from 2008 to 2012


Twenty-seven-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, resident Erin Duffy has never had – or even wanted – a credit card.

“I’ve been able to get along without it,” she says, attributing the choice to ambivalence and a wariness of plastic her parents fostered in her during her formative years. “I’ve liked being able to pay for things as I go, not having to worry about missing a bill.”

Duffy’s decision to live without credit cards is more common than you may think. A whopping 63 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 29) don’t have a credit card, according to a survey commissioned by Bankrate and compiled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Comparatively, only 35 percent of adults 30 and over don’t have credit cards.

There are, admittedly, external factors influencing the statistics. An April 2014 Gallup poll found Americans’ reliance on credit cards, in general, has declined steadily since the Great Recession. Moreover, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or CARD Act, made it harder for anyone under 21 to get a credit card.

There’s also a more straightforward reason why a majority of millennials aren’t carrying the payment method: Many, like Duffy, just don’t want credit cards.

“I don’t really feel like there’s a need for one in the way I live my life,” says Melissa Pileiro, a 24-year-old resident of Vineland, New Jersey. “The idea with a credit card is you’re essentially putting money down that you don’t have.”

Like many members of her demographic, Pileiro is perfectly content with her debit card, a payment method whose existence has eaten into the credit card’s market share.

Millennials “grew up in a world where the economy was tanking,” says David Pommerehn, senior counsel with the Consumer Bankers Association. “There was great concern about jobs and debts and paying off bills.”

At the same time, college costs – and subsequently student loans – have ballooned. According to the Project for Student Debt, student debt increased an average of 6 percent each year from 2008 to 2012, with college graduates from 2012 having an average student loan debt of $29,400.

In celebration of Halloween, I’ve compiled a list of horror films from several different sub-genres along with links to their respective IMDB pages. Please note that the films listed below may contain scenes that some find triggering, disturbing, or upsetting; if you have any concerns over a film’s content, I highly encourage you to research it prior to watching in order to make as informed a choice as possible. 

PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR: films that inspire fear and tension by creating an unsettling atmosphere.

FEMALE-CENTRIC FILMS: horror movies featuring women in starring roles outside of the “final girl” trope.

GRAPHIC HORROR: films containing depictions of extreme acts, like heavy violence, body horror, and gore. Not recommended for those offended or disturbed by explicit, potentially-upsetting media.

HORROR ANTHOLOGIES: also known as “portmanteau films”, these movies contain multiple short segments that are sometimes connected by a main plot.

THRILLERS: scary stories with a suspenseful plot.

MOVIE MONSTERS: horror films starring a variety of creatures, from vampires and werewolves to Lovecraft monsters and evil clowns.

HORROR CLASSICS: definitive movies from the pre-1970’s horror era.

SUPERNATURAL HORROR: all things paranormal, ghosts and ghouls.

OCCULT AND POSSESSION: movies with rituals, demons, and possessed souls.

ZOMBIES: a category encompassing everything from Romero’s undead to the living infected.

FOUND FOOTAGE: movies comprised of camera footage filmed by hapless characters.



SKETCHY BEHAVIORS | Heather Benjamin (RH)

Through her dense and detailed packed line drawings to her more focused ink brush pieces, Rhode Island based artist Heather Benjamin’s work is visceral, cathartic, and autobiographical. It offers a completely unapologetic and unflinching look into an artists’ own struggles with life, body image, self confidence, and sexuality.  We find her and her art to be inspirational, honest and badass.

We recently ran into Heather at her booth at the LA Art Book Fair and caught up with her a few months later to ask about her art, her experiences at RISD, her influences, and her thoughts about her work and her life. 

Photographs courtesy of the artist.

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Seth Macfarlane + comic con  

anonymous asked:

hey! if you have access to wsj and the article, would you be so kind as to screenshot it and post it for us who might not have access to it? or if you could direct us to a place where we can see it without a subscriber log in! (not sure if i cant see it bc im out of the USA)

I’ll just copy and paste.

“The parents of a former elite gymnast have sued the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in connection with allegations of years-long sexual abuse by a former team doctor, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court late last month.
The lawsuit, which was filed June 30 but hasn’t been previously reported, marks an escalation of the festering scandal that has shaken the sport and its governing body. It is the first among the scores of civil claims related to the scandal to allege wrongdoing by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and represents the first involvement of civil-rights attorney Gloria Allred.
Allred, known for taking on high-profile sexual-abuse cases, filed the lawsuit along with John Manly, a plaintiffs’ lawyer who is leading much of the litigation related to the scandal.

