Alan

There is absolutely no truth to the widespread rumors that my new e-book was actually written by J.K. Rowling.

Racial stereotyping is subconscious, powerful, and pervasive. This Salon piece by Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion is one of the best I’ve read about the Trayvon Martin case.

Anna

Like a lot of Americans, I’ve been trying to make heads or tails of Trayvon Martin’s shooting and George Zimmerman’s acquittal. One of the best things I’ve read is this New Yorker piece by Amy Davidson, asking what Trayvon should have done differently to stay alive that night.

I also appreciated local racial justice leader Sakara Remmu’s perspective on racism and bringing up black children in South King County (she was on KUOW’s Weekday program at the top of the first hour).

And, Sightline friend Eric Liu writes for Time that “If there is one hopeful note amidst all the anguish and recrimination from the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it’s that growing numbers of white people have come to appreciate whiteness for what it is: an unearned set of privileges.” It wasn’t the hoodie or the neighborhood or the time of day. “Blackness was the fatal variable,” Liu writes, and in acknowledging this we may begin, as a nation, to make the invisible safety and privilege and advantages of whiteness more visible.

(BTW, research shows that “stand your ground” laws increase already existing racial bias in justifiable homicide trials. And in the US, nearly one in four black men aged 18 to 34 say they have been treated unfairly by the police during the last 30 days.)

You may have heard before about studies that show that people who drive fancier cars—Mercedes, Porches, Beemers—are less likely to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and about experiments where the wealthy are more likely to lie and cheat in games. But what if a game of Monopoly is rigged—where one player has advantages like starting with more money, getting paid more for crossing “Go,”  and playing with more dice? The “rich” player starts to feel entitled to win and deserving based not on luck but on pluck. They start to get demanding and even eat more pretzels during the game. Weird—and telling.

  • Comedian Louis CK takes on climate deniers (warning: contains lots of offensive language).

    Clark

    How helpful! McDonalds explains how to get by on their salary. The trick: get a second job, work for 74 hours per week, get a non-existent $20/month health plan, and never turn on your heat! I’m lovin’ it!

    We used to believe some astonishingly awful things about poverty—including that the key to national wealth was keeping people near starvation so they’ll work harder! Apparently, it took a long time for people to accept the idea that poverty hinders, rather than promotes, a healthy economy. More technical details here.

    Eric

    Congressional Democrats document a startling climate disconnect finding, among other things, that: “…the United States recorded over 30,000 record high temperatures in 2012…. The Republican members representing the districts most affected by the high temperatures cast anti-climate votes 96% of the time.”

    C.B. Hall goes deep on why Sound Transit projects are so costly.

    What’s it like to spend a winter at the South Pole? I found myself awfully intrigued by this Atlantic piece on getting drunk in Antarctica. After I read that I wasted a bunch of time here and here.