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America’s Governmental Accounting Standards Board is giving ruinously bad advice

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Systematically mismeasuring assets and liabilities is no way to go through life.

Continue reading: America’s Governmental Accounting Standards Board is giving ruinously bad advice
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mareino
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comtessedebussy: comtessedebussy: fuckyeahsources: prokopetz: ...

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comtessedebussy:

comtessedebussy:

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ameliacgormley:

livelongandgetiton:

ormondhsacker:

Am I the only one that’s a just a tiny bit pissed off that this is still an issue?

The Original Series wasn’t even in the general VICINITY of fucking around yo

How many shows these days would do this, and do it this way? These days, it would be all, “Ohh, we have to be sensitive and show the nuances of each side” and try not to make either side seem wrong. It wouldn’t be clearly spelled out, “pro-choice is right, if you’re against it you’re the bad guys.”

Jim Kirk is not here for your anti-birth-control, anti-choice, pro-death-penalty BS

James Tiberius Kirk was written and portrayed as a feminist and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

Yep.  That episode is exactly what you think it is:  pro-birth control, pro-population control, pro-choice, and pro-women’s right to choose.  And yes, Kirk, the supposed playboy of the spaceways, is in favor of all of the above.

It was written and aired in 1969.  

It probably couldn’t air today.

THINK ABOUT THAT.

Also LMAO at all the sad whiny geek boys who are like “I miss the GOOD OLD DAYS of SCI-FI when it wasn’t all about SOCIAL ISSUES and instead it was just about MEN HAVING FUN IN SPACE. Like Star Trek! Star Trek wouldn’t put up with all this SOCIAL JUSTICE FEMINISM IN SCI FI bullshit!” And meanwhile I’m just over here like “…did you actually watch the show?” 

@judicialmistrangementorder

It’s also important to bear in mind that the Original Series had a predominantly female fanbase, and during its initial run, was widely mocked and dismissed by mainstream (i.e., male) science fiction fans as being fake sci-fi for girls. It’s difficult to overstate the influence women had on the franchise in its early days; most of the early Star Trek conventions were organised by and for women, and indeed, those same organisers were primarily responsible for the massive letter-writing campaign that prevented the show from being cancelled after the 1968 season. Without that campaign, the episode pictured in this post would never have been made.

The popular image of James Kirk as a sleazy womaniser is part of a conscious effort to erase that history and render the franchise’s roots palatable to the misogynistic geekboys of the modern SF/F fandom.

For a summary of those points, see “Star Trek’s Underappreciated Feminist History” by Shannon Mizzi, which draws from Patricia Vettel-Becker’s “Space and the Single Girl: Star Trek, Aesthetics, and 1960s Femininity”.

And a gentle reminder that TOS was a Desilu production, which its board of directors voted to cancel after the second pilot due to cost concerns, a vote that Chairman Lucille Ball overruled. There is no Star Trek without Lucille Ball.

Originally posted by zidlersdiamonddogs

Basically you have women to thank for Star Trek. Go suck on that, JJ Abrams.

Bringing this back because I recently saw a post from a dudebro complaining about how Star Trek has become all “PC and has an agenda” unlike in the “good old days” 

so here is a clip from the “good old days” of Star Trek not having an agenda. 

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popular
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mareino
18 hours ago
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Flashback Quote of the Day

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“Do not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024 — with all costs by U.S.A. Make America Great!”

— Donald Trump, on Twitter, November 21, 2013.

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mareino
18 hours ago
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Trump is a time traveler sent back to warn us about Trump.
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jhamill
23 hours ago
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There is a Trump tweet for everything.
California

Coal Mining Health Study Is Halted by Interior Department

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A mountaintop removal project in Blair, W. Va., a site that was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, but was reevaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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mareino
23 hours ago
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A reminder: Trump cares about coal, not coal towns.
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I've studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here's what to do about them.

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The debate over Confederate monuments has been framed by President Donald Trump — and some who share his views — as a fight between those who wish to preserve history and those who would “erase” it. But let us linger on what history we’ll be preserving as long as Confederate memorials stand.

The Confederate monuments in New Orleans; Charlottesville, Virginia; Durham, North Carolina, and elsewhere did not organically pop up like mushrooms. The installation of the 1,000-plus memorials across the US was the result of the orchestrated efforts of white Southerners and a few Northerners with clear political objectives: They tended to be erected at times when the South was fighting to resist political rights for black citizens. The preservation of these monuments has likewise reflected a clear political agenda.

It is going to take equal energy and focus to remove them from the national landscape.

