Texas Drought, cute frogs and stereotypes…

Texas Drought: check out this series of photos of Caddo Lake: from all the way full to bone dry now. Things have changed since I moved from Austin in 1991.

Frogs yes, this is a frog:

more at Jerry Coyne’s website.

Minimum wage: a better policy idea that you might think; there is data backing this up.

I’m doing this kind of backwards, writing about the politics first. But I wanted to have my intellectual ducks — or rather, my lucky duckies — in a row before taking on the economics. And while I was grubbing around, Mike Konczal produced the perfect post summing it all up.

So what should you know? First, as John Schmitt (pdf) documents at length, there just isn’t any evidence that raising the minimum wage near current levels would reduce employment. And this is a really solid result, because there have been a *lot* of studies. We can argue about exactly why the simple Econ 101 story doesn’t seem to work, but it clearly doesn’t — which means that the supposed cost in terms of employment from seeking to raise low-wage workers’ earnings is a myth.

Discrimination yes, we’ve made a great deal of progress in race relations; no doubt about it, at all. But, unfortunately, some unfair stereotypes remain:

Not even the inside of a store can provide a Black man–in this case, Forest Whitaker— in New York City refuge from “Stop and Frisk.”
This time, however, the NYPD is not behind the act; it was allegedly an employee of the Upper East Side’s Milano Market who carried out the embarrassing pat down. TMZ reports that Whitaker said he was falsely accused of lifting an item off the store’s shelf and subsequently frisked by an employee. An eyewitness told the entertainment site that the Academy Award winner was frisked in plain view of everyone.
Of course, the shake down produced nothing belonging to the store and Whitaker left the establishment angry and embarrassed.
The actor’s rep told TMZ, “This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli. What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment.
“Frisking individuals without proof/evidence is a violation of rights.”
The rep added, “Forest did not call the authorities at the request of the worker who was in fear of losing his employment. Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner.”

No darker skin male would be surprised by this. However, some of this goes down when one ages; the younger guys have it a bit worse. There seem to be tensions any time people of different races live together, and humans are a bit hard wired to reason inductively.


February 16, 2013 - Posted by | climate change, environment, frogs, nature, racism, social/political | , ,

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