“Net Worth of White Households in DC Region is 81 Times That of Black Households”: Washington Post

basically runs a press release from the Urban Institute, but since I wanted to read that press release I won't complain: The Urban Institute report, “The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital,” said the Great Recession and housing crisis of 2007 to 2009 exacerbated long-persistent disparities, with black and Hispanic households losing about half of their wealth. In 2013 and 2014, white households in the D.C. area had a net worth of $284,000 while black households had a net worth of $3,500, the … [Read more...]

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NO SURFERS: “Tuff Turf” (1985 at Its 1985iest)

So they told me that James Spader and Robert Downey, Jr., in their misspent youth, once played semipunk delinquent BFFs. They did not have to tell me more.Tuff Turf (dir. Fritz Kiersch, and now I want to know why I don't know this name already) is sort of John Hughes high-school class-war romance (only not annoying like John Hughes movies always eventually are), in the Reseda version of the school from Class of '84. Gangs prowl and switchblades bristle, but instead of CO84's howling anger … [Read more...]

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“Free to Choose, Revisited”: David Lapp

on Yuval Levin: Yuval Levin believes that neither hyperindividualism nor centralization can help financially struggling Americans like Lance, whom I wrote about yesterday in the first part of my review of Levin’s The Fractured Republic. I basically agree with Levin and found his focus on empowering mediating institutions—beginning in the family and spreading outward to places like schools, religious congregations, and the marketplace—right on point. And it’s precisely because I agree with him th … [Read more...]

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“Escape from Detroit”: I watch “Don’t Breathe”

for AmCon, and end up ranting about the sacred Victim, obviously: Don’t Breathe, the new horror flick from director Fede Alvarez, opens with the flapping of wings and far-off sirens. Dawn is breaking on a deserted street, which we slowly approach from the sky. A man is dragging a blonde body through a city where everyone else seems to have vanished. more (also apparently I badly misremembered Wait Until Dark so apologies for that...) … [Read more...]

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“Who Rents, Who Buys, Who Tells Your Story?”: I review “Little Men”

for First Things: Little Men, the new gentrification drama from writer/director Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange), has a rich premise and two excellent young stars. Its thinness—its inability to satisfy the expectations it sets up—comes from Sachs's unwillingness to explore both sides of the class divide in his double story.Little Men is about the sudden, deep friendship between two thirteen-year-old boys: Jacob (Theo Taplitz), a yearning, driftwood Manhattanite who wants to be an artist, and Ant … [Read more...]

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Prophet and Loss: I watch “Roger and Me”

Along with Barcelona, my other RNC counterprogramming was Michael Moore's 1989 documentary, Roger and Me. It's structured around Moore's quest to get a personal interview with Roger Smith, the head of General Motors, who is in the process of basically devastating Moore's hometown of Flint, Mich. by closing the GM plant there. It's incredibly powerful--I don't think there's a wasted frame. A few thoughts, beyond my basic thought which is just, "You should see this movie."Artistically it is … [Read more...]

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Unchosen Blessings: Gay Celibacy and Unplanned Pregnancy

Someone who knows I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center sent me a recent article from Medicine Anthropology Theory, "Blessing unintended pregnancy: Religion and the discourse of women's agency in public health." It's a qualitative study of the reproductive histories and practical spirituality of women at a homeless shelter in the Southeast. The things the women say really sound like things our clients say; but what struck me most was how much of their experiences resonated with the religious … [Read more...]

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