Weekly Roundup 10/17/2011

Parsing the Data and Ideology of the We Are 99% Tumblr
Mike Konczalaa, Rortybomb blog, Oct. 9, 2011

Synopsis: The “We Are the 99 Percent” blog -- http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/ -- houses a growing collection of photos and personal statements of Americans declaring themselves members of our economy’s “99 percent.” Most chronicle personal financial struggles and fears, while a few note that they’re doing okay but stand in solidarity with others seeking change. In a computer analysis of the posters’ text statements, liberal economic analyst Mike Konczal, of the Roosevelt Institute, finds these the top concerns: student debt, fears about being able to take care of children, unemployment, and health care. The list is basic, oddly old-fashioned and, perhaps, a bit scary and surprising in our high-tech era, often seen as afflicted mainly with overspending and inflated expectations – “affluenza” – Konczal says.

Takeaway: “The people in the tumblr aren’t demanding to bring democracy into the workplace via large-scale unionization, much less shorter work days and more pay. They aren’t talking the language of mid-20th century liberalism, where everyone puts on blindfolds and cuts slices of pie to share. The 99 percent looks too beaten down to demand anything as grand as ‘fairness’ in their distribution of the economy. There are no calls for some sort of post-industrial personal fulfillment in their labor – very few even invoke the idea that a job should ‘mean something.’ It’s straight out of antiquity – free us from the bondage of our debts and give us a basic ability to survive.”

For more, see Peter Katel’s “Jobs Outlook” report, June 4, 2010, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2010060400; Thomas J. Billitteri’s “Middle-Class Squeeze,” March 6, 2009, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2009030600; and my reports on “Income Inequality,” Dec. 3, 2010, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2010120300; and “Student Debt,” coming up this week.

--Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer


Amid fine weather, thousands help dedicate King Memorial on mall
Michael E. Raune, The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2011 (Oct. 17 in print edition)

Synopsis: The weekend dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial drew more than 10,000 people to the National Mall, including President Obama, to remember the late civil rights leader’s life and legacy.

Takeaway: “This day, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s return to the National Mall,” Obama said as he stood before the 30-foot statue of King, centerpiece of the memorial. “In this place, he will stand for all time.”

The Post’s full multimedia coverage is available here. For an archived webcast of the dedication ceremony, visit the memorial’s web site, here.

The CQ Researcher Archive includes scores of reports on racial issues, including “Civil and Social Rights of the Negro,” March 25, 1939, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre1939032500; “Race Segregation,” Oct. 8, 1952, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre1952100800; “Negro Voting,” Oct. 14, 1964, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre1964101400; “Desegregation After 20 Years,” May 3, 1974, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre1974050300; “Race and Politics,” July 18, 2008, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2008071800; and “Race in America,” July 11, 2003, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2003071100.

--Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor


The Bleakness of the Bullied
Charles M. Blow, The New York Times, Oct. 15, 2011

Synopsis: Bullying plagues a high percentage of schoolchildren in our country. A disturbingly large number of them are picked on so mercilessly that they commit suicide each year. Times op-ed writer Blow recalls that he too was bullied and in such pain that at the age of 8, he considered taking his own life.

Takeaway: Luckily, the love Blow received from his mother was enough to carry him through, though he suffered in silence. "I never even told my mother, and I am only here to share my gift with you because she coaxed me to sleep with t gift she didn’t believe she had.”

For background see “Preventing Bullying,” Dec. 10, 2010, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2010121000; and “Cyberbullying,” May 2, 2008, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2008050200.

--Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor