Mossy Character writes: Excellent Tooze lecture on finance and America and stuff. The first 15 minutes or so will be familiar from Deluge, but other stuff thereafter.
1. The Supreme Court being a lap dog on the citizenship question is what's making me irate today. What's making you irate? We haven't done one of these recently. (Major bonus points for ease of downloading podcasts.)
2. Can anyone recommend a waterproof device that let you listen to music/podcasts while you swim? I'm thinking maybe I'd find swimming more rewarding if I wasn't bored to tears.
I'm a Biden skeptic, but, having watched his 2020 announcement, I can see a few reasons why he could resonate as a candidate right now:
He's already familiar, so he doesn't have to spend any time introducing himself and showing you photos of his dog or whatever.
He's one of the only candidates whose opening message is explicitly anti-Trump; he's basically saying, "These Trump years are fucking bonkers, amirite?"
Because he's a familiar politician from pre-Trump times, these digs at Trump carry extra weight, like a nostalgia for normalcy.
Who wants an update on a dull story from two years ago? You do!
No reason at all for you to remember these guys:
At the gym, there are two fulltime trainers, A and B. Both are getting degrees at the local university. Both are in or nearing the internship phase of their degree, (probably something like Athletic Training, although I don't know for sure.)
Y is getting married and they decide to move out of state. So Y sells the gym. Trainer A talks to his dad, who agrees to co-sign the loan, and buys the gym. Trainer B quits, but I'm not sure of the circumstances.
I bumped into Trainer B at the grocery store on Sunday. He is completing his internship in a nearby city, and working at an Amazon warehouse known for having very shitty working conditions.
Over the past two years, Trainer B switched from Amazon to a different local gym.
Very recently Trainer-turned-Owner A announced he is selling the gym, and the new owner is... Trainer B! So there you have it. Two years ago I drew some grandiose conclusions about accumulation and perpetuation of wealth, but I choose not to do so now.
1. Lurid Keyaki writes: Hey, there's been more terrorism. Maybe this is a good Sri Lanka link?
This is the time for national reckoning. We need to rise above the narrow nationalistic and extremist positions held by all ethnic and religious groups, and build a peace premised on justice and equality for all.
Since this has become such a hopeless proposition, in Asia and everywhere else, are there any hopeful alternatives? Discuss. (Also, in this article the Christians are not portrayed as holding any nationalistic or extremist positions, which makes that concluding "all ethnic and religious groups" ring a bit false. But whatever.)
2. Mossy Character writes: Tea in Sri Lanka:
According to the payslips gathered by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, workers at Fairtrade-certified estates were subject to 74 percent wage deductions on average, while those at Rainforest Alliance-backed estates saw 65 percent taken away.[...]The 17 wage slips showed laborers taking home an average of $1.54 daily after debt repayments, salary advances, and fees. In reality, some workers earned less as wages being halved for not meeting quotas or arriving late does not appear on the payslips.(Best I can figure, Sri Lankan minimum wage is USD 2.55/day.) A much wider study of tea in India and cocoa in Ghana:
Although chocolate and tea companies are highly profitable, workers at the base of their supply chains live far below the poverty line. Tea workers' wages in India are as low as 25 per cent of the poverty line amount and cocoa workers' wages in Ghana are around 30 per cent of the poverty line amount.[...]The study included tea plantations certified by Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Ethical Trade Partnership, and Trustea, and cocoa producers who are members of the Fairtrade and UTZ certified co-operative, Kuapa Kokoo. In the tea industry little difference was found in labour standards, including wage levels, between certified and non-certified tea plantations, with certified plantations faring worse than non-certified plantations against some indicators of labour abuse and unfair treatment.
Abigail Disney has a lot of money, but is basically a grounded person. Anyway, I found this particular detail fascinating:
Did you have a moment in your life when things started getting lavish and you realized, "Oh, I'm super rich"?
When I went off to college, Michael Eisner came in and reinvigorated the company, and then the stock price, which was basically my family's entire net worth, was ten times, 20 times, 50 times what it had been when I was growing up. So all of the sudden, we went from being comfortable, upper-middle-class people to suddenly my dad had a private jet. That's when I feel that my dad really lost his way in life. And that's why I feel hyperconscious about what wealth does to people. I lived in one family as a child, and then I didn't even recognize the family as I got older.
In what ways did your dad change, other than having a jet?
Actually, having a jet is a really big deal. If I were queen of the world, I would pass a law against private jets, because they enable you to get around a certain reality. You don't have to go through an airport terminal, you don't have to interact, you don't have to be patient, you don't have to be uncomfortable. These are the things that remind us we're human.
My dad's plane was a 737, and it was insane to have a 737 as a private airplane. It had a queen-sized bed with one big long seatbelt across it, and a shower, and it was ridiculous. We would use the plane occasionally because I have four kids, so it was much easier, obviously, to ride on my dad's plane with them. Then, at a certain point, I just said, "No, I think this is really bad for everybody."
She talks about other ways that insane wealth allows you to detach from the rest of humanity, but this is her big example.
I remember asking my dad, circa maybe 1992, if there was a threshhold above which sheer wealth was unethical for one person to hold. He had to think for a minute, maybe deciding on the complexity of the answer he wanted to give me, before saying yes, there is. I think a lot of Democrats would have struggled with that question then. But for SO MANY reasons, it's now obvious to most right-thinking people that people with grotesque amounts of wealth should be pillaged.
(And IIRC, there's a bunch of research demonstrating that wealthy people can easily lose their sense of empathy. Although maybe that's fallen victim to the reproducibility crisis? Whatever, it confirms my bias.)
Dairy Queen writes: Read. I have no value add commentary, just impotent political rage and overwhelming horror at what gun violence victims and their families go through. This is a great, hard piece.
Heebie's take: It's a good angle for a story, though - how kind journalists cover such grim stories humanely.
And yet Barden and Hockley consider Saslow as one of the good journalists they've dealt with in the last six years. The Sandy Hook parents keep a list of journalists to whom they won't talk with because of how they've been treated, and a list of those they will. Saslow is on the latter list. He's the kind, they said, who comes in not with his own agenda, and not with a goal of simply asking questions that will make them cry, but who wants to do his best to understand their reality.