Americans have lost confidence in just about everything

The USA, Americans say, basically sucks right now.

The latest Gallup Poll says Americans over the past two years have lost confidence in, well — name it: Congress (8 percent); the presidency (33 percent); Supreme Court (32 percent); big friggin banks (“institutions” that made $4 billion charging customers for money transactions … 28 percent, down from 40 percent); 21 percent for Big Frickin’ Business; and organized religion (42 percent). The reasons for the sour and outlook are many. Take your pick: Wars, stagnant wages, a sluggish economy, the polarization and gridlock by the clowns in Washington, etc. Only the military and small business managed to climb in the confidence rankings. Hmmmmm.


Pope Francis calls for a revolution for the sake of climate and each other

Daniel Burke, CNN religious reporter, analyzes Thursday’s “Laudato si,” Pope Francis’ “encyclical” message to 1 billion Catholics.

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? The question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.”

The environment is intimately connected to our care for each other, Francis says, and we are failing miserably at both. The pope spared few of the world’s institutions and denounced big businesses, energy companies, shortsighted politicians, scurrilous scientists, laissez faire economists, callous Christians and myopic media professionals. Hmmmmm.


‘Branding’ and other corporate b.s. is ruining journalism

Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post responds to a journalism student after she asked him how he built his personal brand over the years. Weingarten, a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist, didn’t mince words. Among them: “The media is in a frantic, undignified campaign to economize while at the same time attracting more “eyeballs.” It’s a dangerous situation: Newspapers that used to allocate their resources to deposing dictators and ferreting out corruption are now using them to publish snapshots of their readers’ cats.” By the way, Americans have only 24 percent confidence in newspapers these days, down from 30 percent. Hmmmm.


Taxpayers pay through the nose to rebuild houses on the ocean’s edge — again and again and again

New England Center for Investigative Reporting uncovers a story that might echo in the Red River Valley. It’s a top shelf head scratcher.  According to NECIR, “A vacation home damaged at least 10 times by Atlantic storms will be elevated with money from a federal grant for the second time in a dozen years — this time for $180,000,” records show. “The home has emerged as a symbol of controversial federal policies that financially support the rebuilding of homes on the sea’s edge with tax dollars, no matter how vulnerable they are to climate change’s rising seas and more severe storms. The grant adds to the close to $1 million the home has received for flood damage in the past four decades through insurance payouts and grants, funded in part with taxpayer dollars.” Hmmmmm.



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