Aida Manduley writes a lengthy primer describing how to argue about the racial politics surrounding the Darren Wilson non-indictment. I disagree about the efficacy of riots (it's tough to shame your oppressor once you riot), but I certainly see that Black Friday riots (for example) just don't provoke the same reaction from pundits that Ferguson seems to do. And I'd add that folks who leap from "you criticized the actions of one officer" to "you hate all cops" are perhaps not cut out for the hard work of maintaining a civilization, and would perhaps be happier in an actual police state, where one need never question whether the police have done the right thing in any instance.
Danielle Kurtzleben explains an apparent paradox: how the ultra-rich are getting richer as their wages have fallen. Long story short: the 400 highest-income tax returns happen to garner an outsized share of capital gains, dividends, and interest income, and tax rates on those types of income have fallen rather dramatically since, oh, about 2003. Remember when President Reagan said wages should never be taxed more than capital gains and dividends? Well, Mr. Bush said to hell with that. Shocking bit: when UPenn/UBonn economists say the optimal top tax rate should be 90 percent, which I rarely hear from economists.
ProPublica reviews federal crude oil train transport data and finds most localities still unaware of the potential problems coming with crude oil trains. And now that crude trains go through more densely populated areas (like Philadelphia), well, you can see the difficulty of evacuating tens of thousands of folks, rather than thousands, or hundreds. I still don't see why releasing route information to state management officials is a "security issue" for railroads -- unless they think state management agencies are rife with terrorists, which (at the risk of being too understated) is quite unlikely.
Surprise, surprise, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoes bill banning certain inhumane gestation crates for pigs -- thus, in the words of one state Senator, currying favor with Iowa Republican primary voters and "Big Pork interests." Perhaps those voters should ask themselves if factory farms really represent their interests. I mean, cheap food can't be all people care about, right? Especially when such food mainly enriches big ag CEOs at the expense of small farmers?
The National Journal wonders if new FDA calorie-labeling requirements for restaurants will "shame" consumers into eating better. To which I answer: we can only hope! Even asking the question is a way of saying information doesn't really matter. And really, citing a study "in McDonald's stores" finding "no significant change in consumption behavior"? Why do they think people go to McDonald's? And suggesting that "if you want people to eat better, don't make them do math" is insulting -- like the requirements ask anyone to do multivariable calculus!
Finally, former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) forms an exploratory committee for a Presidential run, and Markos Moulitsas is clearly pretty sour about it. I wouldn't have spoken about the need for bipartisanship either, and I could describe my own differences with Mr. Webb at some length, but Mr. Moulitsas insults him by comparing him to Herman Cain, especially after he (obviously very grudgingly) concedes that Mr. Webb's economic populism is "pretty good." I say that even trying to get poor whites to stop voting for people who keep on crushing them is a worthwhile effort, one Mr. Webb may be uniquely well-suited to lead. I just hope a President Webb doesn't magically transform into another deficit peacock.