Saturday, December 21, 2013

Toddlers Killed More Americans Than Terrorists Did This Year


Toddlers Killed More Americans Than Terrorists Did This Year

article imageAmericans hate terrorists and love our kids, right? So you might be shocked to know that preschoolers with guns have taken more lives so far this year than the single U.S. terrorist attack, which claimed four lives in Boston.
This is admittedly tongue-in-cheek, but one has to wonder if the NSA’s PRISM program would have saved more lives had it been monitoring toddlers – or gun owners – rather than suspected terrorists.
11 Deaths in Five Months Where Shooter Was 3 to 6 Years Old
Listed below are the 11 gun fatalities I found where a preschooler pulled the trigger (from Jan. 1 to June 9, 2013). Starting with a list of five toddler shooting deaths The Jewish Daily Forward published in early May, I unearthed six additional cases. This tragic, unthinkable event has happened every month, like clock-work.
Jan. 10: 6-year-old playmate shoots and kills 4-year-old Trinity Ross, Kansas City, Kan.
Feb. 11: 4-year-old Joshua Johnson shoots and kills himself, Memphis, Tenn.
Feb. 24: 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt dies after shooting himself in the stomach while his father sleeps, Houston.
March 30: 4-year-old Rahquel Carr shot and killed either by 6-year-old brother or another young playmate, Miami.
April 6: Josephine Fanning, 48, shot and killed by 4-year-old boy at a barbecue, Wilson County, Tenn.
April 8: 4-year-old shoots and kills 6-year-old friend Brandon Holt, Toms River, N.J.
April 9: 3-year-old is killed after he finds a pink gun that he thinks is a toy, Greenville, S.C.
April 30: 2-year-old Caroline Sparks killed by her 5-year-old brother with his Cricket “My First Rifle” marketed to kids, Cumberland County, Ky.
May 1: 3-year-old Darrien Nez shoots himself in the face and dies after finding his grandmother’s gun, Yuma, Ariz.
May 7: 3-year-old Jadarrius Speights fatally shoots himself with his uncle’s gun, Tampa, Fla.
June 7: 4-year-old fatally shoots his father, Green Beret Justin Thomas, Prescott Valley, Ariz.
At least 10 more toddlers have shot but not killed themselves or someone else this year (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here). In the first three cases, the shooter was only 2 years old.
I also found nine instances where children and teens 7 to 19 years old accidentally killed themselves, a family member or friend since January (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here).
Of course, most if not all of the above deaths and injuries can be attributed to careless adult gun owners.
While this analysis focuses on children, another equally accurate headline could read: “U.S. Gun Culture Kills More Americans Than Terrorists Worldwide.”
In 2010, 13,186 people died in terrorist attacks worldwide, while 31,672 people were killed with firearms in America alone, reports CNN’s Samuel Burke.
We Need a Return to ‘Well-Regulated’ Gun Ownership
We cannot deny that guns pose a real danger to innocent American lives and especially to children. While no one is “coming to take the guns” of responsible people, we still must reach a compromise to address gun violence. I do not have all the answers, but I know as responsible citizens we have to do something.
While some people refuse to accept any limits on gun ownership, we simply do not have the right in America to circumvent personal restrictions that protect society as a whole. We can drink and we can drive, but we cannot mix the two. We have free speech, but we cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. We have the Fourth Amendment, but we still submit to searches of our bodies and belongings for the sake of air safety.
People who worship the Second Amendment should recognize the “well-regulated” aspect of gun ownership that the forefathers intended. Instead, we have a gun lobby that pays off senators to vote against background checks and gun culture that welcomes a 3-year-old as a lifetime NRA member. I worry for that child’s playmates.


Meet The Press Reportedly in Jeopardy as NBC Looks to Cut Back DC Bureau

Meet The Press Reportedly in Jeopardy as NBC Looks to Cut Back DC Bureau

As we head into 2014, the fate of the longest-running news program on television is starting to look uncertain. According to a new report from the New York Post’s Claire Atkinson, NBC News chief Deborah Turness is looking to make some major cutbacks at the network’s Washington D.C. bureau, where Meet The Press is produced.
Atkinson quotes one unnamed executive as saying, “Instead of getting better, NBC News has been getting worse [since Turness arrived earlier this year.] It’s a mess.” In October, the reporter cited rumors about Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski adding Meet The Press hosting duties to their already full 15 hours a week on MSNBC.
Meet The Press, which used to be the perennial first place finisher on Sunday mornings over ABC’s This Week and CBS’ Face The Nation, fell to a 21-year low over the summer and has been coming in third place behind those two show for much of 2013.
An NBC spokesperson, in a statement on Friday, said, “We offered a handful of voluntary buyouts in the DC bureau back in early November. Discussions are ongoing.” The spokesperson declined to elaborate. We have reached out to NBC News PR for more information.
[photo via screengrab]
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Pope Francis berates ‘Vatican-centric courtiers’ who lack ‘consientious objection to gossip’

Pope Francis celebrates a mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (AFP)
Pope Francis on Saturday told Church officials to be professionals who serve their public and don’t gossip, in his first address to the Catholic Church government he has set out to reform.
The Argentine pope has worked quickly since his election in March to establish a series of specialist bodies to tackle corruption and poor management in the Vatican, including at the Roman Curia, the scandal-hit, intrigue-filled government of the Catholic Church.
In his Saturday address, the pontiff said “professionalism and service” were “two hallmarks of the curial official, and even more of curial superiors.”
“Professionalism, by which I mean competence, study, keeping abreast of things… is a basic requisite for working in the Curia,” he said.
“When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow drift downwards towards mediocrity. Dossiers become full of trite and lifeless information, and incapable of opening up lofty perspectives,” he said.
“When the attitude is no longer one of service to the particular Churches and their bishops, the structure of the Curia turns into a ponderous, bureaucratic customshouse, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God’s people.”
Finally, officials at the Curia should all have a “conscientious objection to gossip,” which is “harmful to people, our work and our surroundings.”
Among the reform steps taken by Francis since his election has been the naming of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him on the Curia overhaul and planning a major restructuring of the Vatican bank.
In an interview in early October Francis called for a Catholic Church government that would be less “Vatican-centric” and berated “courtiers” in the Vatican as being swayed by earthly values.
Underlying the enormity of the task and displaying the common touch and sense of humour that have helped endear the new pope to his followers, Francis began Saturday’s speech with the equivalent of a shout-out to Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican “prime minister” who took over from a scandal-tainted predecessor in October and has hinted at a reformist outlook in line with the pontiff’s.
“Allow me to extend a special greeting to Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who recently began his service as Secretary of State, and who needs our prayers!”
[Image via AFP]
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How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Democracy as Seen From Down Under

