There's a great article in this week's Times Magazine, a personal essay/longform journalism by Nicole Hannah-Jones, a middle-class black woman, about the public school she's sending her daughter to, and why, and the patterns of segregation in NYC schools. Read the whole thing, but here's the central topic:
The New York City public-school system is 41 percent Latino, 27 percent black and 16 percent Asian. Three-quarters of all students are low-income. In 2014, the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, released a report showing that New York City public schools are among the most segregated in the country. Black and Latino children here have become increasingly isolated, with 85 percent of black students and 75 percent of Latino students attending "intensely" segregated schools -- schools that are less than 10 percent white.
This is not just New York's problem. I've spent much of my career as a reporter chronicling rampant school segregation in every region of the country, and the ways that segregated schools harm black and Latino children. One study published in 2009 in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management showed that the academic achievement gap for black children increased as they spent time in segregated schools. Schools with large numbers of black and Latino kids are less likely to have experienced teachers, advanced courses, instructional materials and adequate facilities, according to the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Most black and Latino students today are segregated by both race and class, a combination that wreaks havoc on the learning environment. Research stretching back 50 years shows that the socioeconomic makeup of a school can play a larger role in achievement than the poverty of an individual student's family. Getting Najya into one of the disproportionately white schools in the city felt like accepting the inevitability of this two-tiered system: one set of schools with excellent resources for white kids and some black and Latino middle-class kids, a second set of underresourced schools for the rest of the city's black and Latino kids.
I completely agree with her presentation of the facts about what schools in NYC are mostly like, and that it's incredibly shitty. A year or so ago, This American Life did a two part piece on school segregation, and the second half was about a 'successful' school integration program in New Haven. Which is great that they were doing something that worked, but the process involved tempting white kids in from the suburbs with fantastic magnet schools, that did end up integrated, so some minority kids from New Haven did get to go to the good schools. But there were still underfunded, wrecked, 100% minority schools that half or more of the New Haven kids were stuck in. Better than no integration at all, better than no well-functioning schools at all, but still awful.
By 1918 Sanhuber had been living in the Oesterreichs' attic for five years undetected, having regular sex with Dolly, and even publishing some of his stories under a pen name. Meanwhile, Fred began questioning his sanity: He heard inexplicable noises coming from the attic, his cigars kept going missing, and he could swear that strange shadows passed outside his bedroom door some nights. He decided to move to Los Angeles that year, not knowing that the phantom haunting his Milwaukee mansion would follow him out West.
This story is something else! Also "Walburga" is quite a name.
Via the roomie.
David Quammen has a series of pieces up about it for some big National Geographic retrospective. I'm currently reading his book Spillover and the man can write. Also, all gonna die.
This is a terrible way to die. Yellowstone is dangerous.
Via E. Messily
"I lift because I'm poor," Lifterslife responded. "I'm at that age where I feel bad when I ask my parents for money that they can't really spare. 'But why don't you just go without?' you ask. Because in today's society dressing like you're poor and a bum will get you nowhere." Members of Liftblr feel empowered by a sense of social justice. They reblog Bernie Sanders memes and post anti-racist screeds. When one anonymous user threatens them with "karma," they turn the thread into a conversation on the cultural appropriation of non-Western concepts. Feminist rhetoric infuses their language. And they're extremely anti-corporatist. "Shoplifting can be an act of civil disobedience," writes one user. "If you do get caught, tell them: This is not petty theft. This is non-violent resistance to a violent and oppressive economic system in which we are trapped."
It's a slow news cycle.
Your walls are so bare. Perhaps a free space poster from NASA would help?
Former commenters linked to this elsewhere - the gist is that while Brock Turner is infuriating, to recall the judge is misguided. That the bigger problem, nationally, is judges giving overly harsh sentences to predominantly minority defendants. If you recall this judge, or negatively impact his career, other judges will be encouraged to err on the side of harsh sentences.
I feel like they are smarter about this stuff than me, but I also don't get this argument - the whole point is that Brock got such a light sentence for basically racist reasons. Is it really too much to ask that other judges interpret this case as a warning about racist differential sentencing of defendants, and not blanket sentencing procedures?
