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Your Adjunct Professors Are Taking a Day to Fight for Their Rights

On National Adjunct Walkout Day, contracted instructors are leaving the classroom.

Image via Twitter user Adjunct Action (@AdjunctAction)

Tuition prices continue to rise unabated, but that money’s not going towards the salaries of professors and instructors. Today, thousands of adjunct professors are protesting poor working conditions by staging a walkout. On National Adjunct Walkout Day, instructors are hoping they’ll be able to raise awareness about the poverty-level wages they recieve for working long, difficult hours on a job that is intellectually, physicall and emotionally demanding. But because being an adjunct means you’re easier to fire—all the college has to do is terminate your contract—and some state laws allow universities to fire teachers who walk out, many instructors are staging teach-ins today instead.

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Nearly 50 Million Americans Have Difficulty Obtaining Food

New USDA research reveals the huge number of people struggling to eat, the reason our welfare programs are so necessary right now.


Fresh on the heels of a study that showed 15 percent of Americans use food stamps, a new USDA survey has found that more than 17 million U.S. households (PDF) had at least some trouble putting food on the table in 2010. Those 17 million homes account for nearly 50 million people, or more than 16 percent of the American population. Of the millions of households struggling to get enough to eat, almost 60 percent relied on one or more of the nation's three largest nutritional assistance programs: food stamps, the National School Lunch Program, or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

These numbers make conservatives' attempts to cut nutrition benefits for America's neediest all the more worrisome, and, in some cases, offensive. South Carolina's Republican Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer last year compared people receiving food benefits to "stray animals" that "don't know any better": "My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," he said "They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better."

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Reminder: 44 Percent of Tea Partiers Are on Medicare

How will the Tea Party respond now that its favorite welfare programs are under the guillotine?

Medicare cuts are "on the radar" in the second phase of Congress' new debt deal. The agreement reached this week already includes the possibility of a two percent cut to Medicare reimbursements, but the "super-committee" that will convene to come up with $1.5 trillion in more cuts will probably be looking at least partially toward medical spending. This is in addition to the cuts that are set to befall Medicare reimbursement starting in a couple months. Many op-ed columnists are calling these attacks on entitlement spending a victory for Tea Partiers, whose beef with big government has shaped politics for several years now. What those columns fail to consider, however, is how many Tea Partiers rely on the very programs they've forced to the chopping block.

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Americans Have No Idea How Much Welfare They're Getting

Maybe American protesters denouncing government welfare programs wouldn't be so conservative if they actually knew how much welfare they got.


The rise of the anti-big government Tea Party movement in America has also seen a rise in the number of citizens publicly decrying both taxes and the social welfare programs for which those taxes provide. A recent study shows, however, that many Americans actually have no idea that they're on the dole, calling into question the validity of their attacks on government handouts.

The graphic above uses information from Suzanne Mettler's newest piece in Perspectives on Politics, and the data is simple: Those numbers are the percentages of people who benefit from the specified government program while also saying in a government survey that they "have not used a government social program." Besides these numbers, more than 25 percent of people on food stamps think they don't take government assistance, and nearly 30 percent of people getting Social Security disability benefits.

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Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts

A new book reveals that Ayn Rand, the late conservative author and opponent of the welfare state, actually relied quite heavily on welfare programs.


Of the welfare state, the conservative philosopher and author Ayn Rand once wrote, "Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull." As it turns out, however, toward the end of her life, Rand ended up relying quite heavily on its help.

According to the new book An Oral History of Ayn Rand, faced with lung cancer after a life spent smoking, and without the wealth needed to combat that cancer, Rand adopted an assumed name to seek government funds for her treatment.

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