How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Democracy as Seen From Down Under

Saturday, 21 December 2013 09:14 By Niall McLaren, Truthout | Op-Ed 

(Photo <a href="" target="_blank"> via Shutterstock </a>)
(Photo via Shutterstock )
Although those elected in Australia are decidedly more boring than our incumbents, the system prevents the "buying" of elections and citizens are required to vote rather than being prevented from voting, observes Niall McLaren.
Democracy is not a perfect form of government, but some democracies are decidedly less perfect than others - although rarely by accident.
S1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
S2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
Fifteenth Amendment of the US Constitution
Cleaning Up Electoral Rolls
I see where the North Carolina legislature has decided to get rid of hundreds of thousands of ghost voters by insisting on photo ID and various other canny restrictions. About time, too, it must distort the democratic process having all those names on the rolls with no bodies attached to them. . . What? They really are living people? Then why are they being disenfranchised?
Living underneath the real world, as we do in Oz, we tend to do things back to front. For example, for us, voting is a tedious duty - but up there in the Greatest Democracy in the World, voters are exercising a privilege. That's why so many people in the United States have to struggle to get registered as voters, and their right to vote can be canceled at the stroke of a judge's gavel or a bureaucrat's whim. In fact, the right to vote was so restricted in some US states that the federal government had to step in and enforce fair voter-registration laws. Unfortunately, as you will know, the Voting Rights Act was recently emasculated by the Supreme Court which, on somewhat underwhelming grounds, decided that the discrimination that led to the original act had been overcome and so the act could be weakened. This has been greeted with hoots of delight in many states, which have immediately reintroduced the sorts of restrictions that brought about the VRA in the first place. Mind you, it's not discriminatory, just a matter of tidying the electoral rolls. And the electorates. And the process of voting and counting votes, and declaring elections and all that housekeeping stuff. Not discriminatory at all, just common sense, as N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory was pleased to announce after well-rehearsed amendments to N.C.'s voting act slid through in record time.
You Mean I Have to Vote?
It may be common sense, but there is an easier way of doing it - like making everybody vote whether they want to or not. Voting has been universal and compulsory in this country as long as I can remember. Everybody over 18 has to register to vote and, once registered, has to vote in state and federal elections. I suppose this is what Henry Mencken meant when he said, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
It wasn't always thus: Universal adult suffrage came in dribs and drabs, starting with limited female suffrage in 1895 and finally ending with votes for Aboriginals between 1949 and 1965. Because our bothersome government insists that citizens vote, they have to make it easy, otherwise they can't fine the lazy, the drunk or the obstreperous who don't turn up on election day. Note this: Duty goes two ways. Citizens are duty-bound to vote, and governments are duty-bound to provide the facilities to make it happen. Thus, to collect votes at election time, electoral teams have to travel to the most remote communities (and many of them are very remote, believe me). They visit hospitals and old people's homes, military bases and prisons . . . Prisons? You mean even prisoners can't get off the hook? This is so. Anybody serving fewer than three years is required to vote; longer than that, it's optional. Check this page on the Electoral Commission's site for details. As soon as he is released, a former inmate goes back on the list and is obliged to keep his details up to date. There's no rest, even for the wicked.
Our other peculiarity is that, under our odd preferential voting system, you're not actually voting for the person you want, you're voting against the people you don't want. This means that the winning candidate isn't the person who can buy the biggest mob of supporters or disenfranchise his opponent's supporters, it's the person whom the electorate regards as the least objectionable turd in the cesspool. You can't win an election with just 30 percent of the electorate, as regularly happens in first-past-the-post voting. On our voting slips, each candidate must be numbered in order of preference. If there are 10 candidates, they must be numbered from one to 10, starting with your favorite and giving 10 to the dangerous extremist you would like to dump in the sea. When the votes are counted, poor old number 10 is soon eliminated because nobody likes him, but the clowns who did vote for him get a second chance. Their "second preference" is counted as a vote, then number nine is eliminated and all his second votes are distributed.
By repeated rounds of elimination, we end up with the candidate most people can live with. And yes, when you look at the parade of galahs (you would say turkeys) who have levered themselves into the lush fields of Canberra over the years, you'd wonder how effective this really is. Preferential voting tends to produce moderate governments with no wild swings; you could say boring governments, we won't object - boring is less onerous than extremist. Minor parties can ride into parliament by positioning themselves between the major parties and picking up preferences as the Big Boys are eliminated. It makes life a bit difficult for minor parties, but it means that extremists almost never get in. In fact, if a major party is silly enough to endorse an extremist, the minor parties rub their hands with glee because he is sure to provoke the centrists into giving him the last position on their vote, and they can collect his preferences.
Voting for the Really Silly Party
What happened in the most recent election (September 2013) was a 3 percent swing against the Labor government, not earth-shaking, but the Liberal-National coalition was handsomely elected. In the Senate, things were different. Enough people were so pissed off by the antics of both major parties that they gave their secondary votes to idiots, including the Motoring Enthusiasts Party (truly) and the bizarre Palmer United Party, run by the billionaire who clearly sees himself as an Antipodean Berlusconi. Even though the MEP scored only 0.22 percent of the primary national vote, they were able to slip past the major parties who had about 40 percent of the primary vote each, because people could not agree; therefore, the least objectionable party got in. Nobody hated the MEP, but what does it say when 99.78 percent of the electorate think the major parties stink? It says something, and they would be very unwise to ignore that message. But the important point is that the Tea Party would never make it here: Ten percent may love them, but 90 percent loathe them, so it would be goodnight, Tea Party. They could perhaps take control of a big party by the usual back-room deals, but once they faced the electors, they would be wiped out.
The last point to think about is that the Electoral Commission pays subsidies to political parties to cover some of their election costs. It isn't a fortune: Only parties that gain more than 4 percent of the vote qualify, and they shelled out only $59 million after the September vote scramble. In an age where presidents need a billion dollars or more to win an election, it's pretty small stuff, but it has one compelling advantage: As soon as federal money is involved, it clamps down on the monkey business. Any party that accepts cash from Canberra (and have you ever known a party that would turn down free cash?) is required to submit to stringent auditing procedures. End of Dark Money. It's a cheap price to pay to know that your government can't be stolen while you're walking home from casting your vote.
Politicians as Untouchables
And so we come to the Byzantine wedding cake known as the American form of government. As an aside, in the great majority of cases where the United States was able to decide on a foreign country's form of government (think Germany, Italy, Japan, Iraq etc.), they chose the Westminster model, not their own dysfunctional Rome-on-the-Potomac version (and check the Afghan imbroglio). The point is that, in the Westminster form, if the opposition somehow managed to gang up and bring the government to a halt, as in the recent display of suicidal Republican arrogance and stupidity, the prime minister would call their bluff by adjourning parliament and going to the polls. Oh dear: Electorates don't like elections, and they tend to punish the party that forced another one on them. Good.
Mr. Boehner (Col. Klink to his friends) and his motley bunch of schoolyard Brownshirts would suddenly have been brought face to face with the prospect that their posturing would give them the seat they deserve, outside the employment exchange. But Americans can't do that. Once in congress, the chosen few are able to resist everything but the smell of freshly-minted dollars (or stale ones, they aren't fussy). They know the electorate has a short attention span and will forget last year's nonsense, especially if it is buried under a deluge of propaganda paid for by billionaires. American politicians are like the neighbor's cat, sitting inside its window and poking its tongue out at your dog: They know they are untouchable. That is not a good notion for politicians to get. Far better that they should spend their lives in a Kierkergaardian sweat of whether they will have their seats tomorrow. Make the bastards suffer, that's the only possible way of keeping them honest (and all too often, even that doesn't).
Another essential point is that the Australian Electoral Commission, which sets electorate boundaries, is wholly independent and looks only at population statistics. US electorates, due to gerrymandering, which tend to look (and act) like bacterial infestations (see California District 38, Illinois District 4), cannot happen.
Just Remind Me: Who Owns the Government?
A few days after the 9/11 attacks, in an address to a joint sitting of Congress, President George W. Bush gave his versionof why anybody would want to attack the United States: "Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber - a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." This is possibly true, the jihadists may hate the freedom to vote, but not half as much as the Koch brothers do. And all their like-minded friends in ALEC, North Carolinaand so on. When a country doesn't have universal suffrage (as the US doesn't), it is ridiculous to claim that its citizens enjoy the "freedom" to vote.
Theda Skocpol put her finger right on the problem: ". . . as long as a fired-up and morally dogmatic minority, backed by ideological money, can manipulate legislatures, it can choke things up . . . (T)his is truly extremist . . . American institutions . . . create(s) openings for obstructionists to really grind everything to a halt. We’ve seen Republicans, as they fear that they can’t make it in majority elections, turn to creating new uses for old institutional mechanisms and rules."
None of this is new. What the Tea Party is doing in the United States is exactly what the Nazis did in Germany in 1932-33, by the same methods and with the same intent: using existing legislative means to create a dictatorship for the few based on the fears of the majority (Hitler was appointed chancellor with just 34 percent of the vote). The Tea Party leaders and their secretive financiers have studied German history closely and are applying its lessons with lascivious vigor. Anybody who can't see this doesn't deserve to live in a democracy.
So what is the goal of our contrasting parliamentary palaver? It has two purposes, the first being to make it very difficult to buy elections. The second is to produce governments by consensus, and that's generally how they operate. Most of the pyrotechnics is pure theatre, and nobody takes it seriously. Our parliaments usually have narrow majorities, so governments have to proceed carefully as they can easily be changed. Unlike the United States, where the president is head of state, executive head and commander-in-chief, we split those functions so chucking out a prime minister is no big deal. The PM cannot say, "L'état, c'est moi," because (s)he ain't. Governments can be forced to the polls before their term is up so they have to keep on their toes, and it's not a crime to call for the overthrow of the government. The PM cannot order the military to support him in an emergency as he isn't their boss, and they know it. As long as politicians are looking over one shoulder at the angry voters, we don't mind. In fact, we quite enjoy it. It's when they start to get big ideas, like thinking they are above the law, that we get angry. Then the fun starts.
By the way, our election campaigns normally last only three to five weeks, for which, small mercy, we are truly grateful.