The lawsuit was filed under pseudonyms for the gymnast’s parents and seeks damages for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other civil claims. The parents argue that both USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee bear responsibility because the gymnast was under the care of those organizations at the time of the alleged assaults by physician Larry Nassar, and the parents believe those groups conspired to keep the alleged abuse secret in order to protect their reputations.
Patrick Sandusky, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, declined to comment on the specific allegations because he said the organization had not been served with the lawsuit. “The allegations surrounding Nassar are astounding and heartbreaking,” he said in a statement. “We were not made aware of them until Nassar had already been reported to law enforcement. We will support any and all efforts to shine a light on the facts and to identify and address any systemic failures that contributed to the abuse that was suffered by these young women.”

A spokeswoman for USA Gymnastics said, “This is the first USA Gymnastics has heard of this lawsuit and declines to comment further.” Allred declined to comment.
While the suit does not reveal the gymnast’s identity, the complaint says she competed nationally and internationally between 2009 and 2013, and that she was regularly “subjected to sexual harassment, abuse and molestation” by Nassar.

Nassar, an osteopathic physician, served as a volunteer trainer and doctor for the U.S. national team for almost 30 years. The state of Michigan charged him in November with first-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from allegations involving a family friend who was under 13 years old; the state attorney general has since added more than 20 additional counts related to other victims, including gymnasts.

In December, federal prosecutors in Michigan charged Nassar with possession of child pornography. He is expected to plead guilty this week to the federal child-pornography counts, a person familiar with the matter said. The expected guilty plea was reported this weekend by the Detroit News.
The child-pornography charges are unrelated to Nassar’s work with gymnasts but he faces numerous civil lawsuits alleging that he sexually abused gymnasts and other athletes. Nassar has pleaded not guilty to the other pending charges against him and denied wrongdoing.
Nassar’s lawyer declined to comment on his client’s reported guilty plea, and didn’t respond to a request for comment Sunday about the gymnast’s lawsuit.

Attorney Gloria Allred is known for taking on high-profile sexual-abuse cases. PHOTO: MATT ROURKE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
According to the June 30 lawsuit, the gymnast’s parents, who live in California, first learned their daughter may have been sexually abused by Nassar in mid-July 2015. USA Gymnastics at that time was conducting a five-week internal investigation into a national team member’s claim that Nassar was molesting her, The Wall Street Journal reported in February.
During that investigation, USA Gymnastics spoke with several national team members, then referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the end of July 2015, the Journal reported.

“I think these parents feel an incredible sense of betrayal,” Manly said of the lawsuit, adding that Nassar was often unsupervised when seeing gymnasts at U.S. Olympic Committee-sponsored events and at the Karolyi Ranch training center in Texas. “Your daughter competes for her country on the national team and this horrific activity happens.”
The parents faced a potential statute-of-limitations deadline, whereas their daughter has a longer time frame in which to file a claim, said Manly, who also represents the gymnast.
USA Gymnastics is already facing three other lawsuits in California brought by former elite gymnasts, including a member of the bronze-medal winning 2000 Olympic women’s team, a former national team member, and a member of the 2010 world team.
All three gymnasts filed as Jane Does, but have since gone public on television and in congressional testimony, identifying themselves as Jamie Dantzscher, Jeanette Antolin and Mattie Larson.
Court documents from those lawsuits show that plaintiffs’ lawyers have sought information from a number of other elite gymnasts, including members of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams.
In depositions, top USA Gymnastics officials have declined to answer when asked whether the organization has made any confidential settlements with gymnasts, according to the court documents.

USA Gymnastics is challenging the previously filed California litigation on jurisdictional grounds, pointing out that Nassar was a Michigan resident, and that the organization is Indiana-based and incorporated in Texas, court filings show. Manly says USA Gymnastics was a national organization that conducted substantial business in California, including hosting national and international meets there.
The stakes in that fight are high. California is known as a relatively plaintiff-friendly state, where the statute of limitations runs well into victims’ adulthood and courts are often willing to award multimillion-dollar damages.”

