What Blogging Has Become – The Atlantic

Medium’s new features go straight for the heart of the Facebook-friendly web.

Each of Medium’s new features seem small individually, and the tech press is treating them like a minor product update. … Taken collectively, these features completely alter the feel of the site. Medium feels more like a social network than it ever has before.

But you can only flirt with being a platform for so long before you just become one. The description of Medium that’s most stuck with me is from Josh Benton again, this time on Twitter: Medium is now “YouTube for prose,” he said. In other words, it’s a platform. And I think with these product changes, it’s embracing that.

Source: What Blogging Has Become – The Atlantic

The Eugenics Plot of the Minimum Wage | Foundation for Economic Education

Do note the 1890-1931 historical contexts, when support for eugenics was widespread across the political spectrum. The history portion of this and the quotes are interesting, but using this as an anti-minimum-wage argument in the present amounts to guilt-by-association.

The minimum wage has a dark, racist history. And the great irony is that its malicious intent is unwittingly being realized today.

Most of these writings would have been completely forgotten but for a seminal 2005 article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Thomas C. Leonard.

“Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics,” Leonard explains, “believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service ridding the labor force of the ‘unemployable.’”

One hundred years ago, legislating a price floor on wages was a policy deliberately conceived to impoverish the lower classes and the undesirables, and thereby to disincentivize their reproduction.

Source: The Eugenics Plot of the Minimum Wage | Foundation for Economic Education by Jeffrey Tucker

Chicago ‘black site’: former US justice officials call for Homan Square inquiry | US news | The Guardian

Two ex-senior Justice Department officials say allegations about police operation are ‘very disturbing’ and raise serious questions about constitutional violations … are calling on their colleagues to investigate a secretive warehouse used for interrogations by Chicago police and likened to a CIA “black site” facility.

Source: Chicago ‘black site’: former US justice officials call for Homan Square inquiry | US news | The Guardian

Why Obama Won’t Talk About Islamic Terrorism – The Atlantic

The administration is so focused on countering the threat of violent extremism that it purposely downplays the ideologies that motivate extremists.

In Cameron’s view, violence is a symptom of a problem, but is not itself the problem. The problem is the rejection of liberal values by a substantial number of recent immigrants to liberal societies, and by their children and grandchildren. Terrorism manifests that rejection, but even when terrorism is contained by effective police work, the challenge remains intact.

The Obama administration repudiates this view. The Obama administration believes the problem is violent extremism. Of course it’s wrong, in this view, to kill cartoonists who caricature Muhammad. But wishing such cartoons suppressed by non-violent means does not present a similarly-urgent threat. Indeed, those who wish such cartoons suppressed by means short of violence may be our best allies in the struggle against violence, precisely because they have the most credibility with the people who might otherwise turn to violence.

Source: Why Obama Won’t Talk About Islamic Terrorism – The Atlantic

New High-Tech Farm Equipment Is a Nightmare for Farmers | WIRED

Dave paid for the tractor; he owns what’s tangible: the wheels, the metal chassis, the gears and pistons in the engine. But John Deere owns everything else: the programming that propels the tractor, the software that calibrates the engine, the information necessary to fix it. So, who really owns that tractor?

Source: New High-Tech Farm Equipment Is a Nightmare for Farmers | WIRED

An Elite That Has Lost the Impulse to Police Itself – The Atlantic

The DEA secretly instituted a mass surveillance program—and almost no one objected, even after it was revealed.

When a prominent attorney and former appointee sees a government abuse more clearly than his fellow citizens, is he obligated to raise his voice against the abusers? I’d argue that doing so is a civic obligation—and that the obligation is particularly acute for people who advocate for a powerful, opaque national security state, dismissing warnings that the federal government is too vulnerable to abuses. The assurances Americans are given about agencies like the NSA, FBI, and DEA ring hollow precisely because elites so often prove unwilling to hold them accountable—even elites who are otherwise committed to serving their country.

Source: An Elite That Has Lost the Impulse to Police Itself – The Atlantic

The Bully Business – The Atlantic

An entire industry is profiting off of tactics used to punish mean children at school.

One consistent element is that “solutions” such as this one never explicitly regard bullying as a symptom. As such, when causes are discussed, they are couched in terms of character defects.

Inconceivably, the captive environment of school is rarely, if ever, taken into account by researchers or faculty when assessing the behavior of students.

The only way to constructively deal with bullying is to give students appropriate degrees of autonomy and not compel them to be in oppressive environments where they are subjected to people they despise and deprived of any control over their lives.

Source: The Bully Business – The Atlantic