TPM Cafe: Opinion

Two years ago today, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed. The accident is considered the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history with 2,500 injured and a death toll clocking in at just over 1,100. The building was originally designed for shops and offices, not industrial factories. Warnings to avoid using the building after cracks appeared the day before had been ignored and when garment workers were ordered to return the following day the building collapsed during the morning rush hour.

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Last month, Nellie Andreeva wrote a piece for Deadline on race in contemporary television that set the Internet ablaze. In the article, Andreeva ponders whether the current array of multiracial castings in popular shows (How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, Jane the Virgin, The Mindy Project) or, in some cases, shows that deal specifically with the experiences of people from a particular community of color (Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, Empire) have gone “too far.” Andreeva asks her audience to consider, though she does not quite state it outright, the cost to white people of seeing people of color on television.

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Female comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have spent the past few years firmly putting to bed the idea that women, and feminists in particular, can’t be funny. Now Amy Schumer’s Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer is back and immediately reminded us that this is true—even when it comes to a touchy subject like rape.

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I have no idea what I ate for dinner last night. By that I mean: I remember the experience and the taste and smell and texture, but beyond the fact that I consumed a bowl of noodles with some other animal-based elements, I could not tell you what source they came from.

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During every election cycle, there are storylines or interpretive memes that are widely repeated but turn out to be completely irrelevant or plain wrong. Early in this presidential cycle, yesterday’s cliches about the presidential race seem to be exploding all around us. Perhaps the biggest is the claim that governors make the best presidential candidates.

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Even before the tragic 2013 bombings that cemented this connection in our collective consciousness, Patriots’ Day—the unique holiday dedicated to the Lexington and Concord Minutemen and celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine, although also apparently observed in, of all places, the Wisconsin public schools—had come to be known mostly as the occasion for the annual running of the Boston Marathon. (Well, that and the cause of the only Major League baseball game all season to start before noon.) And indeed no association of a sporting event with a specific occasion is more longstanding in America; the holiday was first celebrated in 1894, and the first Boston Marathon was run on Patriots’ Day only three years later.

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The online publisher Gawker has never consciously defined itself as an activist rag, but it’s poised to adorn its snappy media brand with an unexpected label: “union-made.”

Yesterday, senior writer Hamilton Nolan announced that Gawker plans to become the highest-profile online media venture to go union. Staff members are now organizing with the Writers Guild of America. Though the details are still vague, the unionization effort marks a refreshing spark of labor consciousness in an industry that tends to dehumanize creative work.

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American taxpayers are living in an unequal world: CEOs make approximately $5,000 per hour while minimum-wage workers make $7.25 per hour. The Koch Brothers make approximately $3 million dollars per hour.

Based on consumer spending surveys and data on pay, we estimate that escalating income inequality suppresses U.S. consumption by more than $1 trillion annually.

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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