Governor Walker’s Tax Shift Plan Would Raise Taxes for Most

Governor Walker’s Tax Shift Plan Would Raise Taxes for Most

Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 2:16 PM by
Wisconsin Budget ProjectGovernor Walker has said he is interested in eliminating the state’s income tax and raising the sales tax to make up for lost revenue, a move that would result in a tax increase for all but the wealthiest taxpayers.
To replace the revenue lost by the income tax, the state sales tax rate would need to be raised to 13.5%, giving Wisconsin the highest state sales tax rate in the nation.
The tax shift endorsed by Governor Walker would mean the bottom 80% of taxpayers would be paying more in taxes – some of them, a lot more. For example, a taxpayer in the lowest 20% by income would pay nearly $750 more in taxes, on average. Taxpayers in the top 1% — a group with an average income of $1.1 million – would receive a tax cut averaging nearly $44,000.
How Would an Income Tax Swap Affect Who Pays Taxes in Wisconsin?
The following table shows the average tax change by income group if the individual and corporate income taxes were repealed, and the sales tax was raised to 13.5% to make up for the revenue loss. The analysis assumes that refundable tax credits aimed at helping low-income individuals would not be eliminated – if those credits were eliminated, then the tax increases for those with lower incomes would be even larger than shown in the table below. The analysis was conducted by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
Measured in percentage terms, taxpayers with the lowest incomes would pay 5.4% more of their income in taxes under the tax shift, as shown in the chart below. Those with the highest incomes would pay 4.1% less of their income in taxes.
Governor's Tax Shift Plan Would Raise Taxes for Most
There’s a lot we don’t know yet about what the governor plans for the income tax. But one thing is clear: repealing the income tax would mean that all but the wealthiest taxpayers would be paying more in taxes, not less.
Tamarine Cornelius

