‘Being Poor’ and the Margin of Error

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Shortly after Hurricane Katrina came, when a bunch of people who should have known better blamed the poor in New Orleans for not getting out of the city, John Scalzi wrote a post on his blog Whatever called ‘Being Poor’. It is an amazing post, one I revisit regularly, and when I do I read as many of the 2000+ comments it received. A good ways down that wall of comments that are equally amazing as the original post, Scalzi comes back in to refute a troll and clarify a couple of issues with this gem: “Being poor is not…

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‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: The Racism in the Stew

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My husband has decided he cannot talk to me about what happened to Trayvon Martin. He says I’m a troll. (He’s probably right).  We got caught up in the definition of institutional racism and the inevitability that ‘stand your ground’ laws would be used within that context. Do I need to back up and explain a bit? Trayvon Martin was the 17 year old African American boy who was walking home from 7-11 with a bag of skittles and an ice tea (‘wearing a hoodie!’ some people who don’t understand what they’re saying might say) when he was gunned down…

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Libertarianism: Coercion Seen Through a Fun House Mirror

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Image by Steve-h via Flickr One of the key principles of libertarianism is the ‘principle of non-coercion’. It states that with the exception of defending against the ‘initiation of force’ by another, it is immoral to coerce others. This concept underlies the insistence that taxes are illegal coercion and that government programs that help the poor are (at the very least) wrong, and (as often stated) evil. Further, that any interaction that takes place within a ‘free market’ is non-coercive, and therefore ‘right’, or ‘good’. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Noble and high minded and unimpeachable. Too bad it’s based on…

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Charles Koch Takes over as Supreme Leader of the USA

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Well, no.  Not yet.  But the Koch brothers, including Charles Koch, are well on their way.  Today the University of Florida at Tampa Bay announced that with a measley 1.5 million dollar grant, a foundation owned by the Koch brothers has bought the right to choose public university faculty for the economics program they are bankrolling. We all know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that the golden rule is really “those who have the gold make the rules), but this is new.  Unprecedented.  The Kochs understand the true value of a public education — and they’re doing everything they can to decimate…

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