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Monday, May 26, 2014

Links - 26th May 2014

These Dreamy Photos Answer The Question: 'What Would I Have Looked Like In Another Decade?' - "Ohio State University student Annalisa Hartlaub was able to paint a picture by depicting each decade's quintessential mainstream and counterculture looks. Using herself as a model and tinting each picture to realistically reflect the technology of the decade, Hartlaub's "Counter // Culture" photo project catalogs nearly 100 years of fashion history from 1920 through today. "

Should We Raise the Minimum Wage? 11 Questions and Answers - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic - "By the 1980s, economists largely agreed that increasing the minimum wage hurt employment among teens and other unskilled workers. But that consensus collapsed during the next decade, with the rise of what’s known now as the “new minimum wage research.” The chief demolition crew consisted of David Card and Alan Krueger, whose most famous study compared employment at fast food restaurants in New Jersey, where the minimum wage had recently been raised, with employment at fast food restaurants in Pennsylvania, where wages stayed stable. When Card and Krueger analyzed the results of this “natural experiment,” they found no evidence that raising worker pay had killed jobs. That sparked a fight that’s continued on, in various permutations, to today. Conservatives tend to champion work by David Neumark, an economist at the University of California-Irvine, and William Wascher, of the Federal Reserve Board. Early critics of Card and Krueger, their research compares employment trends across entire states, using elaborate statistical controls to isolate the impact of minimum wages. They have consistently found that requiring businesses to pay their workers more reduces employment among teens. Liberals, meanwhile, favor work by a group of economists fronted by Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dube is best co-authored study that used contemporary data to essentially repeat Card and Krueger’s natural experiment in thousands of counties across the the country. It found no significant evidence that higher minimum wages hurt employment among restaurant workers. Both sides have criticized each others’ ideas fiercely, and attempted variations on the other sides’ preferred research methods, mostly, it seems, to show how their their academic nemeses botched their own approach. Meanwhile, Jonathan Meer and Jeremy West of Texas A&M University have recently added a new wrinkle to the controversy with a paper that says minimum wages can noticeably bring reduce total employment by slowing down hiring. Now they're in a fight with Dube. And so it goes."

A summit of food safety experts leaves 100 ill with food poisoning.

The end of Sarah Palin - "If the politically engaged seem bored with Obama, they have all but forgotten Sarah Barracuda, the manqué of anti-Obama populism... My personal favorite line was this: "The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of 'personal discovery.'" You could almost hear that punch landing."

Oberlin College tables its trigger warning policy: Do the warnings threaten academic freedom? - "Blecher said the problem with the policy and trigger warnings generally is that “what could trigger off somebody in the abstract is almost anything.” That means that professors in all kinds of disciplines could have to rethink what they teach and how—and how to warn students about it ahead of time. Referring to language in the tabled policy, he said, “it had this long list of ‘isms,’ so you’d end up having to fill your whole syllabus with their advice or suggestions, depending on what you’re teaching.” As to the policy’s alternative reading suggestion, Blecher added, “What are you going to do, have two syllabi?”"
Comment: "I'm someone who's supposed to be helped by trigger warnings and I think the idea is stupid. I was sexually assaulted by a coach as a kid. It left me with definite issues with male authority figures. In grade 7 I had a gay teacher. Trust me, that year was just one long trigger warning. But even in grade 7 I knew the issue was mine to deal with. I'm not going to ask the teacher to stop being male. I'm sorry but you have to deal with the issues yourself. You can maybe ask your friends to be very empathetic about certain issues but even then it's easier for me just to drop out of some conversations than expect everyone else to watch what they say. I can't and don't want to control the world or expect it to coddle me. I do want to focus on how I react to the world."

How the Tea Party movement can save itself and become a powerful force for good. - "What does everyone get wrong about the Tea Party? When Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel described it as a collection of “mean, racist people,” he was doing little more than bluntly restating views that are widely held on the left. When Tea Party conservatives counter such charges of racism by noting the popularity of African-Americans like Ben Carson, Allen West, Herman Cain, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, they are routinely dismissed. One scholar, University of Washington political scientist Christopher Parker, went so far as to attribute the rise of conservative black candidates and activists to Tea Party prominence to the triumph of tokenism. Yet when you delve into Parker’s data on the racial attitudes of white voters toward blacks, as Robert VerBruggen and Cathy Young did a few years back, you’ll find that the views of whites who support the Tea Party and those who don’t are not that far apart. It turns out that whites who have negative attitudes about minorities tend to also have negative attitudes about other whites. You’d be on much firmer ground calling the Tea Party cranky than you would be calling it racist... Tea Party conservatives will often distinguish between government transfers that flow to deserving productive citizens (like themselves) and those that benefit people they see as undeserving freeloaders (unlike themselves)... But this distinction was absolutely central to FDR’s New Deal and Bill Clinton’s commitment to help those who “work hard and play by the rules.” Few serious people deny that means-tested programs can make it hard for poor families to climb the economic ladder, and there is nothing hypocritical about believing both that these programs should be made more work-friendly and that the safety net for older Americans should be protected. Finally, the Tea Party has been assailed as inauthentic, a faux grassroots, “astroturf” movement financed by shadowy elites who have essentially duped an army of cranky retirees into doing their bidding... The fact that wealthy campaign donors are far more likely to support establishment Republicans over Tea Party conservatives in GOP primaries tells a different story."

