At the Daily Beast, a look at Uber’s political war machine as the ride-sharing company begins hiring top-shelf campaign operatives to help them dismantle local cab regulations. Although I’m certainly no fan of the ossified legacy taxi industry, the article touches on a few things that give me pause about the emerging “sharing economy.” The slimmed-down regulatory regimes that allow firms like Uber and Airbnb to flourish can come perilously close to a worrisome level of deregulation, and the new industries seem to have a tendency to direct income to those with incumbent capital or others who are well off at the expense of those struggling on the fringes of the economy.
At Vox, a look at one way Americans that have near-parity between blacks and whites—in drug use—and one way in which we have drastic disparity—in arrests and sentencing for drug use.
I would be a lot more upset about the US getting knocked out of the World Cup if it had actually happened. But it is a well-known fact that “Belgium” is actually a liberal conspiracy.
Erin Gloria Ryan’s article title in Jezebel on Monday pretty much summed it up on the horrendous Hobby Lobby US Supreme Court case decision: “Why Women Aren’t People (But Corporations Are).” But you should read on for gems like this:
Today, five men on the Supreme Court said that women’s reproductive health care is less important than a woman’s boss’s superstition-based prudery and moral trepidation about fornication for female pleasure. They ruled that it doesn’t matter if birth control actually causes abortions; it only matters if business owners sincerely believe that birth control causes abortions. They ruled that it’s okay for a corporate person to discriminate against a female semi-person and dictate that she not spend her compensation on stuff that might possibly be enabling sex without consequences, if they believe that God thinks they should.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dissent (starts on page 60) included a note that “the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.” Recall from Valerie Tarico’s series last year the vastly improved effectiveness of (not to mention consumer preference for) IUDs.
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For some comedic relief, see The New Yorker‘s “In Landmark Decision, Supreme Court Strikes Down Main Reason Country Was Started.”
The average rent for a Seattle apartment has edged upwards to $1,441 a month—still a far cry from the national leader San Francisco at $3,396 a month—and it’s anyone’s guess to where this figure will be a year from now. To confront a looming housing affordability issue, Seattle needs greater housing density, and more options at all pricing points. The erection of a new residential tower is a step in that direction.
At one point in the early 1990s, notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was cited by Forbes as one of the richest men in the world, with an estimated net worth exceeding $30 billion. Shockingly, his cocaine-trafficking wars initiated a reign of terror that resulted in the deaths of thousands. He finally met a grisly end in 1993 at the hands of the Colombian National Police, and the trappings of his wealth were promptly repossessed by the state. Except for his personal collection of hippos. Today, the hippos from his private zoo outside Medellin are wreaking havoc, confounding government officials, environmentalists, and local residents.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has achieved his goal of amending the Japanese constitution, which now allows for a more assertive military force. Abe’s efforts thus change a statute that had its origins in the post-war occupation of Japan by the United States. This is not only an historic moment for East Asian geo-politics, but also for the long-standing alliance between Japan and the US.
People need to look at the bright side of the Supremes’ HobbyLobby ruling. Its not that the Constitution is half empty. Its that its half full. You see, if “closely held” corporations are so close to those closely holding them that their religious fantasies are the same as those doing the clutching, then surely corporate mis-deeds such as workplace discrimination, safety, and pollution violations are actually violations by the owners. Scalia has just given public interest attorneys a silver bullet for piercing the “corporate veil!” Yep. This is really a brand new tool for dealing with corporate were-wolves.