Quick Takes: “Everything Old is New Again”

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* I’ve been thinking about that old Broadway tune, “Everything Old is New Again,” — just not in the upbeat sense that Peter Allen meant it. There are some things I thought we might have gotten beyond as a country, but are obviously still with us. For example, there’s the old “love it or leave it.”

* As Jelani Cobb notes, the old “uppity negro” is the new “ungrateful black millionaire.”

Yet the belief endures, from Armstrong’s time and before, that visible, affluent African-American entertainers are obliged to adopt a pose of ceaseless gratitude—appreciation for the waiver that spared them the low status of so many others of their kind…Ungrateful is the new uppity.

Twitter was full of examples over the weekend. Here are just a few:

It’s always fascinating to watch these people credit the success of white people to their skill and determination, while black people got there because this “white” country gave it to them.

* No one tells a tale better than Charles Pierce.

…it’s a measure of the astonishing ability of this president* to find, and to stomp upon, someone’s last nerve, which is his only demonstrable talent as a political leader. There is a strong school of thought that believes this to be a kind of native political wisdom rather than simply a kind of destructive political improvisation. Raise hell with football players and maybe nobody will notice that you’re tickling the dragon’s tail in east Asia, or that you’re prepared to send grandma’s chemo money to Scott Walker so he can fix the potholes in his state’s highways. This is generally followed by some chin-stroking about how the players are “playing right into his hands” and that they should’ve found another way to protest. There never has been a protest movement in the history of this country that hasn’t had that argument deployed against it.

* Without a full CBO score on Graham-Cassidy, we’ve been relying on other groups to give us the numbers. Even S&P has weighed in with some bad news for the bill’s Republican supporters.

* The Washington Monthly has been beating the drum against monopolies and corporate consolidation for almost a decade now, as Paul Glastris outlined recently. This weekend, John Oliver took up the cause with the combination of both the depth and humor that only he can provide.

* Here’s some good news:

Target Corp said on Monday it would increase its minimum hourly wage this year by a dollar to $11, vowing to raise this by the end of 2020 to $15 an hour — the so-called “living wage” labor advocates across the United States are campaigning for.

The Minneapolis-based retailer, which plans to start hiking minimum pay across its stores to $11 an hour in October, provided assurances that the move would not hurt its previously announced full-year and quarterly earnings forecasts.

Amid increasing competition for workers in a strengthening labor market, the “Fight for Fifteen” movement — a union-led push for a $15 minimum wage — has been gaining traction in cities across the country.

* Finally, as I watched the reaction to #takeaknee over the last couple of days, I thought about this Pantsuit Power flashmob for Hillary last October. The choreographers were very intentional in the movements they created. Notice what they communicated at about the 3:10 minute mark. I have to believe that a world like that is still possible.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.