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United States

"American Airlines apologises after clash over baby..."

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by 112 Jurors

The United States of America (USA or U.S.A.), commonly referred to as the United States (US or U.S.), America, and sometimes the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.71 million square miles (9.62 million km2) and with around 318 million people, the United States is the world's third or fourth-largest country by total area and third-largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Paleo-Indians migrated from Eurasia to what is now the U.S. mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, as the colonies were fighting Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.

Driven by the doctrine of manifest destiny, the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century. This involved displacing native tribes, acquiring new territories, and gradually admitting new states. The American Civil War ended legal slavery in the country. By the end of the 19th century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy was the world's largest. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country with nuclear weapons, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the sole superpower.

The United States is a developed country and has the world's largest national economy, with an estimated GDP in 2013 of $16.8 trillion—23% of global nominal GDP and 19% at purchasing-power parity. The economy is fueled by an abundance of natural resources and high worker productivity, with per capita GDP being the world's sixth-highest in 2010. While the U.S. economy is considered post-industrial, it continues to be one of the world's largest manufacturers. The U.S. has the highest mean and fourth highest median household income in the OECD as well as the highest gross average wage, though it has the fourth most unequal income distribution, with roughly 15% of the population living in poverty as defined by the U.S. Census. The country accounts for 36.6% of global military spending, being the world's foremost economic and military power, a prominent political and cultural force, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovation.

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img Yuri Michael posted a review

American Airlines has apologised to a female passenger and suspended an employee after a video showing an onboard clash over a baby stroller went viral, in the latest embarrassment for a US carrier over how it treated a customer.

The clip, posted on Facebook on Friday by a bystander aboard the flight, shows a woman in tears with a young child in her arms, and a man emerging from his seat to confront a male flight attendant who apparently wrested the stroller from the woman.

Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, who posted the video, wrote that the flight attendant had forcefully taken the stroller, hitting the woman with it and just missing her child. That sequence of events did not appear on the clip.

What it shows is the unidentified man standing up and yelling at the flight attendant: "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat."

1 day ago
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img Dan Ficke posted a review

THE REALITY: Consumption continues to increase in the U.S., meanwhile, modern socialist countries inch closer and closer to collapse due to REAL shortages, REAL poverty, and hyperinflation.

• In the U.S., consumption has trended upwards since at least the 1950's. [a]

• Even when adjusting for inflation, this trend remains the case, with the exceptional stall during recessions. [b]

• Per the World Bank, household private consumption per capita (the market value of all goods and services purchased by each household) is roughly $31,000 ('05 USD) for U.S. households, only about $3,500 ('05 USD) for Venezuelan households, and only around $2,750 ('05 USD) for Cuban households. In other words, U.S. households purchase roughly 8-11 times more goods and services. The World Bank data goes back to 1996, and it, too, shows an upward trend in consumption per household. [i]

Can we buy into the implication that U.S. citizens are too impoverished to consume goods when the data shows consumption steadily increasing and outperforming our socialist counterparts? The data speak for itself.

What about food? It's generally agreed that meat is a luxury. Therefore, let's compare U.S. meat consumption - per capita - to socialist Cuba and Venezuela, for some perspective:

• The U.S. consumes about 125 kg of meat per person, per year. (About 275 pounds) [c]

• Venezuela, however, consumes only 56 kg per person per year. (About 123 pounds) [c]

• Cuba, even worse, consumes only around 39 kg per person per year. (About 86 pounds) [c]

If you believe capitalism is impoverishing people to the point where citizens can barely afford to eat, take a look at the alternative approach. In fact, the U.S. consumes more meat per capita than every nation in the world except one. (Luxembourg, a tiny European nation the size of Rhode Island). [c]

What about power? Surely, if we're impoverishing our citizenry, they wouldn't be able to consume much electricity, right? Again, let's observe our socialist counterparts for perspective. Per the World Bank:

• Venezuela consumes about 3,245 kWh per capita. [d]

• Cuba consumes only about 1,425 kWh per capita. [d]

• The U.S., on the other hand, consumes about 12,985 kWh per capita. [d]

Whether it be at work or home, for recreation or entertainment, for emergency medical care or anything else, U.S. citizens enjoy the luxury of having more than 8 times as much electricity per person as Cuban citizens. If our system is "failing," imagine how bad the alternative systems are.

