The Atlantic: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Homecomings.
“It is true what they say about celebrity—people suddenly don’t quite see you. You walk into a room and you are not a person, so much as symbol of whatever someone needs you to be.” The downsides of being a ‘somebody’.
The Atlantic: The Average 29-Year-Old.
“The median income at 29 is about $35,000. Talk of a steady ‘career’ for most young people is more aspirational than descriptive. Jobs are still temporary for twentysomethings. The average American has had more than seven jobs before she turns 29, and a third of them lasted less than six months.” Jeebus, just read it.
NY Times: Drastic Cutbacks in Illinois.
The Atlantic: Opting Out of Coastal Madness to Live a Low-Overhead Life.
“So it turns out you can get richer simply by moving to where people are poorer. That is horrifying. And some might find it insensitive to praise the virtues of living a middle-class life in a region beset by deindustrialization and poverty, where the low cost of living is enabled, in part, by the difficulty so many have in scratching out a living.”
The Atlantic: Trump’s Plan to Bring Jobs Back From China Misses the Point on U.S. Manufacturing.
“The truth is, even if China blinked out of existence tomorrow, there just wouldn’t be a need for much of the work America lost. While low-skilled labor dominated manufacturing in decades past, automation and computers have made factory floors both tremendously productive and relatively human-free. A revitalized American manufacturing sector would raise employment, but not to the levels seen in 1979—a heyday that economists say is unlikely to be repeated.”
The Atlantic: The Two Contradictory Ideas Many Americans Have About the Economy.
“Many Americans, then, are holding two contradictory ideas in their mind at once: the optimistic belief that their success is in their hands (on display since Tocqueville’s Democracy in America) and the acknowledgement that wages have been steadily stagnating (on decline since the band America).” Dumb reference, that last one.
Dissent: Is Labor a Commodity in Wisconsin?
“Surely if labor (or labor power) is a commodity, it is as Marx and many others have noted a peculiar one. It has sentience, feelings, ideas and the capacity for resistance. It’s not just another bar of soap.”
Pacific Standard: Why Are Americans Killing Themselves?
“Consider that some three-quarters of the eight million jobs lost during the Great Recessions were in manufacturing—the sort of trade that primarily employed white men. And those jobs aren’t coming back any time soon.” No upward mobility, debt bondage, isolation ... how hard can it be to understand?
Inverse: This Community in Sulawesi, Indonesia Keeps the Dead in Homes for Years.
If deceased persons and buffalo sacrifice bother you, don’t watch the video.
The Atlantic: How ‘Concept Creep’ Made Americans So Sensitive to Harm.
“Pathologizing normal experience.” Oh boy, this is the READ OF THE WEEK. Long, but mark out some time to take it all in.
BBC: Oil exporters set to discuss output freeze.
“The world’s leading oil exporters could be finally about to take action following the fall in prices.” Ruh-roh. Hope you didn’t buy any V8s.
NY Times: In Wyoming, Hard Times Return as Energy Prices Slump.
As I’ve warned, when there’s a boom there’s always a bust. The American West is littered with evidence of the previous cycles. Going into one, you’ve gotta chuck most of your earnings into savings. One can escape neither history nor inevitability.
The Atlantic: Why Promising Baltimore Students Don’t Escape Poverty.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. You pull a child out of a bad situation, put her/him in a good one, they’ll thrive. Boarding schools might help solve this - if there were the will to vivify them. America might end up stunned at the excellence unleashed. I saw, via his childhood diary, how my own father (ensconced in an orphanage) went from near-illegible and near-unintelligible to quicksilver, witty and erudite in a few short years after being sponsored to a private prep school (where he had to shovel out the stables, do the most menial chores to stay). Riffing off an earlier post, ‘social elites’ felt he had to ‘prove’ himself by superhuman efforts in order to ‘deserve’ education. Physical labor, excessive hours ... and catching up to grade level? Efforts that social elites could never match, even if they wanted to. And that is what is wrong with having the ‘haves’ legislate aid to the ‘have nots’. They load the dice. The fact that Dad succeeded, is amazing.
NY Times: A Renewable Energy Boom.
BillMoyers: Why Bernie’s Right About Glass-Steagall.
Vox: Low-income Americans can no longer afford rent, food, and transportation.
If Vox just noticed, I give Congress a couple of years before it becomes known in the Beltway.
Boston Globe: High-deductible health plans make Affordable Care Act ‘unaffordable.’
November, 2015. This is *exactly* what ACA touters are missing. I went from a $500 individual deductible to $5,000 to keep my premium the same. The ACA has hurt me by giving me less. Significantly less. And I’m supposed to be happy? Sure, I appreciate the other aspects of the ACA (preexisting conditions, etc.). But this feels like a colossal ripoff. You wonder why Sanders does well in certain states - look no farther. Hillary would do well to propose common-sense repairs.
Gallup: U.S. Uninsured Rate 11.9% in Fourth Quarter of 2015.
“... the uninsured rate declined 5.2 percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, right before the key provision of the health law requiring Americans to carry health insurance took effect in early 2014.” I have previously quoted the number of 3%, prior to this update, as the decline - the new number is officially 5.2%.
Guardian.UK: Climate guru James Hansen warns of much worse than expected sea level rise.
Youtube: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Border Wall.
The thing that depresses me most about modern political comedy, is that they have to be the ones who lay out the idiotic realities our news media persist in ignoring. Even the smallest bit of investigative journalism is too big an investment, it seems. We all know a wall is ridiculous, and an argument could be made that any sensible person would know this. But rallies and turnout prove that an explanation - in detail - is *not* ridiculous. Indeed, such explanation is sadly necessary. Where are the in-depth analysis - with modern infographics? The fancy Medium/Exposure style image pages with animations? Where are the stats of how many billion gallons of concrete that would be necessary?
Then again, perhaps noone wants to even hint that the whole project would likely be contracted to the Chinese.
Register.UK: Amex ‘fesses up: Your credit card data was nicked ...
Hello ... what?!!
Macworld: Kasita is a tiny house that comes connected right out of the box.
A floorplan would be helpful, Macworld.
CEPR/VoxEU: Balance of payments statistics and hidden assets.
Jeebus. Makes me think of the Bing Crosby quote, “Everyone’s got a little larceny in ‘em.”
Racked: The Last Lifestyle Magazine.
“How Kinfolk created the dominant aesthetic of the decade with perfect lattes and avocado toast.” Never heard of it. But we in Santa Fe are immersed in lifestyle publications. I doubt Kinfolk has many vigas, ristras or green chiles in their photo essays.
Return of the Cafe Racers: The Worlds Strongest Denim by Saint.
For riding, but given the import/export featherweight denim being sold these days, you might need a really tough pair of jeans. Comfort? Well, that’s probably secondary ...