Tamika Catchings is a former basketball player with the Indiana Fever and the USWNT. Catchings won the 2012 WNBA Championship with the Fever, and she was named the Finals MVP. Additionally, Catchings was named the WNBA’s MVP in 2011, and she won WNBA Defensive Players of the Year five times. She is a four time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016). From 2012 to 2016, she was president of the WNBA Player’s Association. 


AKB48 Request Hour 2008 - #45 - Kimi wa Pegasus (w/commentary)

The members commentating here are Sayaka, Sae, Erepyon and Tomo-mi.

Finally for the first time I get to hear the Twin Towers’ comments about this unit song they sing in. As I expected, I hear nothing but praises at how the Twin Towers (Sae-chan especially) are kakkoi and are like princes.

I’ve recently downloaded Request Hour concerts from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, all that includes the commentary audio track. If there’s any songs from any of these years that you would like to hear with the commentary, let me know and I’ll post some of them up.

The Pendragons - A New Arthur/Gwen Blog!

Welcome to @the–-pendragons, a community for fans of Arthur/Gwen from BBC’s TV series Merlin! The show aired between 2008 and 2012, and while its been a few years since it ended, the purpose of this community is to celebrate the relationship between the rulers of Camelot, as depicted on the show! Of course, we also celebrate the show and characters in general!

Your mods are @que-sera-sera88 & @faeriefantasy. However, we are looking for more mods, so if you are interested please message us!


We plan to host many activities on the community, and these include: episode re-watches, discussions, and fanwork challenges. If you have any suggestions for activities, please let us know!


+ This place is for Arthur/Gwen fans. If you don’t like the pairing of Arthur/Gwen, then this isn’t the place for you. That being said, we do welcome multi-shippers.

+ Be respectful! No hate/bashing of characters/pairings will be tolerated on this community. We want to create a happy and fun environment for everyone.

+ We absolutely will re-blog any Arwen or Arthur and Gwen fanworks. Just use the tags “arwen”, “arthur x gwen” or “the-pendragons” and we will re-blog you. Alternatively, you can also submit your fanwork to us here.

moirabartons  asked:

Hi Lovely!! Top 5(ish) Aaron scenes?? :)

Babeeee this is so hard how can I choose *scratches head* well I’ll go with the ones that pop into my head without much thinking k ;)

General all the sassy little shit Aaron scenes haha :P and I love all the old scenes from 2008-2012 I just cant remember a particular one atm lol but yeah defo

1) Aarons exit scene in 2012 even tho its so fucking sad but once again Aaron put other people first and saved Adams ass (also got to leave with that cutie Ed haha) and it was so heartbreaking seeing him say goodbye to his family and friends and I still cry when I watch it. Godamn Aaron Dingle is too precious for this world.

2) Well his coming back in august 2014 like BANG and he’s standing in front of the car holy fuck and has Aaron Dingle ever looked sexier that in 2014 WOAH (i have to say 2017 is almost the same and fuck i love 2015 and 2016 who am I fooling I always love him lol)

3) That fighting scene with Ross at Moiras farm after Charity locked him and Ross in the barn thingy. Geezzz that was dramatic and Aaron was so pissed at Charity lol

4) The affair reveal scene at home farm “BECAUSE HE WAS WITH ME”

5) The Vadam wedding epis where Aaron was helping to hide Vics and Adams where abouts and being a little prick to Robert haha

6) The epi where Aaron stood up in court and told the jury about his abuse GOD I AM STILL SO FUCKING PROUD HE DID THAT

7) The scene where Aaron visited Belle in the therapy home or what ever it was and they had a talk and he told Belle not to take the worlds sorrows on her shoulders

8) The robron reunion before Gordons trial when Aaron let Robert back in his life

9) As sad as it sounds but Aaron putting himself first and leaving after the robron argument

10)The boxing scene (ish) because Aaron finally tries to cope in a better way ;)

man I could go on and on and on its just i love everything haha

thansk for asking babe!!

Ghost Master-post

Ghost hails from Linköping, Sweden. They started their journey around 2008 releasing a set demos which became the catalyst for their era album, Opus Eponymous. As they became known, a second era came to life in 2013, making the album Infestissumam predecessor to their roots. By August 2015, the third era of Meliora dawned and has taken the world by storm ever since, with era 4 approaching with each passing day.

