links for 2009-12-09

  • Few of the stories that have been written and produced about Michaele and Tareq Salahi have failed to mention Michaele's platinum blond locks and her reed-thin figure. She is, indeed, a striking woman who maintains a shade of blond that typically isn't seen on anyone over the age of 2. She also has the kind of lean body that, while not voluptuous or curvy in a va-va-voom way, is reminiscent of a model's. She has chiseled cheekbones and an enormous smile. And while one could debate whether she is attractive — to each their own, after all — she conforms to the cultural standards of what a wealthy, privileged, important person is assumed to look like.

    Call it tall, thin, white, blond privilege.

  • Tour guides say that visitors "are sick of the cookie-cutter tours of Manhattan" and would rather shell out for a four-hour, $55 trip that shows them a grittier version of New York City. "Amadou Diallo is like the Disneyland of the Bronx," said guide Wilson Varges. "It's so popular no tour would be complete without stopping here." Tourist Estaben Lacusa, 52, of Barcelona, agreed: "It's beautiful," he said. "Those KKK cop hoods are quite a sight." Diallo's mother is supportive of the tourism, but some folks in the neighborhood find it a little disconcerting: "The buses come all day, every day. It's very strange," said Angela Hernandez, a stylist at a nearby salon. "A young man was murdered here. It's not a place for all this party."
  • "[G]overnment–at every level–spent a century going to incredible lengths to engineer a black peasant class. When we ask questions like "Why are we still talking about race?" or "Why are black people still lagging?" or "Why am I responsible for what my grandparents did?" When we use cheap phraseology like "Achievement Gap" or "No Excuses," terms that reassure our most basic convictions about this country, it's worth considering that African-Americans spent roughly 350 years in bondage–literal and then virtual. This new thing, this experiment, is only 50 years in the making."
  • "Immigrants who come to the United States to study at our best universities and then go to work at our nation’s leading companies contribute directly and immediately to our nation’s global economic competitiveness. Yet despite the critical importance of such immigrants to the nation’s economic success in a global economy, our current high-skilled immigration system is a two-fold failure: arbitrary restrictions prevent companies from effectively tapping the full potential of this talent pool, while inadequate safeguards fail to prevent against wage depression and worker mistreatment. "