Charting Millennials

I was going through all the tweets I’ve favorited over the past several months, and I noticed a recurring theme: charts and graphs that relate to millennials. I think I favorited or retweeted them with the intention of sharing of them on here, but then I forgot about them. * cue sad violin * However, my propensity to be forgetful works out well, because now I can provide y’all with a compendium of charts. #checkitout

FIRST, the number of young-uns that identify themselves as Republicans shocked Harvard researchers earlier this spring. Apparently this is a bad thing for Democrats who are running in the 2014 midterm elections. policy-mic-political-id

And then there’s this: skeptical Millennials are skeptical of everything.


 

SECOND, the National Low Income Housing Coalition put together a chart of how many hours a person working a minimum-wage job would have to work in order to be able to afford rent in their state. What I learned from this chart: you need to work 69 more hours per week in New York than you would in Ohio in order to keep a roof over your head (the rent is too damn high!).

 


 

THIRD, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that today’s teenagers are less likely to be employed than ever. While nearly 60 percent of teens in the 1980s held summer jobs, only about 35 percent have held summer jobs in the 2010s. However, researchers don’t think the economy is the reason behind this dramatic decrease. They attribute the drop to the increasing number of students enrolling in summer courses in high school and college. This is one of many charts that are based on the results of the extensive study that I found particularly interesting: kids from more financially well-off families are more likely to have a summer job than their less well-off peers.

 


 

FOURTH, National Public Radio and the Harvard School of Public Health teamed up to conduct an elaborate study on what various age groups across America are stressed about. This chart is just a snippet of all the data they collected, but it’s interesting that our generation in particular is incredibly frazzled about our overall responsibilities.

 


 

FIFTH, the American government’s Census Bureau created a set of insanely beautiful and elaborate graphics explaining what career fields particular college majors actually end up working in. As FactTank at the Pew Research Center explained, the thicker the line, the greater the share of people in the particular job field. If you visit the actual Census Bureau website, you can filter out certain groups to see where they ended up (for example, women who majored in a STEM field versus men who did the same).

 


 

LASTLY, in a news story that surprised ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, student loans are rising. The Brookings Institution released this fancy graph, and I honestly have no idea how to interpret it, but it looks both cool and depressing, so here you go. Check out details about the graph here.

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Who Would Win in a Political Fight: Frank Underwood or Olivia Pope?

houseofcards1Now that we’ve all had a chance to watch the second season of House of Cards (if you haven’t, what in the world have you been doing the past two weeks?) and that Scandal has returned, I thought it would be fun to throw Frank Underwood and Olivia Pope into the political ring. Two fictional political heavyweights enter. ONLY ONE LEAVES. Spoilers abound. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now then, if this was a fight between President Fitz Grant and Frank Underwood (I refuse to refer to that maniacal miscreant as “President”), Frank would win, hands down. Fitz is an idiot. He’s reckless, he’s irrational, he’s got no control over his administration, and he always manages to pick the wrong time to be easily swayed by the circus around him. Frank would play him the same way he played President Walker (Walker is also an idiot, but for different reasons). There wouldn’t even be a chance for B613 to eliminate Frank, because Frank would use B613 to his advantage before Fitz ever even found out that B613 existed.

But before we start, there’s a question of which “Washington, D.C.” each character is in. Are we in the House of Cards version of D.C. (where somehow things are incredibly efficient, political alliances are more about personal gain and seeking revenge than solving problems, and where everyone except Frank and Claire is incredibly naïve and stupid)? Or are we in the Scandal version of D.C. (where Congress basically doesn’t exist, everyone is sly as a fox, guns run rampant, and alliances are created to solve crises – not to take down opponents)? In the end, it doesn’t really matter because Olivia is 100 times more astute  than any of the characters on House of Cards. Even if Frank stepped into the political world that exists in Scandal, he wouldn’t be able to survive. Olivia would outsmart him (or Jake – against Olivia’s wishes – would send someone in B613 after him).

