From The Nation: The growing threats of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe make it hard to bet on the survival of our species.
The Article: by Fareed Zakaria in CNN Online.
The Text: “Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik. “Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”
Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and Britain – with a rate among the highest – has 153….
It’s terrifying that, in spite of her incompetency and intolerant, fundamentalist quackery, Michele Bachmann still has enough public and monied support to keep up with her idiotic babble.
It’s a typical day at work. You begin to teach the day’s lessons that you prepared the night before when all of a sudden, your surroundings are reduced to a pile of squat cinder blocks. Or when, say, a cowardly man enters the building and spews a fatal stream of bullets at anyone and everyone who dares stand in his way. You continue to do your job, which is–and always has been–to tirelessly nurture, primarily academically but in these circumstances emotionally and physically, your students. The president sees it differently, though, and even awards several Presidential Citizens Medals to some of your peers for what he–and many other politicians and taxpayers around the country–considers true heroism. And yet, that praise has an expiration date. Within the course of a few weeks, the nobility of your profession diminishes, and the number of politicians waxing poetic on your bravery and the insurmountable challenges that inevitably come with your work grows slim. In the eyes of some of the more unsavory legislators, you are back to being “more than greedy”. You are, in case you haven’t guessed by now, a public school teacher in the United States. You are also tired of the lip service.
Following a devastating tornado that tore through the plains of central Oklahoma on Monday, elementary school teacher Suzanne Haley found herself in a hospital with a metal desk leg piercing through her own flesh. Tammy Glasgow had a cinder block fall onto her neck while she ushered her students into the bathroom for protection. Naturally, the praise for these two women was as effusive as it was expansive. And yet, neither viewed their acts as anything especially significant. “It’s nothing anybody wouldn’t do,” said Haley.