Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Half a Year of Tabs

It's been quite a while since I did a Too Many Tabs post, and you know what that means: the browser is crawling on its knees while the spinning pizza of death whines over its head like a rainbow mosquito.

Here are a few... some very old, but that's what happens when you let tabs sit open for six months.

From Harvard Business Review: Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? The answer, simplified: because "arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent."

America's competition fetish kills creativity and produces human sheep. An interview with author Margaret Heffernan. Her most recent book is A Bigger Prize: Why Competition Isn't Everything, and How We Do Better. One quote from Heffernan: "...the more a country believes in competition, the steeper the hierarchies tend to be. And the steeper the hierarchies, the higher the level of corruption."

25 examples of male privilege from a trans guy’s perspective. This article, from Everyday Feminism, is written by a white trans man who looks like "a regular guy" to most people. His experiences as a perceived woman or girl and then later as a perceived man, are enlightening.

Eyewitnesses: The Baltimore riots didn't start the way you think. Baltimore teachers and parents tell a different story from the one you've been reading in the media.

From Dave Roberts when he was still at Grist, which tells you how long ago this tab is from: None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use. Externalities, as the economists call them.

Not too long before he stepped down as the New York Times' food writer, Mark Bittman wrote a commentary called Why Not Utopia? for the Sunday Review. He discusses how things need to change as our economy shifts to more automation and fewer living wage jobs. Guaranteed basic income, expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, 100 percent taxation on income over a billion dollars... lots of thoughts here.

Why are Americans more afraid of ISIS than racism and climate change? From Grist.

Racial segregation and silenced voices: why mixed-income developments can't solve the affordable housing crisis. The 'renovation' of a Chicago housing project reveals what can go wrong with mixed-income developments. An interesting article to read while watching the recent David Simon mini-series Show Me a Hero.

From Science magazine: Poverty may affect the growth of children’s brains. And this from the New Republic: Poor People Don't Have Less Self-Control. Poverty Forces Them to Think Short-Term.

How your local jail became hell: An investigation. "The modern American jail — which is distinct from prison, the place where those convicted of crimes go — primarily houses the legally innocent. There are 731,200 people inside American jails — substantially more than the population of Washington, D.C. — and three out of five of those inmates have not been convicted of anything at all."

Jesus would hate you all — and you didn’t build that: The truth about the ultra-rich and their New York Times apologists. "Conservatives are fighting a war on poverty, which really means a war on poor people -- and a defense of the rich."

Three ways inequality is making life worse for everyone: Here's what you won't hear from Republican presidential hopefuls. A summary of the three ways: It reduces upward mobility, decreases economic growth, and degrades democracy.

Confessions of an ex-Republican. "I used to be a serious Republican who planned for a career in politics. But there's no place for a moderate like me in today's GOP."

Imagining a post-coal Appalachia.

Young and free: one writer's thoughts on over-parenting in our current culture. "...the presumption of the imminent dangers of youth is not built on facts. Such feelings emerge from animal spirits, cultural drift, and vague convictions about the state of the world that are usually wrong. Those forces now compel many among us to imagine the duty of a parent as akin to that of a smiling, benevolent prison guard, and they are prepared to enforce that notion."

Permafrost may not be the ticking “carbon bomb” scientists once thought. From Grist.

What Kansas gets wrong when it tries to control what poor people can do with welfare. Emily Badger, writing for the Washington Post's WonkBlog.

Matt Bruenig wrote about taxes and social expenditures back in April... love this one. After establishing that the U.S. funds its social expenditures (retirement and health care especially) in inefficient ways, he ends:

The question is not whether you want to have these tax-funded social expenditures, but rather who you want to levy the taxes and orchestrate the spending. Do you want the employer to levy these taxes on you and plan the social expenditures? Or do you want the state to do it? When the employer does it, the benefits are often unavailable to a large class of people and extremely inefficient. See our country. When the state does it, the benefits are typically universally available and very efficient. See Northern Europe. Personally, I'd rather the state tax me than the boss, and rather social expenditures be carried out in an efficient manner that provides economic stability to everyone.
 A long think-piece from Aeon called Out of the Ashes. "It took a lot of fossil fuels to forge our industrial world. Now they're almost gone. Could we do it again without them?"

Struggle and progress: Civil War historian Eric Foner on the abolitionists, Reconstruction, and winning “freedom” from the Right. From Jacobin magazine.

Poor people need a higher wage, not a lesson in morality. A response to one of David Brooks's many stupid columns.

Heet Jeer contemplates whether the American Revolution was a mistake. "Basically, the American Revolution was bad for blacks and Indians but good for white southerners." Now that's some revisionist thinking I haven't thought of before.

How Ayn Rand became Libertarians’ sociopathic pixie dream girl. "You're not a misogynist if your hero is Ayn Rand, and Ayn Rand is the ultimate shield and sword for the kind of arguments regularly entered into by the kind of man who worships Ayn Rand."

Most Americans don’t vote in elections. Here’s why. "The rise of the donor class and the influx of corporate cash have caused many voters to lose faith in politics."

The perils of “Growth Mindset” education: Why we’re trying to fix our kids when we should be fixing the system. How a promising but oversimplified idea caught fire, then got co-opted by conservative ideology. By education gadfly Alfie Kohn.

And, pulling back even farther to see the problems of our education system, this essay on what the modern world has forgotten about children and learning:
If Americans are outliers among outliers [compared to other world cultures], then the subculture of American institutional schooling, which makes increasingly rigid demands on very young children and suppresses more and more of their natural energies and inclinations, is an outlier to that. Traits that would be valued in the larger American society –– energy, creativity, independence –– will get you into trouble in the classroom, and sadly, it turns out that some of our children just can’t follow us that far out on the bell curve.
Stacey Patton is an activist and writer working to end corporal punishment of children in the black community. I've been following her on Facebook for a while and her thoughts are revelatory. Here's an intro to her world view. Are black mothers beating their sons into misogyny?

What happens when countries offer birthright citizenship? Big surprise: legal status seems to encourage cultural assimilation. From Pacific Standard magazine.

Richard Florida, writing for CityLab: Private Conflict, Not Broken Windows. Why community policing should focus on helping to resolve personal and domestic disputes, not signs of physical decay.

By fetishizing freshness, we’re wasting a lot of edible food. From Pacific Standard magazine.

You heard it here first (maybe): white fragility.  And here's a bit of evidence to support it: White people react to evidence of white privilege by claiming greater personal hardships.

If you didn't already get a chance to read Ta-Nehisi Coates's latest long read in the Atlantic (which appeared just before he won a MacArthur genius grant), here's your chance. It's called The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, and it talks a lot about Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

A commentary from the Atlantic on one of our latest idiocies: Why High-School Rankings Are Meaningless—and Harmful. How much value can there be in an index that rates thousands of schools? When it reinforces the worst tendencies in our education system, not much.

From the National Journal: How politics breaks our brains, and how we can put them back together. Wow, our brains are screwed up.

From the Nation, following the most recent mass shooting (in Oregon): Combat Vets Destroy the NRA’s Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy.

Finally, here's a headline that pushes my buttons: Quebec gave all parents cheap day care — and their kids were worse off as a result. But once you read the story, you realize that the problem wasn't the fact that the Quebec children were in child care instead of at home: it was because the care they got was substandard. So duh, in a way, but it's still an important study to know about.

That's all the tabs for now, from one browser window. Whew. Maybe some more tomorrow from the other windows.

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