What do you do when half of your country’s youth is unemployed?

Like so many others throughout Spain, Mario’s voice has that brittle, dry quality of an old confidence that’s begun to splinter. He tells me that he’s “not particularly hopeful” about what’s in store. To his left sits Raquel—another Toledo native, the same age as Mario, and a self-professed optimist. She cuts in: “I have two degrees, but I may as well not have studied anything at all.” When I ask her about her next move, she says that she’s thinking of leaving the country. She mentions a secondary school in Italy where she could teach humanities. Flushing slightly, she quickly adds that job prospects there are only marginally better than in Spain.”

Jonathan Blitzer, Spain’s Lost Generation: What Do You Do When Half of Your Country’s Youth is Unemployed?”

(Photo courtesy of spiegel.de)

What explains the paradoxical views of Russian protesters?

Another protester, Andrey Ershov, an international relations student at a Moscow university, told me that his motivation for attending the rallies was to register his keen disappointment with the parliamentary elections held last December, which he viewed as rigged in favor of Putin’s United Russia Party. But he was not, he stressed, part of any anti-Putin opposition. “I think Putin is the person who is the most fit for this political system, which is now in Russia,” Ershov said—a system in which a tiny elite rules both the political and business realms. “Me personally, I would like the system to change and for a president to be more democratically oriented. But, for now, I think it is logical that Putin won.””

- Paul Starobin, The Putin Generation

Photo courtesy of The Guardian

Does President Obama’s re-election campaign depend on the youth vote?

Americans are polarized like never before as we head into the 2012 presidential campaign, and the greatest dividing line of all seems to be age. Indeed, President Obama has astoundingly consistent support from Americans less than 30 years old, the so-called Millennial generation, but is it enough to deliver the White House again?

For more on why Obama’s campaign narrative will focus on special appeal to this generation read Ruy Teixeira’s “Why Obama’s Re-election Campaign Will Depend on the Youth Vote,” here.

Photo courtesy of Tree Hugger.

Is pizza a vegetable?
"In January the Agriculture department had this crazy idea to improve nutritional standards for federally-subsidized school lunches. It proposed limiting ‘starchy  vegetables’ (read: fries) to one cup per week ‘to encourage students to  try new vegetables.’ It also proposed changing the way schools met daily  requirements for fruits and vegetables by limiting—not eliminating,  merely limiting—the use of tomato paste (read: pizza) to meet that requirement.”
- Timothy Noah, “Saving School Pizza”
Now Congress plans to completely unravel  the school lunch standards that the Agriculture Department proposed earlier  this year. The bill would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be  counted as a vegetable. 
Why is Congress pushing back on  healthier lunches by fighting to keep pizza and fries?
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Is pizza a vegetable?

"In January the Agriculture department had this crazy idea to improve nutritional standards for federally-subsidized school lunches. It proposed limiting ‘starchy vegetables’ (read: fries) to one cup per week ‘to encourage students to try new vegetables.’ It also proposed changing the way schools met daily requirements for fruits and vegetables by limiting—not eliminating, merely limiting—the use of tomato paste (read: pizza) to meet that requirement.”

- Timothy Noah, “Saving School Pizza

Now Congress plans to completely unravel the school lunch standards that the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. The bill would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable.

Why is Congress pushing back on healthier lunches by fighting to keep pizza and fries?