Yup, it's cold outside, but that has stopped dozens of people from marching 15 miles from SeaTac to Seattle in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage. The marchers just recently reached Seattle city limits, where they were met with the following greeting:
Guy watching us #OnTheMarch up
MLK has a sign with a simple message: “Thank you!”
— Good Jobs Seattle (@GoodJobsSeattle) December 5, 2013
Meanwhile Seattle City Council member Jean Godden took to Twitter to remind voters that in addition to all its other benefits, "raising the minimum wage will help narrow the gender pay gap." Because a majority of minimum wage workers are women. (And disproportionately people of color, too.)
Or do. Then tell me if it made you jump.
Until the spring of 2011, Mexican writer Javier Sicilia was best known for his fiction, poetry, and essays. Then, on March 8 of that year, his son and six other friends were kidnapped, tortured, and suffocated by hit men for complaining about a theft in the parking lot of a narco-run nightclub.
The killers, Sicilia later explained, were from one of many gangs jockeying for dominance after narco boss Beltrán Leyva was killed by Mexican Special Forces in late 2009. (Coincidentally, a photo of Leyva's corpse, guarded by a masked soldier, wound up being the image that accompanied this Stranger article about US drug prohibition that ran just a few months before Sicilia's son was killed.)
After his son’s death, Sicilia began a series of protests against the runaway corruption and carnage of the drug war. The protests grew into a movement called “Estamos Hasta la Madre” (“We’ve Had It Up to Here”) that galvanized Mexico. Tens of thousands marched in cities across Mexico, including one march that started in Cuernavaca—not far from where both Leyva and Sicilia’s son were killed—and ended in Mexico City, 54 miles away, with 200,000 in attendance.
This fall, Sicilia came to Seattle with fellow activist Teresa Carmona, whose son was also killed by narcos, as part of a North American tour. We spoke shortly after he delivered a lecture at the Seattle University Law School. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
It's cold and it's First Thursday. Get out there. Here's what you'll see.
Tom Scocca's very long post on Gawker today about the enemies of snark makes for very interesting reading. I don't think this post will stand as a transformative manifesto, the way Heidi Julavits's argument against snark in The Believer's debut issue has become a serious topic of discussion in recent years. It doesn't so much work as a manifesto as a very long list of examples. But it does put a name to a very alarming internet trend: The press-release friendly, only-positive news sites that refuse to apply critical thinking when critical thinking is absolutely necessary. The word is smarm.
And that's exactly right. When he talks about smarm, Scocca is talking about BuzzFeed and Upworthy and other sites that refuse to be negative on all but the most safely unpopular topics, but he might as well be referring to advertorial neighborhood blogs, or tech blogs that play nice because they rely on access from the companies they're supposed to be covering, or cheerleading industry blogs that don't take a stand against anyone. These are outlets that I've complained about for years, but tagging them as smarmy is perfect; that one word articulates everything that I dislike about them. They're self-congratulatory and not at all helpful.
Here are a couple of relevant passages from Scocca's essay, but I encourage you to read the whole thing:
Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.
Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can't everyone just be nicer?
At some point, in a piece like this, convention calls for the admission that the complaints against snark are not entirely without merit. Fine. Some snark is harmful and rotten and stupid. Just as, to various degrees, some poems and Page-One newspaper stories and sermons and football gambling advice columns are harmful and rotten and stupid. Like every other mode, snark can sometimes be done badly or to bad purposes.
Smarm, on the other hand, is never a force for good. A civilization that speaks in smarm is a civilization that has lost its ability to talk about purposes at all. It is a civilization that says "Don't Be Evil," rather than making sure it does not do evil.
I'm forever in Scocca's debt for weaponizing the word "smarm" as a catchall for the tumorous nicey-nice that's pervaded internet culture. Smarm is everywhere, and now it finally has a name.
It's Day Four of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. Pearl Jam vs. Slog Holiday Charity Challenge! We, together—all of Seattle!—are raising money for YouthCare's Orion Center, which provides food, shelter, safety, and alternatives to homeless teens right here in Seattle. But whose fans are giving the most?! You can find that out in Dan Savage's longwinded post from earlier today.
But you want to know how to win a pair of VIP tickets to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis or Pearl Jam!!! Pearl Jam plays at KeyArena tomorrow, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are at KeyArena December 10–12.
