Congressional Support for a Green New Deal

The most recent report from the IPCC states that we have about 12 years to halve greenhouse gas emissions to avoid devastating environmental and economic effects of the climate crisis. The IPCC’s conclusions suggest that we need an massive mobilization of resources to decarbonize our economy and build resilient communities, which is apparently considered more politically radical than the alternative of environmental destruction and large-scale human suffering.

Solutions such as a Green New Deal are gaining prominence however, and activists are leading the way. A Green New Deal is not necessarily a fixed set of policies (see our comprehensive policy blueprint), but in broad terms Green New Deal supporters hold the viewpoint that direct public investment in communities, infrastructure, and jobs programs should be the primary tool in the fight against climate change. A Green New Deal also must recognize that the costs of climate change will fall disproportionately on vulnerable communities and seek solutions that place the costs and benefits of decarbonization and resilience equitably.

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The Future of Give Smart

As we've seen the last few weeks in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, we need to defeat Republicans at every level in order to preserve our democracy.

This is why Sean and I started the Give Smart project, which raised almost $1 million for key state legislative races (where small donations have the biggest impact) in the last few weeks of the 2018 campaign

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Extreme Poverty is on the Rise in the US

A recent episode of the Citations Needed podcast took a critical look at what they called the “Neoliberal Optimism Industry”, where various public figures such as cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker tout various statistics purporting to show rapid improvements in quality of life for people around the world. This is mostly true, but a closer look at some of the data reveals that the optimists are overstating their case. The guest on the podcast, Jason Hickel, went into depth on why the widely cited figures on rapid decline of extreme poverty are not quite what they seem.

First, Hickel notes that the poverty measure most often cited is the equivalent of $1.90 per person per day in 2011 US dollars. This metric was devised by the World Bank and is based off of poverty levels set by nations in the lowest 25% of GDP. This measure represents an extreme level of deprivation, which is why world bank also uses two additional poverty measures, $3.20 and $5.50 per day in 2011 US dollars. These are representative of poverty levels set by countries in the 2nd and 3rd income quartiles respectively. For comparison, the poverty level in the US is about $21.70 per day in 2011 dollars. The focus on the fact that the rate of people living on $1.90 a day is approaching 10% hides the prevalence of poverty at the $3.20 and $5.50 levels, which themselves are still dire.

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Data Mining Twitter Using R: A guide for the Very Online

Thursday, Nov 15, 2018, Washington Examiner reporter Eddie Scarry broke the internet worse than Kim Kardashian ever could. In a tweet for the ages, the conservative skeezeball best known for taking unsuspecting foot pics of random women at restaurants , against all better advice and decency decided to dress down newly elected socialist congresswoman from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Comptroller Stringer: NYC’s Housing Plan Isn’t Helping 582,000 Low-Income Households

On Thursday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer published a startling report on the affordable housing crisis in New York City that shows a significant gap between the housing needs of extremely low-income New Yorkers and the targets of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 Plan. The report also proposes a couple of intriguing progressive ways to address it.

In total, 585,000 New York City households with very-low to extremely-low incomes face severe housing pressure, representing nearly 20% of the city’s population. Looking into the numbers a bit closer, an estimated 515,000 New York City households face severe rent burdens and overcrowding. Two-thirds of these households make less than $28,000 per year and are paying a staggering 74% of their monthly income towards rent.  

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Identifying and Estimating the Ideologies of Twitter Pundits

By Jon Green (@_Jon_Green)

In the grand scheme of things, the direct effects Twitter has on public opinion are likely quite limited. Twitter claims a relatively modest market share in terms of social media platforms (it is much smaller than Facebook, for instance) and many of its users don't use it for politics. As one influential Twitter user put it, somewhat polemically, in the midst of a debate over Twitter politics in the 2016 primary, nobody is on Twitter.

But while it may generally be the case that, for most intents and purposes, nobody is on Twitter, in a narrower sense everybody is on Twitter. Specifically, everyone who traffics in political news or opinion for a living is more or less professionally obligated to engage with their fellow politicos on the microblogging platform. If we think that what happens among this chattering class is important for politics, and there is some academic research arguing that it is, then it is useful for us to try and get a handle on two things. First, who comprises the population of politically influential Twitter users -- referred to here as "pundits" in a less derogatory sense than the word is generally used? Second, how are these pundits distributed ideologically?

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The Damaging Myth of Individual Culpability

Following the latest International Panel on Climate Change report came the predictable, tired lists of how individuals can help avert the catastrophic effects of exceeding the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming target.

Eat plants.

Bike to work.

Unplug your toaster.

Given the form and scale of transformation needed, suggesting personal lifestyle changes as the means to significantly combat climate change is at best naïvely optimistic and at worst intentionally detrimental to addressing the enormity of the challenge.

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The Case for Paying College Basketball Players

By Sean McElwee (@SeanMcElwee)

What are we, the Koch brothers? College basketball is work, and the players should be compensated.

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