Think Progress’ “11 Facts From 2011”

Think Progress has a great, simple summary of 2011

11 Facts From 2011

1. The CIA is monitoring up to 5 million tweets per day.

2. Income inequality in America is worse than in Ancient Rome.

3. Twenty-three straight polls find Americans overwhelmingly want to raise taxes to pay down debt.

4. 68% of millionaires support raising taxes on millionaires.

5. Wall Street’s recession cost 1.5 million times more than securing Occupy Wall Street protests.

6. Six Walmart heirs have the same net worth as the bottom 30% of all Americans.

7. Reagan’s ‘82 and ‘84 deficit reduction plans were 80% tax increases.

8. Since 2009, 88% of income growth went to corporate profits, just 1% to wages.

9. Average Bush tax cut this year for the 1% will exceed average income for the 99%.

10. Planned Parenthood Facts: 4 million STD tests, 1 million screenings for cervical cancer, 830,000 breast exams every year. Receives no federal money for abortion.

11. DEAD: Bin Laden, Quaddafi, and Kim Jong Il. OUSTED: Mubarak, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and Ali Adullah Saleh.

On to 2012…

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A Look Back At 2011

I realize there is still a month of 2011 left and that it seems premature to make a post about the major events of the past year. But, so much has happened. As technology continued to advance and amaze, this year saw the birth of democratic revolution all over the Arab world, the United States government nearly shut down…twice, a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, the FBI’s Most Wanted person and al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was finally defeated, and the world population officially reached seven billion people. Of course, as they say, that’s “just to name a few” of the many events that defined 2011.

ARAB SPRING

Democratic revolution has saturated the Middle East. A new generation of young people tired of the old regimes of their home countries have taken to the streets to demand progressive change. Beginning in late 2010, when Tunisian protestors and revolutionaries called for President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign, protests began to rattle the Arab world. The Tunisian protesters were successful and in January, their president stepped down. Since then, both Egypt’s and Libya’s former governments have been dissolved thanks to the exit of dictators like Hosni Mubarak and NATO support for Libyan rebels. In late 2011, Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was captured and killed by rebel forces. Protests and uprisings are taking place in several other Arab countries and these revolutions show no sign of stopping. 2012 may very well be the beginning of a more progressive Mid East.

Egyptian Protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN

After the “Tea Party Tidal Wave” overtook the House of Representatives, America was introduced to a whole new meaning of “partisanship.” The far-right class of congresspersons that went to the Capitol in January set an agenda that was literally unwavering. Twice in one year, the federal government was on the verge of complete shutdown because Republicans didn’t like that Planned Parenthood received funding and also because they refused to raise the debt ceiling. Despite the fact that no federal monies go toward abortion, the GOP claimed that the US taxpayer was subsiding abortion (note: Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services, excluding abortion, to millions of women who otherwise would not be able to afford them). Thanks to the next debacle, in which Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless the Bush Tax Cuts were maintained, the nation’s credit rating was downgraded. So much for “fiscal responsibility.”

"The Hill"

DISASTER IN JAPAN (TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE & TSUNAMI)

Eastern Japan was ravaged by a 9.0 magnitude off-shore earthquake, the fifth largest ever recorded, on March 11. Almost 16,000 people were killed, 6,000 injured and 4,000 declared missing. Millions of Japanese were effected by loss of power and the following tsunami that swallowed whole sections of Japan and washed towns out to sea. Nearly 10 percent of Japan is contaminated with nuclear radiation, following meltdowns at nuclear power plants along the Japanese coast that were damaged by the disaster. Those devastated by the disaster were sent aid from all over the world and have been busy rebuilding their lives. However, such massive disasters remind us how fragile humanity is. Since the Tōhoku quake and tsunami, many nations have reevaluated their reliance on nuclear power; Germany will phase out its nuclear power over the next 11 years.

