Volume 3.8 (Feb 17-23, 2014)

The Big Picture

Why backing the minimum wage hike makes sense — for Wal-Mart (Lydia DePillis, Wonkblog)– “Wal-Mart has very real influence on its customers’ earnings potential. As Dan Grossoutlined in the Daily Beast last year, it employs about 1 percent of those 140 million customers, and its wages set the standard for everyone around it as well. Its core shoppers are also those making minimum wage in other establishments. When they can’t spend much, rather than saving by shopping at Walmart, they’ll go to dollar stores instead — a lesson the company learned when food stamps were cut this year. A hike to $10.10 would mean 900,000 are no longer poor.”

Here’s proof that making money makes you more right-wing and less egalitarian (Zachary Goldfarb, Wonkblog)

CBO: Obama’s minimum wage plan would cost jobs but help millions (Zachary Goldfarb, Wonkblog)– “The increase in the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers: The large majority would have higher wages and family income, but a much smaller group would be jobless and have much lower family income.”

Seriously, Don’t Give Money to Fancy Colleges (Matthew Yglesias, Slate Moneybox)– “If you want to do something useful for low-income people, give them money. If you want to do something useful for the education of low-income people, give some money to an institution that educates kids from low-income families. That could be a community college or a public charter school or an after-school program or neighborhood school or whatever you like. But it’s not going to be a big, rich, famous school for kids with super-high SAT scores.”

Your Ancestors, Your Fate (Gregory Clark, NYT)– “When you look across centuries, and at social status broadly measured — not just income and wealth, but also occupation, education and longevity — social mobility is much slower than many of us believe, or want to believe. This is true in Sweden, a social welfare state; England, where industrial capitalism was born; the United States, one of the most heterogeneous societies in history; and India, a fairly new democracy hobbled by the legacy of caste. Capitalism has not led to pervasive, rapid mobility. Nor have democratization, mass public education, the decline of nepotism, redistributive taxation, the emancipation of women, or even, as in China, socialist revolution.”

Why Can’t You Miserable Commoners Be Happier With Your Lot? (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “The days of noblesse oblige are obviously long gone. Fortunately for these folks, it isn’t really necessary for them to get votes proportional to their net worth; the government already works hard for them. Even in the administration of that socialist Barack Obama, the Dow has hit record levels and the wealth of the wealthiest has gone nowhere but up. So things are working out pretty well. Which is why, I’m guessing, most of them would like Tom Perkins to keep his mouth shut. Sure, there may be a few who actually agree with him that the wealthy deserve more votes. But why admit that in public? After all, they’ve got a good thing going.”

Culture

Why Actors Act Out (James Franco, NYT)– “Actors have been lashing out against their profession and its grip on their public images since at least Marlon Brando. Brando’s performances revolutionized American acting precisely because he didn’t seem to be “performing,” in the sense that he wasn’t putting something on as much as he was being. Off-screen he defied the studio system’s control over his image, allowing his weight to fluctuate, choosing roles that were considered beneath him and turning down the Oscar for best actor in 1973. These were acts of rebellion against an industry that practically forces an actor to identify with his persona while at the same time repeatedly wresting it from him.”

Sexual Assault at God’s Harvard (Kiera Feldman, New Republic)– “In the Christian world Claire had been brought up in, men only do bad things to impure women who have tempted them. She blamed herself, tried to act normal, and told no one.”

Can God Make it in Hollywood? (Michael Cipely, NYT)

The Death-Throes of the Anti-Gay Movement (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)

Race

Black Boy Interrupted (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic)– “When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be.  And this will happen again, must happen again, because our policy is color-blind, but our heritage isn’t. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind denies its rightful inheritance. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind is a drug addict claiming he can walk away after just one more hit. Law and legacy are at war. Legacy is winning. Legacy will always win. And our legacy is to die in this land where time is unequal, and deeded days are unequal, and blessed is the black man who lives to learn other ways, who lives to see other worlds, who lives to bear witness before the changes. ”

The Infinite Circle of Black Responsibility (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “This is about the collectivization of every misdeed committed by a black person, the way all black people are implicated and have responsibilities imposed on them. When a white man beats his children or kills his wife or robs a liquor store or commits insider trading, nobody tells Bill O’Reilly that he, as a white person, needs to do something about it. And he sure as hell doesn’t go on the air and say that white people need better role models. There isn’t a thing called “white on white crime,” but there is a thing called “black on black crime,” because crimes committed by black people are black crimes, born from blackness and soiling all black people, but crimes committed by white people have nothing to do with the race of the perpetrators; they’re just crimes, no modifier needed.”

Crime and Punishment

My Night in Solitary (Rick Raemisch, NYT)– “At 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 23, I was delivered to a Colorado state penitentiary, where I was issued an inmate uniform and a mesh bag with my toiletries and bedding. My arms were handcuffed behind my back, my legs were shackled and I was deposited in Administrative Segregation — solitary confinement.  I hadn’t committed a crime. Instead, as the new head of the state’s corrections department, I wanted to learn more about what we call Ad Seg.”

Guns and the Thug Life (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “This case is, of course about race, which we’ll get to in a moment. But it’s also about—to use a word that crops up repeatedly in Michael Dunn’s written comments—a culture. It’s a culture where manhood must continually be proven, where every disagreement is a test of strength, and where in the end, your fellow human beings are only waiting to kill you, so you’d better draw first.”

Mormonism

Especially for Young Mormon Men (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)

Other Agendas ‘Frozen’ is Subtly Forcing into your Child’s Brain (Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

You’ll Get the Type of Church Members You Write For: 8 Suggestions for the Ensign (Kyle M, By Common Consent)

Men, Women and Modesty (Julie M. Smith, Times and Seasons)

Why My Socks Did Not Get Me a Good Husband or Rape Culture 101 (Thunderchicken, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

Friendly Fire on Mormon Scholars (TT, Faith-Promoting Rumor)

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