The proclamation was issued in The Atlantic, home to those whom Baffler writer Maureen Tkacik memorably referred to as “omniscient gentlemen,” whose “facility with community quotidiana is recognized as the stuff of highly effective persuaders, influencers, tastemakers, connectors, and miscellaneous other prophets of consumer trends.” Fournier, now bored with the consensus that Millennials are “narcissistic, coddled, and lazy” (his words), breaks new ground: they are also “goal-orientated,” “team-oriented,” “less prone to cast negative moral judgments on interracial marriages, single women raising children, unmarried couples living together and mothers of young children working outside the home,” and “entitled.” Furthermore, Fournier says, Millenials are much more interested in smartphones, volunteering for nonprofit organizations, and themselves to ever have any interest in ever engaging in the political process or holding elected office.
Yet that’s what Dan Malloy, the first Democratic governor of Connecticut in 20 years, is engineering. His project of “shared sacrifice” tax hikes across multiple income brackets, in addition to numerous socially-liberal legislative actions in the erstwhile Land of Steady Habits, is basically without peer. It invites two questions: is Malloy’s (and the legislature’s) approach actually resulting in good policy? And, regardless of the answer to that, will it be rewarded by voters when Malloy is up for reelection in 2014? (Full disclosure: I was an intern on Malloy’s campaign in 2010.)
Here is an overview of the biggest changes Connecticut has undertaken in the last few years. Some have been easy, popular reforms. Others, not so much. Read More…
For the first time ever, an electric car is every bit as good as a non-electric car—and possibly even better. As Car and Driver put it, it’s “not just a good electric vehicle, it’s a good car.” Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year award went to the Model S: “Sure, the Tesla’s electric powertrain delivers the driving characteristics and packaging solutions that make the Model S stand out, but it’s only a part of the story. At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel.” Read More…
In a campaign where issues of race are front and center, in an era where campaign “optics” play a disproportionate role, and in a progressive electorate that is itching for a clean break from the past, it doesn’t necessarily play all that well to be a straight white man in the race for mayor of New York City. That’s the position that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio finds himself in—but his attractive multiracial family, and the story behind it, may be his ace in the hole.
At least, he seems to think so: the New York Times recently reported that de Blasio is making his family a centerpiece of his campaign. The article implies, but does not quite state outright, that the primary reason for this is good old fashioned identity politics. De Blasio lacks the “built-in voter base” enjoyed by his chief rivals for the Democratic nomination, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (openly gay, female) and former Comptroller Bill Thompson (black). De Blasio’s family buffers this disadvantage. It does so both by appealing to the groups from which Quinn and Thompson hail, but also by offering the de Blasio family as a metaphor for the city’s eclectic racial and social makeup, and giving voters a chance to say that character and lifestyle can outweigh background when it comes to advancing the progressive cause. Read More…
[Amazon has] devalued the concept of what a book is, and turned it into a widget.
That’s Dennis Johnson, publisher, quoted in a Salon piece called “Amazon is worse than Walmart.” The impetus for that headline is President Obama’s visit on Tuesday to an Amazon warehouse as a part of his heartland-jobs-speech swing. The article, by Daniel D’Addario, is critical of Amazon’s labor practices, which is a valid area of concern: even though the spurt of new Amazon jobs that Obama is touting include health benefits, 401(k) plans, and stock options, it is fair to say that Amazon has been guilty of some of the worst big-box-style sins when it comes to wages and work conditions. Critics are right to raise concerns about the president’s willingness to tacitly endorse such practices, and to point out that the “good” jobs being showcased are not entirely representative of the employment culture at Amazon (though they are also cause to be hopeful about a change in direction for the company).
So I don’t fault D’Addario for bringing that up. But there’s another aspect of the article, and of the overall Amazon critique, that too often gets lumped in with worker-rights issues, as it has been here. It is evinced by the subtitle of the article: “The company’s war on bookstores and book culture is increasingly supported by, yes, the Obama administration.”