Taking it to the Streets

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A street yoga practitioner showing us the upward lotus palm of societal neglect. 

Even though the show Portlandia has finished its first season, the City of Portland is still producing comedy. Introducing Street Yoga. When I was first alerted to this I thought (hoped?) it was just going to be something mildly annoying; people doing yoga (or capoeira) in public. But that is apparently selling Street Yoga short. 

No, in Portland, where white guys with dreadlocks are as plentiful as purse dogs in LA, they know that yoga is not just for middle-aged moms trying to get some attention in the bedroom:

Street Yoga is a non-profit organization that teaches yoga, mindful breathing, and compassionate communication to youth and families and their caregivers struggling with homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, trauma and behavioral challenges so they can grow stronger, heal from past traumas, and create for themselves a life that is inspired, safe, and joyful. Our programs are based on solid evidence that yoga helps with physical well being, depression, anxiety, trauma and PTSD.

All that and great abs. Which come in handy when you’ve been up for four days on The Meth, and ambulance sirens coupled with the changing traffic lights are making you flash back to Fallujah. 

(photo via flickr)

Eat the Poor

Oh good. In the long and storied tradition of taking young adult novels and putting them on the silver screen, Atlas Shrugged has arrived… hmm? Of course it’s a young adult novel, nobody over the age of sixteen takes it seriously. Its central points are about standing firm against people who spout platitudes and don’t understand how truly special you are. That sounds like most people’s description of high school right? Everyone else is a phony.  Are we next going to order society around The Catcher in the Rye? 

Even worse is that in order to make the film succeed, those on the Right are going to encourage collectivist thinking and mass-buy tickets, to pump up the box office- even though this particular individual achievement may be terrible.  All this AND they think they’re libertarians. 

People like Joe the Plumber- a man who owes his entire ability to make money on the city infrastructure. Even if he were to open a chain of rooter companies across this nation, it would be totally dependent on his ability to privatize the profits on the back of a massive public expenditure. It’s like being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple (or standing on the government’s shoulders and calling yourself tall- but even Facebook is a empire built on the government’s creation of the internet. All I’m saying is, don’t act like you did this all by yourself). 

Seriously though, why do all these Tea Partiers think they are Nu Libertarians (nee Birchers)? And why are they all so…poor?  Is it the government? Is the Man keeping them down?  

When they look at this chart, where do they think they fit in?
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We don’t actually want the society we have. We actually want it to be more equitable, with more opportunity. We need government to play a role. I know, I know, that guy said to His Holiness Ronald Reagan; exalted leader of the First Church of the Trickle down (or whoever)  “that no poor man has ever given him a job”. Well no poor man ever lobbied for financial deregulation, and then almost destroyed the entire economy, taking your house with it. 

A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.

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Charts from MoJo