All you have to do is donate to the Orion Center right now—any amount counts!—then forward us your receipt with why it's so very damn important you're at the show. Donate and forward by 4:30 pm today to enter—the best reason why you've absolutely got to be there wins. Winners announced here tomorrow morning!
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans: GO HERE TO GIVE and a chance for VIP tickets!
• Pearl Jam fans: GO HERE TO GIVE and a chance for VIP tickets!
The fans that raise the most for the Orion Center by December 24th WIN the title of the Best Fans of the Best Band Ever!
What you will see in this image is one of the queens of the 90s wearing no clothes but a strange and very ugly sea creature. All of this has something to do with charity.
Also, bearded Driscoll: 80 percent less shiny!
(Thank you, Right Wing Watch.)
The sun killed this one...
The image is by the ESA and NASA.
The Pope doesn't know anything about economics, argues a Fox News columnist, so Pope Francis really should shut his mouth about youth unemployment or income inequality. Currently digging through the columnist's archives to see if he objected to the previous pope commenting on abortion, birth control, adoption, and gay sex—also not areas of expertise for elderly celibates.
While fast food workers are striking in 100 US cities today, Seattle is already moving on to the next stage of the next battleground in the war to win workers a living wage: City Hall. Low wage workers set off this morning from SeaTac—were voters recently approved a $15 an hour minimum wage for airport and hospitality workers—on a 15-mile march to Seattle City Hall to demand the same for Seattle's low-wage workers:
- 9:00 - brief program at SeaTac Hilton Conference Center, 17620 International Blvd, SeaTac
- 9:30 - march departs, heading north on International Blvd
- 10:30 - marchers pass Abu Bakr Mosque, 14101 International Blvd, Tukwila
- 11:40 - marchers enter Seattle city limits (Boeing Access Rd & MLK)
- 12:00 - marchers reach MLK Way S & S Henderson St
- 1:00 - lunch en route - northwest corner of Brighton Playfield (6000 39th Ave S)
- 1:20 - march continues
- 2:30 - Marchers reach Rainier & MLK
- 4:00 - Supporters gathered at Hing Hay Park (423 Maynard Ave S) join march at Jackson & Maynard
- 4:30 - Rally at City Hall (600 4th Ave)
And if $15 an hour for fast food and other low-wage workers seems too ambitious a demand, well, you don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Mayor-elect Ed Murray has already committed to a $15 an hour minimum wage, as has a majority of the city council. And of course council member-elect Kshama Sawant made her campaign a virtual proxy fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
The political stars are aligned to deliver a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle. How long the phase-in, and what kind of exemptions remains to be seen, but the debate has moved on from whether to impose a $15 an hour minimum and on to the question of how.
Gotta love the Dutch, they're so practical about things. Want to get alcoholics off the street and out of the parks? Give them jobs that pay partly with beer.
Practical solutions without moralizing. We might want to try that in this country sometime. But of course, our founding Puritans, whose descendents are still fucking this country up, fled the Netherlands . . . . so Dutch ideas are probably unAmerican. . .
Today is the 80th anniversary of repealing alcohol prohibition. Folks are celebrating all over the city. But some of the parties are in neighborhoods where children exist, with their watchful child eyeballs. So nine treatment professionals including Richard Catalano, a professor at the UW's school of social work, told the city to stop this menace. They asked the city to shut down these celebrations. If society acknowledges that prohibition was a failure, that cocktails are delicious, and that adults can responsibly enjoy a booze buzz, that could poison the minds of Seattle youth.
There's no word that Catalano did that—not for booze.
However, this week is also the one-year anniversary of the repeal of pot prohibition. And to celebrate, Stranger columnist Ben Livingston got a permit for a pot party on December 6 under the Space Needle. The party is out of public view in a big tent, behind fencing, and safely sequestered behind a beer-garden-style moat. Still, Catalano and eight other treatment professionals did ask the Seattle Center, the mayor, and the city council to shut down the party that celebrates repealing pot prohibition.
"Not only will this public event be in violation of state law, Seattle Center is a poor location for the party considering it takes place during Winterfest, a family-friendly event," they wrote.