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anonymous asked:

do you have any side by sides of old pics of jonghyun? like esp stuff from 2012 and now?

january 2009 → november 2015

october 2008 → december 2015

january 2013 → december 2015

late 2008 → december 2015

2007-ish  → july 2015

Spooky, Scary - Spraynard

Spraynard is an emo influenced pop punk band from Pennsylvania. Their instrumentation is very reminiscent of early 2000′s pop punk bands such as The Starting Line and Motion City Soundtrack, where as the vocals are a lot closer to modern emo bands, with still a bit of a punk-ish sting to it. They have a lot of youth in their music, with lyrics that can be slightly goofy, yet don’t detract from the music itself. The upbeat punk vibe is something that is really appealing and they just have a catchy and infectious sound overall. After existing from 2008-2012, they reunited in 2014 and have released a full length and an EP since then.

FFO: Sorority Noise, Joyce Manor, You Blew It!

Millenials Are Getting Fucked

And your apathy is making it worse.

Before we get started with the harder stuff, let’s look at the time period which gave birth to millennials, and what the future looked like for them then.

Millennials, or Generation Y, broadly defined, is the generation born between 1980 to 2000.

If you’re one, as you likely are, the above video may tug on your heart strings a bit.

You may remember the feeling of broad optimism that accompanied this time period, a sort of can-do attitude. And why shouldn’t we have been optimistic? We had a cool president presiding over a booming economy. The internet and technology continued to dazzle us with new innovations every day. Our eyes were firmly set on the future, and it was reflected in our music, our fashion, and our culture. What sort of things would the year 2000 bring? We weren’t entirely sure, but the vast majority of adults (81%) were relentlessly positive about the future.

From the same 1999 Pew survey on American attitudes:

There was a booming dot com business, amazing new technology suddenly in everyone’s home, a lively space program, radical new fashions, rising living standards… The list goes on.

Even our decor and fabrics reminded us of our bright future.

Unfortunately, things changed. Many of the predictions of the time did come to pass, but our optimism waned.

Where did things change? What went wrong?

The dotcom bubble burst. Growth slowed to a standstill. NASA retired the space shuttles. Few people standing in Times Square on New Year’s Eve of 1999 could imagine that just two years later, a few blocks down, a terrorist attack would bring the Twin Towers crashing down. George W. Bush was elected in a contentious, bitter election. Two new wars were started, one after the other. Another massive financial crash set us back even further.

What else changed between then and now? Let’s begin.

This is Old Economy Steve:

Funny, right? Well, if you’re reading this, probably not. Or if you’re between the age of 16-25, for that matter. The unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds is more than twice the national unemployment rate, which is currently 6.3 percent, and they hav have been in double digits for nearly six years. Though young adults represent only 13.5% of the workforce, they now account for 26.4% of unemployed workers.

Having a summer job used to be the norm for teens, which put them on a path towards gainful employment later in life. Not anymore.

Millennials are more stressed, earning less income, more indebted, less trusting, more underemployed and have worse employment prospects nationally, overall than at any time since World War 2. The number of millennials living at home is at record highs and rising. Gen Y’s diminished economic prospects, wealth and income prevents them from buying large assets which can become more valuable over time, like houses or mortgages, which damages the broader economy and recovery. Of the few millennials that have jobs, most are part time, and pay worse wages than they would have in 1980. 4 in 5 recent college grads did not have jobs lined up after graduation, regardless of their degree.

As these charts succinctly illustrate, the average net worth of generation Y/X is down or stagnant and takes us longer to achieve, millennials are the most poorly prepared for retirement, have higher levels of debt, had their net worth hit the hardest by the Great Recession, and that young people in America have not really gained in net worth over time.

The Vox chart is from June 3, 2014, for the record. Date your charts, Ezra Klein.

It’s cold comfort that the price of consumer electronics etc have plummeted while college tuition has risen astronomically. At least you can play Candy Crush while working at Starbucks to pay off your student loans! This is great news! For debt collectors.