But the story of the monuments is even stranger than many people realize. Few if any of the monuments went through any of the approval procedures that we now commonly apply to public art. Typically, groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), which claimed to represent local community sentiment (whether they did or did not), funded, erected, and dedicated the monuments. As a consequence, contemporaries, especially African Americans, who objected to the erection of monuments had no realistic opportunity to voice their opposition.

Most Confederate monuments were, in short, the result of private groups colonizing public space.

Over the past decade, Southern legislatures have passed laws requiring approval from state legislatures before any historical monuments can be moved, removed, or altered — thereby freezing those private decisions in place.

A controversy in Reidsville, North Carolina in 2011, which failed to attract any national attention, offers a window into the origins of Confederate monuments and their contested “ownership.” That year, an errant driver plowed into the generic Confederate soldier memorial that stood precariously beside a major street in the small town, 25 miles north of Greensboro.

Because other motorists had previously hit the monument, the UDC, which had funded and erected the monument in 1910, decided the sculpture would be safer if it was moved to a nearby cemetery. But in a strange twist, the plan was blocked when the Sons of Confederate Veterans, another Confederate heritage organization, sued the UDC to prevent the relocation of the monument. Eventually, the UDC prevailed and the restored monument was rededicated in the cemetery in 2014. The city itself was a spectator in this legal fight.

Had the dispute flared after 2015, when the state legislature passed a law effectively blocking the removal of monuments, the UDC would have had to tangle not only with neo-Confederates but also with state legislators.

A smaller number of monuments, like the one recently toppled in Durham, were indeed funded with public money — but an asterisk must be attached to the word “public.” In 1922, Confederate veterans in Durham persuaded the state legislature to allocate $5,000 of county taxes to fund the monument. No one asked black residents, who were denied the right to vote by Jim Crow laws, whether they supported spending their tax dollars on this public, political statement.

Most monuments went up not immediately after the war, but as Southerners put Jim Crow in place — and Northerners gave up on racial justice

Let us acknowledge that the architectural landscapes we have inherited are neither sacred nor unchanging. The timing of the proliferation of the monuments themselves illustrates this point. In the years immediately after the Civil War, North Carolina Confederates understandably mourned their dead, yet the state erected fewer than 30 memorials between 1865 and 1890. Then, during the next half century, they dedicated more than 130.

It is hardly coincidence that the cluttering of the state’s landscape with Confederate monuments coincided with two major national cultural projects: first, the “reconciliation” of the North and the South, and second, the imposition of Jim Crow and white supremacy in the South. As part of the process of national reconciliation, white Northerners agreed to tolerate the commemoration of Confederates, and they contributed both moral support and funds to the veneration of a few Confederate figures in particular, especially Robert E. Lee.

Lee became a convenient icon of reconciliation who was depicted as having reluctantly fought to protect his native state — not slavery— and then after the war devoted himself to the uplift of the South and to binding the nation’s wounds. For white Northerners, Lee was a military hero who could be venerated without having to embrace the Confederate cause in its totality. (This impulse explains the monuments to Lee in the US Capitol, at the City University of New York, and other sites outside of the former Confederacy.)

Signs calling for the renaming Lee Park to Heyer Park lie at the base of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. Heather Heyer died when James Alex Fields Jr., a white supremacist, ran his car into a crowd of counterprotesters Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Signs calling for the renaming Lee Park to Heyer Park lie at the base of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. Heather Heyer died when James Alex Fields Jr., a white supremacist, ran his car into a crowd of counterprotesters

Meanwhile, white Southerners used the commemoration of the Confederacy to promote a degree of white cultural unity that had never existed in the region either before or during the Civil War. An observer scanning the commemorative landscape of North Carolina will see little evidence of the tens of thousands of white North Carolinians who fought for the Union, the even larger number of white North Carolinians who actively opposed the Confederacy, or the tens of thousands of African Americans who escaped slavery and joined the Union army.

Confederate commemorators suppressed these unwelcome blemishes to their preferred version of history while simultaneously making the Confederate cause virtually sacred. White Southerners who questioned the Confederate narrative faced ostracism or worse.

Some contemporaries linked the monuments to the defense of white supremacy in shockingly explicit terms

The pursuit of white cultural unity through Confederate commemoration went hand-in-hand with the promotion of white supremacy. The Confederate monuments themselves were sometimes explicitly linked to the cause of white supremacy by the notables who spoke at their dedication. For instance, at the 1913 dedication of an on-campus monument honoring University of North Carolina students who fought for the Confederacy, white industrialist Julian Carr unambiguously urged his audience to devote themselves to the maintenance of white supremacy with the same vigor that their Confederate ancestors had defended slavery.

