NYC real estate is no joke. So with the Rapture supposed to go down last Saturday, I was scheming on a more spacious new crib from which to ride out the Tribulation. Alas, it looks like I’ll have to wait for October, at least.
In the interim, let’s get caught up on some worldly matters and see if we can divine the identity of The Beast from the news.
Six years after a California court ordered that the state had to reduce its prison population — the penal system there was so dangerously overcrowded that the justices said it reached the level of “cruel and unusual punishment” — the Supreme Court affirmed that decision, 5-4, ordering Cali to release tens of thousands of its prisoners.
“It’s not as though California was unaware that it had a problem,” writes SHG at Simple Justice. “But having created the problem by grabbing hold of every half-baked idea of imposing mandatory sentencing and three strikes and ever-longer, stiffer, harsher sentences, every politically beneficial tough-on-crime mindless knee-jerk opportunity to throw people in prison, it was stuck with the product of its own invention.”
Justice Scalia was, unsurprisingly, apoplectic in his dissent, calling the decision “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.”
Tom Hayden writes that the ruling “sends a message that there may be increasing limits to America’s mass incarceration policies, including guarantees against cruel and unusual practices.” (G.D.)
Texas legislators are threatening to rescind their pledge to provide low income high school students with money for college. (Nicole)
Meanwhile, Tea Partiers in Pennsylvania criticized a controversial school voucher bill there for “creating another government program which gives a small segment of the population special rights” — in other words, helping too many poor kids. It’s part of a chorus of criticism for the measure, SB1, which isn’t likely to die quietly: very rich conservatives are spending buckets of cash to back the bill in order to make the Keystone State a national petri dish for school vouchers. (G.D.)
PB’s own Jamelle Bouie explains that the real welfare kings and queens in the U.S. are middle and upper class families. (blackink12)
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria has frozen grants to China, citing problems with grant management. Problems include possible financial mismanagement and the direction of funds to government controlled NGOs at the expense of independent NGOs. Thanks to lower-than-expected donations, the Global Fund is reexamining recipients and some are questioning whether China needs aid at all. (Nicole)
Violent crime falls to a 40-year low, and nobody really knows why. (G.D.)
Next time you’re out for sushi, you really, really, REALLY ought to think again before you order toro (bluefin tuna) – bluefin tuna is rapidly facing extinction. (Nicole)
Helena Andrews muses on the duty to feign shock — shock! — when that friend everyone knew was gay finally comes out. (G.D.)
Why “being caught up” isn’t nearly a good enough excuse for resorting to homophobic slurs. (blackink12)
Why people cheat: “The more you do it the more you believe you can get away with it, and the more you believe you can get away with it the less-scary the consequences become.” (blackink12)
Another argument for Tyler Perry: a new study found that black characters were way more likely to actually have speaking roles in movies with black directors. (G.D.)
How the apocalypse would happen, if heaven were a small non-profit. (Nicole)
Roast chicken and sex: They’re good for you! (blackink12)
The Obama administration appoints a Director of Progressive Media and Online Response. That is, someone who makes friends with the professional left on Twitter. (quadmoniker)
Pres. Obama and FLOTUS get their stout on in Dublin. (G.D.)
Alright, kinfolk. What did we miss? What should we be reading? Hit us in the comments.