A recent poll of more than 500 H.R. managers found that they were three times as likely to hire older workers as millennials. There’s been a rebound in the housing market, but it’s left millennials behind. A similar trend can be seen in the stock market, as recession-scarred millennials have grown more risk averse at the exact time in their lives they SHOULD be taking more risk, further depriving them of lifetime economic gains. The economic age disparity is especially prevalent among the long term unemployed (those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more). Long term unemployment can be difficult trap to escape, as employers openly discriminate against those unemployed for 6 months or longer. More than a third (36%) of recent college grads with jobs are working in positions that don’t require a degree (AKA mal-employment). In 2000, the mal-employment rate was less than 28%.

All of this has long-lasting damage on both the individual job-seeker and the market they hope to fit into. Early unemployment leads to decreased wages for the individual, and decreased spending on the consumer side, deflating the economy. By one calculation, young Americans aged 20 to 24 will lose about $21.4 billion in earnings over the next 10 years. That’s roughly $22,000 less per person than they could have expected had they not suffered through the recession. The average net worth of someone 29 to 37 has fallen 21 percent since 1983; the average net worth of someone 56 to 64 has more than doubled. And they’ll likely never earn them back.

Or, in TL;DR, easily consumed chart form:

The impact of this is plain and obvious to see. Young people across the world are either protesting in the streets, or dreaming more modest, more cautious dreams. 40 per cent of jobless young people have faced […] suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks – as a direct result of unemployment. Nearly 10,000 people followed through on those thoughts, by one estimate. Among all 18- to 34-year-olds, fully half (49%) say they have taken a job they didn’t want just to pay the bills, with 24% saying they have taken an unpaid job to gain work experience. And more than one-third (35%) say that, as a result of the poor economy, they have gone back to school. Their personal lives have also been affected: 31% have postponed either getting married or having a baby (22% say they have postponed having a baby and 20% have put off getting married). One-in-four (24%) say they have moved back in with their parents after living on their own.

There is a real danger of a lost generation, not just in America, but all over the world.

If you were born in 1988 and graduated in 2008, the financial odds are just not on your side. And it’s all due to an “avoidable” recession you likely had no part in creating, but endured the negative effects of nonetheless. And if you’re younger or even a bit older, you’re still likely suffering from reduced pay and economic prospects due to nothing more than the timing of your life.

Or, in other words:

So where’s all the outrage? The fanfare? The media attention? The politicians addressing this issue? The talking heads on the news paying it lip service? Don’t they know how much is to be gained, or lost, from millennials’ involvement in this economy, or lack thereof?

Oh, people have been paying attention alright. Just not how you might think. Or who.

Indeed. Far from being understanding and sympathetic, many of those in the news media have taken to branding millennials as “the me me” generation. And Time is still at it.

Even Dr. Phil gets in on the fun:

In a single year, the NYTimes devoted no less than 30 none-too-friendly articles covering the legendary millennial. Far from being sympathetic to the uniquely terrible economic circumstances millennials are expected to carve out a life for themselves within, much of popular media turned instead to the tired tropes of the dangers of coddling, narcissism and decrying dreaming big dreams as “deluded”. And don’t forget the whole thing about trophies. Big beer struggling? Fucking millennials.

So what has the response been? Surely no generation could take this insult and injury lying down, right?

Sadly, you’d be exactly wrong. The response has been utter civic and political abdication. A landmark national survey by University of Texas at Austin journalism professor Paula Poindexter found that millennials couldn’t care less about the news. Going a step beyond even apathy, millennials describe the news as “garbage, lies, one-sided, propaganda, repetitive and boring.” The majority of millennials do not feel being informed is important. Pew corroborates these findings:

Indeed. A disproportionate amount of young people have taken leave of politics and interest in government completely, becoming “bystanders”, 38% of which are under 30. From the same survey: “64% of Bystanders are interested in celebrities and entertainment (vs. 46% of the public). And, in a sign of their youth, they are drawn to video games: 35% call themselves a “video or computer gamer” (vs. 21% of the public).

Even during the insane media circus that was the 2012 election, which saw $2 billion spent ostensibly on voter outreach, only 37% of Americans said they were following closely. In an election that we were told time and time again was historic, 94 million people simply stayed home. Barack Obama ended up winning with 65,915,796 vote. Mitt Romney with 60,933,500. A little less than 5,000,000 people made the difference for the entire election. Miraculously, young peopled turned out. In a slight increase from 2008, 19% of young people voted in 2012, up from 2008’s 18%. That was enough to prove decisive and hand Obama the election. If young people hadn’t shown up in the numbers they did, America would have a different president today.

