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Sally Ride, First Woman Astronaut, dies at age 61…

 

Sally Kristen Ride, American physicist and a former NASA astronaut died yesterday from pancreatic cancer. Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman, and the first lesbian in space.

On her first mission at age 32 she was the youngest American to enter space. In 1987 she left NASA to work at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control.

During her career, Ride served as the ground-based Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights  and helped develop the Space Shuttle’s robot arm. She was a member of the presidential commission investigating the accident on the Space Shuttle Challenger. According to Roger Boisjoly, the engineer who warned of the technical problems that led to the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, Ms. Ride was the only public figure to show support for him when he went public with his pre-disaster warnings (after the entire workforce of Morton-Thiokol shunned him).

From 1985 until her death, Ride’s female partner was Dr. Tam E. O’Shaughnessy, a childhood friend who met Ride when both youngsters were aspiring tennis players. O’Shaughnessy became a science teacher and writer and, later, the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Ride’s company, Sally Ride Science.  Their same-sex relationship of 27 years was revealed in Ride’s obituary released by Sally Ride Science and confirmed by Ride’s sister, who stated that Ride preferred to keep this information private during her life.

 

A Quote for the Evening…Some Romney History

“When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer — a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.”

“Other eyewitnesses have previously recalled Romney’s alleged use of a police or trooper uniform in pranks during his high school years at the exclusive Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.”

– Joe Conason

So it looks like he has always had a fascination with authority.

As the Middle Class disappears, we turn into Poverty Nation at the Middle Class level.

“You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy. But you cannot have both.”
Louis Brandeis

So how poor is the Middle Class when looked at in comparison with the top 1% (who don’t seem to be affected by the results of the Great Recession)?  Here are a couple of charts from Stanford University which will give you an idea:

CEO pay as related to Average Worker pay
The ratio of the average pay of the 100 highest-paid CEOs in the United States to the average wage of workers increased from 39:1 in 1970 to 191:1 in 1988 to 1,039:1 in 2000. Put more colloquially, top CEOs in 1970 made 39 times more than the average worker, whereas now they make 1,039 times more than the average worker.
U.S. CEO pay in relation to the average worker’s wage:

Source: Thomas Piketty, and Emanuel Saez. 2007. “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-2002.” In Anthony B. Atkinson, and Thomas Piketty, Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Children In Poverty
In the United States, 21.9 percent of all children are in poverty, a poverty rate second only to that of Mexico’s (among rich nations).
Relative Poverty Rates in Twenty-One Rich Nations at the Turn of the Century for Children:

Source: Timothy M. Smeeding, 2008. “Poorer by Comparison.” Pathways 3-5.

Got it? The rich aren’t complaining because they earn around a thousand to one compared to the average middle class guy. And they don’t seem to be concerned that, aside from Mexico, we are leaders in Child Poverty among developed nations (we even come in 3 times worse than Slovenia!)

So now the Tea Party folks are pushing a budget where they have already eliminated, in concept, NPR, PBS, the EPA and just about every other federally funded advantage that the Middle Class has. This was all passed by the House yesterday… now it goes to the Senate.

I  signed a petition yesterday to save public broadcasting. If you want to join me, go to this link: http://pol.moveon.org/nprpbs/?r_by=-5593088-7WiE7Qx&rc=mailto. This will get the word out to the Senate before they vote on it. Let’s let them know what WE want.

The Republicans are working very hard to eliminate the Middle Class, and it is a losing battle, it seems, negotiating with them. John Boehner seems to have no real control over his House colleagues and the Tea Partyers don’t have any idea what negotiation means.

As we head for a potential government shutdown, we’re in for lots of rhetorical crap and not much real action.