10 Things THE CHURCH Can't Do While Following Jesus

10 Things THE CHURCH Can't Do While Following Jesus

The Christian church is full of Christians, right?
Depiction of Jesus with arms raised, WELBURNSTUART /
Depiction of Jesus with arms raised, WELBURNSTUART /

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.
Sadly, the answer you'll get to that question is heavily dependent on whom you are asking. Certainly, the church should be full seeking to follow Christ, seeking to follow the teachings of Jesus. However, increasingly, there are those who claim the church is full of hypocrites. They are not saying the church only has hypocrites. That's clearly not true. They are simply pointing out there are surprisingly high numbers of people going to church, calling themselves Christians but whose actions run counter to what Jesus taught. I believe we can do better.
Which brings us to the first thing on my list of the “10 Things THE CHURCH Can't Do While Following Jesus.”
10) Be hypocritical.
This isn't about making mistakes. People who follow Jesus mess up all the time. I try to follow Jesus and I mess up every day – probably more like every hour. This is about saying one thing and then actively doing another. In many ways, this list is a study in hypocrisy in the church. Like my first two “10 Things” lists, it isn't a complete list but it is a good place to start. Sure, Christians do these things but they can't claim they are following Jesus when they do.
9) Let “how we've always done it” rule the day.
One of things you should pick up in reading the stories about Jesus is that he wasn't afraid of doing a new thing, even when it went against what his religion had always done. Here's the thing: we are not all that we are called to be. Like I said, I mess up at least every hour. Also, our relationship with God isn't everything it could be. In order to improve ourselves in those areas, we must change. No change? No improvement. “We've never done it that way” is code language for “I'm not changing.” Not only is avoiding change a surefire way of getting stuck in your spiritual journey, but it's also a pretty clear indication that you've stopped following the one who said, “You've heard it said ... but I say.” Change is a Christian value.
8) Worship the Bible.
It will never happen but I want Jeff Foxworthy to add a new bit to his comedy routine. It won't happen, in part, because it's not funny — but it sure is true. “If you think you are going to hell because you used the Bible as a coaster, you might worship the Bible. If you think God speaks in King James English, you might worship the Bible. If you think reading Scripture from an iPad rather than a printed Bible makes it lose its magical mojo, you might worship the Bible.”
7) Gossip.
Even though there are some places I'd like to see the new pope be more inclusive, I like Pope Francis quite a bit. When it comes to his thoughts on gossip, I'm a big fan. Gossip is like slapping Jesus. Every time you talk poorly of someone else, you are talking about a child of God. As Pope Francis says, it brings “to the Church a spirit of destruction.” That's not what Jesus would do.
6) Enable a consumer Christianity.
At some point, some churches became more about the services they offer members than about the services their members offer to the world. When church becomes about “what's in it for me?” it loses focus on serving the least of these. Jesus didn't say, “when inasmuch you have done it unto yourself, so too you have done it unto me.”
5) Let polity be more important than people.
Jesus frequently found himself being questioned for doing the right thing rather than following the letter of the religious law. Churches? Too frequently, not so much. We've elevated our rules and regulations, our polity, to the point of it making them next in line to the Bible (see #8). When we choose to follow our rules rather than to do the right thing by temporarily setting them aside to show compassion and care for a person, it could be argued that we are lifting them above the biblical text that not only show Jesus setting religious rules aside to do the right thing, but also tells us that more than anything else we are supposed to love one another – which brings us to the next item on the list.
4) Exclude people.
I pointed out in the first article in this series on “10 Things” that Jesus had a rebel streak in him that actually sought out folks who didn't “fit in.” Too frequently, modern-day churches are in the habit of defining who doesn't fit in and then excluding them. That behavior not only stands over and against Jesus' examples and teachings on reaching out to the outsiders, but it is also counter to his core message. It's a little thing he called love. It was so important he told us loving other people and caring for them is the same as loving and caring for God.
3) Think of outreach only as giving money to help those in need.
I realize I'm dating myself a bit here but sometimes the church reminds me of a Paul McCartney song. The specific song is “Band on the Run.” The reason is the opening line: “Stuck inside these four walls, sent inside forever.” Outreach needs to actually include reaching out. Not figuratively, but literally – flesh-on-flesh, eye-to-eye ministry. Giving money to help those in need is a beautiful thing to do, but it's only a first step in helping. The next step is developing real relationships of love with the community and world around you. To do it, the walls of the church must come a tumblin' down – figuratively – mostly.
2) Refuse to advocate for “the least of these” because it seems political.
Giving money and developing relationships are beautiful and loving ways to practice your faith, but if they don't move you to work, they are but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Hiding behind the need to not be political is tantamount to saying you weren't paying attention when you read the Bible. The prophets of God are decidedly political. They are constantly calling the leaders of nations on their less-than-godly actions. For that matter, Jesus was crucified, in part, because of the political nature of his statements. It is impossible to advocate for those in need and not be political. It is impossible to follow Jesus and not advocate for those in need.
1) Hate a person or group of people.
I'm looking at you, Westboro Baptist Church. To be fair, they are far from the only church that practices religion by talking about the things they hate. But they just make it so easy to focus on them. If you want to follow Jesus, let love be your guiding thought. After all, God is love.  
Mark Sandlin currently serves as the minister at Vandalia Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C. He received his M. Div. from Wake Forest University's School of Divinity and has undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and English with a minor in Computer Science. He's an ordained minister in the PC(USA) and a self-described progressive.
Image: Depiction of Jesus with arms raised, WELBURNSTUART /

10 Things You Can't Do AT CHRISTMAS While Following Jesus

by Mark Sandlin

Ah, Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year. A time to gather with family and friends, and, with a smile on our faces, pretend we aren't quietly measuring who received the best present and which relative really, really needs to stop drinking. A time to hang tinsel and baubles from the tree, and time to hangup our hopes of losing that last 10 pounds this year. Such a joyous season!

The real point here is that Christmas is what we make of it. For Christians, however, there are some very specific things you can't do if you want to actually honor and follow the person we celebrate this season. So, I give you my “10 Things You Can't Do AT CHRSTMAS While Following Jesus.” As with my other “10 Things” lists (which are linked at the end of this post), this is not intended to be a complete list, but it is a pretty good start.