Indeed, is it any question why our politics naturally trend towards policies which benefit the old when they vote at such higher rates? 

External image

The average age of Congress is at all time highs as well. The average Senator is 62 years old - and the average Representative 57. And despite polling better with young people, the older party of the two, is, on average, the Democrats.

On January 3, 2013, nine members of the House were in their 80s, 32 members in their 70s, 137 in their 60s, 141 members in their 50s, 82 members in their 40s and 33 members in their 30s. The current youngest Senator is in his 40s. The majority are in their 60s and 70s.

It should come as no surprise that this same Congress consistently votes down measures that would benefit the young. Homeowners can refinance their loans, students can’t. Attempts at changing this have died in this same Senate. Same with attempts to raise the minimum wage. Notice a trend here?

Millennials, and indeed all of America deserves better than the current Congress. But they’re not likely to get it. Despite record high frustration with Congress, the presidency, both political parties, the status quo, the way things are headed, and nearly all facets of American civic, political, social and economic life, America is on the verge of re-electing its most hated Congress in decades.

How is that possible?

The sad truth is that every politician is exactly as craven, as numbers-driven, and cynical as you likely believe they are. Why address issues that largely inconvenience and debilitate the young when they’re not likely to vote anyway? Or even read about it in the newspaper? Social Security cuts have proven to be a "third rail” of American politics. Funding for education on the other hand, is an entirely different story. The AARP, a 37-million-strong interest group representing retirees, has been referred to as “the 900 pound invisible gorilla in the room”. Only the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Exxon Mobil spent more on lobbying in 2008, clocking in at a healthy $27,900,000.

There are clear financial and political gains to be made by reaching out to America’s seniors. Their priorities are better represented simply because they show up on election days in higher numbers, and more consistently at that. This simple concept extends across the American political spectrum. There is an enormous gap between the views of who *can* vote in America, and who actually does.

In January of 2014, billionaire and venture capitalist Tom Perkins made headlines with a letter to the editor published in (where else?) The Wall Street Journal, which read: “Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on the "one percent”, namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich”.

On a separate occasion, a month or so later, Perkins advanced some ideas regarding the reformation of the American voting system.

“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said.

“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

What a ridiculous idea! It was met with widespread criticism and scorn from across the political and journalistic spectrum. The company which he cofounded was quick to distance themselves from him.

Well, in a way, this is already happening. Millionaires are disproportionately well represented amongst our representatives: “If millionaires in the United States formed their own political party, that party would make up just 3 percent of the country, but it would have a majority in the House of Representatives, a filibuster-proof super-majority in the Senate, a 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court and a man in the White House. If working-class Americans — people with manual-labor and service-industry jobs — were a political party, that party would have made up more than half of the country since the start of the 20th century, but its legislators (those who last worked in blue-collar jobs before getting into politics) would never have held more than 2 percent of the seats in Congress.” In the 2008 presidential election, turnout among voters making $150,000 or more was 78%. Turnout among voters making less than $15,000 was 41%.

In the United States, voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 75%, whereas the participation rate of the bottom 20% is an estimated 53%. This 22 percentage point difference is much higher than the OECD average difference of 11 percentage points and points to shortcomings in the political mobilization of the worst-off. 

Studies show that people of color, young people, and lower-income people move more often, leaving them more vulnerable to not being properly registered to vote. This could be remedied by better election practices which streamlined the process such as making election day a national holiday (and not on a Tuesday), enacting same day-registration, but these will never happen and never be enacted because of the demographics. The fact that we don’t have a universal system of voter registration essentially renders American democracy “opt-in,” rather than “opt out.” Opting out is the default setting.

As a matter of fact, by nearly every single metric, the wealthy engage more in American politics. Is it any wonder the problems of the poor, the young, the and others who were especially hard hit by the financial crash have gone ignored for so long? These are the stakes; Millennial unemployment is almost 50% higher than the national average. The wealth that the middle class accumulated after the 1940s is gone, after shrinking for three decades. In a single generation college has gotten twelve times more expensive. The recovery young people should be benefiting from has largely created terrible, low wage jobs. The jobs reports sound sunny, but an examination of the demographic breakdown is positively gloomy. Student loan debt is on the brink of becoming a national crisis. The Labor Department allows for-profit companies to take advantage of unpaid labor in the form of internships through inaction. Internships, which, by the way, might actually make you less employable. Unpaid internships and unemployment are such a core part of the millennial experience that cynical art has been made merely to cope.