Thorn writes: Part Two: Winning a Democratic Victory, Chapters 9 and 10
9. Energizing the Entente
This chapter jumps around a lot through place and time, first looking at the German army's losses in northern France in spring of 1918 and the postwar German belief that a major cause of defeat was the lack of a charismatic leader like the French and British had. Tooze thinks that's too simplistic, that on all sides it was what was required to keep up the war that created both powerful leaders and radical forces opposing them. The difference was that the Entente had more financial strength to draw on and that its leaders used the promise of democracy at home and "liberal empire" in their colonies to maintain popular support rather than fall apart into revolution as Russia had.
We start with (America's favorite fighting Frenchman) Clemenceau, whose official policy upon his 1917 election could be loosely but not unfairly translated "fuck yeah, war!" and who was desperate to create a cabinet uniting various factions on the left as long as they would support his goal. This was unlike Italy, where Vittorio Orlando also became a liberal prime minister in 1917 and managed to make a broader inclusive cabinet by allowing for differences of opinion. But Italian public support for the war was hampered by truths coming out about how Italy had been drawn into war through secret dealings, plus the more recent military disaster at Caporetto. Progressives like Orlando hoped Italy could be a beacon to postwar Central Powers areas as they moved from territories of the empires to independence. It was becoming increasingly clear throughout the Entente that this was the best and most likely postwar outcome, but what would that process mean for the empires within the Entente? The largest of those empires also featured a newly elected strong liberal leader, Britain's Lloyd George, and he hoped to oversee both the winning of the war and a redefinition of freedom and self-governance for and in British territories.
The most obvious and precarious place this was an issue was Ireland. The idea of Home Rule had been in play since well before the war, but this was widely rejected by the Protestant majority in Ulster, which wanted to remain under direct British rule. When Home Rule made it through Parliament but was immediately suspended, some nationalists grew increasingly radicalized and the 1916 uprising was not merely violent and destructive but also an international PR disaster for Britain. And nowhere did Irish nationalist narratives gain more traction than in the United States, where Wilson still hadn't agreed to enter the war. Or maybe I overstate that, because Anglo-Irish activist and Theosophist mystic Annie Besant is definitely not the only one drawing attention to the Irish uprising in India, where a push for Home Rule was also taking shape. Once the largely Hindu Indian National Congress and the Muslim League together announced that political change was needed, Britain was stuck facing a future where Indian freedom might be much closer than had been expected. Lloyd George entered office in 1916 after having been a successful Munitions Minister, and his tactical approach was to create an Imperial War Cabinet, bringing in the chair of the Indian National Congress as a full member along with other well-known statesmen from within the empire. Both in Ireland and India, public opinion differed as to how quickly and in what order freedoms should be implemented and the British government wanted to support and legitimize moderates without providing rhetorical ammunition for radicals. Doing so in a time of military crackdown to support the war effort was particularly tough and for that and many reasons not entirely successful. Placing little old lady Annie Besant on house arrest in India, for instance, just drew attention to her message and encouraged those who saw this as a sign that Britain wasn't ready to support Home Rule.
With all this unrest in the empire, Britain needed to make sure things were under control on the homefront. Workers were striking in defiance of their union leadership. Women were pushing for voting rights. And if women were to be given the vote, which women and what about the working-class men? Tooze's phrase is "manhood suffrage," which is probably the standard one but has also been making me snicker for weeks. A wide acceptance of manhood suffrage at a time when many of those working-class men were risking their lives for the war was uncontroversial even among feminist suffrage activists, who accepted a more limited victory. Democracy had become inevitable and was now taken for granted. People (at least MORE people) would get to vote because they were people, rather than because they could somehow prove themselves fit for that responsibility.
