Keith Spencer

Raising the minimum wage could prevent thousands of suicides: researchers

An academic study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that every dollar increase in the minimum wage resulted in a 3.4 to 5.9 percent decrease in the overall suicide rate.

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Is a strange Twitter glitch censoring the left?

The Working Families Party, a New York-based progressive political party, has a reputation befitting its name as a left-populist political organization. So when the organization endorsed the center-left Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — who was once a hardcore Republican and has emphasized her capitalist credentials — over the explicitly democratic socialist candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sanders (I-Vt.) supporters were understandably disappointed. After all, the party overwhelmingly endorsed Sanders in the previous presidential election. What had changed?

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Earth's robber-barons are dying to bring capitalism to space

Imagine, for a moment, that the Axis had won World War II. In this nightmare scenario, the Germans and their fascist allies would rule much of the world's nations by proxy, relaxing into the easy chair of hegemony. It seems probable that the Third Reich would have put a satellite into orbit in fairly short order, followed, perhaps, by a man into space, and likely a man on the moon.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.

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Millennials are aware they're more narcissistic than other generations — but they're not happy about it: study

Baby Boomers may have been dubbed the “Me Generation,” but Millennials and Generation Z are the ones that are most self-absorbed — by their own admission. Indeed, while studies show that those generations openly believe that they and their peers are the most “narcissistic and entitled age-groups,” they aren’t necessarily happy about it.

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How the rich are normalizing narcissism - and destroying civilization

It is ironic that, as the gulf between rich and poor reaches record levels, the language of the underclass has become infected with the culture and mores of the rich. Twenty years ago, English began to absorb and normalize verbal markers of wealth, consumption and status, evidenced by the mainstreaming of luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton and their appearance in pop culture and media. Reality TV went from nonexistent in the 1970s to one of the most popular television genres in the 2000s, much of it homed in on the lifestyles and lives of the rich — culminating in a billionaire, reality-TV star president. Social media in the late 2000s and 2010s seems to have exacerbated a cultural normalization of narcissism, an obsession with self-image, and a propensity for conspicuous consumption. Few of us are rich, but we all aspire to appear that way on Instagram.

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