The fact is, WE aren't the system that's impoverishing its citizens. The socialist experiment in Venezuela should tell us all we need to know. The IMF (international monetary fund) predicted that Venezuela's inflation rate - already the highest in the world - would surge from 275% to 720% sometime in 2016. [e] Instead, it surpassed that. As of February 2017, Venezuelan's inflation rate is a scary 741%! [x] For comparison, the United States' inflation rate is presently 2.40%. [x]

Can you imagine life if the U.S. dollar was losing its value this rapidly?! Furthermore, "Venezuela’s economy will shrink 8 percent this year following a 10 percent contraction last year, according to the IMF." [e] Again, can you imagine how difficult life would be in the U.S. if we were contracting this terribly? Even in the Great Recession of 2008, we never had such dire results.

Per The Economist, the socialist regime in Venezuela has "greatly compounded the damage with policies that, though designed to favour the poor, end up impoverishing them and the state. Price controls—along with the shortage of foreign exchange—have led to acute shortages of basic goods, forcing people to queue for hours to buy necessities." [f] Since 2014, both "overall poverty" and "EXTREME poverty have deteriorated to "the worst levels seen in at least a decade and a half." [f] The poverty rate is now around 76 percent. [g]

In a desperate attempt to save electricity, Venezuela's government has decided to grant itself and all public employees — who account for a third of the labor force — 5 day weekends. They now only have to work 2 days a week! [h] The silliness of this concept is that, by producing LESS, somehow, poverty will decline. What's even sillier is the hope that less electricity would be used, as though people would return to their homes and just sit in the dark all day not using electricity. Either way, everyone is still learning to live with rolling blackouts and mandatory 4 hour periods of no electricity. [h] In their latest act of desperation, the Venezuelan government recently seized the assets of General Motors. [y] "The Venezuelan government has previously seized assets belonging to U.S. companies, including those of cleaning products maker Clorox in 2014, glass-maker Owens-Illinois in 2010 and nationalized a rice mill operated by Cargill in 2009." [y]

THIS is the picture of a country collapsing. THIS is the picture of a country where its low-wage workers can't afford to buy anything. THIS is not a picture of capitalism. It's the alternative to capitalism, and it fails miserably nearly every single time it's tried.

1 day ago
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img John Adams posted a review

A year ago, Tammy Rose never imagined she’d be active again in church, holding a palm branch with a community of Christians marking the beginning of Holy Week.

For nearly two decades, in fact, she had more or less abandoned the faith, disillusioned by what she saw as a constant focus on conservative social issues and pressing needs for more donations.

But if politics helped drive her away, it is politics that, in some ways, is drawing her back to the fold. And on this sunny Sunday morning at Greenpoint Reformed Church, not too far from the Brooklyn artists collective where she lives, Ms. Rose is beaming as she joins the responsive call to prayer:

 
“Who are we?” intones the Rev. Jennifer Aull, the congregation’s minister for community service. Responding, the congregation says together: “We are young and old, gay and straight and in between. We are single and partnered, happy and sad, confused and inspired. We are street smart and college-educated. Some of us can’t pay our bills and others have more than enough to share.... We are God’s people. We are the body of Christ.”

Like a number of progressive congregations across the country, Greenpoint Reformed has seen both a surge in attendance and a newfound energy within its pews over the past year. Since the rise of Donald Trump to the US presidency, in fact, liberal enclaves have reported something of an awakening.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2017/0414/Church-revival-More-liberals-are-filling-Protestant-pews

2 days ago
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img Susan Boyle posted a review

A new study published in Regional Science and Urban Economics finds that low-wage workers move away from states that raise their minimum wages. They found no such effects for moderate-wage workers who were not affected by the wage increase.

The authors report that, "as a whole, the results suggest that low-wage workers tend to commute away from minimum wage increases rather than towards them...these results are consistent with a disemployment effect of a minimum wage increase." [1]

Last year, this page reported on a study which came to the same conclusion. Economist Joan Monras of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) examined data from all the changes in effective state minimum wages over the period 1985 to 2012.

Monras found that in states that raised their minimum wages, employment fell more than wages rose.

For every 1 percent increase in wages, the share of a state’s population of low-skilled workers in full-time employment fell by 1.2 percent. (The same empirical approach showed that minimum wage increases had no effect on the wages or employment of a control group of high-skilled workers.)

