I propose a new way to think about the Great Recession in America. Instead of the middle class is dying, how about the dirty middle class is dying. The way of life where overconsumption and gas guzzling is more American than recycling or biking. If our energy supply can be both dirty and clean, why not our lifestyles?
Consider the average family spends 20% of their budget on transportation. That’s 10 weeks/year just to pay for car and gas. But what about the big gas guzzlers, the kind that cost $80 to fill-up. No one wants to pay $100 for gas but that is where we are headed. And yet there are plenty of them on the street. As those gas prices tick up I think they will slowly disappear and be replaced by bikes and EV’s.
Food is another area in slow decline. You might’ve heard that 69% of Americans are overweight or obese. That’s a lot of extra money spent on food, especially when times are tight. A new report shows our consumption of candy and processed foods has doubled in the last 30 years. What if a family were to save money by committing to healthy portion sizes, cutting out processed foods, and putting that savings towards college.
Last, think about the basic rule of disposable goods. They only work once and you have to buy more every week. Not only is this horrible for the environment but it costs a lot of money. Families could go broke following the jingles in commercials. And those who are pushing hard on – reduce, reuse, recycle – are again finding themselves with extra money to spend on family vacations.
After all, isn’t that what being in the middle class is about, family vacations? Being able to work, have fun, and save a little money for college or retirement. I thought so, but somehow that dream became owning an SUV, overeating, and buying something to throw out. But take solace in knowing that this dirty way of life is moving towards extinction. To be replaced by green families who ride bikes and have vegetable gardens.
It gives new meaning to the saying, there goes the neighborhood.
Continue reading The ‘dirty’ middle class
U.S. venture capitalists put $8.1 billion into 812 deals in the second quarter of 2012, their single largest quarter in more than a decade, according to CB Insights.
It’s clear that factors like the greater American economy and the bumpy tech IPO market don’t necessarily have a direct and/or timely correlation with venture capital spending.
Funding was up 37 percent from the first quarter, and 5 percent from a year ago. Number of deals were up 3 percent from the past quarter, and 4 percent from the past year.
Photo and video start-ups accounted for 29 percent of mobile funding dollars.
Keep reading: All Things D – U.S. Venture Capital Has Its Biggest Quarter Since Dot-Com Days
Continue reading Venture capital investment had its biggest quarter (Q2 2012) of the decade
The Commercial Crew Program is responsible for helping companies develop vehicles that can ferry astronauts, and maybe civilians, to space. Could this lead to a ‘spaceline’ industry, a la the airlines?
An interview with Ed Mango, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program:
What’s the goal of the Commercial Crew Program?
We still have Americans in space. But we don’t have a way to get there. So the motivation for this small team I have is that we are the next organization within NASA that’s going to get American systems back into low Earth orbit.
Why is NASA relying on private companies instead of operating the flights itself?
It fits with what has happened in the past. Look at how the airlines got started: Air Mail was run by the government, totally. Then eventually, the government didn’t want to be the ones to own airplanes, own airfields, employ the pilots — all that kind of stuff. So they said, “We’re going to contract this out.”
That became cargo capability. And as time went on, companies said, “We can transport people, not just cargo.” Thus, the birth of the airlines.
Keep reading – NASA encouraging spaceflight to go commercial
Continue reading NASA’s master plan – to create the next space airlines
Cast your 2012 All-Star Game Vote!
* Vote a maximum of 25 times. Voting ends at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, June 28, 2012.
And, watch the All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, on FOX.
Continue reading All Star Ballot – MLB 2012 – Vote now, ends June 29
Had you polled theater pundits in recent years about which they thought would be in better shape today, the Broadway musical or the Broadway play, it’s hard to imagine any of them choosing the drama.
Yet one of the unexpected developments of the past season is the robust showing of what used to be called “the straight play” — a designation that sounds vaguely apologetic for not featuring high-kicking chorus girls and 11 o’clock numbers.
Apparently, those mythological hordes of tourists with their insatiable appetite for franchise spectacles aren’t having the final say. Playwrights and the producers who love them have been putting up a sneaky defense against the theme-park takeover of Broadway.
…but just when you were ready to concede Times Square as part of the United Kingdom, lo and behold, the four nominees for best play are all written by Yanks: Bruce Norris (“Clybourne Park”), Jon Robin Baitz (“Other Desert Cities”), David Ives (“Venus in Fur”) and Rick Elice (“Peter and the Starcatcher”).
keep reading – L.A. Times Critics Notebook, Charles McNulty
Continue reading The heartening resurgence of the American play
As Britain prepares to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne, the sovereign’s popularity in the United States is at a 15-year high — 82% of Americans say they have a favorable opinion of the queen in a CNN/ORC poll released Friday.
That’s a 35-point jump from 1997, when her favorable rating stood at 47%. That was the year Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. Many Americans and Brits were disappointed in the royal family’s handling of the death of the “people’s princess,” saying the queen didn’t sufficiently reflect her subjects’ sense of loss following the accident.
Since then, however, Queen Elizabeth’s favorable ratings have been on the rise, reaching 75% in 2002 and 80% in 2007.
“Americans love Queen Elizabeth and they think the royal family is a good thing for the people of England, but only one in eight would like to see royalty here in the United States,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, is not as popular as his wife, though is still viewed favorably by 59% of Americans.
And, just for fun this satire – Prince Philip Says: “I’m Not Going To The Bloody Sodding Royal Pageant On The Buggering Thames In No Barge And That’s That!”
Continue reading 82% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Queen Elizabeth II
Eight percent of adult Internet users said they log on to Twitter every day, up from the 4% who said the same last year, according to the Pew Research Center, which conducted the survey.
That number was even higher for young adults. One in five Internet users ages 18 to 24 are using the website each day, and nearly one-third of all users that age are on Twitter.
Another interesting fact from the survey is African Americans use Twitter twice as much as other ethnic groups. More than a quarter, 28%, of black Internet users are on Twitter as opposed to Hispanic, 12%, and white Internet users, 14%.
via L.A. Times – Tech Now
Continue reading 8% of adults check Twitter every day – 20% of young adults check every day
The Department of Transportation has approved four more long-distance flights from Reagan National Airport.
– Alaska Airlines will fly to Portland, JetBlue Airways will fly to San Juan, Southwest will fly to Austin and Virgin America will fly to San Francisco.
– Four dominant carriers were granted permission earlier to extend long-distance flights. United now flies from National to San Francisco. Delta was given approval for service to Salt Lake City, American to Los Angeles and U.S. Airways to San Diego.
via Washington Business Journal
// Photo – Nicola since 1972