During the dedication speech, Carr praised Confederate soldiers not just for their wartime valor but also for their defense “of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years after the war” when “their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South.” The “four years after the war” was a clear reference to the period in which the Ku Klux Klan, a white paramilitary organization terrorized blacks and white Republicans who threatened the traditional white hierarchy in the state. Then he boasted that “one hundred yards from where we stand” — and within months of Lee’s 1865 surrender — “I horse whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds because she had maligned and insulted a Southern lady.”

Carr admittedly was uncommonly explicit about conflating Confederate memorialization with white supremacy, but Southern memorials inherently celebrated the slave South and white power along with the heroism of Confederate soldiers.

We topple old buildings, move or rename streets, and engage in creative destruction all the time — which is inevitable when the needs of the people living contemporary landscapes change. The somewhat comical events in Reidsville (in which the United Daughters of the Confederacy concluded it would be for the best if fewer drivers crashed into their statue) provide just one example of a decision to move a memorial for a practical reason.

Elsewhere, communities have had other reasons to act. Wilson, North Carolina, for example, has been home since 1926 to a memorial that commemorated the Revolution and the Confederacy: It originally featured a massive central column depicting the Stars and Stripes and the flag of the Confederate States of America, flanked by two water fountains — one for whites, one for blacks. It apparently outlasted its welcome sometime during the 1960s. Without fanfare, the fountain was moved from the court house to an inconspicuous park, and the fountains were replaced by small granite caps. Today you would be unlikely to recognize it as a one-time segregated water fountain.

So how should we move forward to dismantle the Confederate commemorative landscape? We should begin by acknowledging that the American South is now a pluralist society for the first time in its history. Whereas the current commemorative landscape of the South is a product of white privilege and power, the future landscape should be crafted after inclusive public debate and through democratic procedures. New Orleans and Baltimore, which conducted public conversations about the removal of monuments, can serve as models for other communities. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has provided an exceptionally articulate justification for the removal of Confederate memorials.

A crucial step in many Southern states will be to repeal laws constraining the removal or alteration of historic monuments, such as North Carolina’s two-year-old Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act. Let there be no doubt about the intent of this or similar “heritage preservation” laws: They “protect” and perpetuate the racist commemorative landscape that currently exists. Why shouldn’t the citizens of Durham have had the choice to preserve, move, or remove the Confederate monument there? Local choice may allow some communities to keep “their” Confederate monuments. So be it. Let them defend their decision if they do so.

We are also sure to hear calls to add monuments (honoring African Americans, for example) as an alternative to removing those we find offensive, and thereby “erasing” history. But removing — or moving — Confederate monuments is not historical erasure. The same logic could have been used to justify maintaining, after 1964, signs that identified “Negro water fountains,” “Colored waiting room,” and the other markers of Southern segregation.

In an ideal world with unlimited resources, a proposal to add monuments might make sense. But given the vast number of monuments to the Confederacy across the United States it would take decades, and millions of dollars, to add enough statuary to create a more inclusive commemorative landscape. And is there any reason to believe that state legislators are going to appropriate sufficient money for that purpose? Perhaps the defenders of Confederate monuments will demonstrate their good faith by pressing for funding for new monuments to Southerners, white and black, who fought on behalf of the Union or otherwise opposed the Confederacy. Until then, I will view their devotion to heritage preservation with skepticism.

This is hardly the first time that a society has confronted the issue of dealing with art harnessed to objectionable causes. Art museums are filled with medieval and early modern Western art that is offensive to many of our contemporary values — depicting rape, the slaughter of Muslims, or demeaning images of non-Europeans. Like those works of art, those Confederate monuments that have aesthetic significance can and should be preserved in museums where they can be properly interpreted by curators and docents. In such settings, they will serve as historical artifacts rather than civic monuments.

But many Confederate monuments were essentially “mail order” sculptures mass produced by Northern and Southern foundries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Whatever value they have as historical artifacts, they were not the work of some latter-day Michelangelo.

Before any Confederate monuments are removed, they should be carefully photographed and measured so that the historical record of the monuments in situ can be preserved and made available for historians and art historians in the future. Then they can be transferred to the archives, museums — or the trash heap of history.

W. Fitzhugh Brundage is the William B. Umstead Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the scholarly adviser to the Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina project.


The Big Idea is Vox’s home for smart discussion of the most important issues and ideas in politics, science, and culture — typically by outside contributors. If you have an idea for a piece, pitch us at thebigidea@vox.com.

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mareino
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"An observer scanning the commemorative landscape of North Carolina will see little evidence of the tens of thousands of white North Carolinians who fought for the Union, the even larger number of white North Carolinians who actively opposed the Confederacy, or the tens of thousands of African Americans who escaped slavery and joined the Union army."
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The real driver of regional inequality in America

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People can no longer afford to move to opportunity.