The group includes Richard Catalano, director of a UW research center that will advise the state on drug-prevention grants generated by revenue from pot taxes. They argue that state law bans smoking in "public places," Initiative 502 bans pot use on public property, and pot-tolerant parties should be 1,000 feet from schools and parks.
So it's illegal and terrible for fambwies!?!! No, as Ben explains. The smoking ban in question doesn't apply outdoors, the pot will be kept out of plain sight to conform with legal standards, and—for fuck's sake—that family-friendly Winterfest event that must be protected from a pot tent?
It has beer gardens.
Maybe Catalno and his gang are upset about the alcohol parties—maybe they tried to shut down those family-friendly Winterfest beer gardens and all the other beer gardens at Seattle Center—but I doubt it. Ending alcohol prohibition was good for society, even fambwies! So using children as weapons in a war for dry Victorian purity would make them unconvincing windbags. If they want to be credible, they know they can't talk that way about alcohol. But they haven't learned that about pot, apparently. They are peddling anti-pot bullshit, crushing their own credibility, and teaching kids to ignore people like them. That's too bad. Kids shouldn't use pot. Catalano and company should keep their powder dry so they're actually credible when it counts, not attacking adults celebrating prohibition repeal day. Which is worth celebrating, for booze and pot.
It's Day Four of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. Pearl Jam vs. Slog Holiday Charity Challenge! The challenge continues until we get a definitive answer to this very important question: Whose fans are the best fans? Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's fans? Pearl Jam's fans? Or Slog's fans?
The answer depends on whose fans raise the most money for YouthCare's Orion Center, which provides food, shelter, safety, and alternatives to homeless teens right here in Seattle. And the Orion Center really does save lives:
@fakedansavage @PearlJam @macklemore @strangerslog Thanks Dan. This place saved my life as a kid. Makes me miss Seattle so much seeing this
— Nina Locachona (@NinaLocachona) December 5, 2013
For 40 years, YouthCare has been sending its employees out to the streets, bridges, and parks where homeless young people congregate. They offer these youth a chance at a stable life: daily hot meals, a clothing bank, shelter beds, GED classes, job training programs, and help finding permanent housing. These are our city's exploited and forgotten young people: About 74 percent of those that YouthCare sees were physically or sexually abused at home, while 40 percent left home or were kicked out because of their sexuality. YouthCare and the Orion Center do important work—they save lives—and you can help save the Orion Center by making a donation to the Holiday Charity Challenge!
TOTAL $$$ RAISED SO FAR FOR THE ORION CENTER:
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans have donated: $9,182.00
• Pearl Jam fans have donated: $5,202.00
• Slog fans have donated: $2,450.00
TOTAL $$$ RAISED OVER FIRST THREE DAYS: $16,834.00
Because Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pearl Jam are so awesome, they're each offering two VIP tickets to their shows in Seattle this week! (Slog hasn't offered up shit—yet! Slog shit is coming soon!) Pearl Jam play at KeyArena tomorrow, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are at KeyArena December 10–12. Donate to the Orion Center right now—any amount counts!—then forward us your receipt with why it's so very damn important you're at the show. Donate and forward by 4:30 pm today to enter. Winners announced here tomorrow morning!
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans: GO HERE TO GIVE!
• Pearl Jam fans: GO HERE TO GIVE!
• Slog fans: GO HERE TO GIVE!
The fans that raise the most for the Orion Center by December 24th WIN the title of the Best Fans of the Best Band Ever!
As always: Give at least $25 to the Orion Center right now, forward us your receipt and your commenter handle, and we'll give you a commenter tag on Slog that says SLOG FAN, MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FAN, or PEARL JAM FAN! Your choice!
Activists Who Got $15 Minimum Wage Passed in SeaTac are Marching from SeaTac to Seattle Today: That's a long march. "It's going to be all day long in the tradition of marches for social justice struggles. We'll be landing at Seattle City Hall at 4:30pm," organizer Sage Wilson told KIRO. Kshama Sawant says she looks forward to working with city council colleagues to pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and "if corporate resistance results in the ordinance getting watered down or not passing in 2014, then we will need to place an initiative on the 2014 ballot. Seattle’s average rent rose faster than any other city in the country last year. Workers simply can’t afford to wait any longer." If you can't be there in person, you can follow along with today's march here or on twitter: #onthemarch.