10) Celebrate Consumeristmas.
For many folks, Christmas starts standing in line on Thanksgiving Day. 'Tis the season for mass consumerism. Regardless of where you think it began, Christmas has slowly drifted into the bog of consumer madness. Like frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water, we never saw it coming. For Christians, this is particularly problematic because the guy we are celebrating this time of year told us that collecting stuff here on Earth is not the way to follow him.

9) Forget Those Without Food. Jesus once said that when we feed the hungry we are feeding him. Anyone want to guess what it means when we ignore the hungry? How about ignoring the hungry as we scrape the leftover Christmas ham from our plates into the trash? Maybe we need to change the name of the season to Gluttonousmas? Too many presents, too much food – too little consideration for those in need.

8) Forget Those Without Shelter. No room at the inn. One of the key moments in the story Christians celebrate is the moment when Jesus was almost born in the streets of Bethlehem. Our need to clean up the Christmas story assumes that the innkeeper told them to use the manger but the Bible says no such thing. There was no room at the inn, leaving Mary to place her newborn child in a smelly feeding trough. For that night they were without shelter. Throughout his life Jesus would spend his ministry with no place to lay his head. This time of year we celebrate a homeless man. Do our actions, do the places we place our money, honor that?

7) Forget About Immigrants.We three kings from orient are. Beside sounding like Yoda wrote a Christmas carol, there are a number of things messed up about that line. We don't actually know how many there were. They were magi, not kings. We also do not know where they were really from other than “from the East.” What we do know is they were foreigners and their revelation of the real king's plans to kill all newborn boys to put an end to Jesus turned Jesus' family into immigrants in Egypt. Our Christmas story is replete with images of people journeying to new lands. Christmas should cause Christians to recommit to embracing immigrants.

6) Miss The Message About Resisting Abusive Power.Mary and Joseph and their family had to flee their homeland because King Herod strong-handedly used his power to squash out what he saw as a threat to his power. I can guarantee you two things; One, in the house where Jesus grew up, the narrative of why they had to flee to Egypt and of the senseless deaths imposed on other families by the powerful was a story that was told time and time again. Two, the focus on abuse of power in Jesus' teaching and his constant willingness to confront it was no accident. Christmas should cause Christians to recommit to confronting those who abuse power.

5) Forget Those Without Presents.If you have two coats give one away. In announcing the coming of Jesus, John the Baptist told us what God was asking of us. Coats were just and example – a place holder if you will. If you have two Christmas presents give one away.

4) Insist Your Religious Celebration Rule Them All.This time of year far too many Christians remind me of Gollum and his Precious. (A LoTR shout out in a Christian Christmas post! C'mon Peter Jackson, give me some promo love!) One holiday to rule them all: “We nee-eeds it. They stole it from us!” Never mind that Jesus was Jewish or that there is a list of other celebrations that occur this time of year, there's a certain cultural privilege in the air that seems so very un-Christian to me. You can just about bet that the folks calling out for the dominance of Christmas would be singing a new song if Judaism were the dominant religious culture and this time of year radio stations across the land played Chanukah songs. Well, metaphorically they would be singing a new song – maybe a few even literally.

3) Get Mad About “Happy Holidays.”On a related note, you know what “holiday” is short for, right? Holy day. Do you really have a problem with people calling Christmas a holy day?

2) Think That It Is Actually Jesus' Birthday .Um. So... dang, this is hard and I'm really sorry to be the one telling you. Um, let's see. Remember how when you were growing up the Sunday school teacher told you it was Jesus' birthday? Yeah. Well, um... they lied. Yeah. Sorry about that. We don't actually know when Jesus was born. It was probably in the spring or summer because “the shepherds watched their flocks by night” – something which definitely didn't happen in the winter.

1) Confuse The Religious Observance With the Secular Holiday.
It may be that December the 25th was picked as the date to celebrate Jesus' birth to compete with or even to adopt the followers of the pagan celebration of Saturnalia, which included decorating with evergreens, gift giving and parties. (Hmmm, why does that seems so familiar?) I bring this up to make a simple point; A lot of our “War on Christmas” problems would rightfully go away if we simply acknowledged that there are two celebrations of Christmas each year. One is religious and one is not. Most of this article actually points to the issues that happen when we conflate them. So, let's stop doing it.

Christmas was once against the law in America.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas

