The Easy Days Are Over – By William Saletan NOV. 14 2015 8:06 PM

After Paris, this period of relative peace and easy libertarianism is coming to an end.

If you’re an 18-year-old American, you were 3 or 4 when al-Qaida hit the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. You haven’t seen a major terrorist strike in your country since then. Maybe you heard about the attacks in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, or Mumbai in 2008. But aside from the occasional lone-wolf incident—Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, or the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013—you’ve been lucky.

You’ve grown up in an era of peace at home: no world wars, no cold war, and little fear of being blown up or gunned down by militants. It’s an era of libertarianism: We’re less afraid of bad guys coming to kill us, so we don’t see why Uncle Sam should track our phone calls. It’s also an era of isolationism, because our troops have fought two wars overseas, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they haven’t turned out well. We’re sick of those wars, and we feel pretty safe at home. So we don’t want to go fight again.

The libertarianism and isolationism of our time crosses party lines. It affects President Obama, who came into office promising to bring our troops home. But it also affects Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican presidential candidate who has campaigned on a platform of sending troops to fight ISIS, couldn’t even garner enough support in the polls to get into his party’s undercard debate last week. And if you study surveys on national security and domestic surveillance, you’ll find that Republicans are, by some measures, more hostile to surveillance than Democrats are.

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Rage Against the Machine – By Jamelle Bouie AUG. 2015

Voters are fed up with American politics. But are they willing to do anything about it?

Riding the wave of anger: Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images

Riding the wave of anger: Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015, in Phoenix.
Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images

Millennials have taken over the American workforce by Chris Matthews  MAY 11, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

Photograph by Robin Skjoldborg — Getty Images

More than one-third of the U.S. workforce is aged 18 to 34.

If you’re one of those who considers the millennial generation a bunch of entitled, narcissistic, know-it-alls, I have bad news for you: there’s more of them than there are of you.

That’s right, according to Pew, for the first time, the millennial generation, those aged 18 to 34, are now the largest segment of the workforce:

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 2.42.44 PM

As of the first quarter of this year, according to the Pew analysis, more than one-third of the American labor force is now between the ages of 18 and 34, roughly the same share as Generation Xers, with Baby Boomers making up 29% of the workforce. Of course, this was bound to happen sometime. Millennials are generally the children of baby boomers, what some demographers call the “echo-boom.” Though baby boomers didn’t have nearly the same number of children their parents did, the sheer number of baby boomers means that their children’s generation was destined to be the biggest at some point.

Experts are divided about what this means for the workplace. Some have argued that the millennial generation is fundamentally different than those that came before them, that they are more apt to change jobs and demand that their work provide them with more than just good pay and security. Others argue that the generation is much more like their predecessors than the media portrays them to be.

But one thing is for certain: this demographic wave will have important business implications beyond just the workplace. The housing and real estate industry, for instance, should be excited about the coming of age of the millennial generation, as the largest group of Americans are aged 20 to 24. These folks are quickly reaching a point in life where they will be moving out on their own, either to rent or own their own their own homes — which will require a lot of building in the years to come.

The fact that millennials now rule the roost is good for the U.S. government’s pocket book as well. With more and more baby boomers retiring, the U.S. will need workers to keep the economy going and maintain the solvency of programs like Medicare and Social Security. The United States is in a much better position than other wealthy countries in this regard. According to the OECD, the ratio of working age people to retired people is 10% higher in the U.S. than other OECD countries.

Arizona€’s graying frontier offers glimpse of US challenges ahead – by Tim Gaynor December 2, 2014 5:00AM ET

La Paz County, where more than a third of residents are seniors, offers test case as more baby boomers nationwide retire

Retiree Ron Moss plays a twilight round of “tough golf” in Quartzsite, Arizona. People 65 or older make up over a third of the population of La Paz County, which includes Quartzsite.Tim Gaynor

PARKER, Ariz. — Retiree Joyce Baker has always been fiercely independent, living on a five-acre spread in the Sonoran Desert where she wielded a chainsaw to manage the woodland, clambered up a ladder to inspect the roof of her home each year and dispatched rattlesnakes with a volley of shots from her .38 pistol.

But three years ago her now 85-year-old husband, Paul Baker, was diagnosed with dementia. He was subsequently hospitalized after a fall that shattered ribs, and by the time he returned to their remote home, Joyce Baker, 75, found that she could no longer cope.

