Pounding up against the stone and steel


“A little courage goes a long, long way / Get’s you a little bit further down the road each day / And before you know it, you’ll hear someone say / That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.” And in other news: Elizabeth Warren takes on the lords of credit-scoring, bad Lifetime movies, messy ecclesiology, and Jimmy Carter’s presidential film festival. [Read more...]

If nothing is sacred, then everything is for sale


“Sacred” does not mean that something “is beyond question.” It means that something is beyond price. To say that nothing is “sacred,” then, is to say that everything is for sale. This is not just a deeply cynical thing to say about the world, but a bitterly cynical thing to say about oneself. [Read more...]

Scenes from the class war (9.8)


“You have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?” [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (8.7)

Max Ehrenfreund on Kansas’ efforts to kick the poors. Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Color-Blind Policy, Color-Conscious Morality.” Randall Kennedy on “The Civil Rights Movement and the Politics of Memory.” Jill Lepore on arguments from privacy and arguments from equality. And Sr. Joan Chittister on “pro-life” vs. pro-birth. [Read more...]

Sunshine don’t hold up to dark


“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages … eating delicious pancakes.” Remembering the I in IHOP. Plus: The Stone Age lasted longer than a few generations; Alabama police should choose a more honest Beatitude; and say hello to the Gerry Adams of Operation Rescue. [Read more...]

Keep it loose, keep it tight


I have this Amos Lee song stuck in my head, so now I’m trying to get it stuck in yours. Plus: The specific wrongness of John Hagee; Scott Walker’s Cheese Shop Sketch; Intelligent Falling; and the fear that unites KJV-only fundies with their “inerrantist” cousins. [Read more...]

Congress sides with predatory lenders vs. military families


The protections against legal loan-sharking here are appallingly modest — 36 percent interest remains perfectly legal. And those protections are weirdly restricted, applying only to a single sub-set of the public: military families. If it makes sense to protect military families from this kind of sleazy, coercive lending — and it does — then it shouldn’t make sense that such protection applies only to military families. [Read more...]

Warren Buffett: Slumlord and scurvy little spider


When Warren Buffett first moved into the manufactured home business, it seemed like his much-touted philosophy of investing for value would be a boon to the industry that provides so much of America’s affordable housing stock. His reputation as an investor who sought out quality goods and services, growing his fortune with their success, suggested he would focus on the beneficial aspects of factory-built homes, leading away from the unsustainable predatory practices and value-less rent-seeking that have plagued the business. But that didn’t happen. Buffett’s “value” talk, it turns out, is pure shinola. And he’s raised value-less rent-seeking to an art form. [Read more...]