Featured

Questions From the Headlines

When headline writers use questions, Burt Likko answers them. Briefly, completely, and unabashedly expressing his own opinion. Ten questions about politics, the business of news, news of business, and grizzly bears.

Book Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

In a sense, it is the perfect speculative fiction novel, even as it pays unspoken homage to a similarly-themed book by very different authors from thirty-eight years ago.

The Plasticity of Memory, Indeed: Some quick reflections of the call to charge Ferguson eyewitnesses with perjury

The latest conservative talking point regarding Ferguson, via Rudy Giuliani, is a call for eyewitnesses who testified for the prosecution to be charged with perjury.

Which, says Tod, is a good excuse to take a closer look at what eyewitness testimony really is.

Featured

America’s Tiger Mom and the Totally Valid, Not At All Biased, Really Scientific Practice of Ranking America’s Cultures and Races

Famed Tiger-Mom Amy Chua’s new book helpfully lets its readers know which cultures and races in America are superior, and which are inferior.

Reflecting on Motivations

A recent study found that the responses of whites to questions about meritocracy during the admissions process shifted when a strict meritocracy risked harming whites’ admissions prospects: “While the principle of fairness may be a driving concern in people’s attitudes towards policies such as affirmative action, social welfare, and fair housing, the malleability of white…

On Zimmerman and Stand Your Ground [Updated]

If your Facebook wall looks anything like mine, yesterday was a big day for The Nation’s Aura Bogado, whose response to the George Zimmerman trial — headlined “White Supremacy Acquits George Zimmerman” —  went positively viral. Bogado’s piece deserves to be read in full, but here’s the gist: When Zimmerman was acquitted today, it wasn’t…

Outreach, Rand Paul Style

I’ve been thinking lately about Rand Paul’s recent attempt at what is called minority outreach at Howard University, “the historically black college” (apparently the mandatory phrasing). I’ve been thinking about what, exactly, Paul did wrong. And I’ve been thinking about whether it’s fair of me to focus on where he misstepped instead of where he…

What Spurs the GOP’s Conservative Base

Andrew Kohut, former Pew Research Center president and founding director, has a big op-ed in WaPo arguing that while the GOP’s intransigent conservative base keeps it competitive at the Congressional level, it at the same time renders the White House out of reach. It’s not really a new argument, but Kohut’s a nonpartisan establishmentarian, so…

Thoughts Obama and Appalachia: It Ain’t (Quite) About That Southern Thing

1) Voter registration. Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arkansas are disproportionately Democratic—that is, when you compare voting preferences with party identification.  In Kentucky and West Virginia, the margins are 56-37 and 54-29, respectively.  While the Old, Solid South has trended Republican in party ID, Coal Country has remained solidly Democratic.  There are plenty of races in Kentucky—particularly…

The Costas Rant

I expect that this is going to be a somewhat unpopular post, judging by the feedback I’ve gotten on Twitter for suggesting it in the first place, but I want to hear what other people think. First, the background. During halftime of the Steelers/Chiefs game on Sunday night, Bob Costas took to the air to…

On Hobbits, Race, and Self-Contained Worlds

I come down closer to Jamelle Bouie’s side of the Hobbit argument than Adam Serwer’s. Jamelle argues that basically Tolkien’s story is one of the British Isles, and that the mythological backdrop of Middle-Earth is taken from Nordic and British myth. Therefore it makes sense to have light-skinned Hobbits. To draw from a brief conversation…

Wariness and skepticism.

I don’t have much to say about race issues in the USA, since I think I’m still at a stage where I should be doing much more listening than speaking, but this month-old blog post by Pitchfork critic Nitsuh Abebe seems sharp enough that I should post an excerpt and point you to the rest…

Race and homeownership, continued

A few months ago, I recommended Jason Kuznicki’s excellent article on America’s history of state-sanctioned racial discrimination. In it, Kuznicki discusses the relationship between government regulations and social prejudice (emphasis mine): In a mobile and egalitarian commercial republic influenced by Christianity, practicing racism ought to be difficult. It becomes much easier, however, when there are…

“Racism.” As Defined by Clueless Conservatives

(cross-posted from the United States of Jamerica) Patterico, a conservative blogger, describes his “pontifications” as “harangues that make sense.”  Assuming the definition of sense has remained relatively constant, this can’t possibly be the case.  Especially when the blogger in question — in a post linked approvingly by America’s Worst Race Theorist — cites African-American discomfort…

Race, wealth, and homeownership

Reading Jason Kuznicki’s article in the latest issue of Cato Journal, I was struck by the similarities between his historical analysis and a post Jamelle wrote a few months ago. First, here’s Jamelle (emphasis mine): For what it’s worth, I don’t expect that to change; if we acknowledge the federal government’s role in creating generational…

The New White City

I know this article on race and progressive cities has taken a lot of criticism, but its central observation – that liberal policies and homogeneous cities are closely correlated – seems pretty intuitive. Progressives frequently argue that American hostility to redistribution stems from lingering racial anxiety. Conservatives are less eager to blame our welfare policies…

Sometimes We’re Wrong

Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing on conservatism: But if you are the slave, that essentially conservative approach will always privilege your master over you. Conservatism, with its belief in institutions, traditions, and the past, will seemingly always privilege (perhaps inadvertently) the powerful over the powerless. Institutions, traditions and the past belong to those with power. Privileging them,…