Good Things: August 29th, 2016

The third stanza of the Star Spangled Banner, the anthem we sing to praise our nation, is about killing runaway slaves who fought for the British to gain their freedom in the War of 1812:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In addition to being a slaveowner himself, Francis Scott Key was also a vocal critic of abolitionists fighting for civil rights:

By 1833, Key was a district attorney for Washington, D.C. As described in a book called Snowstorm in August by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, the police were notorious thieves, frequently stealing free blacks’ possessions with impunity. One night, one of the constables tried to attack a woman who escaped and ran away — until she fell off a bridge across the Potomac and drowned.
“There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district,” an abolitionist paper wrote. “No fuss or stir was made about it. She was got out of the river, and was buried, and there the matter ended.”
Key was furious and indicted the newspaper for intending “to injure, oppress, aggrieve & vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates & constables of Washington County.”

That excerpt is from this article at the Intercept, which uses Colin Kaepernick’s recent comments as a jumping off point. Also: It is time to ditch the Star Spangled Banner. We Need a New National Anthem.

  1. Scientists are selling anti-aging pills that are ahead of the science — but they also might actually work? (Benjamin Wallace / New York Magazine)
  2. The Alt-Right is what you get when you brew together Paleoconservatism, 4chan, neoreaction, and white nationalism. Drink up. (Dylan Matthews / Vox)
  3. Poem to my Litter. (Max Ritvo / The New Yorker)
  4. CEO’s might affect who their employees donate to and who they vote for. “The relation between CEO and employee political contributions may exist either because they share a common set of political and economic goals or because CEOs explicitly advocate for their preferred candidates. We find evidence consistent with the second explanation. In particular, we show that CEO influence cannot be explained by common geographic factors or candidate strength. We also show that the relation we document holds around CEO turnover (including plausibly exogenous turnovers caused by natural retirement or death), which indicates that changes in employee contributions result from changes in how their CEOs donate and not the other way around.” (Ilona Babenko / Harvard Law School Forum)
  5. About 100B people have ever died. Around 1 in 14 of all humans who have ever been born are alive today. (Mona Chalabi / FiveThirtyEight)
  6. Man advertises “dinner with Trump,” which is really just tickets to a regular Trump fundraising dinner, raises $1M for Super PAC that nominally supports Trump but hasn’t spent any money on ads so far. The craziest part is that it might all be legal. (Shane Goldmacher / Politico)
  7. The South has to play catch up in the craft brewery trend because until recently, it was illegal in most southern states to sell IPA’s (due to their high ABV). (Jim Tankersley / The Washington Post)
  8. Get-tough-on-immigration efforts aren’t slowing the surge of refugees from Central America because “tough” by American standards still pales in comparison to the violence they face back home. (Chico Harlan / The Washington Post)
  9. “But when Trump voters say they’re upset about needing to press one for English, mad that Black Lives Matter protesters are slandering police officers, and worried that Muslim and/or Mexican immigrants are going to murder their children, it’s perverse to interpret them as secretly hankering for a refundable child care tax credit. If it’s a good idea, then by all means propose it and implement it.” (Matthew Yglesias / Vox)
  10. The coin flip experiment from Steven Levitt means, if anything, that we probably have a status quo bias and should take action more often (break off relationships, personal or professional). (Jeff Guo / The Washington Post)
  11. The civil war in Syria won’t end because each side is supported by foreign powers, which resupply them with arms, there are more than two factions fighting for territory, and each side is more concerned with losing territory than they are with gaining territory. (Max Fisher / The New York Times)

Look at this comic:

http://xkcd.com/1720/

Have a good rest of your Monday,

Alec