President Obama Is Right There with Them: "It's well past time to raise the minimum wage," he said in a speech you should watch. "The top 10 percent no longer takes in one-third of our income — it now takes half. Whereas in the past, the average CEO made about 20 to 30 times the income of the average worker, today’s CEO now makes 273 times more."
Workers in Cities Around the Country Are Marching and Protesting Today, Too: "Workers and their supporters are expected to strike at the nation's major national fast-food restaurants" today, Al Jazeera America reports, including in cities that hadn't previously joined the protest yet. The restaurants they are walking out of include McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and KFC.
(Pssst—By the Way, the Economy Is Doing Better Than They Said It Was) "The economy expanded much faster than first thought in the third quarter, as the government on Thursday revised its estimate of growth in the period to a 3.6 percent annual rate from 2.8 percent," New York Times reports.
City Council Needs to Change This Police Chief Rule Now: Before the search for a new police chief gets underway, they need to change the rule that says "a new police chief hired from outside SPD can't bring any command staff with him or her," because that's nuts. As Anna pointed out yesterday on Slog, "It's attractive for chiefs considering a move to be allowed to bring along someone they know and trust to be part of a new command staff in a new city" and "it's odd to ask someone to come in to help reform a department... and then say, oh, yeah, you have to hire your entire six-person command staff from our troubled department." Tim Burgess says this rule has "stopped us form getting the kinds of candidates we want."
Washington State Woman Woman Unknowingly Live-Tweets Her Husband's Fatal Car Accident: She was tweeting about emergency responders on their way to a two-car collision in Vancouver, Wash., before she realized who was in one of those cars.
Port Orchard Bartender Gets $5,000 Tip: "He said he had made a lot of money and was finding ways of distributing it."
Costco Labels Memoir by Fictional Anchorman Ron Burgundy "Non-Fiction" I was totally with them when they labeled the Bible "fiction," but this is pushing it.
The Stranger's Office Mouse: Early returns were trending toward McGinn, but we all know about early returns. The populace has spoken, and the mouse has been named Megan Seling.
Slouching Towards 80: Joan Didion, who redefined narrative nonfiction with some of the most distinctive reporting in the American canon, is 79 today. If you've never read the title essay in The White Album, they have a website for that. If you've read that but never read this or this or this, get on it. Here's a video of Tom Brokaw interviewing Didion in the 1970s, when she was living in California. He calls her writing style "spare and occasionally sinister," and she says, "It's the only aggressive act I have."
I Just Pulled Slouching Towards Bethlehem Off a Shelf and Opened at Random: And because I am a nerd I am going to type it out the paragraph I opened to—the last paragraph of the introduction.
I am not sure what more I could tell you about these pieces. I could tell you that I liked some of them more than others, but that all of them were hard for me to do, and took more time than perhaps they were worth; that there is always a point in the writing of a piece when I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered a small stroke, leaving me apparently undamaged but actually aphasic. I was in fact as sick as I have ever been when I was writing "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"; the pain kept me awake at night and so for twenty and twenty-one hours a day I drank gin-and-hot-water to blunt the pain and took Dexedrine to blunt the gin and wrote the piece. (I would like you to believe that I kept working out of some real professionalism, to meet the deadline, but that would not be entirely true; I did have a deadline, but it was also a troubled time, and working did to the trouble what gin did to the pain.) What else is there to tell? I am bad at interviewing people. I avoid situations in which I have to talk to anyone's press agent. (This precludes doing pieces on most actors, a bonus in itself.) I do not like to make telephone calls, and would not like to count the mornings I have sat on some Best Western motel bed somewhere and tried to force myself to put through the call to the assistant district attorney. My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.
Joan Didion, everyone. May she live forever.
This is interesting. Philip Mirowski, a "historian and philosopher of economic thought at the University of Notre Dame" and author of a newish book called Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste (a book I mostly recommend), used the keynote speech for a conference in Australia ("Life and Debt: Living through the Financialisation of the Biosphere") to attack Naomi Klein and all other leftists who are under the impression that, unlike the right, their political view is closer to or agrees better with the current scientific understanding, particularly in the area of climate change. (Mirowski is a leftist thinker who is in the habit of attacking other leftist thinkers, including me—read his new book). Here is the lecture...
