Poverty

By Mark Finkelstein | May 11, 2015 | 7:47 PM EDT

What a shame: if only the economy had been better, the rioters would have had more name-brand stores to burn.

Seriously, this had to be one of the strangest statements to come out of the Baltimore riots. On this evening's Ed Show, Baltimore Pastor Jamal Bryant complained that because of economic "disenfranchisement," the rioters "could only find one anchor store in that neighborhood" to destroy.

By Tom Blumer | May 11, 2015 | 2:37 PM EDT

With Camden Yards set to hold its first fan-attended Baltimore Orioles game in over two weeks tonight, it's a good time to go back to a May 2 item by Meredith Shiner at Yahoo Politics.

Readers may remember the Duke-"educated" Shiner as the person who was flabbergasted that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz cited "God-given rights" when he announced his candidacy on March 23, tweeting in part: "Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made ... When Constitution was man-made?" Few will be surprised that Shiner's interview of Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings is an income inequality-obsessed de facto puff piece which lets Cummings completely off the hook for worsening conditions in the district he has represented since 1996.

By Jeffrey Meyer | May 11, 2015 | 12:59 PM EDT

On Mother’s Day, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and NBC contributor Maria Shriver, former First Lady of California, bemoaned that the United States ranked far behind Norway in government mandated services, such as paid maternity leave, for all women. Todd: "Among 193 member states of the United Nations, the United States and seven other countries have no paid maternity leave. Five of those seven countries are Pacific Island nations."

By Tom Johnson | May 6, 2015 | 11:25 AM EDT

Some pundits have speculated that the Baltimore riots may benefit Republicans in next year’s elections. On the other hand, Walsh, of Salon and MSNBC, thinks that the unrest has yielded an opportunity for liberalism.

In a two-part series, Walsh argued that one lesson of Baltimore is that Democrats' Bill Clintonesque center-left “approach to race, crime and inequality” has proved inadequate, and that the party now must confront “the big structural issues driving poverty and rising inequality, not the behavior of the poor.” Meanwhile, sniped Walsh, when it comes to those problems the GOP is “still race baiting” and “still stuck in the 1980s.”

By Tom Johnson | May 2, 2015 | 1:59 PM EDT

All week, liberals and conservatives have accused each other of causing the longstanding socioeconomic woes of Baltimore. TNR's Rebecca Leber had a subtler take in a Friday piece: she put part of the blame on liberals, but only because they went along with conservative ideas.

“Democrats exacerbated these problems [in Baltimore] not by embracing the policies of the left. Rather, they dug the hole deeper by yawing to the right,” contended Leber. “Aggressive policing, tougher drug sentencing, slashing the budgets of school and public housing and parks—throughout Baltimore’s history, lawmakers at the local, state, and federal level adopted policies that entrenched poverty and segregation in the city.”

By Matthew Philbin | April 28, 2015 | 10:16 AM EDT

Professional race explainer Michael Eric Dyson said a lot of stupid things on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes Monday. (Yes, it’s still on the air.) And really, that’s understandable, given that his job was to find excuses for the inexcusable violence and looting in Baltimore.

But mixed in with his litany of exculpatory urban dysfunction (“… the slow terror of expulsions from schools, rising rates of lead poisoning, the export of jobs to, uh, places across the waters …”) and awful metaphors (“it’s easy to point a gun of analysis and shoot [the rioters] with the bullets of our condemnation”) he managed to lash out at … professional sports.

By Jeffrey Meyer | April 28, 2015 | 7:51 AM EDT

During the 9:00 hour of MSNBC’s live coverage of the ongoing Baltimore riots on Monday night, Rachel Maddow accused the city’s police of being “a little out of control” for returning items being thrown at them by protestors: "But if they're picking up things that are being thrown at them and throwing things back, that implies to me just as a lay observer that the police feel -- that the police are a little out of control, or they may not be necessarily using disciplined police tactics."

By Tom Blumer | April 21, 2015 | 11:52 AM EDT

Readers who have seen my previous posts on actress Gwyneth Paltrow's recent "failed" attempt to complete the deceptively designed "Food Stamp Challenge" know far more than people who rely on Eonline.com ever will.

Although it's far from encouraging when contemplating our nation's future, what we have here is an object lesson in how the entertainment press airbrushes the truth to polish the image of a celebrity who is either breathtakingly ignorant or in on the scam.

By Clay Waters | April 20, 2015 | 9:21 PM EDT

Chris Christie who? Rachel Swarns, who for years fawned over Barack and Michelle Obama for the New York Times, wrote an "open letter" column to actor Adam Baldwin in defense of a left-wing group which tied up traffic in mid-town Manhattan in the name of a $15-an-hour "living wage."

By Tim Graham | April 20, 2015 | 2:41 PM EDT

Washington Post music critic Chris Richards wrote up Saturday’s Earth Day festivities on the national Mall on the front of Monday’s Style section. The headline was “At Earth Day rally, it was the message that needed saving.”

Richards liked the music, but didn’t like the talking. For example: “The event’s hosts, newscaster Soledad O’Brien and Black Eyed Peas bandleader Will.I.Am, appeared to have a rough time of it. O’Brien, either frustrated by glitchy teleprompters or perhaps not clear on how a concert works, actually shushed the crowd at one point.”

By Tom Blumer | April 19, 2015 | 2:19 PM EDT

As yours truly noted on April 12, actress Gwyneth Paltrow made a bit of a splash earlier this month when she announced that she would add her name to the list of ignorant politicians, advocates and celebrities taking on the deceptively designed "Food Stamp Challenge."

The idea is to "try to survive" eating for a week on the average benefit a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient receives. The objective is to prove that it really can't be done, thereby "proving" that food stamp benefits are too low. Of course, that's what Paltrow claims occurred, with MSNBC.com hyping how she "succeeded by failing." As was the case with an Indiana journalist several months ago, based on the spending figure Paltrow herself disclosed, she was not failing at all. Based on how the program really works, she would have succeeded had she stuck with it.

By Jeffrey Meyer | April 19, 2015 | 9:11 AM EDT

On Saturday, MSNBC’s Alex Witt hosted Washington Post reporter Elahe Izadi to blast a new Kansas law that would limit what items welfare recipients could purchase using their taxpayer benefits. Izadi asserted many call the law “mean spirited” and then touted how “some advocates feel like lawmakers are basically saying the poor can't be trusted to manage their own money."