Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lee Jeffries: Portraits of the Forgotten Homeless

by Nomad

Lee Jeffries started out as a sports photographer but after a chance encounter with a young homeless person on the streets of London, his career took a completely different turn. Since that meeting Jeffries has dedicated his time taking photographic portraits of the homeless in Britain and in the United States. As our source explains:
Shooting exclusively in black and white, Lee Jeffries’ 135+ pictures can be viewed in his Flickr Photostream. The majority are closeup portraits with incredible detail. Each photograph exudes so much raw character and depth, you find yourself studying each shot with great intensity.
Here are a few examples from a much larger collection which can be found  on Flickr.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Class Mobility: Why Moving Up is Just a Dream for Many American Children

by Nomad

Recent studies about class mobility in America reveal some interesting findings on upward mobility- the core principle of the American Dream. 
They suggest that one key factor between making that dream a reality or not could just be where you happen to live.

A recent study, commissioned by  the Equality of Opportunity Project and funded by the National Science Foundation, made some interesting correlations. Researchers found that areas with greater mobility-where people can rise out of the class they were born into- tended to have five characteristics: 
  • less segregation
  • less income inequality
  • better schools
  • greater social capital,
  • more stable families

Researchers are quick to point out that the study was more about finding patterns. The study was not an attempt to decide what is a cause and what is an effect.  In any event, the findings themselves provide valuable information about the state of cyclical poverty in the US.

Where You Call Home
One factor is simply where you live. For example, the cards are stacked against the poor in the Southeast and the industrial Midwest. Basically, if you are poor there, you're stuck. 
On the other hand, if you are born poor in in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota, you may be able to climb out of the inherited hole. At least, there's a chance.

Pastor Hagee and Blood Moon Nonsense: Promoting Superstition and Fear

by Nomad

Megachurch pastor, televangelist and author John Hagee is warning the world that the lunar eclipses today is just God is cracking down on rule-breaking mortals. 
Such superstitious nonsense is nothing new. More than any other natural phenomenon, eclipses have been used frighten the under-educated and gullible.

Just when you thought it was safe to go forward into the future, now this. After we somehow survived the end of world predicted by the Mayans, we poor humans are clearly not out of danger just yet. 

The Raw Story has a article about the pastor of Texas’ Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas., John Hagee who has apparently dusted off his well-thumbed copy of the 1970 End Times bestseller The Late, Great Planet Earth. The world will face a wrath of God that will make the Mayan's 2012 non-event look like a Harpo Marx with a seltzer bottle and a cream pie. 

The End of the Age.. Again
Hagee told his congregation that the astronomic events will be God's way of warning of an upcoming cataclysm involving Israel, Russia and a “world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015.” 
"Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph. And once again, for Israel, the timing .. is remarkable."
It's strange, a critic might say, that God forgot to warn the Jews about the Holocaust with a couple of red moons.
According to the article:
“Is this the end of the age?” Hagee asked during a recent sermon, before quoting Acts 2:19-20: And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
“I believe that the heavens are God’s billboard, that he has been sending signals to planet Earth,” he explained. “God is literally screaming at the world, ‘I’m coming soon.’”
In actuality, today's' lunar eclipse, scientists inform us, will be the first of four in six month intervals. These eclipses are often referred to as “blood moons” because of their appearance (not for any supernatural reason).  Astronomers tell us that's simply due to sunlight shining on the moon filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere. However, to the Texas pastor, the event is God's way of clearing out the orgy, a kind of closing time last call for humanity.