Following up on his last cartoon infographic exploring “the poverty threshold” in the United States, graphic journalist Andy Warner digs into the concept behind “the poverty line,” the origins of that measurement and why it’s considered so outdated today. View it below in full, or in segments as a slideshow. Continue reading
Law, power and political participation
And here I was just starting to get my government shutdown groove on.
I mean, without the thrill of waking up every morning to the debt default doomsday machine ticking down to the brink of economic catastrophe, life honestly seems a bit mundane. At least Congress didn’t go too nuts and actually resolve the issue; they just went ahead and did what any rational group of people do when confronted with a difficult situation: they put it off for another day — you know, kicked the can down the road. Anyone smell a sequel? (And yes, I’ve already reserved front row tickets for Round 2 in January. I hear it’s gonna be awesome. My sources tell me that before the final death match, John Boehner reveals himself as President Obama’s real father).
But seriously … With the stroke of a pen, the government sputtered back to life last Thursday morning after Obama and Congress ended a 16-day political standoff that had left large swaths of the federal government shuttered and put the U.S. at risk of losing it’s ability to borrow money. The compromise allows federal agencies to resume operations, reopen public facilities and abruptly end the unpaid staycations of hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees. Continue reading
Ah, BART. Never a dull moment.
If only its unions and management could learn the virtues of unity and cooperation that our elected officials in Washington have so magnanimously exhibited (hmmm …).
Well, it’s happened again. At the stroke of midnight, following a breakdown in negotiations, unionized BART workers went on strike, grinding the entire rail network to a disgruntled halt just in time for the Friday morning commute. Continue reading
Bay Area traffic might suck, but Bay Area traffic without BART sucks a whole lot more.
It’s a fact that was made painfully clear in early July to the hundreds of thousands of Bay Area workers who were subjected to cruel and unusual commute conditions created by a strike and system-wide shutdown of the 104-mile regional transit system.
And now, as another BART strike looms, Bay Area commuters are again faced with the prospect of horrendous traffic conditions on the horizon.
Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny the essential role BART plays in moving the Bay Area. Continue reading
Earlier this month — back in the good ole’ days when our government was actually functioning (sort of) — the U.S. Census Bureau released a series of 2012 income data for American households (and no, I can’t provide the link, because the Census site is still closed for business). The figures shows that despite the nation’s supposed economic recovery, average American household incomes didn’t really budge from where they were the year before. Meanwhile, the poverty rate remained at roughly the same level as it was in 2011 as well. The data underscore a growing gap in wealth inequality in America, with the incomes of lower and middle class households stagnating, while those among the wealthiest continue to rise at a rapid clip. In this comic infographic, graphic journalist Andy Warner breaks down these figures and what they mean for the millions of average American families still just scraping by. To view it as a slideshow in individual segments, click the thumbnail below.
Remember when you were a kid fighting with your siblings at the dinner table and your mom warned that if you couldn’t get along then no one got dessert?
That, in a nutshell, is essentially what’s going on with the federal government shutdown — the first in 17 years — that began October 1. Only instead of a bunch of whiny little kids kicking each other under the table, insert a gaggle of squabbling elected officials arguing about Obamacare, and replace chocolate cake with — oh I don’t know — little treats like national parks and NASA, and you’ve pretty much nailed down the current meltdown in Washington. Continue reading
I’m going to go out on a limb here in suggesting that the nitty gritty of the Affordable Care Act may not be the most exciting topic of conversation. But now, even as the government settles into shutdown mode, state insurance exchanges across the country are opening their virtual doors for business, offering a healthcare marketplace to the million of uninsured Americans. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation produced this series of short animated explainers on some of the central components of the law and the programs it establishes. These are concepts that get thrown around a lot in the news but are pretty hard to grasp. So take a look (and just maybe, you’ll be the hit of the cocktail party). Also, check out KQED’s comprehensive interactive Obamacare guide to explore the topic in greater depth.
Health Insurance Exchanges
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to create California’s first set of regulations on hydraulic fracturing. The controversial extraction technique, commonly known as fracking, involves the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals into deep shale formations in order to create fractures that release reserves of oil or natural gas.
While fracking operations in the Northeast generally extract natural gas, in California, oil is the big prize. Continue reading
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military has had its hands full. Starting in 1990, we’ve fought three official wars, and been involved in no less than seven additional military interventions.
It is still unclear whether the U.S. will engage in a bombing campaign against Syria as punishment for that government’s supposed use of chemical weapons against its people. Until the announcement last week of a tentative deal between the U.S. and Russia (Syria’s most powerful ally) requiring the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to destroy its entire chemical weapons arsenal within a specific time-frame, a U.S. military intervention seemed imminent.
Although far from a guarantee against the a U.S. bombing campaign, the agreement — if adhered to by all parties– has the promise of preventing U.S. military involvement. If, however, the deal is broken, intervention is all but assured, making Syria the 11th large-scale military action the U.S. has taken in less than 25 years.
Scroll through this interactive timeline — produced by Al Jazeera — to learn about the history, causes, and outcomes of each military conflict that the United States has gotten itself involved in. Click here to view the full-size version.
Note: The original version of this post stated that there have been 43 mass shootings in 25 states since 2009. These numbers have been updated to reflect a revised version of the study referred to below.
The massacre of 12 people Monday morning at a navy yard in the nation’s capital was exceedingly tragic but also alarmingly familiar.
“We are confronting yet another mass shooting,” President Obama said wearily in a briefing later that day.
A study published in January by the gun control advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns* found that more than 50 mass shootings in 30 states have occurred since Obama took office in January 2009. A sizable uptick from previous years, that’s a rate of more than one per month with an average of six fatalities per incident (in which a “mass shooting” is defined as an incident where four or more people are killed). And even since that report was published, several lesser-covered mass shootings have occurred n 2013. Continue reading