Author: December 10, 2012 5:01 am 
Vintage Christmas
There are so many traditions associated with Christmas. Many of them we just take for granted, accepting the “prevailing wisdom” as to their origins. But sometimes things are not what they seem. Here are ten things that you may not have known…
1. Christmas was once against the law in America. When the Puritans came to this continent they brought their objection to Christmas with them. They believed it was a creation of man, not Christ, so it should not be considered a holy day. They weren’t too keen on the revelry that went along with the holiday, either. Christmas was celebrated in America by Anglicans but most Protestant groups forbade it. It wasn’t until June 26, 1870 that Christmas took its official place on the American holiday calendar.
2. Christmas trees were forbidden as a part of the celebrations until as late as 1640. Since the tradition of bringing evergreen boughs or trees into the home at the Winter Solstice was pagan in origin, the early Church forbade them. The first recorded instance of a Christmas tree dates to 1510 when the town of Riga in Latvia brought a tree into the town square, decorated it and then burned it. Thankfully, we have relegated the burning part to the Yule log. Approximately 30-35 million Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
3. Speaking of “Yule,” that word is believed to originate from the Anglo-Saxon for “wheel” (though scholars are not completely certain). A mid-winter festival known by this name has been celebrated since well before 1000 CE, marking the Winter Solstice. The term “yuletide” as a reference to the Christmas season dates back to about 1475.
4. Christmas songs date back to the 4th century: St. Hilary of Poitiers composed Jesus refulsit omnium for a Christmas Mass. The Renaissance brought lighter songs and the earliest English carol came in 1410. It was composed by Ritson and is found in the Ritson Manuscript. One of the oldest carols that we still sing today is “O Tannenbaum” from Germany. The most popular Christian carol is “Silent Night,” while the most popular secular song is “White Christmas.”
5. The date on which we celebrate Christmas was chosen by Bishop Liberius of Rome in 354 CE. The actual date has been debated since the formation of Christianity. The biblical account says, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Shepherds in the Middle East would have only had their flocks in the fields from Spring into Fall. In December, the animals were brought in close to shelter to protect them from the cold and rain. The likeliest date for the birth of Jesus is March, 6 BC.
6. Santa Claus is an amalgamation of several figures: St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra (modern-day Turkey), the Norse god, Woden, and the Celtic Holly King primary among them. The beard, the cloak, the reindeer… these are associated with the aforementioned figures. Our modern Santa was created by cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1860 for Harper’s Weekly magazine. Every year he added more to Santa, including his home at the North Pole, the “naughty and nice” list, and coming down the chimney. When the Coca-Cola company started using Santa Claus in its advertisements, it built even more on the lore.
7. Gift giving at the Solstice did not originate with the Magi. During the Saturnalia, which had some influence on our own modern Christmas holiday, gifts were exchanged among friends. As for the Magi… the Bible doesn’t say that there were three of them. There were three kinds of gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh – so it was just assumed that there were three men who brought them.
8. Mistletoe was a sacred plant to both the Druids and the Norse. According to Norse myth, when the god Baldur was killed by a mistletoe arrow, his mother Frigga wept white berries which brought him back to life. The mistletoe was then blessed by Frigga so that whoever stood beneath it received a kiss. The Druids collected mistletoe by cutting it with a gold sickle, catching it in a cloth before it could hit the ground. The sprigs were placed over doorways to protect the dwelling and bring blessings.
9. The first Christmas cards appeared in 1843, designed by John Horsley, and sold in London for one penny each. The image on the front was of a family raising a Christmas toast which caused the Puritans to denounce it. But cards became very popular anyway. A German lithographer named Louis Prang brought the tradition to America in 1860, printing the cards in his press in Boston. Nowadays, more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in America alone!
10. Santa’s reindeer are based upon the eight-legged Sleipnir, the Norse god Woden’s flying horse. The reindeer received their names from Clement Moore in his poem, “A Visit From St. Nick” in 1823. Rudolph didn’t join them until 1939 when Robert L. May wrote a verse for Montgomery Ward. Gene Autry recorded the song that Johnny Marks adapted from the poem, releasing it during Christmas week, 1949. It became the second best-selling song of all time until the 1980′s, selling over 25 million copies.
Though we know a lot more about Christmas traditions now, that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating them. Embrace all the origins and stories and archaic reasons we do what we do. Celebrate in your own way and enjoy the season!


Illinois Republican compares Duck Dynasty guy to Rosa Parks. No, really.

Illinois Republican compares Duck Dynasty guy to Rosa Parks. No, really.

by Hunter
attribution: None Specified
I suspect Ian Bayne does not actually know who Rosa Parks was.
Please stop.
On Friday, GOP congressional candidate Ian Bayne went all in, comparing [Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson] to civil rights icon Rosa Parks. "In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians," Bayne said in an email to supporters.
"What Parks did was courageous," he added. "What Mr. Robertson did was courageous too."
The "stand" Robertson took was to compare homosexuality to bestiality, also lumping them in with "the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes" and so forth, which makes him the Rosa Parks of people who think gay Americans are going to hell. (Really, though, has their been a dearth of good conservative Christians willing to pipe up about that? Not seeing the pioneer status of this particular reality TV star, myself.) Oh, and Robertson also had said that black Americans had it Just Fine Thank You during the Jim Crow era, which also makes him the Rosa Parks of people who think Rosa Parks didn't have anything to complain about in the first place. Bayne is running to challenge Democratic Rep. Bill Foster in Illinois' 11th District next year, presuming he makes it through the primary. That primary being the reason he's sending out emails about Duck Dynasty stars and what they can teach us about being like Rosa Parks, of course.
I'll say this again: Congress is already very full of crackpots and frothing nutcases, thank you. We don't need any more. I don't know what letter went out in Republican circles that encouraged yet another raft of these loons to come sailing down the ol' wingnut river, but we are full up already.

Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Land of Lincoln Kos and Daily Kos.

Jesus Rebranded

Jesus Rebranded

Between the "War on Christmas" and the accusations that Pope Francis is a Marxist, some people can't seem to make up their mind.  Who better to wage a war on Christmas than the people who want the Pope to be more of a capitalist!  Seems like the most holy Christmas ever was one without rampant consumerism.  (Remember, Joseph and Mary had the nerve to stay in a place for free on Christmas Eve-- sounds like a couple of moochers to me!)
Amidst the imagined attacks on Christmas, Rush Limbaugh and some Fox News characters accused Pope Francis of being Marxist after he said some critical words about our economic system.  Never mind that Pope Benedict had similar complaints.  Everything has been coming up Pope Francis lately, who was picked as Time's "Person of the Year" and was featured on the cover of the New Yorker.  Having been raised Catholic and having done plenty of cartoons about the scandals in the Catholic Church, I'm happy that we're talking again about things like helping the poor, imagine that.
Enjoy the cartoon, and be sure to comment, share and pray I don't get struck by lightning for blasphemy.  As usual, you can also find more links to news stories behind this cartoon on my website.

