To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure:
Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation
. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated
, and defended
. It's been noted
by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t
." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create
for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In
"Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do — and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess.
About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five — spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares.... In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian."
Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds
is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC)
. (Report: PDF
/ Talking Points: PDF
.) Similar to its predecessors
, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog
discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council
has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
"Is she O.K.?" a customer asks.
"My mom?" asks Kristy, the waitress.
"Yes," the customer replies.
Since Sunday, the front page of the New York Times has been featuring a portrait in five parts
of Elyria, Ohio (pop: 55,000), seen mostly through the lens of a local diner. (Second link is to a full multimedia feature, but direct links to the five individual articles can be found within.) [more inside]
This summer, Gawker began soliciting and publishing a weekly series of first person essays submitted by their readers: "True Stories
." They include ten stories (to date) from struggling, unemployed Americans: Hello from the Underclass
. (Those who dislike Gawker's interface can find direct links to individual essays within.) [more inside]
"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue."
-- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless
, explaining that the surge
in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1
, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ
/ Photo Gallery
. [more inside]
Over the past three weeks, Israel has experienced
what may perhaps be the largest, spontaneous / grass roots social protest of the secular middle class that it has witnessed in decades
. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns throughout the country have been protesting
cuts in government funding to health care and education, and massive, exorbitant rises in taxes and housing costs
-- and demanding change
. Tent cities
have sprung up
in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in public gardens and parks throughout the country. And they may not be going anywhere: polls indicate Israeli support is "exceptionally high"
. [more inside]
After more than 160 years of treating patients, historic St. Vincent's Hospital
in New York City's Greenwich Village filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday
and will close its doors to new patients. The last remaining Catholic Hospital
in NYC, St. Vincent's was originally founded in 1849 to serve the poor
. The effect is already being felt
at other hospitals in the area.
But despite the filing, there was still time for one last cry
: Abigail Jancu
was the the last baby
ever born in St. Vincent's maternity ward