The “sharing economy”, often held up as a symbol of millennial resourcefulness and ingenuity was born out of one simple thing: desperation. And if the best we can do is a gig economy, things are quite grim indeed. A job site for running small errands for $20 or less is no way to build a future. For all the talk about start ups, the US is significantly less entrepreneurial than it was over a decade ago. This is an era of growth without jobs. How can people be so surprised that the national conversation seems so distant when such an enormous portion of the country willfully chooses to exclude themselves from it? The discussion around inflation makes it seem an imminent, pressing crisis when the reality couldn’t be further. Corporations have more cash than ever, and yet, are instead paying off their shareholders rather than reinvesting it into the economy. It would take the world’s richest man 220 years to spend his wealth. The number of billionaires in the world has doubled since the 2008 financial crash. Yet, where is the discussion of any of the topics mentioned in this post? They’re not happening, because the people who it would address (and the likely readers of this post) are outside of the room where it’s being held. And they are tragically uninformed and disengaged.

And, it’s consistent with a decades long trend:

This mirrors another trend, although obviously correlation does not imply causation.

Even in more exciting, higher budget presidential elections, the trajectory for participation of young people is down:

And people that are more partisan/fixed in their beliefs are also more likely to vote, and donate to campaigns, giving them disproportionate influence:

You can literally watch the middle ground erode within your own lifetime:

As our politics grow increasingly dysfunctional and mismatched, apathy increases.

It’s not just the middle ground that is disappearing, either.

One might be inclined to argue that voting only endorses a broken system, and while there is merit to that argument, it also makes the most ideological, partisan voices that much louder.

Some people don’t need to be convinced to vote. They will vote every single year, in every single election, rain or shine, and even if you stop voting, they will not. Ever. And those people are disproportionately partisan. The above poll, for the record, references the upcoming November 2014 midterms. And if the generational turnout trends keep in line with those of the 2010 midterm, well…

No third party is coming to the rescue. Often, third party candidates aren’t even allowed to enter the debate. Besides, how many Americans are even familiar with one? Although Americans have consistently claimed they want a third party, nearing all time high levels of support. However, the system itself, lacking direct proportional representation keeps them from gaining traction. And most people simply don’t pay attention to their existence, or call themselves supporters.

If you were truly concerned about how much your vote mattered, it would be logical to vote in the election in which the fewest people are likely to vote. Or in the election that most directly effected your immediate area, state and county elections for example. Yet, the exact opposite is true. Politics and the news move in cycles, and so does interest.

A perfect example of this is here, revealed through Google’s trustworthy Trends tool:

Midterm elections may not be as sexy, but they matter just as much, if not more than, presidential elections. The fact that there is open speculating about 2016 contenders with the November elections around the corner shows how much more attention goes towards presidential elections. And putting your favorite candidate in the White House isn’t going to change much.

It’s a self-reinforcing doom loop. Shared ideals and goals disappear. Productivity nosedives. Government becomes a bad word. The conversations grow more fruitless. Attempts at changing things go nowhere. Failures are brutal, public and visible. And people just tune out. As more and more of the country stays home on election days, ideological voices grow louder and louder, and politicians must increasingly rely on them to win election, and reelection.

And it certainly doesn’t help that those whose voices need to be heard the most are often some of the least informed.

Uninformed? Excuse you! I’ll have you know I–

Save it. Few people take well to being challenged directly on their political beliefs. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem. You are biased. You likely believe things which are incorrect. Even your memories are probably wrong. The dawn of the information age and the penetration of the internet hasn’t changed this, and in fact, has made it worse in some ways. We know the basic story, but don’t bother with the specifics. We are all confident idiots.

This is a worn narrative, but that just goes to show how long it’s been left unaddressed.

When it comes to personal finances, history and civics, science, income inequality, laws on the books…. 64% of Americans do not own a valid passport. Hence, more than half the country has never even seen the world outside of America. This is due to geographic AND scheduling purposes. And the sad truth is, that if you’re young, you likely aren’t consuming much news either. And if there’s roughly the same amount of millennials as baby boomers, why don’t millennials wield the same political power or media influence? The sad truth is that even if given a position of power and influence, or even just a soap box, many young Americans wouldn’t have very much to say. They simply don’t care. In 2010, over half of the youth polled in advance of the midterm elections didn’t register to vote because they weren’t interested.