More Change in the Vatican: Pope Francis Fires Critic of Abortion, Gay Marriage

More Change in the Vatican: Pope Francis Fires Critic of Abortion, Gay Marriage

posted by Salvatore Aversa

Just coming off of being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Pope Francis has made yet another change to the church that should have many cheering and the carnival barkers shaking.  A series of announcements by Pope Francis changed some positions inside of the Church, and in continuing with reforming the Christian religion, ousted a popular Right-wing Cardinal out of St. Louis.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis, was relieved of his duties on Tuesday by the Pope Francis himself.  Burke had been a very outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage over the years.  He gained national attention in 2004 when he stated he would not give Communion to then-Presidential candidate John Kerry, because he was a Roman Catholic who supported abortion rights.
Cardinal Burke recently doubled-down on that sentiment during an interview EWTN, Burke stated:
“I’ve thought about it because I’ve received very severe criticism, both at the time that I was insisting on applying the discipline and also in my writing and other situations. But I have to say that, I think about it again, the discipline itself, and it’s a consistent discipline from the time of St. Paul, from the very first years of the Church, and it makes perfect sense.”
Ironically, Burke says nothing about denying Communion to President Bush, who put the United States in to two unnecessary wars that resulting in the lives on hundreds of thousands, ordered the torture of innocent people from information gathered on unreliable information, cut billions from government assistance programs, and goes on from there.  He also presided over numerous executions while Governor of Texas.  All of those things are okay, however, because he still did not support abortion or same-sex marriage…even though Bush and fellow Republicans did nothing to outlaw such actions.
Cardinal Burke had also been highly critical of the changes under Pope Francis.  It is because of the changes inside of the Church that Burke, and others like him, will no longer have a place in the public eye.  Instead, Burke will retain his position as the head of the Vatican high court, called the Apostolic Signatura.
Pope Francis finally has had enough of the hypocrisy spewing from leaders in the Christian community, and is doing his best to transform its image.  Christians supposedly follow the word of Christ, yet often get caught up in parts of the bible that Christ flat-out opposed.  Jesus never spoke about same-sex marriage or abortion, but did speak of loving everybody, forgiveness, healing the sick and caring for the poor.
The same people that will point to Leviticus to excuse their hate, often forget the other laws set out in the same passage.  According to Leviticus, along with banning homosexuality, it also bans wearing mixed fabrics, cutting your hair (facial or otherwise), eating shell fish, eating pork, and not to tattoo or scar the body.  Perhaps it is time for some of these buffet-Christians, those who pick the parts they like and disregard the ones they dislike, to reevaluate their position.
What Pope Francis is doing is clearing the trash.  People like Cardinal Burke are a dying breed who have no place being a representative of the Christian religion.  Many of us have become so used to Christians telling us how evil we all are for being sinners, that we forgot what it was really about.  The ousting of Cardinal Burke puts the religion one step closer to getting back to its true values.
When Pope Francis was ordained, the fellow Cardinals stated he was chosen to change the public’s perception of the Church.  Francis is not perfect, he has made some controversial comments in the past regarding the gay community, but he seems to have grown wiser with the papal.  Whether the Cardinals understood what they were getting when they chose him is unclear, but what he has done in less than a year is nothing short of incredible.
Francis is neither Liberal or Conservative, in the political sense.  He is simply practicing what he is preaching, and willing to defend exactly what he believes.  Moves like the ousting of Cardinal Burke and responding to criticisms by pundits of, not him, but the religion he represents puts the Church in a much needed positive light.  Naturally, his views are going to come off as more “Liberal,” because that is what the teachings of Christ promoted.  It may be a slap in the face to the likes of Sara Palin, but hopefully will be a wake up call to others.  He has our attention, and that is half the battle.



Uploaded on Apr 21, 2008
FOX's objective is clear: carpet bomb Barack Obama with negative stories, distortions, and smears before the Pennsylvania primary in an attempt to skew the outcome toward the Republicans' preferred

Republican Congressman says he didn’t say those things we heard him say about kids working for school lunch

Republican Congressman says he didn’t say those things we heard him say about kids working for school lunch

December 20, 2013
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said on Wednesday that kids who are poor should work for their meals at school. Friday he  said, “I never did say poor kids.” Well that’s all cleared up. Kingston simply meant the children who come from poor homes and therefore do not have the means to provide monetarily for school lunches.
You see, he didn’t mean the ‘poor’ kids, he simply meant the ones that can’t afford to eat. Now he says that he meant all children, but that’s not what he said previously.
On Wednesday he said, “But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
Today on CNN’s New Day Kingston said, “This is not targeted to any one group. It would be very helpful for kids in any socio-economic group to do chores and learn the work ethic. Those kids aren’t there because of any fault of their own and I never suggested that they were.”
Yes, yes he did. The only children who receive subsidized lunches are the kids that can’t afford to pay for them.

Federal court finds Utah’s marriage equality ban is unconstitutional

Federal court finds Utah’s marriage equality ban is unconstitutional

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, December 20, 2013 16:58 EST
Federal court finds Utah’s marriage equality ban is unconstitutional (via Raw Story )
A federal judge struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages on Friday, arguing that it breaks federal law in a manner similar to Virginia’s prohibition on interracial marriages, which was struck down in 1967. “Applying the law as it is required…