But here is where Mirowski makes a massive mistake: He argues that neoliberals actually do have the same close and practical relationship science as those on the left. Science (in the form of geoengineering), he says near the end of the lecture, is just as important to their thinking as ours. The problem with this argument? Neoliberals are not dealing with science but with science fiction. And those two things are not at all the same.
The right, then, is either in the past (denial) or in the future (science fiction) but nowhere to be found in the moment, the concrete science, the current hard data. Where the left is is still where the science is.
Finally, Mirowski should not give neoliberals so much credit. They are delaying action not because they are waiting for the science to arrive, but because they want to pass the problem into the future ("In the long run we are all dead"). And this nihilistic program (pushing as much of the present into the future) is indeed consistent with the 30-year financialization of the economy.
Hiphop mogul/rapper Jay Z announced on his blog Dec. 3 that he and his wife/R&B superstar Beyoncé will eat a vegan diet for 22 days. Challenged by a friend to consume only plant-based meals, the veteran rapper—who just turned 44—decided to accept it and will eat no meat or dairy products until Christmas. After that they will consider whether to continue to live on the higher evolutionary plane where vegans exist.
Mentioned yesterday, and worth watching in full if you haven't yet. Ezra Klein calls it "perhaps the single best economic speech of his presidency."
I recently reactivated my OK Cupid profile after a hiatus from the site while I was in a relationship. The good news is that since going back my profile had been getting lots of attention and I've been able to make a few dates. The problem is that I setup dates with two different women and only after making the plans did I discover that they both teach in the same small department at the same small university here in town. The dates are on different days, but the same weekend.
What's the etiquette here? Since they're first dates and the assumption with internet dating is that you're probably seeing other people until you have a conversation about doing otherwise, my inclination would normally be to not say anything. My hesitancy is that I stand out like a sore thumb in the community where we all live and I feel like it would be pretty obvious that they were talking about the same person if they turn out to be friends and have a simple conversation about the dates they went on this weekend.
Should I cancel one of the dates or at least postpone it further out? Is it appropriate to disclose or should I just see how it plays out?
My response after the jump…
The search for a new police chief will begin in earnest next year, and the city council is proposing a rule change designed to attract stronger candidates. A bill from Council Member Bruce Harrell first heard in his public safety committee today would allow a new chief to hire some of his senior command staff from outside the Seattle Police Department.
Which makes sense, right? The federal police monitor overseeing SPD's compliance with a consent decree has said that at least some of the current command staff is actually contributing to the department's problems.
But the move doesn't come without controversy—among cops and council members.
Thanks to a rule passed by the council in the 1970s, anyone hired for a position above captain in the Seattle Police Department is currently required to be promoted from within. Which means that a new police chief hired from outside SPD can't bring any command staff with him or her, or hire any from another police force, and must instead promote people for roles like assistant chief from within SPD.
The restriction is doubly unappealing to potential chief candidates: First, it's attractive for chiefs considering a move to be allowed to bring along someone they know and trust to be part of a new command staff in a new city. Second, it seems odd to ask someone to come in to help reform a department—a department whose structural and cultural problems extend all the way up through the current command staff—and then say, oh, yeah, you have to hire your entire six-person command staff from our troubled department. According to Council Member Tim Burgess, this restriction has been "a big roadblock in the past" that has actually "stopped us form getting the kinds of candidates we want."
But this can't be taken well by the police unions, right? And indeed, in the public safety committee meeting today, chair Bruce Harrell mentioned that there's already been at least a preliminary objection by the police officers' union that they see this as a problem since it affects their hiring pipeline. No word yet from the police managers' union, which represents these higher-ranking officers.
That's where the claws came out:
Ellen Altfest is someone I keep thinking back to. Her paintings at the Venice Biennale were so quiet, perfect, and strange, and, even better, a little bit too much of each of those adjectives.
She is plainly a virtuoso with a brush and oil paint on canvas. Her compositions are so tight, it feels like she was physically cornered when she was creating them. Like she could only back up so far or bump into a wall.
Often, that's the problem of a photographer. Altfest does not work from photographs. She works from the things themselves, models and plants and trees.
She hurts people and gets hurt when she's working. Turning the historical tables, she paints male nude models, and when she paints them, they become still-life objects demanding and rewarding a level of scrutiny that's usually reserved for late-night mirror sessions by confounded teenaged girls. Every penis wrinkle, every neck wrinkle, every hair, every stretch mark, every vein.