Meanwhile in India, Lloyd George had placed British Jew (this matters later!) Edwin Montagu as Secretary of State for India, meaning he and India's viceroy Chelmsford had to figure out India's transition from part of the empire to self-governing dominion while getting sufficient buy-in across a territory diverse in caste, class, and religion. The Montagu-Chelmsford plan was a compromise that wasn't as liberal as Montagu or certainly the nationalists would have liked but also wasn't shocking enough to lose support in Britain or India from those doing well under the status quo. The goal of "responsible government" meant not just installing an Indian autocrat but accepting that India would need to find a way to self-govern democratically. Ideally Home Rule would mean India would be a partner connected to Britain like Australia or Canada. To that end, prominent Indian nationalists supported Britain's war effort, suggesting that investing in War Bonds was an investment in Home Rule.
Australia and Canada weren't able to be persuasive examples when it came to Ireland, though, because Australia was too Catholic and Canada too Protestant for either country(/dominion) to intervene successfully in deliberations. American popular opinion tipped wildly toward Home Rule to the point that British politicians felt their hand were tied. Lloyd George once more attempted to work out a compromise, but Sinn Fein wasn't willing to join talks. Wilson was kept up-to-date on the details of those talks, an unprecedented openness that shocked and annoyed many British politicians, but he refused to intervene when Lloyd George requested he take an official stance and politically support his preferred version of a partitioned Ireland. Instead, the compromise without American help or interference was to offer Home Rule with the exemption of Ulster in exchange for conscription of troops from the newly independent Ireland. This was a temporary and flawed solution, but at least as an emergency measure it held.
Britain also faced the question of what to do in the Middle East. Feelings were hurt, it seems, when the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers. London took control of Egypt's cotton market to support the war effort and prop up the economy, encouraging seeds of unrest there. Zionists were moving to find space for "world Jewry" in Palestine, with the understanding that this would mean an ally for Britain against the Ottoman Turks. Culturally and socially assimilated Jews like Montagu opposed both the proposal and the implication that all the world's Jews were represented by these Zionists, especially because the Zionists did nothing to deflate stereotyped assumptions about the roles of Jews in America's financial markets or in political affairs in Russia. Here, too, Wilson didn't feel inclined to take a position, but eventually he was won over, Montagu was outvoted, and Balfour's declaration created an intention to found and support a homeland for Jews in Palestine.
In all of this, Wilson's unwillingness to commit seems to be a driving factor, as was his seeming feud with Lloyd George for dominance and liberal street cred. America loomed large mostly in its absence, and yet still impacted the inner workings of the Entente in unprecedented ways.
Chapter 10: The Arsenals of Democracy
In a time when financial markets and global economies were more deeply linked than ever before, would a long war even be financially feasible? Spoiler alert: yes, sort of. Tooze lays out three economic models in play at the time: the self-sufficient national economy Lenin proposed, a "democratic capitalism" based on America's wealth as used in Europe (with a focus on what he considers a mythical or at least overhyped belief in American productivism and abundance), and the idea of inter-Atlantic cooperation as the Entente had to work together to make and implement decisions.
On the democratic capitalism front, Herbert Hoover gets props for getting food aid to occupied Belgium and then throughout the war zones of Europe. Henry Ford was doing a good thing by paying his workers a living wage, but his promises that those workers could build military machinery amounted to almost nothing. Even once US soldiers were finally pledged to the war effort, they were training on outdated weapons and didn't have enough ships to take them to Europe because bickering in Congress had delayed the build of cargo ships. Even once troops did start shipping out, that meant those ships didn't have enough room to carry food to Europe anymore, and Wilson wasn't willing to force trade ships off the profitable routes to Brazil or Japan, so British or French vessels carried many of the American fighters across the Atlantic and to save space the soldiers were sent without equipment and supplied by the British or French forces who would then train them. American aid came at a significant cost to the Entente and while that cooperation no longer gets the credit, it was the necessary reality.
Meanwhile, Britain's leadership in particular was worrying even before official American involvement in the war that American involvement would mean American cooption of eventual victory. If war could be won quickly, before it financially destroyed Britain and France, it would be a great success for them. If they could only win with American help, did that mean the win itself was then American? Eventually when it came down to money, American help was indeed needed. Congress funded Entente loans directly from public credit, using funds raised for the war effort. Because American loans came with restrictions that forced borrowers to prioritize spending on American items, this was hugely profitable on several fronts for the US. By the end of the war, only the dollar would still be backed by gold, even though Britain had used war powers to take over South Africa's gold mines to be able to control prices and prop up the pound.