“I thought, ‘I’ll keep the goals real simple. All I really have to do is keep Paul and me — and our two cats, who are also old — fed, clean and safe’ … But within just a few days, I discovered that those goals are not simple,” said Joyce Baker, who finally reached out for help. “I was literally at my wits’ end, going in circles … You get where you can’t organize your own thoughts, let alone help somebody with Alzheimer’s get organized.”

Baker and her husband are among the fortunate seniors receiving vital home care in sparsely populated La Paz County in far western Arizona, which has one of the highest proportions of residents 65 or older anywhere in the United States.

As of October this year, there has been an eightfold increase in the number of people on the waiting list for adult day health care and respite services like home-delivered meals and help with bathing and laundry — totaling 2,345 for Arizona and 425 in the tri-county area bordering California that includes La Paz County. The elder care crisis in far western Arizona is significant, professionals believe, since it may hold some clues to the demographic challenges faced by the United States as a whole in coming years as millions of members of the baby boom generation reach 65 at a rate of about 10,000 a day.

In response to their needs, the Bakers got help from social services to put handrails in the bathroom to safeguard against further falls and also received freezer-ready home meals delivered to their home, at the end of a dirt road, once a week from the Community Senior Center in Parker, the La Paz County seat, 35 miles away.

“It makes life livable. There’s absolutely no way that I could shop for the food, prepare the food and clean up three times a day,” Joyce Baker said of the help that allows her to remain at home with her husband of 58 years. “If I didn’t have this help, I would be here alone because Paul would be in a facility.”

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American history in black and white: Ferguson and our nation’s cognitive divide – ANDREW O’HEHIR SATURDAY, NOV 29, 2014 5:00 PM UTC

If the Ferguson tragedy offers a vivid reminder of our bitter divisions, it also offers moments of revelation

American history in black and white: Ferguson and our nation's cognitive divide

It’s a painful truism to say that white Americans and black Americans do not live in the same country, or at least do not perceive their country in the same way. What’s even more painful is that this truism remains largely true, even in an age when the cultural and historical narrative of the United States has altered course and become much more complicated. We were reminded of that with renewed force this week, just in time to infuse the Thanksgiving holiday with a mood of gloomy, tense reflection. (If you take the longer historical view, that may be entirely appropriate to the season.) We have multiple overlapping stories in 21st century America, and at least some of them offer us reasons to be thankful. We have the story of the conflict between immigration and nativism — which goes back nearly 200 years, but gets renewed every few years with every group of newcomers – and the newer story of a multicultural, multiracial and multilingual society in which one person in four is neither “white” nor “black,” in the conventional usage of those words.

Latinos and Asian-Americans and the growing number of people of mixed race would seem to have no clear position in the old, traumatic story of America as a binary society of black and white. Sometimes we try to convince ourselves we have shaken free of that old dichotomy and have moved into a different era, or are about to do so. (It is mostly white people who try to convince ourselves of this, in fairness.) Yet it remains a central driving force of our nation’s internal anguish, even 150 years after the end of slavery and 50 years after the end of legal segregation, and even when most of us are bored by the fact that the current president sinking into the conventional mire of second-term unpopularity is a biracial man with an African name. The historical change that represents is real, but it has not been enough to unwind the fundamental contradiction between the way whites and blacks understand the nature of American society.

Getting Latinos Wrong – By MATT BARRETO and THOMAS F. SCHALLER October 31, 2014

PoliticsWhy pollsters can’t count right—and the difference it could make in Colorado on Tuesday.

Is it possible that Colorado’s Cory Gardner is shaping up to be this election cycle’s Sharron Angle? You might recall what happened to Angle in the Nevada Senate race in 2010. Almost every pre-election poll had Angle, the tea-party-supported Republican challenger to Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid, leading the race handily. On the eve of the election, no less a polling personage than Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight pegged Angle’s chances of winning at 83 percent. But not only did Reid win, he beat Angle by a comfortable 5.7 points .

What went wrong with the polling four years ago should be a cautionary tale for what’s about to take place on Tuesday, with future control of the Senate expected to tilt to the Republicans. In Colorado, according to the pre-election polls, Republican Gardner is leading incumbent Democrat Mark Udall in the Centennial State’s Senate race. But dig a little deeper and there seems like there’s something off about the numbers—potentially the same problem that plagued Nevada’s race four years ago.

