Monday, September 28, 2009

US Income Gap Widens

The gap between rich and poor grew during the boom and widens during the recession.

The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravaged household budgets.

The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans — those making more than $138,000 each year — earned 11.4 times the roughly $12,000 made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. That ratio was an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high of 11.22 in 2003.

Household income declined across all groups, but at sharper percentage levels for middle-income and poor Americans. Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade's worth of gains to hit the lowest level since 1997.

Poverty jumped sharply to 13.2 percent, an 11-year high.

Chicago Teen's Beating Death Fuels Anger

This evil has to stop. Where is that good for nothing Mayor Daley. Where is the President? Send the national guard if necessary to stop the gang violence. Something must be done now before it is too late. Mob violence is the worst kind of violence. People do things when part of a mob they wouldn't when alone.

Cell phone footage showing a group of teens viciously kicking and striking a 16-year-old honors student with splintered railroad ties has ramped up pressure on Chicago officials to address chronic violence that has led to dozens of deaths of city teens each year.

The graphic video of the afternoon melee emerged on local news stations over the weekend, showed the fatal beating of Derrion Albert, a sophomore honor roll student at Christian Fenger Academy High School. His death was the latest addition to a toll that keeps getting higher: More than 30 students were killed last school year, and the city could exceed that number this year.

Prosecutors charged three teenagers on Monday with fatally beating Albert, who was walking to a bus stop when he got caught up in the mob street fighting, authorities said.
- Discuss this topic here.

Facebook Poll: Should President Obama be Assassinated

This is the kind of madness that is going on out there. If it continues enough psychos will continue to try until they succeed in assassinating the President:

The Secret Service is investigating the origins of a poll that appeared on Facebook that asked whether President Obama should be killed.

Posted over the weekend, the poll was removed by Facebook after the Secret Service received a tip and contacted the company, which was not aware of the survey, sources tell ABC News.

"When the Secret Service became aware of the poll we worked with Facebook to have it taken down and are conducting an investigation," said a spokesman for the Secret Service.

'FOX News Sunday' Transcript (9-27-09)

Krauthammer predictably (read the complete show transcript) accuses the President of undermining peace:

WALLACE: Charles, let me bring up another aspect of the policy of engagement, the Middle East.

The president has tried mightily since he took office to engage with the Palestinians and the Israelis to try to jump-start the peace talks. You can them shaking hands there this week up in New York. So far, nothing.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, that’s because he undermined the idea of negotiations when he came in and decided he would reinvent the world as he does in this issue.

He imposed a demand on the Israelis of a settlement freeze. And the Israelis left, right and center will not accept a freeze, which involves Jerusalem. The president insisted.

And the Palestinians and the Arab states looked at this and said if the Americans are putting these unilateral demands on the Israelis, we are not going to negotiate. Abbas himself, the leader of the Palestinians, was in Washington a few months ago and he said, “We will not lift a finger until Israel complies.”

And the reason it’s a -- it’s a policy that makes no sense is because for 16 years, the Israelis and the Palestinians had negotiated without any preconditions. All of a sudden Obama imposes this, and negotiations have stopped.

What happened in New York this week is that the Obama administration caved in and has now abandoned this precondition. The Israelis are ready to negotiate and the Palestinians are still holding out wanting the freeze on settlements, which is not going to happen.

WALLACE: Yeah, and let me talk about that, because Charles is exactly right, Juan. Now the president says, “All right, enough with the preconditions because they’re not getting us anywhere. Let’s go immediately, directly, to final status talks.” What are the chances that’s going to work?

WILLIAMS: Well, the chances, if you look at it now, are pretty minimal, but the -- but that doesn’t negate the idea that something needs to be done. You’ve got to have some progress in this area.

We’ve been talking about Iran. We’ve been talking about engagement, about getting the world together, to say, “You know what, it’s not just up to the U.S., you can’t just wait for the lone superpower to take action.”

Much of the world’s grievances, especially the Iranian grievance coming from Ahmadinejad, has to do with what’s taking place between the Palestinians and Israel. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to say to Israel, “Settlements are a bad thing. We can’t -- you can’t be an occupying power if you are truly serious about negotiation.”

WALLACE: Do you really think if there were Middle East peace, the Iranians wouldn’t be pursuing nuclear weapons?

WILLIAMS: No. I think the Iranians are acting like outlaws. I don’t have any question in my mind about that. But I think they use this as a pretext. And so many others use it as a pretext, including Osama bin Laden. So it’s time to remove it. It’s time to settle the issue.

And Charles argues for simply maintaining the status quo. “Oh, they’ve always -- they’ve been negotiating. No need for the -- any change. Why is the Obama administration going on to this arid ground?” It seems to me to the credit of any American administration to say, “Time to end this farce.”

WALLACE: Ten seconds for Mr. Krauthammer to respond to that personal attack. KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I’m in favor -- I’m in favor of negotiations. The Israelis and Palestinians were talking up until Obama came into office. He’s the one who undermined it by imposing a precondition. It makes no sense at all.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I see we have peace in the Middle East, huh?

WALLACE: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: We don’t even have talks.