The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
nani was NINETEEN and such a fucking badass who was so protective of lilo and just ROLLED with aliens being a thing towards the end of the movie. #1 Disney relative of all time.
I have honestly been waiting AGES for the right gifset to express the wonderful perfection that is Nani. She is not only protective of Lilo, she respects the way Lilo’s imagination and quirkiness works.
Pudge the fish got a peanut butter sandwich every Thursday. Nani does not argue the logic of feeding him, only suggests an alternative sandwich when they are out of peanut butter. Lilo was allowed to take as many photos of whatever mundane or odd subjects as she wanted and Nani would get them developed. Nani recognized what were important habits for Lilo.
When Lilo asks for a pet lobster, Nani does not tell her that lobsters are not pets. She tells her, “We don’t have a lobster door, we have a dog door.” She makes sure the woman at the pound does not tell Lilo that “Stitch is not a real name”.
NANI SPENDS THE ENTIRE MOVIE MAKING SURE THAT LILO NEVER FEELS LIKE HER IDEAS ARE WRONG.
The only time we truly see Nani get angry with Lilo is when she is scared of Lilo being taken away. Nani spends the entire movie stressed out over taking care of her sister, trying to find a job, trying to make sure her sister has a friend, and yet she is always willing to put that extra effort, over and over again, to make sure that Lilo always believes that anything is possible.
This is a great moment because she probably *remembered* that Lilo said this once. And you know what? Shes not ending this day by letting her little sister think this is her fault. She’s not having an easy time trying to be a parent, but she knows none of this is her sisters fault, and shes not going to let her think it is.
And half of her terror of losing Lilo isnt even just losing her family; its knowing that wherever Lilo goes, they won’t know how to do these things. They won’t understand her.
What a good movie.
Casual reminder that the reason Lilo obsessively feeds the fish is because her parents died in a rainstorm and she firmly believes Pudge controls the weather. If you pay attention to the feeding sequence you will notice that storm clouds recede and dissipate, a visual narrative that confirms this.
It’s not just a habit. It’s a very real part of Lilo’s healing process and Nani understands that.
Also if you pay attention to Nani’s room you’ll notice she had surfing posters and trophies. She was very much on her way to being a pro surfer but had to give it up to become the adult Lilo needed her to be.
And not ONCE does Nani show her sister any resentment. It’s worth it to keep her family together. This is a young woman who is willing to sacrifice all of her dreams and make incredibly grown up decisions.
What I am saying is Nani is the best disney princess of all time. Disney Queen even.
“An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an african tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they all took eachothers hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?’ (‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are)”
Sir Anthony Hopkins Hears The Waltz He Wrote 50 Years Ago For The First Time
Academy Award-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins was a musician before he got into acting. 50 years ago he wrote a waltz but was too afraid to ever hear it play. Dutch violinist André Rieu performs it for the very first time. Watch Hopkins’ reaction.
That was beautiful
I cried a few tears and felt better about humanity’s endeavors.
This is so amazing. The waltz is awesome and Sir Anthony is humming along. He looks so damn pleased.
A) I realized that about 17 seconds into this, that I was just beaming.
B) Does this just sound like Anthony Hopkins? Complex, and joyful, with a darkness just below the surface?
C) André Rieu is everything I never knew I wanted when I heard the words “Dutch violinisit”
Elephant King, an award-winning Smithsonian Channel documentary about our elephant research has finally been released publicly on YouTube. Click the image above to go to the film. Just in time for the launch of our Tumblr blog called ELEPHANT SKINNY for updates on our research, elephant soap operas, and all future field seasons at Mushara waterhole.