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Why Black Americans Have Such A Hard Time Climbing The Economic Ladder

Black Americans

The Article: Down and Out by Jamelle Bouie in Slate.

The Text: “We didn’t run from where we grew up. We aren’t afraid to be associated with the people who came up with us.”

That’s Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks writing in defense of his friend, DeSean Jackson, who was cut from the Philadelphia Eagles amid reports of gang ties. Sherman isn’t trying to litigate the allegations or exonerate Jackson—he doesn’t know the details. But he doesn’t think it’s wrong for Jackson to associate with the men from his childhood.

And why would it be? Yes, some of them have criminal records—and for some, that includes gang activity—but leaving home is hard, and the social distance of wealth makes it even harder. As Sherman writes, “In desperate times for people who come from desperate communities, your friends become your family. I wouldn’t expect DeSean to ‘distance himself’ from anybody, as so many people suggest pro athletes ought to do despite having no understanding of what that means.”

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Vote Jeb If You Want A Civil War In The GOP

Jeb Bush

The Article: The Bush Schism by John Dickerson in Slate.

The Text: Jeb Bush is having a moment. For two months or so, as Chris Christie’s presidential fortunes have appeared abridged, people who have supported the New Jersey governor (or at least are predisposed to support him) have started mentioning the former two-term Florida governor as a possible 2016 candidate. Should the federal investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures become a full-blown calamity, several have said, perhaps Bush could be lured into the race. Now the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report that the whispers have grown into a draft-Bush movement.

The argument for a Bush run is that he has a governor’s executive skills, can forge a relationship with crucial Hispanic voters (particularly in a key swing state), and has a fundraising base founded, in part, on a reservoir of goodwill toward the Bush family. Republicans are sick of being out of the White House and want a winner. Perhaps, but Bush is also the perfect candidate if your goal is driving simultaneous wedges into as many fault lines in the Republican Party as possible.

The first problem is his heritage. On domestic issues, the Bush family is synonymous among some conservatives with tax increases and federal spending. Perhaps the greatest sin in the modern conservative movement is George H. W. Bush’s 1990 budget deal where he traded tax increases for budget savings. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, has cited his father’s compromise as the epitome of presidential leadership. George W. Bush is criticized for his lack of spending restraint as well as his support for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (which some might count as the second greatest sin).

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Robert Reich On The Koch Brothers And The Danger Of American Plutocracy

Koch Brothers

The Article: The Koch Brothers and the Danger of American Plutocracy by Robert Reich in Bill Moyers Online.

The Text: Charles and David Koch should not be blamed for having more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans put together. Nor should they be condemned for their petrochemical empire. As far as I know, they’ve played by the rules and obeyed the laws.

They’re also entitled to their own right-wing political views. It’s a free country.

But in using their vast wealth to change those rules and laws in order to fit their political views, the Koch brothers are undermining our democracy. That’s a betrayal of the most precious thing Americans share.

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How Evangelicals Won A Culture War And Lost A Generation

Evangelicals

The Article: How evangelicals won a culture war and lost a generation by Rachel Held Evans in CNN Online.

The Text: On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.

It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.

But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”

Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”

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GOP Rhetoric Vs. Global Warming Reality

Climate Change

The Article: GOP Rhetoric vs. Global Warming Reality by Eleanor Clift in The Daily Beast.

The Text: Reading the summary of findings from a worldwide panel of scientists about the impact of climate change and the looming threat that manmade greenhouse gases pose to the planet is pretty disturbing. Oceans rising, coral reefs dying, ice caps melting, heavy rains and Biblical floods, the world’s food supply threatened. The existential danger posed by climate change is so overwhelming that most people shake their head in dismay and then go back to what they were doing.

It scares people to understand the scope of the problem, and they fear that any solution would be so draconian and out of reach that it is best not to think about it. The inability of the environmental and scientific community to rally the country toward action by warning of all the dire consequences of inaction is implicit in the report issued Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of international scientists under the auspices of the United Nations.

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