It’s Friday November 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen became the first person to observe X-rays. X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act like light rays, but at wavelengths almost 1,000 times shorter. Upon their discovery, X-rays allowed doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. We here at Upside Downtrodden feel a special kinship with X-rays. We, too, possess the ability to see through humans. Read more
It seems puzzling that Harvard University would grant tenure, let alone appoint someone to be the chairman of its economics department, who fundamentally doesn't believe in economics. But there it is, all spelled out in a much talked about new paper, "Defending the One Percent," by Harvard economics professor and former Mitt Romney advisor, N. Gregory Mankiw, in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
After summarily dispensing with the arguments offered by those on "the left" for greater income equality, specifically those of Joseph Stiglitz who condemns today's yawning wage gap as not only unjust and obscene but economically inefficient as well, Mankiw concludes his 25-page apologia for the bulging portfolios of today's plutocrats by asserting that taxing the wealthy to support socially useful purposes is just plain "wrong." Read more
A paper in this week's issue of Nature and a commentary on Revkin's DotEarth blog reinforces the argument that a hybrid path in agriculture -- incorporating both conventional and organic production practices -- gives the best chance of feeding some 9 billion people by midcentury in an ecologically-based manner. Read more
It struck me only after finishing the eBook and skimming it for notes that The Rude Guide To Mitt was dedicated to Seamus. Oblivious to the allusion during my initial read, the irony of the dedication seemed fitting in retrospect. You see, Seamus was the one time dog of Mitt Romney, that is, until Seamus wisely ran away after Mitt strapped Seamus to the roof for a 12 hour nonstop car ride which literally scared the shit out of Seamus. Alex Pareene effectively uses the anecdote in the introduction to highlight the basic premise of his eBook, that Mitt Romney is one helluva strange guy. Read more
Many bloggers and commentators have expressed outrage over the decision by Virginia to require ultrasound examination, possibly transvaginal ultrasound, prior to women obtaining an abortion. From Bill Maher to Dahlia Lithwick people are outraged and have even suggested that it should be considered rape to force women to undergo vaginal examination by ultrasound prior to receiving abortion. Read more
“Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”
In that one sentence political satirist (and politically right-leaning) P.J. O’Rourke succinctly defined the motivations and consequently the lack of effectiveness of the Republican Party to govern or even participate in the various processes of government. In fact Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the Conservative movement, once famously said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Read more