Kevin Horrigan takes us back to Ferguson to show another way that this small St. Louis suburb is representative of larger problems.
One of the great ironies of the continuing furor in Ferguson is that the burned-out QuikTrip, ground zero for the protests, is located less than a mile from the headquarters campus of Emerson Electric. ...Farr's threat was ridiculous. Emerson had already moved. Those jobs were long vanished from these shores. Like so many corporate bigwigs railing against regulation, the truth is Farr played all his cards years ago. Everything else is just a bluff.
Emerson is No. 121 on the Fortune 500 with 2013 revenues of $24.6 billion. Some 1,300 St. Louisans are employed at the Ferguson campus, most of them doing highly skilled financial and management work.
Emerson employs a lot of less-skilled people to make a lot of different stuff, but not in Ferguson. In Mexico, Central America, South America, Germany, France, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, China, India, Japan, the Philippines and other nations, in 230 manufacturing centers, Emerson employs 130,000 people, including 33,000 at 80 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Emerson’s companies make familiar stuff, like garbage disposers, power tools and ceiling fans, as well as highly technical stuff that controls other highly technical stuff. They make electronic controls for industrial automation machines that displace human beings. They make climate control stuff for server farms that power the Internet and displace other human beings. ...
Many people in Ferguson and the rest of St. Louis could really use basic manufacturing jobs. Too bad. Ask the people who used to work at Ford-Hazelwood or Chrysler-Fenton. It costs too much money to do basic manufacturing in the United States. The future is advanced manufacturing, the kind that requires technical expertise.
In 2009, David Farr, then as now Emerson’s chairman and CEO, told analysts in Chicago that President Barack Obama’s ideas for the environment, health care reform and labor could “destroy” U.S. manufacturing.
“What do you think I’m going to do?” Farr asked his audience. “I’m not going to hire anybody in the United States. I’m moving.”
Last year, David Farr was paid $25.3 million, placing him No. 5 on Equilar’s list of America’s best-paid executives.A mile up the road from the place where Michael Brown died, where the school is broke and under control of the state, and where the unemployment rate is two times the average for the rest of the state, David Farr is raking in megabucks while openly promising that he will not create American jobs.
That's the story, not just of Ferguson, but of the path America has followed for the last thirty years.
Come on in, let's make the pundit rounds...
Leonard Pitts would rather politicians settle their issues at the polls than in the courts.
A few words of definition before we proceed. The reference here is not simply to lawsuits and prosecutions with political import. Obviously there has been no shortage of those. But the sins and alleged sins of Rod Blagojevich, William Jefferson, Larry Craig, Bob McDonnell, Tom DeLay and others — money laundering, corruption, disorderly conduct — are at least recognizable as crimes.I'm sure there are plenty of people who can explain why what Perry did is worthy of being hauled before a judge. Just be sure it's worth the risk to the system before you go there.
By contrast, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is suing President Obama for issuing an executive order. Faced with mulish obstructionism from the GOP, Obama chose that route to make a technical change in a law — the Affordable Care Act — Boehner’s party hates. Now here’s Perry, indicted on felony abuse of power charges that could theoretically send him to prison for over a century. His crime? He issued a veto.
Things were not always thus. Once upon a time, the losing party felt itself bound to accept the will of the electorate with some modicum of grace. You weren’t happy about it, but you embraced the role of loyal opposition and bided your time until the next election in hopes your fortunes might change.
But that’s so 20th century.
For six years, the GOP has been trying to undo the election of 2008; Boehner’s lawsuit is only the latest of their many loopy schemes. Now, if Travis County is any bellwether, at least some Democrats are doing the selfsame thing.
Robert Lifton asks if climate change can signal political change.
Americans appear to be undergoing a significant psychological shift in our relation to global warming. I call this shift a climate “swerve,” borrowing the term used recently by the Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt to describe a major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor orderly.Well, it's always good when people who are dangerously wrong start to get a hint that they're wrong. However, right now Americans as a whole rank environmental issues somewhere behind lutefisk Thursdays in importance when it comes to how they vote. If we can't get past the false "good environment = bad for jobs" idea that's been carefully constructed by companies that are entrenched in the smokestack economy, things aren't going to get much better.
... Experience, economics and ethics are coalescing in new and important ways. Each can be examined as a continuation of my work comparing nuclear and climate threats.
The experiential part has to do with a drumbeat of climate-related disasters around the world, all actively reported by the news media: hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts and wildfires, extreme heat waves and equally extreme cold, rising sea levels and floods. Even when people have doubts about the causal relationship of global warming to these episodes, they cannot help being psychologically affected. Of great importance is the growing recognition that the danger encompasses the entire earth and its inhabitants. We are all vulnerable.
This sense of the climate threat is represented in public opinion polls and attitude studies. A recent Yale survey, for instance, concluded that “Americans’ certainty that the earth is warming has increased over the past three years,” and “those who think global warming is not happening have become substantially less sure of their position.”
Ruth Marcus dashes into the future, to look at the legacy of President Obama.
I’ve thought for some time that the Obama administration could look better in the rearview mirror of history than it does in the bumpy ride of the day to day. That may still turn out to be correct.So, Obama took the economy out of the ditch, got health insurance in the hands of millions, and dragged us out of two wars of our own creation. And the thing that could screw up his legacy, is that other people in other nations which we do not control are doing things that we don't like. Ummm.
Yet events of the past few months — specifically, the rise of the Islamic State and the accompanying specter of a renewed terror threat to the United States — have raised the alarming prospect of a legacy even more dismal than suggested by the current grim poll numbers.
Obama inherited an economy in free fall and, within the limits of the politically possible, did what he could to contain the damage and to prevent a recurrence (the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation). ...
