Friday, August 8, 2014

Post-Traveling Tabs

Traveling is the best way to guarantee I'll have a bunch of tabs open. I've been away for most of the last month, so you can imagine the state of my tabs. Time to clear them out.

Stop blaming black parents for underachieving kids. "Privileged parents hold onto the false notion that their children’s progress comes from thrift, dedication and hard work — not from the money their parents made." And this stat: Black people are the group most likely to rate higher education as necessary for success. White people are the least likely to (64 percent). From the Washington Post.

National survey confirm young people are disproportionately affected by mental disorders. Twenty percent "are affected by some type of mental disorder to an extent that they have difficulty functioning." From the NIH.

Conflict, fear, and not sharing -- more thoughts on cars and bikes sharing the road (or not).

How evolution explains the conflicted death-penalty debate. "A new book suggests that humans' urge to mercy evolved alongside our urge for vengeance. Has the practice of hiding prisoners and executions away stifled the mercy." From The Atlantic.

A cookbook to help SNAP recipients cook cheaply. It's available as a free PDF download, with lots of nice photos. I plan to use it.

Law professor Larry Lessig on why public financing of elections is constitutional. From Vox.

Since the beginning of the all-volunteer military, male enlistees are more likely to come have had troubled childhoods. Women, too, but not to the same degree. From the Los Angeles Times.

The suburbs will die: one man’s fight to fix the American Dream. A small-city planner/engineer figures out that everything he's done in his career has been wrong-headed. "The 'suburban experiment,' as he calls it, has been a fiscal failure. On top of the issues of low-density tax collection, sprawling development is more expensive to build. Roads are wider and require more paving. Water and sewage service costs are higher. It costs more to maintain emergency services since more fire stations and police stations are needed per capita to keep response times down. Children need to be bused farther distances to school. One study...found that conventional suburban development would cost local governments $4.3 billion more in infrastructure costs than compact, 'smart' growth through 2020, only counting capital construction costs for sewer, water, and road infrastructure." From Time.

Listen up, America: It’s time to start making mass transit free! From Salon.

Your giant American refrigerator is making you fat and poor. Great headline! From Gawker.

Decreasing food waste is one of the reasons you'd want a smaller fridge... here are some thoughts on how technology can decrease food waste,  which accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the food calories produced worldwide.

Huh... "the ability to pronounce someone’s name is directly related to how close you feel to that person. Our brains tend to believe that if something is difficult to understand, it must also be high-risk." And that's not to mention the effects of sexism and racism: "All else being equal, changing a [lawyer] candidate’s name from Sue to Cameron tripled a candidate’s likelihood of becoming a judge; a change from Sue to Bruce quintupled it." Not mention: "A 2004 study showed that all else being equal, employers selected candidates with names like Emily Walsh and Greg Baker for callbacks almost 50 percent more often than candidates with names like Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones. Work experience was controlled and the candidates never met face-to-face with the employer.... having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience."

Erratic scheduling is a mechanism for reproducing gender and race inequality in the workplace. "Under the guise of offering 'flexibility' to workers, low wage employers are making bad jobs even worse." Summary of an ethnographic research project about the precariat in New York big-box toy stores.

Slack is what poor kids need, not grit, once again, where once again refers to this. Do more with less, no excuses -- that's the school "reform" mantra. Which leads to problems like the Atlanta test-cheating scandal, fully explored in the New Yorker. "The people who say poverty is no excuse for low performance are now using teacher accountability as an excuse for doing nothing about poverty."

Strike Debt!, a descendent of the Occupy movement, raises money to buy student debt and then forgives the debt. "As part of our effort to buy private, unsecured student loans, we talked to Doug St. Peters, the Vice President of Portfolio Management at Sallie Mae, who packages that company’s debt into securities and sells your loans on the secondary market. He confirmed that Sallie Mae does sell its private loans to two large debt buying companies. He would not name names, and he refused to sell us any of these portfolios when he learned that we intended to abolish the debt. According to St. Peters, private Sallie Mae loans are sold for as little as 15 cents on the dollar. We repeat: a Vice President at Sallie Mae confirmed that they sell private loans for 15 cents on the dollar."

"Don't wear red. Don't wear blue." "Don't talk back, even if you're right." "Don't drive in a car with other people. In fact, don't drive at all. Take the bus." A few quotes from the Black Boy Talk that Portland mothers say they give to their African-American sons.

Capitalist whack-a-mole from Matt Bruenig. "Most people come to their feverish support of capitalism through unreflective cultural mechanisms first, and their arguments are then filled in later. It is kind of funny to watch though."

I'm fascinated by the anti-city attitude of some people I know or read. What prompts anyone to move to a suburb? To think that cities are unlivable? I can't fathom it. So I may pick up the book Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century. It "describes the decentralist movement of the 1930s, the attempt to revive the American small town in the mid-century, the anti-urban basis of urban renewal in the 1950s and '60s, and the Nixon administration's program of building new towns as a response to the urban crisis, illustrating how, by the middle of the 20th century, anti-urbanism was at the center of the politics of the New Right."

This is why I like Robert Reich.

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