How The "Right to Work" Movement Fell Flat On Its Face in 2013

How The "Right to Work" Movement Fell Flat On Its Face in 2013

 photo blog_rtw2013.png
A year ago, in one of the most shocking reversals in the state's history, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a "right to work" bill into law behind closed doors as more than 12,000 protesters raged outside.
Right wing groups crowed, saying union restrictions in the home of the auto industry meant the labor movement was on its last legs. They talked about which states would go next.
And then, nothing.
Well, not nothing. But what anti-worker pundits said would be a domino effect was more like a cricket effect. In 2013, no state passed a "right to work" law.
Incorrectly-named "right to work" laws put restrictions on contracts union workers can make with employers. They ban fair share clauses which require that workers pay dues to have the protection of the union. Unions are left in the position of providing services without being able to fund those services, and they starve.
"Right to work" laws have nothing to do with freedom. They are simply a tactic to defund unions and weaken the ability of workers to advocate for themselves. And it shows: states with "right to work" laws have lower wages, higher poverty rates, and more workplace injuries and fatalities than free bargaining states.
In 2013, workers didn't stand for it.
In Missouri, where Republicans controlled supermajorities in both the state House and Senate, some legislators pursued a "paycheck deception" bill, which restricts unions' ability to make political contributions. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) called it a step toward a "right to work law." Based heavily on an ALEC model bill, paycheck deception moved swiftly through Republican-lead committees.
But workers, union and non-union (including hundreds of Working America members), made their voices heard. Emails, letters, and phone calls flooded legislative offices in Jefferson City. The bill passed the Senate after an 8-hour Democratic filibuster, but House legislators were getting skittish. Bill proponents were having a hard time answering simple questions about why additional restrictions on union dues were needed. Support for the bill dwindled with each test vote.
"Paycheck deception" passed the House by a narrower than expected margin, and Speaker Jones prepared to move on to "right to work." But Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed paycheck deception, calling it unnecessary. By the September veto session, too many moderate Republicans had abandoned the effort, and the bill died outright.
Did Republicans get the message? Absolutely not. In December special session centered around tax incentives for Boeing, a small group tried and failed to insert "right to work" language. ALEC member Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield)called it "a good opportunity to begin that fight" ahead of 2014.
In Ohio, the anti-union effort has centered around gathering petitions to get "right to work" on the 2014 ballot. As we know, you need to get a certain number of signatures to get an issue on the ballot. For Ohio, that number is 385,000, and you always want extra signatures in case some are validated.
The Tea Party group Ohioans for Workplace Freedom started circulating petitions in February 2012. After 20 months, they announced they have collected 100,000 signatures.
At this rate, as Ohio bloggers at Plunderbund noted, the anti-union group would need 40 m0re months to put "right to work" on the ballot. And since they've already burned through $118,000 in paid petition gatherers, chances are they'd run out of money first.
Let's compare that with 2011, when Gov. John Kasich and Republicans in the legislative rammed through the union-busting Senate Bill 5. The bill passed on March 30. On June 29, after only 3 months, We Are Ohio delivered 1.3 million signatures to the Secretary of State to get a repeal of SB 5 on the ballot. In November, SB 5 was repealed by 60 percent of voters.
What's going on here? What the Tea Party and the anti-union forces in Ohio don't get is that once you get past a small group of billionaires and right-wing ideologues, there is no desire to restrict collective bargaining in Ohio. None. People are looking for good jobs, affordable health care, and decent schools to send their kids.
Meanwhile, the 2011 battle over Senate Bill 5, largely ignored by the national media, still reverberates throughout the Buckeye State. Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican supporter of SB 5, lost a Senate bid despite more than $19 million in outside aide. Mitt Romney haplessly flip-flopped on SB 5 and consistently delivered an anti-union message, lost in Ohio in part because of union members of all political stripes voting for his opponent. And in 2013, SB 5 supporter Toledo Mayor Mike Bell was ousted, while a Tea Party-backed pension-cutting amendment was rejected in Cincinnati by a 57-point margin.
In Oregon, the story is even shorter.  An Portland attorney named Jill Gibson Odell is sponsoring a "right to work" initiative in her state. Odell is excited about the "national money to be had" to assist her campaign, so she's not even pretending "right to work" is something Oregonians themselves want. In 2013, little to no progress was made on getting the issue on the ballot, and popular Gov. John Kitzhaber said he will publicly oppose it. Meanwhile, workers in Portland got paid sick days, and a statewide sick leave ordinance is expected to pass in 2014.
What to expect in 2014? Well, as the AP reports, the main targets for "right to work" proponents are Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon, showing that these folks have learned nothing from the past year. While their efforts stall, Americans of all political persuasions are starting to support minimum wage increases, sick leave, wage theft protections, and progressive tax codes in increasing numbers.
Working America will be vigilant to mobilize against any "right to work" measure, wherever it crops up. But make no mistake: Michigan wasn't the start of a domino effect. It was a wake up call. And outside the right-wing think tank bubble, American workers are fully awake.
Join Working America today to get involved with the fight for working families in your state.
By Doug Foote. Reposted from Working America's Main Street Blog. Photo by detroitfreepress on Instagram

Interactive data: Job growth under Scott Walker

Interactive data: Job growth under Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker famously promised during his 2010 campaign that he would bring 250,000 new private-sector jobs to Wisconsin by the end of his term in 2014. How's he doing? We're keeping track with this database.

Here are explanations of the industry sectors included:

Total Nonfarm

Sum of 11 industry sectors. Jobs in the farming industry can fluctuate and therefore are excluded.

Total Private

All nonfarm jobs except those in government.

Mining and Logging

Jobs in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.


Jobs in the construction of buildings or engineering products, including highways and utility systems.


Jobs in the mechanical, physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products.

Manufacturing » Durable Goods

A subsector of Manufacturing, jobs that produce goods expected to last more than three years such as cars, furniture and construction materials.

Manufacturing » Non-Durable Goods

A subsector of Manufacturing, jobs that produce goods expected to last three years or less such as food and clothing.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

Jobs involving the sale of merchandise, transportation of passengers and cargo and utilities service.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities » Wholesale Trade

A subsector of Trade, Transportation and Utilities, jobs that are involved in the intermediate step of the distribution of merchandise, selling to other businesses.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities » Retail Trade

A subsector of Trade, Transportation and Utilities, jobs that are involved in the final step of the distribution of merchandise, selling in small quantities to the general public.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities » Transportation and Utilities

A subsector of Trade, Transportation and Utilities, jobs that are involved in transportation of passengers and cargo or jobs in electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply and sewage removal.


Jobs in producing and distributing information and cultural products, providing the means to transmit or distribute these products as well as data or communications, and processing data.

Financial Activities

Jobs involved in financial transactions or the sale, rent or lease of property.

Financial Activities » Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

A subsector of Financial Activities, jobs involved in the sale, rent or lease of real estate or other property.

Professional and Business Services

Jobs that provide services to clients.

Professional and Business Services » Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

A subsector of Professional and Business Services, jobs that specialize in performing professional, scientific or technical services for others.

Professional and Business Services » Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services

A subsector of Professional and Business Services, jobs that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations.

Education and Health Services

Jobs in establishments that provide instruction and training or health care and social assistance.

Education and Health Services » Educational Services

A subsector of Education and Health Services, jobs in establishments that provide instruction and training, either public or private.

Education and Health Services » Health Care and Social Assistance

A subsector of Education and Health Services, jobs in establishments that provide health care and social assistance for individuals.

Leisure and Hospitality

Jobs in providing services to meet cultural, entertainment and recreational interests, lodging or food and beverage for immediate consumption.

Leisure and Hospitality » Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

A subsector of Leisure and Hospitality, jobs in providing services to meet cultural, entertainment and recreational interests.

Leisure and Hospitality » Accommodation and Food Services

A subsector of Leisure and Hospitality, jobs in establishments that provide lodging or food-and-beverage service for immediate consumption.

Other Services

Jobs in areas not covered by other sectors and not in public administration.


Jobs in establishments of federal, state and local governments that manage public programs and have ruling authority.

Government » Federal Government

A subsector of Government, jobs in the executive branch of the federal government.

Government » State Government

A subsector of Government, jobs in state governments, not including schools and hospitals.

Government » Local Government

A subsector of Government, jobs in local governments, not including schools and hospitals.

Read more: