Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup.

Your reading material from the weekend:

1. In a New Yorker essay this week, Jeff Toobin discusses the Sotomayor pick and the way discussions about diversity and representation on the court have changed. There used to be seats allocated based on geography, and there was a designated “Catholic” seat; the current Court boasts 6 Catholic justices. “Still, even Obama, in announcing his choice, shied away from stating the obvious: that Sotomayor was picked in part because she is a Hispanic woman. (The President called his choice an “important step” but didn’t say why.) There was no need for such reticence. Earlier Presidents didn’t apologize for preserving the geographic balance, and this one need not be reluctant to acknowledge that Hispanics, the nation’s fastest-growing ethnic group, who by 2050 will represent a third of the American people, deserve a place at this most exclusive table for nine. (Nor, of course, did he note that the nomination was in part to satisfy Hispanic voters—the electoral benefit being another constant among Presidents.) As Barack Obama knows better than most, it is a sign of a mature and healthy society when the best of formerly excluded groups have the opportunity to earn their way to the top.”

2. Surprise, surprise: Wells Fargo may have targeted working-class blacks for subprime mortgages. “Loan officers, she said, pushed customers who could have qualified for prime loans into subprime mortgages. Another loan officer stated in an affidavit filed last week that employees had referred to blacks as ‘mud people’ and to subprime lending as ‘ghetto loans.'”

3. Newsweek’s cover story explores why taking health advice from Oprah and her gaggle of regular guests, including former Playboy Playmate and actress Jenny McCarthy, might get you sick or hurt or both. Also, Suzanne Somers makes me sad.

4. Dahlia Lithwick makes a strong case for confronting the nation’s real prison problem. And she’s not talking about Guantanamo.

5. Eric at the Edge of the American West gives a brief synopsis of how Puerto Ricans became recognized as American citizens.

6. For those of you who rely on cars to get around, take note that gas prices have risen for 40 consecutive days. In a cruel bit of irony (for a number of reasons), the prices are highest in Michigan.

7. If you’re interested, a number of people who work as abortion providers have come up with a moving online tribute to the late Dr. George Tiller.

8. A rather blistering review of Arianna Huffington and her latest book. The New Republic makes a strong case that she’s, well, an insipid opportunist. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).

9. Also, The Huffington Post says it didn’t post Max Blumenthal’s widely circulated video of racist and offensive bluster from drunken young American Jews in Israel because they didn’t see “any real news value.” Blumenthal responds to that argument and other criticism of the video in this post.

10. This American Life tackles the economy again with “The Watchmen,” an episode in which Ira and Co. try to find out who was responsible for what, when. They talk (or, try to) with AIG regulators, and attempt to understand why the rating agencies were so very, very wrong. This is another excellent follow-up to one of our favorite TAL episodes: “The Giant Pool of Money.”

11. Jay-Z calls for the death of Auto-Tune in a newly released single but clears Kanye, Lil’ Wayne and T-Pain of any blame for its proliferation. So what’s the point?

12. Speaking of Hov … remember the plan for the Brooklyn Nets? Not so fast. Money quote near the end: “… the Nets, a team that’s lagged in the bottom third of the league in attendance for years and ranks 26th in franchise value, may be trapped a while longer in the no man’s land between Philadelphia and New York.”

13. More about pro hoops: Is the NBA’s age-minimum rule racist? More about it here, too.

14. A final question: did you know this month was the 25th anniversary of the release of Purple Rain? Now you do. Enjoy.

Hopefully, the links post will become a regular Monday feature here at PB. That said, also consider this an open thread where you can drop comments, links to other stories and blogs or ego-boosting praise. We’ll take it all.

Post-script: I must mention that we’re looking hard for a little diversity in our links. While all submissions are appreciated, I’d like to see a little less New York Times and more, say, High Times. Well, not really. But you get my drift.


Joel Anderson —blackink —  writes about sports, politics, crime, courts, and other issues far beyond his competence at BuzzFeed. He has worked at media outlets in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Atlanta and contributed to a number of publications, including The Root and The American Prospect, among many others.
  • Ron

    The only moving the Nets are gonna do is to Newark.

  • I forgot to share this one with you, black…apparently, June is Black Music Month.

    Jamelle and I were trying to figure out if that means it’s-

    a) black music black people actually listen to month, or
    b) black music white people listen to month (like jazz or the blues) or
    c) black music that has been appropriated by non-black people month (like rock & roll)