According to Monras,

"A 1 percent reduction in the share of employed low-skilled workers [following a minimum wage increase] reduces the share of low-skilled population by between .5 and .8 percent. It is worth emphasizing that this is a surprising and remarkable result: workers for whom the [minimum wage] policy was designed leave the states where the policy is implemented."

3 days ago
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img Susan Boyle posted a review


Three months ago a California think tank published a tabulation of the federal and state dollars that boost the incomes of Americans who work but earn so little they qualify for government aid. The authors of the report as well as many readers seemed shocked by cost of the aid. Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education estimated that the national and state governments paid out $153 billion in 2013 to finance health benefits, food stamps, and cash assistance to people in families containing a breadwinner who works at least part time and at least half the year.

A remarkable feature of the reaction to the report is that many readers interpreted the government aid dollars to represent a subsidy to low-wage employers (for example, here, here, and here). According to this view, government assistance to low-income families constitutes a handout to Walmart, McDonalds, and other low-wage employers. The assistance allows these companies to pay their workers lower wages than would be possible in the absence of the government aid.

For the majority of programs analyzed by the Berkeley researchers, this interpretation of government assistance payments is flatly wrong. Instead of subsidizing low-wage employers, most assistance programs reduce the availability of low-skill adults who are willing to work for low pay and lousy benefits. By shrinking the pool of workers willing to take the worst jobs, the programs tend to push up rather than push down wages at the bottom of the pay scale. Low-wage employers do not receive an indirect subsidy from the programs. Many must pay somewhat higher wages or recruit more intensively to fill their job vacancies.

There are two important exceptions to this generalization: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and child care subsidies targeted on working parents who earn low incomes. Because benefits under these programs are only payable to low-income families containing a parent who is gainfully employed, this kind of government subsidy encourages adults in eligible families to enter or remain in the job market rather than to drop out of it. By boosting the supply of potential low-wage workers, the two programs can put downward pressure on pay, indirectly benefiting employers who depend on less-skilled workers. Even in these cases, however, the main effect of the aid is to lift the net incomes of breadwinners earning low pay.

The authors of the Berkeley study highlighted the cost of four main programs: Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the EITC, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps).  In all four programs a sizeable slice of benefit payouts goes to families containing a poorly paid wage earner. In three of the programs, however, a sizeable or even bigger slice of payouts goes to families without a worker. For many income-tested aid programs, including both TANF and SNAP, monthly benefits are typically more generous when family earnings are low or zero rather than high. As family earned incomes increase, benefits under the programs are cut back or eliminated.

Most careful analysis of the impact of this kind of means-tested program concludes the programs discourage work. The availability of health insurance, food coupons, and cash assistance when potential breadwinners do not work means that paid employment is less necessary. The fact that government benefits are reduced when the breadwinner’s earnings rise means that work is financially less rewarding. Both these effects tend to reduce, at least modestly, the amount of paid work that eligible breadwinners are willing to do. I do not argue the impact is large or that it affects most adults who are potentially eligible to collect means-tested benefits. On balance, however, benefit programs offering more generous payments to people with zero earnings than to people with comfortable incomes tend to reduce the supply of workers who are willing to accept very low pay.

https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/does-the-government-subsidize-low-wage-employers/

3 days ago
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img Mark Henry posted a review

Of course, this argument is never used to justify getting rid of "welfare," even though it is depicted as a subsidy for corporations. Instead, it is used as a justification to tax corporations even more. So, the question is, do these programs actually government subsidize low-wage employers?

Short answer: Not really

Long answer: There are generally two types of government programs in this context. Programs that assist the working poor (and thus encourage work) and those that assist anyone regardless of work status.

Consider the former programs, aimed at helping the working poor. Indirectly, these government programs (like the Earned Income Tax Credit) programs increase the supply of low-wage workers, putting some downward pressure on wages.

"Labeling these programs as “subsidies” to low-wage employers has some merit, but it fundamentally misrepresents the distribution of benefits conferred by the programs. The main effect of the subsidies is to lift the net incomes of the working families that receive them."

On the other hand, the programs which help people regardless of work status have the opposite effect. "Instead of subsidizing low-wage employers, MOST assistance programs reduce the availability of low-skill adults who are willing to work for low pay and lousy benefits. By shrinking the pool of workers willing to take the worst jobs, the programs tend to push up rather than push down wages at the bottom of the pay scale."

