The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a blog about marine debris chocked full of interesting entries. As are many other agencies, NOAA is using social media extensively (e.g., see the Facebook page for its Office of Exploration and Research, the Vimeo shows for its Climate Program Office, and, of course, its own Twitter feed and weather information on its own YouTube channel), but the marine debris blog is a bit unique. It has a voice of its own. It’s focused, friendly, informative, and entertaining. It’s a good use of my tax dollars.
Monthly Archives: May 2012
Even though they threatened to fold in 2008 (“This is it, folks! The final CLAW of 2008 and maybe… EVER.”), over at the spiffy new Website for CLAW USA, the long-
rumoredplanned spin-off of CLAW and its spawn is upon us: Super CLAW will occur 16 June 2012 right here in C’ville at the Jefferson. Yes, representatives of the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers and other lady arm wrestling leagues from around the US will wrestle off and raise $$ with way over-the-top frivolity and music and other party activities. Don’t say you were not warned.
Over on XKCD (one of my all-time-fave cartoons), Randall Munroe has done it again. He’s produced another marvelous interpretation of the state of the world. Just while I’m finishing up the review of my students’ final exam work and am looking forward to commencement exercises, he’s rendered a cool commentary about higher education that comes flitting through my experience like a butterfly…or is it shooting through like a meteor…or cannonball?
It seems like it’s a good time to remember some history. Do you sometimes forget relatively recent history? G. Santayana was reputed to have said something about (paraphrasing for syntactical fit) those of us who don’t remember the past being condemned to repeating it. Of course, ancient history may be inaccurate (did Nero really fiddle while Rome burned?), and this recent history might be, too. But see for yourself. Check this little bit of history from 2008 about how downtrodden the 1% were back then.
Thanks, This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
Getting More Serious
Barbara Hansen of USA TODAY used GMI Ratings, Standard & Poor’s data, and other USA TODAY research to analyze the pay of chief executive officers of US corporations in 2011. Matt Krantz and Ms. Hansen reported the results of that analysis 28 March 2012. Here is a listing of the top 10 earners for 2011. Ms. Hansen’s table, available with the story they reported, can be sorted in other ways to allow one to see data on 151 companies’ executive’s earnings.
|Honeywell International||David Cote||$35,378,249|
|Walt Disney||Robert Iger||$31,363,013|
|Marathon Oil||Clarence Cazalot||$29,911,662|
|Motorola Solutions||Gregory Brown(1)||$29,313,864|
|Johnson & Johnson||William Weldon||$23,362,939|
|United Technologies||Louis Chenevert||$22,878,306|
|American Express||Kenneth Chenault||$22,490,401|
|Cooper Industries||Kirk Hachigian||$21,116,678|
Now, I don’t begrudge people making money, especially if they work hard, and I presume these men work hard, probably as hard as I do. And it’s not about me and them. But, what does one do with this sort of money. In one year, they’re making more than what a well-paid teacher made (including nice retirement and health benefits) over the past 35 years. Equitable?
Well, if these men gave 1% of their incomes to an endowment for a local school for five years, that would amount to something. Those schools would suddenly have budgets that would allow them to buy curricula that they might not otherwise be able to purchase, given the anti-tax and anti-education mood of many neighbors. And, if these savvy business men said, “You have to buy curricula that have a proven track record of success with the funds from this endowment (and here are the sensible rules for deciding what counts as such a curriculum),” then they might be “giving back to the community,” as their similarly wealthy athletics stars say.
In fact, mayhaps we could just ask that these way-wealthy folks would form coalitions and tackle problems such as this, just as the Buffet, Gates, Broad, and other families have addressed international problems. Mr. Atlanta Falcon Matt Ryan, Atlanta Coca Cola Mr. Muhtar Kent, Mr. Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson, and Mr. Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones…y’all could do some good works among you, if you formed a team. Just 1-2% of your incomes a year for a three-year run for schools, boys-and-girls clubs, community music programs, shelters for indigent elderly folks…. Do you think you could afford 10%?