Next, at least to his, and his party’s, short-term political peril, Obama seized the fleeting moment to enact health-care reform, setting the stage for the twin achievements of expanding coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and slowing the relentless growth of health-care costs.
Frank Bruni has been watching the boys, and the girls, of summer.
If you were looking last week for a thread of hope amid all the hurt in America and savagery abroad, for something to thrill to and cheer about, this is where you found it, on a baseball diamond in central Pennsylvania that really did amount to a field of dreams.Mo’ne Davis is definitely an athlete who is even more impressive when being interviewed, than she is on the pitcher's mound.
It was here, at the Little League World Series, that Mo’ne Davis captured the country’s hearts. A 13-year-old wunderkind from Philadelphia, she was believed to be the first black girl to play in the series. She was definitely the first girl ever to pitch a shutout. She landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated, exploded stereotypes about women and sports and did it with a poise and grace that most people twice or even four times her age struggle to muster.
Ross Douthat is nattering on about ISIS.
In his remarks on the murder of James Foley, the American journalist decapitated by the terrorists of ISIS, President Obama condemned Foley’s killers, appropriately, as a "cancer" on the Middle East and the world. But he also found room for the most Obama-ish of condemnations: “One thing we can all agree on,” he insisted, is that the would-be caliphate’s murderous vision has “no place in the 21st century.”Two things: first, the basis of Douthat's piece seems to be that people always have been brutes and always will be. In other words, the essence of conservatism. Second, last week I found myself agreeing with him. It was scary. Fortunately for me, Douthat's writing this week has sailed so far into the overwrought purple prose that it's become ultraviolet.
The idea that America’s foes and rivals are not merely morally but chronologically deficient, confused time travelers who need to turn their DeLorean around, has long been a staple of this administration’s rhetoric. Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and tyrants in general have been condemned, in varying contexts, for being on the dreaded “wrong side of history.” Earlier this year, John Kerry dismissed Putin’s Crimea adventure in the same language Obama used last week: “19th-century behavior in the 21st century,” foredoomed by its own anachronism. ...
So writing off the West’s challengers as purely atavistic is a good way to misunderstand them — and to miss the persistent features of human nature that they exploit, appeal to and reward.
...to contend for mastery, to threaten us the way Nazis and Communists once did, they would need to do more than demonstrate, by their continued depredations, that history doesn’t have necessary destinations. They would need to somehow persuade the world that history’s arc might actually be about to bend toward them.I may actually agree with Douthat again, but my sanity is guarded by the fact that I'd need a translator to find out.
Tamar Jacoby says we need more than a patch to fix immigration policy -- though a patch would be nice.
White House staffers are hard at work this month, deliberating about what should go into the executive order the president is expected to issue after Labor Day: his do-it-yourself, go-it-alone version of immigration reform. The smart money is betting he will grant some sort of temporary legal status to as many as 4 million unauthorized immigrants.Increasingly, the only choices in any contentious political issue are 1) take whatever President Obama can generate through executive order, or 2) settle for nothing happening until at least 2016 with no guarantee that the right won't commit itself to hamstringing the next president just as it has the current president.
This would be a huge relief for those who qualify and their families. There won't be a path to citizenship — only Congress can provide that. But together with the president's 2012 memo granting legal status to young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, it could allow more than a third of the nation's unauthorized immigrants to remain in the country and work without fear of being deported. ...
An executive order mandating legalization alone won't address what's wrong with the immigration system. And the danger is that once Obama acts, that may be the end of what Washington does to address the issue — this year or for many years to come.
A one-time legalization would ameliorate a symptom of what's broken. But it would do nothing to tackle the underlying cause: the dynamic that draws immigrants to come to the U.S. illegally in the first place — supply and demand.
When the choice is something -- no matter how small -- now, or a small change of a bigger something later (with no idea how much later and a fair chance it won't happen at all) now is the only reasonable choice.
Stephanie Rosenbloom looks at what to do when on-line people are aggressively vicious.
Anyone who has ever been online has witnessed, or been virtually walloped by, a mean comment. “If you’re going to be a blogger, if you’re going to tweet stuff, you better develop a tough skin,” said John Suler, a professor of psychology at Rider University who specializes in what he refers to as cyberpsychology. Some 69 percent of adult social media users said they “have seen people being mean and cruel to others on social network sites,” according to a 2011 report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.Sometimes, it's easy to forget the balance we've carved out in this space. Daily Kos isn't perfect (no? really?) and I've had my ego bruised and my anger stoked more than a few times by comments delivered in this place. Like any long time resident, I've learned that there are some things you just don't talk about unless you want to engage in a kind of kabuki ritual of repeated arguments ending in insults (by the way, the answer is: Mary Ann, and you're an idiot for ever thinking otherwise). Even so, the balance we hold here is really quite amazing. I think we've all experienced debates--genuine, spirited debates, conversations in which people have put their hearts on the line--and come away without the discussion disintegrating into a tangle of remarks on your parent's bedroom habits, and places you might insert your private parts.
Posts run the gamut from barbs to sadistic antics by trolls who intentionally strive to distress or provoke. Last week, Zelda Williams, the daughter of Robin Williams, said she was going off Twitter, possibly for good, after brutal tweets by trolls about her father’s death. Yet comments do not even have to be that malevolent to be hurtful. The author Anne Rice signed a petition a few months ago asking Amazon.com to ban anonymous reviews after experiencing “personal insults and harassing posts,” as she put it on the site of the petition, Change.org. Whether you’re a celebrity author or a mom with a décor blog, you’re fair game. Anyone with a Twitter account and a mean streak can try to parachute into your psyche.
Having recently been on the receiving end of a lot of tweets and emails composed almost entirely from words of four letters, I'm finding myself extraordinary grateful for a place that engenders argument without necessarily resorting to verbal assault.