She is hard core. She is serious. She is absurd.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney's office has filed theft, burglary, and malicious mischief charges against Samuel Kenneth McDonnough for allegedly trying to steal the Vitoria Clipper ferry last week. Obviously, McDonough is an awful character in a made-for-TV movie. But the real stars are the writers at the prosecutor's office and SPD (click to embiggen):
I've uploaded a copy of the incredible record—including the SPD hostage negotiations team's account of calling McDonough on the ferry's cell phone only to be told "I don't want to talk right now" before he hung up—HERE.
Yesterday, I wrote about my distaste for year-end arts lists. It turns out, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Rather than compile the usual year-end book lists—they published no less than 20 lists last year—NPR has instead compiled a digital concierge of the year's best 200 books. The books aren't arranged in some arbitrary "best" to "worst" construction. Instead, they're grouped by genre and by the person who recommended the book, which allows you to make some interesting jumps from book to book. It's a much more helpful way to keep track of the most noteworthy books of the year. (Although I would encourage you to step outside your preferred genres; you'll probably find something worthwhile by expanding your horizons a little bit.)
In their introduction to the concierge, NPR hints that BuzzFeed's obsession with list-making might have been a reason why they decided to take a more nuanced approach. If they can convince the rest of the internet to give up on pointless list-making, maybe BuzzFeed does serve an important purpose after all.
Of course you do! If you count yourself among the legion of Pearl Jammers (Pearl Jammies?), you're not going to want to miss the Pearl Jam Pop-Up Shop on Saturday!
There are so many neat events happening tonight I can't tell you about them all in a single blog post. First up, Rob Delaney is doing comedy (and signing his memoir) at the Neptune. My interview with him is here. Also, Fred Vogelstein is reading at Town Hall tonight, and I explained why his book, about the Apple/Google phone wars, is so damned compelling in the book section this week.
In addition, Coll Thrush is at the Olympic Sculpture Park. The interestingly named Thrush is the author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place. Stranger art critic Jen Graves says Thrush is "AWESOME." The caps are hers. She is not the sort of person to overuse capital letters, so pay heed.
And oh my God there are so many more interesting events. We've got a celebration of a famous Lummi totem pole carver at the Burke, a flash fiction reading at University Book Store, and Oscar-winning actor Octavia Spencer at Third Place Books. And more! Books about miniature gardening; author Julia Serano, the author of Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, at Elliott Bay Book Company; and others I can't mention because I just ran out of breath. Oh my God, and the Silent Reading Party! Can't forget about that. That's always a good time.
If you want to see what else is happening tonight, and for the rest of the (surprisingly busy) foreseeable future, you should visit our readings calendar, which now stretches clear out to February. Phew!
Where does the driving, high-velocity element of your sound come from? I hear Blade Runner. Joy Division did the music to Blade Runner, and y'all came out.
Jude Miqueli: When I'm drumming, I feel like I'm driving a spaceship. The turns, the ramping up, easing in, and putting on the brakes. It's all a series of visions I have. I listen to each bandmate, look at them, and keep driving. I make sure we all land safely.
David Lawson at Seattle Transit Blog has three tips for not fucking up this simple task.
President Obama just wrapped up a big speech at the liberal Center for American Progress on how the chasms between rich and poor are undermining the country. He says this is a "profoundly unequal" economy, pledges to push for an increase in the federal minimum wage, cites Pope Francis' scathing critique of capitalism, and argues that class matters as much as race:
The fact is this: The opportunity gap in America is now as much about class as it is about race. And that gap is growing...So if we're going to take on growing inequality, and try to improve upward mobility for all people, we've got to move beyond the false notion that this is an issue exclusively of minority concern.
(Incidentally, this is a similar point—classism is as much a barrier as racism—to the one Kanye West has been trying to make in recent interviews, except that West can't help but argue it from an egocentric millioniare fashion-obsessed celebrity perspective.)
On the policy front, Obama briefly mentions the need for "targeted initiatives" to address racialized income gaps, but doesn't explain what those might be. And as Colorlines points out, he glosses over how people of color have been deliberately cut out of the benefits of America's post-war economic growth.
What say you, Slog?