That’s at least 38.5 million young people who simply did not care enough to register. Given that the second biggest reason is deadline-oriented, it would be reasonable to implement same-day registration across the nation to remove this excuse. That being said, when 38.5 million people willfully prefer exclusion and apathy from politics, the system can only be blamed so much. And in a time when their national unemployment rate is 40%-50% above the national average, you really have to wonder why. To a degree, our increasingly dysfunctional system shapes the views of those who bear the brunt of its mistakes. But that’s not the only reason.

Most people claim they care about “real,” hard news, but their reading and viewing habits say otherwise. CNN’s ridiculous coverage of MH370 saw their biggest ratings of the year, and some of the broadest interest in a news story in years. Broad ignorance is desirable for some.

The reality is that most people treat serious hard journalism as a niche hobby, akin to watching NASCAR. 30% of Americans can’t name a single right protected by the First Amendment. Only 53% correctly identified the Democrats as being in control of Congress, with 15% picking the GOP– and 32% not even able to venture a guess. This may be explained in part due to the large and growing pay gap between journalists and PR people. Also, that PRs outnumber journalists in the US by a ratio of 4.6 to 1, though I imagine that’s more a reflection of priorities than anything else.  Despite the fact that telling you this is likely to cause you to disagree even more intensely, these are issues that affect all of us, together.

One report from a youth advocacy group called the Young Invincibles, measuring only lowered tax revenue and safety net costs, found that high unemployment among millennials, ages 18-34, costs the U.S. more than $25 billion annually. What little recovering this economy has done is lbeing undone by this unaddressed economic calamity. And it’s being left unaddressed because its a unsexy, uninteresting, not imminently-life threatening issue.

The worst thing? All this can change.

If young people in America voted at rates of even 40-50%, we would be living in a different country today. The same is true across demographics. It doesn’t stop there, though. Being an active, educated, informed, vigilant citizen, and dare I say running for office would make big changes too. Unpaid internships could be a thing of the past, as they already are in many other similar countries. Congress wouldn’t dare go on recess with their constituents in such a sorry state, if they knew it would mean their jobs. Why can you refinance a mortgage but not a student loan? How come attempts to rectify this die quiet deaths, out of the headlines? How can you change Washington without meaningfully interacting with it? Textbook price gouging could end tomorrow. It could be significantly easier to file taxes. With crumbling infrastructure, idle workers, and low interest rates, some see nothing but opportunity. Corporate subsidies could end. This “lost generation” could get back on track. America could get a much-needed raise. NSA surveillance could end. Voting is not the only step, but it is an important first one, and it is habit forming. And it would change things, especially in midterm elections where less people vote overall. The obscene and growing inequality holding back America’s growth will never get addressed with our current rates of engagement. Growth without jobs and profits without prosperity could end. The stock market may be booming, but most of us know better.

Simply put, your priorities could be reflected in your government. It looks grim, but those of us who grew up in and lived through the 90s know that nothing lasts forever. And that our government, and indeed, all world governments, can accomplish some truly great things. And honestly, it’s not as bad as it looks.

We know things are bad. But we also know that they were once better.

Ronald Reagan once said “all great change in America begins at the dinner table.” Voting too much trouble? Just pick up a newspaper and read a few stories. That too time consuming? Just try and start a conversation with some friends, or even strangers, about their politics, and see what they think is right. Too difficult to sort out good journalism from bad? I’ll do it for you. All it takes is a few small gestures and actions, and a bit of reading and conversation to get your political consciousness forming. And once you’re informed, active, and organized, you will be unstoppable.

And hey, maybe if done quick enough, we can stop this 90s revival dead in its tracks. It really wasn’t that cool of a time anyways.

See you in 2018.

Cosette to Christine Full List

Here is my full list of actresses that have played both Christine and Cosette, doesn’t matter the production, Broadway/London, Professional/Non, Regional/Tour. As long as they played both they are on this list. There may be a couple missing as I accidentally deleted a bit of my list a while ago and some were hard to find in the first place. This is a super long list so the list is all under the “read more” line. (Updated: June 14th 2016)

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