America in the Gilded Age was a starkly unequal place, not just in terms of inequality between people but inequality between regions. Long-settled, fast-industrializing states in the Northeast were far richer than those of the West or the South, which had many fewer factories, railroads, and other kinds of capital goods that allowed for productive work and high wages. But around 1880 that began to change, and for 100 years, income gaps between states slowly converged at a rate of about 1.8 percent per year.

But since 1980, that process has began to slow, and over the past decade it’s essentially stopped entirely. Today, Massachusetts’s GDP per capita is about double what you find in Mississippi — roughly equivalent to the gap between Switzerland and Slovakia — and it’s not getting any narrower.

Phillip Longman of New America’s Open Markets program has been arguing for some years now that Reagan-era shifts in the federal government’s attitude toward corporate concentration are to blame. This is one of several arguments that’s helped inspire Democrats to start calling for a rethink of federal antitrust policy. But new empirical research from Peter Ganong of the University of Chicago and Daniel Shoag of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government suggests the issue is more complicated than that. After all, even as the richest cities have gotten richer on a per capita basis, their share of aggregate national output has stagnated because their populations are growing slowly.

Ganong and Shoag argue that the slowing population growth in rich cities and the slowing of regional income convergence are intimately linked trends.

Less skilled workers used to move to rich states to increase their wages. That lowered average income in the rich states while raising it in the poor ones, as people’s natural tendency to move toward economic opportunity helped drive nationwide convergence of wages and incomes. But in the contemporary United States, zoning restrictions that prevent adequate levels of house building mean that much of the higher incomes earned in rich states simply pass through in the form of higher housing costs.

For skilled workers, this trade-off is worth it, but for the working class, it generally isn’t. Consequently, working-class people have begun to move out of the rich states and toward the cheap ones — throwing the pattern of convergence into reverse.

Two big shifts in migration and economics

This set of four charts in Ganong and Shoag’s paper tells the fundamental story — in the old days, there was a strong tendency for poor states’ per capita incomes to grow faster than those of rich ones and an equally strong tendency for people to move away from poor states to go live in rich ones. But in recent years, the income convergence trend has slowed and the migration pattern has reversed.

People move, of course, for non-economic reasons. You can see clearly on these charts that the warm weather of Nevada and Arizona causes those states to punch above their weight in terms of migration in both eras. But the overall pattern is striking. Lots of people used to move to rich places like California, Maryland, and the tri-state area around New York City. These days, very few people move there, even though the typical resident of the South or Midwest could earn more by moving to a rich city.

The reason is that these states are also more expensive, and for working-class people the higher costs are no longer worth the higher wages.

This chart shows that until 1990 or so, both skilled and unskilled workers could improve their standard of living, even considering housing costs, by moving to a high-income state. But the net gains for unskilled workers began to diminish sharply, and by 2010 a typical low-skill household was actually worse off in a high-income state due to the even higher housing costs.

Traditionally, in other words, both lawyers and janitors earned more in the New York City area than they did in the Deep South. Today, “lawyers continue to earn much more in the New York area in both nominal terms and net of housing costs, but janitors now earn less in the New York area after subtracting housing.”

The result is that less skilled workers now tend to eschew the highest-wage, highest-cost locations — creating a powerful counterpressure to other forces that would otherwise drive regional income convergence.

The paradox of regional inequality

This and other lines of recent research tend to indicate that the gains to increasing the housing supply (whether through zoning changes to allow more market-rate housing or through the direct construction of social housing) would produce large economic benefits. Regional inequality would be reduced, as the pattern of state-level income convergence restarted. Ganong and Shoag also believe that about 8 percent of the increase in individual-level inequality can be explained through this mechanism. Meanwhile, overall GDP would be about 9.5 percent higher, and the structural increase in the capital share of national income would be greatly reduced.

In short, with more elastic housing supply, the United States would be richer on average, and the gains would be disproportionately concentrated among poorer people and poorer states.

But there is a paradoxical aspect to this. The housing fix for regional inequality entails more rather than less concentration of economic activity in rich coastal metro areas. The mechanism is that with a greater supply of housing, the working-class share of the population of these metro areas would grow disproportionately — dragging per capita incomes down while pulling them up in poorer places. Sunbelt and Rust Belt cities would be richer but smaller, while coastal ones would be bigger.

This would leave almost everyone better off, but it’s not exactly the political solution to the problem of regional inequality that elected officials are looking for. To get that job done, politicians may need to look at more direct solutions like moving white-collar government work to cities that have suffered population decline or creating new universities in declining areas.

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mareino
1 day ago
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Matt's going to keep writing these zoning posts, and I'm going to keep sharing them, because restrictive zoning is the #1 most pressing political issue today that does not break down neatly along party lines.
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