Conclusion: You have to be really liberal with the term 'subsidy' for welfare programs to be considered a subsidy to corporations. Only a small fraction of welfare programs can even be considered an 'indirect subsidy' to corporations.

And to think that corporations should pay more in taxes for a highly indirect "subsidy" seems absurd.

3 days ago
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img Lucas Lynch posted a review

The unfolding drama in Arkansas – in which a string of executions is going full steam ahead one moment and on pause another – is not just an Arkansas problem. It is indicative of the larger situation of capital punishment in the United States, played out in stark relief.

The United States is in a period of national reconsideration of capital punishment. Indications of doubts about the death penalty abound. Among the most important of these are the dramatic declines that have taken place over the last two decades in both the number of death sentences and the number of executions.

From a high of 315 in 1996, the number of death sentences handed out across the country fell to just 30 in 2016. While in 1999, at the high point of America’s use of the death penalty, 98 people were executed, only 20 executions were carried out in 2016.

This national reconsideration has not been propelled by people having second thoughts about the moral appropriateness of capital punishment or whether people who commit murders deserve, in some abstract sense, to die. Instead, it has been driven by growing doubts about the way the death penalty is administered.

The death penalty system seems to be breaking down. Questions of fundamental fairness have come to the forefront.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/18/america-capital-punishment-death-penalty-arkansas-executions

3 days ago
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img Sohail Ahmed posted a review

I couldn't call it a night if I didn't mention that today was 4/20, which for millions around the country has a hidden significance.

And no, morons, I'm not talking about Hitler's birthday. I'm talking about the one day of the year when bloodshot-eyed stoners spark up a little earlier in the day and a little later into the evening, and giggle all day long.

It's the day when McDonald's drive-thrus are jammed with munchie-craving people ordering McGangBangs (a McChicken sandwich inside a double cheeseburger). It's the day when Bill Clinton doesn't inhale, and when Alex Jones suddenly seems less paranoid than those around him.

That's because 4/20 is "Weed Day", the closest thing we have to a national holiday celebrating marijuana.

Why 4/20? Well, according to legend, a group of high schoolers in the early 1970s would meet at 4:20 p.m., after school ended but before their parents got home, to get high. 420 eventually became a code for getting high. And it only took about 30 years for someone to realize that "heh heh heh we should get high at 4:20 ON 4/20!"

Flash forward to 2017, and smoking up is no longer taboo. In fact, it's gone mainstream. Several states have legalized pot for recreational use and legitimate companies are now making millions selling it. One article out this week says the legal cannabis industry is projected to be bigger than the alcohol industy in a few years.

So, for all you 420 blazers enjoying the inside joke of April 20th, I offer you a glimpse at the not-too-distant future in which you're no longer a part of counterculture, but instead are, well, part of this...

4 days ago
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img Ian Da Silva posted a review

One 2014 study on Medical Marijuana laws found that, "violent crimes such as homicides and robberies decrease in states that border Mexico after Medical Marijuana Laws are introduced."

The authors conclude that, "decriminalization of the production and distribution of drugs may lead to a drop in violence in markets where organized crime is pushed out by licit competition."

http://conference.iza.org/conference_files/riskonomics2015/zoutman_f21865.pdf

4 days ago
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img John Adams posted a review

Here’s a simple question: How many Americans don’t believe in God?

Pew and Gallup — two of the most reputable polling firms in America — both come to a similar figure. About 10 percent of Americans say they do not believe in God, and this figure has been slowly creeping up over the decades.

But maybe this isn’t the whole story. University of Kentucky psychologists Will Gervais and Maxine Najle have long suspected that a lot of atheists aren’t showing up in these polls. The reason: Even in our increasingly secular society, there’s still a lot of stigma around not believing in God. So when a stranger conducting a poll calls and asks the question, it may be uncomfortable for many to answer truthfully.

Gervais and Najle recently conducted a new analysis on the prevalence of atheists in America. And they conclude the number of people who do not believe in God may be even double that counted by these polling firms.

 
“There’s a lot of atheists in the closet,” Gervais says. “And ... if they knew there are lots of people just like them out there, that could potentially promote more tolerance.”

http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/4/13/15258496/american-atheists-how-many

4 days ago
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American Airlines apologises after clash over baby stroller goes viral
Book rating: 42.6 out of 100 with 112 ratings