Reasons Frank could win

  1. Frank knows how to play mind games. Olivia may put on a tough demeanor, but she’s got some deep-seeded psychological issues.
  2. Frank has the ability to make certain people disappear mysteriously. Or should I say he had the ability. Now that Doug is dead, who’s going to do Frank’s dirty work? Maybe he’ll hire Pope and Associates. He might blackmail Olivia into helping him by threatening her prison time for her and her entire crew of misfits for aiding and abetting a terrorist or hiding the rigging of an election.
  3. Frank’s world apparently lacks security cameras or voice recorders or anyone with a conscience. This would make it easy for Frank to completely destroy Olivia (politically or even physically) without leaving behind any solid evidence.
  4. Frank is extremely persuasive, and he holds a lot of power in Washington. He could cut Olivia off from key players in government. He could convince everyone to refuse to speak to her. He could destroy her entire reputation.

Reasons Olivia could win

  1. scandal3

    She is much more trustworthy than Frank. Although, pretty much anyone in the entire world is more trustworthy than Frank. His lone henchman is long gone, and Olivia still has her team of Gladiators (and sometimes Cyrus).

  2. Olivia isn’t stupid like everyone else in the House of Cards world.  She wouldn’t be easily fooled, and she would probably question everything Frank does and says. She would never trust him.
  3. Olivia isn’t afraid of powerful people – even powerful people who could kill her.
  4. She knows how to spin things to the public and the media. She’s used to crises (assassination attempts, helping her mother escape the country, dismissing rumors about her relationship with the President, hiding election rigging, etc.).
  5. She’s got some insanely impressive investigative skills. Unlike Lucas, a.k.a. the worst-investigative-journalist-in-the-world (Zoe Barnes comes in a close second in that category), Olivia would be smart enough to look at all the security footage of the night Zoe died. She would look at who went into the station, what time they went in, where they walked, blah blah blah. She would easily see Frank conspicuously “hiding” in the construction area (that was the worst/cheesiest incognito outfit I have ever seen. REALLY, BEAU WILLIMON? REALLY?). She would get her team to question the Secret Service agents, she would find medical files on Claire, and the list goes on and on. Frank doesn’t know how to do any of that. Nor is he smart enough to cover his tracks in the times when he needs to the most.
  6. And lastly, Olivia could always just hit Frank upside the head with her giant Prada handbag.

But in the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter who wins this political battle, because they’ve both lost the war. By the time it’s all said and done, they will have aired so much of each other’s dirty laundry that they will both be in prison for a very very long time.

Mr. Affleck goes to Washington

ImageForeign Policy broke the story earlier this week that actor/director/Mr. Jennifer Garner/honorary-Ivy-Leaguer Ben Affleck is scheduled to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Congo on Wednesday.

And while young staffers and interns are positively brimming with excitement, not everyone is thrilled that Affleck is going to be walking the hallowed halls of the Senate office buildings.

He’s part of the worldly-actor trio (which includes George Clooney and Matt Damon) who have garnered (pun intended) a great deal of attention for humanitarian issues. Critics think that celebrities advocating on the Hill are a mere distraction and a ploy for politicians to stroke their own egos by summoning Hollywood’s biggest and best.

There are two major factors that critics are pointing to when dismissing Affleck’s legitimacy as an expert witness on the Congo. 1) He’s an actor, and 2) he directed a movie – Argo – that misrepresented the role that foreign governments played in helping six American diplomats escape from Iran unharmed during the hostage crisis.

First of all, just because you’re an actor doesn’t mean you’re an uneducated dimwit. Affleck may not have graduated from college, but he’s been publicly discussing issues related to the Congo for years. He even co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative, an American non-profit that tackles humanitarian issues in the Congo, back in 2010. The ECI not only advocates on behalf of people from that region, but also supplies grants to local organizations to help victims of sexual violence, to help provide children with healthcare, and to facilitate peace amongst communities.

Second of all, Argo wasn’t a documentary. It was a scripted movie, and Affleck didn’t even write the script. While it was wrong for him to not at least draw attention to the fact that certain key facts were changed for the sake of storytelling, it’s not a reason to discredit him from talking about a foreign policy issue ever again.

Affleck’s creation and support of ECI doesn’t make him the leading expert on the Congo by any means. There are scholars and practitioners who’ve been studying this conflict day in and day out for several years. And those experts will be testifying before the Committee, too. They can call out Affleck if he says something wrong or stupid. The Committee isn’t just going to take what Affleck says and blindly follow his policy suggestions. His testimony, along with the other expert witnesses’ testimonies, will be taken into consideration.  Continue reading