Alice Robb – How Capital Letters Became Internet Code for Yelling - "In 2006, Belgian software developer Pieter Hintjens launched the “CAPSoff” campaign, aiming to get the offending key kicked off the keyboard altogether."

Rolling to good health? Senior citizens hooked on strange activity - "Every weekday morning, they take turns rolling down a slope at Bedok Reservoir. They are led by 71-year-old retiree Lew Keh Lam, known to the group as 'Master', who started the activity seven years ago. Mr Lew claims rolling downhill can cure all forms of ailments, including cancer, Parkinson's Disease and stroke. "Our body is short of negative ions. In the morning, before the sun shines, there're a lot of negative ions in the grass. If your body requires the negative ions, it will allow you to roll, and when you don't need it, it won't let you roll," said Mr Lew in Mandarin."

Donald Sterling’s racist history: The L.A. Clippers owner hurt more minorities as a property owner. - "Sterling caused actual harm to dozens of families, and the response was near silence. And it’s in that contrast that we can clearly see our public hypocrisy on racism. When it comes to open bigotry, everyone is an anti-racist. The same Republicans who question the Civil Rights Act and oppose race-conscious policy are on the front lines when it’s time to denounce the outlandish racism of the day. “I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in response to Cliven Bundy’s digression on “the Negro.” Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality who championed Bundy’s cause of free grazing rights, blasted Bundy for his “ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable” comments. Indeed, the mere hint of racial insensitivity is enough to bring the hammer down, as we rush to refute and repudiate the transgressor... At the same time, we all but ignore the other dimension of racism—the policies and procedures that sustain our system of racial inequality... In a world where racism looks like cartoonish bigotry, it’s hard to build broad outrage for unfair voter identification laws or huge disparities in health care access... Lyndon Johnson’s prejudice—he said the word nigger, a lot—is less important than his civil rights record... A world where Donald Sterling hates black people but rents to them at fair prices is better than one where he loves them, but still discriminates."
One of the perils of oversensitivity to offensive words: you ignore actions that cause real harm to the groups you supposedly want to protect (though not all the examples of supposedly harmful actions are necessarily unjustifiable)

"A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement": Was Donald Rumsfeld's attack on Obama's foreign policy race-baiting? - "while making the case for war with Iraq, he used the “trained ape” reference again... It’s clear that Rumsfeld likes the reference, which is why he used it again when criticizing the Obama administration over its policies in Afghanistan... The response from the Internet was predictable... it’s clear from the context of Rumsfeld’s remarks that this wasn’t a reference to President Obama, specifically. To wit, the sentence that immediately preceded “A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement” was “This administration, the White House and the State Department have failed to get a status of forces agreement.” It’s a broad target that encompasses a range of people, not just Obama. In fact, when you consider the full interview, it’s easy to see the rhetorical logic... From his self-interested description of administration diplomacy to his unacknowledged role in facilitating the status quo, there’s a lot to criticize in Rumsfeld’s short interview. What’s unfair is to attack him for race-baiting. You don’t have to like the Iraq war architect (I don’t!) to see that he was using a favorite phrase, not whistling to the racists"
It's easier to denounce someone as racist (yet again) and dismiss him than to show how he is wrong

Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist. - "Perhaps the simple explanation, which Johnson likely understood better than most, was that there is no magic formula through which people can emancipate themselves from prejudice, no finish line that when crossed, awards a person’s soul with a shining medal of purity in matters of race. All we can offer is a commitment to justice in word and deed, that must be honored but from which we will all occasionally fall short. Maybe when Johnson said “it is not just Negroes but all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry,” he really meant all of us, including himself. Nor should Johnson’s racism overshadow what he did to push America toward the unfulfilled promise of its founding. When Republicans say they’re the Party of Lincoln, they don’t mean they’re the party of deporting black people to West Africa, or the party of opposing black suffrage, or the party of allowing states the authority to bar freedmen from migrating there, all options Lincoln considered. They mean they’re the party that crushed the slave empire of the Confederacy and helped free black Americans from bondage. But we shouldn’t forget Johnson’s racism, either. After Johnson’s death, Parker would reflect on the Johnson who championed the landmark civil rights bills that formally ended American apartheid, and write, “I loved that Lyndon Johnson.” Then he remembered the president who called him a nigger, and he wrote, “I hated that Lyndon Johnson.”"
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