To have and have more (5×8 – 10/26/11)

The rich get richer, why property taxes are going up, the value of music in school, it’s about (Steve) Jobs, and the Northern Lights from space.



The Congressional Budget Office has thrown a little more gas on the fire that spawned the Occupy protests, reporting that the rich are, indeed, getting richer. In the report (available here) issued yesterday, the CBO said the share of the nation’s wealth for the top 1 percent of income earners more than doubled — 275 percent to be exact — in the last 30 years. That’s after taxes.

In 1979, the report said, the share of income in the lowest group was about 7 percent. By 2007, that had fallen to 5 percent.

We’re a nation of haves and have-nots. What’s the long-term consequences of that?

Meanwhile, a poll out this morning shows 43 percent of the Americans surveyed agree with the Occupy protesters, 30 percent say they don’t know.

Americans with at least some college education are more likely to agree with the movement than those with less education. Nearly half of those with at least some college education say they agree with “Occupy Wall Street”; among those who did not attend college, that figure drops to 37 percent.

Seven in ten Americans say they have heard or read at least something about “Occupy Wall Street.”

… which means three in 10 Americans haven’t seen or heard anything about the protests.

They probably haven’t heard anything about police in a couple of cities moving in to clear the protesters yesterday and overnight.


When Curtis Gilbert and Molly Bloom pull out the toys, some serious learning always follows. Here’s their latest effort: Why are Minnesota property taxes going up?


The Taiwanese firm — NMA — is giving Steve Jobs’ biography the patented animation treatment:


For more than a decade, Jimmy Nguyen didn’t say a word around other people. Doctors suspected he suffered from selective mutism, often triggered by intense anxiety. Then he took a music class.

“It’s not so unusual for music to wake up children with characteristics of autism,” said Richard Edwards, an Ohio Wesleyan University professor who studies how the human brain learns to be musical.


A view of a Northern Lights show, taken from the International Space Station a few weeks ago (click image for larger view).


Says NASA...

This astronaut photograph highlights the Chicago metropolitan area as the largest cluster of lights, next to the dark patch of Lake Michigan. The other largest metropolitan areas include St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the Omaha-Council Bluffs region on the Nebraska-Iowa border. The northeastern seaboard lies just beyond the Appalachian Mountains, a dark winding zone without major cities.

City light clusters give an immediate sense of relative city size. Demographers have used nighttime satellite imagery to make estimates of city populations, especially in the developing world, where growth can be rapid.

The sense of scale changes significantly in oblique views. Des Moines is 200 kilometers from Omaha and 375 kilometers from Minneapolis, yet the distances appear roughly the same in this view.

It’ll take awhile to download, but go here to see the images strung together to give the appearance of flying over the Midwest at night.

There was, as I mentioned yesterday, a big Northern Lights show over our area (we couldn’t see it because of the clouds). Here are some images captured by the lucky people.


Wal-Mart has announced that it will start requiring employees who smoke to pay a higher percentage of their health-care premiums. More than one in four large employers do the same. Today’s Question: Should smokers pay a greater share of their health-care premiums?


The Big Story Blog will follow news related to a new report that concludes most flu vaccines provide only moderate protection


Posting will be light today. I’m in Montevideo for an interview for NewsCut’s The People You Should Meet series.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: President Obama recently told an audience in Detroit that the $85 billion bailout of the auto industry has paid off and saved thousands of jobs. U.S. automakers are hiring again, but does the industry have a sustainable future?

Second hour: Hip hop artist Dessa joined Kerri Miller in the Maud Moon Weyerhauser studio last week to discuss how she started rapping, her song writing process, and why the she felt compelled to rework earlier songs for her new album “Castor, the Twin”.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Gov. Mark Dayton.

Second hour: Bright Ideas with college admissions expert Carol Stack

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with NPR political editor Ken Rudin.

Second hour: Joe Darger is a fifth-generation polygamist with two dozen kids and three wives including Alina. She says she was raised in a plural family and it was a great experience. Together, they’ve written the new book, “Love Times Three,” a true story of polygamous marriage.