A few pollsters did manage to predict a Reid victory in 2010—among them our firm, Latino Decisions, which based its projection in part on our pre-election polls of Latinos. The reason we got it right is that we survey Latinos properly, supported by bilingual callers who administer the surveys in the language respondents use when answering the phone. We also check respondent samples against known, Census-based demographics of the Latino electorate (nationally or in specific states) to safeguard against the results being comprised by higher subsamples of English-speaking, college-educated or American-born Latinos who, on average, are more likely to vote Republican.

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This App Teaches Millennials About the World Before They Try to Change It | WIRED – BY KLINT FINLEY 10.27.14

CEO Patrick Finnegan CEO Patrick Finnegan.   World State

Kids these days just want to make the world a better place.

According to a 2011 study by Pew Research, 79 percent of people aged 18 to 24 say having a career that benefits society is “very important,” and another Pew study, from 2010, found that millennials volunteer more often than any other age group. As much as selfies and student load debt, this drive to make a difference defines the Millennial generation.

But 18-year old Patrick Finnegan is worried about his fellow millennials. “A lot of people my age talk about changing the world,” he says. “But they don’t know anything about it.”

It’s hard, he says, to educate yourself in the ways of world. The history behind Middle East politics or post-Soviet conflict zones make Game of Thrones look straightforward, and it’s often difficult to know where to start. Most news sites, he says, publish articles that either don’t provide enough background, or are far too long. Long form essays published by magazines like The New Yorkerare great, but it’s not necessarily the ideal way to get briefed on all the issues.

Seeing this problem, Finnegan and Lisa Jaques, his St. Andrews Delaware boarding school classmate, decided to do what anyone their age would do. They founded a startup. WorldState is an online news venture with one goal at heart: helping young people get up to speed on current events. The app is part of a larger effort to change the way we consume news online, an effort that includes everything from services like Circa and Vox to more familiar names like Google and Wikipedia.

Realizing that asking people to install yet another app on their phones is a struggle, the company has taken a decidedly old school approach to disseminate its content up until now: an email newsletter. But the company is now rolling out a beta for its mobile web app, which will bring new stories in on a rolling basis. And, more importantly, it will provide concise introductions to the biggest news topics, such as the Ebola scare, gay marriage, and the shooting of Michael Brown.

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Atul Gawande: “We Have Medicalized Aging, and That Experiment Is Failing Us” – —By Michael Mechanic | Oct. 2014

The prescription, he argues in “Being Mortal,” is to rethink our priorities for the dying—and give ’em something to live for.

Cats and dogs and birds and nursing home residents, living together. Thinkstock/suemack

The latest book from surgeon and best-selling author Atul Gawande may not change your whole life, but it could very well improve how it ends.

In Being Mortal, Gawande, a longtime staff writer for the New Yorker, takes on the utter failure of the medical profession when it comes to helping people die well, and the short-sightedness of the elder facilities that infantilize people rather than bother to figure out what they actually need to maintain a modicum of meaning in what’s left of their lives. In the process, he gives us a lesson on the basic physiology of aging and on the social and technological changes that led to most of us dying in hospitals and institutions rather than at home with our loved ones. And he chronicles the rise of the nursing home and the creation of assisted living as its antidote—if only it were.

The picture can seem pretty bleak. Many of Gawande’s subjects are dealing with the always-hopeful oncologists who, rather than accept the inevitable, coax their patients into trying futile fourth-line chemotherapies that nobody can pronounce. And then you’ve got hospitals axing their geriatrics departments (aging Boomers be damned) because Medicare won’t cover the extra costs of making someone’s last years worth living. There’s also a deeply personal aspect to the book, which goes on sale today. Gawande recounts the recent travails of his family, which began when his father, also a surgeon, was diagnosed with a cancer that would slowly eat away at his physical capabilities and ultimately end his life.

But Being Mortal is hopeful, too, and that’s why it could make a difference. Most of the changes we need to make aren’t expensive. Indeed, some of them could save us a bundle in cash and needless suffering. It turns out, for example, that terminal patients in hospice programs often live longer and better than their counterparts in treatment. In fact, the mere act of talking with caregivers about what you value as you near the end of your life leads to a longer one. Gawande also introduces us to quirky visionaries who took it upon themselves to improve matters. My favorite was Bill Thomas, a young doctor who somehow convinced state regulators to let him turn a nursing home into a menagerie. “I mean, he was a crazy-man!” Gawande told me with a laugh when I called to grill him on the details. But sometimes that’s what it takes to wake people up.

Mother Jones: In the book, you write about how, hundreds of years ago, there used to be these very popular guidebooks instructing people on how to die well. Have we, as a society, forgotten how to do that?

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