That was unsurprisingly unpopular in South Africa, as was the British takeover of the Egyptian cotton industry. In the early moments of self-determination, India had been able to create export taxes that changed their status from colony to something closer to an equal economy in their dealings with Britain. The rupee was still tied to silver, though, and to the pound sterling. Various awkward plans to keep the rupee from plummeting when there would be expected postwar deflation of the sterling were unsettling in India. Eventually Britain insisted on keeping India's export earnings as war bonds and decoupled its connection to silver, though a deal allowing US silver reserves to be bought up to replenish Indian silver stocks eventually stabilized the independent rupee. Who could do what with which money where was obviously a major concern at the governmental level, and Britain's gambles almost led to economic collapse more than once, always requiring US aid and the costs that came with it.
Tooze notes that alongside this narrative of high-finance deals runs the reality that people were starving all over. Bread lines and terror fueled the Russian Revolution. Japan's Prime Minister was overthrown after nationwide rice riots. The shocking $5/day wage Ford offered in 1914 wasn't even a living wage a few years later. Wilson's government was spinning Liberty Bonds as a liberation from Wall Street, but much of the money going into war bonds came from bank credit, often then resold to the central banks in credit creation programs. Inflation took hold not only in the countries directly at war but in the US too. The Wilson administration had tried to stay out of any deal that wouldn't be beneficial but was still trapped in this worldwide economic mess. Americans were decidedly not going to be happy about this.
So what's it gonna be, California? Is there mm to the Sanders campaign?
Majorie Hillis gives the very best advice.
I'm achey all over and I haven't done anything athletic or difficult. Do I have zika? I do, don't I.
J, Robot sends in this article, about how requiring patients to coordinate their own care is a crazy, time-consuming, largely unacknowledged burden on them.
Mostly it is an under-acknowledged topic and she gets big props for writing the piece. Now my gripes: her particular injury is a foot injury. She doesn't really go into how much more impossible this all becomes if you're sick and feel like shit, as opposed to having a compartmentalized injury. She can bike around, but can't go running.
Second and more petty: this tone of surprise is invading everything and it's driving me crazy. The tone of voice that started with This American Life, where you just can barely believe the turn of events that has led you to utter the sentence that you're now dragging out in shock.
What I didn't understand was the burden patients face in managing the health care system: a massive web of doctors, insurers, pharmacies, and other siloed actors that seem intent on not talking with one another. That unenviable task gets left to the patient, the secret glue that holds the system together.
Oh ugh. Just report without injecting your own personal awe at your own reporting. (But she's right! The burden placed on patients is a huge impediment to actually getting people back on their feet again! I'm just a jerk!)
Trivers writes: It appears that our Fearless Governor was paid to turn a blind eye to the scammy nature of Trump University by none other than The Donald himself.
Greg Abbott is, unsurprisingly, a crooked turd. What's surprising is how little it takes to buy him. What's surprising is that, at $35,000, he's technically within the reach of upper middle class families! Maybe we can crowdfund better policy? In all seriousness, the Republican Party is hardly even the party of business anymore so much as it is the party of con artist scumbags.
As scores of students complained that Trump University was a ripoff, the Better Business Bureau in 2010 gave the school a D-minus, its second-lowest grade. State regulators also began to take notice.
The office of then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, opened a civil investigation of "possibly deceptive trade practices." Abbott's probe was quietly dropped in 2010 when Trump University agreed to end its operations in Texas. Trump subsequently donated $35,000 to Abbott's successful gubernatorial campaign, according to records.
Heebie's take: Abbott is the worst. I've got a belief - maybe inaccurate - that he is much more actively destructive than Perry. It's sort of a gut feeling.
I don't know if any of you have been following the case of the Stanford swimmer, Brock Allen Turner, who was literally caught in the middle of raping someone. The victim impact statement is so impressive. It preemptively shames the entire system and every individual who had a hand in giving Turner just six months in jail.