Showing posts from July 2, 2016

A Wine of One’s Own? They’ll Drink to That

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["Experiential luxury." Thorstein Veblen spins in his grave. On the lifestyle of the modern Antoinette: "It’s fun at dinner parties to pour my own wine for friends instead of something banal." Is that the sound of guillotine blades being sharpened? *RON*]

By Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, 2 July 2016

The French region of Bordeaux is the sacred home of Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Margaux, so it would seem unlikely that wines named Duke of Juice or Bone Ami would come from there.

But some winemakers insist on it. And they are entitled, because they pay $12,500 to $25,000 a barrel or $44 to $87 a bottle to create personalized Bordeaux wine and labels.

Château Lynch-Bages, a celebrated producer known for rich yet refined reds, also operates Viniv, a niche company that helps clients create their own custom blends. These clients select the vineyards and tinker with the taste, but leave the grape harvesting, crushing, ag…

California Governor Signs Legislation Limiting Assault Weapons

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[It is possible to attain some humane political middle ground of sanity. The NRA has, of course, gone ballistic; it's what they do. *RON*]

By Adam Nagourney and Ian Lovett, New York Times, 1 July 2016

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation that would impose new restrictions on assault weapons and regulate the sale of ammunition in California, cementing the state’s reputation for enacting some of the most stringent gun regulations in the country.

Propelled by the reaction to mass shootings in San Bernardino, in Southern California, and Orlando, Fla., the gun regulations are the latest example of how this state, where the Legislature is under Democratic control, has been able to enact a legislative agenda on issues that have deadlocked Congress.

Gender is not a spectrum

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[Interesting piece. Today, we have two camps with respect to gender. Many young people today say they have, and must have, the right to choose where they fit along a spectrum of sexual identities. Then there are those people whose central identity and claim to rights stem from their view that they have no choice in this matter - they were born this way. As usual, I wonder whether both things could not be true: Do some of us have more choice in this matter than others? *RON*]

by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, Aeon, 28 June 2016

The idea that ‘gender is a spectrum’ is supposed to set us free. But it is both illogical and politically troubling.

What is gender? This is a question that cuts to the very heart of feminist theory and practice, and is pivotal to current debates in social justice activism about class, identity and privilege. In everyday conversation, the word ‘gender’ is a synonym for what would more accurately be referred to as ‘sex’. Perhaps du…

The Left and Right Share a Common Enemy: Capitalists Who Corrupt Capitalism

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[Free markets are the last thing that most capitalists want: the battle that should join progressives and free-market advocates. See also: Slavery as free trade. *RON*]

By Lawrence Lessig, Evonomics, 16 January 2016

Theorists and principled souls on the Right are free-market advocates. They are convinced by Hayek and his followers that markets aggregate the will of the public better than governments do. This doesn’t mean that governments are unnecessary. As Rajan and Zingales put it in their very strong pro-free-market book, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, “Markets cannot flourish without the very visible hand of the government, which is needed to set up and maintain the infrastructure that enables participants to trade freely and with confidence.” But it does mean that a society should try to protect free markets, within that essential infrastructure, and ensure that those who would achieve their wealth by corrupting free markets don’t.


The weaponised loser

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[This article is very true and has the following sub-head: "Mass shootings have one thing in common: toxic masculinity. Where does it come from and what can be done to stop it?" But the answer offered is for society to accommodate or redirect male frustration. The obvious solution - controlling guns - is ignored. Why are we so incapable of holding two ideas in our heads at once? Always going with either/or rather than and/and? *RON*]

by Stephen T Asma, Aeon, 27 June 2016
The shooter is almost always male. Of the past 129 mass shootings in the United States, all but three have been men. The shooter is socially alienated, and he can’t get laid. Every time you scratch the surface of the latest mass killing, in a movie theatre, a school, the streets of Paris or an abortion clinic, you find the weaponised loser. From Jihadi John of ISIS to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at Columbine, these men are invariably stuck in the emotional life of an …

Income Inequality Is At The Highest Level In American History

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["For the bottom 99 percent, incomes fell 11.6 percent during the height of the recession from 2007 to 2009. Afterward, they grew just 7.6 percent between 2009 and 2015... The incomes of the 1 percent grew 37 percent between 2009 and 2015... income inequality is now at the highest level the country has ever recorded in its entire history." *RON*]

By Bryce Covert, Think Progress, 1 July 2016

Last year was a good one for everyone’s income. But it was a much better year for the richest of the rich.

According to a new analysis by economist Emmanuel Saez, Americans in the bottom 99 percent of the country’s income distribution saw their take home pay rise 3.9 percent in 2015 over 2014’s levels, adjusted for inflation, the best increase they’ve seen in 17 years. But the top 1 percent of the country far outpaced them: the wealthy’s income grew by 7.7 percent last year, reaching a new high.