Friday, July 26, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Jeremy Piven, 48. I can't help but liking PCU; given all the Wesleyan people in Hollywood, as far as I know this is the only one actually about Wesleyan.

And good stuff:

1. Dahlia Lithwick on Nina Pillard, Senate Republicans, and "radical feminism."

2. Philip Klein, trying to convince conservatives that sounding like bigots is a bad idea. I think he's acting in good faith (although he might want to work on a stronger description of Jim Crow).

3. Ross Douthat on the politics for Republicans of voter ID and other such laws.

4. Abby Rapoport on the North Carolina voter restriction law.

5. And Molly Ball in This Town.


  1. I hope it's okay if I throw in another link... I feel as if it fits with the morning's apparent theme of voter ID laws/how the GOP "reaches out" to non-white voters:
    Harry Enten on the GOP's all-white strategy:

    What strikes me about this analysis, as with Sean Trende's analysis, is that it ignores the idea that the Democrat '16 nominee might improve among white voters if he or she is white. What if Obama's big dip in the white vote was in a large part due to his race? What if the GOP runs Ted Cruz, and discovers a similar, Obama-level dip in the white vote?

  2. Notwithstanding whether he should have emphasized Jim Crow more, I think Klein's column makes a very important observation about the unique black experience in 20th century America. (An observation that should be second nature to conservatives, but one they all too often willfully ignore) -

    Even after slavery ended, the former slaves were not "free", at least not in the way that a conservative/capitalist cares about. So when my great-grandfather immigrated from Italy in the Ellis Island wave in the early 20th century, he was immediately plugged into a supportive community that provided - perhaps most importantly - access to capital that gave him a huge kick start to his life in America.

    Meanwhile, the former slaves in the south were living in a Jim Crow environment that restricted access to employment, capital and even often the simplest things like what to buy or how much they would have to spend on the basics (often = the basics costing exactly what they made...but not "slaves"! Thank goodness for that).

    The difference between my great-grandfather's experience and that of a black former slave in the early 20th century is extremely important in ways that matter to capitalists.

    So while its right to oppose something like reparations as so much liberal do-goodery, its silly for capitalists to pretend like there isn't an underlying phenomenon that reparations are intended to address. That underlying phenomenon (access to capital = prosperity) is one of the things we care about the most!

  3. And one related postscript: conservatives are often defensive about what they perceive to be race-baiting on the part of blacks, at the expense of whites.

    But let's be realistic: if my historical access to the American dream had been processed through the Jim Crow south ("American dream", I guess) instead of Ellis Island, would I be enthusiastic toward those whose ancestry was more conducive to the American, capitalist dream?

    No. freaking. way. There's something strangely pitiful and self-indulgent about conservatives being irritated with perceived black antagonism about the lack of equal capital opportunity in America.

    Of course black people are pissed! That reflects a self-interest conservatives cherish!


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