1. We have all followed the backlash against Donald Sterling’s bigoted remarks. It’s a backlash that was entirely fitting. But as outraged as we are by the words of one man, where is our collective outrage over our nation’s achievement gaps and the fact that millions of our children still don’t receive equal educational opportunity?
    — 

    US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, in a speech to the Education Writers Association Annual Conference at Vanderbilt University; May 20, 2014.

    Mr. Secretary, I’ll say just two things:

    • We have two achievement gaps to fix – one that exists within the US, and the other that exists between the US and the rest of the industrialized world (pdf).
    • Outrage about education inequality is meaningless without specific policy changes to end this condition.

    You’re the chief education guy – start using that pen. Just let me know when you need help…

     

  2. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT 50 - THE BEGINNING, THE END, OR NEITHER?

    I’ll mark today’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by reading you a piece of legislation:

    [W]ith a view to affording reasonable protection to all persons in their constitutional rights of equality before the law, without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude…

    Sounds familiar? I have news for you.

    This didn’t come from the Civil Rights Act of 1964—try the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

    I have more to say about this on MentalUnrest

     

  3. The Bible no one talks about…

     


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  6. In making the case for raising the minimum wage, the Economic Policy Institute breaks the myth of low-wage demographics…

     

  7. US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) writes about America’s growing inequality problem in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

    I guess there was no available real estate in the New York Times…

    song currently stuck in my head: “floating in space” - lonnie liston smith

     

  8. The TransPacific Partnership increasingly sounds like bad news for Main Street. Here’s the latest trickle of doom, courtesy of Real News Network

     


  9. When 50% of young people in some ­countries don’t have a job, that is very dangerous.

    They are going to ask themselves questions about the current economic situation and about their role in society.

    Soon 25% of Europeans will be living below what we’d call the poverty line.

    — Uniliver CEO Paul Polman’s current assessment of Europe and its turbulent future. Polman made the comments just before flying to Davos
     

  10. While you look at these two St. Louis Fed graphs of historical corporate profits and wages paid while having a WTH moment, let me explain how capitalism is supposed to work.

    Capitalism is not simply a business or group of businesses, it’s an ECOSYSTEM. More on that later.

    The deal is simple – investors find a problem in society to be solved through a business and they invest money in that business with the justifiable requirement for a strong return for their investment and risk-taking.

    Workers help to solve the problem in question by making or delivering goods and services sold by that business as part of the mission to solve this problem. In return, these workers are paid a fair wage so they can also buy goods and services within the ecosystem. These workers should also be able to save money in case they may decide to become business owners and investors one day.

    Governments at various jurisdictions ensure that workers and businesses do not screw each other, but governments also encourage the growth of new businesses and industries through research, tax breaks and other incentives.

    Looking at middle class incomes remain flat or decline over the past 30 years while household expenses continue to increase [PDF] tells me two things – that arguing about whether blue or red guys caused this crisis is pointless, and that policymakers and businesses had better get a clue about how capitalism works.

    Which brings up the ecosystem I mentioned. Ecosystem imbalances can be more dangerous and expensive than addressing the root cause—which in this case means creating prosperous workers…

    song currently stuck in my head: “don’t give up on me baby” - the dynamic superiors

     

  11. Bloomberg’s First Black President Can’t Help Blacks Stem Wealth Drop article seems incomplete at best since the issues surrounding black’s wealth disparity have deeply rooted origins, not the least of which involves decades of poor social policy.

    Solving the wealth problem requires a level of painful examination that I’m not sure America is ready to take on…

    song currently stuck in my head: “what’s your name” - leon ware

     

  12. If this picture is not shocking enough, consider that black incomes started their recessionary free-fall from US$ 36,567 and is sitting at $32,498 for the moment. Meanwhile, the median household income for all Americans is $50,964, down from $53,508…

    Is there a post, post-racial period we can look forward to?

    Source: Economix

    song currently stuck in my head: “hey joe (live)” - led zeppelin

     

  13. We can point the election of a Black President of the United States and the increase in the number of Black millionaires as evidence of post-segregation progress, but this chart serves as one of many reminders that America has to do more to avoid a collision course with a social crisis.

    Source: Schott Foundation 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males [PDF]

     


  14. Not only has the rise in inequality failed to deliver on faster growth, history shows a clear association between inequality and instability.
    — Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research visiting fellow Stewart Lansley in a guest post for the OECD Insights blog about how inequality is an economic danger titled Inequality, the crash and the crisis: Part 1 “The defining issue of our times.” The first entry makes me thing all three parts should be on your Election 2012 reading list…
     


  15. For your radar, OECD Week runs May 22-24 in Paris. Subjects surrounding economic development and inequality always grab my attention. I’ll have to read those Skills StrategyGender Initiative and Development Strategy reports…

    song currently stuck in my head: “speak no evil” - flora purim