In every community there are people who,through their volunteer work and devotion to others,turn potentially anonymous neighbourhoods into friendly places to live.These people are the glue that binds our communities.
Every now and then the people realize the essential role community has played in their life.Perhaps you'll be inspired,and will speak to a neighbour you've never spoken to before.
Senators have their doubts about Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state.
He was far too hesitant to condemn human rights abuses in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. He claimed, untruthfully, that Exxon had never lobbied against sanctions on Russia when he was its CEO. And he displayed a troubling lack of responsiveness at times, calling into question his commitment to accountability and transparency with Congress and the press.
Nonetheless, there is a deeper concern that may help Tillerson’s chances of Senate confirmation: the fear that not confirming him would lead to a worse outcome. If the Senate rejects Tillerson, his replacement could be even less palatable. And then Trump, a new president who knows little about the job he is entering, might have no one around who actually knows something about international relations, which Tillerson at least does.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ended an eight-hour hearing Wednesday by making a lengthy plea for Tillerson skeptics like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to give Tillerson a chance. The top priority, Corker said, was to make sure that Trump had someone around him who could offset his considerable ignorance of foreign policy.
“This is a very important decision. We have a president-elect who is coming into office also without a great deal of background,” Corker said. “For him to have someone who he has confidence in who’s sitting up under the hood, who’s helping him shape his views, to me is something that is very, very important.”
Later Wednesday, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he was undecided about supporting Tillerson. He’d liked many Tillerson answers that contradicted some of Trump’s more inflammatory or careless past statements, but worried — like other senators — that Tillerson, rather than being able to execute a principled, strategic foreign policy, would be reduced to irrelevance by Trump’s constantly changing, unpredictable whims.
But Coons’ deeper worry was that if the Senate rejected Tillerson, the next nominee to be America’s top diplomat would be much inferior.
“I have frankly been reflecting on, if not Mr. Tillerson, who else might President-elect Trump choose?” Coons said. “He conducted a sort of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ review process to come up with a nominee for secretary of state, and he seriously considered Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.
“And I tried to imagine how they would have fared in today’s confirmation hearings,” Coons said, obviously not enthusiastic about either, or at the idea of them coming before the Senate for a vote.
Corker also implied that Rubio might learn more about Tillerson’s true views on human rights — something Rubio pressed the nominee on repeatedly Wednesday — if he spoke with him away from the TV cameras.
“Give him an opportunity to sit down in front of people and discuss these things, especially in person where the media’s not there,” Corker said.
It was a subtle dig at Rubio’s reputation for grandstanding.
But Rubio, aware that he would be criticized for this very thing, had told Tillerson just a few minutes earlier that he was not trying to involve the former Exxon CEO in “a game of international name-calling.”
Rather, he said, the secretary of state is “the face of this country for billions of people … and particularly, for people that are suffering and they’re hurting.”
“Those 1,400 people in jail in China, those dissidents in Cuba, the girls that want to drive and go to school, they look to the United States,” Rubio said. “And when they see the United States is not prepared to stand up and say, yes, Vladimir Putin is a war criminal, Saudi Arabia violates human rights … it demoralizes these people all over the world.”
An American fault line: High school-only grads left behind
Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record.
The growing disparity has become a source of frustration for millions of Americans worried that they — and their children — are losing economic ground.
College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI's figures dating to 1973.
Since the Great Recession ended in 2009, college-educated workers have captured most of the new jobs and enjoyed pay gains. Non-college grads, by contrast, have faced dwindling job opportunities and an overall 3 percent decline in income, EPI's data shows.
"The post-Great Recession economy has divided the country along a fault line demarcated by college education," Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, said in a report last year.
College grads have long enjoyed economic advantages over Americans with less education. But as the disparity widens, it is doing so in ways that go beyond income, from homeownership to marriage to retirement. Education has become a dividing line that affects how Americans vote, the likelihood that they will own a home and their geographic mobility.
The dominance of college graduates in the economy is, if anything, accelerating. Last year, for the first time, a larger proportion of workers were college grads (36 percent) than high school-only grads (34 percent), Carnevale's research found. The number of employed college grads has risen 21 percent since the recession began in December 2007, while the number of employed people with only a high school degree has dropped nearly 8 percent.
Behind the trend is a greater demand for educated workers, and the retirement of older Americans, who are more likely to be high school-only graduates.
The split is especially stark among white men. For middle-age white men with only high school degrees — the core of President-elect Donald Trump's support — inflation-adjusted income fell 9 percent from 1996 through 2014, according to Sentier Research, an analytics firm. By contrast, income for white men in the same age bracket who are college graduates jumped 23 percent.
Long after the recession ended, many young college graduates struggled to find well-paying jobs in a slowly recovering economy, and stories about graduates working as coffee shop baristas abounded. But data collected by the New York Federal Reserve suggests that trend has faded as the economy has improved.
Yet few experts think the solution is simply to send more students to four-year colleges. Many young people either don't want to spend more years in school or aren't prepared to do so. Already, four in every 10 college students drop out before graduating — often with debt loads they will struggle to repay without a degree.
Rather, labor economists say, many high school grads would benefit from a more comprehensive approach to obtaining skills, especially involving technology, that are increasingly in demand.
"If the only path you offer them is a traditional college path, they're not going to be successful," says Harry Holzer, an economist at Georgetown University.
Helping lift high school graduates' skill levels is critical, given the many ways they are lagging behind their college-educated peers:
— They're less likely to have a job. Just two-thirds of high school-only grads ages 25 through 64 were employed in 2015, down sharply from 73 percent in 2007. For college graduates in the same age group, employment dipped only slightly from 84 percent to 83 percent.
— They're less likely to be married. In 2008, marriage rates for college-educated 30-year olds surpassed those of high-school-only grads for the first time. And women with college diplomas enjoy an 8-in-10 chance of their first marriage lasting 20 years, according to the Center for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics. That's double the odds for women with just high school degrees.
— High school-only grads are less likely to own homes. Sixty-four percent are current homeowners, down from 70 percent in 2000. By contrast, three-quarters of bachelor's degree holders are homeowners, down slightly from 77 percent in 2000, according to real estate data firm Zillow.