speed-leasing business, vending leases, with virtually no profit to the government, for gas and oil drilling…… attitude toward protecting and exploiting public lands. Congress has extraction fever of a rare severity, and it will be on full display. Finding the right balance is always the hard part, especially in the West, where the urge to return to the exploitative ways of the past is strong. But the public lands belong now, as they always have, to the future. There are dozens of wrong ways to use them. But there is no such thing as a wrong way to protect them.
Old vs. Young By David Leonhardt, New York Times, June 22, 2012 …one dividing line has actually received too little attention. It’s the line between young and old……economic slump of the last decade…has still taken a much higher toll on the young…The wealth gap between households headed by someone over 65 and those headed by someone under 35 … gap in homeownership… income gap is also at a recorded high…the young are generally losing out to the old….more than 50 percent of federal benefits flow to the 13 percent of the population over 65…education spending — the area that the young say should be cut the least, polls show — is taking deep cuts… Hammered by the economic downturn…They wish the country would devote more attention to its future, especially on education and the climate. They, of course, will have to live with that future.
The Koch Brothers’ 3-Step Plan to Conquer the Next Generation By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News, September 14, 2014 1. Defund Public Schools 2. Make Schools Dependent on Private Entities for Money 3. Ingrain students with Greed-Based Ideology
How Capitalism Is Cheating Young Americans by Paul Buchheit for Buzzflash at Truthout, July 28, 2014
Ted Cruz Proposes Selling Massive Portions of National Parks by Salvatore Aversa, I Acknowledge, July 10, 2014
Starting Out Behind By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, JUNE 7, 2014 …While the worst is over, economic conditions are still subpar, damaging the immediate job prospects and long-term living standards of young adults starting out now….Over the last six years, one of the economy’s biggest problems has been faulty fiscal policy, with the federal government underestimating the need for economic aid or withholding and reducing help prematurely. Another drag has been lack of business investment, even as financial markets have prospered with the help of loose monetary policy. The result has been an economy where young people starting out are at risk of prolonged underachievement. It is possible to defuse that risk, but not without responsive policy and robust investment.
8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back By Bruce Levine on June 8, 2014 …Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination. Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it…How exactly has American society subdued young Americans? 1. Student-Loan Debt. 2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. 3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy. 4. “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” 5. Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously. 6. The Normalization of Surveillance. 8. Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.
The Boomers “Failed” Us: Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher on Anger, Love, and Sacrifice by Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine, June 4, 2014 First the anger, then the love—overcoming generational anger to find the courage required for the difficult work ahead.
America’s Greatest Shame: Child Poverty Rises and Food Stamps Cut While Billionaires Boom By Les Leopold, HuffingtonPost.com, 11/08/2013
U.S. Ranks at the Bottom of Child Well-Being Salon.com / By Katie McDonough, April 12, 2013 – The United States ranked in the bottom four of a United Nations report on child well-being. Among 29 countries, America landed second from the bottom in child poverty and held a similarly dismal position when it came to “child life satisfaction.” Keeping the U.S. company at the bottom of the report, which gauged material well-being, overall health, access to housing and education, were Lithuania, Latvia and Romania, three of the poorest countries in the survey….But don’t feel too discouraged, fellow Americans! As the International Business Times notes , the U.S. has managed to take first place in plenty of other surveys conducted by global organizations: The United States is No. 1 on many other lists: It spends more on the military than the next 12 nations on the list combined; it’s the best in the world at imprisoning people; and it has the most obese people, the highest divorce rate, and the highest rate of both illicit and prescription drug use.
Why our children’s future no longer looks so bright By Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, October 16, 2011— A specter haunts America: downward mobility. Every generation, we believe, should live better than its predecessor…But these expectations could be dashed. For young Americans, the future could be dimmer …Our children’s futures have been heavily mortgaged…The future is never entirely predictable, but downward mobility is not just a scary sound bite. It’s a real possibility.
The Decade of Lost Children by Charles M. Blow, New York Times, August 5, 2011
The Rise and Fall of the American Childhood By Colin Greer,AlterNet, July 19, 2012 – From the 1930s to 1980, childhood in America became a cherished space for youngsters to grow in. After 1980, and with increasing furor, that space has been under assault and childhood terribly compromised. Look at what we once did and what we’re now doing.The Rise: Child labor laws, Civil rights protections for all children., Full and secure employment for parents. Play as a mode of learning. Early childhood as a time to invest in child development through stimulating play…Access to quality education on an unprecedented scale…The US moved toward universal inclusion from elementary through post-secondary education.Yet once these gains were fully established in the top rungs of society, they began to shut down for the nation’s children as a whole. For 50 years, the pendulum swung toward protecting children and guaranteeing a childhood for all; then it began to swing back when less than half of the population had securely achieved these benefits. So despite the language of “going too far” in the direction of a protective, even a “nanny state,” we have never in fact gone far enough for the least privileged of us…Children in poor and immigrant communities are actually working — on the land and in sweatshops — despite our laws to the contrary. Children in this population have less than a 10% chance of a college education. Hunger and homelessness among these children is at shockingly high levels….The need for both parents to work in the face of not only economic downturns, but the demand for higher productivity from American workers and lower public benefits, puts the lives of children under stresses that we once aimed to eradicate.In describing both the rise and fall of American childhood, I’ve quoted no data for two reasons. One, it is all out there. It’s in the press and in the professional literature for all to find. Two, the gathering of data seems to make no difference to public behavior and public policy.Perhaps it’s time instead for each of us to imagine just one child, one who looks like a child you know and love. Each of these children is the bearer of the accumulated loss summarized in the Rise and Fall.
Millennials to business: Social responsibility isn’t optional By Michelle Nunn, Washington Post, December 20, 2011 — ….As consumers, employees and entrepreneurs, Millennials are shifting the norms of corporate America’s conduct, ethical imperatives and purpose. In his book, “The Way We’ll Be,” pollster John Zogby documents how these “First Globals” are more conscientious consumers than their predecessors, demanding greater honesty and accountability from businesses. Millennials are bringing their values into the career equation by placing a premium on employers’ reputation for social responsibility and the opportunities those companies and organizations provide their employees to make a positive impact on society. .. Millennials, as consumers, are pushing companies to change the ways of doing business to align with the values of civic and global responsibility largely held by Millennials…While Millennials are transforming established businesses, they are also starting a new breed of businesses with built-in social missions that are resonating with the marketplace and revolutionizing their sectors…The values behind Occupy Wall Street are manifesting themselves in the marketplace and companies that are failing to take notice should start…A new generation of employees, consumers and entrepreneurs is stepping forward with a better way of doing business — putting its bets on the goodness of people rather than loading the dice in its own favor.