On Sunday I visited a church that's majority white but not overwhelmingly so. After worship, I stuck around for a planned conversation about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Here the demographics were flipped: a slight majority of African Americans.
But the white folks did their share of the talking.
"Dolphin Michael, 61, who retired from the Detroit fire department after 38 years, said he saw it coming, and took action. 'A couple weeks ago, I withdrew all my pension money and put it into a private account,' he said."
Greg Sargent reports on how those GOP House members who want to pass comprehensive immigration reform intend to get enough of their caucus on board to do it. He includes their re-exploration of this doozy: keep the rough outline of the Senate’s path to citizenship, but require people to admit their guilt—and instead of calling the middle category “legal status,” call it “probation.” Problem solved: we’re still Tough on Crime!
In theory, splitting up the farm bill to deal separately with farm policy and nutrition assistance makes a lot of sense.
Farm subsidies used to go mostly to actual farmers who could use the help. So while the pairing of farm aid and food aid was always politically motivated, it also made some sense: the farm bill was safety-net legislation, and food stamps fit right into that. As agriculture has changed, agricultural policy has become more and more of a mess of corporate welfare that's against the public interest. And one big thing protecting this status quo has been the fact that liberals can't vote against a business-as-usual farm bill, because it's also how hungry people get fed.
I don't have any brilliant insights on the George Zimmerman verdict. Some say the story's about racism; others say it's about guns; others say it's about Florida's horrible self-defense laws. Pretty sure it's all of the above.
Last week Pew released some more data from its spring survey on the rise of the nones. They asked people if they thought the growing number of "people who are not religious" is good, bad or neutral for American society. One interesting finding: while most of the nones said neutral, nearly as many said "bad" as "good." Almost a fifth of the nones think the growth of the nones—of their own group—is bad for society.
The more the food movement goes mainstream, the more you hear casual descriptors like "local or organic or eco-friendly." Local becomes one of several labels that can stand in for eco-ethical food generally.
David Brooks says some silly stuff, but his June 14 column included a doozy even for him: "In Corinthians, Jesus tells the crowds..." The text was soon corrected to identify the letter as First Corinthians and its writer as Paul, though as of today it still has him telling crowds things. Whatever.
For most of my life now, I’ve been sucked ever deeper into various forms of Americana music. I love the simple forms and catchy tunes, the plainspoken emotion and humor, the fiddles and mandolins and banjos. In a worship context, I’m drawn as well to the music’s accessibility and its cross-generational appeal.