Tōhoku Disaster Aftermath

OSAMA BIN LADEN FINALLY KILLED

Osama Bin Laden, orchestrator of the 9/11 attacks and the FBI’s most-wanted person, eluded the United States and her allies for well over a decade. As the leader of al Qaeda, he ordered and led terrorist attacks against the United States and many other nations. In 2001, President Bush announced that the US would do everything in its power to find Bin Laden. Two wars, over a trillion dollars and another President later, Bin Laden was finally taken down by the United States military. President Obama announced the death on May 1 to a stunned – and relieved – world. al Qaeda has been on the decline in recent years. With Bin Laden’s death, the death of the man who was supposed to take Bin Laden’s place as the group’s leader, and the wave of democratic revolution that has swept the Middle East in the last year, al Qaeda’s power and influence is continuing to dwindle.

Osama Bin Laden

EARTH’S POPULATION REACHES SEVEN BILLION

Seven billion people now inhabit the planet, according to the UN. The baby,  Danica Camacho, was born at  Manila’s Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in the Philippines. Earth’s population is expected to level out to around 9 billion people within the 21st century as more nations become industrialized and embrace more modern ways of life. It is possible that the population will go up several billion more by the beginning of the 22nd century. However, as more nations develop into industrialized economies and ways of life, birth rates are expected to level out and decrease, as has happened to nations that developed. It’s a phenomenon known as demographic transition. That’s good news for a planet facing accelerated climate change and a species facing challenges on how to feed and provide sustenance for several billion people.

photo of Central Park in New York, one of the largest urban centers on Earth

The Phoenix Rises (July 2011 Edition)

The new World Trade Center is rapidly taking shape in Lower Manhattan. One World Trade Center (formerly “Freedom Tower”) now towers 74 floors (105 when completed) into the sky and the rest of the complex, including Four World Trade Center (which has risen to 37 floors), is finally coming together. One World Trade Center is scheduled for completion in November of 2013. It will be the tallest building in the United States, soaring a patriotic 1,776 ft. Opening is scheduled for January 2014.

Below are a few stunning pictures, captured by the British tabloid Daily Mail, that show the progress of the World Trade Center site.

WTC as seen from the 70th floor of One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center as seen from the bottom of one of the memorial reflecting pools

Four World Trade Center rises

The New World Trade Center 2014

The Daily Mail story

Official World Trade Center Website

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey WTC Progress Website

My favorite tracks on “Born This Way”…now posted!

On my previous post, I wrote a short ‘n sweet review of Lady GaGa’s new album Born This Way. I embedded my favorite songs on the album in the post…..and now I’ve posted them here on my blog. Enjoy! 🙂

“Born This Way”

“Government Hooker”

“Judas”

“Americano”

“Scheiße”

“Bloody Mary”

“Bad Kids”

 

I’m GaGa for “Born This Way”

I am lovin’ Lady GaGa’s latest album, Born This Way.

The 25-year-old superstar’s second studio album is simply amazing (I thought it was third, but apparently The Fame Monster is considered an “extended play” on her first album, The Fame). In my opinion, it’s her best work to this point in her career.

The retro dance beats seem to pay homage to ’80s icons like The Human League, Madonna and David Bowie. One track, “The Fashion of His Love” sounds a lot like Whitney Houston’s 1987 hit, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The title track, “Born This Way,” follows the same chord progression and style of Madonna’s 1989 iconic “Express Yourself.” The tracks leave you wanting to “Marry The Night” by going out to dance with friends (yes, “Marry The Night” is a track on the album).

The album is available in a standard edition (14 tracks) and a 2-disc special edition (includes the 14 tracks from the standard plus three bonus tracks and five remixes). I bought the special edition and LOVE it….and have been listening to it non-stop since it came out yesterday.

My favorite tracks (so far) are: “Born This Way,” “Government Hooker,” “Judas,” “Americano,” “Scheiße,” “Bloody Mary” and “Bad Kids.” Listen!

My two cents: Buy Lady GaGa’s best work yet, Born This Way. It will have you dancing with your hands above your head “like Jesus said” (reference to another amazing track, “Bloody Mary“).